Thursday, September 14, 2006


Rather lax security at BBC Manchester. We managed to drive straight into a car park reserved for broadcast staff, walked past security in our ragamuffin clothing, without so much as a question, headed, via several other car parks, into reception where we explained where the car was. "Oh. That'll be fine." "Do you need my registration details?" "No, it doesn't matter." Eight hours later we walked under a barrier as a car was coming out, straight past security in our very wet ragamuffin clothing, without so much as a question, walked through a car park full of nice vehicles, walked through a car park full of vintage buses, ambulances and police cars (props, no doubt), found the car and sped off. Always thought big media organisations were wary of the terrorist threat and being infiltrated, or maybe they want someone to storm in and take over Anthony Wilson's radio slot.

So, while M was involved in meetings and such, I was left to wander aimlessly through the streets of Manchester, with the rain pissing down on me. I took cover in the city art gallery for a while and was quite taken with Liam Spencer's From Manchester To Shanghai exhibition. He does good stuff with oil on canvas, that Liam, and his view of the city was much drier than mine. I was followed, probably because I looked like a drowned rat ridden by a ne'er do well, by a member of the curatorial staff for much of my visit. After much walking through the puddle-ridden streets I had a break in the Royal Exchange, where I had a drink while browsing through the season brochure as a giant image of Robert Lindsay looked down on me. I decided to take a picture on my phone of this, to show to someone we know who despises everything about RL, but the woman sat next to me started to shift uncomfortably, feeling, I guess, that she was in the company of a stalker-to-be.
Sinclair's Oyster Bar is a nice pub with a history dating back to the 17th century and, like all the nicest pubs, serves dreadful (but cheap) Sam Smith's ale. I read with disgust a piece of info on the wall that explained that a son of the original owners, the Byroms, invented Pitman's shorthand while staring out of the very window that I was staring out of.
I like Manchester but this was a bit of a poor day. We got caught up in miles of tailbacks on the M62 on the way that took two hours to wade through and I could have done without getting so wet, and my visit to another pub called the Seven Oaks, which was a bit of a hovel in which all the customers were watching a wildlife programme about elephants on the big screen.

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