Friday 5th June
It's 7:35pm and I'm driving the Volvo along the M56 travelling north. The radio is on 107.8 Pure Radio - a station based in Stockport. It's playing Sweet Home Alabama. I was originally meeting in Didsbury at 7:30pm but took longer getting ready, partly choosing a shirt that matches the new black with blue pinstripes trousers I'm wearing. They look great with some shoes I bought in 1998 specially for going out on weekends. The shoes are slip on, have a thick sole and heel, and a silvery buckle across the top. The leather is coated so they always look smart. Classic 1990's fashion at it's best. I wore these shoes 98-99 and haven't used them for nights out since.
I'm now driving along the 40mph area at the section that goes underneath the M60 ring road. On the right further ahead, I notice a line of cars on the outside lane all stopped next to the central reservation. As I get closer I notice 2 cars, then there's a car upside down resting on it's windscreen and bonnet, facing the opposite way! Another 2 cars are parked after it. 5 cars caught in one serious shunt, on a straight stretch of 40mph road!
As I pass them I notice there's no-one in any of the cars. Sitting on the central reservation barrier of the 3 lane carriageway are - 2 particularly glum looking youths next to the red faded hatchback which is upside down. Also with the 4 cars which look ok, are 4 unhappy looking adults ranging from their 30's to 40's.
I turn right down Barlow Moor Road towards Didsbury. Partway down this road, I notice a private taxi ahead on the opposite side of the road with it's indicator on. I anticipate it making a dangerous move because of the way it's positioned and the dirty bodywork. As I drive closer it suddenly turns across the road in front of my car, so I have to press the brake hard and stop. I press the horn. People in other cars shake their heads at his dangerous driving.
I arrive in Didsbury, park the car and meet Jackson. We take the bus towards the city.
We're on the bus.
Me: "I'm moving seats. Everyone's shouting here."
When I occasionally take the bus, I find lots of people using mobile phones. I like a pleasant bus ride looking out of the window. It's like when a friend of a friend said how they paid for a first class seat on a Virgin train and had a businessman sat opposite tapping away at his laptop the whole journey. I go to the back seat next to a lady. I'm not chatting her up and she looks at me as if why I've moved to sit next to her. At the same time I notice a guy near the back seat also talking on his mobile.
Me: "I moved because of all those idiots talking on mobile phones." I say loudly.
The guys on mobile phones look around as if being tough, then see me and go back to their mobile. One finishes his call. Then the nearest one finishes his call. He says
Him: "Have you just been to work?" as if half agreeing with me about people on mobiles.
Me: "No, why?"
Him: "I thought you'd been at work with people on mobiles."
I'm wearing a black jacket over my shirt so all he can see is a jacket, pinstripe trousers and shoes.
Me: "No, are you trying to be a wiseguy?"
Him: "No, it's just that you’re dressed so smart."
Me: "It's called style. Being smart when going out. Not like most people nowadays wearing sack cloth." I say half joking and noticing his three quarter length brown trousers looking shabby.
He laughs too, as if I met his challenge.
Him: "Where do you like going out?"
Me: "I've been going to the city a lot over the last 6 or 8 months. Although lately there's been so much crime and yobs I'm considering going to Cheshire."
Him: "He's concerned about that." he says nodding towards his friend.
Me: "How come?"
Him: "He's from Kings Lynn, visiting. We're going to the Oasis concert tomorrow."
His friend: "All the mancunians."
Me: "It should be ok, you'll be fine." I say noticing his clothes.
Me: "You're dressed exactly right to fit in as an Oasis fan."
He's wearing a short sleeved kind of check pattern shirt, jeans and shoes. He looks very 90's.
I remember how about year ago the crowd were throwing bottles at the Lancashire County Cricket Club Oasis concert. I decide against telling him because he might not enjoy it as much.
Him: "Where are you going out?"
Me: "Bars and a nightclub."
Him: "Which one?"
Me: "Probably Tiger Tiger. Maybe the Birdcage."
