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manchester matters BUSINESS*TRANSPORT*SOCIETY MAY 2011 ONLINE FREE - HARD COPY £2

Incorporating

TransportMatters

STANDING UP FOR BRITAIN’S FIRST CITY REGION

Charging ahead Plugging in without blowing a fuse Pages 8&9

I K HE

! E L ND

W O N

T N O


3

Bolton Food and Drink

4&5

Local Elections

6

Ad Rates

7

Andrew Gwynne

8&9

Electric Future

10—12

Arts

13

TechMatters

14-17

Detonation

18&19

Blue Moon Risen

20

News

22

Wine

24&25

High Speed Rail

26&27

Travel

28&29

TransportMotors

30&31

Val de France

32

Lowry’s Tutor

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ritain’s number one restaurateur will head the line-up for Bolton’s sixth Food and Drink Festival.

Michael Caines, the two Michelin-starred chef at the Gidleigh Park restaurant in Devon and executive chef of Abode Hotels, will open this year‘s extravaganza. The festival, which last year pulled in an estimated 75,000 visitors, will take place from Friday, August 26 to Monday, August 29. The four-day festival, organised by Bolton Council, will take over Victoria Square and Oxford Street, with plans to expand this year‘s event even further around the town centre.

Success Michael Caines said: ―I am extremely honoured to be asked to officially open the Bolton Food and Drink Festival. This is the ultimate foodie event and is not to be missed. I am confident that it will supersede the success of last year‘s event to ensure that this festival remains firmly on the calendar for many years to come.‖ Caines, who lost his right arm in a car accident 15 years ago, was the protégé of renowned chef Raymond Blanc and he was awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality industry in 2006. Last year‘s star, Italian chef Gino D‘Acampo, will return along with Hairy Bikers culinary duo Si King and Dave Myers and Yorkshire chef James Martin. Tickets for the celebrity chef demonstrations will go on sale in June. Register interest in the festival at:

MICHAEL CAINES

JAMES MARTIN

HAIRY BIKERS

GINO D‘ACAMPO

www.boltonfoodanddrinkfestival.com. 3


SPOTLIGHT Return of the Reds T he voters of Greater Manchester returned in force to their red routes with a rout of Lib Dems in the local elections.

Just one council – Trafford – is in Conservative hands and another – Stockport – remains in the balance after Labour swept to power in Bolton, Bury, Oldham and, after post election deflections, Rochdale. The party strengthened its grip on Manchester - where Lib Dem leader Simon Ashley was a victim, Salford, Tameside, and Wigan. Terrible The results give Labour a 82 majority on the new Greater Manchester Combined Authority and a massive 20 to 13 majority on the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee. Summing up the Lib Dem misery, Simon Ashley said: "This is a terrible night for the Lib Dems in Manchester and seemingly in many big northern big cities. Many good Lib Dem Councillors have lost their seats be-

By Alan Salter

cause we have been punished for being in national Government. On the loss of his own seat of Gorton South, Mr Ashley added: "I have no regrets about our local campaign. Both myself and my father before me have served as a Councillor for Gorton South ward for 19 years. It has been an honour." Passion Meanwhile, the victors quickly got down to business. In Oldham, new leader Councillor Jim McMahon said: ―We have brought together a cabinet with a real mix of talent, experience and passion to move Oldham forward. I am confident with this strong team in place we can set about the challenge of meeting financial pressures whilst investing in Oldham's future, creating a Cooperative McMahon Council

and devolving power and decision making to neighbourhoods." The new Labour administration at Transport for Greater Manchester is to take a hard line with bus operators. Furious The authority has been ruled by a Lib Dem/Tory coalition for the last four years and Labour takes back control as Lib Dem chairman Councillor Keith Whitmore appeared to be on the verge of reestablishing good relations with operators following a furious row over fare rises. TfGM had threatened to tear up its voluntary agreements with bus operators and use the law to control fares after First

Ashley 4


ON LOCAL ELECTIONS s Routs Lib Dems Manchester managing director Richard Soper wrote a letter apparently blaming rises in concessionary fares for increasing First‘s fares in the area at the same time. First‘s regional managing director Dave Alexander then met with Councillor Whitmore and has now written a letter apologising for the ―misunderstanding and tensions‖ caused. Councillor Whitmore told Manchester Matters before the election : ―We have not trodden the quality contracts

route because we talked about partnership. I thought we had a good relationship on partnership working. I am hoping to mend those fences and if we can and it works, quality contracts do not have to come in.‖ Review But Councillor Whitmore will lose the chairmanship at the annual meeting on June 24 and Labour councillors are still angry over the fares. Schoolchildren who once paid a flat 80p concessionary fare are now being

charged half the adult fare. But Labour members claim that most operators would only charge half fare commercially and want to make sure that no public subsidies are paid. Former chairman Councillor Roger Jones said: ―I want to know if we are paying operators for the half fare and if so, why ? ―I will be calling for a full review of every penny we spend on concessionary fares and then see if we can make any changes.‖

BOLTON

BURY

MANCHESTER

OLDHAM

ROCHDALE

Labour gain

Labour gain

Labour hold

Labour gain

Labour gain

SALFORD

STOCKPORT

TAMESIDE

TRAFFORD

WIGAN

Labour hold

No overall control

Labour hold

Con hold

Labour hold

5


Call Alan on 0161 307 0534

CONTACT ADS@MANCHESTERMATTERS.CO.UK 6


I

recently spoke at a Westminster Hall debate about local rail schemes and it certainly did raise a number of interesting issues that affect us here in Manchester. One of the main themes running through the debate was that that better connectivity between centres of economic activity helps to further stimulates economic growth and activity that goes on there. Clearly with rising oil prices and road congestion, people are looking more and more at rail as an option. But with ever busy lines and commuter congestion we do need to look at ways of dealing with increased demand. In the debate there was a great deal of discussion about the benefits of improvements to local rail schemes. In many in-

stances, they could benefit local areas by increasing economic prosperity and improving access to the rail network for local communities. Sometimes smaller enhancements, such as lengthening platforms to allow for longer trains or doubling single tracks can have a really beneficial effect . The former approach has been taken on some London commuter routes, and the latter is appropriate in rural areas that have become bottlenecks. As we have seen in Manchester, there has been the recent announcement on the Ordsall curve. Although I welcome the fact that the Ordsall curve will link Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria stations by the end of 2016, it is only one aspect of the northern hub scheme. There is no Government commitment to the entire programme, a point I pressed them on during the debate. It is also worth making the point that a recent Transport Select Committee Re-

ANDREW GWYNNE MP With

Shadow Transport Minister port identified the way in which transport investment per head in London and the south-east was three times as much as in other regions of the country. Some smaller rail projects all across the North west might be a way to redress the balance, and I certainly hope this will be addressed in the next Network Rail control period. So smaller rail schemes, such as the Ordsall Curve represent a small but very important proportion of the schemes on our rail network. We will certainly be looking at the benefits of them as part of the Labour Party Policy review, but I hope that they will be given due consideration by this Government. 7


