The power of friendships, old and new

When living and working in the Rylands you become very aware of the long-established families and friendships within the community. What’s less obvious are the new relationships and friendships being formed through social groups such as Friday Club (the weekly social dining club for the over 60’s). Here’s the story of two Friday Club regulars Peggy and Freda, and what their friendship means to them.

Around two years after her husband’s death, Peggy was only going out to do her shopping and was struggling with her grief and feeling lonely. She was told about Friday club through a friend in the Rylands. She went the first time with a friend and started to look forward to going. Freda joined the group a little later and in Peggy’s words their “friendship just exploded from there, it was so easy to be friends with her they just clicked straight away.”

The first adventure was to Bardills garden centre and they started walking together locally once or twice a week. They attended Janet’s 24-hour danceathon in October 2019 where
they danced and laughed the night away till 4 am.

Their birthdays are two weeks (plus ten years) apart and they started a tradition of having fish and chips on Queens Road to celebrate. Social distancing wasn’t going to deter their
friendship this year as they sheltered on opposite ends of the bus shelter to enjoy their feast.

Peggy shared that if she didn’t have Freda she might have not gone out as much over lockdown and have “locked myself away again – I am really pleased about being friends, we
can just laugh and be at ease.”

Following the death of her husband Bob, Freda moved to Beeston to be nearer her daughter. Freda knew no one else, and would just go walking. Like Peggy, Friday Club was
recommended to her, and a regular called Frances met Freda at the car park so she didn’t have to go in on her own. At her first meeting, she sat between the regulars Peggy and
Sheila where there was a space. Peggy, Sheila and Freda just got chatting, and after a while, she started joining them on little trips to places like the film club at the heritage centre.

Sadly Sheila passed away, and Peggy and Freda’s relationship just developed. Freda explained that they go walking and have little adventures, “It’s just nice – and it’s a laugh. We
speak every day on the phone. She came to my birthday party last year and my 70th this year so she knows all the family – they think Peggy is lovely and they’re amazed at how I’ve
opened up. When I have bad days – sometimes she senses it – it’s weird.”

Peggy explained that another Friday club member has christened them the “lively birds” – “lets face it, we all know each other at Friday club, before Friday club when my husband was still alive I would see people around the Rylands and say hello, but life was so busy I never really knew them. Friday Club brings people closer together, we all have grief in common, friendship is important. I don’t laugh with anyone else as much as Freda.”

Friday Club is open to all residents over 60. Meetings are every Friday between 1.30 and 3.30 pm for food, friendship and fun. Since the latest COVID-19 restrictions it’s changed to
phone calls, Zoom meetings and food deliveries, but Friday club will be back as soon we can meet safely again.

JB and NR

Survive and thrive: Why community matters part 2

As once again we find ourselves in a second lockdown, with Christmas approaching it feels appropriate to capture the mood and reflect on what we have found during our community work in the Rylands.

For many there is an expectation to maintain a stiff upper lip and plough through these unprecedented times, when in reality there is a need to allow ourselves to mourn our seasonal traditions and get-togethers that we’ll be missing this year.  This year, the picturesque ideology that we often feel pressure to achieve seems more out of grasp than ever. So we’re starting a conversation to say that it is okay to admit that it’s not OK. Feel free to say that this is rubbish! It’s okay to verbalise that this is hard, and difficult and dismal at best, that we miss our loved ones and friends. It’s okay for our Friday Club Clubbers to be unhappy that their weekly get together is on hold, and to not want to embrace Zoom calls or elbow rubs or face masks or social distanced walks in the torrential British weather.  It’s okay for our young people to miss youth club, and it’s okay for volunteers to be tired and ask for support.

There is a trendy slogan doing the rounds on social media stating “We are all in the same storm but we are not in the same boat”. While this in many ways is true, we can offer lifeboats to those who might be taking in water, we can recognise that some boats may be weathered or weary and giving out distress calls. This does not mean the boat and its crew are doomed it simply signals that its community needs to help slow the leak and support that struggling ship to navigate itself back to safe shores.

