Leeds today: ukes, hoaxes, books, geeks, trains, festivals, shops and protests.

Hello! It’s Monday, the sun is shining (at last!) and we’ve got a week of things happening coming up.

It was nice to see the anti-racism protesters outnumbering the EDL on Saturday’s march; according to the YEP everything went peacefully aside from some yelling. Result.

A new Pop-up shop has opened near the St John’s Centre; Retail Ready People sells homeware products, prints and gifts from local artists and also has an in-shop living room and art space with live music; it’s run by volunteers hoping to gain experience in all aspects of retail. The shop they’re in used to be a camping/outdoors shop, which seems appropriate somehow.

The weather has perked up a bit so let’s take a look at some of the festivals we’ve got coming up, beginning this weekend with The Leeds Big Bookend on Saturday and Sunday and Beeston Festival in Cross Flatts Park. For the latter, South Leeds Life has a look behind the scenes. The Big Bookend looks like a lot of fun, with Tony Harrison and Anthony Clavane making appearances next Sunday, and Simon Jenkins showing us some beer on Thursday. And here’s an interesting thing for writers: can you write a whole story on a napkin? If you think yes, then mcBookishness will be teaming up with Tiny Owl Workshop and The Leeds Big Bookend to work with cafes in Leeds, Brisbane and Toronto, putting stories on napkins. Read that page for details – there’s prize money involved, too.

The Long Division Festival in Wakefield is also coming up; there’s a little preview on Culture Vulture. I have two words for you here: “The Fall”. Also “Simon Armitage”.

More acts have been announced for Party in the Park and Opera in the Park. Worth the money? Probably, if you like those sorts of thing.

There’s to be a debate on HS2 in Leeds on 27 June. This is a pretty important thing as more people question the value and impact.

In case you missed it on Friday, tomorrow night Leeds Book Club is co-hosting a book club chat with the Arts and Minds Network about the books read so far for the Mental Health Reading Challenge. Do come along, 6pm, in the Giraffe bar and restaurant on Greek Street.

Science/comic books mix on Thursday with Darryl Cunningham signing copies of his ‘Science Tales: Lies, Hoaxes and Scams’ at OK Comics. This is a great book which looks at the science behind certain stories in the media, and this is a new edition which has a chapter on “fracking”. Worth getting, and getting it signed too.

Do you play the ukulele? If so, your skills are needed as Ossett Philharmonia needs a new sound.

Finally today, keep a space in your diary for a TEDGlobal live streaming event at the Rose Bowl on the 12th, and Leeds Girl Geeks on the 13th featuring Heather Ford and (BGL favourite) Lynn Hill.

And that’s us for today! We’ll see you on Wednesday, and enjoy the weather while it lasts. Thanks for reading!

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