Didsburydad's Blog

From the not so mean streets of M20, blog about being a dad, Didsbury and dealing with parental confusion

Archive for the tag “Didsbury Arts Festival”

Home is not just a cinema or the church cafe

. When Felicini’s became the Mudflap cafe I nearly cried. It’s glossy black sign and euphemistic name was a part of my history and stood proudly in the same giggling pointlessness of changing The Cheese Hamlet to Helmet. Now, with the stripped back wood still settling in to Gregg’s and an eviscerated Inman’s being re-imagined as Thai favourite The Chilli Banana I am almost out of my depth.
felicinsmud-crabfutureistic-pic evolution
At least it’s only 8 months until Didsbury Festival returns in its usual format – unchanged since Bonnie Prince Charlie led the procession, which featured the 88th Scouts.
This is Didsbury. A wheel turning and creating new identities – including cash converting, laser surgery, fifteen diet clubs and an ever growing coterie of Pet Grooming services. Only 86% of trading premises in Didsbury serve coffee, 71% cut hair (human or canine). Didsbury Library is a portal to 1973. I go there when I only have tuppence ha’penny and need a cup of tea (coffee not being invented until The Premier League started in 1992).
The other big news is that Didsbury Dad Towers is no longer in Didsbury. We are now a castle, a Didsbury Diaspora outpost.
In a year that has seen us cough up more in Stamp Duty than the national debt we have moved twice. First out of the village to near the river and now, out of town.
We have moved so far away that we are the cultural diversity. It’s a city, it’s semi-rural and it’s not Didsbury.
So I am part-time Didsbury Dad. I am still working in my capacity as Meeja Luvvie doing something non-specific in MediaCity – but only weekdays.
It is strange. All Didsbury Son has known is Didsbury. My life with Didsbury Wife has been played out to the backdrop of Piccolino and Barlowmoor Road. The Mighty Headed Boy and the Pearly Princess are Harriet & Dee. But. We have begun to sever the link for a period of time.
It’s only been a few weeks and it’s still a bit like being on holiday. It does make you realise how easy it can be living somewhere that is the edge of the metropolis, has travel options to envy and it’s all in walking distance.
It’s early days yet. I have had to develop a whole new rhythm to each day. I am a little lost without my morning fix of Pete, Tom and Claire at Fusion Deli after a cheery wave from Darren at Delia’s Florist. There is no Piccolino, Bisous Bisous, St. James & Emmanuel and I don’t know everyone.
This has great advantages. When I get my Fusion fix the coffee tastes great and I have stories to share. I now know just how good New Peking House is and sometimes the anonymity is liberating.
I think I will always be a Didsbury Dad wherever we live. My Gamma Male, liberal approach to life on the Focaccia line is settled. We may be away for a short time or for good, not decided yet. But Didsbury Wife, Son and I are M20 raised and made and know the difference between a good idea and some of the money pit no chances that we’ve seen trying to cash in on the perceived wealth in Didsbury.
The boddlers are still confused. On Saturday, as we perused the rolling hills and unfamiliar accents that surround us, they clamoured for the sweet shop on Dene Road. As we walked through the Metrolinkless roads they wondered where all the Magic Buses were.
Starting from scratch after a life in the subsidised suburban bliss of M20 is exciting. But I think we’ll be coming regularly. It’s not just home, a river runs through it.
Advertisements

New Order, Grayson Perry, The Didsbury Festival and the next summer of love

One of the issues with social media is that this newish communication genre, with its instant global reach and even quicker reactive response means that your past is never far from your inbox.  – Didsbury Festival 1965 before the Mods were attacked by a giant thumb coming from the left.

The joy of finding that tune you loved so much in 1980something is followed by invitations to reunions, groups and endless backward glancing connections to remind you why you (and they) moved on. We haven’t spoken in years? Probably a conscious decision on both sides.