This Christmas for many of us is about weathering the storm and remembering that behind every dark cloud is blue sky. We all have different ways of coping, whether it’s go for a run by the river with your permitted one companion, going for a walk with your family and picking up a takeaway coffee on the way, or staying home keeping safe and warm until the storm passes. It’s likely that Christmas will be different this year for most of us, so let’s be kind to ourselves and one another. Let’s enjoy the simple pleasures of the season and remember there is hope around the corner in the shape of vaccines, our caring community, and the thought of the arrival of a brand new year.

Beeston Rylands Community Association update

Beeston Rylands Community Association (BRCA) continue to provide lunch deliveries and support to elderly residents. All the while the team keep adapting their work to comply with the changing COVID-19 restrictions. When we emerged out of full lockdown, we reintroduced Friday Club (our social dining club for the over 60’s), and therefore reduced the food deliveries.

We instead introduced a food voucher scheme, where all those previously receiving a food delivery could go to the Boat House Cafe and get some hot or cold food twice a week.

Since the tightening of restrictions, we’ve reintroduced twice-weekly lunch pack deliveries for the most isolated in our community. This work made possible thanks to Sarah, Sandie and Tony of the Boat House Cafe, our team of volunteers, and our funders: Broxtowe Borough Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, NET Coronavirus Appeal Programme, Martin Lewis Emergency Fund, and individual donors. If you need help, please contact Janet Barnes, Development Officer / Volunteer: 07904 067160, janetmbarnes@ntlworld.com.

JB

Optimism

As I write, it’s been a couple of days since the long-awaited news that finally a vaccine for Covid has been found; even more astounding is that it apparently has over a 90% efficacy – and recently a second equally if not more effective vaccine was announced.

Now I know there’s still a long way to go before anyone I know ends up having it administered, but at least theoretically it appears Covid may be on the back foot for once. By this time next year, we may be looking back and breathing out a little.

Of course, that’s not a given; there may be stumbling blocks along the way, but I am vastly heartened by the prospect of an end to lockdowns, fear and people both catching – and very sadly dying from – a novel virus.

Some of the barriers may be scientific, logistical or legal; others may be entirely human – the tinfoil hat brigade who won’t swallow medication but will swallow just about anything else it appears. Sadly the country now seems to have a risibly high percentage of people who don’t see the irony in using their mobile phones to insist online that ‘the vaccine has a chip in it which can track you’, or that ‘they’ll use it to turn your brain off’ – a ship that for them has patently already sailed. Still, I guess it’s nice to think they imagine they’re that important that the government would want an extra way to track them…

Having said that, I don’t think anyone would need tracking devices for me at the moment, I’ve spent pretty much all the time since the first lockdown in my house – and I’ve been loving it. I’m an anti-social bloke at the best of times, enjoying movies, reading, gaming, painting miniature wargames figures and sleeping when I’m not looking after my six-year-old daughter (which means, in reality, I get very, very little time to do anything in that list). But unlike so many people I’m perfectly happy in my own company with Radio 4 on. I do have some good friends and family who I keep in touch with online and that’s great too – but I don’t imagine it’s been as fun for most people who enjoy going to football matches, clubs, big family gatherings, as well as out to work, seeing friends in real life etc.

Of course, being a self-employed Robin Hood I’ve lost a lot of work (all of it, actually) as the tourism trade is… well, it isn’t. Not only have all of my normal gigs gone but even the special ones – I was supposed to be taking part in the Lord Mayor’s Parade in London last weekend and I’ve even lost my favourite last gig of the year, being Santa for the annual kids Christmas concert at Nottingham’s Albert Hall. So yea, like a great many others my income has decreased significantly, but thankfully I can still write and illustrate so compared to a great many I’m very lucky – but I’m very much hoping things can pick up again next year.

