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Village Round-Up

Wayne Clews remembers the dark days before Manto came to town

Published on January 28th 2009.

Village Round-Up

Half a lifetime ago, when I was nought but a fey little student in some dreary northern city, I heard tell of a strange beast. At a time when gay bars, if they existed at all, had all the decorous charm of your grandmother’s front parlour and probably the same pervasive smell of stale urine, it seemed that something was afoot in Manchester.

This was in the days when the very first Manchester Pride had just been organized and when the police and the government were much less receptive to the gay community. Back then, gay bars were tucked away in back streets; rundown affairs accessed through security doors where young gay men were frightened back into the closet by the leering old fat blokes perched round the bar who goosed anything in trousers who dared to try and get a drink. Oh, those were the days…

Then Manto came along. A light and bright airy café bar with huge plate glass windows, Manto was all about style and statement. The bar’s reputation quickly spread and its after-hours Breakfast Club, full of post-Paradise Factory revellers, was one of the defining club nights of Manchester in the nineties.

Time hasn’t always treated the bar well and, as fashions move on, Manto was a tad neglected, becoming shabby round the edges. The food wasn’t up to much and, at one point, the permanent BOGOF offer on booze was blamed for bringing the wrong element into the Village.


However, recently, the bar has had a much needed refurbishment, has announced residencies from the likes of Poptastic and is looking as good as ever as it prepares to celebrate its eighteenth birthday on 30 January. Don’t expect an understated little soiree, Manto never did that; there will be live PAs on the night, guests to be announced at the time of writing, plus giveaways and much more. Manto comes of age at last.


Spirit, 31 January, 2am-8am
The after-hours party is back in town for a fundraiser in aid of Body Positive North West with a line-up featuring Nik Denton, Gregg Holden and Babyjane.

The Newspaper Boy
Deaf Institute, 8-10 February, 7pm, £8, concs £6
Chris Hoyle's funny and moving play tells the story of a teenage television star forced to come out by the media. Suranne Jones and Joan Kempson lead a strong cast.

Legends, 6 February, 10pm-4amThe twisted disco for homos, heteros, lesbos and don’t-knows returns with Skull Juice vs Filthy Dukes and Jamie Bull vs Will Tramp.

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14 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

GregJanuary 28th 2009.

Per-LEASE don't update the LGBT section on here, just let it quietly disappear ... it's embarrassing.

Jonathan Schofield - editorJanuary 28th 2009.

Having said the above. I want a listings of events in the Village every two weeks. For a retainer is there a writer out there that could provide that. Contact me on jonathans@planetconfidential.co.uk

AnonymousJanuary 28th 2009.

Promises Promises No gay heros wanted thenEditorial says..“ Dear Reader, we're going to have a re-design later this month and then we'll start this section up again. Sorry we've not been keeping on top of it lately.

EditorialJanuary 28th 2009.

Dear Reader, we're going to have a re-design later this month and then we'll start this section up again. Sorry we've not been keeping on top of it lately.

Jonathan Schofield - editorJanuary 28th 2009.

Anonymous the simple fact is we've had delays delivering the new site - usual problems from creating National Health databases to bringing together online magazines. But I have made a decision. There will be no dedicated Gay and Lesbian section. The reasons are contained in the following passage I posted about the canal fence in the village. 'We're having a re-design. We are debating whether to have a Gay and Lesbian section at all. For example issues like the one with the fence that Sleuth outlines could have fitted in our News section, Pride could fit in events, a food review of a village venue in the food and drink section. If we look at, say, the Guardian with its lots of sections today, there is no Gay section. As a general magazine for Manchester shouldn't we follow suit? Is it old fashioned in some respects, even oddly exclusive to say that gay and lesbian issues are to be treated differently from the many other issues and news we cover - especially in the context of Confidential becoming a true general magazine for the city. Should gay and lesbian life be separated out when we don't do the same for any other section of society, be it for women, or a particular ethnic group? Of course, we have Body Confidential which might be deemed more female than male but it isn't exclusively so, we cover issues such as prostate cancer there and menswear shops. There are gay and lesbian niche websites as well such as canal-st.co.uk?'

AJJanuary 28th 2009.

How many time is that lousy ill formed bar Manto going to be re born ? its a crap hole and has been since about 3 years after it opened its doors. When will the GAY VILLAGE become GAY again and stop being a hen night out venue ? with lousy bars using untrained staff to fleece the people who made it what it is or rather used to be ?? Not to mention the so called restaurants , they are living on thier laurels from ages past, lousy food served by again untrained staff, I wont nake where but I was in a so called great village restaurant that has been recently revamped, when I mentioned my food was less than good I was told 'what do expect when you order that its always tough its just like that init ! , what a great way to retain custom .

Michael WestJanuary 28th 2009.

I recall there being some kind of poll over what was going to happen to the LGBT section, but nothing seems to be happening? I personally support it having its own stand alone section rather than it just being intwined with other "events" listings. There is a lot more happening in the gay community than the village and although interviews with DJs, promoters and publicans can all be very interesting they get a little fawning and repetative after the 10th interview. Spread your wings Confidential and give your readers (and advertisers) something worthwhile and above all interesting - and definately not more of the old tack like this article.

ithastobemeJanuary 28th 2009.

Still no Gay & Lesbian Round up... its been months... whats going on?? If you need a new writer... I'm game to give this space some much needed improvement!!!!

Big OTJanuary 28th 2009.

Pffft! Get bent mate!

ithastobemeJanuary 28th 2009.

Come on guys whats going on?? Sure you don't need a hand???

AnonymousJanuary 28th 2009.

Any chance of an updated LGB section?

AnonymousJanuary 28th 2009.

It won't be back in time to report on the GREAT GLASS WALL about to be built on Canal Street to stop the hens and cocks tumbling out of the bars and into the canal. Soon they will have to climb up it... It's bent inward.

SmashJanuary 28th 2009.

AIDS still stalks the gay community dont forget.This disease was invented by mad american christians to kill gay men and then backfired back into the straight pigs own lives when bi-prostitutes reinfected them.The real issue we need to address is why the government hasnt classed HIV as a disability with entitlements to a pension and untaxed state benefits.

Nick GriffinJanuary 28th 2009.

I'll round all you gay in lesbians up when I come to power (evil laugh) Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

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