Mean streets of Manchester
Sunday 16th August

I'm with my girlfriend tonight. We're in the Woodstock in Didsbury. It's a nice place for conversation and relaxing together. We stay for 45 minutes.

We decide to go to the city centre.

I'm driving along the streets leading towards the city centre. The windows are down, my girlfriend next to me, with a cassette playing:

Crazy crazy nights - Kiss
Since you've been gone - Rainbow
Are you gonna go my way - Lenny Kravitz
Inside - Stiltskin (fast forwaded because my girlfriend doesn't like the song)
Walk this way - Aerosmith and Run DMC

I drive down the sidestreet opposite the casino, near the McDonalds on Oxford Road. I notice a space and decide to wait a minute because there's a people carrier in the next space with people getting in. I position my car sideways at the end of the road that is a dead end, waiting for the people to move. Building works at this end of the road, the other end looks out onto Whitworth Street. The cassette is playing, windows down, I'm with my girlfriend. It's cool.

About 15 people - wll it seems like 15 people - get into the medium sized people carrier and drive off. I park my car in the remaining 2 spaces, my car is so long it takes up more than one space.

We get out of the car, walk across the road onto Whitworth Street near Boots. Some guy walking the opposite way lightly touches my girlfriend on her backside as if to say he fancies her.
Me: "What do you think you're doing?"
Thug: "What's your problem?"
The thug shows two fingers.
Me: "*!!! you."
I size him up. He's overweight and sluggish and after what he did, what else can I do other than consider a street fight?
Then one of his friends appears. Then another. I can't take on these 3 guys. They're wearing trainers and I'm wearing boots. Trainers have better grip for street fights giving them a big advantage. Also they're overweight meaning that although they're slow and not very strong, they can put some weight behind one punch. A person couldn't take more than about 5 punches to the head from these guys before getting disorientated. While I'd be hitting one, the other two would try to punch me from the side.

I'm in a bad mood now. Because of what happened and because I can't do much. Except one thing. They're standing about 10 metres away. I shout in the loudest, toughest, screw you voice so everyone in the street can hear.
Me: "You F*!!*!! D*!*!"
Absolutely everyone looks around at me and then them. For a few seconds the thugs are startled. They don't know what the hell to do.
I say to my girlfriend.
Me: "Now we go to the casino."
I take her by the hand and walk a few steps around the corner to the casino. The big circular tinted automatic sliding doors open, we walk in, the doors close behind us.
She laughs.
The casino staff welcome me.
Me: "She's not a member, can she come in as a guest."
Casino staff: "Certainly. You can join if you have ID or come in as a guest."
It's the coloure guy who is serving us in this casino foyer. He's the best of the casino staff here. The other staff aren't as professional.
As the casino staff arrange her guest pas I look out through the tinted windows. 3 thugs run past after me, past the casino entrance they didn't notice me enter.
By the time we're going into the main casino area I look out of the window again, I notice 3 thugs walking back the opposite way looking all bemused. They're turning around looking all over the street. Wondering where this guy has gone. It's like something out of a cartoon.

We spend some time in the casino. It's fun.

We leave the casino and there's a guy standing outside nearby. He looks like he could be one of the thugs from earlier. He catches my eye but does nothing. Not on his own.

We get into the car and drive to the Northern Quarter. On the cassette player the Best Rock Album in the World Cassette 2 continues.

Pride - U2
20th Century Boy - T-Rex
Schools out - Alice Cooper

I consider what happened earlier. Did the guy think my girlfriend wasn't with me because we were walking around a corner and not close together. Was it a setup. Do these guys do this regularly to couples to feel they’ve got one over on the guy - as unlike me most guys do nothing.
I could have said something like "Get your own girlfriend" and not been bothered about them so much.
These situations is why people don't go out to the city as much. It's also why people wear caps and sportswear - to look like a thug themselves. Save your smart clothes for Cheshire.

I park in the Northern Quarter. We go to Matt and Phreds which is closed. Then we go to the Northern. I ask the DJ to play some songs with a beat which are good for dancing. It's great. He puts on some quality music and I dance with my girlfriend for half an hour.

Some people come in and start dancing too. They're mostly couples. Then a guy starts trying to dance all sexy in a comedy way for his friends - he;s in a group of 2 guys and 2 ladies. They laugh at him not with him. Most guys aren't classy these days. It's fun to joke around but most overdo it and can't dance normally.

Generally Northern seems a good place to go on Sunday night.

Me and my girlfriend sit down. Chat. We're having a good time. At a table opposite us a guy is starting a fight with another guy. I consider breaking it up but the aggressor takes so long to raise his fist that I decide it's all front. The guys are pulled apart by other people. One apologises lots to me for the fiasco. Later the two guys who were starting a fight were discussing it and calling it a truce.

It's reached the point where I'm so used to seeing fights in Manchester it no longer surprises me. It's what to expect on a night out in the city.

My girlfriend seems to enjoy these dramas of the evening. However I am not into dramas like these. People can get hurt badly. Events could have ended up bad tonight and only didn't because I'm streetwise and fast.

Overall at the casino and the Northern it was a good night out.

Summary and venue reviews

Woodstock pun
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart. Decor: 9/10.
Woodstock pub

Circus Casino
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual. Decor: 7/10.
Circus Casino

The Northern
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart. Decor: 8/10.
The Northern

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© Alex Remizo