ISSUE 20: FATTER, PALER... AND TOTALLY GORGEOUS FREE
The University of Beestonia / Fish ladder / Jar of Ox(jam) / Poxtowe / The Chilwell Ghost House / Au contraire: SUMMER / Beeston Beats / Get shirty / Magic bean / Bow selecta/ Little sod / Photo piece / Tattoo mew / Horace’s Half Hour / Famous last words…
Bumper-to-bumper summer special
ou’re possibly too polite to mention. Maybe we’ve just been overdoing the cake a bit. Or maybe it’s our glands. But I can tell you’ve noticed. We’ve put on a bit of weight. There, we said it.
Fifty percent more in fact, and now we’re a gargantuan twelve pages huge. Why? Well, there’s just so much Beestonia cracking off. So much stuff to tell you about, so many corking writers eager to get their stuff in print, so much wonder around. 8 pages simply couldn’t hold it all. Summer in Beeston is a wonderful thing. Evening walks around Attenborough, sozzled afternoons in pub gardens, hot air balloons drifting over from Wollaton Park, having the whole University of Nottingham campus to yourself, al-fresco gigs (we were particularly impressed by last
month’s Beestival: let’s hope it becomes an annual event); the appearance of Beeston Beach on the Trent; dogs sticking their heads joyously out of car windows, and food – loads of food – just hanging off bushes (we’re eagerly eyeing up a couple of cherry trees just days away from providing a mountain of sweet treats); and of course, the Beeston Carnival on 13 July, where we are proud to announce we will be present. In fact, you may well be encountering us for the first time there, looking sun-stricken in our gazebo on Broadgate Park. If so, nice to meet you, where have you been all our lives? Flip over to the back page and you’ll find a wealth of information about where to pick up future issues; view back issues, and how to get in touch if you have something to share or say. Lord Beestonia
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BESTonian: Beeston’s finest The University of
Beestonia Our resident uni ‘insider’, Prof J, gives us the skinny on the good, the bad and the grant proposal of academic life at the thin end of the summer term...
The fish ladder
Our monthly salute to the Best of Beestonians.
ish use ladders. I didn’t know that. I have a ladder that goes into my bedroom and when Lord Beestonia bestowed this strange new knowledge upon me, my thoughts immediately turned to that.
The end of an academic year is a time of mixed emotions. For most students there is time to celebrate and be relieved that they’ve got through another year, or for some a whole degree and they can move on from university with a whole life to look forward to.
A ladder, like that one what I use? Don’t be stupid, stupid. Of course not. None the less, the idea was so intriguing I had to go and see it for myself. I took a trip to Beeston Weir, where a search told me such a thing could be found. Well, it’s not exactly a ladder per se. It looked to me more like a kind of tiny white water rafting course. I began to imagine the fish in tight skin wear, each competing to beat the other’s time. Who knows? Maybe they do. But what the heck is it for? Forgive me if you already know. I admit I’m not that well educated on fishy matters. I can teach you how to roll a cigarette. I can write an essay on fairytales and feminism (in short most fairytales are pretty sexist). I can even do a pretty impressive chicken dance. But I know cod all about fish…
Making sure each student leaves with the result they deserve is something all academics I know take a great deal of time and effort over, and we collectively spend many a man/woman hour checking spreadsheets and tables to make sure there are no mistakes with the final marks. No one likes to give a student a bad mark, not for one piece of work or for an entire degree, but at the same time we can only mark the piece of work that is put in front of us and some aren’t as good as others.
So anyway, hurrying on from that terrible pun, basically a fish ladder helps fish to migrate. It’s a series of steps (hence the name) that a fish can jump up to bypass a man-made obstruction, in this case the Beeston Weir. Isn’t that brilliant? I really can’t get over the concept that centuries ago (the earliest fish ladders date back to around the 17th Century) some men built perhaps a weir or a dam or something, then sat around afterwards one of them suddenly jumped up.
All marks are checked against a set of marking criteria, by our colleagues, and by external examiners from outside the university. This ensures, as much as can be ensured, that quality is assured and guaranteed from one year to the next as well as between students. It’s important to do, especially in a world when we are increasingly looking at how our students are employed.
“Dick! We’ve only bloody forgotten about the fish!” “What the heck are you carping on about?” “We’ve blocked this river. The fish can’t migrate!”
Employment prospects are something potential students are looking at more and more as they choose their university and their course, and who can blame them given the costs they now have to pay to attend. But this means university has now become somewhere that we have to provide transferable skills training as well as passing on subject specific knowledge. But this also means we have to ensure that students are leaving with a degree they deserve and that the quality of a given degree class is known by employers, hence the time taken to get the result right. Now the marks are all signed off and the students have gone and meetings have taken place to tie up the odds and sods a quite sort of calm descends over the university, largely as colleagues disappear for a holiday or two, or at least spend a substantial amount of time ‘working from home’. Some of us have one last crisis to manage as grant deadlines loom on 2 July (I should write about that sometime) or have Beestonian columns to write. But then two or three months of clear diaries before we start to think about next year’s teaching. Academic papers and books will be written, I’ll be heading out to look at a desert or two, and the odd conference will be attended. I trust you enjoy your summer, I’ve got a grant proposal to get back to… Prof J Campus may look pretty quiet and tranquil, but some of us are still busy.
To which the answer wasn’t a shrug and a “So what?” but a resounding “Gadzooks! We must right this terrible wrong… How about with a ladder?” The fish ladder must surely be a testament to mankind’s innate desire to be in harmony with nature. Then again, perhaps it’s a form of colonial guilt. We’ve taken, industrialised and polluted their waters, killed and devoured countless numbers of their kin, but hey, here’s a ladder. Buddies? I doubt you’ll ever wonder why fish eyes look so blank again. They hate us. They’d throw the fish ladder in our stupid faces if they could. And we’d deserve it. CF
Beeston fish ladder by Alan Murray Rust (www.geolocation.ws)
ummer is a funny (peculiar rather than haha) time at the University of Beestonia. The students have now all gone and the staff are giving a collective sigh of relief that can probably be heard all the way to Chilwell, or at least in the beer garden of The Vic.
diting The Beestonian is all about delegation. When we divvy up the jobs at our meetings, I try to ensure it’s fair. So when we were asked by Beast On Ink if we’d like a Beeston-themed tattoo, I gave the job to Tamar.
