Tag: beeston

A Pottle of Poetry: Beeston micropub to host poetry open mic

During this year’s Nottingham Poetry Festival, Henry Normal came to Beeston Library for his touring ‘Poetry Hour with Henry Normal’ events, and told a room full of people that Beeston used to be a poetry hotspot. 

Beeston was one of the places that gigging poets would have to go to, and it was a place firmly on the poetry map. Henry said that he’d like that back, so after an initial post in Beeston Updated, lots of interest, a few messages pinged back and forth, meetings had and calendars scribbled in…Beeston is set to have a regular poetry open mic!


The wonderful Jen Pottle, of the micropub Pottle of Blues on Stoney Street, will be hosting the monthly event, which is planned to take place on the first Sunday of every month.

Jen, who is a former English teacher, recently performed poetry for the very first time at Jam Cafe in Nottingham. “I was quite amazed at the sheer number of young people at a poetry night, but it was such a nice supportive group,” she says.

Putting herself forward to perform poetry is what has driven her to want to host a poetry night at Pottle, and she’s encouraged by the interest it’s received on the Facebook event page so far. For anyone thinking of coming to the event, Jen says: “It will be a cosy atmosphere because it’s not a huge venue, and it’s open to anyone who wants to come and join in.”


She’s purposely picked a time frame that’s fairly quiet anyway, so there’s no chance of a bunch of poets disrupting the regulars! And you don’t even have to be a poet: if you’re interested in finding out ‘performance poetry’ is and hearing what the poets of Beeston have to offer, then come down and see what it’s all about.

Jen is no stranger to hosting these sort of events either, as Pottle already has a regular live music open mic/karaoke night which takes place on the first Wednesday of every month, and is quite popular among students.

She’s also planning on setting up a stand-up comedy night, as she’s currently doing a training course in comedy.

The first Pottle Poetry event takes place this Sunday 1 July, from 4-6pm and is free to attend. There will be five to ten minute open mic slots available, depending on how many people turn up and put their name down to perform.

You can find the event page here:  Pottle Poetry
Follow Pottle of Blues on Facebook, and Twitter.


And now for something completely different!

There were two events last summer, one wonderful, one tragic, that occurred within days and metres of each other. Together, they both summed up what it means when the phrase ‘Beeston community’ is used.

The tragedy was the drowning of 12-year-old Owen Jenkins; while the wonderful event was the transformation of the canal side cottages from derelict wrecks seemingly only fit for the bulldozer into an incredibly beautiful public space.

While the event was tragic, Owen’s death saw something wonderful emerge from it. Spontaneously, thousands displayed their sorrow by donning purple: for a while the whole town was festooned with shades of mauve to mulberry, plum to raspberry. On the day of his funeral, Beeston’s streets were lined with those paying their respect; the hundreds of motorbikes that formed the tale of the procession was a sight that will live long in the memories of Beestonians.

The Canalside Heritage Centre wasn’t transformed into a top-class attraction, café and garden by some top-down project. Rather, locals decided to take the dilapidation into their own hands and create something wonderful. After a great year of events, development, and ambition its looking like a place we will treasure for generations: and while our grandkids will enjoy the gardens overlooking the weir, they will solemnly acknowledge the land it backs onto, which will be known by all as ‘Owen’s Place’.

Stories like these, stories that illustrate how a community works, are what makes us all proud to put together The Beestonian. I personally started writing about Beeston a decade ago, and swiftly discovered that not only were people interested, but that there were more stories out there than I ever imagined. Putting them out through a magazine seemed like a natural step, and 7 years on I’m delighted that we have become part of Beeston’s fabric, with our issues disappearing from stockists so fast our drop-boxes are scorch marked.

However, we realised some time ago that to keep it free and accessible was a difficult job. We are staffed by volunteers, and rely on local advertising to cover print costs. This generally works well, but we were unable to get out as many issues as we’d like. Surveys we ran always came back with the same conclusion: readers wanted to actually read the thing!

We’ve now found a way to expand our accessibility, keep the magazine free and run sustainably for years to come thanks to a helpful community grant (thanks National Lottery!). This will be the last issue in the current format, and at Beeston Carnival in July we are returning with something beautiful, something colourful, something that you are part of us much as those who write it. We want a truly community magazine, and we want YOU to be part of it.

We have a wonderful town. We have more stories to tell than we can fit in a magazine, so we’d love you to help us. Write for us. Report for us. Tell us what you are doing. Read us. If you own a business, consider advertising with us. This is YOUR magazine.

This town, this unique gem of a place cosied between the city, the Trent, and the rolling hills of Bramcote is not just where we live, it is our home. As became clear in both awful and wonderful ways last summer, that is precious. We are all delighted that we get to shout that out to the world each issue.


Beeston FC Coach Charlie Walker’s World Cup Predictions

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup getting closer, I spoke with Beeston FC coach Charlie Walker to find out what he thinks about the tournament and why England will win it! (yes, seriously)

What are your first memories of the World Cup?

My first memories of the World Cup, where when England beat Italy 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley and Kevin Keegan scored an amazing header from the penalty spot. But it wasn’t enough, and we didn’t qualify for the 1978 World Cup.

Which was your favourite World Cup?

Italia 90, when England got to the semi-finals. I was a student and it was just great following their progress at a World Cup, which is obviously quite unusual in my life time! I just loved the excitement and drama of it all. David Platt scored that amazing shoulder goal, against Belgium in the last minute to put us through. After that you just saw children everywhere trying to recreate that goal.

What do you make of England’s group?

I think our group is quite tricky. Belgium are very good. I think Tunisia are playing quite well, but I’m optimistic and I think we will get through the group stage. If we get through the group stage, like in Italia 90 where we struggled through, but grew into the tournament, I don’t see why we can’t go on a run and it might be quite exciting.

Which player is crucial to England’s chances this summer?

I suppose the obvious one is Harry Kane, because you’ve got to have someone who can bag a lot of goals to progress, I think that’s a given. The other obvious one’s are the goalkeeper (which I presume will be Jordan Pickford) as the Champions League final showed you can’t fail in that area. I really like Jesse Lingard, he seems to play without fear which for an England player is something. His runs and his movement seem good to me, so I think he brings a lot of quality, and I think he could make a difference.

What do you make of the expectations around this England team?

In a way our best chance this year is that our expectations are so low. The players are quite young so if the expectations are so low and they don’t feel a great deal of pressure, there’s no reason why they can’t come together and succeed. Greece won the Euro’s in 2004, which no one expected, so there’s definitely talent in our team, I think they’ve just got to stay calm.

Who do you see winning the golden boot at this year’s tournament?

I’ll go for Griezmann on the basis that he’s been there and done it before at the Euro’s a few years ago.

Finally, who’s your pick to win it?

I’m going to go mad and go with England. In reality I don’t think they will, but I just like the fact that nobody expects us to do that well, I think that’s really good and I like the squad.

I think one of the problems we’ve had in the past, is that even though we’ve had a more talented group of players, we struggled to put it all together on the pitch. This group of players seem to be able to translate their club form, to the international stage. I’m hoping that like when England won The Ashes in 2005, where we had a fairly young test team who weren’t tarnished by failure, that our group of players have that optimism.

A lot of them have a good relationship with Southgate from when he was coaching the England Under 21 team, so I’m just hoping that comes together and creates a positive dynamic. I think the group stage will be hard, but if we get through that, then theirs an outside chance.

How are things going with Beeston FC since we last spoke?

Things are going well. We now get 40 girls every week playing girls football and that continues until the end of July. Any girls aged 5 to 13 are welcome to come along and join.

Also, the club house at our home ground on Trent Vale road, is not great but we are applying for a grant from the Football foundation to try and regenerate that, to create a facility which has four changing rooms, a function room, kitchen and full disability access. The cost of that is around £500,000, and we’ve had plans drawn up by an architect in Beeston, which have been submitted to the Football Foundation. We’ve got through the first stage of the Football Foundation process which is really good. Now we have to develop the plans further and try to find some funding to put towards whatever the Football Foundation will pay if they accept our bid.


Chilwell Tennis Club: “The unintentional best kept secret in Chilwell and Beeston”

With the Nottingham Open and Wimbledon coming up, I decided to have a look to see if there were any local tennis clubs in the area.

I came across Chilwell Tennis Club, hidden away behind the Chilwell Memorial Hall, it may seem that they are only for an exclusive group of people, but I realised straight away that they were desperate for this to not be the case.

“I found out about this place a few years ago,” said Chris Clift, Secretary of the tennis club at Chilwell Memorial Hall.

“I’ve always wanted see what was going on behind the hall and I noticed that they were playing tennis. I met with Colin Bradford, a great tennis player and long-standing member and I’ve been here ever since.

