Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ignore X-Factor, Pop Idol, Whatever - Rock Lives On...

I have no idea who competed in any TV Talent Show in the last five years, or even who won, because I see no point in watching garbage that is primarily designed to fill Simon Cowell's pockets. All I know is that Rock lives forever. Further to my previous post about Radiohead's 'OK Computer' being voted best album of the last 25 years, it now turns out that music biggest money-makers of the last twelve months were... Bon Jovi.

Yeah, that Bon Jovi. The aging-but-still-going band that started 27 years ago, and are still rocking.

Aussie hard rockers AC/DC came in at No. 2 and U2 were at No. 3. All good so far.

Sadly, and unexplicably, self-publicist Lady Gaga came in at No. 4, but when you consider that the top 3 acts of 2010 are rockers with a combined 98 years in the business, and Lady Gaga will be forgotten by this time next year, we'll let that one slide as a rogue result. Can't see anyone playing her music for the next thirty years, can you?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why I Am No Longer A Christian ...


Not me, but blogger latentexistence, has written a tight, sharp and hard-hitting post on his current lack of faith.

Jokingly (I think) he tweeted afterwards that he was "Fucking terrified of the fallout I'm going to get from that blog post."


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Radiohead's 'OK Computer' Named Best Album Of The Past 25 Years ...


Ignore 'Pop Idol' and 'X Factor' - real music always shines through. OK Computer is one of my all-time favourites and it has now been named best album of the past 25 years by Q Magazine.

The list, to be published in the February edition on sale on December 29, sees Nirvana's worldwide hit 'Nevermind' in 2nd place, with Oasis taking the next two positions. '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?' was 3rd while their debut 'Definitely Maybe' was 4th. U2 also managed a pair of albums in the top 10, with 'The Joshua Tree' at 6 and 'Achtung Baby' at 9.

In the entire top 250 albums listed by the magazine, U2 have the largest total of releases, while Radiohead have six. Muse and Oasis have five each.

The Top 30 List:

  1. OK Computer - Radiohead
  2. Nevermind - Nirvana
  3. (What's The Story) Morning Glory? - Oasis
  4. Definitely Maybe - Oasis
  5. Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys
  6. The Joshua Tree - U2
  7. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
  8. The Bends - Radiohead
  9. Achtung Baby - U2
  10. Black Holes And Revelations - Muse
  11. Is This It - The Strokes
  12. A Rush Of Blood To The Head - Coldplay
  13. Parklife - Blur
  14. Screamadelica - Primal Scream
  15. White Blood Cells - The White Stripes
  16. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
  17. Hot Fuss - The Killers
  18. Kid A - Radiohead
  19. Funeral - Arcade Fire
  20. American Idiot - Green Bay
  21. The Holy Bible - Manic Street Preachers
  22. Absolution - Muse
  23. In Rainbows - Radiohead
  24. Only By The Night - Kings Of Leon
  25. Demon Days - Gorillaz
  26. Origin Of Symmetry - Muse
  27. Appetite For Destruction - Guns N'Roses
  28. Urban Hymns - The Verve
  29. Automatic For The People - R.E.M.
  30. Loveless - My Bloody Valentine
Biggest surprise - how the hell did The Strokes get on there?

For Sale - All Of Our Forests. Not Some, Nor Most – The Whole Lot ...


Rather scary article at the Guardian Online today stating that the Coalition Government is considering the sale of not just "some", or even "substantial", amounts of woodland as the public was originally led to believe, but of all state-owned English trees across the commission's 635,000-acre Forestry Commission estate. This includes many royal forests, state-owned ancient woodlands, sites of special scientific interest, heathland, campsites, farms and sporting estates.

The lot, not a leaf nor twig spared

But the opposition is mounting. By last night more than 98,500 people had registered their opposition to the sale with the group 38 degrees and more are joining the many local forest protection movements springing up as word spreads and people realise what is at stake.

Many people want to protect access to "their" public woodland which is now at risk and they pose a real political threat to local Tory and LibDem MPs who never mentioned any of this in their separate or joint manifesto.

Read more at The Guardian.

Monday, December 20, 2010

BBC Responds To My Complaint ...

On my previous post about lack of media coverage of UKUnCut actions on Saturday, the BBC, bless their cotton socks, have replied. Actually from Saturday to Monday afternoon is not a bad response time. The content of their reply, however, barely addresses the points I raised.



