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Why I shall never leave the North


Terpsichore
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Last night I attended an exhilarating concert by Huddersfield Choral Society in Huddersfield town hall. They sang Poulenc's Gloria and Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony (a wonderful setting of the words of Walt Whitman). The soloists were Sarah Fox and Jeremy Carpenter and they were accompanied by the magnificent orchestra of Opera North. I have been subscribing to the Choral for upwards of 10 years and that was the best I have ever heard them perform. Indeed it was one of the best concerts I have heard from any musicians anywhere.

 

Earlier in the day I attended an exhibition in Bradford by an artist I had never heard of called Martin Hearne. He paints his surroundings in Bradford and its people. I was enchanted and transfixed.  I don't think it is too much to call him a Lowry for out times.

 

This evening I will see the Royal Ballet dance Winter's Tale at the House and they will doubtless be superb.  But after the exhilaration of yesterday's concert by the Choral the Royal Ballet have such a hard act to follow. 

 

A week or so earlier I saw Northern Ballet's Cleopatra in Sheffield for the second time in the current season.

 

If I lived in London I am not sure that I would traipse back to Leeds or Sheffield for Northern Ballet, or to Huddersfield for the Choral or to Manchester for the Halle and I would miss so much.  That's why I will never desert the North for London.

 

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The trick is ....is to keep a lot of Northern friends and go to see things when you visit them!! Obviously you would see less than if you lived there but quite honestly if I was firmly based up North I would rarely get down to London no doubt so would miss things there.....it cuts both ways in the end.

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I suspect not that many!! At least not to see for seeings sake so to speak! People in the London area would tend to wait to see if it comes down South......I tend to do this I'm afraid.....unless..... I'm visiting friends in Sheffield, Bradford or Leicester......only one left in Liverpool now :( then we might go to something though most of my other friends are not into Ballet so it would be for straight theatre mostly or art exhibitions etc

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Just to add further:

 

When the then London Festival Ballet premiered Natalia Makarova's production of Swan Lake, the premiere was held in Bradford.  Friends of LFB could book a trip that the company had organised.  It did not seem worth me travelling south to London to take the coach to Bradford so I just booked the theatre and hotel through the company, as did another lady also from somewhere up North.  No-one else booked that trip!

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Cleary I'm an exception as I've travelled all over England and Wales to watch ballet, not to mention much of the continent but London of course has more arts events than anywhere else. 

 

Arts aside, the quality of life in London isn't what it used to be as it becomes increasingly crowded and crime ridden.  Given a choice I would probably leave if I had the opportunity.

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I thought it was just my poor memory but I have been convinced that London has got considerably more crowded in the last five years or so. Whenever I go to Oxford Street it seems like Christmas/jan sales every time......just so,many people. Perhaps I was immune when I actually lived there but it definitely seems worse in that respect.

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It's not your imagination; commuting into the centre has never been fun but now it's an ordeal,  Even though they have improved the service on many tube lines(not all), it is a real ordeal getting into work in the morning and Victoria is closed every morning because of sheer numbers that it cannot cope with,  It's not just the tube ether as my Southern Region line has had the platforms lengthened to take ten carriage trains again because of he pressure of numbers.

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We've found that London is increasingly crowded - and more expensive - every time we visit. We only come over once a year at the most, and try to avoid being there in summer, but even during term-time it seems to be crowded everywhere.

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When we visit, we stay at a hotel that's within walking distance of most of the places we want to go (except for the museums and palace at Kensington), so we don't have to worry too much about public transport. I used to work in London back in the late 1970s and it was a lot easier to get around then.

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I have to say,as much as I love living in Northern Ireland with our spectacular scenery,one aspect of no longer living in England i miss is the fact I haven`t been in London since I took my last dance audition,which would have been 1992. I`m sure if I still lived in Manchester , going down for the odd weekend would be do-able.Yes,I know i`m not a million miles away but I sometimes feel as though I am. And I STILL want to see a ballet at Covent Garden one day.!

