Friday, 30 December 2016

Come to Panacea this NYE!

Are you stuck for something to do this New Year's Eve? Do you want a party? Can you get to Manchester? Do you like cool, trendy places and don't mind paying a little extra for your night out?

If you're still nodding, join Manchester Cool Bars and Clubs this Saturday. We're heading to luxurious Panacea on John Dalton Street. Expect good company, d├ęcor and RnB, and probably a few celebs if you look around. Panacea are hosting The Enchanted Ball, a new year party to remember.

There's still time to get involved. The only hurdle: you'll need to pick up a £25 ticket from Panacea's reception. They might sell out, so get organised quickly!

Don't be intimidated by the image of the club. I've pulled the last 2 times I've been to Panacea, and if a regular bloke like me can do it, you can too. If you want. Plenty of people there seemed friendly and down to earth, as far as I could see. And, granted, there'll be the odd gold digger, but you get them everywhere. Essentially, it'll be a brilliant time. There's me and a girl mate going so far. Join us!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Beating Old Gym Records: Result!

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A month ago I set myself a gym challenge- to beat 10 of my longest-standing personal bests at the gym. A lot of these records dated back to the summer of 2012, on movements that I'd since neglected- either through not trying at all after the initial attempt, or failing on so much that I gave up and moved onto other movements.

A month has passed, I've put in the graft (until the Christmas period, of course, where I've eaten so much I've probably undone all the improvements) and I've set some new PBs. What are they?

Wide grip chinups- 1 more
10 minute walk- 0.1km/ph faster
10 minute reverse cross trainer- 0.04km further
1 hour on cross trainer- 0.33km further

So a few minor improvements, but not as many as I'd been hoping for. The wide grip chin-ups was my oldest-standing record, from June 2012, so it's great to finally bash through that one. I realised, through doing this, that Oldham Community Leisure's new central gym- that has been open over a year- doesn't have a pec deck, so I was only attempting 9 out of 10 of the movements.

I'm not sure how much I weighed in 2012. I remember being 68kg when I moved out in 2010, and I ballooned upwards over the years to 80kg a few months ago. I'm now down to 72kg (or I was on the 23rd. Dreading getting back on the scales.) I can lift a lot more these days, so some of it will be muscle, but I never got my 6-pack back after leaving the parents' gaff.

Let's see what happens in the new year. I have another month-long gym project in the pipeline that you might want to give a shot yourself.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Space Ibiza Classics in The Albert Hall

Wowsers. Aging but still-skilled DJs Danny Rampling, David Morales and Roger Sanchez banded together to bring us Space: Ibiza Classics last night in Manchester's iconic Albert Hall on Peter St. Their Facebook album is here.

Joining them were Herd 'n' Fitz and their vocalist Abigail Bailey, who performed a live PA of their classic hit I Just Can't Get Enough.

Although strangely never quite hitting capacity, the club still filled with people, some of whom I knew from one group of friends or another. I was surprised by the familiar faces I spotted. Meanwhile, giant balloons of various colours bounced off the walls, and off the hands and heads of the crowd, while animated abstract designs pulsed with the classic house songs. Great atmos although Sanchez started to play certain tracks that I'm sure were played by some of the DJs that had been on before him. Rampling and Morales I'd never seen play before, but I've taken in their names and music over the years of listening to house music radio shows and it was great to see them in the flash (and dance my arse off to their music).

Abigail Bailey

Abigail Bailey

Abigail Bailey

Roger Sanchez

Out you go

David Morales

Another removal

Danny Rampling

Monday, 26 December 2016

What to do in the last week of 2016

Well, if you're reading this blog you're supposed to be an adult, so make your own mind up, yeah? Sound. That said, can I give you some ideas?

Friday night / Saturday morning- the morning of the 31st- UFC 207 broadcasts live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The headline fight- long time female bantamweight champion- now former champion Ronda Rousey- makes her return after a devastating loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November last year. Next, somewhat unfairly some people believe, she'll jump straight back in with a title shot against current champion Amanda Nunes.

For what it's worth, there is a meetup for this. UFC fight nights in Genting Casino are always great fun- exciting viewing on big screens in a smart, clean venue with good service. There's always a few people from across greater Manchester who have made it there in the wee hours to watch the matches. It'll finish around 6am UK time, so expect a late one.

