Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Mighty Boosh in Leeds this December

I was thrilled to just find out that the Boosh, the Mighty Boosh will be gracing us with their presence in Leeds this December - absolutely crimp-tastic!

Sing me the Soup Song Boosh men -

Soup soup the tasty soup soup

Spicy carrot and coriander

Chill chowder

Crouton crouton

Crunchy friends in a liquid broth

I am gazpacho

I am a summer soup

Miso, Miso

Fighting in the Dojo

Miso, miso

Oriental friends in the land of soup.

The event will be on at the Leeds Grand Theatre & Opera House from the 8th to 11th of Dec (46 New Briggate, Leeds 0870 121 4901)

Classic times indeed! Have a Boosh-tastic Xmas

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Shakespeare at Kirkstall Abbey cancelled

It is very dissapointing this year that the British Shakespeare Company performances have been cancelled at Kirkstall Abbey due to a lack of funding.

This event is the jewel in the crown of the Leeds events calendar, and the only one that I attend religiously every year, and have done right back since 1998. This year we were all looking forward to A Midsummer Night's Dream, a play for which the company have historically offered up magical performances. The first time I attended this play at the Abbey in 1998 I was enchanted and then again in 2005 and 2006.

The arrival of the British Shakespeare Company to Leeds each year represents the backbone of the Leeds events calendar and puts bigger more populist events such as Opera in the Park and Classical fantasia absolutely in the shade - in my opinion at least.

Don't even get me started on about what Leeds City Council is offering up as alternative entertainment to the Shakespeare festival - eh hem - balloon modelling and face painting. Some real thought went into that one. In fact about as much thought as went into trying to restore the Abbey and make it visitor friendly - you don't put a new roof on a twelfth century abbey, especially when part of the attraction and history underpinning its interest rests in the dissolution of the monasteries and it having its roof pulled off. Its an act of vandalism that effectively erases an important part of our history, and its the same philistine approach to the Abbey that is behind this failure to support the British Shakespeare Company through hard times.

I can't help feeling that Leeds is suffering from something of a cultural crisis at the moment, while many other large cities in the UK are enjoying a cultural renaissance - Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham to name but a few, everything in Leeds seems to be experiencing something of a dull ebb - from the diet of lacklustre theatre offered up by the playhouse, the lack of classical venues, live music and bands that are slim pickings except in really small and well-trodden venues such as Joseph's Well or the Pack Horse and everything else besides. Add to this the demise of Caberet Heaven in 2007 and it all starts to look rather grim.

Ok I admit Opera in the Park is a great evening, and the Leeds Mela is always a great experience, but we seem to be lacking something in high culture and the more avante garde culture that many other cities enjoy in abundance. I'm starting to think that Leeds City Council really needs a kick up the arse, and probably the whole of Leeds needs a kick up the arse before we get any sort of re-awakening - we are becoming a city of shopping and lacklustre wine bars, which is really the equivalent of a small town that has little to offer but musty pubs and charity shops.

Anyway, please show your support for the British Shakespeare Company and Robert J. Williamson here: - they have done us proud for the past twelve years and it would be a terrible shame if they were unable to come back. Bite your thumb at Leeds City Council and let them know just what barren practicers they are.

Here's some of my favorite memories from the performances over the past twleve years -

  • 2006 - Wayne Sleep trying to have a quiet drink in the Vesper Gate pub while being pestered by a semi-sober girl with a voice that sounded like a slab of concrete being dropped on a squeeky toy.

  • Sliding off my chair after mis-judging how much wine I could down by the end of the first interval during Romeo and Juliet in 2006

  • Taking a Mongolian bloodline princess to see The Taming of the Shrew in 2005

  • Robert J. Wiliamson playing Hamlet with a semi-healed broken leg in 2003 - how did he do it and how ironic?

And much much more.

I've always hoped that events like this might be Leeds' passport to extend its repetoire of Reniassance drama beyond Shakespeare and to give us a better taste of the variety of the Renaissance theatre, but no such luck. The playhouse gave us a real treat with the Duchess of Malfi in 2006, as well as (okay its Shakespeare but not performed as much as it deserves) a great adaptation of Cymbeline in October 2006 - but aside from this its been really slim pickings, and now we're going backwards rather than forwards. ho hum, and why does the rain it raineth every day?

Lastly, and before I forget to mention it - just to add a kick in the nuts to a fart in the face - Comedy in the Park 2008 has been cancelled as well.

Monday, 18 August 2008

St Gemma's Hospice - sponsored charity event in Leeds

St. Gemma's Hospice are holding a fun run at Temple Newsam in September.

Sunday Sports Challenge

Get sponsored to run, walk or ride in aid of St. Gemma’s Hospice on Sunday 21st September 2008 at Temple Newsam, Leeds

The day will include sponsored walks of 2 miles, 5 miles and 10 miles, a sponsored run of 5 miles and sponsored bike rides of 15 miles and 40 miles. There will also be stalls, entertainment, games and school sports day style races. To register or for more information call Laura on 0113 218 5570 or visit

cow and calf pub

cow and calf pub, originally uploaded by cbosleeds.

View of the Cow and calf pub from Ilkley moor.

kirkstall abbey rear view

kirkstall abbey rear view, originally uploaded by cbosleeds.

kirkstall abbey rear view - visit Kirkstall Abbey, LS5 Leeds

Mandela Gardens, Millenium Square Leeds

Water feature at Mandela Gardens, Millenium Square Leeds Sightseeing in Leeds

Millenium Square, Leeds town hall

Millenium Square, Leeds town hall - ,a href="">Leeds sightseeing

Skipton Castle

Skipton Castle, originally uploaded by cbosleeds.

Skipton Castle May 2008 - Top weekend breaks

Howarth churchyard

Howarth churchyard, originally uploaded by cbosleeds.

Howarth churchyard Summer 2008 - Top weekends away

Classical Fantasia, Leeds 2007

Classical Fantasia, Leeds 2007, originally uploaded by cbosleeds.

The fireworks at Classical Fantasia - Kirkstall Abbey Leeds September 2007

Gay Pride Leeds 2007

Gay Pride Leeds 2007, originally uploaded by cbosleeds.

Gay Pride Leeds 2007 -

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