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Tuesday 6th March: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester music reviews

Manchester Jazz Festival Radio

Manchester Jazz Festival 2012

Some reflections by Charlotte Starkey July 2012

 

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible, is music.” (Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays, 1931)

If you find a note tonight that sounds good, play the same damn note every night.” (Count Basie - recalled by Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, trumpeter in Count Basie’s Orchestra)

 

In a key policy for urban renewal UNESCO defined a vision for humanising the city at the turn of the millennium, placing the individual at the centre of public policy and realising opportunities for cooperative action in the urban space (Brigitte Colin, Unesco’s Vision for Humanising the City – 14th June 1996). Whilst she was a specialist in Unesco’s involvement in the Arabian region, the vocabulary occurs frequently in discussions of urban regeneration globally: ‘inclusiveness’, cosmopolitanism, cultural access, the significance of the ‘informal spaces’ within the city environment – those spaces, events and situations where the initiatives arise from individual and group aspirations, rather than through recognised official and semi-official regulated social, political, educational and/or cultural formal arrangements.

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Manchester book reviews

Plague Lands and other poems by Fawzi Karim

Plague Lands and other poems by Fawzi Karim

Versions by Anthony Howell after translations by Abbas Kadhim

Publisher: Carcanet Press, 160 pages

Reviewed by Denis Joe July 2012

 

Poetry does not deal with history but with myth . . . A poet has to neglect historical time and go beyond it.
[Fawzi Karim]

 

A few years ago I came across a handful of Fawzi Karim’s poems which had been translated into English by Saadi Simawe and Melissa Brown (in Banipal No 19, 2006) and Michael Glover (in The International Literary Quarterly, May 2009). I was immediately struck by the voice of the poems. There was no attempt at protest but the works captured a feeling of a world being torn apart, much more so than Owen or Sassoon or even the works of the early Modernists. So this first collection in English of Karim’s poetry is most welcome.

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Manchester theatre reviews

How to relax in Andalucia

How to relax in Andalucia by John Waterhouse

Buxton Fringe Festival, directed by Darren Holness

Reviewed by Yvonne Cawley July 2012


I've lived in the High Peak for 12 years, but I must admit that even though I knew of the existence of the Buxton Fringe, and have heard people talking about how diverse, professional and entertaining the programme of events are, I’ve never actually been to anything or even looked at what’s on offer (tut, tut!) – until now that is. For those of you who don’t know, or have never been to the Fringe (shame on you!! – see I can say that now I’ve been), it began in 1980 to run concurrently with the world-renowned Buxton Festival, with its international opera and high profile literary talks at its core.

 

The Fringe provides a showcase for performers and artists of all kinds and utilises a variety of different venues. Dance, drama, music, poetry, comedy, film, exhibitions and magic are just some of the forms that have appeared. And the Fringe Committee doesn’t undertake any selection, censorship, financing or selective promotion of individual events and aim to promote and encourage an atmosphere where artists can take risks and experiment with their art – whatever form it takes. So why doesn't Manchester have a similarly independent and vibrant fringe festival - too many of nanny's apron strings maybe?

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Manchester film reviews

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

Reviewed by Ian Betts July 2012

 

There is a terrorist on a plane. While he and his devoted followers murder its passengers, he shows no signs of remorse, nor fear of reprisal. Explosions dismember the hull and as the metal carcass of corpses falls to the ground, the terrorist escapes promising to wreak only greater havoc.

 

His name is Bane.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Niet Normaal: Difference on Display

Niet Normaal: Difference on Display

at the Bluecoat, Liverpool until 2nd September 2012

Reviewed by Denis Joe July 2012

 

This exhibition, comprising of the works of 24 artists, is part of the third annual DaDaFest, featuring work by international as well as regional artists, has been programmed by the Liverpool-based DaDa (Disability and Deaf Arts) organisation, formerly known as the North West Disability Arts Forum.

