Life is a cabaret, old friend

For many, the words ‘British Legion’ means a place that old soldiers can go to for a bit of company and a cheap pint. While that part may be true, the Legion in Beeston also means being entertained at a reasonable price. As four years ago, David Clifford, the former road manager of Nottingham’s Paper Lace and Bittersweet, together with his partner Anita opened the club for cabaret evenings. You can forget the end of the pier and novelty acts that made their way onto the stage in Peter Kay’s comedy series Phoenix Nights, David attempts and succeeds in attracting quality acts that people want to see for a very reasonable on the door price of £5, through his many contacts in the music industry.

David, with much help, charity and goodwill from people and companieshas transformed the inside of the nondescript building into a warm, welcoming space for everyone to enjoy a night out. Full Steam Ahead is a sponsor for instance. Some of the improvements have included LED lights for energy conservation, improved soundproofing to stop the neighbours complaining and stage lighting that originally came from Plessey.

The original use of the building hasn’t been lost, as there’s still an area dedicated to veterans of the Korean conflict and the bar is named Troopers, after the Paras. Although most members of the armed forces now tend to go to Chetwynd Barracks for their companionship.The Cabaret Club’s main audience are people in their 30s and 40s. There’s no age restriction either, so families are made most welcome.

“a warm, welcoming space for everyone to enjoy a night out.”

So what sort of entertainment is on offer? Tuesday evenings are set aside for line dancing, Wednesday’s are bingo nights, Beeston Camera Club meets there on a Thursday, while the cabaret nights are the first Friday in the month. There’s also music or comedy on a Saturday too. The venue can also be hired for private parties like weddings. And David has just opened a smaller room that can be used for meetings. Car parking isn’t a problem, as there’s enough space for 60 cars. The club currently has around 150 members and has a loyal following. David and Anita are always thinking of ways to improve the club, as they would hate to see it close.

For that first-hand experience, David invited me and my wife Gail along to see a show. The next cabaret night featured a Cliff Richard and Cher tribute bands. So I thought that would be a good one to choose. We arrived to a packed house who were enjoying the songs of Cliff and his backing band the Shadooz. Will Chandler does a fair impersonation of Harry Webb and tended to keep to a lot of his early back catalogue songs from the 1960s, so we were spared his latter tunes like ‘The Millennium Prayer’. Kelly Marie as Cher came on next, dressed in a similar costume that she appeared in the ‘Turn Back Time’ video. And no, it wasn’t ‘that’ Kelly Marie, who had a hit in 1980 with “Feels Like I’m In Love’.

At the break, a cheque presentation was made to Breast Cancer Care of £620. This was raised by the club, as one of its members Jayne Walker was diagnosed with the disease four years ago but is now free after going through 16 months of therapy. I had a quick chat with Jayne, who comes from Hucknall and she really wants to get the word out about the charity and its work and was genuinely pleased that the club had raised so much through a charity evening held there earlier this year.

There’s a real family atmosphere to the club as members have their birthdays celebrated. While we were there Cliff led the singing of Happy Birthday to one member.

With a change of costume and Cliff was on again for some more songs to entertain the happy audience. I wondered whether Cher would make another appearance, and she did. Well, Kelly did, but as herself. And was something of a rock goddess. She did an amazing version of Guns & Roses’ ‘Sweet Child of Mine’, which went down a storm with the audience.

So if you fancy having somewhere new to go, then why not give the Legion on Hallcroft a go. You never know, you might decide to become a member.

If you want to know more about the club and what it can offer, then give David a call on 07917 773003.

CF

 

I Am Beeston: William Charles Wheatley MBE

The name of William ‘Bill’ Wheatley may not be known to that many Beestonians, but to those that do, he means a great deal to them. My only time of meeting Bill was when I went to his house to chat with him as a subject for the ongoing ‘I Am Beeston’ project. Although I managed to take his photograph, for some long-forgotten reason the interview never took place. Now, of course, it is too late, as Bill sadly passed away in June. So as a way of recompense to him and his family, here is a potted history of his life and his many achievements.

William was born on 31st October 1929 on Moorbridge Road in Stapleford. He was the oldest of four children. Archie his father worked at Stanton Ironworks, while his mum Elsie was what is known as being in service, before becoming a wife, parent and homemaker. When Bill was eight, the family moved to Stanton-by-Dale. At 15, Bill got a job at the Ironworks as an apprentice electrician. National Service arrived when Bill reached 21.

