Here are some hyperlocal highlights heading our way along the short bus journey down Boundary Road and the cultural delights that you can find on campus at the Lakeside Theatre [new website ahoy!]
But first – what about some introductory words from @tid_it, the new Artistic Director at the Lakeside?
I confess to not finding the printed word very inspiring. Sorry guys – it’s a digital thing for me.
Read the words of Mr Tid and you can’t but help bang your chest full of optimism for the arts in Britain’s Oldest Recorded. It reads like an open call to arms to push forward with the next phase of cultural regeneration in Sunny Colch.
I’m banging away on my six pack as we type, Comrades:
“We want to encourage everyone who visits us to be curious, to explore and to take a chance, in the hope that what you find will add a little something extra to your day.
Whoever you are, wherever you come from, you are invited to the party and we hope when you leave, whether walking on air, sobbing your heart out, or completely confused, you will feel invigorated by the magic of live theatre.”
Where do I sign up?
A Better Deal would be a good start.
This is an ACE initiative rolled out for the first time at The Lakeside this season. Essentially it allows bulk discount on five, four or three bookings.
Working through the new season and the Plugged In season isn’t just for Essex freshers. It is a taster throughout the first week in October to show anyone with an interest in the arts in the area what is possible.
Plugged In includes the new open mic event The Hook (30th September) the Hunt and Darton takeover of the cafe space, Live Arts Collective East and the first of the new Comedy Central Live shows with Charlie Baker on the 4th October.
And then we’re straight into the autumn schedule with The Lakeside living up to its reputation of finding some space somewhere in-between the Arts Centre and The Mercury. Smart arses are probably saying that this space is the Quaker Meeting House [aha!] but we’re talking in a performance related positioning, dahhhling.
Buttercup on 11th October is something to chew over:
“Buttercup is a fat cow from Lancashire. She’s lovely. She’s really forward to meeting you all.”
But it’s not all about experimental music and cows. Family shows fill the schedule with regular Sunday sessions. Blueprint on 6th December is a chance for any Colchester based artist to showcase a work in progress. Plus don’t forget the University’s Theatre Arts Society’s annual panto. Sleeping Bootay [Mmmm...] will be run from the 12th to the 14th December.
“An epic project that will tell the brilliant stories of the people of Colchester and bring together the vast range of talent spread across the town.”
There’s also the recently established Young Theatre Company – a true commitment to the arts in Colchester as we move forward and look towards the future.
A full double page spread is handed over to help out the other hyperlocal arts organisations in the Colchester. All of them are collectively moving together to help promote Colchester as a cultural region.
You know that normal order has been resorted to the hyperlocal agenda when you receive the always enjoyable Wivenhoe Society newsletter. The drudge of the Liverpool Street commute is a world away from the reassuring presence of the tireless work of Wiv Soc and tree preservation orders.
But it’s not all tranquil tea and scones on the lawn as part of Open Gardens weekend with Wiv Soc.The Message From the Chair, Dave Harrison, covers new committee recruit Bob Needham, Engine Shed woes and a relatively healthy balance sheet (although not healthy enough to buy the Engine Shed and then bulldoze it…)
But these Wiv Soc Newsletters don’t write themselves. Which leads nicely to the plea from Acting Editor Ellie Sangwine-Shirley who has kindly stepped in whilst a permanent replacement is found. All that is needed is basic typing skills, a keen mind and a little time. You could possibly do the job during the drudge of the Liverpool Street commute…
Planning News is perhaps the most important role of Wiv Soc right now. The town continues to grow and Wiv Soc is blessed to have the diligent Jane Black at hand to monitor and advise upon planning developments.
Wiv Soc also objected to a Valley Road application and the Cook’sapplication to turn four unsold commercial units into residential property. Parking is the issue down at the old shipyard.
The esteemed members of the Colchester Borough CouncilPlanning Committee came to the conclusion of denying permission for Valley Road, whilst deferring upon Cook’s for six months in the hope that the economy may improve.
And good luck with that one, Comrades.
Wiv Soc also commented upon plans for two 60 feet tall digester tanks on the other side of the river opposite the University. Never mind the length, inhale the clean air, etc. Wiv Soc observed that the existing stench from the sewage treatment works may be reduced, but the size seems a little large.
