Boris Live – new show by Jonathan Maitland

Image above: Boris Live at Riverside Studios, 30 July

New theatre production introducing Boris the chat show host

The timing of last week’s drama in Downing St could not be better for writer Jonathan Maitland, creator of a new satirical show about Boris Johnson which premieres at Riverside Studios on 30 July.

Following on from his successful play The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson, the new production is a one man show with the same actor, Will Barton, as Boris.

On for just one performance in London before transferring to the Edinburgh Festival, the show has evolved quite a bit over the past few days, as you might imagine, but, says Jonathan Maitland, he has been constantly rewriting it since January (Owen Paterson – remember him?)

“Originally we were thinking of taking The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson to Edinburgh, but it’s too expensive and people would want to hear about the recent scandals” says Jonathan.

Image above: Will Barton, as Boris in The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson

The first leg of Boris Johnson’s comeback tour

The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson won four star reviews from the Times and the Daily Mail and a five star review from the New European when it opened in May 2019 at the Park theatre in Finsbury Park and subsequently went on to tour the UK. It dealt with the infamous dinner party in 2016 at which Boris was weighing up whether or not to support Brexit.

“It predicted he would become Prime Minister” Jonathan Maitland says proudly, “and that he would only last three years in the job and that he would be sunk by a scandal.”

Boris Live was initially conceived as a Question Time with the audience.

“We envisaged it as the PM going to Scotland to shore up the vote, with him saying things that are guaranteed to wind up an audience which already hates him by referring to the Scots as ‘Scotch’ and to Billy Connelly as ‘the big Yid’.

“It has now morphed into the fist leg of his comeback tour. This is him launching his new career as a chat show host.”

Maitland has used the device of CCTV back stage to show the audience Boris’s duplicity. He goes back stage three times during the performance, each time behaving in a way he would not want the audience to witness and coming back on stage unaware he has been seen.

Will Barton won praise for his portrayal of Boris in the earlier play. He is not fat enough to truly inhabit Boris, but his resemblance was uncanny, mainly down to the vocal mannerisms and the hair tousling.

You can book tickets to see Boris Live at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith here: riversidestudios.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Boris’s legacy – Peter Oborne

See also: Geyser erupts near Gunnersbury station as water main bursts

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Sophie Ellis-Bextor and husband publish Recipes from the Kitchen Disco

Image above: Richard Jones and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, the couple during one of the ‘Kitchen Disco’ events

Recipes from the couple’s lockdown ‘Kitchen Discos’ 

Pop icon and Chiswick resident Sophie Ellis-Bextor has published a cook book inspired by recipes from her lockdown ‘Kitchen Discos’

Ellis-Bextor and her husband Richard Jones turned their living room into a stage during lockdown. Together with their five boys the couple attracted millions of viewers.

Now, they hope harness the energy of the Kitchen Discos with a family cookbook. Love.Food.Family: Recipes from the Kitchen Disco is packed with ‘accessible, flexible, crowd-pleasing feasts for eating together and proves that everything tastes better with a little bit of disco’.

“We’re both performers and musicians,” Jones told iNews, “as well as passionate foodies. With this book we wanted to open the door and say, ‘Come in everyone!’ The book is an insight into the way we live and what we eat.”

“I’ve always found that when it comes to trying new things, getting children involved really helps” said Ellis-Bextor.

“If they feel like they’ve got some agency in what goes on their plate, they’re more likely to be adventurous. We find fajitas good for this. They can choose which bits they want in their fajita, they feel like they’ve got a bit of control over the process.”

Love.Food.Familly: Recipes from the Kitchen Disco is available to by on Guardian Books for £17.40 (RRP £20.00).

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: BA ground staff at Heathrow suspend strike

See also: Brentford Leisure Centre gets low carbon makeover

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Survey finds Brentford fans are biggest drinkers and drug takers in Premier League

Image above: Brentford Community Stadium

43% of fans said they binge drink, while 63% admitted to taking illegal drugs

Brentford FC fans are the biggest drinkers and drug takers among the clubs competing in the Premier League, according to the results of recent survey.

For many football fans, having a drink is an integral part of watching their team in action. A Canadian gambling website, OnlineGambling, sought to find which set of supporters in England drank the most.

They claim to have surveyed 2,000 Premier League fans across 20 clubs to find out how many enjoy a drinking binge on matchday. A ‘drinking binge’ is defined as five pints or more by the NHS. Researchers also asked fans to admit if they took any illicit recreational drugs.

The results found that 41% of Brentford fans surveyed enjoyed a drink on match days, while a whopping 63% admitted to taking drugs.

Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are well ahead when it comes to serious drinking around a football match. Some 30% admitted to binge-drinking on game day, with even more confessing to illicit drug use whereas a far lower proportion of Gen Z, teenagers and under 25s admitted to indulging. Only 10% admitted to drinking and 7% to taking drugs.

A spokesperson for Brentford FC told The Chiswick Calendar:

“While it’s a fun story, we won’t be commenting on it as we have no idea how robust the research is and if it is accurate.”

A spokesperson for the Premier League also said:

“That is not something we would comment on.”

Image above: data on binge drinking and drug taking among Premier League fans from OnlineGambling

Police take tougher approach to fans taking class A drugs at matches

New rules were introduced in May to tackle drug taking at matches. The rules, which will be introduced in time for the next football season, could see anyone convicted or selling or taking class A drugs such as cocaine at matches facing a five year ban.

Police applied to extend football bans to drug takers last year after England supporters were filmed openly snorting white powder at Wembley during the Euro 2020 final. A report into violence at the final between England and Italy described “ticketless, drunken and drugged-up thugs” storming the stadium.

Those convicted of drug-related offences may also have to surrender their passports when their team plays abroad.

Image above: Brentford FC fans (Photo: Liz Verscoe)

Brentford FC at the top of the League for fan engagement

In a separate survey, Brentford FC ranked highest in the Premier League in a matchday fan experience survey for the 2021/22 season.

Fans from all Premier League clubs were involved in a survey, which took place between November 2021 and January 2022. Over 30,000 fans across the league completed questions on topics ranging from how the club is run, to the matchday atmosphere, quality of facilities, staff and communication.

More than 1,500 Brentford fans completed the survey.

There were a number of measures on which Brentford has the best ratings in the Premier League, including the overall matchday experience, how welcome fans are made to feel on entering the Brentford Community Stadium, the toilet facilities, the family-friendly environment, and the attitude and performance of club staff in general.

Jon Varney, Chief Executive of Brentford FC said in February:

“We are really pleased and proud of these results. It has been a monumental effort for us to adjust to life in the Premier League and to fully open our new stadium to our fans. Our staff have worked so hard, so I want to thank them for contributing to this. It’s been a real team effort across every department.

Image above: Brentford FC

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Surge in demand for women & girls’ football in run up to Women’s EURO matches

See also: Brentford Leisure Centre gets low carbon makeover

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Cycle way 9 finally opens

Image above: Cycleway 9 at Chiswick High Rd

Cyclists can now travel from Shepherd’s Bush to Chiswick safely

For months tracts of the cycleway through Chiswick High Rd blocked off with red plastic barriers have looked perfectly ready to be used. Finally Transport for London’s health and safety team have signed off on the route and removed them.

Jon Stone, a journalist with the Independent, has made a video showing how with C9 fully open, including the new track navigating the Hammersmith gyratory, cyclists can now travel safely from Shepherd’s Bush to Chiswick High Rd.

He has 25 video journeys on his site London cycle routes showing how to move around London safely by bike, from Rotherhide to Primrose Hill, from Peckham to Kensington and now in his latest video journey shot this weekend, from Shepherd’s Bush to Chiswick.

“A really high quality scheme”

Hammersmith gyratory

The two-way protected cycle track through the Hammersmith gyratory was finished last week.

“I think it’s brilliant, it’s really good” says Jon. “It protects you and it’s also extremely quick. You might be used to waiting at protected junction schemes for ages. Often you have to wait a long time at the lights…

“I rode up and down this street, through this gyratory pretty much all day this weekend and I can tell you that you usually get a green way through at least half of it, you don’t really have to wait too long … It’s a real game changer and I’d like to see more like it across London.”

King Street

Coming onto the two-way track on King Street he says:

“You can see loads of people make use of it, it’s a really good scheme. I reckon if you count all the people cycling in both directions on this cycleway and you count all the individual private cars on the main carriageway, I think, even thought this isn’t commuter time this is just a weekend, you probably have more people cycling than actually there are cars on the street even if it didn’t look it at first glance, because cars take up a lot more space.

Chiswick High Rd

Coming into Chiswick High Rd, he says:

“I think it’s quite special in a way because most schemes in London that are this good, they tend to be in the central business district of the City or maybe they run down a main artery …

“Out of all of the ones that have been built I think this is one that really connects up a high street … and as a result you just get so many people using it who are clearly doing their shopping and popping between shops and using the side roads to get to where they live and I think that’s fantastic … it’s a really really high quality scheme.”

The cycle lane is still unfinished. In three weeks’ time work is due to begin to put in bus shelters along Chiswick High Rd.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Geyser erupts near Gunnersbury station as water main bursts

See also: How much electricity are you wasting and paying for unnecessarily?

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Geyser erupts near Gunnersbury station as water main bursts

Images above: burst water main on Chiswick High Road

Water erupted 40ft into the air

A water main burst on Chiswick High Road on Sunday (10 July), causing a geyser of water to erupt into the air.

The rupture occurred just off the pavement close to Gunnersbury Station on the eastbound side of the High Rd, near where the road crosses over the railway tracks.  The spray from the water was reportedly crossing onto the tracks.

District Line services between Turnham Green and Richmond were suspended on Sunday. Services were running as normal on Monday. London Overground services at the station were already due to be suspended on Sunday due to engineering works.

Images above: Bust lane partially closed on Chiswick High Road eastbound, work vans at the scene on Monday

Bus lane partially closed on Monday

Workers in high-vis outfits were at the scene on Sunday.

Chiswick High Road remained open on Sunday with minor delays at the site, although this was in the morning when traffic levels are very light.

The eastbound bus lane was closed on Monday at 1.00pm and the area where the water pipe is located was cordoned off. Two vans and a team of workers remained at the scene on Monday behind the cordon.

Thames Water have yet to clarify the cause of the rupture.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: BA ground staff at Heathrow suspend strike

See also: Brentford Leisure Centre gets low carbon makeover

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Brentford FC – Season’s end, new beginning

Image above: Christian Eriksen signed for Brentford, January 2002; photograph Brentford FC

Bill Hagerty looks back over Brentford’s first season in the Premier League

Julius Caesar did it first, around 47 BC, when proclaiming his vanquishing of the army of Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Battle of Zela. Only he did it in Latin. Christian Eriksen came, saw and conquered all before him more recently, captivating Brentford supporters as he put opposition defences to the sword.

Hold on a minute, says my mate, Charlie. Surely comparisons between Julius Caesar and Eriksen are somewhat over the top?

Not if you are a Brentford supporter, I reason. Julius Caesar went on to tarry with Cleopatra before suffering death from a thousand cuts – twenty-three actually, says Charlie – and while Eriksen had no Cleopatra in his life, the reaction to news that the majestic Dane was leaving the Bees for Manchester United has seen an assassination of the character variety.

The truth is that without Eriksen’s 11-match contribution, Brentford quite likely would have been struggling to avoid relegation towards the end of their first season in football’s top tier since Julius C was a nipper.

Charlie does not agree, arguing that the Bees started well and achieved some spectacular results long before Christian reappeared on the scene after remarkable recovery from cardiac arrest when playing for his country in June of last year.

Their very first Premier League game remains sharp in the memory, Sergi Canós scoring the team’s first goal at the Community Stadium as Arsenal were despatched 2-0.

