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issue 13 - ÂŁfree

oct - dec 2013





M u s i c Literature C o f f e e

S t u d e n t s L e e d s Relationships

F i l m B l o g s Superstition

B a r s P o e t r y L i s t i n g s





Happy – Square the individual digits of 13, keep repeating the process and reach 1, making it a happy number. Generous – A baker’s dozen offers a free 13th, historically to avoid a penalty for selling short weight. A successful failure – Apollo 13 was a NASA mission unable to land on the moon but returning safely. Yours – The Hindi word for 13 is Terah, meaning yours. Cyclical – The number of lunar cycles in a year. The moon moves 13 degrees around the earth every day, takes 13 days to change from full moon to new moon and 13 days to change back. Mature & wise – The age a boy becomes a Bar Mitzvah & the age to start learning Witchcraft. Wicked – The number of witches in a coven, or the number including the devil (the 13th Angel; Satan). Sinister – On the 13th day of the Persian year people flee to the countryside to escape the evil powers the number inflicts on the cities. Feared – Triskaidekaphobia: the irrational fear of the number 13. Betraying – The number of people at Jesus’ last supper, with Judas seated 13th. Killing – In Norse mythology a 13th God intruded a banquet to kill nigh-immortal Balder and mark the beginning of the end of everything. Death – The number of steps leading up to the gallows. Apocalyptic – The end of the Mayan calendar’s 13th Baktun signals the end of the world.



a leeds girl moves to scotland and writes a poem about what she misses Standing in the bus station and a pigeon flies in, A homeless man rummages for food in the bin. Waiting for Trinity gets us all in a huff, It opens and oh, there’s just more shops and stuff. The tour bus driving past everyday, Seriously- what the hell are they looking at anyway? Drunkenly stumbling in to Fab Cafe, End up dancing with Darth Maul, wahey! Grab a Simpsons Pizza cause it’s only £2.99, Instantly regret eating it, every time. Sitting on Hyde Park starting up the barbecue Park patrol pull up and squirt a hose at you. Eating a sausage roll whilst stopping to ask, How many Greggs can one city have? Wishing that I lived at Clarence Dock, Going home to Woodhouse with the rest of the flock. Talking to the police about a burglary, Offering them a beer instead of a cup of tea. Dinner up at Whitelocks on a chilled out Sunday, Those Yorkshire puds very nearly made me stay.




nvading the beautiful expanse of the Yorkshire Dales with a convoy of city campers and an eager anticipation, Beacons returned for a third year. After the debut was washed out and last year received mixed reviews, the festival remains highly regarded nationally & locally thanks to an independent approach combining an underground cool accessible to all in a stunning setting. Opening officially on Thursday with DJs, comedy and film to entertain those who couldn’t wait, the festival proper began on Friday, appropriately on the You Need To Hear This stage with Futuresound competition winners Battle Lines’ riffs soaring behind their captivating frontwoman. Staying local over at the intimate ELFM tent, Leeds


singer-songwriter-stalwarts Micky P Kerr and Hayley Gaftarnick are wonderfully entertaining and competently emotional respectively. Many make the most of a sunsoaked afternoon and are fully recharged for the evening intensities, starting with Leeds punk lads Eagulls blasting and snarling us unhinged into the night. Where the ferocity only increases with aptly named hardcore headliners Fucked Up and their topless tank of a frontman rampaging with an anger and aggression that outpours as riotous joy. Those that missed the rock’n’roll pummelling were more likely head-nodding, toe-tapping and arm-stretching to Ghostpoet’s

thoughtfully constructed urban sermons and Bonobo’s immaculately arranged organic beats in preparation for some through-the-night dancing in the rain. John Talabot provided the rising-ups and coming-downs in a house set that is impossible to review in this state at this hour. The site re-opens for Saturday with hangovers eased for some by yoga and for most by bacon sandwiches and coffee. After a wet wander round at the other offerings on a site which promises shops, cafe, pub, playground, cinema, art and probably a whole lot more alongside the music, I choose the pub. The newest version of Leeds’ oldest, no less, a pop-up Whitelocks serving real-ale and real food for a rather unreal experience.

Easing us back into the sounds is former The Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones, allowing us a sneak in to his beautifully crafted, personal songs that he splutters out with reluctant charm. Quieter still is Julia Holter, the enigmatic LA songstress who enthralls a small space with magical melodies and otherworldly beauty that leaves the seated crowd contented and warm. Malcolm Middleton is expected to bring down the ethereal mood with his miserablist reputation but, of course, his is an uplifting, inclusive complaint and we are all happily on the side of his lyrical, humorous and musical misery. The much anticipated Local Natives headline the Loud and Quiet main stage, which comes to life at the US indie favourites blistering rhythms and blissful harmonies. Catching that means missing much of Mikal Cronin,

displaying his cool and catchy recent album of breezy but confessional lo-fi garage-pop in a swinging mass of hair, and postpunk legends Wire remaining vital 35 years later. Sunday arrives with welcome dryness and feels, well, like a Sunday. The most/least hardcore revellers skulk away early to rest their beggered bodies, minds and souls whilst the remainder enter the final day with a relaxed vigour. With lay-ins taken, papers read and the improved array of local cuisine providing our alternative Sunday lunches - be it Red’s burger, Fish&’s chippie, or Dough Boys pizza – there is more music to be had, starting with consistently good Sky Larkin’s shimmering indie-pop followed by talented whippersnappers The Wytches raucous garage-rock. Things louder w h

get still e n

Hookworms drone on beautifully and Menace Beach add a light melodic touch to equally heavy noise rock. After the recent weird hype caused by politician recommendation, Drenge show no sign of losing their cool but display plenty of reasons why the duo impress with their charismatic clattering controlled chaos. As marvellous masked maestro SBTRKT drops his dark beats the main tent is dancing if a little subdued as a Sunday night set only appeals to the widest of eyes. Savages, on the other hand, perk up a packed tent with a riproaring performance in sharp bursts of furious energy. Final headliners Django Django bring the house down in unified glory, entering in magnificently terrible outfits to spread the fun over an eclectic crowd with their agit-dance-pop-indie-afrobeat-psych-rock. Whatever it is, they somehow embody this incongruous festival - of hipsters, families and ravers, of indie, metal and dance - where everything and everyone comes together to have a ruddy good time.


vegetables and fruit and not having a list T

hey had to go to one of those out of town supermarkets, those large cathedrallike, napkin drawn, pieces of architecture that hang on with bloody nails to the edge of town. It was slightly hazy for an afternoon, the sun trying its best to keep up with all the watches and wall clocks. If it wasn’t for that red car in front they wouldn’t have parked so close to the front: it’s the little victories.

throwing produce into the back of the trolley with precision not known in his lifetime. The two carried on. Father kept his son close by holding onto his hood. From a spectators seat, the two probably looked like a new Labrador mother with the runt of the litter who wants to explore, explore, delve under shelves and explore, sniff out deals with tiny hands and bring them forth to the parent with money.

In his hand, small by design, the pound coin was pressed into his palm ready for the exchange with the trolley. He reached up and pushed the coin into the slot. With a click and a pull and the strength of boys much older than himself, the trolley disconnected with the rest, a squeak of metal as a goodbye. From behind, his father watched him navigate the roads. License free the son pushed on avoiding doors and displays and the buy-one-get-at-least-threefree offers laid out like islands upon entry into the cathedral.

The pair carried on past the bread and sweet treats, ‘Can you remember if we have this meal with pita bread or flat bread?’, the son looked up at his father, ‘Flat bread I think’ ‘Flat bread it is then, is that okay?’ ‘Yep, it tastes nice with the tomatoes’ Father looked towards the ceiling, ‘Shit’ his son looked to him, ‘Stay here whilst I get some tomatoes’ ‘Okay’.

He had to take over the driving whilst the two of them shopped for vegetables and fruit. The isles were small, cramped, tight with other families doing their weekly shop: practiced shoppers executing three-point trolley turns without looking, picking and

With his fingers wrapped between the jail bars of the trolley, the son kept still. He idly looked around and about the supermarket, it’s layout and how the bottleneck isles lead to collisions between the busiest shoppers and those who enjoy the thrill of browsing.

