Monday, 20 February 2017

Tuckshop Mondays Tonight!

An action-packed week in Manchester awaits.

Lola Lo reopened last week! The Deansgate Locks club / tiki bar is back after a refurb. Manchester Cool Bars is headed there tonight to check out the new design and the new Monday night event Tuckshop Mondays!. We've been on a Monday before and it was a great night. Much better than the weekend events.

Waterstones Deansgate has an interesting events lineup. Here's their chalkboard:

Friday night: RnB singer Ashanti drops into The Milton Club for Truth, which is hosting her concert afterparty. She's probably going to sing. Milton's events are always superb. Cool Bars are headed there, so come join us! We're starting in Sakana. Tickets are running out so buy fast! You'd be Foolish to miss out.

Saturday: a talk at Oldham Library discusses A Clockwork Orange author and fellow Mancunian Anthony Burgess. It's free, but booking is essential.

Later that night: WBC champ Deontay Wilder takes on Gerald Washington. I'm tied up but should be an explosive fight.

I have more news about next week, which I'll tell you about... next week.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

So. The first weekend of Citizen Journalism month is under the belt.

No groundbreaking stories just yet, but it's early days.

Valentine's Day passed uneventfully on Tuesday. I wish I'd got more organised in advanced and put up a meetup for some early drinks somewhere, so there was at least a place for people to go to do something social and meet new mates. Next year!

Saturday: I stumbled across the Spinningfields Makers Market on Deansgate, where people sell locally-made produce such as food and trinkets.

Great music and burgers. It takes place on the third weekend of every month. The next one will be 17th-19th March. Find it outside Australasia on the way into Spinningfields.

Here's Ray from Britain's Got Talent dancing to Buddy Holly's Heartbeat, being performed by the Piccadilly Rats.

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Local singer Alice Hollywood also set up stall nearby to perform her covers of contemporary pop songs. Good talent.

More info to come, including a club reopening, a celebrity singer and a boxing match.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Citizen Journalism Month

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I've done a lot of preparation for this particular project. I've learned the basics of touch typing (here and here) and shorthand (here). I've tried to improve my writing over the years and deliver information with a bit more journalistic professionalism. It's now time to take this blog up a level.

For the next month I'll be visiting Manchester looking for stories and information, and hopefully beating the MEN and other publications to the scoops. So what might I come across?

I have in mind to report on book signings, nightlife events, arrests and celebrity appearances. I'll talk to police and security professionals, journalists and other bloggers in the hope that I'll help people as well as entertain them with the writing I publish. I'll talk to existing contacts, and forge new ones. I'll go out with a reporter's notebook and my camera phone. I'll wear knee pads so I can climb onto things to get filming vantage points. I'll get pictures and video. I'll talk to people about things and record sound on the Mini Recorder app. And then I'll get home and upload it all as quickly as possible. It's going to mean a few very late nights!

I'm aiming to get the kind of hits I got back in 2014- in some periods this was 15-30k hits a month. January's hits? 2k. A challenge lies ahead!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

You missed a few parties this week...

Cool Bars meetup group went out to LIV's Thursday night party, for the first birthday of Socialite. Can't complain about the free glass of Prosecco on arrival!

I've met some cool people in Socialite over the months but I'm finding that a lot of girls there- particularly Indians- are ridiculously hard to talk to. I've been to other places where people are a lot more receptive to a simple chat.

The advertising for the night suggested there were 'celebrity guests'- I didn't recognise anyone, and I do a fair bit of Z-lister hounding (if you're new to the blog).

I'll do other midweek nights from now on.

On Friday Cool Bars went to the launch of 4 Mayfair at Suburbia. Like Socialite, this night also had Drake between every other RnB song and was full of snobby Asian girls, with the added disappointment of large groups of drunk lads falling about and shoving into people. Oh, and Scott, Kady and Adam J from Love Island.

I hadn't formally ruled out Suburbia although I'd never been particularly bowled over by it. I've decided I won't be back there either.

On Saturday night it started to snow in Greater Manchester, but that didn't stop people turning up to Sakana for a few early drinks. I had put up a meetup with Cool Bars with the intention of letting people decide a a group whether we stayed there or moved on. A good group came together for this and we stayed there for a few hours (largely because the queue at Albert's Schloss next door was horrendous). Sakana itself was busy, with live sax accompaniment and full off gorgeous girls. Of course. And free WiFi. We'll go back there.

