Creative Hive - blogs
You may have noticed that there has been some activity on Facebook regarding the Baby Alfie appeal. Alfie is a toddler who contracted meningitis last year and recovered thankfully, but lost several fingers and toes to the illness. The Baby Alfie Appeal was inspired by Karen Illingworth, the manager of the gallery, who read about Alfie's inability to play with his toys. Karen was determined to do her utmost to ensure that Alfie would have the best possible support, in the form of prosthetic gloves, which will give him some much needed movement and grip in his hands.
An exhibition on behalf of Alfie was staged and many artists from the locality donated artworks and craft items, and by week 4 of the exhibition, with the aid also of a raffle of selected paintings, a massive £1,250 was raised, and money is still coming in toward the target of £1,400, which will buy a special prosthetic glove. Some of the paintings which were not yet sold are being hung in Smith's Restaurant in Eccles town centre, and any monies paid, will go towards Alfie's total. This has, therefore, been a huge success, but, not only that, it brought the community together to help a little boy.
On at the art gallery at the moment is an Exhibition which is showcasing some new talent. This new exhibition is on show from 18 May to 24 June. As usual, the gallery is open from 11.00 to 15.00 hours on Tuesdays and from 10.00 to 16.00 hours on Saturday. I hope you will be able to attend. The gallery is in the ginnel or entry to Eccles precinct, next door to Silcocks the grengrocer.
It was party time at the Hawthorns as West Brom and Manchester United played out a ten goal thriller in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge.
It is no wonder the seventy one year old manager is retiring after his side proved to be their own worst enemy, letting a three goal lead slip as they were pegged backed late on.
United initially lead the game 3-0 thanks to goals from Shinji Kagawa, Alexander Buttner and a Jonas Olsson own goal before James Morrison and substitute Romelu Lukaku reduced the deficit to 3-2.
Robin Van Persie and Javier Hernandez restored the Red Devils three goal lead, however three goals in six minutes including a strike from Youssef Mulumbu and a brace from Lukaku to clinch his hat trick ensured that both teams would share the spoils.
Both teams performed a guard of honour for Sir Alex Ferguson, who was taking charge of his 1500th and final game in charge. Little did he know what the following ninety minutes would bring.
United took the lead early on following some hard work by Javier Hernandez. The Mexican striker managed to get to Alexander Buttner’s overhit cross before it went out of play, he then produced a wonderful cross into the area for Kagawa to head past form Red’s keeper Ben Foster.
It was 2-0 shortly after as Kagawa, found Antonio Valencia waiting on the wing, his low cross being diverted into the net by baggie’s defender Olsson.
United were revelling in their dominancy as Hernandez, Van Persie both went close to increasing the lead whilst Olsson was relieved to see another deflection go out for a corner. However the Red Devils could not be kept at bay for much longer.
Fine link up play between Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Javier Hernandez put Buttner through on goal who produced a powerful finish to give United a three goal lead.
Ferguson dropped first choice pairing Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand for this game stating that “Jonny Evans and Phil Jones are the future” but they gave a sign of their defensive inexperience to let West Brom back into the game.
After Mexican international Hernandez missed a gilt edged chance to give United a four goal lead, West Brom opened up their account as James Morrison beat Phil Jones to the ball to slot home following a cross from Graham Dorrans.
Steve Clarke seized the initiative at half time, sending on Belgian international Lukaku to change the game.
He took little time to make an impression, slotting home from twenty yards, five minutes into the second half.
However United struck again to stem what seemed like a shock comeback.
The ever impressive Valencia whipped the ball into the area for Van Persie to score his 26th goal of the season before Hernandez looked to have sealed the points following fine work by veteran substitute Ryan Giggs.
With the game seemingly over Ferguson brought on Paul Scholes, who will be joining the Scotsman in the retirement home. This substitution arguably had as big an effect as bringing Lukaku into the game.
Bringing off Kagawa, who was proving to be a revelation in midfield for Scholes meant that United had two players in midfield who were pushing close to their forties as well as Brazilian international Anderson, who before today’s match has not played a full ninety minutes this season.
United no longer shared the same energy as West Brom in midfield and it began to show as the match wore on.
Olsson had an opportunity to reprieve himself but blasted a shot over with the goal at his mercy whilst young player of the year nominee Lukaku gave warning of his growing threat by hitting the side netting.
But United did not take heed of the warning.
Fellow substitute Markus Rosenberg produced a fantastic through ball for Lukaku to clinch his 2nd goal.
Moments after it was 5-4 and game on.
Youssef Mulumbu strode through unnoticed to slot home a Billy Jones pass to give the Baggies hope of clinching a sensational comeback.
That sensational comeback was completed five minutes later when Lukaku bundled the ball home to become only the third player after David Bentley and Dirk Kuyt to get a hat trick against Manchester United.
When the final whistle went, Sir Alex Ferguson went over to the travelling fans one final time where he tearfully saluted the Red Army on their years of service.
It may not have been the result he wanted but it summed up his 26 year reign; attacking, reckless, spellbinding. Football, bloody hell.
The city was unarguably red last night, after thousands of fans took to the streets to celebrate Manchester United’s latest Premier League title.
Around 100,000 supporters lined the streets for an occasion slightly more special than the rest - Fergie’s final farewell.
Situated at the back of the bus, Ferguson paid tribute to his last ever game at Old Trafford on Sunday, saying: “Yesterday is a day I will never forget. It was wonderful. Thank you. It was something all my family enjoyed and the grandkids will never forget.”
As the bus departed from their home ground, not an inch of the route was left bare, as fans layered the pavements for a glimpse of the stars.
People hung out of windows, climbed-up scaffolding and mounted buildings, chanting as they awaited for the delayed bus.
“U N I T E D, united are the team for me, with a nick-nack paddy wack give a dog a bone, why don’t City f**k of home.”
The atmosphere unrivalled any other, and undoubtedly exceeded all expectations.
