keresaspa: (Cartman)
[personal profile] keresaspa
Hell, even I think I've been away too often recently. The joys of growing up in a warzone, I suppose. And let it be known too that the following load of old rambling nonsense should have been published yesterday but my internet provider decided to give me a day of no service just to remind me who the boss is. Thanks as ever Virgin Media, I would denounce you as vermin but recent events have drawn me closer to that class of creature. Intrigued? Didn't think so but read on anyway, it's good for chilblains.

Having never visited Manchester before I decided, perhaps unwisely, to rectify that state of affairs. I set off last Wednesday into the unknown, catching the inevitable hatefully early flight, although it was a fairly uneventful journey. Manchester Airport however is a horrendous place, massive and with very poor transport links, I had a mile hike to the bus and the journey was long and slow, with this most terrible of road travellers nearly heaving his guts up for the last twenty minutes or so. That a place could actually exist with worse public transport than Belfast seemed impossible to me but I believe I have found it in Manchester.

I was finally dumped off at Piccadilly and faffed around for a while trying to find my hotel. Street signs are in short supply and public street maps virtually unknown in a city that almost seemed to be discouraging tourism at times but finally I stumbled upon the place by blind luck. I'll start with the good points about the Mitre Hotel - it's cheap and central. That's about it really. Dank, crumbling (literally, big holes in walls) and desperately unclean, I'll never again moan about those dumps where I doss down in London after this shithole. The hot water tap barely worked and when one tried to turn it up the whole tap just moved, leaving a flood as a genuinely real fear. When I arrived it even appeared that the TV didn't have a remote and, worse yet, somebody had left it on the awful 4Music, turned up to eleven. Ultimately though I came across it, hidden under the manky bed. Even now I'm shuddering thinking about the place.

I spent the afternoon mooching around the very confusing streets, although ultimately I managed to stumble across all the places identified as worth a visit (apart from the ones that had apparently gone under in the interim - Theresa May's isolationist dictatorship strikes again). Both Piccadilly Records and the Vinyl Exchange were decent places where I was able to add to the hoard although the reverential, hushed tones in which they are usually discussed strike me as a bit over the top as they were good but no more. The day was had anyway, for good or ill.

Having secured some fixtures and directions the night before I headed off for another joyride on the dirty and ludicrously expensive Mancunian bus service for to take my place amongst the throngs at the Prestwich Hays-Litherland REMYCA match. After initially suspecting that the bus I needed didn't exist I finally chanced upon it (public transport advice being seemingly non-existent) and paid a frankly breathtaking £3.20 for my ride to Prestwich. On the bus went as I looked out for "The Frigate" pub, the nearest approximate landmark to my destination of Adie Moran Park. Suddenly the sign appeared "Welcome to Bury" and I realised that things had ganged aft agley. The driver informed me that we had passed Prestwich (even though I had specifically asked the little shit for a ticket to Prestwich when I boarded) so I alighted and charged back over a very dangerous ring road and back into that suburb. I wandered around like a tit in a trance before chancing upon a bus stop with a scratch map on it only to discover the crushing news that Prestwich Heys, despite their name, don't play in Prestwich but back in Bury. By now it was nigh on kick-off time and I was nigh on two miles from the place but I was determined not to be beaten and I set off at speed with my teeth set and the air dark blue as I rained every curse I knew upon the collective head of Manchester. The fact that a sweat-bucket like myself was practically dry at the end of the rumpus tells you how cold it had become. After negotiating the back streets of outer Bury I finally chanced upon the Frigate which, of course, was right beside a bus stop and lit up like a bloody bonfire so had I stayed on the bus I would have got there no problem. Buggers. Fifteen minutes had already been played and a goal scored before I reached the ground but I had at least made it and was able to see four of the five goals scored in a non-league ground that would not have looked out of place in our local non-league scene. Another one for the collection I suppose even if it was a needless pile of drama getting there (and to be fair, what I saw of the match was a grand old stramash). Getting back proved much easier (though just as horrendously expensive) and I rounded things off with one of the foulest kebabs I've ever had the misfortune to consume.

I would have been happy to end it there and then but another day in Manchester lay in front of me so I left the foul hole and decamped to the nearby National Museum of Football. An interesting place it was too, if a little England-centric for my taste and at times a bit on the padded side. Still, it killed an hour without being unpleasant and included some genuine curiosities, such as a "news"paper announcing both the homosexuality of Justin Fashanu and the ability to party with the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. Different times. I even broke one of my cardinal rules of museum visiting by spending money in the gift shop, although a Barry J Hugman-penned football career statistical romp is always hard to refuse.

