Tag Archives: Manchester

Best Of Manchester Poets 3

27 Mar

I forgot to mention – I had a poem accepted for the latest Best Of Manchester Poets anthology.  That means I’ve had a poem in each collection.   Poems are judged anonymously.  

This year’s poem is called Tsetse Rat.  It’s one of my favourites of all I have written: it was inspired by the sight of a dead rat at the bus stop.

If  you happen to be in and around Manchester tomorrow night, the book’s launch is taking place at a free event at the Eighth Day Cafe, Oxford Road, M1 7DU, 7:30-10.  Poets in the book will be reading from the collection and it is hosted by Dominic Berry.

bap032_dominicberry_header_1000

Find Dominic Berry on Book A Poet

I can’t make it, unfortunately, because I’m feeling a little slimsy at the moment; but I was at the launch of the first anthology and it was great fun.

The book is available to buy on Amazon or from the publisher, Puppywolf, but you can read one poem for free:

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Tsetse Rat 

Poor rat and your pedestrian end:
was it death by cat?
I hope it was old age; you fell asleep.
Dark comfort in your long rest.

Dangerous praise to resent your passing,
forlorn corpse; scorned by
heels and prams and bicycle wheels.

Sleep peacefully, rat, on your dull part
of the dirty path; curled like an idle moon.

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The previous word was ‘rutilant': Glowing or glittering with ruddy or golden light – what I do each time I have a poem accepted.  It never gets old.

 

Free Kindle Download: The Houses On The Green

30 Jun

My friend Eileen Simkiss wrote a book about Fifties life in Ardwick, Manchester. 

For this weekend only it is available for free download to your Kindle.

Why not take advantage?

Her website: http://www.thehousesonthegreen.com/

Day Of The Living Dead

14 Jan

Writing with my eyes wide shut

A so called "oxygen pass through" lens.

Image via Wikipedia

 

It’s dead o’clock on Saturday morning.  Been up since pre-dead a.m.  Getting the bus(es) into Manchester.  It’s early and dark and freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing and I’m tired.  Winter has made its belated arrival.  Hooray for central heating, but I’m still sitting in fleecy pyjamas, thick dressing gown and a thin blanket around my shoulders like a Russian granny.

Spud has the opportunity to take part in a study for contact lenses for teenagers.  He might be in the control group with glasses.  He might not be suitable.  He might earn £135 + free glasses/lenses for six months of doing nothing but the occasional eye test in Manchester.  He has to have an adult present at those tests.  He wants the money, so I have to go with him.  I get nothing out of it except the warm glow of motherly self-sacrifice, and frost bite.

I could be in bed right now with a warm husband and a sleeping alarm clock.  Damn this maternal gene.

Read more Six Word Saturdays here.  If you’re awake.

POSTSCRIPT

As there were so many comments wishing him good luck, I thought you’d like to know that Spud was accepted onto the trial.  He won’t know which group he’ll be in until next week, but he has no preference. 

Good news for me: he turned sixteen today (Sunday), so I don’t have to go with him again.  Yay!

The Manchester Blog Awards

23 Aug
A map of Greater Manchester, with each metropo...

Image via Wikipedia

Calling all Greater Manchester bloggers: nominations for The Manchester Blog Awards are now being accepted, here.

I’ve nominated someone but I’m not saying who, because I don’t want them to feel obliged.

101/1001 (21) Another Late Update

21 Aug

I’m sure you’ll forgive me for not keeping to my self-imposed updating timetable when I remind you that I have young visitors; and that there’s really nothing to report.   It’s difficult to work on challenges when I have a full house.  I suppose that’s part of the challenge.

We do have two welcome new members of our beginning not to be so exclusive club:

Silly Wrong But Vivid Right and Vicrace Designs

You can check out the other members on the right; and while you’re doing that, think about joining us.

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As I have nothing to report, I’ll flesh this post out with a general catch-up.

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Of some worry to the management was the number of people (28.57%) who willingly admitted to being freaks in the recent Friends poll.  At least you’re honest.

More concern was felt at the number of huge fibbers who claimed to have a life (35.71%). If that were the case, you wouldn’t be filling in fatuous polls now, would you?

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The number of compliments paid has fallen sharply after my begging letter.  Thank you. Especially to those who took it to the other extreme and offered gratuitous insults.  It’s nice to know you care.

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Finally, something I read this week amused me:

Space is important; vital, really, if you’re a newspaper: this week on the Stockport Express website, there was a headline that ran

Man who looted charity box in Manchester riots in the dock. 

But they ran the story in a narrow left-hand column and it read

Man who looted charity box in Manchester
riots in the dock

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Don’t you just love it?

Batman Live – A Review

18 Jul

Wholly spectacle, Batman!

Technically, this is a preview review.  I got free tickets from See Film First for the preview yesterday at the Manchester Evening News Arena.  The show starts tomorrow.  £79 for a family ticket but, if I could afford it, I would say it was worth it.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photos: we were asked not to use flash photography and I, at least, obeyed.  You can click on them to enlarge for a better view.

The directors came out before the start and asked us to make lots of noise whenever we felt like it, to let them know what works and what doesn’t.  They warned that there might be pauses, because this was a dress rehearsal to iron out any problems.

