issue 11 - ÂŁfree
apr - jun 2013
F i l m T r i n i t y R e l i g i o n
I n t e r n e t R e v i e w s R u n n i n g
B l o g s M a r r i a g e Literature
Independents M u s i c O p i n i o n
/ Mason Henry Summers
ten things that may be true 1) The US state of Colorado has created a legal precedent that means that sufferers of MPD, or Multiple Personality Disorder, can legally sue themselves if they can prove that one of their own personalities has done something wrong to one of the others. A 35 year old woman recently won three and a half million dollars in damages from herself after a personality called Derek was found guilty of sexual harassment in the workplace. The woman is a self-employed leaf blower.
2) The Universe is in fact a massive flat sheet of paper with some crudely drawn diagrams on it. The reality we experience only appears real, solid and three dimensional because we’re all off our tits on drugs. 3) Cliff Richard had to have a rudimentary third leg removed from his inner groin in the late 1980’s. Richards had first noticed a strange growth during heated sex sessions with tennis player Sue Barker, and the rapidly growing
extra limb was one of the main reasons behind their break up. 4) Any chimpanzee who has ever had a Specsavers eye exam has received a 100% pass. Ironically chimpanzees have difficulty reading books in low light conditions. 5) In the “New Testament”, Jewish insurgent and political activist Jesus Christ famously said that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom Of Heaven. Worried by this a number of influential Christian Evangelist millionaires worldwide have spent a small fortune tomsparke.com and several y e a r s developing the Camel Blender, an enormous machine which reduces most camels to a very thin liquid state in less than seventeen minutes. This liquid is then fed down a carbon nano-tube which passes through the eye of a very small, household needle. The group has set up this blender next to a Camel breeding farm in a secret location in the Middle East. They hope that if they liquidise enough camels and pass them through the eye of the needle, then the odds of themselves and various sponsors getting into heaven will improve.
6) A spate of spontaneous fridge door cracking has terrified residents of Athens, Georgia in the United States. The door crackings all appear to take place at seventeen minutes past three in the morning, accompanied by a loud crashing sound and a moan that local residents have said resembles multiple horses expressing frustration. No one has witnessed the door crackings in person. The largest amount of fridges to suffer appear to be under the brand name “SMEG”. 7) Historians appear to have discovered an unknown Shakespeare play written shortly before his death. The play “A Monkey’s Paradise” tells the tale of a man who lives hundreds of years in the future, in a house in space, with his wife and two children, a strange robotic housekeeper and the family dog. 8) Blackcurrants are legal tender in some parts of Venezuela. 9) In 1978 the CIA introduced an experimental psychedelic drug into the water supply of a small town in Siberia, expecting to reap the benefits when the town’s population turned on each other in paranoid violence, expecting to be able to weaponize this tactic. To their surprise everyone in the town turned into Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. All remaining supplies of the drug were flown into the heart of the Sun. 10) In 1973 in the small village of Ansty Cowfold, somewhere down south, a child was born whose parents named him Kevin.
ith just weeks to go, all eyes are on the brand new glass structure on Briggate as the last of its 2000 window panels are fixed into place. In February I was quoted in The Observer’s article about Trinity Leeds, making public my dissatisfaction that more independent and unique brands weren’t able to be involved in the new development, and raising concerns that many loiners and local business owners had already voiced to me personally about it emptying our busy high streets. I received a certain amount of flack about my comments being ‘unnecessarily negative’ and so I would like to explain the reasons for my concern.
Trinity, which is named after the church it had to be cunningly built around, will be home to around 120 stores, though disappointingly about 60% of the brands that have signed up are already known to Leeds. We’ll come back to that in a minute though. For now we’re making do with the biggest Topshop outside of London, which opened just before Christmas, and a bizarre logo sign akin to a mutant disco ball. While it’s great to see a derelict part of town hauled back to its feet and a scar on the everpopular Briggate healed, it has been a long time in the making. Original plans were scuppered 18 months into the project when the building site was forced to close thanks to the double dip (not nearly as delicious as it sounds). Many were concerned that we’d end up with a city centre crater, suffering a similar fate to our
Lola Wilson \
friends in Bradford. But, with over 1000 construction workers onsite, Land Securities have assured the good people of Leeds that they will have opened on time and feeling fine on 21st March. Joining together Briggate, Commercial Street and Albion Street, Trinity has been hailed the new destination shopping centre for the North, up there with The Trafford Centre and Meadowhall, complete with a food court and cinema. Not since the days of Johnny Wongs at the old Schofield Centre have we had a food court right in the city centre and rumours abound about what stodgy slop will be available for those that have had to make do with the House of Fraser cafe since the turn of the millennium. It’s currently being touted as a high-end dining experience called ‘Trinity Kitchen’ with a curated street-food market which, coming from the ‘home of James Martin’ (isn’t he actually from Malton?) and bang opposite the Harvey Nicks fourth floor restaurant, is going to be a tough ask but an exciting prospect nonetheless. Ok, so back to this 60% of confirmed tenants already having a home in Leeds. This is where my real concern lies. Despite the lingerie-related lunacy accompanied with the announcement of the first UK Victoria’s Secret outside of London (I will also admit to emitting a small squee of excitement when it was announced we were getting a muthafricking Lego store!) there’s been an outcry recently that Trinity will only serve as some kind of retail sponge, sucking the big
name brands we already have out of their current units and popping them into the one place, a sort of osmotic shop monster if you will. Does Leeds really need another Urban Outfitters or Next? Probably not. So is that going to leave other units in Leeds empty? We really hope not. After pumping £350 million into the project, the stakes are pretty high for Land Securities and, all sarcasm aside, I wish them luck. It has amazed me that so many people are quick to dismiss my comments as simply ‘negative’. I’m very passionate about my city and that is why, rather like a worried parent, I question such a massive change for it rather than simply bow down at the feet of Land Securities and thank it for a job well done when the time to prove itself has not even begun. One journo did Tweet me to tell me that Trinity is a more attractive offering to indie retailers than the city’s empty 60s shopping arcades and suppose that true. This new development is a far cry from the 1964 opening of The Merrion Centre, which cost Arnold Ziff a cool £2 million; there was no DJ set from the morkyfaced Pixie Geldof back then, just his wife cutting a ribbon. Despite being laughed at in the beginning, the Merrion Centre was a rejuvenation of city center wasteland and a marked success for the city in terms of economy and investment. Almost 50 years later, loiners everywhere are waiting to see if Trinity can live up to its godly name in the same way. Lord help us if it doesn’t. TheLeedsDebacle_3
/ john barran
independent leeds A
s the crippling-creditcrunch-crisis continues demolishing the high street, from the independent to the established, there has appeared one small part of Leeds city centre defying the double-dipping doom-mongers. For several years, the decrepit Kirkgate has been tipped for regeneration and touted as an ideal area to be rejuvenated by independents. Rumoured incentives and plans have never been realised but, recently, various businesses have done it themselves to accidentally create Leeds’ newest coolest quarter. Two years ago, joining arcades, bookies, chippies, megabuses & boozers, along came a stylish three-floor haven of local designers selling an array of handmade & vintage clothing, jewellery, art, records, cake and more to begin attracting a different type of Loiner to the area. Birds Yard remains the city’s best secret, with an ever-changing cast of talent offering consistently intriguing goodies. Surrounding Birds Yard there is now a plentiful choice for the dignified alcoholic. Whilst The Regent’s midweek afternoon karaoke sessions still keep the demented drunks nearby, the frightening Royal Oak has closed and been replaced in the area by two excellent and inventive bars. Wharf Chambers, a community co-operative, has transformed a little-known space into a laidback room, with seemingly little renovation only adding to the charm. There are miraculous prices for an eccentric choice of lager cans or Sam Smith bottles or organic wines. There are a buzzing variety of events put on by members, from ‘zine fairs to cultband gigs to techno all-nighters. 4_TheLeedsDebacle
This a dusty gem, unlike any other in the city centre. Competing with Wharf Chambers for, not just best new bar in the area, but best bar in the city, is Outlaws Yacht Club. A continental style approach, OYC is an allencompassing café-bar-club for hipsters and squares of all ages. Whilst trying to appeal to everybody normally appeals to nobody, somehow Outlaws should and does, erm, appeal to everybody. Laptop-tappers and families sip coffee and eat stews by day, locals and groups sup a good selection of lager or wine by
evening, and by night a terrifically chosen mix of DJs keep moods great and late. Strangely, Outlaws Yacht Club is in a hairdressers. It’s other half, the effortlessly edgy Rebel Pin Up, previously seeming unsuited to this end of town, is now in good company and can only benefit from the trendier clientele the additions bring. Leeds Brewery have confirmed the area’s increasing attraction. Applying to fill the premises vacated by the sad and surprising closure of Oliver Jakes fish shop, the fine ale-makers hope to open
their sixth city pub, Crowd of Favours. The success and quality of the other five suggest this will provide a smashing alternative and healthy competition to excellent veteran The Duck & Drake for a pint and a pie. Across the road, the recently departed bridal shop has been replaced by XO Gallery. Opening exhibition ‘An Arrangement In White’ was a gleaming delight showcasing emerging artists and, whilst more would be welcomed in this appropriate space, a new café is expected to open there instead. Here’s hoping it reaches the quality of its neighbours. Heading a few yards further out of town and the vibe continues with the trio of Café 164, Colours May Vary and Leeds Gallery. The latter is an independent commercial art space displaying occasionally changing, always interesting exhibitions to browse for free. The adjoining Café 164 serves splendid sandwiches and coffee in a comfortable cool that puts [insert name of giant coffee chain] to shame. In the same building, newcomer Colours May Vary provides the magazines that put [insert name of giant newsagent chain] to shame. The rare and the excellent sit invitingly alongside cool crafts and, if you can’t find your favourite obscurity, there’s every chance they’ll order it in just for you. In a time of retail depression it has been difficult to see a solution. Rates are government-led and inflexible, rents are dictated by dominating land management giants, online alternatives remain high and confidence remains low. However, with shared attitude and super quality, these many independents opening close together in close time have created a piece of Leeds that offers hope.
