26 October 2008

One of the things i am loving most about living in Manchester is that there always seems to be things going on. I know that's one of the great things about Melbourne too, that there's something for everyone and there's always something to do... however, i'm not sure if it's because i'd lived in Melbourne so long that i'd become immune or probably just closed minded to certain things, maybe it's because i didn't live in town and out in the burbs instead, but it seems like there's so much more happening in Manchester

An event called In the City happened a couple of weeks ago, which is basically a whole heap of live music and bands trying there darndest to 'make it big', playing at different venues around 'the city'. Anyway, Columbo runs a festival so we went along to Dry Bar to check out one of the bands she is interested in having play at her event. I've forgotten the bands we saw by now, but it was nice to take a trip back in time and learn a bit about the Manchester music scene over the years.

Anyway - long story short... we all saw Control, right? Some of us have maybe even seen 24 Hour Party People... or heard the names Tony Wilson or Factory Records thrown about? Maybe you've heard of the Hacienda? What about the Happy Mondays, The Smiths or The Stone Roses? And god knows, we all know Oasis. So to all too briefly summarise - Manchester music scene in the not too distant past. Quite interesting.

Anyhoo, from what i can gather (and i really do have minimal basis for the following statements), it seems to me as though some scenesters are still revelling back the glory days of the 80's and 90's. Talk to any Mancunian, and they'll tell you during that period, Manchester was the centre of the universe. The city was pumping out some quality music, not to mention quality football...(!) Though some are caught up in the nostalgia of past conquests, i think few would disagree when i say i think Manchester still has a lot going for it culturally.

Unlike its neighbour, Liverpool, Manchester hasn't had a load of EU fundage pumped into it of recent times to create a sort of commercially generated facade of 'culture'... (which i think really dupes Liverpool... there has been genuinely interesting history in the place, but instead it has been reduced to tacky Beatles tours/museums and the cafe and tourist infested Albert Docks) however, there have been two widely recognised major events in the last decade or so, which have really contributed to Manchester being the 'livable' city it is today.

First, the 1996 IRA bombing of the Arndale centre, which basically blew up Manchester's big city centre shopping centre. I live right up the road from the Arndale centre (in all its glory) and often walk past the single post box which was left standing after the blast. While no one was killed in this bomb blast (though not really the point), Manchester seemingly has benefited from this, as the shopping precinct was rebuilt (with much nicer stuff!) and many new bars and restaurants in the area.

The other main contributing factor in what's made Manchester a great place to be at the moment has got to be the 2002 Commonwealth Games held here, bringing Manchester into the noughties with a truckload of money being invested in facilities and infrastructure.

As a side note - i do realise i'm not saying anything new here. Mancubist did a great post on the 10th anniversary of the Arndale bombing which is worth a read.

When i first told my people from home i was moving to England, and more specifically Manchester, i was met with a resounding "WHY?"... It wasn't until my dad mentioned where i was moving to one of his friends who'd actually been here and said it was a fantastic city, and then it was a sudden 'yes, by all means Mars... off you go and you do that.. whatever it is you're doing'.

Anyway, i started this post to simply tell you all that i'd done one of the single nerdiest things of my life this week. As part of the Manchester Literature Festival, one of the events which interested Columbo and i was the Manchester Blog Awards. For some time now, i've been chasing down what i once considered to be illusive Manchester blogs. Anyhoo, we found out who was nominated and quickly read through their most recent posts so we'd know what was going on...

It didn't really serve us that well, i never seem to know what's going on. Some of the nominated bloggers did readings, which were all really good. The author of a blog i didn't really like at first glance, did a really engaging reading, so i guess i'll have a second look at that one. There were nerds everywhere - we can only assume other 'anonymous' bloggers. People were 'live blogging' and talking about 'twitter'... which is something i've definitely heard of, but still don't really know what it does. There were people filming and photographing the whole event, which inevitably ended up on flickr. Proof i was actually there, i'm actually in that photo i just linked to! AH!

So there you have it... i said the 'b' word out loud this week, and i'm not entirely sure i'm comfortable with it. After over two years, i'm still not ready to admit that i have a blog or am (cringe) a blogger.

