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Sleuth 18/05/07

The Hallé Orchestra ceases to exist

Published on May 18th 2007.

Sleuth 18/05/07

Confused with a small c
Sleuth joined Ed Vaizey for a drink when he came up to Manchester the other week. Vaizey is a big wig in the Shadow Cabinet for the Conservatives and an ultra smart-boy Cameronite. Sleuth mentioned the Hallé Orchestra. An uneasy silence followed. “What’s that?” Ed asked. “You’ve never heard of it?” Sleuth enquired. Another blank look. “It’s just the oldest permanent professional orchestra in the country and under Mark Elder considered the best,” said Sleuth. “Oops, I should know about that, shouldn’t I?” said Ed. “Well, maybe,” observed Sleuth, “especially as you’re the Shadow Minister for the Arts on a special visit to Manchester to look at the culture and arts scene up here.”

National Health Service in crisis
Is this the most common headline in the world? Anyway Sleuth was pleased to see the National Health Service was on form this week. Found to be ‘too witty’ by several psychologists they recommended hospitalisation for Sleuth. He chose Trafford General which is rumoured to be a quiet hospital on account of the fact that people in Trafford mostly choose private healthcare. And it was very quiet, like a morgue if you know what Sleuth means. No staff anywhere. Even more sinisterly the sign on reception at A&E read: ‘Please do not report to the reception desk until you have been seen by the Triage Nurse.’ Cunning use of the word reception there - a reception as a place which doesn’t receive people. Meanwhile the door a metre to the right read: ‘Triage Nurse is (blank). The approximate waiting time is (blank). Date: May.’ It was 14 May. Feeling that he didn’t want to have to wait potentially another 17 days Sleuth buggered off. Unlike the other poor sods who had to wait it out.

Way to go
Speaking of morgues Sleuth likes to plan ahead. He’s very green too, gets a bit confused with all the recycling bins, but loves to do his bit. That’s why he’s tremendously excited about the Fair Trade Coffin Morning taking place in Sale this Wednesday. A company called Natural Endings (www.naturalendings.co.uk) are offering ‘environmentally friendly and beautifully crafted coffins from bamboo.’ They also offer other ‘eco-coffins made from cardboard, willow, woven banana leaves, seagrass and timber.’ Sleuth particularly loves the invitation to ‘come along, have a Fair Trade coffee and biscuit and give us your opinion of these lovely coffins.’ Ah yes. Lovely, lovely coffins, so nice to have around. Sleuth hopes the rumour that the company is setting up a fetish alternative called Unnatural Endings is true.

Grabbed by the Balkans
Sleuth was hanging around in a bar on Canal Street the other night when the Eurovision Song Contest was on. He wasn’t facing the screen though, he was watching the crowds. It was fascinating – anthropologically speaking. When it was all over, several lives later, he asked a friend, an active member of the Village, why the Contest meant so much. “Well,” said the gent in question, “the Eurovision Song Contest is the equivalent of football for gays.” The scales dropped from Sleuth’s eyes.

Moving Manchester downsizes and Suburb to re-open
Speaking of death, Sleuth learns that the company behind Manchester property mag, Moving Manchester, BBDM has gone bust. Staff went in earlier this week to be promptly told to go away again. The magazine will continue to operate, as the name is owned by the original founder Mike Huckerby, who’d licensed it to BBDM. But it will only have a skeleton staff of about three and a half. A shame really. Moving Manchester had begun to get some real content after starting out as a bunch of typos and exclamation marks surrounding some property ads. With the MEN editorial redundancies, this isn’t a good time for journalists. Sleuth is sure that the thoughts of all Mancunians are with them. There is some good news going around though. For those who loved coffee-shop Suburb on Deansgate, it’s set to re-open later this year along the same colourful and individual lines but with a different name.

