Braving the latest torrential downpour (hello? summer?) I meet Katie for lunchtime hot chocolates at Kro, her treat. It’s quiet without the students. I have marshmallows which I’m sure are verboten for a vegetarian but Katie pays so it doesn’t count. We chat and whine about money and jobs and fantasise about setting up our own literary agency in Manchester. First client me, of course, but thereafter uncovering the city’s great novelists, one literary cash cow at a time. This is the third person with whom I have bandied this idea about. It seems somehow arcane that almost all lit agents are still in Londontown, especially in this digital global submit-by-email age.
Next day is the weekend and since everyone is broke and we never ever have any fun ever I propose a night at Clique to console us all. I have nothing to wear as usual and realise my pit-stop for emergency clobber, Ryan Vintage in the University precinct, is closed out of term time. In desperation I head to Oxfam instead, the one near Big Hands, and within a minute and a half find an ace top and jeans for a grand total of eleven quid. I treat myself to an eight quid haircut on top and somehow manage to scrub up like an impoverished star for less than twenty notes all in. Love it.
Pre-Clique drinks at Amy and Thom’s sexy new flat up on Oldham Road at the back of the Express building with perhaps the last of the truly bleak/beautiful Mancunian vistas to be had, a combination of city edge lights, Salford tower blocks, industrial squalor and the sky. I arrive bearing booze, a set of shot glasses, a tea set and an Andy Warhol kitchen apron. Free passes on the door at Clique for Thom and I owing to some hideous fracas with the bouncers on our last visit which I won’t go into here (suffice to say the vile homophobe was sacked). Drink, dance, drink, dance, and in my case, sweat. The music fantastic as always. I never quite know how to describe Clique to the uninitiated. I will settle on ‘electronic not electro, pop not plop’. My four pound top is a mint find but I will invest in more breathable fabrics next time.
Wake up next day covered in glitter so listen to T Rex until it’s time to meet my folks for lunch at Pan Asia. Me, Ma, Pa, Dee, John, Emma and Clare all together, only Sean conspicuous by his absence, and Sam the dog. The hot and sour soup evaporates my hangover and we have an ace laugh and talk talk talk, moving on for drinks at Kro Piccadilly which is spartan but nice and central. I have hair of the dog then have to cut the afternoon slightly short and wing my way down to Sale where for a little soirée at Ben and Katy’s amazing house to soak up the leftover wedding champagne. Could that be the most decadent sentence I’ve ever written?
We drink into the wee small hours, Ben, Katy, G3, Sarah, Jono, Kelly and baby George. Well, George sleeps mainly, we drink on his behalf. Turns into a lovely evening. G3 regales me with his hilarious stories of (almost) stalking Kim Wilde. Taxi home and sleep the sleep of the dead. Wake bleary-eyed and ill-prepared for the arrival of a demanding new house guest …