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Showing posts from January, 2018

Manchester's Saving Grace....

"Manchester, so much to answer for...." from 'Suffer Little Children', The Smiths

These words from The Smiths' grim song about the Moors Murderers often ring around my head, but often in a completely different and more positive scenario. For me, Manchester, the city, its culture, and its people have had a profound influence on my life, as I wrote here in my reaction to last year's bomb attack. The Smiths may be my favourite band from Manchester, but not far behind them are The Fall, whose charismatic and autocratic frontman, another Smith, Mark E. sadly passed away this week.

The Fall. Nobody was like them. A distinctive sound which nonetheless has had a massive impact on so many indie bands over the years. A band whose members were frequently sacked by their leader, to such an extent that in their 40 or so year existence they could make up 6 football teams. A band cast in the style of their acerbic, awkward, and confrontational leader. They played in a kind …

All Written Down in Numbers....

Despite the weather's best attempts to interrupt the proceedings, I managed to pack a lot into a busy week....

1. The Best of Bingley
I caught the train up the Aire Valley from Bradford to Bingley last Saturday to check out a new-to-me micro pub which made it into the 2018 Good Beer Guide. This is Chip N Ern, situated a few minutes walk from the railway station on Main Street. And very nice it is too. It looks like it was originally a shop, and features a comfortable wood-panelled downstairs room with a bar in the far corner as you go in. Upstairs there is another attractive room with additional seating. The beer choice, featuring local breweries Bridgehouse, Baildon, and Bingley, was a tad disappointing, though to be fair, the pint of Wits End from Baildon Brewery that I had was perfectly acceptable. Chip N Ern has the feel of somewhere well-established, and I suppose as it opened in 2015, it is something of a veteran in micro pub terms. It was filling up nicely by the time I left…

Rats, Hops, and the Arcade....

A view from Huddersfield on a Monday evening....

The other day I was sat in the Arcade, just off St George's Square near the station, in Huddersfield, enjoying a half of a collaboration between Ridgeside and Arcade on tap, which was a very pleasant 4.5% Session Ale. Now, the Arcade doesn't do cask, it has 5 taps, and a large selection of bottles and cans to drink there or at home, but it is a lovely chilled out bar. It looks like it used to be a shop, the bar is to the right when you go in, there are a few tables and chairs, with additional seating downstairs. The staff are always very friendly, and it is a pleasant place to while away an hour or so. I was due to meet up with a mate for a birthday pint at the Rat and Ratchet, but as I had landed in town early I decided to pop here for a swift half. The place had a few people in, but being a Monday teatime, it was pretty quiet generally. I became aware of a conversation between a couple of guys that was becoming more animated a…

Coping With The January Blues....

"When you have lost your inns, drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England"  Hilaire Belloc

The festive period is behind us, like a distant memory from a long forgotten time.

For many, after a week or more off work, adjusting back to early get-ups and the old routine after a period of looser schedules, it can be a depressing time. The weather, short days, the abrupt change back to reality - all these can conspire to make January the month from hell. And for some of us, January is the month when a number gets added to our already considerable age!

Some decide to do something about those extra pounds put on over the Christmas period. Some decide to go dry for January. Some sign up for the gym. Some change their diet. I can't do anything about my advancing years!

But for some, doing all those things against the background of what is already the most miserable month of the year, the sense of depression is enhanced. And for those that cut back on their…