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Not Strictly Confidential (15/5/08)

Stuff you may or may not know about, bobbing about in the Pool of Life. This time: Milk bars, Nige and Cherie's bit of rough

Published on May 16th 2008.

Not Strictly Confidential (15/5/08)

The milky bar kid
BUSHY-tailed after trouncing his rivals in the contest for leadership of Liverpool City Council, Warren "Biggles" Bradley has bemused friends and foes alike with his vision for a brighter, better Liverpool - a revival of the 1950s milk bars.

He says these gaffes (sorry, gaffs) were safe havens for youngsters more than half a century ago and it's high time Liverpool had them back.

Warren is not really old enough to recall that the fifties era was enlivened by gangs of snarling teddy boys slicing one another to bits with flick knives.

Biggles - or, as he now clearly wants to be known, The Milky Bar Kid, - wants to open up derelict pubs and install soda fountains. But as most empty pubs are in downtrodden or largely desolate areas, such as the totally unpopulated Dock Road, they might have a tough time attracting pint-sized pinta punters.

It's difficult to imagine a bunch of hairy-arsed Polish dockers popping in for a quick strawberry milkshake and a Wagon Wheel in a bid to "get down with the kids". Or, indeed, vice versa.

...But then again...
OF course, anyone who was really cool wouldn't have passed within an ass's roar of a milk bar, whatever one of those happened to be.

The only reference we could find was in Wikipedia which tells us a milk bar was mentioned in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, "a hangout where the delinquent Alex and his friends gathered to plan crimes and consume milk laced with narcotics".

The name of this X-rated den? Why, the Korova Milk Bar.

Wow! Have we stumbled across a new business opportunity for the local stuffed-animals-and-cocktails empire of the same name? The one whose speciality is making old pubs trendy?

Rob Gutmann, meet Warren Bradley. Councillor Bradley, meet Mr Gutmann...Do we get a commission for this?

Taking the mic
SPEAKING of pubs, news reaches Confidential concerning the Liverpool Culture Company media launch, this week, of a brochure called Around the City in 80 Pubs, at The Lion Tavern, Tithebarn Street.

The gathering included pub types, some 08 people, plus a few likely local hacks, all there to be entertained by magician Alan Singleton over a swiftie or two. The aim was to galvanise the pint-loving populace into joining the CoC party (to show it's not just about Klimt).

So imagine the surprise, among some, when comedian Keith Carter appeared. Those taking an interest will recall it was Keith's scally creation Nige what swung the City of Culture bid Liverpool's way in 2003.

In his own inimitable style, Nige apparently took to a mic in the bar and regaled the assembly with his latest ditty lampooning Liverpool 08, before going into his funny and highly recommended "spoof" routine about how he has tried and failed since 2003 to get involved in CoC.

The Scouse press cackled into their beer unanimously, but Nige's brand of deep and localised irony was said to be lost on the more, er, thoughtful dignitaries.

"The mouths of several people fell open in shock," an observer told Confidential. "I don't think some of them even knew who he was."

"The joke clearly went straight over their heads," said another who did not wish to be named. "So much so that Nige kept asking a some po-faced woman, 'Eh, d'ya get it, queen?!'"

However, the nonplussed contingent weren't completely hushed: Allegedly, at the end of one particularly tongue-in-cheek gag, a Stephen Hawking soundalike bravely piped up: "That's not funny...." as the tumbleweed bounced through the bar.

A supporter was later heard to chuckle: "If that had been a real stand-up gig, Nige would have chinned him."

Cheap as chips
AND even more on old pubs: Members of the Confidential team were pleasantly surprised by a trip to dine at the Monro on Duke St this week. Our critic AA Grill took great exception to the food at the "award winning gastropub" a year ago, but since then it's been all change - and there was plenty of change from a tenner. Excellent fish and chips from a great, two-courses-for-7.95 lunch menu.

Alas, the memory was blighted by the distractingly threadbare swirly carpet in the dining room. But the good news is it's all change again.

The Monro is to close for a major refurb on June 1, lasting several weeks, which will see the bar moving, knocking through to the function room and real fires. And, yes, slate and wooden floors. Let's hope it's done with a bit of TLC and that the prices stay as keen. Liverpool needs more proper food pubs like this, our agents opined as they crawled home, heavier but all the richer.

Chequered past to Chequers past
SOMEONE else all the richer this week is Liverpool's own Cherie amour whose new autobiography is currently being serialised for a lorra lorra dosh in Rupert Murdoch's Times and The Sun.

And everywhere you look, you will find details of Mrs Blair's upbringing in "the rough side of Crosby".

Any Sun reader - and there are still too few in Liverpool to take issue with this - would be forgiven for imagining that the smart, Sacred Heart grammar school girl spent gruelling days in some high rise badlands of north Liverpool.

But have no fear: Cherie's childhood home in Ferndale Road, off St John's Road, Waterloo, is one of the desirable "Dales", surrounded by nice restaurants and shops, where currently a three bed terrace is a respectable 142k.

Why say you came from a rough place when you didn't? We all know Cilla Black was brought up on Scottie, but even she wouldn't deny her childhood home was at the Southport end.

Manchester f***s up
THIS sort of thing would never happen here. We shall expect a massive report anytime in the next few months, heads rolling, six-figure pay-offs and another long, rumbling ruck afterwards.


  • Barack Obama watching exotic dancers at The Goat pub, Great Howard Street (below).
  • Comic Alexei Sayle dining in the Panoramic with a mystery restaurant critic.
  • Funnyman Russell Brand getting steamy with the girls in the Bluecoat snack bar just weeks before the big fire.

One of these is true, but we have no idea which.

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ShirleyMay 15th 2008.

I find it astonishing that the media runs with this rubbish about Cherie Blair. But what should I? It's great copy to say she's from a rough background. Who ain't in that case

RodrigoMay 15th 2008.

Are you running a book on who may be responsible for the unfortunate barbecueing of the Bluecoat this week? If so, I want to place a £5 win on my missus having a few vodka's too many and slipping into the lav desperately fumbling for her Golden Virginia (if you know what I mean). Despite the shortage of funds, I'd also like to place a £5 each way alternative on anyone who was refused official access to the lav after spending considerable wonga in the restaurant.

Billy The GoatMay 15th 2008.

Is the bird in the red sequinned knickers my Hillary? Surely not

The QueenMay 15th 2008.

I've just looked and Joe Riley does seem to have nicked one's Nige piece in his Echo column. Oh well, imitation and flattery and all that....

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