Music: Elvis Costello and the Imposters: ’13 Revolvers, Friday 14 June, 8pm
Declan Patrick Aloysius Macmanus (Aloysius? What the f**k is that?) aka Elvis Costello is one of those much lauded names in the history of rock‘n’roll, one that you hear banded around time after time but know next to nothing about. Well he’s done a fair whack during his 37 years in the biz; it’s just that apart from a partiality for spectacles and a porkpie hat – I couldn’t name any of it (But that’s because I’m what TIME would call a millennial, thus only interested in ‘selfies’ and my own sense of entitlement and narcissism).
All sneering sharply-dressed punk-rocker when he burst onto the scene in 1976 (looking like Buddy Holly after snorting 5kg of bath salts); Costello has floated through countless genres, producing over 30 albums and exploring every musical nook and cranny that intrigued him, from punk to country to crooning. Declan will be wheeling his ginormous vaudevillian contraption up and down the country for sixteen highly anticipated shows.
Book: Paul Morley, Gorilla, Friday 14 June, 6.30pm – 10pm
To mark the publication of Morley’s new book, The North (And Almost Everything In It), the author will be discussing his life, career and times with Dave Haslam, as well as taking questions from the audience and signing copies of his new work.
A rock’n’roll journalistic by trade, penning for the NME during one of the magazines most successful stints between 1977 to 1983, he regularly contributes to the Guardian and also did something or other with Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Joy Division at some point in time. Oh and he really, really likes Manchester - to the point where Manchester pretty much constitutes the vast majority of the north. The book serves as part cultural almanac, part memoir, part socio-histo-politco-oioio commentary – Get yours signed (for the illiterate – there’s also an after-party)
Comedy: Henning Wehn, The Lowry, Friday 14 June – Saturday 15 June, 8pm
A funny German? Impossible, you cry. A German comedian? An oxymoron, you bellow. Indeed, Mark Twain once famously said, “a German joke is no laughing matter.” Ok so for most people the funniest thing a German can say is Haarschmuckfachgeschäft (a shop specialising in hair ornaments) or more cheaply, Ausfahrt (flatulence produced by an Australian).
However, this Henning guy is reportedly quite the chuckle-trader, coupled with a face that could make babies scramble back into womb. Having moved here in 2002 and fallen in love with both Britain and stand-up, Mr Wehn set about becoming a comedian, from scratch, in a foreign country, in a second language – fair play to him. A couple of stints on TV and packed-out Edinburgh crowds suggest that Henning is not your run-of-the-mill German comedian.
Oh right… He’s the only German comedian.
Film: Much Ado About Nothing, Cornerhouse, Opening Friday 14 June
It’s not a particularly natural progression to go directly from the action-packed foot-stamping explosiveness of Hollywood blockbuster The Avengers to a nicely-nicely Bardy piece by ‘ole Bill Shakespeare. It’s abit like winning a back-alley bare-knuckle boxing match then going to a hot yoga class.
But that’s exactly what American screenwriter, producer, director, comic book author, composer, actor, unicycle enthusiast and part-time pirate, Josh Whedon has done. Set amongst the confines of Whedon’s own plush Hollywood pad, this low-budget and crisp monochrome adaption of the comedic play hits all the right notes, without sending you to sleep – which is a bonus.
Theatre: Noel Coward’s Hay Fever, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Opens Friday 14 June, 7.30am
Written in 1924, Coward’s famous comedy has been described as having “no plot at all, and remarkably little action”, yet sustains a tremendous popularity amongst the theatre-savvy public. The barbed wit and exuberance of Coward’s script offers a master class of subtext and a hail of underhand sniping.
Set in the bohemian Bliss family’s English country house in the 1920s, the achingly polite guests, expecting a weekend of tennis, picnics and Pimms unknowingly stumble into the midst of their host’s family feuds, tantrums, resentment and all round pompish gittishness. As the plot unravels, mistress of ceremonies, the glamourously eccentric Queen Bitch Judith Bitch reveals her true colours, commanding the attention of her spoiled off-spring and David, her tortured writer of a husband.
This play is as sharp as vinegar and as dry as a Nun’s gusset.
Event: Remembering Michael Foot, People’s History Museum, Saturday 15 June, 10.30am – 3pm
Labour Party leader in opposition from 1980 - 1983, cabinet minister and independent-minded backbencher, Michael Foot is widely regarded as one of the most principled politicians of the late C20. A distinguished and learned writer and journalist, Foot devoted his life to parliament and the pursuit of freedom.
This public event will remember Michael Foot, with testimony from friends, family, journos and colleagues. Speakers will include Foot’s Labour leadership successor Lord Neil Kinnock and human rights and LGBT political campaigner Peter Tatchel – a man famous for trying to put Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe under citizen’s arrest in Brussels (needless to say - he took a beating).
Tickets are £10/£5 unwaged or concessions. Info available here.
Food: Father’s Day ‘Man Tea’, Cloud 23, Sunday 16 June
No not a fully aquatic, blubberous and mostly herbivorous marine mammal sometimes referred to as a Sea Cow. Although the thought of Daddy-Manatee sat at the Cloud 23 bar sipping on a Gin Martini, chuffing down a sandwich and reading the FT is undeniably amusing.
This is Man Tea, no scones in sight, just hearty sarnies, local pork pies, glazed sausage, fruit cake (not so manly – fruity if anything) and a Jack Daniel’s cocktail (manliness restored). And of course, the best views from any bar across the land, well, of Manchester anyway – Available for one day only.
