Strand Pool Mural Workshops – 16th and 23rd June 2019 – Rainham Riverside Park

Join artist Natasha Steer in designing artwork and stencils for a new mural on the side of The Strand Pool, Gillingham, which will be situated in the Commodores Hard slipway area (see photo).

This free session will involve sketching estuary plants and marine wildlife as well as helping to design stencils for use in creating the mural. All materials and inspiration will be provided and the workshop will take place in the Education Room in the visitor centre.

Suitable for adults and also children over the age of 5, should families wish to attend.

The mural is being created in collaboration with Medway Council and the Medway Swale Estuary Partnership.

Book your place at

http://creatabot.eventbrite.com

The Days When Gillingham Fraggle Rocked

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I have always been a huge Jim Henson fan, my dream was to work at their Creature Studios in Camden, I was even offered work experience there whilst at college, which sadly fell through as they began working on a “top secret project” – I now believe this was actually closing the Camden studios.

It is no secret that I love Medway, and now I am in love a little bit more thanks to my friend Laura Murthy breaking the news on Facebook that the UK inserts were filmed in none other than Medway’s very own Gillingham.

For those who didn’t already know (like me) where the joy that is Aldi now sits (although I do like their waffles) once sat the Plaza cinema, which was built in 1931. At the time it was one of the most modern cinemas in Kent with seating for 1,800 people. This then closed in November 1980 and was bought by TVS South and turned into studios.

Attribution prefabkid - Kent History Forums
Attribution prefabkid – Kent History Forums

“The original intention had been to sell it off as soon as Maidstone was open but TVS hung onto it for a while, making programmes such as regional afternoon magazine Not for Women Only and from 1986 The Television Show, which was broadcast live from here on Sunday evenings across the ITV network.

Oddly, the show that kept the studio open was Muppets spin-off Fraggle Rock, which ran from 1983-1987.  Once this ended the studio was hardly used so it was put up for sale early in 1988 and was purchased by Network One TV in June 1989.  (This company also took over the Greenwood in 1990.)  Masterchef was made here then, plus a handful of other shows.  It closed as a studio in July 1991 and following a brief spell as a Quasar laser gaming centre, it lay empty for several years and was demolished in 2001.”(Taken from TV Studio History)

Attribution - Kyn - Kent History Forum
Attribution – Kyn – Kent History Forum/KM

Victor Pemberton who was co-producer at the time says “We took over an old cinema in Gillingham in Kent, and it was wonderful. The auditorium was cleared of seats, the stage was raised and extended.” (www.adventuresinprimetime.wordpress.com/2008/06/01/return-to-fraggle-rock)

The UK scenes involved the internal shots of the lighthouse, where Sprocket the dog lived with the lighthouse keeper, and of course, the tell tale “tiny cave in the wall”. (if anyone knows of other shots filmed there involving more Fraggles please say)

The main episode I remember, which was the episode I watched over and over again,  was when the water of Fraggle Rock was poisoned and Boober pleads for the humans to make it stop. The scenes that were filmed in Gillingham (inside the lighthouse) can be seen in this clip. I now watch this in awe even more, when realising it was filmed on ground I have walked over many times without even realising. It may sound silly, but it makes me a bit emotional! Here is the clip for you to enjoy…

By Natasha Steer

Leukaemia Research Charity Gig – Medway

http://www.facebook.com/events/443264375718033/

We hear all the time from charities that cancer effects 1 in 4 or us. For some of us this fact is closer to home than an appeal on TV. Would it surprise you to know that only one charity in the UK is actually fighting blood cancers? Leukaemia Research also boasts a 9 in 10 chance of survival in children because of their hard work and support from people like Andy Spring.

 In 2006 after a 2 year battle with Leukaemia Andy along with the support of his family began to raise money for the charity by cycling 35 miles from Ashford to Medway hospital. Raising £8000 along with nearly 50 other cyclist Andy managed to raise the bar again in 2008 and 2010 bringing a total of £26,000 towards the charity that is helping save lives like his. In Andy’s own words, “I wanted to give back something for the life I am so grateful to have, the whole experience has given myself and my family the chance to enjoy every moment we are together”.

