An Alphabet for Young Capitalists

Bulls and Bears
Goldman Sachs
Hedge fund
JP Morgan
Kondratiev Wave
Quantitative Easing
Real estate
Unit price
X the spot, the treasure, the lottery win
Your low self-esteem


The ABC of Capitalism

Riiko Sakkinen

Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre



Nov 12th 2016 onwards




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Pomona Palace Go!

This is exactly the kind of place where I expected to find one.  The problem is, as all Taggers know, finding these kinds of places nowadays – by definition, they don’t tend to exist.  The initial frustration of realising I’d jumped off the tram a stop too soon gave way to the serendipity of chancing upon this old school boozer, Pomona Palace, presiding over the Cornbrook Road.  It was easy to see how I’d failed to notice it previously, resigned as it was to demolition, its dusty pale exterior merging into the concrete grey of the road and the Manchester sky.  A second look allowed me to discern that, contrary to my initial impression and despite the boarding of several windows, the front door was open, there were some dim lights inside and the pub was open for business.

Inside it was clear that the establishment was nearing the end of its days: a musty, old beer odour suffused the air, dirty net curtains darkened the remaining window that wasn’t yet boarded and despite the ban having been in place for – quick search (no Wi-Fi) – several decades, the room was veiled with the opacity of cigarette smoke.  From behind the bar, the elderly landlord broke off his conversation with the woman perched on a stool at one corner (the ease of their bodies together suggested intimacy, they looked like a couple), stood in front of me and simply nodded, his eyes faint and far behind his thick lenses.  Although I don’t rate it, playing it safe, I asked for a pint of Guinness.  It’s a fall-back.  At least you know what you’re going to get.  He placed a flabby hand on the pump and shook his head.


“Okay, I’ll have the bitter then.”

“S’off as well.  Only got the lager left now.”

“Right…ok,” I nodded as he swung a pint pot under the pump.


With a grim face, he watched my eyes search the bar for a scanner.  They usually hung from fixtures above the bar on flexible cords but there were none.

“Cash only, network’s down.”

Cash?  Cash?  Who would carry cash around these days?  Surely that kind of unusual event should be flagged up before a transaction was undertaken?  I checked my pockets as if there might actually be hard physical money there.  He seemed amused by this obvious charade and my reddening face.

“You going into town, lad?”


“Bring it in on your way back.”

“You sure?”

He nodded, placed the pint on the counter and stepped back to the woman on the stool.

I wondered how this unexpected line of credit might have contributed to the pub’s imminent demise, thanked him and headed over to a table near the window.  The glass was warm, the beer headless and unappetizing.  I’d have to drink it now.  I took a sip and it took a great deal of effort to avoid wincing at the vinegary taste.  It was off.  It may as well have been a gallon rather than a pint.  Drinking any of it suddenly felt like an Olympic challenge.  Even through my shoes the carpet seemed too thin and as much as I could see of it in the gloom, the upholstery, with its bristly texture, brought back memories of the flecked seating of buses from my early childhood.  It was then that I noticed him. He must have been sat there when I arrived, I guess I must have just had my back to him.  Disappointed, I’d figured the place was empty but I couldn’t bring myself to walk back out.  Anyhow, although it was unlikely, I thought I’d scan the two at the bar as I was there, just in case, but no one in a position of retail would be so conspicuously rogue, not if they wanted to make any money at all.

He looked pretty ordinary.  Natch.  But the tell-tale signs were there.  No eye contact.  Hunched over his beer (three quarters drank – a Herculean feat), real clothes, receding hair but you know, not in a way anyone would choose, no visible wearables, no devices that I could see – just sat on his own, staring at the table!  I could feel my heart racing.  There were a lot of points at stake here and I’d be shooting up that leader board.

I took out my phone and laid it on the table.  If he was a decoy then this would be his moment to disappear, as soon as the tiny red winking light activated I’d be sat here alone minus five hundred points.  Incredibly, the app initialised and scanning began.  Inadvertently, I took a chunky quaff of the ale and had to resist spitting it back into the glass.  The phone buzzed.  The report was in.


Biometrics: zero.

Credit: zero.

Social media platforms: unregistered.

Employment: unknown.

GPS: unknown.

Status: rogue.

Do you wish to tag and assign identity?


Ensure subject is in the centre of field and press TAG.


I raised the phone, caught him in the crosshairs and tagged the rogue.  500 points richer.  A nice little earner that would also see me climb the board.  All from getting off at the wrong stop and the “price” of a rancid beer.  Oblivious to the fact that his status had changed forever, that his digital profile was being activated along with all its obligations, dragging him into the twenty first century, my five hundred pointer arose and disappeared through a door to the toilets.

