BIG BEN…a version of the London icon has taken over Piccadilly Gardens as part of the Manchester International Festival, which kicked off yesterday. Running until 18 July, the festival is offering up a mix of concerts, dance performances, and large art displays. Cathedral Gardens is now “Festival Square” with free musical performances all day. There’s too much going on to share here, but key highlights include an anti-consumerist grocery store project by Pakistani artist Rashid Rana, sound and light installation “Arcadia” at The Factory, and Christine Sun Kim’s “Captioning the City” installation series. Of course, there’s also Marta Minujín’s “Big Ben Lying Down with Political Books” at Piccadilly Gardens, which uses 20,000 copies of political tomes to make up the 138 ft sculpture. Impressive creation, terrible title.
CHEFS OF CHESHIRE…Michelin star-winning chef Simon Radley is leaving The Chester Grosvenor, while restaurateur Gary Usher wants in on Ellesmere Port. Radley’s restaurant has had a Michelin star since 1990 and is named after him. That’ll change in January 2022 when it is officially relaunched. Radley said he’ll be looking for other opportunities after he has a short sabbatical. Perhaps he’ll become the new chef for Gary Usher? The restauranteur has tweeted out his desire to open a spot at Ellesmere Port. Be on the lookout for another crowdfunding campaign!
EVOLUTION…There are two things all students like: beers and kebabs. So, in an area as overrun with students as Fallowfield, it is perhaps unsurprising that the former Revolution bar on Wilmslow Road – which closed in 2019 – is being transformed into an upmarket kebab house, if such a thing really exists. The imaginatively named German Doner Kebab is aiming for a summer launch and the Fallowfield restaurant is one of 47 the company plans to open this year.
HIGH SEAS OF HOLYHEAD…North Wales is your newest weekend gateway to Northern Ireland after ferry company Stena Line launched a temporary route between Holyhead and Belfast. Running through 18 July, the eight-hour journey will be on one of Stena’s newest ships – the Stena Estrid. Interested? The trip will set you back £130. The ferry leaves Holyhead at 11:30pm on Friday and Saturday, and leaves Belfast at 9:30am on Saturday and Sunday. And yes, this is both a freight and leisure service. Book now to avoid disappointment or don’t to avoid seasickness.
HOT AIR...An application to demolish a gasholder near the Etihad Stadium has been withdrawn, much to the delight of Manchester City supporters. Citizens have grown rather fond of the rusting circular carcass – which can be seen on the approach to the stadium – since the club relocated to Eastlands from Maine Road in 2003. National Grid had applied to get rid of the defunct gasholder at the former Saxon Street gasworks but the company has since withdrawn its application.
BED HOPPING…Bensons for Beds has moved into a new store in Stockport, just a few hundred yards from its previous location at the Peel Centre on Great Portwood Street. Bensons, which was saved from collapse last year, has taken residence within the 8,500 sq ft unit 3, previously occupied by Gap. The company used to share a unit with sister company Harveys until last June, when Harveys was placed into administration as part of a restructure by the companies’ owner Alteri Investors. It’s all a bit confusing, maybe time for a lie-down…