Author: jadekmoore

Bendigo: Part 2

In our last issue we wrote about Bendigo, the Beeston based boxer and campaigner. Local historian Alan Dance, who has researched Bendigo for a new book (out soon!) contacted us to tell us how some of the things we know of Bendigo might have been the product of some artful image manipulation from the giant pugilist himself. Read on, as Alan explains all…


I thoroughly enjoyed the article in issue 44 about Bendigo – real name William Thompson – but I’d like to take this opportunity to correct some of the details shown. I have recently been doing some in-depth research into his life in preparation for a forthcoming book – Bendigo, the Right Fist of God – of which more anon. Much has been written about him over the years, most of it, apparently, based on a newspaper article published in 1874. In that year James Greenwood, a London journalist, interviewed Bendigo. Perhaps he was not too clever with dates and numbers and other facts about his life; perhaps he was prone to exaggeration or just liked to spin a good yarn. And he had spent over twenty years in the ring, and had consumed more than his share of Nottingham ale.

Perhaps  the first thing that trainee reporters are told is Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. It certainly seems to have been the case with Greenwood’s article, for this sowed the seeds for the myths that are still being perpetuated. So, let’s look at some of these.

The best known two are that Bendigo was the youngest of 21 children and that he was one of triplets, whose mother gave them the nicknames of Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, after the three men thrown in the ‘fiery furnace’ on the orders of King Nebuchadnezzar (Book of Daniel, Chapter 3).

Mmm. Really? OK, let’s examine the records. These show that Benjamin Thompson and Mary Levers were married at St. Mary’s Church Nottingham on 12th July 1805. Their first child, Rebecca, was born three months after their wedding and was baptised at St. Mary’s on 11th October 1805. Then came Thomas (baptised 30th May 1807) and John (20th November 1809). Then we come to William. In later life, William appears never to have mentioned the other two of the alleged triplets. Not surprising, since the Parish Registers clearly show that on 16th October 1811, Richard and William, the twin sons of Benjamin & Mary Thompson were baptised. No mention of triplets. Not only that, but just 12 days later, on to the 28th October, Richard was buried. He had perhaps lived for less than 3 weeks.

Bendigo, of course, had a glittering career as a pugilist, but died in his cottage in Beeston in August 1880

Now, triplets are fairly rare, but it is possible that Mary did give birth to three boys. The only possible explanation is that one died at, or very soon after his birth. No record exists of either a baptism or burial, but in 1811 there was no legal requirement to register either. If there was a third child, then it must have been quietly disposed of, possibly by the midwife. Only one child survived, so why would his mother need to think up three nicknames?

So, after six years of marriage, Mary had given birth to 5 children (possibly six). Yet Bendigo claimed to be the youngest of 21. He definitely wasn’t, for on 8th January 1815, another child, Mary, was baptised. However, she too died young, being buried on 3rd July 1818. William was almost seven at the time of his sister’s death, so he ought to have remembered her. But as she was the last child of this marriage, it is true to say that William was the youngest surviving child; but of six, not 21.

Much could be said about Bendigo’s family. His father was reputedly a mechanical genius, but a bit too fond of the ale (he dropped down dead in the Kings Arms in Chapel bar in 1827); Bendigo’s brother John became a respected optician with his own business; his nephew William (son of Thomas), killed his wife in 1876 at their home in Sheffield and was tried at Leeds for her manslaughter (he was found not guilty).

Bendigo, of course, had a glittering career as a pugilist, but died in his cottage in Beeston in August 1880. But even after death the myths continued, for it was soon claimed that he had been buried in his mother’s grave. The truth is, she had died in September 1854 and rests in the General Cemetery, almost a mile from Bendigo’s grave in Sneinton. Ironically, she is the only occupant of the grave, and there would have been room for Bendigo to join her.

So just how do these myths come about? No doubt celebrity status plays its part, the desire to exaggerate, and of course the tendency for newspapers to print what they believe will sell.

I mentioned earlier a forthcoming book. Bendigo – The Right Fist of God will be published later this year. This is a novel based around his astonishing life story, and has been jointly written by myself and David Field, (author of In Ludd’s Name, reviewed in Beestonian Issue 44). You may wonder how we dealt with the truth and fiction surrounding his life. Since we are both keen historians who are reluctant to perpetuate myths, we have not repeated any of the untruths. We think, however, that we have dealt ingeniously with these anomalies, but just how, you will have to wait for the book’s publication to find out!


