Theatre: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Royal Exchange, Friday 1 November - Monday 30 November
The Exchange welcomes a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical theatre classic, packed with Sondheim’s characteristic dark witticism. Torn away from his family on a miscarriage of justice and exiled for 15 years, Sweeney Todd returns to London, a city as corrupt and rotten as when he left. He soon discovers the agonising truth about his wife and daughter. Hell-bent on revenge Todd takes up his razors and becomes the most infamous barber of all time. Dishing up his brutal recipe for justice with the help of enterprising pie-maker Mrs Lovett, Sweeney Todd begins to clean up London the only way he knows how. The throat-slitty way.
Tickets £10 - £36. Book here.
Audiences on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 November will also be treated to barbering demos and photo ops with Deansgate’s own demon barber ‘Johnny the Baba’ in full vintage barber regalia, accompanying old-school barber chair and enough macho ‘I’m not a f**king hairdresser’ tattoos to make your average inked prison gang member look like a Tweenie.
Hereeeeee’s Johnny (open soon in Barton Arcade, Deansgate):
Music: Jessie J, Phones4u Arena, Friday 1 November – Saturday 2 November, 7.30pm
Considering Jessie ‘J’ Cornish’s debut single Do It Like A Dude from debut album Who You Are hit the charts back in 2010, she’s taken her good time releasing second album, Alive, in September this year. Granted, she may have been too busy weeping on BBC talent show The Voice (a show that has given us such exciting new acts as Leanne Mitchell and Andrea Begley… exactly) or perhaps, much like Samson, J’s abilities temporarily abandoned her once she’d lobbed her famous black bob off.
Still, Jessie’s amassed around thirteen million record sales worldwide; won more awards than you you could throw at Danny O’Donoghue and has just set out on her first UK arena tour, packing them out in the process. The girl from Dagenham has certainly got something, a voice that could tear through Graphene for one.
Tickets from £35.75 available here.
Food: Celebrate L.S. Lowry's Birthday At Sam's Chop House, Friday 1 November
Yes the old Stretfordian painter would be a sage old 126 years on this very day. Alas, he passed away at a respectable 88. A great innings by anyone's standards. Down at Sam's Chop House just off Cross Street on Chapel Walks, a regular haunt of Lowry's when he worked nearby as a debt collector, they're celebrating his brthday by offering up a selection of his favourite grub: Corned beef hash cake, smoked trout, steak and kidney pud, cheese and onion pie, rice pudding and eccles cake to name a few. To authenticate the experience you could even pop yourself up next to the 300kg (around the same weight as a baby elephant) statue of the famous painter propping up the bar at Sam's.
See the full menu here. 2 course £17.50, 3 course £21.50.
Film: The Selfish Giant, Cornerhouse, Until Thursday 7 November
Arbor and Swifty (looking a little like Laurel and Hardy) are two 12-year-old boys living on the breadline amongst the tough streets of council estate Bradford. Excluded from school and tagged as no-hopers, the lads start working for dodgy scrap dealer Kitten (the scary pock-marked Irish one from Shameless), racing horse carts and stealing scrap, including the incredibly dangerous process of stealing power lines. Tragedy looms in the distance like the smoke stained chimney stacks that ominously overlook the pals stomping ground.
Part Kes, part This Is England, Director Clio Barnard’s first feature is a grisly, dreary and moving tale of two lads, born into the grey and grim, trying to eke out some direction in life. And a few bob.
Tickets here. Go Monday or Tuesday evening and get a film ticket, pizza and a drink for £15.
Drink: Oast House Tepee Opens, Spinningfields, Friday 1 November
Two things symbolise the arrival of the winter months around Confidential towers in Spinningfields: Firstly, the crash bang of shouty builders hammering the ice rink into place. Secondly, the arrival of the tall two peaked tepee on Oast House's substantial courtyard. Looking out the window then - it's definitely winter. With wooden benches, furs, an indoor fire and cider so hot that Beelzebub has been known to spit it back out and cry 'Jessssus Christ that's hot'.
No expense spared on the graphic:
Club: Mr Scruff: Keep It Unreal, Band on the Wall, Saturday 2 November, 9.30pm - Late
I’m particularly fond of Mr Scruff: DJ, producer, cartoonist and ardent tea drinker (he’s also the man behind Teacup on Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, one of the city’s six entries in the Good Food Guide 2014). This fondness is not necessarily because of his quirk packed rumbling-soulful-jazzy numbers (you’ll recognise a fair few from the box), nor his crap cheeky sketches of blobs and potato-looking-blobs that permeate all of his output, nor because he’s from around these parts. No. It’s his love of fish - nearly all of his albums contain a track about fish - and hailing from Grimsby this speaks to me. We’re ‘bredren’.
It was odd for a DJ to hate loud noisesHe’s sold a fair few records too, somewhere in the region of half a million. Weirdly, Andy ‘Mr Scruff’ Carthy’s tea also lays claim to one of the best-selling grocery products in the history of Selfridge’s Food Hall, and has been found hustling his tea and associated paraphernalia at gigs and festivals including Glasto since 1999.
Rumour has it that he made such an impression on the tea-scene that Gaffer, Sydney and Maurice of the infamous Tetley Tea gang tried to off him after a gig.
£11 advance tickets available here (These events are hugely popular and sell out quickly so the venue holds back 100 tickets for the door. Get there early at 9.30pm to secure a ticket, and a free pie or hotdog. Really).
