Friday, 27 June 2008

It's not just us. YOU ARE HERE

Manchester is a truly maptastic place.

Over the past two months, our friends at the Royal Exchange Theatre have been working with a collection of community groups, schools, adults and young people to explore the theme 'YOU ARE HERE'. This weekend, in The Studio, they will be hosting an exhibition of the varied outcomes of work from this project. The exhibition is open to the public 10am - 7.30pm on both Friday 27 and Saturday 28 June.

I heartily recommend a look around before the hidden rivers walk; tomorrow is also a last chance to see the LRM exhibition in one of manchesters most interesting spaces too

hidden rivers, flowing beer and sweet sweet music

It's the grand finale of get lost tomorrow and we are going out on a high.....
The Hidden Rivers of Manchester
Meet 4pm outside The Royal Exchange Theatre (St Annes Square)
Manchester is a city built on capital, not geography. It's rivers lie buried beneath concrete and steel, culverted and diverted, polluted and buried. We will locate the lost rivers of Manchester - the Irk, the Tib, the Gore to trace their paths and explore their forgotten potential. NB this is an above ground walk and you shouldnt get wet unless it's raining.
Afterwards Garden City Social are hosting a shindig for us at The Britons Protection (as close to the river as we could find a pub with a music license) We're asking for a suggested donation of £3 on the door for the gig towards the cost of staging events but it will be easy to sneak in if you are skint.
The night will be starring Dan Seizure- electro nonsense from the Forrest Cafe, Edinburgh,
Ryan Van Winkle Poet and visionary (also from the Forrest), You and Boo - Urban pastoral outta Hulme and Samson and Delilah - Long hair and lullabies plus I think there will be more pictures from those naughty urban explorers
Please come and join us, and if you do - mine's a makers mark with ice.

ruinous recollections

opening tonight at upper space gallery (aka sunshine studios) every glimpse and whisper i've been privvy to about this work has been fascinating and i can;t wait to see what they have been creating

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

time travel and the big debate

although the lrm are all still coming down from a triptastic weekend we're rallying our energies to bring you still more fabulous events....

The Bored in the City Time Capsule Project Tonight
25th June) 7pm at the Queen Victoria Statue, Piccadilly Gardens

Please bring along small objects to be placed in a specially designed time capsule which will be buried somewhere suitable; attendees will write cryptic clues alluding to its hiding place which will then be published as a masquerade style literary piece

Regeneration and its discontents: Urban Democracy Forum
Tomorrow (26th June) 6-8pm Nexus Dale Street

An evening of lively debate kicked off by short talks from our range of panellists including academics, journalists, activists and politicians. Come along and have your say!
We will also be having fun at the Ruinous Recollections launch, Underground Rivers walk and Garden City Social but more of that later. Pictures are from the shared TRIP flickr pool. Please add your images too

Monday, 23 June 2008

tripped out, ecstatic and coming down

love and thanks to all who made TRIP into such a special occasion. full reports one day but now i need to sleep xxx

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Manchester Freedom Trail

the meeting point is Cafe Pop not the royal exchange. sorry for any confusion x

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Apologies to dragon hunters

Sorry to anybody who may have gone to meet me at Victoria Station to search for dragons. I got burgled an hour before we would have set off and had to cancel the expedition and speak with the police instead. I hope the tannoy announcement got the message through at the station.
Speak soon,

No Borders Tour of Manchester

The No Borders Tour will meet at 11am Thurs 19th outside the Aquatics centre, Oxford Rd

No Boarders is a network of individuals against the persecution, detention and exploitation of refugees and other migrants. They are committed to imagining a world without borders and ways to realise this. The walk takes in the sights of Manchester's Asylum Seeker deportation apparatus.

Manchester Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail rolls into town!

Conor McGarrigle blends Joyce walks and The Boston Freedom Trail to create a guided tour and a mobile forum to discuss the troubled notion of American Freedom in the contemporary political climate, as in an Orwellian twist the defence of freedom limits our freedom.