Having knowledge of electrical matters, Bill served in the REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) where he instructed recruits on radar systems, at their base in Arborfield, Berkshire.

When he was demobbed in 1952, Bill specialised as an electrical engineer in mining and petrochemical sites. He became a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers and a Chartered Engineer (C Eng MIE). He retired in 1992, after being an engineer for 50 years.

Life changed for Bill when he married his wife Cynthia Chapman in 1957. Bill met Beeston born Cynthia through his involvement in the local Methodist Church on Victory Road. They enjoyed 53 years of marriage, living in the same newly built bungalow on Trent Road in the Rylands before she died in July 2010. The couple had two daughters; Kathryn and Helena. Bill became involved in the church at a very young age, through firstly becoming a choirboy, then as a bell ringer. He loved the Methodist Church nearly as much as Cynthia. as he was involved in the church’s many activities such as teaching, leading the Sunday School, organising a boy’s club and the Christian Endeavour, which aimed at helping young people to find God. In 1963, Bill helped to create the Midland Camping Venture (MVC). This group provided week-long summer holidays for young people and gave them an opportunity to get involved in various outdoor activities. It proved to be very popular, as thousands of young people signed up for these camps. Bill also became a local preacher and looked after the Victory Road church.

But religion wasn’t the only thing that kept Bill busy. After seeing shire horses as a child, Bill found his love of all things nature. He learnt to recognise the calls of different birds and know lots about plants. He even sold rose bushes to Wheatcroft’s. In 1996, he and the late Keith Corbett started the Beeston Wildlife Group, which is very popular with wildlife enthusiasts, and became Chair, after Keith’s passing eleven years later. He was also heavily involved in Attenborough Nature Reserve and other local conservation projects.

His community work was formally recognised in 2008, when he took a trip to Buckingham Palace and received his MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for Voluntary Service to the Community in Beeston, Nottinghamshire’. Bill described this as one of his proudest moments. Then in 2012, Bill was given the Freedom of the Borough of Broxtowe. A fitting tribute to such a remarkable man.

 

Away from the church, nature conservation and helping others, Bill enjoyed reading, with his favourite novel being Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider With Rosie’, possibly whilst listening to some jazz music. He supported Derby County and was a fan of motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi. He also liked steam trains and a bit of plane spotting at RAF Waddington. Bill also spent the best part of 25 years learning Spanish, and at the age of 79, drove for several hours, so he could do some birdwatching.

An inspirational man by any standards. I went to his service of thanksgiving at Beeston Methodist Church on June 22nd. It was a sad, but joyous affair, with many people relating stories and fond memories about their connection with Bill. A lot were from the days of the MVC. This was followed up with a later meeting that day at the Attenborough Nature Centre.

With many thanks to Kathryn Randall
and Heidi Tarlton-Weatherall for the information and photographs.

CF

 

 

 

The gym that’s adding some muscle to Beeston

In an age of shrinking attention spans where people are trying to find new ways of keeping fit whilst having fun doing it, going to the gym is something which you may find repetitive. It often becomes something you force yourself to do without getting any real enjoyment from it, meaning that many will begin to go less or even stop going altogether. 

But there is one method of fitness which seems to keep people interested.

If you regularly lift weights or know people who do, then you would have probably heard of something called CrossFit. Far from being a new sport, CrossFit’s origins trace back to the start of the millennium with an American personal trainer called Greg Glassman, who helped open the first CrossFit gym in Seattle.

CrossFit is described on its official website in three steps. The workouts, including the varied exercise routines such as weightlifting and aerobic activities, the lifestyle, such as the nutritional part of the sport and finally the community, perhaps the most unique part of CrossFit which helps to define its popularity.

Beeston has its own CrossFit gym on Humber Road called Urban Outlaws, founded by Ash Fowler and Louis French who found out about his method of fitness training a decade ago.

“I was looking online at Olympic weightlifting and I stumbled across CrossFit,” said Ash.

“CrossFit has 33% of Olympic weightlifting in it and when you start searching online it starts popping up all over the place on social media, so we decided to carry that into our training.

“Me and Louis, will train together and throw in the CrossFit style movements alongside our Olympic weightlifting as well. That’s really how we started getting into it. We self-taught ourselves.”

