I’ve been to pretty much every city in the UK to do events, but Manchester was a very notable exception, so I was thrilled to be able to do a mini-tour up there this week! My girlfriend, Lynsey, went to uni in Manchester and she loved the city (although she did tell me that at some point I’d probably be mugged, which was based on her own experience as a student when she was mugged for a pizza, which I kind of pointed out wasn’t exactly a real mugging…), and I was dying to have a good look around.
My events were all outside of the gorgeous city centre, arranged through the absolutely wonderful folk who run the Urmston Bookshop, Peter and Frances. I just want to give a shout-out to them, because their shop is gorgeous. Amazing books, a great atmosphere, friendly faces, and a cafe that serves homemade cake!!! What more could you ever want? Now, I know that all independent bookshops are great places, but this one is amazing, and well worth a trip. Next time you’re browsing Amazon and you’re about to add something to your basket, head up the road and pop in to Urmston Bookshop instead, you won’t regret it!
My first event was on Tuesday, at Chorlton High School. I even got to perform in their theatre! I followed this up with a horror creative writing workshop for some awesome students. Some fantastic stories, and enough to give me nightmares… Well done, guys! It was great fun, and they rewarded me with chocolate!! I think I may make this my new payment system – don’t worry about the money, just fill a bag with sweeties and I’ll be happy!
The next morning Peter picked me up and drove me over to the Well Acre Academy, where I did another show for a brilliant audience. Thanks guys! We popped to the book shop for lunch where I got FREE CAKE!!!! Once again, I was a happy man. It’s no wonder I always put on weight when I’m away. We did make up for it with a very healthy lunch before dashing over to the extraordinarily named Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College for the final show of the day. I often worry about doing my talk (guns, explosions, puking, angels that eat people…) at Catholic schools because the teachers sometimes frown at me, but these guys were awesome! Thank you!
That night I went to dinner with Peter, which was lovely. Usually when I’m away I eat alone, unless I know people in the area. And there’s nothing more tragic than a lonely author sitting on his hotel bed watching telly and stuffing his face with a kebab… So anyone reading this who is organising an event for me, hint hint…
My final show was on Thursday, at the Ashton on Mersey Grammar School. It was another fun event, and more questions than I knew what to do with (I think you lot would have kept asking questions until the end of the month)! I stayed behind for the longest signing of the week, which was nice. It was great to meet you all!
It was a whirlwind trip, but I managed to run around the Imperial War Museum before I had to head home – a fantastic place if you ever have the chance to visit. Then I found the most awesome restaurant on the way to the station. It was a Chinese / Indian / Japanese / BBQ / Italian all-you-can-eat buffet, and I tried pretty much everything! I kind of regretted it on the five-hour train journey home, but in a way it was great because the seat next to mine was the only empty seat for the whole journey…
A huge thanks to all the schools, pupils, teachers and librarians for making me feel so welcome, and to Peter and Frances at the Urmston Bookshop for being awesome. It was great to finally see Manchester, and I’ll be back again soon!