Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Last Non-festive Post of 2016

As it's December tomorrow even the reluctant Christmassers like myself will probably have to succumb to gluwein, advent calendars, Best of the Year lists etc.


Which means there's been plenty else going on, with no baubles attached. Manchester has two fascinating large art shows, (and one fascinating small one) at the moment. The small one, Miniature World at Castlefield Gallery looks at the idea of the scientific amateur, running from Lubetkin's London Zoo penguin pool, to the recreation of a black hole, to recreated battles using models from Games Workshop, its playful, subversive and a full gallery group show to return to. Artist's Rooms - Andy Warhol at the Whitworth and a curated photography show, Strange and Familiar - Britain through the eyes of international photographers, at Manchester Art Gallery, bring two things - Warhol and photography - that are relatively scarcely seen in Manchester's main galleries.

I'm pleased that after my "fallow year" where I've not managed to get much published at all, I'm in a new anthology, "Not a Drop", which contains poems in tribute to the world's seas. Its not yet available to buy, but hopefully will be on the Beautiful Dragons website soon. The recent launch at the Portico was well attended and excellent.

I've recently been part of a collaborative process of "spontaneous writing", l'Harmonie Process, curated by Zoe at Confingo Magazine, the first anonymised parts of this work are now up online. The latest issue contains a new story by the excellent David Rose, whose "Posthumous Stories" was a highlight a few years ago, and is, I think, his first new story since that collection. I read a draft of the story and I'll be pleased to see it in print. Issue 6 is now available to purchase online (a bargain £5) or in selected stockists. Serious writers and readers should take note.

Beyond such things, there's been a usual mix of literary nights, tonight is Bad Language for those in town (its my week off, so staying local), and next Wednesday is the Other Room - both at the Castle.

Non-fiction for once, but my friend Nigel Barlow has been working on a book about Manchester's history for the last few years, "Around Manchester" and I saw a copy this week. It's an  impressive size book, beautifully produced, and from the bits I read of it, a compelling read - it takes the various areas of Manchester and walks (literally) through their hidden histories. Psychogeography is perhaps part of it, but I think Nigel's take on the city is less over-philosophical, and more in a tradition of social and cultural observation - think Henry James' "English Hours", or even Sebald's "The Rings of Saturn." Its peppered with contemporary photographs of a Manchester that is changing at speed. And since it is nearly December, it would make a perfect Christmas present!

I think I forgot to mention it on this blog - but last week I released, under my Bonbon Experiment alias, the 2nd of my "Test Pressing" E.Ps - five Post-Trump minimalistic electronic songs to download or stream.

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