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issue 15 - ÂŁfree

apr - jun 2014





P o e t r y S p o r t M u s i c

O c e a n s B l o g s N u i s a n c e

Smartphones G a y R e v i e w s

Photography L i s t i n g s M e a t






words Tap, tap I shiver

‘Come in sit like a Buddha, you want to know why? Because you’ll hear me better.’ Stockings, slut seam, running in a ruler straight line to my black stilettos, crunching my toes. High-heels, clickedy-click pinned to the earth by my empty waist; what an unforgiving waste. Sometimes, all they are, are words, words, words.



commit no nuisance I

’m not a person known for being brazen or brash but let me be blunt. I love people, their differences and similarities, varied pursuits, ways and means, degrees of confidence, awkwardness, elation, anxiety, securities, concerns and the capacity for us to help and be helped in turn. I’m interested in personal and collective growth through discussion, understanding of cause and effect, respect and that an acceptance of a duty to these things, with regard and responsibility to each other and ourselves is paramount to happiness. Not with a snaking sideways Jerry Springer smile but a genuine and sincere appreciation for our fellows and finding liberation and connection via. independent and collaborative thought rather than stigmatising difference as a consequence of fear. I’ve never studied sociology or anthropology and although the political and cultural theory aspects of my communications degree were what fascinated me most I would never claim to be the slightest bit an expert. I’m merely a socially awkward observer on the search for a sense of belonging, reaching out to reading in greasy spoons, pursuing meaning and understanding from a varied

pallet of opinion and talking with strangers when not playing music with Esper Scout and other noisy pals. “This world would be a whole lot better if we made an effort to be less horrible to one another” was Ellen Page’s direct and heartfelt plea for compassion and liberty during a recent Human Rights Campaign Foundation event. Aware this article sits on the pages of a liberal, free-thinking magazine it may well be a verse reaching only the like-minded but do hope it finds its way into other eyes, pairs which might be otherwise distracted, disinterested, disempowered, disillusioned or tired. Following College Football Star Michael Sam’s announcement that he’s gay Texas newsman Dale Hansen on 8 News boldly went on air to further ‘out’ the negative judgement and discriminatory treatment of homosexuals in sport: “I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay; I don’t understand his world. But I do understand that he’s part of mine” and quoting Civil rights activist Audre Lorde, whose work was most prominent in the sixties and seventies: “It

is not our differences that divide us; it is our inability to recognise, accept and celebrate those differences.” This intolerance to differences leads to allergic reactions, as demonstrated by the whipping and drawing blood from Pussy Riot members as they set up a performance in the corner of a car park at Sochi Winter Olympics in February this year. How encouraging to live in a redefined, fertile and blossoming meritocracy based not exclusively on framed achievements, intelligence, opportunity, ownership and inheritance as it is now, but quantifying worth by behaviour, benevolence, compassion, respect, effort, intention and motivation as well. Where fluidity entombs rigidity and false absolutes are binned in favour of relativism, compromise and perspective with liberation between the exchange of ideas and interests. As one of film’s wisest minds, Garth Elgar, asks with a bemused smirk in Wayne’s World 2: ‘when did you turn into a nut bar?’ I’m aware of my potentially futile position as a dreamer, naïve philanthropist and far-from oracle for libertarian thinkers Marx, TheLeedsDebacle_3

Engels, Chomsky, Zizek and the rest. Avital Rowell, walking and talking her way through Central Park in Astra Taylor’s brilliant and highly accessible collection of philosophical street seminars ‘Examined Life’ observes that ‘the responsible being is someone who doesn’t think they’ve been responsible enough.’ As with anything its meaning is open to interpretation and my perception of these words is this: when it comes to the relationship between how we consider, reflect, appreciate and have empathy for our surroundings, exchanges and behaviours, satisfaction is not a justifiable reaction to a charitable act. In Rowell’s words ‘a good conscience is worthless’ as she quite harshly dismisses and shames any resulting contentment, smugness, disinterest or calm as a result of a single or number of good deeds a person might make. Pretty unrelenting stuff but still, through knowing how stressful abstaining from selfcongratulation is, her point about self-awareness and accountability is a well-intentioned one.1 You might be feeling pangs of either guilt or rebellion so let’s lighten things up. My intention isn’t to inspire radical Guy Fawkes-style extravagances; my ambition isn’t one above simply discuss ‘pleb power’ on an immediate community level. I’m not suggesting people should torture themselves because they haven’t donated every copper coin they have to a cause; that would only create more anxiety in us. Instead a continued warmth and consideration for situations outside your own, engaging with them and acting within your means in cases you find a compulsion to do so. A smile at a stranger or giving away your day-rider bus ticket to someone in the queue as you alight for the night. Offers of anything, whether instinctive or considered to link us up and feel less alone, suspicious and confused. A proposition conflicting with the British stiff upper lip but that’s not something 4_TheLeedsDebacle

I’m convinced is anything other than an unnecessary self-fulfilling prophecy anyway. One of false comfort based on blind servitude to an unfixed mindset rather than pursuing what really fuels and ignites your spirit. This year marks the centenary of WWI, could we realistically start to move on from the undue deference to authority, aristocracy and the hierarchal ladder, the subservient model so dominant in the era we’re soon to commemorate? To no longer blindly follow orders with squashed assertiveness and curbed confidence, even in our own little ways. Our species has the potential to be unified by difference and respect for discussion and liberty in the interest of peaceful cohabitation, co-operation and co-dependence, whilst still maintaining and celebrating individualism. All earned rather than assumed and inherited, trades in services and all that. When it comes to identity, mental health, ‘alternative culture’ (daft terminology), support and collaboration replacing helplessness and alienation is portrayed as being difficult to achieve which isn’t true and I’m hopeful we can start cleaning this running stream of unspoken powerlessness and low selfesteem. I remember some suggestion in Parliament and the press a few years ago of a national policy whereby students indulge in a day or two of community service. Aware of the susceptibility and dangers of providing free labour (which, yes, could lend itself to councils taking advantage), I loved the idea. An easy way to meet people, to learn from and about them as well as connecting with the streets, buildings and community rather than taking things for granted as we all do. Everyone else hated it. My few attempts at explaining any enthusiasm and positive outcomes fell on deaf ears; an offering of ‘know-thy-neighbour’

noodles received with only turned up nostrils. But why can’t we have more self-stimulated and stimulating projects? There are already some out there; I’ve seen it in the US and some cafes, pubs and other adult dens in smaller communities and city suburbs of the UK. For a long time people have been pitted against each other, sheep-dogged into their pens and ushered into hutches by reassuring whispers that the fewer people you rely on, the less complicated and easier to manage this unnecessarily exhausting life can be. Aware I could run the risk of coming across like a guilt-tripping, hysterical soapboxing know-it-all I actually sit comfy with Plato’s ‘I know one thing; that I know nothing’ philosophy. I reach out and absorb with an appetite for the development of and connection to my surroundings, from my place both as an individual and member of a cultural coalition with a desire to replace alienation with fusion between people. Not one to read from Mary Whitehouse’s dusty and stubborn hymn sheet, mine is rooted in an appreciation and respect for flexibility, humility, self-awareness and fluidity in attitude of any individual or group as long actions are made with compassion and contempt for those who are impacted on. In the words of author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (look up her wonderful TED speech): “Culture does not make people; people make culture”. I’d love for us to be able to rely on the culture I’m a part of a bit more rather in the spirit of cooperation and trust rather than being ‘blanketed by the warmth of ignorance’. I’ll never commit to being a bloodsister of any land on the basis that I find the concept of elitism uncomfortably disconnecting, creating unwarranted tension of varying levels depending on context, circumstance and consequence. As much as it causes me slight discomfort to say this based on the previous sentence regarding postcode lotteries as

I do love Great Britain in many ways and for many reasons. I would like to mention though the profound and disheartening shift I noticed in the way my feet walked the streets and head sat on my shoulders in the couple of days after I landed home from trips to South Africa and the States. Obvious holiday elation aside and not ignoring that these places have their problems, there was a potent and highly contagious vibe of positivity and camaraderie in Kwazulu-Natal and the US WestCoast. Unfortunately the feelings faded fast and are something I feel the loss, or at least hibernation of, every day. If all this is sounding confident and clear headed, don’t let me fool you. For a long time, I was unable to act on this innate thirst for connection, learning and belonging. This is something all quite recent and by no means stable! After years of knackered, somnambulant conduct, sleepwalking my way

through activities, obligations, creativity and work as a result of malpractice and mistreatment of myself, I’ve found a sturdy wall – unknowingly and steadily built between myself and my lived experience over several years – now begin to fall, one pallet at a time. Once riddled with physical pain caused by stress, anxiety and mental isolation over several years, I’m terrified of the apathy and self-centredness that results from feeling so drained. Through knowing these feelings so deeply myself, I recognise the consequent negative and unproductive forces in many others, seeing potentially optimistic and focused dispositions folding and repressed beneath weights of work, politics, economics, ideology, greed and self-service, whether blatant or sneaky. As a result I’ve been able to gently re-engage my awareness beyond an all-consuming and hyper-focused situation and hope to reassure others of an escape from debilitating loneliness and silent despair.

