Saturday, 23 September 2017

How Indiana Jones got me into Blogging

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade may have come out in 1989, a good decade or two before the blogging started to become popular, but the classic adventure movie may have planted a seed in me that led to the blog you're reading now.

Indy's dad Henry (Sean Connery) kept a record of his search for the Holy Grail because he knew his memory would fade. The diary, not just an account of adventures taken, led them into more scenarios that made great stories- including meeting some well-known historical figures, shall we say. I'm sure I saw this film first when I was in primary school, possibly around the time I started keeping a diary myself.

I got Roald Dahl's Diary 1992 as a Christmas present- a blank diary with themes for each month based on his classic children's books. Quentin Blake's sketchy illustrations adourned the pages here and there, an each month followed a theme based on one of Dahl' classic children's novels. January, for example, contains pictures and qoutes from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I wrote a lot about school and the clubs that my friends and I used to run, where we'd draw pictures and play games based on a certain theme. Friday was the SDA club, the Secret Detective Agency, where we'd look for thing to investigate (a small primary school in Oldham didn't have many remarkable attributes so it was quite a dull group) and there were others we'd run involving games and art.

According to my diary, I usually watched a lot of shit TV, tried to draw cartoon characters, played Amiga games and took extra maths lessons (resulting in no improvement). I kept up with notetaking from January to September. It wasn't a patch on Henry's quest for the Holy Grail, but it was a tribute of sorts. I was quite neurotic about keeping records, something I wish I'd done more of as I found they helped me to remember what was happening in my life. Records are essential not just for fictional explorers, but for people like myself with memory difficulties.

As I got older, I fell out of the habit as I became busier and didn't want to dwell on the challenges I was facing. I learned, though, to document the most interesting parts, thanks, I guess, to Indiana Jones and Roald Dahl.

I've kept this going to this day, thanks to the emergence of the blogosphere. But, unlike Indy, I haven't dealt with many world political leaders- just reality TV stars, fading singers and DJs, and authors. A handful of people find it interesting, and at least now I can remember it all.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

#tbt Beermats: Week 1

I've been collecting beermats since I was about 8, so since around 1990. I've got a few hundered. I thought it might be interesting to some people to share some of these vintage designs over instagram, so I decided to upload 10 at a time and use the #tbt Throwback Thursday tag to get a little exposure. Added to this, I checked Insta for any beermat-related hashtags, and I'm adding them to each post too. I'll embed a few of these onto the blog as the weeks go on. 

Gotta remember to photograph the reverse side first, so the picture displayed in embedded posts is the front.

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Month of Protein Shakes

A month ago I posted that I had started taking Promax, a protein supplement from Maximuscle. I've spent the month taking this and trying to beat personal bests at the gym.

I typically forgot to make note of my body weight at the start, and yesterday I ingested my last protein shake. I'm around 84kg, which I've weighed as much as before, but never more.

My weights notebook is now around 7 years old. The hardback cover has fallen off and the pages are coming loose, so I may have lost a few records. I should probably have kept the records in my phone instead. Even so, I tried to stick to the same few movements- mostly chinups, leg press and chest press. I got no PBs on any of these.

21/8 onwards

5 more dips, 60 in total
2x18kg vertical dumbbell fly, the next weight up, 4kg heavier

I've tried to eat clean, eating a little more veg and meat than usual, but it's hard work. I'm not convinced that protein shakes work, to be honest. A doctor once told me they were a complete waste of money, and after trying 2 brands I'd say he was right. Not to mention, my mum guessed that I was on the shakes, telling me I looked fat. Cheers, mum. Cooking from raw ingredients, with a ton of veg and meat, is the way forward.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

House Music Singer Barbara Tucker and Jamie from Love Island This Week

Who's out for fresher's week? Mostly people about half my age, probably... but that's no reason for me not to join them. Nor you either.

As it stands, there aren't really any meetups for midweek nights out, but keep your eyes open. Friday is going to be a BLINDER though!

New bar Impossible soft-opened some weeks ago, but the official opening is this Friday, including the opening of the downstairs club area. It's also the launch of Boogie in Wonderland Ibiza, Impossible's weekly star-studded party.

As you can see, there's a few big names on the lineup so far. I'm a huge Barbara Tucker fan; Most Precious Love is one of my favourite songs.

