A brief post to wish Beestonians a super New Year. 2013 has been by far the most odd year of my life, with the magazine going from strength to strength and becoming a bit of a full-time job. Oxjam was a stunning success, with every event, from the Chilwell Road Street Party, through to the Bake-off, the Ceilidh, right to the final event a roaring, cash-raising success: we won an award for best community orientated festival: so thank you all for getting us that.
I started up the Film Club at Cafe Roya, which has gone from showing a few shorts over an evening into getting in very special guests from the film world, with Shane Meadows, Guardian writer and film critic Ali Catterall and devastatingly talented actor Vicky McClure all popping in. We’ll be getting the new season kicked off in late January, I’m working on lining up an incredibly excellent few events with a quality of guest only matched by Roya’s superb food.
Ali also just uploaded a film of the Shane Meadows night to Youtube…see it here…
I also had a bizarre brush with celebrity when I got an invite to the unveiling of the blue plaque commemorating Richard Beckinsale at College House school. I was expecting his superstar daughter Kate, but Michael Sheen, David Walliams and Hollywood director Len Wiseman also all rocked up.
I also got the great honour of meeting that sartorial god, Sir Paul Smith, who revealed he read the Beestonian when he was visiting family in town. If he’s reading this right now, I NEED A NEW SUIT, SIRPAUL. JUST SAYIN’.
I got myself a monthly column on The Nottingham Post, and in the Beeston and District Civic Society Magazine. Both are great fun, but the by-line picture I submitted to The Post is possibly the worse photo taken of a human, ever. I look like a bespectacled, damp, rat. Apologies for those wishing to read my column and being put off by this aberration.
Politically it’s been rather quiet: the County elections were thoroughly covered by myself and Christian Fox in our Battle for Broxtowe blog, as well as a commission to help on a large spread for the Nottingham Post. The BNP were annihilated, UKIP wiped out and Labour just grasped a majority. Little change locally, though the bad-blooded row between Independent Richard MacRae and the local Lib Dems over in Stapleford is still in full roar, which should make the local town council by-elections interesting. The Lib Dems did have one filip with Labour activist and committed trade unionist Sarah Brown crossing over to them . Nick Palmer was selected to fight the 2015 General Election for Labour, and Soubry committed herself to the Tory corner. She also got a promotion to Defense, and did everything she could do to ensure that after losing her seat in May 2015 she will have a media career as a pundit to go to, by constant crashes into the media spotlight by either being bollocked in the Commons for unparliamentary behaviour or making a rather crass and homophobic remark about Nigel Farage’s fondness for amateur proctology. While all this happened, she slavishly voted through the most vile, divisive programme of legislation this country has seen in generations, and fully supporting the appalling attacks on the most vulnerable, backing IDS’s blatant lies, backing the Home Office’s racist ‘GO HOME’ vans while playing the progressive on Question Time. She raised not a single word of contention when the Royal Mail was sold at a ridiculously deflated price so the Tories friends in the City could make a quick buck at the expense of a proud institution. She was keen to shout support for the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux while slavishly voting for policies to guarantee a massive swelling of their case-load. Janus Soubry, indeed. Rumour is she’s moved to Broxtowe, three and a half years after promising she would do. Why so long Anna? And who were the frequent pro-Soubz commentators on here who all shared the same IP address, one which was rather easy to pinpoint?The dominant Beeston event has been the tramworks, and as we go into 2014, the year the tram is due to begging rolling down the streets, there seems to be a delay of a couple of weeks and several months, depending on who you ask. Chilwell Road has struggled by all accounts during the closure, but shown great resilience. Keep shopping there!
Next year? Well, I am going to reapply as Marketing Manager of Oxjam Beeston 2014, and can’t wait to start working on that. I’m launching two new projects, Creative Beeston and the inaugural Beeston International Film Festival. More on both later, but both initiatives are going to be extrememly hard work and I’m amazingly grateful that business partners in both projects are excellent people who are a joy to work with. We’re also looking for a February release for Beestonia: A Psychogeography, a 30-minute documentary that takes a very strange look at the weirdness and wonder of this town. I’m spending a lot of time editing it together right now: and it’s again a joy to work on something with such a dedicated and talented bunch of people.
I will also be chairing a public meeting in early January to look at how Beeston can move forward in 2014. There are several huge issues linked to the massive changes Beeston is going through, and that has bought to the town an anxiety, and excitement, that we want to be able to channel. More on this later in the week, but it could be a very crucial meeting and I will be eager to find out beforehand your feelings.
There are loads more things to write, both as reflections on the past and plans for the future. This is no way a comprehensive run down of the year: 2013 has been far too interesting for that. Yet I do need to extend my utter gratitude to you all, anyone who reads this, picks up my magazine, donated to Oxjam…anyone who helped make this the best year I’ve ever had. It is a real privelige to live and work in this town, and to be part of it’s rich fabric. Although sometimes I crave a quiet life in a town where Nothing Happens, that feeling passes, replaced with a swell of joy at being a Beestonian. Happy New Year!
ps: …and a mention to Beestonian, scribe for The Beestonian, one-third of the Beestonian Film Club, Official Robin Hood and the partner of the ludicrously lovely Sally (official Maid Marian), Tim Pollard, for the birth of their gorgeous first-born who arrived on Boxing Day. Welcome to the world, Scarlett Louise. They’ve been all over the national press, yet the Daily Mail has disappointed by not running the expected story of how the baby was born in an oak tree while Bryan Adams played. As the PCC is presently investigating the other 2013 baby news, that’s probably a wise decision.