Thursday, 30 June 2011

Tell me why?

Tell me why have I never been to the Albertine Wine Bar before?

This was the question that was circulating around my head from the moment I walked across the threshold into this traditional, almost continental looking wine bar. I was still questioning why two glasses of delicious white wine later as I stepped outside onto the obliviously busy Wood Lane.

Inside the bar you instantly feel like you are in the right place to drink wine and not just because of the back wall lined with bottles of red, but because of the general ambience of the place and the inviting smells wafting around the room. There are candles lit on rickety wooden tables around which are gathered wooden chairs of different sizes (some visibly from a church) and the tempting smells are fresh French bread, olives and cheese, ah the cheese. There is a lot of cheese in this place. How could you not drink wine in such good company as that?

Because I was there to meet a fellow local blogger/networker/marketing guru, David Wood of Best of Hammersmith and Fulham, I didn't do my usual thing of inspecting the menu back to front justifying to myself that I could drink as much as I wanted ("It's research! For the blog! *hiccup*"), instead I joined him in his very wise white wine choices and enjoyed a glass of Riesling and a glass of Duoro, a Portuguese white wine. Both were excellent. As was the company as we discussed Bush highs and lows, blogging, the power of social media (don't underestimate it!) and a number of other varied subjects. Again, perfect conversation topics for a wine bar.

So why hadn't I done this before? Mainly because from the outside I think Albertine looks like a village post office from the 1970s. Well it's true what they say; "Never judge a wine bar by it's cover". I apologise profusely for this error and I will be back to study that menu in full...soon. 

Source: Tired of London, Tired of Life

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Calling out around the world...

Or rather, "calling out around the Bush, are your ready for a brand new beat?" 

After I posted about Oxjam's Shepherd's Bush Takeover I received an email from one of the lovely volunteer organisers with some more information. They are also calling out for your help and involvement. Yes, you!

Like Bushstock the Oxjam Takeover will be a one day event, complete with festival-esque wristbands, where multiple venues around the Bush will be hosting not only musical acts but also comedians and DJs for our entertainment. Though the precise date of the event is yet to be confirmed several venues are already signed up: The Defectors Weld, Goldhawk, Walkabout, Vesbar and Raving Buddah.  With many more still to be added it's looking like it will be quite a day in the Bush.

So at this early stage in the game Oxjam are reaching out for the talent and all the better if it is local Shepherd's Bush talent. If you're a musician, boy/girl/man-band member, comedian, DJ or other type of performer (the mind boggles) the please get in touch with Oxjam Shepherd's Bush via their Facebook page or Twitter.

They are also very keen to hear from potential local sponsors and of course local volunteers who are keen to help out. Oxjam is mainly run by brilliant volunteers so they are on the look out for extra pairs of hands and if you'd like to email me, I'd be happy to put you in touch.

Who would have thought it? Two music festivals in the Bush in less than 6 months...

Night time is the right time...

...for taking a few quick photographs of Shepherd's Bush, specifically in and around O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire which really is such a iconic building for us, for music and for the performers who grace the stage there. I'm not alone in thinking this, Beyonce chose the Empire for a (semi) secret concert on Monday night because it was such a "historical venue". Unfortunately this is where the similarities between myself and Beyonce end.*

I love that sense of humour will always be alive and well in Shepherd's Bush.

* I did NOT take these pictures whilst stalking Beyonce on Monday night.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The music sounds better with you...

A little slow on the uptake but very, very happy to inform readers that Oxjam is coming to Shepherd's Bush in October in the form of a very promising sounding "Oxjam Shepherd's Bush Takeover". Phew! At last I have somewhere to channel all my post-Bushstock-blues energy....

Oxjam is Oxfam's month long music festival, during which hundreds of gigs, concerts, sing-a-long music based events will be taking place all over the UK. The funds raised go on to support Oxfam's numerous projects They have joined together with LiveNation and O2 Academy venues  to run training days for those who want to get involved so I would hazard a guess that the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire will feature in Oxjam Shepherd's Bush.

The precise details are yet to be confirmed but they have launched a Facebook page and a Twitter account so t they must be serious and one blurb described it as "Camden Crawl meets Comic Relief", which doesn't half sound bad when it's on your doorstep. Also the date Saturday 22nd October has been floating around on their Facebook page as the date for diaries but I will try to confirm this.

Watch this space Bush buddies... oh and also this space:

Blue, so blue...

Source: BBC

Today something quite poignantly sad is happening in Shepherd's Bush. Blue Peter, the legendary children's TV program will be filmed in the Shepherd's Bush based BBC Television Centre for the last time. It will break for the summer before making it's way up the M1 and M6 to Salford, where the BBC's newly built studios will be Blue Peter's new home from September. They are even building a newBlue Peter garden on the rooftop of the new BBC studios.

