Are we ignoring the grim fate of Greater Manchester’s outer-borough culture?
Plus: We expertly rate the mulled wine offerings at the Christmas Markets
Dear readers — welcome to what can only be described as an extremely varied Thursday edition of The Mill. After a lovely piece by Jack on Tuesday about losing his Salford accent and some fascinating research into accents across Greater Manchester, today we bring you:
An update about why Salford City Council is dropping its Low Traffic Neighbourhood.
A very funny (and useful!) ranking of the best and worst mulled wine offerings at the Manchester Christmas Markets. We sent Sophie and Jack out for a tasting session earlier today.
And a piece of analysis by Joshi about funding threats facing two cultural organisations in Bury and Oldham, and how a massive new crunch on local authority budgets could spell disaster for the local arts.
Our latest podcast is out, in which Jack and Darryl talk to Anna Jameson about regional voices and what it’s like presenting the breakfast programme on BBC Radio Manchester. “It’s literally the most northern podcast ever,” says Jack, “we talk about accents holding us back in life and trains that don’t work.” Listen to that here and if you enjoy the podcast, please tell a few friends about it and give us a rating on Apple or Spotify so we can reach more listeners.
As always, this Thursday edition is mostly a members-only affair, but regular Millers can read the top section. If you’re not a member and you’ve been thinking of joining up, what better incentive can we give you than being able to find the best mulled wine in the city, swerve the undrinkable vinegary kind, and understand how council funding cuts are going to further immiserate your local community.
Your Mill briefing
The Mill has been told that the recent rollback of a low traffic neighbourhood scheme (LTN) in Salford may have had something to do with a motion made against it at a Labour party branch meeting in Blackfriars and Trinity, the ward where the LTN was meant to be based. This is despite the scheme being supported by 71% of residents in the ward. The motion was made by a left-wing activist and Labour party “fixer” sources tell us. One ex-councillor in the city described the move as “a missed opportunity and a real step backwards for the city.” When we asked the council about the reason behind the rollback, a spokesperson said: “We are reviewing public feedback for and against this initiative and the scheme is on hold while that is done. We remain committed to doing all we can to support and encourage walking and cycling to ease congestion on our roads.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper says the North’s rail services have a “real problem” after a meeting with mayors from around the region yesterday. The mayors demanded the “chaos” in the rail service — which they say is damaging their local economies — is brought to an end. Despite previous accusations that the government has failed to properly acknowledge the issue, Harper said he was “under no illusion” that services are flailing. In a joint statement, the mayors said that being able to get to work on time was “the absolute bare minimum of levelling up... but Northerners have been robbed of this basic right because of the chaos on our railways”.
The man who made a noise complaint against Night & Day Cafe — which could come to precipitate the iconic venue's closure — has become a “recluse” and lost 30kg due to stress. At a court hearing yesterday, the man’s partner said they moved out of the property in May due to the noise and “hundreds of comments on social media that were very threatening”. The property the couple lived in was turned into flats in 2000 without adequate sound insulation. At a hearing on Tuesday, an acoustic expert said Manchester City Council’s planning department should have done more to prevent this issue after the development was approved.
Violent crime: A 16-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of Kyle Hackland, 17, who was stabbed in Withington over the weekend. Two men have also been sentenced to minimum terms of 23 and 14 years in prison for stabbing Neri Morse, 24, to death after a “disturbance in a local convenience store” in Ancoats in April. It follows a week in which GMP have seized 123 knives and arrested 74 people for knife related offences.
Mulling over the mulled wines of Manchester’s Christmas Markets
By Sophie Atkinson
As someone who used to live for many years in one of the countries which made mulled wine an art form, Germany, I do not simply “like” mulled wine. I eat, drink, sleep it. Which uniquely qualifies me for the most desirable Mill reporting assignment of the festive period: ranking the German Christmas market’s mulled wine offerings. I also wanted an opportunity to interview scathing Germans, and was richly rewarded in my pursuit of this quest.
I wish I could tell you that I have conducted a comprehensive tasting of, I’m going to guess, all 40 mulled wine outlets across the market. Alas — I am a lightweight. I managed six. I had Jack in tow, but he despises mulled wine almost as much as I adore it. He managed a few gritted teeth tastings but wasn’t able to lighten the load much.
Sixth place: Manke Markets, St Ann’s Square
We were served by a man whose face glassed over with panic when I admitted I was a journalist, I was ranking the mulled wines, and I wanted to know what red wine they used in the mulled wine. “I...am not sure....you should wait for my manager,” he said, suddenly slippery.
This is the mulled wine I most suspect came out of a three pound bottle from Morrisons. It managed to be both too sweet and to leave a vinegary aftertaste. “It's so medicinal,” said Jack, grimacing. Null point!
Fifth place: Bar 3, New Cathedral Street
We were served by Kitty, 19, a student who’s working alongside her studies to pay back the debt she racked up on a recent holiday to Dublin. Her favourite part of the job? “My paycheck,” she said, without a moment's hesitation.
The mulled wine was too bitter. No mulled wine in history has ever had this issue, so I can't believe I'm saying this, but it was. It was also lacklustre. It lacked character, it wanted to take a year out in Bali and find itself. Instead it spent a year on the beach with a hangover, developing a bad sunburn and a sense of crushing regret. The manager didn’t know what sort of red wine it was made from, but said the brand was Lindeman’s. I also sampled their cherry mulled wine, which was way better — sweeter, cheekier. If you find yourself in Bar 3, do not despair, order the cherry mulled wine.
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