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Month: August 2019

Review: Foo Fighters

Review: Foo Fighters

We arrived late for Sunday’s Reading Festival because we were only there to see Foo Fighters. It’s a mainly young crowd here — a grubby throng of demob-happy teenagers, although I hear the average age went up on the Sunday — so, heads down and sunglasses on, we grabbed a quick cider and headed straight for the main stage. The mighty Foo Fighters. One of the last remaining bastions of rock ‘n’ roll. But it’s not old school, it’s better…

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The Laundry in Three Men in a Boat

The Laundry in Three Men in a Boat

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, first published in 1889, is a classic Victorian novel originally intended to be a Thames travel guide. The author found his comic voice while he was writing, however, and the book evolved into a funny tale of three friends and their dog, Montmorency, on a journey up the river from London to Oxford. One day – having already passed through Henley and Reading, before going for drinks in Wallingford – the…

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Shakespeare at the Globe

Shakespeare at the Globe

We all stop talking and turn to watch the cast of Twelfth Night sashay out on to the stage. I am visiting Shakespeare’s Globe on London’s South Bank – a replica of the Elizabethan playhouse where William Shakespeare was playwright, actor and co-owner between 1599 and 1613. A circular thatched roof covers the stage and three tiers of seats, but my £5 ticket has me standing in the open-air yard, thrillingly close to the action. Patches of blue peep through the…

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Review: Jo Whiley’s 90s Anthems

Review: Jo Whiley’s 90s Anthems

DJ Jo Whiley, perennially cool in her baggy gold top, tight black trousers and floppy blond hair, stood atop a big flashing screen at the Henley Festival and took us on a musical stomp through a collection of dance anthems and Britpop classics from the Nineties. The audience danced wildly and sang along with gusto to the familiar sounds of Funk Soul Brother by Fatboy Slim, I’ve Got the Power by Snap, Ride on Time by Black Box, Set You…

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Former Lodge of George Harrison’s Neo-Gothic Mansion

Former Lodge of George Harrison’s Neo-Gothic Mansion

It is not uncommon to see Henley’s visitors standing on Gravel Hill at the iron gates of Friar Park, the grand country estate that George Harrison once called home. They dutifully take their selfies before gazing up the winding drive, wondering what lies over the hill, dreaming of The Beatles and the golden age of sixties pop. Friar Park House is a huge and elaborate neo-Gothic mansion surrounded by wooded parkland, originally built in the 1890s as a weekend retreat…

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What am I Doing Here?

What am I Doing Here?

I stand on Rethink Street every day of my life. My reasons for being here evolve as I get older. Now what? The landscape shifts before I have time to process the previous scene — I’m not quick enough — and it’s hard to keep my balance. But writing helps.