Hence yet again my being incredibly thankful for the massive effort made by scientists and researchers worldwide to get this pandemic under control. Those of you who’ve read my ramblings before will know I’m a big geek – I love Star Trek (the proper one with Captain Kirk, obviously). The inherent optimism in that show is something I’m feeling now – that despite things being bleak, despite there being economic loss, sadness and death all around us the world has pulled together and done something about it in record time. The folks who complain about the vaccine being found so quickly compared to other diseases (etc., etc.) seem happier to complain than realise that when everyone pulls together we can get things done, make life better, easier and give people back something that’s been missing since all of this started – optimism.

TP

Grassroots football club feed over 100 people during half-term

A football club in Chilwell provided free meals during the half-term break.

Phoenix Inham FC helped 140 individuals as they joined a number of restaurants and cafes across the country in feeding disadvantaged people.

The club’s efforts have been recognised on Twitter by Marcus Rashford who has been a leading campaigner in trying to end child hunger in Britain.

The England international footballer successfully forced a government U-turn to extend free school meal vouchers over the summer.

But the scheme was not extended during half-term – a move which prompted widespread criticism.

Richard Ward, chairman of Phoenix Inham said: “I think it’s disgusting.”

“There’s a lot of parents who have lost their jobs and suddenly you’ll go from having a permanent wage to having nothing whilst trying to afford a mortgage and everyday household bills.

“People need free school meals.”

Richard was born in Chilwell so knows the importance of providing food and support to the local community.

“We spoke to a lady whose partner was furloughed back at the beginning of lockdown and sadly on Monday they received a phone call saying they’ve gone into liquidation,” he said.

“They’ve got a family with two children who they now can’t afford to feed.”

Latest government data shows that the percentage of students eligible for FSM’s has increased across all schools from 15.4% in 2019 to 17.3% in 2020.

That percentage is only going to increase with the number of people losing their jobs during the pandemic.

The club have been providing free food during the half-term break

32-year-old Kylie Goodband has been volunteering at the club after recently losing her job as a carer.

Kylie said: “If I was in need then at least I know that I’ve got people to come to when I need it.”

“I’ve got a lot of free time on my hands at the moment so I like to help out as much as I can.”

The Beestonian have asked Broxtowe MP, Darren Henry, to comment after being one of over 300 MPs to have voted against extending the FSM scheme.

Mr Henry has yet to respond.

IS

Survive and thrive: why community matters

Only now we are emerging out of full lockdown can we fully comprehend the extent that all our lives have been affected over the last six months. The aftershock for many has been as traumatic as the immediate impact of the pandemic.

As part of Beeston Rylands Community Association, we pulled together a fantastic band of volunteers who helped deliver food and friendship to the most in need within our community. We discovered the significance of continuity and consistency of twice-weekly food prep, activities, and letters and while at times monotonous, it was the only real source of certainty for us and the recipients. As a result, we made new connections and friendships with people we previously wouldn’t have crossed paths with and found that existing friendships were not only invaluable but strengthened as we navigated our way through difficult times.

One of those friendships has been our own. Thrown together through our work, we found courage and support in each other over the last few months. So as we emerged out of lockdown, we decided we needed to embark on a Thelma and Louise style adventure (without the bad bits). We ventured out of our beloved Beeston and drove up the M1 to do The North East Skinny Dip 2020 in aid of the mental health charity MIND.

For us and many other people mental health and its journey can sometimes be an uphill battle, it ebbs and flows and has an irritating ability to disarm us unexpectedly.

Jumping into the freezing cold sea was about letting go… of our clothes, yes, but most importantly of the past and all the things that can’t be undone. It was about connecting with a friend and pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones.

Before we ran into and out of the cold North sea together, we agreed now is the time to shake off the past, and focus on the ‘what next’. To use this experience of running into the unknown as a catalyst for evolution into new community projects, our “survive and thrive” plan.

