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It’s occurred to me this week that, while the Manchester worker bee has become much more widely known in the past month, many people may not be familiar with the history of the bee.

I did consider writing a blog post about it, but I figured it was highly likely that such a post would have already been written and that it would just be a case of looking for the right one.

In a nice surprise, I found the perfect piece courtesy of friend of Too Late For Cake, Natalie Bradbury, writing for Creative Tourist on this occasion. The piece (published in early 2013) provides you with an overall history of Manchester’s civic bond with the bee, but doesn’t touch on the cultural side such as Elbow’s song ‘Lost Worker Bee’, (which was, after all, not released until 2015) or the worker bee tattoos, which were very definitely A Thing even before the Arena bombing in May. (A casual trawl of tattoo parlour Instagrams in the Manchester area will back this up.) In the wake of the bombing, street art has started to appear, featuring the bees, and you can see pictures of some of these pieces here.

Transport For Greater Manchester meanwhile, in a very touching video, have unveiled The Spirit Of Manchester, a dignified and thoughtful response to the Arena bombing.

PTDC0001Dear London, thinking of you, love Manchester

PTDC0001I spotted this poster up on the barriers erected around the building work going on opposite Manchester Apollo on Stockport Road.

I actually took it at 25 past 7, not 25 past 6, but I haven’t adjusted the time on my camera yet for British Summertime.

 

Screen shot vote

Image by Unknown Artist, Brighton. Used under a creative commons licence.

This poster is one of many entered in Red Pepper magazine’s #EndToryRule election poster competition. You can view other entries on their website.

To play puddle roulette, you will need:

  1. A road, ideally quite a long one, that is prone to epic puddles when it’s raining. It needs to be a pretty busy road as well.
  2. A clear goal and sense of purpose that you are Going On A Journey
  3. A whimsical sense of imagination

The number of players isn’t massively important. Two is probably the ideal number, but you can play it with more and you can play it on your own if your sense of imagination is strong enough as you will meet people on The Journey who are also playing the game, and this will help keep you in the zone.

The aim of puddle roulette is to get from the beginning of your journey to the end of your journey without getting wet. The sense of jeopardy comes from having to get past lots of epic puddles without being splashed by passing cars. For this reason, the puddles really do have to be truly epic puddles. That is, deep ones and, also, long ones.

You can spot people playing puddle roulette because they will be the ones hovering uncertainly on the pavement next to the start of an epic puddle, keeping a keen eye on the cars heading down the road towards them. Is that car turning off? Is it going to slow down or drive round the epic puddle, or will it drive through the puddle at high speed causing a veritable tsunami of water about five foot high?

Then, decision time. To walk or not to walk.

Sometimes you set off confident that there are no cars coming and suddenly one will appear from nowhere and come bearing down on you. You can speed up as you are going past the epic puddle, or run, or throw yourself off the pavement down a path or against a wall.

The jeopardy is greater if you aren’t dressed for the weather. But, even if you have a head to toe waterproof on, you can still play because if you get caught up in it enough you’ll forget that you have the waterproof on.

As I was playing puddle roulette today, I heard an indignant voice behind me proclaim, loudly, “It’s only water!”

I thought for a minute or two that he was talking to me, then I realised he had someone with them.

I think she was playing puddle roulette and he wasn’t.

Stockport Garrick Theatre will be doing a production of Amelia Bullmore’s excellent Di and Viv and Rose until 4th February.pzgmnnwiow_285104_1474728963

I’m very excited about this because it’s such a great play, with three strong, complex female lead characters.

The story begins with three very different girls meeting at university in the early 1980s and follows their developing, and changing, relationships through university, afterwards, up until the 2000s. It’s funny, it’s sad, but above all, it’s complex and moving and never feels trite.

The debut performance in the US last year featured a custom made soundtrack by the US band Tomboy, which is still available to buy, and which features a suitably exuberant version of Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’.

It’ll all make sense when you see the play…

 

Thanks to Manchester Histories Festival for this:

Manchester Histories is pleased to be working in partnership with Stockport Council to present the Picture Stockport project.
Follow the trail of 22 images displayed across Stockport town centre and vote for your favourite artwork of the borough.
Find out more and vote from 12th Jan – 12th Feb 2017 at picturestockport.com #picturestockport

I’ve had a look and there’s some really good ones, across all sorts of artistic styles. Some are surreal, some are Lowry like, some are almost like collages… Well worth checking out and voting for your favourite.