Thirty Thousand Streets

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas in Manchester

So Christmas over for another year.

This one was pretty good, though my return to Manchester spelled out to me just rainy this place is, with it being not so much a white Christmas as a grey liquid one (It's drizzled incessantly). For that reason alone – though there are others – I don't really see myself living here again anytime soon.

Change seems to be afoot in Manchester, with cranes looming over the skyline everywhere. If the gentrification of the city centre was gaining pace when I left three years ago, it now seems to have gone into overdrive, with warehouses everywhere being converted into ubiquitous trendy loft-style apartments by Urban Splash and the like, and there's even been a development out near Ancoats that's been branded 'New Islington'.

Someone brought up something I'd read about months ago, that the boutique shopping emporium Afflecks Palace is facing an uncertain future, and might well end up being itself converted into flats, which seems to highlight to me a problem with this influx to the city centre: being that the introduction of massive wealth often prices out the businesses that make it an interesting place to be in the first place. So the question is, is everyone suddenly going to rush to the suburbs again in ten years time, when they realise they're actually living in a kind of city centre housing estate punctuated by anodyne bars, and all the interesting-but-skint people upped sticks years ago, to go and live in, I dunno, Levenshulme?

Did I mention the bars? Yeah, there also seem to be loads of new trendy looking bars around the Northern Quarter, but having walked through the valley of the shadow of death which is Manchester at kicking out time, these aren't things Manchester needs particularly (at least in my opinion).

Stockport hasn't changed much, mind, as I can attest having spent a fair part of Christmas Eve seemingly trapped in Whitefield Industrial estate in South Reddish. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was the now unfamiliar factory units, but I managed to arrive pretty much exactly back where I started, within an hour of setting off, and I nearly gave up there and then.

Getting a lift back tomorrow with Ade and Rachael, and I can't wait actually. I mostly just want to sleep in my own bed and eat 'normal' food really.

Next up on the agenda: New Years Eve.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Seasons greetings..

Shalom Alecheim and all that good stuff..

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fry's Churlish Delight

I saw this on the tube last night.. it's from a poster for a DVD game called Strictly Come Duncing, which in light of recent events must have one of the most unfortunate cover photographs ever, as a demonic looking Jonathan Creek, sorry, Alan Davies, is depicted reaching for QI presenter Stephen Fry's ear, looking like a modern day bewigged Nosferatu.

Dude's on some Mike Tyson shit..

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fashion Police

I guess you know you're living in a pretty cool city when police insignia looks like it could be a logo for a Bond villain's private army. Just saying.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kompakt party

Last night I went to the Kompakt night at Plastic People in Shoreditch. I took a circuitous route via a recruitment consultants party in the centre of town, and to this end this took the 176 as far as the end of the Strand, where I walked across Trafalgar Square.

There's now a huge Christmas tree there, which I vaguely remember as being bequeathed us by Sweden for helping out in the Second World War. There was also some carol singers assembled in front singing, erm, Christmas carols. It was all aglow, and I actually felt festive for around five seconds or so.

Then it was off to the recruitment ball, which I went to primarily to see what my recruitment buddies actually look like, as the girl who signed me up left last year. It was alright but slightly awkward. I grabbed a bottle of beer and worried at the trestle table of finger food. A narky South African freelancer I worked with last year was there, looking slightly more cheery. I demurred to chat, and ducked out, to hike up toward Shoreditch via the Clerkenwell Road.

The Kompakt night was somewhat late starting, as there were some technical wrangles to do with an effects unit DJ Koze wanted to use. In the meantime I wandered round taking photos of the nearly empty club, which in case you are misled, are the ones above (it got pretty busy later on). Steve kicked proceedings off DJ wise, opening his set with a tune by Moodog, which Mr Scruff sampled for Get a Move On, on Keep it Unreal.

To start off with, it was freezing cold, and I was wandering round in a scarf and coat swilling on ice cold lager. There were more than a few Germans there, and I couldn't help but wonder that if they'd had a stall selling bratwurst, it would have been a bit like a techno themed version of the German Christmas markets they used to hold in Albert Square in Manchester. Just a thought.

But seriously, it was a killer night. After Steve's suave intro, Koze stepped up to the decks and dropped some throbbing, bassy, Detroit style tracks. The sound system in there is crisper than a tube of Pringles, and I pretty much thought I'd found jacking heaven, swaying up at the front.

Popping out front for a smoke, I got chatting to Christian from Cologne, who was over from the label, and was similarly impressed. According to him, he'd chatted to some other Germans who'd been to the previous night with Thomas Fehlman, and sung its praises back home. He was less impressed with the cost of a single tube fare being four quid, but then who is.

The night wound up at two-ish after whistles, hollers, and me barking like a dog for "one more" which Koze dutifully served up. For me this ranked as one of my favourite nights of the year, and kudos to the Allez Allez boys for setting it up. A little bird tells me it might also be the last, so if you missed it you missed out.

Getting home was as royal a pain in the ass as it ever is from Shoreditch to Camberwell, with a 35 sauntering up around three-ish to spirit me home to bed.

Thursday night now, and the weekend is nearly here. Not sure what I'm doing at the weekend, but there's always the Allez Allez birthday shindig at the Amersham arms on Saturday.

Uploaded now at Thirty Thousand Streets is me and my esteemed colleague Zeno Cossini's ocassional collaboration (him on words, me on pictures). If marauding crustacea are your thing, you just hit paydirt. Drop by and say hello sometime, comments welcome.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Today's been cold and Wednesday-ish. Indeed, the most exciting thing to happen so far was when a lady rang my flat and asked if we were "the Robbery Squad" which all but made me do a double take at the phone (we're not the Robbery Squad).

Off to town in a couple of hours to schmooze, in my somewhat limited capacity. After that I'm going to swing down to Plastic People in Shoreditch, for the Allez Allez boys' Kompakt night.

Scarves ahoy I think.