HALLOWEEN @ BLAKER'S PARK
WILL BE CELEBRATED FROM 4 O'CLOCK ON FRIDAY 31ST OCTOBER
ORGANISED BY DISHY'S CAFE
REALLY NASTY FOOD AND REVOLTING COCKTAILS
PUMPKIN LANTERN COMPETITION
DISGUSTINGLY HORRID FUN & GAMES
SCARY SOUNDS FROM Spin Doctors Mobile Disco
TOTALLY AND TRULY TERRIFYING COSTUME COMPULSORY
I've done a lot of drum banging in advance of the Blaker's park Community Picnic but I don't think it'd be all that polite to blow my own trumpet afterwards and give it the glowing review it deserves - given that the organisation of the musical side of things was largely down to me. But forgive me if any of the following reportage slips into rhapsody or celebration of what was - after all - a great day out - a day to be remembered!
This year's Picnic has come and gone. it took place on Saturday 28th June 2008. The day started with grey skies but when the clouds broke up the sun shone for the rest of the proceedings and despite a cooling breeze we had a very comfortable time. The live music took off about 11.30 when Phoenix Williams sang a clutch of songs from her brand new album 'Wait and See' - despite there being no visible audience at the start she soon had a crowd sitting in front of the stage and getting a taste of what to expect for the rest of the day - great quality entertainment.
Then we had a handful of new local faces - starting with Caitlin Stubbs - vocals and piano - she wowed the audience with her witty, plaintiff songs and beautiful keyboard work - we want her to go far! The Laddercoins [Brighton UK!] came on with a set of mixed metal and rock some self-penned which proved a great success and The Hybrids did a splendid job presenting an instrumental set in the absence of their vocalist and their regular drummer - well played.
We had more entertainment through the afternoon from Mr Finn, Wob, The Sly-Tines, Gestalt, L. Morgan, Paradise9. That Legendary Wooden Lion, Go Johnny Go and Rockheart. [Let me know if I missed anyone!] APOLOGIES are due to Pog and The Cavalry, who both waited patiently for most of the afternoon but needed to leave before they got the chance to perform - this was partly due to a few long set up times but mostly over-ambition on behalf of myself - the stage arrangements were not as I'd originally envisaged and thus I under-estimated the time needed - SORRY!!!!
Here's the latest with just 2 weeks to go until the BIG DAY. There's progress and set backs to report.
We have lost Kung Fu Monsters who, sadly for us and their other fans, have decided to split. We wish them all well in their future individual projects
Adam Kidd, Melodica,Melody & Me and Saravian have all had to withdraw due to other musical or personal committments on the day. We will miss them.
So far confirmed we have Paradise9 who will play the 3-3.30 slot and That Legendary Wooden Lion will perform between 4 and 4.30.
Roy Weird from the latter group and their roadie Steve will run one stage while Dave Mania, one-time axe-ace from Kung Fu Monsters is running the other. They will be ably supported by Cliff Dowding.
We are still awiting confirmation from The cavalry, The Sly Tones, Rockheart, Mr Finn, POG, Guided by Lights, Go Johnny Go, The Scarlet Street Resistance and Last Orders [who were our opening act last year]. Please remind me if I've forgotten anyone!
We are also expecting appearances from a number of new local acts who should all be playing around lunch time. we have a children's entertainer Emma lined up and the POG/WOB collective may be running a drawing workshop. DJ Captain Bob may be present as will Paul Wilson from Radio Reverb's 'Ears Wide Open' show.
Lee Griggs who has been so instrumental in organising the stage and transport for previous picnics will be doing the same this year. Thank you Lee.
We still need more offers of help and support. Most importantly we need the loan of a good drum kit for the day. This will speed up the flowthrough of bands as we will not have constant construction and deconstruction of different kits thru the day. It will probably need a mat too as I'm not sure whether any other anchorage will be possible. If you can help out with this let me know - 01273 270501 or via this site or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bouncy Castle and various sideshows and stalls are already booked but anyone else wishing to be represented on the non-musical side should contact Philip Smith on 553330.
Last Saturday morning I was walking my dog in the region of Upper Lodges, Stanmer park when I heard an exotic bird call. It's origin seemed to be in a large Beech tree and i approached in order to identify the caller. Unfortunately a Crow arrived in the tree with the same idea and frightened the stranger away - it flew off in the direction of Stanmer village. And that was that...
