Leeds today: Chinese tantrums, Jimmy biography, ice rinks, 200 years of steam, Thorpe Park, Apex Challenge, Belle Isle Gala, Euros, Incredible Leedsness of Being

I don’t even know where to start this week. Mark O’Brien here this morning. If I was waking up with you this morning I’d bring you breakfast in bed with a lovely milky cup of tea, and give you a kiss and a cuddle. But I’m up and out early, so instead let me bring you the day’s stories from across Leeds in this morning’s bulletin.

The latest Leeds Daily Photo is a sweet shot of a moorhen and its chick on the old dock at Victoria Quays. Reminiscent of The Ugly Duckling, the picture also reminds us of this month’s Leeds Waterfront Festival, coming up soon.

Plenty to contend with before then though. Leeds is never far from controversy, and we’re at the forefront again. Tibetan spiritual leader The Dalai Lama is due in town today to speak at a business event. That’s not the controversial bit, though whoever put him on the day’s programme of events alongside Kevin Keegan and Steve Cram is a comedy genius. You may have heard (don’t worry if you haven’t, we don’t blow our trumpet too much in Leeds, more’s the pity) that the Chinese are sending over 200 athletes to stay and train in the city during this summer’s Olympic Games. Perhaps getting the Yorkshire International Business Convention confused with the United Nations General Assembly (easy mistake), the Chinese government has apparently taken umbrage. And when the Chinese get upset about something, everybody else twiddles their thumbs and keeps their eyes down like schoolkids afraid the angry teacher will turn on them next. Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton has boldly attacked China for their “bully-boy tactics”. The council meanwhile insists the conference is a private event. “Nowt to do with us, Chairman.” Everyone else simply hopes they won’t get dragged in. If World War III starts today however, there’s a good chance it will start in Leeds.

I love being from a city where the news can segue seamlessly from the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government to Jimmy Savile. That wasn’t a particularly seamless segue, I grant you, but still. Guardian Northerner has this on the YEP’s Alison Bellamy and her new biography on our Jimmy.

The Culture Vulture is asking what the people of Leeds think about the prospect of a new permanent ice rink at the “Elland Road Regeneration Site”. Good idea? Right location? What do you think?

South Leeds Life looks forward to next weekend’s all-steam gala event celebrating 200 years since the Middleton Railway became the first in the world to successfully use steam locomotives commercially.

Back then it was steam; today it’s out-of-town business parks. The BBC reports that more than 6,000 jobs could be created as part of the second phase of development at Thorpe Park in east Leeds. As well as business space, leisure facilities, shops and restaurants, the plans drawn up by Scarborough Development Group include 25 acres of public open space. Public exhibitions are to be held next week around east Leeds.

North Leeds News has this on the Leeds-based team of volunteers who are up for a prestigious national award. The Apex Challenge has been named as one of the finalists in the national Technology for Good Awards, showcasing the best ways charities use technology.

This Saturday it’s the Belle Isle Summer Gala at Windmill Primary School. From 11am to 3pm it offers children’s activities including circus skills, inflatables, youth bus, dancing and sports. Find out more here.

For the grown-ups however, take a look at the council’s page to find out how you can watch tonight’s crucial England fixture against Sweden from right in the heart of town on Millennium Square.

And finally this weekend, as part of the city’s Big Bookend Festival, why not drop by The Carriageworks Theatre – if only to pay tribute to the finest event title ever. Join Mick McCann of How Leeds Changed The World and Bowie Fan fame, along with Anthony Clavane (the Lee Chapman and Rod Wallace of the contemporary Leeds literary scene?), for ‘The Incredible Leedsness of Being’, where they’ll be talking about the city’s rich literary heritage and sharing some of their work.

I’ll be celebrating the Incredible Leedsness of my Being this weekend by working hard then going out, drinking more than I can afford, chatting up girls who I like to believe are out of my league until I sober up and realise the truth, and wake up the next morning smiling proudly without a trace of regret. Wherever this weekend takes you, have a great ride!

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One Response to Leeds today: Chinese tantrums, Jimmy biography, ice rinks, 200 years of steam, Thorpe Park, Apex Challenge, Belle Isle Gala, Euros, Incredible Leedsness of Being

  1. Paul Thomas says:

    The Hollywood appointed ‘spiritual leader’ of Tibet probably wouldn’t turn up unless there were a few celebs to mingle with. Kevin Keegan and Steve Cram are probably the closest to Richard Gere the event organisers’ could muster at short notice.

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