Chloe McGenn - Birds Yard I remember walking down Harper Street almost three years ago, and wondering if I was in the right place. All I could see was a wedding shop and a chippy. Now, the area leading from Duke Street up to Briggate has so many different places to shop, eat and drink, I rarely go into the rest of town. There are two art galleries at the moment, both in five minutes walk of where I work. This city has a place in its heart for creative, outspoken people, as anyone who uses Twitter will know. I’m so excited by the way independent business owners seem to have gathered together in this rundown, rough and ready few streets, that maybe this can become the hub for all the best in independent talent. The future has so much potential with what’s happening in this area, I hope the rest of Leeds starts finding it too. Andy & Becky – Colours May Vary It’s easy for us Independents to take shots at the retail Giants but essentially Leeds deserves good shopping choices and we were hoping that Trinity would deliver something new. Add another layer
to the Town Centre, something different. Instead we have a relocation of stores that already existed elsewhere and now gaping holes have appeared in the streets that lead toward The St Johns Centre, at one time the newest and most glittering retail destination. Leeds is a great city, architecturally diverse and steeped in commercial history from the Middle Ages through the Industrial Revolution. Over the years the Industry has dissolved and perhaps Leeds has lost its identity. Why would you visit Leeds City Centre for the day? What does it have that gives it the USP we are told we must always have to trade efficiently? Our personal checklist for a visit to any town includes: interesting independent shops, galleries, museums, great places to eat & drink, green spaces and great architecture. Good high street shopping. Not all towns can offer all this but Leeds is a large city and it really should. Leeds has a handsome face, a strong jaw, but its teeth are bad. The planners have injected Botox into the
forehead of the town centre and we are supposed to forget the decay and be distracted by Lego shop? It is not all about the developers; it is about the town planners. In our dreams we can see Kirkgate restored and bustling with independents offering diverse and good quality products. A street to be proud of. A market beautified but accessible. Not gentrified, but sympathetically restored. A mix of retailers from big pants to pomegranate syrup! We need and want these things. We need real choices. Through the mist of recession and decay Independents always push themselves forward. We have seen a small burst of really good Independents over the last 2 years and there should and must be more. How many places are there in the town centre to buy freshly baked bread, local cheese, books, door knobs, elastic bands, toys? Seriously!? When you want something you need, something you want. Where do you go?
becoming a proper northerner A
s a Nottingham girl born and bred I have suffered most of my life with being referred to as ‘A Northerner’ by ‘Southerners’ and ‘A Southerner’ by ‘Northerners’, never really able to satisfy either of these two steadfast categories. Nottinghamshire is a County in the East Midlands, which, as you would suspect, is to the East of the middle of England. But, as a girl who likes to travel and meet new people, this North/South divide has often left me lacking in location identity, struggling to explain just where exactly I am from without using the usual ‘Have you heard of Robin Hood and Sherwood forest? That’s where I live…Pardon? No, not in the actual forest, just kind of near it.’ So imagine my excitement at the prospect of moving with my ‘Northern’ Boyfriend to Leeds - a proper Northern city that’s actually in the North of the country! Having the ability to say ‘I live up North’ without anyone hailing from Sheffield or above calling me an imposter or a Northerner wannabe excited me more than it probably should! But with excitement also came trepidation. I’ve only ever lived away from my hometown for three years and that was in Liverpool as a student, which
doesn’t really count. I was too busy buying Orange Reefs for £1 in sticky student bars and staying in bed until 3pm to worry about anything other than whether to watch Neighbours in the afternoon or evening. So now, as a grown up, I face a new city, a new job and new people. It was only when I actually thought about it that I realised; I know nothing about this Northern place I am soon to call home! Added to this, there is also the fact that I am moving from a little village with a duck pond and nice countryside pubs where people know your name (and often your business), whether you want them to or not, to a massive city where you are just another face in the crowd. Whilst I moan about the close proximity of our fellow villagers, there’s the slight possibility that, as a bit of a homebird (the closeness to my parents baffles many outsiders), I will not really know how to cope in a city where people don’t cheerfully shout ‘Good morning’ across the street as a normality. Having secured the new job and the new flat, it was time to secure the new life. So I did what I always do in a crisis, I Googled it! I followed as many ‘Leeds’ twitter accounts as I could (and discovered
Lauren Whysall \
the fab TLD), researched as many forums and local community groups as possible, signed up to all the discount voucher email updates for Leeds and even found a new netball team I could join. It’s amazing what you can find out about a place on the Internet (the good, the bad and the ugly), I wonder how anyone ever relocated before Google existed? I’ve found my new local pub, a whole range of amazing restaurants and I’ve got a jam-packed diary full of culture and exciting events to attend. Something makes me think I am not going to be spending much time in the lovely flat it took so long to find. So with a Twitter feed full of Leeds tweets, wearing my flatcap accompanied by a whippet (thanks, Wikipedia!) I am setting sail towards my new Leeds life. All I need to do now is work out how to fit all the stuff from a twobedroom semi-detached house into a city-centre flat. Not too sure Google or the Leeds Tweets can help me with that one, but at the very least it can tell me where to go for celebratory drinks after all the hard work has been done. Ee by gum Leeds, I’ll tell thee this for nowt, I can’t wait to become a ‘Proper Northerner’!
/ Matt Abbott
how ‘original pirate material’ changed the life of a 13-year-old paperboy Mike Skinner, aka The Streets, has teamed up with local Rob Harvey to form The D.O.T. Having DJed The Faversham in March, they play Leeds Uni in May. Matt Abbott, aka Skint & Demoralised, tells how a decade earlier Skinner’s ‘Original Pirate Material’ changed the life of a 13-year-old paperboy.
can’t remember the exact date, but at some point during the summer of 2002, I vividly remember seeing ‘Weak Become Heroes’ on MTV2. I was with my dad and my best mate at the time. Remarks such as “what’s this chav shit?!” and “what a load of bollocks – he’s just talking!” soon populated the room, as I’m sure you can imagine in the cultural hotspot that is Wakefield. I must admit I joined them; for a second it did seem like an unfortunate parody of the Ali G era, and UK Garage wasn’t particularly the kind of music that I was accustomed to listening to.
But at the same time I was utterly transfixed, and within days I’d managed to track the album down and stick a copy onto a Mini Disc so that I could listen on my paper round. I’ll never forget when I heard the lyric, “my life’s been up and down since I walked from that crowd.” I don’t know why, but it just grabbed me. Now at this stage, everybody at school was going through the music channels craze. For some reason the channel of choice was Kerrang and as a result, all we’d talk about was Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot...
you get the picture. Everything was American, and amidst the glamorous and airbrushed music videos that rotated again and again and again, out stepped a young Mike Skinner. He wasn’t just English, but he spoke with a distinct English working class accent. And not only did he speak with a distinct English working class accent; he spoke distinctly of English working class culture. This was a man who had songs set in greasy spoons, takeaways and pubs. He referenced football, Reebok Classics and Gail Porter. He was an ordinary bloke telling ordinary stories. And alright, at
the age of thirteen I was hardly able to relate to most of what he was saying, but in comparison to the rest of the music out there at the time, we were practically next door neighbours. The more I listened to these tales of overindulging on the Brandy or staying in smoking weed whilst playing Gran Turismo, the more I felt like I genuinely knew the bloke. It was almost like he was walking alongside me every morning in the pissing rain as I shoved the final soggy Sun through that smelly old bloke’s letterbox. Music didn’t have to be some distant fantasy; music could be real. Lyrics weren’t just a random collection of words that help to form a melody or showcase somebody’s ever-soslightly unique vocal style. Lyrics were stories; lyrics were the gateway to a whole world of ideas and emotions, and lyrics were the things that brought music to life. Whilst my mates were comparing their favourite Fred Durst rap ditties, my headphones were telling me that, “if they don’t win this and the next one they’re getting relegated to the Third Division.” The Streets suddenly made me realise that I might be capable of writing myself. Now admittedly it was another 4 years before I actually did anything and in the intertwining years I never gave it any serious thought, but the point is that Skinner presented a possibility. The notion that blokes
like me could tell everyday stories that would pass as a song or a work of art. The tales that I listened to when I went to the football with my old man; even the stuff we’d all get up to on a Friday night when we first discovered an Off Licence that was prepared to sell cider to a punter with an unscathed umbilical cord provided they had the readies. Whilst growing up my dad had played greats such as Bowie and Roxy Music, but this was completely different. For the first time ever, I felt like I was represented musically, and that’s one of the greatest feelings you can have. Again, I realise how ludicrous this sounds as a pubescent paperboy and in hindsight I was relating to things that I’d never actually experienced. But the fact is I knew where they were coming from. I could almost see the next ten years of my life playing out exactly as Skinner had documented his. I sat in my bedroom listening to ‘It’s Too Late’ on repeat when a high school crush told me that it was in fact too late. I revelled in the wit and conviction of ‘The Irony of It All’ after smoking my first bong on the steps in Green Park, and to this day I still bounce about when I hear ‘Don’t Mug Yourself’. And that takes me to my final point. Upon discovering ‘Original Pirate Material’, I did my utmost to thrust it upon as many of my schoolmates as possible. I wanted everybody to experience the same revelation that I had and
even played a track to one of my teachers, but interest was few and far between. One of my mates at the time was a real David Watts character. He had it all, and one of the girls that regularly commanded his attention was... well, put it this way, I’d have quite happily crawled over broken glass just to have linked arms with her between lessons. She gave me stitch when she walked past me in the corridor and when she spoke to me it felt like I was suddenly stood naked at the front of assembly. Anyway, she must have heard ‘Don’t Mug Yourself’ at my mate’s house at some point and downloaded it for herself. That year we were at a house party, and after two cans of Foster’s I’d been blessed with enough giddy confidence to stick it on in the front room (they had a hi-fi system which could play Mini Discs you see). I proceeded to try and impress everybody by rapping along to every word, and much to my astonishment, she joined in. She knew it as well as I did, and for 2 minutes 39 seconds we were united in Skinner-fuelled heaven. Once the song had finished I asked her how she knew all the words. The fact that she’d even heard was one thing, but this?! Her response sums the article up perfectly. “I like it, it’s funny... sounds like something my older brother and his mates would say. Never heard that in a song before!” And that, ladies and gents, is how ‘Original Pirate Material’ changed my life.
lonely hearts/ laura taylor Sociopathic Socialist WLTM Rabid Daily Mailer for cosy fights in Natural Born Pedant WLTM Literate restaurateur own car, own home, wide selection of menu chalk Pro-Apocalyptic Conspiraloon WLTM Pro-Lifer for a short/long-term relationship Christian male WLTM Clean and discreet lady for daytime fun not on Sundays Tarquin Double-Barrel WLTM Millionairess to keep it in the family Bubbly hairdresser WLTM Anyone whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going on their holidays Keyboard Warrior WNLTM Anyone IRL
a cold interior of flame/ tim chapman This morning was a cold interior of flame. I stumbled, one eye stuck shut, from bed and into the shower Back arched and one arm on the wall for balance. Pulled clothes onto my body like woolly liquid Slid down the stairs and out the door into frosty bright Cold interior of flame. On the top deck at the back of the bus Low and constant breathed The engine like thunder Cloud and the youthful face of sun Strobed inbetween the trees as we drove onward. It was a fairytale of glittery golden flashes Sparkling on the backs of heads and on The orange seats and yellow poles Like some weird and beautiful dream. The trees had made a sort of dark tunnel And the flashes of piercing light Stabbed my brain with tragic romance But I didnt mind because in That timeless fairytale tunnel In the morning Is painful bliss.
wish you were here D
uring February just gone we’ve witnessed the Oscars Ceremony in Hollywood and lowly Bradford playing Premier League Swansea at Wembley. There weren’t many surprising results in either event, sorry to say, but much closer to home a couple of big spectacles also took place which didn’t make quite as much news. The publication of the Wish You Were Here photo book and the accompanying launch & exhibition at the fantastic White Cloth Gallery in Leeds city centre were both eye-catching and inspirational. And with all due respect to those involved, I think they have shown what great things are possible when people put their minds & ambitions together. The book is a collection of photos taken in the 1980s, a fair few of them connected to Leeds United matches. The main theme however is not of hooliganism or violence at football, nor is it about the clothes and trainers worn by Leeds ‘Dressers’ or ‘Casuals’ of the time, it’s about friendship. Of 12_TheLeedsDebacle
course, all those aforementioned aspects do feature in the overall photographic story but the camaraderie and the fun are more central to it all. Most of the characters are pictured in their teens, and no doubt some of them got up to some shenanigans during those years, but who didn’t? Not even the just-retired Pope can claim a totally innocent childhood! Alas, some of the lads have since departed and their loss will hurt their mates forever – it’s why the book is called ‘Wish You Were Here’, those friends are dearly missed. Starting with the simple knowledge that they had hundreds of photos from the ‘80s which needed a wider audience, this relatively small group of friends, who were far-reaching in terms of distance and influence, decided to create a book of their favourite photos. Three exhibitions of some of the photographs used in the book took place a couple of years ago. One in Paris, one in New York and one in… Temple Works,
Holbeck! There are hundreds more which unfortunately ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor – who knows, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to get a sequel? Whilst none of the group had real experience in putting a book together, they did have the wherewithal to ask for advice. After all, you don’t get if you don’t ask and, judging by the extremely high quality of the book and of the exhibition, they clearly asked the right questions of some very right people. Much credit goes to Tim Neate, Sam Shaw & Kevin Johns, the book designers, while Peter Dench of the White Cloth Gallery made the venue and the occasion something very special to behold. The result of this collaboration should encourage many. Perhaps a photobook isn’t something you feel you could get involved with, but if you do want to get something creative done then a starting point without pressure or pretentiousness for writers could well be the 20 Min Story blogspot. There are some great ways to let the world see your work. robert endeacott \
Gareth jones \
animals, singing, green Enya sat in the school canteen; she had no friends as she was green. The kids in her class were all cruel, as was most of Enya’s school. She was only small and wore some specs, but was known by many as T-Rex. She was always picked last at sports, stood in line in her shorts. Enya was green and oh so small, no one would ever pass her the ball. She couldn’t wait for the summer vacation; it was hard being green in education. Her mum and her dad had regular skin; her mother’s went red when she drank gin. Her dad went blue when there was a chill; they both went green when they were ill. Most of the time they were peach, but both went brown on a beach. Her parents took Enya to the Zoo; it was something fun for them to do. They had never taken her there before; she sat in the car and started to roar. She was excited to see animals in the flesh, lions and tigers behind some mesh.
