An awful tale of misery and disappointment follows (for it was a day like every other day).
For someone so vociferously proud of being from Manchester, and by this I mean that when I leave Manchester I try to wear one of the 4 or 5 t-shirts I own with some form of Manchester-loving-slogan on them, I don’t do much civic stuff. In fact I don’t do much stuff that doesn’t involve drinking and smoking and being generally malicious (sometimes not in the good way). So when the idea of popping into town to meet Ken Barlow was proposed to me on Friday night I was like “yeah I’d like to do that”.
It was meant to be at the Trafford Centre. It was now, I wax informed – while misguidedly thinking I had avoided a hangover (still pissed is not not having a hangover) going to be on Deansgate. Oh how joyous it all seemed. Ideas of Manchester loveliness pissed into my head.
If you’re already bored – none of this comes to anything.
We don’t meet Ken Barlow or do anything good. We don’t even get to Nando’s.
For those not bored, on with the story.
There were to be several obstacles to the fun that day. The first was to be the punctuality of someone we’ll call Mr McDonald Hughes. No, wait thats too precise. Let’s just call him Michael. Anyway, a plan of meeting at one o’clock to drive into town to meet Ken Barlow was established. Now I didn’t note down exactly what time Michael arrived, but a calendar would have been the most appropriate device to use (rather than a watch you dick, I’m saying he was like well late).
Expectations were low, personally speaking, that Ken Barlow would still be there. I kept this from the group though, choosing to put my own inner turmoil behind the bigger need of the group. That said, I probably did say “I think we are late. I think we have missed him” more than once. Out loud. This is how sad we were http://twitpic.com/2u0gj4
Never afraid of Plan Bs we hastily regrouped: lets go for a cocktail up Bentham Tower and look out over this majestic city. One short walk later we were rewarded with a pleasant – if slightly too scouse – man telling us that the bar was (a) full and (b) serving only afternoon tea until half four. Afternoon tea? It seems we had forgotten that the cocktail bar at the top of Bentham Tower was actually on the Titanic. And I mean because afternoon tea is a somewhat upper class archaic notion (to me), I am not suggesting that afternoon tea is rusting away at the bottom of the Atlantic. They say if you have to explain the joke then it’s not working. I, however, enjoy describing the water as I drown.
The day was now hurtling out of control. So what do you do when you are at the top of Deansgate and you are reeling from a second crushing failure to achieve fun? If you are anything like me you own lots of clothes but wear a small percentage of them, really like the band ‘The Beatles’ and have a thick head of hair – and at this point you suggest The Museum and Science and Industry as a possible solution to your woes. Some would call it a knee-jerk reaction. Some would call it the action of a jerk. But how many times have you found yourself in a situation that is seemingly rock-bottom and thought/said “why don’t we go to Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry?”.
The only problem with this avenue is that…I started writing that sentence an hour ago and came back to it just now and have no idea what it’s going on about. Frankly, this started falling apart about 4 paragraphs ago. I wrote the stuff before that yesterday on my iphone with the idea in mind, now I’m finishing it off a bit hung-over and I feel like a nice but unpopular animal forever looked over in a Pet Shop. Where was I? Oh yeah – we went to The S&I museum, and the best bit was the gift shop. Here I will admit that the gift shop is the best bit about almost anywhere I have ever been (that has a gift shop). But because we got a bit lost (poor signposting by the museum) we only really went in the shit bit – the room with all the old engines and stuff. Yeah, they’re impressive and make noises and stuff and you’re like wow – stuff was big ages ago – but ultimately that wears off after 3 or 4 seconds and you’re left in a room of old machines that smells funny – with lots of kids running wild. I don’t want to encourage…no I’m not going to go down that bad taste cul-de sac.
After not all the fun of the fair we were all getting a bit hungry. We were in Spinningfields. An idea struck me that had the audacity, style and bravado of a young Mick Jagger. At this stage I will jump ahead because I am not going to go into detail about the night, I’m not sure how this is finishing. There is no dénouement, no zingly one liner, no message or lesson learned on which to end – let’s be honest it will probably be a joke about Mike Baldwin. But the plan for the evening was 10-Pin action, food, booze. The food wrote itself: there is a Nando’s not 25 metres from the 10-pin alley. That’s all – I can go back to Spinningfields now (in the narrative, not literally) and the idea striking me. It was bold, it was life-enriching: it was DOUBLE NANDO’s. “Let’s have a Nando’s lunch despite the fact we’re having a Nando’s tea” (I said). There was some nervous laughter from the group. A Frank Sinatra-esque character DID NOT say “I like your moxy kid, you got stones – and in this world a set of stone will get you further than a hill of beans” because there was not one there, but I imagine it’s what one might have said had there been one there.
Slowly, the idea weaved into the synapses of my colleagues. Much like those first people reading Marx and Engels who instantly realised an ideology that could redefine mankind, my comrades slowly realised I was not acting ‘the goat’ I was putting a framework in place that could make the world a better place, where all men and women would be equal, where cruelty would not exist but mainly one where people would eat at Nando’s twice in a day.
But much like the ultimate failure of communism (read Animal Farm if you don’t know what the failure of communism was. Short version: Pigs are greedy) the failure of my new world order rested (partly) on me thinking this is too good an idea not to revolve entirely around me and my fat smirking face. Yes, double Nando’s must be a treat reserved for celebrating my birthday. Like a fat figurative pig smoking a cigar in the farmer’s house while a nice old horse is beaten to death by the Military Police – the chalice of Double Nando’s was whipped away from the Proles. That and I don’t think everyone else was completely on board – so we just went to a Somerfield and got sandwiches and related snacks. And went home.
The sting in the tale? After bowling (an entire other story, needless to say the involvement of Martin Gibbons Esq meant there was a complex system of handicapping – that worked, to be fair) the two viable Nando’s were too busy to go to so we didn’t even get a single Nando’s.
Things accomplished on Saturday October 2nd: Nothing.