Dandy Clash

I’m on the panel at Dandy Clash. WTF? I know, right? Dandy Clash is a start-up online forum-style website for British men to ‘av a gossip about the big questions like, does a one-off sexual encounter with a man make a straight man bisexual? And, when’s the best time to leave home?

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Set up by Leon Bailey-Green, the ecommerce and fashion B2B-go-to, the site aims to shine a light on the modern (did someone say Metrosexual?) British man, his thoughts, feelings and opinions on topics of conversation. Like bar stool chatter, but SEO optimised.

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I’ve made my first contribution to the plethora of male voices on Dandy Clash, answering the quite frankly paramount question: what do you think of Topman’s prices, products and stores?



The Pride has more five star accolades than Trip Advisor and is, simply put, one of the best things I’ve seen on the stage, and I’ve seen Ian McKellen’s dick at The Globe.

A striped back production and cast of four tell the story of finding one’s self, or to be more specific, one’s gay self, with two juxtaposing plots separated by time. Oliver, Philip and Sylvia exist simultaneously in 1958 and the present day, but their love triangle alters in tune with the changing attitudes towards homosexuality. A powerful and at times funny piece that shines a light on the intricacies of human interaction behind the headline-grabbing milestones in British LGBT history. It’s a kaleidoscope of emotion and superbly depicts the complexities and, let’s face it, awkwardness of deciphering a relationship with someone of the same sex in this world.

 Official trailer
Indeed, theatre makes you think, but something the actors did during their applause at the end of the show put the play in a completely new and very real context for me. The actors held up placards that read, ‘To Russia, with love,” in protest against the anti-gay “propaganda” laws Putin’s government has put in place. It made me realise that Oliver, Philip and Sylvia and their two simultaneous lives weren’t only separated by time, but their stories could be separated by geography. Britain in 1958 was certainly a different place to today’s Russia, but the fear, confusion, self-doubt, self-hate and thwarted sense of gay-self that was a way of life for British LGBT people in the 50s could now be a reality for many Russian LGBT people, today.

Isn’t that totally shite?

As an example of the laws in practice, the annual Pride House International Coalition, that sets up shop at major international sporting events around the world to promote equality in sport, has been stopped from operating at the Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic games this year. The Russian Ministry of Justice refused to grant approval and Judge Svetlana Mordovina upheld the ruling, stating; “propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation which can undermine the security of the Russian society and the state, provoke social-religious hatred, which is the feature of the extremist character of the activity.” 
So, the movement called for support and nearly 30 remote Pride Houses have since sprang up around the world, to show their solidarity with the gay community of Russia. Manchester has its own, with a calendar of events planned up to and around the games, based out of Taurus on Canal Street, find out more here.
Told you theatre makes you think.


Black Dog’s new clothes

Manchester’s mini-chain of snooker-hall-slash-bowling-alley-slash-bars, Black Dog Ballroom, has a mascot. That mascot is a black Patterdale Terrier named Bruce and Bruce is now the feature of a new line of T-shirts from Northern Quarter clothing brand, Dead Legacy. Like Hard Rock Cafe glasses only less tacky.

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Also, lol at this promo video for Dog Bowl.



Selfridges Festival of Imagination

Whoa, still pissed it’s January? I know, ditto. But, Mamma Jordan is here yet again to provide sweet entertainment for your diary and such. Selfridges kick off their Festival of Imagination or, otherwise known as, their shops are hella empty and they need some international students to pop back and buy Fendi.

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The store window

Each store is celebrating, I don’t know, imagination, but Manchester Exchange Square are going all out and have invited Dr. Maria Balshaw, director of Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester City Galleries, to make the whole thing tick. There’s a month of fabulous events, seminars and talks to pop along to from 15th January until 16th February, some free, some not-so-free. I’ve highlighted and elaborated on the juicy ones, below!

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The store window

MUST SEE: Wednesday 15 January to Sunday 16 February
Whitworth Gallery Pop-up Art Exhibition.
Inspiring exhibition in-store, showcasing iconic works by the world’s leading artists.
The exhibition is free. 

Wednesday 15 January, 6pm to 8pm
The Artist’s Mind: Artist richard Wentworth and Dr. Maria Balshaw in Conversation.
The talk will take place in San Carlo’s Farmacia del Dolce on LG. Tickets are £10 (including a glass of wine and tasting plate of San Carlo’s signature dishes). 

