Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Can Film Festival

Picked up a flyer advertising the free showing of a new documentary movie "The 11th Hour" and it was called The Can Film Festival. The issue is recycling and climate change, and the draw is it's produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCapro.

Making films and getting them shown, usually for free has become an effective propaganda tool in recent years. The message is the impact the population has on the earth's ecosystem and the changes that must be made.

The free showings are in London (8th May), Glasgow (15th May), and Manchester (22nd May AMC Deansgate) . All at 1803h BST.

Can Couture
11th Hour Action

Fair & Square in Manchester

Fair and Square is a project of the Co-operative College and they're organising a meeting / seminar or is it conference - it's from 1000h until 1630h so it lasts a long time.

Trying to be an ethical shopper
on Saturday 10th May at the Mechanics Institute. Nothing about it on the website at the moment but I've an email address if you need more details.

Lots of issues like fairtrade, climate change, GM crops, organics, air miles...

Monday, 28 April 2008

Gareth Comes to NW England

The Chair of the Co-operative Party is Gareth Thomas MP and he's going to Blackburn - Cathedral Crypt on Friday 23rd May for a regional dinner and a speech. This will form a significant part of the Cathedral’s “Ann Frank Week”, which is sponsored by The Co-operative Group.

Co-op Party Flyer Early 90s

Co-op Party Flyer Early 90s
Originally uploaded by Noddy Guevara.

Not the Co-op Party but a party to raise funds for a small co-operative. From around the early 1990's but using a cut-up style from a decade anda half earlier.

Possibly this co-operative is still in existence, a housing social enterprise in Hull.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Robert Owen - Manchester #5

Old mapWhilst in Manchester Robert Owen stayed in a boarding house at 8 Brazennose Street where he met fellow lodger Robert Fulton - later known for his submarine and steamboat inventions. That was back in 1794, and he'd be 23 and Robert Fulton would be 29. Both Roberts struck a business deal to develop cutting machinery for the new canal constructions in Britain - the venture capitalism of the 18th Century. You can read about it in - Projects For Marine Propulsion Chapter III

You can't see the building 'cos that's long gone but the street pattern still exists. On the right the area called Longworth's Folly is where the Town Hall was built in the late 19th Century.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The final push

LeafletOnly a week away from the local elections and the scramble for the last leaflets to go out. In some respects the election has already happened. It was last Monday when the postal ballot papers landed in the hallways. The logic is postal voters have a higher turnout than people like myself who like the walk to the polling station. The pleasant chit-chat with the polling clerks, and the smug walk home.

Picture on the left is of Tony Harold, the Treasurer of Salford Co-op Party who is standing in the other city on the left bank of the Irwell. There is blog post at CP's Labour of Love and a flurry of comments in response. Like ourselves, he's up against the Lib-Dem fiction writers and whingers.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Re:act magazine

Chicken issueThe co-operative industry is awash with publications. I get to see only a fraction of them which may be a fortunate blessing. The Co-operative have dropped their "Network" magazine for members and replaced it with a much improved "Re:Act". It has articles by established journalists and has even strayed off the well worn paths of ethical food and climate change. The best article for me was an interview with Aubrey Meyer about the concept of contract & convergence. Actually that is about climate change.

If you are a member it might be landing on your doormat soon. The only thing I wasn't sure of was the advert for 'Fairtrade holidays in South Africa'.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Co-op Regional Meetings

It's that time of the year - planting potatoes, end of the football season and The Co-operative Group members meetings across the country.

For Central Region there are seven meetings in Wythenshawe, Hyde, Stockport, Salford & etc..and in Manchester it's at The Mechanics Institute 103 Princess Street M1 6DD. Meeting starts at 1930h.

This year there are webcasts of some of the meetings, though that is only a pale substitute for being there. Even if it's just to receive your shopping vouchers, spot some the 'odd characters' who attend and watch the scramble at the free buffet. Some regions even offer free transport - see Cambridge Co-operator - that doesn't happen around here.

For details of webcasts you have to use your members login at Co-op Membership.

Robert Tressell Day

Britain's most influential working class novel: "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" was written by Robert Tressell in Hastings and St.Leonards 100 years ago (c.1906 - 1908) though not published in an abridged form until 1914.

"But from these ruins was surely growing the glorious fabric of the Co-operative Commonwealth. ......The Golden Light that will be diffused throughout all the happy world from the rays of the risen sun of Socialism."

There isn't a Robert Tressell day but if there was it would be today, the birthday of, real name, Robert Noonan 18th April 1871. There are some events in Liverpool happening this year, with it being capital of culture and the resting place of the ledgendary writer.

