MediaCityUK: A Traveller’s Guide

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MediaCityUK

The most promising feature of the Salford Quays are the towering buildings of the MediaCityUK which appears to be like an old watch tower of the entire property. Salford Quays, the erstwhile dockyard has now been re-shaped beautifully to accommodate the docks, MediaCity, The Imperial War Museum and The Lowry Outlet Mall. Often for a first time visitor, the Quays may seem almost like a different ‘different planet’.

Staying:

Resembling a self-sustaining unit in the middle of the Manchester, the Quays has earned name and fame as a popular tourist destination. It is well connected with the city centre via regularly plying trams and buses. In fact, the Holiday Inn provides for a great overnight stay in the Quays. The temperature varies depending on the weather. However, due to the presence of water bodies, the area can be very cold and windy, especially after sunset.  Thus one should be equipped with warm clothes, sturdy shoes and an umbrella at all times.

What to see?  

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View from the Vertical Bridge

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View of MediaCity From the Bank

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View from the Bridge

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View from the Bridge

The Manchester Ship Canal, an extension of the River Irwell flows right through the Quays. On the left bank, it has two over bridges running through it to cross over to the Museum. However, the over-bridges can be a bit shaky due to the force of the winds and safety should be maintained at all times. Running below the bridges are the Mersey Ferries which regularly ply bringing tourists and locals to this side of the city. Interestingly, the vertical bridges even open up (much to the irritation of the hovering seagulls) to let the ferries pass underneath it. On the right bank of the canal, an intelligently manufactured piece of water body is used as a swimming pool. Often during the day, one can see people taking their children on prams and dogs on leash around the bank for a lovely walk.

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The Imperial War Museum

The nearby attractions would include the Imperial War Museum. This museum exhibits a well collected permanent display of the remains and memories of the World Wars. There are many temporary exhibitions held as well. It is advisable to check with the website or the reception of the museum to find out about the exhibitions so as to not miss any interesting ones.

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Although prior permission is required to visit the BBC Studios , the ITV and Sky News, if one would like to opt for a tour then it must be booked well in advance directly though their official websites. Otherwise, one can always look at the studios from outside while taking a walk across the property.

Shopping/Food:

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The Lowry Outlet Mall

The Lowry Outlet and Shopping Mall fulfils all the requirements of a ‘shopping therapy’. From clothes and accessories to electronics, sports equipment, and food everything is available under one roof. Alternately, if one would like to try out different cuisines then the nearby Marco’s, CAU, Nando’s and WagaMama are restaurants to look out for. Bars and Cafes like Pret, Dockyard and Booths are also great for budget meals.

Nightlife:

Though MediaCity does not boast of a nightlife enthused with the lights and tunes of a discotheque, what it surely does boast of is the beautiful panoramic view of the whole place. Witnessing the sheer beauty of the place from the rooftop of the hotel, apartment buildings or even standing on the bridges (not for long though) would uphold the worth of coming to this place.

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Photo By: Julia Reinert (www.germanchester.wordpress.com)

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The New Day Launches in Britain: Success or Risk?

 

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Photo Courtesy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35685156

In today’s time and age, when the world is going digital from print, Britain takes a bold step in launching its very first national newspaper (in print) after a span of thirty years. This initiative itself is commendable because of two reasons. First, a newspaper is brought out in print form, when veteran newsprints like The Independent is all set to wrap up its print edition and go online. Second, after thirty years a new newspaper is being launched. This only highlights the fact that for the past three decades, there has been a leading monopoly of newspapers such us The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and the like. However, with the society and consumer patterns ushering in the digital age, the monopoly of these print newspapers is staggering to maintain their identities in the consumer market. All the above named newspapers and many more have their corresponding online portals for news consumptions through mobile phones and computers.

This much talked about newspaper is called The New Day. Interestingly, it was launched on the 29th of February 2016, which comes once in every four years (and a date which would go down in history marking actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar win after six Academy nominations). The marketing strategy for this newspaper is very unique. On the 29th of February, it would be given away free to attract new readers. Thereafter, for the first two weeks it would cost 25 pence; following which it would be raised to ‘full price’ at 50 pence. Comparing a nominal fee of 50 pence with other newspapers costing over a pound, those who prefer newspapers to online consumption of news might want to give this paper a shot.

