500 new trees planted in Harvard Park

Image above: Tree planting in Harvard Park, beside the A4

National Tree Week 27 November – 5 December

It’s National something week every week of the year, but trees are being taken very seriously in Chiswick. Director of Abundance London Karen Liebreich writes:

Various groups have been out digging and planting across Chiswick over the weekend, even though the weather was cold and rainy.

The Friends of Harvard Hill organised a very successful weekend of planting, with 500 whips planted to create more biodiverse hedgerows, creating a protective hedge between the A4 and the residential areas behind.

Image above: Tree planting in Harvard Park, beside the A4

Meanwhile on Acton Green, at the other end of Chiswick, Alison Wood’s family and friends, under the guidance of Ealing Council’s Tom Jennings, helped to plant hundreds of bulbs and woodland plants, including daffodils, English bluebells, foxgloves, primrose, ferns and forget-me-nots to enhance the new birch and other trees that were planted a fortnight ago to create the new Alison’s Wood.

READ ALSO:  Wood planted in memory of Alison on Acton Green

Free trees

London Borough of Hounslow has organised a free giveaway of trees at Dukes Meadows to encourage residents to plant additional trees in their own gardens. Among those to nip down and pick one up was architect Peter Murray.

READ ALSO: Hounslow Council offers free potted trees to residents

Have your say on what trees should be planted on Turnham Green

The Council’s parks department has also embarked on a lengthy consultation over tree planting on Turnham Green, after Councillor Joanna Biddolph managed to prevent tree planting last year. Regular readers will remember Cherrygate.
If you would like to have a say on what type of trees should be planted on Turnham Green, the consultation runs until 15 December and can be accessed here: Tree planting proposals for Turnham Green
Image above: Tree planting in Harvard Park, beside the A4

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Westway closure diverts traffic through Chiswick

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor to turn on Chiswick Christmas tree lights

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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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The Chiswick Calendar freebie – win a £100 giftcard from little dobbies

Image above: Christmas decorations available at little dobbies

Win £100 to spend at little dobbies Chiswick this Christmas

Opened in Chiswick in September, little dobbies is a high street version of Dobbies Garden Centres which have become the leading brand among garden retailers, with 74 branches across the UK.

The Chiswick branch was one of the first Dobbies’ high street stores to open, selling houseplants, pots, Christmas decorations and gifts such as candles and chocolate, making it ‘the perfect place’ to buy Christmas presents, or to treat yourself.

To enter the competition, just answer one very simple question. The first person to email info@thechiswickcalendar.co.uk with the correct answer will win the giftcard. Please put ‘dobbies competition’ in the subject box.

QUESTION: Which plant do people traditionally kiss under at Christmas time?

Terms & Conditions

  • The prize is 1 x £100 giftcard to be spent in little dobbies Chiswick.
  • The gift card can only be used in the store. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. The giftcard will be valid until November 2022.

This competition has been paid for by Dobbies Garden Centres.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor to turn on Chiswick Christmas tree lights

See also: Westway closure diverts traffic through Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 1, Everton 0

Image above: Ivan Toney slips the ball past Jordan Pickford; photograph by Will Hagerty

Whenever the lyrics of Hey Jude are sung lustily by the Brentford crowd along with the Beatles’ recording, Paul McCartney would be forgiven for taking delight in this West London devotion to one of his most famous songs. But not, perhaps, on Sunday last. After all, McCartney is an Everton supporter.

As for the match, the players on both sides had little to sing about. Currently managed by the eminent Rafael Benitez, Everton arrived with a recent record of six consecutive losses. Brentford’s draw with Newcastle came after four straight defeats. The euphoria of early-season successes had evaporated for both teams.

So desperation became the order of the day.

Brentfordians would not have known so. As ever, they were in fine voice and in a burst of autumn sunshine the ground looked as pretty as spring, although visiting goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, England’s number one choice, might not have appreciated the rays likely to interfere with his vision in the first half.

The Bees set off at a canter and appeared to have the measure of a team noticeably lacking in attacking flair. Twenty-four minutes in they were given the opportunity to capitalise, when a clumsy attempted clearance from his goalmouth by Andros Townsend saw his boot deliver a chorus-girl high kick to the face of Frank Onyeka.

Turmoil followed as referee Darren England called the cops – first the VAR for its verdict and then a trot to the touchline to watch a rerun of the incident. Onyeka remained prone until required to vacate the area and allow Ivan Toney to prepare for the spot-kick.

What a remarkable player he is. A mere twitch by Pickford as he started to dive to his left saw the be-gloved Toney stroke the ball towards the opposite post and into the net for his eleventh successful penalty kick.

Images above: Three steps to a perfect penalty: Ivan Toney slips the ball past Jordan Pickford; photographs by Will Hagerty

A highlight of the game, for sure. In fact, the only highlight in what became a nip and tuck contest between two sides with what seemed to be limitless energy but little creative thinking when within striking distance.

Toney, constantly bamboozling the Toffees – since you ask, a nickname derived from the two sweetshops close to the club’s first ground – with a flick here and a penetrating pass there, sent Bryan Mbeumo through, only for his shot to provide a brief moment of exercise for Pickford. This Brentford partnership may well develop into a matchwinner, especially if Mbeumo can improve on a strike record that tends to concentrate on the woodwork and the hands of various agile keepers, rather than the gap between the two.

Everton emerged after the interval with fire in their bellies, presumably stoked by a good talking to from Benitez. They fizzed and whizzed and dominated in terms of possession – 60 per cent to Brentford’s 40 overall – but on the few occasions they threatened the goal were thwarted by poor marksmanship or the capable keeping of Alvaro Fernández.

The more frustrated Everton became, the more resolute in defence became Brentford. Toney, continuing his all-purpose involvement here, there and everywhere else, was noticeable when intervening in Everton attack plans and getting the ball clear.

A bizarre incident, when Rico Henry was felled midway inside the Everton half and was left on the ground by referee England for several minutes, waving on play despite entreatments from other players and loud booing from the stands, eventually stopped the game. Pickford, a gentleman as well as a England star, ran from his goal to check Henry was still in one piece before the full-back received treatment from the bench.

And so to an added anxious five minutes when substitute Demarai Gray further worried the Brentford defence and Thomas Franks sent on Yoane Wissa to deliver his familiar late, late show with a goal, only for Pickford to prevent his hat-trick of successes with an easy save.

‘I feel a bit sorry for Everton’, I said to my mate Charlie. ‘They’ve had several injuries and no luck at all.’

‘I couldn’t give a toffee,’ said hard man Charlie.

Brentford: Fernández; Goode, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós (substitute Wissa), Onyeka, Nørgaard (sub Baptiste), Janelt, Henry (sub Roerslev); Mbeumo, Toney.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Godfrey, Keane, Digne; Townsend (sub Gray), Doucouré, Allan, Gordon; Iwobi; Rondon.
Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group.

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

 

Aladdin at the Lyric Hammersmith – review

Image above: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith

This year’s pantomime at the Lyric, Hammersmith is Aladdin. There’s no single big name in the cast who you know off the telly and I think the show is better for it. It isn’t just a vehicle for some celebrity just back from eating bugs with Ant and Dec to tell smutty jokes to the adults in the audience.

The Lyric’s production is two hours of really good fun with a well-matched team of lead actors pulling together. It never drops pace and offers some of the corniest puns in panto, delivered with panache.

If there’s a stand-out star, it’s the magic carpet, and I mean no disrespect to the actors. I still can’t work out how they made it fly across the stage and out over the audience with no visible means of support. Magic!

Image above – Ellena Vincent as Jasmine

I went with two boys and spoke also to two girls, up with their mum and dad from Somerset specially to see the show. Remi (7) and Kaci (5) chose the panto because the Disney version was their favourite film, watched many times over. Remi liked Aladdin’s sister Wishy best while Kaci’s favourite was Jasmine, in both cases because they were “nice”.

Despite knowing the story inside out and backwards, they liked the ending best. I don’t think I’m spoiling it for anyone to divulge that Aladdin gets the girl and the evil Abanazer is consigned to the cave for the next thousand years. All’s right with the world.

‘Nice’ in this case does not mean ‘wet and drippy’ – they’re both pretty feisty characters, the kind of independent women you’d like your daughters to grow up to be. Parents Nathan and Holly thought it “incredible” and well worth the trip. Holly said she laughed and cried all the way through.

The boys, Max and Louis, admittedly a bit older, were more taken with the evil Abanazer. They thought his evil laugh was hilariously funny and the best bit was when Aladdin’s dad Dave Twankey could not get his name right (who? Half a lager? ‘Ave a banana?). They thought the whole thing was very funny and also liked the music.

Image above: Kate Donnachie as the genie

Jasmine – Ellena Vincent, who recently appeared in Hamilton at Victoria Palace – had an amazing voice. Gracie McGonigal did a great job making her professional stage debut as Wishy. Irvine Iqbal, with a long list of theatre and TV credits, was a perfect Abanazer and Stephan Boyce was a very entertaining Twankey.

Qasim Mahmood, in his first major lead professional theatre role, kept them all in order as Aladdin, injecting the performance with energy and enthusiasm.

My favourite was Kate Donnachie as both the genie and the emperor, bringing great originality to both parts and apparently giving up the pretence that the parts were played by different actors as the show went on, the costume changes got quicker and she had to find ever more ludicrous excuses to go off stage – “I’ve left something in the oven”.

Nicely written by Vikki Stone and directed by Abigail Graham, with some witty topical touches. Truly a pantomime that everyone can enjoy.

The production opened to the public on Saturday but the cast are nicely warmed up from doing two weeks of three shows a day to local schools. LB Hammersmith and Fulham does a fantastic thing by offering free tickets to children at state schools in the borough so they all have a chance to experience live theatre.