The book is in print and the TUC made it available online a few years ago. Other details of his time in Hastings the setting for Mugsborough in the book are here. Looking through it today after many years the characters of Crass, Bundy, Sawkins come out with comments you'll still hear today. No wonder the hero, called Robert Owen, is up against it.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Robert Owen - Manchester #4

Owen statueThe Robert Owen statue is now a photo opportunity. I almost expect the Prime Minister to a get a snapshot taken next time he's in Manchester. Why not take your own photo and send it here.
So left to right : Mervyn Wilson, Co-operative College;Douglas Alexander MP;Dave Gibson, College Board of Governors; Pauline Green, Co-ops UK.

Manchester Film Co-operative

A new co-operative venture organising regular screenings and discussions of films that challenge current economics, politics and society. The inaugral showing is "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", the documentary about Venezuela and Chavez.

The venue is The Kings Arms, Bloom Street, Salford which is across the river from Deansgate. It must be upstairs, and if you've never been it is one of the best late Victorian rooms you'll ever see...

The date is Tuesday 22nd April, 1945h, £2.
Details on the website.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Robert Owen - Manchester #3

Cambridge MillThere are still some old cotton mills in the centre of Manchester. They haven't done any spinning for years and have been transformed into appartments. Robert Owen was in business in one of them around the Chorlton-on-Medlock district. Don't know which one, or even if it's still standing. Always like to think that it's this one on the corner of Cambridge Street and Hulme Street - map. One day I'll find the definitive answer. Though the area has refurbed from dereliction to prime reality in the last ten years it has buckets of industrial revolution history. The first industrial slum "Little Ireland" that Engels wrote about is around the corner from this mill, and the first raincoat factory is at the end of the street.

Further reading : Spinning The Web - Chorlton-on-Medlock

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Old store in Bury

Near Gigg Lane
Up in Bury today for the last Saturday home match of FC United of Manchester for this season. Thought I'd better take this picture of the Co-op store near the Gigg Lane ground. FC United might be groundsharing elsewhere next year so thought better take a snap because you might not be around this parts for a while.

The wording at the top says 'Bury District Co-operative Provision Society Limited No.14 Branch'. The shop is the regular convenience layout.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Local Election Paper Pushing

The local elections are almost up us, and the leaflets are landing out behind the letter boxes all over the country. Non more so than here in Chorlton where the Lib-Dems must have issued about ten. They are a well funded group, I don't know how many fund raising dinners it would take to pay for them? Usual stuff about getting the Council to move rubbish or fix a pot-hole but an amusing one about a petition to the Stagecoach Bus Company demanding a return of a cheap bus ticket for the 85 & 86 service. Not quite a Council issue, and not something Stagecoach who have a private monopoly on the route will respond to. Meanwhile a lot of us have been helping the Labour Party by putting out the A4 with positive stories of 'Free Swimming for over-60's' and new recyling facilities.

Some local blogs - not that up to date due to election work, except for Crumpsall Labour where the leader Richard Leese is up for re-election)
Chorlton Labour Chorlton Park Labour Fallowfield Labour Crumpsall Labour

Fanciful Co-operative Building

SplendidSpotted this in Raw Vision - the magazine of Outsider Art and Art Brut, always a good read even if you just look at the fantastic pictures inside. It's a review about A.G.Rizzoli : Architect of Magnificent Visions, who drew imaginary buildings in his lifetime and never published them.

So it was never built and would be very costly to construct and maintain if anyone had the dollars to do so.

As ever click for a bigger picture.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Robert Owen - Manchester #2

It's in Northenden near Wythenshawe Park. This is 1960's sheltered housing, and back when Robert Owen was in Manchester this was all fields and part of Lord Tatton's estate. One of the few references to Robert Owen in the city.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Swipe at Co-op Party

Letter in the current issue of the Co-op News that takes a swipe at the Co-op Party. It's from Richard Balfe, used to a Labour MEP but went Tory in his old age.

"It is high time to stop this charade of Co-op Party and instead start supporting any people in politics from all parties who support the Co-operative Movement, including Conservatives, Greens, Nationalists and Liberals, though obviously not fascist parties."

"Clearly the Co-op needs to have some political influence, but this should be on non party political basis."

Not quite the line taken by the Conservative Co-operative Movement, but they've got a bit quiet so we don't know what they think of this - though Richard Balfe does describe himself as David Cameron's Envoy to the Co-operative Movement.

Fair & Square Project

The Fair and Square project aims to bring information to concerned consumers through a programme of educational work within the co-operative movement. It's being run by the Co-operative College with funding from the Department for International Development.