Friday, December 16, 2005

its windy today

And now the local residents around the oil depot are struggling – they’ve lost their jobs, their homes are wrecked – no-one’s helping them. At the least the oil companies running the depot should stump up immediately and unconditionally.

If not them – then the government. Or do we all have to live in the shadow of multi-national corporations; the risk is all ours and none of it their’s? What the fuck do we have a government for anyway? More proof that Blair is a useless c**t.

The bloody wind today! It stopped me riding my bike for part of the way into work. I could barely hold my ground, with dry leaves and grit being blown into my face. I got off and walked. I’ve never seen the waters in the docks so choppy. The Woolwich Ferry has been suspended too!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

BOOM

An oil depot blew up near Hemel Hampstead the other day, which was nice.
S woke me to tell me what had happened - it was pretty early- soon after 6.00 I think. We weren't woken by the explosion like some people though.
However - by about midday there was a definite smell of petrol in the air.

aftermath
Through the day we were show some pretty alarming pictures - the black cloud, produced by burning the equivelent to a quarter of all the petrol used in Britain in one day, was supposed to be non-toxic. Er...it contains benzene, carbon monoxide, and carcinogenic particles. How is that non-toxic?

By dusk - the smell of burnt petrol was unmistakable - we couldn't have windows or doors open on that side of the flat.

Fortunately the wind changed direction the next day towards the south west. The sun came out and it didn't rain on us. Once it raisn on us our water will be contaminated with benzene, which is extremely toxic, even though we breathe it in every day coming out of exhaust pipes.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Autism Research

Being a person with Aperger Syndrome, a form of autism, I was interested to read this article. I've always been amazed at how little information there is regarding autism, understandable to the layman.

Scans of autistic children show faults in brain circuits

Ian Sample, Science correspondent
Monday December 5, 2005
The Guardian
Brain scans of autistic children have revealed striking faults in key brain circuits that could explain the range of social difficulties such youngsters experience, neuroscientists claimed yesterday.
Detailed snapshots of the children's brains showed that networks of nerves thought crucial for understanding other people's emotions and intentions did not spark into life at the appropriate moment. The more severe a child's autism, the less activity the circuits showed.
In the study, neuroscientists led by Mirella Dapretto, a psychiatrist and brain mapping specialist at the University of California in Los Angeles, showed a series of faces to two groups of children with an average age of just over 12 years. The children in one group had been diagnosed with autism; the others showed no signs of the disorder.
Every child tested saw 80 faces, each of which expressed either anger, fear, happiness, sadness or a natural state. In separate scans, the children were asked to observe the face or imitate the expression.

The researchers found a striking difference between the brain scans of the two groups of surveyed children. When the non-autistic children saw the faces, various parts of their brains flickered into life, including clumps of nerves called mirror neurons. This group of nerves is thought to play a key role in helping us understand how others are feeling, for example by mirroring in ourselves feelings of sadness if we see someone looking miserable.
Significantly, brain scans showed that when autistic children looked at the faces, they processed the features properly, but the mirror neurons conveying the emotion of the expression failed to light up.
In the next test, children were asked to imitate the expression on each face flashed up before them. Again, the scans showed that clumps of mirror neurons burst into life in children with normally developed brains. When autistic children mimicked the expressions, they hardly flickered at all. The scans suggest that while people with autism can recognise expressions, the brain circuits that attach emotion to them are faulty, making it hard or impossible to read others' feelings.
The study, which was published in Nature Neuroscience yesterday, shows that the problem lies with a particular region of the brain known as the pars opercularis, which is rich in mirror neurons. In a final set of scans, the scientists showed that increasingly severe autism went hand in hand with rapidly decreasing activity of the mirror neurons.
"This mirroring mechanism may underlie the remarkable ability to read others' emotional states from a mere glance," said Dr Dapretto. "Our findings suggest that a dysfunctional mirror neuron system may underlie the social deficits observed in autism. This is exciting because we finally have an account that can explain all core symptoms of this disorder."


which is nice.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tony B Liar Strikes Again

I got this in an email today:

