Monday, 28 December 2015

Prospective Mondays New Year Edition

Christmas: you're done and dusted! Let's take a look at the week ahead, including new year celebrations.

Sales in Manchester and the Intu Trafford Centre have been in full swing since 6am on Boxing day, including these sad bastards queuing up in the rain. I was in a state of drunken REM at the time. Some good deals listed in the article though.

For new year itself, most people have their plans set. If you're at a loose end, Meetup might just save you.

If you're in the Prestwich end, Vicki's Social Nights have a buffet going down. Get on that! 

If you want a Northern Quarter New Year, then Have an Absolutely Shite NYE with Manchester Social Scene. Their name, not mine. Cheesy music in The Abel Heywood pub and heading on to The Ruby Lounge. Certainly not my thing; 77 people seem to think it'll be a good one though!

If you're into soul and motown, join Manchester Social Group. They're heading to the Irish World Heritage Centre for a night of golden oldies.

I don't know about you, but I'll be in Tiger Tiger seeing rapper Fat Man Scoop! Woop woop! No event for this on Meetup, but here's the Faceboook event.

Also, RnB duo Krept and Konan will be performing hit single Freak of the Week in The Oxford Club. Again, no Meetup or Facebook event.

Have a good one whatever you do, and thanks for reading.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Prospective Mondays Christmas Edition

FREEDOM! Let's make the most of Christmas. What's happening before Sunday?

Tonight: If you fancy watching the Greatest Christmas Film Ever, join Geek Lite who are going to the Odeon. And what is that film?

Tuesday: If you're in Didsbury, why not get fit with Manchester Social Team Games

Wednesday: Drinks in the George Charles, agan in Didsbury with Manchester Socialising.

Thursday, Christmas Eve: After Work Drinks group is hitting Revolution on Parsonage Gardens, a venue I'd recommend.

Friday is Christmas Day. Don't go out, please.

Saturday: Garage group The Artful Dodger perform at Static nightclub on Lloyd St. Remember Rewind and Moving Too Fast? Great tunes, great times. If you fancy joining me the meetup event is here. There are still club tickets.

Also: giant bunnies and light shows in Salford Quays. New commissioned artwork for Lightshow 2015. 

Sunday- I can confirm that Writers Connect is not going ahead on the 27th. Their next meeting is Sunday 10th January.

Have a great Christmas. Stay warm.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Mad Friday Weekend

Mad Friday: the last Friday before Christmas is notorious for huge numbers of revelers, large amounts of alcohol consumed and usually a spot of violence. My Christmas leave certainly started with the first two.

I joined folks from Manchester Social Group for my night out. Started with a few drinks in Albert's Schloss. Immense queues to both get in and get served. The bar reached capacity early on in the evening. There was a bloke in there who looked like the guy off Eraserhead. It turned out he was a big-time David Lynch fan and his outrageous hairstyle was a conscious nod to the movie.

We moved on to local celeb hangout LIV for Bamboo, their Friday event. It took a while to pick up but before long it was stuffed. I've got a video of a toy train stuffed with Moet and sparklers being brought to a mystery big spender. Youtube isn't working for some reason, so here's the vid on Facebook

Couldn't resist a pic with lovely promo dancer Sam.

More pics from the night are on LIV's Facebook

A great night. Other venues perhaps weren't as enjoyable. I took a stroll after leaving. The Mad Friday scenes were more traditional: ambulances racing across the city, paramedics tending to a bloody and bandaged man on John Dalton St, a police van outside RnB club Suede.

Saturday: another Manchester Social Group night out, this time starting in The Lawn Club and moving on to nearby Suburbia. Both great venues although the latter's music was a little cheesy for me.

It's well worth getting involved in the Meetup group if you want to see some more of the city and meet new people.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

How to get back from Manchester to Oldham on the Cheap

My target audience is a little narrow with this post, but hey, a lot of my hits come from Facebook and from people who are local to me, i.e. Oldham. Manchester is 8 miles away from the centre of Oldham, so on a Saturday night with the wrong taxi firm you could be paying over £30 to get home. No need.

