Reports this week that City target Harry Kane has banged in seven goals since Spurs manager Antonio Conte banned tomato ketchup at White Hart Lane demand careful scrutiny. Does this make a January deal less likely or more? Prior to the condiment ban the England striker had been enduring one of the leanest spells of his career, subsequent to the collapse of his propose mega-move to the Etihad in the summer. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy may be renowned for striking a hard bargain but even he knows there’s little point in holding on to an unhappy striker. Will confiscating Kane’s Daddies prove decisive?
In fact talk of a reheated deal has been bubbling up again over the international break, with ESPN’s gossip correspondent in particular seemingly inundated with tip-offs from “sources” – these are senior members of the Abu Dhabi royal family, presumably – telling him City want to go back in for Kane, if only the London club can be persuaded to reconsider. Elsewhere stats-monkeys with little left to scratch are calculating that City’s first team squad are on average closer to peak age for their respective positions than other clubs, and that recent transfer policy has on balance favoured finished articles over youth (Grealish being the debatable exception). This, supposedly, is consistent with Pep being true to his word in preparing to step down in 2023.
The tea leaves, then, say City go back for Kane this coming Jan to fill Pep’s vacancy in the number 9 position and make one last charge for glory. Unless Kane gets taken off mayo or something, in which case all bets are off. Will Sterling get his move away? Will Grealish hit better form? Sunday’s home game against Everton may or may not move the narrative forward.
Not the end credits
No mistaking the love in the room for Mike Leigh last week, after the film director rocked up at HOME for a convivial Q&A, as the cinema’s Leigh season continued. “I’m sorry about the conversation that’s about to follow…” quipped a noticeably relaxed Leigh after Naked’s end credits had finished. “A film like this, you’re supposed to stagger off afterwards and confront the rest of your lives…” Having given the world such stone classics as Abigail’s Party, Life Is Sweet and Mr Turner the Salfordian surely ranks as one of our greatest big screen exports. Seventy-eight years young, he fielded with warm wit and candour an array of questions regarding his most controversial offering. Of course, Naked is one of his few films to feature a conspicuous Mancunian element, one notable exception aside.
Always whenever Leigh made a new film he would come up to Manchester to be asked: “Why don’t you make a film up here?” “I’d love to but it’s too expensive,” was the unvarying reply. As the years progressed Leigh’s stock rose and rose…there was the Cannes success of Secrets and Lies, the night out at the Oscars for Vera Drake, the blanket acclaim for biopic Mr Turner. In 2015 Amazon and Film4 handed him a cool £14m to make Peterloo-the-movie: his biggest ever budget to shoot the defining tale in Mancunian social history, a story scarcely told to mainstream audiences. Reviews of the epic were as they say mixed but the bloodbath at the box office was unprecedented. The film recouped just a tenth of its production cost, £1.4m. The man we saw last week wore the relaxed air of someone relieved of the burden of having a project in the pipeline. Temporarily, no doubt, for such a titan of British cinema. There’s far too much love about for this to be the end.
Famous for fifteen seconds
What Shell Zenner doesn’t know about new music will no doubt be appearing at the Nobody Inn, Bacup, until such time as their better halves make them sack it off. So when the Amazing Radio tastemaker and Radio Manchester presenter tipped us off about social media sensation Piri’s debut performance at YES last week, we took note.
“This is Manchester,” Zenner grinned over a Northern Quarter coffee, as dash hound Nico waited patiently at her feet to score some treats. “Community at its heart, where collaborations happen, where people come together and do stuff…more than in other places.” To wit, in this instance: boy meets girl on Tinder, boy programs beats, girl comes up with earworm, influencers share on TikTok, clips go viral, Radio 1 playlists, duo signs reputed £150k deal with EMI.
TikTok? If you’re a regular or a R1 listener then the “You’re in my soft spot” hook-line may be more than familiar to you right now, courtesy of Tommy Villiers of electro-chipmunks Porij, girlfriend Sophie McBurnie, and a growing army of imitators on the youth-oriented platform. As the small forest of smartphones pointed Piri-wards at the YES gig attested, the media moment can feed back on itself quite happily.
“Believe me,” said Zenner. “There’s a small studio in Cheetham Hill knocking up TikTok bangers as we speak.” Fifteen seconds is all it takes, songwriters, welcome to the future.
Congratulations to Manctopia star / Capital & Centric boss Tim Heatley – chairman of the Mayor’s homelessness charity who this month managed to secure a £60m loan from the Mayoral Development Corporation Investment Facility. Nothing to see here, obviously.