The Shane Meadows interview

An evening with Shane Meadows…

The nerves are starting to build as I sip on a red wine at Middle Street Resource Centre. In a few minutes, Britain’s best film / TV director will be arriving for a night of film, followed by a Q+A, which I’ve been asked to compere. Of course, I couldn’t refuse, but as my stomach flips again despite the best efforts of the booze, I start to question my judgement.

I’ve met Shane on several occasions, and he’s disarmingly lovely each time. A relaxed, funny, friendly chap who never acts starry -you won’t see his legs clad in leather trousers, his eyes will never be hidden behind £900 Oakleys – nevertheless, he’s an artist who has cut a unique swathe through British film over the last two decades. He probably has Spielberg and Scorsese on speed dial.

He arrives, I chat to his wife and tell her of my nerves. “Oh, don’t worry. He’s really nervous tonight”. As he’d been on the telly a few days before receiving a BAFTA in front of the UK’s finest, this is both baffling and consoling.

He’s here for a fundraiser. Beeston Resource Centre has had a rocky time in the past, with funding always uncertain and closure often looming. However, it’s wonderfully wavered all storms, due to the invaluable support it gives many. We are never less than amazed when we visit at the sheer amount of stuff they do there: it’s an incredible resource, hence the name. However, the charity that runs it, Beeston Community Resource, can’t be too complacent, so when Shane offered to help out with a themed evening, there was no hesitation in their response. And here we are, with Shane putting together a fantastic set of films.

He had been spending time recently viewing some of his early short films – two had snapped in the projector so he realised he needed to digitise them for archive purposes, doing a bit of tidying up on the way. At the Centre he treated the audience of eighty to an insight into some of his earlier work: ‘The Datsun Collection’, made in 1994 was, he said, the second film only he had made and the first to feature other people! From 1995 he showed ‘The Zombie Squad’, a film completed and shown in a single day, and which had never had another public viewing. Having given himself the challenge of ‘a film in a day’  far more volunteers turned up to be in the film than he had expected and his solution was to create a group of zombies who didn’t need to learn any lines. A surprise for many of us was that Shane himself appeared as actor in these two early shorts, and in the scatalogical ‘Le Donk and His Arsebag’ featuring the comic genius of his good friend, Paddy Considine.

A break for wee and wine, and we’re back for the Q+A. Any nerves dissolve as Shane joins me in front of the audience. He recalls when I gave him a Beestonian t-shirt at a Café Roya Film Club “I’ve still got it. You gave me one in small. I’ll get into it one day”.

Our family growing up never made it on the telly -well, Crimewatch maybe…

I ask about his appeal, his unique touch “back in my childhood I remember being able to shifting from belly laughs to utter fright in no time at all. That ‘light and dark’ has subconsciously made its way into what I do” He tells of how when making Dead Man’s Shoes, perhaps one of the most terrifying revenge films ever made, the cast and crew would be belly laughing off camera throughout.

That’s his favourite film, as well “I was really depressed at the time. I’d made a bad mistake and had a horrendous experience trying to make a big, celebrity driven piece, rather than go with my instinct (he’s referring to Once Upon a Time in the Midlands) . Y’know how there is that saying “the phone stopped ringing”, well, that’s very true, it literally didn’t ring”.

“I knew I had to trust my instincts and make a film that was mine. We made Dead Man’s Shoes for just £700,000, not a lot in film. I threw myself into it, and it worked”.

He talks about his previous ambitions as a singer -he was in a band with Considine, who talk the duties behind the drums – and looked perplexed when I asked him what he’d have done if he’d not made film making such a success.

What does his two young boys think of daddy’s fame “They’re just starting to realise that I do a strange job. It’s not the fame, I don’t think that is apparent, but they see me on telly and that makes them sit up. It’s strange. Our family growing up never made it on the telly -well, Crimewatch maybe….”

There are some real surprises thrown in. The incredibly complex scene in This is England ’90, where Vicky McClure’s Lol confesses to murdering her father round the dining table, was done in one take, using a complex nine camera set up “You should have seen what that room looked like. Looked like the TARDIS”. There is the very real chance of another instalment of the This Is England story, but not on the telly “It might be interesting to do a film sometime along the line. Get the characters together. Whatever year we do, we’ll show it in that many cinemas…who knows?”

