Page 1


issue 10 - ÂŁfree

jan - mar 2013





M u s i c Christmas Literature

2 0 1 2 L i s t i n g s F o o t b a l l

F i l m P o e t r y Te c h n o l o g y

F o o d P o l i t i c s S t o r i e s






That Most Wonderful Time Of The Year S

eptember or early October, a Christmas tree appeared in Brown’s. Chatting away with a friend, I was barely conscious of the source of anxiety that had begun to well up inside, a darkness looming inside The Light! Mid November and the 8 o’ clock bus is bustling with late night shoppers, hands and chins resting on overflowing noisy plastic carrier bags. A week previously, an earlier service ran more than an hour late: ‘expect short delays due to Christmas Light Ceremony...’ Not ideal at the end of a hard days work! Now, a colleague’s phone trills with some tinny Christmas tune, alerting us to the fact there are only 36 days to Christmas. Shopping days or days in total? I didn’t ask; one answer could only be marginally more cheering than another. Glancing down at my feet my waste paper bin looks incredibly inviting. If only it were filled with sand... A time of year evocative of a variety of memories; happy and sad. The smell of the little tobacconists down Gillygate, Pontefract. Standing on tip toe on worn wooden floorboards with my little brothers to choose a cocktail stick like container, brim full 2_TheLeedsDebacle

of matches with multi coloured heads; a gift for our Dad. Silent Night? Why not try a silent Christmas. Tell your Dad... Ask your Mum... All because one parent took care of their own selfish needs whilst another groaned under the weight of several bags bursting with ill afforded groceries - back in the day when a jar of Branston Pickle was the height of luxury. There’s the sad thing about Christmas present; for some families a packet of cereal and enough coins to feed the gas meter will be a luxury. An oblivious boast their prowess and amplitude on social media sites; ‘shopping all done - still plenty of time for all those tempting extras...’ Has a race begun and I’ve failed to hear the starting shot? Are people achieving so little that is worthwhile in their lives that getting the Christmas shopping done is the best thing they can find to feel good about? A more sinister thought occurs. Is this greed or simply one-up-man-ship? Worse still, am I offended because I’m jealous, or cynical or both? Oh no, I think they might have hit target despite my defence screen! Still out shopping on Christmas Eve; wrapping presents until 3 in

the morning. It’s taken a while but now I know that’s exactly how I like Christmas to be. Short. Simple. Exchanging greetings with perfect strangers, in Briggate, full of good cheer or good beer. The guilty pleasure of stealing into Harvey Nicks for afternoon tea. Observing the well heeled and well reeled diners from the last lunch, crimson faced in their designer clothes, and wondering will anyone notice I forgot to stitch the hem of my coat. And the panic: might I just have pushed my overdraft facility to breaking point? Washing all evil thoughts away with a steaming glass of spicy mulled wine I reflect on the pressure of hoping to fill the pillowcases of young children with their hearts desire. The gifts barely feature in my recollections. Instead the lasting memories come from remembered wonder, on tiny faces, at the glittery footprints left in the fireplace by Santa and the remains of Rudolph’s nibbled carrot; a warm home and the smell of home-baked cakes and pies. Most precious of all, the togetherness of family when the cash and the credit cards have been tossed aside and you are simply left with each other for as long as you are lucky enough for it to last.

The Wizard “I

am a wizard,” he said, and I genuinely believed him (although I was pretty sure that wizards didn’t have dreadlocks). He kept finding ketamine from somewhere. Bits of it appeared from the crevices of the groundsheet. We were all crammed in a tent in a field on a hill at a festival. The music had stopped. Dean found some more ketamine and passed round a CD case with bits of it sprinkled in ramshackle lines. Fortunately there wasn’t so much that we sunk deep and we all seemed to have our heads above the water line. Even Dean. Two hours ago the indestructible Dean had taken three tabs of acid in a brutal show of masculine strength, defying all medical, psychiatric and cordial advice. When he said he was a wizard we all, without hesitation, believed him. How else could we explain this infinite, relentless production of ketamine that he kept fathoming from the abyss? Magic was the only answer. He must be a wizard. He stood up as if to proclaim something but crashed into the low ceiling of the tent and we all laughed. It was difficult to see in the dark. We had a powerful torch hanging from the centre of the domelike tent, but the combination of dim-light and dim-mind seriously impaired all vision. We continued to laugh. For some reason Dean wasn’t laughing. He was having a seizure - not literally I might add, but he was spasmodically rolling around on the ground like a dog in a trance. I think various people called him an idiot.

Then Dean got up and made a dash for the exit, knocking over someone’s can of beer on the way, before more people called him an idiot. Who the hell were all these people? Some of us followed Dean outside and watched him get pole axed by a small, pop-up tent. The tent didn’t fair much better actually and resembled a dead bird once Dean had peeled himself off of it. We still called him an idiot but this time we showed a little concern for his well-being. You see, Dean likes to think of himself as superhuman. He enjoys danger. In fact, I think danger is getting extremely frustrated at how it has such a pathetic affect on Dean. Danger attacked Dean in Thailand when he bribed some policeman that caught him smoking weed. Danger attacked Dean whilst he sailed around the Caribbean and he approached some Columbian drug smugglers. Danger attacked Dean when he picked a fight with three thuggish, blood-thirsty bouncers. Dean had smoked, snorted and suckerpunched danger, arrested it, kidnapped it and sentenced it 200 hours of community service. Dean was an idiot. He made another dash for it but ran straight into a camping chair and fell on a black bin-bag that sounded unmistakably as if it was full of empty beer cans. We were all rolling around on the floor in absolute hysterics. It seemed like we could die from laughter. With every second the air was exiting our bodies and trying to take our ribs with it. Dean was stood up, staring at us. Someone pointed a torch at his face. He was gone way gone. He looked like a mouse. He scurried away through the tents faster than a fly and that was the last we saw of Dean. There was no catching him. He was free.


The next day we heard that Dean was in intensive care. Apparently he had scaled a fence, tried to swim across a river and been accosted by security guards, who he had then proceeded to violently assault. He was arrested and taken away from the festival site to be locked up, only to be sent to the hospital once it was realised that he was in a large degree of mental stress and that the security guards were very generously opting not to press any charges. Still lost in hypnosis, Dean tried to discharge himself from hospital but he was told that if he did then there was a very real possibility that he could die. After the festival we went to visit him in hospital. It was an old hospital – older than our grandparents. People were smoking outside. The nurses told us about his condition. He had contracted some kind of muscle-based disorder or something. His muscles were so stressed that they were crushing his internal organs and there was a very real possibility that he would’ve had cardiac arrested had he not received medical care. We were all under the impression that there weren’t any adverse physical affects from taking acid, and if there were then we presumed Dean would be immune from them. We went to visit him in the ward. All the other patients were old. They had grey hair and grey skins. They were frail, stationary and immeasurably sad. Dean looked the same as them. He lay in his bed as if he was waiting for someone to come with a pen and paper and take down his last words. We approached his bed and put some magazines on his side table. “I’m not a wizard,” he said. TheLeedsDebacle_3


Xfactor I

judge people who watch X Factor. Not a lot, I mean I have friends who watch X Factor, and it’s not a dealbreaker or anything. But I do still judge, just a little bit. I can’t help it, and it’s bad, I know, to judge someone based on their TV choice. Especially when I used to be someone who watched the X Factor. It’s a bit hypocritical of me. But to a certain point I do actually get it, why people watch it I mean. It’s winter, it’s cold outside, and the sofa and Saturday night telly can seem like an attractive option. And if you don’t watch it what the hell will you talk to everyone at work about on Monday morning? But I know better now. I have come to my senses. And I think it’s taking the rest of the country too long to do the same. The list of what I dislike about the show is long. But, maybe surprisingly, it’s not really the

