Tuesday 31 December 2019

A decade of local films on The Barnet Eye

For Christmas back in 2009,  Mrs T (the missus not the former Prime Minister), bought me a video camera and has been regretting it ever since. Until then, video making and photography wasn't something I'd had too much interest in. I think my nearest and dearest imagined happy videos of the dogs and the kids. Sure, there have been a few, but it opened up a door for me. I started experimenting with editing, making sort films and using the content for my blog. After some early experiments, I realised what a poweeful tool it was. I picked one video a year (apart from a couple of special exceptions).

Here is a chronicle of the film making exploits of the Barnet Eye, by year.

2010 - The first 'proper video' I made was this. I drove to Watford and back on the M1 and shot a few other clips and decided to edit into a video, using a song by my band The False Dots. I chose Paul's Song, a monumental guitar rock instrumental. I really only intended it as an exercise in learning to use a video editor, but it attracted a cult following! The images have a hypnotic effect that works well with the incredible guitar work of Fil Ross on the track. When Paul Hircombe, who wrote the song, died in 2012 it added a touch of poignancy that I hadn't anticipated. Not a bad start relly

2011 - In 2011, Barnet Council shut Church Farmhouse museum in Hendon. I made this video to commemorate this, whilst having a beer with former curator Gerrard Roots. This may well be the video I'm proudest of. It is sad watching it and recalling what our community lost.

In 2011, I also made history. Discovering that Barnet Council had no legal right to prevent people from filming council meetings, and no legal way of stopping people, I filmed at a council meeting. I chose a committee chaired by Hugh Rayner, as I now Hugh is a decent man and would be pragmatic. I now wish I'd chosen another committee as it was a bit uinfair on Hugh, who didn't really deserve this, but the point had to be made and I didn't want someone who'd try and get my camera confiscated. It isn't great, quality, I just wanted to prove the world wouldn't end. The day after the council voted to formally allow residents to video meetings. Hugh said to me after "You know I could have had you arrested", I replied "Actually you couldn't, I'd checked". Sometimes you have to take a risk for democracy.

2012 - In 2012, I collaborated with US film maker Charlie Honderick to make "A Tale of Two Barnets". It was an education working with someone who knew what they were doing and could edit something properly. This is well worth another look. The intro is by Ken Loach. This was covered by both ITV and BBC news and was a high point for community activism locally.

2013 - In 2013, Stan Davison, a contribuitor to A Tale of Two Barnets passed away. I decided to publish the whole interview that Charles Honderick did with him. It is well worth a look. It is lovely to be able to preserve such memories

2014 - In 2014, I decided to make a follow up to A Tale of Two Barnets. We got a bunch of activists to film the theme tune and did a few interviews. Sadly, I couldn't get the backing needed to do the job properly, so I edited up a couple of snippets and the plan was to simply release it as a series of Youtube short films. After the Conservatives won the Council election in 2014, it seemed to me that many local activists lost the energy to fight. Sadly the whole thing fizzled out, but I think the videos we did publish prove we were right, in light of the catastrophic failure of One Barnet.

2015 - In 2015, I put together a video of my band, The False Dots performing my favourite Dots track "Winter in your heart". I think that compositionally this is our best song. It was filmed on my then new ipad, and like many was one I used to teach myself new techniques and really published as an afterthought. It has recvieved a great response, with over 500 views.

2016 - In 2016, we saw the culmination of the Hillsborough enquiry. I felt moved to say what I thought of The Sun newspaper. The band wrote a football anthem, Saturday and I used this as an opportunity to say my piece, as a football supporter and as a human being. Sorry for any naughty words. Not exactly Martin Scorcese but had to be said

2017 - This video sparked an uproar. I noticed a train in some newly installed sidings in Cricklewood. I was intrigued. I had a look at the Barnet Council website and found that the new aggregate depot had no planning permission. So I got the train back, filmed this and then wrote blog. As a result there was uproar and the Council forced DB rail to do the job properly with decent dust and noise suppression in place. I support the concept of moving freight onto rail, so I thought long and hard, but at the end of the day, private companies have to be mindful of the neighbours. This is a great example of what you can do simply by recording something that doesn't look right to you. I'm pleased to say that the depot will be opening soon with proper planning permission

2018 - This was made to help publicise Colindale Foodbank (the Barnet Eye charity of the year). We have supported them for many years and it is vital to spread the word. We also launched the Kick Out Capita campaign, I couldn't decide which was more important, so here are both!

 2019 - So on to 2019. I'll finish with our most recent video. I made this with BBC Radio London Industrial Historian Mark Amies. I think it is a great example of local., low budget, decent quality film making. Interesting and informative.

You can check out all of my videos here. I've enjoyed putting them together. I don't have any pretensions to be a great video maker, but I think they've all achieved something valuable.
https://www.youtube.com/user/RogTex/videos  -That's all folks!

Monday 30 December 2019

2019 - The year in Blogs!

The year is nearly done. It will be interesting to read what the history books make of 2019. It was meant to be the year of #Brexit, but nothing much happened. We had a general election where Boris promised to "get Brexit done" but the first decision he took as to go on holiday for Christmas. To be honest I don't blame him. Of all the sins he will commit this year, going for a rest after a hard election campaign isn't one of them. Prime Ministers are human like the rest of us and need some rest and relaxation. He has a massive majority so he doesn't need to rush around in fear of defections removing his majority. He can do it at his own pace. At this timeand of year I look back, and not in anger, to see what set my blog juices flowing. Here is my pick of the year, month by month


Our big news in January was the development proposal for The Midland Hotel being withdrawn. This was the culmination of a long campaign by the local community, which we paid a key role in. Yet another success for the Barnet Eye -
Announcement from the Save The Midland Hotel Campaign


February saw a guest blog from Mark Amies documenting the decline of Edgware High Street. Mark has campaigned long and hard for The Railway Hotel to be reopened and generally for a better envionment in the area -
Edgware - A suitable case for treatment - A Guest Blog by Mark Amies


In March we reported that Parliament had adopted many of the recommendations we support via the Save London Music Campaign, a movement we helped found

The Save London Music Campaign welcomes Parliamentary report into live music


We like to showcase the good in our area. In April we listed ten sports that you can take part in locally. This was very well received.

The Saturday List #215 - Ten Sports you can participate in in Mill Hill...


The blog this year that I received the most private messages about was our blog detailing how to report historic sex abuse. I was shocked when a close personal friend told me that reading this had lead to a conversation with his adult son, where it emerged that abused had occurred when his son was a child, perpetrated by a family members partner. As a result of my blog, this was referred to the police and the victim has started to have counselling. Sexual abuse is one of the most corrosive things that can happen to anyone as a child. I am so glad I published this

How victims can report historic sexual abuse


In June, we published a world exclusive. We detailed Boris Johnsons plan to push through Brexit. This was before he'd even won the leadership. It is quite spooky reading this.

Exclusive - The insiders guide to how Boris Johnson will save the world


In July, we saw the most popular blog of the year. Long time local resident Richar Wilkinson detailed some of his experiences growing up in Mill Hill in the 1950's. The blog was so popular that Robert Elms on BBC Radio London featured it on his show!

Growing up in Mill Hill in the 1950's - A Guest blog by Richard Wilkinson


This blog started as a result of Barnet Council trying to stop me criticising them on the Barnet Times website, where I used to write a blog. In July they passed a rule gagging not only me but all Barnet residents. This was my first blog of August. It is tragic that the council has even more contempt for local people than it did in 2008 when I started writing the blog. It is all very sad

Barnet Council votes to gag residents and reject a Climate Emergency


In September we published a quite astonishing blog, detailing how the new Thameslink trains do not automatically reboot after a power failure and needed a qualified engineer to restart them. This was uncovered after a network wide power outage decimated services.

Why Thameslink's new trains can't cope with a power outage


In October we saw the Diamond Anniversary of Motown records. It gave me a chance to pick my top ten Motown tunes. Motown started in Detriot and the name Motown is an abbreviation of Motor Town as there was a huge car industry in Detriot. As my Dad worked in car repairs, I felt a special affinity. Guest blogger Mark Amies wrote an amazing article for The Londonist on how London was Europe's motor City, well worth a read!

