Monday, October 8, 2007

Manchester Scenes

This is my fourth time in Manchester and every time I find myself short of time to steal a couple of hours and head towards the Lake District. Only diff this time around I had the digital camera and managed to hook up with AirAsia pilots Suresh and Kelvin which had me going to the clubs which I had long avoided.

Manchester as a city is fascinating as the classic buildings share space with tastefully designed glass and steel structures sometimes growing symbiotically together. Yeah and I didn't have time to shoot any of these new buildings for comparison.

So here's a quick look at my fourth tour of duty in the city of Manchester.

A jeweller near the Arndale mall. Basically the only area I hung out at, like an overfed sloth(what the???sorry...)

Manchester Chinatown, just off Portland Street. Thanks to Chung Han, the Lord of the London Roast Duck we found ourselves dragged to Chinatown two days in a row by the AirAsia financial advisor to the Boss. The Great Wall restaurant has some decent Chinese grub and the best part some of the waiters were Malaysian. Word to the homies...

So the stretch that became our haunt was the Piccadilly Park area, Arndale Mall and around the corner to the Printworks building that housed clubs and the Manchester Hard Rock Cafe.

Dudes played everyday. The dancer was especially most excellent and the best part was that he was enjoying himself. Must have had some good weed.

Piccadilly Park.

Sir Matt Busby

Sir Matt and some women in red uniforms

As usual the girls from the AirAsia attracted eyeballs everywhere they went.

Interior of the Man Utd/Nike Mega Store

Old Trafford.

Here is a place only available to Sponsors and invited guests. Off limits and high security. The Man Utd training facility in Carrington is located in a typically English countryside. The road is sadwiched between green fields with the odd grazing horse. The road ends in a one lane dirt track that stops at a security barrier. No entry unless you've got an invite. And we had one!

The indoor turf pitch of the MU Academy.

MyTeam vs the Ron Atkinson Academy at the Manchester United Academy.

Final score .....Watch the show la. Heh!

And the best part was when Big Ron Atkinson turned up to watch his boys. For you women and Chung Han, Mr. Atkinson was the coach at United before Sir Alex blustered in.

A Virgin lands in Manchester.

This was a 20 foot steel tiger that was lurking in the Tigetiger club in Printworks. Drinking anecdotes - When we ordered a bottle of vodka, we got stunned looks from the waitress. "Excuse me but I'll have to ask my manager.." Seems Mat Sallehs over there buy shots only. Also you can't order a Flaming Lamborghini because its a fire hazard!!!! Can see them living it up there..Also - they don't accept 50 pound notes in clubs- seems they're easily forged. And you can't wear football jerseys into clubs. Fair enough because of the fiercely clannish club loyalties that lie there.

Ahh...the Birdcage. This tranny was trying a buzzsaw on a metal plate tied around 'her' crotch.

The Birdcage stage area - awesome music and an even better sound system. I found myself dancing to Tiffany's "I think we're alone now"! Yes, kill me now please...

The 'ladies' come out to play.

So what if the food was rubbish and the weather turned hot and cold faster than a 40 year old tease, I love how they have given new life to all the old buildings. Buildings that have been restored lovingly. Something lost in our own silly notion of "industrialized nation" where our homes and offices begin to look like abused Lego blocks of a 4 year old.

I love their music! I could leave the radio on in the apartment and the best part I didn't know any of the bands save the Bodyrockers and Amy Winehouse who had their latest singles on and I don't mean the version of "brand new" - shit old and mouldy. There were bands on that just made me bop about and when the DJ went "yes folks, only made in England today" I said a silent prayer to the Gods of Hope to give Mawi some decent talent and Jaclyn Victor the ability to sing in Mandarin. I realised that we're really being polluted by music from folks who don't know what's out there. They're just playing songs that the already lost record labels are feeding them. Oooo...ranting about music now.
Sorry, Manchester - nice place - go for a game, take the stadium tour, shop at Primark and TK Maxx -Almost Malaysian prices. If you've got time head to the stunning beauty of the Lake district. If you're a woman - just hang out at the Arndale Mall area and you're sorted. The Mat Sallehs are a little gruff but turn on the Malaysian charm and you're in like Flynn. Just don't go around declaring loudly that you're a Liverpool supporter.

The company made this trip fun. Rudy and the girls Andrea and Tisha were game for anything, Suresh and Kelvin were the first AirAsia pilots i hung out with during work, Ethan and Daniel spoilt me in the service apartment, constantly keeping it well stocked with food and drinks and even cooking the occasional pasta for me and of course the Lord of London Roast Duck, Chung Han added the element of unpredictability with his fetish for Roast Duck rice and the high he would be on after going through a couple of plates. Well worth the over 45 total hours I spent on the plane!


Kelvin Lim said...
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Chindiana said...
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