Friday, 19 September 2014

Celebrate the harvest with Lancaster's Local Food Month

Click image for the Food Month programme
October is the season of fruitfulness and harvests and this year it will also be Lancaster's first Local Food Month, featuring a month of free events, talks and tours, held in venues throughout Lancaster and celebrating Lancaster's local food movement. 

Coordinated by Transition City Lancaster, and organised by an array of local community groups and organisations, there should be something to tempt everyone. As the Incredible Edible group says, “if you eat, you’re in!”

Here are a few tasty teasers: a Forage walk, a Pot Luck evening, Tree planting, Community food cycle tour, Seed library launch, seed bombing, talks on exciting new projects hoping to make the buying and eating of local food* more easy...

You can view the full programme as a pdf here or find the 'Food Month' events on our Virtual-Lancaster events calendar.

Local Food Assembly Plans
On Wednesday 1st October from 7.30pm at the Quaker Meeting House you can find out about plans to set up a local food assembly in Lancaster.  This is a new way of buying and selling food where you can buy local food directly from farmers and food producers online and collect it from a local venue where you can also meet the people who made it! Check out Lancaster Food Assembly on facebook.

The first Food Assembly took place in France in 2011 and there are now over 500 across France, Belgium and Spain.  Joanne Halliwell is organising a Food Assembly for the Lancaster area to make local food more accessible to those of  us who are at work during the week, and to help build connections with our local producers. Come along  and find out what it involves.   Bring questions and ideas for how we can make Lancaster’s Food Assembly fit our local needs and preferences.

Growing Our Local Food Economy
Local sustainability champion LESS UK is a Lancaster based not-for-profit organisation that has put together an online directory of local food producers (you can see it here) and is in the process of launching a new project called  GOLFE - the Growing Our Local Food Economy project.

The GOLFE project aims, to support people living in the Lancaster district to buy and eat more local food and you can find out more about all this at the ‘Reclaiming Our Food System debate’ on October 23rd at 7pm at the Storey.

LESS would like to find out about your experiences and what might be done to help you eat more local food. They have put together a survey and would greatly appreciate it if people could take a moment or two to complete it online here.

*'Local food' means food grown, produced or processed within a 20 mile radius of Lancaster. This includes Blackpool, Garstang, Ingleton and South Lakeland. Local food also includes food grown by you at home. 

Bands at the Brewery rock up for charity

On Saturday 4 October from 7.30pm, local charity Thumbprint is hosting Bands at the Brewery at Lancaster Brewery, raising funds to cover essential overhead costs at their base at Cornerstone 
in Lancaster.  On the bill are four up-and-coming northern bands: The Alleys, The Hymek, mylittlebrother and The Unsung. With a variety of rock, indie, funk and acoustic music it'll be a great night out!

This fun and friendly night will give you the chance to sample some Lancashire ales and ciders fresh from the tap, tuck into local food and listen to a festival of Northern musical talent. All while raising money for a very useful cause.

Thumbprint is a Lancaster based charity that was established in 2002. They work to help people with learning difficulties to set up and run projects, develop their employability skills and have fun! 

Current projects run by members with the support of Thumbprint are: an ink cartridge recycling company, a social enterprise project that makes custom mosaic signs and a food growing project on land made available by Lancaster Brewery, which is based at Lancaster Leisure Park on Wyresdale Road, LA1 3LA.
Tickets are £15 (£10 Concessions)* and include two Lancaster Brewery Beer / soft drink Vouchers and Fish & Chips (Vegetarian, gluten free and alternative 'chip shop' options are also available). 

You can buy tickets: in person from Lancaster Visitor Information Centre and Lancaster Brewery, and 
online (plus £1.50bf) at, or by phone on 01524 582394.Find Thumbprint online:, @thumbprintteam, and

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Sunday Assembly Lancaster relaunches - Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More

On September 28 the Sunday Assembly Lancaster will become one of 100 Sunday Assemblies across the globe meeting simultaneously. They'll be getting together at 11am at the Gregson Centre and the month's theme will be ‘Gathering’.

