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Rogue Shisha bars forced to close

Brave Becky's Ariana gig return

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City’s favourite Quality Street treat

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Tory conference goes ahead as Commons sits By Lyell Tweed

The Conservative Party Conference will go ahead, a party spokesman has confirmed. Parliament voted against the Government’s motion requesting a recess in order to hold their conference without parliamentary proceedings continuing early on Thursday afternoon. The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman, as tweeted by BBC political correspondent Chris Mason, stated that the PM was ‘disappointed’ about the result of the vote, which had thrown the conference itself into doubt. However, this was quickly followed up by a tweet which declared that the conference will go ahead ‘as planned’ as far as the party is concerned. A ‘Political Cabinet’ was immediately called by Johnson, which is typically used for discussing party political tactics. This confirmation of the conference proceedings immediately brought into question how and when MP would be sitting in Parliament during the conference. The leader of the house Jacob Rees-Mogg immediately announced non-controversial busi-

ness for when parliament resumes next week and ‘assumed’ that Johnson would attend Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday. It has since been announced by a Tory source that the Secretary of State Dominic Raab will take PMQs with Johnson instead of delivering his usual speech at the conference on that day. All that we know so far is that confusion is the order of the day’s play and much is yet to come in terms of announcements. The authorities are busy at work setting up the G-Mex and sur-

rounding hotels in Manchester city centre under the assumption that all goes ahead this coming Sunday. Protests have been planned and policy will still be being carved out to be announced in the coming days. Manchester businesses expected to have lost £32 million in the event of the conference being cancelled. The Conservatives still lead in the polls and will hope a Manchester convention can clear the wood for the trees after one of the most pivotal weeks in British political history.

Controversial French president Chirac dead at 86 By Liv Clarke

Former French President Jacques Chirac has died at the age of 86 in Paris. He had an enduring political career which has had a lasting impact on the people of France. Chirac began his political career as mayor of Paris before serving as Prime Minister from 1974 to 1976 and again He1986 was voted in as President of France from to 1988.

in 1995, following the presidency of François Mitterand and occupied the role until 2007 when Nicolas Sarkozy took over. During his time as President he was opposed to the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003, which reflected French public opinion on the situation. Chirac was an advocate of the European Union, leading the country to join the single European currency.

Preparations for the conference are still underway: Lyell Tweed

As a president he forced his country to confront its role during the Holocaust, breaking the silence of the occupation and apologising for France’s actions during the Vichy regime. Chirac engaged with the French public and took a hands-on approach, resulting in him being held highly in the public opinion. He managed to unite a France with a strong political divide. However, Chirac’s reputation was tar-

nished following accusations of embezzlement, during his time as Mayor of Paris. He was found guilty of corruption following a trial in 2011. Chirac suffered from a stroke in 2011, and suffered from memory loss during his later years. Politicians across Europe have responded to Chirac’s death. Former French President François Hollande revealed in a statement that “the French

people, whatever their convictions, have just lost a friend.” Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commision, was “moved and devasted” by Chirac’s death. Boris Johnson tweeted that “Jacques Chirac was a formidable political leader who shaped the destiny of his nation in a career that spanned four decades. His loss will be felt throughout France, across the generations.”

HS2 is the key for the North NEWS

September 2019

North-West history buffs may be aware of an important anniversary that occurred on the 15th of September, writes Tom Beattie. On that date in 1830, two of Britain’s true Northern powerhouses were forever linked when the first journey on the Liverpool to Manchester railway line took place between Edge Hill and Liverpool Road stations. It was the world’s first inter-city railway line and its introduction would prove to be one of the true seminal moments in Western history. The railway would link the port of Liverpool, then arguably the world’s most significant mercantile hub, with the town of Manchester, the epicentre of the world’s textile industry and shortened journeys from thirty-six hours by canal, to just four. The brainchild of George Stephenson, much like the oft-criticised HS2 of modern times, its establishment had been years in the making and not without criticism. In the House of Commons in April 1825, Edward Alderson, employed by those in opposition to the railway stated: “this railway is the most absurd scheme that ever entered into the head of a man” and made pains to suggest that the money it would require in order to be brought to fruition was not safe in the hands of engineer George Stephenson, who he claimed was either “ignorant” or “something he would not wish to mention”. To those of us that have witnessed the widespread derision of the costs involved in bringing HS2 to fruition, this kind of criticism will seem only too familiar. Within a year, Stephenson’s plans would be met with approval. This move proved to be the catalyst that would irreversibly make the world a much smaller place. Within a month of the first journey between Liverpool and Manchester by rail, the number of passengers using the service had reached 1,200, wildly outstripping the initial estimates of 250 made

by Stephenson. A reporter in the Observer in September 1830 made the canny observation that prior to the railway, “goods would arrive in a shorter time from New York to Liverpool than they could afterwards be conveyed from Liverpool to Manchester”. It is difficult to imagine a world untouched by the ingenuity of those involved in the development of the railway. There are clear parallels to be drawn between the tumultuous times we are now facing, with an unpopular Prime Minister overseeing our largest political crisis in living memory and the fraught period in British history that was the 1820s. In fact, in response to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, Prime Minister the Duke of Wellington, who had journeyed north to witness this piece of industrial history, had been met with jeers upon his emergence with other dignitaries in Manchester. This invites obvious comparisons with his modern-day incumbent, Boris Johnson, who himself faced vocal opposition to his presence in the North, most notably in Doncaster, as he hit the campaign trail this month ahead of a yet-tobe-announced general election. During Johnson’s largely derided visit to the North, questions abounded regarding the status of

the much-vilified HS2, which plans to connect the north with London via high-speed rail. Forming part of the Northern Powerhouse development, official estimates calculate that the scheme will cost £56bn. Phase 1 of the scheme will link Manchester with London via HighSpeed-Rail and is set to be completed in 2028, with phase 2which will link Leeds with Londonscheduled to be completed in 2035. The Northern Powerhouse development had become one of the flagship policies of the Coalition Government of 2010-15 and David Cameron’s subsequent majority Government that existed until 2017. However, in recent times, questions have been raised regarding the true status of the programme. Although the most recent Northern Powerhouse Convention of the North, held on 13th September in Rotherham, attracted representatives from over 300 companies including Santander Group, Vodafone, New Balance and Rolls Royce, any tangible progress has been decidedly slow. In fact, a report carried out by left-wing think tank IPPR North showed “that current or planned expenditure on transport infrastructure per head of population is £1,943 in London and £427 in the north of England”.

A taskforce has been created to help those in Manchester who have been made redundant by Thomas Cook . The Thomas Cook GM Employment Support website has been established to help around 3,000 people who worked for the firm. The taskforce featuring trade unions, Jobcentre Plus, Manchester Airport Group (MAG) and others will offer support through the site. Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, offered his sympathies to the travel company’s former employees. He said: “My heart goes out to all those affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook..

“But we need to give people more than just warm words, which is why we have been working hard to put in place practical support.” Earlier this week the travel firm fell into liquidation leaving many holidaymakers stranded abroad. Meanwhile staff have been left without a job overnight. David Crighton, a Thomas Cook pilot for 20 years was left “bereaved” by the news. He said: “I worked pretty much everyday for a month for nothing. “The human effect of this is outrageous...the small people are going to be the ones that are really struggling.”

Manchester’s Growth Company are working alongside the Mayor’s office to help staff. Chief Executive, Mark Hughes, says they are ready to offer swift support. “The website and helpline are places which people can visit to find where they can establish their employment and redundancy rights. “The more we can find out about people affected, the more we can ensure the new website is useful and appropriate.” If you are affected by the closure you can visit the website at or you can call on 0161 393 By Jack Flintham 6443.

With this considered, it appears that claims that the Northern Powerhouse has been- at best- put on the backburner or -at worst- quietly shelved, by the current Government, may carry a good degree of weighting. In some ways, this is where the importance of the HS2 takes on such critical status. For the wide-ranging criticism the scheme has received since it was announced, it undoubtedly holds the key to reviving the stuttering Northern Powerhouse scheme; giving the North a slice of the proverbial pie that the SouthEast has been feasting on since the days of Margaret Thatcher. However tenuous the links are, the parallels that do exist between HS2 and George Stephenson’s railway are striking. Just as the railway between Edge Hill, Liverpool and Liverpool Road, Manchester helped turn the north-west into the industrial epicenter of the western-world in 1830, HS2 has the power to catapult the region into worldwide economic significance once more. HS2 might not change the world like George Stephenson’s railway once did. However, to the Northern communities that have felt left behind by the South-East over the past thirty years, it might well feel that big.

Thomas Cook staff’s lifeline

What’s coming up in Manc

Manchester Oktoberfest What better way to take a break from all the art and high culture than with some German beer? This year, Manchester’s celebration of the Bavarian festival will take place at The Yards at Mayfield from 16th - 20th October. Expect live music, costumes and plenty of liquid refreshment. Manchester Food and Drink Festival Running from 26th September to 7th October, this festival is a true highlight. Bringing the best in food from across the globe, as well as live ‘cookery theatres’ hosted by renowned chefs, the festival will take over the city for a fortnight. Treat yourself and indulge in culinary greatness. Prestwich Arts Festival This community arts festival runs from 27th September for the rest of the weekend and kicks off with a screening of the film Eaten by Lions, followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew. The wide range of events, including life drawing lessons, lantern-making workshops and ‘literary slams’, should offer something for everyone. Beyond Faith: Muslim Women Artists Today The University of Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery hosts this exhibition of the work of Robina Akhter, Shabana Baig, Fatimah Fagihassan, Dr Aida Foroutan and Usarae Gul. Dealing with themes of faith, belonging, otherness and identity, the exhibition and shines a light on the often-overlooked cultural contributions to modern Britain and is open until 10th November. Manchester Literary Festival Taking place in various locations across the city, this celebration of literature will run from 4th - 20th October. Featuring family events, walking tours and talks by comedians such Sandi Toksvig and David Baddiel (right) and authors David Nicholls and Elif Shafak, this is a must for any bookworm. Grimmfest 2019 If you are up for a scream next month look no further than Grimmfest, a four day film festival showing everything from horror classics to the latest frights. It will be running from 3rd-6th October at the Great Northern’s Odeon Cinema.

Quality Street’s hazelnut heaven

NEWS September 2019


By Elizabeth Botcherby

he countdown to Christmas is officially on! Quality Street pick and mix tins made a triumphant return to John Lewis yesterday to kick start those festive feelings. Bringing an end to the bottom of the box disappointment, customers will be able to fill a tin with their favourite chocolates and toffees for as little as £10. If this isn’t tempting enough, yesterday also marked the launch of a brand new chocolate exclusive to John Lewis. The Crispy Truffle Bite, resplendent in black and gold wrapping, is a milk chocolate filled with praline and cereal bites. To spread some premature festive cheer, Mancunian Matters took to the city centre armed with a box of chocolates to find Manchester’s favourite and least favourite Quality Street. In a break with tradition, Manchester wasn’t red or blue. The Purple One (milk chocolate with hazelnut and caramel) and the Green Triangle (hazelnut noisette) proved to be the city’s chocolate of choice, taking a combined 42% of the vote. Country Fudge was the best of the rest, taking the final podium place. However, whilst hazelnut chocolates led from the front, Manchester is clearly not nuts about coconut.

Described as “the vile blue one”, the Coconut Éclair was conclusively the least favourite chocolate, securing 50% of the vote and remaining untouched as the tin returned to base. Strawberry Delight and Orange Crème also failed to please the punters, let down by the crème texture which “shouldn’t be put inside chocolate”. The only chocolate to truly divide opinion was the Toffee Penny. Scoring well in both categories, its descriptions ranged from “boring” and “disgusting” to “it’s a man’s chocolate”. Evidently the Toffee Penny is the marmite of the Quality Street family. A Quality Street pop-up station lands in the Trafford Centre today. However, you had better be quick if you want to get your hands on a hazelnut choc. Otherwise, 2019 could be a very coconutty Christmas. Did you know? - Quality Street’s have been maufactured in Halifax since 1936. - 10 million chocolates are made each day. - The Toffee Deleuxe has been discontinued on two occasions, first in 2017 for the Honeycomb Crunch and again in 2019 for the Chocolate Caramel Brownie.

The reality of Franco to grab a pizza bisexuality city’s restaurant trade By James Crump

Monday was Bi Visibility Day. This event has taken place on September 23rd every year for the last 20 years and has become important for bisexual people to highlight the problems they face and to celebrate their community. Bisexuals make up 7% of the UK population, the highest group of any LGBTQ identity, but 38% are still not out in the workplace. Twitter users used the day to highlight discrimination they have faced with Twitter user, @arcticcharl tweeting, “I don’t like girls who like boys. I can’t be with you if you’re bisexual’ - something my ex girlfriend actually said to me months into our relationship. I’m bisexual and I won’t let anyone take that from me again or make me feel ashamed for it. #BiVisibilityDay” Manchester-based bisexual activist Lewis Oakley thinks that a lack of criticism for this kind of biphobia is part of the problem. “We haven’t scolded people enough,” he says, ”People know the heckling they will receive for homophobia, we need to do the same with biphobia.” Coming out is a difficult process for bisexual people, something Twitter user @Moadore highlighted, tweeting, “The first person I ever came out to was my first bf. His reaction? To fetishise and announce he would like a threesome. I wouldn’t go on to tell anyone else for almost a decade, and his s****y reaction was partly to blame”. Tweets like this were common on the day and Lewis thinks more can be done to help bi people feel more comfortable when they come out. The 28-year old said, “because we are open to dating gay, straight and bi people they scrutinise us more as we are potential lovers. It’s shocking that only 19% of women would date a bi guy and until attitudes like

that change I don’t see things improving for bi people.” The hashtag became so popular on Monday that American Democratic presidential candidates Beto O’ Rourke and Julian Castro tweeted their support with the latter tweeting:

Bisexual and proud: Lewis Oakley

“Bisexuals are the single largest group within the LGBTQ community, but they are frequently erased. We need to make sure that bisexual voices are heard and bisexual folks are supported and protected.” With over 160,000 tweets using the hashtag #BiVisibility Day it's clear that the date is important to many. Lewis agreed, adding, “It’s important for two reasons. One, we need a day where all bisexuals channel their energy in to the same thing to create enough noise to say - look at this, look at these issues, let’s think about this. Secondly, bisexuality is one of the most isolating sexualities. Not many bi people know other bi people. You can feel like the only bi in the city. It’s important for ourselves to realise just how many of us there are and to connect.”

By Nia Price

Franco Manca, the pioneering sourdough pizzeria chain, opened its first Manchester branch yesterday. The Neapolitan-inspired restaurant is located on 12-16 Mosley Street in the heart of Piccadilly Gardens. Famed for its freshly baked pizzas, the Franco Manca brand takes pride in using properly sourced seasonal ingredients from across the UK and Italy. “The team are very excited to be bringing our delicious sourdough to the city of Manchester - it’s the perfect new home for our Neapolitan pizza,” said Emiliano Ruzzu, Franco Manca Manchester’s Head Pizzaiolo. “To celebrate our launch we are offering pizzas for just £5 to those who pop by in the first two weeks post launch.”

“To support our new neighbours, we’ll also be donating one pizza to local food banks and homeless shelters for each one bought.” Last winter, Franco Manca also provided thousands of pizzas for the homeless throughout their branches nationwide. The menu is reasonably priced with It’s the perfect home for our Nepolitian Pizza. Emiliano Ruzzu – Head

Piazzolo – Franco Manca, Manchester

pizzas starting at just £5, organic wine from £4.50 a glass and their ‘no logo’ beer is just £3.85. Diners can also expect a seasonally changing menu and daily specials.

