As well as the work on my blog, I will use this page to show some of the professional work I have completed for University. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to keep the formatting of some of the articles, however the original documents are available if you wish to have them sent via e-mail.

Kaiser Chiefs & The Cribs Live Review - September 2011

K A I S E R  C H I E F S  &
T H E   C R I B S
Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds
11th September 2011

A lot has changed in the world of The Cribs over the past few years. Gary went State Side and moved to Portland, Oregon to marry Quasi/Stephen Malkmus & the Jick’s bassist Joanna Bolme, and Ryan moved from their native Wakefield to London to live with his long time girlfriend, Kate Nash. But of course, these weren't the most significant and important changes that the Cribs made; that role was taken by Mr. Johnny Marr, who joined the group in February 2008 and departed in April 2011.

This was their first ‘hometown’ gig since the departure of Marr, and this was very prominent throughout the set. As they opened with ‘Cheat On Me’, it was already obvious that this set was going to be different. As Gary roared his unique sing-scream into the mic, his twin Ryan playfully rolled around on the front of the stage showing off how well he could play the guitar parts that were usually taken on by Marr.

As they pumped through crowd favourites such as ‘Our Bovine Public’, ‘Another Number’ and ‘Men’s Needs’, the electrifying energy that shone from the stage made me certain of one thing: The Cribs are simply a much better live band without Johnny Marr. Without the guitar King by their side to impress, the Jarman brothers put on an utterly brilliant performance that resembled their hectic underground gigs of 2006. The perfect warm-up for what should have been a brilliant Kaiser Chiefs show.

The Kaiser Chiefs’ live shows are very famous in Leeds. In 2006, at the height of their fame, they played two sold-out nights in the city’s Millennium Square. In 2008 they filled Leeds United’s 35,000 capacity stadium, one of the biggest shows the city has ever seen. So why should these two Kirkstall Abbey gigs be any different? The fact is: it’s 2011, and people’s interest in Kaiser Chiefs has slowly depreciated over the past 3 years.

They opened with ‘Howlaround (Intro)’ and then burst into ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’, which got the crowd up and on their feet. It seemed that this was going to be another unforgettable Kaiser Chiefs gig, but as they went on to play less known songs such as ‘Little Shocks’, ‘Long Way from Celebrating’, and ‘Good Days Bad Days’, the crowd seemed to lose interest. As expected, sing-a-long hits such as ‘Ruby’ and ‘I Predict A Riot’ got the crowd dancing, but it was all just too predictable. There wasn’t a face in the crowd that was shocked when Ricky Wilson clambered up on to part of the Abbey and began swaying flamboyantly like a young Morrissey.

It was fun for a while, but unfortunately the show was disappointingly predictable, and it would seem that the Kaiser Chiefs really are extremely average nowadays.

Articles for 'Live It Up: Leeds' magazine; a magazine for an audience of all ages that live in and around Leeds

Interview with West Yorkshire Playhouse employee Tania Aghanian - February 2013

or this month’s issue of Live It Up: Leeds, we decided to take a look around Leeds’ famous West Yorkshire Playhouse. We chatted to one of the team members, Tania Aghanian, about why the Playhouse is such a special place and why we are so lucky to have it in the heart of our city.

Tell us about some of the exciting things you have coming up at the West Yorkshire Playhouse [WYP].
We always have exciting things happening here at the Playhouse. From 18th May to 8th June we have a stage adaptation of ‘Sherlock Holmes – The Best Kept Secret’. We’re hoping this will appeal to a lot of audiences, including children, because many of them study the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ novels at school.

Do you think it’s important for children to come to the theatre?
Yes, definitely! It’s a great experience for them and a really great day out. We hold a lot of workshops for young children too, which they always enjoy.

What do you think makes theatre stand out from other forms of entertainment such as live music and cinema?
I think that the theatre, and also live music, is a lot more interactive than the cinema. With cinema, it’s easy to be distracted by the big Hollywood names, whereas at the theatre there are many less-known, but often more talented actors and actresses. And of course, unlike cinema, theatre is live. Although the cast have months of rehearsals before they take a show on the road, they have to try their best not to make mistakes on stage, which can be very difficult!

