TOPPING OUT… In a month where one of Renaker’s Owen Street – sorry, Deansgate Square – towers became Manchester’s tallest building, it’s always good to take a moment to appreciate the magnitude of the project that’s currently under way. Progress shots by Craig Barker reveal just how the towers will stand out against the city’s skyline – and don’t forget, there’s two more towers to be built yet, not to mention what’ll soon be there as part of the wider Great Jackson Street masterplan.


SHOE-IN… The boffins at the University of Manchester have been busy this week, launching what’s described as the world’s first-ever sports shoe which includes graphene, dubbed the strongest material on the planet. Working with British brand Inov-8, the University has developed graphene-enhanced rubber which are supposedly 50% harder-wearing and can withstand more than 1,000 miles of running – that’s 38.4 marathons, by the way. The shoes so far are designed for running but your author hopes they might move into football boots, too, to give us technically-challenged footballers a bit of a boost.

Historic England Spirit Of The North THING

NORTHERN-NESS… Historic England has commissioned photographer John Kippin for its Spirit of the North series, which the heritage body said would “get to the heart of Northern-ness”. Featuring a selection of images from Birkenhead to Flamborough Lighthouse, the series forms part of the Great Exhibition of the North, with the photographs on show at Newcastle’s Bessie Surtees House from today until 9 September. For podcast fans there’ll also be a six-episode series launching in the near future with Kippin discussing the inspiration behind the photos, which can be viewed here. There are some stunning images on the Tyne Bridge, Durham Cathedral, Flamborough Head’s lighthouse, and closer to home, Birkenhead, the Midland Hotel, and Liverpool’s Casbah Club.

Frank Lloyd Wright THING

DIGITAL TOURISM… Ever fancied a look around Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and studio, Taliesin West? Now you can without having to stump up for a flight to Arizona. A 3D digital tour has been built using an imaging laser scanner, providing an immersive look at the architect’s home, using software from Matterport. Taliesin West is just the first of the architect’s properties which will be scanned in this way, with others in the pipeline, so a 3D tour of Fallingwater might be just around the corner. Take a look at the tour here.

TRAIN PAIN… The fun and games of train travel continue this weekend with another strike planned for Saturday, following initial action on Northern rail trains on Thursday. It must be getting to a point where many of us simply aren’t bothering with train travel any more, and it seems our transport network can’t get much more ridiculous than having to resort to running heritage trains on the Lakes commuter line, as was the case this week following intervention by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron. The advice as per usual is to check the timetables to see if your services are running this Saturday, but perhaps the best advice of all might not be to waste your time and stay at home instead.

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