Their capers are from the small island of Salina, the free-range sausages from Yorkshire and the coffee from Verona. The company’s success rocketed in 2008 when Giueseppe Mascoli and Bridget Hugo took over the Brixton Market pizzeria Francos. The pair renamed it Franco Manca, (Italian for ‘Franco is missing’) and set about reshaping the pizzeria which has since gone from strength to strength. They have opened 36 branches across London, 13 restaurants elsewhere in the UK as well as one in Italy. Their famous sourdough is made fresh on site daily from a recipe developed by founder Giuseppe, baked at 450°C, then finished with quality ingredients. Franco Manca would love to hear from local charities, soup kitchens or individuals who wish to request donated pizzas, you can get in touch via

Economy takes hit as Brexit chaos reigns NEWS

September 2019


By Chris Bradford

nward investment in Greater Manchester decreased by 97 per cent in one month as the persistent cloud of Brexit uncertainty continued to linger over the country. Less than £2 million of foreign investment was generated this July, compared to £54.3 million in June, according to a report produced by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). The report, which will be discussed at a GMCA meeting today, provides the latest update on Brexit preparations across the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester – 70% of which voted to leave the Union in June 2016. With 36 days until the UK is due to leave, uncertainty regarding the nature of the future relationship with the European Union (EU) has raised the concerns of a national recession, according to the report. Business activity in the region has slowed for the third consecutive month, as the regional purchasing-managers’ index (PMI) fell to 50.2, from 51.4 in June. The PMI measures economic trends in the manufacturing and service sector. House sales have fallen by eight per cent, compared to April. The number of job vacancies listed dipped by ten per cent. There were just over 58,500 jobs advertised between April and June – the lowest quarterly total since the first three months of 2015. 734 firms in the region, just under nine per cent of small-medium enterprises (SME) were described as having a ‘high credit’ risk. This is marginally higher than the national average of just over eight per

cent. The GMCA is the combined authority of Greater Manchester, created in April 2011. Andy Burnham was directly-elected as the first mayor in May 2017. They have expressed concern at the level of preparation of the SME sector. They are working with local authorities, hosting events to help them deal with the effects of Brexit. The Business Growth Hub, a group of regional entrepreneurial specialists, will be providing monthly podcast updates to economic development teams within local authorities, produce monthly blogs on topics such as supply chain issues. Disruption to supply chains could occur if the UK leaves the customs union. The prospect of a no-deal looms ever closer as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly advocated that the UK will leave the EU ‘do or die’ on Halloween. Johnson repeated claims that he will not seek a further extension of the Article 50 negotiating process, saying he would rather ‘die in a ditch’. This is despite parliamentarians mandating the Prime Minister to delay Brexit if a deal is not agreed with the EU by October 19th. The number of job vacancies advertised could continue to slide, particularly as the consequence of a no-deal Brexit will be tariffs. There will be no preferential trading relationship, in the short term at least, if there is a no-deal. Tariffs will increase the cost of exports from the region to the EU as industries risk becoming less competitive. Last year, the GMCA revealed that in a no-deal scenario, the average tariff on goods exported to the EU would be five per cent, costing the region’s industries

£150 million per year. Notably, the food and live animal sector would face an average tariff of 19.6%. However, tariffs are simply one consequence of a no-deal exit on October 31st. Parliamentarians forced the Government to publish Operation Yellowhammer on September 11th, the previously secret document which contains the risks attached with a no-deal exit. The paper revealed potential food and medicinal shortages could occur, as well as the risk of civil unrest. In response, GMCA said that local NHS trusts have not had to stockpile medicine, simply because stockpiling is done on a national level, directed by NHS England and the Department for Health. The report confirmed that energy and water shortages are also unlikely. There is cooperation between Manchester Airport and the Government regarding how to minimise disruption at the borders for both passengers and freight. Planning exercises have been underway and the Local Planning Forum continues to ‘consider potential impacts’ arising from different scenarios of civil disobedience. It is not all doom and gloom as a report to the council’s Economic Scrutiny Committee revealed that jobs in Manchester are forecast to grow by 67,600 by 2038. Manchester has experienced a growth in the number of international visitors, despite Brexit uncertainty. Between 2013 and 2018, overseas visitors have increased by 42 per cent, compared to the UK national average of 16 per cent.

EXIT: PM leaves Downing Street yesterday

Rogue shisha £2m pledge for fresher air bars smoked M out by council

By Anna Staufenberg anchester will be the first UK city to receive backing for air pollution research from two different funding programmes, The University of Manchester announced last week. The investments will come from two separate branches of the UK Research and Innovation group (UKRI), a non-governmental organisation. The Clean Air Strategic Priorities Fund and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will give almost £2 million combined for research into air quality and pollution. The extra funding was announced at the launch of two new Manchester-based research projects, the National Environment Research Council (NERC) air quality supersite and the Manchester Urban Observatory.

Rush Hour Traffic on the M60 near Manchester

The event hosted some big names, including Friends of the Earth, Public Health England and Eamonn Boyle, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Transport for Greater Manchester. The NERC supersite will take continuous measurements of air quality in much greater detail than is currently done at the other two sites in Birmingham and London. The Manchester Urban Observatory will gather data on air quality on Oxford Road, a dense bus route regularly reported to break legal pollution levels. Dr James Allan, a researcher at The University of Manchester said: “The measurements will help us to better understand air pollution in UK cities, in terms of the sources of pollution and the processes by which is evolves in the atmosphere.” He also hopes that the data, which will be generated in real-time and made pub-

licly available, will be of use to policymakers and the wider medical research community. Dr Allan stressed however that, although “substantial”, the combination of the two awards should not be attributed to a “higher level strategic focus on Manchester.” “I’d like to think that the fact we have been able to secure multiple awards is merely a reflection of the quality of science we’re doing here.” The new projects are part of a wider focus on improving Manchester’s ecofriendly status. Mr Boyle said: “Greater Manchester has bold ambitions to become a world-leading green city region - it’s at the heart of everything we do.” Andy Burnham, the Greater Manchester Mayor, pledged in June this year to make the region carbon neutral by 2038, more than ten years earlier than the target adopted by the European commission.


our illegal shisha bars on Rusholme’s Curry Mile were shut last week, writes Dane Massey. Manchester City Council closed Antalya, Threesixty, Dubai and Wasnah, which were running without the relevant planning permission and were in breach of the 2006 Health Act, which prohibits smoking in enclosed public and work spaces. HMRC acted accordingly to the situation by confiscating 100kg of shisha tobacco worth around £11,500 and 338 pipes worth £10,000 from their premises. Manchester Councillor Angeliki Stogia has expressed her frustration at the firm yet necessary action the council have had to take on shisha bars. "It is deeply disappointing to see that in spite of repeated warnings the owners of these establishments continued to act like they were above the law," Stogia said. "Using planning closure notices is a new approach being taken by the council to combat individuals who ignore planning law simply to make easy money." Shisha smoking has become more of an issue in the UK this decade, and in 2012 the

British Heart Foundation found that the number of shisha bars had increased from 179 in 2007 to 556 in 2012. This year, shisha bars are being particularly monitored by councils, and the quadruple café closure in Rusholme shows the Manchester City Council are taking stricter measures to clamp down on the issue of illegally run premeses. The four Middle Eastern style shisha bars follow fellow Rusholme café Suede, which in June became the first Manchester bar to be shut down. "It has become an all too familiar sight to see shisha bars pop up as if overnight, particularly in our south Manchester communities,” Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar said. "These bars are not legal and have been a magnet for anti-social behaviour, lowering the standard of life for ordinary people who live close by to them." "As a council we will always support legitimate and well run businesses, but when premises such as these begin to have a negative impact on our communities we will certainly act."

Oxfam taking on clothing pollution September 2019

By Liv Clarke Secondhand September has caused an increase in customers at charity and vintage shops within Manchester city centre. The Oxfam initiative encouraged high street shoppers to make a pledge not to buy any new clothes for 30 days during September. The campaign is designed to combat the amount of clothes that are sent to landfill, as well as encouraging people to shop with quality and not quantity in mind. Lucy, the deputy manager at Oxfam on Oldham Street, reveals that they have seen an increase in customers during the last month. “We have been really busy the last couple of weeks, last week was our best out of Christmas week ever.” During her time working there she’s noticed the negative impact of modern shopping habits with huge amounts of fast-fashion items being donated. Lucy believes that now is the perfect time to get on board with a campaign like Secondhand September, “Everyone’s thinking about their climate emissions [right now].” This branch of Oxfam has also launched a refillable station providing products such as shampoo and body wash for those who bring their own containers. Across the road at Blue Rinse, a vintage clothing store, Bee has noticed more shoppers who are conscious of their clothing consumption.

“The whole initiative has a good momentum and a lot of people are talking about it. [Secondhand September] makes people learn about it [sustainable shopping] and read into it more, so people make more informed choices.”

Vintage clothes often provide people with a standard of quality not found in high street shops, as Bee points out: “These clothes have stood the test of time.” Benjamin, who works at the Thrift Shop on Parker Street, thinks that Secondhand September is a great environmental movement. “Clothing is the second biggest pollution. It’s good to be seeing young people [buying vintage], it used to be frowned upon when I was younger.” Talking to Bee and Benjamin, it’s clear that more and more young people, particularly students, are shunning fast fashion in favour of a more sustainable option. Both agree that their shops have become busier thanks to students returning to the city. “It’s definitely more popular,” reveals Benjamin. “Especially due to the quality of the clothing...they just last a lot longer, [whereas high street clothes] are made in the same factory these days.” Hopefully Secondhand September will encourage everyone to change their shopping habits, even when the month is over.

2,000 march to save the planet in climate protest A

By Ed Browne

t least 2,000 protesters took part in what turned out to be Manchester’s biggest climate march ever, according to organisers. The demonstration on Friday 20th saw thousands of students and workers take strike action to protest climate change. The gathering started at St. Peter’s Square before a march, led by police, walked a lap of the city centre. The Manchester Greenpeace Group helped rally support for the event. Martin Porter, Group Co-ordinator, spoke to Mancunian Matters short-

ly after the march had concluded; Was the size of the march the turnout you were expecting? Martin: Oh yeah. Only the last couple of weeks [we] started getting the vibe that it would be big - when student unions started getting involved, when the feeder marches started being organised from Universities and also the whole twitter vibe about it 7 [it was] certainly Manchester’s biggest climate protest, and from what I’ve seen on Twitter, possibly the biggest global one. Students were the central part of the protest. Is climate change in their hands? Martin: In due course. I mean obviously they

haven’t got either any political or economic power in themselves but all young people are connected to older people somehow: parents; teachers; in due course, employers. The best way to reach anyone is through their children. So I really do hope they go home and have these conversations with their parents, their friends, the ones who didn’t come to the protest today7 and that sort of communication - person to person - is really how we’re going to change minds on climate change. What we’re heading towards – certainly in America – is a place where politically, America is more divided on climate change than it is even on guns. The people who attend protests like this are

terrified of the future, and they’ll just say it’s a commie plot. And I mean, young people are the key to breaking down those sort of barriers 7 It’s not a sinister plot, it’s something that these people are really, really concerned about. That came across in every speaker that stood up today. It’s not made up, it’s not PR. Speaking of politics, there were lots of socialist placards at the demonstration. Does that go hand in hand with climate change action? Martin: Well, it’s good to see groups like that getting involved. I don’t think they’re particularly typical of all the people who were actually attending the march; they really were students. The trade union involved though, was very important [7] some trade union people will be worried about their jobs, but I think the trade union movement as a whole sees that overall there are more jobs in renewable energy, in public transport, in building better houses, than there is ever going be in the old polluting industries. There was one student who claimed she was being fined £120 by her school because of her unauthorised absence to attend the march. What are your thoughts? Martin: Terrible. I understand that the schools can’t authorise absences, and to be honest if they did it would kind of make it a ‘fake strike’ like the spontaneous workers demonstrations you’d have in communist countries. But to actually penalise a student taking a stand – that is very wrong. You can’t meet these people and not realise that they’re not here to go shopping in Primark, they’re not here because they hate school. And I imagine that these are the pupils who are doing really well in school. To put a financial penalty against it is terrible, that is very wrong.

Life in the slow lane

By Emma Gibbs

Manchester has become the first city in Europe to trial a slow lane for people who want to look at their mobile phones as they walk. Installed by AO-Mobile, a company based in Bolton, the slow lanes were designed to tackle the issue of people getting distracted while using technology on the move. The 75m length slow lanes were painted along Hardman Boulevard in the Spinningfields district of Manchester. They were installed for several weeks in September as a trial. AO-Mobile conducted research into pedestrians using mobile phones while walking. Manchester proved particularly prolific, with 91% of Mancunians claiming they regularly walk while looking at their phones, compared to 84% of Londoners. However the people of Manchester, and beyond, expressed divided opinions on the installment of the slow lanes. Marieta who lives in Spinningfields said, ‘I can’t see the purpose.’ While Louise from North Manchester said, ‘The slow lanes just appeared. I was slightly confused and thought they were a bit gimmicky.’ AO-Mobile maintains that the ‘slow lanes’ make pathways safer and more userfriendly for both those that do and do not use technology while walking. Studies claim that 35% of Brits are involved in an accident due to using their mobile phones while walking - whether that’s the embarrassment of walking into someone or even causing damage to prop-

erty or injury. Richard Baxendale, MD of AO-Mobile said: “Our research found Brits being distracted by technology when walking is becoming an issue people want tackled. Our trial slow lane certainly helped to raise awareness of the issue with the attention it created.” While the concept is new to the UK, a private company in Chongqing, China opened a similar mobile phone slow lane back in 2014. Other slow lanes include an April Fool’s Day hoax in Philadelphia, and another set up in Washington DC to study human behaviour. While the slow lanes generated a lot of interest and statistics suggest distraction using mobile phones is a problem, it remains debatable whether the slow lanes are a viable solution. On the future of slow lanes, AO-Mobile commented: “There was a lot of interest from as far afield as the USA and Italy, with media articles considering if this trial might be replicated elsewhere. “While we don’t have any immediate plans to open any more slow lanes, never say never.”

Politics we missed while focussing on Brussels September 2019


Bolton man hunt begins

By Jack Flintham

It is 1,190 days since the Brexit referendum. The UK’s news agenda has been absorbed by Brexit. It has, however, turned the spotlight away from important domestic issues. It’s hard to imagine, but politics is not just all about the B-word. There were blue-on-blue hostilities as former Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, launched a scathing attack on Mr Johnson for his role in the EU referendum last week. These comments surfaced after Mr Cameron published his memoirs. Notably, the former Prime Minister admitted to regularly being “off his head” on cannabis during his student days at Eton College. He also admitted that legalising gay marriage was a topic that he would “wobble over and worry about” before his wife, Samantha, added that she would support the policy. The Tories also found themselves in hot water over potentially misleading the public. An article published by BBC News claimed that the Government would spend £7.1 billion on primary and secondary education between now and 2022-23. But the Government claimed that double would be spent. It has not been all plain sailing for the opposition either. Knife crime problems in the capital have continued to rumble on, and the Mayor of London’s former policing advisor, Leroy Logan, quit the Labour Party. Mr Logan was extremely critical of Sadiq

A manhunt is underway after a resident in Bolton was shot on his doorstep last Sunday night. According to reports the 22year-old victim, who has not been named, was attacked after answering his door on Settle Street just before 9:40pm on Sunday 22nd. He was taken to hospital in a stable condition and is expected to recover. Detective Inspector Damien Threader of Greater Manchester Police has urged anyone with any information on the shooting to get in touch. “I understand that this may cause concern and worry members of the public but I would like to stress that we are treating this as isolated and not liked to any other incident,” he said. “This being said, there will be a higher police presence in the coming days and I would urge people to speak with these officers if they have any issues or questions.” No arrests have yet been made, and police are appealing for help. Settle Street, pictured below, was closed off by police

Khan, claiming the Mayor ‘didn’t really understand’ knife crime. He believes that he is among many parents who are ‘concerned about safety’ in the capital. He has since joined the Liberal Democrats. These stories have all been bumped by a withdrawal process that continues to rumble on.

It is now more important than ever though that we focus on domestic issues. We are mere months away from a general election, which, coupled with a background of Brexit, could push this country to its limits. The ruling by the Supreme Court that prorogation was unlawful escalates the likelihood that the Prime Minister will frame an upcoming election into: ‘People versus the

Establishment (legal, media and political)’. Brexit is undoubtedly important – it is the largest constitutional change that the country has undergone in peacetime – but coverage is coming at a cost. It is incumbent on all media outlets to report on politics at home, as issues such as education, social care, housing and health still matter amongst voters.

The demise of Bury proves football is just an ugly plutocracy By Tom Beattie

Separated by 116 years, two clubs just 12 miles apart put six goals past their respective opponents to win the FA Cup in a record breaking fashion. In 1903, it was not the modern-day goliaths of Manchester United or Manchester City who won the FA Cup. Instead it was Bury, who defeated Derby County to win their second FA Cup in four seasons. Fast-forward to May 2019 and Manchester City, who would enter the following season having assembled football’s first £1bn squad, secured an unprecedented domestic treble by beating Watford by 6 goals at Wembley. Two seasons ago, Pep Guardiola’s record-setting side had become the first English top-flight champions to register 100 points during a league campaign and fell just two points short of this total to retain their title in the following season. The seeds for their domination of the English game had been sown some 10 years prior following the purchase of the club by Sheikh Mansour, worth an estimated £17bn, who has invested upwards of £2bn since his purchase of the Eastlands outfit in September 2008. Previously, City were always in world-famous United’s shadow. The Red Devils had won 11 premier league titles and conquered Europe twice, dominating Mancunian football. A decade on, Manchester has become one of the world’s true capitals of football. In the post-industrial hinterlands of Bury

and Bolton, however, it would be difficult to feel much more than outsiders looking in. Come 2019, despite being separated by a handful of miles, financially Bury vis-à-vis City and United are worlds apart. Despite a successful season in 2018/19, the Shakers were unable to pay their staff. Since the turn of the century, the club has been beset with financial difficulties and as recently as 2012 was placed under a transfer embargo as Bury football club: out of the League after a 134-year history in the game debts spiralled out of control following a The expulsion of Bury from the Football League decrease in gate receipts. reminded us of the fragility of the clubs we support However, the disastrous reign of Steve Dale who and just how integral they are to our communities. purchased the club in December 2018 ultimately This was further compounded by the coverage of struck the death knell on 134 years of history for the the event on Sky Sports News, who saw fit to Gigg Lane outfit. introduce a countdown-clock in the lead up to the Dale subsequently penned a statement deadline that had been set for Bury to settle their expressining his distaste at the decision to remove debts, which seemed crass. Bury from the league, though Captain Neil Danns Bill Shankly’s typically acerbic comment regarding had strong words of his own for the owner.

football being not a “matter of life or death” but “much more important than that”, stands as one of the game’s most oft-quoted remarks and in situations such as the demise of Bury, it is not difficult to see why. Leeds United, Bradford City and Portsmouth stand as high profile cases of financial mismanagement. However, unlike Bury, these clubs survived. Following years of on-and-off financial uncertainty, one of English football’s first true history-makers now run a genuine risk of becoming a fatal casualty of the ever-growing financial chasm that has emerged separating EFL clubs and the Premier League. The expulsion of Bury from the EFL reminded us in the most humbling way possible that in football, more than ever, money talks. Research suggests that some two-thirds of all EFL clubs could face a similar situation to that of Bury in the next year. English football, arguably, is facing its biggest existential crisis. Local goliaths City and United may make the case that the plight of Bury simply represents business. However, as lower league clubs struggle to make ends meet while their affluent neighbours turn a blind eye, it is clear that football is fast becoming a vicious plutocracy that is on the verge of eating itself whole. The Football League currently stands as one of Britain’s most beloved exports, however, this institution is increasingly a house built on sand.


