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 “Stevie Wonder”

How Didsbury Can Save The World (ish)

Paul McCartney duped Stevie Wonder into singing Ebony and Ivory. One of the world’s greatest songwriters let his English mate talk him into making music for frisky pensioners to hum salaciously into each others’ hearing aids? Muzak to change the world? It was a lovely message; piano keys as metaphor for race relations. It was so bland it could have been served to newborn babies without fear of reflux.

ImageStevie Wonder smiling at being infallible – before Paul

Tolerance, understanding and cultural diversity are the positive roots of a society. I even have friends and family who openly choose to live in North Manchester and I once shopped at Lidl.

I was thinking about this as I listened to the morning news on the radio whilst changing and feeding the Mighty-Headed boy and his pearl topped sister. There was a slurry of manipulation, mal-intent and bigotry followed by the sports news containing cricket and tennis. Both depressed me.

Image Not playing tennis

Summer sports bring out the worst, we are not cut out for them in Britain – the Olympics was the exception, not the rule. Cricket only works if you drink heavily and after once seeing The Chuckle Brothers spend two hours saying “To Me”, “To You” it struck me; this is tennis without grunting. I looked sadly down at my little gifts. Not only is there strife and war globally, but the football season’s nearly over and weekends without the droning blah of 5Live stretch out before me with only Didsbury Festival to interrupt the countdown to pre-season friendlies.

My own Didsbury Grandfather, a tree-hugging, teetotal, animal loving pragmatist taught me his key tenets of life. Be good to your family, don’t drink black coffee, look after the animals and… deep down everybody is Jewish. This eclectic mix of pre-Californian hippy, businessman and family man was heady. It probably underpins my view that all Obama, Annan, Putin et al need to solve the crises in The Middle East, The West and the England central defence is to sit down with Chicken Soup, lockshen and alkies (with maybe a little chopped liver and pickled cucumber for the late night sessions). They should think what their mothers would say and if Paul McCartney can earn millions from Ebony and Ivory and believe its a driver for world peace then there is hope for all of us.

Image The key to world peace. The bigger the kneidlch the better the chance of peace.

If it doesn’t work I can at least retreat to my bubble where, for the immediate future, no matter the state of my hair, there are two gummy mouths smiling and four arms flapping with uncoordinated joy as I walk in with their morning bottle and sleeping next door, there is one Didsbury Son who will still laugh at my old jokes.

Plain speaking wins the day

Frank Sinatra “I did it my way”
Stevie Wonder “I just called to say I love you”

Rumours of Wonder looking to open a shop in Didsbury have been dismissed. Picture www.biography.com)

Rumours of Wonder looking to open a shop in Didsbury have been dismissed. Picture http://www.biography.com)

Ronseal 5 year varnish “It does what it says on the tin”
All clear, successful and obvious. There is a lesson to be learned here. Many lives ago, pre Didsbury Dad, I promoted live bands. I shied away from trumpeting them as a cross between The Doors and Elvis invade people thought it was a band with food and intimacy issues that should not be left alone in the bath.
Does this crystal clear lesson get through to the not so mean streets of M20? Is this plain speaking Muswell Hill with less Moolah and Alderley with edge paying attention? No.
The Didsbury Village Farm Shop (RIP – the thought of your club sandwich fills me with… Well filled me with bread and meat) is a perfect example. It’s butchers may have been inspired by Smithfields, it’s sandwiches influenced by The Mighty Gregg’s and its cheese based on a book about cheese in the 80s but it was neither Axons (a butchers), The Cheese Hamlet (God’s Cheese Shop) or Fresh Save (a green grocers) . Now it is empty. The sign on the weighing machine saying “We will serve you shortly” a cruel reminder that this shop has been empty, or worse, was once the least well-run Carphone Warehouse ever.

Cafe Rouge is French (in a Whitbread way), Costa do coffee and Jo Padmore is an optician. She is not a lens-influenced, near nasal dresser who does shoe repairs if you are not keen on glasses. She also has a lovely window display. Effective and very obvious what it is there to sell.
So we come to Cibo. I really hope it works, that it is a great restaurant that is a huge success and brings people flocking to Didsbury. Well done to the Cioboans for taking the plunge. This space was previously a La Tasca which held a special place in the hearts of many of us. Before that it was Burns, a suburban fish restaurant way before there was a market for one outside of coastal resorts.
Cibo, in language that smacks of Mud Crab Cafe’s New York Australian food bakery coffee shop and hairdressers is going to be Venetian-influenced. This does not actually mean anything. As I pushed the double buggy past this morning my heart sank like an old Gondola.

Griffins, an Italian staple, are hard to farm.

Griffins, an Italian staple, are hard to farm.

Venetian -influenced? I am lucky enough to have spent time in Venice. The Mozarella Rice balls and espressos you get at the street stalls are delicious (they sell them at Piccolino’s on Lapwing Lane), but are they influential? Does Venetian influenced mean that the Ciboans are going to recreate St. Mark’s Square in the School Lame Car Park, pay homage to Paolo Lucio Anafesto, first Doge of the Venetian Republic or charge 10 euros for a coffee to the English? I once went to see Venezia play my team at football and our fans had coins and bricks thrown at us most of the game. If they are going to take their influence from Venezia’s Ultras then I think I won’t be the only one darting past anxiously straight to No. 4 on Warburton Street.
Venice, like Manchester has a canal, an airport and a strong sense of identity.
Cibo is an Italian noun meaning grub. Let us hope it is as vibrant as St. Marks, as beautiful as Florence, as tasty as the street food in Sicily and the staff don’t throw sharp objects at you if you are not local.

Paolo Luci Anafesto, tipped to be the maitre d' of Didsbury's new Venetian-infuenced restaurant.

Paolo Luci Anafesto, tipped to be the maitre d’ of Didsbury’s new Venetian-infuenced restaurant.

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