Jet Black – Community Activist, Artist, Writer

Liverpool is my hometown, but I moved to London at 18 and lived there through the 80s and early 90s. I have also lived in Lyon in France; San Francisco; Andros and Lesbos in Greece; and in Indonesia. I briefly lived in a commune on the South Yorkshire moors when I left London, but it wasn’t a good experience for me. By chance I met someone who lived in Gunthorpe, who needed a lodger and that’s how I arrived in Nottinghamshire.

As you can see, I’ve travelled and moved about a lot, but I’ve been in the Nottingham area for over 30 years now, living for several years in Forest Fields after Gunthorpe. In 1998, I joined a Raleigh expedition to Borneo, and then taught English in Java.

After a short stint in Derby and Borrowash, I came back to Nottingham in 2007. Now I live in Attenborough, right next to the nature reserve, which I love. I regularly walk there with Koko, my dog, who I’ve had for over a year now. She’s a wonderful companion and gets me out for daily exercise.

I like Beeston. I like that it’s separate from Nottingham yet feels almost like a suburb of the city. I like the independent shops, the different cultures and diversity. I like the students, as they bring new ideas and energy. The street art and Light Night are wonderful. I think Jeanie Barton has done an amazing job in pulling the community together through these events.

Besides the nature reserve, other places I enjoy going to include the marina and the Canalside Heritage Centre. For eating out, the Doughmother, Christine’s Delights, Café Roya, Kellari and Nosh are great. I love The Plane Tree and what Shelly’s doing for the local arts community and training people with extra educational needs, so that they can make their way in the world.

As an artist, I’ve made ceramics, fused glass, textile art and painting with acrylics, amongst others. I had a painting on display in the old Argos store a few years ago, when Jeanie organised for local artists to take over the empty shop.

“I’m proudly autistic, ADHD, Jewish and lesbian. They’re a big part of what makes me who I am.” I like to help people. I am very community minded; for instance, I volunteered for the Phoenix Food Bank in Inham Nook during lockdown, delivering food boxes to people in need. I was also involved in setting up the local Mutual Aid Group when Covid started. I’m especially proud to have initiated the installation of and fundraising for a new bench in the nature reserve. I take an interest in all community projects, such as the repair café and the ‘Incredible Edible’ project.

I’ve written for the old Nottingham Evening Post, Beeston Express and now for the Beestonian. I also started a blog in 2011 about my experience of living with myeloma.

Learning foreign languages is a great interest of mine and I have a ‘collection’ of how to say “Thank You” in over 50 languages. I’ve recently started going to Sora, a local Japanese restaurant, for Japanese conversation classes with a woman called Kumi. The restaurant is owned by Yuka, and they serve delicious authentic food there.

I’m looking at doing a series of podcasts through the Beestonian’s website called ‘Conversations on a Bench’, where I talk to people about subjects and issues that they want to discuss. It won’t be like the I Am Beeston project, as it will be audio and a conversation between us, covering more personal topics, rather than how the person connects with Beeston.

Jet with Koko

I’m all for making the world a better place. We need to support each other. After all, we are all global friends.