OTHERWORLDLY PRE-LET… Manchester’s going big on Halloween this year: a Pumpkin Patch Play Zone at St Anns Square, Halloween favourites screened in Exchange Square, a ghost-gathering world record attempt. Punters may have noticed some monster installations, including an Octoplasm beast winding its tentacles around Mayfield station. James Heather, development director at Mayfield said: “We are working with our partners to understand exactly what the Octoplasm beast’s intentions are and whether they should be incorporated into the overall inclusive vision for Mayfield. While we are not ideologically adverse to welcoming multi-tentacled monsters from outer space to our emerging development, we do not have provision for its permanent inclusion with the newly adopted SRF and it therefore may fall foul of local planning policy. We’ll see.” We will indeed.
DOWNBEAT MARKET COMMENTARY… Spare a thought for retail agents. Such has been the atmosphere of plague and pestilence around the UK high street this year, many of the region’s shop-shifters are keeping a low profile. Understandable really, any chirpy positivity is out there to be shot down, while nobody wants to be the voice of doom and gloom. One agent responded to a call for comment on yesterday’s Debenhams news thusly: “There’s so much doom and gloom in the press but the reality on the ground is that for every major chain of department stores shutting tens of branches, there is a regional vape lounge looking to snap up 800 sq ft of tertiary space.” If you didn’t laugh you’d cry, eh.
BUILDING BLOCKS… Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool have unveiled a major new public artwork by internationally acclaimed artist Ugo Rondinone – his first work in the UK. The sculpture, called Liverpool Mountain, stands over ten metres tall, next to Tate Liverpool in Royal Albert Dock. The artwork “celebrates Liverpool City Region’s commitment to supporting bold, contemporary art and its status as a world renowned cultural destination”. The project is part of the Liverpool 2018 programme, marking the 10th anniversary of Liverpool European Capital of Culture, the 20th anniversary of Liverpool Biennial and the 30th anniversary of Tate Liverpool. The message to artists is surely: if you want to be commissioned in Liverpool, make a big effort on years ending in an 8.
DOGGED NEGOTIATION… It took two years, but the mayor of Barcelona has reached a historic agreement with La Sagrada Familia, or rather the people who run it, who will pay the equivalent of £21m for municipal expenses generated by 136 years of construction work without a building permit. Everybody finds admin a chore, so hats off to whoever skipped off for a Friday afternoon cerveza rather than file the right form back in 1882, we can safely assume they’re no longer working there so got away with it. The money’s all going to public transport and public realm, incidentally – Manchester might want to double-check the original paperwork’s all in order for the Cathedral, John Rylands Library, etc etc.
TROLLEY FOLLY… Good luck to Cheshire West & Chester Council, which has introduced devices across three supermarkets in Ellesmere Port to stop shopping trolleys going ‘walkabout’. During one three-month period a total of 462 trolleys from 11 different supermarkets were collected by council officers, with the errant shopping carts turning up in locations including alleys, parks, taxi ranks and bus stops. The big clue is probably in the latter two locations there, one would suspect, but anyway. Trolleys in Asda – which is funding the scheme – Aldi and Iceland have now been fitted with devices which will lock a wheel if they pass over any car park entrances or exits. The application of technology right there.