Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The Victoria Quarter
This collection of Arcades in Leeds city centre has changed a lot over the years but the interior decor & architecture has remained virtually the same.
In my youth it was a place to hang out on a Saturday afternoon, after a refreshing pint of IPA at The Turks Head,AKA Whitelocks, The oldest pub in town situated in an alleyway at the side of M&S, it was a little Oasis of peace & quiet right next to the bustling noise of Briggate.
The stores in and around the old County arcade ( as it was ) represented just about everything we were interested in at that time. There were 2 music stores, in the arcade itself was Banks Music
where I purchased my first electric guitar ( gladly forgotten as it was THAT awful) just around the corner outside the arcade itself there was Kitchens music store, bigger, flashier & it seemed to me much more serious. It was here I purchased my first Acoustic guitar one which I still use 30 odd years later.
After spending time in Kitchens daydreaming about Gibson Les Pauls, while listening to 10 or so interpretations of "Smoke on the water" by the local wannabees, we would head to " Scene & Heard" an independent ( remember them ) record shop. Time was spent here looking at new releases & soaking up the cover art, track listings & recording information on those lovely old vinyl long players, declaring to each other what we thought was brilliant or crap.
Just up the precinct from Kitchens was Virgin records, note: not mega store or otherwise. A 2 floor building that you could not swing a cat in, the downstairs was the place to buy used records & many a gem was chosen here on either the band name or album title those that were taken home & after listening to them I hated could always be sold somewhere else.
Clutching our latest purchases we would then head to " Boodle Am " a trippy hippy clothes shop full of all sorts of things you could not get any where else which amazingly enough is still there !
With the advent of New Wave in the late seventies trips here were replaced by a jaunt down to "X clothes" some distance away for something more trim. What fashion victims we were.
Then it would be time for home on the bus unless we were staying to eat in town at a local Bistro, where the New York Strip steak was cheap & tasty along with a carafe of house wine.
Halcyon days, ones that I will always remember.