Matt Tuckey is a writer from Oldham, England. Follow him as he tracks down celebrities, fires out fiction and poetry to magazines worldwide, gets himself into an array of absurd, terrifying and sometimes fantastic situations, and reviews the bars and restaurants of Manchester. Power is a State of Mind is also home to the elusive and inimitable fauna communicator, Fluffy Oakes and a good place to look for info on Manchester's literature scene.
the summertime when the weather's high, you can stretch right up
and touch the sky, when the weather's fine, you got women, you
got women on your mind.
sure you remember, but we put the clocks back last week, and it was
reasonably warm as well- just about shorts weather, which is pretty
good for March in Northwest England.
is a good enough reason for a round-up of recent events in my life.
grappled for the first time in about two years. Last week I did a
submission wrestling class at MMA Studio
The club, formerly known as Manchester
Ground'n'Pound, offers a range of martial arts classes throughout
the week. I didn't do too badly and I'll probably be taking a
membership out in the near future. I need to get back into regular
martial arts and letting that strengthen my mentality and
babe Preeti Youngretweeted my blog to 3000 followers. Her twin and co-presenter Priya retweeted me a few weeks back, as
well. They are both STARS in my book.
subsequently took advantage of an invitation from a porn star from
London. The lovely Carmel Moore(3000 followers) tweeted an opportunity to “ask her anything”. I
cut to the chase. “What's your favourite part of a monkey?” I
inquired. “Paws,” she replied. “Good Choice!” said I.
Just remember where you heard this ground-breaking revelation first,
people. Oh, and she also gave me a blog retweet. Respect.
found my way into an online Manchester newsletter for the second
time recently. Inside The M60 is a city-based news website.
The organisers compile a daily newsletter that they promote through
their Twitter account. This post I wrote about the Literotica forums was chosen as a link. Thanks, Inside the M60!
going to Tenerife in May for a family holiday. I've not had a
six-pack since I moved out in November 2010, despite smashing the
gym pretty much daily since then. Can I get back to my pre-move-out
physique in eight weeks? Let's find out...
here's The Mix (adult content) in Eskimo Pie magazine.
was great getting these pieces out there as these are old projects
that have been hanging over me for years, nagging me to write them.
It was a good bit of profile-raising, and something I want to keep up
from now on.
The following is a
paragraph from an abandoned blog post that I wrote over a year ago. I
was keen on writing a “ten best” list post about the bars in
Manchester city centre. It occurred to me halfway through writing
this that I actually hadn't done much going out in Manchester for a
few years, and that there were countless new and interesting places
that had opened while I'd been moping around on Oldham's Yorkshire
Street. Not only that, but other people had written the exact post I
wanted to before me. So I dropped it. Here's a paragraph from the
unlikely place you'll get a “lock-in” is Kro bar, where glass and
class are the order of the evening. The original Kro bar is way out
of the centre near the Manchester University buildings on Oxford
Road. I went in 2003- on a blind date, in fact- and had one of the
best steaks I've eaten still to this day. Kro2 is situated further
into the city, still on Oxford Road and next to the old BBC building.
In the bar's garden, the heated patio shades above each bench
shouldn't be missed- provided it's June. The one thing out of the
control of bar architects is the weather. Kro3 is the most accessible
in Piccadilly Gardens. All good starting places for a session.
It's a real shame
that Kro2 isn't open any more, but I can't help thinking that a
supermarket is more of a boost to the economy than a bar (of which
there are plenty throughout the city). After all, for local residents
and students, where else is there to food shop? The Spar?
Extortionate. Tesco Metro at Market St? It's a bit of a walk away.
It's also quite far to walk to the bus stop- up to Piccadilly to get
transport back down to Oxford Rd. ASDA Hulme? Perhaps,
provided you know the local bus routes.
And not the safest of places, especially when you're a student and a
target for unscrupulous types. It wouldn't surprise me if these
protesters end up doing their weekly shop in this new Tesco branch.
They probably already have ClubCards themselves. What I'm essentially
getting at is that there are far more important things to protest
about in the city- Job cuts, tax rises, cuts to charities' training
budgets, 12% of rape claims being written off by the police due to
how much hassle it is to convict, (Telegraph)- in light of all of
this, what is the problem with a new Tesco store opening? What
possible harm is it doing?