 

Coming to the paper itself, the publishers (The Trinity Mirror) have acknowledged the presence of the online news consumption. But they have justified their paper by stating:

“It has to be a new type of newspaper. And everyone can have a voice. Be they the Prime Minister or passer-by on the street. Because both deserve to be heard. Our stories will be selected to impress our readers, not to impress other journalists. We’re just fairly normal people who want to create a paper you’ll enjoy. ”

 Indeed, the newspaper takes a fresh look on delivering stories to its audience. Instead of having a hard news as its top story, its front page adorns snippets of a feature story titled ‘Too Much Too Young’, a study based on the lives of the young children who help in taking care of their parents. The paper comprises all kinds of stories – politics, sports, research study features, opinion articles, photographs, activities and crosswords and even a quote of the day. But what sets it apart is its neutrality or impartiality. It puts forward all views on a certain incident or event and lets the audience decide for themselves which views to support.

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Two Interesting Articles (above)

Two articles that caughtmy eyes, were titled ‘Too Much Too Young’ and ‘Would you help a child being bullied? ’. The  former because, often we have heard how children must take care of their parents, but by children one certainly does not mean those falling within the age group of ten and under; and the latter because, bullying is a big issue in contemporary society. The aftermath of bullying could demoralise a person to such an extent that psychiatric help might be required or in worst cases it might lead them to commit suicides.

Out of curiosity (and University work) I have been to two different newspaper stores, one in the MediaCity and the other in Rochdale. The store supervisors in both the shops have given me a statistics of about three New Day being picked up by their customers out of the sample stacks of fifteen newspapers sent to them. Personally, even if the statistics might not seem very alluring, the newspaper was launched just today and it should be given some time to build an audience for itself. The success or the failure of this paper would only be seen as the time goes by, but for the initiative of launching it in print with no online website, the publishers should be congratulated for their effort.

Print versus digital is a much debated topic in contemporary media. What is your opinion on the launching of a purely print edition? It is a risk or an answer to the challenge the print media is facing from the digital media? Let me know of your opinions.

My Tips to Survive in this City . . . .

At the end of 2015, it is best that I contemplate on what is necessary to have/ learn/possess/ do to survive in Manchester. The city is lovely and accepts you the way you are so you would not need to change much. But here are few things that you have to adapt to if you plan on staying here for a long time.

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  1. Have an array of shoes. From walking shoes to snow boots to fashionable shoes and slippers etc. etc. etc. This is because you have to walk walk and walk a lot. No matter where you go, you have to walk. So, you might as well own good shoes , check their soles once in a while, change your shoes if they are worn out (Lots of good shoes are available on sale).  Please Go Out and Own your perfect comfy sets of shoes! umbrellas
  2. Never ever  step out of your front door without a muffler, gloves, cap/hat, unbrella or rain coat. Well not so much of a rain coat, but Umbrella is a must. In fact, it is best if you own more than one. You never know when a strong gale will blow your umbrella away.  In short DO NOT CATCH A COLD !
  3. Life survives a lot here on coupons. You have coupons behind bus tickets, in magazines, in newspapers and various other places. Collect them and use them, cause they really work and you do get discounts. Also, if you are a student then keep your ID Card at hand, you might get an extra student discount.
  4. A lot of magazines and newspapers here are free. Grab them and read them. For a person like me, who was allergic to any kind of newspapers, I  have taken to all free newspapers and magazines to kill my boredom. Today, I probably read more newspapers and mags than I have ever read in my life.
  5. You cannot forget to wish people. All conversations here start with a “Hello, you all right? ” or “Hiya, You OK?” . Do not panic when at the end of a conversation people say “Thanks Love” . A “Thank You” to the bus driver is mandatory. So, lets start revising on our manners again.
  6. A strong GPS system on your mobile phone would certainly do you good. If you are to live in this city on your own then you might as well know which place is which and do not get lost. I have marvellous experiences of getting lost in the middle of this city and let me tell you, it is not a good experience. So please avoid it if you can!sunny day
  7. Love bright and sunny days where you can tan yourself a little? Bid Good-bye to them! A bright and sunny day is a rare occassion. It rains mostly everyday. In fact, more than the rains, it is the  cold wind which is difficult to cope up with.
  8. When in Manchester, you just cannot leave the city without seeing some famous places in and around the city. In Manchester, apart from the regular Museums and Art Galleries, MediaCity UK, Castlefield, Trafford Centre, City Centre with the City Council and Northern Quarters are a must. Around Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Liverpool, Stockport, Macclesfield, Warwick are places that cannot be missed.
  9. Have a bank account. Nearly every place here accepts card payments so you need not carry any cash at all. Although, keeping a one pound change always helps especially while taking out trolleys from the trolley park in shopping malls!intro+the+scribble+diary
  10. Lastly, keep a scribble diary. Not that it is necessary but I maintain one where mostly crosswords and other such puzzles are solved. But I think I maintain the diary to keep my sanity more than anything. With mostly nothing to do during the festive season this diary helps me cope up with my boredom.

