Manchester Zombie Walk 2012

On Sunday evening around 1,000 of the un-dead staggered through the streets of Manchester. Groaning, limping, groping along windows and shutters, ghouls swarmed around buildings when they glimpsed anyone inside and encircled pedestrians who scrambled up street furniture in their failed attempts to flee the horde. That night I finally ticked Zombie Walk off my Day Zero List.

REVENGE

I didn’t tell my other half I had a zombie costume. He knew about my list and I’d mentioned Zombie Aid but he didn’t know there was full-body outfit hanging in my wardrobe. I casually left the room whilst he watched TV to try it on for the first time. Satisfied that it was sufficiently creepy I crept back in then stood there, perfectly still, staring silently at the back of his head through blackened eye-sockets until he finally turned his head.

It was probably a mistake.

Scaring the begeebers out of him means he’ll want revenge and I scare far too easily.

I’m still unsettled ten years later after watching The Ring whilst house-sitting – His fault entirely. I don’t remember much about the movie but I know I was seriously unnerved even before it reached the scene where she answered the phone and heard the words “seven days”.

I knew what was coming when the TV phone rang so I was horrified when the house phone rang at exactly the same time. I let it ring, just as she let it ring in the movie. I knew it was just coincidence but there was that part of me that just wasn’t sure. I looked from the TV to the phone to my other half and back again. I begged him to answer it for me but he wouldn’t. I wanted to let it ring but people don’t phone late at night unless it’s important so I didn’t have a choice.

With my stomach in knots I crossed the cavernous pitch-black room of an otherwise empty house, lifted the receiver and strained to hear a tiny unknown voice whisper “seven days.”

I hated him for that.

This should make us even.

Sammy Dee (Manchester Meanders) as a Zombie

Can you believe my friend’s 14 year old son didn’t want to wear this costume? It wasn’t cool enough or something. Personally I love it.

I love the fact that other zombies were scared of me. Every now and then I’d overhear one telling another that I was freaking them out – So naturally on hearing this I slowly turned to face them and stared at them until they ran away. Muhahahar!

Why did the Zombie cross the road? (Zara on Market Street, Manchester)

For more photographs visit the Manchester Evening News (All fright on the night) or look for zombies you know on this 22 minute YouTube video.

Zombies in the PrintworksDid you take part in the Zombie walk? Do you have any photos to share?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

All comments are welcome 🙂

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Neglected. Eroded. Derelict. (Manchester: Post Apocalypse)

Manchester Meanders has been much neglected these past few weeks. ‘Tis the season to be jolly but I’m rushed off my feet both at work and at home.

I should be writing about the Christmas Markets, the lights, the charity Santa Runs, Santa’s Steam Train, the 2 for 1 cocktails at my beloved ‘The North Pole’, the ice skating rink at Spinningfields, reviewing the much anticipated opening of the Oast House, Christmas shopping / bargain hunting and the humorous and unusual ways window designers are trying to tempt us into their stores.

There are so many wonderful cheery things I could, should and want to write about…

…but the thing that stopped me in my tracks and evoked such emotion that I HAD to write today, even though I don’t really have the time right now, is James Chadderton’s exhibition at Incognito Gallery, Northern Quarter.

AFTER AN APOCALYPSE

This morning, before my first brew of the day, I browsed the BBC News website and clicked on a link called Manchester After An Apocalypse. The images that flashed on my screen were a stark and disturbing contrast to the backdrop of tinsel, trees-lights and Secret Santa parcels. I was staggered and speechless.

THE PALACE THEATRE

James Chadderton's photo from Mmanchester Apocalypse - Palace Theatre

The first digitally altered image to confront me was of the Palace Theatre on Oxford Street. It was so unexpected and alien it took a moment for me to register what I was looking at.

THE HACIENDA

James Chadderton's photo_manchester_apocalypse_hacienda

Most of us have seen post-apocalyptic images before, either in films or in computer games. In fact, Chadderton cited films, books and games as his inspiration to show Manchester as a “human devoid wasteland where the buildings have been left to decay”.

THE URBIS

James Chadderton's photo_manchester_apocalypse_urbis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be honest, I’m usually desensitised to such things. Perhaps these images stunned me more because it’s MY beloved city that has been depicted in this way.

“James Chadderton has smashed Manchester up. The Town Hall is a blasted husk, the Palace Theatre is wrecked. Urbis, the best of the sequence, is a shattered shell. There are no people, they are killed or gone, the streets are empty. Manchester is dead.” Jonathan Schofield, Manchester Confidential

THE PRINTWORKS

James Chadderton's photo_manchester_apocalypse_printworks

Perhaps it wasn’t just the contrast with the winter festivities that disturbed me: Two nights ago I read ‘When God Was a Rabbit’ by Sarah Winman for my book club. We each took something different away from the book – But to me it was a story of hope and despair, childhood enchantment and innocence lost, against a backdrop of real life events – Events which many readers, like myself, gravely remember.

I won’t review the book here,* I’ll just tell you that my recent recollections of the real life heart wrenching events mentioned within those pages are probably what caused my mind to jump to memories of the aftermath of the Manchester IRA bombing and the lawlessness of the rioting and looting earlier this year, rather than simply admiring Chadderton’s semi-fictional cityscapes with curiosity and awe from the outset.

THE BIG WHEEL

James Chadderton's photo_manchester_apocalypse_wheel

Jonathan Schofield, writing for Manchester Confidential wrote: “[James Chadderton’s] digitally delivered images are fun to view and allow Mancunians to contemplate the fall of their own city. They could be the perfect Christmas present for the twisted mind.”

‘Fun to view’ – FUN? It’s not a sentiment that I share. I absolutely WILL go to this exhibition: I will admire the inventiveness and imagination of the artist and I absolutely WILL be buying the postcards to remember it by, but as for ‘fun’ or a ‘perfect Christmas present’ (albeit for the twisted mind) – I think not.

So much for Christmas cheer.

BEAUTIFUL MANCHESTER

Don’t get me wrong – I think these images are fantastic – I just don’t be hanging them on my living room wall.

If like me you prefer your photographs of Manchester to be a little less morose check out Andrew Brooks’ website, (the photographer who very kindly gave permission for the use of his Manchester at Night piece as the Manchester Meanders header image) and Aidan O’Rourke  – Both of whom are celebrated Mancunian photographers whose work I absolutely adore and wouldn’t hesitate to cover my walls with!

What were your thoughts when you first saw James Chadderton’s images? Do you plan to visit the exhibition?

All comments are welcome. 🙂

  • *Read Lou’s book club review of When God was a Rabbit here 
  • Manchester: Post Apocalypse is showing at Incognito Gallery, 5 Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter, M1 1DN. Phone: 0161 228 7999.
  • The gallery is open Monday-Saturday 10am-5.30pm, Sunday noon-4pm.
  • Large framed and signed prints – £350; Smaller prints – £135; Postcards – £2.