MPs vote for Heathrow expansion

Four London councils are ready to take legal action against the expansion of Heathrow airport following last night’s vote by MPs, 415 votes to 119 in favour of the expansion. Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead have said they will launch a judicial review of the decision. Major of London Sadiq Khan and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham are also backing legal action. Hounslow and Ealing boroughs are both notable by their absence from that list.

In the debate before the free vote west London MPs including Ruth Cadbury failed to persuade party colleagues that the expansion would not bring the economic benefit claimed, and will bring increased noise, traffic and air pollution to thousands of people living near the airport.

Quoting Department of Transport figures she told parliament that ‘the economic case has not been made’ but ‘the generously funded Heathrow lobby keeps bringing the proposal back and will continue to do so until it gets the answer it wants’.

‘On noise and air quality, which are the issues affecting my constituents most of all, more than 300,000 people in our region of west London and the Thames valley will experience significantly worse noise than they do now. Most of them are not aware that they will be under the final approach path to the third runway.

Those under the present approach paths to the existing two runways currently get eight hours respite; that will be cut to six hours and perhaps less. On night flights, the Secretary of State has suggested that the cap will be relaxed, despite promises. Runway 3 will bring 50% more passengers. Heathrow says that there will be no new traffic, but there is nothing in the NPS (National Policy Statement) to justify that claim’.

Chiswick Curve architect defends his design

The Public Inquiry into the proposed Curve development at Chiswick roundabout continues this week with the developers Starbones submitting their evidence.

The architect Christopher Egret is expected to speak this morning. A member of the Royal Institute of British Architects since 1993 and a teacher at the London School for Architecture, he has been part of the design team for such notable buildings as the Shanghai Bank in Hong Kong, the Maison de la Culture du Japon in Paris and the Peckham Library, which won the Stirling Prize in 2000.

His track record as an architect is that he delivers ‘unique and remarkable’ buildings. ‘London’ he says, ‘is a growing city, and new designs need to be celebrated like new children in a family. The skyline will be altered, new vistas will arrive’. He is expected to argue that the reason for choosing a curved design is that curves ‘soften a building’s massing and offer a response to the movement of the sun that is gradual and ever changing’.

‘Narcissistic bling’

Last week Barbara Weiss of the Skyline Campaign, criticised the Chiswick Curve design as part of a genre of ‘narcissistic … bling.’

She is also an architect, who has been member of the Royal Institute of British Architects since 1985, and worked on projects relating to the design and construction of Tall Buildings, including the Pittsburgh Plate Glass HQ and 101 California in S. Francisco. She founded her own architects practice in 1987 – Barbara Weiss Architects, ‘an award-winning practice that is well respected for its high quality, highly bespoke design’ – which focuses mainly on residential buildings.

She has known Christopher Egret since 1980 and describes him as a ‘personal friend’ but that didn’t stop her telling the Inquiry: ‘the form, proportion, scale and character of the Chiswick Curve are in jarring contrast with the architectural identity typical of this part of West London. Clearly, the Chiswick Curve has been designed by its architects with the intention to create the greatest possible stylistic chasm between it and the prevailing historic character of the surrounding context’. While accepting that contrast is often a good thing in architecture, she said in this case it would be ‘hugely insensitive, disruptive and distracting’.

Barbara Weiss told the Inquiry a building such as the Curve promoted the ‘object’ rather than the ‘city’ as a whole and in pursuing this trend: ‘we are promoting isolated and isolating buildings, images of selfishness, greed and everything that is temporary, short-lived, and does not require commitment or meaningful social interaction’.

A recipe for mental health problems

Local residents’ groups also described the idea of living on a roundabout with no outside space – communal ‘winter gardens’ (ie. enclosed) rather than individual balconies to the flats and no space to relax in the immediate vicinity of the building as ‘isolating’ and depressing and likely to have a negative impact on the Curve residents’ mental health. They argue that a motorway roundabout is just not a suitable place for people to live, as residents would have to cross several lanes of traffic every time they went out in order to get anywhere and the nearest public space, the River Thames or Gunnersbury Park would be quite a hike.

They also argue that the volume of people crossing the road will slow down traffic on the roundabout, where there is regular gridlock already, and that it will make the rush hour overcrowding at Gunnersbury tube station and Kew overground station even worse than it already is.

For a full report on the week’s proceedings click here

Go and watch the proceedings

The Inquiry is open to the public to watch the proceedings and the local residents groups taking part would welcome support. You can sign up here to an attendance rota on The Chiswick Calendar website which will give them an indication of how many are attending on each day (but we won’t give your name). Or you can just turn up at Brentford Free Church, Boston Manor Rd, Brentford TW8 8DW. Proceedings start at 10.00am but you can wander in and sit down in the public seating area at any point during the day. The Inquiry is expected to run Tuesday – Friday until Wednesday 4 July.

