Thursday, June 09, 2005

I'll drive through a black hole for good coffee

Desperate for some real brew, I inspected maps very carefully and dived into the Manchester mess again. Even Google Maps confirmed my assessment that the main trunk of the A57 just peters out in the middle of an overpass just after it sneakily emits a branch line that wraps under said overpass in the temporary guise of the A6.

Anyhooo..back to Love Saves The Day for multiple coffees and salmon on garlic greens, then a twirl around an unexplored quarter of the city centre. This is the most recently redeveloped area. It's got a few soon to be forgotten architectural flourishes (see pics) but most of the area is inhumanly barren. One older building - rebranded as The Triangle - is shamed with inappropriate corporate emblems, like a widow forced to a single's dance in a tart's outfit and a corsage of painted plastic flowers. We wandered in to size up the ambience, but a little security guard scurried over to inform me that dogs were not allowed in. I told him that there was no sign to that effect on the door (I had checked) but he could only offer that "the sign wasn't up yet". The building is 170 years old: I'm sure the sign is imminent....

It would be nice if security guards scurried up to humans and told them to stop littering. I'm really struck by how much litter flows freely and unabashedly from the hands of Midlanders onto the streets here. Hardly any dog poo in public spaces, but the human crap is everywhere. On the weekend, I was stooping to clean up after Bondi in Blackpool when one passerby told me not to bother .. but I did. On the other hand, of the dozens of people eating lunches on the Blackpool promenade, not a one put their waste into a bin: instead they just get up and walk off leaving fish and chip boxes and loose papers blowing around all over. Southport was no better.

Back in Manchester... new residential buildings seem to be flying up around the CBD perimeter, much as they are in Sydney and Melbourne. Maybe it'll bring some life back into the middle - there's no substantial green areas to relieve the relentless patchwork of drab old buildings, dark Satanic mills and shiny could-be-anywhere corporate decals of Starbucks, fcuk, Hard Rock Casino(!), . I think Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping needs to open up shop here, or at least someone could just start something radical by selling cement filled teddy bears.

Decamped before peak hour. BTW peak hour in the UK affects every street in every hamlet between 5 and 6pm. Just don't even think of going on the road. I've warned you. No it's not safe there either. See! Told you.

Spent remainder of day reconfiguring my tablet. It took only 10 minutes to replace the HDD yesterday, but it's taking many hours to reinstall all the software and patches to get it back to regular running condition. I'm alternating reboots with configuring Stuart's mum's new MP3 player, a cute little Archon Gmini XS100.

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