Friday, 1 May 2009

Spotlight's Big May Moving Storey

After 13 years at The Yorkshire House, Lancaster's live-writing cabaret, Spotlight, is moving to the newly re-modelled Storey in Meeting House Lane, which has become a centre for the local creative industries.

"The Storey's Litfest auditorium is a 'black box' but just like at Christmas it's not the box, it's what's in it that is important - and what's in this black box is dynamic space - a space in which anything can happen, a space in which people are free to experiment, revel in creativity and take on the challenge of the unknown for themselves and audiences," say Ron Baker and Sarah Fiske, Spotlight's Co-ordinators.

Spotlight, funded by Arts Council England and supported by Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council, is a forum for the Northwest's developing creative talent to perform and experiment with new work. The event gives a platform to poets, writers, comedians and musicians on the third Friday of every month. It's a dynamic platform on which a wide variety of aspiring writers are positively encouraged to experiment with words, music and performance. Spotlight is a place of ideas, always on the hunt for new and original performers at it's Open Mic spots.

"We may experience some teething problems, it's a brand new venue after all", say the Co-ordinators, "but that just adds to the excitement and improvisational unpredictability of Spotlight."

The first Storey event (15th May) will be Spotlight's first gig in its new home features the usual mix of new and established talents. Following an Open Mic session, writer Hendryk Korzeniowski has performed at the Spotlight before with the occasional monologue. Although generally someone who works hard at being idle, reaching the top 10 of Channel Four's playwriting competition 'The Play's the Thing' has broadened his horizons somewhat and tonight he'll be reading a new short story.

Poet Rosie Robinson grew up in the Lancaster area, works locally, and says she loves anything new. She made her first appearance at the Open Mic back in December and took part in the Spotlight Slam in February. As well as writing poetry she writes songs and sing a bit as well. "'I just about manage to keep the windows intact'," she jokes.

However, at Spotlight she'll be concentrating on poetry, as will newcomer Mark Charlesworth, who makes his Spotlight debut withnew material from his forthcoming second book, In Memory of Real Trees - a collection which focuses around the small moments of light amidst the often dark and chaotic world of ordinary life - together with more familiar selections from his first collection, Sunrise and Shorelines.

Chris Newton (aka Mr Weird) completes the prose and poetry perfomer section while music is provided by Arlen Connelly and Blanket Apology. Arlen made his Spotlight debut at the Open Mic last month playing a stunning five minute set if classical guitar and was an immediate hit with the audience. Based in Preston he plays a mix of established and self-penned pieces and reveals he's also been known to do the odd Jake Thackery number.

Blanket Apology offer an eclectic mix of blues, classics and originals. The band was formed in October 2008 after the members collaborated to perform a short set at a tribute concert in Southport in memory of musician, writer, poet and actor Dave Hockley. Orchestrated by Mick Cooper, Dave's friends, colleagues and acquaintances performed in a show and entertained the audience with the man's music, songs and poetry.

Compered by John Freeman, doors open at 8.30pm with Open Mic between 8.45 - 9.15pm. Admission £4 / £2 (conc). If you're interested in making an Open Mic performance, please contact Spotlight in advance via

• Web Link :

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Don't Lose Your Vote: Reminder To Register

Lancaster City Council is reminding people who have not yet registered to vote that time is running out if they want to make their mark in this year’s local elections.

The deadline for applications to be included on the Register of Electors in time for the local elections on 4th June is 5.00pm on Tuesday 19th May. Anyone registered after this time will not be able to vote in the elections for Lancashire County Council, Morecambe Parish Council and the European Parliament.

If you are not sure if you are registered to vote, call Lancaster City Council’s electoral services team on 01524 582905 who will be able to check for you. Registration forms can be downloaded from, or by contacting the electoral services team.

You can’t vote if you’re not registered, and contrary to popular belief, you won’t be automatically registered even if you pay council tax. Registering is particularly important for anyone who has recently moved home – if they do not register at their new address they risk falling off the electoral register.

19th May is also the deadline for registering for a postal vote and to do that you must complete an application form. Email giving your name and address, or telephone the elections helpline on 01524 582905, to have one posted out to you.

You must return the application form by 19th May to secure your postal vote for the elections on 4th June.

M6:50 Exhibition Arrives at City Museum

The 50th anniversary of the motorway exhibition sponsored by the Highways Agency opens in Lancaster City Museum on Saturday 2 May.

The exhibition, titled M6:50, created by Lancashire County Council with funding from the Agency to mark the opening of the country's first motorway - the M6 Preston bypass on 5 December 1959 - also features the Lancaster bypass.

The exhibition was opened in Preston in November last year by County Councillor Alan Whittaker and Highways Agency Area Performance Manager Bob Baldwin.

It describes how the motorway was built, and includes stories from people who remember Preston bypass being opened and a look at life before the motorway. Visitors can even grab a cup of tea in a replica of one of the first motorway service areas at Forton.

"I know the exhibition has been popular in Preston so I am pleased that people in North Lancashire can now see the pioneering work that went on to build the country's first motorway," commented David Grunwell, Highways Agency North West Divisional Director. "The Highways Agency - as operator of the motorway network - is proud to be the main sponsor of the exhibition. We are looking forward to another 50 successful years working to ensure a safe, reliable and sustainable network for road users and we hope visitors will enjoy looking back at how the motorway network, which is so crucial to our economy, was born."

The first stretch of the M6 - the Preston Bypass - was opened by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 5th December 1958, the first stretch of motorway in Britain. Work on the 11 mile Lancaster bypass began in July 1957 and it was completed in April 1960. It includes 27 bridges, the most familiar being the 400 foot long crossing of the River Lune.

