Oh Danny Voice!

For anyone in need of a musical treat in the new year Irish rocksters The Script come to MEN Arena on Sunday March 17th.With their new single 'Hall of fame' hot in the charts right now sounds like something to look forward to! 

Film Reviews


Ostensibly two concurrent stories the Spielberg-produced Super 8 is simultaneously a convincing coming of age film about a bunch of kids making a zombie film whilst growing up at the arse end of the 1970s, coupled with a fairly pedestrian rampaging monster movie.  Director JJ Abrams (brainchild of TV phenomenon Lost and the Star Trek reboot) talked about having two great movie ideas and then combining them both into one.  What he actually seems to have done is make them separately and then stitch them together like Frankenstein’s Monster.  Admittedly “Five Kids Making Rubbish Zombie Movie” would not have had the mass reach or appeal of “Space Monster Terrorises Town” but the Kids movie is actually the far more compelling of the two.  In much the same way that Will Smith’s I Am Legend was a great apocalyptic survival movie by day but a load of rubbish old cartoon cobblers by night* Super 8 is irresistible and fun whilst it focuses on the interplay of the kids growing up and falling in love and falling out.  But when it comes to the monster movie aspect expectations are crushed and the pace actually slackens.  Remember the gigantic, scary monster in Cloverfield that wrecked and terrified New York?  Well this looks like the Transformers people had a bunch of ungraded left-over CGI that wasn’t working and said “You can have this if you like”.  The monster is shambling, unimaginative, and unthreatening and the rudimentary plot surrounding it is utterly unoriginal.  Like Simon Pegg’s ‘Paul’ it is more of a love letter to Steven Spielberg than a film of its own merit.  The young cast are mostly newcomers except for Elle Fanning, Dakota’s sister, from a strange family of preternaturally gifted and sort of ‘aged’ children.  All in all, the film is good, and silly space monster aside there is a lot to like.  But when the credits roll and you finally get to watch the kids’ own zombie film (shot on the titular ’Super 8’ film stock) just ask yourself – is this actually better than the movie I’ve just watched?
*  not to mention it being a gigantic dump on Richard Matheson‘s fantastic book…

The Adventures of Tin Tin


We have a Steven Spielberg Special this month (stay tuned for Super 8)!  Hergé famously said that only Spielberg could do his beloved Tintin justice on film.  Well, he finally, albeit posthumously, had his vision realised with this strange 3D performance capture interpretation of the great, ginger-coiffured Belgian detective/journalist’s exploits.  The CGI allows director Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson – the guy who did those Rings films – to beautifully homage the source material with uncannily lifelike reinterpretations of the iconic characters.  This ultimate filmmaking duo also convincingly flesh out Hergé’s cartoonish ligne claire or “clear line” style with fully rendered locations and stunning set pieces.  Following a heavily Hitchcockian opening which dazzlingly sets the action/adventure/mystery tone it might take your eyes a minute to adjust to the new technology format and the photorealistic environments and lighting.  From then on you’re in for a Boy’s Own Adventure™ which recalls the spirit of Indiana Jones and the old serial adventure movies from decades gone by.  With good performances from Jamie Bell (the ballerina kid from Billy Elliot) as Tintin, motion capture champion Andy ‘Gollum’ Serkis as Captain Haddock, comedy support from Nick Frost and Simon Pegg as bungling Thomson and Thompson and even a half decent villain in Daniel ‘Blond Bond’ Craig, the key ingredient is just plain fun.  The bravura action centrepiece on the side of a mountainous African seaport really sells the advantages and creativity born from the film format, whilst also confirming that great 3D CGI motion capture does not begin and end with Avatar.  Tintin also delivers a brilliantly atmospheric musical score boasting some of John Williams’ best work since the Star Wars and Superman themes.

