All posts by Sarah

I'm a second year student at Manchester Uni studing English Literature and Linguistics!

Manchester’s infamous Warehouse Project

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Warehouse Project (or WHP as it is affectionately known), is an renowned Manchester hotspot, hosting gigs from some of the biggest dubstep, grime and electro artists, like Skrillex, Jamie XX and Aphex twin. Ever since my first year of uni, it was the place to go. So by the time it got to my third (and final) year, I had to give it a go.

The first (and very important) rule of WHP is to get your tickets early. Most of the big nights will sell out fast, so you need to get on it. After this point, there’s always going to be tickets floating about – as long as you’re willing to pay extortionate prices buying from cash-strapped students. Most WHP tickets are around twenty quid, and let me tell you, it is more than worth it.

At the time of my arrival, WHP was located, quite literally, in a Warehouse on Store Street. Who’d have thought? Raving below the streets of Manchester is rather different to any other clubbing experience. The venue is pretty massive, and very raw. If you’re all about the leather upholstery and swanky VIP booths, this is definitely not the place for you.

The same goes for the people inside. This is no 5-inch heel wearing, booty-shaking crowd. It’s more along the lines of sweaty, shirtless guys and girls, quite literally letting their hair down.  Unlike many of Manchester’s clubs, WHP has no time for pouting and posing. It is, quite simply, a place to let go. An atmosphere of euphoria buzzes through the air, with a bassline that is deafening in the best possible way.

This is a BIG night, and as awesome as it is, chances are it’s going to knock you out for a couple of days. Not a good choice for the night before a lecture/any event requiring any level of brain function.

After my first visit to WHP, I was hooked, and have now raved to the like the likes of Knife Party, Subfocus, True Tiger and Benga. However, last year, organizers announced that WHP would be changing locations, causing a flurry of panic that our beloved Warehouse would shuffle of to London. But despite our fears, WHP is staying in Manchester, in a currently undisclosed location. It is set to return in September of this year, although a special one-off Easter night will unveil the new location.

If you’re prepared to let down those civilized, sane-person barriers, get a bit sweaty, dance like a crazy and maybe snog a randomer, then Warehouse Project is the definitely the one for you.

Easter Sunday tickets here - http://www.thewarehouseproject.com/

Written by Sarah Davis, Manchester Uni

The Best of Manchester’s Takeaways

It’s all well and good knowing which bars to  hit and which clubs to rock up to, but it’s another thing deciding which takeaway to grace with your presence. It hits 3am and suddenly the streets are overrun with hungry students.

In Fallowfield (Manchester) in particular, there’s enough fast food to feed a small ravenous army. When you’re so overwhelmed with so many (obviously top quality) establishments, which one do you choose? As a frequent drunken takeaway-goer myself, I’ve devised a list of a few of Fallowfield’s main contenders, based on the food, price, friendliness and general levels of banter.

1. Krunchy Fried Chicken

Food – 4/5

Price – 4/5

Friendliness – 3/5

Level of banter – 4/5

Krunchy Fried Chicken is a first year haven, thus making it loud, noisy and a little bit sweaty. The staff are ridiculously efficient, so you won’t be waiting around for too long. Not the friendliest bunch, but the lack of staff charisma is more than made up for by fellow hungry, rambling students.

2. Venice Pizza

Food – 4/5

Price – 4/5

Friendliness – 5/5

Level of banter – 5/5

Two words. Cheap pizza. Here you’ll get a ten inch pizza for around £3. Definitely can’t go wrong with that. The staff will be your friends for life, as will the people on the next table. Always full to the brim with various creatively-dressed students, Venice has a great atmosphere. The only drawback is its business. If you’re willing to hang around a bit, it’s definitely worth the wait!

3. Shaan’s

Everyone loves a bit of grease..

