An Ode to Leeds’ Nightlife
It’s the end of the academic year, and that means that some of us will soon be leaving Leeds for good. With this in mind, we gave our writers the chance to send a farewell message to a part of our city’s nightlife that means something to them. Here’s what they had to say.
An Ode to Fuzzy Logic
Fuzzy Logic: the place where indie dreams come true. Their hearts fall in love on the dance floor, their denim jackets congregate, and their knackered converse are worn as a badge of hon- our. Edgy Leeds, mate? Never heard of it. This is a place for the kids who are never allowed near the aux cable at pres. The kids who always feel distinctly out of place whenever their flatmates drag them to Canal Mills.
Fuzzy: you’ve been the soundtrack to my Thursday nights. I’ve thrown up too many times in your cobbled toilets as Tame Impala’s boomed ecstatically in the background. I’ve sung my heart out and danced manically to Blue Monday, and been 16 years old again singing into a hairbrush in my bedroom pretending I’m Kate Bush. Here on a Thursday night, all the indie kids of the world unite and finally feel at home in this euphoric Thursday night party, carried away by the songs that defined us as teens.
I might have been the butt of the jokes amongst my Cirque-loving friends, but Fuzzy, I wouldn’t change you for the world. So here’s to Fuzzy Logic, Leeds’ greatest indie night.
An Ode to Toilet Women
It’s 4am in a Canal Mills outdoor toilet cubicle, you take a moment to drift-off to the ‘thump thump’ of a burgeoning bassline. ‘Thump thump’ as the juicy beat soldiers on. ‘Thump thump’ so heavy you feel like you’re inside the speaker. The thump becomes a thwack when you realise that heavy bassline is the melodic attack of a toilet attendant’s palm on the crumbling wooden door. It’s the hottest drop of any night: ‘Toi- let_Woman__What_Are_You_Doing_In_ There.mp3’.
Few nights are complete without this one woman army, vanguarding the fight against the clubbers of Leeds who drug, vom and nap on her off-white plastic thrones. Misunderstood by many, respected by few, only those who have danced with HiFi’s Cubicle Queen will know the true glory of the Toilet Woman. Telling you to stop taking so many drugs and sharing a cackle over the Red Striped, sweat-soaked boys who patrol the dancefloor, the Toilet Woman is the closest thing to going on a night out with your mum. Though the yelling and mild abuse may seem like she hates you, this W.C. Warrior is an ally and a friend. Toilet Women of Leeds, we rebuke you and salute you. The true Angels of the North.
An Ode to Viaduct/Tunnel
Stepping through the doors of Viaduct Showbar for the first time was like entering a wonderland of glitter, grot and Lady Gaga. The scene was equal parts sensational and startling. VK-wielding twinks grinding on silver fox gym rats to the sound of Gina G’s ‘Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit,’ the drag matriarch of the bar snarling with her pencil-thin Dis- ney villain eyebrows and florally embellished nether regions, groups of giggling straight girls fawning over every queer thing in sight while being excessively liberal with their use of “Yass Queen!” Despite the sensory overload, I was in a state of absolute ecstasy. If this was the ‘gay agenda’ the Daily Mail so often decries, I was ready to sign right up.
Crossing the bar’s smoking area – a hub of love, shade and demonic cackling – I was led to Tunnel. Gays, young and old alike, were bouncing, grooving, twerking and swaying to pumping house remixes of the very best cheesy tunes with a good helping of poppers to keep the euphoria going. My very first gay night out will always be an important milestone for me and I am glad I will always remember it fondly with this truly wild and otherworldly night.
An Ode to Wharf Chambers
Nestled on the edge of a small backstreet and secluded from the main centre, Wharf Chambers doesn’t look much. In fact, it’s small, utilitarian and pretty grimy. But this adheres to the venue’s ethos, which values inclusivity, left-ish politics and, ultimately, substance over style. The whole feel of the place is comfortable, enhanced by the plants on the windowsills and pamphlets scattered across the tables; it provides a cosier and less pretentious alternative to the majority of the Leeds club scene.
I have spent a considerable number of Friday nights across my first year at Wharf (big up FEHM’s Floodlands), embarrassing myself on the shabby tiled dancefloor, downing competitively cheap tinnies and bonding with friends over slurred conversations in the humble, plant-bordered smoking area. The music is great, the atmosphere is safe and relaxed and the community is lovely. Also, there’s nothing better than enjoying a good feminist-charged scrawl on the bathroom wall whilst breaking the seal.
