Wednesday 1st July
I park the Volvo on a sidestreet in Didsbury where Alex K is waiting in his Honda Jazz sport. I get out of my car, get into the Honda, we drive towards Stockport.
We go to Casino 36 in Stockport. Bet a few pounds on roulette with a limit of losing £3. I break even. At 9pm there's a buffet served. A queue of people at the table where the food is dished out appears. They're not well dressed and some are taking so much food they're being greedy.
Me: "They probably come from 20 miles away for a free meal."
Croupier: "I bet some of them take the bus and travel for an hour."
If the casino provides a free buffet that's one thing. However some of the guys here are taking the equivalent of 3 or 4 portions of food. They probably don't eat for a day or two afterwards.
Me and Alex K have a chicken and leek pie with chips and eat it outside on the rooftop terrace. We have some beer followed by colas. The weather is very warm even though it's evening. It's hotter outside than inside. We hjave an enjpyable meal.
Me: "Gambling is boring. Let's go."
We drive to Manchester city centre.
We park the car and go to the casino on Whitworth street. We've got casino vouchers waiting for us, we pick them up at the reception.
Inside we go to the roulette table. Alex K puts £20 with a no-lose voucher on red, £10 on black, and 50p on zero. We've covered the whole board and with the voucher it turns the odds to our favour, meaning we'll guaranteed win £9.50.
Alex K: "It's like Warren Buffet. You've got to eliminate the risk!"
Croupier: "You can't do that. It's not a valid bet."
Alex K: "Why not?"
Croupier: "You can't bet on everything."
Someone who works for the casino and is standing nearby says
Casino employee: "But the casino will lose money like that!"
Me: "He can't bet like that. But I can" I say and cover Alex K's position. We do this 3 times and win £28. The casino staff aren't pleased. £28 in 5 minutes is easy money though, and we're not breaking any rules.
Then there's a raffle where someone wins a satnav. Then the casino staff spin the big wheel - it's like a wheel of fortune. The wheel stops on - half price bar snacks all night.
I order a vegetarian burger, Alex K gets some chips and uses another voucher for a free glass of wine.
We're in the restaurant area enjoying ourselves.
Barman: "This is the house of the devil you know. All the numbers on roulette add up to 666."
Alex K: "Really."
Barman: "Yes. It doesn't bother me though. I'm a Pagan."
Me: "Oh right. That's interesting. What kind of things do you do?"
Barman: "Worship the sun, nature and so on."
We talk a while.
We discuss going out.
Me: "What do you think about people not going out so much. Spending time on the internet and social networking?"
Barman: "It's just a trend."
Me: "The more people lose their social skills, they become more nervous about going out. We're becoming a nation of computer geeks."
Barman: "It will come around that people will realise the internet is a simulation, and want the real things again."
Me and Alex K are sitting at one of the tables in the bar area. Our food arrives. It's very good quality. The barman brings me a complementary Jack Daniels and Coke. I thank him.
Alex K: "That’s' funny. The casino the house of the devil. We're beating the devil at his own game!" he says referring to our taking money out of the casinos.
Me: "That barman was alright wasn't he."
Alex K: "Maybe he was the devil. The devil can be well disguised! That's why he gave you free alcohol."
We leave the casino and walk along the city streets back to the car.
Me: "Screw casinos. Same for stockmarket investments. You've got talent. You should use it and make a film. Nevermind gambling or getting money out of the casino."
Alex K: "But it was good. We had a night out, 2 meals, and ended up with more money than we went out with!"
Me: "That's good. But you've got to use your skills. Do something and hit the big time."
Alex K: "You're right."
We drive around Manchester with Rock Radio on. We talk.
Alex K: "We should have our own radio show. Record what we say and make it into a good discussion show. I've got a good voice recorder at home. I'll have to bring it next time."
Me an Alex K always have good conversation while driving around in the car. It would make a great show.
Alex K: "Maz is thinking of starting his own business. He's coming up with lots of ideas at the moment. Ideas are just stage 1 though.
Me: "What stage are we?"
Alex K: "We're at stage 5."
Me: "We're players. I've got a product - book - in the shops for sale."
We drive around some more. There's a prostitute touting for business as we pass the Ancoats end of the city.
Alex K: "Here's my favourite street in Manchester. Look."
Alex K drives the car fast down a very steep cobbled street. Then he turns the car around and drives it up it. There's a g-force as we're pressed into the seat accelerating uphill!"
We go to the Northern Quarter, to Matt and Phred's Jazz club. Then we go home.
Summary and venue reviews
Click here for Season 5 Index
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual. Décor: 10/10.
Notes: Free buffet.
Grosvenor Casino Whitworth Street
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual. Décor: 8/10.
Notes: Lots of offers and vouchers for members.
Grosvenor Casino Whitworth Street
Matt and Phreds
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual, casual. Décor: 7/10.
Notes: A jazz club.
Matt and Phreds