The Creation of Manchester
January 1, 2016 2:01 PM   Subscribe

The Manchester Evening News has a slideshow of the city partying hard to ring in the New Year. One photo in particular has caught the attention, and critical acclaim, of the internet.
posted by roolya_boolya (48 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
The question you have to ask yourself may be: "If I avoid drunken idiots on New Year's Eve, why would I want to watch a slideshow of drunken idiots on New Year's Day?"
posted by HuronBob at 2:16 PM on January 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Because you can't smell them from here?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:28 PM on January 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


Apparently they haven't gotten the message about the golden ratio.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:32 PM on January 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


Karl Turner said: “On behalf of the tourist board, I should point out Manchester isn’t always like this. It is usually raining.”

/ hat tip, well played, sir
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:36 PM on January 1, 2016 [52 favorites]


I seriously want to frame that shot.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:38 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I very much hope some enterprising, talented painter turns this into a proper Old Master in oils, as it really does have the depth of composition, subject and interest to merit it. I would also love to see or read an analysis of this picture by an art expert who could tease out the many resonances with various painters that I can only vaguely appreciate. You could pack a cracking overview of a lot of great art that way.
posted by Devonian at 2:40 PM on January 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Apparently they haven't gotten the message about the golden ratio.

What, that because some Golden Ratio enthusiasts pushed it a bit too far and fell down drunk in the streets, we should banish it from our minds the same way we strictly prohibit alcohol?
posted by sfenders at 2:45 PM on January 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


you can draw that snail on anything.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:51 PM on January 1, 2016 [20 favorites]


And really, "axi"?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:52 PM on January 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


The grace note of it all taking place at the start of Well Street, and just up the road from the mall. "The Manchipster Plaice" fish and chip shop across the street, the source of all the takeout cartons in people's hands, yet out of frame to increase tension....
posted by cardboard at 3:17 PM on January 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


My father, who spent the evening watching Black Books and Jimmy Neutron with my mom and little brother in Manchester, NH, sent this slideshow to me in an e-mail entitled: "Not Our Manchester." While their NYE lacked the thousands of partygoers in their glad rags, their NYE also involved less urine and vomit.
posted by ChuraChura at 3:22 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this isn't really "the city partying", it's the MEN sending a hack to stand at the bottom of Shude Hill (where some of the scuzziest nightclubs in the city centre chuck their clientele out) at closing time to get some shots for people to tut over. Not that the rest of us were spending the evening playing backgammon and discussing Wittgenstein over a few small sherries, but you know...
posted by sobarel at 4:06 PM on January 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


Add an oiled-up bodybuilder or some bare fake boobs and you've got a pretty good David LaChapelle picture.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:10 PM on January 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


And really, "axi"?

What, you expect a Dutch broccoli from Twitter to be able to spell "axes", or use it properly? My objection to the anti-golden-ratio message linked upthread should not be taken as an endorsement of its application in this particular instance, except insofar as it was meant as a humorous reference to certain famous classical paintings which do employ said ratio, which intent is made no less plausible by poor spelling and lack of mathematical rigor.
posted by sfenders at 4:13 PM on January 1, 2016


Even without the golden ratio overlay, I saw that photo tweeted earlier today and thought it had a hint of the Grand Master to it. Of course, I know nothing of art history. I'm not sure if that strengthens or weakens my point.
posted by penguin pie at 4:57 PM on January 1, 2016


>their NYE also involved less urine and vomit.

Sounds like someone's got their New Year's Resolution all figured out!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:19 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


It is a pretty great image.
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:31 PM on January 1, 2016


The gentleman in blue looks like he'd be at home in a Bruegel.


Actually, I am sure he'd be at home anywhere as long as there's a beer and a ground to lounge on.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:54 PM on January 1, 2016 [18 favorites]


Every time I see slideshows of weekend nights or holiday nights in large British cities, I'm just like boggled. Just properly boggled. Admittedly, when I'm in the UK, I don't even close down a pub when with friends, much less get gussied up and go to a club and get catastrophically drunk.
posted by Kitteh at 6:09 PM on January 1, 2016


It is masterful. I too would really enjoy reading a thoughtful art critic's interpretation...
posted by brambleboy at 6:18 PM on January 1, 2016


The photo looks fake to me. I know it probably isn't, but there's something too perfect about the composition and lighting that makes it look like it was staged in a studio. Probably an artifact of excessive Photoshopping or something, but the fact that a nighttime scene lit by overhead street lights has no harsh shadowing or lost detail anywhere in the frame, especially when there are cars with their headlights on in the near background, just puts it in a strange uncanny-valley kind of place.
posted by rocket88 at 6:23 PM on January 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hello it me street beer man
is there beer in your st i shall take it
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:56 PM on January 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's a great photo and really pleasing to look at. I agree with folks above; I want to read art-theory about why it is reminding people of Renaissance art.

