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Sleuth 24/12/2010

Big Society wine, new Village bar, hairdressers on board, Balotelli’s kitman

Published on January 6th 2011.

Sleuth 24/12/2010

Manchester City Council encourages Big Society
Sleuth knows times are hard and councils are being pinched and battered by cuts so he heartily approves of prudence. Thus for the annual Christmas drinks bash from Sir Richard Leese at the Town Hall on Thursday he was pleased to see at the bottom of the invite in capitals the notice ‘PLEASE BRING A BOTTLE’. How very Big Society of the Council, all of us doing our bit to lubricate the wheels of civic power.

Cushioned so far
Seriously for a minute Sleuth likes to give credit where credit's due. Some people see an institution and just knock it without looking at the evidence. The City Council might do things we disagree with at Confidential but Sleuth would far rather have the Leese-Bernstein axis of Council Leader and Chief Exec ruling the roost than most other city leadership teams he knows. As was pointed out at the Christmas drinks bash Manchester is doing less badly than most other places in terms of job losses - 0.7% this year, as opposed to 1.3% nationally. This is good. Now. But don't ask any politician local or nationally what they think will happen next year across the country - lots of head shaking there.

Editor recognised
Jonathan Schofield, the editor of Manchester Confidential, got his favourite mad email of the year earlier this week. This came from a man called Lennie and said: ‘Hi, are you the jonathon who worked on board ss Uganda as hairdresser on the falklands run in the 80s.’ The editor denies he is that Jonathan, after all he’d only have been 18 in the 1982 Falklands' conflict: in any case, he’d prefer to have been confused for one of the paratroopers storming up a beach capturing gun emplacements rather than a hairdresser.

Fair point. Sleuth wonders whether being a hairdresser is the least heroic of all jobs. “You could have had fun with this though," said Sleuth, "kept him interested by saying, ‘No I wasn’t the hairdresser on the SS Uganda but I was the manicurist on the HMS Ark Royal,’” “I didn’t want to keep him interested,” said the editor.

Sleuth’s dubious promotion of the weekSleuth loved the Imperial War Museum North and Salford ice rink joint promotion to offer pensioners pre-war ticket prices for a day of skating. This is part of the month of events marking the 70th anniversary of the Blitz on Manchester. ‘On Tuesdays only, anyone aged over 60 will be able to go for a spin on the rink at Salford Quays Lowry Plaza for just 2s & 6d - that's just 12p.’ Couple of things here thinks Sleuth: you’d have to be technically older than 71 to remember pre-war prices, and isn’t this a bit dangerous, given their age, are St John's Ambulance on standby? Sleuth also loved the last line: ‘Proof of age ID is required’. Wouldn’t want any sneaky 59-year-olds trying muscle in eh?

Sleuth’s equal opportunity Rudolf
Sleuth liked this picture from Salford Ice Rink. He welcomes Santa’s decision not to simply use reindeer when he can give a broad cross-section of Society a chance of pulling him along.

Cheeky rapscallionsSleuth hears that the pupils of Stretford Grammar School used the digital world to make a stand this week. Seeing most other kids had broken up on Friday and that there was some snow lying around they organised a Facebook petition calling for the school to close due to poor weather conditions. It didn’t work but Sleuth approves: as with the student protest it once more shows how engaged our children are with the world. Well, sort of.

New bar in the Village
Sleuth is hearing great reports about a new bar on Richmond Street in the Village from readers. Our correspondent says: ‘It's called the Molly House and is absolutely brilliant. It's on two floors with a cafe bar downstairs and a lounge upstairs. Great drinks selection including real ales. It looks like it could really up the quality of what's on offer around Canal Street and is clearly a labour of love’. Good stuff - the Village scene could do with freshening up. Confidential will review soon.

Sleuth’s hot tower
It was minus 9 centigrade when Sleuth came to work on Monday. Yet certain people at Beetham Tower had for some weird reason left their louvre windows open. Things must have been pretty steamy up there - the 400ft high club perhaps.

Sleuth’s idiot of the week
Mario Balotelli, of City, for his quote: “There is only one player who is a little stronger than me - Messi. All the others are behind me.” That would be the Mario Balotelli who on Monday in the defeat against Everton had no positional sense, little speed and a lack of awareness of where City players were around him. Balotelli’s not even in the top ten at City.

Sleuth’s kitbag
Sleuth went to buy his son a football kit this week for Christmas. Lord, they’re expensive thought Sleuth, what with the shirt, the shorts, the socks....the snood, the gloves, the tights....

Sleuth’s best auto-translation of the week
Sleuth’s brother and Rochdalian manufacturer was looking for some sliding doors – don’t ask. He found this website from the East. It really does show the dangers of auto-translation. A typical sentence reads: ‘This is the best accepted acumen why your industrial sliding doors may not be alive properly, abnormally if you accept accouchement or pets in your home who accept a addiction of blame on the screen. While you can booty industrial sliding doors to a adjustment shop, affairs are, this will become a adhesive aeon unless you alternation the dog to accelerate the door himself.’ Right. Got you. English – it’s another language.

Sleuth’s celebrities he’s most sick of seeing this week
Matt Lucas and David Walliams. Take That. Michael McIntyre (yes he’s still as sick of them this week as he was last).