BUSH THREATENS TO BOMB MEDIA, BLAIR GAGS IT
The British Government has warned media outlets against publishing further details of a leaked memo of an April 16, 2004 meeting at which George W. Bush allegedly told Tony Blair he wanted to bomb Al Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar. The Mirrorآ quoted an anonymous source who stated that Bush "made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere. Blair replied that would cause a big problem." At the time US forces were attacking the Iraqi town of Fallujah. "The No 10 memo now raises fresh doubts over U.S. claims that previous attacks against al-Jazeera staff were military errors," The Mirror reported. Following the original report, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith warned news outlets that publication of any further details from the memo would be treated as a breach of the Official Secrets Act.
SOURCE: The Mirror (UK), November 23, 2005
For more information or to comment on this story.

The leaked memo was mentioned several times on “Have I Got News For You” by Ian Hislop, along with the gagging order. Hislop seemed to be inviting the wrath of number 10.
That the US have been deliberately targeting al Jazeera is something that I have long suspected – and have been stashing the news clippings into my chaotic filing system at home where they will emerge eventually. NATO forces in Serbia targetted the local news media there. Al Jazeera weren't the only victims of this policy however. Large numbers of independent western reporters were wiped out during the Gulf War - including a blatant, purposeful US tank attack on the hotel where many such journalists were based.

I’ve been enjoying a period of exceptionally good cycling recently – the new bike helps. The weather is good for it too. Makes me laugh though – where are all those new cyclists now? A little bit of cold weather and they’re back to taking their chances with suicide bombers on the tube. And what makes me laugh? It’s actually better to cycle in this weather – you get less sweaty – and there’s less incompetent cyclists on the road too.

My days of cycling along the canal sides, through Victoria Park and onto the Woolwich Ferry are numbered though. I’m changing location to Central London in January. I’ll be working at Baker Street after that. The route is not so nice, but I can do a little bit through Hyde Park. And I’ll be spitting distance from Regents Park, the Zoo and Camden Lock.

I walked back through Woolwich the other day. This was because I saw some odd things going on. A crane, a large shining ball, lots of lights, a police cordon, loads of vans carrying movie equipment. It was between takes, clearly, as I was allowed to walk straight through the middle of the set. There were a little group of shacks with a stuffed cockerel sitting on top, lit by massively powerful indirect light. I’ve no idea what was being filmed though.

I wandered past M&S, McDonalds, and had a flashback to my student days. I suddenly had a clear memory of rushing into M&S for a large bag of crisps just before going into a 3 hour engineering lecture. The old Thames Poly is abandoned now – and it was the main building. It’s also the heart of Woolwich. Can’t see any sign of redevelopment though. I find it a little sad – I must go down and take some pictures before it all disappears.

Then I saw it. A stink pipe. A big one. It was right in front of the student accomodation – where I lived for a year – where my friend Dave lived for the year after that. I must have walked past it a hundred times while I was in Woolwich, and probably never really noticed it. Well, there you go.

I’m going to a pub quiz tonight with S and some friends. I used to run a pub quiz up on Clapham Common – back in the mid 90s. It was to raise money for Greenpeace, and it became quite a tradition. Friends of the Earth always used to join in, as well as several people who just happened to be in the pub at the time.

Coming up with questions was the hardest bit. The one time I was able to enter was in ‘93 after coming back from a holiday in Sicily – I’d set the thing up before I went away and arranged for someone else to write the questions. They arrived in sealed envelopes – so I had no idea what they were, allowing me to join in with the Greenpeace team.

The event petered out after a couple of years – I’d stopped doing it monthly – eventually doing just a couple a year – and then the new management in the pub signalled that they weren’t really very keen on us continuing.

This 24 hours drinking thing is a bit of a let down – I haven’t even found a pub yet that’s extended its hours by minutes, let alone hours. Last orders still goes at 10.50. where’s my bloody 24 hours drinking then?!?

My Dad’s been ill. He went in for a routine hospital and ended up with a massive infection. Although, according to my mum, he’s getting quite a bit better now, and is likely to be coming home today.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

musical interlude

I bought load of new music at the weekend. Kate Bush's new album, Aerial; Can's Inner Space/ Out of Reach; Some Call it Godcore by Half Man Half Biscuit; Wilco's 1998 album, Summerteeth; An early one by Husker Du, 'New Day Rising'; and I bought Simple Minds' "Sons and Fascination" again - I have it on tape but its starting to sound a bit ragged. S reckoned it had been quite influential during the rave era.

