weirdwalthamstow

Oxjam

In music, Uncategorized on November 22, 2016 at 11:21 pm

I posted a little while back about Oxjam, a charity music event supporting Oxfam. My partner and I got to go along for a couple of hours and I had a really great time.

In my 20’s I went to a lot of pub gigs and I had a thrill of nostalgia as we went up to the Rose & Crown’s function room, made our donation and got the traditional stamp on the back of the hand. We’d come in as the Wondersmiths were playing.

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The Wondersmiths clearly loving what they do

They’re  a melodic punk band to me. The singer reminded me a lot of Jordan Pundik from New Found Glory. As ever witha  pub gig the sound balance meant he was drowned out sadly, but performed with much zest!

The room was pretty full with around 30 people, although I later realised the back function room had been opened as a bar with some more in (I went downstairs to get real ale off the taps).

After a break it was time for Velodrome. I did not realise at the time but this was in fact organiser Katherine Evans! I wish I’d known, I’d have loved to meet and congratulate her. There was some wonderful unintentional comedy while her sound tech tried to stop the speakers from exploding.

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Velodrome opens her set.

Wow, what a set. With a couple of costume changes (I am so very annoyed the photo of the Tiger onsie did not come out) she was reminiscent of Bowie or Freddie Mercury. Playing guitar and bass with her laptop she reminded me of Laptop (Jessie Hartman’s solo project). Musically her dulcet tones and rhythmic guitar brought to mind The Nields on the guitar songs, but also The Knife on the more electronic tracks.

I was so very happy to be able to buy a CD of her music on the way out. Although tape albums were available; very hip. I was tempted, but having hundreds of tapes accumulated through my teen and student years I try to at least move forward with my technology. (I’m enjoying listening to the CD as I write this).

Sadly I was limited to just a couple of hours of this all evening gig. And I really mean that; I am genuinely sad I missed all the other bands. Very well done to Katherine, the volunteers and the bands involved. I’d love this to be an annual event. It’s exactly the sort of thing I hoped to find when I started this blog.

Yum Yum

In food on November 20, 2016 at 5:45 pm

So before last night’s Oxjam gig Ms Weird and I decided to eat out. And took the opportunity to finally get around to trying Yum Yum.

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Soft lighting and lots of wood.

This was the ‘chain’ restaurant (the second one, anyway) that many locals supported in their bid to be included in the Empire Bunker alongside the bigger chains.

So we arrived around 6:30 PM so it was quiet with some shoppers and one family, but it soon picked up business. We got to ordering drinks. I had a Tiger beer but noted the Wildcard IPA on the menu. It came with a chilled glass – an appreciated detail. Ms Weird had a ‘Super Hero’ mocktail; while grapefruit isn’t to my palate she really enjoyed it. There was a big range of wines (just 4 beers, pah!). But the long list of mocktails is a good thing for those who don’t want to booze but fancy something more interesting than a coke. We also got a jug of tap water with glasses.

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Sweetcorn and pumpkin cakes. The top right one is an imposter; my partner swapped one of her bits of chicken #relationshipgoals

I went for the sweetcorn and pumpkin cake starter. They were lovely, as was my partner’s chicken pieces.

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Thinly battered chicken and sticky rice.

For mains Ms Weird enjoyed her Pad Thai and I had a dish of thinly battered chicken and vegetables with sticky rice. VERY sticky rice. The stickiest rice I’ve certainly ever had.

By the way there seems to be a lot of vegetarian options in the menu too. I didn’t ask for the password but there also seems to be wifi. There was gentle guitar music playing; this is a much better option for dinner chat than Grillstock in that regard.

Overall I like Yum Yum. It’s mostly what I pictured and is a solid choice. I’m really glad that Thai food is now adding to the culinary diversity of the local food scene.

History of the Granada/EMD talk

In Events on November 20, 2016 at 4:44 pm

So last weekend my partner and I went to a smashing talk by Nigel Pitt, a member of the CTA (Cinema Theatre Association) at Mirth, Marvel and Maude. It was held in what was screen 2 in the old cinema (small one on the left). As we’re long time McGuffins members (my partner was one of the founders) we were really keen to go see the state of the cinema.

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There’s now a little bar at the back! Note the mix of wooden benches and original seats.

We filtered in with about 20 people; mostly CTA and local history buffs, I’d imagine. We had some time while the equipment was still being set up so I took the opportunity to have a nose around. Back between the McGuffins original protesting at the restrictive Odeon sales covenant and at the UCKG we were a film club. We would show art house and foreign films in either screen 2 or 3 every month. So it was eerie being back there after so many years.

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The wooden benches look like they have been recovered from a church. Just visible is the carpentry on the feet to make them work on the sloped floor!

Obviously this is not the main auditorium where all the most beautiful architecture is but a lot of the ceiling plasterwork is still in place.

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It was dark so many of my phone camera photos don’t show the detail. This well lit shot reveals the lovely ceiling detail.

The seating was a mix of old cinema seats (original to the EMD I suspect) with some wooden benches in the middle rows. We opted for the padding of the old flip down seats.

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The age of the flip seats is clear.

The Mirth is showing some films as one-off events in this screen. That night they had a showing of ‘Saturday Night Fever’. It’s not exactly commercial cinema but if they achieve a Prince Charles lever of offbeat underground cool (or even, a modern day Scala) then the ‘stow could have a real success story on its hands.

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Nigel had a great collection of old photos to illustrate his talk.

Nigel’s talk started with a potted local history of local cinema in the area up to the construction of the Granada in 1933. This was important as it revealed the scale of the building; it effectively double the number of cinema seats in Waltham Forest (as it is now) by a claimed 3,000 seats (actually 2697). It was a more upmarket than the competition and would have all afternoon shows with films (the first film shown was ‘Splinters’), live organ recitals.

The talk continued walking through its history, making especial note of architectural changes such as the changes due to V1 doodlebug blast damage (the front room was used as a make shift morgue). The change from film to live music in the 50’s and 60’s as TVs became common place in the home (with the obligatory list of famous acts who played here). And on through the Odeon years, the EMD and the McGuffins fight against the UCKG.

Then we had a talk by Mr Hardcastle (sorry, I didn’t get his first name). He was dressed in the elaborate uniform of a cinema commissioner and had been welcoming people as they arrived at Mirth, Marvel and Maude. He talked about the role of the commissioner and how they told people of the showing times (no interweb back then!) and whether there were free seats in the current showing.

At the end the CTA guys had a whip round for local charity Heat or Eat. We got to have a lovely chat with them afterwards. My partner’s parents are CTA members and the association does a lot of work preserving these lovely old buildings as modern places of entertainment.

I really hope that one day soon the main auditorium will be recovered and they can do the same talk in a majestic space. With an organ recital.