Annoyingly early Christmas post: Charity, more charity,charity awards, food and charity, craftiness, boobs ain’t news, Beeston’s own ‘Mistletoe and Wine’…

A very busy few weeks that have kept me from updating this blog. So excuse if this is a bit of a blurt while I get a load of stuff out in one go….

First, a few bits of charity. With Christmas and its orgiastic consumerism around the corner, get some relief from treacle-drenced John Lewis adverts and spare a thought for those who couldn’t afford an asparagus kettle even if they were daft enough to want one. Homelessness in Britain is on the rise again, after being in decline for several years. Shelter estimate that a family becomes homeless every fifteen minutes, and this is set to rise as the effects of coalition policies such as the insidious Bedroom Tax are felt.

While I would urge anyone with a few quid at hand to set up a standing order with a charity such as Shelter that directly campaigns against the causes of this disgrace, you can do something much more immediate right now. Have any warm clothing, or wool? Then get in touch with the Facebook group Help The Homeless, who are collecting right now for rough sleepers. They are collecting locally and will then work with established housing charities to distribute accordingly.

The cold weather doesn’t just impact on those who are forced to sleep rough. It’s estimated that 480 people died in Notts as a result of last years harsh winter, a significant chunk in Broxtowe. This shouldn’t have happened, but it does, and it hits the most vulnerable. While the government tells us the solution is to ‘put on a jumper‘ – while one it’s MPs claimed £5,822 on expenses to heat his stables- the greed of the energy companies is forcing many to choose between eating and heating this year.

Nottinghamshire Community Foundation are running an appeal this year to try and raise £10,000 to help the most vulnerable survive. They’re particularly interested in donations from those who receive, but don’t need, their Winter Fuel Allowance. More info, and ways to donate, here.

Fans of Cafe Roya  – and if you like food, you’re a fan, even if you don’t know it yet, can combine doing a bit of a good with having a fab foodie night out next week. Roya will be joining forces with Oxfam to bring you a Christmas treat. Over to the organisers:

The lovely, seasonal, five course menu will feature: Sage and chestnut soup with homemade bread; Sweet potato en croute, parsnip mash, wed wine and juniper gravy; Christmas pudding, brandy butter; Cheese and biscuits; Home made mince pies, tea and coffee

This is great chance to enjoy an evening at Beeston’s best restaurant while helping support the great humanitarian work of Oxfam. Tickets cost £35 per person, a third of which will go directly to Oxfam, and includes entry to our quiz with some top prizes.

If you would like to book a table please call Café Roya directly on 0115 922 1902 or drop-in to their premise on 130 Wollaton Road (NG9 2PE).

We are also running a Christmas raffle to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. If you are able to donate prizes or sell some tickets please get in touch.


So that’s what you can do for charity. But whats charity done for you, sweet Beestonians? Only gone and given you an award for being so ace, that’s what!

Yep, Beeston’s Oxjam Takeover, one of dozens that took place over the UK in October, scooped the prestigious Community Spirit Award at this year’s National Awards. Here it is:


It was awarded in recognition of how well the community worked -and partied – together to make Beeston Oxjam a runaway success. We’re incredibly chuffed to receive this as one of our aims is to try and get the festival enmeshed in the fabric of Beeston. We want it to be inclusive as possible, to involve local businesses, local talent, local punters. Without you, we could never have raised the £10,000+ we managed to get. Thank you all so much. I’ll have a word with our Head Co-ordinator, Heather, and see if we can arrange for everyone in Beeston to have the award on their mantlepiece for a night. Crank up the spreadsheets, Heather!


Shameless self-promotion: my latest column in The Nottingham Post, explaining why I support the No More Page 3 campaign.


A message from champion crafter Honey Bee (not her real name. Though I’m sure if I can swan around pretending to be a Lord she’s perfectly entitled to use a entomological moniker):

Calling all Beeston Businesses! Honey Bee is organising her annual fundraising event at The Pearson Centre for Young People on Saturday 14th December. If any of you would like to show your support and promote your business at the same time then please contact me at by Thursday 28th November to be involved.


