ISSUE 23: DING DONG MERRINESS IS NIGH FREE
Where are you, Ladbrokes? The University of Beestonia at the AGU / BESTonian: Sir Neil Cossons / Have faith in Hope charity / Tottle recall / Driven to distraction / Bow selecta / Little sod / New sign at the Vic / London calling / Cellulord Beestonia / For canals / A brand new dance / Horace’s half hour / Codeword / Au Contraire / Beeston Beats / Famous last words…
n June a small independent charity called ViTaL were in the process of being kicked out of their premises on the high-street in order to make way for a new Ladbrokes. The deal was done between the CP Walker and Ladbrokes in record time and it was necessary, insisted Ladbrokes, that the charity left as soon as possible. By July they were gone. It’s now December and the premises have lain empty and untouched for six months. We want to know what is going on. Theresa Cullen of Young Potential, who ran the charity shop, passes the premises on a near daily basis, and she is furious. “All the months we could have been in there, providing money for charity, they’ve amounted to nothing.” Does she have any idea why Ladbrokes are yet to move into the premises? And what about CP Walker? Theresa tells us “I don’t know. CP Walker don’t seem to know either.” We asked Stephanie Wilkinson at Beeston BID, who told us that Ladbrokes had taken out a long (10-15 years ) lease, during which they were planning to keep the place empty. We talked to Dan Walker at CP Walker, who also confirmed this ‘We expected them to get fittings in soon
after ViTal cleared out…but then nothing’. Is this a sort of land-banking, whereby Ladbrokes are sitting on the property, waiting perhaps for changes in gambling legislation before they do anything with the property, but well aware that they lose nothing if they eventually just sell the lease on? Is it an example of the legal, but cynical and damaging ‘sterilising capitalism’, where a firm takes properties to prevent rivals from moving in? We are still waiting for Ladbrokes response at going to print, but CP Walker / BID still haven’t had a response from emails sent in early December to the bookies, requesting using the shop as a temporary space for pop-up shops. Beeston deserves better than this. Losing ViTal, who provided much needed funds to the fantastic Beeston-based Young Potential charity and kept a space on the High Street vibrantly occupied was bad enough. To find they were booted out for pointless reasons is plain wrong. Will Ladbrokes do the decent thing and stop playing games with our town centre, and either occupy the shop or let someone else in? Don’t bet on it… Lord Beestonia and Chris Fox
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The University of
BESTonian: Beeston’s finest Sir Neil Cossons
Our monthly salute to the Best of Beestonians.
Resident uni ‘insider’, Prof J, represents The University of Beestonia amongst thousands of Earth Scientists in San Francisco. A sciencefest nerd knees up or serious discussion on all things Geophysical? We may never know the difference...
A Beestonian at the AGU
’m writing this looking out over a billboard that tells me, according to Don Julio Gonzalez that, “when you have passion, you have everything”, but that’s a discussion for another day…
I’m in San Francisco along with another 24,999 Earth Scientists (I haven’t counted them so there’s probably an error of about 2000 on that estimate) for the world’s largest gathering of such folk, the American Geophysical Union’s Annual Fall Meeting – or AGU for short. I’m used to dealing with big numbers, but seeing that many people, or at least a fair proportion of them, in one place at one time puts them into perspective. They (we!) have come here to talk and discuss each other’s work, to catch up on the latest developments in the science and to browse hundreds of stalls selling scientific equipment, books etc. There are scientist here working on every aspect of the Earth you can think of; hydrologists, meteorologists, mining geologists and those like me interested in reconstructing the climate of the past and discussing climate change and human impact on the environment. These are still big issues to discuss; the next IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report is in the process of being published and released, and this meeting is one of the few places you can listen to people working on all sides of that science; climate modellers, atmospheric scientists and geologists amongst others. Of equal importance to the science, if not more so, the impact of these changes on an increasingly resource-stressed planet and the people who try to live on it will also be discussed. One of the current discussions in my field (see last Beestonian for discussion of those) is for how long people have been having a significant impact on the climate and/or the environment. The former is less easy, if not impossible, to prove the latter is undeniably a long time i.e. thousands rather than hundreds of years. People have been farming for the best part of 10,000 years and this has had a landscape changing impact on a global scale. Deforestation was widespread, in the UK probably from around 5,000 years ago, and people have been manipulating water, for irrigation and drinking for at least as long in some parts of the world. Given what me know about feedbacks between different parts of the earth it seems likely that these changes would impact global climate as well as the Earth’s surface, but if that was to a degree that anyone noticed is something we will never fully know – although we can probably get quite close to being sure. Best leave it there, I have some climate modellers to go and talk to… Prof.J
ir Neil Cossons, erstwhile chairman of English Heritage, the National Maritime Museum, Ironbridge Gorge Museum, the Science Museum; and Pro-Provost and Chairman of Council at the Royal College of Art, was born and raised in Beeston. His father was Arthur Cossons, a local historian and head teacher of Church Street (or Manor) School who, in 1929, found the surviving bit of our Saxon market cross, now housed beside the Bromley House (now apartments) on Church Street. Arthur Cossons led many campaigns to save areas of historical value or interest from demolition, even before the word ‘heritage’ existed. Not all succeeded, such as the Alms Houses in Nottingham (or, as we now know them: ‘Maid MarionWay’) but what did succeed of it was his son. Whether through nature or nurture, this love of the history of his surroundings was passed on, and Sir Neil went on to share his father’s strong interest in the past lives of places, as well as a keenness for keeping them. When he returned to Nottingham recently to give a keynote speech about his father, he said, “I can date my interest in history and buildings back to the campaigns by my father.” One of his first jobs was as a railway porter at Beeston station during school holidays. Sir Neil left Beeston to study Historical Geography at Liverpool University. Despite realising his lofty ambitions in heritage and industrial archaeology, Sir Neil never quite could leave Beeston behind. Returning here many times to support the work of local historical societies, Sir Neil even aided the successful effort to save Manor School (his school, and the school where his father was head teacher) from demolition. When speaking at an event for the 150th Celebration of the Dunedin Gasworks Museum, he said, “One of the aspects that appeals to me, rather perversely, is where you see groups ... taking on what for most people would be either a lost cause or something where people say ‘why on earth would you bother...?’ and really bringing them to life” [sustainablelens. org.uk] I wonder what he’d make of the current and proposed changes to Beeston, and what would he think might be the impact they have on the manifestations of Beeston’s heritage? Appointed OBE in 1982; knighted for his work in heritage and museums in 1994, and elected Honorary President of the Beeston and District Local History Society in 2010, Sir Neil has advised worldwide Governments, museums and agencies and reviewed some of the best research in the field, as well as published and spoken widely for more than forty years. We therefore think it high-time we bestowed upon him the paltry honour of being our last, but most rustily-lovely, BESTonian of 2013 TF
