Friday, 25 January 2013

Zöld Lencse – Green Lenses: Photographic Exhibition

Trestle Arts base is a mask and physical theatre company based in St Albans that aim to inspire young people to use their creativity to live better lives they've also been around for 25 years so we thought it was time we got to know them!

I decided to pop in and take a look around the Zöld Lencse exhibition. Trestle teamed up with The St Albans Arts Development Team to put on an photography exhibition which involves both young people from the St Albans district and Nyiregyhaza (one of our twin towns in Hungary. Yes it is VERY hard to say). The photographs are of a green and environmental theme taken during outings to Heartwood forest with professional photographer Pete Stevens, they're Hung in the gallery caffe which is perfect if you want to have a drink while taking a look around, or if you are simply waiting to pick someone up.

 I personally loved how the photos from the St Albans districts are mixed with the Photos from Hungary because in some cases it shows clear similarity between the twin towns. I was also lucky enough to speak to Grae Wall from the St Albans Arts Development Team who told me the pictures are hung in order to represent a journey, starting with the team relaxing on a log in the woods and ending with a single figure walking into the distance.

If you don't fancy the exhibition then it's definitely worth having a look around the building and a drink at the caffe. Trestle has a lovely buzzing atmosphere that shouldn't go a miss.

Coming up at Trestle is Aesop's Fables on sunday 3rd March.
For any more information head to... and for the St Albans Arts Development Team ...


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Chris' Film Club: Downfall

Today in 1945 Adolf Hitler moved into the Fuhrerbunker, a huge fortified base in Berlin, where he would spend his final days. So I've picked the hilarious and laugh-out-loud film Downfall (just kidding, it's misery wall-to-wall) which shows these events. Featuring an incredible turn by Bruno Ganz as Hitler it is an incredibly powerful film that doesn't just depict Hitler as a maniacal villain but as a man (albeit an incredibly flawed and vicious one).

Terry Jones distinguishes Renga from Jenga..

Terry Jones, from the Ver Poets, a St Albans based poetry group, talked to us today about the groups forthcoming Renga Evening.

Renga is a form of collaborative poetry, where people are encouraged to write a few lines (like a haiku) of a poem, then pass them onto another person to respond to. The aim is to create an interesting and unique poem between two or more people.

If it's new to you, don't fear as it's new to the Ver poets too. It's all about enjoying yourself and building the confidence to have fun with words!

The event will be held at St Michaels Parish Centre between eight and ten pm this Friday (18th January) and is £4 for non members.

You can find out more about the Ver poets and their future events here and other events like this that might interest you at our community noticeboard.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Billy Lunn (from The Subways) Interview

We were lucky enough to have an Interview with Billy Lunn from The Subways who is performing an acoustic set at The Horn tomorrow (Wednesday 16th). This is Billy's first solo tour he told Danny that he's excited to return to The Horn as it was one of the first venues The Subways played. Billy mentioned that this acoustic tour is a side project which he is hugely enjoying as he gets to visit cities he has never been to before  and play to completely new crowds.

The Subways are a local band from West Herts who have earned international success. They've released three albums and performed at Reading and Leeds festivals. Billy spoke to us about their appearance on the popular American Television show The O.C where they got a call out of blue from an LA producer, and that was that! They ended up touring America and doing interviews on extremely well known American chat shows.

If you missed the interview go to which will be there for the next seven days.

Chris' Film Club: Airplane!

I can't believe I've not picked this film before now! Today would be actor Lloyd Bridges' 100th birthday and he started in a whole host of comedy classics (and is also the father of actors Jeff and Beau). One film in which he plays a pivotal role is Airplane!, a film from 1980 that spoofs the melodramatic disaster movies of the previous decade. The jokes come thick and fast and it may take repeat viewings to see them all!

The film also stars Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen and Peter Graves. A must for comedy fans everywhere.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Chris' Film Club: Bonnie & Clyde

Today is Faye Dunaway’s 72nd birthday.  She plays Bonnie Parker, one half of a notorious crime duo, opposite Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow in this classic film from 1967!