„POWER UP FOR ELECT MEET CARBON CUT RUL

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reater Manchester will need a huge power boost if its bid to persuade drivers into electric cars succeeds. The amount of electricity needed for an electric car to drive 80 miles is the same as an average home‘s daily consumption and experts believe that so many drivers will switch over the coming decades that 60 per cent of all mileage will be by electric cars by 2050, creating massive demand. Grant Oldham Council‘s cabinet will meet next month to formalise its position as the lead authority to spend a £3.6 government grant is to set up across Greater Manchester 300 fast charging points able to charge a typical vehicle in three to four hours, and five rapid chargers able to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes. Four PODs, electric car ‗onestop shops‘ will showcase vehicles, sell, lease, charge and maintain them.. And by this autumn, Oldham will also set up a head office where motorists‘ bills for the power they use to recharge

their batteries using smart cards. But one of its partners in the project, Electricity North West, is warning that there will have to be a increase in supplies. Paul Bircham, Customer Strategy and Regulation Director for Electricity North West, said: ―If all the vehicles coming into Manchester were electric and wanted to charge up, we would need double the supply.‖ Electricity North West bought United Utilities electricity assets in 2007 and now owns and maintains 13,000km of overhead lines and 43,000km of underground cables across the North West, delivering electricity to 2.4 million homes and businesses. The company is investing £1.4bn over the next four years to replace equipment which was installed in the 1950s and 60s but its challenge for 2050 is to increase demand while meeting the government‘s promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent. "Generally it will mean using more electricity from renewable sources, with smallerscale power generation using wind and solar energy,‖ said Mr Bircham. ―It also means using electric cars instead of petrol or diesel, and electric heating instead

Exclusive by A of gas – and our network needs to be able to cope with that. "We‘re totally focused on the North west, so we want to work with local people to make sure that our network meets their specific needs.‖ Despite the recent disaster in Japan, says Mr Bircham, after a safety review, nuclear energy will still be the way forward, supplemented by wind power and householders selling power to the grid from domestic turbines. The problem is that wind power does not produce electricity when the wind does not blow and nuclear power stations are not designed for short-term surges in demand. The answer, says Mr Bircham, will be to balance de-

8


TRIC CARS‟ TO LES See also

TechMatters on page 13

Alan Salter

mand with smart meters which can ―talk‖ to a control room with the technology to reduce the amount of power being used by domestic appliances like central heating and freezers. But Mr Bircham promised: ―If we get this right, people will not notice.‖ Meanwhile, Manchester has been selected as the first UK city to host a comprehensive test drive of the new Nissan LEAF, voted 2011 World Car of the Year, and acknowledged as the first massproduced, electric family car in the country. Six Nissan LEAF models have been available for test drives as part of a European City Tour which also showcased an interactive exhibition with games and displays

and a 3D film of the LEAF, along with a ‗Jungle of Opinion‘ style diary room where customers recorded their thoughts about the groundbreaking car. The LEAF is a five-seater family car which comes with features like climate control air conditioning, satellite navigation, a parking camera, a rapid charge socket and internet connectivity. It is equipped with a compact lithium-ion battery pack that, when charged to full capacity, gives a range of 110 miles. And thanks to Nissan‘s network of Electric Vehicle dealerships, the company claims that drivers are never far from a charging point. Launched earlier this year, Nissan‘s network of 26 EV dealerships are equipped with specialist equipment and facilities including dedicated service bays in the workshops and designated parking spaces, to ensure customers are provided with the very best service. Each dealership will also offer a rapid battery charger where customers can charge their Nissan LEAF up to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes. Nissan says the network of fast chargers means that over 90 per cent of the UK population are no more than 50 miles from a fast charger.

Mini Test

P

ut aside thoughts of milk floats and Sinclair C5s.This is proper grown-up electric motoring. The first thing you notice is just how “car-like” it is. The second thing is just how quick it is. In drive mode, the Leaf is a match for most in the getaway from the lights and you have to keep an eye on the speedometer to avoid breaking the law. The faint-hearted may choose the economy mode which gives you slower pace in return for a longer range. There are just two pedals and the car is similar to a traditional automatic to start - foot on the brake, select drive, foot on accelerator - and it pulls away beautifully smoothly. Its sharp handling matches its turn of speed. Of course, it is a city car rather than a grand tourer - however luxurious the genuine five-seat interior. The maximum 100 miles between charges does not sound much but ask yourself, how many days do you do no more than drive to work and back again? Let's just hope all those battery scientists are on overtime because, as good as it is, the Leaf needs a 400-mile range to justify its £26,000 price tag. Alan Salter 9


Brin

Suns

Malcolm Handley reviews Mama Mia!

A

tongue-incheek warning before curtain up warned those theatregoers of a nervous disposition that Mamma Mia! contained high platform shoes and some dodgy 60s clothing - it set the scene for a musical nostalgia -fest and a story which refuses to grow old. The Abba inspired musical just continues to spread a sun-kissed feel good atmosphere almost a dozen years since it first hit the stage.

The secret is simple. The songs - more than 20 Abba hits - fit comfortably into the story and the story fits seamlessly into the songs. Add to that a bowl of self-deprecating humour, a slice of soul searching, a pinch of irony, a generous sprinkling of love and gallons of fun and sunshine and you have the perfect recipe for a wonderful piece of entertainment.

owns a taverna with her daughter Sophie who is getting married. Sophie decides - without a word to her mother - to invite her father. Fair enough, except that at the height of her in her rock chickery, Donna was rather generous with her favours and any one of three former suitors could be the one and, yes, you‘ve guessed it, Sophie invites the feckless trio.

Energy

Sara Poyzer is superb as Donna, aided and abetted with tremendous fun and energy by Jennie Dale and Kate Graham - the other members of Donna‘s former singing group. Individually they are sublime, together they are ridiculously great fun - reliving past glories, creating new havoc and finding future passions, Superb.

All that‘s needed to make the show complete is a great cast and this International Tour production has just that - good voices and tons of energy. For anyone who doesn‘t know the story - there may be a few it is set on a small Greek island where former rock chick Donna

10


ng me

The course of Fred’s true love runs smooth, I say,

shine! Charlotte Wakefield is the charming and delightful Sophie who has a great voice and a mischievously winning smile. With such a well-balanced, talented and boundlessly energetic ensemble cast it is perhaps unfair to single out individual performances. It is a great evening of entertainment - just ignore those in the audience who can‘t stop themselves from singing along - you may well want to yourself.

Smile If you are wondering just how Abba‘s music fits into this laughter and chaos. Grab yourself a ticket and bask in the stage sunshine. I defy you to come away without a spring in your step, a smile on your face and a dozen Abba songs spinning round your mind. It is far better than the film and arguably more fun than that other wedding this month.

*Mamma Mia! is at the Palace Theatre Manchester until 18 June.

smooth

A

ctor John Savident, best known as love-struck butcher Fred Elliot in Coronation Street, will be the narrator for Manchester Camerata's performances of Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night's Dream on May 26, 27 and 28. These performances will intersperse Mendelssohn’s music with a dramatic narration taken from Shakespeare‟s play. Savident has had a long and varied career on both stage and screen. He had roles in a number of award-winning films including A Clockwork Orange, Ghandi and Remains of the Day, as well as appearing on the small screen in series such as Yes, Minister, Jeeves and Wooster, Dr Who and Blake’s Seven.