Labour ‘up in the air’ over migration


By Chris Bradford hadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott appears to be at odds with Labour members and delegates, after she refused to confirm whether the continuation of free movement would feature in the next election manifesto. The 65-year-old admitted that the party’s position on free movement remains ‘up in the air’, and it ‘depends’ on the arrangements of the trading relationship with the European Union. Members and delegates supported a motion on the final day of their party conference in Brighton, which would see the party unambiguously ‘defend and extend’ the freedom of movement. Ana Oppenheim, a member of the pro-immigration campaign group Labour for Free Movement said: ‘this is a transformational policy. The continuation of free movement was at the forefront of a radical set of policies. Labour members expressed their approval at closing migrant detention centres, a symbolic rejection of the ‘hostile environment’ narrative of the

Conservative Party. Under a Labour government, migrants would be given free access to NHS services and they would be provided with equal voting rights. Even though the Labour Party are not bound by motions approved in Brighton, this successful motion marks a complete 180 degrees U-turn from the party’s position on the issue going into the 2017 election. Their manifesto stated that: ‘freedom of movement would end’ as we leave the European Union’, implying that Labour would endorse leaving the single market. .Free movement is a prerequisite for membership of the single market. Accepting the result of the historic 2016 vote result was an electoral tactic used by the Labour Party, reducing the importance of Brexit as a factor. It is now highly possible that free movement could form the basis of Labour’s Brexit agreement, should they win the next election. Leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he would negotiate a new agreement within three-months and hold a second

September 2019

public vote within six months, consisting of a ‘credible’ Brexit option and the option to Remain. During his leader’s speech, he said that a Labour Brexit agreement would consist of a new UK-EU customs union, a close relationship with the single market, as well as guaranteeing the protection of workers rights and environmental standards. Endorsing such a radical policy could pose a considerable electoral risk to Labour, who have ever since the 2016 result tried to appease both Remain and Leave supporters. During his traditional leadership speech, leader Jeremy Corbyn said he did not just want to represent ‘the 52 per cent [who voted for Brexit], or the 48 per cent [who voted Remain], but the 99 per cent’, in a unifying national rally. Renowned politics academic and lecturer at the University of Manchester from 2008-10, Matthew Goodwin commented that Nigel Farage will have ‘an absolute field day’’, particularly in Labour’s traditional heartlands in Northern England during an election campaign dominated by Brexit.

Protests waiting for Tories Corbyn set for another struggle as Abbott spills cold water over open-door immigration policy

By Lyell Tweed

. The annual Conservative Party conference has been thrown into doubt after the failed prorogation of Parliament has called back MPs earlier than planned. As well as this a further recess of parliament designed for the accommodation of the party conference has been rejected by MPs. The traditional party conference season is well under way with the Liberal Democrats buoyant in Bournemouth and Labour in battle over Brexit down the coast in Brighton. The Conservatives were hoping to be back in Manchester this weekend but this vote has brought this into question. Their last trip to the city was eventful to say the least as Theresa May suffered from coughing fits throughout her headline speech and comedian Lee Nelson handed her a P45, notably, muttering ‘Boris asked me to give you this’. Now , Boris Johnson is leader, he will be hoping for better performance in a city, which is unlikely to greet him with a warm welcome if all still goes ahead. The Northern Powerhouse may well occupy a lot of time at the conference because of this reputation. This policy has caused a lot of controversy over the last couple of years for a number of reasons, with its flagship High Speed rail policy coming under considerable scrutiny. ‘Tories will have to have something good up their sleeve to convince members this is still a priority’ said Olivia Lever, the student liaison lead at the young Conservatives grassroots think-tank Blue Beyond. Many demonstrations have already been planned with one event on Facebook signalling to gather over 1,500 people already. Ramona McCarthy from the campaign group, the People’s Assembly described it as ‘insulting’ for the Conservatives to hold their conference in Manchester. Holding the conference in what she perceives to be a Labour stronghold was inappropriate and would only be met with anger for the Mancunian public.

She described how the inclusion zone for the four day event surrounding the Peterloo memorial ‘agitates and annoys a lot of Mancunians’. When Tories come to their town they want to make it very very clear that you’re not welcome. The People’s Assembly in Manchester is one of the strongest in the country which says a lot about the people of Manchester. The potential cancelling or limiting of the conference has not changed their attitude with the Assembly demonstrating ‘whether or not they’re there’. ‘People still want to go out and voice their anger and concerns’ with the People’s Assembly in Man-

chester ‘giving people a space to get together, discussing the things that are affecting them now’ over the next week. Whatever the scale of the Conservative conference, the events taking place around this and the policies launched at this will require much attention. The political eyes of the nation will be fixated on Manchester in the coming days with the political future of the country somewhat depending on it. Media outlets have reported a plethora of unwanted controversies the Tories have to deal with heading into the events in Manchester. The Mirror has reported that a group of anti-Brexit

MPs have been denied entry to the official venue. The chief executive for Best for Britain, a group which includes Tory MPs, has had her application denied. The Times also reported that party advisors were told that the conference was not a priority. The Guardian claimed that Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, were at odds over what should be announced at the event. But with the Conservatives holding their own ahead of Labour in the polls, this year’s conference could be seen as an ideal time for a show of unity, ahead of an upcoming general election.

FEATURES September 2019

Why the Armenian community sings with one voice and calls Manchester home I

By Anna Staufenberg

f you walk out of the bustle of Manchester’s city centre and down the main road towards Didsbury, you’ll reach a corner where Upper Brook Street meets Swinton Grove. This is where The Holy Trinity Armenian Church is perched, where Manchester’s Armenian community has been meeting since the 1880s. Easter next year marks the church’s 150th anniversary, and the story of this building and its community during that time reachers far further than the borders of North-West England. Manchester’s cotton industry boomed in the mid-1800s and whispers of this new ‘Cottonopolis’ attracted textile merchants from the Middle East. A number stayed and opened their own factories and businesses, and over time a community of people with roots stretching all the way from the Caucasus Valley had established itself in the hills of the Pennines. By 1862 Manchester was home to around 30 businesses owned by Armenians, mostly trading silk. A few years later The Holy Trinity Armenian Church was built, the first ever in Western Europe. This movement of Armenians over the borders became a steady trickle through the 1880s and 90s, and well into the 1900s. A quick look at a map is revealing for why. Armenia, the first ever nation to accept Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD, has religous opposition to its east, south

and west in the form of Islam. Turkey’s particularly hostile treatment of Armenia peaked in the 1915 Genocide, where up to 1.5 million Armenians were marched to the deserts of Northern Syria and straight into concentration camps. Deir ez-Zor is for Armenians what Auschwitz is for the Jewish community. Ara Couligian is the Chairman of the Wardens at Manchester’s Holy Trinity Church. “We were ethnically cleansed, to put a modern term on it,” he explains. “Before the word ‘Genocide’ was invented years later by the Holocaust Jews.” The politics of this statement are complex. Turkey and Israel don’t recognise the Armenian Genocide, and neither does the UK nor the US - modern international diplomacy is presumably a beast not worth poking. Asked whether this bothers him, Ara’s response is considered. “I suppose it does reallyJdeep down in the psyche of people it will have an effect.” Articles and Wikipedia pages about Armenia all refer to the ‘Armenian Diaspora’, a Diaspora being a population of people scattered far from their homeland. Armenia today - a country the size of Wales - has about 3 million inhabitants, whilst an enormous 10 - 12 million Armenians live abroad. This is left over from a long history of religious persecution, but is also, Ara explains, because Armenia remains fairly poor. Political disputes in its neighbouring countries have made international trade routes tricky.

“The community today waxes and wanes according to troubles in the Middle East,” Ara goes on. His own grandparents escaped Turkish persecution by rowing from mainland Turkey to Cyprus, and his parents arrived in the UK in the early 1960s. The Lebanese Civil War in the 1970s and the fall of the Soviet Union then saw even more people leave the area in search of a better life. “Of course, their attitude to the Turks is slightly different to ours,” says Ara, referring to his grandparents’ generation who experienced the Genocide. “Bitter is probably too strong a wordJbut they have

resentment in them.” The church’s location on Swinton Grove is a cheesy but apt reminder of this tension. Ara points out that the church is in a largely Muslim area and although he’s careful not to make thoughtless generalisations, he’s obviously taken care in his role as Chairman of the Wardens not to antagonise a historical enmity. Although he would have liked the building to be more in keeping with traditional Armenian architecture, its modest appearance has kept it under the radar. Why though does Wikipedia dedicate an entire section of its page on Manches-

ter’s demographics to the Armenian population? Ara laughs. “We’ve got this reputation worldwide, it’s not just here.” The Armenian community as a whole doesn’t stand up and support themselves like the Jewish community does, he says. But in Manchester the community is close-knit and has consistently “sung with one voice”, bypassing any political differences. Although there are just a couple of hundred of them - and that’s if you include Liverpool and Leeds - people overestimate their size. “Maybe it’s a bit of Northern friendliness as well though,” Ara adds. Ara’s whole family is involved in the church and Arman, who put me in touch with Ara and who owns the Armenian Taverna in Albert Square, is a Trustee. “We know all the Armenians really,” Ara says. “I’ve been going to Arman’s restaurant from knee-high to a Grasshopper.” Of course, all this talk of community and international conflict rings very loud Brexit bells. “560 million people have got a louder voice in world affairs than 60 million people,” puts Ara simply. “We need to be with these other people, albeit with all the differences,” - something to be learnt perhaps about the kind of society we’d like to become, through the eyes of a dispersed community that comes together on this small street in south Manchester.

It’s time to break this taboo, period

By Liv Clarke

Sitting opposite me, Freya Slack is sporting a slick, geometric bob and huge silver hoop earrings. Her socks are illustrated with outlines of boobs and the same ones adorn her tote bag. She wears a vivid red sweater. The red part is important. Why? We’re here to talk about periods. Last October, Freya, who studies Interactive Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University, launched the initiative Don’t Cramp My Style as part of a university project, however it soon blew up into something much more important.

“There a lot of period poverty charities in the UK which is amazing...but actually the core of the period problem is the taboo,” Freya explains, her eyes wide with enthusiasm. “People struggle to talk about this taboo, if you do something creative it helps to break it.” This is where DCMS comes in. The project takes on a two-pronged approach; a DCMS handbook on periods and other taboo topics designed and written by Freya which is distributed at toilets throughout Manchester, and a live event which creates a place where all things menstrual can be discussed and celebrated.

DCMS has recently been awarded funding by Whitworth Young Contemporaries, which supports young people who want to expand their projects and support communities. This funding has gone towards the handbook and to the event. In January DCMS held an event at The Peer Hat which raised £300 to buy products for the Bolton branch of the Red Box Project, which creates ‘period boxes’ for schools. The event featured everything from artwork to performance poetry. This October DCMS will be hosting a follow up event at The Horsfall and Freya is calling on creatives to produce artwork and create performances based on the theme of starting periods. “[This event] is all about starting periods, the reason why? I think it’s a great thing to go right back to the beginning,” Freya tells me. Although she’s put on an event like this before, this time there’s added pressure as DCMS evolves into something more. “[With] this event, we want to use the money to create period positivity packages, we’re gonna [sic] work with girl guides, create [the packages] and donate them to 42nd street,” she reveals. “We wanted to do something that we created ourselves, taking our first step at being our own charity.” Freya is quick to point out that raising money is not the sole pur-

pose of the DCMS, it’s about raising awareness and starting conversations. “What DCMS is offering at these events is a platform, there are no platforms out there that openly allow people to discuss this in a face-to-face way.” Creative expression is a central theme to the DCMS project, and Freya is an advocate of using art to open up the discussion on periods and to allow people to explore a topic that many find uncomfortable to talk about. “The art community is such an open group of people, [art is a] fantastic way to reach out to people. No matter who you are, there’s gonna be something you can relate to,” she explains. Throughout our conversation Freya keeps returning to the same idea: that education is a key to breaking the taboo surrounding periods. She believes that art can bridge the topics of health and education. Freya was heavily influenced by her mother and grandmother, who have both worked as nurses. “I’m in no way academic, but as an artist...I do see a crossover with public health and medicine, and [I] see a way to educate people so they can be healthy and happy.” This is where the DCMS booklet comes in. It's a small guide jampacked with information all about that time of the month and everything related to it. It features illustrations drawn by Freya and is a

work of art in its own right. Freya wrote it all herself and had it reviewed by her mum and a doctor. It has been medically approved but includes a disclaimer. The booklet has been distributed across the city, and can be found in both female and male toilets at places such as the Whitworth Gallery and the Manchester Museum. Creating the booklet was an important way to transform menstrual education, as Freya explains. “There are different ways to educate people, it doesn’t have to be in a GP room or in a classroom.” Placing these booklets in galleries and museums has the added benefit of making the art world more accessible. “Galleries seem very elitist, but the fact that they are taking on this project shows that times are changing.” Considering DCMS started as a university project, Freya has managed to create an impact in areas encompassing health, art and education, which is an impressive achievement, although she jokes that it’s started to define who she is. “I was introduced at a party as ‘that period girl’. Wow, this is who I am now.” The DCMS event will happen on Tuesday 29th October, with the time still TBC. If you want to be involved contact Freya on or on the Instagram account: @dontcrampstyle.

Victim’s brave act of defiance to hate

FEATURES September 2019


By Isabel Baldwin

ILENCE. Then, a hysteria of confusion as people searched for their loved ones. Chaos ensued and feelings of sheer terror and panic erupted. Feelings that should never be associated with leaving a pop concert. On May 22 2017, terrorist Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena attended by 14,000 young fans, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds more. For many concert goers it was a dream come true to see their pop idol Ariana Grande perform live, however, it was one that ended as a nightmare. A nightmare that has impacted their lives forever and left them dealing with the horrors they witnessed. 846 days later, one of those fans, Becky, attended her first Ariana concert since the attack. Becky had gone to the Manchester concert in 2017 with her sister, her friend and friend’s niece. They were just leaving when the bomb detonated. “We were in the bit outside of the stage as we had left our seats as Ariana walked off the stage. We were in the block directly opposite the station entrance, but had walked towards the main road entrance. So, we were just lucky. “We heard the bang but were surrounded by teenage girls who went silent then hysterical, so it was a moment of confusion, then the urge to get out and safe”, she says. Two years on, physical wounds, caused by the shrapnel and fire have healed, however it is those hidden under the skin that have scarred the

worst. The mental damage will take longer to overcome. The horrifying scenes young people witnessed have caused an unimaginable pain, anger and fear. Whilst the rest of the world

appears to have recovered from the attack, they forget that the victims remain. These victims may not have visible scars, but they are still suffering nonetheless. And - through the trauma - they are left with the impossible task of accepting all is fine. Becky is one of these victims.

Although she escaped physically “I had some counselling for it to help unharmed, she has had to cope with the me. And that [feeling of] ‘what if’s’ were post traumatic stress ( PTSD) the a big thing. “I think I was in shock for three attack triggered. months and came out of it in September, so accessed counselling”, she explains. A Manchester date was noticeably missing from the Sweetner World Tour, most likely due to

“The after effects were more so as you start to think how you could have helped, but we didn’t know for sure what had happened or if anything [had happened] at the time. So more so the shock after, then the PTSD.

Grande’s own struggles with the trauma of the attack. However, both London and Birmingham have hosted the pop sensation on her world tour, resulting in many Manchester fans making the journey down to the O2 or the Birmingham Arena. “[I’m] feeling a little bit anxious but

security’s high and I’ve been [to] lots of gigs since to make sure [I’m feeling alright], so I’m sure everything will be fine.” As a brave act of defiance to hate, Becky has refused to let the horror of

Whilst the rest of the world appears to have recovered from the attack, they forget that the victims remain

that night keep her shackled. “I’ve been back [to] the Arena for other things so I think I’d feel the same [as seeing Ariana Grande at Manchester]. I think going to other gigs was necessary to make sure I could carry on with my life, as I do go to a lot! “It was good, [I had a] bit of anxiety during ‘Dangerous Woman’ but other than that really good.” It is clear Becky has not let terrorism beat her. Every concert that she attends is a protest against the hate Abedi attempted to spread. “Abedi acted to break us and our community, however the young fans of Ariana Grande, those we consider to be the most innocent in our society, have proven to be the bravest.” By fighting back against the fear and trauma the event caused, these young fans - and all those in Manchester who pulled together in a time of sorrow - have proven that his actions have only made the city stronger. In the wake of a tragedy, that should have turned our lives upside down, Becky’s story has shown that the simplest act of living our lives gives us the strength to overcome the trauma. Terrorism should not keep us chained in fear but should rather give us the strength to value every moment of enjoyment.

