Soubz vs Auntie / Freecycle: it’s ace / PARTY!

It’s Windsor Brown-Nose corner! Our beloved representative, Ms Soubz, is LIVID at the BBC. Why? Because an irreverent satirical comedy show made an irreverent satirical joke. Yep, the target of Anna’s ire was Jo Brand, who read a joke off an autocue on Have I Got News For You last week. The joke itself was actually pretty low-par, and concerned Prince Harry’s (alleged) use of cocaine:

“(prince) George’s godparents include Hugh van Cutsem – I presume that’s a nickname, as in Hugh van cuts ’em and Harry then snorts ’em.”

Anna was livid, and issued a furious statement:

“Jo Brand should not have stooped to that level and both she and the BBC should apologise … It is a really cheap shot at somebody who has no right of reply and they know will not sue for libel.”

Well, first off, Jo Brand shouldn’t apologise, as she didn’t write the joke. But even if she had penned it, she still shouldn’t apologise. Have I Got News For You, and it’s unofficial paper form, Private Eye, use satirical exaggeration to take the piss out of the bumptious, the powerful, the Royals: Andrew Neil doesn’t actually have a Brillo pad stuck to his head. David Cameron isn’t really the headmaster of an academy. Tony Blair isn’t actually an ordained minister. It’s quite an easy concept to grasp.

cruickshank

“George Cruickshank should not have stooped to that level and both he and Punch magazine should apologise … It is a really cheap shot at the Prince Regent who has no right of reply and they know will not sue for libel.” – Anna Soubry, The Daily Telegraph, 1812.

Prince Harry has a history of self-confessed drug use – not coke, but a bit of weed- and is seen as a party-prince, sipping £10,000 cocktails at Mahiki and getting his russet pubes out for the camera while ‘chugging’ ‘kegs’ in Las Vegas. So the joke has a logical progression. Can you see how it works now Anna?

Presumably, Anna made this bonkers intervention as she is, in a roundabout way, Prince Harry’s boss. Now she’s installed at the M.O.D., it’s her camp. The wellbeing of the armed forces didn’t concern that much when she voted for intervention in Syria, but no matter.

Maybe there is more to this. Anna will most likely be needing a job come May 2015. Her rise up the ministerial ranks is an attempt at becoming indispensable and guarantee Central Office throw buckets at money at Broxtowe. But it’s worth having an insurance plan. A bit of royal brown-nosing never hurts if one wishes to eventually don the ermine. It’s rare to ‘get sent up’ to the Lords after one term. but not impossible, and a bit of puddle-covering never hurt.

Or maybe there is something more sinister. it’s no secret that the Tories HATE the BBC. As it’s an example of a public, centralised pluralistic corporation that is hugely popular amongst the public, it flies in the face of all they stand for with their desire to market everything. See also: The NHS. So license freezes, threats to close and sniping such as Anna’s intervention are standard practice.

This was quelled a tad by the hacking scandal. Anna’s former boss at Health, Jeremy Hunt, was seen as so keen on killing the Beeb and giving Murdoch huge, anti-plural control of SKY it all gor a bit uncomfortable. After all, Cameron’s right-hand Coulson was deeply implicated in the whole mess, as was Rebecca and Charlie Brookes, Chipping Norton besties and horse-lenders to the Camerons.

Monday saw the start of the hacking trial, with Coulson, Brookes (R), Brookes (C) and others up before the beak. How to draw attention from it? Attack the Beeb! Cause a distraction! So internet conman / Conservative Chairman Grant ‘Michael Green’ Shapps launched an attack threatening license fee cuts, Soubry blusters to The Telegraph. Coincidence?

Of course, it she doesn’t get the free-pass to the red benches, she’s got her face back on the telly quite frequently of late. SKY News might be looking for a new right-wing news fumbler once Adam Boulton’s swelling arrogance finally swallows him up. Soubz could find herself back on TV, and not just banging on about soap operas…

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I picked up a dehumidifier off Freecycle the other day. If you’re not on Beeston Freecycle, get on it. It’s ace, and I really should have given it a mention years ago.I’ve had all sorts of stuff off it: two televisions, a washing machine and now something to dry out my rather damp house. It’s also good to meet the people you give/take from: a reader of this blog who wasn’t my mum or Soubz legal team gifted me the dehumidifer, called Sydney, apparently, so we had a good chat -he also finds emails to Soubz that don’t match Tory policy disappear into the ether. Anyhow, cheers Murray! Find out more here.

