Friday 21st November
I park on the sidestreets of Didsbury, it's 8:05pm. I'm a few minutes late because the brakelight on the car had gone so I checked that it's safe to drive before I set off. It turns out that there are 3 brakelight bulbs on my car so one not working will be ok for a short journey.
I get out of the car and go over to the car park where Alex K is meeting me. A minute later he drives up in the Honda Jazz Sport. I get in and we drive towards the city.
Alex K: "Hi, sorry I was late."
Me: "Don't worry about it, I only got here a minute ago."
Alex K: "I only just managed to get the car."
Me: "Are we going to the city now? I thought we could go to Didsbury. Doesn't matter now, we'll go to Odder."
We park near Odder and go to the bar. Odder inside is quite busy for 8:30. All the chairs and tables downstairs are taken up with groups of people.
Alex K: "Let's go upstairs."
We go upstairs. Alex K goes to the bar and I go around the place to check it out. I notice a blonde wearing a white blouse and tartan skirt. She looks stylish the way she's done it. She's standing near the bar around the corner from where Alex K is, waiting for someone and looking in her purse. Last week I glanced through a fashion magazine that was saying how tartan was coming in fashion so I've got my approach.
Me: "Hi. How's it going?"
Me: "You're wearing tartan, I read in a magazine last week that it's coming into fashion."
Her: "I'm Scottish so that's why I'm wearing it." she says smiling.
Me: "I was in Scotland a few months ago. Where are you from?"
Her: "Glasgow. Where did you go?"
Me: "Near Perth."
Her: "I know where Perth is."
Me: "Where are you going tonight?"
Her: "To the Warehouse Project. It's a club just down the road from here. I'm meeting a friend in a bit who I haven't seen for ages. You should come to the club later."
Me: "We're going somewhere else, we should meet up in future. What's your number?"
She gives me a card. Her name is Laura and she's an illustrator. At the same time her friend arrives. Me and Alex K go over to the other side of the room. I consider approaching more groups. Then I decide to leave instead and go to another venue, so we go downstairs and out onto the street.
Me: "Let's go to Tiger Tiger."
We go to the car, drive out onto the main road and head across the city.
Now we're driving past Albert Square we notice that the Christmas Market is still open.
Alex K: "Shall we go there?"
Me: "What, the Christmas Market?"
Alex K: "Yes."
Me: "There's nothing much there. People are going home now."
Alex K: "There's bars."
Me: "They're ok. Tiger Tiger is better. It's the 10th birthday tonight."
Alex K: "It's been open 10 years?"
Me: "Yes. I got a leaflet about it last night."
The Christmas Market in Manchester is a popular attraction giving a real atmosphere to the city. In Albert Square and St. Ann's Square they put up lots of log cabin style market stalls selling all sorts like gifts such as knitwear, handbags, scarves, and food such as sweets, cheese, burgers and curry. There are bars that have indoor areas inside the log cabins with beer and mulled wine. So you can shop and go to the pub all in the market. If you're a tourist in Manchester I'd recommend visiting it.
So we drive across to the North of the city and there are no parking spaces. We drive around the area again and there's still nowhere. Then I spot a company car park.
Me: "Park there."
Alex K: "The car might get clamped."
Me: "There's no signs."
I look at the name of the company and recognise it.
Me: "I know the guy who is a director of it. I know him from the business event."
Alex K: "Ok. It still could get clamped."
Me: "If it does we'll go back to mine, get a hacksaw, and cut it off."
Alex K: "What, at 3 in the morning?"
Me: "Yes. It's no problem."
Alex K: "I've got to set off to work at 8 tomorrow. I'm doing the catering."
Me: "So what. You've got to go out and enjoy yourself."
We park the car in the company car park. It's still quite a way from the Printworks but it's the nearest we can find.
We go to the doorway of Tiger Tiger and go inside. Upstairs is closed so we get some drinks and stay downstairs. I chat to some random people in their 30's.
Me: "Hi. How's it going?"
Her: "We're good thanks."
Me: "Are you here for the 10th birthday party?"
Her: "Yes we're on a works night out. How about you?"
Me: "We're here for the party. It should be a good night."
Her: "Yes. "
Me: "Are you celebrating anything?"
Her: "Yes. I've got a promotion, she's pregnant, and she's started at the company." she says pointing at people at the table.
