Friday, 26 April 2013

More May Day Music!

More bands have been announced for this year's Lightwoods Park May Day Festival Main Stage and as long as the weather behaves itself, it's going to be a wonderful afternoon.
Colin Hall's Gypsy Blood


There's the folking brilliant Colin Hall's Gypsy Blood, skafunkpunkreggage rockers 360 (we do love them!) and Soldier who would definitely give Liam Gallagher and Paul Weller a run for their money!

Our first port of call has to be the Ale bus...can't wait to try a pint of the Sandwell Strongman!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

May The Jazz Be With You!

Here's our taster of what's on at Silvershine Jazz Club over the next month or so.....nice!

Steve King Big Band with Lynn Dawes -  this Thursday (25th April)
(Lynn comes to Bearwood all the way from the US of A!)

Reuben James - 9th May

Tim Amann Trio - 16th May

Arabella Sprott Quartet - 30th May

Silvershine Jazz Club hold their legendary jazz nights at Corks (558 Bearwood Road)  every Thursday, so if you've not been yet... we insist you do

Monday, 22 April 2013

Allo Allo!

Want to have your say? You'll be able to chat with Sandwell Superintendent, Bas Javid, and ask him any questions about policing in Sandwell this Wednesday (24th April) at 5.30pm. 

To get involved visit the West Midlands Police website and Facebook page for more details. Clever stuff......this internet!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Blooming Bearwood!

Now that Spring has finally arrived and we've recovered from the arctic colds of last month, we've got some great news to share with our green fingered friends.

Due to popular demand Andrew's Plants have returned to Bearwood High Street and will be selling their plants outside of St Mary's Church every Friday and Saturday once again. We've definitely missed them!

It seems perfect timing that the Bearwood’s Best Front Garden Competition 2013, Let's Get Bearwood Blooming, has started too.

Caroline Jariwala, Bearwood's Mosiac Maker, sent us a photo of her front garden. Caroline told us that her front garden was planted in Autumn 2012 using the colours of the suffragette movement - green, white and violet. GWV also stood for Give Women Votes ....clever eh? Caroline's house was built circa 1906 during the heyday of the Suffragettes so it seemed the perfect theme.

The plants include Euphorbia, Lavender, Chocolate hollyhock, Penstomen, Chocolate mint, Alliums, 2 white roses, Black tulips,white, buddleja.

For more details about the competition, please visit our Bearwood Blooms page.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Storytelling for Bearwood

If you’ve not been to Utter Bearwood's Storytelling Cafe before, then this is the one for you! Come and see the last of the National Headliners of the Story Telling season.

Thimblemill Library will be going all medieval for the night as Dave Tonge the Yarnsmith of Norwich will be performing his humorous revelations and crafty riddles of the Dame Fortune’s Wheel & the Three Estates.

You can help Thimblemill Library celebrate World Book Night too with their big FREE Book giveaway! Books up for grabs are Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road, Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

Utter Bearwood & World Book Night is on Thursday 25th April. Doors open at 7pm with the performance kicking off at 7.30pm. The books will be given away in the break and the whole thing ends at 10pm.  

Monday, 15 April 2013

Look Savvy!

As seen at the Bearwood Handmade Spring Fair...Old’sCool Trading uses original vintage items to create something new and cool!

Olds'Cool Trading have secured an amazing collection of unused vintage military buttons and transformed them into rings, necklaces and earrings etc.  They're also great for giving your favourite clothes a new lease of life.

Now being sold at Bearwood Indoor Market's Bead Savvy....they are guaranteed to get you...ahem... ATTENNNNNN...TION!

P.S.  For more details about the military buttons you can email Old'scool Trading at

Friday, 12 April 2013

Musical May Day!

As our Friday treat, we've compiled a sneaky preview of some of the bands playing this year's Lightwoods May Day Festival!

There's something for everyone.....reggage and 80`s pop from Musical Youth (Pass the Dutchie always take me back!) and welovebearwood's favourite MC, Dennis Seaton and indie rock from Holocene (they stormed last year's Bearwood Shuffle!).

With more bands to be confirmed, it's going to be a great afternoon.  See you there!

Musical Youth


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Village People

Another BBC (yes...that’s right..the BEEB...Bearwood has officially landed!) exclusive for you!

Not only do we have local photographer, Ken Harrison, talking to Carl Chinn about his new book of Smethwick photos on BBC Radio WM (21st April at 12.00) but lovely Laurence Saunders is going to be appearing in The Village on BBC1 this Sunday night.

The period drama starts at 9pm.   Watch out for his role as Martin Parfitt....we can’t wait!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A Picture of Smethwick

We just love this!  Smethwick based photographer, Ken Harrison who was featured in our 'Ten From Ken' interview is going to be on the radio.

Ken has just had his brillant book of photos of Smethwick's listed buildings published and he's going to be to talking to BBC WM presenter and Brummie historian Carl Chinn about them.  Tune in to Carl Chinn's Radio Show on BBC WM on 21st April at 12noon to hear all about it.