...until this moerning when I was there again. And so was the bird. This time it flew across a gap in the canopy and I managed to see it in silhouette only and partially identify it as a parakeet of some sort. It then disappeared from both sight and sound. So I was not able to pursue it.
Hopefully I will come across it next time I visit the area.
There is a history of such exotics in the area. Hollingbury Woods was once [1970s-90s] as the home of upto 20 breeding ring-necked parakeets which made text books on the subject. These gradually dwindles and disappeared after the nesting tree which stood on a slope by the children's playground fell over one windy night.
Last winter, there was a bit of excitement in Waldegrave Road near Fiveways when a pair of green parrots with yellow faces arrived in the street regularly feeding on fruit of a particulalry abundant crab apple and the seed etc put out by residents. They stayed several weeks and were reported and photographed in local magazine 'The Fiveways Directory'. After disappearing for a few weeks they reappeared with a third bird in tow. Whether they had bred or not remains uncertain, but their residency this time was shrt-lived. As far as I know their present location or fate remains a mystery - as does their origin.
If you have any information on any of these matters I would be pleased to hear them. Meanwhile I shall try to keep you up to date on the Stanmer parakeet.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Fiveways Hosts Double World Film Premiere
On a balmy early autumn evening in October, The Red Carpet was rolled out across the yard of Balfour Junior School as not one, but two, hard-hitting new documentary films were released upon an unsuspecting public. The Shoot It For Yourself production company in association with BJS had pulled out all the stops been working overtime to make sure that “The Amazing Adventures Of A Plastic Bag” and “Revenge Of The Rubbish” were rushed through all the stages of post-production in time for this glamourous and prestigious event.
And what a glitzy affair it turned out to be. The Paparazzi were out in force led by representatives from ITV Local and the inimitable press-pack from Balfour Junior TV. Former Mayor and Mayoress of our city Mr Bob & Mrs Merle Carden were in attendance but their limelight was somewhat upstaged by the antics of Brighton & Hove Albion FC mascot and superstar Mr C Gulley, who entertained the expectant hoards of fans with demonstrations of his Prowess without the Ball.
The crowd was so vast and eager to see the blockbusting double-bill that, in the interests of Public Safety, it was decided to quickly organise 2 showings. So while the first audience was admitted to the auditorium, the remaining fans waere allowed to extend the pre-cinematic revelry by spending extra time and cash at the bar so professionally provided and run by The Friends of Balfour Association.
Once in at the main event, MC Mark eloquently introduced Head Teacher Mr Jones, replete in penguin suit and startling red dickie bow. The Head welcomed the assembled multitude and acknowledged the hard work of all the children, staff and helpers who had made these films and reality. He then called forward The Director Ms Fiona Adams who was presented with 2 dozen magnificent pink roses, and she in turn made the traditional acceptance on behalf of all concerned….
Once the formalities were over, the hall settled down to watch the movies they had all come to see.
“The Adventures Of A Plastic Bag,” much as expected, chronicled the ups and downs in the life of just one of the millions of bags consumed in the city each year. It concentrated on the dangers it presented to wildlife and the environment as it progressed through its seemingly endless existence. Particular emphasis was placed on the effect on marine ecology which seemed especially relevant to a City By The Sea. “Revenge Of The Rubbish” featured two vicious little items of litter – a plastic drinks bottle and a beer can who continually conspired to do their worst to spoil things for the planet and the population at large. Guest appearances by the ubiquitous Fat Boy Slim and artist Lou McCurdy, who spoke about the effects the rubbish has on city life, among many interviewees including students from Balfour provided some food for thought to the audience who went home with plenty to think about. A selection of Ms McCurdy’s sculptures made from beach-combed litter were on hand for all to appreciate.
Asked for his comments on the films, Mayor Carden described the work of the film-makers as both “Fantastic” and “Educational.” And he recalled days gone by when he’d been sent to the corner shop for two pounds of potatoes and a pat of butter armed only with a few pennies and a string bag – never a plastic bag or packaging other than a sheet of greasproof in sight. And the response to the same question from Gulley?? Merely, “Kaaaargh!”
