Leeds United Stories, Vol. 1

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tct a—z 2015: bo carter, brendan mellan, cara wilson & chris sharkey

tct a—z 2015: bo carter, brendan mellan, cara wilson & chris sharkey


We loved the results from our first A—Z when we did this in 2014, so helped again by I Like Press, we set out to ask as many people as we could what has got them excited about living in Leeds in 2015.

Whether it’s big city-wide events or personal projects, everyone who replied to us was filled with enthusiasm for something – and reading them all made us pretty enthusiastic too.

We wanted to look further ahead than just this year, though, so our second question asked people to throw their imaginations into the future. A lot of the discussion about whether to bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2023 has used the city’s currents of creativity as evidence that Leeds would make a startling job of it, so we put it out there – with an unlimited budget and no constraints, what would you do?

We printed everybody’s answers in our special A—Z issue 21 in February, and over the coming weeks we’re putting all the answers to these two questions online:

01. What are you looking forward to in Leeds in 2015?

02. It’s the future, it’s 2023, and Leeds has won the right to be European Capital of Culture. You’ve been given an unlimited budget to put on an event for the city – what do you do?


— 2015 —

2015 is gonna be epic, hell yeah, I totally reckon so. On the personal level I have started this year by finalising my nasty divorce (only took two years) so that already means that 2015 is gonna be ace. I am launching my spring/summer collection in Accent which I am totally excited about; I am closing down my shop, which is a bit sad, but this allows me to open doors to so many new, exciting projects. Plan is to start selling in Germany as they love us over there, so I will be putting lots of work into that. And lots of exciting photoshoots!

Well that’s me wrapped and as I am part of Leeds this is what I am excited about in Leeds. I think this year is gonna bring lots of new exciting things, I feel like more and more people started to work together towards one goal: to make Leeds a cool place. I am well giddy to see and take part in events in Belgrave, those humans there are rocking, and then there is Beacons, Lambert’s and a few secrets new to Leeds so hell yeah, I am supa excited for 20 and 15.

— 2023 —

Holy Macaroni: I would turn Leeds upside down! Imagine that?! That would be awesome. It will have to be a full month of events or at least a week… Obviously I would have a supa awesome fashion show, it is my dream for a long time to do a big, like hell big fashion show… there are so, so many cool designers, photographers, make up artists, models… and on and on, so I would definitely do that. That would obviously be connected with music, so, some sort of festival, I would get Simon Fogal on that and we could pick some bands together, mostly him… but I would make sure Tanya Donelly would come. There would have to be some performances in some sort of acting form too… and the food! I mean how ace indie food is at the moment in Leeds, that would have to be a key factor. I would get David Bennett to make some awesome doughnuts with the greatest fillings ever, we could have a competition for the best filling and we could call it European Capital Doughnut… you see you have let my imagination go and thats it now… I won’t shut up about ideas… so let’s better win this.


— 2015 —

Best news I’ve heard is that Pieminister will be opening on my doorstep, I pretty much live on those at festivals. I’m also very much excited for the return of Leeds Loves Cocktails which is getting bigger and better each year.

— 2023 —

Well the food and drink scene in Leeds is booming and there’s some great new music coming out of the city so I’d imagine we’ll have a great deal to boast about by 2023! I’d like to have a week long celebration across all venues, bars, restaurants and galleries showing off the best of Leeds, culminating in a street party on Briggate and bands in Millennium Square.


— 2015 —

I’m looking forward to Marika Hackman at the Brudenell Social Club on April 1st. The Brudenell is such a good venue and continues to champion the weird and the wonderful from all parts of the musical spectrum. I’m sure there will be other bands later in the year that I want to see too!

Opera North are reviving their production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel which is absolutely wonderful. I was fortunate enough to work backstage with them when it last showed at The Grand Theatre and can promise it is an audio and visual treat. There are also big musical theatre productions coming to The Grand over summer and the National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

I would say that the most exciting thing about Leeds in 2015 is continuing to see independent businesses making a comeback in places like the Corn Exchange. Also, I have to mention The Real Junk Food Project Pay As You Feel Café that started out in Armley, and has recently finished a stint in Trinity Kitchen and expanded to many different locations around Leeds and beyond. They provide delicious restaurant quality food for as much money as you can or want to pay, or in exchange for volunteer work in the café. They have inspired other businesses around the country to try and eliminate how wasteful people are with perfectly edible food, while providing affordable food for everyone. It’s exciting to think what they could possibly achieve.

— 2023 —

To celebrate Leeds being awarded Capital of Culture in 2023 I would regenerate an area of wasted space or a dilapidated building into a cultural hub with gardens featuring sculptures and art installations by Leeds- based artists. The building could be used for exhibition space, with a stage and auditorium for live music and performance, space for independent local businesses and private rooms used for community driven support projects and refuge groups for victims of domestic violence, homelessness support groups, alcoholic and drug abuse support groups etc… I would also commission local artists to design huge murals to decorate the inside commemorating the city winning! It would also only be appropriate to shut the entire city centre down for an enormous street party, with robots and holograms since it’s 2023..


— 2015 —

Now that I’m 37 and an old man I will rarely be leaving the house in 2015, choosing instead the comfort of my favourite chair, a nice cup of Ovaltine and the company of my dog (all imaginary).

Occasional breaks from imaginary chair- sitting will be taken to attend concerts at Howard Assembly Room (Arve Henriksen, Fennesz in March alone), the occasional film at the Hyde Park Picture House and the odd 1/3 pint of rocket fuel that The Reliance will be serving (plus charcuterie/piccalilli obviously).

As usual, I’ll be keeping an eye on the Brudenell (Zun Zun Egui) and Belgrave (Matthew Bourne, James Holden) for live shows.

Hope this isn’t too traitorous but I’ll also be nipping over to Shipley/Saltaire for anything Golden Cabinet and Pleasure Grounds put on too.

— 2023 —

The year is 2023, and as a 45 year old man I can barely summon the cognitive fortitude to dictate this paragraph to my robot servant as it navigates my flying car towards the Alpha Centauri branch of the Northern Guitar Centre (the only place you can find a decent left-hander).

My last action before leaving earth was giving Leeds’ maverick pianist/synthesist Matthew Bourne a blank cheque to do whatever he wants to celebrate Leeds’ rightly-deserved Capital of Culture win. As I drift off into hyper-sleep a scrawny thought battles its way into my age-addled mind: ‘I hope they have tea on Alpha Centauri’.


The City Talking A—Z 2015 was made with help from: