Monday, 30 January 2017

Wednesday Night Drinks!

Get booking the Thursday off- dry January is done and dusted, not that we did it anyway. On 1st February Manchester Cool Bars heads to Birdcage for Voodoo Wednesdays, their weekly student night. Drinks from £1.50 you say? Why not. Birdcage might be quite garish and flamboyant at the weekend, but their student events are much more chilled out and less camp.

I have more ideas for meetups that will be uploaded once January is out of the way and people have been paid.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Well, I gave Orderly Conduct another shot on Friday

The weekly student night in Ark on Deansgate Locks may hold some decent drinks deals: £3 double JD and mixer, for example- but it gets overfilled, the cloakroom wasn’t open and it was full of angry young students not enjoying themselves. Basically, the same as last time. Well, you get what you pay for.

New bar Favelas has opened on Hilton St in the Northern Quarter, taking over what was Lammars. The Brazilian-style bar featured some great old-skool hip hop and Rio-inspired d├ęcor.

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

Members of staff in the bar could easily have passed for Shia LaBouf, John Leguizamo and Acerola from City of Men. Nice little joint that works perfectly in the Northern Quarter.

After this we headed to Guilty, which everyone seems to love. The queue to get in is huge and it’s heaving with people, but once you get past that it’s a room with a bar and hip hop music, like many other places in Manchester. I’m not sure what the big deal is to be honest.

Meanwhile, UFC sensation Conor McGregor was in LIV. Gutted.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Chatting Up Les Dawson's Socialite Daughter

Charlotte Dawson, daughter of late comedian Les Dawson and star of MTV's Ex on the Beach, is hella good looking. And was kind enough to humour my 'banter.'

Charlotte, if you're reading this, I'm not always a pedantic arsehole. I'm normally a gracious and breezy bloke. If I ever bump into you in Manchester I'd be honoured to prove this to you.

(p.s. there, they're, their.)

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

This week at Bongo's Bingo you missed...

...Manchester's most mental game of bingo, Bongo's Bingo in Albert Hall. Prizes included a space hopper, a cardboard cutout of Will Smith, a double ended dildo (the young Indian girl next to me- obviously one of a group of freshers- was openly eager to win this), a plastic Totall-Recall-style baby head, a bottle of apple Sourz, a giant fluffy unicorn and cash, with a top prize of £500.

If you've ever wanted to be knighted with a double ended dildo in front of a church full of people, here's your chance.

In the intermission: a UV rave, of course.

If two girls call out bingo... this happens. A dance-off for the prize.

This is normally a sellout event and last night was no different as Johnny Bongo and his crew return for 2017. They play at numerous venues in the north of England, so if Gala and Mecca are starting to bore you, we guarantee this won't.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Balls to Dry January

Gah, you've made it past the halfway mark. It's the 16th. That'll do. Let's get doing something this week.

Wednesday: Cool Bars are going to Tape Wednesdays at Ark, a student night that's open to anyone over 18. Nice venue and good RnB music. This week: The Prop Box Special. Get wacky! We're starting in the newly-extended Sugar Buddha next door.

Clashing with this is a trip to the refined and elegant Artisan, for their January 50% off deal. Socialising in the City are running this trip, and it's a fantastic offer to take advantage of. I've been and loved the food, so half price is well worth a look. I might run a similar event on Cool Bars.

I should have put more meetups up really as I'm on leave all week, but I've plenty to be getting on with. The only other actual event I've got in my calendar is idiot man-child President-elect Trump's inauguration on Friday at 4pm UK time, which I'll be watching purely because I suspect there may be at least one assassination attempt.

I've spotted more midweek events over the next month so get ready to book leave!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

I Wish I'd Gone To Sankeys More

Manchester house music club Sankeys is to go the way of The Hacienda: It's to close and be turned into flats. It was loved and hated in about equal measures by most people I knew. The revamp a few years ago didn't sit right with a lot of people, and the change in crowd from serious clubber to wannabes and dolly birds put off a lot of traditional house music aficionados.

Plus, living in Oldham, it's hard to get any of the locals to venture out of their own town with it's shamefully and unshakeably terrible nightlife. Over the decades I've really wanted to visit Sankeys to see particular DJs in action. The club's lineups always had an array of cool groups spinning records, usually people who'd just released an absolute banger. But I've only managed to visit the club, in total, six times. Occasions when people could make it to Manchester were usually times when we had another club lined up, like Ampersand or Ohm, or when people just weren't that into house music and wanted a regular bar night.

Still today a few mates say that, when they've been to Sankeys, they've had more bad nights than good recently, or that they preferred other house music places, but I really enjoyed the times I'd spent there. I first went in 2002 with some uni mates, although I have no idea who was playing. A year or so later I went back and saw Armand Van Helden, and some of the tunes he played stuck in my head so clearly I had to Youtube them when I eventually got the chance in 2007.

