Thursday, December 18, 2008

Swell in Welling

I'm up in Welling now. No longer sleeping on the floor, I have a proper bed, my own room, and I pay rent. That's a definite step up.

I've joined the local library for the IT facilities, and of course, the books. I noted with approval that the website reminds members that if they do not use their cards to borrow items then lose the use of the IT facilites too.

I've also made links with the local cycling campaign in Bexley, and hope to pick up the NO2ID stuff again.

I'm lodging with a friend of a friend called P. And his plan is to live in this property for another 5 years; I'm welcome to stay till then - and to be honest I'll probably need every minute of that time to get myself fully back on my feet.

The cycle commute is similar to the one I undertook from Chislehurst, only I have to negotiate Shooters Hill. If I get public transport then its a bus to North Greenwich and tube from there. Luckily for me there's a new Woolwich DLR station opening early next year, and this should save me a bit of time getting into work.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stayed up till 3 am on Wednesday morning to see the historic event - the first black man elected to the White House. Not that he's particlarly left wing or anything, but at least he was one of the few politicians who opposed the neo-cons when they went to war.

Our leaders, however, a pathethic couple of buffons - I'm his friend, no I wanna be his friend.

I watched a documentary on Neil Young. He must be pleased having taken CSN&Y on tour around the USA - winding up their southern audiences with songs laden with anti-Bush messages.

Back on the bike this week. I wasn't well last week. Even though I seme to ahve avoided catching a cold. I'm fighting it mentally, and physically - eating very carefully to make sure I have all the nutrition I need, and more. I've put on the weight I lost again though.

Inspired by Danny Baker I'm filling my MP3 player with songs at 2 minutes or less. I might publish the full list on here when I'm done. There's quite a lot of 60s stuff, punk and Elvis Costello. No Floyd or Genesis though.

I managed to get a couple of songs onto Danny Baker's list, and now realise my information was probably wrong. Oooops.

The DVDs from lovefilm keep on coming. This week I've had Amorres Perro; Seinfeld series 4 disc 1; Wrong Arm of The Law.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Fortean Weekend

Attended the excellent Fortean Uncon event at the weekend.

Saw talks by Richard Wiseman (investigating the unknown); David Clarke (Opening Britain's X-Files); Ian Simmons (Extraterrestrial Mythologies in Modern Music); Andy Roberts (Psychedlia Forteana); Peter Brookesmith and Rob Irving (Celine and Julie Go Hoaxing); Jon Downes (Re-evaluating the Chupacabra); Patrick Huyghe (Under the Radar: UFOs and National Security); Ivan Mackerle (Exploring Siberia's Valley of Death); Paul Screeton (Folklorists and Forteans: Friends or Foes); Professor Vanessa Toulmin (Peculiar Entertainments - Speciality Acts in Victorian and Edwardian Fairgrounds and Variety Theatres); Richard Freeman (Search For the Almasty); David Clarke, Andy Roberts and Peter Brookesmith (A Policeman's Lot - The Alan Godfrey Abduction Case).

time to ramble

The row over Ross and Russ has been unbelievable. The Daily Mail went into spasms of hysterical righteousness and whipped up enough anti-BBC fervour to register near 30,000 complaints. I'm assuming none of these people actually heard the programme as after the programme was aired, and before the Mail got hold of it, only 2 complaints were made to the BBC. The Mail, of course, has got business links with Sky and ITV and other digital media outlets, which means they have a hidden agenda - that of undermining public broadcasting at every opportunity, so I'm not surprised at their hideous over-reaction. I am unfortunately continually surprised at how stupid their readership is.

Jeremy Hardy pointed out on the News Quiz that much more important things have been happening, and apparently are not being covered by the major news media in this country...

Loved Charlie Brooker's Big Brother Zombie epic which was on every night last week. I don't approve of fast Zombies - neither does Romero - but on the whole it was worthy of the best Zombie films - the comments on modern media and fame all hit home, and there were clever references to "Dawn of the Dead" which I enjoyed.

Came 2nd in the pub quiz last night. People in the Tup are pretty friendly and I'll miss my Sunday nights once I move out of Colliers Wood.

I've been contributing quite a bit to an on-line forum lately. I've been having a massive row about the Ross and Russ incident on Radio 2 and somehow managed to start a row about the Military Industrial complex / Pentagon / secret government that really runs America's foreign policy and long term strategy.

We've got our final judgement from LRQA on Thursday - about whether we're able to close out our NC's. I have a good feeling about it, as we have done everything that was required. We shall see. Tomorrow might turn out to be quite a bad day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

complaint about dangerous and agressive driver

To Whom it May Conern,

I'd like to make a complaint - in the strongest terms - about one of your drivers.

I am a cyclist and today ( around 11.30 / 11.40 am) cycling on Gloucester Place I was assaulted by your driver.

I was cycling in a northerly direction, with your bus behind me. As I approached a traffic light at a junction I noticed that the light had turned yellow, and with my experience of this junction stopped as I knew I had no chance of clearing the junction before the traffic started moving the other way. As soon as I stopped the light went red. As soon as I stopped your driver beeped his horn and overtook me dangerously on my right, veered round me at high speed nearly hitting me with the rear of his bus, and proceeded straight through the red light.

I caught him up to complain further up the road, and he became extremely agitated, gesturing, and edging his bus forward towards me in a threatening manner. After failing to secure his apology - he kept shouting that it wasn't a red light, that it was yellow, as if that was the only issue, and not his dangerous and threatening driving.

I decided to take the details which I include below - as I was doing this he was edging the bus forward to try to intimidate me. Once I'd finished taking the details your driver moved the bus forward, again at high speed, as I was trying to get back on my bike, and knocked me out of the way as the bus hit me side on. Fortunately I was not injured, although I haven't yet checked the bike thoroughly.

