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Sleuth 30/07/2010

Councillor Pat Karney is guest Sleuth, and takes it easy with a cup of tea

Published on August 11th 2010.

Sleuth 30/07/2010

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.

Tea party war hots up
Not normally up for wars – drafted Manchester City Council’s resolution opposing the invasion of Iraq. But wars in the city centre – as Manchester’s biggest tea drinker I’m loving it. 49p a cup at The Waterhouse, Princess Street. Great tea and great value. There are three other commercial café places in the city centre where tea is 11p more at 60p. My tea lips are sealed – no way do we want tons of new customers pushing up the price. The tea is on me if you can identify them. I very rarely drink coffee so don’t know the market – tea drinkers lead simple lives – good tea, good value and lots of it.

Street watering
Is it just me or are we seeing more males urinating in the street across the city centre? Saw three males yesterday alone – one at 8.15am coming out of the flat and two together late afternoon. No old fashioned shielding or hiding themselves – just do what I want, where I want and treat the entire city centre as an open toilet. I get a lot of letters/mails about it and I know the public think its disgusting and want it stopped. Are there any toilets in bars these days – the cctv coverage outside bars would indicate not? Tied up this year with the elections so not had a chance to sort out the no urinating in public bye law. The cops are really up for it so it’s coming to Manchester soon. Also, get a lot of complaints about the open urinals at the back of the Piccadilly Berlin Wall – supposed to be for late night usage but selfish males at it all the time. So, on the list to sort out. It’s a glam life being a councillor.

Members of the council
When I originally sent the story above to Confidential I’d referred to ‘weeing willies’. This was refused by the North Korean high security filters we have at the Council. The techie lady said that ‘urinating members’ would be ok. I decided against either.

108 days to go
With other colleagues I chose the new Christmas lights for Manchester. Always a tricky decision as young designers like to modernise and do cutting-edge stuff but most Mancs, in my experience like their Christmas traditional. I still get a trickle of threatening letters from irate adults about the new Father Christmas. He and the lights were road tested on eight year old Rhianne and eleven year old Connor Karney. So if you don’t like what you see in 108 days time, send letters/mails to them. By the way if anybody can work out who the kids will be screaming for let me know and we’ll get them along for the switch-on.

Piccadilly Gardens – new team
This is my local gardens and it's in a sorry state at the moment with the fountain fenced off and parched greens. We have a new management group in place so I am expecting better care and maintenance plans. Watch this space for a date for a public walkabout so that we can put out heads together. I need all the 'greenies' to come as the editor of the site wants it concreted over. Bring your shovel so that we can bury him there.

All zombies: 16 days to go
Met with Carl Whiteley who is lead zombie at the third Zombie Aid Event at Sportscity on 15 August. One of my most memorable days of 2009 was going around an empty Arndale (had a thirteen year old nephew as an alibi) moaning and groaning as a rookie zombie. Fantastic fun and all in a good cause. Carl has some great ideas about Halloween in the city centre so we are talking.

Greetings from Manchester on sea – one of fifty seven Manchesters across the globe. Just invited the Mayor to come to our Manchester Day 2011. Here with my besty colleagues, Richard Leese (left) and Jim Battle (right)taking a few days off.

The city shop that drives me bonkers
Having been around North West towns in the last few months and seeing first hand the impact of the economic downturn it's sad to see so many empty shops. I'd say Manchester is doing relatively well although we have our problems like everyone else. The empty shop at the top end entrance to Market Street drives me bonkers. It's been empty since Going Places moved out some years ago but comes to life for short term 'bargain' lets from time to time. Everyone at the Arndale has tried to get it back in use but Going Places/Thomas Cook has a long term lease and for some bizarre reason leaves it empty. I am going to stand outside it soon with a large placard naming and shaming them.

Sleuth is currently in Cyprus sorting out the Greek, Turkish partition issue. He might take the three Scouse girls he saw recently in Liverpool Airport into the negotiations. These were beautifully turned out in maxi dresses, curlers and slippers – if they can’t bang heads together nobody can. Cllr Pat Karney has promised a full job share on Sleuth’s return, so Sleuth will be bossing the city centre folks. There’s going to be some bloody changes, Sleuth can tell you.

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

GMSJuly 29th 2010.

Re 'Thomas Cook Corner' that whole section of the Arndale needs sorting Pat. It lets a whole reatil section of the city down IMO, much of which looks very well presented. Are you aware of anything imminent?

AlbertJuly 29th 2010.

Pat -there's currently a tea-tent in my Square. Also cake and lots of jazz music. Till Saturday. See you there?

ConmanJuly 30th 2010.

Sorry Pat, I agree with the editor. There is a good reason that the lawns are a mess and the maintenance is so onerous and expensive - the square's natural role is to facilitate movement rather than a green and tranquil meeting place. The sheer number and complexity of routes taken through the square cannot possibly be accommodated by providing a few paved desire lines, so people will naturally cut across the grass. Thousands of them, every week. The desire to provide greenery is an understandable one given the city's historic lack of a sizeable, centrally located, cleverly planned and beautifully executed park. Piccadilly is simply not the right place for it. Large raised planters maybe (as they have done so successfully in Sheffield) but large expanses of lawn - no. Your energies would be better directed to identifying a suitable patch of land for a new park and investigating every possible means of financing such an ambitious but worthwhile proposition. And there's your legacy. Karney gardens anyone?