This promises to be a stimulating and interesting set of walks, with even Connor himself unsure of just where the routes might take us.

Walks set off Thurs 19th and Fri 20th at 2.30pm and 4.30pm from the Royal Exchange.

A psychogeographic caberet

TRIP vs. The LRM present for one night only....

A Psychogeographic Cabaret
8pm Saturday June 21st at The Britons Protection, Great Bridgewater Street


A unique collaboration of international artists and activists focusing on public space and turning the world upside down
O Parking Non-Stop present ‘Remains of a Future City’ performance poetry with soundscape and field recordings
O Sinead Wolf - acoustic set loveliness
O Short films, surprise guests and random acts of subversive joy…
Pictures are from last time we hired the britons protection for the fabulous chris mills - top night and great pictures thanks to marie dodds

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Dragons to play kickball?

Rumours abound that some dragons may be planning on leaving their holes to sweep down on Saturday's game of kickball...

Art Trail Update

The LRM exhibition is now open at Nexus, Dale Street (expect a review once i've seen it!)

We have a display at the Royal Exchange; this includes a collage and I forgot to thank everyone who contributed to it. It includes work by Alex Bridger, Sara and Sean Fitton, Simon Richardson, Morag Rose, Alan Smith, Jane Samuels and Andrew Tilsley. Cheers to all.

The Zion Centre exhibition (which is mostly films by International Loiterers) will open on Thursday and Andrea Bookers work will be on show at the Chapman Gallery Salford on Monday 23rd Tues 24th and Wednesday 25th June 10am-5.30pm.

Action Report: See Hear!

"See Here... the Public Drawing Experiment" was held on Friday 30th May 2008 in Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter of Manchester

This event was part of Manchester's Second International Psychogeography Festival "Get Lost" Get Lost is organised by the LRM (Loiterers Resistance Movement) who regularly invite people to "...loiter with intent to make Manchester Wonderful"

Jenny Trigg contributed to the Festival by holding a one day "Public Drawing Experiment" on the traffic island in the middle of Stevenson Square, opposite Fred Aldous.

The idea was to demonstrate that people see the same things differently.Passers-by were invited to stay on the traffic island, look around until they saw something that interested them, and then draw it in their own way for an exhibition.

Over eighty people took part, and their drawings will be exhibited at "Nexus Art Cafe" on Dale Street from 17th June to 1st July....Come along and see the results, and draw your own conclusions!

With thanks to Fred Aldous for their support of this event, and thanks to Jenny for the report. The picture shows the portable studio and 4 of over 80 participants

Monday, 16 June 2008

cleverer than drinking

and more useful. sorry it clashes with the pre-conference social but we have to conspire before wednesday. they'll be many more chances to drink so if you can please go to this instead:

Our friends at Manchester Free Software invite all loiterers to a meeting at Manchester Digital Development Agency Portland Street at 7pm on 17 June

John McKerrell gives an introduction to the collaborative mapping phenomenon that is Open Street Map, the project that aims to generate a streetmap of the entire world. John will also explain the workings of the OSM editors and show how to map your own area.

The full announcement is on their web site

Pre Trip Tipples

Please join some of us for a drink tomorrow night at The Sandbar, Grosvenor Street (Off Oxford Road) if you're in town for the conference and at a loose end or just want a bit of a natter about what we're up to.
We hope to co-ordinate some artistic interventions around the city and we'll be there from about 7pm

the pigeon has flown in from the treasure hunt on Saturday - more pictures on the flckr site.


