Saturday, July 07, 2007
The Great Indoors
We went to the fabulous "The Great Indoors" free festival in Manchester today which was full of delights. John Hegley told us about it a few weeks back so we had to go to see a rare glimpse of him and the full Popticians line-up. Also crammed into the G-Mex Conference Centre was a host of other weird and wacky family friendly acts and workshops like the wonderful Insect Circus Museum ( see photos ) with extraordinairy displays housed in an old mahogany lined Bedford TK beetlebox lorry painted like an old circus caravan. Inside were delightful automata, models and victorian style posters and 60's Beatle / Blake inspired pastiches of the Sgt. Pepper sleeve and other mop top related ephemera- curious collages- wunderkammer and cabinets of strange things all with insects doing circusy things. It was worth going to see this alone. We bought a stack of postcards and wanted more. We spoke to the two lovely people who made all this stuff and it turned out they used to be model makers for advertising but sadly the days of real models are numbered due to CGI and computerised animation etc. so they decided to go on the road with this fantastic display and they travel all over the country visiting fairs and festivals etc.
Next came the Ockham's Razor troupe of young acrobats and trapeze artistes who did some great aerial ballet with the aid of just four cubes and a long rope suspended from two pulleys. Next in the theatre were Cirque Bijou who did stunts with angle grinders and fireworks mixed with traditional circus skills. This was also very clever and very noisy!
The place was packed with parents and young children so it was extremely noisy but good fun. Lots to do and see and plenty of workshops where you could paint a mural and play on giant xylophones, bongos etc. There was also the Whalley Range Allstars with a great Living Room where you could stick your head into holes and see yourself inside a room looking out of paintings and furniture etc. They also did a show outside with a giant compost heap that came alive and ate the gardener!
We had a drink with John and the Popticians after their lively and amusing set and John was kind enough to give us one of his CD's and sign it for us. It was great to chat with Keith Moore again too who used to be a neighbour of ours in Lambeth. Keith was playing the saxaphone this time with the Popticians. He urged us to get tickets for the next event which was a remarkable puppet show in a tent joined to an ancient ambulance. Bistouri by TOF Theatre are from Belgium and "one of Europe's best theatre companies". We could see why after seeing the show which was quite magical and very funny all about a weird doctor performing an operation on the big bad wolf in what looked like Steptoes yard! So glad we stayed on to see this. Afterwards rushed off to the station to get our train home in time for tea.
The festival is FREE and running all weekend so catch it if you can and live in the Manchester area. Its a rare treat!
The amazing Insect Circus Museum!