MancMode Meets Manchester Composer Francesca L Hall

With the release of her second album 'Lost' featuring 12 stunning original tracks, MancMode catches up with Francesca L Hall to get the lowdown on life as a busy composer living and working in Manchester. Being born into a musical family and having played the piano since the age of four, Francesca has composed the soundtracks to numerous short films,  which have exhibited at the Raindance, Edinburgh and Cannes film festivals, dozens of promos and the acclaimed 'Lost', a follow up to her first album 'Beyond the Wall of Sleep.' She is married to a Manchester film producer and has a two year old son.
MancMode: Congratulations on the release of Lost. 

Francesca: Thank you.  It's good to finally get it out there. I started this album about four years ago and then life and other projects got in the way of its release but I made it my absolute goal this year to get it finished.

MancMode: Four years is a long time! What inspired you to keep going with it?

Francesca: Mainly the support I have received from people all over the world. I set up a Myspace page around the same time as I started composing Lost and was overwhelmed by the response.  When you see that your music has been played by thousands of people on every continent on the planet that kind of serves as a boost! 

MancMode: Who are your musical influences?

Francesca: How long have you got? I grew up in a musical family (her Mother is a concert pianist and Grandfather, Rudolf Botta, was a Professor of violin at the Royal Northern College of Music) and have listened to music since birth. I adore classical music and composers such as Bach, Beethoven and Rachmaninov, but then have been greatly influenced by modern composers such as John Barry, John Williams and David Arnold and it is probably their music that inspired me to write soundtracks for films.  Of course I am an avid follower of my favourite band Elbow too! I think I have very eclectic taste and will listen to anything and everything as long as it moves me in some way.

MancMode:  David Arnold (Official Bond soundtrack composer) said he thought your music had a stillness to it and compared it to the music of his friend David Julyan who has composed the soundtracks for the Descent and Memento amongst others. How did that feel?

Francesca: Wow that was a massive day for me.  I have been a huge fan of his ever since I heard Bjork singing Play Dead when I was 15. To think that one day he would listen to my music and actually like it is still surreal to me! Also to be compared to David Julyan is very humbling. His music is outstanding.

MancMode: You not only wrote the music for but also starred in a short film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Is this another career path you'd like to pursue?

Francesca: Gosh no! (laughs).  Don't get me wrong I'm really proud of Incubus but it didn't come that naturally to me to be in front of the camera. I'm definitely committed to making music and in particular film soundtracks. 

MancMode: So what's next for you?

Francesca: I'm currently working on the soundtrack for a game called Fantasy Quest, on promoting Lost and organising a couple of live performances in Manchester for late this year/early next year. I'm also the Mum of a gorgeous two year old son, so I'm kept pretty busy!

Visit Francesca's official myspace page:- CLICK HERE

Swinging in to Manchester at various venues in the near future are the 'Swing Commanders'.  A five piece group of multi talented musicians, playing 1930's 40's and 50's music and creating a happy infectious atmosphere wherever they play.  For anyone with an open mind (ear) for music, this group should not be missed.  You will end the night smiling, such is the quality of their playing and their original presentation.  This group, already popular are now selling out venues
Help yourself to their website and catch them where you can.
31.Dec.11 -  St Kentigern's social club, Fallowfield.
3.Feb.12     -  Waterside Arts Centre Sale
2.Mar.12     -  Mayor's Charity Ball Salford

Quick! Get Your Clothes Back

The Laundry Shop on Peter Street is to open, albeit briefly, on Tuesday and Wednesday 18th & 19th October to allow the people of Manchester to liberate their clothes.  After months of captivity relieved owners are looking forward to being reunited with their apparel and getting long awaited answers to those burning questions including- 'Did you get dry cleaned during your ordeal?',  'Hey, how come there's an extra stain on here which wasn't there when I dropped you off?' and 'That's strange, why don't you seem to fit anymore? Well it can't be me I hardly eat anything.'

