Tag Archives: Bedford BID

Under New Management!

22 Jun

Yes Indeed! After months of negotiation Bedford Bypass is under new ownership! Out with the old and in with the new! No more of this “anarchist” rubbish and dissing our beautiful vibrant town center at every opportunity, the new look Bedford Bypass will be a “down your throat” celebration of all that is good about our pretty riverside town, the one that is beautiful and vibrant!

If it good about Bedford we will publish it!

If it good about Bedford we will publish it!

So what can you expect? Well up and coming features will include interviews with people that make our town what it is and we have lined up on street chats with the rather bored looking traffic warden (or civil enforcement chap) that is assigned to hanging round the bus station waiting to pounce on car driving people that dare stray into places that are forbidden, and we hope to go out on patrol with the Dog Squad that are now fining evil dog walkers who sneer in the face of the law and let Fido wander about! AND IT GETS BETTER… we are like all of you hoping that ex Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Prescod is acquitted of allegedly sexual assaulting someone by allegedly inserting something somewhere and when his innocence is proven we will be leading the charge to have  him reinserted onto the council! Or should that be “into”? Apparently he didn’t turn up for his court appearance last week!

We will also be showing our support for all our local councillors who do a fantastic job of agreeing with whatever the Mayor says and does, this includes Doug McMurdo who retained his seat despite twatting some young kids…teenagers actually and we all know what they can be like don’t we! We won’t be constantly going on about Councillors expenses…you don’t want to know about Colleen Atkins being paid £16,000 grand for her “job” chairing fire brigade meetings on top of her £20odd grand for supporting the Mayor! No you want good news, like how fantastic the new bus station is now that they’ve fastened a new plastic bit on top that says “Welcome to Bedford”, and the new Tourist Information Centre that is there to say goodbye to all the people going shopping somewhere nice! It’s much better now that they’ve got rid of all the leaflets and historical tat, making it much more functional by concentrating on telling people where to get the bus to Milton Keynes as to be honest it’s not all that clear which bus you have to get on! And one of the X5 Stagecoach Drivers is a bit of a misery guts!

And it’s all change at Police HQ as Chief Constable Paul is moving on after a grand stint in charge of just under two years, almost as long as the one before!  Now then, the last sarcastic dole faced proprietors of Bedford Bypass made the not very funny comment that the Chief Constable changes more frequently than Dr Who which is frankly…very true but misses the point which is that er….well, we will miss her so bye bye Collette (check that this is the right first name before you publish this or you are sacked you zero hours (and zero pay) trainee!

Doing his job to keep us safe!

Doing his job to keep us safe!

And we will be publishing your pictures as it saves having to write stuff and anyway if we promise to publish your pictures the hit rates should go up. Pictures of cats are nice and if you have a nice picture of your nice cat, or your nice neighbors nice cat, or just any random nice cat you come across (preferably alive and not flat at the side of the road) send it to us marked “Nice Cat of the Week” competition and you could win an invite for afternoon tea for two at the Swan Hotel (terms and conditions apply*)!

So there we are, remember there will be updates daily or maybe weekly depending on numerous external factors, and IT’S GOING TO BE GOOD NEWS from now on (or until further notice) so keep coming back!

We will at a push accept nice pictures of nice puppies!

We will at a push accept nice pictures of nice puppies!

 

(Competition Terms and Conditions: If you win with a nice picture of a nice cat we will send you the invite but the actual cost of the afternoon tea is down to you. It’s a bit pricey, I took Abigail there when she left, you get a brew, a few biscuits that looked to have been made by under fives and that funny lumpy sugar, and where we sat stank of chlorine from the spa)

 

 

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Crowds flock to Bedford Town Centre

16 Jun

Sorry, the above should have said “Crows flock to Bedford Town Centre. I get really brassed off sometimes. I want to be nice. I want to report back about events in Bedford town centre in a positive style but when I’m there, incognito amongst the townsfolk I realise that once again I, or more likely we have been sold a dud. A total ringer. In case you don’t know what a ringer is it’s a car that’s been written off, fudged and botched by lots of dodgy welding and then put back on the road again usually without the new owner being aware.

A bit sparse if you don't mind me saying!

A bit sparse if you don’t mind me saying!

