Sunday, 31 January 2016

Cirque Du Burlesque at Cirque; Lost in Tokyo

The SatNav takes me to a side street on the outskirts of the city, somewhere near Harpurhey and Collyhurst- hardly bastions of public safety- where I find a side street and find my friend getting out of a taxi next to a new-build block of flats and a college. There's hardly any other buildings around. A shifty-looking guy with a heavy Manc accent asks us where Manchester is. We need to find this club quickly.

There's a pub up ahead with minimal signing and a doorman- it's the only place nearby likely to be accommodating a burlesque night. And it is! We have found Cirque.

We're welcomed into the reception area- which is caged off and reminds me of a sheriff's office in a western movie- and our names are checked off the guest list. We're led into the prohibition-style bar area where there are leather-clad seats available and a stage set up, with Nu-Jazz playing in the background and a steadily-building crowd of people.

The compare introduces the burlesque act.

The closest I've come to a night like this is The Birdcage in Manchester, but this was much more friendly, intimate and fun. The dancers were talented and had time for the guests, and the performances were spot on and close to the audience.

After this we hit new Northern Quarter bar Lost in Tokyo, a small but busy Japanese-themed bar with good looking clientele and impressive wall murals. Spoke to a 1980s Kim Basinger lookalike who had never heard of Kim Basinger. Well. How old did I feel. Also spotted a Peter Sutcliffe lookalike, so there was a range of appearances, shall we say. I didn't let him know who he reminded me of, just in case. People were very drunk by the end of the night. Nice place though. I'd go back.

I went to this night out with Manchester Cool Bars and Clubs, their first event since Silvia took over. More events to come- get involved!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Meeting Shola Ama

Last night Manchester's Milton Club held their monthly Soul Purpose live talent event, this time with RnB and Garage star Shola Ama.

She put in a superb performance, capturing the attention of the (mostly female) audience. Ms Ama looked great and made time for her fans, shaking hands during the singing and posing for selfies after coming off stage.

I managed to grab a quick selfie.

A fun night. I put the event on Manchester Social Group. There will be other Soul Purpose events appearing on the site in future- keep your eye on it!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Reading and Planking Record Breaker: Result!

I am planking at 5 minutes! It's like being 28 again- only I weigh more and I'm more bitter. Anyway. Superb news. I've been combining planking- holding your body weight on your forearms and toes, keeping your body straight like a plank- and reading for some months now. The most recent project was to break my record of 4 minutes 40 seconds.

I started on the 6th January getting 2:17. I pushed it up a day at a time to a frustratingly-close 4:31 on the 25th. Yesterday I managed 5:00 exactly. I've done it through eating chicken and pepper fajitas, tuna sandwiches, early nights, plenty of gym sessions and straight-up persistence.

The book: The Dreaming Void by Peter F Hamilton. I'm 300 pages in, towards the halfway point- it's fantastic so far. I think I'll be able to read it a little faster now that I'm not working out at the same time.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Pass it Around Again

Take a look at this group writing exercise about football. This, as mentioned, was an exercise produced by a team of writers who would write for one minute solid before passing the sheet on to the next writer for them to continue. There are as many sheets as there are writers so we all write at the same time.

What I have here, which group member Gail typed up, is another of these sheets which describes another version of the same theme. Gail's gone one step further than me and remembered which member wrote which section. Dedication!


Garry: The game of football has been usurped by people with money. They have taken the game out of local communities by constantly building on pitches. Football is for all people, men and women. It is a social game.

Michael: Yes, for all people not that, Paul, all people should play football. You always say that you don’t like the game and would rather read a book, but what’s not liking it got to do with anything? Do you like having to go to school? No? But does that mean you don’t have to go? Well then, you should damned well play football

John Morris: “But sir, football is nothing more than twenty two men running around a wide expanse of grass space trying to put a ball into the other person’s net. Surely to God there are better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Matt: “Wrong” said the teacher, “There’s 22, 11 per team, 23 with the ref, more with your substitutions”

“Sir, I’ve got to ask you” I took a breath. “You teach us basketball, rugby and rounders, when we see these other sports on television, we never see shirt pulling, fights, spitting and dirty tackles”.

