The weeks continue to race by and since I last posted I am now officially D-O-N-E with University. The other day I returned my last library books. I gave an actual lingering look over my shoulder as I exited through the revolving doors, as if I was in a film and waiting for the angsty soundtrack to kick-in. Or for the sub-title 'REAL LIFE... BEGINS' to appear across the screen. Neither of these things happened. Then I popped into the offices of my favourite professors to say goodbye and left having offered myself up as a cat-sitter to one and an open-day speaker to the other. At least I know I have my back covered if my employment prospects take a turn for the worst.
Despite the slight bittersweetness of leaving the University of Manchester just as I was getting the hang of things (It honestly took me three years to learn how to write a really good essay) the past few weeks have been a ball. The sun came out fiercely and happily for a bit and finding an open body of water in which to swim within the city became of the upmost importance. We plumped for the lake in the Chorlton Water Park for the first outdoor swim of the year. We ignored the pondweed which flirted with our knees and the frogspawn and the swans and armed with determination (and a swimsuit which consistently flashed my tits everytime I did a breast stroke) I swam and swam.
I've also managed a couple of trips. Last week me and Nanon went to Liverpool and wandered around the Tate and the Walker Art Gallery. At the Tate we mooched around the Chagall exhibition, though I think I actually got more enjoyment from the floor below which houses the 'Constellations' exhibition. There were Robert Morris's big mirrored cubes which created pleasing body contortions if you stood beside them. Helio Oiticica's Tropicalia 1966-7 was a playful installation that involved live parrots (caged, alas) and a pleasingly disorientating beach hut which offered a surprise following a blind entrance. One of my favourite parts was a chance to sit and chuckle whilst watching John Smith's The Girl Chewing Gum which is too good not to have a place here:
An especially sunny day saw me, Charlie, Rose and Gigi cycling over to visit the Salford Lads Club. This was in a last-minute bid to 'do the things we said we would always do' before most of the gang leave Manchester. We spent a long time inside being showed around by Leslie who was fantastic and completely patient amidst the cooing and exclaiming of 'cooool!' everytime he showed us a new room. Of course the outside of the club is super-iconic thanks to the The Smiths and the video for 'Stop Me If You Think You'd Heard This One Before'. (And on the surface this was the initial vanity behind our visit) But once inside the boxing rings, gymnasiums, billiards tables (complete with the outlines of little willies drawn into the dust, natch) and wall-to-wall photographs of every club camping trip since the early 1900s were incredible. I sincerely recommend a trip to anyone who has an interest in the culture of instituions like the Scouts or Brownies (or hell, any Moonrise Kingdom fans would be down too) as this is the place that Baden Powell visited when considering the notion of setting up the Scouts.
A faithfully fantastic Chic concert with the Mr Nile Rodgers, lots of time soaking up the sunshine in the park, a fruitful house hunt (I plan on remaining in Manchester for now... who knows how long, but for now at least) and some shifts at the Gallery cafe all passed the time until the inevitable move-out date came. Most of my friends will be leaving the city, and there are some that I'll really miss a lot but the past few weeks have been good for hanging out, whether all squeezed around the table and sharing homemade thai curry or sweatily dancing to Donna Summer at an incredible set by Horse Meat Disco at 2022NQ. Onto the next stage..