Things to do in Manchester this week: 29th June - 5th July 2018

The heat is starting to get to me now. I want it to rain again please. Or snow.

By Ben Brown | Last updated 3 December 2018

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Anything as long as I don’t have to spend another night on top of my covers sweating half my body weight into my already sodden duvet. Here’s this week’s stuff…

Manchester Beer Week
Starts Friday 29th June
Ahh Beer Week, an excuse for blokes with beards to chat about hops and barley without getting clobbered over the head by their mates who just want to drink a nice cold Fosters and eat some Scampi Fries. Manchester Beer Week is basically a load of different beer related events spread throughout the region at various venues and establishments. For a week. You’ve got workshops, debates, tap takeovers, brewery tours, art and anything else you can think of that can justify sinking 6 pints on a school night. I’m not going to list everything here because that would be ridiculous – instead head on over to their website and see for yourself what’s going on.


Ford Go Faster
Starts Friday 29th June til Sunday 8th July
One for all the bloody blokes out there, pop your tin of Stella down and give this a try. Go Faster is an immersive ‘experience’ where you get to drive around the car park of the Trafford Centre in a souped-up Focus RS, drive a Mustang and learn how to do some proper stunts and shit. I got asked to go down and give it a try but I’m way too scared. Oh, and they will also put you into a film trailer and on a poster to take home with you at the end of the day. Just try not to run over anyone’s foot or worse – flip the car, spin through the air and end up having to get cut out of it by a firefighter called Kevin.

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Manchester Thai Festival
Saturday 30th – Sunday 1st July
I’ve never been to Thailand and unfortunately for anyone from Thailand – I never intend to. I’m sure the country is lovely and the people are amazing but from what people have told me who have gone – it sounds like my own personal kind of hell. It’s the tourists. I would hate to be stood on a beautiful beach surrounded by a gang of fat American’s chatting shit about Donald Trump while a bloke from Wigan scratches his arse and burps into a monkey’s face. Instead I recommend you head to Platt Fields Park this weekend where you’ll be able to sample to true delights of Thailand but not be disappointed that people are ruining it for you. There’s even a bit of Ladyboy action – should that be your bag.


Greater Manchester Fringe Festival
Starts Sunday 1st July
Just like the world famous one in Edinburgh, reading through the list of acts and performances for our Fringe Festival is a very confusing affair. There’s talk of comedies, lizards, James Bond and dead bodies and most of it doesn’t make an ounce of sense unless you’re a proper actor-type or you’re actually in the bloody thing. There’s just so many things going on too, and it’s very difficult to think of where to start and what you should spend your hard-earned pennies on. Therefore, I spent about 2 days trawling through every act, play, performance and bit of comedy to bring you a top 20 of what to look for at this year’s Festival. Check it out below…

Our Top 20 Picks from this year’s Greater Manchester Fringe Festival


All Week
I’m writing this just before the Belgium game so I don’t know how England played and whether football is still coming home. Regardless, I doubt it will do – we’re probably going to get stitched up by a dodgy VAR decision against Japan in the semis which will then prompt the people of the city to boycott Wagamama’s for a few weeks, much like when we lost against Portugal in 2006 and everyone boycotted Nando’s for a bit. Despite it being from South Africa. So, forget football, it’s all about that most middle class of sports – tennis. I remember once my mate Alex Hill telling me he met Jack Nicholson in the queue for crepes at Wimbledon as a kid and that he remarked “I don’t even like fucking crepes!” – even though nobody asked him. What a legend. Well it starts this week and they’re putting a big screen up at First Street so you can watch it.


Steve Winwood at The Bridgewater Hall
Monday 2nd July
You’d be forgiven for not knowing who Steve Winwood is. But you’ll know the man’s songs I’m sure. Dennis Reynolds’ favourite songman is coming to the Bridgewater Hall this week and I can assure you that he is a 5-star man through and through. If you manage to listen to the song below – Valerie – and not end up either pumping your fist or singing your little face off then you’re a bloody robot. If you like it – get some tickets for his gig – there’s plenty more where that came from.

