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F a s h i o n B l o g s D a n c e

Leeds Guide Just over a year ago I started The Leeds Debacle. The motivation was mostly negative. I had been living in Leeds city centre for a couple of years and my tiny mailbox was continually overflowing with shiny A4’s or smudgy newspapers. I initially welcomed the free reading. Free information, free relaxation I thought. How generous. Yet, as I read on, I realised the words were meaningless. Every review was positive and, conveniently, sitting next to a promo paid for by the reviewed. Every contributor was merely plugging themselves and in the clique. And the writing was shit. (You wouldn’t get such a literary sentence as that for a start!) Then, one day, increasingly annoyed at these adverts masquerading as magazines blocking my Dominos Pizza & Rajaz Kebab flyers and wasting my time, I decided to stop moaning and release a ‘zine that everyone could contribute to, that didn’t say X is the best because they’d stuck us a few quid, and, of course, where the writing isn’t shit. Two out of three aint bad…


But the point of this article is not to tell you about the ‘zine you hold, it is to pay tribute to a magazine sadly no more. For what I had overlooked was that the city was already handsomely provided for by the presence of one publication: Leeds Guide. Formed in 1997 as an A5 black & whiter, it grew over the years into a professional colour A4 print alongside, more recently, a superinformative website, not unlike a Time Out for Leeds. Released fortnightly, the magazine was on the button as a comprehensive overview of the city’s goings on, featuring reviews and previews of things we went to, things we’d missed, things we were going to, and things we didn’t know about. Features and interviews mixed local talent with big names, whose willingness to use Leeds Guide as the go-to was an endorsement in itself. Subjects were relevant and well chosen. Writing was entertaining and believable. Yes, there were adverts, but they were unobtrusive, there


were awards, but they were highly regarded. Simply, Leeds Guide was what every local magazine should be: professional enough to inform, yet cool enough to matter. Alas, the use of past tense is because Leeds Guide is no more. In February, the company entered administration, announcing the latest issue as their last. The loss of a fine, expertly run success and its talented staff is a damning truth of the economic climate. Where the magazine soared as Leeds boomed, so too does it fall. Low sales and lack of advertising revenue are blamed for the loss of an institution. Maybe the adverts masquerading as magazines had it right all along. Let’s hope not.

TheWell Another institution disappearing with Leeds Guide to make the city a whole lot worse is The Well. The announcement that the building situated behind the LGI would no longer continue as a music venue was devastating, if not unexpected. Only last year, there was a petition to stop the premises being taken over by some monstrosity or another. Then, just when it seemed to have won… Memories of The Well are many. From as far back as when it was Josephs and I am working out whether my 16 year old schoolmate on stage has a redface because his bass-string has just broke, because it’s fecking hot in here, or because his mum’s dancing like a lunatic Bez next to the girl he’s trying to impress. Later and I am scoffing at a Kaiser Chief telling me that Parva have been dropped but how their change in direction is sure to take him from pulling my pint to Glastonbury. Then it is new years eve and I am in drunken delirium being hit in the head by a snowball thrown from the arm of the headliner. Next it is Live at Leeds and I can’t even get into the bar area let alone the stage because it’s too full of people watching my best mates band even though they’re not famous. And there were times that I actually listened


to some damn good music too. The Kills, British Sea Power, Buck 65, Fucked Up, Gallows, Earth… To March 10th when the doors closed after a suitably sweaty, emotional and rocking farewell. Maybe The Well ultimately carved out too fine a niche for itself as an out-of-town down-to earth hardcore rock and metal. venue. The location was hardly remote but people can be lazy. The bands weren’t always obscure but people can be safe. The Well was always about the music; a huge support for a myriad of local bands stepping out into the world of rock’n’roll and a showcase for any number of superb cult acts unlikely to visit Leeds were it not for here. I, along with many others, grew up with The Well. On behalf of us all, we salute you.

their superhero powers and saved the day! Putting aside my personal disappointment at writing a redundant tribute and my personal embarrassment at confessing my true feelings to the no-longer dying, this is great news, obviously! But please heed the warning. Don’t be lazy and don’t be safe. The Well has supported Leeds. Support The Well.

Right, well that was the end of the article until, shortly before going to print, news breaks that The Duck & Drake have used


Old Codgers Commentary


ear these several notes from another old codger just telling the youth of today what to do and perhaps how to do it. What you tend to forget is that we old codgers were the teens and twenties of the sixties and we were the wildest of the wild children. Yes, I might have been obliged to lose my virginity in the back of a Reliant three wheeler, but, at least due to mini skirts and an abundance of strange and exotic substances, you didn’t have to unzip and unpeel half an acre of stretch denim to get your end away then resort to ten bottles of alco-pop to forget the experience. First day at college (now Leeds Metropolitan University) and the college doctors sex lecture. He started by asking a preference for either TB or Syphilis. Of course, from our stunted ranks came no reply. He then singled out a young girl, Stephanie B, and asked again the question “TB or the Syph?” “TB” she stammered. His response was immediate; “you’re the fool”, the clap is easier to cure and it’s a lot more fun getting it. That set the tone of my college years, dodging lectures and dodging the clap, both of which I did with some considerable success, but, because of this, I left the halls of academe with only the


most modest of qualifications. Stephanie B, on the other hand, was got with child by one of our lecturers and left after the first year, ‘this so oft the fate of a good but promiscuous catholic girl’.

Good nights were Tuesdays ‘grab-a-granny’ By that time I was frequenting the city night clubs, moving quickly out of the Cobourg Tavern at seven thirsty and down to the Bali Hai in the Merrion Centre, where ten bob would get you both entry and your first drink. Good nights were Tuesdays ‘grab-agranny’; I was always amazed at the numbers that “had never done this before” but were there each Tuesday at eight lusting for firm young flesh and a quick tumble in the back of my Ford Popular. In quiet reflective times I think to those generous women who were then in their late thirties and who I pleasured on the back seat of my old side valve. It’s a sobering thought that they might now be your great-grandmother who now sits innocently watching ‘Cum’ Dancing and rambles dementia-


wise about the smell of petrol in her knickers. Good times, but no point dwelling in the past; times sharing coffee with Jimmy Saville while the Bubble cars were repaired, or having lunch with Margaret Thatcher, these being just two faces of the same coin. Now, as I wander through the ever changing and yet samey streets of Leeds, I refuse to accept that, as I grow older, anything really alters. I must suppose that somewhere in the corridors of Leeds Met there is still a poster pointing you to the clap clinic, and that Jimmy Saville’s ghost is beating heavily on the door of the old arcade, sadly looking for the spectral remnant of the Spinning Disc nightspot. In the day there was nothing medical that a million units of penicillin could not fix. Now, with AIDS, you can quite literally be done to death. What price progress? However, even if I could find a 1953 Ford Popular, I suspect that no young thing is out looking for a ‘grab-a-granddad’ experience and I might now have to leave the Merrion Centre with just a stale burger, a packet of Walkers crisps and a big bag of superlative memories.

A Fifties Childhood / IAN GANT Walk to school by field and hedgerow, Cap pulled down against the rain, Eating rhubarb dipped in sugar, Eke the rations out again. Boxy cars with side-valve engines, Temperamental at their best, Petrol one and nine a gallon, No real need to pass a test. Fridges proffered by the gas board, Gas flames generating ice, Only twelve inch television, Just a black and white device. See the King on ‘Pathe’ newsreels, Mr Churchill with cigar, Children’s flicks all in for fourpence, Humphrey Bogart ‘what a star’. On the tram to old Leeds market, Traders crying out their wares, Home again in smog and darkness, Policemen lead with carbide flares.

childhood / LAURA TAYLOR a small girl hides in the i-museum cellar streaks of heat within and without in her dreams, she can swim, and fly, jump high down the stairs and never get hurt in the cold light of day, she smiles with her mouth eyes busy concealing inside deceiving observers and parents and teachers stealing and lying, and breathing in evil if weals are covered and bruises don’t show and no one’s around to hear the tree fall does it make a sound? no it will though you wait

Friends who never knew their fathers, Bought it in the D day push, Queues outside the better bakers, Almost trampled in the crush. Home made jams and cloudy honey, Home cured bacon salty dry, Stately sermons on a Sunday, Better not to steal or lie.

The Boy and the Wind / LAURA TAYLOR

Touch your forelock to the parson, God is represented here, No salvation just religion, State support and sanctioned fear.

There was once a boy, who was very young, and he was frightened of the wind. When the wind blew, the boy thought it was the thoughts of all the people in the world who were in pain.

Bicycle through empty byways, Catching bullheads in the stream, Luxemburg till seven thirty, Then to bed and time to dream.

One day the boy got up his courage, and he went out into the wind.

Companionship unique and worthy, Scuffing knees and breaking bones, Truer friends I never wanted, Memories like shattered stones.

He felt it blow into his nose.

