I recently wrote a love letter to London and thought it was only fair to share the love and write a post about Leeds, my hometown and now, new town.
Leeds is part of who I am, it always was and always will be.
I moved here from Ilkley aged 7 and cried all the way to our new home, had my first proper kiss here aged 11, (in my parent’s restaurant with a boy I also married aged 4 in my favourite dress and he in my Dad’s suit jacket). Oh young love. Incidentally I forgot to breathe through the kiss and felt quite dizzy. It was marvellous.
I went to school in Leeds (hated), Sixth Form College in Leeds (loved) and made friends, boyfriends, first loves’ and more, all in Leeds. Like many though, it was also the place I wanted to escape from aged 19, to become free and independent. I felt I’d exhausted all it had to offer and was desperate to move onto the next big thing: London, to go to University, to become an adult, to follow my dream and become a director.
One baby later plus 10 years or so and some things change…
Having had Baby O and moving from London to Bristol (for a short while and somewhere I also loved) it was literally time to come home to roost. Apprehensive at first (would I turn back into a teenager, would Leeds be enough for me, would I find work???)-answers good and bad: yes, yes and yes, it soon became obvious that Leeds was the best move I could have made. I’ve curbed the teenager tantrums just about!
I don’t know if I’ll always feel this way (due to my career etc) but right now, being back home feels totally and utterly right.
Having family to hand to help with childcare has been priceless but it’s not just that, it’s having family around full stop. I’ve always loved being part of and around, my very own Big Fat Greek Family; they are incredibly funny, often crazy but they are utterly loyal and supportive, and quite frankly make life worth living. Getting to be near them so much and all my oldest and very amazing friends too, makes me wonder why I didn’t move sooner. I miss my London friends so much I could cry but we too are like family, and see each other as often as we can.
As I’ve mentioned before, London and a newborn was not so fun for me and my job means expending a lot of personal energy on meetings and networking to secure work. Something not so easy with a breastfed baby, post C section, no sleep for months on end and and no energy nor family to hand.
To have my folks here has made getting back to work seem seamless. I am so grateful to them. I’m about to shoot a set of commercials/virals soon, I have an animation in production, a feature film in development along with several other projects in various stages of development and literally about a million meetings about all of the above and more, along with lecturing at various Universities and I couldn’t be doing half of that without them.
Many people assume, and I was guilty of it too, that there’s no work outside of London. Oh how wrong I was. The BBC are moving to Salford and Manchester and many departments are already based there, the commercials world which I am now entering after mostly working in documentary and drama is brimming with work and there is a diverse and prolific drama and feature film industry here.
I’ve happily found that Leeds and Manchester are bursting with work for me and I’m so happy with the feedback I’m getting on my directing showreel and projects. Click here if you’d like to watch it.
Forget London, heck even forget LA- it’s all about Leeds for me.
Photograph ©Peter Broadbent.