Sunday, 28 August 2011
I shall be making an appearance at Carnival tomorrow safe in the knowledge that 6,000 of the Mets finest will be looking after me. According to Commander Steve Rodhouse (who he?) there will be no special arrangements for the use of tasers. I'm not quite sure how to take that Steve.
Friday, 26 August 2011
In an already fractured nation a new dichotomy has appeared in the land. It seems that we are now divided into two distinct groups; looters and those who analyse looting. Of these two groups the analysts are by far the larger and before they are finished may cost a lot more and do far more damage. Stand by for a raft of Back To Work initiatives, "greening" projects, problem family interventions and actions to reverse disaffection. A whole new parallel world of think tanks, committees and task forces is taking shape before our very eyes. That of course is the real division in society - the one between those that "do" and those that have things done to them. The real project remains the cranking up of desire for commodities while hiding the reality that these baubles are there for the taking. It's the same old con but one that is going to get ever harder to pull off.
Monday, 22 August 2011
It looks as though the long reign of Muammar Gaddafi is drawing to a close as the rebel fighters engage in the last desperate battle for control of Tripoli. Who knows what the future holds for the Libyan people and we can but wish them well. In the early days Gaddafi spoke a great deal about "direct democracy" and even claimed to have been influenced by Kropotkin and Bakunin but in the end there was to be no democracy, direct or otherwise, in his brutal regime. Power corrupts - always.
Saturday, 20 August 2011
I'm off to Exmoor again next month. During my previous visit early on in the summer I bought a copy of Lorna Doone and this time intend to walk up the East Lyn as far as the Doone Valley. I have discovered that just as Sherlock Holmes fans used to walk up and down Baker Street in search of the fictional detective's lodgings, so too do Doone fans roam the landscape between Exmoor and the Bristol Channel seeking out the location of RD Blackmoor's classic tale; and that is turning out to be a tale in it's own right.
The history of old time show business is littered with fake titles. "Count" this, "Sir" that. "Colonels" who never made it to Lance Corporal. Indian "Rajahs" who never ventured east of Mile End and more "Professors" in theatrical digs than in any town of dreaming spires. Naturally the hall of mirrors that is the world of professional wrestling has been home to it's fair share of fake Earls and phony Lords but one, Sir Atholl Oakeley, was the genuine article. Oakeley introduced modern professional wrestling to this country in 1930 and went on to become British Heavyweight Champion and one of the leading promoters. His autobiography, Blue Blood On The Mat, mainly concentrates on the authors involvement in the wrestling business but does mention in passing his interest in Lorna Doone and I believe that as a promoter Oakley once had a wrestler billed as Carver Doone. Quite what Sir Atholl Oakely Bart. was doing in the almost exclusively working class world of grunt and groan is a bit of a mystery. When he retired from the mat game he ran sailing holidays on an old Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter and also tours of Doone country; or at least that's what I have heard. I suppose that compared to the duplicity of the wrestling game, convincing people that Lorna Doone was based on fact was money for old rope.
Now I discover that RD Blackmoore wrote his most famous book just ten minutes walk from where I live. Unfortunately there is no overgrown Gothic mansion to explore but just a dull 1920s development with the only link to the past being a Blackmoore Close and a Doone Road.
So a short break in North Devon, a new found interest in Lorna Doone, my long time fascination with wrestling history and a couple of streets of unassuming 1920s semi-detached, have all come together to reafirm once again that most profound of philosophical cogitations - the interconnectedness of all things.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
All over the country allotmenteers, well those lucky enough to not have had their sites expropriated for Olympic Parks or Convicted Looter Holding Camps, are looking at their plots with some satisfaction. Despite the very dry spring this has turned out to be an exceptionally good growing season, especially for fruit. With food prices rising and most people getting more strapped for cash there never has been a better time to grow your own.