Thursday 16 January, 12.30pm to 1.15pm

Imaginative l unchtime: Alternative Camera Club.
The free talk will take place in Women’s on the third floor.  

Friday 17 January, 12.30pm to 1.15pm
Imaginative l unchtime: Manchester Urban Sketching.
The free talk will take place in Women’s on the third floor. 

Wednesday 22 January, 6pm to 8pm 

Creative Collaboration: Ben Kelly in Conversation with Andrew Stevens.
The talk will take place in San Carlo’s Farmacia del Dolce on LG. Tickets are £10 (including a glass of wine and tasting plate of San Carlo’s signature dishes).

Wednesday 23 January, 12.30pm to 1.15pm 
Imaginative l unchtime: Alternative Camera Club .
(as above)

Friday 24 January, 12.30pm to 1.15pm 

Imaginative l unchtime: Short Stories.
The free talk will take place in Women’s on the third floor.  

MUST SEE: Wednesday 29 January, 6pm to 8pm  
The Writer’s Mind: Jeanette Winterson, Introduced by Poet John McAuliffe..
Jeanette Winterson is one of the UK’s leading literary minds, a multi award-winning writer who has published countless works including the celebrated novel, ‘Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.’ Join Jeanette for an energetic, stand-up talk about her work.
The talk will take place in San Carlo’s Farmacia del Dolce on LG. Tickets are £10 (including a glass of wine and tasting plate of San Carlo’s signature dishes). 

Thursday 30 January, 12.30pm to 1.15pm

Imaginative l unchtime: Crafternoon Tea on Tour.
The free talk will take place in Women’s on the third floor. 
Friday 31 January, 12.30pm to 1.15pm

Imaginative lunchtime: Thinking with Dinosaurs.
The free talk will take place in Women’s on the third floor. 

MUST SEE: Wednesday 5 February, 6pm to 8pm

Danger: Imagination at Work: Jeremy Deller, Mary Anne Hobbs and Dave Haslam.
Our ability to imagine and create new ideas, worlds and concepts is often used for the common good – but imagination has a dark side too. Explore its subversive side in a one-off conversation between Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller, BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Mary Anne Hobbs and DJ and historian Dave Haslam. In a talk that ranges from William Blake to Johnny Rotten, find out just how disruptive the imagination and creative vision can be.
The talk will take place in San Carlo’s Farmacia del Dolce on LG. Tickets are £10 (including a glass of wine and tasting plate of San Carlo’s signature dishes).

Wednesday 12 February, 6pm to 8pm  
The Theatre of the Mind: Maxine Peake in Conversation with Sarah Frankcom.
The talk will take place in San Carlo’s Farmacia del Dolce on LG. Tickets are £10 (including a glass of wine and tasting plate of San Carlo’s signature dishes). 

MUST SEE: Thursday 20 February, 6pm to 8pm

Fashion, Science and the Imagination: Helen Storey in Conversation with Caryn Franklin, introduced by Jean Franczy.
Don’t miss a fascinating talk between two long-time collaborators that touches on science, art and the creative process. Helen Storey MBE is a multi award-winning artist and designer. Since 1997, Helen has pioneered work that brings art and science together. She is currently a Professor of Science Fashion at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and London College of Fashion. Caryn Franklin MBE is a fashion expert who co-edited i-D Magazine during the 1980s and presented the BBC’s The Clothe Show for 12 years. The talk is introduced by the Director of the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, Jean M. Franczyk and has been arranged with the support of MOSI.
The talk will take place in San Carlo’s Farmacia del Dolce on LG. Tickets are £10 (including a glass of wine and tasting plate of San Carlo’s signature dishes). 

Holla to my non-local readers (apparently I’m big in the Ukraine), why not make a weekend of it? I recommend Ibis hotels as there are as many of them in Manchester as there are Starbucks in New York. Whether you’re strutting up Portland Street, partying on Princess Street, on the outskirts of the Northern Quarter in New Islington or hanging with the Londoners in Salford Quays, there’s an Ibis hotel for you and your budget *wink*. You can plan your stay with free Wi-Fi, enjoy/gorge on breakfast buffets and all safe in the knowledge that there’s a twenty four hour reception on by for all your needs. Check out Manchester hotel deals now!