As anticipated, chaos ruptured after the bus crawled past the crowds, with fans hurdling over barriers to catch another peek of the eminent Reds.
Police had to call for reinforcement, with the cluster of crushed crowds leaving crying children, and concerned parents in its wake.
However, the momentary mayhem took nothing away from the event, as the oblivious bus continued its journey to Albert Square.
With 20 Premier League titles to their name, United have graced the streets of Manchester numerous times before, but with the knowledge that it was the last time Fergie would be present, there was a unique feeling to the parade.
The Scotsman has brought elation to the club for decades, racking up 37 trophies during his 26-year reign, but the news of his retirement inevitably saddened thousands of supporters.
“We love you Fergie we do, we love you Fergie we do, we love you Fergie we do, oh Fergie we love you.”
Admired by many, Ferguson will go down in history for his record-breaking term at United, and will most certainly never be forgotten.
The Scot concluded the parade in Albert Square, with another charismatic speech to the crowds: “What a turn out, absolutely fantastic. I thought that 99 could not be beaten, but you have beaten it today.
“All of you, thank you for your fantastic support, I’m proud of you.”
Fellow Scotsman, David Moyes, will take over in July, with high expectations to carry on with Fergie’s winning ways.
To rub salt in their wounds, it was announced late Monday night that Manchester City had sacked their manager, Roberto Mancini.
THE DAY had to come.
No matter how much Manchester United fans care to admit it, Sir Alex Ferguson had to leave some day and his day is now.
Twenty six and a half years, 1500 games thirteen Premier League titles, five FA cups, four League cups, ten community shields, two Champions Leagues, one UEFA Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and the Club World Championship. That’s a hell of a lot to live up to and it is why David Moyes would be perfect for the Old Trafford hot seat.
A fiery Scotsman who helped to transform both Preston and Everton on and off the pitch during his time at both clubs, whilst being on a shoestring budget compared to most of the other teams in their respective divisions, it is no wonder Sir Alex Ferguson saw some of himself in Moyes. In his time at Everton, the wily Scotsman has transformed them from perennial underachievers who flirted with relegation to frequent overachievers who have at times flirted with the Champions League which is a very credible achievement is considering the amount of money he has had to spend and the overall quality of his side compared to his fellow competitors.
His transfer record compares admirably to Sir Alex Ferguson as well.
Despite some overpriced flops, David Moyes has an eye for a gem. For every Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, there is a Leighton Baines, for every Andy Van Der Meyde there is a Steven Pienaar. His track record is similar to Sir Alex Ferguson in that perspective that has lost a lot of money on the likes of Juan Sebastian Veron but has spotted gems such as Peter Schmeichel, Andrei Kanchelskis and most recently Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Javier Hernandez.
Despite the favourable comparisons, David Moyes does fall short in some categories.
Much has been said of his record away from home against the bigger teams. As of yet he has no victories at the grounds of Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea or Manchester United. For him to become successful at the Red Devils, he will have to ensure that this unwanted statistic will change. However at Goodison Park, he ensured that Everton were a force to be reckoned with against the bigger sides, he started off this season with a victory against Manchester United. Despite the issues, his Everton side have faced against teams with a higher reputation; he has a formidable record against Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City.
In eight matches, he has only suffered a defeat once whereas Sir Alex Ferguson has faced defeat five times against the former champions in twelve matches. Perhaps this was one of the factors considered when hiring Moyes.
He has built his team in his own image, they are willing to run into the ground, chase lost causes and they know how to bully teams into submission. These factors have helped Moyes get the better on Mancini on several occasions, it is hoped that he instils the same will to win into a Manchester United side which has lacked some bite at times.
His record in Europe and lack of trophies have proved much chagrin to Manchester United fans who were hoping for Jose Mourinho to man the ship but this should not discredit David Moyes as a manager and the wonderful job he has done at Everton. For eleven years, he has had Everton battling at the top end of the table, when he arrived they were perilously close to falling out of the premier league altogether. He has stayed loyal for eleven long years, whilst playing a similar style to Manchester United, one with a focus on wing play and an unbreakable team spirit. All he has lacked is a clinical striker to get Everton into the top four. He now has several clinical strikers at his disposal. David Moyes has big shoes to fill, but when your Sir Alex Ferguson’s first choice for the job, he can’t go much wrong.
We are now switching to using Tumblr for our blog rather than Creative Hive. To see it, click the following link - http://www.tumblr.com/blog/igpshellshockers - the password is "overthetop"
MANCHESTER Magic coach Paul Middleton was a despondent figure following his team’s loss in the English Basketball League (EBL) Division 2 play-off final to NASSA. It was a depressing end to a wonderful season; the Manchester side were defeated by their London rivals 85-66 on their home court; in the end of year Final Fours showpiece. The Magic’s star player, 23-year-old point-guard Tom Ward, was inconsolable, lifting his Magic vest over his head to mask his tears, before going through the motions of collecting his runner-up medal. Though when the pain has healed from the heartache of defeat, both men will be able to reflect warmly on a year in which they have overachieved, in leading the Magic to their second straight promotion into the EBL first division.
Two years ago, Magic’s director Joe Forber had opted to drop his team from the EBL Division 1 down to the third division, in a bid to focus on the youth development at the club. Forber, who was presented with the award for Outstanding Contribution to Sport by Manchester City Council, held a three-year plan to return to the summit of the EBL. His club unbelievably achieved this feat ahead of schedule, especially when you consider the opportunities they have afforded their youngsters. Of the Magic players that played in the play-off final, the average age was less than 21-years-old. Four of the players, Conor Porter, Pharroh Gordon, Patrick Whelan, and Kingsley Nwagboso also play for the Magic’s Under-18s, whilst Connor Murtagh has just turned 19, and sharp-shooter Josh Houghton is just 21. Furthermore, Middleton lost his team captain, Tom Devitt, through injury in just the second home game of the season. Devitt, who was brought through the Magic’s youth academy, was the sole remaining starter from last year’s successful campaign, which left Middleton with the unenviable task of having to rebuild a brand new team centred around youngsters, and 31-year-old veteran Usman Baba.
