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Crimbo Limbo

/GLEN PINDER Ho - Ho - Ho - ly shit. Christmas is upon us again, and again it jumps out of nowhere to surprise us with its endless adverts and escalating cost, lists on top of lists for who gets what and who gets squat, budgets on presents, hand made cards, your perfect fake smile and constant hangover farts. Christmas is for the kids and for those of us that like to get pissed.

What I Did On My Holidays /LAURA TAYLOR (AGED 8)

At Christmas, we went to stay with my nan. When we got there she was waving at us but then I shut the car door on my thumb and my dad went MAD! He couldn’t get the door open and he had his feet on the car and everything. He stopped swearing when he got it open but I think it’s a bit broken now. After we opened our pressies, my dad and all my uncles went the pub. We weren’t allowed to go and my mum and aunties weren’t either and me and my cousins got chucked out to play so we went and played in the lifts. If you stand in the doorway of a lift when the door is closing, it bounces off you and opens again! Well it does if you’re big, but our Sean had to keep hitting it with his hand when it was my turn. We went up on the roof too and played spitting games. That was great, and it wasn’t windy so we 2_TheLeedsDebacle

could aim really good at these kids on the ground. They went MAD. It was dead funny. My dad got really drunk and fell over my new puppet show and broke it. Then the dog had the runs all over the hall carpet and my dad slipped in it and fell over again and was sick everywhere. My mum went MAD at him and then my nan went mad at my mum for shouting at my dad. We were supposed to stay for a week but we went home after that. And that was what I did on my holidays.




eeds dies in winter, everyone goes home for Christmas. Me, as usual, forgot to make any plans so I’m stuck here longer than I want to be. I decide to walk to Mary’s on a promise of two mince pies and a cup of tea. Mary is trapped in Leeds because of work. Her boyfriend owes her £600 so she works as many hours as she can to ease the pressure. If I don’t think about my financial situation it doesn’t exist. The snow has solidified into black. My shoes are wrecked, the soles are worn. From mine to hers the roads are glass. I feel like Bambi and barely survive. I like Mary’s bedroom, teacups, lace gloves, vinyl records and folded paper. Mary is 21 but looks much younger, probably too young. Apparently her sister is tall and leggy, Mary is not. I find out she wears size 2-3 shoes. This amazes me, how does she not fall over? I like Mary because she seems happy to sit on her bed reading and saying fuck all whilst I look around her room and listen to her music. I like people who don’t feel the need to talk. I find and eat some chocolate and look out of the window. We are on the 4th floor overlooking a Snow caped ghost town. Mary turns the page. I don’t want her to fall in love with me so I’m trying very hard to not lead her on. I do this by having sex with her twice.

The next morning she gives me a vitamin pill because apparently I am unhealthy. I appreciate her concern. I haven’t eaten fruit for weeks. I haven’t got scurvy. Columbus was a pussy. I leave Mary’s and go and buy shoes I don’t need with money I haven’t got. They have less grip than my old ones, I slip and fall over. God is watching me. That evening I arrive at my brothers in Derby and instantly notice how warm real peoples houses are. I like the cold. Given the choice between freezing or burning to death, without hesitation I would choose to freeze. I even find the thought quite appealing. Some god awful Christmas special is on t.v, the kind that relentlessly wheels out down and out celebrities to read a shit joke off an autocue. Rapturous applause and throaty, spittle laughter follows. I choose to watch my nephew chewing an inflated balloon. That night I sleep in a children’s bunk bed. I choose the bottom bunk. How times have changed. The next day, Christmas eve, I ride the train from Derby to Sheffield. I am going to my dads. I arrive late, his band are playing and because of me they have minus five minutes to get to Rotherham.

We arrive at “the largest working mens club in Yorkshire” which would be a proud boast if there were more than six people in it. My dad sets up his drums and gives me £20 to get myself a drink. My dad always gives me £20 to get “a drink”, never £20 to buy food, art equipment or to help with bills, always to get “a drink”. I realise the people in the “largest working mens club in Yorkshire” are like no other people I have ever seen. I struggle to see where the dank walls, broken disco lights and beer sweat carpets end and these people begin. I squint and they all disappear. The band begins to play Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Elvis and Johnny Cash amongst a myriad of little known rockabilly “classics”. Each song is met with a damp handed applause. They sing happy birthday to Paul, a bloated, wheezing regular who would probably die if he left the confines of the club. Paul shows his appreciation by telling the band his name is actually Alan. That night I sleep on the settee. Due to my dad and his wife’s room being occupied, they sleep on the settee opposite me, both sat upright, both snoring loudly. My head is heavy, a £20 drink goes a long way. I look at the time 12.07am. Merry Christmas.


NoAlbum OfTheYear.. Sorry.



t’s that time of year again folks, when everyone is banging on about the album of the year. I won’t hate on the tradition. We can be equally entertained compiling our own lists and waving our musical willies as we can looking at the mags’ lists and loudly deriding those silly writers’ picks (‘what was number three?!’ ‘how could they leave out this unsigned dubstepbritpop hybrid from Grimsby?’) while silently making notes of stuff to check out. After all, the first couple of months of a year are pretty barren for new music. Aside from that rush of initial albums from dirty leakers and prematurely ejaculating record labels, January and February are all about the catch-up. What did I miss... Well, what did you miss? There was a pretty startling amount of very good albums this year, but none of them stood out to this writer as being the album of the year. There is always one. Tends to be a big-sounding album for me... the insanely ambitious countrypost rock of Lift To Experience in 2001, or the beautifully evocative psychedelic bludgeon of Kyuss in 1994. Or Akimbo’s deranged concept album about New Jersey shark attacks in 2008. But nothing quite like that this year. This is not for want of contenders. Take Rough Trade’s choice, Josh T Pearson, the current idol of bearded earnest boys and 4_TheLeedsDebacle

It’s dirty and smart, as if Craig David had the talent of Thom Yorke fans of serious songwriters. He created the aforementioned Lift To Experience album, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, and, after band splits, bereavements, substance issues, mind loss and ten years, has re-emerged, blinking with hand capped over eyes. He once told me that, if he were to release one more album with the band, it’d have to be two, on account of the next is very dark. If anything happened to him, he couldn’t have that be the last thing the world heard of him. Not quite ready to complete the LTE trilogy, he did a solo country album. This epic journey into the depth of an emotional volcano is nothing if not dark. It’s a 6’7” man and his guitar, with lyrics as evocative as ever. Instead of chats with God about cutting deals to tell the world about how Texas is the centre of Jerusalem, he’s hitting reality. And his reality is bleak. He’s either warning of impending violence, apologising for various wrongs, or wishing that the woman to whom he was married was the woman with whom he was in love. It’s amazing, but perhaps a tad unremitting in

its hurt to be a favourite of the year. Elsewhere, we have some exquisite pop albums. Britney Spears, over a decade in the game, released her finest album yet. Faint praise, you might mutter into your dog-eared Disraeli Gears 12”, but you’d be wrong. After she apparently peaked with ‘Toxic’ and went into personal meltdown (there is a theme forming), she reemerged with a series of albums that have mixed pop hooks with excellent electronic production to increasingly high standard. Femme Fatale is the current apex, as long as one looks away from the hideous Will-I-Am song ‘Big Fat Bass’. Other than that, we have a smart pop album that would be topping lists worldwide if she were Scandinavian and commercially unsuccessful. On the more cult tip is Kimbra, an antipodean delight whose jazz-soul background places her in aesthetic opposition to Britney, but whose debut, Vows, is equally joyous in its distillation of music into its constituent parts of melody, energy and emotion. Check out ‘Cameo Lover’ and ‘Settle Down’ for varied but awesome examples of her work. Those into electro and generally mucked up music that used to be indie hip hop, dubstep, grime and whatever else have rather a lot to sink their teeth into, too. While Burial returned with an underwhelming single after three and a half years of keeping

Britney needs a new barnet! Use your favourite sharp implement to bestow the locks of 80s Bono or Selleck onto her dome.

people waiting, new bedroom Beethovens (sorry) emerged to steal his limelight. Fact Magazine declared their album of the year to be House of Balloons, by The Weeknd. Free to download on his site, the album is a scintillating mix of soul, grime, sleaze and balladry. It’s dirty and smart, as if Craig David had the talent of Thom Yorke, or something. Where once the onus was on making your production sound as high tech and lush as possible, the most interesting electronic now is a lofi patchwork of sounds and beats. We had the How To Dress Well album, technically from 2010, but properly released this year so the world could bask in its soul-pop glory, Balam Acab’s charming finger painting equivalent to Boards Of Canada’s classical watercolours, and Rustie’s Glass Swords: either a genius successor to Daft Punk or a crappy 80s rip-off, I can’t actually decide. Somewhere between the home composition of these and the beauty of a Björk or Joanna Newsom was the stunning vocal cloudbuilding of New Yorker Julianna Barwick’s The Magic Place, which was almost too beautiful to be real. Almost.

