| "More bikes, less cars"
Saturday, September 30, 2006
... was the cry to be heard on central London streets last night. About 200 cyclists along with a cycling police escort were protesting by bringing traffic to a standstill at key positions in the city. Our paths crossed in Piccadilly.
I managed to get couple of dodgy phonecam shots.
The first shot shows the lead group along with police escorts in fluoro jackets heading up the convoy behind. Behind this a long queue of cars and buses was building up, attempting to get to Piccadilly Circus. The cycle group waited for about five minutes before moving off. At Piccadilly Circus there was a repeat performance. Bikes were held aloft and there was a lot of chanting. Piccadilly Circus is an intersection of five roads and so the potential for disruption was considerable. The Friday night crowds at the Circus looked on with bemusement, taking phone pics and chatting with the protestors. It was remarkably calm; not much car horning or angst. There was a bit of a street festival atmosphere, somone was drumming in the crowd and, with the bright electronic signs above, it was almost a circus. A few bystanders were starting to dance when the group moved off up Regent Street. On foot I was able to keep up and joined them again at Oxford Circus, where both Oxford Street and Regent Street were brought to a standstill. There was a great spectacle as buses backed up along both streets and the roads ahead of the group emptied of traffic. As I walked along Oxford Street disgruntled passengers waiting at bus stops could be heard muttering about the delay, not realising what was in progress just up the road. I'd estimate that traffic in that part of town was delayed by at least 30 minutes last night, no doubt the knock on effects further afield were also felt. One of the riders had handed me a flyer. The protest was about climate change. There's going to be a march on 4th November ahead of the UN climate talks in Nairobi. The march starts at the US embassy in Grosvenor Square [ currenlty surrounded by security fencing, concrete barriers and armed police ]. I wonder if this is cause enough to bring me out of street protest retirement. See you there?
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:00 PM
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Give your baby a Trump makeover.
I watched Bill Clinton's speech to the Labour Party Conference and, whilst I didn't agree with everything he had to say, I thought that it was a really interesting and thought provoking analysis of the UK political scene and what the future might hold for us. Worth a watch, especially the last ten minutes or so. The contrast in intellect with the current Whitehouse occupant is also very striking.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 4:39 PM
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
A week ago my telly decided that it was not going to play any more. Its little red light is still as bright and twinkly as ever, draining my bank balance - but to no present purpose other than dimly lighting my lounge in a security camera infrared stylee. For my telly is dead. It will not respond to my commands. For a while, just prior to the final moment, it was toying with me. Taking half an hour to tune into Spooks - driving me nuts because I was missing half the story. Now it's finished the job - I'm missing the whole story. I press the button and it just stares back at me blankly, taunting me with its little red light. Dumbly refusing to show me even a glimmer of Donald Trump's wiggy wongafest. My telly is an ex-telly. It has shown its last episode of Neighbours. Played it's last Countdown conundrum and will never again warn me of low pressure in the Bay of Biscay. Its pixels are now unexcited. Speaker silent. Arial unused. Farewell Fergus - on you go to TV heaven.
Did Tony make you cry yesterday? I did enjoy his litany of Labour achievements - carefully edited of course, but nonetheless lengthy and giving the lie to accusations that he's been spending it all on weekends away with George Bush, Liposuction for Cherie's bum and surveillance devices for Gordon's toilet. Labour have done a lot of good stuff for the UK. We'll miss ya Tone.
[ sits back to await rightwing backlash ]
Dead or alive
Out shopping earlier I saw a huge poster with a massive photo of a cooked chicken leg. The caption read something like, "Tender, spicy and with a healthy dollop of RSPCA approval". Have I missed something? I'd always thought that the RSPCA was meant to protect animals from cruelty. Doesn't cruelty include being killed, tenderised, spicified and eaten by middle class fleshcravers? What next - the NSPCC selling children on ebay?
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:21 PM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Fascinating video of GBs facial reactions to TBs fairwell speech today. Is that a tear welling at the end - or is it GBs glass eye catching the spotlight?
