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Free Please take one

Issue 3 January 2011

Ady Johnson

A Rising Star Shoot the Curl with Surfquake’s Nelson Martin Newell meets firstsite’s Kath Wood Melissa Porter’s January detox guide Kem Izzet looks at Colchester United’s year ahead

Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine

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Colchester 101 wishes all its readers a Happy New Year! ere we are in 2011, and issue 3 of Colchester 101. We are still bowled over by the success of the magazine so far, and have plenty of new ideas and features planned for the coming months, ensuring we continue to be Colchester’s must read magazine. So watch out for some new sections and features coming soon.


This month our intrepid feature writer Martin Newell had an exclusive chat with Kath Wood, and learned about what drives the director of firstsite, who are soon to take occupancy of the town’s new Visual Arts Facility (VAF). Meanwhile I met up with New Model Army and Surfquake’s Nelson and chatted about life on the road with NMA and the surprising story about how his love of surf guitar music came about. We also take a look at established local performer Ady Johnson who is soon to release his first album Tell the Worry Dolls, and find out how the album got its name. Having been lucky enough to have had a sneak preview of it I think a worry doll is the last thing Ady is going to need.

Ady Johnson, Page 6. Kath Wood, Page 16.

Melissa Porter has been stressing about how much we have all been eating and drinking over Christmas, and has gone to great lengths to help us all get back into good health and shed those festive pounds we’ve put on, so don’t miss her January detox guide, while the Funny Farm’s Hazel Humphreys keeps us laughing into this new year, and Craig Fookes explores the world of The X Factor and it’s effect on artists who prefer to choose the old fashioned routes to success. And of course, don’t forget Bid TV and Price Drop TV Peter Sherlock’s tips for smelling great in his Scent Train. See you in February

Simon Crow Editor

Colchester 101 is published by Tonic Creative Solutions The Studio Tye Road Colchester Essex CO7 7BN Tel: 01206 544700 Email: Editors: Simon Crow and Paul Clark Designer: Paul Clark Very special thanks to Roddy Ashworth Thanks to our contributors: Adrian Multon Melissa Porter Andrew Dell Martin Newell Peter Sherlock Kem Izzet and Colchester United Sven Wombwell Jason Cobb Hazel Humphreys Ed Tabard Christopher Manciple Craig Fookes Front cover image courtesy of Nick Ilott Photography All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without publisher’s written consent is prohibited. Whilst every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of all details and information the publishers are not liable for errors and omissions to any features, listings or advertisements. Any views expressed are not necessarily those of the publishers Tonic Creative Solutions.

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Matt Cardle pizza by food artist Prudence Staite.

Colchester gets a pizza the action

Watch Out: Here Come the It wasn’t a tale of two cities; it wasn’t even a tale of two towns - more like the tale of uptown NY State folk who took the trip across the Atlantic, just to try out a little taste of life out in the North Essex estuary wilds of Wivenhoe. Wwwwhat? Chris and Heather have no connection with Colchester. They live in Rochester, NY State, in what seems like an idyllic typical type of modern American lifestyle. Chris makes music, Heather is creative with podcasts. They both like cats. So what’s the Colchester angle, you’re asking?

Well... As not is uncommon with some of our special relationship friends, Chris and Heather also both have a fascination with a quintessential English rural lifestyle. They like the landscape, the traditions and the music. They like Martin Newell, the Wild Man of Wivenhoe and the true pop genius of this parish. This interest took a curious twist this autumn, when having long since enjoyed the music and prose of Wivenhoe’s finest via CD, printed book and online activity, Chris and Heather went “on vacation to Wivenhoe.”

Wow. It wasn’t quite a Withnail and I holiday by mistake moment, more like a journey of exploration to see for themselves what a North Essex estuary town is like, and how the surroundings have inspired Martin in much of his written work. Some online research prior to leaving Rochester also led them to m’blog. Emails were exchanged, advice was passed back and forth online, and before too long, we had agreed to meet up at the Corner House in Wivenhoe to seal our online friendship back in the real world.

Chris & Heather, Rochester, NY

Martin Newell, Wivenhoe, Essex

I met up with Chris and Heather the morning after Martin had entertained them. It will come as no surprise to locals to know that the trans-Atlantic meeting of minds took place over a pint or two (or three, four or five) in The Greyhound.

Chin chin. And so the morning after, delicate heads were nursed over a cup of coffee at the Corner House in Wivenhoe. The first question had to be what the chuffers brings a NY State couple all the way over to Wivenhoe: “We’re here in Wivenhoe to meet Martin Newell! The Wildman of Wivenhoe - the greatest living Englishman!” Chris told me. “We knew about Martin for a long time, and we thought it would be great to find out a little more about the man behind the music. We also wanted to see what Wivenhoe was like, and how the landscape has inspired much of his work.” Ah yes, the wonderful North Essex estuary surrounds. Did the picture postcard online representation of Wivenhoe match up with the reality of boozing at The Greyhound and The Station? “Wivenhoe looks like a charming, beautiful town,” added Heather. “You get the

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Simon Crow No sausages were hurt during the writing of this article.

Americans impression that everyone will be so sweet and friendly because everything looks so beautiful. And then you get here, and everything is just as you had imagined! Even our first step - we met some folk at the train. We needed to make a phone call at the station and there was this cute little cat having his dinner! We didn’t have a phone, and the guy in the both passed us his cellphone. This is just above and beyond the friendliness and hospitality that we were expecting.” It wasn’t the stunning scenery that was the main inspiration for a vacation in North Essex. I picked up a real sense that Chris and Heater wanted to know something of the people, and genuinely experience what life in an English town is really like. This wasn’t so much cultural tourism, but fieldwork to feed some highly creative minds. “It is very much an artist’s community here,” Chris told me. “We’ve met artists, musicians, poets, writers, bloggers! It’s fascinating! There are so many people doing artistic things. Really sweet people. Everyone has been wonderful to us on this trip.” Wivenhoe wasn’t the only pin on the map for our traveling friends. Liverpool and London were also on the radar. I gave Chris and Heather the hypothetical choice of choosing where to live out of the three locations: “We would love to move to Wivenhoe! But in reality, it’s not possible. Jobs, families, cats - I can’t imagine getting the cats over here,” said Heather. But it all comes back to the pop genius of this parish: “I wouldn’t have thought of coming if it wasn’t for wanting to meet Martin,” added Chris. “We came here for the people, and not for the town, but the town is so alluring. This is the perfect life!” Maybe we should erect an unofficial sign just off the Colchester Road as you are passing into the town: Wivenhoe - twinned with Rochester, NY State. Please drive carefully and please look after our cats. Awesome, dude. By Jason Cobb

To Advertise in Colchester 101 Call 01206 544700 or email us at:

The Jason Cobb 101 Blog Charity begins in Crouch Street I’m a firm believer that you can judge the success of a town by the quality of the local charity shops. Sure it’s great to have the big High Street brands nearby, but the true character of Colchester shines through with the range of charity shops to choose from. The very ethos of donating cast offs speaks volumes about the social conscience of a town. This may sound like a liberal dream, but it is also something of a retail lifesaver for many local families in these uncertain economic times. A recent trip into the town centre saw me pick up a woollen jumper, a couple of shirts and a pair of (unused) hiking socks. I blinked at the opportunity of buying a (used) 44DD bright pink bra. I still had change from a tenner, and so threw £100 away on a designer man bag. Only joking... Age Concern along George Street, Scope and the PDSA on Long Wyre, Cancer Research at Culver Street West - it may not be a West End shopping experience, but I’d be struggling to find a pair of (unused) hiking socks along Regent Street for under £1. What I find fascinating about our local charity scene, dahhhling, is the selection of clothes found within. The items donated serve as a social time capsule for the current state of the town. Designer clothes don’t exactly grace the rails along the charity shop circuit. There’s a more practical approach, with sensible clothing, as your parents might have once said. This doesn’t mean that Colchester is dull - witness the bright young things scrummaging around in the bargain bins to buy some clothing that they will then customise. Yep - Colchester is comfortable, rather than costly. This atmosphere helps to promote further creativity within the town. The bottom up approach of retail during this recession is booming, compared to the early 90’s. The black bin liner bidding shops that sprung up after Black Wednesday in ‘92 are thankfully nowhere to be seen. Instead we have the likes of Slack Space, the creatives at 15 Queen Street and the Hidden Kiosk Project by the old bus station, all successfully using empty building space to create something beneficial for Colchester under these challenging times. Charity begins at home. Or along Head Street, Long Wyre, Crouch Street etc.

Jason Cobb


Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

So Matt Cardle, as many predicted, won The X Factor. Whether you love or loathe Simon Cowell’s hugely popular talent show it did at least focus the nation’s attention on Colchester for the weekend of the final during ITV1’s live outside broadcast from Charter Hall. However, Essex girl, and 2010 I’m a Celebrity winner, Stacy Solomon’s disastrous live link to the studio, which left us hearing Stacy but looking instead at a sea of happy faces in the crowd filling our television screens, was perhaps my own personal highlight of the Saturday night show. Worryingly though, I’m still a little disturbed by the sight of the pizza that one audience member had with her that had Matt’s face on it fashioned out of sausages and various other pizza toppings! Did I dream that, or did it really happen?




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From FuzzFace to Worry Dolls

Photography by Nick Ilott Photography

Colchester 101 had the pleasure of catching up with Ady Johnson a few days after the official album release party for his debut solo album Tell The Worry Dolls and in true rock and roll fashion, Ady had some time for us despite suffering with the flu.

Jewelly Box

And which artists have influenced you? “There are so many. Vocally, you can pick from Steve Marriott from the Small Faces, Stevie Winwood, any of the great soul singers. My guitar styles on this project come from originally learning acoustic songs by great bands such as The Beatles and Led Zeppelin and indeed to the artists who inspired them, such as Bert Jansch and John Renbourn from Pentangle. “If I ever get stuck with song writing I’ll often go back to The Beatles, however, when it comes to writing lyrics the inspiration can come from anywhere. For example, on the last song on Tell the Worry Dolls, Faithful Shadow, I take a snippet from a song by the English Renaissance composer John Dowland!”