Aplomb It was, however, his long-running portrayal of romantic butcher Fred Elliot in Coronation Street that made him a household name. Since leaving, he has returned to the stage, taking the lead in a touring production of Hobson’s Choice, and performing the role of Sir Joseph Porter in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. In 2005 he played the typewriter with the Hallé with some aplomb in a Prom performance of Eric Satie's Parade; on another occasion he helped adjudicate a singing competition at the RNCM. The three Summer Dream concerts take place at different venues: Doncaster Civic Theatre (26 May), Stafford Gatehouse Theatre (27 Satin ‘n’ Steel at Oldham Coliseum review is at http://www.manchestermatters.co.uk/12.html 11


S

o which of Kay Mellor’s talents are we to celebrate? Actress or playwright?

Oldham Coliseum‘s season has been warming up nicely but this superb piece if genius is going to be hard to better. As a drama, it is a riot of tears and laughter, raw with emotion, tragedy, hilarity, and down-to-earth references which anchor it firmly in a time and place we all recognise. She plays her own mother but is so good at it that she quickly becomes everyone‘s mother. And to watch a mother deconstructing her marriage can be painful... There is something else which elevates this performance - the stagecraft. Without spoiling the surprise, I will only say that after an intense first half which leaves you wondering where else it can go, the post-interval fireworks will take your breath away. And that has to be as much to the credit of designer Richard Foxton whose clever set brings so many unexpected twists. And if it was choreographer Beverley Edmunds who taught Stuart Manning (playing Mellor‘s dead lover) his ghostly entrances, then congratulations to her too. A Passionate Woman runs until June 14. It is one of the finest stage plays I have seen. Alan Salter

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B

usinesses in Greater Manchester are being asked to take part in a cutting -edge energy trial – the first of its kind in the country – to adjust businesses’ demands for electricity at peak times. The trial by network operator Electricity North West, will enable regional businesses and organisations to be paid to reduce their energy usage when capacity is needed to support the grid. It aims to help manage a rise in electricity use, which the Department of Energy and Climate Change predict will double by 2050, by reducing demand in peak periods. ―As we move to a low carbon economy, people are likely to be using more and more electricity, using it to power their heating and cars, instead of gas and petrol,‖ said customer strategy director, Paul Bircham. ―But the local network that we own and maintain can only carry a certain amount. So the challenge for us, and our customers, is to find ways to cope with the

increase in demand without just building more and more lines.‖. ENW has signed a contract with EnerNOC, an international leader in energy management, to bring technology used to adjust demand for electricity to the local North West network. Big businesses who use a lot of power will be offered incentives to become part of the scheme. State-of-the-art technology will then allow ENW to ask them to reduce their demand at certain times—without disruption to their business. The trials in Stockport and Bury are expected to operate for five years. If the scheme is successful it could be introduced to the rest of the North West.

TechMatters

Power dealing on trial to cut peak demand

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G

RAHAM Stringer’s dealings with David Trippier over the Free Trade Hall were an indication that the council leader was not as averse to doing business with the private sector as he had appeared. The behind the scenes dealmaking between left-wing council leader and a string of leading north west businessman – including John Whittaker, the reclusive Isle of Man-based boss of Peel Holdings – would not only have raised an eyebrow in Westminster, but also within Stringer‟s own radical Labour group. Though 1987‟s election result was the pivotal moment, triggering the profound political changes that were to shape Manchester‟s future, Stringer had been on a learning curve about working hand in hand with some of the region‟s key private sector players virtually

from the start of his time in office, though few realised the implications. And it all began with the audacious suggestion that Manchester should bid for the Olympic Games. As early as October 1984, when he arrived back in Manchester from the Labour Conference in Blackpool, Stringer received a message that Bob Scott was seeking a meeting. Scott, a diplomat‟s son who had acted in the West End, had arrived in Manchester in 1967. He launched the revolutionary Royal Exchange Theatre on the vast former trading floor and was credited with saving Manchester‟s two other major theatres, the Palace and Opera House. Stringer remembers his first meeting with Scott vividly. “I‟d gone to Marks & Spencer‟s to buy a new pair of trousers just before it,” he recalled. “I‟d been to the Labour conference in Blackpool and addressed a few fringe meetings and someone had spilled a pint of bitter over them. They smelled like a brewery.” He had imagined that Scott would be seeking an extension to one of the theatres, but the impresario instead stunned the council leader by suggesting that Manchester bid for the Olympics. Scott had been im-

pressed by the Los Angeles Games, entirely funded by private business, and believed the demographic of Manchester was similar to Los Angeles. “People thought I was an absolute lunatic but it grew and grew,” Scott said later. Stringer listened intently, though Howard Bernstein, by then the city‟s Chief Executive, confessed: “I

thought Bob Scott was bonkers at the time.” It was relatively easy for Stringer to square the idea with the city Labour Party by saying it would probably be a good thing and anyway, the bid would involve no commitment of scarce public funds. In the event, the following year, despite Manchester being first with the idea, the British Olympic Association nominated Birmingham as the bidding city for 1992 and the Games eventually 14


Strange Bedfellows Chapter 9 part 1 went to Barcelona. Nonetheless, a hare had been set running for future Olympic bids and, ultimately, the triumphant staging of the Commonwealth Games. But just as important was the germination of the seeds of partnership that would serve Manchester right up to the present day and particularly after the 1996 bomb.

Scott introduced Stringer to a number of key business players whom he otherwise would not have met, and a strategy for cooperation began to emerge in which the roles of public and private sectors were very clearly defined. Stringer summed it up thus: “We‟ll do what we need to do in terms of planning; you present proposals to government and raise the money. We gave the private sector a freedom they certainly didn‟t get in Birmingham dur-

ing their bid process and they‟d not had previously in Manchester.” Stringer‟s private sector contacts were also boosted by the city council‟s historical involvement with the Manchester Ship Canal Company which it had rescued from financial collapse while the cut was under construction in the late 19th Century. The death of its chief civil engineer, Thomas Walker, before its completion in 1894, coupled with continuing structural difficulties, prompted a withdrawal of the massive undertaking‟s backers. The council stepped in with £5 million to see the project through, taking in return a majority of directorships on the board. By the mid1980s, however, that arrangement had become meaningless, for although the city council controlled the company‟s board by statute, the millionaire property developer, John Whittaker, controlled virtually all the shares. Remarkably, given their backgrounds, Whittaker and Stringer sat down and negotiated a deal which in effect saw the city relinquish all but one of its eleven seats on the Ship Canal Company board in return for a multi-million pound investment commitment in east Manchester which, almost 20 years later, is continuing.

