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Sleuth 03/09/2010

Falling down, Paul Heathcote, Anthony Bourdain, tents, daleks and fountains

Published on September 3rd 2010.

Sleuth 03/09/2010

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to print. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows.

Sleuth's brilliant idea for city fountains
Sleuth walked through Piccadilly Gardens this weekend. The fountains weren’t working. It was Bank Holiday, the place was packed. “We couldn’t let the public use the fountains over the Bank Holiday because, although they were fixed, we had to wait for the resin to set,” said an official spokesperson. Ah yes the resin, thought Sleuth.

“But,” continued the spokesperson brightly, “they were working by Tuesday and people were using them with gay abandon.”

Sleuth thought it a shame that given all that 'gay abandon’ they hadn’t been working for Pride weekend. “I like our fountains," he said, "they’re such a fine metaphor for the unpredictability of life.”

“Thanks,” said the spokesperson happily.

“I've got an idea,” Sleuth said, having a brainwave, “why not have an illuminated display on the roads leading into the city like you do for car parks, you know the ones telling people about the number of parking spaces available.”

“What do you mean?” said the spokesperson.

“That way you could update people on the state of the various city centre fountains. You could have a sign reading ‘Piccadilly Gardens: now working’”

“Or maybe ‘Cathedral Gardens: Intermittent’,” said the spokesperson getting into the idea.

“Yes. Or ‘Albert Square: dry spells predicted until 2011’,” said Sleuth. “Or even St Ann’s Square: working but pointless’.”

“We should look into it,” said the spokesperson.

Pointless Waterways

Tents situation
Sleuth went down to Stockley Hall Farm south of Warrington on a coach with lots of Confidential readers last night to eat vegetables and lamb. The event was in association with Riverford, the organic food delivery service and took place in a delightful yurt with a wood stove. “What’s a yurt?” a reader asked before we arrived. “It’s Yorkshire for yacht,” replied Sleuth. The full story of a night of great food in a massive timber framed Mongolian tent (that’s really what a yurt is) goes up next week.

Venice of the North
Sleuth was at the Mark Addy for NYC chef/writer Anthony Bourdain’s lunch of honour before his event at the Lowry Hotel this week. He found the celebrity foodie sat in the sunshine on the terrace over the River Irwell - the river was looking particularly toxic. “Careful you don’t fall in?” said Sleuth. Bourdain looked round at the river, “It reminds me of Venice, same colour and consistency of water,” he drawled, before adding, “Same stink too.”

Suddenly Sleuth was reminded of the famous Boddingtons ad from the eighties of the gondola on the Manchester waterways. It was quite cute. That was of course before Boddingtons Brewery closed and the beer turned as foul as Venice water and started being produced in a field near Wrexham under licence.

Click here to watch the viedo

Pig of himself
At the lunch in the Mark Addy there was a suckling pig and there was Gordo. He’s the second moment they came together after Gordo had eaten a large part of the beast. Both look sort of contented.

Sleuth likes a celeb with the cojones
After our story about the closure of Simply Heathcotes in Liverpool (click here) Sleuth was pleased to see that Paul Heathcote, the eponymous chef and owner of the venue, had the courage to respond to the ranters.

This is the message he wrote in its original form: ‘hey 20yrs in business another 14 learning your craft sometimes you get things wrong and make mistakes, who doesn't? sometimes the goal post change (or the bridge in this case!) many can make comments that's the easy bit putting your b*lls and your money on the line is more difficult that’s why many don't want to. i started with little and still have a long list of achievements and great people who work with me, it’s sad simply’s closed but we have much to be proud of still. thanks for the kind comments and the less complimentary. if you've achieved much..then well done.’

Good, strong words thinks Sleuth - although he’d like a bit more in the way of grammar. Sad then to learn this week that Mr Heathcote’s Olive Press venture in Leeds has also just closed. The Manchester branch on Lloyd Street is still going strong however.

Sleuth slips on the stool
Sleuth took a party of people to look at the mysterious tunnels the River Medlock travels through in the city centre. He did this at 6am in the morning for suitable privacy away from figures of authority. The first thing people had to do was clamber down a nine foot drop to the river just off Albion Street (which becomes Princess Parkway). “It’s not far, a bit of climb, I’ll go first,” Sleuth said in a calming manner. “You have to follow my instructions exactly and there’s a handy stool at the bottom you can step on to. What you do is put one hand here, then your other hand here and then.....” Sleuth fell off the whole distance. Fortunately onto his feet. Pale faces appeared above him. “Then again,” he said, “you could use the quick method”.