Once you've slept off the Friday, you'll be more than ready for another late one on Saturday night. It's New Year's Eve, and either you've got plans or you haven't. If not, Meetup has come to your rescue. Socialising in the City currently has monopoly on New Year's Eve events- I've not seen a great deal else happening, but it's great that organiser Ann Marie has put this on. It's a fairly laid back meetup for people aged 25-45, starting in tapas bar La Tasca on Deansgate. If you fancy a pre-countdown meal, join us there for 7pm, then it's a few drinks in the northern quarter with an interim of watching the fireworks at Albert Square at midnight. This is subject to change, but as far as I know this is the plan! There are 14 of us at the time of writing, but it wouldn't surprise me if this number shot up at the last minute.

I've seen a ton of other nights advertised relating to New Year, with the odd Z-list celeb making an appearance in one club or another, but there's nothing on Meetup. These prospective posts are always an attempt to bring people together who would be at a loose end otherwise, so I'm not going to name anything that isn't easy to turn up to alone. But there's no need to stay in watching Jools Holland, for God's sake. Get out and meet people!

One other thing: Meetup group Manchester House and Techno
will close down without someone stepping up. I don't think I ever went out with them, but that's my music. I might if you want to take charge and pay up! If nobody does, Keep your eye on Manchester Cool Bars. There's nothing at the moment but I'm likely to put some house music events up from February onwards.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

#tbt: An Urban Legend about the Manchester IRA Bomb

Back in 2006 when I was doing agency work getting nowhere with my life, I was working in a postal room in the old CIS tower in Manchester doing a very tedious job for minimum wage. I remember a conversation surfacing about the Manchester IRA bomb on Corporation St, which had happened a decade beforehand. It was probably the tenth anniversary, and the radio news would have been discussing it retrospectively.

One of the people working in the post room- some guy, he may have been young or old, I dunno- he claimed he knew one of the ambulance workers who'd been called to the scene. The ambulance worker had entered the Marks and Spencer, its glass panels smashed by the explosion. The detonation had ruptured the sewage works under the building, and this had led to rats scurrying out of the split drainpipes, some of them as large as small cats, grown obese on the city's waste.

After evacuating the building, the ambulance worker then emptied the shop's tills and walked out with fourteen grand stuffed into the pockets of his overalls. And fourteen grand in 1996 would have got you a fair bit more than it would today.

Talk about perks of the job.

Is this a bullshit rumour, or is there some truth to it? Drop me a comment if you know. I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Sugar Buddha to take over Baa Bar Unit?

The longest-standing brand on Deansgate Locks, BaaBar, closed a couple of months ago to address 'serious leaks.'

I hope it bounces back, as I have many fond memories of the place, including working there in 2002 and getting footballer Trevor Sinclair thrown out in 2003.

It's a great down-to-earth affordable joint and a good starting place.

There's a contradicting rumour coming out of neighbouring bar Sugar Buddha, however.
A member of staff claimed their bar's plan was to take over the adjacent unit that Baa has occupied since 2002 at the latest. Sugar Buddha is nice, but I'll be sad to see Baa go- if it does.

Monday, 19 December 2016

I've finished for Christmas!

I'm on leave from now until the 4th. I've been out on Mad Friday and on Saturday, looking for stories for the blog, seeing mates and having a few sober drinks. I didn't see that much happening, to be honest, but true to form the Manchester Evening News got to the right place at the right time. They didn't find much either, other than people staggering around with no shoes on. A man was stabbed with a broken bottle on Princess St (video here), which is possibly the low-point of Mad Friday this year.

Meetup is a little quiet this week. A lot of the people who populate the site are people who've moved here from other parts of the UK- or the world- and have gone home for Christmas, so there aren't that many events listed. Added to this, the students are going home for a couple of weeks so many of the midweek nights aren't going to be busy. But keep your eye on Manchester Cool Bars and also Socialising in the City which will have events in the near future.

