Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Creative Wednesdays

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

I want to introduce you to something I'm making
A new blogging challenge that I'm undertaking
I'm convincing some people to get them to read
It's like finding a stone that will heavily bleed
So tell your friends, aunts, uncles and cousins
'Cause sometimes it rhymes, and others it doesn't
I'm gonna try it out, and so might you,
Could be a sonnet, or maybe haiku
But what is the challenge?” you might then say.
Well, my plan is that every Wednesday
I'll upload something here that's vaguely poetic
That could be tranquil, or may be frenetic
It's only on this blog, so you know the author's me
And I'll provide you with a range of authentic poetry.
In fact, fuck it, because of good diction,
I'll broaden it out and throw in some fiction.
Not many admit that they love to read
Most only cast eyes over their Facebook feed
But I've got an idea, and it may be something,
Because like Obama said, “Change is coming!”
After a few weekly posts, you would then say,
Goddamn, I love Creative Wednesdays!”

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

10 Things to Do Before 35

Scary times. I'm in my mid thirties. I have a lot of catching up to do in life, but I have plans.

  1. Learn shorthand. A month's project that should allow me to get the basics.
  1. Do some citizen journalism. Spend a month searching for stories and writing them up, publishing them on the blog as quickly as possible, and letting The Manchester Evening News know that, when it comes to providing information about the city, they have competition.
  1. Get this ridiculous blog to be something more than what it currently is. I need to find better information, and live a better life that will lead to more interesting stories. Things are improving- I'm writing better, I'm finding more events to review and I'm finding groups of people who will come with me- I just need to move it up a notch.
  1. Make one more rewrite on my screenplay and get it sent out. A recent feedback session on the whole story was a real eye-opener. There are strengths and weaknesses to it, the main weakness being that it would cost a fucking fortune and would annoy a LOT of people. Its themes of shady politics and terrorism won't go down well with many.

  2. Move jobs and do something involving writing, for money.
  1. Stop eating shit, rep out at the gym and get my abs back.
  1. Become more confident. Working very hard on this. I'll admit, it's frequently terrifying, sometimes humiliating but usually exciting trying to grow. The aim: a relationship.
  1. Move home, stop renting, get a mortgage. I need to stop throwing my money away in this way and start investing. Haven't found anywhere suitable yet, but looking. (The last place I visited looked great with a pretty decent location and plenty of storage. There was just one off-putting issue: in the attic, directly above the hatch, a rope noose hung from one of the beams. Suffice to say, my mum freaked when she found out so that's a no from me.)

  2. Travel. I have Berlin on the cards this year, with people I've met through Meetup. I'm also keen to check out a few deals on Easyjet's Inspire Me tool and visit a few other cheap European destinations.
  1. I've got a list of Manchester bars, club nights and restaurants that I'd really like to check out. I'm ticking them off one at a time. (The above link leads to an outdated list: the list on my phone is up to date. Some I've ticked off, some I've added on since.) By the end of July '17 I should have visited them all... But new places open up all the time, so there'll always be more to see. Most of these trips will be on a Friday or Saturday, and most of them will be organised through Manchester Cool Bars, so if you fancy checking a few of them out with me, get involved and keep your eye on Meetup.
I have a little over 11 months to do this. Here I go!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Bank Holiday Incoming

The final bank holiday of the year is on the horizon... If you're stuck in, there are meetups in Manchester happening so there's no excuse not to go out and meet new people. I'm not going to list them: if you've found this blog, you can find your way around Meetup.

I have plans to upload meetups over the next few weeks to a few bars and clubs: some new, some established, most upmarket. So if you like your smart places, keep your eye on the Cool Bars group.

I will however mention one: I'll be at Writers Connect on Sunday, so if you want to do a bit of creative writing and give and receive feedback on it, drop into Nexus on Dale St from 1pm.

More events to come: get involved!

