The Great Village Bake Off takes Manchester Pride Fringe Festival by Storm

The Great Village Bake Off takes Manchester Pride Fringe Festival by Storm

Over 40 entries demonstrate baking talent of Manchester's Gay Village.

The Great Village Bake Off hosted by Manchester's Village Bakers and long-term supporters The Molly House on Sunday 18th August as part of the Manchester Pride Fringe Festival, was a truly spectacular event. The culmination of a huge amount of baking endeavour and talent, from tartiest tart to camp cupcakes and firmest buns. Not to mention the spectacularly colourful array of magnificent Rainbow Cakes.

Judging the event was baking expert and winner of the 2012 series of BBC2's The Great British Bake Off, Mr John Whaite, with actress and Coronation Street star Jennie McAlpine and Manchester Pride Patron Claire Mooney, all keen to tickle their tastebuds with the fabulously creative edible entries.

John Whaite has had an obsession with baking and cooking since he was a tiny boy, and has developed this passion into a career. He was extremely excited to be leading the judging, and keen to share his baking knowledge with the Village Bakers and Manchester's LGBT community. Originally from Wigan, the local lad loved returning to his roots and supporting Manchester Pride, which is a cause close to his heart.

Manchester born-and-bred actress, comedian and owner of Annie’s restaurant in Manchester city centre, Jennie McAlpine joined John on the judging panel. She is best known for her long-running role as Fiona 'Fiz' Stape in ITV’s Coronation Street. Claire Mooney, foodie, singer-songwriter, and Patron of Manchester Pride completed the line-up.

The event attracted over 200 spectators, packed tightly into The Molly House Bar whilst the judges sampled and deliberated over 40 entries. The cakes themselves were truly awe-inspiring, thinking outside the box with a huge amount of effort from each competitor.

Kevin Sargent, chair of Village Bakers said 

The effort and ingenuity which had gone into the entries was immense. John Whaite, Jennie McAlpine & Claire Mooney were all extremely impressed with the quality and creativity involved. It was fantastic to see Manchester’s Gay Village come together from all walks of life to help raise money for Manchester Pride Fund.



Paul Duffy, a member of the Village Bakers and general manager of The Molly House continued

I was delighted that the first Great Village Bake Off was a tremendous success with a varied and astounding range of imaginative bakes on offer. The gay village demonstrated fantastic support and interest in this fundraising event, which showcased the work that The Village Bakers, as an inclusive community group, already do all year round . Roll on Great Village Bake Off 2014!


Manchester Pride chief executive John Stewart added

It was amazing to see so many people, and so much cake, squeezed in to the Molly House on Sunday.  I'm sure the Bake Off is going to become an established fixture on the Manchester Pride Fringe calendar.

 Entry categories and winners (winning prizes kindly donated by The Co-operative Food, The Co-operative Electricals, Stockport’s Little Underbank Tea Room and 151 products):

The Great Village Bake Off takes Manchester Pride Fringe Festival by Storm

Best in Bake Off: Neill Duncan with an incredibly creative and technically challenging Stack of Rainbow Cake Polo Shirts.

The Great Village Bake Off takes Manchester Pride Fringe Festival by Storm

Best Business Award Winner: The Molly House, presenting a tea-pot inspired Rainbow Cake by Molly House baker Robert Burgess.

Best Rainbow Cake: Neill Duncan (as above).

Campest Cupcakes: Scrumptious Pink Fizz Cupcakes by Lisa Duddington.

Tartiest Tart: Paul Dempsey with very tasty Chocolate Surprise Tart topped with leopard print 

The Great Village Bake Off takes Manchester Pride Fringe Festival by Storm

Firmest Buns: Stephen Squires with light and fluffy Apple & Caramel Chelsea Buns.

The Great Village Bake Off raised in excess of £370 from ticket sales and collection buckets, all in aid of the Manchester Pride Community Fund, helping local LGBT charities and community groups.

Hot Vestry Review

Hot Vestry EP Review
By Kelvin Knight


Hot Vestry Review

Shit man how can you NOT like a band who remind you of DELTA 5 ? The vital bass and drums and wonderful guitar of VARNISH take me back to the days of Delta 5 and the the Au Pairs...........I love this band "Where all ends meet" has a killer bass line and Delta 5/Au Pairs 1980 meets 2013 and with wonderful results....

"waterfall" is a great song but then  "Dead ocean" with its swirling guitars is magnificent the more you listen the more HOT VESTRY draw you in..."Lakeof the moon" has that bass/drum hook you can't resist.....

"Commiserations" closes a great record I recommend it highly and not just because the first track reminds me of Delta 5....


You can listen to the EP here-


& It's available from the Shedhead Records website on Vinyl Replica CD here-

Gareth Icke Live Review


Gareth Icke Band Supported by Sam Moran

Review By Kelvin Knight


Lovely warm summer night - great intimate venue, free entry. First up was Sam Moran a young singer songwriter who plays with admirable passion as the blood splatters on his acoustic guitar body testifies. Its a crowded market Sam’s in but he stands out for me, great songs and great confidence and belief. Great misheard lyrics what I thought was "cat on a bus" was kid on a bus.......Made Sam laugh after anyway.


Gareth Icke Live Review

Sam Moran


And so to Gareth Icke and band - first thing to say is this was only the second gig with his new band but you'd never know they sound like they've been touring for years. Secondly its a low ceiling at The Arms and Gareth is a tall chap there was about an inch of headroom, I remember thinking "don't go on tippy toes mate you'll get wedged in !!