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Mamma Mia!
From Tuesday 3rd July
Fresh from the ABBA night at Joshua Brooks last week we’ve got some more Scandinavian shenanigans going on over at the Palace from Tuesday as Mamma Mia! comes to town with all of its extravagant displays of Greek hotels, paint sodden dungarees and sex-starved MILFs. It’s not just MILFs though, there’s also a couple of DILFs in there too, as well as the odd GILF knocking about at the back dressed like a Greek peasant. I must admit that this production is actually proper good and is deserving of all of its praise. As is the film – that Pierce Brosnan rendition of SOS is worth the price of 2 cinema tickets alone.

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The Manchester Pizza Crawl
Tuesday 3rd July
Not only does this week contain plenty of beer, cheese and seafood, you can also find yourself adding 3 inches to your waistline by smashing some of the city’s best pizzas at this Pizza Crawl on Tuesday. Tickets are £15 and for that you get to visit 5 different places in the NQ and tuck into a slice at each – all while chatting to some randomers about how you love pizza so much and think about it 24/7. I think I wouldn’t be able to restrain myself from telling everyone about the time I saw half a cold, discarded Dominos on a wall on my street after a night out which I promptly swooped up, popped in the oven for 8 minutes, slathered with mayo and enjoyed thoroughly. Pizza is life.

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Venetian Night at Randall & Aubin
Thursday 5th July
I once went to Venice and although I found it rather pleasant I also felt there were way too many of those stupid little masks on sale and it really annoyed me. At one point all I wanted was a cheeky little tin of Coke to wash a bit of vodka down and the shops were just full of masks. What am I going to do with a mask anyway? It’s not like people visiting Venice are on their way to some sort of Eyes Wide Shut orgy, and if they were – where was my invite? The Italians know how to do their food though and considering Venice is halfway under water already, the seafood there must be pretty decent. So, seafood specialists Randall & Aubin are having a Venetian night, which may or may not include masks and definitely won’t include any orgies. It will include, however, some amazing food cooked for you by Big Daddy Head Chef Ed Baines. You can also get £10 off using the code MF10.

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Earth, Wind & Fire at O2 Apollo
Thursday 5th July
Even though they are missing the final 2 elements, Earth, Wind & Fire have still managed to cement themselves as one of the most brilliant soul bands ever to grace this big round ball of water we call Earth. Not only do they possess voices of melted butter, but their tunes are legendary – including BB’s favourite – September. In fact, that’s pretty much everyone’s favourite considering it’s had 300 million plays on Spotify and has been included in every playlist for every soul night ever for the past 30 years. I should also give a big shout out to Verdine White’s long head of luscious locks, who at the age of 67 could star in his own Timotei advert, topless in front of a waterfall in the Amazon. I just want to run my fingers right through it please.

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Cheese Club MCR @ ÖL
Thursday 5th July
You have cheese. And you’ve got beer. Unless you’re a wheat intolerant vegan then that’s pretty much the perfect match. Cheese and beer go together like Han Solo and Chewbacca. Like Turner and Hooch. Like Dick and Dom. You get the point. Actually, I’m thinking of wine, aren’t I?! It’s cheese and wine, not cheese and beer! What’s this then? Well it seems like the gang at ÖL at Hatch are looking to change all that and pair 5 local British cheeses with 5 lovely beers at their event this Thursday. You know what – it could actually work, I mean cheese pretty much goes with everything and certainly makes everything better. Tickets are £25 and they can be bought below.

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My Birthday
Thursday 5th July
I write this ‘Things to Do’ stuff every single week and to be fair I find it quite therapeutic – chatting shit and trying to be funny for something that I don’t even think my mum bothers to read anymore. So, I think it’s safe to say that I can put my birthday in here as a ‘thing’ to do without coming across as a self-centred little prick. Well – actually I’m exactly that – but I don’t care because it’s my birthday. I’ll be 33 on the 5th July so if you want to send me any presents, cards, text messages, sex videos or cuddles – send them c/o the Finest Office. Love x x