How the FA Cup Final Derby could have been in Manchester and prize marketing Bullshit

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city each week. It's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. It can be serious, it can be absurd...@mcrsleuth

Waiter, may I have my oysters lasered please?

Don’t counterfeit my oysters, you rogues. That excellent new deli and bar, Petit Paris, on King Street is providing Manchester with Gillardeau oysters. These are ‘the best in the world’ according to the menu. 

Gillardeau are very proud of their beautiful buttery bivalves. Jealously so. Their oyster shells are laser engraved with the company's monograph (see image above), to, believe it or not, prevent them being counterfeited. 

Apparently it's a very common thing for people to turn up at Europe's counterfeit capital on Bury New Road and ask for a fake Rolex watch, a fake Armani suit and a dozen fake Gillardeau oysters. Very common.

Given their exclusivity the Gillardeau oysters at Petit Paris are suitably expensive at 6 for £28 and a dozen for £52. They are wonderful though.

2023 06 02 Sleuth Petit Paris
Oysters and a Muscadet at Petit Paris, the oysters are lasered, the wine isn't Image: Confidentials

Spudgate: Gary Neville’s tuber turmoil

A couple of weeks ago the fine Northern correspondent for the Financial Times, Jennifer Williams, interviewed Gary Neville. This took place under the hotel he owns at the Stock Market Grill restaurant (our review here). It was an entertaining interview with ex-United player Neville being typically candid about his old team, his business interests and his politics but then it turned into something from the Daily Mash. Or even the Daily Mashpotato.

‘Our main courses include a pot of chips’ writes Williams. ‘Someone has sent me a clip of Neville ranting about potato dishes. Talk to me about chips, I say, taking a punt. “I grew up literally about 50 yards from a chippy,” he begins. Then he’s away. “When someone comes and puts in front of me Parmentier potatoes or boulangère potatoes or even roast or new, or mash — because mash, the problem is, with mash, right, they’ve got like 15 different types of mash now. Like mash with leek in, mash with onion, cheesy mash.” I check my Dictaphone is still recording. “And then you’ve got mash with too much butter in, then sometimes it’s dry, you know? Oh, just honestly. Fry it. A chip. Honestly, chips are fine. I absolutely love chips.”

The line from Williams about checking her Dictaphone is priceless. 

It seems Gary Neville might not have a chip on his shoulder but he has them on his mind. 

04102023 Stock Market Grill 5
Stock Market Grill, where the revelations about chips took place Image: Confidentials

Dimitris Restaurant is 33.3-years-old, the party was missing something

Sleuth got a personal phone call from Dimitri Griliopoulis the owner of Dimitri’s restaurant at the bottom-end of Deansgate. Dimitri wanted Sleuth to come to a party celebrating 33 and a third years of existence, a curious anniversary to choose, but totally in line with Griliopoulis’ musical interests and his past life in the music business. 33.3 RPM is the classic revs for a vinyl LP of course. 

What a lovely occasion it was too, the food and drink flowed freely and many of the foodie stalwarts of Manchester were in attendance. Aside from one. An important one in the context of the party. Sleuth received a text from Dimitri Griliopoulis shortly before Sleuth arrived which read, ‘I won’t be there, sadly. Tested positive for Covid. Brain absent at the moment. It’s pretty daft.’ Sleuth thinks it’s not like missing your own funeral but something along those lines. 

2023 06 02 Dimitris Party Sleuth
The Dimitri-less party Image: Confidentials

Somebody’s got to do it

Sleuth was taking some people around the city. The group walked down some steep steps. “Did you do a risk assessment for that,” said a man. “What do you think?” said Sleuth. “Thought not,” the man said with a grin. “You’re not a health and safety officer, are you?” asked Sleuth. “No, I’m a sexually transmitted disease data researcher,” he said. “I  wish you wouldn’t tell people that,” said his girlfriend. 

2023 06 02 Koala Sleuth
There was no suitable picture to illustrate this story so here's a koala bear which are famously chlamydia addled Image: An Australian

The Printworks, the Pope and the Mayor

One of the more bizarre incidents in the last month or so was Andy Burnham having an audience with the Argentinian Pope Francis about something to do with climate change and gaving the Pope a signed shirt of Argentinian Manchester United player Lisandro Martinez. very own Hayden Naughton messed about with the image to insert a certain famous image by Joel Goodman outside the Printworks in the early hours of New Year's Day in 2016. Maybe a better gift for the Pope depicting Mancunians and their religious devotion to drink. 

Photo Of The Week 4
The doctored version of the Pope and Burnham meeting Image: Confidentials
Burnhan With The Pope
The original image of the meeting Image: Vatican Images

The footy times have changed: the Manchester derby FA Cup Final

Gary James in his article for explains why United and City have never met in a Cup Final before. He also reveals how in years past football fans weren't so competitive and antagonistic as they are now. 

'What about the times,' writes James, 'when both clubs have found major success in the same season? The first time was in 1956 when United won the League and City the FA Cup. That year some City fans were caught on camera holding up a banner at Wembley celebrating the ‘Manchester Double: United League winners, City FA Cup’. It’s a different now and I doubt there’ll be any banners at either end in Wembley celebrating the other team’s success.'

Ain't that just sad?

It was more peaceful in black and white Image: Wikimedia

Marketing bullshit of the month: lies, damned lies and statistics

Every three and half minutes Sleuth receives some PR or Marketing bull made up of stats or ‘facts’ that are cunningly disguised as useful but turn out to be promotions to sell a product or service.

If some of them were to be believed this month Manchester is the least windy city but the third sunniest in the UK. Unfortunately, we are among the loneliest cities in the country (sixth – behind London, Brum,‘Pool and Leeds) but hey, we can comfort our sad selves with the knowledge Manchester is ninth in the world’s top 10 most popular hometowns for dating show finalists: no wonder given all that loneliness. Salford meanwhile is UK’s best city for street food with 321 street-food restaurants or takeaways for every 100,000 people. Meanwhile over a recent Bank Holiday weekend one in four Mancs preferred to stay at home and do DIY than have a break.

These gems came from various marketing and PR agencies for respectively Betway, Gravity Co, Diamond Trailers, Best Sports Betting California and Valspar Paint.

It's all a load of bollocks of course. Let’s consider one of these gems, the one about loneliest cities. Rhizome Media for Gravity Co wrote: 'The US surgeon general Vivek Murthy this month released an advisory note outlining how loneliness is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death. Gravity Co is helping to tackle the loneliness epidemic by providing young professionals with co-living accommodation that includes common areas where people can socialise.'

Classic tactic that one, hang the 'fact' on somebody famous saying something you can twist. Thing is the release doesn't prove people are lonely at all, it just proves there are more working age people who live alone in big cities. Most are probably absolutely fine with that not lonely.   

Still, the nonsense from Rhizome Media worked and The Sun published these 'facts' word for word from the press release. And, damn, so in a way have we now. Damn. 

Climat 2 Copy
Manchester: where loneliness stalks the minds of the marketeers Image: Confidentials

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Sleuth and the madness of a Prince Michael 

Photo fortnight: Andy Burnham, new mayor, Manchester City

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