21 November 2007

17 November 2007

Christmas Markets

It's that time of year again. It's time to Struggle down Market Street with 9 million bags worrying what Aunty Ethel will want this year, shoving past everyone else in the same situation. It's time to breathe in the smell of Mulled Wine and Frankfurters, and gaze in awe at the wooden toys, the festive decorations. I think because summer was so shockingly bad, i'm looking forward to Christmas. Christmastime in Town. Love it!

I SAY: Manchester's Christmas Market's are on in Albert Square, St Anne's Square, New Cathedral Street and other locations in the city centre. Santa is perched ontop of the town hall after a makeover. Yum!

05 November 2007

Hadouken! Academy One

I SAY: Standing tall on Oxford Road is The Holy Name Church, lyrically immortalised in The Smiths' 'Vicar in a Tutu'. Lying just across the road is Manchester Academy, the place of worship for today's musical gods.

Both Hadouken! and The Ghost Frequency are bands rising from online obscurity, but this loyal fanbase has been a good catalyst for both bands' success. Ever since I was sent a link to Hadouken!'s Myspace their music has filled a strange gap on my playlists. Their mix of Electro/Rap/Rock that can be compared to Jay-Z playing Tetris against Funeral For A Friend is shamefully brilliant. I can't describe the love/hate relationship that I have with their music. It is trashy but not ashamed of being trashy. It has an essence of "gangsta'" but humourous light-hearted lyrics like "you live with your mum and you work in Asda" keep the kiddies entertained. The balance between being creatively humourous and simply being a novelty act is a hard one but they seem to have it sorted, with most bandwaggon Nu Raverz eating out of their hands. I snapped up the gig tickets as soon as I could, epecially seeing as GF were supporting.

I headed through security into Academy One, below the stage was a melee of glowsticks being broken and chucked around-A firework display of Neon one day before bonfire night. I headed out to the glamerous portaloos, picked up some glowsticks off the floor and got in prime position.

The surprise of the night was that support act Ghost Frequency seemed to steal the show away from Hadouken! Their highlight was during (We Threw) Money on the Fire. The electronically charged anthem had an amazing reaction with the crowd (and my mate got a shout-out during the intro!). Even though GF proved themselves well, the typical Mancunian audience grew slightly impatient by the end of GF's set. They were waiting for the main attraction.

Hadouken! came on to an array of screams, airbourne glowsticks and chants. The commanding "H!" above the centre of the stage was illuminated. A "We love you Manchester" started up the engines and Hadouken were ready for electronic blast off. The intensity of crowd members in the pit was as good as any heavy metal gig, and the rythms of Bounce and Dance Lessons created a surge of sweatty student excitement. The electronic aspects to their music that have made their songs so popular were recreated rather poorly, what sounded brilliant on the record sounded rather drained live. A good night!

Look out for Ghost Frequency, I can see them bringing the nation's alternative venues into their Atari-inspired trance.

01 November 2007


Wednesday 31st October. 'Siberia' in Bury. Bury is a good old Lancashire town proud of it's 'World Famous' market, it's industrial history and it's local delicacy-black pudding. Lying stranded at the northern end of the tram network, it feels like not much has changed since the early 90's. Anyway, Siberia is located at the end of The Rock, the main shopping street, and it's friendly atmosphere and cheap drinks make it quite a busy place on weeknights and at the weekend for young people across the area.

My good mate from Cornwall came up, we were both amazingly skint, so we decided to give an expensive might out in Manchester a miss, and headed for Bury instead. Wednesday at Siberia usually means Rock Night. Halloween and Rock Night all rolled into one meant that every emo kid in town was dolled up for a drunken, Halloween mosh. Bizarrely the floor was coated in leaves and cheap Halloween decorations hung around the bar. The music was a bit of a let down, as most of it was impossible to dance (or mosh) to, but after a while it soon picked up with 'Mr Brightside' and of course the 'Time Warp' being my favourites that night. Picked up some good old northern chips, and headed for the taxi rank. Quite a good (and relatively cheap) night.

