Leeds today: crampons, Otley, marathon, investment, incinerator, sculpture, camera club and Inkwell.

Morning readers, Snow! There’s not a right lot of it so far but hang on to your mittens as there’s more on the way. As of yesterday evening, the council, although verbally preparing us for a month of sub-zero arctic blasts and icy conditions over the following few days, have still no plans to put the gritting machines out. So, be careful drivers and walkers remember your crampons.

Let’s start with some good Yorkshire news. Let’s move to Otley said the Guardian as it fell in love with the town’s clubs (sailing, camera etc), pubs and butchers. ‘Not for the shy and retiring’ though as it discovered that Otley folk like to keep busy. Incidentally, the inaugural Yorkshire marathon, to be held this October, was a sellout in just three days, perhaps ‘a sign that God’s Own County is the new home of northern sporting prowess’. Following on from recent news that the North is poised to attract more investment, the Lord Mayor of the city of London has added to the demand and praised Yorkshire as ‘an incredibly vibrant exciting place to do business’ citing Leeds’ legal and financial services in particular.

Applications are now open for local bands to play at the Crooked Ways festival at Pontefract Park this summer with a stage devoted solely to artists from Yorkshire. Is Yorkshire the best place in Europe to see sculpture? Apparently the Yorkshire sculpture triangle which manages to contain Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, Leeds Art Gallery and The Hepworth Wakefield make it so with Simon Wallis of the Hepworth declaring that the concentration of venues dedicated to sculpture makes it quite unlike any other. On the other hand other sorts of Yorkshire triangles are less than welcome as South Leeds Life discusses the health impact the of the M62 and M621 encasement of Beeston, Cottingley, Belle Isle and Middleton and rips straight through Hunslet and Holbeck. There’s the already poor air quality, a result of vehicle emissions, the remains of airborne leaded petrol, noise pollution and now the threat of a new waste incinerator at the former market site of Cross Green. Cllr Mark Dobson insists that they have still

‘got a very big eye on the green agenda. But part of that has to be around how to tackle 200,000 tonnes of waste that we produce as a city.’
‘Incineration will generate electricity and we can potentially have district heating.’
‘Council budgets are hellishly tight – we simply cannot afford as a city to be literally wasting money in such a profligate way as supporting landfill.’

Planning permission for the scheme could be granted next month.

Leeds print festival is back for another year. The event, held between the 18th and 27th of January is inspired by a ‘love of print and a geeky obsession with foil blocking, letterpresses, type, graphics and paper stock’. Leeds Gallery on York Street will see several exhibitons from artists over the period whilst opening night invites the public produce and take home their own printed project. Munro House, site of Leeds Gallery is also home to Colours May Vary, a new independent  ‘popular culture meets craft’ sort of place of whom the Culture Vulture has a very nice review. Tonight is the inaugural meeting of the Leeds Alternative Camera Club at the White Cloth Gallery. A forum for progressive analysis of photography it aims to do away with ‘talk of focal lengths, mega pixels and f-stops and more about a considered approach to conceptual photography that critically engages its viewers.’ Meanwhile from Tuesday at The Gallery at Flannels there is a showcase of contemporary photography selected from students on the photography degree courses at Leeds City College.

Finally, a new Wi-Fi friendly, vegetarian café has opened at Inkwell Arts in Chapeltown. The site has been open as a community arts centre since 2009 in partnership with Leeds Mind. Now, as well as serving delicious veggie food through the week, each Saturday there are a variety of craft workshops including ‘batik, jewellery, upcycled crafts and pottery’ to try your hand at.

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