Monday, 6 May 2013

‘Manchester: In Residents’ … #23: Pam

'Wesley Snipes is out of jail now so he's probably available, that would make living here just that little bit better...'

What’s your name?

What do you do?
I do many different things... from performing at clubs with creatures of the night, to photographing bands that pass through the city. My main love and path in life is photography, it really does rule over all the other loves that I have. I have a passion for working with people who I admire in some way (music, movies, fashion) so I try and find a way to photograph them whenever they are here. My most recent photography gigs were with Arthur Brown, Lydia Lunch and Paddy Considine... two at gigs and one at a film screening. One shoot planned, two unplanned. I try to keep up to date with whoever is doing something here and find a way to contact or connect with whoever I want to photograph. I really do get obsessed sometimes, but it's a good thing... I just get excited about fucking EVERYTHING! I'm also part of Tranarchy, a collective of drag queens, artists, performers, chaos makers and switchblade sisters. We put on parties, film screenings and perform around the city... anything from singing Judas Priest songs with a bunch of warriors before a screening of Mad Max II at a drive-in cinema, to putting on the Andrew W.K. after party with Cherie Lily. It's all crazy and wild and fun... we just want people to express themselves, get messy and freak out to disco and heavy metal. I'm curating our next film screening, it's an Action Movie Marathon showing Predator, Escape From New York, Robocop, Cobra, The Terminator and Road House. All nighter, baby! I've watched Robocop on repeat for longer than 12 hours before, so this will be a walk in the park for me...

 Where do you live?
I've recently moved to Salford with two men that I now class as family, my absolute father figures. Salford is perfect, I'm totally sold already. Before here I lived in Rusholme, and before that Withington. I do like that side of Manchester and have a lot of hang out spots that I'll still go to, but I won't miss the bus route. No fucking way. I was reaching Patrick Bateman mental murder levels with the students... and I don't even care that I'm saying this. I hate sitting on buses with students. I'm still getting lost at the moment because I've not lived in Salford long, and I recently found some really weird subway art that ended up in my nightmares... full flesh coloured mermaids with tiny heads. Terrifying. But I know I'm on the right road home when I walk past the church near my house because the massive plastic Jesus outside the door always shocks me back to life and I walk faster to get away from the fucking thing. Put it away! That all sounds quite scary, but really living in Salford has been a dream so far. I love a lot of the old buildings here and have spotted a ton of locations to use in new photoshoots already, I can't wait to explore this place.

Tell us the story of how you ended up in Manchester.
I was born in Manchester... my mum and dad owned a scrapyard here for a while and a lot of my family were born here. It's just me, my mum and my brother now, and they live in Rochdale where I was raised from the age of five. Rochdale gets a lot of stick and even though some bad shit did happen to me there, it was also a great place to grow up, if you were adventurous with it. When I first got into photography I didn't have to go far to find abandoned buildings, woods and lakes to shoot in. I still use a lot of the same locations now. You just can't find that everywhere, old warehouses full of hidden passages and smashed bottles. I love that shit! I didn't really know anyone in Rochdale though, and I wanted to be near my friends and get involved with everything that was happening, and also start doing my own stuff too. So when I moved out I decided to get closer to Manchester because it was the natural thing to do, with most of my work and life dotted around the city. I love doing what I do in my hometown, and I'm proud to have been raised here. It's a big thing for me because my family history is scattered in the place that I create, and I can feel it when I experience things here. It's a special place to be. I don't think I could ever live central though, I need to be around big parks and places where I can get high, climb trees and break bones... city living makes me hurl, sorry friends!... (not sorry).

What’s great about this city?
The people. It's the people, hands down. People from Manchester, people from other places, people from nowhere, people from the wild side. I've met all kinds of people here, people that embrace this city and make a difference. From drag queens to art curators, teachers and bakers. I think it's a good sign when you know a lot of different people doing a lot of different things in one place at the same time. It hasn't always been so alive and exciting for me though, I remember having shit all to do but watch movies and imagine having friends that I could create with, party with and live a movie life with. I'm movie obsessed, I'm a dreamer... I always want things to be a vision, I just can't help thinking that way. So sometimes things get sad and tough, but I fight through it all like a warrior... and living here makes things less sad and less tough, because I'm surrounded by such brilliant people... flawless queens, fearless women, fabulous men and every little thing in between. So right now it's the people because it's down to them that exciting things are happening and I can live a half-movie life. I also have my first major solo-exhibition happening and I'm beyond happy that it's taking place here. It contains portraits and live images that I've taken of bands/musicians including Crystal Castles, Lene Lovich, Gossip, The Damned, Patrick Wolf, Debbie Harry, KISS, Amanda Palmer and more, with most of them shot in and around the city.

