not in manchester

I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself because I'm not in Manchester this week... During my hour-long commute back from work on the very hot, sticky and generally bad-tempered tube, I unexpectedly found myself feeling strangely nostalgic for the delights of the 142 bus up Oxford Road. At lunchtime, I sighed over my overpriced prawn and crayfish baguette, dreaming of chips and gravy from the chip shop on Liverpool Road. And right now, I'm wishing that I could go along to the launch of the lovely new Corridor 8 launch, taking place at Urbis tonight...

Corridor 8 is a brand new annual title, which aims to be “the new cultural voice of the north” and will be showcasing the very best in the region’s contemporary visual arts, writing, architecture, photography and more. The theme for issue 1 is SuperCity – the idea of an urban ‘corridor’ linking cities and towns across the north from Liverpool to Hull, and reaching overseas to Ireland in the West and Denmark in the East. There will be contributions around the theme from such luminaries such as Will Alsop and Peter Saville, as well as features about artists working across the SuperCity region including Bob Levene, Rachel Goodyear and the Freee Collective. Personally, I’m especially excited about a unique “literary documentary” about the area commissioned from the writer and psychogeographer Iain Sinclair for this first issue - here’s a little taster:

‘Wandering Deansgate was like finding yourself in the middle of some dark fantasy for which you had no instructions. Cliffs of unreason. Deansgate as a river of human traffic, the Irwell its liquid margin.’

Iain Sinclair will be giving a talk at the launch event tonight, but if like me, you can’t make it, you can still share Sinclair’s walk through Manchester - “a meandering poetic journey designed to shed new light on a city once ancient and contemporary” - by listening to a special podcast Listening for the Corncrake on the Urbis website.The podcast has been designed so that you can listen as you go, so you can even perform your own psychogeographic wanderings through the city! Next time I'm in Manchester I'll definitely be having a go: in the meantime, I'll be following tonight's event via the liveblog on twitter, and of course, I'm looking forward to reading the magazine itself very soon! (For more on Iain Sinclair at the Corridor 8 launch check out Richard's post about the event here)

Staying with the literary theme, I'm also missing out on the Manchester Book Market this weekend. This excellent event, organised by Literature NorthWest, will take place in St Ann's Square from Friday to Sunday as part of the Manchester International Festival. The market will bring together the very best of the UK's leading independent publishers, as well as back-to-back performances from some of the North West's most exciting spoken word talent. Readers will include Joe Stretch, Elizabeth Baines, Eleanor Rees, Annie Clarkson and Segun Lee French amongst many more.

Other weekend highlights will include Manchester International Festival's Festival Feast (yum!), a special tour of Procession: An Exhibition on Sunday, and of course De La Soul at The Ritz. Meanwhile I'll be off for another day of packing myself sardine-style into the tube, and risking my sanity trying to get across Waterloo station at rush hour. Not fair!

Anyway, for now I'm off to console myself with Vietnamese food, and planning some exciting art adventures here in London for the weekend. Manchester peoples, let me know how you enjoy this weekend's hi-jinks...