2017, In the Company of Buses

East of the M60‘s review of the year from a public transport angle

First Greater Manchester Mercedes Citaro, W366 RJA, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
One of the biggest bus related events in Greater Manchester was the closure of First Greater Manchester’s Bury and Dukinfield depots. With Tameside’s routes served by Oldham depot, Mercedes Citaros have returned to the scene.

If 2016 was eventful, 2017 was even more eventful to the power of five. Testing our city region’s bus operators, rail franchisees, and the Metrolink was the terror attack at Manchester Arena. Greater Manchester also gained a newly elected mayor, and powers to reregulate its own buses. Also a new stretch of railway line.
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(The Board) Games People Play: #24, Dial Away

A board game that was made for you-oo…?

Monday 17 January 1983

I returned home from my paper round to find something strange. My mother didn’t have the radio tuned into Piccadilly Radio for Pete Baker’s show. Instead she was watching television, at 7.30 am. 7.30 am? Who in the right mind would have the telly on this early? Little did I know she was witnessing television history in the making. That of Selina Scott and Frank Bough on BBC Breakfast Time.

“What’s going on?” I thought “Soon they’ll be doing 24 hour television next”, which means no more closedowns. Ten minutes later, before I got my bus to Mossley Hollins, I asked my mum if I could ring Tricia to tell her about Breakfast Time. She refused.

10.30 pm: at 7.00 pm, I found the Tom Jones special a good excuse for doing my Geography homework. Going through the radio stations, I came across this song: it was Phone Home by Jonny Chingas. Obviously released to cash in with ET but a cool tune nonetheless.

In 1983, the soon-to-be-privatised British Telecommunications released a telephone themed board game.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #23, Offshore Oil Strike

The fun of drilling your way to millions in an obscure board game

Sunday 16 January 1983

Gawd, I hate Sundays. Such a boring day, apart from one thing: homework, bathtime, and bed before school on a Mondays. The only interesting diversion I had was this weird dream last night. I dreamt that oil had been found in Mossley. I imagined Hartshead Pike forming part of a drilling platform with roustabouts calling in The Colliers Arms for a quick pint.

Perhaps it must have been that BP advert I saw halfway through Metal Mickey. The one which looked like a knock-off of Star Wars or The War of the Worlds.

Back in the early 1970s, North Sea Oil was seen as a salvation for our moribund economy. As was joining the European Economic Community in 1973. Coincidentally this was the year when an oil themed board game hit the toy shops.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #22, Master Mind

“Your specialised subject…” 1970s board games

Saturday 15 January 2017

Till I discovered the joys of the Lilywhites, I had never heard of Goole. For an aspiring musician like me, this is no good. Especially when you’re visiting obscure pubs in and around Yorkshire in a Transit van across the Woodhead Pass. Shortly after my paper round, I had a quick wash, got changed, then made my way to Seel Park for the supporters’ coach. Three hours or so later, we arrived at the Victoria Pleasure Ground.

Pleasure Ground was stretching the term: ‘where were the roller coasters and log flumes?’ I thought. It is just a bog standard Northern Premier League ground with a view of the town’s water tower. A one all draw was a far from a roller coasting performance. So, back to Seel Park on Wednesday night.

If he took the train, James South could have played this board game on a table seat.

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Christmas 2017 and New Year’s Day 2018 Trains and Trams in Tameside

Christmas and New Year train and tram service information for passengers in Tameside and surrounding area

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of the year again. Following on East of the M60’s look at Yuletide buses in the Tameside area, we turn our attention to local trains and trams.

Besides being a good time for seeing your relatives, the Yuletide period is also a popular time for engineering works. As always there will be a Sunday service on the trams on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Which is good news for Curzon Ashton fans taking a short trip to Ashton West.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #21, Sporting Triangles

“If you ever wondered how you get triangles from a cow you need…”

Friday 14 January 1983

Still buzzing from last night’s disco date with Tricia but I was brought back down to Earth at 11.21 am by my Maths teacher Mrs Powell. Before last night’s date, one thing I had forgotten about was a little maths test. I only got seven out of twenty which was the lowest mark in my set. I was kept behind for twenty minutes after the lesson. This meant I nearly missed my sitting in the canteen (but left the second and third years to fight over the cheese whirls).

Thanks to my roasting, I trying to think of the formula for working out the area of a triangle. It came to me on the 343 as it passed Egmont Street: 0.5 x Base x Height. How many slices of Dairylea would that be? For some odd reason I wondered why you didn’t see a board game with a triangular course. Perhaps my little sister Donna could do a similar board game based on three Mossley pubs (The Britannia, The Commercial, and the Friendship).

In 1987, a briefly popular rival to BBC One’s A Question of Sport spawned its own board game.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #20, Knock Your Block Off

“All in all it’s just another brick in the wall…”

Thursday 13 January 1983

Just come back from the George Lawton Hall after a wonderful time in the teenage disco. Tricia looked amazing without her school uniform in her ra-ra skirt and neon pink legwarmers. It was a great night though I thought the DJ could have been better.

In spite of playing Dance Yourself Dizzy at the start and other good tunes like I’m In The Mood for Dancing and Oops Upside Your Head, he played a few strange tunes. Firstly, Donna Summer’s cover of MacArthur Park (that was when he left his lackey behind the turntable; the DJ went to the loo). Then, this nailed-on classic which I didn’t think was a floor filler: Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2).

Six years after The Wall album was released, this anarchic game was seen on our television screens.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #19, Magic Robot

You will like this, not a lot…

Wednesday 12 January 1983

This morning, the Careers Advisor came to school from Ashton Careers Centre (the office next to Presto). Tricia said she fancied working with the mentally ill – either for Tameside MBC Social Services or at Tameside General Hospital.

I said in future years that robots would replace a lot of the jobs she showed us. Firstly, the recent unemployment figures make for grim reading. Secondly, no robot can replace the likes of Brian May, Chris Squire, or – as my Genesis loving mate says – Mike Rutherford. She wasn’t too impressed though she suggested going to Tameside College of Technology for music and drama themed courses. “Not bad” I thought “Yeah, I’ll go for that”.

Speaking of Tricia, we shall be heading to the George Lawton Hall for its teenage disco night tomorrow. I am excited.

Back in 1935, robots were used to sell a quiz game.

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(The Board) Games People Play: #18, The Alley Cats Game

You know, everybody wants to be a cat…

Tuesday 11 January 1983

I was woken up at 3am by this wailing noise. For the last two years, our neighbour at 173 Waterton Lane has had a cat. A grey Persian Longhair by the name of Clarence. It’s a bit of a scruffbag getting slugs in its fur. It can hold its own against Labradors, Rottweilers, and my Auntie Ethel’s Chow Chow. Last night it was miaowing for the best part of an hour.

The first thing I thought was that Clarence had been trying to ‘talk’ to Rocky, the Andrews’ Jack Russell Terrier. On closer examination, the stupid moggy fell inside our dustbin. For the best part of an hour he was stuck. Before I set off for Brocklehurst’s Newsagents, Muggins here risked being scratched and spat on by picking up Clarence. Thankfully he was happy to relieved of his ordeal. Thank goodness for the fact that our bins are emptied on Mondays.

Back in 1976, Ideal let the fur fly with this board game.

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