Leeds today: Venus, punk, fire, beacons, cyclist, Pudsey and baby.

Hello! Mike here, hoping you all had a lovely long weekend (and for those of you who didn’t, I hope that customers and everybody were lovely and/or gave you big tips). Short week, but there’s still plenty of news…

It was too gloomy this morning to watch the transit of Venus from Leeds, alas. However, we’re in good company; legendary Leeds engineer John Smeaton failed to observe the 1769 transit because of mist & fog. Are you a Yorkshire expat who has managed to watch it? Please, let us know!

Marks & Sparks… erm, Spencers at Owlcoates was badly damaged by fire this morning (BBC). A spokesperson for the chain said that it was too early to tell when the store would reopen.

Speaking of Pudsey, the Halifax Courier has an interesting opinion piece on the name of towns in the West Riding.

“…the emblem for Children in Need, was created by a BBC designer who actually came from Pudsey. […] But what if that BBC designer had come from elsewhere in the West Riding? […] Salendine Nook (yes it’s a real place and it’s in the outskirts of Huddersfield) has possibilities, but perhaps more as the name for a gentlemanly 
secret agent than a cuddly animal (“The name is Nook. Salendine Nook”).”

From the YEP, we have news of a round-the-world cyclist from Harrogate completing the trial in the fastest time ever:

“Mike Hall, 31, became the fastest person to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle, cycling around the world in just 92 days and beating the previous record holder by nearly two weeks.”

Also in the YEP is a report saying that “fake” beggars make up about 80% of the people we see on our streets. Not sure how much salt would be in the pinch to take with this story but it is true that there are a number of people begging who are actually conning. It is important that the homeless do get the help they need, though, which is why BGL supports charities like Simon on the Streets and Shelter.

Some jubilee stories now (you really didn’t think we wouldn’t say anything about it, did you?). The Morley Observer shows how many people in Gildersome were out celebrating the jubilee (ans: lots), whilst the BBC makes note of the beacon lighting across the country, especially at Otley Chevin and Pontefract Castle. BGL was in Mytholmroyd on Monday and saw the one on Scout Rock lit – and whilst it was pretty nifty we’d hoped that it would last more than the 20 minutes it seemed to be alight for.

But, we need an antidote to all this and Leeds observer Martin Wainwright wonders whether iPhone video of the beacons will fit into the Northerner.

Over on Culture Vultures this morning is Paul Clarke’s review of Dirty Dancing at the Grand. Brilliantly pithy lines in this, such as:

“It is a strange show where the first act concludes with an audience cheering a teenage girl being deflowered by a dancer, but this strong cast gives it everything in an unashamedly feelgood show that reminds you theatre can be fun as well as life affirming.”

Also on CV is Leon Burton Davies’s interesting post-hoc look at Overworlds and Underworlds, as seen by a two-year-old.

Over on South Leeds Life is a pointer to Jamie Reid’s Ragged Kingdom, coming to Temple Works next week. Reid, one of the best known of artists from the punk era, is having a 40-year career retrospective in the iconic building. We’re really tempted!

Finally today, if you’re thinking of going to Exposure Leeds Talk & Social tonight it’s at Aire St, in the White Cloth Gallery. Bring a camera 🙂

Right, that’s it. We’ll see you tomorrow for more of what’s what in Leeds and West Yorkshire. Thanks for reading!

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