Just needs dogs going on with their doggy life in a corner...
posted by aka burlap at 7:04 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Doggy- style, even.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:28 PM on January 1, 2016


The photo looks fake to me. I know it probably isn't, but there's something too perfect about the composition and lighting that makes it look like it was staged in a studio.

It looks to me like there was a lot of additional "theatrical" lights put up for the NYE event -- there are shadows going in every direction -- and yet the camera doesn't show any of them specifically, and that creates the otherworldly sense of it. This likely wouldn't be true on an average weekend night in that same spot.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:31 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


This pales in comparison to the longstanding Cardiff After Dark series. Cardiff does this every weekend- no need to wait for New Year's Eve.
posted by cushie at 7:39 PM on January 1, 2016 [13 favorites]


The photo looks fake to me. I know it probably isn't, but there's something too perfect about the composition and lighting that makes it look like it was staged in a studio. Probably an artifact of excessive Photoshopping or something, but the fact that a nighttime scene lit by overhead street lights has no harsh shadowing or lost detail anywhere in the frame, especially when there are cars with their headlights on in the near background, just puts it in a strange uncanny-valley kind of place.

It's been given some HDR processing, hasn't it?
posted by Sebmojo at 7:44 PM on January 1, 2016


Koalemos, Restrained by the Machai, Is Berated by Eris While Hybris Looks On From a Distance.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:07 PM on January 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm disappointed that they didn't mentioned the photographer's name. The brief, graphical analysis of the photo is interesting, but I'd really like to hear both from the photographer and from other photojournalists about it. It really does seem to me to be extremely impressive in its composition -- lesser photographers would have made more obvious and uninspired choices. Its also serendipity, of course, but photojournalists will always tell you that while good fortune is a big part of the job, being ready to take advantage of it and being able to take advantage of it is hard work.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:11 PM on January 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Cardiff does this every weekend- no need to wait for New Year's Eve.


Newcastle owns this space (highest per capita alcohol consumption in the UK), but really scenes like this are available right down to the Bournemouths of the world.

If this op picture was in Newcastle there would be 2 women in miniskirts and bare shoulders with coats despite it being 7 degrees outside.
posted by C.A.S. at 1:07 AM on January 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


My town's sleazier than yours.
posted by Segundus at 2:18 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Creation of Manchester was Factory, wasn't it? Or was Creation the Factory of London?
posted by Grangousier at 3:42 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ivan: in the linked article is another link to the photographers' thoughts, one Joel Goodman.
posted by neustile at 3:46 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here's some detail about the photo from the technical side, as told by Joel Goodman, the photographer. From a lighting point of view, it's worth remembering that street lighting's changed massively in the last few years, with most UK councils having installed LED streetlights where there's a lot going on at night, and they improve colour rendering, reduce glare and generally make nighttime photos look a lot less like they used to.

I'm not sure whether or not to dignify the LOL-this is because of colonialism comment with a response.
posted by ambrosen at 4:10 AM on January 2, 2016


This looks like a RUSH album cover. Reminds me of Moving Pictures a bit.
posted by readyfreddy at 4:59 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's a wonderful image, to be sure, but bittersweet; a boom in cheap, £40-per-room hotels and laissez-faire licencing laws have driven long-time city dwellers such as myself out to the suburbs. Ten years ago Manchester city centre was a haunt only of the truly dedicated drinker and you'd largely know everyone in your local at least on sight. Now it's a nightly theme park of vomit-drenched excess; additionally, with policing slashed to the bone in Manchester's satellite towns (Bolton, Bury and so on), their young (and not-so young) are compelled to seek sanctuary in the city, where at least a measure of law continues to be enforced. The police numbers required, however, I'm sure makes this a vicious circle.
posted by specialbrew at 5:34 AM on January 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think what I like the most about the photo is that, even though I know in my brain that it's just drunk people on NYE, when I look at all the individuals in it, I can imagine everyone has an interesting story behind what put them in that position at that moment. Even blue guy (ok, his story may be very close to the truth).