So as i sit in my bed, typing this post on a lazy Sunday morning i can hear the church bells ringing from the cathderal, i am planning on visiting a gallery this afternoon and i'm thinking 'what a brilliant city', with so much to do.

...next week i'll talk about the scallys and the weather.

As a(nother) side note... there are some fantastic pictures of Manchester over here which are well worth a look too!

08 October 2008

I've always considered internet dating the final frontier. Basically, if there's no one on the internet for you (and let's face it, the whole world's on the internet), then where to from there? You're screwed.

Anyway, Columbo has a friend who has had some success on this website where your friend writes a profile for you, telling the world how great you are... then someone comes along and clicks on your head - next thing you know you've got a house in the suburbs, you drink coffee, you've got a couple of squawkers nipping around your ankles and you're living the dream.

So i figured, for a couple of reasons, that i could probably do this internet dating thing without too much humiliation given that i didn't really know anyone here in Manchester who would stumble upon my profile and send it to my whole office (just ya know, for example... errr) and also, i didn't really know anyone here in Manchester and i could do with meeting some people.

Who else would i ever turn to for a profile? You guessed it, my old friend Dot. She wrote me a wonderful piece testement to all my good points... and i left this profile, along with a picture of my head, on that website for approximately four days... before i shit myself and took it down. Some people had clicked on my head, i had two emails (which i couldn't even read cause i didn't want to pay), but i thought what was written on my profile made me sound a little... well, weird. I deemed it a little bit too in-jokey between Dot and i (what's not in-jokey, eh?) so took it down.

Some time passesd and i thought i might like to try it again but thought Dot might get annoyed if i asked her to write me another profile... so i asked my friend Marge. She took absolutely weeks to come up with it, so i was really expecting great things. I was disappointed at her ineloquent effort which basically said that i was 'quite independent but would like to settle down if someone will have me' in not so many words. I didn't hold this against Marge though, i mean, that's what she did, so she probably thinks it's quite ok. Anyway, that got canned straight away.

Running out of friends to ask, i mentioned to Columbo that i needed a profile. She said she didn't think she knew me well enough and didn't wanna do it... that was until i showed her what Marge had written and she agreed that no, that wouldn't do at all. So she's agreed to write me this profile, however that must have been about three weeks ago now and still, nothing...

Short of getting my mum to write me a bloody profile or writing it myself, i really am losing all faith in the system. If it's this hard to even get 'out there' i dread to think what these 'date' things are going to be like.

Please, just shoot me now.

06 October 2008

This Fucking Accent!
by Mars

This fucking accent is a pain in the arse and i'm sick of it. When i meet new people, one of the first things they'll do once we've started to get to know each other, after they've at first, politely, asked me to repeat myself numerous times... (before finally telling me i 'mumble' twenty five thousand times), is to take the complete, total and utter piss out of my accent.

They'll start off my laughing at words i say, or the way in which i say them... but that doesn't seem to offer the satisfaction people are after. They will then often move on to mimicing words, phrases or whole sentences i say... but neither does this seem to offer complete satisfaction. It's at this point that they will advance, like an aminal with its prey in sight (but with much less stealth and more vain self-amusement) and begin to speak, at length, in an accent they deem comparable to my own.

And this shits me... At first, i can take it. Yeah whatever, i get it... my accent is weird and you're a bit of a dick... but PLEASE, move on. I don't need you to try to speak back to me in my own accent every time you have something to say (to me or in general)... it's really annoying, and a little insulting. Am i nothing more than the girl with the funny accent? I'd like to think i have, even if it's just a little, something more to offer conversation in general. It's fine once i get to know people, because i guess they kind of stop noticing it, and think that's just the way i sound...

To make matters worse, it's not even just the people over here who listen with curiosity when i speak. The number of people from home who are starting to have a crack at me sounding English is increasing as well. And this is really annoying too... mainly cause i don't! I do an extremely poor English accent, and therefore just don't ever try. If i can't even do the accent when i'm trying, how could i possibly be sounding English when i'm not trying?!

Anyway, i wish people would quit giving me a hard time. It's really fucking boring... as if it wasn't bad enough getting lumped with this nasal bogan accent in the first place, the last thing i need is people talking at me Kath'n'Kim style thinking they're highly amusing and an excellent doer of accents. WANKERS!