You’re a precious find Whose treasures deep inside Shine into my life Make me a rich man You listen to my woes Of all the things life throws Thursday afternoons Around coffee tables So if tears start rolling when those you love go astray And you a friend to guide you through your day You know you can call Jewelly Box If I should leave some day From this God forsaken place Please don’t be sad I won’t stay for too long Tell worry dolls your sorrows And put them under your pillow By the light of day you’ll find They’ve taken them away So if tears start rolling when those you love go astray And you a friend to guide you through your day You know you can call Jewelly Box Ba ba ba ba ba [etc] So if tears start rolling when those you love go astray And you a friend to guide you through your day You know you can call Jewelly Box Jewelly Box


Ady Johnson has been a recognised and respected face on the local music scene for many years now. He gained a loyal following from his time as lead singer of FuzzFace, who are widely recognised as one of Colchester’s leading bands from the last decade, but it’s his solo acoustic project that has earned him attention over the past 2 years. So many of us know Ady for his music but we also wanted to find out more about the man; how it all started, his influences, the album and what the future holds. Ady told Colchester 101 “It all started at school when I was fifteen, I used to entertain the classroom by playing well know tunes by plucking a ruler on the edge of a table! Thankfully, my mother sensing some natural musical aptitude started me up with some guitar lessons.”

Copyright and Production Ady Johnson 2010

So, the album is now out. How did Tell The Worry Dolls come about? “Well the concept behind Tell The Worry Doll as an album title comes from a song I wrote for Jewells, a good friend of mine. Jewells picked up on the Worry Dolls reference from the track Jewelly Box and that led to the album title and the original album cover design.”For those not familiar with Worry Dolls, they

are small and colourful dolls traditionally made in Guatemala. A person who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep. According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person’s place, thereby allowing the person to sleep peacefully. The person will wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night. Ady added “The album title also reflects the cathartic process I imagine many artists go through when writing songs, so I like the idea that having completed the album any concerns or woes of mine expressed within the songs are finally laid to rest” Ady has also kept the whole recording process local. He is joined on the album by a host of great musicians including Toby Bull (FuzzFace), Nelson (Surfquake, New Model Army), Matthew Kelly (Housework), and Matt Simpkins (Rev Simpkins, FuzzFace) and the album was recorded at LongTrack Studios near Marks Tey. Ady believes having a strong team around him has made the difference. “There was a time when I’d try to do everything myself but in the past year I’ve brought in specialists, so to have my press and PR side of things covered by Ben Howard of Cool Publicity and the production of my live performances managed by Andy Winmill of Camand has ensured the album has started to create the buzz I wanted it to.” What does 2011 hold for Ady Johnson? “I’ve got 12 months of promotion planned for Tell The Worry Dolls with a couple of singles to be released from the album. It’s going to be a busy year but one I’m very excited about.”

Tell The Worry Dolls is released on CD and digital download on January 17th.




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New Bands:

Your Time To Shine So The X Factor is over for another year, with just another 41 weeks until it all starts again. It could be difficult to think how new artists can compete the huge behemoth that The X Factor has become - with the 19.4 million viewers that watched the The X Factor final. When I talk to people in bands and to musicians, a lot of people refer to The X Factor as taking over music and it could be said that it is. In the 10 years or so that these types of programmes have existed, it has become clear that the masses not only enjoy the gladiatorial spectacle of the Saturday night shows; but also enjoy the pantomime of the judges picking faults with the acts and also each other – and why wouldn’t you? It would also appear that people prefer to vote for their favourite artists, in addition too, (or perhaps instead of) buying their music in a traditional sense, ITV revealed that The X Factor received 15.4 million votes during the 10 week series. It is perfect Saturday night entertainment. It undoubtedly will the launch the careers of many pop artists and I believe that it will continue to do so. It has taken over the charts and there is no going back. I heard on the radio recently that Simon Cowell is now looking at a weekly version of the show and, if it proceeds, no doubt it will help him to commandeer even more of the charts than it does already. However, and this is for me the key point, The X Factor does not replace new music. The X Factor needs new music to survive and without the combination of new music that people have to seek out, enjoy, interact and engage with The X Factor simply wouldn’t exist. The winner, local lad, (apparently from Colchester although he lives near Halstead) Matt Cardle covered Biffy Clyro’s “Many of Horror,” although it would seem that the title Many of Horror isn’t palatable enough for Simon Cowell’s undoubted Christmas number one; ‘When We Collide” and the other tracks could be seen as an attempt on credible new music by The X Factor. The Biffy Clyro track was released in 2010, and is break from the norm for The X Factor, as previously a new track was commissioned specifically for the winner. The X Factor works because people are not only supporting the contestants’ ability to sing, they also associate with them, over the 10 weeks you get to know the artists, you hear about their “journey,” their families, what they did before the show, how it is changed their lives forever. The music played behind the video clips of check-out

workers or painters and decorators, is more-often-thannot, something “stirring and emotive” like Coldplay’s “Fix You” or Take That’s “Greatest Day.” Viewers build a strong like or perhaps even stronger dislike for their favourite characters; and it is this more than the music that gets people to pick up the phone and vote. Louis Walsh continually called for the people of Liverpool to pick up the phone and vote for Rebecca, and in the final weeks of the show, they come to the contestants’ “home towns” in order to request the support of their fellow residents. It is because people like to associate with their favourite musicians, as much as they enjoy the music itself; and this is exactly true of new bands and new artists. The challenge for new bands and artists today is not simply to produce great new music, there are hundreds possibly thousands of bands that can do that. I believe that to get to the stage of having “made it:” bands and artists have to create their own music scene, a scene in to which their fans feel a part. Furthermore a scene doesn’t have to be thousands of people, it is probably best if it starts small, with a few dedicated members. My band, The 633, is attempting to build a scene using our new music night, The 633 Presents: The Raging Bull, we invite local and touring bands to play at our night, we always do our best to get the very best bands that we can to play, and than promote the hell out of it. This way everyone can come to a well run, promoted and attended club night, this in turn means that we get to meet with other local bands, and continue to develop the “Colchester new music scene.” When you think ‘music scene’ instantly you can think of the punk scene, mods and rockers, rave etc, etc: there are numerous examples. The X Factor is simply a music scene that has the benefit of a huge platform (Saturday night prime time TV) and the ability to reach across the widest possible demographic, given the various contestants and their backgrounds. It becomes easy for most viewers to find at least one contestant that they like or dislike and then; it then becomes a self-perpetuating hype-machine, given the competition element, as viewers want to see

their guy or gal do well. Locally, there is only one band presently that is doing very well at creating their own scene and that is Angry Vs the Bear. They have identified the need for a “street team” which they refer to members as “Cubs” (play on words with; ”the Bear” – a master stroke) and they ask people to come to their gigs and buy a t-shirt. Members of the Street Team feel part of the band, part of the gang, and will look to find other members of the gang too, and bring them in to it. Having great songs is important to be a great band. However, being part of a great scene and people understanding and identifying with your band and the individuals in it, mean that people identify and associate with you and your music and are more likely to tell people about your music because they will know more people who will also want to be part of that scene.Would the Sex Pistols have been anywhere near as famous if it wasn’t for the punk scene? If you want your band to become popular, think of a way that you can involve your audience, so that they are part of the scene and they will do the rest. However, this can not be contrived in any way, it has to be led in a credible and considered manner, people can smell subterfuge from a county-mile away, your band’s scene absolutely must be remarkable and consistently delivered, otherwise it will not work. Raging Bull has now been going two years, and we are still working on it, it is not perfect, but it is getting better and better, the nights are now well attended every month, and the quality of touring bands that are asking to play is staggering. For your band to grow, and therefore ensure the success of new music, create your own scene, this could be a club night, fan club, street team, blog, social media profile, festival, charity/fund raising event, sports team or event. Whatever you choose make sure you do it with passion and conviction and like-minded people will join in.

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Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

The 633




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Surfquake: Left to right: Nelson (Swell), Nick (Noserider), Ophelia (Hannah Lulu) and Danny (The Dune)

Hang Ten as we Chat with Nelson

By Simon Crow

Before interviewing Nelson I thought it would be a good idea to have a quick chat with his long time friend and fellow musician, Colchester 101’s feature writer Martin Newell. Martin quickly offered me the following insight. “As long as I’ve known him he’s been playing in about four bands at once. “Nel is like an Ian Botham of music, he can do all the jobs really, really well... drums, bass, guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin...all sorts of stuff. And if he doesn’t know it, he’ll learn it. “If you’ve got Nel in the band, you’ve got the band basically.” Nelson has been the bassist in the legendary postpunk band New Model Army for over 20 years, and touring the world with them is still a big, and time consuming, part of his life, but when he is back home in Colchester it’s his surf-guitar band Surfquake that is his passion. Surf music evolved around America’s surf culture in Southern California in the early 1960s, and has subsequently enjoyed a revival in recent years. Surfquake play a heady mix of surf-guitar classics alongside their own self-penned tunes.

He managed to resign before he could be sacked. I caught up with Nelson the same week that Surfquake had just played to a packed Bull on Crouch Street. For a member of New Model Army, a band famed for their political and humanitarian messages, and their stand against American imperialism, I find Nelson to be very down to earth and reassuringly friendly. Maybe that’s a result of his having remained so close to his Colchester roots, apart from a nine year stint in Bradford when he first joined New Model Army. Born and bred in the town, Nelson attended the long since closed Wilson Marriage School on Barrack Street before taking up a job in the drawing office at Woods. But by then music was already his life and he managed to resign before he could be sacked for repeatedly falling asleep at his drawing board, exhausted from playing gigs the night before. Martin had told me that Nelson is usually in four bands at any one time. Actually, he’s in six right now,


including having just worked with up and coming local performer Ady Johnson on his debut solo album ‘Tell The Worry Dolls’.

