Friday, 30 September 2011

All the single ladies...

... and all the single men, a really good singles night is headed your way, if you're heterosexual that is.* No, I mean it. It really does sound like it will be a good night; it's even got an abstract cool sounding name "Love & War".

Here are three reasons why if you're single and WLTM (would like to meet, duh) and WLTP (would like to party, I made that one up) with other singles you should go to Love & War on Saturday 8th October at The Goldhawk, funnily enough on Goldhawk Road:

1. Everyone will be single, or at least will claim to be, which either way ultimately means "fair game".

2. There promises to be legendary music played by super cool DJs in a room which features a bar that in turn features beer on tap (Ooooh! Aaaah!), and there will be 150 girls and 150 guys and 0 smug marrieds/couples. Oh and Oxjam have guaranteed no silly single traffic-light-esque or speed-flirting games unless of course you like that kind of thing in which case I suggest you bring your own gong (oh matron!).

3. It is a fundraising event for Oxjam Shepherd's Bush Takeover so all profits will go towards ensuring their main event on Saturday 29th October is an awesome one day festival, which will in turn then raise a ton of money for very worthy causes around the world. Just think you could be helping charidee while falling in love (or bed) with someone!

Ah, do you remember the good old days when I was single? No, well they were indeed good though they did sometimes also get a little old too, but both provided for a few tragic interesting tales told on this blog. Do you remember Facebook guy? Or the time when I had to justify my choice to live in Shepherd's Bush to potential suitors? How about that guy I met in Walkabout? And do your remember when I said goodbye to the Kiwi? Sigh... Ah you really have been good to me Shepherd's Bush, for dates, mates and even...

That's right. Pasta.

So anyway back to the party in hand, get your single selves along to Love & War on Saturday 8th October. Tickets are £10.00 and you can pre-book online.

The single Bird of circa 2009 would have been there in a flap of her wings and a pout of her beak so I hope you represent for me and enjoy!

P.S.Don't forget Oxjam Acton have events coming up very soon so please do consider support these events if you are less single and dwell in that part of the Bush.

* As good as I think it is that they are making the numbers of boys and girls equal, I am aware this means the event seems catered purely for heterosexuals, so perhaps Oxjam can therefore arrange another all girl or all guy event for non-straighties? I think it's fair to say it will mean better outfits, less beer spilt on the floor at the end of the night and less chance of drunk girls crying in the toilets...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

All the world is a stage, and everyone has their part to play...

Picking up where I left off regarding the new Bush Theatre home, here is my story of visiting the new space, seeing some of the changes already made and marvelling at all the exciting work in progress.

For anyone who went to Where's My Seat? back in July you will know that the gutting and refurbishing of the old Shepherd's Bush library was already under way and Bush Theatre had managed to create a temporary but very homely space for the production. It was for this reason that I was naively a little shocked by the tall order facing the Bush Theatre in keeping that sense of homeliness while also capturing important statement qualities associated to the theatre; unconventional, original, different or in Bush Theatre's own words "loud, sometimes angry, and always loving". And permanent. This is perhaps the most important raw material being poured into the new Bush Theatre's foundations, as I found last Monday when I was lucky enough to be on site (i.e. gate crashing) the signing of the new lease.

In a brief but heartfelt and effortlessly excellent speech the Bush Theatre's Artistic Director, Josie Rourke touched upon the unpredictable and at times uncertain history of the theatre and how this now contrasted with its future now. The new lease, which was signed last week, is for 125 years. As Josie eloquently put it the Bush Theatre has secured it's future like never before; it will literally outlive us all.

I was then treated to my own personal tour of the building, during which it became very clear that there is much work to do, yet with workmen still on site at 7pm on a Monday night it is all systems are go.

One of these works in progress is a ceiling mural by Antoni Malinowski who I was informed is based locally. In the deepest shade of navy blue the painting aims to create the shape of a dome in a central square section of the ceiling as you head towards the theatre space. It is a dramatic and dynamic, perfect for a theatre and there is a wall mural in the bar area to match. Needless to say these photos do not do it justice.

