Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Jeremy Corbyn and Jackie Collins' Empire State Date

If this particular news item passed you by in the heat of the EU referendum, it would be because it didn't happen. It's from a Writers Connect warm-up exercise back on 22nd May.

I gave each contributor three slips of paper and asked them to write a public figure on the first, another public figure on the second and a well-known place on the third. Then we laid all of these out on the table to see what our choices were. I asked the group to pick out two characters and a location, and create a vignette of this.

I didn't randomly assign these names and places to individual contributors as some people might not know who these people were, or might not be familiar with the location.

I picked out Jeremy Corbyn and Jackie Collins and I placed them in the observatory of the Empire State Building. With 10 mins on the clock, here's my interpretation:

“For God's sake, Jeremy. Do up your top button.” Jackie Collins leant over the telescope, swinging it to face him.

“It won't reach,” he said, fingertips at his collar demonstrating.

“I'm quite sure you could afford a tailor. Can't you claim it on expenses like the rest of your lot?”

Jeremy Corbyn couldn't deny, that despite her decrepit age and appearance, Jackie still carried a certain aura, her gold necklace still gleaming in the halflight of the Manhattan sunset.

“Some of us have ethics,” he said. “Not all of us want to do that. Besides,” he looked out through the diamond-shaped frame, over the waters and into Brooklyn, “It's cheaper back home.”

“What does this make you feel, Jeremy? Does it not inspire the heart?”

And then I ran out of time and that was the end of Jeremy Corbyn's story. Hmm, how ironic.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Money-saving Mondays

Most of these prospective posts include events that cost money, so it's refreshing that I start this post with a freebie.

Too Funky Hair salon on Deansgate is looking for male models on Tuesdays, presumably so trainees can sharpen up their skills. It looks like a pretty classy hair cuttery, so if you're willing to take a chance why not jump on it? I know I will. They're on 0161 834 3002 .

Highlight of the week: The Swimsuit USA competition returns to The Milton Club this Thursday! Expect a bevy of fine ladies. If you want to join us, there's a meetup here. We're starting in Albert's Schloss nearby. I went last year and it was a superb night.

Tweet me with any more info!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

A 10:30 meeting on Saturday morning was supposed to mean an early night Friday...

So after a few drinks around the Left Bank of Spinningfields I headed home, but was accosted by two women on Deansgate who were trying to find Suede. I took them to the hidden-away club on Longworth St but it was closed, so we wandered back onto Deansgate and I took them to The Milton Club,that backs on to the aforementioned venue.

As it was the last Friday of the month, their Soul Purpose night was going ahead- a monthly event featuring musical talent from either a singer or a DJ. This month, garage singer Kele Le Roc performed her hits Things We Do and My Love.

I had seen an advert for the event but I didn't think I was familiar until she started singing, and then memories of hearing the song while pissed on pineapple Bacardi Breezers in Ashton's Love Shack in 2000 came flooding back. Hmm. Yes, good times. Although cringey.

Anyway, back to 2016: A great performance with a friendly crowd.

Suffice to say, I was hella tired on the Saturday, missed the Anthony Joshua fight, and missed Bijou's reopening. (In attendance: Malia, ITV2's LoveIsland's briefest contestant. Oh well.)

One final thing: did you see my old college mate Chris Hewitt's spoof article going viral this week? Impressive work!

Monday, 20 June 2016

A few things you may not want to miss...

England play Slovakia in the Euros tonight at 8pm. I might go out to watch it, even though I HATE football. There's usually an interesting atmos when international tournaments are shown whether you like the sport or not.

Bongo's Bingo, the most absurd but awesome gambling game in the world, returns to Albert Hall Tuesday night 7pm. Think bingo with added popcorn raves, dance-offs and wacky prizes. I'm going with a mate of mine but I'm planning to do this again for a meetup in the near future. Stay tuned to Cool Bars for more info.

Saturday night: celeb joint Bijou reopens after a refurbishment. I would be there, but I can't do that Saturday. For that reason, I'm also missing Anthony Joshua making his first defence of his heavyweight IBF title against Dominic Brazeale.

Sunday: I'm back at Writers Connect to read out the next part of my crime screenplay. It's been well received so far but there's plenty of work to do on it. I need your advice! I'll recap the story. We''ll also do a warmup exercise and review other people's work. Come down to Nexus to get involved.

Finally I want to shout out to Lupe Fuentes, former porn star and now house music producer and DJ. She's also one of my newest Twitter followers. When are you doing a UK tour, Lupe? I want you at Parklife 2017!

Sunday, 19 June 2016


2 days of house music, friends, dancing, rain and mud. Lots of mud. The festival in Manchester's Heaton Park took place on the 11th and 12th June. Our group had an early start, and we beat the queues on the Saturday. As the 140,000 capacity venue filled up, we stayed by the Circus stage where we saw some world-class DJs playing to a very small number of people at first: here's Dixon, who was voted the Best DJ in the World by house music website Resident Advisor .

Here he is playing alongside Yousef.

Here's Ben Klock who later took over.

After this we headed up the hill to the zoologically-themed Elrow tent, the same brand that runs a weekly night in Space Ibiza. Inflatable wild animals, rain forest designs and tribal-themed performers set the tone. Groove Armada were hidden away on the decks behind the jungle paraphernalia and intermittent bursts of confetti. This was the most colourful and vibrant of all the stages. Great stuff. Like all tents at the festival, it was heaving with people avoiding the rain, which was largely persistent for the two days. The weather dampened the grass (which became a huge arena of mud) but not our spirits.

