May 31, 2013

Ah. Well the first problem with this iPad app is that you don’t want to try and ticker with your post pre-publishing it … or you might accidentally discard it! SOB!

So here’s another try and writing it all out again.

Ok, so one of the drawbacks on not having been to the UK for 8 years is that I lost out on visiting a number of Cafes as they’ve already closed. I would have loved to have incorporated Nottingham or Birmingham this time around. Alas, this trip I’m only going to get to visit London and Manchester in the UK.

The trip out to Manchester is just over 2 hours by train from London and it goes by pretty quickly. I will say the instructions from the Hard Rock website could be a bit more helpful in providing info on the tram line to Shudehill station but once I figured that out on the platform, I guess it wasn’t hard to get to the Cafe. The weather was pretty miserable (and I’m from rainy BC!) so I couldn’t imagine walking, it’s a pretty far distance but doable if you have the time to kill.

The Cafe is located in the Printworks building and doesn’t have the typical guitar sign over the front door but rather a rather large guitar that runs the length of the facade. Compared to London, the inside is large, seating probably some 400+ people and includes a lounge. They have great memorabilia from full drum sets to David Bowie outfits, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Oasis items.

Unfortunately, Manchester gets my negative rant regarding the Rock Shop. With the amount of Cafes failing, I will never understand how many times there is sold out stock of basic merchandise. Manchester had no shot glasses, no alternative magnets, no bottle openers and a few other items I was asked to pick up. I get how a limited edition pin can be gone but how can there be no standard shot glasses? This location has also never had a city shot, talk about a big missed opportunity! Considering that I’m only in the UK a week and made a special trip out to Manchester, pretty much for the Cafe, this was significant loss of sales. I had a long list and came away with less than half of what I needed. Come on Manchester, stock up for the next collector!

The staff on the other hand were crazy friendly! My waitress was a fellow Canadian, so that was pretty cool. I was even able to trade a few Seattle pins (I know, what’s happening here!?!) and picked up some sold out Manchester pins for a few friends.

The train back had a bit of excitement in that my trip was cancelled… thankfully I made it to the station in time to hear the announcer asking for passengers on my train to catch the current one heading back to London, which was leaving in 3 minutes! Only time I’ve traveled on Virgin Trains and I’m not sure how often this happens but holy crap, that was a panic moment! Back in London though so all ends well for the day.