A bit of a catch up …

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Pauline has written a fantastic review of Ian McKellen’s recent one-man show at 80, which shows there is no age limit to success. See here.

Pauline was treading the boards herself on Sunday, 30 June for 100 Trans Voices with Transcreative UK at the Royal Exchange Theatre. We are very proud of you, Pauline!

We’ve been busy attending Manchester International Festival events: Invisible Cities, The Anvil and Tree, and we are enormously grateful to the organisers for supplying tickets to Out In The City. Two of our members were also involved in Street Poem.

The Anvil at Bridgewater Hall

Tree

We are also involved in the Pride in Ageing – attending the launch and contributing to the Advisory Group and Steering Committee.

Finally, we are involved with the Talking About My Generation project. We started recording our first ever podcast! Thanks to Age UK Salford for hosting our session.

Whitworth Gallery

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Trips & Adventures – 4 July 2019

We set off from Piccadilly Bus Station at 12.00 noon and arrived at the Turing Tap in the university area within twenty minutes or so. The pub was named after Alan Turing and features some photos of him, but oddly also had some old style telephones attached to the wall. Most of us had some food, which was very tasty, but Peter’s fish was so huge we thought he had been served with Moby Dick!

The Whitworth Art Gallery is only a block away and is set in Whitworth Park. Unusually, the gallery does not feature permanent exhibits, as the collection is too big (about 55,000 items) but changes displays every few months

There was a tour scheduled for 2.00pm and we met with our guide Jason, in the rear extension, which was only opened four years ago. He started with a history of the building which was previously owned by wealthy tradesmen who had made their fortunes in the cotton industry.

He explained that in recent years the Art Gallery had made a feature of the outside garden and park areas linking the building to the park and so we stepped outside to admire the sculptures. We walked around the building, whilst Jason gave us a very interesting and informative talk. He was also very attentive to our needs taking a route with few steps and finding us places to sit down.

A statue of King Edward VII commemorates the royal visit when the Royal Infirmary (just over the road) was opened in 1909. Jason told us that the bronze statue is often decorated with a traffic cone by university freshers each year. I wondered if one of those freshers was called “Jason”?

The garden has Japanese blossom, mint plants and linden trees and attracts green parakeets as well as migrating birds.

The gallery is free to enter and also has free Sunday concerts – it prides itself on being a “Gathering of Strangers”. However, in 2003, three paintings — Van Gogh’s The Fortification of Paris with Houses, Picasso’s Poverty and Gauguin’s Tahitian Landscape – were stolen from the gallery. They were later found rolled up in a nearby public toilet and were subsequently put back on display.

In our usual practice we made our way to the café for a much needed tea or coffee.

St Anne’s

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Trips & Adventures – 27 June 2019

Phew! It was the hottest day of the year! From Manchester Piccadilly to Preston to St Anne’s (via Moss Side) took an hour and a half by train and costs £9.90, £12.10 or £18.15 depending on what senior discounts you are entitled to. By chance we met up with one of Ken’s friends who was making her way to Lytham and joined us on that section of the journey.

Lytham and St Anne’s are two separate towns, which are often joined up as “Lytham St Anne’s” apparently much to the annoyance of the local residents.

We made our way to the Trawl Boat Inn and ate our meals outside as the sun was shining brightly and it was such a glorious day.

We then walked to the sea front. There were miles of sandy beaches as the sea could only be seen in the far distance. People were relaxing, boys were playing football and donkeys were giving rides.

We walked along the pier through a noisy amusement arcade, past a couple of cafes, to the end, but still the sea was far away. From the end of the pier we could see the “Big One” in Blackpool (the UK’s tallest roller coaster ride at an impressive 235 feet!) but not Blackpool Tower.

The pier had a notice board showing the history of the pier. This included a poster for the performance of a gay summer show with a brilliant cast called “Let’s Go Gay” opening on 28 June 1958 (61 years ago) at the Pier Pavilion, St Anne’s. The guest star was Russ Conway, a popular pianist who had 20 hit singles in the UK Singles Chart including two number one hits. He never came out as gay as, in those days, it would have been career suicide. The show also included The Gay Four and was presented by the Noel Gay Music Co Ltd.

Whilst others walked along the front, Walter and I sat down with ice creams, which cost the same price as a mortgage on a small house in 1958, and reminisced about Doris Speed who used to play pub landlady Annie Walker in Coronation Street. All in all, a great day out.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which helped spark the fight for LGBT rights around the world.

Being gay or transgender was classified as a mental illness. Gay people were regularly threatened and beaten by police, and were shunned by many in society.

Even here in the UK, being gay was a crime until 1967.

But the Stonewall riots in 1969 were a landmark event in history, which helped to fight homophobia and campaign for equal rights.

On 28 June 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn – a bar in the gay area of New York, US. It was the second time that week the police had raided it. They threw 200 people out onto the streets and beat up some people.

The community were angry about the way they were being treated by the police, so they chose to fight back.

This event triggered a week of protests and rioting by people, who were fed up of being harassed by the authorities.

News of the riots spread around the world, and this inspired others to join protests and rights groups to fight for equality.

A month after the riots, the first openly gay march took place in New York, demanding equality.

 

Great Get Together – 23 June 2019

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The annual Great Get Together was established by the Jo Cox Foundation in memory of the late MP’s belief that “we all have more in common than that which divides us”. It seeks to bridge division and remind communities of how much they have in common by staging a series of picnics, events and meet-ups.

Several of us from Out In The City and Friends of Dorothy went to the event in Sackville Gardens, in the heart of Manchester’s Gay Village, on Sunday 23 June.

It also happened to be Alan Turing’s birthday – he would have been 107!

Since its launch in 2017, the Great Get Together has seen over a hundred thousand “get togethers” and almost a million people taking part. It has become a powerful symbol of national unity and community. The Great Get Together is now one of the UK’s biggest and most successful charitable projects, honouring Jo Cox by showcasing the values she championed.

There was also a line dancing demonstration on Canal Street.

 

 

Mystery trip!

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Trips & Adventures – 20 June 2019

Is it in Greater Manchester? Do I need waterproof clothing? Where are we going for lunch? Are we going on the tram? Many questions were asked to find out the whereabouts of our mystery trip, but no clues were revealed until the day itself.

We set off from Church House and walked through St Ann’s Square to the Royal Exchange Theatre.

There we had a guided tour through the building – the largest theatre in the round in the country – including the Great Hall, production departments, backstage areas, dressing rooms and The Studio.

We learnt all about the fascinating history of the Royal Exchange building and the Theatre Company while offering real insight into the production process.

The Royal Exchange is a grade II listed building in Manchester city centre, which was heavily damaged in the Manchester Blitz and in the 1996 Manchester bombing. The current building is the last of several buildings on the site used for commodities exchange, primarily but not exclusively of cotton and textiles.

In the 18th century the trade was part of the slave trade in which African slaves were transported to America where the cotton was grown and then exported to Liverpool where the raw cotton was sold. The raw cotton was processed in Manchester and the surrounding cotton towns. Manchester Royal Exchange traded in spun yarn and finished goods throughout the world including Africa until trading ceased in 1968, and the building was threatened with demolition.

The building remained empty until 1973 when it was used to house a theatre company. The Royal Exchange Theatre was founded in 1976.

In 1999, the Royal Exchange was awarded ‘Theatre of the Year’ in the Barclays Theatre Awards, in recognition of its refurbishment and ambitious re-opening season.

After an interesting tour we retired to the local Wetherspoons for food and refreshments.