I was also struck by how much space there is. Having spent their early, teenage, young adult and even early middle age years in a confined space above a pub where actors had to access the stage via an external fire escape staircase, the Bush Theatre is now nearly spoilt for space with a vast backstage area, a rehearsal space, a writing room and office space all upstairs, which was where I found the two stray cats the Bush Theatre has adopted.

The auditorium or stage area also seems bigger than when I was there for Where's My Seat?, and that is because they have decided to sink the central stage area. It was explained to me that this was because it will keep more options open in terms of staging productions and the positioning of the audience to the performance and vice-versa. I liked it and found myself slightly enchanted by the space which has four structural pillars defining the corners of the stage it is reminiscent of an ancient Green or Roman amphitheatre, on a slightly smaller scale of course.

Yet the new Bush Theatre is about more than just plays. As much thought, detail and effort is going in to creating a usable and enjoyable cafe, bar and community area and an attractive garden to the right hand side of the theatre. Local businesses have been very forthcoming and supportive donating money and volunteers to help Bush Theatre make its own home and as per my recent post Bush Theatre would also welcome any local spare hands to help ensure their new home is ready for curtains up on 10th October 2011 when Sixty-Six Books opens.

Sixty-Six Books is more than just a play or a production. It is such a mammoth undertaking because it aims to deliver new dramatic interpretations of the 66 books of the New King James Bible featuring sixty-six different writers (including the likes of Billy Bragg, Carol Ann Duffy and Kate Mosse), 130 actors and 23 directors. These artists are from all corners of the globe and are a mixture of faiths and no faith. Sixty-Six Books will start and end with a 24 hour performance (yes you read correctly) of all 66 plays and there will also be other special extended shows as well as evening performances featuring "just" a handful of the books. Sixty-Six Books will also go "on tour" to Westminster Abbey for a 12 hour vigil performance on 21st October. For more information and to buy tickets you can search the performances by date, by the Bible book or by the writer.

The only thing I can compare Bush Theatre to as they embark on building and moving into a new home while simultaneously preparing for Sixty-Six Books, is to a newly wed couple on Grand Designs who are building their dream home and the wife is about to give birth to sextuplets. And we all know Kevin McCloud would have something admirable yet subtly scathing to say about that.

Yet there's no criticism from me. I believe they can do it. After spending the evening in their company and toasting their new lease I can confidently say the one thing the Bush Theatre has in its staff is an abundance of energy and passion and it's these qualities that will not only cement their new home together, but will also ensure Sixty-Six Books is a brave and successful kick-start to life in their new home.

Read more about a special book to mark their move from one corner of a Bush to another. I got to have a quick look at the book and it really is one to buy and enjoy if you're half as fascinated by the history of the Bush Theatre as I am.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I can make you ice cream

Hooray I ticked off one of my "must do in the Bush before I leave" list last weekend when I visited briefly for Open Doors London's W12 pop-up gallery. Thanks to a surprisingly warm Saturday and NewMan and I burning off at least a handful of calories from cycling across London town, we experienced home made Italian ice cream from Cafe Tuga on Uxbridge Road. I've been hearing good things about the gelato on offer there for nearly as long as I've lived in the Bush and certainly as long as I've been blogging about the Bush. Though the homemade ice cream is Italian in style, the owners and many of the staff are originally Portuguese.

After a wonderfully warm reception from a woman working there we surveyed the choice of flavours, which was sadly limited but then they probably weren't expecting as good weather in late September either. I chose strawberry and passionfruit in a cone, NewMan went all traditional eating chocolate and vanilla from a cup. I have to say that the passionfruit was delicious, possibly my new favourite flavour for ice cream and NewMan's quickly emptied cup seemed to agree that it was good gelato. I'm both glad that I enjoyed it yet sad I waited so long! Though I don't suppose where I'm going there will be a shortage of ice cream...