Rylan Clark: Crying contestants I don’t like. Well, yeah, some are talentless and annoying (Jedward, Wagner, there’s one every series and it’s usually Louis’ fault). But most are just ordinary people wanting to make their dreams come true, and

Christopher Maloney: Either playing a killer solo... or crying... or... 4_TheLeedsDebacle

who can blame them for that? Go for it, godspeed, I hope you get all you want. But X Factor as a show, supposed ‘entertainment’, that’s what gets me. Take the audition process for example. Yes, I know some of these people who audition are arrogant, rude and need a reality check, but how can the X Factor team put these people up there to be laughed at, ridiculed, mocked? And how can we all sit there, cosy on our sofas, and do it? Is this entertainment? Shouldn’t we feel bad about it? And the judges, shouldn’t they feel bad about it? Not only are they the fortunate ones on the show, living a charmed life, most are also living a talentless life too. I bet you all know Tulisa more for a sex tape than for any song she’s recorded, so she’s hardly the epitome of talent herself. And the whole show is a pantomime

Liam Payne(???): Crying revolving around the judges, and if you think anything different I think you’re an idiot. The fashion contest, the spats and bitchy comments, the fake tension that is built up every week, it’s all a charade to raise their profile, not to raise the profile of great talent. What makes all of this worse, for me, is how we felt as a nation during the Olympics. Saturday nights during the Olympics, in fact whole weekends, would be spent watching amazing human beings do the most amazing things. They showed us what we could be doing with our time, and what our potential is. Not all being Olympic athletes, of course I know that, but we could be doing more than just sitting in front of a screen and

watching Louis Walsh have a tif with Gary Barlow. Surely we have something better to do? It’s not that I’m against light entertainment, we don’t have to be trekking en masse to the theatre every weekend, but it’s just all got too much. Big Brother (I thought that had died a death and then trust Channel 5 to bloody resurrect it), I’m a Celebrity (really? I can’t see any celebrities in there, can you? ), Britain’s Got Talent (there are not enough words for me in the set limit to even start on what is wrong with this show) there’s too many reality TV shows to mention, or 289 if you look on Wikipedia.

Tulisa: Crying

Reality TV has just got too much, and the Olympics, I thought, had set a new standard for what real talent and entertainment is. But sadly not. My Twitter feed, my Facebook feed, and my real life friends, all of the people who said how incredible the Olympics were and how they could never go back to watching reality TV have done exactly that. And, to top it off, sit there and complain about the very show they are sat watching. Switch off then. That’s all you need to do, stop complaining that it’s rigged, that you don’t like the judges, that the songs are bad, the singers are crap. Get up off your sofa and do something else. Or at least change the channel.



ou may have read or heard in the news recently about the small matter of tax avoidance. More specifically, tax avoidance in relation to large corporate organisations. The fact that corporate companies pay little or no corporation tax is hardly a new notion. In fact when I prompted the subject of tax avoidance amongst friends/ colleagues/family, the general response was not one of surprise. The overwhelming lack of reaction surprised me, and it soon became apparent that the general attitude towards the subject was ‘this is the way thing go’. In October 2012 the three industry giants Amazon, Google and Starbucks were named and shamed with exact figures of tax paid in the UK, revealing impossibly low figures and sparking a new outcry of controversy from journalists, the general public and MPs. The new figures suggest that along with other industry giants, the popular coffee chain Starbucks paid just £8.6m in corporation tax in Britain over a period of 14 years. In 2011 the company, worth a mammoth £25bn, paid no corporation tax despite revenues of £397m. Though the company’s actions could be described as immoral, Starbucks’ tax avoidance tactics are perfectly legal. Starbucks are able to reduce their tax bill by legally channelling money out of the UK, choosing to deal with their taxes overseas. The company also buys its coffee beans from a Swiss subsidiary through a practice called “transfer pricing”, which also allows the company to pay less tax. 6_TheLeedsDebacle

In a meeting with the UK parliamentary committee, chief financial officer of Starbucks Troy Alstead responded to claims by stating “we’re not at all pleased about our financial performance here.” He continued to tell the committee that in the UK Starbucks have to compete in the “most competitive coffee and espresso market.” However, the company still remains to be the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with 20,366 stores in 61 countries. And any attempts to dismiss claims were met with hostility. In an interview with the Guardian, Starbucks were labelled as outright “tax dodgers” by business secretary Vince Cable. When commenting on the decision made by some people to boycott Starbucks, the MP said he could “fully understand why people would vote with their feet.” Although when I passed by one of the many local Starbucks close to my house, I couldn’t help but think there wasn’t much boycotting going on. Perhaps it is a mixture of laziness and habit; perhaps it is the taste or variety of the coffee sold. Or perhaps it is the red Christmassy cups that keep consumers coming back for more. Let’s face it; the city centre of Leeds certainly isn’t short of great, independent coffee shops (although I’m told this has only changed to be so recently). For me, one of the perks of living in the city centre

is just that. From the charming atmosphere at Laynes Espresso on New Station Street to enjoying a late night espresso at La Bottega Milanese, I can’t help but feel it is these stores that deserve our hard earned cash. For some consumers it isn’t practical to shop at an independent store. Time constraints often mean that the modern consumer may enjoy the convenience of shopping in one store, hence the popularity of the supermarket. But when it comes to enjoying a good coffee, the same does not apply. So if you are yearning to shop around, dislike the idea of Starbucks and would like to try somewhere new in Leeds; believe me, there are plenty of alternatives to Starbucks. All things considered is it really fair to place all of the blame on companies such as Starbucks? After all, love them or loathe them they do provide jobs for thousands of people across the UK, and it must be stressed that the coffee chain are not committing an illegal offence. More recently the attention has focused upon the HMRC for being too lenient with wealthy businesses. They have responded by speaking of plans to crackdown on the loopholes that allow tax avoidances to occur. So where will the investigation go from here? MP Danny Alexander has announced that funding of at least £150m will be placed into investigating elaborate tax avoidance tactics. The investment is expected to recover approximately an extra £2bn a year in absent tax. And after months of debate, bosses at Starbucks have responded to negative publicity by claiming they will review the amount of tax paid by the company. While I would like to believe the recent outrage and media coverage on the matter will finally lead to big corporations paying their fair share, I can’t help but wonder whether the corporate companies will escape with little more than a slap on the wrist.





