Saturday, 20 July 2002



Manchester, 2002: Under the multi-logo’ed banner of the Commonwealth Games the city is in the grip of a corporate take-over, the likes of which it ha never seen. The homeless have been swept from the streets, public political protest outlawed, precincts repaved with sparkling York stone while the communities they serve suffer swinging cuts to pay for the facelift. The Free Trade Hall – Manchester’s monument to universal suffrage – has been sold off to hoteliers with barely a whisper of dissent in the local media. Sceptical? Take one of the new open-top tour buses and see for yourself Manchester’s transformation from cultural melting pot to corporate hospitality suite.

At the forefront of the resistance is blitZ!m a week-long political arts festival organised by the city’s renegade Northern Arts Tactical Offensive, timed to meet The Games – and its slew of official sideshows and festivals – head on. A celebration of contemporary subversive art, it will see America’s Surveillance Camera Players let loose in the city centre, “anarchitectual” situationistas The Spacehijackers warping the landscape, plus live music, film and comedy in the Great Northern Square.

BlitZ: Manchester runs July 20 -29.
For info call 0161 226 7192. Or call Agitate on 0161 238 8523.