“Survive and Thrive” is about investing in activities, connectivity, and opportunities for our community. This includes first-rate new social facilities, delivering new classes and courses, and developing a community transport scheme.

Our column is about optimism and moving forward as a collective whole. We’ll update you on community matters, whilst trying to uncover the unexpected, the quirky and the brave aspects of Beeston life. It won’t always be full of laughs, but it will use real-life case studies to demonstrate what’s possible. We recognize now more than ever that we can’t be sedentary when it comes to community and inclusion. The time is now.

JB & NR

Thinkin’ Inkin’: How one woman took a gamble on changing the tattoo industry

I opened Jurassic Tattoo Company on Wollaton Road in August as a safe, comfortable space to be tattooed. It’s not going to be like other tattoo studios and I’m striving to be very radically different in the way I treat artists and customers.

I was originally a psychology researcher who started my PhD and quit due to a huge mental health breakdown. After many suicide attempts and little clinical help, I worked my way into the tattoo industry to find that the mistreatment and hazing of newcomers was harmful to my recovery. I was shocked at the awful way customers were often treated. I made it my mission to create something different.

Being tattooed is an extremely personal and vulnerable experience. During the tattoo process, a customer fully trusts their artist with a permanent change to their body, as well as letting them physically handle them for a stretch of time. They are in pain and experience a rollercoaster of endorphins and neurotransmitters that can induce intense feelings. I believe that this neurochemical rush, mixed with the prolonged close contact and the fact that they may be getting the tattoo for a meaningful reason, means the tattoo process has the potential to be either psychologically therapeutic OR psychologically damaging to the person. Which one it is depends on the professionalism of the artist and the atmosphere in the studio.

Unfortunately, in the industry, there are often less than ideal atmospheres in studios which intimidate or shame clients, rather than make their tattoo a safe and positive experience. From subtle things like having intimidating decor (“do not enter unless you’re a goth”) vibes! to shaming a customer for only wanting a small tattoo… to the small handful of artists who use their position to sexually harass clients.

“After working in psychological support in both the NHS and private sectors, I can honestly say that more therapy can be done on the tattoo chair than can be done in 6 sessions of CBT.”

I want to change this industry, or at the very least, provide a homely safe space for all clients to come, have a lovely chat and feel valued. After working in psychological support in both the NHS and private sectors, I can honestly say that more therapy can be done on the tattoo chair than can be done in 6 sessions of CBT. People naturally open up as they are already vulnerable and emotional. I believe this should be handled with the most respect and care possible.

Like many others, my business and personal finances have taken a huge beating throughout lockdown. I have scraped through only due to the huge amount of support I’ve had from my customers who have been booking on to my waiting list, buying my artwork or taking part in my tattoo raffles. I am hugely grateful to all of them and have been really surprised and touched by the amount of interest I have received!

It has been going overwhelmingly well since we opened, with my books being full until January 2021, and we’re all working incredibly hard to try and prepare for the possibility of another lockdown. Knowing that I may not be able to work for months with zero financial support from the government is a huge pressure, but I hope I can weather the storm if it does happen.

Jurassic Tattoo can be found at 76b Wollaton Road: Insta: @jurassictattoo; FB: @jurassictattoocompany

SC

Autumnal Guide for Helping Hedgehogs

Over the summer, you may have seen hedgehogs scuttling about in your garden in the evening.

I have a wildlife camera set up in my garden, and I was delighted to see footage of hedgehogs munching on the food I’d left out for them, and huffing at each other! This was particularly great to see, as hedgehog numbers have declined by approximately 50% since the year 2000. As we transition into Autumn and the weather gets a little colder, hedgehogs are beginning to hibernate. Although this means you may not see hedgehogs in your garden anymore, this doesn’t mean they’re not there, and certainly doesn’t mean they don’t need your assistance! The points below are easy tips (and some more challenging projects) for helping hedgehogs in your garden at this time of year:

You may have collected a pile of materials for a bonfire. Hedgehogs will find this pile to be a very inviting hibernation site! The best way to ensure that there are no hedgehogs nesting in the pile is to move it before you light it. If you are unable to move it, make sure to lift up the base with a broom handle and inspect underneath using a torch.

