Monday, 30 November 2015

Prospective Mondays

On Wednesday the Socially Awkward group are visiting Barking Tales, a night of comedy with a mental health theme held at Zombie Shack on New Wakefield St. If that sounds controversial, it probably is- but rest assured, the comedians themselves all have- or have experience of- mental health issues. The organiser describes the environment as “a very small step in helping to reduce the stigma that still surrounds mental health and shows that there is funny to be had in such topics.”

I'd be really interested in reading about this. Fancy attending the event and getting involved? Drop me an email.

Saturday: Olympic Gold medalist and Tour De France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins will be dropping into Waterstones Deansgate to sign copies of his new book My Hour. Signing starts at 12pm. Might be a good idea to get there early.

By all means email if you want your event here for free.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

In chronological order, here are this week's happenings:

Monday: house music producers The Freemasons favourited my tweet, which was actually about the fraternal organisation of the same name. I must see them DJ one day.

Tuesday night's #bloghour trending topic is a weekly online discussion organised by the UK Blog Awards. Each week the awards team asks a series of questions relating to the art of blogging, and whoever chooses to join in with the hashtag can contribute suggestions and answers. It's a great way of garnering advice and digitally “meeting” other bloggers. At the end of each Bloghour, the awards team will ask for suggestions for questions to be asked the following week. On Tuesday just gone, my question was included in the discussion.

If you follow the link and see the tweet on Twitter, below it you'll see some of the answers and suggestions. People find their stories in a multitude of ways: talking to knowledgeable friends, working with talented creatives around the world, checking other websites like Pinterest Instagram, Bloglovin, Klout and Stumbleupon, personal experience, requests, and a general sense of intuition: keeping your eyes peeled, one tweeter suggested, will allow the stories will come to you.

Once my question was put out to the trending topic my notifications went wild. It was a lot of info to digest but the feedback has been brilliant and there's loads for me to mull over and digest. If you're into blogging, tune in to #bloghour on Twitter, 9pm GMT on Tuesdays.

Anyone remember season 15 of Celebrity Big Brother? The one before last? Remember Cami Li, the Puerto Rican model finishing in in 8th place? She favourited my tweet (which was actually her tweet) about Lady Colin Campbell, who is currently in the Australian jungle starring in I'm a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here.

Thursday: Manchester readers will be familiar with local radio station Key 103. Each morning they play the Top 10 at 10, from a mystery year. That day the year was 2003, when I was working in Brannigans, so I texted in and told them. They read it out! Woop woop. It's the small things.

Friday night: I met with Manchester Social Group for their monthly Meetup. Slug and Lettuce on Albert Square was apparently- and unsurprisingly- heaving, as it was right next to the Christmas Markets. (I was on my way in when the group decided this.) For the last few years these stalls have been so busy that they aren't even fun to visit any more. So we switched to the Deansgate branch, which reopened last weekend after a refurb. It's smart and tidy inside but the music was too loud for a bar of its type- it's more of a catch-up-with-your-mates place than a showoff place, or we all felt it should be. I still like it though. A good meetup too; a good chance to meet other members of the group and bandy about a few ideas for upcoming events.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Prospective Mondays

Celebrities, fights, booze: no, it's not a jungle-based reality TV show, it's what's happening right here in Manchester this week.

If you're new to Young Professionals in Manchester, or you haven't even heard of them til now, well, you're just in time. Tomorrow night is a night for newbies at Bluu in the Northern Quarter. A few relaxed drinks and conversation awaits. It's already very popular.

Wednesday sees speed dating for thirty-somethings in Tiger Tiger. Check out this Manchester group for more info.

Celebrity chef and Celebrity Juice contestant Gino D'Acampo also has a new book out. He'll be signing in WH Smith Selfridges (no, I didn't know one was inside the other either) in The Intu Trafford Centre from 1pm on Thursday.

Great British Bake-off presenter Sue Perkins is signing her book Spectacles: a Memoir on Friday. Get down to WHSmith in the Arndale at 12:30pm to meet her. Also, if you fancy writing it up and guest-posting here, get in touch.

Join me Friday night for Manchester Social Group's monthly meetup. We're gonna be at Albert Square's Slug and Lettuce from 7:30. It's a chance to meet the members in a smart but relaxed environment that's to the tastes off the majority.

Saturday night: join Manchester Creatives on their trip to bohemian Bavarian beer house Albert's Schloss. It's a great bar and not what you'd expect. A bizarre mix of Alpine drinking hut, 19th-century church and 70s-era disco hall, Albert's is a unique and weirdly wonderful venue.

Also on Saturday night is heavyweight boxing bout Wladimir Klitschko Vs Tyson Fury. Prediction: Fury will not last more than 5 rounds. He's all bravado and his displays of confidence are there to convince mostly himself. Also, I know it's not a beauty contest but compare the physiques of the two fighters. That matters. Fury isn't even in fighting shape and never has been. I put up this event but it hasn't been announced yet. Anyone fancy it? Where's a good place to watch it?

Tweet me for your event to appear here.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Green = Don't Go

Last night I went out to watch local boxer Anthony Crolla make a second attempt to become the WBA lightweight champion. I'd set up this meetup and asked people for advice on which venue from which to see the fight. I got one RSVP who suggested The Green, a sports bar in the Northern Quarter with simulated golf range and large screens for watching sports. I phoned them to check they were showing it and got the affirmative. Okay.

