Drop-in vaccinations at Brentford Fountain Leisure Saturday 3 July

Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre is offering drop-in Covid-19 vaccinations this Saturday (3 July) between the hours of 8.30am and 7.30pm.

First and second doses of both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines will be available, with no appointment needed.

The North West London Clinical Commissioning Group said:

‘Walk-in vaccines will be on a first come first served basis… We are aware that this is not a perfect system and apologise in advance if you do attend and slots have already been filled for that day.

‘If you wish to book a vaccine in advance at one of our larger sites or approved community pharmacies you can do so by visiting Book or manage your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination

Brentford Fountain Leisure Center is located at 658 Chiswick High Road, Brentford, TW8 0HJ.

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See also: Covid cases doubled in Chiswick since previous week

See also: V&A honours Chiswick artist Ben Johnson with retrospective

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Council approves larger scale events at Chiswick Business Park

Chiswick Business Park is to start holding large scale social events. LB Hounslow’s licensing panel granted Chiswick Park’s application to hold larger scale events than they do currently, at a meeting of the licensing panel on Tuesday 29 June 2021. They are now able to hold up to 12 larger scale events a year.

The licensing panel heard representations from both Enjoy Work, who manage the site, and more than 70 local residents who were largely opposed to the proposals and they have attached a number of conditions to the licence.

Chiswick Park to consult residents before events

Cllr Richard Foote, who was part of the panel, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“There were some additional conditions, one of which was that in our view the applicant should hold a quarterly meeting with the residents and local residents association, where they would put forward their upcoming items and they would be up for discussion.

“Just generally to have an organisation that can develop good neighbourliness.”

A spokesperson for Enjoy Work said whilst application has been granted, they would not be commenting on the conditions of the approval at this time.

Image above: an event at Chiswick Business Park in 2019

Timeframe for sale of alcohol reduced

Prior to the meeting on Tuesday night, Chiswick Park Estate Management Ltd offered concessions to residents who were worried about noise pollution and litter. In a statement from their legal representatives, the applicant said they were prepared to reduce the hours that alcohol was available, stopping sales at 9.00 pm.

Enjoy Work applied to hold events with up to 999 attendees up to 12 times a year, with those exceeding 499 attendees requiring a risk assessment and management.

The planning application also requested a time slot of 12.00 pm to 10.00 pm Monday to Friday and 10.00 am to 14.00 pm Saturday and Sunday for film screenings.

Other events such as plays, live music and dance will be allowed to take place between 12.00 pm to 9.00 pm, Monday to Friday and 10.00 am to 14.00 pm, Saturday and Sunday. The sale of alcohol now will be allowed outside in the Events Plaza from 12.00 pm to 9.00 pm Monday to Friday, and 10.00 am to 2.00 pm, Saturday and Sunday.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council set to make decision on Chiswick Business Park events

See also: Plans for larger events at Chiswick Business Park have locals worried

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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July 2021 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Annakarin Klerfalk has a look at what’s on offer and chooses three good reads, Everyone Is Still Alive, You and Me on Vacation and Cabin Fever, which are are all out in July.

Everyone Is Still Alive

Cathy Rentzenbrink is best known for her bestseller The Last Act of Love and her non-fiction, A Manual for a Heartache and Dear Reader. Her latest book is a fiction debut, called Everyone Is Still Alive. She lives in Chiswick and appears regularly at the Chiswick Book Festival.

Juliet moves to Magnolia Road with her husband and their son, Charlie. Overwhelmed by motherhood and everything else, she can’t find the time to make new friendships in the neighbourhood. But Liam, her husband, finds himself in a different situation. Between his writing career, the morning coffees and the after-school gatherings, he discovers the secrets and rivalries going on behind closed doors – which all end up in his novel.

And then, at a sunny afternoon party, a single moment changes everything.

Marian Keyes said: “Incredibly tender and astonishingly insightful. I cared so deeply for the characters and read in genuine awe. An utter gem.”

Everyone is still alive is published by Orion on 8 July.

Image above: Front cover of Everyone Is Still Alive, Author Cathy Rentzebrink

You and Me on Vacation

Readers will lose their hearts to Poppy and Alex, the main characters in You and Me on Vacation – a love story written by Emily Henry.

With a similar plot line to When Harry met Sally, Poppy and Alex meet on and off during ten summer trips. They go from hating each other and being sure they will never speak again, to starting an actual friendship during a forced ride home from college, when they form a pact: one vacation will be spent together, every year.

Many adventures later, Poppy asks Alex to go on one last journey – a trip that will change their lives forever.

Beth O’Leary reviewed it as “Full of sexual tension and tantalizing possibility. I fell head over heels for Alex and Poppy, and loved travelling all over the world with them both.”

You and Me on Vacation is out on 8 July, published by Penguin.

Image above: Front cover of You and Me on Vacation, Author Emily Henry

Cabin Fever

Alex Dahl was born in Oslo and she is the author of Playdate, The Heart Keeper and The Boy at the Door, which was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger. Now she is back with her fourth thriller, Cabin Fever.

Kristina is a successful therapist in central Oslo, where she manages her clients cooly and professionally. Until one of them, Leah, turns up distressed, begging Kristina to come to her cabin in the woods, and then disappears shortly after. Kristina worries something might have happened and makes her way up to the wilderness.

At the cabin, Kristina finds Leah’s unfinished manuscript, and discovers that the main character is terrifyingly familiar.

Cabin Fever is published by Head of Zeus on the 8 July.

Image above: Front cover of Cabin Fever, Author Alex Dahl

Annakarin Klerfalk

Anna is a literary agent based in Chiswick who is keen to hear from authors trying to get their books published. Contact her on anna@intersaga.co.uk. She used to run the Waterstones bookshop in Chiswick. You can read more about her and Intersaga here.

intersaga.co.uk

See more of Anna’s book choices here

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Giffords Circus is back and better than ever

Giffords Circus has returned to the grounds of Chiswick House. This year’s show, The Hooley, comes from the imagination of the late Nell Gifford who dreamt up the show with Director Cal McCrystal.

Before Covid, Giffords had become an annual fixture on Chiswick’s social calendar. After a year-long hiatus the Giffords was warmly welcomed back to Chiswick, with the audience filling the big top tent almost to capacity.

Having never been to a Giffords performance, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been to the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland circus, and some minor fairground circuses, but never one with such high production value and such beautiful choreography.

Images above: the Giffords wagon at Circus’ entrance, a new and less fun addition, Tweedy the Clown opens the show

The two hour performance is an eclectic fusion between traditional circus acts, comedy and musical theatre. Recurring stars Lil Rice, Tweedy The Clown and Nancy Trotter are back, with live music from the Giffords Circus band directed by musical director James Keay.

The result of these combined talents is a captivating, hilarious, and sometimes a poignant display – such as the aerial hoop performance by two male artists, which had clear romantic undertones, which was met with cheers and applause throughout.

Images above: the two male aerial hoop artists perform, a tap dance-off!

It felt like stepping into some sort of fantasy world, with performers dressed in Elven Faery outfits, trained animals trotting (and flying) around the room. It was nothing short of magical. Definitely a unique experience you won’t want to miss out on.

Though the circus is so popular it gets booked up weeks before they open, but you may be lucky and find there are a few tickets left.

giffordscircus.com/

Image above: Nancy Trotter and her unicorn, an aerial acrobat flying around the stage, Celting tap-dancing 

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Gifford’s Circus 

See also: All star turn out for the circus

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Bedford Park Festival 2021 in pictures

The rain held off for the final Sunday of the Bedford Park Festival, so the mini fete took place in the grounds of St Michael & All Angels Church and Open Gardens in Bedford Park happened as usual. Audiences delighted in being able to take part in live, in person events once more, after the virtual festival dictated by the pandemic in 2020.

Images above: Bedford Park Open Gardens, including Sir Donald Insall – the Patron of the Bedford Park Society and Nigel Woolner the President of the Bedford Park Society, sitting and enjoying the view; photographs courtesy of Peter Murray

Images above: Rosemary Ashe in the premiere of her one woman show ‘Adorable Dora’, celebrating the life of Dora Bryan; photographs Jim Cox

Images above: An evening with Phyllis Logan. Executive Director of the Chiswick Playhouse, Mark Perry, talks to actor Phyllis Logan, at the Chiswick Playhouse. Photographs – Jim Cox.

Images above: An evening with Torin Douglas. Executive Director of the Chiswick Playhouse, Mark Perry, talks to former BBC Media correspondent and Director of the Chiswick Book Festival, Torin Douglas, at the Chiswick Playhouse. Photographs – Jim Cox.

Images above: Soprano Millie Forrest concert; photographs, Bedford Park Festival

Images above: Mozart concert; photographs Bedford Park Festival

Images above: Junior bake-off; photographs Bedford Park Festival

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: David Puttnam opens Chiswick Cinema

See also: Jeremy Vine unveils new piece of community artwork for Chiswick

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Thierry Spagnou’s Microfoods

Image above: Pea microgreens

According to Speciality Food magazine the ‘six food trends to stock for summer 2021’ are: picnic ready snacks, quality meat, new vegetarian and vegan foods, healthy summer foods, adventurous breakfasts and food with eco credentials.

As a trade magazine they have a pretty good eye to what’s selling. Thierry Spagnou’s Microfoods are right on trend, it would appear, as they tick five of those six boxes.

He grows them in his home at Strand on the Green and sells them at Chiswick Flower Market – he will be there on Sunday 4 July, so his journey to market is a little over a mile (eco credentials – tick). But what are ‘Microfoods’ exactly?

Dubbed ‘the new superfood’, they are the seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs (vegetarian and vegan – tick, tick). They are full of vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals with 40 times more nutrients than their matured counterparts. How does he know this? He points me to various scientific research and it is a claim that’s easy to test. It also makes sense that young plants hold a lot of their nutritious value from the start and add bulk as they grow.

Image above: trays of seedlings in Thierry’s extension

What do you do with them?

‘Microgreens are full of flavour’ he says, ‘and can be used in salads, soups, sandwich toppings, stir-fries, juices, smoothies and much more’ (picnic ready snacks and adventurous breakfasts – tick, tick). He sells them as little boxes of fresh greens, but also dried and powdered, to add to tea or a smoothie.

I tried the taste test when I went to meet Thierry. He calls his growing area the ‘garage’ but it’s really an extension to the house. It’s never seen a car, I’m sure, and is way cleaner and tidier than any garage I’ve ever seen.

His kind of growing is described as ‘vertical farming’. They do it in America in in huge storage containers in the desert. The inside temperature, humidity and light is totally controlled. Thierry has 30 trays of plants in three racks at a temperature of 21 – 28 degrees (17 – 18 degrees at night) and a humidity of 50%.

He has Coriander, Amaranth, Sunflower, Mustard, Kale, Broccoli, Radishes and Peas and healthier looking plants you’ve never seen. They do taste good. Unlike a lot of shop bought salad stuff, they have strong, distinctive flavours. The Sunflower seedlings tasted a bit like rocket, Kale was a milder flavour, Broccoli tastes just like the grown up version, the radish seedlings are really strong and peppery, and the peas are sweet.

Image above: Thierry Spangou

Thierry’s organisaton is impressive. Partnership manager for Air France and KLM, he’s been with Air France for 27 years, but before that he had his own restaurant in Soho. Now looking at the next phase of his life, over the past few years he’s turned a hobby into a fledgling business, researching microgreens meticulously, setting up the gear and paying minute attention to hygiene and preserving the nutrirent content of his plants.

He uses gloves to touch them, a special razor sharp knife and ceramic scissors to cut them, so as not to oxidise the stems. The water he uses is filtered. He only uses non-GMO seeds and never uses chemicals or pesticides. His packaging is also made from renewable resources and is 100% commercially compostable.

Thierry has been bringing on his latest batch over the past couple of weeks for the July flower market. See him there, where he will be launching his new grow-your-own kit, or buy direct through his website.

www.microfoods.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market

See also: A London Floral

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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Mind Matters – Recognise your vulnerability to stress

Feeling the pressure to get back to “normal”? Recognising our vulnerability to stress is essential.

One way of getting a sense of how you are doing might be to pay attention to your feelings and thoughts as you read this post. Under pressure we tend to have less patience, want quick answers, feel irritated and critical as opposed to calm, patient, curious and accepting. So just your reactions to something as simple as a post on psychological well being can provide vital information on how you are doing.

And that is important because? Well not managing stress and pressure has a direct impact on our health, how people experience us, our relationships, enjoyment of life and can lead to a downward spiral. So putting off dealing with stress and pressure is a flawed strategy. On one hand we can be reluctant to make changes for fear of making the situation worse so you might not change job, confront the bullying colleague, reduce your time at work, increase your time exercising, cut out the alcohol – instead you might be inclined to try and push on through. Whilst on the other hand it is also possible to rush into making big decisions that we later regret.

Often we don’t even realise we are not coping, we look around at a world where others might be more messy, be drinking more, have worse relationships, earn less money and that can lead to us reassuring ourselves that we aren’t doing so badly after all. Or on the flip side see people doing much better with great jobs, making fortunes, looking great, having apparently perfect relationships but reassure ourselves that it is natural to feel depressed.

If you have been looking for reassurance lately then that may well be a sign that there is a struggle you are not wanting to confront.

A research study published this month asked nearly 5,000 therapists for their thoughts on the impact of the pandemic on the nation’s mental health and the consensus amongst my fellow colleagues is a rather gloomy one. (Source: BACP Mindometer report 2021).

93% of my colleagues said they have perceived an increased mental strain in the general population. Anxiety (87%), stress/feeling overwhelmed (82%) and loneliness/social isolation (72%) were the top three most commonly presented experiences. Meanwhile in terms of more specific concerns 46% of colleagues say incidences of trauma have increased, 26% have seen an increase in eating disorders and 65% an increase in relationship pressures and breakdowns.

