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Sleuth 20/08/2010

Manchester’s massive rat problem exclusive, crow nasty, best books, 57 varieties of Heinze

Published on August 20th 2010.

Sleuth 20/08/2010

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.

Massive Manchester rat infestation
There’s been much talk of massive rats in Bradford. Sleuth isn’t concerned. The rat that was reported in The Sun ('Invasion of the Giant Rats ') and on the popular broadcast media foraging through a kitchen was only a couple of feet long. Manchester has much bigger rats. Confidential after painstaking investigative journalism captured this rare picture after a long vigil one afternoon in Spinningfields. See below for exclusive viewing of this shy, but vast beast.

Crow food
So Sleuth was in the Lake District this week lunching at the Michelin-starred restaurant of the splendid Holbeck Ghyll country house hotel. He was on totally selfless mission to tell readers all about tasty summer excursions from Manchester – review to follow next week. Sleuth was sat in the bay window. Outside was a lawn and maybe eight metres away a bird feeder. A blue tit latched on to a bag of peanuts and started pecking. Sleuth’s main course arrived, lamb done pink. Sleuth looked out of the window, a crow flew down skewered the blue tit and started to eat it in an explosion of feathers, sinews and guts. The waiter slid over to Sleuth, “Are you enjoying your meal?” he asked not aware of the violence outside. “Yes,” said Sleuth pointing, “but possibly not as much as that crow there.”

Discerning carrion
Sleuth wonders if the crow tells his crow mates when they ask him about lunch, “Oh I always go for places with at least one Michelin star, wouldn’t think of dining anywhere lesser.”

Tthe wwhole sstory
Sleuth hears that Manchester University Press was flying the flag the other week at a Stratford-upon-Shakespeare book fair. One of the Lords of Life who is an MUP stalwart was pleased to show a couple of editors a lovely colour flyer of a forthcoming edition. He described what happened to Sleuth, "I hadn't proofed the second version so it was quite embarrassing to have a book on Hamlett being advertised". Ssleuth quitee likes the iidea of doubling up on letteers - it's a bit Renaissance English after all, that lot didn't worry too much about correct spelling. “Does that mistake mean you’ve been bard?” asked Sleuth. “You are a very hilarious man,” came the concerned reply, "now please go away"

Digging a German hole
Sleuth’s guides went gallivanting down the tunnel under the Great Northern Goods Warehouse off Deansgate on Tuesday with lots of Confidential readers. The tunnel is an old canal that was converted to bomb shelters in WWII, the story of the bomb shelters is a dramatic and moving tale, key to the whole experience. One of the guides, MC Coal, texted Sleuth: ‘Tours went well. There were lots of Germans on the first tour. I found it hard not to mention the war.'

Drinking in knowledge
Sleuth loves the City Arms on Kennedy Street. It’s dark, intimate, with cracking beers and is the unofficial council chamber for the Town Hall next door. You can hear all sorts. And read all sorts. Sleuth’s impressed by the addition of a selection of books collected for drinkers. It’s the most literate pub bookshelf anywhere including Bukowski, Monbiot, Orwell, Kundera and Will Self. Sleuth chose one to enliven his pint.

Zipless fuck times two
One of the books on the City Arms shelf is the Erica Jong book Fear of Flying. This is the famous 1973 feminist novel which features the ‘zipless fuck’. The ‘zipless fuck’ is sex without commitment or emotional content, just sex for its own sake usually between two people who don’t even know each other. Jong describes it as ‘absolutely pure. Free of ulterior motive’. Sleuth enjoyed re-reading the rude bits of the novel over a pint of Sloppy Old Dog ale (or was it Mucky Puddle Owd Peculiar) from Congleton or maybe Chorley. On leaving Sleuth was faced with a man in his fifties in a suit, drunk, urinating against the new Belvedere office opposite. The man turned, before he’d done his flies up – ah a ‘zipless fuckwit’ thought Sleuth as he averted his eyes.

Travelling crap decor
Books in pubs reminds Sleuth of when The Bank pub first opened on Mosley Street under the Portico Library, twenty years ago maybe. The cheesy refurb included a section of fake book covers on one wall - chipboard with bindings stuck on it - perhaps in some half-arsed reference to the space above. Sleuth was talking to the barman one day. “Couldn’t believe it,” said the man, “a month ago, when the pub was full, this guy ripped a section of the fake book covers off the wall, turned on his heel and left. Then it got really weird.” “What do you mean?” asked Sleuth. “Well I was in that big Trafford Park car boot sale a week or two later, and there it was in the back of a Cavalier being sold for a quid,” said the barkeep. “Didn’t buy it though,” he said as an afterthought.

Heinze for City
The new City Square fanzone around Eastlands is officially unveiled on Monday night (click here) - before the Blues’ home game against Liverpool. Sleuth was forwarded by some PR people a copy of the match menu, designed by Marco Pierre White, no less. This features nosh such as the ‘Aberdeen Angus Manc Burger’ and the traditional terrace favourite of ‘marinated Goosnargh chicken in spring onion, garlic and chilli’. It also features the ‘Blue Banger Sausage Baguette with HP sauce or Heinze Ketchup’. Heinze? That's what the press release said. As in the ex-Manchester United Argentinian defender? What about some Solksjaer sauce maybe? Is this a case of a classic typo Sleuth wonders, or a mischievous United fan’s cheeky inclusion?

Manford sitting blandly
Staying with Citeh, the club sent a special blue chair to big fan Jason Manford on the occasion of his descent into banal nonsense with his first appearance on the One Show. This apparently is similar to the ‘240 heated chairs (installed) for corporate guests to enjoy in the chilly winter months’ in the City of Manchester Stadium. Goosnargh chicken and heated seats? Isn’t that a bit too ‘prawn sandwich’ for the Blues? Sleuth hears a rumour that the real reason the chair was moved on is because it was signed by Mark Hughes and Mancini is looking to bring in a slightly worse version for ten times the figure.

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

Keith DavidsonAugust 20th 2010.

That rat is definitely much bigger than the Bradford one.

MadelaineAugust 20th 2010.

It's the biggest rat I've ever seen

Neville BanksAugust 20th 2010.

If that's Spinningfields couldn't the big rat be housed in the old Halliwells office and turned into a tourist attraction?

NeedtoknowbasisAugust 20th 2010.

Big rats are the future

Cliche manAugust 20th 2010.

I avoid rats like the plaque

bob the builderAugust 20th 2010.

Perhaps you should put up a plague on your wall to say so?

JAugust 20th 2010.

Rat bbq...spit rat?

Rat LeggedAugust 20th 2010.

Ratatouille anyone?

Cliche manAugust 20th 2010.

Dear Bob I think I was trying to be fanny

Rat-arsedAugust 20th 2010.

Nothing new about big rats in Manchester, they've been a staple in many Wilmslow Road eateries for 15 years + !!!

GordoAugust 20th 2010.

Where's the click here in the Heinze story?

Jonathan Schofield - editorAugust 20th 2010.

Hello Publisher. Are you enjoying New York?

GashmanAugust 20th 2010.

get ya rat out!!!!!!!!!!

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