Dear Friends, faeries, flanuers and fellow loiterers
I write this far away from home but I wish I was there. I found the ice redefined the city – forcing me to find new routes with a focus on texture to preserve my tenuous sense of balance. Shiny new paving slabs are bad, grass and gravel better.
I hope the season is bringing you what you desire, and that you found some genuine sparkles of magick amongst the tawdry tat. For me all that glitters is friendship and I would like to thank everyone who made 2009 such an inspiring and fun one for the LRM. A review of the year will appear on the blog sometime in January – I can’t bear to write it yet for who knows what adventures await in the next few days? The loiterer never stops looking…
In the meantime my applause and love goes to many - I hope you know who you are – and especially Alan whose beautifully curated derives this year have been a revelation. I eagerly await the marvels 2010 may bring us all – we have some new tricks and yes, there will be an expedition on the First Sunday in January.
Of course as we greet the new year we must also say farewell to those who have gone to loiter in the great beyond (no, I don’t know what I mean by that either; forgive me I have the lurgy and have overindulged on medicinal whiskey, but I know I am not the only person who misses loved ones at this time of year when advertisements implore us to merely buy and be happy) May the Circle be Unbroken indeed…
In keeping with a time for celebrating and commemorating we’ll be meeting in the café in Urbis at 2pm on Sunday 3rd January – I suggest you get there early and enjoy the fascinating exhibitions whilst you can. Our derive will reprise the tactics of the metaphysical treasure hunt with a few twists – please do join us. I promise despite my maudlin ranting there will convivial company, much pleasure and fun to be had.
It’s true The LRM have had run-ins with Urbis in the past; it hasn’t always lived up to its potential – but it has bought many glorious sights and important debates to our city and is a Good Thing we don’t want to see close. My personal highlights were the Emory Douglas retrospective, zinefest two, that beautiful syd barrett lightbox I spent so long staring at and of course their support for TRIP. I’m not mentioning Reification: The Tony Wilson Experience
It is a sad day indeed when money speaks so much louder than art. What does culture mean in Manchester today? So much for original and modern. We have wrapping paper but precious few public venues for challenging art and debate. No, I am not saying football isn’t culture; the LRM have always celebrated the vernacular but this, like so many of the official ‘visions’ for redevelopment of our city show a total lack of imagination which borders on criminal negligence I think.
Some poor souls have asked what’s the point of a museum of the city; it’s true the secrets of the metropolis do lie all around us every day and goodness knows exploring by doing is at the very heart of the LRM. The streets can tell many stories – and so what better object for study? The city is the heart of modern life. We need wider perspectives, room for pondering, arguing, daydreaming, learning through the work of others. Galleries, museums, libraries, social/community centres; these places are sexy, necessary, cauldrons to inspire and conspire and create. Plus I remember being sad and poor and lonely and free access to these things saved my sanity and possibly my life.
I fear too for the future of community work and all those charming emo* kids who colonised cathedral gardens and made their own special place in the city. *apologies if this is the wrong term, I am old and have no right understanding the vagaries of youth fashion but my they look glorious
How can we, as citizens, influence the development of our city and create space for art, creativity and conversation? There are other battles being fought for public space to at the moment; loiterers are active in campaigning over Birley Fields, Chorlton Meadows, Swallows Wood, Woodbank Park and more so that is more than a rhetorical question.
I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions and the LRM operates on our own time scale but it feels like the right time to reiterate some of what we stand for, in 2010 and beyond the LRM pledges to
• Stay interesting and resist the grind of commercialisation and recouperation
• Keep finding new ways of looking at the city and collecting the myriad mysteries it holds – there is not one Manchester but many layers…
• Remember the streets are ours for play, fun and creative mischief
• To offer anyone with an open mind a chance to wander with us in an atmosphere of tolerance, discovery and respect for all
We shall carry on building the city of our dreams with every step and finding treasure in the Mancunian rain – please join us for a walk and a brew; you never know where it might lead….
Love and power to you