Have faith in Hope charity
And that’s what brings me here, to Hope House on Boundary Road in Beeston, part of the Trussell Trust network of food banks. Of course it’s tragic that such a place should need to exist in this world, but it does need to. Under-staffed, over-subscribed, always in need of more donations and volunteers, Hope House is doing such valuable work. It can’t be overstated the good that it, and the Trussell Trust, is doing. Four days a week it opens its doors providing desperately needed food to members of the community who are otherwise overlooked by society at large. These are people just like us, dealt terrible hands by circumstance, bad banks and even worse politics. The volunteers who are helping them are just like us as well, lucky and secure, grateful to the cosmic roulette wheel that landed in their favour, but also aware of just how easily that can all change. They’re donating their time to help those less fortunate. We should all be doing the same.
he Winter Solstice (or Christmas as I believe some are now calling it) is an expensive time of year. Mass consumer culture demands that we spend as much money as we possibly can. More than we have, even. We’re confidently informed that it is our right and our duty to lavish ourselves and our loved ones with expensive gifts, just like Jesus didn’t. But there’s another world that lives quietly alongside our own. Whilst we are sitting inside surrounded by family and friends, eating turkey, pulling crackers, telling terrible jokes, there are people out there (in Britain today, in the 21st Century) who can’t even afford to eat. It fills me with a terrible sense of guilt and shame that in this day and age, at the time of the biggest Christian festival of the year, there are still people who haven’t got enough money to feed their children.
In a time where politicians and papers are demonising the poor and those who need our help, we all need to remember the roots of the upcoming Christmas festivities. I don’t believe in Jesus or any kind of god, but I do believe in the message that is the often forgotten cornerstone of Christianity, that of helping those less fortunate and everybody being equal and deserving of love and respect. Please think about the poor and hungry this Christmas, and donate some time and some food to Hope House. CF Hope House & Boundary Community Centre, Boundary Road, NG9 2RF 0115 943 6081, firstname.lastname@example.org / westnottingham.foodbank.org.uk * POST SCRIPT: There was a vote in the House Of Commons on the December 18 to look into the dramatic rise of foodbanks. The debate drew upon the fact that the government turned down a £2.1 billion subsidy for foodbanks from the EU. The vote lost, the good that could have come of it lost as well, and one of those 296 MPs who voted against it was our very own Anna Soubrey. Food for thought, eh?
Two years ago, we meant to run a piece on the Tottle Brook, Beeston’s lost river, but forgot. Oops. So we gave Christian Fox a brand new pith helmet and diving rod, and sent him on his way... many thanks to John Morgan for help and research.
who sought out the brook and whose copy is now lost to the backwaters of myth and legend? And what of the brook itself? Was the source discovered, and its truth too great, too immense, to be constrained to the written word? These thoughts raced like a violent undercurrent through my mind. What would become of me? I was afraid.
December 18th. Late. A cold wind beats off against the wall.
All night I was plagued by nightmares and the memory of them was a starscaled fish darting in and out the darkness of my mind.
I picked up the ringing ‘phone. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the source of Tottle Brook.” That disparate voice could only belong to Lord Beestonia himself, a man hard to find [you’re kidding, right? He’s EVERYWHERE – Assistant Ed.], even harder to pin down, and harder still to pull pins back out of. ‘Tottle Brook’? I had never heard of it. What, or who, was it? Was Lord Beestonia asking me to research the lineage of some lesser known footballer’s wife? No, he told me, an air of Indiana Jones-esque mystique in his voice, it was a brook. “Beeston’s lost river.” He said. Christian A. Fox and the Lost River. Now that was a film I’d watch. I accepted the mission. Now, where to begin? Head to a dive bar to rough up some drunks for information? Call my contacts in the NPD? Or maybe surf the internet? The hard rain against my window, and The Simpsons double beginning imminently, told me it was an internet kind of day. Within minutes I discovered that in issue One of this very magazine, Lord Beestonia promised that within the next issue the source of the Tottle would be discovered. What happened that threw this promise off course for a further 22 issues? What tragedy befell the reporter, now surely dead,
December 19th. A stark morning light casts my hangover in a dark shadow, but will it illuminate the truth of Tottle Brook?
So with a sense of dread, I continued my Fitzcorraldic search. Using maps dating back as far as the turn of the 20th century I had found that Tottle Brook came into being around the now Bilborough Road, born from the wet and slippery lovemaking of the Erewash river and Oldmoor Pond. The two came together millennia ago when the moon and the stars were bright eyed children, when neolithic man roamed Britain trying to come up with places to put large stones to really confuse people in the future. Oldmoor pond was already then a lonely spinster, whose wood was overgrown and hardly ever touched, but the young Erewash reached out across Trowell Moor and stole a kiss. Their relationship was frowned upon by the fluvial community at large, but they didn’t care. And the confluence born of their messy lovemaking was Tottle. Was this truly the source? Or was I losing my mind? Awash in a riffle of confusion I sought out Lord Beestonia. He was at his manor, a black cat draped across his betweeded knees, which seemed to stare deep into my very soul. “Well done, young traveller,” he said from his throne. “You’ve discovered it.” I fell back into my chair with a heavy heart, relieved that I had reached the end. I had found the source of Tottle Brook, and now I CF could die.