Gail: “That’s because we want you to be gentlemen and not pigs or dogs” said Sid the trainer. 

“But we love a good punch up” said Sally, “Please sir, as its Christmas can we pretend that we are both pigs and men”

Oz: “Is that what you want then boys? To have a big old fight on the pitch?”

“The reason I’ve taught you rugby is that rugby is a real man’s game. Do you want to be girls?”

“OK then, I’ll give you all a pair of heels, a lipstick and a ball and see what you achieve in the next 90 minutes."

Monday, 25 January 2016

Prospective Mondays

I'm going to keep these posts concise from now on rather than hammer on about other people's events. There are a few things you should get involved with this week.

Friday night: RnB star Shola Ama will be performing in The Milton Club for their monthly Soul Purpose event. I'm taking a crowd from Manchester Social Group, starting in Sakana.

Saturday night: The first outing with Manchester Cool Bars and Clubs since it was saved from closure. This time we're starting in Cirque, on Queens Rd outside the city centre, and then heading into the Northern Quarter then heading into town for Lost in Tokyo, a new Northern Quarter bar with a Far East theme.

I'm really looking forward to it as the venues sound fantastic. Just need to figure out how to get there first! Five spots left at the time of writing. Take them!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Pass It Around: Second Subject

Last month I wrote about a group writing exercise in which we write for 2 minutes on a chosen subject and then pass the writing pad to the next writer for them to continue from where the previous writer left off.

Each person in the group would have their own pad of paper meaning 6 or so stories could be produced at the same time. I've tried to source copies of the other stories with no success so far. The last exercise was about football, which only one person cared about, hence each story devolved into a bitter diatribe about the sport as opposed to an actual story. This time our theme was New Year. Issues with the work: STILL nobody can read each other's handwriting, which means when you continue the story you don't totally know what has already been written. When you're writing to a 2-minute deadline, the temptation is to write as quickly as possible and legibility of writing will be the first thing to go out of the window. Here's what (I think) I've got on my pad:

Mike pulled up the Colornotes app on his Xperia and checked his remaining 2015 goals. Skydive he'd crossed off in June, something he'd not be doing again in a hurry. Of course he had the advantage over me that he knew what it was he'd crossed off, as he could read his own writing so he would be in a better position than me to tell you about it. However, he thought back to those glorious late spring days when he had at last got round to doing it. He remembered clearly, it was pissing it down with rain at the time, and his only objective was not to chicken out- and not to die. The moment on the edge of the plane door was the worst – the earth, vast below, nothing but air all around. The sense of vertigo was all but overhelming. Then a swift shove in the back from the instructor and he was out – on his own, falling.

And the parachute did not open. Whatever on the harness he pulled tugged twisted. He screamed buthis screams were lost in air. There was a lot of it. He looked down- the ground was still so far away.

What to do?

The wind was moving him sideways- not directly down. Was that good? He still He was dropping like a stone or moving sideways. He saw hills, the place he should be landing, but that was way to the right now- there was water.


So. That was the exercise, or what we managed of it. It's a tough task, largely because of handwriting- and we were all struggling with reading everyone's work. But this time we did a much better job of continuing the narrative and sticking to the story without going off on wild tangents.

It was my intention to source other versions of both the football story and the new year story, texts that we had contributed to as a group, so that I could upload them here and we could look at the differences and similarities. Still waiting for Writers Connect to email me!

Fittingly, today is National Handwriting Day in America. Parts of the UK have recognised it too- check out The Telegraph's very dubious handwriting quiz.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

#tbt Oldham Carnival

Oldham Cyclists Touring Club (CTC) congregate at Oldham Carnival on Union Street, circa 1987. My mum is on the far left with the short dark hair. My sister (who's about 1 in this picture) is in the child seat on the back of her bike. I'm probably just off shot left of her (aged about 5), as is my dad. My parents were (and still are) CTC members.

As you can see, the carnival is in full swing with the excessive use of bunting (note the solitary strip hung from the dilapidated Bingo Social Club). You can actually see someone holding some balloons screen left of the bus. I found this picture buried in a box of my earliest school notebooks.

