Friday 19th December
It's 8pm and I arrive at the bars in Didsbury. We were meant to be meeting at the Slug and Lettuce. On the way over Phil has texted the mobile saying they're in the Hogshead.
I walk through the double doors into the Hogshead venue and stand near the front with a view of the place. Every table is taken, ahead and to the right the bar staff are busy serving people queuing up at the bar. It's all Ben Sherman style shirts not tucked in, jeans Rockports and Nike trainers in here. It reminds me of Stockport town centre.
I walk towards the middle of the room and as the bar is on my right, I notice to the left is Phil and Baz at a high table.
Phil: Hi mate, how's it going?" we shake hands.
Baz: Hi, how are you?"
Me: Ok thanks, why aren't you in the Slug and Lettuce?"
Phil: It was too loud in the Slug and Lettuce so we came in here."
Baz: I was thinking about you loads over the past week, then Phil invited me to meet up with you."
Me: Wow. We must be telepathic. We haven't met up in 2 years."
Baz: We must be."
Baz: Shall we get some drinks?"
Phil: Can I have a pint of Fosters."
Baz: What do you want?"
Me: A soda water with no ice."
Baz goes to the bar.
Phil: Is Jackson and that lady coming?"
Me: No. They've gone to a comedy night at Opus. You said Danielle and some other people were coming with you. Steve wanted Jackson and Visana to go with him to Opus to meet businesspeople and I was ok with it. With Danielle coming I thought it would be better not to invite Visana."
Phil was talking about setting me up on a date with Danielle, so he said he'd invite her along so I could meet her.
Phil: My girlfriend wouldn't come along so none of them would come along but it's ok."
Me: Yes, it'll be a good night."
I know Phil and Baz from 2004-2005 when we used to go out in Manchester with the after work crowd and occasionally on Saturdays. Me and Phil got back in touch with each other when Phil contacted me through the internet after seeing an article I posted on it.
We talk a while then leave Hogshead.
Phil: Where shall we go?"
Baz: I haven't been out in Didsbury for years."
Me: We could go to the Pitcher and Piano."
Phil: Where's that?"
Me: Around the corner."
We go into the Pitcher and Piano and stand at one of the tables near the bar. It's busy tonight with lots of people standing near the bar and having conversations. The sofas and tables and chairs on the other side of the room are all taken.
Phil: It's ok in here."
Baz: It's not bad."
Phil: It's a bit loud."
Me: We can leave in a bit."
Phil: Are you approaching anyone?"
In 2004-2005 me and Phil used to approach and chat to random people in bars and pubs. Once a week at 5pm we'd set off near St. Peter's Square and visit bars across the city until 8pm then go home. Going to a bar or pub and talking to the regulars is what being a trendy person was all about.
Me: Hey baby, what's up." I say as a lady walks past us.
Phil: I'm being serious."
Baz: It's difficult in here as everyone is sitting down."
Me: It doesn't matter, you can still approach."
I take a look around the room then go over to two ladies at the opposite side of the venue sitting down at a table.
Me: Hi, how's it going?"
Lady 1: Good thanks."
Me: Are you out for anything special?"
Lady 1: No. I'm out with my friend as we haven't seen each other in a while."
Me: Can I get your opinion on something?"
Lady 1: Sure." she says interested.
Me: Why do you go out?"
Lady 1: To talk with friends."
Me: Most people say to listen to music and meet people."
Lady 1: I don't go out to meet people, I'm not out very often."
They're smiling and ok people. I leave them to it though as they're not particularly sociable. One reminds me of Rebecca.
We talk about interests for a few minutes.
Me: See you later."
Rebecca is a lady who was saying she wanted to come out with me and Alex K, When we invited her she was always busy. She kept saying to let her know next time because she wants to come out with us. I saw her recently in the pub, she was with 4 friends (3 guys and 1 lady) and we said:
Me: How come you never came out?"
Rebecca: I'm often busy."
I consider the texts she sent, how one Friday she texted she's gone to a talk on archaeology at a Museum (in November) and another time she was at the Christmas Markets with her parents. Many parents would have said: Why are you going to the Christmas market with us on a Friday night? You should be out on the town!"
Then Rebecca said:
Rebecca: It's like tonight. They had to book me 4 weeks in advance" and she looks around at her friends. One of her friends gives a look to me s if to say – whatever.
Me: Well I took you off the invite list."
Which indicated to her – if she doesn't want to come out, don't come out.
