Look, Hear – Discover Oxford Road Part 5: Derek and his Bench
Submerge yourself in a multi-sensory tour of the Oxford Road; “Look, hear, Oxford Road” is brought to you by Baker Street Productions, who invite you to rediscover the Oxford Road with authentic stories from the past and interviews from current residents, all presented from 30 years in Reading’s future.
Part 5: Derek and His Bench
Derek Webb spends his days watching the Oxford Road.
Performed by Paul Gallantry and Tiffany King.
Inspired by a poem by Kathy Tytler
Snow on Oxford Road:
On the way into town,
The eyes of the old man light up as he sees the untrodden snow.
Smiling with the enthusiasm of a child,
He gathers it into a loose ball
And playfully throws it in my direction.
I catch his wonder.
We’re never too old to be excited by fresh snow.
The fire engine drives slowly down the snowy street,
The little boy waves
And a fireman waves back,
Making his day.
The Orange 26 crawls down the hill
To the junction with the main road.
Careful, no room for a slip here.
The main road is level
But, in slow motion, the Orange 26 follows the Blue 16.
Stately ships steaming across a white topped, grey sea.
In the shelter the people wait for the Purple 17.
Reaching town, the buses join the mosaic of colour,
Travelling slowly through the falling snow.
But the train cuts through at speed,
And the blizzard of the world outside passes by my window.
It’s going faster,
With time to make up after delays;
Severe weather in the west,
Congestion outside Reading,
12 minutes late leaving Reading,
5 minutes late into Paddington,
7 minutes recovered! Result!
Baker Street Productions has been working as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone pilot project on Oxford Road ‘Re-imagining the high street through your stories’, in which they and two other local artists were commissioned to create exciting new art responses to the Oxford Road Stories research project, which is now available to view on the Reading Museum’s website as an online exhibition. Commissioned artists were asked to create proposals for art projects that would celebrate the history, heritage and vibrancy of culture of Reading’s Oxford Road, and were selected by a local community panel.
Written by Oli Hewson, Milli Dalton and Renee Quartey-Peluola
Casting by Martha Haskins
Directed by Matthew Whitelock
Recorded live – and COVID safe – at Clear Sky Studio, with technical wizardry from Chris Mitchell (www.chrismitchmusic.com)
Sound Engineering by Pedro Santos
Theme music composed by Vladimir Grudinov
Graphic Design by Courtney Higgs
Photographic images by Emily Marshall
Produced by Baker Street Productions Ltd
The team would like to thank the residents of Oxford Road for telling us the stories which informed the audio tour, as well as the community panel that helped to support and guide the project.
A big thank you to Reading Museum for the support, to Courtney Higgs for her designs, and to Big Noise Media for printing the posters that lead you around the tour.
Look, Hear – Discover Oxford Road is produced by Baker Street Productions Ltd