It'll take me a while to digest all this new stuff but already some of the Can stuff sounds fantastic, and Kate Bush's new album seems as good as just about anything she's done.

I got most of this stuff from Rat Records in Camberwell - for about £3 to £6. They were playing Kraftwerk's Europe Endless while I was in there - really put me in the mood for a bit of Germany's finest.

BTW - thanks for the comment - I've corrected the error. Must have been thinking about David Bowie's "Sound and Vision" when I wrote this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Regents Canal & Bastards in cars.

About 5 minutes after I set off from home on the bike there was a bloke in a shitty little Micra pushing over the give way line to join a queue of cars at a traffic light. He kept moving when he saw me, denying me my right of way, but he was forced to stop as I got close to him.

So I cycle towards the light and they change to green. A couple of cars in front of me are indicating left and I hold back to let them go first, then I pedal forward, and it’s the fuckwit in the Micra again, on my right, indicating left. He wants to go before me even though he was behind me. I don’t let him but he keeps turning left, awkwardly because I’m in the way. Eventually he’s in front of pointing at 90 degrees to where I was trying to go, but he’s on the wrong side of the road, and its taken him twice as long as it would have done if he had waited till I’d gone.

What makes this idiot think he has the right to do this? Was it revenge for having to give way to me seconds earlier? He used the mere fact that his car was heavier and more powerful than me to force through his perceived right of way. Where I was supposed to go – or what I was supposed to do is probably not his worry.

Anyway – where I ended up on the road meant that all the cars behind were held up till I could turn the bike round and head back in the direction I intended.

After that, apart from a some arsehole who didn’t indicate on a roundabout – leaving me guessing what his intentions were – I had a pretty good journey into work.

Its sunny, but cold.

I went for drink with my friend K. the other day. He’s been in Spain a year now and apparently had forgotten what winter is like here. He didn’t believe that in mid winter it gets dark at 3.30 pm, or that it is getting dark around 4.30 at the moment.

He does now, as he has a building job in Kent and has to cope with the fact that the light disappears so early.

I had a meeting at work yesterday which allowed me to cycle along the canal path from Hackney to Islington. Apart from marauding joggers it was very nice. I felt calm. It was all that water, greenery, cats and the smell of burning wood from the boats.

Not my pictures by the way - "borrowed" from other web sites.



London looks completely different from the canal. Not quite as shitty. You can’t see the traffic, nor the crappy identikit high streets, the filthy roads and pavements. What you see are small business, quirky pubs and cafes, other cyclists, boat people, joggers, and people dossing about on the canal paths. You also get to see the raggedy back sides of houses, flats and offices. They all look a little bit more human from the back end.



The only problem is that the canal path disappears at Angel, Islington (above) as the canal enters a long tunnel. Otherwise I’d have been able to follow the canal all the way to Paddington, where the meeting was. But I had to leave the path behind and join the road system. On the way into Kings Cross I nearly got run over as a road went off to the left. I wanted to go straight on and all the traffic wanted to go left. No-one indicated. No-one considered the fact that I might not want to turn left. I continued on and cars turned left in front of me until I realised they weren’t going to stop and I would probably be killed. So I stopped, turned to face the traffic and faced the fuckers down. The cars in front stopped and I carried on shouting at the top of my voice “I don’t want to turn left – I don’t have to you know” followed by “cunts”.

I calmed down again though.


www.mike-stevens.co.uk/.../ regents/regmap.htm


The meeting was Ok – two hours long and I had nothing to contribute. Then the ride home was the old route I use dto take when I worked at Paddington. Around Marble Arch roundabout. I managed to get aggro from two buses almost at once. One beeped me as I stopped just in front of the lights cos he thought I was going to pull out in front of him. So I shouted abuse at him. Then the bus behind me beeped cos the lights had changed, and I hadn’t noticed, so I shouted abuse at him, and gave him hand signals too. Then I realised that the first bus must have beeped cos he knew he was jumping the lights and therefore needed to let me know I had to stop. I was stopping anyway – I haven’t got a death wish. But that explains why I was taken by surprise when the lights changed so quickly after I stopped. I probably wouldn’t have had to stop if it wasn;t for the psycho bus driving cunt playing roulette with other peoples’ lives.

