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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Outside Fold Bistro and Bottle Shop, Marple Bridge Image: Fold_bistro / Instagram

Wednesday 15th May

"Things just got out of hand"

Great British Menu dinner @ Fold Bistro and Bottle Shop, Marple Bridge

I grew up not far from Marple Bridge, and have to say that when I was going with mates to The Royal Scot pub quiz back in the heady days of 2008 I didn't expect the quaint, Cranford-esque Town Street to eventually boast a Great British Menu-grade bistro. It's always been a nice place to live - famed fancy dan Tony Wilson lived there after all - but often hid its light under a bushel. 'Posh Stockport', sure. But still Stockport in all its understated ways. 

As every man and his mate who's a DJ now knows, Stockport is changing and with that so is Marple. The once-ubiquitous OAPs are steadily slipping off this mortal coil (sorry, Grandad) and in their place the graphic designers are descending. And speaking as someone who's partial to a cord jacket, we all need a place to eat.

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Inside Fold Image: Confidentials

Fold Bistro and Bottle Shop kindly invited me to their special one-off evening with a menu that Executive Chef Ryan Stafford prepared in his recent stint on Great British Menu. All six Olympian-themed courses of it plus a wine pairing to boot. Go on then.

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Ryan Stafford on Great British Menu Image: BBC

Owner Sean Finnegan (also owner of a fantastic beard), explained to me a bit about the place before we got down to the dishes. "We meant to open a whisky bar in town and things got out of hand". Hey, who hasn't had one too many and accidentally opened a 36-cover restaurant. It's easily done.

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Ryan's GBM menu Image: Confidentials
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Canape Image: Confidentials
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The Eternal Torch Image: Confidentials
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Made in Water Image: Confidentials
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A Feast For Zeus Image: Confidentials
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A Parisian Eclair Image: Confidentials

As you bloody well know, here at Confidentials we don't critically review food we've very kindly been given for free. So all I'll say is that I would really very much like to go back to Fold really very soon to try their succinct, seasonal menu. I reckon you should go too.

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The pass Image: Confidentials
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The Wine Pairings Image: Confidentials

The wine was bloody delightful, both on their own terms and as a part of a pairing menu curated with an eye not just for quality, but for drinking something interesting. It is in the name after all, and the 'Bottle Shop' aspect is executed in a beautifully simple way; you can pay, let's say, £30 for a bottle of Chablis and take it away, or you can drink it in Fold and they'll knock a decent chunk off the price. Call the cops, Fold's being openly burgled by three couples on a mission to get shitfaced. 

I couldn't be happier Marple has a neighbourhood restaurant of this sort of calibre with such an easygoing charm. And the next time I go I'll try and fit in the pub quiz while I'm at it.

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10 Years of Adidas SPZL Exhibition Image: Confidentials

Thursday 16th May

A SPZL Invitation

10 Years of Adidas SPZL Exhibition @ Four Teen, Market Street, Darwen

Assistant Publisher Harley Young made the vertiginous climb up to Darwen to see The Decade - an exhibition dedicated to ten years of the Adidas SPZL. Here's her report. 

The DECADE - 10 Years of Adidas SPZL Exhibition opened in Darwen, on 17th May and will stick about until 26th.

Featuring the complete Adidas SPZL footwear archive and highlights from the 10 years of apparel collections, this retrospective exhibition showcases vintage design references, unseen samples, technical drawings, signed footwear and a large selection of rare Adidas SPZL artefacts.

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Some of the trainers on display Image: Confidentials

SPZL curator, Darwen designer Gary Aspen said: “Hosting the DECADE exhibition here in Darwen is a way of putting something back into the community where I grew up.

“Some may question why we would choose to do an exhibition like this in a relatively small town rather than amongst the cultural hub of a major city. There are post-industrial towns like Blackburn with Darwen all over the UK and I guess the ambition is to demonstrate what can be possible in towns like this with a bit of investment and imagination.

“This new exhibition will once again attract thousands of people to Blackburn with Darwen and we’re looking forward to running it over the same weekend as Darwen Live – the largest free music festival in the country.”

