Sunday, 23 April 2017


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John Bradley West, who plays Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones, was spotted in Guilty by Association last night- not by me, mind. By a mate. I was asleep. Also Jason Momoa-
Khal Drogo in the same HBO show- was spotted by another mate in Revolution on Oxford Road.

I was in Manchester early Saturday morning, some hours earlier, where my mate pointed out Georgi Kinladze, 90's Manchester City player, in Harvey Nichols.

Never heard of any of them, personally.

Only other thing to report: I finished reading Filth by Irvine Welsh. An enjoyable tale of a corrupt policeman doing everything he can to secure a promotion, including doing over his colleagues whilst hoovering a ton of cocaine and obsessing over his ex-wife. It looks like his backstabbing ways are actually getting himself somewhere, only there's one problem- he's got a tapeworm inside of him, and it might kill him. Fun, but I felt ripped off by the big twist at the end. I preferred a lot of Welsh's other stuff over this.

A very busy Bank Holiday next weekend, in contrast to this one. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Big Narstie in The Milton Club

At 1am on Saturday morning Big Narstie bounces onto The Milton Club's stage and encourages people to sing The Spice Girls' 1997 hit 'Wannabe.' I wasn't sure what to expect of the London grime artist's performance, but it wasn't this.

The crowd, which I wouldn't imagine to be fans of the girl band, are still happy to oblige and it's undeniable fun. He dishes out CDs to the front row (presumably of his own music, not the Spice Girls') while his DJ plays a remix of R Kelly's 1993 hit Bump 'n' Grind with an up-tempo beat and an electronic backing track. The clientele are a lot younger than usual tonight.

Big Narstie's performance is, as you might expect, loud, brash, occasionally vulgar but consistently entertaining. I've since listened to some of his tracks- they sounded better live. I was previously only familiar with When the Bassline Drops, his duet with Craig David.

Another good live event put on by the Deansgate venue as part of their weekly Truth lineup. I went with Manchester Cool Bars.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Amerie and Kid Ink in The Milton Club

The Milton Club offered up two artists in one night last Saturday- one huge a decade ago, one huge right now.

Manchester Cool Bars started in Sakana for this although I double booked and made it to them just before midnight, the cut-off point for our entry tickets at the club. Close call.

The club was heaving- good looking people, RnB music blasting out, and two hours to get to know the group before the first singer jumped on stage.

Amerie, who's number 1 2005 hit One Thing peaked at number four and who's album Touch went gold the same year, still knows how to engage a crowd. She'd just flown in from LA, she told us, before starting with her hit Why Don't We Fall in Love.

The 36-year-old worked trough a few of her hits before dropping her new single on us, Paper. She got the crowd involved for this one, teaching us the chorus.

Keep your ears peeled for that one. She polished her set off with her biggest hit.

A great nostalgic performance. Music and singer have aged well.



Following this hip hop singer Kid Ink took to the mic. I'd not heard of him 'til I saw the club advertise him earlier in the week, but when he started singing I recognised the songs. A more popular performer, the club filled further between the two artist appearances. The heavily-tattood and appropriately-named singer served up his contemporary hits Body Language, Hotel and Show Me, backed up by a lengthy entourage.

He polished off with a cover of Ayo Jay's Your Number, on which Kid Ink featured alongside Chris Brown. Bigger audience for smaller talent, compared to Amerie if you ask me. But maybe I'm getting old. Still entertaining.

After his performance he grabbed a big-boobed blonde girl out of the front row and disappeared into VIP with her. Fair play.

Good crowd in Milton and of course within the meetup group itself. 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Snapshots of Life

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A surreal warm-up exercise from Writers Connect. I compiled it from looking through the pictures saved on my phone.

Trip hop music in an art cafe
ten megapixel photos of club promoter's arses
a former UFC fighter with a t-shirt suggesting,
'Different chokes for different folks'
cloakroom ticket 480.
Standing next to a luminous hashtag
vacancies for singers at a Manchester pub
woman smiling with a sign:
'Queef on the patriachy'
Expensive apartments at dusk
cloakroom ticket 118
calves full of lactic bulging in the mirror
snapshots of my life.
A pineapple cocktail,
a worm's eye view of an office block
a smiley face cut into the temporary
dust on a glass door
graffiti bee next to my new broadband box.
A culmination,
a pretentious description...
The contents of my camera roll.
Snapshots of my life.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Prospective Nocturne

Day 17 of NaPoWriMo, and today's prompt is a nocturne, a poem to be read at night. To get the full effect, come back to my blog after sundown.

