Review: Canal Street Gothic. 2 stars.
With a delightfully flamboyant and glamorous reputation, Canal Street is the beating heart of Manchester’s gay scene. The rich and often complex history of Canal Street has been transformed into a collection of ten stories to celebrate the 21st anniversary of Manchester’s Gay Village. ‘Canal Street Gothic’ attempts to juxtapose the bright lights and bustling atmosphere we recognise today with a dark, illicit vision of the past.
I was hoping for a realistic portrayal of a street with so much history and instead was left feeling disappointed. Although amusing at times, in particular ‘Dr Nizami’s Pizzas’ which was set in the student epicentre of Fallowfield, I struggled to engage with most of the stories. They all too often featured two dimensional characters in downright bizarre situations – nudist pancake day, anyone? Instead of the grit and realism that was promised, David Thame presents a collection of stories that verge on being just a little bit unbelievable and dull at times. The potential for a great story to be told is still there, and at times we do see glimpses of it in Thame’s work; ‘Regulars’, the book’s opener is a promising start, featuring real, believable characters. It is just unfortunate that ‘Canal Street Gothic’ runs out of steam before it really gets going.