Week 24 in which Sleuth decides to build a bunker and stockpile food
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
Mancunian predicts doom
Sleuth was at a Guardian Live debate on Tuesday in Central Library. This is an event to mark the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre and was examining the nature of modern protest. On the panel was Roger Hallam, the Manchester-born, leader of Extinction Rebellion, the group that organised the April mass-protests in London which led to 1000 arrests. "You have to break the law," said Hallam. "We will go extinct as a race unless we stop killing the planet. Food supplies will breakdown, prices will rise for everything, fuel, and so on. There will be a revolution, civil war." "Really?" asked the the panel chair, sceptically, "and what's the time frame for this?" "It'll be within ten years," said Hallam, messianically. Sleuth went home and started digging a bunker in the back garden.
We're all going to die but let's not protest somewhere tough
In the same debate as described in the story above, Hallam talked about how he was taking the protest bigger in October. It will be in London, Paris, Berlin, Sydney, New York and various other cities. "But not in Beijing or Pyonyang?" said the panel chair. "No, they don't have the democratic tradition to allow such a protest to go ahead in the way we envisage," said Hallam. In the Extinction Revolution timetable there appears to be a natural selection of protest venues that avoids the really difficult places, such as China, which is building, according to some reports, over 300 new coal fuelled power stations.
Mine's a double H20 and where's the coach
Sleuth was at the Bridgewater Hall listening to a very amusing Sophie Ellis Bextor creating a right party on stage. Beforehand between acts he had got some drinks and was informed the bar closed after the interval. “Why?” he asked. “Well,” said the bar person, “there’s often no point staying open. Much of our audience consists of older people who come in on coaches from small towns and just want jugs of water before buggering off immediately the show ends.
Bad morning after the night before
Sleuth was in the City Arms enjoying a pint when he struck up conversation with a couple, Keith and Julie, who had emigrated to Adelaide 15 years ago. Keith, had been a telecoms engineer with Nynex in Manchester before they'd left. They were back for a few weeks meeting family. They mentioned the homeless issue they'd seen in a city they still evidently loved. "That reminds me," started Julie. "You're not going to tell that story," said Keith. "It's funny," said Julie. "You see, Keith here, isn't the neatest man and had been on a big night out, was late for work, hadn’t had a shave, and was dressed in the clothes he been out in the night before. He was close to Chorlton Street Coach Station, when a beggar run up to him. The beggar said: hey mate, you’re not going to steal my pitch, are you?" "Yes, that day I really did look like somebody who had been on the streets for weeks," said Keith.
Beggars can be choosers
The above story reminds Sleuth of a time he was walking down Chorlton Street with a group of solicitors in lovely dark blue or dark grey suits on a function night. You could tell the solicitors were having fun because they’d taken their ties off. Coming towards them was one of Manchester’s angry and abusive beggars. Sleuth feared the worst, but then the chap saw on the pavement an unopened, sealed, packet of sandwiches. He bent and picked them up, Sleuth nodded at the beggar, the beggar nodded back, examined the sandwiches and said, “I can’t eat these, they’re ham, I’m a vegetarian.” Beggars, you see, can be choosers.
Lifetime Achievement and the chattering classes
Sleuth was at the Manchester Society of Architects Awards on Thursday night, excellently presented by the president of the society, Nick Moss. There were more than seven hundred people in the splendid Albert Hall. The winner of the Building of the Year Award from a Manchester practice was 'The Lookout' by Walker Simpson architects. This is a Girl Guides' activity centre in 17 acres of Cheshire countryside. The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was architectural mega-star Lord Norman Foster, who grew up in Levenshulme, and also chose the winning entries. Girl guides have a reputation for courtesy. Seven hundred architects and more don't as they talked through the awards and even over Lord Foster's recorded, and moving, acceptance speech. Still it was a grand occasion, and blessedly not a sit down meal, just, bang, straight into the awards. There was a lot of drink flowing as well, which probably didn't help the architects attention span.
Manchester Restaurant wins support
Speaking of awards, Peter Street Kitchen at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel was awarded the Best Luxury Restaurant gong in the British Restaurant Awards the other week. These are known as the BRAs. Sleuth happened to be in Peter Street Kitchen before going over to Albert Hall for the Manchester Society of Architecture Awards, and overheard two managers talking, one saying to the other, "Do you think we'll get more business with this BRA?" "We might do," said the other, "being given a BRA, is quite prestigious." Sleuth wondered what customers who weren't aware of the British Restaurant Awards might have made of it.