Image above: Stephan Boyce as Dave Twankey

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: The Moose Hut alpine pop up bar opens at The Roebuck

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor to turn on Chiswick Christmas tree lights

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Mummy Wine Club December wine tastings

Image above: Champagnes for the Champagne and Cheese masterclass

I heard someone dare to voice what I privately think the other day – that they preferred Prosecco to Champagne. I’m told if you think that, you just haven’t tasted the right Champagne. Victoria Daskal is holding two Mummy Wine Club evenings on Thursday 2 and Saturday 4 December to address just that sort of question.

A Sparkling Evening

Thursday 2 December, 7-9pm
High Road Studio, 129 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, W4 2ED

This is a perfect chance to put the sparkling wines to the test and truly understand the difference between Champagne, Prosecco, English Sparkling, and other classic fizz! Victoria will guide you through the aromas, flavours, and quality levels and explain how each wine is made and what makes it unique.  She will finish with a compare and contrast of two classic dessert wines and discuss their ideal food matches. Cheese & charcuterie will be included to taste along with the wines.

Ticket price £59pp

Book tickets

Champagne & Cheese Masterclass

Saturday 4 December, 2-4.30pm
Ivy Crescent, Chiswick W4 5NG

In this exclusive masterclass, Victoria Daskal will lead guests through a carefully selected flight of all the major Champagne styles.  Participants will taste Blanc de Blancs vs Blanc de Noirs, Vintage vs Non-Vintage, Brut Zero vs Demi-Sec, and Rosé Champagne and discuss what makes each style so unique and how to taste the differences between them. We will taste from Champagne producers of all sizes – from tiny family growers to prestigious Champagne houses to cover all ground.

The cheese pairings will help illustrate Champagne’s exceptional food-friendly versatility at the dinner table. By the end of the tasting guests will know Champagne is more than just celebration bubbles, it is a fascinating fine wine with a long history and exciting future.

Ticket price £105pp

Book tickets
See also: Chiswick Christmas entertainment guide

See also: Chiswick Christmas shopping guide

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

 

Episode 19: That Peppa Pig Moment

The Three Old Hacks discuss this week whether or not the prime minister has lost it. He appears to be “teetering on the edge of appearing out of control” they think. It’s hard to bluster your way through a speech when someone else has written it for you and you clearly haven’t read it, especially as you’re just got to the “and here’s what we’re going to do about it” bit.

There’s a distinct sound of knives being sharpened in the Tory party. “The moment he’s not a winner, he’s a goner” they say.

Listen to former BBC News sports editor Mihir Bose, Economics editor of the Sunday Times David Smith and political commentator Nigel Dudley on the events of the past week.


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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 72: Scyld Berry – England’s greatest cricket-watcher – shares highlights from over forty years of England on tour

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.

Scyld Berry, a former editor of Wisden, has watched nearly 500 England Test matches (more than anyone in history), and reported them for The Observer and then The Daily Telegraph.  He has just published a penetrating account of all the countries where he has seen England on tour: Beyond The Boundaries, published by Fairfield Books. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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Scyld reveals the original intended title of his book – which conjures up a startling and hitherto unknown vision of a well-known commentator.

A recent sighting of Brunel’s pioneering steamship the SS Great Britain leads him deep into the history of England cricket tours. It made possible the first two tours of Australia even before the opening of the Suez canal. Described by W G Grace’s brother, it took the England party to Melbourne in reasonable comfort in two months without having to stop in South Africa for coal.

Scyld’s first tour described in the book was Australia 1978-79. He describes how the print technology and the associated deadlines at that time forced him to downplay the first big story of the tour – the success of the Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg operating with the new machine-made Kookaburra cricket ball. Players and media were much closer in that era (often literally, booked by the same travel agent into the same accommodation and transport) and there was a strong code of “what happens on tour stays on tour” protecting players’ off-field activities. Press conferences were rare and news was generally gathered in the bar. Scyld thinks this a healthier system than the now constant spoon-feeding of the media with formal statements for citation and conferences and players put up for interview. However, he notes the success of media training in making players more articulate and informative. He pays personal tribute to the current England media manager, Danny Reuben.

From the rich detail in his book Scyld picks out some key points or stories from each country (in alphabetical order) he has seen on tour.

Australia: the historic isolation of indigenous people from Australian cricket and Australian society generally; the strength of grade cricket, especially in Sydney, and its contribution as a pipeline of talent to the full Australian side; the recent challenge to the primacy of cricket, and its exclusive use of dedicated land and stadiums, by Australian rules football.

Bangladesh: the contribution of rooftop cricket to the early development of many players, including Tamim Iqbal – although Tamim was also lucky enough to have a driveway where he literally learnt to drive. Scyld also underlines the underprovision of cricket facilities for the enthusiastic Bangladeshi community in Britain (100,000 in East London with no local access to a turf wicket). It led him to establish the Wisden City Cup (now the ECB T20 City Cup) to create new opportunity for them. He tells a sad story of a Bangladeshi waiter, a brilliant slow-left arm bowler, turned away from the Middlesex nets because he could not speak English.

India:  after a delightful story of a friendly match in a Calcutta orphanage in the 1980s, when an England bowler was taken off in favour of his 12-year-old captain, Scyld shares the joy of seeing young talented players in the Indian subcontinent discovering how to play the game in their own way. He urges India’s top players to exercise the same ethical influence on topical issues as Muralitharan in Sri Lanka. He hopes that Virat Kohli’s recent powerful intervention in support of Mohammed Shami will start a new trend.

New Zealand:  the wonderful intimacy and informality of New Zealand’s “boutique grounds”; the unassuming attitudes of their cricketers, led by Kane Williamson, even in their recent rise to the heights of international cricket.

Pakistan: the unforgettable experience of cricket high in the mountains of Chitral and Gilgit; the great Bronze Age city of Mohenjo-daro, where they might have played an early form of cricket; the vital role of Sattar Edhi and his Foundation in providing health and welfare services to Pakistan; competing accounts of the origins of the doosra and reverse swing;

On South Africa Scyld explains why the events of the World T20 have made him optimistic that cricket there is at last coming to terms with the legacy of apartheid and on the path of achieving full integration.

Sri Lanka:  he traces the English influence on Sri Lankan cricket through its élite schools (particularly that of C B Fry).

On the West Indies he pays a moving tribute to Sir Everton Weekes, as an almost unique combination of great batsman, great commentator and great human being.

Of all that he has seen of cricket overseas, he would most like to replicate in English cricket the New Zealand governance model – with a strong influence by ex-players. He contrasts this with the cricketing experience of most of the ECB.

Listeners are invited to contribute to the MCC Foundation appeal donate.thebiggive.org.uk/campaign/a056900001v5HIzAAM  It will aid the Foundation’s National Hubs, which offer cricket and personal development to disadvantaged communities in Britain, and the wonderful Alsama Project in Lebanon which is transforming the lives of young Syrian refugees. The podcast featured Alsama and three of its young beneficiaries earlier this year.

Episode 39: The sky is the limit for Alsama Cricket Club, where refugees from Syria get new lives

All contributions to the Appeal made between midday 30 November and midday 7 December will be doubled in value.

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 71: The great commentator Fazeer Mohammed brings up to date the stories of BlackLivesMatter and West Indian cricket

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.

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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.

The Moose Hut bar at The Roebuck

It’s hard to make the courtyard of a pub in west London look and feel like an ‘authentic Alpine experience’, but The Roebuck this December brings you the pop-up Moose Bar.

The weather was doing its best to be helpful with the authenticity when general manager Josh and The Roebuck team launched its Christmas theme bar on Monday night. With a bit of imagination and a willingness to go with the flow, you can almost think yourself enjoying the après ski at Courchevel or Megève – almost.

On the Savoyard kitchen menu – Raclette: Raclette cheese, new potatoes and cornichons; Tartiflette& Salade Verte- Potato, shallots, lardons, wine, cream, Reblochon cheese and green salad; Sourdough pizza – a selection of thin-crust, stone-baked sourdough pizza (including vegan options).

On the Fondue menu – Three cheese fondue: Gruyère, Emmental and Comté, cooked with white wine, finished with kirsch, served with bread and cornichons.

The Chiswick Calendar’s sampling team thoroughly enjoyed the Fondue and a pizza and were quite partial to the cocktail menu. The Moose Hut Bar serves steins and an array of cocktails ranging from an ‘Alpine Berry Spritz’ to a ‘Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini’.

Après group bookings

If you’re looking for an outside office party or just fancy something different, a Chamonix Pass at £25 per person buys you a reserved area for your party to enjoy an Alpine Berry Spritz or a Bavarian beer on arrival, one item from the Savoyard kitchen menu and a MOOSE Shot-Tail.

The Val d’Isère at £35 per person buys you a reserved area for your party to enjoy all of the above and a sharing Fondue.

MOOSE, for the uninitiated, is a vodka based spirit blended with mountain botanicals and maple.

Beats the palava of having to travel to the real thing and hike up mountains. A few of those MOOSE shot-Tails and you’ll be a lonely goatherd no more.

The Roebuck is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar website

See also: Chiswick Christmas entertainment guide

See also: Chiswick Christmas shopping guide

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

 

Ruth Cadbury calls for Government action on Islamophobic hate crimes

Ruth Cadbury MP

Ruth Cadbury MP for Brentford and Isleworth has called on the government to take action against Islamophobic hate crimes and to redefine the definition of Islamophobia.

Ruth said urgent action was required. Recent research by the House of Commons Library found that 45% of hate crimes are targeted against Muslims, with a 40% increase in online abuse in 2020 – 21.

Attending an event with the Muslim Council of Britain and Amnesty International UK, Ruth said:

‘‘It is appalling that so many Muslims are still targeted with vile Islamophobic abuse. These awful attacks have been fuelled online, and I am particularly concerned that Muslim women, going about their day-to-day business as well as those in public life, have become a regular target for Islamophobic abuse.

“That’s why we need to see the Government doing more to tackle Islamophobic hate crimes. One way they can start is by accepting the definition of Islamophobia that is supported by the All-Party Parliamentary Group of British Muslims, and which has the backing of a large number of community groups”.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group of British Muslims’ definition states that ‘‘Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.’’

