Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Scary new blogs

Boo! We have spine-tingling music blogs, a ghoulish food blog, and even a blood-curdling new home for Cheshire blogs. Yes, I know. I'm about to carve up a pumpkin with a big sharp knife, and am very excited about Halloween. Always loved Halloween. Dressing up and looking scary! Black nail polish! Bela Lugosi's Dead! It's the favorite holiday of lapsed goths the world over.

First up is Northernights, which is the blog that goes along with the Manchester-oriented clubbing and music site run by Manc journalist and diamond geezer Danny McFadden. Recent posts include a recap of the Ting Tings' recent single launch gig at Islington Mill, something I meant to get to but was overcome with inertia and lassitude. Now it's like I was there!

Danny was kind enough to send another music blog my way: Well plastic yeah?

I love it when people get organised. Liverpool Blogs is going strong, and now we have inspired another regional bloghub neighbour: The Deva Station is "A roll call of Cheshire blogs" started by Chester-based journalist Louise Bolotin. And now I'm curious: what is the Deva Station? Is it a secret place only people in Cheshire know about?

A new (mainly) political blog: The Obscurer, which is written by Quinn, who also sent word of Occupied Country, a photo blog by Steve from Oldham. Some really lovely shots of Manc on there.

And we have a new food blog again this week. Around the world in 80 dinners is Robert Hamilton eating in different city restaurants, complete with pictures - recent forays include Luso, Fatoosh and the excellent-sounding Jati. I'm always happy to find another independent restaurant blogger, since many of the local sites out there that cover Manc restaurants are also selling websites or ads, and it's hard to trust them not to be influenced by that. And anyone interested in food and restaurants should check out the UK messageboard on Chowhound - lots of good Manchester reccs on there if you search.

NaNoWriMo time again

For the second year in a row I'm going to be one of the thousands of folks all over the world trying to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Yep, it's National Novel Writing Month. Gulp.

It is utterly mad, but not impossible. You have to write about 1500 words a day, which is manageable, I think, if you have a lot of time to devote to it and can be merciless with yourself about not taking a day off. Not even Sundays. I did it last year, but was less militant about days off than I should have been, and had to make up for my slackness at the end. This year will be different, dammit!

There are quite a lot of folks in Manchester taking part. If any of you bloggers are in there, give me a shout: my codename is yankunian. And if anyone's thinking about it, I'd urge you to try it. It's a very effective kick in the ass for lots of people, and kind of fun, when you aren't tearing your hair out.

Of course, all that novelwriting means my blogging will suffer, but I'll try to check in once a week or so and keep updating the blogroll with those pesky new blogs that keep cropping up all over the place. And someone mentioned the possibilty of a Manchester Bloggers' gathering in December. A Chrismukkah blogmeet maybe?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Attack of the new blogs

Now that the frenzy of the MLF and blog awards has dissipated, and I'm starting to claw my way back to something resembling normal life, here's a whole bunch of new blogs I've been meaning to add to the blogroll for some time:

Almost Witty is the "anecdotes of a reluctant thirty-something UK man in Manchester mildly obsessed by all things film, comedy, media, music, dating, the internet world and this thing we call life."

is the personal blog of a shadowy "Lancashire Lad."

Epicly Carnage
is the personal photoblog of Gil Swerts.

Geekinetics is Fee Plumley's (formerly of Fee Fi Fo Fum) new blog about "evolving forms of theatricality & digital scenographies through internationally collaborative creative praxis." The word praxis sounds kind of scary, doesn't it?

The dictionary of Oscar Macsweeny is a Manchester-based fiction blog. Apparently no relation to Timothy McSweeney.

Secret Lunch is described by its author as "a manchester-
restaurant-review-spouse-abuse-rant-blog." Definitely the first one of those we've had.

Belinda Webb wrote in to say hello. She's a writer and Manchester native (now living in That London.) She says: "I have my first novel, A Clockwork Apple, due out in April 08 which is about a raging girl gang who traipse the streets of Manchester! It is, in part, hommage to that other Mancunian, Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange!" You can check our her blog here, in which she weighs in on the Amis/Eagleton cat fight.

I'm also adding a link to the MEN's stable of blogs. Many thanks to online editor Sarah Hartley for reminding me. She writes the "Life Through Food" blog which, since we now have two food and drink blogs, joins a shiny new category. Any more?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Manchester Blog Awards: 2007 Winners

And the winners are...

Best Personal Blog: Single Mother on the Verge

Best New Blog: Rent Girl

Best Arts and Culture Blog: Mancubist

Best Political Blog: Politaholic

Best Writing on a Blog: Day of Moustaches

The blog awards event was a roaring success. Some 80 people packed out Matt and Phred's to hear wonderful readings from Day of Moustaches' Chris Killen (pictured above), Airport Diaries, A Free Man in Preston, the end of Elizabeth Baines' Manchester Blogstory (which I've just posted here,) and a reading and chat with author and blogger Caroline Smailes. Not forgetting the dj stylings of music blog stalwarts Black Country Grammar and Yer Mam!

But, as usual, the best part was seeing old friends and actually meeting in the flesh people I've only previously known on the internet. Many thanks to everyone who came and helped make the night such a good time.

(If anyone posts pictures of the night on their blog, let me know and I'll link to them. I got so busy that I forgot to take more than a few!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Manchester Blog Awards Tonight

Just a final reminder that the blog awards is happening tonight at Matt and Phred's. The whole thing kicks off at 7, though the actual announcement of the awards will be happening around 7:50 or so, after readings from some of the city's most lovely and talented bloggers.

I'm really looking forward to having a pint and a chat with my blogging brethren. It's been far too long since we've all gotten together. And there will be lots of new folks to meet as well. I predict a late night.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Manchester Literature Festival: Review competition

Before I say anything else, today is the last day to vote on what happens in the final chapter of our Manchester Blogstory. If the blog poll function seems to be having problems when you visit the site, check back in an hour or so. For some reason the poll is extremely temperamental. We don't know why. Sigh.

The Literature Festival kicks off tonight with a reading from the wonderful Rose Tremain. For the next week or so I'll be redirecting my blogging energies over to the shiny new MLF blog, where we're running a review-writing competition. And if you write the best review, you'll win a covetable set of Vintage Twins worth £150.

All you have to do is send your review of an MLF event (400 words or less) to me at mcrlitfestblog at gmail dot com, within three days of the event. I'll post all the reviews we receive, with a link to your blog if you have one. Full details here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Manchester Science Festival makes it 4

Hey kids, there's a new festival in town... The Manchester Science Festival has somehow materialised out of thin air, and will be spreading its nerdy goodness all over town Oct 20-28.

So how many festivals are we up to now? The science fest muscles onto an already crowded field, joining the Literature Festival, the Food and Drink festival and the Comedy Festival. Okay, that's four.

Four festivals is a lot to cram into one month, that's all I'm saying. And all this unbridled festivity puts a tremendous burden on Manchester's humble punters. You could try and enjoy them all at once by eating Italian peasant food prepared by an overpublicized celebrity chef whilst simultaneously composing a poem in your head, laughing at Dave Spikey and marvelling at the wonders of physics busking. But I wouldn't recommend it.