“Oh great, that’s going to take a while!” It was a tour of the USA with Modern English in the early eighties that really kick-started his career. “That was my first big break. They approached me and I was grateful for the offer. “We toured for four months and played exactly one hundred gigs”. He went on to play in a couple of bands with Martin ‘The Cleaners from Venus’ and ‘Brotherhood of Lizards.’ “We did what we think the Brotherhood of Lizards was the first “green” rock tour of the south of England. “We spent three weeks on bikes promoting our album Lizardland on Deltic Records which was part owned by Captain Sensible” co-founder of the legendary punk band The Damned. It was on the road in the America that Nelson’s love of the surf-guitar sound began. “I’m really loving playing with Surfquake, it’s my favourite thing at the moment. I’ve got New Model Army to thank that. “We’d be touring and we’d hire a splitter van, so our gear would be in the back and we’d be in the front. Then the manager and I would take turns driving because none of the others were awake enough, or sober enough, to do it”. They would average 400 miles a day with only the radio to break the monotony. “I remember getting in the van one day and the sat nav said “Continue for 765 miles”. I thought ‘Oh great, that’s going to take a while!’ “So I would turn on the radio and they’d all be playing all this surf music and I was checking out the second hand record shops, which I love doing, and I kept

coming across all this surf guitar stuff. “We really got into it because it was one type of music that all of us in the band loved, so if I was driving I could always put the surf CDs on and nobody would mind”.

“I wanted to play guitar” This got Nelson thinking about putting together his own surf-guitar band. “I wanted to play guitar as I always played bass with New Model Army, so I was having a drink with Nick Sadler in the Fat Cat in Colchester and Danny Sceats walked in and I thought: “Hang about, I’ve got a drummer and a bass player here”, so I asked them what they thought of getting a band together and playing surf-guitar music and TV themes. “Neither of them knew what surf guitar music was so I made them a CD of my favourite tunes and they both got back to me and said they’d love to do it. “A year later we got Ophelia to join us on the keyboards but even though it’s now been three years we haven’t really done as much as we would have liked yet as New Model Army takes up so much of my time. They have, however, managed to find time to do some recording at LongTrack Studio in Marks Tey. They have also completed a couple of five date tours in Germany, dates in Holland, as well as forthcoming gigs in Norwich and London, with a trip back to Germany also in their plans. “Once we’ve got the album finished we can promote the band more. New Model Army are planning a quiet year in 2011, almost like a break year - although festival bookings are already coming in - so I’ve got more opportunity to work on Surfquake.” So it looks like we’ll be hearing a lot more of Surfquake’s distinctive sound over the coming months.




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Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

All that Jazz (funk and soul)

DJ Gilly writes for 101 I mentioned last month when 101 interviewed me that my great musical passion is Jazz Funk and Soul. But for those of you who don’t know... what is it? Well, really it’s a mixture of four different musical genres, Jazz Fusion, Jazz Funk, Funk and Soul and began as an American genre characterized by a strong back beat (groove), electric instruments such as the Rhodes Piano and the bass guitar, and often the presence of the first electronic analog synthesizers. It was a popular genre across the pond throughout the 1970s and the early 1980s, then grew in popularity here in the mid 1970s where a huge scene grew around it.

To us it all revolved around the music and the dancing. Oh And the clothes! The weekend was all about planning your dance moves, dressing up, and going out... and whatever looked good WAS the fashion, whether that be a beret, jodhpurs, tight jeans and winklepickers, fingerless gloves, a big mohair jumper, it was all good. But not forgetting, and most important of all, white socks. We didn’t go out to drink and have a laugh, we went out to look good and dance the weekend away to our music at venues such as the former Woods leisure centre on Bergholt Road (more about that in a future issue), then later the

Embassy Suite on Balkerne Hill (now a Chinese restaurant) where Andy Starr, Gary Soul and John Douglas were regular DJs on the weekly Sunday soul nights. At the Embassy we had our own corner where our little group would hang out before taking to the dance floor to strut our stuff to the likes of The Fatback Band, Kool and the Gang, Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Ayers, James Brown, Eddie Kendricks, Level 42, Herbie Hancock and many, many more. Often we’d spot a group from another area, Chelmsford or Ipswich perhaps, and take them on. Not with boots and fists, but with our best dance moves to show them who was boss. If we weren’t taking to the dance floor in Colchester we’d head off to clubs such as Lacy Lady in Ilford, The Goldmine in Canvey Island, or to one of the famous soul weekends in Caister, which are still going strong over 30 years later, and where there always was, and still is, a strong Colchester presence. Although the scene has long since passed its heyday many national and regional DJs including Gilles Peterson, Norman Jay and Tony Blackburn continue to play jazz funk and soul tracks on their radio shows and at club nights to this day, and just like them I still love that music - the memories come flooding back when I hear it. None of which really answers the big question though: Could Gary Pryor really dance?

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By Melissa Porter

Food for Thought More popular than ever it seems is the Detox. This is no mere diet. ‘definitely not designed for the faint hearted’. More of an exercise in endurance. I read about a Detox called ‘The Master Cleanse’ more commonly known as the maple syrup diet, made famous by Beyonce. You are encouraged to exist on a squeeze of Fresh Lemon Juice, a spoon of Maple Syrup, and Cayenne Pepper in Pure Water for as long as your sheer will power will allow, often up to three weeks or longer. Followers drink six to twelve glasses throughout the day whenever they are hungry. Take a laxative, morning and evening - needed because your body goes into starvation mode and nothing in means nothing out - or instead of the morning laxative, you are encouraged to partake in the ‘Salt Water Flush’. This involves drinking a litre of salt water which your body cannot digest and expels almost immediately. Just bizarre! The health risks it seems are obvious, although oblivious to some. Doctors have stated that the diet may actually inhibit proper operation of the liver, rather than cleanse it. It may also interfere with proper kidney function, and in some cases cause cardiac arrest. While most doctors are not opposed to a short, detox cleansing fast, they say the Master Cleanser Diet is simply too dangerous. So why do so many women put themselves through the misery of it all? I’m not against diets in general. I think that a well


When I first started to think about a main feature for January the first and most obvious thing that came to mind was dieting. All those New Year resolutions to shed a few pounds made in haste and regretted at leisure. You are

encouraged to

balanced eating plan, low in fat and high in fruit and vegetables coupled with regular exercise is a the only sustainable way to lose weight whilst keeping your sanity. The results can be of slow and painful so I can see why some desperados are enticed by the quick fix method of an extreme crash diet just like the new ‘master cleanse’ or the ‘cabbage soup diet’ of yesteryear. I can sympathise with the women who feel so inadequate that they actually contemplate starvation as a means to squeeze into that LBD. I have obviously felt the same pressures to lose a few pounds over the years, and dieted on and off. Looking back I think my low point was thinking that an extreme case of glandular fever and a stay in hospital were a blessing due to the huge weight loss it induced when I was 17. Time moves on though and I quickly realised that a life of self denial and abstinence where food was concerned was not for me. I also came to reject the notion wielded in every fashion magazine that you just have to be thin to be a worthwhile human being, let alone beautiful. I don’t buy in to any of that nonsense now, but I’m still concerned for my daughters, the pressure they will feel growing up will be far greater than the ones I faced. My own personal

campaign against their corruption is to ban all fashion and gossip magazines from the house. Why would I buy something a spoon that lowers my self esteem and makes me feel bad and anyway. Women can not help but judge themselves against in the perfectly airbrushed models adorning every page. So lets try to be realistic about our goals for the New Year, rather than making unachievable promises to ourselves. I think that cutting the calories in an unobtrusive way works better in the long term. If you are given a strict diet to follow it’s only a matter of weeks before you would literally kill for a Kitkat (replace with your own favourite snack!). Much better I think to make some smaller permanent changes. Change to sweetener in your tea, skimmed or semi skimmed milk on your cereal, choose lower fat foods, go vegetarian two days a week, cut down on your butter & carbs, walk into town rather than drive sometimes and just see how it goes without the pressure of a full on DIET. If you fancy a bar of chocolate or fish & chips on a Friday then have it, life is just too short to spend it obsessed with what you eat and the way you look. ‘Everything in moderation’ will be my New Year’s resolution, good luck with yours.

exist on

squeeze of Fresh

Lemon Juice, Maple Syrup, Cayenne Pepper Pure Water.




Page 11

Farmhouse Breakfast Week: 23 to 29 January. Farmhouse Breakfast Week is an annual campaign which has been running since the year 2000. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and demonstrate the variety on offer. With one in four people regularly skipping breakfast, HGCA are challenging the nation to re-evaluate their morning routine.

Let me introduce you to Wick’s Manor Farm, not only do they breed their own herd of pigs, and butcher them on site, they also grow the wheat and barley to feed the pigs, and produce the straw used as bedding too! The result must be sampled to be appreciated, their dry cured bacon, sausages, ham, gammons and pork are all of the highest quality. Although some of their products are now quite widely available locally, you miss out on the real ‘feel good’ experience when you visit the farm yourself and buy their produce, knowing that the meat you are buying has been reared on the farm land all around you. Incidentally, the animals also keep the kids entertained while you shop!

Wick’s Manor Farm - 01621 860629 Witham Road, Tolleshunt Major, Maldon, Essex CM9 8JU.

Why eat breakfast... • Breakfast eaters tend to be slimmer than breakfast skippers. • Eating breakfast can aid concentration and mental performance at work and at school. • It provides you with the nutrients and energy needed for an active lifestyle. • Research shows that breakfast eaters are less depressed and have lower levels of stress than breakfast skippers. So whoever and wherever you are, join in and Shake Up Your Wake Up from 23 to 29 January with a healthy balanced breakfast. What about making you own Granola? It’s pretty simple and tastes delicious with some berries, yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.

Granola 4 cups of oats 2 cups of flaked almonds 1 cup coconut 1 cups dried cherries, chopped 2tbsp honey 2tsp ground cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, scoop your mix onto the tray. Bake at 180oC for 20-30 mins until it looks golden and toasted. You can store your Granola in an air tight container for a few months in the cupboard... if it lasts that long!

Find more breakfast inspiration at

The Greyhound Pub and Restaurant Head chef Michael King offers a combination of modern and traditional British cuisine complemented by a selection of real ales, cask and bottled beers along with a sophisticated selection of fine wines. All meat and produce is locally sourced.


