Wednesday 26th November
I'm at the circle club which is a private members club in Manchester city centre. The circle club was originally a place for people who work in the media. Anyone who was a journalist, production company employee, researcher and so on used to have membership at the circle club paid for by the company they worked for. A lot of people at the Manchester Evening News used to go there.
A few years ago the media types stopped going as often. It was for a number of reasons. People started going there later and later and got to the point where the night out wouldn't get going until 1am. This started to put off some members who would go there at 11pm and there'd only be a few people there. Another problem was the high drinks prices, the loud music put off a lot of the media types who originally liked it because it was friendly and they could mingle with like minded people. This is all what people told me anyway because I went there occasionally. I wasn't a member but a school friend who worked in the media used to get me in as a guest.
A few years ago the club opened to people who don't work in the media so anyone could join. The venue was gradually improved and appealed to non-media types to the point now where it's doing very well. It's a nice place and I recommend visiting it. There are luxury sofas, quality décor and it's well laid out.
As I walked into the venue today there was building work going on. They were putting in a new spiral staircase and expanding upstairs. The club was originally only a basement club but they must have rented the space above which is a shop unit and they're currently doing building work upstairs.
Anyway. I'm here because there's an event on called Manchester Fashion Northwest Fair organised by manchesterfashion.com. It was £3 in and I'm here to see if there's any people interested in writing articles for a magazine I'm working on. I have this idea to set up a magazine for the neighbourhood I live in.
I came here at 2pm and stayed for an hour, it was quiet and they expected it to get busy at 5pm. I went around the shops and came back at 4pm. The manchesterfashion.com events are usually very good and it's a professionally run organisation. I met 2 people who are interested in writing articles. One of them seemed very enthusiastic so I got what I came for.
Having paid £3 to get in here I decide to stay and get some work done. It's 5:00pm now so if I travel home it'll be rush hour. I brought some work with me so now I'm sitting on a high stool at the bar with a pen and paper writing articles.
In the same room over on the sofas are two people who work for the circle club. One does sales and one does events. The one who does events has been making phone calls all afternoon. Two people come to the bar and by now I'm considering what to do on the Friday night out, so I say
Me: "What kind of places do you go out?"
Lady 1: "Everywhere really."
Me: "Where do you like to go?"
Lady 1: "We go to the Northern Quarter. We don't go out that much though. It costs £70 for a night out."
Me: "That's a lot. My last night out was £15."
Lady 1: "Wow! That's good!"
Me: "You don't have to drink that much."
Lady 1: "I know. But it's the way it goes."
The barman goes to the backroom. Lady 1 has just bought a drink.
Lady 2: "How much did that cost you?"
Lady 1: "£4.35."
Lady 2: "That means the drink I bought earlier must be about right."
In bars and clubs the vodka and juice drinks, which they have bought, are always more expensive than beer.
Another lady I speak to goes like this
Me: "What places do you like to go out?"
Her: "Northern Quarter. Sankeys. Where do you like to go?"
Me: "Kro Bar, Tiger Tiger."
Her: "I don't really go there."
Me: "What don't you like about it?"
Her: "It's dressing up."
Me: "You mean you don't like going out dressed smart?"
Her: "It's not that. I don't like going out smart every weekend."
Me: "Why not?"
Her: "It takes effort. Besides, it's who you go with that matters."
Me: "It's nice to dress smart. You should be proud of yourself."
I ask the barman who is now standing at the bar with no customers.
Me: "What kind of places do you like to go out?"
Him: "I don't really because I work in a bar. Yesterday I did a 17 hour shift."
Him: "When I do go out there's some new bars in Castlefield that have opened near to where I live. They're really great places. You should try them."
Me: "Where are they? Near Dukes 92?"
Him: "They're past Dukes 92, keep on going past the canal near the 4 blocks of flats."
Me: "When you go out. Do you like to dress smart?"
Me: "It's just that now everyone seems to go to the Northern Quarter and not wear smart clothes, just like any pub."
Him: "Totally. I know what you mean. I'm the same. I like going out smart to bars and clubs."
Me: "It's a special night out, I go out every Friday and make it a really good night."
He nods and agrees.
Then someone comes to the bar so he serves them.
I do some more work which includes writing a few articles.
I leave the Circle Club.
It's night time and I'm on the street in St. Ann's Square. The Christmas lights are on and it's a nice atmosphere.
Clubbing does seem to be in decline. I wonder why. Then walking past the Arndale over to Piccadilly Gardens I realise why.
When I first started going to nightclubs in the city I was still at school. The first places we went to were the Ritz and Royales. There was also Isobar and a few bars on Oldham Street and Deansgate. Me and a school friend Chris were in lower 6th form doing our A-Levels. I went to the big city on the Metrolink to arrive at 8pm. It was possible to use the Metrolink which only ran until 12:45pm because people went out at 8pm and many went home at 1am. Now people go out at 10 and go home at 2 or 3. Taxis are the only option which could make it too expensive for a lot of people.
Anyway. The first time you go to a club at 18 it's like Wow! All these people dancing, having a good time, wearing the latest styles. You try dancing, you have a go, you know you're learning but it's ok. Keep watching people with the good moves, learn off them.
It takes months of going to a club every week. It's a learning experience of how to dance, be streetwise, and what clubbing is about.
What happens nowadays is the students go to a club occasionally and don't learn off the other nightclubbers. They sulk, go home, and end up going to the Northern Quarter for 3 weekends to sink a few pints. It's the facebook generation. They are used to making friends by clicking a button. It's not as fun - there's so much more to doing things in the real world.
Clubbing is good for you, it takes effort and creativity to get smart clothes – you end up with style. Learn the dance moves – you end up enjoying dancing. Learn to approach people – you end up with friends. It's good fun and there's lots of entertainment.
Summary and venue reviews: Wednesday 26th November
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Medium busy. Clientele: manchester fashion members and employees of he Circle Club. Décor: 8/10.
Notes: A private members club which is often hired out for events. Today was the Manchester Fashion
Manchester Fashion Network