The metal world thankfully took more steps away from the funereal doom ‘n’ dirge that typified the scene mid-last decade. Southern Lord had the lion’s share of excellent albums, from the crustcore supergroup All Pigs Must Die to hardcore Scandinavians Summon The Crows. They were rivalled by Hydra Head, who released the 11-minute guillotine drop that is Gridlink’s Orphan and, definite contender, Cave In’s White Silence, their best since they topped my list in 2000. The possible standout, though not as mind-blowing as either the Shining or Black Breath albums from 2010, was Funerary by Pulling Teeth. It starts out as something between death metal and crust punk, has an epic doom song as its centrepiece, and ends up with numerous mini-epics that balance brutalist riffs with terrace chant choruses. If the record was entirely composed of the latter style, it may be less artistically ambitious, but we may actually have had a winner. A few names hover perilously close to the top of the big magazine lists. Unsurprisingly, The

Horrors, Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver pick up some silver and bronze with highly lauded albums whilst, more surprisingly, Metronomy, Wild Beasts and St Vincent attain lofty positions with a more inventive take on indie. But the album NME, Mojo and more seem to be championing is PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake. A charming record that is drenched in tradition yet strikingly relevant, it is indeed highly accomplished and worthy of mention. But number one? I could go on. There were very good albums from country punx Those Darlins; Japanese psychdoom-metal-pop trio Boris (who actually released three albums); electronic veterans who keep improving, The Black Dog; ageing rock legend Michael Monroe (of Hanoi Rocks fame); Radiohead; Tyler the Creator; The Duke Spirit... a ludicrous amount of excellent albums. Maybe the best album will reveal itself when we’re no longer in 2011. But, for now, there is no best: not this year. Does there need to be?


Best Music iliketrains 2011 Silesia by Jeniferever seems to have slipped under most radar but it isn’t a surprise to me that this is my record of the year. I have loved pretty much everything they have done and would count them as a big influence on us, as well as good friends. It was out early in the year, but I keep coming back to it so it must have something about it. There are all the usual Jeniferever hallmarks; great shimmering guitar parts and inventive driving drums, but there are also some pop moments on the record and it is all the better for it. A good entry point for anyone new to the band. I have also enjoyed the records of Radiohead, Josh T Pearson and Wild Beasts but I wouldn’t call it a great year for discovering new music. There was one clear standout for gig of the year. Bjork’s Biophilia show in Manchester is one of the best I have ever been to. It was so good that I have yet to invest in her new album as it can’t possibly compare to that gig experience. A Tesla Synth is on my Christmas list, but I’m worried it won’t fit down the chimney. 2012 Stalking Horse is the new project by Wu of This Et Al fame. We put out a single of his recently and have heard the album. It’s fantastic. Dark, pounding and endlessly inventive. Another we have heard bits and pieces of is the new Kyte record. It sounds huge and there is one song in particular which I am hoping will bring them the recognition they deserve. Having seen Braids recently at Constellations festival it seems their next record will be one to look out for also. The set was mostly made up of new tracks and I was blown away. A new record by the Knife would be good, and I’ve heard rumours that Boards of Canada are in the studio, which would be very splendid indeed. Oh, and we have a new record on the horizon too.

Whiskas (Honour Before Glory) I’m not sure if anything has really hit me that hard this year and, what has, has surprised me somewhat. My favourite new discovery is definitely Com Truise - an electronic artist on Ghostly, who makes 80s sounding house fuck ups. Or something. The albums that I like the most are definitely not what I thought I would say 12 months ago. Low - C’mon and Fucked Up - David Comes To Life just ‘sound’ brilliant and are a joy to listen to, more enjoyable for the freshness I think, compared to their back catalogue. The other one is SBTRKT – s/t, which, after enjoying James Blake & Jamie Woon’s output earlier in the year, takes things to another level melodically. In fact, I’m going to listen to that again now.


Black Moth 2011 Gentlemans Pistols - At her Majesty’s Request: This album begins with a guitar solo… and it’s balls deep from there on in. Easily the most listened to album on the Black Moth stereo this year and there cannot be a more thrilling live act. Saw them with The Sword in the summer and Karma to Burn later on and both times they stole the show. We defy even the most po-faced of chin-strokers to suppress a smile at one of their shows. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake: An absolutely stunning eighth album from the goddess-like Polly Harvey. Her most considered lyrical effort to date and it shows. This album is proof that you don’t always need to play through 100 watt amplifiers to be heavy. Listening to this record makes you feel like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders. With - The Harrowing of The North: Wiht are a local doom band who released this intriguing E.P. in the summer. It’s instrumentally rich and seems to go beyond the traditional sounds and subject matters of the genre. It’s exciting to have a local band that are making moves to push things forward. Or Backwards if you like - the record is set in the 11thCentury era of William the Conqueror. Rent Boys: Woah there... we might have another contender for the most fun live band here. How could we forget the mind-bending, ear-bashing, smut-peddling Rent Boys? Their shows are an explosion of joyously filthy chaos, miraculously held together by driving garage rock. Bent Roy is a hero for our generation. They’ve had a few 7” releases this year and an easy winner for video of the year with Shoot the Show. 2012 Locally, we’re pretty excited by the prospect of forthcoming records from Blacklisters and Hawk Eyes. We’ve had a sneak preview of the latter through their track Witch Hunt. Tasty riffs. In the big wide world beyond everyone knows 2012 is the year of the Black Sabbath reunion. Anxious anticipation has kicked in, we can only wait and see what the dark lords have in store! Plus I believe Queens of the Stone Age and Soundgarden are working on new albums for 2012? Heavy times ahead! And finally, our own album will be released in March 2012... watch this space as exciting details will be emerging shortly!

Castrovalva In 2011 my good friend music has spoiled me rotten. I’ve done my very best to narrow what started as a monster list into something slightly more bite size. So... TurboWolf - Self titled: This only came out in November but it’s already racked up more plays than most of this years releases. The first time i listened to this on my headphones I felt like Godzilla within my head treating my brain like Tokyo. Best moustache in rock too. Retox - Ugly animals: I’m a massive fan of ThreeOneG and since first hearing Swing Kids many years ago I’ve loved Justin Pearson’s vocal style and lyrics. So another one of his many super groups was going to be a must buy for me, and that was even before I realised it also had members of The Festival of Dead Deer. Nice solid San Diego hardcore. DeathGrips - Ex Military: Zach Hill can do no wrong in my eyes, and with Death Grips he’s created the most twisted hip-hop I’ve heard in years. This isn’t Ice-Ts comedy rap-metal. It’s a return to the sparse, intense electro approach of early hip-hop with an attitude of early hardcore punk. I think you can still download it for free from their website too. Glassjaw - Colouring Book EP: I was really excited about this coming out, even more so that I managed to bag a free copy of it when I saw them play in London. It’s been a long time since I’d listened to anything new by Glassjaw so I was a little apprehensive about what it was going to be like. Colouring Book is a much more mature and brooding beast than the collection of digital songs that made up the Our Colour Green EP and hands down some of their best work. As far as 2012 is concerned, I’d like much more of the same, minus another year of X-Factor, with a new Mars Volta album thrown in for good measure. TheLeedsDebacle_7

No Sex Please, We’re Men



ociety these days is a noisy, overwhelming mishmash of choices and opportunities, and with that comes a constant battle of the traditional and the post-modern. The past 100 years have seen some amazing developments – women winning the right to vote and wear trousers and homosexuality being legalised, to name a couple. But as our attitudes evolve and our minds broaden, why has the general stance on sex and relationships remained in the 1970s? Outwardly, it’s come on leaps and bounds, but in my personal experience there are still a fair few taboos that remain unbroken. I’m not talking about the middle aged. I’m talking about my own generation – fashionable, selfaware and confident twenty- to thirty-year-olds. Seemingly, and if you believe everything you read in the tabloids, anything goes with us. Sex goes hand in hand with our binge-drinking, exhibitionist, high-octane lifestyle. Hang on… high-octane lifestyle? That’s the first thing that needs setting straight. After work I’d rather sit down in front of Eastenders with a cup of tea than hit the local boozer. And I’m not alone. Sorry to disappoint anyone who enjoys the endless stories of the debauched youth, but it isn’t really like that. Not all the time, anyway. My friends and I regularly discuss how we haven’t been out in months. So logically, this means we probably haven’t pulled either. Not that we would end up shagging after every night out – far from it. Despite what the countless documentaries on binge-drink Britain would have you believe, one-night stands are still 8_TheLeedsDebacle

generally frowned upon. And this is what I find strange considering that nowadays sex is portrayed as little more than a pastime.

work colleagues they’d like to ‘have a go’ on. They are only too keen to share the gory details of their best shag EVERRRRRRR.

