Category Archives: Random Stuff

Vinyl Returns to Twickenham

Exciting times for music lovers in Twickenham! The resurgence of vinyl records (what do you mean you hadn’t heard! Come ON people!) is even reaching the mean streets of downtown ‘Nam.  On Church Street, the former Langtons book store turned short-lived Food Hall is being transformed into a new record store. Under the banner of Eel Pie Records the new business brings something a little bit different to Twickenham whilst also referencing the town’s rich musical heritage. Sounds like a good combination eh?

Kevin sorts out the shop

Co-founder Kevin Jones told twickerati, “We will be full of brand new and quality second hand vinyl and CDs. And damn fine coffee. We’re planning various events like classic album nights, launching new releases, live performances”. Shop staff will also be able to help punters get themselves set up with a new turntable to enjoy that old vinyl magic or just advise on what’s hot. Shoppers, browsers, coffee drinkers and anyone just looking to soak up the atmosphere is welcome to drop by. They might even be interested in your old vinyl if it’s in good nick, although your collection of “Now That’s What I Call Music” compilations might not be what they’re looking for.

Eel Pie Records, Church Street

Kevin and fellow co-founder Phil Penman aren’t new to the local music scene, they’ve been putting on live music events in Twickenham for a few years under the Drumfire Live banner but setting up a record shop has always been an ambition. And now it’s finally happening. Good luck to ’em.

The former bookstore store will also be home to Ricardo’s Cellar, a project of Last Try Wines  head honcho Ricardo Garcia and a Limpopo biltong store.

Eel Pie Records opens on Thursday June 8th. It’s going to be a big day. Why not vote with your feet and get down there to support all of these new ventures.  We’ll namecheck them all again soon in our next High Street Update so look out for that.

Store under transformation

LINKS:

Eel Pie Records
* Website: www.eelpierecords.com
* Twitter: @eelpierecords
* Facebook: www.facebook.com/eelpierecordshop

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Pic of the Week: Potter Lives!

It’s not totally new news but in case you missed this on Twitter, we can reveal that Harry Potter is alive and well and living in Twickenham. In your face, muggles! And if you’re wondering where Diagon Alley is, it links Lion Road to Marsh Farm Road.

We say, “Nice work” to whoever did this. Or maybe just, “Wizard!”

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Two Horse Election Race in Twickenham

We’re not going to refer to the candidates as horses, that would be impolite. No, nope, nay, neiiigh! Not going to happen, but Twickenham’s two horse race could be a very close call on June 8th.  A Conservative majority of only 2,000 secured in 2015 after 18 years of returning a Liberal Democrat MP means Twickenham is a potential swing seat.  With just over a week to go there has been intense campaigning in the constituency.  All three candidates have been active and visible, especially the two front runners, although if you look around Twickenham town centre for posters and election boards then you’d gauge the election mood to be largely one of apathy, followed by a sprinkling of Vince Cable window displays. But poster-spotting does not an election make.

Tania Mathias is mixing the Conservative ‘strong and stable’ message with her vocal support for the NHS and her intention to continue supporting her constituents’ on local issues such as opposition to Heathrow expansion, despite it being her party’s preferred choice. Vince Cable has also vowed to fight expansion which begs the question, who would be best placed to do that, a high profile opposition MP or a majority party backbencher, albeit one who’s chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Heathrow?  Answer: neither. Continue reading

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Memorial Art to be Unveiled for Twickenham’s Belgian Village

Noticed the Belgian flags in East Twickenham recently? If you haven’t we can reassure you that yes, they are actually there. And they’re there for a good reason.  On Saturday 1st April a memorial artwork is going to be unveiled by the Belgian Ambassador to celebrate East Twickenham’s Belgian connection.  Many of you will know the backstory to this but just in case….

 

Belgian Flag, East Twickenham

During the First World War this part of London became home to around 6,000  Belgians who had fled their home country after the German invasion in 1914. A real community developed earning the area the moniker, “the Belgian village on the Thames”.  Many of these refugees worked in the munitions factory established by Charles Pelabon in what had previously been a roller skating rink.  Pelabon, a Frenchman who had previously operated factories in Belgium, supplied munitions to the Belgian army from January 1915 and throughout the war. At its peak his East Twickenham works employed 2,000 people.

During the war years French and Flemish could be heard on the streets of East Twickenham, Belgians established shops and businesses to serve their community, while the children attended a special ‘Belgian department’ at Orleans School in St Margarets.

 

Belgian munitions workers at the Pelabon factory

After the war the community dispersed with most returning to Belgium. The Pelabon factory continued for a few more years as a general engineering  company before Monsieur Pelabon eventually sold up and returned to France. Some of the buildings remained in industrial use and part of the  site became the famous Richmond Ice Rink but that, of course, is another story.

A great deal of work has been done to uncover and publicise this hidden history especially by Helen Baker and others.  On Saturday April 1st, to celebrate East Twickenham’s Belgian connection, a public work of art will be unveiled by the Belgian Ambassador H.E Guy Trouveroy as a memorial to this unique community of Belgian refugees . It’s being organised by the East Twickenham Centennial Group. As Helen says, “We see this as not so much a celebration of war as of two communities cooperating towards a common goal and of friendship for refugees.”

 

Pelabon works, East Twickenham


The unveiling will take place on Saturday 1st April from 12.00-2.30pm at Warren Gardens, Clevedon Road, TW1 2HZ.  And of course the project team are always keen to hear from anyone with information about the time, one hundred years ago, when East Twickenham became little Belgium.

 

LINK:

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Pic of the Week: Comedy Pavement or Art Installation?

Here’s a scene that raises one simple question. Why? These new flats on Heath Road, called Twickenham House, have given rise to some comedy paving or perhaps it’s actually modern art, we’re not entirely sure. What seems to have happened is that once upon a time there was a pavement with a line of edging stones next to a building, then some hoardings were put up to allow construction work to take place and then the builders decided to make the line of the hoardings the precise line for the intersection of the old pavement and their attempt at new paving. The result? Something that looks like this…

But is it art?

But is it art?

If that’s the quality of finishing for the outside space we can only hope that they’ve done a better job on the inside. Is it actually finished? We don’t know but we hope Richmond Council’s planning bods are taking a long hard look at it, assuming their eyes can stay focused on it. Paving stones? Paving stoned more like.

new flats with 'comedy paving' on Heath Road

new flats with ‘comedy paving’ on Heath Road

You may recall that these are the very same flats where the developers’ boards promised views across Mediterranean rooftops rather than of a suburban railway bridge and a Tesco Express. I suppose we now have to call these things ‘alternative facts’. It’s a funny old world.

Twickenham House on Heath Road

Twickenham House on Heath Road

Room with a view… of the Med.

Views across the Med

Views across the Med

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New Cinema Club for Twickenham

If you like watching classic and cult films which rarely get an airing on television or in cinemas then you’re in luck.  A new cinema club is launching in Twickenham to do just that.  Called, rather unsurprisingly, Twickenham Cinema Club, the aim of the new venture is to create a club run by members, for members. You can expect an eclectic mix of film with the idea that the members are the curators. There will also be a social element to screenings with an opportunity to chat before and afterwards. The opening film is 1945’s ‘Mildred Pierce‘ starring Joan Crawford. It’s something of a noir classic, a tale of ambition, struggle and mother daughter rivalry and is based on the novel by James M Cain whose other books include The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. How’s that for pedigree?

twickenham-cinema-club-logo

 

To join the club costs £10 per year with the first film free and subsequent films at £7. Otherwise it’s £10 on the door for non-members.  For local film buffs, the new club is a welcome complement to Richmond Film Society which has been running since 1963 and focuses on world cinema with screenings at St Mary’s University.

Mildred Pierce is showing at Patchworks at The Cabbage Patch pub on Wednesday February 8th.

 

LINK:

twickenham-cinema-club-debut-film

 

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Merry Twickmas, Twickenham

“Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, building Trumpton one block at a time. With flats by the river and parking galore, we just have to hope that it’s better than before”.

Yes folks that’s what Councillor Pamela Fleming is absolutely insisting gets sung before all meetings at Richmond Council this Christmas. We’re not sure if she can actually hold a tune but we do know that she can hold a (party) line.

 

twickenham-christmas-tree

Christmas is upon us just as it was at this time last year. It’s a time when we look forward to wincing at our bank balances and praying that our guests will leave  (just bloody leave!) but we also look back on the year that’s ending. It’s been year of strange events, plucky Leicester City winning the Premier League, plucky Brits voting for Brexit, and plucky billionaire bully-boy businessman Donald Trump winning The Pres Factor across the pond. Here in Twickenham we’ve had our fair share of surprises too.  Surprise that LBRuT, aka ‘El Brute’, stuck with their unpopular scheme and chosen architect for Twickenham Riverside despite strong local opposition. Surprise that the high street at the end of the year looks very similar to the way it looked at the beginning, and surprise too that a new third runway at Heathrow got the nod from the government. Actually none of those three was remotely surprising but they warranted a token mention.

What of the riverside scheme? Here at twickerati HQ we’ve been disappointed that the Council have persisted with a plan that doesn’t do justice to the potential of the site, is overloaded in terms of scale and features a design that pays a traditionalist homage to a non-existent past.  After all these years of dithering and deliberation Twickenham looks set to end up with something that’s ‘sort of OK’ rather than something great. It’s a shame.  But on the bright side we do have a wonderful new station to enjoy as we go about our business. You’ve not seen it? What?? Well it was definitely going to be built after the Rugby World Cup. Definitely! The rugby world cup ended over a year ago but nothing’s been started yet. On the plus side, it’s not actually behind schedule because the phrase ‘after the rugby world cup’ applies to all dates from November 2015 to the very end of time. Hurrah!

At least the development opposite the station on the former post office sorting office site is nearly complete. It’s even got our new ‘community building’ / ‘cultural hub’ in it where things will happen that the community can do or look at or maybe wear or something. In truth, we’ve no idea. If it can support a thriving theatre-cum-performance space then that will be good but the only concrete idea we’ve had is that it might have been better to have a community building as part of the riverside development but what do we know?

On the high street, long standing Chinese restaurant Jun Ming closed,  Arthur’s is up for sale and we said farewell to the mysterious Cakes World and Marc Jason’s Shoeworld. The Press Room and Caffe a Roma arrived but so did Costa. The Heath Road restaurant that never lasts and which was most recently called Flavours of Sicily didn’t last. Former Blockbuster video store turned Morrison’s supermarket closed its doors again and is now turning into a Screwfix and a Co-op mini-supermarket has appeared in what was the Old Anchor pub. This, my friends, is the way of the world these days.

So what else happened? We had summer festivals and Christmas lights. New primary schools opened, more places are on the way in a giant new block at St Richard Reynolds College as is a whole new secondary school on the Richmond College site in Egerton Road. A man made national news when he brought Twickenham traffic to a standstill on a rugby day by throwing bricks and tiles off a roof and thieves blew up a cash point on Heath Road and made off with the contents. Richmond Council continued its merger with Wandsworth with the aim of making savings in back office costs through sharing resources. And if you wanted an ice rink to get you in the festive mood then you were to be disappointed. El Brute rejected proposals for a temporary winter rink in Radnor Gardens. Apparently school kids need the space…. even when they’re on holiday.

Here at twickerati we even managed to disappoint ourselves by living up to our recently lowered expectations. We updated the site only occasionally and focused on the same few stories over and over again.  The simple fix of finding more time, of writing with more wit and style and of securing regular contributors proved to be not quite so simple after all. But we battle on and, after all, why wouldn’t we with plenty of Twick-o-centric developments likely in 2017. Work on the riverside, maybe that new station, some new flats that look just like all the others, shops closing, shops opening, a permanent home for the Eel Pie Music museum.

This is what living in God’s own leafy outer London suburb is all about. This plus the parks, the river, the pubs, cafes and restaurants and above all else the people, i.e. you lovely lot.

As we conclude we say to you, put away thoughts of that charming John Lewis advert and think instead of the new seasonal YouTube video from El Brute Supremo, the Blue Baron aka Lord True.  Buster the Boxer’s got nothing on him.  This Council video is all about listening to Sir  True’s view of the world whilst looking at the back of his head in a giant mirror. Nothing says Christmas quite like that!

And that, little friends, is that. Have a great Christmas, have a wonderful New Year and thanks for reading this blog over the last 12 months.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL

Some Twickmas going on

Some Twickmas going on

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Pic of the Week: Cash Machine Carnage

Top tip: If you forget your PIN there’s no need to lose your rag and take it out on the machine.  At around 2.30am on Saturday morning a loud bang rang out along Heath Road in Twickenham. Was it an explosion of some kind? It certainly sounded like one. The result? One mangled cash machine… devoid of cash.   The ex-stand-alone cash machine is located on the corner of Heath Road and Heath Gardens, opposite Tesco Express. By the morning, the scene was taped off and police officers were busy looking for evidence in the debris strewn across the pavement and talking to locals who may have seen something.

The incident is similar to one on the morning of August 10th when thieves used propane to blow open a cash machine at an Esso petrol station on Hounslow Road in Hanworth. And there are more examples around of this type of cash machine robbery. Propane, petrol, sensible stuff.

If you have any information that might be of interest to the boys in blue, we’re sure they’d love to hear from you.

 

Well out of order

Well out of order

Looking for clues...

Looking for clues…

The former cash machine

The former cash machine

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Pic of the Week

The River Thames was unruffled by the result of last Thursday’s referendum. It was good to see someone, or rather something, keeping calm early on Friday morning as the result became clear. 

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