Tuesday to Saturday 12pm to 3pm & 6pm to 9.30pm Sunday 12pm to 5pm

Telephone 01206 825573 11

Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

t s e B s ’ l Loca





Page 12

Mum, I’m Hungry Mac ‘n’ Cheese This month that all American staple that can be so, so bad from a tin it’s enough to put you off for life, but home made... well that’s an entirely different story.

500g macaroni pasta 3 tbsp butter 3 tbsp flour 1 tbsp mustard powder 1 litre milk 1 small onion, finely diced 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

1 bay leaf 150g grated cheddar 100g grated parmesan 1tsp salt 1/2 nutmeg grated Freshly ground black pepper 3 tomatoes, sliced

Cook the Macaroni in plenty of boiling salt water. Drain. Pour into an oven proof baking dish. While the pasta’s cooking slowly melt the butter in a saucepan with the garlic and diced onion. Lightly brown on a low heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the flour & mustard powder to form a thick paste. Slowly add the milk, stirring all the time. NO, you can not just answer the phone it WILL be ruined! Once you have achieved a thick, creamy, lump free sauce you can relax. Season with salt, pepper, bay leaf & grated nutmeg. Leave the sauce to simmer for 10-12mins. Take the pan off the heat and stir in most of the grated cheeses. Remove the bay leaf. Pour over the cooked pasta, mix to combine. Top with the remaining cheese and sliced tomatoes, bake at 220oc for 20 minutes, until browned and bubbling. Serve with green salad. Now feed your children and pour yourself a glass of wine, you deserve it!





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green cabbages, turnip, cauliflower, sprouts, Vegetables Beetroot, rhubarb, red, white and s, potatoes, parsnips, spinach and chard. celeriac, swede, kohlrabi, kale, leeks, onion Fruit and nuts apples, pears and walnuts. mallard, and venison. Game Duck, guinea foul, partridge, pheasant, , turbot, halibut, haddock and scallops. place rs, oyste Fish Brill, clams, cockles, mussels,

Leek & Potato Soup serves 6-8 So simple yet so satisfying, especially on a cold winters evening, or take to work with a hunk of bread for a super healthy lunch. You could be eating this soup in 20 minutes, start chopping... NOW! 2 Carrots, quartered and chopped, don’t bother peeling them it’s just not worth the hassle 2 sticks of Celery, chopped 2 medium Onions, thinly sliced 400g Leeks - quartered, washed, & sliced 2 cloves of Garlic, finely sliced

Place a large pan on a medium heat, add the Olive Oil and Butter. Add all your chopped and sliced veges and fry gently, stirring now and again with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes, until the carrots have softened, and the onion and leeks are lightly golden. Add the garlic. Sprinkle in the stock cubes, 1.8 litres of boiling water & the diced potatoes. Give the soup a good stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. To serve your heart warming creation; Remove the pan from the heat & season with salt and pepper.

400g Potatoes, peeled and diced 1tbsp Olive oil

Serve as it is, or pulse until smooth using a hand blender or liquidizer.

1tbsp butter 2 Chicken or Vegetable Stock Cubes, try Telma kosher cubes for a good flavour Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper


Divide between your serving bowls. You could add a drizzle of cream and a sprinkle of parsley to make it a feast for your eyes as well as your stomach... enjoy!

In the following months I hope to motivate you into the kitchen to put our recipes to the test and inspire you with stories about our local home grown Colchester food heroes. I would like you to share your own local

food hero discoveries too. Nominate your favourite butchers, farm shop, fishmongers or bakers. We will share your nominations with our readers so that others can sample the best food our town has to offer.

E-mail your nominations to

Fat Cat

Colchester Free Mouse

Colchester’s Finest Real Ale and Fine Wine Pub Live Music In January

(music starts at 9pm)

Sat 8th Ryan Galvin Sat 15th Geoff, Kirsty and the gorgeous guests Sat 22nd Strontium Cats Sat 29th Jazmine Ava Band

Coffee Shop & Café Serving breakfast, lunch, award winning Monmouth Coffee and an extensive range of loose teas.

Open 7 days a week - Evening service coming soon - Available for private parties/bookings -

Come in for a warm welcome

Tel: 07506 992 971

65 Butt Road, Colchester CO3 3BZ. 01206 577990

The Corner House Café 7-9 High Street, Wivenhoe


Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

Seasonal Food Guide




Page 14


The DIY Home Studio Part 2: Bouncing Light When working with a single light source such as the sun or a household lamp, you might need to add some fill light to the side of your subject furthest from the light source. Fill light brightens areas in shadow, and reduces the overall contrast in the image; it can be vital for a successful portrait – unless you want your subject to look like a moody movie villain. The first version of the portrait (above left) has too much contrast for the mood of the photo, which is soft and romantic. With the light coming from the right of the subject, a small reflector was needed to bring out some of the detail on the left, and soften the look of the whole image. (Quick Tip: if you want to learn more about lighting, study the shadows in photographs you really like, and try to work out where the photographer placed the lights.) You can use a second light, or purchase a reflector, but you can also save money and improvise.


Professional photographers frequently use more than one light source to create stunning imagery, but there’s only one sun, and a limit to the number of lamps you might have lying around the home. So do you need to splash more cash? Not necessarily... Any bright reflective surface can become a reflector, but different surfaces will contribute different qualities to the light they reflect back on the subject: Coloured surfaces may add an undesirable colour cast to the area of the subject they are lighting; this can be removed in Photoshop, but best avoid it in the first place Silver surfaces such as tin foil can reflect a lot of light on a subject, but note that it can be quite cold bluish light A golden surface will reflect warm light onto a subject Bright white card is a good all-round choice, as it is colour neutral and neither warm nor cold; it also comes in different sizes!

Move your reflector closer to the subject to increase the amount of fill light and produce a more balanced overall effect. Small reflectors can be useful for diminishing localised shadows such as the shadows under a person’s chin (ask your subject to hold the reflector above their lap if you are shooting a head & shoulders portrait). What if you need a really big reflector? Well, you may well be surrounded by the largest reflectors you will ever need. Light toned walls can reflect lots of light for portraits, just watch out for colour casts. Next month, in the third home studio feature, I’ll be looking at what is behind every good subject – the background – including simple ‘studio’ style backgrounds, and tips about making the most of location backgrounds. Adrian Multon is a freelance photographer based in Wivenhoe. He provides high quality imagery for local businesses. Adrian offers group and 1-2-1 photographic tutoring and image editing workshops. See for details.




Page 15

Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

A year in Slack Space A year ago this month Slack Space was resident in an empty shop in Colchester’s Long Wyre Street. The organisation had been running for just over six months and was attracting national and local attention as being at the vanguard of what was to become known as the ‘empty shops movement.’ Slack Space has always been a successful exhibition space, featuring and promoting the work of local artists. What has really changed in the last year, however, has been the number and range of events and other activities put on by the organisation. Slack Space has always run a monthly mini festival of performance art incorporating music, poetry, comedy, theatre and live art. Our ethos has always been to offer a unique and esoteric experience to a select few rather than buy into the ‘bums on seats’ mentality of commercial organisations. Following the successful letting of the Long Wyre Street property, Slack Space moved into another much bigger, empty shop - the old Keddies store, (or, more recently, ‘Shoeworld’) on Queen Street in Colchester. The move, combined with a successful funding application for event lighting, has allowed us to put on a wider range of events and to work much more in partnership with other local organisations. We now host regular theatre events, talks and seminars (such as last month’s National Empty Shops Workshop event), a weekly breakdancing workshop, a comedy club, a folk club (as featured in last months issue), meetings, workshops, music, song and dance! However, not everything works at Slack Space. We do turn away a lot of potential events in the space if they are not right for us and what we stand for. The feeling at Slack Space has always been that we would rather have less people in the space experiencing something that they couldn’t find anywhere else than a full house consuming an event that could be had in a dozen venues in town. This month we’re looking forward to starting a new jazz club and an exciting mini fest week which welcomes the comedy club back after a short break. Keep an eye on our blog for other events and activities





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Meanwhile, back in the Culture Bunker talking with firstsite’s Kath Wood By Martin Newell






round to it again and again. A while after that, I attended a Yoko Ono exhibition there. It had been travelling the world for about 30 years and as a result looked suitably scuffed. The show, again, featured ordinary objects but this time, sawn in half and painted white. There was half an old electric fire for instance. Yoko’s people were on the phone to Kath at one point. Probably about me: “Whatever happens, Kath, don’t let him play with the electric fire.” For the time being, until she gets the (ahem) new premises, Kath’s running firstsite from a building in Short Wyre Street. “It’s not exactly a shop but not exactly a gallery either” she explains. She does like shops, though. “I used to work in Marks & Spencer. I’m good at retail,” she laughs, “I could go back to it tomorrow.” Katherine Wood was born in Woking in 1965, and lived in Guildford and Aldershot. When she was eleven she moved to Birmingham, where her father, who’d worked for the British Film Institute, had relocated, to work for ITV. Her mother, Anne, a former teacher and children’s book publisher, co-created the childrens series, Teletubbies and did rather well. She later ploughed many of the profits into a children’s educational foundation. In Birmingham, Kath attended secondary school where she described herself as being a ‘grafter’ rather than an academic. And pop music, I ask? When Duran Duran are mentioned, she lights up slightly and I begin to get a clearer picture, of a pretty girl running around Birmingham in her New Romantic kit. She also had, apparently, a slightly wild period. She doesn’t enlarge upon it and I don’t ask, but shortly thereafter, her parents sent her to a boarding school near Utoxeter in Derbyshire, where the focus was upon the arts and the outdoors. “I wasn’t very sporty, though” she adds. She later went to Sterling University, where she changed horses mid-stream – from reading French to reading History of Art. Then she went to America. Not to New York but to the rather wilder mid-west. To Kansas in fact – America’s bread basket. “They had a great library.” she said. Then she worked. She’s always worked. She was at Bristol’s famous Arnolfini Gallery before she came to Colchester. It struck me that this

“I used to work in Marks & Spencer.

