Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Excess Month: Research- Review

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The last month has involved watching a lot of films. Films about people making shit-tons of money and fucking their lives up. In terms of research, my aim isn't really to do either of these, but they did party a lot, and they did stuff every second of the day with work, action, adventure, booze, drugs, women, celebrities and a fair bit of showing off, and (if you've followed the blog for a while) you know they're all things that, y'know, may have found their way onto these pages before.

They will again. I was really hoping to have finished reading The Dirt, Neil Strauss' biography of The Motley Crue, but I kinda bit off more than I could chew. But the book features exactly the kind of continuous action I'm looking for (minus the heroin). The rock band found themselves in one situation after another that made a great story, coaxed out of the band by the talented journalist Neil Strauss. From the early days of apparent witch-fucking and stonings at bus stops, through to drugged out rehearsal sessions and cheating on wives in the same afternoon. I'm about 2 thirds the way through at the moment- expect a full review soon.

I did manage to read and watch all of Hannibal Rising, and watched Wolf of Wall Street, American Made, Kill Your Friends, Filth, Blow and Rain Man (all already reviewed on here).

Excess Month: Research comes to a close today. Tomorrow, the 1st November, is the start of NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month, being hosted by Blissful Lemon. I'm going to give it a go, tying it in with Excess Month: Practical: an attempt to fill my life with as much action and as many stories as possible. Give it a shot yourself, and keep checking the Twitter hashtag!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Don't Miss UFC 217

A whole 3 title fights are headlining this Saturday's UFC lineup. The UK's Mike Bisping defends his middleweight belt against Georges St Pierre, bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt faces TJ Dillashaw and scary mofo strawweight champ Joanna Jędrzejczyk faces her toughest opponent yet in the very durable Rose Namajunas. I can't wait! This will be worth staying up for, so I've set up a meetup with Manchester Cool Bars. Genting Casino on Portland St always has UFC on lots of screens, and it's a great smart venue. They'll ask for photo ID at the door.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Dropped into Tattu for a mate's birthday.

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Amazing food, cocktails and décor. I'll be back in January when hopefully they'll have some deals on. There will be a meetup so get involved!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Festival of the Dead

Have you ever taken a break from a 90's-style rave to go slam into your mates on the bumper cars? Me neither until last night, at Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Trafford Park. The West Manchester venue, made famous for many a club night 30-odd years ago, went back to its roots this weekend for a 2-night Halloween extravaganza. I dropped into night one of The Festival of the Dead, a night of dance music, giant paper mache precession, outrageous fancy dress, face paints and acrobatic aerial displays.

Manchester Cool Bars arranged to visit, and met in Impossible on Peter St. (Good job, as Albert's Schloss over the road now requires all men to be in collars, and you can't go raving in a shirt, can you?) We taxi'd into Trafford Park where ghoulish figures were already emerging from the night and wandering through the security gate.

The bar was using a token system, which seriously inconveniences many people like myself who don't drink that much or, like last night, are driving and don't drink any alcohol at all. We were required to buy a strip of tokens in bulk, many of which I still have right here. There was also no phone reception inside, which is a pain when some group members want to meet at the 4500-capacity venue rather than the starting point. The cloakroom and toilets could have been signposted a bit better, but at least they were both in good order.

Still, a great fun night with some patrons putting a huge amount of effort into fancy dress. Official pictures will be here.




Friday, 27 October 2017

Hannibal Rising and Pedalling

I got back on the bike for some extensive pedalling last week, starting at 15:45 and ending at 20:45 just before the gym closed. This was perhaps my tenth attempt at fat-burn / endurance work.

So how did I do after 5 hours of pedalling? I started off at 81.5kgs, and ended at 82.0. Great. Presumably I'd put on water, but it wasn't the outcome I was hoping for. I couldn't even finish the book. And what is the book?

