Things to do in Manchester this week: 1st – 7th March 2019

Including an independent fashion market, Concorde celebrations, loads of theatre and two 70 year old rappers!

I got in a spot of bother last week so this Things to do will be a little bit subdued and tamer than usual. Probably.

ASOS & Depop Independent Fashion Market at Hatch
Friday 1st March
If you’re on the lookout for some new clobber – Hatch have got you covered this Friday. They’ll be hosting a vintage and lifestyle market in conjunction with ASOS and Depop – two fashion juggernauts that you’ll know extensively if you’re a dedicated follower of ‘fashion’. It’s run by Off the Hook, a collective of independent traders that typically sell their stuff on the two online marketplaces and are now looking to Hatch for some real-life, tangible results. I should also take this opportunity to mention the fact that there are two new street food vendors at Hatch, one of which – Seasoned – make quite possibly the best chips in the bloody world. Tuck into their Beetroot and Feta Fries while searching for a new glitter leotard. Perfect.

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Levelz & friends present The Windrush Campaign Fundraiser @ YES
Friday 1st March
Finest as a platform always aim to be non-political and neutral. Basically we can’t really be arsed arguing with a bunch of keyboard warriors on the Internet so we try to remain as pH7 as possible at all times. That being said, I don’t think it’s wrong (or indeed ‘taking sides’) to proclaim the attempts of the current government to deport the legitimate UK citizens of the Windrush generation from our shores – people who have made a huge contribution to the culture and wealth of Britain over the last 60 years. Well, this Friday sees the Levelz gang band together an all-star line-up at YES for a special Windrush fundraiser that promises to be a belter, with all monies going to the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit Windrush Campaign and the Praxis Windrush Campaign.

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Hit & Run present Pete & Bas @ 256 Fallowfield
Saturday 2nd March
Most 70 year olds I think of are shuffling around their little bungalows, eating Werther’s Originals and shouting at kids outside to stop running on their front yard. Of course, this is entirely based on my experiences as a kid – where as soon as you reached the age of 55 you were an ‘old biddy’ and therefore someone who’d offer you a Blue Ribband and a can of Coke at every opportunity. Well, nowadays it’s all different, I mean Helen Mirren is 74 and I’d definitely give her a little kiss and a cuddle – so times are a ‘changing. 70 is the new 40 apparently. Anyway, I’m talking about 70 year olds because there’s two rappers, Pete & Bas, who have taken YouTube by storm with their proper good grime tunes recently, who will be hitting up 256 in Fallowfield this Saturday. It should be bloody brilliant and their tunes are actually pretty decent.

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Manchester Film Festival 2019
From Saturday 2nd March
Okay so it’s not as glamorous or as well-known as that one in Cannes, but don’t let that put you off attending one of the brilliant events at this year’s Manchester Film Festival. There’s really too much for me to start listing here, but this week sees them take over the Odeon Great Northern for a week of UK, European and World premieres, short films, Q&A’s, documentaries and more. There’s also set to be a new (and unique) foray into VR as Virtual Hideout host a series of films that have been designed for their headsets – fully transporting you into the film as if you’re an extra. As someone who only really ever wants to watch 80’s action movies with insane levels of body mass, most of these aren’t for me, but if you appreciate ‘craft’ – get yourself down and go wild. You can check out the programme and get tickets below.

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50th Anniversary of Concorde’s First Flight
Saturday 2nd March
I remember as a kid getting dragged to Manchester Airport on a Saturday morning to join around 150 people to watch a Concorde land. That was it. We woke up at 6am, got in the car, drove about 15 miles in a clapped out old Sierra, got out and froze for around an hour – just to see a sodding plane with a bent nose land. Now, I’m not saying that Concorde wasn’t impressive, it’s still probably the sexiest plane to ever take to the skies and this week marks the 50th anniversary of its maiden flight. To celebrate, Manchester Airport have modified their current Concorde so that the famous bent nose can move up and down again – as well as putting on a day of special Concorde related treats. Best of all will be a Q&A with Fred Finn, a business bloke who flew more times than anyone else on Concorde – you’d better start thinking of some questions for him right now.