The next  Beestonian Film Club, on Monday 2nd, promises to be a corker. We have the staggeringly talented Turrell Brothers showcasing a slice of their extensive work, as well as Roya’s incredible food thrown in with the entrance fee, a superbly bargainous £7. I’m sure this will be a sell-out, so to book a place NOW drop me an email at asap. I’ll leave you a taster, their superb video for the insanely catchy ‘This Time Next Year’ from Beeston’s -if not the universe’s  finest power trio, The Madeline Rust . It’s all about stalking, stealing boyfriends and descents into madness, but with sleigh bells to keep it seasonal….

Beestonian BAFTA Bash; White Lion 1, Daily Mail 0; New Deal?; St. Apleford Cival War; Dr WHO?; Rattling the Tins.

Picture by Lewis Stainer must be credited

‘So yeah Shane , take the bit out about the little skinhead kid and put a bit in about a local magazine editor and blogger, and how Vicky McClure’s character thinks he’s dead good’. Lord Beestonia helps with the directors cut of This Is England. Pic by Lewis Stainer. Delusion by Lord B.

A good start to the week, with BAFTA winners Shane Meadows and Vicky McClure dropping into the Beestonian Film Club at Cafe Roya, to present a special night – and world premiere – of Shane’s shorts. A full report will be up soon, but I’m still in  shock from it all. Shane and Vicky could easily sell out the Broadway in town, so to come and say hello to our tiny club was astonishing. Thanks to all who came, and sorry to all those that didn’t get tickets: we had LOADS of applications but there very well might be a repeat soon…’like’ our Facebook site to get the news first.


Vicky MacClure, Shane Meadows and The Guardian’s Ali Catterall realise I may have added a few zeroes to the ’30 seater venue we’d like you to visit’.


More good news in an email today. You may remember the story of how a great, feel-good Beeston story got nicked by The Daily Mail and embellished with lies. Well, after a long process of letter writing, consent forms and highlighter pen over-use, the PCC finally offered a settlement. The Mail Online Managing Editor has offered to get rid of the offending quotes and alter the headline accordingly, but not go as far to apologise. It’s the equivalent of an out-of court settlement. I’ve talked to Sergio from The White Lion and he seems happy with this, though we have a few days to decide if we wish to pursue a full apology as well as retraction. Either way, a result: the offending lines will be banished from the page and the internet, and this will go on permanent record at the PCC website.


Issue 22 of The Beestonian is now out. It’s a corker of an issue, and available from The Bean, The Crown, The Hop Pole, The Guitar Spot, The White Lion, Belle and Jerome, Metro, Bubba Tea, Beeston Library, Cafe Roya and, from tomorrow, anywhere else I can get it too. We lead on an an interesting initiative setting up in Beeston, the Beeston New Deal. I won’t go into too much detail here, but Nick Palmer is helping head it up and has written more about it here. I’ll be chairing the first meeting in January, but before then would like to hear YOUR ideas and suggestions. Either as comments here, or by emailing me on .


Some strangeness from Stapleford. The Lib Dems there seem to have decided to go on the offensive against community activist and County Council candidate Richard MacRae. Richard runs the Stapleford Community Group (SCG)and we covered his election run on our County election blog. His falling foul of the Lib Dems seems to have stemmed from his campaign to rid Stapleford Town Council of its absent Councillors (the Wombwells relocated to Somerset earlier this year but didn’t vacate their seats. Brian Wombwell still represents Stapleford North at Borough level). The campaign was a success, and both, alongside Labour’s Russell Whiting, stood down. This really ground the gears of the Lib Dems, and a slanging match between MacRae/ SCG and the council/Lib Dems. A post on the SCG website was particularly damning, accusing the Lib Dems on the Council of actively workign against the grass-roots group, have a read here. Since then, Twitter and Facebook posts between the two groups have been getting gradually more angry, and on occasion veering into the personal. It’s all moving so fast I can’t keep an eye on it, Stapleford could really do with a decent blogger to report all this. They would be absolutely swimming in material.