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Manchester Jazz Festival 2024 Image: Confidentials

Friday 17th May

"Music's at the heart of what we do because of everything it delivers to the city"

Manchester Jazz Festival launch @ HOME 

Manchester's longest-running music festival kicked off at HOME, with Tony Wilson Place awash with sunshine and spectators. It was a genuinely lovely sight to be greeted with as I came from Whitworth Street.

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The crowd on Tony Wilson Place Image: Confidentials

The words Manchester and Music Festival might bring to mind one particular carnival of bucket hats and vague menace over in Heaton Park. But Manchester Jazz Festival deserves much greater acclaim, consistently bringing through young and exciting artists and groups and contributing something positive to the city. Speaking at the launch, Arts Council England's Relationship Manager, Vicky Merriman explained the organisation's Let's Create strategy.

"Firstly," she said. "We want creative people whose lives are made better through their involvement with us. Secondly, communities, towns, villages and cities that are thriving from a collaborative approach to culture. And thirdly, England as a country being recognised for culture and innovation, and Manchester Jazz Festival is a brilliant example of how this has successfully been delivered."

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Mackie Mayor Image: Confidentials

Saturday 18th May

A not so Hostile Environment  

Following our dinner at TNQ, Editor-at-Lunch Jonathan Schofield and I decided we needed more wine, so popped up the road to Mackie Mayor and the city centre outpost of Burton Road boozehounds Reserve Wines.

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May as Medusa Image: Confidentials

Under the severed head of Theresa May as Medusa, Jonathan had a tempranillo ("rich and full") and I went for a glass of Vinho Verde, which was only faintly frisante, the right amount. A fantastic glass of wine that you actually enjoy for rooting out the flavours and not just for the obvious joy of getting slowly more drunk.

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Holt Town Image: Confidentials

Monday 20th May

Van doors don't grow on trees

Holt Town tour

Holt Town is a mess of a neglected area between New Islington and the Co-op Live/Etihad complex. The city has big plans for the place over the next ten years and wants to deliver 4,500 homes and lots of green and leisure space. The scheme will be led by Studio Egret West leading a multi-disciplinary team. You might know Studio Egret West from their splendid work at Mayfield Park. 

Confidentials.com took a tour with the City coordinator and, wow, a lot of work needs doing. You can see the potential in the landscape with the River Medlock and the Ashton Canal and the undulating landscape but my-oh-my Holt Town is going to need some scrubbing.

The trees there bear some very odd fruit. In the picture above there’s a full van door bearing somewhat hilariously the words ‘Property Maintenance’. We all know van doors don’t grow on trees. It has company too, in the form of a recycling bin. The hope is Holt Town can be fully recycled in due course.

Jonathan Schofield

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Manchester Fashion Institute's Graduate Showcase @ New Century Hall Credit: David Oates

Tuesday 21st May

Little Bo Peep meets Pussy Riot and Paris Hilton

Manchester Fashion Institute's Graduate Showcase @ New Century Hall

A still reasonably sunny Tuesday saw the Manchester Fashion Institute's Graduate Showcase at New Century Hall, the annual showcase of MMU final year students' talents. The new venue of NCH is apt, a grander, cooler, more impressive environment for work that deserves such a setting.

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The catwalk Credit: David Oates
2024 05 24 Safari 3 Mfi Show Backstage Nathan Cutler
Backstage Credit: Nathan Cutler
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Half time crowds outside Image: Confidentials

The attendees were essentially friends and family, and it was genuinely heartening to see such obviously proud parents, many in their painstakingly-chosen coolest outfits, all of them seeing a surprisingly tangible endpoint to the sentence from three and a half years ago: "I think I'd like to study fashion."

With a focus on sustainable means of designing pieces (they're not clothes in the fashion world) and stemming the tide of fast fashion, there was a showcase of a CGI-generated catwalk. While not as impactful or, ultimately, as interesting as the established live catwalk, the pieces on display would be expensive to make. So a sort of digital sandbox like this allows for stranger and imaginative designs to flourish without having to worry about actually making the thing.