Hopefully she'll sing it when she drops in this Friday. Manchester Cool Bars are going- you should too. Tickets are a bargain at a tenner each.

Saturday has a slightly different tone: Manchester Cool Bars returns to The Birdcage for another installation of Stopout Saturdays. This time (hopefully) Jamie Jewitt from Love Island will be there for a meet and Greet, after a last-minute cancellation last week.

More in the pipeline...

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Viper launch, ice cave, Todd Terry, Stopout Saturdays

A jumble of interesting finds this week.

Thursday night saw the launch of Viper, a new mobile phone app promoting nightlife deals in Manchester, and is 'designed to upgrade your night & put the best bars within reach.' As a winner of one of their competitions a few months ago, I got invited to Neighbourhood.

I must have been there either too early or too late, as I didn't see any of these people, and I would have liked to. Still, a good night.

Because we were stood in an area the staff needed to use, we got an upgrade before any of us had downloaded the app- they move us to our own table! Respect! Lovely staff and venue.

Looking forward to seeing a few nightlife deals on the app over the next few months.

Saturday daytime I dropped into the #icecaverave in Albert Square, home of the new Coors Light installation. A temporary nightclub / human freezer sits right under the town hall, with a drinks stall outside for waiting customers. I rolled up thinking my mate was DJing- it turned out I was a full week early. Oh well. I was given a coloured wristband with a timeslot, and waited for my colour to be shouted out. In the meantime a gay knock-off chubby Chris Hemsworth lookalike repeatedly hit on me. Oh well. Eventually my colour was read out, I queued up and was given a quilted poncho and sent into the coldest club I have ever been in.

Ice sculptures adorn the bar, which you'd have to use elbow grease to get to, but if it wasn't so busy you'd be too cold. Even so, a lively two-step is not just an impulse to the great house music- it's a survival requirement.

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The #icecaverave runs 'til Sunday 24th.

Later that night I dropped into the new refitted Birdcage for Stopout Saturdays, with Manchester Cool Bars. The club's first night after a recent refit, Stopout had been promising Love Island's Jamie Jewitt making an appearance, but he's been stalled 'til next week (there'll be another meetup).

Although quite different to what I'd normally do on a weekend, The Birdcage was a fun night with a young, good-looking clientele. No drag shows this time, (to my relief I might add) but the new booths, wallpaper and VIP glass partition (which we could seemingly wander between unrestrictedly) look much better. It isn't a whole lot different, mind- the club has the same layout and same Capital Radio-style music output.

And on Twitter: DJ Todd Terry (It's Over Love, Jumpin', Something's Goin' On) thinks I'm going to step between a baboon and a badger, and win. I'd pass on that, thanks!

Also, I got a retweet off Calum Best, currently on Celebs Go Dating.

That is your lot! Hardly a dull week.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Trigger warning: this blog post discusses suicidal thoughts.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The aim of this campaign is 'to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic.' Last Sunday was World Suicide Prevention Day, a campaign intending to reduce the huge numbers of people taking their own lives.

I remember back in either '09 or '10, when I was mates with a group of privately educated lads with chips on their shoulders, all desperate to prove that they weren't just middle class BMW drivers. I was at a house party with them when one of them brought up the issue of suicide. He was quite a popular guy (although I couldn't stand him). Before long a number of them wanted to share their stories of their lowest points, and their suicidal feelings. I didn't.

One of the girls in the group quite fancied me, and I liked her too, but I hated her brother. He'd threatened to batter me for no reason, and a mutual friend witnessed this and did fuck all. Of course, dealing with depression myself, I brushed it off.

The party was at their parents' house. But this girl, she wanted to know if I'd ever thought about 'that'- suicide. I was in two minds about opening up. I decided not to. I knew my friendship with the group, and the potential relationship with her, wasn't going anywhere. But I lacked the confidence to say no to the group, and to cut myself off. I didn't do that until 2015.

Talk, talk, talk. Don't bottle it. But find the right people to do that with- your instincts will tell you if they are good enough friends.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Boom. Accurate Nightlife Prediction

Remember back in June when I suggested that Tiger Tiger's Tuesday night slot, Taboo, might be headed to new nightclub History?

