Friday 12th December
I meet Alex K in Didsbury. It's 8pm. We go to Varsity which is a popular bar on the main street running through Didsbury. There's lots of eating and drinking venues all in a line next door to each other here, making it a place to go out with a range of venues to suit people's preferences. There are so many bars and pubs that some people from the area occasionally go on a pub crawl every year calling it the Didsbury Dozen – 12 pubs they visit in the course of a night.
We're in Varsity now which is popular both in day and night time. By day it gives value for money on food and snacks and has comfortable seats. In the evenings it is a nicely set out venue to go with friends and shows football and rugby games when they're on.
We stay in Varsity for 20 minutes then notice that there's a pub crawl organised by the Monday night social group social-circle. Jackson and Steve are there with about 25 other people enjoying drinks, food, conversation and a night out.
Steve: "Hi how are you?"
Me: "Good thanks, you?"
Steve: "I'm fine thank you. Are you here for the pub crawl?"
Me: "No we're going to Manchester later on."
Steve: "Where are you going?"
Me: "We'll see later on, probably a nightclub."
We talk a bit then I say hi to Jackson.
Jackson: "Hi how are you?"
Me: "We're going to Manchester later although Didsbury is quite good tonight."
We talk a bit then me and Alex K go and stand by the bar.
Me and Alex K say bye to Jackson and Steve, leave Varsity and go to the Slug and Lettuce.
We're in the Slug and Lettuce standing by the bar.
Me: "It's busy tonight."
Alex K: "Yes it's good."
We go upstairs but it looks like there's a private party on. Then a guy on the upstairs landing starts shouting and howling at the top of his voice. His friend is laughing but it's annoying everyone else here. I tell him to shut it and start going downstairs. They both follow us to start a fight so Me and Alex K go out onto the street. They follow us to the front door of the bar and see us waiting for them on the street. We wave for them to come outside then they think twice and go back inside where the bouncers are there to protect them. It was all front.
We go to the Pitcher and Piano which is ok. We leave and go to a bar on the corner of Wilmslow Road on the other side from Casa Tapas. As we walk in there's a fish tank in the entrance area through which you can see the venue inside, it's a decorative touch which makes the place stylish. Jackson and the social-circle group are here. We chat with the people here for 20 minutes. The DJ keeps turning up the music and everyone starts saying it's too loud and we all leave.
Me and Alex K go to the car.
Alex K: "Where are we going?"
Me: "The Woodstock."
We leave East Didsbury and drive over towards West Didsbury and go to the Woodstock.
Me: "It's nice in here."
Alex K: "Let's sit over there."
Me: "OK. These are good seats."
Alex K: "Yes, this is the kind of place we should be sitting on a night out, with a view of the venue."
We're sitting upstairs in the Woodstock on the curved bench seats around a table. There's stylish décor and we've got a prime spot with a view of the venue.
Half an hour later
Alex K: "Maz will phone in a bit. He's coming along."
Alex K: "We could go to Liverpool, it's only half an hour away."
Me: "I don't want to go there, if you want to go you can both go and I'll stay in Didsbury."
Alex K: "Why don't you want to come?"
Me: "It's a long way, I don't want to spend half the evening trravelling and there's venues in Manchester. What do I want to go all the way to Liverpool for when I already live in a city."
Then a guy comes over to our table.
Him: "We're very sorry, there's a private party here later as it's someone's 21st and we should have closed the area earlier. Would it be possible for you to sit somewhere else in half an hour? We're very sorry."
Me: "Are you the manager?"
Me: "Do we get some free drinks?"
Him: "I'll see what I can do. Ok, you can have free drinks."
He goes over to another table nearby and asks 4 guys if they can sit somewhere else and offers them free drinks.
Alex K: "He's offering them drinks now because you've asked for them."
Me: "What do you mean?"
Alex K: "He can't give us free drinks and not them. It's also a good way to keep the customers satisfied."
The manager comes over.
Him: "What would you like to drink?"
Me: "A Fosters."
Him: "Ok one Fosters."
Alex K: "A glass of house red."
Him: "A glass of house red."
He goes to get our drinks.
Me: "Maybe I shouldn't have asked for free drinks. I always negotiate but sometimes I take it too far. He was very polite and professional anyway."
Alex K: "What are you saying that for?"