What, would you
prefer an ASDA to make it a little cheaper?
primary site, Literotica,
is first and foremost a place to find erotic fiction and poetry. It
seeks submissions year-round.
joined for the forums, which apparently can be a good method of
getting criticism on your work. I had a quick browse around it a
couple of weeks ago and have set up a profile. It isn't as simple as
showing you a link that takes you to my page, seemingly, but if you
search the site for “CageFighting”,
you should be directed to my work. So feel free to have a look.
give it a shot for a week. Can anyone comment on the usability of the
can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious
rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his
two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?
am taking another huge image risk here. And not just by starting a
blog with bible quotes. I'd like to tell you about a double-edged
sword that I walk along every day. But before I do, I also want to
tell you about a very strange Thursday night.
was on Facebook last week. I saw Bar 38 update its status saying there was a speed dating event that night. I asked if it was
free. Whoever was handling social media that day replied that it
indeed was cost-free.
made a split decision to get down there. I rolled in just on time-
7pm- and met the organisers, a group of mostly law students from one
of the city's universities. One of the girls explained that the event
was some kind of university project, raising money for Scopehttp://www.scope.org.uk, a disability charity. There was a £5 entry fee.
was no problem, of course, so I paid and waited. After all, most
speed dating events cost about £15. I chatted to a few others taking
part while latecomers travelled in. By 7:30pm, 5 participants had
arrived. Out of an alleged 100 who had confirmed.
more people strayed in to take part eventually, and others left after
waiting longer than they wanted. I told the event organisers where
I'd heard about the event. They told me they didn't know Bar 38 had a
Facebook page, and weren't aware that the bar had mentioned it to
38 is one of the most dynamically designed bars in Manchester. Take a
of these are upstairs shots. Downstairs, there's another serving area
and a dancefloor. In this space the organisers had set up two rows of
chairs facing each other. The organisers managed to scrape together a
few more men and women for the event. Unfortunately, this took so
long that some of the people who arrived on time lost their patience
took our seats- men on one side, women on the other. There were maybe
fifteen of us in total.The organisers explained that we had five
minutes to “date” each person. At the end of the five minutes a
bell would sound and the women were to move to the next man. And so
it began. There were a few fit women, but most of them had boyfriends
and were only doing it for Scope.
number 5. Just rip my heart out in the name of charity why don't you?
good news out of all of this is that the students managed to raise
£130 for Scope.
this, the organisers invited me to stay out for a few drinks, which
was cool of them.
was at this moment that things started going downhill. In walks
Organiser Laura's Gay Best Friend, who immediately hits on me.
is something that happens to me all the time. If I am within 2 metres
of a camp gay man, he will try it on. Every time. Now, women love men
with ridiculously inflated egos (despite what they tell you). So I
put this theory forward to them. I got the typical “can you fit
your head through the door” treatment for a few moments. (“If I
angle it right, I can normally squeeze it through,” I replied.)
Unfortunately for me, the gay theory is pretty solid. As I've got a
lot of female friends, I do meet a lot of gays, and they do try it
on. As a straight man, it's important to be somewhat cold and
indifferent towards a gay admirer. If you're in the slightest bit
nice to them, they try even harder. That can lead to suggestive
comments and unwanted physical contact.
explained this Laura and her friends. Her angle: as I was dressed in
blue jeans and a white shirt, I'm obviously a straight man. So it's
obviously just a joke, and he's not actually interested in me.
disagreed, though, and told her that he wouldn't bother doing that if
he wasn't interested. After all, would she “jokingly” come on to
a guy- or even a girl- that she wasn't interested in? I also
suggested Gay Best Friend should go on a night out in Oldham and try
his “joke” on a few of the men there, and see how funny they
found it- and what would be left of him in half an hour.
didn't help that we'd got a minibus taxi as a group to the Gay
Village on the other side of the city by this time and I was now
surrounded by skinny men in tight t-shirts prancing around
everywhere. Gay Best Friend was in his element. I was undoubtedly out
was a divide growing, and growing fast. She just told me to “leave
him alone”, as if I'D been giving HIM shit, and reminded me that he
was her good friend. Apparently law students also double as amateur
psychoanalysts, as they claimed I had some kind of insecurity. If I
was insecure, I said, I wouldn't have come to the Village.
dropped it and hoped that she- and Gay Best Friend- would too. This
divide was turning into a canyon, so I edged the subject back to the
event. Laura wanted to know why I'd resorted to speed dating.
mentioned that I'd tried speed dating before, ( see hereand here)
I explained that the majority of my male friends had settled down,
and when they did go out they only went to Oldham. (By this time,
Oldham is a post-apocalyptic hellhole in their minds.) So I was
always looking for things to do to meet new people. This pushed
psychoanalysis into overdrive, and I got told something I've heard a
million times: going out with the intention of meeting people never
should just meet people naturally,” she suggested.
