METROLINK MONSTERS… In a week where Andy Burnham slammed the transport network for its poor performance, and a cable fire at Anchorage caused widespread disruption, TfGM has supposedly come up with the perfect solution to sort out the network: a monster-themed marketing campaign, focused on littering. The campaign puts the spotlight on both good and bad behaviour, with critters like Rude Jude and Litter-lout Lenny examples of troublemakers. Quite why TfGM thinks anyone over the age of 5 would be put off by Rude Jude, or why it should be the passengers’ responsibility to manage behaviour, rather than the network operator’s, is a mystery, but TfGM assured Place that staff have been “briefed on the campaign”, and customer service representatives will be “handing out cards with the characters on to highlight the bylaws and also to say thank you to helpful passengers”. At least the campaign also has a free-to-play mobile game you can download, so you have something to do whilst stuck on a delayed tram outside Cornbrook. That is, if you can find space to lift your arm.
OTTERLY BRILLIANT… There’s better news for Greater Manchester’s rivers after a report by Natural Course suggested that otters may be returning to the region’s rivers. Traditionally heavily polluted, a concerted effort has been made to clean up local watercourses and there is increasing anecdotal evidence that everyone’s favourite semi-aquatic mustelid has been expanding its presence in the area. Sightings had previously been scarce given higher than average habitat loss, pollution, and high population density, but with the clean-up operation ongoing, signs are good that more of the animals are choosing to make their home in the region. It may still be some time before you start spotting otters in the Irwell in the city centre, but the Greater Manchester Local Records Centre is urging people to record their sightings here.
ROCK CITY… Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, alongside UK Music chief executive and former Labour MP Michael Dugher, have pledged their support for a new Music Board to support the growth of the city’s music scene. Currently, London is the only city in the UK with a similar board, which was founded by the Greater London Authority in 2016 to oversee a rescue plan for the city’s music venues, and has also looked to introduce planning and licensing policies to increase music tourism. Liverpool is now looking to follow suit with the establishment of its own board, which will look to improve transport links for music fans, protect music venues, and increase access to music education and rehearsal spaces. The city’s ambition is outlined in a report titled Wish You Were Here and Rotheram said he would be asking all the region’s local authorities to put forward members for the new board.
A NEW YOU… 3D printing has plenty of applications for property, but next week Liverpool’s School of Art & Design will host something a little different. Heirloom, a project which uses skin cells to grow 3D faces, will be one of the centrepieces of the school’s LASER event, and scientists will discuss how it could be used to help burn victims or for cosmetic purposes, or as the school puts it: “in theory replacing your face with a younger version”. The project’s leaders, artist Gina Czarnecki and clinical scientist John Hunt said they would be looking to “conduct further work live in a public space so it can be viewed as both science and art”. On a similar theme, LASER will also host a session discussing “embedding artistic principles into surgical training” in a talk dubbed “an artistic exploration of facial topography in surgical practice”. If that sounds like your kind of thing, the sessions will be held on Wednesday 14 March at the John Lennon Art & Design Building off Mount Pleasant from 5:30pm.
NEOCLASSICAL… Bruntwood has commissioned a “Lowry-inspired” artist to exhibit his work at the Neo building’s digital art space. Andrew Brooks has put together a film which layers together 55,000 individual images of the city, captured from the rooftop of the building. The piece is said to draw inspiration from the Salford artist’s “matchstick men” paintings, and will be showcased on Neo’s dedicated media wall on the ground floor. Bruntwood has so far spent £250,000 on the media installation, which is made up of 30 55-inch screens, and Brooks’ film will run at the building on Charlotte Street until 31 May, following an opening hosted at Neo this Saturday between 10am and 5pm. Brooks will also introduce the film with a special talk at 2pm.