CrossFit is more structured than your regular gym-going experience.

You may be wondering if CrossFit is for you but Ash says anyone can try it no matter what their physique is.

“CrossFit appeals to everyone. You could be a 16-year-old lad that’s trying to find a fitness method or our oldest member who is 72. Anyone can do this, any size, any shape. Strong has no size.”

So what will you get from CrossFit compared to going to a regular gym? Ash tells me it’s all about the detail.

“There isn’t really something out there that caters for your progression like this. If you go to a normal gym class everyone lifts the same, it’s very generic and there’s no progression whereas here, everything’s based on percentage; what you can lift compared to what I can lift.”

Ash’s fellow founder and owner Louis mentions that CrossFit is the perfect base for young people to develop if they want to become professional athletes in the future.

“Essentially, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning programme. If you’re learning CrossFit as a young person, you can learn how to lift weights and use your body to do gymnastic movements. Going forward, you can apply those to other sports because you’re more agile and coordinated.

“When I was at school, I was never particularly fit or strong. If you were to speak to any of my peers who knew me, they would never have thought I would be someone who is very fit and capable of the stuff I’m doing now.

“If I’d been doing CrossFit since I was at school, I think I could have had a lot of options in terms of what I could have done as a sport, whether it was being a rugby player, footballer, gymnast, weightlifter, anything, it gives you such a good base, because you practice everything. I think going forward for CrossFit, it would be good to be able to get it into schools,” said Louis.

Detailed instructions are given out during one of the sessions. (Pic credit: Urban Outlaws)

Of course, for such an intense mode of fitness, there will always be a risk of injury, something which Urban Outlaws are prepared for.

Attila is a manual therapist from Hungary who has been working at the gym for over a year. “In my role, I treat any kind of musculoskeletal problems and sports injuries,” he says.

“Often the injuries people get from CrossFit are pulled muscles or joint pain. 80/90% of the issues are tight and stiff muscles because of the training, but massages and stretching are a really good way to solve this. Just like in any sport, you can get injured here as well and it depends on the level of your training and how hard you push yourself.”

CrossFit is fast, demanding and intense but it’s community along with the opportunities it gives you to develop, make it a uniquely popular way of keeping fit.

Anyone interested can book a free taster session with Urban Outlaws at https://www.theurbanoutlaws.co.uk/contact

IS

Dark Nights, Bright Lights

It’s autumn! Time to get out the woolly sweaters, hand-knitted socks and indulge in some cosy indoor activities. On bright, brisk days it feels good to get the heart pumping with a walk round the nature reserve or Highfields Park but as daylight dwindles and the heating kicks in, it’s wonderful to get back inside.

In contrast to the long summer days, where blue skies hang around until way past tea time and evenings extend outdoors, autumn nights are for creating a cosy atmosphere and snuggling under a homemade quilt, watching a film or reading a book. Part of creating the perfect environment for a cosy evening in has to be the lighting. We are very much a household that only turns on ‘the big light’ in cases of emergency, you know like a lost remote, so it’s important to have the right kind of lighting where it’s needed.

There are many different styles of lamp on the market these days to suit all tastes and budgets, we are literally spoiled for choice! However, something simple that will do the job suits me, and that’s why Mark Lowe’s contemporary pieces caught my eye a while back. Apart from being made from sustainable wood, which supports an environmental ethos, there is also the opportunity to personalise a lamp with a choice of wood, coloured flex and shade so you feel like you are part of the creative process.

Fellow Beestonian Mark, was born here and has stayed local to the area, apart from his university years in at Loughborough University where he gained a degree in furniture design. He lives and works out of a home workshop in Beeston, having spent his early years working for a lighting company that did not at all reflect his current tastes. Mark has always considered the role of lighting in the home as an important one. After leaving the industry for a while and pursuing a career in teaching design and technology, Mark’s been drawn towards the ‘honest design’ of the late 19th century Arts and Crafts movement and Bauhaus.

Although Mark has enjoyed a decade of teaching and inspiring his students to experiment with their own ideas and designs, he has continued to work on his own – feeding the need to have a creative outlet. He designed his first lamp around four years ago, an adjustable lamp for use at home which is just perfect for a reading corner. Tall and elegant, the original design has undergone many modifications, but the principle design has remained the same. The frank use of visible construction adds interest to the simple lines, and the coloured cord provides a colour pop that transforms simple into eye-catching in one vivid streak.

