Leeds today: market, occupy, cable, postcodes, hack, riots, transport.

It’s the start of a new week here at BGL towers! This week sees the ongoing Leeds Digital Fest and LIFF25, the Xmas markets really swinging into action, the inaugural Culture Vultures picnic and Thought Bubble, amongst many other things.

Yes, the Christkindlmarkt is back! The YEP takes a look at the tenth visit of the market to Millennium Square. But isn’t this getting a bit samey now? The astonishing queues outside the beer tent, the smell of candied peanuts, the photos of glowing rock salt lamps and the carousel…? The market is lovely, don’t get me wrong, but everybody in West Yorkshire who wants one must have a wooden croaking frog or a knitted hat with earflaps by now, surely? Saying that, I may well be found in the beer tent if it’s comparatively quiet.

You may have spotted a demonstration outside the tree on City Square. These are the Leeds branch of Occupy, and the YEP went to talk to them. These aren’t workshy scroungers, an illegal encampment, terrorists or getting in the way (which some of the commenters on that article seem to think): they are people who are just willing to stand up and be counted as those wanting change in the banking and political systems, and good for them.

In the letters page of today’s Yorkshire Post is a letter from the chair of the Joint Committee of PCTs – ie, the person who has been leading the charge to close the children’s heart unit. If you’ve been following this story then this letter may make you a little cross. He can make a rebuttal to an article, but refuses to engage when people from the community try to talk to him? Hmph.

The East Leeds Link Road was affected by cable theft last week, when the cable from a mile of lampposts was stolen. The road, which is quite isolated, was darkened and accidents were more likely not least because there were bare ends left exposed. Take care along that road, please.

Residents in Tyersal are a bit miffed that they have a Bradford postcode, despite living in Leeds. No matter what the Royal Mail says, postcodes are used by insurers, banks, local authorities, doctors surgeries, house price setters, and more to determine – or pigeonhole – residents. I suspect people in Todmorden – who have an Oldham postcode despite living in Calderdale – have similar concerns. Do you live in a county boundary area with a different postcode to your friends? Let us know!

The Secret Tea Room has closed for the year. We’ll be seeing a couple of stories like this coming up, I suspect. Lynn’s final tea room went with a bang as a photographer from Prima was there to find out more, and warnings about the waiting list (now in triple figures!) were made in relation to next years bookings.

Culture Hack North took place over the weekend, and the Guardian’s Sarah Hartley was there to get stuck in. The event, which aimed to get cultural institutions and tech hackers together to work in 24-hr intensive collaborative projects, seemed to work very well with applications such as “Consider the Library” and the curious “Kha-Kau-Re” coming out of the weekend.

Love guinea pigs? Bramleycavies Guinea Pig rescue centre are having their Xmas fair on 4th December (discovered via LeedsForum). Looks like fun!

Exploring Leeds has been learning about Arthur Aaron, who has a statue at the end of Eastgate. Roundhay-born Arthur won a posthumous VC in 1943; read the article, it’s a fascinating tale.

The Otley Labour Rooms have two events on this week; The November Politics Cafe on Thursday 17th from 7:30 looks back at the August riots and considers the impact of high unemployment on young people. Speaker Howard Stones from Leeds Metropolitan University will lead an informal discussion on ‘Young unemployment, the riots and the future’ in a friendly setting over a drink. This event is free. Also at the Labour Rooms, Friday 18th will see soul band Wang Dang Doodle take to the stage, 8pm onwards; £5/3.

Finally today, South Leeds Life is asking Do we have public transport problems in South Leeds? And if we do, why not use FixMyTransport, a new initiative from the same people who brought us FixMyStreet, a way of telling councils about the infrastructure problems they should be fixing!

That’s it for today. Elly will be with us tomorrow, along with details of an interesting event at the Corn Exchange. As ever, get in touch if you have anything you’d like to say! Email, twitter, or carrier pigeon.

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3 Responses to Leeds today: market, occupy, cable, postcodes, hack, riots, transport.

  1. Regarding the Christmas Market – God, yes, it’s time for something else. I like a sausage on a bun as much as the next person, but I’ve had quite enough of stale stollen and overpriced Gluhwein. The main tent is always far, far too crowded for it to actually be fun, and the whole thing just feels commercial and boring.

    Why can’t we have a market made up of local traders selling their gifts and food? And I imagine that a few local pubs and restaurants could throw in together easily enough for a beer-and-food tent. I’m guessing that hasn’t happened yet because the Christkindlmarkt is a pre-packaged product, ready to go with little or no help from the council. All they have to do is take down the bollards around millennium square to let the lorries in to set up and it’s good to go.

    Maybe what’s needed is for some of us more independent-minded folks to get together a proposal to show them that a local Christmas fair is a viable and profitable idea – if anyone else is in, I’d be willing to help get the ball rolling for next year. It’s a long shot, but these things have to start somewhere!

  2. I agree with Katie. Every year is exactly the same, down to the very position of each stall, but it seems to get a little bit smaller and less impressive each Christmas. I don’t have a problem with the German theme continuing, but it would be nice to see it opened up to local traders too.

    I blogged last year about the ridiculously long queues into the central bierkeller (http://www.thomasharveydesign.co.uk/2010/11/03/leeds-german-market-only-8-days-and-a-2-hour-queue-away/) – I don’t understand why nothing has been done about this – it’s massively put me off going in recent years.

    Despite being considerably smaller than the Manc and Brum incarnations, there’s plenty of space for it to expand further. I also think having more than one market in the city should also be considered, perhaps on Briggate / Clarence Dock / Granary Wharf.

  3. Simon Hall says:

    The LS6 Arts and Crafts Fair (htthttp://on.fb.me/vhJrY8) is full of small local artists and craftspeople – so get fantastic presents and support the local economy!

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