“You could say that we are, unintentionally, the best kept secret in Chilwell and Beeston, because people don’t even know that we’re here. Part of my job is to raise our profile because we do need more members.

Tennis members playing doubles
Playing doubles

“To try and get more members we asked our local residents through questionnaires and from speaking to them, what they wanted from this space.”

“The first piece of advice we took on board was to get in touch with the local school, to see if they would be interested in using this for coaching and they said yes.

“That obviously got parents interested and we started running Saturday morning sessions as well as the schools coaching on Thursday mornings. Those two initiatives have really raised our profile.”

The work that Chris has put into the club has seen him pick up an award for his efforts, although he insists that the award is for the efforts of everyone at the club.

“I was very proud to receive an award on behalf of the club.

“The Nottinghamshire LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) asked everyone to nominate people in various categories and one of the categories was volunteer of the year.

“Unknown to me, the sports development officer for Nottingham at the time put my name forward and it was a total shock when I got the phone call saying that I’ve been nominated and that I’ve won it.

LTA Trophy
The LTA Nottinghamshire Volunteer of the Year award given to club secretary, Chris Clift

“I went to pick up the award at Meadow Lane in February, receiving the award from Tony Pickard who used to be Stefan Edberg’s coach. It was a great moment, but I am very much a club member who accepted the award on behalf of the club because we’ve all worked hard.”

Another hard-working volunteer at the club, is treasurer Pete Whitehouse who has been involved at the club for a decade in which there have been some tough times.

“We have a policy where if we get less than 20 members in one year then we are supposed to close.  One year when it was really bad, we had 21 members.

“Since then we’ve changed things around a bit. We’ve set up social media accounts and a website. We also went on a leaflet drive, and that got quite a few new members.”

Oliver Adams, 24, has only recently joined the club, but he enjoys the chance to play tennis and meet new people.

“I casually play tennis with my brother, but I enjoy playing at a club because it’s more structed, and you get to meet new people.

“I’ve always loved watching tennis as well. I started watching in around 2003/2004 when Tim Henman was playing, and then I got into watching Roger Federer and Andy Murray.”

Bridget Scott is in her 60s and has been living in Chilwell for the past two years, and like Oliver she enjoys the social benefits of playing at the club.

“I’ve been playing since I was 15, I never played matches though. I prefer the social side of things.

“I used to play tennis down in Kent quite a lot and when I moved here I wanted to join a club, so when I saw a notice on the door I decided to come along.”

“I really enjoy the people here, they’re great. If you make a mistake, they never make you feel rubbish. It’s a lovely environment.”

Tennis is not the only activity available at the Chilwell Memorial Hall. Regular activities include dance classes for all ages and styles, Zumba and line dancing, fitness classes, as well as indoor bowls, table tennis and badminton. There is also a snooker table for those interested in snooker.

All new club members can get a 25% discount by quoting ‘Beestonian’.

To find out more information about the club, visit: https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/ChilwellMemorialInstituteLawnTennisClub


ABC Art Trail: Celebrating Creativity in Beeston, Attenborough and Chilwell

This weekend the ABC Art Trail takes place in venues across Beeston, Attenborough and Chilwell, showcasing the work of 26 artists who live locally.


The ABC Arts trail is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a trail of artistic works by creative people who are all part of our community and living in Beeston, Attenborough and Chilwell.

This year there are 26 artists taking place, with their work being displayed in 11 venues. They include painters, textile artists, a potter, glass artists and jewellery designers. This is a great chance to discover new artists and see for yourself the amount of creativity that this town and surrounding area can hold.

The trail is free to take part in, and will be happening across Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of June, starting at 11am through to 6pm on both days. They’ve got a map pinpointing all the venue locations, which can be visited in any order, so you can plan the route that works best for you. Find the map here.

They include places like independent studios, houses, local schools and shops. Specific venues taking part are Beeston Dental Practice, Red Lion Pottery and Meadow Lane Infant School.

Painting of Beeston Lock by Janet Barnes
Artwork by Janet Barnes (Canalside Art)

The participating artists will be present at each venue with examples of their work available to purchase. So as well as discovering more art, you might end up going home with some!

Our Editor-in-Chief, Matt Turpin, will be taking part in the trial and visiting each venue, where he will be collecting pieces of artwork. These pieces will be individual letters made from a variety of art forms, and once put together they will spell ‘ABC ART TRAIL’ (11 letters for the 11 venues).

