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Sleuth 25/05/07

The Beatles are boring and Chorlton is revolting

Published on May 25th 2007.


Sleuth 25/05/07

Cloud 5/6 and nice togs
A word or two from senior Urbis sources ('people close to the deal' as the FT has it) is that the old Le Mont restaurant - famous for being the highest restaurant in the UK to have no views -will be re-launching towards the end of the year as a ‘bar/ eatery’ aimed at a broader audience. There is a name but Urbis are not letting on about it for a couple of months ‘to see if they like it’. Presumably the name won’t be Kisby’s after the former head chef known for his er…combative…style. Kisby left under a cloud at least 23 stories high and then sued his former employers at the Council. And finally it has been confirmed that London Fashion Weekend will be taking over the entirety of Urbis in the first weekend in October. Again no name as yet.

Beach Goths
Sleuth is pleased by more news regarding Urbis. First off in June – or should that be Dune – tons of sand will be shipped into Cathedral Gardens to smother the moshers. Or even form a city centre beach. A source in Urbis said a few planning issues need to be sorted and then it will go ahead but they are ‘trying to make it different from all the other beaches out there.’ Sleuth thinks that not having the sea in front of it might do the trick. Or the River Seine, in the case of the beach the Parisians create in summer. Sleuth is already knotting a handkerchief to replace his hat, and wondering about sand-coffin competitions to keep the Goths and emos happy.

The long and dreary road
Daniel Johnston, who Confidential hosted to great success this week at the Comedy Store, likes the Beatles and really, really wanted to go to Liverpool. So we took the bi-polar, manic depressive and genius musician to our neighbour city. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds though. At Warrington, Johnston turned to Sleuth and said, “can we go back? I don’t want to go now, I want to look in comic book shops.” We held out though telling him he’d love the famous Magical Mystery Tour. This is a tour on an original ‘60s bus which schleps around Beatles landmarks. “Daniel,” we said, “it’s the best way to learn about the group. It’s informative, entertaining and so very exciting for Beatles’ fans like yourself.” And we were right. Daniel Johnston fell fast asleep almost as soon as we started. Who said performers were difficult?

Derailing the Tesco Express
Sleuth was recently down at a Chorlton public meeting to stop a Tesco Express moving into the suburb – a campaign Confidential will follow to see what happens. Covering the whole political spectrum from A to nearly B, there was a varied audience of anti-capitalists, Friends of the Earth campaigners, socialists and Marxists. There was also an old school crusty, a real warrior of the unwashed, from 1987. Looking just like Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbeyawn he had a big problem with Tesco’s position. When we were all asked if we ever shopped at the big supermarkets (and only 40% of the room said they ever did), Captain Jack snarled, “no, fuck ‘em”. Then as the debate continued on ways to having planning permission rejected Skipper Sparrow suggested that if the shop were built he’d “blow the bastard up.” Then just as the good folk in the room where becoming annoyed Captain Jack, suddenly looked round the room and said, “Nothing is real,” and slumped into silence. Very deep, thought Sleuth, pondering on the reality of having a wash and getting a job.

When we were all asked if we ever shopped at the big supermarkets (and only 40% of the room said they ever did), Captain Jack snarled, “no, fuck ‘em”. Then as the debate continued on ways to having planning permission rejected, Skipper Sparrow suggested that if the shop was built he’d “blow the bastard up.” Then just as the good folk in the room where becoming annoyed, Captain Jack suddenly looked around the room and said, “Nothing is real,” and slumped into silence. Very deep, thought Sleuth, pondering on the reality of having a wash and getting a job.

Control freak
Sleuth enjoyed Ronnie Burkett’s 10 Days on Earth, part of the Queer Up North festival, very much. He had to raise an eyebrow though when a festival spokesperson described Burkett, ‘as a really interesting performer but an absolute control freak.’ Burkett designed the costumes, the set and wrote the songs and the script – all for puppets. He’s always got his hand stuck up them. Control freak? Might go with the territory.

The Blue Danube
Sleuth was intrigued by the restaurants due to open on 20 June at Spinningfields in the new public spaces down by the blue, salmon-heavy waters of River Rollingtyre, aka the Irwell. The restaurants are Zizzi, GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen), Ha!Ha! and Café Rouge. When Sleuth asked a friend from Oldham now living in Leeds, which has branch of Ha!Ha!, what the restaurant was like, the friend said. “Well, it does a bit of everything really. Only been once but it’s pale, with bits of wood and the odd bright colour. It reminds me to look at, of Ho Ho’s, that Chinese restaurant, in Lees near my mums. Sleuth had to think about that for a minute. Finally he said, “So you’re saying Ha!Ha! is like Ho Ho’s?” Sleuth paused, “Are you having a laugh?

Gordo newsflash
Part One: Phil Jones eats his foot

Gordo has noticed the great debate in this month’s Insider Magazine on whether or not fine dining in the North West is going down the pan. Phil Jones, founder of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, thought long and hard when asked his opinion. But given that Phil has to be seen as a champion of the restaurants here in town and is the custodian of a chunk of public funds for the Festival, Gordo wonders if he thought long and hard enough. Try this curiously edited statement from the foodie maestro as reported in Insider: “In London you do see a lot of suits in the right places, but I’m not sure there are that many for fine dining. And they all go home in the evening. I’d not back a restaurant in Manchester or Liverpool.” Come again with that last sentence. Oh dear, let’s hope he was quoted out of context.

Part Two: Gordo eats Liverpool
Meanwhile www.LiverpoolConfidential.com sister site of Manchester Confidential, in the fabled Capital of Culture, has teamed up with the babes at North West Fine Foods, Sue Nelson, Deborah Robb and the rest of the food cheerleaders, to stage a Liverpool Food and Drink Festival this autumn. Gordo is feeling full: two cities, one belly. It’s a tall order.

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Dave Trolley-loverMay 25th 2007.

What's wrong with a Tesco Express in Chorlton? Bring it on and forget all the bloody whinging hippies.

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