Every city has something to be proud of, and Manchester has a lot.
It might be a city with “so much to answer for”, as the famous quote goes, but with a history that’s as rich, vibrant, and culturally diverse as Manchester’s, we’re happy to answer for it.
From iconic music and sporting achievements, to groundbreaking inventions, political movements, world firsts, and so much more, there’s no end to list of things that Manchester has gifted the world over the years, and we should have no shame in shouting about them from the rooftops with pride.
But are we forgetting something here? Is there something missing from that list?
Oh yeah, there’s also Vimto.
Vimto is a much-loved Manchester-born soft drink that contains the juice of grapes, raspberries and blackcurrants – each in a 3% concentration – which is then flavoured with a selection of delicately-balanced herbs and spices.
It was created in 1908 at 19 Granby Row in Manchester city centre – now part of The University of Manchester’s grounds – by John Noel Nichols, who was a wholesaler of herbs, spices and medicines that saw the market opening for soft drinks, due to the temperance movement and the passage of the 1908 Licensing Act.
It was originally sold under the name Vim Tonic, which Nichols shortened to Vimto in 1912.
It’s hard to believe it now, but Vimto was originally registered as a health tonic or medicine when it was first created, but was then re-registered as a cordial in 1913.
It enjoyed so much success during the initial years following its creation that in 1910, because the Granby Row premises had become too small, Vimto production moved to a warehouse at Chapel Street, Salford, then to Old Trafford (1927), and finally to a state-of-the-art plant in Wythenshawe in 1970.
As well as its continued popularity throughout the 20th and 21st centrury, Vimto has even taken on a life of its own as a flavour too in more recent years, meaning that as well as being able to pop to your local shop or supermarket to buy some Vimto cordial, a bottle of still Vimto, a can of the fizzy kind from the chippy on a Friday, or even a Vimto slushie, you can now also buy some Vimto bon bons, Vimto ice lollies, candy sprays, chewy bars, and a cheeky Vimto cocktail to go along with it – although the latter doesn’t actually contain Vimto, it has to be said.
There’s even a Vimto Remix range too, boasting some other unique flavour combinations like Mango, Strawberry & Pineapple, and Raspberry, Orange & Passion Fruit, so it’s really come a long way from its origins.
And yes, we know it’s not for everyone.
Someone once pointed out that its name is an acronym for vomit, which you can make of that what you will, and it’s also certainly got its fair share of competitors on the market too, but there’s no denying it’s a drink that’s loved round these parts.
To cut a long story short, Manchester is pretty proud of Vimto.
So proud in fact, that we decided to dedicate a monument especially to it, and stick it pride of place in the heart of the city centre, on the very spot that it was created.
The sculpture is aptly entitled A Monument to Vimto.
The giant wooden bottle and berries was first commissioned by J.N. Nichols plc, and carved by environmental artist Kerry Morrison out of an oak tree from a sustainable forest, before being successfully installed in Granby Row in 1992.
And we’re not kidding either, the monument now stands proudly at the site of the original factory where the first batch of Vimto was ever made.
After 19 years of the typical Manchester weather taking its toll, and plenty of attention from city revellers, the monument was ready for a refresh, and was thus “brought back to its former glory” in 2011 with a much-needed makeover.
The grapes and raspberries were restored – with the grapes changing from red to green to reflect the ingredients of Vimto – the blackcurrants were replaced entirely, a new wooden barrel was constructed to replace the bottom of the Vimto bottle, and new labels were carved and painted.
As bizarre as it may be, and despite the many heads it’s turned over the years, Manchester is as proud of the Vimto monument as we are the drink itself.
And we would’t have it any other way.
Featured Image – Flickr
A friendly reminder that there’s a takeaway called Jack Grillish in Swinton
As were swept up in World Cup fever, football seems to be slowly consuming every other aspect of our everyday life, including food. Then we remembered there’s a takeaway called Jack Grillish.
lf you’ve never heard of the pun-based fast-food joint over in Swinton, Salford, Jack Grillish is the late-night grill and cult-favourite takeaway named after the man himself.
Despite only joining Manchester City back in August of 2021, it didn’t take long at all for Grealish to get his own takeaway named after him, as the Chorley Road spot formerly known as Food Station changed its name not long after.
Most football legends have to wait their entire career to have a foodstuff named after them, let alone an entire building. In fact, we went there a couple of months back to see it ourselves.
Jack Grillish‘s menu is exactly the kind of thing you’d expect to see at any no-nonsense takeaway in Greater Manchester: big burgers, lots of lovely chicken and plenty of naughty desserts.
Specialising in large trays of baked chicken, cheese and chips, it might not be the kind of thing the man himself can eat whilst away at England camp, but it’d certainly make for a banging tea for anyone watching the France game at home this Saturday.
Put another way, we’re hoping that by ordering from the gaff before the game, we’ll send a message out into the universe and not only will ‘Super Jack’ score but we breeze into the next stage of Qatar 2022.
If you also happen to be a bit superstitious, you can order from Jack Grillish HERE.
Featured Image — Jack Grillish (via Facebook)/Jack Grealish (via Instagram)
Scientists discover the ‘world’s most relaxing song’ – but warn not to listen to it while driving
After lots of extensive research, a new study has officially discovered what is claimed to be the “most relaxing song” in the world.
And now, they’re warning motorists not to listen to it behind the wheel.
The song, which is titled Weightless by Marconi Union, has been found to reduce blood pressure, slow the heart rate, decrease levels of cortisol – also known as the stress hormone – and can even make people so relaxed, they become drowsy and can even fall asleep, according to the study by shower gel brand Radox Spa.
Not only that, but the eight-minute piece of music was even found to be more relaxing than heading out for a walk, having a massage, or sipping a cup of tea.
During the research project, a group of participating women were given puzzles to complete in an allotted amount of time in order to increase their stress levels, and then, after completing the puzzles, they were played a number of different songs to essentially calm them down.
While the songs were being played, the participants’ heart rates, blood pressure, and breathing were monitored by scientists.
Once all the research was complete, the study eventually found that ‘Weightless’ was 11% more effective than the other songs – with a reduction in anxiety levels by 65%, and even making some of the participants “drowsy”.
“The results clearly show that the track induced the greatest relaxation,” explained Dr David Lewis-Hodgson, who conducted the research.
“Brain imaging studies have shown that music works at a very deep level within the brain, stimulating not only those regions responsible for processing sound, but also ones associated with emotions, and in fact, Weightless was so effective, many women became drowsy.”
Due to the drowsy nature of the song, Dr Lewis-Hodgson said he would “advise against driving while listening to the song” as he believes it could be “dangerous.”
The reason the song is so relaxing, though, isn’t quite as coincidental as it may initially seem.
The band actually admitted to working with sound therapists on the track, and used pianos, guitars, chimes, and buddhist chants to create the melody.
Speaking on how the song was created, Lyz Cooper – founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy – added: “The song makes use of many musical principles that have been shown to individually have a calming effect, and by combining these elements in the way Marconi Union have, has created the perfect relaxing song.
“The study found this to be the world’s most relaxing song.”
Ms Cooper explained that the song is so relaxing as it contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50, so while listening to it, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat – which is known as entrainment.
She also explained that the duration of the song being eight minutes in length is “important” as it generally takes about five minutes for this process to occur.
On top of that, Ms Cooper also added that the songs has no repeating melody throughout, which essentially allows your brain to completely switch off because you are no longer trying to predict what is coming next.
Fancy seeing what the crack is then? You can listen to it here – but just not in the car.