Smallpox and the fear of conflict, Watch the commies Stalin’s crew, Mother said that things are better, There’s a better life for you. But all in all that life was gentle, Hazy days of sweet content, Lazy days that were my growing, Coins of childhood safely spent. Walk the fields of recollection, Take the tram down memory lane, All of yesterdays tomorrows, Comforting the heart and brain.

He felt it blow into his eyes.

He felt it blow into his mouth. And he swallowed the wind! And then he realised that the wind wasn’t the thoughts of all the people in the world who were in pain. He realised that the wind was the universe, and when he swallowed it, he was part of the universe. From that day on, the young boy was never frightened of the wind again.


Jon Gomm

The Leeds Debacle meets Stephen Fry endorsed “relatively obscure” “folk musician” and Leeds native Jon Gomm.

TLD: Let’s begin with the now infamous Stephen Fry tweet. How did you first hear of it and realise the effect? JG: Ironically I first heard of his tweet on Facebook! Ha ha! From Joe Tilston of Bradford/Keighley band Random Hand. The effect was that the media suddenly became interested – The Mail, the Telegraph, BBC Breakfast, and so on. The video had already gone pretty viral, mostly thanks to being popular on Reddit, which seems like a really influential website. TLD: How has day-to-day life changed post-tweet? JG: I’m busier now. The change is that my gigs have been packed out, really insanely full. I played in London last week – the same venue had Adam Ant play a big comeback show with celebrity guests the night before I was there, and they had about 100 more people there for MY gig than for that show! I don’t get recognised in the street very often or anything, but then I’m never really wandering around the place. A couple of million youtube hits is not that big a deal. TLD: Does the overnight success story and implication of obscurity annoy or amuse after years of hard work and praise? JG: I don’t care, I am obscure in several senses of the word! Little known = check. Hard to understand = check. Dark = check. My new posters are gonna have loads of quotes from my new celebrity fans like Stephen Fry and Tommy Lee and David Crosby, and then: “Relatively obscure” – The Daily Telegraph. Seriously! Ha ha! 6_TheLeedsDebacle

TLD: How would you describe your sound? JG: My sound is that of an acoustic guitar being played, hit, tuned funny and generally interfered with while I sing along as best I can. I don’t have a genre, I am as likely to play something Indian influenced as pop, rock or blues. Actually I do have a genre – I am a folk musician. I consider myself a folk musician because I write songs about my life, my environment, my society and my world, and travel around playing them to people on an acoustic instrument. Which is what folk is. I didn’t realise I was a folk musician until my friend Brendan Croker, who knows a thing or two, sat me down and explained it to me over a stiff drink. I was shocked, but realised it was true. However, I don’t ever use the term ‘folk’ to describe my music, because the only times I’ve ever played a gig and 90% of the audience have been scratching their heads and waiting for it to end have been at Folk Clubs. I think they expect something specific. Something old, or rather, seemingly old. Which seems a shame. TLD: Your new tour seems vast and lengthy! Are there many new cities and countries? It also seems to be split into two halves – your show and Guitar Masters – can you explain what each consists of? JG: Yeah, LOADS of new places! Australia, Poland, Norway – I am very excited about it all, it’s a nightmare keeping on top of it. And I already have plans for Africa in 2013. The UK tour I’m doing in the Autumn is the Guitar Masters

thing, which is Andy McKee’s project. He asked me to do it, and we’ve been waiting to play together for YEARS so it’s gonna be great. He’s a fabulous guitar player. And the third artist on the bill is Preston Reed, who is a massive, indispensable influence on the guitar playing styles of both me and Andy, so it’s an honour to be touring with him. We play a set each, basically, then if the audience are well behaved they might get a collaboration or two between all three of us at the end. TLD: You visit City Varieties in Leeds in October having lived here a while now. Do you expect a different following or reaction, or feel any different yourself about playing here? JG: I don’t know if I expect people in Leeds to react differently, my neighbours don’t, they know me well enough to know it’s not gonna be a big deal. I moved to Leeds to study Jazz – at the time Leeds was the only Music College to offer a degree in Jazz. I loved it, and I met my wife there, and we’ve settled. I was so involved with the local music scene in various ways, and I still am to some extent. There’s some things I don’t like about the city – people can sometimes be defensive and aggressive here. But I love the culture, the music scene, the mixtures of people, the way immigrant cultures – from overseas immigrants, to students, to city workers – all have their own cultures, but there is a mixing too. I love Harehills and Chapeltown and spend a lot of time around that area, mostly eating.




hen asked to describe Bettakultcha, it is difficult to impress upon the listener just how much fun the event is. There are few times in life when I’ve ever actually enjoyed a slide presentation, but that is because I’ve been forced to go to the wrong kind. Visit an event where people are allowed to speak on any subject for 5 minutes and you open the floodgates to a whole world of thoughts, hobbies and experiences. If one speaker doesn’t particularly grab you, in 5 minutes it will all be over and someone else will be taking over to discuss topics as varied as British Standards to stand by plans should Paul Daniels become a compulsive thief of rabbits.

The event has been going for around two years, run by Richard Michie and Ivor Tymchak. The rules are simple; speakers have 20 slides, which change every 15 seconds. This gives you 5 minutes to talk about anything you please, bar sales pitches this is not a forum for any kind of commercial gain. Instead, it’s a kind of portable speakers corner, to inform or entertain, compared by Tymchak, who keeps a check on proceedings with lively banter to cheer on both crowd and speakers. There is a sense of receptive enthusiasm in the audience, as it takes guts to go onstage and perform something you have made yourself. Bettakultcha has been described as a cabaret, and the fascinating part is that it is self-

/CHARYS ELLMER generating, the content made up from the fans themselves. As the popularity continues to grow the standard gets higher and higher as more people are inspired to give it a go and create something special. Or weird. Or dramatic. Or hilarious. Maybe all at the same time. In an era where entertainment so often sinks to the lowest common denominator, it is refreshing to find a night that is so diverse and full of the unexpected. Whatever the presentations shown, Bettakultcha can be relied upon for one thing - keeping things interesting. Bettakultcha will be showing in Leeds on the 17th April.

Describe your event in one word.


Describe yourselves in one word.


Explain your influences in one word. Sum up Leeds in one word. If you could take one word to a desert island what would it be?

QI Underrated Fun TheLeedsDebacle_9

Gin Crazy The proprietor of Leeds’ Latitude Wine Merchant and host of ‘Ginposium’ on 29th March at The Cross Keys tells us why he agrees with the old lush off the Aldi advert.


he world of Gin seems to have gone mad recently. Despite the deepest recession in living memory sales of premium gin have grown by nearly 12% annually (and that’s against overall alcohol sales that have been steadily declining for the last 8 years). Barely a day goes by without a new product being introduced to the market, the best known brands premiumising their range, and enthusiasts trying their arm at producing and marketing their own “small batch” products. Despite the gloom, the luxury white spirit market is booming. But this is not the first time the English have turned to Gin to in frugal times. Of all the distillates readily available, it is, perhaps, the easiest to produce. The harshness of the base alcohol in Gin is masked by (and, in its turn, enhanced by) the botanicals used to flavour it, a process that is fairly easy to achieve. Producing a premium Whisk(e)y, Rum or Cognac requires years of aging in cask to soften the edges of the young alcohol, the botanical distillation of Gin takes, at most, days. Single Malt Whisky takes 10 or more years of investment in raw materials, equipment and space before it is bottled, ready to realise its value. This process takes months with Gin. The roots of Gin lie in the production of Jenever in the Low Lands, particularly round the Ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. But the notion of Juniper and Spirit 10_TheLeedsDebacle


combining to help with life’s little inconveniences goes back to the Dark Ages. Initially, distillation was the art of the medicine man, alchemist and perfumer. “Burnt wine” or “eau de vie” was used to enhance and preserve expensive herbs and spices for herbal remedies. Juniper was widely prescribed during the Dark Ages for its diuretic qualities. During the Black Death juniper cordials and elixirs were taken to ward off the bubonic plague. Distillation can be traced back to Ancient Egypt but it was a Dutch chemist and pharmacist who improved the process during the 16th Century, enabling a much purer spirit. Lucas Bols was the first to realise the commercial potential of these “medicines” when he opened his Amsterdam Distillery in 1575. English soldiers and sailors were introduced to this “Dutch courage” whilst fighting next to the Dutch army in the 30 years war that raged against the Spanish from 1585. By the mid 1600’s there were crude distilleries in every major port in England but it was when William of Orange, the Dutch Monarch, became William 3rd of England that Gin’s popularity was sealed on this Isle. He waged a succession of wars with the French, largely funded by taxes levied on alcohol sales. Starved of French Brandy, Genever from Holland became the fashionable beverage of the English Court. The Gin produced in the English Distilleries, that became the tipple of the lower, newly urbanised, classes was of a much lower quality than that produced in Amsterdam. These rudimentary distillates were so poor that many

