Week 49: in which Sleuth visits a knocking shop with a dirty sausage

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

Christmas Markets, food and the slop-out shipping containers

Sleuth’s mate has been doing some amateur Sleuthing about the Christmas markets and has been discombobulated by what he has been seeing inside some of the trucks and shipping containers now occupying parking spaces in the city centre. He peered in one this week and found that some of the stalls are processing food inside these manifestly unsuitable vehicles and tin sheds. Is that ok? Does that satisfy hygiene standards? All the proper restaurants nearby have to pass strict inspections. Sleuth’s mate asked the council about stall fees. In 2016, the council received £2.77m income, so given the markets are bigger, this must be over £3m now. That’s a lot of sausages, that’s reservoirs of gluhwein. Sleuth wonders if that maybe encourages the council to turn a blind eye to some of the activity in the markets.

2018 12 07 Sleuth Market Van
Fell out the back of a van, guv

TripAdvisor: The Barometer of Unreliability (part 8m)

Sleuth loved the idiocy in that realm of the great uneducated and unmoderated that is TripAdvisor. In the latest instalment of the blind leading the blind came this gem about Chetham’s Library: ‘If you like the feel of old buildings, this one is worth visiting. Marks and Spencer would meet there.’ The writer was confused, as is usual with TripAdvisor commentators, and meant Marx and Engels, the two chaps who instigated a global political movement, not the two chaps who begot a series of shops. ‘Retailers of the World, unite!’ never did catch on.

Chethams Library
Chethams, where Marx met Spencer

Solifordhull on the Irwell

Sleuth thinks Hattie Hartman of the esteemed magazine The Architects’ Journal (AJ) needs to get out more. That modern bit of engineering genius Ordsall Chord won their award for ‘Infrastructure of the Year’. The citation went: ‘Described by the judges as ‘a layered intervention which extracts and adds value to the surrounding public realm and lays the framework for high-quality urban regeneration over the next decade’, the £320 million Ordsall Chord provides a...link between between Manchester and Solihull that transform(s) what is presently an urban wasteland.’ Big bridge that, from Manchester to the West Midlands. Bless you Hattie, shall Sleuth buy you a map? (Note as soon as Sleuth tweeted this, the AJ corrected the story but didn’t state so on the article – naughty.)

2018 12 07 Salford Sleuth
Solifordhull - now accessible via the Ordsall Chord apparently

Sleuth, the knight and the brothel

Sleuth met the mighty Sir Bob Scott last week and shared lunch with him. Sir Bob was at the Royal Exchange doing a talk and recalling how he was one of the main players in setting up the theatre in the late sixties. He’s been central to Manchester’s cultural life ever since, helping rescue the Palace Theatre and Opera House and then fronting Olympic and Commonwealth Games bids. He recalled his first trip up to Manchester and staying in the Carousel Hotel on Great Western Street, Moss Side, as he couldn’t afford any of the city centre hotels. “I’ve never heard of that place. What was the Carousel Hotel like?” asked Sleuth. “It was a knocking shop,” came the reply. “I couldn’t sleep for all the banging on the walls and it wasn’t midnight DIY taking place.”

2018 12 07 Sir Bob Scott
Sir Bob Scott - "It was a knocking shop"

Sleuth’s best idea of the week – The Meadow Side £100

Sleuth attended the launch of the marketing suite for the Meadow Side development from FEC. Handsome apartments they look too, apartments that will be clumped around the seven-acre St Michael’s Flags and Angel Meadow Park. Presently the park tends to look decent because of the Friends of the Park’s stalwart work. The council only has £1500 a year to maintain it, which is wholly inadequate. At Meadow Side though, the purchasers of the 750 flats will have to provide £100 per year for maintenance of the park. That’s £75,000 a year extra income to prettify the place: Sleuth thinks this a marvellous idea.

2018 12 07 Sleuth Meadow Side
Meadow Side

Badly timed marketing

Sleuth is amused by marketing and its endless capacity to shoot itself in the foot. The posters on the hoardings around the first development site at Meadow Side are trumpeting green living, given the flats will overlook the park mentioned in the previous story. But at this precarious time for British politics, with the country riven by division over Brexit, which clever arse decided a good message would be ‘Vote Leaves’? Yes, we understand that it refers to the leaves on the trees, but really... Maybe they should put up another poster saying the health benefits of living at Meadow Side will save the NHS £350m a year.

2018 12 07 Meadow Side

Another food delivery firm brings focussed targeting

Maybe Sleuth’s had his head in the sand but, with endlessly dodging Deliveroo and UberEats bikes on the city pavements, he hadn’t notice the arrival of the Bigfoodie, with its entertaining voucher code of ‘Chickendinner’. Obviously with a name like that it’s directly targeted at Gordo of Manchester Confidential, aka the publisher Mark Garner. Look at the amount on this bill from his new Ivy review. A big big foodie indeed.

2018 12 04 Ivy Manchester Receipt
More a scroll than a receipt

'Rapid transit success story' 

Sleuth sees Metrolink (called a 'rapid transit success story' by TFGM) have employed a new tactic to get Manchester’s tram network moving along. This week passengers, unable to squeeze onto an already overfilled service at Brooklands station, were asked to push a stuck tram in order to get it moved off the platform. Sleuth reckons Northern Rail might use the same tactic to get things moving along quicker on their services. In fact, better they remove the engines and have passengers take it in turns to push the carriages between stations, will likely speed things up a bit. Naturally there’ll be a £2.99 self-pushing fee added to the ticket cost.

Main images: @JBwol