Friday, 30 January 2009

February first sunday, birthday treats and beyond

Dear friends, faeries and fellow comrades in loitering

I hope you are enjoying the year so far and finding time to loiter and enjoy the view. What’s the best thing you’ve seen today?

On my way to work this morning I spied an open door, there was a sign on it that said MUST KEEP CLOSED. IF NOT INTRUDERS MAY ENTER. I was musing on the invitation when a girl in a pretty coat scurried past enthusing ‘it was the loveliest, most beautiful squid I’ve ever seen’ so her friend asked what colour it was. They were suddenly too far away for me to hear the answer but I felt glad to be here, now, in our city.

If you’re feeling jaded and craving sunshine, may I suggest taking the lift to the top of the shudehill car park when it’s dark and savouring the view…. let the city lights dazzle you…. I recommend taking a flask with your favourite warming beverage but please please please take care: don’t get so mesmerised you fall prey to a car, that most terrible of foe and sworn enemy of loitering (although I’ll admit they do come in handy sometimes)

Alternatively, and if you fancy some convivial company please come and join us THIS SUNDAY for a collective bimble. It is the second birthday of first Sundays, which may be a confusingly constructed sentence but frankly I’ve only just realised and I am so thrilled I can’t quite think how to convey my joy. How the devil did that happen?!!

To celebrate we will be striking out of our usual territory and exploring Stockport. I’ve always found it a charming place and also deeply peculiar. I trust residents will take that as the compliment I intend it to be. For me it’s a place full of twists and turns and twittens – lots of history (what a daft phrase) and a heady combination of decay, regeneration, hats and proper, decent pubs. Mind you, its been a while since I’ve spent much time there and I know its changed a lot – so I look forward immensely to seeing what the LRM discover.

Please come and join us, we’ll be congregating on the balcony at Piccadilly Station at 12.30 to embark on the 12.55 train, due to arrive 13.04 at Stockport. The main foyer will be the best place to join us if you wish to meet us at our destination.

Obviously we will be prey to the whims of public transport and I confess some trepidation about the logistics so please do strive to make the Piccadilly rendezvous if you can. However, if this does not suit or you are delayed and wish to locate us please call the LRM hotline on 07974929589 and we will do our best to rescue you

I also have some other news to share which I hope will be of interest:

Simon has kindly offered to help produce our new booklet – a loiterers guide or somesuch treasury of our adventures which will also act as a recruitment device. If you have any thoughts on what it should contain or wish to contribute in any way we shall be chewing pencils in The Sandbar Grosvenor Street from 6pm next Tuesday (3rd February) or alternatively please email Simon directly at

Plans are also afoot for a very special night of music, films, words and assorted shenanigans focused around issues of surveillance / identity / public space and the city, probably huddled under the magical subvert umbrella We have a very splendid headline act…. If you have skills, ideas or time to share to make it happen (musical talent, short films and tech support especially welcome) please don’t be shy and email

Finally last week I met with the good folk from MDPAG (Manchester Disabled Peoples Access Group) who had very troubling tales to tell of access routes erased from official maps for aesthetic reasons. Together we lamented the pain of an unnavigatable city full of barriers. Justice does not involve stairs! Manchester does have shockingly few accessible venues (and I know I am a hypocrite for not always using them. The multiple ironies of this entire paragraph are not lost on me)

This is where you may be able to help…. MDPAG use a ratings system to grade venues but there is no comprehensive guide as yet. They particularly want more information on pubs. I feel sure The LRM can rally for such a good cause – anyone fancy an ethical trip around town to rate hostelries for their access? Please email me if you’re willing to help and I’ll set a date.

I hope our paths cross soon, until then look after yourself

Glittery love

Morag x

geography rocks. oh no it doesn't. that's geology (boom tish)

I had an amazingly inspiring time last weekend at the Engaging Geography seminar in Newcastle, its the first in a series and I heartily commend them to you

My head is still buzzing and I have many ideas to assimilate, these are just a few of the lovely folk i met:

lots of lovely map shaped resources (i found the inaugeration wordcloud fascinating)

a low impact eco village project

hauntingly beautiful meditation on a public space

perhaps best of all was the chance to join the naughty but nice guerilla geographers on an action about ID cards, the only time in my life I have ever been confused with a cop.

It all happened at the star and shadow cinema which i have heard so much about and was not disappointed by. (my favourite door in the world, well this week anyway, is situated there) Manchester is missing a social centre!

But who was Moles Marvel who greets me every morning?

Of course an objective map is a myth; every step of the cartographers art involves choices, editing, naming, focusing and pretending otherwise is disingenuous. Its particularly interesting to see the gap between an official neighbourhood boundary, used perhaps for admin purposes, and contrasting it with residents perceptions of where they think they live. Much frustration can ensue (I speak as someone who feels like i live in Whalley Range but actually don't)

I was musing on this when studying the Ardwick Heritage Trail, produced for the Victoria Baths Neighbourhood Master Plan. I'll confess I've only seen a paper copy but the website is here (actually I've just looked and there are a lot of blank pages)

Now this is a very useful resource and nicely done; it covers some important and amazing places such as The Pankhurst Centre, Victoria Baths, The Gaskell House, The Armenian Church are more - well worthy of accolades and recognition - and bonus points for details of public transport.