History is a lot smaller than the three rooms that Taboo occupied at the previous venue, but it's a much better looking club. The night itself was always a fun one, so I can't wait to see it operate in the new unit. I'll be checking it out soon, so keep your eyes peeled on the Manchester Cool Bars Meetup page and join us.

I have one solid plan this week which you can pencil in too: Cool Bars is heading to The Birdcage on Saturday night for the reopening of the Withy Grove club. New night Stopout Saturdays launches this week, hosted by Love Island's Jamie Jewitt!

One more thing: last week I discussed chips with house music producer Route 94. Can anyone else say they've achieved that level of celebrity hobnobbing?

You might remember this track of theirs:

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Kelly Llorenna @ Oldham Live

It's the 25th Anniversary of Set You Free, the 1995 dance hit from N-Trance, fronted by Oldham-raised singer Kelly Llorenna. Aptly, Saturday night saw the first Oldham Live take place in Parliament Square in the centre of the town.

I actually didn't realise that KL was the singer on N-Trance until I saw Oldham Live's lineup earlier this week. I made a plan to drop in.

I was a little late. I bumped into a colleague on the way, so sorry for my rambling northern commentary on the videos. Kelly gave brilliant renditions of her hits True Love and Set You Free.

A great performance. Shame the crowds weren't large, but old-school singers' audiences are always a little difficult to gather together. People have babies and whatnot.

Other performances included Oldham-born Clint Boon from Inspiral Carpets, The Farm, Gemma Hunt from Cbeebies Swashbuckle, Brother Beyond and Stooshe. Something for everyone, really. Great to see local talent that has made it big coming to give something back to their hometown.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Don't Be an Idiot and Keep Your Phone in Your Bedroom at Night

What I'm going to say isn't profound: lots has already been written about the negative impact of mobile phones on sleep. Shining a rectangle of pure light straight at your retinas before you go to bed is hardly going to help you drop off into a peaceful slumber, is it? Yet which idiot still does this? The one preaching to you right now.

I've struggled with sleep my whole life- waaaay before smartphones came around. The sleep issues I have are connected to a head injury I sustained at birth. Connections between sleep disturbance and head trauma have been documented, but I've not properly investigated it myself (another #psychologysaturday idea?) But since 2010, when I got my first smartphone, I've struggled more. Granted, moving out of my parents' gaff and running out of money was a factor, but having a smartphone in my bedroom has been one too. So, as part of my #psychologysaturday theme, I'm going to keep my phone in the lounge. I won't even walk into my bedroom with my phone in my pocket, let alone leave it charging while I'm asleep.

Some people may suggest, why not put it on night mode? On calls only? Well, because as I drop off I'll think of something else that I want to check, and I'll end up using my phone to go online and look something up, or add something to a list, and further balls up my melatonin intake. I'll be tempted to listen to ASMR videos to help me drop off. (They help me relax, but stop me sleeping as even if I cover the screen, I'll still look at it once the video has ended.)

If the phone is in a different room, I'll ignore any notifications / calls that come through. Let's give it a shot and see how I feel in a month. I'll also see if there are any improvements at the gym.

Friday, 8 September 2017

The 1km Challenge

In an attempt to tone up and try something different at the gym I decided I'd work the cardio machines for a kilometre each to see what it felt like.

Just after 11am I stuck on Melon Radio's Soulful channel (a bit of a random choice, but a good one) and started the graft. Here are the times for doing 1km:

Cross train forward 16.16
Hand bike forward 1.53
Bike with no back to the seat 2.34
Hand bike backward (problem with programming) 5.01
Row 4.22
Cross train backwards (surprisingly fatiguing to the hands) 22.35
Old-style cross trainer forward 19.45
Bike with a back to the seat 2.45

By 2pm I had 9% battery, so I called it there. I'd been doing some abs work between each movement, which spread the workout into hours. You know how much I lost? 200g. The subsequent protein shake would more than have reversed that weight loss.

I much prefer weights and I seem to benefit from it a lot more, so, duh, I guess I'll stick with them.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

#tbt New York, 2000

I went to The Big Apple in April of 2000, a family holiday with my parents, sister and aunt. Amazing weekend. It just happened that then British heavyweight boxing champ Lennox Lewis was taking on American challenger Michael Grant that weekend, and we found ourselves outside Madison Square gardens while the fight was taking place.

