Thursday 28 March 2013

Teacup and Cakes

55 Thomas Street, M4 1NA
I came across this when someone replied to a tweet I’d posted calling for other examples of Creative Cafés. I’d asked whether there were people who wrote in cafés. A writer replied that she thought she might like to write here.
Teacup is situated in Manchester’s atmospheric Northern Quarter, in street that is awash with distinctive cafés and restaurants. Teacup is a very apt name. The café specialises in all sorts of teas. Its cakes, too, are delicious.
Is it a creative café, though? It’s certainly not the place to go if you want some peace and quiet. The place buzzes. I met a friend there and we were shown to a table straight away.   The whole time we were there people were arriving and leaving and when we finally left, there was a queue. But sometimes creative practitioners want to get away from the isolation and be in with the crowd. It would certainly provide a blocked writer with plenty of stories.
It isn’t cheap. Our round of two speciality teas and two slices of cake came to about £15.00. But this included a refill of the teapots which provided a couple of cups anyway.  There was an element, too, of rent-a-table. My friend and I were there from three until four forty. It was a little like the Viennese coffee houses are now. Full, good quality, and with a broad hint of the artistic exchange that used to go on. The difference here is that the hint is for potential artistic exchange.       
That creative interaction is visible. A couple of people on their own were surfing the net. Another couple were discussing a theatre project. My friend and I were meeting anyway to discuss logistics and marketing for our choir’s events. Good creative practitioner stuff, then.
In any case, if providing cake and tea is an art form, and I think it is, this café is abundantly creative.                  

Friday 1 March 2013

The Ginger Pig Hoxton Revisited

I spent an extremely pleasant lunchtime yesterday at TheGinger Pig in Hoxton. I was due at the Ministry of Stories for an afternoon session and it’s always a good idea to get there in plenty of time.  It’s not as if Hoxton is dull. The Ginger Pig provided the sustenance and Shoreditch Library a space to work for an hour.
The Ginger Pig did not disappoint. I tried to order something light as I was meeting my son and daughter for dinner at an American diner later.  It’s not always easy to find something not too filling at TGP but I settled for a small portion of soup from the dinner menu. It was home-made and came with hunks of crusty white bread and with whole slices of vegetables in it. I drank freshly squeezed orange juice. The whole lot came to just £7.00. It’s always cash only, note. The food is homemade and is always cooked to order. 
It’s usually peaceful there but not dead. At another table a couple of men were discussing a documentary they were making. Obviously a pair of freelancers.  A couple of retired women picked up some of the pamphlets about forthcoming arts events. It’s good to see here that both mainstream and fringe art events are highlighted here.
I spent my time working on my laptop as I waited for my food to arrive – there is ample room at the tables.  The free Wi-Fi is a boon. There are also plenty of magazines and newspapers to read. The atmosphere is encouraging. If you are a creative practitioner or a lover of the arts and / or good food you are welcome there.
I did some writing.  Writing in a café again. Now I feel even more like a real creative practitioner.