Drinking in Manchester (& too tired to think of a more original title)

In the last 7-odd years that I’ve travelled from Nottingham to Manchester they’re never had a good train service. To reassure you, this isn;t a blog post ranting about trains but seriously, at least 7 years of chronic overcrowding on this 2 hour long journey? Get some more rolling stock!

As you may guess I’m writing this on the train. Loads of people are having to stand up so I’m feeling a little smug about having a seat. But I’ve been standing up all day. And I’m getting on a bit.

Today has been good fun – I’ve been filming vox pops at an event in The Lowry in Manchester. I only learnt how to film and edit last week so this has been good hands-on experience – it got a bit pressured at one point. But one of the team said we were “doing actual video journalism right now” so that sounds a bit glamorous.

I got into Manchester yesterday afternoon and, after a visit to Purl City Yarns, a lovely friendly wool shop, I got to Salford to meet my friend Liam. (I was restrained and only bought 2 skeins of locally produced wool) I haven’t seen Liam since my wedding 6 1/2 years ago. He looks just the same, though maybe a bit softer at the edges. (I’ll be polite as he’s apparently one of the 3 people who read this blog – hello Liam!) Aside from catching up we had a wonderful in-depth conversation about crime novels – both as readers and writers. Liam has always had strong, well formed and well articulated opinions (a polite way of saying he’s a mouthy Manc). He also reads a lot of crime. There are a people I want to like the book because I love them and there are people I want to like the book because I respect their opinions and I want them to think well of me. My father-in-law is one of these, and Liam is another.

It’s been pretty humbling at times telling people what I’m doing and have them genuinely think I can produce something worth reading. Of course the weight of their expectations also scares me and, as I’m new to this lonely process, I’m lacking in confidence a bit. You do question yourself a lot. Sitting talking ideas through with someone else who’s on your wavelength can do a lot for your self esteem.

We moved from writing through to a whole range of issues – family, love, life, all the drinkers’ favourites, and it got a bit intense at one point. But how lovely to have a familiar but different perspective on things once in a while. Liam doesn’t like Elbow but it seems I’m incapable of writing a blog post without mentioning them at the moment so I send him this lyric with my love.
“Dear friends, you are angels and drunks, you are magi
You stuck a pin in the map I was in and you are the stars I navigate home by.”

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