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Things To Do This Week: 3-9 January

Up yours Christmas, 2014 is here. So let’s do things.

Written by . Published on January 3rd 2014.

Things To Do This Week: 3-9 January

So that’s that one done with. Yuletide has been, buggered off again and we’re all broke and portly with pickled livers. Still, 2014 is here and this is the one. I can feel it.

So let’s kick off the year as we mean to go on, by doing loads and loads of things and stuff. Here’s a bunch to get you started.

And they're off…

For now, Santa has been put awayFor now, Santa has been put away

Gig: XFM First Friday, Band on the Wall, Fri 3 Jan, 9pm-3am

NMEs ‘Best Small Venue 2013’ hosts this regular monthly indie-disco (better button-up) with mistress of ceremonies, XFM DJ Jo Good providing music well into the wee hours.

December’s First Friday featuring Irish-rockers The Strypes sold out in record time, while January’s event features full live sets from three of the XFM ‘ones to watch’ for 2014 with Manchester-band The Cape Race, recent BMG signees Young Kato and Liverpool five-piece good-timers The Tea Street Band. Three bands with bloody good names I think you’ll agree.

Tickets £7 here. 

Tea Street BandTea Street Band: fond of shellsuits

Film: Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Various Cinemas, Opens Fri 3 Jan

Idris Elba cements a well-deserved spot amongst this year’s Oscar Best Actor runners (and another notch for the upcoming Bond role?) with an outstanding portrayal of the recently passed political powerhouse and freedom figure. Any film attempting to successfully portray the entire life of Nelson Mandela is a weighty task and carries an incredible amount of expectation. Infinitely more so with his recent passing.

Mandela’s rural roots, his career as a hot-headed young lawyer, the ANC, political violence, jail, disenfranchisement, marriage, breakups, Robben Island, the end of Apartheid and his subsequent release. That’s a fair bit to fit in 146min, and that’s his life cropped to its most crude elements. Still, going off reviews the film delivers, with the Telegraph calling the biopic ‘fitting and fascinating’. A must for those unfamiliar with the length of his struggle. Let's be honest, that's a lot of us.

Manchester showtimes here.

The Long Walk To FreedomThe Long Walk To Freedom

Theatre: West Side Story, Palace Theatre, Until Sat 4 Jan

Your last chance to catch arguably one of the most significant and best-loved musicals ever created during its successful stint at the Palace. West Side Story transports Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet back to 1950s New York City, as two young idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. With the score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, choreography from the renowned Jerome Robbins and script by Arthur Laurents, Joey McKneely’s production of West Side Story is ‘pretty cool Daddy-O’. Did Daddy-O ever sound cool? Hope not.

Tickets £18 - £60 here.

West SideThe floor was scorching

Sport: John Farnworth Skill School, National Football Museum, Sat 4 Jan, 11am-4pm

In the past few years you may, or may not (but probably have) heard the term ‘tekkers’ thrown about. You’ve maybe even heard a ‘dench’ or two, but nobody knows what that means, like ‘synergy’, or ‘Meme’. Mostly used by gits.

‘Tekkers’ though is a term coined by cultish Sky Sports Saturday morning football show and regular lad-fest Soccer AM and at its most basic level means technique – More confusingly I have also heard ‘chest tekkers’ used to describe breasts. Odd that.

Still, some tekkers are good, some tekkers are bad, and some tekkers are unbelievable. John Farnworth has unbelievable tekkers. He’ll be teaching visitors new tricks, skills and smart-arsedishness with a football whilst talking, performing and coaching throughout the day.

FREE. More info here.

Exhibition: Brains: The Mind As Matter, MOSI, Closes Sat 4 January

Your last chance to see the fascinating Brains exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry. Our brains are pretty spectacular. The more we find out, the more of a mystery they become. 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 possibilities. Mind-boggling.

This exhibition at the MOSI delves into this enigma. 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 before been on public display) including real brains, artefacts, videos, manuscripts, photography, artwork and a great number of saws, knifes, picks and hammers that you wouldn’t want anywhere near your bonce.

FREE. Information on Brains here.

He was getting sick of these Chinese 'delicacies'He was getting sick of these Chinese 'delicacies'

Comedy: The Best in Stand Up, The Comedy Store, Deansgate Locks, Sat 4 Jan, 7pm-9pm

Friends, colleagues, psychologists, tabloids and everyone on the internet would have you believe that January is the most depressing month. The third Monday of January in particular, known as ‘Blue Monday’ is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. Something to do with sunlight, the weather, debt, eating less sugary stuff and the return of The Voice on BBC. Utter bollocks of course. A self-fulfilling prophecy and glum for glumness sake. Maybe if everyone stopped telling each other they should be depressed people would begin to perk up a bit.

