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First Tuesday current affairs discussion - Tuesday 5 December 7:00pm start

Tuesday 2nd Jan: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss two topical subjects

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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester film reviews

Salt with Angelina Jolie

Salt and Salander - Heroines on film

reviewed by Anne Ryan in August 2010

 

In the last week film-goers in Manchester have had the opportunity to see two contrasting views of heroic female protagonists on the screen.

 

The eponymous Salt – as played by Angelina Jolie and the return of Stieg Larsson's damaged computer geek – Lizbeth Salander in 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' – the second part of his best-selling trilogy.

 

Fans of the Swedish productions may view the forthcoming Hollywood adaptation with apprehension and gain some lessons from 'Salt'. Originally written for Tom Cruise – the inhumanly beautiful Jolie is a new super-heroine. If watching 'Superman' we believed a man could fly – 'Salt 'will convince us that a woman can out-run police chases, jump from the tops of trucks hurtling down the freeway and finally, indeed, fly from a helicopter. And all this while continually looking more desirable than any human being should.

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Manchester music reviews

La Soiree Concert SeriesDiaspora from the La Soiree Concert Series

Hosted at Cross Street Chapel, Manchester

Reviewed by Yvonne Cawley August 2010

 

To say I was 'blown away' by the evening's experience is a little bit of an understatement!

 

I was invited along to La Soiree's concert featuring Diaspora on Friday 27 August at the Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, Manchester. Now I've lived and worked in Manchester all my life but had no idea where the Unitarian Chapel was. Also I must confess that Jazz isn't really my cup of tea, but hey, I'm as open minded as the next gal and so was prepared to give it a shot - gets me out of the house!

 

Arriving at the venue I was surprised that I had walked passed this building lots of times without really 'seeing' it or realising that it was a place of worship. The entrance is modern and light and extremely welcoming. We were greeted by a couple of friendly ladies who offered us a free glass of very palatable wine and told to make ourselves at home. Whatever picture you have in your mind of what a 'church' is, well rip up that picture. 

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Manchester theatre reviews

Les Miserables at The Lowry

Les Misérables at The Lowry

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, presented by Cameron Mackintosh, directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell

Reviewed by Jane Turner August 2010

 

Introduction

Hooked on “musicals” since Gene Kelly danced over a sofa singing “it’s great to stay up late” and then splashed and danced his way down the high street “singing in the rain”, I’ve long since enjoyed this particular genre and have occasionally been known to impersonate Kelly splashing about in a downpour. I always manage to find a big puddle, but the rest?  Well, Kelly was a genius in tap-shoes and me, I just get very wet.

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Manchester film reviews

The Illusionist directed by Sylvain Chomet

The Illusionist directed by Sylvain Chomet

Reviewed by Dave Porter August 2010

Adapted from a script by Jacques Tati, this movingly affectionate portrait of vaudeville life during the inter-war period can lay claim to be an animation masterpiece.

 

Chomet has lovingly created a nostalgic homage to the sad and lonely lives of stage performers who drift from one rundown theatre and boarding house to the next, and for whom in the end the magic has literally gone.

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Manchester book reviews

A Sheesha in Radcliffe – by Mansoor Shah

A Sheesha in Radcliffe

Reviewed by Dave Porter August 2010

Sub-titled ‘A Spiritual Journey Through Seven Mystical Windows’, this is the second collection by Manchester author Mansoor Shah of esoteric poems in the Sufi tradition.

 

An academic by day, Shah describes his heritage as a product of the Ottoman Empire and is following in the great traditions of Sufism, his work suffused with its religious and philosophical underpinnings.

 

Specifically, Shah – who lives in Radcliffe, hence the title – draws upon the influences of great Sufi authors such as Rumi, Jamie and El Arabi. With illustrations by local artist David Vaughn which reflect his Celtic heritage, the collection makes for an arresting and thought-provoking read.

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Manchester film reviews

Coco Chanel

Coco - Two views of Chanel

Reviewed by Anne Ryan

 

Last year saw the sumptuous biopic 'Coco – Avant Chanel' – in which the designer was portrayed by Audrey Tautou – this year's offering is 'Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky' – directed by Jan Kounen and starring Mars Mikkelsen and the current Chanel muse Anna Mouglalis.

 

The first film concentrated on Chanel's early career, her affair with Arthur 'Boy' Capel shown for its importance in backing her work, rather than as a grand passion. And the work, written and directed by Anne Fontaine, showed Chanel as an innovator both artistically and socially – her designs based on her rejection of the role which society had assigned to her – as a poor woman.

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Manchester film reviews

Skeletons

Skeletons

Reviewed by Dave Porter August 2010

 

Skeletons is a darkly comic debut from young talent Nick Whitfield with lineage straight from the European school of film making.

 

Shot with a meticulous eye for detail, the film has a rural setting which recalls Jean De Florette in its rustic charms. Avowedly set in the present, the feel is distinctly of a bygone era – the two central characters carry leather briefcases, use antiquated equipment and travel in train carriages dusted with nostalgia.

 

Davis and Bennett visit people’s homes to metaphorically clean out their closets of skeletons: hidden and often dirty secrets which they are too weak to disclose themselves. The duo is played with Pinter-esque menace by Andrew Buckley and Ed Gaughan, social misfits who work for the mysterious Colonel.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Picasso: Peace and Freedom

Picasso: Peace and Freedom

Tate Liverpool: until 30 August 2010

A major exhibition bringing together over 150 works by Picasso from his "communist" period

Reviewed by Jane Turner August 2010

This exhibition reveals a fascinating new insight into the artist's life as a political activist and campaigner for peace, challenging the view of Picasso as creative genius, playboy and compulsive extrovert. 

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Zineb Sedira, Une Génération de Femmes, 1997

Walls are Talking: Wallpaper, Art and Culture

Whitworth Art Gallery, until 30 Aug 2010

Reviewed by Dave Porter July 2010

This fascinating exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery is the first major UK Exhibition of artists' wallpaper with work by over 30 artists, including Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Sarah Lucas. It shows how artists have leapt on the possibilities that wallpaper offers to magnify and multiply their vision, so if you want art hanging on your walls, it now doubles up as wallpaper!

 

Repetition, of course, is the name of the game here and Warhol’s influence looms large, his Cows being a classic example of the power of one image repeated many times. But where Warhol leaves little to the imagination, some of the best pieces here are intricate and detailed montages of startling images and often highly-sexualised motifs.

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Manchester theatre reviews


Scene from the play

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

A Liverpool Everyman Theatre Production

Adapted by Howard Brenton,directed by Christopher Morahan and based on the book by Robert Tressell

Reviewed by Jane Turner July 2010

The world premiere of a new stage version of Robert Tressell's autobiographical novel takes place rather fittingly in Liverpool where the author died and is buried. It is essentially an anti-capitalist story on a human scale revolving around the working lives and hardships of a group of painters and decorators working in the fictional town of Mugsborough c1904. Among this group of workers is the character Owen, largely based on Tressell, who has a vision of society that is fair and just and he makes it his mission to enlighten his fellow workers about how socialism could rid them of inequality forever.

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