Gunnersbury Museum reopens after major refurbishment

The house in Gunnersbury Park which was home to the Rothschild family in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was reopened to the public this weekend. £26 million has been spent on returning the mansion to its former glory and it has been done beautifully.

The museum is light and airy and easy to get around with some rooms unfurnished, leaving it to your imagination what life would have been like at the big house, and others full of artefacts and photographs and an interactive video screening on the walls with actors playing the roles of the Rothschilds’ servants and family members.

Curator Julia Tubman told me the part of the museum she is most proud of is the new display about west London. The ‘villages’ of Hounslow and Ealing boroughs are each represented by a famous resident, including mathematician Ada Lovelace for Ealing, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury for Feltham and theatre, opera and film director Peter Brook for Chiswick.

Julia, pictured here showing visitors the museum’s Stanhope printing press, studied archaeology at university and worked as a conservator at the Arizona State Museum, the British Museum and the National Museum of Iceland before taking the job of curator at Gunnersbury four years ago. She plans to take conducted tours around the museum once a month.

There is also a fantastic programme of events all summer, with lots of activities for young children, ‘little flamingos’ (so-called because the Rothschilds used to have flamingos roaming about the grounds), events for older children such as ‘Meet the Victorian Servants’, wood carving and print making, and workshops, talks, tours and special exhibitions for adults to enjoy. There are nature walks through the gardens, talks by the head gardener and teddy bears’ picnics in recognition of the Acton based Farnell Toy Factory, whose cuddly bears inspired the Winnie the Pooh stories.

There’s more about Gunnersbury Museum and Gunnersbury Park in the This Is Chiswick pages of The Chiswick Calendar website.

Fuller’s first craft beer festival

Chiswick is definitely getting trendier. We’re about to have the Lovebox festival, and we’ve just hosted a craft beer festival. Eat your heart out Hackney!

‘The inaugural London Brewers’ Alliance Craft Beer Festival’, to give it its proper name, was held at Fuller’s Griffin Brewery on Saturday and a good time was had by all apparently. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but one of The Chiswick Calendar’s website producers Dewi Wyn Morgan is, and as luck would have it he had even bought a ticket. You can see his review and his top five craft beer recommendations in the This Is Chiswick section of The Chiswick Calendar website. Though how he can remember, having sampled 23 of the 90 or so beers on offer, is beyond me.

You can read about Wyn’s exploits at the beer festival here

Chiswick teenager wins silver in World Powerlifting Champs

Ian Lucy, 18, has won three silver medals at the World Powerlifting Championships in Calgary, Canada. Slightly different from weightlifting, the sport is all about strength and in his three events – squat, bench press and dead lift – he lifted 207.5, 120 and 240 kilos respectively, adding 60 kilos to his personal best.

More than 100 countries took part in the championships. Ian was representing Britain in the sub-junior class and parents Chris and Janet were there to see his success. He now has a good shot at winning the British championships in his class in September. The European championships in Lithuania will then be his last competition before he moves up to compete in the 18 – 23 class in next year’s World Championships in Sweden.

Ian works at Dukes Meadows Golf course and has been competing since he was 16. The trick, he says, is to be sensible and only try and lift the maximum weight three or four times a year.

Record-breaking Bedford Park Festival

The Bedford Park Festival is over for another year. Helped by beautiful weather, Green Days weekend raised a record gross income (ie before costs) of just over £50,000.

Figures for the rest of the fortnight are still being compiled, but more than 40 readers took part in the marathon all-day reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy at St Michael & All Angels last weekend and there were good – and highly appreciative – audiences for the wide variety of concerts, including the Nonesuch Orchestra and Ballet4Life production of Apollo & The Muses, and concerts with Chiswick musicians David Juritz, Sandy Burnett and Milly Forrest.

March for A People’s Vote on the final Brexit Deal

Guest blog by Diane Chandler

On Saturday, I and my family joined thousands of people in Parliament Square after the march along Whitehall. A multitude of voices calling for A People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal. The afternoon was balmy, the atmosphere lively, the placards imaginative. And, as my fifteen-year-old daughter pointed out, masses of people stood together all sharing the same belief – that Brexit will be a disaster for our country.

She too is gutted about us leaving the EU, and this was her first ever protest. Covered in stickers, she was caught up in the fervour of the crowd, cheering as Tony Robinson and Vince Cable thumped home their arguments. These, we all know well… that there is government disarray … that we are no closer to a deal … that new facts have emerged about the costs and complexity of Brexit… that the Irish border … (well the penny dropped late on that one, didn’t it?)