Arran SummerhillJuly 30th 2010.

49p Tea at Bank?

Temporary HeroJuly 30th 2010.

Said it before and I'll say it again, a three foot tall picket fence around the grass would solve all of these grassy conundrums

AwashJuly 30th 2010.

Pat. What was the first of the three urinating males doing coming out of your flat at 8.15 in the morning?

GordoJuly 30th 2010.

<laughing at Awash> good 'un Pat, cheered me up.

NortherngeezerJuly 30th 2010.

I've got a great idea for the state of the shyte grass in Piccadilly.........replace it with the fake stuff, that way it never needs mowing, just hoovering, thats if you can avoid the piss and vomit puddles.

AnonymousJuly 30th 2010.

Agree with comments about Pic Gardens. Can we not do a Leeds and grass over some of our stalled construction projects instead of turning them into surface car parks. Flatten the Central Retail Park, lay down as much lawn as possible behind Toys'R'Us (i.e. where the Botanic flats were meant to be) and find some way of getting people across Gt. Ancoats St.

CkrisgJuly 30th 2010.

Tea at 49p its the Waterhouse (Weatherspooons Pub)

AVOJuly 30th 2010.

Obviously the 49p tea is sold at the Waterhouse as it's stated in the article. I think the Councillor is on about identifying the three venues where it's sold at 60p.

Kevin PeelJuly 30th 2010.

You can get a cup of tea for 60p in my flat from 7-9am weekdays!

Looking forward to the Piccadilly Gardens walkabout. It could be an excellent public space and it's a shame that it's being allowed to remain in such a state.

JSJuly 30th 2010.

Forget the single empty unit on Market St, what about the whole of King Street? Greedy landlords have pushed out many of the retailers and have no intention of lowering prices despite the recession.

notalandlordJuly 30th 2010.

"Greedy landlords" is such a tired old cliche. You can't just lower rents at will. The banks that lent the funds to buy the premises have a bit of input on that!Empty units are unattractive but this side of a major meltdown (and NO we haven't had one yet)it's not an option for most landlords to wake up one morning and say " Hey, let's rejuvenate poor old King St by halving the rents".

GRAFFITO SUL MUROJuly 30th 2010.

So even you too Pat call it the 'Piccadilly Berlin Wall'! So how about making something attractive of it then? At least the Berlin Berlin Wall had graffiti on it [on the West side] to brighten-up the grim concreteness of it. If the Council want more - and more long-lasting - greenery at the Gardens, how about trellis and greenery to cover it? It's an ideal southerly aspect to make summat positive of tramstop!

Sure that's not what the Artist who designed it wanted, but then he doesn't have to look at it, like we do, eh Pat? Are we so overloaded with sun in Manc that we can shade our Picc open space [especially in long winter shadows] with this Wall?!?

And breaking the barrenness of the Wall would disguise an occasional daytime pee-er. Get the Council to give us some more Greenery ... not yet more bye-laws and another 'Toilet-Stasi' to patrol the East Berlin Wall!

Burt CodeineJuly 31st 2010.

Second that corner of the Arndale. It's the bit that the Arndale replanners forgot (in fact much of the High Street is still kitsch'ing itself up). It's obvious it needs demolishing and something architectural/showcase replacing it. It lets the city centre down somewhat....of course, the recession didn't help it's cause.

Stand-Up-For-IndependentsAugust 1st 2010.

Hey Pat, great that you're concerned about Market Street but don't you live in the Northern Quarter? Don't you give a shit about all the businesses disappearing down here? Hopefully you'll be thinking about the empty units left behind by Westworld,Rags To Bitches,Beating Rythems(soon),Blue Rinse(probably),Babycakes plus God knows how many more businesses that are up for sale because of the criminal rise in business rates around here. You can't even include us in the Manchester In Bloom scheme because there's not enough money. But there's money to increase the council's chief solicitor's salery by 11 grand and Bernstein is on more than the PM! But you havn't enough for a few hanging baskets. Pathetic. Hope we're not treated as contemptuously when it comes to the Christmas lighting.

JJJJAugust 1st 2010.

Pat. Great piece. But it's not just the Piccadilly area that has the urination problems, and it's not just Saturday nights. Someone was street watering Bow Lane tonight {Sunday} at 10.30. A denim-clad man came straight out of Piccolino’s and urinated long and copiously in the lane before heading back to Piccolino’s to sit at a window table with his two companions, a man and a blonde woman. Have they got a toilet problem in Piccolino’s? Can you help them out Pat? Or should they even be serving alcohol that late if their customer toilets are out of action? I’d just spent a great evening with friends and colleagues in Croma and was saying farewell outside the restaurant when we were treated to this performance. Of course maybe Piccolino’s toilets are working and some of their customers are just yobs. Can you have a word Mr Garner? I believe it’s almost on your doorstep and you are on good terms with the management. Ta.

JJJJAugust 1st 2010.

ManCon. Why the mangling of apostrophes?

desperadosAugust 5th 2010.

Maybe one solution to the public urinating would be to actually provide some public toilets in our fair city. At least the lads have those free plastic ones to head to while the entire female population has to try and squeeze into the one pathetic automated pay cubicle near the 42 bus stop (which is often broken. Hotels and bars won't let you in just to use the toilet and there are often long waits for taxis or long walks back to bus stops.

If I am being unfair and actually there are lots of lovely public conveniences in the city centre, please can I have a list?

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