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So I spent the bank holiday weekend visiting greengolux. Catching the train up on friday evening and back on monday afternoon meant I managed to dodge most of the works-related shennanigans (and get a goodly amount of reading done: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, 'Paycheck' by Philip K Dick (in order to prepare myself for the forthcoming feature-length adaptation), 'The Cookie Monster' by Vernor Vinge, and a number more chapters of The Master And Margarita). The main downside of the unpredictable timetable was that I didn't feel able to jump off at Birmingham New Street and pay a surprise visit to the Sunflower Lounge Quiz Night Posse. I'll get you next time, Gadget.

This is the first time I've been to Manchester; as I've noted before, my knowledge of UK geography is depressingly limited. I spent my formative years being dragged around youth hostels by my parents so I have a certain amount of amorphous generalities in my mind, but I'm thin on the specifics. Fortunately, it turns out that greengolux is an excellent tour guide. Highlights included the spectacle of the Europride parade, and an afternoon spent wandering through Urbis. Distinctive even in the newly-glassed city centre (Manchester definitely has the feel of a city renewing itself), Urbis is an urban museum, housed in a purpose-built slender ski-jump of a building. It covers cities in general and Manchester in particular with an array of multimedia exhibits that, for once, are largely well thought out and worth seeing.

I can report that the larger of the two Waterstones has an impressive SF section - stocking PS Publishing, Goldon Gryphon and Four Walls Eight Windows titles as well as magazines, american imports (yes, there was a copy of Singularity Sky; no, I couldn't afford to buy it) and even the odd fanzine - and that the Cornerhouse arts centre cafe serves good food: I had grilled rainbow trout stuffed with chilli and lime and covered in cajun seasoning, with spiced potatoes and honey yoghurt on the side. We also found the time to take in two films (Buffalo Soldiers and Confidence) and have dinner in Rusholme, home to more and more garishly illuminated curry restaurants than any other stretch of road I've seen.

All of the above, and I think I still had more sleep than I'd managed in most of the previous week. Thanks to greengolux, then, for a weekend that was both fun and relaxing!
 
 
 
 
 
 
You're the Claw now?

And we won! Woo!

Best round was playing tracks of music from films, and then you have to identify the male lead in the particular film.
You're the Claw now?

Curses! You've uncovered my secret identity. Now I must kill you.

*stab*
...

Have you been walking past off-licenses and inhaling, again?
Maybe he's been eating fudge spread on chocolate chip cookies again..
No, I just wish I had. Mmm.
What, I can't just be exuberant and spontaneous and wacky now and then?
But it makes no sense! The Claw would never stoop so low as to stab Gadget. The bomb, always the bomb!
Manchester's great. Reading this makes me regret, once again, kinda wasting the 9 months i lived there in that i didn't have the money to do enough. But its a really nice city.
The number of curry houses on that road in Rusholme and the number of student houses round there are both rather high. I never seem to go to Manchester enough.
The number of curry houses on that road in Rusholme and the number of student houses round there are both rather high.

Chance...or sinister military-industrial conspiracy? You decide!
Catching the train up on friday evening and back on monday afternoon meant I managed to dodge most of the works-related shennanigans

You did better than a lot of people, then :-) I went up to Edinburgh on Friday afternoon, and back yesterday as well. I was all geared up to text a little hello to Geneva when I went through Manchester, but for some reason, I wasn't on the right train lines to go through there. Not such a problem for me, but one of my trains was full of people who really rather wanted to end up there.. Some of them were in a bit of a mess, and even the train manager was encouraging them to write to the Times and Virgin and tell everyone how bad it was.
Deansgate's had a good SF section for a long time now, of course, Edinburgh has it very mixed up, here the smallest branch has the best SF and graphic novels of any store in the country (Scotland that is), at least as far as I'm concerned :)

Hell, soon we'll have the best Manga section of any Waterstone's too :)

Ah, geek pride, makes the job worthwhile.