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The CGI-generated catwalk Image: Nathan Cutler

Back in the physical realm, the catwalks were a carnival of creative associations, each of the graduates putting their obsessions front and centre. In lieu of actually trying to describe what they looked like, here are my associations from what I saw. 

Khaki, Paris Hilton clutch bags, hot pink, tassels and extra baggage, a take on face masks, regency white, starch white shirts Jane Birkin, fish net tote bags and waders, hoods, holes, pads and bare shoulders. Floral prints, football shirts, frills, ruffs and a few trip hazards. 

An open playing field design-wise.

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Ōdiobā @ Lower Hillgate, Stockport Image: Confidentials

Thursday 23rd May

Seven Miles Out

Ōdiobā welcome evening @ Lower Hillgate, Stockport

Back to sunny Stockport, and this time for a visit to Ōdiobā, the latest addition to Underbanks and a reboot of Nam, the popular listening bar/Vietnamese restaurant once on Cutting Room Square in Ancoats. 

Now in the more relaxed environs of Underbanks, or Lower Hillgate if we're being picky, you can see the changing of the guard in the shop opposite; still selling much the same stuff it did a decade ago - bongs. 

I got chatting to John Barratt of Foodie Friday fame, a walking stream-of-consciousness of all things Stocky, and he said the unit now housing Ōdiobā was once a sex shop, which fits alongside the bongs rather well. 

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Inside Ōdiobā Image: Confidentials
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Inside Ōdiobā Image: Confidentials

The red velvet vibe was all disappeared and the three floors now an exercise in understated Scandi-esque style, perhaps as you'd expect. I personally liked the plants. Of course much of the pull of Ōdiobā is the famed sound system, so here's to hoping the place gets plenty of use out of it. It's a warm and relaxing atmosphere in there, and made all the better by walking outside for some fresh air and not being right in the middle of a busy city centre. Town centre life is thankfully at a slightly slower pace. 

As the evening drew to a close so did John's picaresque, where he relayed a tale of John Cale - Velvet Underground viola and bass player, comfortably coolest Welshman and producer of The Stooges, Horses and, it transpires, Happy Mondays' debut Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile.

In the studio, Mondays guitarist Mark Day was twiddling away on some complex jazz chords you wouldn't expect from the Mondays. This impressed Cale, who was half-expecting to be babysitting a gang of feral scallies. 

"Where did you get those chords?" asked Cale.

"Marks and Spencer," said Mark. "They're the only ones that fit me."

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Civic Reception for Manchester City @ National Football Museum Image: Confidentials

Sunday 26th May

Civic Reception for Manchester City @ National Football Museum

The Civic Reception for Manchester City at the National Football Museum was a sweet occasion, kept intentionally intimate. This was a prelude to a victory parade through city centre streets. Timing was a bit off as this was the day after losing to, of all teams, Manchester United in the FA Cup final. 

Still, the team seemed in fine spirits, after all they had three successes to celebrate including a record fourth Premier League title in a row. Before the team left for their open top bus tour, they and the guests were serenaded by the talented young singer Jacey Mae. It was good to see a real togetherness as the lads enthusiastically danced and joined in with, inevitably, Wonderwall, Don’t Look Back in Anger and Blue Moon

The team seemed like real pals. Manager Pep Guardiola could be seen belting it out too and recording the moment on his phone. Now stop it, you United cynics, Don’t Look Back in Anger was not about the previous day’s result; it’s a regular in the Manchester City vocal canon and remember, United have never won four titles in a row.

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Ferran Soriano, CEO of the City Football Group Image: Confidentials

Before the sing-along Ferran Soriano, the CEO of the City Football Group had made by turns a funny and moving speech. This included the words: “A lot of us were not born here but we all live here and we’ve learned about the Manchester spirit. We’ve learned about greed, resilience, we’ve learned about working hard, about enduring defeat…and then we suffer, but we suffer together and then we work harder and harder to go back again, that’s part of the culture of this city.” 

Lovely that Ferran, but hold on, ‘greed’? Surely you meant something else given City’s moneybags reputation? 115 charges and all that.

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Confidential Safari #3 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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