Last December, the Magic hosted their ‘Annual International Haris Tournament’, a youth event in the memory of one of their former youngsters, Haris Charalambous, who sadly passed away whilst training for his University team Toledo back in 2006. With youth teams from Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, and Bosnia taking part, as well as the Magic’s own teams, and an England Under-17 team, the weekend event provided a great platform for youngsters to gain valuable life and basketball experience. The Magic Under-18s lost in the semi-final, to Akademie Weser of Germany, who ultimately lost in the final to Spanish side CB Cornella. Still, there were positive performances from the young Manchester boys, and Conor Porter was named on the All-Star Five team for the second straight year. It was a first class event held at the ABC (Amaechi Basketball Centre), which was co-organised with the Manchester City Council. The professionalism in the way the tournament was organised reaffirmed the Magic’s dedication to youth development.
Basketball has never thrived in Manchester like it has in the past 12 months. The Manchester Evening News Arena attracted over 17,000 people for a record attendance in last year’s pre-Olympic friendly, which saw the eventual Olympic champions USA dismantle Great Britain by 40 points. The iconic American players were adulated by the locals, who could only be grateful for the opportunity to see megastars such as Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, even if the tickets cost as much as £150 per person. The Manchester Giants returned after an eleven year absence, after folding due to financial difficulties in 2001. Their application to go back into the top tier of British basketball was welcomed by the British Basketball League (BBL), and the Giants recruited the former Magic coach Jeff Jones to head their new project. There has also been an announcement that NBA teams Oklahoma Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers will meet next summer in a preseason friendly in Manchester. In addition, the UK has started to televise BBL and NBA basketball. It is very difficult for a sport to reach its potential without the regular exposure necessary to build a fan base. Nevertheless, with over a thousand youngsters taking part in basketball each week at the Magic’s home venue alone, it’s safe to say there is a demand for the sport in Manchester.
The Magic are more than just a basketball club, they are at the heart of the Manchester community, providing coaching programmes for ‘tiny tots’ right the way through to the women and men’s senior teams. They have certainly lived up to their club philosophy which states: “To provide basketball activities to all members, regardless of gender, ability, race, religion, sexual orientation or socio/economic status”. Joe Forber and his wife Maggie, who taught Maths for 38 years locally at Wilmslow High School and Sir John Deane's Sixth Form College, are two dedicated individuals, who are committed to giving back to their community. Forber has coached for 40 years, producing 10 full international players, including John Amaechi, who progressed to become the first English player to play in the NBA, where he appeared for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic. Amaechi, like the Forbers, has been a fundamental part of the Manchester Magic programme, donating £250,000 worth of funding to help create the first purpose-built three court basketball facility in the country, which is named after him.
There has been a dearth of investment in the UK Basketball scene, which was exemplified by the UK Sport’s decision to withdraw all the funding agreed to British Basketball, despite UK Sport receiving a record budget of £347m, an 11% increase on their budget for London 2012. The decision caused a national backlash from the basketball community, which included a letter from British NBA superstar Luol Deng to Prime Minister David Cameron. A frustrated Deng insisted that he, along with other people involved in the game, have put too much in and care too greatly to let this happen. Ultimately, the funding was reinstated for the next year after British Basketball appealed the decision, however, they will need to reach a strict criterion to receive their funding for a further three-years leading to Rio. Amaechi has called for a full revamp in the way that professional basketball is run in the country condemning it as “the worst in the world bar none”. Having played in America, Italy, Spain, France, and Greece, Amaechi certainly has an unrivalled perspective of the state of the British basketball. He acknowledges that for the country to develop they would need to build similar centres to the one he helped fund, though a deterrent to potential investors is the thought that the ABC makes no money.
Last year, after a successful campaign for the Magic U18s, two of the outstanding performers Jack Crook and Jordan Whelan, fled to America to further their potential through the US college system, following in the footsteps of Haris Charalambous. Crook, a 6’ 9” centre, who also played for the Magic’s senior men’s team, had earned a four-year all-expenses-paid scholarship with Seattle University, after impressing in the annual youth tournament in Cherbourg. Of all the international sports, both basketball and football are the two that attract the widest audiences and participants globally. In essence, the UK and USA are in juxtaposition, in terms of basketball and football. The UK is home to the most popular league of football, with the Barclays Premier League, which receives a wealth of investment and sponsorship. The USA, likewise, can boast an unrivalled basketball model, from college opportunities leading into the NBA league, whilst they struggle to increase the profile of their Major League of soccer. As such it is only natural that budding footballers in the USA strive to play in Europe, just as young basketball players aspire to play at a higher level abroad. Former Cheshire Jets forward Murtagh, who was ranked the number one junior in the country in 2012, was recently asked in an interview where he hoped to play in the next five years. The youngster indicated his desire to test himself abroad, stating: “Hopefully Europe. I’m not delusional enough to think I will play over in America but I’d like to play in one of Europe’s top leagues.”
In this year’s Cherbourg event, Pharroh Gordon was selected on the All Star Five team. The youngster had only just turned 17, days before the EBL Division 2 play-off final, and the Magic will be hoping they will be able to retain his services, ahead of next year’s challenge in the first division. Though Gordon failed to make an impact in the final, he has demonstrated his vast-array of skills throughout the campaign. Coach Middleton had no qualms about blooding Gordon as a 16-year-old, claiming he had “earned his minutes”. Including a player with the qualities of Gordon is a no-brainer, however Middleton has continually integrated lesser talented individuals into the first team rotation to give them a chance to evolve and be included. In his attempt to gain promotion to the EBL Division 1, Middleton could have easily been forgiven for focussing on a core group of players. The passionate coach has worked tirelessly to improve the Magic team, and to earn back-to-back promotions is nothing short of a minor miracle, taking everything into consideration.
