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Sleuth 26/09/2008

MEN have terror link, cricket sex, daft doorknobs, Nigel Pivaro, lobbying and the Arctic Monkeys and the Northern Quarter,

Published on September 26th 2008.

Sleuth 26/09/2008

Terrifying news...or rather terrifying NEWS
Sleuth was shocked to read this headline on the city streets yesterday. How very brave of our local paper to come clean like this. Sleuth rang the MEN to confirm their terror links. Osama Bin Horrox al Editr told him: "we will destroy your decadent West by saturating its filthy streets with free papers and by spreading the Mother of all Trivia over your pavements with Hollyoaks' stories. And articles on stolen doorknobs."

The worst news in the world....everStolen door knobs. Indeed. Sleuth was reading the MEN last Saturday when he was struck by this monumental news - click here Yes, empires fall, a brass doorknob has been stolen from nineteenth century author Elizabeth Gaskell’s old home on Plymouth Grove. Important woman, important house, but the doorknob? It wasn’t even original. As one Australian ranter on the MEN’s website put it, was this a slow news day, can’t they just buy another? It'd cost about £6 from an architectural salvage yard. Sleuth loved this sentence in the story: ‘Anyone with information about the missing doorknob can contact the M.E.N on 0161 211 2077’. Sleuth would like to add that ‘Anyone with information about the missing news can contact Sleuth on 0161 228 0044.

Vandals in the house
Sleuth knows the real story about Elizabeth Gaskell’s house and it isn’t about a doorknob. This is about how the University of Manchester shamefully let the place rot and deteriorate over decades. It’s about how one of our great institutions washed their hands of what should be a major landmark for the area. Sleuth guesses, this was because they didn’t think the locals in this deprived ward of the city were united enough or important enough to raise a stink over this abuse of their heritage. Now Manchester's Historic Buildings Trust are trying to raise £2.3m for restoration. Ann Waddington, of the Friends of the Gaskell House, said in the doorknob story: "This home is a local treasure which you'd hope would remain untouched by vandals”. Truth is Ann, the vandals were let loose on Plymouth Grove years ago.

Brown offering
The Labour Party Conference was, of course, full of interesting shenanigans. Sleuth was told by a little broadcasting bird that Gordon Brown's cheekiest speech moment had been flagged up very clearly to broadcasters well before the actual moment. Thus everybody knew when he was going to say the word 'novice', ostensibly about David Cameron, but as much about David 'the Grin' Miliband. That way the cameras could swivell to the tiny politician and watch him squirm.

Alcohol and the Labour Party Conference
Sleuth had a tremendous time during the Labour Party Conference. On Monday he went to a local brewers’ lobby meeting at JW Lees’ Rain Bar. Brit brewers are more than a little annoyed that extra tax was heaped on beer at the last budget. They have an ally in John Grogan, MP for Selby. Sleuth agrees with the brewers and pub owners that it’s clearly better for people to drink in the controlled environment of pubs than at home or in the streets with 20p cans of grog from supermarkets. We also need to preserve the unique institution of the pub. Referring to the cheap booze John Grogan raised an ironic toast at Rain Bar to, “Sir Terence Leahy, the Godfather of modern British binge drinking.”

Transparency, Corrie and more beer
John Grogan was at Rain at the invitation of the breweries. Clearly they were lobbying him. Sleuth left midway through the proceedings to make his way to a Conference fringe debate. This was being held at the Mechanics Institute on Portland Street. The host was Nigel Pivaro (ex Corrie actor and current journalist with the wonderful Salford Star). The debate asked whether parliamentary lobbying should be more transparent. Sleuth was surprised to see that John Grogan was on the panel having high-tailed it over from Rain. Clearly Mr Grogan likes lobbying to be transparent. Or perhaps translucent with a lovely honey brown shade and perfect white frothy head.

Kid Kelly crisis
Sleuth was chatting to a local MP at the Conference when the news that Ruth Kelly had resigned from government came through. “She makes me laugh,” the MP said. “If Ruth wants to spend more time with her family then she maybe should have done that when the kids were younger. We all know she can’t stand the way Gordon (Brown) is running the show.”

Socialist selective vision
The conference meeting of the Fabian Society asked ‘Can we give the working class what they want?' This was sponsored by Asda, aka Asda-WalMart. Their speaker spoke about the unions and how they can contribute to training. That would be the same WalMart which in the USA hates the two words Trades Union and bans them from their stores.

Arctic Monkeys barred
How very sweet, the Arctic Monkeys admire us. Their ex-bassist Andy Nicholson has opened a pub, The Bowery, in Sheffield. Nicholson is reported as saying: "It's taken a long time to get to this point but I'm really excited. It seemed to go down well with our family and mates, which is quite a variety of different people. You can't move for places like this in Manchester's Northern Quarter, so we wanted to bring that feel across the Pennines." Bless. He must mean Gulliver’s, Mother Mac’s and the Millstone. Sophisticated cool places like that. Or maybe even the pure Bohemian trend-setting, louche-living oasis that is Fridays.

Leg over wicket
Sleuth was at Lancashire County Cricket Club this week for the announcement of plans to transform the cricket ground. He happened to over hear another conversation too. Apparently the security cameras which monitor the ins and outs of LCCC also take in the club's on-site hotel and the ins and outs that happen there. The hotel has balconies which overlook the pitch and couples use these for al fresco entertainment. Sleuth heard a bored worker say: “Yeah you can see everything on these security cameras, especially when you zoom in. It's always busy around Christmas time when there are lots of work parties.” Talk about bowling a maiden over. Sleuth wonders if LCCC need to rework that famous piece of commentary, "The batsman's Holding, the bowler's Willey." Maybe along the lines of: 'The PA's holding the director's...' You can fill in the blank for yourself.

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GadgeSeptember 26th 2008.


AnonymousSeptember 26th 2008.

Does anyone know why the Victorian pillar box on Daisy Bank Road near the junction with Anson Road was removed a couple of years ago? I used to imagine the Pankhurst's posting letters in it as they lived nearby. The whole area is gradually being destroyed bit by bit.

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