As we come rather juddering through the pandemic, see restrictions lifting and as we rather nervously look around to see what damage may have been inflicted on our society it really is worth while taking some time to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted on you and those around you. It is natural to want to move forward and put the misery behind us but you might need to take a good look at any unhelpful or unhealthy patterns you adopted during this difficult time and also reflect on why you want, what you want, going forward.

When we go through nasty experiences there is always a very real risk that our desire to put them behind us can be more of a priority than making the most considered and skillful choices – we are vulnerable. Whilst it might feel urgent to rebuild life and get back to “normal” as quickly as possible then be careful to notice how urgent it feels and ask yourself whether you are thinking things through. We all know people who ended up sick, alcoholic, with tattered relationships, in financial difficulty because they were too quick to commit to something that turned out not as expected, beyond or at odds with their skills and qualities.

Look after you and yours by thinking about vulnerability before rushing to make any big decisions.

Nicholas Rose
Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Couples Counsellor and Coach

UKCP registrant, MBACP (accred), UKRCP
PGDip, MA, Adv Dip Ex Psych

Nicholas Rose & Associates
Counselling, psychotherapy and coaching for children, adults, couples and families.

nicholas-rose.co.uk

Read more blogs by Nicholas Rose

Read the next in the series – Mind Matters – Talking about vaccine hesitancy?

Read the previous one – Mind Matters – How do you deal with disappointment?

See all Nicholas’s Mind Matters blogs here

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See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Ann Brown obituary – a double life well lived

Images above: Photographs of Ann from the order of service and from her friend Elisabeth Whittaker

Antiques dealer Ann Brown, the owner of Strand Antiques, died on 30 May 2021. Her funeral took place at Mortlake Crematorium on Friday 25 June. She was 82.

Ann was a well known figure in Chiswick, having set up Strand Antiques at Strand on the Green in 1977 and moved to the current shop on Devonshire Rd, which she shared with several other dealers, in 1999. What was less known about her was that she worked for the Security Services in a senior role.

Ann Macrae Brown was brought up in the city of Durham, the elder of two sisters, whose parents were both dentists. With a humour that she inherited, the inscription on her father’s grave noted that he was ‘filling his last cavity’.

Ann’s own funeral showed a similar flair. She’d left notes for her sons around her house at Magnolia Wharf, Strand on the Green, describing what she wanted, which her family followed: a wicker coffin, delivered by bike, with friends following by bike if they wished. No dark and sombre colours, unless of course that’s how they preferred to dress normally.

Image above: Ann’s coffin en route 

A wicker coffin on the side of a bike is a slightly unusual sight on the South Circular. The little procession made its way from Magnolia Wharf along to Kew Bridge and round to the crematorium, where her sons Rory and Hugh received the coffin to take it the last bit of the journey. They and her sister Elspeth both spoke at the service and friends commented on what a special and celebratory service it was.

Ann had time to plan because she found out five years ago that she had an aneuryism which was too tricky to operate on, so she could die suddenly at any time. It didn’t stop her living life to the full. She made frequent trips to France, where she had a house. She’d been to the theatre three days before she died, worked in the shop the day before and was driving up to Cumbria when she stopped for petrol and died at the petrol pumps.

Journalist Julia Langdon, who’d known her for the best part of forty years, told The Chiswick Calendar she had “a gift for friendship.

“She was one of the most inclusive, embracing, amusing, warm people. She exuded charm, goodwill and kindness. She had such energy and enthusiasm and she had so many interests”.

One was her allotment, which she shared with Julia for many years. Another was travelling. She’d gone on big trips to India and round the world. She also enjoyed wild swimming. She used to swim in the Serpentine and also at the open air pools at Richmond.

Images above: Ann’s funeral; arriving at Mortlake crematorium

She was a linguist, studying at Edinburgh University and then Girton College, Cambridge, where she studied Russian. Her husband Oliver died suddenly when their two boys were young, so she was the breadwinner. It was after he died that she sold their house in Grove Park Terrace and moved to Magnolia Wharf at Strand on the Green.

Her first antiques shop, which she ran with a group of friends, had lots of rooms with different types of antiques in each. Another friend, fellow antiques dealer Elisabeth Whittaker, told The Chiswick Calendar of trips to France, where Ann loved to go to brocante markets, and to Covent Garden and Portobello Rd markets.

“She had a very good eye for small decorative objects in particular … she bought a lot of French things. She loved to travel and she lived life to the full, to the end”.

Her life was like her shop, compartmentalised. She was an excellent Russian speaker and never spoke about the other job, except that she would occasionally allude to it when put on the spot, like having to explain why she couldn’t go on holiday to St Petersburg. “I just can’t go there” she’d said.

Image above: Strand Antiques shop

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: V&A honour Chiswick artist Ben Johnson with a retrospective

See also: Jeremy Vine unveils new community artwork for Chiswick

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Episode 58: Restoring the lost history of South African cricket

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

Professor André Odendaal has made it his life’s work to tell his native South Africa its true cricket history. He has restored to memory the achievements of thousands of black, mixed-race and Asian-origin players deliberately suppressed to serve the cause of white supremacy. Besides giving back to South Africa its cricketing past he shares responsibility for its present and future as a board member of Cricket South Africa. Born into apartheid, he describes his personal journey into truth and liberation to Peter Oborne and Richard Heller as the latest guest in their cricket-themed podcast.


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André sets the scene by recalling his curatorship of the Museum at Robben Island, the prison which held Nelson Mandela for eighteen years. He shares the experience of handing over the keys to a former inmate who had been brought to the prison in chains, and of receiving Mandela himself, with his wife Graҫa Machel, in his tiny former prison cell. He describes a (literally) notable exhibit, the working saxophone carved by an inmate from flotsam and jetsam. 2-6 minutes

He outlines his early childhood in a rural conservative conformist community strongly supporting apartheid which, however, gave him a strong sense of belonging to Africa and taught him to speak Xhosa, a valuable resource for his later work. He describes how in his teens Peter Hain’s protests against cricket links with South Africa, and the general global shift away from colonialism led him to seek fundamental change in his country’s restricted society especially through its sport. 6-12 minutes

He explains how meeting black cricketers and the fiery anti-apartheid sports campaigner Hassan Howa led him to understand the inadequacy of the partial and largely symbolic sporting changes in the 1970s. Then in the 1980s, Ali Bacher persuaded the government to subsidize “rebel” cricket tours.  All these efforts were intended to preserve South Africa’s access to international sport while leaving the fundamentals of apartheid intact. 15-20 minutes

André sets out his journey as a cricketer who played first-class matches as a batsman. He shares early memories of Tony Grieg (an alumnus of his school) and the influence of the school and  then Stellenbosch University, both élite, white-dominated institutions, on his cricketing development and outlook. 12-15 minutes The irrepressible personality of Eddie Barlow was also a powerful influence as a coach and later captain. 22-26 minutes Cambridge University (as a graduate student) gave him his first experience of playing cricket, living and travelling in a multi-racial environment. 27-31 minutes It reinforced the message of his meetings with Howa and black cricketers, and André describes his momentous decision, on return to South Africa, to abandon white cricket and its limited reforms. He became the first and indeed only white South African cricketer to commit himself to non-racial cricket and to the ANC’s cause of extinguishing apartheid. The commitment was so total as to deny him the right to watch cricket (as a white person) at South Africa’s ground at Newlands. Instead he disrupted the match there played by the England rebel tourists under Mike Gatting. 37-39 minutes

With great power, André describes his journey to a township rally and the instant welcome he received as virtually the only white person in the crowd, countering the hostility of the heavy police presence. It exemplified the immense humanity and forbearance of black, mixed-race and Asian people in surviving no fewer than 300 laws to control their lives in the apartheid era. 31-35 minutes The UDF (the proxy movement for the white ANC) always sought to expand its tiny base among white South Africans and demonstrate its commitment to including them in its vision of a unified multiracial nation. He attacks the exponents of “white victimhood” in present-day South Africa who refuse to acknowledge the millions of victims of white supremacy. 39-42 minutes

André movingly recalls the rifts his decision caused between him and his parents, and the pressures of living in two conflicted worlds during the last throes of apartheid. 35-37 minutes

Turning to his life’s work as a historian, André describes his discoveries from reading early African newspapers. From its inception in the nineteenth century, South African cricket had many major performances by black, mixed-race and Asian-origin cricketers, for teams strongly organized by an aspiring educated African middle-class. But this did not at all suit the interests of Cecil Rhodes and British industrialists, who saw Africans only as low-cost labourers in farming and mines. 42-47 minutes At the behest of Rhodes and his acolytes, black, mixed-race and Asian-origin players were excluded from the South African and first-class provincial teams, despite their talents, while the emerging African middle-class were progressively denied rights to vote, own property, get education and set up businesses. This pattern was established long before formal apartheid and by English-aligned South Africans in collusion with Afrikaners. 47-55, 62 minutes  He traces the role of cricket and South Africa’s early white English-speaking captains in the English conquest and brutal subjugation of native peoples. 49, 56-59 minutes

To maintain the structure and ideology of white supremacy in South Africa, cricket had to be recorded as a white-only game in annuals and history books. André describes the colossal task of rediscovering the records and memories of cricket played by black, mixed-race and Asian-origin players. The work is far from complete, and he sets out the next steps in revealing the true story of South African cricket. 60-63 minutes

Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 57: Cricket’s romantic numbers

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne, Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast is produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Council set to make decision on Chiswick Business Park events

Chiswick Business Park and the residents who live nearby will find out on Tuesday evenng (29 June) whether the park will be permitted to hold larger events than they do currently.

The company which manages the site, Enjoy Work, has applied to Hounslow Council be able to hold events with up to 999 attendees on a regular basis. The application states no more than 12 events per year would exceed 999 persons, with those exceeding 499 attendees requiring a risk assessment and management.

Hounslow Council’s licensing committee is set to make a decision on Tuesday evening.

The planning application requests a time slot of 12.00pm to 22.00pm Monday to Friday and 10.00am to 14.00pm Saturday to Sunday for the showing of films.

Other events, such as plays, live music and dance would be allowed to take place between 12.00pm to 21.00pm Monday to Friday and 10.00am to 14.00pm Saturday to Sunday. The sale of alcohol would be allowed outside in the Events Plaza from 12.00pm to 22.00pm Monday to Sunday.

The licensing committee will consider the representations from both the applicant, Enjoy Work, and over 70 local residents who have objected to the plans. The overwhelming concerns of residents is that there might be a marked increase in noise pollution, public nuisance and litter.

Image above: Chiswick Business Park; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Increase in events ‘unsuitable to the area’, say residents

Residents in the immediate vicinity of Chiswick Park have voiced their concerns about the proposals. Over 70 representations from individual residents are listed on the licensing panel’s meeting agenda. Among them is Brian Dowd’s objection, in which he says:

‘The proposed new license will likely lead to the following situations which are not acceptable:

Unsuitable to increase the number of outdoor events allowed in a venue that is surrounded by residential developments;

Increased pedestrian traffic through my and my fellow flat owners’ residential estate; potential for increase in anti-social behaviour in surrounding area due to lack of public toilets, etc; increase in noise pollution both during the week and at weekends; increased noise during the day while our residents are trying to work from home;  increased litter – putting extra strain on our limited cleaning resources (Hounslow Council won’t offer extra street cleaning on our side of the Bridge – as we come under Ealing Council)’.

Brian’s comments are echoed by the vast majority of other objections. Another resident, Miri Stanbury, says:

‘My garden backs onto the business park. I strongly oppose this application as this is a residential area and the noise levels that currently come from the business park are already loud and stressful.’

Other objections fall along the lines of the increase in potential number of events and timings, an increase in noise from music/screenings films, safety issues due to overcrowding, public nuisances due to loud/ drunk people, litter, lack of toilet provision, increased pedestrian traffic and the presence of drug dealers.

Image above: Chiswick Business Park; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Plans do not fundamentally change area, says Chiswick Park

In response to residents’ concerns, Keystone Law, on behalf of Chiswick Park Estate Management Ltd, issued a statement aimed at allaying their fears. They added the application is not an attempt to convert Chiswick Park into an entertainment venue or fundamentally change its style of operation.

Chiswick Park Estate was ‘pleased not to receive any representations from statutory authorities’ but is ‘conscious that a number of local residents have objected with concerns which need to be addressed. The objectors mainly fall into two camps: those living on Colonial Drive and those living the other side on Silver Crescent.’

Rather than comment on each representation in turn (due to the high volume of responses) the statement instead comments on the general issues raised.

If the application is approved then the sale of alcohol will carried out directly by Chiswick Business Park, rather than them relying on existing third party premises. Given residents concerns about the sale of alcohol until 10.00pm, the statement claims ‘the applicant is prepared to reduce the hours sought for the sale of alcohol to 21.00 throughout the week’ and ‘there is no intention to increase the number of events.’

On the increase in noise pollution, the statement claims noise from events will be ‘adequately considered to ensure that local residents and office workers (who are on site 24 hours a day) are not disturbed by amplified sound or the noise of the attendees.’

A ‘noise management plan’ will be put in place for outdoor events which include, amongst other steps, the use of ‘Line Array Systems’ which ‘focus any sound on the audience to avoid sound dispersal and to reduce low frequency noise which can be an issue.’

On the issue of litter, the statement claims:

‘The licence holder shall ensure sufficient measures are in place to remove and prevent litter or waste arising or accumulating in Chiswick Park and Colonial Drive.’

To read the rest of the statement, or find out more about the application on Hounslow Council’s website you can click here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Plans for larger events at Chiswick Business Park have locals worried

See also: David Puttnam opens Chiswick Cinema

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Andrew Lloyd Webber opens Cinderella with a side swipe at the Government

Image above: Lloyd-Webber speaking to the cast of Cinderella

“You’ve given us more money than the Government has” Andrew Lloyd Webber tells audience

Andrew Lloyd Webber opened his production of Cinderella in the West End on Friday night (25 June) with a dig at the Government. He thanked the audience for not demanding refunds when the production was delayed, but instead leaving their ticket money with the show.