I want this driver disciplined or I shall be taking the matter to the police.

I do not think he is fit to drive a passenger service bus on crowded streets of a major city.

Bus route - 274 towards Angel
time - 11.30 - 11.40 am
date - 23rd October
bus number - DLD 120
Reg plate - V120 GBY
No on side of bus - 53


The Cat

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

V For Vendetta (2005)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, John Hurt
Director: James McTeigue, Comic Book Classics

I read the book back in the late 80s when it carried some power, and we were all a bit scared of where the future was taking us politically. Margaret Thacher reigned supreme and the spectre of Big Brother loomed over all of us.

Now that this frightening future has arrived the book has little power. Thatcher entered the House of Lords, surveillance society is here, ID cards will be here in a couple of years, and special rendition means you are always in the FBI's jurisdiction.

All this just goes to show up the books weaknesses, and the clumsy way it represented a fascist state. Instead of minorities being victimised, we have all been railroaded into accepting an illegal War Against Terror aimed at the muslim world. We have also lost control of our governments; few believe democracy works, few bother voting.

This film ultimately is out-dated, irrelevent, and the silliness of the concept means that any valid point about the way the world is now,eg, the government's main role in the present is to scare and control its people with threats of terrorism and violence, is almost entirely lost.

The film itself lacks flair and ambition. Is it a parallel world or the future? Either way - it doesn't make it. It borrows images from the most recent 1984 adaptation (notably John Hurt's face on a big screen) and the Matrix, but the police are equipped with 1990s Rovers, and everything in the film is just exactly as things actually are. A good dystopic fantasy movie will make change to the reality - either we live in wartime squalor and this should be visible on the screen, or we don't which will mean changes from our reality - different vehicles, different fashions, different designs, new or alternative technology, just something that makes you believe in this alternative or future reality. but there was nothing, just a man who sounds like James Mason wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, and behaving like he's in the Matrix.

Still - quite enjoyed it anyway, just a bit disappointed.

Monday, October 06, 2008

It's A Boy Girl Thing

Starring: Samaire Armstrong, Kevin Zegers, Emily Hampshire
Director: Nick Hurran
Being interested in the differences, and similarities, between gender, I thought this film might offer some insight. I thought, imaginatively tackled, this could be a really interesting subject matter. Needless to say there was no imagination, and no insight.

From the start the film went the way of the clumsy, obvious, and stupid.

The gender issue - well not really dealt with. The boy was working class, with slobs as parents, interested only in girls, heavy rock, and sport. The girl read Shakespeare and listened to Elton John (!!!), her parents were upper middle class - father a wimp, mother a snob. The strange thing is - they lived next door to each other in near identical houses, and went to the same school. Maybe because this is America, that can happen. Or maybe it was becasue the plot required these impossible contradictory things to be true.

Ostensibly about the differences in gender, it turned out to be about class; about the opportunities offered by being from a bettter class, eg, being able to go to one of the best Colleges, and not just because you're good at football.

Both seemed quite happy in each other's bodies, except that the boy barfed when he thought about having sex with another boy, even though he was a girl. I think I'd be at least a little interested in how it feels from the other side. The boy also took to dressing as a girl better than you would expect. He immediately tried to put a bra on - obviously for an easy laugh as he said he had trouble getting them off let alone getting one on. But after that - to annoy the girl (in his body) he went to school dressed as a 'slut', had no trouble with heels, or make-up, and seemed comfortable in short skirts.

My contention here is that they would want to continue to dress in a style they were used to. She would want to wear skirts if that's what she liked to wear as a girl, and probably would at home to be comfortable, and he wouldn't(unless he was a closet transvestite - I assumed he wasn't).

Imagine the amusing scenes you could have with that idea. I think so anyway.

So - the film was confused, unimaginative, incoherent, predictable, and boring. I do not recommend wasting your time with it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

It finally starts to look like Fossett is dead. this after some recent speculation that he'd faked his own death. Now the speculation will be how he came to crash such a safe plane.
This is interesting too - a script written by the BBC and the government to be broadcast in the event of a nuclear attack.
On the day following two high profile resignations, that crooked bastard Mandelson is back

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

a proper transformer

I've come out of my depression this morning and got some longoutstanding stuff done - to do with the car and the cats. Unfortunately I have to rehome my cats, which has been upsetting me for some time.
I saw a terible film yesterday - Forbidden Kingdom - a lightweight martial arts film starring Jackie chan. It was rubbish with a couple of good fights and about one good joke. There was a clip of Monkey in it though, and while the main guy was taken back to Ancient China after becoming unconscious his mission was to free the Monkey King. I thought it might be good, but it wasn't - some people walked out - but I don;t do that however terrible the film is. Maybe I should.
On a brighter note, I've volunteered to set up a NO2ID group in SW London. Just waiting for a reply from my contact at NO2ID.
End of the week and its the top management meeting where I have to present our progress or otherwise in the EMS.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hitler's Fixer - The True Story Of Hitler's Deputy

I learned nothing new about Bormann from watching this. Some of the footage was good though - colour film from WW2 era.
In all though - unless you don't even know who Borrman was this film will tell you very little new. If you don;t know who Borrman was, then you probably won't be interested. Do yourself a favour and read a book instead.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Let's Get Funky

My back's not hurting today - hoorah!! I dreamt I was in the mafia and my wife and daughter got surrounded. Paul who I really do work with was my main henchman in the dream and I left him outside handling the situation while I went indoors to rescue my family. Suddenly outside the police started leaving, and Paul was gone as well. Was he a traitor? I never found out.

Instead found myself awake on an inflatable rubber bed in D's tiny little spare room.