Tom Ward, who had left the play-off finals shattered, had literally turned into the team’s leader, once Tom Devitt was ruled out through injury. Along with Middleton, Ward was a key factor in the Magic achieving the improbable promotion. He finished the season as the ninth highest scorer in the league, and second in assists, whilst playing the most minutes in each game. With Devitt out for the season, Ward became irreplaceable for the Magic. When Middleton attempted to give Ward a rest for the youngster Patrick Whelan in the final, the disparity was clear. Whelan turned over possession on four occasions in just over eight minutes as NASSA’s back-court smelt blood. With such a young team around him, Ward can only be eulogised for his outstanding play throughout the successful campaign.
The opportunity to play in the first division could prove decisive to the Magic’s chances of retaining their youngsters. However, it’s the recent announcement that the Magic are to provide Sports Excellence Scholarships over the next three years to suitable student athletes who attend the University of Salford which may ensure they retain their best talent. In the next three years, four Scholarships will be issued each year: one Gold Scholarship worth £5,500 per year for three years, two Silver Scholarships worth £3,500 per year for three years, and one Bronze Scholarship worth £1,000 per year for three years. Additionally, there will be two more Scholarships made available worth £2500 per year, over a three year period, for student athletes: The Joe and Maggie Forber Award and The John Amaechi Award. These will be available for players of the Magic and their sister team the Manchester Mystics, although to qualify the applicant must be in further or higher education in the Northwest, though not specific to the University of Salford. Not only are the Forbers and Amaechi providing a platform for youngsters to develop their social and sporting skills, they are also encouraging their youngsters to develop academically.
The Giants’ return to the BBL will present opposition for the Magic, as the Giants are looking to cast their net in the same region to capture the best available young talent. Still, the Magic are a year ahead of schedule and profiting from their youth teams that have been integrated into the senior setup seamlessly under Middleton’s tutelage. The vision that Forber has put in place is transcendent to all players, staff, and supporters, who walk through the doors at the ABC. His legacy is unyielding: demanding that above success must be fair play and hard work. Forber’s Magic, is a special club that is designed to uplift and develop the people of Manchester, giving the City a basketball club that the people of Manchester can be proud of for years to come.
Yesterday, 30/04/13, we met with Carran and heard what she thought of our film. She said she enjoyed it, although she thought it could be shorter, and speeding it up would make it more slapstick. We immediately went to the editing suite and I discovered a way of speeding up the footage, however that would require more time than we currently had.
This morning I came in early and set about making the film faster, and in turn, shorter. This was not difficult by any means, the only hard part was re-sizing the music to fit the new length of the film. I have now made the film about a minute shorter and will next put it on a disc as soon as the rest of my group has seen it.
Other notes - yesterday we had a proper read through of the script that Michael wrote. Unfortunately he could not make it in, but me, Michelle and Tom read through and discussed possible locations, costumes and props. We would say we are nearly ready to rehearse, although the next port of call would be to discuss with the other groups how we could get the audience around for the best experience.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsMg2q-g-BI Here is a link to the short silent film we shot. This will be played in our hospital ward. - Michael
Renowned for winning the Eurovision Song Contest three times for Ireland, Johnny Logan has sold up to 17M albums worldwide. In this fascinating interview Mike Sherrard, band guitarist and brother of Johnny, reveals some intriguing stories and anecdotes writes Andrew Bailey.
CERTAIN individuals have got it and some haven’t – charisma. In the case of Johnny Logan’s brother and band guitarist, Mike Sherrard, he has it by the bucket load. Majestically gliding around the beer garden he sits down reassuring me – instead of the opposite.
Strategically moving the notepad so it wouldn’t get beer stains, the 61-year-old revealed his eventful childhood. He grew up in Ireland’s capital but stated he was in fact born in London of Irish parents. He started his early education in St Mary’s in Croydon before moving to Howth, a fishing village on the outskirts of Dublin. There he went to the primary school before attending Chanel College, which he reveals he got expelled from.
Drawing in a breath of smoke as only rockers can do, he elaborated on the incident that led to his dismissal from college, saying: “We were taught by Marist Fathers – they were like the SS of teaching priests. It was the early 60s and they used to walk around in cassocks, carrying shaving straps cut out and reinforced with more leather. They used to walk round hitting us over the head with these leather straps. One time it hit me right in the face, and so shall I say I was slightly displeased – and so I showed my displeasure!”
Not to be disillusioned with this he picked up the guitar and taught himself, after hearing ‘Love Me Do’ by The Beatles for the first time.
He explained: “Even before that (Love Me Do), I had been listening to Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. Then it switched around as I discovered Jimmy Hendrix and then it went backwards as I got deeply in to the Blues.” He also highlighted the psychedelic and heavy rock period – which he states he’s still heavily in to.
This leads us nicely on to Irish rock legends, Thin Lizzy, and lead singer Phil Lynott, whose hits includes, ‘The Boy Are Back in Town’. Sadly Phil died of a heart attack following his drug battle at the relatively young age of 36. Mike, a personal friend of Phil, paused for a while before pondering his old pal stating Jan 4, 2013, signalled the 27th anniversary of his passing. Speaking of his untimely death, he said: “It was very very sad. He was a great guy, a brilliant guy – but he did have his frailties. I don’t think anybody wishes to do themselves any harm. It was just a waste as he was such a great talented guy.”
Mike’s face then lights up as he vividly recalled the “fun times” the pair got up to in days gone by. Warmly recollecting, he added: “I prefer to remember him as the fun guy – and boy did he rock and roll!”
Changing the subject quickly, he touched upon the Eurovision Song Contest (EVSC), that jet propelled his brother to stardom. Sean went solo, winning with ‘What’s Another Year’ (1980), and again seven years later with ‘Hold Me Now’. He also won the competition a third time as composer of ‘Why Me’ in 1992. Mike admits that he no longer watches the show, claiming that “It is like a giant karaoke.” He questions the whole fabric of the production, saying: “There are very few singers and performers now. Now they don’t have musicians as it’s all done with computers. It lost all its magic when they lost all the conductors and orchestras.”