Driven to distraction
have been along Bramcote Drive and down Park Road, until it was closed for digging up. This left Grove Avenue, which runs parallel to Park Road from Bramcote Drive to the High Road. For whatever reason, someone in charge of these things decided that Grove Avenue isn’t up to having more cars than normal on it, and closed it off at the junction with the High Road. Even though Grove Avenue itself isn’t being dug up yet, and it has plenty of speed bumps to calm any potential danger. I’ll repeat that I realise roads need to be closed, but I just can’t understand why Grove Avenue has had to close. All it has done is force more traffic along Bramcote Drive and down Bramcote Lane. These roads were bad enough to negotiate with the first round of closures, but they are virtually becoming car parks in the rush hour. This obviously has a knock-on effect for the rest of the roads around too. Imagine if you will a fork with four tines. If one of them snaps off, you can still use it fairly well. If a second tine snaps off you can still use it with a bit of effort. Snap the third one off and you’ve got a bit of a job on your hands. You may as well use a skewer. This is exactly what has happened to three of the four roads which feed the High Road. For anyone living in the general area this must be a thoroughly frustrating situation, but it runs deeper than that. As you know, the High Road has been a bombsite for many months now, and despite several different schemes to get shoppers schlepping through the mud and other trip hazards, the businesses along there are suffering badly. I wouldn’t say all of them rely 100% on passing trade, but if no-one passes at all then there’s a real problem.
have to state that I am very pro-tram. If you’ve heard the arguments for it, I agree with most of them. I think it will bring business into Beeston and the wider area, take lots of cars off the road, and allow people to get to and from work or play in much less time. Most of the people I have spoken to who are against the scheme have never actually travelled on a tram, or appreciate the positive changes they have brought to the areas they run in currently. If I had to describe the experience to a tram virgin, I would say its quite similar to the London tube system, only above the ground and with ticket inspectors instead of barriers. It pulls up, people get on and off via multiple entrances, and it pulls away again fairly quickly.
“For anyone living in the general area this must be a thoroughly frustrating situation, but it runs deeper than that.”
What is even more galling is the fact that since early December the bottom end of Park Road looks entirely passable - the hole has been filled in and tarmac-ed over, yet still the barriers and cones remain. So that’s two perfectly usable roads which have been closed for seemingly no other reason than it is the fashion in Beeston at the moment.
They don’t get caught in congestion anywhere near as often as buses, thanks to a signalling device which makes traffic lights change in their favour as they approach, there are ‘tram only’ lanes, and the routes are generally planned in order to avoid the jams. This makes the journey quicker, smoother and much more reliable. I use them once or twice a month, and they are a great ‘modern’ form of transport.
The only thing that’s keeping me going at the moment is the thought of the project manager in charge of road closure timings out on a site visit in Beeston to see how things are going. He/she is hungry, mainly because they gave up trying to eat their dinner as they only had a skewer to use. He/she is also busting to empty their bladder/bowels, but there isn’t much chance of this in the short term as they are stuck behind a bus on Bramcote Drive. They are very low on fuel thanks to having to remain in first gear for the last half hour, and they’d forgotten that trying to fill up at the supermarkets seemingly involves a round trip to the city centre or Stapleford.
Needless to say, I was very pleased when the go-ahead for the line through Beeston was finally rubber-stamped, although I expected a fair bit of disruption while it was constructed. As the cliché handbook tells us, ‘You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs’. However, it seems like some of the eggs have been cracked and left open for ages by a clueless monkey, before another one comes along to do anything with them.
The bus can’t progress very well as there is a lot of traffic in front of it, and plenty more trying to feed in from the side roads. The project manager is only a couple of hundred metres away from the Portaloos, but there’s no chance of getting to them any time soon as they have to take a two mile diversion. If they leave their car anywhere other than the designated parking areas then they know they’re guaranteed a parking ticket.
I’m no civil engineer, and I’m not sure exactly what goes into a massive construction project like this, but from where I stand behind the barriers and fencing, it looks incredibly badly planned. Is it really that difficult to co-ordinate road closures in a sensible way? I completely accept that some roads need to be shut for long periods, and I know that some need to be closed at the same time, but something happened a couple of weeks ago which made me want to head-butt a traffic cone into tiny pieces.
You can imagine the rest however you want - on some days my fantasy runs to the project manager having run out of fuel, soiled themselves and been given a fine for a parking violation too. You can add in your own nasty surprises – it really will make you feel better as you stare at the brake lights of the vehicle in front for a further ten minutes.
If you wanted to get anywhere near the High Road from the north west of NG9, your best bet would have been along Bramcote Drive then down Cator Lane. Until it was closed for digging up. Another option would
I hope that the disruption and unnecessary inconvenience will not linger too long in the memory when the work is all finally finished, and that all the anti-trammers currently ‘I told you so’-ing will soon see the benefits. Until then I will keep thinking of that project manager getting their just desserts. Poolie
Bow selecta A very merry man.
love being Nottingham’s official Robin Hood. I’ll give you it’s an odd (and not particularly lucrative) job for a middle-aged bloke but actually it’s a great privilege and wonderful fun, where I get to do lots of very silly things and really enjoy the excitement and enthusiasm of everyone from toddlers to pensioners as everybody has a favourite story, film, historical point, opinion or anecdote they hold dear. I love it.
s the last Little Sod Ever, let’s make this short and sweet; a Littlest Sod, if you will... Simply clear all those fallen leaves (but leave a few for critter hide-outs); plant some ivies in your empty pots and stick them somewhere you can see them from the window indoors - pale leaved ones go a lovely bronzed colour and it’s better than an empty tub); put fairy lights in your garden - in a tree, around a shrub or clustered around the door. Anything to bring a bit of cheer to what would otherwise be darkness spread dazzlingly wide during the winter after 4pm. And I’m not just talking about Christmas. Garden Lights are exempt from the statute of limitations of advent. Lastly: FEED THE BIRDS. If you do only one thing in your garden TF this month make it the last one.
