including a little contribution called the sleeping giant from yours truly, made more palatable and visually appealing by gorgeous illustrations from sam gieben...
belle vue fanzine is a brilliant new publication which has just this week hit the streets of manchester. its the inaugural issue of an occasional and potentially regular series of guides to everyday vernacular manchester - a celebration of the city's nooks and crannies and idiosyncrasies beloved by so many of us yet neglected by the mainstream press that covers the city.
i got my mits on a copy of this pocket sized venus today in cornerhouse bookshop, nestled unobtrusively amongst the other local offerings. like them its lovingly created with a diy, hand-made aesthetic including a healthy sprinkling of pen and ink drawings and line illustrations, its cover a detailed and evocative view through the enormous voyeurs paradise that is cornerhouse cafe. unlike the others, it isnt dedicated to short stories, poetry or haiku. it isnt the product of a writers collective, the brainchild and springboard for this years crop of notables from manchester university's ma in creative writing, or the cunning marketing ploy of a corporate development agency.
no, this is the squinty eyed bastard offspring of a latterday band of vagabonds, modern pirates every one of em, a loose collective, anti-collective even, of bar flies, couriers, graphic designers, graffiti artists, and the odd architect or two. its a miracle that this crime of passion, this long talked of antidote to the cool, slick, commercially savvy magazine such as flux or rant, ever made it to print. but this motley crew of upstarts, ne'er-do-wells and romantics dreamed it, mulled on it and midwifed it through gestation and the result is a thing of genuine beauty and a joy to read.
included in its pages are homages to favourite haunts and hangouts, mentions of bugbears, paeans to lost youth and times past, plus lip smacking lists of tasty caffs beloved by those kings of the road, the bicycle courier. in fact places to eat and drink or even - gasp in disbelief - enjoy a fag without standing on the roadside - feature heavily and not one of them involves a nero, eat, wetherspoons or other corporate chain. nor are they that other extreme, the exclusive gourmet eatery. and there are long overdue glimpses outside the city centre and the usual southerly based alternatives - the north of the city as far as blackley and moston gets at least two mentions. last but not least there's a 'running feature of discontent', the curmudgeonly entitled Hell is a City section, with an open invitation to send in your own contribution!
available in all good city centre independent cinemas/gallery bookshop - and in their own words 'proper boozers' across the city!
celebrate independent manchester and buy one pronto....if you cant find a copy or want to join their mailing list, offer suggestions, encouragement or improvements do contact belle vue at firstname.lastname@example.org.
you might even spot them in the koffee pot or sandbar or cask, plotting and brewing up issue number 2...