Proposed definition “unworkable”

Baroness Warsi

In October 2017, Baroness Warsi (Conservative), in the House of Lords, asked the Government whether it had a definition of Islamophobia. Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, admitted it did not.

Since then various organisations and commentators have argued that an agreed definition would improve initiatives to prevent Islamophobia. The definition put forward by the All-Party Parliamentary Group has the backing of a wide umbrella group of muslim bodies, but has been criticised as “vague and unworkable.”

Answering for the Government, Luke Hall MP told a debate in June:

“The definition proposed by the APPG on British Muslims is not in line with the Equality Act 2010 and would have severe consequences for freedom of speech, which is why the Government does not accept it or hold data on its adoption.”

Islamophobic hate crimes highest in 2017 / 18

The figures on Islamic hate crime show a clear correlation with acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam.

According to Annual Population Survey figures, between June 2020 and June 2021, around 36% of the Muslim population in Great Britain lived in London.

Data from the Met Police shows that the number of Islamophobic hate crime incidents in London has increased by 140% since 2012/13, though the increase can be partly attributed to improved
recording by the police.

In 2017/18, after terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, the number of Islamophobic hate crimes recorded by the police reached a peak of 1,667 incidents. There has since been a year-on-year decline in the number of incidents recorded.

In 2020/21, there were just under half the number of Islamophobic hate crimes recorded by the police compared to in 2017/18, and 26% fewer than the previous year.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Southall stabbing teen victim is named

See also: Tube strikes continue as talks break down

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Extensive roadworks planned for A316 Great Chertsey Rd

Roadworks due to take place on Great Chertsey Rd are likely to cause significant traffic delays in Chiswick well into 2022.

Transport for London is carrying out maintenance and refurbishment work on the bridge over the railway line between the junctions with Hartington Rd and Staveley Rd from 6 December 2021 to 17 January 2022.

Traffic lane closures will be in place on the A316 Great Chertsey Rd on the approaches to Grove Park Bridge, from Chiswick Bridge to the south and Hogarth roundabout to the north 24 hours a day for the duration of the works.

TfL says the project will improve the long-term condition of the bridge, which is listed as having a ‘weak verge.’ The road’s surface and pavements will be improved too.

When is the work taking place?

Work will take place on weekdays from 8am until 5pm and Saturdays from 8am to 1pm. There will be two weekends when work will take place across the whole weekend – 17 to 20 December 2021 and 14 to 17 January 2022.

TfL said the noisiest works will be carried out before 11pm every night. The project will be paused between 20 December 2021 and 3 January 2022.

The pavement along the A316 Great Chertsey Road will be closed in the northbound direction from 6 to 20 December 2021, and in the southbound direction from 4 to 17 January 2022.

Northbound bus stop ‘Staveley Road’ (Stop R) will be suspended from 6 December to 20 December 2021. The nearest alternative stop is Alexandra Avenue’ (Stop S).

TfL have said poor weather conditions may increase the timeframe to complete the work.

Conservatives call on LB Hounslow to relax of traffic restrictions in response closure

Cllr Sam Hearn, Traffic and Transport Spokesperson for the Conservative Councillors Group, said:

“We have asked Hounslow Council and TfL to discuss the immediate relaxation of the access restrictions on Hartington Rd for the duration of the road works on the A316.

“We believe that this simple and easily implemented action would relieve the potential overloading of the local road network. Our roads are already under stress from the major works now being undertaken on Chiswick High Rd. N

“No response has as yet been received from Hounslow Council but TfL have agreed to discuss this proposal with Hounslow Highways.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also:

See also: ***link to A40 closure story when published***

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Westway Rd closure diverts traffic through Chiswick

Motorists could face months of traffic chaos as west London’s main road into central London, the A40 Westway, undergoes urgent and essential maintenance. As traffic is diverted, the A4 through Chiswick is expected to become a lot busier.

The first round of work began on Friday, 26 November and ended Monday, 29 November. In order to disrupt the least amount of traffic, the road closures are taking place on weekends, when traffic is usually quieter.

The A40 Westway is one of London’s busiest with around 100,000 vehicles per day using it. Much of it is elevated, with concrete pillars constructed more than 50 years ago. The joints between concrete sections now need replacing.

The road is also used particularly by heavy goods vehicles as it is the main route between central London and Heathrow airport. The flyover sections also need to be waterproofed to ensure they meet modern road standards and to prevent flooding underneath.

Image above: Map of diversion showing the section of the A40 Westway which is closed

When will the A40 Westway be closed?

For the first four months, all road closures will take place on the eastbound carriageway (from White City/West Cross Route to Marylebone Rd). The westbound carriageway out of Central London towards White City/West Cross Route will remain open but will only have two lanes of traffic operational.

The eastbound carriageway will be closed:

  • from 10pm this Friday, November 26 to 5am Monday, November 29
  • from 10pm Friday, 3 December to 5am Monday, December 6
  • from 10pm Friday, 10 December to 5am Monday, December 13
  • at various points every weekend from Saturday, 8 January to mid-March 2022

The westbound carriageway will then be closed at various points on weekends between mid-March 2022 and Monday July 18, 2022.

The road will remain open fully on and around Christmas and Easter weekends.

Image above: Cyclists

Alternative routes

TfL  is advising motorists heading into London to use the A4 and M4 or the A406 instead.

Drivers leaving London travelling from east London are advised to use alternate routes including the A406. TfL expect the A501, all local routes and the suggested diversion through Chiswick to be busy.

TfL said footpaths and pedestrian crossings will remain open ‘wherever possible’, although there may be some temporary closures or diversions.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tube strikes continue as talks break down

See also:

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Tube strikes to continue as talks break down

Tube strikes are set to go ahead later this week as talks between Transport for London and The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union fail to reach a resolution.

RMT members walked out at 8.30pm on the Victoria and Central lines on Saturday, 27 November over an ongoing dispute over the drivers’ rota for night services. The next strikes are on Friday, 3 December (evening and overnight) and Saturday, 4 December (evening and overnight).

Drivers say the transport authority “ripped up” an agreement made in 2016 that only drivers who wanted to work nights would do so. TfL now say they should all work four nights a year.

The weekend overnight service, introduced in 2016, was stopped last year during the pandemic and resumed on Saturday.

Above: Sadiq Khan’s Tweet on Friday 26 November

Disruptive strike action “unnecessary”, says Sadiq Khan

On Friday the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, criticised unions for striking “at the worst possible time”.

The Mayor said it was “extremely disappointing” that the RMT “refused to attend talks” with TfL, urging them to return to the negotiating table.

Sadiq added:

“The Night Tube has an important part to play in our capital’s recovery and helps to improve safety for everyone, especially women and girls making their way home at night.”

Andy Lord, London Underground’s managing director, said customers should check before they travel, adding:

“I am very sorry for the inconvenience that this strike action is causing. We understand that our customers will be frustrated by the RMT’s strike action, which is timed to cause maximum disruption to London.

“This action is the last thing London needs as it recovers from the pandemic, which is why we have done everything we can to get this action called off.”

Above: Dave Ward’s Tweet on Friday, 26 November

Union bosses criticise Mayor and TfL

The general secretary of the Communication Workers Union Dave Ward criticised Sadiq Khan for not backing workers who are being “mistreated.”

Responding to the Mayor’s tweet urging RMT to return to the negotiation table, he said:

“I’ll tell you what’s unnecessary – a Labour Mayor not showing solidarity with workers who are being mistreated. Nobody votes for and then takes strike action unless it’s a last resort.”

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said:

“The widespread impact on services is solely down to management failure to recognise and address the anger of their staff at the imposition of damaging and unacceptable working practices.

“This action was wholly avoidable if [London Underground] bosses hadn’t attempted to bulldoze through arrangements that abolished the night tube driver grade, lumping everyone into a central pool where they can be shunted about at will in a drive to cut costs.

“Our members have spoken and it’s time for London Underground to start listening. The mayor and his officials need to recognise our determination to defend progressive and family-friendly working practices. We remain available for talks.”

Planned strike action

  • 8.30pm 3 December – 4.29am 4 December Central and Victoria.
  • 8.30pm 4 December – 4.29am 5 December Central and Victoria.
  • 8.30pm 10 December – 4.29am 11 December Central and Victoria.
  • 8.30pm 11 December – 4.29am 12 December Central and Victoria.
  • 8.30pm 17 December – 4.29am 18 December Central and Victoria.
  • 4.30am 18 December – 4.29am 19 December Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor to switch on Chiswick Christmas tree lights

See also: Rupa Huq and Matt Hancock join forces to ‘detoxify’ politics

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Fake policeman who burgled Chiswick homes jailed

A man who gained entry to vulnerable and elderly people’s homes by pretending to be a police officer has been jailed.

David Kerrigan, 38, was sentenced to nine years and 10 months’ imprisonment at Snarebrook Crown Court on Friday, 26 November. He pleaded guilty to 12 counts of burglary and one count of racially aggravated harassment prior to his sentencing date.

Kerrigan burgled two homes in Chiswick, targeting elderly victims aged between 61 and 96. He wore dark coloured clothes and produced a fake warrant card claiming to be a police officer. He would then tell them a fake story about two people being arrested nearby with stolen property and would ask to go inside to check if any of the items had been stolen from their house.

Once his victims had fallen for the ruse he would scope out the house, looking for things to steal and often brazenly asking them where their cash was stored.

In total, he stole wallets and purses which contained approximately £4000 in cash as well as jewellery and watches. He also stole bank cards which he then used in local shops spending below £35. He was caught on CCTV in the shops using the cards. None of the stolen property was ever recovered.

The burglaries Kerrigan was convicted of took place in Golders Green, N16; Gunnersbury, W4; Chiswick, W4; South Tottenham, N15; East Ham, E6; Kensington, W11; Acton, W3; Leyton, E17; Brent Park, NW10; and Walthamstow, E17.

