Urbis, dresses, and OCD reading

Today is closing day for Urbis, Manchester's museum of pop culture; it'll be replaced in eighteen months or so by the National Football Museum, and I can't imagine I'll be spending any Saturday mornings wandering idly around there.  I've got nothing against football, but I'd much rather go and watch a game than look at a display case devoted to one.  I've only been in Manchester six months, but it seems a real bastard shame to lose Urbis, and the city centre will be the poorer for it.  So that's where I've spent my morning, today; paying my last respects.

In more cheerful and probably less interesting news, I found a dress that actually had my name on it - the Valerie dress!  So of course I had to buy it, and a pair of shoes to match, and there goes my food budget for, oh, a month and a half, or so.  I'd supply a link, but apparently Topshop Online is denying that my poor namesake ever graced their shelves. 

Here's a great article in the Guardian about the compulsion to finish books.  This is me, in all my obsessive tragic stubborn glory.  In the last six years, I can only think of three books I've failed to finish (not counting story anthologies that I dip in and out of over time): A Glastonbury Romance, Ludmilla's Broken English, and a physics book.  Only Ludmilla was thrown over because the actual prose irritated me too much to carry on; the Powys coincided with a death in the family, and it just seemed tainted afterwards; and the physics book (the name escapes me) had considerably more calculations in it than I had expected, and after a break of a couple of weeks mid-read, I really couldn't make head not tail of it when I picked it back up.  I felt like a total failure, but I couldn't face starting again - it was, in my defence, massive.  I've read some awful tripe in my time, but my usual mission is to finish it even if it feels like every turn of the page is ripping parts of my brain out.  I think this is partly a 'know thine enemy' technique (at least I can defend my loathing by saying, well, I have in fact read it cover to cover) and partly the fear of giving up too soon (what if the last page is the best page?  The best page ever??).  And what if it comes up in a pub quiz?  Or some other list of 'things you ought to have read', and I haven't slogged through?  Heaven forfend.  It's probably a terrible waste of my time, but I'm quite fond of my pointless tenacity.  Thomas Pynchon should be glad of it; it's the only reason I ever got through V.  Well, that, and like my new dress, I felt a personal connection to its spelling.  I feel more positive about the dress, though.      



Steph said...

Agree on the Urbis front; nothing against football per se, but Urbis was such an iconic type of museum, a museum about life in the city (and in cities) that I will forever remember the sound installations, the wall of messages, the tiny mock-apartment to experience 'life in the city'. A very terrible shame in my opinion, especially as I didn't have the opportunity to pay my last respects as you say.

By the way, I am local too! I am thrilled you enjoy the city but then... I don't know anyone who is here and who doesn't love Manchester (even though, when a friend came over from Oz, he admitted that he couldn't understand what the locals were saying, hahaha! He has never been to Doblin of course!).

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Hi Steph! It's such a busy city, isn't it? So much to do.

I lived in Birmingham for five years before moving here, and there you're constantly bombarded with insults flung at you from other cities - 'Birmingham's a shit-hole, nothing to do there, cultural wasteland'. Of course, there's plenty to do, if you take the time to explore and dig out the gems. A guy at my old workplace started the website 'Birmimgham: It's Not Shit' in defiance!

But with Manchester, you don't have to dig at all - it's so bustling and vibrant. Love it!

(I did actually have to translate for my mum when she came to visit me in Brum - dunno what she'll make of the Mancunian accent!)