marjorie73: (Default)
The full title of the post should really be "In which there is family, and art and museums and friends and Rock and food and beer and meeting people and brownies and lots of fun" but that's a little too long.

You see, Wednesday was the day (night) that Amanda Fucking Palmer was performing in Manchester. when the tickets first went on sale, I had to decide between the London and Manchester shows, and picked Manchester because although it involved more travelling, I got to combine the gig with a visit to my brother, and to introduce him and his girlfriend to Amanda's music, which seemed like a good idea!

I drove up to Manchester in the morning, and was able to meet R for lunch (unfortunately, my visit coincided with the only-available-about-twice-year-and-very-useful training day he needed to do, so he couldn't take the afternoon off, which was a shame, but such is life. R works at the BBC, at Salford Quays. It was odd for me to visits the Quays, as they have changed almost beyond recognition since I lived in Manchester - the area was almost all industrial wasteland in my day...

After lunching, I went to look around the Imperial War Museum North -which has exhibitions relating to modern warfare, and in particular to the impact of war, so there were exhibits about victims of shell shock, and trench warfare, and about prisoners of war, and victims of concentration camps, (and those who were involved in liberating them) as well as about more recent events such as the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks. Not an uplifting experience, but both interesting and thought-provoking.

A little later, after nipping back to R's house to drop off my stuff and park my car, I got a tram into Manchester and spent half an hour in the Manchester Art Gallery. I only had time to visit a small part of it, but it was nice. They have some lovely Victorian decor - I liked the fishes and bees, for instance...

There are also some quite nice pictures - I didn't get as far as the Lowrys, but I did see the William de Morgan tiles, which were always a favourite of mine, and I enjoyed the juxtaposition of old and new art - the butterflies are by an artist called Claire Brewster, and are all cut from ordnance survey maps... I liked them a lot!

I didn't get to stay long, as the gallery closes at 5, and I then had to leave, after which I met up with R and his girlfriend, J, for supper (an American themed meal, involving milkshakes)

and then it was time to head to the cathedral. We went via Sinclair's Oyster Bar, which is a lovely looking half-timbered building (built in 1720, and moved a few hundred yards, after the 1996 IRA bomb and subsequent redevelopment of the area) We had some rather nice beer, and met up with my friend Hellie, who was also heading the the gig.

And so - the main event!

AFP watching the stage
I have been to Manchester Cathedral before, for services, but never for a gig - it made for a pretty awesome space.

 Once inside, we spotted Laurie Pink and Essers (which was good, because it turned out that Twitter had been hiding their DM's from me, when we were trying to work out if we could meet up!)

They had cunningly spotted that there was space to stand around the side of the stage, where there was a good view! So we did standing there, too.  There was some brass band going on at the other end of the nave , then the vicar came to welcome everyone. I suspect he doesn't get massive applause and cheering on a Sunday morning, generally...
Friendly vicar says hello

Jherek Bishoff
Then there was music. Jherek Bischoff played - including a piece called 'Cistern' which, he explained, was written in an empty, underground water cistern and rarely performed, but the cathedral seemed an appropriate space to try it in (for the record, it really, really, worked!)

After the second opening act, Amanda Palmer started her own set (having introduced the others) with an a capella version of 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley', sung from the top of the (medieval) rood screen, above an array of painted angels. It was stunning.

She then came down onto the main stage and was, well, Amanda Fucking Palmer. Most of the show involved songs from the new album,  Theatre is Evil, but we also got 'Leeds United'..

It was an awesome night. We didn't stay for the post-show ninja encore outside the cathedral, on account of having to catch the last tram home, but even without it I was on a high.