His amateur inspection was cut short by a busty brunette shop assistant. She had blue eyes and her hair up in a bun, ‘Have you lost your mummy?’, the son looked up into her tidal eyes, ‘I’m just waiting for my father, he forgot to get the tomatoes’, ‘Okay then little one, stay close to the trolley so you don’t get lost’. She walked away leaving a wake of that weeks on-brand perfume behind her. It smelt golden and sweet and reminded him of husbands with wives and happier times. Father rushed passed and dodged and danced through spaces too tight even for him, in order to get back to his son, lost next to the trolley that he knew where it was, he got to his knees and placed both arms around his son, ‘You’re mum wouldn’t have done that. I am sorry’, his son pushed back breaking his father’s arms and looked him in the eye, ‘You do know we’ll be alright, us two will be fine’, father looked drained, he had no more tears to shed, no more superlatives to use, ‘We will won’t we’, his son placed both arms around his father, only reaching the middle of his back. TheLeedsDebacle_7



assing through the city centre and that earthy fragrance is floating all around. A succession of independent coffee shops have opened in the city over the last couple of years and it seems like everyone has an opinion about where to get the best cup. So why are these homegrown businesses taking off in the way that they are? Are we turning into coffee snobs? Is Costa an imposter? Is Nero a zero? Does Starbucks no longer mean deluxe? (You get the idea.) Laynes Espresso on New Station Street has a mass following with a steady stream of Leeds regulars as well as travellers from outside the city walking through its doors every week. Owner Dave Olejnik reckons part of the secret to their success is their ethical approach to finding suppliers and that the public at large do genuinely care about where the beans come from. “Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world and over 70 countries grow it,” he says “so can you imagine how many livelihoods depend on your daily brew? With a product like this if you want to make sure people are looked after in the process, that there’s equity, then the way you protest is through your purchasing.” When I asked Dave did he honestly know where his coffee came from, he looked me dead in the eye

and gave a wry smile “Yes. Quite often, especially if we post photos of our new blends on the Internet, the farmers will contact us. We have one farm in Guatemala that wrote to us, they told us that they do not know where Leeds is but they are so happy that their coffee is being sold in the UK and one day they hope to visit us. That’s mad but it shows we’re doing the right thing.” But how can they be sure they are doing the right thing? What makes them better or more ethically sound than Starbucks? “Ok they skip tax and their weird, fake customer service stuff puts a lot of people on the backfoot, but without Starbucks bringing coffee culture to the fore I wouldn’t be doing what I do now. They actually give a lot to charity, so they’re not that terrible. Costa and Nero are worse ­did you know their milk is low­ grade stuff that comes from Holland and is then disinfected? I can take you to the farm where we get our milk, it’s just down the road. The coffee supply chain is the same really. We only deal with the roasters and importers we trust and they’ve been to the farms at origin and seen what goes on there. It means it’s a pretty closed industry but there’s communication right the way through so we know what we’re getting and where it’s coming from.” So is it just about ethics? Is

Leeds a city of saints that want to change the coffee world? Dave reckons the added ingredients are convenience and quality: “In the 80s this Vietnamese coffee appeared that was so low­ grade and cheap that the big names started chasing it. Growers in Ethiopia and Colombia shut down because they lost trade, it was brutal, and people are so much more informed now and they will care. Also, it tastes gross and people have naturally looked for something better. That’s when Laynes became viable, there was nowhere else I could buy a coffee from in Leeds apart from the big name chains so I thought I’d better do it. People know our coffee is fair but the quality is also excellent. The convenience comes in the fact that we’re 30 seconds down the road from the train station, of course.” “Look, there are lots of factors that influence the coffee buying public,” concludes Dave “But why should people care? Because families depend on it, we’ve met those people and we have a responsibility to them to make sure they get a fair deal. If you don’t care then Starbucks or whatever is probably fine, but it’s an inferior product. Every time they run a national campaign we get more regular customers because the public speaks out against it and recommends us. And when you support us, you’re supporting those nice guys in Guatemala.”

what’s so crucial about coffee? 8_TheLeedsDebacle

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my best friend N

ormally, I’m not one to divulge personal feelings in my writing but I think it’s about time I wrote an ode to my best friend. Although the summer months have drawn to an end, we are but in the spring of our friendship. When I first met her, she was across the hall. I learnt very quickly that the main reason she left her room was to make tea, and that to catch her smiling you’d have to join her. Sipping on our builder’s brews, milky but no sugar for her, we got to know one another, realising that we had a lot more in common than I initially thought. At the time I was in a downward spiral, falling apart in a broken relationship so I remained distracted and ungrateful for the time we spent together. I remember loving sitting around that kitchen table whilst I was between fights, and escaping to a world where nothing mattered and we could laugh and joke in our West Yorkshire dialects. One day however, she came through for me, she became my hero. Many had gone out that night but the rowdy boyfriend came home early in a state. I was tired and depressed and not able 10_TheLeedsDebacle

to deal with him by myself. I asked her to stay with me, so she’d see the spectacle for herself, and she did. The beast came to us, speaking down to me as he always did, verging on the intimidating and she, she took a stand. She told him to leave me alone, that he was not to speak to me like that. She stayed with me through it all that night. I didn’t realise it then but now I know - she did all that for me, out of love. For the following months as I continued to crumble, whilst everyone else had written me off as a lost cause, she consistently comforted me, ‘it’s not your fault’, ‘it’s going to be okay’, and ‘I’m here for you’. She has no idea how much that meant. So much so that at the dawn of the New Year, I gained the confidence to shed my demons and live my life anew, get to know this woman that had my back when I didn’t have hers. The rest they say is history, and we became thick as thieves. I found myself wandering from those I used to confide in towards her, she was like a breath of fresh air to me. We became excitable sharing our passion for the written word, and projects we were working on. About the prospect

of living together the following year, and how our house would be transformed into something that epitomised us both. We’d go out on the town, get too drunk and laugh about absolutely nothing. I love her. How much she reminds me of my mother: her auburn hair, her laugh, her sense of humour, and most importantly her compassion. Even now I remain stunned at her versatility, to bond with those I simply cannot tolerate. Her ability to take on the burdens of all those she cares for and makes them her own. I try to tell her to let go, let it be, deal with her own problems. But she won’t. She’s too caring for that. There’s a lot more to her than I know about, many other lives she lives with those I don’t know. But she’ll come home, hug me and ask me how my day has been; leaving her day and those she spent it with, behind. So, there it is. My heart poured out on a page and I can only hope those that read this are as lucky as I am, to have the friend that I have. Thank-you for being in my life Best Friend, I love you.



students/locals? L

ocals. It’s difficult not to side with their plights and tribulations, despite not even knowing the context. The term conjures thoughts of a homely accent on regional news, fighting and scrambling to protect and honour a threatened way of life from foreign invasion. ‘Locals Against Landfill Site’. ‘Locals Against New Shopping Centre’. ‘Locals Against Nuns?’ “Why? What have the nuns done?” Assumptions could be something like parking over everyone’s drives, taking up all the park benches or plotting to build a nunnery over the area’s oldest (see ‘Piss Soaked’) pub. Still works... assuming the locals are a largely homogenous and affable group... which they’re of course, not. ‘Students’ and ‘Locals’ would make ideal fodder for a story commenting on tension in areas such as Hyde Park, Woodhouse or the Burley areas of Leeds. Local should perhaps be read in these cases as a ‘permanent resident’ somebody with more attached roots, whatever idea of it that you may have. Would these stories however be clash of lifestyles as well as residence?


As with any binary way of operating the schism is stupid, misleading and potentially volatile. Within any community are sub groups. This is a short profile of a very specific one, a strange and at times bizarre hybrid of ‘student’ and ‘local’. They moved into their current location in Leeds at least 4 years ago. They continue to live in student areas. Some of them are too damned proud to return to their parents. Some of them left university with mediocre degrees in a saturated market. Some of them got fantastic marks. They often work unsociable hours in a minimum wage job. Bar work, anything within the hospitality industry fits the criteria. It has potential to be a pit of despair or enjoyment and always hedonistic. A steady income allows a more luxurious choice of liquor and narcotics at a more agreeable frequency, a habit formed in student years but they refuse to let go. With creative ideals, a lot of them strive for recognition in their self appointed calling.

Some of them work long and hard scratching away for it. Some just sit about thinking about it, some are too tired to follow it. All of them are disappointed. They are a symbol of a generation that is worse off than their parents. These are the generation of ‘local’ that tread the line carelessly. They are growing in number throughout the areas in Leeds mentioned above, and are just as much to put in a noise complaint as make one. Out of every period of transition emerges creative visions, and as the pubs of Wetherspoons etc. staff themselves with Bachelors of Art, monotony is exposed as catalysts of love and design. One day, this era could be potentially looked back on as a movement. This can be achieved by supporting ‘local’ artists. We’re all local to one another, there is no schism. Our lives are as insular, open or as local as we want them to be with each other. Just try not to piss of the neighbours.




he had come a long way.