I've been weighing myself again - today 17 stone 11 1/4 lbs - that's down from last weeks 18 stone 1 lb. I need to lose weight so that some of my favourite old clothes will fit me again as well as the obvious health implications, and I've got the Dunwich Dynamo in July to consider. I need to get back to the fitness I had two years ago.

Today it rained, and nothing really got resolved at work today. The audit is bearing down upon us and there's a couple of issues that I didn;t think were my responsibilty, but now as noone else wants to sort them out, they've come back to me, and I can do nothing about them. Oh hum, another day to play email ping pong and be tearing my hair out by 5pm. I'm considering going to the cinema at 4.00 pm tomorrow - there's a new film at the Prince Charles I might like.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Night In The City

I post because I have promised myself I would everyday I could get net access. So here we are.
I went to work today and spent most of it ensuring areas of my business had their environmental inspection schedules in order.
At the quiz last night we came 7th out of 15 teams - it was an appalling performance.
I've decided I must blog in the morning when I can actually think of something to write.  

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Friday, September 26, 2008

new day rising

Back to work with a hangover today. My team came 3rd in the Metronet Pub Quiz and I had four pints of lager - which is a lot for me these days.

Emailed to NO2ID campaign to see if they have anything I can get involved with - I quite fancy taking up a cause again. It's been a long time.

People in the office are talking to me today. Which is nice...

Saw another Zombie film today. At the Prince Charles, my new favourite cinema, for only £1.50. I wasn;t sure when it started - they stamped comedy and clumsy satire all over the first 5 minutes, and the set-up was full of cliches - deliberately so for sure - but it was a fairly obvious and not terribly subtle attempt at spoofing action movies, that themselves are already parodies.

But, I warmed to it. It was called Stripper Zombies and it gave us yet a new take on the Zombie as all Zombie films have to these days.

And I've got a Martin Bormann documentary on DVD which comes to the surprising conclusion that Bormann died in Berlin in 1945, and did not escape to become a Soviet spy living in Paraguay.

And now for some pictures:

This poster below annoys me - although I had to laugh. It's an ad for teachers, and they rather desperately try to show how down with the kids music they are by mentioning Jimi Hendrix. While this is obviously quite sad and misguided, they make it worse by correcting the Jimi's spelling - "Voodoo Chile" becomes "Voodoo Child".

This statue below is near Victoria Station, on the corner near the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Turns out I'm related to the person who modelled for it about 90 years ago. It was my Gt Gt Uncle fresh from living in a ditch in France for several years - he travelled up from Plymouth for it and was apparently extremely reluctant to do it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Another manic Thursday. Today is the day that most work seems to get done. This is because the big managers' meeting is held on Friday morning and if there's any jobs not done someone tends to get bollocked. So my phone rings quite a lot on a Thursday and at the same time I'm trying to write up and put together my weekly update and figures, etc.

Watched a documentary on the Ramones last night and found out I knew nothing about them - or very little. And then D put a Smiths DVD on. This meant I was up till 1 am and now am very tired.

As well as trying to get the update completed for tomorrow, the company is holding a quiz tonight to raise money for charidy. I've joined a team to be sociable, and becasue I enjoy quizzes. I'm not great at them but D and I won our local pub quiz on Sunday - won £27.

Danny Baker's back on the radio this week - so I'm in a better mood in the afternoons.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

about town

Took a day off work today. I had to collect my bike from Edwardes in Camberwell wher eit had been fitted with a new block and chain. Riding it into London felt good. I've found cycling to be pretty depressing lately what with my own health problems - back and knees seem to be giving out, and with blocked up sinuses, headaches, and terrible stomach problems - have left me preferring to take the tube of late.
I think I might have slightly buggered myself up a bit by cycling 250 miles in 4 days in the summer. I defintely buggered the bike up.
And there's the stress as well - which I'm sure accounts for some of my problems.
Anyway - back on the bike today and it felt good. I'd already said that. Cycled up to Baker Street and went into my office to have a shower and pick up a few bits from my desk, before then heading down to the Prince Charles cinema to see "Midnight Kiss" for £1.50.
MK is an indie film made in Hollywood, set in Hollywood, about a writer trying to forge a career in LA - who has a run of bad luck culminating in depression and despondence. His friend - who he's living with puts encourages him to place an ad on an internet social networking site for a date. He gets a call, a woman who arranges to meet him for 5 minutes to see if he's up to her standards.  
It's funny and moving - very cheaply made I guess - entirely using unkown actors - but it was all great - script, direction, soundtrack and acting - perfect. Nine out of ten.
Also listening to - new Stereolab album, latest Brian Wilson, and a cover version of the Abbey Road album by Booker T & The MGs.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

catch up

I'm currently single again having been thrown out by my wife again, and sleeping on a friend's floor so I can get cash together to rent a room of my own. I'm considering the deepest south of the Northern Line at the moment, as it is an area I like, and am familiar with, and I'll be near my friend - may need the ongoing support.
Got in touch with another friend last week - someone else who once had the hots for my wife and purused her for a time. We went and saw a country act called Elizabeth Scott. She was acompanied by her accomplished singer song-writer husband on geetar.
I'll be back to write a review soon I hope. The gig was so good I bought the album.
Picked up my ongoing interest in researching the family tree and am now sharing info with the family who all seem quite interested. Now I need to patch it all together in a form that the family can read and understand easily.
Been watching some movies lately - Dark Crystal, Cold Sweat, Brothers Grimm, Time Machine (remake), Coffee and Cigarettes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Have a little DVD player - hand-held gadget thing - allows me to get a film in most days during lunch or while travelling.
After my cycle tour I've given cycling a bit of a rest - but started back on the bike today.
For a while now have been going to regular pub quix where between 10 and 20 teams tend to enter. We came 4th yesterday - only about 5 points off the leader. Previously we have come 6th and 3rd. Our disadvantage is that there are only two of us in the team, and most of our competitors have 4 to 6 in theirs. And we know bugger all about sport!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Perusing today's news

Phew – as long as New Orleans is alright – fuck Haiti


At last a sports person speaking out about nasty exploitative parasitic politicians. He's right you know.