Maybe mine is a blissfully unrealistic and unimaginable ideal but I’d be surprised to find many people whose eyes don’t twitch like mine did when reading the words, “we feel free because we lack the very language to express our unfreedom” (Slavoj Zizek, Welcome to the Desert of the Real). How about we find security in our identities through dabbling with diversity and empowerment through learning and teaching? Communication and collaboration is the antidote to desperation and impending desolation. You can’t swallow a pill to break down stubborn behaviours; it takes training of the mind and an openness to reach out, but I can say from several years and counting of near crippling selfconsciousness, distance and detachment in the attempt to settle in to myself sensitive to the hostility which drips through the veins of our society, it’s becoming well worth it.



the tetley bittermen They were an advertiser’s dream A winning team You couldn’t beat ‘em And had to hand it to them Drawing on their industrial past The number of pints they drank was vast They didn’t do things by half Always fun, having a laugh They were worth searching for Wherever found, difficult to ignore Heritage and tradition in Leeds uncannily smooth Then in 2011, Carlsberg decided they should be removed


kultchad live TLD: What’s the concept of ‘Kultchad Live’? KL: We are music fans who put on gigs in our living rooms for people who enjoy live music…. it’s that simple. A Kultchad Live show is somewhere you can watch and listen to up and coming bands and artists in a cosy, small and comfortable environment. Chat to the band before or after the show, have a cup of tea and share some cake - if you are lucky baked by the hosts - make some new friends and most of all enjoy yourselves. TLD: What was the inspiration for the idea? KL: ‘Imagine a band in your living room’, is the phrase used in a conversation between two musicloving friends which kicked off the idea of Kultchad Live. Since starting this pop-up house gig venture a little over 6 months ago it’s fast growing into a new way to see up and coming local talent.


TLD: Tell us how it all works. KL: At the moment the gigs are split between two West Yorkshire towns. Firstly a classic back-toback in the heart of Morley and a more refined setting in Heaton, Bradford. It’s a not for profit venture, so all we ask is a donation to the artist in order to have an invite to the show. Unsurprisingly, due to the size of the venues, places are limited and we have found that they can fill up pretty quickly. We don’t release the address of the gig until donations are made, so we can keep track of numbers, and avoid too tight a squeeze! To make a donation and get an invite to a show you can visit KultchadLive on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. TLD: Who’s played where so far & how have the gigs gone? KL: Artists gracing the living rooms have included Down Reno, The Frugal and Good Moves. Hope & Social dropped by for a special

Christmas show in Heaton, days before their sell out shows at Leeds Town Hall. Wakefield’s own one-man-band Jonny the Firth brought the year to a close in Morley playing his set of catchy Blues Punk, which included some impromptu audience participation. And finally Do Miss America have made a strong start to this year, which we hope will set us up for a year of finger-snapping, toe-tapping music in 2014. TLD: Do you plan to expand the project with more houses hosting more bands? KL: We are always interested to hear from local artists and people interested in hosting an event. So if you want to be a part of Kultchad Live then why not come along to a gig and see what it’s all about!



maths,mistakes & mad maxx This article was submitted late. It was late because I typed the deadline into my iPhone incorrectly and it announced itself seven days after the deadline. This never would have happened if I’d used a paper calendar. Of course I never have used a paper calendar. I’ve tried but usually give up by the second time I’ve glanced at it. However, I do use the calendar on my phone constantly. I’ve synced it to my wife’s phone calendar much like women sync cycles. At one point I had her cycles synced to our calendars! And all available from the comfort of my desk/sofa/ toilet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Which leads me to wonder whether that’s a good thing? I mean, the typewriter was an amazing invention that aided writers the world over, yet it is famously credited with changing Friedrich Nietzsche’s writing style when he briefly experimented with it late in life. His already curt pace becoming even crisper by comparison. Neitzsche Himself admitted this in a letter, stating, “our writing tools are also working on our thoughts”. If the simple change from using pen and paper to the most rudimentary of typewriters observably altered the widely studied and respected philosophical mind that is Nietzsche then what the hell is constant access to cat videos on youtube doing to all of us?!?


We can drunkenly book trips to Paris and not know until we wake up the next day, dry-mouthed, and wondering why our bedroom looks suspiciously like a park bench along the Seine. Our kids can practically bankrupt us by tapping a few virtual buttons while playing angry birds. And I can only assume that work productivity is down as a result of these devices because I can’t be the only one who started tweeting in the toilet and remembered they had a job to do 10 minutes later! Our collective addiction to smart phones has changed us, continues to change us, and well may forever alter the way we think, remember, communicate, and socialize. Excepting a global MadMax-esque dystopian disaster of course. But, until that day when we start driving really fast and handcuffing people to cars that are about to explode, we’ve got to deal with the issue at hand. It reminds me of calculus. My maths teacher made all of us buy graphing calculators for class. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I could code programs on

them. Once the thrill of playing homemade mario brothers wore off, I considered the timesaving opportunities of coding a program to perform equations for me. Arguably, the upfront work was more arduous than the work it saved me down the line, but I was given the green light to use any such creation if I was clever enough to make them work properly. Weeks later I barely handled any calculations myself, merely punching in variables and copying down the black-on-grey results my calculator displayed. Until the day my maths teacher snapped. I guess I’d taken things too far because he just started yelling at me. That his 30 year old son with learning disabilities would give anything to be able to perform the calculations I’d deemed unworthy of my efforts. With tears in his eyes, and an angry army of frogs in his throat, he told me I had a brilliant mind but needed to use it instead of intentionally stagnating. That’s stuck with me. And while I love what I can make my phone do for me today, I wonder if this addiction won’t turn ugly tomorrow. Not overtly, like meth, but in subtle and socially acceptable ways until one day we collectively wake up and wish there was an impassioned maths teacher there to save us from ourselves. But odds are, there won’t be. He’ll have entered the date wrong in his iPhone and the world will have moved on.



She’s in love with her phone It’s turned her into a drone She’s getting trapped inside their web We’re being run by machines That was part of our scheme Now we can’t escape their net Extra, extra, read all about it They just dug a hole Thanks so much for that But there’s no need to fill me in Let me tell you a secret Try to keep down low Shout from the rooftops The world needn’t know I wish that we could Get off the grid Over the walls That keep us hid She’s in love with her phone It’s turned her into a drone She’s getting trapped inside their web We’re being run by machines That was part of our scheme Now we can’t escape their net They don’t need to leave the house They’re living virtually Why should they go see the world? When the world comes to their screen When we get to the island We can restart Erase the thing That used to tear us apart We can share it all Face to face Feel your breath As you call my name Memory is full It’s game over for me Done my job Planted the last few seeds Soon there’ll be No need for us Is that reason To get our backup



celliNO! The tale of dishonest men in a dishonest business stopping a dishonest man entering a dishonest business for being dishonest. There’s a greedy guy in charge of a football club who risks it all to reach the top and fails. He spends £240 on a goldfish and pays players triple what they expect. For his generosity he becomes known as Father Christmas. He is living the dream. When he is awoken by deafening debt he escapes unscathed and is considered a fit and proper person to repeat the same mistakes in more places. As the club plummets down leagues and towards extinction they are seemingly saved. The apparent hero is their former nemesis. He once said about the club he now owns: “I shall not rest until they are kicked out of the Football League. Their fans are the scum of the earth, absolute animals, and a disgrace. I will do everything in my power to make this happen”. The hatred is mutual.