**** DVDs of both films are available in a single package from WigWam at Fiveways
Article submitted to Fiveways Directory for August publication
This is a fairly quiet time of year for birdwatching. The breeding season is more or less complete for many species – although certain residents will have several broods over a good summer – and many birds are concentrating on feeding up before their return migration - often in places where they are less easily seen. The deciduous trees are fully clothed with leaf-cover and much of the feeding goes on high up in the canopy. The countryside is loaded with bounty so many town birds have escaped to feed in quieter areas.
Birdwatchers have to rely on their summer vacations to bring interest to their activity. Its well worth finding out what species you can expect to see when you go abroad in advance as English Language field-guides are often hard to find when you’re actually there. If you can’t find what you need in the library or local bookshop, then go on the Net to get a good choice of material. It’s also useful to look with titles such as ‘Where to Watch Birds in Rubovia’ As these will point you to the best locations near your holiday destination. A day or two’s birding can make a foreign visit that much more interesting once you’ve exhausted the beach, the shops and the local tourist haunts.
Much the same applies if you’re holidaying in the UK. Different parts of the country can offer quite differing types of birding. Mountain and Moorland, Marsh and Fen, North and West, Coast and Country all present varied habitats and a whole new list of possibilities. What’s common here may be a rarity there and vice versa. Again, find out before you go and plan a birding excursion into your trip. Of course, RSPB reserves are always a good bet for seeing something unusual but be aware that summer is also quieter there in many cases.
When you come home again, perhaps you could be thinking about making or updating your provision for birds in your garden. Do your feeders need cleaning or replacing? The sooner you start providing food, the bigger your contingent of garden regulars will be by the time autumn and winter start diminishing the natural food sources. But you must keep the feeders replenished once you start feeding or else the birds that come to rely on you will go hungry. You may care to obtain a book like Robert Burton’s ‘Birdfeeder Garden’. This is an excellent guide to things you can do to attract and nurture birdlife in your own habitat. Besides notes on feeders, bird-tables and so forth, it has plenty of ideas about planting to attract birds – shrubs with suitable berries, plants to encourage insects which birds feed on. There’s advice on ponds and other habitat ideas, plans for a variety of standard and specialist nesting boxes, which you might like to construct on otherwise dull and dingy autumn weekends.
We have heard a lot, in recent years, about the decline in the numbers of common bird species such as the House Sparrow. By making quite simple provision in your garden you can contribute to the task of supporting declining birdlife, which has to be a positive outcome of what often starts out as the quite innocent pastime of birdwatching. With many of us doing this, there is a cumulative effect and in no time a species can recover from virtual extinction. Not only that, for quite a modest investment, you can gain hours of enjoyment and entertainment from the amusement generated by a handful of little brown jobs squabbling over food in your garden!
A few years back the whole family went on an NSPCC walk in the wilds of West Virginia. It was called 'A Walk in the Woods', its inspiration being drawn from Bill Bryson's book of the same name.
We walked about 80 miles on the Allegheny Trail rather than the Appalacian Trail which is what Bryson had originally done. Bill joined us for a couple of days although we were originally told he would be with us the whole 8 days. Still he was great to talk to and just as personable as his books suggest.
Anyway this snap was taken in woods shortly having climbed away fron the Greenbank Obervatory which had been a great place to visit.
I was towards the back of the group as we wound our way through fairly dense tree growth in more-or-less single file. I was shocked when I looked down and realised I was about to step on this little critter. A good 30 folk had passed it within 2 metres without seeing it!
Our guide told us that its mother had probably heard us coming and 'told' it to play possum while she slipped away to a safe distance until we had passed on.
I can't believe that nearly a fortnight [not too often we use that word nowadays!] has passed since I promised to tell you about my trip West to Sunny Devon & Wet & Windy Cornwall. It was just a 5-night break visiting old and dear friends who I miss very much in my otherwise very good life with my family here in Brighton.
In that 2 weeks my memory has faded somewhat and many of the things I thought "Oh - I must blog about that," have slipped from my frontal lobes. Perhaps some of them will resurface as I start to get down those things which have remained thus far.
I must stress that I went with no real agenda other than to have a break and renew old aquaintances. I just decided to go with the flow of what mein hosts had to do or had planned and let someone else do all the thinking for a change. This is a strategy that seems to have worked well and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to get away without having the bother of planning down to the last detail. It avoids being disappointed with one's itinerary when it doesn't quite work out.