Blanket coverage
Sleuth went with the family to visit the decommissioned Concorde in its hangar at Manchester Airport. The charming guide Gordon explained how the Manchester Concorde broke all sorts of records travelling at one point flying at well over 1400mph and over 60,000ft on a three hour flight to New York. He also showed Sleuth where the Queen used to sit on the plane and also where Michael Jackson would be positioned. “He used to get on the plane and then sit completely covered under a blanket until it landed,” said Gordon. Well adjusted man, that Michael Jackson wasn’t he?

Sleuth and the A380
Sleuth had heard all about the A380 so he went to investigate the famous object on Wednesday. It took him ages to get there. And when he arrived all he found was an attractive bit of road between Torquay and Exeter.

Sleuth’s most beautiful dalek
As Sleuth was looking at tarmac on the A380 in Devon, Simon Binns, the Confidential news editor, went to see the more famous A380 at Manchester Airport. He took the camera and found the most beautiful dalek in the world. Lucky fella. He asked some of the Emirates airlines stewardesses where they were from, "Turkey", "India", "Phillipines" or some such exotica came the answers until he got to the last lady. "And you?" he asked, "Bury," she said. No doubt Bury is exotic for many people from across the world - if not for people from Bolton.

Davros, Lord of the Daleks

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

Arran SummerhillSeptember 3rd 2010.

good 380 pun....touche!

CaractacusSeptember 3rd 2010.

Great idea about the fountains. In fact let's get rid of them.

Manc exileSeptember 3rd 2010.

It's good to see Davros' face again. I forgot how much like Mark E Smith he looks.

Bad smellSeptember 3rd 2010.

I had a look and the resemblance between and Mark E and Davros really is uncanny.

Kevin PeelSeptember 3rd 2010.

The tour of the tunnels of the Medlock sounds fantastic - are you doing that again at any point?!

Andrew RevansSeptember 3rd 2010.

Boddingtons started to turn foul long before the move out of Manchester. It suffered a long and painful decline starting in the early 80s, when the recipe was changed to make it appeal to a wider demographic (ie most of the flavour was removed).

John14798September 3rd 2010.

Actually, I think 'Yurt' is more Lancashire than Yorkshire for 'Yacht'. It used to be a popular game in Todmorden to ask visiting Bacup folk where they had put their car in order to elicit the reply "in the kur purk."

PAT KARNEYSeptember 3rd 2010.

Its really embarassing to see and read about our fountain failure in Manchester.I know the piccadilly one has had to have work done for health and safety reasons and it is working tonight.But many times I am passing the gardens and its knackered Two years ago I insisted on weekly reports on our fountains and it seemed to work so back to this system.Myself and Kevin Peel love fountains so why can't we get them right in this city ? PAT

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2010.

'weekly reports on our fountains'? Good Lord, how much did they cost to produce? Exactly how many fountains are there in Manchester?

JackSeptember 4th 2010.

Can you investigate the new sculptures at First Street? Who commissioned them? Who designed them? And more importantly who thought it was a good idea? They are quite horrible.. bring back the marvellous B of the Bang.

GordoSeptember 4th 2010.

Went to Lowry hotel yesterday for lunch with Siobhan from food and drink festival and Schofield. Thanks Olly for terrific lunch. Bill wih two heroic bottles of wine 250 pounds. Used my hero card (cost 10 quid a month) got SIXTY quid straight discount, paid 190 quid. If you haven't got one and you eat out in Manchester, you either don't know about it, or you are a bit thick. Stick Hero Card in the search bos and find out more.

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2010.

So, did the discount apply to the wine too then, I thought it was 25% off food only?

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2010.

So Rooney was 'pleasured' (love that expression) in the kitchen area of Rosso? After doing it several times in the bog at 2335. Just remind me not to eat in these bling, chav, wannabee places again. Did he not do the deed at Odyssey in Hale when that was open for all of five minutes?

GordoSeptember 5th 2010.

It is only on the food, kept quiet cos I think someone got the math wrong

GordoSeptember 5th 2010.

Sorry anon, where did the Rooney piece come from? Am I being thick?

Leigh ScottSeptember 9th 2010.

Suckling pig eh? I wonder what direction confidential will take when Gordo eventually dies of coronary heart failure?

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