It’s everywhere. Post-modernist theories challenged our society’s deeply entrenched values, and with this challenge came liberation – and sex. It’s inescapable. It sells cars, clothes, shoes, music, even books and chocolate. It’s a favourite topic of conversation among men and women, and not unusual for men to brag about sleeping with astronomical numbers of women. But if alcohol were to leave the equation, would this still be acceptable? For men – probably. For women – definitely not. Women who rack up that many notches on the bedpost are immediately assumed to be depressed, lacking in self-esteem, on drugs, escaping from the past, abused or worse. But what if each and every conquest had been a choice made by the woman with no booze or other external factors involved? I am not advocating promiscuity here – merely saying that in this day and age when we are encouraged to embrace our personal freedom, why should we women turn our nose up if an opportunity arises?

Ladies, please don’t be alarmed, it’s all harmless banter. It’s quite amusing once you get used to it. And if you ever did feel inclined to arrive at their house hiding your modesty with nothing but a mac, you’d probably be more likely to earn the title of cockhungry nutcase than be welcomed in with open arms and a boner. As women become more forward and assertive where sex is concerned, men become frightened. It’s ironic really, that they can’t seem to handle their fantasies becoming reality.

One reason immediately springs to mind – it scares men away. Yes, seriously, after all those torturous years fighting for female liberation, we finally have it, and guess what, men don’t like it. The majority of my friends are male, and I’ve heard the way they talk about women. They fantasise about scantily clad temptresses appearing on their doorstep in nothing but suspenders and a trench coat. They make lists – yes, actual lists written on paper – of

Of course there are exceptions to the rule and men who would rise to the game immediately, but my guess is there is more emotion involved than males like to admit. Us girls wouldn’t make the choice to sleep with someone we didn’t like or fancy (unless inebriated, perhaps) whereas men, it has long been assumed, aren’t so picky. Take the old adage about ‘not looking at the mantelpiece while poking the fire’. What seems to be happening, in my opinion at least, is that more and more mantelpieces are making themselves available, and men are starting to look and choose. t I’ve seen my cocky, macho (or so they think) male friends white faced and wide-eyed as they recount horror stories of how ‘she tried to rape me’. Not in a criminal sense, of course. Just that they found the lady in question’s advances alarmingly and disconcertingly forward. Porn obviously has to take some

Could it be that the old traditional approach

Two birds ‘necking’ = Lesbian Seaguls - Humperdink wasn’t lying of the blame. While it’s now acceptable for women to pay the bill on a date or even propose to their partner, it’s also become normal for them to indulge in a bit of blue, with or without a partner. This coupled with the constant bombardment of sexual imagery in the media and calls for female empowerment in the workplace and at home, must lead – on a subconscious level, at least – to a feeling of power, control and importance that leads women to feel confident in making the first move. We need to calm down. Call me sexist, archaic or

deluded, but I genuinely believe that men are intrinsically wired to ‘take the lead’ when it comes to building relationships, and we should let them have their fun. After all, what girl doesn’t like to be courted the old-fashioned way? It’s a dated concept and probably doesn’t cross the minds of modern men, but if the chase is made too easy, they invariably lose interest and women end up being labelled with unjust and derogatory terms such as ‘easy’. This shouldn’t be the case, of course, but it would seem that

to dating actually worked better?

Joe Public’s perception of how women should behave sexually is at odds with the new breed of super-confident woman. I believe the balance will shift over the next ten or so years and, like women watching porn or pursuing a career while hubby takes on the role of stay-at-home dad, women doing the chasing will become the norm. But for now, girls, sit back and enjoy being wined and dined. Save the trench coat and suspenders combo for someone who really deserves, and most of all, appreciates it. TheLeedsDebacle_9

we give Gaz three unrelated topics and he gets his rhyme on.




awrence the Lobster lived in the sea, liked to eat fish and ocean debris. He liked to play football with other sea creatures; and played in goal because of his features. He was the best in the ocean at saving shots; protecting his goal a lobster pot.

George stood singing ‘freedom’ to himself, as he prepared to grab Lawrence off the ice shelf. Before reaching in he had to think twice, because he knew that mobster wasn’t nice. ‘I’ve got to have faith’ he repeated again and again, the mobster’s fine he’s snorting cocaine.

Lobster Athletic were winning 1-0 against a team of evil krill. Moments away from a hard fought win, a ball came over the top and Krill’s striker was in. He blasted a shot in over the line, the team celebrated by drinking brine.

George hid Lawrence in his blue jacket, and took him away from the musical racket. Minutes later they got back to his home, George ran a bath and filled it with foam. Did he want to be friends? Or make fast love? George picked up Lawrence wearing some gloves.

Lawrence went to retrieve the ball, but clipped his leg and began to fall. As he fell he thought ‘oh dam’ the goal was wired and closed shut WHAM. It was something David had always feared, the match was abandoned and the crowd disappeared. In the city George Michael was at a place, where membership is a smiling face. Club Tropicana where the drinks are free, food is ordered from the sea. It didn’t look good for our goal keeping Lobster; he was on the menu of a well-known mobster. He woke up in a fridge full of ice; his claws banded together which wasn’t nice. Destined to be a rich man’s main, thinking ‘I’m never gonna dance again.’ His legs were cold and getting crisper; it was then that he heard a careless whisper. George danced over and looked at Lawrence, his Christmas cheer replaced by abhorrence. ‘Call me good; call me bad, I know that you are sad. I’ll be your friend, I’ll be your toy, I’ll be the one to bring you joy. Don’t worry I have a plan. Baby, I’m your man’


Lawrence was sat on the toilet seat, as G e o r g e sent out a Christmas tweet. He was happy that George saved him from the club, but worried about the water in the tub. George had run them a really hot bath, and poured some red wine out of a carafe. Last Christmas George had to shoot his dog; he was now in the bath wanting a snog. He picked up Lawrence in a loving way, the clock struck 12 it was Christmas day. George dropped the lobster at the plug end, and started to sing to his new friend.

‘You get the grey skies out outta my way; you make the sunshine brighter than Doris day. Turn a mere spark into a flame, my beat per minute never been the same.’ Little did he know he was being so cruel, the bath was too hot; George was a fool. Lawrence went red with pain but George thought he was shy, he went red too when Lawrence pinched his thigh. ‘C’mon baby let’s not fight, we’ll go dancing; everything will be alright!’ It wasn’t alright Lawrence started to scream, and fell unconscious into a dream.

George wanted to wake him before he’d go-go, but after a minute he was hanging like a yo-yo. Lawrence had died on Christmas day, but instead of a burial he was put on a tray. George hadn’t been and bought a turkey, and a lobster for lunch seemed sort of quirky.

CASHIER NO. 9 It’s difficult to concentrate on the lush harmonies and gorgeous melodies of Cashier No. 9 when two steaming lesbians are wobbling into you in the throws of passion. Having already escaped the lady relentlessly flicking hair into my face, sidestepped the rugger-buggers pretending they haven’t just tapped me on the shoulder (again) and retreated from the wildly-dancing-alone chap repeatedly stamping on my foot, the six unassuming fellows chiming timeless blissful pop on stage have got their work cut out to gain attention from an unexpectedly eclectic crowd taking advantage of Nation of Shopkeepers perfect pricing policy. Fortunately, the Belfast boys are armed with a sumptuous debut album, ‘To The Death Of Fun’, and heads inevitably turn their way from the opening irresistible chords of ‘Goldstar’. As layers of instruments are subtly introduced, the song builds unnoticed to a euphoric harmonised harmonica ending, a formula expertly repeated on single ‘Oh Pity’. Any worries that they’ve peaked too soon or could dissolve into merely pleasant are dispelled as the set grows from the sunny Byrds and Beach Boys beginnings to a more rhythmic second-half, highlighting with ‘The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out’, where ladies’ hair is relentlessly flicked and the wildly-dancing chap is no longer alone. I am tapped on the shoulder one more time: “That was fucking brilliant” says the rugger-bugger.

