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Roddy Doyle, Morrissey Revelations, Stupid King Street Rents

Sleuth 43: absurdity, truth and brilliance

Written by . Published on October 19th 2013.

Roddy Doyle, Morrissey Revelations, Stupid King Street Rents

SleuthSleuthSleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. He's several people all at once. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to publish. Sleuth sometimes even gets serious. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows. Follow Sleuth on twitter @mcrsleuth

Sleuth, Morrissey And Terry Christian

Sleuth bumped into Terry Christian in the city on Thursday. He'd just been filming outside The Ritz for News at Ten about the Morrissey autobiography (the main cover image of the book is featured at the top of the page) that everyone in the media is talking about. He told a story about how he got into trouble at Radio Derby back in the day when a Smiths' album came out. He played one side in its entirety without even speaking in the song breaks and then he played the other side with speaking over the breaks again and not going to the weather and so on. "I tried to explain how big the release of a Smiths' album was," said Terry, "but I think they just thought I was being lazy."

Morrissey's Astonishing Tirade Against Anthony H Wilson

Sleuth adored The Smiths, for him the finest Manchester band. But Sleuth has always found Morrissey maverick in the extreme, wilful and childish along with being brilliant. Mind you it can't be denied that his autobiography out this week isn't an entertaining read. Indeed a very well-written entertaining read - Confidential's review goes up next week.

In the book Morrissey can be generous when talking about his family and, say, co-songwriter Johnny Marr, but elsewhere he leaks bitterness from every pore. This is Morrissey using his memoirs frequently as a device to say his piece, get his own back. It's not very elevating.

For instance he really didn't like the soon to be object of some civic renaming in Manchester - click here.

This is Morrissey on Anthony H Wilson: 'Of unmerited renown, Wilson was never too busy to stick the boot in. His career had not lasted, yet he quite luckily managed a lengthy and slow decline which some thought was actually an on-going career'. There's much more of this stuff as well about a whole raft of characters.

Shame, thinks Sleuth, that being dead Wilson has no opportunity to reply. Rum one, that Morrissey, very rum. 

View From Outside Anthony Wilson's Flat To Where A Square Is Set To Be Named For Him


View from outside Anthony H Wilson's flat to where a square is set to be named for him

Roddy Doyle Wants To Be Hot

Sleuth hears famous Irish author Roddy Doyle was in town for Manchester Literature Festival this week. His event went well and the publicist of the novelist who sprang to fame with The Commitments in 1991 was ready with a post-event meal plan. Everything was set up for a meal at Mr Cooper’s House and Garden. But Doyle cancelled and despite the elegant refinement of the Simon Rogan venue went for a curry in Rajdoot in Albert Square instead. He said: "I want something that will make the back of my head sweat." 

Roddy Doyle


Roddy Doyle

Sleuth's Tryer Of The Week

Ruth Allan did a splendid review of Lily's in Ashton this week and loved it. Clearly this oiled the self-promotional juices of another hinterland Indian restaurant. When Sleuth got up on Friday morning the whole of the Confidential rant box was filled by comments from Argie Mistry saying, with crazy spelling and grammar: 'You must try Mistry's Vegetarian in Bolton A fantastic choice and food at its best and all veggie' then he'd posted 'try Mistry's vegetarian in Bolton' followed by the sinister 'you must try Mistry's Vegetarian in Bolton' and finally with 'fromallu chaat to masala dosa's or try a thali for the hungry diner with two choices of curry rice sauce a sweet dish a starter item roti's and popadums plenty to take away quality and tasty food at very reasonable prices a fantastic relaxing atmosphere'.

Sleuth's question to the readership is: Has anybody tried Mistry's in Bolton? 

David Cameron, Gordo and Jungle Book

Gordo of Manchester Confidential has been trying to get Mughli in Rusholme, a restaurant he loves, to up its game. "You've got to tell people stories, give them a reason for visiting," said Gordo. "I haven't really got any stories," said the owner, "not sure what you want." He paused and then said: "Oh by the way, didn't tell you, during the Conservative Conference in Manchester David Cameron came in for a meal. That was nice." Gordo, slapped his own forehead, "So the British Prime Minister chooses your restaurant for a meal and you tell me you have no stories to tell?"

Mughli Chops

Mughli Chops

The Avenue Retail Retreats, Opportunities For King Street?

Sleuth notes that Southern Eleven, the purveyor of American nosh, is fitting out on The Avenue in Spinningfields, the first break from retail on the posh togs street that often lies silent and empty. Sleuth wonders if this means there's an opportunity for King Street to regain its crown as retailers move back to a better known retail centre. Maybe not. Sleuth was talking to the manager of a smallish shop on King Street and learnt that rent and rates cost almost £300,000 a year, and the landlords aren't even beginning to budge on their share of the pie and neither is the council on their slice of cake (albeit a slice cut for them by central government setting the rates). Sleuth despairs for the lack of vision sometimes.