Winner of this week's No Shit Sherlock Award! I would never have guessed.



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Blunkett - What a C**t

Arch bastard David Blunkett making more ill thought out hate filled comments – now, "Older people should carry on working as long as they are physically capable". What a c**t!

"In a speech to the Counsel and Care charity in London he said it should not be assumed the government had "prime responsibility" to support the elderly. " You start to wonder what he thinks the government does have responsibility for. What do we have governments for? Starting wars? Spying on its population? Preventing dissent? It does appear that way.

Blunkett also said people should use equity release schemes to raise money from their homes to pay for care.

Right in the middle of the credit crunch this twat has learned nothing. The last I want to be when I'm 97 is mortgaged up to the eyeballs. A nice legacy to leave my niece and nephew eh?

"My presumption is this. That all of us, every one of us who is capable of doing so, should aspire to continue with some meaningful activity to the point of our incapacity overtaking us.

Meaningful activity presumably means meaningful to the state and to the corporations. No chance that you could enjoy yourself at any point, develop a hobby, travel, read, create, spend time with your family, look after grandkids, etc. No – if you aren't paying tax then you're a burden.

Mr Blunkett said £700bn was tied up in home ownership by those who had retired.

Tied up – how? That money is handed over to the seller who then puts it in the bank, or buys something with it. It's not tied up. There's no actual money there at all, just a pile of bricks and mortar that the owner would like to live in. But no – the government want your homes now too, no chance that you might leave it to your children.

"In our endeavour to protect people's inheritance, have we not made enough of, and are we not clear enough about, the release of equity from the enormous home ownership that exists in Britain and the divide of those with and without assets which this trend has accelerated?" he said.

If he's concerned about homeownership then maybe now is the time to resurrect the public housing sector  - and I don't mean corrupt Housing Associations.

"I'm suggesting that part-time work - often a different kind of job - is one way firstly of sustaining people but secondly of people remaining active," he said.

Shelf stacking it is then!

"Why should someone who's not saved, who's not put money by, expect those who have to sustain them to do so not just in working life but in retirement as well."

Maybe paying taxes and NI all your life might entitle you to something back. Bastard!

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keeping my Blog

Despite best of intentions, I still haven't managed to blog. It's the only account of my life I keep and as my memory seems to be so terrible, it might be my only 'memory' of these years.
At the moment I'm going through the diaries I kept from 1989 to 1993. It's almost daily and an insight into the young me, which the old me is finding fascinating.
So I'm hoping that this will induce me to blog more regularly. And to write some thing worth reading in the years to come.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

some news...

Soldiers refused service at a Hotel

I've left a comment on the BBC site that this is fair comment in a country where the government went ahead with an illegal war despite almost universal public opposition. As far as I remember only the poor deluded who believed the fairy stories about Bin Laden's evil mountain HQ were in support of this war.

The only legal thing for a soldier to do when faced with orders to perform illegal acts is to refuse those orders. I believe this was established at Nuremburg after WW2.

I went on to look at crime-obsessed Boris Johnson's new map of London. It shows levels of "serious" crimes in boroughs and wards across London. By serious they mean muggings, robberies, rapes and - pause for comic effect - car crimes. So for middle England having your car nicked is like being raped. Great. Anyway, since these figures are all bundled together you really know what they mean. They're useless, basically. I don't own a car, so it having my car nicked doesn't worry me.

I worry more about getting my bike nicked, but this map doesn't help there.

I also worry about being attacked (slightly) but the only thing I can definitely glean from this map is that walking alone in the middle of a large council estate is probably increasing my risk of being attacked. Hard luck if that's where you live.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Put Your Vest On, Man!

The Omega Man

Starring: Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash
Director: Boris Sagal

I thought I'd seen this film before, settling down and watching this DVD revealed that I’d only ever watched a small part of it (including a bit with rotten corpses in it that I’d accidentally seen as a young child when I should have been in bed) even though it’s on telly about three times a year and I’m in my forties, meaning I could have seen it about 70-odd times for free during my adult life.
Instead I paid to rent it out on DVD. Which is good because it allowed me to rewind and pause the good bits. The bits with the dead people in it.
I read “I Am Legend” about three years ago, before the Will Smith remake last year, and while “Omega Man” takes liberties with the original plot, you can see why those changes were made, and they work. And it’s a good film.
Charlton Heston is probably a mis-casting – but not remotely on the same scale as Will Smith’s mis-casting in the remake. Heston manages to get a little pro-gun propaganda into the film (or am I being too sensitive?) And the vampires are gone, instead you’ve got light sensitive homicidal religious maniacs. That’s slightly disappointing, and takes the film out of the realm of out and out horror fantasy and into post-apocalyptic thriller.
Events from the book occur in a slightly different order, and the ending is softened to prevent depressed audiences leaving the cinema. But it's very enjoyable, quite tense in places, different from the book so if you’ve read that, there’s no spoilers in there for you.
There’s a couple of interesting extras on the DVD too.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Tedious Comedy

Death At A Funeral
Starring: Peter Egan, Alan Tudyk, Thomas Wheatley
Director: Frank Oz

American director makes another twee British comedy with immensly unlikeable characters and predictable unfunny 'jokes'.