he temperature is fast approaching zero. The sky has already fallen dark, there’s barely a star to be seen. The only relief is the hazy light from the Santa sitting on the top of the lamp-post. People hustle and bustle around me with bulging bags full of toys for the kiddies and cheap bath sets for the relatives they only see once a year. What a wonderful time it must be! Rushing home to escape the cold, back to a blazing fire and a nice hot meal in front of the TV. I used to watch one Christmas film a day throughout December to really get me in the festive mood; but never mind about that. As the last of the shoppers are herded out of the closing stores by pretty-but-dim teenage girls in reindeer antlers, I decide it’s time to call it a night. I take one last look around to see if there are any potential targets. No. They all look far too pre-occupied with getting the last bus, getting home to see their loved ones. I don’t blame them. I head down my alley

and behind my make-shift wind blocker. It’s not too bad down here. My new fleece, the one I found last year in the park, has served me well. This is the worst time. Silence makes the few noises even more frightening. Everything you hear could be a threat. I can hear footsteps, they sound like they’re heading my way. I squint my eyes to the point when my upper lid almost laps the lower. Although, they sound... yes, they’re very delicate little steps. I lean forward slightly and open my eyes to slits. Phew. It’s a woman. What does she want? I don’t have anything to offer her. Ignore her. “Excuse me? Are you alright?” She doesn’t care. I don’t even know why she asks. Ignore her. “Can you hear me? Or are you listening to your ipod?” Shocked, I look up. Fatal mistake. “Oh... thought you might be listening to your ipod. It’s late, it’s Christmas Eve, you’re not going to find anyone to give you

money now! Why don’t you just go home t“I don’t have a home!” I cut in. I shouldn’t have. “You don’t have a home?! You probably have a nicer home than me!” She yells, deafening. “You’re all the same! Why don’t you get a job? We’re not falling for it anymore!” I don’t know what I’m expected to say. In one pre-meditated motion, she throws her drink in my face and I feel the steam evaporate into my skin. The pain comes in surges, unbearable to warm relief then back to unbearable. She stands on my hand, which is resting on the floor, with the knife that is her heel and suddenly the pain is too much. I feel it through every cell in my body and I can take it no more. I hope that this will be it. *** The heat is too much, but it’s no longer localised to my face. It’s no longer unbearable. It’s all

over. I’m warm. I had forgotten how this felt. As the warmth gets in to my blood and I start to feel human again, I notice I’m somewhere surreal. Somewhere that is comfortable. Where am I? “How are you feeling?” With that, the person stood before me comes into focus. I cannot speak. “Do you remember anything?” I don’t…. “I own the bakery on Pudsey Way. I was locking up when I heard her. Sounded like a nasty fall. When I went to see if she was OK, she scurried away, like the rat that she is. That’s when I saw you.” The man that stood before me was one I would usually fear and hide from. He was huge, towering over me and almost surrounding me 360 degrees. He had multiple chins that shook when he spoke with his soft voice. And a round, bald head that seemed to catch the light like the face of a watch. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel scared. That kind of man

was less threatening as I lay in the warmth. I was paralysed by contentment. “Don’t worry about her. There are cameras all over the city, they’ll catch her. I’ll make sure of it.” I tried with all my might to speak, but my mouth wouldn’t even open as my head told it to. “Anyway, Merry Christmas!” he smiled. He left the room and gently closed the door behind him. *** Everyone has their own ideas of heaven, this had recently become mine. When I finally convinced my body to act as my mind suggested, I discovered I had been rescued. After seeing me lying helpless, Billy had decided I just need warming up and a good sleep. I think he was right. He took me to his family home and let me recharge, before explaining everything and sharing his Christmas with me. As the darkness had drawn in that Christmas Eve and I’d imagined

the busy shoppers heading back to see Christmas in with their perfect little families, I could never have imagined that I would have had a similar kind. There are many terrible people in this world; petty thieves and criminals, the vermin that attacked me that night. The thugs that, three years ago, torched my house while my beautiful wife and children lay sound asleep in their beds. In less than an hour, I lost everything I had worked for and cared about that day. But you have to keep the faith. The faith that no matter what happens, no matter how much the scum procreate to leave behind even more scum, there are great people who do great things to counteract them. There are fewer of them, without a doubt, and they’re much more difficult to find; but that’s because it takes a lot of guts to be kind. If you have one of these people in your life, try to remember how lucky you are to have a daily reminder that people can be good.



He’s Behind You! S

o, after a long drawn out affair which felt almost as interminable as an extended version of Big Brother, I’m (Not Really) A Celebrity and The (Spoilt Gobby Brat) Apprentice combined, the Leeds United Takeover is about to be brought to a close on the 21st of December 2012. Or at least that date it is the beginning of the end of the takeover rumours, something is actually scheduled to happen, at last. Funny how it’s during pantomime season (‘OH NO IT’S NOT!’, I beat you to it J) because it is very true that this entire scenario has been like a blooming panto, a less entertaining and less believable a one. And just like any such traditional, theatrical extravaganza (sorry for the language), there is the omnipresence of a horrible villain probably involved, one who repulses and appals you, one who abuses you, steals your money and tries to scrub away the enjoyment of life itself... and in this case football... while at the same time running off with the goose that laid the golden egg. We have had to suffer more than our fair share of such villainous behaviour at Elland Road. 10_TheLeedsDebacle

I’ve never met Ken Bates but I know he doesn’t like me. The odds against that being an accurate statement aren’t very high as he doesn’t seem to like many people, especially amongst Leeds supporters. Which might be one reason why he spends most of his life, and tax savings, over in Monaco with all those other rich, UK tax-shrugging exiles. Yes I admit it, there might well be a bit of jealousy peeking out from me here. To be fair to him, it’s not just dissenting Leeds fans he’s aimed his vitriol at, he has blamed left-wingers and ‘trendy liberals’ for much of what is wrong with the UK, said that single mothers should be put into hostels, state benefits should be slashed and illegal immigrants and asylum seekers should be chucked out. This from the man who spends most of his time living in Monaco. There were also casually

racist comments on the Chinese Olympics team staying in Leeds for their tournament preparations, and the expensive matter of being sued by a former Leeds director, for harassment. And little over a year ago, Bates branded a section of Leeds United supporters as sickpots, dissidents and morons, their crime to dare join the campaign for more transparency of the manner the club was being run in. He has also remarked that if supporters want to see Premiership football here then they will have to pay Premiership ticket prices for it. Many Leeds fans did indeed pay the required high amounts but Leeds are still not in the Premier League and Bates has been chairman for eight or so years now. Questions and doubts persist too as to where the £millions of revenue the club takes in have actually gone, bearing in mind that various players have been sold for sizeable amounts of money, with replacement players coming in either on loan or for much less money than transfer fees received. Under Ken Bates’ leadership the club sank to its lowest ever position in the Football League in the game’s third tier, plus on two occasions they were slapped with points deductions for, amongst other

unsatisfactory things, breaking ‘competition insolvency rules’ under his tenure. Guess who this 1984 quote is attributed to - “I shall not rest until Leeds United are kicked out of the Football League. Their fans are the scum of the earth, absolute animals and a disgrace. I will do everything in my power to make sure this happens.” No not George Orwell, here 1984 refers to the year the quote was made, not the classic Orwell novel concerning a dystopian setting where society is tyrannized and abused under crooked & totalitarian ideology. It would of course be trite of me to point out the similarities between that fictional world and the purgatory of life as a Leeds fan! No, the comment came from Ken Bates, angry at damage made to his Chelsea scoreboard by Leeds followers. I wasn’t there, incidentally. I wish I had’ve been though.


curiously s e e m to have ignored m o r e pressing issues such as the ownership of Thorp Arch and E l l a n d Road. For L e e d s fans to query such matters does not m e a n they’re suspicious o r conspiracy t h e o r y believers, it simply means they want more answers a n d increased

Some observers were surprised, shocked even, to learn that even after the takeover, Bates will be

staying on as chairman until the end of this current football season. I wasn’t, but the revelation that he will be made life president of the club genuinely has pissed me off. Much as I loathe the peerage system of this country, and (bought) honours and royalrelated hangers-on etcetera, etcetera, Bates’ reported life presidency of Leeds United AFC is much closer to ‘home’ for me and therefore I am much more personally affronted by it. Before, we had the Earl of Harewood as the club’s president, until his death in summer 2011. Lord Harewood was a genuine lifelong Leeds supporter and he was, effectively, a hero of the Second World War too as well as being highly respected in the world of professional football. Without trying to be too critical of the anticipated new life president, Ken Bates isn’t fit to lace the late earl’s boots never mind replace him as the figurehead of Leeds United. This Christmas takeover is worrying me, I’ve got a nagging feeling inside, a bit like opening a Christmas card and expecting to find a lucrative voucher inside but getting a big fuckoff red bill there instead.

