Petition. Manchester City Council: End the 'twinned city' link between Manchester and St. Petersburg

Petition. Manchester City Council: End the 'twinned city' link between Manchester and St. Petersburg

Petition by
James Swinburne
Manchester, United Kingdom

Twenty years after homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia, anti-gay legislation is making a rapid comeback, with St Petersburg becoming the latest city to ban "homosexual propaganda".

29th June 2013, over 60 members of the public were arrested simply for taking part in St. Petersburg's gay pride parade.

It is now no longer appropriate that Manchester be twinned with St. Petersburg.

In the UK, with our far more tolerant culture, there is still, sadly, a higher than average rate of suicide and drug use, which is convincingly linked to the often negative experience of being gay in our society.

Now we must think about how the LGBT community in St. Petersburg must feel if this is how the local government is treating them. Think about young gay people, coming to terms with their sexuality and seeing in the news that who they are is apparently so awful that they deserve to be arrested for it.

Manchester's large gay community is something that Manchester should be proud of. Out of respect to the gay community here, we need to symbolically end this connection with St. Petersburg.

Instead of twinning the two cities, links should be established between the gay community in Manchester and the gay community in St. Petersburg as a sign of solidarity and that, perhaps, Manchester City Council could help to facilitate th

Sam Sparro and Superstar DJs Moto Blanco at Manchester Pride Big Weekend





Singer and style icon, Sam Sparro (Black and Gold, Happiness) joined by DJ's and electronic music duo Moto Blanco, Misha B, Queens of Pop, and Happy Mondays dance diva Rowetta, amongst others.

Manchester Pride is excited to announce openly gay Sam Sparro as the final act for this year's Big Weekend Saturday night line-up. Sam is joined by popular production duo Moto Blanco, best known for their remixes of number one artists Adele, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna, who will be playing a live DJ set on the Main Arena stage.

Grammy-nominated musician Sam Sparro rose to fame with his 2008 smash hit single 'Black and Gold', which sold over 100,000 copies in the UK alone. Sam followed up his debut solo artist album working with dance producers Basement Jaxx and Mark Ronson. His second album, 'Return To Paradise', was released in 2012 to widespread acclaim.

Bobby Blanco and Miki Moto are the production aliases of South London dance music duo Danny Harrison and Arthur Smith, who have been deejaying and remixing as Moto Blanco since 2003. Their remixes of Adele's 'Set Fire To The Rain, and Lady Gaga's 'Paparazzi' have filled dancefloors across the globe.

Sam Sparro and Moto Blanco are joined on the Main Arena stage by X Factor star Misha B, Internet sensations Queens of Pop, electro-pop five-piece Swiss Lips, pop-ska group Scarlett's Roses, Sam Gray, Scarlet Street, Manchester boyband The Mend, and much-loved Happy Mondays vocalist Rowetta.

Manchester Pride Chief Executive, John Stewart said:

We are delighted to welcome Sam Sparro, who completes our fantastic Saturday night Big Weekend line-up, and underlines Manchester Pride's commitment to showcasing LGBT artists. With a live DJ set from Moto Blanco, and performances by many more exciting acts, including Misha B, Queens of Pop, and Swiss Lips, the Saturday night bill looks set to be one of the many highlights of this summer's Manchester Pride festival!

 Big Weekend tickets are still available with a limited number at the Early Bird price of £16 from and selected outlets.

Retrochart - June 1995 - The start of a long hot summer :)

This week's nice weather has made me want to look back at the warmest summer I can remember - 1995!

These were the movies released at the cinema in June 1995:

The Bridges of Madison County




Batman Forever


Apollo 13

Judge Dredd

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie

Not much to say really! Hardly classics - a RUBBISH version of Judge Dredd, but I enjoyed it more that Batman Forever - the start of the end of the Batman Movie franchise. It was also the end of Disney's long run of great animated films with Pocahontas, a film rarely mentioned and better best forgotten...

During this time, I was at Uni and really enjoying all the music around. To me the summer of 1995 was a great period in pop music history. So when I looked back at the chart of the time I was a little disappointed to see a major atrocity at the top...