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Big Halloween party at The White Lion tomorrow night from 7pm. Fancy dress isn’t compulsory, but Sergio will be dishing out a great prize (booze) to the best-attired. We’ll be toasting Oxjam volunteers, and they’ll be live music, so get down, even if you missed Oxjam or just bought a ticket / threw a coin in our collection tins.

 

 

Jamtastic! / Halloween Party!/ Another Halloween Party? Stella going-ons in Inham Nook..

Wow. That was fun. Oxjam came, saw and conquered. We sold out, raised over double our intended target of £5,000 to give Oxfam £11,000, and hopefully gave Beeston a party to remember. You certainly seemed to enjoy it. I spent the day running/cycling between venues, shouting into microphones demands of applause for the bands, selling raffle tickets, checking wristbands and, finally, watching some music.

We have some great pictures and videos from the day, so keep an eye on then Oxjam website where we’ll be putting them up. If you have some you’d like to give to us, drop us the file at thebeestonian@gmail.com and we’ll host them up.

OXJAM

Cheers for all those who picked up copies of our special edition of The Beestonian, and then were so lovely in telling me they actually read the rag, and even gave this site the occasional glance. It’s lovely to know people read what I seemingly throw out into the void every now and then, so cheers, my ego was thoroughly nourished.

There are far too many people to thank individually, or magic moments to mention, but if it wasn’t for the excellent volunteers, the venues that let us take them over, the artists who blew many a pair of socks off, as well as every person who donned a wristband, bought a raffle ticket, supped a pint of our specially made Oxjam Festivale, or just joined in what was the most fantastic shindig I’ve seen for years….I cannot salute you enough.

We want to thank you all for making it such a rampant success, so find a hole in your diaries for THURSDAY OCTOBER 31st, and gt down to The White Lion where we’ll be throwing a Hallowe’en themed thank you party. We’re inviting down all who helped on the day -our volunteers ranged from undergrads from the Uni to our top-raffle ticket flogger, ex (future) MP Nick Palmer.  Please make it down if possible, and DRESS UP! Best outfit wins a top notch prize. We’ll have music from artists from the festival, and a few other surprises, entry is, amazingly, free, and we’ll be drawing the raffle, which has a list of prizes so long and fine it looks like Mariah Carey’s rider. Minus a dozen white kittens.

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One prize is tickets to the Beestonian Film Club at Cafe Roya, for an event we’re holding in November which I think might be a bit of a draw. If you fancy coming down to our next event, we’re having a Hallowee’n themed horror night on Monday, with some cracking shorts, a spooktastic classic selected by our horror boffin Tim Pollard, a free ghostly cocktail, a vegetarian meal cooked by Roya, and possibly a few surprises/shocks. Tickets are a mere £10 / £7 concessions, so drop an email to thebeestonian@gmail.com to book a seat. The faint-hearted need not apply…

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Walthamstow MP and Labour rising star Stella Creasey is in Beeston tomorrow, speaking about, amongst other things, the scourge of Payday loans. This is a subject I’m personally interested in: watch how many scummy money-lenders have moved onto the High Street to squeeze the poor bone dry. I don’t need to explain why Wonga et al are such  a blight, but they do exist legally, if not morally. Creasey has been particularly vocal on why the industry needs regulating, and encouraging micro-financing / credit agencies. This led to personal attacks on Twitter from Wonga staff . Nice.

stella

It should make for an interesting event, and a chance to chat directly to the MP, who is definitely one of the more interesting figures on the opposition benches. This is a Labour Party ran event, but you don’t have to be a member -or,indeed, a supporter – of the party to attend. There is a suggested entry donation of £5 (£2 unwaged), but again, this is at your discretion. If you fancy going down, find your way to Inham Nook Methodist Church (opposite the Inham pub) at 4pm tomorrow.

