Friday 20th February

I'm at the Woodstock pub with Jackson and we're enjoying being at the venue.

Me: "The music is good in here and it's not too loud. This is the right venue for the regular night out." I say pleased about the decision.
Jackson: "How is it going?"
Me: "It's ok. I have to invite some people and I've got those from the singles event who I haven't phoned yet."
Jackson: "Phone them as soon as possible. I've done that once when I went to speed dating, left it 2 weeks to email them and they didn't reply."
Me: "You should have phoned them."
Jackson: "They don't give out phone numbers at speed dating."
Me: "Ask them for their number and write it down."
Jackson: "It doesn't work like that. You speak to all the people then at the end say to the organiser who you got on with, and they give emails of the matches."

Me: "I'm going to invite people properly in 2 weeks when I start the regular night out in Didsbury. Next Friday I'm going to the city centre."
Jackson: "Why don't you set up a facebook group to promote this. It would be easy to get people along."
Me: "Originally part of the problem was they saw Manchester centre as too dangerous."
Jackson: "That's interesting."
Me: "And this is meant to be done more by going out and meeting in person."
Jackson: "It looks like you're trying to make this as hard as possible."
I laugh because at some level he's got a point.
Me: "I'm enjoying going out and I have a good time. It's not about me anymore it's about showing how to build a lifestyle in a new town or city. I've met lots of people who want to go out for coffees in the daytime and ladies to date, next I'm going to make this regular night out happen."
Jackson looks as if he's considering something then looks at me as if to say that it's ok if I'm enjoying my nights out. He was concerned I wasn't having a good time.
Me: "My skill level for approaching and talking to people is so good now it's not about approaching, it's more finding out what they're like and if they're suitable."
Jackson: "That's good."
Me: "If I hadn't been to all these places I wouldn't have found out about all the venues and how people feel about going out."
Jackson: "Have a look at the meet up website for people to start groups and invite people along."
Me: "What's it called?"
Jackson: ""

As we're sitting at one of the tables on the ground floor in the Woodstock, two ladies come over to our table. One of them is Angela who was there on New Years Eve at the house party in Fallowfield. She was the lady trying to take photos to put them on Facebook.

Angela: "Hi, how's it going?"
Jackson: "Hi. Ok thanks."
They talk for a few minutes then she says.
Angela: "Come upstairs if you want."
Jackson: "Ok we might see you in a bit."

45 minutes later me and Jackson go upstairs and see the two ladies with 4 guys. They're all Dutch apart from one guy. The reason there's so many Dutch people is Shell, which has offices in South Manchester, hired lots of Dutch people to work there.

We all have conversations and I get talking with one of the guys who is called Dominic. We swap numbers. He says he'll put me in contact with a lady he knows who wrote a self-help book and did well out of it. I consider how it would be good to meet a writer. Dominic works at a debt management company at the moment. He was made redundant from his previous job.
Jakson is discussing kebab shops. He hasn't had his evening meal so we're going to a takeaway in a bit.
Angela starts asking people to take photos of her.

Me and Jackson say bye, go downstairs and leave the Woodstock. As we're walking across the car park over to the car I say to Jackson:
Me: "How many photos does she have to take?"
Then I notice Angela is outside even though she was upstairs half a minute ago. She's with her female friend smoking cigarettes and taking more photos. She asks Jackson to take a photo of them.

We get into the car and I start the engine to drive out of the car park to West Didsbury.
Me: "Is she still taking photos for Facebook?"
Jackson: "Yes, she kept putting photos of me on and linking my profile to them. I keep unlinking them and she gets annoyed."
Me: "She's one of those types that turns out to be a psycho."

It's common for a lot of guys to get a woman like Angela go out with their group if she's attractive, despite the fact she's not a nice person to be around. Many guys will put up with bad behaviour because they have trouble keeping female company.

What guys don't realise is that more often the case it's not the guy who is the reason he can't get female company, it's all the crazy and social networking addicted women. Some women are so affected by the internet that they can't form normal relationships or even have a conversation.

We park the car at Somerfield in West Didsbury. Jackson buys a kebab from the Canadian Charcoal pit.
Jackson: "The guys at the Woodstock were saying that this takeaway isn't that good but I like it."