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Manchester theatre reviews

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Lyric Hammersmith and Filter Theatre Production

Royal Exchange, Manchester

Reviewed by Charlotte Starkey July 2012 

 

Thomas Bowdler, editor of The Family Shakespeare, took his task as a censor to take out of the text words or expressions that ‘could not with propriety be read aloud in a family’. It was variously published (1807 and 1818) just in time to anticipate the tastes of some nineteenth century households and his efforts have often been lampooned since then. A Midsummer Night’s Dream did not escape his eye.

 

Bowdler was not the first, nor to be the last, to amend, edit, truncate or adapt the texts of Shakespeare’s plays. Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare (1807) was to be gloriously illustrated in 1899 by Arthur Rackham (the programme gossamer-pink illustration for the Lyric/Filter production evokes that epoch of fairyland innocence).

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Manchester book reviews

Adropiean Galactic Lego Set Blues by Fat Roland

Adropiean Galactic Lego Set Blues by Fat Roland

Pages: 84, available from Italic Eyeball Shop

Reviewed by Denis Joe July 2012

 

There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.
[Salvador Dali]

 

There is a long tradition of surrealism in Britain, the works of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear being prime examples. One could also include the last two novels of James Joyce. In the twentieth century, surrealism gained a wider audience through radio and TV shows such as The Goon Show and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Whereas one can detect an element of snobbery, knowingness, in much of this type of entertainment, in later years a more Absurdist take would develop, with the popularity of Vic Reeves or The League of Gentlemen and a near rejection of rationalism, where we respond because we are made to feel unsure about what it is we are experiencing.

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Manchester book reviews

Full Blood by John Siddique

Full Blood by John Siddique

published by Salt Publishing, pps. 112

Reviewed by Denis Joe July 2012

 

Full Blood is one of the most exciting collections of British poetry I’ve come across in the last few years. John Siddique stands apart from the much of the poetry scene in Britain that, with a few exceptions, seems to be dominated by crude confessionalism and even cruder moralism. Here Siddique presents us with poems that call on his life for inspiration. Whether about childhood or adulthood, Siddique’s poems draw you into experiences rather than places in time.

 

The group of poems under the title The Knife are a case in point. The opening poem, National Front, begins rather blandly:

Their mouths full of fire and alcohol;
they patrol the town; night and weekends

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Manchester film reviews

Poster for killer Joe

Killer Joe, Cornerhouse

Reviewed by Ian Betts July 2012

 

It is deeply enjoyable when typecast actors take on roles that corrupt their clichéd screen personas. Robin Williams did it in 2002 for One Hour Photo by portraying an obsessive photo-lab technician who constructs a delusional reality for himself using other people’s images. Having set himself up as a feel-good wizard of the sickening and schmaltzy after winning the Oscar for Good Will Hunting, Williams moved on from emotive dross like Patch Adams and Bicentennial Man by refashioning himself as a disturbing, compulsive fanatic, combining his ability to evoke our yearning for kindness and compassion with darker, more sinister urges.

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Manchester music reviews

Manchester Jazz Festival Radio

Manchester Jazz Festival: Preview 2012

in Manchester from 13th July to 21st July

by Charlotte Starkey July 2012

 

In just a few days’ time the 17th Manchester Jazz Festival opens. Each summer for the past sixteen years Manchester city centre, at different venues, has come alive to the sounds of the saxophone, clarinet, guitar, keyboard, percussion and vocals – all the voices of jazz. Like the water that endlessly bubbles from the Jubilee fountain in Albert Square (marking Queen Victoria’s sixty years), drawn from the ever–flowing streams that feed the great lakes and reservoirs of Cumbria, the rhythms of jazz pulse, whine, fill the air with waves of sound around Albert Square, St Anne’s, the musical venues of concert halls and bars.

 

You can get married in the Town Hall, step outside and forget the expensive hotel you booked, buy your drinks and food from the numerous stalls and enter into the groove; there’s your reception laid on, inside and outside the big Festival Pavilion, shared by every passer-by drawn in, en route from the office, the shop, the train station, just like the wedding-guests of Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, captivated by some haunting lonely horn.

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