Just when you think that even though the days are technically getting longer, the daylight is still doing its shy best to hide behind grey clouds, fog and rain, this morning’s crisp but vibrant sunrise restored my faith in the Yorkshire weather. Not that I think this photo really does it justice . I do love the way the sun can be seen glowing like fire through the trees, as it peeks its head above my garage roof.
Category Archives: Leeds
Leeds Festival is a bit of a special one for me – it was, in a former incarnation, the first festival I ever went to (when it was V97, back in er, 1997, and before the line-up turned into the commercio-fest that we expect from V in this day & age). But I’m not going to talk about bands here, I’ve written about those over on Gig Ape this year. If nothing else, please do scroll down to the end of Sunday’s report and check out my Pulp review, they really are something incredibly special live, and Jarvis’ lyrics are truths we would be wise to pay attention to.
Coming from Leeds though, the festival feels like a big trip down the local, (or a big house party in a field) and it’s great to be able to catch up with people I’ve not seen for a little while, or a long while, and to know that I can turn up at most of the stages or bars and unexpectedly bump into someone I know. That’s the kind of thing that makes a festival for me, the people I’m there with and the atmosphere – being there on your own is pretty rubbish really. I tried it once. Not the best plan I’ve ever had.
I’ve not seen any of the folks I normally see around Leeds for quite a long time, as I’ve not been in Leeds for the last 8 months, but fortunately almost all of them make it to Leeds every year and it was great to see them all, and to get to know some of them even better. I met new folks too, for instance, dad-to-be Morgan, the Australian Bon Jovi,
and a Astor, a bemused Icelandic man I engaged in conversation about his homeland for probably just a little bit too long. Old friends from Skipton Tom and Jess (Tom now lives in Swansea) also turned up at the NME stage, and even more unexpectedly my friends Fran and Bunny who live in Cornwall and who I’ve not seen for 2 years got in touch to hang out on the Sat & Sunday. Icing on the cake!
But this year, Leeds had an even better reason for it to be a bit special, because it’s the first anniversary of me meeting my boyfriend Jamie.
I don’t think either of us expected to meet someone at last year’s festival, let alone still be with them a year later. I’ve never much seen the point in schmalzy anniversary celebrations, so that’s why I’m glad we just did something small that meant something to us. Sneaking off back to the campsite in our wellies, to have a candlelit Thai curry dinner with bubbly in mismatched plastic crocks shits all over Hallmark. With apologies to anyone and everyone who we might have made feel a bit nauseous, Leeds fest 2011 was again, lots and lots of fun.
(Do make sure you go and see Pulp if you get the chance)
Check out this photoblog of Leeds fest irrelevance I and a few friends contributed to for A Negative Narrative. Includes flying babies and velcro beards.
Strictly speaking the “farmyard” in title has come from an evening I spent at the Cow & Calf rocks in Ilkley, watching a performance by Jez Colborne and the Mind the Gap entitled Irresistible. Mind the Gap are a theatre company based in Bradford comprising tutors and professional actors, and provide theatre studies courses for people with learning difficulties. My brother (who has Asperger’s, so he has more of an issue with “getting” certain social contexts rather than the media-peddled stereotype of a person with low IQ and “special learning needs”) has just started at the company and is loving it. He and his fellow coursemates were also taking part in the performance.
Jez is inspired by sirens and the setting for the performance of music inspired by sirens (air-raid and indeed the Greek variety), inside the quarried out centre of the Cow, was breathtaking, especially as the rain misted in and was caught by the lights. Animated projections backlit the performance, and although there were fewer siren sounds than I’d been led to expect, it was still an enjoyable and very different night. You can read Jez’s blog and see photos from the evening on the Mind the Gap website.
Animal related fun continued as we dashed back to Leeds for Foals at the O2 Academy, which I was reviewing for Clash Mag. I do really love Foals’ latest album (Mercury nominated Total Life Forever) and I’d only seen a couple of their songs live before, so I was looking forward to it. The sound where we stood wasn’t amazing unfortunately (the grapevine informs me there may have been some over-zealous amp cranking from the band), but the atmosphere was pretty electric, which made a nice change from the all-too-commonly disinterested hoards that seem to be attracted the the Leeds O2. You can read what I thought on the Clash website, with photos from Danny Payne.
Not content with two events in one evening, nor a quick 8 hours at work, next stop was Manchester’s the Warehouse Project (not forgetting a quick stop for pizza obviously). It was Delphic‘s turn to curate the Warehouse Project, and if it wasn’t for the over-boisterous crowd I would have enjoyed them immensely playing their hearts out to their home fans. Do peruse the reasons for my unconvincedness at the concept of crossover clubbing/gig nights on Counterfeit. Pictures are from FictionalFuture.
A quick stop at a Halloween Burlesque night (and I hope what was a suitable fishnet, hotpant and basque related outfit), I had a day off then was back at the Academy to review Ellie Goulding, again for Clash with Danny taking the photos. Much girlier than my usual choice of musical entertainment, I was pleasantly surprised. She really does do a nice line in catchy arm waving numbers. Read the review at Clash online.
I’ve done a couple of interviews recently, one with Hana Gilbert who works at the Leeds gallery The Bowery, and who is organising the Headingley Arts Trail along with local businesses. It’s an opportunity to see local handmade arty things, and if you like, to buy an unusual Christmas pressie. It’s running on the 13th & 14th November, but don’t forget the launch evening on the 12th with free mince pies and mulled wine! All the information you need is in my article for the Culture Vulture.
My next interview was with playfully inventive creative duo Lord Whitney, who have been nominated for the prestigious Illustrative Young Illustrators’ Award in Berlin, which will be announced on 5th November. Find out more about the award, how excited Lord Whitney are and just what exactly they’ll be exhibiting at the Awards exhibition on the Culture Vulture.
If you like their work and want to see it nearer to home than Berlin, then you can see what else they’re up to here.
It’s true. Everyone does. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. I even wore my Brudenell t-shirt to Iceland Airwaves and used the happy fact to bump into a fellow Leeds-er.
To cut a long story short, The Brudenell Social Club is simply one of, if not the best gig venue ever. To not cut the long story at all, I spoke to Nathan who runs the place, with dedication and passion, about why he thinks it’s so special, and I think between us we’ve managed to put our fingers on what makes so many people get excited about the Brud. I wrote the piece for Culture Vultures, so please head over there to have a read.