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Sleuth 11/01/13: All Star Bowling Opening Date and Live Fish Shop

Manchester's absurdist columnist strolls the city and observes

Published on January 11th 2013.

Sleuth 11/01/13: All Star Bowling Opening Date and Live Fish Shop

Sleuth 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

All Star Bowling Opening Date Confirmed

At last, after multiple delays, All Star Bowling Lanes has confirmed a 1 March launch date. It will be opening a few days earlier to the public. The location is in the Great Northern Warehouse, it's 19,500 sq ft, creates 65 jobs, has 8 lanes, 2 private lanes, an 80 cover restaurant and stocks 120 whiskies. Sleuth can't wait, this will be splendid for the amenity of the city centre. 

Tilted burgersTilted burgers at the Lanes

Live Fish, It's Lovely

Sleuth was walking in Chinatown the other day. On Faulkner Street he looked into a basement and saw movement. He saw crabs. The basement was part of D&K Fresh Seafood. Sleuth went in and found live crabs, lobsters, prawns and even eels in there. Yum yum. Sleuth's back in the shop on Saturday to talk to one of the family who own the business. The family member is called Kaka. Sleuth is pretty certain that the Kaka in question is not the Brazilian who plays for Real Madrid. But you never know.

Lobsters £18.50Lobsters £18.50

Sleuth And The Confidential Beat

Sleuth was doing a prototype for the Confidential Beat in Chinatown in the story above. This starts in a couple of weeks. Confidential's going to be picking an area of the city, then on a Monday walking the streets in that area talking to people, getting to know what's going on in that neck of the Manchester woods. The Beat will be looking at issues, openings and funny stuff. We'll be letting people know where we'll be in advance, so keep an eye out for us, and have a chat. 

The Confidential Beat is comingThe Confidential Beat is coming

Sleuth Gets Lost In Dark Manchester

Brendan KeelyBrendan KeelySleuth's been flailing around in the dark in the city centre, especially now the Christmas Markets have gone. Indeed Confidential is in the process of putting together an article about the lack of illumination of Manchester's main public buildings. Confidential's already had a chat with Brendan Keely, a lighting specialist at architectural practice BDP, about the issue.

Standing in Albert Square at 5.30pm, Keely, pointed down Cross Street: "Look down there and what do you see? You see Subway. The street is so dark it loses any identifiers that tell people they are in Manchester and you only see a chain sandwich store. Other cities such as Liverpool have worked really hard to provide lighting on key structures. They know it makes the city a more pleasant place to be in at night and that's good for tourists and locals alike. Shows the city is proud of itself, helps bring in investment." 

Could someone please turn on the lightsThe dark Town Hall. Could someone please turn on the lights in Manchester?

St George's HallSt George's Hall in Liverpool

National Rail Enquiries Confusion

Sleuth wanted to get to Penrith from Manchester Oxford Road. He went on the National Rail Enquiries website and found the price was £43.10. Steep - but that's UK rail travel. He decided to buy the ticket at the station.

"No, you don't buy a return to Penrith from Manchester," said the man at the ticket office, "you buy a return to Preston and then a return from Preston to Penrith and the fare is less than £31."

Very nice of the ticket man to tell Sleuth that, but it was ridiculous to sit on one direct train and have to show two tickets. Still a saving of more than £12, or more than 25% off the internet price, was huge and worthwhile.

Sleuth got in touch with National Rail Enquiries. "Isn't it confusing for Brits and visitors this chaos of fares and pricing especially since you advertise 'the cheapest fares'?" he said.

"Do you think this is a question of ticket complexity or individual discrepancy?" asked an uncertain spokesman. Oh good, thought Sleuth, you get a choice of puzzle.

The only solution was to get an interview with the boss. That takes place next week. Sleuth is looking forward to having the labyrinth of rail pricing revealed.  

Sleuth might also ask the train person another question. Given the recent ticket price rises, is the main purpose of railways to generate profits through public subsidies for private individuals or is the main purpose of subsidised rail travel about transporting UK citizens on public transport efficiently and at a reasonable price?

But that would just be silly thinks Sleuth, because we all know the answer. 

Oxford Road StationOxford Road Station

Sleuth's Rant Of The Week

This doesn't come from Manchester Confidential but from the Guardian. Tony Naylor wrote a piece (click here) saying the city doesn't necessarily need Michelin star restaurants when there's a good, and diverse, indie food scene. Unfortunately he did what so many Manchester journos of a certain age do, and made an analogy with Factory Records: the progressive, exciting, but commercially slack music company that went bust years ago.

Sleuth loved this comment on the rants below the article from 'Nepthsolem'.

'I would like to propose a Manchester based review system that harks back to the thrill of Factory Records, and which would be based on the Durutti Column's drummer. It would be called the Is Bruce Mitchell In? Award. If he turns up alone, one star. If he turns up with Vini Reilly, two stars. Simple.' 

He makes a good point.

Collectively as Mancunians Sleuth reckons, we need to put Madchester firmly in the museum and then lock it in, tight. 

Sleuth's Name Of The Week

This goes to the new head of the NCP Customer Contact Centre in Manchester: Mr Adrian Cobbledick. Memorable sir, very memorable. 

