Friday, September 28, 2007

blog awards venue change

Newsflash: The Manchester Blog Awards will be happening at Matt and Phred's Jazz Club on Tib Street in the Northern Quarter. NOT at MOHO Live, which isn't done yet.

The good thing about the new venue is that, if you're so inclined, you can stay on and groove on some live jazz after the blog awards wrap up.

Same bat time: Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 7pm.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Random cool stuff

Sorry, I realize I've been all business lately at The Manchizzle. With the festival almost upon us, and the blogstory project going strong (chapter 4 is up now) there are so many important things I have to blog about.

So here are some things I don't have to blog about. They don't have anything to do with Manchester, but whatever.

This is weasel and ferret week at the Manchizzle. Why? They seem to keep popping up in conversation for some reason. And any discussion of ferrets always reminds me of Rudy Giuliani's insane ferret rant on the radio, during his time as NYC mayor. Anyone who thinks he might make a good president should listen to this.
Actually, everyone should listen to it.

As nutty as Rudy clearly is, I have to admit there is something distasteful about ferrets. I'm sure the pro-ferret brigade would set me straight. Sure, maybe ferrets get a bad rap, and bad press. But they also get lots of good press. In fact, there's a magazine called Ferrets, and they publish centerfolds every month that look like this:

I just thought you might enjoy that one.

I've gotten really into this web comic called Achewood. It describes itself as a cartoon of modern life as lived by a retarded otter, an alcoholic tiger, and two bears. But it's so much more than that, really. The characters also have their own blogs. You can read what Ray Smuckles, the thong-wearing, potty-mouthed cat has to say here.

I've also gotten really into this band called Vampire Weekend. They're from New York, and in addition to having a great name, they make amazingly catchy and smart afrobeat-inflected indie music. Kind of like if Jonathan Richman was in The Shins and they got knocked up by Orchestra Baobab. Yeah, I know that's a horrible description, that's why I'm not a music reviewer. Just go listen to them. If there's any justice in the world, they're going to be HUGE. And when I was putting the link to their site in, I just now saw that their first ever Eurotour stops at Manchester Academy Nov 8. With... wow. The Shins? Am I psychic or what.

Independents Day

I'm going to be taking part in a discussion about alternative publishing at the MLF's Independents' Day event, a one-day conference for non-mainstream publishers, editors, writers, readers and their ilk at the Lowry on Saturday 6th October, 11am – 7pm. So I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that MLF has just announced a special two-for-one deal on advance tickets (full prices are £8/6).

Here's all the wondrous details from festival HQ:

Independents Day is a great networking event for all budding writers, publishers and
fans of cutting-edge contemporary literature, with opportunities to:

MEET the editors of some of the UK's most innovative small presses and magazines,
including representatives of Comma, Route, Templar and Suitcase.

DISCOVER hot-off-the-press talent with performances by Elizabeth Baines, Ian Clayton,
Shamshad Khan, Janet McDermott, Chloe Poems, Jane Weir, Chris Woods
and contributors to Rain Dog (Pat Winslow), Match Box (James Davies & Alex
Middleton) and Libertine magazines.

CREATE your own publication in our DIY Workshop facilitated by 'zine queen Michelle
Green, yes SHE IS AWESOME - sorry, that was me interrupting the press release. I'll stop. (Please note there is a limited capacity for this workshop so please reserve a space at the time of booking).

GEN UP on imaginative and viable ways to publish and disseminate work in our
Alternative Publishing Seminar chaired by Ra Page. Speakers include Ian Daley
(Route), Kate Feld (Manchizzle and Manchester Blog Awards) and Paul Williams
(Lightning Source).

JOIN the Inpress Debate about the future of independent publishing, chaired by the
writer and critic, DJ Taylor. Speakers include Simon Thirsk (Bloodaxe) and Jeremy
Page (Frogmore Papers).

DISCUSS the role of MA writing courses in the nurturing of new writers and editors in our Out of School presentation featuring representatives of Transmission, Matter and
Textyle magazines.

BROWSE our Indie book market and sample the best in independent literature
production from around the region and beyond.

For further information please visit:
To book tickets please tel: 0870 4280785 and quote 'Indie Day 241'.

(Provocative illustration courtesy of Being lady lucy.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blogging workshops at MDDA (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Gadzooks! These are now full, I'm told. There has been such a robust demand that I may try to organise some more blogging workshops after the festival. If you want a heads up about those, leave a comment with your email, or send me a message at themanchizzle at gmail. Sorry to those who missed out this time around.

Just wanted to say that there are still a couple of spaces left in the two blogging workshops we're running Saturday, Sept. 29.

Blogging for Writers will go over the basics of blogging as a tool to market your work, experiment with different styles and get projects off the ground. And have fun writing! It'll be led by myself and the amazing Elizabeth Baines (Tart of Fiction/Fictionbitch), an author who has made excellent use of blogging both professionally and creatively.

