What a couple of weeks! I’ve been looking for culture and it’s found me, with a vengeance.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been to Shipley’s first Record Club, TEDxBradford at The National Media Museum, a Civil War event at Bolling Hall, and watched Measure for Measure on the lawns of Bradford Cathedral. It’s been amazing! Plus, I’m already looking forward to a guided walk across prehistoric Ilkley Moor on Tuesday.
This is Bradford! This is where I live! This is home touristing at its finest… and I love it!
This week, my mate – who was brought up in the same village as me but classed himself as Halifax (whilst I was always staunchly Bradford (mainly due to the rugby teams we followed)) and is now residing down south – commented on my “lovely city”; the phrase was thick with sarcasm and obviously intended to distance his own Halifax roots and current southern concerns from my allegiance to Bradford. A year ago, what would I have said? 6 months ago, what would have been my retort? The other day, I merely, but not weakly, replied that Bradford is a lovely city. Was I right?
No, no I wasn’t.
Bradford is not a lovely city. It’s not! It’s got lovely parts but it’s not lovely. I was given a great tour of Oxford by Sharon’s brother, a graduate of Queen’s (or Queens’) College, which took in the colleges (including several stunning libraries which would have bibliophiles salivating) and ended with a picnic by the Ibis – that was lovely… and it wasn’t for me. For a start, as usual, I’d forgotten to pack a belt and went to the market to buy one – £40! £40 for a belt off the market. In my thickest, loudest, most northern accent I could muster, I bellowed, “Fot-ty pound? Fot-ty pound? [Sharon had already made a brisk exit stage left as she knew what was coming] At least Dick Turpin wore a bloody mask!” and buggered off to Next. I digress, but Oxford is a lovely city. Bradford is not Oxford and, for the price of leather alone, I’m glad I don’t live there.
What Bradford has got, though, is culture, and I’m only just finding that out. Last night, I drove for 7 minutes to a cathedral and watched Shakespeare performed (and just as wonderfully, watched the sun set over Little Germany); at the weekend, I’d driven for 11 to visit a centuries old house which was hosting a Civil War society; last week, I’d made a 3 minute train journey followed by a 5 minute walk to the most popular museum outside of the capital to watch a TEDx event which celebrated our fine (if not that fair) city; and this month, I’d walked for 10 minutes to get to Shipley’s Kirkgate Centre to listen to vinyl with a group of great people who wanted to remind us of music culture past.
My mate describes his home as “30 minutes from Reading”. He lives in a lovely small town which has a train station, some pubs, many uniform housing estates, and cheaper car insurance. As I drove home from Bradford Cathedral last night, I smiled: You can’t do this! I said to him in my head You can’t do this, and, right now, I don’t want to be anywhere else but Bradford. Today, I’m still smiling. My back garden is warm and calm and quiet (and a damned sight cheaper than his), and I’m thinking about all the events I’ve been to and looking forward to all those that are coming up and I am happy: happy to be a Bradfordian. Mind you, I have to phone up about car insurance in a bit, so that might change.
So, before my blogs are up, I hope you go to Measure for Measure at the Cathedral, or hope you visit one of Bradford’s fine and disparate museums, and I hope to see you up on’t moors on Tuesday, but most of all, I hope you take time to appreciate where you live this weekend, and give your home a little time to show you what it’s got.
Can you help me in my search for culture in Bradford? Let me know where you think I should visit.