PODCAST – Culturally Minded Ep 02

sharing stories 01

Leeds Book Club has been participating in the Arts and Minds Network‘s Sharing Stories Project for the last few years.

In previous years, we read and discussed books – you can find the list below – however, in 2015, we decided to broaden our scope.

Tom of the Arts and Mind Network and I will be meeting up every few months to discuss books, music, TV, films, comics and anything else we can think of, with an eye towards increasing awareness about mental health.

If you are already subscribed to the Leeds Book Club podcast, then   #CulturallyMinded episodes should start appearing automatically soon! ;)

itunesThe LBC podcast can also be found on iTunes here if you fancy subscribing!


The Movement

The Movement

02 – CULTURALLY MINDED – Episode Two – with Tom

Tom (@ArtsMindsLeeds) and I meet up to discuss comics – the Movement, Look Straight Ahead, 2 Kill and Psychiatric Tales; books – The Girl on the Train; Tom’s Recommendation – In and Out of the Kitchen and exciting events coming up soon!


TIP 02 – Miles Jupp – In and Out of the Kitchen


Mobile Link to the episode.

If you’d like to get involved – either recording (with us or as a roving reporter with audioboom) or with a suggested book, tv, film, comic or place to visit – please drop us a line!

LBC 3 Reads – Book 12 – I know why the caged bird sings

Date:  15th of August 2015
Time:  11am – 1pm
Address: Unit 2
Munro House,
Duke St,
Leeds LS9 8AG




A classic coming-of-age story

In this, the celebrated, bestselling first volume of her autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American South of the 1930s.

She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother’s lover. As a black woman, Maya Angelou has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope and joy, celebration and achievement; loving the world, she also knows its cruelty.


Dr Maya Angelou was one of the world’s most important writers and activists. Born 4 April 1928, she lived and chronicled an extraordinary life: rising from poverty, violence and racism, she became a renowned author, poet, playwright, civil rights’ activist – working with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King – and memoirist. She wrote and performed a poem, ‘On the Pulse of Morning’, for President Clinton on his inauguration; she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama and was honoured by more than seventy universities throughout the world.

She first thrilled the world with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). This was followed by six volumes of autobiography, the seventh and final volume, Mom & Me & Mom, published in 2013. She wrote three collections of essays; many volumes of poetry, including His Day is Done, a tribute to Nelson Mandela; and two cookbooks. She had a lifetime appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University of North Carolina. Dr Angelou died on 28 May 2014.

i know whyWe decided to read this in honour of Maya Angelou’s life, after she passed away. Despite being a relatively short book; we found quite a few different aspects to discuss, far too many to include here – I’ll try to make sure that I get the highlights here!

For many of us, this was a re-read. We agreed that this is a book best discovered during your adolescence. While it remains a tremendously crafted book; it didn’t quite have the same impact on us as adults. This is one of those rare works which allows articulation of some of the really negative aspects of growing up.

We all felt that it was powerfully written, even as some of us found certain topics and chapters deeply upsetting. The matter of My’s rape for example was repeatedly referred too; obviously because it had such a profound impact on the characters within the story. The responses to it read so realistically – it provoked an equally powerful response.

We found My to be a fascinating character. She is passionate, determined, focused and angry. She notes herself that her anger was seen as disproportionate by others within her community but she used it effectively to motivate herself despite adversity.

In the main we agreed that this was not a challenging read, language wise. Only one of us found it tough to get through; though they suspected that they are just not natural biography readers. For a few minutes we chatted about other authors such as Enid Blyton; Carolyn Keene and L.J. Smith.

We found it interesting that this is a fictionalised history, even more so as a few of us had read or were reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for another book club. That book is structurally very similar to this one. Both are coming of age stories, both demonstrate the effects of poverty, deprivation, sexism and racism. Both protagonists are let down by their fathers and come from families with determined women. Both find solace and hope through education and literature.

However, they cover different time frames and cultures. Perhaps the most important similarity is that both read as though they could be ‘true’; that these are real histories recorded by Betty Smith and Maya Angelou and attributed to one character rather than many.