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And no, Ms Creasey was not named after the White Lion’s, ahem, ‘Best Selling Lager’. More on THAT story later…

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Oxjam: Give Us Your Fruggin’ Money…

Tomorrow sees the culmination of seven months hard work getting Oxjam together. It was a snowy Easter Saturday back in April when we officially launched the Oxjam Beeston Takeover 2013, as part of the Chilwell Road Street Party. After a freezing day handing out badges, info and slices of the  huge cake Classy Cupcake’s baketastic Karen Attwood made for us, we got snug in the Hop Pole and had a very drunk, very fun night of poetry, music, and my progressively tired and emotional proclamations on the microphone (one of the worrying highlights was when I announced ‘If that collection tin isn’t full by midnight, we’re having a lock-in. And not the nice kind.’)

This was followed by the the Great Beeston BakeOff, where our judges arrived expecting to taste around a dozen entries only to be told that it was actually around 50, thanks to a surge in entries. We raised a chunk of cash in the best possible way, nomming down loads of gorgeous cake. The Red Arrows even gave us an impromptu fly past when we cut the tape to open the event. Cynics might point out it might be something to do with Armed Forces Day, but the truth actually involves a promise to some pilots of slices of Relish’s divine blueberry cake.

Summer saw gigs al fresco: Beestival, Beeston Carnival; a Film Club night followed those, with Autumn bringing us a sell-out Ceilidh. Now, in just a few hours, it’s the biggee.

The last week has been a slog arranging media slots (two radio pieces this week alone, and both ITV and BBC coming down to check out stuff tomorrow, as well as a small army of music journos, photographers and the like). Our exclusive Oxjam Festivale (I swear I didn’t invent that punning name. Though I kinda wish I did), concocted by the wonderful Magpie Brewery (my input was suggesting ‘make it a light one’, and stirring in some hops for promotional picture purposes), is in several venues (I hear the Hop Pole cracked there cask this evening, if you fancy a preview get down). I have a pile of special Oxjam issues of the Beestonian ready to dish out; I’ve fanatically checked the weather (unseasonably warm! Sunny!); and we’re geared up to throw Beeston a MASSIVE party. Ticket sales have outstripped previous years, and we expect to shift more tomorrow. You can still get the Early Bird ones, for just £5 rather than the £7 we charge tomorrow, until Midnight, here). It’s nearly there.Getting together something like Oxjam is a logistical headache that requires many meetings, so a huge thanks to Belle and Jerome; Austen, Alan, et al at The Crown; Karen at the The Hop Pole; The Greyhound and the fantastic Sergio at The White Lion for not minding us holding our often bicker-stuffed meetings at their establishments. The team this year responsible for the difficult bits – persuading venues to have us, booking 60+acts, checking relevant laws and licenses, finding and organising a small army of volunteers, making sure they know the individual requirements of each act- they’ve been wonderful. I’ve had the easy, fun bit as Marketing Co-ordinator: telling potential festival-goers what great things all the team’s hard work will bring forth through a promotional campaign that bordered on the stalkerish. ‘We’re going to get you on the show this week’, I was told by a BBC Nottingham producer on The Mark Dennison Show ‘Since you’ve been Twitterizing him all week’. A great by-product of Oxjam: a very Web 2.0 neologism was bought into existence.

While I am like a child on Christmas Eve right now, counting the minutes down and brimming with expectation and excitement, a melancholy is present. Cos once the last band plays that last note, and after that last banner gets unhooked and furled back into a tube, once the last penny of takings has been counted and sent over to Oxfam,  all those months of work will be over. The people I’ve worked with and come to get to know over this time will still be great  friends, but the thing that bought us together will be over. I’ve had an incredibly busy year in so many ways, but Oxjam has always been the backbone to it all, the one thing I’ve measured the year by in its proximity. The whole experience has been one of the most heartening, most enjoyable, and most pride-inspiring things in my life.

After being involved for three years, it’s become a Beeston community institution, alongside Chinese New Year, Beeston Carnival and the Christmas Light Switch-on. The gaudy pink of Oxjam is splashed across shop-fronts, over pub bars, pinned to people as tin badges. I’ve seen people genuinely excited, demanding when it is, who will be playing, what venues will be used. It took three years of endless explaining what we were and what we do, but finally now it’s taken root and I hope – I know – will blossom.

