So when someone turned up at the doors of Manchester’s Warehouse Project, which Lord owns, with a so-called lifetime pass, it caused much scratching of heads at the venue. The black card states “This pass grants the holder lifetime access to Warehouse Project events and Parklife” – which is Lord’s big festival that takes place each year.
A new one last night.
Someone tried to get in, by making themselves a “Lifetime Access Pass to WHP and Parklife.”
There was just one problem. No one working at the door had seen one of these cards before. Much like the Nando’s High Five black cards, no one knew for many years whether they even existed. Lifetime passes to Warehouse Project, on the other hand, do exist – they gave two away in a competition last year.
Lord’s tweet does not elaborate on whether he actually got into the venue, except to describe the attempt as “impressive”. And he confirms in another tweet that he contacted the person in question later to give them lifetime access for real.
Here’s hoping his staff can correctly identify the genuine passes. Otherwise, it’s going to be the equivalent of using a rake to get rid of water…
Two weeks ago, a 20-year old man died at the Warehouse Project after taking drugs. The club made no comment on their social media pages, something which irked me on the Sunday after it happened – and irked me even more the following week. Nearly two weeks later, Warehouse Project have finally said something.
So here’s the statement for anyone who fancies reading it. Take your time – it really is as bad as it looks…
It turns out that more happened that night than was first reported. It’s unclear whether the two events are linked – I’ll leave it up to Greater Manchester Police to work that out. But it turns out a 21-year old and a 20-year old were stabbed just outside the venue on the same evening.
And here’s where things get rather farcical. Because the pond life who carried out the stabbings were refused entry into the club by security earlier in the evening – yet still managed to get in anyway. How on earth did they give security the slip? And how the hell did they get those knives into the building when it has security and a police presence outside?
Someone somewhere has got big questions to answer here. I’ll let the police get on with working that out – although they might have a few awkward questions of their own to answer. But firstly, I must query whether Warehouse Project uses the same publicist as the one who advised Diplo to publish a long, rambling statement on his social media yesterday. That person might want to find their new calling in life…
Why is Warehouse Project refusing to say anything at all about the death of a 20-year old who was at their venue last weekend? This is the question I asked last Sunday and today, I pose it again. The ongoing silence from the Warehouse and owner Sacha Lord is mystifying, to say the least.
Obviously, a police investigation is ongoing into the matter and nobody, least of all me, expects them to say something which could compromise that. But bar a brief statement issued to the press by a faceless, unnamed spokesperson for the Warehouse Project, nothing has been said publicly by anyone.
This is an increasingly bizarre turn of events. This week, Sacha Lord has found the time to tweet about VAT increases for business, the HGV drivers shortage and even fallen for a prank where someone claimed the Google camera photographed a sex act taking place outside his club. In truth, it was an old photo taken from a nearby street and deleted from the service eight years ago.
Yet he hasn’t tweeted a few words of condolence for the man in question. No words of sympathy for his family, who will now be going through hell after the loss of a loved one. And no words about the drugs policy of the club or the importance of drug testing – something which he has advocated for many years.
A source close to the Warehouse Project told me “We’re under strict orders coming from the top not to discuss this. We’ve been told almost nothing about what’s happened”. Hardly surprising – but their collective silence is all the more odd considering this has happened before.
In 2013, a 30-year old man called Nick Bonnie collapsed at the Warehouse Project and later died in hospital. His inquest revealed high levels of cocaine and MDMA in his body at the time of death. That very same weekend, 16 others at the venue were hospitalised after taking ecstasy and and the dealer had to seek medical attention after swallowing his stash.
In December 2016, a 19-year old beautician called Lauren Atkinson died after taking ecstasy at the club. And back in 2012, another 19-year old called Souvik Pal was found dead in a nearby canal after taking ecstasy on the premises as well. All this was reported a few years ago in the Manchester Evening News.
So as much as I hate to say this, but Warehouse Project have been in this position before. And whilst there’s no suggestion from me that the club isn’t being run properly – police in Manchester have said several times they believe it is – the optics of this refusal to say anything whatsoever are simply terrible…
No, I didn’t think I’d end up writing about something that happened at the Labour Party conference on this blog either – but such is the world we live in. Yesterday, Greater London mayor and long-time Labour politician Andy Burnham was speaking at a fringe event where he started doing something highly peculiar.
He started complimenting a Tory government minister. Yes, seriously. Looking over possibly one of the most indifferent and incompetent governments to ever take office in Britain, he had nothing but praise for Michael Gove, saying “The thing about him is at least he does things. You may disagree with me, but he acts as a minister. He creates an agenda, and he then implements it.”.
