Barton’s Quarter Development

If you weren’t already aware, the UK has been in the grip of a housing crisis for some time. Not enough properties are available for people to live in, new homes not being built quickly enough, and the dream of home ownership is out of the financial reach of vast swathes of the population.

The various political, economic and social forces which drive and influence demand and supply means that it is usually more profitable for developers to build brand new homes on greenbelt land. The types of new housing being built varies, but unsurprisingly, dwellings such as 5 bedroomed executive homes normally generate the highest returns for the builders. This is not ideal for those wanting to get on the housing ladder.

A new development with a difference could soon be with us, if a proposal to build on derelict land at the Barton’s site gets the go-ahead. If everything is approved, 250 homes will be built on the fairly extensive site. The good news for those who are wanting to get onto the property ladder is that 54 of them will be 1 bedroomed flats/maisonettes, and 122 of them will be 2 bedroomed flats.

Another unusual aspect to the scheme is that the buildings themselves will be constructed according to aesthetic design principles. Much of the new estate homes that have been built over the last few years have faced much criticism for their utilitarian uniformity and less than imaginative design, which personally I think is unwarranted. A home is a home, and anyway, attitudes to architecture are fluid. An 80’s ‘Lego estate’ may well be as revered as a Victorian terrace in years to come. Getting back to the point, some of the artist’s impressions are very different to average new-builds, and would be a very welcome addition to the mixture of housing in the area.

A few nay-sayers have cited some concerns – one of them being the extra traffic the development would bring. It is highly unlikely that every one of the new homes would contain a car owner, and even if it did, the proximity of the site to the tram and bus stops would make life easy for anyone commuting to the University, QMC, city or in the other direction to Long Eaton and Derby. Lots more people work at home now, so it would hardly seem likely that dozens of cars will be creating queues of traffic along the High Road or Queens Road.

Others have pointed out that there would be added pressure on already well-subscribed primary schools in the area. For starters, less than 200 of the new homes have two or more bedrooms. 122 of them will be 2 bedroomed flats, leaving fewer than 80 homes with 3 or more bedrooms.

Of those who move into the properties with 2 or more bedrooms, I think it is fair to estimate that well under half will have children of school age. Take out the ones who aren’t at primary school, and it would be hard to imagine more than an extra 2 or 3 children in each primary school year.

As well as contributing to the housing ‘effort’, the scheme would also see substantial extra council tax revenue being generated. At a time when the money given to local authorities is ever-decreasing, an extra few hundred thousand pounds will be very welcome.

My biggest concern is that the site will lose some of the heritage magic, and the venue for some brilliant events. Over the last few years Bartons has been host to any number of superb performances. This has included comedy, music (of all genres), along with art installations, not to mention the markets and heritage open days. However, provision is being made for an events space, so fingers crossed that this is included.

If the scheme does get the go-ahead, it will be a couple of years at least before the site takes shape, although I’m tempted to start taking bets that it will be complete before anything worthwhile is built on the empty land opposite Tesco.

Beeston Musical Theatre

I got a text from my partner the night before. “Do you want to go and see The Wedding Singer tomorrow?” For a brief second I wondered was there some special showing of the film? Was it an anniversary edition, director’s cut? Then I remembered. No. It’s a musical version.

My better half was excited. She had a friend in the production and so, being the dutiful boyfriend, I obviously agreed. Okay, I said with a slightly sinking heart. Let’s go.

Forgive me people. I’m not usually so close-minded. It’s just musicals make me a bit, well, violent. Towards myself, not others, but violent none the less. Whether it’s Grease (which makes me want to hide), Mary Poppins (which makes me want to bash my brains in) or Mamma Mia (which makes me want to rip out my eyes and stuff them in any orifice capable of receiving sound) I just can’t get on with them. To this day the only musicals I’ve ever been able to stand have had Muppets in them. Sorry.