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Having been to school in West Kensington, after working in the City and officially with a professional address in London I am very much at home in our nation's capital but I am not in thrall to it.  There are certainly more theatres in the West End but but most of the shows there are productions that I do not want to see. When I lived in London I spent most of my time at the Coliseum, Sadler's Wells and the House for opera and ballet and the Barbican and National Theatre for drama.  With the Library and Royal Exchange in Manchester, the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds and Stephen Joseph in Scarborough I have a similar choice here. My two favourite orchestras are in Manchester and Liverpool.  The Huddersfield Choral and National Media Museum are unique,

 

When there is the promise of an exceptional performance or exhibition in London, elsewhere in the UK or abroad I make a special journey to see it.  A few years ago one of the local papers compared a week on the town for a couple in London with one in New York. By Thursday the couple who had opted for New York were ahead,  The shows were better, food and accommodation were cheaper and there really wasn't much difference between the return rail fair to Euston and the return air fare to Kennedy.

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I used to love the Liverpool "Phil" at the Philharmonic Hall and when I lived in Liverpool went there more often than to the Festival Hall when I lived in London though for a couple of years I did eventually have a job at The Festival Hall in the evenings when I did hear a lot of music.

When I moved back down to London one of the things I missed was the Liverpool library. I loved going there. I couldn't find a normal public library to compare in London. This was before the British Library at Kings Cross but it wasn't quite the same as it wasn't just a normal public library. The best one I eventually discovered for working was in the Barbican.......but I need to check when the Barbican opened may not have been in 1972!!

If you are based in or near any of the big cities up north there is plenty going on in both music and theatre......ballet less so....with perhaps Leeds being the exception but to be honest unless you do live in London or Birmingham you would have to travel to see ballet regularly anyway.

I'm firmly fixed down South now and love it here on the south coast(not everybody's cup of tea) but when I did live up North I loved it there too.......so easy to reach fantastic countryside. If I hadn't been into doing ballet I would have probably stayed up there but London and it's Dance Centre called! It did take me quite a number of years to feel settled in London though.....I always knew even then that I wouldn't stay there permanently but for nearly 30 years I did!!!!

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You are not wrong in thinking that London is getting more crowded.  A recent programme said that London was growing at the rate of 1,500 people a week.  :o

 

As someone who has been living and working in London for the last 25 years, and has travelled extensively abroad, I have to say I love the place.  But I can see it could be a shock to people who are not used to the pace of life and the sheer numbers of human beings who all seem to be in a hurry.  I have friends who live only 20 miles away, and refuse to go on the grounds that it is too stressful.  (!)

 

I hated New York.  I don't know how long ago the comparison was made with London, but I suspect it might have been a while ago.  Food can always be found at a reasonable price, it just depends on what you want.  And just look at all the free attractions London has to offer - museums, concerts, art galleries.  Not to mention the lovely parks.  No other capital city can match it, in my personal opinion. 

 

Doesn't mean to say I don't like Northern towns, I do.  But as a Southerner, I shall stoutly defend the best city in the world.  :D

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In the North we talk to each other! 

 

Some years ago (I think I have told this tale before but will tell it again!) I was on a bus in Milton Keynes.  I'm not always comfortable on buses having been a train user all my life.  I asked the lady I was sitting next to if she could tell me when I needed to get off and we started chatting,  As I stood up to get off she said to me "You are from Liverpool aren't you" to which I replied in the affirmative.  She then said that she could tell because no-one local would ever dream of starting a conversation on a bus with strangers!

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In the North we talk to each other! 

 

 

 

And we do in London too, particularly if someone looks lost or in need of help.  Almost every time I'm going to ROH I point someone in the direction of the theatre they're after when looking very lost at the junction of Long Acre and Drury Lane.

 

Having started talking to a confused looking lady with a stick on a bus, I was almost late for a show as I helped her to the bus stop she wanted for her onward journey (and then, much to the confusion of the driver and two other ballet-goers on the bus, onto the bus itself).

 

The North doesn't have a monopoly on being nice.

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As someone born in London who has lived there ever since. I think I can still look at the city objectively and the changes I've experienced have made the place very different to what it was. 

 

Northerners ARE friendlier, just as I have come to believe country dwellers are nicer than city dwellers.

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And we do in London too, particularly if someone looks lost or in need of help.  Almost every time I'm going to ROH I point someone in the direction of the theatre they're after when looking very lost at the junction of Long Acre and Drury Lane.