So You Wanna Be a Blogstar? is a general blogging workshop ideal for anyone setting up a blog, or anyone who has been blogging for a while but needs a little inspiration. It'll be from 2-4pm, and will be led by myself and the awesome Chris from Mancubist, which is shortlisted in the arts and culture category at this year's MBAs.

Both are just £2, and take place at MDDA headquarters on Portland Street. We will have computers available for those who need them, but the place has wireless so you can bring laptops if you like. Book here at the MLF site.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Manchester Blogstory chapter three

The third riveting chapter of our interactive Manchester blogstory, What Would You Do?, has just been posted. I have to say, I didn't see the story going this way at all, so it's a neat surprise. I also enjoyed Elizabeth's descriptions of stuff we see all the time around Manchester - the goths in Cathedral Gardens, the dancers performing in front of M&S, the crowds of drinkers outside Sinclair's Oyster bar. It's both unnerving and cool to see these familiar scenes become part of a fictional work. And I'm dying to know more about the mystery man! Go read it and vote already.

There was a major problem with the blog poll last week (and incidentally, why do blog poll tools suck so much?)Aaaanyway, we're back with the one that worked best, Blog Flux Polls, which has a very neat map function which shows where all the votes are coming from on a map of the world.

By the way, I added about a hundred new blogs to the Great Manc Blogroll late last week - okay, er, maybe it was only 12 or so. But I'm not going to have time to introduce them politely here, so y'all will just have to introduce yourselves.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

2007 Manchester Blog Awards: Shortlist

Here's the shortlist for the 2007 Manchester Blog Awards - it's now with the other judges, Richard Fair of BBC Manchester and Dave Carter of MDDA.

Many thanks to everyone who nominated and was nominated; we had well over a hundred nominations this year, many of them very strong, and it was really difficult to choose. The winners will be announced October 10 at the awards event, so if you've been shortlisted you may want to reserve tickets and save the date. More details on that event as we get closer to the time.

The shortlists (in no particular order:)
Best writing on a blog:
Untitled Supermarket Nightmare/Day of Moustaches
Airport Diaries
A Free Man in Preston
Community Fair

Best political blog:
The Asparagus

Best personal blog:
Single Mother on the Verge

Best arts and culture blog:
Fictionbitch (aka The Tart of Fiction)
The Ring Modulator
The Console (music and visual)

Best new blog:
The Shoe Project
Get Weird Turn Pro
Words Dept.
Renter Girl

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Manchester blogstory chapter two

...has just been posted here. Please read this week's chapter and vote on what you think should happen next.

Now off to look at blogs, blogs and more blogs. The shortlist for the blog awards should be up in the next couple of days.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Act now!

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow is the deadline for submitting your picks for the 2007 Manchester Blog Awards. We've had more than 80 separate nominations, which is a scorching hot response! But if you haven't sent yours in yet, email 'em to mancblogawards AT by midnight tomorrow.

Also, while we're on the subject of deadlines, reader voting on what happens next in What Would You Do, our Manchester Blogstory, closes at 8pm tonight. Eeek! Tune in on Tuesday morning for the next installment.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What would you do?

Check it out... The first chapter of Manchester Blogstories went live this morning. The story is called "What Would You Do?" and starts out in a Chorlton apartment building. I'm really excited about the way its coming together.

I think I've posted about it before, but the idea behind this project was to set up an interactive fiction blog, set in real time Manchester. Every Tuesday for the next six weeks the writer Elizabeth Baines will be posting a new mini-chapter, and readers will have two days to vote on what should happen next. The final chapter will be performed live at the Manchester Blog Awards on Wednesday 10th October.

So please go read and vote! It is VERY short, and won't take long. The link is here:

And check back next Tuesday...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Under construction

Here are some pictures from the New Islington Festival on Saturday:

Versifier Martin Stannage getting things started in the literature tent.

This is Seb Clarke bring the horns, while the security guy looks bored.

There were these two crazy performance artists dressed like medics, clowning and dancing all over the place.

I love how this one looks like an L.S. Lowry painting. You can see that the festival was basically a party on a muddy building site.

Before and after?

I had a good time, though I took a stupid route to the site and was menaced by a marauding band of scallies haunting the canal. Spent most of my time in the literature tent, where I heard David Barnett read his great short story "What Would Nite Owl Do?". It had been published in the sadly departed All Saints No Sinners but I missed it somehow. Anyway, I'm reading the amazing Watchmen for the first time right now, so it was weirdly serendipitous to hear a story that referenced those characters. I also admired the insanely cool cover for the Pulp Fiction-themed editon of Transmission which should be out soon.

Later I saw 2 Days in Paris at Cornerhouse, which really is funny despite often being a huge Woody Allen rip-off (or should I say tribute?) It has this great scene with a cat... I was actually howling with laughter.