Leeds today: opera, archaeology, retail, digital and suits of armour.

The explosion in New Farnley that BGL mentioned on Monday had no direct injuries, little property damage and arrests have been made, reports the YEP. The explosion, which seems to have been caused by leaking acetylene cylinders inside a stolen car, seems to have been accidental in nature and it is only luck that there weren’t people about at the time. The car was torn to pieces in the blast.

With the help of South Leeds Archaeology Society, schoolchildren in Gildersome have been examining the history of the village, says the Morley Observer. Children at the primary school were given bags to find bottles and pottery shards in their own gardens (without disturbing the flowers!) which provided some interesting finds, and maps and documents will be brought in by the Society to help the children piece together the history of their village.

A row seems to have broken out over the Opera in the Park ticket sales decision. The YEP notes that less than 10% of the 45,000 tickets to the previously free event have been sold and with less than two weeks to go certain members of the council are asking if purchasers should be refunded and the event be made free again. As the Party in the Park event remains free – no doubt thanks to sponsorship and other funding available – the partner event is at capacity.

Is retail still a viable business plan? Land Securities thinks so, which is why Trinity is back on the cards as a premier retail experience for Leeds. And there’s the Eastgate development coming, too – also, a premier retail centre for Leeds – and with plans afoot to remodel the Merrion centre it looks like the one future for Leeds that people are hanging their hats on is retail. Francis Salway, chief exec of Land Securities, talks to the Guardian about the future of the high street. What in particular caught BGL’s eye was this little snippet at the end of the piece:

Anna Smee, director of business strategist of Hundred Consulting, said: “[…] We are seeing a shift back to specialist, often owner-managed retailers that offer a high level of personal service or an unusual mix of products that are not available in the big retail outlets on the outskirts of the UK’s towns and cities.”

BGL wonders where Ms Smee lives; in Leeds the specialist, owner-managed retailers are consigned to out-of-city locations due to high rents charged by companies such as Land Securities for city centre locations. A fundamental shift needs to happen in the way retail is looked at in the UK, by the landowners, the developers, and the monolithic holding corporations who can afford absurd rents through economies of massive, globe-spanning scale.

The annual Leeds in Bloom photo competition is still ongoing; you can enter your photographs of what you think Leeds in Bloom means by email, post or on Facebook. Entries can be any photograph as long as it was taken at a Leeds City Council owned nature reserve, park, green space or waterway.

Leeds has two farmer’s markets, on the first and third Sunday of each month. The first is at Kirkgate market but last Sunday saw a shift for the later market from Kirkgate to Briggate. Foodie blogger Leeds Grub potters around to take a look at what’s what.

East Street Arts studio holder Kelly Cumberland has an exhibition of her work opening on Friday. Recorded/Reproduced is “work exploring the change and removal, growth and deterioration of the life and nature of a virus” and will be at the Bowery in Headingley from Friday until October.

The upcoming Leeds Digital Festival needs help deciding what its digital identity should be, so they’ve set up a voting site to see what you think. There are three different ways the branding can go, and you get to read the briefs produced by three different agencies and pick the one you like. We’ve chosen!

Finally today, researchers from the University of Leeds have been trying to find out just how medieval soldiers managed to run around a battlefield in suits of armour. The BBC reports that fight interpreters from the Armouries ran around in full plate for the benefit of researchers who discovered that twice as much energy was used when wearing the armour. Dr Graham Askew from UoL said:

“In a suit of armour the limbs are loaded with weight; it takes more effort to swing them. We found that carrying this kind of load spread across the body requires a lot more energy than carrying the same weight in a backpack.”

Interesting stuff, more here (including video of a man in armour walking on a treadmill!).

That’s it for today! As ever, if there’s anything you’d like to see on the site then please let us know. You can get in touch by emailing us or via twitter, and really we’re quite nice people who don’t bite. Unless you ask nicely. See you tomorrow.

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