Who refused. I tried to explain that permanent modification is all in a day’s work, but she wouldn’t budge, even when I explained that it wouldn’t necessarily be on her face. After cajoling, bribing and a misjudged attempt at blackmail. I decided to go under the needle myself. Yes, I was prepared to show my love for Beeston and The Beestonian and have it marked on me for eternity. Then I bumped into our illustrator and cat-correspondent, Lottie Mew, who said she’d actually quite like to do it. Phew. Not that I’m scared of needles, or anything. Beast On Ink has been inking body parts on Chilwell Road for over five years now. It recently took on female tattooist and peroxide fan Rebecca Louise as one of its artists, and today she’s going to be wielding the needle “Hmmm. I suppose I’ve always just liked drawing on people. Even in the playground when I was a kid,” she says when I ask her why she took up tattooing. “I’ve had lots of other jobs before this: florist, wedding planner, window dresser; all creative roles though I was never content. Doing this for a living has been an ambition for years”. Lottie had chosen a bee as her tattoo, based on a Doctor Seuss drawing. Rebecca carefully traces it, before marking it out on Lottie’s leg. Are female tattooists a rare breed? “Yes, and it’s a shame. It still does have a macho image and there are some parlours where female artists are bullied. You need real dedication to get through. I was lucky: the guys here are great, really supportive and lovely to work with”. Do many women get tattoos? “About half the people that come in here are female. It’s shot up recently, probably due to people like Rhianna and Pink”. Rebecca starts tattooing Lottie’s calf, delicately tracing out the lines with a scary level of precision. Her friend, Sam, has come down from Doncaster to complete a tattoo on her back after Lottie. “Rebecca has a very gentle way of tattooing. Some seem to scrape, but she seems to have a softer touch. Tattoos are often addictive ‘cos of that idea of overcoming pain, but I quite like minimising that. Plus, we can have a really good chat when she’s inking me”. What’s the weirdest tattoo you’ve done? “I was asked to write ‘your name’ on someone’s breast once. That was a bit odd”. There’s a moment of terrified confusion as I try and work out why anyone would want ‘Lord Beestonia’ written on their boob. Who would be your ideal client? “Bruce Lee. Though there’s not much chance now! It’d have been nice to put a dragon on him. He had such a perfect body to work on”.The tattoo is now outlined, and ready for colour. Does it hurt, Lottie? “No, not a bit. I can feel the movement, but this is my third tattoo and least painful”. It looks a bit red, but there is no blood. I’m now starting to think I would have been fine after all. Rebecca is busy changing needles and ink, so I ask about other stuff she does, and it’s quite fascinating. She’s been actively involved with ‘Start Small’ (startsmall.org.uk), a charity with projects in Kenya for people displaced after the election violence there, and was out there recently. There is a small worry that just as she’s about to start colouring the tattoo,
With the shading complete, Rebecca dabs off the excess ink, and the tattoo is revealed, an identical copy of the design Lottie chose. It’s a million miles from when a fellow school-leaver paid a tenner to have ‘ STABBO 90’ and ‘STATUS QUO’ shoddily scrawled on his shoulder. This really is art. Lottie has her calf wrapped in Clingfilm, and it’s done. “So. When are you going to get yourself a tat?” Rebecca asks before I leave. I make an uncommitted noise, but if I do get one done, I’ll ensure she does it for me. And if anyone wants to offer us some free tongue piercings, I’ll get Tamar on the case. LB • Beast On Ink is at 49, Chilwell Road. Rebecca (and her colleagues) can be contacted on 0115 922 4199, or email email@example.com No illustrators were hurt in the making of this article.
HORACE’S HALF HOUR HE’S UP ALL NIGHT TO GET SOME… QUESTIONS (NOT LUCKY/CLEVER? ANSWERS ARE AT THE BOTTOM, TURN YOUR PAGE UP) 1. Who played Caractacus Potts in the film Chitty, Chitty Bang, Bang?
7. In what year did the NASA Apollo missions begin? Was it 1951, 1961 or 1971?
2.Who is the most capped England footballer?
8. Which German city was partly evacuated in November 2011 due to an un-exploded Allied WWII bomb ?
3. How many people make up a tug of war team? 4. In what country was cricketer Kevin Pietersen born? 5. What was the nickname of jazz musician Louis Armstrong? 6. What band named itself after an insult created in Star wars? And for which cult TV show did they create the title song?
9. Which word can go before payment, pour and town? 10. Where in the body is the zygomatic arch? 11. Which mythical creature is also known as Meh-Teh and Migo? 12. Which book by Douglas Coupland was named after, and almost entirely based on, a song by Morrissey?
DICK VAN DYKE / PETER SHILTON (125 1970 / 90) / 8 / SOUTH AFRICA / SATCHMO / NERFHERDER AND BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER / 1961 / KOBLENZ / DOWN / CHEEKBONE / YETI / GIRLFRIEND IN A COMA (YOU GET A BONUS POINT FOR GUESSING WHICH QUESTION WASN’T BY HORACE!)
the tram works play havoc with the electricity supply. Does this happen often? “It’s not been too bad. But I once was working on a large tattoo of an owl. We had a power cut early on, and this poor guy had a huge floating owl head inked on him. Looked very strange, but we were able to complete it later on”. She loves working on Chilwell Road, despite it’s present state as a construction site, “People really are nice here. There is a community spirit where people help each other out: since I moved back here people have fell over themselves to help me set myself up. I was bought up in Beeston, I went to College House and Chilwell Comp, so I’ve always known the community vibe is strong. Probably [pointing to the tram works] this has made that even stronger. I just hope the businesses pull through”. Amen to that.
