SCULPTURE… Architect Buttress can turn its hand to just about anything, and it has been helping St Ann’s Church in Manchester city centre with planning and installation of a Homeless Jesus statue, one of a worldwide series of casts by Canada’s Timothy Schmalz. The figure is designed to challenge passers-by on their attitude towards marginalised people, and was unveiled – literally, for once in the life of this phrase – by homeless men Ian and Dave, both volunteers at the St Ann’s Morning Hours project, alongside the Bishop of Manchester the Rt Revd Dr David Walker, who chairs the Manchester Homelessness Partnership. Other Homeless Jesus sculptures can be found in Dublin, Rome and across the USA.

Eddie Izzard

Izzard at a Labour rally in 2015

POLITICAL BIG HITTER… Labour is rolling the big guns up the motorway in a bid to win Trafford in the local elections next week, the only one of Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs it doesn’t currently control. Alerts have been sent out informing people that Eddie Izzard – comedian, marathon runner etc – will be knocking on doors in the area on Monday to get the vote out ahead of polling day. Jeremy Corbyn launched the national campaign in Manchester in March, having used the city as a spring board for his relatively successful 2017 campaign. Will Izzard have the golden touch? Who can tell.

STREET ART… The eagle-eyed will have noticed a timely addition to Upper Parliament Street in Liverpool, a giant portrait mural of renowned scientist Stephen Hawking. It was all to do with the Contrast Mural Festival, which saw 74 artists from around the world descend on Liverpool to paint murals in areas undergoing regeneration, for the purposes of, well, drawing attention to areas undergoing regeneration. The Hawking piece is by Akse, the Manchester-based Parisian behind all manner of stuff in the Northern Quarter and such areas, including the much-photographed Bowie piece in Stevenson Square and the Psychopaths series, featuring Walter White alter ego Heisenberg.

Channel 4 Alex Mahon

Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon, left, in conversation with Kirsty Wark

IN DEMAND… Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon’s phone must be ringing off the hook, after the broadcaster’s formal announcement last week that it was opening up bids from cities to be the location of its national HQ, and three creative hubs. Mahon made her first public appearance since the news, at the Creative Cities Convention in Leeds yesterday. Despite noises from the Liverpool bid that the competition should be a “one horse race”, Mahon made it clear it was all to play for, and that she was also keeping an open mind as to whether it was best to locate where there is already a media hub and talent pool (think MediaCity), or for Channel 4 to make its mark in a totally fresh location. It’s worth noting she said the words “nations and regions” an awful lot, suggesting that a spread across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is important, which wouldn’t leave much for English cities to scrap for.


ROAD RASH… Manchester’s Mobikes have shown up in all sorts of curious places – at the tops of trees, at the bottom of the canal, strewn about the streets, and all sorts besides. Now a keen cyclist has taken it a step further by deciding to see how a Mobike might handle on the M60. Police were called at 5:30AM today to find the cyclist wending their way along the hard shoulder of the motorway near the Trafford Centre. The dock-free bikesharing platform lets users hire bikes in central Manchester, Salford, and now Stockport, and allows users to take the bikes outside these designated zones, so long as they are returned. Pretty sure they don’t recommend taking them on the motorway, and as the police force tweeted: “Manchester free bikes not for use on the motorway”. Best not try that again.

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