Here we go again!

Here we go again!

So the second Big High Street Showcase came along and then went. Basically a rerun of the one from last year with much less interest and lots of empty road being showcased to the point where the only thing that I personally found enjoyable was to be able to walk down the middle of the High Street without being mown down as all the traffic had been re-routed elsewhere causing total mayhem. Talking of mayhem the Kung Fu Kendo people were out and about giving us a demonstration of hitting each other with sticks and we could do with these black clad Ninja people out in the latter hours of Saturday now that would be worth coming back for! Although quite what it had to do with showcasing the High Street shops I don’t really know!

One new item to make the day go by was a sort of bouncy basement looking like the place where Terry Waite was locked up, see pic! In exchange for some money you could run around cushioned corridors with a non lethal gun shooting beams at things. Given what’s happening over in Iraq I thought this to be in perfect taste. Further down the road the army were about signing people up for the real thing!

Shooting on the streets of Bedford!

Shooting on the streets of Bedford!

Another new event that showed the High St off in its best light was a mobile police incident unit which I assume was part of the day although it might have been left over from Friday evening and got blocked in. One thing to please the kiddies was the opportunity to sit in the back of the paddy waggon and have your picture taken at which point the surrealism of the whole thing stopped me thinking straight. So we went for a sandwich. There were two rather spindly police cadets wandering around looking, if you don’t mind me saying totally pre shaving age, stupid and lost!

A bit later we chanced upon plod (one proper one and one of the community types) taking an interest in the chap that is a regular feature next to the bin outside Tesco. He’s been about for some months inc. most Saturdays but the scruffy sod decided on this day of days to do as he always does and just sit there reminding us of how lazy and unkempt he looks so plod came over to engage him in convivial exchange. I took a picture just to show how compassionate they were and got a glare (perfectly captured) in return, oddly enough him in the black is really dinky! He’d give Warwick Davies a run for his money. 

If looks could kill!

If looks could kill!

Now I wanted to offer my support by getting said floor based chap a drink of tea but for some reason Debs thought this might not be appreciated and given the proximity of the nearby mobile lock up van I was dragged the opposite way to the Bear up the top of the road.

On street entertainment so we are told!

On street entertainment so we are told!

On the way the music arena bounced to some top notch Bhangra dance and then in The Bear I had a pint. Two bits of bad news! Firstly landlord Paul was on his holidays and I wasn’t able to further develop our plan to officially “twin” The Bear with le Vieux Chene , 69 Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris, secondly the towns (not) oft (lately) seen wizard nicknamed Merlin is being looked after away from Bedford which puts to bed the mystery of what happened to him. In the Bear’s beer yard several biker types were playing Backgammon! Walking back down the High St a number of ladies in matching pink shirts were performing what appeared to be an abstract free style line dance with no regards to co-ordination whatsoever. Brilliant!

A highlight of the day!

A highlight of the day!

Time to go and see if the Bedford Bypass car parked smack bang under the noses of the traffic wardens free of charge on a piece of abandoned land no bigger than an average vehicle had been ticketed. No it hadn’t!

P.S. Earlier in the day Debs per-chanced across Mayor Dave Hodgson who when he walks seems very reluctant to make eye contact with anyone!

He's making a run for it..tazer tazer tazer..oh sorry!

He’s making a run for it..tazer tazer tazer..oh sorry!

Bedford BID…put the n…n…needle on the record!

14 Jun
Kevin accidentally promotes the BID in front of his own shop!

Kevin accidentally promotes the BID in front of his own shop!