DUM DUM GIRLS Hot-trotting onto the 60s garage girl group revival led by Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls seemed the sexier, scarier, stylish sister. Debut album ‘I Will Be’ was a great lo-fi blast of detached cool, which the public either ignored or forgot. A tragic year later and the band return to Leeds’ Brudenell with ‘Only In Dreams’, a record that unexpectedly welcomes listeners into singer/songwriter Dee Dee’s heartbreak and hope of dealing with her mother’s recent death, culminating in the beautiful goodbye ‘Hold Your Hand’. The music remains upbeat and vibrant with fabulous melodies (‘In My Head’), woozily catchy psych (‘Bedroom Eyes’) and Pebbles-esque frugging (‘Just A Creep’). The contradictions fit perfectly together. Live, the girls exude a shy charisma as they smash and sway their way through Cramps-style riots and Shangri-La beats before ending on an emotionally epic ‘Coming Down’. A fitting tribute.


LEESUN Born in Korea, raised in Canada, settled in Leeds; it’s difficult to know what to expect from LeeSun. A bizarre K-pop, CanRock, Britpop hybrid where Chad fucking Kroeger bellows in a stripy pink leotard over hi-energy electro played by Peanut in a majorettes hat to over-excited teenage girls? Thankfully, my recurring nightmare evaporated with the soothing sounds of debut album ‘Prime’, a remarkably together 17 track record of intricate, lovingly performed jazz folk. The mood is contemplative, often melancholic, yet with a playfulness and sense of mischief that allows ‘Wise’ to skip excitedly and ‘Humming Tune’ to reflect affectionately. To the wrong ears, the love, life & loss lyrics could overwhelm into a syrupy Miranda July soundtrack or the tinkling backdrop could underwhelm into daytime radio background. At her live launch at Full Circle she proves the right ears right with a joyous and heartfelt performance of spiritual and honest songs with creeping melodies that linger longingly. Lovely.

SOUL CIRCUS Past the rotten takeaways of Upper Briggate, over the aggressive dual carriageway towards the grime of Chapeltown, it is an unexpected treat to find a row of independents staying alive in an odd location by being good at what they do. Hidden behind Reliance, Hansas, Greedy Pig and Sevenoaks, Test Space is a fitting addition to the area as a centre for creativity. Packed into two floors, there is the feel of a vital house party as tonight the venue plays host to a single launch from upcoming Leeds band Soul Circus. Makeshift bar, Strongbow cans, single toilet and dubious smells only add to the sizzling atmosphere and, by the time the reason we’re here strut on stage, the room is full of inebriated folk ready to be given a good time. ‘Last October’ blasts off infectiously and immediately showcases the huge choruses that suggest 2011’s Leeds Festival performance might be their perfect home. “It was as good as over… when you told me that you didn’t like The Smiths” sums up a band unashamed to wear their influences or emotions on their stylish sleeves, a quality sure to get the critics scoffing and the masses cheering. Guitar, guitar, bass and drums stride with a tight confidence behind their hollering frontman Lloyd Bradley, a ball of electricity trying to break loose, tonight restricted by a low ceiling his arm endlessly reaches up to. By the time we reach single, ‘The Myth’, parents and pals sing along and there is a feeling that soon enough that arm will stretch through that ceiling and into a sky these lads are clearly aiming for. (Soul Circus have since released a charity Christmas song, that isn’t shit, called ‘Picture Frames’. Download and donate to St George’s Crypt.)


Valentines Day



s I approached the worn counter and asked for two tickets, the old Korean man, sat on a seat made of nondescript packing boxes, slowly lifted his head, revealing his weathered face and salted eyes, he stared me up and down before, in an explosion of gradients, laughed in my face. “Don’t talk to strangers” does not apply in the virtual world. While approaching someone in a public space to offer conversation is frowned upon, it is quite acceptable to stalk their digital profiles and personal information like some kind of cold war commie-hating Carter-enthusiast; frothing at the mouth trying to find evidence of loose morals or at least an inclining towards ‘rope games’. I was told that this behaviour is “what everyone does” so I donned my Columbo coat and started my own personal search for my next ex-girlfriend. Quickly I found this process of displaying all that you are interested in and wrapping it in a photo vetoed by your own insecurities to be completely absurd. Where an honest idea was birthed, it soon grew up to being a lying little shit who convinced a load of heavy set women to “shoot from above” to hide the most obvious feature of their physical form; plump is only beautiful when it isn’t a surprise. My tales of internet dating would take up this entire journal so place trust in me, dear reader, that I have experienced all the shocks the social network can launch at me. 14_TheLeedsDebacle

Now when meeting someone from a digital representation the first thing you will note is their flaws. This isn’t because I am a monger of self righteousness or a shining example of the what man can be if he tries; trust me, I am so flawed that it’s an illusion of colour and distracted gags - the 3D magic eye personality that won’t stop moving and allow you to see what’s in the picture - it’s not a sail boat. Online everyone has the opportunity to display their plus points, the editorial cuts out anything that would turn a person off. When you meet the person you will notice immediate physical attributes like height, teeth, voice tone and mannerisms like a lack eye contact when speaking, which will feel like meeting rejected pets at a rescue centre. After some oddball text messaging with my next venture we decided to meet on the day of all days for dating. From a brief awkwardness in the station we moved to a bar that offered a choice of olives and fine ales, draped in solace and atmosphere. We expanded our internet bios and drank until we could make fun of ourselves. Due to the nature of the evening, everywhere that was popular was packed with couples and couple potential, a giant speed-dating event set over 24 hours where condom machines would rejoice. Our options were limited so I suggested an art-house theatre in a notorious part of town. As we approached the area I pointed up to a triple X sign that was glowing

in the rain. She laughed and suggested it would be funny if we went here instead. I had a bottle of Argentinian Melbec in my bag and a couple of pure Americana red cups I have become obsessed with. The venue had a sign outside that proclaimed “4 movies for 1 ticket”. We stepped through the double doors and understood exactly what the man at the counter was laughing about; two mid twenties kids on a date in a porn theatre designed by the mind of Hunter S. Thompson. There were approximately 40 rows of seats, with 12 seats either side and a large walkway in the middle. There were around a dozen patrons already in the room, all men, all over 40, and seated at least three rows and ten clear seats away from each other - now most people complain at how awkward it is picking a theatre seat when you walk in late, well try it in a porn theatre. We sniggered as we picked our seats, the alcohol adding to the self-awareness, the sound system is not quite loud enough to drown out any comments. When I cracked the wine open the pouring sounded like a pregnant woman’s water breaking across the grimeridden floor. The screen was displaying some kind of early 2000’s adult film - pre gonzo - which translates into porn with dissolve cuts and tracking shots. The participants in the film were a near jaundice yellow and a flashing message in the corner indicated the source; “Please Replace Bulb” rhythmically

reminded the audience that a colour was missing from the feature. Not that it disturbed the narrative. Enjoying a wine whilst trying not to think about the cleanliness of your seat as a phallus does what nature intended thirty feet high in a dark room is an experience I recommend to all wine critics. If the sound of old men jerking off wasn’t enough to disturb your senses, at the front of the theatre a woman of questionable gender danced awkwardly to the soundtrack, facing forward trying to catch the eye of the patrons. We soon realised that this was a prostitute who found a niche market to exploit: Interactive Adult Entertainment Experience. Shame that she had an appearance that looked like a failed attempt to clone Mickey Rourke. As we laughed about the floor show a somewhat younger man had entered the theatre and had sat down in the row in front of us, a couple of seats over. This invasion

of space was unnerving, especially when I looked around and noticed that all the men in the theatre had shifted positions and were sitting in the vicinity of me and my date. There are not many moments in my life where my mind has asked “are we going to be gang raped?” and I’ve been to Thailand. We decided that it would be a good idea to finish the wine and haul ourselves out of the theatre. The film had changed to something even more 90s as a young Jenna Jameson was polishing a pole that was never going to sparkle, despite her keenness. As we stood up the full extent of the scenario was unveiled to me; we were surrounded by men who were all furiously, unashamedly, masturbating in the glow of the screen. To make this more of a scar on my conscious, one of the men noticed my shocked expression and smiled at me, to what aim I don’t know - was he pleased with himself? Did he want me to feel at ease? Was he just being courteous? I did not stick around to find the

results and we burst out of the back doors, instantly looking at each other with one of the loudest laughs we could muster. They say people laugh in horror movies because they are nervous and vulnerable, try being surrounded by the fap sounds of strangers. I ended up dating this girl for a few months until she fantastically broke up with me via facebook because she discovered I still had my online dating profile and assumed I was cheating on her. I wasn’t, I simply didn’t think to delete it. I could have protested it and put the relationship back together, but that was a warning shot from the battleship of fully mental female that I could not ignore. What I did learn is that creating a memorable experience can do a lot more for a relationship than sitting in a bar waiting for one to ask the other back to their place. When Valentines Day rolls around, do something different. Go to a porn theatre. Bring wet wipes.

