Carry On Screaming with The Sun

In terms of sheer hypocrisy no other British newspaper can match The Sun. Take Tuesday’s issue…

On the bottom half of the front page: relatives of the victims of the ‘Moors Murderers’ condemn Granada Television for merely filming an episode of Coronation Street on Saddleworth Moor.

On the top half of The Sun’s front page: ‘Free today! Carry On Screaming DVD’. Which is especially appalling when you consider that Brady and Hindley recorded one of their victims as they abused her.

Carry On Screaming with The Sun

Presumably it is OK for Rupert Murdoch to use the murders along with a comedy DVD to sell his rag of a ‘newspaper’?

As far as the Coronation Street issue is concerned… I have sympathy with the relatives, but I don’t think you can ban all filming at a certain location because of something that happened forty years ago. Any drama that is based in Manchester, and which needs a desolate location, is going to turn to the moors.

Actually I’ve always wondered if the 1959 film Hell Is A City gave Brady ideas in the first place. There is a scene in that where a woman who works in a bookmakers is abducted by the robbers, murdered in the car and her body thrown out on the moors.

Very few films were made in Manchester, so Hell Is A City would have been a big event. It had its premiere at the Apollo Theatre, Ardwick, in April 1960. Brady and Hindley began killing and burying the bodies on Saddleworth Moor just over three years later…

 

130-year-old cast-iron bridge removed on Canal Street

Until about a month ago there was a 130-year-old cast-iron bridge across the canal at the junction of Sackville Street and Canal Street, in the gay village. Now it has been removed and replaced by a concrete replica.

I took these photographs on Sunday, but I held off posting about this until I had checked the facts. But yes it’s true. It has all gone and what you see now, in the pictures shown here, is moulded concrete that will be painted.

The 130-year-old cast-iron bridge on Canal Street has been replaced by a concrete one

The 130-year-old cast-iron bridge on Canal Street has been replaced by a concrete one

The 130-year-old cast-iron bridge on Canal Street has been replaced by a concrete one

The 130-year-old cast-iron bridge on Canal Street has been replaced by a concrete one

The really pathetic thing is that they have screwed the original makers plate onto the concrete.

The existing bridge didn’t meet traffic regulations. Heaven forbid that they might stop enormous buses hurtling along this street and route them another way, so the original bridge could have been preserved. Far easier to destroy another part of Manchester’s heritage…

People may think ‘it’s only a bridge’. The trouble is, bits here and there disappear and, before you know it, an area has lost everything that made it ‘special’ in the first place.

I know Manchester has to be a working city. But we’re told that, in the future, Britain will have to rely on its cultural heritage to compete with emerging nations such as China and India. The trouble is, we’re throwing our cultural heritage down the drain through neglect and unsympathetic development.

In Manchester, the planners seem to have no overall picture in their heads. Everything is turning into an ugly ‘mish-mash’.

 

Curious building techniques

In recent years there has been a tremendous amount of building going on in Manchester. It’s all around, all the time, and as I walk into the city centre for lunch with Peter several times each week we get to see the new buildings appear step-by-step.

Curious new buiding under construction at Spring Gardens, Manchester

Yesterday we saw this curious structure in Spring Gardens, near the Post Office. We couldn’t quite visualise how it may end up. Peter thought it looked like something from the backlot of a Hollywood studio.

Building techniques seem to change all the time too. The latest thing seems to be huge white polystyrene sheets that are sandwiched inside walls. Many buldings seem to grow from the inside out these days.

Curious new buiding under construction at Spring Gardens, Manchester

 

48% think smoking should be outlawed completely

Last night MPs voted to ban smoking in all pubs, clubs, restaurants and other enclosed public spaces in England. The ban should start from summer 2007.

I’m delighted because I have asthma and an hour spent in a smoke-filled pub generally means a day feeling bad afterwards.

Yesterday we were in a cafe having a meal and there were several people smoking. This is the problem. For every considerate smoker, there is one who seems to take great delight in being as obnoxious as possible. Glad to see the end of it.

A poll for BBC Newsnight found that 64% of the public agreed that smoking should be banned in all public places. While 48% thought all smoking should be completely outlawed — anytime, any place.

Campaigners welcome smoking ban

 

A critical rise in world temperatures is now unavoidable

The Independent newspaper reports that a dangerous rise in temperature is now unavoidable. We are on course for ‘a rise in global mean temperatures to two degrees above the level before the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century,’ the article says.

The two degree threshold was set down by scientists from around the world last year and, beyond it, really dangerous climate change is likely to be unstoppable.

Consequences include the Greenland ice sheet melting which would lead to a sea-level rise of several metres.

Global warming: passing the ‘tipping point’

 

Profits fall in Manchester’s gay village

This morning, both The Independent and The Times have stories about profits being down in Manchester’s gay village. Income has fallen by 20-25% they say.

This is not a surprise to me. Recently I found figures that suggest, since they began charging for entry, attendance at Manchester Pride has fallen to one quarter of what it was in 2002. And contrary to the ‘best-ever event’ hype that we see in the media each year afterwards.

Aw what a shame. Now, after ten years during which time the businesses abandoned their traditional loyal customer base in search of the biggest possible profits, finally the chickens are coming home to roost.

Neither article mentions that gay bars and clubs used to be a safe space that could be enjoyed by gay men and women of all ages. The pubs may have had curtains at the windows but, once inside, they were friendly and rather civilised. You never saw a fight and it was rare to see anyone really drunk and misbehaving.

Anyway, the ‘gay village’ has always been a commercial manufactured thing. Years ago, the bars and clubs were spread across the city centre — from Deansgate and Spring Gardens to Sackville Street. Despite what it says in The Independent, there were no gay bars actually on Canal Street until the early 1990’s (the entrance to the Rembrandt is on Sackville Street and the New Union is on Princess Street).

These days the area is threatening, unpleasant, cynical and aimed exclusively at the 18-30 age group who have a high disposable income and drink a lot. Everyone else has been driven out. There is no ‘community’ anymore and they should stop pretending this now-awful area is anything of the sort.

Even the bricks and mortar have been destroyed in the quest for profit. Old shop fronts have been ripped out to make way for takeaways or bigger bars, stonework has been removed from the front of the old warehouse buildings and the original cobbles are long gone. Controversial and tacky waste-of-money memorials have been put up in Sackville Park, when the cost could have been better spent actually helping people.

It’s not just the fact that we are now more-accepted at other places around Manchester and have other ways to meet people — such as the Internet. It is that we don’t like what the so-called gay village has been turned into by money-grabbing businesses and Manchester City Council.

Now The Rembrandt (which used to be a men-only bar) is to take the drastic step of banning hen parties. Unfortunately, the time to do that was ten years ago. Not now, just because your profits are down.

So what is the future? I think the outlook is bleak for the businesses down there. Gay men and women are going to continue voting with their feet and the over-30’s who, in the past, would have been customers for life, won’t ever return. As the area becomes increasingly ‘less gay’, there won’t be the novelty value, so the ‘non-gay’ customers won’t bother with that part of town anymore.