contained dangerous levels of poisonous compounds, and could only be made palatable by a secondary botanical distillation; using herbs and spices to mask the impurities. The early part of the 18th Century saw a massive growth in London’s population as the upheaval of the industrial and agricultural revolutions took hold. This was a time before town planning and municipal sewerage, the Thames was an open sewer and that was the major source of drinking water. Wine was expensive and beer spoiled quickly; coffee and tea were pricey, exotic curiosities; juniper’s medicinal reputation and alcohol’s preservative qualities made Gin the most appealing beverage available, for both young and old. As a result a large proportion of the population became hopelessly addicted to cheap, low quality Gin with devastating effects. The really cheap stuff would even be cut with further poisons (like maltum, a pesticide) to heighten its stupefying effect. Between 1720 and 1750 only 1 in 4 of the capital’s children survived past 5 years old, largely due to foetal alcohol syndrome and neglect, a problem highlighted by Hogarth in his Gin Lane print. During the Victorian era duty on Gin was increased and we became a nation of beer drinkers as new licensing laws meant the English Pub as we know it was born. But it wasn’t the end of Gin, new distillation techniques and the development of the Coffey Still meant that low quality “bath tub” gin of the 18th Century became obsolete. Grand Gin Palaces became the norm in London catering for a new wealthier merchant class. Gin also spread

to the colonies where it was first mixed with “Indian tonic” to ward off malaria. This was the period when the London Dry brands we know best came to the fore, Tanqueray, Beefeater and Gordon’s. The First World War destroyed domestic consumption and the Blitz of WW2 meant that most of the original distilleries were destroyed. Add to that the effect of Prohibition in the US and you would have thought that Gin’s days were numbered, but no. The classic British brands became the benchmark for quality in American speak-easies, legally produced in the UK and smuggled into the US cities. When the prohibition experiment came to an end the Americans wholly embraced legal gin and it became the basis for the Golden age of cocktails of the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. Now, Gin is once again being embraced by Bar Tenders. The

proliferation of new products is thanks to a new breed of distillers and producers who are trying to broaden the appeal of Gin. Bombay Sapphire Gin, introduced in the ‘80’s, showed that tweaking the classic recipe could broaden Gin’s market with fragrant botanicals and clever marketing. Products like Hendricks have followed. There has also been renewed interest in the classic styles, used by modern mixologists to recreate and reinvent classic cocktails. Modern innovation in the distillery means of all the products on the market are of the highest quality, and the choice for the consumers is vast: perhaps now we are living in the Golden Age for our national spirit.

make your own sloe gin... Sloes look like blueberries, there are loads around the edge of the B&Q car park in Cottingley you will need: - 450g of sloes (picked after the first frost - around october) - 225g caster sugar 1l of gin directions: - Prick the sloes(tradition dictates with a silver fork or a thorn off the blackthorn bush) - Put all ingredients in a big enough bottle - Shake once a week for at least 2 months - Strain through muslin into a sterilised bottle


MARK LANEGAN 2012 has already released the return of three legends of different generations. Aged 77, Leonard Cohen displayed wisdom, wit and warmth on ‘Old Ideas’. Aged 62, Bruce Springsteen produced political anthems of endless energy on ‘Wrecking Ball’. So it seemed left to Mark Lanegan, a mere 47 years of gnarled youth, to deliver the world-weary grizzled misery we’d been waiting for. Naming the album Blues Funeral and the single ‘Gravedigger’s Song’ bode well, except this opener fizzes and kicks with a controlled anger, like Josh Homme had finally let Lanegan’s brutally beautiful baritone loose on more than the worse QOTSA tunes. It should shock few that some songs don’t match the mighty vocals; melodies meander into dirge, lyrics repeat into clichés. There are dubious, if, whisper it, enjoyable ventures into disco beats (‘Ode to Sad Disco’) and U2 guitars (‘Harborview Hospital’). But when the swampy atmospherics (‘St Louis Elegy’), rocking psychedelia (‘Riot In My House’) and smoky blues (‘Leviathan’) reach the roaring heights and darkest depths of their creator, the results are devastating. More so live, when a shuffling, daunting presence at The Met justifies saying bugger all between songs by saying everything to everyone in song, the crowd transfixed by a haunting, brooding pain that somehow makes the room smile. Lanegan!

ALASKA “Who’s your wife’s favourite local B-movie psychedelic garage surf pop band?” “Alaska.” “What, don’t you already know?” The old ones are the best. Which is a sentiment that this Leeds 4-piece wouldn’t disagree with, their sound rooted in a solid 60’s base of verse and hook, played by traditional instruments (vocal, guitar, bass, drum) from influences through the decades (Kinks, Velvet Underground, Smiths, Nirvana). Look beyond the tested formula and there lies an unhinged energy, skewing otherwise enjoyable 3 minute impersonations into something altogether more intriguing and entirely themselves. Debut single ‘Girl’ is a menacingly paced small town tale built from a lolloping, loping riff to a simple, effective refrain: “how are you today?” they ask with a wry grin, conjuring up dusty images of a sleezy soundtrack to a wonky Waters, Tarrantino or Meyer movie. As it is, their own darkly comic video lights up The Packhorse, where less than a hundred souls sell out an intimate space to see the band perform a thrillingly loose set of tight tunes about warewolf-women and drowned cowboys, yet still infectious enough to lift them on to bigger stages, including Wales’ Green Man Festival in August. 12_TheLeedsDebacle

SEAS-OF-GREEN I don’t really know where to start. Seas-OfGreen have been expanding and mutating for several years now. I first saw them play back in the summer of 2009. Oh my, how they have changed! For a band formed by four school friends it’s hard to establish the cause of their success; maybe its their fierce use of social media, maybe it’s their association with ELFM, or maybe it’s the fact they’re just rad! I rarely get this excited about a new band in Leeds, but Seas-Of-Green live is an experience to treasure. It may have been a packed schedule of four different bands playing across a mini-festival style evening at The Cockpit, however I had little interest in the other bands, for I knew they would not be anywhere near as successful as Seas-Of-Green at pleasing an adoring crowd. The fine mixture between new and old material showcased was achieved perfectly, several new tracks were previewed. Including ‘Balloons’, with its catchy bass hooks and its melodic, politically infused lyrics all mixed together with a helping of an odd choice of vocal pedals, it is a track that will take SeasOf-Green to the top and beyond! My only criticism of the evening was the set length, it was evident the band had not had sufficient time to sound check and were cut off by the sound engineer after just 5-6 songs. Yet another example of promoters shitting on support acts. I say we boycott venues with these promoters! No? Okay just me then.

PULLED APART BY HORSES Standing in a brain-dead Leeds Bradford Airport, glazed and numb, filling time and blocking suitcases grabbing Closer, I read full-page reviews of albums I already own. Q and Uncut, the only choices, may not always share my opinion and, on this occasion, they certainly don’t share each others. Tough Love by Leeds’ own Pulled Apart By Horses is, Q exclaims, “the most exciting British rock album in years!” Uncut chinstroke that it’s “closer to The Darkness than they realise”. Ascending into the sky with earplugs in and ipod on, I realise there is, of course, no truth in either. Single and unapologetically immediate opener ‘VENOM’ makes me jump and the old lady next to me scowl. Their trademark hi-energy riffs and yelps continue throughout, equally fast and intense, yet more controlled than the band’s thrilling debut. The pace and pounding rarely relents, from the comically brilliant lyrics on ‘Wolf Hand’ (“when I was a kid I was a dick/nothing changes/threw myself around ‘til I was sick/and nothing changes”), through the terrifically tuneful ‘Epic Myth’, to the huge terrace choruses of ‘Bromance Aint Dead’. Tightened and more direct, Tough Love’s half-hour surely welcomes new members to shinier moshpits without losing its original sweaty support. So, not the most exciting British rock album in years and not closer to The Darkness than they realise. Just damn good fun.


OF MONTREAL I have no idea about of Montreal’s new album. It doesn’t excite me at all. At times I feel like taking a baseball bat to my turntable. So why is it I’m counting down the days with genuine excitement till they play at Leeds’ Irish Centre? I’m confuzzled. I’ve never been in this position before. It’s one that amazes me thoroughly. With an unhealthy level of pop hooks, a dash of quirkiness and a handful off the sort of lyrics you would expect from an acid junky, of Montreal’s new album Paralytic Stalks really is an indie kid’s dream. With literally hundreds of layers behind each track, I won’t even bother pretending to know what genre to class it under, yet I find myself evermore fascinated with such a unique band. All ideas must come from an inspiration, but where is it of Montreal get their inspiration? I wish to also inquire what the hell ‘Gelid Ascent’ means; I can’t even begin to speculate on such a topic. It’s just pure carnage, but not even in a good way. of Montreal may seem like they’re using a broken voice fx peddle for most (if not all) of the album, nonetheless they are possibly one of the best bands to play live ever. I mean, in a few years’ time, when my grandchildren ask me if I went to the legendary of Montreal gig at Leed’s Irish Centre on 24th April 2012 I can say that it was one of the best nights out possible. Not that I’m biased in anyway.

