On free shower gel and why Manchester is different

Wednesday 18th May, 2011

Manchester-based company PZ Cussons cannot stop giving me free shower gel, it seems. I came out of a Hallé concert a few months ago and was handed a free bottle of Imperial Leather shower gel, produced by Cussons, their new sponsor. I picked up a free copy of the MEN in April and was handed a free bottle of Sanex shower gel. (Guess who makes it…?) And tonight I got another bottle of Imperial Leather. And a bottle of Morning Fresh fabric conditioner. And a Carex soap dispenser. That’s right, the company that rules your bathroom is now ruling my life.

PREAMBLE OVER. The reason I keep being given soap by these people is that PZ Cussons, a Mancunian business through-and-through since its foundation in 1879, is zealously and sincerely keen to be an important part of Manchester’s community and culture. And more specifically, the reason I got a bag full of their products tonight is that I attended a launch event for Manchester International Festival volunteers. The aim of it was to get us all excited about the biennial festival, which takes place from 30th June to 17th July this year. And it worked because I’m now even more excited than I was before! I had a great time – lots of lovely people, lots of lovely food, and lots (and I mean lots) of lovely wine. Plus lots of surprisingly lovely speeches from various important people.

One of these people was Sir Richard Leese, the Leader of Manchester City Council. He said that while a lot of people talk about modern cities becoming more and more similar – the term he used was ‘homogenised’ – if MIF demonstrates anything, it demonstrates that ‘Manchester is different’. I can’t wait to be part of this amazing event – after tonight, summer feels one step closer…

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