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The Suburbians, Bobby Davro and more

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The Suburbians | Bobby Davro | Hillary Kurt-Webster | Keith Brown | Mark Reed | Philip Mynott

What a great start to 2011 we've had here on Phoenix FM Drive. We've given the format a bit of a revamp for the New Year and the studio has been awash with guests.

What hasn't been so great has been VAT rising to its highest standard rate ever at 20%. There's also bad news for the high street with reports that Subway is the latest store there to close its doors. Keith Brown from the Essex FSB was live in the studio to chew the fat over what else was concerning local businesses in Brentwood and Billericay.

Panto season drew its last breath in January and to celebrate what had been an enjoyable Christmas for many performers up and down the country, we spoke on the phone with Bobby Davro who had been appearing in Dartford at the Orchard Theatre, and John Triggs who played the Dame in a slightly less conventional new show Anastasia at the New Players Theatre in London. Mark Reed from the Brentwood Theatre was back in his Monday evening slot too to recap on The Plotters Of Cabbage Patch Corner, and look ahead to some of the shows in store this month.

Some would think that the current financial climate would make us more relucant to dip into our pockets for a good cause, not because we don't want to but simply because there isn't as much to go round for many. Not the case at a recent fundraiser for the Alex Field Fund ( Hillary Kurt-Webster and Paul Webster joined me live in the studio to tell me all about the brave little eight-year-old and the generousity of local people.

One of the new features for this year will be speaking to local councillors about why they chose to get into politics and what issues are affecting residents in their ward at the moment. Philip Mynott from the Brentwood North ward got the ball rolling on Monday 10th January, at the start of a week when we also spoke to:

  • Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum about National Obesity Week from 23rd to 30th January (;
  • Jason Warriner from the Terrence Higgins Trust about STIQ Day on the 14th January (;
  • Jennifer John about Farmhouse Breakast Week from 23rd to 29th January (;
  • Tim Webb from the National Society for the Protection of Birds about the Big Schools' Bird Watch from 24th January to 4th February (

Finally, we kickstarted having live musicians in on our Friday shows. The Suburbians joined us on 7th January and as well as setting the benchmark of 13 on our 2011 Name That Tune quiz, we played three tracks of theirs: Red Dress, Breathe and Slow Down.

Right I'm off to the gym (yes that's right two weeks in and the healthkick is still in full swing!). Catch you next week from 3pm each weekday :-)

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