Wednesday 31st December
It's after midday, 12:30pm and I've just got in. There's a message from Alex K.
I dial Alex K's number.
Alex K: "Hello."
Alex K: "I phoned Tiger Tiger and they haven't got any of the tickets left for the dinner. There's lots of tickets to get in for £25. That's a lot of money to get in."
Me: "I told you on the 22nd you should book before Christmas because before it everyone's planning for Christmas day. Then they'll buy all the tickets for new year's eve on the 26th."
Alex K: "I know I know. M-two is £25 in and has a champagne reception and breakfast. Do you want to go?"
Me: "When I said Tiger Tiger was £40 you said it was too much and you wanted to go to a bar. Now you want to go to a club."
Alex K: "It's like you said – you have to make the most of New Year's Eve so we should go out to a club."
Me: "You should have decided this on the 22nd or 23rd. Tiger Tiger was £40 for a 4 course meal in the restaurant. We could have had a meal at 9:30 until 10:30. Had a dance and come home at 1. The breakfast at M-two might not be served until 4am."
Alex K: "You're right. So what are you doing?"
Me: "I'm going to a house party Jackson invited me to."
Alex K: "Can you text me the address when you get there and I'll come over."
Me: "Jackson can only invite 2 people along because it's a private party at someone's flat. They're putting snacks and drinks out and only have space for so many. Aren't you going out with Maz?"
Alex K: "Yes he's coming out."
Me: "So you're not going on your own. We can go to Tiger Tiger next year."
Alex K: "Yeah, there's always next year!" he says half laughing and half as it's no big deal.
Alex K: "Have you heard from Katya?"
Me: "Yes we've been texting each other and about her visiting in February."
Alex K: "In February."
Alex K: "That's good. Are you going out next week?"
Me: "I'll be going to Manchester in the daytime."
Alex K: "Ok, let me know and I'll come."
Me: "Ok. happy new year!"
Alex K: "Happy new year. See you later."
I put the phone down.
When it comes to new year's eve and any night out in general - too many people wait until they have all the offers in and decide what to do last minute, then they find everyone and all the venues booked up. I prefer to make a decision early on and go with it.
I'm walking over to Revolution in Fallowfield where I arranged to meet Jackson. The phone rings and it's him.
Jackson: "I'm 30 seconds from Revolution. Can I put some bottles in your car. I won't be able to take them to bars."
Me: "Ok. I'll be there in 30 seconds too."
I finish the call.
I walk up to the entrance of Revolution and Jackson is standing there.
Jackson: "Hi. It looks like it's closed."
There's a sign outside Revolution.
Me: "It says open at 9pm and £3 off a taxi home if you arrive before 10. It must cost to get in."
Jackson and me had planned to meet up at 8pm and go to bars around Fallowfield, then on to the house party at 9:30pm. We go over to Sainsbury's car park, put Jackson's drinks in the back of my car and walk back to Wilmslow Road.
Jackson: "Shall we go to Queen of Hearts?"
Me: "What's that place you said opening where Sofa was?"
Jackson: "Font. It looks like they're still doing building work."
Me: "Cheshire Cat was good last time we went."
Jackson: "It looks closed from here."
Me: "They could have the lights dimmed."
We walk over to the Cheshire Cat and find it's open. We go inside and get drinks.
It's ok in Cheshire Cat. It's one of the best venues in Fallowfield. We came here on the 20th November.
We're sitting in the Cheshire Cat and there's a good vibe in here. There's groups of students, scallies, couples. It's the scallies must be responsible for all the 90's dance hits playing on the jukebox. Everyone is dressed smart looking forward to a night out. We overhear a few conversations of people saying how they're going to nightclubs later on.
At 9:10pm Visana phones Jackson to say she's arrived in Fallowfield. By now people in the Cheshire Cat are breaking out into songs, already drunk and rowdy. It's not rowdy in a fun way; the atmosphere in here has taken on a dark edge. It's people singing so everyone looks at them, groups of women mostly attracting attention. Me and Jackson leave and go out onto the street.
