Monthly Archives: July 2015

Update on Revolutions Anthology! (sort of)

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Been relatively busy recently so this will be a short-ish post. Over the past few weeks I’ve been editing The Manchester Speculative Fiction Group’s first ever anthology, “REVOLUTIONS”, together with my co-editors. This is a science-fiction/horror/fantasy compendium of short stories, all loosely connected to my home town of Manchester, England in some way. So I thought I would take a moment to share some insights into Manchester.

Manchester is a city that is close to my heart. Like a piece of shrapnel from a bullet wound that is lodged there. I don’t think I’m alone in having a love/hate relationship with the city. On the one hand, it has a proud industrial heritage, a lively student population, the BBC, world-class football, great shopping, and architecture so good they filmed part of “Captain America” here. On the other hand it suffered greatly from urban decay, has sprawling council estates, and the levels of high crime, poverty and homelessness associated with many inner cities. And did I mention the football?

In recent years Manchester has changed again, with the creation of the rather Bohemian Northern Quarter section, full of quirky cafes and bars. Manchester today is a city in flux.

If you want to know what Manchester is like, you can see a rather sanitized version of it here…

Manchester's lovely Town Hall.

Manchester’s lovely Town Hall.

or here…

 

A rather nice leafy suburb in Greater Manchester.

A rather nice leafy suburb in Greater Manchester.

 

…or here are some rather less flattering images:

Manchester town centre.

Manchester town centre.

 

Or here…

Brunswick council estate, Manchester.

Brunswick council estate, Manchester.

Or perhaps here…

Studentville, Manchester.

Studentville, Manchester.

 

Like it or loathe it, Manchester has always been fertile ground for poets, artists, writers and musicians. There’s something about the place that inspires escapism. Perhaps it’s all that industrial age architecture (while some of the new buildings in the city centre are straight out of a science-fiction novel) or the twisting back alleys that could hold unexpected tales of horror or fantasy. In any case, it has inspired some fascinating stories that hopefully we’ll be sharing with you in the coming months.

Until then, here are some of the famous (or notorious) people who have come from the city:

Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange novelist), Professor Brian Cox (physicist and TV presenter), The Stone Roses, LS Lowry (artist), The Bee Gees, Robert Donat (actor), Oasis, The Hollies, Joy Division and New Order, Davy Jones (The Monkees), David Lloyd George (Prime Minister), Ian McShane (actor), Emmeline Pankhurst (Suffragette),Thomas De Quincey (novelist), The Happy Mondays, John Thaw (actor), 10cc, The Buzzcocks, Elkie Brooks (Singer), Elbow, Georgie Fame (Singer), George Formby (comedy actor), Manchester United Football Club, Freddie and the Dreamers, Herman’s Hermits, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Morrissey and The Smiths, Sad Café, Lisa Stansfield, Simply Red, The Verve, Stephen Leather (novelist), Nicholas Royle (novelist), Bernard Hill (actor Titanic, Lord of the Rings), David Warner (actor Tron, The Omen), Jack Wild (child actor Oliver!), Harold Shipman (Britain’s biggest ever serial killer), Beryl Reid (actress), The Moors Murderers, Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden novelist), Winston Churchill (Born in Oxfordshire but MP for Oldham and then MP for Manchester North-West).

Maybe we’ll see more names added to the list after the anthology!

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