Race: Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, Dock 9, Huron Basin, Salford Quays, Sunday 16 June, 11am
To commemorate Chinese culture and history, The Xinhua Chinese Association, a Chinese community organisation based in the Manchester area is hosting the annual UK Dragon Boat Festival down on Salford Quays. Last year fifteen teams competed in the race, this year the number of teams is set to double, with racers from various communities, organisations, universities, companies and different cities and towns of the North West.
As well as Dragon Boat racing, there will be a showcase of various traditional Chinese cultural attractions including lion and folk dancing, music, songs, Chinese calligraphy and a bite of traditional festival food like Zongi (rice dumplings) – Not a tiger penis-bone soup in sight.
Music: Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells For Two, The Lowry, Sunday 16 June, 8pm
This extraordinary piece of music, composed around 1970 by a lonely teenager who used to shut himself in the loft and compose music simply to get away from his alcoholic mother – well, it pretty much made Richard Branson. Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield launched Virgin Records, which in turn launched Virgin Vision, Games, Atlantic, Holidays, Megastores, Cola, Trains, Mobile, Active, Energy and eventually this whole Virgin Galactic-space-tourist hocus-pocus.
When Tubular Bells was released in 1973 it took around 30 musicians to perform it. In 2013 it takes just two crazy and outrageously optimistic blokes from Australia called Daniel and Aiden, two guys that play way too many instruments for their own good. The performance has been heralded as “The musical equivalent of the triathlon” and “a musical tour de force” whilst picking up awards left, right and centre.
Promises to be quite spectacular – and makes that one-man-band guy that sometimes stands outside Zara look abit, well, crap I suppose (I’ll still give him 50p for effort though).
Eat: Father’s Day Menu, 47 King Street West, Sunday 16 June
In the last week or so, Liza Minelli-botherer, bezzie of the Jackson 5 and I’m a Celeb contestant, David Gest said that 47’s fillet steak was “the best fillet steak he’d ever had” – And I’m guessing he’s had quite a few (beats a kangaroo bollock ‘ay Dave).
Well those clever buggers down at 47 King Street have put together a specially formulated Father’s Day Menu including soup, fishcakes, sunday roasts, burgers, pie and fish & chips – oh and also Tuna Nicoise (for those Dads of a less gruff disposition – like Elton).
Reservations are strongly recommended for Father’s Day – 2 courses £15.95, 3 courses £18.95. See the menu here.
Theatre: The Rocky Horror Show, Palace Theatre, Opens Monday 17 June, 8pm
The 40-year-old production that somehow still manages to bring grown men in sparkly crotch-achingly tight hotpants, make-up and fishnets out from their Fritzlian dungeons into the general public is back (Already? Pretty sure it was on at the Opera House a couple of months ago – leave us alone).
Richard O’Brien’s internationally acclaimed cult musical (Yeah the same baldy crackpot from 90s favourite The Crystal Maze) is bursting at the seams with timeless fan-favourites including Sweet Transvestite, Damn it Janet, Time Warp – oh and that Welsh albino X-Factor baritone reject Rhydian plays Rocky – so if that’s not enough reason to go then what is...
So all you need to do now is take a jump to the left, and then a step to the right, with your hands on your hips…
Music: Robbie Williams, Etihad Stadium, Tuesday 18 June – Saturday 22 June, Opens 5pm
The ex-Take That turned super-mega-ultra solo artist (in the UK at least) has recently revealed that his wife’s nickname for him is the c-bomb, while he lovingly refers to her as ‘twat’ – Which is a coincidence because that’s exactly what Robert and Elizabeth Barrett-Browning called each other in their famous collection of love letters.
In fact, I believe Robert’s first letter to Elizabeth began: ‘I love your verses with all of my heart, dear Miss Barrett, you twat.’
Robbie is rolling his Take the Crown tour into the Etihad for a four-night residency accompanied by that little X-Factor scamp and boy-dun-good Olly Murs. Expect chart-spankers like Millennium, Angels, Rock DJ and recent chart-topper, Candy. Having taken the crown for the largest ever UK pop concert at Knebworth in 2003 (375,000 people), Robbie knows a thing or two about putting on a show – plus you’re Mum will probably like him too, they usually do.
Art: Manchester School of Art Degree Show, All Saints Campus (off Oxford Rd), Closes Wednesday 19 June, 10am - 6pm (10am - 4pm weekends)
This is a particularly special year for the Manchester School of Art as they celebrate their 175th Anniversary and their move into a brand spanking new £34m Art School Building. Notable alumni of the school include Sylvia Pankhurst, infamous bonker Mick Hucknall and Manchester’s favourite, L.S Lowry.
This degree show exhibits the work of final year students at the school and showcases a number of hugely talented and emerging artists.
Music: The Mongoloids, The Star and Garter, Thursday 20 June, 7pm
Now, on this very evening we could have told you about the Pet Shop Boys playing at the Manchester Arena, a pair that have sold over 50 million records worldwide and are the most successful duo ever in UK music (except for Jedward). We could also have mentioned Hollywood superstar, Blackadder veteran and highest-paid actor in a TV drama ever (as Dr House in House) Hugh Laurie’s blues showcase at the O2 Apollo.
But no, instead we thought we’d suggest a little known New-Jersey hardcore band called The Mongoloids, because they shout a lot and have a funny name. That’s it…
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