Keep it live: Oxjam

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

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

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

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

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

Tickets are £6 from Oxfam Books & Music, The Middle Street Resource Centre, or on-line at www.wegottickets.com/event/363566 (+ 10% booking fee). Hurry while stocks last!

CT

Beeston Beats: Drownload

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LD

Films and (the lack of) food

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DL

Gossip from the Hivemind: May 2016

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Oxjam: We’re back!

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

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

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

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

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

We are also looking for volunteers who could help with any aspect of the Oxjam Music Festival, from artists’ liaison to publicity to general helper. If you’d like to know a bit more, email beestonoxjam2016@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you.

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

CT

 

Beeston Exposed

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

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

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

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

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

My blog can be found at http://beestonblog.blogspot.co.uk.

CDF

Dry Pub Crawl

I heard my Beestonian colleagues organising an epic pub crawl. Start at 3pm, they said – drink a half in each of the massive number of pubs, they said – wear matching t-shirts, they said. I cowered further down in my seat at each suggestion.

It’s all familiar, of course – I drank pints at Newcastle University in the 80s, after all. I remember the bravura, the ability to chat to strangers, repeated conversations feeling really funny. This continued in my work: hard play, hard approach to life. I remember (sometimes rather scarily) piecing together the fragments of incidents over the next few days to make sense of them: ‘she said WHAT?’, ‘he did WHAT?’, ‘I went WHERE?’ All great fun. But I often found it pretty competitive in some sense.

Nowdays I don’t drink. I stopped a few years ago when I considered my responsibilities outweighed my need for dizzy times and woozy sleep. It was hard at first, going against the grain of ‘normal’ expectations, suddenly aware of how much we are bombarded with invitations and coercion to participate. However, giving up sits comfortably with me – I don’t like any section of society asking me to conform to fit in. You might think a sober existence is really boring – but I think it’s quite rebellious!

But it’s difficult to enjoy the loud tutting from the bar staff when ordering two hot chocolates during a quiz night in a local pub

Even though I don’t drink alcohol, I do enjoy going out. I really enjoy going out. Being a bit older, I’m not good at late nights – but I love having a laugh, a gritty conversation, a bit of art, a bit of politics and a bit of gossip. I also like being around other people while they chat and drink and enjoy themselves.

So…why must I drink diet coke, sugary cordials, one of the stupid sodding fluorescent flavours of J2O or bloody Eisberg (or equivalent), in order to participate? There are ‘no alcohol’ beers, but every one I have tried had a horrible aftertaste – I think this is because I never liked beer in the first place! The choice in pubs is better than ever, of course – tea and coffee is freely available, though caffeine is not ideal late on (and what is the point of decaffeinated for goodness sake??). But it’s difficult to enjoy the loud tutting from the bar staff when ordering two hot chocolates during a quiz night in a local pub recently.

A quick poll of Beeston town centre pubs shows that most offer at least one alcohol free beer. I could not find one that offered alcohol free wine; in fact I was treated with derision in some pubs when I asked. I buy my wine to drink at home from a very successful Manchester company called The Alcohol Free Shop, which has been quietly winning all sorts of awards simply by looking for adult alternatives to alcoholic drinks – usually great tasting ‘proper’ wine which has the alcohol carefully removed, leaving a delicious ‘grown up’ product. They continue to expand their great range of products – with some excellent ‘no alcohol’ ciders and spirit substitutes.

It would be fantastic to find this sort of product available in Beeston’s great pubs – not just for Dry Januarys, but also for drivers who want to drink something interesting and people who want to cut back a bit without compromising on taste.

Meanwhile…when I met up with the other Beestonians during the crawl I spent a very amiable hour over a diet coke. There was no evidence of matching T shirts or pint drinking, merely a good natured celebration of our hospitable community. Excellent!

KA

Beeston Inspired

‘Inspire’ is a rather fitting name for a company looking to run a library. To my mind I can think of no better use of public resources than to hand a child a book. With each word their experiences grow, their world develops and they become greater. There is no better investment than that of education and for poorer households, and students like myself, the library has become a vital educational hub. 