Then I went on the cycle path through Hyde Park, across Hyde Park Corner, nearly running over the inevitable idiot not looking before he crossed the cycle path.
I’m glad I don’t do that route any more – it was stressful. A lot of shouting involved as well as fighting to get into and stay into the right lane round Victoria way, and at Vauxhall Cross.

This morning I had another meeting. Nearly all the same people, same room, and I had nothing to contribute.
On the way I discovered a new
stink pipe, on the north side of Oval Cricket Ground. It’s a fairly dirty looking one. Now I need to arrange to get its picture taken.
After the meeting I got yet another nice ride along the tow path. There were no joggers today, but plenty of cyclists.


Friday, November 11, 2005

winter

After what looked like a return to summer a couple of weeks ago, the weather has finally turned to winter. There are threats of an extremely cold winter this year - but the chances are pretty low. More likely the fuel companies are encouraging a panic, via the media, in order for them to justify whacking up gas and electricity price yet again.

We stuck our car in for a service. Its something I'm always nervous to do - for two reasons. The first, fear of a massive bill, the second, the staff in the service station making me feel like a salted slug for knowing fuck all about the insides of a car.

It ended up pretty badly. The bill came to over £1400 and the garage were particularly arsey about a couple of items of work we declined to have done. One of those jobs was the window - it had been blocked off for some time with a wooden block - would have cost over £200 to put right. I said we didn't need it fixed that badly so the fuckers put the window back without the block. The window dropped into the door and we were driving about London with a plastic bag selotaped over where the window used to be.

We've got it sorted now. But just before that my bike died too. So I was without a car or a bike for about a week. I ended up buying a new Giant for about £150. Its worth £180.

Me and S have been trying to broaden our horizons recently. We tried our hands at Thai green curry the other day. A trip to the Chinese supermarket for ingredients - and we found a jar of Hot Shito.


There was no shito in our curry - it was fantastic, and now I'm a convert to Thai cuisine.

We also had to buy a new cooker as our old one caught fire after the grill was left on too long. I won't lay the blame on anyone for this incident. So it was a relief to be the recipients of a brand new double oven cooker on Saturday.

I cooked pasties last night. I am from Devon don;t you know, so I believe pasties are in my blood. After research on several websites I settled on shortcrust pastry, with a filling of lamb, potatoes, swede and onion. The Swede was labelled "loose Swede" - made me laugh anyway.

The pasties were fantastic, although I didn't take a picture.

American pasties Cornish pasties extreme pasty fan

S has supplied me with a basil plant for adding to my lunch at work.



You've been warned

We went to see The Fall last week in Islington with a couple of friends. MES wasn't particularly keen to interact with the audience - the only thing I heard him say was something sarcastic about the venue selling Carling. It's called Carling Academy Islngton and had Carling logos all over the walls.


MES passed out after about 5 songs and the band carried on without him. Still, they were excellent.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Autumn

Today it started out clear, although a bit chilly. I’m pretty much re-acclimatised to the cycling now, after about a month with the bike out of order, and finally my bum and legs have stopped hurting too badly. There's the problem of only having one brake, and the fact that my chain has begun to slip. I would put it in for a service but I've just got it back, so I'll put up with it for a couple of weeks. I've been thinking about getting a spare bike, but that'll cost money and I want other stuff first - digital camera - laptop.

I cycled from S's flat in Camberwell this morning. Going through Kennington there were many motorbikes clogging up the spaces normally inhabited by cyclists. The number of motorbikes and scooters ahve gone up a lot in the last couple of years, thanks to congestion charges and bombs on the Underground. The advanced Stop Line (ASL) shown below was exclusively filled with motorbikes. I didn;t get a look in, and had to hang around at the back where the cars were. And that is kind of what the point of ASLs were supposed to be. In fact I'd scrap ASL's now, they don't serve their purpose, and the misuse by motorcyclists have actually made things worse for us.
motorbikes in the ASL.


And they're off; Not a cyclist in sight:

Then approaching Tower Bridge - this is always happens. This van had stopped here, blocking my progress. If the traffic is slow, then this becomes the major hazard, and the prime cause of my slow progress.

What Happens When Cycle Lanes Die. Cycle Lanes are rarely maintained, and often not replaced after road works. It all seems like a complete waste of money to me.


When I reach Victoria Park I'm nearly at work, and if I'm making good time, I can slow down and take in the pleasant surroundings. Often though, it is the only place I can actually get up a good turn of speed. No cars, you see. Just as I reached the park this morning, masses of people started coming out. You can just see them below, coming out of the right hand side gate. very nice :

Monday, October 17, 2005

Foggy Day in London Town

Hackney Marshes: not much to be seen


Truck comes out of the mist at Leyton:




Leyton High Street:

Cor Luvvaduck - its a right pea-souper and no mistake.



The fog lifted later in the day, although it became quite chilly by the time I cycled home.

Danny Baker was back on the radio today. Hoorah!! So I sat at my desk listening. And chuckling to myself. I especially liked his story of how he met his son's girlfriend's dad for the first time stood in his underpants and vest. You can listen to him via the BBC website if you're interested.

On the way home, by the New Spitalfields market, I go over this section of the cycle path, left, which is becoming rapidly overgrown. Two cyclists can longer pass each other at this point. The there's a bit which is next to a bus stop. Anyone waiting for a bus will stand on the cycle lane and refuse to move when a cyclist comes along. Some just leave their shopping on the cycle lane. I decided to go round these two. Below.

curry night – S’s plan was to make a couple of currys. One was chick peas cooked in spices. Another was my dhal. I didn’t like the dhal and ended up making my usual recipe. We also did a pilau rice and some popadoms.
Watched capturing the Friedmans – very peculiar film.

A Message From Hackney

Hackney is known for being the home of radical artists and political activists. So its no surprise to find this intelligent and coherent message scrawled on the side of a Hackney pub.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

London's Critical Mass Criminalised?

The cycle police distributed letters to participants at last weeks
London Critical Mass Cycle Ride. Here is a transcript :



Metropolitan Police Service
CO11 Public Order Branch
New Scotland Yard
Broadway
London
SW11 OBG

Your reference: -
Our reference: -
Date: 29/09/2005



Critical Mass Cycle Demonstrations


Organisers of public processions are required by law to notify police at least 6 days before the event occurs of the date, time, proposed route and the name and address of an organiser. Failure to do so makes the event unlawful

Demonstrations within a designated area around Parliament must also be notified, and anyone taking part in an unauthorised demonstration commits an offence.

Police can impose conditions on processions, demonstrations and other assemblies, and participants render themselves liable to arrest if they fail to comply with those conditions.

These cycle protests are not lawful because no organiser has provided police the with the necessary notification. Your participation in this event could render you liable to prosecution.
Police policy in facilitating these events is currently under review.

If you intend to organise a future similar event please refer to the Metropolitan Police website,
www.met.police.uk for details. It is preferable for all parties if a lawful event can be safely facilitated, rather than the Police having to enforce legislation.

[signed]

Super intendent Gomm,
New Scotland Yard


“in the wake of police attempt to criminalise the 12 year old critical mass cycle rides, here is a pdf flier (two on an A4 format) to print and distribute widely to try and creat a thousand cyclist critical mass for the 28th October”

Find on the link, below, a pdf flier for october 1000 cyclist critical mass - print and distribute!!!! If you live in London that is. Please distrubute at your local cycle shop, library, health food store, newsagent, community centre, etc. etc. etc. Let's get a thousand cyclists on friday october the 28th

Generic media critical mass leaflet.pdf -
https://www1.indymedia.org.uk/media/2005/10/324882.pdf

see articles at
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/10/324825.html
and
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/10/324763.html
for background on this repressive act by metropolitan police, and then help make the next critical mass the biggest in history by downloading, printing, and distributing those leaflets.