Dogwalking diaries FEATURES September 2019


By Emma Downey

s the alarm echoes around the room at 8am on a Thursday morning my first thoughts gather to the same place they frequent every day at this time: "Oh God it's time to take the hound for a walk. I wonder what mischief and trouble he'll lead us into today!" My second thought: "I need a strong coffee, pronto!" For those of you that have watched the fictional family comedy Marley & Me, with the great big loveable golden Labrador that destroys everything in its wake, causing its owners repeated headaches. This dog actually exists, albeit under a different guise - my oneyear-old black labrador Ben. For those of you who have not seen this laugh-out-loud movie - no need to, just read on. Ben's daily routine consists of waking me up at 7am, getting fed and moaning consistently until we go for a walk in the park. When we finally venture out for his walk, Aka an army workout obstacle course, it's an 'arm nearly out of socket' type of experience where people smile sympathetically, laugh or joke that he's walking me. Walking me? More a case of him bulldozing his way down the street as I try to regain some control. I surmise that they're thinking:

'Here comes the crazy Irish lady with the demented dog'. Ben's 'walking' doesn't just consist of pulling; he's devoid of direction. While he's meant to position himself to my left (as I'm informed by my dog trainer Phil), he'll go from side to side, forwards and backwards depending on his mood, how fast he wants to get somewhere or what’s captured his eye. One day I made the mistake of glancing at my phone, which resulted in me being pulled backwards and falling into the mud, with my leg bending in a way it shouldn’t. My first fear was that I had strained my leg. My second fear was that somebody had witnessed the whole ordeal. Luckily it was early in the morning. I'm guessing he had spotted a bird, squirrel or a plastic bag and had thought Ben’s ‘walking’ doesn’t just consist of pulling; he’s devoid of direction

'CHARGE'. Another time I was nearly pulled into the road when he had spotted another dog on the opposite side and wanted to introduce himself, as you do. When we do meet other dogs he does this weird crouching down thing as if getting ready to pounce on his prey. Luckily he wouldn't hurt a fly but rather lick it to death. Although this has got us into trouble.

GET ON YOUR BIKE: cyclists hit the road from London to Brighton, photo courtesy of, 2019


By Matt Chivers

word of advice, if you don’t cycle regularly or haven’t done so for a decade, do not attempt a 55-mile bike ride from London to Brighton. When my friends suggested participating in the ride, I said yes on the basis that I know how to ride a bike and would be raising money for a great cause. I fancy myself as an endurance athlete; however, this is proba-

bly because I don’t possess any degree of speed, not because I actually have any stamina. For years I’ve run about football pitches and walked multiple golf courses, so I foolishly assumed I had developed a Tour de France level of muscular endurance. I was still without a bike a week before the ride. My respect for the event was minimal, but I eventually built up the energy and sorted myself a mountain bike fitted with road tyres from

When I let him off the lead to exert his unabating energy, I'm constantly surveying the park for other dogs, but sometimes eagle eyed Ben will spot them first, galloping over to them at a raging speed fast (Grand National horses have nothing on Ben!). He will then proceed to chase them around, trip over them clumsily, become bored after five minutes and go back to sniffing the grass and daffodils. Then, if he is on a lead when he sees another dog, I have to call upon all of my arm’s strength to pull him away whilst trying to divert his attention. My weekly dog trainer Phil (who I'm seriously contemplating putting in my will as Ben's guardian if I die unexpectedly from dog-related stress) says I have to hold Ben's attention so he's not distracted in the park. Clearly he is talking about another dog he trains as mine has the attention span of a goldfish! I gave him to a woman to hold onto the other day while I tried to catch a stray dog. The poor woman was nearly pulled off her feet. She didn't know what had hit her! If anyone does pay him attention he rewards them by jumping up on them with his great, big mucky paws. At home I have come to the realisation that everything that is and isn't clamped down needs to be monitored when Ben's around as nothing is out of bounds or off the menu when it

comes to his unselective palate. Shine a light on this dog's stomach of steel and you'll find anything from shoes, socks, underwear and stones, to cigarettes, a plug-in air freshener and a bit of a phone charger. I even tried buying him extra strength toys. Needless to say they lasted around an hour as his teeth resemble something from Jaws. He's also an indecisive dog when he's in the house he wants out and vice versa. He'll also be mute for most of the day unless he doesn't get his way then it's back-chatting all the way and a bodyguard wouldn't even have a look in. He's your personal shadow. Where you go, he follows as one eye is always on you even while he's sleeping. One time while he was sleeping his eyes turned red whilst rolling back and forth in his head. Nearly having a coronary, my flatmate Isobel assured me that the devil had not possessed him and it's what all dogs do when they're in a dream-like

state; I'm not so sure. This dog may look as cute as a button, but underneath lurks a devious mind. I'm convinced he knows what he's doing but plays dumb. If he can be trained to sit, lie down, give you his paw, sit at a roadside until instructed to move and trot along in sync with the trainer for an hour every Wednesday afternoon while I'm thinking: "This dog's talking the p**s out of me", then he can be trained to walk. Then I remember something an elderly man, who I’ve met walking his Jack Russell every morning and who Ben has befriended, told me after I said one day he would witness a miracle when I would be able to walk the whole way around the park with Ben trotting along beside me. He said he'll "not live that long". At this point the old adage patience is a virtue creeps into my head and I think to myself can somebody please install me with a truck load of patience ASAP!

my neighbours in Dover. Before I knew it, we were at the starting line at Clapham Common at 7.45am on Sunday 15th September. I had done moderate training leading up to the event, I was going for runs and trying to keep my weight at a respectable level. However, a week before the ride I had moved in to my new flat in Manchester, and so found little time and made every excuse possible to not train or exercise. Taking advice from friends, I purchased padded shorts and a cushioned seat cover to soften my pain during the ride. But if you have ever cycled for 55 miles, you soon become aware that there is no protection on earth that can fully support your body in such a way. I’ll abstain from more detail. The first ten miles through London was pleasant; it was a scorching hot day and the course had been reasonably flat

so far. Despite feeling comfortable at that stage, it reinforced my naivety to the reality that in the course of a 55-mile ride, there would be large slopes and steep gradients to deal with. Yet another factor I ignored when I enthusiastically agreed to the event. Admittedly I had a mountain bike, which is heavier and requires harder work up slopes than a road bike. I was not prepared to splash out on a carbonfibre road bike which I probably would never get on again. I would later regret this decision. There was a water stop at the 17-mile mark, where unsubstantial, seedy protein bars were provided before we continued. My muscles were bewildered as to what I was putting them through, air was pumped through my lungs in crevices never visited before. Lunch was at 32 miles; and the 47 mark was the dreaded mile climb at Ditchling Beacon.

For mortals such as myself, it looked a completely vertical slope. I gave it a glance and then walked up, grimacing at the freakishly fit athletes pumping up the hill. The final 7 miles was rewarding, an essentially all downhill-ride to Brighton seafront. That was not the end of my day, I then had to power walk up to Brighton station to hop on a train back to Manchester. You can probably gather that ‘out of my depth’ is an apt phrase. Relieved does not tell the story as we crossed the finishing line. Aside from feeling sorry for myself, we managed to raise nearly £1000 for Cancer Research UK and Mind UK, causes that I am delighted to help. Despite the sweat, pain, aches and almost tears of what was 7 and a half hours of cycling, it was comfortably worth it to help those who face unimaginable struggles against disease and mental health.

A DOG’S LIFE: cute looks are deceiving, photo courtesy of Emma Downey

In the saddle for 55 miles


September 2019

The autistic talent making a difference through film

Work has begun on Ryan Purcel’’s second film, based on living independently (Photo courtesy of Ryan-Purcell)


By James Crump

icholas Ryan-Purcell is a documentary filmmaker. He is also autistic. His latest documentary This Is Nicholas — Living With Autism Spectrum Disorder screened in 26 screens in Ireland from October to May 2019 and is coming to Manchester on 8th October, showing at the Odeon Manchester Great Northern cinema. We were initially meant to talk on 19th September, but had to delay a day thanks to Nicholas attending the National Ploughing Championships, an annual agricultural show in his native Ireland. The most Irish excuse imaginable. Nicholas apologises many times in the 12 or so hours between the cancellation and the interview with it becoming apparent when we connect the next morning that

what separates Nicholas from “guardian angels” to describe the says, “if you see someone in the most people you meet isn’t his people who have helped inspire corner go talk to them and ask autism, but his kindness. It’s imme- him along the way. them if they’re okay.” He adds that These “angels” range from his “repetitive actions are useful” and diately clear that he’s a talker, not about himself but about the people mother, whose resilience is encap- that “repeated visits to the same around him. He tells me how his sulated when she says, ‘“My job is place” go a long way to helping friend Tommy, “has helped” him by not to be liked by my child, but for make an autistic person feel commy child to be liked by fortable in new surroundings. showing, “great kindness and empathy”. At “Despite the title everybody else” to When attention turns to films times I want to tell him being all about Wesley Riddle, the he’s loving right now, Nicholas steam train driver who immediately answers, “Downton he is describing himself. Nicholas, the took him on journeys Abbey!”. It might not be the answer and would talk to him you would expect from an Irishman The film follows a similar path, focussing finished product for hours on the phone. in his late twenties, but Nicholas Nicholas calls Emly a feels affection for the character Mr. on numerous people in is anything but” “unique place, a small Carson, who reminds him “of the Nicholas’ home town of Emly in rural Ireland. Despite the town where everyone is close”. kind people who helped me when I title being all about Nicholas, the The film makes this clear, and the was young”. finished product is anything but. location is integral, showing the Nostalgia feels important to Emly isn’t just the backdrop to the audience what it's like to grow up Nicholas and whilst making a perfilm, but a living, breathing charac- autistic in a rural setting, away sonal film has its advantages, ter with the people heralded as from the higher levels of support dredging up old trauma is difficult. empathetic, kind souls. Half a metropolitan environNicholas struggled dozen are namechecked in the film, ments provide. The film Nicholas felt the with severe depreswith Nicholas preferring the term is a moving account of sion after his friend Nicholas’ journey with “need to teach John Joseph autism, but it’s also a children about McGrath died and great educational tool. these struggles are a Nicholas says he “felt autism and to be key part of the film. the need to teach chilused to accepted into McGrath dren about autism and drive him home from to be accepted into society as an school and was an society as an individimportant part in individual” ual” whilst “helping shaping him to be people understand who he is today. more about it”. Nicholas said he To fulfill this goal, Nicholas has “broke down in tears after the segtaken the film to schools, with ment had been edited” but more bookings on the horizon. He ultimately found the experience to feels educational bodies can do be rewarding. more to help autistic children and Nicholas describes the depression that followed as “all encompassing” but tells me he is in Ryan-Purcell’s debut documentary a “better place” today after strugdescribes the ‘guardian angels’ gling until 2016. Nicholas credits that have helped him growing up Buteyko Therapy with helping him (Press photo) challenge his depression, still

occasionally getting ‘top ups’ with the breathing therapy, which he likens to “getting a service on your car”. Nicholas’ next film will be about independent living, again inspired by his real life, this time focusing on his life since he moved away from his family to live by himself in April 2018. The film will be more ambitious from his last, with Nicholas employing a different structure to his last with flashbacks showing how he got to where he is today. This new structure was inspired by Nicholas’ continuing study of film. The cinema might be a place to unwind for some, but Nicholas tells me it’s where he learns. It sounds impressive but he is keen to joke that, “I bring a notebook with me into the cinema but the darkness means my handwriting often comes out lopsided”. The manager of his local cinema, Helen is another in a long line of mentors for Nicholas. Ultimately, the film is about kindness and it is clear during our talk that being kind is a huge part of Nicholas’ life. He tells me he believes that, “If you do good for others it will more than likely come back for you”. In a cynical time where “kindness is in short supply” Nicholas’ approach isn’t just a throwaway comment but a manifesto for a better life. You can check him out on social media at for further information. This Is Nicholas — Living With Austim Specturm Disorder comes to Odeon Manchester Great Northern from October 8th.

REVIEWS Liam Gallagher returns Brad Pitt hits new heights with Ad Astra with an enjoyable but familiar second album September 2019

By Billy Brake

Life for the younger Gallagher has been a bit of a ride since the split of Oasis. The efforts with Beady Eye, while admirable, left something to be desired in the performance – perhaps no doubt influenced by Liam’s selfadmitted lack of ability as a songwriter. However, As You Were was released in 2017 and was made for success. It captured something of the unique sound that so belongs to Liam and retained a style of rock that had been slowly ebbing out of music. A flavour was disappearing from the scene but Liam’s album ensured its survival. Indeed, so much was Liam committed to his own sound there are often times of confusion, such as the eerie similarity between ‘For What It’s Worth’ and Oasis’s ‘Be Here Now’. Regardless, the album still contained a number of great songs that clearly belonged in a particular brother’s songbook – even if a number were co-written. ‘Wall of Glass’, the album’s best song, boomed of confrontational angst and a refusal to submit to a any trope. This refusal is perhaps the most fitting idea of the album, it was just Liam.

Image: Warner Records

But just as As You Were is distinct, so too is Why Me? Why Not. Except it’s in the same way. It’s all well and good for Liam to understand what made As You Were a commercial success and a wonderful piece of nostalgia for Oasis fans. Both of those it was. After that, though, there has to be something new, something exciting and challenging that goes beyond a sound and actually shows an adventurous musician. Instead, despite the loud mouthing, it’s a listing of songs that play it safe. Listening to the album through, there’s one distinct thought that kept coming, and that’s that Liam must be a big fan of The Beatles. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, and a whole legion of musicians are big fans of the iconic foursome and are influenced as such. With Gallagher’s new album, though, it’s not so much influence as it is adherence to an outline. Listen to the opening few seconds of the titular song from the new album, then take yourself away for a second and listen to I Am the Walrus. Glimmer, the final track on the new album has the hallmark bounce of The Beatles, upbeat and with a pop side to it. Bouncy and rhythmic drumming partnered with melodic strumming create this effect of bringing Can’t Buy Me Love to the mind. Or, it’s perhaps more a tribute to John Lennon. Gallagher’s ‘Once’ bears a remarkable similarity to Lennon’s 1971 ‘Jealous Guy’. That isn’t to say the album is bad or a ‘miss’. It’s a good album, but it’s as enjoyable as you’d expect a Liam Gallagher album to be and that’s where it ends. That’s it. And that’s precisely the problem with it. It lacks the aggression we’ve come to expect from the Mancunian. So while it’s a good album and certainly worth listening to, it’s hardly a groundbreaking project.

Album artwork display arrives at Piccadilly

By Ed Browne

An exhibition dedicated to British music has landed at Manchester Piccadilly. ‘Sounds of the North’ is part of the lead-up to National Album Day, which is officially celebrated on October 12th. The display consists of several stands in the station’s hub, each highlighting seminal albums crafted by bands from regions all over the country, with the North getting a section of its own. Each stand includes a short review of each album on display, plus artwork and date of release. Albums have been chosen by a host of big names including artists – Manchester gets Elbow – record labels and music critics. Those that have made the cut include Revolver by The Beatles,‘Frequencies by LFO, Whatever They Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not by Arctic Monkeys, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory by Oasis and several more. In addition, Mancunian alt-rock giants Elbow have selected some of their most influential albums to be included, such as Hounds of Love by Kate Bush and Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet’. Unfortunately the exhibition lacks any kind of aural treat, which would make it a bit more special. At least it gives travellers some listening ideas for their train journey. The exhibition is only on until Monday 30th September so catch it quick.

By Dan Haygarth In an era when people tend to be drawn to the cinema by franchise names and little else, few ‘movie stars’ remain. Brad Pitt is one of the last bastions of this classic Hollywood tradition. His star quality, boundless charisma and undoubted acting prowess not only garners an audience but provides a film with a spark that only certain performers can. After an excellent supporting turn in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Pitt returns for his second film of the year with Ad Astra, a mesmerising space epic from director James Gray. Set in the near future, Pitt plays astronaut Roy McBride, who embarks on a journey across the galaxy in search of a decades-old expedition that threatens the earth’s safety as well as the truth about his father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones). It is comfortably Pitt’s most interesting performance in years. An isolated figure, who appears to find comfort in the solitude of space, Roy is a complex character and is at the heart of the film’s themes. Gray subverts the idea of the Hollywood hero, allowing him to investigate the effects of stoicism and isolation. Subsequently, an antiquated approach to masculinity is replaced by more nuanced and palatable ideas. Though Pitt provides a seemingly calm focal point, Gray’s film grapples with emotions rather than repressing them. The audience spends a lot of time with Roy, much of this while he is alone, building to moments of existential anguish. He is laid bare, as we see behind his stoicism and view his true self. The handling of themes, particularly a gravelly voiceover by Pitt, can be a touch heavy-handed; but this feels earned as the film deconstructs traditional ideas and treat its themes with sincerity. Gray has crafted a film that is not only rich in drama but is visually stunning. Awe-inspiring vistas combine with Kevin Thompson’s naturalistic

Image: 20th Century Fox

production design to create environments that are dazzling, but feel just about rooted in reality. A commercialised moon, laden with advertising,and the dusty, orange hues of Mars are standouts, beautifully captured by Hoyte van Hoytema’s Oscar-worthy cinematography. Shot primarily on 35mm film, the film is textured and atmospheric, as van Hoytema balances spectacle and intimacy adeptly. The use of light and space creates a wondrous version of the solar system and produces some of the year’s most enduring images. A stunning original score by Max Richter, with additional music from Lorne Balfe, works perfectly in tandem with the visuals. Brooding yet subtle, the music supplements the drama without ever dominating. Ambitious, intelligent and featuring a knockout central performance, Ad Astra is a true marvel. Rarely has masculinity been examined so boldly in mainstream cinema, nor has space ever looked so tantalisingly beautiful. A modern masterpiece.

