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Rio in Double Night Out Whammy

Published on June 8th 2005.

Rio’s been a busy boy this week. Fresh from letting our MD put his feet up at the Ben Sherman do at Prohibition, it was time to find a winner for his talent search at the Opera House the next day! Unable to handle two nights out in a row ourselves, budding socialite and Panacea reject Andrew Mullett let Rio pamper him at Prohibition before Tim Gough grabbed hold of his baton and popped into the Baby Grand to see how the poor chap was holding up.

The Ben Sherman after show at prohibition - hosted by Rio Ferdinand.

Ok, ok. I have been out again. Same clothes, same partners. Same happy go lucky attitude. The location? The Ben Sherman after show at prohibition - hosted by Rio Ferdinand. ("What? Andy are you crazy, are you a glutton for punishment? Rio will kick your scruffy ass out the door.." - Reader).

Not so, Emma Mainoo, Prohibition's marketing guru, gave us a charming beaming smile and ushered us into a lively room filled with an eclectic mix of office types, students and trendy homes. So far, so good. Next? Vikki the duty manager appears and takes a 7 drink order and delivers it with 100% accuracy. FOC! - wow. Maybe I should come out more often instead of hiding out in Whalley Range.

Feeling relaxed now, I fight briefly with the pizza on the table until reinforcements arrive. Chris from Dinosaur has a plethora of ladies at his side. I think they are all over 25? Not a problem though, no age restrictions here, it's civilised. Rio's hovering around. Photos taken and banter aplenty, the door staff here are relaxed and professional.

The night escalates and the volume rises. Dancing around the bar encourages the excitable bar staff to build towers of glasses which they set alight with flaming Lamborghinis. The audience cheer, so they do it again. The audience cheer, so they do it again. The bar managers quickly thumbs through the health and safety manual, but the Manchester Council states that if Coyote Ugly can do it then what the hell, more fire!

Good night, good crowd, great staff, good cause (The Rio Ferdinand music talent search for under privileged youngsters). I didn't get a free Ben Sherman shirt though. If I had, I could have worn it to get in and have a night cap at you know where ;)


White Chalk Talent Search Winners

Celebrations aplenty at the Baby Grand on Friday night after the final of the White Chalk Talent Search took place at the Opera House.

Having seen Star Wars just a few hours beforehand, my head was still boggled by Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader. Turning these potential starlets into mainstream performers may be a concept that’s less of a surprise with a recording contract with Rio’s White Label record company part of the first prize for one of the unearthed urban acts.

Anyway, a long time ago in a nightclub down the road, Rio set up his challenge to find some new talent via the White Chalk Music Talent Search. A few months down the line and here we are in Baby Grand letting our Linds get the drinks in and letting the stars letting their hair down for a change. They were out in force, Hollyoaks, Paddy McGuiness, Dave Spikey, and Rio himself, staying out to celebrate with high fives all round for the winners.

The competition itself was going to give an award to either the winner of the under 16 category or the winner of the over 16 category. In the end, the judging panel couldn’t decide between the two and so they gave them joint recording contract.

The winners were 22 year old Burnage local Niajai (aka Davinia Sempha) and Melody (aka Anneka Johnson), a 21 year old former Hulme resident. Niajai has been singing in choirs from an early age although winning the competition was her first realization that she had any talent! Melody has also been brought up surrounded by music and is now looking forward to getting herself into the studio.


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