Monday, 23 November 2015

Prospective Mondays

Celebrities, fights, booze: no, it's not a jungle-based reality TV show, it's what's happening right here in Manchester this week.

If you're new to Young Professionals in Manchester, or you haven't even heard of them til now, well, you're just in time. Tomorrow night is a night for newbies at Bluu in the Northern Quarter. A few relaxed drinks and conversation awaits. It's already very popular.

Wednesday sees speed dating for thirty-somethings in Tiger Tiger. Check out this Manchester group for more info.

Celebrity chef and Celebrity Juice contestant Gino D'Acampo also has a new book out. He'll be signing in WH Smith Selfridges (no, I didn't know one was inside the other either) in The Intu Trafford Centre from 1pm on Thursday.

Great British Bake-off presenter Sue Perkins is signing her book Spectacles: a Memoir on Friday. Get down to WHSmith in the Arndale at 12:30pm to meet her. Also, if you fancy writing it up and guest-posting here, get in touch.

Join me Friday night for Manchester Social Group's monthly meetup. We're gonna be at Albert Square's Slug and Lettuce from 7:30. It's a chance to meet the members in a smart but relaxed environment that's to the tastes off the majority.

Saturday night: join Manchester Creatives on their trip to bohemian Bavarian beer house Albert's Schloss. It's a great bar and not what you'd expect. A bizarre mix of Alpine drinking hut, 19th-century church and 70s-era disco hall, Albert's is a unique and weirdly wonderful venue.

Also on Saturday night is heavyweight boxing bout Wladimir Klitschko Vs Tyson Fury. Prediction: Fury will not last more than 5 rounds. He's all bravado and his displays of confidence are there to convince mostly himself. Also, I know it's not a beauty contest but compare the physiques of the two fighters. That matters. Fury isn't even in fighting shape and never has been. I put up this event but it hasn't been announced yet. Anyone fancy it? Where's a good place to watch it?

Tweet me for your event to appear here.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Green = Don't Go

Last night I went out to watch local boxer Anthony Crolla make a second attempt to become the WBA lightweight champion. I'd set up this meetup and asked people for advice on which venue from which to see the fight. I got one RSVP who suggested The Green, a sports bar in the Northern Quarter with simulated golf range and large screens for watching sports. I phoned them to check they were showing it and got the affirmative. Okay.

I headed into town early but the traffic around Ancoats and the Northern Quarter was absolutely horrific. The chances of turning right to get down to the CIS building were minimal. Absolute gridlock. The Crolla fight took place in the Manchester Arena, so it's possible that the traffic was related to that.

I should really have got out earlier to watch the under-card fights from the start. I got in half way into the first of the two before the main fight: couple of wars between two tough fighters respectively. The first of these fights had no commentary, just the video feed with The Green's own trance soundtrack. I found my meetup member: a cool guy and a boxing fan. The atmosphere in The Green was a little grating, though: there was a lot of Burberry checks, gold medallions and the odd baseball cap. Not many people were into the boxing, and my instincts were telling me there might be a bit of trouble.

Eventually the Crolla Perez fight began, with both fighters showing class and resilience. The bar started to empty out. Last orders were called not long after the fight began, which seemed a bit weird. I thought, they're not really going to:

Yes, the manager came out and turned off the TV in the fourth fucking round. Not long after this there was a little argument between a few young customers and the door staff.

We left The Green and had a wonder down through Piccadilly Gardens towards Deansgate. By the time we got to Sawyers, Crolla had already won in the 5th with a heavy bodyshot.

Well. I'm writing this to encourage you to boycott The Green. I had phoned them prior to the night to check they were showing the fight and they confirmed they were. I dunno, I thought it was self-explanatory that I meant “are you showing the whole fight?”

I saw some boxing in Norwegian Blue in the Printworks some time ago, but that's not much less chavvier and they haven't tweeted about last night's fights. Where's good to watch boxing in Manchester?

The full fight:

Thursday, 19 November 2015

#tbt German Beermats from the Early 90s

I visited Germany in 1994 for a family holiday, and also to practice the language which I'd done pretty well in during my first year of school. A conversation with my parents brought back a few memories from being 12 years old. We settled the caravan in Nideggen, at the edge of the Eifel National Park, and got a warm welcome from the Dutch man who ran the campsite. He was fond of British. My mum, dad and sister and I got into some rock climbing out near the Ruhr river, which was the same river hit by Allied forces in World War II, and one of rivers featured in The Dam Busters movie. On a trip into town we came across a meeting for owners of TRs, with a number of the vintage sports cars lining the car parks.

It was the first time we saw people paying for plastic bags in shops, or people taking their own (something most British supermarkets have introduced in the last few months).

Most of our pictures are on slides, so there isn't a great deal to show. But while out there I picked up a couple of beer mats from a pub or cafe, which I've just dug out of my parents' loft. Are there any vintage beer mat specialists out there? I prepared these for an art project a few months later.

