Basingstoke, nicknamed "Doughnut City" because of the number of large roundabouts, and often mistaken for a ‘new town’, is actually an old market town. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, it remained a small market town until the 1950s, after which it developed rapidly as part of the Government plan to accommodate the London ‘overspill’.
The Anvil theatre, opened in 1994, was built to tackle what was then seen as a 'cultural desert’. The building's name reflects its unusual shape which resembles the horn end of a traditional blacksmith’s anvil.
A lovely venue and a great crowd. Sold over 40 CD’s tonight! Good to see the sadiesisters in attendance: Shelley, Kirsty and Honor with our two American friends, Whitney and Bre. Thanks for your support, ladies…
Next day is another trip out east. For me, Simon and Sadie it’s the District line to West Ham, then National Rail to Basildon.
Like Basingstoke, Basildon’s prime purpose was to house the overspill of London citizens after WWII while, during the last decade or so, many migrant families, including Polish, Albanian, Romanian, Nigerian, Ghanain, Jamaican, Indian and Bengali, have moved from London boroughs such as Hackney and Peckham, and settled here.
The town is uninspiring, the dressing rooms and backstage area - plastered with signs stating: ‘Please don’t put make-up on the walls’ - look they’ve never been cleaned. We do our best to make it ‘home’ for the next few hours but it’s a struggle.
The performance area itself is pleasant and the crowd very receptive. After ‘Use It Up’ one gent shouts out: “BEAUTIFUL”…
Still, the show over, we get out of town as fast as we can…
Looking forward to St. Albans!