Dear Mr O'Connell

Thank you for your feedback regarding BBC News on 18 December 2010.

We appreciate some audience members felt we did not afford enough coverage to protests held by the group “UK Uncut” on this date.

This was a busy news day due to the widespread level of disruption caused by the severe weather. Saying this, we did report on the protests during our Teatime bulletin at 17:10. An extensive report also featured on the BBC News website, detailing the protests in London and providing background information on the “UK Uncut” group. It can be seen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12027256

It must also be stressed that previous to the most recent protests we have extensively covered the actions and intentions of “UK Uncut”. Such coverage includes online and ‘Today’ programme reports which can be seen and heard at the following links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12013069  
http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9267000/9267344.stm  

We felt we afforded a balanced and appropriate level of coverage to the protests considering their size and in proportional relation to other news stories prevalent during the day in question.

Thanks for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

BBC Audience Services



It's a rather banal response which smacks rather of a 'boilerplate', suggesting that this complaint is a regular one. This is clearly an issue to monitor on an ongoing basis.

UKUnCut Protests - Why They CAN and WILL Work In The Long Term ...

After yesterday's #payday events across the UK organised on Twitter by #UKUnCut, there are two burning issues now being discussed:

Why the lack of media coverage?

Did the weather-based travel disruption really warrant 96% of airtime on the major TV news channels? (the other 4% was cancelled sports events and on the BBC, a 'Strictly Come Dancing' preview disguised as news.)

I have complained to the BBC on-line, as follows:



Sirs,

For the last few hours (12:00 to 16:00) there has been far too much coverage of weather disruption (probably 90% of airtime) - most of it of very little benefit after the fact - and far too little, or no, coverage on other major events in the UK today, especially the #UkUnCuts actions against High Street stores up and down the country.

This follows on from poor or little coverage of other actions taken against VodaFone and the Arcadia group in recent weeks. BBC News' editorial policy and choice of stories is an issue which needs to come under serious scrutiny if taxpayers and license fee payers are to continue to fund BBC News on it's current basis. Otherwise many of us who support #UKUnCut and other similair organisations may choose to add our voices to the call for a complete restructuring of current BBC News Services.

If you want to continue to broadcast and be funded in the current manner, I would suggest that you seriously re-evaluate your existing editorial policy and report all worthy news stories. And if you don't consider the #UkUnCut actions story to be worthy, then perhaps BBC should reconsider the position of the person that makes that decision.



No reply as yet but I'll keep you posted.


The second issue is more critical:

Will these protests work in the long-run?

I believe they will.

Just as Vodafone, Boots, HSBC 'et al' claim that their tax-avoidance is legal, (and sadly, they are right) so calling for specific companies to be boycotted is also legal. This is the basis behind ethical consumerism. As tax-payers and voters we have little power (usually) except an election vote every 4 years. Many are now realizing that their spending money is also a terrific weapon.

  • Choose NOT to spend money at an unethical store and you hurt that companies profits and reputation in the long-term.
  • Spread the word and others will consider doing the same. At least, if various companies in the same business sector are closely price-matched, tax ethics may well be the deciding factor. I'm delighted to say that I have persuaded 6 people to dump Vodafone.
  • Other businesses considering similiar unethical tax evasion will perhaps reconsider the potential future ongoing cost of a public backlash.
  • Highlighting the issue will hopefully pressurize the Millionaire's Cabinet into dealing with tax avoidance long-term as promised. Perhaps in the next budget or two we might get some legislation in place.

 If #UKUnCut is to work, it must continue the pressure relentlessly - in which case I honestly believe it simply cannot fail to have a political and economic effect on UK Tax Policy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Current List Of 'British' Tax-Dodging Companies ...

A list for you to consider when out and about with your wallets. All I ask is that you use the only power you have left - the choice of the consumer.

Cadburys - Twinings - Britt Assurance - Vodafone - Boots - Top Shop - Dorothy Perkins - British Home Stores - Burtons - Evans - Miss Selfridge - Top Man - Top Shop

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2010: When I Say I Am The Best, It’s Honesty, Not Arrogance, Says Mark Cavendish ...

The criticism most frequently directed at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year is one of terminology: the majority of those nominated for the gong, runs the argument, are devoid of personality. It is not a sneer that could be applied this year. Not with Mark Cavendish in the running.