If I’m not part of it again, then I know there will be others to carry it on, to grow it further, develop it and create something that Beeston can – despite the depressive depths of development we’re presently subject to- have something to sing and dance about for many years to come, raising a huge chunk of money for a massively worthy cause along the way.

So before I get an early night in preparation of a huge day, a massive thank you to Beeston, a town I can not feel luckier to live in, a community I can not feel more honoured to be part of. Rumours of Beeston’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Tomorrow, we prove it.

The bloke with the guitar stood as a candidate in the 2010 General Election for Broxtowe...

The bloke with the guitar stood as a candidate in the 2010 General Election for Broxtowe…

 

 

 

 

Pre Oxjam Stuff / Fiver Film Club.

Just a couple of quick things. First, I filed a complaint to the PCC on behalf of the White Lion. I also emailed and tweeted the journalist in question, though she as yet to respond. I’ll let you know the PCC response. We’re pushing for a retraction of the on-line article and an printed/personal apology.

We have a very special film club at Cafe Roya tomorrow evening, with a local filmmaker responsible for some critically acclaimed documentary work dropping into show some of his work. Entrance is £5, and that includes, amazingly, a meal cooked up by Roya. If you’d like to join us, drop me an email at thebeestonian@gmail.com . It should be a fascinating (and belly-filling evening).

It’s also the most busy and terrifying week of the year for me as we enter the last few days before Oxjam. It’s been a long process, but hugely enjoyable. This is my third year I’e been involved and we’ve now become a bit of institution round town, with our distinctive pink tin badges worn en masse. There is so much going on we decided to put out a special Oxjam issue of The Beestonian, which we’ll have out in Beeston soon. If you can’t wait that long, we’ve got the online version up right now, have a gander here. I might also be popping up on radio here and there, keep an eye on The Beestonian Facebook page for info on where and when to hear my non-sonorous nasalings.

This might be the last blog post for a few days: Oxjam will be swallowing me up for a bit, and then I have just a day off before kicking off with another massive project: more on that later. If you have a burning issue you fancy getting out, send me an email with an your idea on it and I’ll host it up.

Meanwhile, get your Oxjam tickets here: http://www.oxjambeestontakeover.org/. See you on Saturday!    .

Free Speech? Free Press?

I was hoping to cruise through to Oxjam without spleen being vented at any pet peeves. I was hoping I could get to the 19th using this space to tell you of the wonderful stuff we have for you on that day, the great bands, the wonderful raffle, the fantastic fun that your fiver will buy you.

But then stuff happens, and I have to write about them. Two instances of hypocrisy that cannot pass without comment. We’ll start with our favourite non-Beestonian/ committed Mapperlian, MP Anna Soubry.

I’ve pointed out, here, how Anna’s website proudly quotes The Independent’s parliamentary sketch-writer Simon Carr and his observation that she ‘..has a record of unusually free-speech’, and how her definition of ‘free speech’ extends no further than her own speech. Dissent, differing opinions, pleas for consideration: se is deaf to them. And today she showed again what a horrific hypocrite and Cameron lap-dog she is by voting for the ‘gagging-law’. This legislation, thrown together by the coalition to pretend it will stop the scandalous lobbying that goes on in Westminster, is a pernicious attack on free-speech, effectively gagging charities and pressure groups from speaking out.

38 Degrees, the pressure group that Anna has already claimed were ‘a left-wing front’ that she could comfortably ignore, will be as god as outlawed. Greenpeace, Oxfam and many other charities will be hit hard and gagged from commenting on Government business. Dissent is being outlawed. Think I’m being hyperbolic and scare-mongering? Then check out this quote from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations:

“Organisations’ ability to react to important public policy developments…will be severely undermined”

Or we could look at Greenpeace’s reaction:

“This legislation is the most pernicious assault on campaigners in living memory”

 

Yet that beacon of free-speech Ms Soubry still voted for it, in line with her hatred of any collective or individual dissent against the Government policies she obediently votes for to ensure Cameron keeps promoting her and gives her a large campaign war chest come 2015. ‘

 

‘I’ll be Broxtowe’s voice in Westminster’ she repeatedly promised when touting for votes. And she’s right. Should the Lords not strike out this incredibly vile law then she’ll be the only voice from Broxtowe allowed to be heard down there. And don’t for a minute believe it’ll be saying anything that you’d like it to say.

