Community station on DAB Digital Radio in the boroughs of Woking and Rushmoor
Barney Jeavons of the West End Centre (Aldershot not THAT London) joined me on the Fiery Bird Show. Although owned by a cultural trust, the West End Centre (mostly affectionately known as The Westy) encapsulates all of the passion that Independent Venue Week, currently in full flow,tries to celebrate. A model of how venues can work, by being embedded in the community and yet attracting national talent in for entertainment as well.
It is a place where all the community can explore and express their creativity. Attracting bands such as Blur, Foals, Stone Roses in its early days and now currently breaking bands and established comedians doing pre tour gigs, it speaks well of how bringing together different cultural strands in one place can succeed. A small organisation, part of something bigger but those running it trusted with artistic freedom to put on a varied, supportive and rich cultural offer for their area. It attracts people into the town enhancing their night time economy and supporting their community whether well served or feeling isolated and needing support of every age. Seeing its success gives us hope here in Woking that one day we will have the community venue we have been working on here up and running and supporting people and the arts in the same way.
Bass player by birth Barney has had a varied career in various different bands and involvement in live music both on and off the stage. Not only does he run the West End Centre and its diverse programme but as someone with experience in programming original music also manages some acts, one of which Chris Wood he is excited about – the motivation to manage coming from passion for the music and wanting people to be able to get their music heard. To find out more about what is going on at the West End Centre check out their website.
Go West are playing the New Victoria Theatre on Sunday 4 February with Nik Kershaw and Cutting Crew as part of the Icons of the 80’s tour and Richard Drummie joined me for an interview. He was a lovely interviewee, giving insight into the start of their music career, what he sees as different in the music industry these days and what to expect with the current tour which they are thoroughly enjoying and which is receiving a great response from audiences every time they play.
Finally, a lady who might not be from a famous band, or in a play in a big theatre or reading poetry passed away last week and her funeral was today. Cristina Slade was one of those people who provide the oxygen and the life blood of the towns they live in in a way buildings and trends never will. She worked for 20 years at The Maybury Centre running the Old Schoolhouse tea room, welcoming everyone in, always a hug, a smile and a cup of tea no matter who you were, rich poor old or young. She looked after the elderly people as if they were her own, always giving more even when she was ill and in pain and didn’t tell people so not to worry them. I started the day discouraged and wanting to give up on something, at your funeral someone said how you lived your life with passion and never ever gave up on what you believed to be right and I knew, with that example, I had no right to. There were so many people there. It made me realise that without people like you to give us all inspiration none of us would be half the women and men we are. Real heroes, it is so often said, don’t wear capes – they are too busy looking after other people.
So the final song of the day had to be a tribute to her. Cristina you were a great work colleague and a beautiful human being, a brilliant ambassador for Woking, a woman of great faith, and we were all blessed by knowing you.
You can listen again here
1. Yawn – Argonaut
2. I Am The One – Kilter
3. Decoy Octopus – Parachute For Gordo
4. Local Pop Hero – Rob Foster
5. Blood Bunny Larkhall – Reuben
6. Pigeons – Phoenix Chroi
7. Town Called Malice – The Jam
8. We Close Our Eyes – Go West
9. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw
10. Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green – Stick In The Wheel
11. God Save The Queen – The Sex Pistols
12. Clair De Lune – Debussy – Daniel Adni
, Cristina Slade
, Cutting Crew
, Elaine Mcginty
, Fiery Bird Show
, Go West
, Icons of The 80’s
, New Victoria Theatre
, Nik Kershaw
, Radio Woking
, Richard Drummie
, The Maybury Centre
, West End Centre