From dinner and dissection to axe throwing and ghouls…these ain’t for hopeless romantics

Another January, another slew of Valentine’s Day press releases on the same old events and products: from saccharine movies to overpriced chocolates and ‘perfect gifts for him and her'.


Now we’re all for the power of love but we’re a bit, well, bored. So we’ve decided to forgo our traditional February 14th roundup in favour of events that are about as romantic as a clinical dissection (see below for more on those).

Regardless of love life, or lack thereof, these are for those who want a break from the clichés - and they’re not for the faint of heart.

You’ve been warned…

ANATOMY LAB LIVE | The Village Hotel

Forget broken hearts, it’s all about dissected ones at this ‘dinner and dissection’ Valentine’s spinoff: part of the bizarrely popular Anatomy Lab Live series. Far from a romantic restaurant, your two-course meal takes place in an ‘operating theatre dining room’ that’s plunged into blackout before the ‘hospital team’ rush in and the surgery begins - broadcast for maximum effect. Diners can even try procedures out themselves, guided by leading anatomist Samuel Piri, as each table will be equipped with its own surgical trolley and ‘real specimens.’ Er, righty ho.

Anatomy Lab from Samuel Piri on Vimeo.

MYDIDAE | Hope Mill Theatre

Rom-coms be gone, Wonderhouse Theatre Company is offering a ‘more authentic’ experience this Valentine’s (one with full-frontal nudity and adult themes including child loss and domestic violence) as they give Mydidae its northern debut. Written by BAFTA winner Jack Thorne, the play sees one couple’s attempt at candlelit romance turn sour as they mourn a painful anniversary. “When it comes to living and loving in the real world,” says actor David Gregan-Jones “we know it’s not always cherubs and chocolates. We wanted to give Manchester audiences an insight into a relationship that is more honest, cathartic and compelling than the verse in a Valentine’s card.” 

2018 01 22 Mydidae
Mydidae ‘examines all sides of love’ - the warmth and humour but also the sadness and vulnerability

AXE THROWING | Whistle Punks

They’re trying to make it sound romantic by including a ‘chocolate axe’ in there but, let’s face it, there’s nothing amorous about hurling a large implement - not exactly Cupid and his dainty arrow is it? Great for disgruntled, ex-hating singletons (if you can't bury the hatchet, why not throw it?) or couples who are bored of cushy date nights, Whistle Punks’ isn’t your typical Valentine’s to say the least.


It’s the tenth anniversary of Flecky Bennet’s Valentine’s special this year: the ghost walker extraordinaire has apparently been ‘a firm favourite with Mancunians, tourists and weirdos’ since 2009. From the gory story of Manchester’s mummy to devil summoning in Chetham’s Library, the tour spans two hours of good old-fashioned ghost tales based on documented accounts and witness statements - with shadowy backstreets and hidden passageways aplenty. 

If you can't make the 14th, Confidential's own editor-at-large and master tour guide will be leading a 'haunted under and over ghost tour of Manchester' on Sunday the 10th. Tales on the tour include Manchester’s Tudor magician, dead opera singers, the Tear Catcher Tale, the Manchester Shouter, a visitation from the devil and a whole cast of curious characters from the dark heart of the city. The tour meets in St Ann's Square and £15 tickets include a drink in the pub at the end.

Chethams Library
Manchester's Chetham’s Library is rumoured to be haunted


Described as the ‘the most depressing Valentine’s of your life’, Aatma’s Sad Disco promises an evening of heartbreak anthems (sprinkled with the occasional sing-along power ballad to stop you from jumping out the window and having done with it). Expect the likes of Robyn’s Dancing On My Own, Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart and Kelly Clarkson’s Since You’ve Been Gone. All down an alleyway in the Northern Quarter. 

2018 01 22 Shots
Aatma will offer free shots of Dutch courage for early attendees