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Village round-up: Crappy New Year

Wayne Clews is so over 2008 already

Published on January 4th 2008.

Village round-up: Crappy New Year

January can be the cruellest month. You have to face Siberian winds in fraying old tat from last year’s sale bargains thanks to crippling penury caused by festive frivolousness with the old credit card.

On top of that, the television is forever hectoring us simple souls to give up the fags and lay off the booze, wagging their finger at us like some disapproving nanny in a starched pinny. Anyone would think such things were bad for you or something. And all this happens just as losing yourself in a warm booze-fuelled fug seems utterly appealing. Especially after you’ve found yourself getting caught in a gritter’s hailstorm resulting in an evening picking grit out of your face like you’ve just been blasted with buckshot. Or perhaps that’s just me.

The problem comes when you finally brave the elements and decide to pop out for the evening, only to discover that the Village has gone into hibernation, like some homosexual version of Moomin Valley in midwinter. Venues seem apologetically empty and the occasional brave smoker is sentenced to wither on the street like some Victorian urchin. Being forced to mill about in a half-empty venue that smells of cheap bleach and stale mops can’t be anyone’s idea of fun, unless you’re a poor individual with a fetish for Vileda Supermops, though I should think that’s unlikely.

Where did the glamour go? Washed down the drain with any sense of occasion? Or perhaps we are expected to make do with a few giddy days for Manchester Pride and a bit of tinsel-waving during the festive period. And, now if the Arts Council withdraw their funding as seems likely, Manchester will soon lose its very own gay arts festival, Queerupnorth. Fair enough that places like Cruz and Essential still supply their regular stalwart club nights and they seem to appeal to a loyal band of followers but unlike, say, the Northern Quarter, little has changed in the Village in the last few years.

Possibly this is due to sky-high rents in the area precluding any new ventures but possibly there is a small hint of complacency in the air too. Federation made a brief stab at bringing a new weekly residency to the city’s gay scene last year but soon quit the idea after an alleged dirty tricks campaign. Though, in hindsight, filling the Ritz on a weekly basis may have been a tad ambitious. Perhaps I’m simply a little jaded these days and miss the youthful naivety of my twenty-one year old self who first tottered up the Canal Street cobbles a long time ago. So for the time being, I’ll stop sniveling into my Kleenex like a misery guts, I’ll grow up and join a gay diners’ club or take up knitting.

Beach on Wheels
Canal Street, Friday 11 January
Rather bizarrely, a beach will be appearing in the Village for a gay happy hour between 6pm-8pm and promises a few Speedo clad models to boot. It’s all sponsored by Greater Fort Lauderdale, so expect to be seduced into splashing out on a trip to Florida.

School Flip
Essential, Minshull Street, Friday 11 January
Seven years old and still shimmying away, Essential’s regular Friday night takes on a scholarly bent. Slap on some old NHS glasses, give your old school tie an iron and get caned.

Disco Inferno
Cruz 101, Princess Street, Mondays
With those pesky money worries in mind, impoverished students can get into this incredibly long-running club night for one measly quid. Bear in mind though, the club’s open until 5am so Tuesday will be a write off.

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

smartmcrJanuary 4th 2008.

Yes, you are right, it is easy to take the Village for granted when you've lived here for a long time. I guess I'm longing for those exciting days in the late 90s/early noughties when new places like Spirit were appearing, the Paradise Factory was gay (and always busy) and Essential was the new kid on the block. It's all stagnated a bit of late.

StephJanuary 4th 2008.

In truth the Village has been on the decline for about five years. The thing is there is very little need for an exclusively Lesbian and Gay area anymore - we just need a scattering of bars and clubs around the city which are gay. The Village now ghetto-ises a whole group of people. It says I'm Gay first before anything else. Heteros don't go out of their way to make it clear that they're hetero: there is no Straight Village. Maybe if the bars along Canal Street catered for an older crowd with less awlful hi-energy music then it might fare better. Then it might feel creative and interesting rather than vulgar and vile.

epsJanuary 4th 2008.

