An Ode to Thursday Lates // Patrick

Image 01 - manchester gallery at night.jpg

There's an old gallery in Manchester,
If it's art and culture you seek.
Ten while five are its hours
And it's open each day of the week.

But on Thursdays, well Thursdays was different.
On Thursdays they stayed open late.
You could see art until nine in the evening,
And some folks thought that were great.

They came for the painting and sculpture,
And world-renowned Pre-Raphaelites,
But they stayed for the other events
That happened there late Thursday nights.

Each Thursday, at end of the day shift
When Town Hall clock would strike four.
The Thursday Late V.S. team
Would amble up onto atrium floor.

There’d be set-ups to do for the evening;
Chairs, trestles and drops all to shift,
Arranged theatre or cabaret style,
Or else send up and down in the lift.

The ambience in the evening was different
With piped music to lighten the mood.
But Puff the Magic Dragon repeatedly?
It made you want to say something quite rude.

We had dressed-up Viking re-enactors,
And lectures with Powerpoint slides,
We had Philosophy Cafes and Friends tours,
And beer and gin tasting on’t side.

We’ve had video jams and jazz evenings,
And even a posh string quartet,
‘Zine fayres, and English Corners,
And interpretive dance, too, don’t forget.

We’ve tasted Bee-Raphaelite honey,
Held Make Space creative workshops,
Hosted gothic tours by lamplight,
And book launches we hope weren’t a flop.

Once, we had Charleston dance lessons,
Which were quite a bit of a coup.
Some Thursdays were therapeutic,
And some were age-friendly, too.

And then we’ve had gallery take-overs,
From feminists to Proud and Loud Arts,
When folk used the exhibition spaces
To make their own kind of mark.

The events on a Thursday have varied.
Some were big and some they were small.
And sometimes we had loads of visitors,
And sometimes we had no-one at all.

But even when visitors were thin on the ground
We’d challenge ourselves as a team
And count boobs, willies, dogs, cats, or owls
(of which there are five, it would seem).

So here’s to the Thursday Late visitors,
From reg’lars to event attendees,
And those surprised to see lights on,
Who just popped in for a look and a see.

And here’s to the V.S. that worked them;
Contracted and agency staff,
Along with the cleaners, the cafe and shop,
It were long hours, but always a laugh.

And when the last Bing-Bong has sounded,
And the last visitors herded through t’door.
When we finally close at nine, that’s your lot.
The old Thursday Lates are no more.

But don’t feel glum or downhearted,
Or give in to bouts of ennui
Cos’ Thursday Lates have gone down the pan,
Something will turn up, you’ll see.

Cos ‘appen after that, there’s a bit of a gap,
And September, well it may not factor,
But October brings with it First Wednesdays,
- And the start of a spanking new chapter…