As with most planning matters, the political will probably come into play here. Essex County Council is the planning authority; Colchester Borough Council has objected.
And finally Jane picks up on the ACEOpenly Local initiative that maps online any live CBC planning apps. Finding the applications may be easier; having an active role in the complicated approval process is not so simple to achieve with the simple click of a mouse.
Take a zero off that figure, and an incredibly generous £500 was presented to the Wivenhoe Scout and Guide Association out of the funds raised during the successful Open Gardens weekend.
Flick over the page and let’s talk about Tree Preservation Orders. You could almost cut down an English Elm and print out a newsletter on the topic.
Jane helpfully explains:
“The situation with respect to tree preservation orders in Wivenhoe seems a bit haphazard and is probably the result of past planning history. Part of the Wivenhoe Woods was at one time covered by a tree preservation order but currently is not.”
“There seems to be no rhyme or reason for where orders have been made. High Woods is covered but Castle Park is not.”
Jane then explains how permission to chop a tree in the Conservation Area is required. But it’s not as simple as saying that this protective footprint covers all of Lower Wivenhoe.
Talk about getting your plums in a twist, just as the autumn months mean PLUM uprooting in a certain hyperlocal household.
But Wiv Soc is spreading its roots with a group of volunteers organising together to assess which trees in Wivenhoe should possibly have the protection of a tree preservation order.
*typed with a very plummy type voice behind the keyboard*
More positive growing news is given in the Open Gardens update. An amazing figure of just over £3,000 was raised jointly by Wiv Soc and St Mary’s over the weekend of 19th and 20th May. As well as the kind contribution to the Scouts and Guides, Wiv Soc has also made a donation to the Jubilee Garden being jointly organised by Wivenhoe Town Council and Transition Town Wivenhoe.
Diary Dates cover the Riverbank Cleanup on 7th October at 10am, the Craft Fair at the William Loveless Hall (where else?) on 17th November and the Post-Christmas Party on 2nd February.
This blog post was bashed out during the drudge of the Liverpool Street commute.
Selected highlights from the recently published Wivenhoe News…
Autumnal evenings fall us upon us and a young (ish) man’s thoughts turn towards fantasising all about fireside reads of 40 [FORTY!] page hyperlocal publications stuffed full of… Wivenhoe news.
Which is just as well, seeing as though the ACE Autumn 2012 edition of Wivenhoe News is now on sale.
Having long since given up the tireless task of covering EVERYTHING (me, not Wivenhoe News) – here’s the condensed highlights package. It’s the blogging little brother to the more mature local magazine. You’re probably best off just parting with a mere pound coin and settling down for a fireside read.
Wivenhoe Town Council’s celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee back in May features on page 2. Some hit and miss photos, and yes, Madam – I told you that I would make you a cover star.
The Editorial covers the hyperlocal climate and how the Jubilee and Open Gardens somehow survived. Ditto May Fair. David Henley is welcomed as the new co-opted councillor at WTC. The TWOfilmclubs that the town is able to support is praised.
In Police News…
The non-emergency 101 is explained, plus a plea from the police for more volunteers to step forward to help out with Wivenhoe Speed Watch.
As ever, …on the Street Where You Live with Jane Hughes is worthy alone of handing over your one-pound coin. Bath Street gets the detailed hyperlocal historical treatment. It scrubs up well.
Peter Kay praises the May Fair organisatrion, noting that the switch to a Saturday had a huge impact on improving public transport around the town on the day. Some more hit and miss photos from a hit and miss hyperlocal sort appear.
…’cos you can never take too many photos of a man wearing a dress asking “Big Tissue?” all afternoon.
Fine work, Sir.
All rest and play – what about the work?
Taxi driver Ken Metcalf is featured in Alison Kent’s Workers of Wivenhoe series:
“I’m a taxi driver who doesn’t like driving”
…is an ACE opening quote. Continue reading and we find how Ken overcomes this slight problem. Clue: the people of Wivenhoe keep the car on the road.
Bell-ringer supreme Ian Valentine reports on the big bells of St Mary’s. It’s a DING DONG of a read, with sixteen weddings at St Mary’s this year. New recruits Pippa Allerton, Eileen Munson and Guy Lawrence are all praised for coming forward with an interest in campanology.