Dan Clark vs...


Memories of Gary Speed


aster Monday, 1990. ‘Away goes Speed… he’s got a start on them all this time… go on Gary Speed, get one yourself son… and what a great goal!’ – John Boyd, commentator. Looking back, this was the moment Speed was accepted by Leeds fans as one of our own. He’d made his debut in 1988 but had really broken through late in the 1989-90 season, all gelled back hair and impossible good looks, earning him the nickname ‘Gorgeous Gary’ and various modelling assignments for Burtons and Topman. His early game was all technique and touch. Leeds fans were immediately suspicious. For a while it had seemed Speed and the Kop weren’t destined to get on. The young Speed wasn’t always as assured as he would later become and for a while it looked doubtful whether he would handle the pressure of playing in front of such a vociferous and demanding crowd. Then in a cold spring sunshine his combination of pace, power and talent clicked. He tore our closest promotion rivals Sheffield United to shreds, setting a goal up for Chapman and running away from the defence and hitting a shot to the far corner for the fourth goal in a four-nil win. I was 10 years old, had become obsessed with Leeds in that season. I’d been initially bewildered by my visits to Elland Road but the combination of noise, big blokes swearing, and occasional glimpses of the game had proved intoxicating. It was also the first thing my dad and I really had in 18_TheLeedsDebacle

common, that we were able to bond over, so Leeds United it was for me. Speed is there in so many of my earliest and fondest football memories. In my mind’s eye, he’s always arriving at the back post to head in a Mel Sterland cross or doing a little shimmy to put someone on their wrong foot before banging a ball into the top corner from 25 yards. My favourite goal he scored for us was the first in the 4-1 demolition of Stuttgart in autumn of 1993, running on to a Cantona knock down after winning the ball in midfield and smashing a volley in the top corner. He was an elegant, athletic and powerful player with a wonderful left foot who never seemed to tire. That midfield of Strachan, Batty, McAllister and Speed was in my opinion the first perfect distillation of the modern midfield. No wingers as such, but four players who all worked hard for each other, looked after the ball and could dominate teams from start to finish, very much the beating heart of the team. Sky have managed to convince the press that football was invented in 1992 so sadly the Leeds team that won the championship that year will never get the wider recognition they deserve. Make no mistake, we were deserved champions, we scored more goals, won more and lost less than everyone else. Speed’s contribution that year was huge. You can look at the review videos and see the goals he scored and set up but I remember that year he played left midfield, central midfield, left back, centre forward and even right back to help the team out of a fix.


As a kid in my summer holidays I used to hang around at the ground, when the training pitch was on Fullerton Park, the pitted mess that is now a match day car park. In my memory, every summer between 1990 to about 1995 is spent with my mate Andy watching the players train, chasing them round for autographs and generally making a nuisance of ourselves. In this modern world of inaccessible players who are in the front pages of the tabloids as often as the back, it seems unreal to think that we could go talk to our heroes everyday. Even more unreal to me is a memory I have of Speed doing a fitness test against a bleep on the car park where the banqueting suite now stands. One of the key midfielders of the current league champions doing a fitness test in plain view of everybody and anybody on an old bit of car park doesn’t quite sit with the image of the modern day Premiership footballer, does it? Afterwards, I remember all the girls I knew being really jealous that he’d sweated onto my pad as he signed an autograph for me for the 37th time that summer. All I can remember is thinking how daft his new curly mane looked. I remember in the summer of 1995, Andy and I sneaked onto the Fullerton Park training pitch, through the big gate at the Geldard end. At first we just stood there watching but occasionally a ball or two would fly in our direction so we passed it back to the players. They obviously appreciated not having to come out of line for whatever exercise they were doing so let us carry on

fetching them. After a little while, Jack Williamson, the security guard at Elland Road at the time, a man a lot of Leeds fans know as ‘Rottweiller’, came marching onto the training pitch to demonstrate his ruthless efficiency at dealing with fundamentally harmless children. Speed shouted to Mick Hennigan, the Leeds assistant manager and about as formidable an opponent as Jack could wish for, ‘Mick! Jack’s telling these lads off and they’re only getting the balls.’ A combination of Speed, Hennigan and Gordon Strachan (‘fuck off, jobsworth’ being Wee Gordon’s pithy contribution to the debate) saw Jack off with a flea in his ear. ‘Now we’ve sorted that out lads’ Speed winked at us conspiratorially ‘don’t fuck about.’ When we got off the training pitch, Jack gave us an almighty bollocking for ‘making him look stupid.’ The next day when we arrived at the ground an extremely sheepish looking Jack came up to us and told us that ‘the team management have requested that you work as ball boys for today’s training session.’

As we walked onto the pitch with Howard Wilkinson, we got a grin and nod from Speed that couldn’t feel more poignant as I write this. His Leeds career seemed to go a bit stale in the mid 90s and it was no great surprise to anyone when he left for Everton in the summer of 1996. I followed his career from a distance as he went to Newcastle and became a grizzled cruncher at Bolton then Sheffield United. I’d been watching the development of his Welsh team with interest and pleasure, enjoying seeing one of my childhood heroes become so highly regarded in management while working with comparatively limited resources. Throughout his 20 year playing career he was a link for us Leeds fans of a certain age (which I must reluctantly be, these days) to a time when Sgt Wilko’s side made us believe anything was possible. Any Leeds fan that had their formative football years around 1989-1992 was spoiled rotten. Whenever I saw him, whether on Match of The Day, Sky or at Lucas

Radebe’s testimonial, I thought back to those days, the best days by miles of my childhood. A rare breed of footballer who embodied Billy Bremner’s mantra of ‘side before self, every time’ He was a manager and coach who seemed to have a long and successful career in front of him and seemingly a man who was well liked and respected throughout football. The news of his death completely knocked me sideways. It would be crass and wrong to speculate on the whys and hows of his death. But crass the tabloids are and speculate they inevitably will. What I know is that Gary Speed’s death has affected me in a way that I never would have expected. I feel a very genuine and personal grief and I suppose I feel like part of my childhood has gone with him. Judging by the flowers, shirts and scarves that have started to accumulate by the Bremner statue, always a focal point of for Leeds fans in difficult times, I can see that I’m not alone in that grief. Gary Speed, rest in peace.

You Just Never Know



ince being diagnosed with depression, I’ve been trying to explain what it’s like without sounding like I’m after sympathy for how I was then or applause for how I am now. The subject has recently become prominent due to Gary Speed’s suicide and, for anyone worried, this piece isn’t going to undermine that tragedy. At these times, for me, the media simplifies things a little too much, and shows its ignorance of depression. I’m not ashamed of having mental health problems, but I do find it infuriating. Some people have similar experiences, so that’s easy. What’s difficult is trying to explain to people that I haven’t suddenly started feeling like this – I’ve been feeling like this for years, but just tried to shut it out, forget about it or otherwise ignore it. It may be a cliché, but it’s impossible to tell from someone’s outer what is going on inside.

Instead I threw myself into my work, and then realised that I hated my job. I tried to leave by demanding a pay-rise I was sure would be refused, and instead I got it. Things started getting more stressful, until finally I was having a meeting with two colleagues, and the whole left hand side of my body went numb. I suggested to someone I was going to hand in my notice, and a few people said that if I left, then they would as well. At the time, I felt like I just couldn’t be responsible for everyone leaving, and so I would have to find another way to stop working there.

Everything finally came to a head just over 3 years ago. I was about to turn 33, and my homelife wasn’t going quite as I’d expected. I’d wanted children by the age of 30, but they seemed to be getting further and further away. I’d hoped I’d be able to stop working and be a full-time mum, possibly a child-minder. We were thrown off the adoption register because it was taking too long for me to lose another half a stone on top of the eight I’d already lost, and it made me give up on children.

I planned my suicide over the next two months; I arranged a couple of days travelling round visiting people around the country so that no one at work would miss me, and my husband wouldn’t suspect anything. I went to Newark with a load of pills and even made it to the car park of the hotel I decided to stay at. In the end, my desire to see the friends I’d arranged to visit was too much, and I thought that if I still wanted to, I could always stop on the way home instead.


Now I get to the point of this this is what depression does to you. I went home, and decided if I couldn’t leave my job, then I would have to kill myself. Notice the wording – there was no doubt in my mind at that point in time. It was my only way out.