It's a pedestal thing. She thinks she's so in demand people when they invite her out, she thinks it's begging, when it's not at all. Then when she's not invited anymore she wonders why people don't bother.
After talking to the two ladies in the Pitcher and Piano I go over to Phil and Baz.
Me: They weren't talkative, one is out with a friend she hasn't seen in a while, they're not the going out type."
Phil: You did it well. I didn't think you could still do it."
Baz: The important thing is you approached."
We leave the Pitcher and Piano and go over to my car. We all get into my car rather than take both mine and Phil's. It's easier to take only one car when going to the Woodstock because parking spaces can be limited.
I'm driving up the driveway of the Woodstock.
Phil: This looks nice. I used to live in Didsbury but I've never heard of this place."
Baz: It's not well known, it's good inside. The last time I came here was about 2 years ago."
I park the car and we go inside to get drinks. I go to the bar and recognise the manager who gave me and Alex K free drinks on the 12th December.
Me: How's it going?"
Manager: Ok." he says abruptly and not making eye contact.
Me: Half a Staropramen."
He gets the drink, Phil and Baz are serve by someone else, then we go to a nearby table.
We talk about going out, business. We notice a lady dressed very smart with 3 other ladies and a guy.
Phil: Are you going to approach."
Me: In a bit."
They're all greeting each other and she's talking with the guy in their group.
Phil: It's a works night out."
Baz: Are you going to talk to her?"
Me: In a minute."
Two of the ladies, including the one I'm planning to approach, go to sit down at a table across the room. The other lady and guy go to the bar.
Ok. So now sitting at the table is the lady I'm planning to approach. She's got shoulder length brown hair, it's sort of wavy that's been done with those heated hair crimping type tools. She's wearing a black dress, seamed stockings, has red lipstick on, she's about 25. Dressed like that she's out for attention. The reason I considered approaching her is her attitude and upbeat vibe.
Also at the table is a lady in her 40's wearing a trouser suit, her body language has a kind of authority so it could be a works night out and she's the manager.
I walk towards the table and as I do another lady in a black dress approaches and starts putting her coat down.
The guy who was with them earlier must still be at the bar. He was wearing a dark suit, white shirt and tie, he had clean cut very short hair.
I'm wearing a fitted light green shirt with blue and green stripes, black trousers, shoes, and a black jacket. On my left wrist I'm wearing an analogue watch with shiny chrome on it. On the right I'm wearing a blue agate stone bracelet I found in a shop in Affleck's Palace when I went there.
I go over to the table.
Me: Hi, how's it going?"
Her: Fine thanks." she says smiling.
Me: I noticed you have a well co-ordinated style so I came to find out what you're like."
Her body language show's she's putting herself on a pedestal so I say:
Me: So you get chatted up a lot. I do too. It's no big deal. I'm only finding out what you're like. So, you're on a works night out?"
Her: How did you know?"
Me: I can tell. Where do you work?"
Her: At a recruitment consulatant."
Me: In Manchester?"
Her: In Cheadle."
Then the lady sitting with them at the table who looks like she's manager of the business says:
Manager lady: No-one in the group is allowed to talk to anyone outside the group tonight."
Me: Where are you from?" I say continuing the conversation with the lady and not taking notice of the manager lady.
Manager lady: Anyone speaking to someone outside the group wll be breaking the rules and have to leave."
Me: It looks like you'll have to leave."
The manager lady doesn't look pleased as the lady I'm talking to laughs at her defiance of the manager lady. Then the lady I'm speaking to feels bad annoying the manager and says.
Her: I've got a boyfriend."
Me: So ditch him." I say half joking. The people at the table apart from the manager lady laugh and are enjoying watching this drama.
Her: What, for you?" she says as if half considering it.
I give her a half fun half serious look.
Her: I don't think he'd like you saying that."
Lady 3 who was putting her coat down is now sat down and says:
Lady 3: You'll get into trouble."
Me: It's ok. Send him over and I'll beat him up!"
The lady I'm chatting to (Her) looks at me in a completely different way and smiles.
I said in the past to Alex K how lots of women like the idea of a tougher guy coming along than their current boyfriend. It's quite bad really.
The conversation escalated to about dating because she said how she has a boyfriend, when all I originally was doing was chatting to a local lady who looked a similar age to me.
I go over to Phil and Baz.
Baz: That's great you approached. What happened?"
Phil: I didn't think you'd go over to the table with them sat down." says Phil surprised and impressed.