They were the strangest of bedfellows, the left-wing political firebrand and the acquisitive capitalist, and stranger still, their relationship not only went virtually unnoticed by the media, but by most of Stringer‟s ideological socialist purists on the city council. Stringer had come to realise that the town hall‟s Ship Canal Company directorships were not only a historical leftover, albeit a bit of a perk, but could potentially lock the council into an impossible position. And he was determined to extract a price for them. There were eleven council seats on the company‟s board and ten directors representing Whittaker‟s growing property firm, Peel Holdings, and it had become obvious that the shareholders‟ best interests would be served by developing land owned by the Ship Canal Company at Dumplington, close to what is now the M60 circular motorway, as the biggest out of town shopping centre in the UK. Such a course – the establishment of a major retail competitor to the city centre - was definitely not, 15


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maintained Stringer, in the interests of Manchester. “I could see that we would have been locked into making a decision in favour of the development eventually because it was obviously in the interests of the shareholders,” said Stringer. “I think John might well have taken legal action against us to make us vote that way. I don‟t think this conversation ever took place in these terms between John and me, but I think it was understood. “You pay us a lot of money to relinquish our directorships – more than they‟re worth because otherwise we‟ll be a bloody nuisance within the Ship Canal Company – and we‟ll carry out our own interests on behalf of the city council, which are clearly not the same as yours. You carry on trying to develop Dumplington, because that‟s your business and we can have an honest disagreement about this rather than having conflicts of interest all over the place.” The “honest disagreement” eventually went all the way to

the House of Lords before Whittaker overcame the legal opposition mounted by Manchester and other neighbouring local authorities to the shopping centre scheme, realised as the Trafford Centre, but the straight talking proved productive. “I think the position was understood all round but it didn‟t stop the fact that every time I had a pint or a glass of wine with John Whittaker he would tell me at great length how good the Trafford Centre would be for the centre of Manchester and I‟d tell him how bad it would be and we‟d exchange statistics,” said Stringer.

chester Ship Canal Company was, in fact, £10 million, a considerable sum 20 years ago. Seven million was paid in cash and Whittaker guaranteed that his investment in Ship Canal Developments, a joint venture company with the council, would be worth £3 million after a period of years. The joint company, conceived as a vehicle for injecting Whittaker‟s capital resources and development expertise into depressed east Manchester, is still at work.

Risk “He‟s a passionate man who really believes in what he‟s doing. We might have been chalk and cheese but we did and still do get on well. He disagreed with our view on Dumplington and he didn‟t really understand politicians, but he saw we were honest about the way we were going about things. He respected the fact we weren‟t trying to mess up his business from the inside and he paid a very high price for that at the start. He took a risk but in the end it turned out to be a very low price when the Trafford Centre came to be developed.” The price the city council extracted for relinquishing its theoretical control of the Man-

As chair of the town hall‟s finance committee at the time, Frances Done had been close to the negotiations between Stringer and Whittaker, but was aware of potential political pitfalls, not least within the council‟s Labour group. “I personally thought John Whittaker was really good, but I couldn‟t have gone on the telly and said so, could I?” she recalled. “We had to make sure we got the best value out of our involvement with the Ship Canal for the city. We weren‟t stu16


et Talks pid; we had to get the maximum leverage. Graham and I also worked very hard to ensure that the top end of the canal didn‟t get closed, which was absolutely the right thing to do. It was only because we were so bloody minded in public with John that it didn‟t happen. He couldn‟t proceed because he knew there‟d be a lot of opposition.” In private, however, dealings with key private sector players like Whittaker were far from bloody minded, but the Labour

his approach, but it was tricky in that every move of every individual was being scrutinised by the Party.

“The external view was that as a group we were completely out of control, but the leadership knew exactly what it was trying to achieve. I personally never told a lie or did anything to mislead, but you had to find a way of dealing with the outside world, given the relationships that existed with the council officers and the Labour group and all the complications that went with that. It was very important with regard to all the things that came later because people like Robert Hough of Peel Holdings and Sir Alan

Cockshaw of AMEC would later play major roles in the regeneration of the city. I must say it‟s all a darned sight easier now.

“A lot of trust was built up through straight talking behind the scenes between people you wouldn‟t imagine you‟d have a relationship with in the first place. Had it been known it would have gob-smacked a lot of people and caused an awful lot of trouble within the Labour Party with a few purists who couldn‟t see beyond their ideology to the reality that is that you can actually benefit the citizens by behaving in a slightly different way.”

SPECIAL OFFER group had little inkling of the growing relationships. “At that time any dealings with the private sector would have been regarded with suspicion,” said Done. “In dealing with John Whittaker we understood the name of the game and I personally thought his takeover of the Ship Canal Company was a good thing because the previous board had not appreciated the potential for jobs and development. It was not a problem dealing with someone who‟s got enterprise and initiative in

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BLUE MOO Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority’s Ibrahim Maki meets eight-year-old local City fan Tyler Parkins - who had never seen a falcon before visiting ADTA marquee and now is keen see Abu Dhabi for himself.

C

elebrating Manchester City fans looked beyond Eastlands to the Middle East as they beat FA Cup opponents Stoke City for the second time in three days. No longer standing alone without a dream in their hearts, they converged on

City Square, the pre-match “fan zone” which was renamed „Abu Dhabi Village‟ for the day - to mark the links with the Emirate which has turned the club around.

Traditional They flocked to see „Fern‟ the falcon, (right, with Manchester Matters editor Alan Salter) while traditional henna artists painted Arabic calligraphy and the MCFC emblem on hands of

fans of all ages. Elsewhere, a six-strong contingent of chefs from Abu Dhabi‟s opulent Emirates Palace hotel, including Emirati chef, Ali Salem Ebdowa, worked alongside the MCFC catering team to serve up Arabian-themed corporate hospitality menus and free samples for fans in the Abu Dhabi Village. “Recent successes on the pitch meant that City‟s final home game of the season was already 18


ON RISEN C

ity sponsors Etihad Airways has reported its most successful first quarter to date, with revenues up 21.2 per cent to $770m after strong had the very good fortune to performances travel to Wembley with City in both passensupporters on a National ger and cargo Express coach to see them traffic. lift the FA Cup.

We are really here

I

going to be a great celebration for everyone connected with the club,” said Ibrahim Maki, of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, the club‟s Official Destination Partner last year. “Scores of fans who came to see us in the Village were interested in visiting Abu Dhabi and were looking for information on what to do in the emirate.

Agents “ I told them about Abu Dhabi city, the oases in Al Ain, the deserts of Liwa; I also said they must bring their City shirts!” As part of its destination awareness programme, ADTA hosted a contingent of leading travel agents and international media at the match.

