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Sleuth 14/01/2011

Planet Pavilion opens, Spirit closes, KGB re-invented, Daily Telegraph loves us and Rochdale Road is the Champs d'Elysees

Published on January 17th 2011.


Sleuth 14/01/2011

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.

Caterer launches into space
Peter Booth, the amiable Scouser, rang Sleuth this week. Booth is the man behind the fine Modern Caterer company, which runs the food in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Gabriel’s Kitchen on Upper Brook Street and the new Gabriel’s Grocery in Chorlton. These places produce food that’s strongly flavoured and textured, with loads of seasonal variety.Sleuth likes them very very much.

Booth’s now going star-gazing. From late April his company is going to be running Planet Pavilion, the ninety cover restaurant/cafe, at a revamped Jodrell Bank. At least he’ll have the biggest dish in the world as back-up should there be any problems with the crockery.

Booth’s also grabbed a one-bedroomed flat in nearby Chelford to oversee the opening. “It’s right over from the cattle market,” remarks the talented chef.

“Now, now Peter,” says Sleuth. “You’re not going to be perving over the beasts from your bedroom window with binoculars are you? Gawping at the best looking heifers for carving up.”

“It’s an idea,” says Booth, who’s heavily into locally sourcing his food, and loves to know its provenance.

Kalashnikov cashback
Sleuth was intrigued by one of the deal websites ringing up the other day. Not by the stuff they offer, which Confidential does better, but by the company’s name - KGB Deals. There seemed no embarrassment about using the three initials of Russia’s former feared and evil secret service.

Sleuth asked if they had any ‘buy-one-Kalasnikov-get-one-free’ offers? Maybe 30 per cent off any show-trials coming up, perhaps an offer on a one-way ticket to one of those Siberian ‘holiday’ camps – a ‘Grab a Gulag deal’ maybe.

Village loses Spirit
The Gay Village has suffered in the wake of Cougar Leisure’s extinction. Earlier this week, Confidential revealed the demise of their notorious bar Brannigans on Peter Street. The Canal Street arm of the group has also bitten the dust. Spirit has been broken, the bar closed down. Another of the ‘drinking, dancing and cavorting’ type venues from Cougar, it seems to have had a better reputation than Brannigans – certainly in its earlier life. Sleuth hears there may be plans for an operator to re-invent Spirit soon. Brannigans is another matter. Maybe the Library Theatre should move in there instead of moving to a new site?

Tweetlandia excessiva
Sleuth was looking through his followers on @Mcrsleuth and measuring them up. Some people must spend most of their working days on Twitter – and their leisure time, and love-lives. Our own Gordo from Confidential with his @GordoManchester handle even spends his time on the toilet on Twitter. He’s tweeted more than 6,000 times – although it must be said, mostly NOT from the toilet. Sleuth’s managed barely 500 tweets.But one of Sleuth’s followers has tweeted more than 12,000 times. Wow. Confidential’s going to be interviewing her and others in the coming weeks to get to the bottom of hyper-social networking. Does 12K win the award of champion Manchester tweeter? Has anybody tweeted more in the city?

Liverpool FC amuses Sleuth
Sleuth was checking out the dismissal of Roy Hodgson on the Liverpool FC website over the weekend. The first thing that came up was a splash ad on the homepage. Given the fans’ concerns over the decline of the noble club, maybe the tag line for the membership promotion could have been chosen better. Over a picture of three celebrating Liverpool players it read, ‘They’re not the only things coming down in January’. The promotion was referring to the January sales but...well...very foolish.

Gift card rejection
Sleuth found this eBay item amusing. It came from a Twitter comment by the way. ‘£100 Trafford Centre gift card. Was given to me as a Christmas present but I never go to the Trafford Centre. Valid until Nov 2012. Starting bid £90.’ How very odd.

Harpurhey twins with Paris
This was in the Conservative Party’s in-house broadsheet last week about north Manchester suburb, Harpurhey. Click here

The story was about claims that an illuminated addition to the old chimney of the old baths, now part of a cracking new sixth form centre and library, is like the Eiffel Tower.

