Episode 91: Charles Sale digs deep into the tunnels at Lord’s

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.

Charles Sale has been a sports journalist for forty years, almost half of them as the incisive sports diarist of the Daily Mail. In his book The Covers Are Off, he excavates the chaotic and costly story of the redevelopment of Lord’s cricket ground, blighted by two decades of unnecessary conflict between the Marylebone Cricket Club and a sharp-witted local property developer. He shares its story and analysis with Peter Oborne and Richard Heller as the guest on their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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He begins by reacting to the appointment of Clare Connor as interim CEO of the England and Wales Cricket Board (the first woman to take charge of a national cricket administration.) He notes that she remains President of the MCC: she therefore faces a major task in avoiding a conflict of interest, or even the appearance of one, if the ECB maintains its current policy of giving Lord’s two Test matches in the season, which has become an essential contributor to MCC’s finances. Juggling her many commitments in both domestic and international cricket is a great tribute but also a great challenge to her formidable administrative abilities. 1-4 minutes

He then sets out the historic background to the dramatic story of his book, beginning in 1891, when MCC reached a deal with the privately owned Great Central Railway to avoid moving the ground for a third time. It gained the southern half of the present Nursery End but yielded a narrow strip of land on the north side of the ground to the Railway and allowed it to build three large tunnels under the ground. By 1999 two of the tunnels were no longer in use for trains and their new public owner, Railtrack, were looking to dispose of surplus assets. MCC expected to be the only party interested in acquiring Railtrack’s land and tunnels (although it had already had warning of their potential interest to property developers). They did not offer Railtrack enough for them – and were chagrined to be outbid at auction by Mr Charles Rifkind. 5-7 minutes

It was the biggest mistake in the history of the MCC. Mr Rifkind reinforced it by buying the development rights to the disused tunnels. He became the MCC’s landlord, but the MCC had a very long lease on his part of the ground. Before it could be developed in any way, the two parties had to agree. This never happened: for the next twenty years Mr Rifkind produced plan after plan, each one batted back down the pitch by MCC committees. 8, 31 minutes

Charles Sale tells the story of the dentist Mr Knott, the MCC’s Cassandra, whose warnings of the perilous impasse were lost on the Club’s compartmentalized bureaucracy. The estates committee was almost totally autonomous, and its powerful chairman, Maurice de Rohan, was totally antipathetic to Rifkind, wrongly believing that he had acquired inside information about the club’s maximum bid for the Railtrack land. Dialogue with Rifkind did not begin until de Rohan’s death, six years later, and the appointment of Keith Bradshaw as MCC’s Chief Executive. Rifkind was then able to present a series of ambitious plans for redevelopment of Lord’s: they all foundered due to resistance by Committees and ordinary members to residential development – and the enduring personal antipathy of key Committee members and officials to him personally. 9-14 minutes

Even with goodwill towards Rifkind, it would have been a huge challenge for the MCC to balance its responsibilities as a private members club, the owner of a great cricket ground and a prime piece of real estate, and custodian of the laws and spirit of the game. Charles Sale suggests that the largely self-perpetuating committee system made this challenge impossible. In spite of recent improvements in governance, he believes that it is still too easy for MCC committees to secure the election of their preferred candidates and support for their preferred key decisions through postal and remote voting from the great inactive majority of the membership. When members were finally consulted over redevelopment in 2017 the MCC obtained overwhelming support for its recommended Masterplan of piecemeal development over Rifkind’s transformational Morley Plan for development at both ends of the ground. Rifkind and his architect, David Morley, were never allowed to present their plan on equal terms to the MCC’s. 14-19 minutes

Charles Sale estimates that the MCC spent at least £20 million purely on resistance to Rifkind, to which can be added the opportunity costs of forgoing the revenues and the great improvement in the public face of Lord’s which his plans would have generated. 20-22, 50 minutes

The cost of the feud with Rifkind was increased by the Club’s earlier gigantic error in selling off houses it owned in at the Pavilion end of the ground. Charles Sale blames this policy on Gubby Allen: the long-serving Grand Vizier of Lord’s preferred to do this rather than raise the membership fee.  The MCC then had to buy them back at a premium to wrest them from the hands of Rifkind. One incongruous beneficiary was the ambassador of communist Cuba. 24-27 minutes

Significantly absent in Charles Sale’s narrative are any influential voices from women, admitted to membership of the MCC only in 1999. He captures the male schoolboy tone of debate in the MCC and its possible influence on decision-making. 28-29 minutes

He traces the involvement of the former Prime Minister, Sir John Major, in the narrative and how, despite his political experience, he was outmanœuvred by two influential figures of the MCC. 32-36 minutes

He examines the limited influence of the local community and the outside world in general on the development of Lord’s. Proposals never advanced far enough to be submitted in a formal planning application, although they were sent to the then Mayor of London – Boris Johnson.  MCC is now much more engaged with local people through the MCC Foundation. 36-39 minutes

He contrasts the struggles over development at Lord’s with the rapid progress in the all-England tennis club at Wimbledon, and the August National Golf Club, whose decision-making was helped by having a much smaller membership. 40-43 minutes

He sums up the current situation. MCC is committed to its piecemeal development plan, financed by its one-off expedient of selling life memberships. Its feud with Rifkind endures and the direct and indirect costs of resisting him continue to mount. No one has been brought to account for the losses to cricket from the feud, and he sees no early prospect of any kind of accommodation between the MCC and Rifkind. These things must wait on major reforms of governance and accountability at the Club. He wonders whether the incoming President, Stephen Fry, will have the time, energy and power to drive these through. 43-52 minutes

Charles Sale’s The Covers Are Off is published by Mensch Publishing

wisden.com/shop/the-covers-are-off-civil-war-at-lords

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

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Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

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

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

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

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

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

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

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Brentford 1, Leeds United 2

Image above: Brentford v Leeds United match on Sunday 22 May; photograph Brentford FC

After the Lord Mayor’s show of a season comes the dustcart of a finale. Such a shame, even if the thousands of loyal Brentford fans lingered in the Community Stadium to say thanks to the manager and team that delivered so many thrills as they became a footballing force in the Premier League, while the sides that had accompanied them from the Championship disappeared back from whence they came.

For all that, the last game of the season was a damp squib that failed to ignite; a pedestrian contest in which the Bees should have sent lacklustre Leeds also into the league below.

They failed to do so in what once was typical Brentford style – haphazard and error-strewn, a difficult mountain climb that should have been a walk in the park. Chances were created and wasted, sporadic Leeds attacks shown far too much respect and, worst of all, the home side finished with only nine players on the pitch.

Is this too harsh a verdict? Let me recall the painful progress of Thomas Frank and his squad and then explain it without resorting to the cliche, ‘That’s football’.

Early on, Brentford held the upper hand and looked likely to score, even if Bryan Mbeumo had once again forgotten his shooting boots. What a fine and valuable player he is, but something happens when he finds himself in prime position; namely, he loses his sense of direction.

The large and vocally supportive contingent from Yorkshire urged on their injury-decimated team and, to everyone’s surprise – possibly including many of team – they appeared to go ahead, with striker Joe Gelhardt firing a shot past David Raya. VAR cut short the resultant elation by declaring the effort offside and Leeds’ head coach, Jesse Marsch, winner of the Most Animated Manager of the Year award, resumed his technical area (and nearby) aerobics.

The excitement subsided and the rest of the first half consisted of random long-range shots from Leeds and some thoughtful, attractive but mostly ineffectual football from the Bees. But surely the home side would up their game in the second period? Well, no…

On 56 minutes lively forward Raphinha careered into the penalty area and was brought down by a resourceful but illegal clobbering from David Raya. Raya. whose inadequate clearance had put him in the pickle to begin with, did his best to unnerve the Brazilian with goal-line calisthenics, but the penalty whistled into the net as the keeper took off in the wrong direction.

Thomas Frank then proceeded to introduce a trio of substitutes, with Josh Dasilva, Sergi Canós and Shandon Baptiste arriving in stages to provide fresh legs but no noticeable cutting edge. Until, that is, with ten minutes left to play a fine cross from Yoane Wissa was met by Canós’s equally excellent header, which flew wide of goalkeeper Illan Meslier.

With Kristoffer Ajer having limped off with a leg injury, Brentford were reduced to ten men, the maximum number of subs having been already reached. But worse was yet to come.

Canós earned a first warning because of the extravagant celebration of his goal and within two more minutes collected a second for a clumsy foul on Raphinha. Off he marched, nursing the remarkable record of having scored in both Brentford’s first and last games of the season and squeezing a red card into the record books too.

Nine men standing and ten minutes left plus subsequently the referee’s award of five extra minutes. They battled valiantly and Leeds shot poorly until, with inside a minute remaining Jack Harrison fired in a shot that hugged the ground from the edge of the penalty to take a slight deflection and find the back of Raya’s net.

There was just one kick, to restart the game, remaining. The tension that had marred the performances of both sides evaporated. The Leeds’ squad and their manager gathered in the corner of the visitors’ enclave to make whoopee.

Only when they eventually dispersed did Frank and the injury-listed Christian Nørgaard and his family lead a Brentford procession around the pitch that included many small children of the players, running and handholding and laughing in the late afternoon sunshine. Thousands of home fans were still there, to sing and dance as if in a carnival.

I turned, as always, to seek the opinion of the game from my mate Charlie, but noticed that his cheeks were damp as he stared at this extraordinary sight.

‘What a wonderful season,’ said Charlie.

Brentford: Raya; Ajer (injured 77), Jansson, Bech Sørensen (substitute Baptiste 71), Henry (Canós 63); Jensen (Dasilva 58), Janelt, Eriksen; Mbeumo, Toney, Wissa.

Leeds United: Meslier; Koch, Llorente, Cooper, Firpo; Raphinha, Greenwood (Klich 85), Phillips, Harrison; Rodrigo; Gelhardt (Struijk).

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

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TfL extends E-scooter trial to November

Image above: E-scooters

Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils have extended the capital’s trial of rental e-scooters from 6 June until 20 November this year, which TfL say will allow the trial to “build on its successes and further explore how e-scooters could play a role in a sustainable transport network.”

London’s trial was launched in June 2021 and has expanded significantly since then, with ten boroughs, more than 500 designated parking locations and 4,100 e-scooter vehicles now involved.

Since launching almost one year ago, more than one million journeys have now been made across the three operators taking part in London’s trial – Dott, Lime and TIER. These journeys cover a total of more than 2.5 million kilometres, with April being the busiest month so far.

TfL said thousands of users have also benefited from the operators’ discount schemes, which have made the rental vehicles more affordable for people on low incomes.

The Government’s forthcoming Transport Bill, if passed, will introduce a new category of low-speed, zero-emission vehicles, which could include e-scooters, and ensure they are regulated, safe and licensed. TfL and London Councils have welcomed this development, which they say has the potential to make important improvements to the safety of private e-scooters, which are not currently regulated.

Image above: E-scooters at Fisher’s Lane in Chiswick

E-scooters important to ensure green sustainable future, say TfL

Will Norman, London’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner, said:

“London’s e-scooter trial has proven to be very popular, with more than 1 million trips taken, so I am pleased that TfL and London Councils have been able to extend the trial to November. The trial is helping to shape our understanding of the role that e-scooters could play in the capital’s transport network and helping to inform future Government legislation on these vehicles. Ensuring a green, sustainable future for London is a top priority – with the right regulations that prioritise safety, e-scooters are an alternative to cars that could help us get there.”