Food – 3/5

Price – 3/5

Friendliness – 3/5

Level of banter – 2/5

Shaan’s is a cheap and cheerful kebab house. The chip naans and meaty kebabs are perfect for soaking up those last few jägers. If you ignore the fact that it’s next door to a brothel (delightful), Shaan’s is a great post-night out choice.

4.  The Codfather

Food – 3/5

Price – 3/5

Friendliness – 1/5

Level of banter – 2/5

If you’re craving real chip shop style chips instead of soggy fries, then Codfather is the place to go. Aside from the hilariously witty name, the food in the Codfather is pretty good, and not too harsh on the bank balance, either. If you’re looking to be on first-name terms with your favourite chip server, don’t expect it here. It’s more of an in-and-out kind of place – no banterous times here.

5. Alan’s Chicken

Food – 4/5

Price – 3/5

Friendliness – 4/5

Level of banter – 3/5

Alan’s is a fairly quiet takeaway next to Venice Pizza. Whilst it doesn’t quite live up to the atmosphere of Venice, the popcorn chicken rivals KFC, and you always get service with a smile. Not sure how much the guys behind the counter appreciate repeatedly being called Alan, though.

Choose carefully!

Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni.

A day in the life of a Manchester fresher

Ask any student what their opinion of Freshers’ week is and you’ll get a whole range of adjectives. Crazy. Hectic. Surreal. Amazing. I can vouch for Manchester, and after recently bracing the madness of Freshers’ for the third time in a row, I can wholeheartedly tell you that it’s incredible. But as great as it is, it’s often overwhelming. So I thought I’d break it down a bit, and give you a taste of a day in the life of a fresher. And not just any fresher – A Manchester fresher (the best kind, if you ask me!).

9am – Okay, you might naturally be an ‘early riser’ (chances are, you aren’t), but you’re not going to be up at this time. Stay in bed and sleep off the hangover.

11.30am – The less hungover/zombiefied of us may roll out of bed and commit to a hearty breakfast of last night’s pizza.

12pm – Where did the morning go? Spend a while marveling at the mess of your flat’s communal areas. Kick out last night’s remaining hangers-on that are passed out on the sofa. Attempt to pick up the dozens of bottles decorating the kitchen floor. Admit defeat.

1pm – Round together flatmates and vow to do something productive. Attempt to cook an actual meal, resulting in a screeching fire alarm and your entire block being evacuated (yes, this was me.)

2pm – Look at tonight’s activities and realize there are numerous fancy dress items required. Trundle into town and fight off other fellow freshers in Primark to ensure your quality items are secured.

3pm – Come home with bags of garlands, geek glasses and a Spice Girls outfit that you’ll later come to regret.

4pm – Head to Sainsbury’s for an alcohol run. Remember, in freshers’ week (and probably for the duration of your university career), going to supermarkets in slippers and/or pyjamas is entirely acceptable. Grab what’s left of the Sainsbury’s basics and head home, clinking.

The dreaded dirty pint

5pm – Time to freshen up! Quick shower before generally monging around for a bit.

6pm – It’s not too early to start drinking is it?

7pm – put on hilarious fancy dress outfit. Laugh at fellow freshers with even more hilarious outfits.

9pm – The serious drinking begins. If you didn’t know the rules to Ring of Fire, then now is the time to learn. Start to feel a bit on the tipsy side, but told you’ll be fine. Next drink is poured.

10pm – Get landed with the dirty pint. Enjoy a delicate mix of wine, lager and assorted spirits. Make a run for the bathroom.

11.30pm – Prepare to make a move. This is around the time when singing, chanting and general banter commences. Crack out your best anthems.

11.45pm – Get on a notorious Magic bus. Be sure to go to the top deck. Shouting, laughter and general bus rowdiness prevails. Manage to fit twenty people onto the back seat of the bus to the delight of fellow students.

12am – Arrive at club. Get a warning from the bouncer who eventually lets you in. What a babe.

1am – Head to the bar for your third (?) vodka coke. The dancefloor looks more appealing than ever!

