Friday 16th January
I'm in the Slug and Lettuce with Baz. We're sitting at one of the high tables in the lounge area. It's nice being here, having good conversation, enjoying the atmosphere. Two ladies in their late 20's / early 30's come over to the table and one of them says:
Lady 1: "Can we sit here?"
Baz: "Yes, sure."
The two ladies are dressed in modern smart fashionable dresses. The blonde has a blue one made entirely from large sequins and the brunette is wearing a pink dress. They're both married as they've got wedding rings on. There's a really nice party attitude about them. They're out to have a fun time and come across as if they care that others around them have a good time too. There's no air of snobbery or playing games, they're genuine people. Me, Baz and the two ladies have a fun conversation.
It's times like this that you can realise what going out is really about. Seeing people getting on like that and being so cool and friendly when we talk with them, it makes you reevaluate all your own friendships and want to improve the way you get on. It turns out they're from Stockport, came over to Didsbury, and are going to nightclubs in the city.
We leave the Slug and Lettuce and drive over to the Met in West Didsbury. We go inside and I say.
Me: "I don't like the sound of it in here."
Baz: "What do you mean?"
Me: "It's the background noise of people talking, it's not a good vibe. It's as if they're fighting to get their point across to each other. I notice these things because I spend a lot of time doing work in cafes, you get to know what background talking sounds like."
This is an interesting point I discovered when going to cafes around the city and suburbs to do work – They have different vibes throughout the day and it varies by café too. A big factor is the background noise of people talking – are they cool and discussing things, or are they fighting to get their point across to the other person, or is there a fun energetic vibe like there might be in a pre-club bar.
In the Met it's very busy. Clientele are a mix, there seems to be a large number of skinheads and thugs tonight, there's also some trendies.
We get drinks and the plan is to chat to random guys and ladies to enjoy conversations and get to know people. It's what people used to do in the 90's before online social networking. I notice a guy with some style sense and I say hi. He's with 2 ladies.
Me: "Hi, how's it going?"
Him: "Ok thanks." he doesn't seem very sociable.
Me: "It's ok tonight isn't it. Where else do you like going out?"
Him: "Different places. I come here occasionally."
Me: "What do you like doing?"
Him: "I'm in telecoms, I run my own business."
Me: "That's good. How did you get into that?"
Him: "I set up the business with friends when I left university. Then it was making money so I ditched the friends and ran it on my own."
He's not a nice person so I don't want to get to know him any longer.
I approach a blonde sitting down at a table. She's in her late 20's and wearing a medium length dress. We have an amazing conversation about what we're doing in general, it's all eye contact and we make an amazing connection. It turns out she's married, it's ok, I'm dating someone at the moment anyway. I find that a lot – that people in relationships like to go out and get to know people, maybe more so than those not in relationships. It's all good, and I feel better because it was such an amazing experience having that conversation. She does too.
Ok, now I'm on the ball this is amazing. I'm having great fun having conversations with random people. Baz notices this and comments:
Baz: "Wow, your approach works really well."
Me: "I feel good tonight. I've been going out lots over the past few months, been working out, leading a healthy lifestyle. I don't even have to say much to people and we get on so well."
Baz: "It's like you're relaxed, but with so much energy."
Baz's approach at the moment is to be a comedian. He's been learning lots of comedy and tells jokes to people, which at first goes well, but then he keeps telling jokes and sometimes takes it a bit too far. I notice this when I'm talking with two ladies and he comes over, joins in and completely blows it. I'm not happy with him for this.
Me: "You start off well and they like you, then you keep telling too many jokes."
Baz: "Sorry. I realise that now. I should do some conversation after the first few jokes."
It's cool Baz is out there socialising and learning which is a lot more than most guys do.
I'm not bothered about him messing up the conversation with the two ladies anymore, fair play to him for trying new material and refining it.
Now it's getting towards 12 and I'm sitting on a chair next to the bar while Baz is still doing more comedy routines. He's getting better.
A guy in trendy clothes and a long wool type coat with quality fabric and cut makes eye contact as he's passing, and says:
Him: "You're looking good, you should smile." and he leaves with his friends. He said it in a heterosexual look after yourself way, like only straight guys can. He was referring to the way I look smart and made an effort. I appreciate the comment. I probably look in need of sleep now which is why he said I should smile.
The guy continues with his friends on the way out of the venue.
I don't know why I didn't notice those guys earlier, we could have had a good laugh. It's tough to find straight guys who have people skills nowadays.
It's time to leave so we go across the road to a bar called One. It's very busy. The atmosphere in here is cliquey and anti-social. Still, it's quite a nice venue and despite the atmosphere tonight it could be somewhere worth going in future.
In here I start considering how there isn't much of a ‘look after yourself' attitude in society in general.
We sit down at a table. Now Baz is talking to a lady and making her laugh, so it looks like his comedy routine and conversation is improved. A blonde sat on a chair next to me joins in the conversation with Baz (this lady is friends with the lady Baz is chatting to). Then the blonde lady starts saying to me.
Her: "He's negging me. Have you read The Game?"
Baz: "What's that?"
Her: "You're a pick up artist." she says to Baz.
The Game is a book about guys who try to pick up women. (see next episode for more on The Game and Pick up artists).
We leave the bar called One and drive over to Fallowfield to get Kebabs. We're walking along the Ladybarn Road from Wilmslow Road, on the left is the takeaways and on the right is Sainsburys. 3 people are walking towards us going the opposite way. A guy makes a comment trying to take the mickey out of Baz.
A fight is about to start by the looks of it.
Me: "What's the problem?"
There's two guys and a lady. One guy comes up to me and starts acting aggressive as if he wants a fight. I can't be bothered with all this macho stuff so I throw a light punch and he runs away around the corner and the other guy and lady follow.
He comes back from around the corner with the other guy – 2 on 1 now.
Me: "You need two of you to take me on?"
Baz comes over and backs me up – 1 on 1.
They start to back off.
A guy in a Motorway Maintenance flat bed truck screeches to a halt next to me. He's in his 40's. He opens the door, jumps out and shouts to the other guys:
Him: "Don't get involved in a fight with them."
The guys back off and go home. The motorway maintenance guy gets in his truck and drives off. Respect to that guy.
Me: "Why were they starting a fight?" I say to Baz.
Baz: "He was being rude to the lady. I said he should treat his lady right."
Me: "So he tried to insult you because you said something first?"
Me: "I didn't hear you say that." it must have been the traffic noise.
Me: "What exactly did you say?"
Baz: "Don't talk to her like that."
Me: "Why are you getting involved. I nearly got in a fight for that! I thought they just started saying things in the street for no reason."
Baz should have left it. Lots of couples have arguments all the time.
Jackson once said to me:
"It's not the trouble from weekend warriors you want to worry about. You don't want to become one of them."
We get kebabs and go home.
Another eventful night in Manchester.
Summary and venue reviews: Friday 16th January
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Slug and Lettuce Didsbury
Busy. Clientele: smart, smart casual. Décor: 7/10. Music: chart.
Notes: Friendly people at the venue with a happy party attitude.
Slug and Lettuce Didsbury
Medium busy. Clientele: trendies and skinheads. Decor: 7/10.
Notes: Some very sociable people with good conversation, a few cliquey types.
The Metropolitan pub
Busy. Clientele: cliquey types. Decor: 7/10.
One bar Didsbury
A street fight kicks off near the takeaways.