Ladies and Gentlemen,
I left the house. Oh yes, I did. I got out of my pyjamas, brushed my hair, and left my dark, dingy, and damp thesis writing cave, not only to go to the shop and buy some milk or a huge box of caramel short breads, oh no, I went into the centre of Manchester and spent a whole (GASP) 12 hours there. And it goes a little something like this:
After a quick (the eating, not the waiting) breakfast at Trof’s new place Gorilla on Whitworth Street West (ex The Green Room and is it just me or is Trof slowly taking over every single empty bar space in Manchester seriously this is a lot of Trofs just for one city right I mean the first couple were nice and then the Deaf Institute seemed like a good addition but now they’ve got the Sal and Gorilla and that huge place on Peter Street and WHEN WILL IT STOP?) we made our way into the depths of the Northern Quarter to hang out with some indie kids at “A Carefully Planned Festival”, which I had wrongfully titled “A Fairly Well Organised Festival” when mentioning it to friends the day before.
The first band on was “This Town Needs Guns” which is kind of a funny band name if you imagine they’re from Manchester, but it turned out they were from Oxford and I don’t think Oxford ever had the nickname Gunsford, so I guess that’s okay and they might in fact really need some guns in Oxford. Who knows. Oh yeah they play math rock which in this case is just another name for instrumental guitar music and those two songs that I managed to hear were actually quite good. The audience at 2022nq definitely seemed very excited, despite it being 1:52 pm on a Sunday afternoon. Not that you can’t get excited about a band at 1:52 on a Sunday afternoon, but, well, you know what I mean. I’ll stop now.
A short walk down the road we gatecrashed the Bad Language poetry session at the Castle Hotel where my favourite weirdo writer Fat Roland (bottom third pictured above) happened to be reading bizarre tweets by David Cameron (“David Cameron”), an epic diary of a failed marriage in list form, and other ramblings, followed by the strangely enticing Jemima Foxtrot who half* sang half* acted half* recited slam poetry about her life as an actress, and topped by the stupidly amazing duo Les Malheureux, consisting of the writers Sarah-Clare Conlon and David Gaffney, who entertained us with a rather brilliant performance of poetry reading set to a background of playful organ tunes. Yeah. That.
After the Bad Language session, we settled for a game of scrabble just round the corner at Nexus Art Cafe, which was packed with people sinking into sofas while eating cake and drinking tea. My kind of rock music festival. Having moved our armchairs to make room for Nexus’ faithful and utterly off-tune piano, we watched some of Ajimal’s set who happily alternated between his guitar and the piano. In combination with the still ongoing scrabble war, the arm chairs and the cozy atmosphere at Nexus, this made for a rather marvellous time. But even without scrabble and cake, he’s pretty good. You should listen.
The evening was concluded by a birthday dinner at Jamie’s Italian on King Street (recommendable if you want to eat a scrotum-shaped deep fried courgette flower stuffed with tons of ricotta. It’s an experience.) and half of Tall Ships‘ set, which was kind of okay but oh whatever, guitar bands, eh, before it was back to the cave for me. Thanks, Careful Planners. I enjoyed this festival quite a bit.
* Stylistic means.