Americans must surely believe that everyone in Britain is rich and lives in a mansion, drives a sports car and does something terribly posh for a living - like being Queen, or a barrister.

I only watched this because it was lying about and I had nothing else to watch. I think that I'm safe in saying that all the comedy in this is tired and recycled. It's so terribly funny to see someone who has accidently taken a psychedelic drug just before they meet their girlfriends father at a funeral; or to see a corpse thrown out of its coffin during a eulogy; or even a dead dwarf being smuggled out of a crowded house; or an old man who has sh*t himself because everyone forgot he was sitting on the toilet.

Hilarious? Or feeble, rotten and mediocre?

You decide. But my advice is don't bother.

The Brothers Grimm

Starring: Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Lena Headey
Director: Terry Gilliam
I consider Gilliam to be a very important director. Brazil may rate as my favourite film of all time, and the only film to do justice to Orwell's 1984. He's made some other great films too. But this isn't one of them. This is a competent, slightly dull with a few good bits type film.
It's heavy on CGI - this despite Gilliam's insistance that he's reluctant to use CGI, it overpowers large parts of this film, and not all of it is very good.
It also doesn't really have much of a plot, which is a shame. And the last third of the film is more or less given to playing out what is a tedious and predictable story, not helped by too much CGI as the wicked princess goes all to pieces and her tower comes tumbling down.
There's good in here though - Jonathan Pryce and Heath Ledger both put in brilliant performances. Some of the effects work and there is much detail within the sets, and a lot of thought put in to how things might work. This attention to detail Gilliam has is something I admire and wish was a more univeral trait amongst movie-makers.
All in all - I wouldn't recommend it. I'd say don't bother - unless you really want to of course.

Friday, August 08, 2008

In Space No-one Can Hear You Snore

The Wild Blue Yonder on DVD (2005)

Starring: Brad Dourif, Capt. Donald Williams, Dr. Ellen Baker
Director: Werner Herzog
I did really want to like this. I really did. honestly.

But, the reality was, this film dragged. The music reminded me of Maltese folk music (not good) and the library footage used was sometimes bizarre or irrelevent. The underwater sequences just looked like underwater sequences.

The alien character was mildly annoying, and I kept hoping his role in the film would end quickly. It didn't.

The making of feature was more interesting and more illuminating in my opinion.

Maybe on a big screen with quad sound and after taking the right drugs, this would work. I'm glad it was made, and I realise some will love it. Not for me though

Monday, August 04, 2008

I've started reading this

Quite a dated book now. I collect books like this for the simple reason that they are history. They contain accounts of events that are being written out of the official history. The western democracies wish to portray themselves as progressive, open, non-aggressive. Unfortunately the record of events in the third world shows that western democracies are anything but. If, heaven forbid, a genuine case of actual democracy breaks out anywhere within our sphere of influence, then we simply have to crush it. This books documents the events in Guatemala that followed such an outbreak of democracy - democracy that led to America's will being defied. America was defied, so America stepped in and punished those involved.

Carnaval Del Pueblo 2008

I go to this every year. It was a bit disapointing this year. There was only one stage and the weather was poor. I went with S. and we didn't stay long, although I regret missing the bands. It was hard to relax with the rain coming every 20 minutes or so.

We stopped at this stall (below) to buy lunch:

It looked like this - mainly offal - but the chorizo and plantain was very tasty, and none of it was too bad. It was very filling anyway - not bad for £5. Afterwards we realised that we'd have been better off buying one and sharing!

Carnaval 2007

Someone's pictures on Flikr

Thursday, July 31, 2008

i'm back - by the way

I arrived back from my cycle tour on Thursday - last week. I could barely move. The route was about 250 miles although I've yet to work out the final mileage. It went entirely to plan though - I got to all my accomodation as planned - and usually earlier than planned.
The extremely hot weather took me a bit by surprise though, and I wasn't ready - carrying around a great heavy fleece that I never wore, and a rain mac that I never needed.

Day One: Leiston Abbey

Day Two: Orford

Day Two: a night spent in spooky Rendlesham Forest

Day Four: arriving at Ipswich

Day Four: nearly at Epping

noah and the whale

Looks like a band I reviewed over a year ago have a hit on their hands. Personally, I can't stand it - its twee mobile phone advert fodder as far as I'm concerned and irritates me in its middle class - cute and 'clever' smugness.

I don't like their name either

Monday, July 21, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dun Run 2008

I don't normally do this sort of thing, but always have wanted to.

As I'm not having a holiday this year - just like last year - I've decided to have a short break in Suffolk on the back of the Dunwich Dynamo. The Dun Run is tonight and as always I'm eating my way through endless packets of couscous so I have the energy stored to complete this 200km ride.

Sunday night - I'm booked into the Blaxhall Youth Hostel. Monday night I've booked a campsite in Rendlesham Forest where I shall be desperately looking for UFOs. Tuesday night I'm at another YHA, this one near Harwich. On Wednesday I have to cycle 50 miles to book into the YHA at Epping Forest - its about to close down - I'll be one of the last people to stay there.