Preston bypass and Lancaster bypass were joined in 1965 making 111 continuous miles of M6 from Stafford to Carnforth.

• M6:50 will be at the Market Square Museum between Saturday 2 May and Saturday 29 August from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Earhtquake Hits Lancaster

Lancaster and Morecambe residents were rocked by an earthquake this morning, but it was Ulverston that took the brunt of the tremors.

The earthquake hit at about 11.20am, prompting phone calls to local police. The British Geological Society said the earthquake originated at Ulverston in Cumbria and recorded 3.7 magnitude on the Richter Scale.

The BGS operates a network of seismograph stations throughout the UK to monitor both natural and man-made seismic disturbances on a long-term basis.

The Lancashire Evening Post and the BBC reported the quake was reportedly mainly felt around the Kendal, Windermere, Thornton Cleveleys, Morecambe, Barrow, Fleetwood and Lancaster areas.

There were no initial reports of damage or injuries, but Frank McCall, of Grange over Sands, told the BBC he felt the house shake.

"At first I thought a lorry had hit. I went outside and noticed neighbours were also on their doorsteps looking a bit bewildered.

"There hasn't been any damage that I can see, but it was quite frightening."

Morecambe resident Richard Henderson told Sky News the tremor lasted between five and 10 seconds and it was "strong enough to shake the rooms in the house," he said.

Jane Barker told the news channel she was at work in Lancaster when it felt as though a "van had hit my building".

The Geological Society says the UK experiences an earthquake of this size roughly once every year and they rarely cause any damage. The map above, created by the BGS, features recent local quakes.

Send your experience of the earthquake to the BGS

More information about earthquake intensity in the UK here

Map of local earthquakes on the British Geological Survey site

• Quick Data on the quake from the BGS:
Origin date/time: Tuesday 28 Apr 2009 11:22:09 GMT
Location: Ulverston, Cumbria 4 Felt Cumbria, Lancashire
Lat/long: 54.167,-3.017
Depth: 8.8km
Magnitude: 3.7 ML

Potts Pies Pip Premiere Rivals

Potts Pies have beaten nearly all the opposition in one man's solo survey of football ground pies, with Morecambe's half time fare proving a better meal than anything Manchester United or Chelsea could serve up.

22-year-old author Tom Dickinson, from Harpenden, Hertfordshire, has travelled the country sampling pies at 91 of the 92 football league grounds, and feels Potts Pies were by far the best on offer.

His findings for a new book, 92 Pies, the result of a year's pie research, seemed to be borne out when he appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning, as presenters Kate Silverton, Bill Turnbull and Chris Hollins all tucked hungrily into the provided samples.

Ian has spent some £3000 on his quest for the perfect pie, sometimes attending six matches a week, with only Bolton Wanderers' fare yet to be sampled - the team he supports. Tom told BBC Breakfast he thought it only fitting he leave his team's food until last as he works to complete his book - and will be doing that this Saturday at the Reebok Stadium.

The BBC Breakfast team clearly enjoyed their Potts Pie feast. While Kate Silverton admitted it might seem a little early to be tucking into pies she pointed out she had actually been up for hours and proved unable to resist the Morecambe offering.

Potts Pies have long supplied their tasty treats to famished football fans at Morecambe FC as well as from their shops in Lancaster and Morecambe. They've also perfected a vegetarian alternative to their more famous meat dish and after careful testing we can confirm that the cheese onion and broccoli, cheese onion and potato and butter pies are delicious.

Tom argues lower league clubs serve up the better pies. "'They definitely have much better pies and you also meet much more interesting people,' he told Metro this week. His girlfriend, who doesn't enjoy football, has also been supportive of his travels – and is still with him for one good reason.

"Fortunately I've not put on that much weight," he said.

So if Tom's favourite pie so far is at Christie Park, what's the worst? "That's got to be Walsall,' he feels. "It didn't have much heat or meat in the middle."

BBC newscasters are legendary for their love of pies. Earlier this month, the Radio 4 Today programme tucked into its own "breakfast pie" after the first ever British Pie Competition.

In January, BBC News noted that tough times may lie ahead for the food industry in 2009, but pie-makers reckoned they would ride out the recession. Holland's Pies, based in Baxenden, Lancashire, predicted further growth as hard-up families turn to "staple favourites".

"In the last recession the pie business boomed because a proper pie or pudding is substantial, familiar and nutritious," said Managing Director Neil Court-Johnston, who claimed the pie industry had "boomed" during the last recession.

"Better still, a pie or pudding meal provides fantastic value for money."

Potts Pies Shops - Courtesy of Google Maps

Pott's Pies - Morecambe
1 Anderton Street, Morecambe Tel: 01524 402481

Potts Pies - Bolton-le-Sands
Main Rd, Bolton-le-Sands Tel: 01524 822255

Pott's Pies - Bowerham
56 Bowerham Road, Lancaster‎. Tel: 01524 65834

More News Stories
Metro: Fottball fan eats all the pies
The Bolton News: Bolton's fan's taste of 92 football grounds

Monday, 27 April 2009

Morecambe Artist Opens Studio to Public

Morecambe artist Joseph Cowell will opens his studio space to the public this weekend.

Situated at the Qsand Art Centre, Joseph will be opening his studio to the public on Saturday 2nd May from 10-00am to 4-00pm where he will be showing a small exhibit of his work including both drawing and media exploring the body image.

Refreshments and nibbles will be available. The Studio can be also open other times during the week for viewing , email

• The Qsand Art Centre is situated at No. 1 Deansgate, Morecambe. Joe's studio is on the third floor. Web Link: