Natalie Proctor previews the nous magazine/As We Are Away festival, taking place around the city 20-30 November
How lucky we are here in Manchester to have so much creativity on our doorstep! No matter what the artistic genre, there is always something going on in this vibrant northern city. This diversity of talent is something that self-established Nous Magazine champions. The magazine is a relatively new enterprise, which has a unique focus on ‘contemporary mind culture’. In collaboration with As We Are Away, the magazine has created a mini-festival for all things arty. AWAA is an art project with a difference, focused on overcoming the cultural stigma around mental health. The festival hopes to inspire us to think differently about mental illness, and learn to become more open and understanding about something that affects thousands of people across the UK.
The event, which goes on until the 30th November, will host a variety of acts throughout the creative sphere. Each night focuses on a different collection of some of Manchester’s finest artists, poets, musicians and directors. Whatever you may have an interest in, the AWAA mini-Festival will surely have something to spark your creative interest.
What makes this event even greater is that it’s free! Although donations are extremely appreciated, and do go on to ensure that these kind of fantastic events may continue. You can even buy an 11- day ticket that gives you access to all the events running for just £5.50. That seems like a bargain to me! We here at M20 would also strongly encourage you to make this donation, as we fully believe it is vital to support the arts to the best of our ability. Without such contributions we would find it hard to maintain the wealth of opportunities on offer for Manchester creatives.
So what’s on? Well, if you’re interested in poetry, there is Tea Hour Poetry on 25th November, which is sure to offer a plethora of new and old talent; including established writers like David Hartley, who we interviewed in October. This will be taking place at the trendy Northern Quarter café The Koffee Pot. Certainly not one to miss!
There is also a lot to offer in terms of music. On Thursday the 27th, the night As We Are Here will host some of Manchester’s most exciting up and coming bands and artists. The live music will continue into the evening at the Eagle Inn, and there will be a variety of sounds from the likes of Second Shepherds, POST and Locean.
If you fancy a little slice of the Cannes Film Festival in Manchester, then why not head over to the concluding night of the festival, curated by Cultivate Film Art. This evening will present some critically acclaimed foreign films, which may perhaps may a nice change from the outlandish Hollywood blockbuster. The documentary film ‘Black Sun’ (2005) by Gary Tarn tells the dramatic story of French artist Hugues de Montalembert who finds himself blinded after a violent attack in New York. It is a moving piece of cinema that is sure to strike a nerve. Also showing is the 1970 film adaptation of the novel ‘Valerie and Her Week of Wonders’. This erotic horror is somewhat otherworldly, and definitely different to what’s out there in the box office!
The festival has plenty more to offer so check out the website for a full list of the events coming up. And remember, the festival ends on the 30th November so don’t miss out. Keep supporting the arts.
Natalie Proctor chats to founder of positivity-focussed fashion label Keep It Bright! about Manchester, motivation and mind-set
Living in one of the rainiest cities in the UK, alongside all the other struggles life can throw at you; it can be hard to stay optimistic. How do you remain a sunny person when you only see the sun a few times a year?! Well, Zara Khalique is pioneering a new creative philosophy that inspires us all to Keep it Bright! The fashion line, created by Zara some years ago, has gone from strength to strength, encouraging us all to express ourselves through bold and vibrant fashion.
“I really love Manchester and I love the way everyone feels free to express themselves! I know I always wear whatever I want, and know that I’ll see all kinds of style everywhere I go in the city and I love the variety!”
Zara, who has always been interested in the arts, began the label with relatively little experience. However, Zara candidly admits that she began the business not so much for her love of fashion, but for her want to spread the positive mantra after overcoming her own personal troubles.
“I realised your mind-set changes everything and that one person can help another so much, so that’s what I feel like I have to do!”
It’s certainly an admirable thing to have begun such an endeavour, not only from nothing, but also from a place of difficult circumstance. But, as Zara states, “challenges are a chance to grow”.
The importance of the message behind the movement is one that follows through to other aspects of Zara’s life. She also champions anti-violence/abuse/bullying campaigns (Someone’s Everything), which further underlines the ethical importance of Zara’s work.
Ethics aside, Keep It Bright is full of fabulous fashion. Even without the obvious positive message behind the clothes, they speak for themselves. Zara’s personal favourites, are her “heavily embellished one-off bras and hoodies” which are painstakingly handmade – but definitely worth the effort! Some of Zara’s more casual items also have that individual edge, but are perhaps a little more accessible for everyday wear. Even fashionista Zara admits; “I love a good sweatshirt!”.
One of my personal favourites from Zara’s collection is the simple but gorgeous white cropped sweatshirt, with the trademark inspirational quotation around the collar “choose happiness”. This sort of simple detailing is typical in Zara’s line.
I also took a look at one of Zara’s stalls which was up in Fallowfield in September, and fell in love with this pink crochet halter. I loved the simplicity of the shape and the muted pink colour, which makes the piece slightly less seasonal specific. Though I must confess, I may be perhaps a little biased on this one, as I own this lovely item now!
Zara’s work doesn’t stop at clothing. The beautifully crafted accessories are also a great feature of the collection. These detailed make up and clutch bags are stunning, but also extremely good value for money.
So what does the future have in store for this movement? Despite not being one for planning too far ahead, Zara confesses she would love to see Keep it Bright flourish even more, and become “the place everyone knows to go when they need positivity and a mind-set millions live by!”. Certainly, there is something to be said for the uniqueness of Zara’s movement, given the often harsh and – let’s face it – judgemental world of fashion. From the size 0 models to the undying practice of airbrushing in every image published for public viewing; it is refreshing to see such a positive spin on fashion. Frankly, it seems strange to me that more fashion labels don’t see the problem with this form of negative advertising. Additionally, the connotations of designing for models rather than real women, can mean that fashion becomes less and less accessible to the majority.
This is something Keep It Bright avoids. The collection is forward thinking in that it harnesses the power of expression that fashion can have, and uses it in a positive way. Zara’s clothes are designed with both art and practicality in mind. Fabulous clothes that flatter and carry a strong message should be at the forefront of the industry.
Until, I’m sure, the inevitable day when Keep it Bright is a household name worldwide, it will continue, as Zara always intended, as a source of “positivity, light and motivation when [people] need it most”.
Catch Zara and keep it bright! at the Remake Remodel Vintage & Art Fair at Ruby Lounge on 29 November
Visit the keep it bright! website
Follow keep it bright! on Twitter
Manchester’s M20COLLECTIVE hosts a new LGBTQ village event featuring folk/soul/jazz/indie/pop and spoken word acts!
M20COLLECTIVE are a Manchester based music and arts grass roots movement, looking to promote and add to Manchester’s already vibrant and varied social setting. As a constantly evolving city, it is multicultural in the truest sense – a meeting place of ideas, people and positivity. On Saturday 15 November, LIVE in the Village captures the M20COLLECTIVE ethos, promoting acceptance and awareness of others in the cultural melting-pot that is Manchester.
Last month, Iain North wrote movingly about Manchester’s Gay Village, its potential and what it means to him and many others across the city. Now, blending the aims of the collective with Iain’s thoughts, M20COLLECTIVE presents LIVE in the Village, a mini day festival that seeks to improve the way Canal Street is seen, promote lesser known venues such as Taurus and The Molly House and restate the pride in diversity the village used to stand for. Guaranteed to be a stepping-stone to putting the inclusivesness of LGBTQ back in Canal Street, get down to LIVE in the Village to help keep our city a diverse and open space!
For a fresh look at what Manchester’s gay village has to offer this event is a must see.
on the stage
Keisha Thompson (SheBeKeke)
Keke brings a heavy blend of all things spoken word, song, poetry and rhyme. Check out her new EP, Abecedarian
Rising soulful/pop/R&B artist Jes Stretton, 23, from Wigan, has been working hard in the studio ready for her brand new EP ‘Surrender’
Whiskey-tinged speakeasy blues from jazzy songstress Lucy Mae.
Lauren Birtles Soul Trio
Amazing vocal power from Manchester’s own fearsome soulsome threesome
Ask My Bull
“Imagine the mathematical mind of Mickey Mouse playing chess with a sledge hammer. That’s Ask My Bull.” Punk an jazz all in one
Haunting, melodic folk vocals and mesmerising harp from the angelic Ms Warner
Powerful neo-soul male vocals layered over folky rhythms…and some French… new sounds from the Silvastrain boys
Skipalong songs and carefree harmonies from Jacob and Owen
Weirdo pop varying from the melodic to the brutal…
Where? Taurus Bar, Canal Street, Manchester
When? Saturday 15 November, 5pm til late
How much? £2 OTD
See you there! M20 x