Saturday, May 26, 2007

Day Off - Travel to Manchester

Blaine and I finished off in the hotel bar last night, closing it down around 1am. I had 5-6 Czech Budvars. He matched me beer-for-beer, and on top of that, he had a shot of Jack Daniels with each round. He tried to get me in on that, but I didn't want to feel like shit today.

After the show last night, our bus took the band (except for Tim, the percussionist) to London to another TV show. No need for Blaine, Wally (the LD), or I to go to that, so we stayed overnight in Birmingham, along with Tim. We'll be taking the train to Manchester…

Blaine and I hit the Starbucks shortly after 10, then walked around sightseeing a bit.

Met the guys in the lobby at noon, and off we went to the train station. We took the 12:48pm train to Manchester, arriving shortly before 2:30. Sat in first class, which is great on a train. Our entire coach had maybe 5 other passengers in it and was very peaceful and serene. Except for us, of course. Had we been bothering anyone, though, they could easily have moved back one car into the first class "Quiet Zone" car, where conversation of any sort is discouraged.

Made it to our hotel about 2:45. Up to rooms for chilling and/or napping, with a plan to reconvene in the lobby at 6 for a walkabout. Dinner will be by consensus with talk already of curry, or Chinese, or a good ol' chipshop. As long as there's beer, I don't care. Truth be known, I'd prefer the fish 'n chips, but I'll go with the crowd.

View across the hall from my door:
Click to enlarge.

View from my room window:
Click to enlarge.

Met Tim and Blaine in the lobby at 6pm and off we went in search of beers. Wound up at the Town Hall Tavern. Nice enough place to quaff a pint. I wanted a Boddington's but the bartender had a sad tale to tell me. It seems that since the last time I was here (2005), the Boddington's brewery has up and moved to Newcastle. Which means that Boddington's Pub Ale is no longer "The Cream of Manchester", as I've always known it. He said I'd have a hard time finding it anywhere in town these days – the townsfolk are still pissed at the brewery for taking their jobs elsewhere.

So no Boddington's for me. Not today.

Wally called and we met up with him 30 minutes later at a pub called the Old Monkey. Slapped back quite a few beers there and ran into about 7-8 crew guys from Lionel Ritchie. Nice buncha guys, including their tour manager. Those poor bastards have been over in Europe since January. That's waaaay too long to tour over here in one stretch. Our little 4 week tour is about as much as I can take.

So anyway, hung with them as long as was feasible. We still hadn't had dinner yet and didn't want all the restaurants to close on us. Goodbye all around, then we headed to Chinatown. Can't remember the place we ate at, but it was hella crowded at 10:30. The food was great!

Made it back to the hotel a little after midnight…

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