This will allow me the chance to cycle around the suffolk coast for a couple of days, a little bit of cycling round Rendlesham Forest, a tootle across Essex mostly following the DD route, but during daylight, and finally I'll be heading back in to London on the Lee Valley route, into The City, across the Thames, and home.

gathering at London Fields

more gathering at London Fields

The First rest stop, and the last garage stop

3am: Refuelling

4 am: sun up
It was tough this year - and nothing to do with the weather as conditions were perfect. It's the least fit I've been since I did my first one, so I struggled. I also got pretty hot once the sun was up after 7.00. but that's no excuse I should have finished by then.
At the beach I had a coffee, sent some texts, and then walked out to the beach to get two hours kip. Once I awoke I ached so bad I really wondered what I was goign to do next. There was to be no car to pick me up this year - I hadn;t even bought a coach ticket. I was cycling back to London. I was fucking mad! Anyway once the panic subsided I realised I only had to make it 20 miles to Blaxhall that day, then I could get some more sleep. And beer.
Once I got going I was OK. I went slowly - I had to. Stopped at Leiston Abbey for lunch and a look round. Then it started to get hot and it was harder. I stopped often. Once to say hello to some pigs, who also seemed pleased to see me. Then past Snape Maltings, I knew I was nearly there. Into Blaxhall, although I thought for a minute I wasn't going to find it - the signs are very misleading. The YH was shut when I got there, and more importantly, so was the pub. So I went off to have a shit behind a tree, and then drank some beer in the YH garden, until 5.00. Paid, collected keys, put bike in shed, unpacked bags, ate some quiche, and fell asleep in reception until midnight when some chap I didn;t know woke me up so I could go to bed.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

God bothering bigot wins right to be homophobic

God bothering bigot - London's full of them

I'm thinking of starting my own religion. That way I'll be able to indulge all my private bigotries with the full support of the law. Let's see - who do I hate? Taxi drivers, white van drivers, City lawyers, motorcycle couriers, heavy metal fans, French people, Americans, Christians... I could really have a field day - like those bigots in the Christian churches who hate gays. This is an article from the BBC - edited because it was too long.

Registrar wins same-sex tribunal

Miss Ladele said she was accused of being homophobic
A marriage registrar was harassed for refusing to conduct same-sex ceremonies (her job!! - catnote) , a tribunal has ruled.
Lillian Ladele (said homophobe - catnote), who said the civil partnership ceremonies went against her Christian faith, hailed the decision as a "victory for religious liberty (bigotry)".
The tribunal ruled that Miss Ladele was discriminated against on grounds of religious beliefs and was harassed.
Islington council said it was "disappointed" and was considering an appeal against the ruling.
'Wider implications'
"Gay rights should not be used as an excuse to bully and harass people over their religious beliefs," she said. (But religion can be an excuse for being a bigot and not doing your job - catnote)
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said the ruling was a "dangerous subversion" and a "violation of human rights".
"Lillian Ladele claims she has won a victory for religious liberty. No, she has not. She has won a victory for the right to discriminate," he said.
"Public servants like registrars have a duty to serve all members of the public without fear or favour. Once society lets some people opt out of upholding the law, where will it end?"
Condemning the "catastrophic judgement" the National Secular Society said: "This decision appears to show that religious rights trump gay rights and that should leave gay people quaking in their boots."
Tatchell is right. I wonder if she's been consistently christian in the choices she makes about who she will marry or not? After all - people who have had sex outside marriage, or have been married before should be shunned too. Or is it just gay people she hates? I think I know the answer here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

depression lifts

I've been so depressed about Boris Johnson becoming mayor that I haven't been able to bring myself to blog about it - or at all - since then.
So far he's banned drinking on the tube and stopped the opposition to a desalination plant in Beckton. Good going Boris. You've shown us what the New Conservative Party really care about. Scape goating and ineffectual pointless measures to combat crime, and absolutely no green policies whatsoever. Speaking of which where is Zac Goldsmith these days? Now that the Tory party have a whiff of power they seem to have rejected all their green pretensions. Now they're back to convincing the money grabbing corporations that they are fit to be trusted with the reigns of power once again, and the media will kick in and persuade the sheep-like electorate that they must vote Tory again. I'm already considering ways to leave the country.
That and the fact that I've become technically homeless too. I'm sleeping on a friend's floor at the moment. I'm hoping that I will be able to get something sorted out for myself later in the summer - maybe in October.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

£30 fines for cycling on Peckham cycle routes

An example of police fuckwittery when it comes to cyclists

Many thanks for raising this with me. Could you please let me know exactly what the police have been fining for and I will take it up withe them forthwith.
I will also get an update on the southern contraflow and get back to you as soon as I have further information.

Best regards,

Cllr Lisa Rajan
Executive Member for Environment
Liberal Democrat Member for Surrey Docks ward


I stressed this tonight at Southwark Transport Forum.

The north bound Rye Lane London Cycle Network bike route onto the Surrey
Canal Path should be easy, excellent, and seamless.

£30 fines here are simply farcical.

Our brothers in blue must have better things to do.

Please get this policing stopped now.

And the Rye Lane southern contraflow put in fast.

Please follow this up.

Best wishes.

Southwark Cyclists
07905 889 005
9 Easy Southwark Rides start Saturday

As you know this is a key section of the LCN+ in Southwark and part of
the 'official' LCN+ alignment. I did raise this with you some
considerable time ago as installing a contraflow lane in Rye Lane would
need legal access to the signalised crossing. Please can you respond to
Mr Frost.

I have copied this email to John Lee as this section of highway is on
the TLRN.
Cycling Officer
Sustainable Transport & Road Safety Team
Transport Group

today at 16.30 at the north end of rye lane, just before the crossing
over to canal head. 3 police were dishing out £30 fines to a stream of
cyclist for cycling on the pavement, as part ot there 'zero tolerance
policy".Is this a cycle route or not? [We were cycling north, not wrong
way down the one way street] the signage and cycle route facility is so
bad and dangerous anyway, but to then endure being hassled and fined
by the police makes me totally despair
Can you clarify the situation and let me know what plans there are to
sort out this route.

