The People’s Prince
After all the excitement of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, it might have been an excuse for some time off for the Royals but not so for second-in-line to the throne, Prince William. Following the example of his Grandmother’s dedication to work and duty, he was out on the streets of London very soon afterwards, selling The Big Issue.
This magazine is sold by badged, homeless people on the streets offering a ‘hand up, not a hand out’.
He joined Dave Martin at his usual spot for selling The Big Issue in Rochester Row, near Victoria, West London. In the latest issue, he described how his connections with the charity world began when he was a child with the example set by his mother, Princess Diana. He said: “I was 11 when I first visited a homeless shelter with my mother, who, in her own inimitable style, was determined to shine a light on an overlooked, misunderstood problem.”
Once passers-by spotted the Royal vendor, Dave was quickly running out of supplies as several days’ worth were sold within an hour! Prince William acknowledged his part in boosting sales but also emphasised one of the most disappointing experiences of life on the streets – invisibility.
He said: “A hardworking, funny, joyful man, Dave is the kind of person we should all be actively encouraging and supporting. Instead, people often just ignore him. And while The Big Issue provides a mechanism by which Dave can provide for himself, earn a living and – in his words – regain some self-respect, it is reliant on us playing our part too. Because he can only succeed if we recognise him, we see him and we support him.”
The Prince also talked about his intention to bring his children up to be fully aware of burning social issues, adding “So, for my part, I commit to continue doing what I can to shine a spotlight on this solvable issue not just today, but in the months and years to come.”
The Big Issue is the world’s most widely circulated street newspaper, published in four continents and founded by John Bird and Gordon Roddick in September 1991.
Festivals are back in London with a vengeance. Heritage Live kicked off a major run of concerts with Rag’n’Bone Man at Kenwood House in Hampstead, North London, which your columnist was lucky enough to attend.
This astonishing, Grade 1-listed building was designed by the famous architect Robert Adam to replace the original 17th century house. The Earl of Mansfield commissioned the estate which remained in the family until the early 20th century when the Guinness family bought it and then left it to the nation.
Rag’n’Bone Man rocked the natural arena with his extraordinary songs and resounding vocals and is followed by a prestigious list over the next few months, including Culture Club; Nile Rodgers & Chic; Noel Gallagher; Simple Minds; Elbow and Tom Jones.
There is a feeling of pent-up enthusiasm that overwhelms and adds to the great atmosphere at this sort of event these days. The two years of pandemic cancellations have clearly taken their toll and people are ready to get out there again, spend money, and simply be together. With British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park, Wireless Festival in Hampton Court and Higher Ground coming up, to name but a few, a long hot summer of music beckons. Just need that sun to keep on shining!
An illegal immigrant has been discovered in Sheen, South West London. A supermarket shopper there was shocked to find a live Dominican tree frog amongst his bananas when he got them out the bag at home!
The tiny (3cm) frog was alive but had an injured leg and was taken to the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre by the RSPCA where its injury was successfully treated.
The frog had amazingly survived the journey of some 4,000 miles (6,440km) tucked away in the bananas but will probably not be repatriated!
This story comes hot on the heels of a hairy, pink-toed tarantula being found on a train at London Bridge Station and a crested caracara, a bird of prey with a 1.2m wingspan, escaping from Regent’s Park. This bird has eluded capture and been spotted in various parks all over London! Be careful, it’s a zoo out there!
It’s all about the bard
The original Globe Theatre was built on London’s Southbank in 1599 by Shakespeare’s performing company, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. It did not last long though and was completely destroyed by fire on June 29, 1613. Small cannons with real gunpowder were being used in a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII and, when discharged, set fire to the thatched roof!
The current theatre was constructed using all original specifications and materials (plus some modern-day fire precautions!) in 1997. It is built on almost exactly the same spot as the original and the layout is the same. Shakespeare wanted ‘the Pit’, a standing area at the front of the stage where tickets cost just one penny to make it affordable to all. Though not quite that cheap anymore, tickets for the Pit can still sometimes be purchased for as little as £5 (€5.82).
With the London entertainment scene booming once again, The Globe has a packed season this year. A brand-new production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ runs until October. Directed by Lucy Bailey, this funny take on the old classic is set in Northern Italy in April 1945. Young Lovers Hero and Claudio and proud singletons Beatrice and Benedick have their limits tested like never before in a wild mix of games, pranks and mischievous plots.
Running from June 21 to July 24 is an acclaimed production of ‘King Lear’, telling the story of a family feud that tears apart a kingdom.
There are also family-friendly plays and guided tours of the theatre itself are available. Even if you cannot actually get there, the newly-launched ‘Globe Player’ will allow you to enjoy streamed, filmed productions wherever you may actually be on the globe! (player.shakespearesglobe.com)
Richard leads parallel lives with homes and business interests in London and Portugal. He provides consultancy services to leading businesses in insurance and financial services, property and media sectors. He has four sons, two dogs and enjoys a busy family life. He likes swimming, keeping fit and an outdoor life.