I’m good at retail,” she laughs, “I could go back to it


woman, who’s been a prime player in Colchester’s contributions and exposure to contemporary art, has been working here for 16 years now and hardly anybody’s bothered to ask her anything about her work or herself. So I ask her, what goes on at firstsite? I mean, it’s not a shop, selling legwarmers and pencil sharpeners, is it? And you probably couldn’t get a giant dead mole into the display stand. The truth Kath informs me, is that about thirty per cent of what they do, is about education, a depleted enough commodity and one which soon may become even more so. Another thirty per cent of what firstsite does, concerns itself with mounting exhibitions for local luminaries – the artist James Dodds, for instance. The remainder consists of community arts and home arts, the workshops and many other activities. They have an arts bus, a double decker, which visits various local communities encouraging arts participation – for all ages. Kath tells me a story about a girl from one of the estates who attended some of the kids’ workshops which firstsite runs. “Her mother contacted recently me to say that she was now at art school.” These are opportunities which never existed for people like me when I was a lad. Which is presumably, why, until quite recently, I only knew about kittens in boots and stags in glens. The thing about art, in our Targets and Evaluation-driven age, is that it’s very hard to measure or quantify the good which it does. After food, warmth and shelter, however, you may find that you need something to read, something to listen to, or perhaps a picture on the wall to look at. Otherwise, life will get rather soul-less. Take the art out of life and what you’ll probably be left with is me, Simon Cowell and Facebook. In the future, when Colchester gets measured up against the great centres for the arts what will we say for ourselves? “Well, we’ve got a Roman Castle and quite a few nightclubs” It wouldn’t quite cut it, would it? When I ask Kath Wood whether she was ever an artist herself, surprisingly,

she says no. She tells me quite bluntly, that she neither paints nor draws, explaining that she’s a facilitator. Her buzz, in other words, is making the processes and events – especially the events – happen for other people. “Like Brian Epstein, did for the Beatles?” I ask. “He didn’t play anything, did he?” “I hadn’t thought of that.” she answers. But then she says that she’d always loved museums, galleries and exhibitions, ever since she was a little girl. Go upstairs into the office above the firstsite HQ in Short Wyre Street and it’s very quiet. I’d half-expected there to be a group of ethereal creatures all floating around in kimonos and using long cigarette holders. Not a bit of it. It’s more like an old fashioned typing pool, only the people are actually typing – not sitting chattering and eating cake because it’s somebody’s birthday or something. There are two staircases. I wondered if one of them led to an underground bunker with shelves full of canned food, blankets, crayons and colouring-in books – just in case the government finally removes all of the arts funding and they have to become a resistance movement. But no, it’s only a team of women getting on with their work. I’ve met Kath on many occasions over the years, but couldn’t really have said I knew much about her. Except that she never seemed to take time off. So I asked her whether she had much of a social life. “Oh I do.” she says, with that slight defensiveness of a compulsive workaholic. So what does she do to relax, then? Does she go night fishing at Harwich perhaps? Stock Car racing? A spot of cage fighting? None of the above, it seems. She admits to doing quite a bit of reading. I ask Kath, that when it gets tough, is she ever tempted to give it all up and go back to Marks & Sparks? “My grandmother wanted me to.” she laughs. Then she shows me to firstsite’s secret lift, from which I go down a long tunnel, finally exiting via an innocent-looking dry cleaning shop in St John’s Street. Hell if this is art, I’m all for it.


Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

the only time during our conversation, Kath Wood of firstsite gets a militant gleam in her eyes when the subject of London arises. Like me, she doesn’t think that London is the be-all and end-all of art. She doesn’t even like the word ‘regional’, she says. She believes that each place should have its own cultural identity. She’s been in Colchester for 16 years now, since firstsite took over at the Minories Art Gallery in the mid 1990s. During that time, she’s helped organise some of the more unusual contemporary art exhibitions that the town has hosted. Now I have to confess that like much of the public, I hold rather traditional views on art. I like three kittens in a boot, stags in glens and blurry paintings of a bowl of fruit – that sort of thing. I have a friend who’s even more extreme. He says: “If it’s not dogs in eyeshades playing billiards or poker, then it’s not art.” Does Ms Wood agree therefore, that enticing many people into a modern art exhibition is like trying to get a dog into a bath? She laughs at this. She could probably have chosen an easier job. Art, especially modern art has its opponents. There’s never been a Hollywood film on the subject. But if there ever were it would probably star John Wayne as its two-fisted hero, trying to bring radical art installations to the saloons of a lawless western mining town in the 1880s. Not that I’m comparing Colchester to a lawless western mining town in the 1880s, but hell, if the cap fits, please do put it on and then sashay around in front of the mirror for a while, won’t you? One of the early firstsite exhibitions I attended was called Belladonna. The artist was Elizabeth Wright, who’d constructed models of a number of everyday objects, all scaled-up in size. There was a red, drop-handled racing bike, for instance, far too big for a normal human being to ride. I did keep going back to stare at it. That was the beginning of the conversion. The real pearler for me, though, was few years on, when an artist called Mark Dion suspended a huge model of a dead mole, in one of the Minories high-ceilinged Georgian rooms. It was massive – and strangely compelling. Like a goldfish in a bowl returns to a sunken castle, I just kept coming

Page 17




Page 18

Cool garden designs for 2011

Decking, modern formality, outside living rooms and block planting have been the rage for the past 5 or so years, but what will be cool in 2011. Well a good place to start is to look back at Chelsea 2010, well it was pretty much the same as every year for the past 5 or 6 previous... Large reflective black pools, very formally laid out plots. Smooth cut stone. Then the contrasting more natural looking informal gardens. One of the big trends of last year was the living wall, where you plant on a vertical plane with drip irrigation and feed systems to keep the plants alive. One of the most important trends over the past few years that is set to stay is sustainable gardens. To me this is always what a garden has been about. Using materials that are recycled or from a sustainable source and plants that are either grown from seed or sourced from local growers and not shipped from the far side of the planet. This in no way means your garden needs to be some Eco Eden, but just think about the long term effect your plans have on the planet. The final trend is more of one that I have noticed over my career and that is when people start thinking about making changes to the garden. It always amazes me that we are flat out in the summer, laying patios, designing, and building new gardens. My best advice to you is to get on with it during the time when you won’t be using your outdoor space. the majority of our work is done when the weather is good meaning the client watches us basking in the warm sunshine when they want to be out there! So take my advice and get the garden sorted in the new year ready for summer!


By Sven Wombwell

When you work in a particular field such as garden design you have to keep up on trends both in terms of what customers want and when they want it.





Page 19

Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

Using the Winter to Your Advantage By Andrew Ross, Nicenstripy

Why not make your new year’s resolution to appreciate your outside space like never before? Gardens can be as extravagant or as simple as you please and designs can suit all tastes and budgets. Even if you live in a flat there is no reason why you can’t grow a few things in pots or baskets, even on your window sill. There are no excuses! Any garden re-shaping is best done now, in the dormant season. Replacing fences and trellis will avoid plants being trampled down later in the year. Why not reshape your boarders to ring the changes or develop a new patio or decking area for entertaining

on when the Summer arrives? If doing the hard graft is not for you, remember to get at least three quotations from reputable recommended gardeners who are insured and give you a clear written quote. The planting of hardy deciduous trees and shrubs is better completed now before the sap starts to rise, remember to add these to a planting plan to fill gaps, add privacy or provide Summer shade. It’s too early to plant bedding plants and most vegetables but there is no reason why you can’t plan what you wish

to buy by browsing through some gardening books or seed/plant catalogues for inspiration. If planning to use tubs or pots clean these out now, disposing of old compost and dead plants so you’re ready to go when the weather warms up. Remember to shelter non frost resistant pots from extreme cold and double check that any plant protections remain in place over this cold season. All the trees should be bare now so take the opportunity on any dry days to complete leaf clearance and make sure guttering

remains clear as over spilling water on paths will freeze and be incredibly slippery. If snow falls, clear paths quickly to stop re-freezing at night. Finally, if you don’t already, why not leave some nuts or seeds out for birds? There are many types of feeder available from very basic to more sophisticated squirrel safe versions. There may not be many plants showing colour at this time of year so a colourful Robin, Great Tit or Green Finch will add a welcome splash of interest to your wintry garden.





Page 20

Peter Sherlock’s

ScentTrain Bid TV and Price-Drop TV’s resident expert gives his regular lowdown on fragrances for both men and women, old and new, good and bad. This month, Peter lifts you from the mid-Winter doldrums with the power of fragrance.

The bird roasting in the oven with herb-laden stuffing, brandydoused, spicy cakes and puddings, rich, heady party perfumes… With the wonderful scents of the festive season behind us, January can look and smell rather grey. In the depths of Winter, how can we use the power of fragrance to conjure up a bight, sunny day in Colchester? Aromachology is the scientific term for the power of smell to change our mood and if you think about it, that’s often the very reason that we use fragrance: to lift our spirits, to make us feel special or beautiful or sexy. Scent is directly linked to the most primitive parts of our brains. It can help us to revisit wonderful memories and it can definitely alter the way we feel. So, how can you add some Spring or Summer sparkle to your day when you’re still reaching for that muffler?