Jane Valentine reviews the outdoor production of The Tempest:
“Often funny, often charming, sometimes threatening.”
And that was just the mosquitoes.
News from The Nottage reports on another successful Summer Show, the Life Drawing group exhibition [blimey] and the Nottage Film Club. Meanwhile the Wivenhoe Gilbert and Sullivan Society is about to start rehearsals on the Anything Goes production scheduled for March.
Romanticism at the Congregational Hall is covered by Ann Clarke, looking back at the recent Beethoven and Turner workshop. Keeping up the foppish approach is poetrywivenhoe, with reports of a successful presence at the Regatta, as well as a growing interest in the Open Mic nights.
The Stag Beetle Habitat piece on p.18 updates with news on the recently constructed Stag Beetle Hotel that was built at the KGV to accommodate the big buggers whilst they procreate. It’s the kinda establishment where patrons pay by the hour, if you know what I mean, wink wink, nudge nudge:
“The adults only live for a few short months in the summer in order to mate…”
The View from the High Street questions the parking arrangements at the back of the council offices and the William Loveless Hall, as well as celebrating the success of the Wivenhoe-Rowhedge-Fingringhoe Ferry.
The work of the Wivenhoe Housing Trust is explained by the good Peter Hill on p.19. Off the Rails looks at the long haul in having Wivenhoe as an adopted railway station, as well as throwing caution against the possible cut backs contained in the McNulty Report. Meanwhile the William Loveless Hall Mural, as painted by Jo Hunter is photographed.
THREE pages of hyperlocal diary pullouts should keep any hyperlocal online sort busy over the autumn months with *ahem* the sourcing of information for the Wivenhoe Forum.
Sydney Bayley writes a brilliant piece on the Horse and Groom as part of her Watering Holes of Wivenhoe series. Moira Collett celebrates the success of Moving Image and the Big Society funded HD projector.
We’re all in this together, Comrades. Especially so on an autumnal evening on the back row of the Philip Road Centre.
Congratulations to Bonnie HillMBE, DL, JP – which is not so much a headline but a story in itself. No single reason is given for the recent honour, simply because no single reason exists. An all round good effort.
Radio Wivenhoe Ambassador… Martin Newell puts in the request for more hyperlocal talent to help out at the growing station. Wivenhoe Watching Wildlife continues to watch wildlife in Wivenhoe, with a rapidly growing group that is almost on par with my nightly slug kills.
I do watch them first though. So that makes it all right.
A prestigious club cap has been handed out to Anthony Alambrides on behalf of Wivenhoe Town Cricket Club, an honour reserved for players that take 50 wickets or make 1,000 runs – which is quite an achievement when you consider the summer we have just had.
The University report reads like a foreman’s job lot at the builder’s yard:
The real value of education can be found in the updates from our local schools. The busy period in the lead up to the summer break at Broomgrove is explained, as well as a farewell from the retiring Head Julie Thompson.
Meanwhile Millfields pupils pen lovely pieces all about their production of Magnificus The Musical, which was performed at The Lakeside theatre in July.
You see – education does take place on campus if you search for it…
The folly of the Engine Shed is also addressed, noting that Wiv Soc was originally a mover in getting the old structure listed. A reverse ferret and a de-listing of the decaying structure is proving to be not so simple.
Down at the bottom half of p.29 and Bernard Jenkin in Conversation with Bryan Thomas suggests that Bryan is a very patient man.
No time for politics though in the manic life of a Town Mayor. Cllr Penny Kraft reports on civic duty at Mayor Making in Sunny Colch, May Fair, the Jubilee Weekend and the gents toilets at the William Loveless Hall (where the big knobs hang out, as the gag goes…)
Cllr Mark Cory of Wivenhoe Cross ward puts out the request in how to spend the £2k ward purse per councillor that is coming our way via Colchester Borough Council. This was part of the LibDem manifesto back in May. The idea is to inspire a generation and offer up an Olympic legacy. Or failing that then at least do the business at the ballot box.
Cllr Cory then wrote about POTHOLES, *possibly* answering his own question in how to spend the legacy sweetener.
County Councillor Julie Young also pens a piece about POTHOLES and toilet provision in the now closed Quayside Cafe at the Hythe. Plus the back scratching involved in allowing the University to build a multi-story car park in exchange for funding a cycle path to the town [money apparently NOT ring-fenced...]