Yet if you are staying in the Bush and fancy having a cappuccino, quick bite to eat or even a gelato, as apparently an Indian summer is heading our way, in a cafe that looks like it should be in a slightly dated but timelessly delightful Portuguese beach resort or street cafe in Lisbon then Cafe Tuga is where you need to go. Buon' Appetito! (That is Italian by the way, for the ice cream... my Portuguese is sadly not up to scratch...)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Big wheels keep on turning...

I can't sign off this blog without referring again to one of the best London blogs out there, "London Buses: One Bus At A Time", which recently featured some more Shepherd's Bush buses.

Check out these delightful women's recent journeys on the 207, 220 and 228. They are tenderly observant and have changed my approach to taking the bus in London. They even point out my old home The Grampians on their travels on the 220 and their review of the 228 features a photo of Loftus Road and some comments about White City bus station being the "cathedral to buses". So charming, enjoy!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Never forget where you're coming from...

I had to post this excellent video that Australia's biggest Shepherd's Bush/QPR fan sent to me should I ever feel homesick once NewMan and I have left Blighty's fair shores.  Paul or QPRSludger as he's known on Twitter has lived in Australia for nearly 30 years yet still travels back regularly to see family, friends and QPR and I'm sure this video has come in handy when he's feeling slightly homesick. You may remember Paul from this post I did previously. I'm looking forward to that beer with him in Western Australia already!

As I watched it over the weekend I was immediately nostalgic about the Bush as it captures all the right things about the Bush; the noise, the colour, the mix of cultures and some of its most "iconic" landmarks. I know some of my readers are ex-Bush residents who've not been back in a few years, so this is for you too so you can see what the Bush looks like now (well at least on what looks like a cold but sunny day in early 2010).

Friday, 23 September 2011

Wanna get physical?

These are exciting times for Shepherd's Bush (and not just because I'm leaving so you'll be free to go about your daily business without someone blogging about it or tweeting about Bush things you already knew about). These are exciting times because in the next month or so you have the opportunity to enjoy a new art experience in the form of Open Doors London, to visit the Bush Theatre's new space and to rock out to live music, djs and comedy when Oxjam takes over Bush town.

All of these events will be excellent but they all need your help in their own little way.

Tomorrow (Saturday 24th September) head down to Open Doors first pop-up gallery this Saturday from 11am until 6pm at 28 Galloway Road where you will see locally inspired art like this W12 Wallpaper by Ashley Le Quere. I'll be there with my best "art-appreciation" face and will hopefully also have many an opportunity to test the indoor settings of my new camera.

With just over a month to go before Oxjam Shepherd's Bush Takeover there will be more fun fundraising events for Bush Blokes and Babes to get involved in. Follow them on Twitter to stay informed.

And Bush Theatre are also asking for local volunteers to help them get there space ready for the curtains to go up in mid-October.

Actually that is false information. I don't think there will be any curtains at Bush Theatre once they open in their new home, the old Shepherd's Bush Library. I was privileged enough to go have a nosey around the new space last week, where building work is well under way. I will write about this and post some photographs soon as I was lucky enough to see Bush Theatre sign the actual lease on the building, share a bit of champers with the team, be introduced to Josie Rourke not to mention bump into actor (and Bird's one-time crush) Ralf Little on my way out. It was a lovely evening so deserves it's own post to follow soon.

However what can't wait is a little plea to any Bush locals who want to help out by giving their time to help the Bush Theatre staff make the finishing touches to their new home. I have been assured that only "nice jobs" like painting, moving furniture, helping in the garden will be given to Bush locals who give up some time one evening or at the weekend and ANY time and effort given up will be greatly appreciated. I got the impression talking to many of Bush Theatre's tirelessly enthusiastic staff that it means a lot to them if local people are helping them build a local space, literally as well as metaphorically.