The central themes of identity and racism seemed to hold particular relevance to the current conversations that are taking place across the globe and especially in the US. Naturally we had to chat about current affairs for a little while.

We discussed Mary and the taking away of her name as a method of dehumanising people. The relationship throughout this are well drawn, though we were particularly taken with that of the siblings. Their reactions to one another, their bond and their grief to being abandoned by both parents felt very realistic. Painfully so actually. I felt that there was an absence of female friendship, though others either didn’t agree or hadn’t noticed it. We did agree that this is a family story; which is probably why the emphasis is on family members rather than friendships.

This was also a notable book club because it marks the first LBC 3 Reads where we DIDN’T mention Benedict Cumberbatch; seemingly swapping our allegiance to Tom Hiddleston. I imagine the former will be gutted and that latter delighted to know it.

Oh and by pure coincidence, Cafe 164 had on a spotify playlist on that provided the perfect soundtrack to our conversation; coffee and cake. Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah, Nina Simone and Dusty Springfield (I think!).


Trailer for the 1979 film, co-written by Maya Angelou



Find fellow members on twitter by searching for #LBC3Reads.
Follow @Cafe164 for details on the deliciousables!
Let me know your thoughts by either tweeting me @LeedsBookClub, commenting below or emailing me at leedsbookclub@gmail.com


Man Booker Challenge 2015: A Spool of Blue Thread

A Spool of Blue Thread book coverA Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler

‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home. They’ve all come, even Denny, who can usually be relied on only to please himself.

From that porch we spool back through three generations of the Whitshanks, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define who and what they are. And while all families like to believe they are special, round that kitchen table over all those years we see played out the hopes and fears, the rivalries and tensions of families everywhere – the essential nature of family life.

This is a rather lovely book. A deceptively straightforward story, it opens with the family deliberating over how to care for the ageing Abby and Red: Red who refuses to stop working despite his heart attacks; and Abby who is beginning to experience “blank patches” where she cannot remember where she was or what she was doing. As their four children and their spouses gather to try to provide support, their interactions reveal the family’s history, secrets and unspoken truths.

This first, longest section is followed by three shorter sections. The first goes back in time to the day Abby fell in love with Red, having previously been involved with one of his friends. The chapter takes place over a single day, which Abby spends at Red’s family’s house as Red and his friends are chopping down a tree in preparation for Red’s sister’s wedding. Although it’s told as the story of how Abby fell in love with Red, she doesn’t actually spend much time with him: for most of the chapter, she is talking and cooking with Red’s mother, Linnie Mae, who unexpectedly confides a secret to Abby about a long-buried scandal surrounding how she and Red’s father, Junior, first got together.

The next chapter then goes back in time further, to delve into the history of Junior and Linnie Mae’s relationship. Both their marriage and Linnie Mae’s character are revealed through this story as more complex than anyone had imagined. Linnie Mae in particular, having been described throughout the book so far as a gentle, softly-spoken, typical housewife, is revealed as being more daring, calculating and strong-willed than even her husband realises.

The final chapter returns to the present day, and wraps up the loose ends surrounding the future of the ageing Whitshanks and the house that has been their constant home for three generations.

I found this book a little difficult to get into to begin with. As I had predicted, it suffered from being read straight after the bold and challenging A Little Life: while Yanagihara’s book punches you in the gut, A Spool of Blue Thread is much subtler, gradually painting a picture of family life. However once I got into it, I really enjoyed it.

Tyler’s writing is superb: elegant, and never a word wasted. She also has a gift for observing character. Even the most minor characters in the book are well-drawn. I particularly loved Merrick, Red’s waspish sister, who we first meet as the blunt, no-nonsense foil to Abby’s tendency to be a bleeding-heart; later, we learn about the teenage Merrick’s calculated (and successful) plot to steal her best friend’s wealthy fiance.

There isn’t so much a narrative as a series of observations and anecdotes drawn together to create a family portrait. We learn about former social worker Abby’s frequent “adopting” (once literally) of lost souls, to her children’s frustration; her troubled son Denny’s feelings of abandonment despite being, to his siblings’ minds, Abby’s main focus over the years; Junior’s feelings of inadequacy and his attempts to build a position for himself in the world by building the perfect house; and many other large and small stories through the generations.

