Monday, 29 February 2016

UFC 196 this weekend: join us

More up to date poster seemingly unavailable- Dos Anjos not on this card

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns this Saturday- or Sunday morning to be precise- at 3am. New female champion Holly Holm makes her first defence of her bantamweight title against MieshaTate and Irish welterweight Connor McGregor faces Nate Diaz (replacing the injured Rafael dos Anjos).

I'll be watching this in Genting Casino on Portland St, on a joint meetup with Manchester Cool Bars and Clubs and Manchester Social Group. If you fancy staying up late, come join us. We're meeting just before 3am. The fight takes place in Vegas, so it's a bit of an odd time, but it'll be worth it. You can practically have a night out before the card begins if you want.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Socialite and Bamboo

Dropped into Spinningfields' Neighbourhood bar on Thursday- one of the only busy Thursday night bars you'll find- where I successfully schooled some drunk bloke in a dance-off before heading to LIV for their Socialite event. Pics are here.

Great evening. More pics here.

Japanese-themed Bamboo returned to LIV on Friday for their monthly event. Actual bamboo attached to walls; kimono-clad dancers; giant panda-head outfit being passed around. Great vibes. Pics here 

A few of my own:

This was a joint meetup incorporating both Manchester Social Group and Manchester Cool Bars. Just a reminder if you're going to LIV whether it be with these meetup groups or not: ALWAYS bring ID. A driver's license ideally. It doesn't matter how old you are- they treat everyone equally and always require it. If you forget, you can fill in a form on the door. But generally speaking, if you go out to bars you should always have ID whether the club require it or not. You never know when it will come in handy.

Top top evening. Keep your eyes on these meetup groups for similar nights out!

Monday, 22 February 2016

Prospective Mondays

Wowsers. House music producer Rui da Silva follows me on Twitter! Remember the absolute banger that is Touch Me?

What's happening in the city? Friday night: Bamboo returns to Club LIV. I was at their last superb Bamboo night on Mad Friday. House and RnB with stunning kimono-clad podium dancers. Will be good to see it back. If you fancy getting involved, join us on Manchester Cool Bars and Clubs' meetup. We're starting in Sakana at 9, as are a lot of people who'll move on to LIV next door. A good deal if you're a lady!

Clashing with this is Manchester Social Group's monthly meetup in cosy Wetherspoons' The Waterhouse near the Town Hall. If you like things a little more relaxed and peaceful, this one's for you.

Also clashing with this is an RnB sensation revived by The Milton Club. Damage will be performing an intimate gig at the members' venue as part of the club's monthly Soul Purpose roster. No meetup for this as yet.

That's your Friday, what about Saturday?

Manchester Cool Bars are again in town, this time for Ark Saturdays on Deansgate Locks. They're starting in nearby Sugar Buddha and heading to Ark for a charity event featuring the cast of MTV's Ex on the Beach.

Fight fans: Anderson “The Spider” Silva fights Michael “The Count” Bisping in UFC Fight Night 84.  I was going to put a meetup on for this but it's a little late at night- I've got 8pm as the start time, but these things fluctuate and times aren't properly advertised on the UFC site. I've got Writers Connect that Sunday, so I can't have a late one. If you fancy giving me feedback on my fiction, and on other people's writing, and perhaps getting some suggestions on your own work, get involved. We're at Nexus Art Cafe on Oldham st from 1pm.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Thursday Club

Who goes out on a Thursday? Well, I do on occasion, and there are a handful of places in Manchester that still pop off. Neighbourhood was busy at half ten, where the photographers were clustered around a group of people- included it seems were Queen of the Jungle and Geordie Shore star Vicky Pattison. I didn't recognise her but I did spot former Eastender Dean Gaffney and former WBO light-welterweight champ Ricky Hatton (who wasn't bowled over when I told him I'd read his autobiography. Banter.) The M.E.N writeup has more.

There are a few familiar faces there now having been on a few Spinningfields nights out. Friendly bar.

Sakana was dead at half eleven so I dived straight into celeb hangout LIV for their new Thursday night Socialite event, where Hatton bought copious amounts of Moet and hung out with a guy who looked like Chochise from The Warriors. Pretty much all the aforementioned ended up in LIV. Pics from the night are here. With a slightly younger clientele Socialite is a great night, and only £7 instead of the Saturday night £10 door charge.