Just by doing that “you’ve given us more money than the Government has” he said.

The composer and producer, with a string of hit musicals to his name, has become the most prominent opponent of the Government over its policy towards the Arts over Covid.

He announced on 18 June that he would not be accepting Boris Johnson’s offer for his musical Cinderella to be included in the next pilot scheme for live events.

On Thursday 24 June his company, Really Useful Group, announced it was taking a joint legal action with Cameron Mackintosh, and music industry body LIVE, to force the Government to publish the results of its Events Research Programme.

They said the Government was treating the live entertainment industry unfairly because it had chosen:

“to keep the live entertainment industry under severe restrictions from June 21, while allowing parts of the economy that have not been subject to similar scientific studies, including hospitality, public transport and retail, to operate.”

On Friday, June 25, the Government released the Events Research Programme results, which revealed that just 28 people who attended these events had tested positive in the following weeks. This study came from testing 58,000 people who attended the first nine pilot events. The initial phase included the FA Cup Semi Final at Wembley Stadium in April and the BRIT awards.

As it stands, theatres have to continue playing to audiences at half capacity until the final phase of easing out lockdown restrictions.

Theatre industry ‘an afterthought and undervalued’ – Lloyd-Webber

Earlier, the composer had said he was prepared to go to jail over the restriction on theatres to operate at half their normal capacity. After taking legal advice, he realised that to open with 100% capacity would have risked each individual member of cast, audience and backstage staff receiving fines, so he thought better of it.

He said he would bear the financial loss personally rather than disppointing his young cast and crew by putting off opening night any longer.

“It is the product of hundreds of people’s tireless effort for years. Win, lose or draw, we have to continue.

“Finally, can I thank the thousands of people who have contacted me with messages of support, including those who wanted to come and bring me a cake in jail.”

A number of Cinderella‘s cast studied at ArtsEd in Chiswick, where Lloyd-Webber has been President since 2007. He gave the musical theatre school £3.5 million for a new theatre, which was relaunched as The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre in 2013. The Andrew Lloyd-Webber Foundation also offers scholarships to ArtsEd, on the combined basis of merit and financial need.

Image above: Susan Penhaligon at home on her houseboat; in character as Mrs Boyle

West End “heaving”, with people “crammed into pubs”

Actor Susan Penhaligon wholeheartedly supports Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stance and says 95%, if not 100% the industry feels the same way.

The actor, (Bouquet of Barbed Wire, A Fine Romance) is a long term Chiswick resident, currently performing in Afatha Christie’s epic The Mousetrap as Mrs Boyle, “a very grumpy old lady; the sort of guest the owner of any hotel would dread”.

She posted on social media on Saturday:

“Last night the West End was heaving, people jostling on the streets, crammed into pubs, restaurants, sitting beside each other, except in our theatre. Madness”.

The production has two complete casts, who play alternately, so that if one person gets Covid, their entire cast can isolate. The actors have christened them ‘Marple’ and ‘Poirot’. While their production costs have increased, they can play to a half empty house at best.

“People are just so loving being back at the theatre” she told The Chiswick Calendar. “There’s so much cheering.

“At the curtain call we clap them, for being there”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: David Puttnam opens Chiswick Cinema

See also: V&A honours Chiswick artist Ben Johnson with retrospective

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Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist).

Click here to support us.

V&A honour Chiswick artist Ben Johnson with retrospective

The Victoria & Albert museum is honouring artist Ben Johnson by putting on a retrospective of his work. Ben has a studio at Chiswick Mall and regularly shows his work as part of Artists At Home.

The exhibition was to have been hung in the museum and the intention was for him to set up his studio and paint in the museum, but because of the pressures of Covid they have instead opted for a virtual exhibition. The result is a new collaboration between the V&A and the Vault of Contemporary Art.

A tour through architectural history

Ben paints buildings and cityscapes, never with any people in them, and though he paints in minute detail, he fills huge canvases that can take him years to complete.

The retrospective has come about because curator Christopher Turner, Keeper of Graphic Art and Design, Photography and Architecture at the V&A, saw some of his work, of high tech architecture from the 1960s and when he visited Ben’s studio, he realised that going through his paintings was like taking a tour through architectural history.

Perfect Spaces: Paintings by Ben Johnson takes the viewer chronologically through ten of his paintings spanning 50 years, taking in classical architecture, modern constructions of glass and steel and Islamic architecture.

Image above: Ben in his studio; portrait by Daniel Lewis

A love of geometry

Ben left school at 14. He describes himself as “very dyslexic”, which made school a struggle, but in that same year he bought a geometry set and he says he has never looked back. When I asked him how his work had developed over 50 years he said:

“I haven’t developed, I’ve just spent 50 years finding out what drives me, which is a love of structure; that’s what I see as important”.

He has a particular fascination with Islamic architecture – you may have seen his picture of the Alhambra palace in Granada in the making, during Artists At Home open studio weekends over the past few years.

“I am obsessed by geometry” he told The Chiswick Calendar. “It lies at the basis of most things – the cell structure of our bones and houses. The world of Islam doesn’t represent people, it uses geometry as a way of talking about the spirit”.

More real than reality

Ben doesn’t use people in his pictures because, he says, people would give a sense of scale which would make the painting a factual representation rather than an illusion of space.

“I research and question every detail but I am only using paint and canvas. It is just an illusion of space. Nobody knows how big a door is… In that illusion is truth”.

In saying that, he put his finger on why I have always had a sense that his images are more real than reality. Every detail is perfect, bright and clear, with clean, precise lines; they’re crystalline but not just clinical. There’s a joy and an energy to them, in which you can intuit his appreciation of the superb craftsmanship which has gone into the making of the original building.

Image above: Poolside reflection – Ben Johnson

Coming home

“I’m obsessed with craft” he says. “I’ve been fascinated with the way in which people have become creative during lockdown. It’s been difficult to get paints because a lot of people have taken up painting and are learning about themselves”.

Despite leaving school at 14, he did a post grad course at the Royal College of Art at the age of 19, without having done an undergraduate course.

“I hadn’t been taught. I relied on instinct”

Going to the art school necessitated walking through the V&A to get to classes, so he feels that being exhibited by the museum is in a sense coming home. It was studying the contents of the V&A as much as the experience of learning at the art school which made him realise he wanted to be an artist. The exhibits in the V&A inspired him, made him realise the nobility in creating something as simple as a clasp or a lock.

“It made me realise I wanted to be a craftsperson and get my hands dirty making something”.

“I am honoured to have been chosen by the V&A”.

It is a huge shame that his paintings aren’t being shown in the way in which they were intended to be seen, but none the less he considers the virtual exhibition to be “embarking on a brave adventure, breaking new ground” and is proud to be their chosen artist.

Image above: Queen’s House Greenwich II – Ben Johnson

The paintings

The ten paintings the curator has chosen are:

Queen’s House Greenwich II (1978)
Designed by Inigo Jones, known as England’s first great architect, it was one of his first designs for Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of James I. The house is most famous for the Tulip Stairs, a spiral staircase. Ben chose to paint an interior archway which he felt was “an invitation to go on a journey.”

Poolside Reflection (1984)
Based on the Willis Building in Ipswich by Foster and Partners. Ben delighted in the way the architects had not only incorporated a swimming pool for the work space but put the boiler room, traditionally a dark space, hidden away, beside it. The vibrancy, colour and light of the building revolutionised the relationship between the workforce and their work place.

Inmos Central Spine (1985)
The Inmos Microprocessor factory in Newport, Wales was one of Richard Rogers’ radical inside-out buildings. The central spine was to be a place for social interaction between staff who worked on two sides of the company.

The Crystal Palace Reconstruction II (1985)
The Crystal Palace, designed by Joseph Paxton, collaborating with Owen Jones, is a very significant building for Ben. Paxton, trained as a gardener by the Horticultural Society in Chiswick, designed the first glasshouse that enabled gardeners to keep foreign plants alive in the British climate, but it was his collaboration with architect and design theorist Owen Jones which was most significant to Ben.

The Crystal Palace was “awe-inspiring”, he said and “Owen Jones is the person who made Europe aware of the Alhambra. He revolutionised design and that’s how the V&A came about”.

Image above: The Rookery – Ben Johnson

The Rookery (1995)
Similarly The Rookery is a building which has had a profound impact on the development of the architecture which came after it. Completed in Chicago by architects Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root of Burnham and Root in 1888, it is considered one of their masterpiece buildings.

“It was the first building to go up in Chicago after a fire which destroyed the city. It was inspired by Oriel Chambers in Liverpool, by Peter Ellis, which was the first steel building in the UK. Burnham and Root saw it and took it as their inspiration. It influenced the rest of the buildings in Chicago and then New York”.

Three Moments of Illumination (1998)
Based on the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong.

“One of Foster’s earliest and most important triumphs in 1986.

“I had long wanted to make this painting but refused to make it at anything other than heroic scale – a scale which meant my proposals were refused by most collectors. It took until 1998 to find a brave client to house such a work”.

The Liverpool Cityscape (2008)
This painting took Ben three years to complete. He’s made 200 paintngs over the 50 years of his career so far. “In a good year I can do four paintings”.

“I felt it was important that a very large geographic area should be protrayed. The city is so dependent on the River Mersey that it needed to be in the foreground, almost supporting the buildings that owe their existence to the water”.

Image above: Approaching the Mirador – Ben Johnson

Approaching the Mirador (2013)
The Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.

“Following the epic undertaking that the Liverpool cityscape proved to be, I was looking for a change no less important but perhaps slightly less complex in its realisation. The world of Islamic pattern, sacred geometry and the sheer beauty that is the Alhambra in Granada, became the next area for my concentration”.

Roman Room (2014)
The Neues Museum in Berlin, destroyed during the Second World War by both the British and the Russians, was restored from 1999 to 2009 by David Chipperfield, who deliberately kept the marks of violence on the building. This is reflected in Ben’s painting of the Roman Room.

“It shows an interesting attitude to creativity. Like the Taliban destroying the Buddhas in Bamiyan, why do people get so angry about other people creating things rather than destroying?”

Dome of the Rock Triptych (2017)
Ben’s three paintings of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem explores “sacred geometry”.

“Every tile pattern has a significance. Every tile pattern is laid down as a celebration to God, whoever that God is”.

The virtual exhibition also enables the viewer to enter Ben’s studio and to view another gallery in which he explains his process. The functionality is a bit clunky. It takes a while to work out how to explore the virtual gallery space, but once you’ve become reconciled to the idea that clicking on the numbered image does not take you to the painitng in that gallery and you have discovered that there is a virtual doorway which takes you back to the courtyard, to navigate your way to another gallery, you get the hang of it.

Just don’t whatever you do, press the back button, because it doesn’t take you back to where you just were, it takes you back to the beginning and you have to wait for the galleries to load again. But persevere! The chance to see Ben’s extraordinary paintings and hear him explain on video why he chose the buildings he did, is well worth committing the time to get used to the virtual gallery experience.

It makes me want to go and see each of these amazing buildings for myself, but since that’s not possible, I’ll settle for pouring myself a glass of wine and going back through the galleries to enjoy the paintings again.

Perfect Spaces: Paintings by Ben Johnson, the paintings, with short videos explaining why the particular building caught the artist’s interest, is available to view here, until 1 September 2021.

vca.gallery

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Jeremy Vine unveils new community art work in Chiswick 

See also: David Puttnam opens new Chsiwick Cinema

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We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Jeremy Vine unveils new piece of community artwork for Chiswick

Jeremy Vine unveils ‘A Quiet Sarnie Under the Tree of Life’ by Suzan Inceer

Broadcaster and Chiswick resident Jeremy Vine unveiled the new community artwork for the ‘W4th plinth’ on the railway embankment at Turnham Green Terrace on Sunday (27 June).

Every six months a new community artwork goes up on the wall, courtesy of environmental not-for-profit Abundance London, who invite artists to submit their work to be judged by a panel which includes another famous Chiswick resident, artist Sir Peter Blake.

The outgoing Stay at Home created by students at Chiswick School during lockdown in 2020, was replaced by community artist Suzan Inceer’s A Quiet Sarnie Under the Tree of Life, which, said Jeremy Vine, was symbolic of the community of Chiswick coming out of lockdown.

Image above: Artist Suzan Inceer with Director of Abundance London, Karen Liebreich MBE

Suzan describes herself as a ‘community artist’:

“I’ve done a lot of community art work. Having been pipped at the post by an orangutan in 2019, I am absolutely thrilled that they’ve chosen A Quiet Sarnie Under the Tree of Life”. 

She was referring to Penny the orangutan, which replaced the first community artwork on this site, Sir Peter Blake’s collage of Empire House, in March 2020.

Suzan described her piece:

“It’s a dude in a pink jacket and a two tone shirt just sitting underneath a tree listening to music, and the faces in the branches celebrate the diversity of life in London”.

Image above: A Quiet Sarnie Under the Tree of Life, at the piazza, Turnham Green Terrace

One face, she told The Chiswick Calendar, was of a harmonica player she’d seen. Others are characters she’s spotted about London. There are friends’ dogs, a robin, a toucan and a self-portrait (long dark hair, to the left on the main branch). Speech bubbles with random bits of language are characteristic of her work.

“I just love language” she said.

Earlier this year she also won a major art competition organised by the Sun newspaper, the Great Big Art Exhibition, judged by Sir Anthony Gormley, the artist who created the Angel of the North.  The initiative was ‘to cheer up Britain’s streets by displaying art works of animals in our homes during lockdown’. Suzan’s winning piece was a sculpture of a dragonfly.