Okay so with all that bearing in mind I sat down to The Beeston Musical Theatre production of The Wedding Singer with just a little trepidation. I had actually commissioned another writer to go the day before but he had at the last minute been unable to do so. Curse him, I thought, smiling widely at my girlfriend. Next issue I’ll make him write about public toilets.

Then the curtains were drawn and it began.

Right so I’ll forgo any suspense. It was brilliant. I mean properly brilliant. I laughed like a loon, nodded along to the songs, my heart was warmed in the final act. This was a performance which, as soon as it ended, I would have happily stayed sat and waited for the curtains to come back up again. Though I think that would have been a terrible strain on the actors.

First of all let’s talk about the actors. The musical was led by Chris Bryan as Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler in the film) and Claire Rybicki as Julia Sullivan (Drew Barrymore). They looked young. Early twenties I thought. But God damn could they sing! Not just sing. Sing and act and dance. Chris was a perfect Adam Sandler replacement, not copying Sandler’s performance exactly, but adapting it. And the same could be said for Claire. I found them both captivating.

Furthermore the rest of the cast were equally talented. Zoe Brinklow, who played Julia’s best friend Holly, had an exceptional voice and David Hurt, who played Simply Wed keyboardist George, almost stole the show with his flamboyant performance. Finally, for those who remember the film, the various comic references to the 80’s in which the film is set were absolutely spot on.  The hair, the clothes, the music, the set design, it was all superb.

I had an absolute blast and I can’t wait to see another of their shows in the New Year. Shows confirmed so far are All Shook Up (tickets are already available!) about a guitar-playing roustabout in the 1950s who turns a little American town all upside down, and Spamalot, the Monty Python classic.

http://www.bmtg.org.uk/

Christian Fox

Looking Back…Looking Forward

Apparently this issue of The Beestonian is a ‘festive bumper special’ which makes it sound rather splendidly like the ‘Beano’ and ‘Dandy’ comic summer specials I used to read (and re-read) as a child, now quite some time ago – so long in fact that the Dandy doesn’t even exist anymore. It turns out the older you get, the more things change, sometimes for the better admittedly, sometimes not so much.

I was talking with some friends in The Crown the other day (other excellent Beeston pubs are available) about just that; how certain phrases that used to be commonplace are now archaic anachronisms (obviously we didn’t use that phrase in the pub; we’d had beer).

Who remembers the term ‘Sunday drivers’? A phrase from a time where the roads weren’t as clogged on a Sunday as they are now a couple could jump into their Ford Zephyr and drive at a top speed of about 21mph along any A-road that took their fancy, possibly whilst eating a cheese and onion cob. Or ‘Half day closing’, which seems like an utterly prehistoric concept now in the face of 24 hour shopping (although as Tesco is now closing at midnight maybe they’re slowly bringing the concept back).

But 2016 has certainly been a year for change. We’ve lost a huge number of massive cultural icons, our collective political sense (pretty much globally) and who now remembers ‘public toilets near the Square’ eh? Beeston changes. Beestonians change – our own former editor Matt and his lovely wife Ellie have just had a beautiful baby boy so huge congratulations to them, that certainly is a life-changing experience. It’s genuinely surprising to me that no matter how many times people said to Sal and I “Cherish every moment, they grow up so fast” and we nodded and thought ‘Yea, right’ that come Boxing Day our wonderful Scarlett will be three years old. Three! And Sal will have been living with her cancer for over eighteen months and we’ll have been married for over three months.

Back before I was a responsible married man with a daughter I used to navigate the year not by days and weeks but by Robin Hood events and weirdly this time of year has always been the busiest… from 1991 to a decade ago it was the Christmas season at The Sheriff’s Lodge medieval banqueting centre on Canal Street in Nottingham (now sadly demolished).

In its heyday I’d do a run of over thirty evening banquets (plus matinees), starting in the middle of November. These days although the Lodge has gone Nottingham Castle still hosts the Robin Hood Pageant, the Robin Hood Beer Festival, the MySight Nottingham charity Firewalk (which I still take part in) and more – but with the redevelopment of the Castle and grounds now confirmed to start in early 2018 all of those will have to find a new home after next year too.