The film also stars Gene Hackman, Michael J Pollard and Estelle Parsons and features an early appearance by Gene Wilder.

Elizabeth Crampton from St Albans Citizens Advice Bureau was our guest on Drivetime this evening, elizabeth spoke about;

If you want to take an unwanted present back to the shop or online retailer, they may agree to give you your money back, but there is nothing in law which says they have to.
If the present was bought online within the last seven working days

An exception is where the gift was bought online within the last seven working days. Here, the person who bought it may be entitled to cancel under distance selling regulations. These regulations also apply to things bought over the phone or by mail order.

It is also worth checking the contract – some traders give longer to cancel than they legally have to.

    Find out more about the distance selling regulations

Taking presents back to a shop

Many of the large high-street retailers do have 'returns policies' which give you more than just your basic legal rights. A shop which has a returns policy may offer you a refund, an exchange, a credit note or gift voucher if you have received a gift that you don't like. There may be a time limit within which you have to take the item back to the shop. If a shop has a returns policy, they must keep to it. Look for notices up in the shop telling you about the policy, or ask sales staff if the shop has one.

Even if a shop doesn't have a returns policy, they may still offer to take the gift back as a goodwill gesture, particularly after Christmas. This is less likely to be the case with smaller shops which can't afford to have returns policies or provide goodwill gestures.

If you want to return a gift, you should make sure that it's in perfect condition and hasn't been used. You should be able to produce a receipt, although some retailers will exchange items without one. If you don't have a receipt, you could try using a bank or credit card statement from the person who bought the present instead. If the gift was bought using a credit or debit card, any refund will normally have to go back on the same card, so you'll probably have to get the person who bought it for you to arrange a refund.
Faulty goods

Don't forget that you have rights if there is something wrong with the gift, and the shop or online retailer must do something about it. You may have to ask the person who bought it to make a complaint on your behalf. However, you can make a complaint yourself, as long as when the person bought it, they mentioned to the retailer that it was going to be given to you as a gift. It would be helpful to have something in writing which shows that the retailer was aware of this at the time of sale.

Details on this can be found at the following link

Playlist w/c 14th January 2013

Hi Drivetimers

Here is our new music playlist for the forthcoming week:

Bellowhead - Roll The Woodpile Down
David Bowie - Where Are We Now?
Deacon Blue - That's What We Can Do
Donald Fagen - Miss Marlene
Emeli Sandé - Clown
Haim - Don't Save Me
Hannah Boleyn - When You're Gone

James Arthur - Impossible
JD McPherson - Dimes for Nickels
Josh Osho - Imperfections
Kristina Train - Lose You Tonight
Lawson - Learn To Love Again

Lucy May - Paper Heart
Madness - Never Knew Your Name
Matt Cardle - Anyone Else
Mick Hucknall - I'd Rather Go Blind
Nell Bryden - Shake The Tree
Pet Shop Boys - Memory Of The Future
Prince - Rock And Roll Love Affair
Robert Vincent - Life In Easy Steps
Taylor Swift - Red
The Mavericks - Back In Your Arms Again
The Rolling Stones - One More Shot
Items in BOLD are new additions

My featured track for this week is Where Are We Now by David Bowie:

Friday, 11 January 2013

The Radio Verulam Film Guide - 11th January 2013

Tonight Simon joined Danny in the studio while kitted out in a giant rubber bubble. Simon has been living in the bubble for the entire Christmas break in a desperate attempt to avoid contracting Norovirus. He has a small bed, kitchen and pool table set up, as well as the biggest store of antibacterial handwash outside of the NHS.

Ok, that was a lie, but Simon was in the studio for the first time in weeks to talk about the UK box office and best films on TV for the coming week.

Role Models
9.00pm – 11.00pm

3.15pm – 5.15pm

Rain Man
11.05pm – 1.35am

9.00pm – 11.15pm
Channel 4

Road to Perdition
9.00pm – 11.20pm

11.15pm – 1.50am

Sleepless in Seattle
9.00pm – 11.10pm

The Insider
11.05pm – 2.10am

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Chris' Film Club: Hard Boiled

Today is another one of my very tenuous links. On this day in 1862 Samuel Colt, the inventor of the modern revolver, died aged 47 and so to celebrate I have picked a movie with one of the highest body counts in film history! Hard Boiled is directed by John Woo (who also directed Face/Off which was a pick earlier in the week), stars Chow Yun Fat and Tony Leung and has a onscreen body count of 307! What more reason could you need, action fans?