Suzan has always enjoyed painting. “At nursery school I’d keep painting until the paper disintergrated.”

Born in Shipley West Yorkshire to an English mother and Turkish father, she did a Foundation art course at Bradford, followed by Fine Art in Liverpool and Illustration at Central St Martin’s in London.

“I love London and I am obsessed with Istanbul.

“Finally moved to London – Turnham Green in the late 1980s. Took my portfolio around everywhere and anywhere. Sold my textile designs for fashion fabrics in New York and L.A via some very dodgy agents.

“I met someone at Bartle Boggle Hegarty Ad. agency who suggested I apply to the postgrad illustration course at Central St Martin’s. Before college in the morning  I would give out Girl About Town magazine to commuters, and after I’d fit in jobs like hand decorating T- shirts in an assembly line in time to Hip-Hop music, spray paint shopfitting props and lots of waitressing”.

Image above: Theatre rigger Rory Ferguson with Steve Nutt of Abundance London, (wearing high vis vests) who managed the unveiling

“Murals are a speciality”

Suzan began working as a freelance illustrator mainly for magazines and kept working in hospitality for catering agencies.

“My work is influenced by these experiences – I love to depict people eating, dancing, carousing in bars etc. Often I’d work a breakfast, lunch and dinner (all in different places) and very late at night some, of the better agencies would let me shove my bike in a black cab and speed home with a bag of the best leftovers imaginable”.

Having dropped “very hot buttery potatoes in a man’s lap, appropriately at The Skinners Guild” and “overturned a whole flat of butter-beans on the red carpet, en route  to the top table at  a  Booker Prize Dinner at The Guild Hall” she concentrated more and more on her art, travelling extensively in the 1990s.

“I finally fulfilled a long held desire to live in Istanbul. I worked  as an illustrator for an airline magazine and taught English conversation in the evening”.

A massive earthquake on the outskirts of the city forced her to head home, where she has taught art to community groups and pursued her interest in community art.

“Murals are a speciality inside and outside –  some with the input of children and staff… many in school playgrounds”.

For her, having her work on display inthe place where she first lived in London, is coming full circle. She now lives on the south coast and was delighted to have a reason to return to the place where she used to “hang-out” in the 1980s.

Image above: Students from Chiswick School led by Eloise Davis (second from right)

Before the unveiling, students from Chiswick School led by Eloise Davis sang Ben E. King’s Stand By Me. The community artwork which occupied the space since December 2020, Stay at Home, was created by students at Chiswick School under the direction of teacher Tommy Robinson during lockdown conditions and expresses the students’ feelings about being locked down. It will now be hung at Chiswick School.

Comparing the experience of lockdown and the pandemic with the First World War, Jeremy Vine quoted from the First World War poet Isaac Rosenberg, who tragically died at the age of 25.

What in our lives is burnt
In the fire of this?
The heart’s dear granary?
The much we shall miss?

Three lives hath one life—
Iron, honey, gold.
The gold, the honey gone—
Left is the hard and cold.

Iron are our lives
Molten right through our youth.
A burnt space through ripe fields,
A fair mouth’s broken tooth.

He thanked Karen Liebreich MBE, Director of Abundance London, for organising the community art initiative and said what a great place Chiswick is to live, just as a woman walked through the crowd of onlookers, head down, totally oblivious to anyone around her or what was going on, declaring loudly into her phone “this is just such a great part of west London”.

A tube train rumbling past obliterated the rest of what he said – but we got the gist.

A Quiet Sarnie Under the Tree of Life will remain in situ for the next six months.

Image above: Karen and Jeremy, doing a Michelangelo

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Novice photographer wins Bedford Park Festival Photography competition

See also: Chiswick Flower Market

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

David Puttnam opens Chiswick Cinema

Images above: David Puttnam; Screen One; LondonsDJ.UK violinist

Film producer David Puttnam opened the Chiswick Cinema on Thursday 24 June. The award winning film maker, who made Chariots of Fire, The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Midnight Express and Memphis Belle, is now a member of the House of Lords, where he chairs the Select Committee on democracy and digital technologies.

Lord Puttnam, now 80, told the audience he remembered when the very first multiplex cinema was opened in Milton Keynes, in 1985. He was warned not to lend his name to such a risky project as it was bound to be a flop, but it quickly became the biggest grossing cinema in the whole of the UK.

He also recalled the early days of market research in the film industry when he spent many hours “hanging around Shaftesbury Avenue” on a Friday night, waiting for the last of the paying cinema goers to pay for their tickets before buying up any that were unsold so the cinema would report the film ‘sold out’. That ensured his film would be booked again for the following week.

His love affair with film started as a child, he told the audience, when at the age of seven he went to see Walt Disney’s Pinocchio and came out humming When You Wish Upon A Star.

“That should be the theme song for the film industry” he said, because “every time you make a film that is exactly what you’re doing”.

Films capture the emotions of audiences in a different way to theatre or television, he said.

“With a good film, in the first few scenes we spot something that reminds us of us or of someone we know and from that point on it becomes our story, not the film’s.”

That is unique to the medium of film, he said.

In The Heights

He introduced In The Heights, a musical set in New York’s Washington Heights neighbourhood by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created the smash hit Hamilton. A great choice, because it’s a film you absolutely have to see on a big screen.

It’s not the kind of musical where there are scenes of dialogue and they suddenly burst into song. Like Hamilton, the whole thing is sung – and danced, the characters are rarely still – with just a few short bits of spoken dialogue in between amazingly choreographed mass dancing. A fantastic, colourful, uplifting, feelgood movie with lots of big dance numbers, including a nod to Busby Berkeley – just the thing to set the tone for the new cinema Chiswick has been looking forward visiting to for so long.

Images above: Greg Dyke; Dame Rosemary Squire

“Live cinema will continue to thrive in the post pandemic era”

Chiswick Cinema is part of Trafalgar Entertainment, set up in 2017 to bring together theatre production, the live broadcast of productions and training. Trafalgar is home to Trafalgar Studios, Trafalgar Theatre Productions, Trafalgar Releasing (formerly Picturehouse Entertainment) and Stagecoach Performing Arts.

The production arm of the company, Trafalgar Theatre Productions, produce new shows and classic musicals in London and internationally including the Lincoln Center’s award-winning production of The King and I, at the London Palladium and now worldwide: The Rocky Horror Show and at Trafalgar Studios: Peter Nichols’ A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

Trafalgar Entertainment was set up by Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire, who created and developed the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd over 25 years, making it a premier international theatre owner and prolific, successful global producer. The groupls 38 theatres include Richmond theatre and the Duke of York, Fortune, Harold Pinter, Lyceum, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Savoy and the Trafalgar theatres in the West End.

Dame Rosemary and Trafalgar Entertainment’s chairman Greg Dyke made the opening remarks.

“Live cinema will continue to thrive in the post pandemic era” said Greg Dyke, “assuming the Government lets the audiences back in”.

Chiswick Cinema is now open to the public. You don’t have to be member. Films currently showing are: In The Heights (PG), Supernova (15), F9: The Fast Saga (12A), Michael Ball & Alfie Boe: Back Together (PG), Preview: Last Man Standing with recorded Q&A (18), The Father (12A).

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Fisher’s Lane restricitons to stay until at least the autumn

See also: Devonshire Rd set to reopen for traffic during the day

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

A London Floral

An illustrated guide – Unmissable destinations for flower lovers

Natasha Goodfellow collects beautiful places – specifically those with interesting plant collections. Working all over London as a freelance journalist, she keeps an eye out for little havens of plant perfection, from parks and gardens, to quirky florists, to trendy botanical cocktail bars in bijou locations.

In 2020, just as Londoners were rediscovering of the benefits of the daily constitutional, she published a guide to all her favourite places – 87 of them all over London, from the traditional and obvious:

St James’s Park SW 1A

‘Stretching between the right royal flower beds outside Buckingham Palace and the eye-popping planting by Horse Guards Parade, St James’ Park is heaven for a stroll’

To the relatively new and undiscovered:

Midnight Apothecary at the Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue SE 16

‘On Friday and Saturday evenings in summer, this circular garden crowning Brunel’s groundbreaking (literally) tunnel shaft has to be one of the nicest places to be. Delicious cocktails use ingredients from the garden – sage, mint, blackberries, lemon verbena – and marshmallows are on hand for toasting over the brazier. The tours of the shaft are not to be missed’.

From public loos to royal palaces

What a fabulous way to see London! The guide comes as a fold up map with a paragraph of text about each place on the back.

The map itself is beautifully designed and illustrated by collage artist Clover Robin. Clover studied Surface Pattern Design at Leeds College of Art and Design before completing a Masters in Future Textile Design at Central Saint Martins.

Her style involves ‘tactile artwork created by hand, using a mixture of cut paper collage, painting, printing and hand drawing’ and her clients include Paul Smith, Mollie Makes, The National Trust and several publishers, including Little Tiger Books, Bloomsbury, Quarto Books and Macmillan.

Her fresh, bright illustrations make map a versatile gift which you can hang on the wall as a poster or keep in your bag for those occasions when you have a bit of time to kill and are up for discovering one of London’s little pockets of natural beauty.

There are 22 locations listed for West London, from the restaurant / plant / homeware emporium that is Petersham Nurseries TW10 to Nikki Tibbles’ flower shop in Turquoise Island (a public loo) Wild at Heart, 222 Westbourne Grove W11.

Image above: Chiswick House, copyright Clover Robin

The three places listed that are nearest to us in Chiswick are:

Chiswick House and Gardens, Burlington Lane W4

With its naturalised canal, rustic cascade and wooded wilderness areas, Chiswick House garden was the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement. It’s also home to some fine Italianate gardens, and, in the Grade-I listed glasshouse,a world-famous camellia collection, including the rare ‘Middlemist’s Red’.

Image above: Fulham Palace, copyright Clover Robin

Fulham Palace, Bishop’s Ave SW6                              

We have plant-loving Bishop Compton (1632-1713) to thank for Fulham Palace Garden’s reputation as one of London’s oldest botanic gardens. Now, a restoration has reinstated many of Compton’s exotic plants and there’s also a walled garden with an apple tunnel skirted in lavender, and a charming knot garden filled with perennials.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew TW9 (£)

No flower lover can visit London without a trip to Kew, which has something for horticulturalists of every persuasion, from a rhododendron dell and bluebell glades to conservatories, rockeries and gardens housing plants from almost every climate of the world. Pack a picnic and stay for the day – you’ll need it. Lovers of botanical art should make time for the Marianne North and Shirley Sherwood galleries, too.

Where to get a copy

A London Floral (Finch Publishing, £8.50) is available from www.finchpublishing.co.uk

You can also pick up a copy from Bookcase London, 268 Chiswick High Rd, W4 1PD

Copyright © Finch Publishing

Words © Natasha Goodfellow

Illustration © Clover Robin

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: 300 years of Chiswick House Gardens

See also: Chiswick Flower Market

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Fisher’s Lane restrictions to remain in place till at least autumn

Image above: Fisher’s Lane, which runs from South Parade to Chiswick High Rd

The closure of Fisher’s Lane to all traffic except buses and cycles will remain in place until at least the autumn.

Ealing Council is reviewing its Streetspace measures, but Fisher’s Lane is not included in this review because it is not considered by the Council to be a Streetspace measure. The idea of closing Fisher’s Lane was in the Council’s plans as part of its design for cycle routes before the pandemic and the ensuing emergency measures which enabled the programme of Streetspace / Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

The former Leader of Ealing Council Julian Bell was ousted as leader in May, largely because of his handling of the Streetspace / Low Traffic Neighbourhoods initiative.

The incoming Leader Peter Mason announced:

“I want to ensure that local people know their council is on their side and to build an open, transparent and inclusive culture. That’s why I’m announcing steps to make interactions with developers more transparent.”

Ealing Council has announced that there will be a special consultation on Fisher’s Lane in autumn 2021. Consultations on the Streetspace schemes are due to go ahead over the summer.

Councillor Gary Malcolm, one of the Lib Dem councillors who represents Southfield ward said:

“Feedback from residents, in both the surveys we have conducted, is that 75% of residents do not want the Fishers Lane scheme to continue. Today when I spoke to residents near to Fishers Lane many who were cyclists said that the route through Fishers Lane is still dangerous and many are avoiding it. Liberal Democrats want to see the route reopened up and for the Council to engage about other methods to encourage people to cycle rather than trying to force people to cycle.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council Leader sets out his vision for the future of Ealing

See also: Julian Bell ousted as Leader of Ealing Labour Party

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Watermans’ Friday Nights Live: line-up of music, comedy and cabaret

Watermans arts centre is ‘thrilled’ to be reopening for live performances, with the first in a new series of Friday Nights Live shows starting this Friday (25 June).

‘This popular and eclectic programme of music, comedy and cabaret means that once again there’s something local to brighten Friday nights in West London’, said Watermans’ spokeswoman Erica Weston.

Watermans’ cinema and new media art gallery are open too, as well The Guru Tandoori Kitchen, so you can have a meal and make a night of it. Covid precautions – socially distanced seating, enhanced cleaning and compulsory face coverings – will be in place.

Customers have already commented on how well Watermans has managed its socially distanced cinema.

‘They’ve definitely got the Covid safety measures nailed at Waterman’s and the staff are all so helpful and friendly’ posted one supporter.

The line-up for the Friday night cabaret is as follows:

Image above: La Voix promotional art

La Voix: ‘the return of the UK’s funniest redhead’

Fri 25 June, 7.00pm & 9.00pm. Tickets £15/14

‘Global Superstar La Voix has packed it by the case load and is heading back to Brentford with her incredible musicians for an unforgettable evening! Expect side splitting comedy, huge vocals, mesmerising impressions of the world’s biggest divas and buckets full of energy.’

