Andrea’s film review – Quo Vadis Aida?

Quo Vadis Aida? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Aida is a translator for the UN in the small town of Srebrenica. When the Serbian army takes over the town, her family is among the thousands of citizens looking for shelter in the UN camp. Released in 2021 and just made available on Netflix.

A profoundly tense and moving film that follows Aida, a translator working at a UN base during the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 in which more than 8,372 Bosnian (mainly men and young boys) were murdered by the Serbian troops.

The film was nominated for an Oscar in 2021 for best Foreign film and it really deserves your attention.

Not just because it’s beautifully made, but because nobody should ever forget this, so even if it’s not a latest release I am hoping people can still pay some attention to it, especially as it just become available on Netflix.

Director Jasmila Zbanic doesn’t shy away from the injustice and horror of what happened, but at the same time she doesn’t revel in it, choosing to keep the camera off at the worst possible moments. Not a single person is ever seen being killed on screen.

The film has the same power and immediacy of films like Schindler’s list, or the Pianists.

Watching it tonight was a draining, infuriating and rather devastating experience: but it is an important testament to the horror of war and the human toll that it brings.

The central performance Jasna Đuričić is astonishing.

The final scene, when years later she breaks down at the sight of the remains of her children floored me completely… I’m still shaking as I am writing this.

It’s unfathomable to grasp that something like this has actually happened only a couple of decades ago.

This is certainly one of the most powerful films I’ve seen.

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

Quo Vadis Aida? is now available to watch on Netflix.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Narcissus at Chiswick Playhouse

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Council approves plan to ‘reimagine’ Chiswick town centre

Image above: Chiswick High Rd

‘Ambitious, collaborative, interventionist approach’ – Steve Curran

Hounslow Council has approved a report which calls for a ‘reimagining’ of the borough’s town centres: Chiswick, Brentford, Hounslow and Feltham.

The report, commissioned by LB Hounslow as part of its Recovery Plan to address the impact of the pandemic, sets out an ‘ambitious, collaborative, interventionist approach’ according to Council Leader Steve Curran, building on the ‘unique qualities’ of each town centre.

‘Hounslow’s town centres and neighbourhood parades have been severely impacted by the pandemic’ said Cllr Curran. ‘The impact of the pandemic has exacerbated and accelerated pre-pandemic trends such as a shift to on-line shopping and a demand for an experiential shopping experience’.

What the Council was trying to do, he said, was to create plans which would enable the borough’s town centres to ‘evolve, thrive and innovate in order to meet current and future challenges’.

Image above: Chiswick Post Office

Redevelopment of the Post Office Delivery Office

In Chiswick, ‘example projects might include’ a plan to ‘bring forward redevelopment of the Post Office Delivery Office on Barley Mow Passage as a high quality, mixed use development with community uses on ground floor’.

The report, by architects Allies and Morrison, transport planning consultants Urban Flow and commercial real estate agents Avison Young, does not specify whether a Post Office and a Delivery Office would remain as part of those ‘community uses’.

Other example projects suggested for Chiswick include ‘selectively adding storeys to some one or two storey shops on the High Rd where appropriate’ and to ‘bring forward redevelopment of sites, making best use of available space to create compact but high quality buildings and spaces that add to the character of the town centre.’

Image above: Chiswick Town Hall

Making better use of the town hall

The report also talks about investing in green and recreation spaces with ‘green routes’ between them and ‘making best use of civic buildings’ – the town hall and the library – ‘to deliver enhanced services and play a bigger role in the town centre.’

Examples of this ‘bigger role’ were ‘affordable workspace and ‘community space for hire’ and well as a ‘programme of events etc.’

Image above: Turnham Green in spring

Making more use of Turnham Green

Turnham Green is regularly rented out to George Irvine’s funfair but organisers of community activities such as Super Saturday of Sport have found that they were not allowed to have music as part of daytime activities on the Green.

The report proposes a programme of community-led events and festivals, noting the need to ‘prepare a strategy for place-based events and activities, such as overcoming barriers to using Turnham Green as a hosting site.’

Addressing the issue of empty shop fronts, on its to-do list is: ‘Commission local competitions for window displays and exhibitions in vacant shopfronts’ and ‘Work with landowners to manage vacancies and where appropriate, repurpose space into business use.’

Image above: Graphic from the ‘Reimagining our town centres’ report  by Allies and Morrison, Urban Flow and Avison Young, showing Chiswick High Rd

Chiswick will continue to be an attractive and desirable place to live and visit. Its existing choice of shops, places to work, eat, drink and be entertained will be strengthened and offer choice for all age groups.

Outlining its vision for Chiswick, it says:

‘Chiswick High Road will be a welcoming, safe and healthy environment, hosting events, markets and connected to well used green spaces…’

The report highlights some key ‘spatial priorities’ which could be implemented to better Chiswick town centre.

  • Upgrading existing green open space and recreation spaces with new facilities.
  • Investing in local heritage buildings, improving their setting with bespoke lighting and public realm.
  • Investing in upgrading existing green open space and recreation spaces with new facilities that encourages year-round use and enjoyment.
  • Community-led planting that improves climate resilience, wildlife and attractiveness of streets and spaces.
  • Chiswick High Road and Turnham Green hosting a programme of year-round events and activities.
  • A network of workspaces and community spaces that supports local idea development and delivery.
  • Destination marketing that captures all that is positive and unique to Chiswick. 

Image above: Map showing the town centres of Feltham, Hounslow, Brentford and Chiswick; from the ‘Reimagining our town centres’ report  by Allies and Morrison, Urban Flow and Avison Young

Neighbourhood parades plan and town centre ‘master plans’ under way

The draft Town Centre Vision documents  were unanimously approve at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 11 January. The next stage of the plans includes the development of town centre ‘masterplans’, with more specific detail fleshing out the aspirational goals of the report.

The plans for Hounslow and Brentford are already substantially under way; plans for Chiswick will be brought to Cabinet this spring.

See the ‘Reimagining our town centres’ report here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Reactions to the ‘Big Ideas’ proposed for Chiswick’s town centre

See also: Betty application for 1am licence turned down

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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

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Chiswick masseur convicted of voyeurism

Image above: Tamas Dominko image from Facebook

A married man working as a masseur in Chiswick has been convicted of voyeurism, after a client in her 20s caught him filming her while she undressed.

Tamas Dominko, 35, used his mobile phone to film the customer in July 2021. He placed the device on a treatment room shelf.

He was caught out while working at a clinic in Chiswick, when the client spotted the device as she went to get changed. She turned it to face the other way, then after the treatment she moved the phone again while dressing and checked the screen to see it was still recording.

The police were called and Dominko was arrested. A search of his home and electronic devices found no further suspicious images.

Dominko is married with one child and lives in Teddington. He had set up a business specialising in baby massage and massage for women who had recently given birth.

‘I felt incredibly vulnerable’ says victim

In her victim impact statement the woman said:

“I was shocked and felt threatened and did not know how to deal with it… I felt incredibly vulnerable, trapped in a room with Tamas almost naked. I am not the first person he is done this to, but it is the first time he has been caught.”

Dominko has been diagnosed with compulsive sexual behaviour and has been ordered to seek therapy. He was given a 12-month Community Order which requires him to participate in a sex offenders’ programme and other rehabilitation activity as well as do 100 hours community services work and pay compensation of £250 to the victim.

He was warned by the Magistrate that, were he to commit a similar offence in the future, he could be facing jail. He is now working as a kitchen porter.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Betty application for 1am licence turned down

See also: Council approves plan to ‘reimagine’ Chiswick town centre

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.

Narcissus at the Chiswick Playhouse

Image above: William Dunleavy as Mikey in Narcissus

Narcissus tells the story of a group of gay friends in a big city far from home as they chase the opportunities youth and beauty affords them.

Written and performed by William Dunleavy, his character Mikey enthrals the audience as he reminisces wistfully over the twists and turns of a wild night out in the pursuit of the best celebrity party they could find. A night which takes the penniless trio away from what they know and into a world of glamour, before jarring them back to reality.

The play uses the relationship between the hedonistic friends to explore the ties between vanity and insecurity, sex and love, friendship and selfishness and ultimately, the cruel reality of fading youth. It’s all fun and games until your hairline starts receding.

William’s captivating performance in this one man monologue show is delivered with such authenticity, you could be forgiven for thinking the events were plucked from a night of his own life.

Image above: William Dunleavy as Mikey in Narcissus

Produced by new theatre company Taste in your Mouth and supported by Culture Ireland, the play premiered at Dublin Fringe Festival in 2021, and was sold out.

Narcissus runs at the Chiswick Playhouse until 15 January. Click here for tickets.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Culture is ‘alive and well and thriving in Chiswick despite Covid’, says Torin Douglas

See also: Bookcase Chiswick on the look-out for second hand vinyls

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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Kew Gardens offering £1 tickets to visitors on Universal Credit

Kew Gardens has reduced entry prices for the poorest pensioners and visitors on Universal Credit to just £1.

The offer is part of Kew’s ‘Manifesto for Change’, which it created in early 2020 stating that its gardens must be accessible to a wide range of audiences.

The new £1 tickets can be pre-booked online or can be bought at the gate – and visitors will need to present proof of Universal Credit or Pension Credit on arrival. (Pension credit is extra money to help with living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income).

Standard price tickets are £19.50, or £15 if booked in advance. Off peak tickets (1 November – 31 January) cost £13.50 or £11.00 in advance. There are a range of discounted prices also for local residents, children and young people, visitors with a disability and senior citizens over 65.

Emergency service workers (with a Blue Light Card) and military personnel get in free, as do registered blind and partially sighted visitors and essential carers.

Image above: Palm House Kew Gardens – by John Perry

‘Kew must be accessible to a wide range of audiences’

Richard Deverell, Director of the Royal Botanic gardens, Kew said:

“We are really delighted to be able to offer more people a chance to experience the wonder of Kew and Wakehurst. We know what a wonderful thing it can be to enjoy a day out in nature and to explore the many corners of our gardens, take a picnic, listen to the beat of the wildlife and learn about the fascinating origins of some of our plants, many of which are extinct or threatened in the wild. I sincerely hope lots of people hear about this, avail of the offer and spread the word. Everyone is welcome.”