More likely to appear soon is his much delayed biopic about legendary British cyclist Tom Simpson, who -spoiler alert – died while tacking a mountain on riding the Tour de France. The project, working with the brilliant screenwriter William Ivory, has been on the cards for some time, delayed in the past when Shane was invited to film the return of The Stone Roses, which became the rockumentary -thank you – Made of Stone.

That would be a departure from his past work, but that’s what makes Shane such a fascinating director: his obvious pleasure in having the chance to follow his interests and his instincts. We are very lucky to have him in our midst.

The night finishes with a vote of thanks courtesy of Radio Nottingham’s John Holmes, and a final glass of wine. A great night had by all, and £1,000 in the Resource Centre’s coffers. Cheers Shane. CUT!

Matt Turpin & Colin Tucker

Hivemind 46

+++ A sad start to this issues snippets, with news that local legend ‘Speedy’ had died. While loads of people knew him, at the time of going to press we don’t have a great deal of info about his life, other than he was a genuinely lovely man, a long term fixture in and around Beeston as he walked between his allotments. Here, he was in his element, an expert in growing anything and everything. An effortlessly polite, charming and immaculately coiffured gentleman, if anyone knew him well then we’d really like to run a piece on him, as a tribute. Let us know if you can provide +++

+++ In Vino Veritas! Much fun was had as we completed the Beestonian pub crawl / survey recently – see inside for more details. Our favourite discovery was finding out that our columnist Roopam was once on Blockbusters, where she beat a gawky Bristolian and
went on to scoop THREE Gold Runs. Her lanky opponent? Stephen Merchant, he of The Office and Extras fame. Yeah, you won a load of BAFTAS, Merchant, but you never got to write for this magazine, so bah to you +++

+++ If Stephen Merchant WOULD like to write for this magazine, please get in touch +++

+++ Also on the survey, we rhapsodised on the resurrection of The Commercial. With smashing food, great ale and service so thorough our beer seemed to arrive before it was ordered, you’d think our party of reviewers would be a happy bunch. But no. One of our team had a mard at the menu containing a smattering of spelling errors and refused to join us in stuffing curry into our faces. As punishment, the unnamed reviewer will have his name misspelt somewhere in this issue +++

+++ Actually, Darren Kirkebride, I can’t find a good place to do this to you so ignore that threat. Ta. +++

hivemind pic

+++ Are we getting a new MP? Just a year on from Anna Soubry’s re-election, and she’s in a spot of bother as Notts Police investigate her election expense claims after Channel 4 News found that there might have been a bit of diddling with the figures. Of course, if they are found to be dodgy, she could simply pass the buck to her agent. Who just happens to be, as far as we can tell, Councillor Richard Jackson. Y’know, the head of Broxtowe Borough Council. Ready those polling booths! +++

+++ Cheers for all those who have attended a run of film-based fund-raisers The Beestonian has been involved with lately: in association with Nottingham Alternative Film Network we raised several hundred pounds for a family in Yemen stricken by the
bloody, interminable civil war there; over £400 was made and donated straight to The Teenage Cancer Trust when we had Forest legend Garry Birtles introduce a special showing of the sublime football documentary “I Believe in Miracles”; and Shane Meadows’ generous appearance at Middle Street Resource Centre for a charity showing of some of his early and unseen work, followed by a Q+A from our former editor (see inside for a report) raised a nifty chunk to keep one of our greatest local, erm, resources thriving. Beeston: you’re a generous bunch. +++

Keep it live: Oxjam

There was a flying start for this year’s Oxjam in an utterly packed White Lion for the Launch and Music Quiz on June 8th.

There were ninety people plus spectators in nearly 20 teams, including the 30 members and supporters of the Nottingham University OXFAM society. They answered (or tried to answer!) questions ranging from what “what was the name of both a lute-playing contemporary of Shakespeare and a legendary blues singer?” to “who had the first billion times viewed Youtube video?” It’s Robert Johnson and Psy respectively, since you ask. In fact the scoring was pretty high despite the occasional furrowed brow and sigh of despair, and the winning team managed 42 out of 50. They promptly donated their cash prize to Sergio’s “Calais” fund (which was nice).