New Sign At The Vic
One thing a lot of people jokingly ask though is “Have you stolen from the rich recently? I’m poor!” I usually reply, “Finding anyone rich is getting harder these days”. Sadly it really is a lot easier to find people in need so I believe it’s really important to use the Robin Hood character to help support local (and national) charities - and people. Last weekend I Robin-ed at a Help for Heroes fundraiser in Aslockton and then thoroughly enjoyed a superb Doctor Who themed evening at The Johnson Arms (near the QMC) organised by the fantastic and very hardworking Matt Goodwin. With a costume competition, raffle, screening of the 50th anniversary episode, a specially brewed beer from Castle Rock Brewery and some great hand-made cakes they were raising money for the Anthony Nolan Trust and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the QMC. It was marvellous - and just one of the great local events to help raise money for good causes held locally in just over that weekend.
“Finding anyone rich is getting harder these days. ”
And now the weather’s turning, Matt’s helping with another fundraiser and it’s something well worth mentioning - The Rucksack Project Nottingham. Their aim is simple: asking people to head to a charity shop and spend maybe £15 on buying a cheap second hand rucksack and filling it with gloves, consumables, a sleeping bag and other items to aid a homeless person over the Winter months and then donating it. (More details on their Facebook page, search for ‘The Rucksack Project Nottingham’). As I mentioned last issue, Sal and I are having our first baby in January. We helped, too, to bring up four children between us in earlier relationships and they’re all still an incredibly important part our lives. We have great families, and good friends. I’m very lucky. Some people aren’t that lucky and have neither a support network or even somewhere warm to stay. Allegedly ‘Charity begins at home’, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve seen several homeless people in Beeston, including someone on Wollaton Road trying to sleep rough under a duvet and that’s pretty close indeed to home. These days, if you’re as lucky as we are with family, friends, children and a roof over your head you don’t need to steal from the rich. You don’t even have to be rich, but if you can - just make a small amount of money work twice by buying goods from a charity shop and donate them to a homeless person who’ll really appreciate it... that way, we can all be Robin Hood. TP
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difference: its pub sign halfway up a spire, pub tables where pews once stood, and gigantic stained-glass windows offering a refreshing change from wall-mounted flatscreens showing Sky Sport. Although I daresay many patrons possibly experience something much like the Rapture after nine pints of Guinness.
MATT TO WRITE INTRO
o, as Elvis Costello once said, I just don’t know where to begin. I mean, did any of this actually happen? I imagine there’s quite a few of us – Lord Beestonia and Nottingham’s own Robin Hood, Tim Pollard among them – asking ourselves the same question. It just seems so unreal. On Monday 11 November 2013, three miles outside Nottingham, in a little room above a vegetarian restaurant, the great British director Shane Meadows came and screened his near-legendary early short films to a delighted audience of some 30 people, before talking about his life and work for over an hour. Tickets for the event were a tenner a head (£5 concessions), with every penny going towards the Typhoon Haiyan appeal. Other than that, no one made any money from this, least of all Shane, who initially rocked up in a tracksuit, on one of those tiny bikes.
Vicky McClure, Shane Meadows and Ali; one for the mantlepiece.
© Christopher Frost
Other (very pleasant) surprises were to come: remarkably friendly bus drivers, who greet you warmly as you board – and wish you well when you alight. For a born-and-bred Londoner, this is kind of mind-blowing. A gargantuan 24-hour Superstore, containing aisle upon aisle of boozy substances to spirit away at all hours. And, over in Beeston, one of my new favourite Meccas – an enormous pick ‘n’ mix sweetshop. Not only that, but the locals genuinely greet one another with the phrase “Ayup!” Again, as Some six hours later, he’d be offering to auction off his Fred Perry shirts a Londoner, this pleases me immensely. Plus, of course, it was marvellous (which no longer fit his newly svelte frame) to help raise funds for The Beestonian Film Club at Café to finally meet some excellent pals I’ve only ever chatted with over the Roya. Which is fitting: after Internet – and make some new ones. all, the Film Club’s inaugural Back at Café Roya, the first thing Meadows (my favourite contemporary movie, back in July, had been British filmmaker) said to me was, “Ali Catterall – the cult British movies Meadows’ own Le Donk and book, right? It’s on my Christmas wishlist – I’ve asked my wife to buy it Scor-Zay-Zee. for me.” After that, I admittedly didn’t take very much in, but somehow managed to pull it together enough to conduct the interview, during which The point being: Beeston doesn’t have its own cinema. the Master of Midlands’ dirty realism answered my questions – the kind he’s presumably been asked a thousand times before – with much good Not a designated bricks grace and humour. and mortar job, anyway. So this is it: a handful of cinema enthusiasts with an old projector, showing everything from cult classics like Theatre of Blood and Phantom of the Paradise, to locally sourced films and documentaries from local filmmakers; the likes of Benjamin Wigley, whose terrific documentary Paa Joe & The Lion concerns a celebrated ‘fantasy coffin’-maker from Ghana. And Frank Harriman and John Currie, whose powerful and moving Go with God (Khoda Hafez) dramatises a condemned man’s final half-hour, in real time.
“it was marvellous to finally meet some excellent pals I’ve only ever chatted with over the Internet – and make some new ones.”
