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Sleuth 24/10/2008

Robert Downey Jr investigates Manchester, Central Library to close, honest carrots, biting ears in Wigan

Published on October 24th 2008.


Sleuth 24/10/2008

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.

Alien in east Manchester
Following the release this week of Government files on UFO sightings Sleuth can confirm that for many years a massive alien has been living in east Manchester. Sleuth asked a resident about it. “Yea, it appeared four or five years ago,” said Mr T Heatherwick. “It’s a huge thing, seemingly made from some special metal from another planet. Shame really as we were excited when it first appeared," he continued, "now it’s become a bit of an embarrassment for everyone concerned. Nobody seems to know what to do about it. They’ll have to decide soon though as it seems to be dying. Bits keep falling off." Click here for a picture of the east Manchester alien.

Robert Downey Jr and Russell Crowe come to town.
Sleuth got a flurry of excited communications on Thursday and Friday about tinsel town coming to the Town Hall - and he’s not talking the Christmas decorations. Apparently Russell Crowe and Robert Downey Junior are in town this weekend fliming Sherlock Holmes. Downey is playing Holmes, Crowe is Watson. Guy Ritchie is the director. Madonna is playing Moriarty, the Napolean of Crimes against growing old gracefully. Actually given the split with Ritchie she won’t be here so Sleuth’s trying to work out which member of the Town Hall staff and councillors might play Moriarty instead.

Central Library to close for upgrade
Sleuth’s got his hands on a Council memo informing people that the Town Hall Extension and Central Library may be closed late next year and the services transferred. The reason is that both buildings need urgent repair and upgrade. This is inevitable and Sleuth congratulates them in getting on with it. The memo also makes it clear that the plan is to move back into the buildings when work is done. It’ll be a monumental headache though. A riddle even Sherlock Holmes would struggle to solve. But where should the library relocate too? Sleuth has a suggestion. Get a short-term lease on the former HSBC/Midland Bank on King Street, one of Manchester’s most beautiful and impressive buildings by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and move everything there. Exchange one architectural stunner for another.

The Road to Wigan Ear
Sleuth was chatting to a young university lady last week. She was on a trip to Manchester from Oxford to study how the city has changed in recent years. Sleuth asked if she’d been before. “Yes, my father was a judge for a few years in Wigan and Bolton,” came the reply. “That must have been interesting,” said Sleuth doubtfully. “It was. He said he’d never come across a town where ear biting was so rife as Wigan.” Sleuth thinks they should put that on signs at the town’s border, ‘Welcome to Wigan. Home of the Ear Biter.’

Latest tourism news
A kind reader has sent us a post card. This Castlefield resident is bemused by some of the direction signs down at Manchester’s most important local and global heritage site. Cheeky chap’s even put a Roman helmet on Sleuth. Still you can see what he means. Granada Studios Tour closed as an attraction in 79AD and the Castlefield Centre in 84AD. At least the museum’s still open although the sign isn’t pointing to it. Confidential is championing Castlefield with CityCo and the residents. Sleuth will have a word.

Carrots get honest
Sleuth enjoyed these typos the other day. The first was in the Vegetarian Society’s newsletter about their winter courses down at the Altrincham HQ. With Indian and Italian themes, these are, to quote, ‘designed to whisk you away to sunnier climbs’. Eh? Sunnier climbs? Mountaineering is included? Even better is the typo on the menu of the Glasshouse, the new restaurant of the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Shude Hill. One starter contains ‘venison, game bird, rabbit, foie gras, candid carrots, puff pastry and watercress jus’. Candid carrots? Oh yes. Apparently, they sit up and say things like, “Hello, I’m a candid carrot. Madam are you sure about that dress? And really your date is as witty as a lamp post.” Sleuth likes to think they do this in the voice of Noel Coward.

Aliens in Salford
Sleuth was amused by the jolly cover of BBC magazine Ariel this week. It featured a lovely graphic of the BBC spreading across the country. The Salford bit included this strange creature which is probably something to do with the fact that departments such as Childrens, Radio 5, Sport and New Media are moving north. Then again Sleuth thinks the curious humanoid looks familiar. Ah yes he saw a family like that moving around Salford Shopping City the other day. Very odd types there.

