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Manchester means the world to us


We’re all so excited about the festival this year.

But life does go on when we’re not all here.

We’ve been singing and dancing and colouring in,

Drinking wine and beer and plenty of gin.

Babies have been born and cats have been found

And people have explored in holes in the ground.


There were visits abroad by many of us

To see leopards and tigers and rhinoceros.

There was driving in India, and some lost weekends,

And visits to Europe to see all our friends.


Since last time we met politics has been there

With elections and referendums to show that we care

There’ve been so many votes, we’ve got voter’s fatigue.

What’s going to happen? It’s all an intrigue,

We each try our best to influence our fate,

And the festival shows will reflect the world’s state.


Manchester itself had a recent attack

But mindless violence won’t cause any cracks

We won’t be cowed and wallow in our fate

We’ll all band together and stand up to this hate

Together as Mancs we won’t be subdued

Our love for this city is only renewed


Volunteers are now ready and some have begun

There’ve already been a lot of things done.

Spreadsheets created by J-bird and Babs,

We loved each one dearly - all those cells and those tabs.

We’ve made towers and chairs, some painting and all,

And we’ve played noisy, annoying, table football.


The volunteer team of Lee, Jacky and Claire

Will guide us through all, with plenty of flair, 

And up on the roof will be blue Duckateer

There’s so much support for each volunteer.


So what have we got for MIF17?

There’s lots on offer on the Manchester scene

We begin with the city, walking the walk

Prancing around and talking the talk


New Order and Gillick are here for the start

With True Faith in the gallery displaying their art

There’s poetry on the street together with sound

Wherever you are the festival is found.


We’ll talk about power and heroes and change

Interdependence again, will cover this range.

And if women ruled the world would things be alright?

Join the experiment for a challenging night.

There’ll be Festival Square with flags all unfurled.

Party skills and dinner for the end of the world,

With help from some experts, I think we’ll survive

There’ll be so much around us to keep us alive,

Balloons and tins and green rubber bands

Fish hooks and crayons and Haribos at hand.


Cotton Panic – industrial, musical drama

Busy city music will help us feel calmer.

Fatherland sings about men and their sons,

Street poems are written about homeless ones.


There are films of partition and art of migration,

The Welcoming Party, safe in this nation.

Dark matter and Flexn and Anthony Burgess

Bambino and Memories and Ten thousand gestures.


Returning to Reims and Available Light

And comedy galore on the Machynllyth nights.

There’s Arcade Fire at Castlefield Bowl

Bonobo and Ride and plenty of soul.


Phil Collins’ Ceremony will be a great end

The festival closure, with many new friends 

We’ll gather around to celebrate it all

With Engels in stone above us so tall.


Let’s have a great festival and make lots of fuss

Because Manchester means the world to us.




We’ve got the skills


We’ve all just enjoyed some extraordinary days,

Volunteering is rewarding in so many ways.

The volunteer team fixed our lives at HQ

They were always around with so much to do.


Berocca fuelled Jacky was there so unflappable,

Claire on her laptop with emails unstoppable,

And full of enthusiasm was our leader Lee,

They all made it work, as calm as can be.


The volunteer hub was joyous indeed

The booking of shifts was done at great speed,

If you weren’t on the ball to book in advance

Join Waitlist would win and mess up your chance.


Some clothes were delayed and left people battling,

With shirts way too big, like our svelte Mr Catling.

Team leader badges, petite and so green

Like a beacon of help on our t-shirts were seen.


The opening event in the city went well

A catwalk through gardens with clapping and yells,

It meant that the festival had truly begun

And the antics that evening were plenty of fun.

Mancs at their best were each stealing the show

Did Frankie’s blind date become her new beau?

Colin and Andrew and Billy on their wheels, 

With people up there wearing very high heels.


New Order sang songs, some new and some old

With ensemble and visuals, amazingly bold.

Four decades of art inspired by the bands

At the gallery was shown, True Faith in safe hands.

The sad lyrics by Curtis, caused many a sigh,

No photos allowed, though people did try.


In Salford meanwhile we were living illusions

Surviving the party with many confusions.

I’m not sure it happened, was any of it real?

This end of world party was all so surreal.


The glasses were sparkling and lined up in fives

That room was the start of the rest of our lives.