FIRST AID KIT A Fleet Foxes cover on YouTube by two teenage girls is not the most appealing of prospects. After initial thoughts that Louis Walsh had really gone too far this time, I held breath and joined the million others greeted by two lumberjack-shirted Swedish sisters sitting in woodland somewhere between Little House on the Prairie and Dogtooth. Three open-mouthed minutes of raw talent and eerie innocence later and it was clear this is no female Mulligan & O’Hare folk parody. Three years of songwriting and hair-growing later and the duo fulfil their potential with the first great record of the year, The Lion’s Roar. Sombre, heavy-hearted maturity (“I’m a goddamn fool but then again so are you”) and defiant youthful optimism (“I’ll be your Emmylou and I’ll be your June, you’ll be my Gram and my Johnny too”) to effortlessly gorgeous melodies and distinctively sumptuous harmonies create an addictive listen of magical campfire singalongs, worryingly ready to be saccharined up and blanded down for mass appeal. At a sold out The Wardrobe, there is a sense that this is the last time we will see First Aid Kit in a venue this size and they treat an adoring audience to a swooning evening of country-folkheadbanging. Beautiful.


ENVOYS During one of my long drawn out staring contests with facebook, a link was being passed around for a Leeds based instrumental four piece draped in ambiguity. Following the breadcrumbs I was presented with a bandcamp page featuring a 3 track demo of no name and mysterious artwork. My natural assumption with such an introduction is for glazed over delay ridden repetitive chugging, something that has become a custom since everyone realised how effective the emo-emoless Explosions In The Sky are. How very wrong I was. Envoys unleash a brooding pack of textures that dance gracefully between posthardcore and the sound scapes forged by intelligent post-rock. Crafting a sound that is loud and distorted but not intrusive or cringe metal. Combining sides of effortlessly clean  duelling  guitars and spacious atmospheres, Envoys utilise the space left vacant of vocals and deliver power and sensibility. They hadn’t played live yet until joining a stellar line up of Humanfly and Himself at the Fox & Newt in January. Considering this is merely a demo and that was merely a debut, I am very excited to witness the birth of something that could be quite, quite special. 

HAWK EYES A couple of years ago, a very exciting young Leeds band exploded onto the scene. They went by the name of Chickenhawk, and sounded like a screamy, punky fusion of noisecore bands like Botch and Coalesce, and the more traditional rock of Motörhead. Due to the combination of a debut brimming with potential and live shows of great intensity, they made quite a name for themselves. However, that name was actually rather rude if you researched it enough, so they changed it to the much more Google-friendly Hawk Eyes. This name change coincided with the news from their doctor that singer Paul Astick’s vocals were so intense that his throat was almost literally being shredded. Sellouts, right? Well, not quite. They may have watered down the name, but it fits the fact that this is pretty much a new musical identity for the band. They may not be as heavy now, but they’re only softer if you’re a fool who thinks Helmet, Shellac, Therapy? and Clutch are soft. This is a new hue of brutalist, dynamic rock for essentially a new band, albeit with the experience they have built up in recent years. ‘Ideas’ is possibly the best Leeds album since Sheath, by LFO, in 2003. Get it in if you like your rock.

Music Reviews by Joe Scrase, Kyle James-Patrick, John Barran & Robin Jahdi




M for manipulation.


fter the recent controversy surrounding the PIP scandal, where thousands of women had breast implants which contained industrial strength silicone, cosmetic surgery is a subject at the forefront of popular debate. And why not? Isn’t it about time we sat up and began to question why thousands of people every month are manipulating their body because there is something aesthetically wrong with it? The PIP scandal has been associated with suspected cancer and death cases but this is only the tip of the iceberg regarding side effects of plastic surgery. Cases have been reported of breast implants rupturing and silicon travelling to other parts of the body where it is impossible to remove. During a cosmetic surgery consultancy for liposuction do they ever tell people that fat just displaces and pockets of it appear all over the body? I thought not... You don’t have to look very far to see the negative effects of surgery. Celebrities. One prime example being the reality tv star Heidi Montag, who undertook 10 surgical procedures in one day, and is reported to have had 39 in total, all by the ripe age of 25! “I had a little bit of botox, an eyebrow lift, my ears tucked, my nose re-aligned, fat injections put into my cheeks, my lips done and my chin shaved down,” I’m sorry? Chin shaved down?! Later, Montag appeared on tv complaining of the horrific scars and how she ‘nearly died’ but has since had more surgery. Looking a little closer to home and a tv show that seems to have transfixed a generation: The Only Way is Essex. More like The Only Way is Fakery. You only have to look at Lauren Goodger, who gave an interview in a magazine about 16_TheLeedsDebacle

her fabulous nose job, or Chloe Sims, aka the woman with the most bizarre mouth I have ever seen. With the teen population of today forever describing things as reem and looking up to these women, what are we doing? Teaching the young that if they don’t like something about their body surgery will fix it, no side effects, everything will be reem! I cannot be against surgery full stop after looking back through the years at why plastic surgery was initially conceived. A significant early example were the World War 1 victims who underwent such procedures as ‘skin flap surgery’ to try to heal wounds and help those injured by war. Another use was reconstructive surgery from an illness or serious injury. I understand and whole-heartedly believe in these surgeries, but they really offer a perspective to our lives today. Heal the wounded, not those who have decided they’re wounded because they have small breasts or slightly chubby thighs. Welcome to the real world, pretty much every woman has something about their body that they don’t like, but did you never stop to think what people did before surgery was an option? Got on with life, without emphasis on looking like a forcefed image of perfection. Such an image of perfection is causing the most worrying of all craves within cosmetic surgery. The  eradication  of ethnicity. In Korea for the past ten years, and now increasingly in China, there is a booming market for the ‘westernised’ look; larger eyes and smaller cheekbones. Asian ladies, and even girls as young as twelve, are having

parts of their eyelid sliced away in a bid to gain a look which has been portrayed as successful and beautiful. One Korean surgeon illustrated this point: “The Chinese and Korean patients tell me that they want to have faces like Americans. The idea of beauty is more westernised recently. That means the Asian people want to have a little less Asian.” Many of these surgeries are carried out by surgeons who are either under-qualified or not qualified at all. Women have been left in agony following botched surgeries with many unable to close their eyes following their Asian Blepharoplasty (eyelid operation). Eventually we are all going to look the same, fake, western and quite frankly boring. Where do we go from here? When will it stop? When Heidi Montag has her  hundredth  procedure, or when TOWIE  realise  that they all look the same? What is becoming apparent is that something has to change - how many more botched surgeries will it take before someone sits up and realises that, rather than dealing with a problem by going under the knife, why don’t we go further and try to stop people finding a problem with themselves? Let’s celebrate our differences that make one nation unique from another, and focus on aspects that are beautiful rather than finding problems with our appearance.

I didn’t have room to make these pics bigger, such irony!

Tiger Mums and Eagle Dads


y dad picked me up from uni this weekend, and during the car journey home, as usual, he’d prepared some questions. Now, I go to university in Leeds and I live in Pontefract, which is roughly about twenty-five minutes away on the motorway. Yet, somehow, during this short time period, my dad manages to ask just over a thousand questions. Sometimes, it’s a philosophical dilemma: “Which came first Nathan, the chicken? Or the egg?” Occasionally, adhering to fatherstereotype, it’s a bad joke: “What does a wicked chicken lay... devilled eggs! Ha-ha!” He then proceeds to laugh at his own joke. There is, you’ll have noticed, a strong concurrent theme between these questions and nature. The reason; my dad watches a lot of National Geographic. A worshipper of David Attenborough and disciple of Bear Grylls all in one. I will admit, I usually discard his questions as quickly as possible so I can get back to listening to my iPod (he always interrupts the best part of the song). But during this particular journey home, one of his questions aroused particular interest: “Do you know what a tiger mum is, Nathan?” Now, before you judge my response, take this into account: my dad and mother had gone to see The Lion King On Ice the previous weekend in London, so I merely thought he was still obsessing over it (it was embarrassing how much he enjoyed it, my mum says). Nevertheless, I speedily quipped “er, a tigress, right?” Apparently not. He then asked me: “Do you know what an eagle dad is, then?”... “erm... like, a vulture?” What? My dad

watches national geographic, I never said I did. You won’t be surprised to learn that this answer was wrong also. A tiger mum is not Simba’s mother, but, rather, a label attached to a parent who is particularly forceful in nature. Attention was first brought to the phrase after the publication of Amy Chua’s novel, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, which depicts why a strict upbringing is the best approach to motherhood. An eagle dad is, of course, the male equivalent. It first rose to the attention of the media after a Chinese father commanded his son to run semi-naked in the snow, and then posted the video online. The father then compared his parenting technique to that of an eagle, teaching its young to use their wings by beating them near a cliff side. Wow, who’d have known? My father had finally found something interesting. Whilst he was telling it all, I couldn’t help but contrast this strict culture with the parenting ways of my own western parents.


second of the day (okay, this is annoying). If I had to compare her to an animal at all, she’d quite easily fill the shoes of Bambi’s mother, although, she would never let a hunter shoot her, who would look after her son? What about my father... an eagle dad? Let’s face it, he enjoyed The Lion King. He came straight after work to pick me up from university because my car is in for its MOT. Perhaps, an eagle dad would have made me walk home. Perhaps, an eagle dad would have made me fix the car myself... in fact, come to think of it, an eagle dad wouldn’t have bought me the car in the first place, he’d have probably supplied me with a few pieces of scrap metal and expected me to become the next Henry Ford. If my dad was an animal, he’d be a labrador, forever tilting his head, asking questions, and wagging his tail at his own jokes.

