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My Town // Werkha presents Manchester

August 20, 2013

“My Town” is a feature wherein friends and family from around the world give us the lowdown on their home town – favourite bars, restaurants, record shops and more. Forget Time Out – this is the only city guide you need.

This time we hear from DJ/musician/producer Werkha about his hometown, Manchester.

Where I like to chill out:

Islington Mill
A place to take in some of the city’s most exciting artistic explorations. The mill hosts all sorts of exhibitions and installations, as well as accommodating some of the best ear-to- the-ground music promoters in town.. all within the confines of an old Salfordian Mill. The cobbled courtyard out the back is a beautiful place to be at any time of day.
Islington Mill, James Street, Salford, M3 5HW; Phone: 0161 278 6404

Fletcher Moss Park
A sunny day in this park is a proper chill. Take a picnic and wonder round for a few hours through the botanical gardens and the meadows. If you feel the need to top it off with a cool pint there are conveniently placed pubs by the entrance to the park on Wilmslow Road.

Wonder around Chinatown, Canal Street & the Curry Mile
It is worth wondering through these different areas of the city and soaking up the atmosphere each one has to offer. The Chinatown gate is a sight in itself, while the food shops are packed with wonderful ingredients from the east and seafood still trying to escape. Nearby is Canal street (or the Gay Village) with it’s leafy pedestrian walkway and canal-side bars, a chill during the day and one of the most lively parts of the city by night. Finally, the Curry Mile does exactly what is says it does, curry houses, shisha bars and shops line the street for a solid mile whilst traffic struggles from one end to the other, resulting in a really vibrant atmosphere.

Where I like to party:

Band On The Wall
This not-for-profit venue continues to provide some of the best musical experiences in Manchester, hosting some of the finest live concerts (I saw Mulatu Astatke here, incredible) and continuing to provide for some of the best club nights in the city (Mr Scruff’s Keep It Unreal & Craig Charles Funk n Soul Club amongst others). The sound is on point, the décor is tasteful, and it even looks good from the outside!
BAND ON THE WALL Tel: 0161 834 1786
25 Swan Street,The Northern Quarter, Manchester, 
M4 5JZ

I’ve had loads of great nights here, many blurry nights here.. amongst the many regular club nights that run here, Hoya:Hoya & So Flute lead the way (the latter of which Gilles came north to play for). You get high quality music here, even on the rare occasion it is quiet, the atmosphere is full.
The Roadhouse 8 Newton Street, Piccadilly
, Manchester, 
M1 2AN; Phone: 0161 237 9789

Antwerp Mansion
This is a beautifully rough around the edges venue which began it’s days as a squat. It plays host to all sorts of nights, but once it’s flowing you’re sure to be carried away by the vibe of the rickety old mansion.
Venue Entrance: Rusholme Grove, off the Curry Mile, Wilmslow Rd, M14 5AG

Where I like to eat & drink :

Q-Cavern (Eat/Party)
An Ivorian basement cafe, they do fantastic Goat Curry here and serve a few beers on draft. Lovely food, a friendly owner and they drag a sound-system in there every now an again (I came to a Shackleton gig accompanied by an art exhibition by Zeke Clough here once).
14 Newton St. Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AF U.K. *Top African food… *Cellar parties… *Good vibes….

The Kings Arms (Drink/Eat)
A former music hall and now pub with a lovely atmosphere, there is a good selection of ales as well as live gigs and live theatre. Of course there is also a healthy sunday roast available every week. One of a few nearby good quality pubs along the developing Chapel Street corridor.
The Kings Arms, 11 Bloom Street, Salford, M3 6AN; Phone: 0161 839 8726

Big Hands (Drink)
This is a popular one to catch up with mates in, a boisterous bar with a recently established wooden roof terrace, surrounded by plants from the flower shop next door. It tends to stay open relatively late if busy enough and usually has a dj on hand to provide tunes throughout the evening.
296 Oxford Road
, Manchester, M13 9NS; Phone: 0161 272 7309

Where is the best place to buy music?

