Manchester International Festival. It’s in Manchester? Check. It’s international? Check. It’s a festival? Well I suppose so, but without the pits to piss in (although whether it’s free of scalls selling you oxo-cubes remains to be seen).
All fine so far then. But hang on, what’s this? The tag-line is ‘The world’s first international festival of original, new work‘. Right, ok, let’s check that by a quick look at the roster of some of the artists so far announced:
Lou Reed, Kanye West, PJ Harvey, William Orbit, Beth Orton, Bernard Butler, Happy Mondays and the Fall.
Oh I see Lou Reed will be performing new stuff I guess? Oh he’s performing Berlin for the first time. When was that released then?….1973!!
Ok there are a variety of new commissions, such as the Albarn and arch-Barley Hewlett’s re-working of an ancient Chinese legend Monkey:Journey to the West and a variety of theatre type stuff, but the we look closer and we see hoary Mancs (or ‘iconic’ as they’re labelled on the website) t’Mondays.
Manco-centrism is infectious. Since I’ve been residing in these fine environs it really does rub off. You find yourself in Fopp pawing at the Chameleons back catalogue and thinking Doves are the right end of the Colpl*y spectrum. Yet there really is a blinkered tunnel vision where everything Manc is ok/good/groundbreaking. The organisers of the festival are obviously infected.
And then the mouldy cherry on the green and furry cake…the F*ll. To criticise this lot is sacrilege round these parts, punishable by having to listen to yet another bootleg of them in Frankfurt from 1983 or such like. And BBO will no doubt get flamed for being off-message. But hang on what’s this? There is something original about their performance at the festival (the press release states it’s a one-off show, but they’re playing at Jilly’s Rock World soon I believe):
“The Fall perform a gig to launch ‘Perverted by Language’, a new anthology of short fiction inspired by the band.”
Need I say anything else?
But I will. There’s shit-loads of original Manc music out there. Here’s some:
Boom-Bip Every Trip – Disco Operating System
Buccaneers – Illuminati
And have a peek at the website for the label Lotta Continua where this lot come from.