Get Lost is affiliated to the TRIP conference which will be held at MMU this Thursday - Staurday. TRIP stands for Territories Reimagined : International Perspectives and is probably the largest gathering of psychogeographers anywhere, ever!
We are proud to be a part of it but I must admit navigating the world of academia has been harder and more frustrating than I thought it would be - choppy waters surround offical events but I do truly think its worth it. Intelligence is sexy, thinking is good, books are wonderful: these are central LRM truths.
Various Loiterers are presenting papers; on Friday morning I am supposed to be talking about "Squats, Social Centres and Spectacles: Building Alternative Spaces in Manchesters Post Bomb Nirvana" I'm planning to focus on civil liberties and the recent experinences of the LRM. Alex is also presenting his work on Radicalising Research Methods.
More details about the conference can be found at
TRIP has a programme of public walks and art shows which are free, although the conference costs to attend. That said if you are reading this and desperate to get in to the conference please talk to the LRM; we have our ways and means (we have to; we're all skint ourselves)
There was a factually incorrect but charming article about TRIP in the Manchester Evening News last Friday. It has a lovely picture (another of Jane Samuels works from The Abandoned Buildings Project) but forgets to even mention us (hmmmmm) and you can read it here

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Lost gardens passing through...

Unfortunately the dragons kept me busy up in the north so I just missed the hidden gardens walk. I did however see some roaming gardens coming through St Anne's Square as I went over to see how things had gone.


A Get Lost compass...

A DIY compass for the Get Lost festival. Break off a wing and throw it up into the air to helicopter back down to the ground. The wing points north.


North Manchester infested with dragons...

Dragon #7 / Map1 DE-BC

Nobody came along to help me hunt for dragons and fearful beasts on Sunday. You all too scared or something? Despite the no show I still had a nice time exploring new unknown stretches of Manchester as a lone ranger, finding about 100 dragons (some of whom did not refuse to be photographed) and collecting one or two bits and pieces along the way.

I shall be repeating the trip on Wednesday at 5pm. We'll keep the same meeting place, in Victoria Station by the big map (and curiously two bronze dragon slayers on the plaque beneath). Alternatively drop in and pick up a DIY holey map from Nexus on Dale Street and bring back the evidence (as of Monday evening).

Dragon Slayers in Victoria Station

Be nice to have a few extra reporters on board to turn the show at Nexus into more of a group effort. I would like to see how other people tackle the task, and what alternative slants are taken towards the mapping of disappearing territories.

Some alternative answers to Pigeon Street questions...

The first man to fall in the first battalion?

Another ship sets sail in china town?


Saturday, 14 June 2008

Pictures, pictures and more pictures!

The LRM now has a Flickr group. The link is on the right or you can hit the addy right HERE!

We will be putting some pictures on it soon, I promise.

Alternatively, if you like looking at frozen naked people on bicycles you can find them here (from Sara), here (with thanks to Spinneyhead), and here too (from Seán).


Summer Sundae Smile

Loads happening tomorrow, to summarize:

Greet Kickball Jesus and join him on his oddesey from Manchester Airport to The Beetham Tower, meet 9am International Arrivals at Manchester Airport

Hunt for Dragons with Kaspar - meet 12noon at the tiled map at Victoria station (see previous posts for details)

Under the Pavement: The Field - a self guided Deluzian wander looking for Manchesters lost parks and green spaces, meet 2pm John Rylands Library Cafe on Deansgate

Friday, 13 June 2008

Here be dragons

Calling all intrepid explorers, pioneers and reporters.

Sunday (15th), 12pm-2pm
Meet at Victoria Station by the tiled map near the ticket office
Concluding at John Rylands Library Cafe, where we can continue exploring with 'Under the Pavement: The Field'

Find the dragons, beasts and monsters
Collect the fear, the foreign and the unknown
Map the permanence and impermanence

Here be dragons is a journey to the holes and cracks that quietly form along the folds of a well used map, escaping into spaces that in this particular context have ceased to exist. If we consider the number of maps in circulation we can assume that these expanding holes can be found in various sizes at almost every location.

An urban legend claims that early cartographers labelled lands that had not been mapped or documented with the phrase ‘Here be dragons’. In reality this sentence has only been found on the Lennox Globe (ca. 1503-7), although early cartographers were known to draw fantastic and fearful beasts in remote unexplored corners of the world.

Using one of our worn and weathered maps of Manchester we will set out to document these ‘holes’, searching for the monsters and dragons that lurk within these disappearing territories, exploring the fear and exclusion of the unknown or foreign and how shifting communities and cultures are infiltrating previously ‘mapped’ situations.