PDF E-tickets and ripped jeans
Mirror selfies and free parking
Manchester after dusk.
The city changes, colder still,
But the events of the night
fuel the city's economy,
and this blog.

To come: a post about a fading singer,
her hits conjuring images of being 22
Bar work and the dole my occupation then.
But great music.

A rapper also,
Tattooed like a walking 'hood tapestry
possibly flash-in-the-pan,
after so many sleeps, we'll find out.

Last night- Bank holiday madness
arrests, fights, a woman sobbing in handcuffs,
a stupid way to end a weekend.
But hey, Printworks. What do you expect.

Trade in your in for out-
don't sleep when you could party.
Come out Friday to see Big Narstie,
Rapper, in The Milton Club.
Starting in Sakana.

Early night Saturday, soaking up sleep
More poetry Sunday at Writers Connect 
or fiction, art on the walls and
words in our heads. Get your feedback here.
Flex your cerebral cortex.

For now, though, repair yourself
with REM, prepare yourself,
Make melatonin and avoid this screen.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Letter to Fluffy Oakes

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The prompt for Day 16 of NaPoWriMo- and shamefully the first prompt I've actually tried- is a poem in the form of a letter to someone.

FOA Fluffy Oakes
Oldham Zoo

Hi Fluffy,

a quick letter to say,
thanks for your help with everything. I'm making big steps.
It's been a busy week as per. To be honest,
People still scare the crap out of me sometimes
and I don't think they realise that, nor would they
that it's not their fault.

I've got a new position in work and
it seems to be going okay. People are understanding
and patient.
But the real challenges, as we know,
are outside of work.

My social life is good, and I can't pretend otherwise,
and I wouldn't want to. I still carry
that feeling that I'm constantly making a twat out of myself
and being a burden,
Not that people would know.

Wednesday I went to All Star Lanes,
Part bowling alley, part bar,
Part museum. Great memorabilia
but dear for drinks. We didn't bowl.
Maybe next time.

It was a starting point before we
darted to Great Northern Warehouse,
A large open space, and hostel for Northern Rep
Drama production company with a twist,
Shakespeare and 2017 Manchester conjoined
A Midsummer Night's Dream with pop music,
Audience dares, a hen do, a double-entendre fairy
and lesbianism.
I had no fucking idea what was going on,
but I enjoyed it regardless. Impressive acting.

I had to cancel an unattended Meetup event Thursday.
Nobody RSVPd to MK at Albert Hall
Amazed people didn't want to do it.
Whatever. Seen him twice before anyway.

Good Friday:
Got drunk, sarged, failed, got Happy,
an ironically-titled group- there were a handful of arseholes,
but most were good people.
Meetups like these don't seem to be about anything
A huddle of people with little in common
other than the need to connect.
I'm not mad keen on the venue either.

Yesterday I double-booked, Fluffy.
All that organisational talk we had...
and I fucked it up.
Went for food in Vermillion,
waited for friends on a pod,
a seat the size of a king-sized bed.
Moulin Rouge on the TV screens,
deep house ambient in the air.

I guessed at a 2-hour timeslot,
It took us 3 to meet and eat and beat it.
I was supposed to be in the hallowed Sakana for 9.
Nope- I was still chowing Karahi chicken and naans.
Delish, though.

Gotta dash. Hope all is well at the zoo.
Will write again soon about a singer.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Easter Rapped Up

Monday night and how's this for a good start?
Manchester Cool Bars hit the thousand-clubber mark!
I think you might be familiar with one of our latest members
If you've been to Market Street you'll probably remember
One particular imperial entertainer
It's the keyboard player dressed as Darth Vader!
And if you want to know who's under the mask,
Come on the meetups, then all you do is ask.
And what is happening in the city over Easter?
Well read on further, so that you can feast yer-
Eyes on a couple of real good calls
Like MK at the Albert Hall
So if you're a fan and you want to book in now
RSVP for a night of funky house.
So after the party on Maundy Thursday
Good Friday's free, as it stands anyway
What about if you want to see someone sing?
On Saturday night, then, it's this one thing
If you're going out, who would I say to see?
It's RnB singer, Amerie!
A live PA in Milton Club, and I'm not kidding,
She's supported by LA rapper Kid Ink!
So if you want to turn up and represent,
Then RSVP to the meetup event.
I'll turn up on time, and won't be late to meet ya.
It's safe to say I cannot wait for Easter.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

What is the City but the People? And a New Bar? And a Police Car Chase? and Reality TV Stars?

