Category Archives: Featured

Brentwood Chamber of Commerce announces first Brentwood Business Awards

The Brentwood Chamber of Commerce has formally announced the first Brentwood Business Awards.

2017-12-11 Colin Barber

The Chamber’s Chairman, Colin Barber, spoke to Phoenix FM’s Scott Ross about how businesses can enter themselves or sponsor the categories. You can hear Colin talking here:

The awards are eligible to all businesses within Brentwood borough and businesses don’t need to be a member of the Chamber.

The awards will take place at a black tie event at the Mount Avenue Banqueting Suite in November 2018.

Phoenix FM is the official media partner of the awards and will be updating listeners throughout the year with the latest news from the awards and the Chamber itself.

You can find out more on the official website at

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Stand Together with Choirs with Purpose


Joined in the studio by Anita McCarthy and Jane Keane from St Francis Hospice who came in to talk about CHOIRS WITH PURPOSE. The album, STAND TOGETHER is released on Friday 15th December and has 13 beautiful songs featuring hospice choirs from all over the UK.

Available from Amazon, Itunes and Aldi price £8.99 depending on the retailer. All proceeds go towards

Last year they were part of the London Hospices choir and made it to No.1 in the physical sales charts for three weeks with their take on the Mike and the Mechanics hit The Living Years.

This time members of our choir have joined forces with choirs from across the UK to create ‘Stand Together’ – a charity album to inspire & heal.

One of the singles (a remake of the Paul McCartney hit We All Stand Together) was released on Friday, November 24th and includes the 1,400 people involved in the project!

Anita and Jane tell us more


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Fame The Musical – Shenfield High School

Shenfield High School  has an excellent Drama department and earlier this year I was delighted to be invited to see their superb whole school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.  Each year a variety of students from all years take part in a full scale musical and their next production early next year is Fame The Musical.

Joining me today was course Teacher Mrs Rachel Bryan along with students Lily Dawson, Lucia Rawlings, Amy Hollingsworth, and Dan West.

Lily Dawson, Lucia Rawlings, Amy Hollingsworth,  Dan West and Mrs Bradley

Lily Dawson, Lucia Rawlings, Amy Hollingsworth, Dan West and Mrs Bryan

You can listen to our chat and two great live performances here –

Here are some pictures from the early rehearsals for the musical

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Mental Health Matters on Phoenix FM – Series 2, Episode 3

Welcome to the third episode in this series of the Mental Health Matters podcast on Phoenix FM. Featuring Character Development teacher and mental healer Chris Deojee and Oak frontman Andy Valiant.

You can listen to it here:

Chris Deojee

Chris Deojee

It was great to finally be able to speak to Chris Deojee, though when we did we had a technical problem which meant the recording wasn’t saved. Thankfully, we were able to meet again and we managed to record a conversation, maintaining a lot of the energy of what we spoke about in the first. In fact so much that I’ve decided to split it into two parts over two episodes, with this one being the first.

Based in Suffolk, but practices around London and through Essex. He wouldn’t specifically call himself a mental healer, with all the technical connotations that would convey, but a lot of work certainly helps along those lines. And he was able to fully describe what he does and how he is able to help people.

We spoke about many of the distortions in society which cause a lot of imbalance in each of us and how we’re not shown great examples of emotional dexterity growing up by those around us, compared to how we are physically for example.

Also we talked about the distortions caused by the difference in subjective and objective reality that are imposed on us, and the increase in confusion in gender and use of language.
The continuing part in the next episode will include how important nutrition is to our mental health.

You can get in touch with him here:

Andy Valiant | Oak

Andy Valiant | Oak

Before I played that conversation with Chris, I included a chat I recorded with my friend Andy Valiant, the singer from stoner/ doom metal band Oak who I have often featured on my Musical Meanderings show. We spoke about the issues men have with mental health from our own perspectives, including issues connecting with the feminine, how men and women are interacting at the moment and possible causes of male suicide.

Here is where you can find out more about their music and purchase it:
And their facebook:
OakAlso during the show I shared some music based mental health news that there is a service for musicians and artists suffering with mental health issues.

Help Musicians UK is the service and I also included their research into some of the causes and results.

