Saturday, 2 April 2011

April's First Sunday: It's smoking

Dear friends, flaneurs and freedom fighters

April's First Sunday is nigh – my apologies for late notification of this months shenanigans. I have been distracted by the heady combination of daffodils and demonstrations. I love Spring; it's my favourite time of year. I feel the blossoms have been especially glorious this year; bright little beacons of resistance and joy to help us defeat the darkness that seems to be descending.

We must all, in our own ways, keep fighting boredom and heartlessness and cruelty. Playing out on the streets should not be subversive; it upsets me a little it is but I do hope in our own small way we challenge the notion money is all that matters. Many amazing people contribute to the lrm and are involved in personal,political and professional struggles for justice and peace: love and solidarity to you all and if we can help please ask.

This month, partly as a response to the heaviness in the air we are embarking on a wispy, whimsical and somewhat abstract walk. We will all be looking up, to study the skyline and read smoke signals. Our focus will be on chimneys and fresh air and how the atmosphere of Manchester has evolved.

During the Industrial Revolution the sun was seldom seen; the city was shrouded in smog and the skyline dominated by an array of chimneys belching forth fumes. Now we live somewhere little is made except noise and tobacco is so vilified it has been banished by much of polite society. How did we get there from here?

Chimneys are our starting point then; we will be commemorating those long gone, celebrating outstanding survivors and imagining what they may look like in the future. We will also, as we are prone to do, explore yesterdays utopia that never materialised; in this case the audacious meta-chimney of which Alan has splendid tales to tell.

The nature of the derive means digression and tangential explorations too; expect debate on civil liberties, public health, clean air, the nature of work, class and capitalism. What resonances do the mills have on our lives today, how does work influence our identity; and what rights do we have to a safe environment, self destruction and freedom on the streets? These questions are horribly relevant now when so many of us feel threatened and insecure in our labour.

Many loiterers (myself included) have a secret admiration for the art of pipe smoking; doubtless Bob Dobbs will be with us tomorrow in spirit if not in person. Bonus points will be awarded in recognition of the most crass phallic symbolism, best double entendre and most ridiculous comment about chem trails.

Please join us if you can, but be warned this is a random adventure not a heritage trail – we really don't know where it will lead although we can promise conviviality and a view of the city you probably won't have seen before.

We will be meeting tomorrow, April 3rd at Fringe Bar, Swan Street (opposite Band on The Wall) at 2pm. All welcome, if you need any more information please feel free to call/ text 07974929589

Finally, in case you haven't seen this here is a retweet from Manchester Libraries: this is a truly splendid website (although proceed with caution if you have any work to do) "Map mania! Compare old street maps of Manchester from 1772-2010 on the Historical Maps beta web site"

With love and bluebells

Morag x

No comments: