Monday, 31 October 2016

Come to New Spinningfields Bar Menagerie

Only kings, presidents, editors and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial 'we'.”
-Mark Twain, US author and humourist

Twain missed one out- people who hammer Meetup to stay social also have that right as far as I'm concerned. He died 106 years ago though, so I'll let him off.

Has anyone noticed a flurry of motivational meetup groups emerging over the last couple of weeks? Lead, Gain Influence Achieve your Goals led the pack. Following this was Get it Done, Shape your Destiny, Dare to Dream in Manchester, Manchester Self Improvement Meetup, Manchester Self Esteem Enhancement Meetup, Conscious Integration Meetup... and you're guaranteed to see more over the next year. Meetup is getting huge.

I might try a few of them- I hope they're genuinely helpful. I find a lot of these things tend not to be, though, and I've come away from motivational meetups usually not feeling any more motivated or enlightened than I was before I walked through the door. There have been charlatans before Meetup; there still will be as it grows. Certainly leave a comment if you've been to any of these and tell us how it was for you.

Away from motivational groups, Manchester House and Techno Meetup is possibly the group I was looking for years ago before RnB became as popular as it is. I've not joined a new Meetup group in ages as Manchester Cool Bars has been great for me, and the friends I met though another group (that we were all collectively booted out of) I tend to meet up with away from Meetup, but I might give this one a shot. Likewise, Clubbers and Ravers: Nightowls sounds equally tempting. (That said, I just joined and saw that the organiser is the same person that booted loads of us out of his other aforementioned group. This was because said organiser didn't get invited to a party one of us threw. Let's not go there.)

Meetup is getting huge- new groups are opening every day in a number of different niches. They aren't all just 'going out' groups and motivation groups- I don't tend to promote the more random ones but it's worth a look on the site as Hoop Classes, for instance, might be your thing. The range of groups in Manchester alone is broadening exponentially as are the opportunities to do the things you want to do and meet the people you want to meet.

The best one, of course, is Manchester Cool Bars and Clubs. And while we're on this subject, how are you fixed for Thursday? We're out in town! We're starting in new Spinningfields bar Menagerie and heading on to Socialite at LIV. Menagerie, right at the back of Spinningfields near the River Irwell, marries the zoological to the intoxicating. Stage performances, cocktails and animal-themed décor all coalesce to make a unique drinking experience. Come take a look for yourself from 9pm.

I already have more for next week. You'll have to wait...

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Refuge and Blume at Viva

Right at the end of the night, outside Oxford Rd's Spar, one girl noticed- with some prompting- that the pocket square was actually a piece of kitchen roll.

On the corner of the Palace Hotel on Oxford Road, inside the 111-year-old Victorian building, lies Refuge, a new bar inside what was the lobby of the building. The 70s-inspired décor includes vibrant patterned art ontop of the original exposed brickwork, complimented by funk music at talking level. It's a good starting place if you're heading to the Witworth St area (which we were).

It's early days for the new bar- a lot of the ingredients for the non-alcoholic cocktails they didn't have, which slimmed the options for drivers like me. But it's nice to have something not-so-studenty on Oxford Road.

Good job. I didn't fancy going back to Oldham and getting changed again

We then moved on to VIVA, a smart club I'd been in only once before for Miss Swimsuit UK. Blume, the Saturday weekly night, was quite different to the Thursday night event, with a much younger clientele. Unfortunately they were much ruder too, and kept bumping into me and my group without apologising, when there was plenty of space. I felt that people were quite cold and not willing to chat. There was phone reception in the first half of the bar, but once you got to the club at the back O2 coverage dropped out. (But then, O2 is shit.) My friend paid £2 to leave her coat in the cloakroom, but then at the end of the night let her pick out her coat from the rail. So anyone else could have picked it up if they wanted.

I definitely posed for an official picture but I'm not in the album.

Plenty of other places to try. As the club started to empty out I took a walk around the city to see what was happening. I found a load of police vehicles on Peter St at the crossroads of Deansgate, where one woman was already in handcuffs.

So although my Halloween wasn't as good as some others I'd had, in 2016 it certainly wasn't as bad as it was for some other people.

Utter gridlock trying to get out of the city at 3am

Thursday, 27 October 2016

#tbt My Name is Earl

Who remembers US comedy series My Name is Earl, first broadcast on Channel 4 in 2006?

I tuned in for a couple of shows and enjoyed them, but I don't have the patience for TV series. What grabbed me about the show was the idea of fixing your life with a list. Earl (Jason Lee) had messed up badly. He'd slept with his friend's fiance, he'd stolen beer from a golfer, ruined his friend's wedding, punched a professor in the gut and failed to pay his taxes, among many others (sometimes worse). In each episode he attempted to cross something off the list, but being accident-prone (and generally an arsehole) he normally finds other things to add on. But, by the end of most stories he whips out his crinkled list and scribbles off a numbered item with a biro- and with satisfaction.

What grabbed me about the show was the idea of fixing your life by laying it out in list format and ticking it off. Normally when we make a task list it's a hideously mundane affair regarding housework and chores. In Earl's case, it was a list of fuck-ups to be resolved, which led to a series of comedic adventures. A question: Why does a list have to be dull? Why can't it be something that will surely lead to a better life? It's possible that this show laid the seed that led to blog posts like The Hit List, a selection of Manchester food-and-drink places to check out, or The 11 Top Nightspots in Manchester (both of which would be slightly different were I writing them today).

My lists are also about fixing my life: plans for the future, things that scare me, things that will be cripplingly hard. I have an issue with shyness. I need better note-taking skills to compensate for my memory difficulties. I'd like to be using my skills in writing in my actual career, as opposed to leisure. And I'm struggling with all of these. Putting them in a list format, like Earl does, makes them less intimidating. I've written these lists in the OneNote app on my Windows phone, the same app I keep my Tesco list and my weekend chores. When I open my phone, all my ambitions are laid out in as simplified a manner as my mundane tasks. So, some things I need to do are easy (or would be if the drive-in car wash was actually open as advertised), and some are a lot harder (like: approach an attractive woman without physically shaking and feeling slightly sick).

Like Earl, though, life changes and I add things to these lists as time goes on. I probably always will.

Monday, 24 October 2016

This week will be better than last week

Last week wasn't that bad, to be honest. It started weak: two people plus me RSVPd to a meetup on Deansgate Locks, but I was the only one to turn up. The whole of the Locks was dead anyway. I waited a while but it didn't pick up. If the two RSVPs had bothered showing up, we could have made a decision to look elsewhere, but no, they wanted me to make that decision for them before they came out. No deal. They've been marked as no-shows. My understanding is, they have two more strikes and then they're barred from the group.

After this my week picked up: I was on local radio station Key 103's Key Lates chat show for the second time in a month- this time about dumping via text and whether it's okay (I don't think it is, but it's pretty normal in my experience, whether it's dumping or being dumped). Presenter Adam's take on my situation: I'm going to the wrong places. Shame nowhere else seems to work for me either!

My ticket for The Warehouse Project has been bought by someone on Resident Advisor, so I've got my money back.

Saturday night: I went out with three women to Spinningfields. Standard. We went over to the Left Bank, at the back of the newly-developed nightlife complex, to the River Irwell and the bars that line it. The newest bar there is Menagerie, a bar and restaurant featuring aerial dancers. Imagine chowing down on steak whilst some blonde in a suspended hoop spins around over your head.

I think it would be great.

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

Nice little bar. Oh, I spotted Scott and Kady from Love Island on my way out.

After this we headed to The Northern Quarter and to Guilty, where the only girl I spoke to turned out to live down the road from me in Oldham. I don't think either of us were too pleased about that. We were probably both well-intentioned people, but we both went out in Manchester to get away from Oldham.

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

Fit though.

So. What will make this week better?

First, Oldham's Odeon is open. I don't mind being in the town centre provided I'm hiding in a darkened room. I took a look today, and watched Trolls in 3D.

It cost me £9 in the middle of a Monday. I'll be honest, that's a rip-off for any film. In a few months, the DVD will cost that much in Tesco. The new multiplex is having some growing pains: there was no-one to stop us walking into the room before the previous film had finished- no staff in the actual corridor for the screens. It wasn't obvious where the 3D glasses were, and when I eventually found them one member of staff tried to charge me for them. The screening was late, so they ran it without trailers, which I wasn't happy about: I like to see what's coming up. The film itself was a little hit-and-miss: incredible visuals and colouring, but this was pinned to a cliche'd story. The trolls don't look much like the troll figures I remember from my childhood, and they burst into song at the most random of moments. Lots of Dreamworks / Disney Pixar films tend to be loaded with double entendres or highbrow wit for the adults in the room, but that was sadly lacking in this one.

Odeon are going to have to drop their prices if they want people to visit. Nobody in Oldham has any money.

Friday: Bongo's Bingo returns to Albert Hall... with Fatman Scoop! Can I get a what-what?! The Celebrity Big Brother star and rapper will be joining Johnny Bongo, Sweaty Betty and Slutty Sue for another mental bingo popcorn rave in a refurbished church. What exactly Scoop's involvement would be I don't know. I dread to think, in fact. There's nothing on Meetup regarding this yet but there may be soon... and if you're looking for Halloween meetups, I've spotted 5 themed events in my suggestions. You're an adult. Have a look!

More events are planned already for the coming weeks. I'll tell you next Monday. Or, look on Meetup!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Is Hillary Clinton a Huge Equilibrium Fan?

Who remembers Equilibrium, the 2002 Sci-Fi action romp vehicle featuring a young Christian Bale?

You might notice towards the end Bale sports a striking white mandarin suit for his visit to meet the almost-mythical, revered, 'Father' figure.

Away from movies now, and into the frighteningly dystopian future that could await America (and the rest of the world) if Donald Trump becomes president. In the last three presidential debates, Hillary Clinton has worn red, blue and white respectively- the colours of the American flag. Much has been made of this. But did anyone notice, in that final debate, the resemblance to Christian Bale's attire in Equilibrium? 

I wouldn't put it past her to have a gun kata under her belt, especially if you're going up against a nutter like Trump. If Trump had interrupted her perhaps forty times, instead of the THIRTY SEVEN times he did, maybe that would have been her breaking point. Maybe only then would she have whipped out her sword and two modified Berettas, shot him 12 times inside a second and lopped off the front of his face with a single swipe of her katana before his obese body could hit the stage floor.

Or maybe she would have continued to have been dignified and patient, and made her way to being the 45th – and first female- US president.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Oldham's Old Town Hall Opens to the Public

Last night Oldham's new 'Old Town Hall' swung its doors wide to the public after a grand opening. A local youth performance group told a story of a young girl called Freya and her granddad... and the Oldham Giant.

Pretty moving story in all fairness, and hopefully instilled a sense of local pride in youngsters today. Our town's been bashed by the national media for decades now- think the race riots of 2001, the Panorama investigation into Yorkshire St's nightlife and the violence that came with it, and of course the Moors Murders. None of that was mentioned of course, but Freya still felt her options and her future were limited as she grew up in Oldham. But with the help of her granddad, and of the introduction of the lumbering papier mache giant, and a rousing theme tune, Freya begins to believe her town can be great again- like it was in her granddad's stories.

Impressive visuals, featuring aerial dancers and surrealist projections onto the facade of The Old Town Hall. Also decorated with projected images were the buildings opposite the Old Town Hall: The RBS and local coffee shops. After a short speech from Cllr Jean Stretton, MP Jim McMahon cut the ribbon and the crowds filtered into the renovated 175-year-old Grade II listed building. I joined the back of the queue and took a look around- the layout is quite unique with the Costa Coffee looking out onto Yorkshire St but the entrance to that unit down a corridor. The Odeon and all their signage has been designed to look modern but also to contrast against the vintage tiling which has been left exposed.

I'll drop in over the next few days to get food and a movie.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Oldham's Old Town Hall Officially Opens

Press and dignitaries attended the opening of the new “Old Town Hall,” the new entertainment complex in Oldham. I watched from the shadows- my blag email request to the mayor's office was politely declined. Cllr Jean Stretton cut the ribbon on the £37m building, which includes a cinema and restaurants, as aerial dancers performed- presumably rehearsing for tomorrow night's public opening. She was flanked by dignitaries and the press (oh, and some kind of papier mache giant) as visual displays were projected onto the building's restored facade. The front of it looks fantastic. The back... is it ready?

Tomorrow night the Old Town Hall opens to the public. I fancy having a wander around!