Country boy in the big city: entertainment

As you’ve probably gathered from my previous posts, I’m lucky to have a shop in my little village, let alone wish for a cinema or any music/theatre venue.

The entertainment choices are very few and far between and with the exception of a few bands on at our local pub, playing the classic rock songs of previous decades, the music scene near my house is non existent.

However, this lack of entertainment takes a back seat when you drive 5 minutes down the road. With a town hall and plenty of local acts on there, I still use the term loosely when I say that Selby boasts a range of quality acts across all genres of entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, the Battle of the Bands event that they run every year always brings a sold out audience and the temporary cinema they set up every Monday is a triumph but compared to other towns and cities I have experienced, Selby ranks on the low end of the scale.

With the entertainment hubs of Leeds and York right on my door step, it would be nonsensical to visit anywhere else to explore the cultures of North Yorkshire. Both cities have cinemas, theatres, music venues and bowling alleys in abundance.

One great example of the facilities that Leeds has to offer is the Everyman cinema that is located on the top floor of the Trinity Shopping Centre. Looking like a stereotypically 90’s cinema from the exterior, Everyman cinema is anything but stereotypical when it comes to cinemas. Having only 3 screens overall, the main selling point of Everyman is that while the audience is watching the film, they can enjoy a range of food and drink types (including a Mojito that I would definitely recommend if you are fortunate enough to not be the designated driver that day.)

In contrast, York has more of a theatre scene and with York Theatre Royal been in the heart of the city, there is no excuse to not see a show if you live within a 45 minute radius of the York walls.

With a range of musicals, ballets, tribute acts and comedians gracing the Theatre Royal  each year, it is difficult to not find something that would appeal to everyone. Having seen shows such as ‘The Commitments’ and ‘Let It Be’ at this venue, I can highly recommend the calibre of showmanship and quality on offer. Pair it with a meal at nearby French restaurant, La Rustique, and you have yourself a perfect night out.

As well as theatres and cinemas, live music is also a huge part of my social life and one I will travel the depths of the UK to satisfy. Despite the want to travel around the UK, I am lucky enough to be in a close proximity to music venues where the best of the music world visit.

The First Direct Arena in Leeds, Doncaster Dome and the O2 Academy Leeds are just a number of the nearby venues that I regularly attend. Acts such as The Stone Roses, Paul Weller and Kasabian, as well as up and coming acts Slaves, Blossoms and DMAs are regular attendees to these venues when they tour.

For these reasons, I didn’t know what to expect when I moved down the M62 to Lincoln. With regular entertainment options for me back home, I was wondering what else Lincoln could offer that wasn’t available around me in Brayton.

It soon became apparent when looking down the events calendar at The Engine Shed, Lincoln’s main entertainment venue, that the calibre of acts I was so used to in York and Leeds left something to be desired. My eager anticipation turned to disappointment, as my eyes scanned the names of some probable X-Factor quarter finalists and a band that had one hit back in 1984.

While the likes of The Happy Monday, Courteeners and tribute acts, such as: Total Stone Roses and From The Jam were featured on the list, it had some way to go before reaching the dizzying heights that I knew back in Leeds.

As for the cinema, Lincoln won’t be able to provide you with an Everyman but an Odeon that has 12 screens and a Costa Coffee out the front is good enough for me. I was never a fan of paying £17.50 a ticket at Everyman and having a man parading round to ask if anyone else wanted a Birra Moretti as the main part of the film is happening in front of your very eyes.

If you’re reading this and our cultural interests are similar, it could be easy to write off Lincoln’s entertainment scene as obsolete. However, you have to remember that it’s a historic city with lots of charm and with Nottingham and Sheffield a relative distance away, it still remains a cultural hub.

Yes, you won’t be able to see Arctic Monkeys or Kasabian in Lincoln but if you need entertainment, going to watch Lincoln City on a Saturday afternoon brings plenty of atmosphere and across the road, Play Zone offers you a chance to relive your childhood years again when it opens it’s doors to students to play in a kids soft play area a few days a week.

The Drill Hall, the LPAC and The New Theatre Royal also restores your faith in Lincoln’s entertainment scene. All three venues show exceptional shows and if you’re on a student budget, all three offer very reasonable ticket prices. Of course, not everything is going to be to your taste but look down the events calendar and as I found very quickly, a show worth seeing will be featured.

To conclude then. If you’re looking for an arena capacity band to come to your city, Lincoln isn’t the city for you. However, if you want a city full of small cultural surprises and a historical feel that you can get in few places up and down the UK, Lincoln is the correct place for you.

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