If you are planning on taking part in the big reunion don't expect to waltz in there with your ticket and claim what is rightfully yours. As well as the ticket your going to need more ID than you would if you were planning to adopt a Romanian orphan. So go armed with passport, driving licence, utility bills, bank statements, and a full description of the item you are claiming in the form of a sworn affidavit together with character references from your last 12 employers, a warrant and your great grandmother's entire credit history. Oh and if you don't claim your clothes back apparently they are going to be donated to charity so if you are reading this on the 20th October after returning from a holiday, bad luck. I bought your Armani suit for 50p at Barnardos to use as lining for my dog bed. Unfortunately Fido sicked up on it so I have to get it dry cleaned tomorrow. Know anywhere good?

Chopin in Manchester without your credit card...

Manchester has a new work of art. A bronze statue of the great pianist and composer Fryderyk Chopin was unveiled on Deansgate on 16th September 2011.Created by Polish sculptor, Robert Sobocinski the statue is the largest of Chopin outside of Poland and celebrates his visit to Manchester in 1848 and the 200th anniversary of his birth.
The statue depicts, 'Chopin at the piano gazing across at his muse Baroness Aurore Lucile Dupon. Carved into the work is an eagle in flight, the symbol of Poland for over a thousand years and a battle scene representing the Polish fight for freedom.'

A great addition to our fair city not only aesthetically but also culturally showing that we Mancunians have an appreciation for great music and artistry that is anything but limited to our Hacienda heritage.

Jamie Oliver's Restaurant to Open in Manchester

©Stanley Walker. Licensed for further reuse

Jamie Oliver will be soon opening his Italian restaurant on King Street in the old HSBC building.
Choosing our fair city to open his biggest eatery to date (have you seen the size of the building? It's massive) he is also unfazed by being in direct competition with Rio Ferdinand, whose swanky Italian restaurant Rosso is a mere stone's throw away. The big launch is coming this autumn and food aside it is surely likely to have one of the most impressive locations of all. Built in the 1930's the Grade II listed building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Mr Oliver must be making a fair whack to have bought it. Seems swapping pie and chips for salad leaves in schools can't have been all that unpopular...

Pint of The Week...


Pint: Cumberland Ale
Venue: Briton’s Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater St

The Briton’s Protection is one of the more traditional British pubs in the city centre and is a welcome change from all the trendy bars and student dives scattered around town.  You can also get an interesting array of great gamey pies for lunch if you arrive at the right time (between 11.30am-2pm).  They have a selection of books on offer at the bar for a modest charity donation, and here is also one of the most comprehensive selections of whiskey available in the area.  However, today we’re here to talk about their most popular pint of bitter: Cumberland Ale.  And there’s a reason it’s so popular.  Smooth and fruity, the Cumberland Ale is far too easy to drink and goes down much more quickly than a fizzy pint of lager.  Even moreso now that the summer is finally gone and darker, more bitter days are upon us.  For a guiding light towards a refreshing pint in the coming winter look no further than the Briton’s Cumberland Ale to soothe your woes and wile away your afternoons and evenings, in the warmth of a lovely British pub with very friendly staff.  Although it has to be said that some of the chairs can be rather uncomfortable.  Arrive early to get good seats!

