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Sleuth: 04/07/2008

Elbow, George Formby, fine grass, trolls and beautiful ‘Ho’s’, plus win a pony

Published on July 4th 2008.


Sleuth: 04/07/2008

Given the elbow
Manchester band Elbow wowed the audience at Glastonbury last weekend and wowed the critics too, a ‘magnificent, spine-tingling performance’ said one. Result was they got the biggest boost in sales of any of the Glasto crew, snapping right back into number 3 in the UK download charts. Lead singer Guy Garvey spread the Elbow love as well, even playing a storming rendition of ‘Dry the Rain’ by the Beta Band on a ukulele at 3am in the Easy Jam tent. The other half of Manchester’s red-haired royalty, Emma, Guy’s partner, told Sleuth, “there was a piano, a drum kit and a box of random instruments, including a cow bell, a ukulele and panpipes. We went in full of pear cider and got involved.” Sleuth reckons there’s been a gap in the market for ukulele playing since George Formby: we may have found the answer. Come on Elbow, an album of Formby covers next. It’s gotta work.

Dirty diet
Sleuth was in town with a distinguished but slightly out of touch older gentleman from London who thinks he’s kept up with the kids. While walking down Portland Street they bumped into a friend of Sleuth’s. “Where are you off in such a rush,” asked Sleuth. “I need Ho’s and honey buns,” said the buddy. When he’d gone the gentleman with Sleuth looked confused, “was he talking hip hop, and was that very very rude?” Sleuth pondered that for a while. Then he explained that Ho’s was a Chinatown bakery and that honey buns were buns with honey in. “Shame,” said the old gent, “it all sounded rather exciting.”

Troll love
The picture below is of Bob Woosnam-Savage, Senior Curator of European Edged Weapons (no, really) at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, together with a character from The Lord of the Rings. Bob’s from Nantwich and credits his time as an art history student at Manchester for his fascination with weapons - which could be read any number of ways. This is a promo pic for an exhibition of fantasy film models about to take place across the Pennines. Sleuth was there when the picture was taken and clearly remembers the weighty naked green fella saying, “who let this bloody troll pull me around on a pallet?” Sleuth can’t remember Bob’s response.

Common People
Sleuth hears that a recent Manchester Fashion Network event at The Circle got a bit feisty (as opposed to the usual bland non-shenanigans). This was over a debate about the role of local magazines (such as The magazine) in helping promote Manc fashion designers. Apparently a Circle regular pointed out that most of the magazines are empty, lack substance, are obsessed with the Cheshire set and do nothing to promote organisations such as Manchester’s fashion network.

This was met with incredulity and anger. One young lady got so exasperated at the slur, she swore blind that all those lawyer wedding/big hair features reflect 'life as it's really lived'. After the ensuing silence, there are unconfirmed reports she floated away in a pink bubble to a castle in the sky where princesses dance with handsome princes in an endless waltz.

Sleuth loves a hypocrite
In this case Sleuth’s the hypocrite, at least after the last story. Because if there is any person, probably youngish, probably energetic, definitely popular, out there who would wish to wittily write about and take photos of all those lawyer wedding/big hair parties please contact the editor. We might even give you some of Gordo’s monthly champagne allowance.

Excellent grass
Sleuth has found the solution for all those grass growing problems at Cathedral Gardens and Piccadilly Gardens. It’s the Prezzy Box - click here. This gives you some United grass growing in a little Stretford End half of the pitch, in a tin. Or rather, as they say, it’s got ‘real, living grass you can grow yourself from the exact seed mix used on the hallowed turf at Old Trafford’. The company behind it even supply a certificate of authenticity from the club to prove it’s the same seed mix. Then they supply a certificate of insanity to the person who wanted it. Sleuth can’t comment on rumours that Ronaldo’s already bought one of these, to remember his time here.