Hannibal Rising, by Thomas Harris, the prequel to Red Dragon which explores Hannibal Lecter's roots as a war orphan, his family murdered by the Nazis and... well, some pretty horrific things happen. He goes to seek vengeance, all the while excelling in medical school. Through hunting down out-of-work SS soldiers, he develops a taste for killing, in more ways than one.

He also develops, in case you haven't guessed, a taste for human flesh, due to being stuck in occupied Europe and cut off from supplies thanks to advancing allied troops. The problem I'm having with the book is that I'm not sure who I care for- Hannibal is a psychopath, mind twisted by the horrors of war, we're to believe. (Isn't psychosis something that just happens in people, regardless of experience? I dunno.) We're rooting for him, like we are tempted to in Silence of the Lambs and practically forced to (unconvincingly) in Hannibal.

Like its predecessors, it's brilliantly researched and written. But, like when I read the third in the trilogy Hannibal, I wasn't sure who I was supposed to be rooting for the most. Hannibal is an anti-hero of the highest order, a cannibalistic psychopath hell-bent on revenge. I'm sure not rooting for his nazi victims, but I know that later in the storyline he won't just be killing evil people. Some will be innocent. So why should I care?

That said, it's engaging enough to keep the pages turning.

I'd watched the film adaptation a long time ago, but I remembered very little of it. I caught up with it after finishing the book.

As you can guess, Gaspard Ulleil is no Anthony Hopkins and hams it up no end. It's a reliable adaptation et al, but as a result has the same problems- why should I care for any of these characters?

Not really a worthwhile watch. More exercise-and-reading posts to come, probably.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Festival of the Dead, AJ Fight, Club LIV- Come Party!

Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time, we need wages.
-Terry Pratchett, author

You'll certainly need your wages for this weekend with Manchester Cool Bars. Seriously, if you're in Greater Manchester and you stay in, something is wrong.

Friday Night- the group is heading to The Festival of the Dead, a club night with a Mexican Halloween theme, house music, acrobats, confetti drops and nightmarish axle grinders. It looks spectacular, with the BEC Arena in Trafford Park being a perfectly large venue. (Bowlers, as most know it.) I definitely want to go, but there's one problem: I can't log into my Fatsoma account to buy the ticket. Facebook event has more.

Saturday: British boxing champ Anthony Joshua takes on last-minute replacement Carlos Takam. The challenger is apparently quite tough, so should be a lengthy battle. Pulev remains out due to injury. Manchester Cool Bars are dropping into Genting for this, a great venue with huge screens.

After the fight I'll be heading over to Club LIV for their Saturday night party and catching up with other Cool Bars people. It's already a hugely popular meetup. Expect familiar faces from TV, outrageous displays of spending, and stunning women. And men. As it's Halloween fancy dress is optional, and you know a club like LIV will feature a few horror-themed surprises.

I can't wait for the weekend to begin, as Michael Gray once wrote.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Jordan Davies Stood on my Mate's Foot

Tuesday night I hit Playground at Tiger Tiger- This was supposed to be with Manchester Cool Bars but there were a lot of no-shows; thankfully in Hard Rock I bumped into a mate who fancied Playground anyway, so we took a look.

Good dance music, which made a change, although the dancefloor / stage area was reserved for promo girls, presumably to make it look a little busier in the club area. The second room opened at 0.45 but stayed pretty much empty. What surprised me was the steady flow of people being thrown out.

This virtually NEVER happened when I was at uni. As previously suggested on this blog, the attitudes of some students has got a LOT worse over the last 15 years. I gave up at 1.20.

Pics here.

Thursday night, again with Manchester Cool Bars, I dropped into Socialite at LIV. We got in after 12, where the club was heaving and women were still outnumbering men.

Here's Jordan Davies from Ibiza Weekender on ITV2, Ex on the Beach on MTV and Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5.

A good lad. (He accidentally stood on my mate's foot though.) Don't ask what that guy is doing behind me.

More meetups are planned throughout the rest of the month. Stay tuned!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

#tbt Beermats: Week 3

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Three Parties for You This Week

I'm not sure how quickly some of you can drop everything and go out on a Tuesday night, but if you can, you should.