I've asked around and I've found a winner. Cartax Radio Cars, based in Lees, east of Oldham and hence a little further out from the city, will pick you up from the Northern Quarter and take you home to Oldham for a very reasonable £20. Compare this to Uber and you'll be paying an extra £10 if the Saturday night surcharge is applied.

Unless anyone has any better suggestions?

Also, what about other towns around Manchester? What are your recommendations for taxi firms to take you back to, say, Stockport? Or Bolton?

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Pass it Around

I met up with Writers Connect for the first time in AAAAAGES on Sunday. The feedback group meets in Nexus Art Cafe on Dale St, and it's a really handy meetup for advice on fiction and poetry. We start the meeting with a writing exercise to warm the creative engines and get into the swing of writing. Last week we tried a new exercise.

We each started with a blank sheet of paper and a theme. Our theme was “football”. The person who suggested this idea (not me, obviously) was the only actual football fan at the table. Oh well. We each wrote for one minute exactly, then regardless of where we were up to we stopped writing on the dot. We then passed the sheet to the next person. We had a few moments to read what was already written, and then we had a fresh minute to continue the story where the previous person left off. This continued until we had contributed to each story.

Note: it helps if you use A4 paper and not a spiral-bound notebook, as with the latter different contributors use different sheets of paper and sides of paper. With A4 you're unlikely to get to the bottom of the page.

After writing we tried to read out the whole story, but other people's handwriting (usually mine) was hard to read for some of the group. We suspected in hindsight it would be easier to pass the sheets around in the same order in which we wrote on them as we read them out, so we would only read out what we ourselves had written.

Here's my finished story. I've emboldened alternate parts so you can see where the next writer took over the narrative:

Richard hates football. But once every four years, his bitter hatred of men kicking each other in the shin and crying about it subsided. At every World Cup, Richard joined in the charade, that England moment when Paul Gascoigne cried at the World Cup in the 90s changed football forever. The English women that hated football fell in love with football just because a Geordie man cried. The footballers never cry now. Maybe if they don't get enough money in their new contract or modelling deal that would push them to tears but not the actual game.

Richard never cried at football, just watched his friends sob. Didn't see the drama.

Football's an industry, it's actually got boring
Even though crowds and takings are soaring
Ditch Sky TV and your season pass
Live your life with a little more class

Richard used to sit there, next to his two friends, and close his eyes, and try to think of something more interesting, like cheese, or rivers, or sausages, or tadpoles, or in fact anything that

And there the timer ran out and the page had made its way back to the first person to write on it. So. A little haphazard, asking four non-football fans to write about football.

FYI- incorrect: in I'm a Celebrity:Get Me Out of Here a few weeks ago Newcastle / Westham midfielder Kieron Dyer cried.

There are five other stories like this that we produced during the exercise. I'll try and source them!

I'm tempted to try this again using sheets of A4 and a random topic that doesn't require much knowledge, like, I dunno, fruit. Or something. Carpets. Whatever.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Prospective Mondays

A quick weekly plan for you:


Author Dave Haslam is signing copies of his new book Life After Dark, a history of the British nightclub scene. If you're a writer I'd love for you to guest-blog this. Hit me up


If you're a Wordpress user, meet fellow bloggers using the platform at Manchester Wordpress User Group's monthly meetup. It's their Christmas party, so leave the car at home! Join them at Madlab on Edge St in the Northern Quarter.


If you're a film fan, you'll be more than aware of the new Star Wars film being touted as the big hit this Christmas. I'm looking forward to it, admittedly. I've found an impressive deal on the Manchester Evening News' site. If you're not in work on a Thursday, or can book it off, and fancy watching the film and chowing down on some Almost Famous burger, then make a move quickly: this offer's gonna be snapped up. Midnight screening, anyone?  


Anyone fancy some ales and cocktails? Font bar is the perfect place, just off Oxford Rd next to the train station, and Young Professionals in Manchester may be the ideal group. You won't know unless you try, of course...


