David Adamson reports back on last week's arty goingson

In his regular report, Food and Culture Editor David Adamson looks back on some of the previous week's cultural events from across the city.

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Aviva 2
Artist Social @ Aviva Studios Image: Confidentials

Tuesday 16th April

"It doesn't matter, just do something. Eventually a picture will appear."

Artist Social with David Hoyle @ Aviva Studios 

Factory International's HQ, Aviva Studios, hosted the latest of its monthly Artist Social events. Free for all to attend (just book a ticket) and tied in with the current programme, it's an opportunity to mingle with other artistes and swap tips on the best way to break in a pair of Doc Martens.  This month's social was hosted by comedian, compere, cabaret host and caustic cue ball, Jonathan Mayor, who interviewed David Hoyle about his work and showcase currently taking over Aviva, Please Feel Free to Ignore my Work.

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Aviva 4
David Hoyle interviewed by Jonathan Mayor Image: Confidentials
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Aviva 3
David Hoyle's work adorning Aviva Studios Image: Confidentials

A range of David's paintings adorned the communal space of Factory International's multi-million pound sandbox - less a welcome splash of colour than a much-needed neon bloodbath. Both Jonathan and David were charming, brash and brazen - opening with a lighthearted bit of business about the royal family, child abuse and voting Tory, their tongues firmly in their cheeks while a few jaws were audibly clanging on the floor. 

This is a fantastic blank slate of a regular event from Factory International. Now that all the pomp and circumstance of Aviva's opening is properly out of the way, this is just what the place needs - fresh, freewheeling and funny events to keep a lot of that pretentiousness at bay. With its eye very much fixed on being the go-to cultural hub in the north, Factory International would do well to heed David Hoyle's refreshingly understated take on creating art: "It doesn't matter, just do something. Eventually a picture will appear".

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Aviva
Artist Social @ Aviva Studios Image: Confidentials

Wednesday 17th April

Real Madrid fans kept with tradition and piled into Sinclairs Oyster Bar for a few cervezas ahead of the second leg of the Champions League quarter final against Man City. 

No idea what happened after that. Anyway, let's move on.

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Rhs 9
RHS Urban Show at Mayfield Depot Image: Confidentials

Thursday 18th April

"It smells nice in here"

RHS Urban Show @ Mayfield Depot

Like a daffodil sprouting from a paving flag, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS to you and I) took over Mayfield Depot for its first Urban Show, dedicated to all things flowery and blossoming, but in the urban environment. A fantastic idea and where better than the place pavements go to die, Manchester.

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Rhs 4
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Rhs 5
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Rhs 6

I arrived for the press conference, where the great, good and greenfingered of the media took a seat in the pub beer garden - The Tipp Inn - designed by Emma Tipping, a former RHS Young Designer of the Year contender and Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal Winner. 

This handsome arrangement of planters and benches will then this week be installed outside the community-owned Star Inn in Higher Broughton, Salford, after the pub's pitch to be The Hanging Gardens of Broughton clearly tickled judges from the RHS and Manchester Evening News

Designer Emma explained that the garden will be as much for bees as beer-drinkers, which will hopefully incentivise more cohabitation between us and those furry little things we see so often painted on bins, benches and anything with a square inch of space, but are lesser-spotted actually buzzing about.

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Rhs 3
The Star Inn's Mick Smith, Lorraine Gainsborough and Jane Dudley Image: Confidentials
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Rhs 7
The outdoors indoors Image: Confidentials
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Rhs 8
Light loving houseplants Image: Confidentials

The show was in partnership with clothing company 'designed for the love of gardening', Mad About Land, whose co-founder Bob James Sheard was very helpfully in a pithy mood, espousing the simple principle of his company: "To leave land better than you found it." 

For you etymology fans out there, he also explained their delight in staging the show in Manchester, lauding the city's creativity as being about "humility, humanity and humour", all of which derive from the same root word in latin, humus, meaning 'land', a point as tidy and simply executed as the planters surrounding us.

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Gtr Mancs 3
Greater Mancunians exhibition @ Central Library Image: Confidentials

"It's grown out of control"

Greater Mancunians Photography Exhibition Launch @ Central Library

It was something of a student showcase last week in the city, as Central Library launched its Greater Mancunians photography exhibition, a collaboration between Manchester College photography students and a raft of renowned Mancunians who posed as their subjects. 

Exhibited until 30 June, the portraits are a series of characterful, artistically assured photographs that more than translate something of their subjects' personalities, and all by a very promising cohort of young photographers. 