I hope this helps you get a taste of some of the mandatory stuffs needed to survive in this city. If you think there is something missing in this listicle please feel free to add it. Thanks.

See you again in the Next Year with more such posts on this interesting city :).

The Beauty of Wilderness

How many times in a day do you really try to close your eyes and take in the atmosphere around you? Well, for most of us including me the answer would be zero times. But today when I got a chance to go to Pomona Island, it was like contemplating life once again. Most of the times, I engage into writing travel posts directing people what they would find in a place, but this post would probably reflect my inner contemplations, a state of self realisation that I had in Pomona Island.

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The land is nothing but wilderness with wild grasses, flowers and buds growing in irregular zigzag positions throughout the land. In the midst of this wilderness runs an almost empty road which is extremely lucky to get a few visitors throughout the day. Apart from humans, it mostly cherishes the visits of its four-legged friends. The huge chunks of rocks are abstractly designed by graffiti’s. Nevertheless,it is a widely deserted place at the backdrop of a developing city.

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Photo Courtesy: Dimple Meera Jom

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It is indeed interesting to just stand in the middle of the road and notice your surroundings. The first observation that you make is the beauty of wilderness in front of a heavily developing city with construction cranes rising up as overhauling towers. Quite faintly and after certain intervals of time, you can hear the rushing of the tram wheels. The heavy winds blowing past you and hitting the trees that line  road makes a rustling sound that instantly hits your ears. Sometimes, when the velocity of the wind is too high you might notice a blanket of dried chestnut leaves floating in front of you or behind you before ultimately hitting the road where it would lie till eternity, being trodden on, or till one of the wind blowers moves it aside.

My visit to Pomona Island is a feeling similar to what one achieves when meditating in a silent room. It is an environment which is much desired once in a while but is mostly not accessible due to the hustle and bustle of the busy city life. But here was a place lying in the heart of the city which can make you enjoy the beauty of wilderness and bask in the music of silence. This is a place which should be cherished and looked up to every time one needs a little bit of ‘me time’.

However, on the flip side Pomona Island is also having a long drawn controversy between people who want the wilderness to stay the way it is and those who would prefer to invest in developing the area so that it is fit for human residence. Both have their own pros and cons, and it yet to be seen who wins. But till then, it is a really great idea to visit the place and enjoy the beauty that it portrays in nothingness.

Sometimes, doing nothing and just admiring your surroundings does you a lot of good.

Stepping out of the well, Manchester Homeless Crisis

Anyone who has walked through the streets of Manchester will have noticed that our city is, and has been for a while now, in a serious homeless crisis. With Halloween that just passed and Christmas round the corner, many mancunians are now getting ready for a festive end of 2015. Unfortunately for an increasing number of people, this coming winter will just be a long challenge for survival.

Probably entire libraries of books have been written already on the origins of such a phenomenon in our modern societies, but nevertheless the problem persists and nobody knows how many will die this winter in our very streets.

The range of reasons which can lead to homelessness is large and varied but ultimately it often leads to very sad stories. The process of ending in the streets is like a long, painful fall into a deep well. Once you reach the bottom, you could think things won’t go any lower, but in reality it is only the beginning of a journey on one of the only two paths available: stay and die in this well or try to pull whatever resources and strength that might be left in an attempt to get out of it. In any cases, both directions will lead to a person’s greatest life-changing experience.

Regardless of the so-called technologically advanced world- that is our modern society, whatever the number of so-called development and assistance programs our governments run, many will just inevitably get pulled toward the first path. And how could they be blamed? The circumstances, which led to the fall into the well, would have often strained to the maximum the resources and strengths of the person. Once at the bottom, totally dried out of any sort of possibilities to even attempt to get out of that situation, many will let destiny decide what to happen next.

And then there are those who once at the bottom, luckily, still find a way to pull together whatever is left of hope, will or even faith. During this long, never-ending, journey toward the ultimate goal of getting out of this deep well, every steps will be as difficult and painful as the next one. Sometimes, even personal will and strength is not enough, often one will feel to even abandon. In other times, the smallest external intervention of mercy and compassion can prove decisive. It could take just that little gesture from one person, compassionate enough to come and help, to throw a rope into the well and get him or her out. The question is: Can we be that compassionate person? And if yes, how can we go about it?