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:06 PM
Monday, September 25, 2006
It's "nooooo cleeeee arrr" you eeeejit NOT "nooooooo cular".
a. In control of largest collection of weapons of mass destruction ever known.
b. Most powerful politician on earth with greatest degree of media attention of anyone.
c. STILL unable to pronounce name of weapon of mass distruction AFTER five and half years in office.
a+b+c = get a f*****g pronunciation coach.
That is all.
Having Gordon Brown professing to like the Arctic Monkeys is the beginning of the end of their careers. Discuss.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 6:44 PM
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The Gates of Hell...At One with the Web
arriving at the Royal Academy for the Rodin exhibition - great sequence of photos from Tristan.
We are the dead
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 8:15 PM
Friday, September 22, 2006
It's OneWebDay today. The day when we step back and think about how the internet has changed our lives. Without the web, it's fair to say that most of you reading this would never know of me or about me. My inner thingy is being transmitted to your brain via the online power of the webosphere. That, I'm sure you'll agree, is truly remarkable. Simply by means of my owning a hugely expensive electric box, with wires, I can send to your electric box my important thoughts and ideas about all manner of subjects such as my overwhelming need for affirmation from vast numbers of complete strangers that I'll probably never meet. [ Call me a celebrity - I'm comfortable with my fame ]. BUT I'm just one tiny blobette in the vast interconnected modern interweb of today. We're all far more connected than we ever were. If I want to, I can find out what Mrs Sludge down the road was doing with that strange man last week; clicky clicky, tap tap and it's there, exposed in all it's hypertextual hypertension via the covert webcam I got with my Tesco Clubcard. I can pay all my bills online, thus absolving my bank of the tedious responsibility for cashing my personal cheques. I can order Ukranian cranberries to be delivered to my door whilst downloading. I can even download whilst I upload. Or I can upload whilst eating dry roast peanuts. [ I think I prefer it that way ]. My cultural life has been enriched by the ability to virtually tour the huge number of artistic establishments that have digitised themselves for my pleasure. I've seen Mona in the morning, Andy in the afternoon and Eileen in the evening. All in one day - coolio. I am able to learn of cultures and practices hitheroo unknown to me [ or illegal in my territory or domain ]. I can converse online with complete strangers [ who may be naked ] about subjects I know nothing about or care nothing about. I can send a picture of my cat to the far side of the planet in the time it takes to get some more peanuts. What I enjoy most about the web is that I can do all these things instead of what I'm meant to be doing - ie having a life.What to wear?
Bees prefer Van Gogh's Sunflowers to other paintings.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:00 PM
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I have a blue suit, a grey suit and a navy suit to choose from.
I have a white shirt, a pink shirt and a check shirt with blue burgundy and black running through it.
I have a navy tie with tiny gold dot pattern. I have a blue knitted tie and I have a black and white striped tie.
I have three meetings to attend in the near future. They are all fairly formal but relatively low key. How should I combine the above for each meeting?
One of you will be hired - as my online fashion advisor.
The V&A has a fab new exhibition, 'Leonardo da Vinci, Experience, Experiment, Design'. Not been yet but great slideshow with commentary here. Must make time to see it soon.
"The lead feature in the November issue includes the Roadkill Rug, by Karin van Lieshout, inspired by a squashed fox, and a cuckoo clock by Michael Sans that involves a real (dead) cuckoo, nailed to a board....Men are increasingly interested in designer equipment for the home...The first edition features a steam-powered washing-machine, a Porsche kettle and an iron specially designed 'for blokes'."