Admittedly the Birdcage has those drag shows, but that puts guys off and once me and Jackson went and the place was 98% women! Lately it's become half the reason I'm not trying to recruit a group of people to go out with. Me and Jackson are enjoying ourselves too much going to a nightclub full of ladies!
Me: "Where are you going?"
Him: "The Cornerhouse to see a film."
Me: "Anything in particular?"
Him: "We're going to se what's on."
Me: "Ok, it's that a lot of people go there to see specific films, and discuss it during the break. It's good."
Him: "There'll hopefully be a break. Where are you from?"
Him: "So you're from Manchester."
Me: "It's on the border. I used to live in Fallowfield."
Him: "Is it any good there?"
Me: "There's not much there to go out. Although I might try Knutsford. The people I meet in nightclubs, lots of them take drugs and drink lots. People in Cheshire are less like that."
His friend: "That's a generalisation." he says laughing.
Me: "I'm telling it the way I find it. I meet a lot of ladies, go on dates, a higher proportion than you expect like to go clubbing and take the odd pill."
Him: "He's right, tell it the way it is!"
Him: "have you been out in Chorlton? I was going to go there."
Me: "Places like Abode? The bars on the bridge?"
Him: "I don't know the places. I've heard it's ok."
Me: "It's a good place to go out, be a regular, meet and get to know locals." When I say this I wonder whether I should be going to Chorlton myself.
Him: "I'll have to try it. What do you do?"
Me: "I'm a writer. I used to be in business and run events. I had an idea for a book, wrote it and it's in some shops and Amazon."
Him: "That's great, what's it called?"
Me: "Alex's University Tips - what students need to know to make the most of university. Go to Alexsuniversitytips.com. It's to help students make the most of university"
Him: "What kind of things?"
Me: "Clubs and societies, studying tips, going out."
Him: "Sounds good."
Me: "What do you do?"
Him: "I'm a student."
We talk some more.
It's my stop.
Me: "See you later."
Him: "Yes. Bye."
Me and Jackson leave the bus near the pizza places on Oxford Road near Manchester Metropolitan University. We get off outside the park and head across the road to Poppolinos, the best pizza takeaway in town.
Me: "I should have swapped details, he could have come out with us. He was a nice person.
Jackson: "He was ok. Although why does it always have to be about swapping numbers and meeting again. Why can't you just enjoy the conversation."
We go inside Poppolinos
Me: "Can I have a half pineapple and mushroom and half chicken and pineapple pizza."
Pizza place guy: "One pizza half pineapple mushroom half pineapple chicken."
We pay for our pizzas.
This is the great thing about Poppolinos pizza place - when we want a snack before going to bars and nightclubs they'll do a half-half pizza.
We eat out pizzas. Jackson is still hungry and goes to Abduls to buy some chicken.
I'm becoming very concerned about Jackson lately. He was a cool guy but since he's been using computers in his career all day and for social networking at night, it's as if his personality is changing. He eats too much, doesn't like going out as much and is generally not as social. He eats too fast and doesn't take care of himself as much either. I tried telling him but he insists he's ok. Maybe he needs a holiday, although he doesn't take them anymore either.
We go to the Cornerhouse.
I notice a lady.
Me: "Hi, how's it going?"
Her: "Good thanks."
Me: "Are you going to see a film."
Her: "Yes. I'm waiting for a friend."
Me: "Are you a student?"
Her: "Yes. I'm at Oxford University."
Me: "Wow. What are you doing in Manchester?"
Her: "I'm from here originally."
We chat a while, get on very well. Her friend comes along. The lady looks interested although I don't ask to swap details. She's going back to Oxford in a week and doesn't visit Manchester very often.
We say bye.
Jackson: "That was very good. She seemed interested."
Me: "Yes, it did go well."
We go to Odder, then leave.
We go to Font.
Me: "I've been working out lately and I'm back on form for meeting people."
Jackson: "Really, that's good."
Me: "The skills are back."
Jackson: "Let's see some of this then." he says half joking and half calling me on it.
I look around the room for which ladies to approach.
Jackson: "Let's see this." he says knowing I haven't approached many people on a night out in months.
