Pick Six: Sarah Manton

Words: Sarah Manton
Saturday 16 March 2024
reading time: min, words

For this month’s pick we turned to Vice President of Nottingham City Women’s Institute, studio owner at Sneinton Markets Curious? and all round creative queen Sarah Manton.


Notts Spot - Rock City

Music is everything and Rock City is the main reason I settled in Nottingham from my hometown of Melton Mowbray over twenty years ago. A myriad of huge nights out dancing and singing at the top of our lungs, so many amazing gigs with the best of friends on the stickiest of floors and of course it is the spiritual home of my girl gang, the Rampant Rock Bitches. The Darkness at Rock City was our first gig after being locked down. I was terrified to be in a crowd after so long trying to avoid each other. It seems unreal now, but I cried tears of absolute joy and relief to be back in the crowd, hands above our heads, grinning from ear to ear. Nottingham, Rock City. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Darkness At Rock City (XS Noize Photo)

Meal – Kushi-Ya

It was my birthday on Valentine’s Day. Not the easiest day of the year to orchestrate a lovely meal out with the family, but my son, Tom and his girlfriend, Kaća, managed to bag us a table at one of my absolute favourites, Kushi-Ya. Oh my Lawd, the Furikake Prawn Toast! The Tofu Tsukune! That Pickle Plate! Utterly delicious and not a sniff of a cynical romance-tax price-hike. Love you and your work, Kushi-Ya friends.

Kushi Ya

Book – How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran

Books that make me fall in love with their characters, fully invest myself in their fate and page-turn until 2am are my absolute favourites. Caitlin Moran is a hero of mine. She’s funny, brave and I enjoy ‘hearing’ her voice when she writes. I am essentially still seventeen in my heart and the twists and turns of How to Build a Girl brings back all of those gut-wrenching, head-spinning, mortifying moments of wading in out of your depth in your pursuit of ‘adulthood’. The ‘just out of reach’ yearning – argh! I laughed. I cried. I even enjoyed the film version.


Song - Purple Rain by Prince

I was fourteen years old when Purple Rain was released. I absorbed the album cover artwork (and painted it onto my dressing table), I learned every lyric of the entire album and lying in the dark, immersed myself in Prince’s incomparable guitar skills. It’s where a lifelong love story began and anyone who knows me knows that Prince is still my co-pilot today.

Withnail And I

Film - Withnail & I

The most quotable film of all time. Although I was quite late to the Withnail party (I watched it on a regular loop with my beautiful friend, Mel from 1998 onwards), Mel and I actually attended the red carpet ‘celebrity premiere’ at Leicester Square Odeon in February 2000. I have found myself some splendid friends over the years, when a familiar line is used and an instant bond is formed between strangers. I give you ‘I’m not from London!’


Holiday Destination – Ghent

Belgium?! No-one expects you to pick Belgium as a holiday destination, but I absolutely love it and in particular, I love Ghent! Ghent was brave enough to become a car-free city, with an efficient tram, bus and park and ride system. The retail shops are closed for three Sundays of the month to give the staff time off and instead there are independent artisan markets in all of the squares and empty buildings. There are trees everywhere and in particular oak trees surrounding the city squares. Ghent’s heritage is in lace making, it has a castle, a river running through it, Belgian chocolate, Belgian beer, AND it’s twinned with Nottingham – we could learn so much from Ghent and I’ll throw my hat into the ring here and happily offer to lead a research visit!

How To Build A Girl

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