We meet Visana and go to Sainsbury's car park where my car is parked. We take carrier bags of drinks out of the boot of my car and walk over to the house party.
Jackson: "The party is at flat number 2."
We walk around the side of the Wetherspoons pub and up a ramp to the flats. There's a control panel on the wall. Jackson presses the flat 2 button then the call button.
Jackson: "It says error on the control panel."
Me: "let me try something."
I enter 0002 and press call, it says error.
Jackson presses all the buttons on the control panel and it just keeps saying error.
Me: "Jackson. Is there really a party tonight or did you just make it up so we'd come out with you?"
Visana: "Jackson, we would have come out with you to a bar. You didn't have to pretend."
Jackson: "Yeah yeah! Ok you found me out." he says laughing.
Jackson: "I've got a number here."
He has a piece of paper with a number on and dials it on his phone. It doesn't answer.
Jackson: "It's answerphone."
It's minus 4 degrees outside tonight and we're getting really cold by now.
Jackson: "It could be round here."
We go around to the back of the building and notice another flat 2.
Me: "There's a flat 2."
I ring the doorbell and knock on the door but there's no answer.
Jackson: "Let's go into Wetherspoons for a bit."
Me: "We've got carrier bags of drink."
Jackson: "I'll hide it under my coat."
Jackson takes his jacket off and hides the drinks underneath it by hanging the jacket and carrier bags over his shoulder.
Me: "Hey it's so warm out here Jackson's taken his jacket off! He's wearing a shirt and it's minus 4 degrees."
We laugh and go into the Wetherspoon pub sitting down near the window. Looking out of the window, across the road from this place a group of guys are going into a massage parlour. This is a classy neighbourhood!
We're sitting down in the pub and Jackson makes a few calls. 5 minutes later someone calls him back. Jackson finishes the call and says to us:
Jackson: "Ok we're going to the party!"
We leave the pub and go around the back to the number 2 flat and a guy in his late 20's – the host – lets us in and greets us.
Host: "Hello Jackson."
Jackson: "Hi, this is Alex."
Jackson: "This is Visana."
We go into the place and put our coats down.
This flat is going to be a cool place to spend new year's eve. It's a kitchen lounge downstairs with a balcony area above. On the wall is the huge dial and hands of a clock what has the wall as its background – it's a fashionable decorative feature of the flat and a cool thing to have for a new year's eve event.
There's a bose sound system playing party hits. There's nice sofas, tables and chairs. In the kitchen area there's cocktail making facilities, snacks such as crisps and cashew nuts and a selection of drinks. There's also a table football game.
We get some drinks. The guys play table football while the ladies sit on the sofas and talk. There's 15 of us which isn't a big party. It's nice as there's mostly a good friendly vibe. After playing table football everyone gets more drinks, has a chat and get on really well.
The host says:
Host: "Try some of these doughnuts like they have in Holland. I bought them specially."
He puts them on a table on the lounge area. A few people try them, most aren't trying them maybe because they keep fit or something. I try one and wow, they're really nice. No-one is eating them and there's lots all sprinkled with icing so I have a few more.
Now I'm playing table football with an American guy on my side doing the defence and I'm forward. On the other side is Jackson and the host who is very good because it's his table. Me and Jackson are being competitive and with banter at each other. The host is impressed with my goal scoring skills. We win one game each.
Now I'm avoiding a lady who is asking me to do a sexy pose with her for a photo. She keeps taking lots of photos.
Me: "I don't want to be on Facebook."
Her: "I don't put photos of Facebook." she walks off.
Me to Jackson: "What does she do with all those photos."
Jackson: "Puts them on Facebook. She keeps tagging me in the photos and I keep untagging them."
Everyone else here is generally nice.
I have a few more conversations with people here.
We all go to the upstairs balcony area which is cool. A lot of people start smoking so I go downstairs to eat more Dutch doughnuts.
The host comes downstairs to get drinks.
Host: "Hi, how's it going?" he says while standing in the kitchen shaking a cocktail shaker. He's over 6ft tall as are a number of people here. He's Dutch and if you've ever met Dutch people, I've found they're usually tall.