Tripping and flailing up the great bouldered path. Sometimes vertical, over hanging mossy ledges with bristly short clumps and gnarled jutting trees that clung with long rooted fingers by the nails. She was nearly blown off at some points and fell once into one of those hands on the cliff, caught by its writhing tubes like a solid wooden net. Knees, grazed and blooded but now numb and grey from the icy pelting wind she sat and tended them. Her own fingers and knuckles and palms were grated, strained like a frayed old rope; she gave them credit for the longevity and stamina. The dawn looked cracked and pleasantly reassuring now and the winds reduced to a whistling breeze, limestone dense rock pools filtered through the air and smelt of ancient wood, like a winter pond. Brushing her sweaty forehead and moving some thick mud clumped hair from her tired eyes to let some of that pink and orange trifle light seep into her glazed , red raw eyes, she slowly stood and wobbled on away from the cliff edge. The sound of water didn’t lead her far. A white frothing stream skipped over some rocks in a chair shape and ran along the ground before lapping down a stair and on into the depths of the boulders. It looked like a throne room, crooked stairs leading to a rubble chair of sovereign aqua. On her side she lapped up this icy treat and it froze her body, not on her elbows and knees as they were too brittle. After this refreshment her head of its own accord lowered gently onto her fore arm and her eyelids closed fast.

It was mid afternoon before they opened again and the sun was half way between noon and night dropping steadily as birds conducted searches on the ground way beneath in their wheeling arcs around it. Sweet heather and coniferous leaves danced their scent through the sporadic grass and to her and she rolled over onto her back to gaze around at this new surrounding. Blue-green bulbous trees gathered gradually into a mass as they got farther away and stretched long to the horizon on an ever increasing hill that lead to some kind of summit, their tall dark trunks engulfed slowly as the hairy mass increased. Before this dense forest was a wide meadow that seemed to ebb in fruitfulness as it came closer to her and fade into bald rock where she lay and she saw that over the aquatic throne its highness pattered its route toward this labyrinth. Deep rumbles began and faded from the forests’ heart, strange animal screams and hoots and cracks echoed within and some birds would randomly spring from the tree tops in groups seeking escape in alarm before diving back within. Perhaps the ground was flat all the way in and the trees themselves got taller, she thought absently. Following the route of the stream after another generous gulp lead her on through the meadow, past purple and white flowers, shrubs and heather with the diminishing sounds of alerted thudding rabbits feet, and to the forest wall with its turquoise ethereal entrances of haze. She looked in but it was dark, uneasy to focus, silhouettes moving, yellow eyes blinking, feet pattering and stopping. All rustles and twig snaps. She felt the eyes of inside on her.

Pushing a few branches to one side she crept in. Yanking some hair that got caught on some thorns she felt the silence, like stepping into a bubble; it was misty inside, hot, she felt her heart beating in her head. The icy chill of outside on the cliff had gone, no breath could be seen, just a dark twilight, a glowing alien world from a distant dream full of lost faces and foreign sense. She could feel long legged insects crawl their hairiness over her toes whenever she stopped to listen, her ears rotating slightly to focus. Now fully entombed and no sun or stars as guide she felt at the mercy of this place. Maybe she would not leave. This didn’t seem to bad a prospect; indeed she would adapt, yet climbing a tree to get bearings wouldn’t be too difficult. After what seemed like hours and without any change in surrounding what-so-ever, she stopped in her endless tunnel and sat, ignoring the beasties that crawled over her thighs. A rest was needed again. If it was so timeless in here, such a constant, the best thing was to take short regular breaks and naps. Then she realised the stream had never made a sound; no glistening, no splashes. As she approached it there was an apparent heavy mist directly above it and no motion, it was still and petrified. Thick scummy sludge floated about on the surface like yellowed cream on old milk. Sighing, she returned to the resting spot and crouched in the yogic lotus and drifted once more from this world.


The Truth About Romance by James Wall This summer, James Wall, aka A Tiny Adventure, released a rather excellent, touching & funny feature film, The Truth About Romance‌


TLD: How did A Tiny Adventure begin?

TLD: Tell us about the process of making the film.

TLD: What has the reaction been like to the release?

JW: A Tiny Adventure started whilst I was studying my degree. I’d gone through various “production” names over the three years and eventually I became A Tiny Adventure, I’ve stuck with it ever since. The idea behind the name was everything in film (especially whilst in education) is like a tiny adventure, and ta dar!!!

JW: The short answer is lonely. Making a no budget film is a very lonely process. I spent most of pre and post production on my own. Which is probably a good thing because I went a bit crazy, but that might’ve been because I was spending a lot of time alone... I get asked this question the most regarding The Truth About Romance, or how did I make it? And there isn’t a secret formula or a fairy tale answer, I just wanted it. I’m not the first person to make a super low budget feature film and I won’t be the last, but you have to want it more than anything, and you’ll find a way to make. I wrote the script and did the preproduction when in my spare time, again I was working at Blockbuster and I also freelanced. I booked two weeks off work to shoot the film. Then post-production I did in my spare time. The entire process took a long time, probably close to two years, which sounds insane now. Half way through post-production I quit my job at Blockbuster because between that, freelancing and the film it was all too much. Plus, I was making enough from freelancing to pay rent and bills, I just had to make personal sacrifices, but if that meant me finishing the film it was worth it. I guess that answer is my personal process rather than a technical one.

JW: It’s been amazing. I knew I was always going to put the film online in some shape or form. I didn’t expect anybody would want to sit for 90 minutes in front of their computers to watch a film. So I was prepared for 10 people to watch it and 10 hater comments. However, it’s currently in the thousands and the comments, feedback and reviews have been overwhelming.

TLD: What was the idea & inspiration behind The Truth About Romance? JW: A combination of life experience and frustration with rom-coms. Back in 2010 I was writing a rom-com with a producer friend, also I worked in a Blockbuster, for “research” I rented a load of (Hollywood) romcoms. By the end of that week my brain was deluded into thinking the girl of my dream was around every corner and my old school bully was ready to steal her away from me. This left me thinking; is there any rom-coms that tell the truth about romance? I wanted to find a blend between realism and rom-coms. Still have that feelgood attitude of a rom-com, but make it relatable. I didn’t want to make a disposable film, where after you watch it you forget about it and move onto the next one, like a one night stand, romcoms are the equivalent of a one night stand. Where with my film you can build a relationship with it.

TLD: What have you learned? JW: I learnt an incredible amount. So many things I would do differently now, but I have to do them wrong to know how to do them right next time. I could honestly write a book on how to make a feature film, or how not to make a feature film. TLD: What next? JW: I’m working on a few ideas, some features, some shorts, a bit of everything really. My brain is a creative mess. I have notepads all over, with lots of different ideas in, they look like the ramblings of a mad man. I want to keep progressing and moving forward, so it’s doing something bigger and better. What that is... I’m not sure yet. In the meantime I’ll keep making things and uploading them to YouTube so people know I’m still alive. TheLeedsDebacle_15


a single relationship B

efore I start, I’m single. I have no agenda in this article to hide from you, so I thought I might as well be upfront about this from the beginning. I just wanted to write my thoughts honestly - well, as honestly as I can without coming across as a crazy girl. I knew as soon as I wanted to write about the topic of being single that the one thing I wanted to achieve was to not sound crazy. Kind of an objective in life but definitely an objective as a single woman in print. Single girls always come off worse, y’see. I don’t believe it’s a worse situation but I think most people do. I feel I can write objectively - I know what it’s like to be in a relationship, and I like them, but I like being single too. But being a single girl is definitely a harder sell, I know that. It means no one to help you when things are tough, pangs of loneliness, less money, turning up to parties alone (turning up everywhere alone), and family members asking you when you’re going to settle down. You also have magazines, and society, made up of people you don’t even know, judging you, telling you at every given opportunity that ‘career girls’ shouldn’t be putting off having babies, especially not when we’re in our 30s. I’m in my 30s. I’d like 16_TheLeedsDebacle

