Happy New Year! Yes, Beestonia is first with the news again. A day early in fact, for tomorrow is the first day of Year of the Rabbit. If you’re Chinese that is. And as one in five of all humans are, thats 20% of my readership, or 0.7 of a person. The growing Far-East influence on Beeston is well documented: The University of Nottingham has strong links in Asia, even to the point of having a mildly unsettling copy of the campus built in Ningbo, with palms replacing Highfield’s willows:
Thus, Broadgate is transformed into a mini-Chinatown, with fantastic shops selling heartbreakingly delicious produce (try the Char-sui sauce from Fresh Asia. It makes ANYTHING taste good, except Marmite, which is beyond redemption), to the not-so-delicious (I feel slightly queasy when I contemplate cooking a bowl of steamed pig uterine for lunch, forgive my vanilla tastes). Chinese and Thai cuisine has become Beeston’s predominant take-away and eat-in choice, with even the Durham Ox recently becoming the Thai Pink Wing, serving bowls of steaming green things where previously red-faced men sat listlessly gazing at Sky Sports, sipping on grubby lager.
Its not just Chinese though, there are also lots of Malaysian, Thai, Korean and Japanese here too. They are generally quite shy, polite, and seem to be enjoying the weirdness that must be how they perceive Beestonia and its residents. I myself have first hand experience of such students, albeit many years ago, when I was in my early twenties and living exactly opposite where I reside now, with two lovely Japanese students, Mitsu: a neat, impeccably dressed man from Tokyo, studying Fashion at Nottingham Trent; and Kayo, all wide smiles and infectious giggles, from Kyoto and studying Environmental Science at the Proper Uni.
After initial awkwardness, we became good friends, and they introduced me to the delicate intricacies of the tea ceremony, I explained the difference between how Southerners and Northerners drink tea*. They then suggested we have a full weekend of cultural exchange: they would make an authentic Japanese meal on the Friday night, I would make a British equivalent on the Saturday. I agreed, and they went into a flurry of activity, sourcing foodstuffs from all over the world, while I got distracted and totally forgot.
So the weekend arrives, and I come in from work to find a Japanese banquet laid before me, gorgeous gloopy soups, hand-prepared Sushi, dainty sugar-crusted cakes, washed down with regular shots of warm Saki. Lots of Saki. Enough to ensure that the following day, my hangover rendered me unable to remember I had to return the favour in a few hours.
So it came to be that Mitsu and Kayo took away from their time in England the concept that the very apex of our national cuisine is Humber Road Chippy Cod and Chips, polystyrene cups of mushy peas, and two litres of warm Strongbow.
Lots of stuff cracking off round Beeston this weekend, for a full schedule, check here: http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4760
*You sip the former, chew the latter.
Lot of stuff in the local and national media of late regarding the protests against library cuts, so you’ve probably heard that Beeston Library will be the focal point for a big read-in on SATURDAY FEBRUARY 5th : thats this saturday. This is only the first of several events planned against the cuts, have a gander at http://nottssos.org.uk/ for more info. You may notice the very lovely people who run that site have made me ‘Blog of The Month’, so if you have stumbled across here because you were sent there by them hello! Pull up a seat! I’m Matt and I am your friend. Now press ‘subscribe’ above, and start addressing me Lord Beestonia and we’ll be friends forever.
Soubry’s latest email missive thuds into my inbox and contains such enlightening news such as her recent meeting with Boots, where she stormed down to Thane Road, enraged that they have now shamelessly switched their business address to a PO Box in Switzerland to dodge tax*. Except she didn’t, she went there and came back bleating on command that the A453 needs widening, presumably as the trucks of money being delivered to the senior management were getting delayed, and that the Workplace Parking Levy was unfair. Predictable, but no less shit. She also tried to justify the cuts by blaming Labour’s legacy (Tories are so fond of the word ‘inheritance’ , I’ve noticed). And then moaning that its not as bad as people think, Notts has more libraries than Derbyshire and Leicestershire, so stop complaining, plebs. If you disagree, feel free to drop in on her in Stapleford (February 12th) or Beeston (March 19th).
Or maybe not. I received this comment from the last piece I wrote, which might put you off:
Beestonia blog may well be interested in my experience of lobbying Anna Soubry on tuition fees at her open surgery at Inham Hook library last November.
As a Broxtowe constituent I wanted to understand her position on tuition fees and for my cheek in asking pertinent questions about marketization of Higher Education I was variously labelled a (i) Marxist; Labourite; and (iii) time waster because her surgery was meant for constituents with genuine problems not some (iv) academic in a cosy job.
I was also accused of not understanding ‘grown up politics’ and when i enquired why she had not mentioned tuition fees in her email circular to constituents I was told that no-one in Beeston was interested in her writing an essay on tuition fees hence she wasn’t going to put any comment on tuition fees in her email circular to constituents.
The experience of ‘debating’ in surgery with our parliamentary representative was akin to what i imagine is the unpleasant (‘dirty’ even) experience of being stitched up by a lawyer in a courtroom whose strategy is to take a single spoken word and then proceeds to rubbish whatever point you are trying to make.
Sadly, predictable, and typical of our incumbent’s attitude. Perhaps its time for an official complaint that she is failing to fulfill her obligations as our elected representative.
*they claim its something to do with putting the business deep into Europe, which is stupid excuse and if I’d have been more placated if they’d just gone for the all out outrageous lie, and said it was so they could get cheaper Toblerone). Jesse Boot, spin in that grave.
Being Lord of Beestonia isn’t all just glamour and glitz, y’know. But it mainly is, and thus I recently was invited by Nottingham Forest’s best blog, http://www.eighteensixtyfive.co.uk/, to attend the recent home game against Bristol City. I accepted, and despite suffering from a nasty cold that had me hacking my throat into ribbons throughout the match, had a good time. Until Rish, the editor of the blog, decided that he wanted to sprinkle some stardust onto his site by having me guest-star on the match podcast.
I may have a face for radio, but not a voice, as you can witness in this excruciating attempt to provide a level of insight as Rish grows more exasperated at my failure to respond to his prompts… http://www.eighteensixtyfive.co.uk/2011/01/brizzle-in-the-drizzle-nottingham-forest-1-0-bristol-city/
I don’t think Richard Keys / Andy Grey should fear for their jobs…oh, hold on.
I thought my mind, often an open sewer of depravity, was misleading me into hearing something very, very wrong on Newsnight earlier this week, but after a quick check on youtube, I was relieved to find my ears are in tip-top condition… *warning: rude words*
Strangely, I have the same confusion with the two words when I think about dear old Kay, Leader of Notts County Council….