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Tuesday, 24 May 2016


WEDS 25 MAY FROM 4.45PM (meet outside at 4.30pm)


Support the application for Kensington Odeon

to become an Asset of Community Value!





Meeting starts 4.45pm prompt, meet outside at 4.30pm

The Friends of the Kensington (Odeon) are working with amenity societies, schools, cinema and theatre professionals including the specialist theatre design group Charcoal Blue ( to propose a mixed use arts venue.

The working title for the project is “The Hitchcock, Kensington” as it was his local cinema and the place where his first two movies were shown in 1926 and 1927.

“The Hitchcock, Kensington” will provide:

1)  A large, flexible theatre (800-1000 seats) for classical concerts / opera / plays / shows  and TV/ Radio broadcast.  There will be a fly tower and a flexible format stage.  

2)  A smaller flexible studio theatre with around 400 seats for film, theatre performances / TV / Radio broadcast

3)  A rehearsal studio on the top floor with TV / Radio broadcast ability

4)  Four underground cinemas (200-300 seats each) accessed by extending the existing staircases downwards

5)  Gallery Space

6)  A café / Tea Room / Bar / Members Club within the original tea room spaces

There will be strong educational and community programs and the Hitchcock would create a new West London festival for the Performing Arts. The Hitchcock will also form a cultural hub with the new Design Museum, scheduled to open opposite in November 2016.

The Friends of the Kensington (Odeon) Hitchcock Kensington proposal would retain and restore the full facade, entrance, the marble staircases and restore / re-introduce the original foyer / reception. It is our aim to restore and sympathetically enhance many of the original art deco features.

We have the support of: The Cinema Theatre Association; The Kensington Society; Edwardes Square, Scarsdale and Abingdon Association; The British Film Institute; Opera Holland Park; SAVE Britain’s Heritage; The 20th Century Society; Portobello Café Society

Monday, 23 May 2016


So, another Mayoral Year draws to a conclusion.....
Those close to our Mayor, Cllr Robert Freeman, have been emailing the Dame asking her to emphasise how hugely successful an ambassador he has been for the Royal Borough.
He and the Mayoress have raised substantial sums for two local charities, the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital Charity and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity; but, just as importantly, have found the time to support a whole range of civic activities.
Mayors can go through the tired motions or pour their heart, intelligence, charm and wit into the role. 
Cllr Freeman and the Mayoress did the latter.
With Emily Maitlis

But no mayor of the Royal Borough can be successful unless they have two powerful ingredients.
Our current mayor was blessed with the support of his much-loved wife, Elizabeth.

Tribute should also be paid to Cllr Rossi, the Deputy Mayor. And we should not overlook the man who keeps the whole show 'on the road', the estimable, Jim Babbington. 
Jim is the Mayoral Private Secretary with a wonderful sideline in brilliant talks on Borough history.
Well done, to all of you. You have done the Royal Borough proud.

Friday, 20 May 2016


The Dame has been severely reprimanded by a 'learned observer' for impertinently suggesting the Battle of Britten Street had been 'won'.
Where the owner stacks his loot-tax free!
No such thing, says the Dame's expert.
He explains why below.

Please read it. 
It devastates,with forensic precision, the position of the Planning Committee.
The Planning Committee should be thoroughly ashamed itself: it has let down the residents and played patsy to a secretive investor from the Marshall Islands whose sole interest is making money.

In other words, "There is no longer the artistic hub in the centre of the local community, over which Heinz presided as a hairdresser supreme, a painter, a friend and a passionate advocate of all things new, curious and stimulating, whose door was always open to residents and passers-by alike.,

“ Britten Street Lost”, not saved, should be the headline.   There is nothing for the RBK&C Planning Committee to be proud of. 

The damage was already done when the Planning Committee refused to save Heinz Schumi’s salon, and granted the Landlord planning permission.   Their decision was taken despite being faced by powerful legal objections from Nicholas Padfield QC, who was acting for Heinz, as well as by the objections in support of Heinz from a considerable number of longstanding and distinguished local residents, over which the Committee rode roughshod .

The Committee was reminded of their duty to act in accordance with the Government’s policy, which had been adopted by RBK&C, which was effectively to preserve the artistic, cultural and historic parts of Old Chelsea from the relentless progress of predatory developers, in their avaricious pursuit of commercial gain at the expense of Chelsea’s heritage.

