As the only male in the Finest office who can string two sentences together with his keyboard, I've been tasked with creating a Modern Gent's Guide to Manchester.
This all came about because we recently went down to Chivas Regal’s The Art of Blending event and realised that the idea of what a ‘Modern Gent’ actually is, is something of great contention and much debate.
To assist, I consulted those champions of the ‘Modern Gentleman’ GQ and their list of how you can achieve this most noble status. In the article they asked some semi-famous boys and girls to highlight exactly what it means to be a Modern Gentleman and although some of them are a little bit mental, there’s a lot in there to go from if you’re looking to hone your modern male manner.
Jonathan Heaf, Features Director British GQ
I’d never have thought of this, but mostly because I never buy flowers or plants for anyone ever. Which seems like a big mistake because not only can flowers win you big brownie points with friends and loved ones, they can make your dingy horrible house look and smell a million times better. Manchester is home to a plethora of impressive flower shops and stalls, but after due consideration (and consultation in the office), we all fell on Northern Flower in the NQ, mostly due to their fantastic range of quirky arrangements and creative gifts. Head on down, introduce yourself, ask some pertinent questions and ensure they are on hand for every special occasion in the future,
Bill Prince, Deputy Editor British GQ
I think Mr William Prince has uncovered a very important aspect of being a Modern Gent here and it’s something I can get right behind. If you’re going to drink something you should know exactly what it is, how it’s made and how best to drink it, otherwise you’re just going to look like a bloody barbarian mixing your whisky with Ben Shaw’s American Cream Soda. It’s one of the main reasons we headed down to the Art of Blending by Chivas Regal, so that we could understand how blended whisky is made, the various flavours you can create and exactly how it should be enjoyed. Located at The Loft, The Blend will be on until the end of May. Get your tickets below.
Danny Wallace, Writer & Presenter
I’ve met Danny Wallace while working in the same office block as him in Highbury and I can assure you that he is the perfect gentleman. He knows exactly what he’s talking about to with regards to bright socks too, which to me are a massive no-no regardless of how hot it is or how mundane your personality is. Black all the way I say. One thing that is also extremely important in Manchester is footwear. We’re a city of trainer aficionados and if you’re not packing a decent pair, you’re going to get proper laughed at. Legendary retailer Oi Polloi are the kings of the exclusive footwear, with loads of collaborations with brands such as Adidas, Edwin and Reebok, so to avoid any potential embarrassment – get yourself down there, introduce yourself and get packing.
Rebecca Newman, Erotic Affairs Editor for GQ
A very valid point from Rebecca Newman here, and one that most Mancunians already have a head-start with anyway due to our in-built Manc Music Heritage™. Sure, there’s The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Elbow and The Courteeners, but the modern gent should also aim to diversify into more ‘elaborate’ avenues such as jazz, classical and even some of that foreign stuff you find nowadays. It doesn’t have to be all fuddy-duddy though. Head on down to Matt & Phreds any day of the week and you can get involved in some seriously cool jazz jamming, check out the exciting range of concerts by the BBC Philharmonic over at the Bridgewater Hall or explore the range of exotic concerts at the likes of Albert Hall and Band On The Wall.
Alastair Campbell, broadcaster, political aide and author
I’ve quite happily not read a newspaper for a few years now, safe in the knowledge that my lack of sensationalised information usually revolving around the horrors of Donald Trump or the ‘dangers’ of many of the most delicious foodstuffs is not affecting me in any way and indeed is making me a more perfect modern gent. It’s all about books, and as someone who has always been a big reader, I for once agree with Alastair Campbell. In Manchester there’s plenty of bookshops to get yourself a good read but my personal favourite must be Paramount Books on Shudehill who have been providing the modern gent with second hand books since 1965 and always have a brilliant selection of classics and exclusive rarities.
Tony Parsons, Best-selling Novelist
With such a massive resurgence in the popularity of small dogs, I feel sorry for all of those big dog breeds out there. With their ability to get into handbags, pockets and even on the rim of a very big hat, you’re never far away from a little nipper quietly napping while you have a sup of whisky and a few choice cuts of ham hock. Manchester favourites Mackie Mayor, The Bay Horse, Albert Schloss and The Refuge will all allow you to take your doggo in while you have a drink so as Tony Parsons says, don’t be ashamed – be proud of your little friend and get them out on the town.
Conrad Quilty-Harper, Editor of GQ.co.uk
A constant worry for any modern gentleman, his haircut defines his face and can be the difference between looking like Steve Harrington or Steve Buscemi. Most recently it seems that every male in the country has just decided to settle on the same ‘lobotomy’ haircut, fashioned by the likes of Joey Essex and the members of Hitler Youth camps in the 40’s. As a man with a head of long, flowing locks, I’ve not been to a barbers in years but I’m assured that there are many fantastic places in and around the NQ in which to get your bonce cut and to find that ‘perfect’ cut for your head. Top of the list must surely be RPB in the NQ who provide a range of consultations, services and even beard trimmings for excellent prices. Their staff know everything there is to know about hair and products, and can perhaps help allay your fears of going bald with some expert advice.
Victoria Coren, writer, presenter and professional poker player
Victoria’s advice is excellent, but rather difficult to implement because basically – how the hell can you learn how to dance the samba if you don’t actually dance the bloody thing? I think the real gist of what she’s saying though is that the Modern Gent should have skills, impressive skills, but not brag or show off with them. So the thing to do is get out there, unleash your inner Tom Jones and learn how to dance. There’s loads of places you can do it in town and further afield including salsa every Wednesday at Revolucion de Cuba, Didsbury Salsa classes every Thursday or you can come round my house and I’ll teach you the robot.
Robert Johnston, GQ Fashion Director
I once watched something online, perhaps it was YouTube or more likely Netflix which explored the rather vicious world of banking in the City of London and it’s obsession with not wearing brown shoes. Now, us Mancunians wouldn’t worry ourselves about anything as trivial as this, and as Robert says, someone who is confident enough to not give a shit about shoe colour and just wear what they feel is definitely the way forward. Recently we sat down for a Q&A with Manchester label Private White VC owner Nick Ashley for a Chivas Regal Blend event and he said pretty much the same thing. The Modern Gent is confident in how he looks, the clothing choices he’s made and sticks with these choices to the bitter end.
Chivas Regal The Art of Blending is on at The Loft until the 20th May. For further dates and to book your tickets, click below;