The takeover statements from the new owners GFHC answered a few long-standing questions but TheLeedsDebacle_11

SIGNS ARE PROMISING / JOE TARPEY Signs are promising the speculators say An emotive judgement on imagined bags of dust The tone of the verbiage reflected in instant revenue Smoke-screens of jargon can pay


Signs are promising if we can forget about time Mortality can only haunt those that let thought wander Repairs can long hold off new boxed replacements Theory can’t do the same job as good food and wine.

I wanna be famous, I don`t care what for. I`ll crawl round the room, like a cat, on all fours. I`ll marry a footballer, gargle with worms. I`ll sit in a bath full of swine flu germs. I`ll dance with a monkey, drink my own pee, I`ll strangle a kitten on live t.v. I`d wrestle my mother, fellate a tramp, I`ll nail the end of my knob to a plank. I`ll sleep in a camel, juggle with cats, I`ll live in that house, with a bunch of twats. I`ve got no skills, but it won`t stop me trying, if I get a disease, you can film me dying. I need adoration, I`m craving the fame, I`ve no talent, no morals, no SHOULD WE? / LAURA TAYLOR brains and no shame. Should there be no protest songs? No poets, playwrights, activists? Should we not speak loud and clear? Should we not take issue? Should we stand down from our voices? Not make noises of dissent? Should we only listen to the false statistics, propaganda, fixed-up fake deceptive missives issued by the media? Should we never question their agenda? Should injustice stand alone, unopposed and justified by our collective silence? Or should we sing and speak and write and demonstrate resistance?



Stuzzi Three lads from Leeds take Italy to L.A.

Part one: “rain”


t’s raining again, it’s 5.30 in the morning and it’s raining, but today it doesn’t matter..........

I’ve always loved food, shopping for it, ordering it, cooking it, and especially eating it. As a chef this has worked out rather well for me, having spent pretty much my entire career in the catering trade, ordering, cooking, eating....well you get the picture. About three years ago I went to work as the chef in the caffe at Salvos Salumeria in Headingley. I always loved the place and, having just arrived home from travelling Eastern Europe, I was invited into the team by Harvey, the manager, along with Jimbob, the assistant manager. As the months went by, my love for Italian food and culture grew, as did the business, the three of us constantly lapping up any information, titbit or tip that could help feed our insatiable appetite for that most gastronomic of nations. It was an easy task, having local food hero Gip Damone and his absolute passion for the food of his mother tongue on hand at all times. He would always make us try everything in the shop, shouting “open yer mouth” and chucking in one of the strange and wonderful things that had arrived from Italy that morning. I remember once being taken aback by a hard rubbery brown substance one of his friends had brought back from Sicily “what do you think of that”…chew…dried pricky pear…“it’s f!£king orrible int it?” We devoured everything, the good the bad and the ugly. As our knowledge grew so did the camaraderie between the three of us, and we had decided that it was time to open our own business. It’s five in the morning and it’s 14_TheLeedsDebacle

raining, but today it doesn’t matter, because we’re packing the car to spend three months travelling Italy, from top to bottom, from Liguria in the north, zigzagging our way down to Sicily, then up to Sardinia, back to Liguria, and home. Three months to meet new suppliers and catch up with old ones, to watch all of our fabulous stuff being made, and develop an even greater understanding of how, why and who makes this little country so gastronomically and just generally f**king incredible. We set off down the motorway, the heavens giving all they have, the decade old Toyota’s knees bucking at the joints. She’d been crammed full of all that we might need, our colossal tent with its three individual bedrooms, gas bottles for the stove, cooking gear, lighting gear, push bikes… we had everything, any eventuality we had it covered. “Passport!”, I scream as we pull in the ferry terminal at Dover. After 35 minutes of swearing, screaming and “you guys just go, I’ll walk home” I find it packed neatly into the passport holder of my suitcase. We board without a hitch (no-one checked our passports) and sit down to ceremoniously eat what we knew would be the worst meal we would eat for the next three months. Little did we know it would actually be the worst meal ever made, by anyone, ever. We blast through France, taking in the wine country

of Bordeaux, stopping in Dijon for the night and in true Stuzzi style guzzled 5 bottles of local rose, which sadly wasn’t enough to drown out the continuing firework display forced onto us due to fact we had decided to arrive in France on bastille day. My turn to drive today; I’d never driven abroad before and was a little nervous, but after a few V signs, a couple of fingers and a lot of French swearing and gesturing, I started to get the hang of it, swearing and gesturing back, and eventually settling in to my new home in the right hand lane. We pass through tunnels and toll lanes, the rain continuing to beat us, especially with the added torment of a squeaky windscreen washer, Havey’s head turning red following it as if it were match point at Wimbledon, occasionally expelling air violently in the form of muted curses, mouth overladen with French wotsits. Five hours later, the rain starts to ease off and and we pass through an unusually long tunnel, after about fifteen minutes we simultaneously realise that THIS IS IT, and it is, we exit... it seems brigher, fresher? We’ve been in a tunnel for 35 minutes? It doesn’t matter, we ‘re in Italy. Liguria!

Best re-releases:

Worst New Releases

Best New Releases


Hyde Park Picture House select their films of the year


Literature 2012

Leeds Waterstones tell us about the literate year.


ooking back at our shop’s bestsellers of 2012, we get a fine illustration of the rich diversity of tastes which make the book industry so fascinating. Where better to start than with the phenomenon that took everyone by surprise, the Fifty Shades trilogy. Dubbed ‘mommyporn’, no one could have foreseen that a story that started out as online fan-fiction would join the ranks of Harry Potter and Dan Brown in the all-time bestseller lists. The fantasy series Hunger Games and Game of Thrones both benefited from screen adaptations and their viewers’ desire to find out how the stories progress, and we’re anticipating a similar reaction to the imminent cinematic release of The Hobbit.

In the more literary end of the market award-winners dominated, with Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending and Andrew Miller’s Pure benefiting from their respective Booker and Costa Prize successes. And we also saw the long-awaited first post-Potter outing from J.K. Rowling with The Casual Vacancy, which met with a predictably mixed-critical reaction (although, I must add, it’s my personal favourite read of 2012!). For non-fiction there have been huge sales through word-of-mouth recommendation for Chavs: the Demonization of the Working Class by the media’s new favourite ‘voice-of-the-left’, Owen Jones, who also joined us at Waterstones Leeds in May for an impassioned sold-out evening talk. The Nobel Prize-winning Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman,

a superb analysis of human rationality, has also sold superbly throughout the year. In local terms, Anthony Clavane’s award-winning Promised Land: A Northern Love Story, a book which cleverly draws parallels between the fortunes of Leeds United and the psyche of the city itself, continues to fly off the shelves, and it’s a book I’d recommend to anyone who lives, or has lived, in Leeds. And finally, which master of camouflage do we find hidden amongst the year’s bestsellers? It’s non-other than Where’s Wally?, still loved equally by book-buyers and Otley-runners 25 years after he first hit our shelves.


ALBUMS OF THE YEAR* We’ve gone and done one of those lists that should be avoided with added pretentious muso sentence.

