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Showing posts from 2019

Smokefest 2019

It was a Saturday morning in November and my face was drained of all colour. I clung to the nearest pillar on platform 4 of Manchester Piccadilly. I casually wondered whether 16-year-old me had been right all along; that I would indeed die from too much Irish stout. Whilst the majority of my matter was silently screaming for my bed, my heart wished it was on the now-departing train to New Mills that I had been watching from several platforms away.  It was the first morning of Smokefest 2019 , hosted by Torrside Brewery, and I'd been looking forward to the event ever since I purchased ticket numbers 3 & 4 as they went on sale. (I am still not sure which rascal snapped up 1 & 2.) My only saving grace, that kept me going as I continued to feel very sorry for myself for the next 24 hours, was a ticket for the following day and a determination to be well enough in time for it.  I've never made much of a secret of my love for smoked beer. From pre social me

Football and Pubs Part 2 - Ashton-Under-Lyne (Vs Brackley Town)

The more that I visit local towns for a few pints, the more I realise just how much reputations of these places have influenced other people over the years. There isn’t an area I can visit without a worried voice warning me of being attacked, bottled or assaulted in some way. I imagine this would be applicable to any area within 20 miles of Manchester that isn’t Alderley Edge. We are quite a prissy nation really, or certainly the country of Manchester is. One area that was never going to be immune to such criticism was Ashton-Under-Lyne . Another town in Tameside, following on from a visit to Mossley to begin with , Ashton could be considered the borough’s capital. It houses the only real shopping centre, the only real shopping precinct, the multi-screened cinema complex that dominates the area’s film-going public, the main hospital for miles and, of course, it has IKEA. On a personal level though, Ashton formed much of my underage drinking experiences, in the early no

A Pint of Line Two and a Packet of Dry Roasted

There's a lot of moaners and grouches in the pub. I'm one of them. Some border on misanthropy. We are the regulars who return day after day to complain about every change in light bulb or different angle of pumpclip, yet still return as we know we don’t want to drink anywhere else.  Amongst the malice and hyperbole is one regular who defies the norm and has a smile for every punter and every member of staff. He is universally liked amongst each clique and type of regular. And - more fool him - he has become one of my very good friends.  The wonder of pubs for many is in the friends they make that transcend the days of social media, video calls and constant "group chats." Me and Colin have each other's numbers but they are rarely used, except for the odd facetious text of encouragement - "You are Two-Nil down already mate."  Mostly we just meet at the bar. First by chance. Then increasingly "by chance." Then it became Thu