Contrasting the class of this bar was Deansgate Locks, around which I took a stroll looking for stories for the blog. All I found was this guy spewing onto his own coat.


I'll just go to the Locks midweek from now on I think. Running out of options!

I have more ideas for meetups- keep your eye on the Cool Bars page!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Teeline Shorthand is HARD

I've just spent the last month trying to learn shorthand. I've scoured Youtube for tutorial videos and practised the techniques for Teeline nearly every day. It's a complex language with indicative strokes to represent letters of the alphabet, designed to allow us to write words quicker. It's taken a long time to get to where I am, and I've not really got even the basics.

Shorthand Sue's videos were great, but there weren't that many of them. I soon found myself looking at Teeline Online, another youtuber making clear demonstrations of how to write the shorthand alphabet and how to put together some simple words. Strange shapes soon started to make sense, and squiggles slowly became readable information. Kinda. It's hard to learn but I'm starting to incorporate it into my own note taking systems. Putting words and sentences into their abbreviated form takes a lot of thinking about but I'm hoping I'll be able to keep practising.

Her videos start as demonstrations of the basics, then transcriptions of popular songs that play in the background. 

I thought this was a fun way of seeing how Teeline works. I hope she keeps uploading.

I still feel that I would need more of a detailed shape to indicate the original word than what Teeline suggests I would write, so for my own memory difficulties (improved note taking being why I'm trying to learn shorthand in the first place) I may need to adapt it slightly. But the initial constrictions of words that I've learned so far I expect will give me a little more ability and speed. I'm beginning to incorporate it into my handwriting already.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Beating Old Gym Records: Take 2! Results

A month ago I planned to work on 10 of my longest-standing personal bests at the gym- all weights-related. 

I've had a good crack at these over the last month, making a few improvements. Whenever I beat a PB, I moved on to the next movement.

Hip adductor (inside thigh) 60 kg 6/12/11- it turned out this was the full machine. 1 down, 9 to go.

Bicep curl machine, plate 9 26/6/13- plate 9 would have been 40kg, not 45 as previously assumed. 45kg is now the PB.

Vertical dumbbell fly 2x18kg 7/7/13- 20kg is the new PB.

13 bicep chinups 14/7/14- 14 is the new PB.

14 horizontal grip chinups 16/5/15- 15 is the new PB.

55 dips 26/5/15- 60 is the new PB.

So. Small improvements on some machines. But improvements nonetheless. 5 out of 9 ain't bad.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Hatchet Job and nights out- rapped

 Dollar Mondays only had thirty attendees
I've never seen Tiger Tiger looking so empty
You know you need to give your head a proper good wobble
When you pay more for orange juice than you do for a bottle
If you're looking for birds, blokes and floosies
You're best off sticking with Taboo Tuesdays
Same target market, same large venue
Not the weekend so you won't see a hen do
Or stripey-jumpered hooligans or gypsies or psychos
Just mild-mannered students on the nights that I go
So if you want to check it out and meet some new friend,
Keep your eye on Cool Bars as we'll probably go again.

Socialite tomorrow night, another student do,
Cool Bars are going and you should do too!
Come and join us for the fifty-second Thursday
Socialite's celebrating on it's first birthday!
Join the meetup and get in next to me,
Meet loads of fit people and the odd celebrity.
Meeting next door in Albert's Schloss
Ready for the party of the week. BOSH!

If midweek partying is too much of a drama
Come out on Saturday and meet me in Sakana
All I ask if you wanna meet me,
Just log onto the site and RSVP
The bar's a great place if you need a starter
but the venue gets wild from thereon after
Pan Asian bar with incredible design,
serving beers and spirits and wine
Live sax accompanying the house music
I've shown you how to use the site... now use it!

Bear with me here, to the point I must get
Nothing to fear, just a change of subject
Continuing the post without changing mode:
a review of a book by Mark Kermode
If you recognise the name you probably knew
It's the bloke with the quiff off Newsnight Review
Sarcastic film critic, that's his job
I just read his book called Hatchet Job
A witty account of film criticism
When he trashes a film, do you agree with him?
Do film critics always think they're above it?
His prose makes the sixteen-year-old in me love it.
I always wondered why some films get slated
while some are ignored and some are overrated
Filled with anecdotes and life lessons,
It's a pleasant and humorous account of the profession.
And so I must think of a couple more words and use 'em
to bring this dodgy rap verse to a conclusion.