Art Attack! Art, Loho and Lutopia

In a way I take comfort from the way that some people readily presume that I am dead if I haven’t posted in a while. Certainly, that’s the approach taken by my mother, who recently got quite worried given that I hadn’t posted on Facebook for a couple of days, and hadn’t updated this blog in over a month. I apologise to all: I’ve been busy (rather than dead), and my conscience is all the more pricked for having missed this year’s annual High Town Festival over the weekend of 15-16 July, which I learn from the Friends of High Town was super-plus good.

High Town (or 'Hightown') Festival sign in front of the now sadly fire-ravaged premises of the former pub, the Railway Tavern.

High Town (or ‘Hightown’) Festival sign in front of the now sadly fire-ravaged premises of the former pub, the Railway Tavern.

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My Fair Luton: On Growing Accustomed to Luton’s Face.

I have a little joke (mostly with myself) that I bust out almost every time a friend of mine (and occasionally a date) does me the great honour of coming to see me in Luton. Meeting them at the train station (since I should not like to leave them unchaperoned), I say, ‘Would you like me to give you the tour of Luton? Don’t worry: it won’t take long.’

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A Lutonian gem: the Fair Deal World Shop

After ranging as far as Luton Hoo in my last post, my thirst to share Luton’s exotic outposts with you, dear reader, remains unslated. In which vein, a focus on Stopsley seems long overdue. I was tempted to include this post within my ‘café culture’ series (series of one…) because I do have a review to make of Coffee Express, but I’m going to save that for later.

The real star and focus of this piece is the Fair Deal World Shop, Luton’s very own fairtrade store, dedicated entirely to selling ethical goods (food, cleaning products, homewares and gifts) and proving that it is just about possible to sustain an avowedly ethical business within Luton. The Fair Deal World Shop is an unexpected treasure, and it needs our support.

Small but marvellous: the Fair Deal World Shop, in Stopsley village.

Small but marvellous: the Fair Deal World Shop, in Stopsley village.

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Luton Who? (Local joke for local people)

I recently celebrated a significant birthday. Significant in my mind, at any rate. Or, otherwise: a birthday halfway between two other, recognisably significant age milestones. Anyway: it was a difficult birthday and a hellaciously difficult week and I am at a difficult age. Let that stand.

The upshot of my difficult week (or week of being difficult) in February was that I cancelled a planned birthday party and basically went into hiding for a period. I exaggerate a little for comic effect, but not so very much.

What does all of this have to do with Luton? Well, it’s probably worth saying that living in Luton has a somewhat clarifying effect on the bad times. Continue reading

Luton: It’s Easy to Leave (Part 2)

Today sees the arrival of a friend from abroad who is spending the weekend at mine. Since I knew he was coming, I have indeed baked a cake, but I sense that I should also make an offering to Luton Airport, since it is only my extreme proximity to an international airport that makes it viable – even easy, inexpensive – to hop over to Luton for a weekend of cake, conversation and Rolfing.

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Luton: Cooler than we realised

I love Luton in the springtime, which has sprung with undoubted force this year, delivering as she has several inches of snow to ease us gently from our wintry slumbers into anticipation of a summer which we can only hope will not be too warm.

In this, one might suppose, we Lutonians are no more fortunate than the rest of the south-east, which is also enjoying a brisk springtime constitutional. It turns out, however, that we may be especially blessed.

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Join us, or: Luton is not full

A brief response this time to a letter in last week’s Luton on Sunday newspaper. The letters to the Editor usually have one or two gems* among them, and this week’s highlight was an intriguing missive by a Mr Ron Turvey of Stanmore Crescent, in which he boldly declares that we have too many people in Luton, and that ‘Luton is full’.

Luton Town Hall

Luton Town Hall

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