Helen Sharp, TfL’s e-scooter trial lead, said:

“E-scooters could play an important role in ensuring a green and sustainable future for London and we’re really pleased to be able to extend the e-scooter trial to November. We’re working closely with operators, councils and people across London to build on the success of the trial so far and we’re pleased that people will continue to benefit until the autumn. The anonymised data we gather is crucial and we’ll be analysing this closely so that we can learn more about the role e-scooters could play in helping people move around London sustainably.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Night service returning on the Jubilee line – but not yet to the Piccadilly line

See also: Betty owner gets permission to put tables and chairs outside

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Andrea’s film review – The Innocents

The Innocents ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

During the bright Nordic summer, a group of children reveal their dark and mysterious powers when the adults aren’t looking. In this original and gripping supernatural thriller, playtime takes a dangerous turn. Out in selected cinemas.

Creepy children have always been among the top favourite ingredients when it comes to horror films. One can hardly forget Damian from The Omen, or Regan in The Exorcist (to her defence, it was the devil who possessed her), and even Danny in The Shining (as well as the Grady twins in that film!); Pet Sematery, The Village of the Damned, Children of the Corn… and I could go on and on… I’m a horror nerd after all.

Film makers have long found the juxtaposition between those cute little innocent faces and their unspeakable evil deeds irresistible.

The Innocents is the latest film to delve in such subgenre. It tells the story of a group of children with special powers of telepathy and telekinesis. At first they start using them for innocent games out in the playground, but soon things will take a much darker turn.

The story has echoes from films like Carrie and even The Good Son (A rather bad, but very memorable film from the ‘90s starring a psychopath-version of Macaulay Culkin), but this Norwegian film soon transcends its Stephen King vibes, and actually it ends up doing its own things pretty soon. The more it plays out the more unpredictable it gets.

It is a truly unsettling and unnerving piece of work, the way only really good horror films can be. Sometimes brutal, often unpredictable, it slowly gets under your skin by building an eerie atmosphere, which is truly terrifying.

And it does all that without having to resort to great special effects, or cheap jump scares, or darkly-lit corridors and shots of the full moon. In fact most of the film takes place in broad daylight in the middle of summer, which makes everything even scarier as it makes it feel there is nowhere to hide. The contrast between the bright sunshine and the darker side of the children’s psyches is stark.

The cast of young children is astonishingly good. I doubt they even understood the parts they were playing, so kudos to director Eskil Vogt, (screenwriter on the recent, Bafta winning The Worst Person in the World).

There is so much at play here: not just the loss of innocence, but the feeling of being misunderstood as a child, of being neglected; the innate ability for cruelty that children have, when their moral compass is not yet properly balanced.

This is a mature and at times unflinchingly cruel film which perfectly balances good horror with a multi-layered and nuanced examination of childhood and parenthood.

And now I’m just going to give a little kiss to my son, who’s asleep nextdoor… just in case.

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

The Innocents is out in selected cinemas and on the Curzon website.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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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Mind Matters – Considering prejudice

It is natural for us to make judgments in the current moment based in part upon old experiences and information and this means we never enter into a new situation or interaction without the potential for unhelpful bias and prejudice.

The word prejudice meaning prejudging, happens when we judge, form opinions about a person and assess a stimulus as positive or negative, without a strong foundation or valid reasoning for those judgements.

Prejudice can have a strong influence on how people behave and interact with others. It can happen outside of a person’s awareness, without the person realising they are under the influence of their own prejudices or biases.

Bias is an inclination tendency, or particular perspective towards something, which can be either favourable or unfavourable. When bias occurs outside of the perceiver’s awareness, it is classified as implicit bias.

The way we make sense of the world is based on a desire to stay safe and make progress. So many arguments and disagreements happen because fear and resistance is thought of as irrational, someone who holds prejudice and bias towards someone and whose behaviour is driven or influenced by it is unlikely to recognise that they are actually, on some level and in some way feeling threatened.

Likewise someone on the receiving end of prejudice and bias is likely to struggle to recognise the other’s fear when faced by behaviour which results in them feeling threatened or alienated.

Negative feelings, stereotyped beliefs and a tendency to treat members of a certain group in a certain way are all signs of unfavourable bias and prejudice.

In society, we often see prejudices towards a certain group based on their gender, race, sexuality, religion, culture, age, relationship status, class, occupation, financial situation, language, appearance, body shape and physical features to name just a few.

When people hold prejudicial attitudes towards others, they tend to view everyone who fits into a certain group as being “all the same”. They paint every individual who holds particular characteristics or beliefs with a very broad brush and fail to really look at each person as a unique individual.

Prejudice of any kind is an adaptive, lifelong process. We have all been bombarded with a lifetime of influence from people, media and experiences that feed the thoughts and assumptions, resulting in prejudice and bias often without our self-awareness.

How to recognise your prejudices and bias – think about times when you:

  • avoid people, without knowing them well.
  • treat certain people differently to others.
  • overlook or dismiss somebody else’s needs, struggles and feelings.
  • have negative thoughts and feelings towards people when you are unable to pinpoint a specific reason based upon actual experience with them.
  • receive feedback from others that they feel uncomfortable with the way they experience you.

How to recognise prejudices and bias towards you from others – think about times when you notice:

  • people speaking for you without actually asking what you would like to say.
  • different treatment for example different rates of pay or conditions in agreements, being asked to do more or less than others.
  • feeling uncomfortable with people and in situations, where ordinarily you wouldn’t.
  • noticing that someone interacts differently with you than others

Different ways in which we can work on reducing our own prejudices and biases:

Travel – when we travel, especially internationally, we expose ourselves to different types of people, cultures, beliefs and to the different habits, values and looks which people have. We challenge our pre-existing judgement by facing the world that is different to our own.

On the other hand, when we are only based in the same environment and the community of people who have the same beliefs as ours, it is easy to believe our Truth is the only correct way to look at life. Always being based in one place, surrounded by the same people, similar to us, dismisses the possibility of broadening our mindset.

When we travel, we may realise that our behaviours are not biological or natural. Instead they have been formed by the habits we were taught to follow in the community we grew up in. One of the best ways to challenge our prejudice and bias is to go to a country where millions of people are doing something different to us and where we don’t follow the same life patterns or beliefs as most people around us.

Make friends with people who are different to you – by being close to someone whose beliefs or looks are different to yours, we naturally become more open to accept the differences in people and realise that it is possible to have positive feelings and understanding towards those people.

The more time we spend communicating and interacting with someone, the more likely we are to be able to understand them and reduce our bias towards them. This can include broadening your friends group by interacting with the people you have previously ignored or becoming online friends with people from different countries.

Challenge your thinking – write down different judgments or opinions you may have formed about a person, and see if you can find any proof or evidence for those judgments. Look for evidence that refutes your negative opinion of others.

Consider experiences from the point of view of the person being stereotyped. You can do this by reading or watching content that discusses those experiences or directly interacting with people from those groups.

Try to evaluate people based on their personal characteristics rather than those associated with their group. This could include connecting over shared interests and trying to focus on the similarities rather than differences.

Volunteer – by volunteering you are very likely to put yourself in a position where you interact with many people from different groups which are different to your own.

Obtain your information from more than one source – Remain alert to the influence of subtle stereotyping and other potential seeds of prejudice in TV, books, conversations between the people you know and social media. Start to gather information about other people from different sources, both first-hand and second-hand.

Research suggests that contact between members of different groups, particularly when that contact is warm and positive (such as through friendships) reduces negative emotional reactions (such as anxiety or anger) and increases positive emotions (such as empathy and care).

This results in more positive attitudes towards members of that group, as well as the person we become friends with. Extended contact with various groups can also be beneficial. This is where our in-group friends have out-group friends who are different to us, yet we learn of the positive contact and experiences that our fellow group members had with those who are different. There is also evidence that teaching people about other groups, and about the biases they hold but perhaps are not aware of, can help to reduce prejudice and discrimination.

What to do when prejudice and bias is identified:

Recognising our own prejudice and bias is often the single most important thing we can do to ensure our behaviour changes. However if you are on the receiving end of prejudice and bias then knowing what to do about it can be very difficult and your potential for action can often be very context dependent.

If you are uncertain then try speaking to someone who you trust to talk through your experience, situation and possible courses of action.

Nicholas Rose

UKCP accredited Psychotherapist

Psychotherapy, counselling, relationship therapy and coaching.

PGDip, MA, Adv Dip Ex Psych

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

nicholas-rose.co.uk

Read more blogs by Nicholas Rose

Read the next in the series – Mind Matters – The power of nostalgia

Read the previous one – Mind Matters – If you have noticed a new reluctance to do things that didn’t exist before the pandemic then you are not alone

See all Nicholas’s Mind Matters blogs here

Read a profile of Nicholas here

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Police looking for two men after attack in Chiswick

Police have released these images of two men they are looking for in connection with an attack in Chiswick. They give few details other than that they are wanted for Grievous Bodily Harm.

In a message on social media they say:  “no need to approach, give us a call and we will do the rest.”

To provide information, call 101 or tweet @MetCC by DM. Quote the reference: CRIS 0506786/22

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Man charged with murder of Ania Jedrkowiak in South Ealing

See also: TfL extends E-scooter trial to November

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 – Our Father

Our Father ⭐️⭐️1/2  Review by Andrea Carnevali

After a woman’s at-home DNA test reveals multiple half-siblings, she discovers a shocking scheme involving donor sperm and a popular fertility doctor. The latest true crime documentary on Netflix.

This is the latest entry in the ever-expanding list of real-crime documentaries that Netflix is throwing at us pretty much weekly.

This one is produced by the same Emmy-winning producer (Jason Blum) who had been at the helm of the extraordinary The Jinx, from 2015. (Possibly my favourite documentary of this kind, I highly recommend it to anyone).

Our Father tells the horrible true story of fertility doctor Doctor Cline, who used his own sperm to artificially inseminate a series of women for over 20 years between the 1970s and 80s, without their knowledge or consent, instead of using the donor sperm which had been requested.

The documentary does some things right, one of which is the decision tell the story from the point of view of some the victims and to focus on their pain after the shocking discovery. It’s terrifying to learn Dr Cline is the biological father of at least 94 children.

Unfortunately Our Father doesn’t seem to go much beyond the headlines news and after a while I couldn’t help noticing the disconnect between the story itself and the rather cheap, heavy-handed and overall rather unimaginative way the story was being presented.

Whilst I thought it was a wise choice to give a voice to the victims, after a while, I’m sorry to say, it all became a bit repetitive and comments like “when I found out my heart sunk” started to lose their impact and the whole thing began to appear morbid for its own sake, manipulative and actually a little bit exploitive too.

All of this was not helped by some tacky reconstructions and re-enactments (probably the worst aspect of the film), intercut with real recordings and talking heads. The horror-like music score which run throughout feels as if the film-maker couldn’t trust the strength of story itself and crucially us, the audience.

In the end the film ends up looking more like one of those cheap products often found on those “true-crime” minor TV channels, rather than a well-crafted piece of film making (once again, do watch The Jinx).

But most importantly, the film never really looked at the broader picture and failed to answer important questions often just raised but never really explored, like the failings of the American legal systems, which allowed the doctor to carry on his deeds.

As it turns out, the fact that he switched his own semen into non-consenting female patients was actually not illegal at the time when he did it. Dr Cline is still alive and well and never spent a single day in prison.

There were no conclusive answer as to why the doctor did what he did, just some quick assumptions: an incident that happened years before which lead the doctor to act the way he did and that he was probably part of a radical religious group that considered large families a blessing from God, hence his need to constantly create life.

But in the end it all felt just a bit too superficial: such weighty material and important issues really deserved better.

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

Our Father is available to watch on Netflix.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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 nbsp;

 

 

Ealing Blues Festival founder honoured with UK Blues Award

Image above: Bob Salmons with his Unsung Hero Award presented by Paul Jones at the 2022 UK Blues Awards; photograph Roger Green

The founder of Ealing Blues Festival has been honoured with a UK Blues Award for his work in promoting live music and Ealing’s music heritage.

Robert Salmons, who performs under the name Robert Hokum, received the Unsung Hero award from singer and radio personality Paul Jones at a packed event on Sunday, 15 May, at the PowerHaus in Camden.

In 1987 Robert started the Ealing Blues Festival as a free event in Walpole Park. It has grown to be one of the most established blues festivals in the UK and is now London’s longest-running Blues Festival. Robert co-founded the Ealing Blues Community Interest Company (CIC) in 2011, alongside Alistair Young, to highlight the area’s music heritage and to work to create better opportunities for live music performance.

Born in Perivale Maternity Hospital in 1951 and brought up in Hanwell and West Ealing, Robert attended Ealing Grammar School where he studied for an HND diploma in Business Studies at Twickenham College of Technology. He first became involved in music by becoming Social Secretary of the Student Union.

Robert was presented with the award on the same day as the launch of the book Rock’s Diamond Year, which features a chapter on his teenage years during Ealing’s musical heyday.

Image above:  Bob Salmons with a copy of Rock’s Diamond Year speaking at the 2022 UK Blues Awards; photograph Roger Green

Blues is “an important but undervalued scene”

Presenting the award, Paul Jones said Robert was a “tireless promoter” of the west London blues scene.

Accepting his award, guitar-player Robert told the audience:

“I don’t think the artistic elite in this country takes seriously enough the cultural contribution of British blues to world culture. This is an important but undervalued scene. In America they acknowledge that it was what happened here that made people globally aware of a lot of the great blues artists and we woke Americans up to their defining music form.”

To loud applause, he told the awards audience that Britain should learn from the US and how they link geography with cultural heritage:

“Detroit, Chicago, Nashville and Memphis all do this well and we need to do it here. We can use that heritage to provide opportunities for new music and up-and-coming bands, which is how things progress.”

Robert added later:

“I’m very honoured to be the first recipient of the Unsung Hero Award from the UK Blues Federation. This shows the blues community’s appreciation of The Ealing Blues Festival being London’s longest-running Blues Festival and the importance of Ealing’s musical heritage as featured in the film Suburban Steps to Rockland and the new book Rock’s Diamond Year.”

“Still lots more to do” says Ealing Blues co-founder

Alistair Young, co-founder Ealing Club CIC was there to see the award presentation and said afterwards:

“Bob and I co-founded the CIC in December 2011 to highlight the area’s music heritage and to work to create better opportunities for live music performance.

“We started by raising the money for the blue plaque that’s now on the wall of the Ealing Club premises opposite Ealing Broadway Station and we helped to bring to the screen Suburban Steps To Rockland: The Story of the Ealing Club. However, as Bob told the UK Blues Awards, there’s still lots more to do to get west London the cultural respect it deserves for music.”

Robert will be performing as Robert Hokum with the Asian Blues fusion band Blues Dharma at the Jubilee event in Walpole Park on Sunday 5 June and with The Great West Groove Big Band at the two-day Ealing Blues Festival on Sunday 24 July.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Jazz at George IV

See also: Betty owner gets permission to put tables and chairs outside

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Betty owner gets permission to put tables and chairs outside

Image above: Steve Novak, owner of Betty

The owner of Betty, Steve Novak, has won the right to put tables and chairs outside the restaurant in Barley Mow Passage in the evenings.

He applied to  LB Hounslow for a street trading licence to put seating outside. When he appeared before the licensing panel on Thursday (19 May) there was a small group of vociferous objectors who appeared to mount an orchestrated campaign against the restaurant, some of them sending in identically worded objections, on the grounds that it would be noisy and also affect residents’ safety.

The panel of councillors gave Steve what he asked for – the right to put out chairs and tables between 6.30 and 10pm, Monday – Saturday, when the street is already designated as a pedestrian area (open to cars earlier in the day).

“I look forward to al fresco dining and gin and tonic sundowners” Steve told The Chiswick Calendar.

Betty is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, offering Club Card holders 20% off food and drink on the a la carte menu (ie. not on existing offers).

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ‘Betty’ owner’s application for expanded alfresco dining meets resistance

See also: Chiswick pubs bar Leeds fans at last match of the season

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Chiswick’s MPs criticise Government’s handling of the cost of living crisis

Image above: Ruth Cadbury (left) and Rupa Huq (right)

Chiswick’s MPs have criticised the Government’s handling of the ongoing cost of living crisis, saying “urgent support” is needed for their constituents who are struggling with rising prices.

Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury and Ealing Central & Acton MP Rupa Huq both voted for amendments to the Queen’s Speech which would have imposed a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas producers and triggered an emergency budget to deal with skyrocketing prices.

Both MPs voted on Tuesday (17 May) a windfall tax to be imposed on the profits oil and gas producers, most of which who have made a record profit during the energy crisis. BP boss Bernard Looney likened the business to a “cash machine” in March and he received a £2.4m bonus.

If enacted, Labour’s plan would have removed VAT on energy bills, provide extra home insulation for millions of homes and expand the winter homes discount which provides financial support to those struggling with their bills. The amendment was defeated by the Government MPs, who voted it down by 310 votes to 248.

A further Labour amendment on Wednesday (18 May) which would have triggered an emergency budget was defeated by 312 to 229. It came on the same day inflation shot up to its highest level in 40 years, sparking warnings the UK is headed for a recession.

Local people “need to see urgent support”, says Ruth Cadbury

Speaking after Tuesday’s vote, Ruth Cadbury said:

“Families locally are facing a cost of living crisis, with the prices of food, fuel and energy continuing to soar. People locally are struggling, and they need to see urgent support from the Government.

“However rather than supporting our plan for a windfall tax on oil and gas producers, the Prime Minister has simply washed his hands of the matter and is refusing to act. Even after the rise in inflation we’re still seeing more dither and delay from the Prime Minister.

“I will continue to campaign for the Government to take urgent action to cut energy bills and ensure people locally do not have to bear the burden for the slow economic growth, rising inflation and stagnant wages across the UK.’’

Above: Rupa Huq’s speech to the House of Commons

Queens Speech “a scattergun of afterthoughts that puts off all the really big decisions”, says Rupa Huq

Speaking before Wednesday’s vote in a speech to the House of Commons, Rupa Huq said:

“That is what we get when we have an administration diverted from the real issues of the day by self-preservation. While 38 Bills is, on the face of it, a frenetic level of legislation—it is the most in almost a decade and four times that of the last Queen’s Speech—when we strip away the bits that are reheated leftovers that the Government could not get through the Lords last time and the bits and pieces that will scrap EU regulations, we see that, paradoxically, it is a very thin speech. It is a scattergun of afterthoughts, and it puts off all the really big decisions.”

“When, the other day, the Prime Minister had a go at our hard-working civil service by saying that it had a mañana culture—I am told that the word translates as “tomorrow”—he seemed to identify that his own Government have been gripped with putting everything into a “too difficult for right now” box to be dealt with tomorrow.

“Although the words “cost of living crisis” were included in the speech’s text, it was missing any big, overarching ideas for dealing with the crippling of household finances when it comes to the weekly shop, leaving the lights on, heating the house or filling up the tank. The Government’s answer for when they might deal with any of the above, or the record inflation that we see today, is some ill-defined date in the future, but the problem is now.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Amy Croft “surprised to have been elected” as Chiswick’s first Labour councillor in 30 years

See also: Betty owner gets permission to put tables and chairs outside

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Andrea’s film review – The Quiet Girl

The Quiet Girl ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Rural Ireland, 1981. A quiet, neglected girl is sent away from her dysfunctional family to live with foster parents for the summer. She blossoms in their care, but in this house where there are meant to be no secrets, she discovers one. Out in selected cinemas and can be watched online on the Curzon website.

The quiet girl at the centre of this story is indeed… well, quiet, just like the film itself, which clearly proves that you don’t have to shout to strike a chord.

And so in a month packed with hyperbolic movies about “multiverses”, flashy fights between wizard and superheroes, idiotic horror remakes, bloody revenge epics, treasure-hunting capers, wartime dramas, self-referential comedies, the film that touched me the most is actually one of the simplest: one made of silences, quiet stares and untold truths. Its beauty lies in its simplicity and its power in those unspoken truths.

The film was the first Irish language film to be screened at the Berlin International Film Festival and was honoured with the Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury. It also won seven awards at the Irish Film and Television Awards, including Best film, Best director (Colm Bairéad) and Best cinematography (Kate McCullough).

Despite all the (deserved) accolades, and my five-stars, I’m very aware that this is an art-house film might not be for everyone’s taste, but if you’re willing to let it sink into you and if you get into the right frame of mind (it is a slow and quiet film), this is actually one of the most exquisite, gentle and moving things I’ve seen all year.

The story itself could be written on the back of stamp, that’s how basic it is. First published in the New Yorker in 2010 and later expanded into a novella by Claire Keegan, The Quiet Girl tells of a 10 year-old girl called Cáit from a “troubled” family in rural Ireland in the1980s.

She is sent to live with her relatives at an old farm for the summer, while the mother gives birth to yet another child. In the new (much quieter) home, she will experience kindness, care and love for the first time in her life.

This is a film driven by emotions (mostly repressed ones) rather than a plot. A film where images and background sounds effortlessly work together to create a unique atmosphere which ends up weighing more than the dialogue itself.

It seems to do so little and yet it sensitively and subtly builds to deeply moving ending, which took me by surprise, not so much because of what happened, but because how beautifully and gently it took me to that place where I found myself in tears, without even realising and understanding how the film could have worked its magic on me.

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

The Quiet Girl is out in selected cinemas and can be watched online on the Curzon website.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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 nbsp;

 

 

Everton 2, Brentford 3

Image above: Everton v Brentford; photograph Brentford FC

Ever experienced one of those days when nothing goes right? Well, Everton has. Last Sunday at Goodison Park for all of the first 18 minutes the home side looked like spanking a bemused Brentford side. They took the lead after just ten of those and must have felt all was well with the world. And then the sky fell in.

Having made considerable progress in avoiding relegation under the tutelage of recently appointed manager Frank Lampard, the sweetly- nicknamed Toffees were favourites with the bookies to send the Bees back to London with nothing to show for their trip other than a collection of might-have-beens.

With a 1-0 defeat at the Community Stadium last November to avenge, they set about the Bees in workmanlike fashion. And they forged their way ahead until a long-range punt born of necessity rather than creative thinking saw 19-year-old centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite chasing a rampaging Ivan Toney and, despairing of ever catching him, clattered him to the ground from behind. The resultant free kick came to nothing, but by then Braithwaite had departed with a red card for company, one of 103 collected by Everton in their long history.