to ask them where all the eligible, single men are who are just desperate to settle down and have these babies, as well as being good enough that I’d like to give up my singleness for them. I doubt I’d get a response, let alone fixed up on a date. So yes, I think being single is harder, and sometimes lonelier, and sometimes sad. But being single also means freedom to do what you want whenever you want and to be selfish sometimes (in a good way). It allows you to develop friendships and relationships instead of neglecting them, which can happen when your time is devoted to boyfriend or girlfriend. You can work on your career, and your hobbies. You can travel, or simply spend your weekends however you wish, go to the places you want to go. Being single at different points in my life has meant I’ve accomplished goals such as running a marathon, becoming a published writer, and moving abroad. It’s also exciting. Without wanting to sound desperate, the potential to meet someone is in every situation. That first moment when you meet someone, swap numbers, wait for them to call, the first date, it’s in some ways the best part of a relationship

and, when everyone else is settled down and ‘comfortable’, I still have all of that to look forward to. So which is best? Looking at my friends, pretty much every single one of them is in a relationship. Whether they are 20, or 40, they all have a boyfriend. Some happily so, some unhappily, and some lying that they’re happy. And whilst I write this article, I am staying with my two best friends, who have been together for 10 years. I’m equally friends with both of them, boy and girl, and a very happy third wheel. We’re all happy in our situations, but more importantly in our lives, and I think that’s the key. Being in a relationship is a lovely thing, but I don’t believe it completes you, and it certainly shouldn’t be there to fix anything. Of course I can fall for someone just like anyone can, but I want to be happy and content in both situations, not just relying on someone else for it. This is the way I always put it to my friends, because I don’t like to go on, SATC style, about how great it is to be single! Yeah it can be, but it can be shit sometimes too, as can a relationship when it’s not right. I’m happy being on my own until I meet someone I think I can be happy with. Then of course I want to be with them. But until then, going it alone is ok with me too.

PEOPLE CALL ME A DIVA / LAKSHMI VISHWANATHAN People call me a diva. I patiently tilt my head and pose for paparazzi. I can freeze thus for eternity. I put on war paint in a jiffy to face arclights. Faces come and go but the screen has somehow taken to mine. People call me a diva. They never see what thick layers of kohl hide behind them. Nor my sparkling eyes give away. They will never know the words these pouted lips won’t speak. People call me a diva. I emote as told and smile at waving hands. But I know a lonely death awaits me within the lifeless walls of my palatial home after this lengthy life. People call me a diva. Many a deft hand has sketched my form on blank canvas. But nobody sees what I do when I face the mirror. People want to know my favourite fragrance and the secret of my skin. I tell them that and more. But never let out what gnaws my heart for I can’t afford a tear. People call me a diva. But at heart, I am a solitary geisha waiting to hop off one of the highest cliffs – a coveted one. I stretch my hands out to the sky. The next moment, the deep blue sea below tempts me to take a plunge. Can’t I throw away my hair dress and jump? The serenity of where I stand kills me. The silent music of the breeze kills me. It never stops singing even as the phone rings on. Hats, lights, camera, action, clapboards, diets, and workouts! No, none of them shut this music out! As I stand here, people still call me a diva….once in a while. But now, it is time to go home and lock myself up. The moment is near; it’s time to hop off.



Are You Sitting Comfortably? My favourite Leeds locations to park my posterior


e’ve all heard of ‘white is the new black’ and ‘staying in is the new going out’. In fact these sayings are now of sufficient vintage that ‘black is black’ and ‘going out is going out’ once more. So I’d like to throw a new one into the ring. Here goes. ‘Sitting down is the new standing up’. Whilst you take in the enormity of those seven words, I would like to prove an admittedly tenuous point by showing that Leeds is best enjoyed sat down. So sit down and relax as I give you my definitive, or more accurately, lazy self indulgent guide to my favourite 8 and a half locations in Leeds I park my posterior. Marching on Together: What better place to start my journey than Elland Road, aka ‘the arena of dead ends’ or ‘field of broken dreams’. For the last 94 years home of Leeds United. Loved and loathed in equal measure even in the city it represents. I’m in the former camp, yet it can be a testing relationship. The last 10 years have been a case of staying together for the sake of the kids. In summary, the good; beating Bristol Rovers to get promotion from league one and beating Man Utd at Old Trafford in the Fa Cup. Has been offset by the bad; 2 relegations, Administration, Ken Bates, selling the best players 18_TheLeedsDebacle

cheaply, losing to Histon, 7-3 to Notts Forest, 6-1 to Watford, 5-0 to Blackpool, -15pts, Neil Warnock, Watford in the play off final, Doncaster in the play off final, half empty ground, losing to Cheltenham on a cold damp night, 6-4 Preston, rubbish sponsors, not scoring in the first half, conceding late goals, not winning away, Dennis Wise.... I could go on. To be fair football is most enjoyed when standing to celebrate a goal, but part of being a football fan is a blind faith in the future. With new owners and Brian McDermott as manager we can only hope to be sat down less at Elland road in the coming years. The wheels on the bus go round and round: Leaving Elland Road it’s a short walk up Wesley Street, then a right before reaching the bus terminus and my second

sitting location. The top deck front row of the No.1 bus. Not just an opportunity to be a kid again and pretend to drive the bus. For me the No.1 bus is a low rent ‘Who do you think you are’ or even an Alan Partridge inspired ‘journey through my life’. It journeys past where I was born, went to school and university, where I was christened, worked and lived. If I had a camera crew following me I would insist on an X Factor style piano accompiament as I look sorrowfully out of the window (preferably on a rainy day). What it does show is how unadventurous I’ve been over the last 40 years when a single bus ride covers all my life events. What the Dickens?: Once the bus reaches town the driver stops for a rest. Can you remember the last time on a 5 mile drive you stopped

for a rest after 2 miles to read the paper? It might be because they’re ahead of schedule, but is wanting to get to Headingley from Beeston in less than an hour, rushing it? I’ll get off my bus soapbox and use this opportunity to get off the bus and head for location no.3. I’m heading for Trinity, the sparkling new shopping nirvana (until the next one). When I arrive I wonder where C&A and Athena use to be. However, location no.3 is not in here but just past the exit and couldn’t be more of a contrast. Down a tiny alleyway you reach Whitelocks. So old it appears in the earliest recorded cave drawings showing what appears to be a human tucking into a packet of pork scratchings. On closer inspection it actually opened in 1715, so a mere 298 years instead. Frequented by many famous faces over the centuries, non more famous than Charles Dickens, who could often be seen checking his twitter feed whilst downing the local brew. Whitelocks is just one of the many hidden old pubs dotted around Leeds centre, but always a great place to start or finish a pub crawl. The Good Old Days: From one hidden jewel it’s a short walk to the City Varieties on Swan Street. Slightly less hidden yet still having a sense of stumbling on to it. Originally a Music Hall, Charlie Chaplin (who features on the wall outside) performed here as a child. Whereas cinema and then TV killed off most Music Halls, TV ironically saved it when BBC’s The Good Old Days chose it in the 1950s for what turned out to be a long running tribute to Music Halls. It’s got the heritage and now after a recent refurbishment better than ever. My first visit was a Panto in the late 70s. This may surprise a handful of my friends as my facebook page says I was born in 1982. It wasn’t the most auspicious occasion. I sulked through it, not because of the quality of the production but due to being dragged away from a particularly enthralling episode of Doctor Who. Tom Baker and long scarf at the helm. It

involved a giant squid attacking a lighthouse (Dr Who not the panto). Remember this was pre-video recorders and hence pre sky plus, pre TiVo, pre multiple repeats and so forth. My trauma was therefore understandable as I had no idea if the Doctor had survived. Thankfully his regeneration into Peter Davison was still a while off. I’ve been back many times as an adult and its great. If you want the full Waldorf and Statler experience book a box. It’s frightenly close to the stage which I found to my cost when I went to see Johnny Vegas in his pre PG tips drinking days. With his fondness for audience involvement I spent the entire performance slouching in my chair, avoiding eye contact. Lights, camera, action: And so to No.5. Back on the No.1 bus - the driver has finished the paper – and onwards to Hyde Park corner. From there a short walk to Hyde Park Picturehouse, another great survivor. As a contrast to the synthetic and soulless experience of the multiplex, Hyde Park is not only surviving but thriving with an eclectic programme and friendly atmosphere. I’ve seen a French, werewolf, period, Kung fu flick here, an aboriginal coming of age story, the bonkers Found Footage Festival and the now traditional Xmas Eve showing of ‘Its a Wonderful Life’. The latter is always a sell out and a testimony to the social element of cinema. Letting off steam: For No.6 it’s a bit of a hike up to Bramley. Apologies for turning this into a Wainwright Walk. After climbing Broad Lane I need some recuperation and what better place than Bramley Swimming baths. To swimming what Hyde Park is to cinema. Threatened with closure it was saved by local people who had faith in its future. I’m giving the pool amiss and opting for the Russian steam room instead. Never totally sure of steam room etiquette. Is it a case of “it’s getting hot in here so take off all your clothes” or “it’s getting hot in here so maintain