Beeston between-the-lens Caught a great local classic in a snap or photo? Instagram-ed a brilliant Beeston landmark? Send your pictures in! The best entries get printed and you could win The Beestonian merchandise. (By merchandise, we mean a mug, maybe a tshirt...). With a new theme each month, we hope to showcase them as visual Beeston cap-doffings. This month’s theme word: RETRO Images should be: • your intellectual property and available for online and print publication • high quality (as a rough guide: 2000 pixels+ on longest length); • JPEGs • named: ‘title_your full name.jpg’. Don’t forget: we print in black & white – so selection will not be made by colour/tone qualities – just content! Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email (either download link or files as attachments, please: email@example.com Deadline for Issue 21: 24 July 2013 ISSUE 21 THEME WORD: ECHO
@nottinghasm, “Beeston town centre is changing, but there are still special glimpses of the past to be found.”
(Left) ‘Number 81, Chilwell Road’ – @hinnylass, (right) Broadgate Park in the ‘80s – Christopher Frost.
Photo © Christopher Frost, Nottingham Daily Photo
Jar of (Ox)Jam O ctober’s Oxjam is fast approaching and it’s looking like the most incredible one yet. This is Oxjam’s third year in Beeston, and we like to think it’s become something of an institution in town; as such we’ll be running a feature on it every issue up to the day itself.
Last year’s was a fantastic day of music and fun, and it all kicked off with the fantastic The Jar Family opening the day with a set in the Square that knocked the socks off our expectations. Unsurprisingly, they’ve gone on to have a great few months, picking up fans wherever they play, featuring as ‘New Band of the Day’ in The Guardian, being compared to the Pogues and Pete Doherty in Music Week, as well as getting on the telly. Lord Beestonia caught up with them recently... Lord Beestonia: First, thank you for storming last year’s Beeston Oxjam before trucking off down South to grace another Takeover. Tell me about that day – how many did you play, how many miles did you travel, and how long did you sleep afterwards? Jar Family: “I think we played about 10 of the Oxjam events around the country all together. It’s actually quite a blur now. All I know is we travelled almost 10,000 miles in a month. Beeston stands out though as it was the only one gig we’ve ever done outside of a Barclays Bank.” Oxjam is, I hope you agree, a great cause. How did you get involved in it? “We were told about it by our management and we all loved the idea of doing as many of them as we could… it’s for a great cause which we can all relate to ourselves.” What can you remember about the Beeston gig? “It was cold. There was a Gregg’s near where we played though, which helped. We turned up and there was nobody around. Once we started playing, though, people just seemed to emerge from nowhere. Definitely a stand out gig.” You’ve since gone on to have a fair amount of success and picked up lots of fans over the last few months. How do you feel about that?
“It’s great. For all the hard work that goes in – be it writing, recording or touring – it’s amazing to see good feedback on Twitter and Facebook from people who have seen us out on the live circuit. It’s massively empowering for an artist when so many people love what you are doing. We are very lucky boys. We’re just gonna work hard and hopefully we can live like this forever.” What’s next for The Jar Family? “The new album ‘Jarmalade’ is out soon. We’re not sure of the exact date yet but it’s within the next month or so. More gigs, more radio, more writing and planning. We’re just trying to raise our profile now by getting to every town and city in the UK and playing live. It’s been a cracking year so far so with a bit of luck...” When are you going to play round here (Notts)? “We tend not to know about gigs until shortly before they happen so I’m not sure what the plans are with regards to heading back to Nottingham, but it will certainly be happening. We’re well aware of the little buzz that’s brewing there for our music so it will happen soon!” Are you planning to play any Oxjam Takeovers this year? If so, I know a certain town in the East Midlands that would love to have you back... “That is a question for our super-booker, Jamesy. I’m not sure how many dates he even has left in our diary. I’m sure we could squeeze one in somewhere though, and Beeston wouldn’t be a bad shout. Can we play outside of Oxfam though, instead of Barclays?” LB • thejarfamily.com on Soundcloud at soundcloud.com/thejarfamily
• Oxjam is on Saturday, 19 October. Keep it free! To get involved in Oxjam, or find out what’s happening, go to: www.oxjambeestontakeover.org
Is the east end of the churc yard the site of the Beeston Plague pit?
Poxtowe Local historian, Jimmy Notts, sheds light on another piece of local legend.
petticoat and half her linen, except the sheets. Two of his fellow Beeston villagers were to have his hat, his over-stockings and his best breeches.
This weaver and Yeoman were just two dwellers in a small village of Beeston, which only had around 300-400 inhabitants. They died at the very height of the epidemic. In Beeston in 1593, if we assume the inhabitants to have numbered 300, the death roll of the time well exceeded that ratio.
here has been many outbreaks of plague over the centuries in Britain and across the world. The bubonic plague originated in Central Asia, where it killed 25 million people before it made its way into Constantinople in 1347. From there it spread to Mediterranean ports such as Naples and Venice. Trade ships from these Mediterranean ports spread plague to the inhabitants of southern France and Italy. It had spread to Paris by June of 1348, and London was in the grips of plague several months later. By 1350, all of Europe had been hit by plague. From this time to the mid 1600s, the disease was seen in England. Plagues devastated Elizabethan England. They were a constant threat to the people and the land. The most devastating to England was the bubonic plague. London was afflicted over a dozen times during the 1500′s. Beeston just like any other City, Town or village across Britain soon had its fair share of cases of the plaque and it quickly spread through Beeston.
The parish register records an isolated burial on 17 May. It may have been that of a victim. Fourteen burials are registered for June. At the end of July, the parishioners might well have thought that the worse was over, for the total burials of that month had dropped to eight. But the August figure was twelve. In September it was sixteen. The pestilence had now set in with a vengeance, Thirty four burials in October are recorded followed by thirty three in November. The first fortnight of December accounted for twelve. The longest period without the registration of a burial from the first of October to the thirteenth of December was three days later. There were two or three on may days. On one day there were four and on another, five. After the middle of December there was a break until Christmas Eve. On that day there was one burial, followed by two on Christmas Day. Five well spread over January might be said to have ended the epidemic, however there were three in March. For the whole of ten months, 139 burials are recorded, 86 of them in the twelve weeks between 21 September and 13 December.
