So this weekend I did some father/daughter bonding. Miss T wanted to go to the theatre for her birthday (which was, like, months ago). Being her, of course, and living on the South Coast the only place to go would have to be Salford.
So, Dad being Dad said, - you drive to us (we're sorta half way) then I'll drive to Salford, we can stay over, I'll drive back then you can drive home.
Dads are brilliant, aren't they?
So that's what we did. Actually we weren't going to Salford as such, but to Salford Quays.
Salford Quays is (for our overseas readership) is a piece of urban regeneration where the port and docks of the old Manchester Ship Canal have been replaced by shops n'stuff. It looks bright & shiny, doesn't it?
The big employers here are TV companies, as this is also the area known as MediaCity. Both the BBC and ITV have studios here (look! The Blue Peter logo & Giant Badges). Coronation Street has a brand new set here somewhere. Probably in the building with "CORONATION STREET" written on the side in big letters.
As the show wasn't on until the evening Miss T went shopping. In her spare time she does a bit of singing in a band with work colleagues. They have a gig next week and she wanted something to wear.
So I went to IWM North.
Yep, pretty much within 24 hours I visited both IWM South & IWM North. And, in a reversal of my visit to IWM South earlier in the year the main exhibit was closed but the Great War exhibit was open.
Yes, the main exhibition area was closed all afternoon for a pre-booked event. On a Saturday.
Well, I wanted to see the WW1 stuff mostly anyway.
The IWM South gallery is about how the war started and its overall conduct. The IWM North exhibition is more about its affect on the lives of ordinary people. Well, when I say "ordinary people" I mean people, as it covers some extra-ordinary people as well.
It's very good. Well laid out and presented and very informative. Alas you are not allowed to take photographs (why?) except in the dressing up area, so a few words to describe it will have to suffice.
The story is told by linking together exhibits and displays with excerpts from letters and contemporary writings, - for example letters between a woman and her sister in the USA. There's a good use of historic film footage, including girls working in munition factories through to extended excerpts from the film shot about the opening of the Somme battle. It's well worth a visit if you are local, and makes an excellent pairing with the London exhibit if you are lucky enough to be able to see both of them.
Oh, yes, and they have a T-55 in the car park, a companion piece to the T-34 inside, which was not open to visitors on the day I went. Did I mention that?
After that I met up with Miss T again and Master T and his girl friend joined us for an early dinner before the show, which was in the Lowry Centre:
Quite a striking building, I'm sure you'll agree. It has two theatres and gallery and exhibition spaces. Our show was in the little theatre at the back, called "The Quays".
What we went to see was "Welcome to Night Vale" live. For those of you not familiar with this particular podcast all I can say is it is completely undescribable. A bit like the X-Files meets The Archers. It has been going for a couple of years and releases two episodes a month. It has a big cult following. The cast have been doing live shows in the US for a year or so, but this is their first European Tour.
The show isn't much to look at, but that doesn't bother the fans (although the Irish Times Reviewer simply didn't get it when the show was done in Dublin). It's a radio show, in essence, done live.
The set really isn't very much, is it?
This is the marvellous Meg, who does the podcast credits. On this occasion she MC'd and introduced things. And asked us not to bother people when we took pictures (including a barbed injunction against i-Pad users who hold the things up and block everyone's view. Right on, girl). She also plays Deb, a sentient haze, who reads product adverts during the show.
This is the star, Cecil Baldwin, who plays Cecil Palmer the host of Night Vale Community Radio. He has superb delivery and great stage presence, even when holding a script. Like me, you get a lot of glare off his head when taking a picture.
This is the full cast. Left to Right, - Meg, Cecil, Desiree (who voiced ex-Mayor Pamela Winchell), Michelle Nguyen who runs Dark Owl Records, Joseph Fink (one of the writers) and Mary Epworth, who was The Weather. Gee, that's an odd mix of real and pretend names.
They ask you not to give away the story, which is fair, so no clues. although the show is called "The Librarian", so if you know anything about the WTNV world that'll give you some clues anyway. (Librarians are large, reptilian creatures as likely to bite your head off as recommend you a good read).
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable evening. If you don't follow WTNV and you do like sci-fi or sci-fantasy or find conspiracy theories amusing or enjoyed Twin Peaks then seek it out. It's free to down load.
Plus tickets are still available for one of the London dates.