The central 3 nights were spent at Skimmel Bridge near Penzance with the Pottses. These are folk we have known for 25 years since the early eighties through links in computer programming training and work [not mine, I hasten to add].
I arrived in the afternoon of Friday 19th August having driven the approximately 100 miles from the Torbay area. The journey had been a bit tiresome what with delays caused first byseveral cloudbursts in the Totnes area that reduced visibility to tens of feet and then the roadworks [near Indian Queens] which will eventually provide a much needed bypass for Bodmin Moor. Nevertheless the Cornish weather experienced in Devon had given way to a sunny afternoon by about 4pm so I arrived in good spirit.
Naturally enough, the evening was passed in conversation, supping wine and tea and eating an excellent meal.
I had a refeshingly restful night rising about 9.30 and around midday Francis drove me to visit St Just, the nearby town on the north coast by Cape Cornwall, where I had never been to before. I fell in love with it straight away. It was grey and quiet - industrial Cornish in style, being a tin-mining town in former days and somewhat unfashionable now.
I declared it was the town I thought I'd like to retire to, then promptly added the rider that would not actually happen until global warming had modified Cornwall's climate so that it no longer rained at 4pm every day.
Anyway the first port of call was The Cook Book & Bosorne Books in Cape Cornwall Road, a combined bookshop and restaurant. The food was brilliant - I think I had Roquefort fritters and salad - and the reading matter was well arranged and veryvaried. I was particulalry impressed by the number of shelves devoted to books on jazz - an odd quirk for such an out-of-the-way location. I cannot find this venue on the web so I hope the mention will attract a bit more custom to the shop. Having said that it was pretty busy and we had to wait to get seats although this allowed time to peruse the books and select stuff to ruminate over while we were eating. An added attraction is that some of the seating is at barstools arranged around a high table so one is able to meet other diners and exchange niceties while indulging in food and literature.
After lunch I gladly followed as Francis gave me the town tour. It was incredibly tranquil although I can appreciate that the atmosphere changes dramatically when heavy weather moves in from the Atlantic!
Close on the Market Square 'Pen an gw ary' is an ancient enclosed field where traditional 'plays' are staged telling local folklore. There are a number of essential suppliers and several art galleries which all seemed to be quaintly closed on a Saturday afternoon. Our walk took us in and out of a number of alleyways [twittens they'd be called in Sussex] where smart cottages with neat flowering gardens have managed for centuries without the luxury of being able to drive up to the door.
I was very taken with the number of Echium paninana plants which not only flowered in the gardens but also seemed to be forcing seedlings up as weeds in any available crack.
The complete town tour only takes about 1/2 an hour so we soon found ourselves back at the car. We hopped in and tootled off down to Cape Cornwall.
This is the last bit of terra firma this side of America. And very impressive it is too, with its bleak coastline and stannery chimney. Well worth the very easy climb to the summit.
We returned via the winding lanes visiting Pendeen lighthouse on the way. I was surprised by the amount of gorse in flowerat this time of year. Francis explained that in these parts Western Gorse, a dwarf species, is very common and this provides a continuity of flowering alongside the commoner type. He also pointed out an unusual wasps' nest he had found a couple of weeks previously. It was in a blackthorn hedge on the roadside and had the size somewhat larger than a baseball. The hedge looked ripe for flailing so I hope this has not happened and the insects have been allowed to carry on their wayside existence in peace.
We arrived back at Skimmel Bridge feeling that we'd had a good day out but knowing we still had to visit an art exhibition in Sancreed that evening so a couple of hours rest was in order to recoup strength ready for the next
I'd just like to say how pleased I am that the summit came to such a positive end. The Americans will be damned whatever they choose to do and there is some evidence that they have achieved as much not having subscribed to Kyoto as most of those who did.
Before we get bogged down by the avalanche of cynicism that will now start in the the wake of the summit, I just want to say well done to all those concerned for this magnificent achievement.
Many of us have who have 'light green' credentials will see this as real and genuine progress - I know there are plenty of deep green fascists and anti-globalisationists who will pour on plenty of scorn - I hope they choke on it!