Dimelow Is Good To Go

Sleuth finds Neil Dimelow's dioramas of towns and cities vastly beguiling. It's as Dimelow told Sleuth: 'Fascinating to get high above places and then capture the panorama all around." There's also a Where's Wally, cut-away schematic joy about his work. Below are three of Dimelow's latest works in Stockport Art Gallery - there are twelve panels in total, all drawn from the tower of St Mary's in the Marketplace. You can view it until 10 November and it's curated by Confidential friend Phil Griffin. Give it go, it's marvellous. The gallery opens every afternoon.

Dimelow's Stockport - three of twelve panels

Dimelow's Stockport - three of twelve panels

Sleuth's Finds An Alternative Vision of Stockport

In the same gallery space as Dimelow is Sarah Hardacre's contribution. These involve her usual glamour girl set against the vision of what in the sixties was going to be the bright new concrete and high rise future for urban British life. This picture here is slightly different though and is set against a picture of Stockport Art Gallery. The title of the work is This is the way to sell art. One Manchester wag when she saw this said, "Actually that's the way Almost Famous sell burgers."

Hardacre's images of Stockport have a lot going on in the foreground

Hardacre's images of Stockport have a lot going on in the foreground

Sleuth's Least Need For Blocking Exquisite Street Of The Week

Every seven days or so Sleuth is stopped in the street and asked by policemen, concierges, Roddy Doyle, David Cameron, several raised eyebrows, topless women in Stockport, Morrissey, Mr Cooper and all the librarians in the world: "Is there an exquisite street in Manchester which should never be blocked by gates or glass obstructions?"

"Why," says Sleuth, "that would be Library Walk, an exquisite example of outstanding cityscape. Thing is it is going to be closed off for the not insubstantial sum of £3.5m by Manchester City Council and nobody can understand why."

And to prove the lovely nature of the street he showed the policemen, concierges, Roddy Doyle, David Cameron, several raised eyebrows, topless women in Stockport, Morrissey, Mr Cooper and all the librarians in the world, this picture. 

Manchester City Council intend to block this street at a cost of £3.5m, and nobody but they can explain why

Manchester City Council intend to block this street at a cost of £3.5m, and nobody but they can explain why

Well-written but bitterWell-written but bitter

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17 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Alex24October 19th 2013.

Are any petitions still running to oppose blocking off library walk?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 19th 2013.

When has unchallengeable Leese and his perpetual Labour council, ever taken heed of any petition & the opinions of nonbelievers?

AnonymousOctober 22nd 2013.

Perhaps in the next election people will get of their arses, vote and get rid of some of them.

JoanOctober 19th 2013.

JS. The council doesn't set the level of Business Rates. Please tell Sleuth.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
mr business ratesOctober 19th 2013.


SleuthOctober 20th 2013.

Sorry should have put that in the piece, the council gets the money back of course. Sleuth's put a qualifying statement in the story above. Maybe a more fruitful discussion might be how cities and towns can adopt more flexible approaches to this issue especially in the face of changed circumstances.

mr business ratesOctober 20th 2013.

Councils get some money after it has been sent to Westminster and redistributed back according to a formula. Just another example of how centralised this country is and how little real power local areas actually have.

SleuthOctober 20th 2013.

Exactly - that needs to change

James SmithOctober 19th 2013.

Rates are set by central government, and as a result a chip shop in Rochdale pays more per square meter than Harrods and Selfridges in Knightsbridge. Add it to the list of pro-south anti-north policies of the last 30+years.

mr business ratesOctober 20th 2013.

The problem is that the government have refused point blank to review rates which are based on values last set at the peak of the market in 2008. Since then commercial property values and the rents they can charge have dropped but tenants are still paying entirely unrealistic rates - and they will do so until 2017. This amounts to a subsidy paid by all business owners in less prosperous areas to those in more affluent areas such as London where rents have increased but rates are artificially low.

mr business ratesOctober 20th 2013.

The reason that rents on some properties on King Street have not dropped is because if the rents drop, then the value of the property drops and hence the capital value of some absentee landlord's property portfolio takes a big hit. It therefore makes more sense to keep the property empty and charge an unrealistic rent than set a realistic rent and take a big hit on the value of their property. Then you have the influence of banks who would lose a mint having lent a lot of money to someone to buy up these properties in the first place.......... gotta love this country sometimes.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 22nd 2013.

I would have thought that the auditors would insist the funds get independent market valuations.

AnonymousOctober 21st 2013.

Some of the landlords on King Street are actually being reasonable and understanding on rents - local landlords who are being proactive. Rates they can do little about, however.

Martyn CornellOctober 22nd 2013.

"it can't be denied that his autobiography out this week isn't an entertaining read." Too many negatives in that, old boy, unless you really DO mean it's not entertaining.

John NuttallOctober 26th 2013.

I think the judge in the case regarding the distribution of monies from the Smiths' royalties got it right when he described Morrisey as "devious, truculent and unreliable".

Voice of the Ironing BroadOctober 30th 2013.

Somebody should write an expose of the incompetent deadlegs that form the planning committee. I had the misfortune to attend three meetings. Half were asleep. The content of councillor representations made it clear that some of them could not read even the most basic of plans, nor understand the principles of conservation zone planning. FOI request please to look at their training records. Its a quasi judicial role. Manchester people deserve better than this shower.

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