Leeds today: trains, fashion, photos, literature, and boxers

Well a hearty good morning from Mark again this morning, with much to rant about this October day but plenty more to rave about!

Top local stories first. The proposed high-speed rail link between London and the rest of the country (well, sort of) was on the agenda at Westminster yesterday. The High Tory wets down in the Home Counties have been out in force over the last few months to look after their interests as only they can, casting the scheme as a “white elephant”. Proponents meanwhile stress the economic case, whilst ignoring the possibility of an even greater and quicker drain from cities like Leeds to London.

As the politicians and the activists continue to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide, every one talking endlessly at each other whilst no one actually listens, here in Leeds we can sleep easy in our beds with nothing else to do but wait a couple more decades before the proposed line rolls up anywhere near the Queen’s and City Square.

In rather more interesting rail news this week, the YEP has this on the unveiling of the 120-year old North Eastern Railway Class H 1310 at Middleton Railway in Hunslet.

Leeds Talking Newspaper is urgently seeking new premises to store equipment and record tapes of local news stories for blind and partially sighted people across the area.

Well over a hundred ex-employees of Tetley’s Brewery came together for the Joshua Tetley Association’s twelfth annual meeting – the first since the brewery closed.

And two dates for your seasonal diary: council chiefs announced that the city’s Christmas lights will be switched on this year on November 10th, with the Christkindelmarkt returning to Millennium Square and opening the following day.

The pick of the blogs now, and SatNav for the soul® has this on the roving Roman forum-cum-Athenian ecclesia-cum-Speakers’ Corner that is Bettakultcha, and how it does a better job at encouraging and inspiring than any number of high-paid motivational speakers.

Our Elly has set herself a challenge: a market versus high street fashion challenge. This Saturday, she and three fellow fashionistas are headed into town: Elly’s pair has to find at the Kirkgate Market an outfit “for a northern winter” on a budget of just £100, whilst her opposing couple has the same task on the same budget shopping on the high street. It’ll be interesting to see the outcome (I on the other hand will be sticking to my trademark winter look of long thick coat, black scarf, and dark colours – an American girl called me “Dickensian” the other day. I’m assuming she meant my autumn wear, rather than me…)

South Leeds Life reports on Hunslet Club boxer Terry Broadbent’s appearance in the quarter finals of Prize Fighter, broadcast live on Sky Sports this week.

The Leeds Daily Photo blog is celebrating its 1000th post with a visit to St George’s Field, tucked away in the heart of the Leeds Uni campus. The clustered headstones and the old chapel are Grade II-listed buildings, and tell more tales than a Dickens novel: as well as a firemen’s memorial, it famously is the resting place of the black Victorian circus proprietor Pablo Fanque who was memorialized by The Beatles on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album. He lies with his wife Susannah Marlaw, who died in the city in 1848 when a viewers’ gallery collapsed at the Amphitheatre at King Charles Croft on the Headrow. In the summer sun, St George’s Field even makes for a sublime spot to laze and soak up the day.

I made the rookie’s error of not looking properly at The Culture Vulture for a couple of days earlier this week. And predictably enough, I checked back to find enough local colour to paint an entire county. Top of my highlights is Nicole Paciello’s guest blog: Genovese-born Nicole came to Leeds as a student two years ago and reflects on how she came to appreciate the place and its cultural life, in a story told with some of her striking and evocative photographs.

Whilst you’re there, check out Buffet DJ Maria Spadafora’s romantic playlist, taking you all the way from Judy Garland to Girls Aloud (via Donna Summer and Wings). There’s something about this time of year that I find especially romantic. Something about the cold winds and the darkening nights, drifting home beneath the flickering city lights to the warm and cosy fire…

It seems I’m not the only one who thinks so. This weekend Morley Literature Festival reaches its climax (poor choice of words…?) with a “celebration” of Mills & Boon. And of course the event marks the launch of the debut novel from steamy local author “Adele Morley” – more on that here.

Elsewhere this weekend, tonight Leeds City Museum plays host to Leeds Fashion Show. This lady’s been busy: Elly again has been looking ahead to the event.

That’s the pick of the week. Have a cracking weekend wherever you are, whatever it may bring!

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3 Responses to Leeds today: trains, fashion, photos, literature, and boxers

  1. Karen Forsyth says:

    Re Pablo Fanque’s wife Susanna Marlow, I had always thought she had died in a ‘freak equestrian accident’ like it says on her grave. Either way, its one on my fave Leeds stories, thanks for including it.

  2. Andy says:

    I would disagree about the ‘drain’ from Leeds to London. Better connections means businesses could move back up North again with quick easy links to the south.
    By 2033 (or whenever it finally gets finished) I’m pretty sure the South-East will be at over-capacity anyway. It’s already pretty much impossible to get anywhere quickly by car down there and house prices /business rates are sky high. It’s only going to get worse. Quicker links to the more Northern cities mean that businesses could relocate yet still maintain easily their international links.

  3. Mark O'Brien says:

    Andy, I do generally agree with you and I’m in favour. I just think it’s a danger which the proponents haven’t reflected properly on. I wrote an article on the issue, fully supportive of HS2, a few months ago which was framed with the scene from Billy Liar as he dwells over getting the train to London. When I reflected on that, it occurred to me how misjudged that was as it did represent that very brain drain I reference here.
    As I say, I agree with you but I just wonder if the priority for us ought to be more and better local services and more and better services connecting northern cities to make the entire North of England a proper hub (it seems absurd that we’re contemplating Leeds to London in 90 minutes when it still takes 2 hours to get across the Pennines from Leeds to Liverpool). It’s the lack of real engagement in the debate and the immediate instinctive dogmas that each side has spouted that frustrates me.
    Rant over!

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