Come to Ealing: tons of live music in a park for £1

Ealing Summer is one of the great annual events in this borough. If you’ve not been here yet this year you’ve already missed the comedy and opera nights. In September you can catch the Literary Festival.

But starting tomorrow are the popular music events in Walpole Park. If you’ve got nothing good on this weekend, take the Central Line out west, sit in the park (or stay in the tents if it’s raining), and have a listen.

Tomorrow, Saturday 19-July, from 2pm to 10:30pm, is the Blues Festival. There are two stages to choose from, with acts like The Dani Wilde Band, Funkdory, Amrit Sond and clapalong favourites The Guv’nors. Check the link for a full list. And you can stay all day for just £1 (kids under 12 get in free).

On Sunday 20-July it’s the Global Festival. Once again there are two stages of music from 2pm until 10:30pm, with Radio Revolución, Zywiec (what, the Polish beer?), BOSforUS, Discipulos De Otilia, and plenty more.  Once again: you can get in for just £1.

Then from Wednesday 23-July to Sunday 27-July you get the Jazz Festival. Every weekday evening (and all afternoon too on the weekends) you get two stages of live music. Check the link because they start at different times each night. As before, each night is only £1.

There’s a lot of tunes there for very little cash. The park is a nice setting, and not too big. As for all these things there’s always lots of beer and food on sale inside.

And put 10-August in your calendar, because that’s the London Mela: a massive and excellent celebration of south Asian music, food, and culture.

Photo from Paul Robinson via Creative Commons license

I’m in the market for some of that

Not only have I visited the West Ealing Farmer’s Market – one of my regular weekend stops for local, quality food – but I’ve just stocked up at theEuropean Market running all weekend on Ealing Green. The latter has a real mix of stuff: nuts, Greek olives and sweets, silk scarves, Bavarian sausage, French tartiflette and cheeses and saucisson and sweets and wine, handbags, and Spanish paella. Most interesting are the Welsh guys selling Polish cider (some made from apples, but others from peaches, strawberries, or pears) whilst blaring really loud music ranging from techno to French folk.

It’s definitely Marisa Tomei

We joined one of the Neighbours last night for a pub quiz at the King’s Arms, just a few steps from our front door. It was fun. The regulars weren’t snooty towards us, and we didn’t come in last: pretty good, since we were the smallest team at only three people.

The quiz was harder than I expected. We did really well on the celebrity-photo identification round and on the guess-the-TV-show-from-the-pictured-scene round (and cleverly played our points-doubling joker on the latter round). Did so-so on the name-the-musicals round and the capitals of Asia marathon. But on military history and sports winners of 2002 we were sorely lacking.

But it’s good fun for £1 a head, and you get a few pints and laughs in. You don’t lose anything for a wrong guess and the adjacent table marks your scores each round, so I endeavoured to be entertaining on the answers we had absolutely no idea about.

First Great Western promises to improve ‘poor performance’

Just words right now, but let’s hope; from the Guardian:

Long-suffering passengers using First Great Western rail services were offered some hope today as the company running the franchise pledged to…invest an extra £29m on improved customer service and increased capacity.

First Great Western will now offer more than 500,000 cheaper tickets to more popular destinations on FGW routes, and double its compensation rates to passengers this year.

Apparently, Switzerland actually has the most expensive haircuts in the world

I was getting a haircut yesterday when a man and a woman walked into the barbershop.  The guy cutting my hair called out hello, as he’d done for everyone else who entered and took a seat, waiting their turn.

The man entering acknowledged with a hello back, then said loudly, so all could hear,  “Yeah, I used to get my hair cut in Switzerland, right, but now I’m here.” He started chuckling with his lady friend as they find their seats.

“Right,” said my barber, with an odd look.

“Sorry, did you ask why?” the man queried.

“No. I just said…good.”

“Oh, okay.”

The wanker returned to chatting with his lady friend. I presume that he was pleased that he had informed the whole shop of his international coiffure habits, but disappointed that he didn’t get the chance to explain why he was now slumming in Ealing.

First Great Western rail passengers are the least satisfied in the country

First Great Western, the train company I use to commute to work, has come last among UK train companies for passenger satisfaction. While most of the time it’s fine for me, I suspect that the fact that I travel against the main commuting tide (into the city each morning, out each evening) helps. When we pass trains going the other way they do look a lot more crowded. I think it also helps that I can check the London travel news each morning before I leave for work; if there are severe delays reported on FGW I can often choose to work from home that day.

It is true that while ticket prices have increased without fail each year, the only signs of infrastructure or service improvement I’ve ever seen are new ticket machines at Ealing Broadway. Not that they’ve always been a big step forward, either.