After that night in '02 I didn't go back for over a decade. On a couple of occasions I strayed in on a last-minute decision, and then for whatever reason had to go pretty much the moment I got there. But in the last year I've been twice and stayed all night- to this Martinez Brothers night, and to see Secondcity. Both were packed-out, down-and-dirty, sweat-drenched superb house music events. The latter of these I ran a meetup to coincide with, so people could meet new people and attend the night at the same time. I just wished I'd been more organised and prepared more of these meetup events, particularly to Sankeys.

But nothing lasts forever, and house music- once the staple genre of high-end clubbing in Manchester- is now on its way out, replaced evermore by repetitive generic RnB in the newer popular clubs. Seasons of events like The Warehouse Project and festivals like Parklife will spring up here and there, but house music is getting harder and harder to come by. We'll have to keep our eyes peeled from now on, but Sankeys- as the narrator from Mad Max 2 says- lives now only in my memories...

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Olympic Blogging?

Remember when Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow got bronze in the Olympic Synchro Diving in Rio 2016? If memory (and the internet) serves me correctly, GB's diving duo were in line to get Silver, behind USA's David Boudia and Steele Johnson. This was, of course, until China made their final dive.

Chen Aisen and Lin Yue (Twitter is largely blocked in China, so no links I'm afraid) took to the boards and immediately blew everyone out of the water (somewhat literally), scoring a good 39.87 points higher than the next best. There are certain sports in which you simply cannot come close to the Chinese.

Much has been reported on and speculated about the Chinese Olympic training regimes. Athletes are cherry picked for their outstanding abilities, and are put under a training regimen that takes over their whole lives. Each athlete is carved, from around 6 years old, to be a champion. The Daily Mail's article Torture or training? Inside the brutal Chinese gymnasium where the country's future Olympic stars are beaten into shape” paints an ugly, cruel picture of China's sports training systems. And this is not what I'm going to advocate.

Compare this to the UK's efforts. Our athletes are funded with lottery money. They're again selected at an early age, but the training far from swallows their entire lives. They still, however, get top notch facilities to train in and arguably the best instruction. And they still get enough medals to keep Team GB right behind China in the medals board. And that's with a population of 63 million, as opposed to China's 1.2 billion. Any promising athlete will get structure and tuition to hone their talents for four years in order to medal at an Olympic tournament- without any accusations of torture tainting their team.

I am never going to be an Olympic athlete, nor have I ever wanted to be. I am a blogger, and I have been writing unguided with only myself and a few critique groups as instructors for 10 years now. I'm not as good as I want to be, nor have I had the exposure I'd like to get. Online writing may be quite different to competitive sport, but imagine, if you will, a blogging Olympics. 2 weeks of high level bloggers from all over the the English-speaking world sat at home producing the best blog posts on the internet. Over the course of the fortnight, the blog posts would be uploaded and entered to the competition by category. They would then be graded by a committee under the watchful eyes of the internet-using, blog-reading world. Points would be awarded for research, writing ability, networking, blog design and the inclusion of multimedia. All of these points would come together from a panel of judges who had knowledge of journalism, photography, website design and social media use. As blogging is frequently a reflexive form of writing, extra points would be given for actually influencing the subject of writing as opposed to writers who are strictly observational. If, during the course of researching a conservation project, for instance, the writer encourages the local authority to put measures in place to further protect wildlife, they garner additional credit.

As the tournament continues, competitors are plucked out until only the best remain, until someone, somewhere, writes something that is chosen as the best blog post of the challenge and is crowned the winner.

Well, that sounds great and all, if you're mad keen on blogging like I am. The reason I'm writing this is that, in this fantasy world of high-level blogging that I'm imagining, there would need to be training. The 2-week period of the Blogging Olympics would be a culmination of the efforts of the competing writers, the final chapter in a story that took 4 years to complete. 4 years of steady training, preparing the blogger to be the best they possibly could be, during which time the blog they ran would be updated with their chosen topic, plus details of their training regimen. You could read along to support your blogger as they not only wrote about their passions, but detailed their training, as they learned how to take professional-looking pictures, shoot quality video, practice interview techniques and generally write with journalistic professionalism tinted with their own unique voice.

Would the collective page views be anything like the viewing figures the world saw at the Olympics in Rio? Obviously not. But, what a Blogging Olympics would do that a sports tournament cannot necessarily, is educate people and provide information, and influence some corner of the world. It could, if done properly, provide solutions to problems (cooking blogs provide solutions to hunger, don't they? Sometimes?) perhaps by telling people what's happening in the blogger's location, and could do it with individuality, free from the restraints of a publication's style guide. Blogging of any kind can already achieve this. That's why I think it'd be fascinating to hone bloggers' talents to make them the best that they could be. Whether we could talk the National Lottery into funding this is another issue...