Leeds today

Sadly the art gallery is still closed for renovation, but nevertheless I went there for coffee in the wonderful tiled hall café. I noticed the named relief busts on the upper walls: Homer, Dante, Burns, Macaulay, Goethe, etc . . . Goethe was noteworthy because his face had been smashed in. An accident or wartime malice?

img_9782I picked up a walking trail of Leeds theatres, but the first couple were merely “site of” – i.e. the back of shopping complexes where waste food smells were pumped out – so I bailed out after I had seen the still-very-much-alive City Varieties Music Hall and headed to the new Victoria Gate. This is a very new addition to Leeds’s stock of shopping arcades and it struck me as a computer-designed art deco cathedral. I preferred the interior to the latticework exterior: I rather liked the nave with clerestory windows above the side chapels (aka “shops”) and John Lewis on the high altar. It fits well into Leeds’s eclectic mixture of retail development across the decades: can anything be odder than Debenhams with its concertina-ed façade?

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