Friday, February 27, 2009

Manchester Blogmeet: The Fellowship of the Ping

Anyone feel like getting together for a blogmeet? There are loads of new folks on the blogroll I've never met, and it'd be real nice to see some of my old blogging buddies. We never talk anymore.

I'm thinking upstairs at Trof NQ might be a good place. It's usually fairly quiet up there before the DJ starts at 9 (and they can reserve us tables). Plus they do all manner of drinks as well as good food in case anyone's hungry.

I am most eager to avoid clashing with any other Important Business though (are the Decemberists in town? heh heh) so anyone who might like to come let me know if Tuesday March 10 is a really bad idea. We could do the following night, or another night entirely. Suggestions appreciated.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Birdbrain, me?

I just wrote a long indignant post about signing up for Twitter even though I'm already at maximum social network overload. And then I looked back and realised I'd written the same long indignant post with practically the same goddamned title when I signed up for MySpace and then Facebook. Nice to know I cover so much new ground with this blog.

Ya basta! Yeah, I know what I said. I'm giving it a shot. We'll see. But if I ever use the word "twestion" in this blog, or indeed anywhere at all, you have my permission to beat me about the head with a beta-tested android phone.

Anyway, I'm @katefeld if anyone wants to read my broadcast inanities. Though apparently I'm repetitive.

(Twitter bird cupcakes by Tempyra.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bewilderbliss, Best of Manchester, Apartment

Some odds and ends I've been meaning to mention:

Bewilderbliss (love the name) is a new literary magazine which launches next month. It showcases the poetry and prose of Manchester and MMU postgrad creative writing students. There's a launch party starting at 8pm March 2 in the basement of The Deaf Institute with readings from the magazine and an open mic slot.

Editor Willow Hewitt says she received over 70 submissions for the first issue, on the theme of 'The Guilty'. She reports that "the magazine will be available at outlets around town including Blackwells and the Cornerhouse, and you can stop a girl with orange hair in the street to buy an issue because chances are it's me."

The 2009 Best of Manchester Awards are now open for entries so if you know someone who kicks some ass in the fields of art, music or fashion, or you do yourself, get those entries in before May 9. (Hey Urbis, how about adding writing? Us young writers could use a £2,000 career-building jackpot too.)

Finally, it looks like the swan song for Apartment, at least for a while. The blog-savvy exhibition space in a council tower block flat is opening its last exhibition this evening in co-curator, artist and man-about-town Paul Harfleet's home. Giorgio Sadotti is the featured artist. There are a lot of openings happening tonight, but if you've been meaning to go for a while, now's your chance.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New blogs: The Homegrown Edition

Here's the latest in new bloggage around Manchester:

I Can Grow It is a blog tracking the progress of Susan's allotment in Stockport. It's a lovely idea and the pictures are cracking, like the one above.

Canuckistani in Limey Land is written by Rob, a North American exile recently arrived in Manchester. That's right, we're taking over. And any furrners thinking about becoming an official citizen of this grey and pleasant land (as I am) should read this post pronto.

The world kaleidoscope is a new visual art and culture blog.

Manchester is Ace is written by Carolyn Hughes and looks to be mainly about eating out in Manchester.

Edifying Discourse is Mark Rainey's personal blog.

"A year in France. Me, him and Cleo the cat. Not looking for an old barn to do up. Nor a second home, couldn't afford it, and anyway, one house is bloody hard work to maintain, so why have two? The pound has crashed and our income with it. It's beautiful. It's quiet. I know absolutely no-one. I love it. But what am I here for exactly? Good question. Anybody round here know the answer?" That's Manc in France.

Eric Olthwaite's blog is about "Boozers, Bands and Buildings. Comedy, Films and Trains. Rugby, pies and moans." His recently published Rainy City Story put one of my favorite old man pubs on the map.

More writer's blogs:

Annie Clarkson's Forgetting the Time

Matthew Hill, who writes weird fiction.

Richard Evans' Uncanny Valley

Dave Hartley is writing a short story a week for a year and posting them on his blog Lon Lon Ranch.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rainy City Love Stories winner

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

We've just announced the winner of our Rainy City Stories Valentine's Day Competition. Craig Melville is the lucky man - his story The Shortest, The Coldest took the prize. For more details, and to find out who the four finalists were, check it out here on the Rainy City Stories site.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Manchester media update

It's an interesting time for Manchester's media world. As in the old Chinese curse: "may you live in interesting times."

Metro: Late last year they laid off a large percentage of Manchester Metro Life staff, and now lo and behold, the section seems to have entered the giant shrinking machine. Shame, that - it was one of the last places you could find out what was going on. Now it seems Metro has jumped on the old media blogging bandwagon. The Manchester Life blog is written by the few bods left over there in the scads of free time they must now have (sarcasm, that was.) Not a lot on there yet, but it's good to see them entering the fray. There's definitely a need for more cultural coverage here, online or off.

Word has it that Time Out have finally pulled the plug on the Time Out Manchester website they were hilariously updating with new content quarterly (yeah, check in once a season to find out what's on!) I guess this means there is now officially no hope of them ever producing the mag. I'll add that collector's edition issue one to my Manchester magazine graveyard, a collection that is becoming so large it may soon require its own room.

If there's no way to make a profit on a cultural mag in Manchester, maybe it's time to start hitting up the non-profit sector. That's exactly what the forthcoming Chimp magazine has done. The long-in-the-works first issue of Chimp, out Saturday for £1.80, was produced with the help of a £10,000 Awards for All community grant - sparking some debate over on NW media site How-Do

For my money (£2, if you're asking) one of the most exciting magazine launches in ages has been the appearance of the lovely Belle Vue, a tiny collectively-produced fanzine that embodies the real spirit of Manchester. And is somewhat preoccupied with where to get a good greasy spoon breakfast, but I can completely understand that. You can get it at Piccadilly Records and Cornerhouse, and there should be another one out soon. So, you see, it's not all gloom and doom. These days, small and homespun trumps big and glossy every time.

Love Saves The Day becomes An Outlet

The bad news about Love Saves The Day going bust (yes, for real this time) has a silver lining: an excellent new cafe has moved into its old digs in the Carver's Warehouse, the strange, ubermodern cube on Dale Street by Piccadilly basin.

An Outlet has left some things the same (shelves lined with posh groceries, a globetrotting soup and sarnie menu) and changed many others. The interior has been given a coat of black chalkboard paint and there was a short story about someone eating clams taking up most of one wall the day I went. There are also international newspapers, interesting books to peruse, and storyboard pads and pens should genius strike mid-pain au raisin.

It has a friendly buzz like the canteen of a busy creative firm, which is probably because it is effectively the canteen of creative firm Four23, which had just relocated upstairs when LSTD crashed and clubbed together with another tenant, engineering firm Martin Stockley Associates, to prevent the site from falling into the hands of StarbucksCaffeNeroCosta. Hard to imagine that lot being interested, though. The site is far too quiet, off in the cinematic no-man's-land between the Northern Quarter, Ancoats and Piccadilly. And thanks to their free wifi, it's my new favorite place to blog on the hoof.