If you would like to volunteer some time (or plays/books on theatre) then please contact Bush Theatre directly or you can email me and I'll be happy to put you in touch with the man/woman dishing out paint brushes.

It sounds cheesy but it really is true, this is our theatre.

And this is our Bush, so enjoy it too. x

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Welcome to my life, tattoo

I love Shepherd's Bush so much I got a tattoo in its honour.

Of course, I jest. I have far too much fear, and I'll be honest with you, this shade of blue and red aren't my favourite colours so would clash with everything I wear. It was, in fact, all a childish joke experiment and indeed laughs were the order of the day when NewMan surprised me with this temporary transfer tattoo he created at the weekend.

One of the things I've quickly learnt about living with a man for the very first time is that "being silly" can help immeasurably. While we delicately test this new invasion of our respective personal spaces, I have found the best moments living together have come from the "silly" things we do for each other; me leaving my dirty socks on the floor so his don't feel left out, him singing "I want to break free" a la Mercury whilst doing the hoovering, me hiding the bananas so they go off and I have to make him his favourite banana loaf, and him making me my very own (temporary) Shepherd's Bush tattoo.

I'm not sure if he did it because I'm very close to writing my last Bird in the Bush blog post and this is his way of acknowledging that, or if he just did it because it was a fun, silly thing to do on a rainy afternoon and it would mean that his Android tattoo wouldn't feel left out.

Regardless of what the motive was I enjoyed seeing NewMan celebrate my love of the Bush even after I've left. However, as much as I love you Shepherd's Bush, I probably won't make be making my tattoo permanent. Forgive me...

P.S. I'm now using a new camera, you like? Post to follow about this on new blog soon!

P.P.S NewMan has kindly offered to make more Shepherd's Bush tattoos if anyone wants one? Limited edition!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Guest post: Soundtrack of my life

This special guest post comes from Joaquim, or WildmanofBush as many of you will know him on Twitter. He is a bonafide Bush Bof and knows more about the local area than I do in my little finger (PS Mr Wildman, I still don't know where that underground shooting range is!?!?). I am honoured that he is sharing one of his most treasured Bush stories with us on this blog, yet it really is a story worth telling so sit back and enjoy. I have no doubt it may strike a chord, or a deep soulful tenor saxophone note with you like it did me. 

My first meeting with Bush’s Rasta Busker was probably 1986, when he played the now filled in pedestrian underpass in Hammersmith . (The one with the red dragon, between Shepherd's Bush Road and Hammersmith Broadway).  In those days he played a recorder and what struck me, as an 11 year old, was that he was about as awful at playing it as I was.

As time went by I kept seeing him on my daily journey to school as I walked through the same underpass. It took him about a year to master simple songs, like three blind mice on his recorder, without playing bum or shrill notes but his standard soon dipped again as he moved up to the flute. The same learning curve was repeated with the flute and then later with the clarinet. Although I would always go past him without a word his presence was comforting and if ever our eyes met he would replicate my acknowledgement with the warmest smile ever.

In about 1995 I started college and my commute took me from Shepherds Bush station instead of Hammersmith. To my delight he too had moved to Shepherds Bush and so again my daily walk to the station was again accompanied by the same familiar sounds. It was during this time that he started sometimes to play a saxophone but he would often switch back to the clarinet. In my mid 20s I spend a good few years away from the Bush but on my return again, my daily commute took me past the same but now more confident saxophonist.

Last year my energetic and eccentric great Aunt (a Bush resident most of her life) turned 80 and for her party she booked the Rasta saxophonist to play music. At the party I sat down to chat to him and explained how he had been, “the sound track of my life”. I was surprised by how much that comment had touched him. He said that he was humbled to hear that from being an almost daily presence in the last 25 years of my life he had ended up meaning so much to me.