I downed as much of the pint as I could manage, grabbed my phone and headed out.  The road was silent, devoid of traffic.  It was neither night nor day.  Maybe I drank that too quickly, I felt disoriented.  I activated my mApps and switched to street view to be more precise.  The signal was unusually poor.  The data wouldn’t quite complete.  There was some sort of semblance of a roadway surrounded by urban wasteland.  I refreshed.  I moved and sure enough the mApp rotated accordingly, the direction of the roadway conforming to the one beneath my feet but the Manchester skyline impossibly distant.  I tried to unpack the co-ordinates for the pub from the tag report and it was then that I saw the error message:


Log incomplete.  Location: unknown.  Error 618

Submit data.  Re-run scan.


There was nothing for it.  I would just pretend I’d forgotten or lost something down the side of the seat.  No big deal.  The rogue would be back from the toilets.  All good.  I turned around and re-traced my steps to the door of Pomona Palace.  But there was no entrance.  Just boarded up windows and doors and some considerable foliage shooting up from cracks in the masonry.  I walked around the exterior three times and then consulted my phone.  A quick search for Pomona Palace pub… No signal.


James Stanley the Seventh Earl of Derby, 2016

Lu Pingyuan

Gallery 2

Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

Thomas Street


August 2016



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Down at the Docks

The madness I feel is neither wild nor remote but intense and sickeningly particular. Particular yet not singular – therein lies the specific swoon and stench of this malady. Where once, in a distant and undoubtedly idealised past, certain borders could be reinforced as barriers against contamination, against trespass, now such lines of defence are dissolved, redundant, the outside does not know where the inside begins. In what now seems like a former life, I saw this city as salvation… now, as I clamber up the banks of the Irwell, I see the graphene turrets of the skyline as the battlements of my prison periphery.

Once we were chained, shackled to the timbers of our masters. Then, we emerged into society restrained by whalebone and laces, shortening breath, struggling to be heard. Now, as I stand on the Quays overlooking the sterile, redundant waterways of the North Bay, there are no merchant ships; in fact I see nothing but the angular shadow of the theatre and as I draw to the very edge, I see my own reflection shiver in the ripples. I am free to move anywhere within this Republic of Manchester, with its sculptures of anchors and its statue of Lincoln, yet I am bound in gossamer chains of spider silk, confined, as are we all, to the pathways of the web, unwittingly transmitting our signals with every breath, be it shallow or deep, my biometric profile constantly uploading to the remote host, calibrating my value, creating and closing my options, caching my history, calculating my future… shimmering in the ripples of North Bay.

Liberty Bazaar
A novel by David Chadwick
Aurora Metro Books

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Am I Awake?

“Come through!  Come through the door!”  I don’t know where the voice is coming from.   I think it’s my mother.  All I can see is the darkness.  Beneath my hands the glossy layers peel away, the grit of wood chip resolute against my forehead… “Open the door!  It’s okay!”  The yellow crack of the hall light below the door is not where it should be.  It’s in the wrong wall.  The door opens, the light comes flooding in.  I am not where I should be, sweating in pyjamas, Star Wars posters defeated on the carpet, folded over my bare feet.  I am at the wrong wall.  Am I awake?  I am awake?  I couldn’t find the door.  I have a nosebleed.  Red splashes against the hard, white sink.  Am I awake?  I am awake.


Diane leaned over the green baize, her chin approaching the cue, smiling as she lined up the shot.

“I can’t believe you would do this… it’s such a cliché… it’s as though you’ve scoured the texts of time and thought about how key ideas could be illustrated by analogy in the pub…”

She potted and lined up again, still smiling as though amazed by her own ability to play the game.

Dr Stephens set his Guinness down and removed his hat.

“All your courses are sponsored by breweries, isn’t that right?” Iwan looked away, as he always did when he cracked a joke.  Everyone laughed and the room was small: five philosophy students and their tutor in a vault behind the library on Devas Street.

“The scepticism of David Hume was directed towards the precise nature of causation – as to whether it possesses an inner logic, a necessity as opposed to, say, two events which are merely contiguously linked…”

“Shot?”  Diane offered him the cue.

Stephens arched over the table, the cue rubbing the divot in his chin.

“So when the cue ball makes contact with the red there is temporal priority: ball A moving first.”

He struck the cue ball and then halted the red with his hand.

“Then, there is spatial contiguity insofar as ball A and ball B share the same space…”

The red proceeded, accompanied by the philosopher’s hand, to click against another red.

