This is the last post we’ll make on BGL. This is a sad thing. But here’s how you can get your hands on the same news we did – although the pithy commentary you’ll have to come up with by yourself. If you’re panicking that without BGL you’ll be out of the loop here’s a little list of some of our sources.
First, the news:
The Guardian Northerner. The Guardian was obviously the original inspiration for BGL, but its Northerner section tends to focus on Manchester. You might be better off just hitting the Leeds story link.
The Yorkshire Post tends to be regional stuff, while the Yorkshire Evening Post is more local. Click on the ‘Latest News’ menu option and you can get news in your area of Leeds. Both have a tendency to report the shock/horror stories, unfortunately, which BGL has tried to avoid. Equally, the BBC has a Leeds and West Yorkshire page, as does ITV’s Calendar. Both are good for the really big stories, but those tend to be the more depressing ones.
A little on the dry side, but succinct and informative, there’s the Council’s news service.
In blog terms, first on my list is the truly awesome Leeds Citizen. If ever there were an argument for blogs bettering the professional local news services, this guy would win every time. Not only is he first with stories, but he gives you genuine analysis alongside humour and cynicism, and (importantly) links to original sources. If you’re not already, do follow!
Next up, if you live in south Leeds, is South Leeds Life. An exemplary local blog with some really good writers and contributors. I’d recommend reading ‘South of the River’ every Friday even if you don’t live in that area. Not updated as often, but for the north of Leeds is northleeds-news, and the similarly-named North Leeds Life. The only site for East Leeds hasn’t been updated for a long time, but just in case it comes back into play, keep your eye on it. Currently there doesn’t seem to be a West Leeds local news site, but many local areas across Leeds have community blogs, such as Kirkstall where there’s also TCV Hollybush.
City-wide, The City Talking has recently started a daily 5pm news update. They also have ‘Things to See & Do’ each week, and other updates on sports, lifestyle, music, etc. And if you’re a student, Leeds Student is the site to check out. Recently revamped.
Next up, fun (i.e. culture)
Knowing what’s on is the job of Leeds Inspired, an ongoing listing run by the Council. A major advantage is that it links to original sites and sometimes tells you about things that don’t have websites or Twitter accounts, so you’d otherwise never hear about.
As far as reviews go, we should top the list with The Culture Vulture. In fact, even more than reading the website, I’d recommend following the Culture Vulturess on Twitter, as she frequently mentions events that I’d not hear about elsewhere, re-tweets interesting people, facts and links, and poses questions to make you reconsider your day. If there’s one blog you should be reading it’s this one.
Another good source for the arts, especially for upcoming exhibitions, is Leeds Art Scene.
Leeds Love Affair is all about the independents, be they eateries, drinking holes, shops or places to visit, and Leeds does well in that department. Also, the editor is lovely.
Leeds-List is good for lists (funnily enough), be it of types of restaurant, New Year events, or pubs in alleyways.
We have so many festivals that I couldn’t begin to list them. The local parks mostly have one in the summer, so keep your eye out for announcements on the local blogs listed above. The increasing literature festivals include Ilkley (http://www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/), Morley (http://www.morleyliteraturefestival.co.uk/), Headingley (http://www.headingleylitfest.org.uk/) and the Leeds Big Bookend (http://www.bigbookend.co.uk/).
We have festivals for Print (http://leedsprintfestival.com/), Data (http://www.leedsdatathing.co.uk/), International Beer (http://www.leedsbeer.com/), International Film (http://www.leedsfilm.com/) and comics (http://thoughtbubblefestival.com/). There’s Light Night (http://lightnightleeds.co.uk/), and while West Leeds may not have a news blog, it does have an arts festival: I Love West Leeds (http://ilovewestleeds.co.uk/).
