You'd clearly have to be some kind of idiot to sign up for something calling itself "Folk School" on a Tuesday evening after six hours of teaching during the day. Clearly. And yet I do appear to have volunteered for extra "school", albeit school with beer - something I have often tried and failed to have introduced at my own college.
For this is a very special school, a four week music journalism with legendary Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam, in the distinctly non-academic environs of West Didsbury's Folk bar - a place so laid back you sometimes get the impression that you are lucky to have been served at all. The problem with holding lessons in the corner of a bar is that you get beer on the beautiful new pad that you purchased especially for the course (honestly, there's no worse pupil than someone whose day job is teaching) but then this is hardly Dave Haslam's fault. He makes for an engaging and knowledgeable tutor; last night (week 2) he was teaching us about album reviews, and I liked him immensely until he set us homework.
As "school" starts at seven, I was able to pop in to Rhubarb - next door to Folk, most conveniently - to partake of their early evening set menu offer beforehand. The food at Rhubarb is reliably excellent but the restaurant was dead last night - we were the only people in, thereby confirming my theory that my tonsilitis had resulted in me being the only person in Greater Manchester without a hangover on both Sunday and Monday.
Folk School unfortunately meant there was no time for pudding, thereby making the offer slightly less good value at £14.95 for two courses rather than £15.95 for three (AND there was sticky toffee pudding on - pah), and a further quibble was the pricing of the alcohol. Now I'm not one of these who orders a glass of wine in a pub and then proclaims that for that price I could have gone to Tesco and bought a whole bottle of the stuff (I drink at The Metropolitan, for goodness sake) but £5 for a small glass of ordinary house red? As the wine came in a much larger glass, this basically worked out at about £2.50 per inch - sort this out please Rhubarb!
- Folk is at 169-171 Burton Road, West Didsbury
- Rhubarb is 167 Burton Road, West Didsbury; food is lovely but beware the booze bill!