Folk had turned out from all over the country and the coaches lined the back streets. Couples, groups, and many families with small children – beside us one boy, no older than five, was punching the air in true revolutionary style. And a lone mother, baby in a sling at her chest, toddler in a rucksack on her back – now that is commitment to the cause.

What struck me was the vast number of elderly people, waving blue flags, sporting the yellow ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ stickers. Perhaps they can remember that the EU was created to secure peace. Six countries joining forces to keep tabs on Germany’s coal and steel production, to ensure it served reconstruction and not armaments. One of the most moving speeches was by a 99-year-old Brigadier. He remembered the war.

I don’t, but I am European to the core. I worked for the European Commission in Brussels for many years, and when I’m asked about Brexit, my heart races and yet my tongue is tied – where to start? Well, with peace. A peace maintained by two generations of intrinsic ties, of living in each other’s pockets. Why would we risk assuming that conflict with another European nation is a fanciful notion?

In her fabulous speech, Caroline Lucas spoke of forty plus years of travelling, working, studying, living – and loving in Europe. Who hasn’t experienced at least one of these? Our tourist spots, Spain, Greece, Portugal, were all developed with EU Funds. The Algarve was unrecognisable as the haven it now is, before Europe pumped in its millions.

So much of that EU funding will soon be lost to us. For research and development, for small businesses, for cooperation across most realms of human activity. I worked on EU regional development programmes, and back then the canny UK received the lion’s share of these funds. Swathes of our infrastructure; roads, bridges, airports, railway stations – hotels even, have been built on the back of EU funding.

And as for trade, well it’s sheer madness to discard a free market of 500 million people.

There may still be a glimmer of hope to stop Brexit. A People’s Vote at the end of the process would give us all a final say. You can sign the petition here: peoples-vote.uk

Saturday’s protest won’t be my daughter’s last, that’s for sure.

 

Local residents oppose Chiswick Curve proposal at Public Inquiry

The Public Inquiry into the proposed Curve development at Chiswick roundabout continues this week with residents’ groups Strand on the Green Association and The Kew Society due to speak this morning.

Richard Griffith, Chairman of the Strand on the Green Association, is expected to say: ‘the imposition of new multi storey high rise buildings between and above the roofline and trees leads to an irreconcilable clash between the fundamental heritage aspects of an historic conservation area’.

Martin Taylor of The Kew Society will argue that the proposed Chiswick Curve development should be assessed in the context of other nearby developments. ‘This is only one component of this redevelopment contributing potential adverse environmental effects on the whole area. Unfortunately London Borough of Hounslow was slow to produce an overarching strategy for the redevelopment area and recent individual planning applications have been judged as though they are standalone projects’.

There are two residential developments within the immediate vicinity of the Chiswick Curve with a combined total of more than a thousand apartments already under construction at the new Brentford football stadium and Wheatstone House, 650 Chiswick High Rd. Three more residential developments close by are being considered, he will tell the Inquiry.

A ‘prominent landmark’

The Inquiry opened last week with the Counsel for Hounslow Council, Richard Ground QC, outlining the grounds on which the Council had rejected the planning application from developers Starbones for the 32 storey building – that it would be just too big and too prominent on the skyline.

Historic England and the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew were both present to make their case that the building would be detrimental to the historic sites in this area.

Counsel for Starbones, Russell Harris QC, argued that it would be a special gateway building on the route into London from Heathrow. “A notable and outstanding building at this site could establish a prominent landmark” he said. “It should be a highly recognisable building in views from the A4” and M4 corridor… change the perception of the area, enhance the corridor’s image and instil confidence in investors and developers.”

That of course is exactly what opponents are worried about, that it will open the floodgates to the development of tall buildings throughout Chiswick.

The best part of two days was taken up with discussions about what the building would look like, with CGI images produced by the developer and those produced by an independent environmental impact assessor for the Council giving very different impressions.

Click here for a full report on the week’s proceedings.

Go and watch the proceedings

Brentford Community Council, the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society and Friends of Gunnersbury Park will all be represented tomorrow (Wednesday 20 June), along with individual representations from Pamela Mayorcas, Tim Mack and Councillor Joanna Biddolph.

The Inquiry is open to the public to watch the proceedings and the residents’ groups speaking would welcome support. You can sign up here to an attendance rota on The Chiswick Calendar website which will give them an indication of how many are attending on each day (but we won’t give your name). Or you can just turn up at Brentford Free Church, Boston Manor Rd, Brentford TW8 8DW. Proceedings start at 10.00am but you can wander in and sit down in the public seating area at any point during the day. The Inquiry is expected to run Tuesday – Friday until Wednesday 4 July.

World Record for Chiswick mother and daughter

A mother and daughter from Chiswick, Jacquie Millett and Camilla Langlands, have entered the Guinness World of Records by running more than 100 marathons together.