your modesty”. Choosing modesty, the next issue is whether you make small talk in there. This relaxing malarkey can be stressful. Moore for less: Back in Leeds (downhill all the way), I sit down at No.7. The steps in front of the art gallery, for a perfect spot of people watching. I want to ride my bicycle: We’re almost there. No.7.5 is my trusty bike (the saddle can’t qualify as a whole seat) to make the trip to the final destination. My bike is a hybrid, which I think means its looks equally out of place on the road or off the road. Cycling in Leeds can be entertaining. Potholes, cycle lanes going nowhere, not to mention inconsiderate drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists. But then there’s the freedom. You see the city, all it’s nooks and crannies. A lot of which you miss encased in a car. Not to forget that the Tour De France is coming to Leeds next year. We can all fancy ourselves as the next Lance Armstrong. What do you mean he’s not a role model? I did wonder why his ‘Be Strong’ DVD was so cheap on eBay. Park life: I cycle through Chapeltown and up Harrogate Road (a long long climb), before turning off at Street Lane and heading for journeys end, Roundhay Park. More specifically a bench overlooking Waterloo lake. Named Waterloo due to being built by soldiers who had fought in the Napoleonic Wars. A fact I’d only recently discovered. Growing up in Beeston, a day out to Roundhay Park felt like a trip to another country, rather than a different part of the city. For generations it’s been the place Leeds people come to, to relax, play and run. So in the style of any major BBC documentary, I’ll finish with a summary of what I’ve learnt. In a fast changing world and a fast changing Leeds, it’s comforting to know the traditions and heritage of the city will be part of the future. Right, after all this sitting, I’m off for a lie down. TheLeedsDebacle_19


CHRIS WORFOLK \ Chris Worfolk and his partner Elina have spent the last year eating and reviewing their way round every restaurant and food pub they could find in Leeds city centre. The result was released this summer as the Leeds Restaurant Guide book. TLD: Tell us about your background & experience in Leeds & food. CW: I’ve been in Leeds 26 years and spent three years working in the restaurant industry. I’ve been writing about restaurants for about five years via my personal blog. TLD: What inspired you to write a guide to Leeds restaurants? CW: We really love eating out and exploring new restaurants. As we explored the Leeds scene, we kept finding great eateries where we would be their only customers. Meanwhile, other lesser quality restaurants had a queue out of the door. I found myself thinking, if only everyone knew about all these other places. As a result, I began documenting our experiences with the idea of producing a guide. TLD: Tell us about the process of putting the book together eating, writing, releasing…

CW: When we visit a restaurant, I make notes throughout the experience. Once we get home, I will then moderate them against what Elina thought and write them up as an entry for the guide. Once everything is ready, it then goes through a five-stage review and proofreading process. TLD: What do you think of the current quality of the city’s food scene & how has it changed? CW: It is constantly changing. New restaurants are popping up all the time, but equally, some the less successful ones are going out of business. In fact, nine have closed their doors since we reviewed them. Despite all the change though, I think the quality remains fairly stable. All but one of the top rated restaurants have been around for many years. TLD: Any restaurant recommendations? Good & bad! CW: Ha, lots – and you will find them all in the book! In some categories, there was a clear winner for me. I do not think anyone does Chinese food as good as Red Chilli. In other categories, it was really difficult to choose though. For French food for

example, both Sous Le Nez and La Grillade offer superb dining experiences. TLD: Do you view eating out or cooking in differently now? CW: I think I am more sensitive to how good service is now. If service is bad, I will notice it is bad (I am probably timing it). Equally though, it really makes you appreciate when a restaurant does offer good service and really gets it right. I like to cook as well. Much like there are some undiscovered gems in the restaurant scene, the Leeds Fish Market is very much under-appreciated. They have an unrivalled range of delicious fresh seafood and it is usually cheaper than going to a supermarket as well! TLD: What next for you & the book? CW: I see the book as an everevolving project. Trinity has yet to reveal all of its restaurants, the Arena Quarter is being completely re-developed and The Core is planning to open a food court. As a consequence, by this time next year the restaurant scene in Leeds will have changed a lot and I would like the guide to keep pace with it.



the parting gift M

y best friend Simon had long black wavy hair which bounced on his shoulders when he walked. He had a low slung sloping gait and bad posture, his shoulders permanently hunched forward. He had high cheekbones and sea green eyes which sparked with an enthusiasm he found hard to mask. He was every girl at school’s secret weirdo crush. He was certainly mine. He’d arrived late in the school year having moved with his family from Sussex, his father having got a job lecturing in political science at Bradford University. He knew from the off that he would not fit in. His accent alone put paid to that. Yet he at least affected an air of indifference to this and brushed off the usual drab and predictable abuse. He was the one who gravitated towards me. I was almost 15 and was beginning to find my way. Having clumsily navigated the pitfalls of early adolescence I was beginning to understand where I fitted in the world. And it wasn’t Bradford. Being a teenager was especially hard with a Mum like mine. Most girls had something to push up against but I had nothing. Any band I liked Mum was on it. I loved Kurt Cobain. Mum had seen Nirvana’s first UK tour supporting Tad at Bradford University. I loved the Smashing Pumpkins. Mum played Siamese Dream incessantly saying it reminded her of Led Zeppelin. The only way I could have gone was in the opposite direction and start listening to Whigfield and I wasn’t going to do that. 22_TheLeedsDebacle

Instead I became more furtive and jealously guarded my latest musical infatuation from her. I also, friendless as I was, ploughed into my studies with a drive and purpose my Mum found bewildering. I knew that the best chance to get out of Bradford was to get a place at a good university, preferably as far away as possible. Bookish and aloof, the other mosher girls shunned me. They preferred to get stoned on the waste ground at the back of the sports field giving blow-jobs to older boys. I sat by myself most lunch times behind the art block listening to mix-tapes on my headphones. P J Harvey. Hole. Bikini Kill. Nirvana. Pixies. Smashing Pumpkins. Either that or reading. I was reading “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey when Simon found me. “Good book. Have you seen the film? Jack Nicholson’s amazing in it.” I told him I had and enjoyed it but hadn’t seen any of his other films. Simon was a big fan of Jack Nicholson’s and told me I had to see “Easy Rider”. And so it began. Simon’s father was an academic and his Mum worked as an arts administrator. He was like a visitor from another planet as far as I was concerned. A better, brighter world. He introduced me to so many books, films and bands and I helped him find his way around Bradford’s answer to bohemia. We went to Rio’s and Champers together, stomping all night to rock, metal and punk. He christened me “Zebedee” because I liked to jump around instead of

dance. We watched Italian horror films at Pictureville and the latest Schwarzenegger at the Odeon. It was always best though when we found something we could share together. A mutual obsession we could both devour. The greatest of these was our love of The Manic Street Preachers and their beautiful, troubled guitarist Richey James. We got matching faux-fur coats, mine a white and black dalmatian number, his leopard print of course. We got our hair cut short and feathered like theirs. Simon took to wearing a scarf and painting his nails red and I smeared thick black mascara around my eyes. I probably looked more like Liza Minelli than anything else. If it hadn’t been for the fact that he was so pretty most people mistook him for a girl at first glance we probably would have got no end of grief. We must have stood out in Bradford but I can’t remember feeling that. I felt proud and confident more than self-conscious. There may have been a few Slash and Axl clones at Rios but generally we were alone in our glam-rock peacockery and felt as if we were too big for the city. I remember one old man puffing away on the corner just gazing at us in a mixture of awe and disgust. “What do you think you look like?” “Fabulous” was Simons retort as we sauntered by, Once around the corner we collapsed in a fit of giggles, Simon mimicking the coarseness of the man’s accent to a t.