Red Hot World Buffet

Well if it's quantity not quality you're after then this is sure not to disappoint. With a mind boggling array of dishes and cuisines it took me about 10 minutes just to try and decide what to pick first. They even put polite notices in front of the bread baskets and ornamental globes that state "not for human consumption"  (presumably in response to the over whelming number of people who misinterpreted 'All You Can Eat' for 'Eat All You Can').  From Mexican tortillas to Japanese sushi via Chinese, Indian, English and Italian I carried my overflowing plate back to our table only to realise I had lost my friend in there. I didn't go looking for her-there's no time for niceties when there's an all you can eat buffet to be had. Unfortunately our table was the furthest (and by that I mean you could measure the distance in a car) from the actual buffet. Considering everyone in the restaurant pays the same for their meal you can't help but feel a bit ripped off as you take your 3 mile walk through the restaurant trying to balance a towering food mountain whilst being rammed into by waiters, especially when you see other folk practically reaching over to the buffet without leaving their seat or those who have the pleasant view of Deansgate from their table. The floor was really slippy near our table and what with the epic walk and everything, a pair of  hiking boots and stretchy maternity pants would have been a much more appropriate ensemble than the heels and spangly top I had chosen to wear.  In addition our table was right next to the kitchen where they take all the waste, the sight and smell of which was enough to cause some dry heaving amongst us all by the end of our meal.
Whilst you simply cannot fault the diversity of what is on offer (there were even oysters on ice) unfortunately I wasn't dazzled by any of the dishes. If I had to pick a favourite it would probably be the tortilla chips and dip and let's face it you can get those at the supermarket for a lot less than £13.95.  Thinking about it, the squid rings were probably quite tasty and I remember thinking that the beef in black pepper sauce was flavoursome but that's the thing with all you can eat buffets- they're a hoist of their own petard. Gordon Ramsay could spend hours cooking up his finest top twenty michelin starred dishes but once you invited people to slop them all together onto one plate whilst telling them they can eat until they are sick for £13.95, then I defy anyone to be truly impressed. Gordon probably thought that through back in the early days. Still though, if 'Ramsay's All You Can Eat Kitchen Nightmares' ever does come to Manchester, I'll be the one at the front of the queue in the stretchy pants and hiking boots....

N4 Loves You festival, 3rd - 4th September 2011

As part of the I Love MCR campaign, Northern Quarter businesses are hosting a two-day free festival called N4 Loves U Festival on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September from midday until 9pm each day. With live music (including Mr Scruff), on-street barbecues, stalls, bars and much more the festival really enhances the community feel in our city.


A couple of dashing gents from the Manchester Lyons Scooter Club .

Did you Know?

Standing outside the Bridgewater Hall this monolith is made of Carrara marble and was made in Italy by the sculptor Kan Yasuda. It is called Ishinki -Touchstone and cost a staggering £100,000 when it was commissioned in 1996.  It will therefore come as no surprise to learn that it has been specially treated with an anti-graffiti solution.

Manchester's Street Race

Thousands of people turned out to see Jenson Button drive his Formula 1 McLaren through the streets of Manchester today.  Despite the pounding rain, some had queued up for more than 4 hours for the chance to get a front row view.  With the streets packed and people standing on bins, bollards and climbing up onto the window sills of buildings everyone was eager to witness this first for our city.  Shortly after 1.00pm the deafening sound of Jenson's Mercedes filled the air as he sped down Deansgate, up John Dalton Street and round to Albert Square.                            

If you have never heard the noise a Formula 1 car makes then let me tell you now loud does not even come close to describing it.  A friend of mine likened it to an alien invasion.  Whilst it was difficult to get a prime view of the events because of the numbers of people and the speed at which the car went past, Jenson made sure he did all he could to give everyone the opportunity to see him with doughnuts and a run around.  With the Pride festival still in full swing Manchester was certainly busy this weekend showing the rest of the world how we have put recent events firmly behind us.


Upcoming Gigs

Arctic Turn-Midweek Special
Sheffield's coolest sons 'Arctic Monkeys' take to the MEN Arena on November 2nd.They will be joined by The Vaccines and Chicago indie band Smith Westerns on the Wednesday evening.What a treat, and seeing frontman AT has split from AC put your best look forward on the dancefloor, Ker-Chung!.

Show Me The Bunny
Manchester Palace Theatre will play host to eighties indiefaves 'Echo And The Bunnymen' on Saturday September 24th as part of their 'Ocean Rain' Tour.

It's Quids In as Race for Life Organiser Cashes Up

MANCHESTER women who took part Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life are being urged to make every step count – by returning their sponsorship money as soon as possible.

Last year, just under half the women who took part in Race for Life didn’t return any sponsorship money.

Race for Life is an amazing women-only series of events which raises millions of pounds every year for life-saving research into all cancers – helping men, women and children across the UK.

All the money raised though Race for Life goes to fund Cancer Research UK’s crucial work.

More than 12,200 women took part in Race for Life in July at Heaton Park and it is hoped they will raise £651,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Cancer survival rates have doubled since the 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.  