Mark tells me that as production has increased and designs have evolved, his wife Marianne has brought her own creative flair to the range. She sourced the coloured flex and shades that complement the designs so well and he continues to collaborate with her as new products are conceptualised on the pages of his sketch pad. The range now boasts a fixed standard lamp, table lamp, coat stand and coat racks in ash and oak with vibrant discs – a nod to the colour variations that can be added to the lamps. Subtle or statement? You decide, but with their beautiful simplicity, each piece would slot well into any tastefully finished room.

Since launching the business in 2017, Mark has been keen to get his products out into the wider world, and in June of this year they had their first stand at the Handmade in Oxford Show. He also tells me about a successful alliance with Long Eaton upholsterers John Sankey Furniture, which resulted in a selection of Mark’s lamps being installed to complement their sumptuous sofas in the Tunbridge Wells showroom, along with some quality publicity photos.

As I type up this article, his Facebook newsfeed tells me that Mark is being filmed at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, Manchester, a handpicked selection of over 160 designer makers. We hope they appreciated your beautiful designs as much as we do at The Beestonian Mark!

You can see the full Mark Lowe range on the website www.marklowe.co.uk and follow him on Facebook www.facebook.com/marklowe.co.uk/ and Instagram @marklowelighting

DU

Scotty’s Soap Box: Halloween Special

Now is the time of year our streets will be teaming with youngsters, all wearing costumes and face paint, marauding through the local community, angrily making their demands. No, I’m not talking about the next protest from Extinction Rebellion; I’m referring, of course, to Halloween.

I’m baffled as to why it seems to be such a big deal these days? I think it’s the closest us Brits get to having an affinity with the Americans, apart from our growing obesity problem and embarrassment with our political leaders. It’s a major feature on the calendar now. The kids get excited like it’s Christmas and it nearly rivals Easter when it comes to the calorie count.

When I was a kid back in the 1980s Halloween wasn’t even a thing. I can only remember going trick or treating a few times. The first time was when I was about three years of age, a mere amateur in the game. My parents took a photo of the occasion. I was there sporting a massive black bin bag, with skeleton bones crudely drawn on the front in Tippex. I looked like a walking ISIS flag. I was wearing my father’s wellingtons as they were black and presumably, my Fireman Sam ones didn’t have the required scare factor. I was sat in my Batman go-kart and my poor dad was pulling me around the streets with a rope. I think I was the only Trick or Treater to be chauffeur-driven.

The second time I was about 12, which in trick or treater years is approaching retirement. I was with a friend and went trick or treating around his estate. It was a strange night. The only people to answer the door were his parents, his grandma and one of his highly religious neighbours, who gave us a little note of some bible scripture, warning us against dabbling with the occult. My mate ate it as he thought it might be some sugar paper, it wasn’t but he’s now a fully qualified vicar so it was certainly laced with something.

They even have zombie walks through town centres now. Hundreds of people, walking with a vacant stare, moaning and groaning. I’ve seen it in Nottingham many times, although not exclusively on Halloween.

I often wonder if trick or treating is different in really posh areas. The kids would probably only be able to do two houses as it would take half an hour to walk up the driveways. They’d all be dressed in designer Halloween costumes, a little off the shoulder gothic number by Gucci, with a swan slung over each shoulder and they wouldn’t say trick or treat, it would be “Hoodwink or delicacy?”

Unless it’s Green and Blacks 80% organic fairtrade chocolate, they’d not accept it and the tricks would be a little different too, something more in-keeping with the area. “I say sir, haven’t you heard, house prices here are set to plummet by 5%!”

I have two children, nine and three, strange names but easy to remember. They both love Halloween. At my eldest daughters’ school last year for Halloween they were allowed to go in fancy dress, she said to me, “Daddy I want to go as something really scary.” So I had a think about it and sent her as an Ofsted inspector.

We don’t send them out on their own trick or treating, it’s a different world now. So, we have to accompany them like a pair of weird bouncers. Waiting at the bottom of the driveways and mouthing an embarrassed “sorry” as they storm into our neighbour’s hallways to mug them of all the Haribo they have.