Coupled with a 5.9 per cent reduction in costs per available seat kilometre, this delivered positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rentals in the quarter for the first time. The results mark continued progress towards the airline‘s goal of break-even in 2011 and profitability in 2012. Passenger revenues rose 15 per cent on the back of a 10.6 per cent growth in passenger numbers, to 1,854,392. Seat factor fell slightly to 72.7 per cent due to the impact of Middle East unrest and the Japanese earthquake. Chief Executive James Hogan said: ―Our revenues continue to grow faster than our passenger numbers and, thanks to our robust cost controls, we are seeing a real benefit in our overall performance.‖

A blue and white striped work shirt and blue socks with my suit were the only colours I sported while my fellow travellers - having waited 35 years were a little less self-conscious. I started watching football in the innocent days before segregation and as football hooliganism slowly took hold, I learned not to shout my allegiance too hard outside the ground for fear of trouble. And so I was surprised to see so few police officers as City and Stoke fans descended on Warwick Services. The long queues outside the gents rather than the ladies were a novelty - but the good humour shown by both sets of supporters was a revelation. How our national game has grown up! We continued to mingle happily outside the stadium and only insults were hurled by the defeated at our coach as we made our way out of North London. Alan Salter 19


Unemployment cut but recovery remains “fragile”

U

nemployment in Greater Manchester rose last month but continues to fall compared to last year, say experts. The number of jobseeker‘s allowance claimants in Greater Manchester increased by 1,055 to 76,744 in April 2011 – a rise of 1.4 per cent on March‘s figures. Data released by New Economy, which was set up to create economic growth and prosperity for Manchester, shows that year-on-year, jobseeker‘s claimants still continued to fall in the region by 3,735 (4.6 per cent). Now, 4.4 per cent of Greater Manchester‘s working age population are claiming unemployment benefit.

Increases Experience varies across Greater Manchester‘s districts. Tameside and Salford suffered the largest increases in claimant numbers from March to April (of 8.5 per cent and 4.7 per cent ), whereas Wigan experienced the region‘s only decrease, with a fall of 0.1%.

The monthly figures are released by New Economy, whose purpose is. The figures will contribute towards New Economy‘s Manchester Monitor, which is designed to provide a monthly analytical snapshot of the economic wellbeing of the city region.

A

shirt which features in Imperial War Museum London bears the logo of Stockport based children’s clothing specialist, Banner. The ‘Children’s War’ is a major exhibition which looks at the second world war through the eyes of British children and provides an insight into the lives of evacuees who had to adjust to separation from family and friends during the Blitz.

Optimistic Figures released simultaneously by Jobcentre Plus show the number of vacancies reported to them in Greater Manchester has increased by 18.1 per cent from March 2011, with an increase of 19.1 per cent since April 2010. Jobcentre Plus now has 19,732 active vacancies on their books – equivalent to just over 26 jobs for every 100 claimants. Dr Alexander Roy, head of research at New Economy, said; ―The decrease in claimants over the year is a sign that Greater Manchester's recovery from the recession is continuing, albeit at a slow pace. Yet the increase in claimants over the last month indicates that the local economy still remains fragile. Despite this, the large increase in job opportunities is a sign that businesses are increasingly optimistic about the future.―

M

anchester’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Mark Hackett, opened the Red Hot World Buffet & Bar on Deansgate. He was given a guided tour of the restaurant’s nine live cooking stations. Guests then sampled 300 different cuisines from across the globe, from some of the restaurant’s 40 chefs.

S

alford’s clean technology ENER-G is helping to power low carbon savings at Quarry House in Leeds for the Departments of Work and Pensions and Health. 20


21


Who remembers the ―wine lake‖ which resulted from the over production of billions of litres of unmarketable wines, chiefly in the south of France, Spain and southern Italy, sustained for years by generous EU subsidies? It couldn‘t last. No-one needs ever to buy plonk. So with subsidies reined back, quality had to improve and with the adoption of modern techniques it has, immeasurably. Some of the most interesting wines in France now come from the Languedoc; attractive new wave Spanish wines are made in hitherto unpromising areas and wines from southern Italy – Campania, whose capital is Naples, the ―heel‖ of Puglia, the ―toe‖ of Calabria and the island of Sicily – have undergone a remarkable transformation. The appeal of Italy is the range and individuality of its grape varieties and at the Wine Society‘s recent press tasting in Manchester, a number of exciting new wines from the region impressed. Guardiolo Falanghina 2010, Janare (£6.75) is a beautifully made Campanian white offering delightful freshness and fragrance with an appealing lick of pear drop acidity; perfect with seafood pasta or as an aperitif. Greco Sannio 2010, Janare (£6.75) from Calabria is the perfect balance of Italian wine history and modern technology, producing crisp, lively fruit enhanced by a wisp of smokiness. Produced in the shadow of Sicily‘s active volcano, Etna Bianco Fondo Filara 2009, Nicosia (£10.95) is a fascinating white offering sophisticated notes of apple and pear, hazelnuts and just the slightest hint of anise. Reds from the south of Italy have been appreciated for much longer, not least those made from the primitivo grape native to Puglia, whose vines were planted around Sacramento by Italians who joined the California gold rush of 1849 and the resulting wine named Zinfandel. The Wine Society‘s Dunico, Masseria Pepe, Primitivo di Manduria 2007 is worth every penny of its £14.95; it‘s a massive, 15 per cent ABV blockbuster overflowing with concentrated brambly black fruit flavours with hints of coffee and raisins. Torre Guaceto Sum 2007 (£9.95) is made from the rare and ancient susummaniello grape, also in Puglia and exhibits fabulous spicy aromas and a savoury palate with hints of smoke and spice. The Wine Society, founded in 1874, is the oldest wine club in the world and is owned by its members. Full details of share membership and the extensive wine range are available via www.thewinesociety.com

** The Bafta Awards ceremony took place on May 22, lubricated by official wine partners Champagne Taittinger and Villa Maria Wines of New Zealand. And you can celebrate with the stars – well, at least raise a toast to them. I have a special Baftabranded bottle of Taittinger NV Brut Reserve and bottles of Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2010 and Private Bin Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, as served at the awards dinner and after show party, to give away to the first person who can tell me in which historic French city the House of Taittinger is based.

Send the answer to wine@manchestermatters.co.uk 22


‘I’m Frank, fly me’

C

ome fly with me - that’s the message from Germany.

They hope to persuade passengers it is far more convenient to go to Germany less than two hours flying time away - than fly to overcrowded Heathrow for onward flights And with Heathrow‟s plans for a new third runway in the dustbin, Germany‟s largest airport at Frankfurt has ambitious plans to knock London off

By Ian Marrow the top spot in Europe. When they announced there would be no third runway for Heathrow, or any expansion at Gatwick and Stansted, transport chiefs warned the Tory-Lib Dem coalition Heathrow would lose out to European competitors. Now the sharks are circling, and leading the pack is Frankfurt and Germany‟s national carrier Lufthansa. Although currently third biggest in Europe behind France‟s Charles de Gaulle airport and Heathrow, Frankfurt is undergoing major expansion plan - and unlike Heathrow is about to open a fourth runway, which they claim can lead to almost doubling their capacity. A new concourse scheduled for next year will also be able to handle an additional six million passengers. And Lufthansa is investing heavily in

new planes and improving their existing fleet, spending billions of Euros, with their eyes set firmly on the new business they can generate. They have already taken delivery of seven huge A380 double decker Airbus planes, which carry 526 passengers, and have another eight on order. They are also carrying our massive renovations to the rest of the fleet, including installing 32,000 new slimmer and lighter seats into their 180strong short and medium haul fleet, giving more capacity and extra legroom - and using less fuel as an added bonus. In the first four months of this year Lufthansa‟s passenger numbers from Manchester were up by 21.8 per cent on the same period last year - 218,089 passengers in all. Lufthansa‟s general manager UK and Ireland Marianne Sammann said that even allowing for the volcanic ash cloud that affected flights last Spring, passenger numbers are still at least 20 per cent higher so far this year.

