…..through the rural idyll that is London road as it wends its way down the glory of Piccadilly approach down towards the Mancunian way. A more wretched hive of scum and villainy…., sorry, wandering off towards Obi Wan Kenobi for a moment there, but there is something about this part of Manchester that drags my mind over that way. The 4 star McDonald hotel passed by on my left in its “all fur coat and no knickers” modern incarnation that fools nobody, the Mancunian way with the Skate Rats leaping, falling and then falling that bit further with very little effort underneath its concrete embrace. I stopped, my eyes drawn to the set of Stalinist grey, angular and brutal buildings that are the old UMIST part of the Manchester University portfolio. If the architect ever had any liking towards human kind and any other fleshy being that inhabited this planet, then it blatantly failed them when they designed this place
And then I moved on lest I become all consumed by the concrete gloom. Some people like this type of building, some people think it is absolutely fucking awful, I think I can safely say that I fall in to the latter.
Somewhere off in the distance a dull, yet insistent thudding bass line swept by on the wind. The tinny hiss of a high-hat cymbal joined in the fun until it reached a skittering crescendo of Hard House music. I looked up towards the beat and the hiss and saw the multi-coloured deluge of the Pride flags and the world suddenly seemed to turn day-glo. I escaped the gloom of a million and one despotic or deluded planning regimes and in to a world of strange and weirdly brilliant images. I was in, what I supposed what are the gardens for this part of the University and an opportunity to let the minds of creative lunatics run rampant. But this bit I loved. Nothing austere, just everything barking and off the wall.
First of all I encountered Archimedes (who else) appearing to being scalding his dangling appendages as he tried to escape his bath:
Quickly to be presented with the biggest bottle of Vimto (for those of you who have never tasted it or indeed heard of it look it up. Brief bit of pop history for you, it was a soft drink designed to tease people away from the evils of alcohol in Northern England. I can’t help but think that they didn’t try hard enough).
Within no more than about 300 yards, we had gone from the suicidally dull, to the gloriously incongruous sights of a man in scalding his balls in a bath in the name of weight displacement/science, and a giant bottle of fruit cordial. Anybody who says there is nothing to see in Manchester, clearly isn’t trying hard enough!