Well said Smartmcr.Couple of additional points though..Hens only get in at the larger,'straighter' venues in Canal st, the smaller, independants dont appear to allow them??Good news for all.Hens etc, do go to ALL parts of the city centre, inc Northern Quarter and especially D Locks.The Village is still very friendly and easy to access for all who behave respecfully, i believe.Manchester is very fortunate to have such a dedicated area(other cities would love to have the same)so lets try to talk it up rather than do it down!!!Happy 2008.

smartmcrJanuary 4th 2008.

I agree completely that the village is looking and feeling a little tired these days. However, if we look back a few years, before the advent of the Northern Quarter and Deansgate Locks areas the Village was so attractive because it was the one of the only cosmopolitan, friendly places to go in town....this no longer appears to be the case. These days other areas of town have moved on, while the village has become a magnet for hen parties and curious straight 'tourists'...

are we reading the same article?January 4th 2008.

cs, what are you on?"think this article justifies the complaint I made. It is a pleasure to read an article on the Village that is well-written, funny, and thought-provoking (and not a stereotyped camp persona in sight)" Please, tell me that you are being sarcastic (I HAVE just got up from an afternoon nap, so i could have missed it), but Gaydo's article is full of 'preposterous witterings' and 'camp persona'. See: 'my twenty-one year old self who first tottered up the Canal Street cobbles' and the second paragraph, and the third..and the first half of the fourth..If that is not preposterous witterings, then what is? The first paragraph is fine, but then Gaydo is trying too hard at not trying at all..it's all in the ManCon vein, but not original or funny like the main site's articles tend to be.The Gaydo section, is, rather embarrasing sometimes. I agree it has got better, and now has some substance, but Gaydo's articles still play to the gay sterotype of an effeminate, shallow, image obsessed, alcohol and possibly drug taking queen..Hows about you (Gaydo) illustrate some of that artistic merit and skill I am sure you have, being employed by ManCon, and write about valid issues (like the way you touched on Queer Up North's imminent funding crisis). It is still possible to be droll and light-hearted without being lazy, cliched and tired.The likes of ManCon's gay and straight readership would appreciate it, I promise you.cheers

epsJanuary 4th 2008.

Interestingly,this article only mentions a couple of club nights mister CS..You clearly didnt like the 'style' but it was at least, full of stuff relating to a vibrant village.The writer of this article has chosen NOT to mention the plethora of diverse stuff that the village has going on??

epsJanuary 4th 2008.

Has anyone seen the canal st website??I get the emails every week and its full of different, but interesting stuff..Recommended.

PG TipsJanuary 4th 2008.

Hmmm, not sure I agree with "very little need for an exclusively Les/Gay Area" - it depends alot on what you want and need. Ghettoisation is not necessarily bad, when it can also be a form of protection for a minority. And as for Straight Village - just because areas like Deansgate Locks, The Printworks et al don't slap a sign up saying its StraightsVille, doesn't mean it ain't. The bars and clubs down Canal Street cater for the crowd that makes those respective bars money, and if they don't make money they close. As much as I'd like bars/clubs that cater for an older crowd, it just ain't gonna happen.

CSJanuary 4th 2008.

Working in media myself, I don't like to bitch about other people's work as a general rule - I'm sure there are times when even the best writers turn out work that doesn't do their skills justice. However, last year I ranted against the preposterous witterings of Gaydo. I think this article justifies the complaint I made. It is a pleasure to read an article on the Village that is well-written, funny, and thought-provoking (and not a stereotyped camp persona in sight). Thanks for showing that you are listening to your readers, and I hope we'll be seeing more of this kind of writing in this section!

This blokeJanuary 4th 2008.

PG Tips: Deansgate locks and The Printworks are straightsville? Don't be so daft. Straight people go to Canal Street, and gay people go to the other nighttime areas around the city. If people want to go to the village, then great, but to presume they don't and won't go elsewhere is naive in the extreme.

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