Though Blue Peter began in 1958 before Television Centre was first built , it is one of the longest running shows to have made White City it's home. It is also a show that was a staple in most peoples' childhoods and though we may not watch it any more (I wouldn't know any of the current presenters if they spilled a pint over me in the Defectors Weld) it is a comfortable cultural reference we take for granted as also being in kids' lives today. If I'm honest it has made me realise how real this move to Salford is, even more so than when the BBC announced at the beginning of this month that the had put Television Centre up for sale. Though at the time I did quickly scan my current and savings account balances to see if I could make an offer. I couldn't, unless a garden gnome in the Blue Peter garden is up for sale.

So, goodbye Blue Peter! Thank you for making Shepherd's Bush your home for the last 50 years and a personal thank you for the how to make a Tracy Island guide, which kept my brothers and I busy and messy for many hours.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Can you hear me laughing?

I wanted to share this with you Shepherd's Bush folk and maybe gauge your opinion...

The Spoof, an online source of spoofed and satirical news, published their version of Andre Villa-Boas' appointment as Chelsea manager.

The story exposes Villa-Boas as "Terry Nonce and he is a nothing more than a low life chancer from Shepherd's Bush. Terry the Pikey, who bears an uncanny resemblence to the swarthy Andre Villas-Boas, is a local loser who drinks in the Cash In Claw Public House."

Source: BBC*
It is a funny(ish) article and they have a disclosure saying it is entirely fictitious of course, and it pokes more fun at Chelsea FC than Shepherd's Bush yet I had something of a sense of humour by pass when I stumbled upon it last night.

While my usual reaction to such jokes at the Bush's expense is an amused smile and maybe a half-chuckle, for some reason I felt a bit put out by The Spoof choosing Shepherd's Bush as the home for their pikey impersonator. I mean, they could have picked any rough and ready area near Chelsea (err I'll come back to you with that list) was Shepherd's Bush just the nearest one, or was it the most obvious one?

What are your thoughts? Should Shepherd's Bush be the butt of everyone's jokes (or just ours)?

* I'm glad I've had an excuse to publish a picture of Del Boy's yellow 3 wheeler wonder as I used to see it (or probably more likely a copy) parked on Conningham Road all the time when I lived in that neck of the Bush. It always made me smile in an OddBush kinda way. Has anyone seen it there recently?

Friday, 24 June 2011

Dedication, that's what you need!

(Do you remember this song from the TV show Record Breakers? If you're child of the 80s, comme moi, I will be seriously disappointed if you don't.)

Anyway, back to business. I couldn't not put this on the blog. After I featured his blog, Brushes with Strangers and sketches on here the other day, Mike dedicated his next sketch to me (and also said some nice things with it).

Needless to say I am very touched and I really do like this woman and the way that he has used back as the background, it makes the red of the Central Line carriage hand rail and her white hair stand out so boldly. It also captures the dark of the underground. I love how Mike makes gentle assumptions about his subjects too as he ventured a guess that this woman was American. Rightly or wrongly we all do this; make assumptions about people based purely on appearance or behaviour.

I'm not sure if it's because of the dedication or just the sketch itself, but I am strangely drawn to this woman and would love to have a "hard copy" of the sketch framed on the wall of my Shepherd's Bush flat. (P.S. That wasn't a hint Mike - I will email you, and I may then even tell you my real name. Maybe.)

Thank you ever so much Mike.

Vintage clothes, vintage clothes

Did you know that this was a song by Paul McCartney? No, neither did I...

Anyway, this is a shameless plug post to promote my Etsy store, where I'm selling some of my vintage finds and treasures. I have two wardrobes and they both overfloweth so how can I possibly justify buying more things from Shepherd's Bush charity shops without making some space?

Here are some of my items listed. There will be more added every week for the next few weeks.

Visit my Etsy store here.

If you have any questions about any items you contact me via the blog. There is free shipping (i.e. hand delivery) to people who live local to the Bush, contact me for a free shipping coupon before you buy.

Made My Day...

This photo that I found on Bush Bloke and Bush Twitter-er David Wood's Instagram feed has simply made my day. It was taken at the new Bush Theatre's home and it made me very happy. I'm hopefully going down to the Bush to see Where's My Seat? next week so I will check that this isn't a figment of David's Instagram-imagination.

If you didn't know David also runs a local blog/forum/business network website called Best of Hammersmith & Fulham, which is well worth a few minutes of your time especially if you're a local business or want to use local businesses.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

I call it art...

Doesn't life work in mysterious ways? This week I have been lamenting my daily commute to and from work, as well as the awful "summer" weather, the hideous amounts of work I have and the fact that my favourite handbag broke this week. All first world problems I know, yet irrationally my Central Line commute just continued to plague me thanks to line problems, my own poor time keeping and just generally not enjoying any kind of transportation when my nose is poked directly in someone's armpit, or worse.

But today I was granted a new perspective. Discovering the blog of Mike Reed this morning stopped me in my tracks and made me rethink my daily commute. Brushes with Strangers (genius!) is Mike's blog of the strangers he sees and sketches using the iPad app Brushes. The strangers he sketches are mostly those who share the the same carriage space with him on his daily commute or when travelling around London. Because he works two days a week at the BBC in White City, a number of his sketches are fellow passengers travelling to and from the Bush.