New Kate Bush single

I'm reading "Black Vinyl White Powder" by Simon Napier Bell Julie Burchill called it "breath-takingly brilliant". I’m not sure about that though. It’s interesting, but there’s little insight into music except the drugs influence on the music, which I think he is exaggerating. And then there's loads of really obvious factual mistakes which really should have been picked up before publication.
www.uim.info/snb/snb.htm

The new Kate Bush record got another play on 6Music this morning. It works for me - her voice, something about a "King of the Mountain", proper drumming, and wind effects in the background, you can imagine kate hair and dress billowing about in the wind standing atop some celtic mountain range or other. Can't wait for the album.

I saw a bastard taxi driver driving a black cab this morning. He drove straight through a red light, with people crossing, and then denied that he'd done it.
His number is 16793 – if you see him stop him and give the c**t one from me.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I'm mobile!

I got my bike back. This morning I was swearing under my breathe while fitting my back wheel back on the bike. Fiddly fucking job! Then I had to reconnect the back brakes. Fiddly fucking job!

But it was all worth it; I was back in the saddle and back on the road, swearing at motorists.

Now I've got to lose all that weight I've put on since my bike's been out of order.

I've got a very bad cold. I've been keeping S awake at night with worse than usual snoring, and having quite restless nights myself.

I've also managed to update my entry for Dymchurch, strange village that I visited in the summer - pictures and a bit of writing.

Here's a David Bowie website - its all Ziggy Stardust related stuff.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Quaggy River in Lewisham

Me and S went on a little exploratory trip round South London trying to find the hidden bits of the River Quaggy. This is a bridge over the river, in Lewisham:


The river - looking towards the east:


Towards the west:

this is a map of the Quaggy we found in Kidbrook:



Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Nice Day

S and I had a very nice day today. If I sound surprised, then I guess I probably am. I've been having such a stressful time at work lately, and I know that things have been difficult for S too.

Last night we went to see the new Romero film, "Land of the Dead", which we both enjoyed, after a slap up feast in the nearby Chinese restaurant.

So this morning I decided that it was about time I put my broken bicycle wheel in to be mended, which I meant a trip up to Docklands - to Wharf Cycles (highly recommended!). S came with me so we could make a day of it. K was with her Granny. Once the wheel was in the shop, we drove up to Hackney, between Victoria Park and the canal, and found a bar (Fat Cat bar) which did all-day breakfasts. The service was a bit intrusive - that awful American thing of constantly asking us if everything is ok, and do we need anything else. But the food wasn't bad, anf the beer was good.

We ate leisurely reading the papers, watching the idiots in the gym next door lifting weights and doing something very strange with a large beach ball. We followed this up with a walk along the canal, only returning to the car after the light started to fade. There were a couple in Victoria Park walking their ferrets. One of the ferrets became very interested in who we were, and stared at us. Very cute!



This was taken last winter - but it shows part of the canal we walked along with the lock house in the distance.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bromley Revisited

My appointment finally came up with Bromley Mental Health Team. Its so that they can assess me over referral to a specialist regarding my Aspergers Syndrome. It was in the Stepping Stones clinic on Masons Hill. The doctor I spoke to was quite helpful and sensitive to my problems, and she agreed to refer me. That was good news. I was worried that they’d just try to put me on anti-depressants again. I left the clinic in a relatively buoyant mood.

leaf motif?
After that I decided to have a nose round Bromley. I had walked from Chislehurst to Bromley as I had no bike and couldn't work out where to get a bus from – I had forgotten to check on the Internet before leaving work. On the way I discovered a stink-pipe down on Sundridge Avenue, round the corner from Elmstead Woods Station. It had a nice leaf motif around it, about ten feet up, possibly signifying the alleged rural nature of its setting. After my appointment I noticed another one, with same leaf design, behind where the old hospital used to be, in Cromwell Avenue. I walked up to have a look.

in: Charles Darwin
out: HG Wells
After buying some basics in Waitrose, I walked up through Bromley High Street, so that I could catch a bus back to Chislehurst. Briefly tempted into HMV where I found a cheap copy of Bowie's "Tonight" on CD and a couple of DVDs for £2 each - Laurel and Hardy & "Ladykillers" - the original Ealing comedy version. I went past where the mural of HG Wells used to be (left). Bromley, disapproving of their famous former resident, decided in their infinite wisdom to let it rot and peel off the wall until it was in such a poor state that they had to repaint the wall, and now a new mural has appeared. This one is of Darwin (right) who is ideologically suitable for Bromleyites - survival of the fattest or is that fittest? - biggest bastard more like! I went past the hordes of schoolkids and the already pissed drinkers standing outside the pub, right towards the old town hall.

