Let’s get out of the NG9 postcode, and not merely to find our Beeston namessakes in Leeds, Norfolk Cheshire and so on, but worldwide. Grab your passport, get your jabs and lets go explore our top five places:
By Matt Turpin
AUSTRALIA: BENDIGO We start right around the world in Australia, where the former gold-mining town of Bendigo, Victoria* owes its city name to Beeston’s world-famous boxer. Bizarrely, its twinned with Penzance rather than us, but does have a famous tram system, built in 1890, at the same time a local newspaper titled ‘The Tram Ranter’ began, which has since descended into a right-wing mess of idiocy.
THAILAND: BEESTON CAFE We wrote about the ‘Beeston Cafe’ a few issues back, where a group of former Thai students had been so impressed with Beeston’s cafe culture, not least The Bean (see within) that they set up their own joint in Bangkok to emulate our little bit of NG9. We hope they continue the mission to Beestonify Bangkok by closing down all local shoe-shops and encouraging locals to moan about it.
USA: BEESTON FIELDS: Our own area of opulence has a twin over in Virginia, and it’s just as fancy. It boasts a country club, runs off a main road simply called ‘Nottinghamshire’ which also, quite wonderfully, boasts streets called ‘St Anne’s’ and ‘Bulwell Forest’. Confusingly, to the North you’ll find streets named after Somerset, Devon, Sussex and Hastings, while to the South you can visit the New England Scotland by travelling to nearby ‘Glasgow’ ‘Aberdeen’ and ‘Dundee’. Enough to make a UK-bought Sat Nav weep.
VIRGIN ISLANDS: BEESTON HILL. The choice of the discerning tax-shirking ex-Beestonian, this little hamlet is currently for sale for around £81,000. It’s rather pretty too. Anyone want to sub us ‘til payday?
GERMANY: Gütersloh: As we hurtle towards some form of Brexit horror in a few weeks, we’d like to remind our twin** city in North-Rhine Westphalia that an obligation of the twinning process is honoury citizenship towards your twin, which we’ll happily cash in when all we have to eat here is roasted blue-passport and crumbs thrown from Jacob Rees-Moggs table.
* sadly not named after the pub.
** Actually the whole of Broxtowe, not just Beeston, but we’re the biggest town so neh.
He’s a YouTube star: forget your Zoellas and your Joe Suggs (“who the hell are they?” – anyone over 25) the big-haired polymath has racked up a staggering
183,580,239 views with his Periodic Videos series. Best Comment Left Under His Videos: “This man looks like science”
At the last count, Poliakoff had 27 letters after his name, and as such requires a passport printed on A3 card and an airport Toblerone placename when attending conferences.
He is a pioneer and leading expert in the concept of ‘Green Chemistry’, which is about finding environmentally safe ways to mass produce chemicals, and not
working out why frogs are that colour.
When the new five pound note came out, he tested their supposed indestructability by freezing one in liquid nitrogen and bashing it with a hammer (it broke) and then pouring nitric acid over another (it faded). This proved conclusively that he has a better job than yours.
His brother is famous screenwriter Stephen Poliakoff. They have yet to collaborate on a chemistry + drama mash-up, but we wait with bated breath.
The descendent of Russian refugees who fled the revolution, he is a passionate advocate for refugee rights and contributed an intro to the fund-raising Over Land, Over Sea poetry anthology. We salute this very much.
He is a former Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, which is a role older than the Government office of state. Needless to say, he did a better job than Boris bloody Johnson is doing.
To be fair, a dead rat on a stick smeared in rancid honey could do a better job than Boris Johnson.
He once calculated that the FIFA World Cup could not be made of solid gold as it would be too heavy to lift. Not that anyone from England will ever get a chance to try.
He is a Beestonian through and through, a great, involved member of the community. We salute you Prof Poliakoff!
A special this issue as we write the definitive Beeston Hit Parade, as suggested by those pun-tastic contributors over on Beeston updated. We received over 450 entries to this which suggests a) You are fantastic fans of puns and music b) You really should get out more. Muggins here has had to plough through them all and select the Top 40.
