the city talking: leeds, a-z 2016 • sBack
The City Talking
Every year in Leeds we print The City Talking A-Z issue, and every year it’s about more than just a list of what’s going to be good in 2016. It’s about exploring, on a personal level, what people in Leeds are thinking and feeling and getting excited about in their city; not a date-by-date list of events, but a person-by-person exploration of excitement.
It’s something that grows every year, as we find more people to ask, and more people who want to answer. With each edition, it becomes more expansive, more reflective and more immersive, uncovering more of the city than we’d seen or known before.
Speaking from an optimistic late January vantage point, 2016 feels promising. While it cannot be denied that a huge shopping complex is dominating a lot of the ‘what’s new in Leeds’ news, there is (as always) so much more going on. East Street Arts’ Art Hostel springs to mind as the project I’m most looking forward to. There are also big anniversary celebrations this year, including fifty years of Leeds College of Music and thirty years of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Leeds is a city full of culture, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that culture has been overflowing in this city for decades, if you knew where to look. I’m looking forward to celebrating all of our city’s cultural offerings, both old and new. And hopefully offering up something myself!
I’m looking forward to watching Leeds develop even more as a cultural capital of the UK. The progress the city is making across food, art, theatre, design and music continues to push the city to the pinnacle of creative culture, contributing to its own soft power, a force that makes people want to be here, come here and stay here. One of the highlights will be watching how the food scene develops over 2016, with the return of Leeds Indie Food it will be great to see the new and burgeoning collaborating with the steadfast and established. I look forward to taking a bite of what they have to offer.
Esper Scout/Bomb the Twist/CHUNK
The thing I love the most about Leeds is how full of surprises it is. Passionate minds are constantly meeting which results in a certain energy and momentum. The Capital of Culture 2023 bid is being cooked up, as well as various arts, spaces and food communities continuing to emerge and build. I’m excited about the coming together of people in the city and relationships developing between a diverse range of groups. I guess I anticipate sincerity and infectious confidence, off the back of an encouragingly creative past few years. Hopefully growing in strength and connectedness. Open attitudes, listening to others and acting on back-burning desires will benefit mutual potential, vibrancy and positivity which is modestly present. More than deserving, some might say Leeds can struggle to be outwardly proud. Now’s a good time for people to reach out and speak up!
For me the most important thing is the music scene so it’ll be nice to see who’s coming to town and what events come up. Gold Sounds festival looks ace and I’m looking forward to seeing what Beacons does this year (hopefully returning to a field but I won’t hold my breath). I can’t wait for Grimes in March and a constant scour of what the Brudenell is putting on. I can’t be at Live At Leeds this year as some friends have planned their wedding that weekend. I call them ‘friends’ but I’m questioning it after they managed to make this mix up. Instead I’m trying to pretend LAL’s not happening. It was one of my favourite days of 2015 though so I know I’ll be pining for it on the day and every time an announcement is made. The Futuresound competition is always an interesting one. The chance to play Leeds & Reading festival brings out the best and worst; it’s good to see a load of ace Leeds bands put their all into such a great opportunity but it’s equally entertaining/horrifying watching a few believe their own hype and cry “FIX” when they don’t get their way. There’s always next year kids, don’t cut your nose off to spite your face. I’m looking forward to Leeds staying dry and places impacted by flooding getting back on their feet. Blueberry Hill Studios is close to my heart and home so I want to see them back up and running. Hopefully places like Blueberry, CHUNK and Leeds Music Hub can thrive. On a personal level I can’t wait to stock up Jumbo and Crash with some Clue Records releases; Allusondrugs, Forever Cult, NARCS and TRASH are all plotting so hopefully we’ll have a good year. Somebody said they’ll get the Clue logo tattooed if we give them a free t-shirt so that’ll be nice.
Dancing underneath the world’s largest disco ball with the rest of Yorkshire!!
In 2016 I’m really, really, REALLY excited about everything that East Street Arts is doing — from the renovation of their studio, right through to the Art Hostel, which is just incredible, and makes me so proud to be in the art community of this city at this point in time. I’m also looking forward to eating everything in sight; I’ve gone vegetarian this year, and I’m really looking forward to exploring our veggie food scene. Leeds has a new Vietnamese Street Food Cafe!? Award winning pies just around the corner? Count me in! 1,000 times, count me in!
2016 looks to be an exciting year for Leeds in terms of all things fashion-related. We’ve been involved with the Leeds Fashion Initiative, which is working hard to put measures in place to stop the drain of creative fashion talent. Leeds continues to inspire me with the sheer wealth of talent that is based here — amazing hairdressers, innovative photographers and videographers and those who pull projects together between traditional and future industries. Leeds Digital Fashion continues to grow and it’s this type of innovation that will secure the city’s mantle as a centre of excellence for UK fashion.
Leeds College of Art
I am looking forward to putting a new roof on my house to be warm and dry for the next ten years. I am chewing the ear off roofers for facts and quotations. This year I’m obsessed with home comfort, well being, throwing things out and cleaning. They do say a change is as good as a rest!
Originally published in The City Talking: Leeds, issue 33