Back down towards the bottom of the town – and indeed the bottom of the Chamber – is the good Cllr Brian Sinclair and his WTC update:
“We may not have much power against the mighty CBC, but at least we can try.”
More plain sailing is the launch of Audacity, the Wivenhoe racing gig that made a great debut on Regatta Day:
“The Club is a fine community that is seeking support.”
Up at Broad Lane and Wivenhoe Town FC are celebrating being back in both the FA Cup and the FA vase. If I can still style the above sentence into a blog post next May then I will streak across the Broad Lane pitch, concluding with a cartwheel in the centre circle.
Has the silly season finished yet?
Wivenhoe News is sold at the Co-op, Crossways, the Post Office, Bryans Newsagents and the lovely Wivenhoe Bookshop.
No worries – the Golden tag tells you more about Martin’s inner warmth [oh yes...] – come the close of the show at the incredibly reasonable and un-rock ‘n roll hour of 5pm, the audience resembled a Ready Brek advert, glowing and fulfilled, and also in need of the toilet.
These annual Golden Afternoons are a rare opportunity to glimpse into the musical past of the pop poet. The focus for Martin over recent years has very much been on increasing writing commissions. But you can take the Pop Genius out of the bedroom studio, but you can’t take the bedroom studio…
Martin continues to record regularly – a clickety click over at his online discography and you’re wondering how he finds the time to pen his poetry, which is published at an incredibly expeditious rate.
Artists with deep pockets of a past history tend to attract fans that will travel in the hope of hearing a rare Cleaners from Venus hidden away track. The Arts Centre on Sunday was mix of the Mule faithful, and many from around the town than simply know that three hours spent in the company of Martin is at least going to leave you with a grin.
Which is precisely how Martin took to the stage at the start of the afternoon, greeting the audience with a mischievous grin and giving a nod and a wink for what was to follow.
“Here we are again. I’m 70, don’t you know…”
A few nervous laughs – he may be a Ruined Splendour, but he’s also one that can still carry off the rock star swagger when up on the stage.
An “E Minor mood” was declared for the afternoon. An out of tune bottom E guitar string was apologised with a gag about out of tune lovers. Apply more pressure, and we’ll get there eventually, darling.
Recent solo songs made up the majority of the first set. The cigarette free voice has actually raised a slight octave over the past couple of years. Colchester is lacking somewhat in a Baby Boomer Soul Brother. Martin Newell could yet still get to wear the crown.
Martin may be a one-man melody machine but he ‘aint no Bruce Springsteen. And thank the chuffers for that – the last thing that the Arts Centre needed was a maturing musician going down on his knees and ending up in the mosh pit.
And so the three-hour show allowed some guests to share in the general glowing ambience that was in place at the Arts Centre. Never underestimate the healing power of free slices of cake placed up against the bar.
Girls du Bois are a French chanson duet that that offered up some Parisian charm and cheek, via Norwich. Parisian bar ballads added to the cafe culture, with a few contemporary covers given the continental treatment. Road to Nowhere not only fitted the French feel, but also described the journey back to Norfolk for Girls du Bois. The Blondie Franglais feel is a Sunny Colch niche scene just waiting to happen.
Keeping with the geographical approach to the Golden Afternoon were the next guests, The Corners Laughers. Coming all the way to Colchester from California, a special collaboration was in place covering Nottingham.
Picking up a bass player and vocalist from the Fair City whilst in the UK, the newly formed foursome performed like old pros.
Speaking of which…
A brief break for the tea and cakes, and then the second half of the show allowed that mischievous grin to live up to the Pop Genius tag. Poetry followed, but not in the wistful oh woe is me tortured variety that puts people off poetry. It was more like a comedy stand up routine with occasional couplets.
The misbehaving guitar reappeared, and so did a glorious run of tracks from The Greatest Living Englishman album. No irony whatsoever intended in the title, and with some cause to carry it off as well.
More was to come with some Bowie covers, but save the best till last. Martin took up his place on the old Arts Centre grand piano, and then showed his serious side with The Boys of September from the Spirit Cage album. It was a truly beautiful moment at St Mary-at-the-Walls; Martin really should play the piano more often.
And so a decade of glowing in the Golden Afternoons. Never mind the Sunny Colch rain – feel the warmth within, Madam.