Mr & Mrs Spaceboy
When I first came to Bromley, the building where David and Angie Bowie got married was on top of my must-see places (The Bowies' wedding picture below right, taken outside Bromley Town Hall, the building in the left hand side of the photo, below left). I'd already visited his birthplace in Brixton, but Bromley was where the young musician, David Jones, mutated into David Bowie, the androgynous junky rock star from space. So its important.
My feet ached as I waited for my bus. When it came, packed with schoolkids, it travelled extremely slowly. There was an almost solid queue of traffic from Bromley to Chislehurst. I could have done with my bike, as I could have passed the whole lot in a few minutes. And eventually the bus got there, and I disembarked. I got off at Chislehurst Common where it was nice in a green and pleasent sun shiney sort of way. Bromley can fool you like that though. It looks green and rural, very pleasant. But its just the surface of Bromley because if you look between the trees in the "woods" you see a fence, and houses, hidden behind the foliage. And not just any house, but a multi million pound house. Razor wire, gurad dogs and CCTV aren't unusal around here. There are private streets too, so you have no rights to walk down them and nor can you without attracting attention from the paranoid-but-rich who live down them. I walked alongside the road, the last half a mile or so back to my house, breathing in the traffic fumes, and looking at the pleasent veneer of countryside around me.

The evening was spent watching my new DVD and drinking the wine I'd bought in Waitrose.

Friday, September 02, 2005

New Orleans

What the fuck is going on? This is incomprehensible to anyone outside the US. How many days has it been, and still noone has taken life-saving resources into New Orleans? Americans need to wake up and realise that their government is quite happy to see them rot and die. Bush keeps saying the rescue is on its way. But he's lying, you can see it in his face.

If America can't cope why aren't they asking for help? Bush said their won't be help from overseas because he hasn't asked for any help. He is concerned about looting though. By 'looters' he means desperate people with no food and no water, trying to keep themselves and their children alive, with no help from the authorities, & taking what they need to survive. But Bush wants people killed for this. The white House can find extra resources for shooting looters, but apparently nothing for rescuing people, or providing them with food.

Now with civil disorder breaking out all over the stricken city, are the federal authorities going to resort to Falluja style tactics to 'take back' the city?

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I was having a nose round the "disused barracks" in Woolwich yesterday. I discovered that the building is the old Royal Military Academy. The exisiting building was built in the 19th century, however the Academy in Woolwich goes back to the 18th century. It closed at the outset of World War Two, and a new Academy was opened at Sandhurst. The old Academy building was only closed a few years ago, but I'm not too sure what it was used for after World War Two. I think that a large part of it was just used for storage.

In my nosing around I found that part of the land has been given over to civilian housing. I went and had a look round and found that on the far side of the compound from where I took the photographs there is a guard - civilian not army - in a little gate house. there is also a light on in a room near the guarded gate.

My eye is better, thankyou for wondering.

Woolwich is such a fucked up place. I always get unprovoked trouble from some tosser when I pass through. Today it was a c**t who leaned out of his car window to shout "WOOOH" at me as he passed, and frightened the shit out of me.

Yesterday it was some shaven headed c**t driving a Ford Escort who thought I shouldn't have right of way at a junction, despite what the law says. Instead of writing to his mp to amend the legislation, he thought shouting derogatory things at me would help. I'm not sure what he said, I had my headphones on, but I just shrugged and moved on.