Which came as something of a surprise to a room full of Labour activists. And then he said even more curious. Referencing Gove’s recent appearance at an Aberdeen nightclub, he mentioned the Tories were going to be in Manchester next week for their own party conference – before joking they would hold their own “Warehouse Project Haçienda style” event for his benefit.
Normally, the self-publicist that is Sacha Lord would be all over this – but he seems to have disappeared from social media over the past few days. I can’t possibly imagine why…
Say what you like about Sacha Lord – and this blog frequently comments on the self-declared man on a mission to save hospitality across Britain. But there’s one area that I won’t hear a word said against him, believe it or not. And that topic is on reducing the potential harm that drugs can do.
Which is why last weekend, Parklife used their official Twitter account to remind visitors to drink plenty of water. And seek medical attention immediately if you start to feel unwell…
Drink plenty of water. If you feel overheated, dehydrated or drowsy, please seek medical attention.
This seems sensible advice whether you intend to partake with something questionable or not. I personally get headaches if I don’t drink enough water and become even more grumpy than normal.
Now, I’m going to hazard a guess that Lord’s other event, the Warehouse Project, will also post a similar message to this in the next few days. Today’s event might also choose to use its platform to retweet a message like this from W.E.L. Safe…
So let’s apply the above tweet to Warehouse Project. Now, I don’t know exactly what the drinks prices for the event is, so I’m going to use Parklife’s price of £2.50 for a 500ml bottle of water as a guide. It’s an event with the same owner, so I consider this a reasonable assumption.
They advise drinking half a pint every hour. Half a pint is 284ml. This evening’s event goes on from 7pm to 2am – so you’ll need 1988ml in that time. That’s four bottles and £10. And if you’re at tomorrow’s event from 2pm to 4am, you’ll need 3976ml. Eight bottles at £20.
To give you some context here, you can buy multipacks of six 500ml bottles in several supermarkets, often at around £1. The same amount with Sacha Lord would cost £15 – and seeing you’re not allowed to bring in your own food or drinks, you have no choice but to pay.
Add that onto the costs of tickets, transport to get there and home again, possible hotel costs, food whilst you’re there and other drinks – because who drinks just water at these things? – and that’s a lot of money involved.
I’d suggest charging £2.50 for a bottle of water isn’t consistent with your message of harm reduction, Sacha…
The problem with trying to speak out of both sides of your mouth is that eventually, you’re going to get called out on it. This is especially true when you’re in a prominent public position – and as a man who has taken the government to court to try and force changes to Covid restrictions, Sacha Lord certainly cannot argue that his view on such matters is private.
And other people are finally starting to see what I saw months ago. You see Lord has been vocally against vaccine passports. Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this – indeed, this very blog isn’t keen on them either. Thankfully, he can now rest slightly easier at night with the knowledge they’ve officially been scrapped for England.
But Lord’s tweets on this issue, and others, are something of a masterclass in word salad. It’s not difficult to understand why. On the one hand, Lord knows that the club scene has a disproportionate number of people who seem to think that Covid is fake.
On the other, he’s an adviser for Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham – so associating too closely with anti-vaxxers could cause political difficulties for his boss. So Lord treads a very careful line, being very cautious to avoid revealing too much about his own leanings.
When these things happen, the best advice I can give anyone is follow the money. And that’s what I did. I took a look at the Parklife festival, which took place over the weekend, and the forthcoming Warehouse Project event. Given Lord’s own personal opposition to vaccine passports. you’d imagine that his own events wouldn’t have any rules in place on the subject, wouldn’t you?
You’d be wrong. Both Parklife and Warehouse Project have clear stipulations – if you want to get into either venue, you must provide evidence you’re double jabbed, a negative lateral flow test as close to the starting time as physically possible or evidence of natural immunity from having had the damn virus. The rules are very clear – if you do not want to provide any one of those three, you aren’t getting in.
And the anti-vaxxers whom Lord has carefully courted over the past few months have noticed. To say they’re extremely unhappy is quite the understatement. Over the weekend, Lord’s mentions have consisted of an absolute mountain of abuse from the same group he previously flirted with. It’s safe to say this bizarre love affair is well and truly over…
Oh, and since we’re on the subject of Sacha Lord, do you remember yesterday’s post about how he insulted someone because they pointed out how much he charges for drinks at his events? I’m reliably informed that a 500ml bottle of water was indeed £2.50 at Parklife over the weekend. A Pepsi Max of the same size was £3.50. Whereas 50ml of Jack Daniels whisky was £10, and the same again for a vodka. The cocktails were all £10.50 each.