Remember Glastonbury ’86, Red Wedge, thinking Flock of Seagulls were cutting edge? Me too. Great times, of their moment and best remembered occasionally and in specific settings. 

 another night of sleep depravation leaves you feeling hungover and your knees creak at the thought of the stairs as you trundle down for milk and clean clothes, you don’t want a notification. Certainly not one that reminds you 25 years ago three hours sleep meant an early night; a silk cut with a brew and The Smiths was the vegetarian breakfast of champions and kickstarted your day.   

– getting ready for “Jump Around” on another comeback tour. 

So to festivals new. The idea of pitching a tent next to a load of 19 year olds seems as enticing as re-living teething with the twins or Didsbury Son’s primary school music evenings. I saw all the great pre-millennium bands pre-millennium. With the exception of Madness, most of them are better on iTunes and YouTube. I already get to be kept up all night by the incoherent, self-obsessed and verbally incontinent on a regular basis.

So my festival season for Summer 2015 looks local. It’s fun, affordable and if I need a little, you know, lift, I can get some Solpadeine Max from Boots and anything from the shelf at Bisou Bisou.

  – I found this old picture of me after Reading Festival 1991.
Coming up we have Didsbury Open Gardens (New Order headlining but keep it to yourself), Didsbury Arts Festival (Grayson Perry v Tracey Emin mash-up is what the grapevine says), Makers Market West Didsbury (just starts later and is more BoHo than this weekend’s in the centre of Didsbury) and the mighty Didsbury Festival on June 13th. With WestFest, Rosh Hashana and Harvest Festival to round it off it looks a big summer.
The boddlers are up for it, Didsbury Son is mad for it and the vibes are good. Now fetch me a Werthers and some Vicks, I’m going Old Skool.   

 

– The organic Hog Roast is marinating ready for Didsbury Festival 

Didsbury, a desirable residency with room for an extension

Didsbury waves goodbye to the summer and welcomes indoor dining and drinking and hairdressing. There are changes but its back to the future across M20.

The Pound Bakery scam stickers on the site of the old Didsbury village Farm Shop (proof we are not yet ready for a £4 sandwich) is still my favourite trick. Apparently it is still set to be a Toni & Guy, they are just waiting to see if they can adapt the cold store for beauty treatments.

Dimitri’s has changed names but not  pricing strategy, Nido and Applebeys still defy the laws of economics to stay open. Each time I pass I feel a little pang of guilt at their emptiness and a little source of joy they are not mine. A bit like being at school when someone else is being told off.

WestFest was responsible for more weight gain that De Niro for Raging Bull and… It’s a sign of the times- we have TWO new Estate Agents ready to fight of our business.

This is back to the future. Before we were the charity shop Northern HQ. Before every shop sold coffee and flowers, we were a village of banks, off licenses and Estate Agents. The TSB is now Nero, Merrills, a shoe shop and 10 years ago this month Jo Padmore’s beautiful displays replaced Victoria Wine. Now we have a flange, or is it a whoop of Estate Agents coming to Didsbury – and there is previous.

Just as Didsbury Barbers fell out and became two barbers within yards of each other, so we welcome back Julian Wadden from his self-imposed Stockport Sojourn. In a nutshell ( a spacious shell with split level living options and planning permission for a utility room) and with no attempt at specific reality here goes an anecdotal Didsbury memory. Once there was Jordan & Fishwick. A flame-haired young agent joined and they were Jordan, Fishwick and Wadden – Mazeltov.

Local residents welcome a new Estate Agents in Didsbury

Local residents welcome a new Estate Agents in Didsbury

THEN he left. Jordan & Fishwick went back to being a duo and Julian moved to the upwardly mobile end of Stockport where he raised an army of Estate Agents using a simple purple on white board that conquered The Heatons and Reddish and now… He’s Back.
The window display promises evolved estate agentry, no spells, no curses and the window looks just like JP& Brimelow who are already successful, so it’s a winner. I like Estate Agent wars. It’s similar to watching the coalition government debate – you don’t really want either to win but you might get to see sharp suited people getting uppity.