Music played during the show:
Malojian – Often Wonder (The Deer’s Cry)

Oak – Mirage (Oak II)

Maneesh De Moor – Bliss (Om Deeksha)

Malojian has a new album ‘Let The Weirdness Carry You Home’ available here:

Let us know what you think of the show
Twitter: @MHMpodcast

Facebook: Search “Mental Health Matters on Phoenix FM

Helpful Organisations

• Brentwood Mind 01277 234246 or

• Mind 0300 123 3393, text 86463 or

• Samaritans Free on 116 123 , e-mail: or

• SANE 0300 304 7000 (6-11pm every evening) or

• Elefriends (MH Support Forum) –

• Rethink Mental Illness website (for factsheets/blogs etc) :

• YoungMinds
• Parents Helpline: Call: 0808 802 5544 or
(Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm, free from mobiles & landlines)

• The Silverline – 0800 4 70 80 90 (24 hours, 7 days a week) or

• The CALMzone (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
(5pm-midnight every evening)
• 0808 802 5858 if you’re in London
• or call 0800 58 58 58 Nationwide or

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Keeping safe for Christmas

Paul Salmon

Joined in the studio by Paul Salmon of Elan Fire and Security Group who came in to talk about how to keep your home secure this Christmas.

With home alarms starting from an incredible £450.00.

Elan is an independent, family run business that has over 20 year’s experience in the electronic fire and security industry. Based in Essex and London, but with customers all over the UK, we pride ourselves on being an NSI / NACOSS Gold installer who offer an extensive range of services, and are always striving to be at the forefront of the Electronic Fire & Security market. Often we see and hear about people being burgled, sometimes it’s people we know.

However, we choose to ignore these warnings as “it will never happen to me!”. Unfortunately, life is not like that and the harsh reality is that you, your family your staff and your property are at risk, and you should be taking preventative actions to minimise the danger to them. We understand this, and with so much depending on a security system these days it is essential that you receive guidance from a security professional.

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Standon Calling 2018: Bryan Ferry announced as first headliner

Continuing its reputation as the universally-acclaimed weekend of the festival calendar, Standon Calling once again opens its doors in 2018 for an unparalleled and down-to-earth celebration of community and entertainment – with Bryan Ferry announced today as the first headline act for next year’s festival.

Bryan Ferry

An indisputable icon and svengali of fashion and style, Bryan Ferry is one of the true pioneers in British music history. From his time as frontman of the legendary Roxy Music, through a dazzling catalogue of solo work, his hip-shaking, sharply-dressed attention to detail has stunned audiences around the globe, making him an unmissable spectacle each time he steps on the stage. From eruptive classics like ‘Let’s Stick Together’, ‘Slave To Love’ and ‘Don’t Stop The Dance’ to Roxy favourites ‘Love Is The Drug’, ‘Dance Away’ and ‘Angel Eyes’ – Bryan Ferry stands as one of the most influential artists of all-time. A sizzling party atmosphere is guaranteed, as he headlines Standon Calling 2018 for what’s sure to be a dynamite evening in the company of a master.

Now in its thirteenth year, Standon Calling offers a welcoming embrace to a weekend of music, arts, fun and pure festival joy. With an ever-growing and loyal audience from around the country, it’s a calling to an unparalleled and down-to-earth celebration that once a year pulls a community together. Nestled in the stunning Hertfordshire countryside, it’s an easy-to-reach voyage into something truly special. At Standon Calling they dare to be different, with a purposefully eclectic, inclusive and creative programme, carefully curated to reflect the diverse interests of the crowds that gather year after year in its fields.

By day, expect music to touch your heart, make you think, make you mosh and make you dance. Indulge with award-winning food & drink, settle in to enjoy acclaimed comedy, or entertain the whole family with activities and performances for all ages. Dip into the swimming pool or take in the dog show. The options are endless. By night, this is one bold, show-stopping beast, as world-class performers arrive in full force. Don’t miss late-night frivolities from some of the most celebrated electronic acts and DJs on the planet, leading the party right up to 4am. The perfect home for summer memories, Standon Calling is a defining beacon of the British festival experience.

Looking ahead to 2018 and the news of Bryan Ferry’s headline slot, Founder and Festival Director Alex Trenchard said:

“Bryan Ferry is an icon who created, defined and influenced an entire musical generation. As a solo artist and as part of Roxy Music, he has steered popular music toward the way of cool for the last forty years. His lyrical brilliance and powerful performances are legendary and Standon Calling is going to be purring in appreciation of his silky stylings as he closes the festival in 2018.”

After its most successful year to date in 2017, Tier 3 tickets are now on sale for Standon Calling 2018 – with previous tiers selling out in record time. For further details, head to

The Phoenix FM team were at Standon Calling 2017 and chatted to lots of performers, including Gary Numan, KT Tunstall, Lucy Spraggan and many more. To hear the interviews again visit

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Phoenix FM to host The Big Yellow Quiz

Phoenix FM is proud to be hosting The Big Yellow Quiz at the Brentwood Centre on Friday 23 March 2018.

