There was a comedy show back in the day with a fellow called Harry Enfield. One of his sketches about a Yorkshire marketing guru – George Whitebread – who was a crashing sexist/homophobe amongst other foibles. Anyway, one line sticks in the mind as his response to a question about sophistication. Incredulous he barks “Sophistication? Don’t talk to me about sophistication luv, I’ve been to Leeds!”
I’m happy to report George and I differ. Sort of. (I mean I differ on all the ‘isms obviously.) As in I’ve just spent 2 days in Leeds but I still haven’t been there.
Let me explain.
Drafted in to run a customer event I was booked a couple of nights at the really rather central Park Plaza hotel. Thus on rain soaked October Monday afternoon as the gloom became night I made the short hop, slip and stumble from the railway station to check in. As colleagues arrived we used my room as a meeting venue because due to a (happy) hotel mix up I’d been allocated a suite. (There’s a first time for everything.)
When we finish on the briefing it’s approaching 8PM. A quick check outside and it’s incessantly precipitating (as they say oop north). So we opt to eat in and slip down to the ChinoLatino “pan Asian” restaurant on the first floor. Sounds hideous but actually turned out some (reet) tasty food.
Fat chewed as well as fine food we are pooped and I retire. News at 10 in the bath? Why not as we don’t have a tub-telly at home. (I know, we are sooo last century.) Then retire to bed for an 07.00 start. In the blink of an eye we’re breakfasted and off to the client offices the other side of the station. Next thing it’s 19.30 and we’re asking security to release us from the building.
8PM again and I’m meeting another colleague to brief them for the following day. We do so over dinner. As it’s raining, we have a diner allowance at our digs and I’m bushed we opt again for ChinoLatino and try the rest of the menu. Excellent again. Then it’s Newsnight in the bath followed by bed. (Some time after this point I dreamt the sound of a trampolining competition in the room next door followed by an OTT replication of the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally. That was a dream, right?) Is it 07.00 already? Time to get into the office. 12 hours later and I’m on a nearby platform waiting for another (delayed) train.
So despite having spent days in central Leeds this week, I’ve still not been there.
Train-hotel-office-hotel-office-train. No Leeds actually visited. Such is the life of the business traveller.
Although from my 20th floor corner suite, it looked nice: all slick and glittery in the autumn night.
Maybe next time I’m in Leeds I’ll visit it eh?