The shape of the game changed from there on, with a reorganised Everton setting about hanging on to the lead established when Dominic Calvert-Lewin finished an Anthony Gordon free kick with a touch as light as a feather duster.

The Bees drew level thanks to Everton full back Seamus Coleman’s head, which sportingly got in the way to divert a Yoane Wissa cross past Jordan Pickford. But soon the home side were again in front, thanks on this occasion to Mads Bech Sørensen, who was having a torrid time trying to contain the home side’s refusal to mind their own business and unwisely toppled the Brazilian Richarlison in the penalty area.

Richarlison, having converted the resultant penalty, bit the dust again shortly afterwards and was ignored by everyone concerned other than Christian Eriksen, who did the very decent thing of trotting over to the striker to see if all was well. It was, in a manner of speaking.

Bech Sørensen was replaced by Thomas Frank at the interval as the coach shuffled his side to inject speed by dispensing with much of the defence and sending extra midfielders Josh Dasilva and Vitaly Janelt into the fray. Smart move: with about half-an-hour remaining an Eriksen corner homed in on a crowded goalmouth, only to be intercepted by Wissa’s head and from a narrow angle found its home inside the far post.

And, blow me, two minutes later Brentford were in front, a fine Matthias Jensen cross being met by an airborne Rico Henry to guide it out of Pickford’s reach.

Those kind-hearted among the TV audience could not help but feel sympathy for an indefatigable Everton side, especially when, with two minutes of normal time left to play, late substitute Soloman Rondón felled Henry with a tackle that had foul writ large over it, to leave only nine dejected souls trooping from the pitch.

The afternoon ended with Brentford in eleventh place in the Premier league table, with only one game remaining of their extraordinary season and Everton still in search of the three points that might – no guarantees, mind – keep them in the Premier League.

‘Crazy game’, was Tomas Frank’s verdict. ‘We wuz robbed,’ complained Lampard, who thought his side should have been awarded a penalty for some shirt-pulling in the box just before the sending off. Perhaps the Bees can help them out by snaffling the points themselves when they meet up with the Toffees’ relegation rivals Leeds United at the Community Stadium next Sunday

Everton: Pickford; Coleman (substitute Rondón 84), Branthwaite, Holgate; Iwobi, Doucouré, André Gomes (Kenny 72), Mykolenko; Gordon (Gray 72), Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.

Brentford: Raya; Ajer (Dasilva 59), Jansson, Bech Sørensen (Janelt 45), Henry; Jensen, Nørgaard, Eriksen; Mbeumo, Toney, Wissa (Roerslev 75).

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

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Andrea’s film review – Rhino

Rhino ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

A Ukrainian youth nicknamed ‘Rhino’ falls into the grip of the criminal world in the 1990s and begins his bloody path, which leads him not where he expected. Rhino is out today on most of the major streaming platforms (GooglePlay, iTunes, Prime).

This is definitely the darkest and most hopeless film I’ve seen this year. And it’s probably not too surprising to see that it’s coming from director Oleh Sentsov, an Ukrainian activist who spent four years in prison after being charged with terrorism for speaking out against the Putin regime and Russian war in Crimea. (He was actually sentenced to 20 years, but “saved” earlier by Amnesty International ).

His anger is clearly present in every frame of this film as he depicts Ukraine at the fall of the Soviet Union in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s as a place overrun with violence and criminal activities.

The film itself is full of graphic depiction, remorseless killings, and cold violence against all living beings, including women and children (though those are often unfortunate “casualties of war”). I had to watch a scene in a barn towards the end through my fingers, something I don’t usually do.

Sentsov doesn’t seem too interested in making any political statement here, in fact to be completely honest, I’m still struggling to work out whether there is really any message to learn from this utterly depressing story.

The plot itself feels very familiar, as it follows a young man, nicknamed “Rhino”, his rise (and fall) on the criminal ladder through a series of gangster bands. As somebody before me has rightly pointed out, this could be a Ukrainian version of the Italian Gomorrah.

It’s not an easy watch, not just for the violence itself, but also because it’s very hard to engage with Rhino, at least throughout the whole first hour. Despite his impressive physicality and threatening look, he’s not just a very unlikeable character as he moves from one unredeemable deed to the next and crucially he’s also rather unreadable for us the audience.

The film starts off with a sequence during which Sentsov shows off some impressive film-making skills. In a seemingly uninterrupted take, perfectly choreographed, the camera moves around a house as we scroll through 20 years of the life of Rhino establishing his sad upbringing and the atmosphere of violence he grows up with.

It is a very showy beginning, which almost feels like a film within a film and sets the wrong expectations for the rest of the drama, which actually plays out pretty straight.

Despite of all of the above-mentioned shortcomings, this is still an undeniably powerful film, which I won’t be able to shake off too easily.

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

Rhino is available to watch on most of the major streaming platforms (GooglePlay, iTunes, Prime).

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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 nbsp;

 

Man in the Middle 88: An Offaly nice idea

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

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

No 88: An Offaly nice idea

I walk into the kitchen hoping for a quiet Sunday breakfast to discover that overnight Netflix have converted my kitchen into the film set for a new version of George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’.

There are people sitting and standing all over the kitchen. All the ceiling lights are on despite the bright May sun, which is shines through the open patio doors. The smell of burnt bacon pervades the room like a crime and the extractor fan is sucking up the acrid smoke like an anxious mosquito trying to cover up the evidence.

There are giggles, grunts and groans, everywhere. Broken eggshells, everywhere. Plates with bacon rind stuck in tomato ketchup, everywhere. Energy and noise, everywhere.

‘Mi casa es su farmyard,’ I mutter to myself, suddenly feeling both Bolshie and Boomerism.

Several young and groomed people are gathered at the table. They’re all busy shaking my breakfast cereals into their milk filled bowls, like misers eagerly emptying out someone else’s piggy bank.

‘Are there any Coco Pops left?’ I ask, pointing at a young man with a goatee beard, pouring my Coco Pops into his bowl.

‘Don’t think so?’ he says, as he rattles the box next to his ear. ‘No, none left.’

‘They’re my favourite breakfast cereal,’ I say.

‘Sorry, do you want to share mine?’ he says, as he lowers the tip of his goatee into the bowl of milk and hoists a spoonful of coco pops and chocolate milk towards his waxed and bearded mouth.

‘Not today, thanks,’ I say.

*

I look around for space to retire to and gather my wits. I don’t mind the children having people to stay. I don’t resent them having breakfast even if I am feeling a little cut up about the last box of Coco Pops being ransacked before I got a portion from it. It’s their liveliness I can’t stand.

I wanted 30 quiet minutes to rekindle the fire under my soggy Sunday Boomer metabolism with a cup of Monmouth coffee. I was looking forward to a gentle work out unpacking the dishwasher, a task which fills me with Puritanical pleasure, a task before which nothing else can happen in the morning.

Yeah, before the dishwasher is cleared, thou shalt not sip even the shortest draught from the teeniest cup of espresso coffee made by human hands. Nor shall you peek at the front page of the Sunday papers until the cutlery drawer is refilled with clean spoons.

As a child, I was brought up to believe work came before reward, pain before pleasure, main courses before puddings. It was old fashioned, I know, but Honore et Labore (honour through work) was the family motto.

Now I can see my attempts to pass on the family work ethic has failed. The dishwasher is still full, unloaded. Which means the kids have ignored the family motto and got stuck into breakfast before refilling the cutlery drawer.

Is this how they will always live? Like Mongols, forever moving carelessly from one house to the next leaving behind them empty boxes of Rice Krispies, half eaten sausages and unwashed Smoothie blenders?

*

Suddenly, the juicer, the coffee grinder, the Sonos and the kettle are turned on at the same time. It’s a cacophony of symphonic dimensions. My brain shrivels under the assault of noise like a slug sprinkled with salt.

‘What is that?’ I ask.

‘Jazz funk,’ says the young man standing next to the stove, obviously referring to the loud noise coming from the Sonos.

‘No, you fool, that,’ I say, pointing at four uncooked egg yolks wrapped in cling film which are lying on the kitchen next to a boiling pan of water. They look like the castrated orange testicles of two farm animals.

‘Poached eggs,’ he says.

‘Why not use the poacher?’

‘Because he ran away when we asked him,’ he says.

‘That’s a pretty poor joke,’ I say.

‘Sorry,’ he replies and drops the cling filmed eggs into a pan of swirling water.

*

‘I’ve been thinking about food,’ I say.

‘So, what’s new,’ says my wife, who has come down to the kitchen to join me and the remnants of the overnight posse.

‘I think we should plan our food better. Spend less on meat. Buy cheaper cuts. Head to toe eating. That sort of thing.’

‘Have you signed up for one of those budgeting lessons with that Tory idiot?’ asks one of the remnants.

‘Not exactly.’

‘Lee Anderson MP?’ says my daughter.

‘Yes. I did listen to that idiot. But that’s not what I mean.’

‘Is this ‘thinking’ of yours a specific and coherent proposal? Or is it one of your usual ‘ideas’ as in: ‘I’ve been meandering around the Google verse like a village idiot for an afternoon collecting random and disconnected ideas about environmental policy, food production and our family food budget which I’d now like to disgorge on you like a dumper truck unloading sand at a cement factory?’

‘The former,’ I say.

‘Let’s hear it then,’ she says.

‘This week I shall mainly be eating offal’

Someone at the far end of the table chokes on their coffee.

‘Is that a line from a comedy show,’ asks one of the remnants.

‘Yes, the Fast Show,’ I say rather proud that my children have friends who have such strong comic references.

‘Offal?’ says my wife.

‘Like kidneys?’ says my daughter.

‘Or liver?’ asks my son.

‘Or my personal favourite sweetbreads,’ I say.

‘Sweetbreads? Aren’t those essentially testicles,’ says one of the remnants.

‘No. Sweetbreads are the thymus. From the throat or the pancreas.’

‘I’m not keen on pancreas,’ says my daughter.

‘I’d rather go back to being a vegetarian,’ says my son.

‘Offal is cheaper than most meat, nutritious and delicious. It would be a sensible way for us to make a small contribution to reducing our carbon footprint and reducing food waste. Butchers can’t get rid of this stuff these days.’

‘I’m not surprised,’ says my son.

‘Are you sure they’re not testicles,’ asks my daughter again.

‘Certain,’ I say.

‘I’m out,’ says my wife, with a Deborah Meaden, Dragon’s Den look of contempt.

‘I don’t think you’re giving me a fair hearing. I feel like that Lee Anderson,’ I say.

‘You won’t get any sympathy that way,’ says my daughter.

‘It’s an offaly nice idea,’ says my son and the table titters.

I get up and start to unload the dishwasher.

‘Don’t patronise me,’ I say.

Read more blogs by James Thellusson

Read the next in the series – Man in the Middle 89: The Day of the Empty Nester

Read the previous one – Man in the Middle: Willy Wonka should run adult social care

See all James’s Man in the Middle blogs here

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Somali Sideways – an idea, a book and a chance encounter in Tesco

Image above: Mohamed Mohamud and the woman he met in Tesco

“I’m reading this book …”

Mohamed Mohamud was in Tesco the other day when a diminutive woman asked for his help in reaching something on a high shelf. Being a tall, lanky guy, this is something he is quite used to but what happened next took him quite by surprise. He recounted the tale on social media:

“So I’m doing my usual day-to-day grocery shopping at my local Tescos and this lady comes to me and says ‘Hi I’m sorry but could you help me out with picking an item from the top shelf?’

