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SLEUTH: Huge New Restaurant For Albert Hall | Cornerhouse Confusion | Parklife Wally | Kangaroo Balls

Week 4: Ambition, turmoil, touts and 'highly mobile' testicles

Written by . Published on January 30th 2015.

SLEUTH: Huge New Restaurant For Albert Hall | Cornerhouse Confusion | Parklife Wally | Kangaroo Balls

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


Whopping Sleuth news this. Joel Wilkinson, the club/bar/restaurant mastermind behind the Manchester's Trof, Gorilla, Deaf Institute and Albert Hall venues, is currently beavering away at another hugely ambitious project for the humming-again Peter Street. Wilkinson intends to turn the former-Brannigans bar in the basement of Albert Hall into a 350-cover bar-kitchen. Sleuth told you it was a whopper. Wilkinson plans to turn Albert Hall - a former Methodist meeting hall designed in 1910 - into the city's most multi-armed operation, with bar/restaurant/club/gig/conference/and even wedding facilities.

No idea on the food slant yet, or any other details really, Sleuth tried to pin Wilkinson down last week at a drum & bass night (at least Sleuth thinks it was, he isn't sure) but the notoriously media-shy owner slipped out of Sleuth's grip faster than an eel in KY Jelly.

Former-Brannigans now Albert Hall on Peter StreetFormer-Brannigans now Albert Hall on Peter Street


Serious Sleuth this. The editor’s doing a full report on this next week but the row over the Cornerhouse site rumbles on as the arts centre with its cinema prepares to move to HOME. Plans and schemes – pipedreams really – have been drawn up which would involve the demolition of all the buildings between Oxford Road and Oxford Road Station including not only the Cornerhouse but buildings such as The Salisbury pub. The replacements would be tall and generic.

Sleuth says this: with its cobbles in front of the Salisbury, the long stair to the station, the variety of the buildings and the up and down topography, rare in Manchester, this would be wrong. After the demolition of the old Twisted Wheel/Legends (read here) buildings and countless others around the city centre we need to keep pockets of charm such as the urban landscape at The Salisbury and the Cornerhouse. Short-term economic ‘wins’ sometimes should be secondary to a long-term vision of how the city may exploit culture and tourism.

Still, as far as Sleuth knows no developer has even been confirmed yet so let's all take a deep breathe...



Sometimes revenge can be dangerous. "I am the son of peasants and I know what is happening in the villages," said Gavrilo Princip. "That is why I wanted to take revenge, and I regret nothing." Princip had just shot dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand and... well... it kicked off.

At other times Sleuth reckons revenge can be entirely just and even funny. Take Parklife Director Sacha Lord for example. There's little that gets on Lord's wick more than a ticket tout exploiting his events. So when one utter fool took to social media this week to brag that'd he'd just scored 12 Parklife tickets and intended to sell them at 3x the cost price (around £300) in the lead-up to the festival in June. Lord did this... *clapclap*


Sleuth found himself in London on Thursday despite the whole of the North collapsing into frantic excuses not to get into work because of a bit of snow. He went to Iberica in Farringdon and ate. Writing can be a fraught process involving many difficult and dangerous tasks, there are those covering war in the Middle East and those laying themselves open to a faint possibility of gout by reviewing food. But for the latter it’s all more than worthwhile when something appears as lovely as Iberica’s beetroot gazpacho with red berries, anchovy and ice cream cheese. Sleuth can’t wait for this baby to arrive in Manchester when Iberica opens in March. Not least because it cuts out more danger for a Manchester based writer, or at least inconvenience: no need to get that choo-choo to the Smoke. 

The Best Gazpacho In The WorldThe Best Gazpacho In The World


Sleuth dropped in on another St John's Quarter public consultation this week, the 47th such public consultation on St John's, or the 3rd, Sleuth doesn't mind though because Allied London always put on a decent spread with beer and superior biscuits. The new'ish (not much has changed) version of the £1bn redevelopment of Old Granada Studios between Castlefield and Spinningfields certainly has some interesting nuggets: The £75m Factory Arts Centre, a new 'Granada Gardens' public park, eight whopping 20-30 storey Beetham-looking glassy towers along the River Irwell and a thoroughfare linking Deansgate straight through to the Salford banks of the Irwell.

Still, at this stage the whole things conceptual so Sleuth is waiting for the council to approve the masterplan (in theory) in the second week of February, until the Council says GO it's all fur coat and no knickers and Sleuth's over by the biscuits anyway.

