Manchester Rock band Everything Everything are playing at the Manchester Central Library as part of a week-long residency titled Chaos to Order, from Monday, November 10 to Saturday, November 14, 2014. The band is to be joined by other musicians and artists such Bernard Sumner formerly of New Order, comedian Josie Long and writer Emma Jane Unsworth among others.
The events ambition is to highlight the cuts the current government has made within the arts. The library is using the below words from Charles Dickens to further propagate its agenda, “In this institution, special provision has been made for the working classes, by means of a free lending library, this meeting cherishes the earnest hope that the books thus made available will prove a source of pleasure and improvement in the cottages, the garrets, and the cellars of the poorest of our people”.
The above is taken from a speech from Dickens which was made after the 1852 Free Libraries Act. As a cultural reference see Dickens’s book Hard Times for an 18th century industrial depiction of a working class Manchesteresque town, promoting the benefits of a utilitarian society, parallel yet unparalleled to our times hence the protest, hence still the conservative delicacy – one that would rather be forgotten. Or as the Manic Street Preachers put it: “Libraries gave us power then work came and made us free, what price now for a shallow piece of dignity”. The city of Manchester has recently elected a mayor in order to influence localized politics, but is this the way forward?