Nevertheless, the Committee, advised by so-called lawyers, rejected the advice of Leading Counsel and over-rode the objections of local residents, and gave the absentee Landlord permission.  In so doing, they were complicit in the destruction of a part of Old Chelsea, and what was an artistic hub of the local community.  

There can be no rational justification for the Committee to have taken the perverse decision which they did.  Having been warned by Leading Counsel that the Landlord’s application was not a genuine reflection of what he in fact intended, but would, if granted, lead to further applications which would transform his original application beyond recognition, the Committee for whatever reason proceeded to take the Landlord’s application at face value and granted him permission.  

When the Landlord finally showed his true colours, the Committee eventually woke up, and denied him the ultimate prize which was the creation of yet another development.   What was the reason for the Committee’s change of mind, one is entitled to ask?   Surely we are entitled to know in the interests of transparency and open governance what led the Committee to grant the original application, which has cost Heinz Schumi his livelihood, and then by an about-turn, to refuse the Landlord’s further application by eventually giving effect to government and local policy.

This is all far too late in the day.   There is no longer a Heinz Schumi salon.   There is no longer the artistic hub in the centre of the local community, over which Heinz presided as a hairdresser supreme, a painter, a friend and a passionate advocate of all things new, curious and stimulating, whose door was always open to residents and passers-by alike.

No thanks are due to the Planning Committee for their delivery, too late of too little.   They should not enjoy the support of residents of 'Old Chelsea'.   
They will be marked for all time as the encouragers of development, including sub-basements, the destruction of old Chelsea, and the panderers to big business interests.   Let us hope that they will be satisfied with currying the favour of foreign parvenus to keep them in office.   One wonders where their interests lie.

Thursday, 19 May 2016


What on earth is going on within our local K&C police force?
We are now on the 4th or 5th mediocre Borough Commander in as many years.
The only notable exception was the excellent Chief Superintendant Jason Gwillim. 
Gwillim: top class Borough Commander
Jason lasted just months before being shoved into some paper pushing job-much against the wishes of residents.
If you ran a business the way the Met runs itself you would go bust and your good staff leave.
It's time the Met's boss, Bernard Hogan-Howe got a grip and introduced stability in the ranks: this constant chopping and changing is not just bad for police morale; it undermines the confidence of residents.
And, on the vexed question of leadership....not so many years ago the office of Chief Constable was frequently occupied by senior, retired Army officers
Unlike Hogan-Howe and his ilk, these senior ex-officers were tough with a lifetime of man management in conflict situations.
They may not have had dodgy degrees in 'social criminal behaviour' or 'social anthropology', but they knew how to deploy and manage resources.
We need them back to replace these useless 'new age' police theorists.

Residents are told no resources exist to control the excesses of Middle Eastern visitors, tearing around our streets in their Lamborghini's.

Well, the Dame demands to know why, for so many years, the Met had  teams of officers wasting time ensuring Assange didn't do a bunk from his embassy lair.
It's now been decided they were superfluous and have mysteriously vanished! 
So tens of thousands of police man hours were wasted to no purpose.
As the Dame's disgraced butler, ex Cllr Phelps would say, "you cannot make it up'!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


Larger than life itself
The Dame doesn't normally 'do' social diary stuff, but she felt she had to pay her obeisances to that truly remarkable Chelsea lady, the late Marisa Masters.
The funeral Mass took place at the Little Oratory and was celebrated by Father McHardy who clearly had never seen such an unconventional hearse
He handled it with great sang-froid

Marisa was never, in life or death, someone to stick with boring convention and the picture below testifies to that.

Her late husband, Lindsay, was the force behind the phenomenal growth of Haymarket Publishing.

Though Michael Heseltine claimed to have started Campaign, in reality, it was Marisa and Lindsay who came up with the idea. 
In fact, the first issue was made up on their kitchen table!
But then Heseltine is a politician..... truth and politics are uncomfortable bedfellows as we all know.


Great news. You can read all about it HERE

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


Certain issues are of such monumental community importance they transcend and cut across-frequently trivial-national and local politics.
The saving of the Odeon, Kensington is one such. 
This is why the letter below from the head of RBK&C Governance Services is so vital. 

It opens the door for our council to debate and support a motion to convert the much-loved Odeon into a Community Asset.
If the Council support the motion there is a well-conceived plan to turn the Odeon into an engine room of creativity.
We don't need any more luxury flats, but we do need something like THIS
If you really want to show your support please try to attend next Wednesday. 
The Dame will be there: after all, she was once a matinee idol.
And, dear councillors, though this may be a Labour-sponsored request it has the support of many thousands of local Conservative voters. You should remember that.....

