After safely ensconcing the whippet in front of the F-I-L’s fire and missing a train – natch – we eventually reached a, thankfully non-snowy, Manchester at about half-one and went in search of brunch.
We stumbled across the Night and Day Cafe in the Northern Quarter – a super-cool place I’d heard Marc Riley talk about before. It has a chilled out vibe with band posters and interesting pop art on its walls, paper bunting and fairy lights strung along the ceiling and literally old-school furniture leading towards a tiny stage. The clientele was sparse but suitably hipster and they served all-day breakfast which is always music to my ears. I had a tasty eggs Florentine and Mr P had a burger.
From there, we went on to find the Central Library. Manchester isn’t quite what I expected; it’s more urban and spread out although vintage shops and record stores abound as well as cool graffiti. I was a little disappointed though, expecting the Northern Quarter to be more like the Laines in Brighton.
The Oasis exhibition was pretty small but good. I’d seen a lot of the photographs before but for a free exhibition, I couldn’t complain. The library itself was vast and very modern with cool, bespectacled studenty types tapping at away at laptaps lounging on comfy, grey armchairs. I didn’t actually see a book whilst I was there.
From there, we headed to Affleck’s Palace which is a massive shopping arcade. All of the shops are interlinked and merge freely into the each other, however they all sell similar stuff such as novelty fancy dress items and joss sticks, the smell of which took me straight back to Saturdays browsing Sun Emporium and Grassroots in Loughborough and I think if was thirteen, I would spend all of my time and pocket money at here. Again, the clothes shops are all one and the same selling the type of outfits emo/scene kids/alt kids would wear: tartan dresses with tulle underskirts, faux leather corsets edged in red lace and shoes adorned with skulls and spikes. I wondered if anyone actually bought anything of if the shopkeepers have to deal with people aimlessly milling about, as we were.
After this, we found a few lovely bars: Affleck’s and Brown’s which was dark with cosy alcoves lit only by fairy lights and candles; Dry bar which is black and red and cold but with a great cocktail deal (two for ten pounds) and Ply which is a bright and trendy pizza restaurant and cocktail bar staffed by girls with pink hair wearing the universally unflattering Mom jeans – they were friendly though and made a mean, and inexpensive, cocktail.
We decided to catch the earlier train which would save us from hanging around in Nottingham station for half an hour whilst we waited for our connection home.
All in all, I did enjoy our day in Manchester but I think a trip up for a gig and an overnight stay might show the city at her best.