Food: 50% Off Around Manchester, All Over, January
January, the month of cutbacks. A hangover of a month in which we’re expected to rein in the spending, the drinking, the smoking, the TV watching, the skullduggery, the drugs, the amount of time we spend tickling our smartphones and being arsed about how big Kimmie's arse is. Decide upon the things you really like doing then hate yourself for liking them and stop.
The most popular abstinence for any new year of course is the amount of grub we sling down our throats. The problem here being that January sees every bugger trying to tide over the ‘quiet month’ by coaxing us in with 50% discounts like the cannibalistic gingerbread witch fattening up Hansel.
Here are some of the carrot-danglers: Gusto, Grill on the Alley and New York St, Lucha Libre, Artisan, Dog Bowl, Velvet, 24 bar and grill, Smoak, All Star Lanes, Didsbury newbie Volta and plenty more but we're bored now. And hungry. February it is then.
Film: 12 Years A Slave, Various Cinemas, Opens Fri 10 January
If the hype is to be believed (and often it isn’t) 12 Years A Slave is the best film ever. The greatest thing to happen to motion picture since Tom Hanks. The Guardian's film-critic-with-the-daftest-name Alex von Tunzelmann called it ‘one of the most brilliant historical films you’ll ever see’. Clearly she’s never seen Pearl Harbor. Or U-571 for that matter, you know, the one where the Yanks capture the U-571 submarine (it was never captured) and steal the Enigma machine (we Brits did that).
British Director Steve McQueen’s (wish I was called Steve McQueen) is based on the true story of kidnapped Soloman Northup, a free black musician played by the brilliant British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, sold into slavery in 1841 - A disconcertingly common tale in pre-abolition America. Northup experiences unthinkable cruelty (one reviewer labelled the film ‘torture porn’) and fleeting glimpses of kindness during his twelve year stretch. Who should come save the day looking like a cross between Jesus and Michael Eavis? His name rhymes with Pad Bit.
Talk: HS2 Information And Consultation Event, Manchester Town Hall, Fri 10 Jan (12-8pm) and Sat 11 Jan (10am-5pm)
For most, any Town Hall consultation event, especially at the weekend, is a ‘Thing Not To Do This Week’. Can’t argue with that. I’ve been to a few myself. Mostly waffle.
Still, this one’s about the HS2, the proposed new high-speed north south railway (known as High Speed 2), and has people all flustered. Not least because the Chinese (them again) are now offering to invest directly into the government’s £50bn project, as well as millions into Manchester’s £800m Airport City. Got a fair bit of dough those Chinese.
So HS2, wonderful economy-bolstering, capacity-increasing, 10,000s of jobs creator OR an inefficient and defunct-before-its-even-finished livestock-bothering waste of taxpayers billions? The jury is out. Still, good excuse to have a shout.
Read Graham Stringer MPs pro-HS2 piece for our site here.
Get involved here.
Music: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, O2 Apollo, Fri 10 January, 7pm
Not your traditional orchestral pomp, far from it in fact. This is one of the most bombastic tours to ever take to a stage. An ‘arena-rock juggernaut’ of a show, all laser beams, pyrotechnics, huge riffs, long hair, dancing girls, head-banging-violin, flames, trippy digital visuals with a wild mix of heavy prog-rock instrumentals and classical inserts. It’s like watching a leather-clad Beethoven performing The Wall with Dubai’s entire cache of New Year’s Eve fireworks shoved up his arse. That’s the only way of describing it really. Oh and he's got laser beams for eyes. Mental.
£34.50 tickets here. Not cheap but promises to be unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Comedy: Trevor Noah: The Racist, The Studio, The Lowry, Sat 11 Jan and Sun 12 Jan, 8pm
Granted, its not a title for a show that would naturally have you thinking: 'You know what, let's go and hear what this bloke has to say.' Much like Adolf Hitler: The Xenophobe, John Terry: Is That your Wife? or Michael McIntyre: Floppy-Haired Twat, it's not a title that screams 'come and have a laugh'. It went badly for Seinfeld's Kramer.
