Cinema: The Hobbit, Odeon Printworks: 14 December-Onwards
So Tim from The Office is off on an adventure to become a proper movie star and not just that guy who fancied a receptionist. If you’ve been doing a Gollum an d living in a cave for some time you’ll have missed the increasingly tense and tedious debates about the fact this slender children’s book is now a three-film monster epic. It’s also been filmed in a higher frame rate than ever before which has irked many a technical wizard. Despite that it’s still Peter Jackson translatingTolkien with Ian Mckellen donning Gandalf’s pointy hat again. Will it be as good as Lord Of The Rings? There’s only one way to find out…
The film officially opens on 13 December but weekend showings are likely to be as busy as Mordor too, so best to book in advance.
Food: Beagle, Chorlton, The Stovey And Pond Pudding Show
Beagle is a fresh puppy doing proper food. We reviewed it this week and adored the salt beef stovey which was described thus: 'The texture of the salt beef was stringily perfect, the mix beneath ruggedly real, and the grain mustard sauce a joy. The big exuberant hat of a duck egg broke like a happy Humpty Dumpty over the whole thing'. Meanwhile, 'the Sussex pond pudding was a dormant volcano of divine suet under a clotted cream snowy peak that erupted, when cut, into a hot lava of lemon treacle'. The beer selections for all palates are amazing. Read the review and address details here.
Tour: Haunted Underworld - The Last Ghost Tour Of The Year, Saturday 15 December
Manchester’s premier ghost tour, delivering dark, dastardly and moving haunted tales. The last public tour of the year is taking place at 3pm on Saturday 15 December. So what happens? In a dark and mysterious undercroft of the city centre old stories are coming alive. Tales might include those of dead artists, sinister magicians, tragic lovers and body-snatchers. Expect the unexpected and also lots of laughs. People who are brave enough to come on the tour should try not to faint (something that happened last time). “I would like to thank Jonathan Schofield for scaring the bejesus out of me on the Haunted Underworld tour last night.” Andrew Jackson, Import Manager. Meet at the War Memorial in St Ann's Square, 10 minutes before the tour time. Click here to book.
Cinema: Christmas Killer Double Bill, Dancehouse Theatre: 14 December
“He’s made a list and he’s checking it twice…” but it’s not Jolly old Saint Nick, it’s a disgruntled Santa slashing through the snow doling out bloody vengeance. If you’re feeling a bit Scrooged this year the Grimm Up North gang has some Christmas catharsis on offer.
A Back-to-back festive horror movie marathon featuring collaborative film V/H/S and 80’s cult classic Christmas Evil, A film that John Waters described as “the greatest Christmas movie ever made.” Alongside the film showings will be some appropriate festive fun and raffle prizes up for grabs with an after party at FAB Café. Tickets are priced at £7.50 and are available from here.
Shopping: Chorlton Bazaar, Chorlton Irish Club: 16 December
On Sunday Chorlton Irish Club will be transformed into a bustling Bazaar bringing together the area’s most creative independent vendors, DJs, artists and chefs for a whole load of festive fun. Keep your eyes peeled for beautiful prints and jewellery by Lisa Stannard, handmade printed garments by screen printers one69a, vintage clothes and accessories by Nostalgia Vintage and Retro, records and much more. It’s the perfect place to pick up a lovely, unique present for the fussiest of mates or family. There will also be food on offer from the Fire & Salt BBQ co. and Chart Cart among others. Admission is a mere £1 with the club open from 1pm-7pm.
Cinema: Muppet Christmas Carol & Choir, Gorilla: 16 December
Some Christmas films have become as traditional as the big day itself – A Christmas Carol, Miracle On 34th Street, Jingle All The Way? Perhaps not.
The resurgent Muppets’ particular take on Charles Dickens’ festive classic is the most famous modern-day retelling, complete with a pink faced Michael Caine in a nightgown. The folks at Gorilla are making this Christmassy cinema treat extra special this year with a public viewing in their brilliant event space complete with an appearance by the Northern Quarter Boys Choir providing a unique choral touch.
The event takes place from 4pm-7pm with tickets priced at £5 available from here.
Kids: The Tear Thief, Royal Exchange Theatre: 11-29 December
This weekend sees the first weekend shows of Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s The Tear Thief. A story in which each night between the hours of supper and bedtime The Tear Thief soundlessly steals the tears of every child who cries, but what happens to those tears? Duffy’s book is brought to life by impressive puppetry from the Little Angel Theatre along with live music.
Ticket prices range from £5 for children to £12 for adults and are available to book here.
Christmas: Meet Santa’s Reindeer, Urban Exchange: 15-16 December
On Saturday and Sunday two of Santa’s reindeer will be at Urban Exchange on Great Ancoats Street, although there’s no infamous red noses in sight – well maybe Santa’s if it’s cold enough.
Cupid and Comet will be outside Go Outdoors camping store awaiting excitable children to have their photos taken and to find out what they do for the rest of the year when everyone’s forgotten about them. The event is completely free with additional entertainment and face-painting for kids as well as much needed complementary mulled wine for adults.
Music: Shebeen Festival, Various South Manchester: 16 December
‘Shebeen Festival is an all-day stomp up and down the Wilmslow Road’ so says the event tagline. It’s a one wrist-band multi-venue event taking place at various venues on and around the Magic Bus filled road. Celebrating all that is creative emanating forth from South Manchester the event takes in venues including Font, Trof, WahlBar, Ram & Shackle and Fuel. This one day extravaganza of garage rock, reggae, electronica and psychadelia as well as everything else in between features: Dennis Jones, Golden Grrrls, Irma Vep, Jason Singh and Waiters.
A full line-up and ticket details can be found here.
Music: Hammers/Die Hexen, Travelling Man: 16 December
Manchester does space well, especially when it comes to live music. Be it an abandoned office block, a rooftop, an old hat factory there’ll be someone making music there more often than not. This weekend is the turn of independent comic store The Travelling Man on Dale Street.
The shop is hosting a free, all-ages show featuring Hammers and Die Hexen. Whilst the show is free it is to the benefit of Wood Street Mission so donations are encouraged. For more info visit the Facebook page here.
Winter City Walk: Take A Stroll On Along The River
No tour guides needed here, this is DIY strolling. This route was a gentle and entertaining city stroll for a group of friends the other day. Start with some food and drink in Castlefield, maybe the Ox, Dukes, The Wharf, then walk down to the Regent Road bridge between Ordsall and Castlefield. Walk down to the River Irwell towpath, on the Ordsall (Salford) side. Double-back along the river into the city centre, you have to leave the riverside just before the Mark Addy. There's plenty of wildlife even in winter, cormorants, herons and so on, and there's interesting views of the city centre across the river as well. The constant crossing of impressive bridges adds an extra element. Finish off with a pint at the Mark Addy or continue down the river, past the Lowry Hotel, to Blackfriars Street.
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