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Joe Jones
A teenager who has recently become Staffordshire's youngest poet laureate aims to take the fruits of her talent out to the streets of the region and modernise the genre.
Talented writer Matilda Houston-Brown, 14, has high hopes to take her poetry out and into the general public – with plans to perform her own writing in nearby local parks and displaying verses on buses.
Various plans have been put into place for a year-wide set of activities devoted to celebrating the written word.
Matilda won the title of Staffordshire’s next young poet laureate after impressing judges with her poem about Hanley’s Central Forest Park, which highlighted how once coal-mined land was given a fresh lease of life by becoming a leisure spot.
The poem reads:
See the silver curve of the sculpted tree,
Feeling nesh as cold air settles round me,
Children, excited, on a circular swing,
Stare at graffiti: art that skateboards bring,
Watch continuous, endless flights of geese,
Smell the scents of an oatcake, of warmth and of cheese.
Sit and see the time that all this was not there,
Beneath lake, beneath water,
Time hangs, falters,
Amongst shadows of ancient chimneys,
Rising in smoking air as pyramids of industry,
See thick dust; honest footprints in honest work,
Shine through darkness, through coal heaps, through murk,
Fire in ovens,
Loyalty to loved ones,
See us 
Listen to us
Remember us
The very soul of Stoke-on-Trent.
Matilda explained: "It's about the workers who made the Industrial Revolution and were the backbone of Stoke-on-Trent. Now from this coal heap, you've got a beautiful area.
“People tend to think poetry is just for important events, like weddings and funerals, but it's for the everyday things as well."
The poet is the youngest person to hold the poet laureate title since the annual competition for 14 to 18-year-olds was launched three years ago. Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council run it jointly.
Now she will be commissioned to write and perform poems for special events, such as World Book Day, and will look at ways to get young people more involved in reading and writing. 
Matilda added: “I would love to see poetry on the side of buses and on bus shelters. It could also be displayed on public notice boards and in schools. We could start with lines from well-known poems, but also include poets from Staffordshire.”
“It's about getting poetry into the open. I want to use social media as well.We could even have a poet of the month.” 
Matilda has been writing stories since she was little, but she only turned to composing poetry a few years ago.
Her nine-year-old brother Wilfred inspired one of her first poems.
He is also immortalised in one of the pieces she submitted for the competition, which is about his favourite climbing tree.
She said: “He's quite a character. He's got this mop of hair and won't stop moving around.
“For my poems, I have ideas, characters and stories on the go all the time. Sometimes, I find one sentence tie the whole thing together. But it's not just words on the page.
“When you perform poetry, it's full of energy.”
Matilda, who dreams of becoming a professional writer and performance poet, is excited to take on her new role.
“It's amazing and I feel quite proud of myself,” she added.
Bob Moston, head of English at Endon High School, is impressed with her literary talents.
He said: "Matilda has got a maturity of style in her writing, but also has the experiences of someone her age.
"It's what makes her work unique."
Jeremy's Food Tour
Taste of Nottingham
With a Taste of Nottingham only days away, let’s look at the myriad of offerings that will be available from some of the city’s best restaurants. The event takes place from Monday 21st to Sunday 27th September 2015. For food lovers this is an exciting time, as it will see a range of food outlets offering tasty treats, a Taste Trail that will see some businesses offering dishes and product samples for just £1, special £10 menus and special events held at some of the many restaurants that are taking part in the event throughout the week.
From bars to BBQ, cafes and restaurants, the city has something for everyone and what better time to dine out than during Taste of Nottingham. Visit old favourites such Le Bistrot Pierre, Yamas, and World Service, or try some of the newer eateries on offer in Nottingham such as Reds True BBQ, Rubs Smokehouse, Oaks and Baresca. Wherever you dine I am sure that you will thoroughly enjoy sampling some of the many great food and drink venues that Nottingham has to offer.