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American Psycho’s Wardrobe

So, It’s January and I’m skint (as are you, probably) and so that means we’re staying in and watching films as a means of cheap/free entertainment of a weekend.

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We watched American Psycho t’other night and it was amazing. I’ve never seen it before. Directed by Mary Harron and starring Christian Bale, it’s the most intelligent slasher movie there is. Oh, and it’s stylish, really stylish.

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Bale plays a VP of a Wall Street powerhouse that his daddy owns, he’s allegedly in mergers and acquisitions (although you never see him actually work), but when a model asks what he does whilst in a crowded and noisy bar in the meat packing district, he says he’s in “murders and exectutions.” She takes a sip of her Martini and continues to not listen to a word he says.

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It’s a psychological thrill ride with sexy shots of sexy people doing sexy things, like Reese Witherspoon sighing and Bale doing morning stretches half-naked with an eye mask on. Oh and then there’s a little murder to contend with. Think Fatal Attraction only there’s no bunny and Glen’s into power dressing.

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The Costume Designer was Isis Mussenden, who would go on to win BAFTAs for her work with the Chronicles of Narnia trilogy. Although, there’s no pantaloons and emerald embroidered capes in this, the wide-lapelled, pin-striped, late 90’s swag in American Psycho is the stuff of Wall Street dreams. Tie pins, cuff links, whiskey breath and cigarette smoke, topped off with a spot of fresh blood on a starched white collar.

Watch the film!


January Blues: Brighten up at Manchester’s Corn Exchange!

We all know January is pretty shit. Were fat, we’re skint and we’re back at work. Apparently one such Monday of the month is officially the most depressing day of the year, even though The Guardian says that’s a load of shit too.

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Mags Eatock, doing art and such like.

Anyway, take a moment, if you’re in the Manchester way, to pop by the empty shops at Manchester’s Corn Exchange to cheer yourself up and make a shopping centre in need of a little love, much happier this month. No, no no, you’re not there to stare aimlessly at bare walls, but to see art at stuff.

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Omid Asadi Deh Mirahmadi, with some leaves depicted famous faces.

A bunch of local artists have been given free reign to fill up the void at Corn Exchange and showcase their art. Artists include Omid Asadi Deh Mirahmadi, Nick Franklin and Mags Eatock as well as student artists Alina Sericu, Amalia Serban, Keeley Love and Michaela Swan.

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You’ve got until Friday 10th January to see the show.


BBC Radio Manchester’s Becky Want – Listen Again 4/1/14

Happy New Year to y’all, I hope your breaks were festive filled and fabulous. Now, what better way to kick off 2014 than with some January sale shopping tips from yours truly on BBC Radio Manchester’s Becky Want show?

We were live from The Lowry Outlet Mall in Salford Quays and we chatted about the best ways to get the best bargains this sale season!

LISTEN AGAIN here, I’m on around 25 minutes in on Becky Want’s show on 4/1/14.

As an extended Director’s Cut edition of my tips, here’s my top 5 ways to shop the sales!

  1. Write a shopping list. We do it for the grocery store, why not for sale shopping? Write exactly what you need from the sales on a scrap of paper before heading out to the stores or clicking online. Also, plan what shops are more likely to stock your items and what price you’re willing to pay for each item!
  2. Get out of your comfort zone. Shop different stores and different areas like out of town retail malls/parks such as The Lowry Outlet Mall, Boundary Mill, Manchester Fort etc. This puts you in newer surroundings and you’ll be more aware of the product around you and won’t miss a thing! Also, the TOPMAN in Manchester Arndale will have probably sold out of those must-have dungarees at full price, but a smaller branch may not have!
  3. Haggle on the highstreet. A pastime not just reserved for when we’re abroad, haggle the price in-store on home turf too! There’s always a further reduction to be had, especially with electricals and computers. Also, push for an additional discount on items that are faulty or slightly damaged because that’s not the reason they’re in the sale, they’re in the sale because they’re old and any fault deserves another discount!
  4. Keep your eyes pealed. Sign up to store’s emails for the first sale alerts and to shopping forums like MoneySavingExpert.com to be in the know!
  5. Dress appropriately. Less layers and easily removed shoes make for quick try-ons without having to queue for the changing rooms!

And there you have it, happy sale shopping everyone.