I turned up on the Saturday with the pirate radio station and a special Blitz festival CD. The live music event had just started in the square next to the exhibition, and the security had already tried to pull the plug. I met up with Alex from Nato and was given a festival guide. This took the form of a subverted Commonwealth Games brochure, printed to look identical to the official one except with a very very different content.
I had a look around the show watched a band play and then headed into the shopping center with the radio station. Manchester city center in the run up to the commonwealth games is a very strange place. On the one hand you have a host of beautiful old buildings that have survived the bombing raids of the Second World War. On the other hand you have a load of bulldozer happy developers doing their best to rip the heart out of Manchester. Glass and metal shopping centers are springing up left right and center with the same usual suspect shops as every other high street in the country.
The commonwealth committee is doing its best to make the city into an ultimate sanitized, consumer friendly, shopping heaven. Homeless people have been cleared off the streets, the shops are air-conditioned and the musak is pumping in the shopping center corridors. A place ripe for a bit of Space Hijacking.
I dressed up smart grabbed the pirate briefcase and strolled into the temple of shopping. I had with me a special CD prepared for the festival and commonwealth games. Tuning the station into a variety of frequencies I broadcast a series of messages. Asking people to question there use of cars over public transport and there level of consumerism. In light of the games the messages asked people to think about third world debt, about how our companies and governments profit from the debt and the position it puts these counties in. About how our levels of consumerism depend upon cheap labour, unsubsidized third world products and pollution above our levels of subsistence. Asking people to think about their role in this system and the direct effect of their spending in this system.