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The Great Pretender

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About The Great Pretender

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  1. I think the £1.4bn was for housing infrastructure rather than the actual houses themselves. Could be wrong though. Overall quite a good performance, but still the same nonsense about housing shortages and HTB. Sigh.
  2. Just back on the MP thing, I had a reply from mine this morning (or rather his secretary) In case you're wondering, I didn't make any reference to Right To Buy in my letter.
  3. David Dimbleby needs putting out to pasture. The whole BBC coverage seems pretty amateurish so far.
  4. I found out from a representative of my local Parish council that Trafford Council are in real trouble, and it's currently very hard to get anything done. Didn't get any more detail than that, but I'll be watching with interest.
  5. "Let's make Altrincham and Sale West a more affordable place to live" "Labour announces plans to build 200,000 homes each year by 2020 and provide greater support to people renting their home" Anybody else get the 'Labour Today' paper through their letterbox recently? The above headline is the front page. It's all very low on detail of course, and having looked at the website I can't find any other reference to the subject. According to the content though, the Labour candidate James Wright is a private renter - "The cost of buying your own home in Altrincham and Sale West is beyond many of us, especially the younger generation." I am at the very least tempted to email him and see what his thoughts are on how this situation came about in the first place. Incidentally, I also had the laughably titled 'InTouch' Tory paper too. Not a single mention of housing anywhere - it's mostly just NHS guff.
  6. I wrote my first full length stage play last year (performed by my local am-dram group). The plot was about a couple of 20-something girls that decide to get revenge on their slumlord by stealing a valuable painting he owns from an art auction. Couple of not-too-subtle digs about bankers in there too. Seemed to go down well, and was later published by one of the newer online publishing houses. Every little helps. Although I wouldn't bank on seeing it on the West End any time soon.
  7. Altrincham due to get another facelift I see. http://www.messengernewspapers.co.uk/news/whereyoulive/altrinchamnews/11715303.Public_consultation_on___6m_of_improvements_for_Altrincham_town_centre/ They do seem to be making a real effort of late, and the new market food hall is really nice (shame about the fire, but sounds like it was mainly smoke damage). I still think the two biggest problems though are parking, and rent/rates. I know they've made the parking 10p/30p, but the maximum is still 2 hours which just isn't enough. And I was in Oxford Rd Cafe last week (always very good), and they're having to premises share with Oriental Fire - cafe in the day, restaurant at night. It's a constructive solution, but the fact a successful business like that can't afford the rates in a small unit well out of the centre speaks volumes. Meanwhile, the new bus/tram terminal looks a bit weird to me. Peculiar mix of old and new that doesn't quite work. Better than how it was I suppose. Overall, the smartening up of Altrincham is good and long overdue, but I still think there's some underlying core issues, and until they're fixed it's mostly just window-dressing. As for the housing situation, I very rarely bother checking Rightmove these days, but when I do there's plenty of old dross that's been sat there for ages. As I understand it, the school catchment area is one of the main reasons behind the insane prices. Had an interesting chat with a friend of mine who reckons the biggest problem Altrincham has is that young people cant afford to live there, and that's why so many bars/restaurants etc struggle.
  8. Not read all this thread so maybe it's already been covered, but the relentless need for customer satisfaction surveys is grating with me at the moment. You can't phone up any sort of helpline without getting a 'How did we do today?' type survey on email, or more annoyingly, via text message. The worst are the website popups, where the information you wanted from the link you've just clicked suddenly fades out so they can cover half the screen with a pop up asking what you think of the website. (I was getting on with it just fine until you interrupted my browsing experience thank you very much.) Often times these surveys appear within 30 seconds or so of you opening the website - certainly not long enough to form any sort of opinion on the website anyway.
  9. I think in the case of Altrincham it's that the descent has been so stark, going from a thriving community and market town to being officially declared the most derelict town in Britain a couple of years ago. I remember when I started working there, there was a free car park that just about perfectly accommodated the car-based workforce. Then they built a Tesco on it, and there's been a cat and mouse game of street parking and subsequent restrictions ever since. It's only as recently as about 10 years ago that people would flock to Altrincham on a Friday night, and there'd be a queue of 20 people waiting for a taxi at the end of the night. Now there's a queue of 20 taxis. I live by the retail park, and that's often heaving at the weekend, even though there's only 7 or 8 shops. I know a lot of people think the high-street is effectively on life support, but I genuinely think places like Altrincham still have something to offer. But there would need to be a big reduction in rents and rates for businesses to be viable, and crucially there needs to be free and convenient parking, (with longer than 2 hour limits). I absolutely agree with your first paragraph. I guess my point really was that I don't understand why the place continues to hold it's value. Places like Hale still has prestige value, but while Altrincham isn't exactly a dive, it's nothing much to write home about any more. Over a quarter of a million quid for a two bed terrace is insanity. And as you say, very sad.