L to R Mike Sherrard, Driver, Sean Sherrard.
This led to Mike sharing his experiences both as a brother and band member of Johnny Logan. He somewhat diplomatically put it like this: “We started playing together in the mid-70s and back then it was pretty much ‘even stevens.’ Then he had the success in the 80s with the Eurovision Song Contest. So the people came to see him and not us (the band).”
The gregarious rocker continued: “I suppose back in the day we’ve had disagreements but as we’ve got older we have matured. He now takes care of all the planning. I’m now the music director and guitarist.”
When asked about X-Factor and Simon Cowell, he was less than diplomatic. In an attack on Simon Cowell and the show, he scoffed: “Simon Cowell should be prosecuted for cutting the throat of the English music business. What the flipping heck has a dog dancing, got to do with the music and entertainment business? I think it’s incredibly unfair that he lives off embarrassing people – who really believe they have got talent. All he’s doing is hurting them and making average acts.”
He then singles out John Peel as being the best talent finder – not Simon Cowell. He enthusiastically pointed out that: “I used to listen to John Peel in the 60s when he gave The Nice a chance; he also helped out Emerson Lake and Palmer. Peel was always way ahead of everybody else.”
In a long and lustrous career Mike who resides in Walkden, Salford, has met a host of famous people including; Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, Katrina Leskanich (Katrina and The Waves) and Bobby Kimble (ToTo). But perhaps the most intriguing encounter came in 1975. He was introduced to legendary hell raisers’ Oliver Reed and Richard Harris by a theatrical producer in Neary’s Bar, Dublin. After agreeing to drink with them, he said: “After about 45 minutes of drinking quadruple vodkas with them, I had to leave while my dignity was still intact!”
When questioned why they don’t play in the UK or Ireland the divorced father of three children, Chloe, 22, and twins Ellie and Nathaniel, 17 ½, stated that: “Years ago I was seen as a very naughty boy when touring Ireland, but it’s got nothing to do with that. We don’t really play in England or Ireland because people have the misconception that it’s going to be love songs and ballads all night. When in fact we are rock based these days.”
Bolton Town Hall
WHAT exactly defines a town or city? Is it the people, architecture, size, or location? Andrew Bailey investigates the rather bloody and gory history of Bolton and why it possibly has never been given city status.
A HOPEFUL Bolton town and its community, waited in anticipation to see if their bid to become a city, was successful in March 2012. Sadly, for the town’s council bosses and citizens, the decision didn’t go their way.
The awards were part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in which Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph in Wales were granted new city status.
Before getting in to the nitty gritty, it would be a good idea to take a look at the town and get under the skin, to gage a feeling for its makeup. Bolton was once a hotbed for clattering weaving machinery powered by steam engines. The billowing smoky tops playing centre stage in the industrial revolution of the entire North West region. The cotton trade was big business and even lead to an influx of Flemish weavers, who settled from Belgium centuries ago. The town is notorious in creating big personalities and perhaps one of the most celebrated is Fred Dibnah?
If ever there was a man who epitomised the town’s industrial past it has be Fred. With stereotypical flat cap and cig in mouth, he used to lovingly restore steam powered traction engines – and use them as transport! He became an instant TV star overnight, back when the first ever documentary was made on him, and his occupation back in 1979. In this first ever episode, he was shown swinging from the clock tower of Bolton’s Town Hall, as he made repairs. The rather eccentric Lancastrian, who valued Victorian feats over modern living, made the local headlines when he built a mineshaft in his back yard! The cheeky chap even used a bow and arrow, to accurately get the angles of the shaft, which was aired on one particular programme.
From one character to another, we meet a well renowned comedian. When people ask who Bolton’s best loved son is, then it probably will be received with Peter Kay. Bursting on to our screens in a comedy based documentary, piloted back in the late 1990s. Playing various characters in ‘That Peter Kay Thing’ including an ice cream man, who had a personal vendetta against his rival Signor Whippy, for trading on his patch. Another showed a working man’s club which lead to a full series known as Phoenix Nights. Peter in an ironic kind of way, almost becomes a caricature of himself with his Bolton accent and northern humour. It would be fair to say that for non-Boltonians, they feel he and his Phoenix Nights series personify the very town and district to some degree. Shouts of ‘garlic bread?’ and ‘turn big light on’ became regular quips at his stand-up tours.
Not only is the town renowned for its colourful characters, who encapsulate the human element of the vicinity. Another underlying aspect to cement what defines a town is the very structures and buildings. The 1954 romantic comedy film Hobson’s Choice which was directed by David Lean, was set in 1880s Salford. However, certain parts of the movie were filmed in Bolton, owing to the town’s narrow terraced streets, and its smog laden atmosphere. The industrial legacy and working class housing made it a perfect location, for the film makers to utilize. It has many streets that are not too dissimilar to fictional TV soap opera Coronation Street, which again reinforces the close knit community, along with the working class pitfalls of society.
Another standout architect feature is Le Mans Crescent, named after Bolton’s French twin town, which overlooks the town hall. As its name suggests, it is an impressive masonry building, which curves around the road. It too has been part of the television folk law, including Sherlock Holmes whereby, it was transformed in to a snowy Russian location.
After looking in to the many contributing elements of what Bolton is distinguished and perceived, let’s take a look in to the possible reason, why it lost its bid for city status.
A good starting point which leads on from the architecture angle, involves an historic pub. Ye Olde Man and Scythe is based on one of the oldest part of the town on Churchgate, and is said to date back to 1251. Every year the previous landlord John Jewitt, who tragically died in a swimming accident at Lanzarote two years ago, used to stage a re-enactment of the beheading of James Stanley, outside the pub. It is said that James ate his last meal prior to his execution in the pub. The chair that he was alleged to have sat on is still in the pub. Sitting in a glass cabinet in the museum room, the hell raising band ‘The Who’ destroyed it in the 1970s!
The English Civil War between 1642 and 1651, has been well documented in history books which, affected all of the country including Bolton. It is possible to say that when the war started, most Lancashire folk didn’t take much notice, as they were very parochial in their outlook. David Casserly states in his book ‘Massacre: Storming of Bolton’ that most “Lancastrians at the time looked at their county being their country and, probably thought little of what went on outside.”
The town back in the 17th century belonged to the Ferrers family who also took the gentry name and position Earl of Derby. James Stanley was the town’s 7th ruling Earl of Derby and had sided and fought with King Charles 1st in the civil war. After fleeing battle and leaving the King, James Stanley made his way North with his Royalist contingent. Unfortunately, he and his army were ambushed by a group of Parliamentarians, at a bridge at Whitchurch, as they marched from Nantwich. The royalist contingent surrendered and became prisoners, with the Earl of Derby being one of them.
Author, David Casserly, explains that instead of the prisoners being granted mercy in previous cases, the captured would be “brought to trial and be made an Example of Justice.” The present method back then of ‘Example of Justice’ involved the rather gory act of beheading the prisoner, often in public places.
After being tried for treason in Chester, James Stanley, who was also the present King of the Isle of Man, in his defence proclaimed that as he was head of the island, the jurisdiction could not be recognised in his case. However, this simply did not wash with the courts who declared after proceedings that he was indeed guilty. Reading the charges they declared that “He had traitorously borne arms for Charles Stuart against Parliament on the 12th August 1651, prohibiting all correspondence with Charles Stuart.” The judgement also read that he had “Fortified his house of Lathom against Parliament, and that he now held the Isle of Man against them.”
The horrific consequence involved him being “condemned to be executed, by severing his head from his body at Bolton.”
This blood curdling and gruesome act of justice happened, on October 15, 1651 at 3pm outside Ye Olde Man and Scythe pub, on a scaffold built on Churchgate. It was witnessed by 100 people with a local man by the name of George Whowell, doing the horrific deed, owing to his personal grievance with Stanley, in the Bolton Massacre.
Fast forwarding 361 years to 2012 when Queen Elizabeth 2nd celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, was this cold blooded act if justice the key reason, for the town losing out on becoming a city?
The term begrudging is defined in the dictionary as;
1. To envy or resent the pleasure or good fortune of.
2. To be reluctant to give, grant, or allow.
If this is indeed a fundamental reason, why the town lost out for its city status, including previous bids, then this is a serious bout of resentment on behalf of the Crown and establishment. Interestingly and quite factually accurate, most people will point out that the decision making doesn’t actually lie with the Crown, but with the government, owing to the fact that it is a democratic decision.
The ruling monarch lost the majority of its essential powers, after the English Civil War was won by the Round Heads. The subsequent kings and queens have been part of the institution, more as a head of state and figurehead, instead of the notion of ‘divine right’ of rule. The Parliamentary system consists of representative democracy whereby, the power is sought through elected MPs who fight for their own constituency.
If this is the case then it was indeed, the Parliamentarians, under the control of Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army, who charged James Stanley and ordered his beheading some 350 years ago. Surely, if the town conformed and agreed to be the stage for the Royalist’s execution set out by the elected Parliamentarians, there is a sense of discrepancy for this side of the argument? In layman’s terms the town supported the Government and not the monarchy.
One thing for certain, is that neither the current Crown, nor Houses of Parliament, will ever divulge or disclose the real truth, why Bolton failed for city status. Instead and more likely, they’ll probably offer some public relations thought up explanation, explaining that each town candidate had an equal chance and, that decisions are taken upon their merits. Some spectators may even point to the fact, that the immediate area has cities within close proximity, with Manchester, Salford and the newly formed Preston for good measure.
So there we have it, a fascinating and intriguing look at a historic event yet with possible present repercussions. Even if the argument stands up or is totally ludicrous, depending on personal preference, it offers some serious food for thought.
The town’s council chiefs and citizens were as previously mentioned; rather downbeat after learning their bid had failed last year. However, it is not all doom and gloom as a history staff member at Bolton Museum, who wished to remain anonymous explained. He said: “It is a sad affair, especially with the size of the town, and the strong community we have here. Bolton does still have the legitimate claim of being the country’s largest town.”
The fact still remains, that this could possibly represent one of the biggest and best kept secrets in modern Britain. Also, if true it could be seen as a massive injustice to the people and the town of Bolton.
Not getting too disheartened, maybe the town’s gritty humour is the best way to conclude? So to quote Britain’s best loved steeplejacks, we will end with Fred Dibnah’s famous one liner, after bringing down a chimney: “Did you like that?”
On 26/04/13 we met with Greg and Trish who are both doing PHDs at Salford. Both have a lot of experience in immersive theatre and their knowledge of ways of including the audience really opened doors for us. They described their experiences and things that worked and didn't work. They explained how a confident performance is really beneficial in getting the audience to do what you want them too. It was a really interesting meeting and I'm sure their advice will be invaluable to us.
On 27/04/13 we all got round to mine to do a spot of filming. We have decided to film a short silent film to be played during our piece in May. It will be used either as "treatment" for patients or as a way for nurses to slack off. It is in a Charlie Chaplin slapstick style, and hopefully the editing process will give our footage that feel. We will start the edit at Uni tomorrow and hopefully it will be done in the next few days so we can put all of our efforts into the piece.
I have also been reading some poetry from World War 1 by the poets Seigfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen who were both in hospital with Shellshock and thinking up ways of incorporating it into our piece as a way to interact with the audience.
Some sisters are so close they're joined at the hip, and Abby and Brittany Hensel are, quite literally, just that.
Born in 1990 in Minnesota, the identical twins were born conjoined-or to be technical they are dicephalic parapagus twins, meaning they are joined at the abdomen and pelvis, but have two heads.
To show the world that they are just like any other outgoing twenty somethings, they are currently starring in a reality show broadcast on Thursdays at 9pm on BBC 3.