All was right with the world and there was an even more satisfying performance just a month later when in what must rank as one of the greatest games in the bus stop in Hounslow’s history, Ethan Pinnock, Vitaly Janelt and Yoane Wissa matched Liverpool’s three goals and Ivan Toney’s late strike would have sealed victory but for an offside decision.

A 2-1 home victory over Aston Villa in the first game of the New Year was welcome, but memorable mainly for an incident captured on social media and various football TV shows. In the final minute Villa substitute Trézéguet, shepherded by Bees’ sub Saman Ghoddos, progressed into the Bees’ penalty area before throwing himself to the ground and writhing in agony despite being nowhere near Ghoddos, or the ball for that matter. As I wrote at the time, it was the worst piece of acting since Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent in the original Mary Poppins film.

Golden days, I agree, but too few of them until Eriksen agreed to join Brentford’s Danish contingent while also reclaiming his place in the national side.

His debut, against Burnley at the Community Stadium on 12 March, was a scrappy game for both sides with the exception of Christian Eriksen. Christian Eriksen does not do scrappy. With a goalless draw seeming inevitable, the new chap on the block – 30 in February, no kid he – raced down the left flank before delivering a cross deep into the Burnley goalmouth so accurate that Toney was able to time to perfection a feet-off-the-ground lurching header that defeated goalkeeper Nick Pope. (A Toney penalty in the dying seconds in added time saw Brentford win 2-0).

Everyone present that day would have realised that here was a special talent. His state-of-the-art passing – ten out of ten for accuracy and in volume – promised much more. From then I began to watch him when he wasn’t on the ball, anticipating those little bursts of speed that took him into space and the almost telepathic connection he swiftly developed with Toney and Bryan Mbuemo.

Image above: Eriksen scores for Brentford against Chelsea in April; photograph Brentford FC

All of which culminated at Stamford Bridge one Saturday afternoon in April at four o’clock – I was in Spain, watching the game on television – when one of the finest displays in Brentford’s history saw them pulverise a Chelsea side that before the starting whistle sounded had predicted no more than a walk in the park for the home team.

Inspired yet again by their midfield general, Brentford’s dominance did not begin until just a few minutes into the second half when, perversely, Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rüdiger thundered in a shot from 40 yards or so that eluded David Raya and cannoned into goal from an upright.

But, my notebook records, ‘Within ninety seconds, give or take a few, Bryan Mbeumo set up Vitaly Janelt to burst clear of a defence and beat goalkeeper Edouard Mendy handsomely. And a bemused Chelsea were still scratching their heads four minutes later when Mbeumo and Eriksen broke at pace from their own half for Bryan to cross into the Dane’s path, enabling the team’s new goal-machine – three goals in as many games, two of them internationals – to deliver a fine chip and put the Bees ahead.’ (It was Eriksen’s only goal in his eleven games.)

Goals from Janelt (again) and Wissa minutes from the end completed the humiliation of one of Brentford’s greatest rivals. Long before the end, Chelsea fans were streaming from their seats and out of the stands. Oh joy!

Image above: Brentford v West Ham in April; photograph Brentford FC

Other games bore witness to Eriksen’s influence on the side and the added potency he provided. West Ham, Southampton and Everton were all beaten and the warmth shown him by the visitors before and after the goalless home game against Spurs – his footballing home for years during his previous sojourn in this country – prompted me to write,’ Will he stay? Will a major club snaffle his talent once the season’s contract expires? That’s a conundrum to be addressed at a later date’.

Well, that later date has come and gone, with only a surprise defeat at home by Leeds in the season’s final game to disappoint (and to keep Leeds in the Premium League). Now Manchester United’s gain – a medical and some form-filling allowing – and Brentford’s loss of their short-term saviour fuels resentment bordering on hostility that can be detected in West London.

History may well show the opportune signing of a player whose cardiac arrest when playing for Denmark saw him collapse and to all intents and purposes temporarily die on the pitch was the key that unlocked Brentford’s fortunes.

Whether or not Eriksen will see his ambition for Champions League football realised at Old Trafford remains to be confirmed, although he may well see a regular place in the Premier League starting line-up not the shoo-in he would find at Brentford.

Charlie protests that Eriksen was gone and nobody’s business but his own and that of what is now the second of Manchester’s great clubs, but I believe that in looking at what the future might hold for the player who was the fans’ favourites until ten minutes ago I am burying Caesar, not praising him.

‘Et tu, Brute, says Charlie.

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

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Andrea’s film review – Captain America: The First Avengers

Captain America: The First Avengers ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 Review by Andrea Carnevali

Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier, transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a “Super-Soldier serum”. But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a warmonger and a terrorist organization.

My son, like many children of his age (he’ll be 10 in September) is a superhero fanatic, no surprise there. Up until very recently, we’ve somehow managed to keep him away from most of the films (with the sole exception of Spiderman) as I believed some of them are a little bit too strong for very young kids. But the time has now come to succumb to his will. Recently we started watching Iron man and when tonight’s choice for our weekly “movie night with family” fell on him, he chose this film.

I had seen it once when it was first released in a time when superhero movies were still a relatively new thing, though even then people were beginning to talk about the market being slightly saturated with the comic book genre (little did we know…)

The film makers were obviously well aware of the cynicism towards anything which seemed to over-emphasise that All-American gung-ho/patriotic spirit, especially in a post-9/11, post-Bush post-economic-crisis era where a certain anti-American feeling was starting to spread across the pond.

A misstep too far in bringing this latest superhero to the screen might have not only have jeopardized their international box office takings, but also (and more importantly) their long-awaited Avengers (due to be released a year later, as the post-credit sequence reminded everyone) of which Captain America was the last missing link.

And so what they cleverly decided to do, was to stay true to the origins of the hero and keep the story rooted in 1940s, at the height of World War II. By making this a period film, they were able to get away with a lot more than if they had set the story in our modern world right from the start: the old-fashioned moral decency of the characters feels more appropriate when set in the 40s and so does the Patriotism which is clearly innate with this type of superhero, who’s essentially wearing an American flag.

Once again the film makers in trying to have their cake and eat it, even poke fun at that jingoistic sensibility as they have Captain America performing in front of live audiences around country to rally soldiers and boost morale, looking more like a clown than actually a real superhero.

In fact it’s surprisingly how well Captain America works especially in the first half.

The period feel is perfectly recreated through the sepia tones of the cinematography, the muted colours of the costumes. It’s reminiscent of another superhero film from 1991, The Rocketeer, which interestingly was made by the same director, Joe Johnston.

But it’s not just the look, overall the type of film-making used here also seems to arc back to the way good action films used to be made, before a certain Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay decided that it was all going to be about one-liners, big explosion, idiotic plot-lines, fast editing (possibly to disguise the fact that they were all pretty bad) and sexual sensibility (those Transformers film, just to mention the worst offenders).

It’s a film as much about humanity and characters as it is about big set-pieces and visual effects, because in the end, action and explosions work a lot better when we really care about the people involved.

Yes, of course, it’s all preposterous and plainly silly, but so is a radioactive spider, a man who flies in tights, a Viking looking guy with a giant hammer, and the idea that a tiny mask that only covers your eyes can make you un-recognisable to your friends. We are talking about Superheroes after all!! But as long as you can suspend your disbelief, cast aside any cynicism, you’ll definitely enjoy this one.

To help it all there’s a splendid array of supporting actors: Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Tommy Lee-Jones and even an-over-the-top Hugo Weaver who’s clearly having a lot of fun in this film, putting on a fabulous (and close-to-parody) German accent!

And of course Chris Evans in the titular role, who embodies not just the physicality of a superhero but also enough charisma, warmth and even dignity to make him extremely likeable and make us actually care for him.

The fact that in the first 40 minutes we get to know him as a frail and skinny young man makes him even more sympathetic.

The special effects to achieve that transformation are truly astonishing, even 11 years later. The CGI in a later train sequence were less satisfying, but certainly not distracting.

The film does run slightly out of steam in the last part and it becomes a little bit more generic and less interesting, but as far as popcorn movies go, this is was lot better than one might have expected expect (especially considering the blandness of the original character from the comics) and more enjoyable than most of the stuff that Hollywood tends to regurgitate during the summer season… and in my humble opinion, better than some of the over the top and much-too-messy later output from Marvel.

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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Côte Brasserie Chiswick reopens after refurbishment

Image above: Côte Brasserie, Turnham Green Terrace

A lighter look and a summer menu

Côte Brasserie in Turnham Green Terrace has reopened after a lightning refurbishment that took just three days.

“I love the change” restaurant manager Martina Uhlirova told The Chiswick Calendar. “The colours are joyful and much lighter.”

New owners took over the chain of French bistros founded by Andy Bassadone and Chris Benians in September 2020 and announced they had brought in a new executive chef, Steve Allen, in March. Allen is the former head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant at Claridge’s hotel.

He was was given the task of reinvigorating the menu to include Côte’s popular French classics alongside regionally inspired dishes and a wider range of vegetarian and vegan dishes. The menu refresh represents the biggest change to its food offer in its 15-year history.

Images above: Charentais Melon starter and Lobster frites main

Summer specials menu

Côte restaurants launched their summer menu a few weeks ago. These are the summer specials:

Pamplemousse Spritz – Côte’s take on an Aperol Spritz
Charentais melon – fragrant melon from Provence with cured Bayonne ham, radishes, rocket salad and croutons (starter)
Breton tomatoes – Heritage tomatoes from Brittany with goat’s cheese cream, pickled shallots, basil oil, tapenade and crispy capers (starter)
Lobster frites – Lobster & dill butter, lemon Hollandaise, frites (whole or half, main)
French apricot tart – Rhone valley apricots, lavender crème, pâtissière, raspberry (dessert)

They have also introduced menus with the calories per item listed (you can choose to have a menu with or without the calories included), in line with new government regulations for larger restaurants.

‘Refreshed, contemporary, yet elegant French-inspired interior’

The new look – a ‘refreshed, contemporary, yet elegant French-inspired interior’ according to the PR blurb, uses teal as the main colour in the ground floor restaurant, where before it was a midnight blue, and a sea green downstairs with floral panels where before it was quite dark and plain.

Normandy artist Claire de Quénetain has attempted to ‘deliver the spirit of France with a series of bespoke mural artworks throughout the restaurant, showcasing the brand’s move towards a stylish and informal space that is perfect for both daytime and relaxed evening dining.’

It is much brighter and more summery and a couple of days after reopening, on a blazing hot Saturday in July they were able to have the whole of the front of the restaurant open to the air.

Here’s how it looked before …

And after the refurbishment …

Images above: Ground floor

Images above: Downstairs at Côte Brasserie Chiswick

cote.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: How much electricity are you wasting and paying for unnecessarily?

See also: The Luna Cinema returns to Chiswick House Gardens 22 – 24 July

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How much electricity are you wasting and paying for unnecessarily?

Image above: Family living room; photograph Yinan Chen

Cost of gas and electricity bills is expected to rise by 65% this winter

The cost of gas and electricity bills is expected to rise by 65% this winter to more than £3,200 a year on average. Charities which deal with people on low incomes are describing it as a crisis which will push families into a desperate situation. Even those who normally consider themselves comfortably well off are worried.

The Financial Times is reporting energy consultancy Cornwall Insight forecasting the energy price cap for the average home will reach £3,244 when it is revised by regulators in October, up from £1,971 in April. Cornwall is predicting the price cap will rise further to £3,363 in January.

Image above: SES electrician

Chiswick firm SES offers free electrical energy tests

“People are getting in touch with their energy providers to find out why their bills are so high” says Byron Sanders, founder / owner of Chiswick electrical services company SES.

“They tell them to ask for load tests to check and see whether something is going wrong and we’re finding more and more customers are coming to us for load tests as their bills are going through the roof.”

Byron decided he would offer a free testing service and give people a full electrical energy assessment of their lighting, heating and appliances to see not only whether there were specific problems causing electricity wastage, but how they could cut back generally on electricity consumption by making small changes.

“We still come across the odd fluorescent light. Those have been banned now [production is being phased out] as they’re toxic and not environmentally friendly. We advise people to replace them with LEDs.

“Halogen lights too. One halogen lamp at 50W is the equivalent of ten LED bulbs.”

Image above: PxHere image of a family kitchen

Substantial savings to be made

People are surprised at how much money they can save by making a few changes.

“One customer we saw recently had 35 halogen lights. If she changed them to LED she would save between £1,300 – £1,800 per year.

“It would cost her £1,600 to upgrade 35 downlights to new LEDs but she would recover the cost in the first year and the savings will be ongoing.”

Many people do not realise that by leaving things switched on around the house they are adding to their electricity bills even when they are not using them.

Just leaving your TV on standby costs £35 a year. Leaving your phone charger on also costs £25 – £30 per year. They have transformers built in which are constantly using electricity while they are plugged in.

“Most people have three or four around the house, that’s £100 – £120, and some families with teenagers might also have three or four TVs” says Byron.

“A computer on standby mode is still using energy. Anything that is plugged into an adaptor that has a neon showing in it is using energy.”

He is guilty himself he says of wasting energy. He always fills the kettle up even though he is aware that half filling it each time he makes a cup of tea instead of filling it to the top would save him £25-£30 a year.

Image above: SES electricians

Old appliances use more electricity than newer ones. Fridges, dishwashers and washing machines all use a lot of energy.

“Energy ratings have changed in a year, so a washing machine that was A rated when you bought it might now be rated a D.”

Changing the habits of a lifetime is hard, but the hike in energy costs is really making people think about the energy they are using, he tells us. It is better for the environment for us to be using less energy, but it is the impact on people’s pockets which is concentrating people’s minds on making changes.

Byron’s Chiswick based team will come round, to businesses as well as residential homes, to give you an idea of the savings you can make for free and will give an estimate of the cost of suggestions of other improvements you could make.

Contact SES on 0207 523 5373 Monday – Friday between 8am and 5,30pm or email them at info@seselectricalcontractors.co.uk

seselectricalcontractors.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: BA ground staff at Heathrow suspend strike

See also: Kew Retail Park developers outline plans for 1200 new homes, M&S to stay open

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Andrea’s film review – The Sea Beast

The Sea Beast ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

A young girl stows away on the ship of a legendary sea monster hunter. Available to watch on Netflix and in selected cinemas from today.

Given the pretty bland title and the fact it was released rather unceremoniously on Netflix (at the same time as the latest Minions movie), I wasn’t really expecting much from this latest (and apparently last) feature from the now defunct Netflix Animation department.

But right from the first frame I could see that this wasn’t just a cheap cash-in exercise. The film begins with a gripping battle at sea between some pirates and a huge menacing monster.

The visuals are staggering and the cinematography is rich and detailed, from the beautiful landscapes, to the textures of people’s clothes and hair and water which feels so real that you might mistake it for real footage.

The action is gripping, immersive and breath-taking, at times even scary, pushing the boundaries of what animation can do these days.

Directed by former Disney golden boy Chris Williams (Moana, Big Hero 6), this is a lot better than it has any right to be.

The story might have distant echoes from How to Train Your Dragon, but this is mostly a refreshingly original film, with plenty of good messages to learn from (possibly a bit too many?)

It’s about understanding those who aren’t like you, never being afraid of differences, not believing things on face value just because you’ve read them in some book and it’s about learning that even heroes can sometimes be wrong.

These are all grown-up themes, but nothing feels heavy and even if it’s certainly not as hilarious as the previous The Mitchells vs. the Machines (one of the funniest films released last year), there’s still a lot of fun to be had.

A film with a proper story, a smart script with unexpected twists and turns (particularly welcome since it’s aimed mainly at children) and some great set pieces.

Family and children might all be cramming cinemas these days, to enjoy the silliness of the Minions, but while those yellow big-eyed creatures, are breaking the box office, they’re certainly not even scratching any mould in terms of characterisation or depths.

Surely there’s space for this kind of original film too, especially now that schools are closing.

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

The Sea Beast is available to watch on Netflix and in selected cinemas from today.

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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Andrea’s film review – Misery

Misery ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2  Review by Andrea Carnevali

After a famous author is rescued from a car crash by a fan of his novels, he comes to realize that the care he is receiving is only the beginning of a nightmare of captivity and abuse. You can watch rent or buy Misery on most streaming platforms.

The recent sad departure of movie icon James Caan seems the perfect excuse to revisit this film which I had not seen in at least two decades.

Since its release in 1990 and over the years a lot has been said about Kathy Bates’s outstanding, Oscar winning and truly terrifying performance as Annie Wilkes in the film, but Caan’s reactions to her madness and the depiction of utter fear, anger and gratitude on his face have a lot to do with how effective the film was (and still is).

His finely controlled performance perfectly balances Bates’ extravagance.

Adapted from Stephen King’s 1987’s novel of the same name, this is not just an incredibly suspenseful little horror, but also an allegory for the relations between artists and stars and their fans, clearly spawned from the Kings’ own personal demons and nightmares.

The story follows author Paul Sheldon (Caan), who after a car crash is rescued by a fan, Annie Wilkes (Bates) and taken under her care while a severe snowstorm makes it impossible to go the hospital. Soon writer realises that his number one fan may not be completely sane…

Back in the 80s and 90s I used to be an avid reader of all Stephen King’s books, novels and short stories and I still vividly remember being slightly disappointed by the adaptation of this particular story.

Annie Wilks in the book is a towering figure and somehow I couldn’t quite get beyond Bates’s tiny stature, nor some of the several cuts they had to make to the story to keep the film down to a manageable length. But then again, I was a silly teenager, who didn’t know anything. How wrong I was!

Watching it again today, it’s impossible not to get swept away by impeccable craft of this film.

Of course, Bates’ unpredictable behaviour is what keeps us glued to the chair: one moment she’s dancing, cheering and fantasising about Liberace, a moment later she coldly amputating her victims’ legs in one of the most shocking scenes in film history.

King’s novel is superbly adapted by screenwriter William Goldman, a true God in Hollywood (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Marathon Man, just to mention a few). He understands that King’s strengths in storytelling go beyond whatever horrific tale of madness. It’s the human elements which keep us hooked.

The director behind the scenes, Rob Reiner, is obviously an absolute pro: his eclectic filmography stands as testament of his golden touch to any genre he approached: mokumentary This is Spinal Tap, rite of passage Stand by Me (my ultimate favourite movie!), Adventure/Fantasy/comedy The Princess Bride, romantic-comedy When Harry Met Sally, courtroom drama A few Good Men.. and now this thriller/psychological horror which aims to recreate that unbearable tension that made some of those films by Alfred Hitchcock, confined all in one room, so perfect. And he succeeds without a shadow of a doubt.

Aided by cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, who had shot all of the Coen brothers` films before this and then went on to become a successful director (with films like Men in Black and Get Shorty), Rainer makes the most of the one location, playing with light, shadows, weather and seasons.

We become accustomed to the geography of the place so well that that after a while we begin to feel we are stuck in there too.

And let’s not forget the local sheriff and his wisecracking wife, mostly used for comic relief to give us a little bit of breathing space from the tension.

Reiner is a master of manipulation and beautifully orchestrates twists and turns, shocks and thrills throughout the film keeping us the audiences on the edge of our seats until he decides he wants to make us jump off … and so we do. What fun!

Why can’t they make them like this any more?

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

Misery is available to rent or buy from most streaming platforms.

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here

 

BA ground staff at Heathrow suspend strike

Strike suspended as company makes an improved pay offer, say unions

A planned strike by British Airways check-in staff at Heathrow has been suspended after the company made an improved pay offer, according to unions.

Unite say they had reached agreement after “extensive negotiations” on Wednesday 6 July. The strike, planned for the peak travelling period of school summer holidays, is now suspended while the union ballots its members on the deal.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:

“We welcome that BA has finally listened to the voice of its check-in staff. Unite has repeatedly warned that pay disputes at BA were inevitable unless the company took our members’ legitimate grievances seriously. I pay tribute to, and stand with, our members who have fought hard to protect their pay.”

‘Game changing’ pay deal for Heathrow cabin crew working for CAE Crewing Services

The union secured what it described as a “game changing” deal for cabin crew working for CAE Crewing Services supplying air crew to Scandinavian airline SAS last week.

All workers will receive a phased 18 per cent pay rise beginning with an immediate hike of 11 per cent, followed by four per cent increase in November and three per cent in March 2023. The deal also reverses a 10 per cent pay cut accepted by the workforce during the pandemic.

Long service payments have also been introduced, with staff receiving an extra seven per cent for every two years served, up to eight years’ service. Long service payments will also be backdated.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford Leisure Centre gets low carbon makeover

See also: New water lily species discovered at Kew Gardens

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.

Kew Retail Park developers outline plans for 1200 new homes, M&S to stay open

Image above: Kew Retail Park

Local residents concerned about the scale and density of the new development

The owners of Kew Retail Park have published the results of their consultation with local residents on how they would like to see the site developed.

St George and M&S, who jointly own the site, plan to redevelop it in 2024, demolishing the existing shops and building up to 1,200 homes, but keeping M&S open throughout the construction.

In the Local Plan for LB Richmond, part of the site is designated as being in the ‘tall building’ zone.

The retail park, off Mortlake Rd, set back from the river, is surrounded by housing estates built relatively recently. The big retail outlets currently there – TK Maxx, Sports Direct, Boots and Next will go. Gap has already left the site.

The developers will construct a new building for M&S at the opposite end from where it is now and plan to move the food store into its new premises overnight so they can knock the existing store down without M&S having to stop trading.

Image above: Kew Retail Park

Architects jtp asked to create ‘a community’, not just more housing

Architects jtp held a consultation exercise over the weekend of 24 – 25 June, with the customary break-out groups and post-it notes favoured at events such as these. They presented the results on Tuesday (5 July).

Residents wanted above all not to lose M&S. They also said they would like to keep Boots, or at least a pharmacy. They said they wanted the place to have a community feel, a village feel, with play areas for children, community gardens, a cafe, a piazza with room for a market maybe and small units for shops. They wanted a mixed and integrated community.

While some expressed sadness at the loss of the retail park, others were ready to let traditional retail go. The people who took part in the consultation expressed concern about the scale of the new development, the height and density of the new buildings and the impact on local services such as public transport, in particular the pressure the added population would put on Kew Gardens Station.

Residents said they wanted easier access to the River Thames and the suggestion of a pedestrian bridge across to Strand on the Green was mooted.

Image above: Drawing of the site with the location of the new M&S store; jtp architects

The architects said a new ‘community heart’ could be provided in the first phase, delivering a number of benefits. They suggest a new square beside the new M&S building.

The proposals ‘open up’ to the north they say, ‘by placing the public space on Bessant Drive and reducing the impact of buildings on the Defore Avenue streetscene.’

They propose to create a whole new neighbourhood on the site with streets running east – west and a garden to the south.

Images above: Plans for the Kew Retail Park site; drawings jtp architects

St George and M&S will make their planning application next summer, 2023, with a view to starting redevelopment in 2024.

You can see jtp architects’ Vision for Kew Retail Park presentation here:

Click to access 220705_Kew-Retail-Park-Report-Back_Part-2-Vision.pdf

No new M&S planned for Chiswick High Rd

With the redevelopment of the Kew Retail site and proposals for a refurbishment of their Hammersmith branch next year, rumours have been circulating in Chiswick that M&S might be looking at the former Sofa Workshop site at 147 Chiswick High Rd as a possible new homeware and fashion superstore.