I headed into town early but the traffic around Ancoats and the Northern Quarter was absolutely horrific. The chances of turning right to get down to the CIS building were minimal. Absolute gridlock. The Crolla fight took place in the Manchester Arena, so it's possible that the traffic was related to that.

I should really have got out earlier to watch the under-card fights from the start. I got in half way into the first of the two before the main fight: couple of wars between two tough fighters respectively. The first of these fights had no commentary, just the video feed with The Green's own trance soundtrack. I found my meetup member: a cool guy and a boxing fan. The atmosphere in The Green was a little grating, though: there was a lot of Burberry checks, gold medallions and the odd baseball cap. Not many people were into the boxing, and my instincts were telling me there might be a bit of trouble.

Eventually the Crolla Perez fight began, with both fighters showing class and resilience. The bar started to empty out. Last orders were called not long after the fight began, which seemed a bit weird. I thought, they're not really going to:

Yes, the manager came out and turned off the TV in the fourth fucking round. Not long after this there was a little argument between a few young customers and the door staff.

We left The Green and had a wonder down through Piccadilly Gardens towards Deansgate. By the time we got to Sawyers, Crolla had already won in the 5th with a heavy bodyshot.

Well. I'm writing this to encourage you to boycott The Green. I had phoned them prior to the night to check they were showing the fight and they confirmed they were. I dunno, I thought it was self-explanatory that I meant “are you showing the whole fight?”

I saw some boxing in Norwegian Blue in the Printworks some time ago, but that's not much less chavvier and they haven't tweeted about last night's fights. Where's good to watch boxing in Manchester?

The full fight:

Thursday, 19 November 2015

#tbt German Beermats from the Early 90s

I visited Germany in 1994 for a family holiday, and also to practice the language which I'd done pretty well in during my first year of school. A conversation with my parents brought back a few memories from being 12 years old. We settled the caravan in Nideggen, at the edge of the Eifel National Park, and got a warm welcome from the Dutch man who ran the campsite. He was fond of British. My mum, dad and sister and I got into some rock climbing out near the Ruhr river, which was the same river hit by Allied forces in World War II, and one of rivers featured in The Dam Busters movie. On a trip into town we came across a meeting for owners of TRs, with a number of the vintage sports cars lining the car parks.

It was the first time we saw people paying for plastic bags in shops, or people taking their own (something most British supermarkets have introduced in the last few months).

Most of our pictures are on slides, so there isn't a great deal to show. But while out there I picked up a couple of beer mats from a pub or cafe, which I've just dug out of my parents' loft. Are there any vintage beer mat specialists out there? I prepared these for an art project a few months later.

'The art of beer! These are some beer mats I collected from Germany (Summer 1994). It's not exactly art but it's German, and I collect beer mats. They are quite special to me. There is some art on the back of “REISSDORF KOLSCH” beermats.'

Monday, 16 November 2015

Prospective Mondays

A cheesy week awaits, in more ways than one.

Free cheese in Didsbury tomorrow night. Sounds weird, but hey, I didn't set up this meetup. If cheese is your thing, and South Manchester isn't too much of a trek, take a look. A word of warning- Traffic around that end is not the only thing likely to be congested.

Any Michelle Visage fans in the house? The star of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Celebrity Big Brother is signing her new book The Diva Rules in Manchester Waterstones on Deansgate.

On Thursday the After Works Drinks gang are out on Salford Quays. Hugely popular group. Be part of it!

I have a dare for you this Friday: try speed dating. If you're not going to stay with your partner 'til you die, then this is something you should experience before you do. You have 2 rows of seats- one with men, one with women. You get a minute or so with each competitor in order to “sell yourself” to a potential partner. After each move, you mark a “yes” or a “no” box next to each person's name or your personal sheet. The sheets are collected at the end of the dates and the organisers with send you details of your matches. Simple! Try it out with Boy Meets Girl Speed Dating.

This weekend sees the opening of winter attraction The Curling Lanes, the country's only outdoor curling venue. Try it out on The Lawns in Spinningfields!

Any Danny Dyer fans in the house? He's signing his new book, Life Lessons from the East End, in WHSmith Arndale Saturday 1pm.

More boxing this week! Anthony Crolla has another title shot against Darleys Perez on Saturday. If you fancy watching it with me and a group, check out this meetup. We need a location!

Any creative writers out there? Try out Writers Connect on Sunday afternoon. It's a great opportunity to receive helpful feedback on stories and poems. I'll be there seeking feedback on a script synopsis. I want to know what you think!

Tweet me if you have more!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

No Selfies Please: Trevor Nelson in The Milton Club

"I might play some fucked up shit tonight, seriously,” says Radio 1's Trevor Nelson. “I might play Kool and the Gang or something, I dunno.” Well, I don't think he did bust out any “Get Down On It” or “Joanna”, but the Radio 1 hip hop DJ did dish up some underplayed classics, including SoulIISoul's Fair Play and many others.

Last night was Mr Nelson's third appearance in The Milton Club for their monthly Soul Purpose event, which has featured an ever-expanding list of high-profile DJ and singers. He didn't come on until quite late, letting resident Justin Fry take command for the first few hours. The night got busier later on than usual, with a lot of women filling the club. Mr Nelson eventually busted out a few rarities from the 90s hip hop scene, setting a great mood. He didn't seem to pay much attention to the customers, though, and my attempts to get a picture with him were mostly in vain due to the impenetrable crowd near the DJ booth.

That said, there was a great atmos. I've been a Milton Club member for a year now and it's a place where I can always see friendly faces.