1 Robson Green & Jerome Flynn Unchained Melody / White Cliffs Of Dover

2 Pulp Common People

3 Perez 'Prez' Prado & His Orchestra Guaglione

4 Scatman John Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)

5 Baby D I Need Your Loving (Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime)

6 Ali Campbell That Look In Your Eye

7 The Nightcrawlers featuring John Reid Surrender Your Love

8 McAlmont & Butler Yes

9 Billie Ray Martin Your Loving Arms

10 Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson Scream

11 Livin' Joy Dreamer

12 Reef Naked

13 Ladysmith Black Mambazo featuring China Black Swing Low Sweet Chariot

14 Celine Dion Only One Road

15 Montell Jordan This Is How We Do It

16 Bon Jovi This Ain't A Love Song

17 Jimmy Somerville Hurt So Good

18 Michelle Gayle Freedom

19 Joshua Kadison Jessie

20 Therapy? Stories

21 Tina Arena Chains

22 Black Grape Reverend Black Grape

23 Take That Back For Good

24 Radiohead Fake Plastic Trees

25 Whigfield Think Of You

26 Happy Clappers I Believe

27 Bryan Adams Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?

28 Oasis Some Might Say

29 The Outhere Brothers Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)

30 Elton John Made In England

31 Jam & Spoon featuring Plavka Right In The Night (Fall In Love With Music)

32 Blessid Union Of Souls I Believe

33 Love City Groove Love City Groove

34 Curtis Stigers This Time

35 Annie Lennox A Whiter Shade Of Pale

36 Manchester United 1995 Football Squad featuring Stryker We're Gonna Do It Again

37 Bobby Brown Two Can Play That Game

38 Dodgy Staying Out For The Summer '95

39 Boyzone Key To My Life

40 Gompie Alice (Who The X Is Alice?)

To be fair, if we pretended that the Number One never happened and moved all the other songs up a place the chart isn't that bad at all.
Pulp had released Common People which was one of the best tracks from "A Different Class" which was one of the best albums of the 1990s. Dodgy, Radiohead, Reef and Oasis were also setting up the beginnings of the Britpop phase which was going to dominate the charts over the next 12 months.
Dance music was also entering a great phase with Baby D, Living Joy, Billie Ray Martin and Jam and Spoon releasing the best Dance Anthems of the year, not to mention a cracking David Morales remix of Michael and Janet's "Scream"
Here were my favourite tracks:

I should also mention Love City Groove, this first time the in the 1990s the BBC took the Eurovision Song Contest seriously and used the viewers of Top Of The Pops to select the song.

Peter Hook & The Light Live At Manchester Cathedral

Review By Mick Aneworderfan

It has been often apparent Sumner and Hook can't carry on together in the last, say, 25 years.

I remember reading a 1987 biography which already put their future in doubt. It was bollocks of course, they came back with Technique two years later and as we all know it was a masterpiece. But there was something true behind the surface. They basically recorded Republic (1993) through separate sessions and couldn't stand each other during the tour. Only Rob Gretton was able to bring them together for a while and by Get Ready (2001) we all had the illusion they were best friends again, but when they toured the following (and last) album it was obvious something was broken again and it would have been hard to fix it.

While the previous split had never been announced, this time Peter Hook declared the band finished.


He thought they couldn't carry on without him. They of course have in fact, recruiting the mighty Tom Chapman to replace Hook and touring the world to huge acclaim, and honestly it's better to see them carry on in that form with a renovated spirit (and Gillian Gilbert back) than in the sick and tired version of the last gigs with Hook where you saw a band which had nothing left to say (and for us fans, better than no New Order at all). Obviously Hooky disagrees, but while he waits for the court he has carried on another interesting project, which is to tour each album of Joy Division and New Order in its entirety.

He has assembled a fantastic band called The Light, featuring his son Jack, on bass of course, the excellent Nat Wason from Haven at the guitar, weirdly enough Andy Poole, a prog keyboardist, does his best to play these post punk classics, and we also get back Paul Kehoe, the wonderful Monaco drummer.

This new release, which can be purchased at for £9 only, sees The Light performing the tracks of not one but two albums, including all the single and B sides from that crucial era (1981-1983) for a total of 26 tracks!

We can hear tracks New Order have never performed again in the last 30 years. The marvellous Procession, for example, Bernard Sumner hates it, New Order won't ever play it again. Hooky does, and it's great to hear it live again. Movement was the attempt of New Order at finishing what Joy Division were trying to do after Closer, which is a pretty dark album already. Adding that the mood in the band wasn't exactly happy after Ian Curtis' suicide, you have the album of a band trying to carry on after such a loss, and bordering on goth.

