Things to do in Manchester this week: 22nd – 29th March 2019

Including: FREE Gin, Power Ballads, Bongo’s Bingo, Blue Planet & cheap clobber!

Okay so I’ve made a rather significant change to my Things to Do which will take effect immediately. Instead of it being from Friday – Thursday it’s now from Saturday – Friday so you’ve got more time to plan and buy tickets and stuff. (Thanks to the lady on Facebook who forced my hand.)

That means that for one week only there are TWO Fridays…

¡Viva! Festival @ HOME
From Friday 22nd March
Now in its 25th year, the ¡Viva! returns once again to HOME bringing us un-cultured swines a taste of film and theatre from across the Spanish-speaking world. It must be said – the programme of events and showings is mind-bogglingly huge and can be a bit intimidating – so I thought I’d try and simplify it all for you. There’ll be 21 new films showing, 9 of which are UK premiers. There’ll be 5 directors Q&As, 7 archive film screenings and Kingdom – a theatre production that is more confusing than a Chinese wordsearch. Here’s the blurb:
“Kingdom is an irreverent cocktail, mixing bananas, consumerism, virile choreographies, commercials, punk rock, King Kong, supermarkets, growth, confusion, expansion, multinationals, shortages, coups d’état, trap music, and very macho men in an endless party. The world is going to shit, so let’s celebrate!” … Weird eh!?

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Blind Tyger Opening Weekend
Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th March
There’s a new drinking den in town and it’s called Blind Tyger. Taking inspiration from all of the dodgy boozers that popped up throughout the land during the Industrial Revolution, they’ve created a load of brilliant cocktails that will astound you with the use of some pretty mental ingredients. Their opening weekend sees them pull out all the stops including a ‘Make Your Own Bellini’ deal on Friday (get a bottle of Prosecco and a selection of homemade purees for £20), as well as the chance to WIN a £50 Bar Tab for Saturday night. I had some of their cocktails last night and they’re bloody brilliant.

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FREE Didsbury Gin @ INNSIDE
Saturday 23rd March
Just a quick one this – and like a good old tin of Ronseal you know exactly what’s going on just by reading the title – it’s free gin. Obviously. Didsbury Gin are offering a free Gin and Tonic to the first 30 people at the bar in INNSIDE Hotel (the one at First Street) from 6pm. That’s it. Enjoy.

 

The Power Ballad Orchestra @ The Ritz
Saturday 23rd March
This one isn’t my usual power ballads reference which you pleasantly endure every month – because this one is better. The Power Ballads Orchestra are offering up some actual LIVE musical instruments (not just inflatables) in the form of a 16-piece orchestra and a couple of ACTUAL singers who will be projecting their voices through an electronic microphone across the whole of The Ritz. The performers are the lovely Lucie Jones who you might remember from issues of Smash Hits in 2009 and Simon Gordon who has been playing the main geezer in that Meat Loaf musical. So it’s not unfair for me to say that these two can belt out a tune and you can expect them to be smashing out all of your favourites including Bonnie Tyler, Brian Adams and (hopefully) Africa by Toto.

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Manchester Bike Show 2019
Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th March
This year’s Manchester Bike Show is 18,000 square meters of over 100 trade exhibitors and 750 bikes and most likely a huge excess of leather, tattoos and heavy metal. Perhaps not though. I might be completely wrong about the last bits, just assuming that everyone who is a fan of motorbikes is like an extra out of Sons of Anarchy. There will be a lot of leather flying about though and I think that’s one of the 2 reasons why I’ll never even consider ever having a motorbike. Any form of transport where you have to get completely dressed up, head-to-toe in leather, like some kind of kinky astronaut is not worth it at all. The second reason? I’d probably get hit by a lorry after 5 minutes on the bike and my fucking head will come clean off. If you don’t mind about those two things though – this show is for you.

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Meet the Maker @ 20 Stories
Tuesday 26th March
In an effort to bridge the gap between the supplier of food and the eater of food, 20 Stories are this week launching a new ‘Meet the Maker’ series of events. This first one sees new Head Chef Brian Hughson team up with Farmison & Co to talk about meat. Meat in as many forms as possible I reckon. They’ll be talking about the kind of animals they breed, how they’re looked after and how they work with 20 Stories – and to be fair, the animals must be treated pretty well otherwise there’s no way in hell that they’d send someone down to talk about it. While all of this is going on you will tuck into a selection of meat dishes prepared by the gang in the kitchen, as well as washing it all down with a selection of paired wines.