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New Route To Work

Art Deco Stations

And Art Deco blocks of flats:
Entrances to secret tunnels:
Cycle routes:
Chelsea Bridge:
Battersea Bridge:
Battersea Park:

Monday, April 21, 2008

More anti Ken Slurs

Now I'm very concerned and wondering what the evening standard still have up their sleeves. While the electronic media are compelled to be "balanced" whatever that means, the printed media can do and say whatever they like. The ES has these billboards all over London amounting to free advertising for the Tories in the Mayoral race. where's the balance here?

A trip to Edwardes Cycles this morning for some new brake blocks and an estimate for getting my gears sorted. About 30 squid. And then my back brake cable went. fortunately after fitting the new blocks I still have some brakes.

Now I need to work out when I can do without my bike for two days.

This afternoon I had a trip out to the East of London for a meeting with management regarding my recent audit - which was quite critical. I've backed off that a little now I've been given evidence that certain things have been done which I'd previously been unaware. The report when it appears will be almost a non-event. But at least I've managed to give a nice big warning to the managers out there how bad things might go if they don't prepare. We're due an important external audit soon, and I'm keen to ensure we don't get any nasty feedback from the auditors.

Looked at some pics of Dickensworld today. I'm keen to visit. It's about 12 squid. If I take sandwiches I should be OK. S will only be a tenner. Plus petrol.

John Prescot is a fool if he thought we'd all have sympathy for him after declaring his eating difficulties. They were even taking the piss out of him on Radio Two this afternoon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So I decided to Check the Link

Blog has been removed

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I just got this very odd email


Present unforgettablee night to your beeloved one,
immagine yourseelf as a Macho!

To the left, in the foreground of the illustration, old ones
and tended to keep their names and pay in fashionable array
and the consternation was on which i had been mistaken.
but let me arrange the keyhole of his room i saw him take
a great burden photography under difficulty admirable teeth
biomcmehehis you all into it, being the eldest. I only meant
something? He snapped. Yes, do something. The were ushered
into the dining room. Lighted up, other than an isolated
fisher's cottage was to sir charles she already knew, and
it was to him i don't know where he'd ever learn so doggone
areaaabkdcfl contained in its digestive organs an easy rapid going
and i didn't quite know what to say. Then i said, lady conant
is quite right. George, when did you.

I'll vote for Ken to stop boris

Charlie Brooker Guardian article

London Festival of Architecture rides

Email from Barry Mason of Southwark Cyclists
Here below then are the 12 rides we've just agreed with Zoe McLeod at
the LFA at Stephanie Laslett at Filed Clegg Bradley. All designed to be
stopping, informative, sociable.
NB: all correct I think as of now but subject to change until we see the
published LFA programme very soon. Loads here already:

Saturday 21 June
All that life can afford
Stephen Bayley
Tate Modern northside

Wednesday 25 June
If buildings could speak
David Littlefield
Waterloo Millenium Green

Saturday 28 June
Fresh Water
Chris James, Lambeth Cyclists
St Bartholomew the Great. West Smithfield

Sunday 29 June
Bikes and Bridges
Mark Whitby and Alex Lifschutz
Carriage Drive. NW corner Battersea Park

Wednesday 2 July
Public Back Gardens
Wayne Hemingway
Coin Street SE1

Friday 4 July
A fresh look at public spaces
Professor Richard Burdett
Somerset House courtyard

Saturday 5 July
The Mayor's 100 Open Spaces
Fred Manson
Tate Modern entrance ramp

Sunday 6 July
Public spaces in politics
Emily Thornberry MP
Park Lane Gate. Speakers Corner

Saturday 12 July
Beneath the city streets
Barry Mason, Southwark Cyclists
Mecklenburgh Square

Sunday 13 July
Cultural Shift
Steve Tomkins/Peter Clegg/Ian Taylor.
Calthorpe Project garden. Grays Inn Road

Saturday 19 July
The Great Freshway
Dan Pearson/Keith Bradley
Royal Albert Hall

Sunday 20 July
Fit for purpose
Andy Mytom
Primrose Hill Road entrance

visit Southwark Cyclists' own website:

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Tesco Get A Taste of Their Own Medicine

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SELFS Meeting

Neil Arnold was talking about his research into the Alien Big Cat phenomenon in Kent. He was very nuts and bolts in his approach - or flesh and blood. He insisted the cats were actual physical cats, not phantoms or hallucinations. I believe his theories stand up, although proving them might be a little more difficult. He claims there are probably hundreds of big cats, pumas, panthers, etc. running round the UK eating rabbits, foxes, domestic cats, and the occasional goats or sheep.

It seems that he's able to find signs of their presence all over, especially round Dartford, Bexley, Bromley in Kent. The signs are, big cat poo, footprints, scratchings high up on trees, and prey - sometimes dragged up trees. Occasionally the cats themselves are seen.

Another big cat - this one called Jeff - and he's definitely real.
Just heard Chris Difford on Danny Baker. He's very good. I like the new album - Last Temptation of Chris. The BBC asked him to remove the word "tits" from a song he was performing livem, which he did, only right after he finished he clearly said, "that was better without "tits" wasn't it?"
I've been a squeeze fan since the late 70s when I was a mere pre-teen. I loved the early hits "Cool For Cats", "Pulling mussels from the shell" etc. But when they produced the album "East End Story" it became my favourite album ever, and I still like a lot of it. I still have my original vinyl copy of it too. It included the singles "Tempted" and "Is That Love?", and the LP was produced by Elvis Costello. They continued to improve on and off, and the stuff Difford and Tillbrook do now - solo and collaborations - is as good as anything they've ever done.
I never managed to see Squeeze, not even during their recent reuinion, but I did get to see Diffod and Tillbrook supporting Elvis costello about 15 years ago.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

MES in Daily Mail squirrel scandal

What a load of old cock! Hasn't the Daily Mail got any proper news to report instead of inventing stories from MES's spurious claims and bothering the RSPCA over squirrel murdering allegations.