Still, as a bloke you've never heard of (except the bestial one), Noah, South Africa's rising international comedian needs a title like that. It catches the floating eye, itches at our big red innate censor button, makes you ask: 'What's his game?' Well, there's a few German jokes in there, so it just might work.
Exhibition: The Polari Mission, John Ryland Library, Sat 11 and Sun 12 Jan, Open 10am-5pm
Yes, on first glance I too thought it was some (probably crap) sci-Fi film, maybe even a genuine Pole expedition. Well no actually, you 'cod'. Polari is a little known endangered language, cobbled together using slangs terms from a host of donors: crooks, gypsies, sailors, Occitan, beggars, cockneys, Yiddish, drugies, Yanks and The Wombles.
First used by thieves in the sixteenth century as a secretly coded language, to disguise such requests: ‘Oi Gary, nick that turnip would ya," Polari evolved throughout the centuries and was eventually adopted by homosexuals as a means of communicating without prejudice.
Widely used in the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, the secret language fell into disrepair as gay communities sprang from the underground and became widely accepted in mainstream society.
Artists Jez Dolan and Joe Richardson have engineered this project to save Polari, or at least, to let us know it even existed. The exhibition at the John Ryland includes the only copy of the Polari Bible in existence.
FREE. Info here.
Ballet: Swan Lake, The Bridgewater Hall, Mon 13 Jan (7.30pm) and Tues 14 January (2.30pm and 7.30pm)
The greatest romantic ballet and arguably the most-loved ballet of all time is brought to life by Tchaikovsky’s haunting score. From the splendour of the Palace ballroom to the moon-lit lake where swans glide in perfect formation, this compelling tale of tragic romance has it all. Prancing, sorcerors, Russians, tights, crossbows, toes made of steel and near testicular ruptures.
Formed in 1981, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia has quickly established itself as one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and has built an international reputation for delivering performances of outstanding quality and depth with the elasticity of a plasticine Stretch Armstrong in the microwave.
£19.50-£37.50 tickets here.
Festival: Festival of Imagination, Selfridges, Exchange Square, Opens Weds 15 Jan until 2 Mar
When you think of Selfridges it may conjure up images of luxury brands, that small American bloke on ITV, Chinese people and £14k mobile phones. No really look. It's still only got android though. For that price I'd want an actual working android. It'd look like Natalie Portman and vet out crap Snapchats. Which is 99% of them.
You probably wouldn't think of artists. Well, unless they painted on faces.
But the department store has teamed up with the Whitworth Art Gallery to host a pop-up art exhibition (aren't all art exhibitions temporary?) and a series of innovative talks with speakers including actress Maxine Peake, writer Jeanette Winterson, DJ Dave Haslam, artist Richard Wentworth, author Emma Unsworth, designer Helen Storey and workshops run by local groups such as the Alternative Camera Club and Manchester Urban Sketching.
FREE - £10. Find out more here.
Exhibition: Alison Goldfrapp, Performer as Curator, The Lowry, Closes Sunday 2 March
Following her acclaimed sell-out performances at last year’s MIF, Alison Goldfrapp has left a part of herself in the city (not in a leper sense) being the first guest curator of an exhibition at The Lowry in which performers are asked to display art that has inspired them.
Showcasing a number of inspirations that have shaped her own artistic output, from film makers to photographers to painters, this exhibition will explore her interest in the darker side of folklore through works by 23 artists including contemporary British artist John Stezaker, Anglo-Mexican artist and novelist Leonora Carrington and Manchester’s early nineteenth century painter, Henry Liverseege.
More ‘performer as curator’ projects are lined-up. Rumour has it that Morrissey is up next. In which there will only be pomade and pages from his autobiography stuck to the grey walls, grey ceilings and grey floors. Including pearls like this: ‘Her naked self probably kills off marine plankton in the North Sea.' Beautifully acerbic.
FREE. Info here.
...And finally, Thing Not To Do This Week: Have a 'weird afternoon' with Cllr Pat Karney in Amsterdam. Off with his head.
Depends on the arse.Read more
As usual mancon make no reference at all to the Irish Festival again .Read more
Double whammy of good markets too - Levenshulme have a food and drink only market on Saturday and…Read more
There are no excuses for arse-kissing.Read more