I was occasionally slightly frustrated by some story strands that didn’t seem to go anywhere: we see two characters whose marriage is clearly falling apart; one character learns a shocking truth about their biological parentage; and we are told that one of Abby’s children’s spouses belongs to a fundamental church; but none of these strands are developed any further.

I think the aim of this book was to provide a slice-of-life, a family portrait, rather than a coherent story, and on this level it certainly succeeds. I would have liked to have seen fewer stories introduced and more brought to a conclusion, but that’s not really the style of this book so perhaps that’s not a fair criticism.

As an exploration of family ties, with all the love and resentment, bitterness and joy that go along with being a family, A Spool of Blue Thread is excellent. It’s not exactly my taste, and I’m not sure it’s really strong enough to be a Booker winner, but I’m glad I read it and would probably pick up more of Anne Tyler’s books in future.

LBC 3 Reads – Date Change!

Date:  *14th of November 2015*
Time:  11am – 1pm
Address: Unit 2
Munro House,
Duke St,
Leeds LS9 8AG


Our Choice



lbc 3 02


On his third birthday Oskar decides to stop growing. Haunted by the deaths of his parents and wielding his tin drum Oskar recounts the events of his extraordinary life; from the long nightmare of the Nazi era to his anarchic adventures is post-war Germany


Günter Grass, born in Danzig in 1927, is Germany’s most celebrated contemporary writer. He is a creative artist of remarkable versatility: novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, graphic artist. Grass was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.

Breon Mitchell’s translations include works by Franz Kafka, Heinrich Boll, and many others. He is the recipient of several awards for literary translation, he is Professor of Germanic Literature at Indiana University, and Director of the Lilly Library.


LBC Dystopia 17 – The Sleeper Awakes – Write Up


Date:  Tuesday 23rd of September 2015
Time:  6pm – 8pm
Address: Harper Street, LS2 7EA
Tel: 0113 246 9405




* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *


A troubled insomniac in 1890s England falls suddenly into a sleep-like trance, from which he does not awake for over two hundred years. During his centuries of slumber, however, investments are made that make him the richest and most powerful man on Earth.

But when he comes out of his trance he is horrified to discover that the money accumulated in his name is being used to maintain a hierarchal society in which most are poor, and more than a third of all people are enslaved.

Oppressed and uneducated, the masses cling desperately to one dream – that the sleeper will awake, and lead them all to freedom.

THE SLEEPER AWAKESAs I was a little late, I missed the bulk of the catch up chatter (GRUMP) and we stuck pretty faithfully to the book discussion from that point onwards (DOUBLE GRUMP). I might have to outlaw conversations in future…

This was my third or forth time to read this and – as I’d expected – I enjoyed it as much as on previous occasions. However, when I’d read it before, I was a school girl in Zimbabwe – I knew that there was inexcusable racism but had always read the book with the proviso that it was written in another time, during different social mores. On this occasion, I felt like twitter goggles have fallen over my eyes – and all I could see were Problematic Elements everywhere I looked. So we had barely sat down before I burst out all the above.

The others looked at me for a second or two before agreeing that OBVIOUSLY the book had to be read with an awareness of the social structures of the time. It has to be read for what it is or every generation would have to start afresh. They quickly glanced to make sure I ‘got’ it. Then returned to the chat.

In the main, we agreed that this was an incredibly easy to read book, with a simple story at it’s heart. The descriptive elements left some of us cold – particularly in relation to aspects that the author accurately foresaw – TV, propaganda, mass production and so on. The elements that the author had predicted inaccurately fascinated us far more – from the roads taking over the railways to the colonization of France – the brief glimpse that we were presented with was of a world significantly different from our own. Not least one that has experienced both the death of Art and Literature. Language – written and spoken – was of great interest to us for a number of different reasons. Unfortunately, this was such an interesting bit that I temporarily stopped taking notes.