Kew Gardens has over 300 acres of landscape including a collection of 14,000 trees, four major glasshouses, art galleries, an award-winning children’s garden and the Hive installation, as well as free temporary festivals and exhibitions all year round.

Last year, Kew Gardens set a new world record for having the largest collection of living plants at a single-site botanic garden and features in this year’s Guinness Book of World Records. David Attenborough’s latest TV series The Green Planet has sequences filmed there.

Image above: Giant lily pads at Kew Gardens; photograph John Clare

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Betty application for 1am licence turned down

See also: Council approves plan to ‘reimagine’ Chiswick town centre

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.

Council approves new management structure for Gunnersbury Park

Image above: Gunnersbury Park Museum; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Hounslow Council has approved proposals to reorganise the management structure of Gunnersbury Park Estate, which will mean the council taking a back seat in managing the park.

Overall responsibility for running the site will be given to the Gunnersbury Museum and Park Development Trust, which will now take over ownership of the Gunnersbury Estate (2026) CIC, which has run the park since the house was reopened, on behalf of both Hounslow and Ealing Councils.

LB Ealing’s Cabinet also has to approve the changes, which is it set to do. Under the new arrangement the councils will have board representation on the Trust which will be given a 25 year lease on the park.

The reorganisation aims to allow the management of the park to operate in a unified way with a parent charity and a wholly owned trading subsidiary. It is hoped the new structure will remove any fundraising hurdles which would help to address the park’s financial and infrastructure challenges.

Governance arrangements have have led to rejections from some significant grants makers in the past and. In cases where funding has been made available some funders, such as the Garfield Weston Foundation and Foyle Foundation, have said further funding would be dependant on improvements to the management structure.

There has been criticism of the management of the park from the start, especially when Lovebox brought in huge crowds to the park for weekend festivals in 2018 and 2019.

READ ALSO: Lovebox declared a huge cultural success

The council’s decision will likely be a welcomed by Gunnersbury Museum and Park Development Trust and funders, as many hoped to see a reduction in hands-on control by the local authorities.

Under the new arrangements the CIC will no longer be a local authority controlled company. The two councils will have a formal representative on the parent charity board, and other safeguards will be put in place to ensure the local authorities can continue to exercise influence.

The new governance arrangements are expected to come into effect in May or June 2022.

Image above: Gunnersbury Park spring flower beds; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Gunnersbury Park ‘jewel in the crown’ of Ealing & Hounslow boroughs

During Tuesday’s cabinet meeting prior to approving the new governance structure, Cllr Steve Curran Leader of the Council, said:

“[Gunnersbury Park] is one of the jewels in the crown of Hounslow and Ealing. We need to sell it more, we need to promote it to the west of the borough. In the east it’s pretty well known but even there it’s not known enough.

He went on to praise the councils’ efforts to restore and maintain aspects of the park, saying the teams involved in looking after the park were a “credit to the borough”.

Cllr Samia Chauduary, the Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, thanked her team who were involved in looking after Gunnersbury Park. She said:

“After speaking to lots of residents from the west end of the borough about Gunnersbury, I think it’s really nice and well looked after and I would like to say a thank you to everyone who has been involved, especially my parks team and all the officers.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Gunnersbury Park becomes Jurassic Park

See also: Council approves plans to ‘reimagine’ Chiswick town centre.

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 – Cow

Cow⭐️⭐️⭐️  – Review by Andrea Carnevali

A close-up portrait of the daily lives of two cows. Out in selected cinemas now and on MUBI.

I never thought I would be so mesmerised by watching cows going about their daily lives for 90 minutes (because that’s essentially what this documentary is all about).

Cow might possibly be the closest you’ll ever be to these animals.

Director Andrea Arnold provides no commentary, but from the way the film is shot and thanks to some careful (and mostly invisible) editing choices, these animals might as well be talking.

The camera is always at ground levels with them, very close to their faces, often focusing on their eyes, so much so that you can almost see what they’re thinking. You’ll be able to feel their agony at being separated from their calf after birth, but also their happiness at being let out in the sunshine to the pasture among fresh green grass, though that’s just an occasional event.

The reality is pretty monotonous (in fact a little bit like the film itself): milking, breeding, eating, sleeping and then more milking and eating and sleeping… and so on and so on.

At times there is a feeling that this is not just about cows on a farm, but it’s about animals in captivity: the way they are packed together (so much so that the camera is often knocked off), the close ups on their sad eyes as their horns are being burnt and as they are pushed about from one area to another as well as their numbered tags on their ears, all contribute to the feeling that these are actually prisoners in slave camp more than anything else.

But at the same time these cows are relatively well looked after and taken care of: constant checks, antibiotics and the odd sweets word of encouragement. Humans are present, but always in the background. We sometimes hear their voices off camera, we see their hands and legs, coming in and out of frame, but the film never focuses on their faces; this is really just about the cows.

Yes, at times it feels a bit repetitive and possibly that’s the point, but overall considering the simple concept of the film itself, it’s actually very well handled (except for a badly judged, not very subtle cut from a cow mounting another to some fireworks. It might make you laugh, but it falls into a different type of film, and it’s a cheap gag).

The inevitable ending comes so abruptly and coldly it is heart-breaking, but what makes it even more chilling is how matter-of-fact it is: this is just another day on the farm.

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

Cow is out in selected cinemas and on MUBI from Friday.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Narcissus at Chiswick Playhouse

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 – Memoria

Memoria – Review by Andrea Carnevali

A woman from Scotland, while traveling in Colombia, begins to notice strange sounds. Soon she begins to think about their appearance. On at Chiswick Cinema this week.

Even if you’re not familiar with Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “conceptual films”, you’ll be able to tell exactly what sort of thing you’ve stumbled into within the first few minutes of Memoria.

The director has been called by some critics the “David Lynch of Asia“, a title that makes him sound a lot more exciting than in fact I have found him to be,  and this is his first work outside Thailand, half in English and half in Spanish (giving the chance to Tilda Swinton to showcase her language skills).

More than a film, this feels in fact like a mindfulness session, in which the audience gets mesmerised (or utterly bored) by a series of wide static shots, as the slow pace takes over your senses (… or knocks you down into a deep sleep).

It is clearly a piece of work that requires patience (a quality which I’m afraid I’m rather lacking).

It will frustrate you or inspire you, depend in on your state of mind and your willingness to go with it, as it’s clearly something that is trying to evoke a mood more than an actual story.

It is described as “an exploration of memory and the human condition”, but as far as I am concerned, I found it impenetrable. In the end the lack of a real plot and the quiet and hypnotic nature of this “meditation” (I can’t even bring myself to call it “film”… hence the lack of star rating here) was too trying for me.

Not only did it not “connect with my soul” as it did for some of those real (high-brow) critics out there, but often I found the intentionally slow pace almost a parody of itself.

Let’s put it this way, it’s not the kind of thing you want to watch late at night… unless of course you suffer from insomnia (like Tilda Swindon in it), in which case it might do wonders.

What I found fascinating however is the way this film is being released: basically it will never come out on DVD or any streaming platforms, but it will only be shown in cinemas and will move from week to week from arthouse to arthouse, in perpetuity, making the film (there you go… I’ve just called it “film”) something special which will slowly gain the status of an arthouse rarity…. Or at least that’s the hope.

As it happens it’s playing at the Chiswick Cinema this week-end.

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

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Narcissus at Chiswick Playhouse

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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Betty application for 1am weekend licence turned down

Image above: Steve Novak, owner of Betty in Barley Mow Passage

“Chiswick needs a late night place” says owner

The owner of Betty, the restaurant-bar in Barley Mow Passage, has had his application for a late licence on Fridays and Saturdays turned down by LB Hounslow’s Licensing Panel.

Betty is currently licensed until 11.30pm on both nights. Owner Steve Novak applied to extend it until 1am but was given only until midnight.

“It’s disappointing” he told The Chiswick Calendar. “I think Chiswick needs a late night place and we are well located to provide it.”

He told the Licensing Panel he was not applying to extend the licence just to make a bit more money, but so that his business could survive. Since Betty opened in August, he said:

“it has proved significantly harder to make money than we thought.”

Two good businesses had failed in that location before (Sam’s Brasserie and Foxlow restaurants) he said. The Christmas period had been disastrous because of the Omicron virus. The brunch and dinner trade had dropped off and the only events which had really proved successful for them had been late night ones.

“There aren’t as many staff in local offices. Chiswick is overserved for the brunch and lunch trade now but it is underserved for late nights.”

Getting the licence could be “make or break” for the restaurant-bar he told the panel.

Images above: Betty from Barley Mow Passage, and inside the bar

Does Chiswick want night life?

The discussion went to the heart of what kind of place Chiswick wants to be: a quiet suburb or a city location with places where people could carry on drinking late. The three local residents who spoke against the application – one of whom, Jardine Appleton, is the general manager of The Lamb pub opposite Betty – were united in preferring a good night’s sleep.

Adam Davies said it didn’t matter how good a relationship local residents had with Steve and his staff at the restaurant, how many meetings they had or what safeguards they put in place, they would never be able to stop people who’d been drinking from making a racket as they left.

Cllr Joanna Biddolph pointed out every street in Chiswick was residential, and the problem was not unique to Mr Novak’s application.

Premises are allowed to apply for up to ten temporary licences in addition to their usual licence and since Mr Novak he opened in August he has used that opportunity to have late events for Christmas and Halloween and for sporting events.

Jardine Appleton, Jemma and Adam Davies and Lorraine Pemberton told councillors these events had caused an unacceptable level of noise and led to people congregating outside, late at night. Ms Pemberton said:

“I am deeply concerned I will be living 20 yards away from what is heading towards becoming a nightclub.”

Mr Novak assured her it was and would remain just a restaurant-bar. He said he hadn’t been made aware of any problems until the licence hearing. If they had come and talked to him about he could have done something sooner and if he was granted a licence extension he would instruct his door staff to move people away from the restaurant-bar after they’d left the premises and to ask them to be quiet as they left.

His licence was extended by half an hour until midnight, with drinking up time until half past.

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

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: A Weatherspoons in Chiswick?

See also: Development of luxury riverside houses on Hartington Rd turned 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.

Mind Matters – New year but old patterns of negative thinking?