So this last week (as I write) being so busy was a bit poignant – I ended up abseiling down the side of the QMC with NUH’s Chief Exec to launch an appeal for the Children’s Hospital (that’ll teach me not to read emails properly and then just say ‘yes, happy to help’ on the phone before I actually knew what they wanted), I announced the £14m HLF funding success for the Castle to the national press, helped turn on the city’s Christmas lights and was (very movingly) serenaded by a fabulous group of WW2 veterans raucously singing the old Richard Greene ‘Robin Hood’ TV theme to me after I guided them on a tour.

Seriously, having thirty Paras, Commandos, Army, Navy and RAF veterans doing that was quite amazing and a real honour – and I’m sure it’ll never happen again.

I live a very strange life sometimes, but I’m very grateful to everyone in it. As with Beeston, there’s bits I miss, bits I’d change and bits I want to stay the same forever. But hey, “Ch-ch-ch-changes” as David Bowie once sang. Remember him?

Happy 2017, Beestonian readers. You rock.

Tim Pollard

Nottingham’s Official Robin Hood

The Dancing Dentist

We take a trip to the dentist…

There can’t be that many people who enjoy going to the dentist. I had an appointment with local dentist Jordan Singh, one of the partners of the Beeston Dental Practice on Devonshire Avenue. But fortunately not for a filling or extraction, but to chat with him about his family’s devotion to bhangra dancing.

Jordan’s father, uncles and cousins all belong to the Sheerer Punjab Bhangra Dance Troup, which began in 1977 by Jordan’s Uncle Narinder. Last year the group made world headlines by dancing with Prince Charles at the annual International Music Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.

The 1980s was a particular heady time for the troupe; as they won at the Welsh talent contest in 1982 and 83, and went on to perform in America, in such places as North Carolina and Texas. Although they came third in last year’s event, in the Traditional Folk Dance Group section, they are now highly thought of by the people who organise the annual talent contest.

I asked Jordan why he does it. “Well it’s a great opportunity to keep fit and meet up with family members. For the Eisteddfod we would train on Mondays and Fridays for three months. We just went for fun, so it was great that we did so well. Especially as the group that came second were professionals”.

Being a dentist is more hands on (or hands in), and it’s great to see what difference I can make to a patient’s life

The dance itself originates from the Punjab region of North West India. It’s a celebratory dance for the harvest. Jordan added that another reason for doing it is that it’s a strong part of Sikh culture and history, and it’s important to keep this alive for the future. “It was difficult to keep it secret from the other dentists and staff, but when they found out they were excited and impressed. And when word got out, our website got 4000 extra hits, as people wanted to know more. My grandfather came to Britain in 1947, so I am the third generation Singh. Singh means lion in Punjabi. The ‘shee’ in Sheerer also means lion. We are a family of lions!”

You can sense how strongly Jordan feels about the love and friendship of his family. And how close they all are. He has another uncle who is a pharmacist on Glasshouse Street. He makes the colourful costumes, acts as a stand in dancer and works out the choreography. Most of the Singhs appear to be pharmacists, so naturally I wanted to find out why Jordan chose dentistry for a profession.  “Well it meant being at university for another year”, he replied with the typical look of a student who enjoyed being a student and what student life entailed. “Also the way pharmacists’ work is changing. This is down to the influence of doctors. Whereas being a dentist is more hands on (or hands in), and it’s great to see what difference I can make to a patient’s life. To take away their pain. You also get to know the patients well”. Jordan has only been qualified a year, but clearly enjoys his job and the interaction with his patients.

I asked Jordan if he lived in Beeston. “No, I currently live with my parents in Redhill. It’s a 45 minute commute twice a day. An hour and a half wasted every day”. I pointed out that if he lived in Beeston, his travelling maybe could be only four to five minutes. “True. Beeston’s a great place. And such a good selection of places to eat and drink. I’ve enjoyed the food at such places as the Korea House. I may move here one day”.