It was a delight to read an old school dystopia – no teenagers running around, no global conflict or post apocalyptic setup. This is a stable, if stifling, society.

H.G. Wells had adapted this from a short story and was apparently never truly content with the results. In comparison to his other works, this felt less like pure SF and closer to a social lecture – a thought projection if you will, with much moralising and discovery of ‘inevitable’ truths. However, despite these limitations, there was a naivety to the writing that impacted on most of us. When this book was written; the world had not yet seen one World war…let alone two. We had barely taken to the skies[1902] (that flight had truly captured Wells imagination is quite clear throughout this book [1910] however!) and had not yet conceived of using aeroplanes in battle – perhaps significant that in this book it is the ancient ‘savage’ that conceives it. Women did not yet have the franchise. No country had broken away from the British Empire since America (don’t quote me on that – I’ve googled but am not entirely satisfied with the results). We tried for a second to imagine the impact of this book on the audience of the time…but none of us quite managed it.

With regards to the concepts, we agreed that Wells must have been a very progressive mind for his time. It turns out that even his imagination had limits though – he wanted equality but couldn’t quite conceive of what women would want with it. He envisioned a world where women were free from moral constraints…but lessened without them. And gender was one of the better elements! We had all noticed the odd racist statement throughout the early stages of the book. The only times non-caucasians are mentioned was as a negative. However, at approximately the 2/3’s mark; there is a racist diatribe that quite took our breaths away. It was a sort of horrifying insight to read how overtly racist people were in 1910 (though none of us for one second thought that those thought processes have actually disappeared today). Wince inducing.  Class structures and their impact on society is also discussed throughout the book, with an honesty and self awareness that must have been very unfashionable at the time.

Frequently, we wondered if his initial thoughts had been edited out – there were a number of passages about motherhood, drug taking and the like which seemed about to decry the direction the world was heading in, but Wells pulled his punches instead – having his protagonist highlight these awful things then wave them away as it being his own lack of understanding via being stuck in the old mode of thinking.

Regarding characters, we didn’t have a huge amount to say. The protagonist is pretty well drawn but everyone else appears so briefly that it’s difficult to get a fix on them. Additionally, everyone is concealing something from the main character, so must be treated as unreliable. Which is probably why the only two that didn’t, caught our collective eye. Without a doubt, we all of us responded particularly well to the odd chap that meets Graham and basically serves to catch him up. Mr Exposition is funny, irreverant and spoke eloquently. We were quite enamored.

Our discussion around Helen was a bit more controversial. We agreed that it was frustrating on a number of levels to be presented with a character who ostensibly eshews the characteristics of her gender as observed in this book. Helen is not dumb, flighty, weak willed or dependent. However, she is only every present because she is related to a man who is high up in the resistance. Her sole reason to be is to recruit Graham and inspire him to lead. She serves no other purpose than to propel him to greatness. However, it is also incredibly rare to meet a female character from this period who actually speaks and influences events. Helen is passionate, she tells Graham that his view of the world is wrong and sets him straight. Moreover, she acts because it is the right thing to do, not out of any romantic entanglement (we all assume that this is the romance culled from the short story. Good call HG.) with Graham. These traits kind of made her more bearable to some and a downright pioneer to others!

A great meet up and an awesome choice of book for the club. Though slight, we had lots to say! Always a triumph!


p.s. Ultimately though, some 15 years on from first reading this book…I’m still irritated we didn’t get any more info on why he fell asleep in the first place!

HG Wells – Free Ebooks



Find fellow members on twitter by searching for #LBCDystopia

Let me know your thoughts by either tweeting me @LeedsBookClub, commenting below or emailing me at leedsbookclub@gmail.com

Man Booker Challenge 2015: A Little Life

A Little Life book coverAnother year, another Man Booker Shortlist challenge! Once again, this year I am attempting to read and review all six titles shortlisted for the Booker, before the winner is announced on 13th October. Will I manage to complete the entire shortlist before the deadline? Well, I’ve never managed it yet, but there’s always a first time!

