David Parkin on hipsters in Halifax, Prince Naseem boxing clever and discovering a surprising lookalike

David Parkin on hipsters in Halifax, Prince Naseem boxing clever and discovering a surprising lookalike

IT’S official! That definitive guide to all things trendy, The Guardian, has declared that Halifax is the ‘Shoreditch of the North’. In my younger days The Guardian was the newspaper read by Birkenstock-wearing teachers and social workers and certainly couldn’t be termed trendy. Nowadays it is popular with those who work in the arts, media and politics. It’s dating service is very popular and a friend of mine who lives in London met his now wife on it. I once considered the Guardian Soulmates dating site but I had concerns about the foot hygiene of potential matches. Anyway, back to Halifax and its newly-declared status as the hipster capital of Northern England. I wonder how many people who live in the Calderdale town welcome this trendy title? Not that many, I suspect. If you’ve visited Shoreditch in recent years it has undergone something of a gentrification from a working class area in East London to a trendy hub for digital and technology businesses. You can’t move for long beards, carefully-crafted lop-sided slicked haircuts, tattoos, check shirts and tight jeans. They all think they have an individual look and I’d compliment them on that if they didn’t all look the same. As you might expect, a myriad of coffee bars, rum shacks and street food kitchens have sprung up to serve this hipster community in the Borough of Hackney. But it didn’t all happen overnight and it will take some time for Halifax to undergo its renaissance into a Northern hipster hub. In the meantime make the most of a visit to what is an attractive, down-to-earth town with the...
David Parkin finds out why all the world is a stage and ponders his demise

David Parkin finds out why all the world is a stage and ponders his demise

ONE of our most celebrated Shakespearean actors was the rather surprise guest speaker at last week’s Harrogate Business Lunch. Simon Callow followed in the footsteps of entertaining and inspiring raconteurs including Brian Blessed, Sir Matthew Pinsent…and Barry from Eastenders. Mind you, I don’t think anyone else could get the reaction he did just by shouting: “Janine!” I mentioned a couple of months ago how I had been invited to the lunch by Philip Jordan, corporate partner at law firm Ward Hadaway. At the time I misheard who the guest speaker was and thought it was X Factor guru Simon Cowell, which Phil didn’t appreciate as he is a big fan of Simon Callow’s work. I have to say I didn’t realise Phil had a theatrical bent, but then given he is from Hull I’d imagine he’s kept it hidden for years. Perhaps expecting lots of ‘luvvie’ stories from the stage, I went along to the Pavilions in Harrogate not expecting much. But Simon Callow was hugely entertaining with a dry, self-deprecating sense of humour and, clearly, an appreciation of the earthier elements of British TV and theatre. Not much of an academic, his career in the theatre began when he blagged a job working in the box office at the Old Vic theatre after writing a fan letter to Sir Laurence Olivier who was artistic director of the National Theatre. Inspired by what he saw on the stage at the Old Vic, he went on to become an actor, but told the audience that his early memories were not of treading the boards rubbing shoulders with our great thespians....
David Parkin on a reality rocket, the business of food and drink and Victoria’s secret

David Parkin on a reality rocket, the business of food and drink and Victoria’s secret

HOW times have changed. In my youth, if you were told that an exotically-named billionaire was planning to launch a rocket to the moon that was twice as powerful as anything sent before it into space, you’d have probably thought it was the fantastical plot of the next James Bond film starring Roger Moore. But 1970s fantasy became millennial reality this week when American entrepreneur Elon Musk launched his rocket, the Falcon Heavy into space. Not only that but the rocket – which is capable of carrying a payload of 64 tonnes, equivalent to five double-decker buses – was carrying Musk’s own red Tesla sports car (he is the founder of the electric car manufacturer) with a space-suited mannequin at the wheel and David Bowie’s Space Oddity playing on a loop on the car’s stereo. In the future it is said that the Falcon Heavy could transport bigger satellites and take large robots to the surface of Mars and other planets such as Saturn and Jupiter and their moons. Now the rocket is in orbit above the Earth, Nasa has officially designated the California-built cherry red Tesla it is carrying and its dummy driver as a “celestial object”. Even Ian Fleming wouldn’t have pushed his luck with a plot like that. In the 1979 film Moonraker James Bond is sent to investigate the theft of a space shuttle which leads him to Hugo Drax, who manufactured the shuttle and harbours a plan to wipe out the world’s population and recreate humanity with a master race on the moon. I don’t think I’m ruining the story for you if I...
David Parkin on Power, the Presidents Club and the Big Ticket bash

David Parkin on Power, the Presidents Club and the Big Ticket bash

WHO is the most powerful person in Yorkshire? I’ll give you three guesses. You want a few clues? OK try these. Our Power Person was born in Lancashire, grew up in Bristol and lives in the West Midlands. No idea? It’s Sajid Javid, the Conservative MP for Bromsgrove and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. He was named this week as top of the Power 100 by regional business magazine Insider because it is he who will have the final say on devolution deals in Yorkshire. So as soon as Javid signs off the devolution deals on the table for the region does that take him out of the Power list? He’s not the most charismatic or high profile of politicians and, before this, probably wouldn’t have made the top 10 of biggest influencers in Bromsgrove. But if he can find a way to get Yorkshire devolution agreed then he deserves plenty of credit. However that doesn’t look to be particularly close given 18 of Yorkshire’s local authorities are committed to a ‘One Yorkshire’ plan while the remaining two – Sheffield and Rotherham – have had a devolution deal for Sheffield City Region already agreed by the Government, paving the way for an elected mayor in that part of South Yorkshire. Negotiations are ongoing and while you might think the size and will of the 18 would overcome the resistance of the two, the advantage that Sheffield and Rotherham have is that they, like teenagers doing their GCSEs, actually read the exam paper on devolution set by the Government. It clearly stated it wanted city...