Unrest in Manchester


Unrest in Manchester – written by Tony Knox
Photographs by Tony Knox

Underlining problems for the culture in Manchester, there is speculation that the days of Afflecks palace may soon draw to a close and be turned into luxury flats, for those who may not know it I was very similar to Quiggins an Aladdin’s Cave, bargains, fledgling designers, punk, retro style and experimental fashion – a magnet to young shoppers free thinkers and a home and life line for Independent small business that was on School Lane, that did not survive the white wash relegation renaissance of Liverpool, it seem that Manchester may be on a similar path.

Then I lay witness to the passionate body of youths protesting on the road outside Afflecks palace, they’re not going down without a fight even if it’s a vocal one which I personally found touching, the typically Manchester weather did not deter 60 youths that where capturing the heart and minds of the passers by with the vocal renditions of unified screams.
I’m sure it’s also what a excellent way to meet fellow teenagers on a budget but sadly those days are long gone for me.

I can imagine their conversations on Tuesday may be “What did you do on Saturday “
“ nothing I watched TV oh “

“well there was sixty of us we held our sign (neon hand written) and shouted to car to beep for support then screamed for joy when they did.”

Affleck’s Palace was opened in 1982, the brainchild of James Walsh, a Manchester-born hairdresser with a keen interest in the fashion industry. Based on the street fashion of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s he planned to provide affordable retail outlets for emerging designers to sell their wares directly to the public. The building has become a cultural icon, which attracts shoppers from all over the world and is in the heart of Manchester city centre. http://www.afflecks-palace.co.uk

Further up the road In a basement of 40 Thomas Street resides Stroon a gallery /record store. They represent artists/photographers from Manchester and those inspired by the city. Ian Tilton’s portrait of Kurt Cobain braking down backstage was worth going there alone. This venue sadly closes down on the 28th February one factor is the increasing rates of the city centre this is becoming difficult for small Gallery spaces to survive another factor is that www.stroon.co.uk has secured more sales via the website than in the gallery space, could this be an indication of things to come where venues are becoming increasingly harder to support without funding to sustain them.

A few minutes before closing I arrived at the ever impressive Chinese Art centre to see Gordon Cheung ‘death by a Thousand Cuts’ one of his works was featured in the 2006 John Moores Painting Prize, his solo show was well worth a visit, around 7 pieces of work but the large scale work was very effective.
Once you look at the detail you notice financial times stock listing as the base for his engaging landscapes with surprisingly did not feature 60 youths screaming to the sound to car horns.

Tony Knox


  1. We need more ‘luxury flats’, don’t we? Cos, you know, it’s a step in the right direction for reducing homelessness in the uk…

    Someone had the bright idea of closing down Camden Stables Market, too. It gets better.


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