Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wolf Haul

Road trip! In The Company of Wolves, Neil Jordan's gobsmackingly weird 1984 film of Angela Carter's werewolf fantasy, is going to be shown Friday evening in the spooky surrounds of Grizedale Forest as part of AND festival's programme of events in Lancashire and Cumbria this spring.

The film is being presented by the fabulous Scratch n' Sniff, so that means viewers will be able to appreciate it in full Odorama splendour. People are encouraged to come in fancy dress and I am told that "a transformation station will allow patrons to paint on lips as red as blood or attach a tell-tale monobrow. Rose-imbued gin will be served on arrival, plus wolf stew, a blanket of fog and an origami apple orchard."

Details here . It's cert 18, which is too bad, since teenagers who think Twilight: New Moon is the shit should be kidnapped and forced to watch this. And smell it too.

The rad limited edition screenprint by Simon Misra above will be for sale at the film for £10.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Twestival Thursday at Hulabar

Nearly time for the Manchester incarnation of Twestival, a worldwide charity event that harnesses the awesome power of Twitter to raise money for good works. Ours takes place this Thursday, 25th March, from 6pm-11pm at Hulabar in Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter.

The organisers say: "the event is a unique opportunity for local Twitter users, who normally communicate through the site, to meet face-to-face and build on the relationships they have made online while raising money for international charity Concern Worldwide.

Entertainment at the event will include music, a charity auction, and many other Twitter-based activities all sponsored by low cost airline BMI Baby, North West based digital agency KMP Digitata and Manchester airport."

Tickets are £6 or £10 and include a free drink. And if you have a business it's not too late to donate a prize. More information over at the Manchester Twestival site, or follow them at @manctwester

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Party in the library

If you've been reading this blog for a while you may have picked up on the fact that I'm kind of a library geek. I worked in libraries on and off for years (oh, I can shelve books all right), and my mom was one of those righteous activist librarians they seem to have lots of in the states and not enough of over here. So one of the first things I do on moving to a new place is check out the library. And when I visited Central Library for the first time I was not disappointed. It's pretty wonderful.

Unfortunately we're saying hasta la vista to our library for a while; it is closing to be renovated until 2013. During that time we'll have to make do with a scaled-down temporary library on Deansgate. I hope that the things I love about it don't get messed with too much in the renovation (the spectacular Great Hall, the language & lit library) and the things I don't like are going to be all sorted out (the outdated cafe, the tiny general readers library, the lack of a good space for children's books and reading activities). We shall see.

The library's getting a proper literary and musical send-off tomorrow night with Manchester Central Library: A Celebration.
Sean O'Brien will read from a collection of short stories written entirely about a city library, The Silence Room, and Jane Rogers will read 'Lucky' set largely in the library. Other readers include Nicholas Royle and Mike Garry - and they're going to have a klezmer band too. It starts at 6:30 and it's free and open to all.

There's another interesting bookish event on the radar in Salford:
Reading for Reading's Sake, a 4-day event aimed at exploring reading as a practice. "Unlike a regular reading group, this event aims to unfold the activity of reading, the situations in which we read, reading as a shared event, a private passion, concentration, interpretation, sound and voice, the symbolic and emotional value of the act."

It takes place Thursday April 8 - Sunday April 11 at Islington Mill, and includes a whole host of reading-related activities, workshops and evening performances. Booking required, places limited. Full details here.

(Manchester Central Library photo by Flickr user brightonsinger)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Magnetic Fields at Manchester Cathedral

Another great gig coming up: I'm getting pretty excited for The Magnetic Fields at Manchester Cathedral this Friday evening. A Magnetic Fields show is always something to look forward to, but this one especially so: It'll be my first time at the Cathedral since the church began hiring itself out as a gig venue and I'm really curious to hear how that vast, grand space deals with rock music.

With their love of strings and unusual instruments I think the Fields are probably a good choice to try out the acoustics. Their most recent album, Realism, released in January, was recorded entirely unplugged, and used a variety of gonzo percussion instruments. I love this album, as does Alexis Petridis from the Guardian, whose glowing review includes the following delicious qualifier:

"It's not a perfect album: it is perhaps otiose to complain about the level of camp in the songwriting of a man who owns a Chihuahua called Irving Berlin, but it has to be said, The Dolls' Tea Party would cause Duncan "Chase Me" Norvelle to suggest Merritt man up a bit."

Hopefully they'll be playing lots from Realism as well as some old favourites from the warped and beautiful mind of Stephin Merritt.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Green shoots in Ramsbottom

There always seems to be lots going on in Ramsbottom, the northernmost bit of Bury where I live. But there have been a couple of developments recently I thought I'd let the rest of Manchester know about too.

I've always loved the hundreds of funky little community gardens dotted around New York City, and I watched a great documentary recently about the urban communal gardens in Cuba - every scrap of land is used to grow stuff. Well, it looks like a bit of this spirit is coming to Rammy. Inspired by the example of nearby Todmorden, whose residents use empty lots and odd bits of disused land around town to grow fruit and vegetables. Ramsbottom is getting its own homegrown gardening effort: Incredible Edible Ramsbottom.

The group will be meeting up 7:30pm Monday March 22 at Christ Church off Bolton Road North. They also have a webpage here with a discussion forum- and it looks like they've already lined up some plots in Nuttall Park and a disused orchard in Greenmount. This could be just the thing for people despairing at the multi-year waiting list for allotment plots, or really for anyone who likes the idea of getting their hands dirty.

One really great thing about living here is the Ramsbottom film society, Real 2 Reel. The good news is that they've just moved house. Instead of showing their monthly films in the Civic Hall, they'll be screening them in the newly renovated Theatre Royal, home of the excellent Summerseat Players. I've seen a film there and can say that the seats are way more comfortable. The next movie is Rebecca Miller's The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, showing on Wednesday March 31 (unfortunately the same evening as our blogmeet.) You can keep up with their schedule on the Real 2 Reel Facebook page.

(Photo by Flickr user innpictime)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Manchester Blogmeet March 31

Time for another gathering of the blogging clans. Yes, our spring blogmeet is upon us, and this one will take place on Wednesday March 31st from 6-8 pm in The Kestrel Suite at Common. It sounds very fancy, but don't worry, it's just the extra room they added on in their recent renovation. For those who haven't been before, Common is the bright green bar on Edge Street in the Northern Quarter (just off High Street). They serve a full range of hot drinks and tasty snacks as well as a fine selection of beer, wine and spirits.

The drinks will be courtesy of our sponsor for this blogmeet, Skiddle.com. Jamie Scahill and Richard Dyer will be on hand to tell us more about their site. They say: "Now in its 9th year of operation, it's is officially one of the largest and fastest growing what's on guides in the UK. With over 222,306 events listed, 620,000 unique visitors and 119,754 registered members we offer the ideal platform for club promoters, festivals and event organisers to promote their event."

As always, you don't have to RSVP but you can always leave a comment to let me know you're coming. Or just turn up. All bloggers are welcome, so if you haven't made it to a blogmeet before please don't be shy. It's a chance to meet your online comrades in a relaxed and friendly setting. And it's usually lots of fun.

(photo: Tim France)