Never one to shirk from a challenge, I started with Hanya Yanagihara’s 736-page, decades-spanning tome A Little Life (my wallet and spine balked at the expense and weight of the hardback, so I went for the ebook version!)

A Little Life is a depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.

Well. Way to set the bar high, Hanya! By the time I was a quarter of the way into A Little Life, I was convinced I was reading the next Booker winner. Despite its length and density, it never felt a chore to read – I raced through it, unable to put it down. It’s the sort of book that makes you slightly resent having to do things like work, eat, sleep, etc! It also left me with a vicious book hangover – four days after I finished it, the characters and plot are still hanging around my head. I sort of feel like the next I read from the shortlist will inevitably suffer by comparison, which is a shame as they do all look very good.

That being said, the further I got through the book, I became less convinced it was a definite winner. Don’t get me wrong, I still rate it very highly and could easily see it taking the prize, but it does eventually start to feel repetitive towards the end. It’s also strangely uneven in terms of pacing and plot.

From the description and the first section (the book is divided into seven sections, corresponding to different phases of the protagonists’ loves), I assumed the book would follow all four characters fairly evenly throughout their lives. The first section is almost entirely told from the perspectives of Willem, Malcolm and JB, with Jude only ever described by the others. It becomes gradually clear throughout the first section that there is something unusual about Jude – the others make oblique references to his secrecy, his physical disabilities, and there are hints of a darker past that they know little of – but it isn’t until the second section that we actually hear from Jude himself.

However from that point on, Yanagihara seems to almost forget about her other characters and focus almost exclusively on Jude – when we see the others, it’s almost totally through the prism of their relationships with Jude. Willem becomes a more prominent character later in the book, but largely because of his closeness with Jude. Malcolm almost totally disappears, which is a real shame – in the first section there are some wonderful passages about his fear of inadequacy, his feeling stifled at the architects’ firm he works for and fearing he’s forgotten how to create, his confusion over his sexuality, but after the first section we don’t really hear from him again. We see him at various times, and learn a tiny bit about his marriage and his later success with setting up his own architecture firm and winning various awards, but we never get a glimpse of his inner life again, which I would really like to have seen.

It’s a similar story with JB. Save for a short section about a third of the way through the book, in which we see JB struggling with drug addiction – which is a wonderfully written exploration of how addicts hurt everyone around them – we don’t get the same internal voice that we had from him in the first section.

It’s understandable that the focus is on Jude though, as he is a compelling and well-realised character. A survivor of horrific childhood abuse, the extent of which those closest to him barely guess at, the main narrative thrust of the book is the lifelong impact of this abuse that Jude struggles, and frequently fails, to deal with.

I was impressed at Yanagihara’s sensitive handling of what could feel a rather exploitative topic. For a long time the nature of the abuse is only hinted at, to the point where I started to wonder if readers were actually going to learn the truth at all. When we do learn the full story, although it makes for harrowing reading it never feels gratuitous (although I wouldn’t recommend this book for people who are triggered by discussions of child abuse, sexual abuse, self-harm or suicide).

This was a tough read in some ways: when reading the early chapters I described it to others as “like having your heart broken a millimetre at a time”. Much of it is heartbreaking, although there are also moments of real joy and beauty throughout.

A Little Life is a complex, flawed, but bold novel, and although I think it could have been more tightly plotted I still believe it would be a worthy Booker winner.

LBC Medusa – Books ‘un’ picked

As always we have a list of books that were not selected, so if you’re looking for some suggestions, have a look here!

Book fall


THE BEES – Laline Paull



Again – thanks to Simon (@srjf) for keeping track of these!

LBC Medusa – Black Diamonds – Write Up

LBC Medusa 

Date:  Wednesday 12th of August 2015
Time:  7:30pm
Address: 8-10 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds 




Huge thanks to Simon (@srjf) for the write up! You can read more of his blog HERE!


Wentworth is in Yorkshire and was surrounded by 70 collieries employing tens of thousands of men. It is the finest and largest Georgian house in Britain andbelonged to the Fitzwilliam family.