It was painful. It was tough. And apologies to anyone who didn’t make it. You should be proud of yourself. We have spared the blushes of those who made it into the list by not printing their names.
Set your groan levels to 11. HERE WE GO POP-PICKERS:
40: Happy Daze Are Here Again
39: Fake Plastic Bees
38: I Wanna Greggs You Up
37: Hallams Lies Down On Broadgate
36: Beeman Rhapsody
35: Total Eclipse of the Art Shop
34: Shadab Balti Ya Face
33: Exile on Middle Street
32: Ava Marina
31: Beestonian Like You
30: Stuck in the Middle Street Resource Centre With You
29: Beeston Fields Forever
28: These Boots Were Made for Walking
27: Ain’t No Magic Mountain High Enough
26: Ticket To Rye
25: Last Post to Clarksville
24: Q M C A
23: West End girls
22: Poppa Pizza Don’t Preach
21: Wake Me Up Before You Bendigo
20: Trams Europe Express
19: Iguazu zu zu zu, (push pineapple shake the tree)
18: Like a Rylands Cowboy
17: Whilst My Guitar Spot Gently Weeps
16: Monkey Gone to HairVen
15: That’s Amores
14: Livin’ L’Oliva Loca
13: The White Lion Sleeps tonight
12: (Gonna Rock Down To) Devonshire Avenue
11: Gills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music
10: Going ‘umberroad
09: Chimera River
08: Applebee The Day
07: Charlie Fogg on the Tyne
06: My Heart Wilko On.
05: Message in a Pottle
04: Rylands in the Stream
03: Nothing Compares to Meat 4U
02: 24 Hours From Toton
01: 99 Problems (and a shoe shop ain’t one)
A special mention to Tim Furnish, who we rewrote the whole the Dandy Warhols ‘Bohemian Like You’ into ‘Beestonian Like You’ with full lyrics. He should be very proud/ashamed of himself.
Oh 2018, how bountiful you have been for this column, how full of oddity and absurdity in the NG9 area. Yet all our lols this issue can be traced back to one place: that place up Foster Avenue.
Yes, Broxtowe Borough Council, where the lions really do seem led by the donkeys (apologise to any Equus africanus asinus readers out there). Staff are trying to do a good job under increasingly difficult circumstances, notably the scandal we mention on the front page, while the clueless councillors who set budgets and policy flap around like startled hens.
That’s the last farmyard reference, we promise.
Top of the list of absurdities we find the defence given to knock down our Town Hall. As transparency, accountability and democracy are ground down among our elected members, the symbol of these values, the 80-year old Town Hall, looks like it too will be beneath the bulldozers soon. It’s almost too clunky a bit of symbolism: any novelist worth her salt would baulk from such ham-fisted metaphor. Is Beeston beyond satire?
“People in Eastwood don’t know where the Town Hall is” says a Councillor at a meeting, to justify getting rid of the very building they’re debating in. As an opposition councillor is quick to point out, being unacknowledged by someone in the far north of our borough is not grounds to get rid of stuff. “That’s it lads,” says the Chinese Government. “We better tear down the Forbidden City. Reduce the Terracotta Army to dust. It seems that Mrs Scroggins of Plumptre Way, NG16, seems to have overlooked our existence!”
Our MP weighs in “There are no plans to demolish the Town Hall!” she thunders in her newsletter, written hastily in the back of the Uber whizzing her between London TV studios. “FAKE NEWS”. Now, we know Anna doesn’t really get involved in stuff in Broxtowe due to the demands of life in the Leicestershire countryside, but, as each one of the thousand plus respondents to the public consultation would have seen, demolition was, errr, the third option. Fake Soubz?
“I got married there,” a sprightly elderly lady tells me while I’m manning a Save The Town Hall stall. “A long time ago,” she adds. “That must have been lovely, to marry in your home town,” I reply. “Well, it were convenient,” she replies, wistfully. “He had to get his suit back by 4, and it were near the pub.” Ahhh, Beestonians, how I adore you.