2am – Throw some shapes and kiss someone. Almost immediately forget their name and pray you’ll never see them again.

3am – Stumble onto a bus with your new best friend/soulmate/confidante. Meet Crazy Bus Lady for the first time.

3.30am– Takeaway time! Back to the flat, stuff down chicken wings and a few chips, and drop the rest in your bed.

4am – The only thing left to do is pass out, surrounded by bottles, chips and other freshers. Good food, good wine (well, perhaps not the best…) and great friends. What more could you want?

And repeat…

Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni

Manchester on a budget

Keeping it cheap!

For most students, money is tight. I, for one often find myself more than a bit short on numerous occasions. Student debt and that daily (completely necessary) Starbucks seem to pick at your funds little by little. Then there’s that agonizing decision between paying the water bill and that big night out that’s on the cards… So a little help never goes amiss.

Manchester in general isn’t that cheap. Skipping into one of the city centre’s many bars and ordering your usual probably isn’t going to be cheap unless you’re really lucky. But that doesn’t mean that Manchester can’t be cheap. As long as you know how, you can get along fairly reasonably, minus a few splurges here and there.

Perhaps first on the agenda is where to drink. A double vodka red bull can cost you anything between £2 and £12 (for those of you hitting the Grey Goose), so it’s best to know where’s going to be kinder to your bank account.

Wetherspoons

Any ‘Spoons’ is always going to be a good bet. Cocktail pitchers are dirt-cheap and you’ll get a bottle of wine for around £6 (not the finest wine you’ll ever have but hey, we’re students), so it’s a good post pre-drinks/pre-night out venue. Ladies, be warned, some of the older Manchester gentleman may try to catch your attention or (let’s be honest), be downright pervy, but it’s generally nothing more than a few catcalls. A small price to pay for cheap drinks, some might say?

http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/

Baa Bar

If you fancy your drinks a bit shorter and a lot stronger, Baa Bar is definitely the one for you. It has a huge menu of crazy shots and shooters, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. Plus, at a pound per

shot, you can’t go wrong. I’d recommend a ‘Brain Damage’, if only for the sheer creepiness of downing a drink containing a gloopy ‘brain’. You can find Baa Bar in Fallowfield, Deansgate Locks

and Canal Street, Manchester’s gay village. The Fallowfield venue tends to be more of a get in, buy some shots, get out type of place but both Canal Street and Deansgate seem to hold more of a party crowd.

http://www.baabar.co.uk/

Font

If cocktails are more your style, then Font is the perfect place. You’ll find one in Fallowfield, and a bigger, busier one on Oxford Road. Catch them on a Friday or Saturday night and they’ll be packed. There is a reason for that though, and the reason is cheap drinks, or more specifically, cheap cocktails. It has a surprisingly good list of drinks, from Cheeky Vimto’s to Mai Tai’s, to Long Island Ice Tea’s. They start at £2 and go up to around £4. Sticking with the cheap two pounders will definitely keep your night cheap and cheerful (and probably rather merry).

http://thefontbar.wordpress.com/

Jabez Clegg

Jabez Clegg is a pub/club just off Oxford Road, the main student campus. It’s fairly cheap in the day, and every Friday night it transforms into the legendary club night BOP, a firm Manchester student favourite. Every week is a different fancy dress theme, and everyone goes all out. The atmosphere is great, and (more importantly), the tickets are only £3.50. The standard drink is the Green Monster. You’ll find everyone wandering round with these murky green pints. Probably best not to know what’s in them.

http://www.jabezclegg.co.uk/the-bop-8/

5th Avenue

5th Avenue, or ‘5th Ave’ as it is often known, is the marmite of the Manchester clubbing scene. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying the fact that it is cheap. You’re going to get some underagers, and probably a few beer showers, so it’s not the place to crack out the gladrags. But if you want a cheap and cheerful night out, it’s going to be top of your list. At the most, double vodkas are £2.50, and bottles are around £1.50. Always a good option for a cheap night, though perhaps not for those with 9am starts!

http://www.5thavenuemanchester.com/

As they say, look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves. Or at least buy you a few jagerbombs…

Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni

Gigging in Manchester

It’s all well and good having a stream of bars and clubs to take your pick from in Manchester, but sometimes, all you want is a good gig. Whether it’s the sweaty metal type or a cutesy acoustic set you’re after, chances are that Manchester has it.