The lions were golden and the bears were black, she laughed at an ostrich that started to yak. Some colourful birds started to sing, a parrot conducted by flapping his wing. The chimps were brown but the flamingos were pink, Enya’s head started to think. They entered the zoos reptile zone, as Enya ate an ice cream cone. A big alligator swam in the lake, and she could see a big green snake. A lizard changed from green to brown, and then went spotty like a clown. The animals were different in colour and shape; she scratched her head like an ape. Why were people nasty to her? She was nice little girl, not angry with fur. Enya learnt that she shouldn’t sulk; she had to be strong like the incredible hulk. She told her class about the Zoo, all the great animals she got to view. She told them she liked that she was green, and didn’t mind that they were mean. Difference made the world a better place, whatever you were, whatever your race.
tomsparke.com / Nicola Stewart
the happiness of the long distance runner
‘I run, therefore I am’. These words, from Descartes’ famous philosophy on thinking, are often seen as part of Selfridges’ sale ad campaign, in their reference to shopping; ‘I shop, therefore I am’ (I think the only running done in the Selfridges sale is up the escalators to get to the Gucci handbags). Despite being an exfashion PR girl, although let’s face it, just being a girl will do here, these words have never struck a chord with me. In fact I struggled
to just fathom them out; ‘I shop, therefore I am’, what the hell does that mean?! ‘I run, therefore I am’ however, now that makes perfect sense to me. Not to define myself solely by running - I’m not Paula Radcliffe - but to use it as a major part of how to describe myself, as someone who runs? Yeah, for sure. To non-runners this may seem dramatic, but bare with me, you might be putting your trainers on by the end of the article and giving
it a go. My reason for saying this is that once you start running, if you like it, that’s it, you can’t stop. Why? Because there is no exercise that makes you feel as good as running does. Absolutely none. And trust me, I’ve tried them, and by tried, I don’t mean as a fad, as a quick fix diet method. Nope, I am, at my best times, an exercise nut. I go to the gym, I swim, I do weights, bootcamp classes, bodypump classes, yoga… I love to exercise. And before you think
I’m showing off, I said ‘at my best times’, and let me assure you that right now is not one of my best times… moving flat, job hunting, writing deadlines… exercise has definitely slipped down my list of priorities. But the one thing I am still doing is running. Because, and I’ll say it again, no exercise makes you feel as good as running. Running is such a mental thing, you don’t just do it to look better, you do it to feel better. Model Elle Macpherson describes it as ‘moving meditation’. Now I wouldn’t go that far, and I certainly don’t suck up some of the crap celebrities come out with, but if what she’s really going on about is the amazing way running clears your head, gives you time to think, time alone, and always, and I mean always, improves your mood, then yeah, she’s actually got a point. You don’t have to be amazing at it, you just have to enjoy it. I’m certainly not fast, but I’ve never cared about speed, and I still don’t. I just like it, and I’ve built it up over time, at a pace that’s suited me. Running is only a competition with yourself as far as I’m concerned and that’s one of the main reasons why I like it. I’ve been running since I was a teenager. It was my mum’s exboyfriend who got me started, he was into his fitness and it was a hobby we shared together. I roped friends into it too, to go with me on Saturday mornings
in the summer, and I even did a couple of cross-country runs with the team at school. Then, as I got older and joined a gym, I did it on the treadmill instead, and my outdoors running decreased, with only the odd run being outside. I only ever really went for a maximum of 20 minutes, and to be quite honest, was thankful of the gym machine time limits, I didn’t want to go for longer, or push myself. Running is hard, and a 20 minute time limit on the machine was a convenient excuse. What changed this was signing up for a 10k Nike run with some friends in Hyde Park and so we used to train together. It was summer, it was sociable, it pushed me, and it was surprisingly fun! On the day of the race it took me 1 hour and 5 minutes and was the longest I’d ever run for. Wow, I thought, I’ve ran for an hour! I thought that was impossible! And the feeling when I crossed the line, and everyone was cheering… I won’t say amazing, I’ll say addictive. After that I just had to run more; I did a massive leap from a 10k to the Great North Run. And before I’d even run The Great North Run I’d signed up for the Paris Marathon with my ex-boyfriend. Now, my motivation for this was not purely running related, I have to admit. I love running, but not as much as I love Paris. And since my boyfriend was the opposite of romantic, generous and impulsive, I thought the only way to get him to go to
Paris with me was for a runningrelated reason! The plan worked perfectly until we broke up before the marathon! So what did I do? I ran more and I ran harder. And I ran, and trained for a marathon, alone. And looking back, it was the best running of my life. Going back to the cringe inducing Elle Macpherson quote, running gives you a focus, a motivation, and I truly believe that every run you do, from 20 minutes on the treadmill to a marathon, it’s all in your head. No matter what the problem in your life, it will always make you feel better. Your fitness will come, without even trying, the more you go, the fitter you will get, it’s that easy, all you have to do it put your trainers on and start. But the mental challenge, I’ll be truthful with you, that never gets easier, that’s the bit you’re always fighting. I don’t really want to be running at the moment, I’d rather be in bed/on the sofa/in the pub/wherever is warm and cosy, and the running track is not that place! That’s why I’m signing up for another marathon. Well, I haven’t done it yet, but I figure if I say it in print I have to do it. Because as much as I am here bleating on about how we should all be running, it’s hard! Trust me, I want to stay in and eat cake too! But I know that once I’m training and have a goal, I won’t be able to stop again. Running is addictive. And no exercise makes you feel as good as running.
/ Caleb Parkin ..... www.skylabstories.net
the trailer tent
Verbal-vomit reviews of the promo machine from a marketeer’s dream.
Olympus Has Fallen Starring Morgan Freeman and a picture of the White House on fire on the poster - is he playing the President again? They should just actually make him President, at least when Obama’s away. He’d be good. Anyway: clocks tick, planes zoom towards buildings, machine-gun-fire on the White House - it’s ANOTHER-AMERICAUNDER-ATTACK-BY-TERRORISTS FILM! Explosions! AMERICANS screaming! ‘The most protected building in AMERICA has fallen… The President of AMERICA is being held hostage.’ Global states of emergency because of AMERICA, lots of AMERICAN GI-types looking stern and brave. More explosions, more clocks, big plinth in Washington knocked over. Morgan Freeman saying, ‘Open the gates of hell’ and ‘We will remain strong and united and AMERICAN’ or some such cliché.
The Host Ooh, the screen’s all dark and it’s called ‘The Host’ - seems pretty standard. *Torch in face* ‘It’s impossible, you’re human…’ Yup, Body-Snatchers fayre. Nice shift of pace, big special effects of future Earth taken over by aliens who ‘erase minds to take bodies’. Uhoh, it’s ‘from Stephenie Meyer’ of Twilight fame; this bodes poorly. ‘This summer [BOOM] love [BOOM] never [BOOM] dies.’ Oh no: Passionate romance moment with glowy-blue eyes. And another. Another explosion. Another longing look. And so on.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green Hmm, birds tweeting, gentle editing, pastel colours - there’s the Disney logo. What is Jennifer Garner really for, anyway? A couple can’t have a baby, got it. Now they’re back home writing out a list of character traits their hypothetical child would have. Stormy night, gates swinging, rain falling upwards - oh god, the hypothetical child is going to be there isn’t it? Ugh, there it is. “I came from the garden…” says spontaneously-appearing leaf-child. He’s off to school and then they’re snipping bits of twig growing off his legs - it’s a ‘fittingin’ Disney thing. Here comes the power-ballad soundtrack. Nope, I can’t watch any more.
The Great Gatsby Baz Lurhmann seems to have made the 1920’s look a bit new (nu?) rave. Lots of Art Deco, electronic music, 20s cars driving recklessly, Gatsby DiCaprio being elusive: ‘I have lived in all the capitals of Europe, collecting jewels…’ Big sailing ships, glamorous mansions. Tobey Maguire saying, ‘Could it all be true?’ Great big party scenes (I wonder if Luhrmann’s life is like this?) but ‘… he’s guarding secrets’. Florence and the Machine in the background it’s going to get pop-angsty. More gorgeous deco-outfits and CGI 20s New York - beautiful slowmo of a flapper being struck by a massive-wheel-arched car. Carey Mulligan - of course, she suits the look. Gatsby says, ‘Of course you can change the past…’ FADE of psychedelic graphics and I’m sold. A dark-tinged sparkly joy!
Iron Man 3 Is that Iron Man DEAD in the SNOW? And now someone is kidnapping Pepper-Gwyneth Potts-Paltrow! There’s Ben Kingsley looking mystical/evil and Stark says there are a HUNDRED people that want to kill him and now ALL THE IRON MAN SUITS ARE GETTING BLOWN UP and the baddy says he’s not a terrorist he’s a teacher and lesson one is that there are NO SUCH THING AS HEROES. Iron Man’s saving people from an exploding Airforce One (but not like in Olympus Has Fallen)! Now they’re blowing up his fabulous retro beach house! And he’s sinking to the bottom of the sea! An enigmatic shot of him dragging his suit through the snow…*hyperventilating* VERY EXCITING INDEED. YES!
