I’m now nearly two weeks in avoiding alcohol, after deciding I was far too busy in the run up to Oxjam to spend my evenings convincing myself that the £2.99 red I was drinking was uncomplex yet quaffable, and blotting out the rational part of my brain that was screaming that it was probably vinegar with a slug of ethanol for ABV. That means I spend a full 50 (!!) days not boozing. My apologies to licensed premises in Beeston who may see a steep slide in takings, but worry not. Once Oxjam is over it’ll be less than two weeks until I turn 40, so I’ll possibly squeeze a mid-life crisis in for a few weeks and start drinking snakebite and black while wearing  leather trousers.

Yet things are sent to test me. I’ve never been invited to a brewery before. I did once try and organise a heavy drinking session at one once, but it fell through, boom-tish. Yet as I climb upon the wagon, I get asked by Magpie Brewery if I’d like to visit them and help out with the production of their utterly exclusive Oxjam Beeston Ale. So off I toddled, to their brewhouse snuggled up against Meadow Lane, where some football team plays, apparently.

Beer! Soon!

Beer! Soon!

I’m a fan of beer, and corvids, so it was quite an exciting experience. The staff are wonderful and obviously love their work, keenly showing me the process from mash to glass, with samples of their malt and hops. The first batch of the ale will be ready at the end of the month for the Oxjam Ceilidh, so buy a ticket NOW to make sure you get to try what should be a citrussy, yet robust near-golden ale. I will probably serve you, so not only do you get some quality stomping around the dance floor, but get to mock my abstinence while you pour this gorgeous brew down your gullets.


Another side-effect of eschewing the booze has been increased energy, and thus, productivity. As such, I’m dead happy to announce Issue 21 of The Beestonian is now out in various outlets, and on-line here. I’m rather proud of it, that is to say I’m very proud of the gang of writers who provided some truly fantastic articles this month. There was so much to cram in I forgot to actually write an article myself, apart from the front page blurb.

Oh, I also have some Beestonian t-shirts left over: only £7.50. Let me know if you fancy one. They really are quite, erm, snazzy.


I also resurrected The Beestonian Film Club at Cafe Roya last Monday, and it turned out to be a corker. We gave the World Premiere to the harrowing, yet superb ‘Go With God‘ , with a brief talk from the writer and producer before showing. There were tears, then Roya served up an corking paella to go with our Spanish main feature, Biutiful, which again bought forth tears in the audience. Anyone who spotted moisture in my eyes, well, contact lenses, innit?

We’ll probably have another one soon, so find us on Facebook to get updates and find out how to attend.


I also have my monthly Nottingham Post column in on Saturday. It’s a celebration of the tram works. No, really. You’re not allowed to hit me until you read it, ok?


Flop of the week was the Capital Radio /Nottingham City Council initiative on Saturday evening, the Pop-Up Cinema on Chilwell Road. This was billed as providing a fillip to that beleaguered side of town, but was so badly thought out the marketing graduates who dreamt it up need stripping of their degrees and getting sent back to infants. The idea was to get around 120 people down Chilwell Road on an evening to watch a film. Not a great help to businesses that would be closed by the time it started, yet potentially useful to the evening businesses. indeed, Karen, landlady of the Hop Pole, took on two extra barstaff in anticipation of a deluge.

Not a single cinema goer popped in for a pint. This perhaps isn’t surprising, as only around 25 turned up. But it gets worse. The car park it was set up in was sequestered for the whole day, meaning any shoppers arriving by car had to do a u-turn and find a new place to park, or more likely, just go to Long Eaton.  Attendees were also given vouchers to use in businesses….but none on Chilwell Road. Despite being opposite Forno Pizza, the vouchers were for that well known family ran local firm, Domino Pizza.

The idiocy of this idea is pretty high, but it gets worse. It seems that the City Council actually paid for this. A letter has been sent asking how much this figure was, and if no answer is forthcoming, a Freedom of Information request will be filed.  And it gets better. They’ve announced another event on the 28th September. No, really.


Speaking of the Hop Pole, their annual songwriters competition has it’s first heat this Sunday, from 8.30pm. It’s a good way to have an early glance at up and coming talent: last year Emma Bladon Jones took the crown, and has had a crazily successful year since. Oh, I seem to be one of the judges as well. I will ensure I wear my trousers too tight and have a quick relationship with Sinitta before then.


And getting back to the tramworks, it seems the next stage of Chilwell Road has been rethought out. Traffic – two-way traffic at that- will be allowed down the road, with the service excavations pushed onto the pavement. Where this leaves the pedestrian, I’m not sure, but if the answer is ‘being mown down’ there might be an issue, especially as Oxjam’s evening events are all down there. I was given this info before it’s officially announced, so can only investigate more later: will get back to you when I know more.


I wrote about Syria after the failed coalition vote to rush into conflict. I accused the Lib Dems of abandoning the sound judgment they made in 2003 over Iraq, just to keep the unholy alliance with the Tories intact.

A few Lib Dems were now happy with this, and all sounded remarkably like the hawkish Blairites that led us into the stupid war a decade ago. Councillor Steve Carr was particularly unhappy with what I wrote, mistaking caution and waiting for evidence before rushing into rash action. As the last few days have proved, the Commons vote was a good one. Without support, Obama lost confidence and decided to take it to the vote, while throwing himself back into diplomatic talks with other, more cautious nations.

It’s far from sorted, and there is lots of work to do to stop Assad with the minimum amount of bloodshed and human displacement. Instead of leaping into war, a diplomatic route is opening up.

After we’d gone down the aggressive route in 2003, it transpired evidence of WMDs was balls, most of the ‘evidence’ taken from a PhD thesis, and the utterly delusional words of a taxi-driver from Iraq codenamed ‘Curveball’ who turned out to be a con-man.

Last week, Steve Carr put a warning on Facebook that advised people that they shouldn’t flash their headlights at cars as ‘gang-members’ play a game where they shoot people who do this. For, y’know, a laugh. Now, I know Steve is a decent chap and would never directly mislead: he probably thought he was being useful, but the ‘evidence’ he supplied was a letter from Chubb securities. It was swiftly pointed out that the address on the letter was Chubb in South Africa, but more importantly, it was utter bollocks and has been since it first appeared on the internet – in various guises – nearly two decades ago.

Maybe if Steve had checked the evidence beforehand before rushing in, he would have spared unwittingly scaring his Facebook friends and being made to look a bit daft on-line. Just a thought, and one I would like to extend to Steve’s Lib Dem colleagues in Parliament.

carr oops



Saluting Magpie / STUFF! OUT! NOW! / Popped up, Flopped out / Beestonia Cowell / Lib Dems: Cool Your Boots.

3 thoughts on “Saluting Magpie / STUFF! OUT! NOW! / Popped up, Flopped out / Beestonia Cowell / Lib Dems: Cool Your Boots.

  1. Steve Carr says:

    Thanks for that Matt.

  2. Peter Kobryn says:

    Blimey……I didn’t think that headline flash fake story had anyone left to sucker….

  3. rutty says:

    Facebook (and Parliament, it seems) needs an auto-Snopes option

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