Illustration of the Black Death from 1511 (courtesy of The Paul Nix Collection)
On 10 Ocotober, 1593, Thomas Arnold of Beeston, Yeoman, made his last will and testament. He left a quarter of rye to be distributed at “the discretion of four honest neighbors” among the poor of the parish. He left sixpences and shillings to his godchildren, his nephews and nieces. His brother was to have his best hat, a pair of blue stockings and his sword. So far, the will was like many others of the time and place. Thomas Arnold was. we know now dying of the plaque. On the next day, Matthew Baylie, Weaver, made his will, dictating it, probably to the vicar of the parish, William Jeffries. His wife had already fallen a victim, and he left to his friends and relatives her best frock,
In Beeston today there is no tradition or tales of this epidemic that has been passed down. There are no tales of heroism like that of William Mompesson of Eyam. There is no stone or plaque to mark the victims. There was no ‘pitch and pay’ gate like that near Bristol. There are no stories of voluntary separation from the surrounding countryside or of compulsory separation by the surrounding countryside. All we have today in Beeston to mark this great huge loss of human life, is just two or three pages of entries in the parish register and a few wills in the probate register at York. Also there is a rather vague suggestion as to the position of a huge plague pit in the Churchyard of Beeston’s St John the Baptist Church. JN • Jimmy is from Nottingham Hidden History, a fantastic group who unearth some incredible local stories. Go to nottinghamhiddenhistoryteam.wordpress.com
Bow Selecta It’s not all heroics in tights, y’know. At the end of the day, Nottingham’s *offical* Robin Hood, Beestonian Tim Pollard likes to get comfy in the study he’s installed in the Major Oak and chat about Beeston… take it away, o Hooded One.
’ve had a really weird but interesting morning. Don’t get me wrong, most of my mornings (and to be fair, days) have the potential to be at the very least odd, but perversely that’s not unusual. I’ve been Nottingham’s ‘Official Robin Hood’ (and my partner Sally Chappell ‘Maid Marian’) for quite a while now, performing and appearing as our most famous outlaw at events like the Robin Hood Pageant, the Robin Hood Beer Festival, civic parades, medieval banquets and events as diverse as last year’s Royal visit where we got to meet Will and Kate, the Olympic Torch celebrations in the Market Square (with Torvill and Dean) and most gloriously of all: opening the Robin Hood Mushy Pea stall in the Victoria Centre Market! All pretty odd, fantastic fun and a great honour and privilege. So why, in a house where the ‘phone can ring and I can find the Pied Piper of Hamelin is calling me (he’s a lovely bloke too, we visited his beautiful city at the beginning of May as special guests) was this morning so strange? Because I did a couple of interviews, one live on BBC Radio Nottingham’s Breakfast Show about their ‘SHOW YOUR COLOURS’ campaign, encouraging people to wear a red, white and blue ribbon in support of British Armed Forces from cadets to veterans past and present a month before the city hosts National Armed Forces Day on 29 June, and the second for a PhD student from Leeds University who interviewed me up at Nottingham Castle about Robin Hood and civic pride. So what has this got to do with Beeston, I hear you ask? Lots (thankfully). Both interviews concerned, in different ways, civic pride and how it manifests itself – when people are ‘proud’ of where they come from... why? And what exactly are people proud of? Coming from Beeston I began to talk about how much things have changed locally, especially of course (if you’ll excuse a medieval metaphor) the virtual disembowelment of Chilwell Road, the rest of the tram-ly shenanigans and how local people are reacting to it – and especially the moaning. Moaning is endemic. Gather any number of Beestonians together and there’ll be someone complaining about how bleak things are for the town – the traffic issues, the road closures, the shops disappearing and the lack of joined-up planning to make whatever we have left at the end of the process worthwhile. Will we have a proper Square again, with quality independent local stores or just a revamp of whatever hasn’t been bulldozed into yet another car park? But talking it through I realised that negative as it all sounds, moaning is a good thing - something positive and even more constructive than ‘I Heart Beeston’ bags. It means people haven’t given up. There’s still hope, a desire to see things better and a belief that they actually could be. It’s only when people stop moaning and give up that we’ve lost – so keep moaning and make Beeston proud! Tim Pollard, aka ‘Robin Hood’
he forecast for July sucks snail goo so far, doesn’t it? I’m tempted to scoot on straight to burning leaves and playing Conkers. But that would be terribly defeatist. And as we know, a gardener’s motto is ‘Habesne Plus Vini?’, which prompts all kinds of reserve, even in the most defeating of dampness. So here’s Four Main Tasks all gardeners can be getting along with, regardless of whether you need a parka or not: 1) Get out there. In sun, wind and rain, gardening is good for you. It’s good excercise, increases serotonin levels and I’ve never known anyone miserable while gardening who wasn’t just a bit of a weirdo most of the time anyway. Go out there, livid with whatever three-handed struggle you’ve got going on and I swear you’ll finish up a little calmer; with a greater likelihood of smiling at some point in whatever’s left in the rest of your day. 2) Give your plants a feed regularly. Tomato or seaweed feed is a good all-rounder once a week and, if you’re a plant nerd like me, and have tried a ‘feeding experiment’ on your toms, you’ll know it makes a difference. 3) Dead-head anything that flowers. Cutting of spent blooms keeps plants flowering through the season, and looks better generally. Flowers such as sweet peas, dahlias, roses, salvias and chrysanthemums should also be cut regularly in bloom as they’re repeat flowering. You can save a fortune not buying the bonkers-exotic bunches shipped from half-way around the world to our supermarkets and florists. Some home-grown flowers, such as nasturtium, calendula, Borage, carnation, cornflower, dandelion, chive and courgette flowers you can even eat. Dip in batter and fry them, chuck them on a salad or, for a liquid lunch, drop a few in icecubes for your Day Off cocktail. 4) Keep an eye out for slugs and snails. I don’t know your methods of disposal (do write in: firstname.lastname@example.org), but I like to go out late in the evening and collect slugs in a bag and chuck them at the far wall. But you can use beer traps, copper rings around your prize plants or just ‘borrow’ a few chickens. Please try not to use slug pellets. Hedgehogs have enough to contend with without unobtrusively playing russian roulette with their evening meal. Their numbers are plummeting, and the more hoggies you have, the fewer sluggies you have... so be kind, while there is still time (see britishhedgehogs.org.uk online for all things hog-friendly). TF
flying goose café
33 Chilwell Road, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1EH 0115 9252323 Open 10 ‘til 4 Tues to Fri / 9 til 4 Sat ▪ freshly prepared food ▪ good coffee ▪ relaxed atmosphere flying goose cafe has been described as ‘Nottinghamshire’s smallest arts venue’ and ‘Beeston’s Left Bank’! A café with an emphasis on Vegetarian, Vegan, Fair Trade & Organic food, freshly prepared to order. We would love you forever if you support us whilst the tram is being built as we shall remain open throughout this time.