Rather than write about new year resolutions I’ve decided to write about what usually prevents them from being achieved – negative thinking.

Everytime you see a news article about COVID do you think about it in terms of what it suggests might go badly as opposed to what might improve? When the phone rings unexpectedly or when an unexpected letter arrives do you expect trouble? Do you instantly start to think that something bad is happening?

If you are feeling unwell do you find yourself checking websites and end up wondering if you have the most serious illness listed? When watching news items about difficulties in the economy do you instantly start thinking about losing your job, or not being able to pay your bills?

Do you recognise thinking like ‘I’m stuck in traffic it’s going to be a terrible day’. ‘I made that mistake again, I am stupid’. ‘I always fail at relationships, I will never be happy’. ‘I am in debt, I cannot manage my finances’.

Negative thinking is where you are constructing your everyday experience and situations as challenges and threats; you might also describe this as having a pessimistic outlook. Negative thoughts generate negative feelings which lead to further negative thoughts and so it is really important to recognise negative thought patterns. Left unchecked negative thoughts and feelings change how life is experienced such that anxiety and depression become increasingly significant.

The very first step to tackling your negative thinking is to accept that recognising your struggle now means you can take action to improve your situation. If you have any physical concerns or symptoms visit your GP so that these can be either diagnosed and treated or discounted. This then leaves you able to start to understand what your emotions and thoughts are really trying to tell you. You are experiencing a healthy response to a perceived threat, the task here is therefore not to stop thinking and feeling but to understand and challenge your sense of being under threat; doing this effectively will lead to a change in thinking and feeling.

It is important that you know that you do have the potential to change the way you think and that will start to change the way you feel, that as a result this pattern of negative thoughts and feelings can be broken. What you will need will be the right conditions to facilitate this. Having recognised what is going on you may be able to work through and find a solution and there is a quick guide on how to go about this at the bottom of the page. However your ability to do this on your own will depend upon the severity and length of time you have struggled.

A common problem is that people can be reluctant to seek help and this is often a wonderful example of negative thinking. ‘If I seek help it will mean that I am going to be a burden, a failure, pathetic, wasting people’s time or, I don’t have time or, I don’t have the money etc’. The reality is that everyone struggles from time to time and left unchecked negative thinking will only create a downward spiral, ultimately it must be argued that not seeking help to a recognised and treatable problem is a mistake. As soon as you realise that your own efforts are not succeeding, seek help.

A quick guide for challenging and changing negative thinking:

Write down the negative thoughts you are having and the situations in which they occur.

Do you remember the first time these thoughts occurred to you and if so what was going on for you in life at that point. Is it possible that there is a connection?

Consider whether you are being realistic in your thinking. Visualise how you would respond if a friend of yours came to talk to you with this problem – would your advice or judgement be any different to the way in which you are advising or judging yourself?

Now let’s get down to challenging those individual negative thoughts – pick the one that occurs to you first. Does the thought contain any element which is based on interpretation and not fact? In the example ‘I am in debt, I cannot manage my finances’. The first part may be fact but the second is an interpretation.So what you need to do here is to replace the interpretation with a question – ‘what can I do to solve this’?

Watch carefully to ensure that if you cannot find an answer you do not judge yourself but instead you bring in a new question ‘what help do I need?’

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, Lost and Found

See all Nicholas’s Mind Matters blogs here

Read a profile of Nicholas here

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Chiswick Cheese Market Sunday 16 January

Image above: Blue cheeses from the Chiswick Cheese Market

Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin

After nearly two years of never knowing what’s round the next corner, locking and unlocking, mask wearing and not mask wearing my only resolution this year was to have no resolutions at all but to simply enjoy life and make the most of things as they came along. And so, I find myself in the middle of January, when I would normally be trying a new fad diet and embarking on a weird fitness regime simply saying ‘bring on the cheese!’ – join us on 16 January for the first ‘Cheesewick’ market of 2021.

Our favourites are with us – Ewa will be bringing her 36 month old Parmesan, Heritage Cheese  with their wonderful selection of fantastic British and Irish Artisan cheeses, and James from no. 2 Pound Street with his carefully curated selection of what is the best of the best this month. Don’t forget Fay from Big Wheel cheese, Roi with Caerphilly and Cheddar, Olives and charcuterie from The Olive bar. The French Comte has the very best of all the Alpine mountain cheeses and please don’t forget to bring your empty milk bottles along and get a re-fill of fresh milk straight from Dorset Dairy – they will have their yoghurts and butter too!

Image above: The French Comte stall at Chiswick Cheese Market

All the very best cheeses from around the country, extras, accoutrements and a world of gorgeousness on offer this Sunday. 9.30am – 3pm.

We are very excited to announce a new collaboration with the fantastic recipe site CKBK (www.ckbk.com). Matt with be on hand to talk to everyone about his very special website offering 1000s of recipes from cookery books both old and new and we are thrilled that we will feature a cheese recipe from his huge selection on our website every month. So, click on our website for our recipe of the month for January but come and see Matt in real life at the market and discover a mountain of recipes at your fingertips once you get back to the comfort of your lovely warm kitchen.

And if you fancy making it a real cheesy day out when you visit the cheese market pop into the Roebuck on the High Road for their Apres Ski bar serving fondue, raclette and mountains of melted cheese or what about the new Tartiflette on offer at Cote on Turnham Green Terrace – and don’t forget our very own Cheeswick burger only available at Honest Burger. Chiswick is really becoming ‘Cheesewick’ every 3rd Sunday of the month!

I think that the last two years has shown us all that life is too short for quick fixes and fads and we all should be making the most of each day so join me and simply ‘bring on the cheese!’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Local charity gets funding for over ’60s dance and movement classes

See also: Culture is ‘alive and well and thriving in Chiswick despite Covid’ says Torin Douglas

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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Local charity receives funding to launch over 60s dance and movement classes

Image above: Move into Wellbeing® class

Move into Wellbeing®, founded in 2005 by Donna Schoenherr, has been granted money by LB Hounslow to deliver a ‘Move into Wellbeing’ class for Over 60s at the Hogarth Youth Centre on Duke’s Road, W4, during 2022.

The charity provides dance and movement classes for people with mobility restrictions. Move into Wellbeing® works with those with Parkinson’s, ME, MS, Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Dyspraxia, Early-stage Dementia, and Long COVID as well as those with general stiffness, balance, and joint problems.

During the last two years, it has developed an online programme in order to keep people moving and healthy at home, which it runs in conjunction with in-person classes at several different locations – St. Peter’s Parish Hall in Southfield, the Musical Museum in Brentford for the Hounslow Seniors Trust, St Mary’s Osterley, and at four different sheltered accommodation schemes in Hounslow as part of the London Borough of Hounslow Over 60’S Activities Programme.

The class is taught by specially trained dance industry professionals and is done seated to musical accompaniment, and can be adapted to individual needs. Ballet4Life oversees these enriching programmes.

Image above: Move into Wellbeing® class

Their efforts to bring back a daytime weekly class to Chiswick have reaped awards, says director and founder Donna Schoenherr.

“Huge thanks to the London Borough of Hounslow for recently granting the charity the Thriving Communities Fund to deliver a Move into Wellbeing® class for Over 60’s at the Hogarth Youth Centre on Duke’s Road, W4, during 2022.”

These classes start on Tuesday 18 January, 2022, from 1.45pm – 2.45pm.

With the aid of the Thriving Communities Fund, this new class can be enjoyed for only £2 payable on the day on the door or by bank transfer. To register please contact them on info@moveintowellbeing.org.uk.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Bookcase Chiswick on the lookout for second hand vinyls

See also: Culture is ‘alive and well and thriving in Chiswick despite Covid’, says Torin Douglas

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.

Culture is ‘alive and well and thriving in Chiswick despite Covid’, says Torin Douglas

Image above: Torin Douglas at the Chiswick Book Festival; photograph Roger Green

Guest blog by Torin Douglas

Culture is alive and well and thriving in Chiswick, despite Covid – but it’s not been an easy two years.

As director of the Chiswick Book Festival, I’d normally be speaking this week at the New Year ‘arts and business’ drinks we hold with ArtsEd, the school for performing arts in Bath Road. It’s a great occasion which brings together Chiswick’s cultural organisations, the firms that sponsor arts events and the media that highlight them – and it has spawned exciting new partnerships and productions.

Last January’s get-together was cancelled, so we were really looking forward to this year’s. We’ve now postponed it till April but the New Year is still a good moment to highlight Chiswick’s achievements over the past two years and point up some cultural events to look forward to in 2022.

Image above: Chiswick Cinema

New additions to Chiswick’s cultural life

We now have a beautiful Chiswick Cinema plus the Weston Studio at Hogarth’s House and three Sunday markets, all opened during lockdown. And Chiswick’s arts groups and venues have really risen to the COVID challenge over the past two years.

When the rules allowed, and under strict protocols, ArtsEd carried on teaching. Last autumn’s productions of Bandstand and SpongeBob SquarePants showed they have lost none of their professional flare and we look forward to Lysistrata Jones and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in the next few weeks.

Image above: The Borgias – the most infamous family in history – Arts Society Chiswick May talk

Surviving the pandemic

The Arts Society Chiswick moved its monthly lectures online, and its speakers adapted brilliantly to the new medium – but it’s great to have them back in person again. The Bedford Park Society held its annual lectures online, and continues to do so, scheduling an extra Zoom lecture this month because of the popularity of the last one. And Chiswick House and  Hogarth’s House hosted Zoom lectures with other historic houses in the popular Thames Luminaries series, with more this month.

Chiswick Playhouse – which had a full programme planned for 2020 – instead put on productions in the Tabard pub courtyard and, when allowed back, cut capacity in the theatre till restrictions were lifted. Like Chiswick House and other venues, it launched a public appeal to help it survive the crisis – and executive director Mark Perry started a series of fund-raising interviews with Phyllis Logan and others. They have an exciting programme for 2022 and have just announced a concert celebrating Stephen Sondheim.

In 2020, Chiswick House had to cancel its weddings, Giffords Circus, Pub In The Park and outdoor cinema, but it launched a regular outdoor market and an outdoor festival of concerts and comedy in the walled garden, where people could be well-distanced on rugs and chairs.