“La Voix’s impersonations are surpassed only by her own cheekily entertaining personality. A genuine one-off!”, said Sir Ian McKellen.

Images above: Gypsy Hill

Gypsy Hill

Friday 2 July, 8.00pm. Tickets £15/£14

‘Featuring guitars, horns, tuba, a scratch DJ and a mix of live and electronic beats, Gypsy Hill effortlessly blend the traditional with a uniquely modern sound – an intoxicating mix of Balkan brass, Mediterranean surf-rock, ska and swing.’

The Scottish Herald gave their performance five stars.

Images above: Shazia Mirza

Shazia Mirza: Coconut

Friday 9 July, 8pm. Tickets £15/£14

‘Following the success of her critically acclaimed shows With Love From St. Tropez and The Kardashians Made Me Do It, award-winning stand-up comedian and writer Shazia Mirza takes on the burning (and infectious) issues of our time in her latest show.’

“Shazia Mirza is provoking laughter and large intakes of breath once again … brave and urgent.”

The Telegraph gave the performance five stars.

Images above: Marcel Lucont, Cabaret performer Lili La Scala

Marcel Lucont’s Cabaret Fantasique

Friday 16 July, 8pm. Tickets £15/£14

‘Marcel Lucont, France’s finest flaneur, returns to Watermans with his international hit show for one night only. The star of Comedy Central At The Comedy Store, Sky Atlantic’s Set List and The John Bishop Show, Marcel will be regaling Brentford with new bawdy poems and soaring miserabilist chansons, and joined by the enchanting cabaret songstress Lili La Scala and other special guests to be announced.’

“Excellently dry” said The Times.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: First look inside the new Chiswick Cinema

See also: Bedford Park Festival Summer Exhibition 2021

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

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Devonshire Road set to reopen for traffic during the day

Hounslow Council have announced the partial reopening of Devonshire Road to vehicular traffic, following feedback from an independent review.

General traffic access will be reintroduced between the hours of 8.00am and 5.00pm. Provision will be made for restaurants and cafes to retain the use of limited parking spaces for outdoor dining.

As part of its ‘listening approach’, the Council commissioned independent reviews of the borough’s Streetspace trials last October. This was to assess their impact on traffic and to analyse feedback from residents and businesses.

Streetspace trials began during lockdown in 2020, with a commitment to review, amend, remove or make htem permanent based on evidence collected throughout the trials.

Some 10,000 individuals took part in the recent consultation, both in writing and in a series of online engagement events organised by the Council, including events aimed specifically at businesses.

Following the independent reviews, the Council announced a number of changes to Streetspace in May and promised further engagement with regard to the trials on Bath Road, in Hounslow, and Devonshire Road in Chiswick.

Cllr Khan – “we’re listening”

Councillor Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport and One Hounslow, said:

“I want to thank the thousands of people who took part in the consultation, as well as those who spoke to us when we were knocking on doors in and around Bath Road and Devonshire Road as part of a further engagement activity in the last few weeks.

“I hope today’s decisions show that we are continuing to listen to what residents and our local business community are telling us about the Streetspace trials, with the aim of retaining the best of the schemes, but also being prepared to amend or remove trials where they are not working.

“In July we will conduct our final review of the other Streetspace trials and we will subsequently announce which will be made permanent or whether any further changes need to be made.”

Local reaction split

Chiswick residents have been reacting to the news on social media.

Journalist and broadcaster Jeremy Vine, who has been an outspoken supporter of local Streetspace and cycling schemes, Tweeted his disappointment:

The decision to reopen Chiswick’s Devonshire Road to through traffic — just in time for summer — means the end of my Saturday morning @urbanpantrycafe habit I fear … and I love that place!”

Urban Pantry duly replied, adding:

“We’re really sad about it too, seems like the consultation chose to listen to some businesses and not others. We’ve loved the semi pedestrianisation of Devonshire Road- fingers crossed people see sense soon!”

Another resident, Annabel James, Tweeted in support of the decision:

“There ain’t no ‘Sunday vibe’ on Devonshire Rd without viable businesses there the other 6 days of the week. Who need customer access and parking, oh and common sense. @RealOneChiswick @JoannaBiddolph #ChiswickChaos

Dr Edward Seaton posted on social media:

“There has been a concerted campaign to reopen Devonshire Road to unlimited through traffic and parking over the last few months. It’s been led by a pressure group called One Chiswick limited, Conservative councillor Joanna Biddolph and the Chiswick Conservatives.

“They all campaigned with the slogan ‘Hounslow Council is Destroying Chiswick.’ Well now the Labour council has backed down. Devonshire Road will once again be a road. I’ve loved the peace and atmosphere of Devonshire Road over the last few months. Now it’s over after their successful campaign. Unlimited traffic 8-5 seven days a week from the end of July. Do people know about this?”

“The devil is in the detail” says Cllr Joanna Biddolph

Cllr Joanna Biddolph who has been vociferous in her opposition to the Streetspace schemes, said:

“We are glad that Hounslow council listened to its findings and is to reverse this damaging Streetspace scheme. However, the devil is in the detail and, as is so often the case with Hounslow Council, the detail is missing.

Traders and residents responded immediately with questions and we have asked Hounslow council for clarity on these eight significant aspects:

 

  • the free 30-minute stop-and-shop parking – will this be reinstated as before, as it was on Turnham Green Terrace?
  • what about the impact on residents who are affected by late night drinking and dining – what measures will be put in place to protect them from noise from outdoor drinking/dining and including outdoor singing and music?
  • what about access for residents and businesses in Prince of Wales Terrace after 5.00 pm – how will they, including customers of Capital Motors having their cars serviced/fixed, drive in and out of Devonshire Road?
  • what about access for residents of the Glebe Estate and the south of Devonshire Road – will those restrictions be lifted?
  • what times of day will the limited numbers of parking spaces be retained for outdoor dining and how will they be allocated – the survey by the Chiswick Shops Task Force showed little interest in all day every day so will it be from 5.00 pm only and on some but not all days?

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Appeal court says Sadiq Khan’s Streetspace programme is legal

See also: OneChiswick still going ahead with Judicial Review of C9

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

London gets high speed mobile coverage on Underground

Transport for London has announced that London is to get high speed mobile phone coverage on the Underground.

Sadiq Khan made it a prominent part of his election campaign to promise he he would deliver on this – something which particularly appeals to young people, but will be welcome to all commuters.

High speed mobile coverage will be delivered across London Underground alongside a new full-fibre network to provide London’s homes and businesses with faster internet and better connectivity.

Going live by the end of 2022

The technology, delivered by BAI Communications, will support 4G and 5G rollout and will be the most advanced of its kind in the world, helping to support London’s economic growth. Work is now underway across the Tube network, with first stations – including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Euston, Bank and Camden Town – going live by the end of 2022.

This follows successful rollout of 4G on the eastern half of the Jubilee line, which customers have been able to use since March last year. Agreement with BAI will provide a long-term revenue stream, which will be reinvested in transport improvements across the capital.

Customers on London Underground will be able to access full mobile connectivity and internet access within every station and tunnel, the Mayor of London has today announced.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Controversial building work in Southfield stopped by Ealing Council

See also: Fire at recycling centre in Mortlake

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

HIghlights for week two of the Bedford Park Festival

Image above: St Michael & All Angels Church, organisers of the Bedford Park Festival; photograph by Roger Green

Festival organisers say “it’s great to be back!” with sell-out audiences

Week Two stars include Phyllis Logan, Rosemary Ashe, Gerard Logan and Mark Viner. The Weekend Finale features a Fete, Flower Festival, Haydn St Nicholas Mass and Open Gardens.

As Week Two of the Bedford Park Festival opens, the organisers and performers have said “it’s great to be back”. Local residents have flocked to attend the first live concerts, talks and exhibitions at St Michael & All Angels Church for more than a year.

Amid COVID safety restrictions, the church was full several times in the first week – with excellent attendances for the art and photography exhibitions. More events are selling out ahead of the ‘Grand Finale’ weekend, June 25 to 27. All the forthcoming events are listed here: bedfordparkfestival.org

“It was wonderful to welcome live audiences and musicians again” said Fr Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels Church, which hosts and organises the Festival. “People were so pleased to be back, enjoying top-quality performances in person.”

Image above: Milly Forrest and Ian Tindale, following their sell-out recital in St Michael & All Angels; photograph: David Beresford

“This was a really special occasion” said soprano Milly Forrest, who gave the first concert in St Michael’s on Wednesday, just three days after performing in the Wigmore Hall. “There was something in the air, and it wasn’t just thunder” tweeted pianist Ian Tindale, who accompanied her. “Bravo Milly, and thank you the festival and to a fabulous audience”.

This week, events at Chiswick Playhouse – including An Evening with Phyllis Logan on Tuesday – have sold out and will be livestreamed for those who couldn’t get a ticket. Tickets are also selling fast for Rosemary Ashe’s ‘lockdown’ tribute to Dora Bryan, ‘Adorable Dora’, and the piano recital by Mark Viner, who is described as “one of the most gifted pianists of his generation”. There will be no refreshments sold in the church this year – but fortunately the Tabard pub is just over the road and gives a warm welcome to Festival-goers!

Image above: Gerald Logan in Hauntings

The Festival’s “Grand Finale” weekend opens on Friday with the three-day Bedford Park Flower Festival in the church, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first flower festival. That evening, in ‘Hauntings’, Olivier-nominated actor Gerard Logan delivers two classic tales of the supernatural from master story-tellers E.F. Benson and M.R. James, directed by Gareth Armstrong.

On Saturday, from 10am till 4pm, in the grounds of St Michael & All Angels on Bath Road, there’s a Festival Fete to help make up for the lack of Green Days weekend this year. There will be stalls selling Hats, Scarves and Bags, Bric-a-brac, Books and Homemade Cakes, plus a Champagne Lottery, Bottle Tombola, representatives of three Charities, Children’s Lucky Dip and a Pick-a-lolly. That evening, soprano Luci de Nordwall Cornish gives a song recital in the church – From Dusk to Dawn – including works from Brahms and Schubert and American Songbook favourites.

On Sunday, at 11am there is the Festival Mass, a highlight of the fortnight for many years. This year’s setting is the Haydn St Nicholas Mass, performed by a smaller choir and orchestra than usual. Because of the continuing COVID restrictions, people must book a ticket for this service – and it will also be livestreamed on the St Michael & All Angels Facebook account.

On Sunday afternoon, from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm, the Festival comes to a close with the return of the Bedford Park Open Gardens, which were displayed online last year, through photos and videos. This year, 13 of the area’s most beautiful private gardens will be open to the public.

To avoid crowding, people must pre-book their tickets in one of two arrival slots – from 2pm or after 3.30pm – and pick up a map of the gardens from St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall. Sadly there will be no cream teas this year, because of the continuing restrictions – but the organisers hope that local cafes such as The Post Room will do a roaring trade.

The Post Room, the Tabard and Chiswick Playhouse are just some of the Festival’s local business partners who have given great support this year. All the event sponsors are listed on the Festival’s Partners page: bedfordparkfestival.org

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Novice photographer wins the Bedford Park Festival Photography competition

See also: See all the entries in the Bedford Park Festival Photography competition

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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Man in the Middle 69: Wrapping a present for my son’s birthday

Man in the Middle is the fictional diary of a Boomer coping with the demands of an ageing mother with dementia, his millennial children and his own impending obsolence. Bowed down by Brexit, Covid and self-pity, all he wants is more ‘me time’.  Will he succeed? Or is he destined to be stuck forever in No Man’s Land in the war between the generations?

If you’d like to begin at the beginning and missed the first instalment, you can read
No. 1: The Letter here

No 69: Wrapping a present for my son’s birthday

Slowly, Mother is folding blue polka dot tissue paper around a book which is lying on a small table between us, cover face down. She’s wrapping a present for my son’s birthday.

She’s intensely lost in the task, like a code breaker, and hasn’t spoken to me for over ten minutes, which is five minutes longer than her previous lifetime personal best for ‘Not Saying Anything While Awake’.

Normally, I would have pulled the emergency cord hanging next to her bed if she had been speechless this long. Or furtively put a mirror up to her lips to see if there was any breathe still squeezing out of her. Conversation is her life blood, its absence a bad sign like a poor pulse.

I think the last time she was speechless this long was when Chris Waddle smashed his penalty kick over the German goalpost in the 1990 World Cup semi-final and England sank into a peat bog of disappointed pride.

That night, she got up from the sofa and wrote Waddle a consoling letter, reminding him that every young life has its setbacks and that it is how you recover from them that really counts. In return, she received a signed photo of him with his signature strung out below his mullet haircut like a necklace. She never watched England played football again.

Faced with a silent group, Mother would always say something to get the banter going. Silence was a void she always wanted to fill. My brother and I used to joke that ‘At home, silence never gets a word in edgeways.’ It was our parody of the strapline to the movie Alien: ‘In space, nobody can hear you scream.’

How things change.

The task of wrapping presents for her beloved grandson is eating up more of the processing power in her brain than it would have before. She can’t chat and wrap. Her fragile fingers no longer have the power or precision they once did in those long-gone days when all our birthday presents came with knotted bows and were wrapped in paper as neat and pressed as the doorman at the Ritz.

How long will this take?

Mother has folded half of the sheet of paper over the book. Her left palm is pressing on the book holding the paper down. The midnight blue veins on the back of her hand throb like a river running through a ravine.

She picks up the other edge of the wrapping paper and with her righthand folds it over the book which bring her right hand and left hand together, the craggy knuckles of her index fingers adjacent, like two peaks in a mountain range. Both hands rest on top of the book.

‘Quick. Sellotape,’ she says without lifting her head.

I am opposite her with uneven strips of sellotape hanging off my fingers like translucent biltong. I look like an untidy Morris Man. I’ve been poised waiting for this moment awhile. But, right now, with both her hands pressed down on the book the only thing I can Sellotape are her hands. The book and the polka dot tissue paper are inaccessible below her palms.

