Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Marple Leaf Review of 2013

Here's a review of 2013, based on the 10 main blog topics.

Marple - Asda got shown the way out of town, but Marple still seems to lumber on without a clear identity or a direction. Paul Howard Menswear closing was a blow to the retail core, no progress on the Kirkland development of a new Waitrose or Aldi. Crummy Corner looks even worse since All Things Nice departed for the new deli on the main street. The row at Rose Hill ended badly.

Rose Hill Stores - ended badly
Rovers - still been staying away from Ewood, except when we were invited. The outlook is still miserable, for the most part, which has been masked by moderately good form. I don't share the optimism of blogger Mikey Delap. I rather tend to the view shared by Jim Wilkinson that this is a mid-table side still owned by people who don't know what they're doing. There is no money and the losses are piling up. There will be a day of reckoning. This cannot last.

Journalism - Carried on writing, including a cover byline on Economia, the largest circulation business magazine in the country, but radio was what started really exciting me. I hosted Downtown's hour long business programme on CityTalk FM a few times and really enjoyed it. Have also enjoyed popping up on Radio5 Live and BBC Radio Manchester. Also did the Whistelblowers podcast a couple of times. I want to do more of this. Any help and hints gratefully received.

Manchester - the city is definitely on the up, but large issues loom ahead. The circle of poverty around the city core is a blight on the rest of the shiny happy centre. I've worked with the top class civic leadership this year, but 2014 has to be year when a new generation starts to shine through as the whole city region looks beyond Sirs Howard Bernstein and Sir Richard Leese to the generation who will lead the city in the next 20 years.

Cass Penant and Bill Routledge at the NFM
Books - Moderately pleased at the reception and reviews for Northern Monkeys - another cultural anthology that I enjoyed this year was Thick as Thieves - Personal Situations with The Jam by Stuart Deabill and Ian Snowball - captures what it was really like following the best band I ever saw. Best work of fiction I read was probably Zadie Smith's NW. My magnum opus is with its editor at the moment.

Telly - Enjoyed some quality box sets - Broadchurch, Breaking Bad, House of Cards and the most compelling of them all, Homeland.

Politics - massively unimpressed with all the parties. Yet for all the negativity about Ed Miliband he's been an effective opposition leader - prevented intervention in Syria, stood up to Murdoch and the Daily Mail. Labour's message about living standards may be starting to stick, but as things get better economically the prospects for the coalition parties improve by the day. The politician that has played it best in 2013 has been George Osborne even if he has missed all his own targets. I'm worried that the Scots will vote for independence - they have the momentum and Salmond is one of the most capable politicians there is. Liked Andy Burnham and Andrew Adonis.

Catholic stuff - We were lucky enough to visit Rome this year and celebrate Mass in the Vatican. Pope Francis has brought zest and energy to the Church. He seems to be able to connect with the essence of what the core Christian message is - love, charity and hope.

Friends - This was the year we said goodbye to Martin McDermott and Norman Geras. So sad. But I continue to be awestruck by the small acts of kindness, generosity and thankless endeavour by so many of of our friends. We are truly blessed.

Family - we continue to hope and pray for the health of Hazel, my Dad's loving wife.

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