The security guard would not let us in.

I've done some digging around and found a few souvenirs from the trip, so I figured I'd insta a few of them and upload them in a few Throwback Thursday posts. Here's the first one.

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I realised here that I still had a fear of heights. The observatory of the WTC was one flat floor with huge windows, and the edges of the floor dropped down into seating benches so that your knees were almost against the glass. There's a picture of me somewhere where I'm looking back and smiling, pretending I'm not totally shitting myself.

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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

A Packed Weekend- Get Involved

God, I felt like shit last night. I went from work to the gym to Andy's Man Club, and my body started to crash halfway through AMC. I felt a little better after eating, but Prospective Mondays was going to have to be Prospective Tuesdays this week.

The weekend is similarly busy, kicking off with Friday night. Manchester Cool Bars are meeting for cocktails in lush South-American steakhouse Bem Brasil. I've been to the Northern Quarter venue but we're taking a look at the King St West outlet just off Deansgate. I've eaten from their menu a couple of times but I've never had their cocktails. Come check the place out! The restaurant runs The Latin Corner, a weekly event with Spanish and South American music. It'll make a pleasant change from Drake and being in love with the coco. Join us from 9!

Saturday's antics kick off early- 6pm. I'm going to check out the evening lineup of Oldham Live, which offers 'free music and entertainment under the Parliament Square owls.' The main attraction, for me at least: Kelly Llorenna from N-Trance! There's no meetup for this but by all means tweet me, and tell it to my heart, or at least, my app, if you fancy going. 

After this I'm darting into Manchester to meet Manchester Cool Bars again, this time starting in Sakana and heading to Club LIV for a spot of celeb spotting and partying. ID Essential! Loads of gorgeous people on show and watching people blow tons on Bollinger is always entertaining.

Fancy a late one? From LIV, I'll be heading up the road to Genting Casino for UFC215, where Demitrius 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson will defend his flyweight belt against Ray 'The Tazmexican Devil' Borg. It's likely to be one of the most explosive fights in a long time, and the champion's toughest fight yet. Before that, Bantamweight champ Amanda 'The Lioness' Nunes finally defends against Valentina 'Bullet' Shevchenko. So far I have one other attendee. Let's hope he- and YOU – turn up!

I'm feeling much better than yesterday and I'll be feeling even better when it's the weekend.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Who actually enjoys running?

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Kinda defeats the point, no?

I've been surrounded by so many people recently who rave about running like it's the greatest pastime ever. Google 'running and endorphins' (endorphins being pleasure chemicals found in the bloodstream) and you'll find a slew of articles like this one and this one and this one proclaiming running to be the best legal high going. It's been touted by those that do it so much that I thought I'd give it another shot.

I decide on a route similar to one I used to run when I was 17- in fact, it's a little shorter as it goes past my current home and I cut out the part that went past my parents'. I wanted to see if it made me feel as good as people said it would.

It gets you out in the fresh air,” they say. “It clears your mind.” “It's great for mental health as well as physical.” I have no doubt that, for some people, these statements ring true. But when you live in Oldham, an outskirt town, the air isn't so fresh anyway. And yeah, it clears your mind- and leaves you with an overwhelming sense of boredom.

The original route used to take me 30 minutes, if memory serves. I remember flying around it, weighing a little over 60kg back in 1999. I'm now over 80kg, with a load of muscle and fat added to my ageing frame. Around half way around, the outside of my right foot started to give me a little jip. I couldn't do anything other than keep going, so I ploughed on, arriving home in the pissing rain, and in agony, clocking in at 45 minutes.

I left it a few days before doing any more exercise. On returning, I hit the gym and tried a series of 10 minute runs. I started with 10 minutes on the cross trainer, then did a few minutes of abs work- sit-ups, crunch machine, planks. I interspersed each run with around 5 minutes of stomach exercises, to let my legs recover. I started at 7.0kph, a steady jog. The next run was 7.1, and so on. I battled through 8.0kph, with the same right side of the bridge of my right foot causing agony.

I typically forgot to weigh myself on entry to the gym, but I was 84.1kg on the way out. This whole thing was a terrible idea. I went home and watched a film.

