'Relentless demand, a murder, a fatal fail to stop'

A busy weekend for Manchester's police, plus the rest of your weekly briefing

Dear Millers — welcome to this week’s Mill briefing which includes a look at the city centre’s disorder over the weekend, a load of great recommendations and our very first (mini) restaurant review.

Yesterday we published Jack Dulhanty’s interview with illustrator Stanley Chow, the man behind Mayor Andy Burnham’s Twitter profile picture. He tells Jack what it was like growing up, his experiences with racism and how he developed his idiosyncratic style. Here’s an extract from the piece:

Chow’s life seems so thickly spun with moments of fate and coincidence that it makes sense that he doesn’t try to make too much sense of it or impose grand explanations of how he’s got where he has. He landed his first agent, not with his portfolios, but after someone spotted him idly scribbling on chip paper. "Serendipity. It's a word I say a lot,” he says. “There's a lot of that going on, I have to admit.”

Our latest podcast dropped last week. Jack sits down with Darryl Morris and talks about Arndale Market’s longest standing trader, Ila Patel, who spoke to us about the day of the IRA bombing and how she’s coped during the pandemic. You can listen to all our podcasts on most streaming platforms including Spotify, and they come out every Thursday. In case you missed it you can listen to our latest episode here.

Last week, members got stories about the Manchester Art Fair by our culture writer and longtime Miller Phil Griffin, and the life of the Arndale Market’s longest standing trader by Jack. If you’d like to read those pieces, hit that button below.

This week’s weather

Our weather forecast comes from local weatherman Martin Miles who says: “A cold week with plenty of dry weather is coming up. Friday is one day to keep an eye on though, as there is the potential for rain to fall as sleet and snow on higher ground. There’s a good chance we will see some wintry showers over the weekend as well.”

Monday 🌤 Plenty of sunshine. Max 8°c.

Tuesday 🌥 Cloud is modelled to be more extensive on Tuesday compared to previous days. The day will be dry, but it will feel cold under mostly cloudy skies. Max 9°c.

Wednesday 🌥 Another mostly cloudy day will follow on Wednesday. A cold front will introduce colder air after dark, along with showery rain for a time. Max 8°c.

Thursday 🌤 On the back of the cold front late on Wednesday, Thursday will be a cold and largely sunny day. Max 6°c.

Friday 🌧 Showery outbreaks of rain will feature on Friday, and there will be the potential for some sleet and snow to higher ground, especially later in the day. Max 6°c.

Weekend 🥶 It will be cold for both days over the weekend. There will be some sunshine, but also occasional wintry showers. Temperature highs will remain around 6°c.

For the full forecast please visit Manchester Weather. Forecasts are released 6.15am every day.

The big story: A weekend of chaos in Manchester

Top line: As crowds gathered to drink and enjoy the Christmas Markets at the weekend, GMP was put under pressure after a string of incidents — including two deaths in the city centre. It’s been dubbed by the MEN as a “weekend of chaos.”

What happened? On Saturday evening, Christmas Market stalls on Exchange Square were ordered to stop selling alcohol at around 6.30pm because of anti-social behaviour. They’re usually allowed to sell alcohol until 9pm but bosses made the call to stop after it became clear the crowds were getting out of hand. The atmosphere was described as rowdy and “stupidly busy.” One market stallholder told the MEN:

I think the authorities were getting worried, there were some big groups out in town. We were told we had to stop serving booze at 6.30pm, while things 'calmed down' but they didn't calm down, it just got busier and busier.

About two hours later, 10 people were involved in a brawl outside Printworks and officers were called. Kevin Wood, 60, was attacked and died at the scene from his injuries — GMP said he was a passer-by and had nothing to do with the incident. 21-year-old Callum Crosbie from Newcastle has been charged with Mr Wood’s murder.

On Sunday, there were two other incidents in the city centre:

  • A man in his 20s died after a hit-and-run on Deansgate. A 15-year-old and a 19-year-old have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

  • Armed police were called to Store Street behind Piccadilly Station after it was reported a group of people were inside a building and had weapons. GMP later released a statement:

Three men and one woman were arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm, burglary and threats to kill. They remain in custody at this time.