Sunday, 21 August 2016


Busy busy week. I'm wrestling to keep my weight down and failing, and I'm not entirely sure where the weight is coming from considering I'm eating loads of veg and hammering the cardio machines in the gym. I'll figure it out one way or another. I was at 80Kg, now at 77.3. After London, I was 73. Slightly annoyed that I've gone back up, but more so that I'm the only person in this challenge using metric, when 2 of the competitors are only 2 years older and my sister, who's also competing, is 4 years younger.


I've been doing hand weights at home whilst watching the Olympics, as well as watching the games on the screens at the gym. Since the tournaments began on 6th August, I've tried to beat PBs in things that I can do whilst watching the games. I've used the bikes, which have TV screens built in, and I found that by halving the effort level I could clock up a much higher distance in 10 mins. I haven't beaten the distance I got when I first did this though. The rope flick, or battle ropes, is also well-positioned for watching the TV screens. This is one of the most effective activities you can do in the gym. The cross trainers also have built-in screens, but try as I might- no PBs.

The games have been superb. I'm not often patriotic but I loved watching Team GB. The highlights for me: the women's Hockey team taking gold, the diving, the boxing, judo and tae kwon do. Action, emotion and national pride all in abundance. We ended second in the medals table, behind USA and beating China! Incredible.

I was watching the Olympic Dressage, the horse show jumping event. I couldn't really get into it personally, but some guy at the gym thought that it was some kind of cycling computer game, and that I was controlling the horse by pedalling.

Oh dear. And on the issue of being disappointed in people, more bad news: my favourite blog will shut down. Gawker will disappear after the owner was declared bankrupt. This was a result of the company's flagship blog publishing a sex tape featuring Hulk Hogan, who then sued the owners for $140.1 million. Their affiliate sites should stay active according to this soon-to-disappear article.

Anyway: the Olympic closing ceremony will take place at midnight tonight, British Summer Time. That's my evening sorted!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

I'm 34

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

Another year passes and I'm a little older and wiser, in theory, at least! It's been a good year. A year ago I planned to do 10 challenges, in the hope I'd have made 10 improvements.  Let's take a look at what I've managed.

  1. I've certainly worked on the screenplay: I've rewritten the synopsis, taken it to feedback group Writers Connect, rewritten it again, used that rewrite to then rewrite the manuscript then taken the script again to Writers Connect a chunk at a time. This has taken months, but in recent weeks I've taken on board the advice from the group, rewritten the script again, and taken that draft to the group to read through the whole thing in one go. I now have more ideas, and at least one more draft is in order. Then the theory is, I'll send it out to production companies.
  1. I'm marginally more confident. Still plenty of work to do with this. Challenges in work and on nights out, and work with the NHS have all helped push me on towards where I want to be. I need to stay out of other people's heads and stop worrying what they think. I'm doing... okay with this. Improvements to come.
  1. Oh dear. My intention in the last year was to double my blog hits from 500K to 1 million. I'm currently just under 546K. Right. Well. I still have long-standing plans which should get a bit of exposure to the site. Give me 3 more months. I'll have written something noticeable.

  2. Another fail: I was supposed to cut down on social media. It's really hard to do this when sites like Facebook and Twitter- and now Meetup- are not just websites, but methods of communication and organisation. I wanted to cut down and save time, and spend more time being actually social in person, but these sites are what I use to organise HOW I meet up with people in real life. So it's alright if you're having meaningful discussions... but endlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed for pictures of stupidly rich people or cats or hot people, not so.
  1. I've done some travelling. I've met new friends in the last year, and after hammering Meetup for a couple of years I've found a group that I feel right with. I've also met other groups through the site, and obviously have long-standing friends too, but with this group I've been to London a couple of times, and we have a holiday in Germany planned. I mentioned last year that I may have found people who might want to do that- I cannot remember who I was talking about as the group I'm going abroad with I hadn't met at the time I wrote this post.
  1. I have looked into shorthand here and there but I haven't yet dedicated a month of my life to learning it. It's my plan to do this after I've finished reading the Evolutionary Void.
  1. Oh yeah- in April I bought a new car! The Micra was dying, and I didn't want it packing up in the fast lane of the M60 at 4am on a Sunday morning. So I spotted a Skoda Citigo ( What Car's Best City Car 2016, Auto Express City Car of the Year) online, 12 months old at Skoda RRG Rochdale, and parted with 6 grand of my hard-earned. It's fantastic. It has great 49 MPG, air con, 4 adult seats, is comfortable and handles well. I recommend.

