Sleuth week 12: in which Sleuth meets a man busier than Jesus

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city each week. It's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. Sometimes Sleuth even gets serious, but not often... @mcrsleuth

Takk-less cash nexus failure

Sleuth left his wallet in the office on the way to a meeting at MMU. He was hungry so he nipped into Takk coffee shop in the newly open Hatch on Oxford Road to buy a sandwich. His pocket was brimming with cash. The person at the counter saw the cash and shook her head sadly, “We only do cards, it is better for security and it is easier for accounting.” Then added: “And, it’s 2018 you know. It’s the way forward.” “Except, of course, when you want to buy a sandwich, with cash,” said a red-faced Sleuth with a queue forming behind him. "You're placing accounting systems before customer service." 

Sleuth couldn’t help himself and tweeted the exchange. A minor Twitter storm followed, it doesn’t take much. One helpful correspondent wrote: 

‘Did you have a phone? If you can’t use the actual phone to pay, it’s sometimes possible to phone in a purchase even if you’re in the shop (or pop outside) if you can remember your card details, or have them recorded in the phone.’ 

Sleuth replied, 'I was in rush. I went next door to Tesco and bought a sandwich. Tesco aren’t so progressive about refusing money as Takk.' 

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Takk on Oxford Road: don't take cash

Sleuth, Fred and no coffee

Sleuth was at the Northern Restaurant Bar (NRB) debate at Manchester Central on Tuesday. Taking part in the debate was Fred Sirieix, perhaps the most recognisable maître d’ in the country, general manager at the Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows and star of First Dates. Sirieix was playing his part beautifully; charming, heavily accented, quoting Sartre (well he was here to promote a book). While Fred was in full Franco-flow ('you af to connect'), Sleuth slipped off to the refreshment table at the back, where he was joined by a lovely Southern lady from a Southern restaurant group. "Oh, really," whispered the lady, as she reached the table, "Only in bloody Manchester would you have nothing to drink but wine at midday - where's the sodding coffee?" (It was in the entrance... and terrible).

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Wine and only wine
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Neville and the eco no-no

Sleuth hears Gary Neville was also at Manchester Central this week, to take part in Mayor Andy Burnham's Green Summit. Burnham and Neville were joined by 43 business leaders from the hospitality sector to put into action plans to eliminate single-use plastics, particularly plastic straws, which have a tendency to get stuck up the snouts of turtles. The ex-United and England footballer said: "Reducing the use of plastics is a key priority for us. We're pleased to add our support." Though an attendee at the summit tells Sleuth that Neville wasn't quite as equally committed to cutting car emissions. "I tried an electric car for years," Neville reportedly told the audience, "but thought 'why am I the only one bothering,' so got rid of the electric car and bought a normal one." Keep fighting the good fight, Gary.

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Neville (far left) at the Green Summit: "Ban straws, not cars"

Sleuth and Manchester’s closed assets

Heaton Hall, largely closed. Wythenshawe Hall, closed. So that leaves Platt Hall, the Gallery of Costume, as Manchester City Council’s last remaining largish tourist attraction outside the city centre open to the public. Actually it doesn't. The Gallery of Costume in Platt Fields Park is going to be closed for the whole of 2018. It's a load of balls. Mothballs. Oh the splendid irony given this is a Gallery of Costume. The official statement reads: 

‘We are currently working intensively on eradicating an influx of moth. Please bear with us as we carry out this essential work.’ Sleuth loves that phrase, ‘an influx of moth’. He’s going to use that as an excuse next time he can’t attend something. 'Sleuth apologises for not appearing today but he is suffering from an influx of moth.' He might use it as his out of office message.

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The Gallery of Costume has 'an influx of moth'

Sleuth and a busy man

Sleuth was at a Manchester Confidential dinner with readers on Thursday. He’s proud to say he drank more than any of the readers, probably put together. On one occasion he was talking to a gentleman and mentioned that he was overstretched with work. “What do you do?” asked Sleuth. “I’m the head chef at Manchester United and every match day I have to feed 6,500 people,” said the man. “Yes,” said his wife, “I don’t see him for three days before a game.” Sleuth stopped complaining about being overworked. 

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Even Jesus only had to feed 5000

Gooning for it

Sleuth was at New Smithfield Market in Openshaw in the early hours last week, meeting some of the traders and workers there for a film he is making. Sleuth met plenty of characters there, such as this one forklift driver, let's call him Bob, who recounted a story which went something like this:

"About twenty five years ago there were these two young lads who played for the market football team. Really talented young lads, unbelievably good. So good that Arsenal got wind of them and invited them down for a trial. These market lads didn't have the means to get down to London, so the club sent them up £25 each to get a train and a hotel when they arrived. These lads had never had that much money in their hands before, so needless to say, they got pissed as farts on the way down. When they got to London, they fell off the train, so the bloke from Arsenal put them on the first one back to Manchester. They still work here..."

Sleuth doesn't know if it's true. Sleuth doesn't even care if its true.

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Smithfield Market (that's not Bob)

The death of hipsters

Sleuth respects this enterprising trader outside Victoria Station for tapping into the zeitgeist, but does it signal the end of hipsterdom as we know it? It reminds Sleuth of Danny the drug dealer in Withnail and I, lamenting the close of the Sixties: "They're selling hippie wigs in Woolworth's, man. The greatest decade in the history of mankind is over.”

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Sleuth and his fair weather tourists

Sleuth was taking some lovely tourists around Chetham’s last Saturday. After the tour he said to them: “Sleuth always likes that last photograph of his groups. Eh? What do you mean you’re cold?”

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Meanwhile, in Whalley Range...

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