Me: "It's like the time I was buying a book and negotiated the price with the manager of the charity shop then paid with a 20 pound note! I negotiated some cassettes the other day."
Alex K: "It's good. Are you the type of guy who makes a million dollar deal then feels guilty afterwards."
Me: "No. And I get the deal done anyway so what does it matter."
The manager bring over the drinks.
Him: "A Fosters and a glass of house red."
Half an hour later we go to the downstairs bar area and I notice two ladies.
Me: "Hi, how's it going?"
Lady 1: "Ok thanks."
Me: "Are you going anywhere special?" I ask because they're dressed very smartly.
Lady 1: "No we've just come here. Are you?"
Me: "We're going to Manchester later."
Lady 1: "Where are you going?"
Me: "We're meeting a friend first then going to a club. What kind of places do you like to go?"
Lady 1: "Anywhere really, Didsbury, Fallowfield, it's the first time we've been here though."
Me: "It's nice here. It's good to go to places that are smart, where people make an effort and there isn't trouble. We compete all week in our careers and going out is meant to be fun, who wants to go to a place where there's trouble."
Alex K says half joking: "What are you talking about. You nearly got in a fight half an hour ago."
Me: "Yeah well."
Lady 2: "What happened?!"
Alex K: "Some guys were wanting to start a fight, he stood up to them and they backed off and stayed inside the bar where the bouncers could protect them."
The ladies smile as if they think it's cool. I'm not too pleased because the last thing anyone needs is encouragement that street violence is cool.
Me: "What do you do?"
Lady 1: "I'm studying events management."
Me: "You're students."
Alex K: "Where, Manchester Met?"
Lady 1: "Yes."
Me to Lady 2: "What about you?"
Lady 2: "We both do events management."
Me: "That's good. What events have you run?"
Lady 1: "General events. I had a year out in America at a Hotel. I like America, I want to move there in future."
Alex K: "Whereabouts?"
Lady 1: "California. She came with me. We're like a married couple." they look at each other and laugh.
Lady 2: "We argue sometimes but we get on."
Me: "I used to run events, business networking events where I hired a room and businesspeople would discuss business."
They acknowledge this and look impressed.
Me: "We met a lady who runs events in Manchester when we went out in September."
Lady 2: "That's very specific."
Me: "It was the 13th of September."
Lady 1: "Wow you've got a good memory."
Me: "I remember the nights out."
Alex K: "It's also because he pulled her." he says half joking.
The ladies laugh and think it's cool.
Me: "Where are you from?"
Lady 1: "Didsbury, we live just across the road. Have you been to the Met?"
Me: "That's West Didsbury, I don't go there because it's hard to park."
Lady 1: "Yes it is difficult, especially if you've got a big car."
Alex K: "What do you drive?"
Lady 1: "A Jeep Cherokee, we share it."
Alex K: "I nearly bought one of those the other day at a car auction."
Lady 1: "What, a £35,000 pound car?"
Alex K: "No it was £2,500."
Lady 1: "Mine is 2 years old, my Dad finished with it so he gave it to me."
Lady 1: "When I was in America I had a Mazda sports car, it was a stick shift. When I came back here and drive my Vauxhall Corsa it was too different to what I'd been driving over there. It was too slow."
Me: "Corsa's are ok. They have nice cars in America. When on holiday in Canada there were some nice cars as well."
Lady 1: "Where did you stay?"
Me: "Student accommodation. It worked out about 10 to 15 pounds a night which is good value. Otherwise I wouldn't have gone for 3 and a half weeks as it would have been 4 grand on hotels."
Lady 2: "You can stay in youth hostels."
Me: "I wouldn't stay in youth hostels. Student accommodation is like your own room so when I was a student it's ok and good value."
Lady 1: "My Auntie has 2 hotels in America."
Alex K: "She's like a mini Paris Hilton."
We talk for a long time then me and Alex K decide to get going.
Me: "Shall we get going?"
Alex K: "Sure."
Me: "We should meet up again."
Lady 1: "Do you come here often?"
Me, Alex and Lady 2 laugh.
Me: "Are you chatting me up?"
Lady 2: "It's because she spends so much time in America."
Lady 1: "Is that a chat up line?"
Me: "What would you say in America . . . Yo baby, whats up?!?"