I walk over to a lady.
Me: "Hi, is this a student bar?"
Her: "Why are you a student?" she says smiling.
Me: "No, we were just checking the place out. That's my friend Jackson over there."
Her: "What do you do?"
Me: "I used to be in business, although I'm writing a book now."
Her: "What sort of books?"
Me: "For students to make the most of university and other life improvement topics. What do you do?"
Her: "I'm studying to be a teacher."
Me: "What are you teaching?"
Her: "Italian and French at secondary school."
Me: "That's good."
Her: "I'm looking for a job now I'm near the end of my course."
Me: "You should look at schools south of the city like Didsbury and Altrincham. The children are generally better behaved there."
Me: "Are you with anyone?"
Her: "I'm with some friends upstairs, it's one of their birthdays."
Me: "We should meet up and go for a coffee. What's your number?"
She reads out her number. I put it in my phone.
Her: "I'm going to Italy next week so we can meet up afterwards."
Me: "Ok, see you later."
Me and Jackson leave Font.
Me: "She was hot and a nice person."
Jackson: "That was very good."
Me: "It's nice to meet people like that. I could have really good conversations with her. Maybe I took her number too quickly, I could have spoken to her a bit more."
Jackson: "It was ok."
Me and Jackson check out Salisbury and Grand Central. Some ladies I met a few months ago are coming here but we're too early. They said they'd be here at about 10pm and it's only 9pm.
We go to Hard Rock Café.
We go to the Birdcage nightclub and dance lots. The DJ has a good playlist. Lot's of 80's hits and nice music. It's a party atmosphere.
We spend most of the night here.
It's 1am now. we go to McDonalds and I order chips. The guy brings over a half full packet of chips.
Me: "Can I have it full of chips."
He goes back and fills it up properly.
I go outside, look at the chips and many of them are bad with black bits in. I throw away half of them.
We go to Jilly's and meet the two ladies I met while clubbing 2 months ago. It's nice to finally meet up with them. We get on well.
After I've spoken to the ladies I'm in a side room in Jilly's standing with Jackson. It's the room at the other end next to the main dancefloor / bar area. There's lots of goths in unusual clothes, a different type of goth from when I went to Jilly's years ago. There's a very dark atmosphere in this room. A lady in a purple basque, suspenders, stockings and boots dances in front of the DJ booth among other goths.
Me: "Welcome to hell."
Jackson nods and agrees.
Me and Jackson leave Jilly's and go to the Grosvenor Casino for drinks.
There's a guy at the casino saying
Him: "I'm in here almost every night. I probably spend the most money in here relative to my wages."
We leave the casino and take the bus to Didsbury.
I pick up my car and drive home.
Summary and venue reviews: Friday 5th June
Click here for Season 5 Index
Quiet. Clientele: smart casual. Décor: 6/10.
Notes: They make pizzas half half to share with friends. Good quality at reasonable prices.
Medium busy. Clientele: film enthusiasts, smart casual. Décor: 6/10.
Notes: A venue where it's possible to meet people and have conversations.
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual, casual. Décor: 6/10.
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart, students. Décor: 8/10.
Notes: Quick service, music the right volume, lots of seating.
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual, casual. Décor: 6/10.
Notes: A pub popular among rockers and indie fans.
Medium busy. Clientele: rockers, goths. Décor: 5/10.
Notes: A pre-club venue for rockers and goths going to Jilly's.
Hard Rock Cafe
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, rockers. Décor: 10/10.
Hard Rock Cafe
Busy. Clientele: hen nights, smart, smart casual. Décor: 10/10.
Notes: Excellent DJ, polite staff, quick service, lots of comfortable seating.
McDonalds Oxford Road
Medium busy. Clientele: clubbers. Décor: 6/10.
Notes: Overcooked poor quality chips.
McDonalds Oxford Road
Busy. Clientele: rockers, goths, casual. Décor: 2/10.
Notes: A rock / goth club.
Medium busy. Clientele: gamblers. Décor: 7/10.
Grosvenor Casino Whitworth Street