29 October 2007


Saturday October 27th. Halloween fancy dress. I didn't really put any effort in. Just chucked on some skinnies, an emo top and my chunky nike trainers. The flat was packed. In what was the living room, 3 bands were setting up their equiptment. The sound system that had hosted a DJ the evening before, was set up for a indie and screamo kids. I was fucked before the first band had even finished their set.

The police raided.They pigs weren't as placid as the weekend before, they were detirmined to chuck us all out. And they did. The bands had to lug their drums, guitars, and emo fringes out of that flat in seconds. Awaiting the kids outside was two patrol cars and two riot vans. The police meant business. Everyone headed onto Urbis, the place where most of these lads and girls had spent long bleary-eyed days, before they convinced themselves they had grown up a bit.

The police cars circled Victoria, eyeing up the teenage scum.Instead of following the crowd, Me and my friends thought we'd be clever, and hang out on a park just off Miller Street under the CIS Tower and wait for it to blow over. I just assumed that the police would follow the kids, and take all their beer. Ask any indie, emo, goth or scene kid and you will find this is usually the case every weekend on Urbis. We wanted to keep our stash.

After about an hour, we headed back to the flat, got chatting to some kids in Halloween costumes and asked them what was going on. Even though they were under the influence of illegal substances they told us that everyone was going to a rave near Deansgate Lock and the former Gasworks site. I gave the hostess a ring, and she had lead this 150 strong indie army down Deansgate, and by the time we got there, the area infront of The Hilton Beetham Tower was full of us. Someone got a call, and we all headed off. Down past Gasworks towards the Mancunian Way.

Behind the swanky apartments and offices there was a massive wall, and a cobbled street. In the middle of this wall was a single steel door. We all huddled outside, waiting to be let in, and finally after a few minutes the door opened. As soon as the door opened the wreak of paint fumes in this massive warehouse hit me. There were bikes hung from the ceiling with strings holding them up. There were dogs running around, and bails of hay. there were art displays and music. All the time me and my mates looked puzzled at each other. What was this?

There was a massive Marquee-type enclosure. Inside was a massive projector screen showing messed up images in monocrome. Gazing mindlessly were all these 30 and 40 year old hippies, sat on sofas and chairs that your grandmother would have discarded in 1990. Some of these bearded guys, were shooting up. Nice.

Everyone from the party gazed around, looking at each other. It was like someone had put a catalogue of random drug-aided thoughts in a room and invited Manchester to see. There was a stage with strobe lights and DJ decks. I was told afterwards that the police had raided, but said that the ravers could stay, as long as the music stopped. The Greater Manchester Police were obviously busy that night.

After about half an hour of confusion we all left and the hostess was approaching people she knew quite well and whispering "You and two or three of your mates can come back to the flat, just keep it quiet". We headed up to G-Mex, and got the Met back to Victoria. The party resumed, everyone was told to be silent. After half an hour, everyone else that was previously there was raving once again, an iPod was linked up to the sound system. Everything was back to normal. If 150 drunken Uni students in a swanky flat could be described as normal.

At around 4AM a loutish neighbour burst in, shouting about the noise and vomit patches in the stairwells. A well-built scene kid confronting him and everyone circled."Who the fuck are you comin' into his house......"The argument went on and they both squared up to each other. After what seemed like 10 minutes (I was absolutely slashed remember) out of nowhere came this high-pitched childish voice:
"I know. Why don't we just push him out of the flat?"
It was legendary. Everyone obeyed the command of this dweeb and shoved this 30-odd year old guy towards the door. I can't describe how amusing it was.The door was closed, and everyone kept on pushing until he fell against the door. He was punched by three separate people and thrown out. After that soon so were we.
Me and a few friends made the long walk home.

I SAY: At least thanks to British Winter time we got an extra hour in bed.

