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Belle Vue

Phil Griffin unwraps a new city magazine which is independent and in love with Manchester (a bit like Confidential then)

Published on December 23rd 2008.

Belle Vue

There is touching reverence for smoke filled-pubs (as were) and the Mancunian Way in issue 1 of the new Manchester fanzine Belle Vue.

It’s a start. Independently published ephemera is a venerable tradition.

Seventeenth century London coffee houses produced quires and quires of the stuff. Rants mainly, and one-legged proclamations that brook no argument. Belle Vue is an authentic folksy thing, like dominoes and pickled eggs. There are people who are old before their time in its pages. Grumpy types who loudly celebrate “This little island of ours”. Just when you think you might have accidentally strayed into a canal boat rally, you are whisked along the elevated section of the Mancunian Way on a single speed bike.

“Go” is a Sheffield fanzine that’s been around for a few years now and is widely credited with helping change attitudes to the city. The magazine lost its campaign to save the cooling towers by the M1 just outside Sheffield, but it drew valuable attention to the place.

And it spoke with an independent young voice. Belle Vue, we are candidly told in its first editorial, has been a long time coming, largely because its editorial meetings took place in pubs. And pubs seem to be of great concern; “welcome to Issue One…which we dedicate to licensees of Proper Boozers…They are getting a hard time at the moment and they don’t deserve it”.

Matt contributes a guide to pub smoking areas, that begins with an anecdote about an African Archbishop enjoying a post-communion cigar at the altar. That’s Sanctuary.

As well as smoking areas Belle Vue recommends breakfast venues, independent record shops and relaxing places to sit. There is some good and engaging writing, largely by Paula who is unashamedly nostalgic about football and Blackley. She writes about kids painting front door steps round where she lived; “If you were lucky there were ants crawling in the way and they would get a lovely white glossy back”.

There’s an end piece called Hell is a City which is a real “standing at the bar don’t get me started and another thing” sort of list. It includes Pedestrians (which could be a clue to its bike riding author) and Jute Carrier Bags (which could be a clue to which suburb the author lives in). Readers are invited to “send us your Hell is a City” for Issue 2”, with the honest caveat, “Even though they will be out of date by the time it’s published”.

Two quid buys your copy of Belle Vue in Cask, Briton’s Protection and Corner House. All of which, you will notice, are licensed premises. It is a good thing that will get better. Good, because it is heart felt and honestly expressed by people who love this city. Better, because there is plenty of loose-fit, comfortable room for improvement.

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AnonymousDecember 23rd 2008.

Know a lot of the authors of this fanzine and they are mostly United FC fans. Just in case you were wondering what the link is between them, apart from a love for good pubs!

Natalie BradburyDecember 23rd 2008.

It's a lovely fanzine! Highly recommended!

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