Sunday, 19 November 2017

Wild Time In Wales

Ah, November.  With the celebration of all things dark and ghoulish out of the way, it leaves the way open for everyone (mainly retailers and advertisements) to start ramping it up for Christmas.  For some us, who live on the darker fringes of normality, however, the dark and ghoulish continues - for me, namely in the form of my annual pilgrimage to North Wales and the sanctuary of Hard Rock Hell.

Packed and ready on Wednesday night last week, I was collected bang on time on Thursday morning and we made it for our ceremonial stop at the OK Diner just past Chester on the A55.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - OK Diner, A55.
A big breakfast later, and we set off back on the A55 westward.  Despite a little rain on the way, (it's the North West and Wales, so obligatory!) the skies were pretty much clear by the time we hit Pwllheli less than two hours later at 10.00am.  A group decision chose to grab some food from the town's ASDA before heading over to the caravan and the start of some serious drinking.

We parked up in the supermarket car park and headed into the store.  We split up to get our essentials.  Down one the aisles I became aware of a somewhat disconcerting feeling.  I turned around.  At the bottom of my aisle a group of shoppers and staff were stood staring at me in communal statuesque silence.  It was like a scene from a Hollywood movie.  I realised that my barely-there minidress wasn't actually covering my arse when I walked.  My knee boots, that I thought were decidely tame in comparison to some of my footwear, were perhaps a bit slutty and not suitable for grocery shopping in a supermarket on the edge of nowhere.  It was a bit unnerving, so I was grateful when S, whose car we had come down in, rounded the corner near me.

Then I realised that the show hadn't toned down - S, a builder by trade and whose work has paid for tattoos that cover most of his body, was wearing ripped, tight black jeans, a Motley Crue T-shirt and had so many piercings in  his face that he looked like he'd taken shrapnel from an exploded hand grenade.  I whispered to him that we had an audience.  "Fucking cool... they'll probably think we're in a band," he replied calmly.  We regrouped and paid for our groceries.  As we left the store S grabbed the hem of my tiny dress and pulled it up, exposing my backside and g-string for the still-staring shoppers.  With an armful of groceries I was unable to cover my modesty, so ended up scuttling to the car like a shy stripper.

Thankfully, just thirty minutes later we were in our six-berth caravan, unpacked and enjoying our first drink of the weekend.  That task over with, we headed for the Mash & Barrel for the annual rock music quiz - something I'm usually shamefully bad at.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - rock chick.
Midway through the quiz I got somewhat distracted when some rather gorgeous girls gathered outside for promotional photographs.  I had to sneak in and take a few myself - sigh, the things I do for my blog readers!
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Fireball girls!  Whoohoo!
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - another Fireball girl!  Another Whoohoo!
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Mmmmmm... Fireball... tasty.
I'm glad to report that on this occasion we scored an impressive (for us, anyway) 10 points -  a personal record, despite the obvious distractions.  We celebrated with, er, another couple of drinks - of course.

From there, things got a bit messy.  There was a party in the smaller rear bar that we managed to get entrance to - that in turn meant watching a couple of bands on the small stage and a few free shots (make that a lot of free shots) of some concoctions like Jagermeister and Fireball (a cinnamon whiskey - lovely).  Fully inebriated, we staggered back to the caravan to get ready for the actual opening night once the bar had closed.

I changed my outfit - the minidress was packed away and my slinky catsuit came out, teamed with my high-heeled ankle boots.  By 6.00pm we were walking, still feeling the effects a little of the afternoon's alcohol, to the main arena.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort -Catsuit and High Heels.
I managed to squeeze in some shopping at the assembled stalls and bought some little metal-heeled ankle boots.  Not quite fetishy, they nevertheless looked edgy and sexy - perfect for spray-on leggings and those times where high heels aren't always the best option... such as 14-hour rock gigs.