Dear Councillors,

The Mayor has received the attached request for an extraordinary Council meeting signed by five members of the Labour Group.
The Mayor has directed that the meeting will be held at 4.45 pm on Wednesday 25 May in the Council Chamber.  
The agenda for this meeting and for the Annual Meeting on the same evening will be issued tomorrow.

Yours sincerely,

Martyn Carver
Governance Services
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Click to enlarge

Sunday, 15 May 2016


The Dame is a foolish and vapid old thing so she struggles to understand all this referendum chatter.

Luckily, the chairman of a local resident's association wrote the below using an RA analogy to explain how the EU works. 
It's well worth a good read and helped the Dame.

Once upon a time, a man moved into a house.
He kept a few chickens. His next door neighbour made jam.
After a while, they got chatting over the fence & he gave her a box of eggs which she accepted. In kindness, she gave him a jar of her homemade jam in return.
This became a regular thing. 
It was a trade between them & they got on fine.

But nearby they have a nasty bossy neighbour Mr Pluncker who wants to control everyone. 
He runs the local residents association that has high membership fees.
He tells them they will benefit if they join the residents association it will enable them to meet more of their neighbours & network so they may be able to sell more eggs & jam to their neighbours.

So they join. It has seven other members at the time. This all worked OK. But, after a while, the residents association committee started giving them advice on how to run their own households.

Then some affordable housing was built nearby with poor people in. 
They are allowed to join the residents association, but instead of having to pay a membership fee, being poor,  they actually get paid to join.
After a few years, the membership expanded to 28 households.
Half of them were poor households and benefitted from free membership. 
Some of the poorer ones even receive money from the association each year.

After a while, the residents association committee started getting bored & wanted more power to do something ‘exciting’ & ‘visionary’ & ‘bold’.
 So they gave a few of the poor countries Wonga Wonga type loans, on which the association got commission, as a nice little earner,  from Mr  Goldman and Mr Sachs. They had a bank in the town and were good friends of  Mr Pluncker.
You see, the residents association doesn't actually have that much money, so it borrows the money to lend to the poor residents.

The man with the chickens also had a large pond with lovely koi carp that breed & he sells the fish. 
But the association took a vote & decided he should let the other residents come & take out 80% of his fish so they too could sell them. 
Of course, he voted against this but got outvoted. But this was all perfectly fine because the decision followed the democratic process.

The nasty bossy neighbour Mr Pluncker who runs the association then started telling residents how they should run their households. He even made it a condition of their loans. 
If you don't do as I say then the loans stop & I'll have your car off you.

This rule secretly got extended to all residents. When they sign their annual subscription fee it's written in the small print that  ''No single member of the association will be permitted to make any decisions on how to run their own households without a vote being taken on it''
The idea was sold to the residents on the basis that they will all get to vote on whether they're permitted to do this or that in their own house, so it's completely democratic.

Furthermore, each member is told - ''New rules on how you are to run your household will be generated for you & you must obey. You will, of course, be given a chance to vote on the new rules as this is a democracy’’
The reality of this wonderful new democracy is that 84% of the residents get out voted by sheer force of numbers. Meaning that whatever was right & appropriate for one household was probably not right & appropriate for another;no exceptions were allowed. 
Every household had to do exactly the same as the other households thanks the democratic ‘community method’
But no matter. Everything is voted on so it's all perfectly democratic.

Residents are also told to leave their front doors unlocked so other members can wander into their house & stay as long as they wish. 
The poor people especially love this.

Some residents wonder where their money is going. 
But when they ask to see the association accounts they are always refused. 
And they wonder how Mr Pluncker the chairman of the residents association ever got voted in by the committee. 
Turns out he was the only candidate in a secret ballot.

Half of the residents think this is perfectly OK. Frankly they're rather timid & pathetic and feel if they were to leave the association it would be A LEAP IN THE DARK. 
They'd be ostracised from their neighbours & wouldn't know what to do or how to run their households.

In fact, after so many years of being told what to do, they've lost all confidence that they could ever run their households again. 
So they just go along with everything without complaining.

Besides, the poor ones have little choice. 
The association now holds their purse strings.

When any neighbours suggest they might all be better leaving the association, they get called ‘xenophobes’ meaning they must have a morbid fear & loathing of their neighbours in wanting to leave.

The motto of the new democratic residents association is 'Pay & obey'.

And they all didn't live happily ever after........