Category Archives: Travel

Aeolian Light Installation at The Quays, Salford

Large scale installations like this always need an explanation as most can’t figure them out, but rarely do people complain. Their purpose is to elicit an emotional response from passers-by. In this case, that’s a smile; having people look up and get lost in their reverie and the magic of pretty lights and changing colours. 

Aeolian Light Pink taken by Vicky GayleAeolian Light taken by Vicky Gayle

Erected as of 18 December 2014, it’s only open for three more days at The Lowry Outlet Mall, Salford. ‘Aeolian Light is a monolithic, immersive & interactive light installation in the heart of The Quays that visualises the wind as an illuminated, chaotic force.’ (From list.co.uk) But what it represents to me, especially with it being a new year is that change is imminent, even within our sometimes enclosed lives. Looking up and out in the distance can give us the change of perspective or image that we’ve been searching for.

Had my phone not decided to die after taking just three photographs, I’d have surrounded myself in the magic and snapped a selfie, maybe.

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Fish and Chips On a Plate – My First 1st of 2015

At Broughton Lane’s own fish bar, better known as Melville’s, just off Lord Street, Salford. Nestled amongst uniformly built new properties and given where I’m from in Birmingham – in the middle of nowhere.

Blame my temperamental phone for not being able to take a genuine picture plus the people there would have looked at me quite strangely.

Blame my temperamental phone for not being able to take a genuine picture plus the people there would have looked at me quite strangely.

Hunger may have been the driving force, or my reluctance to dine alone on Friday night in a busy Manchester restaurant, but ultimately, nobody can resist an offer when it’s packaged so temptingly: £3.50 Fresh Fish and Chips with Tea/Coffee or Cold Drink. Nothing had travelled my oesphogus all day – I was theirs.

Dunked in smooth, creamy batter, a small fillet straight from the fridge drawer was dropped into boiling oil, but unlike the half-dead slimy stuff that usually coats my Cod at home, this batter was a crispy, golden suit of armour, and the flesh inside was bright white and flaky for a change. Given a choice between Gravy or Curry Sauce, there’s no contest – it’s always the latter – my chips swam in a salty sweet pool while the fish was presented to me like a trophy; proudly sat on top of ‘proper’ chips.

Cutlery wrapped in a napkin; coffee delivered plate side at my table and all from a local chippy – I was beyond impressed, though from the reserve on my face, she’d never tell. Only thing is, I wish the white cup had been a better washed one as it was hard to tell the last clean bit of porcelain I’d perched my lips on. Unless they spilt the coffee a bit when stirring, but for £3.50 and while in a strange part of Manchester, this usually particular lady was not going to ask for a new one.

Film review: Smile Gambia

Director: Selina Brown
Certificate: U
Running time: 10 mins

It doesn’t take a person to have travelled all corners of the Earth to figure that the disused-railway-arch-turned-night-spot is a far cry from Gambia – the country I’ve read described as the ‘smiling coast of Africa.’ Sat on a stiff wooden church bench, red mood lighting covers the dark wood and brick with a sangria overcoat, while the gentleman’s lounge-style light fittings give the impression of middle-class grandeur and evening solace. All that’s lacking is a brandy snifter and pipe to match my crimson lips but I came to indulge in film, and in my excitement, forgot my purse, so no such luck for a beverage.

Smile Gambia poster

Smile Gambia, Selina Brown’s journey to spread her eternal happiness across continents attracted many more than just those in their one’s and two’s. A lively room, where African prints stood upright without the hanger of an out-of-touch and underweight runway model. Locs hang loose from scarves adorned by patterns that merge with the loose kinks of hair coiled above the ear. It’s a beautiful dimmed sight hidden away in Spotlight Bar, Digbeth – a cavern where the lights remain low to allow the culture beats to take centre stage and satisfy the ears of all those who have come to share in the premiere.

Capturing the essence of what can be created with a big heart and big ambitions to match, it was testament that ‘whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’ Through her own self admission, armed with nothing but the laws of attraction and Facebook, Director of grassroots organisations, Dream BIG and Creative High, Selina asked herself: “How can I spread some love around the world?” The answer, encapsulated in this short 10 minute documentary, was to follow her roots back to Africa, but this time with generous donations from England to share amongst some of the poorest villages in Gambia.

This was no Oxfam campaign or Save the Children sob-story on screen; no doubt helped by collaborating with the talented Richi Fingerz, film-maker and founder of SoUk. The opening credits flashed on top of stunning aerial shots caught flying over Gambia, while the shaky camera and point-of-view framing gave it added realism and sincerity. If you’ve never experienced the hilarity of travelling through an African airport, you’ll find yourself amused very early on; followed by tears and swollen eyes, but ending in the utmost joy, gratitude and choral singing. The entire film sang a beautiful melody to everyone in the audience so here it is below for your viewing pleasure.

4/5