If you believe it, don’t keep it all inside…

I’ve come down with a reet bastard of a cold, but the weekend does bear some writing about, I reckon.   It started on Friday with work-drinks, which was – as ever – a thoroughly enjoyable evening featuring lots of drunken shenanigans, and the inevitable trip to the casino… and me feeling suitably fragile come saturday morning…

… well, more like noon-ish, at which point I headed to meet Rich, Ed and Lothario to go and watch the mighty Reds, via ‘the Globe’, where my squeamishness saw me restricted to drinking Coke for the time being.  The Reds beat Hartlepool, and we duly hotfooted it in Eds car up to Manchester for further debauchery in honour of Rich and JHH‘s birthday.  After a while I felt man enough to tackle a couple of the cans that some kind soul had brought with them, and finally – no thanks to some shonky navigating from yours truly – we ended up at a, erm, cheerfully cheap hotel in Salford – within walking distance of the centre of Manchester.

The first stop was a strangely incongruous tudor-looking pub in the centre of Manchester – which was, upon closer inspection, quite clearly a big fat fake with beams painted on the walls!  It was a nice setting though, and gave us a chance to gather as a group before heading into a couple of cabs and hotfooting it over to the Curry Mile for a rather splendiferous banquet of Indian cuisine.

After this, it was more taxis back to the Printworks where there was a bar/club complex with over-officious bouncers called ‘Tiger Tiger’ where – despite having booked in advance – we still had to queue in the ‘guestlist’ queue for a while, before finally being ushered into our own private karaoke booth upstairs in the building.  The area was setup with black walls with silver writing, it was akin to going into a game of laser quest or something!

In the booth, it was basically a padded room with seating, a ‘drinks order’ button, and a karaoke machine.  Now, I’m not a big fan of karaoke, but take me out of the public glare – and provide me with a bit of booze – and it does suddenly become a more appealing prospect.

JHH kicked us off with a Billy Ray Cyrus classic, and over the course of the night we were treated to all manner of genres!  One of my favourites was undoubtedly the epic duet by Lothario and ‘Singing’ Mark of ‘Man in the Mirror’ by Michael Jackson, with plenty of ad-libbing and almost tear-jerking emotion.  As for me, despite going very much thinking “I’ll probably just do one or two and then quietly hide in the corner”, I think I ended up doing about half a dozen!

It all started with New Order’s ‘World in Motion’ – Rich tackling the actual singing, and me doing the John Barnes rap.  A spot of Rolf Harris was duly undertaken, which bewildered many present – particularly since the song still had the very politically incorrect “Let me Abo’s go free, mate” in it – which the man himself doesn’t sing any more.  There was another Fisher brothers collaboration with Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’,  before I unleashed what was perhaps my finest performance of the evening, a rousing version of ‘Inside’ by Stiltskin.

I manfully attempted Nirvana’s ‘Come as you are’ and Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’ (spotting a theme here in the solo efforts?) before time was very nearly up, and we were treated to a duet by the birthday boys of Stan Ridgeway’s ‘Camouflage’ – which, it turns out, is quite a homo-erotic tale about a man caught short in the jungle, and being saved by a phantom marine.  We were all soon joining in and it made for a great way to end the two hours in the booth.

Apparently someone in ‘booth 5’ was thrown out just prior to us finishing for, erm, getting a wee bit overexcited during their session and deciding to have an impromptu fiddle with their pink oboe – takes all sorts I suppose!  But anyway, that was time to go, and being the early hours in the morning we’d decided to call it a night – and it was rather a good one.

The morning after saw us wandering Manchester a little, getting a Subway breakfast extravaganza, dropping off Lothario at the station and succumbing to the increasing urgent meeting requests from ‘Mr Brown’, before catching up with JHH and heading to the Urbis building (which is mad!) to check out a Hacienda exhibition – which had been cancelled for some nonsense fashion week bollocks!

And so it was homeward we headed, courtesy of Ed who not only delivered us home unscathed but put up with both Rich and I nodding off in the car for a long chunk of the journey which must have been thrilling for him!  It was on the journey up to Manchester that I also first heard the new Happy Mondays album (Uncle Dysfunktional), and it was – whilst not exactly a classic – quite enjoyable!

Should you wish for photographic evidence, then Rich’s are here, and Jon’s are here on Facebook (which you might possibly need to be a Facebook member to see).  Thankfully, to my best knowledge, there is no audio evidence of our endeavours!

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