Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Season to be Literary...and Arty...and Musical

I haven't had a pause.

Nine days ago it was the "Buy Art Fair" and "Manchester Contemporary" at Granada Studios. I went along to the launch on the Thursday night. A wide range of contemporary galleries from the commercial end in the "Buy Art Fair" and the more artist led in "Manchester Contemporary" showcased their work in the annual show. The two sections felt more integrated than before - rather than the latter being seen as specialist and I think it probably helps broker the gap between the two. Spending much of my year aware of how uncommercially minded art can be, it's good to occasionally remember that many painters and other artists do need to sell their work to carry on their practice. Like seeing live music, there's never a bad thing having an original rather than a mass produced print on your wall.

Last Saturday it was Poets and Players at the Whitworth Gallery. Pascale Petit was accomplished, a new sequence that read like one long poem, about her mother, but also about belonging and mental health; but Daniel Sluman was revelatory, his confessional poems about disability and love delivered with a confidence to match the lyricism of the words. For once it was the "player" who stole the show for me. Solo violinist Coco Inman, a final year student at Chethams performed some Bach and then, a 20th century showstopper by Eugène Ysaÿe. The violin often has a physicality about it, and Inman moved like a dancer as she performed these challenging and beautifully executed pieces.

The week began with a Bare Fiction magazine showcase at Verbose at Fallow Cafe, packed as ever, and only sorry I had to leave earlier because of an early start. On Tuesday, to Odd bar in the NQ, where a friend, and the co-editor of Confingo Magazine, Zoe Mclean, has a small selection of her photography - inspired by sheet music - hanging. Wednesday was more poetry with Forward shortlisted and Next Gen poets Melissa Lee-Houghton and Luke Kennard performing work from "Sunshine" and "Cain" their brilliant and original new collections from Penned in the Margins. It would have been nice to have seen a larger crowd, and I was struck that despite Manchester being knee deep in poets, there are quite a few who you only see at events where they themselves perform - I'm all for the participatory, but it felt that they missed a good opportunity to see contemporaries at the absolute top of their game. 

After poetry, short stories, with the celebration of ten years of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize - for a best collection - commemorated with a reading at the Portico Library from the accompanying anthology. It's a handsome hardback, and the three readers, Zoe Lambert, Rachel Trezise and Jon McGregor reading in full stories from the book. Earlier in the evening I managed to snatch an hour at the M.A. degree show at MMU School of Art.

This weekend it's artists film weekend at HOME, and I'm sorry I missed the opener, Birdsong, a collaboration by artist/film maker Clara Casian and musician Robin Richards - the latter performing a live score. There's a second opportunity at Stockport Plaza on Thursday. 

The house is a mess, I've loads of personal admin to do, I've not read a book or watched a video in weeks... but it's not a bad city to be in is it?

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