Many businesses are also offering special £10 menus to make year experience affordable as well as enjoyable. This great offer is available on a wide range of cuisines and can range from two course meals and a drink to coffee and cake for two. The restaurants offering this deal are; Cape, Patisserie Valerie, Red Hot World Buffet, Rum House, Suede, The Stage, Wildwood and World Service. However, many of the places offering these special menus require prior booking or are very popular, so it is worth checking with them in advance to ensure that you don’t miss out.
So now on to a bit of information on some of the venues that are taking part in Taste of Nottingham. What can you expect from some of the various restaurants? This quick and easy guide will hopefully give you a ‘taste’ of what will be on offer during the event. But before we start, how about a drink, The Bear and Lace on Maid Marian Way, is a great venue offering a range of beers and their own extensive range of cocktails. Or how about a bitter called Round Heart, which has a malty aroma and a note of chocolate which can be consumed at the Hand and Heart on Derby Road. The Bell Inn on Angel Row serve the popular Bell Inn Bitter, that has become so popular that they even created a chutney containing it too.

Yamas serve up superb Greek cuisine and it has been spot on every time that I have visited in the past. With vibrant and flavoursome salads to fresh and refreshing traditional tzatziki and hummus dips, your taste buds won’t be disappointed. They also offer a range of souvlaki such as chicken, pork and lamb, which are all juicy and tender as well as being traditionally seasoned and finished with the citrus of a lemon. Yamas are offering a choice of three tapas dishes from a selected menu for just £6.95 from 12pm to 4pm from Wednesday to Saturday. This is probably one of the best value offers you will ever see. The dishes are a good size for tapas and the choice is pretty good too. Most importantly is the quality of the food, fresh and tasteful food in a modern Greek restaurant. You can find Yamas at 5 Thurland Street, Nottingham, NG1 3DR. Only a few minutes’ walk from the Victoria Centre.

Oaks is another new venue that are serving up a fine range of foodie delights. Their scotch quail eggs are a great place to start with a crisp and meaty casing, slightly chewy, with a full body to them and yet still moist on the inside. This is finished off perfectly by the centre of quail’s egg with a runny, golden yolk that has a really rich and silky texture. Also do not forget to order their pork scratching and this recommendation is coming from someone who usually avoids them but their scratchings are light and crisp with an added twist of a slight hit of heat from the chilli powder. They take the time and effort to boil then dry them and then re-cook them, gives them a fantastic texture that isn’t too greasy. They also have a fantastic range of beers and cocktails that you can wash the scratchings down with. Their choice of sausages is varied which means that there is something for everyone and the best part about this is that they are unique so it won’t be a case of the usual boring flavours that you may be used to. The pork and pancetta works really well together and the paprika brings out the smoky and salty flavours.
Rubs Smokehouse and bar is located on Adam’s Walk, Fletcher Gate, Nottingham, displays a range of BBQ delights from traditional low and slow classics such as pulled pork and brisket to burgers and epic feasts such as Hung Drawn and Quartered which is a platter of meaty treats ideal for sharing that includes; buffalo wings, a rack of ribs, pulled pork, brisket, a whole chicken, corn dogs, 4 sliders and 8 sides for £68, ideal for 4 people to share. However, you might want to share with more friends as you will regret it if you don’t leave room for dessert at this place. I’d recommend the Nutella, brownie, waffle and banana calzone. A sweet calzone packed full of the above, served with ice cream, marshmallows and then drizzled with chocolate, toffee and black forest sauce at £9.95, you might need to share!
Baresca is the newest addition to Nottingham’s varied and vibrant tapas scene, so unless you eat out regularly or love tapas this may be a new one for you to try. With unique Spanish inspired dishes why not try the chorizo, patatas topped with a fried egg, this Spanish influenced take on an English breakfast is outstanding, rich chorizo with patatas that soak up the juices from the chorizo and fried egg work well together and combines really well as a tapas dish. Even better is the fact that they offer a flatbread that is served with tasty and fresh dips, any two tapas dishes and one side from their selected menu plus a coffee and a sweet treat for just £9.95! The Menu Del Dia offer is available from 12pm to 6:45pm Monday to Friday and 12pm to 5pm on Saturday. Baresca can be found at 9 Byard Lane, Nottingham, NG1 2GJ. The restaurant is in an ideal location just off of Fletcher Gate.