Well, all around the country, there are already a great number of people who have come together and decided to act, to be that person who comes and throws a ray of hope. The number of organisations trying to help homeless people is ever increasing, in all major cities. In a way it is unfortunate as it shows the direction our so-called liberal societies are taking. On the other hand, these NGOs, charities and volunteer groups are the last line of defence for our civilisation to remain in the realm of love, mercy and compassion, basic characters of humanity.

In Manchester, one of them, The Homeless Hub, has been working for years now to maintain this last ligne of hope for the ever increasing number of homeless people our city bears.

The Homeless Hub describes its mission as follow:

Our mission is to bring change to the lives of those we touch by creating opportunities for the marginalised and disengaged to change their lives. We work with the homeless and the marginalised across Manchester. We want to change our world. We are not afraid to lead the way and challenge the status quo.

The organisation operates a variety of projects and events, including food banks and street feeds. Wether you think you could participate in person to distribute hot food, drinks and clothes or help by giving a small financial donation, please, remember that no matter how small you think your help is, it could be that one crucial step taking one man or woman out of the well.

If you think you could help in any way, please visit The Homeless Hub now and register your interest.

FRAMEROLLZ: A SCENIC BEAUTY

As told before,  every month I would try to publish a post which would have only photographs based on a certain theme. Well, this months post is based on the scenery of the city. These shots have been taken at different places and during different times of the day. The beautiful colours of the Autumn adds a special touch to the scene which , makes it look almost like a painting.

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Taken outside the City Council, Manchester , this particular empty bench signifies a lot of things. With cold winds blowing outside and the golden beige leaves of the chestnut lining the surroundings the empty bench signifies a vast space of emptiness amidst the hustle and bustle of the city life .

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To be very honest, this is a random photograph taken out of the window of a bus. I would probably not be able to tell you which place was it taken in, but all I know is that red bulbs in the green foliage adds colour to the mundane white and brownish background.

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Taken right outside the Museum of Industry and Science on a beautiful evening, this photograph captures the various colours of leaves (on and off the trees) amidst a residential locality.

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Chapel Street, is not only a historic place in Manchester but it is right outside the University of Salford. It is said that Chapel Street was the first street to inaugurate street lights in the city.

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Taken outside another random locality, the contrast between the sharp orange, red and brownish colours against a much lighter greenish-grey background stands up well in portraying the beauty of this place.

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A path that leads to somewhere (I am not sure where though). I just liked the way it curves around  at a distance making you wonder what it holds for you beyond the horizon on the other side.

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Life can survive anywhere in this world. This photo taken near a barren construction site reminds me of the beauty of nature and the power of life to be able to survive anywhere making the most barren place , a beauty to look at.

Calling Photo-voters for the 2016 Calendar

Photography is a mixture of both art and science.

It is the capturing of a moment in time.

It is the reflection of one’s vision on digital frames.

It is also the beauty of time, space, people and place.

This very beauty has been reflected by the final photographs that have been selected by the Manchester Evening News as their finalists to make an appearance in the next year’s calendar. Some of the photographs are stunningly beautiful and define the very essence of the city. The images reflect the myriad hues that the city basks in every morning and night.

All these images are winners in themselves and each photographer deserves praise for their perfect capturing of the moment. But as a year has only 12 months, only the top voted pictures would make it to the final.

Wondering which images would be featured? Well, it is time that you stop wondering and start playing your part in the making of the calendar. Your vote can actually decide which photographs would feature in the calendar. Moreover, you could get a chance to get a free calendar by collecting tokens.

Voting lines are open only till the 22 of October 2015. So do not waste a moment and start voting for your favourite images at http://goo.gl/ZW3jlW.

I would end this post with a photo that was taken by me with the promise that more photos would be coming in the days to come.

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Manchester : City of the Youths

Every time I have heard people discussing about Manchester, football has remained the prominent topic. Manchester United Football Team is the most loved team amongst the youths all over the world. In fact, those waiting for me back home are probably more anxious to get Manchester United goodies than knowing about my life abroad.

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Although ManU is a privilege that most of my friends are denied of, I would not agree more to the fact that Manchester is beyond ManU. It is a city with a heart that is immortally youthful considering the young population of the city. The city lives for the youngsters and has been progressing due to the developments envisioned by them.

The younger lot of this city constitutes a cosmopolitan group making it a pot-pouri of cultures and traditions. With such diversity in the youngsters the variety of interests are also diverse. From music, literature, theatre, films to charity organisational events, food, religious festivals, youth festivals – there is a lot to catch up on.

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But with so many events it becomes really difficult to keep a tap on what’s going around the city. This blog aims and hopes to inform its readers about some of the events that would interest the heart of the city.

Do look out for interesting things to do in the future.