‘You need to move your hands,’ I say.

‘But the wrapping paper will fold away,’ she replies.

‘Not if you’re quick,’ I say.

‘I don’t do quick anymore,’ she says, hands still pressing down on the book.

‘This is what they call a Catch 22 situation.’

‘You never were a very practical boy,’ says Mother with the faintest rock of her head.

I hear my wife and children giggling gently somewhere.

‘It’s your hands that are the problem,’ I say.

Mother looks at me. I suspect she thinks I’m as absurd as a Gordon Ramsey quiz show.

‘I can’t lean on this book forever, you know,’ she says.

‘It won’t kill you to hold on for a while,’ I say, playing for time. What would Bear Grylls do in this situation?

‘I wouldn’t bet on it,’ she says.

There’s only one way out of this cul-de-sac.

‘How about we start again?’

‘I can’t possibly do all that paper folding again,’ she says.

‘You sign his birthday card and I’ll finish the wrapping at home, later,’ I say.

She leans back and the tissue paper folds slowly away from the book. If I had been quick, I would have been able to sellotape the paper down.

‘Time for tea?’ she asks.

‘Why not,’ I reply making a note to tell my children never to waste my time, or theirs, by asking me to wrap up their children’s birthday presents if I live as long as Mother. After all, it’s the thought that counts, not the wrapping paper.

Read more blogs by James Thellusson

Read the next in the series – Man in the Middle 70: Father’s Day

Read the previous one – Man in the Middle 68: Escape to the Country

See all James’s Man in the Middle blogs here

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Petros Singers Summer Concert 2021

Image above: The Beach and the Falaise d’Amont, 1885, Claude Monet; Art Institute of Chicago

Here Comes the Summer!

Petros Singers is delighted to be returning to in-person singing and performance with a light-hearted programme of madrigals, popular song and jazz, perfect for the summer. John Rutter’s masterfully infectious Birthday Madrigals are flanked by choral music from before and after – Schubert to The Beatles – every item imbued with the joy and hope of the season.

There will be two performances of the recital, at 6.00 pm and 8.30 pm, so that as many people as possible can be enjoy the music while maintaining social distancing. Each performance will last approximately an hour without interval. Pimm’s and soft drinks will be available before each recital – served from 5.30 to 5.50pm and 8.00 to 8.20pm – providing another quintessential summer ingredient. Do join Petros Singers for what will be a toe-tapping, tune-humming thrill of an evening.

Saturday 3rd July 2021

St Peter’s Church, Black Lion Lane, Hammersmith, W6 9BE

6.00 pm and 8.30 pm

£12| £10 concessions | £5 under 28s | FREE under 6s

www.petrossingers.org  |  tickets@petrossingers.org  | on the door (subject to availability, card payments preferred)

Chiswick Calendar Club Card holders are offered a 10% discount on all tickets. Please use the code CHISWICK10 when booking.

All audience seating – the majority of which is located in the gallery – will be sold and allocated to single households/bubbles to ensure social distancing. Please see the website for further details. In the event of cancellation due to government advice, we will offer a full refund.

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Life Lessons at Chiswick House offers full day tickets

The Life Lessons festival at Chiswick House has launched full day tickets.

The weekend boasts a line up of world-class speakers including: Prof Brian Cox, Mary Portas, Claudia Winkleman, Ruby Wax, Pandora Sykes, and many more who will be sharing their big ideas.

When tickets went on sale at the end of April, they were hoping to be able to hold an event without Covid restrictions, as per the Government’s roadmap. Now that is no longer possible they can only sell 4,000 tickets, so instead of selling tickets just for an afternoon or evening session with three speakers, they’re now selling all day tickets with access to six sessions.

For the organisers it means making rather less profit than they were hoping for, but for festival goers it represents fantastic value. Anyone who had already bought tickets for an afternoon or an evening will also be able to use their ticket for events throughout the day.

To ensure Covid safety, they have installed a one way system of access; staff will be wearing masks; the toilets will be cleaned frequently; for the audience social distancing, wearing of masks and use of hand gel are all very much encouraged.

Image above: Chiswick House

Stretch your mind and body in London’s ‘secret oasis’

For the organisers of Life Lessons, marketing the event throughout the country, Chiswick House is a ‘secret oasis’.

‘Welcome to your perfect summer day out, 16-18 July 2021, at the beautiful Chiswick House & Gardens. In London’s secret oasis, sit back by the lake with a glass of something lovely and be inspired with talks from Britain’s most beloved presenters, fiercest and funniest thinkers, and scientific heroes. 

‘Lose yourself in the wellbeing marketplace, stretch your mind and body in a range of free workshops or wander the 60 acres of lush gardens, enjoying the landscape and architecture. Sink into a deckchair with a book, share a coffee with a like-minded soul or simply sit back and let yourself be entertained with awe-inspiring stories from Britain’s best speakers, including Ruby Wax, Prof. Brian Cox, Claudia Winkleman, Simon Reeve, Chris Packham, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee and many more! 

‘Take your chance to catch up with friends, find your inspiration and re-emerge into the sunshine with us’.

They have brought together a brilliant line up of speakers. It should be a really interesting weekend.

Images above: Dr Rangan Chatterjee; Ruby Wax

Friday 16 July Afternoon 1.00 – 5.00 pm

Health: From Nutrition to Fitness, Immunity and More

Talk 1: Professor Robert Thomas 

One of the UK’s leading oncologists, Professor Robert Thomas, believes in a 360 approach to health. In this session, he’ll examine how diet is linked to immunity and what we can eat in order to stay healthy. He’ll ask whether diet can be the key to supporting medicine and indeed, preventing the need for it.

Talk 2: Dr Alan Desmond

For the vegan-curious, a myth-debunking session from plant-based expert and NHS consultant, Dr Alan Desmond. From gut health to blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol, this talk will take the confusion out of plant-based eating and provide practical tips in integrating it into everyday life.

Talk 3: Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Meet the man behind Europe’s most successful Health podcast, Feel Better, Live More. Dr Rangan Chatterjee joins us on a mission to leave quick fix diets behind and provide a route to sustainable weight loss and improved physical and mental wellbeing that’s lifestyle-first – this talk will be full of simple, practical advice that all of us can start implementing into our lives immediately.

Friday 16 July Evening 6.00 – 9.30 pm

The Mind & Mental Health, Brain Health and Neuroscience

Talk 1: William Sieghart

The Poetry Pharmacy believes this simple thing: that when we are most in need of comfort, a poem can often best express and work through our emotions. Join them for this fun session and take the time out to stop, listen and find exactly the right prescription for your heart, mind and soul.

Talk 2: Kimberley Wilson

The brain is arguably the most important organ in our body. But how can we keep it healthy? How do we future proof it, give it the nutrients it needs and help it function at its optimum? Join expert Kimberley Wilson for a fact-driven talk packed with practical advice on building a healthy brain.

Author of – How to Build a Healthy Brain: Reduce stress, anxiety and depression and future-proof your brain.

Talk 3: Ruby Wax

Let’s face it, we all need some good news right now. Lucky that Ruby Wax – comedian, mental health expert and campaigner extraordinaire – has just the answer! Join her for an enlightening, funny, heart-warming talk as she pulls back the clouds and shows us the sunshine.

Ticket holders for this session will receive a copy of Ruby’s book –And Now For The Good News…: The much-needed tonic for our frazzled world.

Images above: Mary Portas; Robin Ince & Brian Cox

Saturday 17 July Afternoon 1.00 – 5.00 pm

Society and Community

Talk 1: Magid Magid 

A Somali-born black Muslim refugee, Magid Magid overcame adversity to become a Lord Mayor – and to ban Donald Trump from Sheffield. Radical, loving, funny and heart-warming, join Magid Magid as he gives us his recipe for disrupting the status quo and his dreams for a better society.

Talk 2: Nikesh Shukla and Emma Dabiri

Welcome to your masterclass in difficult conversations, where we ask: what’s next after BLM? How can we turn anger into everyday activism? How can we foster positive conversations about race, injustice and allyship? And how can we raise young people to do better than we’ve done?

Joining this panel is the brilliant journalist and host of podcast Brown Baby, Nikesh Shukla and author of What White People Can Do Next, Emma Dabiri.

Talk 3: Mary Portas

Business has done the biggest, fastest and cheapest; but what if it were to do the best? For us and the planet? Balancing the key principles of profit and social progress, Mary Portas asks in this conversation: what if we all just re-set and spent our money a bit better?

Attendees of this session will receive: Rebuild: How to thrive in the new Kindness Economy by Mary Portas.

Saturday 17 July Evening 6.00 – 9.30 pm

Nature, Science and the Universe

Talk 1: Bella Lack

For many, the climate crisis = despair. But where exactly are we? On the big picture – on policy, government action and international accord? And what can each and every one of us in our daily lives do to truly make a difference?

Bella Lack, 18 year-old climate activist, TEDX talker and colleague of Jane Goodall, as they get to grips with all this and more.

Talk 2: Professor Jim Al-Khalili, James Ball + two more speakers TBC

No one could have predicted all the many ways in which the pandemic has affected science, people and the planet. It’s been embroiled in economics, international power play, fake news and climate change. It’s taken us on a long journey, but where’s next?

Joining this panel is eminent science communicator and physicist, Prof. Jim Al-Khalili and two more very exciting scientists coming soon. Hosted by journalist and author, James Ball.

Talk 3: Professor Brian Cox & Robert Ince

From one of the biggest brains on the planet comes a conversation about the universe: about the life lessons it can teach us; and about balance and order.

Attendees of this session will receive a copy of Universal by Professor Brian Cox.

Images above: Chris Packham; Pandora Sykes

Sunday 18 July Morning 10.00 am – 1.30 pm

Living Better Together, Sustainably and More Simply

Talk 1: Julia Bradbury

One of the UK’s most loved TV presenters joins Life Lessons for a conversation about nature, mental health and conservation.

Bio: Julia Bradbury is a television presenter and outdoor walking enthusiast who has dedicated her career to sharing beautiful walks from all over the world. Passionate about conservation, she’s an eco-activist promoting a plastic-free environment.

Talk 2: Chris Packham

One of the UK’s most beloved naturalists, Chris Packham, joins life lessons to discuss conservationism, eco-activism and the little things we can do in our everyday lives to protect nature and wildlife.

Back To Nature: how to love life – and save it by Chris Packham & Megan McCubin

Talk 3: Simon Reeve

From life on the dole, to a TV presenter with over 20 series and more than 120 countries under his belt, Simon Reeve’s personal story is one of an extraordinary climb out of adversity. But his travels around the world have taught him much about community, climate change and what it means to be human. Join him for this fireside chat as he reflects on some of the greatest life lessons he’s learned in his career thus far.

Attendees of this session will receive a copy of his book – Step by Step: The Life In My Journeys

Sunday 18 July Afternoon 2.30 – 6.00pm

Overcoming Adversity and Learning from Those All-Important Life Lessons

Talk 1: Professor Christie Watson

We’ve clanged our pans for them, but do we really know the extent of what nurses do? From the nurses in the community, care-homes, military, schools and more? And how much courage it takes to care? Bestselling author and nurse of over 20 years, Christie Watson, shares her insights into the strength of the human heart in this moving and inspirational conversation.

Christie Watson is a writer and Professor of Medical and Health Humanities. She is Patron of the Royal College of Nursing Foundation. Tiny Sunbirds Far Away won the Costa First Novel Award and along with her second novel, Where Women Are Kings, was widely translated and achieved international critical acclaim. The Language of Kindness, published in 2018, was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and Book of the Year in the Evening Standard, Guardian, i, New Statesman, the Sunday Times and The Times. It has been translated into 23 languages, and adapted for theatre.

The Courage to Care: a call for compassion was published in September 2020

Talk 2: Pandora Sykes

Modern life is full of choices. But how do we know what our best life looks like? And what if we get it wrong? Join journalist, author and one half of the phenomenon, The High Low, Pandora Sykes as she explores the questions, anxieties and agendas that consume our modern lives.

How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right?: essays on modern life by Pandora Sykes. Published May 2021, RRP £8.99

About

Pandora Sykes is a journalist and broadcaster. She has written for the Sunday Times, Vogue, ELLE and the Telegraph amongst other publications, and was the co-host of The High Low, the UK’s No.1 podcast for women. She lives in London. This is her first book.

Talk 3: Claudia Winkleman

Friendship, family and the little things in life that help us get through the day… Join the nation’s beloved broadcaster, Claudia Winkleman, as she shares some of the heartfelt (and completely irreverent) lessons she’s learned from her career in showbiz and life thus far.

Ticket holders for this session will receive a copy of Claudia’s book Quite.

Book tickets

Book tickets through the Life Lessons festival website. Prices vary depending which day you book and whether you’re booking a standard or a premium ticket.

lifelessonsfestival.com

This page is paid for by the Life Lessons festival.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: First look inside Chiswick Cinema

See also: Peter Dazeley Photography: London Theatres

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Brentford’s first season in the Premier League

Image above: Bill Hagerty

An old score to settle

It was a long time coming for Brentford and a return after 74 years to England’s top football flight. But here they are – well, nearly – at the dawn of a new challenge, one that comes gift-wrapped in a significant chapter of the club’s colourful history.

When the Premier League fixtures were published this week, the Bees’ first opponents out of the hat were Arsenal, the illustrious north London heavyweights with a special place in the memories of those aficionados way out west who never forget any of the many dramas involving their own favourites.

It was Arsenal that on 26 May 1947 visited Griffin Park to score the solitary goal that marked their hosts’ departure from the First Division – England’s premier league before it adopted a more glamorous image and a new name. It was the end of a 12-year term and the last time Brentford was to compete at the top level, old name or new, until the 2-0 drubbing of Swansea at Wembley Stadium on 29 May this year saw a dented old dream come true.