Another load of old bollocks pretending to be serious design writing.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:09 PM
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
25 years ago I decided to take to the streets. No, this is not about to become a sexconfessional about my sordid past. That was [not] yesterday. My passions were inflamed by a perceived injustice which was going to affect thousands of people and change, irrevocably, something I cared about a great deal at that time. Needless to say [?], this lot were behind it. Quite a lot of us felt the same way and so we decided to do as millions of others had done before us - we decided to hold a protest march. Arranging a demonstration, even then, was not as straightforward as you might think. Just taking over a city centre without so much as a by-your-leave-thatcher-sucks-donkey-doodoos was not an option unless we were prepared to be arrested and carted off to Strangeways. Even I was not so foolish as to voluntarily visit the house of correction and fallen Imperial Leather - so we did it the proper way. Consultations were held with Her Majesty's Constabulary, several public bodies, several private bodies, several really nice bodies, several commercial entities and the local vicar. Banners were painted, newspapers and TV were contacted, presses were released and we all met at the pub first. The march went off very well, we loved all the attention, got featured in the media, the locals were stopped in their tracks for at least 3.5 minutes and they still screwed us over - ie: we lost. I've never been on a public protest since. That's not to say I've not campaigned - I've chosen other ways. I think my experience of that day has coloured my perceptions of how effective such demonstrations can be. We've not had much success of popular uprisings in the UK in modern times [ the Poll Tax riot is the last one I can think of ]. British people, in the main, prefer to mutter quietly in the privacy of their own homes or queue patiently to kick each others heads in on a Saturday night in the local town for local psychos. Civil unrest is always better done in more hot blooded countries. How topical am I? I'm not sure what would make me take to the streets again - it'd have to be something I really believed in and I'd have to be convinced that my marching would really make a difference. How about you?Love sexy?
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:09 PM
Monday, September 18, 2006
Interesting comments box discussion yesterday on religious viewpoints. In the triumverate of 'topics that you should never discuss'; I wondered if we should do politics next and then I thought, 'no - lets go straight to sex'. There's nothing that gets everyone a bit animated than sex - so I'll be interested to see what emerges in this one. [I'm steering a line of inuendo - see?] I've noticed a phenomenomenon in the blogosphere of blogging about your sex life [tell me I'm slow off the mark]. Some people are making cash out of it - so there's certainly an audience out there for recycled sexual details of the most intimate kind. Over the years I confess to having learnt quite a lot about complete strangers - far more than I would ever learn if I were to meet them face to face. I know who likes to put what where. How much they like to do what and with what type of partner/s. What their partner/s have to do to make them do whatever and how long it all takes and how often they do it. I've discovered their preferences for looks, scenarios, frequency, intensity, duration, cessation and, in one case, flagellation. I've learnt new words, new positions, new laws and new lows. I've understood that people seem to enjoy writing and reading about it as much as they enjoy doing it and, I have to say, I've been shocked at some of the stuff I've read and how open people are prepared to be behind the thin veneer of privacy that is a blog. Spencer Tunic specialises in photographing hundreds and thousands of people prepared to get naked in iconic public locations. Those who take part have reported a feeling of liberation and safety in numbers. So I wonder if the sex blog thing is a bit like that? Because other people have done it - there is an element of permission and publishing your sexdetails provides a confessional platform and maybe the merest frisson of excitement that others are exposed to your inner thingies. [Hold that mental image]. So, why do people write about their goings on? and have you / would you write about yours and what would motivate you /them to do so?
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:33 PM
Sunday, September 17, 2006
"The Worlds Greatest Penile Artist"Goodnight Mr Baxter
Silence is golden?
Has anyone else noticed the vehement worldwide reaction which ensues the moment anyone says anything the teensy weeniest bit negative about Islam. E.g: the latest furore following Pope Ratzo's recent academic meanderings. I don't pretend to understand the sensitivities involved - they are obviously extemely sensitive. I just wonder why any discussion of any aspect of Islam, when it borders on critical, is off limits. Surely responding with robust intellectual defence of Islamic beliefs would be more effective at countering percieved unfairness or prejudice than burning effigies and stomping around looking angry? Isn't that sort of response just playing into the hands of those that would seek to unfairly criticise Islam? Or am I unable to see the truth because of my liberal western intellectualism? Will anyone dare to comment on this one...?