And what do you think makes WYP so different to other theatres?
I always think that the Playhouse feels a lot more relaxed than the more traditional theatres like the Leeds Grand. I think that WYP attracts a lot of younger people, because it’s in a really great location and has a fantastic bar and café area. I think it gives a much ‘cooler’ and relaxed feel to the theatre experience.

Apart from live shows, what else is on offer at WYP?
As I said earlier, we run a lot of workshops for younger people, but we also run workshops that older people can get involved in. We also have a lot of talks and comedy gigs which are always great to work at.

Of all the shows you have had the privilege to see, which one has stood out the most for you?
I think the best show I’ve seen would be ‘‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore’ which we had on in 2011. There was quite a bit of controversy around the show, but I thought it was absolutely fantastic and it will always be the stand-out show for me.

Tell us about the ways that you have made WYP more accessible to those with a lower budget.
For the past few years, we have offered 5 free tickets to all under 25s. We also offer discounts to OAPs and NUS discount to students. I think it’s really important we have offers like this and keep our ticket prices down, because it will not only draw people in, but it will make it an more enjoyable theatre experience.

You have starred in a number of independent shows in the city, how has your experience of working at WYP helped you with this?
I’ve met so many fantastic contacts by working at the Playhouse. I’ve managed to learn a lot from fellow actors, but I’ve also had the chance to speak to directors and other members of behind the scene staff.

Tickets for ‘Sherlock Holmes – The Best Kept Secret’ and all the other up and coming shows are now available online [http://www.wyp.org.uk/what's-on/] or at the box office. Information of show times, where to find the Playhouse and everything else you need to know can be found on their website: www.wyp.org.

Leeds' Top 3 Small Gig Venues Review - April 2013

3. Milo

Many people that live in Leeds, and even many people that visit Milo regularly, don’t know that it actually has a very small live music venue upstairs. The 100 capacity room is often hired out to local artists for them to showcase their talents to a more relaxed crowd. Many people who pop into Milo’s downstairs bar for a drink will often find themselves upstairs watching all kinds of musicians. Milo pride themselves on showcasing various different types of music, poetry and comedy; it is one of the most musically diverse venues in Leeds. The downstairs bar often plays a variety of ‘50s and’60s rock’n’roll, so if you fancy swinging back a few years then Milo is the venue for you!

2. The Cockpit

The Cockpit is arguably Leeds’ most popular small music venue, and really has been the starting block for thousands of bands. On entrance, you are greeted by posters of various gigs The Cockpit have held over the past 18 years, from the likes of The Killers, Foo Fighters, and Coldplay. Brandon Flowers (frontman of The Killers) even wanted to return to play The Cockpit in 2012, but he was turned down as the band is too well known for such a small venue! With members of the world’s biggest bands wanting to play The Cockpit, it shows just how popular a venue it is. The Cockpit boasts three rooms, two large rooms downstairs and a smaller, more intimate room upstairs. There are gigs on at The Cockpit almost daily, and there are four club nights a week from Tuesday to Saturday.

1. The Brudenell Social Club

 The Cribs performing at the Brudenell Social Club, December 2007. Photo by Steevi Pugh.
The Brudenell Social Club is Leeds’ finest hidden gem. Hidden away in the middle of a council estate in Hyde Park, the Brudenell (or ‘the Brude’ as it’s known as to its regulars) is a place where you will find wonderful people, wonderful music, and total tranquillity. At first site, it is exactly what it says on the tin: a social club. There is a large area scattered with old tables and chairs, and a large pool room with 12 tables - perfect for post-gig, alcohol-fuelled pool tournaments. However, walk into the room next door and you will feel as if you’ve been transported to a totally different place. The venue itself is actually quite large, with a capacity of around 500. Often decorated with bunting and fairy lights, the Brudenell feels totally different to any other gig venue I’ve ever experienced. You could be in a quiet pub, or you could be in your own front room.  Wakefield band The Cribs love it so much that they had a three day festival there in 2007 entitled Cribsmas! The Brudenell is a perhaps the heart of the Leeds music scene, and we’re proud to have it as our number one Leeds venue.