Image above: Kingdom Choir performing at Pub in the Park 2021

Cultural recovery

Its new director Xanthe Arvanitakis arrived at the start of lockdown, and has been in survival mode since then, securing the Cultural Recovery Fund grants that have kept it going. In 2021, it opened its doors again and started a new programme of exhibitions and talks, plus the circus and Pub In The Park – and we look forward to more in 2022.

The Bedford Park Festival went online in June 2020 – including a virtual Green Days, Craft Fair and Bandstand, as well as streamed concerts, talks and plays, online photography competition and art exhibition and 14 ‘virtual’ Open Gardens. But it was back in person last summer with music events and talks in St Michael & All Angels Church and the Chiswick Playhouse – and a fete in the church grounds instead of Green Days weekend. I really hope Green Days, a highlight of the Chiswick calendar for over 50 years, will be back in full this year.

Image above: Gyles Brandreth at the 2021 Chiswick Book Festival; photograph Roger Green

Chiswick Book Festival

The Chiswick Book Festival also went online in 2020 – streaming interviews from the church with Lady Antonia Fraser, Michael Billington, Lloyd Grossman and others. A panel discussion at Chiswick House on Hogarth, Soane and A Rake’s Progress was inspired by the set of eight Hogarth paintings which returned to Pitzhanger Manor for the first time in 200 years – unfortunately, just as lockdown began, ruining its plans for a major, lucrative exhibition. The Festival videos can still be enjoyed online – but they were no substitute for the real thing.

Early in 2021, we committed to going ahead with a live in-person Book Festival, when no one knew whether the Government would allow that in September – or whether people would want to come.It turned out that audiences were delighted – we had a terrific response. We restricted numbers to half-capacity, and could have sold many more tickets for Gyles Brandreth, Ed Balls, Alan Johnson and others: we hope to be back to full capacity this year.

To spread audiences out, we used some new venues, including a great weekend at the George IV, hosted by Bridget Osborne of The Chiswick Calendar – and children’s events at Orchard House School and Chiswick & Bedford Park Preparatory School.

Image above: Painting by Francis Bowyer from the 2020 Summer Exhibition

Live music

Elsewhere, the local studios event, Artists at Home, went online successfully in June 2020 and then live again in September 2021 – and held a successful online auction in aid of the Upper Room charity. The Bedford Park Summer Exhibition returned to St Michael All Angels Church in June 2021, after going online in 2020 – and 24 of the artists have just created pictures for St Michael’s Advent Calendar Christmas Charity Auction, in aid of the Upper Room, Water Harvest and West London Welcome.

In music, several local choirs, singers and musicians produced wonderfully creative performances on Zoom, and Trio Manouche created The Lockdown Sessions with The Chiswick Calendar, which has now resumed its live weekly jazz concerts in the Boston Room at the George IV.

Soprano Milly Forrest, violinist David Juritz and pianist Mark Viner gave Covid-restricted concerts in St Michael & All Angels Church and St Peter’s Acton Green – and it was great to see them and other choirs and orchestras returning in 2021 to live performances in Chiswick’s churches. I was sad that Chiswick Choir changed its name to West London Chorus after so many years but am pleased it is still performing here in 2022.

Image above: Composer Celia McDowell

Exploring Chiswick’s culture

2021 was a spectacular year for Chiswick composer Cecilia McDowall: her 70th birthday year was marked by special concerts and interviews all over the world, culminating in her commission by King’s College Cambridge to compose a new carol for last month’s Nine Lessons and Carols service on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Two.

Chiswick’s great cultural heritage was highlighted in lockdown by the Exploring Chiswick project, encouraging people to download the local arts trails to their mobile or computer. It was launched in January 2021, when the Government was urging people to ‘stay local’, by the Chiswick Book Festival, St Michael & All Angels Church, Chiswick House & Gardens Trust, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society and Abundance London, which created the Chiswick Timeline mural and the 4th Plinth art project at Turnham Green tube station.

Other organisations soon added their support, including the William Hogarth Trust, St Nicholas Church, Ealing & West London Tour Guides and The Chiswick Calendar.

Image above: CGI of new Yeats sculpture due to be installed in June 2022

See it anew in ’22

And so to 2022. Exploring Chiswick ’22, to be launched this week, will urge people who think they know Chiswick to “see it anew in ‘22”. New names will be added to the Writers Trail of poets, playwrights and novelists who lived in Chiswick, including Dylan Thomas, John Donne, William Morris, Somerset Maugham and James Berry. The project to celebrate one of Chiswick’s two Nobel Prize winners, WB Yeats in Bedford Park, will come to fruition in June 2022.

And more names will be added to the Chiswick Timeline of Writers and Books, including new authors Richard Osman, Dame Eileen Atkins and Sophie Ellis-Bextor – whose Friday kitchen discos in Chiswick were one of the undoubted cultural highlights of lockdown.

Torin Douglas is the Director of the Chiswick Book Festival, former BBC Media correspondent and a long term resident of Chiswick.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ArtsEd delighted with alumni in primetime shows

See also: David Puttnam opens Chiswick Cinema

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.

Episode 75: The Graces CC, the club which opens up cricket to LGBT people

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.

Founded in 1996 and based in London, the Graces CC is the first cricket club in the world specifically for LGBT people. Until this year, it was the only such club but there is now one other, the Birmingham Unicorns. Stuart Anthony is the Graces captain, Chris Sherwood its press and publicity officer. They explain what the club has meant for them and other members, and review the situation of gay cricketers in Britain and worldwide as the guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.


More Platforms

Chris narrates the foundation of the club in the Central Station, a well-known gay bar near London’s King’s Cross. Originally intended as a supporters’ group for gay cricket enthusiasts, the pioneers soon realized that they had the numbers and enthusiasm to organize a club and play matches. It was named for W G Grace, to honour him as a cricketing pioneer. They had to overcome a vexatious and reactionary challenge from the great man’s descendants: the resulting publicity was hugely beneficial for recruiting. The club has expanded greatly and opened out to lesbian, bisexual and transgendered members. 1-2 minutes

Stuart sets out the present playing strength, able to sustain two teams, playing a full programme of matches, both league and friendly, nearly all on Sundays. Most of the players are gay men, but some are transgendered and women have played in the past, and the club is totally inclusive in outlook. 3-6 minutes He describes the historic match in 2021 between the club and the Unicorns, played in Birmingham in front of hundreds of enthusiastic spectators and with an exciting result. 6-8 minutes

Chris says that the club has had excellent coverage from journalists, but reads out some of the vicious routine homophobic comments it has received on social media. 9-11 minutes

Movingly, they both describe the role of the club for them and others, as a safe place to play cricket and enjoy its atmosphere, without having to conceal their sexuality or fearing that they would be defined by it as exceptions in a conventional cricket club. They also highlight its importance in combatting the stereotype of gay men as effeminates who do not like sport. The club has especially enjoyed victories over opponents where that attitude persists. Acceptance of gay men in recreational sport has greatly improved since the club’s foundation: several members play for other clubs and are open about their sexuality. 11-20 minutes However, a few club members, especially of Asian origin conceal their names and photographic images, for fear of revealing their sexuality in their outside lives. 20-22 minutes

Homosexuality remains criminal in five major Test-playing countries, and Chris expresses disappointment that the ICC (headquartered in Dubai where it is also criminal) has done so little for the rights of gay cricketers. He contrasts the ICC’s attitude to displays of racism by players and spectators to its later and weaker treatment of displays of homophobia (notwithstanding the punishment of Shannon Gabriel.) In Afghanistan, gay men (including cricketers and cricketlovers) face a new threat of persecution and violent death from the Taliban: a lively debate ensues on how the ICC should respond to this. 22-33 minutes

Stuart describes the ECB’s efforts to promote inclusion of LGBT cricketers and supporters at all levels of English cricket, which are long on good will but so far short on practical measures, reflecting its immediate preoccupation with racial issues. 33-35 minutes

Internationally, the Graces and the Unicorns remain the only LGBT-specific cricket clubs in the world and the prospect of an LGBT World Cup or Ashes series remains a distant dream. The thriving gay scene in Sydney has not produced an Australian version of the Graces, possibly, suggests Chris, because Australian club cricket in general is more competitive and structured than Britain’s. 35-38 minutes

Stuart and Chris examine the factors which could have deterred gay men from coming out in professional cricket (the only current example is Stephen Davies of Surrey, Somerset and England), including those which inhibited him and Chris from involvement in cricket before the Graces, and the pervasive anti-gay ”banter” and culture within the game. In the continued absence of openly gay top cricketers, these were likely to persist, along with the stereotyping of gay men as non-sporty. 38-43 minutes

However, Stuart ends on a very positive note, when he describes the surprising and heartfelt welcome he and the Graces team received during Pride Month from the captain of new opponents. 43-46 minutes

To find out more about the Graces club, please use this link http://gracescricket.org.uk/

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 74: Two festive offerings from Henry Blofeld

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

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

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

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

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

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

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

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Chiswick House looking for volunteers

Image above: View of the conservatory from the Italian Garden; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Chiswick House is looking for volunteers to join the gardening and visitor welcome teams and to act as Rangers.

Gardening

For the gardening team they need ‘friendly and enthusiastic’ people to provide ‘high quality maintenance’ to the formal and informal landscapes within the garden.

In practice that means weeding and watering, pruning and coppicing, sometimes working individually and sometimes as a team. It means being out in all weathers, being approachable and having ‘a warm and friendly demeanour.’

There is a lot of bending and lifting, so you have to be physically fit and it’s an advantage to know a bit about gardening, though they are also looking for people who are willing to learn more about gardening, art, architecture, landscape and environmental practice.

They have high standards. Chiswick House Gardens won Heritage Park of the Year four times in a row (2016 – 2019) in the London in Bloom competition. They won Walled Garden of the year again in 2021 and they have regularly picked up a clutch of awards and special mentions for the work of the volunteers.

Image above: Visitor team at Chiswick House

Visitor team

The Visitor Welcome Volunteer role is all about people and helping visitors to get the most from their visit. It also helps with the security and safety of the House and the collection. The team give out directions, information, answering visitors’ questions and generally helping them to have a good experience at Chiswick House.

They are after ‘friendly and enthusiastic people’ to help give an inviting and warm welcome to visitors of all ages and backgrounds, giving them an overview of what’s happening and where on site that day.