Obviously I never did it. I drove home two days later, went to see the doctor, and told my husband what I’d nearly done. I remember the shock in his face. To clarify, my husband and I are close – I tell him everything, and we spend a lot of time together. He knew about the numbness at work, he knew I was stressed, but the fact I might want to be dead? He asked if I was unhappy with him, and I had to try and explain that it wasn’t about being happy or unhappy, more the opposite – just not being able to feel anything about anything any more. If I’d have managed to kill myself in Newark, whether on the way there or back - then what would people have said? I hadn’t told anyone in those two months how I was feeling. Perhaps there would have been discussions: “I saw her yesterday, and she seemed fine”, or maybe even people thinking I’d had everything to live for – a good home, a loving husband, a secure job. I remember hearing that the night before he tried to kill himself, Stephen Fry attended a party, and spent the whole night chatting freely, and laughing and joking with everyone. In conclusion, we may think we know someone’s life. We may see them, and think they have it all, and therefore they must be happy. They may seem fine, jolly even. But depression isn’t anything to do with how happy you are, in the same way that weather takes no notice of whether you’re working - sometimes it’s just about trying to enjoy your day off in a thunderstorm.

The Exhibits by Winston Plowes Cold men checkmated on the Headrow. It was two, I was five minutes late, She, was five later. We were exhibits. Curious flesh, circling one another. Studies for the eyes of the halls of fame and their creations. Gormley’s brick man took stock. I was two feet shorter, she, was three. Stidworthy’s voices of hate stammered from the black arc. Projected mouthings and streaming neon warnings. In this heavy blackout, I spoke softly, She, more softly still. Sir Stanley’s ladies leaned from their gardens.

We looked over our shoulders following the turn of the stairs. Sir Percival, armoured, seemed reluctant, she, more reluctant still. Moore’s recliner could see the cracks appearing, the lines were spreading around her eyes. And I saw them too. Collections of flowers and horses triggered bullet points of chitchat. A cackle of shots held in the arches of the Tiled Hall. It was four, The light had gone and the rain came like no tomorrow. We stepped out It was 5 degrees colder, She, was colder still. Wet, we drove apart and escaped the planished Headrow. TheLeedsDebacle_21

Let There Be Light



ovember 10th was host to the eagerly anticipated Christmas lights switch on in Leeds city centre. The night, which seems to get earlier every year, was full of excitement, prepubescents and fireworks. Which C list celebrity had they got to switch them on this year I hear you cry. Non other than Matt Cardle! Yes I had to Google him too. The winner of X-Factor 7 had the tasking job of singing a few songs to sobbing teenage girls then pressing a button with some of Leeds’ well-known faces. But it wasn’t all ex X-Factor glamour. Santa even made an appearance from his busy schedule to sing a song he had recorded. Even Santa is having a go at becoming a singer. Look what Cowell has done. Leeds United players joined Simon Grayson on stage with Leeds Rhinos and their mascots, to which the crowd sang Marching On Together in unison. That wasn’t it. A Glee tribute act even contributed. At which point I turned to my friend and asked if she had spiked my Ribena.

The Soilders sung a few songs and the Beauty and the Beast panto cast jumped onto the stage in a whirlwind of colour and enthusiasm, all of this being compacted into an hour. A lot to take in. Through all this surrealism, it did show the Leeds spirit and community come together to have a sing and watch some fireworks, to the absolute cliché of Katy Perry’s Fireworks. It did signify the meaning of Christmas, all coming together, having a laugh, sharing. Sharing each others cigarette smoke. From a 15 year old. It did seem to be the one night of the year that the youth of Leeds come together to share a Breezer. But I suppose that is what Christmas is for. It was estimated that over 15,000 people had turned up for the event, most of which heading straight to the pub after. Good on them. The highlight of the night was definitely getting a photo with one of Santa’s elves. Masses of screaming girls were stopping Mr Cardle getting to his car while we hugged an elf. Merry Christmas.





et it not be said that Millennium Square is a paved waste of space and council money surrounded by mercenary bars spilling over with brainless lads and clotheless lasses. It’s not. Since opening in, erm, the millennium, the square has provided a serene space to potter, bask and relax in an otherwise hectic city centre. The following year saw the beautiful adjoining Nelson Mandela Gardens opened by the loud-shirted man himself, who thought he was in Liverpool. Since then, a string of ingenious events have provided us Loiners the chance to have some great days and nights and put some money back into the project. Music gigs, art exhibitions, theatre, fashion shows, sport screenings and food tasting are some of the impressive showcases staged at Millennium Square, all with huge success. The most successful of all returns winter after winter: Christkindelmarkt aka The German Market. Friday, 5:05pm, mid-November: I am two of thousands upon thousands of feet clomping hurriedly up The Headrow.

English tradition. German instigators.

Offices and staff-rooms across Leeds descending from all sides, eyes bulging, mouths shrieking, tummies rumbling. For tonight, 11 months later, the city comes together for a previously unknown mutual love of sausage, steins, mulled wine and oompah. The anticipation is palpable. Within minutes, I have queued for a spicy sausage, put too much pressure on the ketchup dispenser, queued for a cheese sausage, put too much pressure on the mustard dispenser, wiped mustard excess off with a paper towel, demolished a spicy sausage and too much ketchup sandwich, and demolished a cheese sausage, mustard and paper towel sandwich. I’ve injured my girlfriend on the dodgems, perused the lovely stalls, laughed at mullets and been told I’m too old for the merry-go-round. Things are going well and can only improve with a massive jug of overpriced German lager next to roaring drunks watching an aged hirsute brass band. Fifty minutes later, I am two of hundreds of feet standing

miserably still, way away from our holy grail, outside the mockingly named Walkabout. Queuing and waiting. Tummies bulging, mouths rumbling, eyes shrieking. Waiting and queuing. One in one out. Only another eighty to go I reckon. Only no-one’s leaving. Another couple of joy-sapped call-centre staff trundle off towards The Cuthbert Broderick. Only another seventyeight to go I reckon. I am sitting in the window of Wetherspoons with an underpriced pint of German lager, a wooden rocking horse, 3ft of salami, a reindeer rug, 45 chocolate marshmallows and a toilet roll holder of a man pooing. People outside shiver with broken hopes, from the bierkeller to the exit and beyond. The group of booming louts to my right cheer or jeer, it’s hard to tell, as another pint goes tumbling over. The evening has disintegrated into a din of wordless noises; yelps and grunts, wahays and woahs. I smile at the moustachioed old gentleman to my left carrying a trombone case as he rinses his bangers & mash down with a gulp of English ale. Sir, the city is waiting for you.

ELAINE PARK TheLeedsDebacle_23



/RACHAEL GARDNER You may have noticed the change in The Corn Exchange in recent months. Left as an empty shell a few years ago it is now full of wonders to discover. Among them is Body Lush, an innovative way to buy luxury bath and body care products with a bespoke finish. All ingredients are from ethical sources, paraben free, SLES free, allergen free and not tested on animals. Focusing more on the benefits of olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil, all products are mild and suitable for most skin types. What really separates this shop from others is the individuality and passion within, from the friendly service to the tailoring of products. There are a handful of superior products on offer including body oil, hand and body lotion, bath oil, facial wash, bath salts, room diffusers and shower gel. Choose which one you want then add one of the 30 deliciously crafted fragrances. My favourites are cucumber & melon, candyfloss, coconut citrus, fig & cassis, milk & honey, vanilla and arctic. If you want you can also add the colour of your choice. Treat yourself or someone you love with a gift bag that’s been customized to your exact taste. Body Lush is the place to go for affordable luxury that can be as individual as you are.





ans Funkmeister was a man of approximately five and twenty years of age. A young man of astute disposition, a student of science and law, for him everything had an explanation, any unsolved incident that appeared beyond the realms of this physical universe that which we all reside in, a piece of unfound evidence, was not taken into consideration or not discovered. At this moment in his life (it has to be said as he got older, his life experiences became far more bizarre) there was very little in the way of interest, he had a good upbringing from a good family, was excelling in his studies. The one thing he always prided himself on was that he had never once in his life been scared or frightened, and would converse with anyone on the subject, if ever it was mentioned or related to the conversation point. “I assure you, it would take substantial material evidence of supernatural behaviour to frighten me”, he said with a brush of arrogance. “Nearly six and twenty years I have lived and never have I encountered anything of the sort” he said, standing at a great fireplace with fellow students in the common room, the flames dancing off his face and body. Although still young, he had a noble look about him. To see him you would know he was young but his face and body told you his blood

and fibres were of high stock. If he were to converse with others of his age, he would always tower over them with his conversation, intelligence and demeanour. If ever caught motionless, he would bear a striking resemblance to a marble bust, with piercing eyes thinking about triumphs and lands conquered many years ago. His walk was burdened with the stern serious ambition that has lasted through his family for generations. Each step carried with it the imprint of nobility. He poured himself a generous glass of wine, He was studying law at some high important university, whose name I forget, and really don’t care. The point of conversation was about a ghost that resides on the university grounds, a terrible ghost whose only aim was to frighten everyone he encountered. “Please, it’s a spook story, something for the undergraduates to talk about on such a bleak night as this. I expect better from the company I am presently with, and on that note I bid you all goodnight, the hour is late, and my senses have been dulled by the wine, gentleman I bid you all a fond farewell and shall see you in the morning” he then made his way to his sleeping quarters. Inside he lit a small candle to aid him in his preparation for bed. When all of a sudden from outside