In particular they'll be gathering donations and useful items for Lancaster Women’s Shelter [see list of useful items below].

Sunday Assembly is a non-religious group that meets once a month to hear short inspiring talks, sing secular (non-religious) songs together, drink tea and eat cake (please feel free to bake / bring cake to share :-), and to build a community – families are welcome.

It's a cultural phenomenon started in London by stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans. The Sunday Assembly motto is: Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More. Anyone is welcome – and the content is purely secular (no references to god), but people of any religion are also invited to join.

To find out more visit their facebook page or call James on 01524 35757.

List of particularly useful items for Women's Shelter:
- Second hand women's clothes
- food treats such as biscuits, chocolates
- shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, bubble bath,
- unwanted birthday and christmas pressies (not wrapped as they will unwrap everything when it arrives so they can give it to the most appropriate person)
-seconds hand pans, plates, bowls, cutlery, towels, single bedding
- new underwear (all sizes and styles!)
- new nightwear
- new gifts for children such as children's bubble bath, colouring sets etc, (no second hand children's toys)

From October (19) onwards the Assembly will meet at the Gregson at 11am on the third Sunday of every month.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Dock of the Bay Music Festival 2014 at Glasson this Saturday

This Saturday 20 September sees the Dock of the Bay Festival 2014 bring 12+ hours of music to Glasson Dock. From 12 noon to 6.45pm the Melodrome Stage will sit in a handy field exhibiting an eclectic line-up of popular performers from near and far - as can be seen in the line-up below - and from 6pm until whenever there will be music in Glasson Village Hall from an excellent line-up, including Emma and the Professor and the very, very funny Captain Hotknives.

We are still trying to find out the deal regarding tickets (and will update here when we do) but I wouldn't worry about it. In previous years it has been donations-based (£5 - £10) for music events and camping, with monies raised going towards the upkeep of the village hall.

Speaking of camping, there will be camping from Friday until Sunday, food, jam sessions of various genres, a bonfire and considerable bucolic joie-de-vivre and conviviality. Here's the line-up:

Melodrome Stage

12pm 78s
12.30pm Chas Ambler
12.50pm Carole MacMillan
1.05pm Maudlin Hertz
1.30pm Freya Daisy
1.55pm Paul Pearson
2.20pm Ronnie French
2.40pm plus Laura Andrews
2.50pm Laura Andrews quartet
3.10pm Matt Cowe
3.35pm Hiroshima Twinkie
4.00pm Jay Blackburn
4.25pm Chas Ambler
4.45pm tbc
5.00pm Sam Johnston Ensemble
5.25pm Mini-king
5.50pm Trevor Meaney
6.00pm Paddy Rogan
6.25pm My friend and I

line up for the village hall (pm)
6.00 - 6.25 Dead Republic
6.40 - 7.05 Antivist
7.15 - 7.40 Ark
7.50 - 815 Hairpiece Suite
8.30 - 8.55 Owen Saunders
9.10 - 9.45 Emma and the Professor
9.55 - 10.30 Captain Hotknives
10.40 - 11.20 Guns of Navarone
11.30 till they drop: Convulsions

Local Cinema Round-Up for 17th to 25th September by Peter Clarke

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

We have three new releases during this period. There is drama with The Riot Club (15), action/adventure with A Walk Among the Tombstones (15), and science fiction with The Giver (12A). In addition we see the return of three favourites. Animation with Frozen & Wreck-it Ralph, comedy with Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie.

We have lost the horror film As Above, So Below and the excellent Maleficent. In addition it is likely that The Inbetweeners 2 and The Nut Job will soon cease to be screened.

Recommended for high culture is Madame Butterfly; Salome & Wilde Salome and RSC Encore: The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Given the dearth of main stream horror films at the moment, there is a welcome screening of the Gothic masterpiece from the 1920s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari at the Dukes.