Me: "Good thanks."
Host: "Are you local?"
Me: "About 15 minutes drive away on the edge of Cheshire. I used to live in Manchester. Have you lived here long?"
Host: "I came here for a 5 months internship afer I studied at university in Holland. I stayed and now I've been here for 9 years."
Me: "That's good. You must like it here."
Host: "Yes. Manchester is a nice place. I'd be happy to move to another country though as long as the pay was right."
Me: "What do you do?"
Host: "I work at Shell."
Me: "In Wythenshawe?"
Host: "You know it. I manage the IT helpdesk there. It's about 200 staff I manage providing customer support for Europe."
I look and am impressed.
Host: "What do you do?"
Me: "I've written a book for students to make the most of university. I've got it in some bookshops in the Cheshire and Manchester areas."
Host: "You're a writer. It's good to meet a writer."
Me: "I'm also working on some new material and an online magazine."
Host: "Did you go to University it Manchester?"
Host: "What did you study?"
Me: "Physics with Business and Management. What did you do?"
Host: "Business and Economics in Holland."
Me: "How long was your course?"
Host: "3 years."
Me: "I wondered if it was like in Germany where people study until they're 30."
Host: "No it's not like that in Holland."
Me: "Have you had this flat long?"
Host: "I'm renting it out actually. My flatmate moved out a few months ago so I'm renting the whole place myself. They're closing some of the operations at work so I might be offered a job in another country. There's no reason to find another flatmate if I'm moving out in 2 months."
Me: "Where are you going?"
Host: "Asia, Europe, wherever they offer me a job as long as the pay is right. If I stay in Manchester I'll buy a flat – I'm thinking of the shared ownership scheme."
Me: "I wouldn't bother with shared ownership. You only own half and it could be difficult to sell. I know of someone who did shared ownership and the rent for the half was ok, but the company made it up by charging high maintenance costs."
Host: " Ok, right. I'll have to find out." he says interested and as if he'll have to look into it.
Me: With the recession you can get cheap flats in Manchester now. It's better than renting."
Host: "This place is costing me £750 a month. With bills it's £1000 a month."
Me: "Wow. That's a lot. You could easily get a mortgage and buy a nice place."
Him: "Mortgage is the English way but it's probably what I should do."
By saying – Mortgage is the English way - he's referring to how in some foreign countries renting is very popular compared to England.
Everyone else comes downstairs and we all chat and play some more table football. At midnight we have some champagne and wish each other happy new year. It's a good night.
At 12:30 Visana decides to leave. She's going to meet up with some friends in the city centre.
Visana: "Will you walk me over to the car?"
Visana doesn't want to walk over the street to Sainsbury's car park on her own because of the chance of encountering yobs on the street. I walk her to her car and go back to the party.
Now I'm back at the party and one of the guys there – who is dressed in an American football top, baggy jeans and a hat – is doing Scarface, Godfather and Goodfellas impressions. Which is funny at first.
It's 1am and I say to Jackson:
Me: "I'm going in a minute."
Jackson: "Ok. I'll walk over to the car."
Me: "I'll be ok on my own, you don't have to walk me over!" we laugh.
Jackson: "It'll be good to get some fresh air."
I check my mobile phone and there's texts wishing happy new year from Maurita (who we met on the 13th September), Alex K and Katya.
I say bye to everyone, thank the host for putting on a good house party and to Jackson for inviting me. I leave and go out onto the street where lots of drunk people are . There are taxis driving south one after another out of the city. It was good to go to a house party. It was a really fun new year's eve.
Summary and venue reviews: Wednesday 31st December
Click here for Season 2 Index
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, scallies. Decor: 5/10. Music: 90's dance hits.
Notes: Lots of people going to nightclubs later on New Year's Eve.
Lloyds Bar in Fallowfield
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart.
Lloyds Bar Fallowfield
Flat 2 in Fallowfield
Medium busy. Clientele: Me, Visana, Jackson and friends, some Dutch people. Decor: 10/10.
Notes: The table football is fun to play on New Years Eve.
Flat 2 in Fallowfield