Image above: David Kerrigan gaining entry to a person’s home, Kerrigan was spotted using stolen cards on CCTV in local shops

Spotting a fake police officer

Detective Sergeant Keith Faris, who led the investigation, said:

“This was a fantastic effort by my team, whose hard work resulted in Kerrigan having no choice but to plead guilty due to the overwhelming evidence they uncovered.

“Kerrigan preyed upon the elderly and vulnerable and abused their trust by posing as a plain clothed police officer to walk away with their hard-earned money and valuables. We will not tolerate this type of offending and we will robustly target and bring to justice those who think they can take advantage of the vulnerable and elderly.

“Once Kerrigan had been caught, he vented his frustration by racially abusing an officer. While police officers appreciate that an unfortunate part of their job is being subject to verbal abuse, racism is never acceptable and we will robustly deal with anyone who racially abuses officers or members of the public.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to remind the public to be vigilant against distraction burglars, who often prey on the elderly and vulnerable.

“Distraction burglars pose as someone with fake ID or a uniform to gain your trust and access your home under a false pretence to steal.

“They could say they need to check your meters, fix plumbing leaks, or virtually any official reason to enter your home – including posing as a police officer.

“Utilise your spyhole or door chain where possible and always remember to ask for an ID badge or paperwork. If you are in doubt, call the official number for the company they say they are from – do not call a number they give you – or [you can] contact the police.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Ruth Cadbury supports equal pensions for Gurkhas

See also: Brother of Brentford stab victim criticises police community response

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Southall stabbing teen victim named

The victim of a fatal stabbing in Southall has been named as Rishmeet Singh, though police say formal identification has yet to take place. The 16-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Raleigh Road, Southall, in the borough of Hounslow, on Wednesday (24 November). He is the 28th teenager to be killed on the streets of London this year, one away from a peak of 29 teen homicides in 2008.

Police were called at 9.07pm to reports of a stabbing, which happened after a fight involving a group of people. Officers arrived along with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service, where Rishmeet was found with multiple stab wounds. Despite the efforts of the emergency services, he died at the scene a short time later.

The Evening Standard reported friends believed he was stabbed over a fake Gucci pouch he always wore.

Image above: Rishmeet Singh wearing the pouch

Police appeal for information

A forensics tent and discarded medical equipment, including a defibrillator, could still be seen lying on the driveway of a house after the incident. There have been no arrests at this stage. Police continue to appeal for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.

Detective chief inspector James Shirley, who is leading the investigation, said:

“I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my appeal for anyone who was in the area around Raleigh Rd just after 9pm on Wednesday, and saw this incident, to get in contact. You may have vital evidence that could help us progress this investigation.

“I would also ask local residents in the area, or road users who were around Raleigh Rd at the time of this attack, to check any footage they may have captured on doorbell, dashboard or CCTV cameras. If you can help, please get in touch.”

Images above: Cllr Ron Mushiso, Cllr Ranjit Gill 

Conservative councillors want more street lighting

Conservative councillors in Hounslow described the death as a “tragedy” and said they wanted to see better lighting on the streets in Hounslow. Councillor Ron Mushiso, the Conservative spokesperson for Children and Young People said:

“I was horrified to learn about the stabbing … it’s clear that young people are suffering disproportionately from knife crime in our city.”

Passing on condolences to Rishmeet’s family, he said:  “I urge the Mayor of London and the authorities to make tackling knife crime an urgent priority to protect our young people.”

The Conservative Group has tabled a motion at next week’s Borough Council meeting to ask the Council to increase streetlight levels across Hounslow in order to reduce black spots, which they said would make the streets safer at night.

Councillor Ranjit Gill, Conservative spokesperson for Police and Crime said:

“It is beyond a tragedy that yet another hard-working young man has lost his life to violence on the streets of London.”

Image above: Balloons released at Ali Abucar Ali’s candlelight vigil

Candlelight vigil for Brentford stabbing victim, Ali Abucar Ali

Only four days earlier, local residents and friends of Ali Abucar Ali held a candlelight vigil for him. He was stabbed to death earlier this month in Brentford, trying to help elderly woman Betty Walsh, who was attacked in the street outside a kebab shop.

There was a huge turnout for the vigil, which started at 5pm in Carville Hall Car Park with a minute’s silence, followed by a minute’s applause and the release of balloons.

Local ward councillor Guy Lambert said:

“It’s a very sad event but good to see that there are a lot of people there from all walks of life, It is moving, and I’m proud to be part of this community, for all its imperfections.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brother of Brentford stab victim criticises police community response

See also: Huge crowds attend prayers for Ali Abucar Ali

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Mind Matters – The ‘kind’ communication that really isn’t kind at all!

Since the pandemic I’ve noticed an explosion of public communications that I’m not sure never existed before.

Alongside public communications that give straightforward instructions such as ‘Mind the gap between the train and the platform’, ‘Hold the handrail’ I have noticed signs saying things like ‘Be Kind’, ‘Please show respect to each other when travelling’, ‘Respect everyone’s space’.

So what? you might say, What’s wrong with kindness and respect? For me the problem with using words like ‘kind’, ‘respect’, ‘responsibility’, ‘careful’, ‘helpful’ are that they mean different things to different people, cultures and generations.

I’m sure you must hear conflicts between people where they will say things like ‘you don’t take responsibility’, ‘you are a bad communicator’, ‘you don’t show me any respect’? or see adults saying things to children like ‘play nicely’, ‘calm down’, ‘be good’, ‘be nice’? only to see the conflict escalate or the child’s behaviour continue or even worsen?

In relationship therapy behaviours that partners struggle with often get assigned a word such as ‘childish’ in the hope that it will make as much sense to the other person as it does to them.

Invariably the partners being told they are childish, narcissistic, thoughtless, selfish etc feel hurt, unappreciated and think they are not understood. Often the partner will therefore counter with similar use of language and might say things like you are ‘bossy’, ‘controlling’, ‘too emotional’.

They might feel better, thinking they are getting something off their chest, but they will usually feel even more annoyed the next time the behaviour happens. Often it is this reason why partners come to therapy.

If you are having the same conversation then you are not actually having the conversation! Rarely do I find that people want to keep having the same conversations and this means that the communication is simply not effective.

In therapy I always ask partners to give an example of a situation where they concluded the partner was for example selfish.

What I am interested in is exactly what the partner did and the response it generated, how it felt and what thoughts came up. I am then able to ask the partner for their response so that we can arrive, eventually, although it might take some to-ing and fro-ing, at the source of the misunderstanding.

I remember years ago when I went to dinner at someone’s home with my mum, the hosts were people who we did not know particularly well and my mum left some food on her plate when everyone else at the table had cleared theirs. The host spotted the food that my mum had left and at that moment I felt embarrassed and could not understand why my mum would do such a thing.

On the way home I asked my mum about her leaving some food when she never left food on her plate normally. She thought for a moment and simply replied that she had been taught as a child that it was good manners not to completely clear her plate and that maybe we hadn’t been out to dinner together like that before.

It amazed me to the extent that even today I often think of that as proving how, even when you believe you know someone really well, it is still possible to misunderstand their behaviour.

One of the reasons often given for not giving clear instructions is that it is patronising or too autocratic. Often partners or parents will say something like ‘I shouldn’t have to tell you what to do’ or ‘if you don’t know by now’ – such statements usually lead the child or the partner feeling ashamed and embarrassed because what they hear is that they have missed something.

Of course we can all forget something as simple as holding a handrail – can’t we? And if that is one of the big reasons why people get injured then I appreciate that knowledge and expertise being shared with me.

For me kindness, respect, care, responsibility are all about sharing our expertise and knowledge when we know something that can help. So please if any of the folks who are responsible for public communications are reading this can I ask that you tell us exactly what we can do, not what we should be?

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 previous one – Mind Matters – Nature or Nurture?

See all Nicholas’s Mind Matters blogs here

Read a profile of Nicholas 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.

 

Profile of Chiswick based psychotherapist Nicholas Rose

Image above: Nicholas Rose, psychotherapist and counsellor

“When there is uncertainty, like during the Brexit negotiations or at the beginning of the pandemic, we find there are a lot more people coming in to see us wanting to talk about the anxiety they’re feeling.”

I sat down to talk to Nicholas Rose a few days before news began to filter through about the new Covid variant Omicron. Very quickly after the initial news the first couple of cases were identified in the UK and the government announced we would once again be required by law to wear face masks in shops and on public transport. Christmas plans are up in the air again this year and I’m guessing he will be busy again soon.

Nicholas started writing a column about mental health issues for The Chiswick Calendar last year, which mirrored the issues we were facing:

July 27, 2020: How are you doing with the new face covering rules?

October 18, 2020: A pandemic of anxiety.

April 13 2021: Fear of re-entry.

After a break in which he finished his book on relationships (still being edited; not published until next year) he is starting writing for us again, just in time it seems for a new wave of mental health issues.

I spoke to Nicholas about how he’d become interested in psychotherapy and what had led him to set up his practice, with 14 associates, in Chiswick.

Nicholas comes from a little place on the border of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire called Cricklade, described on brown road signs denoting sights of touristic interest as ‘an Anglo Saxon town’.

“It was mentioned in the Doomsday book” he tells me wryly. “It said something like: the people were almost as nice as the pigs they kept”.

Maybe the local youth felt they had something to live up to, because Nicholas was bullied at school. Having nearly died as a baby as a result of some stomach complaint which left him the same weight at one year old as he was at birth, he was a sickly child, which may have contributed to his being quiet and thoughtful, not interested in sport and especially not in team sport.

He may as well have worn a target on his back. He was “top of everything” when he went to secondary school but became so stressed out by “five years of torture” he “couldn’t function”. It can’t have helped that his mother was unwell, eventually receiving a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.

“I’ve always been interested in how people make sense of the world in so many different ways.

“When you experience trauma as a child it makes you stop and look at things in a different way. You become much more cautious about things that might be harmful”.

Despite those early life experiences, he blossomed at college.