Our (potentially mis-informing) acts of journalism will be displayed at the Nexus Art Cafe for the remainder of the Get Lost Festival. Following Sunday's event visitors to the cafe can continue taking out the map and adding their findings to the exhibition, a growing museum of found objects, texts and photographic documentation.

If at all possible please give me a call, or send me an e-mail to say you’re coming. Otherwise please feel free to just turn up on the day.

We will be setting off in small groups, some of whom may need to travel by bus. If you have a camera please bring it along.

Kaspar Wimberley


There's a Caribbean beach in the Precinct on Oxford Road.

no camping on this site...

A week ago City Co informed the LRM that they would not allow us to pitch tent in any alcoves, nooks and disuded crannies near the city centre that fall under their jurisdiction. Over the past few days I have been scouring the city for alernative sites on private or university owned grounds, zig-zagging through the long corridors of commerce, power and security. Despite many words of support and interest towards the different projects that are taking place, there was always a hook, regulation or complication somewhere along the lines (usually at the end).

Our public space is owned, privately monitored and carefully regulated. There were refreshing moments of hope. Those that provide (or at least turn a blind eye to) a secret hideaway, escaping the watchful eye of the estate management or council patrols, and offering the homeless half a place of shelter without being moved on to new grounds. Sad that these seem o be an exception. I will donate the tent that somebody offered me for the project to somebody who might really need it.

Sorry to all those would-be-campers. I'll still leave the pocket guide to mushrooms at the Nexus Cafe for anybody who would like to go picking (or at least peeling). I've heard that the damp Mancunian weather provides the perfect conditions for a variety of fungi, edible and poisonous.

So the camping will have to wait for a couple of weeks, after which we will be doing the project in Germany (permission is already granted!). I'll be up to various other things though, and please come along on Sunday to help collect for the Nexus exhibition of dragons and other fearful beasts (see other post).

Best wishes and hope to see you all soon,

Under the Pavement: the Field

Let loiterers flourish like the most beautiful weeds all across the city... a loiterer of distinction has formulated a very special self guided walk that links the past, present, philosophy and flowers....

Sunday 15th June 2PM-4PM
Meet at John Ryland’s Library Café, Deansgate

A Deleuzian,rhizomatic take on Psychogeography suggests a literal hunt forthe green between the cracks in thepavements and the cracks in the map. Join us as we look for the fields, squares,gardens and meadows of Manchester CityCentre. Many of these social spaces havenow been lost to paving stones - can were-discover and re-imagine them again?
ps: a digression.... what's your favourite situationist slogan? and the most terrible act of recouperating Paris 68 you've seen? will swap stories for cake xx

Pigeon Streets

Saturday 14th June 1PM onwards Meet at The Royal Exchange Theatre

We really like pigeons. A lot.

They see parts of the city no one else sees, they're messedu p survivors and they live and die on thestreets of their cities. Using work from artists who were involved with the street art of United Art City, we propose a pigeon eyeview treasure hunt in which participantsfollow images and clues around Manchester's city centre. The first few to solve the clues, choose the right pigeon from our lineup and text in the solution win a pigeonlicious prize.

This Weekend - much fun

Oh yes - a beautiful birds eye treasure hunt, illicit camping, a search for dragons, the coming of kickball jesus and an exploration that reveals under the pavement: the grass.


There's also an article in todays MEN evening news focusing on art at the TRIP conference, you can find out more about that at and i'll write something here Monday - but for now i'm taking to the streets x

5 reasons to go and see geoff berner tonight at the britons protection

1 he's ace
2 he wrote 'light enough to travel' as sung by the be good tanya's
3 a bit of fun will be the perfect start to a weekend of loitering
4 i'm skint and you can buy me a drink if you like (or not, i dont mind)
5 i heard about the gig via a deliciously random phone call that began 'you won't remember me, but we met 4 years ago in texas...'

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Friday 13th Joy

Oh yes! We're not supersticous... it's a time for fun and frolics.