German airport wants to replace Heathrow And she said that the economic crisis had affected travel less than many people might think: “Travel is an important element in people‟s lives crisis or no crisis”, she said. “People need a break and there are some great deals out there.” And she said that Lufthansa had continued to invest, despite the tough economic conditions, and now flew to 211 destinations in 84 countries worldwide - with Bogota and Rio de Janeiro the latest destinations. About half of passengers flying to Germany from Manchester are business travellers, and about 63 per cent of them are connecting to other flights. Vienna was number one but she said that onward travel to Mumbai was hugely popular and set for a big expansion

T

he 200 mph-plus Mercedes McLaren SLR supercar parked on the pavement outside the First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport said it all - this is the preserve of the very rich. And with a £150,000 car , you don’t put a price on luxury? The privileged few receive a level of comfort most passengers sweating it out in the bustling main concourse of Germany’s busiest airport only dream about. But most visitors to the exclusive terminal, which has it’s own check-in and passport control, need a banker’s bonus or Premier League footballer’s salary to pay for it. First class long haul flights with Lufthansa cost on average 8,000 Euros - and the airline argues that for what you get , it’s value for money. The facility is also available to frequent fliers who have clocked up over 600,000 miles with Lufthansa - earning them membership of the airline’s exclusive Hon Circle. Lufthansa says that someone flying economy to New York once a week on business could qualify in two years, but refuse to say how many jet-lagged members there are. Once at the door of the terminal you enter a new world of luxury. The car you arrived in is whisked away by the valet parking service and from then on it’s peace, tranquility and one -to-one service. The food is exquisite, the bar service excellent, and the opulent surroundings speak of understated luxury. Fancy a shower? No problem. A little nap? Absolutely. Cigar? There is a specially vented room. Work? All the office facilities are there. And when time comes to tear yourself away, passengers are delivered to the steps of the plane by a Porsche or a Mercedes.

23


Do we really need A

battle for the hearts and minds of Oldhamers is pitting would-be high-speed travellers and businesses against council-tax payers. Consultation on the route of the proposed high speed rail line from Birmingham to Greater Manchester does not begin until next year but already opponents and supporters from the South are targeting Northern destinations.

In the latest sally, the Stop High Speed Two campaign claims that Oldham will pay £106m towards building the line “at a time when Oldham‟s council is facing cuts of £21 million to its services this year”. But on the other side of the fence, the architect of Oldham‟s Metrolink extension who has risen to become the country‟s top local transport official, claims that Greater Manchester, Liverpool , Leeds, Sheffield, and Birmingham will together become a global force once they are connected by high speed rail. And Geoff Inskip, now chief executive of the West Midlands Centro transport authority has told Transport Secretary Philip Hammond that it would make sense to start building the line south from Scotland to meet the line from London somewhere in the middle.

“At a time of deep public sector cuts in Oldham it is obscene that local people are being asked to subsidise travel for mainly wealthy travellers, with no obvious benefit for local taxpayers.” The campaigners are urging the government to invest in improving rail travel for all. Mr Marshall said, “The Department for Transport is ignoring far more affordable alternatives to high speed rail which

BY ALAN SALTER

First published by the Oldham Evening Chronicle offer much better value for money, would benefit ordinary people, and genuinely tackle the north-south divide without driving a new concrete scar across what‟s left of the countryside.” The Chronicle last month exclusively reported Transport Secretary Philip Hammond‟s reaction to the £1000 per family claim which was first made in a letter from a group of high profile business leaders, Tory MPs, and economists to the Daily Telegraph. The signa-

White Elephant The protestors have taken government estimates of a £30bn cost of building the line and its claim that a £17bn subsidy will cost every household £1000 and multiplied that figure by Oldham‟s population. Jerry Marshall Chairman of the Federation of 75 local and national organisations which oppose the plans said, “The Government‟s proposed new high speed rail line will be the biggest white elephant in history and will cost every family in the country well over £1,000. Worse still, only those who can afford to pay high fares will benefit.

Geoff Inskip 24


High Speed Rail? tories include former chancellor Lord Lawson; Ruth Lea, former head of policy at the Institute of Directors; Chris Kelly, Chairman of Keltruck; Cheryl Gillan, the Welsh Secretary and MP for Chesham and Amersham; and David Lidington, MP for Aylesbury and a Foreign Office minister. But the Transport Secretary said: “ It doesn‟t surprise me that people who are truck importers and climate change deniers would find the arguments less than persuasive.” Meanwhile, Mr Inskip, the new chairman of Britain‟s Passenger Transport Executive Group who moved to Centro from Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, in 1996, told the Chronicle: “One of the things that I think will happen is that if we can get that link from Manchester/ Liverpool, Leeds/Sheffield, and Birmingham as core cities and you look at their economies and the ability for those to grow, I think you can get that northern/Midlands hub competing on a global scale.”

Important He was in charge of designing the Metrolink extension to Oldham and Rochdale which will open later this year. Although he sees the obvious benefits for Birmingham of the approaching high speed line from London (“We expect a lot of people to move out of London towards the West Midlands which will be great because that is where they‟ll spend their six figure salaries),he believes that it is just as important to complete the links north. “The one thing that I do think about High Speed Rail is that Birmingham wants to link as much to Manchester and Leeds as it does to London. We are very keen that the Y network takes place. The connections between Manchester and Birmingham are far too long,” he said. And he added: “I think it‟s really important to go to Scotland. Talking to Philip Hammond , we were saying: „we ought to start thinking of building from Scotland downwards as well because they will meet in the middle – wherever that might be‟.”

Oldham council leader Howard Sykes and his fellow leaders on the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities have welcomed the high speed plans. But Mr Hammond says they need to speak up more. “They are clearly supportive,” he told the Chronicle. “When you go and speak to them, they are effusive in their support but they are going to have to stir themselves to make the case more aggressively.” And to those who fear the plans are distracting from the desperate need to spend on the “Northern Hub” to ease rail congestion around d Greater Manchester, Hammond insisted that the two are inextricably linked. “If somebody had said I‟ve got a plan for re-organising our A roads in 1955 and make them operate better – and then announced the coming of the motorways, they would rightly be pilloried if they said: „I‟ll just carry on with my 1955 plan for reorganising the A roads and I‟ll ignore the motorway network‟.