his window he saw a ghastly hand run down the window. At first he was startled, eventually he had thoroughly convinced himself he was not frightened by this, and instructed himself to go out and investigate the matter further. A mystifying occurrence as this could not go unexplained. He exited the main entrance, outside which was open grounds, the mist had swooped in, in the far distance he made out a willow tree. As daunting as this was for him, he gathered his nerves and proceeded to walk around the grounds to inspect or find who or what it might have been at his window. A little awkward at first he made his way around but found nothing. As he was going back inside he spotted someone in the distance. “You there!” he cried and ran after the shadowy figure into the night mist. As he approached the old willow tree, he stopped to gather his breath. There was no sign of the dark night mist shrouded stranger. Unexpectedly a cold hand perched itself upon his shoulder and tightened its grip. Hans was frozen still; he could not move he could not speak. A fantastic horrid terror had engaged his senses. He shed a solitary tear, and did not move all night. He was found standing in the same spot, well after dawn.


RealAle Ramblings



don’t often walk in to a pub and think “wow”. This though was my reaction upon entering The Wrens for the first time after it’s renovation by the new management team. The “wow” wasn’t because the new decor is amazing (it is very good!), it was because of the total contrast to how The Wrens had looked for the previous umpteen years. I liked The Wrens of old – the traditional decor, the open fire and Zak

By the time I’d ordered a pint of the excellent Tether Blonde from the Wharfdale Brewery and sat down, it dawned on me I was thinking nonsense. I was sat in a smart, clean and inviting pub that served 4 cask ales and now possessed an a la carte menu. So what if it wasn’t the ‘old’ Wrens? If I had the choice of the ‘new’ Wrens, or the old one gradually falling in to disrepair, the customer numbers dropping at the

The Wrens Hotel Dingle drinking wine in the corner enjoying his own company - The Wrens was a proper old pub. It was precisely at that point I decided I didn’t like the ‘new’ Wrens.


same rate as its beer standards, all before ultimately joining the great brewery in the sky, I know what my choice would be. It was this point that got me thinking....

In today’s economic climate, pubs are closing down every day of the week. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen, it shouldn’t need to happen, but in a lot of cases, it is happening. However, there are a number of pubs that are bucking this trend through their own pro-active actions to prevent time being called permanently on their premises. The Wrens is the most recent example, but its predecessors include the Town Hall Tavern, whose own refurbishment a few months ago seems to be having the desired effect. Also in this list (despite less extreme changes) is the Fenton who have expanded and improved their cask ale offering and The Duck & Drake who now have an outdoor seating area you’d actually enjoy sitting in! The Adelphi also is a great example of a pub that took a different direction a few years ago and is now reaping the rewards. The overall point here is that change can be good and change is often necessary to survive. A ‘traditional’ pub is a great place but it also needs to move with the times to ensure those traditions are maintained for the future, not lost for good. So if this refurbishment means The Wrens will survive for years to come it’s easy to decide I really like the ‘new’ Wrens.

But Auntie, What About Beer?



have always related to cookery and culinary-related programmes on the BBC. However, as a beer specialist for a large company, I feel it is my duty to try to understand the bias wine has in today’s programming. Beer is the oldest-produced liquid-commodity in the world, dating back to 6000BC. The complexity of beer lends itself to complementing food. The use of malts, hops and yeast means that there are three flavour profiles to work with food, unlike wine where you just have the grape. The diversity of styles in beer can help create a perfect marriage of flavours: from wheat beers to pilsners, and IPAs to stouts. The range of flavours and ingredients can easily shadow that of the usual white, red and rose. So why is beer so often overlooked by the BBC’s fascination of wine? It surprises me that the only programmes we have seen on beer, is a couple of middle-aged men travelling across the country in an

effort to find a boozer where they can get drunk in and play some games… Now don’t get me wrong, this is entertaining television, but why cant there be programming that brings beer and brewing to life! Why can’t Saturday Morning Kitchen pair a beer to their dishes rather than have some toff in Sainsbury’s prancing around the wine aisles? Especially as James Martin confesses to enjoying a lovely glass of Duvel when cooking at home. I am keen to discover why the BBC feel it is okay to disregard beer. There are around 167 wine producers in the UK, yet there are over 800 breweries, all of which use UK malt and barley to produce their beer. The UK brewing industry supports our local farmers through red tractor accreditation... surely this should be something to shout about? The great British tradition of brewing is seeing a revival and it is key for the re-growth of the economy that we get behind our manufacturing. The revival

in brewing can only be seen as a positive impact on today’s stuttering industry, where in Yorkshire alone, over three pubs every day are closing. I believe, as Britain’s great institution, it is the BBC’s duty to start portraying beer in a new light. By introducing beer in cookeryrelated programming it can help in promoting sensible drinking and make consumers aware that beer is not the so called lynchpin of the “binge drinking” generation. This myth can be dispelled by the BBC doing away with the image of the local boozer and a landlord pulling a pint of beer every time a health and alcohol story hits the news. We should be proud of our beer industry – in Yorkshire alone there are around 100 operational breweries, all of which use local farmers to source there ingredients. Beer is integral to our history and industry. Let’s celebrate that by the BBC leading the way... RESPONSIBLY!


A sensational roll-neck, I’m sure you’ll agree




hroughout 2011 I have witnessed many wonderful local artists who have shared their ups and downs, gigs and releases. One thing that some of these talented musicians and singer-songwriters have in common is a superbly put together music video to accompany their songs. Fortified Place (Matt Burnside) My Ghost Town (Little Vegas Lies) and The Girl Who Has Everything (Steph Stephenson) have all been masterfully created by the vision of one Sigourney Vowles. It’s one thing to watch and enjoy a completed video, but to see the process of its creation is a whole new story. Especially when done through the eyes of Ms. Vowles.


The moment she stepped onto the set, she knew exactly what she wanted, yet she is far from a prima donna diva. Softly spoken and focused on creating the best imagery she can, every minute detail was checked over from every possible angle, and all done so in a calm manner. There were no signs of nerves from anyone taking part, the whole shoot was relaxed and, most importantly, fun. I’ve always thought there would be a whole heap of stress when on a video shoot of any size. Lots of re-jigging and re-taking, the moving of lights and the forgetting to press the record button while filming. But none of this was to be found. Well, almost none. I

also had this idea of a very strict director who would freak out if their directions were not followed exactly. Again, not here. Matt and Tasha (aka ‘The Matt Burnside band’, whose video was being shot for the song ‘Home’) were bouncing ideas back and forth to Sigourney, who implemented them into what she had in mind. It was good to see such teamwork and creativity fill the room. In just three and a half hours, this fine young filmmaker managed to capture everything she needed to create her masterpiece (including yours truly - I’m in the back somewhere but I’m told this is because I’m tall, not so I can’t be seen).

Coffee Cup Swirls and Cigarette Girls by Adam Lee-Jones It was around about late January or early February, New Year had been and gone and I was once again thrust into another year of existence. ‘The Roaring Twenties’, ‘The Golden Era’, ‘The Jazz Age’, the 1920’s stained with the dried blood of the Great War. The European economy was booming; for anybody who wasn’t me prosperity and money flowed like wine. I was living in Paris at the time. If you’d have asked my father, he’d have told you I was living out a lie, a delusional fantasy of which no good would ever come. However, if you’d have asked me I’d have told you straight - I was there to fulfil my lifelong ambition to become a writer. I got by on what little I had, my determination and drive were the only things that I could call riches.

The Cafe Laurent was a place I frequented often, it was a hive for people such as I, down on their luck artists with financial constraints. Artists, writers and models gathered in clusters to talk recent publications, latest exhibitions, business, current affairs, lost and newfound loves; half empty coffee cups filled the tables of the despondent clientele. Cold, unnerving and as bitter as the ferocious wind that bit at my lips.

My throat became coarse like emery paper; a human heart that beat with the rapidity, urgency and uncertainty of a locomotive. Lust, need, want, desire, every primal instinct was redundant next to love. She stood to walk out, as she passed I smelled a pungent aroma in the air - roses and cedar wood. I sat there fixed in what seemed like a lingering purgatory, entranced and encapsulated in an otherworldly bind.