Manchester World Naked Bike Ride meets 6pm outside the basement lever st (how weird to post those words) for more details. and no, i won't be there for obvious fucked up legs reasons but i wish everyone that is all the best

Later on we will be at Geoff Berners gig at The Britons Protection Its gonna be great!

Here Be Dragons

This coming Sunday (15.06.08), meet 12 noon at the tiled map in victoria station (near the entrance where the taxis are) NB there will be various expiditions - some require buses, others local mooching.... you choose)

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Ruinous Recollections: Fellow Wanderers

Ruinous Recollections is an art project established by two Manchester-based curators, Darien Jane Rozentals and Robert Knifton. Taking multiple stories of the city as its start point, it will create works that etch memories into Manchester's urban canvas, re-imagining and adding layers to an already fluid city.

"Behind the visible built environment of the city lurk fictions and memories latent within urban space. The abandoned stories and neglected narratives that echo through the red-brick ruins of post-industrial Manchester represent a drift of deleterious dereliction, a literary psychogeography of the city where spectres of a forgotten past ghost-write their tales onto the decaying urban fabric. Part of Ruinous Recollections is unearthing these stories, and connecting them with contemporary artists, who through their work can elaborate upon the myths of city space"

Their new blog plans to document the evolution of their work; It's where I found the amazing image above from (apocolypse on newtown street) I’ve encountered them on various wanderings and always come away feeling enriched and with a new story buzzing in my brain. Last time I spoke to Robert he told a tale of philosophers flying kites in Glossop. They listen to the voices in the cracks of the pavement and the echoes round new tower blocks and use them to create something beautiful…..

I’m especially intrigued by Paul Harfleet’s work on Alan Turing. Turing, a founder of modern computing and AI has long been a figure I have found fascinating. I’ve often thought it slightly distasteful his memorial sits in Sackville Park clutching an apple (he committed suicide by eating one laced with cyanide after facing homophobic abuse). Then again I find much about the Canal Street ghetto troubling due its commodification of a certain kind of queer that alienates so many… but that’s another rant…. Anyhow my Dischordian spirit also loves the symbolisim of golden apples, and Harfleet’s Pansy Project is awesome so I’m looking forward to this work very much.

Incidentally prizes await anyone who finds a golden apple The LRM have secreted somewhere in fair mancunia.... Hail Eris! Hail Ruinous Recollections!

Ruinous Recollections will open at the Upper Space Gallery, Sunshine Studios, Newton Street on Friday 27th June 2008. The exhibition is intended as a works-in-progress look at the projects participating artists are working on.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Kickball Jesus is Nigh and he sends this message


AND THE only Postmodern Psychogeographer who won't return my calls, write me back, or give KICKBALL JESUS THE FUCKING TIME OF DAY FUCK DUDE...Christian Nold, Christina Ray and even Tom Hodgkinson (who returns nobody's calls?!) return my correspondence...WHO ARE YOU WILL SELF AND WHY AREN"T YOU AT TRIP? GOD'S GIFT TO FUCKING PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY?



YES it's a stolen IDEA blah blah blah SUNDAY June 15th KJ arrives @ 8:55am GMT on US AIRWAYS (I think they're about to go BANKRUPT, Umm Like the REST of our GODFORSAKEN COUNTRY...GODBLESS!)

Leaving the airport, Donning my IMMORTAL DIRTY ASS SHEET (NO I'm not wearing it on the plane..I'm Radical but not Fucking Retarded in this FASCIST NEW WORLD ORDER, I'd ACTUALLY LIKE to get to ENGLAND.....BEFORE They put the Handcuffs on me Duh!)
HOLY PROCESSION INTO TOWN. WITHOUT MAPS. IF THE SUN IS OUT SEE YOU ALL BY NOON. If it's Cloudy I'm FUCKED, I may very well end up VERY VERY FAR away and calling you Bitches from Scotland or Wales.

I will probably be easy to find en route if you'd like to JOIN IN. And yes I will knock on everyone's door along the way to ask for directions to Manchester City Centre and to see if they have any tea or scotch for the SECOND COMING OF PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY!