Last Friday (whilst doing some last minute shopping for my son's christening party), I walked past him in his usual busking spot, outside the Shepherd's Bush Central Line station. The idea occurred to me to hire him for the christening party. I simply told him I would love him to play for us, we fixed a price and I told him my address. The next day he duly arrived, and needing only some whisky and a black coffee he proceeded to play for two hours. Like a Pied Piper of Hamlin, he kept the kids (all 18 of them!) rooted in front of him, with mouths open, spellbound and he suitably entertained the adults too.

I would urge all Bush dwellers to cherish and do their bit to look after this man. He is, one of the things that make Shepherds Bush so special but also, a hand to mouth existence means he is a fragile Bush treasure. He is no slouch though, hire him and you’ll see how hard he will work to play music you love to hear and he really can distract a room of kids like no one else.

Thank you Joachim for sharing a very special, personal story. This is not the first time a reader has reached out to me about "Bush Sax Man" or the "Rasta Sax Man" as he's often called or referred to, though I have been informed his real name is Bego. In fact I was told this in an email from a reader who has since moved away from the Bush who used to be Bego's next door neighbour of his. He shared his own sweet story about Bush Sax Man; apparently Bego would always call him Max although that wasn't this reader's name but it felt wrong to correct him after he so happily called his neighbour Max repeatedly. So before I leave I will endeavour to speak to Bego, even if it's just to say his old neighbour Max says "Hi", though of course I'd also like to thank him for being part of the soundtrack to my life in the Bush. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Welcome Ladies and Gentleman...

With just over a month to go before take off I want to introduce you properly to my new blog, As the Bird flies. Some of you have been kind enough to already check out my new space and some have even been interested enough to subscribe to the RSS feed, which I'm grateful for considering I haven't even packed my toothbrush yet let alone start flapping my wings for take off. I'm especially thankful to those who have already commented or emailed me about the new blog with words that made me feel a bit goey inside.

I'm in the process of making a number of changes, adding some stand alone pages and writing a few introductory posts while I'm still on solid ground and connected to the world via healthy reliable broadband, but once I'm up in the sky, flying high you can expect the following type of content;

* Lots of photographs. I recently tweeted about buying a new camera and I asked advice from many of the Bird in the Bush readers I know to be far more accomplished in photography than myself. I received so much great advice (thank you!) and I can now happily say that I will indeed have a very capable camera for our travels so I hope to do it justice. I will be explaining more about this on the new blog very soon so do check back in.

* Reviews. Similar to the reviews of Bush Grub and Bush bars I've done on this blog, I hope to review hotels, bars, restaurants, day trips, experiences and maybe even flights to hopefully inform and contribute to the already impressive realm of travel blogs that are out there.

Short and Sweet Reviews. Kind of like this book review I've already done, I hope to be reading a lot while beach hopping and so will share what I'm reading and why/if I enjoyed it in a short, sweet and succinct way. I may also do short and sweet reviews for new foods, drinks and sights I experience.

* Postcards Home. Though my nearest and dearest will be getting real life tangible and six week late postcards (I will do my best Mum!) I will also be sending virtual postcards to many important people in my life and I will also send the occasional postcard home to you, Shepherd's Bush.

* More about the Bird. When I first started this blog it was actually more about the Bird than the Bush (seriously read the first few months of posts - talk about me-me-me syndrome!), but after then the Bush became bigger than the Bird (!) and what I thought would be a very personal and mostly anonymous blog very quickly became a place to share information about Shepherd's Bush. I also shook off my anonymity as I enjoyed meeting fellow Bush-lovers (!!) too much. I have no regrets about this change of direction and in many ways I am very grateful as it has been a lot more rewarding both personally (being made a Guardian Top London Blogger was a massive highlight) as well as readers who, I hope, felt more aware of and connected with what was going on in the Bush. Though I certainly don't want As the Bird flies to become a diary or personal journal (me-me-me yawn....), I will of course be sharing my own personal experiences and thoughts (and no doubt moans) and I hope that you enjoy this or at least can tolerate it in between pretty pictures.

