Archive for September, 2006

"More bikes, less cars"

Saturday, September 30th, 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?

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Give your baby a Trump makeover.
via Popbitch

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.

Down the tube

Wednesday, September 27th, 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?

Tuesday, September 26th, 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?

Monday, September 25th, 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.

End of?
Having Gordon Brown professing to like the Arctic Monkeys is the beginning of the end of their careers. Discuss.

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

The Gates of Hell…
arriving at the Royal Academy for the Rodin exhibition – great sequence of photos from Tristan.

We are the dead

“With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end.”
George Orwell, 1984
“It is one hell of a deterrent. It’s one thing to know that there are CCTV cameras about, but it’s quite another when they loudly point out what you have just done wrong.”
Middlesbrough CCTV Manager. 2006

At One with the Web

Friday, September 22nd, 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.

Aesthetic bees.
Bees prefer Van Gogh’s Sunflowers to other paintings.

What to wear?

Wednesday, September 20th, 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.

March on

Tuesday, September 19th, 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?

Monday, September 18th, 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?