Blackpool Art Comes to Manchester

Blackpool Art Comes to Manchester

As a Northerner in my early 30s, the word ‘Blackpool’ conjures flashbacks to childhood day trips along with a torrent of other images. Trams, large candy dummies, fish and chips, tooth-assaulting rock, Mick Hucknall on a rollercoaster and the illuminated faces of Coronation Street characters floating past painfully slowly through the sunroof of a 1980s Astra Estate. It’s safe to say that since my early teens, Blackpool has barely crossed my mind as anything but a nostalgic flashback. This is actually pretty strange for someone who has spent a lot of time exploring nearby arts scenes, galleries and anything remotely creative for miles around. Why not Blackpool?

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Four Manchester Art Events in One Night – Is It Possible?

Four Manchester Art Events in One Night – Is It Possible?

Although Manchester’s arts scene thrives all year-round, there comes a transition between spring and summer when the laziness of the darker months dissipates. It’s at this point that Manchester art events, previews and socials start to sprout like mushrooms. Thursday 27th April was an evening working in overdrive. I didn’t have just one or two, rather there were at least four eyecatching Manchester art events. I couldn’t choose one over another, so I wondered – could I go to the lot while still getting the most from them? With only one way to find out, I walked to Castlefield Gallery for the first

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The Mystery of the Usuki Buddhas

The Mystery of the Usuki Buddhas

If Japan’s neon lights, bustling noodle bars and late-night karaoke haunts have left you craving tranquility, head to the East of Kyushu to unravel the mystery of the Usuki buddhas.  The Mystery of the Usuki Buddhas For a corner of Japan less worn on the map than the manicured gardens of Nara or the bustling temples of Kyoto, take a trip to Usuki on the east coast of Kyushu. Just outside of this small castle town, groups of ancient stone Buddhas sit suspended in line, fashioned into hillsides of soft rock formed thousands of years ago from the eruption of nearby Mount Aso.

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Kyoto’s Best-Kept Secret

Kyoto’s Best-Kept Secret

Looking for Kyoto’s best-kept secret? Forget geisha-hunting in Gion. Instead, head for Kanga-an, a temple with the most unlikely of features. My first time in Kyoto was not wholly successful. I’d heard too much about how it was impossible not to love this history-drenched, wooden-housed cultural capital of Japan – the hub of all tradition and a guaranteed highlight. However, if you’re only there for a day or so, it’s easy to get Kyoto wrong. Usually, a city’s train station is the heart of its action and a guaranteed compass for finding nightlife, and culture. The opposite is true in Kyoto –

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Who was Eva Perón? Understanding Buenos Aires

Sometimes the lives of a city and a character are inextricably intertwined. As travellers on a mission to get under the skin of our destinations, a little knowledge of a person’s life, their impact and legacy can be instrumental in understanding the places we explore. During a trip to Buenos Aires in December 2014, I was struck by the number of everyday references to Peronism and Eva Perón herself. Some are subtle (on bank notes, the odd cutout image behind a shop counter or in a bar) and some not so subtle (the Eva Peron Museum in Palermo, or her lavish tomb in La Recoleta cemetery).

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Did we Break the Curse of Lokrum Island?

Did we Break the Curse of Lokrum Island?

The Curse of Lokrum Island In the shadows of Lokrum Island’s trees at nightfall, a monk stood waiting. In his ears rang the last mass he would ever attend on his beloved home, just off the coast of Ragusan, or Dubrovnik as it is known today. With a heart full of sorrow and anger, he pulled his hood over his head and stepped onto the path that wound around the island. Behind and before him appeared his brothers, identically cloaked and each holding a white candle. Every monk lit the wick and tipped their candles so wax dripped onto the path. Moving in a

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60-Second Gallery: Fonts Around Ludlow and a New Year Cottage

Fonts Around Ludlow It is a truth universally acknowledged that New Years’ Eve in Manchester involves three things – partying, drinking and socialising. In a bid to try something different, I accepted a kind offer from a good friend to stay with her and some other folks at a picture-postcard cottage in Ludlow, Shropshire. New Years’ Eve in Ludlow Literally named ‘The Fairie Cottage,’ our base was a beautiful, low-ceilinged, wooden-beamed stone house tucked down a country lane in the centre of the sleepy market town. Our New Year was spent ushering out the old and welcoming the new with the traditional first

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60-Second Gallery: Fonts Around Lyon

60-Second Gallery: Fonts Around Lyon

Lyon is a city that wears its artistic identity on its sleeve. There is so much to appreciate and take in in France’s third most populous city, but one thing that really stands out it its signage and fonts. In a place where old meets new, where the old town rubs shoulders with the slowly gentrifying Croix-Rousse in the shadow of Fourvière, a district characterised by Roman and Catholic influences, the diversity of signage, design and fonts is enough to keep anyone with an atom of creativity in their souls busy for days. Long live Lyon and it’s beautiful fonts.

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Hostel Review – Away Hostel and Coffee Shop, Lyon

Hostel Review – Away Hostel and Coffee Shop, Lyon

During an October 2016 trip to Lyon, we stayed at Away Hostel and Coffee Shop. Hostel review – Away Hostel and Coffee Shop, Lyon Away has been been open for four months, so everything was extra new and clean, well-modernised and designed with travellers’ practicalities in mind. Safety and Noise Despite being located on a corner next to a park and the Croix-Paquet subway, we were never kept awake by noise. Maybe our packed-out days exploring, cycling, tackling hills had something to do with that! But the hostel windows are shuttered and free ear plugs are provided at reception. Nearby

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