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21 unmissable events in Manchester this week

Maxine Peak as Hamlet
Maxine Peak as Hamlet

How's it going, Manchester? Welcome to our first round-up of the week's best events for culture vultures, food fiends, clubbers and families alike. Sitting comfortably? Good stuff, let's get started...

Things to Do

Manchester Literature Festival, various venues until Sun 19 Oct. 'MLF' is in full swing and there's plenty still left to get involved in including these highlights:

Polari Literary Salon, Contact Theatre, Wed 15 Oct, £6. With Jonathan Harvey, Neil Bartlett and Paul Burston amongst others, this should be a lively affair.

Ben Watt, International Anthony Burgess Centre, Sat 18 Oct £7/£5. Mr Everything But The Girl discusses his latest book 'Romany and Tom'. Inspired by his parents, it touchingly recounts their love affair, marriage and decline in their later years, and forms a worthy follow up to Ben's brilliant first book, 'Patient'.


Early One Morning, Bolton Octagon, until Sat 1 Nov, £11.50-£17.50. The moving - and true - story of a soldier, local lad James Smith, and his trial for desertion despite being a decorated hero. Unbelievably, over 300 young men were shot during the First World War, accused of desertion.

Hamlet, Royal Exchange, until Sat 25 Oct, £10-£37. 'Hamlet' is still packing them in at the Royal Exchange, with Maxine Peake swapping gender in the title role. There are some wonderful new slants on a familiar lay and, whilst tickets are hard to get, if you can get one, do.


John Legend, O2 Apollo, Wed 15 Oct, £32.50-£50. If you're quick you can catch nine-time Grammy-winner at the Apollo tonight. Described by Quincy Jones as a genius, Legend seems to make a success out of all he attempts, be it performing, producing or acting.

Wheatus, Academy 3, Wed 15 Oct, £13. Wheatus are back, also tonight. Can you believe that 'Teenage Dirtbag' is now fourteen years old? More a case of twenty-something douchebag perhaps.

In Flames, The Ritz, Thu 16 Oct, £18. If you fancy something more aggro, Swedish death metal band In Flames will be making the bouncy dancefloor at The Ritz earn its sturdy reputation on Friday.


XS Malarky Storytellers Club, Zoo, Wed 15 Oct, £5. Something new to the award-winning XS Malarky Comedy Club is this storytellers' night, with comics recounting true tales from their lives. Expect the odd revelation or two, all hosted by comedian Sarah Bennetto.


Disney On Ice - 100 Years of Magic. Phones 4U Arena, Wed 15 - Sun 19 Oct, £23.25-£42.75. Disney takes over the Arena until the 19th, and whilst the little ones will no doubt love it, 100 Years of Magic doesn't come cheap! 

Food and drink

Food Fight, Great Northern, from Fri 17 Oct, for ten weeks. This week sees the start of a ten-week run of Food Fight. It's down at Great Northern in one of the usually unused spaces there and promises a mixture of food, drink and music in a way not seen before in the city. Both established venues and street vendors will be taking up residence for part of the time there, so over the next few months there's going to be plenty to sample, some of it familiar, some of it new. It's organised by B.Eat Street so you can find out more on their website here once more details become available.


A Joyous Thing With Maggots at the Centre, Castlefield Gallery, Wed 15 Oct - Sun 23 Nov, free entry. As part of the 2014 Asia Triennial, this exhibition includes a talk by the artist on Sat 18 Oct.

Behind the Mask, The Lowry, until Sun 11 Jan, free entry. This photography exhibition of fantastic and revealing portraits of various BAFTA-winners includes performers like Robert de Niro and the late, great Lauren Bacall. You could pop in to see Lowry Favourites while you're there too.

The Sensory War, Manchester Art Gallery, until Sun 22 Feb, free entry. This fine exhibition takes work from 1914 to 2014, to examine how artists reflect the impact of war on the senses. It's a beautiful exploration of what war does to people and landscapes, and the legacy which follows. Entry is free, and it's both a sad and celebratory experience.


The Cabinet of Dr Caligary, Cornerhouse, until Thu 16 Oct, £8 You can still catch the expressionist classic at Cornerhouse until the end of the week. If you've never seen this hugely influential German horror from 1920, you really should. It still has the power to mesmerise and grips like a vice almost a century on. Remarkable.

Gone Girl, cinemas citywide. Transformed into the kind of wickedly confident Hollywood thriller you pray to see once in a decade, Gillian Flynn's absorbing missing-wife novel emerges – via a faithful script by the author herself – as the stealthiest comedy since ‘American Psycho’. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike star, while David Fincher (Se7en, The Social Network) directs with a stylish, chilling verve.

Find our full cinema listings here.


Hypercolour Presents, Joshua Brooks, Thu 16 October, £10-£15. The leading electronic label takes over the basement at Joshua Brooks, where deep, off-kilter house maestro Matthew Herbert (Accidental) plays on the ones and twos.

Tribal Sessions, Sankeys, Fri 17 Oct, £12. New York's Levon Vincent travels to Ancoats for a set that's sure to mind the deep and dubby end of the house spectrum.

Bollox, Star and Garter, Fri 17 Oct, £5. The monthly triumph of altered clubbing for gay, bi and straight queers returns, with its usual mix of punk rock, wonky pop, indie, '80s trash and electroclash.