'The art of beer! These are some beer mats I collected from Germany (Summer 1994). It's not exactly art but it's German, and I collect beer mats. They are quite special to me. There is some art on the back of “REISSDORF KOLSCH” beermats.'

Monday, 16 November 2015

Prospective Mondays

A cheesy week awaits, in more ways than one.

Free cheese in Didsbury tomorrow night. Sounds weird, but hey, I didn't set up this meetup. If cheese is your thing, and South Manchester isn't too much of a trek, take a look. A word of warning- Traffic around that end is not the only thing likely to be congested.

Any Michelle Visage fans in the house? The star of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Celebrity Big Brother is signing her new book The Diva Rules in Manchester Waterstones on Deansgate.

On Thursday the After Works Drinks gang are out on Salford Quays. Hugely popular group. Be part of it!

I have a dare for you this Friday: try speed dating. If you're not going to stay with your partner 'til you die, then this is something you should experience before you do. You have 2 rows of seats- one with men, one with women. You get a minute or so with each competitor in order to “sell yourself” to a potential partner. After each move, you mark a “yes” or a “no” box next to each person's name or your personal sheet. The sheets are collected at the end of the dates and the organisers with send you details of your matches. Simple! Try it out with Boy Meets Girl Speed Dating.

This weekend sees the opening of winter attraction The Curling Lanes, the country's only outdoor curling venue. Try it out on The Lawns in Spinningfields!

Any Danny Dyer fans in the house? He's signing his new book, Life Lessons from the East End, in WHSmith Arndale Saturday 1pm.

More boxing this week! Anthony Crolla has another title shot against Darleys Perez on Saturday. If you fancy watching it with me and a group, check out this meetup. We need a location!

Any creative writers out there? Try out Writers Connect on Sunday afternoon. It's a great opportunity to receive helpful feedback on stories and poems. I'll be there seeking feedback on a script synopsis. I want to know what you think!

Tweet me if you have more!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

No Selfies Please: Trevor Nelson in The Milton Club

"I might play some fucked up shit tonight, seriously,” says Radio 1's Trevor Nelson. “I might play Kool and the Gang or something, I dunno.” Well, I don't think he did bust out any “Get Down On It” or “Joanna”, but the Radio 1 hip hop DJ did dish up some underplayed classics, including SoulIISoul's Fair Play and many others.

Last night was Mr Nelson's third appearance in The Milton Club for their monthly Soul Purpose event, which has featured an ever-expanding list of high-profile DJ and singers. He didn't come on until quite late, letting resident Justin Fry take command for the first few hours. The night got busier later on than usual, with a lot of women filling the club. Mr Nelson eventually busted out a few rarities from the 90s hip hop scene, setting a great mood. He didn't seem to pay much attention to the customers, though, and my attempts to get a picture with him were mostly in vain due to the impenetrable crowd near the DJ booth.

That said, there was a great atmos. I've been a Milton Club member for a year now and it's a place where I can always see friendly faces.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

#tbt Amiga games

Christmas 1992: I got an Amiga 500+, an underrated and great computer with some superb games. As the years went by my collection grew, and although Commodore got a bad rap, the Amiga provided hours of entertainment.

Among my favourites were Putty (this guy has given a stern review- it's better than he makes it sound)

Also a favourite: the addictive Rainbow Islands.

I wasn't all for brightly coloured platform scrollers: Road Rash was bloodthirsty fun.

1996: as GCSEs began, the available time I had to play them shrank, and my interest in films grew and grew. Added to that, a lot of Saga and Nintendo fans treated the Amiga as a laughing stock, and it didn't deserve such treatment.

This week my parents cleared out their loft, and I rescued a load of these games from a big black bag up there. I'm tempted to shell out on an Amiga on Ebay, but the prices are almost as steep as a brand new one would have cost back in the day. So I'm looking at the possibility of finding the hardware and software to play old Amiga games on the PC. Has anyone had any success with this?

Did you have one? Were you a rebel and shunned the Mega Drive and the Super Nintendo? What was your favourite Amiga game? Are there any resources for playing games like this?

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Prospective Tuesdays

A few treats this week.

If you haven't seen Matt Damon SF movie The Martian yet, Manchester Social Nights are watching it tonight. £6 is cheaper than most cinema tickets these days.

If you fancy learning the Latin step of Bachata, keep this Thursday free. The Manchester International Party People have reserved the whole of Element 19 club for lessons. And speaking of “free”, so is the event.

Friday: join me and Manchester Social Group at The Milton Club for Soul Purpose, where Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson will be playing. I've been to a couple of Soul Purpose nights before and they were superb. You'll need a ticket. We'll be starting in Deansgate's Slug and Lettuce pub, which has recently been refurbished. In fact, Friday is the venue's reopening party. Come take a look!

On Saturday Manchester's Christmas Markets officially reopen. It's always a good shout if you want trinkets, pork burgers with stuffing and Gluwein. Find them at these places and probably any other small section of side street the city council has managed to cordon off. They will be RAMMED, so be prepared to use your elbows and shoulders.

Tweet me if you've got more!