“Look out for Autumnal juveniles. These are hedgehogs that are old enough to be independent from their mother, but are too small to hibernate.”

Make or buy a hedgehog house. This provides a safe place for hibernation. Hedgehog houses can be as simple as an upturned plastic box with a hole cut out for a door, or can be much more sophisticated. Check out: www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk for more information

Look out for Autumnal juveniles. These are hedgehogs that are old enough to be independent from their mother, but are too small to hibernate. Hedgehogs can hibernate at 450 grams, but will fair better at 600 grams. If the hedgehog regularly visits at night, happily eats and is active, it is probably best to leave it be and put out food and water for it (more on this topic later). If possible, weigh the hedgehog weekly to make sure it is putting on weight. If you see a hedgehog out during the day in Autumn (this can be OK in the Spring/Summer), having trouble moving around, spending long periods of time curled into a ball when under no threat, or any other behaviour that doesn’t seem quite right, it needs attention. Contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society as soon as possible on 01584 890801. If you’re not sure, it’s best to call the number above just to make sure.

In addition to these Autumn-specific tips, below are some tips for helping out hedgehogs all year round:

Make a 13x13cm hole in your garden fence to allow hedgehogs to roam between gardens. Go one step further and ask your neighbours to do the same.

Put a shallow dish of water in your garden for hedgehogs to drink; this is especially important in hot weather. Go one step further and put out a dish of meaty pet food (make sure it’s dairy-free). Caution – don’t offer milk! Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant.

Written by the Hedgehog Friendly Campus group at The University of Nottingham.

Contact hannah.constantin@nottingham.ac.uk for more information.

HC

Beeston FC look forward to an exciting future as work begins on new clubhouse

It has been a long road but Beeston FC have finally reached the total needed to build a new clubhouse and renovate the old Plessey sports ground at Trent Vale.

We have been covering the Bees for several years now during which time they have been trying to raise money to receive a grant from the Football Association and the Premier League.

The near £500,000 grant will cover a large amount of the £600,000 cost of the project which will benefit both the club and the local community.

A statement from the club’s development officer, Sarah Green, read: “It’s fantastic seeing work begin on our clubhouse. The years of planning and fundraising by our hard-working volunteers have finally paid off. You can see a real transformation of the old building and the rooms are taking shape. We aim to maintain the history of the building by reinstalling the iconic Plessey Sports Club clock outside and displaying old photographs and articles inside when the work is completed in spring 2021.

“The community room is huge and will be such an asset to local sports, social and community groups in this area – especially now that social distancing demands larger rooms. There’s still work to do, and we are greatly helped by our community partnership with the Beeston based company Reckitt Benckiser who are working hard to continue our general site tidy up, replanting and internal painting of the clubhouse in the new year.”

Long term Beeston residents will know that the site has plenty of history to it and none more so than Ray Walker who used to feature for the old Plessey football team whilst his daughter went on to play netball at the same location.

With the site having been abandoned for decades, Ray is delighted to see that work is beginning to hopefully bring the ground back to its former glory.

He said: “I’m glad that somebody picked it up.

“I would love to see it help to build a strong Beeston team.”

“I think Jack Charlton said it best, ‘the one thing I couldn’t do was play, but I could stop other people playing.’ That was me.”

Football runs in Ray’s family with his father and grandfather making appearances for Notts County and Nottingham Forest respectively.

Although Ray himself never played at the same level as them he believes that his athletic abilities made him a match for anyone.

“I was never a great footballer.

“I think Jack Charlton said it best, ‘the one thing I couldn’t do was play, but I could stop other people playing.’ That was me,” recalls Ray.

