I was walking down a street–Peter Street, to be precise, in this our city of Manchester–coming back from Castlefield (see my previous two posts) when I spotted this:
Impossible is, according to their description on Google “Whimsical nightspot with a theatre and gin bar, serving Asian street food–inspired pub grub”. As all similar places are now, it’s closed, because you know.
At least I hope so, it’s certainly looking that way. It is a bit too early–these pictures were taken on the same day as the Peaky Blinders sets ones of the previous post, so the penultimate day in February. They’re all from St John’s Garden, a little park in Central Manchester, on the edge of Castlefield.
See that crow in the tree? (It seems to be my thing, birds in trees.) It was cawing its head off, but what was funny was that it sounded hoarse, as if it had a sore throat. I can’t describe it any other way. People were looking at it and laughing.
If you’re a fan of Peaky Blinders, you probably know that Season 6, recently announced as the final, is being filmed now. Some of it shot here in Manchester, as the architecture offers the perfect environment for the interwar Birmingham that is the show’s setting.
My phone notifications informed me that filming was taking place in Castlefield, so I thought, let me go there to check it out this Saturday. So I did. Not by the order of the Peaky Blinders, only by the order of me. (Before you ask, no, I didn’t see any actors.) This is a selection of pics I took:
I like the props; the chains, the rope, the barrels, the crates, everything.
And last but not least, the Garrison, pub frequented by the members of the Peaky Blinders.
With green screen.
I didn’t want to take my camera; all the pics are taken with my smartphone. It turned out it was better anyway–the phone’s lens is small enough to fit between the bars of the barriers.
I had not watched the show yet when they filmed all the previous seasons, so I’m really lucky that I got a chance to see the sets for the final season. There were supposed to be seven altogether, but due to coronavirus they shortened it to six.
Manchester has been a popular location for filming, among others, some Captain America The First Avenger scenes were filmed here. This article gives more details.
I bought this loaf and when I put it on the wooden chopping board, it looked so nice I had to take a picture. But my white kitchen top made too harsh a background, so I later bought another loaf of bloomer and did it again using a kitchen towel for a background.
Bread is one of the oldest man-made foods and is culturally and religiously significant. It’s also often used as a metaphor for sustenance. The Lord’s Prayer, for example, features the line “give us today our daily bread”. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre says to (that bastard) Rochester: “Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup?” Bread-winner is used to describe the member of the household who earns the largest chunk of the income.
Title of this post refers to a sunset on a day in early January, as well as the fact that, because it is January in the northern hemisphere, sunsets come early.
Taken on my way to the supermarket–much like with the Caw It Form The Rooftops post, an opportunity for a nice shot came from doing the most mundane activity. Which is the only way these days, really, when we can’t go anywhere.
Okay, so the previous post was stupid. Let me do it again, better.
In terms of my photography, overwhelming majority of pictures taken in 2020 were with my smartphone and always in my area. This is the first time since 2016 that I haven’t made any trip outside Manchester. None of this mattered, in the end, as I took the best picture in my life with my phone a street away from my home!
The year started with storms, I remember there were two or three and they always happened at the weekend, so that that was no going anywhere for me. After that–well, you know. At first it was, need toilet paper? Pasta? Bad luck, mate.
It seems incredible now, but I did go to a concert this year. As in, a live performance by a singer. It was Halsey in Manchester Arena and it was back in March, before the first lockdown. Probably wasn’t very responsible, but hey, nothing happened.
My most streamed song of 2020 was the suitably titled Doom Days by Bastille (my inspiration for the short story The Journal). I also listened to the two albums Taylor Swift released this year, Folklore and Evermore.
It will be a while before live shows are back again. I also had a ticket for Phantom of the Opera, which was supposed to run for two months in Manchester, but like everything else, it was cancelled. Arts have really suffered with this and it’s not like the government cares; instead of supporting them they tell people in the industry to retrain. But don’t touch sports, oh no, not our precious sports, and even more precious football. Heavens help you if you anyhow endanger our football and our obscenely-paid footballers!
So what was I saying, oh yes, the annual recap… this year we were all staying at home and our new best friend was the streaming services. I remember that Disney+ launched here in UK just at the right time for lockdown.
One of the TV shows that got much praise this year was Mandalorian. I’ve not watched it (yet), I’m not in the Star Wars fandom (they do have the hottest Latin actors though, Oscar Isaac and Pedro Pascal), however as I got myself a 12-month Disney+ subscription, I did watch the new trilogy and Rogue One. I liked Rogue One best, fabulous movie and might be one of my very favourites. As for the new trilogy, well, my first thought when I woke up the next day after seeing The Rise of Skywalker was: this should have been Finn’s story. John Boyega was right.
Star Trek premiered the Picard series and now we’re on Season 3 of Discovery, which has so far been the best. I thought the tone of Picard was a bit off, as if the writers were anxious (they probably were), but this can be easily overcome in future seasons.
This was also the first year in however-long that we had no Marvel movie released. We’ve been waiting for that Black Widow forever! But it’s good to have a bit of a break and hey, there’s still time to get into it, folks, if you haven’t done so!
I doodle sometimes, I have almost filled my little A6 sketchbook. I once had a phase where I was drawing castles, and it seems I’m back in that phase again.
Tragically, I’ve not done as much reading as I should have done. I picked up The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and it took me three whole months to get through it. Such a slog, also the title is a lie–she doesn’t really steal books. Spoiler, I guess, but who cares. It tries to be interesting by having Death as a narrator but it reads just like any other third-person limited POV, with a “I collected their souls” inserted here and there to keep up the appearance. I swear I’ll never read Holocaust fiction ever again. I’d rather watch a good documentary about it.
But on the other hand I rediscovered my love for Sherlock Holmes and even dedicated a post to the famous detective, which at 2600 words is my longest.
Another thing that happened in Manchester was, the big concrete wall in Piccadilly Gardens was torn down. There is still a concrete wall, but that can’t be torn down because there is a coffee shop and a restaurant on the side of it. People hate them, I know they’re ugly, but for the purposes of my Gloomscapes series, I don’t mind a bit of brutalism. I’ve seen articles online calling the wall “Manchester’s Berlin Wall” and I’m like, can you just not. Nobody is getting shot crossing from Portland Street to Primark! Please. If there is criminal activity or drugs going on in Piccadilly Gardnes, that’s hardly the fault of the wall.
I end with one of my typical phone shot of something random or weird, Sam Call Me written by chalk on the gate to my local park. Well, there is a certain Sam that is close to my heart, so you can say that the picture is not as random as it would appear on first sight. I mean, not in real life, it’s the actor Sam Claflin, lol.
And that, my friends, concludes my second 2020 recap post.
Sign on the floor in the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester.
At the entrance to my local park where I spent so much walking this year.
Sign at the door to my launderette. It makes it very clear.
Sign on the side of Selfridges department store, a popular spot for sitting. I mean the side of the store is popular spot for sitting, not the actual store. So they put the sign there for people not to sit there.
Narrator’s voice: nevertheless, they still sat.
Sign on the Metrolink tram.
Construction site. The sign is also concealing a wheelbarrow, which was parked further up the road, after the yellow barriers in the distance. You know how I love my wheelbarrows. See what this virus is doing!