They tear through songs from Gareth's second album "A brand new battle" with the rhythm section of Kev (drums) and Dom (bass) tight as the proverbial ducks arse.

'Remember who you are' is as catchy (sic) a song as you'll hear and the new single 'Beat up' wonderful.....


Gareth Icke Live Review

Gareth Icke

Occasionally Gareth will introduce a song with a brief explanation "this ones about a messy break up" and "y'know when you're drinking so much you feel your sanity slipping away" (I paraphrase) followed by "cheerful; fucker aren't I" !!!

"What's love without meaning" closes an excellent set of songs with more hooks than a fishing shop.

Those that were there loved it "best gig I've seen this year" was one comment.....


I have one problem with Gareth... He's very, very talented, good looking (so my female friends inform me) and sickeningly he is a really nice, witty guy....Bastard !!!!!

Seriously if he's playing near you go I promise you'll love it.....

Oh yeah and his Dad played in goal for Coventry City.


Gareth Icke and his Band are performing at the Salford Music Festival

On the 26.09.13 check his website for details

Christopher Biggins on Track for Manchester Pride with Metrolink

Christopher Biggins swapped the stage and TV studios for a tram stop to celebrate Metrolink’s partnership with Manchester Pride 2013.

The partnership, which is in its second year, showcases Metrolink’s commitment to Manchester’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, as well as its support of Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend and its significant charitable contributions to LGBT organisations.

To celebrate the partnership and to enhance this year’s event, Metrolink is providing free City Zone travel for wristband holders to promote safe travel around the city centre during Pride. Pride wristband wearers travelling outside the city centre can also purchase a Weekend Travelcard, which has been specially extended for them to include free travel on Bank Holiday Monday*.

Metrolink enlisted the help of Manchester Pride Patron, Christopher Biggins, to promote the free City Zone travel offer for wristband holders.

Biggins was ever the professional. He donned a Metrolink uniform to prepare for his role as a Passenger Services Representative (PSR) in training for the Big Weekend. He proved to be a dab hand at checking Pride wristbands across the City Zone.

Christopher Biggins said: 

Visitors to Manchester Pride will be thrilled. Metrolink is a fabulous, fun and safe way to travel across the city, so take the weight off those heels, wave those wristbands and hop on board!

Peter Cushing, Metrolink Director for Transport for Greater Manchester, said 

It is wonderful news that we have renewed our partnership with Manchester Pride, supporting Manchester’s LGBT community not only with secure travel during Pride but also its impressive charitable contributions.

It was a pleasure working with Manchester Pride Patron Christopher Biggins, who did a great job shadowing Metrolink team members on the tram stops.

For further information on Metrolink and please visit


*The free travel offer to Pride wristband holders is within Metrolink’s City Zone which incorporates Deansgate Castlefield, St Peter’s Square, Piccadilly Gardens, Piccadilly, Market Street, Shudehill and Victoria, with the wristband making it quick and easy to get to city centre hotels or transport connections to get home safely.

 The Weekend Travelcard priced at £5.50, offers unlimited travel on the Metrolink network from 6pm Friday, all day Saturday and Sunday. So buy your Pride wristband, buy a Metrolink Weekend Travelcard and make the most of Bank Holiday Monday at no extra charge.

Movie Review: About Time

We are very lucky (well we pay for it) to have a Cineworld Unlimited card. Other than the discount on concessions, Cineworld often have advanced screenings for upcoming film releases. Past screenings have been Wreck it Ralph and Now You See Me.

Tonights screening was the best without doubt. In fact, it is the best film I have seen in a very very long time. It's not out until the 4th September, but when it does come out, I would really recommend that you see it. Now I need to try and write something that gives nothing away! Lets start with a trailer.

It's not often I see a film I would watch again in the cinema after I have already seen it, but this I definitely would. From beginning to end the writing from Richard Curtis was absolutely brilliant. I think Love Actually was the last film from him that I love this much.

At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

 This is the quick description from IMDB, but it doesn't give much away, which I think is a good thing. I knew the premise but none of the story so everything that happened suprised me and in a good way.

Tim is played by the very hot Domhnall Gleeson, I certainly wouldn't say no to him. The name is an odd one, but you might recognise him as Bill Weasley from the last Harry Potter film. I would like one order of him with a side of Rupert Grint please Santa. Matthew said after the film that he reminded him of Hugh Grant and I think I agree. He a loveable character and you can't help live his life with him through the film. 

It was nice to see what I assume is the last cameo from Richard Griffiths alongside Richard E. Grant (of Doctor Who Fame :) )

Bill Nighy plays Tim's father, and he plays it just like you would expect Bill Nighy to play it. Excellently. From the beginning when you see him explaining the time travel thing and quite a long "fuuuuuccckkkk" to the last, very emotional scene, he makes you believe that he is that person and he can time travel.

Movie Review: About Time


I can't emphasise enough how much I think you would like this film. Please see it! 

If you are interested in a Cineworld Card, take a look at and if  you do decide to signup, please use my promotion code which will give me a free month, and you your 13th month free! The code is RAF-62XS-16WX-63KG-51NB

I definitely give this film 11 out of 10 and will definitely be getting this when it is released on Blu Ray to watch again and again.


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