  1. So yeah, relationships... *twiddles thumbs, examines floor*
  1. My abs are currently covered in a thicker layer of fat than ever before. My weight has ballooned, despite eating more veg and doing more cardio. I'm certainly stronger, but I'm fatter too. I went up to 80Kg earlier. Fuck's sake.
  1. I've done some more work with the NHS relating to memory issues and confidence relating to this. I've found that, if I need to remember something, the Windows OneNote app has the added function of inserting pictures to written notes, allowing me to remember more, verbally and visually. This is one feature and advantage the Windows phone has over Android phones (although it's not enough to tempt me back once my contract's up).
Progress in some areas. More progress to come.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Prospective Mondays

Good afternoon! Team GB are second in the Olympic medals board, a place higher than we finished in London 4 years ago. Great news. We're even beating China, who are always dominant. A nation of 64 million are hammering a nation of 1.4 billion. Be proud.

I'm currently watching as much of the games as I can: BBC coverage on TV, and one of the live streams from the BBC site on my computer. Meanwhile, I've been either redrafting my screenplay or doing weights in my lounge in an attempt to burn off fat. I'm competing against my parents and a few other relatives to lose moreweight than any of them.

Anyway, what can I tell you that could get you involved? Well, Thursday has a few things going on.

Wednesday: Kady from ITV's Love Island will host Hot Mess at Revolution Deansgate Locks, their weekly event. Although worth a look, I'm tied that night. By all means let me know. No meetup for this unfortunately.

Thursday night: Socialite returns to LIV, and Manchester Cool Bars are heading that way. You can join them. I know I will. Great RnB, a smart venue and the chance to spot a minor celebrity (probably).

Saturday night / Sunday morning sees UFC202, and headlining this night of MMA will be welterweights Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor facing off a second time. I should probably set up a meetup for this, so keep your eyes on Cool Bars.

Sunday night sees the Olympic closing ceremony. Let's see if we can climb to the top of the medals board. I think we will.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Go Prohibition Style with The Fitzgerald

Dropped into the lovely Cottonopolis on Newton Street Friday, a great new Northern Quarter bar with superb unique cocktails. As I'm normally designated driver, a drinking night is an occasional treat. When this happens- like this weekend- I want to drink something I've not tried before, so the NWA- the Japanese-whiskey-based Nikka With Attitude was a good shout. I've you're not a whiskey person you might still like this one. It's not dissimilar to a Pornstar Martini in taste and appearance.

The lighting, wirework frames around the bulbs, bare brickwork and open plan layout give this a unique cotton-mill appearance. Unlike the countless warehouses I've worked in, which were also converted cotton mills- this was a real pleasure to spend time in.

After this we looked at a list of bars I wanted to try- something I've been adding to for months. The Fitzgerald was nearby, on Little Lever St near Stevenson Square, so we took a look in there.

A gorgeous 1920s style joint, The Fitzgerald is located above Rosylee, and it's discreet location is perfectly in theme with its prohibition-esque appearance inside. Fine leather furniture, black and gold marketing material, Charlie Chaplin movies projected onto one wall and staff in vintage uniforms all contribute brilliantly to the American bygone-era feel. Over this, modernised, sometimes housed-up versions of '20s music throbs at a comfortable level from the speakers- the kind of music where you don't know whether to do the Charleston or locking and popping.

Their cocktail range was also in theme. I had a Daisy's Desire. Recommended.

I haven't yet asked if they'd let you in with a Trilby, but it'd be a travesty if they didn't.

We then moved on to Guilty by Association, which is always a good shout for classic hip hop. They also have some, uh, interesting toilet graffiti.
Was this the Ashton or Warrington Store? We'll never know.

How about no.

Come on, mate. I'm a harsh critic, but that's mean.

I have no doubt some are.

 I was fantastically drunk by the end. A great night!