HOME Manchester hosts premiere of bold American Football drama

By Billy Brake

Image: Bleecker Street

Tom Shadyac delivers a wonderfully crafted version of the story of Brian Banks, a former NFL player wrongfully convicted of sexual assault before he turned eighteen. The film opens with an honest discussion of Brian Banks’ (Aldis Hodge) experience as an ex-convict, capturing the trials, tribulations, and limitations involved across all aspects of life – finding work, daily activities, and forging relationships. The film disregards legal jargon and simplifies Banks’s case and why it’s difficult for the California Innocence Project to take on – until a new piece of evidence is obtained. With the assistance of Justin Brooks (Greg Kinnear) and the team at the CIP, Banks fights his conviction and aims to regain not only his dignity, but his freedom. Hodge brings the character of Banks to life, portraying him with a raw intensity and emotion that encapsulates the struggles experienced by the man. Perhaps this is best observed in the scene of Banks’s solitary confinement, a time of emotional turmoil which leads to a life-changing epiphany. It’s powerful, it’s honest, and it makes you feel Banks’s pain. Furthermore, the on-screen chemistry between Hodge and Kinnear is a key feature in involving the viewer in the film. Kinnear’s character Brooks shows a man committed to the good fight, determined to be a voice who have been stripped of their own. The issues with this are openly acknowledged in the film, raised by Brooks hesitation in accepting Banks’s case. The quality of the supporting cast was also a big positive for the film, notably those of Sherri Shephard, who plays Banks’ mother, Leomia, and of the immaculate Morgan Freeman, who dons the role of Banks’s brief prison mentor. Intimate shots highlight the emotional difficulties facing each person involved in the story. Such as the DA hearing the plea of a desperate mother, and all those in between. Not a moment of personal contem-

plation is spared by Shadyac’s direction, who capturesevery critical second of feeling. Additionally, there are skilful interspersions of events prior to the events of the film, namely the lead-up to the accusation. While this technique often detracts from the plot, creating unnecessary spaces between important moments, not this time. Rather, Shadyac’s technique ensures that every shot plays a pivotal role in enabling the viewer to further understand what has happened, and why.Additionally, the script is crafted with delicate detail. Tinges of humour are juxtaposed with blunt truths, a process through which despair is intensified. An issue often surrounding more emotional features is overwriting or cliched scripts. On one hand these are somewhat unavoidable, such as monologues full of conviction or a shoutingmatch that inevitably results in a good way. These are present in Brian Banks. But, sparingly so and never excessively nor tiresome. Brian Banks brings attention to the challenges of facing a wrongful conviction and documents this with great detail, as well as the barriers of bureaucracy that face those attempting to fight their sentence. However, beyond imprisonment, the film determinedly raises issues in the way that ‘the system’, that being society and the justice system, is stacked against African-Americans, particularly those of a disadvantage socio-economic background, such as Brian Banks. It’s an issue overtly addressed when Banks’ lawyer asks him if he’s seen the all-white jury, who only see a black man.It goes beyond ‘just’ the story of Banks and endeavours to bring attention to the fighting of a broken system. Banks’ story, while brilliant and compelling, is used as a device by the film to ask a wider question of the United States – when will change come?

What’s on in October?

Joker Joaquin Phoenix stars as the iconic villain in this Oscar-tipped origin story from The Hangover director Todd Phillips. Having won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, this comic book film is tipped for further awards.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Netflix are returning to the world of Breaking Bad, six years after the hit show came to an end. Aaron Paul returns as Jesse Pinkman, picking up where the dramatic finale left off.

Judy This biopic has seen Renée Zellweger garner universal praise for her turn as Judy Garland. Based on Garland’s career after The Wizard of Oz, this is certainly one to look out for.

Doctor Sleep Ewan McGregor stars as Danny Torrance in this long-awaited sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece The Shining. Whether this becomes yet another unnecessary sequel remains to be seen.

September 2019

REVIEWS What’s On...


StoryHouse Theatre (Chester): ‘CABARET’-Today 2.30pm, 7.30pm; Thurs 26 September Saturday 28 September

Octagon Theatre (Bolton): ’BERYL’Thu 19 September to Sat 19 October

Lowry Theatre (Salford): ‘FOOD BANK BOULEVARD- Mon 30 September to Tue 1



By Liv Clarke

he National Theatre’s production of A Taste of Honey may have begun its UK tour at the Lowry Theatre in Salford, but the Salford it represents is a world away from the glitz and glamour of Media City. The play, written by Shelagh Delaney when she was just 19, explores the struggles faced by working class people during the 1950s and touches on taboos surrounding race, sexuality and single motherhood. Through an intelligent and witty script, Delaney authentically portrays lives that are full of bad decisions, or at times just bad luck, with a humour which adds a lightness to the events that unfold on stage. Act one begins with single mother Helen, played brilliantly by Jodie Prenger, and her daughter Josephine as they move into their new home in Salford. Gemma Dobson portrays Josephine as a moaning teenager who clearly hopes she can move onto better things, although at times her incessant whining is rather irritating. As Helen and Josephine bicker over the grottiness of their residence, you can almost feel how cold and damp their flat is thanks to Hildegard Bechtler’s set design. While Josephine dreams of moving out, Helen’s solution to the situation is to pour herself a drink (one

of many during the play). Prenger’s Helen certainly stands out the most; she is fiery and feisty but extremely selfish, and spends more time wiggling her hips than talking to her daughter. When Helen is a seduced by her former lover Peter, portrayed by Tom Varey as a character who tries to be charming yet comes across as repulsive, she abandons Josephine. Refusing to be alone, Josephine falls in love with a visiting sailor, Jimmie, who she agrees to marry. Durone Stokes’ Jimmie is likeable and pleasant enough, until he sails away and leaves Josephine once more by herself. The second act follows the characters as they deal with the consequences of their decisions. Director Bijan Sheibani adds subtle touches which enrichen the production: a band plays on stage during transitions; understudies, dressed in 1950s costume, serve as stagehands during set changes and scenes are enhanced with the addition of a drumbeat in the background or the pluck of a double base. A Taste of Honey is not an easy experience for the audience as you witness the characters struggling to cope in dire situations. However, Delaney’s writing serves as an antidote to this, leaving you laughing rather than crying.

Image: Mark Waugh

Royal Exchange Theatre (Manchester): ‘MACBETH’- Thurs 26 September to Sat 19 October Image: @the_Lowry


Image: @the_Lowry

Wireless Wise celebrates high-brow radio By Ed Browne

It’s official; we have now reached the zenith of the ‘Radio 4 joke’ – a joke so high-brow that only a handful of a crowd of keen Radio 4 listeners let out a knowing chuckle. It was some sort of play on words between composer Erik Satie’s ‘Gymnopédie’ and Radio 4 presenter Jim Naughtie, but you had to be there, I guess. This is the sort of material you might expect from Wireless Wise ¬– a celebration of the comedy, music and history of one of the BBC’s most esteemed radio stations, hosted by current and ex-presenters. Among them was comedian Reverend Richard Coles; presenter Garry ‘And Here’s Garry With the Sport’ Richardson; newsreader Charlotte Green; Image: At The Theatre

and impressionist Alistair McGowan, who stole the show in terms of laughs with his on-point imitations from a slurring Alan Bennet to a bumbling Boris Johnson. Chester was the show’s first outing to ‘the North’ on September 22nd, though it will arrive at the Lowry in Manchester on the 13th of October. The hosts put on a real treat for frequent radio listeners with funny, gripping stories of broadcasting life including interviews with Bill Clinton and coverage of the Olympics. That said, the show makes some effort to appeal to more than just the typical Radio 4 listener. There is a lot there for sports fans thanks to Richardson’s veteran sports coverage experience and stories, and a broad audience will find something to like in the show’s witty quips, silly moments and Pythonesque song-writing. Yes, the majority of the audience were white and over 50, though whether this reflects more upon Chester than on Wireless Wise is hard to say. In any case, the crowd certainly steeled over a little when the topic of Brexit was approached on stage – as to be expected from that particular age demographic – and McGowan’s observation that the ‘leave’ vote was largely immigrationbased resulted in some

unsettled grumbling from the back. Any tension was quickly eroded by the end, though, as each host took it in turns to regale the audience with a performance or anecdote of their own. The Storyhouse venue itself is a little triumph in design. It’s just a great place to be and the main foyer consists of a sort of wine bar, library, and vegan-friendly restaurant combo dripping with student appeal. The main theatre is medium-sized – seating either 500 or 800 depending on its layout. The seats

aren’t raised particularly high, however, so it’s easy to have one’s view obstructed by a person sitting in front. At £26.50 a ticket, Wireless Wise is neither here nor there in terms of value for money. Ultimately though, the show is good-natured, charming and interesting. It certainly has some Radio 4 exclusivity to it, but at the same time it’s unlikely to alienate viewers. Catch it all over the country in the coming months.

Image: @RevRichardColes

ENTERTAINMENT Does Netflix signal ‘Endgame’ for a night out at the cinema? September 2019

By Dan Haygarth It was a rather concerning summer for the film industry. Though we have a new highest-grossing film of all time (Avengers: Endgame), the blockbuster season claimed several huge scalps at the box office. However, there has been untouchable and continued success for one company. Endgame was a $2.8 billion jewel in the crown for a year that belongs to Disney. In addition to this behemoth, three of the years four other highest grossing films have been distributed by the company. Even the solitary outlier (Spider-Man: Far From Home) was produced by Marvel Studios, a Disney subsidiary. This should worry cinemagoers. Disney’s purchase of rival studio 20th Century Fox in March was a clear indication of the company’s strength. Avatar, X-Men and Alien were added to their collection of cinematic franchises, which already included The Avengers, Star Wars and Indiana Jones. This could well be the start of a multiplex monopoly. However, the answer to the increasing homogenisation of mainstream film may exist outside of the cinema. As Disney now own almost all of the franchise safe bets, few other properties are guaranteed success at the box office. Enter Netflix. The streaming service has been producing its own content since 2013 and has recently ramped up its production of original films. Yet, unlike its rivals, Netflix does not rely on the box office performance of individual films for its success. Granted, the platform needs to retain and gain subscribers, but its different business model allows the company to take risks and stray from the sequel-heavy approach of Disney. By charging less for a month’s subscription than certain cinemas do for an adult ticket, and allowing viewers to watch new releases in their living rooms, Netflix has changed how films are consumed.

Image: Twitter (@TheIrishmanFilm)

This year’s box office statistics suggest that audiences are not very likely to fork out for a ‘risky’ choice at the cinema, with sequels and remakes dominating. Yet, you would assume that people are far more likely to watch something a bit different if they get it as part of a subscription.Consequently, Netflix has been in a position to take on films that other studios did not. Alfonso Cuarón spoke of his delight at being handed complete creative freedom to make his Spanish language black and white film Roma. The move paid off for Netflix - the film was lauded and won three Oscars from ten nominations at the 2019 ceremony. It is unlikely that a major studio would have backed a monochrome foreign film quite like that. The streaming service is set to play a big part in the forthcoming awards season as well. Its purchase of Martin Scorsese’s gangster film The Irishman (pictured above) may bring further success. Paramount Studios dropped the film after Scorsese’s budget demands increased. Additionally, the box office flop of his biblical epic Silence in 2016 was a big loss for the studio, yet Netflix were happy to write the legendary director a cheque and let him work. Whether this strategy proves sustainable remains to be seen. However, while Disney are busy working out how to fit Wolverine into the fifth Avengers film, Netflix are throwing money behind auteur directors and giving them artistic independence. Even if it doesn’t last forever, this is an exciting development for cinema.

Tom Hanks to be honoured with Cecil B. DeMille award at next year’s Golden Globes

Manchester Literature Festival: Top 5 events

By Emma Gibbs

Manchester might not be the book reader’s paradise that is Hay-on-Wye, or offer the natural beauty of Poldark’s Cornwall. However, you don’t have to delve far to find literary gems littered across the city. Home of the oldest public library in the English speaking world, Victorian author Elizabeth Gaskell’s house, and its own literary festival, if you’re a lover of literature then Manchester is the perfect place to visit. Recognised for its literary heritage, Manchester was awarded the UNESCO City of Literature status in 2017. The city shares this special title with the likes of Baghdad, Dublin, Barcelona, Prague, Melbourne, and Reykjavik. The initiative was designed to promote creativity in local communities and share stories on a national and international stage. The annual Literature Festival is just one of many ways Manchester celImage: Twitter (@SandiToksvig) ebrates its culture of words, with a wealth of talks and events happening IImage: Twitter (@DavidNWriter) across the city. 1.Jeanette Winterson: Frankissstein(RNCM, Saturday 5 October, We’re revealing the top 5 must see talks and events at this year’s Man- 7:30pm) chester Literature Festival. Contemporary author Jeanette Winterson will perform a show based on her To book tickets, see the full list of events, or check for updates head over new novel Frankissstein. to the Manchester Literature Festival’s official website. 2. David Nicholls in Conversation (Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, Friday 14 October, 7pm) Award winning author of One Day, David Nicholls (above,left)will discuss his new novel Sweet Sorrow. Nicholls will also talk about why and how he writes about love and relationships. 3. Lemn Sissay and Henry Normal (The Dancehouse, Wednesday 16 October, 7:30pm) Awarded an MBE for his services to literature, Lemn Sissay is famous for his poetry, plays and broadcasting. His latest release earlier this year was his memoir My Name is Why, a frank look into how he discovered hope and creativity while growing up in care. 4. Sandi Toksvig (RNCM, Saturday 2 November, 7:30pm) Broadcaster, activist, comic, and Great British Bake Off presenter, Sandi Toksvig is definitely one to watch at this year’s Manchester Literary Festival. Sandi (above, right) will talk about her upcoming memoir Between the Stops: The View of My Life from the Top of the Number 12 Bus as well as offering insight into her extraordinary life, career, and activism. 5. Writing and Walking Tours Hosted by local tour guide Anne Beswick, you can join a series of fascinating tours that paint a picture of some of Manchester’s most notable historical periods and the writers that have been shaped by them - from Image: Twitter (@McrLitFest) Elizabeth Gaskell, to Hilary Mantel, to Anthony Burgess.

Next Big Thing: The Night Café

Tom Beattie endeavours to unearth the North-West’s ‘Next Big Thing’. This month, MM’s Next Big Thing are Liverpool indie-rockers The Night Café.

The Scouse quartet have been making inroads in the British music scene this year following acclaimed touring stints as the support act for alternative heavyweights The Wombats and Circa Waves. The band, comprising of singer Sean Martin, bass guitarist Arran O’Connor, guitarist Joshua Higgins and drummer Carl Dillon, were due to tour again later this year but dates have now been postponed for 2020. With the release of debut album 0151, the band look to follow up a successful run of EP’s and follow in the footsteps of self-proclaimed heroes The Beatles and The Coral to become the latest Liverpudlian band to gain the approval of the masses. The phrase “no pressure” springs to mind. Their energetic live performances have long been heralded by fans and their debut effort seems to have largely carried on their form, combining succulent melodies with understated, brooding lyrics to achieve their signature sound. Image: Twitter (@nightcafeband)

By Elizabeth Botcherby

Actor and producer Tom Hanks is being honoured with the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 77th Golden Globes in January 2020. Awarded to individuals for their ‘outstanding contribution to the world of entertainment’, past honourees include Meryl Streep, Walt Disney, Robert de Niro and Sophia Loren. Hanks, 63, is a pre-award season favourite for his performance as Mr Rogers in the upcoming biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood.

Image: Twitter (@nightcafeband)

Lead single ‘Endless Lovers’ is a typically elegant offering with Sean Martin’s vocal a real highlight. Martin’s melancholic performance also impresses on ‘A Message To Myself’ which is a striking example of the thoughtful introspection one becomes familiar with when listening to the album. One commonality throughout 0151 - so named in reference to the dialling code of their home city- is the cohesion that the band’s sound suggests. Cohesion within a band is so often the product of many hours spent on the road; honing and perfecting your sound. In The Night Café’s case, their synergy on this album stands testament to this rule. This is a band which exhibits a refreshingly authentic sense of chemistry. From this initial showing, more is still to come from the quartet, however, with 0151, they have already managed the impressive feat of articulating to us who they are and why they have made the music scene stand up and take notice in 2019. The Night Café’s new album 0151 was released on 23rd August 2019 on TNC Recordings. It can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Google Play.

