Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Barnets newest Library and newest Music studio

Yesterday was a proud day for me. I opened a new studio complex in Mill Hill. This is the culmination of 33 years of hard work. It is a vicious irony that it opened three days after the death of one of the guys who helped me get it off the ground and supported me in musical career over the last 33 years. Still, wherever Paul is now, I'm sure he's tinged with pride. It may (or may not) surprise readers of the Barnet Eye that I am a successful businessman. I hope that it comes as no surprise that I believe that companies have a strong social responsibility to their staff, their community and especially the young people in our community who have less opportunity than the rest of us.

Stuart, Adam and Darren posing
Let me tell you a few things about my staff. I employ nine people, mostly part time. Two of my staff joined the company after long periods of unemployment due to severe industrial injuries. Both were unable to work in their former professions. Another member of my staff , who has worked for me for 12 years, originally started on "work experience" from the former Edgware School (now London Academy).  He was unhappy at school and at 14 was severely struggling. The school sent him to us as a last resort. He has become a massive asset. He is a talented musician and went to night school, gaining the qualifications he missed out on at school. He is now a qualified professional and works for us evenings and weekends. Another of my staff is a student at University, who works evenings and weekends, so that he doesn't have to rely on debts and loans.

I suspect that some employers would not have even bothered looking at these talented people.  They would have missed out on fantastic assets to their company. All of these guys along with the rest of the staff have, made a vital contribution to my business and on such a proud day I pay tribute to them.

We also support other businesses and people who are doing great things in the community. I am proud that the first session in the new complex was run by SoundSkool. This organisation provides music training for young people, free of charge. They are offering a ten week course in DJ'ing, MC'ing, Rapping, Music Technology, Singing and band skills. SoundSkool is the brainchild of inspirational Simon Gordon, who has spent years building his organisation. These courses have generously been funded by - who have sponsored the scheme. I must also pay tribute to the Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Lisa Rutter who has been a staunch supporter of Simon Gordon and Soundskool.

Sound Skool tutors meet the kids
Yesterday saw the first day of the new Soundskool term. The young people were inducted and met the tutors. Although my contribution to the scheme is merely to rent Simon a studio or two and give him a bit of a discount, I am so proud to be associated with the project.

The picture to the left shows Simon meeting the 30 or so young people who enrolled for the scheme. His team of tutors are pictured with him. I'm so pleased that these guys were the first people into the new studios.

The new shop
You can find out more about my studios at I don't use this blog to flog my business usually, but I'm sure you can understand how proud I am of what we've achieved. As well as music rehearsal and recording, we sell musical instruments. We will also be opening a video and multimedia suite at the complex in MAy, with Greenscreen and a hard infinity wall.  We have had masses of interest, following our wraparound on the press newspapers.

The extensive selection of books
And so on to the other grand opening in the London Borough of Barnet.

Yesterday also saw the opening of Barnets newest library at the Arts Depot at Tally Ho Corner, Finchley. It was quipped that this was the second of my two openings in a day in the Borough. Somone  suggested that this was the response of Barnet Council to the opening of the peoples Library at Friern Barnet, initiated by this blog.

The childrens reading area
I am always pleased to see the opening of a new library and this one is no exception. It has been criticised for "having less books than the peoples library". To me this misses the point. I like libraries of all shapes and sizes. I'd like to see a small library like this in every town centre, working with the larger 'landmark' libraries.  As this library was my illegitimate child, I had to be present at it's birth. Sadly, rather like many illegitimate babies in the Victorian Era, it's birth was greeted with a degree of embarrassment. There was no grand fanfare, no proud Robert Rams beaming saying what a fine achievement it was. I turned up expecting sandwiches and champagne at 2pm. Sadly, I was alone. No press, no crowds, just me a librarian borrowed from Church End library and a Barnet Council manager.

The noticeboard
To mark the event I asked if I could take a few pictures. "No, you have to arrange this in advance, anyway who are you and why do you want to take pictures" was the stern answer. I responded "I'm Roger Tichborne from the Barnet Eye. I thought you'd want to publicise the opening and I formally request that you let me take a few pictures in five minutes time, is that possible". Mrs Manager from Barnet was suddenly a bit more helpful (must be my twinkly blue eyes and naughty grin). She said "I'll see what can be done" Off she trotted. This allowed me to have my wicked way with the rather nice librarian (no not like that, you have a filthy mind).

Without the boss around (smart move that), I was able to have a friendly chat. She told me that the librarians from Church End library will be working a rota to cover the arts depot. It also transpired that the librarians at the Arts Depot don't have access to the Boroughs Library cataloging system. And where are the crowds? At this Mrs Manager returned. She suddenly realised her schoolboy error in leaving me alone with her librarian. She said 'you can take pictures of the library, but not any of the people here'. I said "There aren't any apart from you. Can I take your picture?" She said "No". I said "surely you should be proud to be opening a new library?" She retorted "no pictures"

The only signage for the opening
I then pointed out that there was no proper signage and there had been no proper signage. She retorted "We didn't have much time to plan the opening". I said "How long?" She replied "I can't say?". I said "Were you planning it before you shut Friern Library?". This is the money question. She knew it. "No, we were not allowed to". At this I smiled, yup, no DNA test needed, this Library is my baby. Conceived by this blog in a drunken throw of passion on the night of the closure of Friern Library. It's not Robert Rams baby, although he may like to think he's the Dad. I snuck in and had my wicked way with her Mum, Friern Library, whilst he was out with his mate Brian Coleman putting up parking charges.

Barnet Council may not want you to know about it, there were no signs up to announce the launch. They may not want to have an opening party. But this library, like her Mum down at Friern, are community assets. Me and her mum  (Mrs Friern Barnet library) love our baby. And the people of Friern Barnet love her mum, so the next job is to get that library reopened. Tally Ho Library is like a tiny little baby, it needs loving and nurturing, to find her place in society. Her mum is a fiesty, wicked woman who refuses to die.

And I give you this guarantee. I will fight to the end for all my girls !!!!!!!

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