Me: "Congratulations. What's the promotion?"
Her: "I'm becoming a manager. I'll be managing everyone here."
Me: "That's good."
We chat for a few minutes more then I say.
Me: "Nice meeting you, see you later."
I notice some seats and we go over to sit down. Some ladies sit down at the table next to us. It looks like a mother with a few children in their late teens or early twenties. We get talking. They say how they've booked a karaoke pod for an hour.
Tiger Tiger has these karaoke pods where you can choose songs and sing along. They're like private rooms so you can do karaoke for fun with just your friends and not a crowd watching. They're something like £60 an hour for 6 people.
It's 9:55pm and I notice the food menu on the table. Then a barman walks past our table, I say:
Me: "Are you still serving food?"
Him: "Yes, you'll have to be quick. We're stopping in 5 minutes."
Me: "Can I order now then?"
Him: "You'll have to come over to the bar now and I'll put it through. We'll bring the food over to your table."
I go over to the bar and the guy goes to the till to serve me, letting me jump the queue of people buying drinks at the bar.
Him: "What's your order?"
He turns around to the till to activate it with his key. I have a look at the menu and decide on a plate of chips with Mexican style dip. It sounds good. I tell the barman my order, pay him then go over to the table where Alex K is sitting.
Me: "I ordered the chips."
Alex K: "What, the plate of chips for £4.95?"
Me: "You can have half if you like."
Alex K: "Yes it'll probably be quite big, we'll see what they're like when they come."
Me: "It's better to eat here than going outside to find a takeaway. It's nicer."
Alex K: "Ok."
Me: "And we'll feel better having had some food."
The chips arrive. A huge plate of chips with a selection of dips. Salsa, sour cream and chilli beef. The chips are good, cooked properly and nicely cut. The dips are nice too. I like being able to order food at a club on a night out. If you have an evening meal at 6pm then stay out until 3 it's a long time if you're not drinking beer. Buying food at 10pm means it's a better night out and everything is fine.
There are two guys in their 30's standing talking. One acknowledges me and I acknowledge him back.
Me: "How's it going?"
Him: "We decided to go out tonight. We're out to meet people. We've been around the Northern Quarter but it's all quiet there. Where are the best places to go?"
Me: "To meet and get to know people?"
Me: "You're a bit early for the Northern Quarter, that doesn't get busy until later. Actually, we've been going all around the city for the past few months so we know most of the places."
His friend: "We've been lucky to meet the right person!"
Him: "I've been focusing on my job the past few years. You know. And we wanted to go out, meet people."
Me: "Where are you from?"
Me: "We started going out only a few months ago, before that I'd been going out in the suburbs occasionally to some pubs and bars. The best thing to do is keep going out in the city and you'll get into it."
His friend: "Right. Do you have any more tips?"
Me: "Approach and talk to people like you did to me just now. Friday is better than Saturday, there are more trendies and less weekend warriors. And dress smart."
His friend: "Thanks. Which are the best places you'd recommend that we can meet people?"
Me: "Try near King Street, places like Grinch and Chaophraya when they're busy. They're the kind of places you might like."
Him: "What do you do?"
Me: "I've written a book for students to make the most of university and working on a few other things."
Him: "You could earn a lot of money in sales. You're good at talking to people. You should get a sales job and earn a fortune."
Him: "Have you ever worked in sales?"
Me: "I did years ago."
Him: "Are you still at university?"
Me: "No. I finished, and decided to do my own thing."
Him: "How's it going?"
Me: "It's going well, we'll see how the book goes next year when it gets into more stores. Sometimes I did used to think – what am I doing? I could have a nice career in a business, pension fund, holidays and my own office – but I'm having a go at my own thing and it's going ok."
His friend: "Then one day you'll be a big success."
His friend: "You should stick with it. Good luck."
The first guy was probably trying to give advice because he wasn't used to taking advice, and he felt he had to give some in return to even things out. I just go along with it and see what he says. He's alright, just not used to going out and meeting people. It turns out I come across well because he said how I'd be good in sales. The other guy was more grateful and saw the advice as useful and a direct help to his night out, which is nice. I don't mind giving a bit of advice to these guys who are ok and making a go of building a lifestyle in the city.
Him: "We'll get going somewhere else. Good to meet you."
Me: "See you later."
His friend: "We might see you later. What's your email?"