So, no. Running is not for me. For cardio and fresh air, I'll use a skipping rope, thanks. It's much better for your feet, knees and muscles all over your body. It also means if you get tired and want to stop, you aren't miles from home. You're in the same spot geographically that you started in.

Who enjoys running? Not me, that's for sure. Give me weights or a punch bag over a jog any day of the week. I guess the point of this blog post is that exercise should be fun (hence me uploading it on #psychologysaturday). Just because everyone else does it, doesn't mean you have to too. If you're not getting endorphins from exercise, try a different form of exercise. I'll stick with the gym, thanks.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

A short week

Hooray for that. Ready for the weekend already?

Friday night: have a few drinks in The Botanist on Deansgate. Good cocktails and live music in a greenhouse-style setting. Socialising in the City will be there, so why not come meet some new people.

And Saturday? Manchester Cool Bars return to new club History. A great venue with impressive visuals. Get involved! We're starting in Impossible on Peter st.

At some point we'll probably check out the new Birdcage, which I understand is having a refurb.

There's also new club Bliss, a little out of town, that we're likely to visit. The weekend of the 8th is already chocka too, so have a rummage on the Cool Bars page and get a few nights out in the diary!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Bad Scene on Deansgate

Well, shit, if no-one's going to go out on a BANK HOLIDAY, for fuck's sake, then I may as well go do some citizen journalism. I dropped into Manchester after midnight to see what was happening. The answer: carnage.

I got to The Milton Club on Deansgate just before 4am and just after this happened: this man was lying in the road. The officer asks “What's he wearing?” and a clubber replies, “I'll show you now.” It looks like an assault or a fight. I wish the victim a speedy recovery.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Mayweather V McGregor on Saturday Night!

One of the weirdest and most predictable but most exciting boxing events- certainly in my lifetime- takes place this Saturday, when UFC star Conor McGregor trades MMA for boxing and takes up Floyd Mayweather Jr's offer of a match. I can't see it being anything other than a straight win for Mayweather- round 9 after weathering McGregor's shots. The Irishman has put some boxing sparring videos on the internet and his guard is horrendous. If Pacqiao can't beat Mayweather, a wrestler with a small knack for strikes won't stand a chance.

But who knows. Maybe the age difference will work in McGregor's favour (Mayweather is 40, McGregor is 29). Either way, we'll find out.

Manchester Cool Bars are going to watch this in Genting Casino, which has plenty of screens. Come get involved! You will need photo ID. We're meeting at 3am Sunday morning, with the fight due to start at 4. There are undercards, so I may be there earlier still to check them out.

I'll use this post to make a mental note that I've started on ProMax, a protein powder from MaxiMuscle. The strawberry flavour is delicious. My weight's already going up- I hope it's muscle, but I'm probably kidding myself. We'll see how I fare after a month. I'm trying not to take them before bed as the sugar rush is messing up my sleep (which was screwed to begin with.)

Looking forward to Dirty Martini cocktail bar opening at the corner of Peter St and Deansgate, pretty much completing the row of units there.

I'll keep an eye out for an opening night and make a meetup out of it soon. Get involved!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Hospitalisation outside Panacea? Ex on the Beach stuff

Not sure what happened here a week ago on Saturday, but it doesn't look good. Hope the patient made a full recovery. Panacea on John Dalton St didn't get back to me on this and I can't find anything in the MEN.

Other than this it's been a quiet week. A couple of cool moments- Ex on the Beach girl Laura Alicia livestreamed from Ice Clinic Enterprise, up the road from me in Grasscroft, Oldham. She was answering questions whilst receiving shockwave treatment (required after lipo). I asked her the crucial question that celeb gossip email Popbitch are keen to hear answered from as many celebs as possible: who do you think would win in a fight between a baboon and a badger?

Her response: "Matt, that's hilarious. I don't know, but whoever loses should come in and have their bruises treated."

Very diplomatic, Laura. By the way, I'm this guy...

In other reality TV news, Charlotte Dawson blew me a kiss over Twitter after her poem recital on Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side, the reality TV competition's additional talk show (okay, I tweeted first).

By the way, Charlotte, I'm this guy:

Oh and one last thing, Mexican actor Danny Trejo, of Dusk til Dawn / Desparado / Machete  fame, liked my tweet after I saw him on the Old El Paso advert. What a LEGEND!