And, well, local filmmakers like Shane Meadows – who must have been reminded of his own early years, starting out, when owing to a lack of local film festivals he and his mates set up one of their one in a nearby cinema. Not yet a year old, but already proving incredibly popular, the Beestonian Film Club is continuing the tradition; a wonderfully passionate, grassroots approach, during an era of uncertain transition for cinema, and the business of cinema. As Q&A host for the evening, this was my first trip up to this part of the world; it won’t be my last. Travelling’s thirsty business – and one of the first things to greet me after alighting from Nottingham Coach Station was the heaven-sent if frankly surreal sight of the Pitcher & Piano, which combines two of humanity’s most enduring crowd-pleasers: alcohol and Christianity. Although judging by the set-up here, the results would pretty much appear to be: Alcohol – 5, Religion – Nil. Housed in a cavernous, de-consecrated Unitarian church on High Pavement, it’s a pub with a
Even geniuses have technical issues
© Lewis Stainer
Meadows is famously a compulsive filmmaker, having directed dozens of short films; anything from three-minute skits to 40-second dramas shot on mobile phones. Prior to the Q&A, we were treated to several of them, including The Datsun Connection, comedy crime-caper Where’s The Money, Ronnie and Stars of Track and Field, starring a pre-fame Paddy Considine,
firing on all cylinders. Interview topics covered included his early influences (“I watched Mean Streets every day for six weeks”); on getting such naturalistic performances out of his actors (“Not everyone’s meant to be an actor, but everyone can give at least one good performance”); on This is England ’90 (“I’m rehearsing with the cast in December, so hopefully it’ll happen… for the younger members, the [Baggy era] will be their moment”); on his new film project about the late Tommy Simpson – a Tour De France cyclist from Nottingham (“He’s been a bit airbrushed from history”); and what he’d do if he couldn’t make films (“I could work in the kitchen here, maybe!”). There were some great questions from the audience too – including one for regular Meadows collaborator and fellow BAFTA-winner, the hugely talented and lovely Vicky McClure, sitting inconspicuously at the back. They both hung around afterwards to chat, pose for photos and sign autographs, during which Vicky revealed she never misses an issue of The Beestonian [*Assistant Ed. dies happy* - Ed.]
“Meadows is famously a compulsive filmmaker, having directed anything from threeminute skits to 40-second dramas shot on mobile phones”
Some thanks are in order: firstly, to Lord B. for the invite – and for the use of the sofa; to Christopher and Gail Frost, who filmed the event; to Café Roya’s own Roya Bishop, who served up some amazing grub – not to mention some splendid organic Amaretto, as this writer can attest. It’s no surprise that, according to TripAdvisor, the Wollaton Road venue is ranked the number one restaurant in Beeston; and to everybody who turned up and made this shambling old London film hack feel very welcome. Finally, obviously, massive thanks to Shane Meadows – who, one night in November, three miles outside Nottingham, completely lit up a little room above a vegetarian restaurant. I guess our Christmas miracle Ali Catterall came early this year!
arly on in my professional relationship with Lord Beestonia he revealed to me his idea for a Beeston film. Based upon the misconception that Beeston had anything to do with bees, he wanted to explore the weirder and more interesting aspects of Beeston and its history. We worked on a script together, gathered a team together and began shooting in the Autumn of this year. It’s now December and we have a trailer that can be seen on Youtube, and the final cut is slowly gathering pace. Our brilliant team – DP Melvyn Rawlinson, editor and special FX guy Dominic Smith, our fantastic lead man Jamie Clayden, professional photographer Lewis Stainer, Lord Beestonia manning the helm and myself
doing everything else – is really optimistic that that finished product will be something special, a love letter to Beeston. Look out for Beestonia: A CF Psycho-geography in 2014!
Mistletoe or whine?
Clockwise from top left: PCSO Andy Richards, Will (of the Greyhound fame), Simon Holmes (AKA Santa).
We stop a few Beestonians to ask you about Christmas plans this year, and your predictions for 2014... and only go and bump into Santa.
What are you doing for Christmas? Andy - “At home having some days off!” Will -“Visiting my mum and teaching my daughter how to make pomander.” Simon - “Spending it with my brother and parents.”
What are your predictions for Beeston for 2014? Andy - “I’d like us to get back to some normality with the tram.” Will - “Hopefully we’ll see something new, maybe a gentlemen’s tailors.” Simon - “Hopefully the tram will be finished on time, but I think that’s a big wish!” So we make that: Mistletoe 3 : Whine 2 Happy holidays, Beestonians, whatever it is you’re doing with it!
Credit: Jimmy Notts, Nottingham Hidden History Team
Local historian, Jimmy Notts, sheds light on another piece of local legend.
were recruited from far afield, and developed distinctive dress and customs which alienated them from the local community.
However, they performed a great task and completed the work at the cost of £80,000. The canal was entered from the western side angles – the eastern one connected with the canal itself, while the southern one enabled boats to enter the Trent below the weir and use the shallow waters by Wilford if they wished.
he Beeston Lock and Canal today is a pleasant and beautiful spot. The area around the lock has been in continual use since at least the Bronze Age. Being close to the River Trent, the establishment of the settlement ‘Beeston’ or more specifically ‘Bes-tun’ was an ideal location. By the river, the ground had been cleared by the early Bronze Age settlers to reveal lush green meadows and fields.
