With all the recent legal shenaigans kicking off, I’ve not had any time to write about the positive stuff going on right now, and there is loads.
Oxjam 2014 is getting better and better, and we’ve even launched the first ever Beeston Oxjam CD. It’s a thing of beauty, with 19 tracks from local artists. It’s an eclectic showcase of the excellent talent we have round here, and costs just £5, which all goes towards Oxjam and ultimately, Oxjam. It’s easy to get hold of too: just pop into Oxfam in Beeston, or the Hop Pole and purchase your copy. If it doesn’t whet your appetite for the main festival, then throw away your hats cos you’ve got no ears.
We also are linking up with the legendary Johnny Pusztai and The Crown Inn to bring you another bit of Oxjam weirdness. The last weekend of Septmeber sees the Crown celebrate it’s fifth birthday. I’m hoping it goes better for me than the launch, which was ace except I had a bit of an accident afterwards. There will be loads of things going off to mark this anniversary, keep an eye on The Beestonian FB site for more info. One thing I can tell you about though is how Johnny P, several times holder of Britain’s Best Banger award, and Sat Bain’s personal butcher, will be designing an Oxjam sausage, made with beef and chilli jam (Ox-jam, geddit?). We’ll be launching this culinary exclusive on the Saturday, and raising a few quid for Oxjam as we do.
The actual festival on October 18th is looking exciting too. There is a chance our capacity might grow from 800 to 1,500. Still in negotiations, but looking good. We’re also in talks with some very nice people at The University of Nottingham to have them run their Student Welcome event concurrent with Oxjam: bringing town and gown together and having a massive party to celebrate. There is still a ton of organising to do, but it’s coming together very well right now.
Continuum: Some interesting progress over the last few weeks. I recently joined Professor Martyn Poliakoff, members of the Civic Society and Greening Beeston for a visit to Green Street, home of the University Creative Energy Homes. These are seven buildings utilising various cutting-edge concepts in sustainable living, and are a real treat. Looking like a mildly incongruous suburban cul-de-sac, they are living, working experiments, testing ideas that will one day be put into every home, new build or old. The staff who showed us round were fantastic, informative and contagiously enthusiastic.
Afterwards, we had a long chat about their involvement with Beeston. Professor Poliakoff was on great form despite recovered from a nasty bug, and negotiated an idea for the University Department of The Built Environment to run a competition amongst the students to design a building for Beeston that will be so cutting-edge it bleeds the future. This is going to be a long process, and there will be many hurdles to leap before it gets built. Yet we have the tacit backing of Broxtowe Borough Council; very positive noises from the Uni; and lots of enthusiasm from other organisations and agencies that will be crucial to get cracking on an actual physical building. As always, I will keep you updated.
Budding singer-songwriters need to get down the Hop Pole soon, and not just to buy the staggeringly ace Oxjam CD. Landlady Karen has just opened entries for the Annual Songwriters Competition, which is always a highlight of the year. Emma Bladon Jones has won it for the past few years, but is being denied a hat-trick by becoming one of the judges instead. Also Simon Cowell-ing it up will be Jimmy Wiggins, and myself. I had great fun last year, although I can’t play or write music, and my recent experiences at singing (I’ve been pulled up on stage by local Johnny Cash tribute band Crazy Heart a few times lately, to belt out my rendition of ‘My Lovely Horse’
Reviews of my singing range from making Yoko one sound like Eartha Kitt, and ‘a fire in a petshop’. Getting someone so unmusical to judge is a weird thing. I mean, you wouldn’t get the celibate Pope proclaiming on sexual matters, would you now?
My latest article in The Nottingham Post, on a super-controversial subject:
Have a cracking bank holiday weekend,even if an Argyle pullover is essential al-fresco wear. There is tons of stuff going off round Beeston, so get out there, eat, drink, pick berries. Tarah!