The ‘warm and friendly demeanour’ is key. Experience in roles that have involved dealing with the public would be advantageous, but a willingness to learn more about art, architecture, landscape and social history is also important.

Image above: A ranger at Chiswick House

Rangers

Rangers assist with hands-on maintenance and DIY projects around the grounds, but they are also working in grounds open to the public, so you can’t be a miserable grouch in this role either, no matter how handy you are with tools.

‘The Ranger role covers two main areas: patrolling the grounds to ensure there is a helpful presence for the public, and assisting with maintaining the general site. It is a physical job, and it is ideally suited to someone who is proactive and willing to get involved in a range of projects and odd jobs onsite.’

Rangers patrol the gardens independently in the buggy and interact with the public, answering questions and providing information as needed. There are routine tasks such as changing signs, cleansing, filling dog bag dispensers and assisting with onsite maintenance. Then there are the more hands-on DIY tasks, such as painting or sanding benches and fixing equipment.

Rangers need a driving licence and an up to date Tetanus shot as well as DIY skills.

For all the volunteer roles Chiswick House Trust can only accept people who are 17+

Contact Chiswick House Trust at 0203 141 3350 or info@chgt.org.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Estate manager Geraldine King to leave Chiswick House

See also: Captain Rawes returns to Chiswick House

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.

Residents petition against 5G mast in conservation area

Image above: Example of a telecommunications mast head

Telecoms company wants to put one of these in Old Chiswick

Plans to erect a 20 metre high 5G telecommunications mast in the Old Chiswick conservation area have been met with resistance from local residents, who claim the structure will have a “significant detrimental impact.”

The mast and three associated cabinets would be built next to Chiswick Old Cemetery and opposite 58 Corney Road and is twice the height of the nearby tree.

The deadline for anyone wishing to make a comment on the proposal by CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd to erect the mast is on Tuesday, 11 January. A petition protesting against the proposals has received 109 signatures at time of writing.

The authors of the petition object to the mast because they feel it would be detrimental to the conservation area, will impact on the “visual amenities” of local residents and will be “very visible above the tree line and visible for a wide radius across Chiswick.”

Image above: proposed position of the 5G mast – CK Hutchison Networks (UK)

Health concerns about mast not proven

Several people who have signed the petition say they have done so because they are worried about medical implications post-installation. One signatory, Sally Burgess, wrote: ‘

The [mast] will send out massive bad airwaves which will affect the surrounding population detrimentally.’

Another, Dai Richards, complained broadcasts from mobile phone masts caused him to suffer from ‘headaches, migraines, brain Fog, lack of energy, heart palpitations and other signs of stress.’

Christopher Haugh wrote:

‘[There is lack of understanding of the heath effects this would have on the young children living just metres away and the stress it will cause for the parents.’

The International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection, which sets guidelines on the output of mobile masts, says there is not a single scientifically substantiated adverse health effect that can be attributed to a normal 5G installation.

‘Acute need’ for mast to provide effective service coverage, says provider

In its application CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd, which manages installations for the Three network, says:

“It is our opinion that the proposed design presents a better ‘fit’ within the local community and immediate street scape, offering a reduced visual impact upon an area of adopted highway identified, as situated out with a conservation area or other such restrictive designation.”

In a statement submitted with the application the company states that there is an ‘acute need’ for a new base station to provide effective service coverage and the height of the proposed street pole is the minimum required to bring the benefits of 5G to the area

If approval is given work is expected to start in March 2023, with work thought to be completed by April.

The planning reference for the application on Hounslow Council’s planning portal is PA/2021/4816.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Development of luxury houses on Hartington Rd turned down

See also: Confusion over new shop voucher scheme to encourage people to get vaccinated

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.

Confusion over new shop voucher scheme to encourage people to get vaccinated

Image above: Chiswick High Rd

There is confusion among Chiswick’s traders over a new E-vouchers scheme offering residents money off in local shops.

Two Chiswick retailers told The Chiswick Calendar they have been told to hang on their window stickers and till arrangements because a new voucher scheme was in the offing, but they had heard nothing about a new scheme from the Council.

E-vouchers, who operated the highly successful pre-Christmas £20 voucher scheme on behalf of the Council, emailed local businesses to give them a head’s up, but gave no details of the new scheme.

Labelled:  ‘IMPORTANT: ShopLocal Scheme’ the email said:

‘Dear Hounslow business,

‘The team at Hounslow Council are delighted to report that £1 million has been invested back into businesses throughout the borough, with the help of the ShopLocal voucher scheme.

‘We want to say a huge thank you for involving yourself and being part of an effort to rebuild the borough following the effects of the pandemic.

‘Whilst the ShopLocal scheme has now ended and no further vouchers can be redeemed, your final chance to liaise with the Evouchers team is 5pm on 11th January. After this date the ShopLocal scheme will be finished.

‘Please remember the COVID voucher scheme will begin on the 10th of January until the 31st of March. This will work in exactly the same way as the previous scheme so please keep your Evouchers App.’

Image above: e-voucher sticker

“Incentive” for people to get their booster vaccinations

When we rang them they said a new voucher was being introduced this week offering residents money off in local shops. The new scheme was supposed to begin on Monday (10 January) and would be used as an incentive for people to be vaccinated.

An agent from E-vouchers support told me under the new scheme those who stepped forward to be vaccinated in Hounslow would receive a new voucher to spend in the same participating stores as before. The new vouchers, the agent said, are to act as an incentive to boost vaccination rates in the borough.

I rang Cllr Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Workforce, Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services and Cllr Steve Curran, Council Leader. All confirmed that the pre-Christmas £20 voucher scheme had ended, but none had any idea of any new voucher scheme.

“I’m as in the dark as you are” Steve Curran

“I’m as in the dark as you are” said Steve Curran. “I would love to know what this is about”.

Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, told The Chiswick Calendar: 

“I can absolutely tell you, this is not a council scheme. I understand NHS colleagues are doing some exploratory work around incentives to vaccination and as a Council we were happy for them to use the e-voucher branding, however we are not directly involved and the governance and funding would be through the NHS and not the Council.”

Cllr Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency said:

“The voucher scheme is definitely finished and stickers can be removed. Ongoing support for businesses will be through the Innovate and Grow scheme.”

The Innovate and Grow scheme offers a range of free training and support packages aimed at sectors most impacted by the pandemic. These range from supporting businesses to start up a business to 1:1 growth mentoring, how to collaborate and secure new business, becoming greener and more sustainable, as well as more digitally focused.

Email sent out announcing new voucher scheme was sent ‘in error’

Kelly O’Neill, Hounslow’s Director of Public Health told The Chiswick Calendar on Tuesday, 11 January:

“I can confirm the news item in an email newsletter dated 22nd December announcing a proposed Covid Voucher scheme to be launched in January was included in error.

“We are continuing to actively consider new and innovative ways in which we can help vaccine hesitant residents make informed decisions, including through a voucher reward scheme. The details and nature of this scheme are yet to be finalised, and we will update residents as soon as this detail is available.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Overground trains running reduced services due to staff absences

See also: Fines increase for London’s red routes

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.

London Overground and Southwestern trains running reduced services due to staff absences

Overground trains, run by London Overground and Southwestern Railway (SWR), will be running reduced services this week as Covid-related staff absences continue to affect the transport network.

On the London Overground, which serves Gunnersbury station, a half-hourly service will operate between Richmond and Willesden Junction until Friday 14 January. Usually, the services runs every 12-15 minutes.

There will be a reduction in frequency to six trains per hour in the core section of the Overground between Willesden Junction and Stratford, down from ten per hour. Trains will run every 10-15 minutes between Willesden Junction and Stratford instead of every 6-10 minutes. Weekend and Night Overground services are not affected.

The timetable changes mean a reduction of four trains per hour between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays on weekdays with no service between Surrey Quays and New Cross. This means 12 trains will operate per hour and that customers may have gaps between trains of up to eight minutes in the core section between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays.

On Southwestern Railway, which serves Chiswick station, a new timetable will be available from Monday, 17 January which will feature fewer trains running. SWR has warned that until the new timetable is operating, the number of short notice cancellations will increase.

TfL told The Chiswick Calendar they were operating a slightly better service than expected on this route on Monday (10 January), as they had more staff available than anticipated.

Image above: Chiswick Station

Up to 500 TfL staff have been absent from work

Across TfL’s workforce, there have been around 500 members of non-office-based staff off work due to a covid-related illness. The overall proportion of staff currently off work remains low, and TfL said they will continue to mitigate the impact and minimise the effects of absences on customers.

On Sunday, 9 January, there were 141,472 Coronavirus cases reported in the UK and 97 deaths. The Omicron Covid variant has spread rapidly across the UK over the last few weeks. On Sunday the UK passed a grim milestone – 150,000 people in the UK have now died within 28 days of a positive Covid test since the pandemic began, more than in any other European country.

The UK is the seventh country to pass 150,000 reported deaths, after the US, Brazil, India, Russia, Mexico and Peru.

Staff shortages have had a ‘significant impact’ on services

A South Western Railway spokesperson, said:

“The onset of the Omicron variant has led to a shortage of staff across our business – from drivers and guards to engineers and controllers.

“These staff shortages have inevitably had a significant impact on our services, leading to short notice cancellations…

“Our focus is on producing a timetable that is deliverable, so that we improve reliability for our customers, and caters to key workers, school pupils and those who cannot work from home”.

Rory O’Neill, TfL’s General Manager for London Overground, said:

“Like many businesses and organisations around the country, we are experiencing the effects of the pandemic with a number of staff off ill due to COVID or self-isolating.

“To ensure we can provide a reliable service, it has been necessary to make some timetable changes to London Overground services from Dalston Junction to New Cross and Richmond to Stratford. Customers continue to have a range of travel options.

“We will continue to do all we can to keep operating a near to normal service but advise everyone to check our website and the TfL Go app before they travel as further services may be affected at short notice by staff absences.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tube strikes planned for weekend evenings for six months

See also: Sadiq Khan: TfL have to plan a ‘managed decline’ of London’s public transport network

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Fines increase for London’s red routes

Transport for London is increasing the fines for contraventions on London’s red routes. As of Monday 17 January the charge will increase from £130 to £160. This puts it in line with penalties for non-payment of the Congestion Charge and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which are also currently set at £160.

