Friday, 30 April 2010

People Take Pictures of Each Other #2: The Fall - There's A Ghost In My House (1987).

Filmed in The Woodthorpe Hotel, perched on Bury Old Road in maybe Prestwich, probable Crumpsall, it's The Fall doing R Dean Taylor in 1987. I was going to post the video for Hit The North, but that has less inner M62 content than I remembered - the synagogue on Bury Old Road and what used to be The Temple cinema a mile further down are briefly shown.

Monday, 26 April 2010


Toadies., originally uploaded by mithering.

Went for a short walk through Aitken Wood yesterday, and happened upon this fella on the way past Lower Black Moss reservoir. As far as my eyes can tell it's a Common Toad (bufo bufo). Further up the path were another pair, seized with sexy spring madness and copulating in a most inappropriate and dangerous place. Thrill-seekers, obviously.

Friday, 23 April 2010

People Take Pictures of Each Other #1: Kalima - The Smiling Hour (1984)

I came across this the other day on the Dusty Sevens blog and was blown away to see such fantastic footage of the now-gone Church Street fruit and veg barrows in Manchester. There are also great shots of Piccadilly and The Royal Exchange as well as rooftop views of The Arndale. It made me wonder how much footage there is of 'old' Manchester out there as part of music videos. Publicly-available Manchester, that is, so no 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' on Little Peter Street as that was inside the rehearsal rooms. So I did some thinking and came up with six that highlight 'Manchester' within the M60, i.e. Manchester, Salford, Prestwich etc. Two Fall, one Buzzcocks, one New Order and one Smiths, which I'll be posting on a weekly-basis. In the meantime, if you can think of any more, leave a comment.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Another Sunny Day.

Unmissable Manchester, originally uploaded by mithering.

I like the plain but, er, eye-catching design of this relatively new advertising campaign for Unmissable Manchester. The smaller text implores you to 'keep your eyes open for this year's spectacular events'. Uh-oh, here comes a parade. More to the point, keep your eyes, ears and mind open and you'll experience something much more precious than a Lithuanian live artist dressed as a pink cicada in The Arndale. You'll see the increasing reclamation and colonisation of the inner-ring road area of Manchester and Salford by my old pals, The Birds.

Most recent highlight was today's beautiful, perky, male Redstart perched on top of a street light and singing as if his life depended upon it. He was my first in any place, so to see him high above the former Victoria Bus Station, adjacent to the Bijou Lounge or as it is more famously known from barrel-scraping Blind-Date-rip-off show Take Me Out, Fernando's, was a delight.

The increased presence of the city centre Goldfinches is something which has become more and more apparent as Spring has lengthened the days. I don't see them every day, but I usually hear them, scrapping away over the Church Street multi-storey car park or flocking around the small thicket of trees clinging on just off Tib Street.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


Heaton Park, Northern Playground, right now. Just me, The Youngest and the dog-walkers. Off to the farm then the lake next.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


A recent review in The Guardian said that while South Park retained its contemporary edge, The Simpsons had drifted into Mad magazine dotage.  I can agree to a point, particularly as South Park got better later, but any show which can drop a gag involving Goya's 'Saturn devouring his children' into mainstream American culture is surely doing something right (in a non-contemporary way).

Friday, 9 April 2010

Up Against The Wall XVII: I Know Who Framed Rodger (sic) Rabbit.

It may not be obscene or angry, but it is surreal and retro. From a backstreet wall in the newly-rebranded (by me) Scientists Quarter of Manchester.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Drinkin' Wine (Spo Dee O Dee)

Gin Palace, originally uploaded by mithering.

I was in Travelling Man with The Kids the other day. They were buying Pokemon cards and feeding pound coins into the bank of machines which spews out clear plastic balls with toys in them. I'd asked if Hate Annual in (it wasn't) and I was feeling a little left out so decided to have my usual browse of the small-press / self-published section. Now, just to explain, I've read many a mini comic and bought a lot of self-published stuff over the years. Initially from Ed Pinsent's excellent Fast Fiction stall at the monthly London comic marts back in the 80s, latterly from the dwindling number of comic shops prepared to sacrifice the space other shops use to display Dunnys and crap action figures. Of late, though, there seem to be a lot which are essentially illustration portfolios which take a minute to 'read' and cost an arm and a leg. I'd almost given up hope, but I was drawn to Gin Palace through a combination of two things; I've been following @robjacksoncomics on twitter, and the cover of Gin Palace is Rob Jackson's reinterpretation of my designated favourite painting, "Bar at the Folies Bergere" by Manet. Or "Bored Shop-worker" as I know it, as it reminds me of my time working in a comic shop (comicbook reader as flaneur is stretching it a bit, I know).

Anyhow, I bought Gin Palace for a realistic £2.50 and read it on the bus into town the next day. Now, it's not a long journey from Heaton Park Reservoir to Shudehill Interchange, but it's long enough and Gin Palace lasted all the way. So that fitted my value for money criteria, but what of the work inside? As with the majority of anthologies there is some good stuff, some okay stuff and some stuff that's not really for me. Fortunately, some of the good stuff comes from the pen of Mr. Jackson, who contributes 'The Ballad of Hatty Jack' to his own collection. This is the tale of a society dominated by those who are privileged to wear hats and one boy's fight back as the mysterious superhero Hatty Jack. It's as daft as it sounds and very, very British. It's also something which could only work as a comic strip; Jackson's scratchy, pen-dominated art and varying panel lay-out create a suitably chaotic background for the story. His work is an enjoyable mash-up of Roz Chast and Mark Beyer, although he has yet to match the craft of that pair.

The other revelation is Francesca Cassavetti's 'Measuring Cup'. She feels like A Proper Comic Artist rather than a fine artist or illustrator turning their hand to comics through necessity or experimentation. I'm sure it isn't, but her confident use of the brush feels effortless. I also enjoyed Jarod Rosello's understated wordless experiment, 'The Rain'.

Gin Palace is available from Travelling Man and Good Grief! in Manchester or from