Me: "Give me your number and I'll let you know next time we're out."
They both write down their numbers, put their coats on and leave at the same time as us.
Me and Alex K go to the car and they go home.
It was fun meeting them but I have my doubts whether they'll meet up again in future. It's an intuition you get when going out and talking to so many people. Also I was a bit tired when talking to them and I noticed they picked up on this.
A lot of guys have learned not to take the majority of women seriously because many are very superficial. If a guy comes across as confident and powerful she'll be all over him, but if there's the slightest glitch of tiredness, a mistake, and don't even mention nervousness, they won't be interested.
The only guys who are totally on the ball all the time are ones with easy jobs and don't take risks. This is why 50% of women don't like exciting interesting guys, they like guys with stable 9-5 jobs who are so entrenched into the same routine everything is totally stable and easy.
Lots of guys I speak to nowadays say that lots of women expect guys to go to bed with them straight away. They say It's a low self esteem issue many have that on the one hand women say they like to go on dates first, but when it comes to it, if the guy doesn't try to get them into bed straight away the women will sulk and feel not liked. Of course it's better to go on a few dates first to find out what the person is like.
Me and Alex K drive to Fallowfield, go to Happy Days and order a pizza. We have half a pizza each then Alex K phones his friend. We go to the car and drive over to pick up Maz from his place.
Maz gets into the car.
Alex K: "Hi."
Maz to me: "Hello we've met before." and we shake hands.
Maz is referring to the 20th September, he was one of the guys we met outside the takeaway in Fallowfield at the end of the night.
Maz is a nice person to speak to and enjoys going out. The first thing most people notice about him is that he's over 6ft tall and has very wide shoulders. He looks like an American footballer. He plays lots of rugby.
As we're driving to Manchester Alex K says:
Alex K: "We could go to Liverpool."
Maz: "We could."
Me: "If you want to go to Liverpool then you guys go. I don't want to hold up your night. I'll go to Didsbury."
Maz: "No it's ok. We can go to Manchester."
Alex K drives us over to Deansgate, parks the car and we go to Revolution.
We go inside but it''s far too loud so we leave.
Alex K: "I forgot, I left the phone on the car seat."
Maz: "We should go back and get it."
So we go to the car to get the phone.
Alex K: "We bought this phone as one of three for £100 at an auction."
Me: "When was that?"
Alex K: "We went yesterday."
Alex K is trying to make some extra cash going to auctions and selling goods on ebay.
We go to Deansgate.
Me: "Let's go in the Moon Under the Water."
Maz: "I've never been in there."
Me: "It's ok. It said somewhere it was one of the biggest pubs in Europe."
Maz: "Sounds good."
We go inside and it's ok around the entrance area. Then we go to the large room with the balcony and it's the same old story – music so loud the venue can't handle it, the sound is reflecting off the walls and it's distorting. We go back to the entrance area and stay here.
We leave the Moon Under the Water and go out onto the street.
Me: "La Tasca is open, let's go in there."
We go to walk in
Doorman: "It's closed upstairs but you can go downstairs."
We go inside and there's a sign pointing downstairs saying Private Party.
Me: "It's a private party."
Alex K: "The doorman was ok with it though."
We go downstairs and there's a DJ, people dancing, it's a good party. We dance and enjoy the music. We have drinks and stay for half an hour.
We leave La Tasca and are on the street.
Maz: "We can go into Label."
We go inside
Maz: "Label used to be better than this."
We leave Label and go to the car.
We go to Deansgate locks and park outside on the street.
Me: "Let's go in there."
We go inside one of the bars and it's ok. We enjoy the music.
30 minutes later all 15 ladies in the venue leave. Then Maz says
Maz: "I don't like the atmosphere in here, we should leave."
Alex K: "It's not that bad."
Maz: "No, we should really get going. I don't want a stray bullet in me. It's all gangs in here. I can tell."
We leave and go outside the bars, there's a few policemen standing outside the bars watching what's going on. There's something going down.
We go to the car across the road, get in, Alex K starts up the engine and a police van pulls up outside the bars. On the van it says "Tactical Aid Unit". They're the vans used by riot police.
Maz: "Tactical Aid Unit – they only use those vans for the worst kind of trouble."
A policeman gets out and jogs over to the bars as the van drives down the road a bit.