An Ode to Cosmic Slop
Despite making my first trip to Cosmic Slop late in my time at Leeds, I’d say without a doubt that it has been easily the most fun I’ve had on a night out in this city, and has changed my belief about what a party should be. I’ve become hesitant to go out to other venues, even places with superb bookings that I regularly visit (Wire), as I know they can’t hope to capture even half of the atmosphere and complete experience that Slop has monopolised.
I couldn’t name another night where the bouncers are pleasant and easygoing, where there’s free melon and cake, where the purposely small ticket sales do wonders in cultivating such a unique atmosphere built on friendliness and relaxation. Even the decision to not make the DJ lineup the be-all-and-end-all of the build up to the night is beneficial: if you’re not only concerned with getting an Uber in time to catch the headliner alone, the priority of everyone attending shifts towards getting into the space, and enjoying themselves and the unparalleled sound system that Slop boasts.
To top it off, the knowledge that your ticket money is going to help underprivileged children make music is always a plus, and helps to encapsulate what Slop feels like it’s about. As the lyrics to the Funkadelic song from which Cosmic Slop takes its name go, ‘Father, father it’s for the kids/ Any and everything I did’.
An Ode to Lupton Kitchen Afters
The Lupton kitchen leaves a lot to be desired. Too small for a pre-drinks, hardly even big enough for the whole flat to cook together. But, after a night out, it really begins to shine. Firstly, the inclusivity of the round table is perfect for broken conversations with housemates and strangers alike. The table’s shape, coupled with its prominent position in the room, makes it a brilliant centre stage for an after session.The best spot is the back right hand corner, between the window and the wall, as here you can spot all the weird and wonderful goings-on: the friend slumped at the table, despondent to have run out of balloons; the housemate leaning against the cupboard, making cups of tea; and the guy no-one really knows from another block passed out in a chair in the corner.
Glance through the window of the door and see the girl from the flat above staring at herself in the bathroom mirror, simultaneously horrified yet unable to look away. All the usual flaws cease to matter at afters. The annoyingly bright light and the hideous colour scheme only serve to enrich the experience. The Lupton kitchen is so well suited to Afters because of how much it resembles Afters; grim but necessary. Both are made not by the facilities, but by people. The imperfections of afters and the Lupton kitchen add character, and together they complement each other in a unique and special way.
Long live Lupton kitchen afters.
An Ode to Weekly Student Nights
In a city like Leeds, with its scores of clubs and bars that each offer nights every day of the week, promising the best value for money, the best music, or the best atmosphere, it’s hard to sometimes narrow that list down and just have a good time. The student clubbing experience in Leeds can often be dominated by events at venues from Canal Mills and Beaver Works to Wire and The Old Red Bus Station, each offering the finest selection of techno, disco or drum ‘n’ bass but often with a less- than-student-friendly hefty ticket price.
Admission prices can quickly become a dent in a Leeds student’s pocket that seem necessary in order to have fun with friends, especially in the Hyde Park-dwelling years following on from halls. But it doesn’t hurt to remember the cheesy student nights of mid-week that dominated everyone’s first year experience, when the appeal of a night out was determined by how many shots of cheap spirits could be attained for under £10 rather than how many VSCOcam edited photos against metallic strip curtains could be taken prior to Flux.
From the less- than-classy Tuesday nights we’ve all had and loved at Space or HiFi, the former still luring students in with £8 bottles of wine, or the latter’s perfect blend of euphoric festival anthems and enough disco to satisfy the sequin bandeau-loving girls of LS6 with Red Stripe gal ore, to Mischief Wednesdays at Warehouse where the entire crowd either stinks of joy gained from competitive sports or blue VKs. Thursday nights belong to Donuts at The Faversham, a night that always promises great fun and delivers, often in the form of one-too-many Jägerbombs, a near refusal for re-entry after lying in the smoking area for hours after said-Jägerbombs, and a heavy dose of everyone’s favourite UK garage and grime tracks.
Although each of these club nights are repetitive – the playlist at each seems to be almost interchangeable, and you’re guaranteed to hear Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’ or Toploader’s ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ at least twice per night – they’re always the craziest, with the heaviest dose of drama and gossip for the following morning. Purse friendly, openly hedonistic and the kind of nights that require only Sainsbury’s basics wine and your best friends, Leeds’s much- loved weekly student nights are a testament to the unique clubbing experience the city’s students get blessed with year after year.