This used to be the Woolwich Coronet Cinema. I used to spend most Wednesday afternoons in here, taking advantage of the student discount. Bands played in here too - The Fall, New Order, The March Violets, to name a few. Now its something called the New Wine Church, and the building continues to crumble.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

another day

I have more on Jean Charles de Menezes. His family's campaign continues. To get involved please sign up to the email list by emailing to justice4jean@hotmail.co.uk .

previous blogs - here, here, and here

I got something in my eye while cycling - so I've had a bloody sore eye at work today - and both of them are severly bloodshot. I look like shit.

Got to listen to a bit of Dylan coming in this morning - on BBC 6Music. The latest bootleg album has come out - Bob's opened up the archives, and it sounds pretty good. Live Maggie's Farm, some Guthrie covers, the original take of Tambourine Man. I might be tempted to buy this CD. And there's a new Kate Bush CD on the horizon too. Must remember to save my pennies up.

Elvis Costello's Delivery Man was delivered yesterday and first listen suggests its pretty good. Emmy Lou Harris's backing vocals are fantastic. I'm going to listen to this tonight, and must remember to try to get to grips with previous CD North.

I'm rewriting my account of the Dunwich Dynamo. I left too much out of the previous version. I'm immensly proud of having done this. I want to build on it, and have to do a big ride this autumn - although maybe not 120 miles.
Saturday night was DVD night. We watched Starship Troopers 2 and Tremors 3. Both straight to DVD productions, but both more than watchable. Especially ST 2, which used a much reduced budget to explore the idea of a squadron stranded on a backwater planet away from the main war.
I more or less forced the family out for an evening walk on Sunday, along the South Bank. I thought it would be good for us to get out for a bit. We ended up witnessing a middle aged bloke get beaten up because he was onstructing some filiming going on near the National Theatre. So we walked him to St Thomas's Hospital A&E to get him looked at. S has an amazing way with people. She is genuinely caring and never shirks her duty as a human being. I don't think I'm such a good person, but I like to think it does rub off on me a little at least. The man was in a lot of pain by the time we got there, and the hospital staff treated him like he was a dangerous vagrant or troublemaker. The poor bloke was concussed, but absolutely no sympathy from the nursing staff. Angels? My arse!

On Monday the family went to the beach. We stopped at a little town on the coast called Dymchurch, positioned on the south coast of Kent, on the Romney Marsh. A strange bit of the world I've been meaning to have a look at for years.

Pictures are to follow.

So, I'm planning to go back on my bike and explore round the marshes, as this coast is only about 60 miles from London.

There is an interesting legend celebrated in the area by a re-enactment, on Syn Day, which was on the day we were there - but the celebrations are only every other year, and not this year. We have to go in 2006 to see the next re-enactment.

The local Hospice charity shop had a display in the front window entirely made of books about sex and witchcraft, including one which was about both sex and witchcraft. This had the feel of The Wickerman about it. Or Royston Vasey.

Dymchurch

Yesterday the family went to the beach. This little town called Dymchurch is on the south coast of Kent, on the Romney Marsh.


We did all the usual beach things - walked on the beach, ate fish and chips, had an ice-cream.

I'm planning to go back on my bike as this coast is only about 60 miles from London.

There is an interesting legend celebrated in the area by a re-enactment, on Syn Day, which was yesterday - but the celebrations are only every other year. We have to go in 2006 to see the next re-enactment.

The local Hospice charity shop had a display in the front window entirely made of books about sex and witchcraft, including one which was about both sex and witchcraft.



web sites:
http://www.digiserve.com/peter/dofsyn.htm
http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/s/syn.htm


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Trials of a Cyclist

I've been collecting over the last year, examples of what can make cycling less than pleasurable in London- blocked cycle lanes, ignorant motorists etc. That sort of thing.





This stretch of cycle lane is near Leyton, East London. With a number of businesses based alongside it, the path is rarely free of traffic even though it is on the pavement, and the road alongside is a one way road - which means cyclists need this lane in order to travel towards Leyton.

This guy (below) has decided to ram himself into a gap that gives him no advantage at all. Where's he going to go next? Unfortunatley, he's blocked the way forward for cyclists. After taking this photo I had to take the more dangerous option of overtaking on the right, risking on-coming traffic.

A caravan parked on the cycle lane.

And another major pain - this is the end of the canal side path, and I always have to end it scrabbling up this earthy mound.