“High Speed2 is going to be a major new piece of transport infrastructure. The runoff from it, the flow off of passengers and how they get to their final destinations, will be critical. We don‟t yet know where the stations are going to be and the way in which this high speed railway interacts with the conventional railway is going to be a critical factor,” he said. Richard Critchley, Policy Manager at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said:“It is essential to look at the bigger picture when assessing the costs and benefits of infrastructure development. Failure to invest in a high speed rail network would cost the North West economy substantially more than the cost of construction. Greater Manchester‟s economy is dependent on high quality rail links with neighbouring conurbations, however, these key intercity rail lines are feeling the strain and are fast approaching full capacity. Without significant investment, the congestion will start to raise costs and stifle economic growth, restricting business‟ ability to move goods and access new markets, whilst limiting opportunities for work and leisure. “ “A high speed rail network would provide the necessary rail capacity with significant benefits over that of a conventional line.” 25


Travel Editor MALCOLM HANDLEY realises a yen to visit Jap

M

y first time in Tokyo I walked across Hachiko-Shibuya pedestrian crossing - the busiest in the world and for a few seconds I was an extra in an ever -changing Japanese icon, moving to the hurried step of modern life, surrounded by the brightly coloured backdrop of neon-clad architecture. Hachiko has become an image which helps define one of the world‘s most vibrant capitals and, in modern minds, probably ranks alongside Mount Fuji‘s unmistakeable summit and Hokusai‘s enigmatic series of woodblock prints of its peak.

Of course there are newer images of Japan - not so vibrant - illustrating the devastation and suffering unleashed by last month‗s tsunami and earthquake the unwelcome gift of nature at its most powerful and destructive. An irresistible force which has shattered Japan and its people. Yet it is that very vibrancy which makes you look on and say - with a hint of optimism - if any nation can overcome such horror it is Japan - and it will. Life does go on and hundreds of miles away in Tokyo life is going on - after all this is a country of contrasts - the country of bullet trains, temples and monasteries, sushi, sukiyaki, onsen baths, highrise hotels and traditional ryokan inns - the country of geisha and high technology. Each city offers its own kaleidoscope of images and experiences - the attraction is

the simple calm and irresistible energy of the place. Tokyo was a blur of energy. A short visit that could only tug at the fringes of its Oriental tapestry yet, even in those few short hours, I could sense the energy. Of course the capital has its calm corners but crossing Hachiko near the bustling Shibuya district was an experience not to be missed. The area‘s shops, cafes, clubs, bars and restaurants are a serious attraction as night falls if only for people watching and dining. I ate at Teketori, an izakaya (informal dining) restaurant and enjoying umeshu (Japanese apricot liqueur). Excellent. If Tokyo was a blur of energy the next part of my journey was sheer speed - a 200 km journey to Yuzawa, Niigata aboard the shinkansen, (bullet train). At more than 180 miles an hour, the 26


pan

shinkansen is very speedy. It is here where you can enjoy the fun, food, music - and mud - of Fuji Rock Festival, which has become one of the top summer events, attracting 125,000 fans over the three days and top Japanese, European and US bands. Award-winning Finnair, which boasts a fleet of fuel efficient aircraft and the shortest route to the far East, sees these routes as a key part of its increasing Manchester Airport services. My next stop was Kanazawa. If Kanazawa is as unfamiliar to you as it was to me don‘t let it escape your attention - here, Japan‘s heritage, culture and future come together in a rich blend. In just a couple of days in the city I marvelled at the heritage and industry of Hakukokan gold leaf factory,

even preparing one sheet. I strolled around and dined in the geisha district, wondered at the intricacies and traditions of a ninja temple, slept in a traditional ryokan inn, wandered through the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, was mesmerised by the displays of fish in the city‘s market and became totally absorbed in the tranquillity and beauty of its Kenrokuen Gardens. It may lack the international recognition of Japan‘s more famed cities but Kanazawa is exciting and different. I stayed at Kashimaya ryokan, seduced by the charming simplicity of its rooms, including traditional tatami mats. At Zeniya geisha house the formal meal (kaiseki) was an intoxicating blend of formality and exquisite presentation. They are experiences that will live long in the memory. Next stop, Osaka, Japan‗s third largest city. One tourism booklet suggests: ―Osaka you can enjoy fully in

3 days and 2 nights.‖ Doubtless you can but plan a longer visit. Osaka‘s main city streets reminded me of New York - its maze of shopping malls reminded me of no other place on earth some at street level, some beneath the streets, some measured in kilometres. Osaka is, they say, the place were you can eat and truly shop until you drop. At one point I uttered the unthinkable: ―I don‘t shop,‖ adding; ―I would rather walk to the next town with a nail in my shoe rather than shop.‖ I was met with wide-eyed disbelief, as if I had said Christmas was cancelled. ―Then why have you come to Osaka?‖ was the eventual response. There is far more to this city than shopping and eating but there is a lot of shopping to endure and eating to enjoy. I suspect the mantra is, if one is not your taste, enjoy the other. I did. Experience yakiniku and izakaya (different forms of dining) and, at Phoe-be on Dotonbori Heights, end your evening with a beer in one of those gems of a bar you stumble upon. If Phoe-be bar was unexpected it should not have surprised me. In this country of contrasts there is one certainty - the welcome. Factbox. Flying to Japan with Finnair. Tickets and further information www.finnair.com tickets can also be booked on 0870 2414411. Hotels: Tokyo - Villa Fontaine Shiodome www.hvf.jp/eng/shiodome.php Niigata - Naspa New Otani www.naspa.co.jp/english/ Kanazawa - Kashimaya Ryokan www.ne.jp/asahi/kanazawa/kashimaya/ indexen.htm Osaka - Cross Hotel - www.crosshotel.com/ eng_osaka/index.html Japan National Tourism Organisation www.seejapan.co.uk

27


In assoc

T

here are some of us of a certain age who remember the horror of damp plugs, flooded carburetors, jammed starter motors ...and consequent flat batteries. And to that ageing minority, the idea of turning off the engine at the traffic lights brings us out in a cold sweat.

And yet, as fuel prices and global warming climb to critical levels, we obviously cannot live with all those engines idling to no good purpose. Of course, stop start technology is no more than an interim stage on the way to electric or hydrogen-powered motoring. But with the first mass produced electric car arriving at market with an enormous price tag and a meagre 100-mile range (See page 9) it

will be around for a while yet. It was back in 2004 that Peugeot Citroën pioneered micro -hybrid stop & start starteralternator technology and last year introduced an improved version of the technology on its 1.6-litre HDi, the group‘s most popular diesel engine. By next year, they say, almost a third of their HDi engines will be stop starters. The last time a drove a car (not a Peugeot Citroen) which threatened to shut down at lights, I bottled out and turned it off. On this occasion, however, one of the main purposes of being invited to climb into the three new versions of the Peugeot 308 models was

to wonder at 15 per cent better mpg in city driving and an engine which restarts with a touch of the clutch in 400 milliseconds …so it would have been churlish to pass up the opportunity.

