Sunday, 29 January 2017

The (Un)Grateful Dead

A few weeks ago I was contacted by friends asking if I wanted to attend a 'Day Of The Dead' night in Manchester.  It looked interesting - I do like the Day Of The Dead costumes and theme, and a full night of the carnival based in a large but under-cover venue (it was Manchester after all...) made things look even more enticing. A £24 ticket later, and I was looking forward to the night.

We arrived in convoy at Bowlers Exhibition Centre in the heart of the Salford industrial complex.  A queue snaked from the entrance.  Already I could see some fabulous outfits and make-up - and that was just some of the guys.  There were lots of stunning ladies to, er, admire, too, while we moved slowly forward in the queue.

It soon became evident for the reason of the queue - everyone was being searched for drugs or knives.  I've not really ever been to a mainstream event that required such indepth searches - in the rock/alternative music scene there's rarely trouble of any kind, and the fetish scene is equally well self-policed.  Nevertheless, I did put up with a thorough check of my bag and a pat-down from the female security staff - although I did hear that the guys in the group were dealt with and searched less politely.  There was an odd moment when she nearly confiscated my triangular-shaped mints thinking that they were Viagra tablets, and I had to eat four of them to show that they weren't drugs.

We were all eventually inside the cavernous interior, however, which, on a bloody cold Manchester night was... well, bloody cold inside too.  I'd chosen to wear a lace dress and not much more, but very quickly realised I'd be keeping my coat on all night.  Pounding dance music thumped from the speakers, incongruous against the Mexican Day Of The Dead themed decor of the club.  One of my female friends, a die-hard rock fan, yelled in some dismay "Fucking hell - we've come to a bloody rave...!"

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Day Of The Dead, Manchester 2017.
Soon, a small parade began its way through the crowd, attempting to inject some carnival-like spice to the night.  It looked very impressive actually, and there was clearly someone behind the scenes with a great eye for detail and design.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Day Of The Dead, Manchester 2017.
It was a definite improvement to the proceedings, an certainly made quite a visual impression.  This lady made quite a visual impression, too - I'd certainly have offered to check her pulse and bodily functions to see if she was actually dead...

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Day Of The Dead, Manchester 2017.
Once the parade had passed, there was some stage entertainment, which once again added to the carnival-esque atmosphere of the night...

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Day Of The Dead, Manchester 2017.
Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Day Of The Dead, Manchester 2017.
Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Day Of The Dead, Manchester 2017.
Things were going quite well up to that point, but then someone decided that to get the crowd going they would introduce some sort of DJ/MC onto the stage.  His part in the night entertainment appeared to be shouting the same four sentences over the music, which was the same repetitive ridiculousness... "Oggy oggy oggy....", "Manchester, are you with me...", "Manchester, make some noise...", "We're gonna party through the night...", "Oggy oggy oggy..." ad infinitum.  If that is a bit cringe-worthy to read, you can only imagine how bad it was to listen to.  It was slightly ironic, too - it probably made more sense if you were off your face on the drugs that they were eagerly confiscating from people at the door.  Anyway, it was a great shame, as up until then I was quite enjoying the evening - the bitter cold notwithstanding.

There was still plenty of interesting visual things to keep me entertained, though - it was great to see so many people had made a massive effort to dress up for the night.  There was some mild confusion at one point when the thumping dance music made way for more traditional Mexican-styled carnival drumming - but as the drummers were on the dance-floor no-one beyond their immediate vicinity could see them.  So, for half an hour, we listened to a roll of drummers beating enthusiastically away for unfortunately little entertainment value - but at least the Oggy Oggy Oggy Man shut up for a while.  On the stage, by 11.30pm, there was more entertainment from a nubile trapeze artist.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Day Of The Dead, Manchester 2017.
Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Day Of The Dead, Manchester 2017.
Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Day Of The Dead, Manchester 2017.
By midnight there was a brief discussion in the group and a fairly unanimous agreement - to head home.  So, with one last and appropriate look at the trapese artist who was doing the same thing, we split.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Day Of The Dead, Manchester 2017.
Ahead of us, other people were already leaving, too - just midway through the night - which I think is a pretty good barometer of how successful the night is.  Although there were some great little touches to the event, it is not often that I find myself totally underwhelmed - but this was one such event.  Day Of The Dead carnival or rave dance club?  It couldn't make up its mind, and fell uncomfortably between both stools.  At £24 per ticket (and no doubt in the region of 1000+ sold) I'm sure the organisers won't be too concerned, but I wonder if the event will return.  I'm pretty sure, that sadly, I won't.

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