So don’t let the councillors sell what is ours, don’t let them ruin a bit of Beeston’s heritage. We need to take the bull by the horns, refuse to chicken out, don’t duck responsibility’, not look gift horses in the mouth and resist until the cows come home.
Once again, some dolt expresses a wish for Beeston to ‘emulate West Bridgford’, presumably meaning we’ll lose all our character and be nothing but a dormitory town on the outskirts of a city, rather than a vibrant place with its own identity and character. The dolt in question is erstwhile used-car salesman Cllr. Richard Jackson, the boss of Broxtowe Borough Council and a man not exactly blessed with much of an imagination.
It’s almost like he doesn’t really care about Beeston, or indeed Broxtowe. Like he once voted to abolish the very council he runs. Nice to see you care, chief.
While that vote failed, it hasn’t stopped Wacko Jacko from his quest to destroy the council: rumours suggest that morale is at a snail’s belly low at the council, as a huge falling out rages through the council. And is it true a secret committee has been formed to investigate another secret committee, all at huge cost to council tax payers? Watch this space…
As the council infighting rages, it’s up to Beestonians to imagine the future of the town, and where better to look than our sister Facebook Page Beeston Updated? As the 11,000 members of the site well know, public toilets and shoe shops seem to occasionally dominate the conversation. Or rather, the lack of them. So here’s an idea. Why not combine the two into one handy place? Shoe and Poo anyone?
Props to our columnist Scott Bennett, who when not penning pithiness for this rag is a professional stand-up comedian, and recently was roped in to support Rob Brydon on his tour. As Brydon is his comic hero, Scott was delighted, and took along an autographed copy of Brydon’s memoir, which the craggy Welsh funster signed a few days before Scott did his first ever gig. This happened. Our hearts and cockles are duly warmed.
If you haven’t heard the podcast that Scott does with three other contributors to The Beestonian, then you really should. It’s so funny it could turn Droopy into a hyena. You’ll find it by going to http://www.scottbennettcomedy.co.uk/podcast.html . But grab a girdle first. Your sides aren’t safe from splitting.
It’s often through tragedy that you appreciate stuff you otherwise may have taken for granted.
The awful death of 12-year old Owen Jenkins, who fell into the weir and drowned after successfully rescuing other children, has had exactly that effect. Beestonians rallied together to ensure Owen’s friends and family were supported, and his memory marked appropriately. None of this will bring the lad back, of course, but it touched the hearts of the whole town to see the outpouring of goodwill in the face of such a devastating event.
Funds were raised to cover the funeral –over £10,000 as we went to press. A 1,000 convoy of bikers paid their respects with a memorial ride between The Beekeeper and the weir. Purple ribbons appeared all over town. Plans for a permanent memorial, perhaps a tree, are being planned for the weir. It all goes to show that Beeston is not just a town, it’s a community. We’re honoured to be part of it.
More community action in evidence as Network Rail withdrew their plans to close three paths across the rails, effectively making Attenborough Nature reserve difficult to access for many Beestonians. It’s rare to get such a good result so soon, but again it is all down to the sterling work done by many people miffed at the closures. Network Rail will instead put in safety features across the line. Result!
Welcome back to the Hive, where our scurrilous bees have been buzzing around excitedly since the election was called.
Yeah, an election got called, didn’t you hear? By the time you read this, it very well might be over and we could have a new MP, but what about the incumbent?
Yes, the lovely Anna Soubry, who stood for Broxtowe after failing to get elected in Gedling, and Ken Clarke stubbornly refusing to retire and give her Rushcliffe, meant that Beeston’s borough had to do. And lo, she said unto her electorate, sometime in 2009, “If I win, I shall descend upon Broxtowe, and make it my home, and live among my people, oh yes I will”. And the electorate duly voted for her.
