The bar had been quiet and the drinks had been cheap. At first it had been exactly what we wanted. We had taken a corner table and ordered the second cheapest bottle of white wine on the menu. But as the night wore on the music seemed to be getting incrementally louder to the point where conversation became practically impossible. The cheap drinks attracted a progressively cheapening crowd, from barely-legal girls in too-tight dresses to a gaggle of women in their mid-forties wearing black T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Shazza’s Hen Do’ in neon pink. Each had their own inappropriate nickname printed on the back. They’d scarcely arrived, and already we’d witnessed Spunky Sandra consoling a tearful Anal Amy over her no-good boyfriend. On seeing the queue for the ladies’ snake out into the main bar, we decided that was our cue to leave. Stumbling, giggling, past the bouncers and out onto the chilly city streets, I stopped to take stock.
If there's one thing Manchester's notorious for, it's putting a quirky spin on a conventional idea. You only have to look as far as the Northern Quarter to see examples of this, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is where the boundaries lie. One of the city's latest offerings, Junkyard Golf Club, is housed in the Great Northern Warehouse (right next to the AMC Cinema) and it's exactly what it sounds like; a crazy golf course made of a combination of seemingly random things, incorporating all kinds of "junk" from charity shop bric-a-brac to old washing machines. It started life as a pop-up attraction at the end of 2015, but it's back by popular demand for another twelve week stint, sticking around until the beginning of April.
Although the photo below seems to tell a different story, I am very much a part-time Star Wars fan. In fact, 'fan' is probably too strong a word. It took me twenty two years to see any of the films and while I readily admit that I enjoyed them, it's not really my thing. I'm in no way au fait with that galaxy far, far away and while I have a fleeting interest, it's something I never imagined I'd find myself writing a blog post about. However, after accompanying Shaun - the Jedi in my life and the person who introduced me to the Star Wars phenomenon - to see The Force Awakens, I found myself keen to write about it from the perspective of a relative newcomer.