One subject that Jordan was keen to mention is the fact that he and 8 others of the Singh family will be climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro in January next year. “We are doing it for the ‘When you Wish Upon a Star’ charity. We hope to raise £1500”.  For those that don’t know, the Nottingham based charity was set up in 1990 to grant the wishes of children who were suffering with life threatening illnesses. An inspiring thing to do for such a worthwhile cause.

2017 sees the 40th anniversary of the group and I wondered whether they would be all entering the Eisteddfod next year? “Yes, that’s the plan. It’s a bit like a family outing when we all get together. It will be good to get back into it, even though it can be a bit hard on the knees. I keep fit by playing golf and football. I’m looking forward to it. And they really look after you.  We were all put up in a dormitory and fed lamb curry.”

Next year’s event takes place between the 4th & 12th of August in Anglesey, and I’m sure all of Beeston would want to wish them luck, and in the words of Jordan’s grandfather; “Work hard, enjoy life”.

If anyone wants to sponsor Jordan, he has a Just Giving page. Here’s the web link for it: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jordan-Singh1

CDF

Megan Taylor

I have always been a great that believer in the idea that Beeston is made up of some fantastic people. Occasionally, however I have the bizarre experience of meeting someone who really does stand out from the crowd. This month I had the great pleasure to meet one of our greatest local writers, Megan Taylor, to chat about her work.

What makes Megan stand out quite as much as she did for me is not only her work but mainly that she is by far one of the sweetest people I have ever met, a characteristic that, despite making the interview and beer we have had since very enjoyable, I find just a little bit suspicious.

I’m sure that at this moment, dear reader, that you have someone similar in mind; we have all met someone who is just too nice at some point in our lives. What’s the catch, you may be asking? I will come back to that.

So, putting any notions of suspicion aside, conversation quickly began to flow. Megan explained that having work and lived in London for most of her life she was the proud recipient of a BA in English from Goldsmiths University of London (“la de da” I said, as a lowly Trent Poly student) which began a lifelong passion for all thing literary. In 1999, she relocated North, finally settling here in Beeston (having quickly realised that West Bridgford was not quite all it’s cracked up to be).

It was here that things really started to take off. Her first novel ‘How We Were Lost’, an edgy coming-of-age story, was published by Flame Books in 2007 after coming second in the Yeovile Prize 2006.  Deciding that perhaps she was ready to pursue her writing career with all the vigour of a true Beestonian, Megan enrolled herself on a distance learning Masters in creative writing from Manchester Metropolitan University during which time she continued writing, eventually publishing her work ‘The Dawning’ in 2010. Since then Megan has gone from strength to strength, next came the utterly gripping ‘The Lives of Ghosts’ in 2012.

Then, in 2014, she published her first short story collection ‘The Woman Under the Ground’. To top it off, Megan also contributed to the highly successful ‘These Seven’, an anthology of short stories combined and published by Nottingham’s own Five Leaves, to showcase the diversity of writing and communities that our fair city has to offer.

In order to explain how I have finally come to terms and laid aside my initial “she seems too nice” discomfort I took to Megan’s latest novel ‘The Lives of Ghosts’ for some answers and boy did I find them. For the sake of brevity, I will say only that this story was one of the most gripping I have read in a very long time, comparable with so few other but most readily writers such as Joyce Carol Oates but with the emotional engagement displayed by the likes of Stephen King. The narrative may initially appear daunting to some, alternating chapters between our protagonist Libery Fuller as a grown woman and as her 12-year-old self, but Megan has masterfully interwoven these two perspective to offer a level of depth that most author struggle with their whole careers. The story follows Liberty as she returns to her childhood home, an eerie loch-side house in rural Scotland, and attempts to confront the ghosts that have haunted her for 25 years. The dark insight into a number of traumatic events and the attempt to resolve the effects of them give the story a dark, almost sadistic, sense of suspense which combined with a twist that I did not see coming, makes this a novel that I genuinely could not put down.