Individually they’ve run even more than that. They’ve just come back from the Comrades race in South Africa, one of the toughest marathons in the world, which was Jacquie’s 176th and Camilla’s 137th marathon.

By December last year they’d reached 102 marathons together. They’ve just now had notification that Guinness World of Records have finished their checks – they fastidiously checked every race – and added them to their official list of record breakers.

Jacquie, who only started running when she was 57, says she loves running with her daughter because it’s something they share. “It’s brought us closer together” she said. “We have a similar sense of humour and it gives us a lot of laughs”.

Camilla, who started in 2013 when she was 26, says “I never dreamed I could or would run a marathon let alone 137! To have completed over 100 of those with my mum has been the most wonderful experience and for it to be recognised with a new world record, is amazing! I look forward to the next chapter of our adventure. Next stop Seattle!” (mid-August).

They’ve been all over the world running and made many new friends. To see the picture gallery and watch a video interview with Jacquie in the This Is Chiswick section of The Chiswick Calendar website

And you can follow their exploits on their blog here

Bedford Park Festival

The Bedford Park Festival continues this week with theatre, poetry and classical music concerts. On Thursday 21 June three very talented and experienced musicians Sandy Burnett, David Gordon and Tom Hooper perform Tenor Madness – Bach Motets, Jazz Reflections II which builds on last year’s success with jazz improvisation on Renaissance and Baroque themes in church music.

Sandy is a mainstay of the Festival, having taken part in several of the concerts. Conductor, bassist, broadcaster (former Radio 3 presenter), author and lecturer he gave us an interview about his love of Bach and of Jazz and his passion for communicating music, which you can see in the This Is Chiswick section of The Chiswick Calendar website.

Tickets can be booked on the Bedford Park Festival website

Watch the video here

Fuller’s holds craft beer festival

Chiswick has added another festival to its annual calendar of events. We have music, theatre and books covered, now we have a beer festival in the mix. Unlike the Oktoberfest – huge jugs of German beer swilled down in a marquee with frauleins in yellow wigs and an oompah band – the emphasis here will be the quality and variety of local London brews, as it is a coming together of more than forty of London’s best breweries under the umbrella of the London Brewers’ Alliance.

What could be more fitting for a location where there has been brewing on site since the seventeenth century? The only question is why has a piss-up in a brewery taken so long to organise? John Keeling, Fuller’s Global Ambassador and Chairman of the LBA, says: “This is something I have wanted to see since my first day at the brewery – thirty-something years ago. A bit like a good beer – these things should be done right and cannot be rushed”.

The London Brewers’ Alliance Craft Beer Festival takes place next Saturday 23 June from 1pm – 7pm at the Griffin Brewery.

For beer drinker Dewi Wyn Morgan, a festival celebrating so many craft brewers, not in east London but on our doorstep, is well worth waiting for. Read his blog in the This Is Chiswick section of The Chiswick Calendar website.

T-rubble on the football pitch resolved

I reported a few weeks ago that the future of Old Meadownians Football Club was under threat. Hounslow Council’s scheme to regenerate Dukes Meadows as a centre of sporting excellence is working well for Chiswick Rugby Club, which is getting £1.3m worth of funding from the RFU for an artificial all-weather pitch, but was not working so well for the football club, as a similar deal with the FA did not materialise and talks with Hounslow over their future had reached a stalemate.

It all came to a head when the rugby club started building work and the and the resulting rubble, pictured above, took out two junior football pitches, according to the football club, and the Council, they said, was ignoring requests for further dialogue. The football club was facing a hike in their rent which they couldn’t afford and ‘LBH have declined to communicate further’ said Edward Glover, for Old Meadownians FC.

I asked Steve Curran, leaderof Hounslow Council for his comment and he said: “they have not asked for a meeting with me … I am of course happy to meet them”.

Now it seems, it’s all sorted. They met, they spoke, they sorted it out and the club’s chairman Derek Barnett says: “We are very thankful that with the support of Cllr Steve Curran and his team we can continue to provide community football in Chiswick for the foreseeable future.”

Job done then.

When Peggy Met Ella – cancellation

I’m sorry to say that we are postponing the Jazz at George IV on Thursday 28 June. England will be playing Belgium that night in the World Cup and not only will much of the population will be glued to the TV watching, but many people locally will want to watch it at George IV.

Shireen Francis and Sarah Moule will be performing their show “When Peggy Met Ella” in the autumn instead, and if you have already bought tickets you will be refunded.

