Until I started volunteering again for ELFM in 2009, I didn’t even know this Chapel existed. I’ve lived in Seacroft all my life, bar the ‘wilderness years’ when I went to university. But my cultural life happened away from Seacroft. East Leeds was just where my house happened to be. So as an adult, it’s funny that my career has led me back to this space that I had basically ignored throughout my teenage years.
Today is a day for stories, all the programmes today have had storytelling in them, culminating in the Storytelling Cabaret, tonight in front of a live audience. So it feels appropriate to tell you a little story that sums up this Chapel to me. On Saturday, I arrived at the Chapel at 9pm to get the keys to the building and give the Warmupathon team (having just completed 24 hours of nothing but dance music) a hand cleaning up. They packed up and left an hour later, I began to turn off all the lights and suddenly realized I was alone.
In a chapel.
In the middle of Seacroft.
It didn’t feel right. Loneliness should not be the feeling of a community building like this. It should be full. It should be loud, not necessarily with music but with thoughts and colour and creativity. It made me realize that ChapelFM isn’t just happening for the people involved or the listeners at home but for the building. It needs to be repaired. It needs a lick of paint. But most of all, it needs to be used.
At that point in my thoughts, the building creaked. I nearly had to change my trousers…
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