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Sleuth 08/05/2009

Monsters at the Quays, the complete swine flu diagnosis, signs of the past-times, Red Bull and dancing girls, ID nonsense and local brewery gets very honest

Published on May 7th 2009.

Sleuth 08/05/2009

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.

Sign of the times
Sleuth’s looking forward to visiting Manchester because of all the events going on. People have been sending him pictures of the things the city and its tourists can look forward to. Or backward to. Look at the pictures below, Sleuth’s got to get down to that Commonwealth Games of 2002 that’s being advertised at Victoria Station. Should be great. But he’s worried about the traffic jams getting in the way in 2007 on Bridge Street – major delays – sounds serious. Then there’s the In Town Without Your Car Day on 20 September sign close to Deansgate - definitely something to think about. Sleuth must remember to put it in his diary for 2008.

Year long celebration
One city humourist on seeing the picture sent in by a reader of the In Town Without Your Car Day sign, above, said, “That must have been a massive success because they’ve really expanded upon it in 2009, haven’t they? Now it’s In Town Without Your Car and Your Tram Year,” he grinned, “and with Re-Directed Buses and Torn Up Pavements.”

Bullish mood
Sleuth was wandering round town on Saturday afternoon when he saw this lovely image. It’s a row of empty Red Bull cans on the name plate of a Manchester business. The business in question is the lap dancing venue Boutique on Lloyd Street. Phewee, thought Sleuth, it must have been a helluva busy night down there for the girls on Friday. Or maybe Russell Brand had been in town?

Red Bull gives you...er...nipple tassels

Crap buildings
Sleuth loves the fact that the Media Centre for the London Olympics is causing all sorts of arguments in the architectural world. According to The Builder magazine it’s been criticised by official agency CABE for its ‘extraordinary banality’ and for being unrepresentative of British design. To correct this it's proposed that the architectural firm Allies and Morrison are to be brought in ‘to make sure the design quality is improved’. Allies and Morrison have worked in Manchester. They’re responsible for No 1 Piccadilly, that orange fake brick structure that’s the wrong size, the wrong colour and in the wrong place. This building is a world beater in terms of extraordinary banality. Maybe that's why Allies and Morrison have been brought into consult over the London Media Centre, they have inside knowledge.

Swine flu – the truth
Last month the ex-England and Manchester City manager was fired from the Mexico manager’s job. As the hapless Swede scours the world for another job rumours are reaching Sleuth’s ears of the true nature of the pandemic that's scaring global health authorities: it’s Sven-flu. Symptoms include a complete inability to react to certain situations, such as what to do when 1-0 up in a World Cup quarter final.

Swine flu - the diagnosis
Sleuth likes self-diagnosis. In fact Sleuth recently bought a freelance doctor’s accreditation from the University of Narnia in Nigeria. If you want to know if you have swine flu and you’re a hypochondriac panicky malcontent click here. If you’re a healthy, happy-go-lucky, optimist click here.

Honesty beer
Sleuth loves a bit of honest PR. He particularly appreciated the news from Manchester brewer that JW Lees have saved ten pubs from Punch Taverns. The press release said, ‘They are all great pubs. We have been keeping our powder dry for a number of years and this is the largest number of pubs that we have been able to acquire in one transaction for over 100 years’. Given Punch Taverns' reputation – the editor’s interviewing one of their top guys next week – this acquisition is a noble gesture. The press release was signed by William Lees Jones, the managing director, and finished with this sentence: ‘There will not be any disclosure re price and financials, so please don’t phone up to ask.’ The JW Lees' motto at present is Be Yourself. Spot on: an example of living up to the branding; northern, straight-forward, to the point.

JW Lees' boss, William Lees-Jones looks shifty as he nicks someone’s pint

Manchester ID card scheme
Sleuth is desperate to get one of the new ID cards and pay his £30. Of course, he can’t risk his true identity being discovered so he’s going to apply for one under an assumed name. Will that be ok?

Sleuth’s best reader name of the week
We love our readers – generally – and we like how they say what they think and sometimes think about what they saying. Sleuth isn’t always sure Confidential does any of the latter, ever. And the readers are always there with a handy suggestion or two. Sleuth had this lovely interchange the other day. A reader emailed in recommending we review the Basin restaurant in Boothstown. Sleuth couldn’t help noticing the name of our correspondent: it was Royston Futter. Sleuth replied with: ‘ We'll definitely take a look at the restaurant. Is that your real name by the way?’ To which he got this: ‘Yes, of course it is, Google it, there is only one Royston Futter in the whole world’. That news made Sleuth so unaccountably happy that he wanted to raise a triumphant cry of ‘Royston Futters of the World Unite!’ But as there’s only one he realised that would be impractical.

Barcelona spy on United
Sleuth isn’t sure about Barcelona’s new underhand surveillance methods of their Champion’s League Final rivals.

MediaCity - a monster development
Actually the Nessie fake was part of promo for a charity event arranged by FirstGroup who run choo-choos (First TransPennine) and chug chugs (First Bus). This is for a duathlon relay event which will see competitors of all ages and fitness run and cycle around Philips Park on Sunday 28 June. It's called the Manchester First Mini Monster Challenge and is £5 per person (or £20 per team) to enter at www.firstmonster.com Sleuth likes this image of the fake monster in front of MediaCity - its expression mirrors that of several BBC top execs when told they would have to relocate to Salford.