“High-handed” Ealing council sparks angry protests

Guest Blog by Cllr Gary Busuttil

The Local Elections like all elections is not just to create local governments, it’s to elect a plausible opposition, and to hold officers and other Councillors for shoddy policy and bad behaviour to account. Now the Local Elections have been and gone, Labour remain the dominant party here in Ealing. Eight years on and a further four to follow, is a long time to run a council. Eventually administrations get tired and complacent, and have to make decisions that annoy people.

An example of high-handed decision making, concerns the proposed introduction of dual use parking bays, even in CPZs, such as as Zone B, that were created for the very purpose of protecting residents’ parking facilities. The number of cars in Southfield has steadily increased, in many areas at saturation point. This lack of consultation, as it was deemed as a minor parking amendment, has infuriated residents of Southfield and lead to us receiving in excess of 650 emails that we know of, opposing the proposals.

There is a growing feeling, not just in Southfield but in the Borough of Ealing as a whole, that the Labour administered Ealing Council is in very low esteem because residents are often not adequately consulted, or even informed in some cases, about important changes to their way of life. The introduction of the wheelie bins was an appalling example of this. It is no longer mandatory for planning notices to be posted in the street. Quite often reasonable requests for further information about forthcoming changes are ignored or sent a blanket reply.

Consultation (or the lack of it) has become an issue in itself. This has implications for residents right across the whole Borough. The primary duty of Councillors is to represent the views of their constituents to the Council. This is how we Lib Dems view our role as Councillors. As residents are being consulted less by the Labour administered Ealing Council, we have stepped up to the plate by engaging our constituents more. For instance:

~ We retained four ward forums a year, in most other wards this has been reduced to two,
~ We inform local residents of any controversial planning developments with a letter,
~ We ensure Council Officers engage with residents and residents associations,
~ We inform residents every two weeks via an email newsletter.

Not forgetting our quarterly FOCUS leaflets, which goes to every household in the ward.
The reason we encourage residents to engage in consultation processes is to get something done or to prevent something being done, as we have with the shared parking bay issue. By mobilising the troops so to speak in sufficient numbers, it enables us to exercise some control over the direction and activity of the Labour administered Ealing Council and as a small opposition, counter the stodginess of a large Labour group. I’m in no doubt this played a large part in helping us get re-elected back in May.

Cllr Gary Busuttil is a councillor ofr Ealing’s Southfield ward

Chiswick Curve Public Inquiry opens

The Public Inquiry into the proposed Curve development on Chiswick roundabout starts today, Tuesday 12 June. The developers of the 32 storey tower of offices and residential units were refused planning permission by Hounslow Council on the grounds that it would be too big. At almost twice the height of the next tallest building in Chiswick, Chiswick Tower, where the BSI is based, it would be seen for miles around.

Whether you consider the ‘statement’ building to be a thing of beauty or an eyesore, if it goes ahead the principle will have been established that it’s ok to build very high stand alone buildings amid low built surroundings, so what would stop that happening elsewhere in the area?

Residents’ opposition

Leading the charge on behalf of opponents is Marie Rabouhans, Chairman of the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society, They and other groups, including the Strand On The Green Association, will be making the case that not only would the Curve be a blot on the landscape but it would put huge pressure on local infrastructure. Gunnersbury tube station is already dangerously overcrowded so that in the morning rush hour when there’s an incoming train local residents have to wait for the platform to clear before being allowed down the stairs to wait for their train to work.

Marie would like as many people as possible to turn up to the Inquiry to hear the arguments. Although members of the public won’t be allowed to speak, she thinks local residents having a presence will impress the Inspector with the strength of local feeling about the proposed skyscraper.

The Inquiry takes place over four weeks, from Tuesday, 12 June until Wednesday 4 July (possibly a few days longer) from Tuesdays to Fridays at the Brentford Free Church, Boston Manor Road, Brentford, TW8 8DW. Marie would like people to be there every day, but particularly on the opening and closing days. Start time 10.00am.

We’ve set up a special page on The Chiswick Calendar website so you can see which days people are attending and where there are gaps. Go here to add your name to an attendance rota. If you click on the page and fill out the form, we’ll receive an email and will add the information (not your name, just a head count of numbers attending each day) to the rota.

Eddie Marsan opens the Bedford Park Festival

The Bedford Park Festival opened at the weekend with the two day Green Days fete on the green opposite Turnham Green tube station. Eddie Marsan opened the event. The actor, who is currently in huge demand in Hollywood, has been Chiswick based for some 17 years and spends a lot of time on planes commuting between LA and W4 where he likes to be home to have Sunday roast with his wife Janine and four children.

Introducing him on stage Torin Douglas remarked that if you didn’t know his name, you would certainly know his face from TV, from BBC One’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell last year and the ex-boxer suffering from Parkinson’s disease in Ray Donovan or from blockbuster films like Hancock, Mission: Impossible III and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films, Vera Drake, Spielberg’s War Horse and Scorsese’s Gangs Of New York.

