On a mission to consume mediaculturedesignpeopleideasevents, and consume I have, I am also on a mission to see, do and go to as many new places as I can.
Matt & Phred’s, Northern Quarter
With a group of friends, we headed to Manchester’s most well-known jazz bar to see the Olivia Moore Trio perform on her violin with a pianist and guitarist. A couple of her songs truly mesmerised me with her Indian influences, but I came out that night realising how much I prefer minor keys to major keys.
Four Lions at the Cornerhouse
It was always my mission to watch more British and independent movies, so I decided to accept a friend’s invitation to watch Four Lions, a black comedy about four wannabe terrorists in Sheffield. Not sure if I should be laughing at such an issue as terrorism, but the suggested alternative of Chicken Cottage to McDonald’s (which is the epitome of evil Western capitalism) was truly hilarious. Yay to more British films, where shops like phones4u and Kebabish can be seen on screen.
Font Bar off Oxford Road
Instead of going to the usual Starbucks or Revolution, I made sure I went to an eating establishment I have never been to, so I happily obliged to Font Bar with a group of friends. Pity the students have all left the city, or the atmosphere would be buzzing. I even found this amazing graffiti outside. Not quite Banksy and a little gaudy, but still adds to the life and colour of this city.
Cèilidh at Jabez Clegg
Dancing has never been my forte, and so agreeing to a traditional Gaelic dance with Irish folk music was a brave move. Despite lacking in kinaesthetic intelligence from a young age, it was a very rewarding night. A morris dance troupe appeared at half time, fully dressed in bells and crow outfits and even gave me an idea for a wedding night.
Iron Man 2
The last time I went to the cinema before Four Lions was in October 2009, so I was glad to live the movie experience with a group of friends all over again – blockbuster, popcorn and all. Growing up in Malaysia, going to the cinema was a frequent habit because it was such a cheap pastime (RM10 or £2 per movie). They say the reason it is so cheap is to combat piracy in the region, but from my personal observations, Malaysians buy the pirated DVDs anyway after they’ve seen it in the cinema. There are just no original DVDs on sale. This also means most Malaysians are movie-savvy people. Every movie is accompanied by Malay and Chinese subtitles, which means even my Mum has an opinion on New Moon.
I have never bought a single fashion magazine in my entire life in England! So I decided to change things. I decided to stop being the intellectual snob who pretends to read The Economist but secretly just wants to devour VOGUE’s fashion spreads, not even read the editorials. So I chose Elle this month because Kristen Stewart is on the cover. I even chose the US edition, because the UK edition cover just wasn’t gorgeous enough. Judge a magazine by its cover? Absolutely!
Painted my face
I have always wanted to paint my face, but never dared. So the perfect opportunity came during the England vs USA match. There is a tourism initiative called ‘Penang my second home’ in my hometown, to lure rich foreigners to retire in Penang. In my case, it is only fair to say England is my second home. Dear Home Office, if I produce a picture of my face with the St George’s flag, will I score extra points in my citizenship test? C’mon England!
Lunched at the French brasserie off Albert Square with my friends Doraemon and Sexy, and was adventurous enough to try an asparagus leek cheese tart. It’s a shame there aren’t more French restaurants in the city, what with the closure of Brasserie Blanc off King Street. Doraemon had beef borbornon, and Sexy had mussels. Mmm, French!
CUBE is the Centre for the Urban Built Environment along Portland Street. If you haven’t noticed it, chances are because you only look at next door’s Chinese Buffet. Yes, that one in the bright neon red and yellow. The gallery is situated in the same building as the RIBA bookstore, an architectural heaven.
I spent a good two hours in there browsing the heavy picture books, learning about prefab homes, worksheds, the buildings in the Northern Quarter, and even discovered Slinkachu, an artist who makes tiny people and leaves them in the streets of cities like London and Manchester. I also came out with freebies from Blackpool and The Fylde College students’ exhibition. Magma on Oldham Street is another really good bookstore for books on homes, design and architecture, though not as comprehensive as RIBA’s.
Tea party at 35a
A friend invited me over to a tea party, and I was gladly surprised by homemade chocolate and strawberry cupcakes, cucumber sandwiches and chai masala – all made by a man! A great afternoon spent meeting another new person, and being welcomed into a new abode.
On Chesil Beach
A short novel by Ian McEwan that made me cry, yet again. That is how I judge a good book – on how full the cups of my eyes are with tears that I can no longer see the words. I marvel at how a simple love story of a young couple on the first night of their marriage could be told with such poignancy, and how McEwan evokes shame, guilt, anger and futility with such power. Ian McEwan is officially my favourite author.