Old Granada StudiosOld Granada Studios


Sleuth was doing the Incredible Interiors tour on Saturday for people who want to see inside some of Manchester’s more spectacular or curious interiors. He made for the rendezvous point and wondered why there was a demonstration taking place. With shock he realised the demonstration was his group: all 73 of them. The idea of taking them all (the limit is usually around 30) was intriguing, so he did. First stop was the Royal Exchange about fifteen minutes before matinee of Little Shop of Horrors began. As the army of tourers left, a lady rushed from the theatre, “Are you all leaving because the show’s that bad, have you heard something?” “No,” Sleuth assured her, “I’ve seen the show, it’s superb. We’re doing the Incredible Interiors tour and I was showing off the Royal Exchange.” “Ooh can I come along too,” said the woman after a moment. Sleuth shook his head, he had to draw the line somewhere. 

Biggest Tour Group With Even Emmeline Pankhurst Joining InBiggest Tour Group With Even Emmeline Pankhurst Joining In


As ISIS threaten to behead Obama in the White House and those Russian scamps fly bombers over Bournmouth, the world's attention turned for a moment to Rochdale where literally 'dozens' of people queued to get into a new Iceland. Why? To get their hands on 'kangaroo balls' of course, which, Sleuth is told, actually sit above the penis (which is often double-pronged) and are 'highly mobile'. Weirder still, Kangaroos have three vaginas. Sleuth reckons even Peter Andre would struggle to shift those...


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

AnonymousJanuary 30th 2015.

I posted details about the possible Cornerhouse/Salisbury demolition on Mancon three days ago. Here's the link again, Sleuth www.youngengineers.co.uk/…/…

4 Responses: Reply To This...
David SmithJanuary 30th 2015.

And the retort from the ironically named 'City Center Voice'. www.citycentrevoice.co.uk/cornerhouse_statement… Not my voice

SleuthJanuary 30th 2015.

Wouldn't worry - the info on that youngengineers.co.uk story is pulled from a 2012 study. No plans in place yet.

AnonymousJanuary 30th 2015.

The irony is that the Victorians knocked down the majority of what went before them to create areas like this. Would be great if they could save at least a couple buildings this time round though.

AnonymousJanuary 30th 2015.

This is an attempt by network rail to cash in on its assets, destroying a unique part of Manchester in the process. The council should tell them where to go.

Jason TennantJanuary 30th 2015.

No question that something is happening in & around Manchester. I can't help feeling much of it is in anticipation of HS2. If the commute time to London and the South East is redyced to around 1 hour it will lead ylto a flood of London-based workers moving here and that is going to demand a huge increase in housing, leisure & cultural opportunities. Let's have a St John's Quarter, a Cotton Quarter. We need Metrolink to develop a new line down Oxford Road past MMU, Man Uni, the hospitals, the Whitworth, the student village at Fallowfield! A joined-up transport policy which will be helped by the, admittedly embarrassingly badly-named, 'get me there' Oyster-style transport card is an important 1st step. But what needs to happen before anything is remove the drug-dealing/taking scum from Piccadilly Gardens and that awful bus station. Create a modern, bright, clean, safe & pleasant bus/tram/coach interchange along the lines of Shudehill. Come on Manchester all this is achievable.....

4 Responses: Reply To This...
DarrenJanuary 30th 2015.

Agree about the metro. If it was on Oxford Rd you could effectively rid the place of buses and in turn it'd be much better for cycling. And yeah the bus exchange at Piccadilly is a horrible dirty depressing mess, just like the 'Gardens' next to it. This area needs a lot of money spending on it, money we don't really have. Glass carbuncles are deemed more worthy. Brilliant news about Albert Hall.

MarkJanuary 31st 2015.

Agreed. Alas the Council and developers like to think they have Manchester's cultural interests at heart(they don't ; London Road Fire Station 30 years later, anybody?) They also like to think they have the finger in the pulse economically, which may be more true. However PLEASE don't bring London in to this. "THIS IS MANCHESTER. WE DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY HERE."

AnonymousFebruary 19th 2015.

So if London types come to Manchester we suddenly get all that which you list. So why is this list only achievable if London types move here? Presumably before the arrival of HS2,we are not worthy in a conurbation of nearly 3 million people of an integrated transport system and attractive open spaces.

Kingy PrawnyFebruary 19th 2015.

Is that chip on your shoulder greasy, Anon? 'London types' is the talk of of sad bitter loser, you sound like Paul Calf. You do realise that 'London types' are people from all over the UK and around the world, right? This is grown-up talk about economics, development and business.

Kevin PeelJanuary 30th 2015.

No confusion on the Cornerhouse, full statement here: www.citycentrevoice.co.uk/cornerhouse_statement…

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 30th 2015.

Already posted above, son.

Kevin PeelJanuary 30th 2015.

Also exciting news about the old Brannigans site. That has been derelict for too long. And we're very excited about the proposals for St Johns.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 2nd 2015.

Trof have been in the Brannigans site for quite some time now. They just hadn't got to the food stage yet. Been operating as a venue for ages.

GimboidJanuary 30th 2015.

I'm sure I posted a comment about people checking out rumours before spreading them, did I dream it or was it deleted, Editor? Be good to know why, if it was.

GimboidJanuary 30th 2015.

Never mind, losing my marbles. Here's what I meant to post: "no developer has even been confirmed yet so let's all take a deep breathe..." This really needed to be said. I wish people would have the sense to check out 'news' for themselves before passing it on and getting themselves and others wound up. Personally I never even develop a view, never mind comment, before I've seen the hard facts at the source of a story or rumour, from the horse's mouth. I think a serious problem of confirmation bias is at play - people (unreasonably) expect the worse, and when they find what they THINK is evidence of it, thoughtless vent forth with baseless rants - seen all over Facebook comment threads this week. A bit more self-imposed

1 Response: Reply To This...
GimboidJanuary 30th 2015.

...self-imposed rumour control by the Manchester chatterati would be useful.

Michael IngallJanuary 30th 2015.

Joel wilkinson , silent assassin putting together quite a portfolio , smart operator , with a social conscience and a bit of culture ....cool

17 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 1st 2015.

Smart operator? Ha, not at £4.50 for a pint of ale in the Deaf Institute it's not! Sort your pricing out Joel! In fact, not long after setting up camp in the Albert Hall he was selling cans of Tuborg lager for £4 during the MIF events in the hall above!

David BentleyFebruary 1st 2015.

If he's getting people to pay that sort of money (I refuse to) then he is a smart operator. It's the people who do pay it that aren't

AnonymousFebruary 1st 2015.

He's not 'getting' anyone to pay for anything. The people that frequent his 'portfolio' and think they're amazing places are idiots. No wonder Wilkinson's elusive and media shy, he doesn't want to be told his bars are a rip off FFS!!!

AnonymousFebruary 1st 2015.

I pay it, I like to have a drink or two while I watch a gig, many people do.

AnonymousFebruary 1st 2015.

I like to drink when I'm at a gig too. I just don't want to pay 'captive audience' prices.

AnonymousFebruary 2nd 2015.

My god, restaurants will be marking up the price of wine next, maybe it's best just to drink at home.

MaryFebruary 16th 2015.

The people behind Deaf Institute, Albert Hall and Now Wave gigs are great at making lots of money from naive students and yuppies.

AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

Stick to Wetherspoons Mary.

AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

@Anon above I agree. Stick to paying £2.60 for a pint of guest ale, Mary, instead of £4.50.

AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

There's a couple of places in the Britannia Hotel you could try, Yates's nearby too.

MaryFebruary 16th 2015.

My oh my. Looks like I have touched a nerve. The truth hurts eh Anon's?

AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

Poor Mary. So much hate directed at her just because her tongue isn't stuck up the rectum of Joel Wilkinson or "Beau and the Guys" from "Famous"

AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

I'm making fun of you Mary because you naively commented that only yuppies and naive students attend Now Wave gigs at the Deaf Institute and Albert Hall.

AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

The Deaf Institute = Common Overspill

GimboidFebruary 16th 2015.

Truth hurts? No. Ignorant bollocks offends, is more like it. Gigs I've been to at Deaf Institute and the Albert Hall were amazing. Most gig venues charge ripoff prices for drinks. That's just a fact of live music, nothing to do with naivety.

AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

To be fair to students / yuppies it's not their fault if they are naive. Hats off to Joel Wilkinson etc. for milking them so dry.

DarrenFebruary 16th 2015.