1: Swans – The Seer A 2 hour album with a 32 minute song and not a second is less than sublimely vital.

2: First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar Innocently wise sisters’ gorgeous harmonies sing magical campfire melodies.

3: Actress – R.I.P. Masterful and challenging dance music layered and enveloped in reflective brilliance.

4: Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE Substantial intelligence and literate truth covered in an irresistible smooth R&B exterior.

7: Tame Impala – Lonerism Psychedelic sounds spiral into a modern pop classic.

5: Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse Powerful, exciting and unrelenting garage rock that kicks melodic ass.

8: Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t Heart-wrenchingly honest breakup album emitting humour and hope.

6: Bob Dylan – Tempest Bob Dylan released an album in the year and so it was the best album of the year.

9: The Cribs – In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull Blasts of raw energy and chaotic choruses confirm why you always loved them.

*not made in Leeds

10: Bill Fay – Life Is People Slowly moving masterpiece about life, death, hope and regret crooned with accepted wisdom.

13: Japandroids – Celebration Rock Aptly named joyous riot of guitars, slogans and energy.

17: Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music Poetically aggressive, politically raw, cunningly produced old-skool rap.

14: Scott Walker – Bish Bosch Difficult, abstract, impenetrable, twisted, terrifying beauty. 11: Liars – WIXIW Off-kilter, nagging noise from dark souls creeps to inviting warm and tuneful depths.

18: Crystal Castles – (III) Atmospheric foreboding electronica that sparkles and soothes.

15: Julia Holter – Ekstatis Hypnotic dreams float organically into artfully pretty melodic bliss. 12: Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man Dignified, exposing and beautifully realised collection of crafted songs.

19: Tall Ships – Everything Touching Wonky electronic riffs and roaring organic choruses impress.

16: Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind An aggressive pounding in thrilling complex time signatures.

20: The Coup – Sorry To Bother You Addictively infectious hip-hop party with engaging underlying messages.



Everything Nothing A

s a penniless student, I am an avid user of Spotify, read newspapers online and may have shed a tear when the US authorities shut down Megavideo. Pushing aside the latent guilt that Arcade Fire are only receiving a mere $0.0012 for each listen on Spotify, and there have been many, how is everything-available technology actually affecting the media and music industries? With the first ipod coming to the commercial market in 2001, illegal downloading and sharing of music rocketed, and shows no signs of slowing down, A recent survey revealed that in the UK alone, more than 43 million music files were shared in the first 6 months of this year, with Ed Sheeran coming out top for the most illegally downloaded artist. Sheeran is quoted as saying, “I’ve sold 1.2 million albums, and the stat is that there’s 8 million downloads of that as well illegally. Nine million people have my record, in England, which is quite a nice feeling.” Regardless of how Ed feels about his music being shared around the UK for free, I doubt his record company or manger take his nonchalant stance. After all, when the Rihannas of the world can still afford to hire a private plane, pack it full of journalists and

set off on a jaunt to 7 countries (and can afford not to speak to them the entire time), people aren’t going to feel guilty for downloading “Diamonds” with her seeing no profit. It’s the Tom’s and Jane’s working in the background who are going to suffer, the interns and the sound recorders already on minimum wage or not much above, that will be facing the chop when, inevitably, record sales fall again. With this drop in background staff, it will become more expensive and labour intensive to produce music, and so the price of songs will increase whilst the quality falls, and more people will turn to websites such as 8tracks or Spotify and the cycle of sharing will continue. Rupert Murdoch has long been the villain of the media industry, but the owner of “The Times” caused further outrage when the newspaper introduced a paywall to its website in 2010. Whilst The Guardian, Daily Mail and The Independent have all or most of their articles uploaded online for free, readers need to pay £2 a week to enjoy the newspaper online or on a tablet. Three weeks after this paywall went up; The Times lost 90% of its readership. If other newspapers continue to give away their content online for free, there remains little

motivation for people to get up and go to the front door or the corner shop to pick up their usual newspaper, when a free one is only a Google search away. Journalists have to eat, and with most people who desire to start a career in this lucrative industry, unpaid internships are the norm. With writers work being shared for free, where is their salary coming from? Advertising will only just about cover everyone’s morning coffees. Once again it will be the unseen people who suffer, or have to work unpaid for longer to get a break, not the Rupert Murdochs or the columnists who get a picture next to their name, (a sure sign that they are one of the big dogs.) In conclusion, the people we are affecting by utilising everythingavailable technology are the little people, in the background or wanting to break into the industry. With students no doubt flocking to use such methods when their overdraft limit is looming, they are only restricting their (or their classmates) future careers. By reaching into their pockets, perhaps they can save the media and entertainment industry from running on empty, producing less than quality work and even fewer jobs than the year before. Maybe the best things in life shouldn’t be free.


Did those old Christmas lights in the loft ever bring any solace? T

hen we sleep. But we don’t dream, not in the furnace and with the steady hum about. No space for luminous pictures and graffiti, no time for elaborate plans and indistinct outcomes. Burned to the soil through the hairy undergrowth, right to the mantle and core; a mixture of liquid torment and reinvented chains. They, too, smile back at you, beneath the flowers. And before the reel starts again for the evening matinee the compare mumbles secret comedy and run down metaphor: too much for the morning show. Punters quibbling and music junkies wide eyed for their fix; the nice piece rusts into the back room like every other night this month. Snow stripped bone rotten cliff where no ice will gather, proud to take the blast and corrode naked. The colonel wanders back to the museum, late for shift. A crazy man stands on the street corner rambling prophecies that truth forgot, on the dank pavement, and milling consumers feeding on white toothed tigers and fuzzy euphoric euphemisms. The shouting zombies cradle and shift, stabbing through the forum. All wild chaos is here, is near, is fear. Trudge in the puddles and muddy paths. It rains and there is little light here, in the heart. It flickers on and off. Politely accustomed to expectation, the dog rolls over for that tasty treat. And when all is 22_TheLeedsDebacle

lost will it all begin. Streets full of ghosts and wandering salesmen. Hotels, empty and forgotten. Fire poker blunt and stunted, seldom serenade of the flame now weak and degraded. Listen as the footsteps fall in cities of towers and long snaking roads, the chatter of delusion, comprehend the foreign tongue, decipher cryptic similarity, meaningless statue. Old uniform hangs dusty and scratched badges dull in the summer. Great whales swim and in their veins hold phantom burgundy, the crystals in the eyes of a darling, weary exister tempted and wiry in the cigar smoke, croaking out lost rhymes for a nickel, lost in the maze of history, singing to the lunar pearl on the fourth cycle of Aquarius. I think there is a carnival outside, barely heard through the reinforced glass. The beast dresses up nice in the morning, big smiles at the dinner table. Walks with a strut down soft streets, sings a lullaby to the sky, lullaby to the sky so dreamy heads in the evening rest, drift, dance. The beast sleeps easy at midnight, great snores on cotton pillow, dribbles grinds counting sheep and dreams fiery velvet lives, of fiery velvet lives so all the wild children in the dawn can rest, drift and dance. I looked at the door went through it, laid on the floor stared at the earth saw the