A couple of return visits to some of yesterday's haunts more or less finished things off and, with little left to do, I chanced upon a bus heading for nearby Oldham and, for reasons unknown, I boarded it. I had heard that Oldham was dog-rough and wanted to see for myself and sure enough it proved a rather down-home place, as evidenced by one of the first sights I saw being a brawl of sorts between an irresponsible pitbull owner and two of those pretend policemen that England have (PCSOs or whatever they're called). But it provided plenty of diversion notwithstanding all that, be it a few hokeys, a cheap dining hall in TJ Hughes, plenty of rough women with fat rumps dressed in alarmingly tight clothing (always a pleasure) or even the branch of second-hand CD dumping ground That's Entertainment, a chain which I had thought had gone under years ago. Mind you, to quote Cassandra Trotter, "who the bloody hell's Tanya?" I was seemingly the only white man in the whole town not to be wearing a poppy but I've given my reasons plenty of times on here so I did so with defiance. But, ignoring that, Oldham was a reasonable day out.

After rounding the day off back in Manchester I returned to the hotel to unwind. Around about 11 o'clock I was lying on the bed when I noticed a flickering in the corner of my eye. I dismissed it as a floater but no, it immediately dawned on me that something had bloody well ran in under the door. I got up to investigate as it had scurried behind the broken wardrobe but suddenly it tore out again and disappeared the way it had arrived. It was fairly dark in the room (one of the lights had no bulb in it - worra dump) and it was fast as fook so I'm not sure if it was a mouse or a cockroach but either way, how disgusting. Seriously, give the Mitre Hotel as wide a berth a possible, folks.

Friday took me to Bradford to see [ profile] queenmartina and [ profile] burkesworks, both formerly of these parts but now part of the grand livejournal exodus of the last few years. In the interests of the privacy of others I'll summarise these parts a bit more. We knocked around Bradford for a while before returning to Idle for supper. Saturday saw [ profile] burkesworks and me at the football, watching Eccleshill United labour to defeat against Glasshoughton Welfare. Fortunately this match was reached a lot more easily than my Wednesday night travails, being within walking distance, and was another new ground to add to the list. Nothing like a bit of non-league, is there? Decent match, entirely determined by Welfare's supersub number 12 who turned the game around virtually single-handedly.

Sunday saw [ profile] queenmartina and me in Ilkley, a place I had never hitherto visited, for a small antiques and collectables fair. Decent it was and indeed Ilkley as a whole was a pleasant place where the delights on offer even included a charity shop carrying a Wolfe Tones album. Incongruous to say the least but inevitably I snapped it up. We wrapped things up with a run around a few familiar haunts in Leeds on the Monday before I took my leave and hopped the plane home for another surprisingly painless flight. After the at times harrowing experiences of Manchester it had all made for a delightful change of pace.

Having returned home I was just in time for the great election of doom in which two of the most horrendous people I've ever seen fought dirty for the leadership of the "Free World". Well, the crooked war-monger blew it and instead the groping, racist billionaire (whose supporters apparently think cares about working class interests) won. How delightful. Now we can look forward to a bleak future in a few years when the UK, having voluntarily surrendered its European Union safeguard, will be forced to become the complete American lapdog which it has always threatened to be and the two ludicrously coiffured Americans* can begin the final dismantling of the welfare state that they desire. When in ten years time you have no employment rights, no NHS, no sick pay, no paid leave just remember you happily voted for it when you wanted your precious "Brexit", you racist morons. Mind you had Killary won it would have mass conscription to join in all her wars so it was damned if you do, damned if you don't for the EU-bereft idiots.

So in summary, give Manchester a miss if you can, if not go nowhere near the Mitre Hotel, nice to see relatives and that and the world is completely fucked. I think that covers everything.

*Let's face it, Theresa May is a caretaker Prime Minister at best, somebody who was approaching the natural end of her political life anyway and who has been set up to do the dirty work of taking the UK out of the EU and being responsible for the total collapse that will inevitably follow. With that done she'll slope away, possibly into the grave (well, she looks pretty damn ill even now) and that stout American Boris Johnson will waltz in to seal the cut-price sell-off of the public sector to American companies as they have done in all those lucky places they "liberated", no doubt with a by-then Lord Farage involved at some stage. In the end we'll be left a bunch of drones working hundred hour weeks for American multinationals, the concepts of employment rights, universal healthcare or a benefits system distant memories and having to shell out a fortune for visas to go anywhere (but it won't matter because you won't be getting time off for holidays anyway). Hope it was worth it, just so as you don't have to hear so many Polish accents any more.

Date: 2016-11-09 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Now this song is going through my head.

It'll be . . . interesting to see what the next four years bring us, here in the States.