There will no doubt be much more than this and so I hope there will be something interesting for all of you. I have found "launching" a new blog quite frightening, particularly when I quickly realised that I don't have the ever-ready source of content that is Shepherd's Bush to hide in or behind. It was quite daunting when I realised that I was to be the one consistent and main source of content to keep a blog alive as opposed to other admirable, inspirational and passionate people like those I have met and blogged about in the Bush (Philippa of Bush Festival fameValeri of Queens of Hearts Cupcakes and all the staff at the Masbro come to mind). This is why I hope to let the places I fly to, the things we see, the activities we enjoy, the experiences we share do the talking while I stick to the writing...

Come fly with me...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Finally it's happened to me...

I have found a hairdresser I like. I like her so much I took a bold step of having this Amelie-esque short fringe I've lusted after for a long time. This may seem like a minor matter to you but to me this is the end of years of searching, years of wasted money, years of disappointment and worst of all, years of bad hair. Oh and tears, thanks to one hairdresser at HeadMasters in Shepherd's Bush (yes I'm naming and shaming; it takes lot for me to cry in public, at least when sober).

I have often tweeted about my lack of success in the coiffing department and so I feel it deserves it's own blog post. It also feels good to know that I am leaving London having found something I thought I'd never find.

The lady in question is actually NewMan's hairdresser who works in a central London salon, however at non central London prices so if you'd like her details and would like to make an appointment please get in touch as it would be my pleasure to recommend her.

As I type this I realise that this is a bittersweet victory as NewMan and I can't afford to pack her in our luggage and take us with us when we depart on our travelling adventures. However, on other hand, it's yet another good reason to come back...

Friday, 16 September 2011

Could it be magic?

I read this charming article about the history of the Bush Theatre this morning and was yet again amazed by all they have achieved and all they have stood for over the years, and all from a small room above a pub in possibly the noisiest, busiest corner of Shepherd's Bush (above O'Neill's on Shepherd's Bush Green). As the final curtain is prepared to close on the Bush Theatre's time on the Green, and they make their way stage north to Uxbridge Road, it was nice to see that they are marking the occasion with a book.

"Close-up Magic" celebrates 40 years of a theatre which launched the careers of many of the very finest playwrights, actors, directors and producers and in this book you hear their charming and hilarious personal stories about the Bush Theatre. But perhaps more importantly, and as the Guardian article discusses, the Bush Theatre was instrumental in challenging pre-conceived attitudes towards the theatre and it was at the forefront of delivering ground-breaking plays and productions which confronted modern social and cultural issues. The fact that this was all going on against the backdrop of Shepherd's Bush, an area that has changed dramatically (no pun intended) in the last four decades, isn't to be ignored or diminished; perhaps it was even a catalyst - it was the perfect stage (pun intended).

There are other parallels to be drawn between Shepherd's Bush and the Bush Theatre and the website for the book includes this telling quote: "The Bush (Theatre) hasn’t survived to be proud, or conventional, or safe. It survives to be loud, sometimes angry, and always loving. It’s time to acknowledge and celebrate those qualities." Those are qualities are would apply to Shepherd's Bush, wouldn't you?

If only I had a coffee table (as opposed to a suitcase and pile of clothes that won't fit in it) to proudly display this book. Let's hope they're not all sold out before I return next year.

Remember you can help the Bush Theatre by donating your old/unwanted plays or books about theatre, and make sure you take advantage of the Bush Theatre's excellent Bush Local scheme which offers local residents discounts and special offers.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Back once again...

Though I have no firm idea where I'll be on 2nd June 2012, there is a possibility that it will be in Shepherd's Bush enjoying Bushstock 2012.

The team at Communion Records announced the date for Bushstock 2012 and Early Bird tickets are already on store. I think I'm right in saying that that will be the weekend of the Queen's 60th Jubilee so there will be an extra bank holiday, so basically, no excuses! Following on from a successful, sunny day this year and with Oxjam Shepherd's Bush Takeover still to happen next month (on Saturday 29th October) it will be interesting to see what is in store for the one day music festival next year. You can reminisce about Bushstock 2011 here.