But the Wadden Army has competition in the West. Callaghans Estate Agents are opening on Burton Road at the heart of our BoHo left of centre. Both promise a new kind of estate agent ing – which unless it means they are cutting hair, selling coffee and not selling houses is hard to understand.

Failure in business has a high price

Failure in business has a high price

The excitement never stops. Now if I want to buy flowers and coffee and sell a house my choice is bewildering. I may go and have a massage to ponder. Didsbury Wife reckons The brilliant Village Physio is the most suitable – if not the one most searched for online when people look for a massage in Didsbury.

Didsbury Festival – The Final Countdown

The camp fires are being dowsed and there is a heart-shaped, flower-strewn, luvved-up vibe in Didsbury. CavFest, WestFest, Chorlton the gauntlet is down. Didsbury Festival rides into the sunset with a cleared park and bleary eyes.

The stroll back through post-festival Didsbury was fascinating. The Chinese Crested dogs won my heart. Outside The Crown a man in a grey vest is trying to offer free hugs to passers by, egged on by afternoon beer friends. The response veers from amused and occasionally enthusiastic to scared or dismissive.

The sun and the stalls have brought out the greatest variety of style and middle aged man squeezed into Blue Harbour shorts since last year. Pasty legs and horizontal stripes are the male uniform of choice. Didsbury still hosts a colony of Goths. Not sure if they are Emperor or Gentu but they shuffled in a miserable, sweaty and pale pack before going to be ironic elsewhere.

Now it feels like Didsbury needs a nap. Didsbury Son is slumped on the couch with the Mighty Headed twin staring at him adoringly. My take on his pre-teen Development is dwarfed by the adoration of his baby brother and sister. He is sugar, E number and Climbing Walled out. In many ways this has been his greatest festival ever. Friends, food and attitude – the perfect festival experience.

20130608-181545.jpg
Didsbury Son releases the Official Didsbury Eyecare balloon to signal that 2014 Didsbury Festival will be back and exactly the same next year.

Top 10 Didsbury Tips for 2013

A busy week in our house. The British love affair with non-specific winter viruses always interests me. Whether its Noro Virus, Winter Colds, Avian vs Swine (surely the follow up to Alien v Predator) it’s all headlines. It seems each year that the fact we live in a damp region of an Island in the North Sea is forgotten by the time a disappointing summer has given way to a beautiful October and then overcast until a week in May.

Living in Manchester we don’t have the glamour of highland whiteouts or Coastal flash floods to brag about BUT if it’s a chest infection, bad stomach or general cold we are without peer. I believe in the power of multi-vitamins, flu jabs and positive thinking, so a weekend of spectacular emissions from both ends of all the Didsbury Dad trio has been an unwelcome intrusion into reality. Didsbury Wife and I also succumbed to … The virus and I was left to count new blessings this morning. Thank you grandparents for a few free hours to sleep, sleep and consider what I have encountered in prampushing around the haircut capital of the North…

1. The Didsbury Lounge: opening soon and a welcome addition to BarlowMoor Road. I checked records and it will be the first non hairdressers to open on the road since records began and the fit out looks promising. I look forward to leaving the twins at home and sneaking out for a crafty word or two with friends.

2. Elm Interiors Closing Down Sale: this is a Didsbury tradition, as established as an over-enthusiastic smoker flagging you down to talk City if you stop at the lights by The Nelson between 7pm and Midnight. One day it will shut and we will lose the slight whiff of bath bombes in the village but chances are it will be back with some name combination. Of Elm, House and Interiors.

3. The rise of Community Index. It’s a great read. A combination of local people, local adverts and useful info. It was nearly squashed by the gloss of Didsbury Magazine, a pointlessly Hale and Altrincham focused advert that takes less time to read than a takeaway menu. I read it and wonder if there is another Didsbury I’ve never heard of that still thinks its 1998 and chrome is the new black. Also disappointingly unabsorbant when Didsbury Son uses it to dry his Lacrosse boots.

