Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dr Syn Day

A year ago - we said we'd go back to Dymchurch - I wanted to see the entire town dressing up and playing out the events surrounding the Dr Syn legend.

A battle was recreated on the beach - the army and the navy versus smugglers and pirates.

girls and women in big dresses...

and seagulls

The Dials - tour dates

21st September 2006
The Pressure Point, Brighton

22nd September 2006
The Jericho Tavern, Oxford

23rd September 2006
Bath Place Community Centre, Leamington Spa

28th September 2006
The Red Roaster Cafe, 1D St James Street, Brighton.

2nd December 2006
The Cockroach Club, Peterborough

What no more London gigs? I was hoping to see them again soon. Still I might just be able to see them in Oxford. S. had an interview for a course up there today, and I reckon she's probably in. In which case I'll be in Oxford a fair amount.

As for the Dials - go see them - they're very good live, if you like that Tarantino/ surf / blues / country crossover sort of thing.

Friday, August 25, 2006

these pictures look old - the one above is of my Dad and sister, and the little dog was called Scamp. It must have been taken around 1980, despite my Dad looking like he's walked out of 1973.

Here he is again, asleep after running round like a mad thing for hours. You can also see most of the cat - Whiskey.

This isn't so old - although it is still Scamp. Taken around 1987/ 88 - You can see my sister's two dogs - in my parents' garden - and they still live here now.

Dr Syn Festival

The plan for our Bank Holiday is this - drive down to Dymchurch in the early hours of Monday morning, grab a parking space, go watch the reenactment of the Doctor Syn legend:

Stop At Red - Misguided Idiots

I want to have a quick few words about this bunch of eejits
What do they think they can achieve? So people who stop at red lights are pledging to continue to stop at red lights. And people who don;t will continue to be RLJs (red light jumpers).
I treat some red lights as advisory when I cycle. the ones where not stopping has a nil effect on other road users, and nil risk for me. Others, there's a risk of hitting peds, and if peds are about, I stop and stay stopped until its safe to move on. And on major junctions where I have to cross the flow of traffic to get to the exit I need, then I definitely take no chances.
There's a real argument here that traffic lights are designed for the needs of motor vehicles and/or the need to protect pedestrians from motor vehicles. So why do traffic lights apply in exactly the same way to cyclists as they do to cars, lorries, motorbikes and buses?
In many cases the law could say cyclists proceed through red light if safe to do so. Recklessly racing through a crowd of pedestrians, or against traffic crossing the junction can remain just as illegal as it is now.
That's why Stop At Red are so wrong. Instead of wringing our hands and looking concerned about the criticisms we receive from other road users - and lets face it, these complaints are nearly always red-herring arguments which indicate a deep prejudice undeneath - we should be declaring the need to change the law to one more appropriate for cyclists.
Are Stop At Red going to campaign for lawful motoring. Probably not. So who is. Motorists? Well, that's clearly not happening. So why should we be the only suckers working within an unworkable set of laws?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Two Way Stretch

I've got a Screen Select account, which means I pay them about 15 squid and they send me an unlimited number of DVDs every month.
The latest two I received were Lost In La Mancha - I can't wait to see this with S. - and "Two Way Stretch". If you don;t know this film, then it's an early Peter Sellers comedy, befroe he hit Hollywood. Peter Sellers was excellent, plenty of genuine laughs, and unbeliveable to see how different the world looked less than 50 years ago.
Only the ending was a bit crap. Instead of the crims getting away with the diamonds they lose them in some pretty bizarre and out of keeping with the film plot twist. Cribbins had to climb on the roof of a train to evade the police, even though they had the perfect aliby of being in prison at the time of the robbery, and while climbing back down dropped the diamonds off the train. They all end up dressed as Arabs trying to steal the diamonds back of the Sheikh. Ludicrous!

