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Get yer wellies ready, h2g2ers, you're going to . . .
Manchester, England, England
Happy Nerd helps us with a list of things to remember for the Meet.
Top Ten Things to Remember About the Manchester Meet
- Bring your own nametag. There's a contest.
- Bring an umbrella. It rains a lot.
- You do not need to bring a hip flask! There will be plenty of beverages on hand including a special brew specifically concocted for this, the first meet under new management.
- Bring a towel. This isn't in case of rain. Some h2g2ers want to make a 42-towel salute. This sounds cool. (Be sure to send us a picture at the Post.)
- Speaking of pictures, take a camera or one of those fancy mobiles and make lots of pictures. You see, people live in Manchester. That makes it fair game for the 'local interest' push we're having this month.
- Bring a raincoat. Have we mentioned that it rains a lot in Manchester?
- Bring extra brain cells. You will need them after sampling Pastey's version of a PGGB.
- Bring your wits and memories. There will be a quiz. Those who cannot come to Manchester but have access to the SubEthaNet can participate in the quiz virtually.
- If you get there early and want to have a drink, Pastey's meeting everybody on Friday at the Port Street Beer House.
- Have a good time, and remember to send us your pictures of Pastey with pants on his head.
Pastey provides the definitive insider's guide to….
Getting Around Manchester
It will shortly be the Manchester Meet Up, and a great number of researchers, possibly the largest gathering to date, will be converging on the city. But what do you need to know if you're one of those travelling here? What tips can you get that'll make your visit to the city more pleasurable?
The first thing to note is that it rains a lot here. Manchester has the nickname of the Rainy City, and at times it deserves it. It doesn't get the most rainfall of any city in the UK, in fact it's somewhere like 9th on the list, but when it does rain here you *will* get wet. So make sure to bring a rain coat or umbrella, but remember that due to being a city and getting high winds, a rain coat will be far more effective.
Manchester has three stations, Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria that form a triangle denoting the city centre. There's free Metroshuttles that can take you around too, when you arrive find a map and check them out. Or just look on line if you're the sort to plan in advance.
There's quite a few taxi ranks dotted about too, and black cabs can be flagged down if their orange "For Hire" light is on.
Do remember though, Manchester may well be a city, but it's more compact and bijoux than a sprawling mass. It only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to walk from one end of the city centre to the other. Sometimes it's not just cheaper to walk, but quicker too.
Buskers, Entertainers, Beggars and other Lowlife
A good busker is a pleasure on a miserable day. Their well-played tunes can lighten your heart from afar, their talented antics can bring a smile to even the most miserable face. Manchester doesn't have those. The majority of "buskers" are rejects from the third rate television talent shows who believe that caterwauling along to a very loud backing track album of karaoke one hit wonders will get them onto the telly. Manchester is even famous for having the worst real life statues in the country. Dressing up in white and moving to hand out lollipops to passing in children is not street art, it's just a little bit creepy.
The beggars in the city generally hang out at cashpoints, often sitting in front of the ATMs themselves. It is illegal to beg in the UK, and yet the police seem to turn a blind eye. The alcoholics hang out in some of the back alleys, and have yet to be seen begging but rather spending their time having "a laugh."
And if you thought Chuggers were bad elsewhere, you've never run the gauntlet of these charity muggers on Market Street.
Having said that there are the occasional talented busker, but you'll have a job to hear them over all the electronically amplified crap.
The other thing to look out for is Hen Parties. Being a large city "Up North" each weekend Manchester gets more than its fair share of middle aged women out for a night of excessive alcohol and often loose morals.
The city centre can be divided roughly in to districts.
Market Street and the Arndale
This is the main shopping area of the city and you'll find all the usual nationwide high street stores that have driven the local businesses out of business. It gets very busy here after 11am. People here don't seem to bother with the morning.
The Northern Quarter
Full of trendy bars, hipsters and record shops, cafes and good pubs. The area may look a little run down, but it seems they like it that way.
Spinningfields and Deansgate
Home to the more exclusive, or at least not quite a blight on every high street yet shops.
Oxford Road & The student district
This area caters for the students. It's usually cheap and busy and there's not many shops, but the bars and the atmosphere is good.
Manchester was the first city in Europe to have a designated gay village. Yay for integration. Lots of gay bars full of screaming queens and hen parties. All the gay people I know steer clear of it like a bad case of gonorrhoea. But this is one of the most tolerant and friendly places I have either lived or visited. Race, colour, creed, orientation, they really don't actually care here. The person you are is how they seem to judge you.
The average pint in Manchester is around £3. Not sure about the cost of other stuff. Not everywhere will accept debit cards, and most that do have a minimum transaction amount. So it's best to make sure that you have some cash on you. It is highly recommended that if you're running low on cash and happen to pass an ATM that doesn't have a beggar camped in front of it, to top up on readies a little.