Jackson eats his kebab in the street. As we're walking past the Met in West Didsbury I say:
Me: "Let's have a look."
We go into the Met and it's so busy it's difficult to move so we leave. The Met has a good clientele, but it's so busy people shout over each other. The bar staff are so sure of the popularity of the venue they've become rude. Also the bar staff have many favourite friends who they regularly let queue jump ahead of up to 10 people queuing at the bar.

Jackson: "We could go to Withington, there's some new bars there."
We drive to Withington and are now walking along the street.

We go into Fuel, it's busy on the ground floor so we go upstairs to find seats and it's very busy. There's a guitarist playing and singing something that doesn't sound good.
Me: "Let's go."
Jackson: "Ok."
Me: "Some students think anything is good if you market it right."
Jackson: "They like anything as long as it's made out to be different or unusual."

We go into a place that's recently opened called Bar One. The music is pleasant and they've made an effort with the décor. What's annoying is the plasma screens showing videos, the flashing light from the TV clips in the room spoils the ambience and atmosphere of the place so we leave.

Now we're walking along the street and there's another new bar called Indigo that's a doorway on the street leading down to a basement. I ask a lady smoking outside:
Me: "Is this venue any good?"
Her: "It's great."
We go inside and then leave.

Jackson: "It was good in there at first but after a minute it's not that good."
Me: "It's like the last bar, they haven't got the details right."

Next we go to Solomon Grundy, sit down at a table and I say to the lady at the table next to us:
Me: "Hi."
Her: "Hi."
Me: "Are you foreign?" I ask because she looks East European.
Her: "No I'm not foreign at all. I'm very English actually."
Me: "Can I get your opinion on something?"
She gives a nod and a look that means ok.
Me: "In the 90's there were fashion trends like when Nirvana or Oasis were popular and everyone wore similar clothes, but with a slightly different take on it by wearing different trainers or accessories. Nowadays with celebrities changing their image so often do you think people don't want to have a unique style because they stand out too much?"
Her friend who was at the bar comes and sits down at the table.
Her: "I think people do have fashion" she says in a nice way. She's pleased I've got an interesting topic to discuss rather than being a drunk guy chatting up.
Me: "What I've noticed is that all these flash clothes they sell in Topman and River Island. People only wear them to the shops to buy more clothes, they never wear them out to bars and clubs, like in here everyone is dressed down."
Her: "She's dressed 80's." she says referring to her friend who has just sat down.
Her friend: "I like the 80's"
Me: "Cool, what type of 80's films do you like?"
Her: "I just like 80's fashion."
Me: "What kind of music are you into?"
Her: "An eclectic mix really."
Me: "Are there any particular bands you like?"
Her: "Allsorts. PJ Harvey. Elbow."
Me: "I've heard of Elbow. Do you have any hobbies?"
I'm running out of things to find in common.
Her: "Drinking." she says smiling and pointing to a glass of red wine.
Me: "Are you students?"
Her: "No I work at esure. What do you do?"
Me: "I've written a book for students to make the most of university."
We talk a while about my book and business then her friend says:
Her friend: "People do have style in here. They've got a definite 50's style." she says pointing to a table of people.
Me: "In what way is it 50's?" I say interested.
Her: "They're wearing cardigans."
We talk a while longer and get on ok, not well enough to meet up again. Maybe they're not used to having conversations and socialising.

I ask the lady at another nearby table about fashion trends. Her boyfriend comes over to sit down mid-conversation. I'm about to speak to her boyfriend since this is about building a social circle not dating, Jackson says:
Jackson: "Let's go."

