Thursday, 21 March 2013


Reagan Oates has written the First Person column in today's Leicester Mercury:

Stop being so negative about our culture bid
Leicester has announced that it is bidding to become the UK's next City of Culture in 2017. With a proven track record of excellent festivals and cultural events from Diwali to Pride and with the recent discovery of Richard III's bones, it's no wonder the city has decided to try its luck.
If successful, it could lead to millions of pounds in increased trade, a rise in tourism and the possibility of hundreds of new jobs.
Since this exciting news, what has Leicester done to celebrate? Readied the bunting, congratulated ourselves?
Sadly not. We've done what the Brits do best and started to moan.
We've moaned about our lack of culture, lack of architecture and, more worryingly, a lack of British festivals and events on offer in the city.
Now hold on: we live in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the UK. What exactly is it that makes a festival British? The definition of British relates to the characteristics of the citizens, or inhabitants of the United Kingdom, and last time I checked our events have reflected the people of Leicester.
On top of that, you can't walk 10 yards these days without a new festival or event popping up.
Also, if anyone has a reason to moan about the culture of the city this month, then sorry folks it's me, not you.
Having watched The Monograph magazine recently announce it was ending its printed production, struggling without council or arts funding, I could sit around bemoaning its fate, forever holding a grudge against Leicester's cultural empire.
However, if the city council wants to spend £50,000 on this new city of culture venture, then let it.
Agreed, times are hard to be spending money on arts, but look at the long-term possibilities.
A city celebrated for culture will attract attention, investment and will benefit us all.
It's a simplistic view, yes, of a complex situation but – newsflash, people – recessions are nothing new.
They've happened before, they suck and, yes, we're all skint!
But for this you have a choice. You can choose to pick apart the intentions of the people that are trying to make something for your enjoyment – or you can stop moaning about it and get involved.
Go explore the city. Visit one of our attractions or free museums, such as the one in New Walk (everyone enjoys a good dinosaur) and get behind the bid!
Cease looking at what is wrong with the city. Tackle the small things, such as simple pleasures, and maybe the big things won't seem so bad after all.
The bid gets my vote and I look forward to seeing what's on offer in the future.
Raegan Oates is music editor at From Dusk 2 Dawn magazine.

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