 

Having started talking to a confused looking lady with a stick on a bus, I was almost late for a show as I helped her to the bus stop she wanted for her onward journey (and then, much to the confusion of the driver and two other ballet-goers on the bus, onto the bus itself).

 

The North doesn't have a monopoly on being nice.

 

Are you originally from elsewhere though?

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Definitely more chatty in Liverpool that's for sure. A bus driver once diverted from his route in Liverpool to drop me at the end of my road as it was quite late.......this may be exceptional but I didn't find it "odd" at the time.....what I'd rather come to expect of mad Liverpudlians in fact!!

I can be quite chatty on buses/trains if I sense another person wants to chat (but can be the reverse with head buried in book) and don't find it hard to talk to strangers but then my mum was a Yorkshire lass so probably got that from her a bit.......an inveterate stranger chatter up!!

Southerners are more reserved as a very general rule but can be chatty too!! Just more a 100-1 than 10-1 up North I reckon. But then judging by the overcrowding in London at the moment.......just as likely to meet up with one!!

 

One of the most helpful servers in the London Bloch shop is a Northern lass too.

 

The receptionist at the RBS is a wonderfully helpful and cheerful young lady always delivering the same information as if for the first time to people coming in......patience in loads......She is from the USA though!!

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..............unless you do live in London or Birmingham you would have to travel to see ballet regularly anyway.

.......................

 

There's perhaps more going on in ballet outside London than  you think.

 

Since 23 February 2013 I have seen 36 ballets.

 

Of these 11 have been in London, 7 in Leeds, 6 in Manchester, 3 in Bradford, 2 in Pitlochry and 1 each in Amsterdam, Chelmsford, Glasgow, Kendal, Sheffield, Stockport and Tottenham. 

 

I saw the first night of Birmingham's Pagodas and Rambert's Castaways in Manchester.

 

The best performance by any company during that time by a country mile was Northern's Midsummer's Night Dream in Leeds followed by the Dutch National Ballet's Junior Company in Amsterdam.

 

In addition to those 36 live performances I saw 4 HDTV transmissions from the House, 5 from the Bolshoi and one from the Mariinsky in Huddersfield or Wakefield,

 

We get by between our ferret tending and our woad painting.

 

I am not one for knocking the South. I love London and indeed the whole of the rural South from Kent to Cornwall.  The friendliest and kindest people I know in the UK happen to be in a suburb of London though most of them were born in Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone or were descended from parents or grandparents who were born in one of those countries.  

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This may be a big city thing but you don't get the cliqueiness that you can find in many parts of the country. Because a very large number of Londoners have come from elsewhere, both from other parts of the UK and abroad, they are open to meeting new people and you are not regarded as an 'incomer' because you have only been living in London for 20 years. Londoners are generally quite reserved but when I have needed help, eg because I have fallen over or needed help getting a pushchair up or down some stairs, I have invariably had someone come to my aid. At certain times of day and in certain places it can be incredibly busy though. When I took my 13 year old Canadian niece to the piazza in Covent Garden a few years ago she was quite intimidated by the crowds and stuck to me like glue. On the same visit my sister was quite overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle in Central London when she was on her way to see me, coming from King's Cross to Victoria Station.

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Benefits of living up North

 

Beautiful scenery - Yorkshire is one of the most picturesque places in Britain

Culture - Ballet, Musical Theatre, Theatre, Art Galleries, exhibitions, Museums all within 30 mins drive of my home in 2 fabulous cities (Leeds & Sheffield)

Tourist Attractions - there are 497 tourist attractions in Yorkshire according to Trip Advisor

Peace - rural location within 15 mins of 3 town centres mean I have the best of both worlds

Transport - London is 2 hours away by train Wakefield to Kings Cross. 

House prices - loads cheaper - you get more for your money 

 

London is lovely to visit, but why would I want to live there when I have the best up North!

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Actually, I love Yorkshire, and seriously considered moving up there at one point, but work took me in a dfferent direction.

 

Now here is a question for you northerners.  If you were a southerner, contemplating moving north, where would you go?  There are several important points dictating location:

 

1.  Must be within public transport distance of an airport used by budget airlines as well as BA etc.

 

2.  Must be close to a town which can be reached easily by public transport.

 

3.  Must not be out in the middle of nowhere.

 

3.  Must have lovely scenery within short distance. 

 

 

I look forward to hearing your answers!

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