Wintersleep rocks the crowd out of their slumber September 2019


Yemen exhibition shows stories from hidden war Image: Instagram (Jaysharplesart)

By Nia Price

Image:Instagram (wintersleeptheband) By Billy Brake

Returning to the UK again for their latest album tour, Canadian rockers Wintersleep descended upon the intimate venue of the Castle Hotel and revived a unique rock sound fading from the indie landscape. The album take the band in a different direction, less “in your face and rocky” than the previous album, says vocalist Paul Murphy. It’s an album about waste. Prior to hitting the stage, Murphy told MM: “There is definitely a lot of themes of, I guess, waste and in, terms of a theme, taking things for granted and taking stock. “[It’s about] your place in the world and taking stock of that.” This is exemplified in the album’s artwork, a plastic bag and other waste drifting in the ocean. It touches on themes of time passing, loss, and waste. The album’s opening track, Surrender, begins: “Thirty six years now / Halfway to my tomb.” Meanwhile, its final song, Free Pour, sombrely professes: “Everyone’s smiling, they’re smiling / It pushes me far far away’. The Castle Hotel is a new venue for Wintersleep, the inside hazy, detailed with varnished wood, dim light, and a dizzying array of draft taps and shelved liquor bottles – hardly seeming a concert venue. Quaint and unassuming, it appeared less of a rock concert spot and more a small village local. However, the back room is different. The intimate room stage was illuminated with contrasting hues of dark blue and purple-pink, setting a mysterious tone perfectly. As the band took the stage, quietly sliding through the crowd until they suddenly appeared, the excitement in the air was palpable. The audience boasted a range of people, ages spanning thirty-odd years and styles from the edgy to the dad. The band opened with the first track from the new album, Surrender. The melodic plucking combined with the tambourine, and Murphy’s voice slowly entered to ease the audience into the show. A pause, and the band leapt into the chorus. The crowd was pulled in as the band let loose for the first time. The Canadians became distinctly fuller of rock as the band shifted to Soft Focus, allowing more electric strumming and Loel Campbell to fully explore the drumming extent of the show. It was then taken back by the band, who treated their fans to the older songs of More Than, Spirit, and Amerika. While the entirety of the

group’s show was played with an air that radiated confidence and fun, it was performing their older songs the band came to life. The interspersion of old and new was a brilliant move on Wintersleep’s part. While sometimes this can be jarring in a concert, creating an air of uncertainty, this was not the case on this occasion. Image: Billy Brake

The Imperial War Museum North’s Yemen: Inside a Crisis is the UK’s first exhibition addressing what the UN has described as the “world’s worst” humanitarian crisis. The country’s ongoing conflict has left an estimated 80% of the population in desperate need of assistance. It includes a diverse range of voices but the most prominent were the extraordinary testimonies of ordinary Yemeni people. They vividly capture the daily challenges from rampant inflation and the inaccessibility of food, water and healthcare. Most poignant was how they portrayed the human cost of war. ‘Devoured’ by Yemeni street artist Murad Subay is an impressive piece which metaphorically depicts living in a war zone. The image of a man devouring what remains of himself expresses the internal conflict, a red line illustrates a threshold which has been crossed, whilst a crow picking at his skeletal body represents the ongoing international conflict. Especially moving was the section on the physical and psychological effects on Yemen’s children. The artefacts which accompanied their stories gave insight into the harsh realities they face, as well as their incredible resilience. One was the sandal of eight year old Ahmed Abdu. He is the main provider for his grandparents and has to navigate the complexities of simply obtaining food and water in war torn Taiz, the frontline of the conflict, every single day. The exhibition includes many photographs which strike a balance of using harrowing imagery to convey the realities of war, but are not overly graphic so that the visitor turns away. Remained lodged in the mind is one of a severely malnourished two month old baby boy, weighing only two kilograms, taken in Saada hospital. The exhibition does not shy away from addressing Britain’s current paradoxical, as well as controversial, relationship with Yemen. Interviews with figures such as Amnesty International’s Oliver Feeley-Sprague highlight that although Britain is one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid to the country, it also makes lucrative arms sales to Saudi Arabia which contributes to the escalation of the conflict and resultant civilian casualties. Yemen: Inside a Crisis certainly leaves a lasting impression through masterly telling stories of enormous suffering. It highlights that the country faces an uncertain future and regardless of the conflict’s outcome, its catastrophic effects on its people will be felt for decades to come. Image: Nia Price

The Castle Hotel was a suitably intimate venue

There was a clear logic to the flow of songs, a build and peak followed by a graceful slowing of the tempo. There wasn’t much doubt about the crowd’s favourite song being Weighty Ghost, wonderfully sandwiched between the Orca, which builds toward the end, and Nothing is Anything (Without You), the beginning of which fits Weighty Ghost almost perfectly. Wintersleep perfectly understood every person at the show, responding to and feeding off those watching with experienced hands and voices. The delight they took in performing was refreshing and, combined with the venue, made for a superbly unique experience.

September 2019


Dimitr i’s Taverna brings a t a st e o f A n c i e n t G r ee c e


By Dane Massey

REEK gods and goddesses are symbols of immortality, and one secret to that immortality was their ‘Ambrosia’ diet. Inspired by Ambrosia, the food of the Greek gods and goddesses, Dimitri’s Taverna restaurant sits in the heart of Manchester. An outside table is a must at Dimitri’s. The everyday industrial landscape of Manchester is far from one’s mind despite Dimitri’s being in the heart of Deansgate, just a short walk from the Hilton. Inside, the décor and food helps you escape to the extravagant world of Classical Greece, surrounded by scenes from the Greek myths. The relaxing Mediterranean music is also the perfect way to wind down after a hard day at work. Dimitiri’s may be traditionally renowned for its Greek experience, but in a cosmopolitan city such as Manchester the restaurant also offers a multi-cultural experience with a large selection of European beers on offer. Mythos of Greece, Keo of Cyprus, Peroni of Italy, Sagres of Portugal, San Miguel of Spain, Staropramen of the Czech Republic, and Tuborg of Denmark make up just some of the beers to take your pick from. I went for the Mythos, which comes in a bigger bottle than the others and stays with the Ancient Greek theme of Ambrosia. Moving onto the food menu, there were 28 mezes to choose from, and despite my allergy to nuts, eggs, and sesame seeds I was able to choose the three which I most liked the look of. For starter, I ordered warm stone baked pitta bread served with olives and a selection of dips. The dips included the Tirokafteri – a mix of Greek feta and red pepper flavouring blended to create the light pink shade of goddess Eos’ gown. Onto the main course, the Chicken Aphrodite immediately tickled my taste buds – a delicious chicken and mushroom dish cooked in a white cream sauce. Accompanying and complementing the Chicken Aphrodite perfectly were the Spanish Patatas a lo Pobre (potatoes served with grilled peppers and onions) and the Cypriot grilled halloumi to complete an all-round scrumptious Mediterranean meal. There’s also a tempting selection of desserts including traditional Greek recipes such as Baklava and Kataifi, or an American cheesecake or brownie. Don’t be fooled too much by the Greek flags outside the restaurant as Dimitri’s delicious food still offers varied international cuisine alongside its traditional Greek dishes! Mezes range from £3.95 to £8.50. Dimitri’s contributes to the magic of Manchester’s international food and drink scene.

Manchester’s hidden gems: come for coffee, cake, cocktails and a cuppa! M

INIMALIST exteriors and hidden among alleyways. You could be forgiven for bypassing these spots, even if some are right in plain sight. Lifestyle writers, Phillipa and Emma, reveal their top fiv e gems in the city that are worth bringing out of hiding.

3SQUARED: Royal Exchange Arcade, M2 7EA For a guilt-free sweet indulgence this cafe boasts an entire menu that is gluten, wheat, dairy, soy and refined sugar free. With plans to open a gym downstairs, it is a health haven tucked away from the busy city streets. Try the fresh-pressed strawberry and lime cooler and vegan banana muffin. Less like a treat and more of a health kick. OverUnder: 111 Deansgate, M3 2BQ Where pared back interior meets a mood of calm. With cocktails served from 10am into the evening and an ethos of harnessing the real taste of the coffee bean, this gem is a must for coffee done properly or a boozy brunch with friends. Keep it simple and give the brew and brownie deal a go. Hampton & Voúis: 31 Princess Street, M2 4EW Squeezed between a hairdressers and Costa Coffee this independent café is still in its infancy. Draping floral with geometric furnishings adorn the walls for a chic natural paradise. One for your social media, the natural light and delicate aesthetics makes this a place of ultimate FOMO. Try the Medjaal Date and Pistachio ‘Bronut’, a hybrid between two classics – the brownie and doughnut with an Iced Vanilla Spiced Chai Latte. If you agree with Irish playwright Bernard Shaw that “Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life” then get yourself down to one of these bars for the injection. The Washhouse: 19 Shudehill, M4 2AF Originally a laundrette and a place to hang your washing The Washhouse bar still masquerades as a laundry shop so you would be forgiven for walking straight past this hidden gem or even calling in to have your laundry done – which I’m told has been done before. Upon entering the bar there is an old-school telephone that you have to

press with a secret code of how many loads (people) you have before being let in. With drinks inspired by the stories of Manchester – if you like your cocktails with a twist then this quirky bar is a must visit. Bartender Ben will whisk you up whatever cocktail you like dependent on your taste and if it’s not to your liking will make you a new drink without the added charge proving it’s quality over quantity For those with a sweet tooth Cigarettes. Alcohol is made up of Vulson white rye, perique tobacco liqueur (one of the rarest tobaccos in the world), fernet-branca, Mr Blacks, coriander, gomme and maple and is served with a teapot and a vape made of alcohol. Aesthetically pleasing and described as fragrant, sharp, alluring and deceptive Suffragette City presents itself on a tray surrounded by rose petals and a side of absinthe masquerading as an old school perfume bottle. Be warned – this cocktail is not for the fainthearted! Be warned though – like Alice in Wonderland once you venture in it may be hard to get out and you may be four sheets to the wind on your way out after being mesmerised by all the weird and wonderful cocktails.

NQ64: 2 Short Street, M4 1PW Not even a year-old this underground bar already covets a massive fanbase as it is filled with retro arcade games and classic consoles. Tokens for games at the bar are £5 for 15 tokens. Drinks are modelled after games such as Mario Luigi which comprises of a mix of bourbon, watermelon, Campari, soda, coconut, lemon and white chocolate. If you want your tastebuds to pack a punch try the Mad Max mix of the house rum mix, absinthe, cinnamon fire, and grapefruit. For something that glows in the dark try Galaga – vodka, glittery tea, blue and lemon and rhubarb and ginger gin. NQ64 is a must for those wanting to relive their childhood albeit with alcohol included this time round.

The trends from London Fashion Week T

By Philippa Baker

his year’s London Fashion Week was a celebration of fashion diversity.

Power tuxedos, bold prints, classic sheers and tulles all made an appearance on the catwalk. Here’s the low-down of the top three essential looks from London Fashion Week for the ultimate spring/summer 2020 wardrobe.

1. Go bold Molly Goddard, Brandon Maxwell, and Jasper Conran were just some of the designers offering a bold palette, including bright neon and electric statement colours. If you prefer a softer finish, you can take inspiration from Molly Goddard’s frills and black shoes, or Erdem’s use

of metallic floral print.

2. Boss it Channelling the power suit, Victoria Beckham and JW Anderson continued Ralph Lauren’s preview of the tuxedo and brought masculine tailoring to the catwalk. Oversized blazers layered with mismatched textures and prints were key components to achieving this chic look. The popular high street trend of checks also featured as a go-to print. Conscious to feminise the masculine silhouette, Beckham’s collection included high-waisted trousers and, for the first time, peeped toed heels for a softer touch. JW Anderson brought a softer

palette of beige to his collection, whilst tailored touches reminiscent of aristocratic sophistication dominated Richard Tisci for Burberry’s ‘Evolution’ collection. 3. Classic staples The much anticipated Rejina Pyo 2020 collection garnered more attention for intensifying the classics for the catwalk. Pyo’s designs did not disappoint featuring sheer skirts, printed headscarves with classic denim statements, and linen jackets.

These three looks are set to be the focus of the high street next spring/summer, and the ones our wardrobes are guaranteed to include.

September 2019

Go beyond the Rugby World Cup in Tokyo


Top 5 sights in Tokyo


By Phillipa Baker

oasting 6,800 islands and 741 cities, Japan should not be underestimated as a place of global innovation and creativity. As rugby fans descend on the country for this autumn’s Rugby World Cup, we’re going beyond the stadiums with a round-up of our top 5 must visit places in Tokyo.

1. Sensoji, Asakusa This 7th century Buddhist temple is a nod back to the city’s ancient past and is the districts main attraction. Located in Shitamachi, or the ‘low city’, Asakusa is a district away from the bright lights of Tokyo’s modernity.

Discover our top 5 things to see Review


By Liv Clarke


f a restaurant wants to succeed in 2019 it ideally needs to do two things: firstly, serve great food, and secondly, be Instagram-worthy. Okitchen in East Didsbury passes this test with flying colours. Tucked away down Barlow Moor Road, it

doesn’t seem impressive from the outside but venture inside and you’ll find a pastel pink interior, with plush, blue velvet seats and shimmery copper fittings. Very instagrammable indeed. It’s not just the interior that impresses at Okitchen but the unique combination of Japanese and Korean cuisine that it serves up. The menu offers a varied selection of dishes from kimchi pancakes and sushi to Korean barbequed meat. There are options which are comforting and familiar such as stir-fried noodles, or for the more adventurous you can share a Korean stew for two. For starters I opted for the vegetable gyoza which was crisp and hot without being greasy. The filling was generous although after

swapping with my friend, who opted for the chicken gyoza, we soon realised the vegetable option was under-seasoned and lacked a depth of flavour. The meat option was certainly. These were served with soy sauce on the side, which was nicely presented, however a dip with more flavour would have greatly improved the dish. Service was quick and attentive. Shortly after finishing our starter we were presented with the main course. I was mistakenly given beef instead of the chicken I had ordered, however this mishap was corrected in a speedy manner. All the dishes our table selected leaned towards the Korean side of the menu, an area of East Asian cuisine that is often ignored by chain restaurants. I chose the Dolsot Bibimbap, which is a hot bowl of rice, vegetables and pickles, served with meat, fish or extra vegetables. You can mix these together with a fried egg and chilli sauce. It was an interactive eating experience where you can choose how to eat the dish. Mixing it all together led to each mouthful bursting with different tastes and textures. Altogether it made for a very satisfying bowl of food. Of course, you can’t eat Korean food without experiencing a Korean barbeque, so the beef Bulgogi was ordered by a friend. Just like the rice bowl, this provided another customer-turned-chef experience, as the strips of marinated beef were served with lettuce, pickles and sauce on the side. As there are several barbeque options, they would be an ideal choice for a large group. Okitchen serves up food that looks good but also feels fresh and healthy. Nothing felt stodgy, and it should be noted that they do takeaways if you fancy something lighter than your usual Saturday night order. Okitchen is a hidden gem worth visiting, even if you just do it for the gram.

Ponderings in Pomona


By Liv Clarke uring the morning commute on the Eccles to Ashtonunder-Lyne tram route, myself and a fellow commuter noticed something rather strange: nobody got on or off at Pomona. Although we passed through the stop twice a day I had never really considered it as a place before; Pomona was just a blur visible through the crowd of passengers on board. As I leaned against the rails during another thrilling journey through Salford I pondered Pomona. It sounded rather exotic, like the name of a quaint Spanish town or a beach resort in Florida. Not a name you would expect to find on the TFGM map. Intrigued by the unusual name and its mysterious platform empty of commuters, I thought I would pay a visit to Pomona and discover its delights. Pomona sits majestically between two canals, rather like the Île de la Cité in Paris nestled in the Seine. Walking along the platform is a peaceful experience, if you ignore the not so distant traffic of the A56. I exited the platform and headed down underneath the bridge, a light and airy space void of any graffiti or vandalism. And character for that

matter. To the south you’re at eye level with the canal, and if you’re lucky you’ll see a barge float past, full of people who actually have somewhere good to be. An impressive set of steps leads you down to the north side of Pomona, offering sweeping views of the canal and the city in the distance. Not the recognisable skyline, mind, just some generic high risers. There are a few benches dotted along the canal path where you could indulge in a pleasant picnic or take the time to sketch some of the tired looking office blocks nearby. I opted to have a slow wander beside the water, enjoying the peace and quiet. The local flora and fauna leave a lot to be desired, however I did spot a few purple daisies pushing their way through the pavement cracks. As for wildlife, I wouldn’t recommend Pomona for birdwatchers. Conscious of the time I had to cut my visit short and catch the next tram home, pleased to go yet sad to leave.

2. Yoyogi Koen, Shibuya Take a picnic or cycle in one of the city’s largest parks and former site of the 1964 Olympic Village. With a bird sanctuary, ginko tree forest, and cherry and plum gardens Yoyogi Koen is the perfect place to stop and relax.

3. Skytree, Sumida Standing at 634m, the Skytree tower is the world’s tallest freestanding tower, boasting 360-degree panoramic views of the city. With last admission not until 9pm you can witness Tokyo come alive at night and illuminate the sky. 4. Togoshi Ginza At 1.3km the Togoshi Ginza shopping street is the longest in the capital and is a unique gem for sampling a variety of cuisine from the street vendors.

5. Beyond Tokyo: Hakone Park and Yokohama If you have any free time left, we recommend escaping to one of the many outlying areas. Hakone national park boasts stunning views of Mount Fuji. Or you can cross another city off the list and visit Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city.

SPORT September 2019

Successful Solheim Cup brings women’s golf to the fore

Europe clinched Solheim Cup victory in a thrilling finale after narrowly beating USA by one point at Gleneagles. Heading into the tournament underdogs, Scotland proved to be fortress for Europe once again as Catriona Matthew’s ladies secured their third home victory from three tournaments played on Scottish soil. The European team narrowly led by one point after day one. However, disappointing performances from pairings Anne van Dame and Anna Nordqvist, and Bronte Law and Carlota Ciganda in the foursomes, and only one victory for Europe in the fourballs on day two allowed USA to catch up and head into the final day tied. At 12 1/2 - 13 1/2, with only two matches left out to play, Europe’s hopes of winning on home ground were slipping away. The USA only needed a half point to retain the Solheim Cup for a third consecutive time. Up stepped a hero for Europe in the form of

wildcard pick, Suzann Pettersen. In between her opponent, Marina Alex, missing her putt on18th and Pettersen taking hers, England’s Bronte Law closed out her match against Ally McDonald. Suddenly, three days of competitive golf came down to the last putt, on the last green, in the last match. Unbeknownst to Pettersen, her birdie putt was the difference between USA retaining through a 14-14 draw or Europe clinching the win. In fairytale fashion, the veteran’s clutch putt dropped into the hole and sea of blue flooded onto the green. When the teams were announced, speculation surrounded Matthew’s choice to select Pettersen, after the 37-year-old had not played for most of the season after taking time out from the game in November 2017 to have a baby. However, the 686th ranked player in the world

proved her doubters wrong. After heroic actions in her ninth Solheim Cup, the Norwegian announced the last shot of the tournament was the last of her professional career. At a time when ladies’ sections at golf clubs across the country are struggling to recruit young blood, the Solheim Cup was a credit to women’s golf, providing competitive performances as thrilling as the men’s Ryder Cup. The tournament attracted 90,000 spectators to line the fairways of Gleneagles, 5000 of whom were youngsters. The crowds were rewarded with enthralling performances, demonstrating to the young females who made the trip the sport’s capacity to entertain. Therewfore the success of the 2019 Solheim Cup will undoubtedly act as a catalyst to boost the women’s game to an equal standing with its male equivalent. Yet, it wasn’t just good for women’s golf, but

golf as a whole. Golf is scrutinized for having the reputation of an old, white man’s sport, leaving a lot to be desired in an ever increasingly diverse world. Golf’s current image is deterring, rather than attracting, its next generation of players. . By awarding equal prominence and recognition to female professionals in tournament as male players, the sport can create female golfing icons who entice young girls to the sport. Niall Horan’s ISPS Handa World Invitational in August already was a trailblazer in advocating parity between men and women’s professional golf.The success of female professionals will sow the seeds to grow the sport. Successful female events provide a golden opportunity to broadcast the potential of women’s golf. The best way to rebuild the game is by encouraging girls to join the fold. After all, if girls play, everyone will play.

