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Sleuth 11/01/2008

Rats everywhere, getting the song wrong, and is M&S about to ask for their building back?

Published on January 11th 2008.

Sleuth 11/01/2008

THE Magazine is still real
Sleuth had to smile at the developing THE Magazine row. For those who don’t know THE is Manchester’s glossy HELLO! full of pretty girls in mini-skirts stood next to grinning men, all of them holding glasses of champagne. This week How-do the media website suggested they had closed down. This morning (Friday) they had to circulate the following headline story from THE owner Nicola Smith: ‘I'm surprised that you ran the story without actually speaking to me first. The situation is as follows: We have had a major dispute about car parking spaces which resulted in the landlord illegally cutting off our internet supply, telephones and locking us out of our office. We have relocated. I trust you will update your site with the correct information ASAP?’ Some people are so touchy, Sleuth reckons. You say a little thing about something closing and people get so upset.

Marks and Expansion
Rumour of the week is that Marks and Spencer want back the other half of their building which they gave to Selfridges in 2002. Originally M&S had traded across the whole site but then found themselves rattling round the place as business dipped. Despite recent trading results they think they could do very good business across the full area once more. Sleuth will keep you posted.

Selfridges and Primark
The M&S rumour has led to another one that this might all be timed so that Selfridges could then move into the rapidly improving Piccadilly area – perhaps in the Lewis’s building now partially occupied by Primark. This way Primani and Armani could live side by side. Another rumour that Selfridges might move into the Affleck’s site should the stall-holders have to shift appears to be without substance.

Metro runs out of energy
Sleuth knows that the first lesson at journalism school is to carry a spare set of batteries for when the tape recorder expires mid-interview. The second is always have a few bob in your pocket in case you need to buy spares. A writer on the freebie morning tram-bothering Metro obviously wasn’t listening to this advice. Interviewing a well-known theatre director, the batteries on the writer's tape recorder died. Then he discovered that he hadn't money to buy replacements. Fortunately, the director sent someone out to buy a new set for him.

Rat video
The Manchester Evening News has been much pre-occupied with rats this week.‘City's plague of rats’ was the Monday headline. Apparently the alleyways of Chinatown with their bin bags of restaurant waste are the worst culprits. Sleuth doesn’t think we should mind too much though, after all 2008 is the Year of the Rat – it starts 7 February. Maybe there’s going to be a big festival or something with live participants from the rodent world.

Smelling of charred Roses
Sleuth thinks you should be careful with your choice of music. At the launch of May’s BUPA Great Manchester Run and Manchester World Sport 08 (UEFA Cup, big cycling gigs, World Swimming Championships, World Squash Championships) one of the videos used as a sound track was ‘This is the One’ by the Stones Roses. Nice bit of local referencing there. But then Sleuth noticed that at one point the lyrics had been distorted but the music kept original. That was the point in the song where Ian Brown moans, ‘I'd like to leave the country/For a month of Sundays/Burn the town where I was born.’ Perhaps not the message the city wanted to put across.

Wrong song again part two
After the Manchester launch described above Sleuth listened to Scouse band The Wombats helping launch Liverpool Capital of Culture on Radio 5 Live this morning. The producers obviously thought their song would be a celebration of all things Liverpudlian. The Wombats performed ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’, a Manchester band of course, which contains the lines, ‘Celebrate the irony/ Everything is going wrong’. This followed the news reader saying about Capital of Culture, ‘it’s been dogged by artistic differences and financial problems’. Oops. Bloody rockstars.

Kitty hitty
Sleuth doesn’t take advice he gives it but this week he was pleased to discover the witty new Manchester website, Dear Kitty (dearkittycolumns.blogspot.com). This advice site deals with some of life and love's most common problems - and some rather rare ones too - in a way that will make even the strongest amongst you laugh with painful recognition. Rumour has it Miss Kitty is really a much-appreciated Manchester writer and journalist in disguise...

Not news Savvy
Sam Allardyce, former Bolton manager, sacked by Newcastle this week famously would never appear on the BBC after a Panorama ‘bung’ documentary implicated him and probably cost him the England job. John Savident, ex Manchester bobby and Corrie actor, is shortly to play Henry Hobson in Hobson’s Choice at the Lowry. Savident like Allardyce is picky about his publicity. Apparently he wasn’t too keen on the coverage which followed him being stabbed in 2000 by a man he’d met in a gay bar. So he’ll do TV but he won’t do press interviews. Very Allardyce, very odd and very precious.

Choice free
Hobson’s Choice, see story above, is on at the Lowry, a venue Sleuth loves. There’s a big row about the Chief Executive of the Lowry getting a payout of £310k last year – as opposed to the PM’s £188,000. Not a problem as long as most of it is, as claimed, a one off payment over and above the £125k salary. But it was a bit disingenuous of chairman Rodney Aldridge to claim that everything’s fine because the Lowry is 85% self-funding. The building cost £94m of public money, which it doesn’t have to pay back, and was supplied with the biggest stage in the provinces which helps attract major acts. At the same time many visiting artists are supported by Arts Council grants. With those advantages, and audiences at record levels, some might ask why it isn’t 100% self funding.

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

French BulldogJanuary 11th 2008.

Life without The Magazine would be like life without street litter. Ooh, wait a minute...

Fred ElliotJanuary 11th 2008.

I say I say, Ashley

FredJanuary 11th 2008.

Following on from the THE story, I vote this comment from Tony Murray on the How-do website the best of the week: 'Yeah, I remember the Guardian skipping an issue or two because the girl on the sandwich round used sub-standard pickles and then there was the memorable three weeks when the Radio Times didn't come out because someone had hidden the editor's hat...'

toastJanuary 11th 2008.

Ian Brown was born in Warrington, so Manchesters safe

JamesJanuary 11th 2008.

French Bulldog I get all my up-to-date info from THE Magazine. Couldn't live without it. It tells me how many empty headed vacuous little ****s there are in the world who have no idea how to spend their money.

Emty-Hedded Vakew-us L'il ****January 11th 2008.

Ooh, get back in the knife draw, James.

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