Don’t worry if you’re not in the mood for a meal out as there are plenty of other options that will allow you to sample some of the city’s tastiest treats. The Treat Kitchen is running a buy 3 get the 4th one free offer on all their 100g slabs of fudge. With flavours such as salted caramel, vanilla honeycomb, raspberry white chocolate and chocolate mint swirl you certainly won’t be short of choice and you might even have to make it buy 6 get 2 free! You can find this sweetie paradise on Wheeler Gate, just off the Old Market Square.
The Ugly Bread Bakery is also running some fantastic offers. Get any 9 inch pizza for £3 or any 12 inch pizza for £4.50 when you visit their shop between 3pm and 6:30pm. With a fresh and crisp base and some fantastic topping combinations you certainly don’t want to miss out on this offer. Some of the pizzas on offer include; chicken and sweet chilli or even the Nutella based sweet pizza topped with bananas. The Ugly Bread Bakery can be found in Hockley at 39 Pelham Street, Nottingham, NG1 2EA.
Aubrey’s Traditonal Creperie, located in the West end Arcade it is a true Nottingham gem and serves a range of sweet and savoury crepes that are expertly made and full of flavour and colour. Some of their most popular creations include; the frazzled chorizo galette which is chorizo served with a cracked egg, caramelised onions and baby spinach for £7.95. La Campagnarde, mushrooms, tomato, ham and emmental for £5.95. Or how about a sweet crepe such as caramelised apples, apples cooked in butter, cinnamon and sugar, served with crème fraiche and honey for £4.75. Aubrey’s is open from 10am to 6pm Wednesday to Saturday.
Some of the many other venues to think about visiting during Taste of Nottingham are; 4550 Miles From Delhi, Calcutta Club, Chutney Village, MemSaab, Kayal, Singh’s and Curry lounge, who all offer a fantastic range of curries with a flavourful range of backgrounds from various cuisines. If you fancy meat, meat, meat, then try some of these; Red’s True BBQ who offer an outstanding range of meats that are packed full of flavour from their low and slow cooking method. Jim’s Smokehouse who also offer a range of low and slow dishes, look out for their ‘Road House’ burger. The Soulville Steakhouse who offer an wide range of steaks along with a selection of other items such as Cajun chicken and sausages and mash. Five Guys who make burgers fresh ‘your way’. For breakfast or lunch how about trying; The Malt Cross, Cafe Sobar or Wired Cafe Bar who all offer some high quality and tasty variations on breakfast. Or perhaps you want a veggie feast, then try Annie’s Burger Shack, who offer all their burgers as veggie or vegan or Perhaps Alley Café who serve a wide range of vegetarian dishes.
From Thursday 24th until the event ends on Sunday 27th September you will also be able to visit The Great Notts Show in the Old Market Square that will bring you the Taste of Nottingham Market. This will bring together some of the city’s best food and drink businesses, conveniently, in once place. During the market you will be dazzled by recipe demonstrations, cook offs. The market will be open from 10am to 6pm Thursday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. There will also be some places offering a Taste Trail. Stalls in the market and businesses in the city that show this poster will have a dish or product that you can sample for just £1!
And last but certainly not least there will be a range of exclusive events held at some of the businesses taking part in Taste of Nottingham throughout the week. These include; Craft beer and sausage tasting at Oaks on Monday 21st September, 6pm to 7:30pm and cost £15. This event will allow diners to try all five of their handmade sausages that are made with local ingredients and have been carefully paired with some of their craft ales. To book tickets email info@oaksnottingham.co.uk. Homemade have a secret supper club on Thursday 24th September that runs from 7:30pm to 10:30pm and costs £25. This will give you an evening full of delicious feasting with other foodies. The club will be filled with foods containing Latin flavour, with a welcome drink on arrival. To book call 0115 9243030 or email info@homemadecafe.com with your contact number. Althernatively you could go to a Burrito making class on this evening instead at Barburrito from 7pm for £10. This will give you an exclusive insight into how Barburrito prepare and make their burrito’s and allow you to try every single ingredient and even learn the methods behind wrapping to create a perfect burrito. This includes a burrito and a Mexican beer. To book email Nottingham@barburrito.co.uk. Join in with Genting Casino with are taking part in the Macmillan world’s biggest coffee morning on Friday 25th September, 8am to 11am, where you will be able to try some lovely coffee and cake. Finally, you can attend a sushi master class at Chino Latino on Saturday 26th September, 2pm to 3:30pm for £20. This will allow you to learn the art of sushi making as well as the range of ingredients that can be used when making sushi. This includes a complimentary drink on arrival. To book tickets email nottingham@chinolatino.com.
