Monday, 26 September 2016

Mad about Manchester

There's a few things to be mad about this week- madly enthusiastic about, that is.

First I wanted to introduce you to Mad About Manchester.  Ran by Nik Maguire, or Mr Deansgate as he is known, the Facebook page describes itself as 'Manchester's first video magazine' and covers events occurring in the city. It's not dissimilar to these prospective posts I pump out every Monday, except I try to focus on things people can do to meet new people in the first place. Nik's site is still well worth a look.

Hip hop / Garage group So Solid Crew are playing in VIVA on Wednesday. The drinks are only £1, although you'll probably have to queue a little longer than 21 Seconds at the bar. No meetup for this.

There is, however, a meetup for VIVA's Thursday night event, the Miss Swimsuit Competition.

Ran by Verena Twigg of Yumyum Models, the night is sure to be a superb one. It'll be the third I've visited. In attendance: Becky Holt, Callum Best, Chloe Khan, CharlotteDawson, Ann DeniseWilson, Sophie Dalzell, Miiaan and DJ Sarah Giggle. I've been to a couple of these at TheMilton Club and they were great fun. Not visited VIVA yet.

If it sounds like your thing, get involved with the meetup. We're starting in nearby Gorilla at 7:30pm and heading to Viva for 8.

Many more Meetup ideas in the pipeline.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Some highs and lows of Manchester nightlife

“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.”
-Benjamin Franklin, American scientist

A quick whip-up of events from this week: I mentioned a little experiment that had started to pay off when I met someone in Panacea. I went on a date with her, but she said we were “too different.” She was right, but I never got the impression she liked me that much in the first place (aside from sucking my face off in the club). Well. Moving swiftly on.

This week was Freshers Week in Manchester. The students have returned and Manchester's midweek party scene has taken its annual shot of adrenaline. I went out on Friday night to sample some of this, but first we met in the lobby of Beetham Tower on Deansgate and queued to get into the bar in the sky, Cloud 23.

The queue at reception on the ground floor was long, but the waiting area itself is lovely with comfy seats and chilled house music at a low decibel level.

We were taken up in the lift and to the bar, and shown a seating area, where I checked the “Blue Sky Drinking” section of the menu. (My car was parked 2 streets- and 23 floors- down.) It's not cheap: I paid £5.50 for a small hot chocolate. I'm also not impressed with the inclusion of a service charge. But the view was the main attraction. On the whole: a good experience and well worth a look on a clear day.

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

We then took a look at the ironically-named Orderly Conduct, a night at nearby Ark on Deansgate Locks. The queue was just forming when we arrived, at which point the doorman felt the need to tell us it was “loud,” like we're all middle aged (we're all thirty-somethings, but, come on).

It was much busier than a standard weekend night. By a quarter to twelve the two-floor club was full. Manchester's students are the only people with the money to go out, it seems. I like orderly conduct in one way- it's full of gorgeous girls and Ark itself is nice enough, but there were a lot of obnoxious students in there: no manners, women who think they're too good, cocky 18-year-old lads with chips on their shoulders.

I graduated 11 years ago. I don't remember there being that many good looking women in Deansgate Locks back then. Not during the week, at least. I also don't remember seeing drunk girls being scooped off the floor and escorted out of the fire exit. I'll tell you what has caused this.

The introduction of top-up fees has meant that only people from the richest families can afford to go to university. Now student nights are populated by snobs of both genders. The lads, of course, are determined not to be typecast as privileged pretty-boys, so they take every opportunity to kick off (and get turfed out by security). The girls have the money to get as destroyed as they like off cheap (ish) booze. It seems like students are the only people with money to go out any more.

Had a bit too much, have we? You're one of a few, love.

I might be back.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Olympic Workouts: Results

It's been a summer of sports with the Olympics on the BBC and the Paralympics on Channel 4. Team GB raked in 67 medals in the Olympics, and 147 in the Paralympics.

I spent as much of this time as I could at the gym, and when I was there I used machines from which I could watch the action in Rio. The cross trainers, running machine and bikes had in-built TVs, and there were some flat-screen TVs on the walls. If I could watch the games using a machine, I would try and hit a PB on it. My aim was to lose weight and tone up, and I managed that to a degree, shedding 4.6Kg in the process (a little more overall, but that's what I ended up with. It's a little over 10lb).

Here are of the improvements on certain machines:

Calf press: 10Kg up
10 minute cycle, with no backrest: 660 metres up
10 minute cycle, with backrest: 187 metres up

I think using a bike without a backrest, requiring you to lean forward in the saddle, is much more conducive to pushing up speed. I was watching the Olympic dressage whilst practising this machine. Some Asian guy was watching me train.

“Is that you doing that?” He asked.

“Is that me doing... what?”

“Oh, is it the TV? I thought you were controlling it by pedalling.”

“No, mate. It's the Olympic dressage in Rio.” Hardly something I can control from an exercise bike in Oldham Sports Centre, is it? Unbelievable.