Drinks at 99% of venues are a rip off. The MEN Arena or the Apollo can charge £80+ for some gigs and also rip you off on drinks. I'll stick to gigs at smaller venues pay £7-£12 a ticket and have a few drinks. Better atmosphere and you get 6/7 /8 gigs for the price of one.

MrsPerfectJanuary 30th 2015.

The St Johns public consultation this week was just a repeat of the last one but with a better model! We were told that the buildings havent been designed yet so any pictures/models/artists impressions are only to illustrate what might be, so how can this be pedalled as consultation when it is so will-o-the-wisp?

Michael IngallJanuary 31st 2015.

It wasn't actually there were four public realm and landscaping master plan submissions on display all vet different that you were invited to comment on , and a 250000sq ft arts and performance building now included in the master plan which is a pretty large addition and variation to previous plans, what was shown was the master plan submitted to the city for statutory approval , that had not been shown at the two earlier consultations, it also gave everyone another opportunity to ask questions and also submit formal comments to us. Unlike the previous consultations the comments made will all be submitted to MCC whereas previously comments were retained to help inform our design and evolution of the plan, sorry you didn't it find it of use but appreciate the feed back .

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 31st 2015.

Unable to visit the consultation but personally I am hoping not to see too many changes to the last incarnation which could scarcely be bettered in my opinion. A predominantly residential neighbourhood but with sensible mixed uses, human scale, family sized accommodation, walkable streets but still with scale and drama that the towers provide and maintaining the site's identity through the preservation of the most important heritage assets. What was there not to like? I just don't see how plonking a 250k sq ft theatre in the midst of that could improve things. Are we not in danger of moving away from a quality residential neighbourhood (which is what the city centre really needs) to a conventional mixed use development?

AnonymousJanuary 31st 2015.

Where will the arts centre be?

AnonymousFebruary 1st 2015.

Wait a sec... Did I read right? A public park????? With grass?? And flowers?? In central Manchester???

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

Don't get too excited,it will be full of chavs and drug dealers. Within a week the seats will be destroyed and the plants ripped up. This is Manchester,Underclass Giroville. It isn't going to be Hyde or central park you can bet your houses on that, Probably a pathetic patch like Sackville Gardens.

AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

I like Sackville Gardens, it's a pleasant place. Could do with a few more flowers though.

SmittyFebruary 16th 2015.

I like it too Anon. It also has two national memorials in it and a statue of Alan Turing. Not bad for a "pathetic patch"! It used to be a bit ropey, particularly of an evening, but the Friends group have done a brilliant job of clearing away bushes and putting more lighting in. A lovely little green oasis in the city, like St John's

James CunninghamFebruary 16th 2015.

Sackville Gardens was replanted with many flowers courtesy of the Village Business Association.. within weeks they had been trampled and pulled up - a sad indictment of modern culture... The Friends group have certainly made an impact however and long may that continue.

AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

Was it done by Pat Karney on his hands and knees?

JoanFebruary 16th 2015.

The Granada garden is already there, but it's behind a wall on private land. Under Allied London's proposed new development framework the garden will be preserved, rather than replaced by a building, so full marks to AL for responding to local views. The Granada garden is opposite the existing park, St John's Gardens, which does not suffer the vandalism that anon above believes is endemic to Manchester.

Damien HindleFebruary 2nd 2015.

Slightly off-topic, but is anything happening to the old Bar-38 site? It has oodles of potential, but is an eye sore whilst empty.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

Yes. Joel Wilkinson is going to add it to his portfolio. It will be a bar/street food/coffee shop run by ignorant young staff selling bespoke ales for £5.

James SmithFebruary 2nd 2015.

Any chance of trying to get some kind of pressure group organised to stop the inevitable demolition of the Cornerhouse building? It's quite depressing, if not quite sickening, how the Council just myopically plows ahead with such things irrespective of the views of its citizens. There have been plenty of things worthy of fighting for that have been lost, this is the next in a long line. Surely there are enough people who feel passionate enough to try and stop it happening?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 16th 2015.

I am a lover of the Cornerhouse building. It is very handsome in a understated way. If they build skyscrapers there,can we at least have some with a better design than that hideous Student castle. That is embarrassing and with Student castle written on the side even more so. Oxford road is the nearest we have in this city to a decent thoroughfare. Please don't ruin it with tat. Treeline in and build in with the stunning buildings that are there. Quite like Number 1 st Peters square though and I think Number 2 is going to make that square stunning. Shame about the library ginnel vestibule. That is naff.

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