Little did I know that a few days in the Lake District ends up costing more than 2 weeks in Magaluf and there isn’t even any sangria or sand. I’ll be staying at home pottering around in my dressing gown and spying on my neighbours then instead. While I’m doing that – do this…
Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd July
Science and music come together at Jodrell Bank this weekend in what could be considered a sequel to that bit in Close Encounters when the aliens start blasting out the LCD screen and base. Don't worry though, you won't get kidnapped or start making mountains out of mash - instead you can get involved in some pretty impressive acts including Chemical Brothers, Gary Numan and The Flaming Lips alongside favourites such as Crazy P, Gilles Peterson and Mr Craig Charles himself. Alongside all these music nerds will be the science nerds - banging on about space, planets, black holes and anything else they can think of. Richard Dawkins will be turning up and if he manages to rein his neck in - should be very interesting indeed.
Manchester Jazz Festival
Starts Friday 20th July
Oh look. My favourite time of the year. Honest. It's the Manchester Jazz Festival and for all of you many, many people out there who enjoy your jazz, you're in for a massive chrome plated treat. Kicking off on Friday there's a massive list of jazz acts that you can watch and scratch your chin to, mostly revolving around the large tent they've erected in Albert Square. There's loads of stuff elsewhere too though, dotted around the city throughout the week. If you're bothered, check out their website below for the full listings and to buy some tickets. It's usually at this point that I'd mention some of the big names to get you all excited, but unless Fats fucking Domino is turning up - I don't know anyone.
Fame! The Musical
From Friday 20th July
If I'm being perfectly honest with you, and I assure you that every single week I tell no lies, going to the school in Fame would have been the most horrible experience known to man (and woman). From personal experience people who study dance and drama and theatre and all that are absolutely lovely and some of the best people you'll ever meet. Get them all together though and you're looking at an environment that would make a Stormtrooper on Endor look like he's having the time of his life. Get one pirouette wrong or sing 'Custard!' in the wrong note and you're going to get the sharp end of some serious bitching in the canteen, wherein everyone would then start jumping up on the tables, singing and dancing and spilling Fanta all over your Turkey Twizzlers. Horrible. Not horrible is sitting in a theatre watching it though, and this week Fame comes to the Palace.
Children Of Zeus - Manchester Debut Album Launch @ Mint Lounge
Friday 19th July
I've just looked up on the Google who the actual children of Zeus were and it's like a who's who of Greek mythology - this guy definitely had some overactive loins. Everyone knows Apollo and Ares and Perseus and half of Hercules but I didn't know that he was also Helen of Troy's dad. Impressive fella. This week sees some more Children of Zeus head to the city (seamless linking) but this time it's the Manchester duo, Konny Kon & Tyler Daley who have been setting the charts on fire (like Prometheus) with their perfect blend of soul and hip-hop. Hit & Run are bringing them to Mint Lounge for an album launch party that's going to go on into the early hours. Be quick with tickets, Nanny says that they're going fast.
Levelz “Reach For The Sky” Open Air Loft Party @ Hidden
Saturday 21st July
As kids my sister and I would love to sneak into the loft of our house when my parents were out and have a jolly good root around all of the old photos and weird shite that they've accumulated in their adult lives. Come to think of it now there was a perfectly good Commodore 64 in there that would be worth loads now, as well as a collection of knitted willie warmers - which I still don't understand to this day. I'm talking about lofts because I couldn't think of a better way to introduce this loft party at Hidden on Saturday which will officially launch the new single from Manchester lads Levelz. It's called 'Reach for the Sky' and will be the second best single featuring the words 'Reach for the...' ever made. We all know the number one.
Stories of The Streets Exhibition @ Manchester Arndale
Until Sunday 22nd July
Being homeless must be absolutely horrible. Apart from being in prison or getting chased by a giant rabbit it's probably many people's worst nightmare and I think it's safe to say that recent years have shown a massive increase in the levels of homelessness not just in Manchester but all around the country. Stepping away from the politics of it all (because I'm vastly unprepared for that shit), this week sees your last chance to check out 'Stories of the Streets', a photography exhibition in the Arndale Centre that shares images of homelessness from the perspective of those experiencing it first-hand. So, I think they gave a load of homeless people some cameras, told them to get on with it and now you can see for yourself the result. It ends on Sunday.
RAD Screenings: Arnold Schwarzenegger All-Dayer
Sunday 22nd July
As if anyone could resist buying a ticket for this Arnie All Dayer down at the Plaza in Stockport. Not even a killer robot from the future could stop me from heading down. Not even the devil himself, made to look like a sexy Irish actor could deter me. Not even if I was arrested, imprisoned and then made to fight my way through a series of elaborate scenarios for the viewing pleasure of millions on TV would I miss this. Even if it was Christmas and I forgot to buy my kid.... ah forget it. I'm scraping the barrel now - you get the point. Arnie. 4 films. Commando. Predator. True Lies. Terminator 2. What more do you need to know?
Bee in the City
From Monday 23rd July
If you don’t know what Bee in the City is then here's a quick introduction; it's a load of massive bees that people have painted that will be placed around the city for 2 months. Who has painted them, I hear you ask from your lovely DFS sofa - well there are a load of them that have been painted by kids at schools, as well as artists from in and around Manchester. They all come with their own little 'bee' name and it usually involves some sort of bee related pun which would keep the editorial team of The Sun giggling away for a few weeks. These big buggers are going to be plonked around the city for the next 2 months, so see if you can get a picture with every single one maybe? Or design a pub crawl which takes in the nearest boozer to each bee's location. Yes. I'll do that one.
Dusty @ The Lowry
Starts Tuesday 24th July
There was once a little dwarf fella - sorry, little person called Dusty who used to present 'Britain's Bounciest Weather' on Live TV in the 90's and it was brilliant. He would get his little self on a trampoline and bounce up and down while telling you that it was going to rain in Bracknell, which must have taken so much skill and precision that he could probably have made it as a proper Paralympian if he'd tried. One time he fell off it. This isn't a musical about him though (shame), it's a musical about Dusty Springfield who I didn’t even know was English until now. I thought she grew up in some stinking bayou in Memphis instead of Enfield. To be fair though, I don't know which one is better. Listen to Dusty in Memphis to get you in the mood and go enjoy yourself.
Romeo and Juliet in Heaton Park
Starts Wednesday 25th July
A bit more theatre for you here, but this one is a little bit different. Not only will the actors be speaking in all olden times language, they will also be dragging you around Heaton Park while they do so. Everyone knows the story: there are two families right, the Montagues and the Capulets and they both live in Verona in Italy and for some reason or other they fucking hate each other. This isn't just a playful rivalry like Mr Kipling and Aunt Bessie though - they proper go out their way to kill each other and that. One day though Romeo, who is a Montague, and Juliet who is a Capulet fall in love, do a bit on bonking and then get married. All within the space of about 3 days. Idiots. This production by Feelgood will utilise different locations throughout Heaton Park to immerse you in the story even more, and with the decent weather we’ve been having - you'll feel like you're in Verona proper.