William Jessop. (gerald-massey.org.uk)
The rye (or bent grass) would have grown wild. This is where we get the modern name of ‘Beeston’ from. It meant, in Saxon, the ‘tun’ or settlement of ‘bes’ – the bent, or rye, grass. Today the area by the river, is called the Rylands and if you look carefully you can still see rye growing wild. The River Trent has always been an important river. For centuries, the river has been used for the transportation, mostly commodities like lead, copper and coal. In the Bronze Age there was a pile settlement located both on the Beeston side of the river and across at Clifton. The pile settlement was basically dwellings built on oak stakes. The piles were grouped close together and would have supported a platform upon which huts would have been built — a village on stilts. These were found in 1938 along with two dug out canoes. The Pile settlement and other archaeological finds, were found during gravel extraction work. By the end of the 1700s the river was presenting difficulties in navigation with shallows, currents and floods to contend with. Also the old Trent Bridge at Nottingham was causing continuing problems.
At the entrance to the locks a set of worker’s houses were built. The main and earliest one, overlooking the passenger bridge was built for the lock keeper. It was his job to collect the tolls from the passing barges and boats. The job was known to be a lonely occupation. The nearest house then to the Lock was 19 Dovecote Lane, the former Goat Inn, which is now a private residence.
In 1777 William Jessop, the engineer for the Trent-Mersey Canal, surveyed the Trent and he subsequently recommended that certain cuts should be made. One was at Meadow Lane in Nottingham. The other, more important to Beeston, was to construct a canal from the village to join the Nottingham Canal at Lenton. In 1793 the Trent Navigation Company was formed with Jessop appointed as the engineer.
As traffic through the canal increased, so it became necessary to provide facilities for the barges and boatmen. By the nineteenth century two Inns had been built. These were the Jolly Anglers by the canal side and a little further away was the Boat and Horses. Eventually by 1830, a small community had grown up in this area. We all know it today as the JN Rylands.
Jessop and his gang of ‘navvies’ started the work for the canal. Often known for their wild drinking, due to the hard nature of the job, navvies
• Jimmy is from Nottingham Hidden History, a fantastic group who unearth some incredible local stories. Go to nottinghamhiddenhistoryteam.wordpress.com
The novels of local writer Alan Dance are a welcome addition to the genre. With two already on the shelves and a new one – ‘The Westbrook Affair’ – just published, his work takes his home stomping ground of Beeston and Chilwell and brings to life worlds that were inhabited here throughout the nineteenth century. A local historian by training, Alan takes all his plots from archival research of our region’s history. Each is then fleshed out with the kind of characters we might have found in Wilkie Collins – horse thieves, dissolute heirs to family fortunes, bareknuckle boxers and public executioners. This is very much a people’s history of the area, each novel having a palpable sense of ‘from-the-bottom-up’ energy. His latest offering will not disappoint fans of these earlier books, as well as making converts out of the uninitiated (such as myself). The story is divided between two major truelife events of the 19th Century: the notorious murder trial of a wealthy Nottingham squire and the Great Flood of Sheffield. The action switches back and forth between the two cities, making fascinating detours into the very fabric of their times. Here is the heartbeat of history, one that serves as a necessary antidote to the squeaky-clean Heritage version all too often pedalled by Nottingham’s Merry Men. Alan is already deep into research for his next project – an imaginative re-working of the life of ‘Bendigo’, an infamous local boxer whose legacy is already deeply entrenched in speculation. Like this trilogy so far, (and the books are well suited to being read this way), it promises to dig deep into the past in ways that render it all the more present. Recovery Kidd AR Dance’s books are on sale in WH Smith’s, Waterstone’s and Amazon.co.uk
HORACE’S HALF HOUR OUR HORACE DECKS THE HALLS OF YOUR NOGGIN WITH QUIZICAL TINSEL... (BIT BAH HUMBUG? ANSWERS ARE BELOW) 1. Is Cape Alghus the most Westerly, Northerly,Southerly or Eastern extreme of mainland Africa? 2. The Grizzly bear is which state’s official animal: Montana, California, Alaska? 3. Which North African country was the first in the world to issue an arrest warrant for Osama Bin Laden? 4. What explanation did Tasmania’s Attorney General give for crop circles in fields in 2009? a) The wind system known as a ‘Willy Willy’ b) Aliens c) Wallabies high on opium poppies hopping in circles? 5. Which Asian country straddles more of the equator than any other in the world?
6. Iraq’s Yazidi minority are forbidden by their faith to grow, sell, eat or even touch with foodstuff: lettuce, apple or barley? 7. Which Australian wit commented ‘New Zealand is a country of 30,000 million sheep, three million of whom think they are human?’ 8. Guatemala and Mozambique have the same weapon on their flag. Name it. 9. What fruit, famously grown in New Zealand, was originally known as the Chinese Gooseberry? 10. Within 5%, what’s the percentage of men in Qatar’s population? 11. Travelling from the Pacific to the Atlantic through the Panama Canal, what direction would you be moving in ? E – W or W – E?
SOUTH / CALIFORNIA /LIBYA / C / INDONESIA / LETTUCE / BARRY HUMPHRIES / AK47
re there any stories more slippery than the ones that emerge from history itself? Does the novelist’s imagination not pale beside the rich seam of anecdote, myth and narrative that go to make up our collective heritage? Certainly the market for historical fiction has never been healthier. From Hilary Mantel’s Booker-winning re-imaginings of Thomas Cromwell to CJ Sansom’s Tudor mysteries, it seems that readers remain entranced by the other-ly allure of the foreign country that is the past – a recognisable yet alien territory whereas LP Hartley said, “they do things differently.”