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Gtr Mancs Gallery 2
Johnny Marr Image: Confidentials
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Gtr Mancs Gallery 1
Mark and Lard Image: Confidentials
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Gtr Mancs Gallery 3
Craig Cash Image: Confidentials

In a city seemingly stuffed with amateur snappers, I don't doubt many professionals of the future will rise from these ranks, having achieved something that Photography Tutor at Manchester College, Harry Potts said gave "a really complete cross-section of what Manchester is about". 

He also thanked all the contributors, especially the ones like John Cooper Clarke who joined the project early on, saying "they reap the benefits as they look the youngest in the gallery".

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Viadux Launch View
The view from Viadux Image: Confidentials

Friday 19th April 

Manchester is not finished but there are dusty parts

Viadux Launch

Jonathan Schofield, editor at lunch…er…large, was at the launch of Viadux, the forty story tower next to Beetham Tower on Friday. The developer is Salboy/Domus and the architects SimpsonHaugh led by Ian Simpson and Rachel Haugh.

SimpsonHaugh as designers have redefined the city centre skyline with their towers. Gazing out from the as yet unfinished penthouse flats with the city centre spread out like a map, Schofield said to Ian Simpson: “Look at the density of the city centre now compared to 20-years-ago; all the new buildings.” 

Simpson replied: “Halfway there. Plenty still to do, just halfway there.” Good optimism, that. The city’s not finished, let’s hope it never will be. 

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Viadux Pool
The pool at Viadux Image: Confidentials

Back down in the smart, swish ground floor with its extravagant residents’ swimming pool, incongruous chess set and polished and shiny floor there were gasps of horror. Some clumsy bugger had created a mess of mucky footprints. It was Schofield whose clodhopping Chelsea boots had left a plaster trail from the penthouse floors that started from the lifts and finished directly under those clodhopping boots. “Yes, sorry, it’s me,” said Schofield as people stared, “I’ll get my coat.”

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Partisan Poster
Partisan All Day Party @ Islington Mill Image: Confidentials

Saturday 20th April 

"I'm sure I've been here before"

Partisan All Day Party #18 @ Islington Mill

After a comparatively quiet Friday night, taking in a few post-work pints in The Levenshulme and Overdraught with a friend, on Saturday afternoon I met with mates to head over the river to Islington Mill, where co-op and community space Partisan Collective held its 'All Day Party' from 2pm to 10pm. A decidedly more relaxed affair than when I was at that same venue some 12 years ago, the decision to hold a party during the day was, to this grizzled old hand, something of a godsend.

The courtyard of Islington Mill was relatively awash with sun and blue skies, and the atmosphere showing signs of tending towards those seemingly unending summer evenings, where the city wakes up and before you know it, the mad blood begins to stir.

2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Inslington Mill
Islington Mill Image: Confidentials
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Partisan
Partisan Image: Confidentials
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Partisan Dj Mummy
DJ Mummy Image: Confidentials
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Partisan Tom Sharkett
Tom Sharkett Image: Confidentials
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Partisan Crowd 2
2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Partisan Crowd

Organised by Partisan Collective regular DJ Mummy and featuring W.H Lung's Tom Sharkett, this was a just the sort of community-focussed event that perfectly fills a Saturday.

No needless nonsense on the door, no knobheads, and - best of all - if you join Partisan as a member they chip a few quid off the price of your drinks. You can't say fairer than that.

2024 04 34 Con Safari 1 Coop Live Launch
Co-op Live Launch Image: Confidentials

Flattery in the face of chaos

Co-op Live launch @ well, Co-op Live

At the controversial and chaotic Saturday launch of Co-op Live the boss of venue operator Oak View Group, Tim Leiweke, was schmoozing the city. 

During his speech he said in enthusiastic American tones: “We’ve worked in so many cities everywhere, so many cities. I can tell you Manchester is definitely the most supportive and best governed of them all.” 

This may come as a surprise to some in Manchester. Council Leader Bev Craig was heard saying later: “I said to Tim I bet you say that to all the cities.”

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.


2024 04 23 Con Safari 1 Rhs 2
Confidential Safari #1 Image: Confidentials

If you liked this you may also like....

‘Seasoned pros’: Happy Seasons, Chinatown, reviewed

Hotspur Press to host brick clad 36-storey tower

Get the latest news to your inbox

Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email by signing up to our mailing list. This is one of the ways that Confidentials remains free to our readers and by signing up you help support our high quality, impartial and knowledgable writers. Thank you!


Join our WhatsApp group

You can also get regular updates on news, exclusives and offers by joining the Manchester Confidential WhatsApp group.

Join the Manchester Confidential WhatsApp Group