Were you at the carnival? Are you on this picture? Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

An interesting Twitter trick with

I've been using an add-on website to get a better idea of what I've managed to do with my Twitter account. is a free website that allows you to check when someone unfollows you on Twitter. This is something of which Twitter itself does not notify you.

Unfollowers also allows you to view statistics on your Twitter account. For example, you can see who you follow, who follows you, who follows you back out of those you have followed (your “friends”), who follows you that you are not following back (your “fans”), and who you are following who are not following you back (people you “are a fan of”). The site provides you with total figures for all of these.

Using this information you can easily unfollow people who aren't following you back if you so wish. You can also quickly check who are your biggest followers. To do this, start by logging in with your Twitter account and then clicking into the Twitter icon (you'll see your Twitter profile pic.) On the left hand side, find the section titled “FOLLOWERS”. Underneath this you will see a link titled “Everyone following you”. This will throw up a list of Twitter accounts with that criteria. Next, go to the top right of the screen and look for the “sort by” section, and choose “followers” and “descending” from the drop-down boxes. The results will be your most-followed followers, decreasing in follower numbers.

My most popular follower:

DJ King Assassin, with 4.64 million followers. A big name on the behind-the-scenes hip hop scene, he is responsible for the beats behind artists such as Tupac, Ice T and Wyclef Jean.

In second and third place respectively are Great Minds Quotes with 2.96 million followers and

Penguin Books with 1.19 million. Other notable followers are:

BBC3, (633K), 

porn stars
Vicky Vette (724K),
Brandi Love (243K),
Brooke Haven (211K)
Candace Von (171K)
and Dillion Harper (168K)

Author of The Game, Neil Strauss (119K), and
Odeon Cinemas (104K).

Unfollowers is a great tool for thinning out your followings to stop you looking like a huge fanboy / fangirl (running a celebrity-obsessed blog may counter that effect though). It allows you to unfollow 100 accounts a day straight from their interface without going back to your own Twitter account. It's also handy if you want to know who made the decision to unfollow you, or who's stopped tweeting. Aside from the above you may find other things in the site that I haven't. It's a curiosity, but I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.

One final link: Unfollowers' Twitter is here.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Films on the Cross Trainer #3

These films are getting shorter all the time. I should have done them in reverse order really. This time I checked out low-budget action comedy Kung Fury, a kitsch mashup of every 80s action reference you could possibly think of written, directed by, and starring David Sandberg (who bears more than a striking resemblance to a 1980s Charlie Sheen).

Martial artist cop Kung Fury is sent back in time to defeat evil kung fu champion Adolf Hitler, where he teams up with Viking gods and dinosaurs. Your typical kitchen-sink drama, then. Great fun, entertainingly dumb and hilarious in parts.

I spent 31 minutes watching it on the cross trainer, burning 7.4kcal, and traveling 1.48km. The next film should be a little longer I think!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Prospective Mondays

Fucking hell, man. It's only Monday afternoon and it's all gone off already. I can't give you any info about the Party People group as one of the organisers has just blocked me. Why? Because I criticised them in yesterday's post

Their response?

"Maybe you should talk to my face? rather than prancing on the internet. Another thing, perhaps social graces would be better proved if you're invited. Anyhoot, better you stay home next. Blocked - childish little man. Xx"

I'm not entirely sure how they found the post in the first place as I hadn't linked it to the Meetup event page. I did, however, write up a previous event to the opening of Sankeys Warehouse back in October. I had linked that to the Meetup event page. The next time I saw the organiser they complained that I'd not mentioned them or thanked them in the blog post. Bizarre. My only assumption is that they've been an avid reader of my work since then.

Violins. I've met a good group of people through his group and we no longer need the meetup to have nights out. There are always other meetups and other groups to attend if you're using / fancy using Meetup, or if I fancy.

For instance, there's the Manchester Filmmakers Meetup on Monday. I joined them on Friday just gone as I have a few script ideas I wanted to show them. They're meeting in The Moon Under the Water, which is unfortunately on my blacklist.

Thursday: After Work Drinks are going to Slug and Lettuce at Albert Square, a venue I recommend. Nice and smart without being too posh.

Other meetup groups you might want to check are Vicky's Social Nights Out and Manchester Socialising. Both have city-wide events to get involved with.