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

JohnDecember 24th 2010.

So,Scholfield spent his time having 'Ugandan discussions' during the Falklands conflict? Typical meeja softie

AnonymousDecember 28th 2010.

Why have you purposely removed 'gay' from The Gay Village?

SleuthDecember 29th 2010.

Keep up Anon, that's what everybody calls it now. Even the area's own website http://www.canal-st.co.uk

J E SibberingDecember 29th 2010.

Er I don't think so Sleuth, there are only two people I know who insist on dropping 'gay' from the name and t'other is also a tour guide. Is there a reason you want to de-gay it?

The website you've quoted still calls it the Gay Village, apart from on a tab header and the Vanilla advert.

Personally, it really p*sses me off when people try to make out it's just another section of the city; doing so diminishes the historic struggle LGBT people have gone through to gain some acceptance and visibility. People still get abused and attacked for being gay in Manchester; it's not like gay people can go into all the 'straight' bars around town and be open and demonstrative with their loved ones. It's still not easy to come out, even in the 21st-century.

I truly don't think you understand how insulting trying to de-gay the Village is.

Eddy TuringDecember 30th 2010.

The city belongs to all of us.

SleuthDecember 30th 2010.

Dear TBLZEBRA look on the dropdown bar from the home tab and it says 'Village History', 'Village Map' - the other dropdowns only say 'Village' too. Most people who know Manchester and use the city centre simply call it 'The Village' these days. True people from outside the city always call it the Gay Village. Calling it The Village is progress. It's acknowledging that an area with a Gay and Lesbian character is simply an accepted part of the life of the city - not 'queer' at all. Calling it the Village removes the need to stress sexuality - it's called growing up.

J E SibberingDecember 30th 2010.

The dropdowns do say that, presumably so the tabs are short, or they'd disappear off the page! But all the editorial content and headings includes 'Gay'. What you claim 'most people' call it verbally is very different from you purposely choosing to change the name. The official Manchester Map gives it the full title; why can't you?

You've confirmed that I was correct in saying you truly don't understand.

You think it's grown up to remove any reference to it being a queer, LGBT place? Maybe that makes sense to a straight bloke, who hasn't ever felt it necessary to hide his sexuality? To miss out the fact that for decades it's usually been a safe haven for people ostracised and even outlawed by society, and still is in many ways?

I know, let's rename curry mile The Mile, or Chinatown The Town.

SleuthDecember 30th 2010.

Interesting. Sleuth will ask the editor, a man he knows well, to write a balanced article with interviews from Gay Village folk and others on the moniker. Good strong debate start to the New Year. Just checked the lovely Visit Manchester website as well and there's a split there about the name with both the Village and the Gay Village being tagged: http://tinyurl.com/2va5fe2 And by the way Chinatown is a totally different example from The Gay Village and is in no way a direct analogy which Sleuth is sure you realise.

James MadisonDecember 30th 2010.

Are there any other Gay Villages in the world?

J E SibberingDecember 30th 2010.

Let's have a heated debate. I like it.

OK, I confess, I know it's not a direct analogy. But you maybe might have to conceed that as it's the 'China' bit that defines that section of the town centre, a place where Chinese people have gathered and made it their own distinct area, then the 'Gay' bit also defines (most of) The Gay Village.

James: yes there are many other gay villages, but most aren't as geographically compact, accessible or welcoming to absolutely anyone (except shouty bigots) as ours is. Hurrah!

Smyth HarperDecember 30th 2010.

I call it both! Does that make me bi?

J E SibberingDecember 30th 2010.


Smyth HarperDecember 30th 2010.

On a more serious note, I think it's more important that what the area represents than what you call it, per se.

The second best gay village in the world is the Castro, and it's just known as that - but everyone knows its the gay space, which isn't just for the gays.

Sleuth, I think there's a more interesting debate to be had about what the Village was, what the Gay Village now represents, how it's changed and what could be done to improve it. The advent of a bar like the Molly House is important, as Canal Street has been dominated in recent years by a particular type of bar. But with Molly House, Parlour, Eagle as well as the Velvet Hotel all making their mark, it's beginning to perk up somewhat and widen its appeal.

Does it need to remain a gay space? Is there a better way to define a gay space than bars, bars, bars? What can we learn from other gay areas? That's the kind of stuff that I think would make a cracking piece...

Now, if someone could just explain that just because it's the Gay Village it doesn't give drunk women on a hen night license to molest any passing homosexual, we might get somewhere...

J E SibberingDecember 30th 2010.

But how do they know it's the Gay Village Smitty, if Sleuth keeps missing out the 'gay' bit?

Kevin HandDecember 31st 2010.

If you've lived in the city for longer than a week and/or if you're gay you know the Village is the gay area. What other Village is their? Are there tourists from Somerset who think the Village will have a duck pond and an old fashioned phone booth? Village or Gay Village is immaterial as long as the character is retained.

Thank YouDecember 31st 2010.

After your recommendation in Sleuth I just bought some sliding doors.

Nicholas DrakeDecember 31st 2010.

I have a gay friend who never calls it the Gay Village. He calls it the Straight Girl Village which he feels more accurately defines its usual demographic.

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