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Tattoo Tea Party
Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd March
Living with Ben Almond this week has been rather stressful, not just for him but for me too. It’s because this weekend sees the Tattoo Tea Party hit Event City, a celebration of all things ink where over 300 tattoo artists from all over the UK show off their skills, do some inking and generally try and be the best. So of course, as Urmston’s premier tattoo artist, Ben Almond has spent the week printing out designs, organising things, getting some t-shirts made and generally worrying about the big event. In turn it has been stressful for me too because on more than one occasion he has interrupted me while watching Robocop so I could offer him advice. So get yourself down if you’re a fan of tattoos or want one – it’s a proper good laugh and if you see Ben – give him a little kiss and a cuddle and tell him everything will be alright.

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Pancake Day
Tuesday 5th March
It’s that time of the year again where social media becomes inundated with people showing off their flipping tekkers, whinging about eating too much and generally being as annoying as possible. As a man who pretty much hates everything, Pancake Day is no exception – but I do understand why people enjoy it so much. It gives you the perfect excuse to eat a load of proper unhealthy foodstuffs and not feel too bad about it in the morning. As you’d expect, the restaurants and bars of Manchester have jumped on this with a series of events, specials and challenges. One such establishment, Dive NQ will be offering stacked pancakes ALL WEEK, and they’ve gone all-out with the toppings – if you’re not happy with their Mississippi Mud Pie pancakes then you’re not human.

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Cubanopolis @ Cottonopolis
Wednesday 6th March
The gang at Cottons have got together with those Bacardi lot to bring a taste of Cuba to sunny Manchester. For one night only they’ll be serving up a mega 5 course menu complete with £5 Bacardi cocktails to keep you well lubricated. I would bloody love to go to Cuba but an addiction to expensive cheeses means that it’s just a little too expensive for me. So if you’re the same you should get yourself down this Wednesday and tuck into a fantastic menu that includes Crab & corn tostados, Cubanos Katsu Sandos, Scallop, Seabass & Avocado Ceviche and more. I’ll see you there!

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The Stretch @ 53two
From Wednesday 6th March
One of my biggest fears (and probably most people’s really) is getting banged up. I’ve watched enough episodes of Bad Girls and Prisoner Cell Block H to know that being in prison is hell, where you’re avoiding getting shanked with a sharpened toothbrush one minute and having to cuddle a murderer called Dave the next because you accidentally ate his Bird’s Eye Fish Finger. As bad as prison is, it’s also an absolute nightmare for people when they come out, with a severely substandard rehabilitation and reintegration system in this country that fails many. This new play at 53two examines the 10 years and aftermath of a convicted man’s stretch, exploring these themes further using spoken word, movement and music to spark discussion. It’s starts on Wednesday and runs until Friday 15th March.

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5 Course Wine Dinner: Sparkling Wines @ Brasserie Abode
Wednesday 6th March
Another of Brasserie Abode’s brilliant Wine Dinners, I feel that these events don’t get as much recognition as they deserve because when I went to the one last month it was bloody brilliant. It’s not all about wine you see, you also get a lovely 5-course dinner too which they’ve carefully selected to go as best as it can with the wine. So you can eat, you can drink and you can hear all about how wines are made, the tastes and notes and all that stuff as well. This month sees them tackle sparkling wines – which in my opinion are the best wines out there. Get your tickets below and I can give you a special Ben Brown Guarantee™ that you’ll leave very full, drunk and happy.

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Barbershop Chronicles @ The Royal Exchange
From Thursday 7th March
As a man who hasn’t been to the hairdressers in just over 10 years, this new play at The Royal Exchange would probably be totally lost on me. Not to mention the fact that when I did go to the barbers it was a rather mundane affair, sitting down while John the Barber tried the best he could to make my tram-lines straight even though he’d had 6 pints in The Crown at lunch. For many though, the barber shop is a place of community, where not only do you get your hair buzzed but you also talk, give advice and generally talk about life and it’s many ailments. This new play starting on Thursday explores this masculine environment and looks to give an insight into this world where barbers “are sages, role models and father figures”.

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Open Mic Night @ The Bay Horse Tavern
Thursday 7th March
If you’re going to launch an event – provide some free beers. Simple. It’s usually impossible to get people up off their arses to do things, but if you provide something for free – they’re much more likely to leave their lovely warm houses and make the trip somewhere. I know I am. Keen to get people down on Thursday are The Bay Horse Tavern in the NQ who have roped in Camden Town Brewery to provide a load of free beers for their brand-new Open Mic night. Hosted by Izzie Walsh, you should expect a fair whack of music, some spoken word, perhaps even a bit of comedy (but only if I head down of course). There’s not just the beers either – you can get Double G&T’s for only a fiver – yes please 7.

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