Bradford Impressions

Having spent a weekend in Bradford for the Infest music festival I also got time to wander around the city and soak up some of its heritage.

While driving from Keswick to Bradford via Kendal I passed a road direction sign saying:


This amused me no end as most of you will know the Bradford & Bingley was a building society that was taken over by a bank [I think]. I had not realised they were the names of places. This maybe due to their advertising being based on two bowler hatted characters called Bradford and Bingley.

This area of the UK is lesser explored by me. I spent a week near York but didn’t actually go into York so this was a chance to find out about a northern industrial town.

On Saturday morning we needed some liquid latex and so used Google maps to find a shop that would hopefully sell some. It was in a shopping centre. On the way we passed the town hall.

Town Hall
Town Hall

This was actually quite pretty and built using local stone as a lot of the city was. The drive into the university the day before had highlighted that this city, while once great, wasn’t that great and had suffered a lot of economic depression. There were many boarded up buildings and run down areas. The overall tide is turning though as new shopping centres pop up in the centre, but the long term economic benefit of these doesn’t seem useful to a town. They might make the locals think the centre is nice and it looks good but the vast majority of money spent there will leave the town and head to corporations elsewhere in the world. A thriving shopping centre is not the economic boon to a town I suspect locals think it is.

The Kirkgate Shopping centre looked like a 60s build. While walking there I think we went past five Greggs shops. I get it that they are quite cheap but I’m not sure that’s a good sign. The Joke Shop in the market area of the Kirkgate sold liquid latex along with cheap sex toys and bongs. A funny little shop with an odd clientele.

Just What You Need
Just What You Need

I had, in the previous week, been discussing “seaside” joke shops with Penguin and we wondered if there’re still places that sell joke fingers and snappy chewing gum. I was glad to have found this little shop.

Centenary Square
Centenary Square

After a nice breakfast we wandered back the University and music and escape.

The Sunday morning meant that I wanted to have breakfast and also see the Science and Media museum. It’s possibly even a “national” museum. Just Googled that and yes, it’s a “national” museum.

Firstly we went to the Cathedral to have a look and it was “churchy”. There were some historical aspects that were interesting but I wasn’t that bothered. Little Germany was close by and we wandered that and saw the mural dedicated to a band of socialists.

Power To The People
Power To The People

The Waterstones in Bradford is in the old exchange building and very grand. A lovely space and ideal for selling books where those hushed tones of a library abound.

Waterstones, Bradford
Waterstones, Bradford

Then the science and media museum. It was free and we wandered the history of photography which was pretty good and had a very lot of cameras. A lot of the older exhibits were reproductions, which I don’t like so much but, I understand why they are like that. We didn’t go into any of the temporary exhibitions and maybe that is where the value is in this museum but most of it was a bit boring and shit. As I explained previously that could be because all the museums I’ve been to before this are in this nation’s capital and large and big. I’ve also seen museums in Washington DC, maybe they aren’t representative. Overall I was disappointing by the museum there wasn’t a lot of science [none] and media was underwhelming.

Bradford seemed a little sad to me. A once majestic northern industrial town / city that has suffered and only now seems to be rejuvenating using shopping centres and little else. I hope it changes constructively, there’s a lot of glossing over the cracks when financial investment isn’t done correctly.

Infest 2017

After leaving the Lake District I drove down to Bradford. I had known about the Infest music festival for a few years but the bands in previous years had not been enough to draw me, also it’s in Bradford. Smith and I had accommodation booked in the university halls of residence and the festival itself was based in the student union. I arrived, got my keys, found my room and also found somewhere to park the car. Then I waited for Smith to get up from London and wandered the university to get my bearings.

There were three bands, the headliners, that I wanted to see:

Rotersand –  I saw these at M’era Luna and they were bloody fantastic.
Die Krupps – I’ve seen these at M’era Luna too and they were very impressive.
Revolting Cocks – pioneers of the industrial sound and iconic and influential band [although arguably Die Krupps were more important in musical history].

On the Friday evening I watched:

They Call Him Zone – slow beat goth and boring.

Noyce – band with a violinist, indie style fast beats but with goth lyrics. One of the musicians was playing a saw in a song. Could be improved (!) if the violinist played a melody rather than just holding a chord note for each line.

Accessory – good fast industrial pop, very fucking good.

Rotersand – fucking awesome.


And . . .Friday night was done.

