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Sleuth 15/2/13: Courtney Vintners Re-Opens With Caribbean Grub And Generous Artist Raqib Shaw

Fact and absurdity in MCR detective's column

Published on February 15th 2013.

Sleuth 15/2/13: Courtney Vintners Re-Opens With Caribbean Grub And Generous Artist Raqib Shaw

SleuthSleuth 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

Courtney Vintner's Re-Opens

People of a certain age may remember Courtney Vintners in the corner of Parsonage Gardens. It used be a massively popular nightspot. Sleuth was particularly adept at a startling pirouette that could stir cocktails metres away. Then several years ago the lights went out. Now Spider, aka Dave Cyrus, and friends are re-opening the place starting with a Loose Ends gig on Saturday 2 March. There’ll also be nights named Golden Glitter starting 8 March, for a big DJ led post work relaxing. Get your dancing boots on office workers of the world, and unite.

Caribbean Food Is On The Way

Dave 'Spider' Cyrus who's running Courtney's is an interesting character. He's mostly about music having managed Gabrielle and Cleopatra. He also ran the Precinct 13 nightclub. Then after a family member was affected he became the boss of the Cancer Care Foundation. If that was a bit of a departure from his previous life then even more bizarre was his subsequent career move. He claims he "introduced fish pedicure to Norway" - that thing where people put their feet in fish bowls.

"It's been a strange journey," he admits, "but now I'm back to my first love, music and entertainment. I also want to do a la carte Caribbean food at Courtney's lounge, serve it right, present it properly. There'll be all the favourites such as rice'n'peas, curried goat, jerk chicken, fried chicken, but it'll be done smarter." No fish pedicures apparently, although that might be relaxing while dining, thinks Sleuth, practising his pirouettes. 

Spider is the manSpider is the man

Sleuth Could Eat A Horse

Horse meat is right on trend at the moment. So next week Sleuth is going to gee himself up by sampling a horse steak at the Mark Addy. This might stirrup some criticism and saddle him with a reputation for eccentricity, but he doesn't bridle from that and in the mane is stable enough to accept it especially as any negative reaction shouldn't last furlong. Neighsayers never bother Sleuth. 

Horse is all the rage at the momentHorse is all the rage at the moment

Shock And Beauty At Manchester Art Gallery

Raqib Shaw's solo show at Manchester Art Gallery is causing a stir (review on Confidential next week). It runs from 15 February 2013–26 May 2013 and is an exercise in exuberance, excess and occasionally shock - a colourful sculpture of a bird headed man being sexually assaulted by a lobster (or maybe the former just really really likes seafood) is to say the least disturbing. But there's beauty too. Manchester Art Gallery has been festooned with flowers that will blossom and grow throughout the exhibition. Sleuth had to rescue several people from being run over by trams on Mosley Street on Thursday as they took pictures of the outside of the gallery. 

Aggressive seafood - people try to work out the unthinkable in Manchester Art GalleryAggressive seafood - people try to work out the unthinkable in Manchester Art Gallery

The Generosity Of Artists

There's something else about the Shaw solo show. At one of the most generously provisioned gallery openings, the champagne flowed seemingly without end. That was because Shaw had paid for the whole event himself. As the gallery stays open until 8pm on Thursday, members of the public joined in the fun. That meant Shaw provided champagne, and several glasses each, for around 1,000 people. Shaw also helped out with the external flower wrap mentioned above. He's an extravagant, very theatrical chap, but also clearly generous. He's pictured with Maria Balshaw, the Gallery Director, at the top of the page, in his sparkling jacket.

Flowery galleryFlowery gallery

Catering Company Excellence

Sleuth thinks people shoud keep an eye out for catering company Payal based in Wythenshawe. Their canapes at the gallery launch described above were the best Sleuth can ever remember having. In fact he was chasing waitresses around the room trying to grab as much of the grub as he could pile into his hat.

