Hops and Glory

It’s been a bit of an unusual week for me. It began last Thursday with the start of this year’s Didsbury Beer Festival, which ran for three days. After attending for a number of years in the past, I thought it might be fun to get involved as a volunteer this year, and I was right! All of the proceeds from the event go to local charities, which is obviously the only reason that I gave up my valuable time (there may have been free entry and half a pint for every hour worked as well). I introduced myself at the start of my first shift as “long time drinker, first time helper” before getting stuck into pint-pulling and obviously “researching” the various beers in my area – so that I could give informed opinions to customers, you understand.

It was a great event, with thousands of attendees and plenty of money raised for charity. I would certainly recommend the festival next year to any students in Manchester (whether drinkers or volunteers) as a good way to see something outside of the normal Oxford/Wilmslow Road corridor and have a good laugh.

By the time I was just about recovered from the festival, it was time to go to the pub again on Monday to watch the latest screening of University Challenge, starring the Mighty Manchester, up against Sussex University. Without wanting to toot my own horn too much, I was one of the Mancunion Candidates in action, and in a well-fought contest, we eventually ran out 210-95 winners, thanks to a great team performance, some very lucky guessing on my part and four questions on football.

Matt - uni challenge

Cue rapturous applause in the Ducie Arms pub, and some #universitychallenge Twitter trending. My personal favourites being: “Manchester Stallard looks like Gollum/Nosferatu/Lex Luthor/a failed Crystal Maze host”, and, “Seems Manchester have wheeled out Lord Voldemort tonight” (there were some good ones as well, but I enjoyed these ones more). I don’t know what these celebrities are moaning about, getting trolled is a great laugh.

Thankfully, I didn’t do anything too stupid on air, so the fact that some bright spark in the Halls put a message on Facebook about me being on TV wasn’t too embarrassing. It seems like half my tutees in my halls and teaching classes had seen it, so I got a bit of kudos, though they didn’t seem particularly awestruck. I don’t think they expected when they came to Manchester that they’d be taught by a celebrity, but there you go. You do Physics, you meet Brian Cox, you do American Studies, you meet me. Hopefully applications to American Studies don’t nosedive now!

Outside of excessive ale and meagre stardom, I somehow managed to spend a couple of days knee-deep in database checking and analysis (fun times!), and sent off an application for some research funding. As you can see, Manchester postgrad student life isn’t all wall-to-wall excitement.

This week, I have been mostly drinking: EVERYTHING! But special mention to Ilkley Pale.


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