~Kickball Jesus

shhhh.... it's art

that was may favourite response by a passerby to the Urban (Col)laboratory performance on Friday. Least favourite, and most troubling, was the question 'Do you have a license to ask Questions'. Hmmm. Full reports and pictures from the weekend coming soonish....

Friday, 6 June 2008

an historical weekend

one of the things i love most about loitering en masse and psychogeography in general is its ephemeral nature and the flotsam and jetsam of the city floating by...

but still it's good to document that we were here (something i have been very lax at) so i'd like to encourage particpants to bring cameras and pencils and film making devices if you wish to create something permenant as well as memories. If you do have any recollections or memoriabila from past derives - or gather any during get lost - please do get in touch and share them with us.

lots of inspriring stuff going on this weekend (more details on all of them in previous posts)

Tonight (Friday 6th June) - 5.30pm - Piccadilly Gardens. Urban (Col)laboratory present their findings on manchester in a performance lecture

Tomorrow (Saturday 7th June) - 11am - The Royal Exchange Theatre The Cadaceus Walk; the mysterious Pegasus reveals the city's occult history as revealed through it's architecture. A special prize will be awarded by me for the best picture taken on this walk, as I won't be there and want to experience it vicariously

Sunday 8th June- 1pm -Outside the Crown and Kettle Great Ancoats Street - Dirty Old Town: A history tour with a difference through the streets of Ancoats

There's also the Anarchist Book Fair on Saturday and the fabulous Feast in Platt Fields Park at various times all weekend. Oh and summat about reclaiming Hulme Park this afternoon.

It's also a special weekend becuase two rather ace folk who bring magic, wisdom, joy (and a charming family) to the LRM and indeed the world in general are getting married. I'm glad to call them friends and fellow loiterers. Much love, best wishes and glitter to Sara and Sean xx

Manchester Anarchist Bookfair

Not an LRM event but one which we heartily endorse and urge everyone to pop along to tomorrow, Saturday 7th June 11-5 at Jabez Clegg. Lots of interesting things including much situationist literature and a big stack of (free) Get Lost programmes on The Basement stand

The Bookfair is the main opportunity of the year for anarchists in the north west to meet together, to network, plan and of course to buy and sell books, magazines and pamphlets. In addition to the 20 or so stalls, we also have a programme of meetings, food in the form of vegan fish and chips (yes, honestly) and music.

Stalls will be provided by: Active Distribution, AK Press and Distribution, Anarchist Federation, Basement Bookshop, Cattle Prod, Class War, Corporate Watch, Escapade, Hands off the People of Iraq, Industrial Workers of the World, Manchester Animal Protection, Manchester Climate Action/ Climate Camp, Manchester Film Co-Operative, Natterjack Press, No2ID, Northern Anarchist Network, Northern Herald Books, Northern Voices, Shift Magazine, Solidarity Federation, Under the Pavement, Workers Solidarity Movement, and more.

TALKS: We will be holding a series of sessions and talks at the Bookfair.

11.30am: Independent media

12.30pm: This is Anarchism "Everything you ever wanted to know about anarchism, but were afraid to ask..." Members of four different anarchist groups: Anarchist Federation, Class War, Solidarity Federation and Ireland's Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM) talk about their organisations and offer their definition of anarchism. This will be followed by a Question and Answer session.

1.30pm: Music from Daniel Orlick As a break from talks a live acoustic set from radical singer/ songwriter Daniel Orlick
2.30pm: Anarchism in Aotearoa An anarchist from New Zealand will be talking about anarchist politics, about Maori struggles and the recent state repression..

3.30pm: Anarchism and Economics
Warm greetings to all comrades and space cadets who will be in attendence - and don't forget to pop out for the Cadaceus walk, meeting 11am at The Royal Exchange xx

Thursday, 5 June 2008

performance times for urban (col)laboratory

tomorrow (friday 6 june) 5.30 in piccadilly gardens.

i'm really excited - hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

In town this week...

