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.
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.
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.
Glen Dinning is the 25 year old enthusiast behind Blue Collar Food, which can be found at the Butter Market on Wednesdays, the summer foodie events at the Forbury and other recent well-received markets in Henley and Guildford. In a town where a wagon-train-like huddle of feisty independent shops and cafés survive and sometimes thrive amongst a Scooby Doo background of chain coffee shops and retail, Glen is a true innovator and entrepreneur, but he’s not a bit like Del Boy or the Wolf of Wall Street. He is a friendly Reading geezer with a blue and white hooped heart who has already achieved great things with a smile on his face and a large portion of savvy and sheer bottle. He agreed to meet me over a pot of tea to give up some of his business secrets and tell of future plans (and perhaps seek investment in my toast business). He had his phone turned off and he paid for the tea.
I was on a lunchtime walk from work with colleagues recently and among them was Jamaican-born Rastafarian, David Archibald. David’s knowledge of the Afro-Caribbean history of three Katesgrove buildings had us all enthralled. He gave us some real insight into the cultural and socio-political side of life growing up in Reading in the 70s and 80s. With vivid joy, he talked of the great times he had at the Apollo Youth Club, the Caribbean Club and the Central Club; David explained most of his life at the time revolved around social gatherings with music at the heart of everything.
For 11 years, the Rising Sun Arts Centre in Katesgrove has been hosting a regular tribute night featuring the work of iconic song writers and artists. From David Bowie to Carole King, Depeche Mode to Kate Bush, amateur troubadours and musical all-comers have been welcome to perform their songs without audition or prejudice.
Felix Brunner is a builder, an artist, a former school teacher and educationalist, a Peace and Green Party activist, Reading fan and the owner pioneer of Reading’s most marvellous independent arts and music venue, the Rising Sun in Katesgrove. He is also the loudest whistler I ever heard.
Mick Jagger was not the only musical luminary to grace Milman Road. Musician Rob Rose, who died in 2014, lived on the road from 2012.
Emil Schult’s programme at South Street on the evening of Saturday 22 July included a memorable piece of film from Düsseldorf in 1969 which he shot while he was a student at the Kunstakademie. Members of the audience who remember those times were immediately transported back to their own youth.
Children from the Palmer Academy on Northumberland Avenue have been regularly attending lunchtime concerts at Reading University over the last year. It’s clear that the children enjoy these concerts, and after a year of being exposed to a wide variety of music from a capella singing groups to string ensembles, it seemed sensible to get a child’s opinion for a change.