Debts mysteriously disappear. The club are docked 15 points then can’t stop winning. They get promoted. They nearly get promoted again. For his white beard he becomes known as Father Christmas. Not for his generosity. Mistrust remains. Players are sold, replaced by old enemies. Supporters are branded ‘morons’. The club is slowly removed from its community. Income mysteriously disappears. Fans rejoice when he finally leaves. New owners return the club to the community. Expectations reappear and are quickly shattered. These guys are the only Arab investment bankers (rhyming slang) with no finances. They are in it for the money whilst losing a million a month. The club is sinking. The saviour this time is an Italian on trial for tax avoidance on a yacht. He announces himself by publicly sacking the manager. Fans protest by locking him in the ground. Realising he doesn’t even own the club yet, the

manager is reinstated. The team win massively then lose more massively more often. Supporters decide they would prefer a guilty bankroller to a potless chancer. The power to allow this is given to a dubious ex-employee of the club and a favourite of the fellow who shall not rest until they are kicked out of the Football League. It is concluded that a billionaire is not a fit and proper person to resuscitate a penniless football club. He appeals. Staff are unpaid. Rumours engulf but the truth may be worse. Relegation, administration or the end looms. All absolve themselves of blame from their Bahrain banks and Monaco mansions. He wins. They appeal. And so it goes on..... The most unbelievable plot of the most unbelievable soap opera deemed too unbelievable. You couldn’t make it up.

Jazz hands!!



cold morning Drizzle whispers cold sweet nothings to the trees.

They and their daughters do not disturb the rain drops dare not sway their smallest branches strain to keep still under the gentle touch of water’s growing weight all stand silent pregnant dripping letting this finest rain gather on their dormant buds stroke their backs promising so much more.



the treehouse Jack and Jill are quite the mischievous children; to add they are very irritating too. Pranks have been played with local neighbours who have loathed and cursed their actions in return. Their parents certainly do not appreciate their insolence and are at times embarrassed to call them their own children.

serious pickle. Your mother and I have been very concerned and for a long time now.’’

One morning, Jack and Jill’s parents call them for a personal ‘talk’ that they have planned. The children, as stubborn as their slow waddle-like walks towards the kitchen, sit themselves in their usual seats around the family table in front of them with silence hanging awkwardly in the air.

It is night time now at their residence. The tree house situated in the corner of the garden glows beyond the twisted branches and orange leaves that cover it. A firework sets off in the middle of the night a few hundred yards behind the family’s backyard. Jack and Jill are alert right away and scramble out of their beds, on opposite sides, to notify one another. They glare at the window that overlooks the garden.

The mother stands beside her husband before the table, when the children enter. Both of them have their arms folded without a smile on their faces. The father seems the more infuriated figure of the two. However, the mother appears more concerned, with concentrated lines on her forehead and the look of regret in her eyes. ‘’So kids, I think you know why you have been sat here, at this very place, as we have done many times before,’’ the father says, as he hovers above them tall and proud of himself with the weight of authority upon his shoulders, ‘’This behaviour’s been causing a


After the personal ‘talk’, the children shuffled to their own rooms. The mother makes her way to the garden for temporarily relief of her thoughts, whilst the father makes a phone call.

‘’Jill, look! There’s lit candles inside.’’ Jack said. He begs Jill to accompany him for he fears the dark. Jill, with reluctance, trudges on after him as they make their way outside. Jack scampers across the small field of grass on a chilly night over to the ladder that leads up to the tree house. ‘’Something’s up there. I want to know what it is!’’ he said, his voice broken with uncontrollable excitement.

Jack climbs the ladder leading to the top of the tree house with effortless technique, where he peeps over to see what seemingly resembles a treasure chest on the far side placed underneath a purple cloak. He clumsily slips and slides his way to the mystery. Jill manages to pull her body weight inside and begs Jack not to open the chest. Whether she feels it is a good idea or not she could not guess. Jack ignores her minor pleas and pulls away the cloak. Before Jill could moan any further, he lifts open the mystery. Bad idea Jack. Blackbirds stream out of the box and scatter. The flapping of the birds’ wings swipe against the surfaces of the children’s soft skin and the tip of their beaks tear openings into their clothing. The children scream wildly whilst shielding their eyes. Clutching onto each other’s arms, they bind into the shape of a ball on the floor. They wait and pray for their lives. They pray for nothing else but hope. Jack and Jill wake up from their beds and slowly adjust their minds to reality. Jill shakes her head and is mightily confused. Jack is simply shook. Their pyjamas are clean and no traces of midnight scuffles are to be found. No dirt, nor cuts are evident on their skin. ‘’Are we still dreaming, Jill?’’ asks Jack.


the windows of my old school The windows of my old school are boarded up with cast iron sheets but early education still finds gaps to regulate my existence in society; today we found fragments of discipline long forgotten and practiced them in new unknown ways to celebrate the difference within repetition. Passive spectators observe slow destruction when ambient aching angels as apathy arrest almost all architectural alignments and arrangements: always worshipping whispers Relentless productional impurity, territory of my memory chalked in the sidewalk (AK47 of youth/auto-bills squeeze last breath of nana/whale blood floods deck/ media factions knifeeyes/ redwine lips grin MP/n I watch on tv).



an uncultured swine writes a ballet review T

here are no tutus in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, bar one worn in a short parody scene. Disappointing? At first, yes. But a 70s disco sequence, complete with transvestites, quickly remedies this. Bourne’s contemporary take on the Russian classic is the longest running show in London’s West End. (I know, it’s outrageous that Viva Forever will never know this success.) Tchaikovsky’s original score guides us through a thoroughly modern- and quite frankly, insane- tale of a prince on the brink of suicide. So what does a bored, young prince do to help forget about his pushy mother and tedious princely duties? Here’s my account of the events that take place: Prince snogs trashy blonde. Queen doesn’t like this. Prince goes to find Blondie at Swank Bar and ends up getting a bit lairy. Queen’s skivvy pays Blondie to ‘back off’. Prince is so forlorn when he sees Blondie accepting the bribe that he writes a wee suicide letter. But wait, what are those swimming in the lake yonder? Swans, obvs. Sexy, male swans: such a twist. Prince takes a shining to the big boss White Swan and they enjoy


long dances together. Is this a gay romance - who the hell knows? Prince goes back to reality and no longer wants to kills himself. Yay. Queen throws a party and invites princesses from all over who have a penchant for tacky dresses. (Seriously, someone needs to take another look at the costume budget.) Black Swan arrives as a rugged stranger and tries it on with Queen (who is looking pretty good for an older bird). Things get really bizarre as Prince becomes jealous and inexplicably ends up shooting Blondie. Prince is now in a mental asylum because he is proper nuts. Swans creep out from under Prince’s bed and White Swan emerges out of his mattress, like that famous scene in Alien. White Swan now favours Prince over the other swans, who turn on him and kill him. Prince is so heartbroken that he dies too. Aw. Queen finds Prince dead and cries. The end. With Blondie, Queen and Prince headlining, I half expected to see ABBA join the line-up but no such luck. This might not be an entirely accurate account but my gal pal did use Google during the interval to help figure out what was going on, so it’s definitely half true. The show is fabulous yet sinister, beautiful and at times grotesque,

unexpectedly hilarious but also haunting. It arouses a lot of mixed emotions and I was engrossed in its absurdity . The standout scene for me is in the asylum. Shadows of the nurses’ claw-like hands cast against the clinical white backdrop to create a noticeable discomfort in the audience. Eerie stuff. On a more upbeat note, isn’t the human back an exquisite thing? Ah yes, those bare torso swans are fine creatures who instantly made me forget any expectations of pretty girls in tutus. In fact, they contribute the most enchanting performances of the show. I’ve never been one for muscly men but sometimes you just can’t help but appreciate these things. (Apologies for lowering the tone in this high-brow piece.) Clear your head off all things traditional, go with an open mind and you will fall in love with this refreshingly weird but wonderful production. Tchaikovsky’s score is one of the best pieces of music, ever. It actually sits in my Top 20 Albums list, just behind Kylie’s Enjoy Yourself. So it’s worth going just to give your lugs a treat. Final thought of the night: I really want to go and party at Swank Bar.



