Words by Ian Pennington

In a week when layman’s deviancy guide Fifty Shades of Grey reaches the silver screen, you may well be looking for more appealing options for that spontaneous first date on St Valentine’s watch. Fortunately, we have some better possibilities lined up for your romantic dabbling in our weekly listings blog.

Today, Monday 9th, is one for fans of contemporary classical. The ddmmyy series continues at the RNCM with Tom Rose, Jack Sheen and Bryn Harrison leading the 20-strong orchestra.

Two film nights muscling for attention on Tuesday 10th are Grimm Up North’s Stephen King season at Dancehouse, picking out A Good Marriage, the latest film to emerge from the author’s writing, and Band on the Wall’s music oriented screenings, which this week selects 20 Feet From Stardom, a film from the perspectives of backing singers.

Richard Dawson’s show at Soup Kitchen is a safe bet for Wednesday 11th. The songwriter will perform the best bits from his critically acclaimed moody masterpiece, Nothing Important.

It’s not long since Kate Tempest entertained a sell out crowd at Deaf Institute, but with her popularity showing no signs of abating, she’s back at Gorilla on Thursday 12th to spit more verses from her platform on the spoken word side of hip hop.

Local label Debt Records’ taste is a fine barometer of musical proficiency, and once again they’ve not gone wrong in harnessing the harmonising talents of Dutch trio Snowapple. They’re on at the Castle, also on Thursday.

The renown of local advocator of all things psychedelic, Jane Weaver, has snowballed since Piccadilly Records awarded her latest album, The Silver Globe, with their number one spot. Her Gullivers show on Friday 13th is sold out, so another option is Stockport’s finest export since tracky bottoms as a fashion statement, in the form of surf pop dancefloor fillers Blooms, who’re over the road at the Castle.

On the subject of groove mongers, Deaf Institute has served up a worthy second choice for your Friday night in the form of Boxed In.

On Saturday 14th – V-Day itself – the long-awaited return of Whitworth Art Gallery arrives. Our pick of the day is Video Jam’s hour-long programme in the evening, but have a look at their full listings to see what else is in store from 10am.

Perhaps less romantic, but equally lovely in your ears, is Last Harbour’s album launch, via Gizeh Records. Soup Kitchen’s basement will be alive with rousing, swirling cacophonies.

The week climaxes with a superficial viewing, if we’re to take Dope Body’s moniker on face value. Their driving rock will be a fitting failed V-Day wig out at Islington Mill.

Alternatively, head to the Bridgewater Hall to watch human anti-smoking advert Macy Gray clear her throat for the entirety of a set.

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