Urban (Col)laboratory Manchester: Blind Spots

A path crossed over and over, a street swept again and again…negotiations of the city are conducted through everyday rituals,tasks, and activities. The way places are perceived is premised onassumptions, conventions and rules that have material bearing on theway lives are lived; inscribed in spatial and mental structures that are partially produced by their incorporation.

Blind spots is a performance in the streets of Manchester that combines performance and architecture, practice and theory, intervention and lecture to offer a socio-spatial critique of these structures.

Urban (Col)laboratory are Helen Stratford, architect/critical writer (UK) & Diana Wesser media/performance artist (D)

Open Street Map at Manchester Free Software

Our friends at Manchester Free Software invite all loiterers to a meeting at Manchester Digital Development Agency Portland Street at 7pm on 17 June

John McKerrell gives an introduction to the collaborative mapping phenomenon that is Open Street Map, the project that aims to generate a streetmap of the entire world. John will also explain the workings of the OSM editors and show how to map your own area.

The full announcement is on their web site

OpenStreetMap aims to provide map data that gives people the freedom to use and distribute it. Google let you use their maps, but they don’t give you permission to customise them without restricting you to their tools. People can contribute new map data GPS, or by tracing aerial photography such as that from OpenAerialMap (another related projectaiming to provide open data), and fix errors in existing data.

Manchester Free Software is a group that started up last year with the aim of promoting free software, giving people the freedom to examine,use, modify and redistribute it, as defined by the free software definition of the GNU project.

Useful links:

Monday, 2 June 2008

Coming Up Next Weekend!

Next weekend sees two quite different but equally interesting themed walks around our beloved city.

The Caduceus Walk

On Saturday (7th June) join the mysterious pegasus - and the rest of us - for a jaunt around central Manchester unearthing the mysteries of its esoteric architecture. If, like us, you weren't sure what the word esoteric actually means ('intended for or understood by only a particular group: an esoteric cult' - esoteric is actually quite an esoteric word isn't it) then come along and get initiated!

From a theatre built on Kabbalistic and Rosicurian dimensions to one of Manchester's most famous three-sided, seven-tiered public buildings. Plus, the myterious, mystical, pattern in the carpet of the city fathers, of the Golden Age of Manchester's Industrial Revolution - all will be revealed!

Dirty Old Town: A Tour of Old Ancoats

On Sunday the 8th (the very next day) we venture North West of the Northern Quarter across the ring road for a historical tour of Ancoats, the world's first industrial suburb and the cradel of the Industrial Revolution in Manchester. Discover the stories of its people and the unique buildings before gentrification clears them away.

Did you know, a fictional singer, 'Ann Coates', is credited with backing vocals on the 1986 single 'Bigmouth Strikes' Again by The Smiths, also included on their album 'The Queen Is Dead'?

On Saturday we're meeting at the Royal Exchange at 11am and on Sunday at 1pm outside The Crown and Kettle pub, Great Ancoats Street (opposite the end of Oldham Street).

We hope to see you there - please get in touch with any questions. As usual we'll be finishing each walk with beverages and chit chat.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Psychogeography, Paganism and the Occult

Or – a romantic personal view of Manchester Psychogeography from a Pagan’s Perspective.

Todays event was great fun. We made and then followed fantastic maps updating the old surrealist game of exquisite corpses. The derive was preceeded by a really interesting debate - thanks to all who turned out despite the rain. This is the text from Sean's contribution (the rest of us weren't clever enough to write stuff down) The pictures are from the All Fools Day derive 2006 and all show Manchester icons, good, bad and esoteric...

One of the main tenets of Paganism as it is popularly understood is that it is a nature religion – which is true enough as far as it goes, but such a concept would exclude cities and city life. It doesn’t.