Me: It was ok, she said she had a boyfriend but it could have been a test. Then a lady who is like a manger said things like – no-one is allowed to talk to anyone else – and another lady joined in too."
Phil: They were coming from al angles, you can't do anything much when women do that."
Me: She wouldn't have swapped contact details in front of them."
Baz: It's good you approached."
Phil: It was really good."
When I said earlier that it could have been a test – it's because many women say they have a boyfriend even though they don't.
Me, Baz and Phil talk about cars and films for a while.
Me: I saw a Mercedes 420 the other day in black. It was like a limo with a great sounding engine."
Baz: The big 90's ones?"
Baz: Have you ever seen Magnum. I like the Ferrari off that."
We continue talking about interesting things.
I say to Phil:
Me: Have you been upstairs?"
Me: Upstairs here is the best bit."
Baz: Yes, it's cool upstairs"
We go upstairs.
Phil: There's a lot of interior design done here."
Baz: With the wallpaper it looks very 80's"
We talk a while
Now we're standing next to the bar upstairs and Baz has spotted someone to approach. There are two ladies sitting down on the curved seats across from the bar.
Me: How's it going?"
Lady 1: Hi."
Me: What kind of places do you like to go out?"
Lady 2: We're having a conversation."
Me: That's nice. Why do you go out?"
Lady 1: What does it matter?"
Me: It's a concept from the 90's. People used to go out to places to have conversations and meet people. It's called socialising."
Lady 1: We're trying to have a conversation." she says moving her head from side to side like the women with attitude on American talk shows.
Me: Hey lady. have you been on Jerry Springer?!" I say in an American accent.
Lady 2 laughs.
Me: See you later." I say finishing the conversation because they're not nice people.
I go over to Baz and Phil.
Baz: That was funny."
Phil: You handled it well."
Me, Phil and Baz continue talking about films, cars and other interesting topics.
Then Phil says:
Phil: Shall I go over to her, the one you spoke to earlier, tap her on the shoulder and say – Can I get your opinion on something, do you like Jerry Springer!
Phil: Shall we go? It's 10:30."
Baz: Where shall we go?"
Me: The Met in West Didsbury. Do you know where it is?"
Baz: Yes I know. I've been there a couple of times a few years ago."
Me: I went there last week and it was ok. I had a few good conversations."
We leave the Woodstock and go to the Met. We go inside and within a few minutes a lady makes eye contact and we get into conversation. We get on well and are in conversation for 10 minutes. It turns out she has a boyfriend. She's not the type to be friends with a group.
It's very busy in here.
Me: How's the accountancy going?"
Phil: It's ok thanks. I still want to start my own business."
Me: What are you going to do?"
Phil: I'm not sure yet."
Me: Let's do a can-I-ask-your-opinion to these guys."
There's a group of 3 guys stood near us talking.
Me: Can I get your opinion on something?"
Guy 1: Sure." he says in a good mood.
Me; If you were to start a business, what would it be in?"
Guy 1: Don't ask us." he says smiling. Then he continues talking while referring to his friend saying: This guy here is always trying to come up with business ideas. He's the entrepreneur in our group."
Guy 2: I'm still trying to come up with something!" he says.
Baz and Phil start approaching groups of people. It's different here to the places we went to earlier. Everyone we approach is friendly. We approach 7 groups of people between us and stay in conversation with each group for between 10 and 20 minutes. Baz and Phil are skilled at conversations and coming across classy. For example, if Baz approaches someone and the conversation is going great Phil doesn't join in the group. Then if the conversation starts tailing off or going through a quieter patch, Phil will come and join in with new topics and will work together with Baz.
It's fun being out with them because they're not relying on me to always approach. Baz has some great lines and Phil is good too.
The mistake a lot of guys make, which Baz and Phil don't, is most guys work against each other rather than together, so it ends up the people being approached feel like they're caught up in a battle and not an enjoyable night out.
Now we're talking with 4 ladies. Baz is doing most of the talking, one lady is not joining in, the others are enjoying it. The one who isn't joining in – it could be she's not used to the topics of conversation or any number of things. I say to her:
Me: Let me read your palm."
Me: Are you right or left handed?"
Her: Right handed, why?"
Me: The left hand is the one you're born with, the right is the one that tells me about your lifestyle."
Her: Right." she says all interested and upbeat.
I read her palm.
Me: It says you take a common sense approach to relationships. You don't put the other person on a pedestal too much, but you care about them and aren't too selfish either."
She's really interested now.
Her: What's this line?" she says pointing to another line on her hand.