Matt says: “I got a G at GCSE Art, a grade that doesn’t even exist any longer. But while I may not be the best at making art, I’ve always enjoyed others’ work. Beeston is a great place for this, a hive of creative activity right across the area. I’m hugely looking forward to visiting all the venues and meeting those talented people who make this town such a treat for art lovers.”

This event is yet another example of why Beeston and the surrounding areas are such hubs of creativity. It’s also a way for people to show their support not only for the artists themselves but for the community as a whole. We’re all about supporting local businesses, but this is a way to appreciate individuals in their creative endeavours. The ABC Art Trail itself is supported by businesses such as: The White Lion (where they have their meetings), Yarn, Charlie Foggs, Artworks and Cycle Inn, to name a few.

Rita Mitchell
Artwork by Rita Mitchell

Plenty of their work features the local area, such as paintings of well-known places, meaning that their art is truly personal, both from their perspective as artist, and the people who support them by buying their work or enquiring about commissions.

For more information, visit their website: ABC Art Trail

You can also like them on Facebook @abcarttrail, and register your attendance via their event page.



Don’t miss Beeston’s first High Road Hustle!

Save a space in your diary for the 27th May and come down to Beeston’s premier High Road Hustle on Chilwell Road for an eclectic mix of delicious street food and live music.

You’ll be met with a wide range of delectables, such as the Eastern flavours of Deckard’s boas, as well as the wonderful Yim Thai stall, and authentic Korean cuisine from A Taste of Korea. The Chef’s Cottage are equipping their stall with their menu’s unique fusion of Caribbean and Thai dishes. Dubbing Good Food will be there to provide high-flavour healthy meals, including veggie and vegan options, and Pick’s Organic Farm will be showing off their farm-fresh local produce.  Cakes and pastries will be offered by Mumma G’s Bakery, and The Nice Lolly Company’s funky home-made ice-lollies can satiate your sweet tooth.

The Berliner’s George told me that ‘I wanted to bring a street food festival to the High Road as I believe Beeston could benefit massively from something that happens annually in the summer. I hope that this draws people from all over Nottingham and puts Beeston on the map as a fun and happening place. We have good bars and places to drink.’

This is clear by the amount of bars and restaurants that are getting involved with the festival, such as The Berliner, Totally Tapped, The Frustrated Chef, The Bar, Milano Express, The Hop Pole and The Chequers, all of which will be hosting their own entertainment during the festivities.

From 3pm to 10pm The Berliner will be presenting live music of multiple genres, from the acoustic music of George Gadd, to The Ramshackle Boys’ rock covers, all tastes are catered for. More information about their entertainments can be found on their Facebook page.

Photo credit: High Road Hustle

What’s more is that The Berliner have teamed up with Southern Comfort and Deckards to give away a free day at the High Road Hustle. With four Southern Comfort cocktails and some free SoCo merchandise, as well as four mouth-watering baos from Deckards up for grabs.

You only have to share the competition on The High Road Hustle’s Facebook page to have a chance of winning. The winner will be picked on Thursday 24th May, so get sharing!

The food stalls are setting up for 12pm and will be going through to around 9pm. I hope to see you there for a celebration of good food, good music, and a good time all round.


Beeston Beats: Kingdom Rapper

There is Snow Business like Show Business! Of Beats and Beans, An Impromptu Coffee With Kingdom Rapper.

Saturday the 17th March. Just as we were fooled into thinking winter was over, the “Beast From The East” returned, and once again delayed our passage into Spring, as it had a couple of weeks prior.

Wrapped up and very much windswept I trundled over to Beeston Square. The plan was to observe and report on the making of a music video about Beeston by Benjamin J Howard, otherwise known as, Kingdom Rapper. By the time I had arrived gusts of snow were flurrying around the square, and the wind was picking up. The tarpaulin of nearby market traders flapped violently, and all signs pointed towards inclement weather. It was a far cry from the artic tundra, but it was still legitimately uncomfortable to be outside.

I noticed the crew bunched into small groups around the square. A drone had just been retrieved from flight on one side of the square, and on the other side of the square it was clear to me that considerations were starting to manifest regarding the shoot that was due to take place that day.

