Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Focus on Burma at the Marine

THE resurgence of the Marine Theatre continues apace and - despite the worry of having to pay for a new roof at some time in the future - manages to provide a varied programme for most theatre tastes.

How lucky are we, a town of 3,500 people, to have a theatre operational 12 months a year offering live entertainment?

In joint artistic directors Harry Long and Tim Bell, and enthusiastic manager Nigel Day, we have a threesome committed to positioning the theatre at the heart of the Lyme’s social and community life, backed by a dedicated band of volunteers led by trust chairman David Edwards.

I’m a big fan of the Marine, and rarely miss an opportunity to say so, but it amazes me how the venue has attracted such a long list of popular entertainers willing to appear in such a cosy theatre. And without fail, they all comment on the very special atmosphere at the Marine - despite the rain gushing through the roof.

So let me commend to you a very unusual event lined up for the theatre on Friday, October 18th. Supported and promoted by the Lyme Regis branch of Amenesty International, the theatre will play host to “The Burma Play”, presented by recognised fringe performers who form the Northern International Theatre, billed as “a comedy of terror, a humorous, politically-sharp two-hander with original live music”.

After the interval, the evening will feature a discussion on Burma where political prisoners, forced labour, ethnic and religious violence, displacement of people and child soldiers continues. The audience will be encouraged to participate in the discussion with Anna Roberts (Director of the Burma Campaign UK) and Kate Allen (Director of Amnesty International in the UK) also taking part.

I’m also informed that Peter Popham, a distinguished foreign affairs journalist on The Independent and author of “The Lady & The Peacock” about the life of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has brought great change to Burma, will be attending the discussion, making three very emiment guests who will undoubtedly ensure a highly stimulating debate.

All profits from the evening will be shared by The Burma Campaign and Amnesty International and I hope that Lyme Regis turns out in good numbers to support two such worthy causes.  

MANY moons ago I shared a beach hut on the seafront. It was back in the 1970s, I can’t remember what process we had to go through to get one, but I can remember it was one of those lovely long summers and we got full value for money.

It’s always been my intention to try to get another one - perhaps before hell freezes over and I become a granddad!

At that time in the 1970s I was a district reporter working for Pulman’s Weekly News. Lyme was part of my patch and I worked from home so I used to take my portable typewriter down to the beach hut and type up my copy. What a job!

There were far fewer beach huts in those days but they were always in great demand.
Since the remodelling of the main beach, the beach huts have become more popular than ever with the occupants able to take a shallow step onto the shingle where barbecues and family parties are now familiar sights. 

The allocation of the council owned beach huts has always been a difficult process and has caused many arguments over the years.

I sympathise with the town council on this one. It’s impossible to come up with a system that is fair to all.

So on Friday night we had the unusual situation where several people camped out under the Guildhall passage to ensure that they got a beach hut for next summer - such is the demand and popularity of having a permanent base on the seafront during the season.

I went down with my camera on Saturday morning just in time to catch Audrey Vivian,  emerging successfully from the council offices after what she desrcribed as “a convivial but sleepless” night and with a big grin on her face. 

For a moment I expected her to wave a piece of white paper and declare “peace in our time!”

I’ve finally taken the Facebook plunge

I’M at an age when I struggle to understand the attraction and importance of social media. 

I am told by the bright young things who work for me that it’s an essential form of communication in the current age and, from a  business point of view, can help to direct traffic to our website.

For that reason I have been breaking stories from Lyme Regis for some time (now over 2,000 tweets) but have refrained from tweeting personal views.

After steadfastly refusing to join Facebook, having been very critical of some of our councillors who get themselves embroiled in pointless arguments with the more vociferous electors of Lyme, I have finally taken the plunge. 

I always used the excuse that I wasn’t on Facebook because I did not want to know how few friends I had!

But I decided to join the Facebook revolution for two reasons only - to keep abreast of all that’s happening at Lyme Regis Football Club, after being elected as President, and to join the Lyme Regis Nostalgia site.

For clubs and organisations, the use of Facebook certainly saves a great deal of time in  getting out notices, etc, to the membership.

For months people have been telling me I ought to sign up to the nostalgia group where those with a real love for Lyme share their old photographs and past memories. 

And I’m glad I have. Within ten minutes of signing up I heard from an old school friend, Jim Strawbridge, who I have not seen for 40 years and more. I’ve even contrtibuted the odd post about the London Inn, fetching coke on a Saturday morning from the gas works when we were kids and memories of the skiffle group which included Neil Petterkin and David Cozens that played in the Marine Parade shelters.

I have no intention of joining the soapbox sites, on which from time to time I have been slaughtered, no matter how entertaining they are, or contributing snippets about my boring private life (that’s the bit about Facebook I don’t understand) - but I’m glad I’m finally wired up to the 21st century.

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