Raging Bull screening for Andrea’s Film Club at Chiswick Cinema

Image above: Who knew Andrea Carnevali was the referee in Raging Bull?

‘The life of a boxer whose violence and temper led him to the top in the ring but destroyed his life outside of it’

Chiswick Cinema is screening the 1980 Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull tonight (Tuesday 2 May) for Andrea Carnevali’s Film Club.

The film, starring Robert de Niro, tells the story of an American professional middleweight boxer nicknamed The Bronx Bull who as a teenager was involved in crime and did time in reform school before becoming successful as a boxer.

Throughout his career he was a rival of Sugar Ray Leonard, with whom he had six fights. The sixth fight, in Chicago on 14 February 1951 stopped in the 13th round, was dubbed the ‘Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre’ of boxing.

Raging Bull was based on a memoir of the boxer’s life, in which he admitted having raped a woman, having beaten his wives, and coming close to beating a man to death during a robbery. It describes how his self-destructive and obsessive rage, jealousy and animalistic appetite destroyed his relationship with his family.

Andrea’s Film Club will be discussing the film after the screening at 7.30pm on Tuesday 2 May. To win a free ticket, email the answer to this question to info@thechiswickcalendar.co.uk

Who is the boxer on whom Raging Bull is based?

Whoever sends the first correct answers we receive will win the tickets. We will let you know asap if you have won, and the tickets will be ready for you to pick up in the evening.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Andrea’s film reviews

See also: The Chiswick Calendar art & photography spring exhibition 2023

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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What’s on in Chiswick for the Coronation weekend

For those who are celebrating the coronation

Some Chiswick residents will be going to the coronation in person – notably the leader of the London Buddhist Vihara in Bedford Park, the Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Thera.

The rest of us – those who are inclined – will have to watch it on the telly, but you can see it on a big screen at Chiswick Cinema. Afterwards St Michael & All Angels Church is organising a Big Sing for the King, in collaboration with the Tabard pub. There will be street parties and special events at the Chiswick Flower Market on Sunday.

Chiswick Auctions is organising an auction of royal memorabilia on Thursday 4 May; Fuller’s have brought out a Coronation King’s Ale and Chiswick House is taking part The Big Help Out on Monday 8 May. Scroll down for details of each event.

Image above: Head monk of the London Buddhist Vihara in Bedford Park, the Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Thera

Representing the world’s great religions

For the first time representatives from the nation’s faith communities will play an active role in the coronation of a British monarch. Among the group who have been invited to take part in the ceremony will be faith leaders and representatives from the Jewish, Sunni and Shia Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Bahai and Zoroastrian communities, in recognition that Britain is a diverse, multi-faith society.

In Chiswick, the head monk of the London Buddhist Vihara in Bedford Park, the Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Thera, is also the leader of the Buddhist faith in this country. As Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain he will be representing Buddhists.

The representatives from Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Buddhist communities will tell the newly crowned king in unison:

“Your Majesty, as neighbours in faith, we acknowledge the value of public service. We unite with people of all faiths and beliefs in thanksgiving, and in service with you for the common good.”

King Charles said in 2015 he saw his role as sovereign would be to:

“protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for faith itself and its practise through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals”.

Image above: Chiswick Cinema

Watching the coronation on a big screen, Saturday 6 May

Chiswick Cinema invites us to watch the coronation, free of charge, on Saturday 6 May.

“Attendance is designed casually, so you don’t need to attend the whole broadcast” they say.

An InScreen afternoon tea service is available during the screening and Founder Members are invited to raise a complimentary glass of prosecco between 12pm and 2pm in the bar.

Proceedings start at 10.30 with the start of the outside broadcast. The royal procession will begin shortly before 11am. King Charles and Queen Camilla will leave Buckingham Palace in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach and travel 1.3 miles to Westminster Abbey via the Mall and Whitehall.

At 11am, the religious ceremony starts. At around 2pm, the service will wrap up and newly crowned Charles and Camilla will head back up the Mall to the palace. After 2pm, members of the royal family will gather on Buckingham Palace’s balcony to wave to crowds and watch the traditional flypast. Over 60 aircraft from the British Army, Royal Airforce and Royal Navy will fly over the Mall and the palace.

Although the tickets are free, the cinema asks you to book a ticket and let them know if you are not able to attend. Book tickets here: Coronation of King Charles

Images above: Autotype and printed key for a painting of a large group portrait of the royal family at Chiswick House; Silver gelatin print of Queen Victoria and her family at Coburg on 21 April 1894

Royal Memorabilia auction, Thursday 4 May

Chiswick Auctions are marking the occasion with a sale of royal memorabilia on Thursday 4 May at their base in the Barley Mow Centre. Among the items on sale: an autotype and printed key for a painting which was destroyed, showing a large group portrait of the royal family and guests attending an party in the gardens of Chiswick House. The painting was completed in 1876 and destroyed by fire in 1879.