blue cove days #tweet4taiji - www.seashepherd.org - www.savejapandolphins.org


ooking for somewhere different to travel this year? Somewhere far-flung, rich in culture, steeped in history and ‘tradition’, where the people are wonderful, the cuisine is delicious, and the architecture fascinating? Well, look no further… For nestled on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in the Wakayama Prefecture lies the small scenic Japanese fishing town of Taiji. With a population of around 3,500 this 17th century town has played a significant role throughout the centuries of Japanese fishing. What more could you wish for; a beautiful blue cove, historical harbours, breath-taking ocean views and stunning landscapes… Sadly, all these alluring qualities are gravely overshadowed by the harsh reality that over half of the Taiji fisherman’s calendar year is dedicated to the monstrously inhumane, greed fuelled ‘drive hunt’, massacring our oceans most gentle, sensitive and intelligent creatures; Dolphins, Porpoises and small Whales. The fishermen involved are indiscriminate and will kill or capture any species that approaches their beautiful coastline, irrespective of their numbers if it will line their pockets. A journey to Taiji will be life changing… In 1988, a ruling by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) caused Taiji to suspend commercial whaling however, 90% of small cetaceans remain unprotected. A tragic side effect of that ban is that the fishermen have increased their slaughter of 18_TheLeedsDebacle

these many fold, killing Dolphins, Pilot Whales, Belugas and Orcas annually by the thousands. Over 20,000 are slaughtered in Japanese waters each year, some to the point of local extinction, with Taiji accounting for around 2,000 of that incomprehensible number, with the fishermen and politicians of Taiji arguing that this insane brutality is justified on the grounds of their ‘tradition’. Whilst there’s evidence that whale and dolphin hunting has occurred in the area for centuries, what is new is the shameful and senseless “drive hunting.” The Japanese authorities, who pride themselves on culture and old customs, would like you to believe that this form of hunting is ancient, but the drive hunt was only developed in the 1969; it’s younger than most of the men who practice it. To claim it is a legitimate tradition is a lie, in fact the majority of the Japanese public are blissfully unaware of this annual governmentsanctioned dolphin blood bath. Today, most major whaling nations have ended the wide spread killing of cetaceans. However, Iceland, Norway, the Danish Faroe Islands and Japan continue to kill large whales in defiance of the international moratorium on commercial whaling, approved overwhelmingly by the IWC in 1982, effective since 198687. Japan is the most flagrant of the bunch, sending whaling fleets into the North Pacific and Southern Ocean each year. It also authorizes and supports the hunting of whales and smaller cetaceans in its own coastal

waters, including entire pods of small pilot whales, a wholesale violation of the provisions of the IWC. Despite it being illegal, it is simply being ignored by the Japanese government, but killing cetaceans, who have never shown anything but kindness to humans, is disgusting on every level, no matter what nation is doing it. What you are about to read is a fairly graphic description of the carnage that occurs, weather permitting, on a daily basis for a staggering six months of the year in a beautiful little cove in Taiji. Please don’t stop reading right at this very point and bury your head in the sand, you owe just these few minutes to our planet, our oceans and the future of the human race… As the drive hunt season begins, and this one has proven to be most fruitful, a seemingly never ending slaughter turns the crystal blue waters of the Taiji cove into dark blood-ridden red. Entire pods of innocent, trusting dolphins and small whales, after hours of prolonged and panic stricken chases in the open ocean, are driven in, in a barbaric ritual that is void of even the slightest trace of compassion. Elders, reproducing age adults, pregnant females, adolescents, juveniles and babies ripped from their nursing mothers, whole pods entirely wiped out, in a matter of hours. The cruelty is enormous and their lives pointlessly ended, in the name of greed. The fishermen of Taiji have developed a highly effective

method of locating, capturing and killing dolphins. Before sunrise and closely guarded by the Japanese Police and Coast Guard, the fishermen head out to deep water where the dolphins migrate. The dolphins have been using these migratory paths for thousands, perhaps millions, of years and the hunters know exactly where to find them. When a school of dolphins swim by, the fishermen position their boats one behind the other, evenly spaced. They lower several steel poles into the water on each side of the boats and repeatedly bang them with hammers. The poles are flared out at the bottom, much like a bell, which amplifies the noise, creating a wall of sound underwater. The dolphins suddenly find themselves trapped between the wall and the shoreline, their instinctive navigational skills severely compromised. In their panic they swim away from the sound in the opposite direction, toward the shore, enabling the fishermen to drive them into the small, hidden Cove near Taiji harbor. The skiffs operate as a well-oiled death machine, taking turns using their outboard motors to frighten and shove the dolphins closer to the shore, sometimes running them over, as they deploy smaller and smaller nets as a means of controlling the pod. Usually after the third net is deployed, they are in extremely shallow water and are crowded into such a small area that they start getting entangled in the nets, where some ultimately drown. Because of the nature of the drive, captive selection process, and slaughter, the terrified dolphins, seemingly

very much aware of their fate, will sometimes try to throw themselves against the rocks that outline the killing shore to avoid the inevitable, but the killers, now wise to this, add additional tarps to the rockiest portions of the shore, preventing further injury to the dolphins before they are picked over, in an attempt to protect their potential payday. Once trapped inside the cove, thrashing around helplessly in knee deep waters and looking for a way out, the dolphins suffer an unspeakably savage death. The fishermen, sometimes laughing aloud and smoking cigarettes, casually wade in, in their wetsuits and snorkels. One by one, they butcher the dolphins with their new preferred method; holding the dolphins whilst driving metal rods directly into their spinal cords. It usually takes quite a few strikes to sever the dolphin’s spine and once the rod is removed a wooden plug is then hammered into the hole in an attempt to hide the blood flow from the watchful eyes of the world media. The insertion of the rod rarely causes death, but mostly causes paralysis. The dolphins are still alive and fully aware of what is happening to them and their family members. The air around them is filled with their terrified screams as ropes are tied around their tails and they are hauled out to the waiting gutting barge by small skiffs. Most of them suffer a painful and soul-wrenching death by slowly drowning during this towing activity. For those that do not die with the insertion of the rod

or by drowning on the way to the gutting barge, they inhale their last breaths when they are cut open and their entrails and organs are removed on the gutting barge. There, the massive amounts of blood are unavoidable and the whole cove turns red. Solemnly known as, a ‘Red Cove Day’. All this now happens under the protection of barricades and tarpaulin overhangs, restricting access to the outside world, hiding the fishermen’s horrific and unimaginable acts in the name of their ‘tradition’ that they claim to be so proud of. Dolphins are highly sentient and socially complex animals. They have evolved over millions of years, adapting perfectly to their free life in the ocean. They are intelligent, self-aware and exhibit evidence of a highly developed emotional sense, living and traveling together in families of great numbers, hunting, feeding and defending themselves and their pods. They give birth, they breathe air, warm blood flows through their veins and they even have personal names, just like humans. Recent scientific research has shown them to be highly sensitive and likely to have more ranges of emotions than humans, with a culture that is handed down through generations. They deserve our respect and the right to remain in the wild, free from harassment and harm. A recent quote from Taiji Cove Guardian Aaron Hall: “There is nothing that quite prepares you for this process. To go from watching one of the most TheLeedsDebacle_19

beautiful and intelligent creatures on the planet swimming for their lives, to the sounds of the killers laughing as you hear the pithing process and the hammering of stakes into their spines, to the violent thrashing of the dolphins’ death throes and, ultimately, the complete and eerie silence - it is something that you can never forget. Once you’ve experienced the horror and seen and smelled the blood from the very same dolphins you just watched swimming freely, you feel your heart break and every emotion hits you all at once.” The annual slaughter of dolphins on such a large scale was virtually unknown until October 2003 when the first team from The Sea Shepherd Marine Wildlife Conservation Society (SSCS) went to Taiji, to document the extreme inhumanity of it and brought the killing cove and its blood red waters to the world’s attention. The crew positioned themselves on the hill overlooking the cove, releasing the nowiconic underwater footage and photos of the violent captures and slaughters. The controversy became very public when the Japanese Drudge Report accused Sea Shepherd and Associated Press of doctoring the photos, commenting that the blood red coloration of the water could not possibly be real, even though the unfathomable was indeed a reality. In 2009, following the expose`, the release of the Academy Award winning film “The Cove” again shone a spotlight on the hunts, bringing international attention to the dolphin killings and their direct link to the captive industry. It’s commonly assumed that the Japanese fishermen hunt the dolphins to supply a small minority of their people with dolphin meat, but the real reason the Japanese government issue permits to kill dolphins has nothing to do with food culture. There is no evidence that science or sustainability is given any serious consideration in 20_TheLeedsDebacle

the permit process. As shocking as it sounds, dolphins are viewed as “pests” and are eradicated in huge numbers in order to preserve the ocean’s fish for human consumption. Over-fishing of the oceans is a tremendous problem on a global level and the Japanese fishermen, supported by their government, are wrongly pointing at the dolphins as the reason for this depletion. They are also making the same false argument against the whale population in front of the IWC claiming that they also need to be controlled by killing. Mercury contaminated cetacean meat is still deceptively sold on for human consumption and some of the Japanese public are unwittingly eating potentially dangerous products. Japanese parents are unaware that the dolphin meat being served to their children in their school lunches are poisoned with mercury and that the levels in the meat are far higher than would occur in nature and certainly higher than is allowed under the health standards of any developed nation. There are also high levels of Cadmium and PCBs as well as chemicals of the Dioxin group. In some cases the mercury levels are 1,600 times more than the allowed quantities in meat for human consumption, proving a significant risk to children and pregnant women. It can also impair immune response and cause neurological damage and can produce mental retardation, especially in the young. In addition to this, the fatty tissues of dolphins and whales contain extremely high levels of PCBs, chemicals that may lead to increases in breast cancer. With fewer Japanese eating whale and dolphin meat, huge surpluses are kept in refrigerated warehouses, masking the real truth, that they are systematically eradicating as many dolphins as possible in order to make the oceans’ fish available to themselves and likely causing harm to their whole local ecosystem.

The Japan Fisheries Agency has an additional and very personal incentive: the Japanese government pay their salaries based on the sale of cetacean meat. If whaling and dolphin killing ends, the bureaucrats will be out of a job. Just as shocking, some members of the international dolphin-display industry also take advantage of the slaughter to obtain animals for use in captive-dolphin shows and swim-with-dolphins programmes. There’s big money in the captive marine mammal trade, it’s a very lucrative business with buyers allegedly paying the FU something in the region of $32,000 USD for each young, unblemished live dolphin it captures. Even more worrying, a trained dolphin can often be sold off for several hundred thousand dollars. The captive selection process is just as, if not more, brutal than the actual slaughter and is often carried out as the family members of the captives are being mercilessly slaughtered on the shore. Captive dolphins have died from shock, injuries or exhaustion after being pulled out in slings through the blood of their own family members, to be transported to the pens in the harbour. In January this year a rare albino dolphin calf was spotted as she swam nervously alongside her protective mother into the cove. Soon after the first sightings, she was netted by Japanese fisherman and taken from her pod. At this moment in time she remains in a mouldy tank/ prison cell, undercover, inside the Taiji Whale Museum. There are numerous covert videos doing the social networking rounds showing her cautiously taking dead fish from the hands of the people who slaughtered her family. Her confusion, fear, desperation and loss palpable with the chances of her survival without her mother being very slim indeed. But it’s unlikely she’ll ever be released,

even to a rehabilitation facility in the US, as her delicate albino skin will be the seller’s bargaining chip with a rumoured exorbitant price tag of up to half a million US dollars. By doing business with the dolphin killers, they are helping to maintain the dolphin drive hunts. The dolphin entertainment industry drives the hunt. The endless massacre of the dolphins follows in its wake. Most of the 500 dolphins currently held in Japan’s 50 Dolphinariums were captured during a violent and deadly dolphin drive hunt. But there’s blood on the hands of many others, it spreads much wider than Japan, with captive cetaceans from Taiji reaching aquaria around the globe. In addition to the Japanese Dolphinariums, it’s reported that out of 164 dolphins stolen from the ocean this season at least 50 ‘show-quality’ specimens will be shipped off to aquariums around the world from China, the Middle East to inland Mexico and beyond, where ‘Entertainment’ seems to be cleverly sheltered under the ‘Conservation’ umbrella. Wellintentioned marine mammal trainers and the dolphin-showviewing public all have the blood of innocent dolphins on their hands. Keeping dolphins and whales in captivity is unethical and cruel, ripping them from their families that they would normally grow up with, depriving them of the freedom of the ocean. The training of dolphins is often deliberately misrepresented by the captive dolphin industry to make it look as if dolphins perform because they like it. This isn’t the case. They are performing tricks because they have been deprived of food, confined in minuscule concrete tanks containing chemically treated artificial seawater and severely restricted in using their highly developed sonar, with no clear direction in sight, one of the most damaging aspects of captivity. They are trapped in an artificial world,

a world without tides, without the tastes and sounds of the ocean, forced to smile or laugh for an audience, or be petted, all for a bucket of dead fish. The whole debacle is an illusion and disturbingly misleading. These dolphins are forever wild, created by nature to play a role in nature, not to play silly games in a tiny pool for our amusement. For those animals fortunate enough to avoid being killed for whatever reason, they are released back to sea, where they will spend the rest of their emotionally traumatized lives. Sadly, some may die from the physical and emotional trauma they have endured. The Sea Shepherd has already confirmed that their Cove Guardians have found many babies and juveniles, who couldn’t possibly survive without the guidance of their murdered/captured mothers, washed up on the shoreline after the now-disrupted pods have been driven back out to sea. As Captain Paul Watson, founder of The Sea Shepherd said ”It’s time for Taiji to realize that this is the 21st Century and cultures that practice barbaric rituals have no place in the kinder and gentler new world we must create if we are going to protect diversity and guarantee a healthy eco-system for our children and our children’s children” For the greater good of the planet, we have an opportunity to educate future generations around the world about how human greed is contributing to the death of our ocean life and devastation of the environment. We need to look at ways to end this dark and gruesome chapter of humanity and introduce funding alternatives for the Japanese fishermen and the town of Taiji, to build jobs and revenue without harm to dolphins and whales. On the plus side, with the benefits of social media networking, the global spotlight, albeit a very small one, is very

firmly fixed on Taiji. If it wasn’t for the unwavering dedication of conservation groups like The Sea Shepherd, Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, WWF and many others, nobody would be the voice for the dolphins and this brutal hunt would go on unabated and unseen by the world, most likely bringing about the extinction of multiple species of dolphins in a short period of time. In 2010, The Sea Shepherd’s launched ‘Operation Infinite Patience’ placing volunteer Cove Guardians on the ground in Taiji, live streaming and reporting every slaughter and capture under the restricted confines of the ever changing Japanese laws. Despite every effort by the dolphin killers and Japan to hide the bloodshed in Taiji, the Cove Guardians have been the world’s window and international pressure is now mounting. US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, daughter of JFK, expressed her dismay last month on Twitter, a first for a US government official to criticize the hunt and many celebrity names are getting behind the campaign. Fingers crossed, we are on the precipice of a massive socio-economic change that could very well bring the end of the dolphin drive hunt for good. So, if you have a week to spare in your busy life, don’t go and support a live dolphin show or participate in a confined swimwith-dolphin program anywhere in the world, in fact, boycott these facilities for the rest of your life. Instead, consider a trip to Taiji in support of the Cove Guardians, the only group on the ground documenting these atrocities and bringing them to the rest of the world throughout the entire killing season. And if the weather is bleak and the tides are too strong to drive hunt, you might even witness a ‘Blue Cove Day’. We can’t survive without the oceans but the oceans can survive without us.