The Beeston Library has recently become the centre of a scare in the local community. Lord B. was already drafting placards by the time Councilor Kate Foale put fears to rest. In the wake of ‘toiletgate’ and the closure of the post office a brief and terrifying threat seemed to loom over the Library itself. The reality is thankfully not a closure but a change of hands. This change of hands will leave Beeston Library under the management of Inspire, a non-profit organization set up by Nottinghamshire County Council with a focus on the arts. Their remit includes libraries, music lessons, and supporting educational activities in the community. For Beeston this means maybe two major things: the library is staying but will be under new management, and that the library may be refitted to accommodate some of these other aims. They hope this will allow the Library to respond more rapidly to the changing demands of the community. Councillors have suggested that this refurbishment will take around 6 months and that in the process the library will absorb other services.

One perk of Inspire’s status is that it must be responsive to the public will. Their website is incomplete but currently the focus is on signing people up to their mailing lists and inviting members to their annual general meeting. Hopefully this means that the people of Beeston will get a greater say in how the library provides services. They certainly seem keen as over 4000 people signed up to have their say within a month of Inspire opening. Membership is of course free and all members will have an opportunity to stand for election to Inspire’s board.

In a comment to the Nottingham Post County Councilor John Knight, who chairs the committee for culture, seemed enthused about the project. He pointed to the current popularity of libraries throughout the county, having lent over 3 million books in the last year. He is hopeful that Inspire’s cultural events will allow for a greater sense of community to build around the library. With any luck these cultural events will be yet another chance to show off Beeston’s beating metropolitan heart, much like the various film nights at Cafe Roya and the White Lion.

Generally those I spoke to seemed optimistic, particularly hoping the move would allow for greater responsiveness to the wishes of Beestonians. Many however also seemed frustrated by yet another refit, especially given that “it hardly seemed 5 minutes since the last one”. One of the other local concerns raised regarded exhibitions by local artists. These were moved last year to a larger venue in an upstairs room at the library, much to the consternation of art lovers who pointed out that few people knew such a venue existed.

Overall the Library appears to be in safe hands with Inspire. Despite my own worries that this is a step towards the privatisation of local services, the democratic nature of the community group seems to be designed to keep the public involved. It also seems like a great opportunity for Beeston to once more show off its cultural variety. Hopefully the library can be a hub for Beeston’s seeming renaissance.

TR

Booze of the World

Often, the best way to take the pulse of a town is to check out its pubs. The health of these is the health of an area: if they are boarded up, run down, or too terrifying to enter, it’s a safe bet that the surroundings aren’t going to be great.

On that basis, Beeston is in rude health. We’ve long had a strong reputation for pubs: Beeston has often been mooted with having the highest density of drinkeries in the UK. We’re right by the source of the best water for ale in the world: the beer that the Trent is brewed into is world renowned. Of course, the only way to prove this is to go out there and get some hard-core journalism done: to visit every pub in Beeston to give a comprehensive picture of how we’re doing. You might have spotted us a few Saturdays ago, first strolling, then staggering, then crawling between pubs.

This isn’t the first time: four years ago The Beestonian, then a fledgling magazine, took a look round and printed up the results. We’d expected to register a decline, all these years over. We were surprised to find that this wasn’t the case.

You’ll find the results inside. Pubs are famously under a hell of a lot of pressure, with greedy Pubcos and loss-leading booze in supermarkets just two challenges pubs must counter. How they do this was the most revealing part of the survey: rather than stay the same and slip into decline, they’ve diversified, changed what they offer and created a much stranger estate of boozers than ever before. Very few pubs are just straight forward pubs anymore, and the imagination, entrepreneurism and sheer verve of some were inspirational, and testament to the spirit of Beeston. We even found a new, albeit micro, pub had opened.

Also within you’ll find pages stuffed to the margins with stories, news and all things Beeston. This town does not sit still, making our mission to celebrate the place one we never take lightly. So if you see one of the team at the bar while reading this, they probably won’t say no to a pint. Cheers!

LB

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