In other news, Garage DJ Wookie is performing a set at Sankeys on Saturday. His 2000 track Battle takes me right back to the garage hour in Ashton's Love Shack (AKA Shitshack).

I'd love to be at Sankeys but I'll be at Writers Connect the next day and I need to be sharp. I need your feedback on the second thousand words of my screenplay. The advice and opinions I've received so far have been brilliantly helpful. I've also got an idea for writing homework exercise which I might suggest...

If anyone has any, uh, OTHER feedback, Tweet me...

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Genting for Boxing; Manchester Meetup Issues

I watched the short but explosive David Haye match against Mark DeMori last night. I missed the beginning due to parking up, but I dived into Genting Casino and signed up before settling in. I'd been advised this was the go-to place if you want to watch the fights.

It's tidy and smart, with good eye candy, and provides enough seating when there's a big-name fight on. It was surprisingly quiet. I was intent on returning for the Deontay Wilder V Artur Spzilka fight, but we ended up on the other side of town and didn't make it back due to snow.

A few people I know were attending a meetup with Party People in the Northern Quarter, so we joined then at Hold Fast, a nautical-themed bar. Busy with good house music. I love how the NQ offers bars with a particular theme- something that separates it from the mainstream. The group as a whole is good, but I'm not going to bullshit anyone: it's badly ran. One of the organisers has been rude to a few people and complained to me that I didn't credit them in my blog. I'd written up an event and linked the post to the relevant Meetup page. They've also complained about not being invited to a party and accused someone unnecessarily of racism.

One of the downsides to Meetup is that some of the people it attracts are those who don't have the social graces to form normal friendships. This particular organiser is one such person, as a few people have noticed. Hence, we left the meetup event and moved on to Russian-themed Kosmonaut (playing good old RnB from around 2000), on to craft-themed bar Pen and Pencil, pawn-shop-styled Dusk til Pawn (perfect moody ambiance, similar to a jazz club) and ended the night at funk club Mint Lounge, one of the few clubs in the Northern Quarter.

The people I was out with I'd met through meetup, so the meetup scene is still working. You've got to put the effort into your own social life too- it doesn't run itself!

On a separate but related issue, similar meetup group Manchester Posh Bars faced closure after the organiser left the group. A member has stepped up and has saved the group! Respect! More nights out are already planned with the group. Stay tuned for more info.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

#tbt FHM Magazine

The last of the lads' mags is dead. RIP FHM, the bible for many a young man for 31 years. The February 2016 edition is the final issue. It held out longer than any of its competitors, so fair play to them.

I remember first finding them in WHSmiths at about 14 years old: a fair bit younger than their target audience at the time. As I got older, though, I found I didn't fall into the magazines as had other lads my age. I was too busy at college for magazine reading, and as my life was consumed by my course I had no money to buy the clothes or holidays they advertised and no interest in football or sports other than Muay Thai. When university came around I started reading magazines, but still found a lot of their journalism didn't speak to me. Their office-related jokes didn't strike, and their advice sections weren't particularly helpful.

What did strike me was the comedy- the articles were usually humorous and written by either a bloke I could see myself being mates with, or presumably by a group of writers who were likable and entertaining. Their “ten things” lists had obviously began as the kind of jokey, laddish email exchange that many of us had in the MSN days. Their adventure reports, where they would send their journalists do different exotic (and sometimes terrifying) parts of the world made me wish that more of the magazine was in that trend.

I thinned-out my magazines when I moved out in 2010, and all the lads' mags went to the Great Magazine Rack in the Sky (the recycling collection point). I regret this. Lads' mags are now a part of history, and something I don't have physically any more. I don't even have the DVDs that came on the front of them (which was usually the reason I bought them in the first place).

The internet in its vastness now provides more than enough entertainment, rendering such magazines obsolete. It was good while it lasted.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Why you should be designated driver

Your other four mates are planning on group drinks, at equal pace, in rounds, for your night on the town. Why should you miss out on the drinking and take the car? And why should you ever utter the usually-unheard-of line “I'll be Des”? Well, it turns out there are a number of reasons.
  • The obvious one is saving money. The price of alcohol has rocketed in some bars and clubs in recent years, and, like the country, you're likely crawling out of the recession yourself.