“And then succession: ball B’s motion succeeding ball A’s motion.”

He rolled back the initial red and then pushed it into the second. Neither reached a pocket. Stephens straightened his back and leant against the upright cue.

“We can think of other instances where a different event would have caused B to happen, such as… an explosion nearby, a tremendous gust of wind, or maybe B was already occurring, unobserved or only known to a few for inconsequential or highly consequential reasons…. Maybe it was a minor event involving the same conclusion. Hume asks why we should connect A and B without empirical evidence explicitly linking them. You might argue that, scientifically, one could repeat the event and see if the same results occurred each time… but Hume would say repetition must occur an infinite number of times, which, of course, would be impossible… Diane: shot?”

Iwan took a drink and looked down at the floor. “Never play against an opponent who tells you anything is possible and uses his hands to move the balls… that’s what David Hume’s taught me. Going to put that in my dissertation.”

Diane took the cue and lined up her shot.

She struck the cue ball. Hard and loud.

“I think it’s just up here… I guess it’s been a while…” it hasn’t been any time at all. I keep on walking, I see the new bridge, I’m in the shadow of an enormous edifice with few discerning features, mannequins… mannequins in new poses, reassembled, undeterred, still life, everything is sterile, Corporation Street (still) closed to traffic… cranes hang motionlessly, bollards, tracks… “Spare any change, love?” coins against the cup, a hand held aloft, protruding through the blankets, “Spare any change? No? Have a good one.” It used to be here. Right here. You’re hanging back now, giving me some space. I appear agitated, confused. It was right here, I know it: ramp, walkway, Shambles Square, concrete flags. I run my hands across the glass window, they slide down the glacial wall, I can’t go back, I can’t go back, where am I now? You run to catch me before I hit the floor, I feel your hands catch my elbows, my skirt billows as I slump to the pavement. In the mirror of the shop window I see the your silhouette, behind mine – dark, indistinct reflections; between us the silken cream skinned mannequin staring out… staring in? Am I awake?  I am awake.

The cue ball connects with a red. 

I wait for some time. It’s gone 2pm. There were some characters downstairs. Is there a game on today? “Just 22 men chasing a ball.” No, I don’t want to watch “a proper game like rugby.” I take it easy on the ale. It’s still early. Don’t want another pint. Upstairs my signal is poor. I settle in, there’s nobody up here and then I get paranoid that you’ll be looking for me so I range from one little room to another. It’s a warren. I imagine it being rolled down the street, full of punters, the surface of our pints listing as we roll down Exchange Square, there’s something of a nautical feel about the place, the small windows… You arrive, we take our drinks then we leave.

“Beneath there, under the Mitre, there is a street, apparently… arches in the cellar… there must be a way in…”

We make several circuits around Cannon Street, Cateaton Street, Fennel Street, Victoria Street. There are errors on the mApps. Apple and Google differ in their choice of street names. The city itself takes issue, becomes obstreperous, wriggles away, evades capture. It creases my forehead. My mouth tastes of beer. Old beer. Old man’s beer.

We scan the base of the cathedral considering the crypt before looking across to Salford, imagining the old bridge crossing the Irwell. Beneath our feet there are dusty rooms, crumbling stairways, remnants of public toilets, storage chambers all swathed in the darkness of the past: a different city, another city, the same city, this city.

“I think it has to be there,” I say, looking towards the manhole cover. Squinting in the sunlight, you nod in acquiescence. People walk back and forth, some gathering in the entrance to the cathedral, others in and out of the café. Cars pour over the bridge and head along Deansgate, all moving in and out of the city. We are standing between the layers, a cross-section of the past, the present and the future stacked vertically, urban striations. We are up to our necks in it. In over our heads. The plates grind together, feel the vibrations, disorienting frequency. We stumble through Exchange Square. Am I awake?

 Another red ricochets off the first.

I saw it in the digger’s bucket. Distinct yet hard to define amongst the debris. There was something angular, a broken casket, the corner of it protruding out of the earth, a dark triangle against the white sky. Bones, rags, bundles enmeshed within the compacted soil. The site’s been cleared of tools now. We’ve got a week to make our report, officially. The contractors, the council… they want it yesterday.

I have a drink with the others at Sinclair’s. It’s been a long day. Everything hurts. It’s still light as I mount the steps up to New Cathedral Street, hanging high above the square, darkened in the shadows of the high-end stores now closed for the day. The street is deserted, empty and eerie, a space blown apart by the bomb all those years ago. I move through the gloom, the sound of my own footsteps echoing. I’m tired. I try to move faster but it’s that kind of street, the end seems no nearer, the walls loom high above, the bowling alley far, far below me, the rumble and the roar, the old market stalls, the knives, the fish, the meat, there are no markets here now, no skittles, I am awake..?