Bars on TV
Sleuth’s been informed that lots of Manchester venues have been seen all over the TV in recent weeks. Obsidian was on Coronation Street and improbably Sleuth thinks, readers have been telling him that Panacea has featured on a Bold ad. However it turns out that reports of several punters being hospitalised after they got over-excited with all the white powder hanging around are entirely false.

Against the Law
Big local sports story in the Manchester Evening News this week about former Lancashire cricket captain Stuart Law, whose contract wasn’t renewed at the end of the summer. In the story, Law denied criticising the club's committee over its decision to not offer well-known and well-respected player Dominic Cork an extension to his contract. He was quoted as saying "I never called anyone the gin and tonic brigade" - thus inferring the management of the club were a bunch of amateurs who didn’t know much about cricket. Fair enough, but what's this, from the MEN of 14 August and still on the website? "I have got to walk out with these players, and if they are not in the best frame of mind I have got to deal with it. People sat up there drinking their gin and tonics don't have to." The author of those words? Stuart Law. You keep with it lad, Sleuth think, if that’s what you think.

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

Burt CodeineOctober 24th 2008.

I never knew there was a B&Q on king street...well I never. I shall know where to go for my two be twos and low voltage halogen lighting next time I'm in town.

ChickadeeOctober 24th 2008.

Eh, it was me who spotted Panacea in the Bold advert. Does that mean I get £25?

AnonymousOctober 24th 2008.

There's also that Sofa ad which is filmed in Spinningfields too, you can see RBS in the background. I think residents in some less desirable Manchester suburbs seem to have taken the ad a bit too litteraly though. Pop down the road to Harpurhey and watch the locals of a summers evening. Here you'll find terraced streets lined with sofas occupied by their owners and stashes of Breaker and Tennants Super galore. Not often you see such a sense of community these days!

Farley1711October 24th 2008.

It is Panacea the frgrant young couple waft into at the end of the Bold ad. Apparently Bold is also useful for getting blood staines out of any garment...

PablosanchezOctober 24th 2008.

Could we have a progress update on Castlefield please. Surely these signs would have been one of the first things to address as it's relatively easy to do?

PaulOctober 24th 2008.

Does anyone know what really is going to become of the Midland Bank building on King Street? I've heard rumours of a shopping arcade (I think on this site) and I was once told by someone at the bank that plans were afoot for a small hotel. The last time I went past it was looking rather sorry for itself with the letting agents' board on the wall. This is my favourite building in Manchester and undoubtedly one of the city's top ten architectural gems and I hope that it has a bright future!

AvoOctober 24th 2008.

Sleuth, I assure you that it definitly is Pancea in the Bold advert. Trust me. I'm never wrong.

PablosanchezOctober 24th 2008.

Maybe Mancon will update their old offer re B&O Deansgate which is now long closed!

AnonymousOctober 24th 2008.

Sleuth should take a leaf out of Sherlock Holmes book - Jude Law is playing Watson, not Russell Crowe!

B&O of Kingt StreetOctober 24th 2008.

Re the bold ad - the couple "waft" into B&O of King Street - I can state this with 100% certainty, as I own the shop, and sat at the desk doing paperwork until 1am, when they eventually finished filming. The couple kept warm between takes on our Demonstration Room sofa, and I have to say the cast and crew were all extremely nice.There were 24 of them (really, and it took eight hours to film) The digital work done after filming has removed all visible clues, but the couple walked along Pall Mall Court (just next to 55 King Street) window shopped at Mahogany Haridressers and Bang & Olufsen, then were filmed entering B&O and also the Kinght Frank estate agents next door.RegardsDavid

HellersdadOctober 24th 2008.

How about using the HSBC (Midland Bank) Building on King Street as a replacement for the Renaissance(Ramada) Hotel on Blackfriars Street which at last has redevelopment plans afoot.

AnonymousOctober 24th 2008.

Panacea are really milking the TV ad thing at the minute. Watch the new Hovis ad' and look out for the bit when the kid is running over the pile of burning rubble and the plane flies over - that was filmed at Panacea Alderley Edge!

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