where to find the time Kind has eyes that know where the nowhere pier lies; where the sea laps two folds at-a time, repeating in lines, with white water scribbled tips that bend double only to break over to start again. Kind is a train on time; even when the wetter-weather-thanthe-wet-weather-we’ve-already-had slows down the lines, those engines and drivers and aisle-walking-staff still arrive on schedule- another tick on the East Coast graph. Kind are those lovers you see who don’t kiss and scream their affection at one another, instead stand - just there - quietly together: her running a finger down his suit-seam at the back and him repositioning his loose-blue tie-tack. Kind was, and will always be, everything gone and already built upon: the torn pages of your financial year diary, the DONE do’s from every app-to-do-list, expired and uninstalled, and those never-answered phone calls that sat there ignored.




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ot that old British chestnut again - rugby league or rugby union! Well the recent news that Sam Burgess, he of good Yorkshire stock and lately of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, is returning to the UK to play rugby union with Bath, has raised the hackles and resurrected the ‘which code is best’ debate.

played with the same shaped ball and posts. Personally I would generally rather watch either game than witness a set of diving primadonnas on a football pitch, but that’s another story. They are also both very different games to what they were 30 years ago – so if you have any prejudices, please leave them at the door.

In such a short article there is absolutely no point revisiting the history of both sports; the socio-economic origins; class-war or North-South divide, however hard it is to ignore such factors. But I will declare that I’m a Yorkshireman; sports fan; Hull FC fan of some 35 years and a Leeds resident. So you can probably guess where my loyalties lie. I do however have utmost respect for the players of both codes that put their bodies on the line every week to give a full-blooded display out on the paddock.

Rugby Union. I spent many a wintry Saturday morning playing centre at school on some godforsaken muddy field in Hull. It was great, but a world away from the modern game of Union where tactical kicking seems to form at least 50% of the passage of ‘play’. Yes there are great scrummaging skills on display and some great support play for the increasingly athletic combatants, but the natural reflex seems to be to kick for touch or position. Don’t get me wrong, some of the skills are admiral, but as a spectator sport it doesn’t excite me, and importantly it seems to waste time. Having paid my entrance fee at the gate, I want to see action, not stoppages. The delays continue with reset scrums and lineouts – it’s all rather frustrating. One big plus though – the referees and touch-judges are peerless. My other big gripe as a spectator is the difficulty of following the ball in the rucks, mauls and scrums. If you’re stood or sat at the other

This weekend I watched both rugby codes. Italy v England & France v Ireland in the Six Nations (admittedly the first whilst sat on a static bike at the gym) on the TV, and I also paid a visit to Castleford to watch Hull and Castleford in front of a very passionate crowd at Wheldon Road. My obvious conclusion? These are two very different games 24_TheLeedsDebacle

end of the ground it can be really difficult, even on TV it often proves a challenge. Stop the clock and use an orange ball – sorted! Rugby League. Even for a die-hard like me, the game is not perfect. Dodgy referees and ineffectual line-judges (by whatever name) can ruin a great game, or even bring one to life for all the wrong reasons! OK, scrums are a joke, but at least the clock is stopped whilst they are formed and having 12 of the 26 guys on the pitch in a huddle sure greats some space elsewhere. With the benefit of the switch to summer rugby, an influx of antipodean talent, and the development of thoroughbred athletes, on a good day this is unbeatable entertainment. Whilst the spectacle may not last the full 80 minutes we are now almost guaranteed fast-flowing open rugby for most of the game, usually with the counterpoint of a strong determined and welldrilled defence. I’ve read this comparison before - Rugby Union is like a game of chess, Rugby League is a game of chequers (draughts.) I don’t want to pay to watch chess or draughts, but my spectator dollar is staying with the rugby league, it seems the majority of rugby-going West Yorkshire spectators agree with me.

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gay rights & wrongs The amount of people that consider themselves to be LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) is widely disputed. A Gallup study of 200,000 Americans last year showed that 3.5% class themselves as LGBT. A similar survey by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) polled nearly 180,000 and revealed that just 1.5% of Brits are gay, lesbian or bisexual. This surprised Stonewall, a gay rights charity who believes that 5-7% “is a reasonable estimate”. That may be a slightly biased prediction but even if you use the lowest percentages there are at least 105 million LGBT people worldwide.

Whichever version of indoctrination they are exposed to, religious people share the common belief that their holy book of choice is the word of God and following blindly leads to reward in the afterlife. They also promote heterosexual marriage for the purpose of procreation and maintaining morality. Thankfully racism, sexism and slavery (all concepts encouraged by traditional religious texts) are no longer considered acceptable in a civilised world. Hopefully 26_TheLeedsDebacle

Their social argument is also dangerous scaremongering. They argue legalising gay marriage will make others gay and encourage more ‘deviant behaviour’. They say one mum and dad is the ‘right’ way to raise kids and incorrectly claim gay parents will raise gay children. The traditional model may have its advantages but it is outrageous to suggest single parents, gay parents and their children (some of whom may be adopted or born to surrogate mothers) cannot be part of wellbalanced families.

@gr ann y_

share a high percentage of DNA with humans. Some gay people may think they are unnatural until they realise they were ‘born gay’ and did not willingly choose to be a sadly, oppressed minority. In absolute terms, short film ‘Love Is All You Need’ shows it would not be impossible for humanity to survive, even in the unlikely event that hetereophobia was the norm. Gay rights in Europe and North America have come a long way. Many of these countries now have gay marriage, non-discrimination laws, LGBT adoption and gay pride festivals. Sadly, the rest of the world falls far behind, especially Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Seven countries in this area have the death penalty for homosexuality and five punish with life imprisonment. One of these countries (Uganda) was the focus of Scott Mills BBC programme ‘The World’s Worst Place to Be Gay’ that highlighted the prejudice and difficulties those people endure.

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Unfortunately in the 21st century, these people may lead closeted lives because many parts of the world still hold the view that being gay is wrong. To those I quote Voltaire, who said: “I do not agree with what you have to say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”. Their arguments can generally be categorised into religious, social and biological reasons.

persecution on the basis of sexuality will be added to that list as independent thought and LGBT awareness develops.

F i n a l l y, t h e biological approach “being gay is unnatural” or the more extreme “gay people want to end civilisation”. Studies of animals have shown that homosexuality exists amongst many species that

The Dr Christian Jessen series ‘Cure Me, I’m Gay’ reinforces the belief that not a week goes by without similar archaic viewpoints courting controversy. American pastor Kevin Swanson described the Disney film Frozen as “very evil” because it promotes homosexuality. The ironically titled BBC Free Speech censored debate about the question ‘when it will be OK to be Muslim and gay?’ For the sake of equality, we can only hope Birmingham mosque fails to have it their way; for them the answer can only be ‘never’!


open the minutes Open the minutes and start making up time The markers have been set and targets met Open the time barriers and let us catch up Before we become unknown to ourselves Up atop the pylons and the turbines We wait for a reason and a time to shine We may revisit these spatial challenges Making a marriage between sun, star and skyline Open the minutes and redistribute the time These zones shall remain as they silently tread Through the daily vision of seven seasons “Like a rose between two thorns� she said Open the minutes and redistribute the time The time spent between dreams Reality makes its departure through the silent door And all the spaces in between Open the minutes and start making up for lost time

And why? Why do the clouds turn on us again? As the verse-chorus-verse sequence Turns into a firewall We now make some alternative arrangements Sitting through a canvas basis Flaunting the ten seasons for each and every cycle These aren’t the times or the places These are the moments that matter So when we need the Gas We now ask How much Electricity is left in the hybrid? And how much the price will be? The next time the plug is concerned Ten seasons in one day Ten seasons in one hour So just wait for our thoughts to grow wings With just one #hashtag, one rose, one petal One glance of the eyes One touch from the truest lips To bring us back to the calm Redistribute the minutes and open the time zone These truths will be found At the bottom of a shard of ice When the world notches up its values and price The crackles of electricity down the pylon network Reverb around the framework Of all of what we do. So redistribute the minutes Of the time we have mistook planes and stars in the skies Open the minutes and let time fly Open the minutes tonight

redistribute the minutes TheLeedsDebacle_27


In Lena Durham’s GIRLS, Ray claims that McNuggets ‘taste like home’ he discusses how one bite of the incredible product in an unknown place will transport the eater to the safe haven of home.

fresh air and a pint of nice ale for less than 3 quid. However I was always going to miss my MEAT-y London home and the joy that the burgers brought.