Get shirty We’re well into Sport at The Beestonian. Tamar is a wizard on the pole vault, Nora is reigning Bulgarian darts champion and Wiggins is an ace at Kabbadi. Lord Beestonia and Prof J have even formed a synchronised swimming club. Thus, we invited North East exile and sports fan, Poolie, to pen us a piece.
Magic bean? I
But what about Forest and County? There was a smattering of Forest tops on the ‘reduced’ rail but no sign of anything magpie-related (other than Newcastle United). Sadly this is a scene repeated throughout the land, where local teams play second fiddle to the big boys.
you run a business, if anything, it’s on your mind. Sometimes, for some businesses, it just doesn’t last for one reason or another; I know, because I’ve browsed through their espresso machines for sale on eBay.
t has taken some years, but coffee is is now BIG in the UK. It’s the new ‘in’ thing and here to stay. So, looks like we’re ushering out the era of dingy pubs with grubby carpets and welcoming in a new era… it’s Coffee O’clock. But what does this mean for the people wanting to open their own shop? Is it really the dream it’s cracked up to be? Will it pay if eeston is like a lot of similar-sized towns in many respects. There are you pack up the day job? also many idiosyncrasies which make it special, but one pervasive It never ceases to astound me how frequently I hear people say to me that element which reaches into every nook and cranny is the influence their dream is to open a coffee shop. It seems that the thorns of working of big money football. life and the recession have given people the incentive to go out and do their Nottingham is home to two football clubs with proud traditions, yet a stroll own thing. But is this an exemplary attitude or should we consider anyone around Beeston on an average Saturday doesn’t necessarily indicate this. going at it during the current economic climate daft? In virtually all parts of the country excepting Merseyside and Tyneside, Since 1999, independent coffee shops have grown in number from 4100 to at any one time you are probably no further than 18 yards away from a 5633; not a huge amount compared to the 1300 chains that have rocketed Manchester United top. Beeston is no different, and you can add some to 10,090. So why have so few stuck it out? Well, we at The Bean have of the other never-off-the-telly teams to the mix – Chelsea, Liverpool, been included in that number of independents from then to the present Manchester City – even teams from afar such as Juventus and Barcelona. day. During that time, we’ve gained a little insight into what life looks like Now this in itself doesn’t have to be a bad thing, I’m all in favour of the for the coffee shop owner, and it’s not been all sun-drenched afternoons tradition of folk supporting the same team as their forebears (for my sins, snacking on Parisian croissants and espresso. So, why is the dream so I regularly dress my sons in the garb of my home-town team, Hartlepool alluring and what challenges could you face? United). Beeston is a vibrant and cosmopolitan conurbation, but surely In recent times, I have encountered people who seem to think that café it isn’t home to that many second and third generation Mancs, Scousers, owners live the high life. After-all, if you charge £2.50 for a drink and Cockneys, Italians and Catalonians? you’re busy, surely, you must be raking it in? Media coverage reporting that It’s easy to see how this situation has come to pass. The mega money the profits to be made on coffee are huge hasn’t helped. After-all, if your behind the top teams in England and the rest of Europe fuels a relentless drink costs 50p to make, then who wouldn’t be able to make a killing? But marketing machine which continually pumps out brand messages. Never what will life really look like if you manage to create a remotely successful been to Old Trafford or Anfield? That doesn’t matter in the multi-media coffee shop or deli? Can you really go at it without experience? world which extends to clubs having their own dedicated TV channels. The most successful hospitality business in the world is McDonalds. They Let’s face it, you need a bit more than some spare change to watch Forest net 17.5% of their sales in profit. An independent coffee shop in the UK or County these days, and the alluring way in which the ‘bigger’ teams are performing very well, should hope to net 12.5% with an owner-manager presented must be difficult to resist. Even the less glamorous ones will go present. That being said, to earn a salary of £24,000, the shop must sell at to any lengths to increase their turnover. least 100,000 coffees per year. If you think this sounds like a lot, it is. Beeston sadly doesn’t have a dedicated sports shop, the nearest such outlet Perhaps, it appears to be an easy life. Or maybe, doing 60 hour weeks being Sports Direct, located in Chilwell Retail Park. If you’re ever in there, for someone else doesn’t cut it and you’d rather do it for yourself… I’ve it is worth scaling the stairs to the first floor to marvel at the range of spoken to café owners who haven’t had a holiday for three years and work replica strips on offer. All the usual suspects are prominently displayed, seven days a week. They bow their knee and pledge fealty to an unfeeling, along with plenty of obscure ones such as Romania, Germany’s away kit, uncaring job that owns them, prone to its every beck and call and its every plus an Eastern European one I couldn’t fathom. demand, like it was their king. There is no escape, even at home, when
If my brainwashing techniques work, my sons will grow up to be dedicated ‘Poolies’ like me. If nothing else it will be character-building for them to proudly profess support for a perennially unfashionable ‘under-achieving’ team. However, if at some point they bow to peer pressure and decide they want to follow Forest or County then I won’t be too upset. After all, they were both born in the QMC and have lived here all their lives since then. If they decide they want to be a plastic Gunner or whatever then I’ll definitely leave my Hartlepool United memorabilia collection to someone else in the family instead. Hopefully the growing trend towards localism will extend to football, and more young ‘uns will take pride in the sporting heroes on their doorstep rather than the ones living in gated mansions in Cheshire. It’s a shame that the powers invested in Lord Leveson didn’t extend to dismantling even a small part of the Murdoch empire, as I would love to see the people’s game Poolie returned to the people. Local people that is!
