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Sleuth 29/07/2011

Derek Acora - Wanted By The Dead. Plus The Silliest Bridge, Sachas on Tripadvisor, Cheese, Danger and Darlings

Published on July 29th 2011.

Sleuth 29/07/2011

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. 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.
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Derek Acora on borrowed time?

Sleuth got a phone call from a Shamanic Healer by the name of Jeff the other day. Jeff had just read the Confidential story on the closure of Brannigans in January (click here). Back in the nineties this former place of temperance Methodist worship had been converted into a shrine for 2-4-1 deals, and 'cavorting'.

Jeff said to Sleuth: "You're right saying in your article that Derek Acora (pictured above) from the Most Haunted programme was a charlatan when he claimed to meet ghosts there. He lied about the spirits he met. But he guessed right when he said Brannigans contained spirits. 

"Indeed there are spirits in many Manchester buildings and locations," continued Jeff. "Manchester lies on the Sacral Chakra of Britain."

(Sleuth note for readers: Chakras are the seven lines of energy in every entity, and these have to be balanced for harmony to exist. The Sacral Chakra is the most important. If you believe in that sort of thing. End of Sleuth note.)

"Unfortunately," Jeff went on, in a doomsday tone, "the city cares nothing for the Sacral Chakra and treats the old buildings and spiritual centres badly. Because of this, one thing is certain." 

There was a long pause.

"What's that then?" asked Sleuth, losing in interest in his pastrami sandwich.

"It means that Manchester will never prosper," said Jeff with finality, as though passing judgement of execution. "The city will fail until we treat the spirits with respect."

As Sleuth was giving this snippet the mental once over, Jeff said, "There's another thing too...and it concerns Acora." 

"Go on," said Sleuth cautiously.

"The spirits are coming after him."

There was another long pause, with just the static crackle of a silent phone in Sleuth's ear.

Jeff drew breath, "And they will seek him out, ruin him and kill him."

Sleuth thought of Brannigan's old branding, 'Drinking, Dancing, Cavorting'. Maybe they should have included the words 'Haunting, Ruination, Vengeance'.

Sleuth put the phone down. Time for a drink, he thought, maybe not in a haunted pub though. Wouldn't want to offend anyone.

The spirits are rebelling                                                                              The spirits are rebelling

It's Danger, Darling

Sleuth's been collecting names. A couple of weeks ago he was contacted by Lucy Danger about a zip-wire jump over the Ship Canal - he still owes her an article. A lady called Danger promoting leaps of faith, how fun. This week he was contacted by Lucy Darling about a visit to an Urban Splash development in Sheffield. The two Lucys. Darling and Danger, Danger and Darling. They really should get together and start their own PR company. Or maybe Private Detective Agency.

Weak Dalek in MediaCityUK

Sleuth was in MediaCityUK the other day. Popped into the tiny Booth's cafe in the Studio building of the BBC. Got one of the weakest coffees in the Universe. Sleuth was with some kids. They spotted a Tardis and went for a look. Nearby there was a Dalek - those cruel terrors of time and space travel. In front of the Dalek was a cheaply printed sign that read, 'Please do not touch the Dalek!' The notice destroyed the childhood terror Sleuth used to feel about the nasty aliens - turned a Dalek into a vase in a National Trust property. Ah...poor delicate things.

Frightened Dalek                                                                                          Frightened Dalek

Britannia Sachas....hotel from hell

Sleuth was reading Tripadvisor. He was taken by the Tripadvisor contradictions over one of the great miracles of the hoteliers trade: Sachas Hotel on Tib Street. The miracle lies in the fact that the place still gets guests, it's awful.

This report (click here) appeared on Tripadvisor this week from CuteChloe.

Here's a sample (with the original spelling): 'when entering there was an overwhelming stench of boiled cabbage coming from the diner below and the most overpowing stench of cigarettes I've ever smelt in my life, it was worse than that stale old pub stink before the smoking ban was in place, there's a big old counter scratched to high heaven with mindless graffiti such as "Claire sux cocks" and "Dawg Stevens woz ere". It took over half an hour to see our room, we were in a queue of a medley of drunks unable to string a scentence together, local nutjobs, rif raf and angry customers unhappy with what they had let themselves in for, a couple had even left to stay at other hotel. The room had black mould up the walls, a high window covered in grey matter with moth eaten 70s' curtains on a pully which didn't work. Like everywhere else it stank of cigarettes and urine, there were rips in the dated, bright red swirley carpet along with unidentifiable stains and patches taped up with gaffa tape. There was a tiny 80's TV on a very low table with a remote control covered in cellotape which didn't work.' 