Me: "Have you got a pen?"
His friend: "No, I haven't got my phone either."
It turns out no-one has a pen
His friend: "I'll remember it."
I tell him my email which is easy to remember. I don't use that email much anymore but I'll check it once next week just in case he contacts me. They leave and go to another bar.
We notice people are going upstairs so it must be open by now. We go upstairs and end up in the VIP lounge. I thought this was meant to be only for private parties but we just walked in. It's ok in here. We chat to a few people – a couple of air hostesses out in Manchester for one night. A few people on a works night out who work at a new restaurant on Deansgate. We stay a while since if we leave the VIP lounge we won't get back in - there's a guy now at the doorway with a clipboard letting only people on the list in.
We leave the VIP lounge and go to the main club upstairs. It's getting busy. The music is good. We get some drinks and enjoy the venue.
There's a big ice sculpture of a tiger which we're looking at, it's really well done. The break-dancers are announced so we go into the other room to watch them.
The break-dancers are doing their stuff, they're really good. It's not a competition between them, it's a properly choreographed dance. One guy is upside down standing on one hand dancing around the floor. Another guy spins around for ages on his head with a hat on. It's brilliant to be here with the entertainment in this club. Everyone is really enjoying it.
We go downstairs for a bit.
Alex K: "I might check on my car."
Me: "It'll be fine."
Alex K: "I want to check it's ok. I'll be back in a bit."
Alex K goes to check on his car while I sit downstairs. Then I put my jacket in the cloakroom and find a pair of sunglasses. They're free sunglasses, one of 500 pairs Tiger Tiger is giving to people at the club tonight. These are yellow with red stripes on the side.
As I get back from handing my jacket in Alex K returns – he was quick he must have run – and I buy a beer.
Me: "Is the car ok?"
Alex K: "Yes, but the alarm of the building it's parked outside has gone off."
We go upstairs and watch Coco from Fragma singing Miracle on stage. This is so amazing. Her performance is very good. Then she leaves going through the crowd surrounded by a group of bodyguards.
Lots people are wearing sunglasses now, some have blue ones, some yellow, and in other colours too. It's fun.
I'm glad only Alex K could come tonight. If anyone else had accepted my invite we might have ended up in wine bars first and missed the entertainment here. It was lucky.
Me and Alex K go to the dancefloor and start dancing in the main bar area.
This is really turning out to be a special night. In the main bar area is classic 90's indie, pop and rock. In the room to the side they're playing things like 50 cent and other 90's rap, R & B and so on. In the nightclub area they're playing 90's dance hits.
We go to the nightclub room, the classic dance hits are brilliant tonight. This is one of the best club nights I've ever been to. A lot of other people are enjoying it too.
We go to the main bar area for a bit, then into the nightclub area again. A lady starts dancing near me.
Me: "Hi. Good night isn't it."
Me: "Where are you from?"
Her: "Can I have a photo."
She gives a camera to her firend who tries to take a photo of us 3 times, the camera doesn't work though. Then I'm glad because now I realise I don't want to be on some facebook page. I'm having too good a time. Maybe I'll speak to her later, I go back to dancing. After a few minutes she and her friends go into another room.
We go into the main room, dance here. There's a guy who looks like he works out who has some very cool dance moves. To be fair there's quite a number of people here who've got good moves. They're the people who must come clubbing regularly. It's fun, dancing in a club and learning moves off each other, trying out new moves and having a good time generally. It's what nightclubbing is all about. It's not about picking up women, chatting up, that's what bars are for. It's about dancing, the music and everyone being a superstar.
Now it's approaching 2am people are dancing less. We talk to a few groups of people. A lady gives me her number. We dance some more. Some student types come and dance next to us. Then the music stops for a minute and some people start to leave. The music starts up again. The club probably decided to keep the night going for another hour. Nightclubs sometimes finish the night at 2, and sometimes at 3, depending on how it's going.
We go downstairs. We get our coats and leave the venue. It was a brilliant night.
Photos of the flyer for Tiger Tiger 10th birthday party event
Summary and venue reviews: Friday 21st November
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Medium busy. Clientele: casual and smart casual, a graphic designer from Glasgow. Decor: 6/10.
Very busy. Clientele: smart, clubwear, smart casual. Décor: 9/10.
Notes: The breakdancers, Fragma singing Miracle, ice sculptures and music made this a really