Week 18: Sleuth and the power of attorney puzzle
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
Williamson for the Northern Powerhouse
Sleuth hears rumours that Gavin Williamson who was sacked for leaking sensitive information from the Cabinet this week has been offered the job of heading up the Northern Powerhouse initiative. A spokesperson said: “Mr Williamson should fit the job perfectly, he was the Secretary of State for Defence and the Northern Powerhouse needs some serious defending.” Mr Williamson, who denies the Cabinet leak, said: “I think I will fit the role perfectly, there will be no leaks, as nothing at all is happening with the Northern Powerhouse so there’s nothing to leak.” Sleuth hears the real reason Williamson was sacked from the Cabinet was that he was from the North and not public school educated, and thus didn’t really fit in.
Power of attorney puzzle
The editor-at-large, Jonathan Schofeld, was walking down Cross Street when he got a call. “Hello, it’s Adnan, I used to run one of the Northern Quarter curry cafes.” “Not heard from you for years,” said Schofield. “Yea, hope you are ok? I was wondering if you could act as power of attorney for some of my relatives in Pakistan,” said Adnan. “Er, what, why? I haven’t talked to you in years and know nothing of these people. It’s not what I do, Adnan, I’m a writer and tour guide,” said a very confused Schofield. There was a pause on the line, then: “You’re that Jonathan. I have two Jonathan’s in my phone and the other one was my solicitor when I was in Manchester. Sorry. See ya.”
Crime and marketing
For a cack-handed attempt at gaining publicity Signature Living’s decision to call the oldest railway hotel the Quality Street Hotel has predictably caused ‘outrage’ - as the MEN called it. The Commercial Hotel on Liverpool Road opened in 1830 to serve people travelling on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway – the oldest passenger railway system. Signature Living want to convert it into boutique hotel themed on the shady Manchester crime gang of the 60s-80s: The Quality Street Gang. It is quite the most ridiculous thing Sleuth has heard in a long time. Tacky, tasteless, thoughtless. Mind you, the utterly rubbish Peaky Blinders bar on Peter Street is also themed on criminals, who were far less lovable than their TV counterparts, and the Lower Turks Head on Shudehill has a bar themed on The Scuttlers, a bunch of very violent youth gangs with not a single saving grace.
Crime and tourism
The extra problem with the Quality Street Hotel is that it’s referring to recent bad behaviour. Councillors have branded the idea: ‘tacky, crime-worship tourism’. By some accounts the most popular guided tour in the world is the Jack-the-Ripper Tour in London. People are very odd. But at least those terrible events took place more than a century ago. Crimes still fresh in the memory, where there might be living relatives, have to be treated with extreme caution in terms of exploitative money-grubbing. It’s good therefore that the tour company that outrageously offered a tour called ‘Dark side of Manchester: Savile, Ripper, Brady, Shipman and some other bad folk’ in August 2018 have seemingly abandoned the idea. What’s more incredible is that they offered it in the first place.
Sleuth was passing the building works for the Jeremy Deller artwork between Manchester Central and the Midland Hotel. Two construction workers in hi-viz were passing at the same time. “What are they doing here?” said one of them. “It’s some art thing to commemorate that Peterlee event?” came the reply. “What was that then?” asked the first. “Dunno. It was ages ago, I think?” “Oh, ok.” Sleuth rather hopes that once the artwork, a mound with inscriptions and names, is finished the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, might become a little better known. A little, at least.
Photograph of the week – clasping on to the bridge
Sleuth always thinks canals are better with locks.