I introduced myself to the crew, things hit off instantly. They seemed just as interested in asking me questions as I was of them. Just after the point of no return; ridiculously high winds and out of control hair, a realisation hit me. I realised I had been very pleasantly, yet subtly coerced into a video interview for them, about Beeston. As well as filming the music video, Kindgom Rapper and his crew were also planning on making a short documentary film about Beeston and the making of his music video. Despite the weather, a faction of the crew were busying themselves, continuing to collect video content from passers by.

It wasn’t long before a decision was taken for the crew to discuss the options going forwards over a warm cup of coffee. The vote was cast, and the unanimous decision was to cancel the shoot for the day. No date for the re-shoot was set in stone at the time, but it was suggested that a couple of weeks should be allowed to pass to allow the weather to improve. Benjamin (AKA Kingdom) enthusiastically volunteered to film a short message to his followers on Facebook to explain how the weather had temporarily put a stop to the days plans.

In the meantime Kingdom had kindly agreed to speak to both myself and Christopher Frost about; his life and music, and the ‘I Am Beeston’ project, respectively.

I was keen to find out a bit more about Kingdom’s drive for making music, and, how he came to be in Beeston. So, as the “Beast from the East” raged on outdoors, we started chatting, and so it goes;

Kingdom Rapper moved to Beeston 3 years ago after living in various city centre locations around Nottingham. The pre-tense for leaving almost every city centre location named as a prior residence, from Basford to the Meadows was the same; getting involved up with the wrong people and ending up on a negative cascade. Kingdom originally comes from West Bridgford. He described a somewhat turbulent upbringing where his family were well meaning but had their own adversity to manage. To ride out the chaos at home Kingdom explained that he sought solace in music. One of the stories Kingdom recounted to me was a pivotal turning point in his life when he realised he had a connection with rap music. Kingdom said he was 14 at the time, his mother had brought home an Eminem album. After having taken a listen, Kingdom felt a connection with the aesthetic of the music and the messages conveyed within the lyrics. Soon after, he acquired a microphone and some software, and began to make his own music. Kingdom whilst recounting his earlier life also described how he had entered what he considered to be a negative spiral, he was on the way to developing a ‘smoking’ habit, of which he would later quit, but at the time this came about as not only as a coping mechanism but also as an aid to his creativity. Kingdom kept this within the privacy of his own space, but he did also say that on a wider scale some of his prior associations had connections to gangs and anti-social behaviour.  Kingdom wanted to break out of the negativity and grow as a person as well as an artist. To do this, he knew he needed to become a more positive person in himself and engage with more positive people. People that would allow him to follow his passion and be supportive of his endeavours.

It was by chance that Kingdom ended up in Beeston. An opportunity for a house share arose with a group of friends, and that sealed the deal. Since moving to Beeston Kingdom has found that he has integrated into the community and found his support group. Kingdom describes himself as a community orientated person, and through his music aspires to be an inspiration to other young people who may also have to stand in the face of adversity. Kingdom also explained that since his move to Beeston, he gained momentum with his music and with his community outreach activities. The mantra “turn negatives into positives” was a running theme throughout our discussion. It was apparent that Kingdom really wanted his success to be a conduit for others around him to be successful. He described his ethic for supporting and promoting local businesses, and how they had helped him by lending his team media equipment or allowing a venue to be used as a platform for the promotion of his music. The majority, if not all (I didn’t get to meet them all) of Kingdoms team either lived or worked locally.  Kingdom also said that if he ‘made it big’ then he would like to stay in Beeston and not allow himself to fall into the money orientated world that is associated with musical success. What was really refreshing to see was Kingdom’s down to earth attitude. Having had a minor dabble and walked upon various tourist routes through the music industry myself, I have had the privilege of meeting a fair few music artists. Sadly, a big driving force for many to make it, is indeed fame and the promise of a more affluent life. Kingdom seemed different, his vision was to make music to help people, and that fame overall was of no interest. He wanted to be a “catalyst for change” and change the world bit by bit. He believes he was given the skills as an artist, and that is what is enabling him to do what he does. He also sees his troubled past in a positive light through the ability to empathise with the struggles of other people within the community, as well as show them that with the right attitude, they can find their own way out of adversity and take a more fulfilling path through life.