Oddly the next review started: 'We had a lovely welcome and we'll definitely be back'.

The one after began: 'I would not stay here again, staying here you have to have a sense of humour!'

And then: 'Ok for price, very central.'

And finally: 'Worst hotel ever'.

Sleuth knows which type of reviews he believes. And wonders who on earth is writing the positive ones. Are they related to Sachas management?

Sleuth's worst cheese puns of the week

Three Confidential bods went to the Nantwich International Cheese Festival this week - click here. Sleuth tweeted them asking if they were going to try the new Isreali cheese - Cheeses of Nazareth? @simonbinns replied with any more of that and I'll have to Camembert and give you Roquefort. @mcrsleuth rounded things off with: 'please drive Caerphilly otherwise you might end up feeling crumbly and blue'.

It's this type of mental dexterity that makes us the top web magazine in the city. 

Bridge too far 

Sleuth's confused about a bridge between bridges. Salford are putting up a footbridge costing over a £1m across the River Irwell at Manchester Cathedral. This is part of a landscaping scheme along the river. While overall the scheme is very welcome, why spend money on another bridge, when there are two close by, including the oldest river crossing in the twin cities, presently Victoria Bridge (on the left in the picture below). The other is the bridge over to the car park occupying the site of Exchange Station. Why not simply pedestrianise Victoria Bridge rather than stick in a pointless third bridge in a fifteen metre gap? 

A bridge too many as seen from Harvey Nichols                                               A bridge too many gets prepared - as seen from Harvey Nichols

Sir George Abercrombie

Greek George, friend of Georgie Best and almost every other 'character' of Manchester over the last several decades retired from the landlording profession a few months ago. His last pub was the Circus on Portland Street. Obviously life outside the hospitality trade wasn't for him. So he's back behind bars at the Sir Ralph Abercrombie in Bootle Street in the city centre. Sleuth will be popping in soon, to see George, sample the Greek food, drink the ale and see how he's doing in the 200 year old boozer. 

Greek George is backGreek George is back

Alphabetical celebrations

Sleuth was in Albert Square this week looking at branding. The previous week it had been MIF, now it was MJF. International festival to jazz festival. Our celebrations seem to be going alphabetical. What next? MKF - the Karate Festival, then MLF - the Lawyer Festival (bit slow that one), then MMF - the Marmalade Festival........

Sleuth's Smile of the Week

As shown in the Food and Drink Round-up on Thursday, this award goes to Charlotte Hanks of Forman's in London at a promotion in Harvey Nichols. It is awarded for so happily holding up a massive dead fish. 

Smile of the Week and a fishSmile of the Week and a fish

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

RevaulxJuly 29th 2011.

My first inkling that the firm I was then working for might be in financial difficulties was when we had our Christmas do at Sashas. That was nearly 20 years ago; it sounds as though not much has changed...

1 Response: Reply To This...
AjfhaskhnAugust 1st 2011.

This comment has been deemed inappropriate by editorial staff, and has been removed.

Frank LloydJuly 29th 2011.

I think it's grossly unfair to pick on Sashas like this. From my experience it's no worse (or not a lot worse) than the Brittania on Portland Street, or any of the other hotels in the chain. It's hard for them to find the money to fritter away on new curtains, working televisions or a better ventilation system when so much has to be spent caring for the nations architectural heritage, the old fire station for instance or the Brittania's flagship - Watts warehouse (still visible despite all the signs and lightbulbs that they have to have)

AnonymousJuly 30th 2011.

As someone who would be using that bridge every day, I have to admit I agree with you. If Victoria Street is to be pedestrianised, why not pedestrianise Victoria Bridge too?

Dave MartinJuly 31st 2011.

"A high window covered in grey matter", that's a luxury at Sachas isn't it? (Most of the rooms have no windows, apparently)

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