Established 2003. Now incorporating The Sudbury Hill Harrow and Wherever End Times

Thursday, March 27, 2008

US chart triumph for Leona Lewis

BBC NEWS | Entertainment

"Singer Leona Lewis has become the first British woman to top the US pop chart for more than 20 years with her single Bleeding Love."

UK video on YouTube (over thirty million plays). The official US video (another few million plays!).

Number one in the Billboard hot 100. Not one of my favourite songs, but she's done well, good luck to her - nice voice. I hated being stuck in the back of a mini-cab (more than once) and feeling embarrassed while Ahmed the driver was listening to this on Capital Radio, among the rest of that gloop and heavy breathing musical porn.

Jacintha, Newsmusic Desk

The kindness of strangers

A Streetcar Named Desire/Feel - Vivien Leigh/Robbie Williams

"...And an anthology from The Willesden Herald – New Short Stories 1. There’s quite a variety in that – it contains what my contemporaries are writing, and I love the up-to-dateness of anthologies and lit mags for just that reason." (Interview with Nuala NĂ­ ChonchĂșir)

Jacintha, Newsmusic Desk

Monday, March 24, 2008

You are my sister

Antony and the Johnsons (feat. Boy George)

Dedicated to all the lonely children of the so-called people's republic of China, where it is decreed* that there shall never again be any such thing as a brother or a sister

Jacintha B Pukka, Newsmusic Desk

* The "one child" policy

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Words From A Glass Bubble

Willesden Herald short story prize winner, Vanessa Gebbie, signs for Maggie Gee et al

The Gallery@Willesden Green: 40x40 & Graffiti Express

Abstract 270208 by Peter McCann The art works are uniformly 40cm square but varied: any media, any style, high & low art, known & unknown artist, and so on. Plus TheWall@ TheGallery: Graffiti Express. Plus glass work by Renata Cygan.

Preview party: Thursday 27th March 6-8pm. Open to all.

40x40 Show

The art works are uniformly 40cm square but varied: any media, any style, high & low art, known & unknown artist, and so on. This show is about breaking boundaries.
Green Bag by Kathy Foster
In truly democratic style, each art work has the same amount of wall space, but each expresses the particular criteria for art of the individual artist. This show asks, of the artist and viewer: What is the state of contemporary art? Are there shared criteria by which we assess an art work? Is there a global art style to be seen?

TheWall@TheGallery: Graffiti Express

London graffiti is getting cleverer, bolder and more and more abstract. Banksy, DrD and the abstract stencillers have blurred the line between art and vandalism and yet more blurring occurs in a new group show by graffiti artists: Eugene Ankomah, Nick Buthcher and Swiftie. Graffiti Express explores how a genre that began as a form of subversive public communication has become legitimate—moving away from the street and into private collections and galleries.

Special event

Three promising graffiti artists will be given 3 blank canvases each to create their own artwork on the spot. The demonstration will take place during Easter (21 to 24 March) everyday from 1-6pm. The freshly made graffiti will be shown until the 11th of April.

The Gallery at Willesden Green, Willesden Green Library Centre, 95 High Road, London NW10 2SF. Times of opening: Monday 17th March – Thursday 10th April, 2pm-6pm.

Brent Artists' Resource

Abstract 270208 by Peter McCann. Green Bag by Kathy Foster

Monday, March 17, 2008

I like London in the rain*

I wanted to write something about Lewisham, where I was last Thursday evening. It was raining and just still light, with the street market closing. I love the half light - and rain, and rivers. There's a river called the Quaggy that runs through Lewisham. It used to be called the Lee Bourn, according to an information plaque. I was a bit tired - hadn't slept since Tuesday night - and didn't feel like taking pictures but everything was ravishing, especially the tables covered in bunches of bright yellow bananas put out in front of market stalls for workers going home, and more ranks of darker things further back, as the vendors were packing up. I really didn't want to go anywhere, and if not for convention I would have stayed there gazing around (and maybe slept in a doorway - no not likely) but I had to move on.

The trees along the banks of the Quaggy are infested with plastic shopping bags, by the way. If one-use plastic bags are banned, as seems likely, places can be cleaned up and it will be well worthwhile. It has been in Ireland.

* Blossom Dearie (April 28, 1926 - February 7, 2009 - r.i.p.)


Outstandingly interesting memoir

A moment in history: sitting down to talk with Adams and McGuinness | Politics | The Guardian

This is one of the best bits of memoir I have ever read, if not the best. For example:

A strong sense of the past hovered over the meeting. Before sitting down, McGuinness paused and observed: "So this is where all the damage was done."

