Northern Soul

Author: Desmond Bullen

Explota explota (My Heart Goes Boom!), ¡Viva! 28th Spanish & Latin American Festival, HOME, Manchester

Film Review: Explota explota (My Heart Goes Boom!), ¡Viva! 28th Spanish & Latin American Festival, HOME, Manchester

March 24, 2022 Comments Off on Film Review: Explota explota (My Heart Goes Boom!), ¡Viva! 28th Spanish & Latin American Festival, HOME, Manchester

The anglicised title of Explota explota, a generous-spirited jukebox musical about Francoist Spain and dancing, is an irresistible invitation to declare, almost without shame, that the ¡Viva! 28th Spanish & Latin American Festival at Manchester’s HOME opens with a bang. Or should that be a ‘pop’?

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Dream Girl - Laura Lippman

Book Review: Dream Girl by Laura Lippman

March 23, 2022 Comments Off on Book Review: Dream Girl by Laura Lippman

It is hardly unusual these days to find that the protagonist of a widely admired paperback is a writer.

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Chester Tenneson The Beat Goes On 2022, Archives at Play, Castlefield Gallery, March 2022 ©rob_battersby1

Exhibition Review: Archives at Play, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester

March 10, 2022 Comments Off on Exhibition Review: Archives at Play, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester

Hard though it is to credit, Manchester’s Castlefield Gallery is fast approaching its ruby anniversary.

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The Stasi Poetry Circle

Book Review: The Stasi Poetry Circle by Philip Oltermann

January 25, 2022 Comments Off on Book Review: The Stasi Poetry Circle by Philip Oltermann

If the past is, in L.P. Hartley’s endlessly quoted observation, a foreign country, then how much more disorientating must it be to attempt to find one’s bearings doubly lost, adrift both in the past and a foreign country?

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Why Karen Carpenter Matters by Karen Tongson

Book Review: Why Karen Carpenter Matters by Karen Tongson

November 22, 2021 Comments Off on Book Review: Why Karen Carpenter Matters by Karen Tongson

I always thought that there was something of the goth about Karen Carpenter.

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The House with Two Letter-Boxes by Janet H. Swinney

Book Review: The House with Two Letter-Boxes by Janet H. Swinney

November 4, 2021 Comments Off on Book Review: The House with Two Letter-Boxes by Janet H. Swinney

It’s easy to forget how relentlessly the years rack up, especially in the apparent pause of the past 20 months, leaving the shared certainties of what once seemed like the height of modernity to recede with deceptive speed until they finally appear, in the safety of hindsight, as at once quaint and faintly barbaric.

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common people front cover

Common People: Breaking the Class Ceiling in UK Publishing

June 3, 2020 Comments Off on Common People: Breaking the Class Ceiling in UK Publishing

If there’s one thing the pandemic has brought home, it’s the importance of the uncelebrated.

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John Constable, Dedham Church and Vale, Suffolk, 1800, pen, ink and watercolour, courtesy the Whitworth, The University of Manchester

Review: Utopias, The Whitworth, Manchester

March 2, 2020 Comments Off on Review: Utopias, The Whitworth, Manchester

For a time it seemed that Utopia had lost its currency.

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Eimear McBride

Review: Eimear McBride, Martin Harris Centre, Manchester

February 27, 2020 Comments Off on Review: Eimear McBride, Martin Harris Centre, Manchester

The novels of Eimear McBride, you might say, begin where she once was – enduring the loss of a brother to a brain tumour, studying drama in London.

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Theatre Review: Quality Street, The Lowry, Salford

February 27, 2020 Comments Off on Theatre Review: Quality Street, The Lowry, Salford

For most people these days, J.M. Barrie’s name is linked entirely with his brainchild, a figure ambiguous enough to change with the shifting emphases of popular culture – Peter Pan, the child who never grew up.

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