The bracingly self-confident Manxman is short of neither character nor opinion.

Nor, in 2010, has he suffered an achievement deficit. Finishing second in the sprint classification, he added five more stage wins in the Tour de France to the six he won in 2009, taking his tally to 15, to become easily the most successful British rider in the race’s history.

More at the Telegraph article.

[PostScript: In 2011, Cav won 5 more stages and won the final Paris stage again, three times in a row. In Europe, Cavemdish is as famous as David Beckham.]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quote Of The Day ...

Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.

- Bill Watterson

Pastor Jones On The Way To The UK ... ?

Pastor Terry Jones should not be allowed to place a single toe on British soil.

This is the man, you may remember, who this year advocated the burning of Korans of the anniversary of 9-11. He is a preacher of hate to all faiths not only radical islam, but even some sects of Christianity other than his beloved particular 'cult'.

This is the man who is radical in Christianity as his targets are in Islam - While running his Christliche Gemeinde Köln Church in Germany, press agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported that church members said Jones "ran the Cologne church like a sect leader and used psychological pressure on members", “subordinating all activities to his will".

This is the man who keeps a handgun on his desk as a toy.

This is the man who calls himself 'Doctor' by publicly - and illegally - using an honorary degree from the unaccredited California Graduate School of Theology in 2002.

This is the man who in 2008, was ejected by the congregation in Cologne for being a Christian fundamentalist, due to untenable theological statements and allegations of financial impropriety.

Following an invitation from the English Defence League Jones is considering attending a rally in Luton in the U.K. in February 2011 (the BIG one on the 5th) to share his views on Islamic extremism. This news caused a reaction from the anti-fascist group Hope not Hate which has launched a petition to the Home Secretary to ban Jones from entering the country.

If he is let into the country, I look forward to giving him a... suitable welcome at the airport.



Postscript:

The EDL invitation was very rapidly withdrawn, with no reason given. Result, either way!

Russian Football Nationalism On The Rise ...

Further to the previous post on Nationalism and Racism in Russian football (and why they didn't deserve the World Cup) it seems that Nazi salutes were the order of the day in Moscow over the weekend. (Russian football fans run riot in Moscow protest)

Russian 'football fans' and UltraNationalists ran riot in the centre of Moscow on Saturday, when a demonstration descended into violence that left 13 people hospitalised. Thousands of fans, supported by members of far-right groups, gathered in Manezhnaya Square near the Kremlin for the protest, with some shouting slogans such as "Russia for Russians" and performing Nazi salutes, according to an AFP photographer.

They were protesting the death of Yegor Sviridov, a Spartak Moscow fan who was shot in the head last Saturday during a fight with men from the Russian Caucasus, a remote area of Russia from which thousands of migrants have moved to Moscow for employment prospects. In July another Spartak fan, telejournalist Yury Volkov, was stabbed to death in a fight with men from the Russian Caucasus in a central Moscow park. A Chechen man has been charged with the crime.

"If the authorities don't change the policy on immigration, there will be a lot of bloodshed," said one demonstrator, whose face was hidden behind a black mask.

Yeah, reeaaallly looking forward to this World Cup, aren't we?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Joy Of Joys! Vodafone's Twitter Screw-up ...

This morning a new Twitter viral started - called #mademesmile - Vodafone decided that despite being in the middle of a £6 Billion Tax Fraud Battle, they'd start a competition that allowed peoples tweets to appear on their own home page - without any filtering - allowing UKUnCut and any other right-minded tax-dodger-basher to post their honest and balanced views on these thieves.

This #mademesmile is currently one of hottest trends on Twitter. Can you imagine the wonderful inquest tomorrow morning at Vodafone HQ? Wouldn't you just want to be a fly on the wall in that office ?!

Q. How many VodaFone executives does it take to run a Social Media Competition?

A. None, they've all been fired for this cock-up.

Monday, December 06, 2010

More Tax-Avoidance - Now I Can't Eat Cadburys Chocolate ...

If you buy a Cadburys chocolate bar in the UK, the tax on the profits will go to the Swiss Government.

Kraft, the new American owners of Cadbury's chocolate are working on a plan to shift major parts of the 186-year-old British business to Switzerland in a move likely to deprive the UK exchequer of millions of pounds of tax.