One event to catch my eye is the Miss Swimsuit UK competition in Leeds on Thursday. The last one in Manchester was superb. I haven't put up a meetup as it's too far, but if I can't convince anyone locally I might lone-wolf it to Oracle nightclub. I met loads of celebrities including some gorgeous girls, plus non famous stunners- one of which, a scouse milf, I pulled. So who knows.

More to come. January will be dead, so I'm piling in as many parties as possible in the meantime. Get involved with them!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Tape Wednesdays?

Who can do a Wednesday? Manchester Cool Bars are headed to Tape Wednesdays, the new night at Ark on Deansgate Locks. Brought to you by Organised Chaos, the team behind Socialite, Tape is a night of RnB in the trendy Deansgate Locks area. In attendance this week: Love Island's Scott Thomas.

I finish work for Christmas on Friday so expect some carnage over the next few weeks. Keep your eye on the Cool Bars group on Meetup!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Does Sophie Dalzell Breastfeed her Dog?

Of course not. Banter. Ex TV chat babe and model Sophie definitely doesn't suckle her handbag-breed dog. Although, that said...

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Soft Machine review / Goat story cut-up

'Got to be kidding!' A goat has head-butted a pensioner Perhaps not the strongest advert for a classic book, but a fairly accurate description, those familiar would agree. It takes a bit of stomach to get through the forecourt of the shop, He said the goat "butted" Billy in the back short surrealist novel by a gay dead heroin junkie. I think the point is, it's open to interpretation. The shop manager told BBC News NI t never shies away from its content, up on its hind legs and jumped on two cars, one belonging to a customer and another to a staff member. "We had to trail him inside, "to use the ATM when she spotted the goat and ran back to her car. The goat proved to be a tricky customer even if it does cut from one subject to another. But that's the point of it. the pensioner was not injured. Speaking to the Carrickfergus Times newspaper, the manager said: It reads more like poetry than prose, by which I mean we're left to make our own assumptions and conclusions as to what it all means. The manager said his employee replied: "Yeah, right" and jumped on cars after being refused entry I'm not totally sure what it was about- the stray goat charged at one of his regular customers, named Billy. A man sent to investigate a scientist using mind-control powers? Another customer shouted a warning to a member of staff who was the first in a trilogy, a 'cut-up' saga in which a County Antrim shop was into the baskets eating all the plants and running round the car park, I thought: 'you've got to be kidding me!'" Gay people having 1950s illegal sex? He looked up and saw the goat outside the door, adding: "It seemed to want to break into the shop and it was staring straight at me." he Soft Machine is random words are spliced In the goat walking in to the shop to start work. He said one customer tried ome kind of bizarre murder cult? But when she spotted the goat she dove in to the customer's car for cover. Or all of those? Or none? into the text to the point that the narrative isn't clear any more and you just go with it, before he managed to drag the pensioner into the shop for safety. I enjoyed it, but I didn't see how, over the decades, the goat began eating flower baskets outside the shop on Victoria Road and then frightened staff and customers as they tried to get into the building. picturing your own scenario. The incident ended when t rose from 'jibberish' to 'classic.' a man, believed to be the goat's owner, arrived at the shop and dragged the goat off by the horns. thought it was the bread man knocking."

Soft Machine by William Burroughs, reviewed, cut-up with Stray goat goes wild at Carrickfergus shop, BBC.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Dollar Mondays in Tiger Tiger Tonight- Get Involved!

Like cheap drinks and fit young people? Silly question. Perhaps "Can you handle a Monday night?" is more the relevant question. If the answer to both is "Yes," get invovled with Manchester Cool Bars tonight. We're heading to Tiger Tiger in the Printworks to see what the new Dollar Mondays night is all about. Their Tuesday night is great, so I have high hopes. Let's start next door in Hard Rock Cafe at 9!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Pulling A Late One

A short erotic office-based story. If that's not your thing, don't read on.

Yeah, I thought you would.


Oh, you've been bad. You shouldn't have done that. Not on a weeknight. Especially not when you've got a meeting the next day.

But, fuck, it's tempting. A whole bar. Mostly students. The manager and the DJ know exactly what they're doing. Cheap alcopops. The birds love 'em, and after the first few bottles they'll do anything to get more for free.