Nice nosh from PayaNice nosh from Paya

Hope Is Devoted

Sleuth had a grand time in the basement of long-running restaurant Cafe Istanbul on Bridge Street this Valentines'. Lucy Hope (click here) was entertaining a packed room with a series of chansons sung beautifully in impeccable French and backed by an excellent keyboardist and violinist. It was all lovely. Food, wine, good company, but above all the singing and the occasion. Manchester lacks live multi-generational entertainment with a bit of grub and this was perfect. Sleuth had too much wine though and managed to video Lucy singing a version of a song from Grease, rather than one of the French numbers. Still it's beautifully done. Have a click on the video below.

Metrolink Ticketing Upset

Aussie Philip Purdy has now left Manchester to return Down Under. His replacement is called Peter Cushing - which any way you look at it is just funny although the rumours that trams are going to be renamed after Hammer House of Horrors films seems wide of the mark. But funnier again was the occasion when an event organiser was on the phone to Philip Purdy a couple of years ago trying to sort out Metrolink sponsorship for her festival.

She'd received the call just as she got to a tram station, and thus distracted had walked onto a tram without buying a ticket. The ticket inspectors got on as well. One of them asked for her ticket while she was on the phone to his boss. It took her handing the phone to the inspector and Purdy explaining to the inspector what had happened before she was allowed to get off at the next stop and pay for a ticket without being fined. It's not what you know...

Sleuth's Appropriate Tool Of The Week

Sleuth was taking a look at the timber pop-up cathedral being built on Victoria Street. This is a temporary replacement while the real Cathedral is having its floor completely restored (click here). He was pleased to find resting on the frame, the tool shown below: a spirit level. Or in this case no doubt, a Holy Spirit level. 

The Spirit movesThe Spirit moves

West Didsbury Gets National Recognition

Sleuth was reading The Times last week. He read the Andrew Billen column referring to Kate Goodman of Reserve Wines taking over the 'drink' section on the BBC's new Food and Drink programme. He said Kate was from West Didsbury. This intrigued Sleuth because The Times is a national newspaper and Billen didn't mention that West Didsbury was in Manchester. Is it that well-known a suburb? Or is this a case of luvvies thinking the general population all must know where other luvvies live?

The Dangers Of Tweeting Without Looking

The picture below is self-explanatory. Two people tweeting without looking on the same BBC Radio Manchester twitter account. The brain teaser became a brainless intervention. Oh dear. To be fair to the Beeb they did apologise later.

Look before you tweetLook before you tweet


A Bridge Getting A Make Over

Every seven days or so Sleuth is stopped in the street by policemen, firemen, concierges, people from West Didsbury, aggressive lobsters, horse burgers, fish pedicurists, singers, the complete cast of Les Miserables, and asked "Where can we see a railway bridge in Manchester that really needs painting?" 

"Why," says Sleuth, "that would be down at the iron viaducts in Castlefield from 1849 on the old Manchester South Junction and Altrincham Railway, where the painting is due to start shortly." And to prove it he showed this picture to policemen, firemen, concierges, people from West Didsbury, aggressive lobsters, horse burgers, fish pedicurists, singers and the complete cast of Les Miserables.


2013 makeover for rusty bridges2013 make over for rusty bridges

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GordoFebruary 15th 2013.

OI! why wasn't i invited to the Art show Jonno? That Lucy is bloody good as it happens. And fit.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldFebruary 15th 2013.

I think they were worried you might call all the women 'fit'.

Richard HJFebruary 15th 2013.

I want to ride "The Tram that Bled to Death" please...

Alaka ProdhanFebruary 16th 2013.

Totally agree about the disturbing lobster beak man sex attack sculpture thing - that, for me, was a bit much. Also: there were canapes?? Aw man. The last time I missed out big time on delicious Payal canapes was at my sister's wedding reception six and a half years ago, which, funnily enough, was also at Manchester Art Gallery (best venue ever). Damn you, bridesmaid duties. I can vouch for their food though - they're the go-to-guys for top class Indian wedding nosh.

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