I sat inside people watching, comparable only to star-gazing. It was then that I saw her, my eyes fixed on a distant étoile. Fumée projected from her delicately formed mouth, rouge lips emanated smoke in thick, full of life plumes.

I followed her out onto the densely packed street with the intention of declaring my love to her. Just ahead of me and about to cross the road I saw her... Absent-minded faces cluttered my path, constricting the blood flow and causing a temporary block in the arteries of fate. As the clot dispersed I regained my vision and composure, she was gone.

Train by Tim Chapman For now we sit in rows heads down on phones fingers tapping some knapping listen to the announcements for refreshments terrorist bomb alert baggage disaster long beard dark skin reaction ‘stick together civilized peoples’ keep your head down read news and frown watch TV laugh like clowns eyes low brains are snow fluffy white cold mush frosty breaths stain the name and churn out repenting dominant average for the carnage and whole world disaster we feel safe though eat our cake though don’t live in huts don’t want the wig unstuck or the suit covered in muck read the text at the back of the book look up references to determine the style preferences get your bags down from the shelf put on that dull winter coat cast a vote in the kennel have another biscuit fetch the stick we changing collars and fooling after the last dollar make our mark on the beach with sand castles so why all the hassle the ocean sweeps away the last vessel I arm wrestle my left with my right poke out both eyes with a stalagmite shave off my nose with a sharpened knife pull on my ears with all my might it’s alright modern science these days we’ll be better off in a year and a day but anyway the train caller next station stop C3PO gets gut rot from too much stock and the cops took him for being gold but stop he was a terrorist for the rebels against the empire like Guy Fawkes and bonfires because ones always higher cost the fist of the people like a one man choir as the democrats pray they lock them away giggle and set fire run away counting microchips and stats but hey it’s just another day no give-aways inject the social heroin and let the games begin that soprano singing names to labelled retire or liar fucking peasant on a wire no need to respond the magic wand shakes and creates angel dust we must ingest walk around in a daze in the insect maze but hey it’s just a phase wait for your next cultural instruction as you’re seated on the train that travels every day.


Tales FromThe Moors Country Nicola Taylor – Describe your photography in one word:

Expressive Describe yourself in one word:

Melodramatic Explain your influences in one word:

Impossible Sum up Leeds in one word:

Vibrant If you could take one word to a desert island what would it be?




THE SEASON SO FAR LEEDS UTD V PORTSMOUTH For anyone new to this, I have attended seventeen Leeds Utd matches in a row without seeing them win. The last instalment ended after another high-scoring non-victory with a request for a 1-0 please. YEEEEEAAAAHHHHSSSS!!!!!!!!! 1-0!!!! DONCASTER ROVERS V LEEDS UTD Watching on telly, I have to be somewhere else an hour in so hope to be three up by then. Unbelievably, for the second match in a row and probably the second match in my lifetime, the team oblige as Lees adds to McCormack’s cracker for 3-0 after an hour! LEEDS UTD V COVENTRY CITY It’s a bloody good job I went to the Portsmouth game, otherwise gifting the worst team in the league a point in the last second would’ve made me pack it in, resigned that I will never rejoice again. LEEDS UTD V CARDIFF CITY Early Sunday kick-off, pubs in the centre suggest everyone is either at the ground or had a good night last night. The bar girl rightly ignores the only person in her pub shouting at a goalkeeper I can’t pronounce who can’t hear me. Otherwise, quite good. LEEDS UTD V BLACKPOOL Ahem… BURNLEY V LEEDS UTD Apparently this was on ITV. I didn’t know. I am a tosser. LEEDS UTD V BARNSLEY Rubbish. NOTTINGHAM FOREST V LEEDS UTD Eleven minutes from the eleventh minute is matched perfectly on the pitch when Snodgrass replicates the legend in the eleventh of those minutes. LEEDS UTD V MILLWALL Speedo. There’s only one Speedo. RIP.


JAN 1st – Viennese Whirl (Town Hall) 2nd – Leeds Utd v Burnley (Elland Road) 3rd – Advent and Christmas (Parish Church) 4th – Broadcast Society (Shopkeepers) 5th – Northern Art Prize Shortlist Exhibition (Art Gallery) 6th – The Phoenix Rising (New Roscoe) 7th – Dan Nightingale (HiFi) 8th – Nice Style: The Worlds First Pose Band (Henry Moore) 9th – Up Front and In The Spotlight (Craft Centre) 10th – Stand Up Comedy Night (Verve) 11th – Optimum Exposure (Bowery) 12th – Glass In The Window (Craft Centre) 13th – The Urban Voodoo Machine (Wardrobe) 14th – Tony Hendricks (Highlight) 15th – Asking Alexandria (Met) 16th – Ben Lowman (Sela) 17th – Minicine Film Club (Armley Mills) 18th – Shield Your Eyes (Oporto) 19th – Live Music (Primos) 20th –Alistair Russell (Grove) 21st – Punk Rock Alldayer (Well) 22nd – Courtyard Comedy Club (WYP) 23rd – Josie Long (Oak) 24th – Explosions In The Sky (Academy) 25th – Defying Hitler (Carriageworks) 26th – Tigran Hamasyan (Howard Assembly Room) 27th – Luxury Antiques and Fine Art Fair (Harewood House) 28th – Roots Manuva (Met) 29th – What’s That Bird? (Halton Moor) 30th – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (Cockpit) 31st – Big Society (City Varieties)


Something to do every day...

FEB 1st – Crossing Points (WYP) 2nd – Lee ‘scratch’ Perry (Uni) 3rd – Jane Godley (Highlight) 4th – The Many Faces of Battenberg-Cartwright (Bowery) 5th – Waiting For Godot (WYP) 6th – Simon Munnery (HiFi) 7th – In The City (Craft Centre) 8th – Slow Club (Brudenell) 9th – King Creosote (City Varieties) 10th – The Lightning Seeds (City Varieties) 11th – All That Glitters Is Not Always Gold (Discovery Centre) 12th – Valentines Fun Fair (Elland Road) 13th - tUnE-yArDs (Cockpit) 14th – Valentines Speed Dating (Living Room) 15th – NME Awards Tour (Academy) 16th – Giulio Cesare (Grand) 17th – Leeds Rhinos v Manly Sea Eagles (Headingley) 18th – Band Of Skulls (Uni) 19th – Chris Addison (Town Hall) 20th – Field Music (Brudenell) 21st – Derren Brown (Grand) 22nd – Five Truths (Howard Assembly Room) 23rd – RAG Fashion Show (Uni) 24th – SBTRKT (Cockpit) 25th – Jonathan Richman (Brudenell) 26th – Vintage Fashion Fair (Town Hall) 27th – Ben Howard (Met) 28th – First Aid Kit (Wardrobe) 29th – Madame Butterfly (Grand)

MAR 1st – Rizzle Kicks (Uni) 2nd – British Wildlife Weekend (various) 3rd – The Cribs (Met) 4th – Cass McCoombs (Uni) 5th – Iolanthe (Carriageworks) 6th – Laura Marling (Academy) 7th – Top Girls (WYP) 8th – Steve Hughes (HiFi) 9th – Alica Gold (Empire) 10th – Mark Lanegan (Cockpit) 11th – Wedding Fayre (Hilton) 12th – Boots Electric (Cockpit) 13th – Andrew Lawrence (HiFi) 14th – Chess (Grand) v15th – Peter Grant (Irish Centre) 16th – Mary Shelley (WYP) 17th – McFly (Academy) 18th – Wrap Up and Run (Harewood House) 19th – Gary Hume (Art Gallery) 20th – Leeds Utd v Nottingham Forest (Elland Road) 21st – The Waterboys (Town Hall) 22nd – Inme (Well) 23rd – The Selector (Brudenell) 24th – Rob Rouse (Jongleurs) 25th – Jonny Kearney & Lucy Farrell (Wardrobe) 26th – The Angelic Upstarts (Well) 27th – The Restoration of the Queen Anne State Bed (Temple Newsham) 28th – Silver 70s (City Museum) 29th – Pagrav Dance Co. with Urja Desai Thakore (Seven) 30th – Leeds Rhinos v Huddersfield Giants (Headingley) 31st – Easter Egg Hunt (Killingbeck Meadows)


Issue six of The Leeds Debacle is: John Barran Ross Newsome Darren Driver Laura Taylor Robin Jahdi Dan Clark Thea de Gallier Chloe McGenn Damien Knightley Ed Teale Elaine Park Gareth Jones Kyle James-Patrick Rachel Gardner Emily Ward Azar Ashraf Jo Watson Adam Lee-Jones Stuart Pearson Glen Pinder Winston Plowes Tim Chapman



Issue Six of The Leeds Debacle

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