Skip to main content

Manchester House pays homage to City's Radical Past

Ok, so. Just a fairly quick post. The Pulitzer Prizes were announced this week. Donna Tartt won for fiction with Goldfinch. Annie Baker won for Drama with The Flick. Vijay Seshadri won for Poetry with 3 Sections published by the uber-brilliant Graywolf Press. Talking of theatre I am hoping to have a finished play text of my own by the time the Easter break is done with. Mind you, I'm also off to the Old Vic on Friday to see Old Desert Cities, which has earned considerable acclaim in the US. I have expectations, it's fair to say. The Telegraph has published a strange list of the top 20 British and Irish novels. Most of them can't be argued with - but I have to ask, where the heck are the Brontes? To not include even one is (at the risk of sounding chattering class bourgeois) outrageous. Good to see Banville's The Sea though. And finally, a bit of telly - well, downloaded from iPad. Restaurant Wars focuses on two restaurants opening in my native Manchester. Simon Rogan opens New French at that old bastion of middlingdom The Midland Hotel, which, it's got to be said - can't be first choice of venue for hip happening gourmands with cash to splash. Aiden Byrne, on the other hand, who's opening at Manchester House, seems bang on the money. His menu is exciting and pays full homage to Manchester's very radical and working class heritage - including its strong Irish links and its part in acid (aceeeed!) house! Aidan showed he knew Mancunians when he said 'Mancunians won't be told what to do or what to eat.' He also said he wouldn't be telling them what to wear either. Anyone who knows Manchester knows first of all that you can tell a Mancunian but you can't tell 'em much. Rogan however, basically said 'we'll tell Mancunians what they should be eating.' And then doesn't even produce a menu! Needless to say, Aiden is much more likeable. Rogan is a bit of a tool, and shaming one of his kitchen staff on TV is not on. Manchester House with Aiden Byrne's very exciting menu are on my list for my next visit. And I hope it becomes THE place to eat. Onwards!

Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

My PhD critical paper

I thought I'd upload the critical element of my PhD thesis. Hopefully, for those who are interested enough to read it, it will make sense despite the references to my creative work, which I can't upload as I'm seeking publication. And besides, at 68,000 words...

I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.




-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-


And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised

***


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston Universi…

Midwinter Break - Bernard McLaverty

The only other book that I've read of Bernard MacLaverty was the sublime Grace Notes, published in 1997, and shortlisted for the Booker Prize of the same year. That prize was awarded to an author of another similar hiatus recently broken, Arundhati Roy, of the widely acclaimed The God of Small Things. I was certain, when buying the kindle version of Midwinter Break, that MacLaverty's first book in seventeen years (Cal, 2001, was his most recent) had made both the Booker Longlist and Shortlist - but having just double-checked - am disappointed and confused to find it had made neither. MacLaverty's prose style feels Yatesian, after the late Richard Yates, US author of Revolutionary Road, and TheEaster Parade
Midwinter Break, set in Amsterdam, is written in the same deliciously clear and poignant prose that so widely marked out Grace Notes. The husby and I have not long returned from a late summer break in that same fabulous city. With the visit to the Rijksmuseum still fre…