Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, 11 October 2009

What Has the North Done For Us?

Quite a lot to be honest!

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge (widescreen)
The iconic Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

Imagine a world without Northern England. It would be a dull place devoid of The Beatles, iconic suspension bridges, daft footballers, and railway lines. Prior to the late 1970s, we were the manufacturing heart of the world. We built bridges, ships, made cutlery and built the world its locomotives and carriages. Today, most of what manufacturing capacity we had has been eviscerated by London-centric governments and globalisation. Prior to the mid 1980s, we kept most of our country’s power stations ticking over and our houses warm, before they closed down the pits and started importing its coal.

Continue reading “What Has the North Done For Us?”
Astley Cheetham Library and Art Gallery

The Astley Cheetham Art Gallery: Tameside’s Hidden Treasure?

Why has Tameside MBC’s only art gallery attracted fewer visitors than this blog?

Here’s a question for you. In 2018, how many people visited the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge? Is it: (a) 59,000?; (b) 5,900?; or is it (c) 590?

Believe it or not, the answer is (c). That’s right, 590 visitors in the 26 days it was open in 2018. Or 22.69 visitors per Saturday from 10am to 2pm. In the 2017 – 2018 season, Stalybridge Celtic’s average attendance was 315 per home game in all competitions over 23 home matches.

Continue reading “The Astley Cheetham Art Gallery: Tameside’s Hidden Treasure?”
SHMD 70 Atkinson Double Decker, UMA 370

Put This On a Badge! The Better Buses Badge Making Experience

Show some love for your local bus route in a crafty way

Within a week of the launch of Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Bus Franchising consultation, there has been several activities to advance the case for London-style bus franchising. Since this summer, Better Buses For Greater Manchester have stated their case with accountability and improved services a main advantage.

Earlier this afternoon was the Better Buses Badge Making activity at Manchester Art Gallery, which fell on the same day as the Transpo 50 bus cavalcade. From 1pm to 4pm, anyone with a passion for franchised bus networks – or a given route – made felt badges.

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Oldham’s First Hackspace Opens

New serviced studio’s grand opening

Oldham Council leader Councillor Jim McMahon OBE seen cutting the chain.

This Saturday afternoon, Oldham’s first hackspace was officially opened by Councillor Jim McMahon OBE. The open day was attended by a number of creatives and programmers from Oldham and surrounding area. Continue reading “Oldham’s First Hackspace Opens”

On Reflection: The Definitive Collection of Visual Works by John Tribe

A profile and reappraisal of the illustrator’s works.

Previously published on East of the M60 as On Reflection: The Collected Visual Works of John Tribe on the 10 June 2014.

Though not one of East of the M60’s most read pieces, the original piece attracted the attention John Tribe himself! He was ‘flattered and speechless’ to say the least, and needless to say, I was amazed too. Amazed in the same sense how Joe Royle described 1989-90 as his ‘pinch-me’ season with the Latics going to Wembley.

Since then, I have had continued contact with Mr. Tribe who has kindly furnished me with further details, corrections and clarifications. Hence the slight change to the title.

Many thanks to John, not only for the research notes,  but also for the two lovely architectural books I received. One of which had been on my Christmas or birthday present list for the last five years.

Stuart Vallantine,
John Tribe,
Saturday 20 September 2014.

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Continue reading “On Reflection: The Definitive Collection of Visual Works by John Tribe”

On Reflection: The Collected Visual Works of John Tribe

A profile and reappraisal of the illustrator’s works.

One afternoon, I caught the end credits of The Pallisers which are being rerun on BBC Two. I loved the ornate titles – obviously hand drawn and far removed from today’s CGI based examples, being of 1974 vintage. It had echoes of John Ruskin’s maxim of building something to last forever, something likely to stand the test of time in future generations. 40 years on, they looked perfect for a period drama. Continue reading “On Reflection: The Collected Visual Works of John Tribe”

Like Crushing The Great Pyramids For Posh Hotels: Could the ConDems Close The World’s Oldest Railway Station?

A Cuts Scene Investigation Special: National Railway Museum, National Media Museum and Manchester Museum of Science and Industry to face closure or admission charges

Replica of Stephenson’s Rocket, outside the National Railway Museum, York. Photograph by Howard Longden (Creative Commons Attribution License-Some Rights Reserved)

The year is 2035. Manchester is connected to its recently opened High Speed Two line, which whisks Mancunians to the present day capital of the United Kingdom. It is possible to get a hourly HS2 service to London which takes 70 minutes. Elsewhere in the Greater Manchester City Region, it takes a similar amount of time to travel from Stockport to Ashton-under-Lyne by bus in the peaks on the 330 route. Continue reading “Like Crushing The Great Pyramids For Posh Hotels: Could the ConDems Close The World’s Oldest Railway Station?”

Rififi Closure: A Case for Reopening the Palace as a Community Cinema?

With the party more or less over for Stalybridge’s nightlife, is the case for reopening the Palace building as a cinema greater than ever?

“My chances of seeing Terminator 3, are moving away from me, As the cinema, 20 minutes away, could be closing any day.

“A night club is proposed, The town has its fair share, clubs and pubs everywhere. Alternatives will be needed: arts centres, amateur theatres, town centre cinemas…

“Town centre cinemas, are more inclusive, the multiplexes are more exclusive. The former are more accessible, the latter caters for motor vehicles, And the price of popcornʼs unbelievable. The architectureʼs wholly diabolical.

“Theyʼre just sheds, although theyʼre popular, though some exceptions…”

The Last Picture Show (Stuart Vallantine, 27 July 2003)

The Palace Cinema building in Stalybridge is set to celebrate its centenary in style. It has in the last decade been known as Rififi and Amber Lounge. Instead of celebrating its decade as a night club, or centenary as a building, it is going to see in 2013 in the same way as The Pineapple, H2O and Bar Liquid. Continue reading “Rififi Closure: A Case for Reopening the Palace as a Community Cinema?”

Paints Not Pints: Stalybridge’s Call to Arts

Inside Stalybridge’s cultural revolution

Stalybridge, 2001: the opening of continental style bars, prompted by the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, and liberalised opening hours of licensed premises, saw a change in image for the Cheshire town. Its convivial atmosphere led to the town being dubbed ‘StalyVegas’, though some thought its nickname came from its forest of traffic lights. Continue reading “Paints Not Pints: Stalybridge’s Call to Arts”

Zen and the Art of Making Great TV Mocks

Ways to make effective television mocks, in static or animated forms.

My attempt at creating a mock. This is based on a 1984 programme rundown for Granada Television, albeit with a 2012 schedule.

According to one YouTube video, the internet is supposedly made of cats. If like myself you tend to have a penchant for old television programmes and graphics, you will find that old TV idents or programmes tend to feature highly in cyberspace. As well as being a portal for forgotten sitcoms and continuity, this has inspired many users to create mocks. Often they are reconstructions of old TV station mocks, if for example, ATV continued to be the West Midlands’ ITV franchise (rather than as the reconstituted ATV a.k.a Central Independent Television). Sometimes they may be for fictitious channels. Continue reading “Zen and the Art of Making Great TV Mocks”