Empty days

The stress of work, and the fact that I need to put a good extra couple of hours in today, means I drove in to work. Am I letting the [cycling] side down? I don't think so. For me it just proves that the average cyclist like me is normal human being, not some "tree hugging freak", lycra lout, terrorist on two wheels, cycling psychopath etc. Actually I am someone who uses the most appropriate form of transport on any given day or circumstances. I could have cycled today, but I chose not to. Instead I was out in a VW Golf with a sticker on the back that says "Give Cyclists Room".
I feel really self conscious among the muslims out here these days. When I see them looking at me what are they thinking? Do they think I fear them, hate them? I am actually thinking I hope they don;t hate me for what my country is doing.
In the midst of all this whipping up of race and religious hatred, new rights-destroying legislation, bombing of Lebanon, our continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, Heart FM seems to have hit on the debate that matters. They're asking the question, the big question, the question we all need to ask ourselves. what do you prefer, crunchy or smooth peanut butter, or both equally?

Disappearing News

I'm reminded of  story that featured quite prominently in BBC bulletins on August 9th, the day of the dastardly plot being disrupted. There was this story of a "security breach" on a plane at one of the London airports. A smartly dressed man, in a suit, carrying a brief case, had got on board a plane I think that had just been emptied of passengers. He claimed he'd left something on the plane. He smashed the glass to use an emergency handle to gain entry to the cabin. The police were called and he was removed.
The police immediately denioed this was a security breach but didn't elaborate. The third time this story appeared in a bulletin, about 6 pm, an airline spokesperson was interviewed saying as far as thye were concerned this was a breach of security and wanted to know what the police were talking about. Then the story disappeared entirely. I haven't been able to find mention of this in any of the papers on-line, or in the printed version of the Indie. Nor has any mention of this story appeared in any news bulletin since, as far as I know.
I get the impresssion that the man in question wasn't just some common or garden member of the public, and this story has been killed by the authorities. So what was this fecker up to? And what do the police know? I've no idea.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bomb Plot Trial

Judge Timothy Workman set the date for the trial as September 4, at the Old Bailey

Tanvir Hussain
"The first man to be remanded was Tanvir Hussain, 25, who was said to have no fixed abode.
He is charged with one offence of conspiracy to murder contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977. The second charge alleges that, on diverse days between January 1 this year and August 10, with the intention of committing acts of terrorism, he engaged in conduct to "give effect to their intention to smuggle the component parts of improvised explosive devices on to aircraft and assemble and detonate them on board".
The defendant appeared in court wearing a white T-shirt and grey sweatpants. He had close-cropped dark hair and a beard and spoke only to confirm his identity." Guardian
"Umar Islam, 28, who gave his address in court as London E15, Arafat Waheed Khan, 25, from Walthamstow, east London and Ahmed Abdullah Ali, also 25 and from Walthamstow, were also remanded in custody to appear before the Old Bailey on September 4.
The three appeared in the dock together dressed in white T-shirts and grey jogging bottoms and remained impassive throughout their brief appearance." Guardian

"The other four men who are due to be charged in court with conspiracy to murder are: Assad Ali Sarwar, 26, from High Wycombe; Adam Khatib, 19, from Walthamstow; Ibrahim Savant, 25, from Walthamstow and Waheed Zaman, 22, from Walthamstow.
The other three suspects were charged with other terrorism offences. One, a 17-year-old male, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with possessing items useful for terrorism.
Two others have been charged with failing to tell the police about what they are alleged to have known about terrorism. They are Cossar Ali, 23, who has a seven-month-old baby and who is married to suspect Ahmed Abdullah Ali, and Mehran Hussain." Guardian

"A further 11 people remain in custody; police have until tomorrow to present charges or request an extension to the time they can be held without charge.
ICM poll for the Guardian today revealed that 72% of people questioned think government foreign policy has made Britain more of a target for terrorists and only 1% of voters believe it has made Britain safer." guardian

The charges brought are Mickey Mouse charges designed to force the defendents to prove their own innocence. The conspiracy laws are an anomaly in British Law. It is a sure sign that the polcie have no evidence whatsoever, and are hoping that these young people end up incriminating themselves in their defence.

This trial will be a sham, with a nice safe judge to make sure the verdict goes the right way. I can't wait to see the "evidence".

The anti-Muslim backlashed has been kick-started by the government:

Amar Ashraf, a pilot, was ordered off his plane yesterday to be interviewed by armed police because he had a muslim sounding name. He was forced to go home to Wales and pay £800 for an alternative flight two days later.

