Please follow the link to my new website
Category Archives: Uncategorized
Bradfordian’s enjoy a distinct identity; we are a humble folk, happy-go-luck by nature and up for a laugh. We go about our business in an unassuming way and when the time comes for a good moan we are only too happy to oblige. We are proper Yorkshire men and women. Leeds on the other hand has no identity, that’s why there is no such thing as a ‘Leedsian’. The only example of unity among Leeds folk is the cries of ‘we are Leeds’ from the Elland road terraces, which, well you know what I mean. The thing is Leeds, in becoming a ‘modern metropolitan city’ you have become faceless. We are Bradford.
Some Leeds folk may arrogantly claim to be our counties capital, but Yorkshire’s anthem, ‘On Ilkla Moor Baht’at is set here in the Bradford district, at the top of Ilkley Moor. Bradford’s landscape has inspired the great works of Hockney, Priestley, Delius, and the Bronte’s and continues to inspire new generations of creative innovators, like David and Amber from Coronation Street, and Gareth Gates from pop music. We are a city of cultural firsts. The fantastic St Georges Hall was the first concert hall built in Britain, Europe’s first mela was here in Bradford, and in 2009 we became the world’s first City of Film. Our cultural diversity is something the city prides itself on and something that Leeds must gaze upon admiringly.
Both cities were born out of the textile industry, Leeds was undeniably the king of cotton, but why have cotton when you can have wool? In politics Bradford gave birth to the Labour party. Leeds once chose Vera Duckworth as its Mayor.
Despite their relative sizes there are 3165 listed buildings in Bradford compared to 2735 in Leeds. Of the 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom Bradford is home to one, Leeds none. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Pompeii and The Pyramids while Leeds has to make do with ‘urban living space’. Give me limestone over red brick any day.
Leeds is responsible for the Kaiser Chiefs.
Eating out in Leeds is about showing off, it’s about fancy décor, inflated prices and celebrity endorsements. We are not so easily fooled. Bradford doesn’t do gimmicks. Britain’s favourite dish is Curry. Britain’s official curry capital is Bradford.
Give them their due, Leeds does house some pretty damn good breweries these days but it will take a long time before we forgive them for giving us Skol. Bradford breweries just get it right; it took the best part of an afternoon to tot up all the awards given to Timothy Tailors over the years (80). Salamander are ace too, which is why Golden Salamander is also a ‘Champion Beer of Britain’.
There are 115 pubs within five miles of Leeds according to the Good Pub Guide, of those only 12 are ‘worth a visit’. There are only 32 in the same area around Bradford, eight of which are said to be ‘worth a visit’. That means that only 10.4% of the pubs in Leeds are any good, compared to one in four Bradford based pubs. Best stick to your wine bars Leeds.
(Please refer to points 1 and 7 for further evidence of why Bradford boozers are best)
I shall refrain from writing a veracious and denunciating (some big words to confuse the Leeds fans) account of Leeds United and their supporters. As a Bradford City fan I cannot however pass up the opportunity to say in print that we are the greatest team that Yorkshire’s ever seen.
Bradford is the gateway to The Dales, Leeds is the gateway to Wakefield.
This is an uncut version of the interview I did with Billy Pearce for HowDo? magazine.
Panto without Billy Pearce is like turkey without the stuffing. If there is one thing you are sure to see at Christmas time in Bradford it is the broad smile of the local legend plastered across the front of the Alhambra. Bradfordians love him and we could think of no better person to interview for our first issue. Rehearsals had not yet started when I spoke to him but he was nevertheless working hard. Luckily he agreed to put the vacuuming on hold for a while to share his thoughts on Bradford.
You’re back in Bradford for the panto, am I right in thinking that this is your 13th time?
I think so, is that a bad sign do you think? I keep coming back, it’s not because I’m good, it’s because I’m cheap.
You must enjoy it here, have you built up a strong affection for the people of Bradford over the years?
Yes, of course I have, without a doubt…it’s become part of my life really and I’ve got to know a lot of names and faces. I get involved a little bit with what’s going on in Bradford and I’ve always felt at home here really. I am a Yorkshire man, bread and buttered. I know I’ve lost my accent since I went posh, but I’m proud of being from Yorkshire, and I’m proud to be associated with Bradford as well…I think it’s a very spirited place and I stick up for it.
Absolutely, what do you think the significance of the Alhambra theatre is in Bradford?
