Monday, November 12, 2007

The buildings behind vertex of Engels

I've broken into an uneasy sweat since arriving at that title, but we'll plough on regardless. On Saturday I partook in a guided Friedrich Engels walk through Manchester city centre with a horde of other left-leaning hedonists hellbent on communal strolling. The reason such an event can take place in Manchester is because he lived here for more than 20 years (in different spells) and he and Karl Marx even penned sections of The Communist Manifesto together in the city. We saw the bay window and everything (well, just the bay window actually). This is was what was quite funny about the walk in general - we heard all about Engels' life and times in Manchester, all about the slums and terrible working conditions he observed while building his perceptions of class, and thus the city's integral role in developing socialism, but in reality the vast majority of the landscapes he knew are long gone. It was very good though, even if we could've just had the talk in a portakabin with a nice mug of tea. I thought our entertaining Manc guide was pretty good too, despite seemingly being at pains to stress he doesn't care for socialism much. There's an article about him and the tour here .

This matinee entertainment/reason not to be in the pub was the discovery of radical historian Dan (a.k.a. Red Dan) who was down from Edinburgh for the weekend. His hosts Matt and Helen performed admirably in guiding us from good tavern to good tavern throughout the weekend, which is very useful when you're new to somewhere as I am. My Manc' public house knowledge has expanded immeasurably. We were also joined on Saturday by Dan's blog boss Grammar Gez (GrammarBlog) and Anna, 24, from Lincolnshire. Fine company all round. Those of us who stuck around for the late segment of Saturday's itinerary were lucky enough to catch noted Italian rockers The Refounders as their European tour pulled in to the back room of a pub populated by eleven people. The singer's main performance trick involved fizzing up a can of John Smiths Extra Smooth and cracking it open at his crotch, allowing a frothy mess to burst forth. Their incendiary encore of 'Great Balls Of Fire' was life-affirming. They'll go far.

Sunday afternoon meant the football (hiss), and for once it didn't manage to spoil another otherwise perfectly good weekend. It didn't exactly contribute anything either... but one step at a time, my child. Boro played out a dour 0-0 draw at Bolton Wanderers, a satisfactory enough result but a game capably described by today's Guardian as "rubbish in which the odd moments of skill and control winked like pearls on a cow pat before being buried by another steaming pile." Which sounds markedly similar to the rest of my Boro-supporting life, funnily enough, so I'll take it. Here's the blog's obligatory (oblogatory, even) Stadium Snapshot to prove "I was there". The rest of this post was just made up really.

7 Comments:

Blogger Gez said...

A nice write-up, Paddy, although I'm going to get bristly in response to my journalistic description (in the manner of esteemed, radical guide - who WASN'T a gay communist); it feels weird to be summed up in one word. Grammar Gez? I'd rather be 'Magnificent Gez' or 'Benevolent Gez'.

Those of you who just suggested 'Pompous Gez' can pipe down. I heard you.

November 15, 2007 12:13 am  
Blogger Paddy said...

And here's me thinking you might appreciate some alliteration in your nomenclature. Maybe I should gone for some onomatopoeia or assonance. And if you didn't like those either, I could slowly work my way through everything else I covered in GCSE English.

November 15, 2007 12:12 pm  
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