Paula Jones, Race for Life event manager for Manchester, said: “Race for Life in Manchester was a fantastic event. We want to say a heart-felt thanks to everyone who took part or supported our participants, as well as the wonderful volunteers who helped make it happen.
“Now the big day is over, we are asking our supporters to take one last step – by returning the money they have raised so that we can go on funding much needed research.
“Last year, just under half the women who took part didn’t return any sponsorship money. Without this money, Race for Life can’t fund all the research that’s needed to help save more lives.  As the number of people diagnosed with cancer in Manchester  continues to rise, and the economy tightens, we need the support of local people now more than ever.”
Paula added: “Many women don’t realise their entry fee only covers the cost of the event and that the sponsorship money really makes a difference.
“So, whatever the amount, we’re asking everyone to make every effort to return their sponsorship money as soon as possible. It can be paid in online, by phone or by cheque.”

There are three ways to return sponsorship money:
  • Online at www.raceforlife.org
  • By phone by calling 0871 641 1111
  • By post. Send a cheque, payable to "Cancer Research UK", to Race for Life, PO Box 442, Northampton, NN3 6UU.
Until September 30, everyone who crossed the finish line at Carlisle Race for Life can buy a pre-paid place for next year’s event, at a specially reduced entry fee of £10.00.

Participants will receive a voucher code so they can book a place as soon as the Race for Life website goes live in January.  Visit www.raceforlife.org/earlybird or call 0871 641 1111 and ask about the early bird discount.


Paula Jones Cancer Research UK Regional Events Manager on 07918 661706.

About Cancer Research UK

  •  Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research
  • The charity’s groundbreaking work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.  This work is funded entirely by the public.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates double in the last forty years.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 3469 6699 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org

Together we will beat cancer

You Said It.......

Is that Tilda Swinton bird really from Swinton? Only  noone I know has ever seen her in the Farmer's Arms...
Jamie Harris

Why do they advertise Fosters like it comes from Oz?...It doesn't. Couldn't get it anywhere when I was there last xmas/new year. They had never heard of it. Fosters is brewed in Moss Side...
Lynn Rawlinson

Have just been watching a man hold up traffic by jogging down the A6. You've gotta love the 'characters' of Salford!
Naomi West

Manchester Pride 2011

Celebrating 21 years this year. The theme of this year's parade is 'Best of British'.

The parade starts at 1pm on Saturday 27th August. 

Formula 1 Comes to the streets of Manchester!

Jenson Button will be driving his McLaren Mercedes through the streets of Manchester on Monday 29th August from 12.00pm - 2.00pm as part of the Vodafone Formula 1 Festival taking place in Manchester this weekend.

The Festival starts on Friday 26th with exhibits and interactive experiences. Don't miss the opportunity to see this spectacle.

The 'I Love MCR' campaign aims to show the world that the people of Manchester are proud of their city and united against anti-social behaviour.

What to Watch (Film Reviews by Hall or Nothing)

Pitched squarely at teenage boys Zack ‘300’ Snyder’s latest movie is a messy tableau of young, attractive women in fetish outfits fighting everything from giant samurai robots through clockwork Nazis to orcs and fire-breathing dragons.  So what’s not to like??  Well, for one there is almost nothing emotionally engaging about the whole event.  Even an eye-candy popcorn fest like this needs something to ground you, the audience, in the unfolding story.  But this effort truly throws Zack Snyder’s directorial music video beginnings into stark relief.  The heavily stylised ‘ramping’ (slo-mo to fast-mo and back) in the action scenes, and ham-fisted overuse of green screen becomes tiresome rather than awesome.  Drifting between the highly gratuitous action sequences is an extremely loose tale about an abused girl thrown into a mental asylum and escaping her awful world by dancing her way into a dream world that is so fundamentally flawed it leaves your head spinning.  What influences has this girl grown up with that lead her to fantasise about armoured mechs, machine guns, sword fights and ninjas?  None can say.  Her fellow girly inmates are so scarcely drawn that their names are as vacuous as their characters: Baby Doll, Sweet Pea, Rocket, Blondie.  Before long you won’t care how it ends, just that it will end.  Everyone is allowed a misstep, and given that this is the man who brought us the crushed beauty of 300, the brain-flaying majesty of Watchmen and the first (and only?) brilliant horror remake – Dawn of the Dead – let’s hope he gets his mojo back for the new Superman movie “Man of Steel” when it lands next year.

