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Astragal: Manchester by the sea

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Gary Neville, what’s the score? • Sing when you’re winning • TV chef

The carcass of Manchester’s storm-hit, beachfront pavilion at this year’s MIPIM property fair at Cannes was hard to miss

The flagship structure close to the entrance of the event had to be abandoned after it was flooded in the early hours of Monday morning, forcing the Manchester delegation to relocate to a makeshift home at the VIP Club inside the main Palais des Festivals.

Out of adversity the City Region managed to go beyond a mere rescue job, somehow creating a vibrant stand full of the usual Mancunian chest puffing.

As the week went on, the great minds of the hordes of gathered engineers and architects set about trying to work out what had led to such a deluge.

The most plausible cause mooted was a change further along the beach to take in the larger London, Istanbul and Paris pavilions.

With their beach defences increased, the flooding problem was pushed to the east resulting in the low-sitting Manchester pavilion taking the brunt of the whipped-up sea. 

There are also rumours of a possible multi-party legal action involving the organiser Reed MIDEM, the council and the city region.

Hopefully next year’s edition of Manchester by Sea will have a happier ending. 

Gary Neville, what’s the score? 

Gary neville mipim st michael's

Gary neville mipim st michael’s

His contentious St Michael’s skyscraper scheme might have been approved by councillors earlier this month, but it still wasn’t plain sailing for Gary Neville in Cannes.

While ploughing on with efforts to promote the project, the former Manchester United right-back was reminded of his beloved club’s recent struggles with their city rivals.

Asked to sum up his battle to push through the controversial development, which was initially designed by Make before being handed to Hodder + Partners last summer, Neville used a football analogy close to his heart.

‘This time last year I felt like we were 2-0 down to Manchester City,’ he said, before hailing the turnaround and insisting the scheme would be a second-half success.

But Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese couldn’t resist reminding Neville that the most recent Manchester derby – played at Old Trafford just before Christmas – finished 2-1 to City.

With heritage bodies including SAVE demanding housing secretary Sajid Javid call the scheme in, Neville will be hoping there isn’t a similar sorry ending to this tale.

Sing when you’re winning

There was no sign of the Daily Mail hacks desperately searching for the MIPIM sleaze at the end-of-week Rock the Cash Bar karaoke song-fest.

Nor was there any sleaze to be found at the now-annual must-attend festival finale organised by Assembly Studios and Chart Lane.

There was, however, some pretty criminal singing. Standout moments include Chris Dyson’s unique rendition of American Pie and Matt Fairman’s oomphy Sex on Fire. Partygoers and occasional-to-heavy dancers included Joe Morris, Phil Coffey, Annalie Riches, Cany Ash, George Clarke and Assemblage’s Hannah Corlett. 

A night to remember – though possibly a struggle to.

TV chef 

Television centre

Television centre

Japanese star Kengo Kuma is designing a hotly anticipated restaurant within Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’s transformed former BBC Television Centre, Astragal hears.

The architect behind the V&A Dundee museum is rumoured to be bringing his trade to London in a project for Endo Kazutoshi, master sushi chef at Soho based Japanese restaurant Ichibuns.

The exclusive but mysterious scheme is expected to appear on the top floor of the White City development.

Yet to forgive the BBC for letting Adrian Chiles depart from The One Show, Astragal may consider making its peace with the corporation if it can find a table at Kuma’s place.

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