So a decent fund-raiser – and a great curtain raiser – for a festival that culminates in The Takeover on October 15th. Next up is Oxjam Unplugged on Saturday July 2nd. The venue is Middle Street Resource Centre, which you might think is somewhat unlikely, but it’s actually a lovely setting for the small scale event, catering for about 80 people seated cabaret style. There’ll be a licensed bar plus soft drinks, coffee and snacks. Plus it’s only a 5 minute walk from the Interchange or buses (Indigo, 36, Y36) and the tram stop.

On the bill is folk punker Paul Carbuncle who was a great hit at last year’s Takeover where he played3 sets in as many venues. Unfortunately Paul is otherwise engaged on October 15th so this will be his only Oxjam appearance this year. Also performing will be local favourite and Oxjam totem Emma Bladon-Jones – such a fabulous singer-songwriter, as if you didn’t know!

We’ll also be introducing two young singer-songwriters, Matt Humphries and Andrew Tucker (who is lead singer and songwriter for Ivoryserfs). Listen out for their unusual covers. Finally, completing the line-up is Dave Mooney, who combines his own songs about his travels in the east with covers from the skiffle and tea dance eras. He may (or may not) appear with Nancy, a puppet he employs when working as a street performer, so keep your eyes peeled.

Tickets are £6 from Oxfam Books & Music, The Middle Street Resource Centre, or on-line at (+ 10% booking fee). Hurry while stocks last!


Beeston Beats: Drownload

It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that the biggest rock festival the Midlands has to offer descended yet again upon the area. Being of a musical persuasion the headlining acts of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and the fire obsessed Rammstein lured me to that watery, mud infested outing which lasted five days.

Parting with enough cash to make any self respecting adult cry, I exchanged monies, freedom and civilisation to experience my fourth year in a row on the sacred Donnington ground. By now most people may have seen the images of tents streaming with mud free flowing like a chocolaty tidal wave taking out temporary nylon abodes.

The sheer volume of chaos Mother Nature inflicted was enough to conjure memories of warm beautiful pubs back over in Beestonian land where ciders and ales were served in glass, real glass not plastic beakers barely filled and more costly. Amidst a crowd full of rockers I had a true cheers moment, I missed my local, its characters, its cider and mostly its warm friendly atmosphere and unsoggy seating.

no one quite tells you that Download is mostly about queuing and walking

Manning up I waded through a sticky sea of sludge to the main stage determined my festival holiday wouldn’t be deterred by the weather. music begun at the highly unsociable hour of  11am leaving time to queue (yet again!) for a quick breakfast stop before making the half an hour journey to the arena from the campsite. In fact no one quite tells you that Download is mostly about queuing and walking.

Californian rockers Alien Ant Farm tie up a nice little link to the theme of this issue, as the band  performed the 2001 track ‘Movies’, the video was a mash up of Ghostbusters, karate kid and Edward Scissor hands parodies.

Tedious link number two goes to Juliette Lewis and the Licks, Juliette being a Hollywood legend having graced the screen for From Dusk Till Dawn and Natural Born Killers performing an absolute kick ass set. Darting round the stage with enough energy to upset a Duracell bunny 42 year old Juliette didn’t slow down and looked amazing in a jumpsuit while she did so, some women have all the luck…

So were the cash, mud, rain, sunstroke and chaos worth it? To see these rock heavy hitters a short bus journey away, definatly however creature comforts have taken over and munching on a cheese board at The Crown or catching a random band over at the Greyhound is without a doubt less stressful and soul destroying. I shall be back next issue to seeking out Beeston’s finest random acts and bands, dry and slightly less grumpy!


Films and (the lack of) food

Empty coffee cups in films and television. One of my biggest peeves, and I get peeved fairly often.

I love films, I work in an independent cinema, I’ve been in a few, and nothing gets me more hacked off than an actor carrying an obviously empty paper cup. I LOVED the US remake of The Killing, but the rage which bubbles in my black heart when I see such fine actors as Mireille Enos and Joel Kinneman forced to mime a sip of coffee makes me want to do my very own killing.

We covered eating and drinking in the first year of drama school, even the kids in Jurassic Park nailed it with a table full of desserts and a kitchen full of velociraptors. It’s not rocket science is it, filling a cup with enough water to weight it down? If the actor can’t cope with a little sip of water now and again, then it’s perhaps time to de-Hollywood their diets.

