Walking past the Manchester Museum last week, I asked Chris if he'd ever been there. "No. I've lived here all my life, so I could go at any time. Theoretically". City-dwellers live such busy lives that often we neglect to take full advantage of where we live, putting it off as theoretically we could go anytime. We just don't. We'd rather spend our free time catching extra zeds in bed.. or you do if you're anything like me.
So I've decided I want to try and explore a bit more of Manchester, even if it just works out once a month; easing myself into this pledge by visiting the Cornerhouse. This is a delightful indie cinema-cum-cafe-cum-gallery which sits on the crossroads of Oxford Road and Whitworth Street. There are three floors of galleries, each small but perfectly formed - which are also free to visit.
As hard as I've tried I've never been a fan of art you have to think about too much, that has to be explained by a plaque on the side. That makes me sound very dim but I have come to realise this is more to do with my short attention span than my intelligence; I like to look at a piece of art, appreciate it straight away, then move on. Bright colours, shiny things and tactility are good for this, which is why Four in the first floor gallery pleased me so much. The name represents the four commissions (one of which was closed upon my visit, go figure) by four UK artists. I love all that's going on in the neon oversized petri dishes (I think I'd like to wear them as hats. That's something else that I like in art, visualising myself wearing it) and also trying to figure out which end is the head of the stony animal-ish thing in the middle of the room.
The top two galleries housed Rosa Barba's Subject to Constant Change. This exhibition was more abstract and required added thought, though the films were aesthetically pleasing and could easily be appreciated by those lacking in attention span (yep.. me). The main piece starred a group of local residents who used different objects from the past to reflect on the end of the industrial age. Filmed in the abandoned Albert Hall, it's quite surreal, and it's worth watching it all to see the kooky things the actors get up to.
After you're done with the galleries it's always worth a look in the book shop, especially if you're a magazine geek - there's loads of glossy film, art and photography mags, with the occasional rare fashion publication - plus the cinema shows the best of modern film, normally with a cult classic running along the side.
Most of the week the galleries are open until 8pm (6pm on Sunday) so good for a cultural fix before you partake in that other Great British cultural favourite.. going to the pub.