For the girls I recommend YSL’s Cinema. The clue is in the bottle itself. Gold light seems to stream out of it, and this is a fragrance to brighten your life and your soul. Sunshine in a bottle. Soft, accessible and perhaps the most affable fragrance ever made, it blends light, zestiness with clear, sheer blossoms on a bed of rich Bourbon vanilla. It’s a scent that can be worn by anyone, any age, any time. Bvlgari’s first ever scent, Eau Parfumée De Thé Vert, is truly astonishing. Never has a light, fresh fragrance smelled so clean and invigorating without ever appearing ‘throwaway’. Many modern fragrances have a cheap, shower-gel character about them – but not this one. This is a fragrance that makes you feel freshly-showered in rain water somewhere in Bali. As Southend is more within my budget, I can but dream... Elizabeth Arden’s widely

You can also find plenty of fragrance bargains and loads more besides at Bid TV and Price-Drop TV.




available Green Tea fragrance is a good budget alternative and can often be found for about a tenner. It has a similar lightness of touch. And for the fellas? Fancy strolling across an Italian hillside rather than trudging to the bus stop in your Winter coat? Like the idea of the sun beating down on terracotta roof tiles, warming your skin as the scent of lemons, herbs and earthy patchouli rises from the ground beneath your feet? Tuscany by Aramis is deep and masculine yet clean and lively – an easy-going, day-into-evening scent that can truly transport you. Still the biggest selling fresh cologne in France, Dior’s 1966 classic Eau Sauvage always lifts me and makes me feel ready to face the world, how ever cold and grey it may be. Its square-jawed masculinity is offset by a wonderful, uplifting feeling - similar to putting

on a brand-new, crisp white cotton shirt. Naturally, it doesn’t come cheap, but you get a true classic. For those like me who find January financially exhausting, it’s time to go back to ck One, which I really don’t enjoy in the Summer. Somehow, its eternally optimistic tone grates on me in July, but on an overcast day that very peppiness is the perfect antidote. Spray it on your scarf - it lasts longer on fabric. Finally, something for everyone. Forget the willful sweetness of Angel, Thierry Mugler’s Cologne is cleanliness personified. The juice itself is a bright, Spring green and the scent, at once sparklingly zesty but unlike any traditional ‘eau de cologne’ you may have smelled, makes you feel as if you’ve line-dried and steampressed your lucky pants. And we all need that kind of optimism in January.

Peter is Managing Director of The Scent Train, a unique organisation that provides fragrance sales videos for online retailers and creates bespoke staff training courses.




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My Life With Miss Berta By Andrew Dell I hadn’t had Berta very long but she was becoming a terrible scruff. Around that time that I went on a pleasant day out with some friends and their new puppy. Well, I say “pleasant”. ‘Jonty and Belinda’ were trying to strap an enormous parlour palm to the back of a little Vespa. Her string of real pearls broke and all the demons of hell were cursed in a crisp, Kensington accent as troubling crowds thronged around the coffee stand. We decided to sit on the curb with our cups and pups and try to block out the madness. Pepper the Border Terrier was way cuter than Berta and received all of the attention from the many passers-by. My scruff sat dejected. Until… “Is that a Mini?!” “No, it’s a dog.” Oh yes, I can be cuttingly hilarious when I’m bothered. As dry as Sister Wendy on a Cream Cracker diet. An elderly lady was standing over me and eyeing Berta with suspicion and a strong whiff of disapproval. She crouched as far as she was able, examined my Schnauzer like a Crufts judge and delivered her verdict. “Not bad. Good, boxy shape. But why isn’t she groomed?” “She’s only a few months old. I’ve been meaning to sort it out. But I kinda like her scruffy.” “Well, that’s just cruel. You have a breed that’s supposed to be groomed.” I was strangely entranced by her efficient judgments. I wanted to receive meagre Christmas gifts from this woman; have her make me bitter cocoa and ‘tut’ as she put me to bed. She shook her head with some drama and fumbled in her handbag. “Do you have a pen and paper?” “No. Sorry.” “Well you must have a mobile telephone. Take this number. Call Faye. She’ll sort this problem out.” I looked at my puppy and saw her as a problem for the first time. I obediently took the telephone number and as the lady strode away with a sense of purpose that I doubt I shall ever achieve in my life, I resolved to groom my ‘problem’ puppy like a good dog owner apparently should. When I called Faye a few days later, she sighed a long sigh. “Oh, I wish she’d stop doing that. I can’t accommodate any more of Mary’s referrals. I’d better have a word with her.” But we made an appointment and I took Berta along to her semi at the arranged time. That first time I visited Faye, I

stayed and observed the process. I was stunned. Something of a ‘Schnauzer Whisperer’, a gifted and admirable dog handler, Faye efficiently transformed my scruffy, matted, wriggling pup into a completely different dog. Claw clipping. Ear-fur pulling. A skill and precision that was something like a cross between Barbara Woodhouse and Vidal Sassoon. Not only is Faye an accomplished groomer, she is a lovely, warm person and I delight in her company. I have learned more from her about dogs than any book or website. I once had cause to take Berta to a different groomer and the difference was monstrous. The blunt clippers made the poor hound look like her fur had been chewed-off by a crew of rabid ferrets. Her beard was lop-sided. Oh yes, Faye’s perfectionism makes me hope she can always groom Miss Berta. And she makes me so glad that I encountered Mary, the strident Schnauzer expert and breeder that Sunday. But the loss of her thick fur on that first, dark evening as we left Faye’s ‘Schnauzer Salon’ (actually, her garage with a sink and a grooming table) meant that I had to put one of the many little jackets that I had already purchased for Berta on her to stop her shivering. I don’t believe any pleasure should be ‘guilty’ (who cares what the neighbours think?). When I take Berta out in one of her many coats, some laugh at us dismissively but most smile warmly and even initiate a chat. We’re sometimes derided and ridiculed. But so was Quentin Crisp, Joan of Arc and Galileo. Who had the last laugh? It’s not cruelty. Berta often needs a warm coat or sweater in the chilly weather, especially after a recent grooming. Letting her shiver would be cruel. Dogs in clothes never fail to make me happy, and if the majority of reactions are anything to go by, it pleases others. As the song goes: “Make someone happy and you will be happy too.” You should see Berta in her Tom Cruise-esque Top Gun flying jacket or her Snoop Dogg basketball t-shirt. It would make you happy. I promise.

NEXT TIME: Training classes and Berta’s brush with superstardom when she appeared in a pop video. Oh, yes!


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Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

Dog About Town




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Chaplains of 16 Air Assault 16 Air Assault Brigade deployed to Afghanistan in the autumn, the front line fighting soldiers were, as ever, joined by a variety of personnel in supporting roles, from chefs and clerks to medics and dog handlers, all trained soldiers with a vital contribution to make to the military effort in Helmand. Among the very smallest of these groups of specialists to deploy was the chaplains, priests and ministers who have left ordinary parish ministry to serve with the armed forces not as fighting soldiers, but as clergy, wearing the uniform of the armed forces and trained to work alongside service personnel.


Each major combat unit takes its chaplain when it deploys, and during the six months of an operational tour the chaplains travel widely among the soldiers in their various locations, spending time living alongside them in forward operating bases and patrol bases, sharing in the discomforts and occasional dangers of day-to-day life so that they can minister more effectively to the soldiers in their care. The principal role of the chaplain is one of pastoral care: soldiers on operations are sometimes placed under great emotional stress, not just as a result of their experiences in combat, but through the strain of long periods of separation from family and loved ones. Some serving soldiers, it must be remembered, may only be eighteen years old, and may have been living at home with their families until fairly recently. Although the army’s chain of command is far more compassionate and understanding in its dealings with soldiers than the uninformed popular image sometimes suggests, the ministry of the chaplain as a confidential friend, adviser and counsellor to all members of the regiment, from private soldier to commanding officer, is highly valued within the British army.

Remembrance is a poignant observance Before commissioning in the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department all chaplains must pass the Army Officer Selection Board at Westbury, and then complete a speciallytailored course of military training at the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, where they receive basic military instruction to enable them to function within the army, but, unlike any other branch of the army, chaplains, as clergy, are neither trained nor authorized to carry firearms: this unarmed status, unique within the armed forces, is an important and prized element of the chaplains’ identity as clergy, not soldiers, and serves to emphasize an important aspect of the chaplain’s role, that of serving as a kind of bridge between the sometimes harsh military world in which the soldier lives and the


gentler civilian world his family inhabits. As a winter tour, the current deployment has seen chaplains busy with two of the emotional high points of the army calendar, Remembrance and Christmas. Remembrance is a poignant observance for any military organization, 16 Air Assault Brigade being no exception, as some of the names of the fallen will be names of good friends whose loss is keenly felt. Soldiers are often confronted with death at a very young age, and have little time to deal with the emotions of bereavement. It is a key role of the chaplain to help direct and conduct the rituals surrounding death in war, and to support and counsel young men and women who are faced with issues of mortality years before their peers in civilian life.

Hardworking Christmas brings its own confusion of emotions: an avalanche of mail and gifts, the raucous and boisterous fun that is somehow generated in even the most Spartan conditions, hearty singing of Christmas carols, and a culinary miracle by hardworking chefs are all tempered with the sadness of separation from families, parents, wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends, and, perhaps hardest of all, children. This is indeed a busy time for the chaplains, who will spend most of the Christmas season out visiting, by road move or helicopter, invariably receiving a warm welcome wherever they go, as all visitors do.

Privilege The ministry of the army chaplain is, in many respects, a life of privilege, not the privilege that comes with rank or a commission, but the privilege of permission to live alongside soldiers, to share in their lives, to listen to their worries, their stories and their jokes (lots of those). It is a ministry to mainly young men and women, usually from quite ordinary backgrounds, who are asked to do extraordinary things. The demands that are placed on our young soldiers are enormous: the chaplains are there to help them bear their burdens.





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Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

The Afghanistan Trust is dedicated to assisting wounded members of the Regiment, their families and the families of those who have been killed.

Corporal Stu Hale was a sniper operating from Kajaki Dam, when he walked into an unmarked minefield whilst moving to a forward position and lost his right leg. After treatment he returned to duty with the battalion. As section commander, Stu Pearson was involved in the same

incident when he lost his left leg above the knee and seriously injured his right leg. After rehabilitation he returned to work in 3 PARA. Both Cpl Stu Hale and Stu Pearson benefited from support from the Trust including funding of deposits for Motability.