We don't hear quite so much about climate change these days and in many ways this is a blessing. At least we don't have to suffer the hapless children of the bourgeoisie stridently proclaiming that the future of the planet is in their hands. No, they've all invested in posh frocks and suits and gone off to work in PR. We are also spared having to listen the folk dirge of the insufferable Seize The Day at demos so all in all I find the demise of "Climate Change" to be a good thing. But don't run away with the idea that the problem has disappeared along with the protesters because nothing could be further from the truth. Climate change is real enough and with it comes a multitude of problems that will take all of our innate human ingenuity to cope with. There will be winners and losers for one thing and you can be sure that as life becomes more difficult in some parts of the world there will be mass migrations to more temperate regions. At the moment food shortages are due to a failure of distribution rather than production; plenty of food but the poor can't afford it. That could change and we could face real food shortages in future. Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, unpredictable harvests will combine with the mass movement of people around the globe to create perhaps the greatest challenge that our species has faced so far. The task is not to try and reverse climate change with wind farms, electric cars and non-farting cows but to cope with the effects of such changes. Are we up for it? I think so but only if we radically re-think the way that we do things. We will have to do better than the market led expanding economy model and create whole new ways of dealing with both each other and the world around us. Anyway, something to ponder as you dig those spuds.
Monday, 15 August 2011
Behaving as if choices have no consequences... Moral Collapse... Irresponsibility... Selfishness...
Crime without punishment... Rights without responsibility... Greed... Feelings of entitlement...
People showing indifference to right and wrong... People with a twisted moral code... People with a complete absence of self-restraint...
But what to do about these people? That's the question isn't it Dave? I suppose not having them round on Boxing Day again might be a step in the right direction. Talk it over with Sam Dave.
Thursday, 11 August 2011
It's over! For now at least. Now for the reckoning and I don't just mean the long procession of accused through the courts. Many people are pleading guilty and hoping for the best but early signs suggest that we can expect some draconian sentences to be handed out. In the media every expert under the sun will be wheeled out to give their views. Some of them, like Camila Batmanghelidjh, will be worth listening to - others less so. Parliament has been recalled and the political class will unite in their condemnation of looting and arson while doing there best to score party political points at the same time. The calls for every kind of retribution and social engineering will stretch credulity. The Speaker, John Berkow, went up in my estimation when in a recent interview he said that the people he disliked the most were snobs and bigots but that of the two snobs were worst because a bigot could change. He knew this because he had once been a bigot himself. Well he will be hearing plenty from both snobs and bigots in the House this afternoon as the political elite compete with each other to pour scorn on the "feral underclass".
To listen to David Cameron yesterday was to hear the worst kind of hypocrisy . Born to a level of wealth and privilege beyond the comprehension of most of us and part of a corrupt clique who can have literally anything they desire, he gives lectures on morals to people who have the audacity to wear a pair of trainers they have not paid for. To me. one of the most striking images to appear in the media over the past few days was not the harrowing footage of a distressed and injured boy having his belongings stolen, or parts of London looking like the blitz, nor even the wonderful lady haranguing the mob about "fighting for a cause" but yesterday's Guardian centre spread of an army of smug, self satisfied white middle class big society street cleaners. Armed with their brooms and their moral certainty, the long march of the bland and well off is just beginning.
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
In this ever changing world in which we live it's not always easy to keep up, no matter how hard we try. It seems like only last week that it was all about, "Murdoch-the cancer in our society". Just a minute, it was last week. Now it's all "London's Burning" and "will a bunch of brutal thugs rule our streets?" Well, not unless we increase budgets and give them water cannon apparently.
Monday, 8 August 2011
Tottenham High Road is a mess, people have been made homeless and I have far too much respect and admiration for firefighters to want to see them being put in any more danger than necessary. On the other hand surely we can all applaud the initiative shown by young people in organising a little recreational looting for themselves and in these times of economic uncertainty there is much to be said for wealth redistribution projects of this nature.
Regular readers will know how keen I am on youth adventure schemes and it must be great fun to be riding around on your BMX with all of your mates and doing a bit of shopping without money. Not only great fun but in it's own way just as constructive an adventure as say, going off to the Arctic and irritating a lot of Polar Bears and, per head of young people involved, probably a lot cheaper.
