The Trench

21st November 2017

Prologue
The story of a rock music venue – a cruel and shallow grave of artistic aspirations, a damp, dark hole in the ground in which pimps, bandits and swindlers run free, and where musicians with genuine talent are exploited without mercy, where those who might have become famous are lured into obscurity and where the scum of the town go to drink themselves into oblivion.

Riffkid of The Trench

Forward
The Trench is a work of fiction. It is about an imaginary live music venue set in the mid 1980s. The venue is set in the city of Portsmouth – the place where I was born and lived for my first sixteen years. Although I chose to place the story in the period 1983 to 1985, I was not personally involved in rock music in those days; neither did I live in Portsmouth. In order to write the story, I had to undertake quite a lot of research – into the music of that period and into the town as it was then. Having left Portsmouth in 1967, I could have no idea of what life there was like in the 80s. But my fiction has roots that run deep in the soil of personal experience. Having been to thousands of gigs over the years, I have collected together a vast array of memories through which I have trawled for inspiration. Even here in Leicester, I was not involved in live music until about 2001. Although The Trench is a work of imagination, I wanted it to be credible. There are still many people around today who were on the music scene in Pompey (as we locals call it) and for their sakes I wanted to give the story some credibility. I also have a horror of anachronisms, in both novels and films.

My description of The Trench draws together many years of going to clubs, bars and venues in various parts of Europe. I have mixed these together to form a cocktail of images. In this respect, The Trench is a confluence of personal experiences, just as are the people that I imagined in its dingy rooms. The Portsmouth depicted in this book is not an historically accurate place. The story of this book is a reflection of reality and not an attempt to portray it as it actually was. My novel tells a story and like a lot of stories it might be grounded in the real world but ultimately it only reflects it.

The lines of the Prologue to this work, are modified from a quotation attributed to the journalist Hunter S. Thompson (although various luminaries deny that he actually ever wrote it). I took the quotation and modified it to fit what my concept for this novel was.

#novels #TrevorLocke

Cosmopolitan2016

6th August 2016

Leicester’s Cosmopolitan Carnival

2016

Coming up in August

Cosmopolitan Arts presents – Leicester’s Cosmopolitan Carnival
on Saturday 27th August 2016 – from 2.00 pm to 9.30 pm
Leicester City Centre: Jubilee Square, High Street, Clock Tower, Humberstone Gate and BBC Radio Leicester.

The Cosmopolitan Carnival arts festival is taking over the city centre hosting an impressive line up of live music, dance and art.

Calvin Jeffrey in 2010 Photograph: by Harjinder Ohbi
Calvin Jeffrey in 2010
Photograph: by Harjinder Ohbi

BBC Radio Leicester’s Kevin Ncube and Toni Finney, will compere the main stage in Jubilee Square. Artists include Leicester’s very own The Brandy Thieves, national awarding winning rapper Curtis Clacey, The Orator, UG and the world’s best DJ Jon 1st DMC will be performing an exciting collaboration, rhythmic Afrobeats by Afro-Kubanza, rising soulful star Dominique Brody will be singing, Jesse Wright will wow the crowd with her amazing voice, “Britain’s Got Reggae” stars from across the country will be performing.

London-based band Code Ninety will inject to pop music element to the stage, soothing gospel music from Kaine Mass Choir and the fabulous Illusive Quartet will perform stylish jazz.

A range of free arts workshops will be available including Chinese calligraphy, origami and dragon making and lantern making plus much more.

There will also be a grand finale performance “Cosmocular” in Jubilee Square 8.30pm – 9.30pm, conceived, project managed and artistically directed by Amanda Leandro of Cosmopolitan Arts. This dazzling performance will involve a fantastic large-scale film projection piece by Amanda Leandro, French and English pyrotechnic performances by Pyrox and Select Dance, beautiful lanterns and giant puppets from Same Sky, an amazing live music performance created by Lead Composer & Music Director Richard Everitt and Co-composed by John Berkavitch, Carol Leeming and Miranda Booth.

Astounding spoken word from Leicester’s best wordsmith  John Berkavitch and spectacular vocals from Carol Leeming, of which both have specially written new pieces of work for this performance.

The ensemble includes the best musicians from Leicester: Will Todd from By The Rivers will be playing bass, the highly acclaimed pianist Mike Sole, skillful drummer Malcolm D’Sa, well known jazz saxophonist Marcus Joseph, heavenly harp by Miranda Booth, exceptional tabla by Hari Trivedi and awesome trumpet by Julie Maxwell.

This dazzling and spectacular performance is a unique one off experience, showcasing Leicester’s most talented artists along side national and international artists, this is one not to be missed!

There will be a stage at the Clock Tower compered by well known comedienne Kirsty Munro, hosting a vast array of cultural music, comedy and spoken word, including: Euphoria a seven piece Chinese folk group, Hari Trivedi will perform amazing Tabla and Sitar music, Ian Hall and Lindsay Warnes-Carroll will bring side splitting comedy to the event, The Orator Rhetoric Literary Society Poetry will be present wonderful spoken word, from London AOA will perform a unique blend of hip-hop enthused songs, Billy and Jody’s acoustic experience will inject some fun to the event, Calvin Jeffrey and Deven Stuart will both sing songs that will lift people’s spirits and Mr Shay livens up the crowd with some MC’ing.

Andrea Kenny of The Brandy Thieves at Simon Says... 2015 Photo: Kevin Gaughan
Andrea Kenny of The Brandy Thieves at Simon Says… 2015
Photo: Kevin Gaughan

On the High Street there will be an exciting blend of activities and performances, including an amazing dance performance area hosting every imaginable genre of dance. There will be a humorous street theatre performance, African drumming workshop and activities from Talent Match.

On Humberstone Gate there will be a funky open top bus stage with live reggae and acoustic music and a range of free arts activities, hosted by “The Drinks Bus” and “Britain’s Got Reggae”. There will an art gallery in BBC Radio Leicester and lots of free arts workshops including a DJ master class with Jon 1st, DMC World Champion 2013.

This exciting FREE event has something for everyone and is one not to be missed.

 

Carnival2016

Saturday 6th August 2016

Leicester Caribbean Carnival

2016

The annual Caribbean carnival took place today in Leicester.

Blessed with hot sunshine throughout the day, the event attracted hundreds of thousands of people to see the process and enjoy the music and food on Victoria Park.

The procession started from Victoria park just after 2 pm.

A large number of floats played music for the dancers who followed behind.

Many of the dancers had large costumes support with wheeled frames

Many of these costumes would have taken many hours to prepare and assemble.

The procession took about two hours to weave its way through the streets of the city centre.

Throughout the whole of their journey along the route, the dancers had to keep moving in time with the music.

Dance troupes had come from all over the country, from towns and cities as far away as Leeds.

Thousands of local people lined the streets, together with many who had come to Leicester to see this event from all over the UK and parts of Europe.

Dancers in the carnival procession, 2016
Dancers in the carnival procession, 2016

After the procession, thousands of people gathered on Victoria park for the entertainment and to enjoy the many food stalls that served West Indian food.

Tickets were required to enter the event held on Victoria park.

On the day of the event ticket booths were open at all four entrances at Victoria Park from 9am.

Advance prices were:

Age 13-59 at £2
Age 5-12 at £1
Under 5 and 60+ free

On the day prices were:

Age 13-59 at £3
Age 5-12 at £1
Under 5 and 60+ free

EUReferendum

Referendum on the European Union

25th June 2016

This article digests what I made of the debate right up to polling day on 23rd June.

In the last referendum on European membership (on the 5th June 1975), I voted NO after being persuaded by Tony Benn. I am writing this article not because I am in any way an expert on this subject, clearly I am not, but because I like to practice my journalism skills.

Predictions

My predictions are

(a) the turnout for the eligible electorate will not exceed 50% [I got this wrong; I made this prediction early on in the run-up debate when a lot of people seem disinterested in the whole thing.]

(b) the result of the referendum will be a win for the remain campaign though the vote will be close. [Again I got it wrong; even right at the last moment, I still thought that remain would win, though by a narrow majority. I was surprised by the final result.]

The result of the vote

13th July

Brexit means Brexit

As Theresa May unpacks at Downing Street, I look at her election pledge to make withdrawal from the EU a reality. She said “Brexit means Brexit” but it will be up to her to define what this means. It will be up to Ms May and her Cabinet to set the timetable for withdrawal from the EU, if indeed, that it what they plan to do.

Leaving the EU could offer Britain an opportunity to negotiate fundamental changes to the way that the EU is run and the policies and procedures on which it is based.

In the last few days a large posse of lawyers went to some lengths to point out that the result of the referendum is ‘advisory’ and not mandatory. According to press reports, over one thousands barristers (high level lawyers in this country) have concluded that the vote to leave the EU provides the government only with ‘advice.’ [The Guardian, 11th July 2016]

The senior lawyers have advised the government that it should up to Parliament to decide whether Britain should leave the EU. In a letter they argue that the referendum result as only advisory because it was based on “misrepresentations of fact and promises that could not be delivered”. The letter, published in full by The Independent on 11th July, said:

‘The European Referendum Act does not make it legally binding. We believe that in order to trigger Article 50, there must first be primary legislation. It is of the utmost importance that the legislative process is informed by an objective understanding as to the benefits, costs and risks of triggering Article 50.’

They continued ‘Since the result was only narrowly in favour of Brexit, it cannot be discounted that the misrepresentations and promises were a decisive or contributory factor in the result. The parliamentary vote must not be similarly affected. The referendum did not set a threshold necessary to leave the EU, commonly adopted in polls of national importance, e.g. 60% of those voting or 40% of the electorate.’

