Tag: Manchester

Photo of the Day

Wednesday, 6 June, 2018

Bernard Weber, Founder of New7Wonders, celebrating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) symbol of peace, while presenting a flower version of the symbol to CND and the Quakers Elders at the Manchester Friends Meeting House today.

Bernard Weber CND


Remembering the dead of Manchester

Wednesday, 24 May, 2017 0 Comments

Time upon time since 9/11 we have been forced to confront the face of evil. Like it or not, there are evil people in this world and one of the worst of them, Salman Ramadan Abedi, choose a concert in Manchester to attack three essential facets of modernity — entertainment, independence and enjoyment.

It should not surprise us that this mass murderer adheres to an ideology that hates Western civilization with its traditions of freedom, inquiry and democracy. In his world, cruelty is celebrated, women are enslaved and there is nothing but contempt for the tolerance that tolerates its enemies. After each massacre, we repeat our plea to the leaders of the West that they must impress on the monsters who nurture terrorists like Salman Ramadan Abedi that they will not be negotiated with; rather, they will be destroyed.

To be sure, the UK, the object of so much hatred and envy, is not a perfect society, but for all its faults many of the innocents murdered on Monday night in Manchester were from families who had made their home in Britain because it offered them opportunity and freedom. Let us not forget that when we remember the dead today.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
Et lux perpetua luceat eis

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
And may perpetual light shine upon them.


Ten hours of Weightless

Wednesday, 16 November, 2016 0 Comments

The most relaxing song in the world is Weightless by ambient band Marconi Union from Manchester. Who says? Dr David Lewis-Hodgson, chairman of Mindlab International, says. The band produced the song in collaboration with the British Academy of Sound Therapy and, according to Dr Lewis-Hodgson:

“The song makes use of many musical principles that have been shown to individually have a calming effect. By combining these elements in the way Marconi Union have has created the perfect relaxing song. It contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50. While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat.”

For those suffering from extreme stress and pressure, here is the ten-hour version.


Elbow abroad

Saturday, 14 June, 2014 0 Comments

Tonight, Elbow are in Brussels. On the 25th of June, they’re in Dublin, in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, located at the old Royal Hospital. Those Manchester lads do get about.

“Every bone of rivet steel, each corner stone and angle
Jenga jut and rusted water, tower, pillar, post and sign
Every painted line and battered, laddered building in this town
Sings a life of proud endeavour and the best that man can be”


Mourning the silencing of normblog

Tuesday, 22 October, 2013 0 Comments

On 21 August this year, Norman Geras posted a blog entry titled “Jack Geras 1912—2013,” and wrote: “My father died this afternoon. Out of respect for his memory I will be observing a brief silence here over the coming days.” He completed the entry by reposting a tribute he had written in 2012 on the occasion of his father’s hundredth birthday. Last Friday, 18 October, Jenny Geras (Norman’s daughter) posted an entry titled “Norman Geras: 1943—2013,” and wrote: “I am very sad to announce that Norm died in Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning. Writing this blog, and communicating with all his readers, has brought him an enormous amount of pleasure in the last ten years. I know that since writing here about his illness earlier in the year he received a lot of support from many of you, and that has meant a great deal to him, and to us, his family. The blog and all its archives will remain online.”

The news stunned an international community of people who had come to admire his integrity and activity over the years. “Norman Geras — professor emeritus of government at Manchester University, philosopher, cricket fan, country music lover, Marxist, liberal socialist, democrat, political blogger behind the influential Normblog — has died of cancer aged 70,” began the obituary in the Guardian. To her credit, Eva Garrard added this:

“From his perspective, the response to the events of 11 September 2001 was appalling. He found the readiness of many to blame the US for bringing the terrorist attack down on its own head to be intellectually feeble and morally contemptible. He argued that this section of the left was betraying its own values by offering warm understanding to terrorists and cold neglect to their victims. He detested the drawing of an unsupported and insupportable moral equivalence between western democracies and real or proposed theocratic tyrannies in which liberty of thought and speech, and the protection of human rights, would play no part. Norm wanted to engage in this debate and not just with academics. So he went online, to provide himself with a space in which he could express these and other views, and Normblog was born.”

Rainy Day did not share Norm’s Marxist views, but we did agree wholeheartedly with his courageous defence of the West, his staunch support for Israel and his energetic condemnation of the cowardice of the liberal media in the face of Islamist barbarism. “Much of the so-called antiwar movement seems only to protest against wars waged by the US, Britain and Israel; wars waged by dictatorial regimes, whether externally, or internally against sections of their own population, don’t spur it to the same oppositional passion or mobilization,” wrote Norm, calling out the hypocrites with the inimitable clarity that we’ll sorely miss in the troubling times to come.

Over the years, Norm wrote hundreds of profiles of people he found to be of interest. We were greatly honoured when, on 18 March 2005, normblog profile 78 was devoted to Eamonn Fitzgerald. Norm’s generosity was a measure of the man. His loss is our loss.

Norman Geras


“I tell her don’t be silly of course she’s not dead”

Monday, 30 September, 2013 0 Comments

Born in Burton upon Trent, Jean Sprackland studied English and Philosophy at the University of Kent and now teaches Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. It Occurs to My Mother that She Might Be Dead is taken from “Sleeping Keys,” her most recent collection. It’s filled with poems “that speak of the paralysis and bewilderment of knowing something is over, and of the strangely significant, almost votive nature of the things that are left behind.”

It Occurs to My Mother that She Might Be Dead

She’s been stripping beds, gathering sheets for the wash,
a thing she’s done each week since she was fifteen —
first during her mother’s illness
then in all the houses of her married life —
grasping the sheets and heaping them on the landing,
stirring the air with crumbs and flakes of dust.

I tell her don’t be silly of course she’s not dead
and she says But how would I know?
I suggest she pinch herself, which I’m sure will settle it,
But she says That’s for dreaming, not dead
I don’t think there a test for dead. And turns
And goes on stacking dishes in the sink.

That must have been forty years ago. Now I wonder
whether my mother is still there, somewhere
asking the same question, How would I know?
I remember the glint in her voice as she said it,
the icy terror that seized me. And now
I stand with my arms full of sheets, and suppose I’m alive.

Note: National Poetry Day in the UK falls every year on the first Thursday of October, which happens to be 3 October this year. The 2013 theme is “Water, water everywhere.”