“I was fortunate to get a job at WH Smith with my diploma in business and marketing. I started in admin and stock control and moved quite quickly into buying. My days were full of meetings with very senior figures and at a very young age I was responsible for choosing the products they sold to the public”.

He got on very well in the commercial world and was soon making very good money. That for many people would have been enough, especially after such an inauspicious start, but Nicholas became disillusioned with the process of making money. He was far more interested in the well-being of the people around him.

His lightbulb moment was when he picked up a leaflet about psychotherapy. He was also interested in human rights, so studied both and went on to do a five-year postgraduate training as a psychotherapist without having done a degree, because he’d worked at a senior level and produced written papers in his chosen subjects.

He is still learning, despite several years working with charities and many years in private practice.

“I’ve just done a course on psychosexual therapy but also my client work teaches me about life every day” he told me.

He was introduced to Chiswick by his partner, now his husband, and set up Nicholas Rose & Associates in 2009. The practice in Belmont Rd, behind Starbucks, boasts 11 counsellors and therapists who between them offer support for children, adolescents and adults over a broad range of issues.

“What people need to do is to find someone they can talk easily to.”

Their clients include couples, families and even organisations as well as individuals.

They are all very experienced, he told me, with at least two years in private practice. He found the issues he dealt with in private practice are different to those he dealt with before, working for charities.

In private practice clients are “more highly functioning but their quality of life can still be badly and devastatingly affected by the pressure they experience.”

Our defences are our coping mechanisms. His is displaying a little eccentricity, he told me, which diverts people and gives him thinking time to decide how to react.

When we’d finished going off at a tangent and talking about what he was looking at out the window, we returned to my question. He told me how the past 18 months had been for them.

Busy. The main concerns people come to talk to them about are depression, anxiety and relationship problems and he has seen an increase in all three during the pandemic.

“There’s now a greater acceptance of therapy, which means that people are realising things they’ve struggled with are things that can be taken to a therapist. There’s been a lot of media coverage of anxiety and mental health.

“There’s a clear relationship between uncertainty and mental health. It was really noticeable during all those votes in the House of Commons over Brexit when no one knew what the eventual outcome would be, we would get a flurry of enquiries the next day”.

The same has been true during the pandemic. They themselves are not yet back at work in the office; some prefer to work at home. Between them they offer a mix of in-person and online help.

Nicholas earns a quarter of what he was earning twenty years ago as a corporate manager, he told me, but he has found the thing he was meant to do.

“I used to come away from work feeling disconnected. I’m now engrossed, fascinated and fulfilled. Being a psychotherapist is a wonderful thing to do”.

nicholas-rose.co.uk

You can read Nicholas’ latest blog here: The ‘kind’ communication which isn’t really kind at all!

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Peter Oborne lists Boris Johnson’s lies in a new website

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor to turn on Chiswick Christmas tree lights

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 Oborne lists Boris Johnson’s lies in new website

Image above: Boris Johnson Lies cartoon my Martin Rowson

Our prime minister tells lies. That is a fact, proven over and over again on a new website authored by political journalist Peter Oborne. Not only that, but many of the Government do too.

SNP Commons leader Ian Blackford has been sanctioned for saying so. Labour MP Dawn Butler was thrown out of the Commons for saying so, yet gradually because of the perseverance of Peter Oborne and journalists like him: Peter Stefanovic, LBC presenter James O’Brien and the Full Fact team, steadily producing a mountain of incontrovertible evidence, the elephant in the room is beginning to be addressed in mainstream media.

I talked to Peter Oborne, a long-term resident of Chiswick, about why this issue is so important to him, that in effect he has sacrificed his own journalistic career to bring this to the public’s attention.

“I’ve been writing on this theme for 20 years” he told me. “I wrote a book in 2005 called The Rise of Political Lying  which was mainly about Tony Blair. Ever since then I’ve kept a file of prime ministers’ lies”.

“Many believe that it is in the nature of politicians to dissimulate and lie” he says in his website’s mission statement.

“They say that it is as futile to complain about this as to complain that wasps sting. But many politicians possess integrity. If you shrug your shoulders and say they are all liars, then you are giving a free pass to the liars and cheats”.

He describes Boris Johnson as “uniquely deceitful”, an opinion based on nearly 30 years’ experience working as a political journalist.

Image above: Peter Oborne being interviewed on the BBC in 2015 when he parted company with the Telegraph

“Powerful sense of right and wrong”

Peter was for many years a political columnist and commentator working for right wing press barons on mainstream newspapers, joining the Mail as political columnist in 2006 and the Telegraph as chief political commentator in 2010. Not by any stretch of the imagination could he be described as ‘left wing’ or ‘alternate’. That’s not what’s going on here.

He left the Telegraph in spectacular fashion in 2015 when he said advertising contracts at the paper were “allowed to determine editorial judgments”. The Guardian‘s political editor at the time, Michael White, wrote what made Peter Oborne unusual “is his powerful sense of right and wrong.”

Leaving the Telegraph torpedoed his career, involving a huge loss of income. He hooked up with the Mail once more, as their chief commentator, but in October 2019 he did it again, publishing an incendiary article in Open Democracy accusing the media, including his own paper, along with the Times, the BBC and ITN of “peddling Downing Street’s lies and smears”.

“This article marked the end of my thirty-year-long career as a writer and broadcaster in the mainstream British press and media” said Peter. “I had been a regular presenter on Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster for more than two decades. It ceased to use me, without explanation. I parted company on reasonably friendly terms with the Daily Mail after our disagreement.”

Now his work on the Boris-Johnson-Lies.com website is paid for by the public, through fundraising on Go Fund Me, which is a novel experience for him, both liberating and introducing a new kind  of responsibility to all those people who have given them their fivers and tenners.

First he wrote a book The Assault on Truth, published earlier this year, which ironically became a Sunday Times top ten best-seller. Then last week he launched his new website.

Why did he do it?

“I started to get worried about Boris Johnson when he was Foreign Secretary and started my first website on Boris’s lies shortly after he became prime minister, when he started uttering lies in such an epic way, one after the other”.

Image above: Peter Oborne’s book The Assault on Truth

“I’m well aware I could be bankrupted over this”

As Prime Minister there have been so many lies that Peter’s newly relaunched website at time of writing only goes up to March 2021.

“I’ve done all the work on another 150 or so. We’re adding them all the time and by the end of the year we hope to be up to July and by early next year at the point where we’re adding them in real time”.

By “done all the work” he means not only recording what was said and checking it against available facts but writing to the accused (various ministers and government departments as well as the prime minister himself) so the public can see how they’ve answered. Answers range from prevarication and silence to threats of a defamation suit.

“I’m well aware I could be bankrupted over this”.

Political lying has consequences, says Peter:

“Governments which get away with lies get away with the misgovernment the lies protect. They never take responsibility for error and failure. Billions of pounds are siphoned by cronies or simply wasted.

“Service people give their lives in wrongful wars and there are thousands of premature avoidable deaths, not only in pandemics, but in the normal course of bad government decisions on healthcare.

“People lose trust in their governments and ignore them even when they are telling the truth. They therefore persist in behaviours which are harmful to them, their families, their community, their country and their planet”.

With so many to choose from, it’s hard to pick out the most egregious, but saying the Brexit deal would not create a trade border with Northern Ireland was one he found particularly harmful. It threatened to destabilise the peace and undo the tremendous achievement of the Good Friday Agreement in ending the Troubles.

Claiming the government was building 40 new hospitals is another whopper he singled out:

“Johnson’s promise boiled down to a pledge to provide up to 40 hospitals with seed money for building plans where building would not begin until at least 2025, after the next general election but one”.

Announcing the government had restored the nurses’ bursary was another highly misleading exaggeration:

“This refers to legislation that was introduced in 1968 and provided a financial allowance to people who were studying healthcare, medical, dental or social work courses.

“It is true that the government will offer a new educational grant of £5,000 per year (increasing to £8,000 in some cases) for all nursing students on courses from September 2020.

“However this falls significantly short of the bursary system previously scrapped by the Conservative Party. Under the system Johnson is referring to, nursing students will graduate with up to £60,000 of debt”.

At the time Peter was writing The Rise of Political Lying  Boris Johnson was his boss on The Spectator. Peter liked and respected him:

“He was a superb editor of The Spectator”.

“He’d studied Classics and he gave me some good coaching on Plato and the concept of the ‘noble lie’: the idea that in government some lies were necessary because people aren’t capable of absorbing the truth”.

Whether or not Boris Johnson believes that, Peter is not sure. The expediency of telling lies as a short-term strategy to win elections is unanswerable; by the time those who can be bothered to unravel the web of lies have caught up with you, the election is won.

But Peter is in no doubt that lying to the public is plain wrong and harmful to democracy and that the media have been complicit.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Rupa Huq and Matt Hancock join forces to ‘detoxify’ politics

See also: Ruth Cadbury supports equal pensions for Gurkhas

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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Rupa Huq and Matt Hancock join forces to ‘detoxify’ politics

Image above: Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton; Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk

Rupa Huq MP and former Health Secretary Matt Hancock have launched a cross-party campaign to detoxify political debate in the UK. The Ealing Central and Acton MP and the former Health Secretary have agreed we need to “set public debate on a better path.”

The unlikely cross-party duo are campaigning to tackle online abuse and detoxify political discourse in the Commons and beyond in the wake of the murder of Sir David Amess MP last month. They have written a joint piece for The Times and have been interviewed by the Telegraph and think tank Compassion in Politics.

Rupa knew David Amess quite well as she had been on parliamentary delegation to the Middle East with him and other MPs in the week before he was killed. He was fatally stabbed while conducting his constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday 15 October.

She paid tribute to him in the House of Commons, calling for party politics to be ‘less cross and more cross-party’. Both she and the Brentford & Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury, who jointly represent Chiswick, have described how they have received abusive and threatening letters. Rupa has had her mail screened since a package was sent to her office in 2018 by an Islamophobe.