The film sees Fat and Leung take down a small army of gangsters and the trailer can be seen below (WARNING: Trailer contains a lot of people getting shot. And not much else)

Today's guest: Charlotte Gorton from Viva Forever!

Today we had Charlotte Gorton calling from backstage at VIVA FOREVER!, the musical based on the songs of The Spice Girls which opened recently in London’s West End. The show is produced by Mamma Mia! creator Judy Craymer and is written by Jennifer Saunders and has the most fantastic cast behind it.Charlotte Gorton, 41, is an ensemble member of the cast as well as an understudy for a main role and originally hails from St Albans.

Trained at a stage school in London, she has had a brilliant career in theatre over the years, with roles in MAMMA MIA! (played alternate Donna), Guys and Dolls, Grease, Anything Goes and Closer to Heaven with The Pet Shop Boys. Charlotte took a long break before the Viva Forever role came up but, inspired by a friend's glowing report on the new show, decided to audition, in front of Jennifer Saunders and a few of the Spice Girls themselves.  Usually with a long running show auditions are simple due to the producers having a concrete idea of the characters, but for a debut show there are more vagaries, hence the audition process going through several stages before she was rewarded with her current role.

It has been a real whirlwind few months with the premiere on 11th December which had The Spice Girls (and all the families!) in the audience, as well as big names in Theatre and Showbiz like Graham Norton, Miranda Hart, Joanna Lumley, Nick Grimshaw, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ruby Wax and Sir Michael Caine.

Charlotte says audience reception has been great and she enjoys the work very much, even with quite a punishing schedule of 8 shows a week -  Friday's being almost back-to-back with a half-hour break!

Viva Forever! is showing the Piccadilly Theatre and tickets are available via

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Chris' Film Club: The Princess Bride

Today marks the sad passing of legendary comedian Peter Cook, who died today in 1995, aged 57. Cook forged a long and successful partnership with Dudley Moore and had a small but hilarious cameo in Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride.

The film stars Cary Elwes and Robin Wright as lovers who fight to be together in a magical fantasy world of giants and wizards. It's a film for all the family and it also stars Chris Sarandon, Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant.

Online Charity Auction!

The organisers of the SKYFALL regional charity premiere, who visited the show recently, are running an auction in aid of the charity FSID (Foundation for the study of Infant Deaths). They have some great items - fancy a Samsung Galaxy S3 tablet (currently at £175), or maybe a Pandora bracelet worth £500, currently £210? Or if those don't quite fit your budget, a meal for two at The Bull, Watton-at-stone - latest bid £25. The money goes to a great cause, so take a look before the auction ends tomorrow evening:

Faff-Free Cooking with Jackie Johnson – New Year Carrot Cake

My motto has always been ‘never trust a skinny cook!' I do like to share recipes that I know work for me. They are not necessarily of my invention – but I will always give you the origin and maybe the story behind them! These recipes are relatively easy to make – hence the title, Faff-Free Cooking

So todays treat is …. New Year Carrot Cake – a reasonably healthy treat!

Ingredients - cake

            250g self raising wholemeal flour
            250ml veg or sunflower oil
            250g golden caster sugar
            3 large eggs, beaten
            Zest of ½ orange
            75g sultanas
            250g carrots – grated (about 3-4 large carrots)
            Pinch salt
            1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Ingredients - Cream cheese icing