Councillor Pat Karney, who is the council’s city centre’s lead said that crowd safety was reviewed weekly and advised people to get their vaccinations. On the deaths that happened on Saturday, Karney told the MEN that the city was “shocked to read about these tragic incidents which are rare.”

GMP’s Sergeant Jon Kenna, who works in Manchester city centre, tweeted support for his colleagues: “The team just cracked on and got on with it.”

Home of the week

A 2-bed flat inside this beautiful building in Cheadle Hulme comes with two off-road parking spaces and a private patio. It’s on the market for £295,000.

Other local news in brief

  • Manchester United’s Ole Solskjaer has been sacked as the club’s manager after its 4-1 defeat at the weekend. He’s the sixth Premier League manager to lose his job this season. Following the announcement, one fan told BBC Radio 1: "It feels like a break-up, you feel like crying. You don't want it to happen but it's for the best.” Read more.

  • Oldham-born Sir Tony Radakin has been appointed as new Chief of the Defence Staff. Sir Tony served as First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, which is the head of the Royal Navy. His career has included stints in the Falklands, Hong Kong, and three tours in Iraq. He said: “It will be an immense privilege to lead our outstanding people who defend and protect the United Kingdom.” Read more.

  • A friend of the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi has told the inquiry that there was no indication he was planning a terrorist attack or that he held extremist views. Alzoubare Mohammed said that Abedi’s attack left his friends “in shock.” Read more.

Our to do list

🎶 Concert | Our friends at Manchester Baroque will be singing Handel’s Messiah at Manchester Cathedral on 11th December — tickets are going like hotcakes, so best to book now.

🌿 Talk | Manchester Literature Festival is hosting a talk by author Dara McAnulty, who will be talking about his book Diary of a Young Naturalist. It documents his experiences with nature and how he navigates life as an autistic person. Tickets here.

🎭 Theatre | There’s a performance on this Wednesday at Oldham Parish Church, which is hosting Oldham Theatre Workshop. They’re presenting Wistman's Drum. It’s about a colourful troupe of travelling players who arrive in a sleepy village. It promises to be “an energetic and unforgettable piece of theatre.” Book tickets.

📚 Books | We love Manchester Bookbuyers, a secondhand bookshop opposite the Arndale Centre. We recently got our hands on a beautiful hardback edition of Moorland Mousie with illustrations by Lionel Edwards. Grab a read for 50p. 1 Church St, Manchester M4 1PN.

🎥 Watch | The Northwest Film Archive has opened its viewing pods again — you can watch over 1,700 films in Manchester Central Library. Find out more.

🍷 Drink | We’re very excited to pop over to Flawd — it’s a neighbourhood wine bar and bottle shop on New Islington Marina with a focus on natural wine. They serve different food each day, including plates of British cheese, charcuterie and tasty produce from their partner farm Cinderwood Market Garden in Cheshire.

Exhibition | Postman Pat is coming to Sale. In celebration of the animated children’s show 40th anniversary “Welcome to Greendale” will be at arts venue Waterside — it’ll include some of the original sets and props. Read more.

Mini Review: Caribbean Flavas 🥘

Jack Dulhanty reviews a great lunch spot at 187 Chapel St, Salford M3 5EQ

Two men sit at the window, their faces hung over polyester boxes, licked by climbing tendrils of steam. Caribbean Flavas, which opened in 2009, operates a classic canteen-style service model: point at, get given. Everything is glossed with jerk sauce (simply referred to as ‘sauce’) and poured by the ladleful. Bones slip cleanly from jerk chicken drumsticks; there’s a dense macaroni cheese flecked with sweet peppers and spring onions, and strips of fudgy darkened plantain. Kevan, manning the counter — or it may be Kevin, his twin brother who he swaps shifts with during the day — won’t tell me what’s in the jerk sauce. But, he says customers have accused him of lacing it with cocaine — they can’t stop coming back.

Photo of the week

Ash Street in Salford was painted pink in 1997 to promote Barbie. Photo: John Giles/Getty Images.

Our favourite reads

The sleaze row is a crisis made for Angela RaynerThe Spectator

The Spectator’s Katy Balls writes about Angela Rayner and the second jobs row. Rayner, she says, has an air of authenticity when it comes to her outrage. “She left school pregnant aged 16 and worked as a care worker and trade union representative before entering politics. For her, the £82,000 MP’s salary is not a hardship that needs to be supplemented. It’s the most she has earned in her life, just as it is far more than most voters can expect to earn in theirs. Her anger over outside interests seems genuine.”