What’s not so great?
THE PEOPLE! Just kidding... The not-so-great things are the most boring things, and I hate thinking about boring things. No decent jobs, it's a small place, and sometimes you just wanna break out and sit on a beach or get picked up by Kurt Russell in a muscle car. Seriously, where are all the guys with muscle cars? I'm putting a call out right here right now. This is obviously the worst part about living here, because my head is in the clouds and I wanna be picked up in a muscle car. I wanna drive that muscle car through billboards and do tons of stunts. But we can start with a rad guy with a rad car. If you could just pick a few American men up and drop them around my house, that would be great too. Wesley Snipes is out of jail now so he's probably available, that would make living here just that little bit better.

Do you have a favourite Manchester building?
I definitely don't have one favourite Manchester building. I really love a ton of stuff here, but half the stuff I love I know nothing about. I know that I should research places that I love, but I don't... I just usually say 'I really love that building' and hope that one of my many, well-informed friends gives me a little education. And then I forget and everything becomes 'that building' again. But when I was a teenager I really loved a place called Chamber House. It was behind my high school and was a huge, broken down mansion full of wreckage aside from a marble staircase that lead to nowhere, the steps just ended. And then you were upstairs, and outside because most of the roof was gone. It was the right side of creepy and in the grounds around the mansion we once found big, huge plastic dinosaurs that had their heads chopped off. I don't really know what happened to the remains, but apparently they started to sink into the ground and had to be removed. I heard that it used to be super grand and bad-ass, I would have loved to have seen it when it wasn't a half-burnt out Goosebumps set. I always skived school in there, so Chamber House was never 'that building', it always had a name.

Do you have a favourite Mancunian?
I think I'm just gonna pick who I fancy the most, and that's Ian McShane. My mum worked with his dad when she was younger, and I only found that out because I told her that I fancied Ian McShane and I wanted him to wink at me because it would make my head explode with sexiness. He is one of the greatest actors out there and I could watch him non-stop, his eyes are mesmerising and he just has a certain way about him that I find incredibly appealing. Plus he was in Hot Rod which is one of the funniest films ever, I watch it all the time. He's a Blackburn Blackbeard and as much as I do love a lot of Mancunians and people born in and around here, he is definitely right up there. He is just so SEXY.

What’s your favourite pub/bar/club/restaurant/park/venue?
I don't really go out for drinks like people go out for drinks. Usually because I'm pretty skint and I prefer to go on full nights out rather than blow all my party money on the odd few drinks here and there. I like to save the party. But when I go out at night it's always Bollox, Drunk At Vogue, Off The Hook and I recently went to a new drag night, Cha Cha Boudoir, which is showcasing performers from all over in the form of American style drag tipping. With Tranarchy, we get to jump in and out of a lot of these nights and everyone supports each other throughout this... collectives obviously create craziness, and everyone wants to do different things. But then different collectives are born, new nights start appearing and everyone just jumps in and out of each others parties... it's never-ending fun right now. I'm also a movie obsessive, so I have the monthly pass for Cineworld at Parrs Wood and it's the best thing ever. Me and my friend go on full blown cinema days where we don't come out til night, armed with snacks and pre-made joints. It's like a day out. Get up, get out, get high, get lost. I couldn't live without that cinema pass, it's £14 a month and you can watch as many movies as you like... it's absolutely my favourite thing to do. We also go adventuring in Fletcher Moss (Didsbury) if we have a break in movies, it's the most beautiful place and we do lots of daft stuff and completely let go whenever we are there... usually by playing Jurassic Park.

What do you think is missing from Manchester?
We have a serious lack of cinemas. Old Hollywood cinemas, or beat up 1980's cinemas... the cinemas that I read about, and that used to be here. We really don't have enough, and as much as there are way more film screenings happening, which is perfect and wonderful, I still crave a big screen and darkness. I think if Manchester was home to a late night, red-lit cinema then I'd definitely meet my dream date, watch The Lost Boys and drink a lot of beer.

If I was Mayor for a day I would … the worst choice, but also the best. I read that people have raised enough money to make a RoboCop statue in Detroit, so I'd use all of my Mayor power to get a RoboCop statue here... but it's my jawline and lips, so to other people it would look kinda weird but not weird enough for people to comment on, yet I know that it's really me under there... and I'm RoboCop. So it's the worst decision in terms of everything else in the world because I'd be a shit Mayor, but I'd also be a RoboCop statue in the middle of town. It's a fair trade, I think. Then I'd just sit in my office and look at the statue and smile to myself until you all got rid of me. Or kept me as Mayor, depending on your taste in movies.

Who else would you like to nominate to answer this questionnaire?
Ian McShane. Give him my details. And my knickers.

Pam's current exhibition, 'City Of The Van Damned', produced by Two Little Birds, can be seen until Tuesday the 7th of May at 2022 NQ, details here