Leonardo DiCaprio ate a bison’s heart in The Revenent and he’s a vegetarian!

I’m not advocating getting through an entire roast for each take of a scene, but surely a small mouthful of food or a small sip of water isn’t going to kill anyone. Perhaps the director is of the mind that if we are watching the liquid level in the cup then the show isn’t exciting enough, but if you’re chucking millions of pounds at sets then throw a couple of quid towards edible props. Leonardo DiCaprio ate a bison’s heart in The Revenent and he’s a vegetarian! This is an extreme (but fairly badass) example, and one which begs the question as to why several people around a dinner table can’t eat a single morsel of food. Brad Pitt got through roughly 10,000 calories in Se7en, so let’s see the cast of Doctors tucking into a Greggs pasty once in a while in between shifts.

Perhaps this could be a sponsorship opportunity worth of Simon Cowell and his everlasting Pepsi on America’s Got Talent. Let’s have the cast of X-Men heartily slurping a grande soy macchiato before looking down the camera lens with a cheeky wink, before flying off to save the world. Or maybe Finding Dory could feature her snacking on an ice-cream cone dropped by a hapless beach-goer, who delivers a killer line to camera about the damage to the earth’s coral reefs. Just a thought.

However they do it, let’s just do it. Let’s all chip in and make sure our beloved actors never have to revisit day 1 of GSCE drama and mime a plateful of food and cup of tea. A quid each should do it. Let’s get a family sized hamper of tea bags delivered to LA and get our screens (and their cups full) of decent English Breakfast, instead of the void in my heart where a lovely brew should be.


Citizens Advice

We talk to a valuable service at the heart of our town


On a Friday morning in March, I was sat on the chairs reserved for those waiting for a meeting with Citizens Advice Broxtowe. There was one other person there. Then a few more people turned up, and started handing out cards with numbers on. I politely declined. I wasn’t there for advice. I was there to meet Sally Bestwick, a friendly woman who gave me a wealth of information, on account of being a brilliant talker! She is the current Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Broxtowe, a service that is available to anyone and, says Sally, “advises on absolutely anything.” She emphasises that people might not be aware that Citizens Advice is a charity and relies entirely on donations and funding in order to keep going.

In April CAB hosted a fundraising concert with BeVox, a community choir which frequently performs to raise funds for various charities. This is “one of the biggest fundraisers [Citizens Advice has] done” says Sally. She hopes that it will raise a lot of money and give CAB the chance to make sure people know that they are “a small, independent charity that could be gone in a flash.” Sally emphasises to me how vital their services are, stating that “once the CAB is gone you don’t get it.” Derby suffered this fate. Let’s not allow Beeston’s CAB to go the same way.

For those of you who aren’t clued up on the history of Citizens Advice, it was set up in 1936 “in response to the start of the war,” Sally tells me. With the men going off to fight in the war, the women “were left struggling financially [and] didn’t know what they were entitled to in terms of any benefits or help from the army,” says Sally. So, where did it actually start? Surprisingly, it wasn’t somewhere official like our Beeston Offices, but “really bizarre places like people’s front rooms or horse boxes.” I laugh at this, surprised but pleased to realise that CAB is a service that was set up very much in the spirit of Keep Calm and Carry On, by people that were “willing to volunteer and help each other.” Since its beginning, “it’s evolved into [a] massive, volunteer-led organisation.” This is something even I didn’t know until, whilst waiting for my meeting with Sally, I saw the volunteers arrive. They seemed a cheerful and friendly bunch, ready to offer quality advice to those who need it.

Just to keep going the charity needs “approximately £350,000 a year.”

Gone then are the days of horse boxes, so I asked Sally where you can go for advice today. For us Beestonians, we can of course go to the Council Offices and find CAB on the ground floor. You can also find Outreach services in Stapleford Heath Clinic, which is open three days a week, Kimberley Health Clinic on a Monday morning, Hope on Boundary Road on a Wednesday morning, and also at Tesco Toton on a Tuesday Morning. Again, I was surprised. Citizens Advice in a supermarket! Sally states that the opening of an outreach service in Tesco Toton is “the first of its kind”, a new initiative that emphases how important it is for CAB to reach as many people as they can.

