Week 27: in which Sleuth meets a very DAFT man
Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week. It's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. He's several people all at once. Sometimes Sleuth even gets serious @mcrsleuth
Another first for Manchester
Sleuth's pleased to see that the man who first brought burgers, the motor car and Atomic Theory to Manchester has come up with another first: Mexican food. Yes Franco Sotgiu, co-founder of burger chain Solita, has announced the opening of El Taquero in the old Montpelliers site behind the original Solita on Northern Quarter’s Turner Street. He said (no he really did): “We’re confident this new concept will be a genuine first for Manchester. Tacos make a great lunch…” Sleuth hears that following Sotgiu’s latest discovery the following Mexican restaurants are also planning to open in Manchester: Las Iguanas, Taco Bell, Wahaca, Luck Lust Liqour Burn, Chilango, El Capo, Chiquito, Pancho’s, Barburrito, Mexica
Labour... in Manchester?
Sleuth was on the phone to very affable Rochdale Labour councillor John Blundell this week. Blundell was telling Sleuth how he’d just joined Manchester’s oldest private members club, the St James Club, at the top of King Street. Sleuth has, on occasion, been inside St James, and mostly found it to be populated by retired accountants hiding from their wives and reading the newspapers. John was telling Sleuth about his first visit. “So I walk into the lounge and overhear these two old boys talking. One whispers to the other: ‘I hear we even have someone from Labour as a member now' - as though in Central Manchester where we have a majority over 30,000 I was somehow a curiosity.”
Sleuth’s DAFT person of the week
Sleuth was in Festival Square drinking a pint, thinking nothing. A man stood next to him struck up conversation. Turns out he was club promoter turned entrepreneur/inventor Arthur Randall, based in Ancoats. “The company is called DAFT,” he told Sleuth, “which means Design and Fresh Thinking.” “What’s your biggest success?” asked Sleuth. "That would have to be a vital tool for which we’ve had orders from across the world including from the Arctic and an island in the Pacific so small it’s not on maps." “But what is it?” asked Sleuth. “It’s the Man Comb,” said Randall, “which is manufactured in Ancoats. It’s half a comb and half a can opener and an indispensible accessory for the modern male.” Sleuth wants one.
The solution for those towers
Sleuth moved on round the square and overheard an elderly couple chatting. They were discussing an MEN story that Gary Neville was launching fresh designs for his controversial towers in ‘St Michaels’. “Why doesn’t he build something like that,” said the man, pointing at the Town Hall. Sleuth wanted to say because it would cost too much and be very retrogressive. But his lady interrupted with, “They wouldn’t do that,” she paused, “we’ll probably end up with something like this," pointing at an empty Vimto can standing on their picnic table that had been smuggled into Festival Square. Crikey, thought Sleuth, don’t give Gary any ideas.
Sleuth and erotic lesbian poetry
Sleuth asked a friend in Festival Square whether he was going to any MIF shows on Friday. “No,” his friend said, “I’m going to Hope Mill. Want to come along?” Hope Mill, if you’ve not been, is a quite splendid theatre space in Ancoats, in a beautiful old mill filled with artists’ studios. “What’s on?” asked Sleuth. “All I Want Is One Night by Jess Walker,” came the reply. “And what’s that?” said Sleuth. “Explicit lesbian erotic poetry,” said his friend. “Yeah, I’ll come,” said Sleuth.
Hope for the French
Speaking of Hope, Lucy Hope, one of Manchester’s finest and most sophisticated singers, has released an album. This is tub-thumping Lancashire folk music sung by La Hope dressed in clogs and a shawl. Sleuth’s joking of course. The album is anything but that. Instead it features the songs of Nobel prizewinning author, Patrick Modiano. It’s in French and about tortured love and out now. Lucy (aka La Chanteuse) will be launching her new single from the album at Matt & Phreds on Thursday 13 July when, of course, the place will be filled with the usual crowd of Mancunian demi-monde and...er...demi-sober.
Sleuth and a Whalley Range date
Sleuth was in the Hillary Step in Whalley Range. The Hillary Step is filled with the same locals every night. So much so that whenever he’s there Sleuth thinks he’s wandered onto the set of a sitcom. It’s sort of Cheers with lots of lefties. Steve Jenkins sat down next to him on Wednesday. Steve is part of the crazeee Carlton Club, an ancient hidden drinking den deep in the Range. “The Americans have Thanksgiving each year so we want to create an annual event. This Saturday (8 July) we have more than 22 acts over the day and the proceeds go to those affected by the Manchester bomb attack.” “Very nice,” said Sleuth, “but what has that got to do with Thanksgiving?” “The event’s called MancsGiving." said Jenkins. "Fair enough," said Sleuth.
Sleuth’s unfortunate renaming of the week
On the way to Castlefield Bowl, Sleuth walked past his former residence at Potato Wharf, and was surprised to see they’d renamed his old block. Sleuth wonders how many execs it took to sit around a table and decide this was the one to go with.
Sleuth, Greggs and dieting
Sleuth thinks, after one too many pints and pork scratchings, he could do with losing a few pounds, so is pleased to see those high street pedlars of beige things, Greggs, are launching a new summer diet plan in Manchester. According to the press release, bride-to-be Michelle Sowter from Stockport has finally slipped into her wedding dress after following the diet - which features sausage rolls, slices of pizza and doughnuts. All that the diet requires is that you combine your four Greggs meals a day with a 'more active lifestyle'... like running to Liverpool and back before breakfast.
Sleuth's most appetising food photo of the week
Sleuth was hungry and walking through the city centre when he tripped over a craft beer bar and landed in a pizza restaurant. It was Crazy Pedro's, the 'we're mad we are' pizza parlour prone to using such zany toppings as Heinz beans and sherbet dib-dabs. Sleuth spotted the latest special, the 'PBJ', which includes pepperoni, baconnaise, jalapeños and 'Frazzle Dust' and was just about to order one when he saw this cold-slice-the-morning-after-the-buffet-with-a-bite-taken-out style image being used to promote the special.
Sleuth's award for the best attempt at sneaking into the sold-out Arcade Fire gig at Castlefield Bowl on Thursday...