More recently she had been subjected to a hate campaign online from supporters of Polish a far-right journalist and ideologue.

“We need a healthier climate in public life” – Rupa Huq

Rupa told The Chiswick Calendar:

“The assassination of my kind friend and colleague David Amess has demonstrated the dangers of a coarsening political debate in the UK.

“That’s why Matt and I have got together to campaign on this, despite our many political differences. There is too much rancour online and offline: we need a healthier climate in public life.”

It is up to parliament to set an example, said Rupa.

“Us MPs need to do a better job of disagreeing with each other. Of course we should have robust debates, but when that tips into abuse, we are doing ourselves no favours and we are giving Twitter trolls licence to behave in kind.”

“Social media companies need to be held to account” – Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock, who stepped down as Health Secretary in June, said he had received a huge amount of abuse in the wake of his departure, with one social media user reportedly writing: “just execute matt hancock live on bbc one i say”.

The MP had been caught on camera kissing colleague Gina Coladangelo in his offices at Whitehall in May, which breached social distancing regulations that at the time allowed intimate social contact only with members of the same household.

He said social media companies need to be held to account. Writing alongside Huq in The Times, Hancock wrote: “It is a particular problem that libel laws don’t work in the internet age.

“It is hard to prove that a single post by a social media user with a few hundred followers causes significant damage, but when that post is shared and added to by hundreds or thousands of others, it has the same effect as a defamatory newspaper piece in days gone by.

“At their heart, the creators of algorithms that feed people content that only reinforces what they already think must bear responsibility.”

Rupa Huq and Matt Hancock are now discussing production of a cross-party pamphlet on the importance of civility in British politics.

Research by Compassion in Politics suggests the public are in agreement with Huq and Hancock. 75% of those polled by the organisation were in favour of ending banning, booing and jeering in parliamentary debates.

Jennifer Nadel, Co-Director of Compassion in Politics, said:

“Compassion in Politics exists to create a more compassionate, inclusive, and cooperative politics and for that reason we are delighted that Rupa and Matt are working cross-party on this initiative to detoxify political discourse.

“No one should be subjected to bullying, harassment, or intimidation but this has become the reality for most MPs. It is ruining lives and wrecking our democracy.

“That is why we will be working with Rupa and Matt on developing a set of recommendations to build a politics of respect, decency, and inclusion – because good policies depend on good politics.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Ruth Cadbury supports equal pensions for Gurkhas

See also: Brother of Brentford stab victim criticises police community response

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Residents frustrated by glitches in registration for Chiswick School street permits

Image above: Chiswick School, from Staveley Rd

Residents of Grove Park and Dukes Meadows are having trouble registering their vehicles for exemption to penalty notices so they can drive through Staveley Rd from the A316 to Burlington Lane.

A Street School initiative was introduced last year around Chiswick School, to reduce traffic around schools, making it safer for students. At the time Hounslow Council said:

‘Residential exemptions will not be issued as residential properties are not located within the scheme area’.

There is a “No Motor Vehicle” access restriction on a section of Staveley Road between the A316 and Burlington Lane between 8.00 – 9.00am and 2.45 – 3.45pm Monday to Friday. These restrictions do not apply to buses, delivery vehicles or school staff.

In August this year Hounslow Council announced the scheme was being extended, as the Streetspace initiatives in Grove Park introduced over the past year have displaced too much traffic onto Burlington Lane and Sutton Court Rd.

Access will be restricted to Staveley Rd and Burlington Lane from the A316. The entry to Burlington Lane from the A316 will be a ‘hard closure’ – ie. the road will be blocked, allowing no access from the A316. The entry to Staveley Rd from the A316 will be restricted between 08.00 am and 5.00 pm to permit holders and local buses only.

Local councillors in the Riverside ward campaigned for the Council to reconsider. After an intervention by Cllr John Todd, representing residents in his ward east of the A316, the Council conceded there would be an opportunity for local residents living east of the A316 to apply for exemptions as well.

The form to register for exemption was added to Hounslow’s website at the beginning of November.

Residents in Grove Park and Dukes Meadows who have tried to register their vehicle for exemption from penalties have found the form on Hounslow’s website has only been working intermittently. When I tried this morning it was working, but the website had a notice saying it would be out of action again on Monday 30 November and Tuesday 1 December while further work was carried out on the site.

Residents ‘confused’ as their applications are wrongly rejected

Not only have residents found the site not working at times, but some of those who should be eligible for exemption, according to the Council’s own rules, have found their applications have been rejected.

Cllr Gabriella Giles

Cllr Gabriella Giles wrote on social media on 19 November:

‘I know that many of you have tried to register for the School Street in the last week only to have your permits rejected this week. I have contacted the Head of Traffic and Transport at Hounslow Council who has informed me this morning that:

“I am aware that there is a technical glitch with the online exemption registration form which my team and our contractors have been trying to fix over the last couple of days. The issue should be rectified tomorrow and in the meantime we have suspended the processing of new applications.

“Once this is rectified, we intend to register all eligible residents whose applications were incorrectly rejected, hopefully without the need for new submissions.”

Cllr Giles continued:

‘If you live in the GP or FR CPZ area (or indeed east of the A316 as specified in the TMO) and registered only to receive a rejection this week, your application is still valid. This will be processed. If you haven’t yet registered for the whitelist, the site should be back online tomorrow, and you will be able to register then’.

Others commenting on the thread:

“we were very confused as to why we were rejected” and “I submitted my application but have received no acknowledgment”.

Cllr Giles commented: “The system has been set up with a really poor user experience”.

New applicants applying for exemption now receive an acknowledgement when when complete the form.

As yet no date has been set for the introduction of the extension of the vehicle ban.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Rupa Huq and Matt Hancock join forces to ‘detoxify’ politics

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor to turn on Chiswick Christmas tree lights

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

 

 

Sophie Ellis-Bextor to turn on Chiswick Christmas tree lights

Image above: Sophie Ellis-Bextor kitchen disco image from Twitter

Celebrated singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor is to turn on the lights for Chiswick’s Christmas tree on Saturday 4 December.

The tree, organised by the Chiswick Flower Market team and paid for by the Government’s Welcome Back funding to help high streets recover from the pandemic, will be installed next to the statue of William Hogarth, outside what used to be Barclays Bank.

The festivities will start at 5pm when choirs from local schools, Belmont Primary and musical theatre school ArtsEd, will sing carols before Sophie and the Mayor of Hounslow take centre stage to turn on the tree lights.

Sophie has just raised more than £1m for Children In Need with a 24 hour danceathon. Throughout the session she danced to the BBC Radio 2 travel news, sang karaoke with Tony Blackburn and regularly changed her outfit into a succession of sparkly dresses. The challenge was inspired by Ellis-Bextor’s Kitchen Disco sessions, a series of live-streamed concerts from her house during the 2020 lockdown.

Weekend of Christmas festivities

The lighting of the tree sees the start of a weekend of Christmas festivities, with the Christmas flower market on Sunday 5 December welcoming 50 stalls stretching throughout Old Market Place and along Chiswick High Rd, offering one of the largest selections of flowers and plants in London and selling other Christmas goodies, including traditional toys and food.

The music will continue through Sunday with performances from Chiswick Rock Choir and other local musicians and you can expect some exciting street entertainment and face-painting for younger visitors. Local businesses are collaborating with the market organisers to provide food and drink: a street BBQ and mulled wine from Fullers’ George IV pub and mince pies from Planet Organic.

Street entertainment will include Chivaree’s Ice King and Queen. Chivaree take street theatre to another level, with ‘bespoke entertainment’ – in this case stilt walkers.

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market stall from Christmas 2020 market; photograph Anna Kunst

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor raises more than £1m in 24 hour Children In Need danceathon

See also: Christmas things to do in and around Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

 

 

Andrea’s film review – JFK Revisited: through the looking glass

JFK Revisited: through the looking glass ⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Declassified files related to President Kennedy’s assassination in a far larger context, aiming to shine more light on what really happened in 1963. Out November 26 in selected cinemas.

Oliver Stone is clearly obsessed by the conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting of the 35th president of the United States. His beautifully crafted JFK in 1991, mainly remembered for its breath-taking and very flashy editing, seamlessly blended archive from the time with re-created footage.

The result was a powerful, though at times slightly preachy movie, which obviously because the nature of the real events left a lot of questions unanswered and a strong feeling that facts had been covered up.

Now, thirty years on, taking advantage of some recently declassified pieces of evidence, he takes us back to 1963 and that fateful moment on November 22nd, to show us that what we call “conspiracy theories” are actually “conspiracy facts”. But this time he’s making a real documentary about it.

The first nine minutes of JFK Revisited are absolutely stunning: a real masterclass in storytelling through editing. Real footage and news reports from the time are skilfully put together without the aid of any additional commentary, just voices from the past and music. It is both emotional and economical in the way it recaps everything you need to know to catch up with the basic story. A truly beautiful start.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the rest of the film.

Oliver Stone is so keen to tell us everything he knows about the subject, that sometimes he seems to forget to decide whether he should actually tell us it all. Believe me Oliver, not everything is an interesting as you think.

The documentary is so packed with facts and information, related at breath-taking speed, that at some point you feel your head might just explode. Not that it’s hard to follow, but after a while you begin to wonder whether any of this is actually leading up to anything.

And you know what? The sad answer is no. I’m as much in the dark as I was before. And so, what’s the point in making another film (for the big screen too!) if all you do is speculating and just adding fire to the conspiracies?

There are no real answers, no great reveals, no shocking truths.

As the film goes on, especially in its second half, it all just spirals even more out of control, adding subplots of little interest, confusing things even more and even switching voiceovers. At times it’s Oliver Stone himself telling the facts, other times Whoopi Goldberg (how random) and towards the end a very old sounding Donald Sutherland takes over.

Stone also packs a lot of extraneous stuff into the story in an attempt to tell us how the murder of JFK had global implications. At which point I completely tuned out and started counting the minutes to the end, but when that finally came, it even took me by surprise: “oh… is that it?” I asked myself.

