My Week In Happy: SpacePortX launch, Corrie visit and tea-powered talk


Hello! I bet you’ve wondering what I’ve been up to this week? You probably have some idea if you follow me on Twitter or Google+ as I post regularly on both platforms.


An after work trip to the Northern Quarter for the launch of SpacePortX – the co-working and community space  which has picked up where TechHub Manchester left off with a bit of extra Manchesterness baked in.

Chris Northwood and Zoe E Breen at SpacePortX launch networking

Chris Northwood and I pose for the camera.
(Photo: Drew Forsyth)

CEO Shaf Choudry spoke with passion about how, in its new incarnation as SpacePortX, the venue was not just for start-ups but the whole local tech community. There are so many events going on now in Manchester in the geek / start-up diary that it’s a job not to double-book yourself!

The aim of SpacePortX is simple – to make Manchester one of the top five tech cities in the UK. I think we can go further so please think about adding the hashtag #MCRTOP5 to your tweets when you comment on tech in Manchester.


I do like my soaps, I used to watch a whole bunch of them until they ate up too much of my time. Although I will always prefer EastEnders over Coronation Street, since I’ve moved up north I’ve taken much more of an interest in Corrie.

With Coronation Street now based at MediaCityUK the old sets at Granada Studios have been opened up to the paying public. It took very little effort to persuade my friend Elizabeth to join me in celebrating a piece of Manchester’s rich cultural heritage.

Behind the bar at the Rovers Return Inn.

Liz McDonald eat your heart out – behind the bar at the Rovers Return Inn.

Elizabeth, her daughter Hannah and I were pretty soaked by the time we got to Granada Studios, but the warm and entertaining tone of our tour guide Leah soon took our minds off the rain.

Photography is not allowed in the interiors sets, although you do get the chance to have your photo taken in the Rovers. Elizabeth and I got a photo each in a 2 for 1 deal for £5 and I have to say I’m pretty chuffed with the result (see picture above).

Once outside on the street you’re free to take as many pictures as you like. I think the dark and rain made for some quite atmospheric panorama shots.


The Rovers Return Inn, the street, and Audrey’s salon.


Prima Doner kebab shop, Roy’s Rolls cafe and Barlow’s Buys.


Bridge, Rovers Return Inn and Audrey’s salon.


Wide shot featuring Beetham Tower in the background.

You can read my review on the official Coronation Street Tours Google+ page.


Headed back to the Northern Quarter to meet with my friend Ian to discuss an idea for a dating format that I’d struck upon. I’m not going to share the concept here as it’s not really very developed and needs quite a bit of work.

We met at North Tea Power which I was keen to check out as I’d somehow never made it there before. So tea (Earl Grey Blue, Lapsang Souchong) and coffee (Americano, mocha) were consumed as we chatted over the merits of different dating formats.

Ian had been working on a blog about sensory dating after I shared a link with him about an event being held at the Science Museum in London. I am really interested in different ways of bringing people together and it would be great to see something similar being held at MOSI in Manchester.

We also talked about different dating shows that he had been involved with – the wonderfully named ITV format ‘How To Get More Sex’ (2007) which was his first foray into the world of speed dating and BBC Three’s ‘A Year Of Making Love’ (2013) which matched potential partners based on an online ‘compatibility test’.

As far as I understand it, scientists continue to be baffled by why exactly people are attracted to one another. While finding a mate by sniffing a t-shirt they’ve worn may seem a bit gimmicky, I’d hope the experience would allow people to loosen up, get talking and possibly share a memorable evening together.

The fact is that all dating formats – on television, online or ‘in real life’ are gimmicky by their very nature. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that – in fact I quite like it.

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