It’s interesting how different a child may turn out because of his/her parents. I wonder, for example, if my dad spent more time teaching me mathematics, Let’s start with my mother; tiger as opposed to chickens and mum? Ha, no. A tiger is a fierce, eggs, would I be the next Mark dominating, animal. My mother is Zuckerberg? Maybe, if my mother far too caring, she has a tendency fussed more over my musical to over-mother me, always making talents then ironing my clothes, me breakfast in bed (not that I’m I’d be the next Elton John? I can’t complaining), washing and ironing be certain, but I don’t really care. my clothes (its a difficult task for I wouldn’t be who I am today if it any student), ringing me every wasn’t for my parents, I wouldn’t even be writing this article if it That’s not his partner David Furnish! wasn’t for my fathers incessant questioning, nor would I be typing on this laptop if my mother hadn’t worried about how crappy the old one was. I have a Bambi mother and a labrador father. I’m not really sure what hybrid animal this makes me but, ask yourself, where would you be without your parents? TheLeedsDebacle_17

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

Goths,Seals andThe Seaside


rom another world up in the stars they lived on a planet thirty seconds from mars. The teacher had given them three days grace, to travel to earth from their planet in space. Into sad music and loud guitars, they travelled to earth in coffin shaped cars. The Goths from space had a simple plan; they weren’t going to earth to get a tan. They each had complexions to rival a ghost; they wanted to see the British coast. None of them had seen sea meet land; they lived on a planet of dull grey sand. They landed their cars with real precision, listening to Joy Division. They didn’t think love could tear you apart, but none had suffered a broken heart. They all dressed in their darkest clothes, and wandered the streets like a pack of crows. A few of the Goths stumbled into an arcade, as Jimmy sat with a bucket and spade. He was big enough to eat the world, unmoved by the arcade that flashed and twirled. He sat by the cars looking out to sea, watching a man on a water ski. A glass cabinet stood with a metal claw, the Goths looked on with a face of awe. Behind the glass lay a pile of seals, and in terms of love they fell head over heels. They all really wanted a furry toy; hoping one would fall out boy. They spent fifty pounds on grabbing air, acting like they didn’t care. Good Charlotte thankfully saved the day, as a seal went air born and into her tray. She reached in and grabbed her 18_TheLeedsDebacle

souvenir, left the arcade and sat on the pier. The Goths covered the road like melting tar, jealously plucked them like a guitar. It was a feeling they had never felt, they all wanted seals so their hearts could melt. Out of earth money there was only one; Charlotte had nowhere she could run. Back on planet Goth their teacher got word, told by her assistant a skeleton bird. She got into her Goth bat mobile, and set off to earth to explain what they feel. She didn’t take off her dressing gown, a colourful piece by Krusty the clown. The seal was snatched from Charlottes grip; up in the air it did a flip. It landed in the hands of the snotty Goth Weezer, but was taken


from him by the Goths top geezer. He crushed the seal in his studded glove; the toy had become a symbol of love. The teacher’s death cab slammed onto the pier, as she stood in front of her whole class year. She told the Goths ‘give the seal a chance,’ love is no more than chemical romance. This is a gift we all can share; winning one of these is very rare. They left the seaside in their coffin cars, back to their planet thirty seconds from mars. Their teacher explained feelings and had found the cure; the trip to earth had been some tour. Still into sad music and loud guitars, but with a seal to love up in the stars.

Leeds in the 70’s


hinking about the 1970’s, some of your instant thoughts may be flares, ‘interesting’ wallpapers and David Bowie. Even to those (me included) who were still just a twinkle in their parents eye, the media, especially TV programmes, have informed us of the 70’s of being just that. Currently showing at Leeds City Museum is an exhibition is ‘The Silver 70’s’, running from Friday 27 January until Thursday 22 April. They show everything from the tweed fashions to the corduroy furniture of the times, including photographs contributed from the people of Leeds to show what life here was like. Leeds was one of the most talked about cities in the 70’s, mainly because of football. Don Revie was in charge until 1974 when the infamous Brian Clough would take over for a mere 44 days, a debacle depicted beautifully in the film ‘The Damned United’, much of which was filmed here in Leeds. It is widely known that football fans, not just Leeds, were known to get violent, something football was known for in the day. Type into Google ‘Leeds politics in the 1970’s’ and straight away you get a link to football hooliganism, but it wasn’t all violence. Some of the greatest footballers were to come out from this decade, including our very own Billy Bremner. A hero to many (including my dad), he won footballer of the year in the early 20_TheLeedsDebacle

70’s and a tribute to him stands outside Elland Road to this day. Leeds as a city was booming with the city centre being pedestrianised in the early 70’s and, more famously, The Who playing Leeds University on February 14th 1970, followed by their first live album ‘Live At Leeds.’ Students queued up for hours to get a ticket and the unlucky ones had taken to the roof just to hear them. The gig was a staggering 3 hours long, Us youngsters who refuse to accept the current state of the music charts can find refuge in the comforting sounds of T-Rex, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Kiss. Big hair and glam rock filled the ears of teenagers. And for the non rockers, ABBA, Bay City Rollers and The Bee Gees graced the stage of Top of the Pops.

“Na then” - Pint, pipe and bar skittles


1970 was also the year of the death of legend Jimi Hendrix, who died of a drugs overdose. Similarly, singer Janis Joplin suffered the same fate. The TV show ‘The Good Life’ sparked the British public into becoming keen gardeners, growing their own produce in their back gardens or allotments, something which is also shown at the Leeds City Museum, complete with fake grass and a shed. You can also have a go at dressing up in the fashions and read peoples memories of the decade. Thatcher, Betamax/VHS, space hoppers, raleigh choppers, glam, punk, picket lines, prawn cocktails and Donny Osmond were all part of a much wider 70’s. I cant help but feel an imposter, being born at the beginning of the 90’s, to be so interested in this decade. But we all love a flare and a tash.

High Street / DAVE BARLOW Boarded up pub. We buy gold. Cash converters. Payday loans. Burger King, Maccy D’s, Pizza Hut, Starbucks. Closing down, nearly new, Wax ‘n’ Tan, Claims R Us. Pound shop. Pawn shop. Benefits one stop. Phone shop. Knocking shop. Vandalised bus stop. Closed down library. Shop to let. Needle exchange. Tesco express. Empty shop with spray painted shutters saying “ Donna`s a crack whore” in three foot high letters. Vintage / retro. Tesco metro.

Fifteen year old P.C.S.O The young and the old, the infirm and the fit all ladened with bags of over priced shit. Crossing the road to get away from charity muggers stalking their prey. We buy jewellery. No win no fee. Burger King, Maccy D`s, K.F.C. Lawyers R Us. Phones 4 U. Tesco Extra. Cash Generator. Credit / loans. Buy now, pay later. Phone shop. Pawn shop. Urine scented phone box. High street. Dying street. Nothing there worth buying street.

Browns’ Convention / WINSTON PLOWES

York / TIM CHAPMAN Wandering those lost streets through the icy evenings on cobbled lanes wrapped tight hat low gloves pockets and stiff heavy boots those days wandered through bars and scenic view points put 20p in the river binoculars saw black geese chewing litter on concrete steps dog shitting near trees once there was a boat race long dragon boats synchronised rowers five men sat with Tannoy barking robotic sport poetry i wandered under bridges past Roman walls and narrow alleys weaving through the city like blood in veins stalling recreation in the heart the heat and some bars were warm friendly strange characters mumbling political commentary perched stools unshaven trench coats i bought cheap Alpine ale discussed the occult with a homeless man who listed books techniques told me about his coven and naked sex animal chants curved knives gunpowder but not today i like wandering the endless journey maybe later spent a lot of time by the river further out of town watching ducks to and fro strange insects walk like Jesus on water puddle messiah sometimes venture into glades mystical trees writing things like this talking petting them hope they are well once i left the track fell in love with shaded wood silent portrait of my heart suns rays poking through high leaves whispering riddles of long ago try to write them down maybe dictation unnecessary then back to the fields low mist eerie hash smoke night and stars bright pull my collar up sit a while the bench the park the dark and continue slow pace when the time came always waiting for that time it never comes so maybe thats all thats it wait wait wait write reckless random those red dead eyes look long for morning star in infinite dusk.

