David Adamson reports back on recent goingson from across the city and beyond

In his regular report, Food and Culture Editor David Adamson, with help from Jonathan Schofield, looks back on some of the recent events from across the city and beyond.

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Suzie Thompson, Lucy Hope and Matt & Phred's Claire Turner having fun at the inaugural music quiz Image: Confidentials

Monday 29 April

Music mayhem at Matt & Phred's quiz

Schofield, editor at large, had it large on Bank Holiday Monday when he went to the inaugural Matt & Phred's Quiz 'where the whole quiz is the music round'. The compere was the flamboyant, witty and utterly absurb Jonathan Mayor.

There was a round in which teams had to rewrite the words to Adele's Someone Like You which they all completed with uncompromising filth. There was a guess-the-intro round made harder by the tunes being given a jazz twist. Plastic honkers abounded and the team who honked first got to answer the question. If they got it wrong they were shown excoriating and hilarious scorn from Major. No quarter was given.

Schofield was initially confused by the quiz. He'd been inveigled there by certain individuals who hadn't informed him of the musical nature of the event. He'd gone along to flaunt his general knowledge: you know, show off that he knows the answer is Sucre not La Paz when a quizmaster asks which city is the capital of Bolivia, that sort of thing. 

Anyway the next quiz is on Sunday 2 June, book here. This is manic fun at its most manic. Get yourself booked in, but don't expect any Bolivian questions unless it's: 'Could a member of each team, to the tune of Total Eclipse of the Heart, sing a love ballad by a Bolivian herder to the alpaca with whom he shares his bed.'

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Casa Pomelo by Casamigos Tequila at Freight Island Image: Confidentials

Thursday 2nd May

The first ice bucket of summer

Casa Pomelo by Casamigos Tequila at Freight Island

Blossoms blooming, bucket hats re-emerging, the first chirp of birds seeing you off to bed at 4am - the signs of an imminent summer seem to have arrived. 

But nothing says it's upon us quite like the sight of someone crossing a beer garden clutching a wine cooler and three glasses brimful with ice. I'm glad we had the time to enjoy the winter nights of telly and cosy pub corners, because it looks about ready to kick off quite nicely. 

George Clooney seems to agree, having set up his Casamigos Tequila in the city's very own party tardis, Freight Island. 

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Paloma a'plenty on their way this summer Image: Confidentials

I was invited down there on an unnervingly bright and sunny day to try out George's award-winning mezcal at Casa Pomelo and may just have landed on a new summer drink to break up the G&Ts - the Mezcal Paloma.

Clooney's looney juice has apparently been pickling the great and good of Hollywood for a few years already, so if one balmy Saturday afternoon in the city you spot Julia Roberts having a wee between two parked cars, you know who to blame.

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Studio Critical exhibition @ Design and Craft Centre, NQ Image: Confidentials

Friday 3rd May

But what a wooden spoon 

Studio Critical exhibition @ Design and Craft Centre, NQ

In the exceedingly calm and cosy atmosphere of the Craft and Design Centre there was the exhibition of Studio Critical, showcasing the craftwork of Nick Vorstermans, a man for whom the likes of lathes and bandsaws just don't cut it. 

Nick makes beautiful everyday objects from salvaged wood, and mindfully hones them into shape not just to make the object in an honest way, but also because it's good for the noggin. Here's Nick to explain his ethos.

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Nick said: "For me, craft demands that the maker respects their material and process in a human centric way. My practice embodies this through the creation of beautiful, functional objects made mostly with hand tools. 

"A slow studio practice allows me to consider the complete making process; from sourcing most of my materials through local salvage (or treecycling), each cut and mark I make on the final object through to the customer's experience of cherishing and using my objects. 

"This allows me to immerse myself in the making process, which then comes through into the final piece. My advice for anyone looking to make in this way, is to just go for it, enjoy the journey along the way and you’ll get to where you’re trying to go. Of course taking a workshop with a local maker helps too!"

Nick's exhibition is at the Craft and Design Centre until 24 August

What are you waiting for? Get whittling. 

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Clay pigeon shooting @ Cloudside Shooting Grounds, Congleton Image: Confidentials

Saturday 4th May 


Clay pigeon shooting @ Cloudside Shooting Grounds, Congleton 

My sister's birthday brought the usual day of celebrations, starting with an 11am start at Cloudside Shooting Grounds in Congleton. In a beautiful setting, complete with a clubhouse with Chesterfield sofas in tow, I found it a fantastic place to spend a Saturday afternoon. I would recommend it for a Confidentials team-building day out, but fear it may devolve into Battle Royale before lunchtime. 

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The traps were laid one side of a lovely valley, and the discs whizzed above the heads of unmoved sheep and lambs. It was all very country. 

Here I am in Cheshire Tuxedo with shotgun at the ready.

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David in Cheshire Tuxedo Image: Confidentials

The Mallory Room @ The Church Inn, Mobberley

The party then all headed over to The Church Inn in Mobberley, a classic of a country pub with a private dining room, The Mallory Room, named after Mobberley-born mountaineer George Mallory.