The Big Yellow Quiz is Brentwood’s biggest quiz night – held in aid of Saint Francis Hospice.

Last year over 650 people took part and we’re hoping for even more this year.

TV’s Barry Simmons and six of his fellow Eggheads have confirmed, along with some celebrity names.

There will be a wide variety of rounds including pot luck, current affairs and general knowledge, plus the fan favourite “mystery round” so there’s definitely a question for everyone.


This is the perfect evening for all Essex quiz lovers, whether you are pub quiz regulars or enjoy a bit of Trivial Pursuit over Christmas. Put your knowledge to the test and help raise funds for end of life care services for people within your community who desperately need it.

For more information or to book a place, you can go to and sign up, email or call them on 01708 771427.

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Studio 6 Music sessions: Katy Forkings

Our latest Studio 6 Music session featured Chelmsford singer/songwriter Katy Forkings.

Katy Forkings at Studio 6 Music

Katy came in to us during our 10th birthday celebrations earlier this year, so we had a chat about what she’s been up to in the meantime. You can hear the interview again here:

Katy also played four songs for us, which you can see and hear again below:

You can hear Katy’s work on iTunes and Spotify, and also find out more about her music on her YouTube channel.

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What is Aphantasia?


An interesting and informative interview with Alan Kendle who came in to discuss Aphantasia.

Alan’s book is out today on Amazon and all good book shops.



Aphantasia: Experiences, Perceptions, and Insights.


Close your eyes and picture a sunrise.

For the majority of people, the ability to visualize images such as a sunrise seems straightforward, and can be accomplished on demand. But, for potentially some 2% of the population, conjuring up an image in ones minds eye is not possible; attempts to visualize images just bring up darkness.

Although identified back in the 19th century, Aphantasia remained under the radar for more than a century, and it was not until recently that it has been rediscovered and re-examined. It has become clear that Aphantasia is a fascinating and often idiosyncratic condition, and typically more complex than the simple absence of an ability to visualize. People with the condition Aphants commonly report effects upon their abilities to recreate sounds, smells and touches as well; many also struggle with facial recognition. Paradoxically, many Aphants report that when they sleep, their dreams incorporate colour images, sound, and the other senses.

Put together by lead author Alan Kendle who discovered his Aphantasia in 2016 this title is a collection of insights from contributors across the world detailing their lives with the condition. It offers rich, diverse, and often amusing insights and experiences into Aphantasia’s effects. For anyone who wishes to understand this most intriguing condition better, the book provides a wonderful and succinct starting point.

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Hospice choir Stands Together for Christmas No.1!

Members of Saint Francis Hospice’s choir are hoping their latest exciting project will propel them to No.1 in the charts this Christmas.

Members of Saint Francis Hospice Choir involved in Choir for Purposes project: Front L-R Roy Janes, Rita Gersh and Fran Rose (second row) Lyn Fasulo and Tracy Parkin and Paul Gersh and (back) Jane Keane, Barbara Dennis and Kathy Baldwin

They teamed up with over 45 hospices across the UK this year to form the UK Hospice Choir and record a remake of Celine Dion’s power ballad My Heart Will Go On, which will feature on the album Stand Together by Choirs with Purpose.

Choirs with Purpose is made up of 12 choirs across the country including Parrs Wood High School Harmony Group, Britain’s Got Talent 2017 finalists the Missing Persons Choir, and Greenwich and Lewisham NHS Choir – all of whom have produced a track on the album.

And excitement is mounting as the first single – the choir’s version of the former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney’s classic We All Stand Together – was released on Friday, November 24th.

It features the voices of the 1,400 talented singers involved and is led by 2003 Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus.

“We were delighted to have been given the opportunity to be part of this year’s exciting and incredibly worthwhile project,” said Rita Gersh, founder of the Saint Francis Hospice Choir.

“It has been wonderful to collaborate with all the choirs involved and to be able to once again raise awareness of the invaluable work that hospices do in the community.”

Saint Francis Hospice’s choir was among 16 London hospice choirs, together with Paul Carrack, which stormed the charts in December last year with their stunning version of the Mike and the Mechanics poignant song The Living Years.

It spent three weeks at number 1 in the physical sales at Christmas but more importantly, it raised awareness of hospice care of their valuable services.

All profits made from the album will be shared equally by all the charities involved.

The album will be released on December 15th. Please pre-order your CD or download today by visiting Amazon or

If you can’t buy the album, please buy the single which costs only £0.99 by clicking on the link

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