There is a photograph of Queen Victoria and her family at Coburg on 21 April 1894, assembled for the wedding of Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse.

The silver gelatin print,  28.5 x 37.6cm, shows the Queen is surrounded by descendants from across Europe, including her eldest daughter Victoria, Dowager Empress of German, Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), Nicholas Tsarevich of Russia and his then fiancee Princess Alexandra of Hesse, Crown Prince Ferdinand and Crown Princess Marie of Romania.

There is also a collection of vintage music sheets for songs and melodies composed in honour of members of the British Royal family, including: The Queen’s Barn Dance by Henry A. Sutch; King’s Champion March by Ezra Read; Princess May Gavotte by Celian Kottaun;The Helena Polkaby Charles D’Albert; Princess Louise Gavotte by Celian Kottaun; The Lord of Lorne Galop by Dan Godfrey.

That might come in handy for the sing song on Saturday.

Image above: Collection of vintage music sheets for songs and melodies composed in honour of members of the British Royal family

The Big Sing for the King, Saturday 6 May

Following the success of last year’s ‘Big Jubilee Sing’ for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, St Michael & All Angels Church and The Tabard pub are inviting Chiswick residents to celebrate the coronation with ‘The Big Sing for the King’ on the Saturday afternoon, on the piazza and lawn outside St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall.

Singers will be provided with song sheets and there will be a lead singer and an outdoor bar. The singing will be led by Piers Wood-Jenkins on acoustic guitar. Piers performs locally at a range of pubs and bars in Chiswick including George IV, The Tabard and The Pilot and will be playing a variety of songs that hopefully people want to sing along to, from the old classics to today’s hits.

The Church is also holding a Choral Family Mass at 10am on Coronation Sunday, including Zadok the Priest and Pomp & Circumstance March No 1.

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market; photographh Anna Kunst

Free ice cream and wine or beer when you spend £25 at Chiswick’s Coronation Flower Market, Sunday 7 May

Chiswick Flower Market on Sunday 7 May will have a few extra inducements than normal. The Old Market Place will be decked out in bunting, setting the scene for a traditional market, with free Punch & Judy performances, live music and the best of British flowers on sale.

Children will receive free ice cream from Duci’s in Devonshire Road and adult visitors who spend more than £25 at the market will receive a free London Pride or glass of house wine at the George IV pub. The London Borough of Hounslow sponsors the ice cream, while Fuller’s sponsors the pub’s drinks.

The market’s street entertainment will feature young performers from the local area, including the Urban Fox Steel Band, Chiswick School, W4 Youth, and the CTA Performing Arts School.

The market opens at 9.00am and continues until 4.00 pm in Old Market Place, Chiswick High Road, W4 2DR.

Image above: Strand ont eh Green Jubilee street party, 2022; photograph Ollie Mathews

Lunch on the Green – Sunday 7 May

Apart from individual street parties in residential streets, the Strand on the Green Association (SoGA) is holding a street party on Thames Rd by Kew Bridge, which will be open to everyone on Sunday 7 May. There will be tables laid out along the grass opposite the Steam Packet pub so people can participate in a community lunch.

Lunch on the Green will be open to all and you can either bring your own picnic or buy food from the Steam Packet or the Bell & Crown, or other local traders who will have stalls.

The tables and chairs under cover will be free to use and there will be live music from 12 noon, with sideshows and activities for all the family throughout the afternoon. You might have a ride on the Fuller’s dray, drawn by their beautiful Suffolk Punch horses, or take a tour with a Blue Badge guide. There will also be home made cakes on sale.

Image above: Chiswick House; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Take part in the Big Help Out at Chiswick House, Monday 8 May

Chiswick House & Gardens will be one of thousands of organisations across the UK welcoming volunteers as part of ‘The Big Help Out’ on Monday 8 May.

To mark King Charles’ Coronation, The Big Help Out aims to raise awareness of volunteering and provide opportunities for people to make a difference in their local community.

The Chiswick House & Gardens Trust say they rely on the generosity of its funders, members and patrons, “as well as the invaluable support of over 180 volunteers” to keep the gardens looking good for the thousands of people who use it each year.

Volunteers on Monday will be invited to work with the Chiswick House & Gardens Trust gardening team, weeding invasive species and developing habitat areas. Those who prefer to work indoors will be asked to help spring clean the Grade-I listed Neo-Palladian villa, either by dusting the interior using conservator-approved brushes and cloths or cleaning the stonework on the front and back exterior stairways.

The charity is also holding a Family Gardening ‘Speed Weeding’ Challenge, open to all ages.

Image above: The Great conservatory at Syon House

Picnic with the Percys at Syon House, Monday 8 May

Syon House, the London home of the Dukes of Northumberland, the Percy family, for over 400 years, is throwing open the gates for people to visit the gardens and Great Conservatory for free on Monday 8 May, to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla.

No need to book they say, just bring a coronation picnic, dress up in your most royal costume and wear your tiara. There will be crafts, facepainting and storytelling for the children.

Fuller’s Coronation King’s ale

Fuller’s brewery has brought out a special ale for the occasion, described as ‘a rich and flavourful strong ale, at 5.5% strength.

‘Rich mahogany in colour, our Coronation Ale tempts with aromas of orange marmalade, balanced by soft malt toffee.

‘The Huell Melon hops add melon, strawberry and apricot notes alonfside hints of citrus fruit – while the Pale Ale and Crystal malts bring distinctive biscuity flavours.

‘A smooth, delicate bitterness lingers on the palate to give a supreme finish.”

Available to sample and buy at the Fuller’s shop at the Griffin Brewery by Hogarth Roundabout, who are happy to meet all your booze requirements for the coronation weekend. The brewery is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, offering Club Card holders 15% off the £25 ticket price of a brewery tour and 15% off anything on sale in the shop except spirits.

Images above: Cakes at a Jubilee street party from 2022; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: The Queen’s beekeeper, John Chapple from Acton, hands over to the new King’s beekeeper

See also: Chiswick House & Gardens take part in The Big Help Out

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.

The Queen’s beekeeper, John Chapple from Acton, hands over to the new King’s beekeeper

Image above: John Chapple at Buckingham Palace; photograph Richard Rickitt

John Chapple hands over the role after 15 years of delivering honey for the Queen’s breakfast

As Charles III is crowned King next weekend, taking over the position of head of state from his mother Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey, so another solemn role is being handed over in the gardens of Buckingham Palace – the keeper of the monarch’s bees.

John Chapple has been the Queen’s beekeeper for the past 15 years. He hit the headlines shortly after she died, when it was reported that he had followed the tradition of beekeepers and let her bees know she had died, wrapping the hives in black ribbon. Now 80, the coronation seemed a fitting point for him to hand over the bees to someone else’s keeping.

John spoke to The Chiswick Calendar about the hobby which has taken over his life, opening doors and giving him the opportunity to travel the world.

Image above: John at Green Days on Acton Green Common

The 80 hive ‘hobby’ with bees all over London

John and his bees are always a great attraction at Green Days, the opening weekend of the Bedford Park Festival in June. There is always a queue of interested children and their parents peering at the glass-sided hive he has on display and a brisk trade in his jars of honey.

Beekeeping started as a hobby for John some 35 years ago, when he was working as an engineer on simulators for BA.

“When I started there were very few urban beekeepers. My wife and I have always given each other the most wonderful joke Christmas presents. I give her things like a cement mixer or an angle grinder and she gives me an electric kettle or a hairdryer.

“She likes honey so one year I gave her a book about keeping bees in the back garden and she said “lovely – but over to you”.”

John found a man who kept bees on land backing on to Gunnersbury Park, John Wilson, who allowed him to put one of his hives in his back garden in Acton, and John effectively became his apprentice.

The ‘hobby’ really took off once John retired and at his busiest, when he was chairman of London beekeepers, he had about 80 hives all over London.

“If you’re successful you keep increasing the number of hives” he explained. As the nucleus of bees around a queen grows to an unmanageable size, they split. The queen bee goes off and leaves a queen cell behind. In theory the number of bees could double every year, but in practice bad weather and disease means they are not quite that prolific.

Image above: John Chapple at Buckingham Palace; photograph Richard Rickitt

It all began with a swarm

John’s connection with the royal family started with a swarm of bees in Hyde Park.

“They asked if I could come and collect it. I asked if I could keep some bees there and the park manager welcomed me with open arms.”

Gardeners like bees, as they pollinate the flowers. From Hyde Park he started keeping bees for the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, whose head gardener talked to the head gardener at the royal palaces, and so it came about that he began to keep bees in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.

The Queen loved bees and showed a great interest in them, but he is not allowed by the royal household to talk about his exchanges with her, even though the monarch’s beekeeper is not a paid position, and they are his bees.

John showed me one of his most prized possessions – a big pine cone which Prince George, aged four, picked up in the garden and gave to him as a “present”. John keeps it in a glass dome.

There were four hives initially. Now there are six and he also keeps two hives at Clarence House. The honey crop goes entirely to the royal household.

Richard Rickitt, co-editor of Bee-craft magazine, told us:

“John has been well-known and much-admired within the London and wider UK beekeeping community for many years. He is an expert beekeeper of many years standing yet has never lost his wonder and enthusiasm for bees and their wondrous lifestyle, communicating that excitement to the public and generations of new beekeepers in is own genial and modest way.

“No-one meeting John or listening to his engaging discussions of bees would ever guess that this is a man who for many years supplied the honey for Her Majesty the late Queen’s breakfast – or indeed for world figures including Barack Obama and the Pope.”

Images above: Children learning about urban beekeeping at Hen Corner in Brentford

“If you want to help the bees, plant herbs”

John told us being the royal beekeeper has opened doors for him.

“It has taken me to places I would never have been otherwise. I have seen most of the world, every continent except Latin America.”

The Apis Mellifer species he keeps, ‘London mongrels’, need about 40lb of honey to see them through the winter.

“The skill of the beekeeper is in knowing how much they can take off”.

Interestingly the honey yields in London are going down because so many people are keeping bees and there is now a surplus of bees in London. When he started beekeeping there were about 30 beekeepers in Middlesex that he knew of. Now there are 600.

“If you want to help bees, plant herbs. You get the benefit of the herbs, and they get the nectar. Rosemary is good for them, crocuses, snowdrops and Lavender especially.”

John will be at Green Days on 10 and 11 June and will be handing over care of the King’s bees to John House. Whereas John has been his assistant, he will now be John’s, so he will not be losing touch with the royal household entirely.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

The Super Mario Bros. Movie ⭐️⭐️ ½ – Review by Andrea Carnevali

The Super Mario Bros. journey through the Mushroom Kingdom and with the help of Princess Peach, Mario gets ready to square off against the all-powerful Bowser to stop his plans from conquering the world. On in cinemas now, including Chiswick Cinema.

Here’s another one of those films which serves as an example of the divide that exists between the public and the critics and a proof that they both seem to live in parallel universes.

The latest adaptation of the iconic videogame character from Nintendo (the chubby moustached plumber from Brooklyn with the cheesiest Italian accent on the planet) comes 30 years after the embarrassingly bad adaptation starring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper.

Ironically the original film from 1993 was universally panned for many of the same reasons why this has been loved by audiences today (as I am writing this, it is the first film of 2023 to have crossed the 1 billion dollar mark). Clearly modern sensitivities have changed through the decades: being a nerd is now seen as cool, video game geeks rule the world and their preferences are dictating the choice of what is produced on screen. Whether we like it or not, this is the state of affairs today.

The film has clearly been made with that kind of audience in mind. There are plenty of references (or Easter eggs, as they like to call them) and an enhanced sense of nostalgia to appeal to the older demographic, those who were fans of the original game, but enough slapstick and action to draw in the younger crowds.

Avoiding some of the pitfalls of the previous films which tried to bring to life the characters which are cartoony at best, this one, wisely, sticks to animation. As for the voice ‘talent’, it’s clear that Jack Black, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Chris Pratt as Mario, have been cast for their names rather than what they could bring to the table, and while nobody is really bad, I didn’t think anyone stood out particularly or made their character memorable in any way.

On the plus side, it is bright, energetic, at times fun, but I couldn’t help seeing how completely manufactured. Carefully and cynically engineered around that feeling of nostalgia for the original video games (Mario running along a track full of two-dimensional obstacles or driving wildly on a frantic kart chase and so on).

And you know what? It almost worked, or at least, the first half of the film did. However as the madness grew and it all got more and more far-fetched, it also started to feel less and less rooted in an anything that made any sense whatsoever. A crazy mishmash of loud and deranged plot points, hopelessly ticking boxes and stringing more-or-less together a series of tributes to the videogame itself and the memories one might have of them, whether it made sense for the ‘story’ of not.

I know you may argue that nobody goes to see a film called Mario Bros the Movie for character development or to gain a deep insight into the life of plumbers. But even slapstick action sequences and fantastic cliff-hangers should stick to their own rules however fantastical there may be.

It felt like an assault on the senses and not in a good way…  in fact, mostly to my ears!

There are no two ways about it: this was mostly garbage. I saw it a couple of weeks ago and I have already forgotten what it was about.

Yes, it may be enough to keep very young children entertained, but surely children deserve so much more than this? At least I know my son does, even though coming out of the cinema he suggested I should give it a 4 star review. I’m sorry, but in my heart of heart, I just can’t.

I know it is possible to make something clever, which can appeal both to children and adults. There are plenty of examples in the history of cinema (The Wizard of Oz, or The Lion King, or E.T. or My Neighbor Totoro, just to mention at few). Why should we compromise just for the sake of keeping our child still for the duration of a film?

Mario Bros the Movie is out in cinemas now.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick, and a co-creator of the Chiswick In Film festival.

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

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival will be back next year

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.