Or, at least, you like to think. They're easy, but you still didn't get anywhere for some reason (possibly because you drank a few alcopops yourself bringing out the leering pervert in you), and you woke up alone five hours later, to both radio and phone alarms blaring. You're now sat in this mind-numbing meeting trying to prop your eyes open, oozing last night's excesses.

Focus. Look at your manager. Oh God, why does she have to be fit too?

“Just a few jobs to dish out today,” she says, sifting through stapled sheets. She says something about a park and a poster.

Wait. No, don't look at her. That blouse is making you think things again.

You take an assignment sheet, making your contribution now, to show people you're with it. Don't let your eyes drop. Loosen your collar and cool off. Straighten your tie to hide it. Listen to the conversation; don't think about those girls. Don't picture them on the podium, in their little denim skirts, bending over and-

A handful of paper passes in front of your eyes and you try not to flinch. You look up at your manager from across the table. Strike one. She's noticed you're half asleep, but she's pretending she hasn't.

Fuck, you think. You wouldn't be in this shit now if it wasn't for that DJ. You'd have just gone home if he hadn't have made them do it, made them kiss and touch each other, made them glance out to the audience where you were standing.

They even looked right at you. Like your manager is doing right now, only without the scorn. Strike two.

Your colleague is speaking, the middle-class marketing bloke with a long commute every day and a fiance waiting for him at home in the evenings. You glance at him, like you've been paying attention all along.

We're still waiting to hear back from them on that,” he says. You hear him say “leaflets”.

Stay tuned for now. When you get home, you can think about this all you want and you can crack one out, get it of the system and catch up on sleep. You can imagine you're the DJ. Oh. You want this champagne? You're going to have to show me a little more.

The girls lift up each other's tiny denim skirts, looking at you, and French kiss. They spank each other, hard, a smack that you can hear the over your music, piercing the fast-paced, tuneless track. They show off their thongs, grope each other's breasts, push their cleavages against each other.

Please, Mr. DJ. Give us your sweet champagne.

You show them the bottle as one girl buries her face in between the other girl's breasts.

Keep trying, you think.

But something isn't right: the bass has dropped out on your sound system. You don't understand the audio deck, which isn't actually there- all you can see is three squat coffee tables pushed together. All you can hear is the snare of- of-

Of fabric being stretched.

Your trousers. Your hand in your pocket. Your own tugging. You stop, and start to shrink, in more ways than one.

Your colleagues- your married manager, the recently-graduated pretty assistant with the meathead boyfriend you hear of- the pregnant girl who has to slouch a little- they are all silent, looking at the floor, scarlet faced.

Strike three. Oh, you've been bad.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Beating Very Old Gym Records

The intended outcome

Do you ever go to the gym and hit certain machines, only to find you're getting nowhere with them so move onto other exercises? Do you ever make so much progress on certain movements that you totally forget about the ones you started on? I've been keeping records on my workouts since about 2011, during which time some movements I've made loads of improvements on and some I've made none. My oldest personal bests go back to 2012. I'm confident that I can make some improvements on a few of these.

So what are they?

14 wide-grip chin-ups 21/6/12
10 mins walk 8.3kph 11/7/12
10 mins reverse cross trainer 0.48k 13/10/12
Pec deck plate 14 21/12/12
Vertical dumbbell fly 18kg x2 7/7/13
1hr on cross trainer 2.91k 25/7/13
10 mins run 14.0kph 27/11/13
10 mins cross trainer 0.69k 11/3/14
13 bicep chin-ups 14/7/14
14 horizontal grip chin-ups 16/5/15

I'm expecting quite a few improvements on these as a lot of these movements are very similar to others that I've recently made PBs on. So let's see how it goes. Obviously a month from now is slap bang between Christmas and New Year, so who knows how many gym sessions I'll get in towards the end...

Monday, 28 November 2016

Northern Quarter Pub Crawl Anyone?

How are you fixed for Saturday? Fancy doing a few bars around Manchester's trendy Northern Quarter area? Manchester Cool Bars has a crawl lined up that you can get involved in. Meet new folk. Drink cocktails. Dance. Do what you want (within reason). They're starting in Cottonopolis on Newton St at 9. Get involved!