Thursdays: the new Fridays? If you dare...

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Dropped into Tiger Tiger last night for what I thought would be a student night.

I managed to get hold of a membership card a decade ago at a gym called Holmes Place, now Virgin Active, in the Printworks. I was going to use this card this week to get into Tiger Tiger's student night, which I always remembered being on a Monday. Just a few years ago, and YEARS after graduating, I'd dropped in on that night and it'd been great fun.

I swung by last night hoping the membership card would get me past the doormen, but there was no queue anyway. Was I too early?

I talked to a barman who said the student night had been moved to a Tuesday. Oh well. I mentioned I was last in the club at New Year when rapper Fat Man Scoop was performing, and that I'd seen a huge kickoff in the Boogie Wonderland room. The barman mentioned that the group fighting was in fact gypsies and that one of the managers got beat up in the process. The trouble-causers spent loads of money, though, so were pretty much let off.

Take a look at the pictures from the night: gypsy fashion normally includes lace, bright colours and dotted patterns for the women and 1993 trends for the men. You can spot them.

The barman also mentioned that Deansgate Locks is a busy night on a Monday (as it was back in my student day). I may put something on Meetup for a Monday night- stay tuned to Manchester Social Group and Manchester Cool Bars if you're free those nights.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The Dreaming Void

I've just finished reading the first of three SF novels by Peter F Hamilton, the UK's leading science fiction writer. The Dreaming Void follows three young men on very different journeys in 3580 in the Intersolar Commonwealth: Inigo, whose dreams are transmitted through the ether and experienced by billions, inspiring them to pilgrimage, Aaron, a man with serious amnesia who knows only his name and that he must stop Inigo and the pilgrimage, and Edeard, a junior constable- a police figure- trying to bring about order to his city. His psychic powers put him a cut above his peers.

I found the plot very heavy and technical, which is fair for a “hard SF” novel like this. The predictions of future tech and lifestyles were fascinating. I'd love for my calendar to be in my head permanently, and for this- plus the internet- to be accessible through instant mind-control. It's a little cheesy, it's action-packed, and massively inventive and engaging. Looking forward to the (much larger) second and third parts.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Why Your PC Won't Turn On

You press the power button on your CPU, and nothing happens. You press it again. You wait a bit, then press it again. It seems your computer has finally flatlined... or has it? Before scrapping it and heading to PC World, try this technique:

Unplug the power lead from the CPU. Not the plug at the wall, but the thickest plug in the back of the actual computer.

Press the power button on the front of your CPU. Yes, it's ridiculous. It won't power the computer to life, but it apparently resets something in the computer's memory while it is inactive.

Wait 10 seconds.

Plug the power lead back in and press the power switch again.

This technique has worked for me a few times. Let me know if it works for you.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Prospective Mondays

Valentine's week is upon us, and the only plans I have as of yet for Sunday 14th is Writers Connect, my twice-monthly feedback group. I need your advice on part 3 of my screenplay. I'll recap the story so far before I read it out so you won't be in the dark.

Valentine's Day is bollocks anyway; let's not pretend.

I don't see these prospective posts lasting much longer to be honest: the point of them was to encourage people to get involved with the events that I was putting on through Meetup. I've advertised other people's events with no feedback as to whether what I was doing was having an effect. The roundup posts I usually put up on Sunday nights detail some of the events that have taken place: these offer links to the Meetup groups, so as intelligent people you're more than capable of checking the upcoming events that any group might be holding. Check the “All Meetups” tab on the right of the homepage and you'll find plenty of dating-type groups as well as everything else: food, drinks, sports, museum trips... the list goes on. It's up to you to make the decision to attend though, I can only show you. Don't stay in!

Oh, also, has anyone noticed that the Meetup app on Windows phones doesn't allow you to read private messages? Apparently Android phones are fine for this aspect. I used to have an android phone; I don't remember there being a problem but then I don't remember checking PMs. I also tried the Clique app, which is offers very similar access to your Meetup account. I couldn't see the advantage of this over the original Meetup app: neither allows you to see inbox messages.

Cannot WAIT to get off this contract.

Friday, 5 February 2016


For a recent writing exercise, Oz brought in a dictionary. She picked a random page and asked for a number between 1 and 4. We picked 3, hence the third column of text. Next she asked for a number between 1 and 10. We picked 5, hence the fifth word down. Our word, fittingly for a writers' group, was “Publish”. This was our prompt for a 10-minute writing exercise. Here's what I managed:

It started as a joke blog- just him in the Student Village flat commenting on what drunk women he'd seen arguing or which road sign had been stolen. It wasn't an anonymous blog, but he hadn't linked it to social media so none of the other students knew anything about it.

Then he started uploading photos, noticing a weird popularity in the States. He'd named the university, the building, the initials of the people involved. The time “TS” got arrested for having a bag of weed on him and the officers thought he'd progress on to coke if he ever made it into the media industry. The part-time lap dancers on his course claiming they'd made £500 in a night (their dress sense backed it up).

He started to get some intriguing Twitter followers, including the Student Union and Greater Manchester Police. The comments flowed in, mostly from other students and sometimes those he knew. Each comment had a guess in it. Are you this guy? Are you that? Sometimes people thought he was a girl.

With each click of the “publish” button, the net closed in.

Who would it be? How could he keep himself anonymous? He took one more trip to town with his cameraphone, standing across the street from PanAsia.

So. Just as the story was getting somewhere, the timer buzzed. At least I got the key word included. I was going to have a situation where something happened that risked his anonymity, but I couldn't think / write fast enough. I'm planning on learning shorthand soon, which should combat this.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

#tbt Subject magazine

In around February 2001, towards the end of my time at Tameside College, I spotted something unusual in the newsagent round the back of the Ashton campus. It was a new men's lifestyle magazine, like countless others that I'd not paid much attention to. This one was different, however: there were no scantily-clad women on the cover. In fact, there were no cover pictures at all.

I gave it a shot and bought on impulse. My mates were confused as to why I wouldn't just go for FHM like the rest of them, but the answer to that was simple: if you want porn, man up and go buy some. If you want to READ a magazine, buy one with some actual journalism in. Y'know, without the distraction of tits. Time and a place, man.

Subject magazine was well-rounded with articles on travel and fashion, but also on upcoming TV shows, comedians and films. Comedian Dave Gorman starting out on his stand-up career and a trip to Ireland for St Patrick's Day find their way into the pages. Did you know Leeroy Thornhill from The Prodigy went solo as Flightcrank? Me neither, although Subject's 2-page spread suggests. It was similar to most other lads' mags, if you'd filtered out the sex. The publication appeared not to have lasted long.

Because the magazine had such an everyday word as a name- as opposed to an unusual acronym like FHM- it's very difficult to find any evidence of it online. I've only seen this and this. It looks like I've got hold of something quite rare.

It's possible that the publishers: Stable Publications- are now Stable Media, focusing more on trade publications for the building industry.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Poaching Jason Derulo

The RnB star and singer of In My Head Jason Derulo is in Manchester this week for his world tour and it looks like there's a cat fight over him on the Manchester Club scene. There are still tickets available for tomorrow night's performance at The Manchester Arena at £35.  After this Derulo was due to host at The Milton Club as part of their weekly Marquee event. 

However, due to “A lack of hosting”, things quickly changed. This message appeared temporarily on the Facebook event page:

"We regret to announce, that we will no longer be hosting the official Jason Derulo afterparty at The Milton Club.

We have been closely reviewing other after parties booked in the UK throughout the tour, where there have been some negative responses due to a lack of hosting, therefore after much consideration we have decided it best to cancel this event and ensure we do what’s best for our guests/members & venue.

All guests who have purchased a ticket, please contact us directly for a refund. We will still be open and hosting a free entry, concert after party with drinks deals and DJ Stylus playing the best in RnB, Hip hop & house.

If you have any questions, please give us a call on 0161 850 2353."

What I interpret from this is that Derulo just isn't paying attention to his fans at his after parties across the UK. Not long after this message appeared, competitor club LIV uploaded this picture.

LIV appear to have poached him off the Milton Club. Did the Milton Club willingly give him up as they claim? Or did Derulo walk and go to LIV? It isn't clear, and The Manchester Evening News article  isn't to clear either.

The Milton Club's advert: 

I put an event on Meetup for this: as it stands only one other person and me are down as going: around 6 other people have reversed their RSVP. Do I go to Milton anyway? Marquee is always a good night. The managers have promised a refund and are throwing a free-entry party. Do I try on the door at LIV instead? Do I cancel the Meetup event? I have 24hrs to decide...

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Planking and ASMR

What is ASMR? ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is a phenomena experienced by some people- including myself- that is triggered by certain sounds and creates a feeling of relaxation and “tingles” in the recipient. It's something I've experienced on occasion my whole life.

In more recent years I've stumbled upon an entire community of people who create and listen to videos that are designed to trigger ASMR. I found this, strangely enough, through watching Youtube clips of Ricky Roma (Al Pacino) in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross. In this film, salesman Roma coerces a client into buying real estate. One comment I saw was from a man who claimed he was in “ASMR overload” due to Pacino's tone.

I kinda grasped what he meant despite not having heard the phrase “ASMR” before, so I Youtubed the acronym to see what came up.

Holy God. So many videos. An entire community of people uploading softly spoken videos, whispering videos, creating sounds from scratching and stroking objects near the mic or the mic itself. It's fantastic. You may understand this. You may not.

We all have our preferences, but my favourite is GentleWhispering, a Russian-American lady called Maria. She makes videos in two languages; sometimes I listen to the Russian versions just for the sounds. Her channel has over 175 million video views and 562,000 subscribers, including myself.

I sometimes listen to these videos- emphasis “listen”- before sleep. I'll have my phone in bed with WiFi on, and my headphones in, and I'll turn the screen face down so it isn't illuminating the room. Listening to Maria's voice always helps, whether she's discussing women's fashion or she's making a gingerbread house for the first time. (The latter of those was a recommendation from a fan in the comments of another video. It was thumbed up so much that Maria acted on the suggestion. It got a lot of hits.)

I was wondering if this might have another effect on me. I've done quite a few projects on here where I've attempted planking- working the core muscles- whilst reading books. My plank record has gone up every time I've tried the project (four times so far). I was wondering if the ASMR triggers can allow me to focus more and hold the plank for longer. Or whether the relaxing qualities work against the concentration needed to stay in position.

Well, I tried this with Maria's most popular video, “*_* Oh such a good 3D-sound ASMR video *_*”

I quickly realised this was not going to work. Her soothing tone and gentle voice encouraged me to fall out of plank, meaning I couldn't stay in position for more than 1 minute 45, way below my 5 minute record. I kept trying, but the vast majority of it was spend hugging the carpet letting “the feels” wash over me.

So, no, planking and ASMR are two things that are completely opposed to each other as far as I'm concerned. Reading is much better for planking as it requires concentration, not relaxation. But as an alternative to meditation, as a technique for combating insomnia and possibly as an assistive measure for depression, ASMR could be a useful tool in years to come, and as science begins to recognise it as more than a phenomena.

More ASMR info on Mashable.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Prospective Mondays

No one ever suddenly became depraved.”
-Juvenal, Roman poet and satirist

Maybe true, Juvenal: it's a slippery slope, and one we're all sliding down as far as I'm concerned. So what depraved (read: awesome) activities can we expect now that we've all failed Dry January?

The RnB star is hosting the first Marquee event of 2016 this Thursday, at The Milton Club. The weekly cinema-themed party night always entertains. I've put the event on Manchester Social Group and Silvia put it on Manchester Cool Bars. You might get to meet him.


Friday: Ibiza-based dance music outfit ANTS takes over Albert Hall. The Facebook event is here. There's no Meetup event as of yet: there may be soon. I've been talking about it with my friends and we're keen to take a look as the lineup- Mya Jane Coles, Nic Fanculli, Steve Lawler- is incredible.

May Bank Holiday Weekend will be swallowed up whole for a lucky few of us, by Upminster's WE Are FSTVL. The lineup includes MK (who I've wanted to see for years), Fatboy Slim, Steve Angello, Jamie Jones, Armand Van Helden, ShyFX, Todd Terry, Joey Negro, Roger Sanchez, Sonny Fodera and loads more. There is a meetup based in London. A few of my friends have bought tickets: I'm about to today.

This Rochdale-based support group will shut down on February 15th as the organiser has stepped down. If this is something you think you could take over- if Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is something you have knowledge or experience of- give some consideration to leading a group like this.

Superb week ahead: get involved!