fire cave. Passed through caverns past dragons and great rocks, mountains and lakes til I reached singularity. Black ocean with bright islands whirlpool blizzard conscious parade, strange concord separate flame separate flame, separate flame carriage forest calm impact creation dream creation machine creation serene. Indeed the feasts lay pouring from the table. Esoteric flavours tempting sordid explorers for a taste of the riddle, five thousand years of multiplication and reduction. Only the chambermaid knows the truth. That goat drum is made by her, crafted in the old settlement, the lost ancestry and the metamorphosis. Carnage calamity corpus. We have many to thank for the smiles we suffer. But the paint has run thin, too watery. The tea is not potent, too fresh. Collapse in fatigue to the working hands of a benevolent mistress, eyes roll, drool pours. Trembling pause, silent quiver; I woke in an old Chinese opium den drank from a cup with a cigarette butt in from the night before, at least it was wet, at least it had a decent Viking burial, we’ll all end up like that one day baby, like ash. Hands crippled and shrunken, turned grey like the clay furnace. Over use and under appreciation. Qualified for the torrential blasphemy and the curved rusty saw blade, corrugated roof top in the inorganic grave and a solid

life form and creation of the clock. Steamed bleach surpasses the strain, adheres generally and supplemental, aware of the traditions. Aware of the rendition and the recalibration of serenity. Plausible and intricate enigma in the deep whirling pool twisting spiral to the forgotten floor, rotten core trodden scored trench tepid puncture of the predecessor. He hadn’t realised the top had been left off, it had spilled everywhere. Unused to archaic methodology and unknown; the drift was uneven, an inevitable cacophony in its own splendid relocation. Mirrors mirrored mirroring mirrors mirroring mirrored mirrors mirroring reflect parallel symmetrically synchronised equally mirrored mirrors. I had taken the long walk, been gone for at least twelve years exploring the purple and green maze. Before was the desert and thick jungle trapping nets webs and dusty endless expanse. The drift into cold night onto the white plateau blank flats and smooth plain, the long walk. Really there was never meant to be an answer, just constant change so slight and timeless that a fold upon its own birth gave death fertile and stunted growth. Calligraphy riddle hieroglyphic jigsaw jumble grotto mirror. Can we ever leave? Can we ever bow our heads and decline? The

choice at the ticket stand, half price on a Thursday afternoon. A man in a flat cap looks through tea bag eyes, slug crawling out of his mouth. He’s got his stare on you, unshaken. Sit in the back row with the shadows and the teenage lovers, get the best view from there. Not like right at the front, staring up at the bright white plateau, concaving giants with slow smoky laughs and snorts; neck strain and spillage. Grey dog whistles in the park and I fetch my stick. Happy camper sets up the fly net and switches on the portable television to catch up on the weekends games. Terrorist makes me a cup of tea and talks to the radio about the social equalities that now subside in a recent Community Arts project – croquet on the village green. I nod absently and nibble on a Hobnob, part of it has crumbled into my cup. Did those old Christmas lights in the loft ever bring any solace? Balcony peerer’s and rooftop delvers, workmen on rickety scaffolds and makeshift cranes. Toll bearers, street criers, coffee servers, bell boys, whisky brewers, ticket collectors, patentees and zoo keepers. Bell ringers, tower builders, courtroom speakers, law abiders, prison wardens, bill payers, merchants and land owners. Lithe lists of long numbers, looking glasses and watch makers, sharp cufflinks and a lonely white handkerchief. Spitting bowls, new world order

and the right to be who you want to be, patch workers and soil gatherers, flower pickers and grave diggers, the aging woman with the grey bob who always sits at the counter to give you the morning paper. Calligraphy sets and washing up liquid, dental floss and the will to survive. Call her crazy cos she mumbles a lot, dribbling, fumbling wretch. Dustbins spill lidless onto cider drenched pavements and one time winners fight in the back alley, mugging the rich kids from the east side of town with cutthroat razors and planks of rotten wood. Heading back to the bridge for some sleep after another day of solitude sitting in last nights drunken weekender vomit. Call me by my first name. Nice to know the liquid rhymes and harmonies soothe carry the flying melody. Soft crème rich fruit phrase sweet bitty choral steps circular ever-lifting reaching stairs to the sweeping beat. In the garbled subtonic subdudity of mayhem spoke like the gibbering wreck of a madman the drifting hews of green red yellow loud piercing shouts of melody weird cries of insanity bled and writhed rallentando motion ill just and failing. Corpus in combined commotion calling ‘can catatonic creation create configured conscience?’ cool charm of congruence conceived.



Leeds Arena 2013

will finally see the opening of The Leeds Arena. The building of the arena had been on and off more times than I care to remember. I did think it was going to be yet another mythical Leeds entity, like the Leeds Supertram or even the Blue Lady at Temple Newsam, but here we are, it’s here and it’s here to stay. It looks quite impressive as you drive past, and I can’t say I miss the Brunswick Building it replaced either. The Merrion Centre nearby has undergone a lot of redevelopment in the last couple of years with the Arena in mind, after many


years of neglect. The Merrion Centre Supermarket there is no more, currently being ripped out and developed, presumably into faceless identikit fast food units serving tasteless identikit foodstuffs to gig goers. This makes me sad in a way, as it was a bit of Leeds that was untouched and was how I remembered it from being a child in the 1980s. The arena’s effect on the nearby transport infrastructure will no doubt be keeping the letters page of the Yorkshire Evening Post busy from the off. The times I have been to Sheffield Arena, which relatively speaking is located out of the city centre, it has been

nothing short of a total nightmare to get to/from if you go by car. Now our Arena is located near one of the busiest areas for commuters in normal rush hour traffic, so heaven knows what it’s going to be like in the lead up to an event. Total Chaos it’s fair to say. I can’t see that the nearby car parks will be able to cope. One of the main criticisms of arenas is the soulless atmosphere they create, in part due to the way the seats are set out, meaning that not everybody can see clearly. We are told that Leeds Arena’s seats have been constructed in a ‘super theatre fan shaped format’, so everyone should be able to see

perfectly. Another common arena gripe is having to pay £4.20 for a pint of watered down Tuborg. It would be nice if some of Leeds’ independent food/drink providers were involved in what is sold inside the arena. As well as this, I hope that long-standing servants of musical excellence to the people of Leeds, Crash and Jumbo Records, are given decent ticket allocations for events and not just a token amount or for gigs that aren’t selling well. These shops are fundamental in stocking releases by artists early on, some of which will end up playing the arena. But it’s the programming of the venue that will attract the most interest. The first act to be announced, JLS, saw a collective gasp of outrage all over the city. In fact, the day it was, my Facebook news feed lit up with statuses of outright contempt and ‘how dare they’ statuses, but what do you really expect? Who did you think they were going to book,

Whitehouse or Throbbing Gristle? A far more popular choice has been that of local lads done good Kaiser Chiefs, and I’m sure as time goes on the odd decent show will appear in between ‘Cbeebies characters in oversized costumeson ice’ and Olly Murs. Elton John as the opening act was also better received, although I wish it was him appearing via time travel from 1973 after seeing his recent appearance at the Queen’s Jubilee Concert. Anyway, surely the whole point of “The Leeds Arena” is for it to put things on to appeal to different kinds of people. (Well, I’m sure the main reason is for SEG/event promoters to make money but you get my drift.) Different strokes for different folks as Sly & The Family Stone once sung. A glance over your Facebook/Twitter feed on a weekend when X-Factor is on will let you know that a hell of a lot of people you know like to be entertained by rubbish

entertainment. Thus they probably would pay money go see such rubbish entertainment in a large venue. This isn’t a surprise to me, nor should it be to you really. Lets face it; there aren’t many credible acts that will be able to fill a venue that size. But for the ones that can, a lot of the decent bars up there will do very handsomely out of it. I’d say an act like The Black Keys playing the arena would be the equivalent of the Mad Friday before Christmas trade-wise for bars in Leeds’ Northern Quarter such as Mojo, Sandinista and Wax. Plus with some of these shows happening during the week, a lot of those bars will get a much needed midweek boost, with the way things are at the moment it could be just the shot in the arm the independent bar scene needs. Even the nearby Hobby Horse pub might do well, if it’s still open that is. But finally, let’s just hope they find a decent sponsor to name it. The Mike’s Carpets Arena anyone?