            300g reduced fat cream cheese
            100g icing sugar
            1 tbsp orange juice and ½ zest of an orange
            50 grams pistachio nuts – chopped.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and line a 30cm x 20cm shallow baking tin with baking parchment on the bottom and sides so it comes up 5cm above the tin as the cake will rise.
  2. Place the oil, sugar, orange zest and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer bowl and mix on a medium speed until well beaten. Reduce the speed of the mixer and gradually add the eggs.
  3. Sift over the flour and cinnamon and gently fold in with a large metal spoon until smooth. Fold in the grated carrot and sultanas. Spoon the batter into the tin and smooth the surface
  4. Bake for 35-40 mins, or until golden and firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for about 10 mins, then, with the help of the overhanging baking paper, turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make the icing - use a handheld electric beater to mix together all the ingredients except the nuts until smooth and light. Spread over the top of the cake and sprinkle with the nuts. Put in the fridge to let the icing set a bit. Cut into 12 squares

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Jenny Swatton - Tourism feature

Jenny Swatton came in today to chat to us about all the events happening in and around our local area.
Firstly, she mentioned the Residents First weekend is happening on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th January. The Residents First weekend is an initiative to provide residents within the District with the opportunity to sample some of the highlights in the area with, attractions, local businesses, hotels and restaurants taking part in providing you with exclusive offers.
For more information on the Residents First weekend go to:

Jenny also gave us an advanced notice on the annual Pancake day race which will be taking place on St Peters street. For all the events Jenny spoke about (and much more) head to for more information.

Chris' Film Club: Die Hard

Today, because it is director John McTiernan's birthday, I have chosen his Christmas classic, Die Hard. This action behemoth stars Bruce Willis as a New York cop in LA to attend his wife's work Christmas party. Things go wrong when Alan Rickman's (in a star-making turn) Han Gruber arrives with his gang of machine-gun wielding psychopaths to rob the place. Sounds fun, right?

The film also stars Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton and Reginald VelJohnson and the trailer can be seen below.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Chris' Film Club: Face/Off

Today the Film Club can say a big "Happy Birthday!" to none other than Nicholas Cage. To honour the occassion I have chosen one of his least outlandish films (which is still pretty darn outlandish) which is the 1997 action film Face/Off. This was John Woo's 3rd Hollywood film after a successful career in Hong Kong and it has a ludicrous plot in which Cage and John Travolta play psychopath and good-guy respectively, and then end up wearing each others faces. Fairly standard then.

It also stars Joan Allen, Alessandro Nivola and Gina Gershon and the trailer can be seen below.


Sarah Buckingham of the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust was our guest this evening on Drivetime, Sarah told us about:

Our 2013 calendar is bursting with the wonders of our local wildlife - it's a must have this New Year.

The calendar features the best shots from our 2012 photographic competition. Photographers were asked to capture 'A Living Landscape'.

The stunning winning landscape of fallow deer at Therfield near Royston was taken by local amateur photographer Greg Covington. Well done!

Treat yourself or a loved one to this great gift.
Price:     £6.00

Winter Wildlife gardening

Along with this advice was a suggestion to make a compost heap which can be beneficial to wildlife such as grass snakes.

This Sunday 13th January BBC Country File will be featuring an article on Lemsford Springs with Julia Bradbury 

New Year, New Playlist w/c 7th January 2013

Hi Drivetimers

First off, happy New Year!  On behalf of the Drivetime team, we hope that you had a great holiday and are raring to kick things off at 4pm today.  To start, here is our new music playlist for the forthcoming week:

Andy Burrows - Hometown / Light The Night
Bellowhead - Roll The Woodpile Down
Deacon Blue - That's What We Can Do
Donald Fagen - Miss Marlene
James Arthur - Impossible
JD McPherson - Dimes for Nickels
Josh Osho - Imperfections
Lucy May - Paper Heart
Madness - Never Knew Your Name
Matt Cardle - Anyone Else
Mick Hucknall - I'd Rather Go Blind
Nell Bryden - Shake The Tree

Paloma Faith - Just Be
Pet Shop Boys - Memory Of The Future
Prince - Rock And Roll Love Affair
Robbie Williams - Different
Robert Vincent - Life In Easy Steps
Taylor Swift - Red
The Justice Collective - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
The Mavericks - Back In Your Arms Again
The Rolling Stones - One More Shot

Items in BOLD are new additions

My featured track for this week is Shake The Tree by Nell Bryden: