Reading & Writing

City Zine: Manchester blog The Shrieking Violet celebrates its 20th – in print

Natalie Bradbury
Manchester blog the shrieking violet collage

Natalie Bradbury tells us why she took her blog off digital and into the real world.

In summer 2009, I decided to take my blog, the Shrieking Violet, off the screen and bring it to life as a real life, hold-in-your-hands, printed zine which I could take out and about around Manchester. After leaving piles in cafes, shops and libraries, I hoped it would be stumbled across and read, then either discarded or handed onto a friend. Initially conceived as a guide to the city, covering subjects not written about elsewhere, the Shrieking Violet has featured all sorts of different contributors, from seasoned writers to people who just have a particular fascination, passion or obsession with something, whether it’s Fingland’s buses, television idents or wooden roller coasters. Similarly, the cover of each issue is designed by a different artist or illustrator each time, and is always a wonderful surprise.

Three and a half years later, and the Shrieking Violet fanzine has reached issue 20, which feels like something of a milestone, and it’s now branched out from focusing on Manchester, although many contributors are still based in or around the city. Over the course of twenty issues, certain themes and preoccupations have arisen, from food to fiction, and other recurring subjects include unusual architecture, public transport and public art. Issue 20 is no exception, featuring articles on Eduardo Paolozzi and Daniel Buren’s public artworks for Tottenham Court Road tube station in London, an appreciation of modernist sculptor Frank Dobson, a visit to Arizona architectural folly the Mystery Castle and a recipe for sebadas – a traditional Sardinian dish contributed by an Italian living in Manchester – all held together by a patterned cover inspired by Manchester’s weather.

The Shrieking Violet is still roughly photocopied and hand-folded – although I’ve gone to the trouble of providing staples for the last couple of issues so at least it doesn’t fall apart – but it can also be viewed online at Issuu for free or downloaded as a PDF.

Culture Guides


This month, we round up some of the disreputable treasures and genuinely ambitious pieces of film art that are screening around Manchester and the North.


They say a picture is worth a thousand words – so, perhaps, can an object be, as our current selection of the very best exhibitions in Manchester and the North proves.


It’s all about how to make the world a better place at People’s History Museum and SICK! Festival, a ridiculous art race through the forest, swashbuckling historical heroism and imaginative theatrical adventures. Phew.

Benjamin Myers by Julian Germain Dunelm.


March sees talks and tours, birthdays and anniversaries, writers’ conferences and development days, and some rather big names on the literature scene.


Why not try some new music for the new year? How about a residency (or two) in a former mill, an original take on a film soundtrack, or the cream of Manchester’s current music scene coming together for an action-packed all-dayer?

The Suppliant Women


This month we’ve got something very old, a couple of things rather new, something borrowed from the Americans and something dressed in Oldham Athletic blue.

Destination Guides

Things to do right now

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Cinema 10 February–29 March 2017, from £5.00

New Release: Moonlight at HOME

Exhibitions 4 February–29 March 2017, FREE

John Hyatt: Rock Art at HOME

Cinema 16 February–30 March 2017, from £7.00

Film Season: David Cronenberg

Cinema 24–30 March 2017, from £5.00

New Release: Aquarius at HOME

Music 24 March–1 April 2017, from £21.00

RNCM Opera: Theodora

The Suppliant Women
Theatre 10 March–1 April 2017, from £16.50

The Suppliant Women at Royal Exchange Theatre

Exhibitions 25 February–1 April 2017, FREE

Graft at PS Mirabel

Theatre 9 March–8 April 2017, from £15.00

Yank! at Hope Mill Theatre

Social 10 March–9 April 2017, FREE

Living Sculpture (Virtual) at Crewe Station

Cinema 5 March–9 April 2017, from £8.00

Vintage Sundays: Scorsese and De Niro at FACT

Exhibitions 19 November 2016–16 April 2017, FREE

Artist Rooms: Andy Warhol at the Whitworth