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Sleuth 21/11/2008

Confidential wins best media brand in North West award, ‘working class’ hotel opens and fights at the Lowry theatre

Published on November 21st 2008.

Sleuth 21/11/2008

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week. We give £25 for every story/rumour, piece of absurdity or serious issue you find for us to print. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows.

We’re the best
Manchester Confidential won the Best North West Media Brand at the Bridgewater Hall this Wednesday. Sleuth was there as we saw off the MEN and ITV Granada at the Hill Dickinson and How-do Top 100 Brands ceremony. The publisher, Mark Garner beamed like a man who’d had just one glass of free white wine too many as he went to collect the award. These awards are the equivalent of the Brits not the Mercury prize, voted by punters, and we massacred the opposition in the number of votes we garnered (so to speak). So thanks to our lovely readers.

Culture failure
Other winners included the Coop for just about everything else including the top prize of North West Brand of the Year. Urban Splash won the best Property and Construction brand. Biggest surprise came with the Leisure and Tourism award. This went to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, not Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008. Sleuth thinks if Liverpool can’t win this year, then when? Click here for the full list of winners.

Warrington is real
Comedian John Bishop was the MC of the Top 100 awards. He was on form, best MC Sleuth has seen for...well...forever. He described how knowledge in the region and what it has to offer has spread particularly among Mancunians and Liverpudlians. “It’s been good in the last few decades hasn’t it, learning about places? Because to be honest,” he said, “none of us knew Warrington existed until the Swedes put a shop there.” He also raised an eyebrow at the news that in these economically blighted times the North West was the fastest growing region for financial services, wryly commenting: “Is that because someone found 50p on the pavement last week." As for the award for best healthcare and pharmaceutical brand, the shortlist was AstraZeneca, Durex and Unilever. The first of these won. Bishop said, "good job Durex didn't win as they couldn't be arsed to come -which is about right for them."

Mad cow disease
John Bishop had had to leave the room in uncontrollable laughter while guest speaker Edwin Booth was in full flow. Booth is the Chairman of Booth’s, the Lancashire equivalent of Waitrose. Bishop had mocked the ludicrous branding of the event, a daft looking cow. So Booth arrived on stage and moo-ed very determinedly at the audience – for what seemed like about five minutes. Edwin Mooth, or Daisy, as people now call him, also did several impersonations of Prince Charles and then sang a song. The general consensus is that Daisy’s usually kept in a freezer room at one of his stores in a strait-jacket with just the voices in his head for company. It was the oddest performance Sleuth has ever seen at an awards do. In a nice way, he thinks doubtfully.

Gracious in defeat
Lucy Meacock, the beautiful, gracious and elegant face for much that is good with ITV Granada – or what’s left of it – had the charm and manners to come and offer congratulations to Gordo, our renowned bon viveur. She remarked on how Confidential had become a force in the city through wit, good writing and of course great offers for readers. The Manchester Evening News didn’t bother saying well done. “That was a shock,” said Gordo about Lucy Meacock. “Last time I spoke to her she was interviewing me about Red Hot Dutch.”

Manchester shows the way for renewal
Staying with business Sleuth gets sent all manner of weird magazines, such as Regeneration & Renewal, the weekly magazine of the economic development, housing and urban regeneration community in the UK. Brick porn in otherwords. The magazine carries recommendations for a ‘Key Read’. Previously this has included The Community Planning Event Manual and Renewing Neighbourhoods: Work Enterprise and Governance. Sexy. So Sleuth was surprised in this week’s mag that the suggested book was The Gangs of Manchester by Andrew Davies. Readers were urged to join Davies as he ‘uncovers a fascinating history of malnourished youths fighting each other’. This seemed to follow the magazine’s recent summit in the city. Sleuth’s pleased the event threw up some interesting ideas although he's not sure whether it's the best path to pursue on the road to regeneration.

New hotel initiative in town
Sleuth was trying to book a room for a friend in Manchester on Wednesday night. Everywhere was full so in desperation he turned to the Premier Inn on Victoria Bridge Street, opposite the Cathedral. He felt like Joseph and Mary when the receptionist informed him they too had no vacancies. “Is there a big event in Manchester I don’t know about?” he asked. The overseas lady replied, “no, we’re just full with working class people, we often are.” Sleuth was confused. “What? You grade people by class?” He was getting visions of Corrie folk wandering the bleak corridors waiting for the variety act to start. “Maybe I just mean working people,” the receptionist said. Sleuth was disappointed. The star grading system needs updating and this could be the way. People in Hampstead saying things like, “darling, let’s go to Manchester and stay in one of those sweet little working class hotels, go all common and don’t care, wear almost nothing even in the coldest weather.”

Contact theatre at the Lowry
Weird stuff going on at the Lowry on Salford Quays. During Stella Grundy’s critically acclaimed Nico Icon Play on Wednesday night the cast were well into a sterling performance when as Sleuth’s mole says, “ a member of the audience stood up and threatened to kill one of the cast members”. Sleuth reckons that must have been one hell of a performance from the actor in question. Order was eventually restored and like true professionals the actors continued. Meanwhile following a recent production of Tosca at the Lowry Sleuth got the following email: ‘Not five minutes into the performance a shout from the gallery of "she swore at me" was quickly followed by one middle aged opera going lady swinging a punch at another middle aged opera going lady - it was a proper haymaker too. The punch thrower then quickly left the building, sheepishly followed by her partner while the victim turned back to the performance’. Sleuth thinks audience participation at the Lowry might be getting out of hand.

Personnel fast food
Sleuth was in Fresh Bites, the kebab, pizzas and chips fast food joint at the corner of Oldham Street and Hilton Street the other day. The cheery old guy who serves at Fresh Bites asked Sleuth, "Do you want this pizza to take-away?" Before Sleuth could answer the immigration authorities and the Police ran in and took him away.

Tree in lumber
Piccadilly Gardens has gained an interesting Christmas tree. During the day it looks like a sculpture based on razor wire coils but during the evening, all lit up, it’s splendid. Shame that it blew down this week. Sleuth bumped into the boss of the Kro bars, Mark Ruby, surveying the damage. “They put a big concrete bed under here to provide a strong foundation for features like this,” he said, “and then they rest it on a weak little bracket like that.” He pointed at something which looked like a piece of Meccano. He had a point. Sleuth also wants to know what happened to his favourite tree, the cone shaped one covered in lights. If the Council aren’t using it this year, could Confidential have it for the office?

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SantaNovember 21st 2008.

Is it me, or are Manchester City Council designing the Piccadilly Gardens on Auschwitz?Tall, grey bare and domineering walls, baren grass, orange stained street furniture and now barbed wire style Christmas Trees...What next, mass gravestones planted on the grass for Halloween me thinks...

crazyjohnNovember 21st 2008.

I don't know what all the firs is about

ithastobemeNovember 21st 2008.

Isn't the cone shaped tree in front of the Great Northern this year? Or did i dream that up??

HELENNovember 21st 2008.

Brick porn had me laughing out loud - apt description. But John Bishop - now's he's pure mental porn. Fit as a butchers dog too....... Well done for great night!

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