Late sunlight illuminates the final third. The shadows recede. I descend to Deansgate and take a bus from Blackfriars.


On Corporation Street




June 2016









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Going Under

Off the train at Victoria, I pass the great tiled map of the north. The red and black routes swerve and strike out like recalcitrant snakes, besieging my mind, encircling me, my horizons coiling tighter until every breath is a blessed relief. Gasping, wheezing, I emerge into the pale afternoon, battered by recent events yet resolute to take control, to make the day my own.

Instead of marching to errands and appointments, I opt to spurn the commercial, the domestic and the social. I relinquish it all for the indulgent luxury of abandoning my worn out conscious mind to the unfettered whim of the streets and the soles of my boots upon them. Looking up the hill towards Corporation Street, I surrender myself to the city to take me where it will.

Later, in a bar in the horse latitudes of Oxford Road out of term time, I recount my journey through my mApps. I sip my schooner of sour beer – a real face twister – and scowl at my screen. Despite my attempt to thwart intention it seems I was weaker than I suspected and succumbed to the imposition of order at the first opportunity, whether I surrendered to my own subconscious agency, tightening the reins as I strove to break free, or allowed myself to be marshalled by the force of the city itself – a character to be reckoned with for sure – my heart sank as I saw my journey broken down, when retraced, through four distinct phases from the tentative shallows around the station to the darkening skein of backstreets affecting a total, yet not unpleasant, disorientation… This city, comparatively, internationally speaking, crowds onto the head of a pin and yet somehow, at almost every step, it reveals itself to be governed by its own deep, internal logic, exceeding the rightful limits of its own physical constraints, sprawling from one quarter to the next. Refreshed, despite my journey, my first thought is for more. For this mode of transit there is much to be said.

I replay these thoughts as I lie here in my bed. I have pressed the buzzer, they will get to me as soon as they can. I imagine their feet gaining the stairs, one by one, ascending the floors, passing the rooms along the corridors, the open doors, snatches of radio and TV as they progress through the building as though scrolling through the stations, stepping in and out of lives. The colour of the walls: the same. Every wall: the same. One corridor and the next, one room and another. You are standing in the doorway with the flowers. It’s hot outside. You are finally here. I didn’t think you’d make it. I’ve been walking all day, through this home, through the city. I’m in the bed. I taste the cotton sheet. I open my eyes. I’m awake. I’m alone. The doorway’s empty. Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m dreaming or if it’s real…

“We’re here now,” I reply. “This is real.” I touch his white hand. He doesn’t answer. His eyes are closed. He’s lost again. Gone.
Max Richter Ensemble
Royal Northern College of Music
Saturday 21st May 2016

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The Englishman’s Castle

“In most cases,” Sylvie pushed the chicken onto her fork. “If you can truly define your problem you’re onto a winner, no matter how big your problem is. You can set it up, work against it… develop strategy. If you’re organised and determined you can at least make the necessary compensations. The trouble for you is that your central conflict is with yourself… I’ve said that now, out loud, so you don’t have to. Think of it as a favour.”
She punctuated her sentence by settling her cutlery against the gravy slick surface of her plate.  He avoided her eyes and stared out beyond the dining table, over the city below.

Outside in the last of the late evening sunlight, he leant against the Holloway Wall as though trying to insulate himself from the sound of her voice. Indignation made it hard to digest but the truth was harder to swallow. Her words reverberated inside his head. Here, with the concrete Wall against his back and the short summer grass beneath his feet, he had found a city in which he could be equally at home and estranged from himself.
High Rise
Dir. Ben Wheatley (2015)
4th April 2016

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Nowhere But Now

Resistance begins underground and explodes from a standing start, Johnny’s in the basement, the B of the BANG.  In every eye blink heartbreak beat the skyline shifts, the city reconfigures, the horizon fractures, sunny canyons are cast in shadow.  Simple life, living, chores are changed.  We can never return to those places again.  The roads are closed.  From the tow path, below the gape of the car park, a glass bottle glints in the canal, a fissure of light in the darkening water: a message from the futures, a flickering reflection… nothing to decipher, nothing to decode, there is nothing but disruption of the data, lines of flight erratic and bold, beneath the oily surface the water runs fast and slow, fast and slow, nowhere but now to go.

Kiran Leonard
Soup Kitchen
Wednesday 30th March 2016

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