4. Fletcher Moss: so much beauty on our doorstep. I had a brief recce to check the possibility of getting around with a double buggy. I can’t wait to introduce the mighty head and his smiley sister to the joy of the boardwalk, the river, the gardens and the Alpine Tea Rooms. It already has me wistful at the thought.

5. Festival season: As the Baftas herald the Oscars so Didsbury Arts Festival beckons Didsbury Festival, Cavfest, WestFest and Didsbury Barberfest when every one of Didsbury’s 6000 hairdressers marches hand in hand through the village singing “Who Will Buy This Wonderful Morning”.

6. The rise of The Reporter. I love The Reporter. Many years ago in baggier times I wrote a pop column for it which only promoted friends. The Reporter is still a heady mix of the good and bad, the campaigning and the minutiae. Personally, I like the minutiae and its classifieds are still a colourful crawl through the city’s underbelly.

7. U-turns and HS2 hassle. The antidote to the arrival of The Metrolink would seem to be the potential loss of Palatine Road to a train tunnel. Not got my head around it yet.

8. I’ve never actually seen anyone going up the stairs to either Karma Sutra Massage or Didsbury Conservative Club but somebody must do; I will keep my eyes peeled and let you know.

9. The Metrolink: the station in Didsbury was chosen especially to be next to AiryFairy CupCake Boutique. On Lapwing Lane they chose Fusion Deli and at Parrs Wood they just needed somewhere Tarantino could make the follow-up to Django Unchained.

10. Siemens building will turn out to be a conduit for alien contact similar to Men in Black 2. A long shot, but you never know.

20130210-221804.jpg

The proposed imaginary badger cull in The Archers has forced many of them north. We found this one inside our TV.

20130210-221958.jpg

Didsbury Wife spots a snowdrop

A Didsbury State of Mind

If not exactly cracking the flags, the sunshine this weekend is welcome. Whether it is an Indian summer, a dead cat bounce or the  beginning of the Mayan predicted Armageddon it is a bonus.

A combination of new school, new routine and new shoes has thrown Didsbury Son’s clock and he woke me up at 6 this morning full of angst and energy. After failing to fob him off and feign sleep I gave in and we headed out for a long-overdue mooch around the not so mean streets of M20 to see what was going on.

Image

The demands on schoolchildren get harder. Didsbury Son’s pencil case is an installation

It is sometimes only in the early morning quiet when I have time to look at the nooks, buildings, shapes and shrubberies of Didsbury that I realise how lucky we are to live here. From the back-to-back gentrification behind the village, through the quirky individualism of West Didsbury and the barber-strewn Lane that links East to Central it is a good place to live. Didsbury evolves – not just the burgeoning influence of the Metrolink or Whitbread’s thankfully thwarted Costafication, but some creative building and extending on Lapwing Lane and the re-invention of West Didsbury. Didsbury Son decided on reasons why he loved living here and what he didn’t like.

The only gripes we could really find were traffic, bus lanes with cameras and Kansas Fried Chicken sample boxes that litter the streets on a weekend morning.

Didsbury Son loves Subway, The Knitting Shop, The Albert Club Didsbury Park and going into shops and bars where people have known him from being Didsbury bump, baby, toddler, infant, junior and now his own boy. He enthused about the Metrolink building, Fusion Deli and Burton Road. I like the wide open spaces of Gourmet Burger King and the festivals throughout the year. I am also partial to Art of Tea, Didsbury Village Farm Shop and the river.

Simonsbridge and its pathways, flowers and opportunities are a rite of passage for any Didsbury Son.  The fun as a child, potential joy as a teenager and the satisfaction as a grown-up offered by Fletcher Moss are essential. On Jewish New Year we cast our sins (masquerading as bread) over the bridge to the welcoming ducks in a symbolic cleansing and actual duck-fattening and the flood gates in Parrs Wood are a tourist attraction worth a trip.