In 2010 I moved to London, a largely unknown city to me. I was incredibly exciting yet I missed my home comforts; proper water, Leeds lasses and lads and most important a Pitza Catno and cheap Brude pint. Even a Big Mac didn’t make me feel home-ly. When MEATEasy opened a 2 minute walk from my halls I was curious and excited. I’ve always loved a burger me. A Dead Hippie burger, a mac ‘n’ cheese and a Meantime pale ale later I felt at home. I had successfully carved a part of London for my own, I visited a few more times to the residency in New Cross. It wasn’t just a burger, it was a great place to have amazing affordable food. The MEAT incarnates then opened a summer residency in Peckham, then MEATliquor in the alleys off of Oxford Street , MEATmarket tucked wonderfully away in Covent Garden and MEATmission, again unassumingly in an alleway Hoxton. It was always easy to miss a MEAT restaurant as they have always been tucked away, snuggled between dive bars and other hidden gems. Each time I would visit and have a burger and feel right back at home. I felt like with each visit and each burger I had found a part of London to be truly mine, it had the Hannah stamp of approval, which takes a great deal. When I moved back home last autumn, I enjoyed the usual home comforts; endless cups of Yorkshire tea, Yorkshire water,


Burgers i n general had become somewhat of a fad in London and everyone was opening burger restaurants and I had some incredibly tasty burgers in my final summer in London. However the Dead Hippie from the MEAT restaurants were by far the greatest. The burgers themselves are incredible, two deliciously simple yet delicately seasoned patties alongside a special ‘Dead Hippie’ sauce, minced white onion, cheese and a great amount of gherkins nestled in a sweet brioche bun. The sweetness of the bread with the meat juices provides an interesting juxtaposition of tastes and textures. I don’t think simple words will ever do justice to this burger. When returning last week my buddy said ‘man, I don’t remember it ever being that good’. That a real critique there. The opening of Trinity Street Kitchen filled me with meaty hope. The kitchen provided

revolving collection of new and exciting street food vendors. It has featured cake stalls, kebabs vans, hot dogs stands and vegetarian Indian food. It also has seven permanent food vendors ranging from Vietnamese cuisine to traditional Cali-Mexican burritos. This majority of these vendors had travelled from London, which made me hopeful that one day the MEATWagon (that’s the travelling vendors of the MEAT restaurants) would set up shop there. At the time of writing the MEATwagon is in residence at Trinity Street Kitchen, selling Dead Hippies, Double Bubble’s and a vegetarian option of Halluomi and Mushroom burger. It has previously prided itself on converting vegetarians because the burgers are that good, but there is choice there for the vegetarian eater. The MEATwagon is just a taster for the opening of the MEATLIQUOR LDS in June. The opening of this restaurant is not only fantastic news for mine, and soon to be your burger, needs but also for Leeds as a city. Leeds is carving itself into the ‘second London’ and the emergence of new great restaurants straight from London only proves that. It also brings a name to Leeds and makes it an even better city that it also is. Leeds constantly changes and develops, it prides itself on so many things being a fashion and textile city, a business city, a football city and now a place for great food. Much like chicken McNuggets for Ray, for me MeatLiquor tastes like home and now it is home, taking up residence in Leeds from June.



wings It was a sombre winters day And the land was dark and dull. Birds filled the naked trees; No songs to dim the winter lull I sat amongst the frosted earth, And felt its wintry bite. I laid my head against a tree And slept away my aged plight. The birds and I were born to fly And we leapt and entered the clouds. In the winter light our hearts delight, Broke through the darkening shroud. They smiled with me in harmony, Our bodies began to glow. We flapped our wings and started to sing, But our rise began to slow. Back amongst the snowy earth I watched the birds fly high, My aching soul would twist and yearn, As I sat, never able to fly.



everyone’s a photographer W

hat was the most talked about, shared and retweeted photo of the 86th Academy Awards? Was it Jennifer Lawrence tripping over her dress (again)? Was it Steve McQueen proudly scooping Best Picture for 12 Years a Slave? No, it was a grainy, slightly out of focus selfie. Even if it was taken by Bradley Cooper. US presenter Ellen DeGeneres tweeted the photo of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts et al and managed to crash the social networking site with the most re-tweeted photo, ever. Whether it was a spontaneous snap or a carefully crafted productplacement stunt for Samsung is a debate for another day, but it shows the magic of a selfie going viral. Technology has afforded all of us to be a photographer, even if we are not all that good. Digital cameras are cheap: even DSLRs can be used on auto by anybody with a straight aim. The iPhone gives everyone a chance to snap and to share. Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, and Photoshop make editing and sharing images universally accessible. Forget rose-tinted specs, our memories of the early 2010s will be viewed through the shades of Nashville and Earlybird.

We are living life through a lense. Who doesn’t love to take that iconic picture: arms stretched outside the Hollywood sign, touching the tip of the Pyramids with your finger, or pushing the leaning tower of Pisa? Of course documenting your adventures and sharing your travelling experiences is fun, but increasingly, we live life less in the moment and more in the megapixel. People joke: “If it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen,” but there is a creeping need for validation and to affirm you were there, wherever “there” happens to be. It can be pretty irritating when you go to a gig and everyone puts their iPhone up, blocking your view. Festivals today are illuminated not by lighters but by the white glow of LCD screens. Sometimes, it’s important to use your senses: really hear the music instead of worrying about taking an inevitably blurry photo for Twitter, or taste the obligatory pulled pork burger you’ve ordered without micro-blogging a low-light shot of the artisan bun first. Photography has become the new democracy – everyone is entitled and able to take part. And part of the taking part is receiving validation for your efforts. You might have had a rubbish week at work, or feel your job doesn’t allow any room for creativity, but you can Instagram a pic of your artfully placed cocktail against a vintage backdrop on a Friday night and watch the likes and the

favourites roll in for something you’ve created. It’s human nature to want to document, and you could argue that it’s easier to take a visual representation of the thing you want to share than it is to write about it. The #100happyday challenge asks users to document an image every day, for 100 days, of something or someone that makes then happy. The website blurb warns: “It is not a happiness competition or a showing off contest. If you try to please or make others jealous via your pictures – you lose without even starting.” Seems like #100happydays have a pretty good insight into the reasons why we photograph, and share. But is there a backlash against all this showing off? The popularity of #nofilter shows people want their shots to be seen for the photography that they are rather than the Photoshop they aren’t. Last year’s “hot dog or legs” Tumblr hilariously ridiculed the latest selfie: Instagram-tanned legs peeking out from a lounger on the beach, mojito in hand, sun gently dappling the duck pond still sea. We’ve seen it all before – everyone’s a photographer, now. All this self-promotion seems a bit, well, passé. When David Cameron is photo-bombing in on the selfie act too, maybe it’s time to move on.