Alex K drives off and we leave the area in the Honda Jazz. Maz's intuition was right, there was some big trouble about to start there. Maz is over 6ft tall, his shoulders are as broad as an American Football player, he plays rugby and works out a lot. He's not a guy that scares easily but he's very streetwise and doesn't want a battle in a bar or nightclub.
We go to Dukes 92 but it's closed. So we drive out of Castlefield and as we're waiting at the traffic lights on red a lady pulls up on her bicycle.
Alex K: "Why don't you chat her up."
Me: "You're serious? she's on a bike."
I wind down the window
Me: "Hi, how's it going?"
I decide to get out of the car and go up to her as we're still waiting for the lights to change.
Her: "I'm going in a second." she says sounding a bit scared. It's not the done thing to get out of a car and chat up a lady on her bike!
Me: "It's ok, I'm just chatting you up."
Then she changes her worried look to a smile instead and says
Her: "Wait a minute, didn't you chat me up before?"
Me: "I'm not sure."
I've chatted to so many people lately. She does look familiar.
Her: "Yes you did. You chatted to me on the bus!"
Me: "Yes it was a few months ago"
I chatted her up one afternoon on the rare occasion I used a bus to get into the city. I'd left my car in Fallowfield. She was sat near me and seemed quite cool so I chatted her up.
A car arrives behind Alex K's and the traffic lights change to green.
Her: "I work over there." she nod in the direction of some bars.
Her: "Come in and see me when we're open."
Me: "There's a car coming. Ok. I'll come and see you sometime."
I get in the car, she looks disappointed I'm leaving. Alex K drives us away. I know where she works – at Knott bar in Castlefield – because she told me when I spoke to her on the bus.
Alex K: "You should have carried on talking to her."
Me: "There was a car coming."
Alex K: "I would have driven around the block and come back."
Me: "Well I'll know next time. It's not every day I chat up a lady on a bike."
Maz: "What did you say to her?"
Me: "She looked worried at first but I played it cool then it turned out I've chatted her up before on a bus."
Maz: "I couldn't do that, they'd think I was going to mug them!" says Maz referring to being 6ft tall and looking like an American Football player.
Me: "You could if you had the right approach."
Alex K: "When did you first meet her?"
Me: "A few months ago in the afternoon."
Me: "See, I said this before. If you keep approaching random people and going out then you'll cover the city and start encountering the same people again!"
Alex K: "Yes, it's true."
Summary and venue reviews: Friday 12th December
Click here for Season 2 Index
Very busy. Decor: 7/10. Music: chart.
Notes: Good value for money on drinks and food. Polite service and comfortable seating.
Slug and Lettuce Didsbury
Busy. Clientele: smart and smart casual. Decor: 6/10. Music: chart.
Notes: A party atmosphere on Friday night.
Slug and Lettuce Didsbury
Pitcher and Piano
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart. Decor: 8/10.
Notes: The music is very loud.
Pitcher and Piano Didsbury
Bar on the corner near Casa Tapas
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart. Decor: 8/10.
Notes: The music kept being turned up so loud it wasn't possible to talk. A nicely decorated venue.
The Woodstock pub
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart, students. Decor: 9/10. Music: varied, ok volume for a pub.
Notes: A stylish venue with nice seating areas upstairs.
Happy Days takeaway
Quiet. Decor: 5/10.
Notes: Pizzas are good value.
Happy Days takeaway
Moon Under the Water pub
Very busy. Clientele: smart casual, casual. Decor: 8/10. Music: chart.
Notes: One of the largest venues in Manchester. The music is so loud and because of the shape of the venue it echoes off the walls and distorts.
Moon Under Water pub
La Tasca Deansgate
Busy. Clientele: smart, smart casual, people at a private party. Decor: 7/10. Music: classic hits, chart.
La Tasca Deansgate
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual and smart.
Notes: Music too loud for a bar.
Pitcher and Piano Deansgate Locks
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart, gangsters. Decor: 7/10. Music: R&B, dance, chart.
Notes: A battle about to start with police Tactical Aid Units at the ready.
Pitcher and Piano on Deansgate Locks
Very quiet. Clientele: us and a lady on a bicycle who works at Knott bar.
Notes: Most places in Castlefield close by midnight.