(KALISHNIKOV) / KIWI / 77 (72 - 77) / WEST TO EAST
A brand new Dance
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By Christian Fox
AU CONTRAIRE... It’s a Christmas miracle! Beeston’s most opinionated columnists nearly agree on something! Next they’ll be sharing their turkey/nut roast... This month: Will Vegetarianism Save The World?
hile it’s true that a meaty diet consumes 5 times more water and, current theory suggests, contributes significantly to Global Warming through the ‘enteric fermentation’ (cow trumps and burps to you and me) of livestock bred for the table, it’s also true that more animals die per square acre in arable farming, and cow pumps are about on par with rice paddies for methane contributions. Byproducts of eating meat also significantly contribute components to the manufacturing soaps and detergents, cosmetics, clothing and footwear, furnishings, plastics, pharmaceuticals, candles, crayons, mobile phones, building materials and hydraulic brake fluid for ‘planes. All our eating habits are unsustainable – from the ruddiest, rudest steakfreak, to the tired, earnest vegan. It’s no good feeling all self-righteous about that pulseandsoyabeancurd burger made from ingredients longhauled from an exotic plantation created by clearing land entirely of its inhabitants and biodiversity for the purpose of growing a single crop farmed by slave labour, just as its a bit weird to claim that we care about animals (“I donate to that Donkey Sanctuary!”) but won’t spend more than 3 quid on a whole chicken; have bought, tut tut, Spanish pork products, or South American beef, or lamb flown all the way from New Zealand. In October. (Britain is a world leader in Animal Welfare, so it’s a case of ‘BUY BRITISH or the donkey gets it’...) If a cow farts in a field and no one is listening, does it still make a hole in the Ozone layer?
Around 6% of animal ingested energy comes out as Methane. Agriculture accounts for two thirds of human-related Methane production on the planet. But add to this the cut in absorption rates of soils of forests and grasslands due to clearance and deforestation (in some cases by a third) and you have a more complex issue. One paper suggested that even reducing Methane production by (totally do-able) 10-15% could stabilise matters. Generally speaking, Less is More. We should ALL buy less to eat less – of everything. Figures for the revenue of vegetarian food have grown massively since 2000, despite the fact that the figure for vegetarianism has dipped by more than half. Either vegetarians are buying more food (bad. Though they can look a bit peaky), or more meat-eaters are buying more veggie food (good. But don’t let them see you, yeah?). I fear we’re all just buying more food. This is a political issue. It needs a political solution. No individual-based response will have a global impact if broader policy isn’t changed. Fruit and veg shouldn’t be discarded by producers for being the ‘wrong shape’. Perfectly edible food shouldn’t be dumped while food banks pop up and people go without meals in order to pay the bills. Live animals should not be intensively farmed, transported far and wide, inhumanely killed, and sold cheap. Why expect to pay next-to-nothing and have corporations massage our consciences to falsely believe it has come from a good place far, far away? If ‘we are what eat’, we all get what we deserve. TF
truly wish I could stand on a bar stool and loudly proclaim that vegetarianism will save the world but that would be quite silly, much like Nigel Farage claiming all the foreigners will storm England in January and loot all of the benefits. In reality, there isn’t really any use in being vegetarian for environmental reasons. Not unless everyone suddenly decided that farm animals are friends, not food, and judging by my own family’s daily carcass intake, that will never, ever happen. Having been a staunch vegetarian for a year and then a devoted pescatarian for four years, I can assure you that the only thing I gained from the experience was the ability to go to sleep at night knowing that I was not personally responsible for any animal deaths. I never tried to kid myself that I was making a difference in any way, shape or form – I just wanted to feel better about myself. Strangely, refusing to eat animal flesh and becoming anaemic did make me feel good about myself.
“Strangely, refusing to eat animal flesh and becoming anaemic did make me feel good about myself... though, I have found other ways to feel good about my existence.”
Over the last eight months though, I have found other ways to feel good about my existence. I’ve donated clothes to charity, bought food for the food bank and helped out at the hospital. I figured all of this made me a pretty decent human being and perhaps if I had some chicken and stopped feeling like the Queen of Lethargy, I’d still be an alright person. I also didn’t have the time to cook my silly Quorn sausages and kale salad because I was a little busy not failing my degree. I found that Linda McCartney sausages really did taste like cardboard (something I had suspected for a few years) and substantially contributed to me having the personality of an armchair with a frowny face drawn on the cushion. I tasted my first ever Turkey Dinosaur and was in awe because the last few years had been plagued by a cardboardlike Quorn Family Roast. I enjoy being able to go to any restaurant and not have to order an array of side portions because the only vegetarian ‘option’ consists of mushrooms and, therefore, inevitable death for those like me who are allergic to fungi. I wish I could go back to being vegetarian again but I am now a Bernard Matthews worshipper and I fear that’s a cult I can’t ever leave. I wish I could skip in meadows surrounded by sheep while I pick spinach out of my teeth but alas, I now have two options of burger when I go to Nando’s and that is a choice I just won’t pass up on. Sorry. ND
s t a e B n o t Bees Jimmy set out to interview Beeston’s hottest hopefuls in 2014. They gave him a two word answer, and no, not those two…
local Beeston musician once used an interesting phrase to me when talking about young musicians, something along the lines of their music being ‘the sound of the young dancing on our graves’. After having told him to stop talking daft I ruminated a while. Nah. He can’t be right- us older musicians [‘old?’ You’re still in your thirties, Jimmy. Practically Justin Bieber compared to SOME of us – Antiquated Ed.] are more experienced, can all mainly drive in a fashion and don’t need our mum to do everything for us. I was happy with my dealing with of younger musicians… after all what the hell do they know? People really do have to eat their hats. I better put in for a large portion of hat with a side order of hat and maybe a hat-based drink[a nightcap?Ed.]. I have heard some eighteen year old kids that have blown my mind and guess what – they are from Beeston. Double guess what? I knew one of them all along. The band are Field Studies – just remember you read it here first. Singer and guitarist Chris Bailey was featured previously in this column. I even got the name of his band wrong. Imagine my cynicism when he told me he was spending a gap year playing music with his band and recording. Aren’t gap years for poncing around in Thailand and boozing, then coming back working in a call centre whilst boring everyone to death about your love of travel? Apparently, this is not the case if you are in Field Studies. Instead you record an EP, do the artwork yourselves and then make a swish looking promo. These young whippersnappers are putting fat lad here to shame. Oh yeah – the music is really good, and I usually hate