Workshop: TV Scriptwriting, People’s History Museum, Spinningfields, Saturday 2 November – Sunday 3 November
Ever fancied offing a few characters by inexplicably ploughing a flaming plane into a tiny Yorkshire Dales village to shamelessly raise viewing figures? Or, like most, you may have dreamt of pushing Barry from Eastenders off a cliff? Well, if so, this two-day course will show you aspiring scriptwriters how to storyline for television and film. Gill Creswell, former writer and story consultant on Coronation Street and Hollyoaks will be joined by Jo Hallows, former series producer of Hollyoaks during this workshop to introduce writers to the basic building blocks of drama scriptwriting, from script structure to pitching to just ‘running with an idea’.
Your first question: Hollyoaks has writers? Apparently so.
Cost £100 for both days. Email email@example.com or call 01925 730712/07792499156
Market: Gin&Tonic Vintage Fashion Fair, Terrace Bar, Northern Quarter, Saturday 2 November, 1pm-6pm
If, like me, you find yourself regularly wandering listlessly around our city’s creative hub spouting at anyone who will listen: ‘You know what I just cannot find in Northern Quarter… Vintage stuff”, then you’ll be delighted to hear that the girls at Gin&Tonic Vintage Fashion Fair have this predicament sorted on the first Saturday of each month, having carted back to Manchester as much vintage clobber as they could from some of the world’s fashion capitals.
Entry is free and G&T stock both men’s and women’s attire – the best bit is, unlike most ‘vintage’ wear, G&Ts gear doesn’t smell like a forty year old digestive biscuit.
Art: The Vanity Of Small Differences, Manchester Art Gallery, Until Feb 2014
This exhibition boasts a series of six tapestries, measuring 2mx4m each, by the Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry. These tapestries tell the story of class mobility and the influence social class has on our aesthetic taste.
Inspired by William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress, a morality tale charting the evils of eighteenth life, the six tapestries chart the class journey made by young Tim Rakewell and include many of the characters, incidents and objects that Grayson Perry encountered on journeys through Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and The Cotswolds for the television series All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry.
Manchester Art Gallery is only the second gallery outside London to be showing Grayson Perry's The Vanity of Small Differences.
FREE. More info here.
Kids: Matchday Memories Art Workshop: Family Arts Festival, The Lowry, Saturday 2 November – Sunday 3 November, 11am – 4pm
What are your memories of match day? A day out with Dad? The biting cold on a New Years day away at Burnley? A Pukka pie with a consistency equivalent to a molten Pritt Stick? Feeling empathy towards a perfectly bald linesman? Being initiated into the varying and limitless grammatical uses of the word ‘f**k’ (noun, adjective, both transitive and intransitive verb)?
Working in conjunction with Manchester United and acclaimed Salfordian artist Harold Riley, The Lowry launched the new nationwide Family Arts Festival this October with a football themed interactive artwork. The Match Day Memory Kiosk is an interactive work designed to encourage families to visit the Lowry and get involved by recording their match day memories as text or an illustration that will then be pasted to the kiosk to form a collaborative piece of art.
More info on the Family Arts Festival here.
Bonfire: Fireworks at Platt Fields OR Heaton Park, Tuesday 5 November, Fireworks around 7pm onwards
Ah Bonfire night. The only widely commemorated act of Catholicised high treason, the only time you’d ever consider eating a barbequed conker (because they’re crap) and the guaranteed point at which Dad has one too many Vin Chauds and ignites a 50 shot Chinese canon rocket box the wrong way round and directly towards the gathered crowd of family and friends. I’m the only one that turns up to his displays now – and that’s wearing a welder’s mask.
Best head then to a much safer organised and contracted event around the city. The two grandest of which being the city centre whopper down on Platt Fields and a little further out of town at Heaton Park. Expect a bang or two. Don’t bring the dog.
Both FREE, although parking at Heaton Park is £5. Get the Met.
Search for Manchester bonfires here.
Music: Jake Bugg, O2 Apollo, Wednesday 6 November – Thursday 7 November, 7.30pm
When Bugg (real name Jake Kennedy) burst from the confines of his Nottingham council estate with tales of hanging in car parks, popping pills, smoking ‘fat ones’ and gang land stabbings, many hailed the return of that Northern Brit-rock swagger that seemed to evaporate with the inevitable combustion of the tumultuous Oasis ‘give-a-shit’ steam rolling party bus (Kasabian held the torch for a good while). He certainly possessed all the right attributes: the haircut, the vacant ‘stoner’ eyes, the working class credentials, the Fred Perry Harrington jacket and button down shirts, plus the odd swipe at X Factor.
Lapped up doesn’t do it justice. Aged only eighteen his debut album knocked ponce rockers Mumford and Sons from the number one slot and went platinum. Tours with Noel Gallagher and The Stone Roses followed – But then he started hanging out with models, modelling for Burberry and sitting by catwalks – but, in his defense, he didn’t much like it. The best thing about fashions shows, Bugg says, is “how short it was”. Rep restored. Watch out for a slightly heavier, more arranged and leather-clad Bugg on upcoming second album Shangri La, released 18 November. The first two singles from the new album, What Doesn't Kill You and Slumville Sunrise are belters.
Tickets currently avaliable here for £25. Will rise so get to it.
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