Confidence through action, it's gone past talk
That's how I've auditioned to do a catwalk
I was feeling brave and want to conquer fears
I found a group of people wanting volunteers
to join an event in the centre of Piccadilly
MIF starts with What is the City
Too short and too plain was my suspicion
but the organisers seemed to like my audition
So I'm hoping to hear back from the team soon,
if I'll be taking those strides on the 29th of June.

Also in the city, we'll see treat
heading it's way to Peter Street
Finally the shell of Bar Thirty Eight
Will transform itself from dirty to great
So if you want a new place to sup from a chalice
You'll have to wait for Tup Tup Palace.

Earlier this week on Thursday night
I joined Cool Bars to go to Socialite
We started in Sakana and celebs were in there
celebrating the launch of Perky Pear
most of them left before I could find them
But I managed to grab Katie Salmon from Love Island
I met her on the hottest weekend of the summer
A lovely girl and a hell of a stunner.

One more thing, and don't be bitter,
but X Factor's Ellis Lacey follows me on Twitter.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Miss Swimsuit UK: Newcastle Heat

The Manchester events of the Miss Swimsuit UK competition (see here and here) were so much fun that I thought I'd trek up to Newcastle on a Thursday night, on my own, to go check out the first heat of the 2017 competition. Trying to convince people to take a 260-mile round-trip on a week night isn't the easiest blag. But they missed out.

The event took place in the beautiful Bonbar in The Assembly Rooms, a Georgian venue in the heart of the city. It took a while to find a parking space as most were taken nearby and literally EVERY public car park in Newcastle closes at night. Eventually I parked up a good ten-minute walk from the venue, taking pictures along the way in the hope I might be able to find my car at the end of the night.

The staff and customers were really friendly, which is great when you're a little stressed from finding the place and going solo like a non-famous Jason DeRulo.

Chet Johnson

Also in attendance were some Love Island scouts, so some of the names mentioned here may appear on the show next year. Drinks prices were much fairer than VIVA's, who hosted the Manchester heat.

Amelia was my favourite out of the competition. She came in third, behind Natalie in second. The night's winner: Sarah! 

Here's me with the winner...

...and with the organiser, Verena Twigg and the night's costume designer and star of Ex on the Beach, Zara Lena

Competitors' golden skin tones provided by Star Tanning.

I got talking to a couple of models from Manchester and we all decided to check out the event's after party at the impressive Tup Tup Palace where we somehow managed to blag VIP. Great fun.

Really glad I decided to go despite knowing virtually no-one. (Oh, and I needed to show the taxi driver pictures of where I'd parked my car so I could find the damned thing. Good job I'm organised.) Looking forward to the Manchester event on Thursday 27th April in VIVA.



Busted again

Monday, 3 April 2017

Coming up:

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A few events, and you'll want to get in there,
And a blog post about a party with swimwear
There's something coming up if you're a Manchester native,
Or if you're passing through, but you're still a creative,
As long as you are, then you could be anyone,
So come and meet the group tomorrow in Bar Twentyone.
To miss out on this next one would be an oversight-
come out on Thursday to LIV's Socialite!
Models, celebrities, and all that palava- if this sounds fun, then join us in Sakana.
Artisan on Saturday for classy cocktails
And deep house music, and that should not fail
to create an atmosphere that you need to see
So go to Meetup and RSVP.
Not staying late as I have another prospect:
Sunday afternoon is Writers Connect
Fiction and poetry, that's what we show,
to each other, and more so as it's NaPoWriMo.
More to come over the coming fortnight,
Details will come next week if that's alright...

Sunday, 2 April 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017

National Poetry Writing Month has begun. The voluntary writing challenge lasts the full month of April, and contributors attempt to write 28 poems, one per day, throughout the month. Obviously, I'm late to the party, but I'm still going to give it a shot. Only, I'll be doing things a little differently this year.

I'll still check out the prompts and attempt to write a few poems. However, I'll only be uploading them, one at a time, on Wednesdays. This will, most likely, result in a backlog of poems waiting to go up on what I call #creativewednesday, my weekly creative blog post. I'll also be visiting Writers Connect to brush up on poetry, and the warmup exercises and subsequent writeups will also form part of that backlog.