Save the Chaffinch
Clean up your bird table - details at Chaffinch HQ.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:00 PM
Friday, September 15, 2006
I'm very surprised and saddened to hear of the passing of Raymond Baxter who, incredibly, was 84. Baxter - [ I believe he was a last name sort of chap ] - was a true British modernist. He loved technology and, with his understated suaveness [ there's so little suaveness around these days ], classic BBC accent and good grooming, personified the 'white heat' of futuristic technology that emerged in the nineteen sixties and seventies. Tomorrows World, which he presented for 12 years, was required viewing for me and I still get a little tingle when I hear that ubercool jazz theme evoking a future of disposable bacofoil clothes, injection moulded houses with rounded corners, modular food and monorails linking towerblocks to centralised leisure facilities. Sadly, the future was not to be as Raymond promised but his enthusiasm for modernity was undimmed to the end. His recent article in the Tate magazine described his relationship with his nephew, the minimalist sculptor, Carl Andre and how he made a film to explain and defend his work to an ignorant British public. When Tomorrows World was axed in 2003 after nearly 40 years, Baxter complained, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - implying that the BBC, in mucking around with the format had destroyed a classic brand. He will be forever associated in my mind with modernity, a quintessential old school correctness of manner and a curiosity and enthusiasm for the new, all of which I acquired in varying degrees from watching Raymond in my formative years. Tomorrows world will be the lesser without him.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 7:59 PM
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Has been bestowed by Tadej who is my first Slovenian correspondent. Tadej works for the BBC Slovene Section and his blog looks interesting. Sadly my Slovene is lacking so I may never know what he's actually writing about.
JB - has also recently linked - in between pumping various things and fixing electronic devices. It all looks like very hard work. Thankyewmuchly linkers.
In or out?
Someone you meet asks, 'Do you have a blog?'
What is your answer?
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 8:00 AM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Yesterday was a bit too much. Loads of material about the commemorations. Twenty four hours on and I feel able to write something about the 5th anniversary. I hate to say it, but I knew [ I'm sure you did too ], either at the time or maybe not long after that movies would be made. The visuals, exquisitely horrifying, were just too strong for it not to be so. Most of us saw it on TV; no surprise, then, that the teeveemovee merchants got in early. I learnt yesterday that the footage of the WTC is not shown much now on US TV. Would that it were the same here. How long can you leave it before you start to make a movie about something so horrible and so raw? The answer seems to be, 'about five years'. And so now, when we see the footage, we know the ending and we may, by now, have thought about the feelings of those who we know are dying at that moment in the footage, hidden somewhere in those hellholes - because we've seen it in a movie or heard a recording of a desperate phone call on the news and we try to imagine what it must have been like. I think back to the time that I stood on top of the South Tower looking across at it's twin. The feeling of being so so high. Being out in the open air, looking across and seeing the roof and the TV mast and being so close but yet so far because the knowledge that were you to leap from one to the other you would plummet into that massive, seemingly endless void between the two. And having experienced something of this immense height, the scale of what happened that day is all the more vivid. And I heard Georgie talking about the 'struggle for civilisation' and I heard a report that 46 thousand civilians have died in Iraq and I wondered if civilisation is worth all those deaths. And I wondered if Iraq, as one of the cradles of human civilisation, would see the irony. And I wondered if the 43% of American people who believe that Saddam was involved in 9/11 can be further persuaded that Iran is going to nuke them sometime soon. And I thought that it probably isn't impossible that someone like Georgie could justify use of a noocular weapon on the basis that it would make the world more secure and that quite a lot of people would believe him. So my prediction is that a lot of very depressing movies are going to get made in the next twenty or so years.Pants on fire
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:26 PM
Monday, September 11, 2006
I'm working for someone at the moment that I can't stand. They are given to lying, apparently without conscience, in an effort to appear infallible. Even when it is plain that they are lying they persist - pathetic. They seek to avoid their responsibilities and instead sustain their illusions of importance on the sycophancy of less experienced minions who [pretend to?] believe their lies. They know that I am on to them and hence feel threathened. Consequently, I don't think that this arrangement will last. Part of me is glad about this and part of me is annoyed because if only this person would be a bit more honest and human, things would be so much better all round. Sigh.Indian summer
Guantanamo goes Disney
Bansky's been at it again.
Gordon was a power crazed rector
It's true - be afraid.
6 positions - all those legs and still they manage - spider love will find a way.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 8:24 PM
Sunday, September 10, 2006
After a climatically indifferent August, September is turning out to be a real cracker of a month. This weekend has seen warm sunny days with that special light that you get when the sun is low in the sky. Perfect as far as I'm concerned - my favourite kind of weather. Not too hot but balmy enough to make you want to be outside all the time with the light making everything look rather spesh. This afternoon I found myself on a two hour cycle ride. It was one of those times when you think, "just go out for a little ride round the block" and find yourself getting further and further away from home, just carried on by the delight of being out in the fresh air. I ended up about ten miles distant on an old railway line which has been converted to a cycle track. I'd known it was there but never used it before. Now I've found out that every two miles or so there is a nice pub where you can sit outside. The ride passes fields of cuddly horses and donkeys. The scenery is pretty stunning too. The only drawback is that the way home is mainly uphill - so I may need to keep the number of a local [ bike friendly ] taxi firm handy next time if my aching legs are anything to go by.United we stand
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 8:14 PM
Friday, September 08, 2006
"By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone"
Clause 4, Labour Party Constitution - © T.Blair 1994
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:01 AM
Monday, September 04, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Every year since 2000 [2004 excepted] The Serpentine Gallery in London's Kensington Gardens has commissioned a temporary summer pavilion. This annual project has been a showcase for internationally known architects who are, as yet, unbuilt in the UK. Previous pavilions have been designed by Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and Oscar Niemeyer. This year it's the turn of Rem Koolhaas, architect of the incredible Seattle Central Library amongst many other innovative projects. Koolhaas has collaborated on the Serpentine Pavilion with structural expert Cecil Balmond who has recently been working on Battersea Power Station and the World Trade Center.
The Serpentine Gallery building, itself, began life as a tea pavilion and was converted into an art gallery in 1970. Despite clear advice, and a map, from a very nice volunteer lady at the Hyde Park Corner Lodge I ended up walking miles out of my way in my attempt to find the gallery, which is actually right up the other end of the park closer, I think, to the Albert Memorial than I ever realised. As I drew nearer, however, I became aware of an amazing white 'egg' on the horizon, floating above the treetops. It was a hot sunny day and the shimmering heat haze enhanced its alien presence in the landscape. The pavilion itself appears, at first, to be made mainly from plastic - the walls are of polycarbonate sheeting. The transparancy creates a fascinating sense of movement as the outlines of people moving into and around the space can be seen from outside. It's the people who give this building its colour as most of the materials are neutral in tone.
Inside there is a fairly large open area which was being used as an informal cafe and hang out. Rather wonderful snackettes from the kitchen of Mr Raymond Blanc were on offer. I resisted, opting only for a cooling organic lemonade which, though expensive, was divine. The seating is comprised of marvellous foam blocks. They look solid and unforgiving but have just the right amount of yield to provide a comforting embrace to the buttocks of weary pavilionites. I decided to drink my lemonade outside on the entrance podium where more foam had been parked. Fretful children with names like 'Tom', 'Harriet', 'Adam' and 'Chloe' provided a whining counterpoint to the braying of their professional parents on an elevational day out. The roof of the pavilion, [ the egg ] is designed to elevate according, as far as I can tell, to climatic conditions or phases of the moon or summat. I still haven't worked it out. There are some impressive corrugated silver pipelines which go up into the egg and are attached to some sort of machine hidden down below. Presumably, this provides the necessary to achieve the required flotation. It's planned to have quite a few happenings in the pavilion before it's dismantled. I understand it's lit up at night too - I may have to go back and witness this as I think it must look rather spesh. The temporary nature of the building, it's experimental edginess and unorthodox form give it a playfulness which could seem extravagant and pointless. I liked it because it hints at possibilities. The crowds it's drawing hint at the power of new building forms to interest and provide environments in which people enjoy a sense of adventure. A bit like the feeling when you get some new clothes, you're somehow redefining what it is to be you. This building makes you feel different.
The pavilion is open until the 15th October - website
Interesting article with more detail.
Comprehensive documentary photograph album of the pavilion and its construction.
More of my photies.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:45 PM