Date: 2016-11-10 08:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Not seen that before; so terrible it was pretty good actually. Interesting times ahead for us all I reckon.

Date: 2016-11-10 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hair is a pretty good movie, I think. Lots of interesting music. If you ever get a chance to watch it, do.

Date: 2016-11-11 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've heard snippets of one of the stage recordings (no idea which one) and it all seemed kind of spacey and fun so I'll look out for it.

Date: 2016-11-10 05:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Always good to see my wee brother. :-)

Glad everything was to your liking after Manchester and Oldham! Perhaps when you're back next in better weather we can take a stroll up to Cow and Calf rocks? Knowing how you like to stretch your legs and all. :-D

Date: 2016-11-10 08:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Actually Oldham was a reasonable way to kill a couple of hours. I suspect Manchester might have been too but staying over was unnecessary really.

Date: 2016-12-28 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have only been to Manchester once. Whilst there I went to a burger type cafe and had, yes, a burger and arrived home at 2am and was up from 3am with food poisoning...kind of summed Manchester up for me.

As for Brexit, don't pile us all into the same quagmire; I most definitely voted to stay in. I was listening to a news report the following week when it was stated "Well the British people voted to come out..." A harsh statement I thought.

Date: 2016-12-31 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Once was enough in that case. I think that'll do for me as well. I've always been told how great it is (mainly by Mancunians admittedly) but I'm not seeing what the fuss was about.

I'm afraid my ire at England has spilled over a bit these last few years, even though I've always did my utmost to avoid being one of those "Saxon scum" republicans. In my defence everything Northern Ireland votes against is now forced on us thanks to England and the lack of any voice that the make-up of the UK forces upon the Celtic fringe. A united Ireland would fix it of course but the Assembly stocked full of informers that's not going to happen so I'm afraid the whole affair has left me rather morose.

In saying all that it could still all fall apart notwithstanding the referendum but hope is in short supply these days.

Date: 2017-01-01 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have read your reply several times and I'm afraid I am really now going to show my ignorance of the politics of Northern Ireland as I am not altogether sure what you are saying. I would really like to understand so can you please explain in words of one syllable - okay maybe not quite to that degree.

Date: 2017-01-02 01:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Northern Ireland voted remain overwhelmingly but because we have a population of a couple of million and England has a population of 50 odd million it counts for nothing (and the same is true in any UK-wide referendum, we just have no influence whatsoever). The same is true for Scotland and Wales (even though they voted leave) as even the three combined are still a lot smaller in population terms than England. In contrast in a united Ireland what is now Northern Ireland would account for over a third of the population and so would be a lot more influential in voting terms.

Some Irish republicans have a tendency to tar all English people with the same brush, ignoring the fact that the English are no more homogeneous than anybody else. It's a mindset I've always disliked but it's one I've found myself, rather depressingly, falling into after two Conservative election victories (the Tories have no support here - when they run candidates they get three figure votes and when they formed an electoral pact with the Ulster Unionists that party was wiped out) and now the referendum thing. It's the sort of thing that would have been resisted in the past but these days that sort of democratic deficit is meekly accepted in this part of the world. As I say, it's a daft mindset and it's one I don't hold with but occasionally I slip, much to my shame.

In saying that, I can say no more about the informers bit as I might end up in the dock for breaching super-injunctions! Suffice to say long-running allegations exist about certain high-ranking members of Sinn Fein being long-term agents for the British government and that this is the reason the party has shifted so much of its ideology in the last decade or so. It's also the reason that they fall into line so quickly as strictly speaking the UK exiting the European Union would be a breach of the Good Friday Agreement. Time was the armed struggle would have restarted over something like this but now they don't even collapse our local Assembly. There are other domestic political issues involving an unpunished financial scandal that suggest all this too but it's not something that would interest anybody outside this place.

Date: 2017-01-04 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you for explaining so clearly. I found your reply both fascinating and informative. You do not have to come from Northern Ireland to dislike the Tories; I live in Grantham where Thatcher was born and I find it most distasteful when people mention that, I quickly remark that Isaac Newton also came from close by...although I am not too enamoured of him also!

What an insight you gave me, thank you again, I certainly understand what you were meaning about a united Ireland now but please try not to tar us all with the same brush, after all I am a Baggie so am very different from most people don't you think?

Date: 2017-01-06 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I try to think of some of the rubbish from my home town of Belfast. Heck, when the biggest thing the tourist board can think of to sell a city is a ship that sank you know you're from a sump-hole! And Grantham has Nicholas Parsons and Doris Stokes as well FWIW.

I bear no malice to anybody just because they're English (almost said "some of my best friends are English" there, although it's true) but I would be a lot happier if you were our neighbours across the water rather than our rulers.


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