Sorry to drag this one up again but I’ve been asked to! You have to hand it to the Bedford Bid (Business Improvement District) in terms of their ability to irritate people. They levy a charge on all town centre shops and restaurants set at 2% of the rateable value of the premises. Not everyone likes it in fact a fair few of the smaller independent retailers really have got the hump but if they refuse to pay they end being pursued by legal types with threatening bits of paper.
On the face of it you could say it’s a legal entity formed by and promoting the interests of all those folk who stroll into town five, six or seven days a week and try to sell cakes, clothes or whatever.
Kevin Kavanagh is the owner of Frescoe’s Coffee Shop on Mill St. He’s also the Chair of the Bedford BID. Christina Rowe is employed as manager of the BID day to day although I guess she has a title like Chief Orchestrational Superior.
Kevin as Chair has that knack of irritating people (as mentioned at the start) in that though the BID is there to promote all the business’s in towns he’s shown great expertise in managing to place supreme emphasis on his own business. Here’s the latest in which three people with a vested interest in self promotion have managed to use a very compliant local media to get their respective mushes into our front rooms!
Pictured are Kevin, Christina and local MP Richard Fuller who as far as I can see gets paid a huge amount of public money and then coins even more in through private work in return for similar self promotion almost on a weekly basis. Usually mundane stuff and he looks like a cardboard cut out!
In the background is Frescoes and if the BID is seeking to alienate its members, particularly those that serve coffee and sticky buns they are going about it the right way,,and yes! …you have to hand it to them!

Shop Window!

3 Jun
It's an illusion!

It’s an illusion!

A recycled envelope arrives into my Bypass in-tray, a wax seal holding the signs of the Sinn Hartra Gathering, (motto “Do it Your Way”). I open it and am asked in true anarchist fashion if I’d mind awfully having a hunt round the Harpur Shopping Centre for a weird shop with a window filled with oddities…sounds quite interesting! And when put so nicely how can I say no! There’s a little hand drawn map!
So off I set, into Bedford, with a regulation issue Bedford Bypass digital camera in my hand! No more having to queue up in the camera shop getting your prints developed! These digital things I believe will catch on! You just watch!
Down past WH Smiths, into the shopping centre, I’m wearing my Bypass “Prone to Mischief” tee shirt, surely the security guards will pick me out…but no, I saunter past them. Down past Primark and then TK Maxx and there tucked away in a corner near the car park lifts is…well something of a conundrum. Take a look at the pics, designed to give the appearance of going back into the distance everything in the window seems contrived just to make you smirk. There’s a Stanley knife for sale described as a “finger print removal kit”. That’s just a flavour.

Ouch!

Ouch!

Don’t take my word for it, treat yourself to a nonchalant stroll into town and see for yourself, I wonder if it’s anything to do with the Bedford Bid and by just mentioning the Bedford Bid we may just evoke the sleeping eternals of the Town Centre who might, just might proffer clues as to this amazing shop window. There’s no door. The shop is a window only. You can’t buy anything, there’s a website, I’m not going to say what it is as you need to look into that window of eternity firts. It’s good, maybe Bedford’s soul is reviving?
Now I’ve been a busy beaver and my latest entry into the Bedford Diary can be found by opening the dusty pages of …the Bedford Diary. At the top of the page!
Debs!

 

Precious things!

Precious things!

Mayor Comes Clean!

4 Apr

Rather interesting, Dave the Mayor is coming to Bedford College on Friday April 26th at 1.15pm and quoting direct from the flyer its a chance to “Find out where Bedford’s £50,000 grant from the government is going to help revitalise the high street in a talk from the Mayor of Bedford.

Now this might be a technicality but the Mayor has got sod all to do withe the £50,000 Mary Portas award, mind you and even more of a technicality neither has Mary Portas as it’s not her money, its come from central government so its our money coming back home again.

Bins feb 13 139

The £50,000 was awarded to the Bedford Bid and fair do’s the Borough Council is a member but that doesn’t give Mr Mayor a right to talk to anyone about where the money is going and for that matter I don’t think the Bid (Business Improvement District) know he intends to spill the beans to the students!

What he might want to do is explain why after being awarded a few £million to do up the High St they haven’t made much headway and the only thing they’ve come up with is to spend some of it on a private shop opposite a pub that’s been closed down for well over ten years, its boarded up facade is one of the first things you clock when you join the High Street. Anyway I have the date in my diary, its open to the public so a cheerful student tells me and its a few weeks yet so I’m sure I can think of enough questions to make the Mayor squirm!

In Search of Andre!

30 Mar

Touched on this a few months back. Ten years ago Bedford Community Arts engaged an agit prop artist called Andre Stitt to produce a number of actions (akshuns as he called them) and installations around town. It got everyone lathered up and huffy puffy with indignation. Bedford which had previously only hit the headlines through seeing Hanratty off at Bedford Prison and one of our townsfolk sending a postcard to Terry Waite suddenly found itself in the national press and on Have I got News for You!. I hasten to add that Terry Waite was fastened to a radiator in the Lebanon at the time otherwise it wouldn’t really have been of interest I suppose.

