Uptown Boy

Uptown Boy

Uptown magazine was a copycat of Time Out or City Life, but communications guru Chris C had grown the mag to a point where they were prepared to employ a couple of chancers, namely A. Jude and Matt G. We were principally hired as cold-calling, door-steppin salesmen, but our remit as restaurant reviewers was to tap into the lucrative Manchester eating-out market. Editor Nigel de Ham was a true visionary and we hit it off immediately, developing a full page of foodie advertorials next to the popular chatlines page. Uptown was not yet upmarket and whereas I approached this new challenge as ‘lets eat loads of free food and get pissed regularly’ , Matt Graham told me in no uncertain terms that restauranteurs were serious people who should be respected. Our first review of Italian Cocotoos, followed by the Turkish Bosphorous left us in no doubt about that. We were dealing with highly creative and intelligent entrepreneurs. Manchester had fine Lebanese, Indian, Syrian, Persian and European cuisine and it hadn’t happened over the last fifty years by accident. We struck the right chord. Respect. Even now I am amazed by the depth of Matt Graham’s world knowledge. We were treated with kindness and patience and frequently drank coffee with complimentary cognac long into the night. My education of life received a timely boost and our final review included an observation of a restaurant just off Oxford Road. Two waiters working like swans, they effortlessly glide between the white table-tops whilst furiously paddling beneath the surface in the name of good service. Although Uptown folded and we both moved on, Manchester’s world cuisine grew and flourished and the 24 hour party people found nourishment and sustenance from within.

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