Utter the phrase ‘a weekend in Manchester’ and most Leeds students probably think of going to Warehouse Project, spending half their student loan, and leaving with a crippling hangover. Between the 10th and the 13th of October however, LSi had a different type of weekend. We went along to the yearly cultural festival hosted in this great city: Manchester Weekender.
The showing – hosted by the North West Film Archive – began with a small talk from a representative of the archive who explained a bit what we were about to watch, followed by A City Speaks, widely acknowledged as the greatest civic film made in the post-war period. Released in 1947 by the Manchester Corporation (the current Council’s prede- cessor), the film is an uplifting appraisal and review of the history, present and future of Manchester, as seen through the corporation’s lens in 1947. The film was one of sweeping vistas, gritty shots of urban industrial life and stirring voice overs alluding to the shining future that awaits Mancunians; as the director apes the fast-cutting tech- niques of the Soviet masters, switching between various scenes of the joys of Mancunian life, while Ride of the Valkyries is played in the background. Thoroughly rousing.
Music | The Unconvention
This ‘un-convention’ was a combination of different things all going on throughout the day, which all prima- rily focused on the creation of an EP in that one day. This meant that the ‘un-convention’ consisted firstly of a gig, then a technical talk on the creation of the EP, followed by a round table discussion, by a number of in- dividuals from various professions, about how creativity works (at least in their eyes). This part was particu- larly amusing, as certain members of the panel seemed to be going to great lengths to suggest that all creativity is essentially the same, whereas the scientist and teacher on the panel seemed to spend most of their time disagreeing. Nonetheless, the gig was enjoyable, and EP itself certainly worth the wait.
Art | The Howard Gallery
This superb exhibition by Jeremy Deller presented a fusion of modernism and Northern industrialisation, jux- taposing 18th century song sheets with 1970s LPs and sketching the family trees of famous northern musi- cians – such as Bryan Ferry – back into the 18th century. A particularly quirky choice of Deller’s was a short film, shown in a side room, about northern wrestlers in the 1970s, with accompanying literature on a side table. This featured a series of ageing men, reflecting on their glory days wearing blonde wigs and play fighting one another in the ring. These engrossing pieces, coupled with the style in which Deller presented them contributed to a truly enthralling exhibition. The free beer and wine didn’t hurt either.
Lifestyle | The Craft Centre
The centre can be found in the beguiling Northern Quarter, set within an impressive Victorian building which evokes memories of Crystal Palace, with boutique shops nestled away in the building, selling a great array of things from fine handmade jewellery, to pottery, to very pleasant canvas paintings. The centre was a boon for any arts and crafts enthusiast, with a particularly enjoyable mini art space, focusing on artistic representations of the alphabet, entitled ‘Forming Words’. These pieces focused on amorphous interpretations of letters of the alphabet and provided a nice variation on the centre as a whole.
The Weekender provided an intriguing, if somewhat haphazard, affair. So. although it might not be in Leeds, as its only a weekend, for next year LSi would certainly recommend a short trip across the Pennines to see what Manchester and its Weekender has to offer.
Photos: Joseph James