Bradford the 13th unhappiest place in the country? Rubbish, says DAVID BARNETT, who offers you ten reasons to be cheerful about living in Bratfud.
1. Billy Pearce. Every year this titan of comic timing and early 1980s hair bestrides the stage of the Alhambra like a theatrical collossus, bringing cheeky life to the full repertoire of panto character studies - Buttons, Captain Smee, Aladdin. If Bradford was so bad he wouldn’t come back every year, would he?
2. Buskers. There’s the chap in his dinner suit who plays his violin, the smiling family banging out Peruvian rhythms with brilliant timing, the (possibly) Slovakian singers with fantastic harmonies, and the chap with the guitar who on Darley Street who can’t actually sing for toffee but always raises a smile.
3. Broadway. Not only is the Westfield shopping centre going up faster than a Lego house built by Billy Whizz after four cans of energy drink, but the creaking of the massive cranes as they lower the metal skeleton into place sounds just like Godzilla wrecking Tokyo. Win all round.
4. The Mirror Pool. Get a bit of sun out and we flock to the City Park to dip our feet in the slowly-filling waters of the Mirror Pool. Families lounge around the edges of the gently-lapping pond. Children run laughing between the fountains. It’s just like a cross between Cannes and Rome. Exactly like that, in fact.
5. Lulu. This is an actual-sized elephant which sits outside the Aagrah’s Midpoint suite in Thornbury. An elephant. Think about that for a bit. Lulu had that Heston Blumenthal on her back the other week. Some people say that Thornbury’s actually in Leeds. We say: Yeah? Wanna make something of it?
6. The M606. At two miles long it’s probably Britain’s shortest motorway. If it’s not, it should be. And it belongs to us. It’s Bradford’s. You get on it off the M62 and there’s nowhere else to go but Bradford. Come, get on the M606. Join us. You’ll never leave.
7. Curry. Forget these johnny-come-latelies such as Leicester, Glasgow and Rusholme (surely not a contender for the crown since Morrissey was knee-high to a volume of Sylvia Plath poetry): there’s only one King of Curry and it’s Bradford. Always has been, always will be.
8. Rodney Bewes. Rodney played Bob Ferris in The Likely Lads, and he’s from Bingley which is incredibly cool. Remember that episode where they tried to avoid finding out the result of the England football match? Have a think about that with the World Cup coming up. And smile.
9. Idle Working Men’s Club. Never not funny. Apart from the fact that Bradford was recently named fourth worst in the country for inactivity, and there are more than 16,000 people in Bradford claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. Still. You have to laugh, eh?
10. Gary Jones. The former captain of Bradford City, who bowed out after 100 games with the Bantams, planted a smacker on the head of tumour survivor Jake Turton at Villa Park during City’s incredible Capital One Cup run last year. Go and take a look at the picture and then tell me there’s nothing to be cheerful about in Bradford.