Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Attends LGBT+ poetry competition at the Green School and shares the winning poem


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

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LGBT+ poetry is not my specialist subject in any respect, but I was very pleased I attended the event. A really excellent short speech from a L schoolgirl from the Green School, who I believe has won awards and she certainly belied her young age – 14 I think – with a really assured, mature and captivating speech.

5 poems were shortlisted and all were good, as far as this very poorly qualified listener could ascertain as they were recited by the authors, but the winning poem was really moving, referring to a young gay friend of the poet who took his own life, and a very worthy winner written and (only partly, worst luck) recited by 25 year old Patsy Fryer:

closet killer

out. in.
why the hell does it matter?
love is love they say
so why should it matter
how I label myself?
bi, straight, 
'she swings both ways' they say
but why should it matter who I date? 
wrapped in the arms of a man
add a wo, it's the same feeling.
arms are still arms
and safety and home are still
safety and home,
regardless of what sits underneath
the clothes 
of the person
that's healing,
all the empty parts of my heart. 
as I lay my head on their chest,
or on their breast,
the echo of their beating life ripples 
through my soul at a hundred miles
per hour...
it is the exact same.
if I closed my eyes
and either of them placed their 
lips upon my lips,
or their hands on my hips,
how would I know
who was a woman or a man? 
the only thing I can
say is, the after glow 
and tingle of their lips leaving mine
would feel the same. 
love is love.
under the skin 
of each person I see is a soul of an
endless story waiting to be read. 
waiting to be lived and shared.
and loved.
whether black, white, brown,
however people identify the pigmentation of people's exterior 
that they undecided to grow into, why 
should it matter?
nothing defies love.
nothing should matter when it comes
to love. 
but we as a society are so concerned
with labels,
so we can fit into a box
and be locked 
inside preconceived ideas 
and expectations
and reflections
and then worst of all... rejection.
why does it matter 
whoever in this world
can make you smile,
make your world spin when you didn't
even want it to spin at all, 
recovers your landing
every single time you fall,
love is the one thing that survives of 
us when we're gone,
so why can't it automatically be accepted? 
why are kids 
cutting themselves
drugging themselves
hating themselves 
just for the fear of simply being rejected,
for an emotion towards a certain
someone that is out of their the control.
something is seriously wrong.
the tracks of my tears
and the tracks of my scars, on my arms
tell a story of how I was the lucky
who learned to love herself
enough to come so far,
to love endlessly.
in. out.
life shouldn't be about
having to label yourself
and come out
to cure the doubts of those
who questioned who you are.
I love who I love.
love who you love. 
love secretly.
love openly.
don't deny yourself of happiness
in the fear of being judged,
because honestly 
it doesn't matter who it's from,
there is no better feeling than being loved.

I hope I don’t breach copyright by reproducing it here, and I hope it’s not too much culture for my reader(s) who are used to more mundane fare. Anyway, it moved me again re-reading it so I hope it moves others too.

Leaving West Thames College I went to untether Pegasus from the railings and found someone had been interfering with his saddlebag. The Sainsbury’s bag I keep there to keep my bum dry when the saddle’s wet was hanging out of the pannier, and it turned out that Osterley’s answer to Ronald Biggs had nicked the other bag in which I keep a spare inner tube (cost ~£3, resale value ~1p) and tyre levers (cost ~£3, resale value ~2p). I hope he has a generous fence. I was moved to write to the 55th Mayor of Hounslow to ask what he was going to do to protect us sensitive Brentonians when we venture forth into the barbarian wilderness that is Osterley and Spring Grove.

As it happened, we had the Brentford Police Panel that evening, ably chaired by the Cock of Hen Corner, Andy Ward. Ok, that could be misinterpreted. The public spirited and very capable husband of the equally valued leader of Hen Corner :D. I was therefore able to bemoan my status as a victim of heinous crime to the local cops  and they restrained themselves from saying ‘what were you THINKING, going to OSG without a bodyguard?’ I decided not to apply for compensation from the review body as a young man from the Brentford FC Community Trust generously donated a set of tyre levers he happened to have in his pocket. I examined them closely, but they were not the ones nicked earlier. Anyway we have crime here and there and around and about (I’ve been reading Damon Runyon) and we identified one particular hotspot for the boys in blue to target, but there is nothing especially worrying in the ward at present. People had witnessed some crimes actually being committed and the cops stressed – just dial 999 in those circumstances.

