A new national collection that’s dedicated to “the preservation and research of popular culture” is set to open in Manchester.
The British Pop Archive (BPA) has been created by the University of Manchester (UoM) and will open at the iconic John Rylands Library on Deansgate in the heart of the city centre, with the aim of celebrating British popular music and other aspects of popular culture to recognise its “pivotal influence” on the world stage.
Featuring “iconic items” relating to quintessential British bands, legendary UK television, youth culture, counter-culture, and more that have set trends around the globe, the BPA will be an important academic resource for research and teaching, UoM says.
It’ll also be public resource for exhibitions and public events that’s open to all.
Through working with the celebrated music journalist and broadcaster Jon Savage – who was recently-appointed as Professor of Popular Culture at The University of Manchester – the BPA has “ambitious plans” to build on its current collection.
It wants to create a “comprehensive representation” of British popular culture.
“Britain’s pop and youth culture has been transmitted worldwide for nearly sixty years now,” Jon Savage explains.
“The intention of the BPA is to be a purpose-built pop and youth culture archive that reflects the riches of the post war period running to the present day, and while we are launching with Manchester-centric collections, the intention is for the BPA to be a national resource encompassing the whole UK”.
To kick-start the action, on 19 May 2022, the British Pop Archive will launch with Collection – which is curated by Mat Bancroft, Jon Savage, and Hannah Barker, and is described as a “distinctively Manchester-flavoured exhibition” to really show why Manchester is the perfect home for the BPA.
It is set to explore the “vibrant cultural scene of a city” that has driven innovation, creativity, and social progress.
The exhibition will feature treasures from British pop history – many of which have never been seen by the public – and some of the highlights include personal items relating to The Smiths, New Order, The Haçienda, Factory Records, Granada Television and Joy Division, such as Ian Curtis’s original handwritten lyrics for ‘She’s Lost Control’.
“We launch the British Pop Archive with a Manchester focused exhibition full of unique and unseen artefacts,” Mat Bancroft says ahead of the exhibition openeing.
He continued: “These materials tell the story of a vibrant city with art, culture and music at its heart.
“More than that, they foreground the creative catalysts, musicians, producers, artists, designers and writers who have instigated this repositioning of landscape to propose media as the new cultural capital of the city.”
Speaking ahead of the BPA launch, Professor Christopher Pressler – John Rylands University Librarian and Director of The University of Manchester Library – added: “The British Pop Archive is part of our desire to reach into areas not always associated with major research libraries, including pop music, popular culture, counter-culture, television and film.
“This is a national archive held in Manchester, one of the most important centres of modern culture in the world.”
Featured Image – University of Manchester
Tim Healy surprises fans with performance at The 1975’s Newcastle gig
The 1975’s tour has seen some seriously memorable moments so far, including several special guest appearances, but seeing Tim Healy give a surprise performance has to be the jewel in the crown.
While the band might have formed in the Wilmslow and plied their trade in Manchester on their way to success, several members of the current lineup — including frontman Matty Healy himself — were born in Newcastle, so the gig at the Utilita Arena on Wednesday was very much a homecoming show.
With that in mind, when British TV royalty, Geordie icon and Matty’s old man, Tim Healy popped up on stage, the crowd understandably went wild.
There were no doubt plenty of confused faces when a trademark Matty monologue and sudden cut to black was followed by the bloke from Benidorm appearing up on stage, but there was also a scream bigger than any response Taylor Swift got.
Whipping out some significantly more dramatic thespian ability than the kind you’d associate with his Auf Wiedersehen, Pet days, albeit still fully aware of bizarre the entire spectacle was, he brought one of his son’s trademark digressions about method acting to a close.
But better than that, the 70-year-old ended up staying on stage to perform his own low-key ‘All I Need to Hear‘ cover as the band played in the background. Surreal.
To be honest, it might just be the wholesomeness of it all, but we think we might prefer the older Healy’s version.
Sing it, Tim!
Imagine bringing your dad onto the stage only for him to absolutely steal the show. Brilliant stuff.
Both he and Matty’s celebrity mum Denise Welch have been spotted at various shows as the band continue to perform their ‘At Their Very Best’ tour around the country, with various fans interacting with them in the crowd, but very few would have been expecting an impromptu song from one of them.
Both are obviously more closely associated with TV, with Welch known for appearing on the likes of Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Loose Women and many more, but if we don’t up end up getting both of them on stage before this tour is over we’ll be genuinely fuming.
It also looks like the reaction meant a lot to him:
Elsewhere in the show, The 1975’s Newcastle fans were treated to an equally ridiculous surprise appearance from Harry Styles. Well, not really…
In case you haven’t seen it already, the band conspired to prank the crowd by putting the former One Direction star’s name up on the screen, only to bring out Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi instead.
He obviously got just as lovely a reaction and fully leaned into bantering with the crowd — joking, “I know what you’re thinking: ‘Harry Styles‘ looks a bit different.'” — before performing a cover of ‘Antichrist’.
Featured Image — @.millr (via TikTok)/@evie_ire (via Twitter)
The Lathums announce biggest-ever headline show at Castlefield Bowl
Coming off the back of a hugely successful year or so, The Lathums have announced a massive headline show at Castlefield Bowl later this year.
The Wigan four-piece shot to number one with their debut album, How Beautiful Life Can Be, in October 2021 and Radio X gave their track, ‘Say My Name’, Record of the Year for 2022. Mint.
On top of a successful turn on the UK festival and gig circuit, the local lads also delighted Manchester crowds when they opened up as special guests for Snow Patrol during a big performance at the Bowl back in 2021 too. Safe to say they’ve been busy boys.
Now, though, ahead of the release of their sophomore album, From Nothing To A Little Bit More, the pie-eating Platt Wazzers are returning to the open-air venue to no doubt sell the place out and put on their biggest headline show to date. That’s what we like to hear.
Taking centre-stage at the 8,000-capacity amphitheatre once again — the very same place where they debuted the lead single for their new second album, ‘Sad Face Baby’, which has become an instant fan-favourite — you’ll get your chance to see The Lathums headlining this summer.
This news arrives not only fresh off the heels of the latest single ‘Struggle‘, the honest and full-hearted opening track off From Nothing To A Little Bit More, but a recent personnel update confirming that Matty Murphy is joining the band full-time after the departure of their original bassist, Johnny Cunliffe.
Set to play the show on Friday, 30 June, we’re glad to hear the beloved Manc band will be back to full strength in time for the landmark gig, as well as their sold-out show at Albert Hall on 11 March.
Announcing the news on Instagram today, they wrote: “We are delighted to announce we’ll be headlining Castlefield Bowl, Manchester on Friday 30th June. This is by far our biggest show we have ever done and we can’t wait to see everyone there. This will be very special indeed.
“Pre sale goes live on Wednesday 1st Feb from 9:30am. If you haven’t already, pre order our new album ‘From Nothing To A Little Bit More’ from our official website for access to pre sale. It’s honour to play such an iconic venue! See you very soon.”
Tickets for The Lathums’ Castlefield Bowl show go on sale at 9:30am on Friday, 3 February 2023. You best be quick.
From Nothing To A Little Bit More releases on Friday, 3 March 2023 via Island Records.