We would go on expeditions to Manchester or Liverpool ostensibly to see bands but really just to get away, out of Bradford and see what the rest of the country had to offer. We became obsessed with finding certain items of clothing and would spend many happy hours in all too often fruitless searches through the charity shops and markets for something or other. Simon wanted an Indian Army turban like the one James Dean Bradfield wore on the Holy Bible tour. I wanted some cherry red biker boots. I began to grow in confidence and discover the power of my burgeoning sexuality. At gigs men would come on to me and Simon would protect me by pretending to be my boyfriend. Yet how I wished it was true. We were flirtatious with each other at times. I would pull his hair from his eyes and he would take my arm but it was all a game to him. I began to wear dresses with my doc martins. Slight baby-doll things which showed my bandy little legs off. I wore red lipstick like Courtney Love. He’d say that I looked “Gorgeous” and he meant it but not in the way I wanted. I would get off with older men at gigs hoping to make him jealous. Once I almost went home with one. A postman called Steve with a red hennaed mohican and wandering hands. But I backed out at the last minute running off down the street to the railway station where I found Simon waiting for me looking sorry for himself. I held on. Waiting for him to notice. To realise that I didn’t want any of these other men with their sweaty, grasping eyes and clasping hands. I wanted him. And him alone. When it finally happened and he took me in I couldn’t see his face but I could feel his warm breathe on the back of my neck and his hair brushing against me. At first it was painful but soon I got into the

feeling of him inside me. His body leaning into mine, the grinding of his hips against my upper thighs. His hands clasped my buttocks and he kneaded them with his hands as he pushed in deeper. I could feel the rhythm getting faster, a more aggressive edge to it, his breathing more strangulated. One final thrust and he was done. He put his hand on my head and grabbed a handful of my hair, leaving it there for a moment. Then he pulled himself out and his body shrank away from me. I turned onto my back and wriggled, still all flushed and not quite sated. He turned towards me and looked into my eyes a look I couldn’t quite recognise on his face then he kissed me very gently on the mouth. There were no words and he turned away. I leaned into him, shuffling closer so we could spoon. I put my hand around to hold his belly but he very gently picked it up and lifted it away. “I’m tired. I need to sleep” he said. I lay on my back and tried to drift off to sleep but was left watching his back, the gentle rise and fall of his shoulders. Things were different between us after that. The hands once clasped so tightly pulled apart. We never really talked about it but something had shifted between us during that one and only night. For me it had been charged with a sense of a new beginning but for him it had meant something different. I can recognise now that he had given in and given me what he thought I’d wanted. And in gaining that I’d lost him completely. He drifted away. Began going to places I didn’t know about. Sex is like a slap in the face. Like harsh truths spoken in anger. It can’t be taken back. It shifts things between two people and what I’d imagined would bring us closer had really only pushed us apart. Maybe it was a parting gift of sorts.

It wasn’t until many years later that I really understood what had been going on. I’d run into a mutual acquaintance, Danny, one day and we began reminiscing about the old days and what had happened to various people we’d known. Simon’s name came up and he told me he was doing really well. That he’d moved to Australia after his training in nursing and was living with a doctor. Well she’s a very lucky woman I said. Woman? Danny said incredulously. You mean you didn’t know? Really? I thought you of all people! I mean you and him were like peas in a pod. Simon it turned out had always been gay, not ‘bi-curious’ as he’d once claimed. I’d always assumed he was just saying that because Brett Anderson had said it. Because Richey James had said it. To be different. But no. Everything made more sense now. I felt a weight slide off me. The niggling sense of having done something wrong was gone though a ripple of regret replaced it. If only we could have talked about it. He could have told me. He should have told me! The fool! He should have known I would have understood. Me of all people. Yet for whatever reason he couldn’t. Perhaps he needed to move on and distance himself from his old self, climb inside his chrysalis. That night I looked on FB and found him there. Simon Atkins. Melbourne, Australia. There were 14 Simon Atkins listed but I recognised him straight away. His beautiful black hair was gone, cropped to a military cut but he still had the same high cheekbones, the same flashing green eyes. And the same smile spread across his face. His real smile. It may have only been a profile picture but he looked happy and that was enough. So done with my cyber-stalking I logged off and went to bed.


Shears Yard After the gradual demise of former fine fish restaurant Livebait, it is with appreciation that the centuries old neglected space has been recently filled and lovingly renovated into new independent kitchen and bar Shears Yard. The team behind Arts Café repeat their simple idea of good food done well with personable service in relaxed surroundings. The menu drools with complex delights which are executed into a wholesome meal that you probably couldn’t have cooked at home. Welcome.

The Pit This devastatingly named new Merrion Street venue is quite a surprise. The no-nonsense exterior is replaced by a plush basement interior, cleverly utilising the ground floor windows. Slick service and buzzing atmosphere defy its newcoming although there is a stench of manufactured bandwagon-jumping in the on-trend US-BBQ menu and extensive ‘tails & ales. It is therefore less surprising to find successful Arc Inspirations behind the venture, albeit a venture expertly realised. Oh, and obviously you can play ping-pong here too.

Belgrave Music Hall The former Riley’s snooker hall appears an unusual choice for Leeds’ hippest new bar but initial announcements suggest there is a foresight and ambition behind Belgrave Music Hall that will utilise the scope this huge disused building offers. There are impressive gig listings of acts; local, national and international; upcoming, established and excellent. There are encouraging involvements with Leeds’ finest independent retailers to provide food, film, art and atmosphere alongside the booze. And there is even talk of a rooftop terrace…



old codgers commentary W

hen I was sixteen I joined the Young Conservatives. It was a strong and active branch in East Leeds, politically sound and populated in the main by teenage girls and young women who were seeking husbands in the dwindling ranks of businessmen’s sons. Unexpectedly I rose through the ranks and committees to be Branch Chairman, even nominated in the local party-rag as possibly the most eligible bachelor in Leeds. College however brought different political leanings and I swung with the pendulums weight of dubious conviction to Marxism and the Communist Party. Yes I was the one who scrawled the slogans, alliterated the propaganda and hoisted the banner proclaiming the victory of the proletariat. It never came of course and, as the sixties merged into the seventies, I engaged with the new and psychedelic politic of free love and ’peace man’. I totally embraced my fellow travellers though they tended to consist of as many handsome women who would buy the line I was spinning them at the time.


Marriage, children and a stint in the police force put an end to that nonsense, you can’t wear a flowery tie with the blue uniform and anything but an extremely right wing Police Force will always be unthinkable. Also my regular and devout forays into free love seemed to unnerve my then wife and for that matter my calvinistic employers. The commercial world then called and I bought again into the new way of thinking. Thatcherism and the need for profit was the new religion and I embraced it with the fervour of any convert. The company gave me a new top of the range car every eighteen months, the expense account seemed to be almost without limit, the sun always shone and I was finally in my prime. ‘What Could Go Wrong?’ Well I suppose interest rates at fourteen percent were a bit of a downer, The School Fee’s were crippling and the onset of chronic heart disease tended to cramp my style to some small but significant degree.

By the time I was fifty I was an active member of the Liberal Democrats. There were ladies and gents of a certain age, all with a certain intellectual standing but variously uncertain and often very woolly opinions. I fortunately had a few firm opinions of my own so it was unexpectedly that I rose through the ranks and committees to be branch chairman and eventually constituency secretary. I left long before this current coalition nonsense came to the fore and local democracy had gone out of the window. Now I content myself with riding the pendulum once again. I suppose for the benefit of the electorate I should circumvent the latest mindless trend for the extreme right of the EDL and National Front and stand for the post of Life President and Perpetual Dictator. After all I have decades of political experience and the good god must have put me on this earth for the purpose of serving my fellow man. ‘Now where have you heard that before?’

TEDDY BEAR / IAN GANT At first I only saw the flowers, Like rich brocade, a wayside alter, The bright of nature, sweet in air, That caused my onward step to falter.

A masque macabre, a cabaret, A puppet master to the spheres, The bear performs its pirouette, While no one looks and no one hears.

But then my gaze fell to the toys, The string and tape that held them there, Festooning all to a crash scarred tree. And crying out for the world to care.

And strangely I am forced to smile, As blood is quickened through each vein, I hear from deep inside my soul, A keening song that brings me pain.

I did not stop to read the notes, That cruel rain had blurred to scrawl, But walking on reviewed the scene, And wondered do we care at all.

The tree is scarred and I am too, Diminished, damaged, and amazed, But yet without the mortal shock, I feel the man within me raised.

The tree still unforgiving stands, And will another hundred years, While wife or mother waits and weeps, And wraps herself in happened fears.