Having just watched the first episode I believe they've achieved their aim and more. With no voiceover to ensure that events are portrayed entirely through Abby and Brittany's eyes, the reality show is both moving and revealing and there's never a dull moment.
The first episode, filmed in 2012, follows the girls as they have a party to celebrate their 22nd birthday, graduate from Bethel University with degrees in education and prepare for their first ever job interview in the only way a girl can-shopping!
The mere fact that they have survived into their adult life is interesting in itself but their achievements and abilities are even more impressive. With two stomachs and hearts and four lungs, but only one pair of arms, legs and reproductive organs, the girls need to be able to negotiate a great deal. Yet, with Abby corntroling the right side of the body and Brittany the left, they have mastered swimming, cycling and most incredibly, driving. (they have two driving licences as both had to take the test twice).
Personally, I found it hard to get my head around at first as, with no disrepsect to the twins or anyone with a similar condition, it isn't natural, it is an anomaly, with conjoining twins occuring once in every 200,000 live births. When I think of living things with more than one head f the three headed dog in Harry Potter or the fictional character Zaphod Beeblebrox from the Hitch Hiker's Guide to Galaxy, who has two heads, springs to mind.
But the more Abby and Brittany show parts of their every day lives, the more I understood: They really are two close sisters who have distinctly separate personalities, likes and dislikes and feelings and aside from their condition they are exactly the same as every other young woman, doing the same activities and making similar decisions.
At times when we were younger I would have said me and my sister were inseperable, but now we are extremely grateful for our privacy so its almost impossible to imagine what Abby and Birttany, being the two distinct people they are, have to deal with but what both facinated and touched me was they way in which they compromised and the sheer teamwork they do every day.
We can all learn something from Abby and Brittany so their show is well worth a watch!
Yesterday our group met with Greg Foster, an expert in immersive theatre, in order for him to give us advice for our project. We explained to him what we were doing and he liked the sound of our idea. He was helpful in telling us how to connect with the audience better, I.e. Because my character has no lines, my actions should be very over the top so its something the audience will remember. Tonight we start filming the short film we are showing during our performance. We are filming over the weekend so I can edit the film next week. -Liam
THE Newham Neptunes (NASSA) head up to Manchester looking to secure an unprecedented treble in the playoff final, having topped the second division, as well as claiming the Patron’s Cup following a comprehensive 97-73 victory over the Glamorgan Gladiators in the final.
The Manchester Magic have evolved throughout the season and are enjoying their best run in the final stretch, winning seven of their last eight fixtures. The Amaechi Basketball Centre is the selected venue for the playoff final showpiece, and the hosts will need to draw on the advantage of playing at home.
Head to Heads (1-1)
There has been little regard for home court advantage in their two encounters this season, as the visiting team has left with the W on both occasions.
25/11/2012 NASSA 75-80 Magic
Josh Houghton made 5 of 9 3-pointers on his way to dropping 26 points in the Magic’s win at the Sports Dock, although NASSA were missing several key players (Steve Vear, Karolis Stepanavicius, and Jeffery Danchie).
24/02/2013 Magic 65-84 NASSA
Danchie’s game-high 23 points helped NASSA inflict the Magic’s largest home defeat of the season, with the visitors outscoring the hosts in each of the four quarters. The victory was even more impressive considering it came the day after they had won the Patron’s Cup final.
Point Guard Position - Tom Ward (Magic) / Steve Vear (NASSA)
Vear leads the league in assists and steals per game. Ward is second in the league in assists, ninth in scoring, and the unenviable leader of turnovers. If the Magic are to have a chance, Ward will have to be more economical in possession. Outside Vear, Stepanavicius and Ladi Brown have recorded the second and third most steals in the league.
Season Stat Line
Men to watch
Karolis Stepanavicius (NASSA)
Both teams are in a similar quandary, given that neither team rely on a particular scoring outlet. Stepanavicius, who finished runner-up in the Division 2 Player of the Year award, had 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 block shots in the February win. His agility, first step, and ability to finish make him a match up problem for any front-court opposition. The 6’6” forward injured his ankle in NASSA’s semi-final win over Loughborough, although with two weeks rest he should be fully recovered for the trip to the Amaechi.
Josh Houghton (Magic)
Houghton can take much of the credit for the surprise win away to NASSA, amongst his other countless outstanding individual performances throughout the season. However, the sharp-shooter shoulders a large portion of the responsibility for the February home loss: he finished with 13 points from 16 field-goal attempts, of which he made just 4 of 14 from behind the arc. Since that game, Houghton is shooting lights-out from down town, with 17 of his 36 attempts finding net.
There is a sense of deja vu about this playoff final, as both teams competed in the Division 3 playoff final last year. NASSA came out on top then 78-67, so Magic coach Paul Middleton will be keen to redress matters with his rival Sam Stillar, who was recently announced as the Division 2 Coach of the Year.
Today we all read through of the first draft of the script. It has helped us picture better how it will come together and we need to discuss with the other groups. Unfortionately our meeting with Greg Foster was cancelled but we are trying to arrange another one for Friday. It will be helpful to speak with him as his experience can help bring our ideas to life. - Michael.
Some time ago I found in the Devon Record Office amongst miscellaneous papers (ref. 1262M/OLD/113/68) a 1000 word description of a soldier's shell shock. Written by a Col. Hurst R.A.M.C. in 1918. The soldier was identified only as Percy Meek.
I now know that Hurst is none other than Col. Arthur Hurst who wrote Medical Diseases of the War. Due to copyright agreements I have to reproduce a transcription of Hurst's description below.
Having delved a little I'm sure that Percy Meek is 3/7495 Percy Albert Meek, Norfolk Regt. His MIC shows Victory, BWM, 14 Star with Clasp. Enlisted 31/8/1914 and discharged with SWB 13/6/1916. He was born June 2nd1892 in Docking, Norfolk. On the 1901 census the family are in Snettisham and are basket makers, it appears he had two brothers Charles & Harold, the latter 13014 H. Meek 3rd Bn. Norfolks Died at sea 30/12/17.
