Archived entries for Manchester

manchester on radio 2 : rainy city

Guy Garvey’s Rainy City will be broadcast again on Monday 15 Nov 2010 at 10pm. I’m sure the climate has made the internal the catalyst for manchester’s distinctive music and graphics, but the place is less wetter, more humid, than the allusion to it always raining, makes out.

Glimpsed Boys from the Blackstuff at HMV today. Anyway I am thinking later, tonight: Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesbrough, Newcastle… back kitchen windows seen at night from a smelly diesel local train at age 13 in the coal-sooted 1970s.

beetham tower manchester

Manchester has come some way since the 1996 Arndale IRA bombing: the vanguard of the renewed heart of the inner city is still led perhaps by Ian Simpson’s Beetham tower. Having worked with Norman Foster, Simpson is a challenging architect – many read this soubriquet as “ugly and arrogant – a glass and steel-merchant”.

This interview with the ex-Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam, part of the BBC’s Changing Cityscapes series, makes some good points about the building’s now iconic status. It again raises the long-going UK post-war debate surrounding modern architecture’s agenda to annoy – Haslam is positive, if not exactly elated, by the change of mood that the totemic pinnacle creates in the visual background. With its – to my mind – Antony Gormley-influenced profile, and checkerboard graphic faces, it’s one of those buildings that, Janus-faced, affects our emotions depending on time of day, weather, mood.

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