Other cities may call it a chance to case people’s houses – we call it Open Gardens. Didsbury Arts Festival has once again announced a line-up that’s a combination of international class and local eccentric and I can sit on my step and watch the world and tuck Didsbury Son in to the sound of the village going on late…

Image

This shot of the riverbank has now been overused mercilessly; maybe it is time for some new photos

It must be the weather. On days like this even the week’s accumulated mess seems to wink up at me cheekily from its last resting place on the floor.

How the Higgs Boson was found in Didsbury Village

The news has all been (apart from Andy Murray and the weather and Barclays and Didsbury Son’s School Play ) Higgs Boson this, CERN that, Physicists from around the world blah blah. They’ve all missed a trick and wasted money.

The Avataresque set they have built under a ski slope near Geneva, where Tefal heads play ping pong with imaginary marbles could have been built here in the capital of Barbers, Charity Shops and Coffee concessions.

The God Particle may be a perjorative term but within the confines of Didsbury ( real Didsbury, not Estate Agents) we have all the god, spirituality, present and ex-past media moguls and university lecturers to unearth the smallest of particles.

First a quick history of CERN. Why CERN? Why Switzerland ? Why bother?

The Americans (represented by TFI Fridays in Cheadle) were in a race with The Japanese (Samsi opposite The Red Lion) . *Although Samsi is still in M20 and the California Rolls are to die for, it is Withington not Didsbury. The race was something to do with Big Bang Theory and writing a follow-up for Brian Cox and Lassana Diara O’Briain.

Still with me? You get 10 credits for an MA in Costa after this.

Europe (Didsbury) got wind of the Japanese v Americans battle and knew we could find Higgs Boson’s God Particle first if we pulled together. With WestFest, Cav Fest, Didsbury Arts Festival and a new bar on Burton Road how could we fail? We (Didsbury / CERN) beat the Asian/North American efforts with the same tenacity Douglas Bader showed in Reach for the Skies.

Higgs missed the collaborative God-inspired particles that the Didsbury Mosque, St. James & Emmanuel, St. Catherine’s, Queens Road Synagogue combined with Fog Lane Park, Healthy Spirit and the MMU Library could create.

If they had arranged for Didsbury’s Primary School mothers to create a chain around Didsbury and awarded an Airy Fairy Cup Cake to the fastest runner we could have created the conditions that the CERN saps spent a Premier League debt creating; easy.

To put the Higgs Boson in easily understandable terms it’s like this.

At CERN (which is a bit like Didsbury Scout Hut) they built a particle accelerator called the Large Hadron Collider. This was in collaboration with Sure Start and The Rotary Club and made its debut at 2008 Didsbury Festival.

It is the accelerator that has enabled the discovery of the Higgs Boson. (A boson is a type of Hadron), Didsbury Wife told me this and that it goes through France as well as Switzerland ( that’s South Didsbury according to Reeds Rains).

The existence of the particle proves that before Zizzi was the least successful Japanese restaurant cum gothic disaster ever. Before that the Clocktower, The Orange Tree, The Old Grey Horse and at the start of time – The Cavalcade.

This proves creationist theory that to make a decent Lamb Shank get the lamb from Axons.

It explains why, seconds after The Big Bang a charity shop opened in Wilmslow Road and means all we have left to discover is what the shop next to No 4. On Warburton Street actually sells.

Next week: pandas procreate after a day out at Fletcher Moss. “coffee and cake at Fusion Deli sealed the deal.” says delighted Zookeeper

How the Higgs Boson was found in Didsbury Village

The news has all been (apart from Andy Murray and the weather and Barclays and Didsbury Son’s School Play ) Higgs Boson this, CERN that, Physicists from around the world blah blah. They’ve all missed a trick and wasted money.

The Avataresque set they have built under a ski slope near Geneva, where Tefal heads play ping pong with imaginary marbles could have been built here in the capital of Barbers, Charity Shops and Coffee concessions.

The God Particle may be a perjorative term but within the confines of Didsbury ( real Didsbury, not Estate Agents) we have all the god, spirituality, present and ex-past media moguls and university lecturers to unearth the smallest of particles.

First a quick history of CERN. Why CERN? Why Switzerland ? Why bother?