Trip adviser: Harewood House - March 2013

Yorkshire is home to some of the most beautiful stately homes in the country, including Castle Howard, Temple Newsam and Beningbrough Hall. Today, we’ve decided to visit one of Yorkshire’s busiest and most well-known stately homes: Harewood House.
Harewood House is about a 20 minute drive from the city centre; not too far from the city, but just far enough to make you feel like you’ve totally escaped the hustle and bustle of city life. A popular spot for young families, Harewood House boasts one of Yorkshire’s best adventure playgrounds. The main play area is 3 acres of swings, slides, zip wires and many more exciting features that can keep your children entertained all day long. But if all that sounds a bit too adventurous for your young children, there’s also a smaller play area for toddlers.
Although a highly popular place for families, Harewood House can be enjoyed by everyone, as we discovered. One of its most popular attractions is its renowned bird garden, which houses over 90 different species of exotic birds. You can watch one of the experts feed the penguins, and you can even adopt one of the various species of endangered birds.

Recently, Harewood House has arguably been most famous for its reintroduction of Red Kites. They were released in Harewood in 1999 as part of a UK endangered species conservation scheme.  There are various talks and shows where visitors can learn about the history and reintroduction of Red Kites.
Harewood House isn’t just a great place for families; it’s a great trip out for couples and friends too. The house itself is a Grade I listed building and has been home to the Lascelles family since the late 18th century. Its current resident is David Lascelles, the 8th Earl of Harewood. The purchase of a standard grounds ticket allows you to look around the below stairs area of the house; this was the old kitchen and servants area and is also home to various exhibitions. If you want to see more of the house, you can upgrade your ticket and visit the state rooms; however you should always check online before your visit as the state rooms are not always open.
The lakeside walk is also one of Harewood House’s finest features. The lake covers an area of thirty-two acres and includes stepping stones, a Himalayan Garden and also a Walled Garden. The views are always beautiful, whether you’re visiting on a cold winter afternoon or one of the hottest days of the year.

Review on @Futsal 5-a-side Arena, Leeds - March 2013

Here in Leeds, we love our footy. And with our beloved Leeds United still struggling in the Championship, we could do to find them some home-grown players that have the skill, speed and sheer brilliance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. But where exactly did these two develop the skills that have made them stand so far apart from the rest, and how can we make our Leeds lads just as good? The answer is simple: Futsal. And with Leeds’ recently built 5 star @Futsal arena only 10 minutes from the city centre, it couldn’t be easier to become to next Messi.

Futsal is a variation on traditional 5-a-side football which hails from Brazil. It’s played on a smaller pitch (usually indoors) and uses a smaller, heavier ball. The ball is smaller to give the players more control, and heavier to give it less bounce, which again gives the player more control than they would have with a regular sized football. There is no offside rule in Futsal, which allows the attacking players to get much closer to the goal than in traditional 5-a-side. Although it is a South American sport, Futsal is now incredibly popular in Spain and Portugal, and is played regularly at Barcelona’s famous youth academy, La Masia.

So how have we managed to bag ourselves a 5 star @Futsal arena in the heart of Leeds? Well, for a start, location is key. Being in the centre of Yorkshire, Leeds is accessible to people from all over the county, making it the perfect place to host the arena. Renovation of the unused warehouse took place in June 2012, and the arena opened for business in August of the same year. 

Leeds’ @Futsal arena boasts 8 pitches, each named after the world’s most famous stadia. There are two large changing pods, a large café and bar area, and entertainment systems for those not involved in the sport itself. @Futsal have really taken the plunge since opening; they offer children’s parties, skills schools, weekly and monthly Futsal tournaments, as well as catering for other sports such as roller derby. So, why not give it a go and see if you can become the next Lionel Messi?

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