The street I live on really embraces Halloween, because the demographic is mainly young families. It started out quite low-key, a couple of pumpkins, maybe a cobweb here and there. A morning at Costa and a WhatsApp group later and its now Grand Designs meets Friday the 13th. It’s a competition in one-upmanship. We’ve got gravestones in gardens, smoke machines and spooky music on Bluetooth speakers. Last year one resident had the idea of putting a life-size dummy of a killer clown in the front seat of their people carrier. It was a nice touch until one child had a panic attack. I think they are still in therapy now.

I don’t know where this madness is going to end. I wouldn’t be surprised if my wife tries to convince me to bury myself in the garden, with nothing but a paper straw to breathe through. She’d tell the children I was working away and then on Halloween night, as soon as the first bars of Michael Jacksons “Thriller” are blasted across the garden, I would emerge from the soil like one of the Living Dead.

Towards the end of the evening, we tend to get the stragglers coming, to pick off the last of the sweets. These are the kids who are too old for the trick or treating game. The ones who have worn the tread on the tyres, jaded old hacks who should know better. The cut-off point is when The One Show intro music starts, everyone knows that. Once the pumpkin is extinguished it’s over. Yet they still come, all charged up on E-numbers, mobile phones lighting their faces like low budget ETs and hammer the doorbell. I expect the reason they were late is because some of them are old enough to be working at Subway and they needed to finish their shifts first.

The carving of the pumpkin is something I try to involve the children in. It’s a calmer, more traditional taste of Halloween. The kids try and carve, but ultimately, they get bored. They start off with such big ideas, “I’m going to carve Harry Potter’s face into this one Daddy!”, “I’m going to do a full-scale picture of Hogwarts in mine Daddy!” this all fades away at record speed when they realise how difficult it is to cut into and all we end up with is two pumpkins with a glory hole in them.

This years Halloween will be very different. I won’t be able to celebrate it as I am performing my tour show “Leap Year” (tickets available at www.scottbennettcomedy.co.uk/tour.html yes this is a plug) in Amersham, Hertfordshire.

Let’s hope that it’s a treat for me and not a trick where no one turns up. Or worse than that, one person turns up, in fancy dress as the grim reaper.

@scottbcomedyuk | scottbennettcomedy.co.uk Find The Scott Bennett Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes.

‘Zombie Fungus’ Controls the Minds of Insects

It’s Halloween and there have been some spooky goings-on at the Attenborough Nature Reserve. Eerie ‘pig-like’ screams from water rails in the reedbeds, tawny owls hooting as they proclaim ownership of their woodland territory, but most scarily, zombies lurking in the undergrowth!

Whilst this sounds like the plot of a b-list horror movie, the actions of a fungus have made zombies very real at Attenborough.

Fungi are one of the most important groups of organisms to be found on the Nature Reserve. Over 450 species have been identified at Attenborough and most of the species can be seen in the autumn. Fungi do a wonderful job of breaking down dead and decaying matter, returning the nutrients back into the soil. However, there is a particular group of fungi which have a very sinister strategy for survival.

The so-called ‘Zombie Fungus’, Entomophthora, is one such fungus and the effects of which have been seen in the late summer and autumn.

The so-called ‘Zombie Fungus’, Entomophthora.

The fungus uses a special mind control technique to take advantage of insects in order to help it spread. Just one microscopic germinated spore (akin to seeds in plants) ingested by an insect is enough to infect the host with this pathogenic organism.

Once inside the body of the host, the fungus grows rapidly. Digesting its guts and internal organs. The mycelium of the fungus, a mass of branching thread-like hairs or roots, then spreads to an area of the fly’s brain that controls behaviour. The fungus forces the host to land or climb up to the top of a tall plant or tree.

The reason for this is that like most other types of fungi, the zombie fly fungus needs to get its spore-bearing structures as high as possible in order to complete its lifecycle. The higher up the insect, the more likely the microscopic spores are to get caught in air currents when they are released and will, therefore, spread over greater distances.

The final act of the fungus is to get the insect to assume a position that aids in dispersal of the spores. In the case of flies, the wings are held spread open and the legs stiffen to raise the fly’s abdomen into the air. Just five to seven days after becoming infected, the fly dies.

Fungus Hoverfly.

By this stage, the growing fungus begins to burst out of every crack in the insect’s armour and it becomes visible for a couple of days before the spores are released and the fungal spores ‘seek out’ their next victim.