WHEN THE ENGINE STOPPED

LIGHTS, IT USED TO MEAN STALLED. BUT

ALAN SAL

THAT IT IS NOT THE CASE All three variants of the new 308 which went on sale this month - hatch, cabriolet, and station wagon - can be fitted with stop start and regenerative braking. Peugeot‘s task now is to convince us all that it is worth having. For the UK launch, they chose a British city uniquely qualified to test the merits of the technology. Cardiff‘s obsession with red traffic lights is quite astonishing…and unnerving at first to sit waiting for amber without power. The engine will even stop and start 28


ciation with www.green-car-guide.com

on the move if you cruise in neutral below certain low speeds. You can keep the clutch depressed to prevent the cutout and a dashboard button will disable the system. But, take heart and D AT TRAFFIC give it a try. I promise it will N YOU HAD start instantly as as you deLTER FOUND soon press the clutch and, while you E ANY MORE may not beat the Stigg away from the lights, there is no real delay. The secret of Peugeot‘s success is its e-Booster system which consists of a 5 volts super capacitor (1b) to store electrical power and the system‘s power electronics (1a). It helps to boost the vehicle‘s standard battery voltage to power the reversible alternator / starter during engine restarts. Of course many drivers of the CC will not be terribly worried about the engine stopping and starting and more about whether there is enough power to make the extra weight go fast enough. There is. I drove a 1600 diesel through the valleys and would have guessed it was a 2 litre. Some might balk at only 12.2 seconds to 62mph

and opt for the 2 litre which gets there in 8.9 seconds. But to be honest, we are not Formula 1 drivers wearing crash helmets and we don‘t need to go super fast with the roof down. And talking of roves the last convertible I drove was a Ford Focus – but that was in Sardinia, not Cardiff. So when the rain started on the

outskirts of the Welsh capital, Peugeot‘s roof-raising credentials were tested – and stepped up to the mark. Beside the style of the CC, the station wagon is…erm, well… practical. But all three models hold the road well and have a feel of quality which, perhaps, will surprise some of the Francophobes out there.

29


Val de W

hat amazing last few weeks for Royal watchers, Manchester football, politicians and political nerds and not least the weather.

Val Stevens, former deputy leader of Manchester City Council and chairman of GM Buses, starts a new life across the Channel

I attended the 8th May commemoration ceremony in the village. It is a simple ceremony. The oldest member of the village reads out why it is important to remember the end of the second world war and why it was fought and by whom.

then for a very good reason. Hitler dominated Germany had to be defeated not just because of the Fascist ideology but because they wanted to rule without consent in a

largely democratic Europe.

For most of the time before the 20th Century, Britain and France had been on opposing sides but the common enemy had changed all that. A shame Silence that the current government All the allies were mentioned has decreed that the Euroby the Mayor in his short pean flag will not be flown. speech and then a minutes si- Those that forget their hislence followed by the Marseil- tory may have to repeat it. laise. As usual they all went One of the recent insults that off to the Salles des Fetes Vince Cable threw at his coalifor the obligatory refreshtion partners was that they ments courtesy of the Conseil were tribal. Well there are General de Dordogne. good and bad sides to tribal We were on the same side thinking. In politics changing 30


e France sides does not win you friends from anywhere and in football the tribe is all.

The “Big Society” idea was supposed to articulate the sense of belonging to groups at a family and local level. This is fine for those included but not so good for those excluded from the group by reason of faith, sex or sexuality, nationality or just coming from somewhere else.

showed a North/North/ South divide and here it is a South/North divide. I could never be anything other than a Labour supporter, Northerner or Manchester United fan. I am now too old to start analysing whether this is a good thing or not and may show lack of thought but it

Tolerated Village life magnifies this particularly here in France. There is an almost universal dislike of Parisians and while the British are tolerated we will never be completely accepted. There has been quite a row about black quotas for the French national football team. This is reflected in the UK only in reverse. The local election results

is far easier. Politics and football have dominated the airwaves and the wedding of course and I loved the recent programmes about Munich Disaster and Sir Bobby Charlton. When I first started

going to matches in the 1950’s it was much more common for people in Manchester to support both teams apart from the derby matches naturally.

Gunners The Manchester tribe prevailed over the team tribe. I still support both teams to win on this basis and certainly hope that City wins the FA Cup and United the European Cup. The French in the SW are much more wedded to Rugby Union with a good team in Toulouse and lots of local teams. I was not impressed though when my new French accountant said to me “ah Manchester United they are called the Gunners aren’t they?” Almost as bad as the Notaire saying that the Beatles came from Manchester. Some things just get lost in translation. 31


IN SEARCH OF THE MAN WHO TAUGHT L S LOWRY BY ARTS EDITOR MALCOLM HANDLEY

L

S Lowry, Salford’s finest artist, will be the centre of attention at a major new exhibition, even though it will focus on an other painter - Adolphe Valette who was LS Lowry’s tutor and the public is being asked to help. The Lowry is looking for works by Valette which may be hanging in private homes around the North West, for possible inclusion in a the exhibition. Both Lowry and Valette arrived at the Manchester School of Art in 1905. Valette‟s talent quickly won over his teachers and he was offered a teaching post. Lowry was in his life classes and his student for 10 years, commenting: “I owe so much to him, for it was he who first showed me the good drawings by the great masters…He was a real teacher, sir, a dedicated teacher. There aren‟t any more.” Valette brought from France his enthusiasm for and knowledge of Monet and Degas, introducing Impressionism to Manchester. His fascinating paintings of urban and industrial landscapes record the city in all its mystery and beauty. Cécilia Lyon, curator of this exhibition and author of the only complete work of reference on his life and work is convinced there are more Valettes out there. She said: “There are still Valettes we don‟t know of, possibly displayed in peoples‟ homes in Manchester, Chesh-

ire, Lancashire and North Wales. It would be useful both to increase our knowledge of his work and potentially incorporate previously unseen work into this exhibition.” Lyon is also interested to find out if anyone in the region has any memories or photographs of family or friends who may have modelled for Valette‟s life classes. As Valette could not speak English very well he liked to teach by demonstration, drawing the models alongside his

Valette’s Manchester Ship Canal

students. Lyon thinks it likely that Valette and LS Lowry would have drawn the same models in life classes. The Lowry is looking for more information about these models. It is possible that their descendants live in Manchester or the North West region and might have some photographs or documents. A photograph of one of Valette‟s life classes at the Manchester Municipal School of Art in 1910 shows people who may have relatives still

living in the region. These include William E Daly, who became principal of an art school in Kidderminster, Joseph Milner and Harry Coller who later specialized in magazine illustrations. Charles Whitham, one of Valette‟s prize winning pupils, and the model Louise Gunnery are shown alongside David Ghilchick (with his future wife Josephine Duddle) who made a career for himself as an illustrator for Punch magazine. However, none of Valette‟s students achieved true fame, with the major exception of LS Lowry. This Autumn exhibition at The Lowry will provide a chronological survey of Valette‟s work. Many of the works are loans from private collections which have not been seen before in public galleries. Lowry said of his teacher “I cannot over-estimate the effect on me at that time of the coming into this drab city of Adolphe Valette, full of the French Impressionists, aware of everything that was going on in Paris. He had a freshness and a breadth of experience that exhilarated his students.” If anyone owns a work by Valette and can help build our knowledge of his work and/or is prepared to consider loaning it to The Lowry for the duration of the exhibition (15 Oct 2011 – 29 Jan 2012) or has any memories of the models, please contact Claire Stewart, Curator LS Lowry Collection (ideally with a photograph of their painting) on tel 0161 876 2096 or email: claire.stewart@thelowry.com 32

Manchester Matters May 2011  

Magazine for Greater Manchester