Just as an FYI for anyone who enjoyed Bushstock this year, Communion Records are selling Bushstock 2011 T-shirts half price. I love the design for obvious reasons (it's a bird, innit) and I am so, so tempted by the reduced price, however I already have more clothes than I can take travelling and I don't need to give (nagging) NewMan an excuse to remind me of this. They are very cool T-shirts though so snap one up if you can.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

It's only words...

If I were to list the five things I will miss most about Shepherd's Bush, I think Bush Theatre would feature, as would King Solomans and the Rastafarian who plays the saxophone and flute all around the Bush.

Though I've been no more than a handful of times (shame on me!) I have loved learning more about Bush Theatre through this blog because they have been increasingly engaging with and encouraging of the local community. One of t he many ways in which they achieve this is by offering local residents discounted tickets and special offers as part of the Bush Local card campaign. Bush Theatre was also a wonderful part of Bush Festival with their recreated front room on Shepherd's Bush Green which hosted playwriting sessions for children and adults alike.

And yet the bread and butter of what the Bush Theatre does is putting on fantastic, new, thirlling productions by playwrights old and new, well known and unknown. As the Bush counts down to its grand new opening in its new home, the old home of Shepherd's Bush library, on October 10th, they are asking for our help in filling up the space. Before they asked for our spare chairs, and now they'd like to welcome our books to fill the shelves of their new open space and cafe. They are looking for donations of unwanted books with a connection or relevance to the theatre. Have you got some Ibsen or Chekhov lurking on your book shelf? Or have you been using the Complete Works of Shakespeare to prop open a door for too long? Maybe there's an Ayckbourn or a Godber gathering dust in your loft? Well now is the time to liberate these works of art.

The Bush would like to welcome you and your theatre related books down to their new home at 7 Uxbridge Road or alternatively if you have more than you can carry email the very helpful Trish (of Bird in the Bush guest post fame) and they may be able to arrange a collection.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The sweetest song that I can sing...

Following on from yesterday's post about the Music House for Children, one of my readers reached out to me to draw my attention to some more music happenings very soon just down the road from the Bush, in Acton. Although Oxjam Shepherd's Bush Takeover has been well publicised on this and other blogs and local media, I accept that it may not be everyone's cup of tea and so it was nice to hear about two other different music events happening in Acton in support of Oxjam but with a very different groove, baby.

On 7th October 2011 local band Acton Music Collective (AMC) are performing at St Mary's Church and the audience can expect a mix of jazz, latin, rap and gospel music played by a group of talented musicians who came together as part of this community outreach program led by the church's own tenor-sax playing Rector, Dave Bremmer. For more information and to buy tickets have a look here.

A week later on 15th October 2011, DJ Theo de Rose will be taking over the decks at George and Dragon pub in Acton to deliver music which quite frankly I shouldn't love because of my age, but I can't help but adore. He will be playing an eclectic mix of songs made popular with the now sadly defunked nightclubs of the 1940s through to the 1970s and more information and tickets available here.

It's worth mentioning the organiser of these events supporting Oxjam in Acton, Dave Plotel, particularly as he is actually a Shepherd's Bush resident and indeed the Bush was were his prestigious music career began. As a teenager Dave performed with his brother in The Raven pub on Goldhawk Road and has since travelled all over the world performing and recording with big (and I mean big!) artists like Stevie Wonder, Ben E. King and Percy Sledge. He was also The Real Thing's guitarist when "You To Me Are Everything" reached number one, one of my favourite songs (see blog post title).

I am gutted I'm not going to be around to attend either of these events and indeed would have loved to have tried to blag ten minutes of Dave's time to discuss a genre of music I absolutely love. However, I hope some of you out there can enjoy the music and the good cause these events are supporting.

For more information check out top Bush lady and Bush Twitterati member's blog about Oxjam Acton here.

Monday, 12 September 2011

And the music in the house...