TfL say the increased penalty will be ‘a more effective deterrent that will lead to increased compliance and reduce road danger and congestion.’

London’s red routes are roads make up  five per cent of roads but carry 30 per cent of the capital’s traffic. The double red lines were introduced to allow traffic to move safely and efficiently along the busiest roads where stopping is generally prohibited, outside of designated locations and times clearly marked by signs.

The penalty charge will still be reduced by 50 per cent if paid within 14 days and increased by 50 per cent if paid after 28 days.

Image above: map of London’s Red Routes

‘Not about penalising drivers’

‘Failing to follow the rules and signs at junctions creates safety risks, disrupts traffic and creates congestion for everyone’ says TfL. ‘Vital deliveries can be obstructed and buses and the emergency services can be delayed.

‘Increasing the level of the penalty charge is about improving compliance, not penalising drivers.’

There has been a significant increase in the number of Penalty Charge Notices issued in recent years. Even before the pandemic and the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, between 2016 and 2019 there was a 26 per cent increase in the number of PCNs issued for parking, loading, bus lane and moving traffic offences.

PCNs can be issued for contraventions such as:

  • Parking illegally in loading bays
  • Blocking yellow box junctions
  • Making a turn where this movement is banned, which creates risk for people walking and cycling
  • Driving or parking in a bus lane
  • Stopping on the red route

TfL also recently announced that it intends to make its trial of 24-hour bus lanes permanent, after a trial found that extending bus lane hours on London’s busiest roads cut journey times and helped reliability, making bus use more attractive and helping to encourage more Londoners onto buses.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: London Overground and Southwestern trains running reduced services due to staff absences

See also: Tube strikes planned for weekend evenings for six months

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.

Bookcase Chiswick on the look-out for second hand vinyls

Images above: Giulia Tonci Russo in the soon-to-be-opened vinyls shop in the basement of Bookcase

Bookcase London, the independent bookshop on Chiswick High Rd, is busy knocking out walls and putting in a new staircase to the basement, in preparation for opening a new vinyl store there in the next couple of months.

Called ‘Underground Vinyl’, they will be selling classic rock and pop, soul, RnB, jazz and funk.

Giulia Tonci Russo will be running it and she is in the process of scouting for second hand vinyl records as well as buying in new ones. The balance of her stock will be mostly second hand – she’s aiming for a ratio of about 60% second hand to 40% new.

She told The Chiswick Calendar if you have records you’re thinking about getting rid of, she is happy to come to you to have a look through your collection. The going rate for second hand LPs is £2 – £4 she says, depending on the artist and the condition of the record (not including first pressings, which would of course be worth more).

She will sell them on at up to four times the price, but hopes also to create a space in Chiswick where people will come and browse and talk about music and where she can also promote some new, emerging talent.

I warmed to her immediately when she said she wrote for an Italian magazine called ‘1977’. ‘Why 1977?’ I asked.

‘Because it’s the most interesting year for cinema and music. That’s the year David Bowie brought out Heroes and Low, part of the Berlin trilogy. It’s the year Stevie Wonder won a Grammy [for Songs in the Key of Life] and Star Wars came out.’

I know – I was there, and 18 at the time, so it’s curious to hear my golden era described as such by a millennial.

Images above: Giulia Tonci Russo

Giulia has a Masters in music business management, from Westminster University, and was happily embarking on a career in events management before Covid put the kibosh on everything. Now there is some live music again she is putting on live music mainly in East and North London.

“I want to promote young independent labels and create a community around the shop where people meet and talk about music.”

She also manages soul and RnB artist Georg’ Estelle, who has gigs coming up in London and a couple of singles coming out.

Coming initially from Venice, Giulia has lived all over Italy and having studied art and design and event management in Milan, she worked for the Milan chamber of commerce in the team which organises the city’s music and fashion weeks. She has also worked on the organisation of festivals.

Bookcase’s basement record shop, Underground Vinyl, is aiming to open around the end of February / beginning of March at 268 Chiswick High Rd.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Visitors banned from west London hospitals

See also: Tube strikes planned for weekend evenings until June

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.

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Andrea’s film review – Munich – The Edge of War

Munich – The Edge of War ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Review by Andrea Carnevali

A British diplomat travels to Munich in the run-up to World War II, where a former classmate of his from Oxford is also en route, but is working for the German government. In cinemas right now and on Netflix from 21 January.

This is one of those films that grabbed me from the first few minutes and never let me go. Two hours flew by in the great company of George MacKay, Jannis Niewöhner and Jeremy Irons, who gives a likeable spin to cigar-smoking British prime minister Neville Chamberlain.

Adapted from Robert Harris’ novel (and a subsequent play), this political thriller mixes fiction with historical facts seamlessly, cranking up tension to edge-of-your-seat levels. After all, you could hardly have a better baddie in a movie than Adolf Hitler himself.

The ‘edge of war’’ of the title refers to the time in 1938 where Hitler was about to invade Czechoslovakia with Chamberlain desperately looking for a peaceful solution.

As pressure mounts, two former Oxford classmates, Hugh Legat, a private advisor to the British Prime Minister, and Paul von Hartmann, German diplomat (who Hitler actually likes) must travel to Munich to join a conference where some last-minute negotiations to advert war are taking place.

The two old friends will find themselves at the centre of a web of political subterfuge as they try to expose some secret documents which reveal Hitler’s real plans to conquer Europe.

It is of course all a bit ludicrous, but it’s all so beautifully constructed and filmed, with the camera in constant movement to heighten the tension, that it’s amazing how well it actually works, especially considering it all hinges on the prevention of a war that we all know will eventually take place.

It is all so convincing that I have to confess during a very gripping sequence with Hitler and one of our heroes, there was even a moment when I started wondering whether I’d be treated to a Tarantino twist, like in Inglorious Basterds. (To be clear, one of those twists in which history gets rewritten).

If there is a criticism to be made, it is how the women are bit short-changed. Unfortunately all of the sequences with them feel rushed and actually not much needed. But clearly director Christian Schwochow is much more interested in the intrigue and the spy story itself and that part works very well indeed.

Overall this is a hugely enjoyable film, which I am happy to recommend.

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

Munich – The Edge of War is on in cinemas right now and will be on Netflix from 21 January.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna 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.

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Andrea’s film review – The Death of Mr. Lãzãrescu 

The Death of Mr. Lãzãrescu (2005) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Mr. Lãzãrescu, a dying old man, is shuttled from hospital to hospital by a loyal paramedic as doctors refuse to operate and no one can agree on a diagnosis. Available on Netflix.

This Romanian movie from 2005 is definitely a pretty grim watch; it is a deeply sad and infuriating film but bizarrely at times it’s even darkly comedic, which is why it is sold as a comedy on the poster… but don’t be deceived.

It’s the story of a 62 year old man who’s been having stomach pain since the beginning of the day and who decides to ask for help to his neighbours. Eventually an ambulance is called, starting a series of events in which the man gets shuttled from one hospital to another as his condition deteriorates.

The fact that the second name of the man is Dante is not by chance, as this seems to be a real descent into a real hell.

At the beginning of the film I didn’t think I was going to buy into it. I found its pace very slow, the characters not very engaging, but I have to say, the more story unravelled, the more I got sucked in and by the end I was actually glued to it, as well as angry and pretty much deflated.

It is an incredible film, rich in details and populated by people who feel so real that you might be mistaking this for a documentary.

It is also filmed like a documentary and aside from a brief tiny time-jump during the last act, the rest happens pretty much all in real time, which adds to not just to the realism but to the agony and frustration at the shameful acts taking place in front of your eyes.

It is certainly not one for everyone, but if you give it a chance you’ll find a little gem of film that says so much not just about the state of the health system (this takes place in Romania, but it might as well take place anywhere else in the world), but about human beings too: those random strangers we find along the way, some incredibly nice, some deplorable and selfish, some just lazy, others pure bastards.

I’m not going to be able to shake it off easily. It is remarkable film, beautifully acted, choreographed and profoundly moving.

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

The Death of Mr. Lãzãrescu is available to watch on Netflix

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna 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.

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Andrea’s film review – Boiling Point

Boiling Point ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Enter the relentless pressure of a restaurant kitchen as a head chef wrangles his team on the busiest day of the year. Out in selected cinemas right now or available to buy/rent on streaming platforms such as Virgin TV Go, Apple iTunes, Amazon, Sky Store, Curzon Home Cinema, BFI Player online.

This is a film the great Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud of. Even though it’s not a thriller, it uses the one-continuous-shot technique to enhance tension to thrilling effects, outing to shame even films such as Birdman.

In fact the only mistake I make when watching it, was to start it too late at night. By the time it ended I was so charged up that it took me a while to unwind and fall asleep.

Adapted from a short film from 2019 (available on Amazon), this immersive, beautifully acted, magnificently choreographed and tightly constructed film is possibly the closest thing you’ll ever experience to working in a luxury restaurant.

An instantly recognisable array of characters – a great ensemble cast with not a weak link – populate the film: from the spoilt and annoying customers, the frustrated dishwasher, the ultra-stressed-out manager, the health inspector, all the way through to all types of men and women working behind the scenes to make your dishes as sumptuous and delicious as possible.

And while I wasn’t so convinced about the ending and there was a little moment half-way through when the camera literally leaves the restaurant and the film grinds to a sudden halt (revealing the limitations of the one-shot device), it is an otherwise gripping, illuminating, fascinating, very entertaining and at times even moving piece of work.

Not quite a five stars film, but very, very close and overall one of the best things I’ve seen in a while.

Next time you eat in a restaurant, this is bound to resurface in your head.

Boiling Point is out in selected cinemas right now or available to buy/rent on streaming platforms such as Virgin TV Go, Apple iTunes, Amazon, Sky Store, Curzon Home Cinema, BFI Player online.

It’ll be worth every penny.

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

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna 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.

 

Andrea’s film review – A Hero

A Hero ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Rahim is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint against the payment of part of the sum. But things don’t go as planned. In selected cinemas right now and on Amazon Prime from 21 January.

Iranian writer/director Asghar Farhadi is among those very few selected foreign directors who have won more than one Oscar: in 2016 for The Salesman and in 2011 for A Separation.