The question asked in the referendum was simple: do you want to stay in the EU or leave it? It would be up to the government formed this week by the new prime minister Theresa May to work out how they want to handle negations with Brussels over leaving and the timescale within which that will happen.

The barristers concluded that ‘For all of these reasons, it is proposed that the Government establishes, as a matter of urgency, a Royal Commission or an equivalent independent body to receive evidence and report, within a short, fixed timescale, on the benefits, costs and risks of triggering Article 50 to the UK as a whole, and to all of its constituent populations.

The Parliamentary vote should not take place until the Commission has reported. In view of the extremely serious constitutional, economic and legal importance of the vote either way, we believe that there should be a free vote in Parliament.’ [The Independent ]

Meanwhile, Mrs May has floated the idea of a new government department to take day-to-day charge of negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU – to be headed by someone who campaigned to leave in the referendum. Chris Grayling, a prominent Brexiteer who supported her leadership bid, acting as her campaign manager, has been touted as a possible candidate for this role. Liam Fox, another Leave supporter who got behind Mrs May, after his own leadership bid failed, will also have hopes of a top job, according to the BBC.

Talk of having a second referendum on the issue of the EU is interesting though largely impractical, not leave because of the cost, estimated to be in excess of £142 million. The big political test for the Government’s policies will come at the time of the next general election. Many commentators would say that an election would return a Conservative government, doubtless with an increased majority, and the political wind is blowing in that direction.

12th July

The fallout from the referendum continues: Theresa May is to replace Cameron as prime minister. Labour is embroiled in a leadership battle. People are talking about a second referendum, hoping that all those who voted LEAVE will see the error of their ways. But the new prime minister is still saying the UK will leave, even though she campaigned to remain. Everyone respects the will of the people and their vote should be upheld. The date of the next general election will be sooner than we think. The issue will come back back again at that time.

Referendum day

On polling day it seems the country was equally divided. On the morning of the vote, a trawl through websites suggested that the result will be too close to call. Towards the end of the run-up campaign, the people became increasingly passionate about the side they had chosen – although a very large proportion had not made up their minds by the eve of the vote.

So if the result was very close, what would that mean for British politics? If there was no overwhelming, landslide victory for one side would the Government be bound to follow the will of the people? I looked at this issue. Some analysts said that the legislation that set up the referendum did not make the result legally binding. Even if Brexit won the vote, Parliament would still have to legislate to invoke article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. As far as I can see, pro-Europeans have a majority in the House of Commons. If the vote resulted in a decision to leave – even by a very narrow majority – it would be political suicide for Cameron and his Conservative government to overturn the will of the people.

But then most commentators see a success for Brexit as heralding the end of Cameron’s premiership. There is an interesting scenario: what if Labour managed to force a general election and won it? In the wake of a vote to leave, a general election could be forced through and if a party wins it that is committed to remain that would be put forward as a political mandate. As to whether it is more or less of a political mandate than the referendum is difficult to see. If more people voted in a general election and the gap was wider than for the referendum result, in this scenario, then Parliament could conclude that the referendum had been superseded by the result of a general election.

Early on in the campaign, I predicted that the turnout of voters in the referendum would be less than fifty percent; I still doubt that it will be more than the turnout in a general election. The problem for politicians is, when it comes to determining the will of the people – who do they believe? The referendum vote is simple: two choices – leave or remain. In a general election all constituencies will have multiple choices and even with ‘first-past-the-post’ elections, it is possible that the will of the people will be less than decisive. Only a landslide election victory with a big turnout could overturn the referendum result.

There is however another scenario. Let’s assume that Brexit has won. Parliament votes to leave. The process begins but is set to last for two years before anything really happens. During that time political and popular opinion changes and a majority forms in favour of remaining in the EU. The next general election is set for 2020. It is not unknown for elections to be brought forward. We can imagine a picture in which the leave vote wreaked havoc on the UK economy and ignited a strong change in opinion in favour of remaining. an early general election is fought around the EU question and a remain party wins with a comfortably majority. If that party is not the Conservatives, then Parliament would be in a position to put the whole withdrawal process to the vote. So the UK position would become ‘I know we said we were leaving but actually we have changed our minds and now we want to remain.’

41 years later – has anything changed?

A major decision faces the British people on 23rd June 2016 – possibly. Britons return to the ballot box to decide whether they should in or out of the EU. I say ‘possibly’ because a few people dispute how major this decision actually is and whether it faces the British people, as a whole, depends on which part of it you live in.

Forty years ago the vote was put to the people; it might seen that a lot has changed over that time but has it? In many ways the issue we will face on 23rd June this year is much the same as it was in 1975.

In parliament, the heavyweights have got into position; Cameron said today (February 22nd) that leaving the EU would be “a leap in the dark” and PM contender Boris Johnson has joined the NO campaign, putting his weight behind those who want out. Do they, as they claim, have the nation’s best interests at heart? Or are they just watching their backs, caring more for the future of the Conservative Party and who will fill the PM’s chair at Downing Street, when it becomes vacant. Indeed, if the ‘exits’ have it, many believe that will be the end of Cameron’s premiership.

Meanwhile, the Labour party exhibits a mixed bag of views. Mr Corbyn saw the EU negotiations as a “theatrical sideshow.” He claims that Labour is “overwhelmingly for staying in.” Corbyn might disagree with Cameron on many things but they are united in their belief that the UK should continue to be a member of the EU.

The two major campaigns – ‘stay in’ and ‘leave’ – have started their work of persuading the public which way they should vote. Stronger In, for example, began to drop literature through people’s letterbox in January. Leave.eu has similarly started started to bombard us with their side of the propaganda war. Meanwhile the media has been having a field day with constant news stories about who is saying what and who has done what.

For both sides of the argument, the hymn sheets have been made ready for politicians and business leaders to sing to. Both sides are honing their cases, the positions that claim are the key ones for the voters in June.

How long to get out?

What difference will the vote on 23rd June make? Will the UK suddenly become an ‘independent’ sovereign state on 24th June? Several commentators have said that the decision could be challenged in the European court; even the terms negotiated by Cameron over the weekend will not automatically fall into place, if we believe what the analysts are saying. Even if details of the terms go unchallenged in the courts, it would take two years to finally cut the chains holding our island to the mainland of Europe, I have heard it said. Indeed, some believe that leaving the EU is simply a ploy to get more favourable terms for staying in. Commentators have been saying that Cameron’s tour of the 27 member states was a weak manoeuvre and what he left Brussels with was hardly worth having. What he got and what he asked for, were separated by a gulf wider than the English channel. But if many millions of voters give a resounding OUT that puts the UK in a much more demanding position.

Meanwhile, the scare-mongers are lining up to frighten prospective voters. From the Scots, who are threatening to devolve from the ‘united’ kingdom through to the law, order and security brigade who see 24th June as being the start of Armageddon. What some say they don’t have is the facts; even so, what politicians are not short of is facts, even though many produce figures that are contradictory and hotly contested by others. Members of the public interviewed on the TV vox pop news films seemed to be roundly confused by it all.

An independent England?

It’s not just the Byzantine complexities of the EU; the question of tariffs and barriers and boundaries with the rest of the world is a mire of murky misinformation and misunderstandings. OK so the rest of the world is actually bigger than Europe and even if we did walk away from it, Europe will still be there long after we have voted with our feet. What staggers me is that we got so little support from our European neighbours when the PM sat down to talk. Cameron’s shopping list of ‘demands’ got watered down by the time he left Brussels. What Cameron came away from Brussels with was a feeble set of compromises.

Labour, says Corbyn, will campaign to stay in and he Tweeted his reasons why. Workers rights, paid maternity leave, equal pay and more being seen as the headline benefits conferred by EU membership. ‘Stay in and make it better’ seems to be the Corbyn mantra. He would love to see an end to the kind of austerity measures that embittered Greece. Writing in The Guardian (on 22nd June) Corbyn argued ‘… being part of Europe [sic] has brought Britain investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment.’ He meant to write ‘EU’, surely? He went on to say ‘The prime minister has been negotiating for the wrong goals in the wrong way for the wrong reasons.’

For Corbyn the real issues are about the steel industry, stopping the spread of low pay and insecure jobs and the exploitation of migrant workers. Well he is after all a Labour politician. It’s all a clash of philosophies – free marketism versus social co-operation. His point is a worrying one; he referred to the ‘bonfire of rights’ that could follow a British exit. No longer bridled by Brussels, a Tory government could wipe the slate clean on worker’s rights, pay and equality.

Norway is often paraded as an example of what independence can achieve. The reality is rather different. Travelling between Sweden and Norway you will not encounter a border control or need to show a passport. Even though Norway is not a member of the EU they still have to deal with fish quotas and tariffs but they have no say in how these are set. Norway is a member of EFTA and a member of the European Economic Area (the EEA) along with Iceland and Liechtenstein. Prime minister Erna Solberg said that Norway’s own arrangement would not work for the UK. The Nordic country voted in 1972 against joining and again in 1994, though, in both cases, by a majority of just over half. Norway still contributes a significant amount of money to the EU.

If England leaves the EU, it will still have to negotiate tariff deals. Bear in mind that the economy of Europe is not at its best right now and if and when it began to improve, the position of this country would change and our position might well have to be renegotiated if we leave after the vote.

EU and whose army?

In fact there are many associations and organisations that have a bearing on European countries and their trade – The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) of which the UK has been a member since January 1973. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has had the UK in its membership since 1949. There is a bevy of associations concerned with technologies; for example, the UK joined one that regulates atomic energy.