Victoria Ward wrote: ‘Some may scoff. But Harpurhey does have a handful of claims to fame, namely that it is the birthplace of Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange. And while Paris may be renowned for designer fashion houses such as Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, Harpurhey caters for the more budget-conscious customer with Ethel Austen and George at Asda.’ Which was her scoffing of course.Last word went to Manchester’s minister for fun, the unique councillor that is Pat Karney.

He was quoted thus. "I think Parisians would recognise themselves in Harpurhey people. We are very romantic - in the summer, Rochdale Road is like the Champs d'Elysees.”

That man is a bloody genius. Award him something, Sleuth says. He performs an impossible trick. He makes local politics interesting and funny.

More Daily Telegraph
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Stephen Bayley, following up from a story we broke, was very complimentary about our beloved city – click here. Read it says Sleuth, feel proud and then laugh at the comments under it. Talk about regionalism. As George Bernard Shaw said in the play Pygmalion, ‘It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth, without making some other Englishman despise him.’

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

Simon TJanuary 14th 2011.

Karney was funny/clever with that quote about Harpurhey. He's great. Noticed the M.E.N readers' online comments were all very damning tho, just not getting it. BTW there's nowt more depressing in our city than the comments board on the M.E.N site (don't go there kids, just take it from me)...

LapetiteHarpurheyurienneJanuary 14th 2011.

Ah yes I remember it well Born in arperay not far from the Embassy club at Beech Mount. It sounds posh does it still exist? Made my way to live in Paris in the early 70's but remember fondly the smell of chlorine and carbolic soap ,swimming in the Victorian baths when you could still get a bath there.What made an arperay girl live in Paris smelling Chanel and Disque Bleu??Who knows but perhaps the link between the two cities runs more deeply than we think.Qui sait? Boggart Hole Clough as the Bois de Boulogne? Didn't the suffragettes cause a riot there once?Conran Street market as the Marche aux Puces the similarities are endless. Let the chimney spread the light to all the heathens who don't recognise a beacon when they see one. Culture exists in the lowliest of places

A Slate Tile on the RoofJanuary 16th 2011.

Leave Brannigans alone you pompous arses. Were great.

Vive L'Harpurhey!January 21st 2011.

Love your posting lapetiteharpurheyurienne, im from Harpurhey and only moved up the road cos of chav neighbours!....Beech Mount still there although not a maternity hospital now (my brother was also born there in 1963) the Conran St Market still going strong and full of bargains, Boggart Hole Clough is right near me and a lovely place with the boathouse cafe doing great food at great prices the swimming baths where i did my first length has been partly demolished and turned into an art exhibition centre linked with the newly built college next door. Embassy club still open as a pub cheap bitter too.....then theres the ASDA new market, Anthony Burgess proudly sprouted from there yes! Pat Karney was trying his luck in a positive way if some idiot bites the bait and puts us forward then ok, but Paris is by far the greater city i too lived there when i was 17, people are classier, food is better and healthier, architecture second to none and the tower ooohh la la, have very fond memories but it certainly isnt on par with Harpurhey and Rochdale Road doesnt yet have a Rolex/Versace store the last time i looked!

M30January 21st 2011.

I'm delighted to see Pat Karney for once speaking about the people who elected him as opposed to sticking his neb in where it's not wanted (and where he was not elected) in the City Centre.

LapetiteharpurheyurienneJanuary 25th 2011.

Rochdale Road has a Pawn Shop,yes I have spelt it correctly, so perhaps you could get a Rolex there.Ha ha! On the subject of tweeting in the city a la Sleuth never done it my self but can remember the thousands of starlings tweeting at dusk in Piccadilly does that count?

Smyth HarperJanuary 28th 2011.

I was getting some pet supplies at Harpurhey Market on Saturday and you can get many items that have very similar names to all the top designer brands.

You can also get a fantastic cheap dinner in the restaurant in the precinct, kind of like what your nan would make, although its probably a bit common for snooty old Mancon. The pies are homemade and lush.

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