Sunday Times goes HG Wells
Sleuth was browsing the papers last weekend when he was surprised to learn in the Sunday Times Style Magazine that the Granby Pub is a ‘must-visit media watering hole’. Sleuth checked the date on the cover, yep they meant 2007. Sleuth called a few mates for a big night out. Take in the Granby, then nip into the Hacienda, perhaps pop into the Boardwalk, slip over to the Millionaires, then the Twisted Wheel and finish back in the Granby - that famous media watering hole. Which closed last year. Or perhaps fifteen years ago, who knows – at least that was when everybody but bewildered students stopped dropping in. The information was so laughably out of date Sleuth wondered whether the paper should change its name to the Friday Times.

Romance in the galleries
A romantic soul, a poet at heart, Sleuth is always falling in love. Sometimes he even takes himself off to art galleries to immerse himself in all the beauty. Thus it was pleasant to discover, whilst strolling down Oxford Road waiting for the Whitworth Art Gallery to open, two love birds promenading towards him. He recognised them straight away: Maria Balshaw, director of the aforementioned gallery and Nick Merriman, the director of Manchester Museum. Apparently the romance has caused quite a stir in Manchester’s visitor attractions although Sleuth can’t quite figure out why. Although if stuffed animals start turning up next to the pre-Raphaelites in the gallery he might begin to wonder. Later when the Whitworth opened, Sleuth couldn’t help but smile when one gallery attendant turned to another and said quietly, “God, this job is boring.” No shit.

Sleuth thinks that we should never compare ourselves to London either as a city or a region, that it’s cringe-making and worse than that, utterly meaningless. We’re better than that. And we should never do it. Ever. Especially as it usually descends into us saying we’ve got more of a community, blah, that we’re friendlier blah, that we have a better sense of humour, blah, weep, cringe. This week on the Manchester Confidential chip-on-the-shoulder-o-meter step forward TV producer Cheryl Toomey who after filming a new promo movie for the North West told the MEN in an article entitled ‘Not so Grim Up North’: “The screen division of the production team are from London and they have been amazed by how things run here, even when the rain comes down. They’re already looking forward to coming back.” Arse. They probably never want to come back. Although, Cheryl, they do seem genuinely surprised to find sentient life up here. Bless us in ickle Manchester.

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

CleggMay 18th 2007.

Poor old Ed, it's cruel to think that he should have heard of the Halle. As long as we get Cameron in it doesnt matter about the cultural content of the government as long as it improves the lives of the poor,

P BearMay 18th 2007.

Will Natural Endings make a special bamboo coffin for my illegal pet panda? Then it might feel at home when it dies.

Rob AdlardMay 18th 2007.

It seems ManCon has taken to enjoying baiting me these days but come on, are you not going to let on that Ed was pulling your leg? His Boris-like demeaner catches a number of people out....I know Ed well as the Conservative candidate for the city centre, but as my job is playing the violin with the Halle we've naturally discussed the Halle numerous times and of course he's not unfamiliar with it....tut tut, the amount of slander of Conservatives that takes place on this website!!

champagne socialistMay 18th 2007.

Ed Vaisey. Posh thicko. Glad to see Eton (or whatever public school) and Oxford have worked wonders there.

ex-bbdm staffMay 18th 2007.

I just wanted to say thank you for the post about Moving Manchester. Working on a magazine and trying to improve it month on month isn't just a job. It might start out like that but after a while you find that you really, really care about it. And losing your 'job' is hard enough. The media scene in Manchester can get a little bitchy at times but that was a nice thing to write. I really hope everyone else is as supportive to MM over the next few months, despite the obvious difficulties it faces.

kathyMay 18th 2007.

Clegg.....dont you know the basics, the tories get into power to improve the lives of THEMSELVES not the great unwashed

C BearMay 18th 2007.

i collect cardboard,will they also make me a cardboard coffin to bury it when i get bored of my collection?

secret squirrelMay 18th 2007.

RE: Ed Vaizey....The best bit about this story is that the conservative councillor for the city centre elections was Rob Adlard....who has played in the Halle!!Ooh the irony...

champagne socialistMay 18th 2007.

sorry, typo. Ed VAGUELY.

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