Tony arrived from Denver SDS last night having connected via Chicago and Manchester. Unfortunately his suitcase did not arrive with him having somehow ended up on another flight. We caught up on news, the progress of the show, and made plans to make a plan. This morning after breakfast at the Refectory we took advantage of the sunshine and quite literally warmed up outside. Once everyone was ready we took over part of the large reception area, moved the table tennis tables to one side and rehearsed the show with a transient audience, one concerned person stopped to ask what we were doing as they said it looked "full-on".
We ran through the show and then individual scenes that needed work right up until lunch time. Tony hadn't seen the city centre yet so we decided to head into town to get some lunch. We wondered through Leeds Kirkgate indoor market, a magnificent building completed in 1857 and the largest indoor market in Europe. The idea of the indoor market is to protect traders and shoppers from the weather year round; as we have discovered, summer is no guarantee of good weather in the north of England. Entering the market is a little like stepping back in time, decorative wrought ironwork, a domed high ceiling, and an uneven flagstone floor, along with small stalls selling old fashioned sweets.
One of the most apparent differences between England and New Zealand is the number of people. Everywhere we go there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people all around us. This makes navigating paths, shops or markets, very slow, especially so for Glen, who has to constantly weave through crowds who don't see him at first because in his chair his default position is below average head hight and he is blocked from view by all the bodies of the crowd. To put this in context there are 62 million people in the UK inhabiting a land mass 23,860 km² smaller than New Zealand, which in contrast, has a population of 4.3 million people.
When we first entered the town I thought there must have been an event that was drawing exceptional crowds, but to my surprise Elvis had not returned from the dead to walk amongst us once again, this was just a normal Tuesday with people everywhere, milling around, shopping, eating, drinking and wearing the strangest clothes. My conclusion about the current state of fashion in the UK is that there are two basic looks people are wearing: 1. People seem to be stealing their grandmothers cushions, removing the stuffing and sewing them together by hand to form crude shapes that do not resemble the human form and therefore are very poorly fitting, these strange constructions are then worn over the top of tightly fitting undergarments that look like thermals but which obviously are of no practical value. 2. The second style that seems to be popular is worn by a group of people who have been kept in absolute isolation from society since birth and only exposed to the show 'Jersey Shore'. It is from this that they have developed their entire understanding of appropriate dress and social interaction. (There does also seem to be some hybridization of the two looks into something that resembles cushions at the beach with elbow patches.)
Tony had spotted a Cornish Pasty shop on our way and was keen to sample their pies. We sat out at some tables in the pedestrianized area enjoying the warm day and ate our lunches while we watched thousands of people pass by. In the town there had been a busker doing human beat-box with a mic and PA which all of us had thought was pretty cool when we first walked by. However as we sat within earshot of this for forty minutes it became decreasingly cool, until one by one, each one of our conversations started to revolve around getting away from the area as fast as possible. To be fair it was an impressive feat of endurance on both his part and ours, I'm sure that he continued on long after we left. Glen gave the guy some change and we made our way back to the university to continue our work on the show.
We finally made the plan we had planned to make and had dinner at the student union pub two floors underground. Of course no visit to a pub would be complete without a game of pool and I managed to sink two of the other teams balls, into two separate pockets, with a single shot. Nothing pulls a team together like witnessing spectacular failure and so we decided to call it a night and head back to our rooms. Tomorrow night I pack in our show and Thursday is opening night, lets hope my technical skills are better than my pool.