So maybe you like the idea of chatting to your friends and sipping a coffee; it’s not going to happen… much. Forget 9 am and forget lazy weekends, they don’t exist any more. We’re here at 6 am preparing food and baking. You’ll start getting your regulars at about 7.30 am and you’ll thoroughly enjoy getting into the swing of things. It’s a joy to get to know people who come and visit every day. You’ll work the day out, through your busy lunch, moving like the wind to keep everyone happy and make sure everything is clean. If you’re lucky, you’ll leave by 7 pm. Prepare for some long nights doing paperwork. Repeat. Alex Bitsios-Esposito, The Bean
The Chilwell Ghost House
from 1850 stated that John Baguley had just died at Chilwell, confessing on his deathbed that about a quarter of a century earlier he had murdered a pedlar for his money and possessions, and buried the body. Armed with this one name and date, Alan was able to uncover much more evidence. This showed that the Baguley family lived at the Ash Flat House, owned by local landowner John Pearson, for whom Baguley worked. A pedlar, who regularly visited the area, had indeed gone missing in late 1827 and was never seen again. Witnesses said he had told them he intended to spend the night at the Ash Flat House and it was rumoured he was rather friendly with the family’s eldest daughter, Diana. It seems, however, that they were a family with a poor reputation in the village. Diana had three illegitimate children and in 1837, along with her sister Jane, was imprisoned for theft from two Nottingham shops. Baguley and his family were then evicted by Mr Pearson, and another family moved in. It was this family who first reported the strange happenings. They refused to stay in the house and were replaced by another family, who moved on just as quickly. The house had become the centre of a serious outbreak of poltergeist phenomena. Unaccountable banging on the shutters, objects moving, groans and other strange noises were what alarmed the inhabitants to such an extent that nobody stayed for long. Many local people believed all this was connected with the murder. The story quickly spread, and it is said that people came from many miles around to view the house and, hopefully, witness the strange goings-on. It is even claimed that in the 1840s special trains were run to Beeston Station to bring visitors to the area – a sort of ‘ghost-away-day-trip’ perhaps.
f you take a walk along the route of the tram extension west of Bramcote Lane, you will shortly cross Ghost House Lane, running down from Field Lane. In case you’ve ever wondered how it got its name, it’s because at the bottom, on what is now the corner of Valley Road and Pearson Avenue, there used to stand an old cottage called the Ash Flat House.
According to stories handed down over the generations, many years ago the house became the centre of some very strange goings-on, such that many people believed it to be haunted, and thereafter it was always known as the Ghost House. Not only was the house alleged to be haunted, but it was also believed that a murder had been committed there. But beyond these few brief facts, little more in the way of detail seemed to be known, and such written accounts as existed were equally sketchy. Prior to the Second World War, this area was covered with fields and orchards. It was only after the war that building work started on the Inham Nook housing estate, and the Ghost House was demolished in 1952 as the estate grew. Some of our older readers might even remember the house. Many will remember the stories they had heard about it as children.
John Baguley was never brought to trial, for he died shortly after making his confession. No relatives had reported the pedlar missing, but as an itinerant, his current whereabouts may not have been known. And as he was a Scot, he might not have had any family nearby. All in all, he was the perfect murder victim. There was never an investigation, and in any case, the murder was committed before the existence of a police force. The above is just a brief outline of what happened, but the book contains much more information and makes absorbing reading for anyone interested in local history, or who just likes a good, real life, mystery story. It is well illustrated with photographs, sketches, old maps and reproductions of old documents. But one mystery still remains, which Alan hopes might one day be solved – what happened to the body of the pedlar? John Baguley himself claimed he buried it. But exactly where? It was never found when the housing estate was built. But there is one stretch of land, very close to the site of the Ghost House, which has never been disturbed – until now. And this is where the new tram tracks are to be laid. Now, should some bones be unearthed when the diggers get to work… If that did happen, perhaps, once again, visitors will flock to the area by rail, this time by tram rather than steam train. Perhaps NET could arrange to sell special ‘Ghost Buster’ excursion tickets!
One was local author and historian Alan Dance, the author of two recently published historical novels, Narrow Marsh and Leen Times, both set in Nottingham. But his first book, published back in 1998 and now in its fifth edition, was a local history book which, for the first time, set the record straight about what really did happen at the Ghost House, all those years ago. And what an intriguing tale it tells. As a youngster, he had always been intrigued by this story of a haunted house and an unsolved murder, but when he tried to find out more details – who was involved, who was murdered and why; who was the murderer, was he ever caught and tried; and when exactly did these events happen, if they really did happen – nobody seemed to know. So, in 1996, he decided, out of curiosity, to see what he could discover. After considerable research in old newspapers, parish registers, census returns, wills and other documents in the Nottingham Archives Office and Library, he was able to piece together a fascinating account which shed light on events which took place over 180 years ago. A newspaper report
• The Chilwell Ghost – A New Investigation is published by Arundel Books (£4.99) Narrow Marsh (£6.99) and Leen Times (£7.99) are also published by Arundel books. All are available at WHSmith in Beeston and other bookshops, or direct from the publisher, post free, at 2 Audon Avenue, Chilwell, Nottingham, NG94AW. (cheques payable to Arundel Books).
AU CONTRAIRE... Will they ever agree on ANYTHING? We’re hoping not. Tamar and Nora empty their scabbards and clash swords. This month: SUMMER.