So chocolate-loving Brits are paying money to the US and Switzerland, and the British Exchequer gets to see very little of it.

They too, are added to the steadily growing Boycott List.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Britons Don’t Normally Join Protests, But Something Has Changed ...

Excellent piece on the Liberal Conspiracy site about Saturdays protests against UK-based tax-dodging companies such as Vodafone, Top Shop, BHS, Dorothy Perkins, etc.

Also a good piece on Channel 4 News (online version here).


It's amazing to note that there is no longer a social group than can be tagged as 'protesters' - just very angry citizens, tax-payers and voters.

BNP And EDL Thugs Run Away In Hull ... !

I'd never have believed it would ever happen, but the BNP is finally showing signs of being a spent force.
On Saturday a planned demo by both organizations outside a Hull mosque attracted only 20 thugs - who were rapidly chased away by several hundred Unite Against Fascism supporters.

Coupled with the fact that the BNP has STILL to audit it's 2010 Election accounts, is leaking floods of members and has reported debts of approx £500,00, I can hear the death bells now. Happy days! British political parties are not allowed to maintain debts over a long period of time, or have election audits outstanding for longer than the permitted time,which means that the BNP will be forced to fold, losing the holocasut-denying Griffin his seat as a Euro MP. Happy, happy days!

Sadly the same is not true of the racist and outright nazi EDL, a far more dangerous group with no 'restriction' as to their recruitment or behaviour, as suffered by the BNP, being a Political Party. We will be watching them carefully - especially in Luton on the 5th of February, when we fully expect to run them out of town again. These days we only get to see the backs of their heads.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Russia And Qatar? Are You Kidding Me ... ?

So Russian Mafia money, Putin's trickery, massive bribery, a corrupt FIFA and openly anti-British sentiment by long-time crook Sepp Blatter has resulted in a World Cup hosting win for Russia. I'm not bitter, really.

They even had international fraudster, blackmailer and thief Roman Abramovich on their team. (If Russia is so wonderful, how come he lives in Wentworth, England?)

Well, the Moscow Mafia will be partying non-stop for days - nothing gets done, moved or built in Moscow or St Petersburg without their approval and several brown envelopes - They'll make more money than ever. Because of their influence, Russia's building standards and safety regulations are nonexistant, and frankly it'll all end in tears and (literal) disaster.

Russia has also been singled out continuously as one of the most racist countries in the world, particularly in the football arenas.

Never mind the BBC making the Panorama programme FIFA's Dirty Secrets on FIFA corruption - that's their job. The timing could have been better, sure, but if FIFA are squeaky-clean, they should be able to brush off these allegations. Sadly, FIFA executives answer to no-one but the chief Blatter.

"Women should wear tighter shorts and low cut shirts to create a more female aesthetic"
- Sepp Blatter
And Qatar? Just because the oil countries have more money than class, should we allow them to purchase every sporting event under the sun? Including events that their population have very little interest in?

What next, Dubai hosts the Superbowl, UAE presents the Cheltenham Gold Cup and The Cricket Ashes live from Yemen?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Just Had To Post This ...

What kind of SICK parent gives their child a name like this?


... Any why would he ever want to be promoted ... ?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dell Again Offer Laptops With Linux Pre-Installed ...

Years ago when Linux first started to encroach on the desktop market, Dell offered a choice of pre-installed Linux on their laptop range. This year in July they dropped that as an option, (under pressure from MicroSoft, it was rumoured)

Well, whatever the reason, Dell have now started to offer their Vostro line with Ubuntu Linux ready to go. It's available in a few days so obviously there's no sales data as yet, but I imagine it should be popular.

The only disappointment is that, as Linux is free, charging the same price ($430) as the same hardware with Windows 7 is a bit much.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Proof - Cyclists Are The Happiest Road Users!

We have known about it for years, but now The Danish Federation of Cyclist have the proof - Cyclists are the happiest people in traffic. The amount of happiness, that cyclists associate with their mode of transportation by far surpasses that of both bus passengers, train passengers and certainly car drivers.

Cyclists have the lowest feeling of anger associated with their chosen mode of transportation, again compared to that of people choosing bus, train or private car for their transportation.

This result underlines the multiple positive benefits of cycling - health, sustainability, safety, livability and happiness. All that through promoting cycling and making it more attractive for more people to chose the cycle as their mode of transportation in the city.