Enjoy the event, eat out loads and share your experiences on social media using the hash tags #TasteOfNotts #Nottingham #JeremysFoodTour If you want any further information visit: http://www.itsinnottingham.com/taste.

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Joe Jones
The London Royal Academy of Art’s Ai Weiwei retrospective, which opens on September 19 and continues until December 13, has been lauded by critics ahead of its launch, with the Chinese artist back in the United Kingdom for the first time in four years.
The exhibition showcases some of his most important works from the last 22 years, and feature art relating to his time in jail and the Sichuan earthquake, not to mention 3,000 porcelain crabs.
The repeated use of the crab, which in Mandarin is a homonym for "harmony" – a word much used in Chinese government circles – and simultaneously used on the Internet in China as slang for censorship, demonstrates Ai's critique of the Chinese State through the "cumulative effect of minimalism and conceptualism”.
The retrospective is one of the most important exhibitions of the renowned Chinese artist’s work in recent years, not least because it has coincided with the unexpected return of the artist’s passport by Chinese authorities after four years, enabling him to travel to London for the opening and even assist with the final preparation of the exhibition.
Ai’s passport was confiscated by Chinese authorities in 2011 when he was secretly detained over a contested tax bill. In May 2011 Ai was elected an honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Arts as an act of support and solidarity from his fellow artists.
He announced the return of his passport on July 21 of this year in an Instagram post to his 111,000 followers with a picture himself holding his passport and the words “Today, I got my passport.”
Then, Theresa May was forced to intervene and apologise after Ai was granted a 20-day visa, rather than the usual six months, on the basis that he had failed to disclose a criminal conviction, although he has never been charged. The public outcry saw the decision swiftly rectified.
In a recent interview Ai acknowledged that had the Chinese government left him alone he would not have achieved worldwide notoriety and would have easily disappeared - this show, meanwhile, will make sure that he will be remembered.
Today, Ai and fellow artist Anish Kapoor joined hands as they strode down London’s Piccadilly at the beginning of an eight-mile walk to show solidarity with refugees around the world.

To discuss this news, visit the related thread on our forum and join the conversation.
Joe Jones
Plans to close Eastwood’s DH Lawrence Heritage Centre to save cash have been revealed – a move branded “disastrous” by supporters of the building.
A report by Broxtowe Borough Council has recommended shutting the building – which houses, among other things, an exhibition on the town during the time the author lived there – to save money.
Malcolm Gray, chairman of the DH Lawrence Society, said it would be a “tragedy” if it closed.
He said: “If it closed and that link with Lawrence was severed it would be a great loss. It would affect tourism and the number of people coming into the town.
“As you drive into Eastwood, you have the signs directing you to the building. It’s an important part of the town. It would be disastrous.
“It’s a magnificent building and Lawrence talks about it as being a ‘fine’ building in his literature.
“It would be a tragedy if it was lost and a tragedy for the town if another link with Lawrence was gone.”
Born David Herbert Richards Lawrence in 1885, DH Lawrence is deemed one of Britain's best writers of the early 20th century.
His collection of seminal work includes Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love, John Thomas and Lady Jane, and Lady Chatterley's Lover.
The centre is housed in Durban House, Mansfield Road. It was threatened with closure back in 2010 but was saved by a grant from the University of Nottingham.
To discuss this news, visit the related thread on our forum and join the conversation.

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