Tag Archives: cowley road

MY FAVOURITE PLACES: Rachel Bavidge, actress

11 Oct

Rachel Bavidge’s acting career began at Oxford’s Pegasus Theatre when she joined Oxford Youth Theatre in the Nineties. Now a successful actress, she has most recently appeared in ‘Eastenders’, ‘The Shadow Line’ and ‘Law & Order’.  This Saturday evening (13 Oct 2012) Rachel will be joining Radiohead’s Philip Selway and Eastenders director Steve Finn for a reading of Noel Coward’s ‘Private Lives’ at Pegasus.

The Ashmolean Museum

The Alfred jewel

I’ve always loved this place and got my first real job after college working here in the coin department.  My favourite object is ‘The Alfred Jewel’ which is a beautiful piece of Anglo-Saxon art.  No-one is certain what it’s for, but it’s inscribed with ‘Alfred ordered me to be made’ and was probably made on the orders of King Alfred the Great.
The Jericho Tavern, Jericho, central Oxford


I spent most of the Nineties hanging round here watching bands play, including my then boyfriend, a bass player in ‘The Bigger The God’ who played lots of gigs round Oxford. The bands around were ones like Ride, Supergrass, The Candyskins and Radiohead (On a Friday) and it was an amazing time for live music.
Oxford Playhouse , Beaumont St, central Oxford


I was a member of the Youth Theatre here and defected from the Ashmolean across the road to get a job as the Community Education worker.  It was always insanely busy but I loved going out and meeting new people and giving those who wouldn’t normally go to the theatre a taste of it.


Cowley Road
, Oxford


I spent many happy hours getting drunk in pubs along this road and having late night takeaways after dancing at the Zodiac, which is now The O2. The area has changed over the years but not too much, and it’s still a great place to hangout. Aziz Restaurant was a favourite and I think I was one of the few people to eat one of their meals on stage at Pegasus.  In the play I was in, called Steaming, the characters eat a hot curry, and the restaurant delivered this to us every night!  Cafe Coco and Uhuru Whole Foods were also big favourites.

Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry

I used to live around the corner from this church where CS Lewis is buried, and when I was having a bad time with life (as all teenagers do) I used to come and sit by his grave for some time out.  I used to love the Narnia books as a child, but also I was brought up in a big catholic family where faith and the struggle with it, was central to our home life. CS Lewis’s own story had certain resonances that made me feel a connection.

Fancy the student life again?

30 Oct

150 years of film - The Ultimate Picture Palace

Just had a case of deja vu up Cowley Road in Oxford. Still the same number of nutters as when I lived here twenty years ago – bumped into a couple of Transformers walking up the road last night! – and still a studenty, grungy, and occasionally fractious vibe.

We went to the art-house Ultimate Picture Palace, the oldest cinema in Oxford. The phrase ‘no frills’ must have been invented for this place. You go through the main door on the road and straight into the one-room screening room, with booze, hot drinks, cakes, ice creams etc served in the corner bar. It’s bare concrete between the seats and the screen, but who cares? The seats were comfy enough, and the film was in focus and Crazy Stupid Love was the perfect rom-com date movie.

Finally, a bar untouched by the taupe tenticles of Kelly Hoppen

Then it was a pattie and rum and coke at the Hi-Lo Jamaican Eating House, an Oxford stalwart since 1981 that’s resolutely un-PC and looks like it’s been time-warped from a Kingston roadside. David Cameron used to come here every week with his mates to talk reggae with the owner (above) but don’t let that put you off. If you want to come out of party retirement, there’s a DJ til 3am every second Saturday of the month. It won’t be pretty, but I reckon it’ll be fun.

Ultimate Picture Palace: Jeune Street, Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1BN.  Tel: 01865 245288.

Hi-Lo Jamaican Eating House: 68-70 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JB. Tel  01865 725 984.

Parking: Parking on Cowley Road is impossible. Save your sanity and go to the small car-park on St Clements Street, behind the Angel and Greyhounds pub. It costs a princely £1 after 8pm, and it’s only a two minute walk to Cowley Road.

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