SoulIISoul performing Back to Life at Parklife by matthewtuckey

Couldn't get into the tent to see Craig David by matthewtuckey

Here's Todd Terje in the Now Wave tent, playing much more chilled vibes than other areas. A great way to balance out the harder techno being played at in the festival. Couldn't get much closer.

Hot Since 82 played alongside Radio 1's Heidi during a rare break in the rain.


Hot since 82 and Heidi by matthewtuckey

As the sun went down we convened at the main stage to watch The Chemical Brothers. I was impressed that they played a lot of their older hits like Setting Sun, which was one of the first singles I ever bought. A large-scale, crazy light show complimented their set.

Chemical Brothers playing Setting Sun at Parklife by matthewtuckey

Chemical Brothers at Parklife 2 by matthewtuckey


We then joined an absolutely biblical queue for a bus back to the centre of Manchester.

Day 2: We again beat the entrance queues, but this time a sniffer dog took a liking to me.

What have you got?” The dog handler asked. “What is it?” She was very stern. You could imagine someone cracking under pressure like that. For the record, the sniffer dog was wrong. I had nothing, and told the handler. I mentioned antihistamines for hayfever. She grabbed me by the arm and led me into another tent where a handful of other people were waiting with a sheet of paper between their hands. I was given a sheet to hold so they could see I wasn't fidgeting, or removing anything from my person.

She addressed the group of us- mostly young lads and girls, one older guy. “Guys, if you've got anything to declare and you tell us now, you might still get access into the festival. But if you hide anything and we find it, your ticket will be torn up and you'll be handed over to the police.”

Yeah, right, I thought. That's one way of speeding up the process. Blag people into admitting what they've got by offering false immunity.

Eventually I was led into further section of the tent. The security guard, and aging fella, asked me to lay all my belongings on a table.

You're a little bit older than most of the people out there so I'm going to expect you to be responsible,” he said. “Now, I'm just going to ask you at this point. Do you have anything on you that you shouldn't have?”


Okay. Take off your shoes. Drop your trousers to your knees and place your hands on the table.”

He patted me down and, well, briefly examined me- nothing too invasive thankfully. “Nah, he's got nothing,” he mumbled to his colleague.

I was allowed to pull my clothes back and refill my pockets. Then I had to fill in a form giving my personal details, and at last I was set free into the festival where my mates had graciously waited for me.

First up we found 99 Souls (who recently remixed Brandy's The Girl is Mine) playing in the Big Top tent.

Then we moved over to the Paradise open air stage and watched Kink DJing.

Although the stages and tents and vendors were all well- maintained, the toilets were not. They were fucking vile. I don't ever want to piss in an overflowing trough again. These were not manned and there was a steady queue every time I went.

I saw Julio Bashmore playing in the Bugged Out tent- I kinda stumbled across him when I was looking in the set times to figure out who I was watching. I'm a fan of his tracks like Au Seve and Holding On. Nice experience.

We took a break from dancing some time in the afternoon and sat on the grass at the main stage. This coincided with Jess Glynn's set. She's not someone I would choose to listen to, but I really enjoyed her emotional performance, where she sang her hits like Ain't got Far to Go and Hold My Hand. She also gave an impressive cover of Shaka Khan's I feel for You.

Next up: Radio 1's Annie Mac, wearing a black raincoat with RAVING emblazoned across the back and animated visuals chroma-keyed in behind a live feed of herself on the decks. With her black 80's perm she really reminded me of someone. In retrospect, it's Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in Scarface. (Tony's sister.)

Grime artist Skepta took over after her, who again isn't someone I'd plan into my festival schedule, but we stopped to watch him. Entertaining, and providing for a crowd very different than the one before him.

I think my team wanted to round off with Major Lazer, who I'd have been happy to see had it not clashed with my must-see, MK. So I told them I'd be in the Big Top tent and snuck off. I caught the end of Hannah Wants' set, where she played some great 00's era garage. I noticed that she'd played at Albert Hall recently, but at the time it was the first I'd heard of her. Great DJ. Damned good looking too.

MK took over after her, playing quite a few of his remixes as well as other tracks- all slightly more melodic than a lot of the techno-based music being played in other tents. A lot of these tracks I recognised as his own. I've been meaning to see this guy for years. He didn't disappoint and it won't be the last time I see him.

The end of the festival was chaotic: a surge of Syrian proportions pushed me straight out of the tent and towards an exit that I hadn't come in through, or at least I didn't recognise it. I couldn't see the makeshift bus terminal, and when I phoned my team they couldn't picture where I was from my description. Heading back onto the field was impossible. I found myself out on the Bury street trying to figure out where I was. I knew the rest of the team would be at the bus terminal by now, ready to head back to the city centre, but I was so close to the tram stop that I figured it would be safer to queue there.

I made it back to town a good hour before the rest of my group, who'd come back by Parklife bus and had had to queue. Two years ago, when I last attended Parklife, the trams weren't running at all, so it looks like there's a bit more organisation these days. I recommend full waterproofs and walking boots: it might sound like overkill but you'll definitely be dry and your feet will thank you. It's not as easy to dance, but I'd rather have limited movement than risk trenchfoot.

Parklife 2017, yeah?

The Programme

Oh dear. Not one of my guys.