Resolution 37 - thank god you're all not as lazy as me
I haven't blogged for ages and I marvel at those who do more frequently and eloquently than me. I worry that I'm lazy. I'd rather sit in front of the telly box with half an eye on the drivel being broadcast and a full eye on my phone. Flipping between Twitter and Facebook. My own children think my phone is attached to me, and to my shame my five year old told her mum that when daddy takes them to the park he sits looking at his phone all the time.
Anyway, that's that. I'm not going to rehash old blogs again, you can read them yourself if you really feel the need.
Instead I've been reflecting on being back in the rat race, now that I've been back at work three whole months, give or take a week or so. The honeymoon period is over, but I'm still benefitting from a more healthy perspective on my job and where it fits in terms of importance vs the rest of my life. And my life is more interesting now than it was before I ventured off on a career break.
I remain close to loads of the people who I met during my time off, inspirational souls like Sarah Cartin who this weekend pulled off an amazing feat by opening the Picnic Parlour on the first floor of the former Zavvi in the centre of Bradford. Helped in no small part by Gideon Seymour of Fabric Culture http://www.fabricculture.co.uk/, Sarah has created a fun space designed for older people to drop into to meet others, have a spot of lunch, read a book, view the art, surf the web, or simply sit and ponder life. It is an awesome space that is helping breath new life back into the centre of Bradford.
The city, which is often scorned and criticised by its own, let alone outsiders, is having a mini renaissance of sorts. And its rejuvination seems to me to be born out of the pig-headedness and determination of those locals who refuse to give up or give in. As an outsider, a recent 'blow in' as they say in Northern Ireland, my sense is a corner has been turned.
Having spent the last four years living in Shipley, I lived in Pudsey prior to that, I had never really ventured into BD1 much unless I was going to St George's Hall. But my volunteering last year took me to Age UK's pokey little office that backs on City Park (sounds better than it is - it backs onto the back of the restaurants that sit on the edge of the park). Before long I started gaining an affinity with the city. I've always loved its architecture. Waterstones is breathtaking, the buildings in the surrounding streets wouldn't look out of place in Edinburgh, and the area near BCB http://www.bcbradio/co.uk also has an up and coming feel to it. The Sparrow real ale house is thriving, the posh men's clothes shop on the corner whose name escapes me looks the business, and there's a fancy little deli that is always busy as far as I can tell.
So I find myself standing up for my adopted city at every opportunity, challenging colleagues at work to justify their sniggers or snipes. And using my Twitter account to spread the word to those who follow me from further afield. A month or so ago I even flirted with the idea of organising a music festival called Bratfud Rocks, registering the Twitter account www.twitter.com/bratfudrocks and buying the web domain. Alas, being a lazy so and so I've done very little since. Yet others are cracking on. The Bradford Bloggers Club and Bradford Buzz blog http://bradfordbuzz.com/ are doing a far better job than I'd ever get round to doing. There's a momentum building, and it's palpable.
Last night saw the official launch of City Park, ironically I was otherwise engaged in Birmingham of all places - another city that has to fight hard against the rest of the country's in-built prejudices about it - so I had to watch it all unfurl via Twitter. I'd have loved to have been there to feel the positive vibe first-hand, and to have hung around to join the likes of Keith Wildman on the Save The Odeon protest. The Pity Poor Bradford blog is worth a read btw if you haven't already http://www.pitypoorbradford.co.uk/.
Pic stolen from Keith Wildman's instagram - hope he doesn't mind - http://instagr.am/p/IkTGnVDzz_/
The fight to save the Odeon represents more than just campaigning to keep a historical building, it captures the essence of Bradford's recent revival. Ordinary people clubbing together and finding a common cause to unite behind. Why should we just allow another beautiful building to be demolished and replaced with something less interesting? The tide is turning, and not surprisingly all the candidates for the Bradford West by-election have started latching onto the issue in order to garner favour with potential voters. And judging by the number of people who protested last night and the number of supportive car horns a honking, we may just win the fight.
And if we do it'll make every Bradordian who was prepared to stand up to the neysayers, a little prouder as a result. It can then look back at us as a symbol of Bradford - once consigned to the rubbish heap, getting back up on its feet and standing proud, regaining its footing as the great city it truly is. So says a Southerner from Reading.