He has an innate ability to tell seemingly simple and intimate stories about families and decent people in Iran, in challenging situations without ever moralising or judging.

A Hero is no exception. A moral tale without being preachy. A character study about nobility, integrity, honesty, truth and lies… and social media (and yet without a single computer or phone screen in sight), dressed up almost like a thriller.

Part of the success of the film – beyond very competent and yet never intrusive or condescending direction – lays in the splendid central performance by Amir Jadidi who plays Rahim, a very unlucky man who is serving time in a debtors prison (yes, there are such things in Iran: minimum-security prisons for those who have been unable to pay their debts).

During a two-day parole, when he’s allowed to visit his family and look for a job, he comes across a lost bag full of golden coins. After a first moment of doubt, he decides to return the finding. His honesty is celebrated by his friends and even the media. But soon the cards start to turn as he gets more and more tangled up by a series of seemingly innocent events which unexpectedly seem to go wrong at every turn.

And so, what starts off as a delicate portrait of a simple man on his way to redemption, slowly becomes a gripping labyrinthine story which, despite being always quiet and understated, kept me on edge until the very last frame.

Jadidi is so charming, every time he smiles he really lights up the screen, which makes his tragic slippery descent into chaos even more heart-breaking.

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

A Hero is on in selected cinemas right now and on Amazon Prime from 21 January.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna 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.

 

Andrea’s film review – The Lost Daughter

The Lost Daughter ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

A woman’s beach vacation takes a dark turn when she begins to confront the troubles of her past. On Netflix and selected cinemas, including Chiswick Cinema.

Sometimes the quietest films are the ones that touch you in the most unexpected ways. I usually write my little reviews straight after watching a film, but with this one I had to wait a day to let it sink in and shake off that feeling of unease that had crept onto me.

Adapted from an Italian novel by Elena Ferrante, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut (she’s also written the screenplay for which she’s won the first price at the Venice Festival) is one of those films where nothing seems to happen and yet I found myself completely hooked and constantly on edge as if I was watching a thriller.

At the centre of it a towering performance by Olivia Coleman – who by this time can do no wrong in my book. Her enigmatic character has a secret she’s trying to hide, both to the world and to herself. Her behaviour is questionable, but fascinating at the same time.

She is sweet, bitchy, mysterious, sad, clumsy, caring, annoying, hateful, all in the space of minutes.

And as the camera moves closer and closer to her face, we can almost feel what she’s thinking, hear her thoughts (no need for any clunky voice over in this film) while the people around her seem to be oblivious to her problems.

In fact Coleman is so good, that whenever the film flashes back, it loses some of its grip and I just could wait for it to go back to her. This is not a reflection on Jessie Buckley who plays her younger version brilliantly too. The rest of the strong cast includes Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard and the always reliable Ed Harris.

They are all slightly unsympathetic characters, but all complex and multi-layered too, just like the film itself.

The Lost Daughter is a quiet and yet powerful film, loaded with eloquent looks and silences that might speak to women more than men, in fact mothers in particular.

It’s a film that dares to explore something which we hardly talk about, often for fear, or shame, or just because we don’t talk about this stuff, full stop. But it’s a known fact that most people with kids go (or have gone) through some of this: the struggle with parenthood (motherhood in particular), that feeling of being trapped because of your kids, that fear of losing your identity and that guilt that comes from the feeling that you might be a bad mother.

It’s a film that raises painful questions, without necessarily giving answers, something which might frustrate some viewers, to which I can only say that sometimes the journey is more important than the place of arrival.

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

The Lost Daughter is available to watch on Netflix and selected cinemas, including Chiswick.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna 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.

 

Andrea’s film review – The King’s Man

The King’s Man ⭐️Review by Andrea Carnevali

In the early years of the 20th century, the Kingsman agency is formed to stand against a cabal plotting a war to wipe out millions. On at Chiswick Cinema,

This is the third instalment in the Kingsman film series based on the comic book The Secret Service. It is in fact a prequel to the previous two, aiming to reveal the origins of the secret British agency, discreetly based in a tailor’s shop.

I was pretty close to skipping this one. The review, I mean. After all I don’t find any pleasure in rubbishing films. I’ve been at the other end of the stick myself many times: I know how much work, time and sweat goes into making a film.

But I’m also an avid moviegoer and really passionate about film and I know too well about that crashing feeling of disappointment after watching something that’s just not very good.

So hopefully my little review can spare people from having to endure this atrocious film and waste their precious time and money.

Prequels are always pretty hard to pull off, whether we’re talking about Star Wars or Alien, Hannibal and so on… In fact I can only think of Godfather Part II as a prequel which exceeded expectations. But leaving that aside and commending at least the attempt to try to do something a bit different,  I really am struggling to work out what sort of audience this film is actually aiming at.

Clearly not fans of the originals, since being set 80 years before and featuring none of the regular characters, it bears no resemblance in mood, tone and settings to the previous instalment (which leads me to think that it probably started off as a different film altogether and was then turned into a Kingsman movie).

It will surely not please the typical blockbuster crowd with short attention span, craving for some bombastic pop-corn fun. In fact it takes about 40 minutes before a decent action scene takes place – a ludicrous duel, weirdly set to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

It’s not for kids, there’s way too much gratuitous swearing, and definitely not for a more ‘mature’ audience, despite the failed attempts to make waves as a historical war thriller.

The film is just an uneven, incoherent, pastiche. A mixture of styles, ideas and tones, none of which gels particularly well with one another: silly cartoonish one moment, hyperviolent the next, (alas all played too straight face unlike its predecessors, which at least never took themselves too seriously), and randomly overly dramatic a second later, trying to give the film some emotional resonance.

Trouble is, it’s hard to care for anything or anyone here, especially after the most misjudged (and way too long) first half.

If you can be bothered to last until the last act, it does get marginally better, but by that time I was already so bored that I couldn’t wait for it to finish.

There are some nicely choreographed moments here and there, but clearly not enough to hold my attention in what is a confused and confusing film with ham-fisted dialogue and convoluted plots, trying to warp real events and historical figures with fictional comedy.

Unfortunately most of the actors seem unaware that this should be played for fun and so Ralph Fiennes is left pretty much alone to do the heavy lifting and get the film to the finish line.

Meanwhile Tom Hollander plays three roles for no apparent reason (King George of England, the Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nichola from Russia) by switching slightly different moustaches, adding a clichéd accent for each of them, thus basically making a fool of himself three times over.

And just when you think it’s over, a final affront when the mid-credit sequence sets the stage for a possible sequel, which most likely I won’t be watching.

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

The King’s Man is on in cinemas now, including Chiswick Cinema.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna 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.

 

Andrea’s film review – Titane

Titane ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Following a series of unexplained crimes, a father is reunited with the son who has been missing for 10 years. (Titane: A metal highly resistant to heat and corrosion, with high tensile strength alloys). Out in cinemas now.

This French-Belgian film is a hard one to recommend, unless you’re a horror fan or you have the right stomach for it. I thought I was one of those who would fit both categories, as I have seen more horror films with plenty of gore in my life than I care to admit, and yet even I had to close my eyes at times and watch bits of it through my fingers.

Director Julia Ducournau had already stepped into horror territory with her previous and very interesting cannibalistic drama Raw, but nothing could have prepared me for this wild, delirious, dark, gruesome and yet surprisingly thoughtful and poignant tale.

On the surface it’s the story of a woman who is a compulsive serial killer and who after a series of impulsive murders is on the run. She ends up in the care of a fireman and disguises herself as his long-lost son who went missing a decade earlier. The two of them strike a peculiar bond.

At least that is the actual plot on paper… not that it matters much, because Titane is a film mainly driven by its mood, its feelings and its many thematic explorations: gender, sex, trauma, loneliness, grief, parenthood, redemption and possibly many others (I can’t pretend I understood it completely).

In fact, beyond some truly weird and shocking images, this is a much deeper film than it may first appear and which goes well beyond the simple horror genre; not for nothing did it end up winning the Palm d’Or at Cannes last year. Clearly those French saw a lot more in it than I did.

It is definitely an unsettling film, not quite for the average moviegoer, with an astonishingly powerful performance by Agathe Rousselle at the centre of it. Her journey, both as an actress and in character, is a real tour the force, from sexy dancing on top of a car, to an actual sex scene WITH a car (yes, you heard me right: remember David Cronenberg’s Crash?) all the way through to an incredible transformation half way through… and more at the end…

The title itself refers to the titanium plate that holds together her skull after a car accident when she was a little girl, but also it’ll mean something else as the film develops in the most surprising ways.

I have to be honest, I didn’t love it, nor I think I will ever want to watch it again, but I was completely mesmerised by its power and its absurdity, its beauty. I really don’t think it’s the masterpiece people are saying it is; it meanders a bit in the middle and its provocations at times feel both a bit silly and nasty for their own sake at the same time. But one thing is sure: it’ll stay with me for a long, long time.

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

Titane  is out in cinemas now.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith – Review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Andrea’s film review – Val

Val ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Documentary on the daily life of actor Val Kilmer featuring never-before-seen footage spanning 40 years. Currently on NOW TV and Sky.

I never really cared too much about Val Kilmer as an actor even though I was a teenager during the 80s, at the height of his “power”… or at least I thought I didn’t.

What was surprising about this powerful documentary, edited from hundreds of private home videos (Val obsessively filmed himself and everything around him for over 50 years) was the realisation that not only have I seen all of his movies and actually still remember pretty much all of his performances, but the more I watched this the more I grew increasingly attached to him as a man.

Yes, I was also aware of his infamous reputation as a “difficult” actor to work with and I found it fascinating how this film candidly talks about it and how his yearning for people to take him seriously (and his ego) increasingly got in the way of his career.

But this is clearly more than just a self-serving autobiography, this is actually a touching, charming and incredibly intimate portrait of a man reckoning with his past, his legacy and his difficult present.

The film’s credited directors are Leo Scott and Ting Poo but this is clearly Kilmer’s own baby.