This year he’ll be in five different big box office films, including Deadpool 2, Mowgii and Entebbe and soon we will be able to see him in our local cinema.

New Cinema for Chiswick

It was announced this weekend that the cinema we’ve been waiting for is going ahead. Lyn Goleby, former Picturehouse executive, got a very warm reception when she went on stage at Green Days to say that the plans for the former Ballet Rambert site were coming to fruition and we can expect it to open next year.

Her team had a model of the five screen cinema, with a terraced bar and cafe, and were inviting the Green Days crowds to name the independent cinema by voting for one of the following: The Chiswick Cinema, Chiswick Lane, The Icon Chiswick, The Metropolitan, Trafalgar Chiswick, Times Chiswick, Phoenix Chiswick, Visions Chiswick, Lumen Chiswick, The Story Chiswick, The Story and Star, Plaza Chiswick or any other ideas of their own. I rather like a suggestion I saw on Twitter – ‘Chisflicks’. If you would like to vote for one of those names or suggest your own, you have until the end of June to do so by clicking on this link and following the instructions.

Festival ‘wonderful place for young musicians’

Soprano Milly Forrest will be performing at the Bedford Park Festival again this year with friends, presenting a selection of the most popular arias, duets and trios from operas on Friday 15 June.

Milly grew up in Chiswick and learned about music first from singing in the choir at St Michael & All Angels Church. She told me that the Bedford Park Festival is “a wonderful place for young musicians and young artists and anyone with a creative passion to be able to practice things and make mistakes and learn and develop and it’s a very educated audience which comes to the events”.

You can see a profile interview with Milly in the This Is Chiswick section of The Chiswick Calendar website and book tickets for the festival here. She talked to me about her engagement, which happened last week, her first contract as a professional musician, starting this summer, and the amazing tale of how she hit the headlines last year as the cloakroom girl at the Wigmore Hall who stepped in at short notice to fill the part of a singer who was ill.

Watch the video

From Berlin to Bernstein

When internationally known violinist David Juritz announced the programme of music he would be playing for this year’s Bedford Park Festival he said it would be a selection of cabaret music from Berlin to Bernstein. He actually meant a geographical selection featuring music from the German capital city and New York, but after a number of people had come up to him and told him how much they loved Isaiah Berlin and what a good choice that was he had to do a hasty rethink. A few urgent phone calls to his fellow musicians and new music was called for.

It’s not the only time he’s had to make last minute compromises. He once went on stage and played with a broken finger. David Juritz talked to me about his illustrious career which started with the English Chamber Orchestra, continued with the London Mozart Players and led to him touring the world as a solo violinist. He illustrates some of his favourite pieces, his passion for tango and gives us a taste of what he and his friends will be playing for the Festival on Monday 18th June. To book tickets go here.

Watch the video

Fuller’s brewery opens its new ‘visitor experience’

The Fuller’s Griffin Brewery has just opened its new ‘visitor experience’ / shop. What makes it a ‘visitor experience’ as opposed to just a shop is the Pilot Brewery at the back, where small batch beers will be brewed, trying out new recipes in collaboration with other brewers and the tasting bar where you can sample and buy.

The visitor experience new general manager Paul Davies showed me round while they were still frantically unpacking boxes.

In some ways it’s like taking a step back into the past. Not only is the Pilot Brewery craft brewing in batches of 1,500 litres, but once it starts production you will be able to buy your glass jug, a ‘growler’, fill it with the beer of your choice, take it home to drink it and bring it back for a refill, with either the latest Pilot brew or one of Fuller’s classic beers.

In other ways it’s very 21st century, reminiscent of a Disney or a theme park shop with everything you could possibly want that could conceivably be associated with Fuller’s – all the beers and ciders, obvs, but also wines exclusive to the Fuller’s shop, spirits and food from the Fuller’s kitchen, T shirts, hoodies, tote bags and satchels, beer mats, bottle openers, key rings … One nice touch is that they have on sale prints and playing cards designed by James, one of their dray men, which you can see on the wall in this photo.

Tours of the brewery, which take place every day of the week except Sunday, will now depart from the desk at the entrance to the shop. The tours are well worth doing, as the history and the process of brewing is really interesting and you are plied with samples. The tasting tour normally costs £20 but is available free to Chiswick Calendar Club Card members. Go here for details.

When Peggy Met Ella

Our last Jazz at George IV session before we break for the summer will be on Thursday 28 June. Two of the UK’s top jazz vocalists, Shireen Francis and Sarah Moule celebrate two of the greatest jazz singers of all time, Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald in a special show entitled, “When Peggy Met Ella”.