Sometimes, people will be in need of help and advice, but won’t take that first step to get it, so having this service in a local supermarket means that you can be discreet, do your shopping, and get some advice too. If CAB doesn’t receive enough funding, it simply isn’t possible for them to run these kinds of services.


Just to keep going the charity needs “approximately £350,000 a year.” Most comes from lottery grants, Nott’s County Council, and Broxtowe Council, and as CEO a lot of Sally’s time is spent fundraising, making applications and doing funding bids to try to reach that yearly amount. Some money comes from donations, but these are usually small so fundraising events are vital. They also help CAB to connect with the community, and in the past they have attended Beeston Carnival to do this as well as raise funds.

Sally emphasises that Citizens Advice is a professional business with both paid and volunteering staff. “The volunteers,” she says “get paid in tea and biscuits” but mainly the money that comes in is spent on wages for the paid staff, and the rest on infrastructure to ensure they have certain things in place like good IT, which they rely on heavily to give the quality of advice that they offer. To train the volunteers it costs £1600 per individual. There are currently 60 such volunteers, and CAB employs a trainer and two service managers to ensure the volunteers are well trained.

However, they are facing challenges at the moment due to the growing demand for the service and the need to raise the funds to accommodate this. Sally tells me that “welfare reform and universal credit is only just coming into Broxtowe, so the demand for the service is going to increase in the next 18 months.” This is because as soon as universal credit starts to hit families “they are going to struggle and there will probably be delays in their payments as well,” she says. “The welfare reform is supported by Citizens Advice, but it’s the way they’re implementing it that worries us.”

After concluding the interview, we carried on talking, and Sally is very keen to stay in contact, and has hinted at the potential for another article about the friends of Citizen’s Advice, and how you can get involved. In the meantime, be mindful of the service we have at the heart of Beeston, and don’t be afraid to use it!

You can learn more about CAB at in the Advice Help & Support section.

Jade Moore

Gossip from the Hivemind: May 2016

Early reports of late eighties kids-tv hero Pob roaming the streets of Beeston were found to be a case of mistaken identity, as confirmation came in that actually it was Michael Gove. The queen-conversation snitch was at Boots to talk about why leaving the EU will automatically gift everyone in the UK a billion pounds, some chocolate and three kittens. Using Boots, whose history of tax-avoidance has been reported in this publication over the years, and who recently were found to be exploiting the NHS for profit was probably not the best choice. Or maybe it was perfect.


Spotted heartily applauding was erstwhile used car salesman and current head of Broxtowe Borough Council Richard Jackson. After recently failing to abolish Broxtowe Borough Council, now he has the eye on the EU. As his boss Anna Soubry MP is a staunch pro-European, we can only imagine the icy atmosphere on a Friday night down the Conservative Club


Inside this issue, our new editor Christian met with the guy behind the ‘unsafe cycle lane’ graffiti along the tram route. Not wanting to be outdone, the council threw some new paint of their own down. Now, the unsafe utterly baffling routes are a deep red colour. Not at all helpful, but it does a great job of disguising the blood from accidents


Being a mischievous bunch, we weren’t going to let April 1st pass without a prank on our Facebook page. So we led with a hoax claiming that the Chilwell army base had been bought by Donald Trump, who planned to build a leisure resort there. Oh how we laughed. And then someone pointed out we totally missed the obvious joke that it could have been bought by the outgoing president and renamed “Chetwyn Baracks Obama”. We kicked ourselves



Huge congrats to local film legend Shane Meadows, who picked up another BAFTA late last month to further decorate his crowded mantelpiece. We recall when filming Beestonia: The Movie (YouTube it kids!), we bumped into him on Chilwell Road. “Can we grab a photo of you, if that’s ok?” we asked. “If you’re filming, I’ll be in it” said the guy behind Dead Man’s Shoes and This is England. A quick script change later, and we found ourselves directing our favourite director. Not only a massive talent, but a damn fine chap as well


Oxjam: We’re back!

It’s May already and, as I write, people are peering at that strange yellowy thing in the sky and waxing lyrical about flowing things appearing all over the place. 


Maybe, in your excitement at the sudden appearance of a phenomenon known as ‘Spring’, you’ve been anxiously looking around for signs that, despite rumours to the contrary, one of Beeston’s great institutions has survived the winter to re-emerge, leaner, fitter, and brighter than before. Well, look no more: this article is the ‘green shoot’ you’ve been eagerly awaiting: the Beeston Oxjam Music Festival is back!

