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If you didn’t know already, It’s A Wonderful Life is being shown in Wanstead on Sunday night. There are some tickets still available. See below for details. But here are six reasons you should come along.

1. This line: “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”
By National Telefilm Associates (Screenshot of the movie) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

2. And this line: “Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You’re right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I’ll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was… why, in the 25 years since he and his brother, Uncle Billy, started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn’t that right, Uncle Billy? He didn’t save enough money to send Harry away to college, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what’s wrong with that? Why… here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? You… you said… what’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken down that they… Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!”

3. Because Karolyn Grimes, who played the tiny Zuzu, did not see the film until 1979 – a full 33 years after it was made. She didn’t even know she’d been in it. “Working full time and raising seven children, the 39-year-old Grimes had no time to spare, much less to sit around watching television,” wrote one paper. “Something tugged at her as she saw snatches of snow-clogged streets of small-town America [on television] and people she thought she knew. ‘Then it hit me,’ said Grimes. ‘I was in that movie. I was Zuzu.’” It still brings tears to her eyes..

4. Because it’s still funny that the policeman and the taxi driver are called Bert and Ernie.

5. Because coming to watch it might be just about the most atmospheric and Christmassy thing you’ll do this year.

6. And above all because no man is a failure who has friends.

* The film will be shown on Sunday 22 Dec at 7.30pm at Grove Hall on Grosvenor Road (the Treehouse After School Club). Christmassy drinks will be served by the Wanstead Tap – perhaps even some warm ginger beer with rum. Or snowballs perhaps. Bring a cushion or camping chair to sit on (though there are some benches and chairs available). Tickets are £5 and available from

It's A Wonderful Life
There is just one week to go before the Wanstead Kinema screening of the all-time Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life. More than half the tickets have already been snapped up, so if you want to come, please do make sure you buy in advance. Numbers are strictly limited.

kinema_tallThere has been a slight alteration to arrangements for the screening which will take place at Grove Hall (the Treehouse After-School Club on Grosvenor Road) on Sunday 22 December at 7.30pm: we will now have access to some chairs and some benches. So if the thought of bringing cushions to sit on the floor was putting you off, you can relax. Numbers of seats are still limited though, so do bring your own seating if you can.

Henry Travers and Jimmy Stewart in Some interesting articles about the film have been written this week. In one, on the Churchmouse Campanologist site, the author writes: “[James] Stewart plays George [Bailey] with the sense of terror and hysteria that sometimes attacks honest men when they are broken. His facial expressions are priceless — most effective…. This is a 20-minute sequence which will rip most people’s hearts out. Up to this point, Capra has shown us the strong friendships which George has forged as well throughout his life as well as the respect which people show him for his kindness and integrity. It’s because of him that Bedford Falls works as a town with responsible, loving citizens helping each other. Capra makes the Pottersville contrast startling and frightening.”

Anyone wishing to riff on the Wanstead/Bedford Falls parallels (which George C Parker cunningly started last week), be our guest. Contact us at

Buy tickets at £5 each.

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The drizzle turned into rain, inspite of crossed fingers, sundances, wishful thinking, and whatever else people do. But more than 80 people turned up to the Wanstead Kinema, and stayed despite teeming rain. At least half were left by the end of Despicable Me. Resilience, bloody-mindedness, determination to make the #wansteadfringe memorable, whatever it was, tonight was the Wanstead Miracle of 2013.

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fringex4The penultimate day of the first Wanstead Fringe is going to be a belter. What promises to be the biggest event of the week takes place at the Wanstead Cricket Club at Overton Drive – yes, it’s the long awaited return of cinema/kinema to Wanstead, provided by outdoor film experts Chilming.

Already more than 200 tickets have been sold, which is amazing – and which means you won’t want to miss out on the atmosphere of this event. People will start assembling from 6pm, and the film will start some time after 6.30. Bring some plastic sheets or waterproof picnic blankets to sit on, jumpers, coats and brollies (just in case) and lamps or torches for extra atmos. If you’re really ambitious, you could bring a gazebo (though you’ll have to pitch it at the edges so as not to obstruct the view). Bring a picnic while you’re at it – the club bar will be open, and there will be lattes, cappuccinos and hot chocolate available too from the boot of a Beetle (no joke).