With accompaniment from the hugely talented pianist Simon Wallace and acclaimed bassist Neville Malcolm, the singers will be performing some of the greatest songs of the 20th century, from the understated purr of “Black Coffee” to the infectious swing of “Cheek To Cheek”, exploring how Peggy and Ella’s turbulent lives shaped their singing careers.

Buy tickets here

 

Bedford Park Festival Photography Competition

Anna won the overall prize for best photograph, selected by renowned Jazz photographer Tim Motion with her picture of a couple embracing, frozen in a moment in time on the Millennium bridge, (with Anna yelling ‘Freeze’ repeatedly until she got the right shot) and passersby a blur of movement around them. She also won the Animals category with her picture of a shaggy cow in Scotland and the Reflections category with her image of Amsterdam. Catherine, whose photographs won two categories and were chosen as runner up in two, had the single most votes from the public for her photograph ‘A Riverside Drink’, the winner in the Chiswick and Bedford Park Life section. Jon won the Places category, with his photograph of the high rise buildings of east London taken from Richmond Park with the spectacular supermoon in January. His picture of Fr Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michel & All Angels Church in his trademark straw hat, was runner up in the Chiswick Life section.

These were the winners in all the categories:

Chiswick and Bedford Park life
Winner Catherine Day
Runner up Jon Perry

People and portraits
Winner Christine Bradshaw
Runner up Stuart Carter

Animals
Winner Anna Kunst
Runner up Christine Gibb

Rural places
Winner Keith Porrit
Runner up Catherine Day

Places
Winner Jon Perry

Plants, trees and flowers
Winner Catherine Day
Runner up Catherine Day

Humour
Winner Lawrence Brooks
Runner up Christine Bradshaw

Off the wall
Winner Michelle Ann Kalish
Runner up Anna Kunst

Reflections
Winner Anna Kunst
Runner up Louis de Montfort

Children
Winner Onno Van Kampen Brooks
Runner up Marnix Van Kampen Brooks
Special prize Scarlet Flower

The Chiswick Calendar Club Card Raffle

These are the prizes from some of our Club Card businesses – fantastic prizes ranging from Champagne tasting to bee-keeping:

Annie’s restaurant – Meal for two to the value of £60 – Won by Yellow 96, Ethel Davies
Rock & Rose – Free bottle of Champagne when you go there to eat – won by yellow 81, Abigail Pitcher
Greige – £25 Voucher for stylish, original homeware – Won by pink 2, Jo Richards
Bill’s restaurant – Meal for two – Won by yellow 101, Craig Oliver
Sipsmith – Bottle of London Dry Gin
Sipsmith – Bottle of Summer Cup – Won by pink 35, Helen Gavin
Chateau – Brunch voucher, won by pink 31, Carmel
Wheeler’s garden centre – beautiful hydrangea plant – won by yellow 54, Linda Bright
Urban Pantry – Meal for two – won by pink 36, Sarah Derriey
Fuller’s Brewery – Pack of London Pride, won by pink 16, Matthew Barrett and yellow 66, Malcom Fowler
Hen Corner – Voucher for a cookery course worth £90 – Won by yellow 20, Kate Vicic
Hen Corner – £20 Voucher for the Bakery
Honest Grapes – 4 tickets to champagne tasting Wednesday 13 June – Won by yellow 13, Maria Ketley
Hammonds butcher & deli – Bottle of Brut champagne – won by yellow 18, Sarah Ward
Ballet4Life – 5 free classes for a variety of dance styles and abilities: Ballet, Latin, Ballroom, Contemporary – won by yellow 84, Helen Morgan
Snappy Snaps – Photograph albums
Finger Tips – Voucher for home IT support – Won by yellow 82, Jane Kelly
Suzanne Tanswell – Homemade marmalade – won by yellow 18, Joan Baudrey

 

 

Helen Theophanous sings the songs of Burt Bacharach

The Chiswick Calendar and Live Music To Go will be celebrating the music of the great composer and arranger in a live concert with jazz vocalist Helen Theophanous backed by the Geoff Castle Trio at 8.00pm on Wednesday 6th June at London Auctions, 34 Chiswick High Rd.

Bacharach, now 90, was acclaimed as music’s “Greatest Living Composer” in 2008 by The Recording Academy and he continues to compose and to tour worldwide. He wrote so many songs made famous by artists from Perry Como to the Stranglers – the Drifters, Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Cilla Black, Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes, the Carpenters. Alison Moyet, Cher … his music spans sixty years and the phenomenal number of hits plays like the backing track to our lives.