Stokes’ rise from the Ashes

On Sunday 14th July 2019, 4.5 million Brits sat in anticipation as England and New Zealand contested the most dramatic World Cup Final we have ever witnessed. After 100 overs of drama which saw miss fields, boundaries and overthrows the sides could not be separated. As the sun began to lengthen at the Home of Cricket, a complex game of statistics and averages became much simpler. One over a piece. Highest score wins. If they tie again England would be victorious on the basis of scoring more boundaries. The hero in regular time? Ben Stokes. Freddie Flintoff 2.0. His magnificent 84 runs from 98 deliveries had dragged England back into contention. Now he and partner in crime Jos Buttler had one over to etch their names into history. A brave 15 runs were scraped together. Would it be enough? With the crowd on its feet we were about to find out, this mam-

By Isabel Baldwin

moth match would go down to the last ball. Two runs needed for the Kiwis. Martin Guptill smacked the ball to midwicket. Jason Roy gathered and launched the ball back to the striker’s end. Guptill scrambled but all in vain as Buttler lunged into the wickets and the match was won. England were world champions. Buttler took the final wicket but the once in a lifetime batting performance by Stokes which got England to that position would never be repeated. Right? Fast forward to the Ashes. Headingley. England once more on the brink of defeat. The Aussies needed just one wicket whilst England, with Stokes at the helm, needed 73 runs to keep the series alive. What followed was a display of batting supremacy, the likes of which we had not seen for a whole month. Stokes’ 135 not out alongside a Jack Leach one not out ensured England would keep the series

alive for another test at least. Alas no English sporting summer could be that rewarding. In the following test at our very own Old Trafford, the hosts stumbled and were defeated by the personification of Kryptonite, Steve Smith.That did not matter though because Ben Stokes achieved in one month what the ECB had not managed in the past 40 years. He brought the country’s eyes back to cricket. His performance on free-to-air television will surely inspire a whole generation to come and boost the popularity of cricket dramatically. But where does he go from here? The obvious answer would have to be Sports Personality of the Year in December. However, if he can rescue England twice perhaps he could lend his supernatural powers to solving Brexit. By Jack Flintham


September 2019


Image Credit: Instagram: @chrismac400h

C hri s p repa res fo r b ig ges t h urd le a fte r s wa pp ing civ il service for w orl d s ta ge

By Daniel Rees

t’s July 15th 2017, and it’s fair to say that Chris McAlister is not having the happiest of seasons. Stepping off the track and drenched from the heavy rain, he makes his way back inside having run almost three seconds slower than his personal best he had set the previous year. I was in the same race as him that day having finished another second behind him, and the two of us were sat next to each other inside the warm-up area afterwards. I was disappointed to see my season was fading away – but Chris appeared disconsolate. United in our collective disappointment, we made conversation about something, anything, to take our minds off our performances. We chatted about AFC Wimbledon. We chatted about John Maynard Keynes. But there was little we

could do to hide our frustration, for both of us seemed stuck on a downward curve. Fast-forward two years, and the politics and economics graduate is at the top of his game, his decision to persevere paying serious dividends. The Thames Valley Harrier now sits at the top of the UK rankings for the men’s 400m hurdles and is completing his final preparations for the World Athletics Championships in Doha. He is selfavowedly living the dream. McAlister snuck under the qualifying time for Doha by 0.02sec at the European Team Championships in Poland last month, and a bronze medal at the UK

Championships two weeks later the other. effectively confirmed his place on Having knocked over a second the team. off his PB, which now sits at Yet when he looks back on the 49.28sec, the obvious question to 2017 season where he had taken ask is just how McAlister has a step backdone it. Part of the anwards, McAlswer, perhaps unexister admits pectedly, is that he “I was never ever that he hardly works full-time. thinking of quitting. I thought of ‘I’m working out how had in the back of my competing at head that I wanted to to get broadband to get a GB vest and get people the market Worlds two to a major years later: won’t reach’, he says, championship” ‘There was a explaining his job. lot going on ‘It’s a government that season. priority because people ‘It was a big moment in my life are socially excluded from sociin terms of getting a job and mov- ety if they can’t access the intering back home, so getting settled net. was at the forefront of my mind. ‘Working helps me take my ‘I was never ever thinking of mind off athletics because I can quitting. I had in the back of my overthink what’s happening on head that I wanted to get a GB the track. I use work to get my vest and get to a major champihead out of it and it’s worked onship, but I never thought it well.’ aving been granted paid would happen this quickly.’ leave to compete in Few of us did. 2019 is the first Doha, McAlister is now time in three years where Jack readying himself for his arrival on Green has not occupied the top the world scene. spot in the UK 400m Hurdles Notably, he will have another rankings. And with the familiar names of chance to take on Norwegian Karsten Warholm, whose eccenDai Greene, Seb Rodger, Niall Flannery, and Jacob Paul having tricity – coupled with several previously rotated within the top- world class performances – has seen him touted as an icon of the 5, it’s fair to say that two new event. names have gate-crashed the And, in true competitive spirit, upper echelon of the rankings. Junior national record-holder Al- McAlister is relishing taking on the second-fastest 400m hurdler istair Chalmers is one of them. in history: McAlister – whose highest UK ‘Warholm’s in a different class, position was previously 7th – is


but whoever I’m up against I have to get out there and do my thing. I know he can make mistakes. ‘I haven’t been able to get him this year, but you never know. He’s really put 400m H on the map this year – he’s absolutely mental. ‘At the end of the day though it’s still 400m with hurdles in the way – it’s the same as just running a British League.’ Out of the forty-one entrants for the 400m H, McAlister is ranked 28th. But such is the unpredictable nature of the event, he will step onto the track in Doha with every reason to believe he can make the semi-final. And with Doha being the latest World Championships in a calendar year since their inception in 1983, attention inevitably turns to Tokyo 2020: ‘I’ve stayed fit throughout this season and I need to sustain some fitness and build a base over winter to get moving into 2020. ‘Hopefully I’ve been set up nicely and I can get into some good races early on and have a crack at that time [48.90sec]. That’s the plan.’ Given the great strides McAlister has made since that miserable outing in July two years ago, it would take a pessimist not to back him to make Tokyo – one just hopes he will be given some time off work.

SPORT September 2019

Fury tells Wilder: ‘I want you next, bum!’


By Dane Massey

t's been 299 days since Tyson Fury's epic draw with Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles. The 31-year old Mancunian learned a lesson that night when he was knocked down twice by the 'Alabama Slammer,' and he learned another lesson against Otto Wallin - a lesson he must learn from should his proposed rematch with Wilder in Las Vegas go ahead in February. In his bout with Wallin, Fury didn't look his usual vibrant self despite a comfortable victory via unanimous decision on the judges scorecards (116-112, 117-111, 118-110). The 'Gypsy King' looked flat-footed from the off as oppose to the live wire he was against Tom Schwartz in June and the epigrammatic style he displayed against Wilder last December. Before the fight, Fury was quick and right to point out that 'one punch' can change everything in heavyweight boxing, something he found out against Wilder and something he was once again

reminded of against Wallin. Fury suffered a nasty gash to the right eye in round three when the Swede breached his guard with a left-hand before a clash of heads further aggravated the brutal cut. In the opening exchanges of the contest, Wallin was getting joy by coming onto Fury and catching him before grabbing onto his body. This was a stark contrast to how he coped with the raw power of Wilder, who came out swinging and missing due to Fury's lighting speed and expert counter punches which seen the Brit dominate the early rounds. Against Wallin, the opening rounds were cagey and in many ways Fury was there for the taking, particularly after the third round when he sustained the gaping cut. Rounds four, five and six were no doubt nervous for Fury and his team as he prioritised not getting hit on the head as oppose to hurting Wallin as his team monitored the cut extremely closely in between rounds.

Despite serious concerns, Fury continued and as the fight went on he grew into the ascendancy and began to dominate by landing meaningful shots on Wallin, using

BATTLE: Fury wants Wilder again

the full ring to his advantage just as he did against Wilder. In the tenth and eleventh rounds, seri-

ous questions were being asked of Wallin to stay on his feet. But the man who took Anthony Joshua all the way to points twice at amateur level, held out to do the same to Fury at professional world level. After Fury convincingly won rounds seven to eleven, a recurring theme once again occurred in the twelfth where Fury survived a late Wallin onslaught to hold on and stay up until the final bell. He appeared to take his eye off the ball slightly in the last round against Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015; he was floored spectacularly by Wilder in December 2018; and he was put under pressure by Wallin in the final round in September 2019. The events of the last round, along with the way he started the fight and the fact Wallin landed more shots than expected, are factors that Fury and MTK Boxing must consider when analysing how he can improve should he go to war with Wilder again. Fury thrown 651 punches to Wallin's 334, connecting with 179 to Wallin's 127. Wallin landed less punches, but he

connected with 38 percent of his shots thrown while the figure for Fury was 27.5 percent. If it was Wilder in the ring and not Wallin last Saturday night, Fury would have suffered a loss on his record. But this is beside the point that Fury showed a real fighters' determination and beat what was in front of him to set up a mouthwatering clash next time he fights in the Las Vegas. "Deontay Wilder, I want you next, bum! All preparation is good, I had a long time out of the ring that's my fifth fight back. Put me in good stead for the big boy, the 'Bronze Bomber' AKA 'Big Dosser.' He's next - February 22nd." Fury's calling shot at the end of the fight against Wallin was clear, but when he inevitably faces Wilder again he must learn his lessons from his previous bouts and approach the megafight with great caution. Wilder next fights Luiz Ortiz on November 9th, who he beat March last year, while Fury has not yet announced his next opponent.

Wigan prepare for Fulham F

By Matthew Chivers ormer Premier League sides Fulham and Wigan meet on Friday night, with both teams in need of a surge in form. Fulham won the last time these teams met in February 2017, where the Cottagers ran out 3-2 winners. In fact, Wigan have not beaten Fulham in the league since 2006. Wigan manager Paul Cook was full of praise for Fulham’s home, Craven Cottage “It’s full of history and tradition and I think the games under the lights there – as at most stadiums – are always better games and spectacles” Cook recently confirmed there has been no progress in the rehabilitation on the injury to Josh Windass, however was happy to note that Anthony Pilkington is back training with the first team. Pilkington’s return is a needed boost for Cook’s side, who were otherwise relying on forwards Kieffer Moore and Joe Garner to find goals, but neither has netted yet this term. Wigan, on the other hand have 5 points from their last five games and have lost twice - both on the road. Their striker deficiency is a serious problem with centre-back Cheyenne Dunkley their top

scorer in the league season with three goals, two of which came in their victory last week that quality, it can always be difficult.” said Wigan manager Paul Cook when asked against Charlton Athletic. about the fixture. The Londoners have only taken six points from their last five games and have drawn their last three. However, they have no fresh injury worries, and they will be hoping Aleksandar Mitrovic will continue his goal-scoring form and improve on his tally of five goals. Fulham have not struggled to find the net this season, having scored twelve goals so far, two of which coming from new loan signing Anthony Knockaert. Knockaert, who arrived from Brighton this summer, has so far played over 600 minutes for Fulham and is rapidly proving to be a shrewd signing for the South-West London club. FULHAM’S MAN: Anthony Knockaert Having crashed back down from the top Wigan sit in 19th, one place below where division and going through multiple manager they finished last season. Cook’s team only changes, Scott Parker has the opportunity to managed to win two away games last gain a vital win against a Wigan side that sit season, and this form will have to improve if seven places below them in the table. The Cottagers were unfortunate not to they are to rise up the table this time around. “It is a good game, a really challenging take all three points at Hillsborough last game, due to the quality of player they have. week, where a late Atdhe Nuhiu goal earned They carry really good players all over the Sheffield Wednesday a point. pitch and whenever you play teams that carry


September 2019

L a nc s ’ s um m er o f s u c ce s s

Ice hockey to take Manchester by storm By Elizabeth Botcherby

By Jack Lacey

In what has been an extraordinary summer of cricket, our own Lancashire also got in on the act with a brilliant season, culminating in the four-day side winning promotion back to county cricket’s top tier. Old Trafford may have been the scene of a disappointing moment for England, when Australia’s victory in the fourth test saw them retain the urn. Just a week later though, it was home to scenes of jubilation when Lancs confirmed promotion with an excellent win over Derbyshire. When, in the next round of fixtures, nearest challengers Northamptonshire failed to pick up maximum points, the title was sealed. Glen Chappel’s side have simply been a class above the rest in the second division this season. Winning eight and drawing five games, with a trip to Leicestershire this week to wrap up the domestic season. They have also maintained their record always following up relegation with an immediate promotion the following season. The bowling has been particularly deci-

sive, with Tom Bailey and spinners Matt Parkinson and Glen Maxwell taking wickets for fun, and ensuring Lancs were always able to put the opponents on the back-foot. It hasn’t been quite as successful a season for the limited overs side, who at the start of the season were quietly hopeful of a push for some silverware. In the T20 blast they had a storming start, winning 8 out of 14 fixtures in the ‘North division’ group, and topping the table. Unfortunately, the Lightning bowed out to eventual champions Essex in the quarters, after Ravi Bopara led the eagles to a six wicket win, in a game played at Chester-LeStreet due to the 4th Ashes Test going on at Old Trafford. In the Royal London one-day cup, the Lightning were even closer to glory. Narrowly missing out on a final at Lord’s after a 4 wicket defeat to Hampshire at the rose bowl, in spite of Keaton Jennings consistent batting throughout the tournament. When looking back on the season as whole, the Old Trafford faithful can be pretty satisfied on an excellent campaign, and look forward to the 2020 season with reasonable optimism. Back in the top flight, and with a

Manchester team entered in the controversial new competition The Hundred, it is an intriguing, but more importantly exciting, time to be a Lancashire fan.

Please be upstanding for the National Anthem” was not the first thing I expected to hear at the ice hockey. God Save the Queen segued into Freed from Desire. I was hooked. Last Saturday night I headed down to Planet Ice Altrincham for my first live ice hockey game – Manchester Storm versus Nottingham Panthers in the EIHL Challenge Cup. I’ve been to Premier League matches. I attended this summer’s Cricket World Cup. But ice hockey is something else entirely. From the first puck drop, it was impossible to take your eyes off the ice. It had everything – fights, sticks snapping in two mid-tackle, referees leaping to evade the puck – and more end to end action than a Wimbledon final. Underdogs Storm took a shock lead in the first period, Hughesman poking the puck home from captain Ehrhardt’s cross. However, the Panthers turned up the pressure and scored two goals in quick succession (Rheault, Betteridge) to head into the first intermission with a narrow lead. An evenly matched second period was followed by total Manchester domination in the third. With the Panthers down a man for much of the final period, Storm were relentless in their pursuit of an equaliser. However, Panthers goaltender Whistle was

an immovable force, repelling shot after shot to ensure Storm remain winless in the Cup this season. If the result was disappointing, the atmosphere off the ice certainly was not. Borrowing from the North American ice hockey experience, punters wandered around the rink with hotdogs, pizzas, chips and actual pitchers of beer. Nottingham brought nearly 200 travelling fans, many resplendent in Robin Hood costumes, turning the away blocks into a wall of noise. In between plays the DJ lit up the room with a playlist of Student’s Union staples – Come on Eileen, Brown Eyed Girl, Bohemian Rhapsody. During the intermission there was a game of “chuck the puck” and an air guitar dance-off for a free pizza (Nottingham won this too). It was impossible to lose interest. The whole night was great value for money, too. A student ticket on the centre line, transport, a chip barm and a drink cost £20.80. The cheapest Manchester United ticket for my age group (student) is £29 to watch Rochdale in the Carabao Cup... Ice hockey is a fantastic spectator experience. The on-ice action is absorbing; off the ice it’s party central. If you’re looking for an affordable, action-packed, live sport experience look no further than Manchester Storm. It will not disappoint.

Frankie goes to Newmarket: Dettori to do battle with Atzeni By Jack Lacey

Frankie Dettori will hope to continue one of the hottest seasons of his career on Friday in the Shadwell Joel Stakes (3:35), the feature race of Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire Meeting. Dettori rides the heavily fancied John Gosden trained King of Comedy, who should hold up over the one-mile trip. Andrew Balding’s Irish Grey Colt, Happy Power could be the closet to push Frankie for the win, having consistently gone well over one mile in the past, although he is yet to race over the Newmarket turf. Perhaps the most intriguing runner is no.7 UAE Jewel. two from two over trip and distance, the Roger Varian trained three-year old, has a step up in class to make it, but could make things interesting if still in contention in the latter stages. Expect Sir Michael Stoute’s Zaaki, who has a group three win under his belt to also be in the mix, although the step up in quality may just prove one too far. In the other featured race of the day, the 3:00 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes (also a group two), Cloak of Spirits should run well with Italian, Andrea Atzeni on board, who is happy with the week’s earlier rain improving his chances.

