Week 19: fun and games and swinging seats

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

Liberal Democrats set to take over Manchester City Council

After both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur converted 3-0 deficits into victory this week, Manchester’s Liberal Democrat group on the council are hoping for a similar dramatic turnaround. Following last week’s local elections a bullish Liberal Democrat Councillor, John Leech, said: “We think we can do a Liverpool or Spurs. In the three last local elections we have gained a councillor. So now in just three years we have grown our number by 300% and we suddenly have three councillors out of 96 in Manchester’s council chamber. If we keep up these remarkable successes we will dramatically take over the administration of this city in just…” (mumbles into his wrist). “Sorry, didn’t catch that,” said Sleuth. “Er…45 years,” said Leech. “I’m looking forward to being the Leader of the Council in 2064 when I’m 93.” “Over my dead body,” interjected the present Council Leader, Sir Richard Leese of the Labour group, “I’ll only be 113, and I’m going nowhere.” The Labour Group has held the majority in Manchester since 1421 shortly before Sir Richard Leese became leader. 

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Only another 45 years to power...John Leech makes a point

Birdcage closes, God help us all

Birdcage has closed. No longer will people of all ages be able to gawp in their hundreds at drag queens, dance on tables, quaff buckets of Sex-on-the-Beach…and frot each other against grubby walls. It’s a crying shame. It’s also a mystery. A marketing spokesperson has told all the media who have enquired about this nationally important issue to mind their own business and go away. So Sleuth, thinking laterally, contacted the National Association of Hen Party Organisers for a comment regarding the closure: “It’s a disaster,” said Britney Butterworth, “it was a place where as organisers we could guarantee the perfect time for hen parties. They even had a special room where you could store inflatable cocks. Manchester has lost a true beacon of progressive nightlife.”

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It's a crying shame - Birdcage closes

What will Sleuth do on a Saturday night now? 

Sleuth is particularly disappointed about the Birdcage closure because, on Saturday nights, he used to become Madame Sleuth Delicious-de-Luscious and - sporting a magnificent feather boa and taffeta evening gown - would twirl around Birdcage to the total delight of all involved.  The Manchester Confidential publisher would occasionally join him as Glamorous Gordo, the Tweeting Bird of Paradise. You can see them performing on the above picture and they were quite the sensation. Meanwhile, Councillor John Leech of the Liberal Democrats (see top story) told Confidential he is also very disappointed about the closure of Birdcage as he was looking forward to holding the victory party there in 2064 when the Liberal Democrats finally get their majority in Manchester City Council.

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival changes its hub and, maybe, inspires a new festival for Manchester 

Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) press launch took place at Dishoom, the Indian Restaurant, on Bridge Street. Confidential has picked out some highlights here. The food was lovely. In the picture below there's a member of staff with a Confidential member of staff who looks like he wants to eat all the food. The main festival hub this year, from 29 September to 7 October, will be at Cathedral Gardens rather than Albert Square as the latter will be being refurbished by then. Cathedral Gardens is a grand location but the grass has just been relaid and has been looking lovely. With more events scheduled there it will no doubt die off again and have to be relaid once more. What with the same thing happening as an annual event in Piccadilly Gardens, Sleuth wonders what the bill for fresh turf is every year in Manchester. Sleuth feels a freedom of information request coming on. Maybe we should have a new festival each March in which the best lawn specialists gather in the city to reseed our public areas, maybe called Turfed Out Again or Grassing up the City or Why Do We Keep Having To Do This. 

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MFDF press launch with people wanting food and serving food

Swinging for your supper

Sleuth loves swinging. He’s done it enthusiastically for years with lots of different people. To have fun with your legs high in the air brightens up otherwise dreary days. To this end he rather hopes the new Mayfield Park we announced this week will have a set of swings when it opens in 2022. Maybe a slide too. Yet Sleuth isn’t sure about Mowgli restaurant at the university and their use of swings. The restaurant is an attractive enough place with some lovely landscaping just on the other side of the windows. The best way to enjoy the view is on the seats close to the windows which aren’t seats but swings. One of these is so low you’re almost sitting on the floor and they all wobble so much you have to be very careful with that curry sauce. Sleuth thinks the designer should resign and offer his services to Mayfield Partnership to aid designing the new park, see our article here

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Careful with that curry while swaying in your seat

Odd promotional idea from Mowgli

Sleuth enjoyed his food at Mowgli and when the bill appeared was pleased with the 50% discount on the food but didn't know why he deserved it. The receipt read, '50% Sheffield Only+'. "Why have we had this?" he asked the waiter, with Sleuth slowly falling of his swing. "It's a promotion for the opening of the Sheffield restaurant," came the reply. Sleuth pulled himself back up off the floor and onto his swing, "Yet this isn't Sheffield," he said. "No," said the waiter, "It was a central office idea and they programmed the tills with it. We don't know how to change the tills here, so you get the discount." "What a generous error," said Sleuth as he slowly slid off his swing again - for the thirty-third time. 

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Sheffield prices in Manchester

Fascinating viewpoint of the week: Car-free Manchester not far away?

James Heather, the development director, of Mayfield Partnership, is very clear headed and always delivers thought-provoking opinions. In Place North West property mag he has described how a multi-storey car park has been added to the plans for the 24 acre site: underground car parks are out he thinks. “It a crazy decision to build car parks underground; they’re hugely expensive, but more than that, they’re unsustainable – you’re creating voids of air that in fifteen years’ time won’t be used because people won’t be driving cars anymore,” he says. “(The) multi-storey car park may have a relatively short span of life. Equally, it could be designed in such a way that it has a longer lifespan, but different uses. You might not have cars being parked by humans in 20 years, and it might be that the car park becomes a vehicle hub where you can rent or hire or car.” The future, folks, is a heartbeat away. 

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The Mayfield site under redevelopment: it's going to be very pedestrian friendly