You load 16 tons and whaddaya get?

I decided last year that I would wake up on my birthday in a hotel somewhere away from London. I originally planned San Francisco but in the end went off to the much closer Manchester where I had the good fortune to catch up with Fritz & Gillian on Saturday and Sunday.

On Sunday I had wandered into town to find a pub where I could watch Manchester United play Arsenal. I had predicted Arsenal would lose 3-2, oh if only the scoreline had been as kind; instead we had an 8-2 massacre. I did feel my wallet was somewhat massacred in Manchester by the very average food served up at Sam’s Chop House. On a previous visit I had gone to see the bronze statue of Lowry propping up the bar, at that time I noticed they seemed to do a roaring trade in customers dining so I decided to eat there.

The starter was a sign that I would grumble, three of the smallest wedges of cheese and some tomato ketchup and relish for a hefty £5.69; a London restaurant would struggle to justify that price tag for the dish served up.

The main of calves liver and bacon with mashed potato at £13.99 had perfectly cooked, just pink, liver let down by mash that tasted like childhood memories of Smash instant potato mix, Sam’s mash was quite possibly the worst I’ve ever tasted.

Thankfully the Eccles Cake and ice cream saved the day however it certainly wasn’t great value at £5.99. The food was okay, nothing special, considering it is really just a pub that does food, for the price you expect something that is above average.

Now, as regular readers know, the trip to Manchester is not that surprising given that I seem to be constantly talking about some DJ or artist from there, it sometimes feels I know more about what’s happening there than I do in London.

For instance, did you know that Example Media’s fashion label [Ex]:AMPLE Clothing has launched their second t-shirt which, appropriately enough, is called The Manchester T?

The Manchester T is a tongue in cheek parody of the famous John, Paul, George and Ringo t-shirt and lists four famous albeit stereotypical aspects of Manchester. Rain, Music, Cotton & Guns. You can order online at the [Ex]:AMPLE Clothing store they’re priced at just £15 and includes postage within the UK. The Manchester T was designed by Pale and you can read an interview with him over on the Example Magazine site.

Of course as nice as it is to get away, it’s also nice to return to the creature comforts of home, while I was away I switched on the TV in the hotel, I was a little disappointed as I don’t think there were any reality programs on so I haven’t managed to see what they were like. One thing that was handy with the TV was the distraction on those nights I can’t sleep however I found the obviously don’t have any sense of programming.

One channel had 4 back to back episodes of NCIS on at 3am so I settled back to watch only for them to turn out to be 4 episodes, each from a different season and each with a cliff-hanger ending…perhaps there was a programming agenda and they just wanted to mess with the heads of the stoners and freaks who sit up at 3am looking to watch 3 hours of NCIS?

Now, not having a tellybox is a blessing and a curse. I don’t really know about most reality shows but find myself intrigued when I watch my twitter feed come alive with comments from those who are watching and tweeting but when I discovered that X Factor had returned I was loathing how there was potential to find myself on youtube searching to see which awful person was which.

Last week I read a review of the first episode of X Factor over on Hecklerspray that really did laugh out loud, strangely I couldn’t tell you why I found some parts of it to be so funny as I don’t know the back story to some bits I think. I mean is Louis Walsh a sex offender for real? I haven’t been bothered to Google it.

Anyway, while I was in Manchester I pretty much ignored twitter and as a result escaped all the tweets however when I arrived home I made myself a cuppa and went back to Hecklerspray to read the review of episode two which was equally brilliant. I like the laugh without having to actually endure however long the show is!

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