I’m obviously proud to be associated with the place…I feel at home going there. It’s a new adventure every year and I’m right proud that they keep asking me back. The theatre itself is a beautiful and I think they do a good job of running the place and keeping bums on seats, which is what it’s all about.
What do you like most about doing pantomime in Bradford?
First and foremost it’s being part of a team… All the staff are lovely…Adam Renton (The Theatre Manager) is brilliant…My son’s in it and so is my wife, it’s a family thing and I wouldn’t be able to do that anywhere else…100,000 people went to see that pantomime last year in seven and a half weeks, it’s mind blowing really and when I’m just in ASDA or the White Rose centre there are people smiling at me, which is great. I come out better in life for it.
How do you keep your energy levels up for the best part of two months?
I love it, and if you love something it’s not work. And when it is hard work I loose a stone and a half, which I need to do by the way. It is physical and some parts can be easier to play than others, it just depends how it pans out. This one looks like it may be fairly physical; there are a couple of sword fights and things like that.
What other projects do you have lined up? Are you doing your one man show in Blackpool again?
They have asked me back which is fantastic. Last year it broke box office records. It was a right good do and I was delighted with it… it was great to look out and see a big queue of people outside. I’m not on telly; I haven’t done any of that reality TV, or anything like that. I’m just a working act and fortunately people like what I do.
Would you ever consider going on a reality TV show?
Yes, absolutely. In fact I should have done. They rang me a few weeks go to do come dine with me, which would have been fantastic publicity but I couldn’t do it… If they wanted me to do something like ‘I’m a celebrity’ yes of course I would have to do it…At my age, if I could get a couple of years touring my adult show out of it then I’d have some money to put in the bank for when I can’t do it anymore.
Is that something you would like to do more of? The adult shows?
No, not necessarily. I wanted to do a play and I’d crammed all my dates so I had some free time after the pantomime to do one. I had a meeting with John Godber, who is putting together a new play and I really wanted to do it. But I couldn’t in the end because the rehearsals were during pantomime season. I would have loved to have done something a bit different like that. I have done other bits; I was the narrator for the Rocky Horror show and a Bosnian host for Eurobeat at the Alhambra, which was interesting. It’s hard now, there are so many actors and comedians going for each job, the opportunities don’t always come around.
Tell us a joke
I got stopped by the police the other night, two o’clock in the morning. They said ‘where are you going at this time of night?’ I said ‘I’m going to a lecture on how alcohol, smoking and staying out most nights of the week affect the human body. He said ‘who’s gonna be giving you that lecture at two in the morning?’ I said ‘my wife.’
You mentioned how much you get on with everyone and how it’s very much a team effort. Has anyone ever upset the applecart?
One bloke who I worked with, I won’t mention his name but he played Captain Hook. Right from day one, he hated being in the north, he hated the architecture of the buildings, he hated the accents, and he hated children…He was next door to me for two months, did my head in. What a bloody misery he was.
Any Final words?
Everybody who I’ve done pantomime with in Bradford, they want to come back. I don’t know anybody, apart from Captain Hook who wouldn’t want to come back to Bradford. Everybody who is in it this year can’t wait to come. I’ve worked with people who have gone on to do somewhere else and they’ve been texting me, ‘I wish I was coming back to Bradford’. It’s testament to Bradford and to the Alhambra that people love it so much. It all comes from the top down and credit where credits due Adam Renton does a great job of running that place, he’s not only a boss but he is a friend
Billy Pearce is appearing in Robin Hood at the Alhambra theatre from 17 December to 5 February. Tickets from £9.
My blog page now has a sister site, Haigh Simpson’s sporting scrapbook. It is basically a collection of the interesting or amusing sport related video’s, pictures and links I find each day. There will be comment of course, although the aim is to keep it short and sweet. It will also include regular features such as ‘tweet’s of the week’. I will of course be grateful of any material thrown my way. Below is an exert from the new site along with a link.
What quality’s would you expect a potential MP to possess? A good knowledge of economics, public relations skill’s, and experience of the political system all spring to mind. But no, it appears under David Cameron as long as you can bowl a good delivery and do the cha-cha your in.
I am referring to the revelation that Darren Gough was approached by the Conservatives about becoming their candidate in the Barnsley central by-election. If this is a sign of the future in this age of celebrity then I look forward to the day Prime minister Freddy Flintoff and president A-Rod announce their war on terror-ble defending. An idea championed by defence minister Alan Hansen.
Mind you you only have to look at Michelle Platini and Sepp Blatter to learn that former sportsmen cannot be trusted in positions of power.