As December encroaches I'll be putting up fewer meetups, particularly once the inevitable snow arrives, so these prospective posts will be sparse.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Secondcity in Sankeys

House music producers Secondcity played in Manchester's Sankeys last night. I saw this event- ran by Covert- in the club's calendar and put up a meetup on Manchester Cool Bars as early as possible, around a month ago, as I love their single I Wanna Feel.

We started in Northern Quarter bar Bluu, a nice place mostly for professionals and a short walk from the Ancoats venue. We got into Sankeys by 23:45 when Just Jorge was playing back-to-back with Brian Murphy, whose set included The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up. I was a fair bit older than a lot of people- 18-24 and good looking is the average, to whom a track like this would be before their time.

The men's toilets weren't too bad but my female friend claimed the women's was abysmal.

When Secondcity took over their set was more tech house than their warmup, but well mixed. (Although they did whip out a few remixed 90s classics. See below.) There were some impressive dancers- customers with rhythm- in the venue.

Enjoyable set! I'll be keeping my eye on Sankeys events and may run more meetups- probably in the new year.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Erick Morillo in South

It's 00:30 on Saturday morning and there's a rumour going around in South nightclub that Erick Morillo- Colombian-American house music producer / DJ due to play at some point tonight- has landed a plane- not a helicopter but an actual aeroplane- on top of The Beetham Tower in Manchester. This makes little sense to me as Beetham is a vary narrow building, but it doesn't matter as the warmup DJ is good and is playing fresh beats, melodic and not too heavy, yet not overplayed either. There's no set times available, possibly because Morillo is travelling here from York as part of his UK tour and who knows what travelling will be like, with any form of transport. (He had been in Los Angeles 2 days earlier, so the travel rumour isn't a totally unfounded concept.)

A little later, the club has filled up. Morillo takes over playing more funky, upbeat house with plenty of piano elements, which is right up my street.

Great atmosphere with good clientele. Both times I've been to South the club was hosting house music nights, a world away from the indie evens they advertise regularly (which wouldn't be my thing). But both times I attended there were good attitudes from friendly people who want to dance and have a good time with out pretense. And last night Erick Morillo was great fun to watch.

I even bumped into someone from Meetup who was out with people from a group I wasn't in. The site is gaining more presence in Manchester's nightlife all the time. So if this might have been your thing, there could be other similar events coming up soon...

Friday, 25 November 2016

Social Media Use Will Peak in 2017

2006: a handful of the cool kids I knew- early twenties, successful beautiful folk- join MySpace, the first semi-popular social media site. They upload pictures of themselves on nights out, change the backgrounds of their profiles to colour schemes or wallpapers that 'reflect' them, and install a music player so whoever visits their site is treated to the owner's favourite song. (Mine was Firefox's Sex Shooter, if you wanted to know.)

The site starts to develop popularity, but it has its drawbacks. There's no way to see your friends' new updates, like pictures or blog posts. You have to check their profile. The only updates you see are the bulletins, chunks of text sent out to all of your friends. People only use these for chain letters anyway. The site peaks in mid 2007, but usage drains suddenly. MySpace has a huge new competitor.

The cool kids have now moved over to Facebook, which requires more up-to-date software to access. The news feed allows you to see every new change your friends make, and you are notified of any changes to your own profile- comments on pics, messages left on walls, and any time someone accepts a friend request you've sent.

Facebook becomes more popular than MySpace ever was, and much quicker too. The few MySpace users forget their profiles there and spend more time on Mark Zuckerberg's much more user-friendly social media site. Facebook itself goes through numerous redesigns. Comments on statuses are now an integral function after first being allowed through a third party-add-on app, Timeline is a new (and highly controversial) overhaul of the site's functions, messages are easier to send and receive and mobile access improves greatly with the introduction of the Facebook app. But as MySpace dies off, another competitor is throwing its hat into the digital ring.

Numerous celebrity scandals, and a phone hacking investigation resulting in the closure of The News of the World, rock the nation's news outlets. Journalists are no longer waiting to publish their stories in newspapers- they're using Twitter, the fledgling social media site focussing purely on status updates. People turn to this for more up-to-date news, although many doubt the authenticity of news stories that are only 140 characters long. The site, like every other, goes through numerous redesigns in an attempt to perfect its usability.