We get up and on the way out I say to someone at the table of 6 people that were pointed out as having 50's style:
Me: "Hi, me and my friend were having a discussion with someone about style. How in the 90's with Nirvana and Oasis everyone had the same style and did a different take on that style, for example by wearing a different pair of trainers or accessories. Also that now celebrities change their style so much that people don't dress smart because they'll stand out too much. Anyway, someone was saying how you've all got a 50's style."
By now I'm speaking to the whole table and they're all watching me.
Lady 1: "That's because I'm a social worker." says one of them smiling.
Me: "You definitely have a unique style." I notice her style more now I'm standing next to them and all of them have made an effort. It's a contrast from almost everyone else in the room wearing jeans and t-shirts.
Lady 1: "Where's your friend you've been discussing this with?"
Me: "He's here." I point to Jackson.
This makes me realise how when going out it's so much easier if you've got someone with you. If you're out on your own some people think you're a loner. By being with one person at least it's proof people like you.
Her: Lot's of people dress casual but they wear designer brands that look dressed down."
Me: "That's true. Though it's cool you've got the confidence to go out wearing your own style."
We have a conversation for about 10 minutes then I say bye and leave. I don't swap numbers, lately I haven't felt like it. I tell them I go to the Woodstock in Didsbury most Fridays and she says she goes to Solomon Grundy most Fridays. We leave on a good note as if we'll speak to each other again if we see each other again.

We drive to East Didsbury, park and go to a takeaway where Jackson buys a drink. Then we walk along the street and there's lots of trouble outside a pub. There's two ladies arguing and shouting at each other outside. Two guys walk past us swearing every second or third word saying:
Thug: "He was **!! there and I **!! squared up to him."

There's such a contrast between the Woodstock which is classy and stylish compared to East Didsbury which turns into a night of trouble every weekend.

We drive over to Jackson's place while we're in the car park and I say:
Me: "Let's take a look at that meetup website."
It's the website Jackson mentioned at the start of this night when we were at the Woodstock.
We go inside Jackson's place, I sit on the sofa, he turns on the laptop and looks up the website.
Jackson: "Meet ups in Manchester. What category do you want. Arts, culture, socialising?"
Me: "Socialising."
Jackson: "There's gay and nude meetup groups! Vampire meetup group!" he says laughing.
Me: "You said it was worth looking at this website."
Jackson: "Let's look at arts instead."
Me: "This is the problem with the internet. Anything that's a genuinely nice good idea gets ruined by porn and strange people. How can young decent people visit this website."
Jackson: "Ok, this sounds good. Film meetup group at the Cornerhouse at 4pm on Saturday 21st. That's tomorrow. Watch the film where there'll be a 10% discount then to Odder afterwards to discuss the film."
Me: "It sounds good but I'm busy Saturday."
Jackson: "31 people are going. The film doesn't sound that great though."
Me: "Is it regular."
Jackson: "Looks like it."
Me: "Maybe we could try out some of these events. You look through and decide if there are any that are ok and we can go."
Jackson: "You can look through it too."
Me: "You're the one good on computers, it'll be fun."
Jackson: "Ok."

Summary and venue reviews: Friday 20th February

Woodstock pub
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart. Décor: 9/10.
Notes: Music just the right volume. A good layout for being with friends.
Woodstock pub

Canadian Charcoal Pit - West Didsbury
Quiet. Décor: 9/10.
Canadian Charcoal Pit - East Didsbury

The Metropolitan pub
Extremely busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart. Décor: 6/10.
Notes: Too busy, rude bar staff who give preference to people they know. The venue is so busy the bar staff are sometimes continually serving people they know and not serving customers.
The Metropolitan pub

Very busy. Clientele: students, locals. Décor: 6/10. Music: live entertainment.
Notes: A singer guitarist in the upstairs room. A nice venue to be with friends, like a cafe.

Bar One 461
Not very busy. Clientele: students, locals. Décor: 2/10. Music: chart and classic hits.
Notes: Would be a quality venue if it weren't for all the plasma screens on silent. Bar One

Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual, bohemian. Décor: 6/10.
Notes: A basement bar with a bohemian arty theme. Indigo

Solomon Grundy
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart. Décor: 6/10.
Notes: A reliable and consistent venue with a good layout and seating for being with friends. It's like a cafe bar. Quick polite service, friendly bar staff. Solomon Grundy

East Didsbury
Medium busy. Clientele: yobs and pretend tough guys.
Notes: Fights breaking out and arguments in the street. Requires skill to navigate the pavements without being caught up in a battle.

Jackson's place
Notes: Sofas, computer and a DVD player.

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© Alex Remizo