Follow Sleuth on twitter Mcrsleuth

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

Cive RoddersMay 7th 2009.

Tblzebra isn't that a type of African gazelle? Or is it the capital of Georgia.

NotNorthernRailMay 7th 2009.

I believe its in part of the area assigned for the re-development and expansion of Chets.

Tom HilesMay 7th 2009.

"You'd need to spend a hell of a lot on security" Ehh how's that? A few square metres of lawn, flower beds, couple of benches, surrounded by a hedges and a couple of bushes... Small enough that you could probably pass through it without really noticing it.. dunno what you had in mind but I can't see that being a hotbed of thievery!

Punch JohnMay 7th 2009.

10 pubs from Punch? That's a damn good start. Drink loadsa J W Lees' Bitter (or Corrie St Ale) wnd they can start prising Punch's grubby fingers from the next 8,490 or so pubs...

StephanieMay 7th 2009.

To hark back to an old topic- the John Rylands puddle. Three weeks ago I was really pleased to see a sludge gulper parked there clearing out all the muck from the drain and was so impressed at the Power of The Sleuth. But then the council did something even more clever. They tarmacced over the drain so now the puddle is 8 times as big. If you want to avoid getting splattered by passing traffic you have to stand with your back against the library and then dart out when the lights change. I did ring the Council to ask them about it and they said they would get back to me - they haven't!

Tom HilesMay 7th 2009.

M30 - eyesore cos it's dirty and rundown, or because the architecture isn't to your taste? Personally I like the way it stands out on an island surrounded by hulking modern edifices... would make an interesting conversion to a restaurant I reckon, or maybe a TI centre for visitors?

AndyMay 7th 2009.

Yes - knock down that old post office and turn it into a garden!

NotNorthernRailMay 7th 2009.

Oops, yes, I think John Mcr is right; station not CHets re-development, however where that now is is a bit uncertain obviously...try asking over on skyscrapercity. Garden? There? You'd need to spend a hell of a lot on security. UNfortunately, JonCon is only interested in the south of the city at the moment, otherwise he'd hold a public meeting.

Tom HilesMay 7th 2009.

Hmm.. apparently the disused and dirty (but beautiful) 'City Building' that backs onto the old PO is Grade II listed... so would any redevelopment of that patch by hindered? I dunno how much protection listing actually gives in the face of the redevelopment machine...

Tom HilesMay 7th 2009.

Does anyone know anything about that building by Victoria - I see it's an old Post Office, but it seems weird that a space like that in such a prime location should be left derelict - it looks crappy for visitors arriving to the station as well. Who owns it and are there any plans for it? I'd like to see the plot made into a small garden...

Tiger JonesMay 7th 2009.

Sleuth is obviously too young to remember Royston when he was Salford City Council's Cultural supremo - for surely it is him.

John McrMay 7th 2009.

I think its part of Ask's Greengate plans? I remember ISA putting a bid in for the masterplan of that site when I worked there, It was part of the whole Victoria station redevelopment and nothing to do with Chats as they don't own the site.

tblzebraMay 7th 2009.

Will Thatbeok - didn't he play fly-half for the Springboks?

M30May 7th 2009.

City Building is an eyesore, as is Victoria Station itself. City Building is boarded up, but there's a railed off area which is frequented by winos, and ladies of the evening. It boasts hoardings stating it's "another develoment by the Maghull Group" although that hoarding has been there since the Commonwealth Games.Shame, as it's a fantastic location and restoring/developing it would give a lot back to the street. I've said it once and I'll say it again, but if Victoria was where people arrived from London, it would be another kettle of fish

DrakeMay 7th 2009.

I was more thinking of the local drug use, vandalism and drinking problem. How often are the trees in the Urbis replaced?

DaveMay 7th 2009.

City Buildings would be a tragic loss if it went, it just needs a bit of attention. You have to look past the muck and the crappy stuff round the back and the shoddy shopfronts. Look at it from Corporation St with Urbis and Victoria Stn on your left. Would be nice to know what the owners unknown are planning to do with it. Maybe its network rail? They're planning to spend a million or two on the station apparently. The old fire station near piccadilly too, I went past it in the car tonight and the old fire station gate was open. There's scaffolding up in the central courtyard and builders busy doing something, maybe something afoot there.

east lancsMay 7th 2009.

Stephanie, you should be pleased you actually got through to somebody at the Council; I'm genuinely impressed.

Tom HilesMay 7th 2009.

Hmm... got a source for that? Can't see a mention of it here www.designbuild-network.com/projects/chethams/… (which describes the wooded area where they're going to expand onto as a "vacant site", grrr typical developers haha!)Would seem a bit of an odd plot and location for the school to develop... can't think it would be that useful... basically I'm fixated on creating new green spaces in the middle of the city and I go past this funny little patch every day...

NoelMay 7th 2009.

Leave the commonwealth games sign alone , it fetches a smile to my face every time I walk past it . I used to go to a club in that building called The Bongo Club , or something similar and the family who used to run it had a brilliant and much lamented 1950's cafe across the road called the Expresso Bongo , now those were the days !

LesleyMay 7th 2009.

I couldn't help it! I just had to Google Royston Futter. Talk about the power of suggestion - baaa

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