As I asked about his progression into the music industry, Kingdom also explained how he did previously have a manager, but has since decided to take control of his own musical destiny and now manages himself. Kingdom described some of the more negative aspects of the music industry that had started to manifest, and he felt like he didn’t need to get caught up in contracts and allow himself the chance to become established in himself and be free to follow his own creativity. Being locked into a restrictive 2-year contract and pushed to give up the rights to his name so early on in his career was a big eye opener. His creative freedom was dampened, and he felt that his hands may as well have been tied. Almost everything he did was contract limited. This experience gave him the strength to go in his own musical direction, and I think that this will bring a breath of fresh air to the rap scene.

To draw the conversation to a close I asked Kingdom about his upcoming activities and events. As well as re-setting a date for the ‘Beeston’ music video he also said (and this sounds AMAZING) that there was a plan to film another music video in the Play zone in Lincoln. Various meet and greets, aka ‘chat and raps’, have been arranged with local schools around Nottingham. In terms of events, you can catch him at the Berliner bar for the Sw@g Testament Mixtape Party on April 30th and again at the Bodega on May 31st. As a man of faith Kingdom will also be presenting the Gospel Facto on July 7th. Various ‘in the pipeline’ bits and pieces about the BBC were also mentioned.

The best way to keep up with Kingdom Rapper and his movements is to keep an eye on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kingdomrapperuk/

If you want to check out Kingdom Rapper’s music videos and supporting documentaries take a gander at his YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk0c6CzCZ6od_AzvM-OuN4w


Beeston Poetry

Spring has arrived, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, there are more daylight hours to be had…and the poets are emerging.

This issue, we’re paying attention to poetry in time for Nottingham Poetry Festival. We’ve got a few Buzzword poems for you from our competition, a round-up of events and courses happening in Beeston, and the answer to the question: what do you get if you mix science with poetry? Read on to find out!

A few Buzzword poems…

Beeston Lock – Glen Bradford

Taste that rain-washed air,
forearms firm against the iron top rail,
and watch boatmen turn lock key,
prising open slime-heavy gates
for barges to make their way.

Walk where the roaring Trent
froths and tumbles over masonry steps,
past wild Sunday League encounters,
and solemn banks of anglers
guarding over The Hero’s place.

Look. Roots grabbed hold here,
spread north, each branch
eager as a child’s probing hand
reaching to the ice cream counter
for summer’s sweet nectar.

Take it in. Dig the honeyed layers
from gravel down to limestone bed,
sifting fragments of Saxon farms,
to trail history’s hard, glittering spoor.
Because this is the land.

These are the threads.

Salad Bowl  – Cathy Garrick

Beeston, a banquet of curious folk;
The Last Post, the librarians hula hooped with clouds of smoke.
In The Star, they peruse their books;
Patrons from Denison Street and Inham Nook.
The ghosts of Beeston flicker as bygone maquettes,
while the living cruise through on mobility scooters and cigarettes.
Charlie’s Barn, Pet Mart, The Lad’s Club knocked down;
But still a lovingly patchworked market town.
The high flyers fill their bellies;
While Fast Lane runs amok in odd wellies.
Chuggers, terriers, sots and tots,
A melange of Adidas and Birkenstock.
Gaelic tones ring out from the greengrocers nearby;
Beckoning buyers to brussels, beans and broccoli.
Occidental, accidental, academic and Eastern,
The beautiful salad bowl that is Beeston.

The Tattoo – Leanne Moden

If I could paint this town onto my skin
I’d load my brush with countless memories.
I’d struggle to decide where to begin.

After all, it’s hard to place a pin
into a state of mind: a reverie.
If I could paint this town onto my skin

it would take courage and some discipline;
a bravery not seen for centuries.
I’d struggle to decide where to begin.

You see, nostalgia breeds the saccharin,
and true reflection comes through lack of ease.
If I could paint this town onto my skin –

contemplating all that we have been;
the fleeting glance of all that we could be?
I’d struggle to decide where to begin.

Excuses wearing tracing paper thin
I guess I’m just not one for artistry.
If I could paint this town onto my skin
I’d struggle to decide where to begin.


Free, now until Sat 21 April, Beeston Library
Showcasing zines made by the public and school pupils, including anthologies of poems developed with poet Andrew Graves

FAMILY POETRY (Short course)
Free, 25 April – 23 May, 16:00-17:30, Beeston Library

Free, Wed 25 April, 6pm, Beeston Library
Enjoy (and potentially perform) poetry with Henry Normal and Pete Ramskill, as part of Nottingham Poetry Festival

£36, 5 June – 10 July, 10:00-12:00, Beeston Library


A Bendigo Statue?