suggested meeting people in work (where everyone's taken). She asked
if there was anything else I did where I could meet women. I said I
do loads of gym classes, martial arts, I've done internet dating a
few times and that taking up more hobbies would only stand to make me
look more like a scatterbrain than I possibly already do. So
basically, I was being told- in so many words- that I shouldn't have
turned up to the underpublicised and underattended event that they
had put on, and that I had paid to take part in.
that brings us aptly to the “double-edged sword” I opened with. I
get accused of two things all the time. One is trying too hard- being
too eager to find a decent woman. The other is not trying hard
enough- not stepping forward and asking for what I want when I see
it. Being the black-and-white-minded person I am, I don't see how I
can be guilty of both. And I regret the things I didn't do a lot more
than the things I did.
them it had been a great night and I was going. I swapped numbers
with Laura but left it there.
like to throw this debate out to you. What counts as stepping
forward, and what counts as trying too hard?
and while were at it, where is the line with gay people? How much
“joking” should a straight man have to take from a gay man before
having to be a twat with him to put him off?
don't normally like rom-roms, so the chances of me writing one of my
own was ridiculously slim. But sometimes, and idea comes in an
unusual form. I came up with this short screenplay some time around
2001, but I didn't pull my thumb out and finish a draft until last
year. It took me a while to convince myself I could write a
believeable female character, and that I could take a funny idea and
turn it into dialogue that would still make people laugh. But anyway-
funny or not, it's complete, and it has found its way into Eskimo Pie
magazine. Check it out.
by the way, if you like Sandra Bullock style rom coms, this is not
for you. I don't want to spoil any surprises, but this is an ADULT
story. Read on if you dare.
A lot of people think you're as dangerous as the Joker. Batman:
He's psychotic. Vicki
Some people say the same thing about you. Batman:
What people? Vicki
Well, I mean, let's face it. You're not exactly normal, are you?
It's not exactly a normal world, is it?
Vicki (Kim Basinger) grills Batman (Michael Keaton) in Tim Burton's
'89 classic superhero movie
I sparred for the first time in about a year and a half. I got to a
boxing class at Manchester Ground'N'Pound, a martial arts academy On Newton Street in the Northern Quarter. It's
a session for everyone, regardless of size, experience or background.
Good instruction and a good group of people.
surprised myself with how much technique I'd remembered, although
doing padwork with fingerless gloves is not recommended. I'll be back
there trying a few different classes throught the next few weeks.
after that... well, it was Monday, wasn't it? Flashback day! I hit the Odean for Tim Burton's Batman. I'd not seen this film for
tiiiiiiiiiiime. It's a great interpretation of a classic gothic comic
book tale. Again, I followed the film much better than I did the last
time I saw it. This can only mean one thing- my memory is getting
(marginally) better! Highlight: Jack Nicholson's Joker (“the
world's first fully functioning homicidal artist”, as he calls
himself). Hilarious. Still.
be back at Ground'N'Pound for more martial arts over the next few
weeks. I won't be back at the Odeon for Dirty Dancing on the 19th,
being a self-respecting hetrosexual, but I will be back for Heat on
the 26th and Sean of the Dead on the 2nd April.
criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an
acquaintance, or a stranger. -Franklin Jones, US journalist
Constructive criticism is
about finding something good and positive to soften the blow to the
real critique of what really went on. -Paula Abdul, Singer
I used this writing review website, as planned here. I stuck it out for a week. I uploaded my work to writing.com, and
dished out a load of reviews. The site let me down. It let me down badly.
what I liked:
is some good poetry being displayed. Some.
what I didn't:
the list of items to be reviewed, there are an awful lot of pieces
labelled “Interactive Story”. I thought this would be a kind-of
choose-your-own-adventure type affair, with the reader making
decisions at the turn of every page. I was wrong. These items are
actually unfinished stories that the original author is inviting you,
another site user, to finish off. Now, I think this is an interesting
idea- getting other contributors to provide your twists and turns
would spur your creativity and force you to write something that you
might not have thought you were capable of. The thing I don't like
about this is that these projects are listed in the same area as the
finished stories and poems that are waiting for actual reviews.
People like me, who are specifically looking to give and receive
feedback, have no way of filtering out the interactive content that
doesn't help us. So looking for finished pieces to review becomes
hard work. Oh, and the one interactive story I checked was crap.
email system within your writing.com homepage inundates you with
message after message featuring random tips on writing. This is all
good advice, but this is mixed in with all of your reviews and
feedback on reviews you've given. It makes it very hard to pick out
the type of message you want to read. Surely each of these
notifications should be found in their own section within the site,
is a feedback page that allows you to see reviews written by other
writers on other people's work. Some of these reviews are atually
good quality, but here's the problem: the actual articles that the
reviews relate to aren't listed there! So the reviews are totally out
search functions generally aren't brilliant. I searched the static
items (standalone pieces like short stories or poems) for poetry in
particular. This gave me a list of poems waiting to be reviewed.