Azar Iqbal was removed from a plane from Manchester to Atlanta last Thursday, seperated from his family, and held for questioning by US officials, eventually deported back to the UK.

Two British women complained about a bearded Muslim on a flight from Spain - even though the man had passed security twice.

Dr Ahmed Farooq, a radiologist and a muslim, was escorted off a flight from Winnipeg in Denver last week after reciting prayers that were regarded as suspicious by the other passengers.

The new Prevention of Terrorism bill

And a reminder to myself to look at this

Places to Stick Signs

I can see it might be a bit of a problem for the Highways authorities. They need to stick a sign up, but haven't got room to put it. Can't put it on the road, it would inconvenience the motorists. Can't block the pavement - there'd be complaints. Ah! But there's always the cycle lane. No-one uses that do they? Especially the contra-flow ones that bypass busy roads in the City. The only people who will compain are cyclists, and everyone hates them anyway.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Dials

I went and saw a band called the Dials a few weeks ago. They were supporting the Mekons who I'd liked back in the '80s. I think time has left the Mekons beind a bit. They helped to reabilitate country and folk back in the days when Elvis Costello risked an early end to his career by making a Country & Western album, and country generally was slated as cheesey, outdated, for old men. It was even before Johnny Cash was considered to be remotely cool. These days of course, country rules. At least it does if you're male and over about 25, under 45. Everyone now knows Johnny Cash is a great artist, cool, and about as rock'n'roll as you can be. We have bands like Wilco and Steve Earle who easily stand astride both the rock and country camps. Country elements form parts of many rock songs these days. It will leave most people wondering what's so special about the Mekons. They're a northern English band who play country quite badly, but with spirit. To be honest I was a bit surprised that their musicianship hadn't moved on at all, not an inch. Still, I'm glad I saw them.
S. didn't like The Mekons; she took a personal dislike to them after they nattered all the way through the support (The Dials) and gave her dirty looks when she complained. This ambivalence was reinforced when the band announced they were playing Urban75's Offline event in Brixton the following day, to an audience of trendy uptight tossers. Andy, who came with us, wasn't too impressed either. I had a history with the band, and even though I admit they weren't great - they never were technically - it was the spirit, the ragedness, and the fact that they were daring to take Indie where Indie, at first, really didn't want to go, and after it had gone, came back.
The Dials however, went down a storm. I thought they were excellent, and so did S. Mark Lamarr's been promoting them quite a bit lately, and there's a debut album in the pipeline. They're a Brighton band whose sound is very Tarantino-esque in places. I'd describe it as surfer country blues, jazzy too in places. They freely admit they steal from everywhere. My kind of band.
The Luminaire too was an experience - a very little venue, the smallest I've ever been to, probably slightly smaller than the cellar bar in Thames Polytechnic, where I sued to frequent back in the mid-80s.
I might buy the ep.

"Terror Plot" update

I just got this from the BBC. I'll be interested to read more.
"Eleven people have been charged in connection with an alleged terror plot to
blow up transatlantic airliners. More soon.

For more details: "


This MP3 player is a feckin' godsend to me. It may be my AS, but I find it very difficult to make music decisions at times, ie, choosing what I want to listen to. The MP3 player takes the decision making out of my hands. I've got 200 odd fave tunes, and the rest is made up of new albums, classics, and downloaded stuff.
At the moment I've got a jazz section on there - loads of Count Basie early stuff, big band style - and plenty of old style, 30s jazz. And about a dozen tracks from John Coltrane.
I've also got Van Morrisson's 'Contractual Obligation' on there - very funny - and downloadable for free. Recommended.
Plus, Elvis Costello's Delivery Man, Wilco's double album, two CDs by Polyphonic Spree, the last Pulp CD, a soul section, a funk section, a reggae section, Viva Hate by Morrissey, about 50 alternative country tracks, and a whole Steve Earle album.
The only problem is the long winded method I have to use to put tracks on it. I don;t have much memory on my laptop so I have to rip each track first, and then move it into my player. Takes forever. I'm holding out for a bigger laptop so I can stick all my music on there.

The Real Terrorists

I was reading the Independent on Friday and checked up on the latest regarding 24 (now 23) arrested for an alleged bomb plot on August 9th / 10th (crap memory).
I was pretty sure that nothing would turn up in the investigation and that all 23 would be released without charge, or with very minor charges brought. Last week there were bulletins on the BBC that claimed that a "bomb making kit" had been found and martyr videos on computers.
Reading the articles in the Indie quite closely I discovered that both these bits of news came from "unconfirmed police source" and the story about the martyr video was "believed" to originate from American Intelligence source.
Sounds a bit vague to me. Sounds a bit like, its not true but we're gonna put it about in the press for a while, both to stoke up public fears, prop up this fictitious bomb plot for a while, secure court permission to hold these innocent young people for a bit longer.
I worry now that they're going to end up being extradited to America.
And then a story that was really depressing. A plane load of the scummiest English chavs - flying back on a Monarch airline plane, from malaga in Spain - decided they didn;t want two Indian blokes on the plane with them. They played up enough to get these two innocent men arrested. They were eventually released with no charge. I'd have arrested every motherfucking one of those English twats until the plane was fit to take off.
And I would have charged them! What with? I'd have found something. Hijacking a plane might have been a good one.
So who are the real terorrists? I'm reading "Trail of the Octopus" at the moment. This book tells the story of a DIA agent fleeing for his life to Sweden because of what he knew about Flight 103 which blew up over Lockerbie in 1988. It appears that our governments are so involved in running, supplying, training, and doing business with para-military groups in the Middle East that there is a very grey area dividing what we call "intelligence operations" and "terrorist operations". The other thing that has been highlighted for me is how much the intelligence organisations manipluate what appears in the press. How many journalists work for the DIA, CIA, MI5, MI6? How many newspaper owners work for these organisations? How many spook generated stories end up in our headlines? After Lockerbie, the US and UK managed to persuade the whole world to believe a politically convenient story they'd concocted completely at odds with the reality. No the press is joining in with framing 23 innocent muslims in the UK, and don;t forget the one in Pakistan who was arrested two days earlier. He's probably being tortured, and the UK doesn't seem particuarly keen to intevervene.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I'm too tired to think of a Title for this...

The week has just ended, i make it about 13 minutes past midnight, and the weekend is here. My work phone hasn't rung today so I assume that nothing went wrong. I'm exhausted. Last Friday S. kept me awake all night. Not what you might think, but I remember being really pissed off at 6 am and getting out of bed, drinking coffee, and falling asleep on the sofa to "Stoned" on DVD.
I took Tuesday off, but wasn't really capable of doing much. Slept in, went to pub and had breakfast - S. paid - went to laundrette. And then I took today off too. Got to the library, did a bit of shopping, watched "Sopranos" on DVD.
Haven;t had a drink for two days. I overdid it on Wednesday night when S stayed at my place. Ultimately I hope it improves my sleeping pattern, and causes me to lose weight. I might be able to save a little bit of cash too.
The cat's snoring beside me. He's been attention seeking all day, but finally ran out of energy.
Anyway - that's enough shit from me today.

Monday, August 14, 2006

floating bike

I saw this today. I wasn't surprised to see that an Indian man had come up with this extremely useful device. I could use it instead of the Woolwich Ferry, although I'm pretty sure it wouldn't save me any time. Or I could ride up the Lee Navigation on it. Still not sure it would help me much, although I still love the idea.

Ken's U-turn

First the good news:

"One week (and many complaints) after announcing his plans to force cyclists in London to have number plates, Ken Livingstone has shelved the idea. He agreed with CTC's concerns over the prohibitive cost of such a scheme and now wants to launch a 'Share the road' campaign which will encourage all road users to obey traffic regulations and advise them of the penalties for not doing so."

now the bizarre news

Cyclist fined for riding on the road
"A UK cyclist has been fined £100 with £200 costs for riding on the road and obstructing traffic. The Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC) reported that member Daniel Cadden was cycling fast downhill on a single-lane approach to a roundabout when he was stopped by police who believed that the position he had taken in the centre of his lane was forcing cars to cross the solid white line in the centre of the road illegally in order to overtake."

So who's breaking the law here then? Can I use as a defence that cars driving without due care and attention forced me to cycle illegally on the pavement? Probably not. I'm fucking appalled!