Bendigo eh? Beeston’s legendary bare-knuckled boxer may have thrown in the towel when he died 138 years ago, but his legacy looks like it will never be counted out.

He has books about him, a graphic novel, a blue plaque on Wollaton Road, and  a couple of articles in past issues of this magazine. He also is now immortalised on the High Road with a bar named after him – despite being a teetotaller, he’d probably still be chuffed.

Bendigo was not just a decent boxer, but a celebrity and showman. He created a whole mythology about him, from being a triplet (he wasn’t) and the youngest of 21 kids (he wasn’t). However, he could lob a brick from one bank of the Trent to the other, and he was an utter mountain of a man, so we won’t quibble. It’s impossible to overstate his fame: shortly after his death, a town in Australia had a poll to name their town: Bendigo was the overwhelming victor (it’s still there, and apparently a lovely place with a population that cheerfully call themselves ‘Bendigonians’. The guy was MASSIVE, and not just in stature.

However, he doesn’t have a proper statue to mark his fame. There is a rather weathered and battered ceramic above a pub in Sneinton, but considering that he was the Victorian Muhammed Ali this is a poor show.

Step in the Bendigo Memorial Fund (BMF), a group of fans of the late pugilist, who have devoted themselves to raising cash to fund a statue to be stuck in a prominent part of Nottingham. “In Nottingham there are a number of things we need to improve,” BMF spokesman Alan Dawson told us. “The grave itself is not well advertised and the information recorded about him is incorrect. A statue in Trinity Square will put this right.”


So, on the 29th April, the BMF will stage a sponsored walk following the route of William ‘Bendigo’ Thompson’s funeral cortege in 1880. This will be from the site of his former home on the site of Beeston’s Anglo Scotian Mills to his grave at Bath Street in Nottingham City Centre, a distance of 5.7 miles. There will be twenty one people doing the walk, representing Bendigo’s 21 fights. I’ll be one of them (and weather permitting I’ll strap my 16 month old son on my back and bring the number up to 21) At the graveside there will be reading from the book about Bendigo written by Beeston writer, publisher and historian Alan Dance. Local actor Peter Radford will also recite Bendigo’s Sermon, a poem written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You’re welcome to tag along.

However, what we’d REALLY like is your money. Statues, at least good statues, don’t come cheap so anything you can do to help nudge the fund towards its target is hugely welcome. It will also mean that you will be part of Bendigo’s legacy long into the future: this is a statue that WE own, that WE make. Worth a few quid, innit?

Donations can be made directly to the Bendigo Memorial Fund via



Find them on Twitter @bendigonotts  or on Facebook @bendigomemorial


Motherhood #6: Testing Times

Spring is trying to arrive and our 6 year old is in full swing with her SATS exams at school.

A thoroughly pointless hoop-jumping time of year which does little more than assess how well the school teaches kids remember what >, %, £ and < mean and how phonemes can affect common exception words. (Your guess is as good as mine.) My kid thought the symbols were old fashioned emojis but whatever. As much as my husband and I have little motivation to exhaust our anxious little hard-worker, we have been really surprised with just how competitive she’s become. Seriously, she’s like a Year 2 Terminator. Her teacher commented on how she relishes a difficult test sheet and is super happy when it’s exam time. We’re currently looking into hospital records from 2011 to see if we brought the wrong one home.

Given that she cares so much about her assessment results, we have started to jump on the competitive band wagon and have become her cheerleading squad. She delights in telling us that she got 5 out of 5 on her weekly spelling test or all her homework questions correct, and we make a fuss of her hard work each time. We’ve always held the opinion that rewards are for behaviour and effort, rather than results, so we are still careful not to spoil her when she nails a new maths theory. But I want to, I want to launch glitter-canons in the streets and shout about how clever she is, but it’s wound in and packaged as a ‘that’s great babe, you worked really hard on it’ instead.

As parents we have a couple of degrees and a PhD between us, so we were expecting her to do okay at school. She’s one of the youngest in her class, so we were also aware that she would be almost a year behind her classmates, both socially and academically, but she’s overtaken everything we hoped for and is now an Uber Geek of the highest order, and we are (quietly) really proud.

So, little lady, go and smash those exams. Those silly tests which could be better spent outside digging up worms or making dens. If she’s happy, we’re happy. And if you come top of the class, we might just buy you an ice cream on the way home. If it ever warms up.