Surprisingly there are over 70 species of this group of fungi in the UK. Whilst Entomopthora muscae is the most commonly encountered species and infects flies like hoverflies, others use a similar technique to affect mosquitoes, ants and even earwigs.

Why not scan through the path-side vegetation on your next visit to Attenborough and see if you can spot a ‘zombie insect’ for yourself!

TS

 

Motherhood: Halloween

In our house, Halloween is as big as Christmas. Costumes are decided during the end of summer sales, our amazing porch (tiny front window directly onto the road in front of our small terraced house) is decked in crunchy burnt-orange leaves, pumpkins and skulls, neighbours avoid us until mid-November.

Previous costumes themes have included Stranger Things, The X Files, The Walking Dead, and weirdly, Parks and Rec. This year we have decided on Fleabag as our muse. I’m Fleabag (of course) my husband, despite being 6’2 and bald, is the sexy priest, and our little girl is Hilary the guinea pig. We pride ourselves on having a 0% success rate for people guessing who we are.

Our little family are all huge horror fans. My favourite film as a child was the 18-rated Troll, which we rented so many times from the video shop that the guy who owned it eventually gave it to us for free because the tracking was wearing out. My daughter loves Goosebumps and is sniffing around my old Point Horror collection. My husband likes anything with fighting and blood in it.

We are natural Halloween enthusiasts. Part of the attraction for me has always been the subversive nature of celebrating a pagan ritual, a two-finger salute at religious holidays and a chance to run around in the dark demanding people give you stuff for free.

My fondest memory as a kid was of my parents unrolling bin bags and my mum getting crafty with scissors and sellotape. I was a witch every year for 8 years. When I was about 6 my dad took me trick or treating and told me to beware of witches lurking around corners, just as two unwitting students came around the bend in our road and through my screams of pure terror I felt that first rush of white-hot fear, and instantly knew that being scared was awesome. My daughter is the same. She will beg me to make her jump or tell her a scary story, to the point that she’s exhausted herself with screams and laughter. I’ll tell her stories of working as a scare actor in attractions around London, and of the people who fainted or threw up or begged to leave. It was the best few years of my 20s.

Whatever you do this Halloween, don’t be a scare-scrooge and avoid the doorbell. Grab a bag of pound shop sweets and tell the kids they look awesome, they will remember it forever. Or do what we did and set up a smoke machine in the hallway, and terrify the living souls out of the local children by answering the door dressed as a dead Mulder and Scully. You’ll remember that forever too.

DL

Devlish Delights

You might not be feeling much like an ice cream at this time of year, but then I did see a young man walking back home from the shop on Priory Island the other night, unwrapping a Magnum with the gleeful enthusiasm of an eight-year old that’s just paid a visit to the ice cream van.

Seeing as it is the time of year where cavorting with the devil might be actively encouraged if you do fancy a 99 or a something frozen on a stick, you might want to consider picking one up from El Diablo’s Ice Creams. Spawned from the imagination of a Beeston artists mind, driving towards you surrounded by the flames of Hell’s own fire, who would not succumb to the temptation of an Apocalippo, its headlined iced treat?

We love Matt Plowright’s often surreal and sometimes haunting artwork. When I questioned him about the inspiration for this particular creative masterpiece, he told me, “I envisaged Satan as an ice cream seller, with his own van. This juxtaposition of the heat of hell and a cool ice cream on a hot summer’s day, seemed ridiculous and laughably unlikely. I was inspired by the continental sounding names I had seen on ice cream vans, perhaps ‘Signor Whippy’ a Peter Kay creation. Also, I fondly recall Mr Benn for the aesthetic and the Mighty Boosh for the humour.”

I can’t help but be curious as to the music that would chime from deep inside its bloody guts, would it be the theme tune from the film Halloween or something even more sinister? Would some other evil being need to stand in for Satan when he had other important satanic business to attend to, and who might that be? One thing is for sure, I don’t think I would be asking for the red and green syrup…

You will find more of Matt’s artwork on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ PLOWZart/ and www.facebook.com/rodgertheprawn/ on Instagram at Matt Plowright and at his Beeston home studio. Please contact Matt via email at mattplowz@yahoo.co.uk to commission a piece of work or if you can provide a space to exhibit his vast collection of work. Matt will also be taking part in this year’s Art Trail.