27 October 2007

Manchester Party (Revisited)

Friday 26th October meant going back to The Flat near Victoria. The theme on this evening was Barbie and Ken. My fancy dress effort was pretty poor. A posh shirt, with a preppy jumper, some jeans and formal shoes with a clip file. Can you guess what Ken I went as?
Office Ken. Obviously.
Some of my mates really put the effort in, with deformed and decapitated barbies being a favourite Necklace accessory.

It was a mad night. I had been through a really tough week at College and I just couldn't wait to get absolutely Trollied and just go for it. This night was a bit of a let-down numbers wise though. Not as many people went on Friday as on the nights the previous weekend. But that meant room to breathe, and a chance to talk to people. I'm making it sound like a rather conservative affair, it really wasn't. The Vodka poured once again, this time diluted with Oasis, served from the bottle. Classy, I know.

I met some really cool people and instantly repelled them by dancing like a Strictly Come Dancing contestant on Acid. But the most embarrassing moment came when One of the bathrooms became a social area, and the second became a crack-den and I really needed a piss. I ran out of the flat, stumbling against the walls ran into the stairwell, and saw an open window. Yeah that's right. A reoccurance of this happened, but one floor below, with my head sandwiched inbetween the two pains of glass, sending my vomit to whatever happened to lie below.

Change of subject if you will. I ended up walking home up Bury New Road and got home around 4am. Then had to appear at work the next morning, layering on my Southern-esque fake accent, and my "Hi I'm in pain" smile. But I wasn't thinking of work.

I SAY: As is the case with parties, plays and gigs, the best night is always the last.

21 October 2007

Manchester Party

I SAY:A sign of a good weekend out is the devastating aray of facial expressions displayed the following day.

A good friend of mine hosted two parties last night and the night before (friday and saturday). I met her during the week in Koffee Pot in Manchester's Northern Quarter, she told me about these parties she had been planning, and that half of the kids in the city would be there. She's one of those people that just knows everyone, living just by the Northern Quarter she gets free gig tickets, and an invite to everything in the city's subculture.

Friday's Electro Rave started the proceedings in the Oh-So-Posh apartment block just by Manchester's Victoria Station. The furniture and appliances were all gutted out with only walls, floors and the inticing smell of Vod to welcome you into the flat. What a night! Being a Nu Rave event, broken glowsticks carpeted the cig-but trodden carpet. The walls became a huge canvas, permanent markers, spraypaint and highlighters were used to create a massive arty array of messages and pictures. Mint. I became an absolute state of course, Vodka being the chosen bevvy. I can never gauge the correct side of the Anorexcally thin line between having a good time and being KO'd on a pavement, reliving the tastes of whatever food you'd just consumed in the hours before. But to be fair, being in your late teens, what more can you ask for except good music, good friends and a good drink.

Where drunken teenagers arrive, trouble naturally follows! But being a Wristband only event, the dicks that just love trashing things, weren't let in. And in a typically mancunian fashion the Apartment Block's security guard was soon won over to the youthful invasion with a few bottles of beer. The police were called, but were soon shooed away, they didn't return that night. I left around 2am. Work the next morning was hell. Kendal's Department Store is where I spend long weekend days, serving the Cheshire Set, the rich lot who treat you like you're a brown stain on their Jimmy Choos. I just had to keep thinking of how legendary after work would be.

Saturday's Rave was more of a classy affair. Slightly. The dress code was 1920's/1930's Masquerade theme. I nipped down to the Fancy Dress shop on the top floor of Affleck's Palace and picked up a simple black mask, donned a panic at the disco-esque waistcoat, some skinnies and a posh shirt. That did me grand. Same again really on Saturday as the night before, can't remember much. Got home at 3am. Work today was even more hellish.

Oh and she's having two more on friday and saturday of this week. My liver will crawl out of me screaming for remorse. Sack it, you're only young once, yeah?