Sleuth And The Silver Screen

Every seven days or so Sleuth is stopped in the street by policemen, firemen, concierges, live lobsters, NCP attendents, the complete cast of The Hobbit and asked "Where can we see people filming in Manchester this week?"

Why,” says Sleuth, “that would be at the Old Grapes pub, off Quay Street, in the city centre, for the latest series of Scott and Bailey."

Sleuth will be in the Old Grapes later this afternoon. Sleuth will have a Scotch, and buy the first reader who comes in, a Baileys.

Scott and Baileys please and a packet of crispsScott and Baileys please and a packet of crisps

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

CharlieJanuary 11th 2013.

Mosley Street is very dark as well between Manchester Art Gallery and Mosley St tram stop, and it's hardly a quiet back street.

RevaulxJanuary 11th 2013.

The Old Grapes is actually the New Grapes. The real Old Grapes was demolished to make way for Overseas House on the other side of Quay Street, and was a building of considerable character.

AnonymousJanuary 11th 2013.

All Stars will be great for the Peter Street area which has come to life over the last few months. Taps is currently closed for a refurb which should be good, but Purity has now closed for good. Will be interesting to see who, if anybody, takes the site over...

Poster BoyJanuary 11th 2013.

Lighting up buildings, unfortunately swims against the tide of light pollution and an inefficient use of resources (eg Earth Hour and Lights Out campaigns)...

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 11th 2013.

No it doesn't Poster Boy. Or rather it needn't. Article up on Monday if all the interviews come in.

Poster BoyJanuary 11th 2013.

I'm looking forward to it. Making a relative case (and ignoring the absolute) will not count...

AnonymousJanuary 11th 2013.

Lighting can be remarkably engergy efficent these days. and in a busy city centre bright streets can be alot safer.

Burt CodeineJanuary 11th 2013.

Will echo the need for proper lighting throughout the city. So much of the city has progressed very well into the modern age, it's a shame some of the key buildings are still (at night at least) left in the 1970's. Half the city seems to have got that, whilst the rest hasn't (St. James's Building on Oxford Road a prime example of being on the ball). Surely with the latest gen of LED's and solar generated energy we can bypass much of the 'wasteful resources' campaigns? We do have a terrible record of not replacing lamps in our key monuments, architecture and bridges however...

Jo NightingaleJanuary 11th 2013.

I'm all for highlighting attractive buildings, and of course keeping the streets safe, but don't let's lose the atmosphere. Light pollution also sounds like a key issue (especially to those of us with skylights in our flats...), so it'll be interesting to read your experts' views.

John RyanJanuary 11th 2013.

Buy a blind, Jo?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jo NightingaleJanuary 14th 2013.

Wouldn't fit, John. Curved, you see.

Kevin PeelJanuary 11th 2013.

I'm really looking forward to All Stars opening up. We've needed a bowling alley in the city centre for ages and now we're getting two!

Signing off now to come and find you and claim my Baileys.

AnonymousJanuary 11th 2013.

They won't give us more light because then we could see how dirty the street were,it pains me to say, unlike Liverpool

Simon TurnerJanuary 11th 2013.

The Durutti Column weren't part of 'Madchester' so that weird little plea to put a lid on 'Madchester' seems daft, specially from manchesterconfidential who ran a competition to win a Hacienda CD just five weeks ago; "THE Hacienda opened its doors on 21 May 1982 and became a citadel for the Acid House scene, changing Manchester’s musical landscape forever." you trilled. As well as the endless publicity you gave the Hacienda car park party last May. Oh and the "unseen" extracts from yet another Stone Roses book you ran through June 2012. Sleuth is more obsessed with Madchester than he wants to admit.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2013.

Good luck getting answers regarding the trains - go straight to ATOC...

shabob1January 12th 2013.

While you're talking can you please ask why you pay £104 a month or over a £1000 a year to go on trains, buses and trams in Greater Manchester on a county pass but you are not allowed to use it to go on a tram from Mediacity to Manchester?

shabob1January 12th 2013.

or Manchester to college at One Central

pollolocoJanuary 14th 2013.

been into D&K a couple of times, last time they tried to sell me some scallops that were clearly dead and smelt rank. Unless it's kicking don't touch it.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AvoJanuary 17th 2013.

I've just been today and bought some scallops. Only 65p each and were decent quality. One, however, was full of sand which seems to suggest that they're dredged rather than hand dived. The razor clams on sale seemed very fresh as they were popping in and out of their shells in quite an erotic manner.

Will be back at the weekend for some lobster.

pollolocoJanuary 18th 2013.

Having watched the food inspectors the other night, I would be quite interested to know where they source their shellfish.

ShuttyJanuary 22nd 2013.

About lighting buildings; the Corn \Exchange has had the lighting upgraded, which looks better from a distance, but Manchester Cathedral is shamefully unlit IMO.

ShuttyJanuary 22nd 2013.

About lighting buildings; the Corn \Exchange has had the lighting upgraded, which looks better from a distance, but Manchester Cathedral is shamefully unlit IMO.

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