I Am Kloot / Glen Pinder ‘Let It All In’ is the sixth album from Manchester’s I Am Kloot, and after their last album ‘Sky at Night’ is their most eagerly anticipated release. With production duties again going to Elbow’s Guy Garvey and Craig Potter, they have, this time around used a little less polish and turned down the string sections to let the songs breathe and stretch more naturally, as on album opener ‘Bullets’ an eerie late night lament harnessing a tex-mex quality and wide-screen production, yet entirely intimate, setting a scene of staring across the wild west prairies of old, or at least looking out over the wild west Salford of today. It’s the expansive sound that prevails over these ten songs, as showcased at Leeds’ Irish Centre, a setting fitting for their boozy beauty. ‘Some Better Day’ is a Kloot classic from the off, an up-beat slice of silver lined melancholy, delivered with a wry smile and knowing wink from front man John Bramwell. As ever it’s Bramwells words and delivery that stand out, his Manchester drawl and wit make even the sweetest sounding of songs ‘Masquerade’ into a bitter-sweet love song of loss and regret. Yet for all the seemingly pessimistic over tones this is a record that is clearly sat with its glass half full ‘These Days Are Mine’ is a rich and searching tune forever looking to a beautiful horizon, over mariachi brass, searing strings and woozy guitar drone, leading a clap along shanty to epic proportions and over the edge to a place where all our glasses will be half full. I Am Kloot continue to claim their place in our hearts and, just possibly, on bigger world stages.
Hookworms / John Barran “No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride...and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well...maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.” Forty years later and these words from Hunter S. Thompson accurately review Leeds’ Hookworms blistering trip of a debut album, ‘Pearl Mystic’. The nine tracks ride with anger, beauty, desperation and joy; nine-minute opener ‘Away/Towards’ builds menacingly into a screaming celebration, ‘Form and Function’ fuzzes passionately into an infectious riot, ‘In Our Time’ lopes dreamily into a soothing comedown. Launched live with a psychedelic party at The Brudenell, the pace is unrelenting as thunderous, hypnotic noise engulfs. Heads nod, bang and smile at the most cathartic pounding and life-affirming beating that everyone should experience.
Doctor Faustus / Glen Pinder This production of Doctor Faustus marks a new beginning and direction for the West Yorkshire Playhouse, with new artistic director James Brining at the helm promising to shake up what we see at the Playhouse over the coming year and beyond. Working closely with directors and theatre groups alike, the promise of a stage evolution and a contemporary eye as to what the audience want is, on tonights evidence, already in full flow, producing a fresh and forward thinking piece of art. This re-imagining of the cautionary tale of Doctor Faustus keeps one foot in the past and the other firmly in the now, whilst dipping a toe into the brightest of futures. As the play begins we are thrown straight into the action. Kevin Trainor as Doctor Faustus delivers a fevered performance, a non stop stage entity with the energy of a man possessed, amid a stage that is crammed at almost all times with the rest of the cast, giving the stage a cluttered, claustrophobic air, as actors change costume, apply make up, and at the drop of a hat are thrown into the whirling vortex of activity centre stage, many playing several roles in quick succession to dizzying affect. By the mid way point we are in an almost Moulin Rouge song and dance extravaganza only with an unsettling psychedelic weirdness. But the performance of the evening goes to Siobhan Redmond as Mephistopheles, the first time the role has been played by a female lead and what she brings is a sexy and aloof depiction, her flame red hair and slow concise delivery brings about an uneasy hypnotic quality, almost teasing the audience and making us question: wouldn’t we give our souls to such a sultry figure? A tough question indeed, and one myself and many others would struggle to answer. For now, I’ll stay on the fence. Although sometimes chaotic and a little confused, the play is a success, a great starter for the year ahead and the future beyond. So raise your glasses to Old Nick and the West Yorkshire Playhouse, a partnership made in, well, Leeds.
Natural Beauty / Emily Ward This new wildlife themed exhibition is a fascinating mix between the museums collection of taxidermy and beautiful photography from the artist Sara Porter. In the upstairs special exhibition area, it shows the beauty and intricate details of the animal world. Among the artefacts are mounted drawers of insects taken from the museums main collections, ranging from caterpillars to (some massive) Praying Mantis. For people who, like me, love organisation, the insects are all intricately categorised and labelled (the slightly OCD part of me is thrilled). The areas of taxidermy are equally intriguing. Seeing these animals up close is quite unnerving, especially the Chimpanzee, with its upright stance and piercing eyes, which are really amazing. With the human qualities, including the hands, it’s easy to see the relation between them and us. Further along, a cabinet holds a display of skulls from various members of the animal kingdom, including that of a Gorilla. The size alone is remarkable, towering above the skulls of a Dolphin and a very large fish. All of this is beautifully linked with the fine art photography skills of Sara Porter, whose images are stunning and captivating. Macro photos of details on feathers and portraits of the taxidermy even David Attenborough would be proud of. With some of the photographs being very traditional in presentation, there are a number which are creatively enhanced with artistry. One example being a pop art rendition of images of butterflies, it stands out and captures the creativity of both the artist and the subject. An exhibition to intrigue and educate, topped off beautifully by the array of photography, one for the family but also just to check out the Gorilla skull. It’s not every day you get to see one of them, is it? Natural Beauty is at Leeds City Museum 1st February – 30th June 2013 TheLeedsDebacle_21
leedsloveaffair.co.uk GET THE INSIDE TRACK ON THE BEST INDEPENDENT PLACES TO EAT, DRINK AND GO IN LEEDS. WE ONLY WRITE ABOUT THE PLACES WE LOVE.
Laura Mace \
libraries With National Libraries Day occurring on February 9th this year, there was once again a call to arms to protect our local libraries from closure. These days, the mere mention of the word ‘library’ brings to mind petitions, budgets cuts and politics, but why should we really be fighting to save them? * As Lady Mary Wortley Montagu once put it, “no entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting”, and there’s nothing as cheap as something free. At your local library, you can delve into anything from the fantastical realms of Middle Earth to the complexities of chemical engineering, and it won’t cost you a penny. In this day and age, there’s not much you can say that about.
* Long gone are the hushed, intimidating reading rooms you see in old films – libraries are much more social settings in the 21st century. Many run reading groups, children’s activities and various classes where you can meet new people (and talk above a whisper). My local library was saved from closure in 2011 and is now being supported by a book club, which I’m a member of. Not only have we kept the library visitor numbers up, we’ve also discussed all kinds of books, made new friends, drank a lot of tea and become the largest book club in the Leeds authority. Get involved! * I imagine by this point Kindle users are tutting sympathetically and shaking their heads. While there are huge numbers of free e-books available, there’s nothing quite like browsing a bookshelf.
There’s a real joy in knowing that the book you’ve chosen has taken someone before you on a journey, and will continue to long after you’ve moved on to your next adventure. Plus there’s the smell. If you’re a bit of a bookworm then you already know where I’m coming from. If you’re not, get yourself down to a library, find a quiet corner and stick your nose in a novel – trust me. So consider this your call to arms – the one thing that will keep our libraries open during this tumultuous time is visitors. Whether you want to read that classic you’ve been putting off, have a chat about Charles Dickens or learn a whole new skill, the library is the place to do it. As far as I’m concerned, books mean I can travel the world without ever leaving my armchair, and if I can do that for free, even better.