home comfort A

s he walked down the street, he glanced at the map in his hand and turned the corner at an old lamppost. He’d never been through this neighbourhood before, he’d always been careful to avoid the area where the pavements were cracked, but not just because of its infamous reputation for thieves and drug-dealers. Usually, he had no business there while the bullies of old-school-days used to loiter at its corners and outside its newsagent. The memory of those bullies was more than enough incentive to steer clear. And yet there he was, following a map his father had drawn for him. He kept glancing down to make sure he knew the directions – one wrong turn, and he could find himself face-to-face with the bullies of the past. There were children already gathered at the next corner, sitting on a brick wall with a barking dog. The tang of cigarette smoke lingered in the air, and he held his breath. The biro line pointed to turn right and he crossed the road quickly before he could meet them head-on. He could feel their eyes on his back; they could probably smell his fear, the stench of a stranger from a more privileged area far from the council estate. He didn’t dare turn back to see if they were still watching, and he carried on down the road. His journey began the previous night, when he asked his mother and father where his real parents used to live – it was more of a curious question than a shocking 32_TheLeedsDebacle

one. He knew he was adopted and they didn’t swipe away the question like he’d expected them to. He was just curious about the past. If his life didn’t start with them, then where did it begin, and with whom? But he didn’t ask who – their answer would’ve been ‘with your mum and dad, of course.’ But who were they? That night, he’d searched through his mind for their image, just a faint notion would’ve done, a way of conjuring their faces, but he found nothing. His mind was blank and where his ideas reached the realm of familiarity, he came up against a wall of impenetrable fog. He tried to think back before the wall, but only remembered his foster parents’ front room, aged 7 – it was as though he woke up, and there he was. There was no better way of explaining it. In the morning, he made up his mind: he wanted to visit the old address, to see what it looked like, only then could he hope to regain something of himself – but he didn’t tell them that. As far as he knew, they knew everything and talked to him as if he understood, but he didn’t understand – he knew nothing. He hoped today would put an end to that. He turned left this time where the eyes couldn’t follow him, and he found himself close to the biro circle – just reach no. 22 and-. He found it. The house was just across the road from where he stood. The house was covered in mauve gravel, and the front garden had been bricked over with a car on the driveway. It

looked so different to the other houses he wondered if it had once been the same, the garden overgrown with large hedges that blocked out the front windows. But he couldn’t remember as the differences seemed to chase away the remnants, tidied and locked away like nothing ever happened. The front door opened and a man and woman stepped out onto the drive, a kid followed behind with a dog on its lead. The dog wagged its tail in excitement as it sniffed the air and dragged the child towards the side hedge. The boy shouted at it though, and wacked it across the legs with a stick he’d found – the dog yelped and whined, the kid wacked it again to shut it up. He felt a tight knot in his stomach as he watched them both. The parents were completely oblivious as they threw bags into the boot. There was the familiarity, and he tightened his fists. He wanted to say something, yank the stick from the kid to stop him hitting it again, but he froze in his spot while they all piled into the car. As he watched the car back out of the drive, he began to walk the way he came. The fog was just as solid as before, and his stomach turned – the journey didn’t bring back what he’d hoped to recover. But as the car drove on ahead, he saw the dog on the back seat rest its head on the back-window bay, and it stared at him with pleading eyes. It was a silent cry for help, and as he stared back while the car drove down the hill, he couldn’t help but see himself.

something to do every day.. APRIL 1st Leeds Utd v Charlton (Elland Road) 2nd The Cold Blows (Seven) 3rd Goldheart Assembly (Belgrave) 4th Peanut Butter Wolf (HiFi) 5th Life Boat (Cross Flats Park) 6th Wrap Up and Run (Harewood House) 7th Pan Berlin Record Label (College of Art) 8th Slim Aarons (White Cloth Gallery) 9th Pierced Arrows (Wharf Chambers) 10th Cocktails In The City (Town Hall) 11th Elbow (Arena) 12th Samebutdifferent Art Fair (Temple Newsam) 13th Outbreak Fest (Vox Warehouse) 14th Brasy (College of Music) 15th True Grit Digital Poetry (Host Media Centre) 16th Bruce McLean (Art Gallery) 17th Horizon String Quartet (HEART) 18th Vinylgroover (Eiger) 19th Strangeforms (Wharf Chambers) 20th Joy Orbison (Canal Mills) 21s Live Jousting Tournament (Armouries) 22nd Young Blood (Leeds Gallery) 23rd Clutch (Met) 24th Miss Nightingale (Varieties) 25th Threepenny Opera (WYP) 26th Kin Hell Fest - Yorkshire Riffer (Eiger) 27th Childhood (Belgrave) 28th Temperance Movement (Met) 29th Robin Ince (Varieties) 30th La Boheme (Grand)

Rich Hall


T’threpnee Opera MAY 1st Cycle City (Town Hall) 2nd Rich Hall (Varieties) 3rd Live at Leeds (various) 4th Neurosis (Met) 5th May Day Party (Lotherton Hall) 6th Tinariwen (Howard Assembly) 7th The Sonics (Brudenell) 8th The Changing Room (Art Gallery) 9th Sarah Millican (Town Hall) 10th The Great Yorkshire Vegan Festival (Queens Hotel) 11th Leeds Half Marathon (Headrow) 12th Accidentally On Purpose (Village Bookstore) 13th Buy Yorkshire Conference (Armouries) 14th Evita (Grand) 15th Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (Brudenell) 16th Courtney Love (Academy) 17th Jon Gomm (Holy Trinity) 18th La Dispute (Brudenell) 19th Enjoy (WYP) 20th Leeds Book Awards (Civic Hall) 21st Tour De Cinema (Millennium Square) 22nd The Hoarder (Carriageworks) 23rd Ultrasound (Library) 24th Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott (Academy) 25th A New Reality Part 2 (Tetley) 26th Cloud Nothings (Brudenell) 27th Ian Kiaer (Henry Moore) 28th Ethan Johns (Oporto) 29th Thomas Houseago (Art Gallery) 30th Rembrandt (Temple Newsam) 31st Ben Hart (Carriageworks)

Dolly P and... errr....

JUNE 1st Swans (Cockpit) 2nd Linda Perhacs (Brudenell) 3rd Festival of Arts (Uni) 4th Only Real (Shopkeepers) 5th Grouper (Howard Assembly) 6th Jon Richardson (Grand) 7th Yorkshire Food & Drink Show (Millennium Square) 8th Etape de Yorkshire (Grammar School) 9th Eyes On Le Tour De France (White Cloth Gallery) 10th Wicked (Grand) 11th Nick Oliveri (Brudenell) 12th Leeds Rhinos v Huddersfield (Headingley) 13th Ghost Hunt Investigation (Armley Mills) 14th Fosters Comedy Live (Highlight) 15th Tour De Cinema (Millennium Square)

16th Robbie Williams (Arena) 17th Fucked Up (Belgrave) 18th Yorkshire Exhibition (Abbey House) 19th House of Fun Comedy Club (Wardrobe) 20th Dolly Parton (Arena) 21st Let’s Rock! ABC (Temple Newsam) 22nd Total Warrior (Bramham Park) 23rd John Grant (Irish Centre) 24th England v Sri Lanka (Headingley) 25th Kill For A Seat Comedy (Seven) 26th Talking Heads (WYP) 27th Yorkshire v Lancashire (Headingley) 28th Electronic Gears (Musiquarium) 29th Waterfront Festival (New Dock) 30th Dandy Warhols (Cockpit)


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leedsdebac le

Issue 15 of The Leeds Debacle is: John Barran Ross Newsome Donna Iliffe-Pollard Sarah Statham Christopher Campbell Laura Furniss Dan Cook Sarah Whitehouse

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Hannah Fahy Tim Knight Jimi Daniels Hollie Richardson Jonathan Eyre Philip Regan Heather Fox Steve Leonard

Paul Jobson Leroy Lo Tim Chapman Conal Siddall Keely Brightmore Antonia Lines Adam Read


Profile for The Leeds Debacle


Issue 15 of The Leeds Debacle


Issue 15 of The Leeds Debacle