Festival: Manchester Jazz Festival 2013, Various Venues, Friday 26 July - Sunday 4 August.
With the conclusion of the Manchester International Festival bringing a widespread sense of grief (except to the city’s bins), it’s comforting to know the summer party outside of Town Hall and across the city isn’t quite over.
With a whole ten days of music featuring 400 jazzicians in around 80 events spread all over the city, from Band On The Wall to The Midland, The Bridgewater Hall to St Ann’s Church, there’s enough jazz flying about to break the wrists of even the most experienced jazz fan's hands.
For those of you who would rather eat a brick baguette than listen to jazz (and there’s a fair few of you), firstly, stop being such a curmudgeon, there’s around 20 free performances so why not have a dabble. And if not for the music, it’s still a great reason to hang around the Festival Pavilion at the Town Hall and sink a few.
Even if the festival’s Twitter tag does sound a tad foreboding @ManJazzFest
FREE - £25. All ManJazz tickets and information here.
Museum: Brains: The Mind As Matter, MOSI, Opens Friday 26 July
Our brains are pretty spectacular you know. The more we find out, the more of a mystery they become (bit annoying that). They’re by far the most complex biological structure on earth, made up of around 86 billion neurons, each of which connects to thousands of other neurons which are hooked up to thousands more neurons producing an infinite amount of outcomes and possibilities. Mind-boggling.
This new exhibition at the MOSI, Brains: The Mind As Matter delves into the enigma that is the brain. Asking not what the brain does for us (which is everything), but what we have done to the brain. On show outside of London for the first time, the exhibition features more than 100 items (over a third of which are from Manchester and have never been on public display) including real brains, artefacts, videos, manuscripts, photography, artwork and a great number of saws, knifes, picks and hammers that you certainly wouldn’t want anywhere near your melon.
Café: And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon, Didsbury Park, Opens Friday 26 July
Burton Road venue and the tea-room-with-the-longest-name-ever is to launch a pop-up summer café in Didsbury Park, in partnership with local charity (but not an Australian soap), Didsbury Good Neighbours.
Located inside the park’s pavilion, the café will focus on cakes and bakes, but also a wider menu of changing specials including salads, platters, savoury tarts and seasonal soup. There will also be healthy snacks for kids, baby change facilities, picnic blankets and a range of milkshakes, iced coffees and organic drinks.
Great news for the area this one. Cafes are humanising elements in parks and will boost the visitor numbers to these vital but oft ignored elements of city life. And somewhere for Grandma Peg to just ‘have a nice sit’.
Show: RHS Flower Show, Tatton Park, all weekend long
The Royal Horticultural Society is throwing the most gardenish of garden parties this weekend at Tatton Park with the northern sister of the Chelsea Flower Show. Started in 1999, this show takes over a month to erect and this year will feature 505 exhibitors – a fair amount of foliage and flora that.
Whether you’re looking for something to liven up that parched, overgrown and desolate wasteland that you call ‘the back yard’ (anyone seen the dog since it went out there last week?), searching for fresh ideas on how to grow your own fruit and veg, or just want to inspect the crowd-pulling Show Gardens, then this event is the one for you. There’ll also be live music and plenty to scoff and drink. Strawberries and cream are a dead cert.
You never know, you could even find that elusive garden furniture set that you’ve been bickering about for the last seventeen years. Replace the white plastic table with only two legs that's propped up with a spade.
Shop: Steranko presents Fred Perry and Twisted Wheel, Steranko and West Didsbury Social Club, Friday 26 July, 5pm till late
Bastion of West Didsbury fashion and stalwart of Burton Road, Steranko, is to launch Fred Perry’s new autumn/winter 2013 collection in collaboration with the home of Northern Soul, Twisted Wheel.
Steranko will be hosting drinks in the shop from 5pm, giving folks the chance to get a first glimpse at all the new gear before the doors of the West Didsbury Conservative Club open at 6.30pm for a night of Northern soul music from Liam Quinn of Beat Boutique and Les of King Bee Records.
Being as the wheel is in the round this weekend, Moston Small Cinema is also showing The Wheel (The Birthplace of Northern Soul) for the final time this Saturday. Time to dig out the Ben Sherman and that Black Power clenched-fist sew on patch.