We will sell tickets online until 4pm – though some will be available at the gate.



Mick Terry And after the film the second of the Larder music nights will take place. Tuesday – the first night – is an event people are still raving about.

Tonight it’s Ali MacQueen, Georgia and the Dales and Mick Terry playing. Funny what a good venue the Larder has turned out to be!

Two storming events took place on Thursday. Firstly there was a complete sell-out at the Lane for the banquet of curry and local ales. They’re natural bedfellows, of course, but what a good idea to put them together so creatively.

And secondly there was a great discussion about the role of crime in East London with local novelist Anya Lipska and Newham-born Barbara Nadel.

Just a reminder of the remaining events.

Saturday: Children’s storytelling workshop
Saturday: Kids’ cycle challenge
Saturday: The Wanstead Village Show
Saturday: Wanstead Photo Walk
Saturday: Yoga among the trees
Wanstead Fringe Comedy Special! The climax of a fantastic week.

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Wansteadium’s property blogger George C Parker writes:

Friends, Wansteadians, Countrymen, the only way is up. Temperatures? Up. Bunting? Up! Jubilympics-fuelled joie de vivre? Up!

Perhaps we have waited a little longer for their arrival this year, but the recently-beaming summer rays of 2012 have probably come as a relief to most who do not sell umbrellas and galoshes for a living. Finally, after what seemed like three months of April showers, we find ourselves on the cusp of a season of celebrations. And given the economic tribulations of the adjacent past, I think we’ve more or less earned them.

Similarly, gazillions of international visitors are coming to the capital to join the party. So let us give up our transport system to the incoming hordes, and take advantage of the verdant pastures of Wanstead while the sun shines. Commuting? Hang it high! I commend all those office dwellers who can work remotely to take advantage of the High Street, the Library or even the Greens to connect to the City over wifi or 3g. You won’t miss the train trip one bit.

• For those not currently resident in Wanstead, then please consider this very well equipped Olympic let. You could use it as a try-before-you-buy in our dearly beloved locality, or with all that built-in high-end stereo gear, perhaps even upstage the post-closing ceremony after party.

• For those planning to stay after the street parties and Games have subsided, take a look at this charming Dangan Road property. Although not all original features survive, this is a lovely example of a well-situated and handsome Victorian redbrick family home. This ticks all the boxes in terms of location and neighbourhood. And as we know, Dangan Road (like Spratt Hall Road) has basically become a private road in terms of parking.

• And finally friends, following my enthusiasm a few weeks ago for a Wanstead open-air film festival – Open Kinema, we were going to call it – I thought it was time for an update. My colleagues and I have been doing some research, and have found a number of ways this could be brought to pass. The problem is, I fear, that it’s hard to mount from a standing start. None of it comes cheaply or easily, and in the absence of someone willing to underwrite to the tune of about £2-£3,000, it’s going to be a challenge. So THAT must be the explanation for the £5 tub of popcorn. But we haven’t given up hope and will keep you informed. (And if you are a lottery winner, recipient of a big City bonus, or naked beautiful commercial interest and would like to do something good for Wanstead, drop me a line… georgecparker [at] )

George C Parker writes:
Thanks so much to everyone who has expressed enthusiasm for the idea of an open air film for Wanstead. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can catch up here. As I kind of suspected, there are all sorts of well-informed, talented, creative people in Wanstead who are eager to do something for the common good. (There’s also one person whose response is “Bah. You’d better not disturb me,” but I think that’s our own fault, really… we shouldn’t have made it one of the default options.) Personally I’m rather keen on this suggested name – Open Kinema – for our campaign, which was one person’s response.

Our next step, I think, is for some of those who have said they are keen to get together for a half of mild or even perhaps a Tequila Sunrise to talk it over. I’ll be dropping people a line to arrange something. If you like the idea and would like to be involved, express support, pledge a huge sponsorship cheque, or join the solitary Bah, please use the form below.

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