Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kirkgate Market and Free Beer...

I don't do this often, but I wanted to quickly draw your attention to a decent article by Rod McPhee on Leeds City Markets in yesterday's Evening Post. The Post usually does a good job in promoting the market - not only in the variety of goods you can get there, but also in the way that the Market is bound to the people of Leeds.

I feel that there's a little surge of support for the Market gathering pace right now. Friends of Kirkgate Market are doing a great job in raising it's profile - something Leeds City Council should be doing but clearly have other things on their minds like making sure our journey home on the buses is as hellish as possible or setting up Leeds Arena so that we can all go see Kylie in a few years (not that I'm down on the Arena or anything. As long as Pearl Jam play there at some point then I'm happy). They organise events, guided tours and generally do a sterling job. See their permanent link on the right if you want to get involved.

I normally visit early on a Saturday morning to buy fresh Fish; whilst I'm picking what normally-still-moving treat I'm going to eat this weekend, I'm surrounded by young and old, and more than a fair share of chefs from the numerous restaurants, bars and pubs in Leeds. There's still a stigma around the market that needs to be smashed; we, the patrons, could visit more and understand the place, and the council need to use this groundswell of support to really pump in a little money, make life easier for the traders and make it more attractive for new traders, embrace the diversity of Leeds Market and make it a destination. There's absolutely no reason why, with a little vision and attention, Kirkgate Market can't stand side by side with Borough and La Ramblas - seriously. The old market is a wonderful space, just needing some love. Finally, I've always thought that a Utobeer-style Beer stall is exactly what's missing. If there's anyone out there who's feeling a little entrepreneurial, there's your niche right there.

There's also a diverting little tale from Oliver Cross in yesterday's edition; the practise of giving away free beer at closing time in the 60's. This really made me smile - can anyone out there shed any light on this practise? Does it still happen?

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