As a Manchester student for two years now (and a gig fanatic, I may add), I like to think I’m qualified (ish) to judge a few of its venues.

 The biggest (and probably the one you will have heard of) is the M.E.N. Arena. It’s right in the middle of the city, and is an easy walk or tram ride from the centre. This is the place you’re going to get your big names – Kings of Leon, Tinchy Stryder, Justin Bieber (for anyone that may be so inclined to see the Biebs…). Basically, it’s big. Really big. Don’t expect to be within metres of your idols here for less than a hefty fee. The bonus is that it’s right in the centre of town – very handy for a cheeky post-gig tipple.

M.E.N. Arena

Next, there’s the 02 Apollo. Again, it’s fairly big but not so big that you’ll lose your mates. A nice little gig venue with some good names and great atmosphere. It’s in a bit of a random place just off Oxford Road (the main uni campus), and may require a taxi if you don’t really know where you’re going. Beware of the drinks prices! Not pretty.

The Apollo

 One of the main gig venues in Manchester is Manchester Academy. Always a popular choice for students, this venue’s in a great location on Oxford Road, right on the bus route. Academy 1 holds some big names, like Death Cab For Cutie and Mumford and Sons and Academy 2 and 3 tend to have the smaller (yet not obsolete) bands. Like the Apollo, Academy 1 is a good size, and has a great buzz about the place. If you’re looking for a gloriously sweaty mosh pit, then this is the place to go. Academy 2 is next door, in the student union. It’s a lot smaller but has all of the atmosphere of its big sister. Good for getting up close and personal with the bands, whilst enjoying the whole gig experience. It’s worth noting that the Academy bars are considerably cheaper than other gig venues, so you won’t have to count the pennies quite so much.

Manchester Academy

From the big to the very small, another great venue for the occasional gig is Trof. Strictly speaking, it’s a bar. It’s very small and very quirky and lies in the heart of Fallowfield, Manchester’s student village. Despite it’s size and casual demeanor, every now and then it hosts some unforgettable gigs. A few months ago, Frank Turner shocked everyone by turning up to do a ‘surprise’ charity gig there, announcing it only on Twitter an hour before. Being stood a few feet away from one of my favourite artists holding an acoustic guitar was something I’ll never forget. Keep your eyes peeled for big artists here, the size of the place makes it such an intimate experience. It’s also great for open mic nights and just a general hang out – definitely worth a visit!

Trof, Fallowfield

 Last but definitely not least is The Warehouse Project. This massive venue is in the city centre, and hosts some of the biggest names in dubstep and drum and bass. It’s boasted big acts such as Nero, Benga and Annie Mac. Constantly adding huge artists to its impressive resume, this venue is increasingly popular with both students and locals, and most big nights will sell out very fast.

Rather than being solely a gig venue, WHP is more gig-meets-massive-night-out. It doesn’t come cheap, but is definitely worth doing at least a couple of times a year. Just make sure you get your tickets early!

Warehouse Project

Here’s some links for Manchester’s upcoming gigs:

M.E.N. Arena

http://www.manchestertheatres.com/menarena.htm

02 Apollo

http://www.carling.com/music/gig-guide/venue/Manchester-Apollo/

Manchester Academy

http://www.manchesteracademy.net/

Trof Fallowfield

http://www.troffallowfield.co.uk/

The Warehouse Project

http://www.thewarehouseproject.com/calendar.php

 Enjoy!

Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni

 

The Rules of Halls

The ten commandments of halls…

DO make the most of freshers’ week

Freshers’ week is, in a word, chaotic. But at the same time it’s arguably one of the most important times of your uni life (okay, maybe apart from exam period..). It’s a great chance to meet loads of people from all walks of life – just don’t expect to remember their names! It’s definitely a time for forming friendships, so try to get in on the action as much as you can.

It seems like a good idea at the time…

DON’T get with a flatmate

Okay, possibly one of the most important. Freshers’ week arrives, it’s all go, your new flatmate’s looking hot and…no. Stop! Unfortunately, as gorgeous as Ricardo in the next room may be, it’s a no go. Your whirlwind romance could make the year horribly awkward, both for you and your flatmates.

DON’T pass up a night out

Nights out are bonding opportunities. That’s why it’s a good idea for new students to go on as many of them as possible! Not only is it that joyous time before deadlines and exams start to hit, but it’s also a really good opportunity to get to know your new flatmates, and other randoms that might cross your path.

DON’T bang on about your gap year

Also know as the ‘Gap Yah’ kids. Honestly? No one wants to hear about it. Well, not all day and all night anyway. If you have a witty anecdote about your time in South Africa, fair enough. Just don’t bang on about it at any semi-relevant opportunity. Not everyone is lucky enough to have been on a round the world trip, so keep it to a minimum.

DON’T be the messy one

Okay, so you can be messy. Just be sure not to be THE messy one. It’s bound to get rather untidy, but as long as you’re not the main perpetrator, all can be forgiven. It’s not going to take you long to wash up your sticky pan. Trust me – it’s a lot better than tackling three festering towers of pots and pans.

DO start looking for houses early…but not TOO early.

As second semester hits, so does the dreaded house hunt. It’s a good idea to start looking at houses early. All of the good houses seem to get snapped up before your eyes, and somehow you’re left with that peeling, chilly place that most students end up living in! Saying that, you need to have a good idea about who you’re living with and where, and it’s best not to rush into things. Make sure you really know the people you’re going to live with. A year’s a long time to spend with a ‘frenemy’…

DO make the most of having no bills!

Chances are, when second year hits you’ll be in a house, and that blissful year in halls without bills will seem like a lifetime ago. So enjoy it while you can! Unnecessarily long showers, room like a sauna…soon you’ll be paying for it!

DON’T stick to what you know

It might be the case that you know quite a few people from home at uni, but there will be a lot of people who don’t know a soul. For the first few weeks, it’s best to keep your distance from any home friends you might have and concentrate on meeting new people. Coming with an entourage of close friends can be a bit intimidating to others at first. Eventually, introduce your old and new friends…you’ll be unashamedly popular!

DO make your room a nice place to be

Make your room your own space. You’ll need it sometimes! Also, everyone always hangs out in that one room that’s homely. A TV and games console is always a good one to bring in the crowds!

DO enjoy it!

Lastly…living in halls is a blast, and it only lasts for a year…enjoy it!

 

 

The Problem with Summer

I think we can all agree that uni’s pretty hectic. It’s a crazy blur of essays, parties and cheap drinks. So when summer hits, and we’re presented with three stretching months of freedom, what do we do? Whilst the thought of so much time off is enough to strike fear into the hearts of students across the country, others seize the opportunity and make as many crazy plans as humanly possible. I, unfortunately, fall into the former category. Three months back in my ridiculously rural hometown is enough to turn anyone into a serial killer. That’s why this time last year I blew my the rest of my loan (and more) on two months in Australia.

It was actually surprising how effortlessly I blew £950 on flights alone, and hardly batted an eyelid when I forked out £120 for my visa (although I’m sure my overdraft did!). Looking back, it was a bit of a harebrained scheme…but oh-so worth it!

The plan was to fly over there, get a job on a vineyard, travel a bit and make every penny back. It was definitely easier said than done!

After a deliriously tiring twenty-three hours, I landed in Perth airport and checked into a hostel. The next day I got on a coach and within five hours I was in the wine region of Margaret River. It was here that the vineyard work began. What can I say about pruning? Perhaps it wasn’t the ideal choice of jobs for a chronic mirror-checking girly girl. It definitely took a while to adjust to the achey hands, makeup-less face and rude awakenings at 6am!

The good thing about seasonal work in Australia is that minimum wage is high. I was getting $18 an hour for essentially chopping at trees. You’re never going to make a killing pruning vines, but it’ll keep you going for a while at least (2 months in my case!).

After abandoning my short-lived pruning career, I travelled back to Perth with some friends that I’d met on my travels. A year later, I can still honestly say it was the best time of my life. The friends I made and the laughs I had there just can’t be matched.

Of course, coming back to England brought me back to earth with a bump. I realised it was time to come back to real life, and jump back into the (amazing but emotional) world of university again. So back to uni it was, and here I am again, faced with another endless summer.

Whether you’re content with getting your chill on (and making the most of the free meals) at home, or flying halfway across the world to make the most of a few months, just remember that these could be the longest holidays you’ll have – make the most of them!

So where will I be going this summer? China, New Zealand, Nepal? Not quite. I’ll be staying put, saving for next summer…

Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni

Living the Mancunian dream…

Two years in Manchester has taught me a lot. Being a student is like being in training for adulthood, where amazing friendships, heartbreak and whole nights lost to cheap vodka are all part of the deal. Manchester has an incredible allure, and the fact that it has over three hundred bars and clubs definitely helped in persuading me that it was where I wanted to be!

Both the city and the student population are huge. When I first arrived, hardly a day would go by when I didn’t find myself, quite frankly, a bit lost. Even now, after nearly two years, I still find myself asking for directions, wandering aimlessly round a random part of town.

The city centre is a blast, but student life in Manchester revolves around one place in particular – Fallowfield. Fallowfield is a town on the outskirts of the city, and is the heart of all student goings-on. Living there is like a constant party (with a student discount, of course), and it almost never sleeps. I say almost, because when exam period hits, the student haunts become eerily quiet.

The thing about Manchester students is that they work as hard as they play. And they play HARD. You learn this in Fresher’s week. Mine was something of a blur of cheap wine, fancy dress, forgetting names and being herded into bars and clubs with my newly acquired best friend (we never spoke again). The pace was incredible. My daily routine was: wake up, feel a bit ill, journey into town to find my bunny ears/police hat/eye patch, rock back up to the flat and pour myself a drink or five. I did this for nine days straight before I started to feel pretty exhausted, and inevitably came down with the dreaded Fresher’s flu. Was it worth it? Definitely!

The nightlife in Manchester really IS all it’s cracked up to be. I like to describe it as a ‘cheap London’. After a while, you do learn to be a bit picky. With so many places to go, theoretically, stumbling into the first club you see would be a fantastic plan….In Manchester city centre, not so much. The thing with having so many different clubs is that they differ so much. The sticky, darkened walls of the indie clubs I love might be another’s worst nightmare. The amount of choice is initially pretty overwhelming, but everyone soon learns where they like, where they wouldn’t be seen dead…and where they’ve been kicked out of.

Another bonus point for Manchester is the buses. It’s one of the busiest bus routes in Europe, and they run all night too – very handy for saving that taxi money and splashing out on a post-night out kebab!

The night buses are a classic example of the sort of community that Manchester students form. With a bag of chips shared and (another) new best friend later, the party continues in Fallowfield. Random flat parties and a cheeky snog outside a takeaway are all standard behaviour for a true Mank night.

For me, student life in Manchester is a perfect mix of personal and impersonal. In the vastness of the city, it’s comforting to know that students are never far away, and are always there to catch me when I fall – both literally and metaphorically!

Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni