Monday I Get off the train at Manchester Victoria. Busy day – cinema then….

I make a point of coming here instead of Manchester Picadilly on non-work days as the city looks and feels different from this end. It was at the epicentre of the bomb and contains the most regeneration.

I jump on the tram into the city centre. I jump of in Picadilly Gardens (a park under construction). I’m taking my vanilla Region Two copy of ‘Dogma’ to Vinyl Exchange. More than most second-hand record shops this feels like ‘Championship Vinyl from ‘High Fidelity’ and even has a few Jack Black’s working there. I’m offered £5.50 exchange for the DVD, which is slightly less than I was expecting, but it always is.

There are no movies in the DVD section worth watching, but in TV I find the second series of ‘Spaced’ – the inlay is a bit bashed, but with exchange it only costs £3.50.

My usual lunch on these trips to the cinema is a ‘Meal Deal’ at Boots (triple chicken sandwich, crisps, coke). But remembering how I’m trying to do something new when I eat out I look for a salad bar in the Tesco Metro. Everything is pre-packed and expensive. I eventually go for a Cheese and Pasta Salad. It’s a large portion for £1.99. When I reach the checkout, I realise there is no spoon.

”On the pizza counter,” the check out woman advises.

They are small and flimsy and look like they would stand a chance against a pizza, let alone the lettuce in the salad.

I consider taking a detour to Habitat on my way to the pictures, but I haven’t the time – and a single fork their would probably cost as much as my lunch which is a bit ostentatious.

’The FilmWorks’ is my current cinema of choice. Unlike most city centre picture house, this has armchair style seating, large screens throughout and Dolby Digital sound that actually works. Even not so great films benefit from a decent projection. The cinema is part of ‘The Printworks’ complex, a collection of restaurants and bookshops. The build gets it’s name from being place were ‘The Mirror’ was typeset and printed before computerisation and was another piece of urban regeneration stemming from that bomb. The inside has become a New York street complete with King Kong on the fake skyline, and smoke rising from the sidewalk.

An elderly couple beat me to the box office, then spend five minutes deciding what they want to see. I head up and afterwards and ask for a ticket to ’24 Hour Party People’. Inside the auditorium, my usual seat has been swamped by three students with their feet up on the back of the seat in front complaining to themselves that the screen is too big. I slink into a chair at the centre and begin to work my way through the Cheese Salad. The fork is no help and I end up shovelling the lettuce into my mouth.

The trailers are standard fair. ‘Panic Room’ looks good. I’m more impressed by the Orange advert as a young woman in nothing but a night robe makes her way across a tundra to give husband a good night kiss.

As the film begins, two couples enter and go to sit on the very back in the very and left and right corners. The lights go out. The film starts.

To follow in my busiest weekend in ages: The films, what happens during the films, the Commonwealth Games Volunteer Party.

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