But some curious choices have been made. The Whitworth Gallery doesn't feel like Ardwick does it? And where is Ardwick Green? A really interesting park, with its own glacier, and a ragged school, Manchester's second oldest church, the grave of moles marvel and one of my favourite gargoyle's surrounding it. Hmmm.

I can't help but contrast the 'official' tour with that devised by the indomitable Miss Euphemia P Niblock last year. Having spent many years studying Brunswick and becoming its passionate champion it saddens me she was obviously not consulted by the powers that be.

I was privileged to take tea with various scholars and artists at the areas cultural heart - Apartment - before being escorted on a magical tour which encompassed all kinds of delights from colonies of parrots, lost sky walks (i note failed regeneration masterplans have no place in history), radical adventurers, guerrilla gardeners and more.

Although the marvellous Miss Niblock was otherwise engaged her spirit and wisdom was imprinted all over the place. She surely is a national (not just local) treasure and an inspiration to all loiterers everywhere. I commend her writings to you as an excellent guide to not just our fair city's post industrial heritage but also life in general.

saluting the work of geniuses everywhere

just got an email from those brave and agile and obviously very naughty friends of mine the urban explorers (you may recall seeing some of their underground pictures in the get lost festival)

If you ever get bored of the view from the shudehill car park there is always for the more adventurous of a higher view. Have a look at some of my pictures showing how far this great city can stretch into the distance some times.

Oh, that reminds me.... I still have posted my review of the Urbis show....
in the meatime might i recommend

and thanks again mr spiderman x

Thursday, 29 January 2009

subversive spaces

a very interesting looking conference and exhibition, thanks to everyone who forwarded the link which i left languishing in my inbox!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

pleasing echoes

TRIP made the 24 hour museums list of 2008's best exhibitions. Well done everyone!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The abandoned buildings project is back. Hooray!

The very fine Abandoned Buildings Project as created by Jane Samuels, loiterer of distinction, will be on view as part of the Salford University Contemorary Arts MA Graduation show

The preview is next week, 13 January 6pm at Salford uni's Chapman Gallery and Allerton Annexe. At 7pm the show moves to Nexus Art Cafe, Dale s.t, Northern Quarter, Manchester

Many of you will know Jane and have seen her beautiful and haunting images when some were included in TRIP. I really would urge you to go and see her work if you can - I personally love it, and think it a far more enchanting look at the art of urban exploration than some other current exhibitions. Plus, of course, MA shows are always interesting and enlightening.

I won't be at the opening due to a date with erm Mary Poppins so if anyone wants to join me on a trip to Salford the following weekend do please holler. I'll check opening times, transport, closing dates etc and add them here soon xx

Friday, 2 January 2009

The first first sunday of 2009.....

Dear friends, fiends, immortals and loiterers

I wanted resist the urge to get reflective at the end of 2008 but the zeitgeist was too potent and besides i realised it was futile claiming immunity from conventional time whilst thriving on our own monthly ritual wanderings. So i shall confess i get a glow of wonder and pride when i think of all the LRM got up to last year, thanks so much to everyone who contributed in any way.

It is even more thrilling to think of the adventures still to come and treasures to uncover as i hope we will continue to thrive in 2009. Please come and join us as we celebrate the first first Sunday of the new year in traditional LRM style - with a trip that enables us to feel like tourists in our home territory and discover the magic, mystery and mischief all around us.

Due to the twin cliches of circumstances beyond our control and popular demand the LRM expedition out of the city has been postponed for a month and instead we will be revisiting Ancoats, one of MManchester's most fascinating and historically important areas. We'll be playing games focused on change and how we can make it happen - rather appropriate given this time of resolutions (Yes, I have made one; it does concern the LRM but I'm keeping it under my very warm hat for now) - as well as what we mean by public space and how it is being transformed...

Our city is always in a state of flux and will never be complete; re/de/re/development doesn't happen by accident - it is guided by stories, imagination, ideas and ideologies - what do we contribute to this process and how can we manifest the city of our dreams? (Do we even know what we want it to look like?)

To start this great adventure please come and join the LRM this Sunday, 4th January, 2pm at Cafe Pop Oldham Street - its downstairs under the pop boutique, opposite Forbidden Planet. We'll be wandering off about 2.15 so please wrap up warm! If you're late, want a chat first or have any other queries about the event please get in touch via the LRM hotline on 07974929589.

In a lovely synchronicity my diary tells me its the 101st anniversary of William Martin of Wallsend making a successful perpetual motion machine - following 36 failed attempts and a dream involving lying naked in a wood and a big playful lion. Hmmm. Anyone able to explain this will receive a special prize, as will the best suggestion of a game to play with my new deck of Manchester themed playing cards

I hope to see you soon, in the meantime please don't loose your gloves and may 2009 brings your heart's desire

Glittery love and fancy cocktails

Morag x