You can buy a hardcopy or online version of Ken's book from Blurb books, so get yours now!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Welovebearwood are really looking forward to this year's Lightwoods Park May Day Festival. 

Great bands, loads to see and do and Bearwood's first ever Real Ale Fest! Yeah!

To celebrate this wonderous occasion of coming to Lightwoods Park (oh yes..we do think so!)Kinver Brewery and Enville Brewery are brewing the first ever Bearwood beers which they would love you to name. 

Our favourites have to be Beerwood (of course!), Bears Ale and B-wood Beer. We're sure you can do better though so get your suggestions on the our friends' Enjoy Bearwood Facebook page straightaway.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Real Deal

At the Silvershine Jazz Club's tribute to Andy Hamilton we caught up with just two of the people that he’d had a huge influence on, Roy Forbes and Kevin McCann.

Roy sang with Andy Hamilton for over 13 years and guested on his album 'Jamaica By Night'. He started working with Andy by total chance and remembers the first time he heard Andy play the sax, recalling that he was “hypnotised”. After that first moment he used to go to watch him play every week.

One night Roy found the courage to get up and perform, singing 'All of me’, and 'Summertime' as part of Andy's set. Roy got a standing ovation and from then on he became part of Andy's ever evolving jazz collective. Since then Roy’s performed at Bearwood Jazz a few times and toured Germany, France, Italy and St Lucia with Andy, in Roy’s own words, “the best times” of his life.

Like many people Roy misses Andy's encouragement and the support he gave to his fellow musicians, he’s the first to acknowledge that without Andy he simply wouldn’t have pursued his singing career.

Roy's fondest memory of Andy was at a club in Kingston, Jamaica. Roy was about to start singing but the pianist was playing in a wrong key so (not unsurprisingly really!) Roy panicked and froze on the spot. The next thing Roy heard was Andy's voice shouting out “Sing man, SING!” That was all the encouragement he needed...the man sang! The crowd went wild and Roy recalls it was one of his favourite ever gigs.

Looking to the future Roy hopes that Andy's legacy lives on at the Silvershine Jazz Club and that his undying enthusiasm and encouragement for other jazz musicians, especially those just starting out, is not only remembered but picked up by others who follow in his footsteps.

You can catch Roy performing live at Nat King Cole Sings at the Birmingham Jazz Festival in July and at the Silvershine Jazz Club in the autumn.

Next we grabbed a few moments with artist Kevin McCann. Kevin’s exhibited his work locally and he's the one we’ve all got to thank for making the TC Hayes bear look so pretty and colourful!

Kevin was in a band called Sidekick in the late 80s with Andy’s daughter, Kim, and that’s how he first got to meet him. His earliest memory of Andy is watching him on the TV though at a gig recorded in Harborne (wonder where that footage is now eh?).

Kevin fondly remembered Andy as a true gentleman, who always looked very dapper. He was an inspiration to him and, like many others have testified, he found Andy full of encouragement for his fellow musicians. In particular Kevin already misses Andy's patience as he had so much time to give other musicians, especially newcomers to the jazz scene.
Carrying on her dad’s work Kim’s recently helped Kevin rediscover his love of music and now he just wants to perform as much as possible. He admires all of the Blue Notes performers and their genuine love of playing together on stage, with no egos or personalities getting in the way. He’s very envious of Vic Evan's velvety tones too. Join the queue!

Andy’s parties were legendary too and his hospitality was famous in the jazz scene...which lead to a number of memorable nights for Kevin! He remembers that Andy wouldn’t take any nonsense though and would always tell it like it is.
A quality that undoubtedly helped him develop his own unique sound, best captured for Kevin on one of Andy’s most loved tunes, Port Antonio, a track that always “brings sunshine to my face”. Now that’s an epitaph that anyone can be proud of.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Laura's Homemade Bakes

You can always tell a good stall at the Bearwood Handmade Fair when there's nothing left at the end. So it's no wonder that Laura's Homemade Bakes sold out completely on the day.

We bought one of Laura's Easter chocolate lollies .....forget Hotel Chocolat we've got Bearwood Chocolat!

Laura makes sea salt chocolate brownies, millionaires shortbread, tray bakes, cake pops, whole cakes like chocolate fudge cake, Victoria sponges, marmalade tea loaves.  Laura's traybakes cost £2.50 for a strip of 4.  (Mrs B:please stop making me hungry!) 

Laura makes savoury bakes too and her famous pasties include free range chicken and bacon, cheese and onion, steak and ale, plus many more! All using free range, British and local ingredients where available, costing between £2.50-£3.50 each.  (Mrs B: OMG!  Stop it!  I am so hungry now!). 

Laura make jams too including her legendary Chilli Jam- hot and sweet, great with cheese on toast or accompanied with a cheese board. £2.50 a 225g jar. (Mrs B: this girl should be on MasterChef!)

Hungry?  Yes!  Us too!
To try Laura's exceedingly good homemade bakes you can buy them through The Bearwood Pantry, (Bearwood's no1 food co-operative and foodie heaven) or by contacting Laura direct. 

Here's Laura's business card....