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The Mallory Room @ The Church Inn, Mobberley Image: @churchinnmobb / Instagram

Wednesday 8th May

Press conference @ Gorton Monastery  

Gorton Monastery played host to an important press conference, where it was announced that Greater Manchester is to become the first 'Centre for Excellence for Music and Dementia' following years of inspiring work by Manchester Camerata. I wrote a piece about Gorton Monastery and the Camerata's Dementia Music Cafe back in November of last year. I found it all very moving.

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Gorton Monastery Image: Confidentials

Over £1m of funding has been committed by Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester), Sir Richard Lees (Chair of the NHS Greater Manchester) and the National Academy for Social Prescribing’s Power of Music Fund to enable Greater Manchester to become the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Music and Dementia – hosted by Manchester Camerata. The project will also receive in-kind support from the University of Manchester and Alzheimer’s Society.

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The soothing surroundings of Gorton Monastery Image: Confidentials

This vital funding will enable Manchester Camerata and Alzheimer’s Society to continue their ground-breaking research-based music therapy programmes – Music in Mind (Camerata) and Singing for the Brain (Alzheimer’s Society) to offer more musical support to people living with dementia across all of Greater Manchester.

The funding will support three years of direct musical support activities across all of Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs, starting in October 2024, and Manchester Camerata and The Alzheimer’s Society will also recruit, nurture and train a volunteer and community workforce of over 300 ‘Music Champions’.

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The Music Cafe Image: Duncan Elliot
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Mayor Andy Burnham joins in Image: Jay Cipriani

Here's Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, with a few words on the announcement: "This is fantastic news for Greater Manchester, and a reminder of the power of music to shape our lives and our communities. Manchester Camerata have played a key role in our Music Commission, and I’ve seen firsthand the transformational impact of what they do in our city-region. They are the ideal partner to pioneer the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Music and Dementia, working with the Alzheimer’s Society to unlock the potential of music as therapy.

"This project will provide life-changing support to people with dementia and their carers in our 10 boroughs – support that is grounded in our communities and delivered with a real expert focus. It will also generate groundbreaking research that will influence health and care policy across the country while directly improving lives across Greater Manchester."

For more information on this exciting news visit the Camerata website

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Arighi Bianchi Image: Confidential

Wednesday 8th May

"What a wonderful doll's house"

A Taste of La @ Arighi Bianchi 

Editor-at-lunch Jonathan Schofield was invited to an event - A Taste of LA -  at luxury home furniture and decor store, Arighi Bianchi in Macclesfield, and I joined him as his plus one.  

It's a few years since I'd been in the place, and the building, especially its glass front and almost wilfully confusing warren of stairs, false floors and corridors is the kind of architectural quirk that you just don't get anymore. It's ground floor and open central column, common with buildings of this vintage, would definitely make for a good venue for future events. Just don't spill your red wine on the cream sofa cushions.

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The table laid out Image: Confidentials
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David's seat Image: Confidentials

Wednesday 8th May 

New ad line for venerable store

The very fine celebration of 170 years of Arighi Bianchi in Macclesfield was attended by journalists and ‘influencers’ for drinks and dinner. The building is particularly lovely, a splendid iron framed building from 1892 designed on the same lines as London's long-gone Crystal Palace from three years earlier. It sits on the grandiloquently named The Silk Road famous as far away as Buxton although probably not as far away as Beijing. 

The building will be very familiar to anyone who has travelled by train to London or vice versa. 

Bright spark Schofield had a light bulb moment (aptly so in this store) and said to director Nick Bianchi: “Maybe you should use that as an advertisement. In neon. Across the facade. ‘The Only Furniture Store Recognisable From A Train In The UK’.” Nick Bianchi thought about that for a second and then went to talk to someone else.

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Arighi Bianchi, Macclesfield's splendid survivor with a strong future Image: Wikimedia

Wednesday 8 May

Dog house pub life

After the event Schofield and Adamson went for a drink in the world’s most deserted pub close to Macclesfield Station. The sign above the door was intriguing, ‘No Dogs After 8PM!’ it screamed.

“Do the dogs get antsy and kick off after 8pm in the evening?” asked Schofield. The landlord was one of those characters for whom the use of facial expressions has long been considered redundant and a waste of energy. 

He gave Schofield a suitably blank look and said flatly: “We had a live act on the other night and a man came in with a dog. As the music was playing the dog started crapping all the way down the corridor to the door. It was horrible. It stank. Customers were leaving. It was about 9’o’clock. So, dogs are banned after 8pm now. Especially during live performances.”

It was hard to make any sense of that. Don’t dogs crap before 8pm in Macclesfield? How bad was that live act? 

The whole scenario was a million miles from the refined dining earlier in Arighi Bianchi.

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Dog descrimination after 8pm Image: Confidentials

Get in touch

Got an upcoming and interesting event you think David and the Confidentials team should attend?

Email all the vital info along with any links to davida@confidentials.com under the subject CONFIDENTIAL SAFARI.

That diary won't fill itself.

See you out there.


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See you out there Image: Confidentials

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