By the time you read this I will be sat under an umbrella on the beach in Kefalonia, avoiding the sun like a ginger vampire. Even though I’m not in Manchester this week, doesn’t mean the whole city comes to a standstill (as much as I’d like to think it would) – here’s what to check out…
FriendsFest @ Heaton Park
Friday 4th August – Sunday 13th August
For a TV show that hasn’t made a new episode for around 30 years, Friends is still going strong on Comedy Central with its mix of beautiful people, massive coffee cups and terrible fashions. Most people are a fan – mainly because it’s one of those shows that you just put on in the background while you vegetate on the sofa, stalking an ex on Instagram. Well this week sees FriendsFest arrive at Heaton Park where you can visit Monica and Rachel’s apartment, have a coffee in Central Perk and do all of that other stuff that those crazy cats got up to during the 90s without ever really worrying about money or the fact that two of them had a child that you never saw and they never spent time with.
Heaton Park, Middleton Rd, Manchester M25 2SW
Sadler’s Yard Summer Jam
Saturday 5th August from 12pm
Sadler’s Yard is a lovely bit of empty space just round the back of The Printworks, in the heart of NOMA – the bit where there’s loads of Co-op buildings and not much else. What there is though is a big Summer party this weekend – or ‘Jam’ as they want to call it – convenient because they’ve got some jam maker to hand out 300 jars of the stuff on the day – so bring your own toast. Expect the usual collection of live music, food, drinks and slightly pissed up crowds, talking loudly and spitting when they pronounce their t’s.
Sadler’s Yard, Redfern St, Manchester M60 0AB
The Lowry Open Day
Saturday 5th August
I did a little piece about this a few weeks back so you can either read that here or continue to read this drivel and make your mind up about going. I’m going to just use my memory and not look at any other literature as I write this so here goes. The Lowry Open Day will have loads of food and drink, as well as activities for the kids – probably bouncy castles and swimming races and footy stickers. Oh and as part of the ‘Open’ aspect of the day, the theatre will open its doors so you can take part in workshops and backstage tours and hopefully have a snoop around Les Dennis’ dressing room or something. Should be a top day.
The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ
0843 208 6000
We are the Mods @ Band On The Wall
Saturday 5th August
Ahh Mods. People who will spend 6 grand affixing mirrors to their Vespa, buying a top of the range parka, hanging out with Sting, shagging Leslie Ash and heading down to Brighton to kick the shit out of some skinheads, before topping themselves off the cliffs of Dover. That’s pretty much all I know. Watching Quadrophenia. Once. There’s obviously more to it, and if you’re interested then Band on the Wall are hosting a ‘We Are The Mods’ night featuring a screening of the classic film and a Mod Disco afterwards. Expect similar haircuts.
Band on the Wall, 25 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ
0161 834 1786
Soup Kitchen’s 7th Birthday
Saturday 5th August
Soup Kitchen is 7 years old this month, and to celebrate they are having a massive big bash. To be fair they’ve done really well to make it 7 years in the city – they should be proud. Who’d have thought that a venue that served flavoured water during the day would be able to successfully transition into a gig and night venue in the evenings – but they did. Here’s one of my only memories from here over the last 7 years: going to watch MSMR downstairs and getting a signed t-shirt of the lead singer who I fancied. She was a bit annoyed that I snuck in and didn’t pay on the door, but she got over it because of my charm, wit, charisma and the fact I paid an extra £5 for the t-shirt. I don’t understand anything about their 7th Birthday line up – just give it a read yourself.
Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear St, Manchester M1 1DF
0161 236 5100
Remake Remodel Talking Heads @ Ruby Lounge
Saturday 5th August
I don’t think the Talking Heads get enough respect nowadays, and it seems that the peeps who run Remake Remodel at Ruby Lounge feel the same because they’ve decided to dedicate a full night to the 70’s and 80’s legends. You’ll probably know more of their songs than you think so if you fancy a night of good dancing – cruise on down. It’s only 4 and a half quid to get in and they will have plenty of Talking Heads tunes, Talking Heads art, a photo booth, themed cocktails and free face painting. I was sold on the flyer to be fair.
Ruby Lounge, 28-34 High St, Manchester M4 1QB
0161 834 1392
B*Witched & Big Brovaz & Blazin Squad @ O2 Ritz
Sunday 6th August
Now come on – you definitely do not need me to give you a description of this night of musical greats. I’ll briefly mention Big Brovaz – who I don’t really know so we will brush past them. Then there’s Blazin Squad who are probably only here because one of them was on Love Island. It’s B*Witched we’re all interested in to be fair. These denim-clad Irish beauties absolutely re-wrote the music industry with C’est La Vie in 1998, and quickly followed it up with 2 more absolute belters (Rollercoaster & Blame it on the Weatherman). If it wasn’t for politics, and perhaps something to do with the climate, they would still be here – wearing more denim than a rhinestone cowboy, packing out huge arenas and stadiums. Instead they’re at the O2 Ritz. Get your bloody tickets now!
O2 Ritz, Whitworth St W, Manchester M1 5NQ
0161 714 4140
The Wizard of Oz @ Stockport Plaza
Starts Monday 7th August
Take a trip down the yellow-stained road (the A6) to Stockport from the 7th August and you can catch a rather exciting production of everyone’s favourite Oz story – The Wizard of Oz. It stars that Heather from Eastenders, the one that got killed by Ben Mitchell, or was it one of the Beale kids? I don’t know – there’s so many murderers on Albert Square that it’s hard to keep up. I miss the days when the only baddie was Nick Cotton – with his leather jacket and slick back hair, it was always obvious he was a bit of a bastard. Heather plays the Wicked Witch of the West by the way – which I’m sure she will be brilliant at. Oh, I was lying before. The best Oz story is obviously 1985’s Return to Oz.
Stockport Plaza, Mersey Square, Stockport SK1 1SP
0161 477 7779
This is Human @ HOME
Wednesday 9th August
I’ve had the feeling that I should include more art and theatre and craft into these weekly roundups so here is something I found to replace the usual list of some 90’s band night at some doss-hole in Oldham. HOME are launching This is Human, a “programme of unique and unusual happenings” in their galleries, cinema and theatre throughout August. To mark the launch there will be a puppet parade through Tony Wilson square and into the gallery – pretty much having some sort of Thunderbirds rave. Sounds enjoyable, and perhaps a little weird so if you’re in the area – check it out – it’s FREE so that can be an even better incentive for you to go.
HOME, 2, Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN
0161 200 1500