Tag Archives: Positivity

As We Are Away: 20th-30th November

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

Email: hej@nous-magazine.de
Website: www.nous-magazine.de
Facebook: www.facebook.com/nousmagazinemanchester

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An Interview with… Zara Khalique

Natalie Proctor chats to founder of positivity-focussed fashion label Keep It Bright! about Manchester, motivation and mind-set

www.keepitbright.co.uk

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.

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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!

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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.

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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”.

Natalie Proctor

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

M20 Collective presents: Urban Expression MCR

There’s something exciting about Manchester‘s Hip-Hop scene that does away with preconceptions about the UK’s inability to match up to the lyrical, rhythmic and melodic prowess of our friends across the pond. Multi-instrumental musical collectives like Mouse Outfit and Riot Jazz thrive on the diversity of their artists’ talents, and the exciting stuff that is borne of that difference: jazz drummers meet MCs meet brass sections meet rock guitarists meet velvet-voiced vocalists…the list just goes on. Audiences, too, are massively varied: at any given hip-hop night across the city you’ll find a huddle of listeners representing any background, any musical taste, any haircut you can imagine.

On the 13th March 2014 (that’s this Thursday), M20 Collective presents Urban Expression MCR at Kraak Gallery. For anyone who hasn’t been before, its just off Stevenson Square in Northern Quarter (there’ll be loads of signposting on the night). There’ll be artists of all kinds – hip-hop bands, live MCs, live graffiti artists, fashion designers, visual artists, spoken word poets, DJs and dancers – performing and exhibiting work, inspired by the different routes they’ve taken from the same urban root. Expect community vibes and a creative melting pot of ideas, and come meet some of Manchester’s best hidden talent!!

Here’s a sample of who and what’s to come…

on the stage

Music-wise, we’ve got hip-hop/jazz ensemble 8 Gold Rings [in the loop, I Love Live, Play Doubt] featuring a slew of locally sourced special guest MCs and vocalists. Bringing technical perfection and imaginative improvisations, you might have caught these guys at Free Verse, our Thursday jazz and poetry jam at Solomon Grundy…

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One hell of a meaty treat, Beef, a hip hop genre melt-pot superband packs some serious punch with a double bass, a Congolese MC and a whole lotta musical fury…

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http://www.facebook.com/soundOFTHEBEEF • http://www.soundcloud.com/soundofthebeef

Have a listen to Danny Diatribe and the Crimson Underground, a hip hop/electronica DJ and MC duo hailing from Ireland, serving thought-provoking musical political commentary and lyrical depth…

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http://www.facebook.com/pages/MC-Danny-Diatribe-Artist-Page • http://www.soundcloud.com/dannydiatribe

Catch Kid Katharsis and his soulful blend of acoustic guitar, beatboxing, verses on everyday life and smooth vocals. This guy sings the inner monologue in your head….

http://www.facebook.com/kidkatharsis • http://www.soundcloud.com/kidkatharsis

On the decks, we’ve got Dan Nation of Mind on Fire collective taking us into the wee hours on a musical journey from jazz to trip hop to electronic, as well as garage, grime and hip-hop tunes from Big War of Generic Greeting in between performances.

There’ll be spoken word and dance performances in the intermissions. Chris Jam spreads positive thinking vibes with his words, whilst Michael O’Neill verses over live percussion accompanist Loner Bell, and you can look forward to shaking a leg with super talented dance crew Rhys Fagan and friends.

creative corner

Of course, it wouldn’t be an M20 night without an arts corner where you can get stuck in, see the artwork of others and flex your own creative muscles…

SHUNK and Delroy Do Not Bend will be creating live pen graffiti works, and positivity-focussed, art-based fashion from keep it bright. and artbyomni.

essential info

WHERE? Kraak Gallery, 11 Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter, M1 1DB

WHEN? Thursday 13th March 2014

TIME: 9pm – 3.30am

PRICE: FREE BEFORE 10PM + £3 after [send your names through the M20 Collective facebook page to get £2 guestlist all night]

*** All proceeds go towards the artists and building future events ***

Gonna be a big night, look forward to seeing you there!!

Love, M20 x