Betty and Butch in Manchester

Ever wanted to dress your dog in a bandana? Or feed him some dried rabbit ears, perhaps? We ask only because there’s a new Betty and Butch recently opened at Lady Gaga-endorsed shopping mecca Afflecks, Manchester. B&B is a one-stop shop for dog lovers and well worth a visit for its mind-boggling array of canine wares. If you ever wanted to treat your furry chum to an unlikely gift, this is your best bet.

Seasonal favourites include a glow in the dark skeleton suit so your pooch doesn’t feel left out this Halloween. And there are plenty of staples to help you express your love for man’s best friend. Everything from special dog birthday cards to a balm designed to protect and moisturise your little pal’s little paws is on sale here. One of the store’s most popular lines is a range of bandanas which make your pups look like the kind of dog you expect to live on a Californian beach. You’ll even find some items for humans in store, but there’s no doubt the dog is boss here.

The extent to which you’ll love this place depends entirely on how much you love your dog. Been traipsing around town for doggy sunscreen all summer? Stock up for next year right here. Desperate to treat your canine companion with an ultra-tough toy gorilla this Christmas? Sorted. There’s a practically endless roster of goodies here to help you spoil your four-legged friend… 

Turner Prize in Scotland

The Turner Prize comes to Scotland for the first time, with the finalists exhibited in Glasgow throughout October ahead of the winner being announced in the city in December. Hosting the shortlisted pieces is Tramway, an internationally renowned art space on the south side of the River Clyde, just a short walk from Glasgow Central.

This is your chance to judge for yourself who should take the gong, recognised as one of the most coveted prizes in the art world. Success can catapult the winners to international notoriety and coming second isn’t always a bad thing either. Famous former winners include Damien Hirst for his formaldehyde cow and calf installation and Grayson Perry. Tracey Emin’s My Bed, which sold for £2.5m last year, earned the artist a place on the shortlist but not the big prize.

For the first time ever a collective has been nominated - Assemble works in collaboration with residents to transform urban landscapes and has been shortlisted for its work in Liverpool. In the city’s Toxteth area, the group renovated derelict houses by listening to local people’s ideas and then rolling up their sleeves to help regenerate an area still suffering the from the hangover of 1980s riots.

The full list of nominees features artists lesser known in the mainstream and will therefore be an eye-opener to most visitors. Also on the list is Bonnie Camplin, nominated for The Military Industrial Complex, which takes the form of a study and explores concepts of reality. Janice Kerbel’s place on the shortlist is for her operatic work DOUG, which sees six voices perform nine songs. Nicole Wermers has been recognised for her sculptural installation Infrastruktur. It’s an eclectic and thought-provoking collection of work - just don’t expect to see too many pretty landscapes.

Tramway hosts a wide range of performances and exhibitions, so check ahead and leave plenty of time for your visit. As well as visual arts you can catch performance art, film and dance events while you’re there.

Rugby World Cup

Rugby’s showpiece event is now finally underway with the world’s greatest players in the world. Whether or not you have tickets, rugby’s famously welcoming atmosphere in and around games means newcomers can happily rub shoulders with aficionados of the game. It’s not just about the sport – this is a chance to enjoy the complementary cultures of rugby nations, meet fans and settle down to enjoy world-class action on the field.

Surprisingly, this is the first time England has acted as solo host for the event – and home fans are set to make the most of it. After stops in Leeds in September, the tournament features games in Newcastle and Manchester this month.

South Africa face Scotland in a Pool B match up at St James’ Park on Saturday, October 3, while powerhouse New Zealand have a test against Tonga at the same ground on October 9. This game is a Friday night affair, kicking off under the floodlights at 8pm, so woolly hats are advised. The men from down under were firm favourites to win the Webb Ellis trophy before the six-week festival of rugby started, so if you’re going to the game you’ll be witnessing first-hand the champions elect.

The following day Samoa and Scotland go head-to-head - it’s arguably the pick of the fixtures in October. Before the tournament this was seen as a key clash for the Scots and a likely decider for progression out of the groups into the knockout phase. Coach Vern Cotter has steadied Scotland after a difficult Six Nations earlier this year and expectations are growing for his team.

Later on October 10 is the evening clash between England and Uruguay. The game is the only fixture of the tournament in Manchester and is taking place at the Etihad Stadium, home to Manchester City Football Club.

So – can England relive the glory of Jonny Wilkinson’s dramatic late-drop goal-winner against Australia in 2003? Ahead of the tournament England head coach Stuart Lancaster certainly seemed to think so and was in confident mood, predicting the home team would win the trophy.






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