’m pale. Summer for me is some kind of mental and physical attack. On a daily basis I have to weigh up the arguments for Exposed (stared at and covered in suncream) Vs Covered-up (stared at and dead hot) all because I don’t tan. Ever. I have to contend with one of the few remaining prejudices it’s still apparently acceptable to have: paleism. It’s rampant. If you go on holiday and come back the same hue you were when you went, people seem to feel the need to point it out to you, as if you hadn’t noticed. They even add suggestions - as though you should be doing something about it. Well, UP YOURS. Once, during a particularly animated disagreement with a bully at school, I was finally called for being “just too bright”. I accepted this most agreeably, until someone pointed out that she appeared not to mean my ascerbic wit, wisdom and advanced argument style but the skin on my bones. To overcome this society-wide tan obsession, I’ve found I have three options: a) fake it (expensive and you’ll occassionally look like you’ve dripdried after a bath in Marmite), b) remind self that at least you’ll not look 60 when 40, and be pale and proud (works OK, but then you see a photo with you in it and mistake yourself for Lucy Westenra); or c) cover up with dark colours, stay out of the sun and pray autumn comes quick (but now you’re acting like like Lucy Westenra...). I usually end up doing all three, in tandem ad infinitum.
lthough summer provides me with plenty of reasons to hate life mosquitoes, moths and my allergy to UV rays, to name just a few, it’s also the only time of the year where I don’t dread leaving the house due to the pathological fear of losing digits through frostbite. [That’s actually a thing: Cheimatophobia. -Ed.] Yes I have to spend extortionate amounts of money on anti-histamines and insect repelling sprays, creams and electronic devices as well as deal with the mental damage inflicted on me by all sorts of critters when these things do not actually work, but I love summer. Of course, the word ‘summer’ is a bit of an exaggeration when describing the period of milder temperatures and lack of rain the UK experiences most years. Where I come from [Chilwell?- Ed.], we call that Spring. But I chose to live here, and after 13 years I too find myself somewhat bothered by the humidity relentlessly keeping us up at night approximately... ooh, four nights a year.
I really can’t think of a more endearing sight than students attempting to sunbathe in a park, during a cloudy, 15°C sort of day. It’s endearing because the end result they seek will never happen. Not unless they live in that park for a week. But over the years, I have found myself occasionally joining in. Sometimes, I like to get out my pitiful fold-up deck chair and sprawl outside, while pretending to have a quarter of the fun I had as a child on various beaches or by outdoor pools. At other times, I will go as far as If, like me, summer also means spending a small fortune on anti-histamines to turn on the sprinklers and run through them, while literally praying because you’re allergic to any one of the gazillion types of pollen floating to every deity going for a lovely tan that might finally deter people from around, then the misery of being out and about in the sunshine, streaming asking me whether I’m ill or just a really strange colour. Very rarely, I make snot and tears from every possible hole in your bonce won’t be lost on you. the mistake of going somewhere extremely warm in a bid to relive my It’s a kind of hell; you know very well you should be enjoying yourself like childhood on a beach or by a pool, only to realise that I would much rather everyone else but all you want to do is bury your head in iced water and be lurking in the shadows. But for that first hour or so, I am truly happy. be hermetically enclosed in a cocoon with your bed, laptop and a bottle of I may not be into gardening but even I can appreciate other people’s hard gin. Walking around with tissue rammed up your nose does help, but can, work as I adoringly stare at the beautiful flowers they have slaved over apparently, cause other issues of an anti-social nature. (memo to my parents: you may want to consider planting yellow and blue See, summer means Effort. Even if you love your garden it’s a lot of work. Granted, you get to enjoy the results of your labours – but no one who’s ever scrubbed one for a living says that about a nice, clean loo. Beers in a pub garden sound nice but are invariably ruined by smokers, flies, dogs, kids and permanent gazebos blocking the sun. At BBQs, you’ll get dissentry or there’s an inherent bias toward rice salad, and that’s if it doesn’t get rained-off. And if it rains we complain. If it doesn’t rain, we complain. British summertime is basically like growing a rose that doesn’t smell: a heck of a lot of effort for a futile snifter of nothing.
I can’t wait for it to be over. When evenings start drawing-in and leaves begin burning umber I can happily start thinking of bonfires, thick tights and hot dinners – all safe in the knowledge that my paleness won’t offend or shock and the only ‘burnt to a frazzle’ I need worry about is that fat beech log I just chucked on the crackling fire. Heaven. TF
flowers in our garden. It’s looking very pink right now), along with all of the greenery that surrounds us. It’s good for hiding crumbling old buildings and of course concealing oneself when unexpectedly encountering unpleasant acquaintances. And I suppose it all looks very pretty too. But even in England, I can still enjoy the best parts of our ten day summer: BBQs, the outdoor seating areas of bars and restaurants, long walks in the sun, daring to dip a foot or two in a little stream, leaving my cats outside at night and not caring about the likelihood of them perishing in some sort of blizzard, pretty floral dresses, the ability to walk home from a night out without dying of hypothermia, longer days, and being able to ditch my arch nemesis – the loathed pair of black, opaque tights. British Summer, I do love you and I’m happy you’re finally here. You are finally here, aren’t you… ? ND
s t a e B n o t Bees Our resident music reporter, Jimmy Wiggins, continues his relentless quest to find the cream of Beeston music. And moans about it.