So the return match with the Gunners on Friday 13 August at 8pm, as the much-desired new season kicks off, may be seen by those of romantic persuasion as payback time. Having finished eighth in the Premiership this past season, Arsenal are ripe for being despatched from the new Community Stadium back to their Emirates home with nothing to show from the journey other than cheeks pink with embarrassment. So goes theories propounded on social media and in various pubs, from the Express Tavern to the Griffin and beyond.

Back in 1947, Brentford were languishing close to the bottom-but-one in the division when Arsenal came to call. Only Leeds United stood between them and the wooden spoon, while Arsenal were thirteenth in a table topped by Liverpool, with Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Stoke City and Blackpool jostling for position below them.

Not quite the powerhouse it was soon to become, Arsenal nonetheless fielded such luminaries-in-waiting as George Swindin in goal, Wally Barnes and Jimmy Logie, as well as England international and later top manager Joe Mercer. Brentford’s ageing team – the line-up fielded against Aston Villa the previous February was the oldest in the club’s history – was largely out of puff, although the heroic goalkeeping of ever-present Scot Joe Crozier, only 31, earned him the accolade of much later being hailed as the best Bees’ keeper of all time. Sorry about that, Mr Raya.

Bearing in mind the cataclysmic season that saw relegation confirmed even before the Arsenal team stepped from their coach, it seems astonishing that Brentford were beaten by just one goal, scored by inside forward Paddy Sloan, an Irishman from Lurgan who served as a sergeant-pilot in the Royal Air Force during the war had and, in a wartime arrangement,  turned out for Brentford half-a-dozen times when hostilities allowed.

Less surprising was a gate of 17,976 (as against a high of 35,604). presumably consisting of die-hard supporters, indefatigable optimists and relatives of the players and staff. This was of course in pre-television days and long before the sale of a chunk of the Braemar Road premises and the savage reduction in the capacity of paying customers that could be attracted through the turnstiles. (The Griffin pub, six years older than Brentford FC, was and is in business: football grounds may come and go, put drinking establishments with loyal clientele are hard to shift.)

The repercussions of Brentford FC’s fall from football’s peak – well, close to it; they had managed fifth place and sixth a couple of times – included the beginning of the end for manager Harry Curtis, already a club legend but patently heading towards the end of a managerial career that would total 23 years with the club.

Periods of elation and despair followed, with Brentford leading a yo-yo existence embracing variously all three and sometimes four of the divisions below the First or the Premier League. Stability in the Championship came with a series of talented managers, Mark Warburton, Dean Smith and the current incumbent, Thomas Frank, fashioning the playing squads into major threats in the division.

Which is why, following the club’s first success in ten play-offs for promotion from one division or another, Brentford eventually reached the Premier League with the most important great bound of all.

In this short break before the Premier League resumes activities, and the Bees join with fellow new boys in the block, Norwich and Watford – both of them more familiar in the top tier than Brentford – in what is considered the greatest football show on earth, there will be more hard work, more comings and goings of players, more fan speculation.

And then, the arrival of Arsenal and down to the serious business of competing with the best.

Game on!

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor to the Bees United supporters’ group.

Petition to keep 533 bus route in Chiswick

A Chiswick resident has submitted a petition to Hounslow council asking them to intervene in Transport for London’s decision to stop the 533 from serving bus stops in Chiswick.

The change, which is due to come into effect from 3 July, means the bus will run as an express service between Hammersmith Bridge Road and Mortlake Cemetery. TfL says this is to provide more capacity for passengers travelling to and from the south side of the River Thames.

Adrian Haberberg, who is in his late 60s and lives along the A316, said the route was a “god send” and couldn’t understand the reasoning behind the move. He is hoping to generate enough support and awareness for the route’s planned diversion, so as to persuade the council to reverse the change.

The 533 service was introduced following the closure of Hammersmith Bridge and stops in three locations along the A316. If the changes to the route go ahead as planned then passengers travelling from these stops will need to use the 190 route instead.

TfL are not prioritising Chiswick residents, says Adrian

Adrian told The Chiswick Calendar:

“The 533 gives us an extra bus into Hammersmith and bus services in this area are not good. We’ve got the 190 and the E3, which are both slow and unreliable, and we’ve got the 533 which is marginally less unreliable but it’s bloody fast. It’s basically one stop from the Hogarth Roundabout into the heart of Hammersmith and it’s a god send.

“In  normal times I would say that I use it twice a week to get into Hammersmith for various reasons. When I was commuting, which I don’t do anymore, if you went to the Hogarth Roundabout bus stop at about nine in the morning, you’d see a queue of people waiting to get on it, it is extremely well prized because it is so much better than the alternatives.”

Adrian says there has been no consultation about the decision divert the bus route, having only found out about the news himself when reading about it online.

“I’ve spoken with [Cllr] John Todd about it and he was supportive, saying he would refer it onto our GLA member and will also contact the relevant cabinet member in Hounslow council. But really I think it’s important that we try to show how much use and support there is for the 533 route.”

On what he would ask TfL directly if given the opportunity, Adrian said:

“I would ask them why they’re trying to get rid of something which clearly has so much demand, and I would also ask them why it is they are putting the interests of people south of the river over ours, without any consultation.”

If you would like to view Adrian’s petition, you can follow the link below:

petitions.hounslow.gov.uk/Keep533Chiswick

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Appeal court says Sadiq Khan’s Streetspace programme is legal

See also: OneChiswick still going ahead with Judicial Review of C9

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 14: Of course the booing of footballers is racist

Mihir Bose, writer and broadcaster, writes primarily on sport. In the seventies he was always the only non-white reporter in the press box and often the only non-white spectator in the whole football ground, so he is well placed to comment on the current controversy over the booing of football players who take the knee at the beginning of matches in support of Black Lives Matter.

He shares with old friends David Smith, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times and political commentator Nigel Dudley, how in those days he didn’t dare travel to matches by train for his own safety. Having been abused by football hooligans on a train journey to a match he decided he would drive everywhere. But what he got was nothing compared with the abuse Black players received, he says.

There’s been a lot of pseudo intellectual claptrap about whether the booing of footballers taking the knee at matches is racist. Of course it is. The Three Old Hacks discuss Black Lives Matter and the disastrous launch of GB News in this week’s Three Old Hacks podcast.


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Listen to more episodes here.

Get in contact with the podcast by emailing threeoldhacks@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!

Episode 57: Cricket’s romantic numbers

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

Cricket has always been rich in statistics, but lately they have deepened and multiplied. Cricket’s new professional data analysts can access the detailed results of every single ball bowled in major cricket matches for over twenty years and use them to influence team selections, tactics and onfield decisions. This has alarmed many critics, who say it is turning cricket into a process without character or the thrill of the unexpected. Not so, argues Ben Jones, the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their cricket-themed podcast. He is a leading member of the new profession and co-author with Nathan Leamon, chief analyst for the England One-Day and T20 teams, of a fascinating book Hitting Against The Spin. Ben shows that for those who know how to arrange and orchestrate them, numbers deepen the romance of the music of cricket.


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Ben explains how data analysis lit up a key finding in the book – the modern rise of left-handed batters in international cricket – and why and how higher standards of umpiring restored their natural advantage against pace bowling. (In contrast India, where spin predominates, still favours right-handers.) 6-10 minutes

Another major theme is the reward in cricket for unorthodoxy and unfamiliarity. Ben cites the book’s studies of left-handed bowlers, and the one-offs in Malinga and Muralitharan, and the early success of the reverse sweep in batting. He suggests that against the game’s élite players, who have mastered every conventional technique from opponents, disruption is a vital weapon – confronting them with patterns that they have not processed thousands of times before.  11-15 minutes

He suggests that “conventional wisdom” often survives in cricket long after the conditions which made it wise have disappeared: a big example is the habit of captains batting first when they win the toss, although for over forty years, since the arrival of covered wickets, the advantage of batting first has been sharply reduced.  The fear of criticism for ignoring orthodoxy has induced too many captains to lose by making the ”right” decision and ignore the factors which make victory more likely with the “wrong” one.  16-20 minutes

Ben discusses how easy it is to draw a false inference from data (citing, from football, the idea that making fewer passes in approach play is the best chance of scoring more goals.) The crucial value of cricket data is not to establish a rigid plan for success but to discover an approach which is more likely to win and which suits the group of players chosen to execute it. A prime example was the switch induced by Nathan from England’s failed defensive methods in one-day cricket to the aggressive approach which won the 2019 World Cup. This was prompted not only by the message of the data but by the arrival of a new group of England players with an aggressive mindset,  partly the result of adapting to the reduction in domestic one-day competitions from 50 to 40 overs. 21-26 minutes Strikingly, Nathan’s data suggested that good batting counted more towards victory than good bowling. 43-44 minutes

Ben suggests reasons why data analysis has achieved more for England in short forms rather than Tests, 27-29, 45-47 minutes and why it has so far failed to produce metrics for assessing captains (especially their off-field influence). Work is in hand to change this and make their selection less arbitrary or formulaic – although it may well continue to underestimate the value of great captains such as Illingworth, Brearley and latterly, Misbah ul-Haq of Pakistan, whose knowledge and leadership skills did not show up in their bare numbers. 27-34 minutes

Ben convincingly rebuts two common attacks by cricketing romantics that data analysis fails to capture the individuality of players and the unpredictability of the game. It may well influence the selection or purchase of players but it is not intended to commoditize them and establish that one should be ranked higher than another of the same type. Quite the contrary: data illuminate why players are different and what elements of their game give them success. He draws on the book’s penetrating data-driven comparison of two great but dissimilar leg-spinners, Kumble and Warne. “Putting numbers on differences does not make them any less romantic.” Analysis created the motive for the exciting restoration of the leg-spinner to short-form cricket. 34-40 minutes

As to unpredictability, this diminishes at higher levels of the game, as players’ abilities converge, but data analysis does not flatten it further. Ben suggests rather that it helps to spring surprises on great players and improve the chances of changing the pattern of a game. 41-43 minutes

Finally, Ben explains that although more and more analysts are working in women’s cricket, this has not yet generated enough detailed ball-by-ball data, in its recent take-off, to support the big-picture conclusions he and Nathan reached about the men’s game. He looks forward to seeing the same startling discoveries from women’s data as from men’s. 50-53 minutes

Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 56: No longer underdogs but still undervalued… New Zealand’s world-class cricketers

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne, Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast is produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Peter Dazeley photography: London’s Theatres

Images above: Portraits of Peter Dazeley; (L) by Rankin

The Bedford Park Festival was delighted to have Peter Dazeley, considered one of the top 30 most influential British photographers of a decade, to judge the 2021 Photography competition.

Peter Dazeley BEM FRPS, better known as simply as ‘Dazeley’, is an award-winning Fine Art and advertising photographer. Born in West Kensington, Dazeley is dyslexic and left school at 15 without formal qualifications, but he studied photography while he was at Holland Park Comprehensive, which, he joked, is sometimes described as the ‘socialist version of Eton’.

He built a hugely successful career as an advertising photographer. He became a member of the Association of Photographers in 1977 and became a life member in 1984. He is a life member of the Association of Photographers and in 2013 was awarded a Fellowship from The Royal Photographic Society, which is the highest distinction they offer. It recognises original work and outstanding ability.

In the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honours list, he was recognised for his services to photography and charity. When we asked him to describe why he was awarded the honour, he said with considerable modesty and just a hint of cynicism: “for being working class”.

He very kindly brought along a copy of his latest book to give his chosen winner, Ljubima Woods, as well as the £250 voucher for printing and framing donated by sponsor Snappy Snaps Chiswick.

His has produced four books: Unseen London, London Uncovered and most recently London Theatres. His upcoming book London Explored will be published this autumn. His photos have also been featured on the covers of various other books by different authors.

Dazeley’s represenative in the UK, Sarah Ryder Richardson, says: “Making the ordinary look extraordinary is Dazeley’s gift.”

Image above: The Auditorium at Victoria Palace Theatre and Stars dressing room in the Prince Edward Theatre – © Peter Dazeley from his book London Theatres

Dazeley discovers London’s Theatres

As a Londoner born and bred and a regular theatre goer, Dazeley decided to investigate and learn more about the history and behind the scenes and happenings of London’s iconic theatre buildings.

London Theatres is about recording the buildings as they stand in the 21st Century, offering a unique perspective with a combined front-of-house and behind-the-scenes overview of London’s theatrical spaces.

Images above: Wiltons Music Hall, Sondheim Theatre and The Royal Opera House – © Peter Dazeley from his book London Theatres

Over a period of several years he gained permission and photographed 55 theatres, from the Grandes Dames of the West End, to some of London’s smaller venues, the most famous and the least well-known.

Whilst Dazeley meticulously researched each theatre before taking pictures, he went with an open mind to try to discover all the areas audiences never appreciate, as they sit in the dark watching a show. The hidden areas behind the scenes that the public don’t normally see, such as fly floors, grids, dressing rooms, trapdoors, thunder runs, orchestra pits, above the stage and under stage, technical areas and inside the royal boxes.

All Dazeley’s images were shot digitally, using available light, with long exposures where necessary, such as at the extremely beautiful, candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. There is no electricity in this theatre and all performances are totally candlelit, so it took Dazeley a long time to shoot as they had to light over 100 candles. When the theatre opened, the use of candles had to be sanctioned by the Theatre’s insurance brokers and the London Fire Brigade.

