By Gillie Tunley and Matthew Farrall.
Katesgrove based carry-on country band the Rumpo Kidz and the bard of Elgar Road Nigel Pounds crossed borders into Hampshire last Saturday to perform at the White Hart, a lovely big old boozer at the old end of Basingstoke town. After negotiating the consumer-Narnia of a shopping mall at the heart of the new Basingstoke, our redbrick troubadours traipsed through the heavy rain with all their gear on their backs.
Reading Museum opened its new abbey gallery to the public on Monday 12 February. The museum’s abbey gallery is the most recently completed part of the Reading Abbey Revealed project, which is jointly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Reading Borough Council (RBC). Restoration of the abbey gateway will complete in April 2018 and the abbey ruins will re-open to the public on 16 June 2018.
Last year I got a text from a mate who lives in the flats opposite the John Madejski Academy (JMA). He said that there was some sort of uprising going on and the gates of the JMA had been flung open to unleash an alien entourage, who were now parading through Whitley looking like an escaped troupe of space-age circus performers or an absurdist dream made flesh with dancing, klaxons and odd machinery.
In a brilliant night at the Hexagon on Tuesday 6 February, talented children from Reading schools came together and put on a great show, Children Helping Children, in front of an audience of 600 or so. Introduced by John Cosgrove, the head teacher of Whitley’s Christ the King Primary School, this charity fund raiser and showcase of local youth talent got the toes tapping and the fingers clicking while tugging at hearts and minds too.
I wanted to try this new Reading Burger made with local ingredients at the smart looking Honest Burgers on the corner of the Butter Market and to check that it’s worthy of the name. After an edgy game of dominos in the Monks, me and four workmates on a payday binge thought we would indulge.
Children from Reading schools, including New Christ Church Primary School in Katesgrove, the Christ the King Primary School, the John Madejski Academy and Whitley Park Primary School in Whitley will be taking part in the annual Children Helping Children concert at the Hexagon Theatre on 6 February at 7pm.
Redbrick poet Nigel Pounds is one of many talented poets, musicians, writers, dreamers, drinkers and schemers who live in Katesgrove. His new work My response to is available on Amazon at a very reasonable 99p (not a pound) and contains 22 honest poems that really are his cri de coeur. On reading these poems, I am reminded of this lament from Allen Ginsberg: “poets are damned… but see with the eyes of angels.”
The Moving Gallery was based in a proper Reading bus, and for a period of six weeks in December and January it travelled normal bus routes; regular bus users became the audience for an exhibition of six talented artists. The art is now parked until the 27 January in the colourful premises of the Jelly Studios at the traditional heart of Reading retail, the Broad Street Mall.
The talented students from the John Madejski Academy (JMA) present a dynamic night of drama at 7pm on 24 January, at the JMA on Hartland Road in Whitley. They will be performing works by literary giants Brecht, Shakespeare, Goethe and Shaffer with additions by their creative and performing arts teacher, Tommy Robinson.