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Manchester International Festival: Day 17

  • Richard Fair
  • 14 Jul 07, 08:43 AM

Various bits of Festival paperworkIf this was a long running American TV show it would now be building into a fantastic season close. Carefully twisted plots and themes interspersed with clever dialogue and the occasional red herring. We’d have filmed two alternative endings just in case the press got a sniff of which character was going to say adios as an out of control shopping trolley full of baked beans pinned them to a cardboard cut out of a huge toilet freshener.

But it isn’t. It’s a blog. And we just keep going, although we do need to draw to a close our coverage of the Manchester International Festival.

It’s interesting to look back through my notebook at some of the things I’ve written down that didn’t make it to the blog. These are little observations that seem pertinent at the time and I presume that I must have had big plans for how they would form the backbone of one of my posts. In the cold light of day, however, I begin to wonder if I’m slowly losing my sanity.

I should point out that when reviewing things in cinemas or theatres you have to write in the dark. It’s not easy. Often your best lines end up on your chinos, or worse still Kevin Bourke’s. But anyway, here’s a selection of the ones I can decipher.

“Old woman looks like the one at the beginning of Ghostbusters”
“Gary Barlow’s too high for the girls”
“New bulb for church toilet” (NB That may not be Festival related)
“Get to seat early and listen to the harps being tuned”
“Some of the seats had napkins on them”
“Baked potato nightmare”
“What would happen if the orchestra followed the sign language person instead of the conductor?”


For my final proper Festival event I popped into the City Café at teatime on Friday for a spot of Jazz courtesy of the Eclipse Saxophone Quartet. Against a backdrop of umbrellas heading up to Piccadilly Station after a busy week in the office, the guys gave us a cracking arrangement of Gershwin’s Summertime. With an up tempo beat and a Latino feel I found myself sinking into my comfy chair while sinking my teeth into the comforting homemade beef burger (with fries and ketchup). I’m terrible with accents, but I think the waitress was Irish, or American. She said that the Festival may be coming to an end but it looks like the jazz may continue at the City Cafe. Fantastic.

The End

So as the dancing curtains of Il Tempo del Postino fall gently on the ripped wallpaper of Johnny Vegas’ Interiors, we say goodbye to the Manchester International Festival.
I will forever hold in my heart the sorrow of Orpheus. I will always be indebted to Alan Rickman for his microphone skills. I will cherish my time in the paparazzi scrum for the best Denis Hopper picture. I will live in fear of death in case I’m surrounded by two dozen women spinning plates. But above all, I will never be able to watch a Cleopatra film again, well not unless I’m standing up.

Shall we do it again in 2009?

Mancubist has been to see Il Tempo del Postino at the Opera House. "As was always going to be the case, this was a very hit-and-miss show."

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 02:47 PM on 15 Jul 2007,
  • Carolyn wrote:

Richard, You will always be thought of with much affection by Alan Rickman fans worldwide for "going the extra mile" to satisfy our admiration for the man. There are not that many people in your position who would have done that, and it speaks volumes as to the kind of person you are. It was truly, madly, and deeply appreciated!

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