July 5, 2017

At our June meeting, we were lucky enough to receive a visit from Radio 5 Live’s award-winning Anna Foster. With a stellar track record in news journalism, which started at Newsbeat, and with roles that have since taken her from Cumbria to Iraq – Anna is definitely well placed to share some media insight, which she kindly did for our Journalism themed meeting last month.

Following the recent atrocities in Manchester and London, Anna guided us through the emotional coverage carried out for Radio 5 Live. Involving the public in voxpops and longer-form interviews, Anna said: “Journalism can be the hardest when it’s on your own doorstep, and sometimes the words we feel don't easily come to hand.” 

However, highlighting the importance of the press in situations such as these, Anna believes it’s the media’s duty to give a voice to the victims and to get answers to the public’s questions.

In this way, she acknowledged that although there will always be uncomfortable moments as a journalist, as l...

June 30, 2017

Manchester, so much to answer for

Manchester was always a place of my schoolgirl dreams, even though I lived hundreds of miles away.

The dreary northern streets might as well have been paved with gold for me, a fan of The Smiths, who swore one day to make a pilgrimage here. To walk in the footsteps of Morrissey and Johnny Marr, to see the old mills and canals and know what Ancoats and Hulme and Salford were really like - all the places that were referenced in Smiths’ lyrics and artwork, and which seemed so far away and exotic.

My first trip to the city was in 2001, and it wasn’t quite what I’d had in mind - the tired buildings of Didsbury serving as a weekend bolthole as I visited a university friend and did little other than sit in an Irish pub and dodge the typical torrents. But by the time I ventured back here in 2014, it felt so different - and on that occasion, it was to make it my permanent home.

Nowadays, I walk those self-same roads that my musical heroes did, and none of it gets t...

June 20, 2017

Manchester is the city to where I was born, grew up and started my life. It is the place that taught me the importance of compassion, inclusivity, and understanding. Only upon developing into an adult and being exposed to the world outside of this enriching city, did I come to realise what a rarity this is.

Manchester is a place of opportunity, creativity, and hard work. Living in its bounds are proud individuals who practice inspiring art, envision innovative concepts, and voice the power of persistence. It is the place where my small family was formed and my closest friendships founded. Only upon contemplating this worth can I grasp how instrumental this humanizing city has been to my own life.

Manchester celebrates individuality, multiculturalism, and an underlying sense of community. Here tragedy and destruction are met with union and hope. It is a place where the image of a bee lines our streets, is worn on our clothes and imprints our skin. Only upon reflection of the 22 years of m...

May 17, 2017

I had lived with a long-term partner, had my first credit card bill demand and even knew how to poach an egg successfully. Well, most of the time.  But I know now that I was never truly an adult until the day I leaned over my mum’s head at the kitchen sink and shaved it with a disposable Bic razor.

It was November 2014, halfway through, when I got a call from her, 250 miles away, less giddy and herself than I have ever heard her. She explained that she had found a lump that summer and had been to the doctor about it. Unconvinced by the first diagnosis - “it’s nothing” - she pushed with a different GP, and was referred. Screening told her it was stage three breast cancer.

This all came out like word vomit to me. Despite our closeness - emotionally, not geographically - she had kept the doctor’s appointments, the concern and the medical parlance to herself - until now. My sister knew and so did my dad - but I was hearing these details for the first time. Chemotherapy was mentioned followin...

May 2, 2017

If you think the extent of the Women’s Institute’s activities is jam making and crochet, then you’re very much mistaken. Although we do partake in such things here at the Manchester WI, we’re also partial to being slightly more risqué on occasion.

In our latest, and might I add, much anticipated meeting, our group was visited by the fantastically fabulous Lady Wildflower – expert burlesque teacher and founder of the Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival. 

After learning the history of burlesque – from its origins in the Belle Époque era of Paris, to the more recent poster girls of the art, such as Dita Von Teese, Lady Wildflower filled us in on the core elements that make burlesque the much enjoyed artform it is today. Helping bring to life the performance element of burlesque were her stunning stage costumes, sporting more glitz and glam than a Tiffany diamond. Visions of mermaids and unicorns immediately sprung to mind.

When the lights went down, we erupted into cheers and whoops a...

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