Monday, 21 October 2013

Manchester, so much to answer for

I've just finished reading Morrissey's Autobiography, published in Penguin Classics (a bit of fun that some journalists have oh so predictably misunderstood).

Autobiography is as elegantly written and witty as you'd expect from the lyricist of The Smiths. There are lots of moments when I laughed, just as I often do listening to supposedly downbeat Smiths and Morrissey songs like this.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Manchester's top ten pubs

This weekend's Guardian had a list of Manchester's top ten craft beer pubs.

If a "craft beer pub" is one that has cask beer, non-mainstream/"craft" keg, bottled European and North American beers and draught, unpasteurised cider, neither the City Arms nor the Grey Horse qualify, despite the latter now offering beers from the Hydes microbrewery's Beer Studio range (Font is the only pub on the list I've not been to but from the description it sounds as though it ticks all the boxes).

I tend to rate pubs on their atmosphere, architecture and clientele. As long as there's one well-kept cask beer, I'm happy. On that basis, my own Manchester top ten, in no particular order apart from alphabetical, is The Briton's Protection, City Arms, Crown and Kettle, Grey Horse, Hare and Hounds, Lass O'Gowrie, Marble Arch, Salisbury, Smithfield and Unicorn.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


The Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has spoken out against footballers not born in England playing for the national team.

The comments come after speculation that England might select Manchester United's eighteen year old winger Adnan Januzaj in the future. Januzaj, born in Brussels to Kosavar parents, is also eligible to play for Albania, Belgium and Serbia. There has been a similar debate in Test cricket where South Africans play for England, Pakistanis for South Africa and Australia etc.

I don't have a problem with sportsmen representing the country they live in rather than the one they were born in, especially when they or their parents have fled their homes because of war or violence. In football, South Americans played for Italy in the 30's, helping them to win their first World Cup, and in the 60's Real Madrid's Ferenc Puskas from Hungary and Alfredo Di Stefano from Argentina both played for Spain.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Lancashire Dark Mild

I've got Ron Pattinson at Shut Up About Barclay Perkins to thank for alerting me to the fact that Marks and Spencer is now selling a bottle-conditioned mild.

Lancashire Dark Mild, a 3.7 % abv beer brewed by Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn, is I'd assume a slightly tweaked and rebadged version of their draught mild Nutty Black.

Although dark milds are traditionally associated with the Black Country and the West Midlands, the first two milds I ever drank were dark ones from Manchester brewers, Holt's and the long-gone and much missed Wilson's, and Robinson's Brewery in Stockport still brew a pale and a dark version of their mild.