Having read many of her short stories as well as her latest novel, all the pieces began to fall into place. Why is Megan such a genuinely lovely woman? Because she is able to express the darker side of herself so poignantly in her writing, creating worlds and characters that strike a chord with everyone who reads them.

Her works speak for themselves but be warned, they are to be read on a dark evening, ideally by candlelight. Megan’s work is available through the usual channels: the Five Leaves bookshop, from her own website and Amazon.

Darren Kirkbride

Summer Lovin? – Not for this guy

We are now in full summer mode and although I can’t argue against the benefits of the much welcomed injection of vitamin D into my pasty white carcass, I must admit I’m not a fan of the summer months. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy the longer nights, a beer in the garden (but that’s mainly because of the beer) a chance to give friends and family food poisoning at my own BBQ and that mood of optimism in the air; but despite that I don’t think the summer agrees with me.

In the UK we seem to have extremes when it comes to the weather. It’s always so unexpected, it catches us off guard. Snow that comes so heavy that everything grinds to a halt, floods that border on the biblical and days so hot and humid you feel like you’ve been parachuted into an oil field in Iraq. I find it hard to even think when temperatures creep into the thirties, small tasks seem as daunting as an expedition to Everest. On the hottest day of the year my wife and I had to change the bed, a task that makes me want to weep at the best of times.

After the first pillow case I was already wet through, the sweat was pouring down my back and running in between my butt cheeks like a river and I had so much sweat in my eyes I couldn’t see the buttons on the duvet cover.

The thing the summer does though is give us Brits something to talk about, our favorite subject; the weather. As the temperature increases our ways of describing it becomes more and more bizarre. “Ohh isn’t it muggy out there!” No, unless you’ve just being mugged, that makes no sense. “The problem is, it’s just too close” well yes it will be close, it’s the weather and it’s all around you. In Yorkshire they used to say “eeee its crackin’ flags out there!” meaning it’s so hot it’s capable of causing fracture to your patio slabs, quite poetic, but still sounds like utter bollocks. “It’s warm we can’t work; pass me a beer” that’s all the words you need.

Everyone has their own methods for coping with the heat; particularly at night. I’m almost used to falling asleep now to the gentle white noise of a humming desk fan. There is always that moment when you forget where the fan is and proceed to trip yourself up over the cable on the way to your 4th pee of the night.

I don’t wear my bed clothes in a heatwave, but I like a single sheet on me, there has to be a small amount of weight there. I can’t do totally naked, laid out like a human sacrifice, I feel far too vulnerable. Also the hot weather brings with it the increase in midges and blood sucking insects and the last thing I want is to offer myself up like some sort of human all you can eat buffet.

It’s normally the early hours of the morning when the heat subsides enough to allow you to drift off. You’ve then got at least 4 hours of fidgety, sweat soaked sleep before you are rudely awaken by that “summer soundtrack”. The buzz of a Strimmer, a lawnmower, the neighbour building yet another outdoor “project” that just seems to be him hammering the same nail in again and again for three straight hours, or a determined mosquito who proceeds to fly back and forth past your ear until you eventually declare war, put the light on and chase him round the room with a rolled up newspaper.

The daytimes are easier; you can always find relief in an air conditioned shop or supermarket. If you’re crafty you can spend twenty minutes in the frozen food isle leaning over some Aunt Bessies roast potatoes, wearing nothing but your underwear. It’s heaven and really reduces your core body temperature; the hour interview in the manager’s office and the subsequent court appearance is a small price to pay.

As a blonde haired white man, I burn like kindling in the most moderate of heat. I think we underestimate the weather in the UK, like the sun is somehow a different one to the one that you lie back and bask in on a foreign holiday. We seem to think nothing of doing a full day’s work in the garden, bear chested, without sun cream and with only the one cup of tea to hydrate us. “Its fine love, we are in Wigan on a Wednesday, it’s not going to burn me, this is British sun; best in the world!” the day after we are in agony, peeling sheets of skin of our bodies so large you could wrap presents with them.

In the summer months my hay fever condition announces itself with a new found anger and aggression, like a pit-bull on steroids. With eyes streaming like I’ve just been tear gassed, a nose itchier than that of a supermodel with a grand a day coke habit, hives and bumps on my skin a blind man could read as brail and body riddled with so many antihistamines I can barely stay conscious.  All in all it’s not a good “look.” They always warn you about not operating heavy machinery when you take antihistamines, which makes me feel sad, how many forklift truck drivers and welders are struggling out there? Unable to work because they have to walk that fine line between sleeping and sneezing.

Summer attire is also stressful. I am completely lost with the sock, sandal, plimsoll, deck shoe or moccasin etiquette. There are normal length socks, sometimes worn with leather sandals, which only geography teachers and bible salesmen are allowed to wear. There are trainer socks, which seem more socially acceptable, white socks though, never black, particularly if you are wearing shorts. Black socks with trainers and shorts looks like you’ve been doing P.E at school and forgotten your kit and had to rummage around in the lost property box. I find picking clothes for a heatwave is difficult. I never go commando though, I don’t care how hot it is, I still need some organization down there.

When it’s warm my testicles seem to be constantly in love with my inner thighs, I often have to peel them away from each other like I’m removing a sticker from a windscreen. It’s like a battle down there most days and both parties need to be segregated for their own good.

I can’t and won’t wear a vest and going topless isn’t something I feel comfortable with. The other day I saw a man with his top off, riding a ladies bike with a basket on the front. In the basket of the bike there was a pack of lager and a small dog keeping looking out; it was like a low budget version of the film E.T. It was 24 degrees and we were in a car park outside Lidl, it’s not the Algarve. Put your top back on.

It’s quite late now and the heat has subsided, I’m going to attempt to turn in for the night, or maybe the whole season? I might find the coolest spot in the house; black out the windows, fill my socks with ice, and survive on nothing but a freezer full of Magnum Classics.

See you in October

Scott Bennett

Robin Hood And Maid Marry-On

By the time the next issue comes out I’ll be married. That may not impress some people (especially the already married) but while I’m not turning into GroomZilla yet it’s definitely a Big Deal for me.

I’ll be *married*.

Yes I know, people get married all the time. Not the same people obviously (unless they’re Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor) but as I’ve never been married before it’s all a bit of an adventure.

I’m quite used to adventures though, I’ve done any number of weird and amazing things as Robin Hood but that all seems rather tame compared to getting married and I guess that’s how it should be.

Sal’s just as excited. She’s making her wedding dress herself (no, it’s not going to be a Robin Hood wedding) and even our daughter Scarlett is looking forward being a bridesmaid. Everyone we know is gearing up. Great friends are travelling from the UK, the US and Europe to celebrate with us. It’s all *perfect*.

Except… Sal has cancer.

Just over a year ago she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. It’s already too late to cure, having spread from her breast to her liver, pelvis and spine. As you can imagine, we were devastated. It was close to being the worst possible news we could have, and as Sal teaches genetics at Nottingham University there wasn’t much she didn’t know. It’s fair to say we were broken, for any number of reasons (us, our future, watching Scarlett grow up). All of it potentially ripped away in a single diagnosis.

But here’s the thing – Sal is a truly amazing woman. I love her without limits and for some reason she feels the same about me. So we wept, second-guessed, swore and wished. And then she decided to just get on with life. She started chemo and radiotherapy and after each treatment was back at work in days. I was – am – utterly in awe of her.

Her decision to live with cancer rather than giving in to it was inspirational, and not just to me. Sal took part in the University’s Impact campaign which aims to make a real difference in the lives of breast cancer sufferers. And because she was in a unique position (involved in research and a patient) the organisers asked her to give a presentation at their Open Day.