A Most Wanted Man
Director: Anton Corbijn
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Rachel McAdams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe, Grigoriy Dabrygin
The film is an adaptation of John le Carre's novel of the same name and is also the last role of the late Philip Hoffman. Gunther Bachmann (Hoffman) is an intelligence officer working in Hamburg who becomes aware of a tortured half Chechen half Russian immigrant Issar Karpov (Dabrygin) who has arrived in Hamburg to claim asylum and seek his fathers fortune. However is the immigrant a victim or is he a terrorist? If the latter could he be played to lead the security forces to others higher in the terrorist chain? Hoffman steals much of the film with his world weary character and the movie unfolds by covert meetings and dark conversations. This is an intricate, well directed, gripping espionage film.

A Walk Among The Tombstones
Director: Scott Frank
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Liam Neeson, Ruth Wilson, David Harbour, Robert Boyd Holbrook, Dan Stevens, Adam David Thompson, Brian Bradley
Set in 1999 and based on the tenth book in Lawrence Block's best selling crime series. Matt Scudder (Neeson) used to be an alcoholic police officer until a disastrous shootout caused him to give up both. Now he works as an unlicensed private eye and, with some reluctance, he agrees to help find the men who kidnapped and killed the wife of a drug trafficker (Stevens). Scudder discovers the kidnappers are serial killers and, helped by a homeless teenager (Bradley), who acts as his apprentice he tracks them down. Neeson gives a strong performance in this atmospheric thriller. There are quite a few sub plots during the course of this movie as it builds to up a violent conclusion. A fine film.

Before I Go to Sleep
Director: Rowan Joffe
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Anne-Marie Duff, Mark Strong
A movie based on the best selling 2011 book by S J Watson. Christine Lucas (Kidman) suffered a head trauma thirteen years ago, with the consequence that she starts each day with no memories of the past thirteen years. She does not recognise her husband, her doctor nor even her own face. To try make sense of her world, she starts to keep a video diary and in this way can begin to get some continuity in her thoughts. However this reveals that her husband Ben (Firth) and her doctor (Strong) are concealing something from her. This film is a psychological thriller which successfully builds suspense with twists to the plot and some false trails. An enjoyable thriller.

Earth to Echo
Director: Dave Green
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Teo Halm, Ella Linnea Wahlestedt, Reese C. Hartwig, Jason Gray-Stanford
A construction project is destroying a neighbourhood when a group of friends start to receive strange signals on their phones. They search for the origin of the signals and discover an alien who has become trapped on earth. The film tells the story of the youngsters as they battle the government and help the alien return to his home. It is hard not to compare this film with 'E.T.' However the movie is really about the youthful friendships rather than an extra-terrestrial. A entertaining if rather average family film.

Director: Chris Buck
Certificate PG
Cast Includes Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad,Alan Tudyk, Jonathan Groff
This Disney musical animation is loosely based on the fairy tale 'The Snow Queen' who has condemned a kingdom to eternal winter. It is up to Anna (sister to the snow queen) and a loner Kristoff to undertake an epic journey to find the Snow Queen and convince her to lift the icy spell. This is a magical movie destined to become a classic. It will appeal to families and children of all ages.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Michael Rooker, Lee Pace
An action packed space adventure from Marvel. Adventurer Peter Quill (Pratt) steals a mysterious artifact which is wanted by the villain Ronan (Pace) who wishes to use it to destroy the planet of Xandar. This forces Quill into a truce with a group of misfits (including Rocket a talking raccoon and groot a walking tree) who find they must make a stand to determine the fate of the galaxy. This is a very 'busy' film with lots of spectacular action, plenty of great characters, great one liners and lots of jokes. The plot seemed a little convoluted, but just go with it and enjoy the action. The movie does not take itself very seriously and will be loved by teenagers and adults alike.