Britain is surrounded by an army of international bodies, organisations and multilateral treaties. The EU itself operates through a clutch of institutions: the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the European Central Bank, and the European Court of Justice, to name but a few. That is not forgetting a basket of charters and conventions such as the European Convention on Human Rights.

Europe is not something a country can just walk away from. Even two years for a divorce would be highly optimistic. Let’s not forget that the United Kingdom is in membership of the EU; that leaves open the position of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Voting patterns could vary enormously in the countries of the UK. Geography is just one of many dimensions of how this question breaks down.

It was a British prime minister who first thought up the idea of bringing together European countries – Winston Churchill. “We cannot aim at anything less than than the union of Europe as a whole and we look forward with confidence to the day when that union will be achieved” Churchill said when he was in Amsterdam after the end of the war. It was a prophetic statement but it was just tub-thumping, pointing to the way forward without having idea of where to go with it. It was Robert Schuman who joined up the dots. He was, and is regarded as, one of the founding fathers of European Union. Even as early as the 1950s it was always the vision that there would be a federal union and if Britain would not accept that it, then it could not join. We did not join and so we did not invent it and we were not there at the origin, Tony Blair was to say. Back in 1955 the vision was limited to coal and steel until ministers came to together to discuss a wider concept that would harmonise not just economic but also social policies. The Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957 by six states to create the European Community. Britain had therefore played no part in the writing of the rules on which the common market was based. Harold McMillan sent Edward Heath to see how Britain’s trade could be wedged into this new order that had been put together in Brussels. It was in 1963 that De Gaulle effectively vetoed Britain’s entry to the common market, leading McMillan to feel that he had been betrayed by his old wartime ally. In 1971 both major parties were split. Labour MPs broke ranks and joined the Tories in the ‘yes’ lobby. Heath went to Brussels to sign the treaty in 1972 but it still had to be ratified by parliament.

The EU in Leicester

I take Leicester because it is in many ways a microcosm of the wider nation. Localism gets right to the heart of the debate. It’s not just about what might happen to one member state; it’s also about regions and cities, both here and on the continent.

Here in Leicester – one of the most diverse cities in England – the impact of the EU is widely present and easy to see in this city. A thriving Polish community testifies to the success of migration; their shops are everywhere and most large supermarkets now stock products that reflect Polish tastes. The city’s hospitals are staffed by European doctors and nurses and in the streets of the city centre you hear the cacophony of foreign voices amongst the shoppers. Local businesses rely on migrant workers coming in to fill the vacancies left by indigenous workers. They clean our homes and offices. They care for our children and old people. They cook our food and fill our supermarket shelves. They pay taxes but take little or no benefits from the public coffers they enrich. They do however put pressure on our schools; in this city the birth rate is high and the streets are crowded with the pushchairs and prams of migrant workers. Here health and care services are open doors; is there room enough inside for everyone who wants a place? Migration is not itself an issue for most voters; it is the impact of immigration that divides opinion. Closing the borders between England and Europe would almost certainly harm many local businesses – those that depends on the skills provided by migrant labour. Depending, of course, on what border controls remain in force or would be changed by an exit. Even if England left the EU, it is doubtful that cross-country migration would decline, all that much. Let’s not forget that around 125 million Brits go to the Europe to work and/or live.

The issue of migration

It’s very clear that England has, for a very long time, been unable to fill the vast range of vacancies created by the services sector of the economy, let alone hospitals, construction and food production. The EU came into existence, partly, to enable the free flow of workers between its member states. Just as Europeans come here to work, so 125 million of our own people went to Europe in search of jobs or housing. Over three million jobs, it is said, are linked to the UK’s trade with European countries. Over 200,000 UK businesses trade with the EU member states. Without European migrant labour many UK businesses would grind to a halt, as would many of our hospitals. Workers who come to this country pay into public coffers through their taxes; they spend their wages in our shops, they help maintain the productivity of the companies in which they work… but all this depends, in the last analysis, on how you look at it. The one thing I have noticed about the EU debate is that opposing sides are throwing statistics at each other in large numbers.

Immigration is not about numbers but the rate at which people arrive. We must, as a country, as a state and as a community, integrate new arrivals. These comments from campaigners struck a chord with me. Some come, the migration issue is not about the absolute numbers coming into the country but more about what happens to them as they arrive and to the people already here.

Many people see EU membership as taking away migration controls. I am not sure this is correct. Several Brexit campaigners said that leaving the EU would enable the country to make its own arrangements for who it will allow in. Some suggested that we should adopt a points system, similar to that used by Australia.

Why is it that so few people from this country choose to go to Europe to work? I remember it being said that over a million Brits have gone to Europe to work.

The vote should not be decided on a single issue; membership of the EU is not a single issue question. It would be wrong to base one’s vote on the issue of immigration alone.

Its not just the numbers and rate coming into the country as a whole but how they are distributed. Certain towns have been over-run by migrants and clearly are unable to cope, such Ipswich, some commentators argue. It’s not a question solely of border controls; it’s far to do with the qualifications of migrants and what they intend to do when they get here and what work they intend to look for. That varies considerably from one area of the UK to another.

Housing, schools, health… these have to be able to cope with new arrivals. UK should change the way that EU migration happens. A key issue during the campaign was whether incoming migrants should be able to claim state benefits.

Claims that the EU is undemocratic figured widely during the campaign. It probably is, many thought, but then how exactly could it be made democratic? We elect our MEPs in our own country. But we have no vote in which gets the top jobs – which all go to white males. Several commentators and campaigners challenged people to name any of the presidents of the EC. Leave campaigners were often quick to point out that all the presidential office holders were white males.

How the future of the EU could affect Britain.

What if there was a right wing take over of the EU by parties even more right wing than the Tories? What if Turkey joined and created a sudden increase in the influence of Islamic fundamentalists? There are many questions about how future tends in the politics of the EU might affect life in this country. Much was made during the campaign of the desire of some euro-politicians to move towards a federalised Europe. Nigel Lawson argued that there is a movement towards the creation of a European superstate. He clearly does not want Britain to be part of that. Federalism is already in place in various parts of the world. The USA is perhaps the prime example. There are several models of federalism; some tighter than others, some more able to function effectively than others.

Originally, when Britain joined, the European institution was a common market. Since the 1970s, there has been a drift towards ever more political integration. As Lawson said in his article: ‘…That is the creation of a federal European superstate, a United States of Europe. Despite the resonance of the phrase, not one of the conditions that contributed to making a success of the United States of America exists in the case of the EU.’ [Telegraph, 2nd May 2016]

Europeanisation begs the question ‘what is European about?’ This comes into sharp focus when we consider the accession of Turkey to the EU. As it stands today, Turkey is anything but European. The issue calls into question what defines European-ness. The extent to which all 28 member states share the same root political philosophies is open to debate. I suspect that some Americans might be exercised about what the USA American. It could be argued tat across Europe there is an even wider diversity of cultures, values and political philosophies than may be found in north America.

Will the UK be able to govern itself?

Has England ever enjoyed a period of absolute sovereignty? Over the past 500 years, even during the days of monarchical absolute power, we have been hemmed in by external influences both of our foes and our allies. Go back twice as far and you find a country being ruled by the Italians; then it was the Danes; then it was the French… the Victorian era was perhaps the golden age of the British Empire. Even then there was no absolute freedom; our territories and dependencies exerted influences over what the British could or could not do.

Having heard some of the opinions expressed in the media about sovereignty, it appears that plenty of people think we would start governing ourselves on 24th June. Boris Johnson referred to ‘independence day.’ Nothing of the sort. I doubt there ever has been a time when the UK enjoyed absolute sovereignty and leaving the EU will not give us much more power than we already have over our own affairs. After all, the EU affects only part of our governance; it does not reach into things such as taxation, the operation of the NHS, defence… and we will still be members of the commonwealth. And NATO.

Chatham House said, in a paper published from its website

In a world that is more interdependent today than it was when the UK joined the European Economic Community in 1973, the notion of ‘absolute’ British sovereignty is illusory. It is also worthless if it limits the ability of future British governments to ensure the security and prosperity of their citizens. Judging from the UK’s experience and its future prospects, the opportunities from remaining in the EU far outweigh the risks of doing so, and the risks of leaving far outweigh the opportunities.

See more.

I liked this statement; it views nation states as being ‘ interdependent’, and sees absolute sovereignty as being an illusion. In my view, the idea that Britain can rule itself autonomously without regard to other countries is not something that is possible in the current world order. Whether or not Britain is in the EU, it will always be a signatory to a variety of international treaties. Each time a country signs a treaty it agrees to forgo some of its powers of self-determination. Trading with other countries and particularly with a regional block always requires some degree of diminution of independence. Referendum campaigners often referred to British law being made in Brussels and found figure to quote that, in their minds, represented the percentage of laws made in Westminster. In fact Brussels give us rules and regulations, not laws. It might well be the case that the EU has imposed hundreds of rules and regulations on us and the most important decisions that affect us have all been made by our own elected politicians sitting in the House of Commons.

We sacrificed some of our sovereignty when we joined the EU but voting to leave will not confer on us a new golden age of complete self-governance. The world is a much too complicated place for any country to enjoy that kind of thing.

Would the EU survive a leave vote?

What if the British decide, in June, to leave the EU? Would it survive? Several commentators suggest that Britain’s withdraw from the EU would be its downfall. Leaving the UK might lead to other countries leaving too. When we last voted on the issue, 40 years ago, Europe was dominated by Germany and France. Today, German is the single most dominant economy in Europe. Some member states worry that a British vote to leave could spark off a series of similar votes around the 28 states that would leave to collapse of the entire EU edifice. Indeed, if the British can re-write the terms its memberships, that would lead others to do the same thing, some politicians in Brussels believe. If enough building blocks are changed, the entire structure ceases to be the same thing that 27 countries thought it was or wanted it to be when they joined.

Do I look bothered?

Are the British people really that bothered about the result of the referendum? There are two sides to this story: one is the vox pop interviewing of random members of the public and the other is the polls? Many voters might be concerned about specific issues – such as border controls and immigration – but appear to be befuddled by the whole thing. What is most worrying is that many voters will mark their ballot papers based on what they believe will be the effect stemming from one or two specific issues rather than having weighed-up the whole case. Ten years ago the French and the Dutch voted NO to the constitutional and Lisbon treaties. It’s not just the voting public who fail to see the wood for the trees. Many of the leaders who have sat together in summits and other get-togethers have become so bogged down in details that they have failed to address the bigger pictures. Even British prime ministers it would seem have failed to grasp the wider issues. Many of the interviews I have seen, read or heard in the media take a single-issue approach to the question. Business leaders look at as though it was about only trading.

Are other members island states?

Cyprus is an island. Malta is an island. Ireland is partly an island. Greece is a country of islands. Denmark has lots of islands. Is there something about being an island that makes a people different to their counterparts who live on the main land? Do the British have an island mentality that makes them think differently to more mainland countries? I like to look back at the time when there was no channel and the landmass of what is now Britain was simply an archipelago on the mainland of the continent we now call Europe. Our ancestors simply walked from their homelands to this country and so, in historical terms, we are all descendants of migrants. Genetically, the British have the DNA of most Europeans and the peoples of North Africa. Being an island did not stop the Victorians from creating an empire. Many of those who are arguing in favour of leaving the EU base their case on opening up new markets in other parts of the world; drawn by the prospect of trading on a much wider footing – they can hardly have an island mentality. Being part of something bigger (Europe or the world) is an idea and whether you are an island or a mainland country, it’s about what you think being part of something bigger will give you.

My referendum diary

24th February

The BBC reported that EU reforms cannot be reversed (by judges) according to Donald Tusk, EU Council president. Tusk told MEPs that the deal negotiated by Cameron was “legally binding and irreversible.” What promoted this was Michael Gove (Justice Secretary) saying that the European Court of Justice could throw out some measures without changes to the treaty. But Downing Street and the Attorney general maintained that the reforms could not be reversed. Gove is one of five cabinet ministers for are for an exit from the EU. Only when the treaties are changed will be European Court be bound by them. If the British people vote to leave, the deal with cease to exist, Mr. Tusk said.

This is not a simple issue; states can express their consent to an agreement in a number of ways; 28 nations have agreed to the deal and intend to be bound by it. Simply agreeing to a deal does not change treaties; any of them could raise the matter with the European Court of Justice. The chances that the court would rule to overturn a measure in the deal is remote.

29th March
In a piece published on the website of the Electoral Reform Society Josiah Mortimer revealed the results of a poll taken to predict the turnout for the EU Referendum. In a poll conducted by BMG research, it reported that
We asked what people thought turnout would be in the referendum – When asked, the average response shows that the public predict turnout will be 57% on June 23rd. What is interesting is that this is broadly in line with non-poll based predictions, particularly amid valid fears about low turnout being a big issue in this referendum. And it certainly links in with the fact that most people do not feel informed about the vote. – See more.

12th April

The government’s controversial booklet about the EU referendum arrived in the post today. Controversial because of the cost of it producing it and it gives only side of the argument and several sources claim it is factually in accurate. As I read through it, here are my thoughts:

The commentary begins with some simple facts:

The UK has not joined the euro
The UK has not joined the Shengan border controls -new rules have been applied to migrants seeking welfare benefits

It reads partly like a public information leaflet put together by civil servants and party like a party manifesto. It some respects it is both. The leading argument is that staying inside the EU will given Britain a stronger economy. This gets to the nub of the whole debate: do we see the future of this country in trading with Europe or with the rest of the world. It is claimed that Europe offers us the world’s biggest single market. Is that true? Would we be better off trading mainly inside the EU or are we thereby missing out on trade with other parts of the world that could offer much more.

According to the brochure, the EU is ‘by far the UK’s biggest trading Partner.’ It goes on to assert that ‘remaining inside the EU guarantees our full access to its Single Market.’ Despite the arguments given in the brochure, business people and industry leaders are divided over the issue; some want to stay in and argue that this is good for business; others want to leave and seek better markets elsewhere. The brochure claims that ‘over 3 million UK job are linked to exports to the EU’, a claim that has been challenged by a variety of commentators and analysts.

Writing in the BBC’s Reality Check Peter Barnes looks at the question of how many UK businesses trade within the EU. He notes that there have been differing claims over how many businesses trade with EU member states. As he points out ‘There are no official figures for the total number of companies that export to and import from the EU. Both numbers are estimates. ‘

Statistics are a minefield and it depends on which sources you choose to believe.

It is little wonder that many of the people interviewed by BBC news reporters feel confused by the welter of conflicting statistics and find it hard to make up their minds given the arguments they have heard about which set of figures are correct.

In the view of the brochure’s authors, leaving in the EU could leave to years of uncertainty, as we unpick our relationship and negotiate a new deal with Europe. As Harold Wilson was once famously quoted as saying “a week is a long time in politics.” Well if a week is a long time, then 20 years is an era. That could be the length of time any exit from the EU could take. We know that David Cameron will not be prime minister for longer than a few years more. Over even ten years, the Conservatives could very well be replaced by another party and the position could change. The result of the vote on 23rd June could well have major repercussions on the outcome of the next general election in 2020. EU membership could become a major plank on which parties contest the next election. Whatever the outcome of the vote on 23rd June, that will not be the end of the story. The parties are very likely to present the next election with post-vote views on how the country should react to what ever result is given.

16th May
Today I received, by post, a copy of The 2016 EU referendum voting guide issued by the Electoral Commission. This leaflet had six sides of text. The headings included: What is the referendum about? Can I vote? Who has produced this booklet? Information from lead campaigners How do I fill in the ballot paper? How do I vote? How do I find out more?
Under the heading Information from lead campaigners the brochures explained that ‘the text two pages’ provide information about the arguments for and against leaving the EU. The content of these two pages was not written by the Electoral Commission. The website addresses of the two campaigns were given.
The brochure provided an informative guide to the process of technicalities of voting. The question was stated as being: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
Two choices were available: Remain a member of the European Union or Leave the European Union.
Voters were advised to place a X in only one of the two boxes.
The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament, its website states.

18th May
In article on the BMG research website, it was given that 45% of voters would vote to leave the EU compared with 43% who who would vote to remain with 13% being undecided (data appears to be rounded up.) The shows a fairly unchanged picture from the previous results. Based on political affiliation, the results suggest that Labour voters are more likely to vote to remain. Conservative voters are fairly split with a narrow majority voting to leave. Liberal Democrat voters are likely to vote to remain and UKIP voters overwhelmingly likely to vote to leave.

31st May
What has characterised the debate about the Referendum recently is the battle of claim and counter-claim and the barrage of statistics from either side. Coming under fire has been the £350 million figure claimed to be what the UK pays every week to the EU. This was heavily qualified by those who say it is a gross figure and in fact we get a rebate on that; and those who claim that the real figure is even higher than this. it is understandable therefore that the average prospective voter is caught in the middle of all this, not know which side to believe – if any of them.

I got the idea that the EU will have do, or should have to, work out how the UK will do business with the rest of the world and negotiate with on the tariffs that affect trade outside of the EU membership states. This applies particularly to those countries that do not have trade treaties with the EU. Comments are saying that Britain is the fifth most economically strong country in the world.

Another issue to emerge is that Britain now has one of the highest – if not the highest – levels of minimum wage in Europe. Of course vast numbers of people want to work here because our minimum wage levels are the highest and certainly far higher than in most of the countries that they come from.
The Leavers say that Britain on its own could be great again and able to trade with the rest of the world on its own terms. I simply do not believe this. That does not fit with my idea of world trade.

Another interesting point recently comes from those who say that the EU simply cannot keep up with the pace of change in technology. Its machinery of rule making is far too slow and cumbersome to keep up with the way that technologies are changing.

Someone from Tate and Lyle appeared on TV saying that the EU is imposing tariffs on importers of sugar and using the money from those tariffs to subside beat producers. Similar arguments were made around fishing. But this referendum is not about single issues and it would be completely wrong for voters to make up their minds on issues at this level of scale. It must be about the bigger picture, not about the minutiae. Many of the regulations established by Brussels ensure food safety and have been imposed to protect consumers. Would a post-Brexit government simply wipe them off the books?

Someone claimed that the UK is a relatively low regulation economy; probably one of the least regulated countries in the world. But if we leave the EU and set out sights on trading mostly with the rest of the world it is highly likely that many of those countries with require us to comply with their standards of safety on products and meet their requirements for labelling and testing.

Leaving the UK, it was claimed, would result in short-term pain as the country slides into recession but this is the price we need to pay in order to achieve our long-term gain. Three quarters of our economy is services, not manufacturing. Some are bullish about this and see the rest of Europe as being so dependent on our services, mainly based in the city of London, as being so important they would continue to use those services even if we left the EU. The short-term recession resulting from Brexit would be outweighed by the benefits we would enjoy from trading with the rest of the world, it has been claimed. It is however, a gamble; it is not something that anyone can guarantee.

