Matty White

Matty White is a food journalist from Manchester. In the past, Matty has presented and produced food and drink podcasts and shows, as well as appearing on TV. This experience gives him an up-close understanding of Manchester’s thriving culinary scene.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Matt White, I'm from Manchester, I'm a food and drink journalist, so my job pretty much just involves eating and drinking and talking, three of the best things to do in the world. I've got a couple of kids, I'm a dad, that's my proudest achievement. I'm a DJ as well. I like to just do anything that means I don't actually have to do a day's work.

How has Manchester affected your growth as a journalist and as a person?

There's an old Manchester saying – it comes from a guy called Anthony Wilson, who was a Mr. Manchester – which I think is overused but it’s “we do things differently here.” I'm not sure I necessarily agree with what he's saying. I just think we do things well in Manchester. We do things really well. It's got three things going for it, as far as I'm concerned. People, the places, and opportunity. Opportunity is the key word. In Manchester, you can be whoever you want to be. You can do whatever you want to do, and you've got that support. So, if you decide you want to be a food and drink journalist like me, just because I like eating and I don't want to actually do a hard day's work, you've got the support of everybody because you've continuously got restaurants opening. It's like we have our own kind of microclimate because everyone wants to do something. It's like that punk ethos of do it yourself, just start it up, just do it. So you could be in a band, you could be opening a restaurant, you could be a journalist, you could be a director, a photographer, whatever you want to be. There are people in Manchester already doing it and already doing it well, and they're prepared to embrace you, to help you, to support you. Come to Manchester, you can be whoever you want to be.

We’re here today to chat about your connection with the Baracuta Harrington, although you’re far from the world of fashion, do you have any special memory to share with us about the Baracuta G9 jacket?

There was a film released in the 1970s set in the 1960s called Quadrophenia. Quadrophenia was about the Mod scene in Britain in the 60s and the Mods were very concerned about how they looked. Everything had to be right. Straight cut trousers, little two button jackets, matching suits, fitted suits, working in class kids going to get fitted suits, but their jackets were also important to them. They rode Vespas, Italian scooters – I used to have one actually – but to make sure that their suits didn't get dirty they used to wear big army jackets. But if you watch that film you can see a lot of them are wearing G9s. The Harrington jacket was very much part of the Mod scene. I remember thinking it was cool. Then it wasn't till years later that I saw Damon Albarn in the early 1990s on the front cover of a music magazine. At that time, you weren’t allowed to say you liked Damon Albarn in Manchester, but I did.

I think he wore the stone or the white-coloured Harrington G9 on that cover and I remember looking at him thinking it was special, the little two buttons on the collar, the tartan on the inside, that's the jacket for me. So, I did a bit of research, tried to find out exactly what it was, and discovered that actually it was iconic, that it was this huge part of fashion history.

People like Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley, Superman wore a Harrington jacket. So, then I wanted to get one, but my mum and dad didn't have much money, they couldn't buy me what I wanted to wear all the time. So, I bought a knockoff version, it was probably a real pale imitation, but I felt like I was wearing a Harrington and therefore I felt good. And then it wasn't until years later, I left home, I had my own money, I had a little bit of disposable income, and I got myself my first original G9 Harrington.

All of a sudden, I've got a connection to the Mods. I've got a connection to Damon Albarn. I feel like I'm cool. That's the power of the G9.

Love to hear that our British icon had such an impact on you! How would you describe Britishness?

I think if you want to get a feeling of what Britishness is, if you want to see it firsthand, walk into a pub. So, picture the scene. You've opened the door, you've walked in, you can hear laughter, chatter, the clinking of glasses. There are low ceilings, there's oak beams, there's an open fire in the corner. The barman is smiling, exchanging chats with the people that are coming up to get a drink. You've got people sharing a love over football. They're talking about their day's work. There's a live band in the corner. There's music playing, there's people singing along. There are people from different walks of life, different ethnicities, different cultures, different backgrounds. Everybody's in there. It's almost a representation of what this country is. The doors open. Come in. We'll welcome anyone.

All are welcome. That's my point of view from this country, by the way. Anybody is welcome. And I think the pub absolutely exudes that. If you go in, you've got people passionate about food. You've got people passionate about beer. Nothing more English than a pint of beer. You've got people talking about music, about the local football teams. You've just got everyone coming together. The pub represents Britain. It's welcoming. It's hospitable. It brings people together. And surely that's what life's all about. Bringing people together.