A frustrating experience: a great beginning, an interesting (though messy) middle and basically no end. It really doesn’t gel together as a whole film, it feels more like an extra feature that should be added onto the original JFK DVD and Blu-ray.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

JFK Revisited: through the looking glass is in selected cinemas from 26 November. Check out the Curzon Bloomsbury.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith – Review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.
Out in November 26 in selected cinemas
Check out the Curzon Bloomsbury

Ruth Cadbury supports equal pensions for Gurkhas

Ruth Cadbury MP has called for fresh commitments to the Gurkha community in Hounslow and across the UK, following a recent protest in regards to their pension rights.

Speaking in a House of Commons debate on Gurkha pensions on Monday (22 November), Ruth praised the work of Hounslow’s large Gurkha community, including the work of the borough’s Mayor Bishnu Gurung – who served as a staff sergeant.

Ruth spoke on the campaign for pension equality, and the impact the Government’s Universal Credit cut would have on many Gurkha families.

The debate was raised in parliament after a petition reached over 100,000 signatures, demanding that Gurkhas receive the same pensions as other British veterans of the same rank and service. In August, a group of Gurkha veterans went on a thirteen-day hunger strike outside the Ministry of Defence, only ending their strike after officials agreed to meet with the group and the Nepali ambassador.

The Gurkhas are soldiers native to South Asia of Nepalese nationality (and Ethnic Nepalese of Indian Nationality) who were recruited for the British Army.

Home Office are “fleecing” Gurkha ex-service personnel

During the debate, Ruth said the Home Office are “fleecing” Gurkha ex-service personnel and their families, by forcing them to pay £2,389 per person to settle in the UK. She added many Gurkhas already living in the UK are on low incomes because of the pension problem will have been impacted by the decision to cut £1,000 a year from universal credit.

Speaking after the debate, Ruth Cadbury MP said:

“In Hounslow we’re lucky to have a large Gurkha community, who have served both in our armed forces and also play a huge role in our local civic community

“That’s why I made sure to attend this debate and urge the Government to listen to the serious concerns that many Gurkhas have raised about their pensions. I also mentioned the impact that the Governments £1,000 a week cut to Universal Credit has had, along with the rip-off immigration fees that many Gurkhas and other commonwealth veterans still face.

“It’s time the Government to show their commitment to Gurkhas across the UK who’ve given so much for our country.’’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Huge crowds attend prayers for Ali Abucar Ali

See also: Brentford fatal stabbing – Tributes flow for ‘hero’; survivor now stable

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Andrea’s Film Review – Last Night in Soho

Last Night in Soho ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

An aspiring fashion designer is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer. But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something darker. On in cinemas across London.

This film is sold as a psychological thriller and while there might be some truth in that, it is definitely veering more towards the horror genre than anything else. So your enjoyment of it will eventually depend on your love for that type of stuff and on just how much you’re willing go with it.

I came to it quite blind, something I do quite often, avoiding trailers, reviews. I love to be surprised by the films I watch. Not knowing where they’re going to take me is part of the fun and I usually cherish u-turns and twists. But here the more the film took the horror route (a genre which I know well and I usually enjoy) the more I began to tune out. For once I almost wished I could have been more ready for what was lurking ahead.

The set up was quite intriguing: the young Eloise, played by a wonderful Thomasin McKenzie who had already shown her skills in Jojo Rabbit, moves to London to study fashion design. But after moving to a rented room in Soho she starts having mysterious dreams in which she’s able to enter the nightlife of the swinging 1960s. Soon these dreams turn into something much darker and Soho itself begins to show its seedier side.

There is certainly a great sense of style in this film and that’s not surprising for those who have been following director Edgar Wright’s career, from Shaun of the Dead to Hot Fuzz and more recently Baby Driver. His love for the ‘60s vibes, his attention to detail, his passion for music and the Soho settings is apparent in every frame and the film is better for it. At times it is seductive, intoxicating, intriguing, and yes creepy too. So far so good.

It feels almost like Wright is aspiring to be a sort of British David Lynch and he actually gets tantalisingly close to making it work, but unfortunately once ghouls or ghost or zombies or whatever-those-are start to show up and it turns gory and over the top, it all turns a bit silly. Unresolved loose ends become more and more apparent (a whole subplot with a roommate goes nowhere, same with a set up at Halloween), and crucially it gets lot less scary: as always with these sort of horror films, the less you see the better.

In the end not even the presence of Terence Stamp and Anya Taylor-Joy, on her first appearance since the Queen’s Gambit, can save you from that feeling of disappointment. Despite the stylish look and the many good things going for it, this is still a very messy film.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Last Night in Soho is in cinemas across London now.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Lyric Hammersmith – review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Brother of Brentford stab victim criticises police community response

Images above: Ali Abucar Ali; Police spokesman at the meeting

The family of Ali Abucar Ali, the young man stabbed to death in Brentford on 12 November, have criticised Hounslow police’s community response.

The comments were made by Ali’s older brother at Brentford Free Church on Wednesday (24 November), during a community meeting set up in response to the stabbing. The meeting was called so residents who had concerns about the impact of the attack could attend and ask questions.

Ali Abucar Ali was attacked and fatally stabbed while trying to help an elderly woman, Betty Walsh, who was stabbed multiple times outside the Brentford kebab shop Best Kebab and Fish Bar on Albany Parade.

Ali’s brother went on to describe the event as “a box-ticking exercise” claiming the event was organised to make it look like police were doing something for the community when in fact they were not.

Cllr Steve Curran, who chaired the meeting along with West Area BCU Commander Sean Wilson and Superintendent James Pigg, defended the meeting as an important tool to address the fears members of the community have in relation to the attack.

But Ali’s brother said he had not been reassured after listening to what had been said during the meeting, saying things would likely just go back to how they were before.

West Area BCU Commander Sean Wilson and Cllr Curran responded by saying this was not the case and the council and Hounslow police were determined to learn lessons from this case to prevent similar incidents.

Images above: Brentford Free Church, Cllr Steve Curran chairing the meeting on 24 November

Somali community not informed

Another resident, Faiza, criticised the police’s decision to call a community meeting without properly promoting the evening and informing community organisations. She called on the police to make use of existing resources to advertise similar meetings.

“I learnt about this meeting from a screenshot my friend sent to me on WhatsApp. We know it’s possible to organise larger scale community events after [the funeral Janazah prayers last week].

“But tonight I can see councillors and an MP is present and it’s shocking to see and no disrespect [to Betty’s family], but Ali’s community is not here apart from a few rows of people and he is the one who’s dead.”

Superintendent James Pigg who organised the meeting, responded by saying: 

“I wanted to have this meeting as quickly as possible, we thought it was more respectful to have it after the funeral and after the ceremony. I do admit I thought to myself ‘Maybe I should delay this’ to give more of a chance for advertising for it’, but by then the ball was rolling.”

Cllr Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities, told the police community organisations should be consulted prior to the next meeting.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Huge crowds attend prayers for Ali Abucar Ali

See also: Brentford fatal stabbing – Tributes flow for ‘hero’; survivor now stable

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

Andrea’s Film Review – Sing 2

Sing 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Buster Moon and his friends must persuade reclusive rock star Clay Calloway to join them for the opening of a new show. Out in cinemas in January.

When the first Sing came out five years ago, none us was expecting it to be so enjoyable. Its sense of fun and its sparkling energy was so infectious that by the end I found myself completely swept away. And yes, that was despite all the contrivances of the story, because let’s face it, the film was clearly just an excuse to play a series of recognisable tunes in X-Factor-sort-of-way.

But somehow none of that mattered because all the other elements – the characters, the laughs, the garish visuals and of course the songs – seemed to come together so seamlessly and made it one of the most surprising animated hit of the year, and more importantly one of the most enjoyable.

So it seems obvious that Sing 2 would try to repeat the same formula.

The problem is that this time around the randomness of songs and the obviousness of some of the jokes expose a much weaker story and reveal what we all suspected all along: this is just excuse for a series some A-list stars to perform some known tunes.

There’s clearly a lot of talent behind the scenes and on the screen; the voice cast is spot on and the visual spectacle, especially during the last performance, which is actually beautifully executed, is impeccable.

Unfortunately neither of those things, nor the wall-to-wall songs, which may be more in number but they are not as memorable, and not even the frenetic pace which keeps things moving all the time (so that you don’t stop wondering whether any of what you’re watching is making any sense), can hide some of the apparent cracks and the nasty truth.

They pulled it off once but, as it happens with many sequels, there’re now stretching the idea a little bit too far. The whole thing just doesn’t feel as funny, as fresh nor as entertaining as it did the first time… at least not for me.

But since the songs are so many, you’re bound to like at least some of them and hopefully those, together with the dazzling visuals and the engaging characters will carry you through to the end.
Having said all this, the rest of the family enjoyed it a lot… So what do I know?

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Sing 2 will be in cinemas in January.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Lyric Hammersmith – review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

 

Andrea’s Film Review – Drive my car

Drive my car ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Nishijima Hidetoshi is a stage actor and director happily married to his playwright wife. Then one day she disappears. Out in selected cinemas.

I recognise this may not a film for everyone and to be honest on paper it’s not really the type of film for me either.

I’m impatient, I love action, sci-Fi and horror and E.T. is among my favourite films ever. Basically nothing could be more further away than this meditative and gentle Japanese film that spends most of its time with a grieving husband being driven around a car while listening to recordings of Chekov’s “Uncle Vanya”.

All of which in four different languages (through there might have been five). And if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, hear me out for a second.

Because if you’re patient enough, if you’re in that right state of mind and you’re willing to let yourself go for three hours, away from your mobile phone or any other distractions, I can be pretty sure Drive my car will eventually get to you in a way very few films can and ultimately it will reveal itself as rewarding and profound experience.

The slow pace and the three hours length have a lot to do with it: the overall immersive experience of the film, as we are slowly (very slowly) drawn closer and closer to the main characters.