The Most Pathetic, Squalid Landlord Move YetVICE

After it emerged last week that a converted bin room in Manchester city centre was up for rent, many people were understandably outraged — including a VICE columnist who usually writes about London’s infamously dire rental market. He found The Bin Room so awful he was compelled to write about it. “Spiritually, it’s a bin room. Legally, it’s an office. But somewhere between those two concepts straddles a more uncomfortable truth: You’re allowed to sleep in it in accordance with the corporate landlord, thus making it a studio flat, but if the council ask then you don’t technically exist.”

What it's really like right now in the NHSManchester Evening News

Health correspondent Helena Vesty takes a look at the pressures the NHS is facing in Greater Manchester, with GPs and A&Es bearing the brunt of demand this winter. Dr Faisal Bhutt, a GP in Tameside explains that long waiting lists at hospitals have led to patients looking for treatment with their “already-overloaded” GPs. “They will keep coming to GPs because they can’t get into hospital to have their operation sorted. We have frequent patients who have been on those kinds of waiting lists for over 12 months.”

Philosophy’s lack of progressAeon Magazine

If you’d like to start your week with some deep thinking, then have a read of this article by Chris Daly, professor of philosophy at the University of Manchester. He asks the question: Why do philosophical problems resist solutions? “Philosophy’s failure to answer its own questions exposes it as vapid, a sham. Philosophers invent a bunch of artificial problems, parlour games, and then just kick them around among themselves.

Shirley Baker Saw Nuance and Humanity in England’s ElderlyElephant Magazine

This 2018 article includes some poignant and playful photographs, as well as a brief overview of who Shirley Baker was. For Baker, older people were “nuanced and full of character” and were the subjects of many of her photographs. Emily Steer writes: “These images see the human within, and communicate the urgent need for those of all ages to be recognized as a vital part of society. Her subjects often seem unaware of her presence, lost in their own moment, and happily at one with their surroundings.”

Book of the week: The North by John Bulmer

For those of you already thinking about stocking fillers, we spotted this suggestion floating around on Twitter — this book features an evocative collection of photos from Manchester in the 1970s and 1980s from photographer John Bulmer. Here’s what the publisher Bluecoat Press says about Bulmer’s work:

The hard times etched on the faces of John’s subjects told of a life of struggle framed against an often bleak industrial background. These were the people forgotten as the ‘Swinging Sixties’ changed the cultural landscape.

The North is available to buy here.

Covid-19 update

  • Case rates: Cases are rising locally as well as nationally. The case rate for Greater Manchester is 358, up 9.3% in a week compared to England’s 413, up 12.2%. Rochdale has the highest infection rates in GM, around the 400-mark. Oldham has the lowest, about 300.

  • Hospitalisations: As of 14th November, there were 53 Covid-19 patients in critical care in GM’s hospitals. This is down by 7 from the previous week and is less than a third of the number we saw at the peak in February. The total number of Covid patients in our hospitals minus critical care is 387, down from 418.

  • Vaccinations: 74% of adults (just over 1.8 million people) in GM have now received two doses of the Covid jabs. That’s 93% of over-70s, 87% of 50-69s and 63% of 18-49s.

Letters to the editor

Great interview (‘Stanley Chow, an artist who works in the moment’). Loved his work since I first saw any of his portraits — prints for sale on the walls of the Temple on Oxford Street a decade ago. Since then they've spread beyond my flat and gradually started infesting the homes of friends or family at Christmas. I've enjoyed seeing his work become ubiquitous in the city over the years, but I hadn't realised the full sweep of his success until now! Andy, Bury

My gallery visiting days (‘Nobody buys art in Manchester' — or do they?) in Manchester started at the Colin Jellicoe Gallery in the 60s but I left the city in 1971 never returning to live. I bought a beautiful painting by Peter Stanaway only this year from Contemporary Six and I absolutely love it. I have a soft spot for northern art and artists and although I won't be visiting the art fair I will certainly be visiting some galleries when I'm next in the area. Anne, West Midlands

That’s it — you’re all caught up