Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Thursday, 19 December 2013

But I can still see you!

British Invisible Mending Service, Marylebone, London

The shop has apparently been at the premises in 32 Thayer St for about 30 years. Owned by the same family since 1946, it was established around 1916, giving Londoners invisible repairs for nearly a century. But still pretty visible in Marylebone.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

A proper cinema

This is the Savoy Cinema, on Heaton Moor Road, Stockport, and I love it. A small independent cinema with about 460 seats, it opened in 1923 and is still going today.

As you can see by the foliage growing from the brickwork, it’s gone through thin times, battling for customers with the mighty, characterless and ugly multiplex cinemas only a short drive away.

The Savoy shows the latest films at modest prices and somehow I’d feel extraordinarily guilty if I were to take my custom elsewhere. It is a proper cinema experience. Described recently by The Guardian as “a wonderfully endearing timewarp”, it is old, cold and sometimes leaky. But for me its orange fun fur seats, shabby decor and vintage tickets (see bonus photo below) just add to the fun of it.

It suffered a ghastly makeover (I blame the 1970s) which unfortunately covered up its rather wonderful portico, adding nasty tiles and boxing in the frontage. Have a look here to see what it was like as recently as 1970. Ever the optimist, I’m rather hoping the original pillars are still intact, entombed within the modernisation.

I think the Savoy is still a bit of a well-kept secret, though I’ve noticed the audience seems to get bigger every time I visit. That said, we often manage to achieve the supreme prize of getting a full row to ourselves. Luxury.

See you there soon.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Concrete proof

I was unnecessarily excited when I found this sign and it put a spring in my step all day (so my wobbly hand was even wobblier than usual - apologies for the blurry shot). It’s on the Mancunian Way in Manchester, otherwise known as the A57(M). I love the very sixties design of the plaque, which goes perfectly with the brutalist structure I was walking under. Opened by Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1967, the Mancunian Way is just two miles long and arches over Manchester giving great views of the city. It won the Concrete Society’s first award in 1968. Rather wonderfully, the A57(M) features on a fab website called Pathetic Motorways ( - a better read than you might at first imagine; have a look). Manchester’s concrete superiority has been recognised a few more times in the 45 years since that first award: the MMU’s School of Art and Design won the Education category this year, and its Student School won the Sustainability Award last year. Other notable winners include the Beetham Tower Hotel (2007) and the City Art Gallery (2003). You can see the full list on the Concrete Society's website here .