The two-year-old was hugely unlucky to not get racing room in her last outing at Doncaster earlier this month, but won comfortably at Ascot on debut and looks a hugely talented filly. The Irish runner Under the Stars may also threaten the favoured pack, having a history of springing surprises, stunning a strong field at Ascot in June. Any wannabe winner will have to negotiate the formidable task of beating Daaheyh. 2 wins and 2 hugely unlucky 2nd places from starts makes for an ominous form guide for the other contenders. With William Buick taking the ride, Daayeh could go off at evens by the time they go to post. With the ground once again expected to be good after earlier rain this week, it promises to be another thrilling day of racing, maybe the best of the festival. Chil Chil Produced a super run in Thursday’s Newmarket feature race, the Premier Fillies Handicap, winning be a length from Gale Force Maya, the 4/1 pre-race favourite, who went off like a train but failed to hold up over the distance. Andrew Balding’s runner was the most tipped with the nationals, and produced a classy display to edge a high quality field. Earlier in the day the well backed favourite Mascat

cruised to victory in the opening race of the meeting (1:50) after tracking the leaders easily he kept on well, easing up for a comfortable win, with Harry Bentley in the saddle.

Lacey’s Top Tips 27/09/2019: Newmarket 3:00 – Cloak of Spirits Newmarket 3:35 – King of Comedy (nap)

Results 26/09/2019 Newmarket 1:50 – 1. Mascat 6-4 2. Discovery Island 94 3. Karibana 10-1 2:25 – 1. Dogged 14-1 2. Cloud Drift 100-30 3. Miltown Star 7-1 3:00 – 1. Chil Chil 9-2 2. Gale Force Maya 4-1 3. Restless Rose 12-1 3:35 - 1. Wichita 10-11 2. Persuasion 6-1 3. Ropey Guest 20-1. 4:10 - 1. Withold 10-11 2. Austrian School 64 3. Platitude 16-1

SPORT 27th September 2019

The ‘Fairytale Rise’ of Salford City B

By Joe Hagan-Duckers

ury’s expulsion from the Football League last month brought despair for Shakers fans across Greater Manchester. However, the same cannot be said for fans of Salford City just a few miles down the A56 from Gigg Lane. With four promotions in the last five years, Salford City have steamroled their way up the English football league pyramid and now find themselves in the Football League. It is no secret that this monumental rise is largely down to their current owners. Billionaire Peter Lim, alongside the ‘Class of 92’, consisting of the Neville brothers, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes purchased The Ammies back in 2014. The Singapore businessman acquired a 50% stake in the club whilst the other 50% was split between the former United players. In January of this year Lim’s stake was reduced to 40% after David Beckham bought a 10% stake in the club, joining his former teammates. Whilst playing in the National League North,it was reported Lim and Co were happy to lose £34000 a week as long as promotion was achieved, which they did. Last season’s promotion ensured the club reached the Football League for the first time in their history. A great achievement for the city of Salford, which can now offer a real alternative to match-goers going to Old Trafford and the Etihad. An adult’s ticket for a Salford City game will cost you just

£10, five times cheaper to watch one of the Manchester heavyweights. Last year, the club broke their transfer record after signing Aberdeen’s striker Adam Rooney, who penned a contract worth £4,000-a-week, which infamously lead to a spat between Gary Neville and Accrington Stanley’s owner Andy Holt, who accused the Salford hierarchy of buying their success. With the exception of Leicester City miraculous Premier League triumph in 2016, it appears necessary to achieve big you now have to spend big, which Salford City’s owners have taken on board emphatically. Chelsea and Manchester City for some will be the epitomes of modern football, and Salford can now be added to that list. Furthermore, the emergence of these three clubs signal how much football has changed since the 90’s. In 1992 When Gary Neville made his debut in a UEFA Cup game against Torpedo Moscow, a match ticket would have been needed to watch the game live at Old Trafford. By the time Neville retired in 2011, near enough every game was available to watch live on TV.

It is this explosion of football onto our TV screens which has now become a staple of football. And experts believe this has had a detrimental effects on lower league clubs.

With attendances forming a significant part of incomes for clubs such as Bury the lure of the top clubs playing live on their TVhas convinced some match-goers to stay at home. n the same October evening Manchester United played Juventus in a Champions League group game, Bury hosted Newport County in a League Two match. With most people opting to watch the former it is no shock that lower league clubs have been affected by the likes of Sky Sports and BT Sport. However,It isn’t just TV which has reduced gates. Extortionate prices, social media and gaming consoles have all influenced the game as well. A shift in emphasis away from attendances, may prove to be a possible route for lower league clubs to avoid suffering the same fate as Bury. On the other hand, attendances do not seem to be a problem for Salford. This season has already witnessed an increase in season ticket sales and an average gate of 3102 in their home league games, 600 more than last season, indicates the club’s reputation is rising.


And there’s no reason why it won’t continue to do so. Gary Neville has affirmed the club’s ambition to keep marching up the leagues and has even got his eye on buying a new training ground. It now seems since the Valencia owner Peter Lim sacked Neville from his managerial position in 2016, the two have put it behind them in order to push Salford up the leagues. However, this will not stop cynics sharing Andy Holt’s thoughts and questioning whether the club’s owners are in it for the long run. If Neville and Co do eventually decide enough is enough and sell the club on, history will tell you, this could have dreadful consequences. Fans of Gretna, Leeds United and, Bolton Wanderers, will be able to provide grim anecdotes of their clubs’ fall from grace after enjoying a period as financial powerhouses. For the time being, the owners appear to be intent on adding to their four promotions they have already achieved, And with the financial muscle behind the club, the sky is the the limit for Salford City.

Old Trafford set for Good Friday semi-final Image: Salford City Instagram


Image: St Helens Twitter

By Matthew Smith s Super League heads into the final stages, Greater Manchester teams could be heading towards Old Trafford. After Wigan scraped past Salford last weekend, they now go to the Totally Wicked Stadium to play bitter rivals St Helens with a place in the Grand Final on the line. The Cherry and Whites go into the fourth derby of the season as the league’s form side, with just one loss in the last 13 games. That loss, though, came at the hands of St Helens’ who have come out on top every time the teams have met in 2019. St Helens, who had a bye last week after finishing 16-points clear as League Leaders, will be desperate to send departing coach Justin Holbrook off with some silverware. Holbrook will join NRL strugglers Gold Coast Titans next season but, despite reestablishing Saints as the dominant British side, has yet to lift a major trophy at the helm. Saints will be able to boast a full strength squad, with Aaron Smith returning in the place of Matty Costello. Wigan have had at least one casualty from their extra game, with Dan Sarginson ruled out with a hamstring injury and the side will wait for the results of a wrist x-ray on Sam Powell

before they make a decision on the hooker’s inclusion. While the winner will cement their place at Old Trafford for the 12 October showpiece, there will be another chance for the loser. The second semi-final will be between the losing side and the winner of Thursday’s Eliminator between Salford and Castleford. While Salford are based less than five miles away from the Theatre of Dreams, after narrowly losing at the DW Stadium last week, their road to the final will be a long one. The Red Devils will host the unfancied Tigers, who managed to get a gutsy win over Challenge Cup-winners Warrington in their first game of the play-offs. The season ends tonight for one of the sides, but Salford will be hoping there’s one more twist during this incredible season. In February the Red Devils were 100/1 outsiders for the title, and seemed destined for another season at the other end of the table. Instead, under the guidance of the until now unproven Ian Watson, they have made the play-offs for only the second time in the Super League-era - their last appearance was in 2006. They also boast the favourite for this year’s Man of Steel, Jackson Hastings. The Australian, who is Wigan-bound in 2020, has turned the club around since arriving

Image: St Helens Twitter

midway through last season. Watson has named an unchanged side for tonight’s game, while Castleford have made two changes to the side that upset Warrington. Nathan Massey and Greg Eden come back into the side, as they attempt to keep their hopes of a second Grand Final appearance alive. Image: Wigan Warriors Twitter

September 2019

SPORT United kids scrape past plucky Dale in Carabao Cup scare

Solid England set for Pumas test

By James Crump

By Billy Brake

England are building momentum slowly, but the games against Tonga and the USA raised issues in key areas that need improvement. In an unconfident game for England against Tonga, Manu Tuilagi’s power was a highlight, as was the kicking of Farrell and tries by Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jamie George. When England came up against the USA there was not much improvement. Some encouraging play towards the end and a good outing for the forwards were encouraging, but there was a lack of the exciting spark that will be needed against stronger sides. The discipline at the breakdown in both games on England’s part was questionable, and they were fortunate not to concede more penalties in kickable position. Meanwhile, the handling left plenty to be desired, and the organisation of the back line looked scattered too often. In both games the pack functioned superbly at set pieces, a feature that will no doubt prove crucial in limiting possession

of opposing teams in games to come. Billy Vunipola’s and Cowan-Dickie’s tries against the US showcase this perfectly. There are a lot of holes that need to be

plugged before England come up in their first true test, facing Argentina in their penultimate group match on Saturday 5th October. Going into the match, history suggests England are favourites – they last lost to Argentina a decade ago, while Argentina have only won four of the twenty-three matches between the two nations. The South Americans are also on a ten-game losing streak. The Pumas were unlucky to lose against France. They opened the scoring but then dropped all their energy in the first half, allowing the French to race into a 20-3 half-time lead. The second half showcased Argentina’s ability, who dominated and clawed it back to lead 21-20. It was only because of Emiliano Boffelli’s marginally missed penalty that France won. England can’t rely on Argentina’s lethargy to win the game, which will prove crucial as to who tops the group. Argentina missed twenty-five tackles against France and holes in defence are the type of weakness this England side is built to capitalise on. Eddie Jones should start Henry Slade against Argentina,

largely because of the threat he offers going forward as opposed to the FordFarrell combination. Slade and Tuilagi work excellently in midfield together, adept at making the offthe-shoulder runs that typify their style. Playing Slade would also make England’s attacking strategy less obvious, key against teams strict in defence, such as New Zealand. One of England’s biggest assets is the quality of their support lines, as exemplified in Kyle Sinckler’s pop to put Tuilagi through for his first try against Tonga. Slade’s movement is sublime at crafting the space required to play between defenders. England face their biggest challenge at the breakdown. Argentina beat France at the breakdown an impressive 84 times, but England’s breakdown is loose and reckless, making themselves vulnerable in a key area. The results are good from the England games – they got the crucial victories and bonus points on the way. But there is room to tighten up and drastically improve, which needs to be done as soon as possible.

was soon on the scoresheet as she rounded Lugano’s keeper to make it four on the night. Beckie’s performance has given Cush-

ing a selection headache ahead of a tough league encounter with Everton on Sunday who themselves have started well.

City women walk Lugano with 11-1 win By Jake Clay

Man City manager Nick Crushing claims this is the most clinical side he has had at the club as he commended his side winning by “double figures” as “really pleasing”. Manchester City stormed into the last 16 of the Women’s Champions League as a Janine Beckie hattrick contributed to a dominate 4-0 victory against Lugano finishing the tie with a 11-1 aggregate score line. Lugano’s head coach Gianni Di Guida conceded “there is no competition with Manchester City”, making it near impossible for the Swiss side to overcome such a deficit. City broke the deadlock through Kiera Walsh who demonstrated some skilful feet to bypass Lugano’s press before releasing Janine Beckie to finish with a composed chip. Kiera Walsh’s smart movement led to

the second goal as she gathered the ball in the penalty area who picked out Beckie for a simple finish. Cushing picked Walsh for individual praise calling her the “most intelligent football player I have worked with”. The second half started like the first as Beckie completed her hattrick after a misplaced clearance fortunately fell into her path, but she reacted before anyone else smashing in a thunderous effort to claim the match ball. Beckie revealed the pressures of having the striker’s responsibility as she admitted “I should be scoring these opportunities” but spoke highly of her teammates saying” I have great players around me”. The comfortable lead prompted Cushing into bringing off his big guns as Keira Walsh and Steph Houghton were given a rest for the last 35 minutes of the game. One of the substitutes Pauline Bremer

Manchester United overcame Rochdale in penalties to win a tense and frustrating night for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players. The youngsters were the stars, with 17year-old Mason Greenwood and 16-year-old Luke Matheson getting the goals for Manchester United and Rochdale respectively. Playing at home, United started strongly and should have put themselves ahead early on, but Paul Pogba failed to convert his header from six yards after being found by the lively Greenwood. The first half quickly settled into a listless affair, with Greenwood coming closest with a shot from just inside the area after being put through on goal by Jesse Lingard. Although the hosts kept pushing, finishing the match with 31 shots in total, they never looked cohesive with a lack of confidence clear for both the players and the fans as the half finished 0-0. Rochdale started the half looking more likely to score and nearly did, but Aaron Wan Bisakka cleared Callum Camps’ effort off the line. Despite Rochdale’s near miss, United kept pushing and on the 68th minute the 17-year-old Greenwood got the goal his performance deserved, striking hard and low in to Rochdale’s bottom right-hand corner.

NERVOUS SMILES: United boss Solskjaer Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praise for his team’s young savior “Mason Greenwood has two great feet. He's a nightmare for defenders; he can go both ways. He is young. We will allow him to grow slowly but surely.” United’s lead didn’t last long however, and in the 76th minute, Matheson scored with a well-placed volley to spoil the party for United and the elderly in comparison Greenwood. No team found a winner in normal time and the match went to penalties. Both teams converted their first, but United quickly gained an advantage when keeper Sergio Romero saved Jimmy Keohane’s low strike. United converted the rest of their penalties, meaning the match finished with a 5-3 win on Penalties for the Premier League stalwarts and a disappointing near-miss for their fellow Manchester based club.


Inside... League Cup Reaction, Athletics, Stokes, and more! @MM_newsonline

England put USA to the sword By Isabel Baldwin

England are exactly where head coach Eddie Jones wants them to be as they head into the crucial stages of the World Cup after a seven-try demolition of the USA. England’s 45-7 victory – in a game marred by the first red card of the World Cup – was exactly the statement Jones needed his team to make after the more lacklustre defeat of Tonga. With England already well clear of their unfancied opponents, a dangerous tackle from John Quill on Owen Farrell led to referee Nic Berry making the indisputable decision to send the flanker off. The red card was to have no real impact on the game, as England had already steamrolled into the lead with the USA failing to answer England’s driving game. First-half tries from George Ford and Billy Vunipola edged England ahead by half time, whilst tries from Joe Cokanasiga (two), Ruaridh McConnochie and Lewis Ludlam in the second-half secured the victory by a comfortable margin. After failing to achieve the desired performance against Tonga coach Eddie Jones desired to kick start their World Cup campaign, England regrouped and delivered a convincing performance in their second game.

“We wanted to go out hard against them and we scored early, but we probably got a bit seduced by the space and tried to move the ball too much,” said Jones. “The conditions were such, it was like a wet weather game, but we found our rhythm and tempo really well in the second half. We made some handling mistakes but we will improve.” With a four-day turnaround, only five of the players from the 35-3 victory over Tonga remained in the starting line up to face USA. With captain Farrell left out of the side, Ford stepped into the position at 10 and shone as man of the match. With tougher challenges looming in their Pool C matches against France and Argentina, England’s objective was simple: get the job done as effectively as possible. And they succeeded. England took an early lead when Ford ran straight through the USA defence and swiftly scored his first conversion of the World Cup. For the remainder of the first half USA managed to fend off England’s advances and appeared to be surviving by the skin of their teeth. However, England’s fantastic set plays soon broke the USA defence down. A five-metre maul from a line-out easily drove through USA’s defence for Billy Vunipola to score England’s second try. Set pieces continued to be England’s strength in the

second half, as a similar play brought a third try through Luke Cowan-Dickie off the back of a line-out drive. From then on, England dominated the game and ran riot, Cokanasiga scoring the bonus point try early in the second half after Jonathan Joseph twisted and turned through midfield to give him a chance.

McConnochie and Ludlam both scored World Cup debut tries as they romped across the line for England’s fifth and sixth tries. The American dream became a nightmare as the USA were almost the first team to be kept scoreless in the tournament. However, they managed to sneak onto the scoreboard through a last-minute try from replacement Bryce Campbell almost two minutes

after the gong had sounded. But despite ending the match on a positive note, USA coach Gary Gold was unhappy with his side’s overall performance: "It was a very poor performance by us and England were very good. They are deserved winners but we weren't very good. They pinned us in our own half and they did not give us an opportunity to play. We knew what a quality team they are and unfortunately we paid the price for our mistakes. We need to improve every aspect of our game but we cannot be missing nearly 40 tackles and think we will be in the equation.” When Eddie Jones was asked about John Quill’s tackle on Owen Farrell, he came across relatively unphased: “We want to tackle hard and sometimes you make mistakes. I don’t think John Quill deliberately tried to take Owen [Farrell] out but he ended up hitting his head. Our players understand the game but there will be occasions where our players make contact with the head. Some of them might be mitigating circumstances and some of them might not.” After trouncing their opponents (who sit bottom of Pool C), England now have two wins from two, as well as two bonus points, which they hope will send a warning to France and Argentina. See full post-match analysis from Billy Brake on page 23

Profile for Andrew Greaves

MM e-edition - September 2019  

The latest edition of the Mancunian Matters e-paper packed with news, features, entertainment, sport and a while heap else aside!

MM e-edition - September 2019  

The latest edition of the Mancunian Matters e-paper packed with news, features, entertainment, sport and a while heap else aside!