NORTHERN quarter based press, Comma, have launched a new app called ‘Gimbal’ in collaboration with a project called Literature Across Frontiers. The app is named after the structure sailors used to house a compass, so it remained steady whilst the ship was tossed on the waves.
The metro from Besses o’ th’ Barn could be replaced by a leisurely stroll round the parks of Paris. The number 41 from Northenden could become a drive round the streets of Baghdad.
The Gimbal app allows users to choose from 25 short stories (with more to follow) set in cities around the globe, including Manchester of course. Choose a city - anywhere in the world - and be transported to it by its fiction. Traverse its precincts. Map your way through its quarters or arrondissements. The Gimbal navigates as it narrates. With it you can travel by train, tram, metro, bus or on foot, experiencing each new landscape through the eyes of a fictional character. Either by location, mode of transportation, genre, or journey length.
The user then has the option to either simply read the text, or they can listen to an audio recording of the story accompanied by an interactive map where the pin moves along the screen as the story progresses, with real and existing points of interest highlighted along the fictional journey. Some of the stories also provide a recording in the original language of the author as well as in English.
The Gimbal app can also show you your own city in a new light with two stories from award-winning Salford-born author David Constantine, one of which is set in the city and a story set in Manchester by Roman Simic, which paints a picture of the city through the eyes of a Croatian tourist.
The app offers a way for commuters on the way to the daily grind to replace their mundane journey with a journey through somewhere more exotic. The metro from Besses o’ th’ Barn could be replaced by a leisurely stroll round the parks of Paris. The number 41 from Northenden could become a drive round the streets of Baghdad.
The Gimbal app, which is free, can be downloaded here.
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