It is here that I am going to try and answer the question that last week’s guest curator Amy Roberts posed me:
‘As an absolute book and zine nerd, I was wondering if you had any cool recommendations of zine / book stores in Manchester, and also which local zines I should be keeping my eyes peeled for?’
I am broadening the remit to include any self-published material, as two of the best independent publications I have come across recently have been food and recipe-based, if not strictly zines.
If reading about food has made you hungry, or made you rare to get outside and pick your own, I recommend getting hold of Your City is a Public Orchard, a beautifully illustrated foraging guide and recipe book hand-made by Textbook Studio earlier this year (Textbook are currently working on a second run; email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to get a copy).
Textbook Studio are based in Hotspur House, an amazing, warren-like former printing premises in central Manchester. Hotspur is a hotbed of creative activity: is also home to ethical design practice Ultimate Holding Company, Manchester Municipal Design Corporation (designers of the modernist magazine and publishers of their own excellent culture zine, Things Happen), Manchester’s essential alternative newspaper Mule, and several artists’ studios.
At last year’s Manchester Artists’ Book Fair, held in the Holden Gallery at the nearby Manchester School of Art, I picked up a letterpress pamphlet called Random Recipes, published by Oldham’s Incline Press. It contains recipes, including instructions for making seasonal favourites sloe gin and damson jam, warmly introduced with regional anecdotes. This year’s Manchester Artists’ Book Fair will be held on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 October. Manchester Print Fair, meanwhile, takes place on Saturday 27 October at 2022 in the city’s Northern Quarter. For all your other zine and self-publishing needs, be sure to check out the Good Grief! online shop, and visit Salford Zine Library, which recently acquired a cosy new home at Nexus Art Cafe in Manchester city centre.
I have been inspired to write about food by the books of DJ and writer Stuart Maconie, whose affectionate odes to British culture can’t help but make you want to get out exploring this country and its varied food traditions.
For more traditional northern food, including recipes for parched peas, flapjacks, Lancashire hotpot and much more, order your free recipe leaflet A Taste of Modern History online.
Finally, I can’t write about food without mentioning my favourite ever pub, the Globe in Glossop, a country town on the edge of the Greater Manchester region in the attractively-named Dark Peak. Although it doesn’t make a song and dance about it, the Globe is a vegan establishment, and its astonishingly good value meals include a warming Lancashire ‘Not Pot’. Wash it down with an impressive selection of ciders and perry, or mulled wine in the winter.
Thanks to Chris Meads for talking me into taking part in this project when I thought I had already exhausted the blogging format and had nothing new to write about Manchester.
Thanks to Daniel Fogarty for the loan of his camera and company on the Worsley-Eccles walk (and indulging my long-held ambition of visiting Barton swing bridge!), Nija Dalal for her photos of blackberry buns at the Shrieking Violet birthday party and Alice Kelly for the Wurlitzer photos, taken during our trip the museum.
Up next is Dan Feeney from Sheffield, who I know from Manchester’s indie discos and alternative gigs; for several years, Dan was a key player on the Manchester indie scene, co-publishing the zine Pull Yourself Together with Hannah Bayfield and putting on some of the city’s best gigs and indie nights under the same name.
My question for Dan is:
‘Sheffield is celebrated for its close proximity to the countryside, sitting on the edge of the Peak District. Where do you go when you want to escape the city?’