Leeds has been one hell of an experience. The best experience of my life. I had a friend who had studied in Leeds, and he was finishing in the summer before I was due to embark on my Leeds journey, so, on my applicant day I sent a text to try and grasp his evaluation upon his impending departure. The text read: “Mate, let me know… What is Leeds like?” and when my phone proceeded to instantly alert, he simply replied “Best city in the World.” Two months into my fresher year and ignoring the Golden Rule of ‘don’t come to University with a girlfriend’, I was nothing but a heartbroken, super-noodle eating, permanently hungover student, going through a variant of emotions left out of every University prospectus I had ever flicked through. I became adamant my friend was lying.
So why has my mind changed so dramatically? I should probably do the honourable thing and say ‘I reaaaaallllyyyyy enjoy my course, its amazing’ but my course has only amounted to 23.5% of my Leeds experience. What Leeds offers socially, is unique. The diversity of its nightlife is unchallenged, catering for everything and everyone. Let you’re hair down, cut some horrendous shapes and deal with the heart-burn that the tenth £1.20 orange VK brings as it fizzle in your stomach. Or you could always Dax-wax the funk out of your hair, don your special fleather (fake leather) jacket and perform your best ‘blue steel’ pose, or just become entranced in the music of your favourite artists performing right here in the city centre. From the stickiest of vintage carpets sported by Oceana to the breath-taking futuristic LED roof of The Mint club, Leeds is everything. I now call Leeds ‘home’; it has the ability to stimulate every one of the five. You can feel the warmth in its vibrant nightlife, you can see the glow of beaming smiles as people stroll from bar to bar on Call Lane. There is always one plank who has excessively become infatuated with the trend ‘LAD’, but he is never absent, and you can just sense the pure enjoyment of those revelling in its bright lights and friendly atmosphere.
For obvious reasons, it is important to remain politically correct and state that Leeds has a host of different alternatives to its unbelievable nocturnal society. The Royal Armouries Museum has an abundance of historic weaponry for those who have become a little obsessed with 'Call of Duty'. The shopping arcades are stocked with every label imaginable and can be explored to the soundtrack of a student busking, seeking to afford a Sainsbury’s basic microwave pasta meal. Or alternatively, for the cultural traditionalist, the Otley run starts at 3:00pm at Woodies Ale House, (leave the Mankini at home, the novelty wears off after The New Inn).
I could write personal memoirs and anecdotes of good times that have been had throughout my three years spent in Leeds, but they are just chapters in my personal little Leeds story. I am storing them away at the back of my mind to revisit as I watch Countdown, with my TV dinner delivered by meals on wheels and my walking stick propped up against the arm of the chair I’m sat on. And if there is one piece of advice that I can give you along the way. Store my friend’s text message as a template on your phone, it will save you typing it out.
Ellis, M (2009) ‘Words of a wise man’. 1,000,000th eds. OptionsNever Ltd. Leeds.