Armentieres Square Christmas Trees

Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, December 2019: The Ashton Review of Shops

This month’s window on the shop windows

  • Small Business Saturday;
  • Christmas cheer across the borough;
  • Plus all the usual retail movements from the Half Way House to The Dysarts Arms.

A certain singer would have said at this point of the year “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” This year, due to a General Election falling on this month, isn’t your normal run-up to The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Continue reading “Retail Comings and Goings in Tameside, December 2019: The Ashton Review of Shops”
Bus Regulation The Musical graphic

Bus Regulation The Musical: The Review

How Ellie Harrison’s show brought us fifty years of Greater Manchester transport history on wheels

Baroness Castle of Blackburn (played by Summer Dean, left of centre) with the eight skaters.
  • Bus Regulation The Musical.
  • Manchester Art Gallery, 28 September 2019 (2pm and 3pm).
  • Produced by Ellie Harrison.

I could think of several ways of spending half an hour of my leisure time. One is listening to the entire ‘B’ side of Foxtrot, Genesis’ 1972 LP which includes the magnificent Supper’s Ready. Another is sitting on a 216 bus or tram bound for Manchester city centre. By opting for the latter, I unearthed a little gem in Ellie Harrison’s production, Bus Regulation The Musical.

Continue reading “Bus Regulation The Musical: The Review”
Enviro400 and Optare Solo, Ashton bus station

A Brief History of Teen Travel in Greater Manchester

Who remembers Greater Manchester’s previous attempts at wooing teenagers onto the bus?

Over the last week, details of Andy Burnham’s Opportunity Pass have been revealed in the Manchester Evening News and on the GetMeThere website. From the 01 September, young people aged 16 to 18 years old – so long as they produce a smart card – will be given free travel on Greater Manchester’s bus routes. Known as Our Pass, it aims to make bus travel more affordable.

Continue reading “A Brief History of Teen Travel in Greater Manchester”

The Three Ages of Greater Manchester’s Bus Stations

A look at the evolution of Greater Manchester’s bus stations from 1969 onwards

In the last fifty years, Greater Manchester’s bus stations have changed dramatically. More recent trends favour single terminals and improved connections with other modes of transport. In smaller towns, they form part of a focal piazza, as seen at Radcliffe’s bus station.

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Britain’s Greatest Television News Themes: The Not So Perfect Ten

East of the M60’s latest Not So Perfect Ten looks at Britain’s greatest television news signature tunes

…And now, the headlines from the East of the M60 newsdesk:

  • Leading blog’s countdown of the ten best news themes;
  • Countdown includes nostalgic look at best news tunes from the 1950s onwards;
  • Most of which are from BBC and ITN news programmes.

In the age of Twitter, Facebook, and countless news sites (some truthful, and some you wouldn’t trust with your car), television news still plays a part in our media diet. Though more people timeshift their viewing, TV news programmes and channels command a good audience once an important story breaks through. Continue reading “Britain’s Greatest Television News Themes: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Now We Are Ten: Our Not So Perfect Ten

A special edition of The Not So Perfect Ten celebrating ten years of East of the M60

Was it really ten years when East of the M60 began to trouble the deepest recesses of cyberspace? Indeed it was.

East of the M60 started life as a secondary blog to The Stuart Vallantine Web Experience. Its original aim was to promote my activities as speaker with an autism spectrum condition. It was also seen as an extension of the ‘old school’ website – the Mouth of S.V. to the MacNeil of the portfolio. In the early days, blog posts went out on a fortnightly basis, usually written in the last twenty or so minutes of my work dinner hour. As Chez Vall didn’t get broadband access till 2009, anything written at home was done via a 56k dial-up modem. Continue reading “Now We Are Ten: Our Not So Perfect Ten”

Defining Features of Northern Rail’s Franchise: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten key characteristics of Serco/Abellio’s 12-year franchise term

Class 158, platform 2, Preston railway station
The Class 158 DMU, one of Northern Rail’s more classy rolling stock, seen at Preston station. Alongside its incumbent 158s, there will be further examples, cascaded from Scotrail. These will be diagrammed for Arriva Trains North’s Northern Connect express services.

By the start of next month, the Northern franchise will be taken over by Arriva/Deutsche Bahn Rail. This will be Arriva’s second stint with a Northern English heavy rail franchise (the previous being Arriva Trains Northern) and, most notably, it entails the withdrawal of Class 142 and Class 144 railbuses. Continue reading “Defining Features of Northern Rail’s Franchise: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Obscure Games Consoles: The Not So Perfect Ten

Forgotten handhelds and overlooked games machines

Over the last 40 years, we have seen video games evolve from blocky tennis games to that of a multi-billion pound industry. In the late 1970s, Atari ruled the roost with its colour graphics offering a real advance on the Pong clones. After the great video game crash, Nintendo and Sega emerged from the wreckage along with home computers like the Commodore 64. Continue reading “Obscure Games Consoles: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Television Puppet Stars Through the Ages: The Not So Perfect Ten

From Sooty to Hacker

John Logie Baird demonstrated his early televisual experiments with a ventriloquist dummy’s head. On the 02 October 1925, his dummy’s head known as Stookie Bill, was used to demonstrate early television pictures.

90 years on, we still use puppetry to entertain viewers young and old. Whether it’s a mule and Annette Mills or the goings-on at Furchester Hotel, they bring joy to many of us. Sometimes they can get away with things that human actors couldn’t do. Or upstage them. Continue reading “Television Puppet Stars Through the Ages: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Shall We Take A Trip, 1978 Style? Part Two: Outer City Tour

45 miles around Manchester, 1978 to 26 attractions: is it still possible?

If you thought the city centre has changed beyond recognition in the last 36 years, the same is also true of its immediate surroundings. Continue reading “Shall We Take A Trip, 1978 Style? Part Two: Outer City Tour”