  • As a result of this, you can afford to go to the higher-end places that you might not have been able to had you been drinking.

  • You stay more aware of your surroundings. No stumbling about dropping your belongings, spilling drinks on the girl in the expensive dress or drunkenly harrassing the barmaid (who eyes your vodka-and-coke-stained lapel with disdain.)

  • You have more coordination, meaning that- if you're comfortable enough- you can dance without looking like a puppet. (Provided you can dance in the first place.)

  • There are no queues for a taxi, as you ARE the taxi.

  • Your mates will love you for saving them money.

  • It's easier to meet people when you're compos mentis. You've no dutch courage to back you up, but who needs that when the people you're competing against are drunk and don't know what they're doing? No slurring (on your behalf at least) and a better abilty to hold a convo yourself.

  • We all have camera phones these days and most people take pics and videos throughout the night. These always come out better if you can actually see straight while you're looking through the viewfinder.

  • Some bars offer free Coke or Sprite if you wave your car keys, signifying you're driving for a group. You can spend a ridiculously small amount on a full night out if you go to the right places.

  • No hangover the next day. Get straight at your Sunday afternoon with no loss of pace.

  • The gym session the next day isn't solely dedicated to undoing the harm you've caused to yourself the previous night. It's about continuing the improvement you put in at your last session (even if that was last January.)

  • You can remember more of the night when you wake up, rather than finding a debit receipt and a faded stamp on the back of your hand as clues for a Columbo-style investigation into what went on last night.

  • No arguments with your mates or your other half. Well, no drunken ones.

  • People watching can be entertaining. Look at that drunken buffoon trying to shuffle. Horrifying to think that was you last weekend, isn't it?

  • You can still do poppers if you want. Amyl Nitrate is legal and causes a temporary head rush. Once it's passed, you're safe to do pretty much anything as normal. Too much in one night will give you a headache, and there are some long term effects from regular use, as there are from many things. Like the alcohol you're not drinking.
  • On exiting the club you don't particularly feel the need to clamber into the nearest greasy takeaway. Your diet improves not just due to reduced alcohol intake but due to the better food you put in. You can always whip up some cheese on toast once you get in (and grilling sober is nowhere near as risky as drunk).

  • You don't break the seal. Because what you're drinking isn't alcohol, you don't feel the thirst from dehydration and you don't pump your body full of liquid, meaning you aren't constantly going to the loo.
Give it some thought the next time you're planning on going out. Ask yourself if you really need to drink, and see how it feels to be one of the few sober people at the end of the night. It's surprisingly fun.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Films on the Cross Trainer #2

Today: a second endurance session at the gym incorporating films from Youtube, which is available on the Technogym cross trainer. This time I found prison drama and biopic Bronson, with Tom Hardy in the title role as Britain's most notorious prisoner.

Hardy is superb and personifies the directionless nutter quite well. The plot is a little like the character, though: not necessarily going anywhere, but at least it's succinct and moves from one bizarre set-piece to another (greased-up guard-wrestling, to robberies, to pit-fighting). Nicholas Winding Refn's direction is spot-on, and entertainingly creative.

During the 93 minute film I burned 827 Kcals, and cross-trained 4.68Km. A much shorter and more enjoyable task than my first attempt.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Prospective Mondays

New group Manchester Creative appears on the Meetup scene. No meets planned yet, but keep your eye on it if you're the arty type.

Other groups you might want to check out are Vicki's Social Nights Out, City Slickers Manchester and Star Singles Manchester: they're all set up to help you find new mates, have fun experiences and see more of the city. Just 'cause it's January doesn't mean the whole of Manchester's nightlife scene has ground to a halt. Far from it, in fact.

Saturday: David Haye and Deontay Wilder are two big-name boxing heavyweights fighting respective opponents. I'm likely to be watching this in Genting Casino as I believe it's the best place for fights. Anyone fancy taking a look? I may put an event on Manchester Social Group

Stay tuned.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Films on the Cross Trainer #1

The new Oldham Sports Centre opened some months ago, featuring swanky new Technogym cross trainers complete with Digital TV and Youtube. The access to this much of the internet in such a location gave me a great idea for endurance work.

