Why don't you turn off the football and go and do something less boring instead

Following on from my pronouncement that Spinneyhead would be an Anti World Cup zone I’ve started compiling more interesting things to do and see whilst some blokes kick a ball around in Germany.

I get e-mails from the Council about events in the city, or you can go to their live events page. It seems as good a place as any to start.

Streets Ahead are planning a Summer of Enchanted Evenings. June 17th-18th sees the FEAST mass pipcnic in Platt Fields Park.

A midsummer mass picnic event for families and friends, with entertainment and activities, that will reflect the many heritages and rituals surrounding food and celebration. It will take place around the lakeside all Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.

Before the start of events in Germany, but also looking interesting, next weekenmd there’ll be a show in Castlefield by Theater Titanick – “INSECT”. I saw their show a few years ago and loved it.

‘Insect’ is based around an East German morality tale and describes living creatures’ ever-present urge to fly. In this case, the creatures are wingless ants, who, in the gradual evolution of all life, produce their first offspring with wings. The show plays out the jealousy and rage of the parents, juxtaposed with their pride of and need to protect their young. In true Theater Titanick style, the show is performed on an epic scale. The ants are enormous mechanical creations; there is fire, water, things arrive by crane and take off along a runway. The struggle for flight will never seem the same again!

Manchester Bike Week is 17th-25th June. I’ll be covering it on 2 Wheels Good.

The Exodus Festival is in Hulme Park on the 24th.

There are other, less hyped, sporting events going on.

Films coming out soon-

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – July 6th

Election – June 9th

Ultraviolet – Jun 23rd (Okay, this one looks a bit crap, but it didn’t stop me going to see Catwoman).

Fearless – June 23rd

This is just a starter. More suggestions as they occur to me. If you’re in another city please add stuff for your area in the comments.

Anyone fancy a Spinneyhead social on July 9th? We could have a barbecue (it might have stopped raining by then) and bring our own drinks so we don’t have to go into pubs with big screens.

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I guess I'm not the Queen after all

I had been planning to have an “official” birthday barbecue this weekend, trying to make a tradition of something I started for my third of a century. However, with Daz and Emily away, Clare in revision mode and Damian and me needing to practice climbing hills in advance of an assault on Sca Fell Pike I guess I’ll put it on hold.

You might have noticed that Spinneyhead has been a bit subdued for the last week and a bit. Basically I came back from a lot of travelling over the Bank Holiday weekend to go onto a bullshit Gateway to Work course. I shouldn’t be there. It’s useless to at least three of us (out of ten) but it’s in the rules of New Deal so we have to go. I should have been on a course preparing me for going self employed (as a professional blogger[!!??] it’s one of those things that confuses people more the more I try to explain it) but the funds were cut. It seems that, now that Tony’s back in, the funds have mysteriously reappeared. Pisses me off lots.

The one good thing I’ve gained from this course is an understanding of why I’ll need to get away from the PC when I go back to doing this full time. Between the “how to do an interview” videos and awful time filling quizzes I have managed to write up a press release and business plan. If I were at home I’d be fulfilling my first duty as a problogger- delivering lots of timely information garnered from teh Internets but I’d be slacking on the sitting down and writing original stuff because it’s just too tempting to go and check the RSS feeds every hour or so.

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Burn baby, burn

Whilst walking down Market Street on Saturday I saw something odd, a man with a barbecue strapped to him selling sausages. It turns out that is a German invention called a Grillwalker. It doesn’t look like the most comfortable way to sell hot meat products. In fact the next thing I noticed was a woman following him with a trolley of supplies and a large first aid kit. The customers may be shielded from hot fat but the poor vendor isn’t and it’s not like he could take a step back from the grill as it’s strapped to him.

