The Church Street Drive-in

NCP Car Park, Manchester. 13/12/2009
By Ian Snell

Photo courtesy of Resurrect Studios Afflecks

The top floor of the NCP car park on Church Street in the Northern Quarter is not the cities most glamorous location. This is why you exit the lift at the 11th floor to an unexpected sight, a large screen, rows of chairs and a number of strategically parked cars. But the sense of surprise caused by an image vaguely reminiscent of an Odeon after a hurricane is quickly removed by the biting cold. Even with the scarves, coats and free hot drinks and hot water bottles laid on by the events organisers it was impossible to keep the Arctic chill out. At around six o’clock the temperature was a balmy 5oC, by the movies’ end it must have been close to freezing. This would have been no concern to those who sensibly arrived by car, but for the pedestrians in the seated area the temperature was close to unbearable.

However, where as the nearby Printworks may have a heating system and padded seats, it cannot contend with the convivial atmosphere created on the evening. Nor could it compete with the glittering backdrop of offices, flats and Christmas decorations or the twinkling of stars in the night’s sky. Following a technical delay and the failure of the venue’s owners to have the lights switched off on time the screen became illuminated with a showing of Michael Winterbottom’s ‘twenty four hour party people’. A view of the 1980s music scene through the eyes of Manchester‘s sorely missed son, Tony Wilson. It was impossible to disconnect the events of the film with those on the night, the films core being the idea that some people just want their city to be better, whatever the cost or effort required, however crazy their ideas may sound to the rest of us.

Screw Flanders!

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