Set for a fourth event, Andy unfortunately was set back when he urgently required a marrow transplant early 2011. Andy says: “I knew I could not cycle for a while but I was more determined than ever to do something, I just didn’t know what”. Next to two wheels music has always been Andy’s other passion. Picking up his bass he started to jam at practice sessions with Hesperian Wave. This gathering over the following months would bring a new outlook  and birth a new band a new style and a very new agenda.

Freshly formed and ready for their first gig The Furry Lovelickers shall be taking to the stage this Saturday September 29th alongside some of Medway’s longstanding and upcoming talents. Taking place at the charity cycle’s finishing line Medway hospital social club will be hosting from 7pm an awesome line up for a small donation of £3 entrance fee. See flyer for details. Also on the night Crybaby special and the monsters will be donating the proceeds of their EP on the night. you can check them here http://www.facebook.com/crybabyspecialandthemonsters

By Obi

Area: South East

Jeffrey Lewis and The Junkyard Gig – 8th September 2012 – Gillingham – Kent

When Jarvis Cocker hails someone as “the best lyricist working in the US today” you should really sit down and listen. Luckily for the folk of Medway the object of Cocker’s praise, Jeffrey Lewis, is making Gillingham the final stop of his UK tour. Accompanied by his band, The Junkyard, Lewis demolishes the cliché of the angst-ridden singer-songwriter and delivers midnight-tinged, wit-sharpened hymns to the human condition.

On his own, and with his band, Lewis has toured the world, playing with artists including Stephen Malkmus, The Fall, Devo, Devendra Banhart, The Cribs, Beth Orton…the list is packed with illustrious denizens of the off-beat musical underground. And when not making his six strings chime and chatter with everyday tales of the absurd, Lewis is a comic-book artist, having contributed to the New York Times and The Guardian, as well as releasing his own series, called Fuff.

Born in the Big Apple, Lewis made his name playing open mic nights in the city’s Sidewalk Bar with a host of artists that became associated with the antifolk movement. He certainly has stylistic similarities with that scene; off kilter singing, an acoustic backbone that can spark with the riot of punk and a wry, self-deprecating air. However, the magical simplicity and humorous insight of his songs strike such a chord that he sometimes feels like the only living boy in New York.

Since launching in September 2011, Tea Concerts has brought to Medway, Brighton and London some of the finest bands currently shaping the musical underground including: The Tigercats, The Bobby McGees, Darren Hayman and The Wave Pictures. Tea Concerts follows Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard with hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash, at The Casino Ballrooms in Rochester, on 9 November.

To book tickets and to find out what’s coming up on the Tea Concerts calendar visit teaconcerts.co.uk, or phone 01634 545545. 

Area: South East

Developing Your Creative Writing – Free Short Course – Starting April 25th – Gillingham

Interested in creative writing, but not sure how to get going on your own? Perhaps you would like to join in with others to share ideas? Harness the power of the round and gain inspiration.

These sessions will provide you with some starting points for new pieces of writing, and some suggestions on how you might continue. There will be the opportunity to try out different techniques for writing stories and poems and have a go at creating some pieces, all in an informal and positive atmosphere.

The Creative Writing course will start on Wednesday 25th April, 6pm – 8.30pm at Brompton Academy, Marlborough Road, Gillingham, Kent ME7 5HT.

For further information or to book your place please contact Mary Murison on 01634 583536 or email marymurison@bromptonacademy.org.uk

Mini-Residency on a Lightship Available

Applications are invited from artists to participate in a mini-residency on LV21, a lightship moored off Gillingham Pier in Kent.

Taking place over three days in March and April, artists will collaborate in responding to the space, generating new work and conversations about practising in public. On the third day, the public will be invited to come on board and see the work made, and join in the conversation. Continue reading