It is England’s forgotten palace which belonged to Britain’s richest aristocrats. Black Diamonds tells the story of its demise: family feuds, forbidden love, class war, and a tragic and violent death played their part. But coal, one of the most emotive issues in twentieth century British politics, lies at its heart.

This is the extraordinary story of how the fabric of English society shifted beyond recognition in fifty turbulent years in the twentieth century.

black diamonds5 members were present with 4 having read the book.

Discussion topics included:-

· general

    • non-fiction vs fiction as book club choices
      • general happiness at this selection
    • how poetry was not to be selected for the book club

· from the book

    • great houses
    • jet set
    • wealthy
    • wars
    • mines and miners
    • unions
    • poor
    • poverty
    • Americans and the Kennedys
    • Politics
    • Monarchy
    • Paternalistic employers
    • Brutal employers
    • Religion
    • Inheritance, heirs and ancestry
    • Nationalisation
    • Secrecy amongst the upper classes

· writing style of the book

  • Lots of to-ing and fro-ing
  • A good read
  • A good way of learning history
  • Cliff-hangers


Scores out of 5 for writing style and storyline

4, 3.5, 7.5

3, 4, 7

3, 4, 7

4, 4, 8

Additional Resources

  1. Wentworth Woodhouse official web site
  2. Wentworth Woodhouse Wikipedia entry
  3. BBC documentary about Wentworth Woodhouse:
  4. Author interview
  5. Desert Island Discs of the-then Minister of Fuel and Power, Mannie Shinwell, who ordered the grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse to be dug up for opencast mining (video).
  6. BBC set for new costume drama based on the real-life family history of a clan whose house is so grand it makes Downton Abbey look like a bedsit (Daily Mail, 23 August 2015)


For further details, please email me at leedsbookclub@gmail.com or tweet me @LeedsBookClub!

Contact the bar on @MedusaBar

And feel free to let us know your thoughts using #LBCMedusa!

MINICINE – Wayne’s World at Left Bank Leeds

scalaramaVenue: Left Bank Leeds 

4 Spring Grove Walk
West Yorkshire


live in the now

Well, the atmosphere in the Left Bank was warm and friendly as ever…though the building itself was just a little chilly! For such an unobtrusive exterior; I never cease to be amazed by how awe-inspiring the inside is. The ceilings take my breath away and I always feel a twinge of guilt when I see the pop-up-charity bar opposite the poor box. There are some ex-churches that never seem to actually stop being reverent spaces! Then I go support the bar…because it’s for charity guys.

There was a gourmet pizza van Pizza Fellas out front so the start of the event was postponed while the entire audience decided to treat themselves to a cheese fix. I feel like I’m being spoiled by MINICINE – coffee and cakes one week; hot chocolate (or booze for those so inclined) and pizza the next. Genius idea lads!

Woody and Abby were funny and cheerful as they introduced us to four new musically minded short films and the feature film event.

The shorts were ‘I need nothing‘; ‘The Archive‘ (which made me very sad for the world); ‘Tribe‘ (which couldn’t have left me less impressed if it had tried. Himself actually turned to Jo and asked if it was a spoof… I don’t think that we are representative of the target audience perhaps that’s why I remember it’s name wrong. Can’t find it anywhere); ‘Words‘ (nice, possibly a bit twee but I very much enjoyed) and the tear inducing joy making magic that is ‘Caine’s Arcade‘ – please watch below.



In the tradition of the TEN COMMANDMENTS, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and GHANDI comes a sweeping screen epic bursting with spectacle and drama … NOT!

Its Wayne’s World, the hilarious, party down movie of the year, featuring rockin’ tunes, radical babes, and your most excellent hosts, Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey).

When a sleazy TV exec (Rob Lowe) offers Wayne and Garth a fat contract to tape their late-night cable-access show at his network, the two can’t believe their fortune (“No way”, “WAY”). But they soon discover the road from basement to big time is a gnarly one, fraught with danger, temptation and ragin’ party opportunities.

Can Wayne win the affections of rock goddess Cassandra (Tia Carrere)? Will Garth get dunked by his dream girl (Donna Dixon) at the doughnut shop? Serious questions dude and there’s only one way to find out – watch Wayne’s World!