Rolling the mouse over each item reveals a little more information,
including genre, item type (poetry obviously) and item size (bytes
and approximate word count). I couldn't filter to get poetry of one
genre, like erotica (the genre I'm working in, so it makes sense to
say you submit a review for a piece of writing. You then go back to
the list of items to be reviewed. The piece you've just critiqued
should ideally have disappeared from this screen to avoid confusion.
But it doesn't. When you review a number of pieces, You're likely to
forget the names of the poems or stories, and only remember the
content. Writing.com makes things difficult by keeping these pieces
on the review page, meaning you have to search out your next piece to
reviewed a piece of Glee-based gay erotic fan fiction. The content knocked me slightly sick- partly
because of the association with a dogshit TV show and partly due to
the depictions of hardcore homosexual sex. Regardless of content, it
was still terrible. I pointed out to the author that the Glee fanbase
is probably a bit young to be reading graphic gay erotica. He agreed,
but then admitted “I only really write things I post on here for
the sake of writing them” and that he doesn't care if nobody reads
it. It feels like there are a lot of writers on writing.com who are
equally as “dedicated” as the Glee guy was.
later reviewed a story about a vorophile
being shrank and eaten by his wife. It was truly awful, although an
interesting introduction to the fetish. I explained to the author
what I liked, what I didn't and how good it could be with a few
adjustments using the Compliment Sandwich technique.
replied with “This was by far the most thoughtful and detailed
review I've ever had.” Now, by telling you this my intention is not
to brag. I'm still seeking feedback, and I'm not making a living of
writing. So I can't be totally awesome. Not totally. I'm trying to
point out that people are not giving constructive criticism to each
other on writing.com. When you mention “criticism” to people on
this site, as I did over their Facebook page, they hear it as a dirty word. They imagine it as a callous call-out
against their work. My response: If it's not constructive, it's not
real criticism. It certainly wouldn't relevant. The Glee guy seemed
to be the only person on the site to understand that if you don't
have any criticism at all toward your work, you will NEVER improve.
Everyone else seemed completely naïve to this, and for that reason
I'm not going back to writing.com.
I think people should be free to
engage in any sexual practices they choose; they should draw the line
at goats though. -Elton John
up in Keda Black's book: Goats' Cheese & Pesto Toasts. I tried
goats' cheese in Corsica on a family holiday. I ate- or tried to eat-
a five-cheeses pizza, for a bit of holiday experimentation. After one
mouthful I had to learn to recognise the goat segments of the pizza
and eat around it. Vile.
if you think I'm making this recipe, you can screw off. NEXT...
week I made pesto from scratch, using a pestle and mortar.
of a tough recipe. The quantities in the book are for 4-6 people. I
was cooking just for myself, so attempted to divide all quantities by
four, meaning I might be able to stretch two meals out of the
failed. I might have cut down on certain elements too much, or put
too much of others in. I made it twice, and still didn't get the
maths right. The first attempt tasted heavily of garlic. The second
was so oily it came out looking like snot.
suffered a few setbacks with this recipe: the instructions tell you
to crush the pine nuts with the pestle and mortar, which I did. Now,
when you're reading instructions, you don't read the whole recipe
before you start cooking. Or at least I don't. There shouldn't be a
need for that. So ideally, if you're writing a cookbook, you don't
advise people to toast the pine nuts in the oven AFTER you've told
them to crush the nuts with the pestle and mortar.
crushing salad in a mortar doesn't break up the leaves so much as
squash them down, meaning that the rocket comes out very stringy.
Further problems: cutting the amounts down by four meant that I was
using such small quantities that when I weighed them the needle was
hardly moving on the scale. I was guessing, and guessing wrong.
continued Monday 6th
with Martin Scorsese's 1990 Gangster classic.
roaming camera, sharp period design and bursts of manic violence
looked good on the big screen- even with a few frames and sound
missing from the vintage film reel.
seemed to understand the plot better this time, despite having
previously watched it on video about ten times. (But even I didn't
leave the cinema before the credits even started rolling, like some
mugs did. There's a chunk of text information at the end of the film,
saying when the characters are due to be eligible for parole etc.