/ IAN gant
old codgers commentary Rosie and the Railway As you get older you tend to reflect on things long past. The other day, while driving toward Stockton, I was reminded of another journey taken with my aged and somewhat sadistic Italian grandmother ‘Rosie’. She weighed in at about twentytwo stone, stood about five foot three but still considered herself prime target for any predatory deviant with more than normal levels of testosterone. Rosie was accustomed to horsewhipping her children and making the odd knife attack on the family but for all that we loved her dearly and protected her from both the constabulary and the then infant social services. We travelled by train from Leeds, changed at Darlington and headed toward Stockton in a non-corridor secondclass carriage. This 1940’s rolling stock had two bench seats and an alarm chain above the exit doors
that faced either directly onto the platform or on the opposite side the busy rail track. We stopped at Yarm and a middle-aged portly business gent climbed into the carriage that by this time was occupied by only Rosie and myself. Now, in fairness to Granny, there had been lurid press coverage of a socalled Railway Rapist and, after all, being as fat as a barrel and sixty-three was even then no firm deterrent. I didn’t think it odd when Rosie started fumbling in her handbag but was surprised when she withdrew a large revolver and with absolute deliberation pointed it squarely at our companion, fixing him with a steely grin. Now Rosie did not have the best command of English but her firm retort ‘You move I shoot you’ left nothing to the imagination. As the train swayed toward Stockton, Rosie’s ample arm moved with the motion of the train, emphasizing
and reiterating the prospect of immanent death to our now rapidly paling companion. It was a relief when the train finally stopped and the terrified traveller fled the coach. Rosie put the gun away and we resumed our journey as if the whole thing had never happened. When Rosie died and I was clearing her house I found the gun secreted in a biscuit tin with all the bullets firmly corroded in the chamber being far beyond any safe removal. From her house in East End Park I took the pistol to the river below Knostrop and cast it to the forgetting and forgiving waters of the river Aire. I must presume that though our portly businessman dined out on the story for many years he now rests quiet in some graveyard and I alone am left as witness and teller of the tale. Rosie, for all he faults, was a magnificent character and, in our current milk-sop society, we may not see her like again.
Rosaria Remembered / Ian Gant She had beaten and burned and chained me, Till the iron of my manhood was cast, And as I was a part of her future, She is mightily part of my past.
I wish I believed in a heaven, Still I’m glad I acknowledge no hell, Though an object of pain for her passion, It is only of love that I tell.
When she died there were scores to be settled, But revenge is not sweet on the dead, By the sad common pit where they laid her, I wept for the words never said.
For sorrow and pain have an ending, As will anger and passion and lust, And for what will we all be remembered, When we all are but ashes and dust.
As I cried and I asked for forgiveness, For the times when I failed to forgive, In that moment I held that I knew her, And in hers was the life that I live.
So I seek for the true reformation, In the blood of my heart and my hand, And the peace in the true contemplation, That the lovers of love understand.
In remembrance story and fable, Passed down in familial round, She is living again in her pleasures, Resting cold in the sanctified ground.
When I ask in my turn for forgiveness, When the rigours of life are all past, May my soul be at rest and remembered, For the haven I came to at last.
/ Eli Allison
white sheeps didn’t want him to come, but he just kept sending letters, I didn’t write him back, not once. How could I? Mother would never have allowed it, after all the shame he brought on the family. But when I told Mr Tate, he thought it might be a good idea. He is your brother after all, he said. Mr Tate he is such a lovely man, always so nicely put together. A different tie every time we see each other and so well spoken, not like Jimmy at all. All Jimmy did for the whole time was talk like some sort of roughen. I know for a fact Mother never let him speak like that, it must have been prison, making him forget all his good breeding. But then Jimmy he always had been a strange one, you know, everyone at school would call him Twitchy , not to his face of course, no never to his face we were all too nice to say it to his face. I really do believe people didn’t say anything to him out of respect for Mother of course, God rest her soul. She was a pillar of the community, always at the centre of things. She wanted everyone to find God the way she had and she tried really hard with Jimmy but he just wouldn’t be a good boy. Mother told me all about his horrible crimes; she used to say that he was like bag of broken glass too many sharp edges. Of course to me, only to me; family secrets stay in the family, we don’t want everyone
gossiping about us, do we? I mean she really tried her best with him but sometimes… some people well, they’re just born bad aren’t they? He forced her hand, always running away, what else could she do? She was all alone raising a devil. It’s disgusting really that Jimmy had the nerve to want to meet me after what he put Mother though. I had to bite my tongue more than once otherwise we’d have got in to an argument and who knows how long he’d have stayed. I mean can you believe it we haven’t seen each other in nearly fifteen years and he shows up wearing a jumper, no tie, no suit just some horrible jeans like some sort of hooligan. Mr Tate was with me of course, but sat on a different table to give us some privacy, he’s such a gentleman. But you should have seen Jimmy I was too afraid to shake his hand, you would have been too if you’d seen the state of his nails, just covered in dirt. I mean he was just filthy, dust and germs just flying off him and Jimmy’s just sat not batting an eyelid touching everything, trying to touch me. I wish he hadn’t come; all he wanted to do was drag up the past, to say sorry that he left. He didn’t even ask about Mother, about the funeral. He was probably out committing all sorts of crimes not even bothered that our saint of a mother was up with
the angels weeping for him. Mr Tate said I should try and listen to what he says, that Jimmy is the only family I have left, that’s it’s healthy to make my own decision about Jimmy. But I know Mother was right, he’s just a dirty bad boy full of lies, he looked me right in the eye and said that he is a teacher, he even said he’s married now, is there no end to this demons lies? Who would want a criminal like him? So I told him that lies makes baby Jesus cry and that I was going back to my room and I never wanted to see him again. But he just kept babbling on that I don’t have to afraid anymore. How he didn’t want to ‘run’ away and leave me but he couldn’t live with her anymore. I had to laugh at that, first time I’ve ever heard Prison being called ‘running’ away. Then he had the cheek to say, you’ll never believe it, he said; that he would never give up on me, on me! That he and ‘Doctor’ Tate were going to work together to make me better. Can you believe the cheek of the man? Well then Mr Tate could see how upset I was becoming and being the white knight that he is, came over and said that time was up. I have to say he was a bit too polite to Jimmy if you ask me, after all the lying. Shaking his hand and talking about cases, if I hadn’t been so tried I’d have warned Mr Tate; you can’t trust some people, they lie like they breathe, they’d do anything to hide from the truth.
Stephen Vigors \
another bus journey T
here were lots of wistful clouds that looked like meringues resting on a sheeting of beautiful, pure blue. For some bizarre reason I thought that the world seemed perfect today. It didn’t matter that some things were bad as that’s what makes the world beautiful. I was sat towards the back of the bus, raised slightly so that I could spy on all the passengers in front of me. “SINGLE TO WAKEFIELD PLEASE.” I was messing around on my phone, trying to get Google Earth to work. It wouldn’t. It refused to be part of the beautiful world. I was trying to look at pictures of New York. I wanted to teleport myself and be there instantly but it was taking too long. I was still on the bus to Wakefield. “DO YOU MIND?” The man smelled of alcohol. I couldn’t tell you much more than that because he had already walked passed me down the aisle when I heard his profoundly loud voice for the second time. He sounded old. The smell reminded me of my father coming home from the pub, before I even knew what alcohol was. I always liked the smell, even more so now, but the first thought that goes through most people’s head when confronted with the odour of alcohol in a public place is “ALCOHOLIC! ALCOHOLIC! ALCOHOLIC! ALCOHOLIC! ALCOHOLIC! ALCOHOLIC! ALCOHOLIC! ALCOHOLIC!”
“No,” she said. She was sat on the seat behind me, so I couldn’t tell you what she looked like, but I heard a weak, young voice that made her sound shy. “THANK YOU.” I presumed that if she’d been hit by the same stolid stench of hops like I had then she would have preferred anyone to sit next to her than this ALCOHOLIC. “WOULD YOU LIKE A CIGARETTE?” “What?” “WOULD YOU LIKE A CIGARETTE?” “You can’t smoke on the bus.” “DO YOU WANT ONE THOUGH?” “You can’t smoke on the bus. You’ll get thrown off.” “IT DUNT MATTER. HAVE YOU GOT A LIGHT? “I don’t even smoke.” “ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT. I’M ONLY KIDDING, I WON’T SMOKE. I’D LOVE A FAG. FUCKIN’ `ELL IT’S HOT. AM SWEATIN’ BUCKETS. WHERE YOU GOIN’?” “Leave me alone,” she pleaded. But he continued to strike up conversation. “I’M SMASHED ME. YOU LOOK LOVELY. I’M GOING TO GET SMASHED. DO WANT TO GET SMASHED?” “Stop talking to me.” “SORRY LOVE. I’M JUST BEING FRIENDLY. WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO TALK TO ME?” “I don’t know you. You’re just some random guy on the bus.” “ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, CALM DOWN. I’M JUST BEING FRIENDLY.” Sat opposite me was a girl, slumped lazily. Her pumps and
slightly torn black tights were pebble-dashed with specks of mud. She wore an over-sized navy blue raincoat and greasy, scraggy blonde hair covered most of her face. She was texting, texting and texting. “ALRIGHT LUV,” he said, cutting his losses and changing his attention. “OH,” he said. She brushed back the greasy hair on one side of her face and swivelled so that she could see the ALCOHOLIC. Her face was prettier than I thought it would be. “ALRIGHT LUV, HOW COME YOU’RE SO DIRTY?’ “Pardon?” “HOW COME YOU’RE MUDDY? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING?” She smiled lazily and then reshrouded her face with the strands of grease. Shortly afterwards she got off and her seat was taken by a man I often saw on this bus. He was short, stocky and simple looking. I’d often wondered about his mental state. The ALCOHOLIC had no interest in talking to the simple man. He carried on talking to the shy girl. After a while she seemed to find his persistence funny. Eventually the ALCOHOLIC got off the bus, stumbling, grey hair, coughing, white jeans, leather jacket, and immediately lit a cigarette. I looked to the left and the simple man was looking round, past me, at the seat behind. Poor girl.