Training for long periods can be monotonous, so an opportunity to watch a film whilst getting fit at the same time is not one I want to waste. For some time now I've been compiling a list of films that I want to watch, so I made a start on these films today. Schwarzenegger zombie flick Maggie was not on Youtube. Neither was John Niven adaptation Kill Your Friends. I did, however, find David Cronenberg's adaptation of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis.

I plugged my headphones into the cross trainer's jack and started training. The volume wasn't really loud enough for me considering the radio was being played in the gym, and there were other expected gym noises. As for the movie, Cosmopolis is painfully slow. DeLillo has a rare talent: he can make the mundane fascinating, the ordinary extraordinary. Cronenberg does not have that gift. His films are mental by nature: a guy turning into a fly, a guy reading people's minds until their heads explode, a woman with a murderous rabid lump in her armpit... etc. etc.

The problem with Cosmopolis is the fascinating aspect of the book is the language. DeLillo details, for example, how the stock markets can be predicted using patterns in nature. But this had to be excluded from the film as there's no way to incorporate it visually. Fair, a guy getting a rectal exam in the back of a limo is unique and memorable, but it's DeLillo's description of the mundanity of it that engages. Just showing us this onscreen (thankfully not in the most graphic way possible) does not engage. Certainly not for as long as Cronenberg drags out the scene. It's implied that protagonist Packer is an insomniac, but that isn't an excuse to crawl the story along at the pace of an overpriced limo stuck in a riot-induced traffic jam.

Excruciating. Just read the book.

The exercise took 135 mins. I covered 6.18km and burned 1176 cals, whatever that means. Feeling it in the legs now.

Send me your Youtube film recommendations and I'll try this again soon!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Reading and Planking: Record Breaker

Continuing a theme on the blog, I'm going to mash up fitness and literature to show you can be ripped and a nerd at the same time. You best believe. After a few projects involving reading and holding the “plank” position (see here, here and here) I figured I'd give it one more go- this time to beat my personal best of 4 minutes 40 seconds.

I'll be doing this with The Dreaming Void by Peter F Hamilton, a hefty book at nearly 800 pages. Let's begin!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The Void Trilogy

Back in 2010 I met SF author Peter F Hamilton when he was signing his newly-released novel The Evolutionary Void. I've not got around to reading it yet. The Evolutionary Void is the third book in his Void trilogy after The Dreaming Void and The Temporal Void, and is currently the biggest book in my (very large) pile of unread books. It's my intention to read all three of these books by New Year's Day 2017. I might as well get as much of this done as poss in January seeing as it's cold and everyone's broke.

An opportunity in every problem, as the saying goes!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Prospective Mondays

Not everyone wants to stay in now the Christmas period is over. Manchester will inevitably be quiet on the bar scene, but Meetup will still be bustling with events.

Monday: Stockport folks can get fit at Vernon Park with the Bootcamp group. First week is free!

Tuesday: Urmston types should get into badminton: it's one of the fastest, most reflexive sports going. 

Wednesday: Ever wanted to improve your public speaking skills? Presenting to a crowd is nerve-racking for most people, and we'll all probably have to do it at some point. Didsbury Speakers assist people with exactly this field, offering example speakers, opportunities to practice, critiques and leadership training. It sounds fantastic- I'd love for somebody to guest post about this for me.

Thursday: Indoor climbing in Stockport with the Walking group? Why do it outside where it's cold? And why not meet people while you're getting your Stallone-in-Cliffhanger on?

Friday: Start the new year positively with a free talk from the Feel Good Personal Development group. Guest blogger required for this! Get involved! Email

Saturday: The First Saturday Night Drinks of 2015 with Young Professionals in Manchester will take place in the Soviet-themed Kosmonaut bar in the Northern Quarter. I've been to the venue once before: it's not quite like other bars. You'll feel what I mean.

Sunday: if you're not out late the night before I'd appreciate your feedback at Writers Connect. I'll be asking for advice on the first 1000 words of a feature-length screenplay about a graduate recruited into a terrorist faction. 1pm in Nexus in the Northern Quarter.

There's plenty more on Meetup if you rummage around.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Stuffed New Year!