Piccadilly Records
“The audiophiles’ record shop” as a mate once referred to it. A high quality wide selection of music. I’ve found many of my favourite records in here, expect to pay first hand prices for top quality wax.
Piccadilly Records, 53 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JR

Vinyl Exchange
This is just over the road from Piccadilly Records, and is a considerably cheaper second hand record store but with a decent selection of hidden gems in amongst the boxes of wax that fill the vinyl basement section of the shop. Upstairs there is also a very healthy collection of CD’s. This is the shop for blind diggin’.
Vinyl Exchange, 
Mail Order Department, 18 Oldham Street, Manchester, 
M1 1JN

Beatin Rhythm
Specializing in Northern Soul, gospel, funk, soul 45′s (amongst others), this is a hidden treasure chest for those looking to purchase the classics from many moons ago. A really excellent knowledge of their impressively well kept record collection.
Beatin’ Rhythm, 108 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LR; Phone: 0161 834 7783

Eastern Bloc
Probably the finest purveyor of forward thinking electronic music with a lovely adjoined cafe thing going on. A great place for your techno and house, as well as all things electronic and left-field.
5A Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M1 1DN

Best places to shop?

This is a quaint little cafe/shop in northern quarter. All sorts of random goods make their way onto the shelves including corner shop sweets I didn’t think existed anymore and alternative crockery sets. It’s a load of fun basically!
74 – 76 High Street, Manchester, M4 1ES

Any of the emporiums around the Northern Quarter..
These are full of dated classic bits of clothing, old rusty bikes, random bits of furniture and football tops from yesteryear. There’s literally piles of stuff everywhere, apparently a fashion students’ paradise.

Your town only experiences?

There are some pretty high quality buskers about town, Jali and his Kora bring beautiful african sounds to the streets, sometimes joined by his dancing mates.. that’s always nice to see. The kid’s with their home-made Penny-for-guy dolls, saving up for sweets outside shops. And then there’s the football, you’ve got two of the biggest clubs in the world within a mile of the centre of town, (Man City & Man United) derby day is always a lively affair.

What’s the local expression/saying?

You know where you stand if somebody refers to you as “aah kid” (our kid). Obvious things such as “snide” and “init” worm there ways into most conversation regularly. After a heavy night you might feel “angin” (horrible, grim).. and you might say bye with “in-a-bit”. There’s many more to get your head around but that’s part of the fun.

Sum up your town in three words

Basements, Bees & Cultures.

What’s the best local delicacy/street food/snack?
A fantastic no nonsense curry, Little Aladdin’s in the norther quarter is a top spot, and just around the corner there’s always a guy shouting about his one pound strawberries, a healthy bit of fruit is never a bad shout! There’s some could Sandwich places which do decent bites to eat. And pies!

Who is the best local talent in your area?

There is some great electronic producers stamping their footprint on the city at the minute, Walton (Hyperdub), Lone (R&S), and really great underground music from the likes of (murmur). Leading the UK Jazz scene forward is Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana Records with the impressive Gogo Penguin on its roster. The Mouse Outfit are doing great stuff for hip-hop, and The Kora Collective are bringing a different angle to that scene too. I recently found out about this wicked producer called Sivey, really tasty synth-based electronica, have to admit that slipped by me! You constantly come across exciting stuff you haven’t heard before, there’s a lot going on.

10 Tracks Inspired by your town/country…

Shackleton – Shortwave
Gugu – AC Riddim
Mouse Outfit ft. Sparkz – Shak Out
Matthew Halsall – Sachi
James Blake – Air & Lack Thereof
John Renbourn – Buffalo
Mr Scruff vs Kirsty Almeida – Pickled Spider
Flying Lotus – Do The Astral Plane
Desmond Dekker – Shanty Town
Vaughan Williams – The Lark Ascending