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Do not drive whilst under the influence of this game

How good is Burnout 3? Well, you may have noticed a drop, nay plummet, in posts over the last few days. And it’s not all because I was out burning things at a Rag barbecue yesterday or wandering around Ancoats again and then falling in love with Gothy indie-chicks in Rockworld on Saturday. No, the time that would normally have been spent at the PC has been taken up crashing cars.

The graphics are improved, it looks brighter and it feels much much faster. It also really, really comes through on the promise of driving other cars into oncoming traffic, and shows you the results in cool slo-mo. You have some control even after your car has left the ground, allowing for that sweetest of things- taking down an opponent with your own wreck. Lots of other little details, from the boost, to the navigation to the way you win new cars have been improved, but it’s the Takedowns that I love.

Casa Spinneyhead has the PS2 version. The game is also available for the XBox.

Now to start saving up for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Gran Turismo 4. They’re both due out on October 29th. There could be arguments, even if the house does have two PS2s.


Joey Manley, developer of webcomicsnation (which will be the home of Deputised Experts whenever it launches) is looking for XML experts to help with the syndication code. I’m sure some of the Spinneyhead family (team members and Friends of) must know something about this. The sooner he launches, the sooner I can start publishing my epic and have a big celebratory barbecue.

Oh say can you see….

John and I have been working on preliminary plans for the 4th of July. I can’t reveal more until we start purchasing the relevant stuff, but if it goes to plan it should involve a barbecue, the stars and stripes, one or more effigies of Wubble U and fireworks. This’ll be such a date specific thing that I’ll have to ask everyone I know with digital cameras and video cams to be there (like they weren’t going to be after I said barbecue.)

More details on the project as the kit is acquired.

Ten Years Asleep

Penny arrived at the barbecue on Saturday and demanded a copy of Another Education because she’d been printing it out and ran out of ink with only 20 pages to go. This is the sort of thing my ego needs. Demands that I publish the follow up, and a little bit of persuasion finally drove me to produce the Acrobat version of Ten Years Asleep- downloadable here. The online version has been updated to match it, and is available here.

A little note, which I’ll be incorporating into the download page and adding as an authors comment on the online version just as soon as I expand it some more-

Every few years, I sit down and write a State of the Ian story. In 1992 it was Ruby Red, two people picking up the pieces after traumas and fallout from previous relationships- with a little lesbianism thrown in because I became attached to a supporting character and wanted to make her happy. 1996 was politics in Another Education, with the compromises and bad decisions forced upon students by the increasing concentration on the bottom line in higher education.

Out Of Fashion And A Trifle Uncool was written in 1998 and was about a bunch of guys in their late twenties casting about for some direction in their lives, with varying success. It forms the major part of Ten Years Asleep. The original TYA was an attempt in 2001 to consolidate Education and Fashion and add some more stories spread over the decade to trace all the characters interactions over the period. Some of the chapters for this project have been included in the story put up today. Some others- notably a silly contemporary tale of Susan and Gareth unwittingly foiling industrial espionage- have been excised.

Looking back over the stories it’s possible to see themes- the female lead who has overcome some past problems and is now determined to leave them far behind, who falls for the clever but slightly flakey male lead; indie music; the Lakes; eccentric cars; beer. People who know me have spotted other things I missed, such as the feminine side I didn’t know I had. But the most obvious aspect of all the stories is my continued and ever optimistic romanticism. Like Gareth, I continue to believe that one day, through the simple method of just being myself, I am going to meet Miss Right. Based upon my body of work I’d hazard a guess that she’ll be a short redhead or brunette (but she could be blonde, black, asian or oriental. She doesn’t have to be short either- I won’t know until I know.)

I’m off into town to look Darcy-esque and see if I can bump into Miss Right. Enjoy the book.

Just when I thought we’d settled into another English Summer of rain, the sun comes out again. Yay! Actually, Double Yay! because I’ve just bought a huge pack of organic barbecue meat.

Added bonus picture of the Day! I just found the leaning bottles hanging around in an old directory. A personal favourite and the intro image to Spinneyhead’s very first incarnation.