I then spotted a post by skipman giving a link to Netley film footage of shell shock victims and first man in the film is Percy Meek!!! So I thought it was an unusual resource to have film footage plus a description by Arthur Hurst. The film must have been shot over two years and edited. Hurst first saw him at Netley in Dec '16 and Percy didn't recover much until moving to Seale Hayne (Devon) in April 1918 so the film must cover that time frame.
It seems that Percy lived to 75, no evidence of marriage and died in Kings Lynn 1968.
From Col. Hurst RAMC 1918
Pte. Percy Meek, aged 23 basket maker from Snettisham.
Pte. Meek joined the Army in 1913. He was slightly wounded in the thigh in May 1915, after serving from the beginning of the war. He returned to the front in October 1915. He was quite fit until February 19th1916, when he had to be forcibly prevented from going over the parapet to attack some German mortars which were firing at his trench. He then became dazed, and on reaching the aid post he could not answer questions, but he obeyed simple commands such as to put out his tongue. He believed he was still in the trenches which were being heavily shelled; his eyes were fixed on imaginary trench-mortar shells coming towards him, his pupils were widely dilated, and he sweated profusely. His pulse was 140. Convulsive tremors of the head, trunk and limbs constantly occurred. When he reached a hospital in England on March 2nd, his expression was apprehensive, he saw the ghosts of Germans he had bayoneted come to take revenge on him and he heard them fire at him. He was still unable to speak, but he answered questions by nods and signs and in writing. He was able to walk with assistance. He was treated by hypnotism, but his condition steadily deteriorated, except that the hallucinations disappeared.
I saw him first at Netley in December 1916, eleven months after the onset. He was still unable to speak; all four limbs were now completely paralysed, except that he was able with a great effort to make slight movements at his left elbow joint. An extreme degree of contracture was present; the legs were rigidly extended; the arms were extended and the fingers tightly clenched. It was almost impossible to produce any passive movements, but the contractures were entirely hysterical, as they relaxed completely under an anaesthetic and during sleep. Total loss of sensation to touch and pain over the whole body, including the eyes was present, except that passive movements at the elbow were painful, and he occasionally suffered from toothache.
On December 15th 1916, vigorous suggestion with the aid of an intralaryngeal electrode during light etherisation restored the power of whispering. It was then found that he had total loss of memory; he had no idea who or what he was, he did not realise that his anaesthetic legs belonged to him, and he had no knowledge of the meaning of words. During the following months he learnt to talk a kind of pidgin English, but the meaning of every word had to be taught, and he used each word in his limited vocabulary for a variety of meanings. All forms of drink were 'tea' and when petrol as poured into the tank of a motor-car he was in, he called out 'table has tea', table being for some obscure reason the generic name he applied to all vehicles. 'Hand' represented a hand and a glove, and 'to hand' was to hit; a word taught by other patients in fun would never be given up, so that all forms of meat, chicken and fish were called 'Puss'. His only numbers were 'one' and 'six', which represented anything more than one, except a very large number which was 'sixty-six' or a still larger number 'six-sixty-six'. All attempts to teach ideas of time, space and colour failed, and he did not recognise any of his relations, even when his father was brought to him in the middle of the night in the hope that he might know him at the moment of waking. He remembered recent events and called people by names, which he often invented; a bald patient was 'no-haired chick', two men who limped badly were 'no-legged chick' and 'six-legged chick'; all officers in uniform were 'Major' and civilians 'Mr' or, if friends, 'Mr Chick'. In spite of treatment no improvement in the condition of his limbs had occurred by October 1917, though he was able to sit up in a chair and enjoyed being taken out of doors. He delighted in childish toys, and in a general way his mind was that of a year-old child. He was quite happy, but was becoming very emaciated as it was difficult to persuade him to eat.
On November 22nd 1917 for no obvious reason he had a headache and became excited in the evening. His memory began to return during the night and he talked incessantly. The next day he realised the deficiencies in his speech and wished to have them corrected. When told a word he now repeated it correctly and remembered it and began to form proper sentences. On November 24th I cured a man suffering from hysterical whispering with a laryngeal sound, in his presence. Though this had failed on many occasions since he learnt to whisper nearly a year before, it now cured him instantaneously to his intense delight. He lost his voice once more on the 27th but it returned on passing the sound again. This time he felt something snap in his head and immediately afterwards he talked quite normally and his memory of his home and his past life flowed back. His father came the next day and he knew him at once. He soon remembered his experiences in France but his life in the hospital was almost a blank as it seemed to him that he was in France only a few days instead of 21 months ago. He had a vague recollection of very recent events and he knew the men in the ward but did not remember friends who had gone out only a week before. He remembered 'feeling funny with a buzzing head', then 'something in his head was suddenly relieved' and the buzzing stopped when his memory returned. His mental condition was now perfectly normal but for some time very little improvement occurred in the condition of his limbs. With re-education and passive movements the left arm slowly improved but it was not until he was transferred with the neurological section from Netley to the Seale Hayne Hospital in April 1918 that any marked improvement occurred. At the end of a fortnight his right arm, which had hitherto remained rigid and paralysed had improved so much that he could write long letters, brush his hair and feed himself but all movements were stiff, shaky and slow. The left arm improved At the same time but there was still no recovery of voluntary power in the legs. On May 1st an attempt was made to overcome the rigidity of the legs. This was so far successful that slight voluntary power returned in the feet. Steady improvement followed until all movements became possible. By May 31st he could stand with very little assistance and could perform all ordinary movements with his arms, though some rigidity was still present. On June 2nd, his 25th birthday, he stood without help and after being helped for a few minutes he walked without assistance round the quadrangle after being paralysed for 28 months. His physical condition now steadily improved and by June 20th he was able to take charge of the basket-making shop at the hospital.