everything. I’m not going to say it will change your life or you need to hear it before you die (always liked that one – ‘won’t be listening to much when I’m dead) , but I will say it was so good even my small father liked it which is some feat, for those unsure about how hard it is to impress little Derek – just ask him about his views on modern beat combo The National, it’ll be like Rumplestiltskin ripping his limbs off, just with more bad language. So I suppose I better try and describe the music. Imagine a slightly happier Thom Yorke and a load of ambient guitars (I even liked the guitar playing - I really must be ill - I’m not normally into that end of things). Nice hooks and melody, things a lot of musicians seem to forget about. I think they describe themselves as ‘Post Rock’ - I don’t really know what a post rock is. In fact their track Mother Tongue reminded me of Radiohead’s Airbag on mild anti-depressants. I was going to interview Chris for this article however I feared maiming him in a fit of middle aged jealousy. Instead, I rang him. Field Studies music, in his words? “Ambient, atmospheric”nothing like a short answer. I will add if these guys make it in any form, you can be guaranteed to see me drunk in many a local boozer saying how I taught Chris’ brother (the equally talented Benji) to play guitar, I taught the bass player’s dad (he was one of my first pupils and features
in an interesting Brian Golbey incident). And finally, Chris got his first electric guitar from my shop - I think he still uses it. Imagine me: fat, bearded, broke and drunk, boring you to death in a pub trying to eek out some kind of glory from something I was not really involved in (you might not have to imagine too hard). So Field Studies – go get your dancing shoes on, Uncle Jimmy is getting in the hole. JW
Field Studies debut EP, ‘Celestial’, is available now. You can hear some of it at: soundcloud.com/fieldstudies-1 and fieldstudiesband.bandcamp.com 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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Editor / lead writer / founder – Lord Beestonia
Dear Beestonian, Hey! The new tram-bridge on the ring-road, when it’s lit-up, is a beautiful thing. You could say it’s the new gateway to Beestonia. Our own Angel of the North. (This is a night time thing you understand. In the day it looks a bit industrial) I bet it will be even more special when you’ve got sparkly trams passing over it and perhaps some of those steamy fences either side adding a hint of mystery. Wow, won’t that be a sight! Anyway, got nearly run over by a mobility scooter the other evening. The big bit of card he had propped on his steering column announcing “ExDesert Rat!” reminded me of a pro-pedestrian song/poem I once wrote with the line: The 80 year-old driver he Drove tanks in World War 2 He wasn’t scared of Rommel And he sure ain’t scared of you The fireworks were going off for the Xmas lights switch on, so I suppose it was a bit of an ‘El Alamein’ moment for him. We all have ‘em. But I had a good-old Beeston moment the next day that kind of counteracted that. I was walking down the High Road trying to decide which person asking for my money made me feel the guiltiest – as you do. Anyway, I eventually scrabbled in my pocket for loose change, dragged it out and quickly popped it in the winning tin – it wasn’t much. Anyway, I walked away as fast as I could before they tried to sell me owt else – as you do – when a loud female voice shouted. “Somebodies dropped a pick! It’s nice one as well – claim it now or I’m having it!” Then other people joined in “Pick – have you dropped a pick?” Now, I play the mandolin and if you get a good pick you value it. The reaction to me dropping that anonymous triangle of plastic convinced me, once and for all, that Beeston is a music town through and through. Everyone knew what it was and knew you wouldn’t want to lose it. You could see why OXJAM was so successful. Anyway, I’d just like to say, thank you lady, I will treasure this pick for all time…hang on, where’s it gone? Oh well, there you go – see y’ any road. – Lightnin’ Pete (via email) Dear Beestonian, Would anyone be interested in helping set up Beeston’s very own Parkrun? If you haven’t heard of Parkrun before, find out all you need to know at parkrun.org.uk In essence it is a “free” weekly 5K timed run, organised entirely by volunteers, for runners/joggers/would be joggers/me and maybe you! You really don’t need to be a decent runner or even a runner at all at this stage to get involved and take part, the beauty of it is that is suitable and welcoming for all standards. They have started up all over the world and now its about to happen in Beeston. The route has been sorted and approved,
we just need a few more volunteers to get it started in the New Year. Anyone interested contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org ....or pass it on to anyone you know who may be interested. – M. J. Lyons (via email) Old Man December a poem by Steve Plowright See dank December Waning as the wintry moon Brightens the gloom. Oft have I mourned you Thro’ frost-fingered filigree Of ash and rowan. Lay down your luggage Decrepit Old Warrier While icicles fall from your ruby red nose. You are not dying But lying in anticipation For the turn of the year. Your spirit is roused With holly and mistletoe While Yule-log’s bright flames Bring you warmth from the cold.
Co-founder / resident don – Prof J Assistant editor / print design – Tamar Top-notch scribes this issue: Ali Catterall, Nora, Prof J, Poolie, Tamar, Jimmy, Chris Fox, Recovery Kidd and Tim Pollard.
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The year soon will turn Bringing January snows And February fill-dyke Will tickle your nose. Mad March Hare comes soon And will quickly revive you. Now, Old Father Christmas ‘Tis time to resume! April’s sweet showers Will course blood thro’ your veins, In May-time you’ll blossom And in June you’ll bloom. In July you will fly And in August you’ll prosper Till September’s maturity Will cause you to swoon. October autumnal Recline for reflection, It’s time to take note of the passing of time Pause to think on the pain And the passion of Harvest Regret not one moment Ye reap what ye sow! Nervous November It’s time to remember Reflections of grandeur For Christmas make room! Now welcome December Thou enduring owd fella Inspirational solstice bells beckoning peal Will brighten the household, Bring warmth to the fireside, Welcome hoary old fellow, Come sit down beside me Let’s broach the owd barrel. … Well met, Old King Yule!!
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