The Americans (represented by TFI Fridays in Cheadle) were in a race with The Japanese (Samsi opposite The Red Lion) . *Although Samsi is still in M20 and the California Rolls are to die for, it is Withington not Didsbury. The race was something to do with Big Bang Theory and writing a follow-up for Brian Cox and Lassana Diara O’Briain.

Still with me? You get 10 credits for an MA in Costa after this.

Europe (Didsbury) got wind of the Japanese v Americans battle and knew we could find Higgs Boson’s God Particle first if we pulled together. With WestFest, Cav Fest, Didsbury Arts Festival and a new bar on Burton Road how could we fail? We (Didsbury / CERN) beat the Asian/North American efforts with the same tenacity Douglas Bader showed in Reach for the Skies.

Higgs missed the collaborative God-inspired particles that the Didsbury Mosque, St. James & Emmanuel, St. Catherine’s, Queens Road Synagogue combined with Fog Lane Park, Healthy Spirit and the MMU Library could create.

If they had arranged for Didsbury’s Primary School mothers to create a chain around Didsbury and awarded an Airy Fairy Cup Cake to the fastest runner we could have created the conditions that the CERN saps spent a Premier League debt creating; easy.

To put the Higgs Boson in easily understandable terms it’s like this.

At CERN (which is a bit like Didsbury Scout Hut) they built a particle accelerator called the Large Hadron Collider. This was in collaboration with Sure Start and The Rotary Club and made its debut at 2008 Didsbury Festival.

It is the accelerator that has enabled the discovery of the Higgs Boson. (A boson is a type of Hadron), Didsbury Wife told me this and that it goes through France as well as Switzerland ( that’s South Didsbury according to Reeds Rains).

The existence of the particle proves that before Zizzi was the least successful Japanese restaurant cum gothic disaster ever. Before that the Clocktower, The Orange Tree, The Old Grey Horse and at the start of time – The Cavalcade.

This proves creationist theory that to make a decent Lamb Shank get the lamb from Axons.

It explains why, seconds after The Big Bang a charity shop opened in Wilmslow Road and means all we have left to discover is what the shop next to No 4. On Warburton Street actually sells.

Festival Fever Favours sunkissed Didsbury

It’s Didsbury Arts Festival (DAF) this week. This is a great and evolving event and the organisers do a brilliant job. But there is a schism in Didsbury and festival fever is afoot.

In a Grand Designesque gesture the TSB/Oddbins has re- emerged as Caffe Nero at The Manor Park end of the village. A blue chain to offset the deep red Costa at the railway end. Will the mums of Broad Oak and Didsbury C of E Nero, whilst Beaver Road and St Catherine’s Costa? Is this attack of The Clones (courtesy @wordsandpics) going to see off the Art of Tea, that link to Boho West Didsbury and their obtuse named indies? Time will tell and caffeine will spill in the fight to host the cognoscenti …

Anyway back to the festival. Following The Didsbury Festival, Cav. Fest and West Fest (see the pattern?), DAF and the French Beer Festival are the official end of summer and the M20 festive season. With many in our media friendly village heading to Edinburgh at some point in August we now redress the balance.

The Cheese Hamlet has added 10p to the price of Longley Farm Virtually Fat Free Cottage Cheese in line with the festival savvy West Didsbury Delis. Big Issue sellers are combining origami with flyering; the cider possee outside the co-op have added mime to their routine and the bench outside the library has been renamed Arthur’s Seat.

My only disappointment is that Evans Fishmongers has no recreation of The Little Mermaid in festival themed Bream displays, The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon has no DAF-themed cupcake and The Metropolitan is not hosting Late n Live.

That’s why I love Didsbury. Tonight I have the choice of the Poet Laureate at Church or The Champions League at home and Didsbury Son is out playing tig amidst the Boden, Havaianas and Sea Salt of Cornwall.

Time for a festival drink on the doorstep

A picture of my installation suggestion: seabirds and house brick near Aldi

20110928-214326.jpg

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: