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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Design The Future Exhibition

Design the Future: advertising's mission?

Reviewed by Simon Belt June 2011

 

Through a clever advertising move, Manchester's anonymous yet celebrity poster and flyer campaigner, employed the effective talents of Manchester's blogger Fat Roland to help him get a big audience for his Poster Exhibition - 2 June for 3 days only. Micah Purnell used this exhibition to come clean about who was behind a series of intriguing posters and flyers around the city, focussed on the now trendy Northern Quarter, well sort of come clean anyway.

 

Fat Roland invited his wide network of friends and fellow bloggers with some clever copy like 'For three years, an anonymous poster designer plastered Manchester with 67,000 fly posters and flyers, including the well known Peter Saville spoofs that turned the head of the media', informing his audience that there was a phenomena they were being invited to take part in. It's interesting that one of Manchester's most prolific and celebrated bloggers was selected to promote a primarily image based craft and exhibition - a theme I find most revealing.

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Manchester book reviews

The King's English

The King's English by Kingsley Amis

Penguin Modern Classics (ISBN-13: 978-0141194318)

Reviewed by Denis Joe June 2011


At once the 'lie' and the 'elite' of crowds;
Who pass like water filter'd in a tank,
All purged and pious from their native clouds;

(Don Juan By Lord Byron - Canto XIII)

 

This was the first use of the word ‘elite’ in the English language since the mid-15th Century, when it was used to described a Bishop-elect. It was itself a ‘borrowed’ term from the old French eslite (‘selected’ or ‘chosen ones’). Though Byron seems to be indulging in a bit of sarcasm in Don Juan, the term fell into common usage and generally came to describe a group of people who set themselves apart from society through their tastes in the ‘finer things in life’. The term was sometimes used interchangeably with ‘snobs’, but there is a vast difference between the pretentions of snobbery and the rigorous defence of values that was a characteristic of elitism.

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Manchester music reviews

Lang Lang

Lang Lang

at The Bridgewater Hall

Reviewed by Charlotte Starkey May 2011

 

One sensed that something significant was about to happen at the Bridgewater on Friday, 27th May. Urgent pressing crowds, clutching the tickets no doubt purchased many months previously, moved relentlessly towards the Bridgewater. For once I felt worried for the bemused young revellers, hoping to be legless by midnight, dodging the concert-going aficionados sweeping forward. The Lang Lang phenomenon had hit Manchester. He was last in Manchester ten years ago with the Hallé. On Friday he went solo.

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Manchester film reviews

H3 screening at Writing on the Wall festival

Reviewed by Denis Joe May 2011

 

The 30th anniversary of the Irish Hunger Strike was excuse, if excuse were needed, for a showing of the excellent Les Blair film H3, written by former Hunger Striker Laurence McKeown and ex-prisoner Brian Campbell, and filmed in the H Blocks of the Maze prison in the North of Ireland, screened at the Writing on the Wall festival with Séanna Walsh.

 

H3 was made nearly a decade before Steve McQueen’s Hunger (though McQueen was ignorant of the existence of H3 - at the premier of Hunger it was believed that Hunger was the first time that the Hunger Strikes were the subject of a film, as Seanna Walsh pointed out after the screening). Whilst McQueen’s film is the more celebrated of the films, H3 is in many ways the superior - there were also two other films made about the Hunger Strikes before Hunger: Some Mother's Son directed by Terry George in 1996 and Il silenzio dell'allodola, by Italian film director and scriptwriter David Ballerini in 2005.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Wizard talking to Ursula the kettle

Wizard by Dominic Berry

R&D 'scratch' performance at Contact

Reviewed by Simon Belt May 2011

 

I came across Dominic Berry (Freed Up Poets) at one of Manchester's ubiquitous open mic events reading some of his poetry and thought he was interesting, but it was as a Master of Ceremony compere for a poetry night at greenroom that he really stood out as someone to watch. I wondered how I could include Dominic if the Manchester Salon ever organised anything there, as his timing and response to audience mood displayed a fabulous sense of interactive timing. With the Arts Council budget cuts forcing the unexpected closure of the greenroom, it was onwards to the Contact theatre space to get to see him perform outside of the rather hackneyed poetry reading nights.

 

Completely authored by Manchester Literature Festival slam winner Dominic BerryWizard is about someone who hasn’t been outside his flat for months and a friendly neighbour called Man who visits to rapport with him. Wizard can see amazing magic in places most people can’t - a dragon ninja drag-queen scaling his shower, a menopausal midwife haunting his kettle. Based around poetic interchanges bewteen Man and Wizard, and blends this with Hip Hop, comedy, and theatre.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

250 New Towns Club

250 New Towns Club: The Need for Speed

RIBA Hub, CUBE Gallery, Manchester

Reviewed by Simon Belt June 2011

The 250 New Towns is the club for people with big plans to build – where enthusiasts meet with experts to argue about where and how we live in Britain, and this first meeting of it in Manchester was hosted by Mark Iddon of Urbanization Architects. This was also a part of the North West Architecture Festival.

 

 

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Manchester music reviews

Kate Marsden - violin

Ensemble of St. Lukes

by Denis Joe May 2011

at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

 

Alexander Marks violin
Kate Marsden violin
Robert Shepley viola
Gethyn Jones cello


Haydn: String Quartet No.4 in D Major, Op.20
Beethoven: String Quartet No.4 in C minor, Op.18

 

One of the best indicators of a music society’s success is the amount of offshoots that arise from it. The Liverpool Philharmonic Society has had quite a few, but it's not the quantity but the quality of the offspring that matters.

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Manchester theatre reviews

A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller

Performed at Royal Exchange Theatre

Directed by Sarah Frankcom and designed by James Cotterill

Reviewed by Jane Turner May 2011

'The real villain in this play is not the foolish and misguided character of Eddie Carbone, but the Immigration Laws.'


The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester is an ideal setting for Arthur Miller’s play “A View from the Bridge”, its structure being suspended bridge-like from huge marble pillars situated in the centre of the great hall of the old Exchange, where old and new contrast but co-exist in symbiosis. This modern seven-sided steel and glass-walled theatre hangs favourably among the grandiose features of the Grade II listed building which was once the gathering place of mill-owners and merchants bartering for cotton and textiles, and which is now home to cafes, craft shops, writing workshops and various relics from a bygone age, where tourists now amass instead of traders. Bombed in World War Two, damaged by the IRA’s efforts in 1996 and revitalised with national lottery funding it now houses this innovative theatre, providing its audiences with a truly intimate theatrical experience, with everyone being seated just seven metres from the set due to the unique circular design of the marvellously engineered internal structure.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The End for Michael Pinchbeck and greenroom

The End by Michael Pinchbeck

performed at greenroom

Reviewed by Simon Belt May 2011

 

The End was written by Michael Pinchbeck over a year ago, and the performance at the greenroom planned long before the new funding budgets by the Arts Council were announced, including devastating cuts for the greenroom. It felt very different. It felt as though the play was written for just the situation the greenroom finds itself in - having to close after nearly 25 years of service as one of Manchester’s cutting edge venues, helping to develop new and experimental talent.

 

Inspired by the stage direction from The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare – ‘Exit pursued by a bear’, The End explores endings and exits and continues an interest in the reenactment of real life events to investigate absence and loss. The End was Pinchbeck’s last performance and the greenroom's penultimate one, closing at the end of May.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Lily Allen by Nadav Kander

Nadav Kander: Selected Portraits 1999-2011

Reviewed by Sara Porter May 2011

The Lowry 16 April to 04 September 2011

 

Nadav Kander is considered to be one of the great, current, portrait photographers. His portfolio covers a range of actors, performers, directors, musicians and he was commissioned to photograph the Obama administration when it took it’s place in the White  House for the New York Times Magazine. He is also the winner of the Prix Pictet ‘Earth’ 2009 for his 'Yangtze, The Long River' series and was the 2009 International Photographer of the Year at the prestigious Lucie awards.

 

Whilst you may not recognise the name, you will have certainly seen some of his images, if only from the current Take That album “Progress” and in fact some of the images from this album are the initial photographs in this display of memorable work covering 1999-2011. Kander’s work almost covers a who’s who of popular culture at this time, including images of Eric Cantona, Cheryl Cole, Christopher Lee, Lily Allen, Spike Jonze and Ian McKellen to name but a few.

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