And more strangeness from Stapleford. A couple of days ago an opinion piece turned up in The Nottingham Post written by a GP who outlined his horrendously busy schedule and put the boot into Jeremy Hunt for claiming that GPs were lazy. Have a read here. What reform-hating, anti-Hunt socialist could have written this? Err, none other than Dr John Doddy, County Councillor for Chilwell and Toton. TORY councillor for Chilwell and Toton. Whats more, he is a good friend of Soubz….whose boss until she moved to defence was none other than Jeremy Hunt. He’s also my former GP, and he seemed pretty decent. Could he be having a moment of realisation at what the coalition are doing to the NHS and kicking against his own party? Will Councillor Richard Jackson write an op-ed piece about the madness of MOD procurement? Strange days indeed.


We’re looking to cover more events in The Beestonian, so if you have anything coming up soon, get in touch and we’ll despatch one of our team of crack-critics (that sounds totally wrong. We will not be reviewing smokable forms of cocaine, or any other narcotics) over to have a peek. We’re also looking into expanding again soon, with more issues in more stockists. To do this we need more money, so we need sponsors. If you fancy sticking an ad into our critically acclaimed mag and getting over your message to around 3,000 residents, drop us an email and we’ll see if we can work together. I must stress that The Beestonian is absolutely not-for-profit, and will always be free to read. We all give ou time up for nowt so a contribution towards costs would be of great help. Cheers!

Sir Paul Smith Film-Fun / Aisle Rolling (and Raving) at Bartons / Dunn Line-up / Judge Beestonia.

Some excellent news to start with. Local film-maker Ben Wigley, who recently hosted a selection of his films at The Beestonian Film Club at Cafe Roya, has finally released to the public this fantastic film about Beestonian and king of stripes Sir Paul Smith, which is a fascinating bit of film. Theres an introduction that explains his Kickstarter to fund his latest project, Paa Joe and the Lion which I reckon you should take a look at and make a pledge. There are some excellent incentives to grab, so slip a few quid over and together we’ll get this project completed. Enjoy!


It’s all very exciting running the film club, we’re putting together several special events over the next few weeks which you can find out about by finding as on Facebook, liking our page and reading the updates.



Spiky Mike….some pun about fruit/ apples / core etc.

There is a HUGE amount of stuff cracking off in Beeston this weekend. Tomorrow sees Barton’s host TWO events, the first the Funhouse Comedy night, hosted by Spiky Mike. Mike gave up his Saturday recently for Oxjam, compering Bartons and making a great job of it. The comedy nights he’s been running at The Gallery at Bartons are exceptionally good: usually four acts, a great venue and a bar ran by Magpie Ales. I’ve had some top nights there in the past (yes, it is possible to enjoy stand-up comedy sober) and thoroughly recommend it. Tickets are here, or on the door.

There’s also a massive rave in the depot buildings there, but it looks like it’s sold out so bad luck if you fancied necking Redbull to repetitive beats in front of some antique buses. Interesting stuff though, if it goes well Bartons could be further proving to be fulfilling its huge potential as a venue….


More comic hi-jinks can be found tomorrow at Mason and Mason, near Broadgate Park, between 1pm and 3pm. Anna Soubry will be trying out new material for her upcoming stand up routine she’ll be touring in place of Jo Brand. Tickets are free but heckling is strictly forbidden, particularly it’s about the NHS, Royal Mail, bedroom tax, Syrian Intervention, fat/poor people, or her present living arrangements.


Which reminds me to give huge thanks to all the acts who came to The White Lion last night to play our Oxjam thank-you party. I finally got to see the heroic Jim Dunn play live, after being tickled by his work for some time. This corker in particular got a great response:


And finally, there is a great night in store at The Hop Pole, as the annual songwriting competition reaches it’s climax with a final featuring four staggeringly talented artists. I’ve been judging the heats for the last few weeks, and it’s been top fun. The quality has been beyond my expectations, and there have been many tense arguments with my fellow judges, Karen (HopPole landlady) and Jimmy (Wiggins, Guitar Spot supremo) about who gets through. I will be hosting as well as judging, and they’ll be CDs of all the entrants -plus a track from the late and greatly missed Mad Mick. Get down, it will be a tune-tastic night and the closest you’ll get to see me as Simon Cowell.