It's important, damn it!)
was just one thing that has never sat right with me every time I've
watched Goodfellas. I nailed it with this viewing. Henry Hill (Ray
Liotta) and Tommy Devito (Joe Pesci) meet at the start of the film
when they are teenagers. The film continues through to their
adulthood and their life in the mafia, so by the time we see Liotta
and Pesci on screen, Hill and DeVito have had a few years of working
together. Not long after this, there's a very awkward but brilliant
confontation in a bar- the “funny how” scene, as most people
would know it, where the conversation gets VERY tense. To me this has
always felt like Hill and DeVito don't really know each other- like
they've just met. Surely if you'd known each other since teens, that
“get the fuck outta here” line would have come much sooner, no?
Still, great scene.
film takes up 3 hours, but it flies by thanks to Scorsese's masterful
visual storytelling. I have a copy of Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi-
the book on which the film is based- at home waiting to be read. I
might squeeze that in soon.
you haven't already, see Goodfellas as soon as you can.
I wrote this about three years ago. Time is running away. Well,
eventually I got this piece of hyperlocal sessional haiku critiqued,
polished and sent out. Thanks to Indigo Rising magazine, it has a home.
the magazine out. There's some fine poetry on there by a range of
looking for a website that offers constructive feedback for creative
writers. Since Urbis.com died over a year ago, my critiques have come
only from Writers Connect, a group that meet fortnightly in the Manchester Arndale.
nights at the Odeon Manchester is a film night with a difference.
We're currently in the middle of a season of classic movies, being
screened weekly in the Printworks.
the 20th I saw Aliens on the big screen. James Cameron's
1986 SF action romp is one of the greatest movies of the eighties. I
was four when it came out, so I never got to see it on the big screen
the first time around. Thankfully Manchester Odeon recently gave me
that opportunity with a vintage '86 35mm print of the film.
when you know every word (I was a SERIOUS movie geek in my late
teens) it's still a pleasure to watch, more so in a format that it
was always made for- the cinema screen. It was interesting to see
which parts of the film first-timers found funny, and which lines got
laughs (mostly Paxton's). It felt like an authentic, traditional
filmgoer's experience- no digital effects, a few frames with dust on,
a few frames missing completely, but a riveting story told
spectacularly by Cameron. When the credits rolled, the audience
clapped. It was like being back in time, and not least because the
tickets are only £4. You can't complain.
to be shown: Goodfellas (tonight, tickets still available), Batman,
Heat, Dirty Dancing, Shaun of the Dead.
think there's a serious lucrative market for retro nights at cinemas.
Seeing as there have been so few truly memorable films in recent
years, cinemas would do well to offer fans the opportunity of seeing
their favourite films on the big screen. How about a poll using
social media asking fans what films they'd like to se brought back?
Here are a few I'd love to see on the big screen:
club Avici White, at 111A Deansgate, has been a bastion of the city's house music scene
for over a year. Recently the club's music styles have edged out of
house and more towards mainstream, prompting somewhat of a
repercussion from the club's regulars over Facebook. Was this the end
of Avici White for house fans who, for the last year, have been
enjoying acts like Joey Negro, Sandy Rivera, Stereo Sushi, ATFC and
asked promoter Natalie Anna Etchells why the music- and the club- had
seemed to turn a corner.
are now buying another club in Manchester for house music,” said
Natalie, “and needed a strong promotional brand to take over so we
can put our efforts into the new venue. Plus Global Glamour (national club promotion agency) who now run our Friday and Saturdays
pack it out every weekend without fail, so for business purposes it
makes the most sense. I'm a house girl through and through and
actually prefer the new nights due to crowd and atmosphere. You
should come try it, you'd be pleasantly surprised.”
quick Google search suggests we could have another scoop here,
looking forward to the new venue- and quite tempted to drop in to
Avici's primary venue again to sample the new atmos. House or not, it
could be a good shout.
that is possibly the dodgiest blog post title I have ever conjured
night, I had a dream that I was back at uni (we're talking ten years
here, worryingly enough) and that a seminar was being led by none
other than Ronny Cox.
he seems familiar, you might remember him playing the no.2 exec Dick
Jones in Paul Verhoven's SF masterpiece, RoboCop.
also played Mars administrator Vilos Cohaagen in Total Recall (again
directed by Verhoven).
readers might also recall (pun intended) Cox as the law-abider and
reluctant cohort Drew Ballinger in Deliverance.
short, he's a bit of a ledge. Why I had a dream about him, I've no
idea. But anyway- this dream, yeah? I went to this seminar, then I
and a few other students managed to coerce him into coming to the pub
with us. He was pleasant enough, smiling and generally answering our
nerdy movie questions, and I was trying really hard to get my picture
taken with him. I don't think I managed in the end.
please help me decipher this dream. I may even attempt to contact Mr
Cox himself to get his perspective.