Here’s the proof: Cyclists are the happiest on the road.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It’s Tax Avoiders Who Are Anti-Capitalist ...


Apparently an article in the Daily Telegraph states that the action against Vodafone (any any other tax dodgers) for their illegal tax dance is 'an anti-capitalist movement that is bringing chaos to high streets across Britain. '

Does The Telegraph have an agenda here? I noticed many adverts for Vodafone in yesterday's edition. Perhaps they are more concerned with losing a lucrative long-term customer than printing the truth.

To clarify, decent tax payers simply insist that companies pay the correct amount of UK tax in relation to their UK profits. We demand that;
  1. Seek to uphold the rule law;
  2. Minimise risk for their shareholders by being tax compliant, as is their duty;
  3. Reduce the cost of tax collection in the UK;
  4. Do not abuse the tax sovereignty of the UK by routing transactions through tax havens;
  5. Do not abuse monopoly power;
  6. Do not create artificial barriers to entry for competitors by exploiting tax advantages only available to established companies
  7. Be corporately socially responsible;
  8. Pay the taxes that their customers, employees, suppliers, and stakeholders are all dependent upon for the provision of the services that they expect in accordance with the democratic mandate that the people of the UK have provided to the government.
 Hardly anti-capitalist to obey the law.

Read more on the Tax Research Site ... It’s tax avoiders who are anti-capitalist.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gratuitous Cat Picture For No Reason ...


London Cyclist Killed By Truck Driver - Employers To Blame ? ...

This was Catriona Patel.

She was a 39-year-old London Executive, killed near Oval Tube station by a truck driven by a man who was not only on his phone, but still over the legal drink-drive limit from the night before. Yesterday the driver, Dennis Putz, 51 (who had "the most God-awful hangover" after having drunk at least seven pints of Guinness the night before )was jailed for seven years, and banned for life from ever sitting in a drivers seat again.

Putz has a history of convictions for drink-driving and has been caught either 16 or 20 times driving a HGV while disqualified (depending which article you read). He claimed he had not realised he had run over Mrs Patel - who had been wearing high-visibility clothing. (He only stopped when pedestrians began hammering on his cab door following the accident)
Attention now focuses on his employers, Thames Materials Ltd, in Hanwell, West London.

All companies which operate similiar vehicles are required to be sure that their "drivers are competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and other people." Campaigners are calling for the truck operators to be investigated for corporate manslaughter - clearly they should have been aware of the drivers record and taken extra steps to ensure that someone with his record was safe to be given the keys to a truck.

In addition, the company themselves have a record of breaking safety regulations and poor maintenance of its vehicles. In March 1999 the Traffic Commissioner reduced its licence to only seven vehicles Thames Materials Ltd have failed several inspections, the company and its drivers have many convictions. In 2002 the Traffic Commissioner tried to revoke its licence to operate lorries, but this was overturned on appeal.

Sadly Thames Materials don't deal directly with the public otherwise we could start a boycott to drive them out of business. I wonder where the company director lives... ?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vodafone's Tax Dodging In The UK ...

UK Mobile Operator Vodafone currently owes £6 billion of taxes to the UK Government, dating way back to 2000.

Let's say that number again - £6 Billion. Which would put a nice dent in those Government cuts that are on the way. And now HMRC has had no choice but to 'let them off' £4.8 Billion.

What was Chancellor George Osborne doing while all this was happening? In India, on a trade visit, promoting Vodafone. No wonder taxpayers and ordinary citizens suffering from cuts are angry, and are starting to boycott Vodafone. Well, they're on my list.

Seems that as well as 'Made In Britain' labels on goods we should be buying, perhaps we need 'Pays Proper Tax In Britain' stickers on some companies products or services.

See more ...Vodafone's tax case leaves a sour taste.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stop Wasting Time On Housework ...

BBC News - Should we stop wasting time on housework? - "A school has been set up to teach people how to run a home. But in an age of fast living and a culture of convenience, do we still care about keeping up appearances?"

Learn housework? Don't vacuums come with instructions any more?

Seriously, the only way to learn housework is to reduce to need for it by buying less crap. Which means you need less crap to CLEAN all the other crap and less ... well, of everything.

Clutter is the devil. Simplicity is nirvana.

Burma Finally Releases Aung San Suu Kyi ...

But don't think Burma will overnight become a democracy. The Military Government are still on top and the 'Civilian' opposition are all ex-Military leaders in suits.

Still, progress of a sort.

BBC News - Burma releases pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just A Thought ...

If the idea of Remembrance Day is to honour our fallen friends ...

How come every day isn't Remembrance Day ?


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Cakes Say So Long And Thanks For All The Fish ...

the happy little bunnies play,
all gayley and so sweet,
then kill BANG kill,
the happy bleading bunnies lie,
time to sleep, time to die,
fur all mangled,
wet and red,
their weaping hearts with soon be dead,
breath no more,
smile frozen in dew,
they shead their skin,
all wet shiney and new,
the second life now begins,
the sell by date below the tins,
the tins of beans and sprouts so kindly killed,
such mass slaughter on a vegitable scale,
the cabbage screams as the knife bores in,
the onyions weap and shead their tears,
the lettice now mangled in sald lies,
no one said they would so soon die,
they once had laughter, joy and fun, 
froliking in the feilds of farm. 

-- Kitty Wadlow
-- (C) 2010

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Birdfeeder Chronicles... Pt 2 - Return Of The Tree Rats

A great many things puzzle me day-to-day (like why my bagel toaster keeps resetting to '5' when I only use it on '3', or why some young short-arse in a car thinks he can intimidate me on a bicycle) but what's been occupying my mind recently is why I need to fill up my birdfeeders - every - single - day. There can't be that many starving birds around Surbiton?

Not long ago I posted about my birdfeeders, constantly visited by various tits and finches, and there's nothing beats sitting at my desk watching them instead of the keyboard and screen. But since I switched to the better 'winter' feed of sunflower seeds, they're both emptying in a day. However, mystery solved... bloody tree rats. Squirrels to you.


Not only are the little bastards nicking the food (a fondness for sunflower seeds over the 'mix' I used to use?) but in their desperation to pig out they're tilting the feeders so that loose seeds spill out the side. Now, I have no objection to other wildlife sharing the feeders, but, jesus, I've actually seen them bully birds and other squirrels to get at the goodies.

I'll resist the temptation to chuck pebbles at them. Think I need a squirrel-proof feeder like this one. I sense a DIY project in the making.

UAF Anti-Fascist Demonstration, London ...

" EDL - Got To Hell !! "
" Take Your Nazi Mates As Well !! "
In London yesterday as steward for the 'Unite Against Fascism' demo. The day was mainly about the themes of Anti-Racism, Anti-Fascism and Anti-Islamophobia, aiming to let the BNP and EDL know what they're up against.

Excellent day all round, a wonderful rainbow of people on the demo - all ages, races and creeds. Never thought I'd ever have much in common with so many diverse people! Quite a party atmosphere, too, especially around the moving Sound System float that I was shepherding with a 8-strong team through the streets of London (sidenote: why was it always morons in suits who tried to cross the road immediately in front of the Sound truck despite our stewarding?)

[Photos taken during Set-up and Preparations, no time to take any photos of the Demo itself (too busy) but see links at the bottom of the post for other photos]

Well, neither the EDL nor the BNP 'came out to play', and the day was peaceful, but I must comment on two Police issues which worried me a little.

Firstly, despite various groups congregating and setting up near Russell Square for 3 hours from 10.30 to 1.30, the Police (who'd been in the Square right from the start) left it to the very last possible minute to tell UAF that the Sound truck was 'Breaching Health & Safety Regulations' and that 'They'd not done a Risk Assessment' on it. This was at a point when the March had already started, and we'd held the crowd back for 1 minute to 'slot' the truck into place'. A frantic few minutes elapsed while the demo was paused, to get the UAF Organiser and the Chief Police Office of the day together to agree that there was no issue involved, and everything could go ahead as planned. But why did the Police leave it 'till the very last minute to tell us they had an issue over the truck? We didn't get an answer.

Secondly, at Westminster, with the Music playing, I was standing security over various musicians equipment at the entry point to the Stage Truck, when a senior Police Officer came up to us and stated that we were breaching Noise Levels for a 'Residential Area'. I did point out to the Officer involved that in that area there was almost nothing except Government Buildings and Offices for about 300m in all directions (and on a Saturday, empty!) We were apparently told to turn it down. I don't know if we did, but the volume sounded just fine to me!

Big mention for a band I've never heard before, 'Missing Andy', who played a great set. I'd call them a cross between The Streets, The Jam and The Shamen. Apparently they were headlined on Sky TV's 'Must Be The Music' but then as I neither watch SKY nor any TV 'Talent Shows', they were new to me!

Reports:

Photos:

Blog Post:

Missing Andy:

Videos:


Friday, October 29, 2010

Being Loved, And Loving Someone ...

- Lao Tzu, 6thC BC

A Good Traveller ...

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.’
- Lao Tzu

Your Life Is Too Valuable To Waste Buying More Shit ...

There is more joy in pursuing less than can be found in pursuing more. In many ways, this is a message that we already know to be true.

It’s just that, since the day we were born, we have been told something different. We have been told that possessions equal joy. And because we have heard that message so many times and from so many angles, we have begun to believe it. As a result, we spend our lives working long hours to make good money so that we can buy nice stuff.

But when we again hear the simple message that there is more joy in pursuing less than can be found in pursuing more, it rings true in our hearts… because deep down, we already know it to be true. We know that possessions don’t equal joy. And we know that our life is far too valuable to waste chasing them.

It just helps to be reminded from time to time. So today, remember…
  • Our life is short. We only get one shot at it. The time goes by quick. And once we use it up, we can’t get it back. So make the most of it. Possessions steal our time and energy. They require unending maintenance to be cleaned, maintained, fixed, replaced, and removed. They steal our precious attention, time, and energy and we don’t even notice it… until it’s too late.
  • Our life is unique. Our look, our personality, our talents, and the people who have influenced our lives have made us special. As a result, our life is exactly like no one else. And just because everyone else is chasing material possessions doesn’t mean we have to too.
  • Our life is significant. Far more than success, our hearts desire significance because significance lasts forever. On the other hand, possessions are temporal. They perish, spoil, and fade. And most of them, by design.
  • Our life is designed to inspire. Let’s make footprints worth following. Nobody ever changed the world by following someone else. Instead, people who change the world live differently and inspire others to do the same. Possessions may briefly impress, but they never inspire.
  • Our life is important. Our heart and soul makes us valuable. Don’t sacrifice your important role in this world by settling for possessions that can be purchased with a card of plastic.
  • Our life deserves better. Joy, happiness, and fulfillment are found in the invisible things of life: love, hope, peace, and relationships. And they are not on sale at your local department store. Stop looking for them there. People who live their lives in the pursuit of possessions are never content. They always desire newer, faster, or bigger because material possessions can never satisfy our deepest heart desires.
Be reminded that your life is far too valuable to waste chasing material possessions.

And find more joy today by choosing to pursue “better,” rather than “more.”

[From the always excellent 'becomingminimalist.com']

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Benefits Of Supporting A Crap Team ...

So I've been a Brighton F.C. fan for a looooong time - usually checking the scores to see how badly they've lost. It's a lot harder than being, say, a Chelsea, Man U. or Arsenal fan, where winning streaks are a given.

So when all of a sudden your crap team gets its act together and hits a run of wins - lots of wins - it's all the sweeter. After lounging in the bottom half of League 1 last year, Brighton in 2010 are storming,  8 points clear at the top of the table.

Premiership fans will never understand the joy of following a REAL team. All those low times make the glory so sweet - a lesson, perhaps, for the johnny-come-lately followers of any Premier side that happens to suddenly show signs of talent. It's the lows in being a sports fan that makes the joys so worthwhile.

Most premiership fans will never know how that feels.

[PostScript: Brighton went on to win League One and gain promotion to the Championship in their brand new Amex Stadium. Life is good]

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Domestic Violence ...


To all wife- or girlfriend-beaters:

While you SCREAM at your woman, there's a man wishing he could whisper softly in her ear.

While you HUMILIATE, OFFEND and INSULT her, there's a man flirting with her and reminding her how beautiful she is.

While you HURT your woman, there's a man wishing he could take her pain away.

While you make your woman BLEED and CRY, there's another man waiting to heal her hurts.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Partial Line-Up for Antiracist March & Carnival ...


Confirmed (partial) line-up for Sat 6th November: Artists who have already confirmed include indie-rock, ska and hip-hop band Kid British, and the legendary founder of The Specials, Jerry Dammers.

Also appearing will be British-Muslim pop favourite Mumzy, Missing Andy from TV’s Must Be the Music, Abbas Hasan with his electro-pop and Asian classical fusion, west-London singer Tasha Tah and LMHR stalwart DJ Rugrat.

More acts will be added to the line-up soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Glitch - Art Site on Facebook ...

Friend of mine, Kitty Wadlow, along with Adam 'Dreadman' Collins, has set up a site on FB called 'The Glitch', for all Collins and Wadlow art work fans, to keep up to date with the latest art activity and exhibits.

Kitty and Adam hold regular exhibitions in the Surbiton & Kingston area, and you now have the opportunity to buy both originals and prints at any of their exhibitions.

The Glitch is here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Untitled, Kitty Wadlow, 2010 ...


See also here for their last exhibition.

Current Favourite Quotations ...

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.
– Seneca
Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
- Bill Waterson
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- Anonymous
It is never too late to be what you might have been.
– George Eliot

Don’t say you don’t have enough time - you have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
To wish you were someone else - is to waste the person you are.
- Anonymous
Your time is limited - don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
– Steve Jobs

Andrew Marr Attacks Bloggers ... Pot, Kettle, Black ... ?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Andrew Marr—NuLabour slut and moron du jour—and his delightfully broad attack on bloggers and other such unworthy people.

He claims that bloggers are "socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting."

I'm proud to say that none of these adjectives apply to me. Except maybe 'ranting'. I do that sometimes.

Perhaps Marr's afraid of the competition from people who report honestly, without ties to media organisations with too much to lose?

Read a full (and hilarious) reply to Marr on The Devils Knife.

Military Cutbacks ...


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Boycott List Begins ...

I've decided to post about this issue instead of what I normally do, gripe to people AFTER they've bought a product or service from a company I consider to be immoral, corrupt or careless.

So I'm starting the Boycott List. Ethical Consumerism is something I've preactised for the last five years, and I want to spread the message. We'll start with ...

Hewlett Packard
... who are cutting 1300 jobs in the UK to switch those jobs overseas. This is in addition to the 900 jobs which were announced earlier in the year.

You will think, no doubt, that HP as a company have a right to employ who they want, where they want, especially to keep costs down. Which is fine.

But if they don't want British employees, perhaps British consumers should consider whether we want HP products - we have a right to choose, too!

BP
Nothing to do with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, I've been boycotting BP for years due to their practices in Alaska on the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Poor security, shoddy maintenance procedures and poor quality materials have led to a list of incidents that shame BP.

It seems that paying fines and repair bills is cheaper than proper maintenance - obvious when oil spills are blamed on cost-cutting by august newspaperas as the UK's Independent.

And finally for today...

Nestle
The largest consumer packaged goods company in the world,  headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. Nestle have claim green credentials

since 2000 when Nestlé and other chocolate companies formed the World Cocoa Foundation, specifically to deal with issues facing cocoa farmer, and also from being a founding participant in the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), set up in 2002 to end child and forced labour in cocoa growing, and to eliminate child trafficking and abusive labour practices. Fair enough.

Sadly they've blown their good rep by their practice (and that of their contractors Sinar Mas) of rapid deforestation in Borneo and other regions to make way for oil palm plantations, denying living space to orang-utans. While many companies such as Unilever and Kraft are making efforts to disassociate themselves from the worst practices of the palm oil industry, Nestlé has done diddly squat.

Greenpeace initially announced this boycott. Clearly Nestle are embarassed about being found out, as they hide 'palm oil' as 'vegetable oil' on their ingredients list - but it's in their, in 1000's of dairy and chocolate products, including Kit-Kat and Aero.

Nestle still continue to do business with Sinar Mas, unlike Unilever and Kraft who have stopped all contracts. With other companies not willing to be tarnished by the devastation Sinar Mas is creating, this leaves Nestlé - like the orang-utans - out on a limb.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

KCC (Kingston Cycling Campaign) Bread Pudding Ride ...


Did a first-time ride-out with the KCC riders today, called a 'Bread Pudding' run - miles and miles of the best scenic cycle routes in West London, with a pub lunch then coffee and bread pudding in the afternoon. Good bunch of people, excellent ride - and gorgeous weather.

Such a civilised way to spend a Sunday. Report is here, pictures are here.