Tour: The Only Dark Tour In MCR: The Haunted Underworld, Meet at St Ann's Square War Memorial, Saturday 22 June, 1.30pm
Now and then our editor Jonathan Schofield, not unlike Gollum fromLOTR, likes to lead unsuspecting folk down into the murky depths of underground Manchester where he then chains them up and leaves them for dead like the Jigsaw Killer from Saw. Half of this is a fib – I'm afraid it's up to you to find out which half.
Leading you through a dark and mysterious undercroft of the city centre, old stories come alive. There are tales of dead artists, sinister magicians, tragic lovers and demons. You will find the stories moving, tragic but incorporating a few laughs as well.
The tour is conducted in the dark with just the faintest of light to encourage 'activity' of a spooky kind - and to make it easier for our editor to pounce and chain you up.
£8 (not recommended for children under ten). You can book tickets for the Haunted Underworld tours here.
Down, down, deeper and down
Film: Frances Ha, Cornerhouse, Opens Friday 26 July
This low-key black and white nouvelle vague-inspired film by Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) is a New York coming-of-age story in which Frances Halladay, a broke, mediocre dancer and choreographer, struggles to cope when her flatmate and bezzie (with whom she holds an almost cringe-worthy fascination) moves out to live with her boyfriend.
Frances however, doesn’t really like her boyfriend, isn’t that hip and is the wrong side of her twenties to not know what she’s doing in life. The film sends her off on three excursions, Christmas with her parents in Sacramento, to a demeaning helper job in Poughkeepsie and on a non-too successful visit to Paris, the city of love and lights… she finds neither.
Noah and co-writer Great Gerwing (Frances) have produced a rather whimsical and sympathetic film that deals with that awkward transitional point in life just before turning thirty, a time when everyone else seems to be moving on in life. Frances isn’t.
There’s also just the slightest hint that she may in actual fact, be a bit psychopathic.
£4.50 concs to 7.50 full price (Saturday night). Book tickets here.
Canals: Rochdale Canal Festival, Rochdale Canal (funnily enough), beginning Saturday 27 July
In recent years canals have become synonymous with bored retirees attempting to escape living costs (and probably kids), for housing slightly sinister children’s puppets (Rosie and Jim), and that episode of Peep Show in which Jeremy eats a dog. But no longer, because now it’s time for the 2013 Canal Festival this weekend in Rochdale.
Spanning 32 miles, The Rochdale Canal running from Castlefield to Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire will be holding a range of family fun events that will promote the heritage of the waterway, while also encouraging future visitors. Some of the highlights of this weekend’s festival include Horseboating and Poetry Trips in Hebden Bridge (29 – 30 July), The Ancoats Canal Festival (27 July), Grassroots Oldham Canal Festival (27 July) and canoeing for the over 8's at Wrigley Head.
Always a successful and enjoyable event, Rochdale Canal Week is a great chance to embrace the glorious English countryside in all its glory. And to take part in some Angling taster sessions. Rather taste that than roast dog... this isn’t Vietnam.
Full details of the event schedule can be found here.
Music: Festwich, Prestwich, Saturday 27 July - Sunday 28 July, 11.30am - 10pm
The UK’s biggest FREE tribute festival is heading back to St Mary’s Park, Prestwich for two days of live music from rock and roll’s greatest heroes… well people pretending to be rock and roll’s greatest heroes, but hey ho it’s free after all. There’ll also be beer tents, (pricey) festival food and an all-round family friendly atmosphere.
Now for one of the most exhaustive and condescending lists you’ll ever read:
Whole Lotta DC (ACDC), Reet Hot Chilli Peppers (Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Mentallica (Metallica), Higher-on-Maiden (Iron Maiden), Ozzbest (Ozzy Osbourne), Megadeth UK (Megadeath), Pantera UK (Pantera), Enraged (Rage Against The Machine), The Strange Doors (The Doors), Hats Off To Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin), Guns Or Roses (Guns N Roses), Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience), Blurb (Blur), Kazabian (Kasabian), Kaiser Thiefs (Kaiser Chiefs) and Faith No Man (Faith No More), Flew Fighters (Foo Fighters), KnotSlip (Slipknot), Pearl Scam (Pearl Jam)…
…and a load more but I’ve had enough of typing now.
