Monday, 2 May 2016

Be at Be At One in Manchester


Behind Manchester's Barton Arcade a decade or so ago there was a club called Circle, popular at first with media types- BBC runners and Granada folk- and the odd celebrity (I saw Badly Drawn Boy in one of the VIP booths). It became a bit of a gangster's paradise over time, and the violence on the door resulted in the loss its license and it shut down at the end of 2013.

The unit has been vacant for some time, but London cocktail Group Be At One has pounced on the opportunity and opened their thirtieth branch, this time here in Manchester. I dropped in last night with Manchester Cool Bars. The new d├ęcor and atmos was lovely with great service and a combo of vintage and modern features. Even though it was quiet early doors there were already a handful of stunners inside.

The Manchester Evening News has more here

After this we checked out Taboo at Tiger Tiger. The standard student Tuesday event was replicated last night, only with queues about three times as long. We joined the line at 22:45 and waited while copious people cut in front of us and groups of chav girls tried to get arguments out of whoever was nearby. There was a lot of talent in the queue, in all fairness.

Over the road, the queue for the Voodoo event (usually a Wednesday thing) at The Birdcage was also outrageous. Don't let anyone tell you bank holidays are for staying local. You can if you want, but Manchester has more than enough busy places on longer weekends.

Anyway. We got in at 00:30, which is a pretty large chunk of the night spent queuing, and this was followed by further large queues at every bar inside, including three floors. There was a lot of grime music that I couldn't really get into.

I much prefer Taboo when it's on a Tuesday, and it's not so busy that it's hard to even move around. Anyway, the pics are due here. Be At One is well worth a revisit. More Cool Bars meetups on the horizon.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

What a week.

It started with a meetup in Baa Bar with Cool Bars, heading over to Lola Lo for their ChitChat night. Pics here. Back when I was a student and Lola's was Loaf, the whole club was rammed. Now Chitchat occupies only one arch of the club on one floor. Today's students: lightweights. Great sax work by Tom DaLips and DJing by Josh Weekes though, and a fun night.

Friday night I joined Cool Bars again for a trip to celeb haunt LIV for their Bamboo night. Their monthly oriental-themed event always goes down a treat. Pics here.



We started in a surprisingly busy Sakana, impressive for a freezing Friday before a bank holiday. It's my plan to do an all-nighter in here in a few weeks, so keep your eye on the Cool Bars page.

We made a spontaneous change towards the end of the night and headed over to the Northern Quarter, where we had a few drinks in Guilty by Association, which I liked. Again, a popular place. New nearby venue 2022 was closed by this point- I've not checked it out yet but I hear good things- so we went over to Noho, which in all honesty I don't like. Too many weirdos. Just felt a bit messy to me, certainly in the toilets where the hand dryer was broken.

Bad news reached us Saturday. Tim Bacon, founder of Living Ventures, has died after battling cancer. His company brought some of the best bars and restaurants to Manchester- The Living Room, Manchester House, Australasia and The Alchemist to name a few. His huge influence over the nightlife scene in Manchester turned the city from a few streets of mediocre bars and clubs at the end of the 90s into an exciting night-time metropolis which is still coming into fruition now.

I never knew him myself but working at The Living Room in '04 was a unique experience and one I'll never forget. RIP.

Finally, I've been made an event organiser for Manchester Cool Bars, which means I can announce the meetups myself. In short, as a host I could upload events, which would go to the organiser for approving, so that others could RSVP. Now I can approve events myself; there may be other privileges but I'll learn them as I go along! It certainly means that if I see something at the last minute I can set something up to see if anyone fancies a spontaneous night out.

Tonight, however, will not be so spontaneous- I'm out with Manchester Cool Bars again to check out a new trendy place down by Barton Arcade. There are still spaces! Details to follow.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Published: Retired Genetic Engineer: A Confession



I'm back in the publishing game, people! This Speculative Fiction piece started life as a homework exercise for feedback group Writers Connect. We agreed we'd write a 500-or-so word SF flash on the theme of 'designer babies', with the focus being on looking at current technology and abilities and extrapolating them to show what we may be capable of in the future.

The group seemed to like my story, so I did a second draft after digesting their advice and sent it out to publications I found on the Poets and Writers database.

The Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine accepted it! Issue 13 came out this month with my poem in it. See here. Back issues are here. You'll need to set up a free account to access it- it only takes a few moments.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Last Call for Chitchat at Lola Lo!


TONIGHT: Join me and others from Manchester Social Group and Manchester Cool Bars in a last-minute excursion to Lola Lo for their Monday night Chitchat event. (Yes, I have not changed the name of the meetup due to time.) Expect students, but not exclusively as far as the ads show. Expect live sax from Tom DaLips, percussion from Bongo Sean, drinks, inflatables and a bevvy of damned good-looking people.

Other events I've scouted: Friday night is Bamboo at LIV, their monthly oriental-themed night. Panda heads, kimonos, bamboo and UV lights are the order of the evening. The Cool Bars group are headed there after a few in Sakana. Don't miss it!

It's a bank holiday, so you have an extra night out this weekend. LIV's Superheroes night on Sunday looks interesting, although there's no meetup... yet.


Stay tuned for more last-minute events across the city, and keep your eye on Meetup!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A Few Scenes from the St George's Day Parade

Dropped into Manchester this afternoon. Hideous traffic problems due to the parade snarling up and diverting Oldham Road from Miles Platting into the city. I figured even though I was late for Writers Connect I may as well be later still and get a few snaps. Here's a group of mods passing through Dale St in the Northern Quarter.









Monday, 18 April 2016

Prospective Mondays

Saturday night: Middleweight boxing champ Gennady Golovkin fights American Dominic Wade, but it won't start til 2am Sunday in the UK, and as I have Writers Connect that afternoon that ain't gon' happen. Not for me at least. Should be a good fight- neither fighter has any professional losses.

I need your feedback on Sunday! If you're into creative writing come down to Nexus on Dale St and help a brother out. Plenty of opportunity to get feedback on your own work too.

Oh, by the way, here's an update:


Beat that.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Baby D in Sound Control

Remember Baby D of Let Me Be Your Fantasy fame?


She had THE dance music track of 1993. Last night she dropped into Sound Control in Manchester to perform her hits.

I put the event on Meetup and visited with the Cool Bars group. We got in before midnight when it was still filling up with adults of all ages (one of whom had a hat designed to look like a squid) and 90s dance classics pumped out of the speakers. Eventually a very energetic Baby D herself performed a few hits.






Impressive performance. She shook hands with the front row, and wished a girl happy birthday. Nice interaction with her audience. I saw this night advertised on a poster in Nexus Art Cafe and set up a meetup. Glad I've finally been to Sound Control. I've heard good things.