Last Thursday I went to see comedian Sarah Millican at Leeds Town Hall.
I’d booked tickets for myself and James months ago, but unfortunately he ended up being away that week with work. Luckily for me though, super friend and fellow feminist/Leeds adventurer/Game of Thrones fan Kirsty was free and came with me.
We decided to meet at The Liquorist (Greek Street) for a pre-gig meal. I’ve been to The Liquorist before for drinks (I’m a fan of their Fizz Bowls – “a bottle of Prosecco served on ice, with mini carafes of fruit liqueurs and garnishes”) but never realised they did food too. They are one of the many Leeds food establishments offering 50% off throughout January, and as neither Kirsty or I had eaten there before and it’s close to the Town Hall, it seemed like a good place to try.
Being reserved, we decided to give starters a miss and just go for a main course each. Being not so reserved, we also went for cocktails (mine of course was a Zombie, as a general rule of thumb for cocktails is – the more rum, the better.) Classic cocktails and all mojitos are £5 during their happy “hour” (4 – 9pm every evening) so it felt like good economical sense to go for one of them.
I chose the sea bass and greens which looked amazing and tasted delicious. Being a blogger, I should have taken a photo, but I was too hungry, so here’s a photo of my empty plate (bar a bit of broccoli!) afterwards – a sign of a good meal.
Kirsty had the beer battered fish and chips which she said were really tasty, but she asked for it without peas. Who doesn’t like peas with their fish and chips?! (She also doesn’t like strawberries, and I think that says a lot about a person.)
Although the two waitresses were lovely, I think they were a bit short staffed so the service was quite slow which meant we didn’t have time for dessert (which was a shame as the banoffee waffle sounded really tempting.)
We did stop at the little Morrisons store opposite the Town Hall however and bought some Wispa Bites to share, so our sweet tooths (teeth?!) were satisfied at least. (It is a truth universally acknowledged, that everything is made better with chocolate treats.)
I’ve only been going to the Town Hall for the last few years. I never realised before then what a great venue it is and the variety of events that are on. I’ve been to see an orchestral performance of Peter and the Wolf and The Snowman, playing along to the film on screen; a talk/sort-of-book-reading by Caitlin Moran (also with Kirsty); a winter pop-up bar in the cells under the Town Hall (again with Kirsty…); and, most recently, comedian Dylan Moran. The Town Hall also hosts Leeds International Film Festival, the rather popular gin festival, and various corporate events.
I’d been really looking forward to seeing Sarah Millican. I tried to get tickets a few years ago but the local venues had all sold out, so I made do with her “Chatterbox Live” DVD instead. I was a bit nervous that she wouldn’t be as good as I’d hoped; I’ve been to see performers before with high expectations, only to be disappointed. I needn’t have worried though – she was fantastic. After a 20 minute support act from Jonathan Mayor, Sarah Millican delivered two acts that had me in stitches from start to finish. It’s amazing how someone can have such a friendly accent and seem so gentle and inviting, and yet talk such utter filth.
From life in the country, to dealing with self-esteem issues and bullies, Sarah’s material was flawless. It’s impressive when comedians can make you empathise with them and also feel inspired, as well as non-stop chuckling.
(On a side note, Sarah Millican launched her own online women’s magazine Standard Issue, which is full of articles for ‘normal’ women. Rather than making you feel guilty for not looking like celebrities, and shaming other women for gaining or losing weight, not being a career woman or for not being a stay-at-home mum etc. the website features a mixture of both humorous and heartfelt (sometimes both) articles that you can actually relate to. I’m really grateful for Standard Issue and also The Pool, another online platform, created by BBC 6 radio presenter Lauren Laverne, and former Cosmopolitan editor, Sam Baker. It’s such a refreshing change to read something aimed at women that doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself.)
Sarah ended the evening by letting people know there’d be a collection outside for three charities (which was a really nice touch and made me wonder why more people don’t do this after their shows) and that there’d be free badges saying either “pet” or “flower” – two terms of endearment she often uses, one to describe people who need looking after and constant praise (pet) and the other for those who are more self-sufficient (flower.) I ended up taking a “flower” badge – but it was a tough call!
After the opera on Tuesday, and impromptu drinks on Wednesday, Thursday didn’t let me down. I’d spent another lovely evening with a friend in Leeds.
There’s loads on at the Town Hall, catering for all tastes, from LGBTQ talks to American wrestling, so why not take a look at their event guide and see if there’s anything you fancy.