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An immersive light show featuring projected birds ‘flying’ across buildings is touring Manchester and Salford

Make sure you don’t miss this!

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Chris Payne

The travelling art installation Mystery Bird has officially landed in our city, bringing a magical story to the people of Salford and Manchester. The tour will take place over the coming days, visiting families and residential homes across the city.

The travelling ’show’ has been created by a collection of artists from the North West whose combined skills in model-making, projection, design, sound, augmented reality and even beatboxing have brought this spectacular piece to life. 

The Mystery Bird is a giant birdcage filled with projected birds and accompanied by a bespoke soundscape, which will be released to ‘fly’ across buildings, trees and the streets of Greater Manchester. 

Chris Payne

In addition to the Mystery Bird travelling installation, Quays Culture worked with artist Jack Hardiker to create a special free Instagram filter so users can welcome the birds into their own homes and gardens via their mobiles. 

Using the filter, Quays Culture are also asking for the public to share a video of their own Mystery Bird experience that will be collated into a community film to share the joy of the experience with the nation.

To get involved follow these steps: 

  • Open the filter via the Quays Culture Instagram and record the birds flying around you.
  • Make bird sounds to release more birds!
  • Save the video to your camera roll and email to mysterybird@quaysculture.com
  • Tag @quayscultureuk in your IG videos #mysterybird

The idea has taken inspiration from the public’s heightened awareness of nature during the pandemic, offering solace, comfort, motivation and relaxation.

Programme Producer at Quays Culture, and Co-Creator of Mystery Bird, Jude Jagger said of the project: “So many people mentioned enjoying birds, listening to birdsong and getting involved with nature in general during the first lockdown.”

Co-Creator Gemma Saunders added: “Despite Covid-19 being devastating there are some aspects of this situation that have made us re-focus on important factors in our lives. We want to play that back to people and deliver an ‘art at your front door’ wonder that will be truly special.”

Manchester based beatboxer and vocal sculptor Singh is best known for the Tweet Music album, commissioned by the National Trust after research found that listening to bird song before you are twelve makes people calmer and boosts positivity. And indeed, listening to bird song is relaxing, soothing and a re-connect to nature for all age groups.

This latest work features endangered birds on the RSPB list and local birds like the Willow Tit (a regular in Wigan), Grasshopper Warbler, Lapwing, tree Sparrows, Starlings plus ‘saved’ birds like the Peregrine Falcon intertwined by his electronic score, creating the sounds, rhythms and feelings of bird song. This premiere performance will be broadcast from the travelling installation.

“This work celebrates all birds, big and small; birds with personalities, displayers, the gangster birds as I call them – the sparrows; birds that people aren’t familiar with.  I hope my work will connect everyone to the amazing creatures in our life that perhaps we haven’t noted until now,” said Singh.

Chris Payne

The birds themselves have been created by artist Helen Musselwhite. She said: “I have worked with these six birds, some of whom aren’t commonly known, to show their personality, their lives and their passions. I show the birds in flight, banking, swooping, flying and static. I have ‘lived’ these birds for months and want to share their story. It is the story of us all at present; a feeling of being trapped, unsure, not able to be free – that is the Mystery Bird story.”

Helen worked with animators Illuminos to make the birds ‘come to life’, and Jack Hardiker has produced an Augmented Reality element for the public to interact with.

Rob Vale and Matt Vale, from Illuminos, are tasked with bringing the birds to life. They have spent months studying the six birds to then animate them realistically.

Chris Payne

“It has been fascinating to watch the movements of the group as they are so different,” said Illuminos director Rob. “The Willow Tit for example is a nervous jumpy bird. It jumps around and then perches. The Grasshopper Warbler sits with its head down and makes a strange insect noise then leaps straight ahead and starts it’s strange performance over again.”

“The Starlings are so interesting too,” said Matt. “They run and rattle about then hop around. The characters of the birds are so different and it has been incredible to bring them to life.”