What a week. New Years Eve with Fat Man Scoop was brilliant and utterly ridiculous. New Years Day with Basement Jaxx and Fatboy Slim was so good my legs nearly fell off. What else?

I left a comment on a Facebook page that garnered 458 likes. Anyone remember South Park's Sexual Harassment Panda?

I've never received that many likes before. I'm currently looking into whether there's a way of finding my most popular comments using perhaps an add-on program for Facebook. There may be a way of doing this with Youtube comments too. Do you know of any?

Wolframalpha offer analytics for Facebook. This is my most-commented picture.

Well then. 27 comments on this pic of me and a girl I met in Magaluf in '10. I'm saying nothing more.

My most liked?

Ayyyy! Me and Henry Winkler. 28 likes.

Moving on: amid the parties this week I polished off the Jack Kourac classic novel On the Road, a tale of a couple of guys touring the USA in the 50s on a budget, grabbing whatever work or women or drugs that they could, crashing parties and musing on the apparent pointlessness of their own lives. Directionless, chaotic but utterly absorbing, the novel is an early example of “beat” writing expanded upon by the likes of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. It's supposed to be an all-time classic- I certainly enjoyed it but I've read many things like it (mostly that came after it. I'm guessing it was the first manically-written 20-something lads' novel). Well worth a look.

January will be quiet but I will be busy- I have more blog posts in the pipeline.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Basement Jaxx and Fatboy Slim at Sankeys Warehouse

A share of a Facebook post by Sankeys Warehouse landed a group of us VIP entry to the first major party of 2016. Sankeys Warehouse, the outfit currently taking over Victoria Warehouse on an intermittent basis, picked us out of the people who shared and gave us fast track entry and access to the upper balcony. This allowed decent views of the acts and shorter queues at the bar.

The New Year's Day lineup: Todd Terry, Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim and many others.

This video wouldn't upload to Youtube: here it is on Facebook.

No idea why this video is in portrait and sideways: that is not how I filmed it.

I have other videos that refuse to upload for some reason. At one point Fatboy Slim played the pan pipe solo from Once Upon a Time in America over some huge LCD images of jellyfish. Stunning.

A few minor issues on the night: even with wristbands we still had to queue to get in, 2 of the cash machines were out of service, the wristbands we won got us access to the upper level but not the tables where VIP were, so we got the second best views. I suspect Sankeys Warehouse hadn't sold as many tickets as they'd hoped, as the upper level was quite spacious.

What occurred to me was that it was actually more expensive to drink in there than it was in celeb hangout LIV. I still had tokens from the last time I was at Sankeys Warehouse (the bar doesn't take cash, so you buy bulk tokens on entry) so I brought them.

Anyway: fantastic music with great people, mostly whom I've met through the Party People  group. Great start to the year.

Friday, 1 January 2016

NYE 2015: Fat Man Scoop in Tiger Tiger

Loud rapper and star of Celebrity Big Brother Fat Man Scoop dropped into Tiger Tiger last night to see the new year in. A group of us got tickets early on at a fair price and queued up early. When I joined the queue I quickly realised my printout ticket had vanished, so I searched around on the floor an asked the promo girl. She said there should be something in my email.

I headed back to my car to see if I'd left it on the seat. On the way back I checked Outlook on the Windows app- it only showed recent emails and none of my flagged messages. (There's one of about 20 reasons not to get a Windows phone, for the record.) I checked my emails in my web browser (somehow managing to remember my password) and the email was right there. I downloaded the Adobe reader app...

and found my ticket on the pavement next to my car.

Ridiculous. So I joined the queue again. It was fast moving. When I got in I found my team quickly and joined the bar next to the Philip Seymour Hoffman lookalike and the Gennady Golovkin lookalike. Not long into the night some utter cock sprayed champagne all over the crowd. After this a group of people- we suspected gypsies- were booted out after getting into a mass brawl in the karaoke booths.

They missed out- just before midnight Fat Man Scoop took the stage dressed in pure white and started busting out his hip hop hits. Entertaining. Couldn't quite manage a selfie with him, but I did get this...

A top night. A smart club but with chavvy clientele, but if you've got a fading star from Celebrity Big Brother as your main attraction, you're advertising to the masses, and you're going to get that.