To the Philip Road Centre! …on Saturday evening for a French film all about cycling with the lovely Moving Image. What could go wrong?
Um, tout ce que, Comrades, tout ce que.
Never judge a book by its cover, and never pass praise on an arty French film that promises much love for le velo. It wasn’t even the type of bicycle that I would get out of bed for to be honest.
But hey hoe – an experimental evening at the Philip Road Centre in a lovely, lovely communal shared cinematic setting still has to be better than the twaddle on TV back at base.
It was a case of come as you are for The Kid with a Bike. The morning lycra attire hadn’t been removed. If you’re going to sit through an arty French film then you may as well make an attempt at some character acting.
It was an encouraging Moving Image audience, with many returning students being greeted by a new lighting display to lure you into the glamour of the Philip Road Centre. It would be slightly unfair to suggest that the fairy lights outshone the arty French film.
The Kid with a Bike is billed as:
“Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hairdresser agrees to foster him on weekends.”
That’s All Folks! Nope – That *really* is all.
Not much else happened in the one hour and fifteen minutes in-between the French kid first sulking on to the Philip road Centre big screen, and then sulking off come the closing arty French film credits.
At least in meant I was back at base and back in bed for Match of the Day.
Other audience members remarked come the close if there was a sequel. It was that type of film where a collective *sigh* took place once you realised that random ending really was chucking out time.
There weren’t many takers for last orders.
And so an arty French film that didn’t really tell a story, let alone sell the idea of bicycle safety. But that’s the beauty of Moving Image. Playing to the populist agenda is far to easy; pitching the schedule somewhere in the middle is an approach which is continuing to attract high numbers during this new autumnal season.
It’s a theme that continues through until the end of 2012. Moving Image has just announced the remainder of the schedule that takes us through to the Christmas break. Woody Allen, 70′s blockbusters and a Christmas classic – it’s all there.
Much has happened on a hyperlocal level since my first proper Colne bound experience back in the autumn of 2010. The boat has an outboard motor, the World’s Smallest Pirate Radio Station has been broadcasting and Neil has even found the time to help to decorate the place where I now call home.
Which must mean that it is time for a catch up to find out how this all happened, and where the journey for the Boat for His Pot Plants takes him next.
Clue: probably Brightlingsea, and probably involving booze and brown curry sauce.
But first the back-story…
Neil was offered the boat for free from a friend after dropping into the conversation that he was keen to explore beyond the muddy banks of the Colne. Much love was needed for the boat, not to mention money.
Neil had ample of the former, but not a blank cheque book to splash around to make her ship shape.
Having inherited the boat on a freebie, this set the scene for the voyage that was to follow. All hail the power of a blog – never underestimate the potential of the modern interweb to help harness positive action from like-minded decent folk in the community.
Neil soon found that by offering in return some online endorsements, B & Q were able to provide some tools and Dulux even did the deal for some paint. All that was needed now was a little vroom vroom.
Or even splash splash.
Surely Suzuki wouldn’t spunk up the cash for a cut-price deal?
Not quite. A very generous (and anonymous) Wivenhoe benefactor offered Neil a considerable sum to buy an outboard motor. Suzuki in return managed to halve the price.
As well as boats, Neil’s other passion is that of broadcasting. We spoke in 2010 about his plans for the World’s Smallest Pirate Radio Station. Bonkers, but brilliant I thought. He probably won’t pull it off.
But with support and co-operation from the good folk of Radio Wivenhoe, the Rose and Crown became the footprint for Neil to broadcast to for two consecutive Friday evenings last month.
And so with the Boat for His Pot Plants now ready for a Brightlingsea run, and the turntables still in place in the sleeping quarters, where does the journey next take Neil and his boat?
We discussed this over a bacon breakfast session on Saturday morning. Neil has plans to continue with the radio angle, but also to add a strong community element and to continue support The Legion, the cause for which cash was raised during the broadcasts.
This is quite a special boat that adds some individual style down at the Quay. Positive outcomes seem to surround all that takes place from port to starboard. It has an element of magic to it, but most important is the motivation that Neil has to make all of this work.
It’s impressive how a little love and community co-operation can continue to take the Boat for His Pot Plants where it really shouldn’t be able to go.
And we’re not talking about Brightlingsea, either.