Are you a geek?* My guess is… probably.
After all, the vast majority of us feel an intense passion for something in our lives – whether it’s food or books or music or travelling. And since passion fulfils my sole criterion for geekiness (and as I’m the one writing this, you’ll just have to live with it!), I reckon everyone has a geeky side.
This weekend I head off to a SF Con (Science Fiction Convention to the uninitiated) to mix and mingle with the stars and fans of some of my favourite television shows. I can’t wait. And before you ask, no, I will NOT be dressing up (If you’re interested in learning more, I’ve written about my con experience previously HERE). For three nights and four days I will relax – completely secure in the knowledge that I can be every inch the bouncy noisy obsessive I truly am, with no hesitation or reservations. Though I’ve only been a con attendee for the last three years; I feel a tremendous sense of kinship and family there. And every time I return to our fair city, I find myself itching to re-connect with a similar vibe and seek out new geeky havens.
Fortunately, May seems to be a passion friendly month! Here are some of my favourite hangouts in the city centre – I’ll have to do a Yorkshire geekfest at some point in the future.
Leeds Central Library – oh come on now, did you honestly expect me to start anywhere else? Forget about this Grade II listed building’s proximity to the Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute (there’s a Robert Filliou exhibition on at the moment by the by – well worth a look) or the Tiled Hall Cafe with it’s scrumptious looking treats, or the little shop, or it’s unique collections…think for a moment about the books. So many books, just waiting…for me – *ahem* or anyone with a valid library card.
While the city is well represented in comic book stores (with a Forbidden Planet and Travelling Man), my go to is OK Comics. And this year – as with every other – I continue being utterly useless by FAILING to attend Free Comic Book Day on the 4th of May (May the forth be with you. Sorry. It’s a thing). If you’re about and looking to expand your interests, this is absolutely positively the best way to dip a toe into the comic pond (oh…and World Book Night…but that was last month…so…doesn’t count).
Once you’ve picked up your books and comics, you might as well take a closer look over a coffee. Although I’ve yet to visit Laynes, I hear that the coffee is brilliant and the staff OBSESSIVE! Sounds like my kind of place!
Or if it’s an evening out you’re looking for – Fab Café is one of those best kept secrets that everyone – no matter how brief their stay in Leeds – knows all about. I discovered the “World’s first Television and Movie Themed” pub as a student and have never (and likely will never) grow out of it.
Now, you all know that I’m a cinephile and I’ve spoken before about my love for geek haven the Hyde Park Picture House and the innovative Mini-Cine before. Apparently though I’ve been missing out on the Basement at Armley Mills – one of the worlds smallest working 1920’s cinemas. Wander round the memorabilia, then treat yourself to a B&W!
Oh – and a future must-visit I suspect – the Leeds Skeptics get together on the 3rd Saturday of each month (18th of May) to discuss all manner of topics from science to genetics to creationism and back again. Their upcoming line up looks AWESOME – I’m particularly intrigued on the upcoming scientology discussion and (Maths Jam aside) this is probably the geekiest thing I’ve heard about happening in Leeds.
No, I lied, I’ve just remembered Leeds Meeples – a group run by some truly tremendous friends of mine – focusing on playing board games. I’m unfortunately incapable of friendly competition, but my little birds assure me that it’s all great fun! Their next meet up is on the 19th of May I believe!
And someone has just reminded me that Leeds has a robust Live Action Role Playing reputation too! Again it all sounds like great fun…if a little too energetic for my tastes. All that effort and running and…moving. No, leave me curled up with a good book – but check out LARP Events for more information!
Mind you, it’s not all just fun and games. In July Leeds will need to brace itself as – for the forth year running – Zombies invade. Urban chase game 2.8 Hours Later Asylum will be back, bigger and better than ever. As ever there will be a variety of different teams coordinating survivor groups to protect innocent civilians from the undead hoards. If you’re a Zombie…or a sympathiser…you’re days are numbered!
All the city needs now is an aquarium.
I’m not kidding.
Right that’s quite enough for now – I know that I’ve missed out on loads, particularly around music, so let me know your essentials for the next month in the comments below!
*Labels are bad, mmkay? I never needed to self-identify as a geek – everyone else did that for me and this post isn’t meant to continue that rather patronising process by forcing on an uncomfortable mantel. So for the purposes of this post, geek is being utilised as a useful and rather open-ended descriptor.