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West End Extra - The XTRA DIARY
Published: 27 March 2009
Guanabara bar - the place to learn
Guanabara bar – the place to learn
Try the working-class samba from Rio

We all know Brazilians have got rhythm, but you probably haven’t seen it like this before.
A new kind of dancing has emerged from the streets of Rio de Janeiro called Gafieira, a kind of working-class dance-hall with a French lilt, and Guanabara bar is the place to learn.
The Parker Street venue is holding free fortnightly group classes on Tuesdays from 7pm.
There are professional dancers to lend a hand to the uninitiated, and classes are followed by a performance from the seven-piece Chico Chagas & Gafieira Brasil.

Stop press: Crisis in the newspapers

DOESN'T’t the word “truth” get too many mentions?
What is the truth for one person may be too fanciful for another.
Something like that thought occurred, listening to crusading reporters Robert Fisk and Nick Davies, both of whom stressed that journalists should be driven to report the truth.
Fisk then repeated what he constantly writes about – that journalists must be on the side of those who suffer.
He’s right on that point. But I’m not too sure about the truth bit. The best journalists can do is seek the facts, and hope they approximate to the truth.
Both Fisk and Davies then – quite rightly – berated today’s shallow standard of journalism.
But neither at the public meeting spoke about the emergency facing newspapers today: they are dying.
In the US famous dailies are closing because of slumping advertising revenue. The same bad news can be found in Britain. More than 1,000 jobs are being cut, mainly on our regional newspapers.
Little known is that most of the regional papers in the country are owned by four or five giant companies – one of them US-based.
Are papers dying because these companies are demanding higher dividends for their shareholders than their publications can fund?
A growing coalition of MPs, the National Union of Journalists and the industry want the government to bring relief.
There is talk of a subsidy, perhaps in the shape of more public sector advertising.
A summit is to be held soon involving Whitehall and business.
On Wednesday, NUJ officials, journalists and several MPs filled a Commons committee room, all clamouring for help.
Even that most traditional of Tories, Macclesfield MP Sir Nicholas Winterton, bemoaned the closure of his local paper office.
My colleague told the gathering that a more social form of ownership, such as that found at this independent organ, may be part of the answer.
Chairman, Great Grimsby Labour MP Austin Mitchell, as well as Sir Nicholas and several London MPs perked up at hearing this.
Is the West End Extra leading the way again?

War of words on two wheels

The motorbike mudslinging upped a notch this week as the council moved to discredit the campaign group protesting against the new bike-parking charge.
Last week the war of words got ugly, with accusations of smear and counter-smear, but now it’s taken a different tack. Like any good governor, the council has turned to statistics.
A survey of the 3,000 or so objections to the parking charges has revealed that 10 per cent of them are duplicates, with some individuals sending as many as a dozen emails, say the council. Then there is the question of where all these two-wheelers come from, with some objections posted from as far away as Tasmania and South Africa.
The No To The Bike Parking Tax campaign maintains its innocence, claiming anyone, no matter where they live has a right to object to the £150 annual parking charge, and that the council are just resorting to red herring tricks.
Diary wonders where it will end?

HMS Beagle tooth to set a record

The tooth fairy had to make a stop at the occupational health department after flying off with this whale tooth.
The rare tooth is engraved with a depiction of Darwin’s HMS Beagle in rough seas carved by one of the marines on board, James Bute (b1799).
The seven-inch tooth has a guide price of £30,000 to £50,000 when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams auction house in New Bond Street in September.
Jon Baddeley, head of collectors at Bonhams said: “This is without doubt the most important British scrimshaw to come on to the market in my 30-year career especially as 2009 is the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth and 150 years since the publication of The Origin of Species.
“Having sold an American scrimshaw for a world-record price of $182,250 three years ago in Boston, it would be fantastic to also beat the record for a British scrimshaw this year when we celebrate Darwin’s historic voyage to the Galapagos.”

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