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The Worst Witch @ The Lowry
From Tuesday 26th March
The story of a seemingly ordinary child who finds themselves attending a school of magic that’s full of wizards and witches – I know what you’re thinking: “This sounds suspiciously similar to Harry Potter.” Well, that’s probably because it bloody is – I’m almost certain that JK Rowling had a copy of The Worst Witch on her desk when she was writing the first Harry Potter book in that cafe in Edinburgh. Although I have been told to point out (by my solicitors) that this is merely speculation and in no way a form of libel. Well, this week sees The Worst Witch head to The Lowry with an all-female cast recreating the much-loved classic books by Jill Murphy. It’s mostly for kids so if you’ve got some – take them along and be sure to buy them a packet of Fruit Pastilles to keep ‘em quiet.

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Manchester Lindy Classes & Social @ The Refuge
Tuesday 26th March
As a man who can dance so well that John Travolta in the 70’s shakes in his Cubans, while Tom Jones in the 50’s cries into his pint of scotch, I don’t really think I need to attend this Lindy class at The Refuge. I wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone. Not everyone can be like me though and so if you’re looking to do a bit of dancing, learn some moves and have a bloody good larff – this might just be the event for you. For a fiver you can head on down to the basement bar of The Refuge and dance the night away to all of your favourite Lindy Hop tunes. You’re sure to get a sweat on so if you’re a prolific leaker under the arm pits, take a bottle of Sure in with you because everyone goes for drinks afterwards.

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One Deck Wednesday Social with BC Camplight @ Electrik
Wednesday 27th March
This Wednesday’s One Deck will be hosted by a bloke called BC Camplight. If you know him then that should be enough to ensure that you go down to check him out. If that name means absolutely shit-all to you then let me throw some knowledge at you and see if anything sticks. A firm regular on BBC Radio 6 Music, BC (or the Campmeister General as he likes to be called by his mates) is a New Jersey multi-instrumentalist who has worked with a variety of people in the biz as well as penning 4 albums himself. His tunes have been described as “sounds of garage style scuzz rock, Bowie, LCD Soundsystem, Beach Boys-esque harmonies, elements of glam rock & beyond” – so expect a VERY eclectic mix of vinyl under his arm when he arrives. As usual it starts at 8pm and is ‘effing FREE!

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Blue Planet II Live in Concert
Wednesday 27th March
Even though 106-year old David Attenborough can still get on a plane and go to the middle of the Amazon to hold a lizard on his arm for 30 seconds, he still can’t be bloody arsed to get out of his Stannah Stairlift and come on down to the Arena on Wednesday for Blue Planet II Live in Concert. National treasure my arse. Nah, I’m only kidding. I don’t want a gang of pitchfork wielding mad-heads turning up on my doorstep wanting to kick my head in – I love David just as much as you do. I bloody love Blue Planet too – which is quite possibly the greatest TV show ever made and something us Brits should be proud of. This concert features visuals from the series accompanied by an immersive music score by a full symphony orchestra. Sounds amazing.

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Bongo’s Bingo XL @ Manchester Central
Thursday 28th March
There was an idea. It seemed ridiculous at the time, some even said it was arrogant. Others thought it genius. That idea was Bongo’s Bingo XL – their biggest show ever and something that must have been dreamt up by the Bongo’s team after around 12 bottles of Buckfast and a few too many Tuna Mayonnaise Jacket Potato’s. So this week they’re taking over Manchester Central for 3 HUGE nights of bingo, dancing, boozing, Henry Hoovers and of course – Simon & Lee from Blue. The lads will be performing LIVE on stage after the main show – singing all of their hits and probably getting a few pairs of sweaty knickers thrown at them from the audience. If you’ve never been to Bongo’s Bingo I find it easy to describe: -It’s just like being on a rollercoaster – fucking mental.
P.S. – There’s only tickets left for the Thursday show now.

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Native Youth Sample Sale @ Cottonopolis
Thursday 28th & Friday 29th March
I’m actually currently sat here in the Finest office wearing a lovely bit of Native Youth clobber that I got for a measly £10 at the Sample Sale in Cottonopolis last year. It’s a cracking black denim jacket which seems to be able to weather pretty much any fashion fad and even the continued growth of my love handles. I’ll therefore be heading back to Cottonopolis either this Thursday or Friday to partake in their next Sample Sale – where items start from as little as £5. Joining Native Youth with be a whole host of other peeps, selling their wares and showing off their skills – perfect for the impending Summer wardrobe.

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