Manchester Irish Festival
Starts Friday 2nd March
It's not St Paddy's day for another 2 weeks but Manchester's Irish contingency have decided to go all out and start the party early. Starting on Friday the Manchester Irish Festival aims to promote anything Irish in the city with a series of events, live music, comedy, dancing and whatever else you can think of from the Emerald Isle without resorting to crude stereotypes. I'm trying to think of crude stereotypes now and I'm struggling. Probably because I'm a cosmopolitan, young millennial who manages to look past all of that kind of stuff and appreciate a place and its people at face value. Wait. Yes, I've got one. A drunk man with a ginger beard, fists up, big stupid foam hat doing an Irish jig like Michael Flatley at a wedding. Done.
Manchester Film Festival 2018
Friday 2nd March - Sunday 4th March
Obviously not as prestigious as that big one in Cannes, the Manchester Film Festival is still a chance for many of the region's budding filmmakers to get their works out to a greater audience, as well as a chance for Odeon to show some of the more obscure offerings from many of the world's biggest stars. One such star is Transformers and Even Stevens actor Shia LaBeouf, who will be in town flogging his new documentary about hitchhiking using the Internet. It sounds pretty weird to me but apparently him and his mates posted their coordinates online using the hashtag #takemeanywhere and then just waited for someone to pick them up. Surprisingly enough they didn't get murdered and eaten - although some people probably wish he did. He seems like a good lad though so if you're reading this Shia - come meet me for a pint at the Hare & Hounds on Saturday. It's Free & Easy and they do free sausage rolls.
Bill Bailey: Larks in Transit
Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd March
Larks in Transit sees Bill Bailey tell a load of stories about travelling - and although he's no Judith Chalmers - I suppose being a comedian involves lots of trips up and down the country, drives to Hull, Ginster’s pasties and the odd little toilet break in a bush in Bracknell. I'm a big fan of Bill Bailey and would like to have a pint with the lad. We have many things in common, including the fact that we both have long hair, we both have a nose, we are both funny as fuck and we both enjoy the works of the Chuckle Brothers. Bill if you're reading this, come meet me and Shia TheBeef at the Hare & Hounds on Saturday - I'll buy you a John Smith's and there's free sausage rolls.
International Women's Day: Walk for Women
Saturday 3rd March
If you're a man, or a man who is a pig, or a woman who doesn't keep up to date with events, or a man who doesn't look at the calendar or a woman who doesn't care, or a man who is busy doing the washing up then you may not have noticed that this week sees International Women’s Day kick off. As a man I'm probably not the best person to relay how important this day is and what it means to women - especially with the myriad of events that have transpired throughout the world since the last one. Manchester is not shy in showing off it's amazing women, and they take it up a notch this week with a host of fantastic events throughout the city's many establishments. One such event is the Walk for Women on Saturday - a procession that will mark 100 years of the first women winning the right to vote.
Mr Scruff Keep it Unreal ft. Mikey Don
Saturday 3rd March
Now in his 18th year, Mr Scruff has finally become a fully-fledged adult and can buy fags down the offy, vote for Lord Buckethead in his local elections and eat as many penis-shaped foods in church as he likes. It's a long time to be spinning vinyl and banging out some top tunes, but the geezer doesn’t look like he wants to stop and keeps getting better if anything. This Saturday the Manchester legend will be joined by extra special guest Mikey Don, both of them banging out the best of jazz, soul, hip hop, funk, disco, deep house, reggae, afrobeat, latin, electro, techno and new wave for a whopping 5 bloody hours.
Tattoo Tea Party
Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th March
One of the biggest events in the tattoo world calendar, the Tattoo Tea Party sees hundreds of artists descend upon that place near the Trafford Centre to poke people with needles and spend 3 hours taking part in awkward small talk. One such tattoo artist will be my house mate and close friend Ben Almond, whose tattooing skills are unparalleled in and around the postcode of Levenshulme in which we reside. If you're a fan of getting inked, like leather and fire or just want to have a potter around, the Tea Party is the place to be over the weekend. There's shit loads going on, so even if you don't fancy getting a tat of Batman riding a pterodactyl that breathes fire - you won't be bored.
A Fantastic Woman @ HOME
Sunday 4th March
This is a biggie this one. The first major LGBTQ+ film at the Oscars - A Fantastic Woman is a deeply involving portrait of an isolated transgender woman in Chile, and has been lauded by the critics and has won about a million awards including the Ben Brown Top Tuesday Night Film Award 2018™. The Guardian called it a "sublime study of love, loss and the trans experience" and its nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars is clearly a big step in the right direction for those fuddy duddy nerds in charge of Hollywood. You can watch the film at HOME from Friday 2nd but there's a lovely special screening with a post-film discussion chaired by trans comedian Shon Faye and featuring Kate O Donnell, Grace Oni Smith, The LGBT Foundation’s Aimee Linfield and poet AJ McKenna.
From Thursday 8th March
Some clever dick was looking through the thesaurus one day and noticed that the world berserk rhymes with the French word for circus. He thus decided to create Cirque Berserk, a traditional kind of circus but with more berserk and less facial hair, lion's teeth and hippos on unicycles. This show at the Palace Theatre has been called 'jaw-dropping' which indicates that there are many, many dangerous feats of human performance that may or may not end up in death. I'm sure nobody is going to die on stage right in front of your eyes, but if they do, be assured that they died doing something they truly love, and had probably spent 10 years perfecting.