You're probably more than aware that there's a new Star Wars film coming out. If you fancy watching it and meeting new people at the same time, (obviously before and after the film) check out Manchester Film Fans. They're meeting in the afternoon.

If you're out a little later, join me and Manchester Social Group for some drinks in Spinningfields. We're starting in The Alchemist for some inventive cocktails, after which we'll probably head into The Avenue for more posh drinks.


A book signing at Nexus Art Cafe with Karen Little. More events happening at Nexus as the month progresses.

I don't just want to reproduce content online- if I can find events happening that are not listed elsewhere, I'll put them here. If you see anything you think I should include, particularly if it's not online yet, tweet me the text or a pic please!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Prospective Mondays

Las Vegas with Trevor McDonald begins on ITV tonight. If it's anything like Mafia with Trevor McDonald, which aired some months ago, it'll be superb. Sir Trevor McDonald's investigations into these shady worlds are always tremendous viewing.

Tuesday: I have found something that may help if you're affected by PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Impact PTSD and DPD Support Group provides assistance for depression, emotional trauma and PTSD and survivors of abuse. It's held at Norden Old Library on Edenfield Rd in Rochdale.

If you fancy a few power ballads on a Friday night, you're not alone. Join 60 other like-minded folk at Manchester Social Scene's Christmas Special at The O2 Ritz. They're starting in nearby Gorilla. It must be a good group if it's that popular.

What is a Christmas Ceili? It's a social event with Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling. Particularly, a Yuletide-themed one. Friday sees one such event happen in Fallowfield with Manchester Social Scene in aid of locally based, Ugandan-focused charities. Live music is provide by Albireo.

Get your Santa / Mrs Santa outfits at the ready: There will be a stampede of Santas- a flurry of Father Christmases- in Manchester on Saturday for the Charity Santa Claus City Centre Bar Crawl. Raising money for MS, the crawl starts at the rowing club at Salford quays, then goes into Manchester via Metrolink. It looks hilarious. Somebody please guest-blog this for me!

If you're a UFC fan you'll already know that the long-anticipated Aldo V McGregor featherweight match is FINALLY going ahead after a painful delay (Aldo's broken rib). This is happening Saturday night at 3am. I need to find a good Manchester venue for boxing and UFC. Suggestions?

I won't be able to watch it though as I'm at feedback group Writers Connect the next day and I need to be fresh for it. If you fancy some creative writing exercises and giving / receiving feedback on stories and poems, check us out in Nexus from 1pm. If advice on writing is something you're after I strongly recommend giving these meetings a shot.

And that's this week. Have I missed anything?

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Meeting Bradley Wiggins

Olympic gold medalist and Tour De France-winning cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins KBE dropped into Waterstones Deansgate yesterday to sign copies of his new book My Hour.

I got there about 2 hours early and there was already a queue. It was a very quick sign-and-photo session, but in the 10 seconds or so I had, he seemed like a decent bloke. The situation was not as tense as it appears between me, him and his bodyguard!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

NaNoWriMo Ends

Yesterday was the final day of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. As mentioned I have been dabbling with a screenplay that I wrote in 2005. I did this instead of writing a novel from scratch. I still believe the script has potential, but in order for it to be the best it can be I need feedback. In fact, I quickly found that I couldn't move forward with the project without advice. My plan was to revise the synopsis (which I did), then show it to feedback group Writers Connect. The meeting I managed to get to was cancelled, though, so I'm still waiting for a chance to show it to other people. After this, I'll use the feedback to adjust the synopsis and the manuscript itself, then bring in said manuscript in thousand-word chunks to see what the group make of it.

I may have another go at website Scribophile, a fiction critique website. I've just had a look after being away from the site for a couple of years. There is a screenplay subheading but there's no work currently waiting to be reviewed here, so if I entered my synopsis or screenplay segments they may not get that much attention. Anyone know of any good screenplay review websites? One site I was planning to use seems to have shut down its feedback section: Trigger Street Productions no longer have their “Labs” section for advice. I never even got around to using it.

Are there any other screenplay resources I should check out?