“Being six-foot-three, I was a very physical player.

“My school always wanted me to play Rugby, the headteacher even tried to get my father to convince me, but it was because of my Dad that I wanted to play football.

“Looking back, I now realise that Rugby may have been the better way to go,” he admits.

It’s easy to see why Ray thinks that.

After initially giving up on his dream of becoming a professional footballer when he was 21, Ray returned to the game in his late twenties to play for a club in Long Eaton, however, his playing days were cut short after suffering a serious leg injury.

“I went into a tackle which I now realise was a bit silly,” Ray says.

“It smashed my leg up.

“I was in hospital and they operated on it, screwed it all together again and said no more football for you!”

It wasn’t all bad news for Ray though.

“The sick pay from the government wasn’t taxable, so I was better off financially from it.

“I got two or three quid a week more than what I was earning at the factory.

“I also got a pay rise shortly after because I’d just turned 30,” he chuckled.

Characters like Ray have special memories of Trent Vale. Now it’s Beeston FC who have the chance to create even more.

IS

How Beeston FC are bouncing back from the pandemic

Whilst professional football makes its return to the sounds of artificial crowd noise, Beeston FC are also trying to adapt to a new normal.

The club’s senior and under 18 teams are gradually returning to training, after the FA announced that clubs were able to train in groups of five with a coach.

At the same time, strict measures have been put in place, including players having to fill out new medical forms to see if they’ve had the virus, whilst regular use of hand sanitizer is being used by all.

Changing rooms and toilets have remained closed and players are encouraged to leave the site promptly at the end of training.

“We’re really pleased to be back,” says club chair Charlie Walker.

“It’s a bit strange and the training sessions take quite a lot of planning because they have to be socially distanced, but it’s gone well so far.”

Unfortunately, the lockdown happened just as the club were hoping to gain some off the pitch momentum, with fundraising events lined up in March and April being cancelled.

The club have been fundraising, due to them needing £50,000 to receive a near £500,000 grant from the Football Association and Premier League, as they plan towards renovating the old Plessey sports ground to build a new clubhouse.

However, Charlie tells me that whilst they still need to raise over £8000, the club have been given the go-ahead to start work on the site.

“We’re hoping that we’ll be able to start the on-site building work In mid-July, that’s our hope.

“We were expecting to hit our target by the end of April, but because of the COVID-19 situation, it meant that some organisations that were going to give us money, weren’t able to.”

To reduce costs, the club have begun clearing out the site themselves, with help from members of the Trent Vale squash club and among others, local councillor, Kate Foale (pictured above.)

“It’s a nine-acre site. Six acres will be used for football, but what about the other three acres of space?”

“Recently we’ve been clearing the old tennis courts, cricket nets and the netball court,” said Charlie.

“We’ve also been emptying the old clubhouse of everything. There were some 30-year-old football boots, which had been cast into the corner of a changing room after maybe somebody had a bad game and decided to retire. They might have even been mine!”

Whilst Charlie acknowledges that the clubhouse will be the obvious focus of the club, he believes that there will be opportunities for the site to be used beyond just football.

“It’s a nine-acre site. Six acres will be used for football, but what about the other three acres of space? There’s potential for it to be used by other sports clubs, such as a running club or something of that nature.”

As covered in a previous issue, one way in which the club have been trying to raise money is by having supporter plaques, with the names of those who have donated towards their efforts, erected on a wall when the new site is built.

Charlie believes that a combination of the plaques and donations will make a big difference, whilst sponsorship from local business’ will also help the daily running of the club, allowing them to put some of their own finances towards the £50,000 total.

“Covering the cost of running the club, gives us a little bit more money from club income to put into the project. It should take us about a year so we’re hoping for it to be completed by the start of the 2021/22 season.

“Obviously, it’s not the right time, but when things ease up, we will also be running some fundraising events.”