Images above: Shakespeare’s Globe stage roof, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and Normandsfield Theatre from balcony – © Peter Dazeley from his book London Theatres

London Theatres is published by Frances Lincoln and is available to order from all good bookshops and Amazon & Waterstones online. To see the entire set of photos from London Theatres, as well as Dazeley’s other work, you can follow the link below:

peterdazeley.com/portfolio/london-theatres-books/

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Novice photographer wins Bedford Park Festival Photography competition

See also: Bedford Park Festival Photography competition / exhibition in previous years

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Controversial building work in Southfield stopped by Ealing Council

Image above: Construction site at Carlton Rd, Southfield

Building work by developers on the site of the old Carlton Rd Day Centre, near Southfield Park and Acton Lane, has been stopped by Ealing Council’s Planning Enforcement officers.

The work, on the site of 8-10 Carlton Road, has brought a flood of complaints from residents in surrounding streets over the past few weeks, with several residents claiming the reverberations from the construction work had caused cracks in their properties.

The construction work has been stopped for other reasons, but residents have expressed their relief that they will have some respite from the vibrations of the building work. They hope also to get some guarantees about how future work on the site will be carried out.

The council stopped the work because it says the developers Fornacelli Limited failed to meet certain conditions which were set by the council when planning permission was granted for the building of nine townhouses.

The Chiswick Calendar spoke to the owner of Fornacelli Limited, who was extremely embarrassed because he said all the work required by the council had been done, it just hadn’t been passed on to them. He also wanted to reassure residents that his company had been looking at ways of minimising disruption, as their top priority, and were looking at claims for damages case by case.

Cllr Andrew Steed, one of the Lib Dem councillors who represent Southfield ward, brought the residents’ complaints to the council officers’ attention on 7 June and heard on Friday 18 June that they had investigated and told the developers to stop work until they met the planning conditions, which involve a detailed construction management plan and risk assessments.

Images: Cracks which have appeard in properties around the site; dirty carpet

Residents felt their houses shaking

When work started on the site a few weeks ago, residents in Carlton Rd, Graham Rd and Somerset Rd immediately felt the reverberations and started to notice cracks appearing and other damage they claim has been caused by the work, carried out by Revo Leisure Services Limited for Fornacelli Homes Limited.

The Chiswick Calendar has learned that a resident in Somerset Rd contacted the site manager, Richard Eltham, who responded within a few days, saying the company would stop work to the rear of his property ‘until a solution can be sought’.

Image above: Carlton Rd building site

The company had been putting in sheet piling, steel sheets driven into the earth, typically with vibratory or impact hammers, to provide permanent or temporary earth retention and excavation support.

‘The reason for the piling is to protect your boundaries in the first instance’ Mr Eltham responded on 4 May, ‘unfortunately there appears to be some unusually solid ground to that area. We are going to attempt a couple of sample areas today to ascertain whether this is localised or is in fact through the whole site. Should we get sign of similar resistance we will immediately stop’.

As work continued in other areas of the site, so residents on the other streets started to voice their concerns. In Graham Rd there were reports of a picture crashing to the ground in a hallway, an integrated hob in a kitchen cracking in half, white carpets turning black and a floor to ceiling crack in a bedroom wall, all in separate houses.

When residents sought his help, Cllr Steed referred the matter to officers at Ealing’s Building Control department.

Meanwhile on 7 June, the site manager assured householders: ‘we are reviewing these emails with our team and will revert in due course’.

Images above: Cracks in a garden wall in Graham Rd

‘New cracks have appeared throughout the house’

Three days later another resident wrote:

‘The constant shaking and vibrating has also left its marks on our house which is clearly visible with new cracks having appeared throughout the house but the most noticeable and concerning is the crack that appeared on our garden wall last week.

‘It was initially just a thin crack along the joints which has now opened up further to almost 1 cm wide and since yesterday that same crack now also appeared on the outer side of the wall (see pictures above).

‘This makes me very nervous now as I don’t trust this wall will be safe with people walking along the pavement on one side and my children playing on the other side of this wall’.

Six weeks into the construction work, and worried about the structural integrity of their houses, the residents were beginning to require more substantial explanations from the developers about how the rest of the work would be carried out without causing serious damage to their houses. They were also beginning to consult solicitors.

Image above: Carlton Rd building site

On 11 June another resident wrote to the site manager requesting the work be stopped:

‘Can you please reassure us that the works will be halted immediately until you have adequately addressed our concerns? I fully appreciate that you need to “review our emails” and that you will “revert in due course” but I don’t understand how the works can continue as before, when they are clearly exacerbating the damage’.

Three days later they heard from the site manager that Revo had engaged a specialist, independent consultant, to monitor and report on noise and vibration and another firm to monitor ground movement through the excavation phase of works. This, he said, would notify them immediately ‘should any of these three items exceed the standards set out in the British code of practice’.

Cllr Steed then heard that Planning Enforcement had been in touch with the planning agent for the site on Wednesday 16 June and told them to stop work.

‘The applicant has failed to discharge these conditions and as such should not have commenced works on site’ Planning Enforcement Manager Alex O’Neill wrote to Cllr Steed.

Since that order was made by the Council on Friday 18 June, workers from another company, Intelligent Groundworks, turned up to work on the site on Saturday morning. When challenged, they appeared not to know about the Council’s order.

Residents are waiting anxiously to find out how and when the work will be resumed, and what assurances they will get that their properties will be protected from damage.

Cllr Andrew Steed told us:

“It has been very worrying and resolving these issues will only cause more stress. The developer needs to sort out the problems fast”.

Response from Fornacelli Limited

The Chiswick Calendar emailed Revo and asked for a response to a number of questions. What usually happens in circumstances such as these is that a company will return a bland statement, passed on via a PR company, which has been vetted by lawyers.

Gian-Franco Cencelli, the owner of Fornacelli Limited, which employs Revo as contractors, called me back personally, taking full responsibilty for any work done by contractors he’s employed to work on his behalf.

Paperwork not handed in a “foolish” mistake

On the matter of the conditions which the council say have not been met, he agreed that they hadn’t and told me, to his huge embarrassment, all the work required had been carried out and the relevant reports written in August 2020, but just not passed on to the council. It was a matter of two people both thinking the other had done it.

The requirements listed in one of the conditions for planning permission – condition 6 – were basic essential measures such as ‘Signage for construction traffic, pedestrians and other users of the site’ and ‘Turning manoeuvres and routeing of vehicles’ but most of them referred to work that has already been carried out: items such as ‘Site clearance, demolition, excavation and construction methods’ and ‘Mitigation of air pollution and dust emissions during site clearance, demolition, excavation and construction works’.

That horse has bolted; the site has been cleared, and he told us although the paperwork hadn’t been handed in, they had thought through how they would meet each of the requirements and had met them. Other items on the list refer to the ongoing construction, including point k. ‘Compliance with noise limits and vibration mitigation measures’.

The other condition they’d failed to meet – condition 13 – dealt with ‘An intrusive contaminated land investigation and risk assessment of the site’. This is something a construction company is required to do before starting work and if they find anything concerning, they are required to provide ‘A remediation (de-contamination) scheme to bring the site to a condition suitable for the intended end use’.

Mr Cencelli told me they had take soil samples and found there was low to no risk from contaminents.

His firm will now pursue the matter with Ealing Council’s Planning department:

“We will be submitting the documents today and tomorrow. It’s in everyone’s interest to solve this as quickly as possible”.

In answer to the question of why they hadn’t complied, he said:

“You have to do it, you must do it. It’s one of the silliest things (that the paperwork hadn’t been handed in) and I feel like an idiot.

“I have top planning consultants and engineers working for me. The document was prepared in August 2020. That it was not submitted sounds ludicrous. It sounds incredibly foolish and I take full responsibility”.

Damage claims will be looked at “case by case”

Concerning the residents’ litany of damage claims, he said Mr Eltham was looking at them case by case. That the residents in the houses around the site felt the vibrations from the construction work is not in dispute.

“I don’t want to cause inconvenience. I don’t like disruption. Building work is always by its very nature disruptive. We reduced the number of trucks to reduce the vibrations. Any idea that we are taking a gung-ho approach could not be further than the truth”. He added that Mr Eltham had been very consciuntious and concerned to investigate and respond to the residents’ complaints.

He is now considering the best way to meet residents to try and allieviate their concerns.

Team trying out different solutions to reduce the vibrations

The particular problem they’ve faced, he told The Chiswick Calendar, is that there is concrete overlapping from the premises of the surrounding houses on to the land which is being developed. They are digging basements for the new houses and need to safeguard the surrounding land. Trying to deal with the hard concrete is what’s sending the vibrations directly along and into the surrounding properties, he explained.

“They (the contractors) have been working frantically to solve the problem. We’re still trying to work out how to solve the vibration but the contractors now have plan. This has been top of Richard’s priority list. We need to test the plan and see if it works”.

An on site presence is necessary for safety

As regards the second firm of contractors Intelligent Groundworks being at the site on Saturday, Mr Cencelli explained that it isn’t as simple as all work just stopping. They’re at the point where they have dug a big hole and they need to maintain it. They won’t be doing more construction work until the matter of the planning permission conditions is settled with the council, but to abandon the project would incur a greater risk. They need to maintain the site.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: First look inside the new Chiswick Cinema

See also: OneChiswick still going ahead with Judicial Review

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Novice photographer wins Bedford Park Festival Photography competition

Image above: Ljubima Woods with her winning photograph

Ljubima Woods won the 2021 Bedford Park Festival Photography competition on Sunday 20 June. Ljubima describes herself as a “novice” photographer, but hers was the image picked out from 156 entries by award winning Fine Art and advertising photographer Peter Dazeley BEM FRPS.

Ljubima, who has lived in Chiswick since 1981 and worked both for BBC World and as a teacher, said she was “overwhelmed” to have won.

“I am really a novice. I only started learning about photography two or three years ago when I took a free course for a year run by Emma Davies. I didn’t know the settings on my camera before that; I would strongly recommend  her courses”.

Image above: Kearsney Abbey, Ljubima Woods 

Winning photograph

Her picture, entered in the Landscapes and Seascapes category and taken a few weeks ago, is of Kearsney Abbey on outskirts of Dover, an area of parkland with lots of wildlife.

“I liked the tree; I liked the texture. It’s a very old yew tree and I loved the roots”. The texture of the roots and the overall composition is what caught the judge’s eye and that of the public, as her photograph was also voted best in the Landscapes and Seascapes category by members of the public.

This is the first photography prize she’s won, though two pieces of her work were commended and highly commended in the IGPTOY International Gardener photographer of the Year competition. Ljubima says she’s always been involved in creative work and would like to try to do something with it professionally.

Image above: Portrait by Sirli Raitma

Runner-up

Runner-up in the competition was the portrait above by Sirli Raitma, (whose portrait of her mother Eha was the overall winner in 2019 and went on to be shown in the National Portrait Gallery). In this year’s entry, Peter said he particularly liked the way in which the light fell on the subject.

Image above: Chiswick Life entry by Dara McGarry

Third place

In third place was this picture of Turnham Green train station by Dara McGarry , entered in the Chiswick Life section. Peter said he awarded this one a prize because he was taken by the energy of the picutre.

Category winners

The public agreed with Peter that Ljubima’s picture was the best in the Landscapes and Seascapes category, but they took a different view of which was the best picture in the Chiswick Life and Portraits and People categories. Here are the category winners, chosen by the public:

Image above: Chiswick Life winner by Frank Noon

Chiswick Life

The winner in the Chiswick Life category was this portrait by Frank Noon of a rough sleeper who had made his home in the cemetary opposite Frank’s house.

Image above: Portraits and People winner by Jennifer Griffiths

Portraits and People

The winner in the Portraits and People category was this photograph by Jennifer Griffiths, taken at the bus stop opposite Chiswick Business Park, demonstrating how we all live in our own separate worlds even in a crowded city.

Image above: Lockdown Life winner by Jennifer Griffiths

Lockdown Life

The winner in the Lockdown Life category was this picture, also by Jennifer Griffiths, capturing beautifully the sense of house arrest we all felt for a while.

Image above: Animals winner by Suzanne Thomas

Animals

The winner in the Animals category was this picture of seals by Suzanne Thomas, taken on Easter Sunday (4 April) at Horsey beach in Norfolk.

“I’d gone there for the day with a hiking group specifically to see the seals” says Suzanne.

“Beautiful but a bit stinky!”

Image above: The Natural World winner by James Yates

The Natural World

The winner in The Natural World category was this picture of a Eurasion Coot, taken by James Yates.

Image above: The Built Environment winner by Des McConkey

The Built Environment

The winner in The Built Environment category is this picture of Hammersmith Bridge shrouded in mist, by Des McConkey.

Image above: Serendipity winner by Anna Kunst

Serendipity

The winner in the Serendipity category is this picture of a cat with a snail by Anna Kunst. The snail had found it’s way in from the patio, hitching a lift on the book. Its interest was piqued by the huge furry animal towering above it, Anna’s cat Misu. The Chiswick Calendar is assured no animals were harmed in the taking of this photograph.

Image above: Young People winner by Theo Hawes

Young People

The winner in the category for photographs on all subjects by people aged 16 and under is this photograph by Theo Hawes.

See all the 2021 entries

Huge thanks to all the photographers who entered their pictures in the Bedford Park Festival Photography competition 2021 and to Fine Art and advertising photographer Peter Dazeley for taking the time to come and judge them. Peter gave Ljubima a copy of his most recent book London Theatres, part of a series of beautiful coffee table books on London on which he is still working.

Thanks also to the members of the public who came to the exhibition, either online or in the flesh and voted, and to Snappy Snaps Chiswick for a £50 voucher for printing and framing for each category winner and a £250 voucher for the overall winner.

You can see all the entries here: Bedford Park Festival Photography competition / exhibition 2021

Images above: Winning photographers Anna Kunst, Ljubima Woods and Frank Noon / Judge Peter Dazeley with Chiswick Calendar editor Bridget Osborne / exhibition prize giving in St Michael & All Angels parish hall

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: First look inside the new Chiswick Cinema

See also: Bedford Park Festival Photography competition / exhibition in previous years

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.