From its modest origins six years ago the Festival – aka ‘Oxjam Takeover’ – has grown to be the biggest of Oxjam’s forty-odd festivals around the UK, raising a record-breaking £17K for Oxfam. For 2016 we have a Team of volunteers – some experienced Oxjammers, some new – who have already got a plan of events that we’ll tell you more about in the coming weeks. So get your diary out. Here’s how it looks so far:

  • Wednesday June 8 – official ’Beeston Oxjam Launch and Music Quiz’ at the White Lion;
  • Saturday July 2 – ’Oxjam Unplugged’ – Middle Street Resource Centre (a new Oxjam venue but easy to get to by tram or bus, which stop outside, or just a five minute walk from the Interchange) – with licensed bar;
  • Friday 16 September – ‘Oxjam Introducing…’ (Under-19 performers) – venue tbc;
  • Saturday 24 September – ’Oxjam Ceilidh’ – venue tbc
  • Saturday 15 October – Oxjam Takeover’ – venues and artists tbc
  • Saturday 12 November – ’Classical Oxjam’ – Beeston Parish Church.

For details of the above as they become confirmed – and more events – check our Facebook page and website ( Tickets for some events will shortly be on sale from Oxfam Books and Music in Beeston or online from (10% booking fee).

We are also looking for volunteers who could help with any aspect of the Oxjam Music Festival, from artists’ liaison to publicity to general helper. If you’d like to know a bit more, email and we’ll get back to you.

It’s barely six months to go and only a few weeks to our launch event/pub quiz.



Beeston Exposed

Well I’ve made it. I didn’t think I could, but I have. There’s an old proverb that goes “a journey starts with a single step”. My particular journey started on 29th March 2006, and is still ongoing. Not a journey by foot exactly, but a photographic one, as ten years ago I started a blog called ‘Nottingham Daily Photo’. And, as the name suggests, I blog (almost) daily about Nottingham, although this isn’t strictly geographically true, as I have covered many different towns, cities and countries on my travels. In fact my first ever blog post was actually about Dubai. But for the most part it is about NG1 and NG9.


Like many ideas these days, it came from the Internet. I was searching for something photographic on the web, and a site called Paris Daily Photo popped up. I took a look, as I have always wanted to go to Paris and follow in the footsteps of French photographers, Brassai, Eugene Atget and of course Henri-Cartier Bresson.  I found the website quite absorbing, and learnt that many other cities across the world had blogs about them too. Sometimes more than one. I naturally checked to see if Nottingham had one. It didn’t, and so I took the mad decision to start one. I’m not really sure why I began with an article about Dubai, or what I would do with this new form of creative outlet. But slowly I began to get the hang of it, and now ten years and over 3300 entries later, I have created quite an archive of my life, the places I’ve been to, the events I’ve seen and the people I’ve met.

Beeston is, of course,  featured quite heavily, with the various things that have gone off over the past decade. The tram works, Oxjam, Beeston Bay and the rising stardom of Emma Bladon-Jones to name a few. Matt has also appeared several times in different guises, as well as other local notables like Jeanie Barton, Tim Pollard, Jimmy Wiggins and Hallams’ very own superstar Toni “They’re not French” Fox.

I’ve used quite a few different cameras since I started the blog, beginning with a Canon point & shoot, moving to Panasonic, then Nikon. I’m now an Olympus guy, and can’t see me changing again anytime soon. I like to think that the quality of my photography has improved immensely through the years, and that I now have a good eye for a picture. Although of course, photographers, like every other type of artist, are continually developing their skills. Excuse the pun. Talking of which, I always try to come up with a snappy, or amusing title for my entries. I have managed to build up a good following across the world, and have nearly reached half a million page views. Of course I’d love a lot more. Comments too. A few years ago, the blog was featured in the Evening Post, in an article written by journalist Erik Petersen, which gave the blog a bit more exposure. Oops, another bad photography pun.

Who knows where the journey might take me in the future. I must admit that I have thought about giving it up on several occasions, as sometimes it’s felt a bit like a millstone; in trying to come up with new photos and text every day, and the thought that I have to post, even though I might not have come across anything any good. But I plan to continue for as long as I can, in whatever form it takes.

My blog can be found at