Thursday, February 28, 2013

Exploring more of Manchester

A few nights ago, Pip suggested that I undertake a photography assignment prior to leaving Manchester. Her idea was to photograph the buildings of Manchester, which I agree is a great idea as it will allow us to have a record of some of our favorite locations here. Also, this will improve my photography and I'll hopefully take better photos when we travel in a few months time.

I'm going to share some shots from my photo walks here on this blog. The first day I went out, it was overcast and so I didn't get may good photos as the lighting was very dull and most of my pictures were flat.

I started off the project with a non original photo of a fire escape. You have to begin somewhere don't you?

I like the composition but the grey dull sky didn't do me any favours.
Today, it was a beautiful day and while Pip was at work, I spent no more than a couple of hours at home. The majority of my daylight hours were spent wandering around the city. Unlike my usual meandering where I end up walking the same streets, I ventured north of the city and came across the Royal Mill which lay next to a series of canals and locks. The area north is filled with apartment buildings converted from the huge cotton mill warehouses which I think is fantastic and I'd have loved to live in one of those old brick buildings.

This is the main entrance to our apartment. 
We have two churches next to our apartment. This one is St Philip's Church.

I've taken far to many photos of the other church so this one and the next are an
attempt to photograph it from a different angle.

Here I tried to make it look like Disneyland. It sort of does right?

Photographing from street level I found that many of my photos were of this angle looking up. I like this one though.

This sort of explains itself.

This is on King Street, I'd never noticed it before.

Jamie's Italian. We love this place! 

China town. The arch is at the end of the street.

I backtracked slightly and headed up a parallel canal which was again lined with old factories. It was a fantastic stroll too, and I will have to take Pip for a walk when we have a sunny day off together. I didn't realize where I was heading, but eventually the canal veered to the right and in the distance stood the Manchester City football club. By this time, I was getting a bit tired so I took a few shots of the stadium and caught a tram back to Piccadilly.

The Royal Mill

The remainder of my day was spent wandering the Northern Quarter where I found a great new cafe that had just opened called Takk. I was planning to take advantage of the sunset light but after many hours of walking and taking photos I decided to call it a day. I'll be out again soon to try to capture more interesting buildings among other things. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hulme Foot Bridge

Pilgrimages are strange things; they often involve a trip to where there is currently nothing out of the ordinary going on. The magic of these places comes from a nostalgic feeling in the heads of those making the pilgrimage.

Today was one of those pilgrimage days for me. A short trip to an unassuming foot bridge that's only purpose is to allow safe crossing of the A5103. It's a bridge which features all the usual aesthetics and structural design that one would expect of an aerial walkway; in fact, there are probably bridges in the same neighborhood that deserve more admirable attention than that which I am currently bestowing on this bridge.

But on a wintery day in January of 1979, Kevin Cummins took a band called Joy Division to this ordinary bridge in Hulme, took a photo of them on it, and that photo went on to become iconic. It's the sort of thing that can only be appreciated through nostalgia. There are no traces of this event on the bridge, and only those who know of the band could ever possibly feel a sense of magic when standing there. As I said, pilgrimages are strange things, but why should we deny ourselves these experiences which provide a sense of fulfillment? Pip and I went to this bridge today and although it felt just like a normal bridge (Which it was), I'm glad we went.

So I'd encourage anybody to visit places that mean something to them because of music, books, films, or whatever. It may feel a bit silly, but it does give you a feeling which brings you closer to that very thing you love and that cannot be a bad thing.

Oh and go ahead and take the touristy photo of it too. Here's mine.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Manchester History

One reason Pip and I hatched the idea to move to Manchester was music, with many of our favorite bands coming from here the idea of living the lifestyle was very appealing.

I recently read 'The Manchester musical history tour' by Phill Gatenby and Craig Gill which reveals the many hidden locations across Manchester that bare significance to some of it's biggest acts. A lot of these locations are very hard to come across as unlike Liverpool which is content with celebrating the past, Manchester seems to keep it's eyes on the future.

I have plotted a few locations to visit around Manchester with Pip, but today I figured I'd visit one myself.

This video shows Oasis' rehearsing in a room where apparently they spent five nights a week perfecting their sound long before they had any record out. I had read about this place and while I know it no longer exists as a music venue or rehearsal room, I just wanted to make a pilgrimage to their old stomping ground.

Following my trip to the boardwalk, I stopped by MOSI (The Museum of Science and Industry). Moving away from the music and looking at Manchester history through it's other legacy. The museum was great although a bit strange as it's spread across a handful of building which all bare significance to the cities industrial past. It gets a bit unnerving at times as you wind your way through corridors, up and down stairs passing almost nobody and occasionally feeling like your in a haunted house attraction.

The museum boasts some fantastic remains of the Industrial Revolution, where the scale of everything is quite amazing. There is also a fantastic area dedicated to Manchester from settlement through to now which would make for a fantastic educational tool for both parents and schools.

Among the places still to visit before we leave Manchester, is the bridge in Hulme where the famous Joy Division photo was taken which sits near the original Coronation street, and the house where the Oasis cover for Definitely Maybe was shot.