Manchester City Council – Oversight of the Twelfth Night

Subject: A concerned citizen

Dear Manchester City Council,

I hope you’re all doing well at the council and may I take the time to wish you all a (belated) happy new year. I think all in all 2011 was a testing year not just yourselves but for the public sector in general so I’m sure you’re not too sad to see the back of it.

Unfortunately I have noticed a glaring oversight which I think could be the catalyst to a less than auspicious start to 2012; you have left the Christmas decorations up all over the city. Beyond the 6th of January!!!! Are you MAD? At the time of writing it is the 16th January and they are still there. 10 DAYS!!!

I was wandering around the city the other day and I couldn’t help but notice that on every lamp post the Christmas decorations still hang lonely and unilluminated, like drunken ‘trophy steals’ from a garden centre displayed proudly around a student flat. I am staggered that you would jeopardise the fortune, and consequently the safety, of the patrons of this city.

I’m not exactly a superstitious person. I do have a couple of quirks that I will only ever walk down-wind and habitually recite the nine times table aloud during coitus (but that’s more of a rhythm thing really). However, it’s well documented – far beyond preposterous pagan hokem – that failure to remove Christmas decorations on the 6th January (The Twelfth night) can yield catastrophic bad luck. Bad luck you have now seemingly consigned the whole city to.

I think even an idle glance at the facts would suggest so…

– The Howling Hilton. If that is not a harbinger of impending doom of some sort then I don’t know what is.

–  The complete lack of snow. An offshoot of global warming, normal weather cycles or something altogether more sinister? The latter, I would assume.

–  Look at the news….stabbing this, storms that, financial meltdown the other…coincidence?

– The ghost of Paul Scholes brazenly haunting Old Trafford.

–   I tripped on a curb and hit my head on the rear flank of a Ford Mondeo on Monday.

…what next?

I would like to know the council’s official stance on this matter. I think at the very least there should be a public apology and immediate withdrawal of all decorations before we all end up going feral and smashing each other’s craniums apart with sticks and dog bones.

Yours concerned,

Mark Jorgensen

Subject: Fw: A concerned citizen

Thank you for your email and your enquiry regarding the festive lighting.

Following Christmas, we aim to have all the decorations switched off by 6th
January, and then the contractors start to remove them following that date.
Given the geographic extent of the scheme and the requirement to minimise
disruption to existing city centre operations – this process normally takes
between 7 and 10 days – and has never been achieved in a single night, so
I’m confident that we are not invoking bad luck upon the city despite the
worrying omens that you cite.

They are taken down from the core area – Albert Square – and outwards. The
periods of high winds in the past weeks hasn’t helped this process this
year, as the equipment used to take down the decorations cannot be operated
in these conditions and it has put the contractors back, however all
decorations should be removed by the end of this week.

I hope this helps with your enquiry.

Kind regards.

> Karen Connell
> Events Unit
> Chief Executive’s Dept
> Manchester City Council
> Desk 012, 5th Floor, Number One First Street
> Manchester
> M15 4FN (for satellite navigation use M1 5DE)
> Please note postal address remains:
> PO Box 532, Town Hall, Manchester, M60 2LA
> for directions to First Street go to:

> email:
> website address:

Up grit creek without a paddle

Manchester City Council have announced that they are setting up a Twitter account named @MCCGritters1 to keep the public abreast with their gritting schedule as we approach the peak of winter.

For a country susceptible to the odd cold snap, Britain – or should I say Britons – cope spectacularly poorly each and every time one comes around, like a decrepit old dog still terrified by it’s own flatulence.

The television and news outlets become awash with hysterically apocalyptic reports from gloomy red-nosed doom correspondents, repeating painstaking details about the frozen floor bastard as their researchers paw away at online thesaurus’ desperately searching for synonyms of ‘treacherous’. The reference to treachery in the context of frozen sky water used to seem unnecessarily sinister to me.

The intent of the councils Twitter feed is admirable, utilising technology to service their duty of catering for and informing the community. However, for a couple of winters now its been building. News reports, campaigns, complaints, emergency rations, treachery, discontent, danger, fear, treachery. It’s bubbling to an inevitable breaking point.

We always run out of grit. Then shout about it a lot.

This Gwitter announcement therefore may just be the catalyst. Just as the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in the Balkan powder keg in 1914 kick started WW1, this announcement may finally see the advent of……….Grit War 1. (In the North West).

In a sentence that could easily have been lifted from a Pablo Escobar autobiography, the council has proudly boasted they have imported stocks of over 5000 tonnes. Of grit.

That may sound a lot, but slippy pavements and skiddy roads seem to be the kryptonite which exposes our weakness as a collective who lack basic survival mentality and ability to remain rational in a non-existent crisis.

After our initial childlike frolicking in the powdery crisp smattering which crunches enjoyably under every footstep, the snow will spitefully freeze into sheets of translucent death, plunging Manchester into a Siberian tundra of yellow slush and precautionary sick days.