Continuing the teenage boy theme, here we have gigantic robots smashing each other up in a battle for the earth.  This time the treacherous, wryly named Decepticons have a plan that would put Pinky and Brain to shame, because tonight they are going to take over the world.  Again.  Our story follows the misadventures of the increasingly annoying Shia LeBeouf played by Sam Witwicky.  Or is the other way around?  Either way, this time out his ‘earth story that we’re supposed to relate to’ is his struggle to find a job, despite having saved the world twice.  He also suffers insecurities about his mansion-dwelling, esteem-deficient supermodel girlfriend Carly The Chin ‘played’ by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who drains the life from everything around her by eerily exhibiting none whatsoever herself.  Carly’s new boss buys her sports cars and does other stuff to make Sam jealous, like, you know, smiling at her and that.  The gags are sparse, tactless and strained this time around, with the supporting menagerie of plotless side characters each getting wheeled out for their moment in the spotlight, including a baffling appearance by John Malkovich as Sam’s new boss.  For two minutes or so.  This clusterbang of unwieldy character arcs and dubious plot devices eventually resolves itself into what you came for: a massive, dizzying ruck between arse-kicking robots destroying the city of Chicago in an eye-mashing face-slam of top notch 3D FX.  Goodie Autobot leader Optimus Prime finds it in himself to become all NWA and pop caps in robot asses left, right and centre.  He’s also not above tearing the spine out of a Decepticon or two with his bare robot hands – this is serious violence which you couldn’t ordinarily crowbar into a family movie.  But it’s okay because it’s robots.  In summary, although Rosie H-W lacks the charisma of a Megan Fox fart, you’ll enjoy this one in spite of yourself.

Tron’s special effects – and if there’s another reason to watch this film, answers on a post card please - run the clichéd gamut of adjectives from the sublime to the redonculous.  The Blind Alley bike races and Throwing Disc fights are kinetic, frenetic and quite beautiful.  But the digital youngification of Jeff Bridges is a perplexing mix of 20% laughable and 80% piss poor.  How anyone okayed the final render of these scenes for viewing anywhere outside an X-Box 360 game is beyond comprehension.  Suspension of disbelief only comes from the fact that this amateurish CGI travesty was allowed to shart its way onto your screen.  If they’d only let creepy Simulacrum Jeff out whilst the characters were in the electronic ‘Grid’ world of Tron you might almost let it go.  The Grid is a highly stylised, manufactured space after all.  But the opening flashback scene where Digital Young Jeff is talking to his son in the ‘real’ world would not look out of place in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.  To summarise: it done looky bad.  It’s a 90 minute digital action film inexplicably stretched out into northwards of two hours, and the padding is obvious.  Swathes of meandering chitchat could’ve been cut to earn Tron an extra star, but no doubt the Blu Ray Director’s Cut will follow current practise and add even more pointless scenes to the film, rather than chisel away at it.  But once you overcome Creepy Jeff, the lacklustre plotting, and the thinly drawn characters, you might actually find a way to enjoy the intermittent blitzing action, Daft Punk soundtrack, Dafter Jeff Bridges, and semi-retro charm of Tron Legacy.  At the end of the day, it’s a remake/revisit/re-sequel of a film, which – if five year old me is to be believed – wasn’t that good to begin with.