DU

 

Beeston Beats: Halloween special

Hey, hey, here we are again for another fantabulous, Halloween edition of Beeston Beats, lovingly renamed BEAST!- onian (autocorrect please stop changing it to Onion), so what is on the agenda this month? Well, read ahead, grab a hot drink and pull a chair in, as things are about to get spooky! (Edit, not too spooky I
gets scared too!)

The season that I wait all year till is almost here; Halloween! Yes give me the dark unhappy season any day, you can keep mince pies, inflatable Santa’s and good old chirpy festive Christmas will, it’s all about the excuses for fancy dress, questionable gory themed alcoholic beverages and either embracing the age-old tradition of Trick and Treaters with copious amounts of sugary sweets or barricading ourselves at home in the dark until said intruders go and leave us in peace.

In fact can we please extend the ghostly season like we seem to have with Christmas? At August the dreaded Yuletide cakes seem to roll into retail shops, as do the Easter Eggs that appear as if laid by the bunny themselves on Boxing Day (true story). Imagine the outraged cry if silly masks and fake blood descended into local shops in June? In fact, the whole thing makes me wanna, well you know, turn into a soul-devouring demon. Before I descend into a full anti-yuletide rant here is my not so cheery, quite grumpy guide to events leading up to the unhappy season, Bah Humbug!

“Not a dancer? Fair enough, how about a giggle?”

By the time this publication hits the good drinking holes of Beeston the annual Oxjam Festival will have been and gone, however for those quick on the pulse there is the Oxjam Ceilidh at the Beeston Legion on Sat 23rd November, however tickets have sold out but fear not – another Scottish dance event is to be held at the Boat and Horses on Friday 22nd November, tickets are £5 no booking required just turn up, 8 pm start.

Not a dancer? Fair enough, how about a giggle? The Funhouse comedy club, hosted at Barton’s is on Friday 25th Oct and again on 29th November. £11 door tax, start time 8.15 pm.

No dancing and not a fan of comedy? Well Beeston has enough music to entertain even the deadened souls with Motown in the form of band The Northern Line plus Colin Stephens at the Victory Club on sat 26th, to Pop Classic covers with Peashooter at the newly refurbished Cornmill pub on Friday 25th Oct. Folk artist Jack Rutter performs at the Middle Street Resource Centre on Friday 1st Nov tickets are £8. More folk? No problem, Alice Jones plays the Commercial pub Dec 6th tickets also £8. The one and only Mr Kingdom Rapper takes on the Berliner bar Nov 16th.

There are also the twinkly shiny firework displays to look forward to for bonfire night, I shall be clutching a hotdog and the fine northern treat that is, minted mushy peas and uttering Ooooo and Arrrrr at the pretties. Lanes School are holding a Fireworks Extravaganza Friday 8th November 5.45 pm admission £4.

See after all those interesting events lined up, can we give Christmas a miss, you can call it my present.

LD

University of Beestonia

A global top 100 happy university.

I was thrown a right editorial curveball this issue, I was ready and primed for a whole year (I’d set myself a challenge) of positive celebrations of Higher Education (HE). If anyone has ever read this column you may have noted the occasional grump, the odd bout of cynicism, and sometimes a pointed suggestion of where things might improve. Not this year, there’s loads to be happy about (should not have used positive and celebration in the same phrase earlier, internal thesaurus’ run out already), and this is what the column will focus on for at least the next 12 months.

And then we hit the start of the new semester, it started raining and the theme for this issue comes through (thanks new Ed.). Amazing how quickly my head went to “HE Horror Show” or “Halloween is traditionally the time to remember those that have passed, like our HE system”. But neither of those things is true, it would have been lazy writing, and I see enough of that from some of the professionals these days.

There’s always a buzz about the beginning of the new year, often created by 100 young (and by golly they’re getting younger) coughs raining, often literally, down to the front of the lecture theatre (there’s a seasonal image for you). The campus is full of people again and the academics are chuckling about how they always forget what this time of year is like, even those that haven’t done it before.

So that bright light isn’t an oncoming train, after all, a rare occasion when the gentleman of Half Man Half Biscuit were wrong, at the end of this year’s tunnel there is joy, rainbows and undoubtedly bunnies (not the Monty Python type). Alternatively, I’m well and truly down the rabbit hole, but hey if I am it’s nice here and I’m not coming back. Reality sucks. Is that your Sanderling?

MJ currently has part of his salary paid for by The Future Food Beacon.

MJ

 

 

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