Here’s a great excuse to have a knees-up and a knee-slap in January with The Comedy Store’s weekly highlight show. Five world-class comedians performing five sets spread over two hours with MC Dave Williams, Steve Shanyaski, John Warburton, Tony Burgess and that handyman bloke with the tiger face from Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights, Justin Moorhouse.

Tickets £20 (£10 conc) here.

The Comedy StoreThe annual 'Ghosts Ball' was a sell-out

Music: Glenn Miller Orchestra, Bridgewater Hall, Sun 5 Jan, 3pm

In December 1944, a single-engined Norseman aircraft, carrying the era’s biggest big-band leader and the 40s answer to an American popstar (he scored 70 top ten hits from 1939-42), took off from an RAF airbase in Bedfordshire destined for a morale-boosting Christmas concert for troops in liberated Paris. The plane was never seen again. No trace was ever found. 

Theories ran wild: The Nazis got him, the plane was downed by friendly-fire (most likely) or, more off-colour, he made it to France but died at the hands of a vexed French prostitute. Whether it was Hitler, hail or hoes doesn’t matter, for Miller’s music lives on through band-leader Ray McVay’s line-up. Mainted in the Miller fashion, the orchestra still consists of the leader, five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones and three rhythm plus a male and female vocalist. The orchestra will perform the second half of the concert in the World War II uniforms of the US army Air Force to commemorate the wartime efforts of the Miller bunch. 

Tickets £16-£32 here.

Glenn MillerGlenn Miller and some bit of brass

Film: Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horrors, Cornerhouse, Sun 5 Jan (12pm) and Wednesday 8 January (1.30pm)

Jonjo Shelvey lookalike and Voldemort’s Grandad, Nosferatu (1922) was the original movie Dracula (without calling him Dracula), although a blatant rip-off of Stoker’s 1897 classic horror novel, so much so that Stoker’s widow took the filmmakers to court. She eventually won out but the filmmakers had already gone bankrupt from over-publicizing the film. Thus, a German court ordered all copies to be burnt. Luckily, some copies survived. And so the gothic masterpiece lived on.

One of the classics of German expressionism and directed by one of cinema’s finest original filmmakers, this loose adaptation is a poetic, dream-like fantasy. Max Schreck plays the hideous blood-sucking Count Orlock, a truly hideous creation and one of cinema’s most celebrated monsters. Obscenely long fingers. Great at eating Pringles.

Tickets £6 (Concs £4.50) here.

Museum: Fragmentory Ancestors: Figurines from Koma Land, Ghana, Manchester Museum, Until May 2014, 10am-5pm

Very little is known about the past or the past inhabitants from this part of west Ghana. The current inhabitants have little or no connection with the people that made the figurines that make up this exhibition. This horde of clay figures up to 1400 years old excavated by archaeologists are to be put on show at the Manchester Museum, the first time the figurines have left Ghana.

The figurines depicting two-headed creatures, bird-like figures, a chameleon, a crocodile, a man on horseback and other animals are thought to have been used to invoke the spirits of ancestors, perhaps used in the process of healing or treating illness. Archaeologists used advanced computed tomography (penetrating waves) scanning techniques to reveal hidden channels within the objects which they believe were used for ritual liquid offering. Indiana Jones stuff this. Fewer Nazis.


Koma Land figurineThese Pokemon are getting weirder

Exhibition and Art: The People’s Business: 150 Years of The Co-operative, People’s History Museum, Until May 2014

Beginning life in Rochdale in 1844 as the Rochdale Pioneers Society, a bunch of 28 workers (ten of which were flannel weavers) trying to stop the shady trade of tampered produce (chalk in flour was a favourite) and sketchy weights and measurements, this co-op grew incrementally to become, well, huge. The UK’s largest mutual business and owned by seven million consumers, they are the UKs fifth largest food retailer, a major financial services provider, the third largest pharmacy chain and one of the nation’s largest farming operations. They also do funerals. ‘Cradle to grave’ indeed.

The changing exhibition explores the story and values behind the ‘caring sharing co-op’ and offers an insight into the way we shop and live.

FREE. More info here.

The People's BusinessThe People's Business

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