I'll review this at the end of the month!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Old Queen has Moved

Creative writing warmup exercise from Writers Connect last Sunday. We were to interpret this title in whatever way we liked. Other people's stories were about the monarchy or gay culture et al- mine went in a different direction.

He doesn't realise the digital chessboard is connected to the infrastructure. Every move Edwardo makes is instantly transferred to the actions of the individuals in the town. He unknowingly, unwittingly controls them.

The pawns, shop workers from Market Street, take off their aprons and branded caps and take position in Piccadilly Gardens, mindlessly mulling in a V-like defensive structure.

The chessboard, a digital game, flashes in front of him. Pawns have arranged themselves around the queen. Then she takes a step forward a square.

In Piccadilly Gardens, the pawns in their Greggs uniforms look back at the Queen Victoria Statue, pensive. There's a rumbling, and a breaking of tarmac. She moves into position engulfing a Police Community Support Officer who, playing a knight, had stepped forward and to the side a few moments ago.

In the computer room, Edwardo clicks the mouse, moving more pieces over the board.

Edwardo risks pushing another knight forward. He's left his own queen exposed, and although his opponent's queen has stepped forward, The pawns are gathered defensively around her.

On the street, a man stumbles out of a bank. The clerk chases after him.

Wait!” he shouts. “Here's your cheque, mate!”

I tried to incorporation Teeline shorthand into the writing of this. I'm not sure it made me much quicker at writing, as I still had to actually think of what I was going to say, and how I was going to tie it all together. Reading it out to the group was a bit of a struggle as I tried to decipher the notes.

I mentioned to the group I'd heard of a film called Wargames, that sounded similar in content to what I'd written.

A group member agreed there were similarities, and that it was worth a watch. On the list it goes!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Meeting Dan Hardy; Other Events

A busy busy week as always. On Tuesday Northern Quarter's Kettlebell Kitchen turned one, and offered free brownies to those who dropped in. I had a great kettlebox with mashed sweet potato, steak and nuts. I then stayed in town for a meetup with Manchester Cool Bars to Tiger Tiger for their Tuesday night event, Taboo. Good cheap drinks and a fun night. Facebook pics here.

Wednesday night was planned as a trip to Hot Mess on Deansgate Locks, but the bar, Revolution, wanted student ID. This ruled us out so we shot across town to The Birdcage, where Voodoo was in full swing. A nice night, but there were too many guys and the d├ęcor needs a touch-up- part of the handrails were missing, for one thing. I first went eight years ago and the design was outdated then. Good atmos though, and friendly people.

Pics here.

On Thursday night Manchester welcomed former UFC fighter and current UFC commentator Dan Hardy. The welterweight MMA fighter and the lead on UFC analysis segment Inside the Octagon dropped into Waterstones in the Arndale to sign copies of his newly-released autobiography, Part Reptile. I had a chat with him- it was good to hear he knew my old MMA instructors Dave and Ian Butlin. Dan seemed like a top bloke.

Friday night: Manchester Cool Bars were out in force again, this time to The Birdcage for Flirt, the weekly Friday event. We started in Mambos next door, a nice and relatively new bar. If they just got a joiner to look at their toilet doors it'd be an all-round ideal starting place.

The night in Birdcage was touted as a meet-and-greet with three cast members from MTV's Ex on the Beach. (See the Facebook event.) I saw a queue at one point, but couldn't actually see who was at the end of it. There were barriers cordoning off one area, but no announcement on the mic that they were there and, if they were, they didn't hang around long.

I was equally disappointed with the clunky bootlegs and overplayed RnB that the DJ was churning out. But hey, it's Friday night in Manchester. Slim pickings.

Pics will be here.

Aside from the above, the night was a good one- good looking people, a friendly crowd and a fun night.

Saturday night: Cool Bars again headed out, this time to Genting Casino to watch local lad Anthony Crolla against Venezuelan Jorge Linarez. Predictably, Crolla lost, but he took a good beating before losing on points. He's a tough bastard. Both men are.

There were a few no-shows from the Meetup group, which is a shame, but a good night overall. Nice to break up clubbing nights with something different.

Revisiting Kettlebell Kitchen to finish off: they're looking for a thief. Do you recognise him?
More to come!