From my own perspective, the city – particularly an old and constantly evolving city, like Manchester - is where the two great occult qualities of life meet. The yang of buildings and streets meets the yin of rats, pigeons and slow evolution. One can visualise these qualities as the chaotic fire and ordered ice of Nordic mythology meeting in the great seething pot of Ginnungagap. The city is where mankind has used his natural creativity to go beyond himself and create something with a life and character all its own. The city is a living creature, made of the little lives of its residents and visitors, human, animal and plant.

When I was growing up in Radcliffe there were few people I could relate to. As in all small towns and suburbs conformity was the norm: a low education, a manual job and a life spent watching Coronation Street and going to the pub.
At 15 I discovered Manchester and, like many misfits before me, I also discovered kindred souls. The city drew them in and gave them a place, often many places. The city has always been a place for misfits and still is. There are meetings for Pagans organised by other Pagans in the centre of its magnetic whirlpool, there are occult shops, there are nightclubs for the darkly inclined. The heart of a city is made of its misfits, its oddities and its weirdoes. In the city they are normal.

It might be because the city is a place of learning and education that it draws the strange and occult to its bosom. It worked well for Doctor John Dee and for many others. Even some of the buildings have occult geometry hidden within their strata of history.

One of the most admired of all the traditional Pagan skills is that of Shamanism. The Shaman joins with the spirits of his land and intercedes on behalf of his tribe. He speaks to the Genius Loci, the Spirit of Place.

Manchester has it’s own Genius Loci, made of the Spirits of its various areas – the Northern Quarter, Chinatown, the Gay Village – like a beehive is made of workers, drones and honey – the Genius Loci of Manchester is the queen of that hive. Her hive is made of the spirits, lives and psychic energy of those who live in her, work in her and visit her.

The Shaman can feel these energies and speak to the ghosts they leave behind. The shaman psychogeographer walks the city with part of his spirit in the sky above it, part in the shops and apartments and part in the soil, tunnels and underground rivers on which Manchester sits like a huge, broody, dirty pigeon.

But it’s not just about buildings and psychic energy. There is nature in the city. The sun shines on Manchester like it shines on any field of waving corn, and the sky rains on it too – although possibly rather more so!

As well as the parks and gardens deliberately built to bring relief from stone, glass and concrete, and the planted street trees desperately trying to glean some breath from the petrol fumes, real nature has found a foothold.

Only the toughest survive, but survive they do and many thrive. Dandelion, plantain, chickweed and hairy bittercress sneak in despite the abuse of weedkiller sprays and tramping feet. But the greatest of all must be the Buddleia – the Butterfly Bush – our finest Chinese immigrant who has made Manchester his home. If the Bee is Manchester’s animal symbol, then the Buddleia should be its plant.

The animals also, (the small and tough) have made Manchester their home. Everyone knows about the pigeons, the rats and the mice, but what of the fox, the swan nesting under Victoria Bridge and the starlings which were once such a feature of a Manchester winter? The starlings have moved on now and their place has been taken by new residents, the Peregrine Falcons and the Sparrowhawks.

Finally there is that ultimate expression of Psychogeographic practice, the dérive.

What more Taoist and purposeless act could there be other than to leave one’s destination to the Gods themselves? With a die, a cup, or a magic plastic fish the will of Fate is revealed to those who will be still enough to listen.

Manchester, the Occult Pagan city, shows us where she wants us to go. We have but to obey her Genius.

Seán Fitton May 2008

urban (col)laboratory manchester: blind spots

Urban Laboratory are Helen Stratford and Diana Wesser.

Helen Stratford is an architect based in Cambridge, UK, she is a member of feminist art/architecture collaborative taking place. Located between art, architecture and writing, her work uses critical and feminist theories to resist and move beyond binary and gendered representational systems.

Diana Wesser is a performance/media artist based in Leipzig, Germany. Through videos, performances and participatory projects she investigates social and cultural codes, how they become apparent in the body and its relation to space.

For further details and individual CVs see &

The LRM are delighted to be welcoming Urban Laboratory to Manchester this week; they will be researching and producing a performance that will take place on Friday 6th June.

They will be watching Manchester's daily routines and looking at the city as a stage for every day performances which construct reality.....

Watch this space for more details.... x