Panic on the streets of Bedford!

Panic on the streets of Bedford!

Er…oh yes…Andre Stitt coming to Bedford. Apparently it cost £12K to get us national publicity and the silly twats that we are…we had a real moan about it especialy when Mr Stitt announced his attention to kick an empty curry tin down the High St one Saturday night. An attempt to show how the town centre had abandoned itself to piss heads and short skirts the event had to be abandoned due to the inability to guarantee Andre’s safety which at the time (and now) had me purple with laughter.

Me and Debs have been trying to to renew interest in The Bedford Project as it was called so we trundled into the library this afternoon to have a see what they had on file. Nothing. But in doing so we met a really nice library lady who seemed really interested in making sure that Andre’s work wasn’t going to be forgotten in 2013, ten years later.

National publicity and still we moaned!

National publicity and still we moaned!

I’ve been racking my head trying to come up with ideas for the Bedford Bid to throw their weight behind, something that galvanises public attention if not support or total endorsement. The Bedford Project was pue art. It encouraged and outraged in equal measure and that’s the point, it’s why I love the Angel of the North and the other Gormley statues. Few people remember that Glenn Miller flew out from a landing strip north of Bedford before he vanished notwithstanding a reported sighting in a Parisian knocking shop. Yes we snapped Hanratty’s neck. Yes Joy Brodier popped a postcard of John Bunyan into a postbox and a few years later Mr Waite was waving it around at RAF Brize Norton praising John Bunyan even though he didn’t post it. Very good but it took a Northern Irish born Cardiff resident called Andre to drag us into the millenium with a spoof about old magnetic recording tapes, a shed behind the museaum and the curry can to get us all bubbly with beer belly husbands saying “F**kin hell Doris, we are in the Daily Mail!.

We called in at the Eagle Bookshop later and Pete the Book (that’s his moniker) remembered it all well and if we track down a copy of The Bedford Project book that Andre produced at the time we will donate it to Bedford Library. We are like that us anarchists!

SO the point of this is…Bedford Bid, lets start thinking outside the box, I’ve got Andre’s contact details!

It never happened, except in our dreams! Come back Andre !

It never happened, except in our dreams! Come back Andre !

 

Change of heart!

20 Sep

We have ridiculed the Bedford Bid hoo hah about getting £50,000 grand from Mary Portas (actually its from the Government) to try and prop up the lacklustre town centre but after reading a press release about what they intend to spend it on we have had a change of heart. Like that chap on the road to Damascus before it all kicked off.

How Mary deals with p*ss takers?

How Mary deals with p*ss takers!

Apparently the Bedford Bid are going to spend some of it teaching locals to develop skills on citizen journalism which given our spelling mistakes (borne out of rash enthusiasm) will come in handy. They are also going to be gioving advise (seee what we said about spelling) on using WordPress so all in all right up our street. Brilliant!

Bedford Bid we adore you!, even that ignorant twat from the Bedford Swan Hotel.  (Ms Manners can you book two places for us)

(Pistscript: We always check for spelling mistakes. 100% goof free until we read it later when allsorts of errors have cret in. Does anyone have any theories?)

(Postscript 2: Look look…it’s happened again, see above, its says “cret instead of “crept” and “pistscript despite me prof reading it. We need help)

CombiCritters!

29 Jun

All we have to write about these days is our trip to Norwich almost a month back. I’m 49 so no youngster and during the course of the Now or Never Drinking Session I mentioned to one stripling that we Bypass folk were going to see Combichrist live at the Electric Ballroom in London. Now a nice chap though he was, he clearly couldn’t get his head round a 49 year old public servant engaging in this sort of thing. Go do a Google on Combichrist and you might get an idea of what I’m on about.

Anyway last night six of us set off in a Volkswagen people carrier thing to Camden. I opted to forego any form of food (not good) in order to appy weird make up to myself then Debbs and Gill (getting over a back operation). Latest Bypass gang member Di turned up looking like Sandy from the film Grease (woo woo woo!) so hair was backcombed, facial stripes applied and general slap applied and then 20 mins late Mister Pierre arrived so looking like a bunch of circus people we headed down the A1 with a car full of kids clearly having a gawp at the Biggleswade roundabout.