For further information regarding assistance or fundraising contact Craig Treeby:

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Sporting Legend Andy Townsend to Visit Colchester’s Caribbean Investment Evening. (Along with canapés, cocktails and a free Caribbean holiday.) The silky white sands and clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean may seem a million miles away, but the remarkable investment opportunities offered by this exotic part of the world are right here in Colchester. DB International Homes will be hosting an exciting Caribbean Investment Evening at Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Hotel and Spa on Thursday, 20 January at 7pm. The exclusive event will be a free introduction to their self-financing freehold investment properties in five stunning locations across the Caribbean, targeting the luxury end of the market where property rentals are achieving the best results. With a reservation fee of just £1000 and guaranteed rental returns, DB International Homes are keen to showcase just how affordable Caribbean property investment can be. Directors, David Blackwell and Roger Galton-Davis, who work in conjunction with Harlequin Property, are delighted to announce that former professional footballer and now television and radio pundit, Andy Townsend, will be presenting at the Colchester investment evening. “We are honoured to have such a legend present at

our event,” said David. “It will be a fantastic evening – one not to be missed!” David and Roger are also fans of our very own football stars, Colchester United – sponsoring the U’s Away Player of the Year at last year’s end of season dinner. They also donated a £2500 luxury Caribbean holiday for two as a prize to help raise funds for the Colchester United Community Sports Trust – won by lifelong U’s supporter Paul Olorenshaw. This generous holiday giveaway is also available to everyone who invests at the Caribbean Investment Evening, inclusive of flights and full board luxury accommodation. “Open to everyone, the event will be a real celebration evening with a Caribbean theme, buffet and Mai Tai cocktails for all our guests,” said David.

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Spaces are limited so please telephone 0845 003 8098 to reserve your place Caribbean Investment Evening, Thursday, 20 January 2011, 7pm for 7.30pm start Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Hotel & Spa, Keeper’s Lane, Leavenheath, Colchester, Essex, CO6 4PZ.




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View from the

Funny Farm The diary of an independent comedy promoter by Hazel Humphreys


dear post-Christmas reader, you’ve invited all your friends and family round for festivities, done all your shopping and wrapped your

presents, baked the mince tarts, decanted the buckfast and sat back on Christmas eve to bask in the warm glow, only for all your guests to start telling you they won’t be able to make it, while a snow cloud the size of Columbia looms ominously ahead. Or perhaps you ordered your Christmas dinner from a supermarket online, only for them to call you up on the 24th apologising that they got the dates wrong or that they didn’t have turkey.

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“I don’t JUST clean the house” Ria Lina That pretty much cryptically sums up the tale of two gigs since my last journal. The first, at Stanway Rovers Football club in November was woefully underbooked and with the threat of snow I bit the bullet and cancelled rather than risk losing £250 right before. The acts, notably headliner Patrick Monahan were all understanding about it, which if anything made me feel worse. Patrick Monahan is one of life’s beautiful people, inside and out. He’s also somewhat of a ninja hugger. However, he’s still keen to do a gig for me in 2011 so let’s hope next time we can make it happen. Sadly it won’t be in Stanway on a Monday night as this seems to be the least popular place in the universe. Who knew? It was interesting returning to Wivenhoe, but this time at the Cricket Club on December 16th. After the debacle of the World Cup votes, it seems that Cricket is the new football, at least until Vladimir Putin takes an interest in the gentleman’s sport. In the week leading up to the gig I had to replace three acts, including the headliner, due to a mixture of family problems and confused dates. With only 32 seat reservations for the night and hints of a blizzard in the air, I was feeling less than prepared for MCing the night. Somehow, though, a little bit of Christmas magic transpired and we had just under 70 people show up on the night, which made for a good atmosphere in the cosy, and warm forgiving audience who happily went along with my hastily cobbled together witterings. The acts all held their own, with disarmingly cute but filthy half-Filipino, half-

German (“I don’t JUST clean the house”) songstress Ria Lina especially storming it. I love it when audience members take turns to congratulate a comic who’s done well, and Ria was practically mobbed by people asking “Why aren’t you on telly?” (the answer: “bad luck”. Ria’s been working the circuit for over 10 years). It was a pleasure to have comedy hero Simon Munnery headlining. Munnery may confuse some audiences with his cerebral meanderings (disguising a razor sharp comedy brain), but his cynical reconstruction of John Lennon’s “Imagine” was a delight. Plus, it was a secret proud moment when afterwards he said “All gigs reflect the personality of the promoter, and you have a lovely gig here” (swoon!). Also he gave me a copy of his brilliant DVD “Hello”, so that was my Christmas made already. This gig was a trial to see whether the Cricket Club would agree to a regular comedy night there, and the guys at the club seemed pleased as punch at the turnout and entertainment value, so The Funny Farm will be back at WTCC at the end of January. Before all that we have a Slackspace free comedy night for newer acts on 6th January and I’m appearing in Wivenhoe Pantomime at the William Loveless Hall between 19th and 22nd January (Oh yes I etc.).

Wivenhoe Funny Farm’s next show is Thursday 27th January and you can book via:




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If you have had trouble in the past knowing what to buy your Colchester United supporting friend or relative, worry no more. The U’s have been working hard and we’re delighted to announce that we will be launching Official Stadium Tours in the early months of 2011, and these could make a great present for your U’s supporting family this year. These tours will be our best yet, providing you with a day to remember at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Points Win Prizes First things first, happy new year to everyone, and I hope that the next twelve months brings you everything you want it to. (Some nice warm weather would be a start after the recent stuff we’ve had.) We are halfway through the season and should be relatively pleased with the fact that we are in the top six of League One and in the Third Round of the FA Cup. Being in contention is obviously something that we were aiming for, but I’ve got to be honest and say that I can’t help thinking that we should be in even better shape, especially in the league. Early on in the campaign, we had a fantastic run of eleven games unbeaten, which is a record for us, but we drew a fair few of those matches. Looking back at some of those games that we drew, we were, and still are, disappointed that we didn’t win them. We played some fantastic football and got ourselves in front but never really turned the screw and scored more goals, something that our play definitely deserved. Being only one goal ahead is always risky and we conceded late goals to drop points. No player likes conceding goals

but had we been two or three goals ahead, a late goal against us wouldn’t have cost us any points. I try not to, but it’s hard to look at the league table and not think where we could be had we won two or three of those matches. We have to learn from this though, and in the second half of the season, do all we can to win all three points more often than not. It’s a tight division and one or two games where we hang onto leads could be the difference between success and failure. That’s the aim then between now and May - to go out every week and really put in the performances that will bring us the victories we need. It will be busier than normal because of the games we’ve had postponed in the last month, but all the lads are desperate to do well and we’ll be fighting tooth and nail to win. COLCHESTER UNITED FC

Kem Izzet

On the tours you will: • Get to see behind the scenes, including the kit room, Chairman’s Suite and press lounge • Visit the home and away dressing rooms and see what it looks like ahead of a game • Be given a special eight page brochure on the history of the Weston Homes Community Stadium • Discount in the Club Shops for a period of seven days after your stadium tour • A Q&A with a former U’s player at the end of the tour We’ve also got special “Sunday Luncheon” tours where your journey around the Weston Homes Community Stadium will end with a three course lunch. The following dates are available for Official Stadium Tours:January Thursday 13, 4pm Sunday 23, 12pm and food at 1.30pm Monday 31, 6pm February Thursday 10, 4pm Sunday 20, 12pm and food at 1.30pm Monday 28, 6pm March Thursday 10, 4pm Sunday 20, 12pm and food at 1.30pm Monday 28, 6pm April Monday 11, 6pm Sunday 17, 12pm and food at 1.30pm Thursday 28, 4pm You can book these tours by visiting U’s Central or the Stadium Shop – or you can choose the tour date as a product on the online shop. Prices for the tours on their own will be £10 for adults and £2 for U16s. We are also hoping to confirm the prices for dining – and keep your eyes on the official website for details of which former players will be attending the dates above.


Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.





Like it Love it Loathe it

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101 needs your input This is your chance to tell us what you LIKE, LOVE, LOATHE about... and WANT in Colchester that we don’t currently have.

Send 30 words or less on EACH of the following subjects to:

LIKE about Colchester:

LIKE about Colchester:

The historical parts that stun my friends that visit.The pubs, the Arts Centre.

Highwoods Country Park, Castle Park, Nightlife!

LOVE about Colchester: Crouch Street especially the shops opposite the Tesco Express end. LOATHE about Colchester: Colchester Council who are are so self-focused, inward-looking and self-important they can’t even, for example get the High Street cleaned daily. Graham Fraser

LIKE about Colchester: I like the fact that the River Colne flows through the heart of Colchester - no town should be without a river. LOVE about Colchester: I love the fact Colchester is a university town, with the resultant cultural diversity a student population brings.

LOVE about Colchester: Aqua Springs, although it is well overdue a fresh paint job!


Pen Pals

Despite being a pair of Colchestrians, Ed and Chris have never actually met. Not even for gig at The Twist. But they email each other all the time about their very broad music tastes. Colchester 101 has been given permission to reprint their messages. One-upmanship? Yes, occasionally…

Dear Chris I was putting a Spotify playlist together for my Goddaughter the other day - I like to introduce her to as many different artists and genres as possible - and I found myself going all early 80s electropop. It was as if I was drawn to bleeps, sparse, tinny drum beats with a barely discernible bass line, icy winds blowing through Mittel-Europe and ‘shattering shards of sepulchral majesty’, seemingly against my will! It wasn’t long before I was trawling through Depeche Mode’s catalogue. They were the first band I ever saw live (on the Construction Time Again tour) and I couldn’t help but feel a pang of real pride for the Essex boys how they were derided and dismissed in their earliest days and went on to conquer the world.

LOATHE about Colchester: Being charged £4 per entry at night in some bars. The non-existent Traffic flow during rush hour & Speed cameras!

But I decided not to include ‘Master and Servant’ for an eleven year-old.

WANT in Colchester: A cinema bigger than a cardboard box with films that start after 9pm, similar to Ipswich Cineworld. And someone to convert the old cinema into a superclub!

Dear Ed

Tim Hawes

LIKE about Colchester: Colchester Zoo, the Castle, St Botolph’s Priory. LOVE about Colchester: The speciality shops and boutiques in Eld Lane.

LOATHE about Colchester: I loathe the way Colchester (and other towns) are becoming glorified identikit shopping malls.

LOATHE about Colchester: The mess that has been made of our once beautiful High Street.

WANT in Colchester: I want Colchester to have pubs in which I can smoke.

WANT in Colchester: Our High Street pedestrianised or restored to its former glory.