We all froze, taken aback by this opening gambit, and I said: "Yes, the mortars landed in the garden behind you. The Gulf war cabinet on this side of the table, including my brother Charles, the prime minister's foreign affairs adviser, dived under the table, before retreating to the garden rooms below. The windows came in but no one was injured."

McGuinness looked hurt. "No, I meant this was where Michael Collins signed the treaty in 1921." We, with our shorter-term perspective, had been thinking of the IRA attack on Downing Street in 1991, while they, with their longer sense of historical grievance, had been thinking about the treaty of Irish independence signed with Lloyd George that had given rise to the Irish civil war.

Here's another teaser for you:

Ten years of work paid off on May 8 2007 when a grand ceremony was held at Stormont to mark the power sharing deal between Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley. Jonathan Powell and Tony Blair found themselves sitting close to an interesting collection of republicans:

I would have felt it to be an even more remarkable occasion had I realised the identity of the group of middle-aged men sitting in the next section along in the gallery. They looked harmless enough with their grey hair,

· Extracted from Great Hatred, Little Room by Jonathan Powell, to be published by The Bodley Head on March 20 at £20. To order a copy for £18 with free UK p&p go to [the Guardian online] bookshop or call 0870 836 0875


Friday, March 14, 2008

Sport Relief (14-16th March)

Lemar v. Ben Shepard (Sport Relief, BBC2)

It's Sport Relief telethon tonight on the Beeb. You can watch the BBC trailers, starting with the build-up to the celebrity boxing match, Lemar versus Ben Shephard, with Ricky Hatton and others. (One second of this was sponsored by the Willesden Herald short story competition - thank you.)

If There's Any Justice (Lemar)

I don't know who Ben Shephard is, but this is Lemar versus Lemar (kind of autoerotic vibe, n'est pas?) Wanted for crimes against grammar, and going about with a dangerously brilliant voice.

Jacintha, Newsmusic Desk

The Choir: Boys don't sing

Stand By Me/Beautiful Girls (The Choir, BBC2)

Gareth Malone should get a peerage never mind a gong. No, he didn't buy a school, he is just a very good teacher. [That's not how it works. Ed] If you saw the series The Choir, you'll remember this rendition from the last episode. The series showed how our youth culture tends to separate young people from aspiration and drag them into a dismal, downbeat attitude. Gareth Malone discovered some outstanding singers in the school only to find in the next year that they had turned completely against the idea of singing. He was quite ruthless in using creative ploys to get them back onside and by the end he achieved it. This would make an excellent charity single release.

Jacintha, Newsmusic Desk

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Gravitas eyes mayoral run

Gravitas party founder Feargal Mooney says he has considered running for mayor. "I was leaving Willesden for good, when I heard the bells of St Andrew and St Mary Magdalen calling me, crying, 'Turn again, Feargal Mooney' and I thought of St. Patrick, and Dick Whittington and her knee boots, and I said maybe, just maybe...but then I heard the voices of the people of the western congestion charge zone calling me, crying 'Back Boris! Back Boris!'"

Ken Livingstone's epitaph

    Thank You  
For Not Feeding
    The Birds


Friday, March 07, 2008


Davy Byrnes Pub

"As he surveys the premises from his majestic throne, you can reflect on an age that is past but not forgotten in a premises which is one of Dublin's most active fashionable and sought out watering holes."

Himself was no stranger to the most active and sought-out watering holes. How he'd chuckle at that phraseology. Not to mention old Bloom on his majestic throne.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

More from the diary of a madwoman

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

"...and we’d discuss the Industrial Revolution, union democracy, the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, America during the 1930s, Marxist Economics, Latin America and what the hell my class in Ethnomethodology was all about! (I still don’t know, but I ended up doing my term paper on the methodology of playing Twenty Questions. My research into this burning issue was subsequently enshrined in the university [UCLA] library as an example of an A paper. Go figure."

The eponymous Belle Tweedy

Belle Tweedy

Sunday, March 02, 2008

This evening

A nearby star

Radio Willesden now on air

Bartell DarcyDJ Bartell Darcy, late of Willesden community hospital radio and 2LO, has signed a contract with Willesden Herald allowing us to broadcast his unpopular radio show and also giving us access to his personal playlist, collected over the past century. According to Red Woodward this is an exclusive deal, though looking at the website it appears that anybody can do the same. Bartell Darcy says his collection has been built around the theme of, "What can I put on at the end of a party to make everybody go home?"

Feargal Mooney

Saturday, March 01, 2008

In the park today

View from a park bench

Crocuses and daffodils

Sonny Erikson

When wheely bins attack

They pedestrianised Brighton for a day and this was part of the fun (September 2007). You can't see the water squirting but you can hear some of the reactions.

Newsmusic Desk