Old Codgers Commentary


y the late 1980’s I had it all, the five bedroomed house in the Dales, two cars and the love of my life sharing village life to the fabulous and full. The only small problem (you might call it that) was that this lover was not my wife and lived with her mother some hundred yards down our curving country lane. She was the good friend and confident of my teenage daughter who at that time was preparing for University and a short internship in France prior to entering the hallowed halls. We had rented a small house in Normandy and daughter was going to spend the full summer vacation helping at a private school someway outside Roscoff. Thus it was that I loaded the big Nissan with both teenagers, my wife, my

lover and drove out of the village heading for the Brittany ferry. The Holiday was idyllic; wife and teenage son headed for the beach while me and the inamorata took in the Cathedrals and castles of those many and ancient French townships. Evenings were spent eating and drinking the local wine but as night fell came the ritual of goodnight to my son and unfortunately goodnight to my sweetheart. Then prosaically came the long wait before wifey was snoring soundly. In the downstairs bedroom and in the moonlight we noisily made love as the Paris night train roared by (the description of this house to rent had left out the proximity of the rail line) the passions overcame us and we drowned in each others pleasure. Fortunately

the sounds of the express silenced even the snoring from above and both spouse and offspring remained wrapped quiet in the arms of the welcoming Morphius. The next day, my Birthday, they had gone shopping and we (the lovers) sat in the small cafĂŠ eating crepes and drinking champagne, a perfect time I thought to propose a second marriage. Unusual to say the least, engaged, still married, on honeymoon and your best birthday all coming at once. I still look back on that day with inordinate pleasure, life can play some cruel tricks but just now and then there are the good days, the memories of which warm you on the coldest winter morning. Of course, winter mornings there must be; just as the atmosphere on a long drive home can, to say the least, be a little frosty.

SHAMBLES (SCOTT HALL ROAD, LEEDS, 7:00AM) / IAN GANT It was early in the morning on a rain swept city road, That I saw an old and older man hard burdened by his load, His hair was tousled wired grey beneath a shapeless cap, And all this world for all his life had held him like a trap.

I saw that he was sodden from his coat down to the bone, A shambling world of emptiness, crushed, broken and alone, But then I felt a sadness for this wretched wreck and me, For there in his perception were the things I could not see.

I watched him in the mirror as I slowly drove on by, Another tramp, another day, another rain filled sky, And shuddered as I realised we two were of an age, A pair of fading actors on an ever changing stage.

Surprised at my reaction, the contempt that flooded in, This thing of flesh, humanity, our human race to win, Was I then so superior that I could stand aside, And designate my own success as anchor for my pride.

How great would be his story and how wonderful his ways, How spirited his journeys and how marvellous his days, What wisdom circles in his mind with every onward tread, What loss will compass all the world when he is cold and dead?

Will what I leave be greater, will I sweeten bitter tears, A blessing in the memory that casts aside all fears? And place love as my epitaph in hope and heart and mind, Or shamble into nothingness with not a glance behind?




New Year, New You I

t’s the New Year and all the fun and excitement of Christmas has melted away with the snow and now all that’s left are the orange Quality Streets, lots of empty bottles and relief it’s all over for another year. Overindulgence at Christmas makes the New Year the perfect time for a re-branding, whether it’s a new job, new man or just a new outlook now is the time to use that Christmas money to get the gifts you really wanted. For a sexy 60’s winged eyes, Lush Eyeliner (£14.50) is really easy to use and with a no smudge, stay put formula it will last all day. They have a great selection of colours so you are bound to find the perfect shade to complement your eye colour. To Turbo-boost your diet Slimsticks (£24.99 for 30) are powder sachets that when missed

with warm water form vanilla or strawberry flavoured drinks, the natural source of fibre will help regulate your blood sugar levels stopping you from snaking. Want to stop biting your nails? Try painting them with LAQA & CO range of nail polishes that come in a pen (£11) delivering shiny nails at the click of a button. For the hardcore nail varnish fans Jane Schub has launched her ‘Strange Beautiful’ nail colour boxes (£65) that contain 10 shades which all have a strong art theme. To make sure your teeth are as white and sparkling as can be use UltraDEX (£8.15) developed, used and recommended by dental professionals the oxidising action removes stains and leaves you with a naturally white smile. Finish with Listerine total care (£4.60) the most advanced and complete multi-benefit Listerine mouthwash available.

For hair that radiates gorgeousness, Aussie has just launched it’s miracle shine range (£3.99 - £5.99) Pearl powder and Australian Ginseng extract work together to give your hair an unbelievable shine and gloss. It maybe freezing outside but at least your hair can have a little sunshine about it. Banish dark circles and bags with Anatomicals No Old Bags Allowed Eye Gel (£3.10) a soothing, cooling and uplifting gel that revives tired eyes in no time leaving your eyes fresh and revitalized. For skin that has been hidden away for months treat yourself to the St Tropez Prepare to Party Kit (£32). Get glowing with the leading fake tan brand, this kit contains body butter, wash off instant glow mousse and gold skin illuminator to get your limbs looking their best. TheLeedsDebacle_29


Gareth Jones has released a book, called ‘Imaginarium’, of his rhyming stories, each written from suggestions by readers of three things. TLD: Tell us how the idea for Imaginarium came about and developed. GJ: The idea for the stories originated from my drunken mind after Carnival in 2009. I was on an island in Brazil and started telling people stories when I was intoxicated. This developed into asking people to give me three things to include in the tales. I recall an interesting story about Christiano Ronaldo, Spaghetti and Hulk Hogan which was never committed to paper! When I returned home I wrote a novel about my trip, but held a candle for these short stories. I started to write a few and ask people for suggestions and was looking for an angle for a book. The issue was that I needed an illustrator, someone to buy into the idea and share my vision. TLD: I remember when we were interested in running your stories in the magazine you were dubious and had to clean them up! GJ: As you touch upon, the stories were not suitable for a publication, let alone a book! I had written one story in rhyming couplets that was the best but was really offensive. You liked ‘Tony Yeboah, Pork Pies & Glue’ due to the links to Leeds. I took this story and made it rhyme and was really happy with the outcome. I should really thank you guys as this gave me a new focus and a reason to write stories. After writing five or six in rhyming couplets I decided this was going to be the format for the book.