FREE. Most tickets have gone but there are still a few available for Sunday. So be quick. Look here for details.
Spinfest: American Vintage, The Oast House, Spinningfields, Sunday 28 July. 12pm – 8pm
With May’s Latin-themed Spinfest a bit of a windy washout, Spinningfields and The Oast House will be hoping that the sunshine can power through and maintain its current Manchester residency for the third instalment of 2013’s Spinfests.
This time around it’s American Vintage, with Rockabilly and Old Country Trio Three Wheels On performing tracks by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, the soulful Lauren Housley, 52 Skidoo bringing some harlem swing (not shake, please not shake), The shakin’ Denny McLaine and the Fireballs, Kiki Deville and the Cadillacs with some jazz blues, and Dominic Halpin and the Honey B’s swinging it out till the end.
If you have to bring the kids down (and let’s be honest, no one wants to) then there’ll be plenty of things to keep the little rascals entertained with the funtime activity bus, a sandpit, dressing-up, story corner and everyone’s favourite since 1949, Lego (one for the Dads).
FREE. For more info on SpinFest 2013 go here.
Theatre: Evita, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Opens Monday 29 July, 7.30pm
Madonna, Argentina, Maradonna. All repugnant in their own way. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd ‘Midas Touch’ Webber’s 1978 musical Evita however, has proved to be rather popular (and has nothing to do with Maradonna in any way - but quite alot to do with Argentina... and Madonna).
Embarking on a national tour and starring wetter than wet singer Marti Pellow, Evita tells the story of Argentine national treasure and ‘Spiritual Leader of the Nation’ Eva Peron, the second wife of Argentine President Juan Peron (not to be confused with baldy ex-United footballer Juan Veron – he’s never been President of anywhere) who served as the First Lady from 1946 until her untimely death from cancer in 1952, at the age of 33.
Including Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, On This Night Of A Thousand Stars and Oh What A Circus, with twenty major awards to its credit including the Oscar-winning film version starring Antonio Banderas and Madonna (urgh), this sixteen show run at The Lowry is sure to be a teary one.
£19.50 - £46.00. Tickets for Evita at The Lowry here.
Kids: Make a Clay Dog for Reggie's Roller Disco, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Wednesday 31 July 2013, Sessions held at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm)
Pondering what to do with your Wednesday lunch time usually ends up being a battle between whether to get the bbq chicken wrap or tuna mayo in the meal deal. But now another enticing option has been thrown in the mix - sod them both and make a clay dog. Ace. But you’ll probably still want to eat something. Energy levels ‘n’ that.
As part of artist Olivia Brown’s ceramic exhibition of dogs amusingly enjoying a roller disco, children will have the opportunity to craft their own loveable mutt to get its skates on and join top-dog Reggie. She sad: “My aim has been to capture the excitement and tension associated with such an event, I’m fascinated with the explosion of the current cult of celebrity and audiences need to feed on it.” Hmm quite.
Still, it’s only a quid.
Further details can be found here.
Sport: The Ashes, Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Begins Thursday 1 August
Well hasn’t this been a rout. We have our old-enemy the Aussies well and truly pants down and over a barrel. After stomping to a 2-0 lead in this summer’s Ashes, a victory at Old Trafford would see us comfortably securing the series.
England have just been too good, and the Australians, well… crap for the most part.
Although thrashing the Aussies to this extent does somewhat sap the satisfaction from the contest (because don’t we just love it when it goes down to the last day), a 5-0 series whitewash would become the cricket equivalent of when England but five past Germany in Munich. Thus, when Australia return to dominating the contest, we can still say, “Yeah but remember when we thrashed you 5-0”. Yeah up yours Oz… and you Rolf Harris.
So put your feet up, grab a beer (an ale not a Fosters) and bathe in the smugly goodness. Unless of course Australia somehow win the next three tests. In which case I’ll be deleting all of this drivel.
Amazingly there’s still tickets available. Day 5 only. £10 - £25.
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