The film very subtly builds more and more, so that by the time we get to the final scenes, the emotional payoff about regret and acceptance is so effortlessly moving that it’s a beauty to behold.

No wonder the film has just won three awards in Cannes.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Drive my car is on in selected cinemas.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Lyric Hammersmith – review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Andrea’s Film Review – The Boss Baby 2: Family Business

The Boss Baby 2: Family Business ⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

The Templeton brothers have become adults and drifted away from each other, but a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach is about to bring them together again – and inspire a new family business. On in cinemas now.

To quote one of the lines at the beginning of this film “Being a dad is one of the coolest jobs in the world”. You have all the excuses you want to play with Lego, to pretend you live in a world where Santa Claus exists (and don’t you dare go telling me otherwise) and to watch (and rewatch) some of those many wonderful animated features out there.

However, from time to time you may also find yourself having to endure films like this one. I guess it’s part of the job description.

Last year it was the dreadful Scoob! and this time is the abysmal Boss Baby 2.

Unfunny, unoriginal, illogical, unintelligible and just messy. And you can probably stop reading here, because let me spoil it for you: it doesn’t really get a lot better.

I should probably confess that I could never quite understand the appeal of the original movie either, beyond possibly an intriguing title, but at least it did have some cute moments and the crazy plot about baby spies on a mission to fight puppies because they are too cute and could replace them (yes you heard me right). However unhinged, it was at least a nice metaphor for a child afraid to lose his parents’ love.

But then again, who I am to judge? That first Boss Baby earned over half a billion dollars worldwide on its release, scored an Oscar nomination and even spun a whole to TV series on Netflix (currently on its 4th season). And now four years later, here’s the obligatory cash-grab sequel, which retreads the original’s formula, dismisses any possible metaphoric readings and just rattles along with a series of unfunny, loud and chaotic sketches somehow stitched together to resemble the appearance of a logical story.

Believe me, I’ve been trying to come up with a simple way to tell that story for the past 20 minutes and I failed miserably. This is as generic as it can be, just like any those average episodes on Netflix, with one crucial difference: it is over 100 minutes long!

There’s clearly some talent behind the scenes, with some decent music, glimpses of imaginative visuals and a great voice cast (reasons for which it just about gets the two stars mark), but not even Alec Baldwin, James Marsden nor Jeff Goldblum can save what it ultimately a big mess.

It did start rather promisingly, with a half decent introduction, which seems to touch on those universal values and feelings we can all relate to: parents seeing their kids growing up. So far so good, I thought to myself. But then all of a sudden, the film abandoned any pretence of being be a Pixar product and instead took a huge turn, not only becoming incomprehensible (especially if you can’t quite remember the dynamics and rules of the first movie), but seriously headache inducing.

It’s as if the producers had ordered the film-makers never to hold a shot for more than three seconds, or lower the level of sound beyond the decibels of a scream and always have at least four or five things happening on the screen at the same time because otherwise the young kids might get too bored.

The result is the equivalent of that typical of sugar rush kids get after a birthday party… multiplied by ten! Mad, loud, puerile and pointless.

My kid deserves so much more than this… and to be honest, so do I.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

The Boss Baby 2: Family Business is out in cinemas from Friday 19 November.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Lyric Hammersmith – review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Andrea’s Film Review – After Love (2020)

After Love (2020) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Andrea’s Film Review

Set in the port town of Dover, Mary Hussain suddenly finds herself a widow following the unexpected death of her husband. A day after the burial, she discovers he has a secret just twenty-one miles across the English Channel in Calais. Available on the BFI player.

The downside of watching so many films (like I do) is that I often tend to forget them pretty much instantly the moment the credits are over.

Well, this is definitely not going to happen with this one. I’m pretty sure I’ll remember After Love (be careful, not the French film with the same title) for quite a long time, and all for the right reasons. This tiny little British film gripped me, hypnotised me, surprised me, intrigued me and moved me like few things have this year.

At the centre of it all, a subtle and yet towering performance by Joanna Scanlon playing a British woman who converted to Islam after marrying her husband. When he dies her whole world is turned upside down not just by the sudden event, but by a shocking revelation …

What can I say, without giving away too much? Joanna Scanlon is absolutely splendid on this. She spend most of the film tight-lipped, holding it all inside, but her eyes speak volumes.

In fact her performance is so powerful that it make even some of the slightly forced plot turns and machination of the script feel natural.

Written and directed by first timer Aleem Khan. After Love is possibly one of the best British films I’ve seen in a while and certainly since the pandemic started.

It’s a film that manages to explore incredibly weighty themes with the lightest of touch: it’s about death, grief, betrayal and loneliness as well as being also a beautifully observed study of women and the sacrifices some of them make for their husbands.

But don’t take me wrong, despite all this and its subject matter, this is not a depressing or heavy film, but a rather gripping story and ultimately a cathartic one, which finds the most surprising moments within the apparent domesticity of every-day life in which people are all leading a double life and often they are not even aware of that.

It is an unsentimental film packed with restrained emotions which slowly build and build and build to the point where, by the end, I was myself bathing in my own tears. Well yes, I might have looked like a wreck, but what an unexpected joy to find something so powerful and engaging!

I really loved it and could have easily watched another hour.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Right now you can still catch After Love (2020) on the BFI Player.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Lyric Hammersmith – review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Andrea’s Film Review – Tick Tick Boom!

Tick Tick Boom! ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theatre composer navigates love, friendship and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City. On in cinemas now.

Tick Tick Boom is the latest directorial effort from Manuel Lin-Miranda (the genius behind the Broadway hit and Tony and Pulitzer winner Hamilton).

This time he’s adapting for the screen a semi-autobiographical play by Jonathan Larson, the young man who eventually went on to compose Rent, a game changer in contemporary theatre. The stress on “semi” is crucial here, as a cheeky disclaimer at the front of the film points out… Hence, who knows how much of this is true?

The original source material, more than a classic ‘play’ is a sort of ‘musical monologue’ in which the author, about to turn 30 and on the verge of a mental breakdown, channels his fears and anxieties as he struggles with writer’s block.

He’s unable to come up with new songs for his script. In among all that, he also talks about his relationship with his girlfriend, his adoring and supportive family and his gay roommate and friends, most of whom seemed to be dying from AIDS (This takes place in the 80s at the height of the AIDS crisis, which was particularly prominent among the New York entertainment community).

If anything this film clearly shows us how Lin-Miranda’s great creative skills go well beyond the boundaries of stage and I can only hope one day he’ll find the perfect source material to give us the masterpiece he can clearly produce.

Whether this the right material, I’m not completely sure. He certainly knows it inside out (he played the lead in a New York staging back in 90s), and he’s also able to use any cinematic styles and tools in the book to draw every single drops of pulsating energy out of those rock monologues: clever transitions, snappy editing and ever changing visual styles (square-boxed Home-videos, mixed with wider cinematic aspect ratio).

He also understands his characters very well and he’s able to convey them to his actors.

Andrew Garfield, who apparently studied musical performance in preparation for this role, brings huge energy and enthusiasm to the lead role. He feels completely at ease with his character, singing and dancing as if it was a second nature to him, using his innate charm to make Jonathan likeable even when he is way too self-centred and obnoxious. The rest of the cast (friends and girlfriend) are all very solid too, both when they act and sing.

And yet despite all this talent, both in front and behind the camera, the film left me a bit cold throughout and I found myself watching it in quite a detached way (very unlike me), almost from far away, despite seeing this on a rather large screen in a real movie theatre, instead of being swept away by both the music and the overall brio.

This may be a limit set by the actual source material itself, which is probably why it took 30 years to be adapted and which I think somehow prevented the film to go “all out”, the way musicals can (and ought to) do.

I didn’t feel most emotional beats hit me the way they should have, maybe because they were not quite handled with enough gravitas and momentum, but also because they felt a bit rushed on a scripting level (case in point a crucial moment was dismissed rather quickly in a cold voiceover rather than dramatised with music).

And in the same way, the final triumphal moments in the film (no spoiler here, but we all know where the story ends) didn’t have me cheering at the screen as I am known to do (I’m a typical Italian, when I watch movies you can usually tell from miles away whether I am liking something or not).

Now, I know I’m sounding like a petulant moaner here, but I really wanted this to sweep me away both emotionally and intellectually. I love the people involved with this and while I see a lot of good things in the film, I can’t help feeling a little bit let down by it.

Still, I’m happy I saw it, so you might want to give it a chance and let me know if I was just on the wrong mood for it, or I am probably right.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Tick Tick Boom is out in (few) selected cinemas and will be on Netflix from Friday 19 November.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: November Books – Reviews by Annakarin Klerfalk

See also: The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Lyric Hammersmith – review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

David Tennant voted as viewers’ favourite Doctor Who

David Tennant has been named as viewers’ all-time favourite Doctor Who.

Chiswick’s own Time Lord was the 10th actor to take on the role and has topped the charts in a new piece of research carried out by bookies William Hill. The report was published on ‘Doctor Who Day’, marking the date the sci-fi tv programme first aired on 23 November, 1963.

The Doctor has been played by 13 different actors since then, with fans long debating which actor best filled the role.

Bookmaker William Hill sought to find out the answer by analysing tens of thousands of social media posts, domestic and international web search volume, headlines generated, and average IMDB ratings for each episode.

Tennant, who played The Doctor in 51 episodes of the sci-fi series with an average score of 8.2, came out on top. In second place is the man he inherited the famous role from, Christopher Eccleston.

The next Doctor has not yet been announced but the Bookies’ favourite is another actor associated with Chiswick, Omari Douglas. Douglas played Roscoe Babatunde in Channel 4’s It’s A Sin and studied BA Musical Theatre at Chiswick’s acting school ArtsEd in 2015.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Huge crowds attend prayers for Ali Abucar Ali

See also: Sophie Ellis-Bextor raises £1m in 24 hour danceathon for Children in Need

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.