Paul’s stars - Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – have an easygoing and charismatic chemistry which is hard to resist.  Their prior outings, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, were great British comedies brought to life with Hollywood pizzazz by wunderkind director Edgar Wright.  Wright’s absence is notable here in the laidback, steady pacing of this buddy/road movie comedy.  A palpable love for uber geek convention Comic Con, and all things Spielberg/Cameron is on display in spades and movie in-jokes splutter out of the screen at every opportunity.  English sci-fi nerds Graeme har har Willy (Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Frost) meet a zany alien runaway named, har har, Paul, whilst touring the UFO sites of America in an RV.  The jokes are pitched low and lewd, and at times painfully obvious.  For example, the chaps meet one-eyed religious nut Ruth (Kristen Wiig, working hard with very little) who has her mind and religion blown by Paul’s existence and ensuingly decides to swear and ‘fornicate’.  Cue much awkward spewing of clunking, sweary torrents and a bungling love story side-plot with Willy which falls sadly flat.  Weed-smoking, God-refuting Paul himself is voiced by a more agreeably foul-mouthed Seth Rogen, who lends the eponymous Paul a heart of gold under his gruff exterior.  An eclectic supporting cast of great comedy actors (including Arrested Development’s Jeffrey Tambour and Jason Bateman) wrestle with a smidgeon of screen time and the film clips along at an acceptable pace.  Coming across as a fairly obsequious love letter to Pegg and Frost’s comic con fans and to Steven Spielberg, Paul is rescued by great actors working hard with fairly average material.  Guaranteed to make you smile - but not necessarily laugh - Paul is worth a watch, but not on a par with the gang’s previous offerings.

Manchester's Worst Violence in 30 Years

Dark days for Manchester and Salford as rioters loot and set fire to shops and businesses across the two cities. Do not let the actions of a mindless, idiotic few break our spirit.

Manchester Artist Matt McFadden

So how did Manchester's answer to Tim Burton begin his career? "Well, I suppose I have to start off by saying the same thing that everybody else must say, which is that i've always loved drawing" says a surprisingly modest Matt McFadden. But unlike everyone else he really can draw. He first came to the public's attention when he posted one of his pictures online prompting rave reviews, much to his bemusement- "it was essentially just a fat stick man with a silly comment next to it." From that the 'scwibble people' were born and Matt went on to launch a website selling gift cards and original works.

"Even though the scwibbles are very simple pictures, they still fit in very well with my 'style'. Most of my work tends to be very monotone and a touch dark in nature, even the funny pictures tend to have slight dark undertow."

Citing the likes of Alan Lee & the aforementioned Tim Burton as artists he admires he is currently working on a book entitled "A Fairy's Tail" which will include the outstanding illustrations seen here.

©Matt McFadden

See Matt's work and make your purchases at: 

MCM Expo Comic Con 2011 Manchester

The streets of the city centre were filled with the weird and wonderful as the MCM Expo Comic Con hit Manchester's G-Mex today. The first time this particular convention had been held in our city, MancMode was delighted at what a friendly bunch the fans were; "We usually go to the London convention but this year decided to come to Manchester.  It has been a brilliant day and we come to meet other people who like to dress up" said 'Blind Prophetess' who had made her amazing costume along with that of her friend 'Wolf-in-A-Dress'.  Here are just a few of the costume highlights:-

Manchester Jazz Festival- Highlights

Burden of Paradise Review

Fans and newcomers alike, were treated to a wonderful night of entertainment, at the Manchester Jazz Festival, Wednesday 27th July.  Of the many artists appearing, non could have been warmer received than Burden of Paradise, who brought the audience to their feet with two sets of the most delicious music. 
The tandem rythms of guitarist Mark Cresswell and bassist David Bowie, was a perfect platform for the voice of Helen Watson and the contribution of Snake Davis.  All four artists together performed an immaculate presentation of songs, some self penned, others by Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan and many more.  Not a note was out of place. 
The main theatre tent was packed with over 600 people who watched as the foursome showcased their individual expertise, sychronised with their collective harmony. Harmony in music and their rapport with each other shone through into the warm Manchester evening.

As one who enjoys listening to music, I found it a pleasure watching the performance and delightful to afterwards meet members of the band to say a sincere thanks for a night which will be etched on the memory.  And as one who helped publicise the group I can say, feeling very smug,  I told you so!