After Taboo moved from Tiger Tiger to History, new party night Playground has stepped in. It looks great, like student nights in Tiger always have been. Hence, Manchester Cool Bars are going to check it out. £2.50 doubles and £1 shots and a huge venue with numerous rooms. I can't tell you much more as it'll be my first trip to Playground.

There's 6 of us so far in the meetup. Make it 7!

Thursday night Cool Bars is out again, this time to Socialite, Club LIV's Thursday night party. £4 tickets, £2 shots in a venue built to house celebrity parties. And there'll probably be one.

If you fancy saving yourself, though, the Saturday night meetup will round your weekend off with a bang: Cool Bars are headed to Bijou.

I'm not going to pretend I'm familiar with the names in this poster, but it's a stunning venue. The group has been here once before, and I felt it was worth going back, especially during term time. The best-looking crowd in town. Their back bar has some gems on it too, if you like your spirits.

More than a handful of events to get involved with- don't say I didn't invite you!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Excess Month Research: Week 2

I've avoided going out much this week in favour of saving up and getting through a ton of films that people have been recommending to me for years. These are all movies that follow a theme of 'excess,' which I interpreted loosely.

I made it about 20 minutes into Van Wilder: Party Liaison before turning it off. The least funny of the National Lampoon films that I've seen.

Kill Your Friends followed this, Owen Harris' brutally faithful interpretation of John Niven's music-industry-bashing, yuppie-murdering novel. Entertaining, and imaginatively brought to the screen. Like the book, though, it strains to differenciate itself from American Psycho (it does, however, have better depictions of violence.) I was quite happy to see James Corden's Character murdered as, like he proved at Friday night's amFAR Gala, he's a fat unfunny overhyped prick.

Up next: Filth, John S Baird's interpretation of Irvine Welsh's bent-copper thriller. A reliable adaptation that works without the tapeworm thread, and with a Russel-Crowe-esque James McAvoy filling the lead alcoholic, drug addicted and unreliable narrating role. A 400-page book is impressively condensed into a 100-minute movie. Gross and heartfelt.

Blow followed this, Johnny Depp's portrayal of George Jung, who smuggled cocaine for the Medellin Cartel in the 1970s. A routine tale of a dealer making millions then getting caught. Great fun, though.

American Made was next in the list, yet another coke-smuggling true story this time following pilot Barry Seal as he links up the same Medellin Cartel with Floridian dealers, only to get busted by the CIA and work for them too. Utterly chaotic but fascinating. I'm not sure whether I had a buffering problem or the director was trying some kind of Scorsese-style freeze-frame technique. It was annoying, though. The ending, in which Seal records a message for his family knowing he'll be killed at some point, was reminiscent of 90s Gangster flick Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead. American Made is an enjoyable movie.

Away from films, I got a blog RT from Love Island's Scott Thomas, to his 306K followers. Thanks Scott!

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Andy's Man Club STORM the Action Oldham Charity Wars Quiz

Andy's Man Club Oldham banded together for a slightly slightly different cause than usual- Thursday night saw the annual Charity Wars, where local charities go head to head in a trivia quiz.

The movie quiz was held at (and sponsored by) Clough Manor in Saddleworth, and ran by Action Oldham, a 'charitable fund that supports good causes across borough with grants, so they can make a real difference to local lives.'

Having spent most of my teenage days in a darkened bedroom watching hundreds of movies and reading Total Film and Empire back issues, I was pretty well-versed. We came first place. The prize: a pair of tickets to enter the Milltown Races, a trophy and £75 in cash (which will go towards promoting Andy's Man Club).

My team mates compared me to Rain Man, from the film that, typically, I haven't seen.

A good opportunity for Andy's Man Club to gain exposure, and to encourage men to talk, leading- hopefully- to a reduction in suicide, which is the biggest killer of men under 50.

The White Hart is a lovely country pub out in the hills of leafy Lydgate. Great pork sandwiches too.