Me: The line of life."
Her: What does that mean?"
Me: I'll tell you next week when I read the next bit of the palmistry book."
A few minutes later she's not joining in again. She could be the type of person that prefers one-on-one conversations.
The last time I used palm reading was the 6th September when I was out with Alex K. It's useful to know.
We've finished talking to the 4 ladies and we're standing near the bar.
Baz: Check out them two."
There are two ladies sitting on a table next to each other talking. One has brown hair and looks Spanish, the other has dyed dark red hair.
Phil: Why don't you approach them."
It's noticeable when people make an effort with their style, so that's my line.
Me: Hi, you two have matching style."
Lady 1: You said that to us last week."
Lady 2: Is that your chat up line."
Me: Well I must have noticed you again this week."
They did look familiar.
Lady 1: Do you say that to everyone?"
Me: No, I have lots of chat up lines. It's good to meet people with style for who going out is something special. It's good to look smart and go out dancing."
Lady 1: Do you like dancing?" she says sounding interested.
Me: It's good to go dancing. People nowadays don't have the clubbing scene we had. I remember first going to nightclubs and it takes 6 months to learn how to dance, be cool, dress smart. Now a lot of people go to the Norhern Quarter so they don't have that experience."
Lady 1: You won't get much dancing done in here." she jokes.
Me: There's no loud music so you can talk. It's like a good pre-club bar. I usually go to Tiger Tiger. At the moment over Christmas there's all the events and buffets instead of club nights. Where do you go out?"
Lady 1: Tiger Tiger." she says smiling.
Me: Cool. Where do you live? Didsbury?"
Lady 1: Yes I live just down the road."
Me: What do you do?"
Lady 1: I'm a Spanish teacher. What do you do?"
Me: I've written a book for students to make the most of university which is in a few bookshops. I'm expanding the distribution to Manchester. I'm also working on an online magazine for an area in Cheshire."
We have a long conversation. Baz comes over and speaks to her friend.
Baz to lady 2: What do you do?"
Lady 2: I'm a dancer."
Me: That's great, what sort of dancing?"
Lady 2: Burlesque."
We talk about her dancing. Later on Phil joins too. We all have a good conversation.
Me, Phil and Baz say bye to them and start to leave. The conversation finishes on a good note. We'll see them again as they're regulars here and go to Tiger Tiger.
As Me, Baz and Phil are leaving the venue and going out onto the street, Phil says:
Phil: Every group we approached in there was a success!"
Baz: It's amazing. We'll have to go out here again."
Phil: It could be because it's near Christmas."
Me: I've been across the the whole city over the last few months and that is the only place where people are really friendly."
Phil: I'm definitely coming out again. It really was amazing."
Me: It's like pubs used to be in the 90's, actually it's better than most pubs in the 90's."
Phil: What did that lady say she does?"
Me: She's a teacher. The people we met in there were teachers, nurse, dancer, all those sort of jobs that involve dealing with people"
It's a real buzz going to a busy place, having fun conversations and learning about other people.
I give Phil and Baz a lift to their car in East Didsbury.
We're standing outside in the Aldi car park next to our cars.
Baz: We'll have to go out again."
Phil: Yes it'll be good."
Me: "Let me know, I'm out every Friday and often Saturday now. You should come out often because places go through trends. It might only be like this for a year."
From experience I've found venues can change, the clientele can change, other places can open nearby and so on.
I say bye to Phil and Baz. I get into my car, back it out of the parking space and drive out onto Wilmslow Road.
As I'm driving home I consider how everywhere else people were rude, unfriendly and anti-social. In the Met it was ok to meet and talk to people. They often made eye contact and indicated they want to talk to us. A place for people who like to go out to meet people. The only venue of it's kind in Manchester.
Summary and venue reviews: Friday 19th December
Click here for Season 2 Index
Very busy. Clientele: smart casual, Rockports and Ben Sherman. Decor: 5/10.
Notes: A busy vibrant place with quick service.
Pitcher and Piano Didsbury
Medium Busy. Clientele: smart casual and smart. Decor: 8/10. Musc: chart and dance.
Notes: An all round ok venue.
The Pitcher and Piano Didsbury
The Woodstock pub
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual and smart, people on a work night out. Decor: 9/10.
Notes: Trendy interior decor. Cliquey. Music right volume to talk with friends.
Very busy. Clientele: smart casual and smart. People with people skills. Decor: 7/10.
Notes: very friendly, a top night out of drinking and having conversations with people there.