Last week saw the wonderful Manchester Jazz Festival, and what a lot of lovely noise and clatter there was about town that week. Although I didn't go to any paying gigs this year, I did see a few bands that were up-and-coming, including the very wonderful If Destroyed Still True, who combine that very English folk-jazz tradition with making a very good and at times pretty free improvising. They were at the Bridgewater Hall foyer, along with a piano trio and the Ryan Quigley Sextet (or Sextent as he kept joking throughout.) They were both good, but also a little ordinary. I also found out about the jam session and the jazz that's going on around Manchester, with a fair number of young people involved. Some great jazz during the week, and at times the rain provided extra percussion effects on the tent outside the Town Hall!
Poetry wise, I read at a charity gig for the Barnabus people who work with sex-workers and the homeless in the centre of Manchester. A Christian group putting their lives where their faith is, as it were; and the evening was gently political, with my old friends Dave Pullar and Claire Mooney providing some excellant ranting.
I'm also impressed by the Unsung Arran issue; a bunch of very enthusiastic young people who put together a magazine for free, organise a wonderful evening's reading in The Thirsty Scholar and generally don't seem to mind being among older folk like me at times. Even if I do have to say no to going on to late night parties, it's good to know there's some real enthusiasm going on with poetry around Manchester. And some of the poetry that came out of the Arran trip - I won't mention names - was great too.
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