My lips, suitably impressed are moulded to a sphinx.   Between the tall dark tables   in leather seats we squeaked.   Played with our drinks and   for sixty glassy minutes sipped.   Our private books unpicked.   We were constantly within a   breath of signing up for love.   Frantic paddling underneath,   serenity above.   Eyes dancing, fingers correlated.   This was our latest maiden voyage.


Record Store Day! Crikey, record store day is happening soon, isn’t it! April 21, I think. How exciting. I love record store day. It’s a day in which we remember record stores. Remember them? Record stores? They were great. Buying records in a record store, back when music was proper and legitimate. ‘Do you have…’, I’d begin, then pause for thought. In the good old days, of records, we’d be spoiled for choice. None of these bald men in sunglasses pretending to rap in that same sordid rhythm of ‘hummana-hummana-hummanaha’. Bald men in glasses like Flo-Rida and Pitbull. The same old synth swooshes and forced celebration, like having crack cocaine forced up your bum while party poppers are exploded into your eye sockets, like LMFAO and Black Eyed Peas. No, we had proper music back then. My eyes would scan the walls of the record store for the latest releases on sweet, sweet vinyl. It was so much to take in, I could barely believe the walls would maintain their structural integrity for much longer. For the sake of the building, I should lighten the load, 120 grams at a time. But what should I buy? So much legitimate, proper music, back then. Maybe the Big Fun single, I reckon. Their cover of ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ was epochal; ‘Can’t Shake the Feeling’ must also be pretty fine. But I did hear about that new rock band, Roachford. 22_TheLeedsDebacle

I can see ‘Cuddly Toy’ up there, beaming down at me. God I loved that proper music, in the days of the record store. Big Fun, Roachford, Fine Young Cannibals, tragic crack-widower Bobby Brown… things were different back then, better. Now, in the sordid 2012, record stores need help. We don’t have that kind of music to keep things afloat. We need some musical quantitative easing for the record store. Such a good idea, then, that someone came up with Record Store Day as the jaws of the credit crunch began to close menacingly in on our endlessly hapless western society. People had stopped buying records in the dark days of 2007. They had stopped buying records, tapes, minidiscs… even sales of CDs were dropping off by then, thanks to the evils of mp3. Napster, Audio Galaxy, Gnutella, Soulseek. These file sharing systems had become our god in the dark days of 2007. Not like now, god bless us. Statistics tell us that vinyl album sales were up 40% in 2011 from 2010’s levels. That’s right. While, in 2010, as the world was waking, bleary-eyed from the night before that was the initial wave of credit crunch, 20 vinyl albums were sold, in 2011, that had skyrocketed to a magnificent 28 vinyl albums. Staggering stuff, and thanks in no small part to the wonderful work done by those maestros involved


with Record Store Day. For those of you unfamiliar with this modern miracle, this gamechanger, this wonder of the world, RSD is a way to bring music back to life. It raises awareness of music, which is something that otherwise gets no attention, in the media. You thought music had died out. You watch adverts, go to the cinema or attend a football mach, and there is no music. It seems to have gone. But music still exists. You look at the numbers, and music is pretty much dead. Lady Gaga is one of the supposed big names of music. She’s no Big Fun, though, is she. Look at her last album, Born This Way. In its first week, the album sold a pathetic 1.15 million units. Music is fucked. This is why we need RSD! It’ll make people buy music again. Who knows how many sales this starving artist Gaga will rack up after a few more RSDs raise awareness of music. At press time, we are six days away from the 2012 RSD ‘exclusive product’ being announced, but to whet your collective appetite, here is a selection of what you missed out on if you didn’t partake in the magic last year. ‘Wait For My Love/May The Circle Remain Unbroken’ by psychedelic young up and comers the 13th Floor Elevators was available in a run of 1000 (well, who knows how many will be interested in these whippersnappers?) on no less than

green vinyl. 500 copies of ‘Good Vibrations’ by unsung hardcore heroes the Beach Boys, on 78 RPM. Fantastic – it’s a relief to know that this essential new band’s music is as accessible as possible to everyone who wants to hear it. I know that my personal Dansette is never off the 78 RPM setting, at least. See, Record Store Day is bringing the music back to the people. The excellent rapper Busdriver released his anthemic classic ‘Ass to Mouth’, making sure all 50 of his fans could pick up this gem from those geniuses at Polyvinyl. Who needs Rainer Maria when you have ‘Ass to Mouth’. It’s unknown

at this time what speed one should be playing this magnum opus of Busdriver. Elsewhere, we had Derek & The Dominoes and Deep Purple, essential new music for lovers of records everywhere. How can the music business fail when this annual day of celebration so has its finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. Who can fear for the future of music when you are presented with something like Eric Clapton Unplugged? Record Stores: this is why you are dying. Don’t blow your wads on one moronic day on which collectors (as depressingly distinct to actual listeners) can queue up to be fleeced for absolute tat.

Sort your prices out, and make music – that people care about – something that people want to walk in and buy. And have a word with your distros. I went into one indie music store in Leeds to pick up the Lana Del Rey album on vinyl. It was £26. When you stop fucking the consumer, we’ll stop fucking you. So, while you’re selling 20 copies of the debut Herman’s Hermits single this April, the rest of us will be on Mediafire, picking up something actually relevant, and Record Store Day will continue to be nothing more than a tasteless, soulless novelty.


Diary of a Ballerina


icture the scene. It’s a wet and windy Thursday night in January; just the kind of evening you want to spend out of the elements, but yours truly has decided to brave the driving rain to follow a new calling: ballet. Ok, I know what you’re thinking, ballet may not be your average 27 yearold lads favourite new pastime but it was actually something I had been looking forward to for some time. Back in October I had decided to Google beginners Ballet lessons in and around Leeds and, low and behold, they had such a class at Northern Ballet based in Leeds. My interest in ballet was sparked by an ex-girlfriend many a moon ago but lay dormant for a number of years. I’m not sure what reignited this curiosity but when I saw that I could book myself onto a 10-week course for 65 bucks I couldn’t resist. Now all I had to do was work out how to tell people what I was doing… For a while I toyed with the idea of taking on a masked identity a la ‘Bart Simpson Does Ballet’ but, if I’m honest, I know that I’m a huge show-off and was actually revelling in the idea of getting started and telling people! My girlfriend was the first to know. This could have been an awkward sell for some; but liking camp, skinny men as she 24_TheLeedsDebacle

does, this admission went down tremendously well and we started talking outfits immediately! Telling other friends followed and some were shocked, some laughed and some commented on how it didn’t surprise them at all… I’m still not sure if that’s a compliment.

I leave the sequinned leggings at home - I don’t want my new classmates to think I’m a tart So back to the story; January 19th and day one of the class, I feel very nervous. After all my excitement and bravado about getting started, I hadn’t given a second thought to actually doing just that… getting started. Outfitwise I plump for a pair of black leggings and a plain t-shirt; I leave the sequinned TK-Maxx bought (fancy dress) leggings at home - I don’t want my new classmates to think I’m a tart, at least not in


week one anyway. I arrive looking like a drowned rat, sign in, get changed and find the studio. One of the questions in my head had been “what is the make-up of this class going to be?” and I soon found it to be pretty much what I had expected. I was met by a room of about 20 women, aged between 20-60, plenty of them attractive (not that it matters of course!)… and not a single other male in sight. Reasons for signing up varied; some had given up at a young age, some wanted to get fit and others, like myself, had never done ballet before and wanted to try something new. The group seemed very welcoming from the off; I made myself a buddy who was also new to ballet and away we went. I signed up to this course fully expecting to enjoy learning something new whilst also appreciating the benefits increased strength, co-ordination and balance, as well as improving my somewhat awful posture - but I could not predict how much I was going to be taken in by ballet. I write this piece 5 weeks in, and, disappointingly, already halfway through the course. Despite only having a one hour lesson perweek, I am definitely feeling the benefit of the classes and can see an improvement in what I am doing each session. In fact, if they

were to offer two or three lessons a week, I would absolutely snatch their hand off for more time in the studio. I have even just ordered my first pair of ballet shoes. However, this is not to say that I am halfway to becoming the new Billy Elliot and I brought myself back down to reality with a bump last week. I got cocky. The sequined leggings were put in the kit bag and donned for the first and probably last time after a pretty poor show from the prima donna modelling them. To put it into football context, I was a bit like that winger in the white boots who can’t tie his own laces let alone pick out the head of his number 9. Back to the standard issue black leggings and five-yard passes it is for me until I’ve moved up a few gears I reckon. What is fantastic about these

classes though is the fact that, despite realising I was having a bit of a mare on the bars, no-one else seemed to care one bit. The class environment is one of unending support and encouragement from my classmates and our teacher. There is no need to be self-conscious as everyone is in the same boat and is either having the same difficulties as you or are concentrating or enjoying themselves so much they don’t notice. Our teacher is an experienced performer herself and gives encouragement and guidance in spades, even when you’re not convinced she isn’t just being kind to your (inflated) ego! All in all it’s a completely unthreatening and thoroughly enjoyable setting to find yourself in and one that I couldn’t recommend trying out for yourself any more, male or female,

whatever your age. Ballet is the best pastime I have had for a long time and I’m enjoying it as much as I did football back when I was playing regularly – high praise indeed. Whether you’re an oldhand or a complete novice, either thinking “what is this tosser on about?” or “that sounds like something I’d like to try” I’d implore you to have a nosy at the Northern Ballet website and find out a little more about the various courses and lessons they run. But remember; if you turn up and see a skinny guy in sequinned leggings limber up next to you in the mirror, you had better watch out, next time I wear them I’ll mean business!


Show time / EMILY PHIPPS Take off your top hat. Greet the ladies with a sincere smile. Bow to them. Do not let them see your chest! Perform Tease them, You ARE a boy I AM a girlLift up your chin, Let me sink my teeth, Deep, into your Adams apple My boy, I’ll rot you to the core. Mine, my doll, my darlingLet me twirl your tight curling locks I am hidden, Hidden awayCome over here Find me! Play, Take of your leather brogues, suspenders Straps Cufflinks, pocket watch, clothesThe lot. Show me your wooden stick, That makes you walk that walk A middle class male Tall and proud A womaniser who can Talk that talkStand before me, Not behind the looking glass. Throw me a rose Please? Just to me, The audience claps Then I leave my seat.


Crisis of Conviction (The Dilemma of a Dominatrix) / GLEN PINDER Lick sweat from the walls then wipe my eyes, talk quietly, talk sweetly, I might undo the ties. Here you are, under my spell, I’ll take away the gag if you have a story to tell. Roam the room on your hands and knees, I’ll let you go if you’d only tell me more.... Please! Tell me what it’s like on the outside, what it is to feel, lived so long with someone under my heal. I give you visions of violence, I give you fantasies of death, when you stand close I smell fear on your breath, I give you whips, i give you chains, just show me a world with real pain. All I wanted was flowery frocks, not trussed up in leather stocks, help me pack my rack and move into the open to see the light and rain. Like a human being I want to function, escape these walls, escape this dungeon.

Apps As we become increasingly overwhelmed by technology, we are pleased to see that Leeds is keeping pace and take a look at three recent local apps hitting your so-called phone… Pink Gorilla As the world is taken over by discount vouchers and my email inbox implodes with groupons and wowchers, Pink Gorilla localises the idea, thus bringing more relevant choice to an overcrowded market. There are deals from large companies, like Revolution and Topshop, but the free app comes into its own by linking up with an array of Leeds independents, such as Distrikt and Label. A growing success already, with a team of enthusiastic staff behind founder Jordan Odu spreading the name, and supposed celebrity endorsement from the likes of The Hoff himself, Pink Gorilla appear to be taking over the city’s inboxes for good.

Zap! More than a neat rhyme – app, tap, zap – this app is designed to access what’s on & on offer where you are. Free and without requesting personal details, Zap! is simple and unobtrusive, giving real-time information and moving with your location. Launched last year and now working with Visit Leeds to promote the city and offering paperless marketing to the likes of Kirkgate Market, the co-owners Ashley Dawes, Hugh Brumfitt & Sam Liddle aim to “reignite relationships in communities and help smaller businesses such as local pubs compete with larger organisations.” Nice pop art too.

Moop Brand new app from Christy Heron to all who like a drink. Picking out your nearest bars, mapping them, showing a live video stream from them, and linking up to social networks to check in and spy on where your facebook friends have checked in, you may never have to stumble into The Duncan or be chased out of The Three Legs ever again. In its early stages, Moop is currently available for free on Apple and Android and is developing further features, including twitter linkage and real-time offers from the bars involved. It also aims to expand from the currently ten or so bars hooked up in Leeds city centre (plus, nonsensically but brilliantly, one in Bordeaux!) to more here and elsewhere.


Dan Clark vs... Your Holiness, It was heavy heart and a profound feeling of regret that I find myself Writing to you. I’m also aware that in writing now I will be catching you at your busiest time, as the Archbishop of Cathedral City, the festive period must be a time for the organisation of numerous prayer services and sermons. Despite this, I have decided that I must make contact- to remain silent would be the greatest crime of all. I have been a huge fan of your cheese and dairy products ever since discovering them around 3 or 4 years ago. I was experiencing what one might term a ‘lapse in faith’ and this teamed with a series of disappointing cheese purchases led me to almost despair completely. Then one day, whilst trailing around the supermarket, I saw the answer. An entire religious city dedicated to the manufacture of quality cheese. Could it be true? It was, and not only this, but your monks have been churning out exceedingly tasty cheese without an exorbitant price tag (My particular favourite is your standard mature cheddar). I couldn’t put a finger on what it is exactly that makes Cathedral City $0 delicious; could it be that you personally bless each wheel as it matures? Needless to say, the taste and quality has never been in question for me. This issue that I write to you with, your Holiness, is that of the poor quality packaging that I have suffered from with a recent purchase of a 300g pack of Mature Cheddar. I have pondered long and hard over what could have caused this aberration in the standard of cheese packet production, maybe the monks were at evening matins or maybe it was a punishment for a lack of penitence on my part? Either way the pack of cheese was impossible to open. I cut, with scissors, along the dotted line as requested but try as I might I couldn’t get into the seal locked bag. (Please see attached pictures) In the end, I said a prayer, and cut into the main section of the bag; meaning that I had to cover my cheese in cling-film. Obviously, this meant that my cheddar wouldn’t remain as fresh for as long, and led to a prolonged bout of cheese consumption so as it not to waste the 300g. Sadly, without the seal lock to retain the integrity of the cheese more than half of it was inedible. I did not expect this from such a venerable and worthy organisation, and especially not from the inhabitants of a holy city. This has embarrassed me, led me to be financially out-of-pocket but, worse than this, it has led me to question my faith once more. I cannot, in good conscience, buy any of your goods in future or advise any of my family, friends and fellow parishioners to do the same until I receive solid and spirituality-affirming reassurances that this will not happen again. Go with God, Daniel Charles Clark esq.

Dear Mr Clark I was concerned to hear about your Cathedral City Mature Cheddar Cheese which had a faulty seal. I can understand how disappointing this must have been, and I am sorry that this has happened. Quality is a priority for us. We have very high standards of production and do everything we can to make sure that our products reach you in perfect condition. I’ve forwarded details of your complaint to our production site. We make regular checks on the zipper to ensure it is adhering correctly to the pack and that it will open and close effectively. Our production manager will speak to the line operators and will ask them to be particularly vigilant about this. In light of your experience, I’ve enclosed a voucher as a gesture of our goodwill. I’m sorry once again for the concern and inconvenience this has caused you. Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Yours sincerely Hannah Crowland Cathedral City Consumer Support


Crime FightersTo CrimeWriters Bob and Carol Bridgestock retired from the West Yorkshire Police and became RC Bridgestock, author of realistic fictional crime thrillers. Their book signing of ‘Consequences’ visits Leeds’ WH Smiths and Waterstones in April. TLD: Can you remember what initially attracted you to the police force? BB: I recall three previous involvements with the police: Aged six, one of my brothers gave me a detonator taken from a railway line telling me it was a watch. I knew it wasn’t and threw it away. Shortly after I remember a policeman coming into school and taking me in a police van to show him where I’d thrown it then I got a clip round the ear! Secondly, when I was a butcher, coming home one night with a bloody apron under my arm, the bus came to a halt, a policeman got on, pointed to me, dragged me off, and asked what I’d been up to. You’d have thought the blue and white overall might have given him a clue, but no, I got another clip around the ear and sent on my way to walk the three miles home. The third time, I was stood in Birstall Market Square, minding my own business, eating pie and peas. A policeman came along, told me to move and slapped the bottom of my carton out of my hand. He then grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and threw all eight stone of me in the back of his dog van. Well, I thought if I couldn’t beat them I’d better join them. TLD: Tell us about your background and experiences working in the police. BB: Between us we worked for West Yorkshire Police for 47 years. A career change after running her own hair salon, Carol was a member of the Civilian support staff. I was a Police Officer 30_TheLeedsDebacle

and worked in the CID at every rank, retiring as a Detective Superintendent. I took command of twenty-six murder investigations and numerous major incidents, including shootings, attempted murders, suspicious deaths, police corruption investigations, hostage negotiations, and sexual assaults, some of which were extremely high profile. TLD: Was it a conscious decision to start writing? CB: No, it was quite by accident! Neither of us had any intentions of becoming authors, but others found our verbal stories thrilling, which led us to put pen to paper. One day, Bob saw an advert to join a college course to help ‘Write Your First Novel’. Before I knew it, he enrolled us both. We write about what we know, from the heart, and together. DI Jack Dylan is loosely based on Bob. Jennifer Jones is loosely based on me. Although the narrative is fiction, the feelings of lead characters and scenes are very much drawn from experience. Bob had reservations about writing a book as he didn’t want to bring more trauma and upset to the victims or open old wounds by talking about investigations he took charge of. Writing like we do seemed to be the solution - fictional stories with correct police procedure and the thoughts and feelings of people who have lived the life in reality.   TLD: Tell us about what you have written so far, your new book, and what to expect in the future. CB: The D.I. Dylan series will be at least 6 books for publisher

Caffeine Nights. Our first, ‘Deadly Focus’, is a story about small children who have become the focus of a deadly monster who revels in heaping horror on the victims. It introduces the lead character, Jack Dylan, a 35 yearold Detective Inspector, who does his job very well, expects the same from others, and has no time for fools. In the early stages of a romance with Jen, who works in administration, Jack is unaware that she is already questioning the burden that must be carried by the woman of someone like Jack. We have literally just received our authors’ copy of ‘Consequences’. It is the intricate piecing together of a puzzle through the inner workings of a police investigation. Jack makes a decision that leaves him with nightmares about the consequences of saving the life of the wrong person. A woman places her trust in a crooked cop, a decision that costs her life. Book threes working title is ‘White Lilies’ and is with the publisher. Book four ‘Snow Kills’ is under a re-write and the storyline for book five is being written. TLD: How does being so close to your subject help or hinder your writing? BB: As co-authors we are lucky enough to be able to question each other’s thoughts, ideas and responses on scenes and emotions. But we both agree that police procedure has got to be absolutely spot on. We are totally honest about our affliction though and understand the need for entertainment.  

TLD: What and who else influence your writing? BB: People in general. If we are writing about a particular subject we will speak to someone who has been through the experience. We believe that if you’ve been there and done it you alone are the only person who can feel, smell and touch that scene. The emotions that we take with us from life experiences can never be researched by reading about it or second-guessing and this is how

we write. TLD: How have you adapted to this change in life? Does writing bring its own stresses? CB: Quite easily considering it is such a big change. We moved away to the Isle of Wight and to a completely different outlook, which actually made it easier. So many of our colleagues stay within the ‘police family’ but they never get away from it all - we did. Writing is as stressful as you

want it to be. Anything is difficult if you’re not enjoying it and you definitely need to be committed it is easy to walk the dog, clean the kitchen floor, do anything to get out of writing through a sticky patch. Starting a book is easy… very few ever finish. The best bit of advice we can give to any writer is to finish what you are writing - don’t give up. But to answer your question: we love it and are having so much fun!


THE SEASON SO FAR LEEDS UTD V BURNLEY So, 2011 ended pretty shitty and 2012 begins with me forgetting that January requires hat & gloves to make watching us go 1-0 down to ten rubbish men less unbearable. Then, with half the crowd doing one, they scuff a scuffed corner into their own net. Then, after 100 excruciating minutes, they drop a scuffed shot to McCormack a yard out. If you can’t be good, be lucky! ARSENAL V LEEDS UTD Savage embarrassed by hot dogs pelting him. Keown embarrassed by football hitting his noggin. Arshavin embarrassed by bewildering finishing. ESPN embarrassed by Henry fawning. Leeds, surprisingly, not embarrassed by Arsenal. LEEDS UTD V BIRMINGHAM CITY The best first-half for some time could see us a few up had Becchio brought his banjo to hit the barn door. We capitulate so badly that Master Ken tells Grayson rather than himself to get out of our club. LEEDS UTD V BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION Redfearn confirms he may not be the man for the job. LEEDS UTD V DONCASTER ROVERS The worst first-half for some time could see them a few up had they packed their bass fiddle to hit the cows arse. They capitulate so badly that Master Bates tells Colin Wanker to come forth… this is getting like Pugwash. LEEDS UTD V SOUTHAMPTON And the moral of the story is: play crap, win; play great, lose. MIDDLESBROUGH V LEEDS UTD Second thoughts… play well. LEEDS UTD V NOTTINGHAM FOREST Third thoughts… I knew I should’ve covered the rugby league season instead.


Something to do every day... Wilco Johnson... In his prime... Less hair these days though APRIL 1st – Christy Moore (Town Hall) 2nd – Young People’s Film Festival (Hyde Park) 3rd – Sister Act (Grand) 4th – Salem Rages (Shopkeepers) 5th – Futureheads (Wardrobe) 6th – Orbital (Academy) 7th – Easter Egg Rolling (City Museum) 8th – Renaissance (Vox) 9th – Leeds Utd v Derby County (Elland Road) 10th – We Publish Leeds (Packhorse) 11th – Rhod Gilbert (Town Hall) 12th – Cold In Berlin (Northern Monkey) 13th – Half Marathon (Headrow) 14th – Steve Shanyaski (HiFi) 15th – You Slut! (Library) 16th – Michael Dean (Henry Moore) 17th – Coda (Musiquarium) 18th – Saul Ashby & Laish (Oporto) 19th – Flowering Cities (Rose Bowl) 20th – Brute Chorus (Eiger) 21st – Northern Arts Uncovered (Leeds Gallery) 22nd – Wedding Fayre (Crown Plaza) 23rd – Of Montreal (Irish Centre) 24th – Bow Wow Wow (Brudenell) 25th – Dan Nightingale (Seven) 26th – Wilko Johnson (Wardrobe) 27th – Mary Murkins (Central Library) 28th – Sunshine Underground (Met) 29th – Record Fair (Corn Exchange) 30th – Andrew Maxwell (HiFi)

MAY 1st – Tony Benn (Varieties) 2nd – Carousel (Grand) 3rd – Isy Suttie (Carriageworks) 4th – Kathryn Roberts & Seth Lakeman (Grove) 5th – Live at Leeds (various) 6th – Albert Lee (Varieties) 7th – DJ Fresh (Uni) Inspiral Carpets - unknowingly invented the Shoreditch Look 8th – Grimes (Brudenell) 9th – Admiral Fallow (Shopkeepers) 10th – Ozric Tentacles (Wardrobe) 11th – Fiona Rae (Art Gallery) 12th – Zombies (Brudenell) 13th – The Real Thing (WYP) 14th – Jack Dee (Varieties) 15th – Royal Harewood (Harewood House) 16th – Gary Stewart (Holy Trinity) 17th – Happy Mondays & Inspiral Carpets (Academy) 18th – Damien Barber & Mike Wilson (Grove) 19th – Vintage Fair (Corn Exchange) 20th – Leeds Canvas Underworlds & Overworlds (various) 21st – Shabazz Palaces (Brudenell) 22nd – Paper Trails (Stanley & Audrey Burton) 23rd – I Got Rhythm (Grand) 24th – White Denim (Cockpit) 25th – Leeds Loves Food (Millennium Square) 26th – Slam Dunk Festival (Uni) 27th – Crafts Collectables & Vintage Market (Kirkstall Abbey) 28th – Global Food Market (Kirkgate Market) 29th – Keane (Academy) 30th – Simon Amstell (Varieties) 31st – Vlassis Caniaris (Henry Moore) 34_TheLeedsDebacle

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JUNE 1st – Dalai Lama Rama Fa Fa (Wharf Chambers) 2nd – Breeze International Youth Festival (Briggate) 3rd – Diamond Jubilee Street Party (Harewood House) 4th – Dirty Dancing (Grand) 5th – Among Brothers (Empire) 6th – Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (Town Hall) 7th – Stewart Lee (WYP) 8th – Sully O’Sullivan (Mr Bens) 9th – Hope & Social (Cross Flats Park) 10th – Headingley Music Festival (various) 11th – Pharaoh King of Egypt (City Museum) 12th – Phyllida Barlow (Henry Moore) 13th – Jack Savoretti (HiFi) 14th – Django Django (Cockpit) 15th – The Sound Of Music (Carriageworks) 16th – Tcha Limberger (Howard Assembly) 17th – Yorkshire Carnegie v Leicestershire Foxes (Headingley) 18th – Leeds Loves Sport (various) 19th – Loserville (WYP) 20th – Die Walkure (Town Hall) 21st – Warsaw Village Band (Howard Assembly) 22nd – England v West Indies (Headingley) 23rd – Paul Tonkinson (Oceana) 24th – Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers (Headingley) 25th – Olympic Torch Relay (various) 26th – South Pacific (Grand) 27th – Mitch Benn (Seven) 28th – Girls Night (Varieties)


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Issue 7 of The Leeds Debacle is: John Barran - Ross Newsome - Robin Jahdi - Ian Gant - Keely Brightmore - Chris Hill - Dan Clark Nathan Velayudhan - Charys Ellmer - Gareth Tantram - Lisa Darbyshire - Joe Scrase - Laura Taylor Gareth Jones - Emily Phipps - Tim Chapman - Emily Ward - Dave Barlow - Winston Plowes Glen Pinder - Kyle James-Patrick



Issue 7 of The Leeds Debacle