Sunday, 7 August 2011
The National Trust have taken to flogging a compilation punk CD along with the fruit cake and books on butterfly watching. All the old punks are now well into their fifties of course and us old pro-situationist liggers and coat tail riders of the storm are well into our sixties. Prime recruitment fodder for the beige brigade you might imagine.
Well I'll fucking tell you one fucking thing - I'm not joining the fucking National Fucking Trust !
Gitane's comments on this blog are always good value and are frequently far more entertaining than the original post. Once again the old geezer has got me thinking, this time about the class make up of our rural towns and villages. Gitane clearly knows Chipping Norton far better than I do, not difficult given that I have never been near the place, but his comments remind us that in every rural community there are interesting undercurrents and that things are usualy far more complicated than they appear at first glance. When we lived in Devon during the early seventies the term "estate" had several very different meanings. There was "The Estate" that owned many of the old building in the village (including our cottage)as well as the Big House and the surrounding couple of thousand acres of farms. There was also the "council estate" where although many people had connections to, and identified with, "The Estate" others worked in the nearest town and had no interest in the traditional structure of rank and land ownership. Finally there was the "housing estate" of middle class home owners who for different reasons tended to be wary of the proles and have a strong antipathy toward the toffs in the Big House. Well known to both toffs and proles, but hardly on nodding terms with any of the middle class, we and others like us, existed in a happy state of stoned limbo.
The nearest bit of real countryside to where we live now is the Surrey Hills, an area that includes the Greensand Hills, part of the North Downs, the town of Dorking and numerous villages. It's here in this beautiful landscape that we tend to go for days out walking and in many respects it lives up to most peoples preconceptions about Surrey as a place populated almost entirely by Chelsea players and hedge fund managers. However, you don't have to scratch the surface much to find a very different reality and even in the poshest bits there is evidence of "real people" living alongside the world of pony clubs and private schools. Plotlands, very unposh hamlets and isolated holding that look like Cold Comfort Farm are all there for the finding. We recently came across a village pub with a notice in the window advertising for a "Amusement Restriction Officer-would suite local person-no sense of humour required". As we suspected the notice was not unconected with the one alongside it advertising a "Ska and Reggae Nite".
So come on Gitane. Tell us more about the other Chipping Norton. The dodgy breakers yards, dodgy boozers, lurcher breeders, lonely goths and the families that nobody messes with.
Saturday, 6 August 2011
It's looks like there could finally be just a hint of something approaching justice for the people of the Niger Delta. For years Shell have polluted the area with impunity and the body of Ken Saro-Wiwa on the gallows an example to those who might stand up to Big Oil. Now at last the tide is beginning to turn. There is a long way to go but this is a step in the right direction.
Friday, 5 August 2011
The citizen patrol group Guardian Angels never really took off in this country in the same way as it did across the pond but the spirit of Angels founder Curtis Sliwa is lurking behind a privet hedge somewhere near you apparently. All will be revealed in tonight's Channel4 Superheroes Of Suburbia. Looks like a genuine side splitter.
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Ed Miliband's may well, for all his left posturing, end up with a Labour Party further removed from the organised working class than ever before if his plans to curb union influence in the party are realised. This may be no bad thing actually. The unions could use the political levy to support the Greens, Monster Raving Loonies or whatever, Labour could be re-branded National Democratic Labour Party before eventually dropping the "Labour" bit and at least everyone would know where they stood. Well, those of us who don't already know that is.
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
When not hanging out at her Cotswolds retreat (what must it be like to live on the Chipping Norton council estate and be constantly hearing how the place is entirely populated by the rich elite?) Rebekah Brooks lives in Chelsea Harbour. It was in the underground car park of this exclusive development that a laptop and paperwork belonging to Brooks was mysteriously discovered hidden in a black bin liner. At first Brooks tried to claim back the property but the security jobsworths involved were having none of it and insisted on calling the cops, at which point the Ginger One decided that the stuff did not belong to her after all. How very strange. Little has been heard about this laptop since it's discovery on the 18th of July so it's good to see that The Independent are keeping the story live.