These shrines adorn our city streets, But flowers fade, corrupt and die, And all will be as it has been, When memories are just a lie.

With quickening step I cross the road, But can’t resist the backward glance, The wind has skirled the marigolds, And set the teddy bear to dance.

For we are only fading blooms, And toys that dance to the wind of change, Tied to our tree by a greater hand, And plans the fates can’t re-arrange.



the trailer tent

A short-attention-spanned slew of movie (p)reviews


Black screen, nice font, space facts about being ‘372 miles above the Earth’. Space shuttle in orbit spinning around with bits flying off it! Female astronaut attached to mechanical arm spinning uncontrollably away from Earth! *vom* SHE NEEDS TO DETACH! DO IT NOW! She does it and flies off into space. WB Logo. She’s still spinning, we’re spinning with her. Horrible. “I can’t breathe!” Understandable. SPACE PERIL SMASHING MONTAGE; dialogue between Clooney and Bullock about ‘where home is’. FURTHER MONTAGE: assorted orbiting perils, culminating in Bullock clinging to side of satellite while it’s torn to pieces. I’m not sure my nerves could deal with this; but I think I’d like to find out. Not one for agoraphobics, claustrophobics, space-phobes or Bullock-phobes.


The Book Thief


Already a little hostile to remaking this. Benefit of the doubt…Right, panning up on that wooden house, there’s Mother singing hymns *shudder* IN EVERY NEIGHBOURHOOD THERE IS ONE FAMILY…WITH A SECRET… Julianne Moore as the Mother! Already won over. Ooh and her from Kick Ass (Chloe Moritz) - ‘The other kids think I’m weird…I have to try and be a whole person…’ Oh no, the shower scene *harrowing* Lights smashing…Carrie locked in cupboard to ‘Pray for forgiveness’ - SCARY MONTAGE, bleeding icons &c. “If I concentrate hard enough, I can make things move. Goth Matilda anyone? Carrie doing research, making flags wave, lifting up furniture…She’s been asked to the Prom (AAAAAAAAAARGH! - intercut moments from Prom - AAAAAAAAARGH!) ‘They’re all gonna laugh at you’ says Mother. It slides off into darker and bloodier realms. This actually looks really promising - quality trailer, great cast, good soundtrack - I’ll be going.

Not read this, but hear great things….Steam train, lonely little girl in Germany (?), snowy villages…’It’s your new parents…’ Shots of new home, ‘you will call me Mama and that lazy oaf Papa.’ She’s fighting with the other kids about reading. And the new Dad’s helping her learn to read. Tinkly music and Nazi flags appearing… Right, they’ve taken in a Jew called Max; she must not tell anyone. WORDS WILL GUIDE HER. COURAGE WILL GUIDE HER. (Wow, the film trailer voice man is still working) HOPE WILL DEFINE HER. (Bleurch, pushing the schmaltz here guys). She’s stealing books from the book-burnings; ‘When life robs you, sometimes you have to rob it back’. OK, I’ll let them get away with a certain amount of sentimentalism - it looks like a well-made and good-hearted film.

Out of the Furnace

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I loved the first one, so fingers crossed. The ‘Victor’s Village’ - nicely designed sets again. Ooh, Capitol all gleaming and authoritarian. ‘Since the last Games, something’s different’…A shot of the bird broach she wore, people in a city square giving Katniss’ salute. ‘We can’t go on acting for the cameras and ignoring each other in real life,’ says Peeta, poor lamb. AntiCapitol graffiti - Katniss becoming a revolutionary figure. ‘She has to be eliminated,’ says Donald Sutherland’s President Snow. Burning flags, rioting. She’s being stalked now by futuristic cops in white suits: ‘They will kill us…’ Katniss in front of President, who asks ‘Would you like to be in a real war? Imagine thousands of your people, dead.’ Ah, they’re bunging back all the existing Victors to the Hunger Games. Montage of media circus, Victors in training. ‘Any last advice?’…’Stay alive.’ And the Cornucopia IN WATER - in she dives. GOD THIS LOOKS EXCITING and, like the first, seriously classy. Go see it, if you’ve read the book or not.

Christian Bale character in bed with girlfriend, ‘You work too much’ - there he is in a factory. Meeting what appears to be brother - he’s got debt issues, but they’re tight. He’s missed their drinking date - there’s Woody Harrelson being threatening - loan shark, it seems. Oh, now he’s street fighting - they’re trying to get him to ‘take a dive’, right. ‘They haven’t been able to find your brother…’ I sense REVENGE QUEST coming on. FOR HOPE…Bale kissing granddad’s forehead…FOR FAMILY…Bale and girlfriend (Uhura from Star Trek!) crying/hugging… FOR JUSTICE…fighting fighting fighting, grime crime grit etc. Well, it looks astonishingly earnest - as is the soundtrack - and could just be a vehicle for fighting and crying. So if you like fighting and crying; check it out.


Spike Jonze / Joaquin Phoenix combo and faintly sci-fi blurb = promising. Cityscape scene, Phoenix being interviewed by the ‘first artificially-intelligent operating system’…Montage of solitary life, Operating System is ‘generated’: ‘Hi, I’m Samantha’ says charming lady-voice (Scarlett Johansson, it transpires). Is this going to be like Weird Science? She’s getting him out of bed for a meeting ‘in five minutes’ - they’re clearly forming voiceoperated romance. (Yeah Yeah Yeahs ‘Skeletons’ in background: bonus points). She’s been looking through his emails - will it get sinister? Nope: montage of him doing exciting and exhilarating things. ‘It’s been a long time since I’ve been with someone I feel totally at ease with…’ SHE’S A COMPUTER, JOAQUIN! Sexy talk with OS ensues…Waiting for the drama to kick in; could all be a bit cosy and safe - see ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ (YAWN). I fear this could be *shudder* a rom com in disguise! We’ll see…



e d u c a t i o n e d u c a t i o n e d u c a t i o n Y

oung school leavers are scrutinising the importance of university education like never before. The BBC first reported in January that applications had fallen but updated this to a slight increase when UCAS released their revised statistics. Some commentators believed students were researching in detail before making the best decision. They were questioning whether or not £27,000 for three years tuition fees could be considered value for money. Rent, bills, food and travel costs push the current price of university for most into the bracket of over £40,000. My older family members never had those worries. A generation or two ago university was generally less accessible to all. Those decisions (not) to attend were usually made automatically as a by-product of social standing and quality of education. Nongrammar schools took the Julius Caesar approach of “Experience is the teacher of all things.” They taught the basics, then without too much fuss released the often ill-prepared kids into the big wide world of work. For me things were remarkably different. I started high school in 1997, the same year that Tony Blair achieved a landslide victory for New Labour over his 30_TheLeedsDebacle

Conservative rival John Major. His party policy included the ideology of “education, education, education”. Throughout my school years, teachers enthusiastically repeated the importance of education to borderline propaganda levels. These phrases, rather amusing with hindsight, included: “People who go to university earn more money”, “You need a degree to get a good job” and the rather derisory “You could definitely aim higher than THAT course”. John Dewey, American philosopher and educational reformer once said: “The goal of education is to enable individuals to continue their education”. New Labour certainly borrowed from this because from my experiences high school led to sixth form/ college, which in turn led to university. For academic students, an alternative career path was rarely suggested or offered. Ironically in some cases these opportunities were often reserved for the ‘less bright’ who are by now probably laughing all the way to the bank. That policy of educational accessibility for all, no doubt had good intentions. Sadly, the employment market is now heavily saturated with graduates and four million people consider themselves to be underemployed

in terms of hours worked or quality of profession. The economy will gradually recover but for now many still remain in an undesirable situation with no way out. Personally, I need experience to get a foot in the door of a journalism or media company that uses my degree. I am not alone, graduates in a variety of sectors often wonder how to meet that essential requirement? The options usually include paid work placement schemes; costly, unpaid, London based internships and volunteer pursuits. Organisations such as Intern Aware have argued that this can lead to wannabes being exploited, sometimes even replacing paid members of staff. Spare a thought also for those poor souls at the other end who found themselves on the controversial workfare scheme, cruelly herded into Poundland and other places like cattle for far less than minimum wage. In these difficult times it is often hard to remain optimistic. Ultimately though, whether you have education, experience or a combination they are arguably linked and both have great importance. To finish with another infamous political slogan “Things can only get better!

