Leeds today: Year of the North, bus services, Trinity, libraries, knit, healthy eating, salsa, memorial, time and beer.

BGL cheerfully wishes its readers a Happy New Year as it unlocks the door to the office, cranks up the desktop and puts a cuppa on. The decorations could do with being boxed up but there’s no time for that as it’s straight into a round- up of interesting times ahead. Could 2013 be the year of the North asks the ‘Northener’ (who, by the way, has a new editor, Helen Pidd who we wish well in her new role)? In the face of recession and yet more cuts to benefits, reports suggest that it will be the funding of previously underdeveloped communities that will provide the initiative for national economic growth. Actually it’s cuts that still dominate local news headlines with Metro, West Yorkshire’s publicly-funded passenger transport authority, announcing a review of Leeds bus services with a nod to removing those with low passenger numbers. ‘Areas affected are due to include Horsforth, Pudsey, Halton Moor, Bramley, Garforth, Alwoodley and Wetherby’ but see here for details of  the actual services.

Public consultation events are due to be held across the city this month with two taking place this week at Morrison’s in Horsforth and at the White Rose shopping centre. South Leeds Life also invites its readers to have a say via commenting on its blog.

Congratulations to Leeds Trinity University and its newly appointed chancellor, the TV presenter Gabby Logan who takes up the role today ‘when she delivers a master class to journalism students at the university’s television studio.’ Logan was born and educated in Leeds and BGL is excited at the prospect of receiving its Master’s degree from her fair hands.

Are you resolved to take up more reading this year or get fitter? Leeds’ libraries have managed to amalgamate the two by launching a few new initiatives for pulling folks in this January. There are ‘Knit and Natter’ groups starting this week at Chapel Allerton and Holt Park and ‘Chatterbooks’ reading groups for children at Headingley and Guiseley. In addition, Central Library hosts a healthy eating event on the 12th where families can drop in to receive information on a variety of ways to eat and exercise better as well as a fruit tasting session.

If you are trying to eat well then it’s worth looking at Leedsonline who have a piece with one Leeds foodie couple who have set up a ‘no supermarket challenge’ for 2013, trying to spend one year grocery shopping from local independent traders including markets, butchers, continental stores and health food shops. Follow their blog as they find the best indie places to food shop and solve problems such as, where now to find Ryvita?  The site also has an interview with the owners of ‘The Garage’on Park Cross Street, a recently opened bar /club/record shop which last month received the best small club in the UK award by DJ magazine. It rounds off its introduction to the year by summing up its Top Leeds Blogs for 2013. BGL almost fell off its swivelly chair when it saw its name on the list and thanks them profusely.

Community salsa band ‘Los Camarados’ are set to play an evening of Latin dance music at the Heart centre on the evening of Saturday 19th January. The group were fantastic at last summer’s Headingley music festival. Aficionados of the North Leeds’ music scene may already be aware of Leeds Music Hub, a ‘non-profit organisation on Wood Lane offering a relaxed atmosphere where people can engage with grassroots music’.  This year, as well as continuing to offer classes and jam sessions, the group will be running some new projects including hosting live sets from Leeds bands and performers , running industry seminars for budding talent and branching into music technology, journalism and design.

To celebrate Holocaust Memorial day later this month, all are welcome at Leeds Town Hall where the Lord Mayor hosts an event with speakers, music and a theatre performance in collaboration with the Carriageworks theatre company. Two additional events, a film screening of ‘The Counterfeiters’ at Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton and a photography exhibition entitled ‘Landscapes of memory’ will feature ‘images representing a cross-section of Holocaust experiences including those of victims, perpetrators and liberators’ also at the town hall. Also at the town hall on Wednesday is Bettakultcha, and I know we go on about it but it is still well worth going to see what’s what.

Other exhibitions available to see at the moment include new and unseen works by contemporary Leeds-based artist Christopher P. Wood at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery. Wood’s ‘surreal and mysterious ‘landscapes are a blend of skilled draughtsmanship and different abstract techniques. Lithuanian Rokas Darulis is a fashion photographer whose sample of editorial magazine shots entitled ‘Intimacy’ is on at the White Cloth Gallery. The Henry Moore Institute presents ‘1913: The Shape of Time’, a very interesting exhibition presenting the work and lives of several key artists producing sculpture a hundred years ago whose ‘exploration of the ways sculptural thinking addressed understandings of the shape of time in a world that was speeding up.’

Finally, The Myrtle pub, situated on the edge of Meanwood Park, is celebrating selling 500 pints of its unique beer (a pale session ale named the ‘Myrtale’) in a week. Produced with the Ridgeside brewery, manager Scott Westlake was adamant he wanted a local brewery to be involved declaring ‘if we all support each other and shop, eat and drink locally, Meanwood will continue to prosper, creating jobs and a good local economy.’ Let’s drink to that!

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