Editor's Welcome

August 2017

Written by the editor Saturday, 29 July 2017

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The paradigm for the perfect pop group, according to music journalist Paul Lester, is still The Beatles: "You need the streetwise intellectual one (John), the softer, more reflective one (Paul), the quiet, experimental one (George) and the goofy, down-to-earth one (Ringo)." If there's a formula for the ideal band, is there one for the ideal high street? The perfect mix of shops is what's needed: the serious ones (banks and estate agents), the functional ones (butchers and bakers), the creative ones (florists and jewellers) and the relaxing ones (coffee shops and pubs). But how many of each?

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July 2017

Written by the editor Saturday, 01 July 2017

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In an era of fake news, media bias and political change, our interpretation of the world around ushas never been more important. Fact checking is vital, but understanding the reasons behind the alternative truths is paramount. Being aware of a publication's inherent bias is an integral part of reading the news, but taking the time to draw your own conclusions is crucial. Listening to the words and watching the actions of our political leaders is one thing, understanding their agenda is more revealing... Sometimes, we need to look at things differently.

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June 2017

Written by the editor Friday, 02 June 2017

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"Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker [ethos]; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind [pathos]; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself [logos]." Aristotle's words are as meaningful today as they were when he recorded them in The Art of Rhetoric over 2,000 years ago. They are words that will ring true with any politician and their speech writers. And this month, the nation's parliamentary hopefuls face the ultimate test in the art or persuasion, followed by a post-election analysis – for many – of what went wrong.

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May 2017

Written by the editor Sunday, 30 April 2017

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Is history a science or an art form? It's a well known and – within certain circles – a frequently debated question. Science deals with objective facts and artdevelops out ofsubjective interpretation, and historians straddle the two, so the answer is presumably a combination of science and art. Sometimes a history lesson will be a factual insight into the cause of an event, at other times it will be an exploration of its meaning, and one without the other would leave our knowledge of the past somewhat lacking.

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April 2017

Written by the editor Saturday, 01 April 2017

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Four days before the print edition of this magazine was sent to print, London suffered a terrorist attack. It would be wrong not to take this opportunity to pay my respects to those who lost their lives and those injured in the atrocity. It would be wrong not to take this opportunity to thank those who work to keep us safe. And it would be wrong to allow this depraved act to change who we are and what we do. So, here follows my usual rambling address. Business as usual.

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March 2017

Written by the editor Monday, 27 February 2017

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How does your garden grow? A seemingly simple question with a surprisingly vast array of possible answers. From the simplest of responses ("very well, thanks"), to elaborate explanations of photosynthesis and an analysis of soil structure and irrigation methods best suited to publications other than this. For our purposes, I'd like to rephrase this 18th-century query posed to a certain disagreeable Mary and ask instead: what do our gardens show?

Gardening itself isn't to everyone's pleasure, but it takes a particularly finicky passer-by not to glean any enjoyment from a well-manicured herbaceous border or a row of smiling daffodils. So, whether you planted the seed or enjoyed the fruit, our community gardens present to us a journey and a destination all at once. Silver bells and cockle shells aside, there is as much beauty in the work that has taken place as there is in the results on show.

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February 2017

Written by the editor Monday, 30 January 2017

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"It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we've been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we, in fact, all share the same proud title, the most important office in a democracy: Citizen... That's what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there's an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime... If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing."

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January 2017

Written by the editor Sunday, 01 January 2017

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It always intrigues me as to what issues have the ability to bring a community together. There are, of course, the well-versed campaigns that unite residents in a common goal, to protest against local parking regulations or inappropriate developments, for example. These types of issues tend to initially be fast-paced, with either a quick victory over the proposals or a subsequently long and drawn-out fight. Then there are the campaigns that run on a slow burn – campaigns that have a long-term objective but grab fewer headlines because of their ongoing nature and their often many strands of activities (neighbourhood watch schemes come to mind).

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