Yet she remained happily housed in her big Mapperly mansion, for many years. Until lo, an election was again called, and she quickly took residence in a flat in Bramcote, and no longer just pretended to be a fellow constituent.
And then a snap election was called, and she had to give her address on the appropriate forms. And that address was… Charnwood. You know, that posh bit of Leicestershire MILES from Broxtowe. Was Anna being less than honest about her living arrangement? If so, it would probably explain why she is so keen to see fracking in Broxtowe: she’ll be happily miles away, in the unfracked, unpolluted Leicestershire countryside.
A slow handclap to Broxtowe Borough Council, and some sheer idiocy on their part. After a community wildlife reserve was set up by neighbourhood horticulture heroes WeDig NG9, on the verges where Barrydale and Wilmot meet, with full permission of said council, things looked bright. Trees were planted, a little path created, grass left to grow and create a meadow effect. A ‘bug squat’ (a series of stacked pallets and plants designed to attract insects for hedgehogs to munch on as well as helping out beleaguered bees and butterflies) was installed with great effort, totally voluntarily. Just two days later, with crushing inevitability, the council came along and mowed it all up, snapping down the trees in the process.
Why? And why is this anything different from the nasty gits who snapped the young trees in Dovecote Park earlier this year? Well, for one, the Dovecote Lane vandals didn’t need your council tax to fund their destruction. Sort it out, Broxtowe.
Beeston public loo: RIP. Never the most beautiful of buildings, but my, have they saved us on occasions. But no more: the bulldozers saw them off last month. But it’s ok! The council have arranged a scheme to pay local businesses to use their bogs. Oh, what’s that? They haven’t? Ahhh. Well, I’m sure all councillors who made this decision will not mind you using their toilets. Addresses available online.
Weirdest place The Beestonian has been: 10, Downing Street. Apparently we’ve been used as an example of excellence in hyperlocal media, at a presentation to the cabinet. This beats our previous weirdest reader: we heard some months back that as part of the plans for the Prince’s Foundation to work on the Barton’s development, a copy of The Beestonian was sent to Prince Charles to illustrate the spirit of the town. Of course, this information will not in any way influence our impeccable independent journalism.
Grammar schools eh? Great idea.
Y’know, I always find this column is easier to write once I’ve had a nice cup of tea and a few DUCHY ORIGINAL oat biscuits. Y’know, the ones that cost about three quid a crumb Talking of posh nosh, Marks and Sparks food are coming to town. Yes, everyone’s favourite purveyor of over-priced grub that isn’t from Waitrose are setting up shop on Chilwell Retail Park. A pipeline supplying every house in Attenborough with organic balsamic is being installed, and the ducks down the nearby nature reserve will now be fed artisan ciabatta instead of the usual Mighty White.
Yes, we know that you should not feed bread to ducks. But this is no ordinary bread. This is slow baked, herb infused Marks and Spencer bread.
We don’t condone graffiti, but we find it so hard to walk past this business and not write ‘scissors’ in marker pen.
Our beloved and totally sober MP went off on one recently, when Twitter seemed to unanimously question her rather overwrought appearance on BBC’s Question Time. “I HAVE NEVER USED THAT WORD” she thundered to a twitter user who mentioned Anna’s well-documented use of the C- word “DELETE THIS DEFAMATORY TWEET”. Calm, Anna, calm. While it is an offensive to many, we’re all open minded enough to use the word ‘Conservative” without much embarrassment.
Brilliant work from Beestonian Lewis Stainer, for recently setting up a food collection for refugees. His hard work persuaded a massive amount of food, mainly own-brand tins, to be donated. This will be then sent to Calais to keep the stateless, stranded refugees there some sustenance while our elected leaders continue to dither. Well done Lewis. Next year, with M+S firmly part of Beeston, it’ll probably be all spiralised courgette and quinoa. Or maybe we can hope there will be no need, and solutions will be found to give the hopeless hope. Sadly, that’s as likely as some shiny public Armitage Shanks being stuck in the centre of town.
+++ 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. +++
+++ 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. +++
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