ith Beeston becoming a strange hybrid of Cannery Row, The Shankhill Road and Gaza Strip, with a bit of shanty town thrown in, now might be the ideal time to investigate Beeston’s ‘night time economy’, bet you didn’t know there was a brothel on Chilwell Road? But what about us less-adventurous types who prefer not to be pissing fire for a month or becoming acquainted with a pimp called Nathan. Well we still have many choice eateries, decent pubs and even for those of an arty persuasion we have some kind of tweed-ran, lefty, cinema/ vegetarian club (can you guess who thought of this?) For those of us who are still looking for thrills (not the cheap sex, tourist sort) of a more cerebral and musical nature we have a special club. Yep it’s a Jazz Club, I was thinking of doing the rest of this article in a Jazz hipster, beat-poetry style, but instead I would like you to it in the voice of Scatman Crothers. For the uninformed, I guess you can use Morgan Freeman. It’s not really possible for me to write about these nights of Jazz without talking about the main man behind the endeavour, the wonderfully named Ian Beestin. As well as being into all things Jazz, Ian is the go-to drummer in these parts. I’ve seen him in many styles of band; imagine Animal from the Muppets with a multiple-musical personality. Actually don’t, drummers get a bad rap (just ask my small father – he too is a drummer) they aren’t all “shed
builders” and crazed, mouth-foaming Keith Moon types. Our man Beestin is so sophisticated he is the only person I have met who likes The Weather Report (Jazz fusion for those who were wondering). During our Jazz meeting-of-minds Ian detailed the setup of the Jazz nights, “Really, the opportunity to put on these nights came from playing in a rhythm section with a couple of guys – double bassist, Geoff Pearson and pianist, Neil Hunter. We originally got together to form the band Taba Time, when we discovered we really liked playing together.” With this nucleus, and some help from ex-BBC man Chris Moore, a year of Jazz Club nights were put on, showcasing Ian and co backing a roster of national and international Jazz talent. The first Jazz night, in 2012, featured internationally renown Saxophonist Tony Kofi. To put this in perspective dear reader, you can pay £5 to go upstairs at The Commercial Inn on the first Friday of every month and see worldclass Jazz musicians, who most likely will be off to headline festivals worldwide. That’s cheaper than a round of drinks. But surely, Jazz in Beeston would be a niche interest? Not so.“The average audience is 65 to 70 people. One of the reasons it works is that we’ve kept the price as low as we can. We’ve had really great support from Damien at The Commercial, who’s helped us make it happen.” “As well as keeping the price as low as we can, younger people we let in for free. That’s also really important to me, I would say our audience is relatively mature, some of our audience in their eighties. Because the formula is the rhythm section plus a guest, you always get something different, but of a high quality.” The 2013 roster for Beeston Jazz club has been rather sax-heavy (yeah I said sax). Assuming this issue goes to press before Friday, there is chance to see a rarity in the Jazz world: a female saxophonist, Karen Sharp. She allegedly has a
baritone sax bigger than her. After a summer break, Beeston Jazz Club returns on 6 September with Simon Spillet, another Sax player. Appearances will also be made by New York Sax player Greg Abate, and the legend that is Alan Barnes. So if you fancy a sophisticated night out that doesn’t end up involve kebabs, snorting lines of Daz in a grimy gents and waking up in a cell, get yer sen some Jazz in Beeston, me duck. For those who balk at the idea, try it you; might like it. For all us hipster daddyo’s who are already in the know, this is just what this town needs. I will leave you with a great Jazz quote from Miles Davis. When Davis’ questioning the increasing length of bandmate John Coltrane’s Sax solos was met with the response, “I don’t know how to stop”, Miles advised, “Try taking the fucking horn out your mouth”. So that’s it (you can stop reading in the Scatman Crothers voice if you wish, but you might not want to). You can see full listings online at beestonjazz. co.uk. It’s the first Friday of every month. And for those plank spankers who feel left out, there is talk of Scots legend Jim Mullen putting in an appearance. So before I disappear of to get involved in some night time action (knock three times on the cubicle and call me Tony) I will leave you with one more Miles Davis quote, “Jazz is like blues with a shot of heroin.” I suppose he would know. One more thing, if anyone wants us to review their local music for local people get in touch, we can hardly do it with just ONE submission. JW
Jimmy can be found selling all things guitar, and teaching Blues guitar, at The Guitar Spot,Chilwell Road, Beeston (and either The Crown or The Hop Pole of an evening. His is a lime & soda, though please...) theboozeworldofjimmywiggins. blogspot.co.uk
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“Very much enjoy reading The Beestonian whilst supping a coffee in the bean in Beeston. I just wanted to write to second the need for a cinema in this neck of the woods (re: issue 19). Until the tram is done, and Beeston is redeveloped, this faithful little town is looking a bit sad. I was born in Beeston, and my mum and dad tell me about the cinemas we used to have here, and it makes me want to shake the metaphorical shoulders of the powers that be. I mean who decides we get rid of this stuff? I wasn’t consulted? I wasn’t born, but that’s not the point. Bring back the movies to Beeston! I’d love to be able to walk to the cinema. Thanks The Beestonian for your good work. A small humble publication, with real professional clout.“ – Jemma Bennett (via email) “At 33Hearts we are fans of The Beestonian! We make handmade jewellery, and live in Beeston. We started a year ago, and are so proud of what we have achieved, we would love to share it with people who might appreciate it, too. And where else, we thought, than fellow Beestonians?! We’re online at: etsy.com/shop/33hearts facebook.com/33HeartsJewellery twitter.com/33Hearts – Adam and Rachel [ LOVE the fried egg pendant, Adam and Rachel! And shall be getting Lord B something from the dog poo range for his birthday if you branch out to cufflinks... - Assitant Ed.]
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If You Build It They Will Come
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Last month’s issue saw Lord Beestonia opining the lack of a cinema in Beeston. Well, it’s only a month later and he’s only gone and made one! Sort of…
Almost immediately after Issue 19 went to press we received a call from Café Roya. They loved the idea and suggested using their upstairs rooms for a cinema club. With a little help from Nottingham’s official Robin Hood, as well as the Beestonian team and OXFAM, the Beeston Film Club had its first showing on Monday, 2 July.
Alex Bitsios-Esposito, Alan Dance, Christian Fox, Nora, Jimmy Notts, Tim Pollard, Poolie, Prof.J, Jimmy Wiggins, Tamar
Twenty five of us piled into one of the upstairs rooms at Café Roya, which had been expertly made up by the Lord and Robin Hood. The windows were blacked out, a giant screen adorned the far wall, and first class air conditioning cooled us (okay, I’m being a touch hyperbolic) as we watched two short films, a music video and a feature film by Shane Meadows.
Top-notch scribes this issue:
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Café Roya even offered delicious vegetarian hotdogs, homemade popcorn and Bloody Marys. It was a great night. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, there were no loutish teenagers on their phones or talking all the way through, and it was virtually free (all that was asked for was a donation to help fund further film club nights, and a bit for OXFAM as well). Tickets are randomly assigned in a tombola fashion so if you want to get involved, join our Facebook page. We don’t know what we’re showing next week, but we’re sure the event will be just as ramshackle, and just as fun! CF
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