I feel like these last few blog posts are a sort of "tidy up" of things I had lined up to write about and now have to as I'm running out of time. However, this doesn't make them any less important, particularly when the subject is yet another noble Shepherd's Bush not-for-profit project.

The Music House for Children can be found on Uxbridge Road, next door to Bush Hall, which is described as a sister company of the school. Established in 1994 by Emma Hutchinson who remains Director, as a not for profit music school for local children, Music House works with national music bodies and initiatives to make learning music accessible and affordable for local young families in Shepherd's Bush and surrounding West London areas. Though this blog has hinted at my love of music in terms of the #bushw12 drum and bass night coming up in October, how I love a band called Mean Poppa Lean and how each and every one of my blog post titles is a song lyric, it suggests this love is only so deep. In actual fact, music is like oxygen to my blood, a necessity, a lifeline, something I'd not sure how I'd live without. Thanks to my parents who share this opinion some of my earliest most treasured childhood memories are of songs, not sights. As a child I learnt to play the recorder, the piano (terribly), the alto and tenor saxophone and as a teenager I achieved Grade 5 in singing (though battled terribly with my singing teacher who fought to destroy any Mariah Carey-isms out of my singing style. Thankfully it was a passing phase). Though rusty, I can still read music and I am grateful for this skill, which I've come to realise many of my peers don't have.

I was lucky. My parents invested heavily in my learning these skills, but also music lessons were made easily available at the schools I attended. Others aren't so lucky for many reasons and that is why a project like Music School for Children is so important. They offer music tuition for children, music and dance groups for early years and activities during school holidays. They also provide training to teachers in early years music provision, enabling both musicians and non-musicians to provide music based learning activities to babies and toddlers. Many of these classes and groups are just starting up again now so do make contact if you're keen to get your little ones involved.

For more information have a look at The Music House for Children's website which features some lovely illustrations and let the music play on and on and on!

P.S. This was my 300th blog post. That seems a bit ridiculous and a bit cool. Again, thank you for reading.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Tweet tweetly tweet...

If it hadn't been for Twitter, I am confident this blog would have struggled to have reached the same readers that it has. Because of the way Twitter works, and I'm a firm member of the camp that does think Twitter "works", very quickly I was engaging, sharing, communicating and enjoying information and news about Shepherd's Bush. Or should I say about #bushw12.

Following a wise suggestion by Mr Birch to create a communal hash tag for tweets about Shepherd's Bush, a number of us Bush Twats Twitterati exchanged a number of suggestions before deciding on #bushw12. I seem to recall the reason this was chosen was because it kept the all important and innuendo-inducing Bush, but also included our postcode.

It has been a remarkable thing to watch the use of #bushw12 grow from just a handful of local enthusiasts to numerous new tweeters every month. Before I sign off this blog for good (or for bad surely!?!) I really wanted to draw attention to how important and brilliant Twitter has been in connecting not only me and my blog with you all, but also you all with each other. Before I started this blog I didn't know anyone living in Shepherd's Bush outside of my original social circle. I now have more new #bushw12 friends than I can count.

Through Twitter people in Shepherd's Bush have met up in "real life", created wonderful friendships, done business, won pub quizzes and more often than not eaten yummy food and/or got drunk together. Of course it is not for everyone, but if you are Shepherd's Bush based or even have links to Shepherd's Bush for whatever reason and you are on Twitter or would like to give it a go, save #bushw12 to your saved searches as soon as you can. And to the Bush Twitterati can I please ask you to keep those tweets coming as I'll be reading and retweeting on my travels.

You can follow Bird in the Bush on Twitter @bushbirdie.

Other good lists to follow on Twitter include Sacha's SheBiz list of Shepherd's Bush businesses on Twitter and local Twitter-er (currently based in LA for a while) Chris Hampson's Local People for other #bushw12 Twitter accounts. If you know of any other good Shepherd's Bush Twitter lists please do share in the comments!