Posts Tagged ‘Manchester’

It bee-gins…

Mancunicon badge

For those of you attending, I’ll be on the following panels, by way of reminder:

Dealing with Anxiety in Fandom

Friday 14:30 – 15:30, Room 7 (Hilton Deansgate)

Many fans experience anxiety, whether as part of their daily life, in recurring bouts or just for one period in their life. However often a fan experiences anxiety, managing this at conventions and in online communities is a major skill. In this session people who have found their own ways through the difficult process open up about their own experiences.

 

Manchester in Speculative Fiction

Sunday 10:00 – 11:00, Deansgate 2 (Hilton Deansgate)

We’re surrounded by the bricks and mortar of the city itself, but what about all the alternate, futuristic, fantastical, or not-quite there Manchesters we know from SF and fantasy?

Place, Identity, Story

Monday 13:00 – 14:00, Room 6 (Hilton Deansgate)

A story does not exist in a vacuum. Stories are shaped by (among other things) the people they happen to, and characters are shaped by (among other things) the places they inhabit. How do SF and fantasy explore the inter-relationship of place, identity, and story? Which SF protagonists are uniquely tied to their places, and which SF places only make sense when seen by specific protagonists?

If you’re terribly lucky, you might catch me helping out elsewhere. More likely though, you’ll catch me just wandering around the event. In which case, come say hi! I’ll be carrying those lovely business cards around, should you like one, and also will hopefully have a few copies of Oblivion Storm and Primal Storm available on the Newcon Press stand. They have a 5:30 pm book launch you should get to as well!

There is a readings open mic on Sunday at 17:30 that I can be at if people would like to hear me do a reading of one of the two books, but you’d have to let me know first!

And now, I shall begin the journey in to actually start doing these things! Enjoy whatever you are doing this weekend, and if you’re joining me, I won’t say no to a drink if you’re offering 🙂

Mancunicon logo bee

Advertisements

Today, I have another guest post on my blog, as promised some days ago. The topic is wonderful when it comes to crossover between the theme I tend to have when I get guests here: locations, and also the fact that this particular location happens to be my base of operations at the moment.

Readers: I would like to proudly introduce Vicky Hartley, and the Sticky Sounds zine. There is also of course a Sticky Sounds blog, as regular readers may know.

I will be back soon with details of my upcoming activities, but for now, take it away, Vicky!

Image

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Image

I was not born a native of Manchester, my family are from Liverpool and I was born in Plymouth on the South West coast of Devon. I moved to Manchester about thirteen years ago, at the age of 21, following my then boyfriend to the city. He later left but I stayed.

It may not be the city of my birth but is now my hometown, a fact that will remain true in the future, wherever I may come to live.

Image

I feel a connection with Manchester, with its history, its canals, its backstreets, its beautiful red bricks, even with its rain. My favourite location is not simply the city itself, but the side of it that lies secret and is hidden to most residents, the side of the city that can be found in its underground tunnels, in its abandoned buildings, in its old mills and waterways. I spend much of my time seeking out and photographing these places in the hope that I might communicate this passion with others.

The history of this beautiful city lies all around us, like the rings of a tree, all you have to do is look for it.

Image

“Very soon these same deserted sidewalks would be thronged with people. The city would go about its business in ignorance: never knowing what it was built upon, or what it owed its life to.” – Clive Barker, Midnight Meat Train

At the heart of every city is a monster that feeds on blood, and of no city is this more true than Manchester. Once known as “Cottonopolis” and the Warehouse City, Manchester led the world in industrialisation.

Image

“What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow.”

The Industrial Revolution brought great wealth to the city, but hand in hand with this came unparalleled poverty and squalor for a large part of the population. These people were nothing more than cattle for the greater good. A new underclass destined to live in a new kind of hell. The fires of this hell burned and smouldered in the red bricks as smoke billowed constantly from the dark satanic mills. The unbroken, monotonous rumbling of the looms filled the air and mingled with the heat of the steam. The city was a giant machine and its inhabitants reduced to units of labour, small expendable parts of the whole. Not so much a city as an assault on the senses. Overcrowding was chronic with whole families living in single rooms, and little or no sewage works for most of the nineteenth century. The only refuge that most of the poor would ever know from the hardships of their everyday life was found in alcohol. Their anger often expressed itself through violent crime, from domestic violence between husband and with to the youth gangs, or ‘scuttlers’ who ran amok on Manchester’s streets. When you look at these past extremes of the city it raises the question ‘what does it mean to have a life?’ These people remain in Manchester today, in its red bricks and the canals that run like veins through the city. As do all inhabitants who come afterwards, we are all Manchester, all serving the beast.

Image

It’s called ‘urban exploring,’ when we go crawling or climbing into these old abandoned spaces, forgotten by people but not by nature. Old buildings that lie frozen at a point in time, and walking in these corridors it can feel as though the same thing has happened to you. Removed from the rest of the world and the reality of your life outside those damp and decaying walls, silence there becomes something that you can feel.

Image

As we pass through rooms filled with remnants of the buildings former life it is as though we walk a path between the living and the dead. An abandoned building stands as an unintended mausoleum to a past world, until the present returns once more to sweep it all away.

“I find beauty in decay. I like to see nature conquering what man has left. I believe that old buildings have a soul, and when I photograph these places I try to capture a piece of that soul.”

Image

Image

Volume 5 of Sticky Sounds Zine is back from the printers and ready to post out. It includes an interview with R.A. Smith and a feature on urban legends, amongst other things. Should you like to request a copy then please get in touch: www.facebook.com/stickysoundszine

Image