We asked M&S whether this was on the cards. Before Tuesday night’s feedback session a spokeswoman for the company told The Chiswick Calendar:

“We’re committed to serving our communities in Hammersmith and Kew with the very best of M&S therefore we are looking to bring forward plans for new, improved and renewed stores.

“In Kew, we have recently completed a community consultation weekend and we will be feeding back to the community ahead of further consultation in the autumn.

“In Hammersmith, our plans are at an early stage and we will be engaging the community later this year. We will be fully consulting and engaging with the community in both areas as we bring forward the plans to better serve our customers and the local area.”

“We have no involvement with the site you have referenced on Chiswick High Road.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: BA ground staff at Heathrow suspend strike

See also: Brentford Leisure Centre gets low carbon makeover

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Brentford Leisure Centre gets low carbon makeover

Images above: (left to right), Charles Pipe, Energy Manager, Hounslow Council; Martin Rowden from Asset Plus; Hounslow Cabinet Member Cllr Samia Chaudhary and Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme Project Manager for LB Hounslow, Jason Ademola; new solar panels installed on the roof of Brentford Leisure Centre

Brentford Leisure Centre given upgrade to cut emissions as Hounslow completes first phase of borough-wide programme to decarbonise public buildings

Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre is one of 29 public buildings in LB Hounslow to be installed with low carbon-energy efficiency sources, which the council say will reduce carbon emissions by more than 3,000 tonnes each year, saving millions of kilowatts of gas and electricity.

The Council received £19m grant funding in 2020 from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. The completion of the first phase of installations in the borough has helped to make significant strides towards decarbonisation in LB Hounslow, in the attempt to move away from the reliance of gas/fossil fuel heating.

The scheme has seen 32 primary schools and 29 public buildings fitted with low carbon technologies. As part of the project, four of the borough’s leisure centres are now carbon neutral.

The project has seen a range of energy-saving measures ‘retrofitted’ at the schools and public buildings. These include air source heat pumps to replace gas heating boilers, solar panels to self-generate renewable power, energy-saving LED lighting and thermal insulation.

In 2019, Hounslow Council pledged to become a carbon-neutral local authority by 2030. These works are part of the council’s efforts towards that goal.

Images above: Cllr Samia Chaudhary poses beside near five new Mitsubishi CAHB heat pump; the heat pump control panel which shows how many of the automatic pumps are operational

Borough-wide savings of electricity upwards of 15 million kilowatts

Using these cleaner technologies to heat buildings helps to mitigate the use of costly fossil fuels, especially at a time of high global prices. The council says this will make public buildings cheaper to run, heat and cool, while supporting economic growth and jobs across the borough.

The measures in public buildings are expected to cut 2,099 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and save more than 11.5m kilowatts of electricity each year. The measures installed in the borough schools will cut 1,264 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and save more than six million kilowatts of electricity each year.

The BBC reported recently thousands of swimming pools across the country are at risk of closing due to skyrocketing energy bills. Heating the water in swimming pools contributes hugely to price increases, according to the nationwide fitness organisation UKActive.

Hounslow Cabinet Member Cllr Samia Chaudhary told The Chiswick Calendar on Wednesday (6 July) there are “no plans” for leisure centres to close in Hounslow. She said the energy efficiency measures are helping council-owned leisure centres to mitigate high energy costs.

“We’ve so far done 32 schools and 29 public buildings and eventually we want to do the rest of our public buildings. I’ve spoken today to schools and leisure centres and I think [energy efficiency measures] will be really helpful in reducing costs. We have no plan to close any leisure centre.”

Image above: Cllr Chaudhary and Martin Rowden pose with a water recycling machine which maximises the energy efficiency of the leisure centre’s domestic water supply

Project will produce “lasting benefits” 

Hounslow Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment and Transport Strategy, Councillor Katherine Dunne, said:

“We are delighted to have completed the first phase of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. Our borough is committed to rising to the challenges of climate change. This is a real milestone in our ambition to make every part of the Council’s operation carbon-free.

“The success of this scheme is a testament to the hard work and professionalism of the Council’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Energy team and a tribute to the great partnership working we have enjoyed with Asset Plus our delivery partner, Salix and BEIS.”

“This project will produce lasting benefits for our borough for generations to come. We are determined to build on this success and continue to move towards a carbon-free future.”

Based on the success of the project, Hounslow Council has been awarded a further £2.4m by BEIS to introduce carbon-cutting measures at a further 10 of the borough’s schools. Work is already underway on this latest phase and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

The funding for the scheme is being administered by Salix Finance on behalf of the Government’s Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. The physical work was carried out in partnership with Asset Plus, an energy infrastructure upgrades company.

Read more stories in The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Surge in demand for women & girls’ football in run up to Women’s EURO matches

See also: Hounslow launches Corporate Plan for the next four years

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.

New water lily species discovered at Kew Gardens

Image above: measuring Kew’s Victoria boliviana; photograph RBG Kew

First discovery of a new giant water lily in over a century

A giant water lily grown at Kew Gardens has been has been discovered to be a new species, in the first such discovery in more than a century.

Scientists have known about two species: Victoria amazonica and Victoria cruziananamed after Queen Victoria, and have long suspected there was a third.

In a collaboration with scientists in Bolivia, where the giant water lilies originate, they germinated seeds of the suspected third species at Kew. When analysed, their DNA was found to be different from the other two species.

They named the plant Victoria boliviana, in honour of its South American origins. They then found that they had specimens of this third species sitting in the herbarium at Kew already. The plant has been at Kew for 177 years but had been mistaken for one of the other species.

Victoria boliviana has striking flowers which turn from white to pink and in the wild its leaves grow up to three metres across.

Not only is this the first discovery of a new giant water lily in over a century, but Victoria boliviana is now officially recognised as the largest water lily in the world. The current record for the largest plant of the species is held by La Rinconada Gardens, one of the Bolivian institutions which sent Kew seeds. Their plant grew to 3.2 metres.

Image above: Kew Gardens; photograph Emma Martin

Discovering a new species of “fundamental importance”

Kew’s scientific and botanical research horticulturist Carlos Magdalena said the discovery is the biggest achievement of his 20-year career at Kew.

“Ever since I first saw a picture of this plant online in 2006, I was convinced it was a new species. Horticulturists know their plants closely; we are often able to recognise them at a glimpse.

“It was clear to me that this plant did not quite fit the description of either of the known Victoria species and therefore it had to be a third. For almost two decades, I have been scrutinising every single picture of wild Victoria water lilies over the internet, a luxury that a botanist from the 18th, 19th and most of the 20th century didn’t have.”

Natalia Przelomska, another scientist at Kew who worked on the project, said the discovery was of fundamental importance:

“In the face of a fast rate of biodiversity loss, describing new species is a task of fundamental importance; we hope that our multidisciplinary framework might inspire other researchers who are seeking approaches to rapidly and robustly identify new species.”

Read more stories in The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Hounslow Council completes first phase of borough-wide building decarbonisation scheme

See also: Surge in demand for women & girls’ football in run up to Women’s EURO matches

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.

Young people with special educational needs benefit from internships with Hounslow Council

Image above: Cllr Lily Bath (left) with the interns holding their graduation certificates

Young people with special educational needs recognised for their achievements by the Council

Hounslow Council has hosted a graduation ceremony to celebrate ten young residents with special educational needs, completing the Council’s internship programme. Held at Hounslow House, the young residents were presented with a certificate by Councillor Lily Bath – Cabinet Member for Children, Learning and Employment.

The project, called Project SEARCH, is run in partnership with the Council, West Thames College and the supported employment service Kaleidoscope Sabre.

The internship offers young people, aged 17-24, with real-world work experience and a comprehensive support package as they transition from education into employment.

The interns worked in an array of roles at the Council – ranging from ‘hands on’ jobs with the Park Rangers Team to supporting Public Health’s ‘Winter Ready’ campaign. Along with practical work experience, the interns benefitted from a tutor at West Thames College and were mentored by a dedicated careers coach at Kaleidoscope Sabre.

Over the duration of the internship programme, young people complete three different work experience placements within a host business, which include local businesses Jungle VIP and Lampton Community Services.

Participants also work towards a City and Guilds qualification in employability skills, which all interns passed with flying colours. To apply for the next internship, please visit West Thames College website.

Image above: Cllr Lily Bath with Shirya Sharma

“This internship has helped me so much”

Shirya Sharma, who graduated from the internship, said:

“This internship has helped me so much, I got to meet amazing individuals with a similar background to me. I learnt how to build a professional profile and succeed at any workplace. From this internship, I now have a job at Greggs.”

Other graduates have now progressed into employment at Ealing Council, Snakes and Ladders, West Thames College and London Museum of Water and Steam.

Councillor Lily Bath, Cabinet Member for Children, Learning and Employment, said:

“It’s been an amazing year for this group of interns and I’m so proud of their achievements – gaining invaluable work experience.

“Hounslow is committed to ensuring every young person in the borough has the very best start in life and these internships is just one example of how we are expanding young people’s horizons and aspirations.”

Read more stories in The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tributes for Peter Brook, world renowned theatre director who came from Chiswick

See also: The Proud Project – New Pilates studio in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Andrea’s film review – Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder ⭐️⭐️1/2 Review by Andrea Carnevali

Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct. Out in cinemas this Friday.

While sitting down watching this latest Thor at a special preview screening in a packed Imax theatre, listening to the audience cheering and clapping, a worrying realisation started to creep up on me: maybe I’m getting too old for this type of film.

It is clear by now that what Marvel is doing is producing big-budget serialised instalments, within a sprawling bigger Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which can hardly be watched on their own. Taken that for granted, it still creates oddly paced stories, which spend an awful long time picking up the pieces from previous films in order to dismiss them as quickly as possible so that they can tell the story they need to tell.

In the case of this film for example, the whole section with the Guardian of the Galaxy at the front is not just pure “fan service”, but also completely redundant for the development or the outcome of what the rest of the film is about.

Does that matter? Probably not, because Taika Waititi’s film, with or without the “Guardians” preamble, is generally all over the place anyway. But this kind of film is clearly NOT written for people like me or snooty old film critics, but rather for the millions of fans who crave this kind of stuff.

Just indulge me for a moment and look at the numbers at the box office if you need any proof of what I am talking about:

Black Widow  for example, released in the middle of the pandemic, grossed around $380 million worldwide and was considered one of the worst performing films of the franchise.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness  (a film which I really hated) is currently at around $952 million.

The latest Spiderman  released last Christmas stands close to $2 billion and finally Avengers: End Game, the top grossing film in the franchise so far, is now close to $2.8 billion, just behind Avatar as the biggest film in cinema history.

And that’s without any income from streaming, DVDs and merchandising.

In other words, Marvel is sitting on a gold pile and cannot be bothered about what I may think or say.

Having said all that, I still want to talk about my feelings towards these films, mainly because, despite everything, I am still a movie fan, but more than that an action film fan, sci-fi fan and a comic book (casual) fan.

Thor’s character has evolved over the years, and even though his film trilogy rates as one of the least favourite among fans, his popularity has also increased.

Kudos to Chris Hemsworth’s charm of course, who’s managed to give a rather dull superhero (at least on paper) a swaggering personality. His look certainly doesn’t hurt and I’m sure people will be taking screenshots of his perfectly chiselled buttocks shown in this film for years to come.

Director Taika Waititi is now one of Hollywood’s new golden boys…  Well, not really a boy anymore, but with an Oscar under his belt for the screenplay of Jojo Rabbit, his name cemented in the Marvel Parthenon and now scheduled to direct the next Star Wars film, you can see why the “golden” part is correct.

He completely upended Thor’s universe by taking the helm on its third film, by delivering an absurd, humorous and irreverent instalment, which ended up being the most successful in the trilogy,  Thor: Ragnarok.

With its funny one-liners, 1980s-inspired soundtrack and relentless wackiness, the film gave the undeniable jolt of energy to the superhero and fans seemed to respond to that.

So much so that Taika Waititi was called again for this latest film to bring some of that same style and sensitivity to it.

And so, once again random ‘80s music plays out for no apparent reason except to make people to cheer.

The film is, once again, a chaotic mishmash of absurd irreverence, slapstick, cartoony characterisations, CGI-heavy and relentless action mixed in with emotional beats too.

Waititi’s ability to switch from farce to drama had proven to be a winning card with his Oscar-winning JoJo Rabbit, but I have to say I found the mix here a little bit more jarring, probably because of the pace required by these sort of films is by nature a lot faster, hence there is never enough time to take a moment to reflect on the emotional impact of some of what we are witnessing.

I have to be honest, despite the joyous atmosphere around me, when watching this, most of the irreverence seemed to wash over me. I found the jokes fairly cheap, rather predictable and, let’s face it, a bit puerile. Most of them hardly raised a smile on my face but most importantly I felt they completely undermined the emotional core of the story itself.

I mean, we actually have a character who has cancer here, whose life is being drained out even faster by choosing to be a superhero. We also have a baddie whose daughter dies in his arms and is now looking for some sort of revenge by kidnapping other children (or at least I think that was his motivation… not too sure about that).

I mean, if that isn’t recipe for high drama, what is? And yet, we seem to rush through all of that, as if the script was more a bullet point document than an actual written-down story, more concerned about hitting all the bits and throwing in a couple of cheap jokes in the process.

There’s a danger about making everything, including (and especially) your hero and your antagonist looking more and more like a parodies of themselves. It diminishes their characters, it cheapens them and it makes the stakes feel less threatening and less important.

I’m also afraid that in the long run it’ll hurt the franchise rather than revitalise it, as it’ll be harder and harder to come back from that.

I’m looking at Zeus, played by Russel Crowe, basically wearing a tutu as the epitome of all that. Hard to see how that character can be made scary again or even just be taken seriously when the new franchise about Greek Gods will be coming out in the near future (all that is hinted in the obligatory post credit scene).

The film relies a lot of Chris Hemsworth’s charming personality (he was really born to play this part, but also his comedic timing is undeniable) and Natalie Portman’s always reliable presence. She can make anything seem believable, though at times you can tell how even this Oscar-winning star didn’t really quite know how to take some of this material, switching from an ill-stricken human to an all-powerful goddess in the space of seconds.

Meanwhile Taika seems throw everything at the screen hoping that something will stick… and to be honest some does stick, but on the whole there seem to be very few rules and even those few are often broken. Characters show up and disappear when it’s most convenient, laws of gravity don’t exist (I know we are talking about superheroes, but even among superpowers there must be some sort of boundaries), geography is meaningless and the action taking place is often so fast that even on a big screen like the Imax looked fairly confusing. Not to mention the cartoony look of the scenery, which looked more like out of the ‘80s Flash Gordon, than anything.

I’ve seen worse and suffered through much more terrible films of course, but in the end I can’t shake the feeling that I found this was a rather inconsequential instalment, which actually changes next-to-nothing in the big scheme of things, but also left me pretty cold throughout. But hey, at least they kept it under two hours. Hooray!

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

Thor: Love and Thunder 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

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The Luna Cinema returns to Chiswick House Gardens 22 – 24 July

Image above: The Luna Cinema at Chiswick House Gardens

Summer outdoor cinema

Outdoor cinema returns to the gardens of Chiswick House over the weekend of 22 – 24 July, with three films: Belfast, Pretty Woman and Some Like It Hot.

Just as camping became glamping, the outdoor cinema experience is getting more comfortably luxurious. You can bring your own chair or a blanket to sit on to watch the film but you can also go for the full VIP treatment and book a Luna Luxe sofa with your own firepit, blankets and bottle of prosecco.

Image above: Belfast

Friday 22 July – Belfast

Kenneth Branagh’s much-acclaimed film Belfast starts the weekend of movie-going on Friday 22 July at 9.15pm – The Northern Ireland Troubles as seen by a young boy and his working-class Belfast family in the late 1960s.

“A highly entertaining film, funny and heart-warming at the same time and beautifully filmed” said The Chiswick Calendar’s film reviewer Andrea Carnevali in his review when it first came out in January.

The film which stars Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds and Dame Judi Dench, brought Kenneth Branagh his first Oscar win for the Best Original Screenplay.

Image above: Pretty Woman

Saturday 23 July Pretty Woman

Saturday night sees Julia Roberts and Richard Gere take to the screen in Pretty Woman at 9.15pm.

It has been a crowd pleaser since it first came out in 1990 with its romantic notion that a rich man who hires a beautiful prostitute as an escort might fall in love with her.

It was the film which made a star of Julia Roberts. Gere won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in 1991 and Roberts won Best Actress.

Image above: Some Like It Hot

Sunday 24 July – Some Like It Hot

Sunday sees the even greater classic Some Like It Hot, with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis at 9.15.

After two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in…

Images above: The Luna Cinema’s luxe sofa and date night deckchair

Come well prepared

The Luna Cinema asks that you come well prepared for whatever the weather may throw at us that weekend, given the unpredictability of the British summer, but they do not allow umbrellas, as they block the view for other customers.

Yes there are toilets available. No you can’t bring the dog, with the exception of registered assistance dogs. You can’t smoke on site either, but you can go for a smoke elsewhere in Chiswick House Gardens and come back to your seat. Doors open an hour and a half before the screenings and you can buy food and drink there.

Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic from home, but don’t pack any alcohol as the Luna Bar will be at Chiswick House and only alcohol purchased on-site is permitted.

Images above: Snacks available to buy on site

Buy tickets through The Luna Cinema’s website.

thelunacinema.com

This page is paid for by The Luna Cinema.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Psychotherapist Nicholas Rose book on why couples decide to split or stay together

See also: Exhibition of portraits by Chiswick photo-journalist Barbara Chandler at New Designers show

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.

Paddle & Pick – Active 360 organises litter picking on the river by paddleboard

Image above: Litter picking on the River Thames; Active 360

Big companies book their staff in for team building / corporate social responsibility sessions

Transport for London is sending 120 of its staff for a day on the river on Thursday 21 July. Not a jolly but a day of picking up litter from the River Thames.

Over the past 20 years there has been a significant decrease in items such as tyres, metal and bicycles in the river, but over the same period there has been a noticeable increase in plastic consumer items and packaging in the river.

Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans every year, and it’s estimated that 80% comes from land, likely from rivers. Here in London, Thames21 and the Port of London Authority  remove at least 200 tonnes of waste from the Thames each year, much of it plastic.

Active 360, the Stand Up Paddleboarding outfit at Kew Bridge, organises regular litter picks by paddleboard. From the river volunteers can get to the rubbish which gets caught in the overhanging branches of trees and bushes along the bank.

It has become a regular team building and Corporate Social Responsibility exercise for big companies. Visit Britain, the national tourism agency, has sent its staff on a Paddle & Pick day. Earlier this year Natural England sent a team and investment bank Moelis are booked in for August.

Image above: Litter picking on the River Thames; Active 360

Food wrappers and wet wipes the worst offenders

Plastic wet wipe products are the most common item recorded on the tidal Thames foreshore in London. They get embedded in the mud in clumps.

“You find you are not standing on the ground but on great piles of wet wipes which have covered the shore, stuck together and disguised by mud” Paul told us. There are certain places where the tide takes them and piles them up.

Single-use plastic items make up 83% of all counted items on the foreshore. Around Kew Bridge, Brentford Ait and at the start of the tow path on Grove Park Rd at Strand on the Green are some of the places where plastic litter collects. When Active 360 organise Paddle & Pick sessions they have teams walking along the shoreline as well as people on the river.

Image above: Litter picking on the River Thames; Active 360

Most commonly found after plastic wet wipes are food wrappers, cotton bud sticks, drink bottles and bottle lids, cups, take-away containers and unidentified items.

Active 360 has led the way in organising river clear-ups. They have worked with the Thames Estuary Partnership, Watertrek and Tideway to organise a series of clean ups mostly in London, on the Thames and London canals.

In 2017 they were one of the organisers of the Plastic Ocean Festival – an original idea of combining water clean ups with marine environmental films screened (mostly free or for nominal donation) around West London in community centres, auditoriums, bars and open air screens.

“Clearing up plastic trash is a quick fix” says Paul. “We see the effects immediately and we feel better for it. Sadly, clean ups like these do nothing to reduce the underlying problem of disposable plastic packaging.”

Image above: Litter picking on the River Thames; Active 360

Active 360 is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. They offer Club Card holders 10% off paddleboarding sessions.

Club Card offer

To find out about paddleboarding with Active 360 have a look at their website.

active360.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Surge in demand for women & girls’ football in run up to Women’s EURO matches

See also: Chiswick Flower Market team build ‘parklet’ outside Gunnersbury tube station

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 95: The joy of Sri Lankan cricket, expertly distilled

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.

Given the joy it has given to the world, the history of Sri Lankan cricket has been strangely neglected. A young author, Nicholas Brookes, has now filled the gap with a masterly study: An Island’s Eleven. He shares its rich and often surprising contents as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast. In Peter’s absence, Roger Alton is co-presenter of this episode.


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They begin by paying tribute to Eoin Morgan on his retirement as England’s one-day captain, not only as a transformative tactician but also as a character universally admired in the world of cricket. He well deserves to fulfil his professed ambitions in horse racing but they hope that a continuing role will be found for him in English cricket.

Nicholas comments on the dire economic and social crisis which forms the background to the current series between Sri Lanka and Australia. The crowds at the T20 matches and the gratitude they showed to the tourists suggested the enduring power of cricket to give the country something to smile about, however briefly.

He describes his motivation for writing the book and his aim of doing justice to the extraordinary vitality of Sri Lankan cricket in adverse circumstances. It had produced so many people who combined great playing ability with high personal character, who had set out to be role models and ambassadors for their country. Latterly, cricketers had begun to speak out on the social problems facing the country and to join in the peaceful protests for change.

The island’s cricket benefitted from the “whistle-stop” visits of touring sides en route to or from England or Australia or the Indian mainland. He describes the unhappy experiences there of W G Grace and Don Bradman (the latter blamed on a wrongly-measured pitch). The least popular visitor, predictably, was Douglas Jardine – who boosted support for the independence movement.

Nicholas highlights the players that made Sri Lanka’s reputation as a new force in world cricket, starting with the pocket-sized powerhouse Duleep Mendis who thrilled spectators at their inaugural Test match in England in 1984 and came close to scoring two centuries. Aravinda de Silva, the first Sri Lankan overseas registration in county cricket, scored an enthralling century for Kent in the Benson & Hedges Cup Final and an even more important (and winning) one for his country the following year in the World Cup Final. In that World Cup, Sanath Jayasuriya’s batting changed the dynamic of one-day cricket for ever.

Nicholas especially admires Chaminda Vaas, the perfect foil for Muralitharan with his sustained accuracy. Immensely dedicated, Vaas constantly improved his bowling and latterly his batting. Still remorseless in the gym, he prided himself as Sri Lanka’s bowling coach in lapping younger players on training runs.

Muralitharan matched him for hard work and the ability to master new deliveries (particularly when working with his Australian coach Bruce Yardley). Nicholas notes that in his late career the last of his 800 Test wickets arrived at a faster and faster rate. From his own experience, he cites Muralitharan’s genuine modesty and kindness, and describes his many-sided philanthropy.

He analyses the impact of Arjuna Ranatunga, the first Sri Lankan captain with a major reign not to be educated in one of its leading schools. Although not quite fulfilling his promise as a teenage batsman (which had astonished Garry Sobers) Ranatunga’s astute and above all, assertive captaincy in a short time transformed the world’s attitude to Sri Lankan cricketers – and their own.

Lasith Malinga is the most imitated Sri Lankan cricketer: Nicholas describes how he evolved his unique action as a beach cricketer and by immense hard physical and mental application made himself the world’s best “death bowler” in one-day cricket. Sri Lankans are now excited by “Junior Malinga”, a latter-day version, and he has served as an example to young players outside urbanized middle classes and attendees the best schools and colleges which are the traditional nurseries of the island’s cricket. Sri Lanka is full of exuberant local softball cricketers: more could be done to draw them into its red-ball cricket.

Nicholas describes the enduring quality and following of the best school matches in Sri Lanka, which leave their participants better prepared for top-class cricket than almost any others in the world.

He believes that Sri Lanka’s entry into Test cricket was unfairly delayed and that they have been short-changed of international fixtures ever since. He assesses the factors behind this, notably persistent problems with foreign exchange and even more persistent snobbery from other countries, even after Sri Lanka’s World Cup victory. He describes the joys of actually touring Sri Lanka to play or watch cricket and the relaxed atmosphere at their grounds. Cricket tourism makes a significant contribution to the troubled economy – especially when the English come. He describes their first major tour in 2001 – when they emptied the island’s supply of beer.

He looks at the continuing structural problems of Sri Lankan cricket, especially the proliferation of clubs with first-class status and their contribution to the concentration of cricket in Columbo. He sees little obvious hope of resolution for the acute economic crisis which has affected Sri Lankan cricket, and comments on the contribution of communist China, to which it is heavily indebted (the Chinese financed a huge vanity project by the former President which includes a rarely-used international cricket stadium). However, he notes that past great players and their highly successful past coach, Tom Moody, are involved in the future of Sri Lankan cricket and is encouraged by the increasing willingness of Sri Lankan cricketers to engage with the country’s wider problems.

An Island’s Eleven by Nicholas Brookes is published by the History Press

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 94: Dutch cricket – and when it can be dangerous to watch

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne, Richard Heller & Roger Alton

Roger Alton, guest host for this episode, was formerly editor of The Observer and The Independent, and is currently the Sports Columnist for The Spectator. 

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.

Surge in demand for women & girls’ football in run up to Women’s EURO matches

Image above: promotional image for the 2022 UEFA Women’s EUROs

Upcoming tournament accompanied by “massive increase” in demand in west London

There has been a surge demand in west London for women’s & girls’ football in the run up to the 2022 UEFA Women’s EURO games, hosted partly in Brentford Community Stadium.

Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, Chiswick School, Actonians LFC and Middlesex FA all said they have either already seen or are preparing for a significant increase in demand as the month-long tournament approaches.

The tournament starts on Wednesday 6 July with England v Austria at Trafford and continues all round the country, with matches at Brighton & Hove, Brentford, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Rotherham, Sheffield, Southampton, Wigan & Leigh and the final at Wembley on Sunday 31 July.

The four matches at Brentford’s Community Stadium will be on Friday 8 (Germany v Denmark), Tuesday 12 (Germany v Spain), Saturday 16 (Denmark v Spain) and Thursday 21 July (Winner of Group B v Runner-up of Group A).

UEFA’s ticketing site shows most games are already sold out, with limited availability for the match between Denmark and Spain.

Over 450,000 tickets have been sold for the tournament, which has already surpassed the previous tournament record of 240,045 set in the Netherlands in 2017.

Image above: Linda Fox – Committee Chair of Actonians LFC, girls group at Actonians LFC

Brentford hosting tournament will “surely only help to inspire more girls to get involved”

Linda Fox, Committee Chair of Actonians LFC, a football club for women & girls on Gunnersbury Drive, told The Chiswick Calendar there had been a marked increase in demand for women’s football since Brentford FC was announced as the tournament’s host.

“[We] expect this to continue throughout the tournament and after. We are putting on some extra taster sessions during July so anyone interested in playing can have a go and we have playing opportunities for ages 5-16.

“It’s really great to see the shift in perception over the last couple of years and how many girls now see football as a sport for them” she said.

“Having the EUROs on our doorstep will surely only help to inspire more girls to get involved.

“We are really excited to welcome anyone who would like to give it a try or get back to playing again.”

Actonians LFC are hosting the free football taster sessions for girls aged 8-16 every Thursday in July 2022 at Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub between 6.00pm and 7.00pm. All abilities are welcome. Further information is available on their website or via email at info@actonianslfc.com.

Image above: promotional photo of Brentford FCCST Wildcats team

Local schools benefit from expanded training sessions

Brentford FCCST have expanded their programme of training sessions in response to the increased demand. Working in partnership with Brentford FC, the Trust offers a portfolio of programmes in education, employability, sports participation, health and community engagement.

The Trust has linked up with several schools across the boroughs of Hounslow, Ealing and Richmond for one-off events or regular training sessions on school grounds. A spokesperson for Brentford FCCST said they hope these sessions will encourage women & girls to either attend the Euros in person or watch the matches on TV.

Up to 400 girls were already attending Brentford FCCST sessions before the build-up to the Euros, but the Trust said nearly 600 girls have interacted with them over the past few months, expanding their reach to around 1,000 girls across west London.

Chiswick School told The Chiswick Calendar there had been a “very big increase” in girls’ football sessions 2022 and said this wasn’t just because of the upcoming matches, alluding to the increasing popularity of women’s football generally.

Above: Middlesex FA London Legacy Programme on YouTube

‘London Legacy Programme’ hopes to provide 500,000 football opportunities for women and girls

Middlesex FA said they’ve been preparing for increased demand leading up to and off the back of the UEFA Women’s EURO for the last 18 months through the launch of their ‘London Legacy Programme’.

The National programme, which is working with all of the UK’s host cities, hopes to achieve equal access for all girls to play football in school and clubs; diverse workforce of coaches, referees and local leaders delivering and organising football for their communities.

Its aim is for there to be inclusive safe and welcoming environments for every woman and girl to play competitive or recreational grassroots football, irrespective of ability, disability, age or ambition.

The programme hopes to offer 500,000 new football opportunities to engage women and girls across UEFA Women’s EURO host cities by 2024, including:

  • 120,000 more girls regularly playing football in schools and clubs
  • 300 new FA-qualified female coaches – that’s double the current number in our host cities
  • 1,000 women and girls completing the entry-level FA Playmaker Award to make football happen
  • 350 new FA-qualified female referees
  • 20,000 more women playing football for fun, fitness and friendship

Image above: the welcome sign in Brentford

LB Hounslow adds new signage to welcome fans

A welcome sign has been placed next to the Brentford Community Stadium for the teams of Denmark, Spain and Germany who are set to play their group games locally.

Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Parking, Parks and Leisure Services, Councillor Salman Shaheen, said:

“I am proud that London will be a host city for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 and it is so inspiring to see the new signage, showcasing Hounslow’s central role in the tournament. Football fever has definitely started and the entire borough is eagerly anticipating the first game. We warmly welcome everyone that will visit us over the coming weeks.”

The FA’s Head of Tournament Delivery, Chris Bryant said:

“We have an exciting few weeks ahead and a fantastic opportunity for football fans to experience some of the world’s very best players on their doorstep.

“As we look ahead to the opening match, excitement across the country is growing at an incredible rate. Anyone who hasn’t got a ticket still has a chance to get involved and show their support for what is already a huge history-making moment for women’s football.”

Read more stories in The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tributes for Peter Brook, world renowned theatre director who came from Chiswick

See also: The Proud Project – New Pilates studio in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Chiswick Flower Market team build ‘parklet’ outside Gunnersbury tube station

Image above: New ‘parklet’ beside Gunnersbury tube station

Collaboration with West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society

You may have noticed some new planters and benches outside Gunnersbury tube station.

In their mission to improve Chiswick High Rd, the organisers of Chiswick Flower Market have teamed up with residents group the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society to create a ‘parklet’.

Local residents Neil Ramsay and Andrew Chipchase spent a busy few days last week creating benches, seats, trellis and planters. The existing planters, put in last year by Abundance London, were refreshed with new drought-tolerant flowers and they planted a fragrant and bee-friendly selection of thyme, lavender, honeysuckle, salvias and jasmine.

A lavender-planted bike rack was donated by Charlotte Aldridge of the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society (WCGS). Charlotte, who is Secretary of the residents’ association, said:

“WCGS are delighted by this development of the meanwhile garden which allows for a breathing space in this busy part of the Chiswick High Road. Many thanks to the Chiswick Flower Market for this great initiative.”

Images above: Volunteer workers Neil Ramsay and Andrew Chipchase; newly refurbished planters

Traders and passers-by welcome the new planted seating area

Although Chiswick Business Park directly opposite has a large area of landscaped gardens that the public can walk through and sit in and enjoy, the High Rd itself has nowhere to sit down in public space for some distance.

Mohammad Ananzeh, whose falafel stall is situated a few yards away, said:

“It’s really very nice, it offers people a nice place to sit. There was nowhere before. Passersby will enjoy sitting there.”

José Honorato, who works at the next door high-rise Chiswick Tower, said:

“It looks nice, it makes the area more attractive.”

Elaine Woo, who has recently moved to Chiswick said, “It’s really, really great.”

As Nick and Andrew were clearing up their tools after finishing the job, young mother Gabriella was already sitting on the bench with her baby. “It’s beautiful,” she said.

Image above: Gabriella enjoying the new amenity

Using the Flower Market profits to improve the High Rd

Chiswick Flower Market is a Community Interest Company run by volunteers. Now that it is making money, the organisers plan to invest it in improving the High Rd.

Karen Liebreich, one of the directors of the Chiswick Flower Market said:

“We hope this will go some way to transforming a hostile and windswept barren pavement along the High Road into a welcoming corner of plants and seating.

“We look forward to ongoing improvements enabled by the success of the Flower Market.”

West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society welcomes new members and intends to continue greening its part of Chiswick. The Society will maintain and water the planters, and welcomes volunteers to join their activities. If you would like to know more, contact: secretary@westchiswickgs.org.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tributes for Peter Brook, world renowned theatre director who came from Chiswick

See also: Old Masters at Chiswick Auctions 4 – 15 July

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.

 

Government proposes nursery staff look after more toddlers per adult

Image above: Nursery children with a nursery teacher

Move to drive down childcare costs

The Government is proposing nurseries and childminders in England should be allowed to look after more two-year-olds per adult member of staff in a bid to bring down the cost of childcare.

It is launching a consultation with parents over the proposal to increase the ratio of young children to adults from 1:4 to 1:5.

Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi says the move will “support thousands of families across the country, helping to develop children’s skills while also supporting parents into work.”

The Department of Education says it could potentially eventually reduce the cost of this form of childcare by up to 15%, or up to £40 per week for a family paying £265 per week for care for their 2-year-old, if providers adopt the changes and pass all the savings on to parents.

But would it be safe? The BBC reports that most nurseries do not want the change. In Scotland carers are allowed to look after up to five young children each, but the National Day Nurseries Association, which has members in England and Scotland, says the two systems cannot be compared.

It says that in Scotland more staff have at least a level three qualification in childcare (84%) compared with England (76%); nurseries receive on average more funding per child from local authorities; the nurseries are exempt from business rates; and a larger proportion than in England are run by the local councils, where costs are different.

Image above: Bright Horizons Chiswick Park Day Nursery and Preschool

Current ratio of care already “can be quite challenging”

Sumudu Dantanarayana is the manager of Bright Horizons Chiswick Park Day Nursery and Preschool; she thinks the proposals are a bad idea and could impact quality of care. She told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I was watching the news and someone from a nursery told the Minister to come and spend a day in the nursery to find out how difficult it is to work to a 1:5 ratio.

“At the moment, I work as a manager but I’m also a room-based manager and I find 1:4 can be quite challenging, especially when you have children with special needs in the room. A two to three year old child can be the most challenging age for the child as well as the setting.

“I don’t think as a company we will follow it … because it’s not a legal requirement. I don’t know how that will work, but personally I don’t think that’s a good move.”

Image above: Karolina Adamkiewicz, Hadrien Pichat and their children Maxine and Gabriel

“Nursery care needs higher subsidies from Government”

Karolina Adamkiewicz and her husband Hadrien Pichat have lived in cities across Europe and have experienced a range of nursery fees and different ratios of care.

The couple moved to the UK from Mallorca in 2020, where they lived for two years, living in Paris before that. Karolina and Hadrien’s son Gabriel went to nursery in both Spain and France, where subsidies for childcare are more widely available.

The ratio of care in Spain averages at nine children to one carer. In France, it’s five children to one carer if the children are unable to walk, and eight per carer if they are walking. The couple said while reducing the ratio of care could be part of the solution to make childcare less expensive in the UK, it isn’t the only factor which needs to be addressed.

Hadrien told The Chiswick Calendar:

“There’s more help [in Europe] for those in need, financially speaking, for example in France they have more subsidies than the UK. In France, the more you earn, the more you pay. So, if you’ve got very low income you can pay 200-300 euros per month for five days per week whereas if you have high income, you could pay maybe 1,000 euros per month.”

Karolina agreed:

“Nursery care needs higher subsidies from Government. If nursery care was cheaper, many women and men could return to work and start paying taxes. It’s often women who stop working for long periods of time which can also put a break on their career and one that is not easy to rebound from.”

Image above: Banana Moon Nursery in Chiswick

English nurseries “some of the most expensive in the world”.

In Mallorca, Karolina and Hadrien said they paid £375 per month for nursery from 8.00am to 5.00pm five days per week, nappies and milk had to be provided separately.

In Paris, they paid 15.52 euros per day, but Hadrien was not working at the time so with a lower household income, Gabriel’s nursery fees were subsidised at a higher rate.

A rough estimate for monthly costs at a Paris nursery based on a family with a household income of €100,000 (9.00am-6.00pm five days a week) amounts to 750 euros per month, before tax deductions.

Staggeringly, in the UK, Karolina and Hadrien pay £1,716 for their daughter, Maxine, to go to nursery for just four days per month, which Karolina said is “completely mad”.

While nappies and milk are included in their UK costs, Karolina said nursery staff have told her the UK had some of the the most expensive nursery care in the world. They’re right too, OECD data from 2021 showed the UK has the third highest childcare costs worldwide, second only to Slovakia and Switzerland.

Some of the least expensive and highest quality solutions are found in the Nordic countries. According to OECD research, these countries “consider childcare an essential public service and provide guaranteed access to childcare for all children from one year of age or earlier”.

Critics say the UK Government’s proposals could simultaneously end up reducing quality of care, while doing very little to slash England’s sky-high childcare costs.

Read more stories in The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Surge in demand for women & girls’ football in run up to Women’s EURO matches

See also: Tributes for Peter Brook, world renowned theatre director who came from Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Exhibition of portraits by Chiswick photo-journalist Barbara Chandler at New Designers show

Images above: (L) One For All chair by Not Another Chair; (M) ALMA table light by Meseme Studio; Black Vessels by Ania Perkowska

New Designers 2022

Chiswick photographer and design journalist Barbara Chandler has an exhibition of her photographs at the Business Design Centre in Islington as part of the two week New Designers show.

Every year (though recently scuppered twice by COVID) a vast concentration of new talent in all disciplines of design lights up the Victorian halls of the Business Design Centre.

This year’s show (29 June – 9 July) offers some 3,000 designers a unique platform to show off their work and meet buyers looking to source the most innovative craft and design.

Both the work of new graduates and the best of recently launched creative brands are on show, representing everything from textiles and fashion, costume design, jewellery, ceramics and glass, and contemporary design crafts (Week 1) to furniture, product and spatial design, graphic design, illustration and animation and digital arts (week 2).

Sustainability is big on the agenda and hand-crafting is very much in vogue.

Images above: (L) Support Bubble – Five Friends by Jenny Chan; (M) Porter + Trundle; (R) Earth warming Range by Nicola Martin Ceramics

Barbara has been to the New Designers many times over the years, writing about it in the press and taking photographs of the designers who have caught her eye. Her archive of portraits on Flickr goes back 15 years.

For New Designers 2022, Barbara was invited to mount an exhibition of some of her portraits, which greet visitors on arrival. As New Designers has been going for 37 years she has chosen 37 designers to feature, of whom these are just a few.

Image above: Christopher Pollard 2009

The Designers – Barbara’s photographs

Christopher Pollard

Automotive Design, Coventry University / New Designers: 2009

Showcased at New Designers, Christopher’s Jaguar Mark XXI Bionomic Autonomous Limousine was a concept well ahead of its time. Not only was the car self-driving, and fuelled by electricity, but it at least in part ran off solar power.

A large area of the body was covered in elegantly-streamlined photovoltaic panels. Once parked, these would rise to face the sun, and follow it as the day progressed, thus re-charging the on-board batteries. The design expressed a ‘synergy with nature, inspired by the humble leaf.’

Images above: Sarah Hemingray 2009; Alex Craig 2013 & 14; Lyndsey Caufield 2012

Sarah Hemingray

Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design, Leeds College of Art / New Designers 2009

New Designers: 2009

Sarah’s wallpaper at New Designers oozed Art Nouveau and was strikingly reminiscent of the work of Alphonse Mucha, the Czech painter and decorative artist (1860 – 1931).

And, indeed, it resembled her own face. Whist still a student, Sarah had already started her career. She had sold work at international exhibitions and worked at Alexander McQueen’s Milan fashion show. The name of her final major project was Modern Madonnas.

Alex Craig

Product Design with Professional Experience, Brighton University / New Designers: 2013 & 14

“I showed the candle light I designed with SKK at New Designers before I graduated, and we received a big order.

“New Designers taught me that good self-promotion leads to good contacts for the future: you have to present the best of yourself in a compelling way.

“And then you share with your peers the mix of relief, pride and melancholy that Uni is over and the real world awaits. I’m now a senior industrial designer with Nulty Bespoke Lighting and I love it.”

Lyndsey Caufield

Textile & Surface Design, Robert Gordon University Aberdeen / New Designers 2012

At New Designers visitors were drawn to Lyndsey’s vibrant collection of fashion fabrics. She explained that her work was highly political, a personal comment on the portrayal of female sexuality in contemporary culture. She was challenging stereotypes with a self-described ‘brassy aesthetic’.

She is now a primary teacher in Scotland.

Image above: Nadia Boutarfa 2013

Nadia Boutarfa

Textile Design, University of Central Lancashire / New Designers 2013

“My parents are from Tunisia but I was brought up here. My work on show at New Designers was a fusion of art, craft and technology. My experiments with dyeing techniques were then digitally turned into pattern.

“Exhibiting at New Designers gave me contacts and put my work on show. It was a great opportunity to kick-start my career. I now work in banking, but I am so happy I chose design as my degree.”

Images above: Jacob Marks 2022; Claudette Forbes Morley 2020

‘Green Grads’

New Designers could not be held in 2020 or 2021 because of Covid, so Barbara, “double jabbed” decided last summer to go to the graduates instead.

“I decided to go out into England to see as may graduates as I could. I went to Plymouth, Manchester, Brighton, Kingston, Stoke, Leicester and Loughborough and lots of shows around London which mainly the graduates organised themselves.

“I saw so much brilliant work I thought I would try and see if I could organise as show for them in London called GREAT GRADS. As the result of a collaboration this has evolved into GREEN GRADS, who have had one exhibition already and are planning on showing their work again, focused on sustainability, in September.

Claudette Forbes Morley

Art Design & Ceramics, Morley College / 2020

“My cows are ceramic activists. The UN tells us that meat and dairy account for around 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. My little herd, with their M MacDonald logo legs, are a touch of irony that highlights these concerns.

“Slipcast in a multi-sectioned mould, the cows are very difficult to make. After exhibiting with GREEN GRADS, I am now setting up my studio to perfect my skills and develop my brand. My cows are selling well, and I have a commission to scale them up for an installation in New Covent Garden Market.”

Jacob Marks

Product & Furniture Design, Kingston University / New Designers: 2022

“I’m showing my innovatory ideas for harvesting pine resin, an ancient art  developed for modern use. I’ve been exploring how the substance, which is naturally secreted by pine, fir and cedar trees to seal damage to their bark, could be an ideal material for use in an oil-free future. Because it is renewable, carbon negative and bio-degradable.

“I’m at New Designers this year … A great opportunity to talk to a wide range of people about my work and meet individuals from courses around the country.”

New Designers, including Barbara’s exhibition of portraits, is on until Saturday 9 July.

barbarachandler.co.uk / @sunnygran

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Old Masters at Chiswick Auctions 4 – 15 July

See also: Psychotherapist Nicholas Rose book on why couples decide to split or stay together

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Old Masters at Chiswick Auctions 4 – 15 July

Images above: Old Masters for sale at Chiswick Auctions 4 – 15 July 2022

Old Masters at Chiswick Auctions

Chiswick Auctions is holding an exhibition of Old Masters online, starting on Friday 1 July and ending Thursday 14 July at 1pm.

The paintings (part 1) and works on paper (part 2) are a “good mixture” of paintings, drawings and prints says Dr Albert Godetzky, Head of Department for European paintings, drawings and prints at Chiswick Auctions.

There are nearly 200 lots that are individually expected to fetch between £500 and £10,000. They range from 1540s, (a picture of a pope), to the early 20th century.

Image above: Two putti and a swan by Étienne de La Vallée Poussin (1735–1802) from the collection of Sir Robert Witt

Drawing from the collection of Sir Robert Witt, one of the founders of the Courtauld Institute

“As an art historian I am particularly pleased with the pieces from the collection of Sir Robert Witt” Albert tells The Chiswick Calendar, as it’s lovely to see his notes on them.”

Albert is a specialist in 16th-18th century Northern European art who worked previously at the Courtauld Institute, where he continues to teach as Associate Lecturer. Sir Robert Witt was one of the Institute’s founders in the early 1930s.

Witt gave a huge collection of drawings and a photograph art historical reference images to the Institute, among them this drawing of Two putti and a swan by Étienne de La Vallée Poussin (1735–1802).

“He took great care to preserve his collection of works on paper, conserving and beautifully mounting each drawing. Many of his mounts, including this one, feature his handwritten notes revealing his thoughts about attribution and subject.”

Image above:  Apollo in Parnassus by Sir James Thornhill (1675 – 1734), from the collection of Sir Lawrence Gowing

Painting by Sir James Thornhill, painter of the ceiling at Greenwich Naval College

There is also a painting on sale by Sir James Thornhill (1675 – 1734), who was responsible for the painted ceiling at Greenwich Naval College, which took nineteen years from the start of the commission to its completion in 1726 and has been described as Britain’s ‘Sistine Chapel’.

The painting on sale in the auction – Apollo in Parnassus, oil on canvas – is also a sketch for a ceiling, from the collection of Sir Lawrence Gowing, an art historian, educator and artist in his own right who was one of the Bloomsbury set. A drawing closely related to this oil on canvas painting is also being offered in the sale and likewise comes from Gowing’s collection.

Whose ceiling it was for is not known, but Thornhill worked for the royal family and members of the aristocracy.

His first commission was for the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and he went on to create decorative schemes at Chatsworth House, Blenheim Palace and several Oxford colleges as well as being commissioned to paint the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral and the bedchamber of the future King George II at Hampton Court Palace.

Image above: The Sandpits at Hampstead from the School of John Constable

Is it a Constable, or is it not?

Another of the paintings on sale in the Old Masters auction has a fascinating history, says Albert. The Sandpits at Hampstead, oil on canvas, was acquired in 1913 by the The Hackley Art Gallery, Muskegon, Michigan, from the eminent Chicago-based art dealers Moulton and Ricketts.

The dealers attached a label still on the back on the painting reading: “This oil painting entitled, Sand Pits at Hampstead, we strictly guarantee to be an original painting by John Constable.”

It was then featured (as Constable) in the important exhibition “A Survey of British Paintings” held at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, May 10–June 12, 1938. That label is also still on the back of the painting.

It was not until the early 21st century that the Hackley Art Gallery (now called Muskegon Museum of Art) looked into the attribution and, having doubts about the attribution, subsequently sold the work, raising funds for the museum.

It is now being being sold as from ‘the School of John Constable.’

To see all the Old Masters on sale, go to Featured Auctions on Chiswick Auctions website.

chiswickauctions.co.uk

This page is paid for by Chiswick Auctions.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Psychotherapist Nicholas Rose book on why couples decide to split or stay together

See also: Fushi, successful company on our doorstep, seeks investors

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.

Tributes for Peter Brook, world renowned theatre director who came from Chiswick

Peter Brook, the world renowned theatre director who died on Sunday, aged 97, came from Chiswick.

His career, which spanned 70 years, took him from the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where he started in 1945, to the Royal Opera House for nearly 20 years, and then the Royal Shakespeare Company, winning him multiple awards including Tonys, Emmys and an Olivier.

He worked with some of the greatest British actors of the 20th century, including Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud. He wrote a number of books, including a seminal guide for theatre practitioners The Empty Space and he also directed an iconic film version of The Lord of the Flies in 1963.

“He was a gentle revolutionary” says Dame Sheila Hancock

Dame Sheila Hancock told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I once had the privilege of interviewing Peter Brook for a magazine.

“In his little theatre in the back streets of Paris he was dedicated to creating theatre that could make the audience ‘leave the theatre feeling a little bit better about all the unknowable things we have to face in life.’

“He and Joan Littlewood changed everything. He was a gentle revolutionary.”

Peter was born in 1925, the second son of Simon Brook and Ida (née Jansen), who were both scientists, Jewish immigrants from Latvia who had made their home in England during the First World War. The family lived in Fairfax Rd in Bedford Park. Aged seven, he acted out a four-hour version of Hamlet on his own for his parents.

In his memoir he wrote:

“I had learnt as a child that I was Jewish and Russian, but these words were abstract concepts to me.

“My impressions were deeply conditioned by England: a house was an English house; a tree was an English tree; a river was an English river.”

He is chiefly known for his world view of theatre, his openness to bringing in ideas from elsewhere. He fought against the narrowness of English theatre when he was a young man in the 1940s:

“The entire West End consisted of a comfortable, middle-class theatre which existed to reassure the audience that all that mattered was niceness and gentility” he wrote.

“There was a resistance to everything coming from abroad. Europe was suspect. Brecht was a dangerous continental influence.”

He was a linguist, speaking at least six languages and in 1970 he took off to travel the world, exploring theatre practices in other cultures, taking a theatre troupe on a tour of Africa. Perhaps his best known work was a nine hour staging of the Mahabharata, an ancient Sanskrit epic that emerged in 1985 encompassing fire, earth, air and water.

He eventually settled in Paris, where he renovated the Bouffes du Nord, a 19th-century music hall behind the Gare du Nord.

The Times obituary says:

‘Brook’s great achievement was to expand thrillingly the boundaries of western stage production.

‘Using all the ingredients of space, shape, voice, music, colour, costume and especially movement, his theatre had nothing to do with proscenium arches, plush curtains and the star dressing room; instead he was a master magician who could conjure up marvels of dramatic invention, often in places remote from any playhouse.’

Kenneth Tynan said that Brook’s work was for the “theatrical gourmet” because he “cooks with cream, blood and spices”.

Mark Lawson, writing for the Guardian, says:

‘Brook redefined the way we think about theatre.’

He was made a CBE in 1965 and a Companion of Honour in 1998.

Read more stories in The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Psychotherapist Nicholas Rose book on why couples decide to split or stay together

See also: The Proud Project – New Pilates studio in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Psychotherapist Nicholas Rose book on why couples decide to split or stay together

Images above: Nicholas Rose; Better Together

Should I stay or should I go?

One third of all marriages in the UK end in divorce. The rate increases between those who have been together 20 years (37.2%) and those who have been together 30 years (43.6%), suggesting people stick together and mull it over for years before they give up on the relationship in which they have invested so much of their lives.

What makes them finally decide one way or the other? When is staying together the better option?

Psychotherapist Nicholas Rose, whose practice is in Chiswick and who writes a regular column for The Chiswick Calendar, has spent the past 20 years listening to the experiences of thousands of couples.

He has distilled the insight gained from those sessions into 12 cases studies (fictional but typical) looking at the usual reasons why people split and what couples can do to improve their relationships if they want to stay together.

I asked him the obvious question based on the title – did he think people were usually better off staying together, given the obvious disadvantages of splitting. As I write this, figures have just been published by the Child Poverty Action Group showing half of all children in single parent families are in relative poverty and according to Age UK loneliness is a major issue among older people.

“I thought about adding a question mark to the title” he told me “but decided to go with the statement rather than the question because this is a very positive book, in that I haven’t worked with a couple where there wasn’t the potential for change if they could see the dynamic they were creating.

“Nobody wants to be an abuser or to be in an abusive relationship.”

Relationships usually break down, he says, because two people can’t agree and that becomes a cause of conflict. What it is they can’t agree on can be pretty basic – what food they eat or where they go on holiday. There are recurring themes reflected in the 12 scenarios: intimacy, infidelity, communication, breakdown in trust, change as a result of bereavement or loss, infertility and changing feelings.

In the book Nicholas works through problems such as “I can’t get past his infidelity”, “our parenting styles are so different”, “her parents are so controlling” and “not enough sex”. Only one scenario ends in the decision to separate.

How does he know whether people are better off if they decide to stay together?

“It’s an impossible question to answer whether there’s a happy ever after” he says, but you have to weigh up the options.

“If you’ve nearly been hit by a bus, your relationship with buses will forever be changed. You can avoid them, but what are the consequences?”

What he offers is a process by which people can better evaluate what they’ve got in comparison with what the alternative might be and work out how to be at ease with each other despite everything life has thrown at them.

“Everyone has their own truth. Feelings are not to be dismissed or denied but understood. People are better together when the ease and what they have in common outways unease and alienation.

“It is important to look at what is wrong for me / you rather than what is wrong with me / you.”

If a couple can stay in the process and reach a point of understanding, that’s going to be good, he says.

By reading through the examples, he hopes people will be “confident enough to try and have a conversation.

“People are painfully stuck in patterns without realising there are other possibilities.”

If you are a subscriber of The Chiswick Calendar and would like a free copy of Nicholas Rose’s book Better Together, we have 20 copies to give away. Email The Chiswick Calendar at info@thechiswickcalendar.co.uk with your name and address for us to pass on to Nicholas to send you a copy. [Update 12:37, 5/7/22 – all 20 copies of Better Together have been reserved. Thank you for your interest.]

It is available, priced £9.74, from Amazon.

Nicholas Rose is a regular contributor to The Chiswick Calendar. You can read his blog here: Mind Matters.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: The Proud Project – New Pilates studio in Chiswick

See also: Fushi, successful company on our doorstep, seeks investors

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 – Stranger Things season 4 (part2)

Stranger Things season 4 (part2) ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one strange little girl. Available to watch on Netflix.

As I’m writing this Season 4 is breaking all the records and it’s not only become the most seen thing on Netflix’s history, but it even made the site crash last Friday when the last two episodes were finally released. So basically nothing I say will ever make an iota of difference to how people feel about it, but I still want to contribute to the public forum, though unlike these last two episodes of the latest season of Stranger Things, I’m going to try to keep it short.

First of all I want to talk about the lengths of this second half of season 4. Did it need to be sooooo long (the last episode clocks in at 2 hours and 20 minutes)? The simple answer is of course no.

And yet, we all seemed to have watched it (All 27 hours so far). But let’s be honest, things did seem do drag on a little bit too much (at least for my taste), though I bet some fans could have watched twice as much and not complain.

It can be argued that the extended running time made it feel more epic and more important than it actually proved to be.

Let’s face it, nothing that happened over the last four hours could not have been said in at least half of the time.

It’s also surprising how, despite the bloated duration, the show still felt slightly inconclusive and left not just the overall ending hanging but many questions and subplots unanswered, including the very obvious one about Will’s sexuality (he is clearly in love with Mike. Prove me wrong).

Overall I can’t help feeling slightly disappointed. It all pretty much felt like it was ticking the most predictable boxes as it slowly unfolded. Every long-winded confession, every cheesy goodbye, every over-the-top confrontation went exactly as we expected and not because of all the (intentional) references from past blockbusters, but just because very little was surprising, imaginative, original or even shocking. Not even the death scenes felt very brave.

And as the script got more and more basic, corny and cheap, we were forced to witness to people having to explain the plot to each other, evil monsters revealing their plan aloud and characters working out exactly what they were meant to do without any real insight, just because the plot required them to do so.

The whole thing just got too big and self-important and crucially seems to have lost that tender warmth and sweet humour that made the original season so special.

There you go, I promised I’d keep it short.

I’ll just say that my three stars rating feels a little bit generous and has mostly to do with its production values, which are still quite high.

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

Stranger Things (Season 4, part 2)  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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here

George IV joins forces with West London Queer Project to raise money for trans charity

Image above: West London Queer Project contingent at this year’s Pride with Chiswick councillor Ranjit Gill (centre)

WLQP raising money for Mermaids, a charity which helps to support transgender children

The George IV in Chiswick has joined forces with West London Queer Project (WLQP) and Siren Craft Brew to raise money for the Mermaids Charity, one of the UK’s leading LGBTQ+ charities, which specialises in supporting gender variant and transgender youth.

Fifty pence from every sale of Suspended in Rainbows, a 4% ABV pale ale brewed by Siren, will be donated to the charity while stocks last at the George IV. The beer is also be available at the Drayton Court in Ealing.

The pubs have been working closely with WLQP, which organises social events in west London and has regular socials at both.

Fuller’s recently signed the British Beer and Pub Association’s (BPPA) diversity and inclusion charter as part of its commitment to being “#OpenToAll”. The pledge signifies Fuller’s intentions on ensuring its sites are inclusive spaces and taking a zero-tolerance approach to harassment or discrimination of any kind.

Images above: The George IV, Siren Craft Brew

Support pubs have offered “has been fantastic” says WLQP founder

Aubrey Crawley, founder of WLQP, said:

“It’s great to have joined forces with two iconic West London pubs. The support from the teams at The George IV and The Drayton Court has been fantastic.

“They’ve been so helpful in helping WLQP achieve its goal in offering safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to socialise in. I can’t wait for the upcoming events we already have scheduled in but I’m also excited to see what more this partnership can bring.

“Fuller’s is an iconic brand, with its heart in West London, so I see more potential for collaboration in the future.”

Ben Bullman, General Manager of The George IV, said:

“I’m delighted that my team and I can support WLQP. It’s so important that there are safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community and it’s something that is lacking in the local area.

“I think it’s also important to remember that by welcoming one group, we are certainly not turning away anyone else. Pubs are at the heart of their communities, where everyone is welcome and so I’m proud that we can offer a space that brings together people from all walks of life.”

Read more stories in The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Surge in demand for women & girls’ football in run up to Women’s EURO matches

See also: Tributes for Peter Brook, world renowned theatre director who came from Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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

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

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.