A Cathedral of Knowledge
Posted May 21, 2007
Walk along one of the roads in Manchester and you'll pass many buildings of different styles next to each other. From glass and steel modernism to art deco to utilitarian to high gothic.
Passing one of those high gothic buildings without paying too much attention and you'd think it was a church. A very ornate church at that. Have a look at the signs carved into the red sandstone exterior and it will reveal not a church but a library. The John Rylands Library, part of Manchester University. Built as a memorial to the cotton magnate John Rylands by his wife. They were both book collectors and this building houses their collection as well as others bought and donated since.
To enter the building you now go through a modern glass and steel extension that has been built over the last few years, linking through to the cloister corridors of the original buildings. Following the signs to original main staircase leading up to the reading room. Set out like a reading room in an old college library with bays for readers filled with bookcases separated by a long central double height aisle. Along the central aisle on the walls are placed two sets of statues representing the people who have influenced western thought, Shakespeare, Newton, Bacon, Gutenberg are all represented. At either end of the room is a large marble statue, one of John Rylands and the other of his wife.
A look at some of the exhibitions in the library - one showing some of the treasures of the library including the 'St John fragment', probably the oldest surviving piece of new testement script in existence.
All in all worth a look at if you like that sort of architecture, libraries or have a wet hour to kill in Manchester city centre (not hard, this is Manchester after all...)
For a virtual tour take a look at: http://rylibweb.man.ac.uk/spcoll/walk/index.html and http://rylibweb.man.ac.uk/data1/dg/exhibition/unlock/index.html
You check out guitar George
Posted Mar 19, 2007
you check out guitar George, he knows all the chords
George Borowski, long time stalwart of the Manchester music scene played a small gig at a pub local to us the other day so we went to see the show. The pub was full, we were standing at the back with a limited view of the stage. What we could see and hear of the support act was good, an acoustic singer songwriter, but with all the noise qround us we couldn't hear that much.
Mind he's strictly rhythm he doesn't want to make it cry or sing
So with the rest of his band a bass player, lead guitar and drummer they take the stage and start to play. After about 1 1/4 hours the band stop briefly before a couple more songs of encore. From pub rock to blues to country to stadium ballads to punk. He plays them all very, very well and can show some of the young things out there a thing or two about songwriting and playing.
And an old guitar is all he can afford
A battered and beaten looking guitar is what he plays. If he wanted I'm sure he could have a new machine, but why change what works. What you know so well. What probably has as many stories to tell as George does about who and where and when, good times and bad times.
When he gets up under the lights to play his thing
Playing his thing. Doing what he wants to do and enjoying it. Playing and singing with a grin that could make the cheshire cat look like it's upset. Sometimes you go gigs and the band just doesn't want to be there or they've had a bad day. It affects the audience so when someone is so clearly enjoying themselves when up on the stage it's great. A great night out at a venue that's doing well at pulling in the bands and the punters and putting on a good show. One of the best value gigs I've been to in a while, the entrance price was nothing, it was free and the beer was good and priced reasonably too.
Maybe we should go and see him again when he's next in Glossop in may.
Posted Mar 14, 2007
So it was that time of year again (though it should really have happened 6 months ago I think). My hospital diabetes MOT. I ended up taking the whole day off as the appointment was scheduled for 12noon (but turn up 15mins before for a few checks).
I got there at 11:45 as asked and was almost immediately whisked in to have my weight, BP, blood taken and a quick vision check. I think I passed ok on those, 101.3Kg weight, 133/80 BP and I could read most of the bottom line on the eye chart (with glasses of course). Eyedrops in and then go and wait to see the doctor. I hadn't sat down for long and I was called through. We had a discussion about how my numbers were and how much insulin I was using. He made the suggestion that I should up my long acting insulin (insulin detemir, Novo Levemir) a couple of units for each injection I do. My eyes seem fine in what he could see - because my eyesight is so bad it must be testing the limit of his little scope!. Come back in 3 months to see if the extra insulin has worked better or not. Then he asked if I had heard of DAFNE and did I want to go on a course about it all. Yes Please! The local health trust have only just started doing these courses and I've been hoping they would since I first found out about it a year or two back.
I then had a chat with the DSN to book me into a course, november this year for a week long intensive course all about insulin therapy, carb estimation and how to adjust depending on what you're doing. This is all the sort of stuff I try and do, sometimes with more success than others. While there I was able to get one of the new humapens with the screw in cartridge holder, rather than the twist and click type that I've got now - it's been known that the twist and click cartridge holder is a weak point for a while. The new pen looks very swish, not nearly as plasticky looking as the old or the stainless steel functionalism of the novapen I use for my other insulin.
Just a quick booking for my next appointment and then I was out.
All in all about 45minutes in there! Why can't it always be like that.
It wasn't the leaves or even the wrong kind of snow...
Posted Jan 22, 2007
But a dog on the line that held up my train this morning.
The Guv'nor at the Cricket Club
Posted Dec 20, 2006
Music and Musings with Steve Marsh, Judy Dunlop and Ashley Hutchings, 19th December 2006 Urmston Cricket Club.
A small and intimate gig arranged by the Manchester Acoustic Guitar Society, in fact their first big name gig. It was an evening of mostly christmas music and readings.
From medieval carols to modern songs, traditional to self penned numbers, fantastical round robin letters to poetry to Dickens (not a Christmas Carol but a scene from Sketches By Boz).
Keen to keep the audience entertained, there were stories and asides during the breaks between the songs and readings. There was even a game a pass the parcel that the entertainers had brought for the audience to play. The evening finished with everyone singing a couple of carols, Silent Night and Ding Dong Merrily on High, the words to which had been handed out earlier.
For an encore we got a reprise of their Christmas Rap, a sorry tale of bad santa.
Along with the usual couple of boxes of cds on sale during the interval, the group had also brought along some of Steve Marsh's music for classical guitar and signed, printed broadsides of a couple of their original christmas songs (Holly, Mistletoe and Pine and the Christmas Rap).
An unusual but very enjoyable evening out.