Sleuth's best non-story of the week
Sleuth loved the MEN and their 'fury' and ‘storm’ story about a proposed Town Hall underground car park this week. Apparently at some undisclosed time in the undisclosed future city councillors might build themselves an underground car park. Then again they may not. This was a front page headline. The Labour group, the paper said, ‘have been branded 'hypocrites' for backing more car park spaces when they are encouraging the public to use trams, trains and buses’. It’s a ridiculous complaint. As if the whole congestion charge row is about the total banning of car travel. Cars will still move through the city. Car parks will still have to be repaired, even built. Guests to the city will still have to park, and it wouldn’t be just for top councillors – Council Leader Sir Richard Leese cycles half the time anyway. Sleuth asked a couple of people how furious they were over the underground car park proposal. The depth in the lack of fury was quite deafeningly silent. Until someone said, ‘of course the MEN are in a happy position. They already have an underground car park at Hardman Street’. The whole row shows how silly this debate can get.

Councillor Priest
This is a real name, Councillor Priest. He’s Labour’s finance boss on the City Council. Sleuth thinks his title’s a recipe for confusion. Not as amusing as David Broom being one of the city centre environmental offices and thus in charge of street cleaning, but still odd. Councillor Priest, according to the MEN, defended any would-be underground car park (see above story) by saying, it’s “in the interests of democracy, (councillors) have to be able to park free. We can’t make people effectively pay to be a councillor.” Sleuth wondered what he could mean. Was he suggesting that councillors get away with free parking when so many other people don’t, does that mean we all have to pay to do our jobs but Councillors are above that? Sleuth wonders if Councillor Priest is aware that the demos bit of democracy means ‘the people’ - as a councillor he might want to represent their interests, not his own. In fact, perhaps it’s in the interests of democracy that we all park free, rich and poor alike. In fact, why don’t we promote congestion charging and at the same time prove it’s not anti-business or bad for shops by - as the Trafford Centre does - allowing free unlimited car parking on city centre streets? That way everybody’s happy. Except NCP. And who gives a flying fuck about them.

Sleuth’s silly event of the weekend
Saturday 5 July sees the cream of pint drinkers meeting up at 11am at the Castle Hotel on Oldham Street for the Independents Day Treasure Hunt. You enter in teams of up to four at a cost of a quid a person, then go racing around Manchester trying to find answers to various clues in a number of pubs.Food is provided at the end of the day, along with live bands in the Castle for anyone still interested in drinking. All the pubs featured on the trail sell beer from small independent brewers – hence the name of the Treasure Hunt. During the day, some teams get pissed and fall over, some end up arguing, laughing and making up, some disappear forever. Sleuth might just join in.

Sleuth wants to give you £25
Dear readers, Sleuth wants to give you money. Anybody who sends in a Sleuth story to editor@manchesterconfidential.co.ukwhich we subsequently publish, will receive twenty-five English pounds, yes £25. Any stories, scandalous or curious, any insider tales from the public or private sector which you think we need to know we will welcome with open wallets.

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

DaveJuly 4th 2008.

I'm pretty sure when Councillor Priest said 'we can't make people pay to be a councillor' he was referring to the fact that councillors don't get paid a wage - only an allowance.What would be the point in the council charging councillors to park only to then give them the money back in their allowance?

DMcFJuly 4th 2008.

Emma is quite, quite lovely.

CSJuly 4th 2008.

And let's not forget the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain and their cracking renditions of pop tunes. All together now, 'Miss Dyna-mite-ee-ee, plink, plonk...'

DaveJuly 4th 2008.

.. and why would anyone say “I need Ho’s and honey buns,” - it doesn't even make any sense in context!

AnonymousJuly 4th 2008.

or recorder even

Michael WestJuly 4th 2008.

Bernard Priest aside, The BBC and the MEN followed up on a "leaked" committee briefing that said that Slaughterhouse's town hall and the central library are crumbling to bits. Along with that was a ten year proposal to include an underground car-park beneath Lloyd St and Peace Gardens. Most bizarrely, the MEN ran the same story again as a front page headline the next day. The MENs outrage included pith such as "yards from St. Peter's Square Metrolink". The MEN could surely have done it the evening before. It just reminds me of the stories for weeks when the Labour group desperate for funds had to morgage some of the council owned buildings. As much as I care for the MEN - they are a little slow off the mark and bang on about issues for ever an a day.

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