In these sketches of commuters to the Bush I particularly love his interpretation of the bright orange-yellow hand bars of the Overground trains. In all his sketches I like how simply and effectively the lines on the commuters' faces capture complete fatigue or that stubborn concentration on just not engaging with anyone.

Though I'm neither skilled nor subtle enough to sketch my Central line buddies, I'm an avid people watcher so I will now remind myself that my daily commute is not a daily slog, but is actually an opportunity to co-exist with others, if only just to share in their own daily slog.  It could also be the moment I'm being sketched by Mike on his iPad.  Hmm, time to start wearing more make up and maybe start brushing my hair in the morning...

Though this isn't a Bush Brushes (I must confess Mike coined that expression) I do like this sketch and Mike's comment beneath. We've all been there!

All sketches are used with permission from Brushes with Strangers. Do check it out and check back in as there will be more Bush Brushes in the future. Thanks Mike!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Well, have you ever...?

...walked through London and pretended to be a tourist? Have you?

I have spent years perfecting my elbows-out, make-no-apolgies, fast, fixed and focused London walk so that I can tourist-dodge my way through the streets of London to get where I need to be. Last night as I walked across a small but important part of the city, I shook off my anti-tourist armour and got my iPhone out to capture some of my favourite sights and scenes. If you can't beat them...

Click here to see all the photos on my less-Bushy blog.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Say what?!

I often look up what search terms people are using to land on and hopefully read a little of my blog. Over the last 18 months or so I've been informed by Blogger Stats (which I trust less than Google Analytics, but it's more accessible for a quick nosey) that people have searched for me directly ("bushbirdie", "bird in the bush"), and indirectly ("a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush", "blog about shepherd's bush", "shepherd (sic) bush blog"). Sometimes they have found me by complete accident, having been completely led astray thanks to my use of song lyrics as post titles ("I found a place where weee (sic) can boogie", "brimful of asha", "plenty more fish in the sea").

I have to say that the search terms that someone used to find my blog today are the best that I have ever seen: "best toilets to have sex in at westfield shepherds bush".

I daren't type these words into Google myself to see how high or low in the results I appeared, yet I can't help but be curious why someone would think they'd find the answer on my blog? (I'm also a teeny bit disappointed that I don't actually know the answer.)

Source: Guardian

That said, I do pride myself on being a facilitator of communication and information about the Bush so if you do know the answer to my new reader's questions feel free to comment with your suggestions.

Monday, 20 June 2011

If you were there, you'd know...

For all those who want reminisce or for those who want to see what they missed, here is a quick Bushstock highlights video introduced by some funny guy wearing shades and closed by some girl with a potty mouth (not me!).

I suspect the camera man/woman decided to get proper "on it" by about 9pm seeing as there are limited shots of the venues at night. And who can blame them? It was a great day.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

All the small things: 10. Ravenscourt Park

Right, hold on to your hats kiddy winks. This is going to be a long old post.

Ravenscourt Park holds some lovely memories for me; when I first moved to the Bush it's where I first went running as I was still unsure of (and a little intimidated by) the streets I lived on. It's also where I spent lovely sunny days with NewMan last year, realising that maybe I did like him, a bit. (I would be lying if I said I'd not previously taken any other guys there and laid out on blankets with cider and newspapers with them.) I've also spent many a weekend afternoon there with CeCe when she would visit from out of town, and it was in Ravenscourt Park that she found out she was moving back to London. We squealed and bought ice cream to celebrate. (Interestingly we were in St James Park together, discussing how lovely London was on a summer's day three years later, she found out she was moving to Malaysia. I do miss her.) I've also spent lovely days there by myself musing about many things, good and bad.

Anyway, back to Ravenscourt Park. Found in between Hammersmith, Goldhawk Road and Stamford Brook, it is over 20 acres of lovely green space frequented by families, dog walkers (though there are dog free areas), football and basketball players, tennis players and bowlers, Chiswick Yummy Mummies, runners, joggers and walkers.

There has been an estate in the rough area of Ravenscourt Park as far back as the 13th century. This included a grand manor house used by the royal family over the centuries before being sold to a private owner in the early 1800s. Part of the estate has been open to the public since 1887 and a few years later the manor house became home to Hammersmith Library. Sadly in the Second World War the house was bombed extensively and only the stables remain, which are now the Park's cafe, Fait Maison. Ravenscourt Park as we know it now has been a council owned area since the early 1970s.

Ravenscourt Park is a wonderful park, well looked after and just about big and green enough to feel like you are escaping the Bush, should you ever wish to do so. I'll be honest sometimes I like to. There is a great community spirit within the park's boundaries thanks to no less than three children's playgrounds, weekend football clubs for kids, informally organised ball games and council run tennis courts. Despite the current weather's naughty behaviour, when the sun does decide to shine I recommend you head over to Ravenscourt Park for a walk, rest or to see and smell some beautiful flowers in the separate walled garden.

Here follows a lot of photographs, taken as I walked all around Ravenscourt Park. The pictures of aircraft were an added bonus as I was in the park at the time of the Queen's Birthday fly-by. You will also see a bit of the Bush has snuck this W6 park, I wonder if you will spot which photos I mean.

Happy weekend!