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Monthly Archives: June 2015

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Elaine McGinty of the Phoenix Cultural Centre, appearing on Pyrford TV Arts

Almost a year ago, Woking’s Phoenix Cultural Centre reached what it regarded at the time as a milestone on its quest to find a permanent live music and community arts venue in the town, when a full meeting of Woking council told its officers to assist the centre in finding a suitable building. Eleven months on from that meeting, the Phoenix says it is still in talks “but look to receive some positive news  … we really need this to happen soon”. Next month councillors will ask officials for an update on what progress has been made in helping the Phoenix, which in the meantime continues to operate out of temporary premises in Goldsworth Road, where earlier this year that excellent local TV operation, Pyrford TV Arts, went along to film one of the regular Phoenix Monday open mic evenings. Its footage includes an interview with the centre’s Elaine McGinty, who says the campaign for a permanent live music venue in Woking has had many “incremental” successes along the way. In the interview she emphasises that that the Monday open mic nights are particularly aimed at encouraging new, nervous performers to gain confidence and to find their voices.  It’s high time that the hard work of the Phoenix Cultural Centre volunteers was rewarded. A live music and arts venue would undoubtedly raise the profile of Woking and attract new visitors and residents to the town. Let’s hope for – if not expect – some good news from Woking council’s officials next month.

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Lisa VonH appearing on the Pyrford TV Arts feature on the Phoenix Cultural Centre

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Sir Alec Bedser

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Eric Bedser

The welcome addition of statues of Woking’s cricketing twins Alec and Eric Bedser has transformed a hitherto undistinguished new bridge over the Basingstoke canal into something that has interest at both ends. Sir Alec, who played for Surrey and England, is bowling to brother Eric, who only played for Surrey, at the other end of the bridge.  Eric appears to have smashed Sir Alec for six – and to that end, a bronze ball has been lodged in the wall of Woking borough council’s civic offices on the other side of the road. The bronze statues, by sculptor Allan Sly, were unveiled by former prime minister and Surrey cricket fan Sir John Major, who famously said upon his election defeat in 1997 that he was leaving Downing Street and was off to the Oval to watch some cricket that same afternoon – a refreshing sense of  priorities and of life after politics, some might say. There are two questions to raise about these statues, however. One question is: will/should they encourage impromptu games of cricket upon the Bedser bridge, to the inconvenience of passersby? The answer: probably not. Another question: why are the Bedser twins represented in their full, lifesize glory, while Woking’s other famous sons, The Jam, appear as three abstract blocks of wood on the other side of town? The answer: the Bedser twins grew up and lived in Woking throughout their lives. The Jam recorded a song about Woking titled Town Called Malice. The Bedsers never did that.