If you headed to Tesco, an Evian bottle of water that size would cost you 75p and the Pepsi Max is £1.10. You could get a 1 litre bottle of Jack Daniels for £32, meaning 50ml of the whisky would cost you £1.60 – and the 700ml bottle of Smirnoff vodka would be £15.50, so 50ml is the equivalent of around £1.10.
Seeing festivals buy alcohol in gargantuan quantities, the sheer profit to be made must be eye-watering. No wonder Sacha’s so pleased with himself this Monday…
Sacha Lord isn’t a name I’ve written much about of late – but rest assured this blog hasn’t forgotten about this self-declared man on a mission to save hospitality. A mission which has a suspiciously large overlap with his own mission to make lots and lots of money, but I digress.
It appears that Lord is one of these people who searches for himself on Twitter. I only mention this because on Friday, he sent out a tweet in response to someone who’d written his name, but not explicitly tagged him. This person was querying how Lord’s status as the saviour of hospitality matches up with him charging £2.50 for a bottle of water and £11 for an alcoholic tipple.
His response? Well…
We're the same price as Creamfields, that you've been raving about. Not sure if you are on the left, or right, but a few press ups wouldn't go amiss.
So he searched his name on Twitter, got all upset when he saw a comment he didn’t like, sent a petulant reply which doesn’t answer the criticism in any way whatsoever and fired off a personal insult to top it off. That’s class for you, isn’t it?
Back in 2009, then future British Prime Minister David Cameron said “too many twits might make a t**t” in a radio interview. You might want to reflect on those words, Sacha…
The name Andrew Murray Burnham might not mean much to you from the outset. But he’s been in politics for over 25 years. Born in Liverpool in 1970, he was educated at a comprehensive and graduated with an English degree from Cambridge in 1991. He’s also been a card-wielding member of the Labour Party since 1985.
Burnham was elected Labour MP for Leigh in Greater Manchester in 2001. The then Prime Minister Tony Blair saw promising things in him and he was given a job in 2005 as an under secretary. His successor Gordon Brown put him in the cabinet just two years later, and he was spoken about as a future Labour leader.
Of course, that never happened. Labour went into opposition following the 2010 general election and have remained there since. In 2017, Burnham was duly elected Mayor of Greater Manchester and remains a popular figure in his city – a showdown against the Westminster government last year played a role in him winning reelection in May.
And one figure who was keen to see Burnham back in office was Sacha Lord. In 2018, Burnham hired him to be his Night Time Economy Adviser – one of the things he promised during his election campaign was to boost Manchester’s night life, so the reasons why he was snapped up make sense.
What isn’t so clear is how Lord was appointed. The job didn’t previously exist, so to the best of my knowledge, it was never formally advertised. He also doesn’t get a salary for the post – unlike his much maligned London counterpart Amy Lamé, who’s on £84,832 per year.
Not that this will bother Lord, of course – a source close to him confirms he’s a millionaire and gets quite shy when the topic of money is brought up. Other questions are even less easy to find answers to – queries to the Mayor’s office in Greater Manchester have drawn no response.
How many hours per week does Lord devote to this role? What powers does the position give him? How often does he meet up with boss Andy Burnham? And what happens if an issue ever arises where Lord’s business activities at Warehouse Project and elsewhere could conflict with his role as an adviser?
For the record, there is no suggestion here that Lord has used his position as Night Time Economy Adviser to benefit his business interests. Indeed, the truth is sometimes very far from it. Lord encourages businesses across Greater Manchester to sign up to the Good Employment Charter – which promises higher pay, more support for staff and transparency on tipping. One can only imagine this has cost his own businesses more money over the years.
But questions must increasingly be asked about Lord’s many public pronouncements on recent issues. How much notice of Lord’s statements on social media does Burnham take? This is just one of the many questions that the mayoral office in Manchester refuses to answer.
Lord was, of course, playing to the gallery. He knows that many of his followers are rabid anti-vaxxers. Whilst he knows he can’t say much to them directly, given his roles in the Night Time Industries Association, his own business interests and his role for Andy Burnham, he can occasionally give them something to chew over. It’s highly irresponsible behaviour and it’s time he was called out for it by a larger audience.
And in particular, it’s time his boss reminded him that being an advisor means he has to be more careful with his words…