It's fast approaching the end of 2018, and here at the Salford Star we look back over the last twelve months and celebrate our region's very best talent. Last year saw the debut of our entertainment awards as a way of acknowledging the acts, bands, plays and unique creatives who we had encountered.
The Salford Star Awards were a triumph...J.B Barrington scooped Best Performer, Joe O'Byrne's Haunting of Blaine Manor won Best Play, Evidently was a worthy winner in our Best Regular Event category and The Moods grabbed Best Band after a mind-blowing debut album and incredible live shows (see here).
We'd like your help again this year. We've got three categories for you to cast votes in: Best Performer, Best Drama and Best Band/Act. Feel free to vote or make suggestions. We'd like you to get involved and give us a shout...*
2018 was the year that we finally got our mitts on an incredible new collection of poetry from John Cooper Clarke entitled The Luckiest Guy Alive. In our awards we also look to highlight some of our newer and less known performers... Quina Chapman smashed in at the Fringe Festival with the brilliant Fangirl. Kieren King continued to host Evidently with wit and chimpish, likability. He also went on to perform at The Edinburgh Festival. Gordon Zola's Wheelie Bin Years discussed the rapper/poets Zen-like relationship with his bins, although, he was unsure which one was for the severed heads of Salford Council staff!
Swinton comic Tony Kinsella gave us a show about his love for 60s girl-band The Shangri Las in Shangri La La Land, where he dissected the brilliance of the group using the wisdom of some of the greats, including Oedipus and erm, Shaun William Ryder. Simon Williams worked wonders with a poetry set at Salford Precinct. Marlon Solomon gave us an insight into the weird and wonderful world of conspiracies at The Fringe and Brian Gorman performed every single Bond film in 60 minutes, on his own!
Original dramas were in abundance once again...Last year's winner Joe O'Byrne brought back an old foe when he re-worked a script to give us the ballsy, I'm Frank Morgan: Rewired. It was an intense experience full of menacing charm. Libby Hall won Best Play in The Fringe Awards for The Things We Tell the Hours after Midnight. It was a mighty achievement for the 16 year old Salfordian cited as the next Shelagh Delaney. Strangeways Here We Come by Chris Green was released in cinemas all over and was loved by anyone with a sense of humour. Citadel brilliantly discussed the demons that affect ex-servicemen (Kings Arms) and From Heaven to Hell ensured that the efforts of local soldiers were given due respect as it told the tale of the Salford Pals (Salford Arts Theatre).
Brian Gorman paid a beautiful tribute to Ian Curtis in New Dawn Fades, while Robert Pegg's The Script was incredibly well received by all who caught it at the Kings. Morrissey play, Thorn, made a welcome return when Tim Keogh brought it to Salford Arts Theatre. Also returning in a leaner and meaner form was the excellent Borderline Electra by Stevie Helps.
Our legends were active, as ever...Hooky and the Light embarked on a worldwide tour, and Happy Mondays proved that they are a still amongst the best, and a bona-fide festival headliner act...In this category we look to the next generation of musicians...Ren Harvieu had a productive year with gigs from Salford to Mexico City, and shone at Salford Music Festival along with other established local favourites Blaney and Garsoons.
The Salford Star released a CD that was jam-packed with a ridiculous amount of local talent: Cinnamon Dinner, Chris Flynn and Nicola Greenwood were among a stellar line-up full of worthy winners. Last year's winners The Moods went from strength to strength enhancing their reputation as one of the greatest live acts around. Factory Acts continued to mesmerise with shows and new releases. The Sandells oozed class at The Eagle Inn and Four Candles proved that music can still be intense, intimidating and passionate.
Patchwork Rattlebag continued to impress in a genre that is completely their own and Dominic Carlton Jones delivered an album of sublime poignancy. Salford Punk Poetry Sadness Death New Life was a Tennyson-esque treatise on love, loss and spirit. Added to that, Rose and the Diamond Hand returned with other-worldly brilliance.
* Feel free to contact us to vote for any of the above or to nominate a different act, band, drama or performer as we look to celebrate the very best of Salford. Put comments or suggestions in the box below, or on the Salford Star Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Words by Ian Leslie