"CTC Director, Kevin Mayne, said, "The police at the scene said that Daniel
should have been cycling well over to the left - effectively in the gutter -
but the judge felt that Daniel should have crossed three lanes of busy
traffic and used a segregated cycle track to save fractions of seconds off
the journey times of a few motorists. CTC continues to fight a re-draft of
the Highway Code, which proposes cyclists 'should use cycle paths where
provided', in order to tackle the attitude, held by many people in the
judiciary, police and public alike, that cyclists should be out of the way
of motorists."

So it's true cyclists are about to be banned from using the roads we fucking pay for in our taxes. What makes it worse is that the cycling facilities we're expected to use are treated with such contempt by everyone else. I tried to use a contra-flow lane this morning, just north of Tower Bridge, and someone's put a fecking great sign warning of problems in the Blackwall Tunnel right across it. I had to cycle on the pedestrian bit.

Then at Leyton, there were about 20 lorries and other vehicle parked in the contra flow lane. I had to stop an on-coming lorry in order to make my way along the road. The driver didn't like it either.

I only hope that this cyclist can win on appeal.

terror raid - the list of those abducted by police:

British "Terror" Raids in august 2006

Those arrested:

Ahmed, Smith

Abdula Ahmed Ali

Cossor Ali

Shazad Khuram Ali

Nabeel Hussain

Tanvir Hussain

Umair Hussain

Umar Islam

Waseem Kayani

Assan Abdullah Khan

Waheed Arafat Khan

Osman Adam Khatib

Abdul Muneem Patel

Tayib Rauf

Muhammed Usman Saddique

Sarwar, Amjad

Assad Sarwar

Ibrahim Savant

Amin Asmin Tariq;

Shamin Mohammed Uddin

Waheed, Abdul

Waheed Zaman

These are the arrests that led to the ridiculous charade last week, that left thousands of people's holidays cocked up, and now 24 people arrested for being muslims.
I'd be surprised if any of these did anything remotely illegal - in the terrorism sense anyway. Although I'm sure the police could invent a few irrelevent charges for a few of them - "looking funny at a police officer" or "wearing muslim dress and attending a mosque
The original "intelligence" seems to have come from one of the British suspect'sbrother who was almost certainly tortured by police in Pakistan and forced to finger a load of innocent people he knew back in England.

Notepad Invaders

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Daily Mail Agrees With Ken's Bonkers Scheme

The fact that the Daily Mail agrees with Ken Livingstone shows how out of step with reality he really is.
At the moment I still see children cycling - that will end once this sceme is brought in. No more borrowing other people's bikes. It'll be an open door for police harrassment of cyclists. Even law abiding registered bikes may be stopped to show their papers.
Ken says that there'll be no change for law-abiding cyclists. Apart from 600 squid a year to regster my family's bikes. The stopping and searching we'll be subjected to to make this sceme work. The stupid and inappropriate, rather large number plate I'm going to have to rivet to my bike!!
What happens when people come from outside London to cycle? They're going to have to register their bikes beforehand. More likely, no-one will bother, and cycling in the capital will die out.
I'm going to sabotage the leg of the Tour De France in London next year - the leg that Ken was so supportive of - if this scheme is to go ahead. If I can't cycle I don't agree that Ken can have a high-profile event that seems to imply his support of cycling.
His cycling ads need to be subvertised too.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mayor's Bonkers Cycle Scheme

I got this yesterday - regarding Ken Livingstone's frankly bonkers idea to register cyclists in London.

If you wish to write to express your views on compulsory registration you can do so by sending an email to: <>

LCC Press Release
Cycle registration could halt cycle growth in London*
An unworkable scheme to register cycles in London and fit them with
number plates could bring the welcome growth in London cycling to a
sharp halt
The scheme was proposed by Ken Livingstone, Mayor London. Speaking on the radio. Livingstone said he was considering a Private Bill in Parliament that would require registration of cycles and their owners, and for bikes to display a registration plate that could be monitored by cameras.
The London Cycling Campaign has written to Ken Livingstone expressing its dismay at the proposal which could undo efforts by the Mayor, Transport for London and organisations like the London Cycling Campaign to reduce congestion and pollution in the capital by promoting
sustainable transport.
Registration will be costly, complex and bureaucratic. It will also be a cost barrier for those considering taking up cycling, especially those on low incomes. Simon Brammer LCC?s director said ?There is no doubt that cycle licensing or registration in London would deter many
occasional cyclists and those who are considering taking up cycling. In particular it would have an impact on those who may be unable to afford the cost of a license. A better way to encourage safe and considerate cycling is cycle confidence training in line with National Standards.?
LCC has been pleased to see the capital benefiting from the recent increases in cycling. There is less traffic congestion, less pollution and less traffic noise as more people enjoy the health advantages of walking and cycling. Cycling training, not a costly licensing scheme, is the way forward.