My first time to ever see Wayne’s World on a Big Screen. What a wonderful way to spend an evening!

Of course for me, this was less a watch along and more of a mouth along, as I knew not only every line of dialogue but every lyric to every song featured…and most of the slightly more moronic of Garth’s dance moves.

I repeat [mantra style], my childhood was well spent.

and monkeys

Thankfully, Jo (the ever delightful @Minimalesque) was just as bad and the two of us were frequently guilty of the occasional ‘pre-laugh’ (where you laugh just before a joke or set up). I couldn’t hear Wendy aka @Wandapops (well known to regular readers here for her @LeedsPlaylist concept) but every time I glanced over, she was bent double laughing…which I’m taking as a good sign!

I’ve been a long time fan of SNL. The sketches and (more recently) lonely island digital shorts are wonderful in the main, but the more recent films have left me cold.  Wayne’s World films* not only transcend their SNL beginnings; but are damn near perfectly realised and structured comedies in their own right.

There were two cos players as Wayne and Garth (duh) and so many checked shirts in the audience I just couldn’t stop smiling at everyone. Oh and I got chatting to an Irish chap in the line for the loo’s about the Backstreet Boys, S-Club7, B*witched and other LEGEND-ary groups from the late 90’s which was just brilliant!

Kindred spirits at every turn as Anne (of Green Gables) would have noted!


From the Minicine website

Scalarama is an annual celebration of cinema taking place every September. The season aims to unite all those who are passionate about showing films to one another, and to champion communal film watching and the cinema experience. Scalarama takes the form of a month long season of screenings taking place across the world at a wide range of venues, with all different types of exhibitors showcasing films from across the history of cinema and from all parts of the world.

A little info about Minicine

Since 2010, Minicine has been committed to screening the best independent and foreign language, cult and classic cinema that may not otherwise reach West Yorkshire audiences.

A non-for-profit, we currently screen every fourth Thursday of the month at The Palace Picturehouse in Armley Mills Industrial Museum. In the past we have held events in 51% Bourbon, The Maven and what was once Dock Street Market in Leeds city centre, as well as the Polish Parish Club in Bradford.

We try to offer our audience an alternative to the impersonal experience of the multiplex and offer short films and free refreshments at our events too, so if you like homemade cake we may just be the film society for you.

We prefer to inclusive and not exclusive so while we do offer membership Minicine has, is and always will be open to everybody.

We are a proud member of the British Federation of Film Societies and in 2012 we were awarded the BFFS Best Film Programming prize.

minicineVenue: Armley Mills Industrial Museum
Canal Road
West Yorkshire
LS12 2QF

Website: minicine.org.uk

Twitter: @MinicineYorks

*Also love The Blues Brothers…okay and probably Coneheads

Cross posted on Drneevil

Culturally Minded Podcast

sharing stories 01

Leeds Book Club has been participating in the Arts and Minds Network‘s Sharing Stories Project for the last few years.
This project has been set up to raise awareness of mental health; learning difficulties and autism through – in our case – the depiction of these in works of fiction.
In previous years, we read and discussed books – you can find the list below – however, in 2015, we decided to broaden our scope.
Tom of the Arts and Mind Network and I will be meeting up every few months to discuss books, music, TV, films, comics and anything else we can think of, with an eye towards increasing awareness about mental health.
If you are already subscribed to the Leeds Book Club podcast, then   #CulturallyMinded episodes should start appearing automatically soon! ;)

itunesThe LBC podcast can also be found on iTunes here if you fancy subscribing!


01 – CULTURALLY MINDED – Episode One – with Tom – “Structured yet nicely vague…|

Where we say hello and discuss our ideas and hopes for the podcast; how we define culture and cultural snobbery(!) and different aspects of the arts, films, books, gardens and sculpture parks that have inspired us!

Tip 01 – West Yorkshire Sculpture Park or Hyde Park or any green place!

Mobile Link to the episode.


If you’d like to get involved – either recording (with us or as a roving reporter with audioboom) or with a suggested book, tv, film, comic or place to visit – please drop us a line!


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