“5000 tonnes and they’ve not gritted Deansgate yet. Harrummph. Typical. Pfft.”

This failure to grit properly will rapidly descend us into a dystopian nightmare, with haughty city types becoming luddites huddled round shopping trollies filled with flaming summer clothing, shivering forsaken shrugs.

Trains, buses and trams will be cancelled as huffing commuters splutter furious vitriol disguised as visible clouds of hot breath. The roads will become fairground Dodgem arenas with cars sliding lazily around at jaunty angles, thudding into one another as drivers exchange helpless hand gestures.

“They’ve not even gritted the pavements. Harrumph. Just, bloody typical. Pfffffffffft.”

You might slip and smash your cranium. You might EVEN slip and smash your new iPad.

Perhaps you’ll be taking your fragile kitten to the vets in a little cat box, only to slip and inadvertently hurl Mr Wibbles under the thumping pneumatic drill blade of a man trying to break the metre-thick iceberg engulfing the windscreen of his new Audi.  A drill he paid for with a gram of poor quality salt he received for re-mortgaging his house, as grit becomes bartering currency like prison cigarettes.

At the moment your poor moggy gets splattered, you’ll cry floods tears which immediately freeze the moment they leave your tear ducts and hurtle down to crack the screen of your new iPad.

The demand for grit will spiral out of control as stocks run low and the street price soars. Rival gangs of Eastern European grit cartel will fill the streets in murderous, blood tinged iceball fights to leave Piccadilly gardens like a giant strawberry slush puppy filled with severed limbs.

“Pffft.They’ve not even cleaned up the fingers and heads. They should collect the teeth and grind them into grit. Harrruuummpph.”

The council will have to rename their Twitter feed to @TheRealMCCGritters1 to ward off fake accounts of entrepreneurial conmen selling sacks full of 12% grit, cut with 88% filler of now worthless materials like gold, saffron, truffles and pulped Justin Bieber CDs.

Disenchanted youths, sickened by the councils flaky grit distribution begin to take city by storm as they did in August, but instead of burning down Miss Selfridges, bobble-hatted chavwits will fill Market Street retail outlets with water, leave them over night to turn them into huge clothing-filled prank ice cubes for giants.

Jack Frost becomes the new panto villain in the war on terrorism, facelessly pulling strings in the axis of winter evil as grit becomes the new oil.

Then again, it might just be a bit cold, white and slippy for a bit. All of a sudden the ice will melt where we’ll all immediately snap out of grit-pissed frenzy, yawn, rub our eyes and just get on with our lives.

Either way, follow @MCCGritter1 to find out first hand if you don’t pawn your laptop for a bag of bogus salt.

Manchester City Council – Freedom of Information


Dear Manchester City Council,

You may have seen in the news recently that following an enquiry from a concerned citizen, Leicester City Council were forced to concede that they have are unprepared for the advent of a zombie attack.

Being the progressive and well managed local authority you are, I’m confident you have the requisite zombie provisions in place. Personally, I have my own plans in such an eventuality and excuse me if I don’t share them. After such a catastrophe, it will be a ‘dog eat dog’ situation and the fewer people who know about my plan the better really. (What I will say is something that people in zombie films have all failed to realise is padding. The first thing I’d do is put on several layers of clothes as insulation against bites).

While I am confident that you have the necessary contingencies for zombies, I’m concerned about what provisions you have in place for supernatural threats of other kinds.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, I would appreciate if you could advise me on your provisions for the following –

–         ManBearPig

This is a hugely dangerous hybrid creature which is half man, half bear and half pig. Or maybe half man and half bear-pig. Or maybe half pig and half man-bear and was first identified by former US President Al Gore.

A rogue ManBearPig on the loose in Manchester would cause a significant public threat so what actions would the council take to ensure the safety of the people of the city?

–         Vampires

I have recently become suspicious that within our society we have a secret cabal of super vampires living amongst us. These fangy ghouls, I suspect, seem to the naked eye to be every day people, who may work in shops, offices and most notably in positions of power such as the Police. You may even have some over there at the council. Everyone knows that vampires have both an insatiable blood lust as well as a sneering pompous hatred towards humans and it must only be a matter of time before they decide quietly picking us off one by one in alleyways is not enough, and wrangle us all together in to huge abattoirs to be cultivated like blood cattle.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. They can’t have jobs like that as they are strictly nocturnal and evaporate into a cloud of dust when exposed to daylight, but I believe this is simply a fallacy used for illustrative effect in films and pop culture – either that or they could cunningly lacquer their skin, rendering them impervious to the damaging effects of the sunlight; like vampire sun block.

I know I’ve rambled on but I wanted to give you as much information as I can and I am genuinely concerned about the safety of the people of Manchester.

Please provide any information you may have.

Yours worryingly,

Mark Jorgensen