Sleuth week 29: in which Sleuth encounters giant crustaceans and strippers
Italy then Pakistan then Lingerieland
Sleuth loved last Saturday in town. He sat out in Cathedral Gardens at a packed Festa Italiana, gobbling Italian food, slurping Italian lagers and listening to music. Then he wandered to Albert Square where there was a celebration of all things Pakistani, so he snaffled some Pakistani nosh, a lassi yoghurt drink and listened to music. People were in traditional dress including a few women in burkas. Sleuth then passed, 25 metres away, a less covered-up group. Outside the Friends Meeting House there were strippers, several in lingerie, protesting about proposed national legislation banning strip clubs. Sleuth wondered if maybe next year the three events might successfully merge.
Noel Gallagher puts on the Ritz
Sleuth went to the Noel Gallagher gig this week at the Ritz in an attempt to persuade Noel to get back together with younger bro, Liam Gallagher. Liam now wants to re-form Oasis apparently. Noel, instead, took a trip down memory lane: “Last time I was in the Ritz it was a right shithole. We used to play grab-a-granny night. It was 1p to get in and they gave you a quid to spend at the bar.” As for Sleuth’s request to re-form Oasis, Noel shook his head and instead dedicated a song to his brother. "This is for the best tambourine player this city ever produced,” he said.
Put your shirt on
It’s been hot. But really men who take their tops off should be rounded up and incarcerated. It’s so vulgar, says Sleuth taking a sip of Earl Grey with a cocked little finger. This is a topless man on the bus from Prestwich, fast asleep: the Soulstar shop behind is a serendipitous coincidence. In front of the man with no top is a man with half a face, he should also not be seen in public.
Necro…dear Lord, no
Sleuth was in Chetham’s Library on Saturday, talking to a large group about an enchanter, called John Dee, who lived in the buildings 400 years ago. Sleuth mentioned Dee’s accomplice Edward Kelly and how Kelly was a necromancer. “Does anybody know what a necromancer is?” asked Sleuth. “Does he have sex with the dead?” asked a man. Gasps from the audience, which included some delicate older sorts. “Oh dear no, that’s a necrophiliac,” said Sleuth continuing with, “A necromancer is someone who brings the dead back to life.” “And then do they have sex?” asked the man. Sleuth looked long and hard at him and said, “I think I’m going to change the subject.”
Beer garden BBC presenter man
Sleuth went to Tatton Park on Wednesday for the RHS Flower Show. He was a guest of JW Lees, the estimable north Manchester brewers from Middleton Junction, 190 years old and still going strong. They’d sponsored one of the gardens and, when Sleuth arrived, a well-known BBC presenter in a hat was being filmed because the Lees’ entry had won Best Show Garden (more next week on Confidential). “He looks familiar,” said Sleuth to William Lees-Jones, the boss of the brewery, “but it’s not Alan Titchmarsh.” “Nor Monty Don,” said another. Google joined in and it became apparent it was Joe Swift and he was bald. “Hence the hat,” said someone unkindly.
Swift is slow, more gardening news, and the best gag of the week
Anyway back at Tatton, everybody watched and watched as the BBC did take after take. The very thin and anxious producer was almost literally tearing her hair out. It seemed Swift was not living up to his name, although half the time you couldn’t blame him. The producer would try and shush the gathering crowd but then a Boeing 747 from nearby Manchester Airport would swing by, or a mobility scooter would crunch over the duckboards.
Or Sleuth would tell a gag.
This happened when the charming designer of the garden, Leon Davis from Prestwich, was whispering an explanation to Sleuth of his JW Lees brewery garden. The idea was to represent the view from above of a pint glass, with the grasses like froth on the top. At that point a guest whispered, “I think one of the grass areas seems be falling over.” Without a moment’s hesitation, not a single moment, Sleuth said, “It’s got brewer’s droop.” He couldn’t help laughing at his own wit. Sleuth was loud. The producer turned her head and gave Sleuth a withering look, “Take 56!” she bellowed. Sleuth whispered, “That woman needs a pint.”
Manchester hit by massive crab attack
Sleuth went to 20 Stories this week and was assailed by this gargantuan crustacean. It was a £25 special for two people which also included being pursued round the outdoor terrace by this monster to the theme tune of The Pirates of the Caribbean. After that work out, the crab went on the lash with the Confidential team and ended up dancing on a table at The Birdcage with a divorcee from Collyhurst, called Wanda, singing Don’t Look Back in Angler. He went back to Wanda’s place, neither of them thought it would last. It didn’t. On his walk of shame in the morning he walked straight into Gordo’s mouth. And that was the end of the crab.