The goal of trying to raise £50,000 is a major challenge in itself, but the disruption caused by this pandemic has made it an even greater task.

Yet, the hard work and dedication from everyone involved, has given Beeston FC every chance of reaching their target. Hopefully, for the club and the community as a whole, they will succeed.

IS

Lockdaaaaaann

Eeee Yup fellow and probably sum what megaly bored, Beatsonites! I hope this issue has brightened your day, we have cracking writers here at the Beestonian and together we aim to put a great big smile on a face or two, even if we are not currently in glorious glossy print. Last issue I shared my frustrations with the retail sector (I went full-on grrr Lulu hulk mode) with how things are a bit, well putting it bluntly, a bit on the crap side at the moment. After weeks of lockdown, even with social interactions that continually being at work brings, plus having personal projects to keep me busy, I started to miss my old life of gigging, being a social butterfly, dining out and drinks at the local.

After a pretty stressful shift, I brought a flamingo Daiquiri box of cocktail (on offer and essential may I add), enough munchies to start a small business and pondered what could I possibly do with my weekend that didn’t involve cleaning. Well, flamingo flavoured was actually code for quite disgusting taste of floor cleaner and needed enough juice added to it. I’m sure it wasn’t even alcohol anymore. Cocktail in hand I then set about reclaiming my old life back by getting with the times and delving into the world of watch parties (not to be confused with dogging, does that class as social distancing?)

Anyhoo, So I started my Lockdown sesh, yup the Friday night to end all Friday nights, dodgy cocktail based drink in hand and realised the benefits to all this, I had no bus to catch, there’s little to no queue for the loo, some 7-foot twonk isn’t going to stand in front of you and no pissed teenager is going to trip and pour a two pint of Strongbow over you while screaming ‘omg am not gonna be able to get up for school tomorrow!’ (I am not shaming I was also the drunken teenager and it’s always more fun that way round). Instead, the Friday night start to the weekend is a more sedate affair during this point in time (i don’t need to tell you what’s going on, we ALLL know), all that’s needed is some sort of device to tune into the interweb and a working connection. My favourite plus in all this is I sat in my cookie monster onesie no effort made, no makeup which has usually morphed into Alice Cooper style in the sweaty clubs and hair so messy I could have been mistaken for having shock therapy.

Fear of missing out is now a thing of the past, staying in is the new norm and quick to respond was the internet. Pop up and watch parties started to be announced all over the place, normally on Facebook but occasionally on YouTube, whatever your musical orientation there are live music performances to suit everyone. Leftlion magazine Nottingham host Sofa Sessions, which features acoustic artists every night at 8 pm until, as they say, the Lockdown is lifted or they run out of artists. There’s also Folk Beeston – Club show every Friday night from 8 pm, I tuned in to the soothing sounds of Colin Tucker, Tom Paxton, guests and a rather amusing finger puppet show by Dave Mooney. We Shall Overcome runs successful virtual gigs as does Punk for The Homeless, I tuned in to catch Paul Carbuncle, poetry by Eagle Spitz and the raw musical stylings of Pixie Styx. The Steampunk in me tuned in to see Alice’s Night Circus as she bravely took to fans requests that included Green Day and Disney (not together you understand.)

There’s old school dance in the form of Moon dance Lockdown Sessions, it’s mesmerizing to actually watch DJs play, normally most can only see the top of most of the DJs heads while they perform but with live stream, you can watch it in their own habitat while they dad dance and drink away the night (Judge Jules set for Back to the old Pool was hilarious) while having a good old nosey around peoples places without getting arrested.

I finished my evening feeling without it taking me an hour to get home by tram, I simply switched off my laptop and my adventure was complete. If this is the future of entertainment at least it has its perks, so for now I can get that all-important music fix I miss so much, and while it’s not the same as live hopefully it goes some way to keeping me sane (well ish) Thank you and goodnight!

LD