Friday, 22 November 2013

Virtual Tourist Manchester's Christmas markets Meeting 16th November 2013

I was awake about 8.10 and as Ashton Hill hostel has a kitchen with a kettle & microwave, I had some tea & porridge for breakfast before going to meet the Virtual Tourist group. I went out about 10am & walked to Starbucks opposite Albert Square. It is here where we have met for the past few years. I had a gingerbread latte. 
I joined Kirsty & Adds & other people from the group while we looked around  the stalls around the town hall. I also bought a "mulled wine" in a seasonal mug. Later I met Lia & Jeff, who were also interested in visiting the Lowry Gallery in Salford. So we decided to go together. We took a Tram 1023 to Salford Quays, then walked around the former dock area. Near to the BBC Media Centre there is the Lowry Arts Centre which as an arts centre which hosts concerts & other event. Also in the same building is the LS Lowry gallery which contains the largest collection of LS Lowry paintings & drawings, many of which are landscapes of industrial Lancashire in the mid 20th century. In addition there is an area set for special exhibitions & in November 2013 the Lowry gallery also hosted as "Performer as Curator" an Alison Goldfrapp exhibition. Alison Goldfrapp is well known as a musician in the electronic & synthpop genre & has several hits in a career since 1989. Alison performs under her surname with Will Gregory. Her albums have sold well. Alison is interested in art, fantasy & fairytales, and examples of there were included in the exhibition. There were also excerpts from films including:-
The lost highway by David Lynch
The Wicker man (Britt Eckland singing)
"Hansel & Gretel" a silhouette cartoon made by Lotte Reiniger
& videos of songs that Alison included in an early album. 
Annabel & Jo (films by Alison Goldfrapp)
The art centre gas an excellent shop of Lowry art memorablia & a cafe/Tea shop which serves fair trade hot & soft drinks, cakes & sandwiches.
At 15.10-15.20 Tram 1072 Media centre to St Peters Square. I went to meet up with the group again, and walked from St Ann's Church to the Cathedral area among the market stalls in New Cathedral Street, I also took some time to listen to talented musician girls, one playing guitar & both signing in harmony. Among the songs (covers of recent hits) they sung were "Girl on Fire" & "Story of my life" I also wondered arpund the cathedral & surrounding streets until meeting the VT people outside the Old Wellington, another Nicholson pub, in a distinctive Elizabethan house. Here Virtual Tourist had a table booked for 5pm & we settled to good food & beer. I had chicken & mushroom pie with fresh vegetables & chips. I also had apple crumble with custard. 
Later we went to a typical "backstreet" English town pub called the "Wheatsheaf" Hotel. The pub was very crowded, but served real ale & there was also a "disco" specialising in Tamla Motown & Northern soul music. We all chatted & stayed until about 11.45pm. 

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