Sunday, September 03, 2006
Having stumbled out of the cinema with a slightly glazed/confused expression after watching 'A Scanner Darkly', my wife and I decided to go for a late night beverage in rainy old Manchester. This is not always an easy task, as it is often hampered by moody bouncers, restrictive dress codes or condescending transvestites who look at you like you'd just crawled out of a turd before not letting you in (and then letting everybody behind you in). Admittedly the latter usually only happens in the Gay Village. As we were walking towards the affore mentioned Village we noticed a small queue entering 101 Princess Street. On enquiring about the entrance fee (£3) and being checked to see if we were wearing football colours (we weren't) we were allowed in by the unusually friendly bouncers. What we then saw was somethig pretty special... The place was called Satan's Hollow (thats SATAN not SANTA parents... Don't take take the kids there at Christmas...) Not surprisingly for the lair of the dark lord it was bedecked in Shlock Horror pastiche with columns that looked like melted wax, with tortured faces shrieking from within. There was lots of red and black paint and indeed a rather impressive representation of Beelzeebub over the DJ booth. As I imagine the real Hell maybe like, the place was populated by Goths. There was even a classic 'House Of The Dead' arcade machine in the entrance for good measure! (Always going to be a winner with me that one). But then the surprise... The music kicked in... Michael Jackson, Will Smith, The Beach Boys, Arctic Monkeys, Led Zeppelin, The Sugar Hill Gang, A Tribe Called Quest and a plethora of eclectic other tunes which my Cider soaked memory will not allow me to remember blasted out of the sound system. It was great! And the real surprise was that the affore mentioned Goths all got right into it, dancing away with gay abandon and get this...smiling, laughing and messing about in a most un-Gothly way, shattering all my prejudices/pre-conceptions to bits! Added to this everyone was friendly and chatty, the barstaff attentive and charming. There were humorous notes and labels everywhere (there was a pad on the DJ booth for punters to write requests for songs wth the instruction "Make sure you spell it right you dumb cunts..." and a bar tap labelled "wee -honest". At the end of the night after a lot of dancing and laughing and £1.50 pints, the DJ gave a shout out for me and the Mrs. then presented me with a CD of music he'd written and recorded (not half bad- a bit like Syd Barrett and Gram Parsons in places) and his co-DJ gave me his email promising to burn a CD of his set list! A more friendly and non judgemental you could not hope to find. So if you are looking for a genuinely fun (and cheap) night out in good ol' Manc make sure you give it a whirl!