13 street pianos have been dotted around popular Manchester locations, and they’re free for the public to play all month.
The annual Manchester Jazz Festival (mjf) is arriving in our city on Friday 20 – Sunday 29 May, and to properly celebrate the 2022 edition in style, festival organisers have teamed up with the beloved Forsyth Music Shop to place over a dozen pianos at well-known sites in the hunt for Manchester’s most entertaining street pianist.
You don’t even need any technical talent or formal training either, as the competition is open to everyone from concert pianists, to the occasional ivory tickler.
If you haven’t spotted any of the pianos yet, then make sure to keep your eyes peeled across the city centre as they’re located at Manchester Arndale, The Corn Exchange, Forsyth Music Shop, Great Northern, Harvey Nichols, Royal Exchange Arcade, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Central Library, Manchester Piccadilly Station, and Manchester Victoria Station.
A little further afield, pianos have also been placed at Spinningfields, Quayside in MediaCityUK, and even at the Trafford Centre.
All 13 of the pianos are now available for passers-by to play, but for those who think they can give Elton John or Billy Joel a good run for their money, then there’s a whole raft of prizes up for grabs too.
Some of the prizes you can get your hands on in the limited-time-only competition include a Yamaha P-45B piano, a return ticket for two anywhere on the Northern Rail Network, a gift package and vouchers worth over £100 from MediaCityUK, an afternoon tea for two at 20 Stories, £30 Wagamama vouchers for each prize winner, and so much more.
Speaking on the mjf Piano Trial, Emma Loat – Manager of Forsyth’s Music – said: “For many years, we’ve had a street piano at the front of the Forsyth’s shop on Deansgate, so we know that Manchester and the surrounding areas is full of talented musicians and those willing to have a go [and] we’re really excited to supply 13 pianos for the mjf piano trail.
“We’d urge all those budding performers to come forward, have a go, and be in with a chance of winning some fantastic prizes.”
To be in with a chance to be named one of Manchester’s best street pianists, all you’ll need to do is find one of the pianos in the trail, take a short video of your performance, and post the video to your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter account tagging in @manchesterjazzfestival / @manjazzfest and using the hashtag #mjfpianotrail.
At the end of the piano trail, mjf and Forsyth’s will pick nine lucky winners based on who showed the most “creativity, ingenuity, and gave the best performances”.
Ice cream sellers are complaining Cadbury Flakes are now ‘too crumbly’ for 99s
The Cadbury Flake is an icon of British confectionary.
First developed all the way back in 1920, and surprisingly discovered just by chance thanks to Cadbury Bournville factory employee, Ralph Thompson – who noticed thin streams of excess chocolate falling from moulds cooled into flaky ripples – the Flake has gone on to become a beloved sweet treat, not just in the UK, but in several other countries worldwide too.
Due to the success of the chocolate bar, by 1930, Cadbury began selling half-sized Flakes specifically for sticking in the top of vanilla soft serve ice cream, known as ’99 Flakes’, which were served by ice cream vendors nationwide.
Many will be familiar with the famous 1983 advert, where Cadbury chose to brand Flakes as “the crumbliest, flakiest milk chocolate in the world”.
But could the day finally be here? The day when the “the crumbliest, flakiest milk chocolate in the world” is now just too crumbly to stick in 99 cone? Well, according to a growing number of ice cream sellers, this is apparently the case.
With the UK having been treated to some warm weather recently, and the hottest day of the year even on the horizon this bank holiday weekend, it’s led to ice cream traders across the country complaining that 99 Flakes have started deteriorating in quality since the production of the chocolate treats was moved over to Egypt in 2020.
Vendor John Taylor, who owns of C&M Creamery Ices in North Yorkshire, complained to the BBC that the quality of 99 Flakes nowadays is “embarrassing for an ice cream man”.
“You can’t give someone a 99 with a broken Flake,” he added.
Lawrence Glauser, owner of Lorenzo’s Ices in East Yorkshire, agreed with fellow vendor John and described the situation as a “big issue” because often at least a quarter of the Flake boxes are “unusable” – which has left him having to resorting to more creative measures.
“I now serve trays of ice cream and sprinkle bits of Flake on top,” Lawrence revealed, “I shouldn’t have to do that. I’m fed up of the wastage”.
Katy Alston, who is the president of The Ice Cream Alliance, says she won’t be using Cadbury Flakes in the 99s she sells from her ice cream van in Bognor Regis for the first time ever this year, as she claims she sometimes has to throw at least half the box away because “they’ve all been broken”, which doesn’t help when she has a reputation to maintain.
“If you order a 99, you want a good solid Flake in it,” she concluded.
Addressing the growing concerns, a spokesperson for manufacturer Mondelēz International said: “Cadbury Flake 99 is a naturally delicate and crumbly product, and we have processes in place within our supply chain to avoid any breakage as much as possible.
“We are aware that recently some customers have received product which does not meet our usual high standards. This has been addressed following recent improvements to our production processes although some prior stock may remain in circulation.
“We are in the process of liaising with our customers (wholesalers) to support those potentially impacted.
“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused”.
Featured Image – Flickr
Manchester is set to be hotter than Madrid this bank holiday weekend
The UK could see the hottest day of the year so far this bank holiday weekend, with temperatures predicted to hit 24°C in some parts.
And that means Manchester is set to be warmer than Madrid.
The Spanish capital is usually known for its soaring temperatures around this time of year, but in recent weeks, the city has been experiencing some unseasonably rainy spells, and as that seems set to continue for the foreseeable, it means us Mancs could be taking over the role of basking in the sunshine this bank holiday weekend instead.
According to the Met Office, temperatures over the next couple of days in Greater Manchester will reach highs of 23°C in some boroughs.
And we’re all set for a “fine and dry” end to the month of May.
The summer-like conditions are all thanks to the fact that the area of high-pressure that’s brought fine conditions across the UK over the last few days are predicted to persist for a little while longer, according to the Met Office.
Looking at the bigger picture for the weekend, the Met Office’s Chief Forecaster, Paul Gundersen, explained: “The jet stream sitting to the north of the UK is holding unsettled weather systems at bay and allowing high pressure to dominate bringing fine weather to the vast majority of the UK.
“The current position of the high-pressure means we will see a westerly air flow over the UK, a cooler direction than if air was being brought up from the South, and areas such as Spain or Africa, therefore, we are not likely to reach heatwave conditions, but temperatures will still be warm reaching the low 20’s for many, particularly in the South West and southern Wales.”
Forecasting into next week when schools are out for half term across Greater Manchester, the Met Office says there’s “a strong signal the high pressure will continue to dominate our weather”.
The forecasted sunshine and dry weather has, however, got experts issuing travel warnings as people are expected to hit the roads across the UK.