From the Department of Transport
"The question of a registration and tax system for cyclists is often raised and the Department has examined this. We have concluded that it would be impossible since it would require a licensing similar to that for motorists. As there are in excess of 20 million bicycles in Great
Britain and many change hands through second hand sales, keeping track of this would be extremely difficult and expensive. The fee for any registration system could not be very large since it would need to relate to that payable for the smallest motor cycle - around £15.00 per
annum. We have therefore concluded that a registration scheme would be too expensive to establish and run since the costs of its administration would far outweigh the revenue received. It would also place an additional enforcement burden on the police. Moreover it would be difficult to impose a road tax on cyclists since they do not cause pollution and impose very little wear and tear on the roads particularly at a time when the Government is encouraging cycling?

*London Assembly** **Green Party Group*
news release
Friday, July 28, 2006
Bike registration ?impractical, costly and bureaucratic? says Mayor?s green adviser
Responding to the Mayor of London?s call for a bike registration scheme, Jenny Jones a Green Party member of the London Assembly said:
"If the London Mayor wants to stop the growth of cycling in London then a bike registration scheme will do it over-night. It is a completely impractical, costly and bureaucratic measure which will give the police a fairly pointless and thankless task, trying to chase bikes without
paperwork. We need to encourage casual cyclists to become regular cyclists by making it easier to cycle, rather than more difficult. We need more cycle training, rather than form filling. If we want cyclists off the pavement, then give them safer roads and more cycle lanes."
"I'm all in favour of changing the culture of both cycling and driving in London, which is why we got the Mayor to agree to a major campaign called 'Share the Road', which aims to promote mutual respect between all road users.?* *

The number of cycles owned in Britain is similar to the number of cars ? over 20million. So the cost of a registration scheme would be similar to that required for car licensing. To cover its costs, people would have to pay £150-£200 for every cycle owned, including children?s bikes. This would be a massive deterrent to people taking up cycling or going out just for the occasional bike ride. Yet these are exactly the people who we want to encourage to cycle more, if we are to tackle congestion, obesity, air pollution and climate change.

something funny's going on

that entry below was written and sent a week ago. It just arrived.


It's fecking hot here. I'm pouring sweat just sitting at my desk. No air conditioning you see.
There's quite a lot of pressure coming with this project I'm working on at moment, so far from winding down in the heat, i'm working harder than ever before, and struggling.
Saw a band last night with a friend - a country band called The Hacienda Brothers. I met them afterwards, bought a CD from Hank, and got three of them to autograph the CD.
S. uploaded my Lambeth Country Show pictures from over a week ago. I cam away with all boxes on my wish list filled. I bought a Venus Flytrap for £7.50 - which is sitting in my kitchen window; a gallon of cider for £11 which I drank at the weekend; two obscure American books, one about native Americans, and another about girl gangs in movies.
Brockwell Park
I've restarted work on my book; picked up the 1946 to 1974 section to work on it. I reckon I've had some insights from that McNamara documentary which I saw over the weekend.
I've also started looking into the UK's secret service - I'm putting together a history and trying to keep an account of what is currently going on. Brown allies are systematically being smeared, sacked or forced to resign just as Blair is trying to wriggle out of his alledged promise to hand power over to his former political ally.
It'll be interesting if Blair manages to stay loyal to Israel now that its fairly obvious war crimes are being committed. If Blair does stay loyal - considering that he was manouvred into power by Zionist backers, it's quite likely he'll have little choice in the matter - then it should be the final nail in the coffin of Blair's political career.
We can all hope, anyway.