Week 36: in which Sleuth finds Dubai at Kwais
Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week. It's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. He's several people all at once. Sometimes Sleuth even gets serious @mcrsleuth
Shock as rain falls in Manchester
Sleuth was on the tram into the city centre this week, sodden from another wonderfully wet Manchester morning, when he heard, for the 47th time that week, a man complaining about the amount of rain we have in Manchester. Just before the man could begin saying “Autumn? We haven’t even had a summer yet…” Sleuth jammed his umbrella in the man’s mouth, explained that Manchester was actually recently named the fifteenth wettest city in the UK – behind Cardiff, Glasgow and even Leeds – and that should rain be such a problem to him, perhaps he should look to those poor bastards in Texas and South Asia and shut his bloody gob – which proved impossible due to Sleuth’s brolly.
Sleuth’s finds Dubai at Kwais
Sleuth took a bike trip to The Quays and found the big golden Alchemist bar had opened. It looked very Dubai, very shiny. Cracking terrace out the back though with a fine view across to MediaCityUK and the Imperial War Museum North. The barman cheerfully said something to Sleuth about the Quays and got it wrong, so Sleuth with a smile said, “It’s pronounced keys not kwais.” “No mate, look how it’s spelt?” laughed the lad, turning away.
Vans reverse in First Street
Sleuth attended the world’s first silver transit van reversing championship in Manchester’s First Street this week. The competition had reached its 37th hour when the last two remaining vans began their 327th circuit of the estate. Things quickly took a turn for the dramatic, however, when a man sat on a bench began waving unexpectedly, which confused the leading driver into backing into a metal fence, accidentally hitting first gear and taking off through the front door of Sainsbury’s, flattening a small and pointless pug and utterly destroying a fine basket of stone-baked demi baguettes – a clear category A violation.
Jarvis Cocker and the most Jarvis Cocker thing ever
Sleuth was walking down Hewitt Street recently, having dropped into the charming ManCoCo (probably the best coffee in Manchester, by the way), when he spotted the distinctive, lanky, bespectacled figure of Jarvis Cocker outside the nearby mechanics. The raffish Pulp frontman and Radio 6 presenter in his tweed jacket and corduroy trousers was waiting for work to be done to his car – which apart from the tweed jacket and corduroy trousers was the most Jarvis Cocker thing Sleuth had ever seen. It was (the internet tells Sleuth) a burgundy 1986 Chrysler Town & Country station wagon complete with imitation wood panelling, no left turn and a gear stick you could beat a man to death with. Now, that is hardcore.
Levenshulme pub sells duck eggs
Sleuth was in the Peveril of the Peak pub. The man by the bar turned to his mate by the bar and said, “I’ve got standards, they’re very low, but I’ve got standards.” Sleuth got his pint and sat down, at which point another man came up and said to Sleuth, “You work with Manchester Confidential don’t you? Well if you ever want duck eggs then go to the Bluebell pub in Levenshulme on a Friday afternoon, £1.80 half a dozen. Bargain.” He tapped the side of his nose, winked and walked away and Sleuth again marvelled at the manifold joys of public houses.
Tent wears hat
Sleuth was walking through St John’s Gardens this week and was mightily entertained by the natty character of one of homeless folk’s tents. Perched on the crown was a very fine fez. Sleuth loves a hat, he’d like a panama on his canvas accommodation.
Veteran journo wears cowboy hat (and Marijuana shirt)
And here's another natty character, Confidential food writer Neil Sowerby on tour last week in Denver, looking rather spliffing in his finest Willie Nelson garb and wondering where all the wine is.
Predictive texts and amphibians
Sleuth quickly sent a message to a colleague about a booking for El Gato Negro, the Spanish Restaurant on King Street. When he rechecked the message El Gato Negro had been renamed L Gato Neckroll. Which sounded very much like some of the dishes in the three named Chinese restaurant on Liverpool Street in Salford. This is either called Peking House, Shi Wei Xian or Mr Fresh depending which menu you pick up. It’s a very good restaurant though and will be reviewed next week. On the menu there are gizzards, feet, tongue, trotters, lungs, kidneys and so on, but surely the winning dish title has to be Hot & Spicy Frog.
Sleuth says sorry
It's been one of those weeks where Sleuth found himself drinking and carousing every day and evening which resulted in him offending everybody in the city, the region, the universe, councillors, writers, cyclists, tram drivers, benches, trees, squirrels, the odd stray mutt, Jarvis Cocker, transit vans, duck eggs and himself. He now promises to wear sackcloth and ashes for a month and attend no launch parties or licensed premises. Now, where's that spade so Sleuth can bury himself.