 

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Another free-speeech question is on the table tomorrow as we get a clearer picture of what the post-Leveson set up will look like. I’m not going to comment too much on this, it’s a complex subject and a lot more nuanced than either the press or Hacked Off care to admit. But in line with most sane people in the this country, I can safely say that The Daily Mail is Scum and Hates Britain.

 

The Miliband thing was awful, but we’ll get round to that in a bit. First, let’s look at the story of a news story.

 

Chatting to Roya the other day, she mentioned that the landlord and lady of the White Lion had recently had a baby, born in the pub. I check if this is correct, it is, I put it on The Beestonian Facebook site. A reporter from the Nottingham Post rings me and asks about it, I give them as much detail as I can, they take it up.

 

I have a job that afternoon at a gym near the White Lion, so I ask my photographer Lewis if he fancies popping in and taking a photo. We arrive just as the Post do, so we all take a few snaps and get a few words. We put our picture online later that day:

 

sergio

 

…and the Nottingham Post run it as a feel-good front page story: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Landlord-delivers-baby-pub/story-19846060-detail/story.html

 

Both are well received: it becomes our Facebook page’s most liked post. Smiles all round then? Not quite.

 

I saw Sergio a few days later and he’s not too happy about the coverage. It’s not  a problem with our reporting, and he’s delighted with The Nottingham Post. He’s not so happy about The Daily Mail and The Sun running the story, and throwing in some lies and made-up quotes.

 

‘We named her after our best-selling lager: Stella!’

…is how the Mail reported it. Except this is an entirely invented quote: the baby is named Estrella, Portugese for ‘star’. Not after the fizzypiss lager. Which The White Lion doesn’t even sell. It goes on to claim that the baby was born ‘in the bar’ while the baby’s mother, Natalie was serving drinks: again, this is lies. Natalie, who by then was 11 days overdue, was resting upstairs in the flat she lives in with the kids. Yeah, it’s a better story to say it was born in the bar, but, y’know, it’s a fib.
It gets worse:

Today Sergio revealed the names picked for his daughter were ‘truly fitting’, as Stella lager and Rosi wine are two of his best selling drinks.

He said: ‘We really liked the name but coincidentally they are also two of the drinks we serve – Stella and Rosi . It’s also a bit like Estrella Damm, which is also a favourite of mine.

‘It was all a bit surreal for the customers – they didn’t know what was going on at first’

‘I’m not a big drinker but it’s truly fitting really being that we run the pub together. To deliver my child was a magical moment.

‘It was all a bit surreal for the customers – they didn’t know what was going on at first. The pub wasn’t that busy as there’s a lot of road-works going on at the minute, but I suppose that made it a cheaper round.

‘There’s going to be plenty of time to celebrate properly with all the regulars though, it was quite a magical moment.

Utter bollocks. Sergio didn’t say any of this to anyone, let alone the Daily Mail. Anyone who has chatted to the lovely chap will also know he doesn’t talk in these snippy little tabloid quotes. Some soulless hack was told to puff up the story, so rather than ring for a few quotes, just threw whatever they fancied into the mix. Her name is Martha De Lacey, and I’ve asked her via Twitter why she lied. I’ll keep you updated.

The Sun also ran a similar bollocks story, but it’s behind a pay wall and I’d rather eat my own toes than give the cancer that is Murdoch any cash. Sergio assures me it is just as crap.

I know it’s not on the same level as the Ralph Miliband smear, or a thousand and one other vile acts the Hate Mail gets up to on a daily basis. But it is another depressing example of how the press works. Sergio saught legal advice but was told by the solicitor not to bother; The Daily Mail / The Sun are far too powerful to fight. As for the Press Complaint’s Comission…well, they are well known to be more toothless than poor little Estrella Rose.

As this article shows, the definition of free speech and a free press is often skewed for the use of those who seek to deny it to others. So while I still legally can, I’ll have a crack at comparing the man who really hates Britain, Paul Dacre, with Hitler. And throw myself onto a bandwagon that was stale seven years ago…