The team at Illuminos had the huge challenge of how to present the birds in a cage, fabricated by M3 Industries, with a 360 degree viewing programme whilst travelling on a moving vehicle.

Mystery Bird is on until this Sunday, December 13th, and will be touring neighbourhoods in Salford and Manchester so keep your eyes peeled.

Keep up to date on the Mystery Bird website, or on Quays Culture’s socials, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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What's On

Glastonbury cancelled for the second year running due to coronavirus

Sad news

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Paul Holloway / Flickr

Glastonbury Festival has officially been cancelled for the second year running.

It will no longer take place in 2021 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The news was announced on the festival’s official Twitter page today, Thursday January 21st.

The post said: “With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place.

“And that this will be another enforced fallow year for us. Tickets for this year will roll over to next year. Full statement below and on our website. Michael & Emily.”

Organiser Emily Eavis told the BBC last month that she hoped the festival could still happen, despite ‘huge uncertainty’ surrounding live music at the moment.

She said: “We’re doing everything we can on our end to plan and prepare, but I think we’re still quite a long way from being able to say we’re confident 2021 will go ahead.”

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A huge first-of-its-kind live entertainment venue is opening in Manchester this year

A fantastic new addition to our city

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Circle Square Manchester

A new ‘first-of-its-kind’ entertainment venue is set to open this year in Manchester.

The one-stop destination will see a combination of live music, events, entertainment, food, drink and socialising all in the venue. 

Canvas will be home to three different areas: Canvas Kitchen, Canvas Club and Canvas Events.

The development will take place at Circle Square and have space for 100 in Canvas Kitchen and a further 400 people in the live music and events space.

Circle Square Manchester

The venue will be open from 7am until 4am every single day meaning you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and even a night out all in one place. 

You’re guaranteed to be in good hands too with the team behind Canvas Manchester responsible for the likes of Hammersmith Apollo, Brixton Academy and G-A-Y Manchester.

The calendar for events is expected to be well-rounded with the likes of wellbeing events, room for social activism, plus gigs, networking events and workshops. 

Gavin Aldrich, CEO at BeSixth, said of the new development: “We’ll be in the heart of a thriving, city centre neighbourhood that brings together people from all walks of life – be it students, shoppers, business owners or academics – and it’s this community that makes us confident Circle Square will be the perfect destination to launch Canvas Manchester.”

Circle Square Manchester

Tom Renn, Managing Director of Bruntwood SciTech – Manchester added: “Our ambition for Circle Square was always to create a destination – a place that would bring people together morning, day and night and a place that would become part of the fabric of the city. Somewhere tourists and innovators would see as a must-visit when coming to Manchester.

Adding: “The live music industry has understandably suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but where better to drive its resurgence than in the ‘City that thinks a table is for dancing on’?”

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What's On

Bez is launching his own lockdown fitness classes called Get Buzzin’ With Bez

He wants to inspire the nation like Joe Wicks

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Spoke TV / YouTube

Bez is set to launch his very own fitness classes online to see everyone through lockdown.

The Happy Mondays maraca-shaking dancer is releasing his own series of classes called ‘Get Buzzing With Bez’, as he attempts to shift his own lockdown weight. 

The classes will launch on January 17th showing Bez being trained by a fitness instructor, something he’s describing as ‘somewhere between Joe Wicks and Mr Motivator’. 

He said: “I’d like to think I’m somewhere between Joe Wicks and Mr Motivator. I’ve started this new year seriously unfit, with a fat belly and creaky hips, and I can’t stop eating chocolate.

“Last lockdown I got unfit, fat, lazy and into some seriously bad eating habits.

“This year, this lockdown, I need to sort it out sharpish.”

He added that people can join him ‘on this mad journey or just sit on the sofa and have a good laugh at me’.

He added: “At the very least, I know I’ll be making people smile, at best I’ll be helping people get fit and mentally happier alongside me.”

SIGN US UP. 

Get Buzzin’ With Bez is launching over on YouTube on Sunday January 17th, with Bez encouraging us to get active every week for three months.

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