A year ago she couldn’t have done it. But a few weeks ago she gave a presentation so powerful it touched everyone there. And because the university press release mentioned that ‘Dr Sally Chappell, Nottingham’s official Maid Marian’ was speaking about having cancer local media found out too. We’d not told anyone (not because having cancer is anything to hide, far from it) but suddenly it was out in the open.

So when local media contacted her Sal could have ignored them. Instead she decided people should know that all this could happen to anyone. If any good can come of this she needed to convey a message. So she went on Radio Nottingham for a couple of really sensitively conducted interviews, she talked to the Post, raised over £2.5k for charity by doing a 5k run, and even did an interview for ‘Candis’ magazine (published later this year). And the message Sal really wants you to get is this:

Check your boobs. Check your partner’s boobs (male or female). Probably don’t check strangers’ boobs (that’s wrong and creepy) but if I can say it again one more time: CHECK YOUR BOOBS regularly. Sal didn’t have any of the ‘classic’ signs (lumps, orange peel skin, puckering) just a general thickening of the whole breast tissue that even her GP wasn’t initially worried about because breasts change after childbirth.

As I write, Sal is on round 2 of chemo and it’s dreadful to see her knocked sideways by it. Scarlett keeps us going, she’s an utter joy and gives us both love and smiles and we have a brilliant support network of incredible family and friends who help with babysitting, shopping, lending ears for us to bend, shoulders to cry on. We couldn’t do it without them. We’re really blessed, the bloody cancer withstanding.

And we’re grateful to everyone who asks how Sal is. Knowing that people care is very helpful, especially in the long dark, scary hours of night. Now even when I’m out Robin Hood-ing people I’ve never met before come up to me and ask in a very genuine and concerned way “How’s your wife?” as a lot of people think we’re married already.

I thank them for asking and don’t tell them we’re not married yet because the really great thing is we soon will be. After all of the fun we’ve had as Robin and Marian this is real, a proper grown-up adventure. There’ll be laughter and tears, love and sadness. It’s life. And it’ll be fun so wish us luck.

Oh and please remember: CHECK YOUR BOOBS

Foreign Accent

The last Beeston Beats featured a promise by myself to root out all alternative music, a vow that led me to the ‘Boat and ‘ossess’ (horses) down on Trent Road in the Rylands.

Previously I have only ventured ito this establishment very rarely, with prior outings to the Degeneration festival last year and again more recently for a fantastic Sunday dinner (now sadly not available).

Within moments of stepping in the venue something didn’t quite seem the same, a change in atmosphere lingered in the air and then it hit me; the strong character of previous landlord Peter was missing, with him venturing off to pastures new. His dynamic and friendly personality added a quality to the ‘ossess that made strangers feel immediately welcome.

Hosts aside, the music element still remains, with the pub’s weekly open mic night every Thursday alongside a guest spot at 10pm for an assigned band/act.

Catching my interest was a four piece group called Foreign Accent who were due to perform the late spot: a Hungarian folk band on a U.K tour covering local venues across Nottingham – The Maze, Surface Gallery and Running Horse.

Within moments of their starting I was utterly entranced. Their beautiful sound consisted of an infusion of violin over plucked acoustic guitar, twinkling keyboards alongside a hauntingly emotive vocal.

Even the subject matter of the songs was deep and meaningful with verses based on poems such as ‘Prayer after war’ inspired by the work of Endre Ady, telling the tale of an ex soldier trying to make peace with himself after war.

There was also a rendition of English folk ballad ‘Scarborough Fair’ followed by an Indian folk song ‘Vasudevaya’. ’Blue violet’ is based on a Hungarian folk song about a small flower asking for dewfall as a broken heart seeks love  – the majority of mainstream  modern pop music lyrics just  fade in comparison.

The night was soaked in enchanting melodies, making it impossible to be occupied in anything else going on at the time. As for the next stop in my random music adventure, who knows where I will end up? This, was an amazing place to start, though!

Lulu Davenport

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