My talks at Bettakultcha

Bettakultcha is a West Yorkshire phenomenon. Started by marketing genius Richard Michie and speaking expert Ivor Tymchak, it is a night of advert/sponsorship-free presentations on any subject at all, but set to a backdrop of 20 slides at 15 seconds per slide. I’ve had the fortune to speak at three such events. I’m by no means the star of the show, ever, but I think what I have to say is worth hearing! Bettakultcha Leeds V, 2nd November 2010 The first time I spoke was on common mistakes in the English language, and mnemonics for remembering how to fix them. Sadly, the video for this one is forever lost, but I’ve put the slides on Slideshare. Bettakultcha Leeds VIII, 12th April 2011 At this much larger event with an audience of about 200, I spoke...

“Gay” quarter

There’s a bit of buzz amongst the Leeds Twitterati about a proposal to designate a region of Leeds city centre as the “gay quarter”. Aside from the interesting discussion about politics and about whether singling out an area in this way is a good thing, which is all very interesting, I’d like to draw attention to the proposed name itself. Inclusive, tolerant, regions of cities in this country have historically found themselves labelled with the adjective gay, but in my opinion this is a dangerous and divisive anachronism. The term gay, when applied to a person, refers to a specific type of marginalized sexual minority: specifically, someone who is exclusively or primarily homosexual. In modern times, the term LGBT is preferred as more...

Review: Bright Eyes at Leeds O2 Academy

Review: Bright Eyes at Leeds O2 Academy

If Conor Oberst can be summed up in one word, it must be prolific. The Nebraska songwriter has released 22 albums under various names already, and he’s only 31! Last night’s performance opened with a set by Jenny & Johnny, the latest project of Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis who is a long-time collaborator of Oberst’s1. As if to flaunt the inbredness of the US music scene, their drummer was Jason Boesel, perhaps best known now as a key member of Oberst’s project The Mystic Valley Band. Jenny & Johnny started out as a sort of electrified country outfit but by the end were cranking out some very original indie-rock tunes that definitely made me want to check out their album. Bright Eyes came on about 8.45 and played for a full 2 hours...