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New Arrival

It begins! Life could be a bit different now!

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Sewing machine orchestra

This looks great!

manchester

We missed the first snow of the season this weekend, instead dodging sleet and hail on our first visit to Manchester.

We stayed with an old colleague of mine in the lovely village in a suburb of Chorley. We packed a fair bit in on Saturday, with a visit to the new architecture at Salford Docks as well as the highlights of the city centre, including the beautiful John Ryland library – a great secular temple.

The new stuff was generally pretty bland (though better than anything Scottish) as my preparatory reading of the relevant chapter of The New Ruins of Great Britain had made out.

On Sunday after an adventurous evening that ended up in an eclectic Cuban cafe we pottered around the lovely Whitworth Museum, whose luminous red brick was quite striking against the grey.

Monday we spent exploring the fantastic Northern Quarter in more detail, with great warehouses and fire escapes, along narrow streets combined with the requisite cafes and vintage shops creating our natural habitat 😉

dazza dazzles

A quick trip to the Captain’s Rest last night for some classic antipodean singer songwriting courtesy of our favourite man from Gympie – Darren Hanlon.

He was great as always, the gig was ned free, lots of old friends present and correct, and he played lots of our old faves as well as a couple more rootsy tracks from his new albumn.

fringe activities

Word up for the Glasgow crews slogging it out on the other side of the country. Especially our favourite actor Judith Williams who is earning rave reviews in the excellent if a little overwraught Orlando. Chhay is working at a couple of productions and spent four days hanging out last week to properly soak up the vibe. We are back tomorrow for some high class festival proper actions with the premier of the adaptation of Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicles.

allotment update


Our good life attemps have been limited by the awful summer we have had so far. We did enjoy the brief return of former allotmenteer Mike for a brief visit last weekend, photos courtesy of him!

battles battle the arches

Last minute gig decision last night – gotta love living in the heart of town. Without their frontman they were a little less entertaining although their fantastically talented musicianship was still on display. The acoustics and shape of the Arches didin’t help either, it was a much less crisp sound compared to when we saw them at ABC a few years ago

pianist envy strikes glasgow

We caught a magnificent set from Chilly Gonzales last night at a very intimate ABC2. He was on brilliant form, relentlessly entertaining yet showing true mastery of his piano. Riffing on rap, minority keys and classic show tunes there were definite echos of Flight of the Choncords, with an overlay of a  more sophisticated musical palette. It was the sort of school night outing that makes living in the city so great.  Next some classical piano – he has hetted our appetites.

belle and sebastian sing about love

We were at the first of three B&S shows prior to Christmas – it has only taken four years to see them in their home town! While we were risking derision from the locals for revealing our taste in twee, nevertheless it was a very enjoyable gig. B&S were extremely polished and although they had perhaps lost some of the quirky intimacy from when we last saw them in Brisbane many years ago (one of the reasons we ended up in Glasgow actually) they certainly know how to put on a show. The set list was focused on Dear Catastrophe Waitress, so perhaps not enough oldies for C’s taste but we managed, and the Barra’s is such a great venue it was hard not to have a good time.

I like your old stuff better than your new stuff

In amongst a crazy weekend (for work not partying unfortunately) we went to Goldfrapp on Friday night for Dr Dave’s birthday. Alison Goldfrapp’s outfits were amazing and the classic tracks were suitably atmospheric, but her new stuff was just the wrong side of pop (the kylie side in you will) for my taste.  All the girls seemed to enjoy themselves although I’m not sure about Dr D…