More Rotersand
More Rotersand

We hung around for a while chatting to a few people. The rooms in halls were pretty good although there wasn’t a basin. There were two shower/toilets for four people to share which I guess is OK. It reminded me of my time in student halls at Imperial. Mind you, that particular hall of residence is no more. Bradford halls were based on town houses with four levels, IC halls were a messed up design with spiral staircases which created interesting loyalties.

Saturday morning came and it was time to find food. We wandered Bradford, I was not impressed, and bought some needed liquid latex. Then we found a small cafe and had breakfast at the Smorgasboad Bar. Upon our return to Infest we got changed and I actually felt an unease at being different. I do not get this apprehension in Germany.

Preparation Table

Saturday’s bands were:

Riotmiloo –  shouty female singer, microphone didn’t work for quite a while.Started slow, got better as beat increased. Good finish.

Chemical Sweet Kid- French. Female keyboardist and male singer and guitarist. Good, upbeat songs. Quite enjoyable. Slightly formulaic songs. Good version of Paint It Black.

Chemical sweet Kid
Chemical Sweet Kid

Empathy Test – left after two songs. See this review in this communication.

Wulfband – fast electro punk. Singing in German. Guitarist on but only played in last half of songs. Singer had a posed fight with someone during one song. Crazy. Best comment from the crowd:

“I don’t know what you are but I want more.”


Then we had food. My notes say the letter B but I can’t remember what that means!

End.user – DJ type stuff. Bullshit.

Finally to top the evening were Die Krupps – they were heavy and really good.

Die Krupps
Die Krupps

On Sunday morning we wandered around Bradford some more looking at the Cathedral, the Waterstones shop and Little Germany. I’ve just looked at the Google map of the city and it shocked the shit out of me as the University was on the wrong side of the centre. For some reason I had thought it was on the SE of the centre, I was wrong in my head and that explains what the sun was in the wrong place in the sky while I was there. This does happen at times, me being wrong, not the sun being in the wrong place. I should have studied the map a little more while I was in the city.

There’s a Science and Media museum in Bradford. We looked around it. While there was a good collection of cameras it was pretty shit for a museum. Very little science and not a great deal of media. This could be due to the fact that my local museums are all in the capital and generally pretty impressive.

So, Sunday’s bands and my thoughts follow:

Among The Echoes – standard guitar based rock with synth stuff over the top. Not good. Not bad. Quite routine.

Sidewalks and Skeletons – slow ambient DJ type stuff. Industrial noises. Not feeling it.

Vampyre Anvil – good, heavy industrial electronic. Two guys and computers. Distorted singing.

Juggernauts – Left for food after 10 mins. Belgians with shiny helmets. Not sure what was going on.

iVardensphere – upbeat. Heavy bass. Not the easiest to discriminate between all the sounds. Not sure it translates well to live. Still good but not quite same as album music. Drum solo! Really heavy song. Good variation.


Revolting Cocks – 38, No vocals for first half of song. Change of singers after Big Sexy Land. Last song Beers Steers and Queers. Then encore: If you think I’m sexy (not expected and quite disappointing).

Revolting Cocks
Revolting Cocks

I was somewhat underwhelmed by the Revolting Cocks but that’s probably normal for a band of such stature. I had enjoyed Rotersand and Die Krupps far more. However, it was good to see this seminal collection of people doing their stuff. They are quite influential although Die Krupps win the overall who influenced who competition having influenced many including Nitzer Ebb who then influenced the Cocks!

We both decided that the atmosphere on the Saturday was a little strange and I didn’t get as much of a party atmosphere as when I’m at M’era Luna. Attendance at this little festival of goths and freaks will depend on the acts they book, as it did this year.

At some point during the weekend we were sitting outside around a table. I was reading a news article on Babylonians and their understanding of trigonometry. I need some head space during the weekends otherwise I get over-loaded. I kinda shut down for a while and enter calmness. A young woman sitting opposite [looking a little smashed] asked me what was wrong with me and why wasn’t I happy. I explained I was fine. She asked again. Smith tried explaining that being quiet now and then was what I do, to reset myself. So, she asked again what was wrong with me. It was one of those situations that happen when you keep getting asked why you are in a mood, when you aren’t. The incessant questioning eventually puts you in a mood.

So, I explained to this woman that I had read a news article about how the Babylonians had possibly figured out trigonometry before Hipparchus and that an interpretation of one of their clay tablets could show a decent base sixty understanding of trigonometric tables. I explained I was a little phased as it wasn’t something I had expected.

Reply – there came none.