Tickets from eventbrite

‘Biggest, brightest and most colourful Summer Exhibition’

The Royal Academy’s 250th Summer Exhibition opens next week and among the 1,300 or so artworks hand picked by Grayson Perry and the RA Committee is a print by Chiswick print maker Rachel Busch. This is the third time Rachel has submitted a print and the first time her work has been chosen to be shown in the show, which runs from next Tuesday, 12 June, until 19 August.

“Grayson Perry is an artist I very much admire for his down to earth attitude of thinking about art” says Rachel. “Being selected is an amazing thing to happen for any artist, I feel very honoured”.

‘Varnishing Day’ procession

Yesterday was ‘Varnishing Day’ when originally the artists would come and put the final touches to their work. These days it’s purely celebratory. The artists congregated in the Royal Academy Annenberg courtyard, dominated by Anish Kapoor’s sculpture ‘Symphony for a Beloved Daughter 2018’ and walked in a procession led by a steel band and clergy for the ‘Service for Artists’ at St James Church Piccadilly.

They then headed back to find their pictures and chat to the other exhibitors, who this year include David Hockney RA, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mike Nelson and Tracey Emin. “Once back in the RA, climbing the wonderful staircase to the main galleries, I was given an Exhibition catalogue and a much welcome glass of bubbly” says Rachel.

The prints have been put upstairs in The Sackler galleries this year. “Some printmakers expressed their disappointment at this; I’m just really happy to have the chance to have one of my prints exhibited in this beautifully well lit gallery” she says.

You can see more of Rachel’s work over Artists At Home weekend, 15 – 17 June where she will be showing her work alongside Lucy Strathon and Lindsay Harvey at 32 Cleveland Avenue W4 1SN.

Read more about the Artists At Home weekend in the This Is Chiswick section of The Chiswick Calendar website. From now until 17 June pictures of Chiswick by local artists taking part will be featured each day on the home page.

Chiswick community arts projects go on show

The two community arts projects launched by the Chiswick Timline team Karen Liebreich and Sarah Cruz in January go on show at London Auctions this week.

Chiswick without Borders

For the past three months a team of embroiderers has been working on a huge cotton map of the world created by award winning local textile artist and designer Ekta Kaul, to illustrate where in the world local people who live in Chiswick have their family roots. Ekta will also be opening her studio during Artists At Home weekend.

Chiswick in Ceramic

The second project, created by architect Svetlana Kuznetsova, is a representation of Chiswick in ceramic. She has made six local landmarks in amazing detail: Christchurch, the Russian cathedral, Chiswick Park tube station, St Michael’s, Voysey House and Chiswick House, while Kathleen Tuffy and Tanya Saunders have overseen the mass production of hundreds of tiny ceramic houses. With the help of most of the Chiswick primary schools and visitors to the Timeline launch, they have created a 3D map of Chiswick in ceramic.

You can see both these community art works on show at London Auctions, 30-34 Chiswick High Road, W4 1TE
6-10 June 2018 (10.00am – 6.00pm, entry free.)

Read more about the Chiswick Timeline in the This Is Chiswick section of The Chiswick Calendar website.

Kitchen Sink drama with an American accent – Review

‘Utility’ opened at the Orange Tree theatre on 1 June and I would recommend it, as long as you don’t see theatre as the place to go to have your spirits lifted, to get you through the daily grind.

For ‘Utility’ is all about the daily grind. Young mother Amber is juggling two nearly full-time jobs and three kids. ‘Her on-again, off-again husband Chris is eternally optimistic and charming as hell, but rarely employed. The house is falling apart and Amber has an eight-year old’s birthday party to plan’.

Like the British sixties ‘kitchen sink’ genre, this new play by Emily Schwend, which won the Yale Drama Prize 2016, deals with that moment when the joie de vivre of youth becomes buried by the realisation that the daily grind is all there is and all there is likely to be. “Like I gotta lose just about everything I used to like about myself just so I can keep shit even halfway decent for everyone else around here” says Amber.

Literally based around the kitchen sink, with the children not on stage but present throughout as they prepare for the party, there’s a touch of the Tennessee Williams about it, with the long smoke filled contemplative pauses and insufferable heat. The electricity gives out as the useless husband has forgotten to pay the bill, so there’s no air con and they have to take the party food over to her mother’s so it doesn’t get spoiled.

I’m not sure which is more depressing, that the mother thinks Amber’s well-intentioned but rather wet husband is ‘a good man, to hang on to’ just because he’s present and trying, or that she’s become inured to his unfaithulness. The most telling line is when she’s weighing up whether it’s really worth having him around. Without him at least she’d know she had to do it all herself and not have to put up with someone who says he’ll do things, does them badly and just makes life more difficult.

This is the European premiere of the work of one of America’s most exciting emerging playwrights. If you enjoy social realism, go and see it. ‘Utility’ is on at the Orange Tree theatre until 7 July.