And when we got back to the house, R revealed that he had specially baked some chocolate brownies for me, as a bleated birthday treat, and he & J stuck candles in them and sang 'Happy Birthday' to me at midnight, which made for a lovely, if slightly surreal end to the day. (plus, I got a whole lot of delicious brownies to bring home)

(more photos, as usual, on flickr
marjorie73: (Default)
My mum enjoys patchwork and quilting, and had heard that there was an exhibition on at Radstock Museum, so she and my dad came down for the weekend so that she could go to see it.
I had also booked a ticket for the Melksham Comic Con (The first, and still very small, con in Melksham), so I spent the morning making beds and buying things to cook, then went over to Melksham where I caught Paul Cornell's talk about writing comics (and novels and TV), which also wandered off into discussions about otters, kangaroos and seahorses, with regard to their child birth and parenting (Paul and his wife are of course expecting a baby, in October), It was fun.

I didn't have time to stay long, but the con seemed well organised, and seemed to be appealing to a wider audience than is often the case - there was someone modelling balloons, so visiting children could have their own 'Captain America' shield, or 'Hulk' arms, and a full size, remote control R2D2, and a storm trouper or two attracted a lot of attention.

My parents arrived on Saturday afternoon, and we spent the rest of the day catching up, and eating, and things like that.

On Sunday, mum and I went to the museum while my dad stayed home to watch the Grand Prix.
I'll admit that my interest in the quilts was fairly lukewarm, but I enjoyed seeing them, and then looked round the museum itself , which is tiny, volunteer run, and a little frustrating in having a distinct lack of information about many of the exhibits.

However, it's a pleasant enough way to spend an afternoon, and I had come prepared with a book so was perfectly happy, after exhausting the pleasures of the museum, to sit and wait and read until my mum had had her fill of the quilts!

Unfortunately I didn't have a copy of the catalogue so can't credit the makers of these two quilts, but all the quilts were made by people with a connection to the local quilt shop, Midsomer Quilting - customers, students of the classes run there etc, so most will be local.

All in all, it was a good weekend. My parents stayed over Sunday night, and having gone to bed before them, I found it oddly comforting to lie in bed, listening to the muffled sound of their voices downstairs - like being a child again, and knowing that everything was alright, because they were there! I was tempted to go and ask if they would come up and read me a bed time story, but I decided that wasn't really practical!
marjorie73: (Default)
I have had a VERY full, and very fun weekend, so will try to break it down into managable chunks.

I got a train to London on Friday, having enjoyed a lazy morning at home. After booking into my accommodation (very cheap; I stayed in one of the LSE's halls of residence - they rent out rooms on a B&B basis, during the university holidays) I headed down the road to the Grant Museum, which is part of UCL and which I've wanted to visit for ages, but have not been able to because it doesn't open at weekends.

It's wonderful. It lives in an old library, and gives the impression of not-quite fitting, so that everything has been squeezed in. I've got cupboards like that, except they don't (mostly) contain the skeletons of extinct animals or jars of skulls. The collection was originally used for teaching (we are talking about 1828, or thereabouts) and those who benefited included one Charles Darwin.

The museum has a lot of bones. And a lot of Things in jars. Such as moles, and foetal pigs, and skulls, and snakes.

There are skeletons, including those of a Quagga (albeit one with slightly fewer legs then it ought to have) and of a Tylacine, and a Dodo.

There is a Sabre-Tooth tiger's skull, rather endearingly displayed between a small plastic model of a sabre-tooth, and a plastic box containing a big-cat hairball. Around the galleries of the library are more skeletons - including several primates of different kinds leaning companionably on the bannisters and looking down into the displays.
I was slightly disappointed that there was (as far as I could see) no jar of eyeballs, but one can't have everything.  There were some beautiful glass models of squid, and corals and sea-urchins.

There's a pickled pangolin. (at least I think it was a pangolin) And you can adopt specimens if you want. I rather fancied adopting a bug-eyed monster loris, or maybe the walrus penis bone,  but they seemed to have been adopted already.                                        

It's a fascinating place.

I'm glad I went.After looking round the museum, I wandered down to the British  Library, to pick up my tickets for Sunday, and to have another quick look around the 'Out of This world' exhibition - (the TARDIS is still there) before heading down to Charing Cross, to Amanda Fucking Palmer's gig . .

Which I think should have a post of it's own, don't you?


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