Festival: Canal Festival, Brownsfield Mill, Piccadilly Basin, Saturday 7 September-Sunday 8 September, Midday-10pm
Canals. They’re well good. Manchester’s got them, Venice has a grand old one, Panama’s got a particularly big one, Amsterdam has 100km of them and even Bangkok has its Klongs (home of the Klingons I imagine).
It was in Greater Manchester, as innovative as ever, where the world’s first and fastest modern canal, the Bridgewater, was completed in 1765. We’ve also got the Rochdale, the first transpennine canal and the hench C19 Ship Canal which took 16,000 navvies six years to dig out - that’s a lot of beer, meat and punching.
Following on from the success of last year, CityCo and the Piccadilly Partnership have teamed up with Don’t Panic, Skiddle and newly-fangled NQ creative space 2022NQ to host another year of this Piccadilly Basin based festival. The line-up includes DJs, art exhibitions, a ‘float in’ film screen showing Finding Nemo on the Saturday and Life of Pi on the Sunday, live music from Manchester bands, pop-up food stalls and an indoor bar. There’s also likely to be a fair few canal boat owners sat on their canal boats looking smug. It’s a sense of freedom you don’t get with other homes y’know.
FREE. Find out more here.
Art: Head to Head: Nicola Ellis & Aura Satz, Castlefield Gallery, Friday 6 September-Sunday 20 October
WARNING: You may need a dictionary for the following press release.
‘Castlefield Gallery is pleased to present its annual Head to Head exhibition featuring new work by Nicola Ellis and Aura Satz, two artists who aspire to make overt the materiality of the media they use. Both aim for explicit and visceral relationships between natural and man-made aesthetics. Programmed under the gallery’s 2013/14 overarching theme of ‘Altered Realities’, the exhibition presents a tangential view of the world through the lens of technologies and materials that are modern but no longer considered as cutting edge. The works propose alternative yet fundamental links between the antiquated and the contemporary, the wild and the domestic, the experience and representation, illuminating our persistent yet perhaps misplaced belief in a pure nature, which exists somewhere outside of the post-industrial world.’
Good. So there you have it. Easy enough.
FREE. The Gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 1pm – 6pm
Music: Babyshambles, The Academy, Saturday 7 September, 7pm
So word on the street is that Pete Doherty, the archetypal drug-chuffing troubled half genius/half nob-end expat rocker, now in a self-imposed exile in Paris (you’re not Oscar Wilde, Pete), is ready to do the music thing again. Originally calling on his former band mates (minus the drummer who’d probably had enough of the faff) to help him make a second solo record, it was decided they may as well make another Babyshambles album, what with them all being in the same room in Paris and what not. The first few tracks of Sequel to the Prequel aren’t too shabby either, with 'Farmer’s Daughter' the pick of the bunch.
Now embarking on a 20-date UK tour, Babyshambles’ gigs, in true-Libertarian fashion, tend to be fairly riotous affairs. Wouldn’t take your finest winklepickers.
Tickets £25. Book Babyshambles here.
Show: Manchester Pet Show, Manchester Event City, Urmston, Saturday 7 September-Sunday 8 September
In 2012, it was estimated that 48 per cent of UK households have at least one pet. The equivalent of 13 million households. With around 8 million dogs, 8 million cats, 20 million tank fish, 20 million pond fish, 1 million rabbits, 1 million caged birds,1 million guinea pigs, half a million hamsters, 300,000 lizards, 200,000 frogs and toads, 200,000 snakes, 200,000 tortoises and turtles, 100,000 horses and ponies, 250,000 rats and mice, 100,000 pigeons, just under 100,000 insects and 1 giant cryptid in a Scottish lake. Phew.
Needless to say, the UK loves a pet. With areas dedicated to each different type of pet, owners can zone themselves in where they like, whilst also casting an eye over some of the more unusual choices of pet including mini sheep and miniature ponies. There’ll also be sessions held on nutrition, behaviour, veterinary care and how to get the little bastard to stop crapping in your slipper.
Tickets £9-£26 (Family weekend ticket £75: 2 adults, 2 children). FREE parking and Under 5s go FREE. More info here.
Film: Upstream Colour, Cornerhouse, Until Thursday 12 September
This dense, bewitching, precise and poetic film by Shane Carruth (writer, director, editor, actor and score composer – Shane’s fairly controlling then) is the story of a woman abducted from a bar and forced to ingest an unknown drug that renders her susceptible to persuasion. Sometime later, she awakens from her trance only to discover her life as she knew it has fallen apart. When she meets a man on a train, she realises she might not be the only one to have experienced this ordeal. Loosely inspired by Thoreau’s Walden, this is one of the year’s best originals, from the director of the Sundance winner Primer.
Easy viewing this is not.
Drink: The Bierkeller, The Printworks, Now Open
Beer. This is all about beer. Loads and loads of it, in those big steins, with benches and wenches and chicken wings that taste like they’ve been basted in the saliva of Beelzebub (pretty hot). We popped in briefly to the launch a couple of weeks back, we left 27 hours later. There was definitely a brass band playing at some point, and people dancing on benches heartily swinging their steins and creating such a level of merriment that it would have made Dwarfian banquets in the Great Halls of Moria look like a Coronation tea party in Betty’s.
Having conquered Leeds and Liverpool, The Bierkeller has now come to Manchester. With four bars, 200-plus seats, live music, sports on the TV, pool tables and over 100 beers from 80 countries no less, Bierkeller is a jovial way to begin the night. The problem is, you may never leave. Believe us, we tried.
Open Midday to 2am (10am to 2am weekends) More info on Bierkeller here.
Theatre: Cabaret with Will Young, Opera House, Monday 9 September-Saturday 14 September
Will Young, Pop-Idol champion and Gareth Gates vanquisher has racked up over nine million record sales in a career spanning just over a decade (yes it’s been that long already), he’s also had critics fawning at his achingly tiny leather shorts. Young is reprising his Olivier-nominated role as Emcee in Rufus Norris’ production of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret, made famous through the renowned movie version with Liza Minnelli. Cabaret, in all its forms, has racked up eight Oscars, seven BAFTAs and thirteen Tonys. Minnelli also got the Oscar, as well as an ex-husband that looks as if Victor Frankstein melted together Dracula and Luciano Pavarotti.
Tickets £18-54. Book here.
Food: Simon Rogan’s Mr Cooper’s House and Garden, The Midland Hotel, Opens Thursday 12 September
Simon Rogan swept the board in the latest Good Food Guide. For Manchester this was good news. His French at the Midland has brought capital city fine dining to the north west and boosted the whole scene. Given the depth and range of our cooking presently in 2013 we've never had it so good.
This restaurant and bar complete with herbal cocktails flavoured by plants from Rogan's Lake District farm will aim to provide 'good food, cooked with flair and imagination'. Price wise it comes in under The Restaurant Bar and Grill or Grill on the Alley. The menu reads well, steady rather than spectacular, perhaps even understated, but certainly mouthwatering: Smoked eel torte, lovage and pork belly starter for £6, madam? Cumbrian rib steak, truffle pudding and purple potato latkes for £19, sir?
Whether ‘lovage’ is even a real ingredient or just an amorous accompanying sentiment is yet to be seen. Like when mum made your Billy Bear meat packed-lunch sandwiches with extra love-age. But £6 for a bit of lovage? Not even Amsterdam can compete with that.
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