It is narrated in the first person, but fairly early on it is revealed that it is actually Kilmer’s son speaking. In 2015 Val himself was diagnosed with throat cancer; he survived it, but the tubes he now has inserted in his throat, which allow him to breathe, leave him unable to speak properly. The few robot-like lines he has in the film are very hard to understand hence they are subtitled)

As a film buff I couldn’t help loving the footage behind the scenes on the set of films like Top Gun, or learning bits of trivia about Batman Forever, which apparently he hated and tells stories about how he couldn’t quite move in the suit.

I loved seeing candid footage of a young Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn, and learning about those audition tapes he made for Kubrick (Full Metal Jacket) and Scorsese (Goodfellas), both of which ultimately lead to disappointment.

This is well beyond a simple celebrity vanity project. The tragic reality of Val’s physical and emotional status, which he doesn’t shy away from talking about,  and his very personal stories, including one about death of his 15-year-old brother Wesley, which left a big scar on him, give the film a whole depth of emotions for which I wasn’t quite prepared and I found very touching.

Some of the tales might be slightly one-side. His well-documented bad behaviour on the set The Island of Dr Moreau with Marlon Brando is made to look like no big deal, but overall this was a great eye opener: a poignant, touching and revealing portrait of a broken man with more regrets and contradictions than I ever would have imagined.

In this end this might just be his best film.

Currently on NOW TV (or Sky).

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

Val is available to watch on NOW TV and Sky.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna 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.

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Appeal to trace two significant witnesses to Ali Abucar Ali murder

Images above: CCTV footage of the potential witnesses 

Police have released photos of two ‘significant witnesses’ they would like to speak to about the fatal stabbing of Ali Abucar Ali and the attack on 82-year-old Betty Walsh.

The CCTV images of the two men were uncovered during the investigation who were spotted in the vicinity of the killing, which happened on the evening of Friday 12 November on Albany Road in Brentford.

The first man is described as being white, with ginger hair and black glasses. He was wearing a long grey coat, shorts and trainers and was walking along Wilkes Road towards Albany Road before the incident. He was carrying what looks like a takeaway bag.

The second man was walking up Albany Road toward Brook Road South immediately before the incident. He is described as white, with light hair, distinctive thick framed glasses and a rucksack.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting reference CAD 6423/12Nov. To remain anonymous, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police are stressing the men are potential witnesses and will not be in any trouble if they come forward.

Images above: CCTV footage of the potential witnesses 

Witnesses should contact police ‘as a matter of urgency’

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Howie, who is leading the investigation, said:

“We are really keen to speak to the men in the CCTV images as we believe they are significant witnesses in the murder of Ali Abucar Ali and the attempted murder of an 82-year-old woman. Please be assured, you are not in any trouble but may be able to assist with the investigation,

“If you are one of the people in the CCTV or if you know who they are, please contact us as a matter of urgency.”

Ali Abucar Ali, 20, was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene. Betty was taken to hospital and has since been discharged with non-life-threatening injuries. Ali attended Chiswick School and was a coach at the Chiswick Gators Basketball Club.

A 37-year-old man was charged with murder and attempted murder on Sunday 14 November.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Man appears in court charged with murder of Ali Abucar Ali

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.

 

Development of luxury houses at Hartington Rd turned down

Image above: The Victorian house at 17 Hartington Rd; photograph Mukti Jain Campion

Unanimous decision not to build in a conservation area with potential for flooding

LB Hounslow’s planning committee has turned down an application for the development of four luxury houses in the garden of 17 Hartington Rd in Chiswick, despite the recommendation from their planning officers that they should accept it.

Local residents organised a campaign against the proposals on the grounds that new residential housing should not be built in a conservation area which was also liable to flood. They raised 545 signatures on a petition against the development. Councillors on the planning committee which heard the application on Thursday 6 January said they had received many emails on the subject.

Mukti Jain Campion, who lives in the end of terrace house at 1 Chiswick Staithe, explained how her house would be joined to the first of the proposed new houses, effectively turning it from a semi-detached to a terraced house.

Image above: (L to R) Cllr Sam Hearn, Mukti Jain Campion and Adam Gostling giving evidence at the planning committee

Building luxury riverside houses “irresponsible” and “lunacy”

She and chartered town planner Adam Gostling, a director of hgh consulting, engaged by local residents to fight the development, had just five minutes to explain their objections, along with Cllr Sam Hearn, representing Riverside ward, who had a further five minutes to make the case.

Gostling said the land, the large garden of a dilapidated Victorian house, was in Flood Zone 3B, the highest category of land considered liable to flooding (once in 20 years) and as such the planning committee should not even consider building on it.

The site was also at risk of flooding from surface water, he said. Independent expert Jonathan Cage, Managing Director at Create Consulting Engineers Ltd, had told them it would be “irresponsible” to build there. It was questionable whether the proposed houses could be insured and whether prospective buyers would even be able to get a mortgage on them, Mr Gostling told the committee.

The argument set out by the council’s planning officers that the borough needed more housing was “very weak” as the development did “absolutely nothing” to promote affordable housing, he added.

The site failed the most basic tests and it was “inconceivable” the application should be passed. If it were to be passed, it would set a very dangerous precedent, he said.

Ms Jain Campion showed how the proposed houses would be built in a basin, at the lowest point of the land between Hartington Rd and the river. With “ground water and surface water coming down and a potential breach in the river defences” she said residents felt “it’s lunacy to build in this space.”

Cllr Sam Hearn described the land as a “sump” for the surrounding area. He pointed out Council policy was not to build in gardens, and to de-pave areas so that excess water could drain away.

He also quoted environmental group Abundance London’s objections to the loss of green space and wildlife habitat. The overgrown garden, which has 30 mature trees, has become the home of owls and bats.

The committee had a responsibility, he said, to think about how they would carry out the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.

Image above: Applicants, owner of Residence One Ben Wilson (L) giving evidence at the planning committee

3B or not 3B – that is the question – (Very likely to flood or a bit less likely?)

The committee discussed the application for two hours before chair Cllr Corinna Smart put the decision to the vote. Much of the discussion was around how vulnerable the site was to flooding.

As The Chiswick Calendar exclusively reported in December, the Environmental Agency changed its mind about objecting to the application, based on how the land was categorised.

It had originally opposed the application on the basis that the land was in the floodplain, designated ‘3B’, the category most likely to be affected by river flooding, but had been persuaded to withdraw its objection after the Council’s consultants Metis acknowledged there was a flood wall at the bottom of the garden in which the houses would be built.

Metis is responsible for the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment.

This, said Ben Wilson, owner of Residence One, meant it could not be considered as part of the flood plain – either the land was designed to absorb floodwater or it was designed to be defended. He denied there was any flooding potential. The Environmental Agency had “corrected” their earlier assessment and so had Hounslow’s planning officers, he said.

The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment had wrongly attributed the site as 3B, as it had failed to take the flood defences into account, but Metis had gone back to the Environment Agency, who had said if they could confirm there was a flood wall, they would withdraw their opposition.

READ ALSO: Riverside residents campaign to prevent luxury houses being built on ‘functional floodplain’

Image above: Thames foreshore next to the garden being considered as the site of four new luxury houses, showing the river wall; photograph Mukti Jain Campion

Maintaining the flood wall

When questioned by Chiswick Cllr John Todd, Mr Wilson acknowledged there were conditions attached to redesignating it as ‘3A’ (land considered at risk of flooding once in 100 years). Residence One would have to carry out further investigation into the flood wall, digging down into the foundations, and if necessary repair it before proceeding to build their houses.

It was established that the new development would need very sophisticated engineering solutions to keep the site from flooding, which would have to be maintained throughout the lifetime of the buildings.

Image above: Overgrown garden where the houses would have been built

Net gain in biodiversity

Mr Wilson and the Council’s planning officer Matthew Rees argued the development would result in a ‘biodiversity net gain’. Residence One would be removing 27 of the 30 trees, but planting 76  saplings which were 8-9 years old in their place along with a mix of “wildlife friendly plants”.

“The wildlife won’t come back” said Ms Campion “because there will be human activity there.”

It was not just about the net number of trees, said the Council’s planning officer, they were considering a whole package of criteria. This was a low density, sustainable development with “urban greening” factors which were in accordance with the London Plan.

Images above: (L) Cllr Shivraj Grewal; (R) planning officer Matthew Rees

Three simple questions

In the end it came down to three simple questions, put by Cllr Shivraj Grewal. He asked planning officer Matthew Rees for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to these points:

  • Is the proposed development in a Conservation area?
  • Is it in Zone 3B?
  • Is the risk of flooding still there?

The officer answered ‘yes’ to questions one and three, but said he couldn’t give a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer as to whether it was 3B designated land. “That’s not a fair question” he said, “you need to look behind this” (although earlier had said “there is no getting away from it” being designated 3B).

Image above: Cllr Tony Louki

One big problem

Throughout the meeting it became apparent there was a larger issue at stake: who is responsible for designating the land 3A or 3B? In removing its objection, with conditions, the Environmental Agency had thrown the decision back to ‘the local planning authority’.

But was that Metis, as authors of the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and the Lead Local Flood Authority? Was that LB Hounslow in the shape the planning officers or was it the planning committee?

“Why are we being allowed to judge whether it should be 3B” asked Cllr Tony Louki. “Why is it down to us?”

“We are being asked to decide on a number of conditions which are unclear” he said. “There’s a lot of contention here. We are being asked to decide on a number of things when there’s a lot of uncertainty here.”

What was the flood risk? One in 20 years, as the objectors maintained (the definition of 3B)? One in 1,000 years, as the developers maintained (the projection for the protection afforded by the Thames Barrier) or one in 100, as the advice from the Environmental Agency suggested, as the supposed independent experts?

Image above: Cllr Corinna Smart, chair of the planning committee

Cllr Louki took the planning officer to task for bringing the application to the committee prematurely, when there were so many questions which could not be answered.

Cllr Smart said: “It’s getting less and less clear as we go through this. I thought I had it clear that the Environmental Agency had withdrawn its objection, but what happens if the developer discovers major work has to be done?”

The Council had discovered just how expensive that could be when they had to pay for repairs at Strand on the Green, she said.

Cllr Grewal moved for refusal and the vote was unanimous.

Image above: Cllr John Todd (L) and Cllr Tony Louki (R)

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tube strikes planned for weekend evenings for six months

See also: Visitors banned in West London hospitals, with some exceptions

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.