the city talking: leeds — issue 38Back
The City Talking
Issue 38 of The City Talking is out in Leeds now.
In a world of everything-online and rampant data collection, it would be interesting to know what words people use to describe their daily experiences of living in a city, and how often people mention what seems at times like an omnipresent entity: The Council.
We reckon it would be a lot. As Tom Riordan tells us in this issue, councils were once responsible for almost every aspect of city life, from schools to health to sewers; and while much of the responsibility for those things now rests elsewhere, it is still assumed to the council at the top, running it all.
That’s not the case these days. A city council now is less involved in running things, as with making sure that things run as they should. It’s about partnerships, consultations, supporting enterprise and utilising resources.
Which is a sentenceful of buzzwords unless you try to break them down and explore what they actually mean to the council, and more importantly, to the citizens. That’s why we took the opportunity in this issue to sit down with Tom Riordan, who has been Leeds City Council’s Chief Executive Officer for six years, to talk about how he and his staff are working to keep the city running and, hopefully, improving, in a time of austere government cuts and political uncertainty.
Uncertainty is a core part of Lucy Ketchin’s process. Lucy is one of our favourite illustrators, who draws people and plants and people enjoying plants and lots of other things all over the city and beyond. We went to see Lucy at home, to find out how uncertain beginning become joyful blocks of colourful endings, with lots of cut-out body parts along the way.
The characters in many of Lucy’s drawings look like people who are rushing off to urgent business in stories we can only imagine. The people in Lydia Meredith’s portrait photographs are often much more still, but the rush of story remains relentless around them. They’re life stories; and we talked to Lydia about how she used old photos and took new ones to remind her grandmother of the stories that made up her life after dementia began to deny her her memories. Photographs can bring that back, and as Lydia discovered, so can the act of taking photographs.
Our own memories have been stirred recently by the return to our attention of a brand of notebooks we’d never quite forgotten, and could never forget, because they’re part of us. But we only recognised that part of ourselves when Ponderosa Group reframed and revived Silvine’s classic notebooks for a new range. Silvine’s notebooks and exercise books and much more are all made at Sinclairs’ stationery factory in the heart of Otley, and always have been, but along the years some of what made them special had given way to modern processes and markets. The new Silvine Originals range has uncovered the colours, textures and styles that made Silvine timeless, all in a town where traditions persist in a clamour of raucous, modern noise.
Noise will soon return to Elland Road for the start of the 2016/17 season, and in anticipation of the new season Moscowhite from The Square Ball, with artwork by Joe Gamble, takes a look back to 1989/90, when hopes for an exciting new era under Howard Wilkinson clashed with ghosts, and kits, from the past, in a friendly game against Anderlecht; themselves harbouring a goalscoring ghost from Leeds United’s future, Luc Nilis.
The City Talking: Leeds issue 38 is free, and out now across the city. You’ll no longer find us inside the Yorkshire Evening Post, but you’ll find more copies in more of the noisier places where you go to feel memories.