“As usual, being tall I get ask these kinds of things many times. So I said ‘Of course I can help you’. Once I picked up the item and gave it to her, she asks rather shyly ‘Oh by the way where are you from?’ I’m sure I’m not the only one but when I get asked this particular question…

“I don’t know to say. Shall I say I’m British or my Somali background? So I said to her that I’m born and raised in London but I’m originally from Somalia. To my surprise she says ‘yes I would have thought you were Somali’.

“I tell her funnily enough I don’t normally get that as a first response. So you think that would be the end of the conversation but it gets very interesting. She then tells me ‘I saw this book online called Somali Sideways and I bought it and I’m currently reading it!’

“Now when I heard her say that, I was completely taken by it and I whispered to her ‘oh by the way the book you are reading currently, I’m the author’.

“Her facial expression was priceless and she continues ‘You are Mohamed Mohamud?! I can’t believe it’ she then tells me that her husband took a photo of her holding the book and hopes to meet the author one day. Little did she know that I live a few minutes from her!

“Moral of the story: Sometimes when you think something won’t happen to you, life teaches you that anything is possible. I thought I could share this story to you all.”

Images above: Mohamed at a book signing; Somali Sideways, his book

Changing perceptions of Somalis

The idea of doing a book to change perceptions about Somalis and Somali culture came to Mohamed in 2014. Many Somalians came to Britain when civil war broke out in the early 1990s. Since then the country has been characterised as a ‘failed state’, associated with conflict and chaos.

Mohamed’s parents were among those who came and settled in west London. He was born here, went to primary school at Southfield Primary and secondary school at Acton High. He studied international politics as his first degree and conflict, rights and justice for his Masters at SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

“While at university, I read an article in May 2014 that Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group based in Somalia sent in a suicide bomber who blew up the Somali parliament and deployed gunmen on foot in a highly-organised attack on the state.

“When I finished the article and after much research, I said to myself why are most of the news coverage on the Somali region about terrorism, famine and piracy? There wasn’t enough coverage showing Somalis in a positive light, so I thought it was vital to do something about it.”

He started taking pictures of Somali friends in London standing sideways. Why standing sideways?

“I wanted to show a different side, to change misconceptions about Somalis and their culture.

Image above: PHotographs from Somali Sideways

Somali Sideways

“I was drawn to the concept because people choose to share certain aspects of their lives and they keep other parts of themselves private. On the one side it’s about sharing stories that you wish to share, and the other remains a mystery.”

It is fair to say his friends were initially sceptical, but after the initial launch of the photography book at the Bush theatre in Shepherd’s Bush he has travelled to speak to Somali organisations and Black arts societies in Ohio, Minnesota, Vancouver and Toronto, where there are big Somali communities and he has also travelled all over Europe speaking in Germany, Holland, Sweden and Denmark. In December last year he visited Cairo and he is currently planning another tour of Canada.

“A lot of non-Somalis have come up and said “I didn’t know. It has changed my perception of Somalis.”

The only negative response, he told me, has been from someone in Somalia, clearly happy with the perception they were creating of chaos and terror, to warn him off.

Mohamed has brought out a second book, the Araweelo edition, (which his new friend from Tescos is pictured holding), called after a Somali queen in folklore, who represented the matriarchal society in the distant past when Somali women were the leaders in society.

He is now contemplating a third book, this time based on interviews with Somali elders.

“Some Somalis came her in the 1960s and ’70s [after President Sharmarke was assassinated and the Supreme Revolutionary Council took power]. They were ambassadors and politicians and many of them settled in Acton.”

Somali Sideways – Photobook in Changing Perceptions of the Somalis and Somali Sideways: Araweelo Edition are available to buy on Amazon.

Somali Sideways

Images above: Mohamed at a book signing 

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Maimuna gets her place at Cambridge

See also: Huge crowds attend prayers for Ali Abucar Ali

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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‘Betty’ owner’s application for expanded alfresco dining meets resistance

Image above: Foot and drink outside Betty in Barley Mow Passage

The owner of Betty, the restaurant-bar in Barley Mow Passage, is again meeting resistance to an application to extend the operating terms of his business.

Steve Novak, who opened Betty in August 2021, has applied to LB Hounslow for a temporary street trading licence so he can place tables, chairs and two ‘A’ boards in Barley Mow Passage, the alley-way outside the restaurant, to allow for expanded alfresco dining and drinking.

He owns several restaurants in different parts of London and although Betty has done ‘OK’ since it opened, it is not doing as well as he expected it would, so he wants to take advantage of the pedestrianised alleyway outside the premises to offer the attraction of al fresco dining in the summer months.

Barley Mow Passage has been pedestrianised in the evenings since 2011, when Sam Harrison applied and was granted the right to put tables outside what was then Sam’s Brasserie. It is closed to vehicles from 6.30pm – 10pm, Monday to Saturday.

If approved, the current restaurant Betty would have tables and chairs outside Monday to Friday from 6.00pm to 10.00pm and Saturday to Sunday from 10.00am to 10.00pm. The ‘A’ boards would be positioned outside the premises on the pavement Monday to Sunday from 11.00am to 11.00pm.

Standard Conditions allow a maximum width of any licensed area ‘which shall not exceed one third of the useable width of the footpath.’

Images above: Barley Mow Passage

Betty offers ‘casual dining’ – sharing platters and traditional pub standards, with a range of beers and cocktails and an extensive wine list. The premises also has a lively bar and hosts regular weekend events, which last year included a Halloween fancy dress party and a number of ‘December Discos’.

Since they opened last year, Steve has positioned Betty to attract a younger crowd. He applied to extend the hours in which he can sell alcohol and provide recorded music from 11.30pm to 1.00am on Friday and Saturday nights, but had his application rejected after various objections from local residents. Instead he was granted an extension until midnight.

Image above: Betty’s plan for outside tables

Residents complain about potential for noise

Some of those who objected to Mr Novak’s previous application have again raised their concerns about the new proposals.

Margaret Chadderton objected on grounds of ‘public nuisance and protection of children from harm’. She objected to Sam Harrison’s application for street trading eleven years ago as well.

She said:

“We are concerned about the noise from this al fresco dining, particularly as Betty’s plays music and the noise would inevitably spill out of the restaurant as waiters moved in and out.

“Added to the noise of the customers this would affect our flats with windows open in the summer. We have babies and children in these flats who need their sleep. Being narrow, the noise in Barley Mow passage is intensified. It is not a suitable place for outside dining with so many residents in the area.”

Orchestrated campaign

Among the nine objections, several people used exactly the same wording in their complaint.

Rahim Dadani and Sohail Janjuha, owner/franchisee of Winkworth Chiswick, are among those who objected on grounds of public nuisance and public safety. They said granting the licence would “adversely affect the nearby residents and businesses”.

They argue that their parking would be heavily restricted by the changes and say they fear Mr Novak will apply for another licence to extend the outdoor license’s timings, which would “completely [negate] the rights of access of all his neighbours”.

When we talked to Steve Novak about the application he said other local businesses had been granted licences which allowed for alfresco dining in the past and he saw no reason why his application should not be granted now.

“The area I’m wishing to occupy is pedestrianised at the times I wish to occupy it… Some of the objections within the pub opposite that has tables and chairs in the same area… I find some of those objections somewhat disingenuous.”

He also said some of the objectors did not live anywhere near the restaurant and suggested several representations had been written from a template, bearing the mark of an organised campaign.

“Other objections are from people who live far afield, I’m unsure as to how they even know about the application.”

Image above: Betty owner – Steve Novak

A Hounslow licensing panel will decide whether to grant the application, refuse it or grant in part or with changes on Thursday 19 May.

Cllr Joanna BIddolph has written to the panel saying:

“I understand that there has been no change in relationships with neighbours and I’m concerned that this means all applications from Betty will result in strong objections, making this significant location a permanent concern.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Betty application for 1am weekend licence turned down

See also: LB Hounslow investigating “environmental mess” at Dukes Meadows

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Chiswick pubs bar Leeds fans at last match of the season

Images above: The Express Tavern, the nearest pub to Brentford Community Stadium

Pubs on Strand on the Green are bracing themselves for this weekend’s football match between Brentford and Leeds United. The Brentford home match will decide whether or not the Leeds team is relegated to the Championships and there are rumours that thousands of Leeds fans could arrive without tickets.

Brentford FC has advised local pubs of the increased security measures they are taking.

“Fans are reminded that home areas of the stadium are for home fans only. You must not pass on any tickets for home areas to away fans.

“Any away fans found to be in home areas will be required to leave the stadium. Any Brentford fan who is found to be responsible for purchasing a ticket in a home area for an away fan or for passing their ticket onto an away fan, for whatever reason, will face a lengthy stadium ban and may lose their Season Ticket or Membership and all associated rights.”

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville predicted at the weekend that Leeds would go down after they drew with Brighton at Elland Rd.

“I might be wrong. But I think they are going to be in big trouble. They are in big trouble, Leeds.”

The game against Brentford on Sunday will be their last game of the season. They have to win it to have any chance of avoiding relegation.

Image above: The Bell & Crown 

The match kicks off at 4pm and the general manager of one of the local pubs told us there is tension about what might happen before and after the match if there are lots of fans who can’t get into the game, especially afterwards if they lose.

There were ugly scenes in Manchester of Leeds fans fighting with Manchester United fans when they met at the beginning of the season, smashing pub windows.

Brentford have told their fans to arrive early for the match on Sunday and enter the stadium via Lionel Road South.

“Be prepared to pass through a soft ticket check on the approach to the stadium on entry to Lionel Road South.

“You should also note that the bridge over the railway from Capital Interchange Way will not be accessible for home fans. This route will be dedicated for away fans only.”

The Bell and Crown is one of several pubs which will only be accepting home fans for this match.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Auctions returns to Chiswick

See also: LB Hounslow investigating “environmental mess” at Dukes Meadows

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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

Click here to support us.

 

 

LB Hounslow investigating “environmental mess” at Dukes Meadows

Images above: killed off areas of Dukes Meadows – pictures Roy Forshaw

LB Hounslow have said they are investigating how an “environmental mess” was made at Dukes Meadows, after an extensive part of a field died off after allegedly being sprayed with herbicide.

An extensive section of the land, on the Old Meadonians Riverside section adjacent to Chiswick Rugby club, has wilted and browned in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to kill off plants in the area.

Roy Forshaw, a local resident, reported the damage to The Chiswick Calendar and to Chiswick Homefields councillor John Todd. Roy said he was particularly concerned about the “saddening” loss of biodiversity as a result of the spraying, which he says is already lacking locally.

Roy told us:

“This is Metropolitan open Land, the highest level of Green Belt designation, this section off the pitches is normally just left to rough grass, and occasionally mowed. Can’t imagine anyone to have a good reason to apply this quantity of herbicide on a recreational area, bounded by driving ranges, hockey pitches, golf course and allotments.

“It is a bit of an environmental mess, it does appear to be on the Old Meadonians section of Riverside Lands adjacent to Chiswick Rugby club. Last spring we experienced hedge removal during nesting season along the allotment boundary from CRFC… Had hoped that LBH would have a word with the leaseholders to take more care in their specific areas but from this spraying it appears not.”

Images above: killed off areas of Dukes Meadows – pictures Roy Forshaw

LB Hounslow ‘did not authorise’ spraying

The damage was reported by Cllr John Todd to LB Hounslow, who said on Monday (16 May) they did not authorise the spraying.

The land is owned by the Greater London Authority and managed by LB Hounslow, who lease the grounds to individual clubs local to the area. A spokesperson for LB Hounslow told The Chiswick Calendar:

“This work was not carried out by or authorised directly by the Council and we are currently investigating with the leaseholder how to rectify the situation.”

The Council said they were still working out the repercussions of the spraying and what the consequences would be for the perpetrator.

The spokesperson added:

“We need to find out exactly what was sprayed there and what the intention was before we work that out. Then we need to look into what the regulations are and what’s allowed, what’s not allowed.”

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar website

See also: Amy Croft “surprised to have been elected” as Chiswick’s first Labour councillor in 30 years

See also: Sam Hearn – The frustration of being continually in opposition in LB Hounslow

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

Exhibition of 19th & 20th century photography at Chiswick Auctions’ new premises in Chiswick

Image above: Abbey Rd photograph of the Beatles – Ian Macmillan

From Fox Talbot to David Bailey

Chiswick Auctions’ first exhibition at their new premises in Chiswick opened on Thursday 12 May – nearly 400 photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries ranging from wallet sized Victorian portraits to huge prints which would cover the entire wall of an average living room.

“There’s something for every level of collector” says Chiswick Auctions’ photography specialist Austin Farahar.

Collecting photographs has become big business. Man Ray’s Le Violon d’Ingres, a nude woman with F holes drawn on her back, transforming her body into a surrealist violin, has just become the most expensive photograph ever to sell at auction, when it sold for $12.4 million at an auction in New York at the weekend.

Austin’s ambitions are more modest. The guide prices at his auction range from £100 to £50,000. There are some famous names among those whose work is on sale: Jacques Henri Lartigue, Cartier Bresson, Eve Arnold, Jane Bown.

Image above: Daguerreotype of a woman mounted in an ornate gilt frame; Daguerreian Unknown c.1850s

Daguerreotypes and salt paper prints

The first 150 lots are the results of early experimentation with photography in the 19th century – Daguerreotypes, work by Fox Talbot and his contemporaries, photographs from paper negatives.

Outdoor image from those early photographers are very rare, says Austin, as they liked to control the environment in which they took the picture as much as possible. Lot 2 is a remarkable image of three gentlemen standing outside, wearing stovepipe hats. The ‘Daguerreian’ is unknown, but it dates from c. 1845 – 48.

Typically, he tells me, the photograph is in a red morroco hinged case. In around the 1840s and ’50s the fashion changed from carrying miniature painted portraits around to carrying cased images such as this one. Lot 8, a portrait of a seaman, comes in a similar morocco case with push button side hinge.

Fashion and celebrity photography from the ’60s and ’70s

Some of the very early work includes previously unknown pictures by Julia Margaret Cameron, “an early female pioneer of photography whose use of sets and props in emotive photographs was beyond her time” says Austin. Most of her work is in albums held in private collections.

There is also a photograph by Lewis Carroll, of Winnie Holliday, the daughter of family friend Henry Holliday, who illustrated The Hunting of the Snark.

“You can see the influence of impressionism” says Austin, in two “extraordinarily rare” salt paper prints, a technique invented by English scientist and inventor Henry Fox Talbot.

Among the 20th century photographers whose work is on sale  are some of the famous names of the 1960s – David Bailey, Guy Bourdin and Terry O’Neill. There is also the instantly recognisable shot of Abbey Rd, the famous photo-shoot of the Beatles for their last album, photographed by Ian Macmillan. Apparently he stood on a ladder in the middle of the road to take it while a policeman held back the traffic.

Images above: Steve McQueen – Terry O’Neill; David Bailey instructing a model – Terry O’Neill; Marilyn Monroe at the ice cream parlour in Beverly Hills, 1952 – Andre de Dienes; John Lennon at Twickenham Studios in 1963 – Terry O’Neill; Brigitte Bardot, 1971 – Terry O’Neill; Andy Warhol, Paris, 1982 – Christopher Makos 

The photographs on sale in Chiswick Auctions 19th and 20th Photography auction are on show in Chiswick Auctions’ new premises at the Barley Mow centre, Barley Mow Massage, W4 4PH,  Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm, Saturday 21 May, 11am – 4pm. The auction will take place at Chiswick Auctions’ old premises at 1 Colville Rd, London W3 8BL, (off Bollo Lane) on Tuesday 24 May at 11am.

See all the lots on sale here: 19th & 20th century photographs

This page is paid for by Chiswick Auctions.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Auctions returns to Chiswick

See also: Take part in the 2022 Bedford Park Festival photography competition

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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

Click here to support us.

Episode 90: Non-racial sport: its slow journey with English cricket in the rear

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.

The former Sports News Editor of the BBC, Mihir Bose, has written with great authority about British and international sport for nearly fifty years. His latest book, Dreaming The Impossible, tracks the slow journey towards a non-racial sports world. It draws on dozens of interviews with leading sportspeople, coaches, managers, administrators, business leaders and campaigners for change. He outlines its vital messages as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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Drawing on Martin Luther King, Mihir defines a non-racial sports world as one in which not only players but all those involved in sport – including sportswriters – are judged by their contribution not by their race.

An important section of his book describes the long struggle to bring an end to apartheid in sport, and the consequent exclusion of South Africa from international sporting events. This subject has become topical again in the light of the sporting bans on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine. Mihir suggests that the two cases are not total analogues and questions the exclusion of Russian sportspeople from major events, including Wimbledon, when they are representing themselves rather than the country. He cites the famous South Africans such as Gary Player who were allowed to compete as individuals overseas despite the sports embargo. The white rulers of South Africa and its sporting bodies had been especially noxious by imposing its own selection policies on teams playing South Africa. In cricket, this had long preceded the case of Basil D’Oliveira, as when Duleepsinhji was excluded from the Test team in England against South Africa in 1929.

Mihir vividly recalls his meeting with Sunil Gavaskar with Nelson Mandela, when Mandela had indicated that sporting relations with South Africa could resume in the early 1990s even before the extinction of apartheid.

Mihir’s book spans British sports since the 1980s. He suggests that although nearly all have made progress towards the non-racial ideal, especially association football, professional cricket has gone backwards. It is less representative of minority ethnic players than forty years ago. He suggests reasons why, especially the complacency of the white cricket establishment in ignoring their exclusion. In Yorkshire, no one had noticed the lack of Yorkshire-born Asian players from the countryside and the Leagues which fed it, and Asians had been attacked for forming their local Quaid-i-Azam Leagues in response to their feelings of exclusion. He sheds new light on the recruitment of Sachin Tendulkar in 1992 as Yorkshire’s first Asian-origin player and the opposition of Fred Trueman.

Mihir ghosted the autobiography of Moeen Ali, whose career makes a significant contribution to Dreaming The Impossible.  He cites Moeen’s especially strong relationship with the new England captain, Ben Stokes, and would not rule out his restoration to England’s Test team. He also received significant support from Alastair Cook and Eoin Morgan.

Mihir has written extensively about the creation of the Premier League and the consequent economic and social transformation of English football. Talented black players, domestic and overseas, were major beneficiaries as the new owners of clubs focused on commercial success and separated them from their roots in local communities. Over time, fans had learnt to appreciate huge investments by rich foreign owners whatever their origins: their money had no colour. English cricket has not had a similar shock and he suggests that this is one reason why it has not made the same progress on racial issues.

However, he argues that black players continue to suffer from stereotyping, which contributes to their under-representation as coaches, managers, officials and administrations. So, even more, do Asian people: in every British sport they are under-represented in relation to their local and national populations. This is especially true of football, even in teams such as Luton, centred in Asian-dominated neighbourhoods. The impact of racial stereotyping is generally ignored by white-dominated sporting media.

The many interviews cited in his book do not include a single British politician. Mihir caustically describes his regular experience with them: replying in soundbites and interested only in the contribution of British sport to their own image. He faces up to the standard challenge in the podcast – naming the present English Sports Minister. Will he have more success than previous guests?

Dreaming The Impossible by Mihir Bose is published by Birlinn Ltd. birlinn.co.uk/product/dreaming-the-impossible/

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 88: Haringey Cricket College – a missing engine of opportunity in English cricket

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

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

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

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

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

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

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

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 Auctions returns to Chiswick

Image above: Leigh Osborne at the new Chiswick Auctions premises in Barley Mow Passage

Chiswick Auctions is returning to its origins in the heart of Chiswick. The auction house, owned by Leigh Osborne, is now one of the biggest auction houses in London outside the big three (Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams) and has outgrown its current premises in Bollo Lane.

Leigh has been on the lookout for premises in central Chiswick for several years now, having grown the auction house from a hammer of £1 million (income from sales) when he bought it to that of £15 million now (he bought a half share in 2013 and took over sole ownership in 2019).

Though he is too diplomatic to say so in as many words, the premises on the industrial estate in south Acton do not quite convey the image to which he aspires. Not the kind of place you would imagine lots changing hands for upwards of £50,000. An Aladdin’s cave of the weird and wonderful, the rare and the beautiful once you step inside, from the outside the old premises look like the kind of place where ’80s TV wide boy Arthur Daley would have felt right at home.

Image above: Leigh Osborne at the gallery where the photographic preview is being shown

The new premises are much more fitting. Chiswick Auctions has taken over a large part of the Barley Mow office complex in Barley Mow Passage, giving them 3,000 square foot of space including the ground floor gallery (where the cafe used to be) offering the perfect viewing space.

It has huge glass windows, creating a light and airy space. It is opposite Voysey House in the attractive and much-filmed alley way, next door to Betty restaurant / bar. It offers sufficient storage and office space for 17 of the 20 specialist departments to move there. It is also a stone’s throw away from the building next to the Post Office where the auction house first started 30 years ago.

“We can be better than an industrial estate in Acton” Leigh tells The Chiswick Calendar. “It’s time to come back to Chiswick where we came from.

“We want to become part of the local community – to engage with local people more than we did in Acton. We plan to put on regular events every two weeks or so.”

“Excited” has become an grossly over-used social media adjective, but here is it apposite. Leigh is like a dog with two tails at the prospect of showing off his new auction rooms.

He is hoping to get more people through the door at the new auction house and perhaps younger people who have had no previous experience of auctions. He also says they will be able to offer better a customer experience there.

Having proved they can sell, what they really need is more items to sell.

Images: Lot 6, a Daguerrotype in the photography auction c 1850s; Lot 206, David Bailey instructing a model, 1960s; photograph by Terry O’Neill

19th and 20th Century photographs, 24 May

Their first event in the new premises is an exhibition of 19th and 20th century photographs, prior to auction, ranging from Daguerrotypes, work by Fox Talbot and his contemporaries, including photographs from paper negatives, to work by celebrity and fashion photographers Terry O’Neill, Guy Bourdin and David Bailey.

The exhibition of the work being sold was being hung by the auction house’s photography specialist Austin Farahar as we spoke. The new premises is now open, Monday – Friday from 10am – 4pm, Saturdays 11am – 4pm and we are invited to wander in and take a look round. Although the preview is at the Barley Mow centre until Saturday 21 May, the photography auction itself will take place on Tuesday 24 May at 11.30am at Colville Road, W3 8BL.

The last auction at the old premises will be on 19 July and then the auction house will take a break from sales over the summer while they complete the move and Leigh gets married to his long term partner Graham.

Once they hit September the place will be a whirlwind of activity, with 50 sales booked in already between September and Christmas.

While the specialist auctions will take place at the new premises in Barley Mow Passage from September, the Interiors auctions – the monthly auctions of everything from furniture to jewellery and toys – will continue to be held in Acton, in a 4,000 square foot warehouse behind the old premises in Bollo Lane in Roslin Square, W3.

The old Chiswick Auctions premises is being demolished to make way for a 30 storey block of flats but Chiswick Auctions will be “coming home” says Leigh,

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Profile of Chiswick Auctions owner Leigh Osborne

See also: Exhibition of 19th & 20th century photography at Chiswick Auctions’ new premises in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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

Click here to support us.

Ukrainian folk dance features in Ballet4Life’s summer programme

Image above: Ukrainian folk dance

Ballet4LIfe, the community dance organisation run by former professional ballet dancer Donna Schoenherr in Chiswick, is featuring folk dancing by the Ukrainian Refugee Support Group this summer.

Donna’s company has a wide variety of classes at several locations in Chiswick (for Chiswick Calendar Club Card discounts see their Club Card page). Over the summer months they also put on a number of performances to promote Ballet4LIfe and its sister charity Move into Wellbeing, which offers classes for people with restricted movement.

Image above: Move into Wellbeing

Watermans Sunday 29 May

Ballet4Life and Move into Wellbeing will be presenting a showcase of their work at Watermans in Brentford on Sunday 29 May.

“We are delighted to get back on stage” says Donna.

The event will include a special appearance by friends from the Ukrainian Refugee Support Group led by Ballet4Life teacher, Ukrainian Alina Luts, who has been providing Folk Dance classes at Prosperity Café in Twickenham. Ballet4Life is currently sponsoring two Ukrainian Dance Artists on the programme in Chiswick.

“It will be a very moving moment when the entire group end the showcase with a specially choreographed Ukrainian Folk Dance” says Donna.

Funds raised will go to the Dance & Movement programme provided by Move into Wellbeing, which offers over ten weekly in-person classes to the community of West London. There will also be a retiring collection for Ukrainian Humanitarian Aid.

Image above: Ballet4Life performing at Green Days

Bedford Park Festival Green Days

The two day fair on Acton Green Common (Saturday 11 & Sunday 12 June) which traditionally marks the opening weekend of the Bedford Park Festival is back this year and Ballet4Life will be back performing on the bandstand on Saturday at 1.30pm. The performance will feature Ukrainian Folk Dances along with Classical Character Dance class excerpts, danced to lively music, and with colourful costumes.

Image above: Yosvani Ramos

Classical Ballet Masterclass

A further highlight of Ballet4Life’s summer season will be the Classical Ballet Masterclass given by internationally acclaimed ballet dancer Yosvani Ramos, the Cuban born Principal Dancer of the Colorado Ballet. Yosvani has danced with the English National Ballet as Principal Dancer, also with the Australian National Ballet and the Cincinnati Ballet. He joined Colorado Ballet as Principal Dancer in 2015.

Ballet4life is hosting his masterclass at the Arts Educational School on Sunday 19 June at 11am. Booking will open soon, places will be limited, and places will also be available for those wishing to observe.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Somali Sideways – an idea, a book and a chance encounter in Tesco

See also: Exhibition of 19th & 20th century photography at Chiswick Auctions’ new premises in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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

Click here to support us.

Andrea’s film review – Tehran – Season 1

Tehran – Season 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 Review by Andrea Carnevali

A Mossad agent embarks on her first mission as a computer hacker in her home town of Tehran. Available to watch on Apple + Season 2 now also streaming on Apple +

This beautifully crafted and completely gripping Iranian series tells the story of Tamar, a young Israeli woman born in Iran, who’s an undercover agent and a computer hacker, on a dangerous and complicated mission to paralyze the Iranian anti-aircraft security systems and essentially the Iranian nuclear programme.

It’s the kind of edge-of-your-seat stuff you might have seen (and loved) before, in series like Homeland and even 24, full of double-crossing, hidden moles, shootings, unexpected twists and deaths, and lots of cliff-hangers which will make you go “OK, one more episode and then I’ll go to bed” all the way to the silly hours of the night. I lapped it all up in two nights!

However, beyond the cracking action, the thrilling chases and the nail-biting tension (all of which are great), what really sets this series apart from anything else about espionage and security agencies, is the fact that it is all seen from a place we don’t usually get to see: Iran and its capital.

Well, actually this is mostly filmed in Athens, but the series seems to perfectly capture the atmosphere of the sprawling Tehran, with all its diverse people and its political complexities, as well the clash between the Israeli and Iranian cultures take centre stage. But the beauty of it is how it skilfully manages to avoid cheap simplifications or obvious stereotypes and crucially political propaganda.

In fact, throughout the eight episodes of the first season the audience’s trust and sympathies are constantly shifting from one side to the other character as the line between “good guys” and “bad guys” is often very difficult to draw.

Most of the characters are all fully rounded people with great depths, emotions and humanity, with weaknesses, strong motivations and feelings, which will take you by surprise and will make you feel sorry for them at one point and hate then a second later … And then vice-versa.

There will be time when you might get slightly lost at the complexities of what’s actually going on (also, it’s spoken in three languages: Hebrew, Persian and English) but don’t worry, it’s all part of it. Just stick with it and soon it’ll all make sense and even if there are moments where it could have been a bit tighter, it’ll soon grip you and push you to the edge of your sofa.

Season 2, which incidentally won an Emmy for Best international series, has just started on Apple+, with Glenn Close as a new recurring character.

What better excuse to dive into it?

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

Tehran Series 1 is available to watch on Apple + Season 2 is now also streaming on Apple +

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Sam’s Larder coming to Chiswick

Image above: Sam’s Larder in Crisp Rd, Hammersmith, round the corner from Sam’s Riverside restaurant

“I’m excited to be back in Chiswick”

Restaurateur Sam Harrison and business partner Fanny Stocker are opening a Sam’s Larder in Chiswick. The new business at 59-61 Turnham Green Terrace, W4 1RP, will will be a grocer and delicatessen, with a small eat-in and takeaway café, and will launch in September 2022.

“I’m excited to be back in Chiswick” he told The Chiswick Calendar. “We were in Chiswick for ten years. I lived there and I am very fond of it.”

Sam ran Sam’s Brasserie in Barley Mow Passage from 2005 – 2015 and opened Sam’s Riverside restaurant beside the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith when the arts centre was redeveloped, with a small grocery ‘Sam’s Larder’ round the corner.

The new location in Chiswick gives him more space than the grocery in Hammersmith, which opened during the height of the Covid pandemic.

“A lot of restaurants were doing takeaway, but the kind of food we do – oysters and fresh fish – doesn’t lend itself to that.

“It was a creative and practical way to keep in touch with and service our customers, offering them great foodie supplies.”

Images above: Sam’s Larder – Fanny Stocker and Sam Harrison; Chicken, Bacon, Mushroom Pie from the Frozen by Sam’s Riverside range

Fresh, local produce and frozen restaurant meals

I asked him what he offers that is different to the existing independent grocers in Chiswick, since we already have Bayley & Sage in Turnham Green Terrace and Old Town Deli in Devonshire Rd. He told me they would be selling a range of frozen meals designed by their head chef Ashley Tinoco.

“To my knowledge there is no other restaurant which offers a range of frozen foods like ours.”

Sam’s Riverside has a Michelin bib. He is passionate about using local producers and avoiding food waste. They buy rapeseed oil from Wiltshire, “the best British charcuterie and fabulous, unusual British cheeses.”

“There is a couple in Fulham who produce sublime butter to go with steaks. I have a friend’s wife who makes marmalade and we buy fresh vegetables from the Phoenix Park farm in White City. We sell individually sourced wines from vineyards which I have been to myself and have a small personal connection with. These are not products you will find in supermarkets.”

Image above: Sam’s Larder in Crisp Rd, Hammersmith, round the corner from Sam’s Riverside restaurant

Heavily discounted fresh food to avoid food waste

Sam mentioned a couple of apps they have signed up to which let people know when they are discounting food which is on its sell-by date: ‘Karma’ and ‘Too Good To Go’.

They will be offering soups, dips and sandwiches daily. They are also venturing into home ware with a few things such as scented candles, cards and gifts, including the water glasses they use in the restaurant, which people have remarked on.

He admits to being slightly nervous in the current economic climate, but believes that if your product is good and people trust your food, business will be good.

“The popularity of Sam’s Larder has been overwhelming, and that has encouraged us to develop the brand, and to continue working with a phenomenal list of favoured suppliers. We are also looking at additional opportunities for expansion in west London, and will have more news in the coming months.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Auctions returns to Chiswick

See also: Exhibition of 19th & 20th century photography at Chiswick Auctions’ new premises in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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

Click here to support us.

Andrea’s film review – Nanny McPhee

Nanny McPhee ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2  Review by Andrea Carnevali

A governess uses magic to rein in the behavior of seven unruly children in her charge. 

This 2005 film was a random choice for our weekly family movie night and as it turned out, a rather nice one to re-discover.

It is an unashamedly child-friendly film and all the better for it. It has lessons to be learnt, laughs to be had, kids running wild and, arcing back to the time of Laurel and Hardy, even a pie fight! What’s not to like? Even if Nanny McPhee doesn’t sing or dance and with her crocked teeth, big moles, and witch-like nose, certainly doesn’t look as pretty as Julie Andrews (or Emily Blunt), it’s still clear that the point of reference is Mary Poppins.

And while of course this is a much darker Poppins, willing to make the children suffer a bit in order to learn their lessons, her mantra is pretty much the same. “When you need me, but do not want me I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me I must leave”. It‘s pretty much the same message as “I will leave when the wind changes”.

It’s a film that’s pretty much telegraphed from the start. As you watch the first few minutes you know exactly what’s going to happen to the kids, who’s going to marry who and what lessons will be learnt, but that doesn’t make the film less enjoyable. In fact, part of the pleasure is to see how it all plays out.

And to top it all off, a cast that looks like a who’s who brochure of British pillars. Not just the ever reliable Emma Thompson, under heavy make-up with her marvellous grunts and stare (she’s also written the screen play for this), but also Colin Firth, the awful Celia Imrie (I’m referring to her character, so that’s actually a compliment to her acting), Kelly Macdonald, Angela Lansbury, Imelda Staunton, Derek Jacobi, Adam Godley and all the great children led by a particularly good Thomas Brodie-Sangster (star of Maze Runner and recently The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix).

With its colourful costumes and slightly stylised sets, it doesn’t go as far as Tim Burton or even Lemony Snickets A Series of Unfortunate Events, but prefers to play it rather safe, feeling more like a family Disney film than anything more risky, but it’s constantly entertaining. Kids will love it.

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

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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

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Poets Dylan Thomas and James Berry claimed as Chiswick writers

Images above: James Berry; Dylan Thomas

More writers added to the Chiswick Writers Trail

Torin Douglas, Director of the Chiswick Book Festival, has added poets Dylan Thomas and James Berry to his Chiswick Writers Trail.

“We are delighted to announce that two great 20th Century poets, Dylan Thomas (Under Milk Wood) and James Berry (Windrush Songs), have been added to Chiswick’s Writers Trail, which features acclaimed novelists, poets and playwrights who lived in Chiswick or had connections with the area.

“They are the first of a dozen names to be added to the list, which already includes WB Yeats, Harold Pinter, Dame Iris Murdoch, John Osborne, WM Thackeray, Alexander Pope, Sir John Betjeman, EM Forster, JG Ballard, Anthony Burgess and Nancy Mitford.”

A further 400 writers are listed on the ‘Chiswick Timeline of Writers & Books’, leading The Observer to write that ‘Chiswick may be Britain’s most literary location’.

Further proof of our literary pretensions, if proof were needed, was provided by local historian Val Bott, who confirmed that Dylan Thomas lived in the Vicarage of St Paul’s Grove Park during World War II, when she unearthed a letter written by him from the Vicarage. He also stayed at Shop Cottage at Strand on the Green and at 13 Hammersmith Terrace.

Images above: Dylan Thomas; letter he wrote to the poet and literary editor John Bayliss when he was living at the Vicarage at Grove Park

150th anniversary of St Paul’s Church and Grove Park

St Paul’s Grove Park is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary. Sunday 15 May will see the production of Hear The People Sing, a celebration of 150 years of music in Chiswick.

This very special concert, to mark 150 years since the founding of St. Paul’s Church in Grove Park and the residential area of Grove Park itself, will include musical styles from the Chiswick Music Hall to the Beatles, Zadok the Priest to the Artful Dodger.

It will be followed by other concerts, services, a poetry evening, a history talk, a flower festival and a comedy night. A new exhibition reveals more about the church and its place in Grove Park’s history. Ticket information and other details are on the St Paul’s website stpaulsgrovepark.com.

Image above James Berry; from the Black History Month website

James Berry a resident of Chiswick

The Windrush poet James Berry, who died in 2017, spent weekends in Bedford Park for 20 years before moving into a flat in Homecross House in Fishers Lane.

He was filmed there giving a reading – Windrush Songs – and lived there till 2011, when Alzheimer’s Disease led him to go into a nursing home. His works continue to sell well and in August 2022 one of his award-winning poetry books for children, Only One of Me, is being reissued. His literary archive has been acquired by the British Library.

James Berry, OBE (born 1924), emigrated from Jamaica and settled in England in 1948. His reflects the oral traditions of the Caribbean, using both standard English and Jamaican Patois.

Berry’s writing often “explores the relationship between black and white communities and in particular, the excitement and tensions in the evolving relationship of the Caribbean immigrants with Britain and British society from the 1940s onwards” – Black History Month 2022 website.

As the editor of two seminal anthologies, Bluefoot Traveller (1976) and News for Babylon (1984), he was at the forefront of championing West Indian/British writing.

Read more about him on the Black History Month 2022 website.

Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival, said:

“When we created the Chiswick Writers Trail in 2018, I was delighted to have found 21 acclaimed poets, playwrights and novelists who had lived here.

“Since then, residents have suggested many more and, after checks by local historians and others, we have chosen a dozen to join the list. We’ll announce more names in the next few weeks on social media, leading up to WB Yeats’s birthday on Monday 13 June, which will be celebrated at the annual Poetry Evening in the Bedford Park Festival.”

Read more about James Berry in Chiswick on the Chiswick Book Festival website.

Read more about Dylan Thomas in Chiswick on the Chiswick Book Festival website.

See the Writers Trail map here: chiswicktimeline.org

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick puts its stamp on the Jubilee

See also: Hear the People Sing – celebrating 150 years of St Paul’s Church, Grove Park

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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

Click here to support us.

Chiswick puts its stamp on the Jubilee

Image above: Art work from the children’s art competition will be on display in windows along the High Rd

Artwork by Chiswick’s schoolchildren on display on the High Rd

Chiswick’s schools have come together to create outsize postage stamps showing the Queen’s profile in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Retailers along the High Road, including shops, restaurants, flower stalls and other businesses will be displaying the stamps as part of the Jubilee celebration from Monday 30 May – Saturday 11 June 2022.

The initiative was launched by Abundance London in collaboration with Tanya Saunders of Chiswick art club Make + Paint, as part of LB Hounslow’s Summer of Culture. They got children involved by organising it as an art competition across Chiswick.

“Schoolchildren have been painting, drawing, sticking and collaging to create the most glorious and innovative representations of what the Queen means to them, using the monarch’s stamp head as a basic template” says Karen Liebreich of Abundance London. Winners were selected from each school.

“These fantastic images will be displayed as large artworks in the shop windows along the High Road in the celebration fortnight from 30 May to 11 June, creating a colourful royal processional of Queen’s Head Stamps.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Auctions returns to Chiswick

See also: Exhibition of 19th & 20th century photography at Chiswick Auctions’ new premises in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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

Click here to support us.

Andrea’s film review – Firestarter

Firestarter (2022) ⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

A couple who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telepathic ability and then have a child who is pyrokinetic. Out in cinemas this Friday.

This is possibly one of the most unremarkable films I’ve seen in quite a while, with pretty much no redeeming qualities despite the fact it stars Zac Efron and it’s based on a novella by Stephen King, though those are not qualities, those are just facts.

Some of you might remember the 1984 version of the same story, starring a young Drew Barrymore still riding on the success of ET two years earlier.

It was actually the first of a long series of critically panned adaptations from King, most of which came out in the ‘80s (Maximum Overdrive, directed by King himself, was the lowest point) and ‘90s (Graveyard Shift being possibly one the worst films ever).

While the ‘84 version was certainly not a great film, compared to this latest adaptation is possibly a Citizen Kane of King movies.

The story itself for a start was never one of the most original, but while on the page King is almost always able to pull it off (the book was actually nominated for several prestigious awards). Once it’s all on the screen it feels more like a tired re-hash of a bad and uninspired episode of the X-Files from the ‘90s.

It’s essentially about a family (mother, father and daughter) on the run, hunted by some shady people from the government because they possess great mind powers (telepathy, telekinesis and pyrokinesis) which they want to be able to control and possibly weaponize.

What is astonishing about the film is how bland and by-the-number it is. Even the poster looks identical from the first version, as if they couldn’t even be bothered to updated that one.

But crucially, especially for a horror film, it’s completely devoid of any scare or any tension and the special/visual effects (if we can call them that) are so unimaginative and badly executed, that they made me feel nostalgic for those in the ’84 version.

Even the editing and the pacing is slow. I mean, this is film about people on the run, for crying out loud! And yet, there is never any sense of jeopardy, no urgency, no surprises, no fear. It’s just a dull slog… and it’s boring as hell.

As for the bonding between the father and daughter, which was always at the centre in original book (and even in the first film), there’s hardly a scene when the two are together and we can actually care about their relationship.

Poor Zac Efron tries to do his best with the empty script he’s given, full of expositions and bad jokes, but he feels hopeless, isolated, un-directed and actually rather miscast too.

John Carpenter, who was famously fired from the first film, has been brought on board as a composer, taking with him his signature style of music, with cheap-sounding synthesizers, which might have worked in films like Halloween, but here it’s just corny and cheap and makes it all sound like a product from ‘80s, probably matching the blandness of everything else.

The final insult comes at the very end (different from the book and the previous film) which not only leaves the door open for possible sequels (as if anyone could care to see more) but doesn’t even conclude this film.

Avoid at all cost… or if you really have to, watch the original. Trust me.

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

Firestarter is out in cinemas this Friday.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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 nbsp;

Chiswick School celebrates the performing arts

Image above: Waiting for the show to start – Oliver! at Chiswick School

Oliver!

Chiswick School is getting a bit of a name for itself for the Performing Arts. The school’s Head of Performing Arts, Tommy Robinson, has delivered a very ambitious programme of no fewer than 15 productions in this academic year.

Oliver! In July was the eleventh – a brilliant production set in the round, with the audience sitting at tables, cabaret style, and the cast milling about, chatting to the audience in character before it started.

Strong performances especially from Orla, the year 7 girl who played Oliver, Eloise as Widow Corney, the matron of the workhouse, and Manny as Fagin (not allowed to report their surnames). Exuberant, confident performances from all.

Images above: Mr Bumble with Oliver; Fagin

Fabulous music, costumes and props

The choice of Oliver!, where you need a large cast of children, is perfect for a school. It’s perfect in other ways too. The music is infectious, all the songs are catchy and everyone knows the words. The audience was invited to join in and to get up and dance with the cast.

Head of music Zak Moxon made sure the music was spot on. The direction – involving slapstick interactions with unsuspecting members of the audience and using the whole space as the cast ran around at the end, hunting Bill Sykes, the lighting, the costumes and the set – right down to Victorian knick-knacks on the tables – made it a very exciting and innovative production.

Images above: Oliver; Nancy; Nancy with Bill and Oliver

The school has four productions coming up in July, to which the public are invited. Just turn up, they are not ticketed events, but donations are welcome, which go in the pot to enable the department to put on future events.

Coming up at Chiswick School this summer

Monday 11th July at 7pm – Wind in the Willows

Tuesday 12th July from 5pm – Summer Arts Festival with live music and food

Wednesday 13th July at 7pm – The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Thursday 14th July at 7pm – Music and dance revue

Chiswick School, Burlington Ln, Chiswick, London W4 3UN
Entrance on Staveley Rd.

Images above: Widow Corney, Mr & Mrs Sowerby; closing number

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Amy Croft “surprised to have been elected” as Chiswick’s first Labour councillor in 30 years

See also: Shantanu Rajawat elected leader of Hounslow Council

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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

Click here to support us.

Andrea’s film review – Prayers for the Stolen

Prayers for the Stolen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Life in a town at war seen through the eyes of three young girls on the path to adolescence. Available to watch on Mubi from this week.

Rita lives with her young daughter Ana in a rural village in Mexico, which is often raided by members of the local cartels in search of young women to kidnap. In order to keep her daughter safe, Rita raises her to look more like a like a boy, cutting her hair short. SHe trains her to hide in shallow grave-like dug-out in her own courtyard whenever the cartels comes looking.

Writer and director Tatiana Huezo has created a film which is almost plotless, looking more like a documentary than an actual drama. Her sensitive and naturalistic approach to film making, with no music (expect at the end), great use of atmosphere sound and loose editing makes everything feel immediate and real, and even though the overall pacing of the film might be a bit slow for some, there is no denying that this is powerful stuff.

The acting of everyone on screen (particularly the children) is so natural that at times I did wonder whether there was any script all.

Huezo avoids the usual clichés of the typical cartel stories, in favour of subtly (maybe too subtly) showing the lives of the innocent people (mostly women) who are affected by all the trafficking and drug dealing happening in those remote regions.

Even though there is virtually no violence on screen, the atmosphere is always one of dread, tension and sadness. As a viewer you’re completely immersed in the everyday life of these people, in constant fear that something may happen at any moment.

It’s not an easy watch and definitely not for everyone, but even if the film seems to do very little, it will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

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

Annie is available to rent/buy on all the major streaming platform (Amazon, Apple+, Google Play, Youtube).

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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 nbsp;