Iím a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester.
Larking about in Salford
A festival which celebrates the city at dawn and dusk is returning to mark the start of Spring.
Photographer Simon Buckley was inspired to create Not Quite Light (NQL) by a walk in Angel Meadow
He says: "From the glassed new CIS building just across the road, I watched a steady glow fall onto the gravestones of St. Michael's Flags in the park below. This caused a simple question to form in my mind: "If this light could magically bring these souls back to life, what would they make of their city today?"
Thursday 28th March, 6-8pm, Ordsall Community Arts Centre, Robert Hall Street, Salford: The opening event is suitably entitled The Lights are On.Local children will produce lanterns to help illuminate the festival's 'sparking up' moment.
Also on the Thursday, Salford's White Hotel - on Dickinson Street - will host Hauntology between 8pm and the midnight hour. It will be a musically-spooky night with light and sound artists exploring "unresolved pasts and unrealised futures."
Young people are again in the spotlight for The Ordsall Peacock: Guardian of Memories, Friday 29th March 7 - 8.15pm - views from Nine Acres Tower Block, Taylorson Street, Salford. Local children and residents will build a peacock out of scrap, and then light it in the local park, performing a dance around it as night falls.
Featured artists include Wilderness Hymnal, Black Lodge, Sean Clarke, Xavier Velastin, Zirkus, Ruby Tingle and Simon Woolham. There will also be a DJ set from Manchester's LoneLady - a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer and producer
Friday 29th March: 7.30 - 10.30pm, ﬁvefourstudios 54 Oldfield Road Salford:Beneath These Tarmac Cracks is a play specially commissioned for NQL 2019. It has been written by Joshua Val Martin in collaboration with sound artist Daniel Mawson.
Joshua was a finalist in the Bruntwood Prize, 2017 - Manchester Royal Exchange's national new writing competition.
Talking about the genesis of Beneath These Tarmac Cracks Simon Buckley says: "Daniel and I sat in a city centre cafe last Autumn and conceived an idea, and now it's actually going to happen. And themes of the play are very moving, asking very relevant questions around how we deal with ageing people in our society, and their mental health."
The play focuses on May who was born in 1913. She has developed a degenerative neurological disease that makes her vividly remember every second of her life. The story unfolds when May is visited by a PhD history student researching Salfordian women in the 1930s,
Fivefourstudios will also host a Heart & Soul Afterparty on Saturday 30th March between 7.30pm and 2am. It promises to be a night of performance and music curated by Dave Haslam and street food specialists GRUBmcr at the Masonic Hall, on The Crescent.
Dave Haslam's book Life After Dark: A History of British Nightclubs & Music Venues, lasers in, suitably enough, on the night-life more commonly associated with cities.
Fivefourstudios, Oldfield RoadManchester. Photo Simon Liddiard
Saturday 30th March 2019 11am - 4pm, fivefourstudios: Children Dream A City: This will be an all-day event where young minds get to imagine and build a city with card from their ideas.
Also on Saturday (2-5pm), you can attend a talk designed to help you doze off (at least after the talk is finished . .)
Historians Sasha Handley and Anna Fielding will explain How to Sleep like a Tudor, and alongside their talks, there will also be a practical workshop making sleep posies and potions using authentic herbs.
Appropriately enough, this event takes place at Salford's own Tudor venue - Ordsall Hall. The hall was developed by the Radclyffe family who owned it from 1335 until 1658. The 'ghostly' White Lady, Margaret Radclyffe (1575 - 1599) was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth 1. The hall lays claim to setting the trend for the quatrefoil Tudor building style, in 1512.
Saturday 30th March 2019 4.15am - 5pm, Sacred Trinity Church Chapel Street, Salford
In Pilgrimage the Reverend Andy Salmon will lead a walk from the source of the River Irwell nearly 30 miles north of Salford, via Rawtenstall, Summerseat, Bury and Radcliffe, before re-before entering Salford. The walk will raise money for homelessness charities.
The River Irwell forms the boundary between Manchester and Salford, and runs close to the Manchester Spinningfields district. - another urban regeneration project.
Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange , wrote of the Irwell, in a letter, as: "The muddy and graveolent river that crosses Manchester."
But the walk might just make you view it in a different light.