BIRDSONG…Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it a…? Well, yes, it’s a bird. Sort of. The ‘Mystery Bird’ travelling art installation has arrived in Greater Manchester this week – a 3 x 2 metre birdcage filled with the projected images of birds that are released to “fly” across buildings, trees and the streets of Manchester and Salford, to an accompanying soundscape. The show has been created by a collection of artists from across the North West whose combined skills in model-making, projection, design, sound, augmented reality and even beatboxing have brought the piece to life. The point is to celebrate people’s heightened awareness of nature during the pandemic, and how it has offered solace and relaxation for many during tough times. “So many people mentioned enjoying birds, listening to birdsong and getting involved with nature in general during the first lock down,” said Jude Jagger, programme producer at Salford Quays’ Quays Culture and co-creator of Mystery Bird. “Despite Covid-19 being devastating there are some aspects of this situation that have made us refocus on important factors in our lives. We want to play that back to people and deliver an ‘art at your front door’ wonder that will be truly special.”
COMIC STATUE…Statues, it’s fair to say, pop up fairly regularly in THING, but they’re an important part of placemaking and what’s more, we love ‘em. The next notable statue could be of legendary comic Bobby Ball, who with his partner Tommy Cannon bestrode the light entertainment scene of the 1970s and 80s. A statue of the Oldham-born comedian, who died in October, is to be built in Lytham, where he moved 25 years ago – truly a man of the region. Fylde Council has voted to erect a statue outside the town’s theatre, once funds are raised through public appeal and council coffers.
STATUE TOO…Not to be outdone by neighbouring Lytham, Blackpool is putting forward its own plans for a town centre statue. While them up the road will pay homage to Bobby Ball, Blackpool is preparing to install a two-metre-high mermaid clutching a shell on Talbot Square as a nod to the town’s proximity to and relationship with the Irish Sea. The bronze statue, designed by artist Laurence Payot, will be painted blue and act as a ‘new local sea character with a mythical, folkloric feel’, according to the council.
SIGNAGE…Traditional and digital signage manufacturer Widd Signs has completed a five-figure project at the Crown Street Victoria Residence, next to Deansgate Square in Manchester’s most vertiginous neighbourhood. The St Helens and Leeds-based company completed the project, which includes fingerpost wayfinding signage and totem-style identity branding at the scheme’s 21- and 52-storey towers’ entrances, within two months. The designs were developed by wayfinding design specialist f.r.a. Tidy.
CHRISTMAS CARD…Place North West’s Christmas Social was a joyful affair that brought together property professionals from across the globe to mingle via virtual conferencing platform Remo. The vast majority had positioned themselves strategically in front of their Christmas trees to get themselves into the festive mood and there was even a handful of networkers who dressed up for the occasion in Santa hats and gaudy jumpers. But nobody exuded the festive spirit more than Sarah Galligan, director of creative marketing agency These Four Words, who, while chatting about the benefits of modern methods of construction, was also in the process of making handmade Christmas cards. A keen cyclist, Sarah combined her love for two-wheeled travel with a Christmas mantra: ‘Oh what fun it is to ride’. I’m sure there are a few cycling nuts among our readership who would be overjoyed to receive one of her creations.
GOTHIC GLORY…The perfect purchase for those into their 19th century Gothic fiction has come on to the market for £425,000. It looks a little spooky, is 300 years old and comes “complete with attic”, says the vendor, à la Jane Eyre – what’s not to like? The grade two-listed Partnership House is the former vicarage of the medieval gothic St Chad’s Church in Rochdale and dates to 1724. Located on Sparrow Hill in Broadfield Park, close to Rochdale Town Hall, the historic property is described by vendor Rochdale Council as “a fine example of Georgian architecture with many internal and external features”. It was originally built for the Puritan Reverend Dunster and based on a similar house in London. It was extended in 1820 and again in 1990 and has most recently been used as offices. It’s a bit of project, with the building in need of extensive refurbishment, but if the house itself is a bit Turn of the Screw for you to consider living in, you could always redevelop it into a nice block of flats or a hotel for budding ghost hunters?