Stormin, tops, pounding, bass, dark, feckin great, wow, can I live here, no I’m not going home, you look nice, Red Bull with cider please, I’m hungry, I don;t feel well.

12.30am, Pierre’s navigating skills aren’t up to what we actually needed to get to the A1 and we end up on the M1. There’s a bottle of cola and vodka being passed around, Pierre is warbling about reincarnation, S in the drivers seat is clearly getting pissed off at the inane giggling and then one of us makes an urgent announcement. The female bladder isn’t as robust as legend suggests and there’s a James Bond 007 dash to get to the ladies loo at Toddington Services. Much giggles from the male contingent (S and Pierre).

One of the nicest feelings in life apart from telling your boss that she’s as much use as a blocked drain is a having a big wee when you are at bursting point. Gill shouts over the dividing wall “How was it for you babe?”.

More giggles. It’s a girl thing I suppose.

No! there are three strict vegetarians in the VW and we aren’t going to call in at KFC on the Interchange Park.

Di literally falls out of the car, husband Chris is at the door trying not to look pissed off. Giggles…night night!. Drop Mister Pierre off at Shortstown. Gill and wayward daughter Debbs next on the far side of town. My sister in law is a shining star!

We arrive home at 1.45am, one of us, S behind the wheel is stone called sober (bad habit) and I’m totally scorched. Wizz our lurcher shaped Bypass member is at the door and sort of pleased to see us in a humph sort of way and within seconds I’m climbing the stairs in a fairly shambolic way.

As the two “oldest” peeps that contribute to Bedford Bypass (and this is my first direct contribution as I usually edit swear words and bad voodoo bits out) I have to ask myself are we getting a tad too old for this sort of carry on?

No!

Our Eight Point Plan!

30 May

The Board of Bedford Bypass met in secret last night wearing our aprons, rolled up trouser legs (or skirt) complete with our goat and have agreed our five…make that eight point plan to revive the town centre or at least make it slightly better!

1) Advertise Bedford College’s car park as a cheap alternative to experiencing the eternal queue to get into town on Saturday. I use it and it’s brilliant!

2) Borough Council make their Borough Hall car park free on Saturdays for all people working in the town, logic being that this saves them clogging up the car parks. 50 pence for everyone else. Keeps them out of the town centre!

3) Survey of the traffic light phasing particularly around St Pauls as it can literally take 15minutes or longer to get round. This makes any benefit from the Park and Ride redundant as it’s far quicker to get off at Borough Hall and walk in so you might as well just park up outside Mayor Daves office.

4) Spread the market across to the Magistrates Court side (the open area). Give the Market and the cafe space to breathe. Shopping for your fruit is something like Total Wipe Out in that by the time you’ve got your apples you’re exhausted, then there’s all the exhaust fumes.

5) Cut this rubbish about Bedford bucking the trend and being on the up. It’s not. It’s in intensive care. Its best shops are going or gone (Classic Music, County Town Books etc) and being replaced by nail bars and similar dross. Be honest.

6) Stop this eternal war between the Councils Camera Vans and the business’s of Bedford. Some small business being fined for parking their van outside their shop doesn’t do anyone any good.

7) If there’s any money spare from the Mary Portas £50,000 I suggest that given the increasing murder / shooting / stabbing and assault rate round here they rent body armour out to visitors!

8) Perform an exorcism on that Councillor Reverend bloke as he’s quite clearly possessed with the view that everyone needs to be fined.

No guarantees! and thanks to Christina Rowe at the Bedford Bid for being so nice when Steve suggested them to her. Big respect to the Borough Traffic Enforcement person for being so honest about how shit it is having to wander round town upsetting people just to pay the mortgage and feed the kids!

A roundabout sort of way!

28 May

Its always nice when the summer bedding comes out especially on the roundabouts, geraniums, lobelia, maybe nasturtiams, it all adds to the vibrancy of the town. Here’s a view of the main approach road into Bedford. A signal of the wonderous things to come as you queue to get a parking space!