/ Carley Centen
marriage. that blessed arrangement. that dream within a dream E
ngland and Wales inched closer to marriage equality as parliament voted 400-174 in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. If passed, the Bill would open the category of marriage to same-sex couples, extending the same legal recognition that opposite-sex married partners currently enjoy. The Bill will now grind its way through the Commons Committee as it reviews 18 individual clauses en route to the House of Lords, where it is expected that more opposition will be seen. There are many reasons why restricting same-sex couples to civil partnerships is limiting. Civil partnerships can only be conducted as a civil ceremony, while marriages can be performed as either a religious or civil ceremony. There are issues of legal recognition for civil partnerships
when abroad and there are some key legal distinctions. Also, having to declare your marital status on the various forms we encounter in day-to-day life means declaring your sexual orientation if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in a civil partnership. In 2012, about 69,000 families in the UK consisted of same-sex cohabiting couples while about 66,000 were in civil partnerships. Beyond these practical reasons, the continued focus on advancing gay marriage is an important symbolic battle for equality and shifting public opinion. Public support in the UK to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples is mixed, depending on who conducts the poll and how they phrase the question. Still, most polls suggest more people in the UK support gay marriage than those who oppose it. Despite the clear majority seen at the second
reading, voting on the Bill was complex. As the record of votes by Members of Parliament in the Leeds area shows, votes were not simply along party lines on this contentious issue. Leeds Member of Parliament Vote Greg Mulholland, Leeds North West (LD) Abstained Fabian Hamilton, Leeds North East (LAB) In favour Hilary Benn, Leeds Central (LAB) In favour Rachel Reeves, Leeds West (LAB) In favour George Mudie, Leeds East (LAB) Against Stuart Andrew, Pudsey (CON) In favour Ed Balls, Morley and Outwood (LAB) In favour Alec Shelbrooke, Elmet and Rothwell (CON) Against
What Will Happen If Gay Marriage is Legalised?
Several Leeds residents took their MPs to task on twitter, registering support or questioning their MP’s vote. Greg Mulholland received perhaps the most online response, as dozens of questions regarding his abstention were directed to him over social media. Mulholland took the time to respond to most commenters and posted a lengthy justification for his absent vote on his website. He specifically felt that the Bill as written did not deliver equality as it failed to extend the category of civil partnership to heterosexual couples and it did not sufficiently address the balance between freedoms to marry and freedoms of conscience. A new clause has since been introduced to address the former, while the latter raises interesting questions. Should religious officials have to perform marriages between same-sex couples when their religion teaches it is a sin? Should teachers be able to express their objections to gay marriage in the classroom? Would public
servants be fired for voicing their beliefs against gay marriage in the workplace and violating equality policies? While these seem like irreconcilable questions in an England and Wales that allows gay marriage, they really make mountains of molehills. Protections will be included for religious organisations, allowing them to opt-in to performing same-sex marriage services. The Church of England and the Church in Wales will not have their duty to marry parishioners extended to include same-sex couples. In Canada, where until very recently I’ve made my home before moving to Leeds, same-sex couples have been happily marrying (and divorcing) for just under a decade. I’m pleased to report that there have been no plagues of locusts, pillars of salt or rashes of interspecies partnerships. Family life in the UK, as in many Western countries, is changing. The number of cohabiting but
unmarried (heterosexual) couples has almost doubled in since 2006, hitting 2.9 million in 2012, despite the real lack of legal protections available to cohabiting couples. I am currently both an unmarried partner and single, depending on what area of life I am negotiating. As an immigrant partner of a UK National, I am officially an ‘unmarried partner’ – that is, someone who has demonstrated a ‘marriage-like partnership’. When it comes to taxes, my partner and I are ‘unconnected individuals’. But when it comes to accessing means-tested benefits, we are assessed as a ‘family.’ The current legislative landscape in England and Wales has so far failed to adapt to these changes in family make-up and preferences in order to provide equal status and protections. Recognising same-sex marriage and extending the civil partnership category to opposite-sex couples would be a start in recognising this change and diversity.
/ Rebecca Jackson
anyone order a holy shakeup? I
was recently in Rome when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, sending shock waves among the Catholic community. I was also in the storm that produced the lightning bolt that hit St. Peter’s Basilica. And while waking up to headlines stating that the lightning bolt was an act of God was predictable, the aftermath from the shocking resignation of Benedict still remained. Though I didn’t notice any outrageous feelings of emotion on the streets of Rome the next day, attention from both the public and the media has remained deadly focused on the next move of the Catholic Church. As the first Pontiff to retire from his role in 600 years, there has been much speculation over what will happen after Benedict retires. This ranges from day-to-day matters such as what his title and duties will be, to concerns over his living arrangements. Concerns fall on the effect of Benedict’s presence over the new pope once they are elected and whether this might overshadow the decision making process.
More recently decisions have been reached on many of the day-to-day issues. Benedict will be known as the “emeritus pope” during his retirement and will continue to wear a white cassock. However, it is said that Benedict will no longer wear his trademark red shoes. As for the long-term effects on the new pope’s reign, the world will have to wait and see until after the new pope is chosen. A new pope brings the question of change. But does a new pope mean anything will change within the Catholic Church? The pressure has been mounting on religion to reconsider certain aspects of its mores for a while. After all, it’s a fact that modern-day western society and the Catholic Church clash. Politics and religion have become so entwined we forget that religion doesn’t necessarily want innovating. But does it need innovating in order to survive? Among the debate of what does or does not need reconsidering in the church, same-sex marriage is an ongoing topic. Common sense
would assume that for same-sex marriage to be allowed within the church religious bodies would have admit that homosexuality is not a sin. Whether homosexuality is or is not a sin in the Bible is a debate constructed on ambiguity and subjectivity, based around the words of a 2,000-year-old sacred book. And so basically it doesn’t look like it will be magically solved overnight. Some people believe that not allowing same-sex marriage in the church is discrimination from an outdated institution. Others take the words from the Bible to mean homosexuality and therefore same-sex marriage is wrong. This is the argument at its most simple form. And after doing a lot of research on the subject, I soon became utterly perplexed. One person to break the mold on perceptions of same-sex marriage and Christianity is Bishop Gene Robinson. Now retired, Robinson is widely known for being the first priest in an openly gay relationship to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian
denomination, though his honesty initially came at a price. Along with death threats, Robinson has led a constant uphill battle against protestors but has spoken out regularly on homosexuality and Christianity and received support for doing so. Robinson speaks about his experiences with religion and homosexuality during his 2009 talk Homosexuality: What the Bible says and why it matters. In his speech Robinson mentions his experience of coming out to the religious community; “I was being told that I was an abomination, a disgusting aberration in creation in the eyes of God”. However, Robinson says he found support through God, stating “somehow God’s words got through to me”. Robinson generally believes the Bible is “the word of God but not the words of God”. Though he fully believes the scripture is valid, he bases most of his argument on ambiguity and context. We will never
be able to completely understand the true meaning behind some of the Bible’s phrases. However, as Robinson rightly points out, “homosexuality was completely unknown to the 1st century mind”. In the Catholic Church homosexuality and therefore same-sex marriage in the church is not approved of. Benedict’s views on same-sex marriage were recently reiterated during his annual Christmas address to Vatican officials in December 2012. During his speech Benedict described same-sex marriage as a “manipulation of nature” and a “crisis that threatens it [the family] to its foundations – especially in the Western world”. As the leader of the Catholic Church, Benedict enforces the belief that gay
marriage within the church is wrong. But what if the new pope holds different views that are similar to that of Bishop Gene Robinson? I realise this is an ambitious and probably unrealistic thought, and that at this point you may be wishing I was beside you so you could pat me on the head and say, “ah bless”. However, if mores within the Catholic Church changed this would hold more merit than any if any other major Christian denomination were to do the same. Gay marriage is just one part to the debate. Many other issues remain with religion and modern society. But, going forward, do these issues need addressing for Christianity to succeed? The fact is over 72% of Americans still identify themselves as followers of the Christian faith. However, I couldn’t find one person who disagreed with gay marriage in general and only a few people who did not agree with gay marriage within the church. In the Bible words of homosexuality are ambiguous and gay marriage is not taken into consideration. Although the Bible also holds views on slavery, women and divorce that society would now deem wrong. Christianity, however, has made modernday accommodations for all of these factors.
