Not one for being late, I dragged myself out of bed early and got the 8am bus down to Manchester to meet Dave and the gang who were mostly travelling from Scarborough & Leeds.
The journey was was quiet enough that I could read my book in peace.
I think I arrived around 12ish and shortly after received word that their trains had been cancelled and so I had a pretty heavy wait on me. Not that that was an issue, the sun was beaming. Plenty of time to take a walk around and rack up the step count since I’m tryna get myself more active.
Travelling in style.
Manchester isn’t somewhere I’ve spent a whole lot of time in. In fact, I’ve barely seen it by day. There was one day around 6 years ago that my band performed at Band On The Wall and I don’t remember much of that besides playing to maybe 8 people and coming away with a bloodied face.
In fact, Dave was actually with us that day as a photographer…
I think that was the trip we hung out of the van windows going down the motorway back home, passing our promo CD out to other brave (stupid) drivers that dared to take one out of curiosity.
All cities should have fountains. I sat here for quite a while before being approached by a guy.
“You look like you’ve got a smile for a friendly black guy”
He straight up just poured me a drink into a costa cup and we sat and chatted. I wanted to take a photo of him for my blog but he wasn’t keen on the idea.
“Blog, what’s a blog? Eh, you’re not one of these that’re gonna wank over it are ya?”.
I didn’t take his photo, and we just chatted about where we’re from and parted ways.
I made my way to the Arndale, and got up the car park to look over the city.
5pm was coming up and just before I met everyone, I bumped into the guy again.
Despite being a fully fledged party photographer I live my life steering clear and not getting too involved in typical ‘lad culture’.
With this being a stag do I didn’t know what to expect, but just fucking went at it anyway as we’re all mates and it’s not like I was dossing about with a bunch of cunts here.
Turns out Dave had an outfit to wear for each night, and Friday’s proved popular.
“When you slap his arse, you’d hope it be quite comedic; But it’s actually quite erotic.”
Of course, we paraded him around in public before grabbing some food.
The name of this place escapes me but we bagged a few burritos and I remember them being rad.
Re-fuelled, we pressed on to a wee pub which pretty much ended up ruining Dave.
Here’s Mike, explaining that he’d spoken to Charlotte and asked her a bunch of questions and that all Dave had to do was get the answers correct to avoid the shots.
They’ve been together what, over a decade now? Should be easy enough…
First question proved to be quite the head scratcher.
“What colour are Charlottes eyes?”
All I remember is that it was the wrong answer.
And on it went.
I guess it wasn’t long before Dave looked like he’d spent a couple of days in the place.
As the night progressed, we opted for a tactical outfit change to make sure we could get into more bars without an issue. It’s probably easier to convince people yer not a div when you’re no longer dressed like one…
It wasn’t much longer before I tapped out. I’d been awake for far too many hours and the second day was due to be the ‘big one’, and this boy needed some rest.
Allegedly Dave claimed he was fine when he woke up, but by the time I saw him outside he’d taken a turn for the worse.
In truth, I don’t think he’ll ever be ‘fine’ again.
I bagged a massive salad to get myself going, and just about everyone else grabbed some street food from the market in the centre.
We made our way to the MEN Arena as we had some karting to do.
This was serious business, we got changed into some proper racing gear and there was no way I could take my camera out with me. Here’s a diagram of the track, though.
Racing was a pretty nuts experience. The fastest I can get around by myself these days is on a push bike so it was great to have the rush of hitting a relatively decent speed without having to bloody pedal.
Flying around the corners it was hard not to feel like you were absolutely slaying it, but in actual fact I was akin more to the style of Dick Dastardly & Muttley in Wacky Races, and I came 13th…
Hey, at least I’m consistent.
With the racing out of the way, we headed back to the hotel for Dave’s second costume of the weekend.
We’d only stepped out the hotel and Dave had captured the attention of strangers.
I’d received a call from a pal back in Scarborough who was actually in Manchester that evening, he’d travelled to Manchester to catch Deftones. Deftones are a band I’ve never seen live, but really fucking wanted to and he offered me a free ticket to join him. If it were any other night, I’d have gone for it. Sorry mate, but my pal’s dressed like Princess Toadstool and I couldn’t ditch that.
When we headed back to the hotel for another tactical outfit change, and I opted to ditch my lens and dig out the 50mm 1.7 Pentax. I have no idea why I did this, perhaps drunken confidence, but the thing is only capable of manual focus… and I was pished… and the following photos reflect that.
We headed to the Bierkeller. On the way in, the doormen took us to the side and instructed us that you absolutely cannot dance on the tables, but dancing on the benches is fine.
Now, I don’t know about you but I’ve never experienced that sort of instruction on the way in to a bar before. It was fucking surreal. There were signs quite literally everywhere stating the same thing.
Cool, dancing on benches is cool. Cool. Got it. Mint.
One thing became apparent; Give an idiot permission to dance on a bench and he’ll grab all his idiot pals to do the same.
And they’ll fall all over the place.
Thing is, you just end up fucking joining in don’t you.
After the Bierkeller, some of us headed to Canal Street for a dance. The name of the club escapes me right now, but as soon as we got inside Luke had somehow managed to go missing. We didn’t find him for a little while, and then we checked upstairs.
As we went up, security glanced at us but I guess figured we weren’t trouble and decided not to stop us.
We later found him, upstairs in a private Drag VIP Party. We wandered in, and no one cared. It was around this moment though that I’d stopped taking photos and eventually made my way back to the hotel for recovery.
DAY & NIGHT THREE.
I woke fairly early considering, and parted ways with the guys who had their trains to catch so I took another wander around the city before leaving. It’s worth pointing out that some of Dave’s pals I’d actually never met before, and it was great to hang with a bunch of sound folk. I think it says a lot about someones character when they can bring different friendship groups together and there be no bother.
On my way back to Glasgow, I’d ended up being invited by Alex to a rad vegan restaurant called The Flying Duck which I’d not tried before to meet up with her and to see Grace and Stephen too.
Alex was in town for a wedding and some family stuff, and also to catch AFI who were supporting Deftones on their tour. She just so happened to have a ticket available, too…
Stag do’s over, so why the hell not – I was fucking exhausted and in dire need of a shower and a cup o’ tea, but I prevailed and dragged my body there. Nice one.
A killer weekend.