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Posts tagged as “Sigur Rós”

A jolly good show: tidbits from Manchester

Hello. I’ve been to Manchester. I thought i might tell you about it. Wait no come back i promise this isn't just showing you my holiday ph

The last time i went to that wonderful southern city, i was hardly ten years old, and hadn’t much of a chance to explore — a mistake i was itching to rectify this go around. Over the next few days i’ll be sharing some of the things i saw, heard, and third verb goes here.

First things first, our trip’s raison d’être: Sigur Rós were on a world tour, and though they might not have been schlepping up to Newcastle, i sure as hell wasn’t going to miss the chance to see them.

A case with some tea and incense strewn about, branded "Flotholt: Sigur Rós × Fischersund"

Sigur Rós are a post-rock band, and their gig made clear that it’s with a strong emphasis on the “post-”. It was an all-seated audience, with vanishingly little banter from the band (one has to imagine they’re not 100% confident in their English), excepting a brief pantomime bit at the end of „Andvari”. No complaints from me, though: a laid-back, almost classical atmosphere quite befits their ætheral soundscapes. I mean, could you imagine people going wild in the pit to „Vaka”?

As „Popplagið” came to a close and everyone shuffled out the venue’s doors, i noticed a curious item at the merch table: an officially licensed Sigur Rós tea and incense kit. What a world we live in. (I didn’t buy it — there was only one left, and i probably wouldn’t be the one to make the most use out of it.)

A Google Earth render of the skyline of Manchester, containing a modest few tall buildings

As an official, Lisa Nandy–certified resident of a Town™, i was left slightly dumbstruck and intimidated by the dense forest of tall buildings that is Manchester’s city centre. Sure, it’s not like i’m a stranger to the idea of a city, but of the two big cities i have most haunted over the years , Newcastle only has a stumpy luxury apartment and a few council houses strewn about the suburbs, while Amsterdam’s skyscraper district is sectioned off behind the other side of a ring road, far from the centre of town.

But Manchester? Nay — Manchester is England’s second city, and they’ll show it any way they like! Dozens upon dozens of architectural phalli jut up from the ground in all directions, a veritable orgy of capital. I pray thee, have we as a species learnt nothing from the tales of Icarus and the Tower of Babel? Nothing‽ This is hubris writ large, i tell you!

Or, you know, something like that. Their green spaces don’t even have cows.

They both serve the same purpose, really, but i just want to rub in that where we up north has a fully-fledged metro, Manchester merely has to do with trams. Sure, ours might be delayed every five minutes, and theirs might be uber-reliable and extend throughout the urban area, but who’s really winning?

Montage of portraits of Emmeline Pankhurst and the brothers Gallagher
(I don’t actually know or care which Gallagher is which. Apologies.)

Manchester has no shortage of iconic residents — Morrissey, Danny Boyle, Burgess, Wanksy — but Mancunians have taken it upon themselves to idolise two people above all else. Everywhere you look, there are statues, plaques, and posters in their memory.

The first is Emmeline Pankhurst. An early leader of the suffragette movement, she and her allies often used violent tactics to get their way, from breaking windows all the way up to arson. You can see why the left-wing, industrial city, birthplace of the labour movement, would be proud to honour her.

The other is Noel Gallagher.