Archive for March, 2008

Yesterday I went to Leeds – I took a few photo’s which on the whole didn’t come out as excitingly as I’d hoped, but anyhows, here they are anyway.

The market is lovely – A real old fashioned proper northern market building, it’s been really well looked after as well.

I was impressed by the ornate dragons. I wonder why dragons though? I don’t know that much about Leeds but I wasn’t aware of dragons being part of it’s iconography.

Flowers at the market

West Riding House, which for some reason I quite liked in an imposing bleak functional kind of way.

Obligatory busker shot.

Fountain in front of a big building on a vast square that when it snowed was quite reminiscant of Moscow but also wierdly empty all day. It was the nicest bit of leeds that we walked through but no-one was there. Odd.

Gold clock on aforementioned big building. I liked this. I bet it’s not real gold though. Cynic that I am.

Rubbish picture of the snow. It was too cold to alter my shutter speed so I only got crap pictures of the snow, though I assured my southern travveling companion that it does of course, always snow in Yorkshire.

The bottom bit of the building is a coffee rebublic or something, but the top bit looked stunning in a red brick against blue sky kind of way. So I took a picture of it. Here it is. I like red brick.

Quite liked this – It’s actually the back of poundland, but looks suitably moody and interesting with a bit of light tweaking.

So there we go – I was a bit disapointed with Leeds really, it’s been years since I’ve been and it’s been hyped up by the sunday papers and style supplements but it felt a bit bleak and windy and seemed to lack a cultural heart to it – there are some cracking record shops and stuff but it’s all spread about from what I could see. The northern quarter in Manchester or somewhere like that is far more contained and thus no matter when you go it feels like something is going on, whereas, for an outsider like me, I didn’t really get much of a vibe from Leeds.

We did nip in Harvey Nicks – which made me feel physically ill and I couldn’t help thinking that maybe Leeds has the most shoe shops in the whole world. As a city, it seemed like a good place to go if you want a credit card splurge and to live out some kind of horrible Sex and the City style shopping fantasy but if you are after something more, well, interesting then I don’t know if you’d find it.

    Please don’t read me as slagging the place off – If I am missing out on somewhere great then let me know!

– use the comment box to tell me and next time I go, i’ll have a better time.


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The Carnival rolled into town on the back of strong feeling about protecting Lancaster from developers who propose to destroy green space and replace the unique feel of the city with more identikit big business shopping opportunities. Some of the notable causes today included opposition to the proposed Heysham ‘link road,’ protest against the almost unthinkably bizzare idea to put car-parking on the green space outside the priory and of course, the old favourite, the hideously dull, destructive and devestatingly disruptive Centros Miller proposal.

Visit the homepages of some of the various campaigns below and see the Carnival site for more info.

Carnival of Culture Homepage
It’s Our City – Opposing the Centros Miller Development
The homepage of Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe – central to the fight against the Heysham link road.

The day started on the carpark near to the old brewery site, central to the proposed redevelopment – in the background of the 1st picture is one of the beautiful old industrial buildings at stake.

Sound system on a bike. I want one of these for Christmas please.

Banners were hoisted, flags, whistle and shakey things given out and to the beat of samba drums, off the procession went – almost straight onto the ring road, past some bemused, but also many enthusiastic and supportive shoppers and drivers. I didn’t see any negative attitudes all day towards the banners or costumes, which suggests that the people of Lancaster are broadly supportive of the causes at the heart of this event.

First stop was Dalton Square, where, outside the town hall, the assets of Lancaster were auctioned off – Happily the winning bidder for three of the lots was ‘the people of Lancaster’ (hurray!), triumphing over ‘big business’ (boo!!!) but we were reminded that there was still much to play for and that as the links at the top of this page and on the carnival site show – there is much to oppose and fight for.

The turnout was excellent and colourful.

Big business bid for ‘the heart of Lancaster’ and Castle Hill (kudos by the way to the fella who presented this – excellent job in the humble opinion of this website)

The police must have enjoyed the play, because they video taped the whole thing – presumably to watch again later in the warmth of the police station and share a range of critical perspectives on the action.

Samba drums in Dalton Square – At this point the drums left us and it was off again, up onto the ring road and back through town towards the Priory.

Arriving at the priory there was music playing and more banners – It’s almost inconceivable that anyone could wish to concrete over such a unique and well used spot. The views from this place are stunning and the green spaces of Lancaster are a huge part of what makes it special – as an outsider myself, I love this place, partly because of the positives it has over many other places I have lived and I find it almost defies belief that anyone, let alone a church organisation (well, maybe that’s not such a big suprise) should seek to defile what must be one of the loveliest city centre sites in Britain.

Lets just imagine the thought process of those in favour of the scheme…

“I love our city especially Castle Hill – 800 yr old castle, historic priory, beautiful view, open space,, trees, long grass, birds singing, peace and quiet, cycle track, path down to riverside – it’s a lovely spot isn’t it…”
“Yes it is all of those things and more, a unique and irreplacable community resource …. but you know what?”
“It would be much better for everyone if we concreted over a big lump of it so a few people didn’t have to walk about 150 yards on one day of the week”
“Yes, you’re so right – Let’s do that then”

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When we arrived at the Priory entertainment came from lovely folky, eastern European flavoured music – possibly members of Balkanic Eruption? (let me know if you know…)

There was kite flying, with mixed results…

Then back of into to town again…

… heading to the skatepark for more drumming

The police also enjoyed the samba drumming and presumably wanted to record that to make the night of playviewing a double bill, though why they felt it quite necasary to record the skaters who happened to be at the park (some of whom were as young as 11 or 12) I don’t quite know. Perhaps they are planning to learn to skateboard as part of a new style of rapid response technique?

It was back to the start and mo’ singing mo’ dancing mo’ blowin’ whistles before the world and his dog (on a string, ho ho) headed to the pub for a post walk pint and to watch a reet good band… I only saw one of the acts at the Gregson Centre…

… because I went to see what was going on at the Park Hotel. It was a UV light treat with some lovely music and decent DJs and made a nice change to be honest from the regular Lancaster pub fayre. So well done them, and a huge well done to all involved in organising the Carnival – A great fun, exciting and educational day – more of the same next year please!

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