Ryder's Creed were onstage and making a decent noise and show, and I recognised them from the small pre-show party earlier that afternoon, despite the alcohol intake.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Ryder's Creed.
Killcode were next - who got the crowd moving and singing a bit more...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Killcode.
... before main headliners of the night - Black Aces, a band that blew me away at last year's event.  Pounding through songs about hard drinking, bad women and fast cars, and songs about hard women, bad cars and fast drinking, and, er, songs about fast women, bad drink... well, you get the idea.  Like early AC/DC they looked at the politically-correct new age, shrugged, turned the music up even more and carried on rocking.  Superb.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort -Black Aces.
There was time for a last gratuitous shot my my catsuit from S (trying to get a camel-toe snap - I think he has a predilection for these sort of things)...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - in my catsuit.
 ...before heading out into a stormy Thursday night.
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - heading home.
Friday arrived a lot brighter, thankfully, most of which was spent relaxing (and drinking) with friends and mingling between the two main arenas, and I even managed to catch a quieter spell at the 'Unplugged' sessions at the Mash & Barrel and watching an Airbourne documentary - timely, as they would be playing later that night.  Friday night soon arrived, though, and I slipped into my skin-tight silvery leggings and my new boots and headed off to meet up with the rest of the group.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - skin-tight leggings.
We all made sure we were in the main arena for the evening's triumvirate of Tyketto, Y&T and, especially, Airborne.  I really enjoyed Tyketto (though I totally failed to get a photo), and Y&T remained polished, professional and a HRH favourite.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort -Y&T.
The main arena was full to breaking point by the time that Y&T finished their set.  With no chance of getting even to the bar for yet more alcohol before Airbourne hit the stage, it left a bit of time to chat and mingle with old friends - and meant a bit of time for S to try and get his much-sought after crotch shot.  I initially just thought he was drunk (which he was) and was crawling on the floor as it was the one place he couldn't fall off, so it was only when the flashlight on his phone went off behind me...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - skin-tight leggings.
...and then under the table I was sat at that I realised he was just perving as usual.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - skin-tight leggings.
However, even he was distracted in his perving by the arrival of the almighty Airbourne.  I love Aussie rockers like AC/DC, Airbourne and Black Aces.  No pretensions to be anything other than good time rock'n'roll, they keep the spirit of 'never-in-fashion-but-we-don't-care' rock alive and well.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Airbourne.
I saw Airbourne at my first visit to the event in 2013, and they remain an incredible, thrilling and dynamic rock band who know how to put on the ultimate crowd-pleasing show - a concoction of hard rock, boundless energy and limitless enthusiasm.  Brilliant.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Airbourne.
It seemed a long walk back to the Mash & Barrel for yet another after-show party, but we made it and more drinking, dancing and generally misbehaving followed.  It was therefore a very late night, and it felt as though dawn was close to breaking by the time we struggled into our caravan and hit the sack.

A fantastic Friday.

Saturday arrived, it seemed, in no time.  Once again the sun was out to warm our aching bodies.  I got a much-needed peppermint tea from the site's coffee shop and went into Arena 2, the slightly smaller venue.  Meeting up with friends again, we watched a couple of very good bands before crashing out for a few hours back at the caravan - two days of almost solid drinking was tiring!

Nevertheless, Saturday night arrived and once again we headed for the main arena, with headliners Black Star Riders (ex-Thin Lizzy) closing the weekend.  Before they arrived, however, Scottish rockers Gun and Los Angeles band Lynch Mob got the crowd well-warmed up - even though the singer of Lynch Mob kept calling the event Hellfest, which is the rock event in France.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Lynch Mob at Hellfest... well, they thought they were.
Reef, playing an unexpectedly hard rock set, got the crowd singing, too, especially on their classic 'Lay Your Hands On Me'.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Reef.
Soon Black Star Riders arrived onstage to a fantasatic reception.  They ripped through their modern classics such as 'Finest Hour', 'The Killer Instinct' and 'Bound For Glory', succeeding in getting the rammed arena roaring it's approval.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Black Star Riders.
There's nothing like saving the best for last, though, and the night, and weekend, closing song was a rowsing rendition of the old Thin Lizzy classic 'Whiskey In The Jar' that lifted the ceiling off the old arena.
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Black Star Riders.
So, another brilliant end to another fantastic weekend.  I certainly brought home more tremendous memories from Wales... along with a shocking cold that left me pretty much bed-ridden for most of last week.  So, a shorter than usual blog for such a superb weekend as I've spent all week in cold-recovery and alcohol detox.