Adrian Multon

Michael Crouch

Yours Ed

You’re forgetting Basildon’s finest there – Alison Moyet. With a career that‘s lasted nearly thirty years, surely she’s a National Treasure now? Her career shows just how much music has changed since I bought her first single with Yazoo aged 14. ‘Only You’ was that delicious rarity - an electro pop balled with real heart and soul that has now achieved classic status. Naturally, I have wiped all thoughts of The Flying Pickets’ version from my mind. I don’t like A Capella. It makes me anxious, and there are so many musical instruments widely available. It was Alison’s version of ‘That Ole Devil Called Love’ that introduced me to Billie Holiday, something for which I shall always be eternally grateful. And as ‘Madchester’ and rave took the crown away from eighties pop, Alison had a last stab in the singles chart with one of her finest moments ‘Whispering Your Name’, remixed by her old ‘friend’ Vince Clarke. This rollicking piece of pop has an intensity that is seldom found in the top twenty today - highly recommended. Regards Chris

Dear Chris

LIKE about Colchester:

LIKE about Colchester:

The character of England’s oldest recorded town.

Bike rides from town along the Wivenhoe trail.

LOVE about Colchester: Top restaurants like Siege House, Ivory Spice, Na Ree Thai.

LOVE about Colchester: Stopping for a drink at the Rose and Crown, Wivenhoe during a bike ride...

LOATHE about Colchester: Nothing. WANT in Colchester: More small businesses and less massive supermarkets. Pete Slegg

LOATHE about Colchester: The awful buildings that have gone up around the Hythe.

You’re right – as ever. I’m a huge Yazoo and Alison Moyet fan. ‘Upstairs at Eric’s’ is a seminal album for me and I’m genuinely pleased that recent years have been very kind to the family-orientated Ms. Moyet. Imagine my delight when stuck in traffic on the M25 to hear Radio 4 rave about her version of Purcell’s ‘Dido’s Lament’. To hear a voice as resonant and as familiar as Alison’s tackle one of the most famous vocal pieces in history is a rare delight. It’s found on her 2005 album ‘Voice’. The recent tour with a reformed Yazoo was totally thrilling. So kudos to Mr Vince Clarke as well, one of the finest electro pioneers, creator of Depeche Mode, endlessly sampled and cited as an influence and surely something of a Legend now? Yours Ed

WANT in Colchester: No more ugly blocks of flats around the town.

Dear Ed

Mel Jackson

Oh, yes indeed. But the less said about Erasure, the better. Chris





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Each month Colchester 101 features readers’ own stories about issues that affect, or are still affecting, their lives. This month, Mandie Holgate talks about how depression took over her life. years ago I was sitting here working out the quickest way to die. What a way to start my story. My name is Mandie Holgate, and I think it is very important to start with that, because so many people feel the need to hide their illness, their past, their problems, and you know what they say about a problem shared. I’m not ashamed of what I went through and more than that I will go out of my way to tell people about those awful 18 months in the hope that I can help a lot of people, both personally and professionally. So why was I doing my best to check out of this thing called life? Six years ago I had no reason to be down or depressed, I was happily married to my teen holiday romance, I had two beautiful children, I was lucky enough to live on Mersea Island and my family lived nearby. I had worked in the car industry for many years as a body shop manager and company secretary, but made a conscious decision to bring up my children for a few years while they were little and we had the chance, and I loved it. Then, out of the blue, something happened that changed my life. One evening my husband and I were carrying our children up the stairs to bed, singing and playing as we went. For some reason on that February evening I looked out the window - just to see our cat get run over by a car. At that moment I had no idea of what impact that moment would have on my life. The next day, feeling devastated, I got up and decided to continue as if nothing had happened. Working in the car industry you need to think fast and act right. If something goes wrong you don’t worry about whose fault it was, it’s more important to work out what you are going to do. So I was always the one you could rely on to sort it out. So after February 27 I did just that. But over the next couple of months I became aware that I was not feeling my normal lively happy self. Anyone who knows me will tell you I was always there to help and smile, but on the inside I noticed I was not feeling that any more. I went to my GP and he recommended that we have our annual holiday and if I still felt like this we could reassess things. It was the worst holiday of my life. I could not find pleasure in anything. I snapped, cranked and cried and I could tell my husband was worried. It’s an odd feeling when you feel like you are looking at yourself saying “Why are you behaving like this?”


I shook with the medication Over the coming months I started to take various antidepressants and medications to try and alleviate my symptoms, but I just got worse and worse. But that does not really sum that up. When I say worse, I mean my husband worked an hour and half drive from home and I would ring him panicking that I could not cope. I could


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Someone you know could be suffering I have told you everything about that time in my life because thanks to a great husband, a very supportive family and the wonderful work of Colchester Mind, I am healthier and happier than ever before in my life. Don’t think it was easy. It was a long, harrowing and a very scary journey to getting better. But in 2007 I can honestly say I felt better than ever. I have shared this story with you, because right now someone nearby could be acting differently. Someone you know could be suffering and unsure how or where to get help from. And speaking from experience it takes a hell of a lot of guts to pick up the phone and admit to yourself that you have a mental illness. One of the reasons my problem was so prolonged and became so serious is because I refused to treat it like an illness. I saw it as a weakness, something to be ashamed of. This truly has a happy ending because, once I was fully recovered. I trained as a coach and put my years of managerial experience into helping business women. I am the founder of The Business Woman’s Network that is in its second year and has already grown across East Anglia. It is about empowering, motivating and supporting business women and most importantly getting them new ideas and opportunities to grow their business. Before my illness to say that I could have a roomful of business women thanking me for my help and support in helping

their business grow I would never have believed it. I am very lucky and I want to make sure that mental health illness stops being a dirty word and starts getting the same level of compassion and consideration as any other awful illness. I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist, but from my experience the advice I would give would be: 1. You need to accept a mental illness just like you would any other. You would not expect to drive a car with a broken arm, so why expect to soldier on through a mental health illness? Give yourself the time, the space, the care and attention you need to get better. 2. Medication does not always work for everyone. I did not know this, and it is due to this that I got so poorly. One of the things that worked for me was talking therapies. Counselling that included CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and CAT (Cognitive Analytic Therapy), self hypnosis, Taiwanese reflexology and acupuncture also helped with many of my symptoms. 3. You are not super human. One of the reasons my illness escalated is because I always said yes to everyone and everything. Somewhere down the line the body says enough is enough. It’s not failure or a weakness to say “I would love to help but it won’t be until next week.” I learnt that to disrespect myself and undervalue my time led to feeling of under-appreciation which led to me feeling worse and caused a downward spiral which made me even more ill. 4. Lastly - talk about it. It was the hardest thing to be honest outside of my family and say: “I have a mental illness” but it helped so much. Yes, unfortunately you learn who your friends are (hence my openness about it – we will change the stigma attached!) but in talking about it you are lightening the load. You are admitting to yourself that things aren’t right and are preparing to move forward. Sometimes talking to a stranger is easier and I was lucky enough to have an amazingly understanding and kind GP, but other people really helped too. And I am so grateful to Colchester Mind I am now a trustee for them too. Colchester Mind: Me:

If you have a story to tell then send it to us at

If you need help and support to deal with an addiction or crisis, below are contact details for organisations dedicated to providing support and advice for a variety of problems.

Alcoholics Anonymous Support group for persons needing help to overcome and recover from alcoholism. Helpline 0845 769 7555 Email: Al-Anon Family Groups Support for anyone whose life is, or has been, affected by someone else’s drinking. Helpline 020 7403 0888 Email:

manage 20 employees, looking after three county’s police road traffic collisions, 22 insurance companies and over 20 recovery agencies in floods and snow storms but suddenly I could not handle a home and two children. Can you imagine what it feels like to feel like you are watching yourself disappear? I can remember one time when my husband had come to the rescue I was hiding behind the sofa sobbing uncontrollably. And a part of my tears was me wondering what the hell was going on? Where was Mandie Holgate? And was she coming back? I stopped sleeping, I ate either nothing or everything I could find, I shook with the medication, I lost lots of weight and then I gained lots of weight, I self harmed and I tried to kill myself - twice. I hated myself beyond words. I believed I was the most worthless pile of rubbish on the planet and regularly begged my husband to leave me so he could get himself a decent wife. I was on medication to get me up and medication to get me to sleep. I had regular ECGs to check my heart could cope and by the end I was on maximum medication before the only option became hospitalisation. The only treatment left to me was ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy.) Look it up - it will truly scare you. What is more frightening is although my whole family were against it I wanted to go to the hospital and talk about it. I was that desperate.

Cocaine Anonymous Support group for persons needing help to overcome and recover from cocaine addiction. Helpline 0800 612 0225 From UK Mobile Phones 800 612 0225 Email: Colchester Gay Switchboard Help and advice for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender individuals and those affected by HIV and AIDS. Helpline 01206 869191 or 0845 1 23 23 88 Brook Free and confidential sexual health advice and services for under 25s providing professional advice on Contraception, STIs and Pregnancy. Helpline 0808 802 1234

Overeaters Anonymous Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength and hope, are recovering from compulsive overeating. Helpline 07000 784985 beat The leading UK charity for people with eating disorders and their families. Helpline: 0845 634 1414 Email: Youthline 0845 634 7650 Email Relate Support and advice, relationship counselling, sex therapy, workshops, mediation, consultations and support. Telephone: 0300 100 1234

Families Need Fathers Support and information if you are separating or divorced and are worried about not seeing your children, or the effects on them. Open to mothers, fathers, grandparents, new partners and extended families. Helpline: 0300 0300 363 Samaritans If you are in crisis, feel distressed or are perhaps thinking of suicide, Samaritans trained volunteers can give you the time and space to talk about your feelings, help you explore your options and perhaps seek a way to face the future. 24/7 Helpline 01206 561234 Open Road Reducing the harmful impact of drugs and alcohol on users, their families, partners and society. Telephone: 0844 499 1323


Colchester 101 Colchester’s Access All Areas Magazine January 2011.

A Problem Shared




Page 30

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Colchester 101 January 2011  

Colchester 101 is a Colchester magazine written by LOCAL people, for LOCAL people, about LOCAL people, LOCAL issues and LOCAL events, and so...

Colchester 101 January 2011  

Colchester 101 is a Colchester magazine written by LOCAL people, for LOCAL people, about LOCAL people, LOCAL issues and LOCAL events, and so...