The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Belle Epoch: Battling Boring in the Manchester Music Scene

Featuring games, quiz rounds and peculiar prizes, The Vanity Project’s monthly musical showcase sits somewhere between Jools Holland and Shooting Stars…


…And thus did The Vanity Project return from the perilous Shack of Zombie, having bested the three demons of Courteeners Wannabe, Racist Promoter, and Empty Room.

Yet still they were overtaken with lamentations, cursing at the Lord of the Dance: “Lord, why hast Thou abandoned this city, once so lofty and now beset with such wickedness?”

And thus the Lord of the Dance replied: ‘Well, first things first, Manchester’s music scene was always a bit overrated. But lo, that is indeed as much of a muchness.

‘My children, I have entrusted this city’s greatness to your hands. Your brand of theatrical, looping based art pop showed promise when you won that sessions competition in 2016. But you too have forsaken me.

“You too have fallen to the plague of playing overpriced gigs with poor quality control, which shun the sacred ritual of ‘Paying the Bands.” And The Vanity Project were ashamed, for they knew it to be true.

“Oh Lord of the Dance,” Rob the Careerist spake, “we are unworthy of Thy divine funkiness. How may we ever atone our sins? How may we restore the music scene of this dying city?”

And lo the Lord of the Dance replied: “Have you ever seen the show Shooting Stars?” And thus did he reveal the sacred rites of Alternative Comedy.

“O, grooviest one” Flora the Layabout did say unto to the Lord, “Thou art most wise and most cultured. But how may we use your divine intelligence?’

“Return to the Shack of Zombie,” The Lord replied, “and underneath you will find a locale by the name of The Thirsty Scholar. Host a regular gig night on the first Thursday of every month.

“But let this not be plagued by mediocrity. Book no act on the basis that they’ll bring at least 30 mates, who will all leave as soon as their set is finished.

“Appoint only the worthiest and weirdest artists, whether they be adherents of chilltronica, freak-folk or art punk. Only shun those who worship Gallagher, the wicked idol of lad-rock.

‘Ensure entry is free for all who wish to attend, and yet still pay each performer a fair and even share, for all freaks are equal in the eyes of the Lord of the Dance. Yet stop not there.

“As well as music, your Lord entreats you to entertain your guests with the most wondrous surprises. The Lord is talking party games. The Lord is talking off-the-wall surrealism.

“The Lord is talking sub-par prizes for unfair quiz rounds. Provide for the people a whole evening of entertainment”

And lo did Robert and Flora heed the Lord of the Dance’s word. And the Lord saw that it was brilliant.

Belle Epoch. The first Thursday of every month at The Thirsty Scholar. Music, quizzes, prizes, surprises. Free entry.

For information on the latest line-ups, find The Vanity Project on Facebook. If you’re interested in playing, email