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Submitted by on January 19, 2013 – 9:23 pmOne Comment


Putting your fat balls out for the birds is a seasonal necessity, birds need the extra food at this time of year specially with the snow covering their normal supply of nuts and seeds. This being said, the announcement that Frickley was off came as no surprise and was actually welcomed.

Chethams were having an open day and it was going to be a lot warmer walking around their state of the art building than watching shite football in south Yorkshire or Frickley, Yorkshire de l’Ouest. Coldness being something I try to avoid as I get older.

The new Chethams building was fantastic. There were two themes running concurrently within the architecture. The architect was obviously eating a toblerone while watching Lord of the Rings. The archaic castle keep theme running alongside a pentahedron. The brick-built stairwell encapsulated the castle keep idea, circular and imposing, punctuated with thin slits to allow light in as opposed to shooting arrows out.Cheethams01

Long slender windows overlooking the most unusual and unexpected sights of the city of Manchester. Teak caressed and flowed up, over and along the walls, finished in a variety of surfaces to deaden sound and stimulate the mind.

While we were aimlessly wandering around this magnificent school building the sound of music permeated the soul. Choral music overlaid a violin concerto and if you stood in the right place you got the perfect mix of both.

Cheetham03White-walled and magnificent, each corridor had lots of small rooms packed with young musicians playing, quartets, solo harp, drums, piano and voice were heard pouncing from each room. The music rooms are well soundproofed from the ugly sound of city life. Tranquil sound of silence echoing around the halls and corridors. This is a school so science, literacy and piss-taking continue unabated. The difference being that while you sit on your stool in the science lab dissecting a frog, Brahms in C major wafts through the door not skunk.  What a brilliant way to spend your school day, with music occupying every nook and cranny.

The concert hall was bare and unfinished, the need is for £5 million to furbish the interior. Glass, light and space makes the new Chethams building a place that is welcoming and friendly. The lucky few that attend and work here are truly privileged.

My next stop on this non-Frickley day was This and That. The name is shite, the street it is on is shite, the décor is shite, the plastic chairs are shite, the plastic plates are shite, the entrance is shite, the atmosphere is shite, but the food is great and cheap. That is why you go to This and That. It is a promotion team nightmare. The location is down a tiny rundown back street, you can’t tell if the place is open unless you are standing in it. The name is derived from the worst song known to man. The interior comes from the inside of a 1970s Play for Today. Despite all this it is a successful business because it focuses on what it can do best and that is to provide good quality cheap food.

I spent my day going from a place that provided magnificent music to a place that provided magnificent food. Not bad for an unplanned day in the city. Where are we playing next? Let’s hope that gets called off. There are many other undiscovered pleasures in the city just waiting to be found. If only I was retired, but that’s not going to happen for many years to come thanks to the Tory bastards.

One Comment »

  • e.northey@gmail.com says:

    Nice one Nav! Looks impressive and the original Humph Chet had a certain sympathy for the poor = as well as an ability to screw them.Probably in more sense than one.(His house is still standing in Clayton, despite the attentions of everyone from Lord Strange to the Luftwaffe.) But, have a look on Youtube for Albert Cano Smit – a young Spanish pianist of extraordinary ability. He’s also a mad keen Barca fan, so I’ve been thinking of inviting him up to see another fan-owned club – whose abilities can stir the soul, just as much as Rachmaninov can.

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