It is October.
October, in Manchester, means festivals.
And when I say festivals, I mean festival madness.
This weekend alone features:
Manchester Science Festival Trailblazer Events (leading up the festival proper)
Manchester Literature Festival
Manchester Food & Drink Festival
As well as at least two music festivals that I am almost completely unaware of.
It is October.
It is intense.
It is not a time to stay indoors with a cup of tea.
I don't know what's with the short sentences.
Somehow, this weekend's weather so far has been mild, not very windy, and not raining. Lucky us.
Last night, I attended a recording of The Infinite Monkey Cage. It's a BBC Radio 4 show (of course) about science and philosophy that also tries to do comedy. It's not my favourite radio show, or even my favourite radio show about science (what's up, Radiolab). But it's a fairly good show, and it features Professor Brian Cox! Despite the fact that Cox teaches at University of Manchester, and I was a student there for a year, and I am super-dorky about science, I had not yet seen him speak, so I was reasonably excited to see the show. Furthermore, this was a special recording held at the University of Manchester, as a trailblazer for the Manchester Science Festival! Hereafter known as MSF, dear readers. Acronymatic.
I had an extra ticket, and luckily, my dear friend Joe Sparrow had a free night, so we showed up early, got great seats, and promptly went out for a beer during the wait. Joe thinks Professor Brian Cox is dreamy. Really dreamy. Mostly, I think, it's the hair. The time went quicker than we thought it would, so Joe ended up chugging his beer.
Then the wait for doors to open was so long that we got more drinks. And then we were almost immediately called in to be seated. So Joe chugged another beer... and then we stood in line for about half an hour.
Basically, what I'm saying is he really didn't need to chug either beer.
And I probably didn't need to have two drinks in the first place, one of which was a very large glass of white wine.
Basically, what I'm saying is we were both a little bit tipsy. Check my twitter timeline starting on 14 October, around 7.30pm for evidence. Somehow, I managed to tweet the entire show from my iPod, with only a few minor typos! I'm very impressed with myself.
The show was fun, but I think Joe got more out of it than I did. There were a lot of Unix jokes, to which my response is "Unix who?" and a lot of Dr. Who jokes, to which my response is "Dr. Who who?" There was a man doing apparently excellent impressions of people I'd never heard of. At least Joe was larfing his arf off.
But the science stuff they talked about was really exciting:
1. A cling film thick layer of graphene could support an elephant. (but someone's challenged that on Twitter saying a layer of graphene that thick is just graphite. Graphene would be a sheet of graphite only one molecule thick)
2. What Alan Turing began to understand has only been coming to fruition in the last ten years.
3. Jodrell Bank's research is the best test of Einstein's theory general relativity we've got. (Jodrell Bank is the University of MCR's Centre for Astrophysics, based in Cheshire)
After that, we headed over to the Food & Drink Festival in Albert Square. As it was not raining and mild, I had a little pizza cooked in an outdoor, woodburning oven. Delicious.
Then, we headed over to visit Gemma at her new job, a pop-up bowling alley with a 50s theme. It's called Pin-up Bowling. Get it? Gemma loves the job, and she looks the part. Some people were dancing all 50s style to the 50s music, and it was really fun watching them. The bowling alley is really neat, too, I'm excited to actually go bowling there. They've imported special lanes, and the bowling balls are returned with these cool, 50s-style, above-ground tracks, so you watch the balls returning toward you, in between the lanes. Fancy. Pants.
I got a truly excellent margarita, and proceeded to top-up my tipsiness. Joe got a seriously strong Long Island Iced Tea. Then he proceeded to chug that for absolutely no reason. We were just sitting around waiting for Gem to get off work.
Basically, we got drunk again, watching people dance like it was 1955. Super fun. Joe and Gem are wonderful. I thought I'd take a picture of them... and then realised my camera screen was broken. I really am having a lot of camera trouble these days.
The camera itself stills works, though. I just can't tell what I'm taking a picture of, or where it's going to focus. It's a lot like using film again. And honestly, I'm such a perfectionist about taking photos that it's kind of nice to not know. I've just been clicking away with giddy abandon.
Maybe I got the shot.
When I got home last night, I downloaded the pictures I took of Gem... and I really love what happened when I couldn't immediately see the result.