Two weeks until a possible No Deal, and we’re all having to twiddle our thumbs for five days until Meaningful Vote 3 to see what fresh hell awaits us.
At the beginning of last month my family and I caught the train down to Manchester for the weekend, to have a look around its vibrant mix of old and new buildings and attend some special events, like the CBBC tour at MediaCityUK and a Day of Percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music. My son and I had been to Manchester before, but spent all of that trip looking at much smaller buildings, so this was effectively a first proper visit to the city itself. There was a good Martin Parr exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery; we saw Stephenson’s Rocket and the world’s first railway station at the Science and Industry Museum; and I finally got to see the Daniel Libeskind-designed Imperial War Museum North from the inside. I liked it all. Still didn’t manage a curry on Rusholme Street, though.
Here’s the compulsory gallery for Detail, this time posted within a month rather than after 1+ years. (With a few extra photos from last visit which have sat on my hard drive for seven, ahem.)
With three weeks to go, Britain is unprepared for any kind of Brexit and unable to decide which way to turn, with May’s government operating under a cloak of secrecy and considering prolonging the indecision if parliament’s second vote on her Withdrawal Agreement fails next week. The endless Brexit lies have left us in an Orwellian nightmare, with some MPs receiving death threats every single day. Now new lies are doing the rounds of social media, as questionable money buys who knows what amount of under-the-radar campaigning in advance of a possible second referendum. Bookmakers, though, consider the odds of a second referendum to be worse than those of No Deal (5/1 versus 4/1 respectively), with the odds of the latter shortening.
I was surprised today to see someone mention their reluctance to ask an immigrant friend about their home culture, as it might come off as insulting, or “culture-fishing”.
Asking someone about their home culture because you’re genuinely curious is “culture-fishing”? Giving people a chance to share something about the most significant place in their lives, rather than having to pretend that they’re exactly the same as everyone else where they’re living now, apart from having an accent? You can ask me about the Huon Valley all you like, and I’ll open up in a flood of repressed Proustian memories, thrilled that somebody else cares enough to ask. I won’t think you’re culture-fishing.
But perhaps this explains something about my immigrant experience of the past eighteen years, and my experience as an internal migrant in my home country in the decade before that. I could probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve been asked to share detailed observations about the culture of where I’m from, whether it’s Australia or Tasmania or the Huon Valley. Living in the UK I’ve just assumed it’s a British thing of people keeping themselves to themselves, or that people assume that nowhere in Australia has much culture worth hearing about.
Hooray for personal websites, where we can dump all of our memories and anyone who reads them won’t feel they’re fishing.