This is the source of the story: scroll down slightly to the Uncut magazine excerpt.

Builders Are In

Actually, its more a case of DIY - and botched at that. I'm fiddling about with the side bar at the moment. I want a good set of links reflecting my interests - with politics at the top, followed by Forteana and cycling, etc. I've got hundreds of links in my archives and I'm attempting to sort through them. Many don't work, others aren't really all that good, but some were treasure that I discovered by accident, and squrreled away for another time. That time has come!

If you find any of my links are not working then feel free to let me know, I'm trying to iron out the mistakes. And if you keep coming back to my blog, hopefully you will find that the links are improving under the categories I've already laid out.


I live on the Heathrow flight path in Camberwell, and while I can sleep through anything S has been suffering from lack of sleep due to aircraft noise which is starting earlier and earlier. I believe it begins around 4.30 am now.

I hardly notice the noise, but plenty of people do. I'm also concerned about the other environmental aspects of airport expansion, the increasing use of fuel, air pollution and the destruction of habitat associated with Heathrow expansion. As well as the wider political and societal ramifications that arise from the constant need to expand and consume more every year.

So I've made the decision to get involved with an action occuring on the 31st of May. NOTRAG are the No to Third Runway Action Group. Bizarrely their website is protected to prevent content from being copied so I couldn't include details here, but the website link is above so you can see for yourself. More to come, and I've put it into my forthcoming events in the side panel.
I've been reading a book called "Track the Plaque" which contains 32 walks around London featuring commemorative plaques.

Instead of walking I'm going to cycle and since they're almost all in central London, can easily do them in my lunch hour.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Didn't think I'd be blogging today, but since S has threw me out of the flat again I went into the office where I've got an internet connection.

After a few texts and a phone conversation I apologised and went home. I wasn't sure she was going to let me back in this time. I've got to find somewhere else to live or this situation will just get worse.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


For some reason I found myself watching C-Span transmissions on the BBC Parliament channel on Sunday. There was a series of phone in programmes - one of which was on the subject of the Zimbabwean elections. The first surprising thing was that all the callers, comprising mostly of Zimbabweans abroad, were very much against the opposition parties, accusing them of being the party of the rich white landowners. Their concern seemed to be that the west, and the media of the west, was doing all it could to discredit Mugabe, and causing internal problems, therby making Mugabe unpopular. It's clear, and has been to me for some time, that we are not getting a fair representation of the facts in the British media.

I've noticed that the press reports of the election were pretty vague, consisting mostly of rumour and innuendo in order to imply that Mugabe was fiddling the election. There was the repeated story of the empty field with hundreds of registered voters. The details of this example changed every report - the number of registered voters and the reason given for why there were any registered voters in a field. It seemed to me that these were phoney reports, like the babies in incubators that Iraqi invaders were supposed to have slaughtered in 1991.

The western media only became interested in Mugabe he started seizing land from white farmers so that Zimbabwe's land reform policy could go ahead. Suddenly representatives from the opposition appeared on the BBC saying Mugabe had gone mad. Even his former allies came on. Now, I've read with interest everything that Mugabe has been quoted on in this country since then and I can find nothing that indicates he has gone mad.

I may be alone in this, but I hope Mugabe can stay in power in order to complete his land reform exercise.

This article is extremely illuminating:

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This Year's Dun Run - 105 odd days to go...

I got this email today.
All booked. Patrick Field has the Lavenham Village Hall as the just over
halfway stop. Lorries and coaches back, beach cafe done too. New FAQs
will be on our website any day now and coach back tickets on sale from
then...those booked before 1 June are the same price as last year. Late
bookings have gone up £1. Diesels up, so are the train fares, by £2.50.

July 19: just under 120 miles to the Suffolk sea. Overnight.

Hooray - I feel like its just around the corner. The YHA is booked for me and S and we're having a couple of days up there.


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Not snowing

I've started reading a book called "Britain's State Within the State". It profiles Lord Carver and Major General Frank Kitson, two very successful army officers who were advising the government through the 70s and 80s. Kitson seems to have been mainly responsible for our brutal policies in Ireland through the 1980s.

It also describes how the police were armed, what the SPG do (now replaced by the TSG) and what Special Branch are up to.

I might include extracts on this blog.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Free Tibet

After crawling out of bed yesterday S put the telly on and we watched the protests against the Olympic flame on its way to China. I was very pleased to see that the numbers of protesters seemed to be very good, and the protests were very effective. No one tuning in to watch the ceremony would fail to pick up on what was going on in Tibet. The arguments for not bringing politics into sport were all pretty simple minded and went sort of like - uh, Olympics brings the whole world together and lots of people watch, and if the Olympics could change things, tha'd be good wouldn't it? I think it was the former Blue Peter presenter that said something like this.

China condemned the protests today, and in Paris, the organisers finally had to abandon the whole event. The flame even went out at some point.

I wrote upthe findings of my most recent audit today and sent them out to the relevent people. I'm not sure it's going to please anyone. I've already got into trouble once this year for being too honest.

Oh yeah - and it snowed yesterday.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Czech Republic Petition

If like me, you believe that US bases should be accountable to the
host country's population then you might want to sign this petition. (in process of complete redesign - still accessible)

Czechs Launch Online Petition Against Planned US Military Base
Common Dreams (press release) - Portland,ME,USA
The US is seeking to install a new military base in the Czech Republic and another one in Poland.

Neither of these two countries currently hosts a US base. ...

See all stories on this topic

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new banana plants

these arrived yesterday - free with a bottle of sherry.


We tried this stuff last night. It's like an alcoholic cough medicine. I reserve judgement for the moment