The Three Amogo’s was VERY popular amongst men of the cloth
Charlotte Miller \
social networking: the rise & demise of the introvert T
oday, we live in a society of likes, retweets, pins and hashtags. As people eventually get their heads around the copious amounts of social media jargon, the growth of websites like Facebook and Twitter is exponential. This technological and historical progress has resulted in a ‘more open society’, for better or worse. Social networks feed off the human desire to share, and often overshare. It is now commonplace to detail the minutiae of your Sunday morning hangover, accompanied by photos or even video, for a multi-sensory experience. More positively, businesses and brands are now more accessible to the public. A well-formed 140 characters, tweeted to the right person at the right time, could land you an interview for a dream job; it’s all about self-promotion. The task is to stand out in the crowd, just like the rest of the world! Social media is global and non-discriminatory; everyone from your great-aunt to your boss has an opinion on the benefits and problems. However, in real life discussion, little is heard from the introvert on this new layer of social participation. Are social networks merely a nightmare realisation of the obnoxious businessman on the train waxing lyrical into his mobile phone about last night’s conquest?
Have we just given confident extroverts another platform, or is there room for the introvert in our new internet home? In a world where ‘survival of the loudest’ is a potent message, the internet is a place where the more reserved can freely communicate with others at their own pace. Social media creates a platform and allows the necessary confidence that introverts need to express their opinion and share their thoughts. To be introverted is not akin to being shy; it simply means that it takes a great deal more energy than it does for an extrovert to engage with others in the real world. In our fast-paced world, this means that a struggle to find the right words often results in either nervous babbling or complete silence, which can appear as haughtiness. Social media allows people to take their time crafting the right message. Despite social networks’ benefits, there is danger of a disjunction in behaviour and inconsistency of personality. On the one hand, they keep up an active internet social life. But in real life, it can still be draining and overwhelming to socialise in groups, which mirror online audiences. They carve out a certain personality on the web that they feel they cannot match in real life. Social media is at risk of breeding a society of fakers,
and it is all the more damaging for the introvert. Moreover, all this round-the-clock socialising can feel even more intimidating to those who prefer staying in at the weekend. Now we have to contend with the plethora of hyper-social activity that is documented all over Facebook. The computer screen is like a mirror in a funhouse; the picture it is showing you may not be the real story. This widening gap between people’s behaviour on the internet versus their behaviour in real life is not strictly reserved to introverts. ‘Trolling’ is the online activity of groups who feel it totally OK to say malicious things to celebrities or the ‘common people’ that would not be considered acceptable in real life. Social media is a party without the awkward introductions, which probably terrify people more than they let on in real life. The fear of going for a hug while the other person holds his hand out to shake, or being left alone with your glass of wine in the corner, is completely avoided. You don’t have to fight for a voice on the internet, and you can leave any time you like. However, this bizarre online world still holds the capacity for awkward situations, malicious and obnoxious people, and an inability to find the right words. It should be treated with caution. We shouldn’t let this virtual freedom go to our heads.
something to do every day.. APRIL 1st - Leeds Utd v Derby County (Elland Road) 2nd - Catch Up Conference (Mexico) 3rd - New York Brass Band (Smokestack) 4th - Misfits (Academy) 5th - Swans (Uni) 6th - Cardiff After Dark (White Cloth) 7th - Eureka California (Wharf Chambers) 8th - Mary Epworth (Shopkeepers) 9th - British Sea Power (Met) 10th - Beth Orton (Irish Centre) 11th - Vladimir Markov (Henry Moore) 12th - Shazia Mirza (Carriageworks) 13th - Eigerfest (Eiger) 14th - Stuart McCallum (Grove) 15th - A Feast For The Senses (Leeds Gallery) 16th - Tripwires (Oporto) 17th - Chris Nickson (Central Library) 18th - The Market (Kirkgate Market) 19th - Frank Turner (Uni) 20th - James Yorkston (Howard Assembly Room) 21st - Unique Gift Fair (Corn Exchange) 22nd - Kate Nash (Cockpit) 23rd - James (Academy) 24th - Johnny Eck & David Toole Show (Armouries) 25th - Frank Hamilton (Northern Monkey) 26th - Burmantofts Stories (Shakespeare Towers) 27th - Vagina Monologues (Carriageworks) 28th - ‘kin Hell Fest (Temple Works) 29th - Flyposting (Flannels) 30th - Minus The Bear (Cockpit)
MAY 1st - Robin Ince (Library) 2nd - Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Academy) 3rd - Tom Trago (Distrikt) 4th - Live at Leeds (various) 5th - Mr Scruff (Canal Mills) 6th - Dragon Boat Race (Roundhay Park) 7th - We Are The In Crowd (Met) 8th - Why? (Brudenell) 9th - Daniel Kitson (Varieties) 10th - alt-J (Academy) 11th - John Grant (Met) 12th - half-marathon (Headrow) 13th - Public Service Broadcasting (Brudenell) 14th - EOY Project (Leeds Galley) 15th - Suuns (Brudenell) 16th - Noddy Holder (Varieties) 17th - Alasdair Roberts (HiFi) 18th - Beefstock (Wharf Chambers) 19th - Discount Comedy Checkout (Adelphi) 20th - Blood Brothers (Grand) 21st - Georgie Fame (Brudenell) 22nd - Keir Smith (Henry Moore) 23rd - Leeds Book Awards (Civic Hall) 24th - England v New Zealand (Headingley) 25th - The Halle (Town Hall) 26th - Record Fair (Corn Exchange) 27th - Sherlock Holmes (WYP) 28th - Dressed For Battle (Lotherton Hall) 29th - Ghostpoet (Brudenell) 30th - NEWK (Stage) 31st - The More I See (Santiago)
JUNE 1st - Cliff Richard (Harewood House) 2nd - Jimmy Carr (Town Hall) 3rd - Beautiful Thing (WYP) 4th - Tweet Meet (Round Foundry) 5th - Jack Dee (Grand) 6th - Ed Harcourt (Holy Trinity) 7th - Camera Obscura (Cockpit) 8th - Leeds Loves Food (Millennium Square) 9th - Reginald D Hunter (Grand) 10th - Seann Walsh (Library) 11th - Northern Art Prize (Art Gallery) 12th - Rocky Horror Show (Grand) 13th - Yorkshire Illustrators (Leeds Gallery) 14th - Robert Filliou (Henry Moore) 15th - Siegfried (Town Hall) 16th - Tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Pau (Varieties) 17th - Leeds Rhinos v Widnes (Headingley) 18th - Shakespeare (Varieties) 19th - Northern Life and Landscape (Temple Newsam) 20th - Fate & Fickle Fortune (Abbey House) 21st - Stagecoach (Santiago) 22nd - Yorkshire v Surrey (Headingley) 23rd - Ghost (Grand) 24th - Lambchop (Town Hall) 25th - Lionboy (WYP) 26th - Natural Beauty (City Museum) 27th - Creem (Wharf Chambers) 28th - Secret Cinema (secret) 29th - Ghostfest (Uni) 30th - Waterfront Festival (Brewery & Granary Wharf)
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Issue 11 of The Leeds Debacle is: John Barran - Ross Newsome - Tom Sparke - Lola Wilson Matt Abbott - Charlotte Miller - Glen Pinder - Rebecca Jackson Tim Chapman - Lauren Whysall - Nicola Stewart - Robert Endeacott - Laura Taylor Gareth Jones - Laura Mace - Henry Mason Summers - Jen Hendry Emily Ward - Eli Allison - Caleb Parkin - Ian Gant - Carley Centen Stephen Vigors
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