How Reading East and Reading West MPs voted in the European Union (withdrawal) Bill debate

12 June was a big day in the House of Commons for Brexit as the debate and voting took place on a long list of amendments proposed by the House of Lords.

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‘Happy Jack’ at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

Happy Jack at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Richard Brown, courtesy of the Progress Theatre.

Progress Theatre are staging Happy Jack, John Godber’s timeless and touching tale (inspired by his own grandparents) of a couple in mining Yorkshire, where coal is king.

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Reading Cultural Awards 2018 finalists featured in the Whitley Pump

The Whitley Pump has featured at least one of the finalists in each of the twelve categories of this year’s Reading Cultural Awards, some on more than one occasion. This shows how much is going on in, or linked with, our little patch of Reading!

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Book Review: The Lime Tree by César Aria

Town Hall (Palacio Municipal)

‘The Lime Tree’ by César Aira is a recent arrival in the World Shop at the Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) on London Street. The short novel is set in Coronel Pringles in Argentina, a real place named after a real person, Juan Pascual Pringles, a hero of the wars of independence against Spain in the early nineteenth century. It is also where author César Aira really grew up.

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Craft Theory at South Street

By Zoe Andrews.

Chaats Indian Street Food at the Craft Theory Festival, South Street

I missed out on the first Craft Theory festival at Katesgrove’s South Street Arts Centre last year, but I read the reviews with excitement and suffered a major case of FOMO [note 1]. I was in a unique position for the festival on 13 and 14 April this year; not only did I volunteer for Friday behind the jump [note 2], pouring drinks and loving it, but I also arrived bright-eyed on Saturday to spend the afternoon getting merry with my pals.

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‘Little Gem’ at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

Alison Hill as ‘Kay’ in ‘Little Gem’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Richard Brown.

The Progress Theatre are performing Elaine Murphy’s tenderly crafted Little Gem next week. Steph Dewar’s warmly funny and moving production, intimately staged, employs seamlessly interwoven monologues that are delivered by three generations of working-class Irish women.

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Melodic anxiety and tuneful paranoia with Harroland

I caught up with “Reading’s best new band” Harroland at their third ever gig, at Readipop in Milford Road in March, and they kindly granted me a very public interview in the car park. It was a freezing cold night, but I was ably assisted with questions by Whitley and Katesgrove aristocracy, music gurus Trevor Absolom and Michael Wyatt, as well as a very pleasant passer-by. When they become big and global in the years to come, you can boast about seeing Harroland early on at Reading venues.

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The John Madejski Academy triumphs at the Let’s Sing choral festival

by Matthew Farrall and Stephanie Chard.

JMA performing arts teacher Tommy Robinson accepting a Lets Sing 2018 award from Mayor Rose Williams at the Hexagon, Reading. Photo courtesy of Reading Borough Council.

Crisply compèred by Breeze FM‘s Robert Kenny, the Let’s Sing 2018 charity choir concert on Monday 26 March was of such a high standard that the trio of independent judges had a very difficult task indeed. Every choir received rapturous applause on merit from a lively audience.

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‘Mother Courage and her Children’ at the Progress Theatre

Mother Courage and her Children. From L: Taylor Rupp (Katrin), Rebecca Moir (Mother Courage), Lawrence Bird (young man), Jack Hygate (Swiss Cheese). (Photo: Richard Brown)

The Progress Theatre is performing Bertolt Brecht’s epic anti-war fable Mother Courage and her Children this week. It is a tale of the endurance, weakness, heroism and cowardice of ordinary people in a time of war.

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After Dark Club showcases Reading’s best new bands

By Matthew Farrall with Trevor Absolom and Matthew Davies

After Dark Bar

Last Saturday, the After Dark Club on London Street in Katesgrove hosted another live music night in league with the inspirational Musical Bear Records, with free entry if you turned up before 7.30. Three of the four bands were local and, once again, we were amazed at their quality and originality. The Reading music scene seems pretty vibrant and alive at the moment, not to mention cheap and accessible.

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Katesgrove talent shines on a rainy night in Basingstoke

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.

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