Got an interesting comment to this site yesterday at the “about” page with a link for anyone wishing to further investigate the phenomenon of the OKasional cafe(s) of Manchester. Click here for more. The whole site capturing the city’s radical history (which some have banged on about for years) is worth a gander. It invites contributors to add their own testimonies. Existing contents include:

  • Anarchists on Ardwick Green, 1893
  • Fascism and anti-fascism in 1930s Manchester
  • Alfred Barton: 19th century anarchism and the early 20th century Labour Party
  • Stephen Kingston and the Salford Star
  • Okasional Cafes
  • It is only the last one I can claim “I woz there” for. A decade or so ago, the incarnation opposite the side door of the BBC was the first venue to give little old me a Saturday night residency as DJ playing my thumping tunes of Lata sings Bengali crossed with with NTM, allowing me to craft my esoteric IndianFilmSoundtrack’n’FrenchHipHop mash ups in public to a full house of well meaning mashed up overgrown student revolutionary types who largely lived on the infamous Redbricks estate. Before that what was KroBar when I last looked performed the same function and after I remember reviewing another OK cafe around Hulme somewhere for the defunct Time Out equivalent City Life, fondly known as “shitty life”.

    Among other bits and pieces you can click on the radical history the site on are tours – mostly hosted by Urbis. Radical history is surely befitting of walking and talking experience as is Manchester Music. Click here to see how Manchester Music is commemorated in happenings run by manchestermusictours.com the brainchild of ex-Insipral Carpets drummer Craig Gill.

    When in New York last year I went on a walking tour hosted by an outfit called the Big Onion on hidden history of the big apple’s lower east side. The subtext was immigrant trajectories and we took in orthodox churches, a synagogue and a strip of curry eateries that consituted a “little India”. When I asked though whether the establishments were run by Bangladeshis (as in Brick Lane), Pakistanis (cf Rusholme) or Punjabis (Southall) sadly the tour guide had no idea. Let’s hope those showing people around rainy city (radical historians and pop culturalists alike) are better informed and erm… know their onions.

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