It's 2016, and has now been a decade since MySpace's popularity spike. 2017 will mark ten years since Facebook's surge in usership- and people's uploads are already becoming noticeably less frequent. The unfollow button is becoming popular, allowing us to stay friends with someone without seeing their updates. (I've done this to 90% of my Facebook friends.) Sites like Statusbrew allow us to choose who we unfollow on Twitter with greater clarity and organisation. We're starting to become conscious of the amount of info we're being overloaded with, and we're doing something about it.

Social media is no longer fun. It's now a habit of vanity, and something we need to cut down on, for time saving's sake. I predict a number of occurrences in 2017:

  1. Schools and media outlets will offer advice on how to conduct one's self online.
  2. Facebook's popularity will ebb, with people only uploading the best parts of their lives- as many people do now- only less frequently.
  3. Facebook's Unfollow button will be used heavily, and people will start to admit to their Facebook friends that they don't see their updates any more. You'll have to visit people's pages to see what they're up to, like in the MySpace era.
  4. Livestreaming of events will be the new zeitgeist, with people reluctant to go to club nights when they can watch them from the comfort of their homes.
  5. Local bloggers and amateur writers will frequently upload multimedia news stories as they happen (I'll be one of them), hence beating qualified journalists to stories.
  6. We'll see an emergence of masses and masses of old pictures and video footage, largely shared over Facebook and Twitter with the #tbt (Throwback Thursday) hashtag. As everyone famous went to school with 30-or so other people, most celebrities will find old pictures of themselves emerging online, taken before the days of social media. Then, after a few more years, this will ebb off as the younger generation's lives have already been largely documented online. This prediction extends beyond 2017, but the peak of the uploading will occur within it.
  7. Meetup will become hugely popular. Meetup is a social media site, with the emphasis on 'social.' It's intended to help people to find new friends with similar interests and hobbies. Time is a precious commodity, and with long-standing friends unable to make social occasions, for the few with available time, new friends will fill the gap. I joined many groups at a time when my longer-standing friends were going back into education, getting married or having kids (none of which I was doing). I'm not the only person to give the site a shot for those reasons. Many Meetup attendees have said the same things. As the months go on I'm noticing an explosion in the site's popularity, with more and more groups opening up all the time. Meetup has 187K likes on its Facebook page and 38K Twitter. There'll be a million on both in 3 years. It's not only successful, it's hugely fun too, and is the only social media site I've found to emphasise the importance of getting out and meeting people in the flesh, and to actually make it easier to do so.
In conclusion, social media will no longer be thought of as a trendy pastime or a young person's thing. It'll just be another tool for communication, and will be used with more purpose and with less vanity. We'll learn to be more conscious about our uploads, and we'll remember that there's a world out there that we used to partake in a little more than we do now. And we'll get back to doing that.

Remember, though, what you put on the internet largely stays there. My old MySpace profile is still visible, although my login hasn't seemed to work since the site's overhaul a couple of years ago. Also a lot of the info I published- the blog and the bulletins- seem to have disappeared. But your old profiles and questionable updates may still be available to potential employers, so as social media tech moves forward, it might be worth having a trek back through those near-redundant sites- some content, perhaps a dodgy status about an individual- might not be as buried as you might have hoped...

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Teach Yourself Time Management

For this week's #creativewednesday, I've written an abecedarian poem – a poem with a structure derived from the alphabet. It's also a book review.

Another Oxfam purchase
bought in the Oldham store for two quid
can't deny it was a bargain
designed to help anyone,
especially business managers
forget wasting time and resources
get efficient and learn techniques to be so.
How to plan your time and your goals: use
Improve Your Time Management
just 200 pages. Concise yet detailed,
kick your organisational skills into touch
learn from the best. Published in '09,
most of it is still relevant
only passages on mobile phones and organisers
provide outdated information.
Quite a lot of the advice should be
really obvious anyway, common sense is key.
Still, the most interesting parts include
techniques for how to say 'no.'
Unusual to find this difficult, you may think
very awkward, though, for shy people
with this book, the advice should be valuable
X-ray-like insight from Polly Bird
Zip through your goals with her advice.