I have never seen a show like it.  The staging was fabulous: a backdrop screen using cartoons was seamlessly interwoven with live action.  Video played throughout, showing turning comic pages, screaming bats, the Bat Cave.  When Batman jumped into the fabulous Batmobile to ride to the rescue, he drove through a door in the backdrop and the video then showed cartoon of him tearing through the streets of Gotham City.

Things came up from the floor and down from the roof; mostly people, but ribbons and hot air balloons and hanging bodies as well.  There were cannons and magic tricks and pyrotechnics, and it was all the fun of the circus in which a lot of the show was set.

There was a constant soundtrack and it was LOUD, but it added to the excitement.  In the first noise pause, at a dramatic moment, a little boy shouted, ‘Batman!’ like he’d just noticed him.  It is possible, because there were acrobats and trapeze artists and lots of action all over the stage.

I didn’t go alone, Spud came with me:

Mum: Fancy going to see Batman Live?

Spud: Nah.

Mum: Shame.  I’ve got free tickets.

Spud: [Sigh.]  Okay then. [With its implied, If I must; and only because you're making me.]

He was not impressed to be the only teenager there with his Mum, until he noticed lots of teenagers and twenty-somethings in the queue behind us.  Once he had his own ticket and could move away from me, his street cred was restored.

Then he saw the Batman masks!  He just had to have one, and disgorged pocket money with haste.  Tried it on, found it hot, and immediately regretted the waste of his hard-unearned cash.  After watching the show, he confided that he secretly loved Batman and was so glad he had a mask as a souvenir.  Is it any wonder we parents don’t understand our teen children?

He didn’t wear the mask throughout the show, but plenty of people did.  Mostly children, and one twenty-something young man in front of us, who held his girlfriend’s hand throughout.  Perhaps he was scared, like the four-year old next to us who needed to go to the toilet every fifteen minutes.  His Mum suspected it was a fear-bladder.

There weren’t many problems and only one pause, when Batman suddenly went down during a fight scene.  Holy pulled muscle, Batman!  The lights went up after a while, and we were told there would be a wait of four minutes, but Batman was okay.  Lots of cheers from the audience.

Audiences are fickle: at four minutes and two seconds, the slow hand claps started, changing to applause when the show was resumed.

The only little problems that I’m aware of came right at the end; perhaps Batman was tired: when asked why he devoted his life to fighting crime, Batman replied, ‘Because my life would descend into random craos.’  And when he and the Boy Wonder made their final exit in the Batmobile, his cape got trapped in the door.  Kind of ruined the dignity of the superhero.  Holy way to spoil the effect, Batman.

But these are small niggles; not even niggles: I mention them to make my post interesting, and would have been annoyed without them, because all I can say is:

My Verdict: Holy Bat-tastic, Batman!

The best thing about the afternoon for me, however, was that, despite torrential rain all day long, we went from our house in Stockport to the centre of Manchester without being exposed to the weather for more than twenty seconds; we didn’t even need a coat: house – car – Stockport Station – Piccadilly Station – down to the trams – Victoria Station and the arena entrance is inside the station.  Travelling during a downpour without getting wet – now that’s what I call impressive.

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I Predict A Quiet

17 Jun
Sketch map of Runcorn, Cheshire, showing railways.

Image via Wikipedia

What would cause you to protest or riot for something?

Apart from the false imprisonment of my children – and possibly my husband, if I was in a good mood – nothing.  I’m British: I don’t do apologetic complaint, never mind protest.  I write a strongly worded letter and feel much better for it.

I bumped into a riot once, by accident.  I can’t say I liked it.  As a teenager, I went to Manchester to audition for the Manchester Youth Theatre with a friend.  It was the time of the nationwide riots against something or other.  I can’t remember what, but I bet it had hatred for Mrs Thatcher at the heart of it.  We had a summer of exploding protests, when staid young men and women became screaming thugs for the afternoon.  We are seeing something similar at the moment in Bristol, because of Tesco.  It’s not quite the breaking of the unions or the poll tax, but a supermarket too close to your back yard is certainly a reason to lose all common sense, I’m sure.

We had been to the auditions and decided to visit the Arndale Centre for some retail therapy (or ‘shopping’, as it was called in Days of Yore when I wurra lass).  As we walked up somewhere, a screaming, running gang of young gentlemen ran down, straight at us.  I grabbed my friend’s hand and dragged him onto the nearest bus, going anywhere.  When we got to anywhere, we had to walk back again, to catch the train home.  No shopping.  What a wasted opportunity.

Trains and a long walk featured once again in my teens.  I went with different friends to Liverpool.  Plenty of shopping and no riots – Scouse youth being better behaved than Mancunian youth.  So much shopping was done, we were late for the train, asked which was ours, and jumped on it just as the doors closed.

I think I was in charge of the travel on that day as well, which explains why we ended up in Widnes instead of Runcorn.  We explained to the man in charge that we had been directed to the wrong train and he said well, in that case, he wouldn’t fine us, but we had to get off there and we couldn’t get on another train without buying a ticket.  Did I mention we had been shopping all afternoon?  We didn’t have the fare for one of us, never mind three.

Did I mention this was in Days of Yore when I wurra lass?  No mobile phones to call parents who didn’t own cars to not fetch us.

Fortunately – fortune being a relative term – Widnes is right next door to Runcorn.  All we had to do was walk home.  Loaded with shopping bags.  In heels.  A mere three hours or so.  I was ready to start a riot.

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