Thursday, 14 February 2008

manchester new years eve debacle...m.e.n report

lonely firework at town hall at midnight!

sometimes it’s reassuring to find that you’re not totally out of synch with the rest of the world…or in this case the mighty m.e.n!

you might recall my confusion in a recent posting about the mysterious absence of any focus for new years eve celebrating. there i was wandering about the city centre as the clock drew nearer the midnight hour, waiting for friends to finish their pizza express shifts, and hoping that there might be some fireworks or a bit of a singalong in albert square to join up with…but nothing, not a sausage, nowhere for our assortment of waifs and strays to warm our metaphorical cockles!!! once home and in front of the tv it seemed that just about everybody else was enjoying the countdown to a brave new year in squares and plazas around the globe, sharing goodwill, fireworks and best wishes in the night air, surrounded by fellow citizens. why if manchester celebrates christmas so heartily, ferociously even, does it see in the new year with little more than a whimper…?

last week on my usual mooch round this peculiar metropolis, doing my rounds like an old hound sniffing its territory, i stopped to have a cappuccino with norlander toast and jam at the divine oklahoma, home of the pointless, quirky yet must have item, such as the spinning, multi glow eyeball or bag of bones, eye-sockets and bits (my own guilty pleasures!!), lip salve by burts bees and that essential 7-day moustache pack. its here that i like to sit awhile to watch the world go by and eavesdrop into the lives of the lovely young things who frequent and work in this little emporium to the ordinary. often i take a book or write in my notebook but today my eye was drawn to an abandoned manchester evening news and its curious headline tucked away on p14…

it seems that i was not alone in feeling a little miffed and disappointed by our absence of civic merriment – a poll reveals that 76% of people asked by m.e.n would have liked an organized celebration, and were left feeling flat by the lack of music or fireworks in albert square. council chiefs say it just cant afford the 125k it would cost and that emergency services unwillingness is also to blame! a lead article by alan gardner run in the m.e.n early in the new year makes an interesting read -

bah humbag i say and for once i’m not alone…lib dem leader paul shannon told the evening news, ‘many cities across europe hold successful and enjoyable new year’s eve celebrations. i’m sure here in manchester we would do it even better than them.’

fighting talk mr shannon, fighting talk…

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