I'm excited to see on the photographer's twitter feed that he's going to try and get prints up for sale. I really want to hang this up in my house, for all the interesting stories I can imagine.
posted by sldownard at 6:03 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


> I very much hope some enterprising, talented painter turns this into a proper Old Master in oils,

That's what AIs are for these days. (I'm too lazy to do it right now but I'm sure someone less lazy can do it in 5 minutes.)
posted by dmd at 7:24 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


This pales in comparison to the longstanding Cardiff After Dark series. Cardiff does this every weekend- no need to wait for New Year's Eve.

That's a town that needs more bins.

After the third night a flock of alcohol-lubricated chipeaters leave their clamshells containers in a pile next to an overflowing bin, you'd think some councilman or city employee would say: "You know, we could get in another bin."
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:46 AM on January 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


brambleboy It is masterful. I too would really enjoy reading a thoughtful art critic's interpretation...

MEN did provide this but I know what you mean. I was reading the comments here hoping to see the author of this comment show up.
posted by mlis at 10:59 AM on January 2, 2016


Most of the pictures are really beautiful - it's nice that this photographer is acknowledged as the artist he clearly is.

I have another question: how is it that British women can walk around during winter in miniskirts with no coats or even stockings? This is one of life's great mysteries.
posted by mumimor at 12:10 PM on January 2, 2016


I have nothing but disrespect for any city that can't produce scenes of chaotic revelry at least as dynamic and unhinged as this one. This is what a city is for. We're not in cities to work in the offices and shops. We're in cities to rule the streets with our madness.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:57 PM on January 2, 2016 [9 favorites]




in my headcanon the guy in blue is Diogenes of Manchester. He lives like that full time and takes precisely zero shit from anyone.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:45 PM on January 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Much closer in spirit(s) and composition to Hogarth's A Rake's Progress, Bedlam, than Michelangelo, I think.
posted by bendybendy at 6:07 AM on January 3, 2016


This pales in comparison to the longstanding Cardiff After Dark series. Cardiff does this every weekend- no need to wait for New Year's Eve.

You fucking knows it, son.

I used to work as a barman on St Mary Street, where most of those shots were taken, just after the turn of the century. Weekdays (except Mondays) were typically excessive, Fridays and (in particular) Saturdays were carnage. Sundays were hangover days, so most of the bar staff would go and get wrecked in Barfly, Buffalo or Callaghan's (the latter, being the hotel bar of the Holiday Inn, having a 2am Sunday licence, back in my youth).

The above is what thinking about Cardiff does to me. I haven't drunk for more than 3 years, and don't miss it at all. But thinking about Cardiff makes me remember the stench of UHT cocktail cream mingling with orange juice and Archer's; valley boys, just off the train with toothbrushes in their top pockets, ordering WKD (always Blue) four at a time, and necking the first two "strawpedo" fashion; sitting until 4am after closing up, with the ends of kegs and all the other free drinks we could cadge or steal, and chips in curry sauce from Chippy Alley.

It was appalling. I was appalling, although I never once started a fight, and never dropped litter. I am glad I am not that person any more, and glad I don't have those habits. But I wouldn't change a minute of those wasted years.

Anyway. Nostalgia.
posted by howfar at 3:44 PM on January 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


For those who wish to watch, first hand, the grandmother chasing the daughter who is attacking the granddaughter for stealing the mother's boyfriend for a snog, you can't do any better than a certain pizza place in Romford on a Saturday night. (Of course, all three are under forty five.) From the safety of the high stools behind a sheet of plate glass you can eat your sloppily made pizza and watch all of life unfold on fast-forward. You can also see the joys that the career in modern policing offers, including the take-em-back-to-the-station van crawling from stop to stop up Romford high road as each team finishes subduing a group (and threatening to pepper spray the screeching women who stand behind the cops making their jobs so easy).

The best entertainment you can have. Bar none.
posted by Hugh Routley at 10:09 PM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


If anyone's still interested, the prints are now up for sale! Just ordered mine and I'm super excited for it to be up on my wall.
posted by sldownard at 7:14 AM on January 24, 2016


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