Leeds today: We Are Poets, the Dalai Lama, Brewdog, fish, swimming, roadworks, Playful, and Opera.

Morning! Mike here on this rather grey and damp Thursday. It is worth pointing out that the weather this weekend looks appalling so despite it being only a week before the solstice you may want to reconsider putting the winter woollies away. Anyway, it’s a huge day for news so lets get to it!

It is very daft when the first we hear of the Dalai Lama coming to Leeds is because of the controversy it causes with the visiting Chinese olympic team (Guardian). The spiritual leader of Tibet will be speaking to a business convention on Friday in the city, but despite it being a private function there have been complaints made to LCC about the event. Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton told the BBC:

“I find it distasteful, to say the least, that two representatives of a country whose human rights record is appalling, where freedom of speech is not allowed and where there is no real democracy, come to the city of Leeds and tell our elected officials … that they can’t do what they think is best for the city under pain of economic sanction.”

But! The Dalai Lama is coming to Leeds! Let’s hope he isn’t speaking to representatives from pizza companies. (“Make me one with everything” is the joke, and it’s not a very good one.)

LCC has announced when the inner ring road will be closed over the summer, to do some more work on the Lovell Park Road bridge. Roadworks around the bridge have been going on for a while now as part of the Leeds Arena build and a £25m project to fix three bridges around the inner ring road. Be prepared for slow-moving traffic in August.

Also from LCC is details (finally!) of Opera in the Park. Lesley Garrett is headlining the event but it seems that lessons from last year’s decision to charge for the event have not been learned; tickets are on sale online, at the Carriageworks or the Visitor Centre at the train station, £10 for general admission (£7.50 for LeedsCard holders).

News about things happening at the Great Yorkshire Show (July 10-12th, not cancelled) is starting to trickle out. The Post reports that landscape gardeners from Askam Bryan college will be exhibiting & competing at the Show to find out which two will be Team UK in the 2013 WorldSkills competition.

Are you a maker or doer, or just nosey? The next Playful Leeds event is coming up on July 3rd and it’s all about “connecting the dots”, getting people and projects linked up. Playful has been great fun so far, there’s no reason to think this won’t be anything less.

Open Farms Sunday is coming up – it’s this Sunday, in fact – where working farms all over the country will open up their doors to the public who can see just what goes on behind those gates and hedges. Our friends at Swillington Organic Farm are one of those farms taking part and have a great-looking programme for the day. If you fancy something a bit more exciting there’s a folk music event (don’t roll your eyes, folk is the new punk) at the farm on Friday evening which also involves scarecrows.

The film about young adults in Leeds becoming writers and poets is being given a cinematic release at the end of June. The film – which is a moving, dynamic piece of work following six young authors from Leeds as they enter a poetry slam in the States – has had limited showings in Leeds, Brid and Sheffield (as well as in New Zealand), but is now getting a wider UK release. Congratulations, guys!

Following on from that is a fantastic event that looks quite exciting for people who love books. This weekend sees The Leeds Big Bookend at the Carriageworks, “a weekend of inspired words and adventure. This festival is not just about books and reading, it’s about stories, creativity, fun, fantasy and facts.” It kicked off last night, in fact, but the main event is over the weekend. It’s a book fest in Leeds city centre – how did we not hear of this before? Tut.

Sheffield is a bit out of our jurisdiction but this really is worth mentioning: a dance group is putting on a synchronised swimming show at Ponds Forge today, which looks stunning, as part of iMove, the cultural olympiad in Yorkshire & Humberside. No kidding, this could well be the most beautiful thing you see for a while. BGL would love to see it at Bramley Baths (but it’ll never happen) 🙂

The Brewdog event at Dock St Market on Aug 1st is an exciting thing that I’m looking forwards to (I’m a sucker for Punk IPA), but it was with interest that I spotted a license application for a Brewdog bar in White Cloth Hall the other day. Can anybody offer any more details? Is this really going ahead? Please, somebody let us know!

Finally today, Leeds blogger Thomas Harvey visits what used to be the flagship Harry Ramsden’s and is now the Wetherby Whaler in Guiseley, gives us a potted history and a review of what it’s like today. Is it any good? Interesting stuff.

And that’s it! Thanks for reading. Mark will be with you tomorrow, have a great weekend and I’ll see you bright and breezy on Monday. As ever, if you have anything you’d like to tell us tweet or email and we’d love to hear from you. Cheerio!

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2 Responses to Leeds today: We Are Poets, the Dalai Lama, Brewdog, fish, swimming, roadworks, Playful, and Opera.

  1. The licence application for the premises (that was previously a body-building supplement shop) behind the Corn Exchange was refused (see here: http://beerprole.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/brewdog-leeds-the-best-laid-schemes-o-dogs-an-men/ ). James said they were going to appeal but I’ve also heard that they’re considering alternative premises. From the licensing decision it seems that the first site was just in exactly the wrong place (a “violent crime hotspot”).


  2. One more thing to add, they’re recruiting staff for a Leeds bar so they must be confident of finding or already have a location. http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/brewdog-creates-40-new-jobs-announces-graduate-program

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