Back to business as usual, now, though... and still plenty to look forward to for the rest of 2017!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Halloween Ghouls and F(r)iends

Halloween... All Hallow's Eve... Hallowe'en... All Saints Eve... whatever the name, it remains possibly my favourite celebration of the year.  It remains, largely, dark, sexy and little bit haunted and brooding, and is still overlooked by the retail trade (for the moment).  When Easter Eggs appear in the shops in January and Christmas decorations and adverts start as early as August, then the attractions of those events wanes quickly - something Halloween has been spared.

The downside is that Halloween sometimes is over all too quickly.  This year I had a great weekend, though - and an almost extended Halloween party.  It began on Friday, when one of my favourite Manchester shops, Kiku, took part in a joint event with Kat Von D in Debenhams.  I'm always keen to support friends in their business endeavours, but in truth combining Kiku with Kat Von D's brilliant (and animal-friendly) make-up was a match made in Heaven and more than enough reason to attend on the the night - and of course more than a few girl friends were going to be there, too.  Whilst the lovely girls from the Kat Von D concession gave a brilliant and suitably OTT Halloween make-up display, Kiku supplied the superb corsetry ideas to compliment the fantastic work by the make-up artists.

Afterwards, a group of us headed off the the Black Dog bar for a few cocktails to finish the evening.  A brilliant night, that could only have been better if the gorgeous Kat Von D herself had turned up - she's definitely my kind of girl...

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Kat Von D.
On Sunday I was back in the city centre - this time for the finale of the Manchester Gothic Festival.  This was to be a fashion show outside Selfridges on Exchange Square.  Thankfully, the heavy drizzle from Saturday night had dispersed, leaving a clear if very cool night.  The event was in aid of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation - a wonderful worthwhile charity.

Once again, Kiku were involved in what was a busy weekend for them.  I met up with the Kiku ladies and models at the shop, and walked down to Exchange Square with them, carrying various bags and boxes between us.  Leaving them at the changing/dressing room, I soon found friends that had also made the trip in support of the event.  I was pleased to see a large crowd already gathering and we took our seats excitedly.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Manchester Gothic Festival, 2017.
 Manchester's fantastic rhythmic orchestra, Drum Machine, opened the proceedings with a rousing, display, a cascading stream of thunder from the assembled drummers that certainly warmed the chilly evening up.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Drum Machine, Manchester Gothic Festival, 2017.
Next, the hosts of the evening took to the stage - Liquorice Black and a dear old friend Rosie Lugosi.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Rosie Lugosi, Manchester Gothic Festival, 2017.
They introduced the first catwalk stars - gothic girls and gents who simply loved the styles of Gothic fashion.  One caught my eye, as usual - a lovely and gorgeous blonde girl in spray-on leggings.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - lovely blonde, Manchester Gothic Festival, 2017.
 Kiku were on next, and I was really pleased to see that the girls had a fantastic reception from the assembled audience.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Kiku, Manchester Gothic Festival, 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Kiku, Manchester Gothic Festival, 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Kiku, Manchester Gothic Festival, 2017.
Once the Kiku girls had departed there were further catwalk displays from the talented students from various universities and colleges around the UK.  Once the shows were over there was a moving speech by Sylvia Lancaster on the imperative need for acceptance of sub-cultures and the freedom of expression - something that, as I look at the world news, feel is slipping away.

With the weekend over, it was back to normal on Monday - for a day at least, as Tuesday evening saw me back in the city centre again for another of my favourite haunts - Bonbon were having their annual Halloween Party.  Halloween and the best chocolate in the UK (and I should know - I've tried most of them!)?  Of course I was going to be there.

However, it being actual Halloween night, and Bonbon's party being fancy dress, it meant a great excuse (as if I needed one) to don my little 'murdered cheerleader' outfit, high-heeled ankle boots and huge pom-poms ("oooer, madam...") and head over to the Northern Quarter and Bonbon's chocolate heaven.

I certainly got some strange looks as I sauntered down the street in my little dress and copious amounts of 'blood' on my neck and cleavage.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Bonbon, Halloween Party.
Of course I wasn't the only one in fancy dress at Bonbon's party, and the night was wonderfully enhanced by a ghostly story-teller to chill to bones, hot spicy chilli to warm them back up and, of course, lots of luscious chocolate.  A lovely, cosy, yummy end to Halloween.  Happy Halloween, indeed!
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - yummy choccies, Bonbon, Halloween Party.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Bonbon, Halloween Party.