Birdcage: Babes, B.O. and bad fake tan
I went to Birdcage once. Actually, I went about three times, because my effusive housemate assured me it was “the easiest place to pick up girls he’d, like, ever been.” So I went, and being a fair and reasonable guy, went back for a few more tries before passing judgement. Eventually though, judgement was passed.
Birdcage is potentially the most disgusting example of human depravity it is possible to witness for a fiver. The women, who in ages gone by might have taken pride in looking pious, pretty and presentable, now parade up and down a sticky, sweaty arena completely encased in a kind of viscous tangerine silly-putty. The men, previously gallant, graceful and genteel, now gather in squawking gaggles of chauvinistic fury, until, at some unseen signal, one of them breaks from the pack, either to blend fake tans with a female of the species, or bottle someone. Everywhere is muck and morbidity. It’s enough to send you across the road to Tiger Tiger. Well cheap drinks though.
BOP: Until you drop
Jabez Clegg, by day a student hot spot for pub grub and an afternoon pint. By night – or on Friday’s at least – it plays host to a night like no other. Described by FHM as “the easiest place to pull in the UK”, BOP (Big Old Party?!) is an integral part of the Manchester student experience.
Infamous for it’s weekly fancy dress themes, repetition is inevitable, but even still, it’s a wonder how they keep coming up with such ‘new’ and ‘original’ ideas. What will it be next week? Sexy chipmunks? Dress as your favourite vegetable? The more ridiculous the better, as the lucky lad or lady donning the best fancy dress concoction wins themselves a free Green Monster. Or Green Gash as it may as well be called, a colourful amalgamation of alcopops topped with a generous drip of sweat from the suicidal third year behind the bar – rather you than me.
The behaviour patterns of BOP attendees could potentially provide material for a social anthropology study of some kind, as this sticky cesspool churns out two parallel extremes.
On the one hand BOP provides the sexual and social release that students from single sex schools have been looking for all their lives. A whiff of Sambuca in the air and randy girls and guys alike flock towards each other like it’s mating season at Chester Zoo. Grinding to Gaga, gyrating to JLS or dry humping in time to whatever 90’s ‘choon’ is simultaneously obliterating their ear drums. All whilst forgetting they are, in fact, in public.
And yet alongside this unavoidable sample of sexual desperation is what could be mistaken for a year 8 school disco. Girls on one side of the room jumping around to S Club 7 and boys either bopping their heads awkwardly on the sidelines or running around the room trying to give each other wedgies.
Everyone needs to make their own mistakes so by all means first years put on your bunny ears and BOP the night away at least once. However self respecting second years plus you have no excuse – go and make your mistakes elsewhere.
Red Rum: So bad it’s good
A wise student once quipped: “Red Rum is basically an extension of John Rylands”, and what with its head-smashingly low ceilings, bizarre selection of secret rooms and an exclusive student card-based entry policy, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d taken a wrong turn in Orange 1 and somehow stumbled into a mythical intra-library drinking hole.
Any place where the singles are cheekily priced the same as the doubles, where the music pumping is provided by whichever aspiring DJ has “emerged” from OP Tower that week and provides a cloakroom system which is no more sophisticated than dumping your bag by the door in the questionable care of the door staff cannot warrant any strain of ill-feeling. Red Rum doesn’t try, therefore its clientele don’t have to either. If you choose to go out with no expectations, to a place where you expect nothing special, the chances are you may just have an exceptional night.
Entourage: A night to be forgotten
For our nineteenth birthdays, my friend and I decided that we’d like to celebrate somewhere new. After much deliberation we chose Entourage at the Printworks, for what reason I cannot recall. I can, however, recall many reasons why this proved to be a big mistake and why you should never set foot in said club.
In fact, thinking about it, the word ‘club’ seems like a polite description of what was actually a Chlamydia ridden dungeon, full of scantily clad “dancers” and old men who made no attempt to hide the fact that they were ogling girls at least half their age.
The only good thing to come out of that night was my encounter with one of the most drool-worthy men I have ever seen. Unfortunately, the reason that I happened to be eyeing him up was not because he had offered to buy me a birthday drink, but because he was a nurse and came to the rescue when my friend had her drink spiked by one of the aforementioned males lurking about the sidelines. So ladies and gentlemen, unless you fancy spending your night at the hospital like I did, the moral of the story is to stick to what you know!
Poptastic: It’s in the name
Since coming to Manchester in September, Wednesday mornings have never been the same… The outcome of the £2.50 entry, amazingly trashy music, and most importantly 50p shots has meant that getting out of bed for my nightmare 9am Spanish History lecture is somewhat of an impossible chore. On the cusps of Canal Street, Poptastic takes over Alter Ego on Tuesdays and Saturdays with its apparently ‘unthinkable’ demographic of “Indie Kids and Pop Queens”.
Whilst my more recent visits to Pop have been slightly disappointing (for reasons that I will explain), that is by no means to say that you should not Pop-on down to the club if you are yet to relinquish your Pop virginity. The main room – Trashy Pop – is undeniably repetitive. Repetitive to the point that during a recent visit a friend of mine, and regular attendee, was able to correctly identify the time at which “3” by Britney Spears would be played. Alongside this, the DJ went on to play Madonna’s half-time Superbowl performance straight from YouTube as an attempt to pass it off as part of his own mix…
Quoting my aforementioned friend and Pop veteran: “It’s a gay space: the music, the vibe, the smell, the smoke” – with said smell being that of Alkyl Nitrate, commonly known as Poppers wafting through the airwaves. Despite my seemingly negative attitude, I will happily admit that Poptastic is by far one of my favourite nights out and if like me you would rather pass on a seemingly average night at 5th Ave or a chavtastic visit to Deansgate Locks, then Pop is the place for you. It’s comfortable, cheap and never fails to deliver a deserved hangover the next morning, the signal of a good night out.