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
SLEUTH AND THE POLICY THAT ISN’T A POLICY
Sleuth was interested this week to learn that whilst compiling their 2017 Top 100 Restaurants list, The Sunday Times had stiffed one North West bistro owner, Chef-patron Gary Usher, for £30 when their writer turned up, polished off three courses, and left without paying (read here). Though what confused Sleuth most about the whole episode at Sticky Walnut in Chester was this statement subsequently given to Confidential by the ST’s supplements editor, Karen Robinson: "The policy with small, independent, non-metropolitan places that have tight budgets and are working hard with enormous talent and energy to provide amazing food in their areas, is that we pay our way. Gary Usher's establishment falls into this category, and we should have been clearer about that before we visited."
Er ok, so here’s how Sleuth imagines the conversation could have gone:
ST: ‘Mr Usher, because your small, independent, non-metropolitan place has a tight budget and because you’re working hard with enormous talent and energy to provide amazing food in your area, it is absolutely our policy to pay our way. Now, is that clear?
Usher: ‘Yes thank you. That’ll be £30.’
ST: ‘No it won’t… see ya’
SLEUTH & THE WORST DISH IN MANCHESTER
We all know that Café Rouge is about as French as a Saturday night in a Wetherspoons but sometimes there’s nowhere else to go. This was the case in the Lowry Outlet Mall this week, but it didn’t stop Sleuth getting excited. There were snails on the menu. Sleuth is a fan of slimy dishes: snails, bone marrow, tripe, dog’s gizzard. Not dog’s gizzard. He once ate bull’s testicles and declared them, “encouragingly spunky”. But Café Rouge had ruined the snails, placing them under a sort of crumble so dry and desert-like Sleuth saw a mirage in the dish of Bedouin camped round an oasis. There was a tiny belly-dancer too. This cheered him up. “I think snails and crumbs is the worst dish in Manchester,” said Sleuth out loud. “This is Café Rouge,” said a member of staff, “and we’re all over the country not just Manchester, but you might be right.”
SLEUTH & CGI-ING IT OUT
Sleuth has been pleased to see that huge trees are planned for Castlefield. Really, really huge trees. Renaker Build are going to construct two towers over the basin, after some shifty planning work, (click here). The residents and local businesses despise these towers. One of the towers is 21 stories high, so between 180-210ft then, depending on how low the apartment ceilings will be. But what are those residents complaining about, calling it illegal and suggesting that it breaks the council’s own Conservation Area rules? As the CGI released by Renaker Build shows you won’t be able to see the towers for the trees. The really, really huge trees.
SLEUTH & CGI-ING IT OUT (PART TWO)
Sleuth is also pleased to see that even more new trees, nay, a full woodland, has been approved for Piccadilly Gardens as the City Council Executive this week endorsed outline proposals for Legal & General’s multi-million pound makeover of Manchester’s most miserable public square. Part of L&G’s plans are to shield the ‘gardens’ from the confusion of buses over on Parker Street through the removal of the dreaded wall and the erection of new, taller commercial pavilion buildings. While over on the west side of the square, L&G, is seemingly hoping to wipe Primark and Burger King out of the picture by erecting a wall of trees, trees and loads of lovely CGI trees.
SLEUTH & THE HERON WHO BOUGHT A BOAT
Sleuth was in Worsley and was pleased to see a heron had bought a boat in which to go fishing because, as the heron, said, “Sometimes technology is just better than feather and bone. And anyway...” said the heron, slipping on some shades, “...all the heron babes love me in this whip.”
SLEUTH & DAVID GANDY
Lastly, Sleuth was pleased to see the world’s most famous male model, David Gandy, encouraging primary schools in Manchester to take part in the country’s biggest reading competition this week, in a bid to improve children’s literacy levels. Good old Gandy. Though Sleuth was a little confused by the photo which the charity, Achievement for All, chose to attach to the press release. Sleuth reckons they could have come up with a more fitting outfit for the world’s most good-looking man…
SLEUTH & SPLASHING OUT IN THE GENTS
Sleuth was in Whalley Range, in the Carlton Club to be precise. This is a curious institution which self-describes as a ‘non-religious, non-political private members club that exists to further the social interaction of its members and their guests’. The club is housed in a handsome Victorian mansion and Sleuth was there to watch Councillor Angeliki Stogia get handy with some scissors. The reason was the ceremonial ribbon cutting at the door of the refurbished gents; the horrible toilets previously being a bone of contention with members. It was a moving occasion and Sleuth is pleased that he appears to have been the first gent to use the startlingly multi-coloured facility after its ceremonial opening. “That’s something new,” said Cllr Stogia to Sleuth later. “I never thought my duties would extend to opening a gentlemen’s toilet.” She paused, before adding, “And people say there’s no glamour in being a local councillor.”
SLEUTH & THE DOUBLE-DUTCH LANES (WHAT ARE THEY ACTUALLY CALLED?)
Sleuth has been asking a question and getting no answers. The City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester keep going on about the Dutch-style cycling lanes on Oxford Road. So he asked some Dutch visitors: "What are these Dutch-style cycling lanes called in the Netherlands?" "They are called cycling lanes," came the reply.
SLEUTH & BEATING HARPER LEE
The editor-at-large Jonathan Schofield has been slapping his own back all week because he’s the 46th best in Manchester. His Complete Guide to Manchester was the 46th most borrowed book in Manchester Libraries. Strangely all the 45 books in front of him, aside from one, were kids’ books. The only other grown-up book was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, but given the title kids might have thought that a kids’ story too, thinks Sleuth. Anyway Sleuth knows Schofield is most pleased by beating Harper Lee’s latest and last book, Go Set a Watchman, by ten places. “I don’t want to be disrespectful of the dead,” Schofield told Sleuth while being disrespectful of the dead, “but if the lazy lady wasn’t arsed writing more than one book every fifty years, then what does she expect?” Schofield then added, “I’m available for celebrations, anniversaries, weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs - anything that’ll pay me. For a small extra I’ll read the book and play the spoons.”
SLEUTH & HIS FAVOURITE EVER BBC ALERT...
Just don't mention Red Wednesday, he's still sore about the last one.