Curtain up for new performing arts centre

wellingtonBudding stars of the stage will be able to strut their stuff soon at a school’s new performing arts centre in Berkshire.

I wrote about the design challenges of the £15m project at Wellington College for the excellent Architects Datafile magazine. Read the story online here (turn to p23).

The development includes work to extensively refurbish and provide new uses for an existing theatre that was built to honour film star and Wellington old boy Christopher Lee.

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Museum’s 18-carat gold toilet to open to public

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-09-20-37Very much a wordsmith working in the digital world, I’m now ghost-writing Twitter tweets and LinkedIn posts for a gold mining company.

I’ve always loved how my career as a journalist has given me a window into so many different aspects of life that I wouldn’t otherwise know or understand – and now I’ve a basic idea of what’s news on the gold markets.

It’s not all serious, though. Read about how the Guggenheim Museum has made an 18-carat gold toilet available to the public!

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‘Grauniad’ sub-editor retires

sub-editorHopefully, I’ve plenty more years to go but here’s a great piece from David Marsh, who has been the production editor of the Guardian newspaper and retires today.

There’s a lot in it that will strike a chord with all wordsmiths out there.

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We will rock you, promise Queen tribute band

freddie tributeTribute band Killer Queen (pictured) will this summer perform at a world-famous US music venue that can host an audience of near 10,000 – yet just weeks earlier they will strut their stuff on a stage located in the playing field of a Harpenden school.

On July 2, Killer Queen top the bill at Sir John Lawes secondary school for the return of the popular and family-friendly Festival on the Field. Later the same month, they jet off for the iconic Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Colorado.

Killer Queen’s lead singer Patrick Myers, who has been performing as the late Freddie Mercury since 1993, believes Queen’s music works well whatever the size of the crowd: “The music of Queen works really well live and as a shared thing. But the real quality of these songs is that they really speak to people and they’ve become the soundtrack to people’s lives.”

Read the full story, from an interview by yours truly, that’s published by Festival on the Field sponsor the Herts Advertiser.

To get tickets for the event, go to

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Countryside ‘commute’

IMG_0728There are definitely some upsides to working for yourself and this picture of my ‘commute’ to work this morning is proof of that.

It was some consolation after working through until the wee small hours this morning!

That I get to work somewhere other than the spare bedroom is thanks to my friends and colleagues at the excellent Thirdperson, whose office (and a spare Mac to work on) is a short walk along the Lea Valley from my home.

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Alternate is not alternative (if you’re British)

Today’s lesson from your friendly sub-editor (I know: boring and yawns all round).

Alternative and alternate mean completely different things in UK English.

Alternative means another possibility or choice/option, while alternate means to do or perform in turn repeatedly or on every other occasion.

So, it’s an alternative universe, not alternate universe.

With US English, alternate is used for BOTH meanings.

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Take That and Taylor Swift tribute acts complete line-up

Take This Poster_2The sound of Take That – the pop group that has scored charts hits in the UK and around the world – will be heard at the award-winning Festival on the Field.

It may not be Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen appearing in person but the next best thing in the shape of tribute band Take This, who will perform at Harpenden’s outdoor music festival this summer on Saturday July 2.

In addition, the songs of American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift will be reproduced by the talented tribute performer Charlotte Hopley. With Queen tribute band Killer Queen  headlining it’s a line-up that will appeal to music lovers of all ages.

The news also went live today on the website of local newspaper, The Herts Ad.

There are also plenty of activities planned away from the stage that will keep children happy. New for 2016 is a beach area, complete with buckets, spades and deck chairs. Other attractions will include inflatables, trampolines, rides for small children, face-painting, football and tennis, plus plenty of food and refreshments.

Tickets for the festival have been selling at record speed so far.

Tickets can be purchased from the Festival on the Field website: and you can get in touch with the festival organisers at Get the latest news via the Festival on the Field 2016 Facebook page, or follow on Twitter @FOTFHarpenden.

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