The Saturday List #235 - My Top Ten Motown Tunes


November was pretty much dominated by the General Election. However the Remembrance Sunday blog, about how my Father was shot down over Rumania in 1944 flying a bombing mission for the RAF will always be special to me

Remembrance Sunday, Recalling the sacrifice of the RAF, my Father and his crew


And finally. Just as we started the year with a Mark Amies guest blog, we finish with one. His amazing chronicle of the story of Airco, the worlds largest aircraft factory, in Colindale, during the first world war.

Still Standing – Colindale’s Hidden Aircraft Factory - A guest film and blog by Mark Amies

I found this footage of the first "deluxe" flight from Hendon on Pathe News. Strange to think this was over 100 years ago. I can't say what 2020 will be like, but I promise to try and keep you informed and make it interesting. Have a great new year.

Have a great New Year!

Sunday 29 December 2019

The Tweets of the year in the London Borough of Barnet - 2019

Continuing our annual tradition of revisiting the year, we pick a tweet from each month to compile our selection. There have been some amazing tweets this year. In keeping with the festive mood, I've picked a fairly upbeat selection, which I hope you enjoy.

January - This week, foxes in gardens have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Back in January Angela posted this lovely shot from her back garden in Mill Hill East. I can't understand why people anyone would be anything other than revolted by acts of brutality towards animals.

@SundayBrunchC4 urban foxes have a den in the bushes at the side of our flat and come out to sit on the grass right outside our door! (Mill Hill East)
View image on Twitter
See Angela PJ's other Tweets

February - In February we had this excellent tweet from Vaughan Bell, enlightening us on a little piece of Golders Green history, of which I was completely unawae

Monument to the pioneering psychologist of sexuality Havelock Ellis and his wife, campaigner Edith Ellis, in Golders Green Crematorium, London
View image on Twitter
See Vaughan Bell's other Tweets

March - Now if this tweet doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will. I must confess these officers are far braver than me, I won't go near swans!

April - As spring took hold, Cricklewood looked glorious!

Not been to Cricklewood in a long time and these sheep outside @BandQ made me giggle. They're so awesome!
View image on Twitter
See Kelly's other Tweets

May - In May we had a solemn pause in memory of those who lost their lives in the holocaust. By remembering, we seek to stop that path being taken again.

Tonight we lit this in memory for Alex Weijel of Enschede aged 2 who perished in Aushwitz in 1942, one of the many people who perished during the holocaust. @YellowCandleUK

Remembering all who were murdered, jews, gay people, romanys and many more.
View image on Twitter
See Inside Mill Hill's other Tweets

June - There was a right royal Battle in Barnet in June!

July - I'm biased. I love a proper record shop. Great tweet!

One of my favourite things about East Finchley is the lovely independent cd shop that’s still going
View image on Twitter
See Sarah Crook's other Tweets

August - In August this band started to make a name for themselves, despite being nameless!

‘The Pretender’ Foo Fighters cover age 10-12. Skills learnt from a jam session - teamwork, creativity, improvisation, discipline, responsibility and how to have fun the old fashioned way! @foofighters @MillHillMusicCo @youthmusic https://youtu.be/F5H0fwHu2h8 
See Nameless's other Tweets

September - In September we were introduced to Mill Hill's magic mushroom tree!

October - In October, the Mill Hill Litter Pickers made the news!

November - In November, Mill Hill got a brand new telescope for its observatory

See Giorgio Savini's other Tweets

December - And lastly, in December, Rob Morel posted this fascinating picture of the gradient of the Midland Mainline, that shows it passing through Cricklewood, Hendon and Mill Hill. I hadn't realised that St Albans was so much higher than Mill Hill until I saw this

Hey @HiPa1973 - Any Idea How Fast You Are entitled to go from BDM To Luton Airport Parkway On A HST ?🤔😊

That's all folks!