So, leaving the EU would be very risky; but, some would argue, so would remaining in the EU. The Euro is about to collapse and even though we are not part of it, we would be affected by it. But to exert a tighter control over the eurozone would require countries to work even more closely together.
Both sides have completely opposite views as to the economic consequences of the vote.

The 23rd June is seen as being out ‘independence day.’ Those who take the historical view looked back on the time when the United States declared its independence from Britain. There is no evidence, the historians argue, that the supporters of that move were mainly concerned with the economic consequences of their actions. Fears about commerce and trade might have been present in 1947 when India declared independence but that did not stop them.

Tuesday 7th June
The original deadline to register to vote at the EU referendum was midnight on Tuesday 7 June. Problems with the Government’s registration website during the final hours before the deadline resulted in the UK Parliament passing legislation to extend the registration deadline in Great Britain for 48 hours to midnight on Thursday 9 June. I heard that there was a late surge in registrations.

At around this time I received a leaflet through my door from the Leave campaign. The European union and your family: the facts stated that ‘this document is to help you to make your decision in the referendum… ‘ and went to to state: ‘FACT: Britain’s official bill for EU membership is £19 billion per year or £350 million every week…’. This figure was widely criticism during the later stages of the campaign of being inaccurate and misleading. The BBC’s realitycheck web page reported that this figure was ‘not entirely true’; for one thing it fails to take account of the rebate that we get. As Theo Leggett explained ‘it’s money that never leaves the country.’

Thursday 16th June
News broke of the murder of Jo Cox, MP. Campaigning is temporarily suspended as a mark of respect. Following her death, Jo’s husband told us that she was killed for her political views. Parliament was recalled early and an emotional session was held in Westminster to honour the much respected member. Vigils held around the UK soon spread world-wide as people around the globe gathered to mark her murder and to express their desire for better politics and to voice their concern for the world’s nastiness. No one could have predicted this turn of events but it had a profound impact on the electorate in this country.

Tuesday 21st June
The BBC broadcasts ‘The Great Debate‘ live from the Wembley Arena with an audience of over six thousand. Impressive performances from the speakers especially from Ruth Davidson and Boris Johnson. I watched some of it. The audience was vocal and passionate about the issues. The programme lasted for nearly two hours.

Thursday 23rd June
A record 46,499,537 people are entitled to take part, according to provisional figures from the Electoral Commission. It is only the third nationwide referendum in UK history and comes after a four-month battle for votes between the Leave and Remain campaigns. states the BBC News website.

I voted to remain in the EU.

This was what I wrote before the vote; I will be writing more as the picture unfolds, watching how to issues unravel and how Britain is affected by the impact of the vote.

Analysis: LCFC victory celebrations

The Leicester City Football Club victory celebrations

Preface

This is likely to be a large article. For that reason, I am publishing the first draft and will then update it as research results comes in and as I work through various issues. It will be useful to make it available on the Internet to aid dialogue with others, rather than waiting until the whole piece is finished. This article is, therefore, work in progress.

Article published from 18th May 2016

The LCFC victory parade and celebrations of May 2016

Victoria Park crowd from the air

Monday 16th May 2016 was the day on which Leicester celebrated Leicester City Football Club’s winning the Premier League Trophy. I was there on Victoria Park watching the post-parade show and now I am writing about this event as a local historian. I have a range of other interests in it as a social movement; I do not have an interest in it as a football fan (which I am not.)

This article considers the significance of the victory celebrations, from both social and historical perspectives and draws in narratives about mass observation and the methodologies of local history. The article will look at the wider context of the event as part of a discussion of its significance.

The victory celebrations were also important as a media event. Some of my work will be to look at how the world’s media covered the event and (to a lesser extent) the world media coverage that Leicester had for the Premier League win as a whole. This forms part of the narrative of local history.

Social movements and migrations

Yesterday (16th May) was not a social movement; neither was it a migration. Having said that there are aspects of the whole event that share characteristics in common with social movements per se and with migration as a movement of people.

It is said in the media that 250,000 people were “on the streets of Leicester” to celebrate the LCFC victory. I would like to work out what proportion of those people were residents with LE postcodes compared with those who came into the city from the county of Leicestershire and from further afield. Slight anecdotal evidence suggests that large numbers of people came into the city by train; some of these might have started at stations in the county but it would be interesting to know what level of traffic came into the city from outside the county. The hypothesis here is day that the day was a national event.#edit

Migration is not the best word to use in this context. Movement of people might be an alternative phrase, if only because the era in which we are living is seeing one of the largest movements of people in the history of the world. This is about migration of millions of people from one country to another. This might not seem relevant to the event in Leicester but it provides a bigger picture about the ability of people to move around, access transport and find out what is happening where and when. Movement of people, travel, transit and attendance is a subject worthy of study.

The route of the event was publicised some days before the parade took place #edit The announcement of the location of the festival on Victoria Park however was given out only a couple of days before the parade. #edit. I use the word ‘festival’ to denote the mass gathering on Victoria Park that took place after the victory parade through the city centre; it was rather like a festival – having a main stage and several music acts.

This section focuses on the mass movement of people in geographical terms.

Mass observation

Both sociologists and historians use mass observation as a method for capturing data about events. I will try to find out if there was an organised mass observation of yesterday’s celebrations. #edit

What surprises me is that I knew that this event would happen right from the word go; although I had enough time to organise around it I did not do anything in advance. I could have brought together a team of people to gather mass observations on the streets during the event. I have organised mass observation projects before, in Leicester, but it did not occur to me to organise such a project for this event.

I will however search for any other projects that treat this event as an opportunity for mass observation.

What would we expect to gain from a mass observation of the victory parade? Quite a lot, actually. Even just me being there at the park, I saw a lot of things that were significant. Things that were unexpected, that meant something to me as an observer of life in Leicester. This article will eventually contain examples from my own observations and from comments scraped from social media.

One of these significant observations was the multi-ethnic composition of the crowd and presence of many women wearing hijabs. I noticed this and so did other commentators on social media.

The other thing I noticed were street vendors. Someone commented to me that he had seen “unemployed people selling merchandise on the streets.” In his view, many of those selling goods were people who had jumped on the bandwagon to make a fast buck. That is significant. I saw organised vendors setting up stalls from around 10:30 in the morning. Many of the shops along London road had put sales points at the front of the building, open to passers by. At last one restaurant and removed all its furnishings to create a space that could be filled with customers. This tells us something about business and commerce. #edit Micro-enterprise I suggest is something that merits study as part of what happens at large gatherings of people.

Historical significance-

Was this the largest public event ever to have taken place in Leicester?
Mass public events have taken place before in Leicester. I remember the two One Big Sunday events that were held on Victoria park, which attracted crowds of around 100,000 people.
The history of Leicester contains accounts of demonstrations, open air meetings, pageants and other events that drew large numbers of people. I will look to see how the size of crowds for past events compares to the numbers who attended in victory celebrations. This will set the event in an historical context.
The re-burial of the remains of King Richard III attracted large numbers of people to Leicester. I observed this event. There are other questions that interest me about the Battle of Bosworth, another large event in Leicester that took place 531 years ago.
How many people were involved in the battle of Bosworth in 1485? How many soldiers fought at Bosworth field? How many people saw King Richard III and his retinue depart from the city and how many witnessed the return of the dead King?
This narrative begins to unravel how events are given significance in historical analyses.

-for Leicester

How did such a large number of people find out that this event was about to happen, where it would take place and the time table made for it by its organisers. #edit. What conclusions may be drawn about the size of the crowds lining the streets and at Victoria Park?

-for England and Britain

I have portrayed the LCFC victory celebrations as a national event. It lasted for one day – as many other national events have done and it was focused in just one local area but that is not uncommon for events where the people of Britain mark something that is important for them. Was it a national event? Or, what it simply an event of national significance?

The view from the ground

How did it feel to be there? I spent most of my day walking around the Victoria park area, watching the crowds, the media, observing activities, watching the main stage… how did I feel about that? I plan to write a poem about the event. #edit As a writer I have a fairly wide scope of output, both in creative and non-fiction works.

Capturing history

History is mainly about old documents. But how is current history made? How to today’s historians document things that happen during their lifetimes?
Today’s historians have access to a wide range of media: films, photographs, news reports, comments made on social media outlets, newspapers… a must broader range of source material than was available in the past. How do historians go about capturing contemporary material to form part of a documentation of events and other aspects of history?
Social media produces a tidal wave, a tsunami, of content but it quickly evaporates and can be very difficult to recover. If we scrape Facebook and Twitter for comments, photos and observations we can quickly build up a large-scale picture of an event. We do need to do that quickly because the long it is left the more difficult it becomes to capture.
We might want to analyse such material but if we document it carefully it becomes source material for later historians to use; they might develop a new slant that we not apparent to us now.

Documenting social media

The twenty-first century saw the mass usage of social media both in Britain and in the rest of the world. That made a considerable impact on how people viewed events, happenings, processes, systems, a huge variety of observations and analyses of politics, sport, culture, entertainment, workings of the media, and so on. #edit

Marketing, trade, commerce and merchandising

Mention has already been made (above) of the large number of street vendors present at the event and of the shops, restaurants, bars and coffee houses along the route of the parade. This section focuses on the way that the event was used by a variety of commercial interests to cash-in on the celebrations.

For example:

Catering for those who enjoy slurping the faces of their sporting heroes, the “Vardyccino” was dreamt up by coffee shop owner Hamza Bodhaniya of Bru Coffee and Gelato in Leicester. Selling at £2.15 for a regular cup and £2.45 for a large, the Vardyccinno has proved popular with punters.The drink is elevated from being a mere cappuccino by chocolate powder dusted on top in the shape of Vardy’s head and upper body. [Source BBC website]

Study notes

University of Leicester, Mass Observation online

Social media 1 – Twitter

#Leicesterparade

Media coverage
BBC Leicester City parade: Clean-up after 240,000 people celebrate

BBC World on the move

Leicester city: who is riding the marketing bandwagon?

National

Mass Observation Archive

ends

Religious theatre

25th March 2016

Leicester @ The Cross

Good Friday and Christians gathered in Humberstone, in Leicester city centre, for a celebration of Easter, the Christian festival that marks the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It was a bright sunny morning at Humberstone Gate began to fill with people. A large stage had been assembled at the Charles Street end of the wide pedestrian concourse.

Jonezy at The Abbey Park Fireworks, supporting The Vamps

On stage was a full live band and enormous puppets took part in the enactment of various parts of the easter story.

In a dramatic scene, an actor, playing the part of Jesus, was raised on the stage to portray the crucifixion.

Singer David Lewis leading the musical praise
Singer David Lewis leading the musical praise

The crowd was invited to join in with singing led by local musician David Lewis who had written a song especially for this event. David also sings with the local band Once Vagrant Souls.

A lively and inspriational performance was given by local artist Jonezy, the hip-hop singer from Loughborough who is well known in Leicester.

The act of worship was opened with prayers from the acting bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd John Holbrook.

A welcome address was given by the Archdeacon of Leicester, Revd Dr Tim Stratford.

Getting the message across with the help of a large screen

Scenes from the Easter story were enacted by giant puppets, making it easy for people to see what was happened from a long distance away.

A dramatic moment in the event was when an actor, playing Jesus, was hoisted up on stage, on a large wooden cross.

Public performances of the Easter story have been taking place in Leicester since the middle ages.

The whole of Humberstone Gate was filled with people, on this bright Friday morning and the local radio station was there to provide a live report.

Sheets were handed giving the words of the songs enabling people to join in with the singing, led by local musician David Lewis and backed by a substantial live band.

One of the highlights of the event was a performance by local hip-hop artist Jonezy, who performed several of his own songs, with plenty of zeal and energy.  This proved to be a hit with the crowd, for people of all ages but especially for the youngsters who were there.

On stage, actors and puppeteers portrayed scenes from the easter story including palm Sunday and the Crucifixion.

The event was organised on an inter-demoninational basis, drawing in members of the Anglican and Methodist faith traditions.

Jonezy performed his song I’m Alive, a positive vibe affirmation of the way he feels and a testimony to his Christian faith.

See more about this event on Music in Leicester magazine.

 

Festivals in 2016

Festivals in Leicester
for 2016

9th February 2016

This page forms part of our archives

Leicester is a city of festivals; every weekend, and sometimes during the week, there is always at least one festival in Leicester and Leicestershire.

Music, culture, dance, comedy… there is always an event going on to temp you into the city or out into the county.

Here is our our selection of what to expect in 2016

Comedy

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival is underway now; drawing people into Leicester’s venues, from all over the country.

Music

The festival season kicks off at the end of May with the Glastonbudget festival held over the May bank holiday weekend. A host of bands and singers will gathered on the festival’s many stages to bring you all the best of new music from today and the most memorable tunes from yesteryear.

See the Glastonbudget website for more.

Come back to this back soon for more:  The Mela, Caribbean Carnival, Pride… lots more to come

Caribbean Carnival

Caribbean Carnival 2016
Caribbean Carnival 2016

See also:

latest news about festival

The current festivals page on Music in Leicester magazine.

News 2016

Archive page

News about the arts, culture and heritage

in 2016

21st March 2016

Shakespeare in the news

Leicester’s medieval Guildhall featured in the news today on the BBC’s East Midlands Today programme.

The piece described the Guildhall as one of  the few surviving Jacobean ‘Theatres’.

Leicester's medieval Guild Hall
Leicester’s medieval Guild Hall

The news item was prompted by work undertaken by the team working on The Shakespeare On Tour project who found that the various companies that performed the Bard’s plays visited many parts of the country, including Leicester.

A discovery in some ancient archives suggests that Shakespeare himself might have been present when the company visited Leicester’s Guildhall.

An entry in the city chamberlain’s accounts shows a payment of 40 shillings to a visiting theatre troupe.

If the troupe did in fact come to the Guidlhall in 1606 there is a chance, at least, that Shakespeare might have been with them.

The company, called The King’s Men, came to the city on several occasions after the death of The Bard.

Shakespeare on Tour on the BBC website.

1st February 2016

Leicester raises the rainbow flag for LGBT

LEICESTER is marking the start of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month by flying rainbow-coloured flags from the Town Hall and City Hall.

Assistant city mayor for community involvement and equalities, Cllr Manjula Sood, was joined by guests including Mark Beasley, chair of the Leicester Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Centre, to raise the flags at the Town Hall on Monday (1 February).

Councillor Sood said: “We recognise the important contribution that our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities make to life in the city and beyond. We’re committed to supporting these communities.

“LGBT history month is about promoting equality and diversity for the benefit of everyone, and Leicester has a long history of championing diversity.

“Raising the rainbow flag is a way for us to show our support, in the hope that we can all work together to create a fairer society.”

Councillor Pam Posnett, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member with responsibility for equalities, said: “The county and city are united in their respect for all communities. I’m delighted that we will once again be raising the rainbow flag, as it demonstrates our unity of purpose in supporting LGBT communities.”

Mark Beasley said: “The Pride flag allows us to show our respect and pride to those who have been instrumental in bringing equality to the forefront of everyone’s agenda. It demonstrates how as a society, the UK has taken big steps towards full inclusion of LGBT people.

“It also portrays our commitment as we strive to make Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland a place where everyone can feel proud and safe to be themselves.”

Representatives from Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, Leicestershire County Council, local charity Trade and Leicester’s LGBT Centre joined the flag-raising ceremony at the Town Hall.

29th January 2016

Attenborough opens gallery

The naturalist and long-running television personality Sir David Attenborough returned to the place of his Leicester childhood today (Friday 29 January) to open a new fully-inclusive gallery championed by his brother Lord Attenborough.

Sir David officially opened the new £1.5million gallery extension at Attenborough Arts Centre, the University of Leicester’s inclusive, multi-use arts venue on Lancaster Road.

Source: University of Leicester

19th January 2016

Black Women and Dance

Jessica Walker of Serendipity-UK told us ; Black Women In Dance: Stepping Out of the Barriers conference is happening May 10th 2016 at Leicester City Hall. The founder of the legendary American performance ensemble Urban Bush Women, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, will be keynote speaker and discuss the achievements of black women in the dance industry.

This is a fantastic opportunity for dancers and enthusiasts to network with industry professionals. Booking has opened for a much needed one-day conference, celebrating the impact Black Women have had on the international dance ecology from the early trailblazers to the contemporary ground breakers. Taking place on Tuesday 10 May 2016, as part of Lets Dance International Frontiers 2016, Black Women in Dance: Stepping Out of the Barriers, will reflect upon the challenges that have faced Black Women in the world of dance, but also celebrate the tenacity, strength and creativity of these women.

The conference, will explore the aesthetics that have shaped Black dance internationally. Examining the struggle for a sustainable Black voice in the UK dance scene, giving appreciation to companies such as Phoenix Dance and Ballet Black, and dance agencies such as ADAD and State of Emergency, who have long strived to ensure that the cultural landscape of British Dance reflects the Black British presence. To examining dance practice in America; from the classical repertories of Alvin Ailey and Dance Theatre of Harlem, through to Urban Bush Women.

The key-note speaker is award-winning founder and visionary partner of Urban Bush Women; Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. The company will also be in Leicester for LDIF16, presenting a UK debut at Curve, nearly 30 years after their last performance in Leicester.

Speakers include Adesola Akinleye, DancingStrong; Deborah Baddoo, State of Emergency; Hilary S. Carty, Co-Creatives Consulting; Catherine Dénécy; Pam Johnson, Arts Council England; Mercy Nabirye, ADAD; Maureen Salmon, Freshwaters Consultancy; Louise Sutton, Arts Council England; Jessica Walker, De Montfort University; Sharon Watson, Phoenix Dance Theatre. The event will be hosted by Pawlet Brookes, Serendipity. The conference will focus on the creativity of Black Women in dance and also examine the role of infrastructure to support artists, and agencies as proponents of Black dance.

Pawlet Brookes, artistic director, Serendipity said “A central aim of LDIF and our annual conference is to give a voice to untold and under-told stories in dance; the personal histories that have shaped the dance ecology but may go unheard or under acknowledged. Black Women in Dance will place those stories centre stage. I also hope the conference will lead to discussion and debate from across the sector to pave the way for future generations”.

Jessica Walker, young emerging artist, said “Even now, Black women are undergoing a continuous contention with their representations in the media and are in need of empowerment across all platforms. This concern is not only prevalent in the UK but exists on both sides of the Atlantic. The conference Black Women in Dance: Stepping Out of the Barriers will see a community come together to discuss and celebrate Black women in the dance sector.”

Imperatively, the conference will give a voice to women in dance, to tell their own stories, share their own perspectives, highlight key issues and work towards making a bright future for Black Women in Dance.

Serendipity is a diversity-led organisation with the specific aim of working in partnership with mainstream organisations to showcase high quality, culturally diverse work that reflects the demographic profile of the UK.

More from the website.

Comedy 2016

Comedy coming up this year

This page forms part of our archives

News about acts and performances at Dave’s Leicester Comedy festival is coming in day by day; here is our pick of what to expect.

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival has begun.

from 3rd to 21st February 2016, Leicester plays host to the longest-running festivals of laughs.

Get all the details from the Comedy festival website.

Little Asian Women

Friday 19th February and/or Saturday 20th February

at the LCB Depot in Rutland Street.

JAMJAR (Jews and Muslims Joined against racism) Presents….
Work-in-progress of new show

SAJEELA KERSHI: SHARIA’S L.A.W. (Little Asian Women)

Who’s the unsung heroine in your life?

A show celebrating the little invisible unsung heroines in every family. Bigging up those little women – Sometimes you need to visit the past to understand why you are who you are today? Partician, Refugees, sibling rivalry, misogyny and what on earth happened to the women of colour in the film suffragette? Will the real heroines please stand up and be counted?

Sajeela Kershi has been performing stand-up since 2006, getting her big break as part of Brendon Burns’s 2007 Edinburgh Comedy Award (formerly Perrier) winning show, So I Suppose This Is Offensive Now? She made her Edinburgh Fringe solo debut in 2009 and was a Hackney Empire New Act Award finalist in 2011. Her TV credits include appearances on Comedy Central and on ITV2’s Comedy Cuts, she has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends. Radio 4 Saturday Live, 2015 saw Sajeela win the Asian Women of Achievement Award (Arts and Culture section) and received the Brighton Argus Award for Artistic Excellence for her multi-bill storytelling show Immigrant Diaries, a show that Sajeela created and curates and that has played to full houses across the UK. Sajeela’s broadcasting experience as a pundit has ranged across numerous BBC radio stations, Sky news, ITV London News and an ITN Election Special. The Huffington Post named Sajeela in their Top 50 Funny Women to follow on Twitter (@SajeelaKershi). You can also find her on Facebook: facebook.com/SajeelaKershi.

20th February

Kafka or Magaluf

Part Rave, Part Nightmare, an immersive trip to a bureaucratic nightclub. Clipboard or waffle? Dance or cry? Kafka or Magaluf?

An immersive comedy show about finding out who to hate.

Malcolm Julian Swan presents Kafka or Magaluf
Saturday 20 February, 10.45pm
Criterion
Age restriction: 18+
Tickets: FREE.

a unique free comedy-rave experience.  Reserve free tickets from the Dave Leicester Comedy festival website.

A hilarious line-up of stand-up, theatre and kid’s comedy.

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre will take part in Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival this February; hosting 12 new shows by local favourites and new emerging comedians.

In this programme, packed full of fresh new talent, we have a variety of comedy to make you giggle, laugh out loud and even question what is cool. In the first week of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival we’ve already witnessed a crocodile and a mannequin’s head falling in love, comedy from mental health service users, clowning from theatre company Fowl Humour and fast-paced comedy from participants on the What’s the Story workshop, some taking to the stage for the very first time!

The second week of the comedy festival is jam-packed and so is our line-up. We are offering comedy festival goers the opportunity to see two great shows at a discounted rate by Leicester-based comedian and self-confessed comedy diva Jack Britton, which sees him singing his heart out in this high energy musical comedy and Nottingham-based Lewys Holt who has created a semi-autobiographical show about what it means to be cool, expect music, dance and dress up!

Double bill tickets are available at http://www.attenborougharts.com for £8 to see Jack Britton’s greatest hits (debut album) at 7pm and Lewys Holt presents Of, Or, At A Fairly Low Temperature at 8.30pm on Thursday 11 February.

Comedy isn’t just for grownups; we have shows to keep children aged 3+ years entertained too during half term. As part of Leicester Mini Fridge in association with Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival we are hosting family shows, including Leicester Fridge presents Mini Fridge: comedy for kids. The even more Further Adventures of Shirley on Wednesday 17 February at 11am. This interactive show invites the audience to dance, sing and make crafts. The next children’s show has an exciting twist where visitors decide what happens next and watch as the magic unfolds in Lindsey and Ian’s Incredible Interactive Improv on Wednesday 17 February at 1pm. In Kids’ Court on Wednesday 17 February at 3pm, parents sit in the dock in the court where the kids are in charge! This is one not to be missed! Suitable for 7+ years.

Daniel Nicholas, Guest Programmer for Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival, said ‘It’s been great to be involved in putting the programme together for Attenborough Arts Centre at this year’s festival, and there’s a real range of shows on for people to see, with comedians coming from all over the country, not just Leicester. We have The Book of Northern on the 20 February, exploring what it’s like to be Northern! The festival is a great time of year for Leicester and offers a wide range of comedy, something for everyone, and I think this year’s programme at Attenborough Arts Centre reflects that’

Tickets are available on our website: http://www.attenborougharts.com and at our Box office: 0116 252 2455.

I’m Migrant!

Ishi Khan-Jackson will be at The Guildhall on Tuesday 9th February. One of two shows she is doing, it starts at 8pm. The same show will also take place on Saturday 13th.

Ishi Khan-Jackson at The Guildhall on 9th February
Ishi Khan-Jackson at The Guildhall on 9th February

13th February

Poetman

Local artist Poetman will be performing at The LCB Depot in Rutland Street.

Poetman is appearance at the LCB Depot on 13th February
Poetman is appearance at the LCB Depot on 13th February

More about Poetman on his Facebook page.

A Fete worse Than Death

13th February

Karen Sherrard is appearing in A Fete worse than death on 13th February
Karen Sherrard is appearing in A Fete worse than death on 13th February

Karen Sherrard: A Fête Worse Than Death
Welcome to the village fête in Llanfairchwaraesboncen, nestled in the South Wales Valleys. Join your host, 76 year old village busybody Iris Evans, in a fun-filled romp complete with competitions, slide shows and audience participation. Also featuring guest speaker, Esme de Flange, a lascivious TV gardener providing advice on sowing seed, trimming your shrubbery and producing a prize marrow. But will you be able to contain yourself for the grand finale? THE RAFFLE!

This one-woman show, written and performed by Karen Sherrard (winner of Last Mic Standing 2014), debuts at the festival this year.

“Refreshing, wry, warm, witty and winsome…you want to bottle Sherrard and take her home” Colin Sell, BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.

Show Information
Date : February 13th
Time: 10.30pm (doors 10.10pm)
Show length: 1 hour
Venue : Kayal
Info tel: 0116 255 4667
Tickets : £6 / £5 concs

Wisdom of a fool

WISDOM OF A FOOL – SATURDAY 13TH FEBRUARY

The Little Theatre is proud to include Wisdom of a Fool – Saturday 13th February 2016 7.30pm – in their programme of shows for Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival in 2016. Jack Lane’s portrayal of the great man (and of course patron of the Festival since its inception), received standing ovations when it opened at the Capital Theatre Horsham in September 2015.

Tickets and information.

Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th February

Adrian Mole is back… only now he’s Woody Allen(ish)

Joe Hulbert as Woody Alan Photo: copyright Joe Hulbert
Joe Hulbert as Woody Alan
Photo: copyright Joe Hulbert

Woody Allen(ish)

Simon Schatzberger, who was chosen by Sue Townsend to play the
original Adrian Mole at Leicester Pheonix Arts Theatre and in the
West End, brings his Woody Allen show to Dave’s Leicester Comedy
Festival, uncannily performing his legendary 1960s stand-up comedy
(including ‘The Moose’). Following fantastically reviewed, sell-out
London and Edinburgh Festival performances, and before a series of
shows in New York and LA, this is a must see for fans of Woody and
classic American comedy.

Sat 13th & Sun 14th February 2016 at 615pm
Just The Tonic at Hansom Hall
54 Belvoir St Leicester LE1 6QL

Find out more:  Woody Allenish website | Just The Tonic

Doug Segal

Comedy mind reader extraordinaire Doug Segal will be performing his 5 star, critically acclaimed show, How To Read Minds & Influence People, at the Leicester Comedy Festival on 4th February at 7.50pm at Kayal.

Have you ever wanted to read someone’s mind or implant a
subliminal suggestion? Doug Segal (as seen on BBC1 and BBC3)
can teach you that and more in his hit show How To Read Minds And
Influence People, all while making you laugh in the process.

See Doug Segal’s website.

James Ross – Leopardoptera

After three sell-out Edinburgh Fringe runs with improv troupe Fat Kitten Improv, 2010-12, James has turned his hand to stand-up with 2013’s “Ross vs Violich: Pistols at 3.55pm” and 2014’s “Unicornucopia”. He runs cult favourite monthly night Quantum Leopard, just off London’s occasionally trendy Brick Lane: a pay-what-you-like, bring-your-own-booze affair that vaguely evokes the DIY spirit of the squat party. He likes pina coladas and walking in the rain and dislikes timewasters.

High-energy, left field stand-up for people who’ve read a book, without pictures, and enjoyed it. Charming moustachioed comedian WLTM audience with GSOH for fun, maybe more. It’s my first full hour. I quite like it, I hope you will too.

Brewdog Leicester, 8 Friar Lane, Leicester, LE1 5RA
On 7th Feb 2016, Doors 1930, Show start 2000

Visit the Dead Cat Comedy Club page on Facebook.