On Friday morning I set out, a little late, for Vicarage Farm Road in Heston where we were carrying out one of our joint enforcement days  with Hounslow Highways, Recycle360 and enforcement teams. Phone rang outside Brentford library and it was Genghis Todd himself. Together with Steve Curran he had finally managed to persuade the homeless party who had  been the subject of a lot of attention from the local community and about whom I wrote a couple of weeks ago to go into Hounslow House and get help from the council. The upshot is they are no longer homeless on the street, and it’s an example of how the community can pull together – the local community, local councillors and even Conservatives from Chiswick – can work together to bring about something really good that really matters. Gives a good feeling, even if Steve Curran remarked that if I had any charm about me the problem would have been solved a week earlier: let’s hope that one life has really turned around. Sadly, I spotted a new rough sleeper yesterday and Steve C reported 2 of them. The council will house them at least temporarily, if they are willing – if you see someone report the sighting to Street Link.

Anyway, the phone call meant I was a bit late to catch the enforcement event but I did see Hounslow Highways pothole team doing a temporary fix to the carriageway in Vicarage Farm Road with steaming new tarmac (and making people grumpy because there were temp traffic lights. Can’t win!). They’ll have to close the road and divert buses to do a permanent fix.

Steaming pavement

Saturday morning I’m a couple of minutes late for my surgery at the library and there are 4 people waiting – a record. Of course The Melvinator gets Real Madrid type gates at his surgeries at the Mission Hall but I’m usually lucky to get one. Turns out two of them are from Syon Ward: people who live in Brentford who mistakenly believe they live in Brentford. I must not talk about the idiocy of the Boundary Commission who have made the situation even more idiotic from 2022 so I’ll shut up now. Slaps himself. Anyway, a parking issue, a benefits/council tax issue, a street scene issue and a Freedom Pass issue, the winter of their discontent, hopefully made glorious summer by this son of the Wirral (probably not).

I had cancelled my planned litter pick, partly because of Storm Dennis and partly because I’d forgotten to publicise it, and we again decided not to go through with our canvass so another quiet coffee in Rada, who I was pleased to hear are no longer having ASB problems.

On Monday morning, down to the Watermans centre to meet with a consultant who is preparing evidence for the public enquiry due in April into the Watermans relocation. He is a quite prominent person in the arts world and a former senior officer of the Arts Council, and was earlier a writer and director of plays and opera. I explain that I think Watermans is really important to Brentford and should be a central component of the spirit of the place as it regenerates. Moving it from the riverside is controversial but in the town centre the café would likely not be completely deserted on a Monday morning as it was, and other people than me would mosey in to look at the exhibition.

The present exhibition is about online dating and you have to be over 16 to go behind the curtain (I qualify, narrowly). The weird sculpture thing needs the accompanying explanation. 15 minutes very well spent, for free.

Magical Moment


In the afternoon I have a long phone call with the Hounslow CEO, focused primarily on the Watermans but expanding to talk about the future of Brentford, with all its changes and development. A good discussion, and quite fruitful I think as we seem to see things in a similar vein – need to work to protect and enhance this town’s special character, not just build stuff.

Tuesday morning at 8.30 I’m out at Quakers Lane in Isleworth to talk about various issues in this unadopted road, together with a selection of locals, Quakers, and 55th Mayors. Unfortunately the other people had read their diaries and turned up at 9.30 and it was only after I rather grumpily returned home that I realised I had to head straight out again. Anyway, a constructive session  and I need to set some things going.

In the afternoon, an update on the financial performance of the Lampton 360 companies – all steady  - and then a Foodbox trustees meeting. There is now a cool little interview room in the middle of the Foodbox premises because we have always wanted Foodbox to be more than a foodbank, and provide people with support in other aspects of their lives. So we have created a private space for counselling, for a forthcoming partnership with the CAB and perhaps financial advice, also a space where NHS people can do some specialist counselling. We hear that when we collected quite a bit of money from generous Brentford FC supporters we picked up comments that people didn’t know what Foodbox meant, and mulled over whether we should change the name but the others didn’t like my idea of Food and Lurve.

Wednesday morning, Melvinator and I meet the project manager of the development of Watermans Park which will eventually bring an ‘official’ marina. They have started work in earnest at the Eastern end where they will build a store at river level (well, we hope, a bit above the river) and a car park and bin store at road level. It will not be a multi storey car park as some feared, nor will it cut off access to the river but people are concerned to see (and hear – especially those very near) development here. The PM is already talking to the Friends group and he seems very amenable to do his best for locals, obviously within his commercial constraints.

Later I (and Mel) have a coffee in McDonalds with a local resident. I realise it’s the first time I have actually sat down in there (yes, I confess, I have used the Drive thru and even the cycle-thru on occasion) and it was half term bedlam. I have discovered via the Mayor this week that the Melvinator has another monicker – Melvin ‘Bad Boy’ Collins – coming from what he got up to a few years ago https://amok.fandom.com/wiki/Melvin_Collins
His looks have changed a bit though

On Thursday I have a reasonably early stint at the ‘Steering Group’ for the council companies, so I’m doing this on Wednesday afternoon to give myself a bit of time to prepare in the morning.

See yous both next week.


Cllr Guy Lambert

February 20, 2020

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