A tiny selection of the clubs and societies I’ve heard about:
The ever-increasing Leeds Book Clubs! (http://www.leedsbookclub.com/)
Homage 2 Fromage, or cheese club (http://www.clubhomage2fromage.co.uk/)
Leeds Meeples, who play not-your-average board games (http://www.leedsmeeples.org.uk/)
Knitting at Yarnia (no website, just a Twitter account: https://twitter.com/Yarnia_Leeds)
The Clandestine Cake Club, which started in Leeds (http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/)
Leeds Craft Club (http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/leeds-craft-club-3102528734)
Singing at High Spirits Choir (http://www.highspiritschoir.co.uk/)
There are also all sorts of social groups on Meetup (http://uk.meetup.com/), from languages, to politics, to sports.
If you want to learn something:
Leeds Salon (http://leedssalon.org.uk/)
The Cafés Scientifique (http://www.cafescientifique.org/) in Chapel A, Headingley and at Leeds City Museum (for which Ally writes the blog, http://cafescileedsmuseum.wordpress.com/)
Skeptics in the Pub (http://www.leedsskeptics.org/)
Leeds Art Walk (http://leedsartwalk.wordpress.com/)
Penny University (http://pennyunileeds.wordpress.com/)
Finally, two quirky and original ideas that we have in this fine city of ours. For every event, we are provided with a suitable stream of music, courtesy of Leeds Playlist (http://leedsplaylist.wordpress.com/). Then there’s People of Leeds, our own Twitter rotation curation account, wo/manned each week by a resident or worker in Leeds, and always interesting (http://peopleofleeds.blogspot.co.uk/).
But, that’s not all. Y’see, we came from the remnants of Guardian Leeds, and like a phoenix rising from the ashes of BGL we’ll have… The Leeds Guardian. Set up in a similar way to BGL and Guardian Leeds the Leeds Guardian (https://twitter.com/Leedsgdn and http://www.theleedsguardian.com/) will carry on doing what we’ve been doing, only perhaps considerably more professionally. There’s an actual journo at the helm – let’s call them The Duck – and there will be syndicated content from other sources, links with n0tice and Witness and much more besides. It will be an exciting time. We really hope that you follow them on twitter and sign up with the website when it goes properly live – we certainly will.
There’s a list of people I would like to thank, although I’m undoubtedly going to miss someone off the list. Let’s start with the contributors to the daily blog: John Baron, Sophie Devonshire, Kirsty Ware, Tom Goodhand, Mark O’Brien, Kathleen Hawkins, Joseph McDonagh, Michael Muncaster, Joe Cooper, Nikki Mitchell, Paisley Gilmour, Faye Dobson, Naziya O’Reilly, Alison Neale and Hazel Wheldon. Thank you all, because without you I would have folded in six weeks.
Then there’s the people who wrote the occasional blog post for us when I was properly stuck (and I know I’m going to forget someone here, so apologies if it’s you – get in touch and I’ll fix it asap): Chris Nickson, Niamh Foley, Morticia, Lloyd Spencer, Fran Graham, Jane Zanzoterra, Racheal Johnson, Lizzie Donegan, Darren Potter and the Leeds Beer Festival guys, Mike McKenney, those crazy guys at Can You Dig It, and last (but by no means least) Lola Wilson. You kept things interesting; brilliant work, guys.
Elly Snare fits into both of the above categories. She also kept the blog going during the first year and a half by poking me with a stick. She deserves much credit (and thanks, and probably blame) for this mad plan. Also, huge thanks to Johnny I’anson at BBC Radio Leeds who let me blether on every now and then on his Friday afternoon show. That was fun. Speaking of radio, thanks to Richard Horsman and everybody at Leeds Trinity University who let me steal students.
PRs who were human, not ‘bots poking at email lists: thanks. You were fun. Stay human, please.
To those of you who tried to keep me vaguely stable over the last few years, the friends, family, drinking partners and reprobates; you’re all stars and I’m dreadfully fond of you all. Yes, even you.
My better half, Sarah, who kept me sane and didn’t look at me like Paddington Bear when I came home and told her this whole blog was happening, deserves all the love and thanks and appreciation I can muster and then some.
Finally, thanks to you, the readers, without whom we’d just be shouting at mountains. An audience was the reason we did this. We set out to tell the stories that weren’t being told, and asked you to tell us them. You did that and you read those tales. We cannot thank you enough.
Stay firm and vivid, guys. Love Leeds and everything it can offer. It is there if you look for it.