Zahra Barri

Talk Like an Eygptian is on 17th February
Talk Like an Eygptian is on 17th February

Stand Up Comic, Zahra is a bit like the country of Turkey, in that she’s a mix of Eastern and Western culture, and also she is a bird. A fun look into Eastern and Kanye Western Culture. ‘Terrific’ Venue Magazine

As heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra and BBC Radio 2

Tickets and information.

Daphna Baram

Something to Declare

Sat 6 Feb 4:45 at Just The Tonic, Hanson Hall

How to pass the Englishness test, build a New Jerusalem and become UKIP’s worst nightmare – An immigrant speaks out

After a successful full Edinburgh Fringe run, shows at the Museum of Comedy London, Leicester Square Theatre, and Women in Comedy Manchester and Dave Comedy Festival in Leicester (Feb 2016) – Daphna Baram brings her “immigrational comedy” to Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival. “Masterful; Superbly refreshing” (Bunbury Magazine), Illuminating and poignant” (The List)
Daphna Baram, an Israeli human rights lawyer turned journalist (Ha’aretz, The Guardian, The Independent, New Statesman, AlJazeera, BBC), invaded the UK in 2002. 13 years in, she now finally has an indefinite leave to remain. Her journey took her from suicide-bombing infested Jerusalem of the early 2000s to the dreaming spires and endless social rules of Oxford fellowships, then on to London’s media world of air-kissing and double-talk.

She studiously memorised pub etiquette, East-enders knowledge, dead royals’ wives, posh ways of causing offence and Christmas do-s and don’ts – in order to pass the ultimate test of Englishness (and the dread of all immigrants): the pub quiz – otherwise known as the Life In The UK Test.

See her website.

Joz Norris

Joz Norris coming up on 20th February
Joz Norris coming up on 20th February

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
Award-winning idiot and one-man comedy cult Joz Norris
presents potentially the most audacious, ambitious and
unique show at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2016 –
one idiot doing one comedy show in two places at the
same time. Quite whether it’ll work is anybody’s guess.
There are two audiences in two adjacent venues. One
man, via a bit of multimedia trickery, a lot of running, and
a series of enthusiastic comedy stunts that can be
performed in an endless series of variations, will attempt
to keep both audiences entertained simultaneously.
Whether it ends up a precisely engineered triumph of
intricate technical complexity, or a chaotic mess that only
just about holds together, it’ll be one of the silliest,
stupidest and most unique bits of nonsense in Leicester
this year.

Heroes @ The Criterion & Heroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus
Saturday 20th February, 13:00
Free Entry

Best of Irish is on 5th and 6th February at Hayla, Granby Street
Best of Irish is on 5th and 6th February at Hayla, Granby Street

Hilarity Bites present
BEST OF IRISH
Three of Ireland’s finest acts come to Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival for 2 special nights of top comedy.

Venue: Kayal, 153 Granby Street

Tom O’Mahony, an Irish stand-up and I will be performing for 2 nights (5-6th Feb) with a few other Irish comedian chums (it’s an odd word I know) at Kayla on 153 Granby Street. The shows will consist of Tom O’Mahony and Conor Drum on Friday 5th and Eleanor Tiernan joins us for the craic on Saturday 6th February.

Tickets and information.

Lost Voice Guy

Thursday 18th February
Award winning comedian, Lost Voice Guy, is inviting comedy fans to take part in a stupid amnesty at the Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival this February, where he will host his new show ‘Disability For Dunces’. 
 
Have you ever wondered how disabled people have sex? Or if disabled people have considered an exorcism? And just why are disabled toilets big enough to run around in? Lost Voice Guy will answer all these questions and more. 
 
And, on the day that Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival begins, he is launching the stupid amnesty to invite the general public to submit their questions about disability so he can finally put the record straight on a few matters in his show.
 
‘Disability For Dunces’, will be at The Kayal on Granby Street at 6.30pm on Thursday 18 February and will feature the bizarre questions that Lost Voice Guy gets asked on an all too regular basis.

Venues

BREWDOG
Address:
8 Friar Lane
Leicester
LE1 5RA
Telephone: 0116 262 3566

Leicester Guildhall

Guildhall Lane, Leicester, LE1 5FQ

KAYAL
Address:
153 Granby Street,
Leicester
LE1 6FE

THE LITTLE THEATRE
Address:
Dover Street,
Leicester
LE1 6PW
Telephone: 0116 255 1302

JUST THE TONIC AT HANSOM HALL
Address:
Wellington Street,
Leicester
LE1 6HL
Telephone: 0115 910 0009

 

 

 

News

10th October 2015

artsinmagazine logo 300 x 300

For current news see news about the arts in 2015

News Archives

In this page we present some of the news archives from the old Arts in Leicester website, included here where they have relevance to current articles published in this magazine.

2013

8th January 2013

Nilima Devi is Awarded MBE

Nilima Devi Menski, the founder and Artistic Director of the Centre for Indian Classical Dance (CICD), in Leicester, has been announced as a recipient of an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2013 for her services to dance.

The award has been granted in recognition of Nilima Devi’s sustained commitment to promoting Indian dance for British arts, multicultural education and community cohesion for over 30 years.

Leicester’s councillor and former Mayor, Manjula Sood said “I am very thrilled to hear that Nilima’s work within the cultural community has been noticed and rewarded.”

Chris Maughan, Associate Research Fellow Lecturer, Arts and Festival Management, De Montfort University commented, “it is richly deserved. Let’s hope it provides a foundation for invigorating ideas and energy in arts development more broadly.”

Under Nilima Devi’s leadership, CICD has made significant educational and artistic contributions through numerous workshops, conferences, classes and public performances on local, regional and national scales. In addition to nurturing more than 20,000 students in Indian dance through teaching in schools, Nilima Devi has pioneered projects such as Sinjini (2009), a DVD on Indian music and dance produced using UK-based artists, and Karman, (2012), a book documenting the living history of arts in the South Asian diaspora, which have become invaluable resources for educational establishments.

Nilima Devi has also produced many major performance works such as the Ugly Duckling (1989), Triangle (1991), Rainbow (1993) (choreographed by Kumudini Lakhia), Melory (1995), Dances of the Spheres (1999) (choreographed by Roshan Date), Flaming Feet (2000), Kathak Tells a Story (2001), Images (2004) and Urjah (2007), which have contributed to transcending cultural and artistic boundaries whilst retaining the spirit of Indian dance.

In addition, Nilima Devi has trained several accomplished British-born dance artists, such as Aakash Odedra, who has been touring Rising with the British Council in India and internationally, a solo production choreographed by Russell Maliphant, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Akram Khan.

The MBE is to be presented by the Queen at a special ceremony to be held at Buckingham Palace in London in 2013.

[From Arts in Leicestershire, news section, 2013]

2012

Karman: groundbreaking heritage project tells the story of Indian Classical Dance

By Asian Arts Editor [the late]  Harjinder Ohbi

It was 30 years ago when Nilima Devi, an Indian classical Kathak dancer threw open her doors to a handful of young girls wanting to learn this intricate but colourful dance form.

This gave birth to CICD (Centre for Indian Classical Dance.) Parents eager to revisit their own Indian roots encouraged their children to join the classes. Later, as years passed by, these students went onto become mothers and teachers, having made the gruelling grades, passing on their knowledge to third and fourth generations.

CICD led the way for visiting professional dancers from Bharatnatyam and Odissa holding masterclasses whilst Nilima also introduced folk, street and bollywood dances, as demanded by youngsters.

Numerous groundbreaking shows at various local and National venues gave way to young male dancers who went onto become International artists. Akram Khan and Akaash Odedra brought forth a new dimension to Kathak with their innovative styles and fluidity within their choreography, earning rave reviews where ever they performed.

It is no surprise then that the year long 30th anniversary celebrations of CICD last year was to lead to Karman the book. Karman literally means a collection of past work .You will find interviews with young performers and how they have managed to incorporate their traditional dance forms during their daily lives and what it means to them.It is an historic account documenting not only achievements based on over 70 hours of oral history interviews by a host of voluntary historians aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The books theme also explores the social changes related to these developments thus presenting a unique piece of history that has never been exhibited in Leicester before. Karman is a project very special for me as it explores the living history of Indian classical dance in the UK. It exhibits the roots of Indian classical dance and music through contributions by early pioneers, professional dancers, musicians, members of the community and art lovers.

There were several aspects to the formation of CICD from spirituality, keeping fit and bringing one’s culture, mind, body and soul together. The opening of the Centre, in 1981, came as a blessing for the young women eager to learn Indian classical dance.

They later introduced Indian Folk styles. It was not always easy to make CICD sustainable at times but they made it happen through performances and sheer passion shown by the youngsters. Whilst the support of Local Authorities and the Arts Council England made it possible to work within local schools and communities, that helped them to create a greater interest, reaching a wider public.

Many of the students have gone onto become teachers whilst the likes of Akram Khan and Aakash Odedra have won International acclaim. I feel theirs is an extension of the form of Kathakand, a modern way of interpreting it. “Traditional art is not static, it moves with the times”, concluded Nilima Devi, Artistic Director of CICD.

The official book launch and exhibition [was] staged at the LCB Depot on 14 June 2012

The touring exhibition opened at the Embrace Centre (11th-27th May 2012) and [was] staged at the following venues:

Peepul Centre, 28th May – 8th June
LCB Depot, 11th – 22nd June
Hamilton Library, 03 July – 17th July
St.Barnabas Library, 17th – 30th July
South Fields Library, 31 July – 15 August
BBC Radio Leicester 01 – 17 October
CurveTheatre, 8 – 19 November
Highfiields Library, 19 – 30 November

Visit the website for the Centre for Indian Classical Dance