The skillers were skulking behind cabinets and doors

Just hoping the revellers would reach all the floors.


The sound of a jet gave each skiller their cue

To raise up their blinds and welcome the crew.

But so many planes were heard overhead 

I buried my head in a locker instead.


Lots of us learnt many new party skills

Balloon dogs and flowers with plenty of frills,

Fruit animals and lying and navigating by stars

Crossbows and darts have all left their scars.


We’ve predicted the weather, it’s going to be fine,

And made numerous knots in a long piece of twine.

Neat t-shirts and bags have all been produced

And end of world problems by martinis reduced.


Foodie leftovers were eaten each day

With pigeon filled meals by Mary-Ellen McTague.

I know that the end of the world is now nigh

But I’m awake in a coma, on some kind of high.


Music round Manchester was heard in some spaces

In places you didn’t know even were places,

Corridors and stair wells and out in the Square

Canal Street, Victoria, good sounds in the air.


Dark Matter played music with numerous revels

Herndon and Paleman, Colin Stetson and LEVELZ.

The Pavilion acts were many and deep

House Gospel and Hookworms and trio, Stealing Sheep. 


Supper Clubs and Lunch Clubs in Festival Square,

With pizza and ice cream. I want to live there.

The furniture so bright we needed dark specs

When Burgess and Haslam played on their decks.

Radcliffe and Maconie with music and chat

Jarvis and Thomson were good at all that.


I’ve heard that the mobikes were perfectly fine

Though gears might have helped to save us some time,

Pedalling like a hamster doesn’t seem fair

To get yourself home after working the square. 


We had dancing galore throughout the three weeks

There was ballet and gestures and dad-dancing like freaks.

At Mayfield the audience were part of the dance,

There was crawling and licking and bizarre sweaty pants.


Fatherland ran at the Royal Exchange

The men in the chorus showed us their range.

Dads and their sons shared stories with us

Relationships lived with a minimum of fuss.

Say goodbye to your dad with a hug and a kiss

When he’s no longer there, he’s someone you’ll miss.


But hey, women are talking ‘bout ruling the world

The experts all line up, their views to be heard.

What is the big threat to humanity today?

There isn’t just one, there are many, they say.


But decisions were made and protocols found

Women made choices right there in the round.

I’m not sure it proved women differ from men

It’s just people who mess up again and again. 


The Welcoming Party, with all safe and sound.

At the Lowry, partition and migration abound.

Bambino with parents and babies bemused,

Who knew opera could keep us all so amused?

Cotton Panic, we’re down to earth with a bump

Where the prosperous life in our towns had a slump,

The north’s solidarity with America’s slaves,

Local history told as an industrial rave.


Karl Hyde and his art were a joy to behold

The flow of the paint was erratic and bold

White words on the black stood out very clear

With music and comment in the place called Unfear.

The homeless were there recounting their thoughts

And charities came to give their support.


Don’t trip on your words when trying to bring in

People to admire the art that’s within,

An ‘art installation’ doesn’t cause any snickers

But ‘arse insulation’ suggests some big knickers.


Returning to Reims, multi-layered with heart

There’s the new world order playing its part,

Political activism with relevance today

We’ve all got so much to think and to say.


But Engels is happy in his new Manc abode

He trekked across Europe on lots of B roads,

He’s safe in his home after years far away

His radical thoughts, are they back here to stay?


But we also had laughs throughout the three weeks

The mini Welsh fest was full of high peaks.

In venues so small, we had comedy galore 

With Watson and Pascoe, and Thomas and Law.


There were clickers and flyers and selfies so funny

And sun cream on noses because it was sunny.

Don’t clear up the bottles, they’re part of the art

And so is your footprint, not a good start.s


In Salford the rules said no loo after seven

At Street Poem a loo would have been some kind of heaven,

A radio and torch up the stairs were required,

Or a trip to the pub whenever desired.


There were numerous events that were all so sublime

I can’t name them all, we haven’t got time

Suffice it to say we loved every minute

And were happy and glad to all have been in it.


Now we’ve time for our partners, our children, our pets,

And the house can be cleaned. But we’ve got no regrets.

It’s only two years till we’re here once again,

There are so many memories until we meet then.

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