TLD: Do you find the format limits or helps your writing? GJ: I find rhyming couplets easy to use but they do limit what you can say if you adhere to it fully. Rather than my stories being poems with the correct rhythm and metre, they would be best described as rhyming sentences. I have found that some stories completely change based on what words I can use. If I could liken it to anything, each story is a maze that I have to get out of. I hit dead ends so I turn and try another route until I get out the other end. TLD: What have been your favourite and most difficult 3-thing suggestions? GJ: My favourite story is one in the book called ‘A Courgette, A Whim & Oppression’. It was the first time I was sent an action or a feeling, as most people stick to objects. The story is about a Courgette King who rules an allotment through fear and aggression. The most difficult I received was ‘1000000 cubic meters of c35/80 slump, 20mm agg. Concrete and 500000 groundworkers’ and I still haven’t bothered to do it! I have the power to pick and choose the stories I think would work best. TLD: How did you find illustrator Aimee Herbert and how do you work together? GJ: I found Aimee (Illustrator) online through friends of friends. I asked her to take a story and produce one image for me to look over. I had other artists looking as well and while there work was good Aimee’s was exactly what I

was looking for. She agreed to take on the project and we began our relationship with phone calls and emails. I told her my vision for the book and together we developed this into the book you see today (if you buy it). TLD: Do you see possibilities developing the project or do you intend to move onto something else? GJ: As the book is self-published we need to try and get a big outlet to take it on. I am currently trying to get hold of Urban Outfitters, Joy, those types of places, as without the book being available on the high street we won’t shift copies. We would love to do animations and look to build a website. I intend on using the book as a vehicle to promote reading and writing in schools so will be putting together a workshop to implement in schools in the New Year. TLD: Finally, describe Imaginarium in 3 words. GJ: Interactive, Irrelevant, Awesome.

Imaginarium is available online and in Leeds shop On The Wall. h t t p : / / w w w. f a s t - p r i n t . n e t / bookshop/1204/the-imaginarium


A Fly, a Coffee Shop & a Marker Pen H

e changed from a maggot into a fly, born in the carcass of an old pork pie. Surrounded by garbage that was old and smelly, he’d had his fill of pork and jelly. He couldn’t wait to see some things; it was an exciting time getting wings.

Inside the shop was a big pretty fly, shiny and round next to a white guy. She caught his eye and was a definite maybe; he flew at the window ‘Give it to me baby!’ He fizzed on the floor like a live wire; which only increased this fly’s desire.

The manager of the shop handed out pens, before driving off in a Mercedes Benz. The staff were told to write customers’ names, the first name on a cup was a boy called James. It was fun writing on cups made of card, but some of the staff found it hard.

He watched as she shimmered in the light, he wanted to be her shining knight. At the back of the shop there was a vent, so he flapped his wings and began his ascent. Out of the vent and into the shop, his head spun like a spinning top.

The fly flew the length and breadth of the city, in search of a mate he thought was pretty. He met some small flies that were in a rage, due to insufficient food at the larval stage. Life expectancy for a fly is really short, so one of these flies was a last resort. The shop was full of adults and teens, with the warm aroma of coffee beans. One of the markers had run out of ink, there was a dot not a name on this persons drink. The empty cup was left by the bins, next to the sugar and stirring things.

He flew through the kitchen and avoided some swats, weaving around the hanging pots. He had a rest by a table and surveyed the scene, before flying over the coffee machine. He landed by the cup and looked at his beau; but she didn’t respond when he said ‘Hello’. From far away it had looked like a fly, not just a mark from a pen run dry. Over his head flew a piece of cake, being in this shop had been a mistake. He should have stayed with the flies he met at the start, rather than looking for a tart.

Something to do every day...

JANUARY 1st - Mono Cult (Faversham) 2nd - Cinderella (Varieties) 3rd - Jack & The Beanstalk (Carriageworks) 4th - Fosters Comedy Live (Highlight) 5th - Ron Pope (Cockpit) 6th - Fit From Far Away (Loft) 7th - Wind In The Willows (WYP) 8th - Sturtevant (Henry Moore) 9th - Backyard Burners (Seven) 10th - Celine Condorelli (Uni) 11th - Psychic evening (Grosvenor Casino) 12th - Clothes Swap (Wharf Chambers) 13th - Brew-denell Beer & Ale Festival (Brudenell) 14th - Sleeping Beauty (WYP) 15th - Daughter (Holy Trinity) 16th - Miss Julie (Carriageworks) 17th - Writing Britain (Central Library) 18th - Peter Andre (Academy) 19th - Tracing Shadows (Carriageworks) 20th - Farmers Market (Briggate) 21st - Sex & Docks & Rock’n’Roll (Varieties) 22nd - Victorian Look Book (Lotherton Hall) 23rd - Passenger (Brudenell) 24th - Vintage Kilo Sale (Uni) 25th - Scottish folk night (Grove) 26th - Metropolis (Canal Mills) 27th - Be Good Tanyas (Howard Assembly Room) 28th - Leeds Laydeez Do Comics (Wharf Chambers) 29th - Ice Cube (Millennium Square) 30th - Kill For A Seat Comedy (Seven) 31st - Dinosaur Jr (Uni)

I Am Kloot


Dinosaur Jr

FEBRUARY 1st - Crusades (Fox & Newt) 2nd - Welcome To A New World (secret) 3rd - Helen Chadwick (Henry Moore) 4th - Jake Bugg (Academy) 5th - 1913 The Shape Of Time (Henry Moore) 6th - Particle Velocity (WYP) 7th - Banff Mountain Film Festival (Carriageworks) 8th - Local Natives (Brudenell) 9th - Night Terror 8 mile run (Harewood House) 10th - Cannabis Corpse (Well) 11th - Syd Arthur (Oporto) 12th - Villagers (Wardrobe) 13th - I Am Kloot (Irish Centre) 14th - Valentines Fair (Elland Road) 15th - Tom McConville & Dave Newey (Grove) 16th - Othello (Grand) 17th - Calexico (Met) 18th - Liberty & Anarchy (Art Gallery) 19th - Jimmy Carr (Town Hall) 20th - Frightened Rabbit (Met) 21st - Milton Jones (Town Hall) 22nd - Julio Bashmore (TBA) 23rd - Raise The Roof (Vox) 24th - Al Murray (Varieties) 25th - Joy Formidable (Cockpit) 26th - Andy Burrows (Brudenell) 27th - Contested Ground (Art Gallery) 28th - A Touch Of Sufi Soul (Seven)

Frightened Rabbit

MAR 1st - British Wildlife Festival (Brudenell) 2nd - Haunted Happenings (Central Library) 3rd - Leeds Carnegie v Cornish Pirates (Headingley) 4th - Disclosure (HiFi) 5th - The Great Gatsby (Grand) 6th - Polychromies (Art Gallery) 7th - Lianne La Havas (Uni) 8th - Willy Mason (Wardrobe) 9th - Foals (Met) 10th - Crazy World Of Arthur Brown (Brudenell) 11th - Tony Law (Library) 12th - Micky Flanagan (Town Hall) 13th - The Mousetrap (Grand) 14th - Marc Ribot (Howard Assembly Room) 15th - Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriers (Headingley) 16th - Leeds Utd v Huddersfield Town (Elland Road) 17th - Student World Fair (Royal Armouries) 18th - Steeleye Span (Varieties) 19th - Clannad (Town Hall) 20th - Dawn Chorus (Art Gallery) 21st - Trinity opening (Trinity) 22nd - Bryony Griffith & Will Hampston (Grove) 23rd - Gaslight Anthem (Academy) 24th - Other Ranks (Royal Armouries) 25th - Hairy Bikers (Grand) 26th - Heavy (Brudenell) 27th - Harry Hill (Grand) 28th - Nritta (Seven) 29th - The Strawbs (Varieties) 30th - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Academy) 31st - Discount Comedy Checkout (Packhorse)



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John Barran - Ross Newsome - Nicola Stewart - Robert Endeacott Deb Johnston - John-Paul Craven - Gareth Jones - Rebecca Jackson Tim Chapman - Sophie Hyland - Joe Tarpey - Steff Higgins - Stephen Vigors David Barlow - James Loosley - Tom Pearson - Ian Gant Laura Taylor - Michael Garcia - Simon Carr - Tom Sparke



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Issue 10 of The Leeds Debacle is:



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Issue 10 of The Leeds Debacle

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