So. Some improvements, although many machines I'd hit over and over again and not get any gains on, hence not being mentioned here. Watching TV does require a little concentration, so it can be hard to put in the graft at these times. I'm looking forward to getting a bit more variety into my workouts again.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Freshers Week; Facebook Trick

It's upon us again: the students are returning to Manchester and the midweek nightlife scene has rejuvenated. Also, it's that one week where working folk like myself (and probably you) can get into these nights without an NUS card.

Unfortunately tonight would be the only night I'd be able to do anything due to work, and I (typically) haven't planned anything. There are a few nights listed on Skiddle, mostly in places I've not even heard of (Where is Antwerp Mansion?!) but the weekend is the only time I'm free.

In fact, other than tonight Friday is the only proper night out I can have as Sunday Afternoon is Writers Connect, and I'll be there to do the warm-up exercise and give feedback. I don't have anything to read out. (Also, I need to give Oz her bowl back from a recent barbecue.)

I have loads of night out ideas, though, so if you fancy coming to a few smart places over the next few weeks keep your eye on Manchester Cool Bars.

When you're planning a night out, do you put it out to people on Facebook through a status to see who responds? If you do, you might find that the one person who gets in touch saying, “yeah, I'm free, let's do drinks” is the one person you don't want messaging you and is only in your Facebook because you can't be arsed with their reacting to you removing them. So what do you do? A friend of mine introduced me to the Custom tool last weekend. When you upload a status, instead of Friends Only, Public or Only Me, pick the Custom option. It looks like a little cog. You can then select the people you don't want to share the status with and it'll go out to the rest of your friends. Those you've excluded will be none the wiser.

Tweet me with tips!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

So Much Alcohol

Thursday night: spoke to Key 103's Adam Catterall, host of the late night talk show.

The topic: drug legalisation. I suggested that, as alcohol kills more per annum than all the illegal drugs combined, that's the one people might want to ban, although- as I went on to explain- that wouldn't work either. The USA tried that in the 1920s. This, being Prohibition, led to one of the most violent periods of American history. The only way to move forward, I proposed, was to ask people to sit a course on drugs and the affect they have, then if they can pass the test they can get a certificate to buy the drug legally from a chemist. The presenter generally agreed with me that criminalisation was causing a lot of problems and change was required.

And on the issue of the world's deadliest drug, I did a lot of it this weekend.

Friday: visited new bar Arcane on South King St off Deansgate, a suitably old-fashioned cosy joint. Bare brickwork, small wooden tables piled with hardback books and a narrow corridor make for a bygone-era feel. Friendly staff.

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

We then headed on to the Northern Quarter, to Terrace (good RnB, with songs that aren't to overplayed, plenty of women) and then onto Guilty, which was heaving. Fridays in the city have certainly picked back up.

Saturday: went out to meet people in the lovely Cottonopolis on Newton Street. Of course, I forgot what I was doing- we'd agreed to meet there then move on to nearby Fitzgerald, which I went straight to, hence I necked my South Side cocktail (which is a shame as it was worth savouring) and headed over to the start point.

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

Cottonopolis wasn't far away, but I did manage to catch up with my mates. The bar is a nod to Manchester's cotton-mill roots. Architect Nick Muir says: "It's a Grade II-listed former textile warehouse so we’ve been sympathetic to the building and the original features. The cast iron columns still remain as do the original lifts and timber floors." (Source: Manchester Confidential.)

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

The bee theme is consistent throughout the bar, with the image of the insects painted onto the windows of the bar. It's possibly a homage to Boddingtons bitter, which had a brewery in the city and has a bee as its emblem. Or maybe they just thought it looked good. Which it does.

We then moved on (or in my case, back) to The Fitzgerald for more cocktails and nu-jazz and funk.

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

We then finished in Lost in Tokyo. Great Japanese themed bars with oriental whiskies. I was steaming by this point, suffice to say.

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

I realise this isn't the most insightful blog post, but I recommend every bar we went to. If you're around these areas, these are the places you should be checking out.

Monday, 12 September 2016

This week's antics

As Noodles says in Once Upon a Time in America: “Yeah, I got a good tip for ya.” I have more than one, in fact, and unlike Robert DeNiro's character, I'm not ratting out my lifelong friends: I'm trying to get you to come and get pissed with me.

Cocktails in the City has opened this week! I suspect it has replaced other groups that may have closed down. Not sure. But expect smart bars and alcohol. Similarly, Manchester City Singles replaces something like 'Singles in the City.' As one door closes... etc. etc.

Now. This is an extreme long shot, but can you go out this Wednesday? If so, join me and Manchester Cool Bars to Hot Mess, the midweek night in Revolution Deansgate Locks. It's likely to be a little quiet as the students are still trickling back into Manchester, but life is short. We're starting in Baa Bar next door. Get involved!

Tweet me with tips!