LEAVE TO REMAIN / CRIMINONYMOUS I am a foreign infiltration I attend without an invitation And stay for the duration I test the patience of another nation Ignoring me is hard Because I’m everywhere I’m not wanted Taking over, can’t stop it Feared by the populace For my kind, it’s true Because we’re migrant workers too A wave of violence, you’ll rue the day You didn’t shut your borders away We don’t just take space We destroy lives Make it harder to survive Walking past, I see the hate in your eyes And now, Your worst fears are realised My failure to learn your language Is the least of your anguish The locals speak their opposition They’re not the ones that let us in So now they feel like victims Feel estranged from their own system It was meant to be temporary But that wasn’t the whole story As I invade your country You’re nostalgic for your former glory And like all migrant workers I live in fear of attack And I long for my home As I look across the desert From a tank In Iraq

UNLESS INVITED / PAUL CROSSLEY When my search your eyes With one darting glance For the love that pierces my own heart It is like Dracula Peering into the mirror At his own unlikeliness.




the napkin story project It’s not the first place you think of when one of your writer friends tells you they are going to have their work published. Their words immortalised forever on … a paper napkin? Surely not on something that we wilfully scrunch up, wipe our mitts on and discard flippantly on the table without a second thought? You’d better believe it. This month sees the inaugural launch of The Napkin Story Project, a new and exciting initiative to help give voice to fledgling and institutional writers alike, in and around Leeds. It all began in May, when the project launched a competition to find ten 300 word Halloween themed stories. The ten best submissions were to be immortalised forever on a napkin. Yes, yes, we know how incongruous the idea of “forever in print on a paper napkin” seems. But here is our thinking behind it: Think about how often you pop into a café or a bar and find yourself face to face with a paper napkin. At least once a week, probably once a day, and for some of us, we spend our lives in and out of our favourite haunts eating, drinking and being merry with ourselves or our friends. But what if we were to do something to culturally enrich your café experience? What if we were to do something to brighten up your day, to enliven it with a good story? What we really wanted to do was bring you a little bit of sunshine. You see, I believe stories are just like sunshine. And, to find one on a napkin, as with seeing sunshine in Britain, would be thoroughly unexpected, and quite a lovely surprise. Our aim is to surprise and delight ordinary people like you and me with a story. We wanted to confront the people who might not read very often, or

see any value in a novel. We dare to dream that a snippet of something fantastically written and seasonally appropriate would be enough to reignite within the hardened non-readers a suspicion, at least, that they should pick up a book – or these days a tablet or a kindle – and see what all this reading malarkey is really about. Of course, this is not just about reading. This is about giving a voice to the next generation of writing talent. To have their words read and to put their name out there is the ultimate reward for The Napkin Story Project. The response was phenomenal, and thoroughly unexpected. Over 50 writers submitted their own Halloween flavoured creation. From the ghoulish to the hilarious, it was remarkable what the authors’ had done with just 300 words. Judging was a nightmare, and not just because of the nature of the stories. The thought and consideration that had gone into the entries meant that choosing just ten was impossible. In the

end, after much wrestling and to-ing and fro-ing, it was decided that we had to let one extra slip in. The Napkin Story Project was the idea of the wonderful Sue Wright, of Tiny Owl Workshop, all the way in Brisbane. Her wonderful idea was spotted by myself at mcBookishness and Anne E. Murray, who jumped at the chance to bring the project to Leeds and Toronto respectively. This means that not only will the Leeds napkin authors have their work read by their fellow Yorkshire lads and lasses, but across the world in Australia and Canada too! While some may still scrunch up their napkin, we hope that for every one who does, there will be another who reads it, who thinks the story is too good to be used for crumbs, and who ultimately folds it up, takes it with them and passes on the delight of a good spooky story. Watch out for the napkins in all sorts of places around Leeds at the end of October.

something to do every day.. OCTOBER 1st Kunt And The Gang (Fab) 2nd Spacehog (Cockpit) 3rd Momentous (Millennium Square) 4th Light Night (various) 5th Steampunk Market (Armley Mills) 6th Vintage Fair (Corn Exchange) 7th Tangled Roots (Seven) 8th Lee Scratch Perry (Stylus) 9th Faces: Anatomy of Autonomy (Leeds Gallery) 10th Peter Grimes (Grand) 11th Love Music Leeds (All Hallows) 12th Felix Dennis (Stanley & Audrey Burton) 13th Johnny Marr (Met) 14th Simon Munnery (Library) 15th Dylan Carlson (Left Bank) 16th These New Puritans (Vox) 17th Love Arts Love Comedy (Verve) 18th Twilight 5k (Roundhay Park) 19th Ian Skelly (Holy Trinity) 20th No Gloss Film Festival (Canal Mills) 21st Ladyboys of Bangkok (Millennium Square) 22nd Paul Daniels (Varieties) 23rd Goldheart Assembly (Wardrobe) 24th The Wedding Present (Academy) 25th One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (Carriageworks) 26th Haunted House of Horrors (secret) 27th Roger Moore (Grand) 28th The Statement of Randolph Carter (HUB) 29th Playing Out (Armley Mills) 30th How To Kill A Vampire (Armouries) 31st Witch Hunt (Wharf Chambers)

Roll-up! Roll-up! Roll-neck! It’s the Goldheart Assembly - pouts optional


Steve Mason - never smiles... ever. NOVEMBER 1st Michael Nyman (Howard Assembly) 2nd Pigeon Detectives (Met) 3rd Mark Lanegan (College of Music) 4th Mark Kermode (Hyde Park Picture House) 5th Bonfire Night (park) 6th People (Grand) 7th Leeds Lights Switch On (Victoria Gardens) 8th Steve Mason (Cockpit) 9th Tom Stoddart (White Cloth) 10th Unique Gift Fair (Corn Exchange) 11th Savages (Vox) 12th Mount Kimbie (Uni) 13th Depeche Mode (Arena) 14th WWE Live (Arena) 15th World Cup Quarter Final (Headingley) 16th 1984 (WYP) 17th Abbey Dash (Headrow) 18th Mark Thomas (WYP) 19th International Film Festival (various) 20th Gaz Coombes (Holy Trinity) 21st Palma Violets (Met) 22nd The Beat (Brudenell) 23rd Thought Bubble (Clarence Dock) 24th Record Fair (Corn Exchange) 25th Josie Long (Hyde Park Picture House) 26th Humans As Ornaments (Oporto) 27th Nocturne (Art Gallery) 28th Scrooge (Grand) 29th The Fall (Brudenell) 30th Not On Normal Courtyard Exercise (Seven)

Kurt Vile

DECEMBER 1st Christkindelmarkt (Millennium Square) 2nd The World of Anthony Brown (Leeds Museum) 3rd Dennis Oppenheim (Henry Moore) 4th Factory Floor (Belgrave) 5th Braids (Belgrave) 6th Haim (Met) 7th Leeds Utd v Watford (Elland Road) 8th Winter Wonderleeds (Briggate) 9th Sleeping Beauty (Carriageworks) 10th The Jungle Book (WYP) 11th Lake Street Dive (HiFi) 12th Kate Rusby (Town Hall) 13th Kurt Vile (Brudenell) 14th Handmade Market (Albion Place) 15th Sports Personality of the Year (Arena) 16th Jean Tinguely (Henry Moore) 17th Status Quo (Arena) 18th The Cribs (Academy) 19th Melvin Moti: Hyperspace (Majestic) 20th Made In Yorkshire Yuletide Market (Victoria Gardens) 21st Shed Seven (Academy) 22nd Peter & The Wolf & The Snowman (Town Hall) 23rd Jack & The Beanstalk Rock’n’Roll Panto (Varieties) 24th Christmas Eve (home) 25th Christmas Day (in-laws) 26th Boxing Day (pub) 27th Peter Pan (Arena) 28th Leeds Carnegie v Nottingham (Headingley) 29th Rob Dylan Band (New Roscoe) 30th Cinderella (Grand) 31st New Year’s Eve (party!)


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Issue 13 of The Leeds Debacle is: John Barran Ross Newsome Hollie Richardson Rob Lowe Nali Blonder Tim Knight Ian Gant

Lola Wilson Matt Charlton Nicola Stewart Philip Regan Caleb Parkin Lakshmi Vishwanathan Ian Pepper

Kate McDonald James Wall Tim Chapman Chris Worfolk Criminonymous Paul Crossley Stuarts Photography



Issue 13 of The Leeds Debacle

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