Director: Luc Besson
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman
Lucy (Johansson), a rather average American woman visiting Taiwan, is kidnapped by gangsters, abused and made to smuggle an experimental new drug which is sewn into her stomach. However a beating received by one of the gangsters causes the bag to rupture and she absorbs the drug, with the effect of increasing the efficiency of her brain. This leads her to outgrow her physical and mental limitations as she develops vast intellect and formidable psychic powers. Lucy can now take her revenge. This is a fun film with the story told from Lucy's point of view. However as her powers develop the revenge part of the movie becomes very one sided and the film sacrifices action sequences for a quest to understand her evolution into something that is beyond human.

Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
Director: Ben Kellett
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Brendan O'Carroll
Agnes Brown (O'Carroll) is a market trader who finds her livelihood under threat from a property developer. Supported by her family she embarks on a crusade to save her stall. This is a movie adaption of the well known and much loved BBC comedy and was extremely successful in its opening weekend. The film is a very capable comedy that captures the spirit of the TV series.

Director: Matthew Warchus
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Bill Nighty, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton Joe Gilgun, Ben Schnetzer
The film is based on a true story and is set in the summer of 1984 during the miners strike. Mark Ashton, a member of a London based gay and lesbian group organises a collection for the miners. However when the group came to offer the donation, they were rebuffed due to prejudice (the AIDs epidemic is one of the backdrops to the film). The group therefore decide to bus to a mining village in the Welsh Dulais Valley to make the donation personally. This movie is played for laughs. It is an excellent comedy supported by an excellent cast and it explores the clash of two very different cultures.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Director: Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez
Certificate: 18
Cast includes: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke, Eva Green, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Powers Boothe, Clive Owen
It has been nine years since the initial Sin City was released, based on the graphic novels of Frank Miller. This film has the same spirit (and some of the same characters) as the original and again is shot in black and white (relieved with effective splashes of colour). It is shot in a style half way between live action and animation. The film comprises a couple of interlocking narratives. There is the return of Senator Roark (Boothe) which gives some of the characters motive for revenge. Also there is the relationship between Dwight McCarthy (Owen) and his ex Ava (Green) who gets him to commit murder. The film has an impressive cast, nudity and stylised violence as it explores power and its abuse.

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Certificate: PG
Cast Includes: Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon
A Walt Disney adaptation of the 2010 novel by Richard C Morais. The Kadam's are an Indian family that were displaced due to political rioting. They arrive at a quaint but rather conservative French Village and decide to open an Indian Restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. However just across the road is a classical, Michelin starred restaurant Le Saule Pleureur run by Madame Mallory (Mirren). This leads to fall-outs and ultimately sabotage between the two institutions. Meanwhile Hassan (Dayal) the master cook of the Indian restaurant begins a flirtation with Marguerite (Le Bon), the sous chef of Mme Mallory's restaurant. This is a well acted and endearing movie with plenty of laughs. Entertaining but lacking suspense.

The Nut Job
Director: Peter Lepeniotis
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl
Set in the 1950s, this animation follows the adventures of Surly the squirrel who, with his friend Buddy the rat, plan to steal from Maury's Nut shop. However the shop proves to be a front for gangsters who are planning to rob the nearby bank. This combination leads to action, car chases jokes and general mayhem. This is an inoffensive film that will amuse children but leave parents a little bored. An enjoyable romp, but not destined to be a cartoon classic.

Wreck it Ralph
Director: Rich Moore
Certificate: PG
Film animation starring video game characters. Wreck it Ralph rebels against continually being the bad guy and being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix. He jumps into different video games to prove himself a hero. He meets a champion (Sargent Calhoun) from a first person action game and the trouble-making Vanellope von Schweetz from a racing game. Ralph inadvertently unleashes the enemy of the arcade and must strive to made amends. This film is a great and very enjoyable piece of hokum. Kids will be enthralled and computer gamers will revel in the in-jokes and gaming references.