Having been followed by Power, Corruption And Lies, the album where not only New Order found their own style, but basically invented a new one with some of their best songs ever, not to mention non-album singles like Temptation and Blue Monday which will always remain as two of their most essential tracks, meant that Movement has been forgotten quickly both by the band and their fans, though it always had its hardcore fans in those Joy Division die-hard fans who were too narrow minded to embrace their evolution. But Movement had its great tracks too.

It's absolutely delightful to hear Truth live again, and The Light's performance of Senses seriously threatens New Order's as the best ever version. Actually, Hooky's voice sounds even more appropriate for tracks like these than Sumner's, having a deeper tone more similar to Curtis' than Sumner's thin voice. Chosen Times has always been one of my favourites, and I can hear the origins of Blue Monday in it.

Now, Mesh. Mesh!!! Mesh is the most criminally underrated song in the whole music history.

A truly emotional masterpiece, it appeared only on the Everything's Gone Green 12" EP.



When Factory released the 2CD version of Substance with all the B sides, it forgot this song and included Cries And Whispers mis-titled as Mesh. But the true Mesh didn't resurface until the 2008 reissue of Movement!

Power Corruption And Lies is my absolute favourite album ever, hearing the luminous restart of Age Of Consent after the dark Movement tracks makes us appreciate its revolutionary charge, though The Light here perform it with an endearingly punk attitude, and you could almost mistake it for a Warsaw track rather than the song heralding New Order's turn to pop.

We All Stand has always sounded the comedown after that, with its fascinating melancholy it sounds like a Movement reprise. But with the electro feast of The Village and the Blue Monday beta of 586 the switch sounds clear and glorious. I'm happy how New Order rediscovered 586 and I also really like how The Light play it. I've always been a huge fan of Revenge (my favourite side project actually, even over Electronic) and Ultraviolence played by The Light just sounds like a great track off their underrated debut masterpiece, One True Passion.

Ecstasy has never been played live, so it's great to finally hear it. The Light even play The Beach, which was an instrumental dub of Blue Monday appearing as its B side. Not many bands play remixes live!

So there's a lot of reason to enjoy this live album.

Long live Peter Hook And The Light!


You can download the album exclusively NOW from

Bluejovanka's Top Five Eurovision Songs

This week here at CoolManchester HQ we have caught a massive dose of Eurovision Fever

Joe blogged a few weeks ago about his thoughts on the last decade of Eurovision, today I want to share my favourite songs from the great song contest!


5.Eimear Quinn - The Voice

Winning Eurovision in Norway in 1995. This for me is Ireland's best winning entry. It just burrowed into my head and is SO Irish! Like most Eurovison songs the lyrics also drill home the title of the song, over and over and over and over again!

I am the voice in the wind and the pouring rain
I am the voice of your hunger and pain
I am the voice that always is calling you
I am the voice and I will remain

This was the last time our "neighbours" has won but, let's be honest, the Father Ted episode "Song for Europe" where the Irish TV Networks were looking for a losing song wasn't a million miles away from the truth!

4. Gina G - Ooh Aah...Just a Little Bit

You could tell in the late 1990s that the UK really wanted to win and this is EASILY the best song we ever submitted. It was pure, unadulterated fun pop and one of the great injusties of the contest was that this didn't even get a top five placing. Gina G was probably not too upset though as this ending being a huge selling number one single!

3. Loreen - Eurphoria

As ABBA, Gina G and a few others have proved over the years, the best Eurovision songs are the ones that can stand up on their own on the radio outside of the contest. I think Loreen's song was a massive winner because of it was current, cool and took itself very seriously. No tongue in cheek here, and that's why I think the UK hasn't done that well in a very long time!

2. Sertab Erener - Every Way That I Can

Turkey are always scored highly by the UK in this contest, but 2003 is the only time the country has won and in 2013 they are not participating at all :(

Over the years there are certain songs you hear and just instinctively know they will be winners. Loreen was one, as was Alexander Rybak, Bobbysocks and, erm, Corrine Hermes. I had that feeling about this one, even though all the people around me during the show thought  I was mad. I'm always glad to be proven right... &#59;)

1. Olsen Brothers - Fly On The Wings of Love

This is probably not a popular choice and it would have been very easy to pick Abba or Bucks Fizz as my number one, but I was going for my favourite songs from the contest and 2000's winner from Denmark is just that. I really uplifting track with no real gimmicks and one of those times when the best song won.

These are my choices, they probably aren't very popular songs when it comes to Eurovision, but I was looking at this based on the strength of the songs.

What have been your favourites songs over the years? Please share them with us! :D

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