On July 5, 2002 I landed in Manchester Airport for the first time. In fact, it was the first ever time I would visit England. I’d left in August, then visited briefly again in November, and the next time I’d arrive to Manchester would be in September 2003. As you know, I haven’t since been back to Moscow yet.
The reason for this short intro on my Manchester visits and stays is this. Bearing in mind that I came to Manchester for the first time six years ago, today was the first ever time I visited Urbis. Words cannot express my utter shame at the fact that I walked and rode past this Manchester museum hundreds of times and never – ever – pulled myself together to actually pay a visit. My only consolation is that back in Moscow there are still plenty of sites I never visited – despite the fact that I was born in the city!
This long wait before entering the Urbis doors was certainly worth of itself. At the moment, there are three amazing exhibitions taking place, the subjects vary from Japanese culture through city gardening to haute couture. As the Urbis’s website says quite correctly, this museum celebrates cities and people who live there – hence currently the entrance hall displays this giant photo of Manchester by Aidan O’Rourke (left). Read more about the photo and effort and costs involved. In the words of the Master himself, “the Manchester Mega-Photo is a gigantic photocollage of Manchester city centre and the conurbation beyond to the north and north east. It was taken from the roof of the Beetham Hilton Tower and consists of 285 overlapping poster size prints arranged in ‘Hockneyesque’ style“. On the right you can see my favourite part of the collage, featuring Town Hall and the Central Library.
On the right is the Urbis photo by Steve Mayes.