Aurevoir Manchester

Preping my return to homeland after a decade spent in this amazing city,  I have been extremely lucky to be involved with Manchester International Festival, working with the marketing team in the lead to the festival and as a festival fronteer as well during the 18 days of extraordinary works. All I can say is it was amazing!

I saw: Bjork on the preview night (pure joy), Dr Dee (confusing yet with stunning staging), Life and Death of Marina Abramovic (as expected crazy and wonderful – Dafoe is my hero), 11 rooms (different – loved hoping from one room to another, went about 4 times), Crash of the Elysium (scary and brilliant action packed play), Amadou and Mariam Eclipse (a unique  uplifting surprisingly very experience all in the dark, really enjoyed it), Alina Abragimova (second piece was a highlight for me), 1395 days with red and the projections at Whitworth Art Gallery (film was too long but interesting, the room with the film set up was incredible and the outdoor projections magicals), John Gerard led display (not for me), Audio Obscura (one of my favorite 30min) enjoyed some drinks at the festival sq and Bjork’s choir and few other bits and bobs.

I really enjoyed all the shows, some more than others but I overall thought it was a great success. I cannot wait for 2013!

The last few weeks have been incredible, making even more attempts at catching as much of Manchester’s spirit before returning to France.

Cycling around, visiting Chorlton’s eateries – went to Charango and was quite disappointed by the main but the rest was ok, not a transcending experience like walking the Inca trail though, drinks at gorgeous Hanging Ditch, enjoying soaking up the sun for Manchester Jazz festival, picnic/ing, dancing, breakfasting, shopping, lunching, cupcaking, chilling and dinning, the lot, amongst others. Full of Manchester me.

For those out there who thinks there is nothing to do in Manchester, open your eyes, you’re either lazy, boring or plain moany. Get your act together and get out there. There’s loads  for those who make the effort to find out.

Now, only a few more days and I am driving up from South of France and loading 10 years of life in a 9cubic m van. Interesting prospect.

I will certainly miss Manchester immensely and then Francunian will retire.


Moving to the sound of Jazz

Since Friday 23rd and until Sunday 31st of July Manchester is moving to the sound of Jazz!

Great sound to move to I have to say.

The beauty of the festival is all the free events taking place around the city! No excuses not to try at least one!

Split between St Ann Sq, Albert Sq (Festival Pavilion) and venues around Manchester such as RNCMMatt & Phred’sMidland HotelBand on the Wall; there is gotta be something for everyone and every pocket!

Radio 3 even broadcasted live from Band on the Wall last night, featuring Arun Gosh Quintet, Stuart McCallum solo and Simcock/Walker/Swallow/Nussbaum which was perfect for me as I was crafting at home!

You can check the full line up here.

Here are a few pics too of the acts I have seen while on my lunch break! Yes, jazzy lunch is awesome!

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Extra Curricular from Huddersfield

Mobile special effexxxt…


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Cool Ceol Quartet - Festival Pavilion


FestiVal fever 2009

Here I am me and my first post!

Since it’s summer (according to the calendar anyway) and it’s also festiVal time I will give a little update on what I’ve been going to and/or wish I had(n’t) locally in the last few weeks!

July, being my bday month I thought to myself, let’s get cracking and make the most of my last few days in my 20’s! I think I did pretty well!

Coming back from a trip from L’Ile de Beauté Corsica – where I was a crooner, a rally driver, a scuba diver, a camper, a swimmer, and a lover, and I was then warmed up, ready for my upcoming Mancunian activities!

Manchester International Festival 2009 (finished on the 19/7 )! I took part in some of the production/events as a volunteer and as an educated visitor (??). It was an incredible experience. I managed to be a driver for Anthony and the Johnsons, personal driver round Manchester! I then took part in the 4h long live art experiment for the original Marina Abramovic . It all started pretty well, I was a sound engineer for the first hour while Marina was preparing us to enjoy 3h of live weird performance, and then I turned gallery assistant for the remaining 3h.

  • H+1 with a naked Chinese artist who kept staying round me – Yingmei Duan – I was supposed to interact with her but wasn’t really sure to what extent since she was naked and walking around me! Weird.
  • H+2 with Alastair MacLennan who walking like a little crab around a massive table covered in soil, pigs heads and trout, surrounded by shoes of all sorts– one of the ‘you had to be there’ type of experience….
  • H+ 3 was spent with a tiny French lady Marie Cool playing with installations made out of paper, strings and elastic bands.

My breaks were spent wondering the other 8 rooms enjoying the experiments – a naked lady falling down the stairs in slow motion (…), a Chinese lady playing with radio and jello, a girl falling on a bed/mountain top less, another girl under a pile of animal skins to name but a few! A strange evening to say the least…

Then there was the much more classic experience of the visionary work of Zaha Hadid Architect’s acting as an beautiful écrin for the music of Bach! Let’s not forget Flailing trees, and the really original b Rufus WrainwrightPrima Donna! Also had a dance to the sound of Micron‘s dj in the great tepee standing on Albert Sq. and a little picnic on the sun loungers. Great times! I can’t wait for 2011!

I also tried some fun activities: Kayaking one eve at Salford Quays water Sport Center ! Really great fun.

Then I moved on to volunteering for 24:7 Theatre festival that took place from the 20/7 to 26/7. 21 original 1h long plays! I managed to see and work on only 6 of them sadly!5:30 (2 unlikely people sharing emotional stories about themselves), The Last Chair (absurd comedy about chairs… and their extinctions), Remember Me (love story and death story to the sound of 90’s house music), Maine Road (Chavy family tribulations with some City references), Lub You (3 years old boy and a baby verbalising their thoughts! Original and moving somehow!), Dancing to the sound of crunching snails (Loved the game plays and the idea of family drama/comedy – I did laugh quite a lot, gaining unlimited entry by the writer!!).

In the mean time, my fourth decade arrived and to celebrate (I don’t commiserate!) the tribe and I ended up having a gargantuesque tablée in the lovely Ning! Malay- Thai restaurant nicely set up on Oldham St in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. Lots of nice food, hats, cards and cakes! Frogs even actually … El Roberto!

To finish my bday month of celebration, the Manchester Jazz Festival that took place all of last week, kind have passed me by totally sadly and only saw a few gigs on St Ann sq while on my lunch break or after work… Not a great deal to say other than it was wet and jazzy! I think by then, my excitement, and involvement in the Mancunian cultural scene was just like the weather – wet! Too much of a good thing…

So what’s next Manchester?

Coming up in my little box of suggestions and ideas are a few things I will sort out over the next few days!