  10. Sorry to hear you didn't get the house. Would you really still call it a 'very good area' though? I think Altrincham is living off past reputation. They keep trying to give it a face-lift, but I can't help feeling the damage is done and it will continue a slow and steady decline. Either way, it offers nothing now that even comes close to justifying the sort of money that house went for. Crazy times. But no - no it can't last.
  11. http://news.efinancialcareers.com/uk-en/152654/mid-ranking-young-bankers-now-priced-out-of-the-property-market/ An article designed specifically to induce anger and hatred I've no doubt. Worked on me. Done a quick Google Images search, but I just can't find a violin small enough.
  12. A friend of mine posted this on Facebook today: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/jun/24/who-wants-serve-billionaire-superyachts It's an interesting subject to me, because my current girlfriend is quite high up in the industry, so in the last 10 months or so that I've been dating her, I've had quite an insight into the world of super-yachts. To be honest, I didn't even know the industry existed prior to that. The money involved and level of waste is absolutely eye-watering. Totally disconnected from all sense of reality. I was invited to the launch party of the yacht she's on at the moment, which cost the owners in the region of half a million euro's. And they even didn't show up. If there's one thing I've learnt, it's that even at that level, keeping up with the Jones' is still ingrained. For many, it's less about being rich and much more about being seen to be rich. It's garden room extensions and German cars in the drive, just on a much grander scale. I've also noticed how easily the staff get sucked into the spend-free mentality. They earn very good money, but all their expenses get covered when they're working, so when they do get off the boat they go nuts (as is alluded to in the article). My girlfriend earns an absolute packet, I'd estimate in the region of 5-10 times what I earn, but she still manages to have a reasonably big mortgage and credit card debt. My main point of posting is to wonder how big the gulf between rich and poor will get before anything happens? Maybe this belongs in off-topic (?!), but I think it's a relevant discussion.
  13. Cloud 23 is the typically pretentious bar half way up Beetham Tower, which I sheepishly admit I've been to twice. I really like Manchester but like most cities, it's not exactly pretty. So the views are impressive in a 'high up' sort of way, but mostly uninspiring. Trying to rent it seems crazy. Talk about a narrow market. Who has a family with young children that can afford £15k a month rent but would choose to rent a flat in the middle of Mcr rather than buy a big family home with garden?
  14. Yes. Yes it is. 10 years of allowing the building of supermarkets literally a stone's throw from each other; putting in crazy parking charges and time restrictions and policing it like Nazis; charging insane business rates etc... and Trafford Council finally had a strokey-beard meeting "I just can't understand why no-one comes to Altrincham any more. Maybe if we spend millions of pounds giving half a dozen shops a weird glass front face-lift that in no way matches the rest of the high-street..." I despair. Had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine a few weeks back about the state of Altrincham. He was ranting about how it's become such a ghost town primarily because young people just can't afford to live there anymore. For my shame, it's an angle I hadn't really considered until then.
  15. I know what you mean, but she's only been running the business around 18 months or so, so she's still building it up and it's viable in the sense that she's at least making profit. She's young (mid-20's) so it's a very good learning curve at that age too. It's things like wedding cakes or large cupcake orders where she actually makes a legitimate profit from what I gather. She clearly loves the creative side of it though, and of course she has the flexibility of working at home - considerably less soul destroying than stacking shelves for minimum wage. Absolutely agree on people handing out advice like that. I like to think I provide a good counter-balance to it, but I always advocate running the numbers and doing her own research. We're based near Altrincham in Cheshire, which in terms of proportions of closed shops was recently voted the number 1 most derelict town in Britain. The rents and rates are farcical - opening a shop like that would be financial suicide IMO. She has people telling her things like "No-one will ever take you seriously if you don't open a shop." People are living in a time warp.
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