Search This Blog

Monday, July 31, 2006


the area around st pauls is crammed with churches and offices of various international companies: the houses of the lord rubbing shoulders with the houses of mammon, (no jay mammon not mammary). in a sense that is the same as it ever was.
business and religion have many things in common but one of the key ones is that everything should work to a plan. there is a time and place for everything.

in this one location both industry and worship rub shoulders, and the power of the schedule is demonstrated.
just remember to be at the head of the queue when the time comes, unless you are a calvinist in which case you know you will be at the head of the line.

(i will let emma tell you which church it is - it's on the 15 bus route. i will be doing more pics from there as part of the church series that i am working on. i know i know how can you contain yourselves...)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


some pictures from around and about.

this graffitti appears in vyner street - one of the east end's centres of art excellence. loads of art establishments down here. some show good stuff some show bad stuff. as yet it is not as densely packed as the chelsea art district in new york, but much easier for me to get to.
(a version of it also appears near the truman brewery and has been shown on here in a previous post).

this stairwell is part of the truman brewery complex (and not the one that has the, now, infamous warning about shep in it). as an arty pic it needs some more work done to it. this is the brewery my dad used to get his beer from when he ran pubs in the area. i feel a certain amount of happiness knowing that years later i am still visitng it to see art (it is the same feeling i have when i go and sit in coffee@ knowing 43 years of so ago i was a shitty squealing baby there..)

it is the sky, as taken with the new lens.

enjoy them all.

Monday, July 24, 2006


eldrick "tiger" woods has once again demonstrated that he is one of the greatest there is (and has been) at his chosen sport. you can only sit back in awe at his ability.
i am pretty sure that there will be arguments aplenty as to why he is so good: is it nature or is it nurture? or some finely balanced selection of both.

i am probably not breaking new ground here when i say i don't think natural talent has a huge amount to play in all of this. i think most of the reason why some sportsmen are so much better than others is that they have huge resorvoirs of mental toughness and belief. they have worked harder than the rest at perfecting their game. they have a focus that means that not only do they know where they are going, they know how to get there even if they get lost.

tiger woods and those like him probably would have succeeded at whatever they had chosen to do whether it was sport, law, science, medicine or even writing blogs....

but i do have a theory about tiger that has helped him to the position he is in right now.
i believe his father played a huge part.... yeah i know this is not news. the reason i think that earl was instrumental isn't because he was a mentor to tiger, or that he coached him, or that he supported him. no earl was a fan of johnny cash and decided that perhaps sue was a name too far, so choose eldrick instead. i suspect tiger was more than happy to accept the family nickname and decided that with such a nickname he had better live up to it in some way.

and i think eldrick "tiger" woods has done himself and his parents proud. not many of us can say that.

(some digression points: tiger seems to have won many more fans and plaudits for crying at the end of winning the open , the crying showed that in light of his fathers death he was human. to me it seems bizarre we should celebrate the fact that tiger showed emotion at the end, rather than celebrate his ability to be able to perform at his best even though he had suffered a great personal loss.

radio 5 was talking to an asian golfer who was running golf clubs in bradford and leeds for asian youth, he wanted more support for this. while it was never fully explained just why asian youth should be supported in such a way, rather than it should be a programme designed to encourage inner city youth. nor was it explain why asian youth would want to play golf? lets be honest no matter how glamourous a few people like tiger woods make it - it is a dull sport....)

Sunday, July 23, 2006


now to my shame i have to admit that i have not paid as much attention to london politics as i should have done.
i have to admit that if i was asked "what has the mayor of london (with the last "on" in red - which i think means london is switched on and is a vibrant go getting kinda place - which we needed to be told, oh yes we did!) done". i would be hard pressed to come up with much.
the congestion charge. good idea and seemingly well executed.
more pedestrain areas - love the one at trafalgar square.
helped win the olympics (not a favourite move of mine and apparently it is already facing overruns of £3 billion pound..)
fought and lost a battle against pfi on the tube system.
lots more street things taking place.
an assembley building that screams political transparency (all the rage - we can see what they are doing, well we are supposed to believe that is the case..) but is shaped like a cockhead. why no one noticed this at the planning stages is beyond me and it does undercut the "serious nature" of the building.
other than that i couldn't name many other things.

ken livingstone has been fairly quiet, especially when you compare him to his firbrand youth when he was fighting mags. perhaps this quietness means that he has been successful in doing lots of unflashy things that make this fine city run better.

still the two things in his favour are: he is not a tory and he is not stephen "shagger" norris.
norris it appears is prepared to move aside as the tory candidate (he has lost twice already) for the mayor's job. he is ready to "fall on his sword" so that david cameron can present a more "with it" candidate. cameron and the tories are going to let londoners (by this i assume they mean london tory members) choose the next candidate, the choice coming from a list of tories who have said they would be interested and people the tory party have head hunted for the role, which means that no matter who people vote for it will go to one of the hunted.

as long as it is not norris i am a happy person. stephen norris fills me with the same sort of ire and bile as does digby jones. the other night i had to listen to him on the radio extolling the virtues of private railroads saying how service targets had been hit - all the while not mentioning the facts that the achieving of these targets had become so much easier. but anita anand and guests seemed to like mr norris so he got an easy time of it.
here's hoping he never runs for mayor again.


apparently the bbc are reading our blogs.
i have no problems with that, other than the fact they never leave a comment here if they do read mine. if they don't read my one why not (more than likely spending too much time over at cliff's...)

you have to be impressed with the beeb (and bear in mind that most of what i now know about the beeb comes from it's website, radio 5 and what people in the office say as i have not watched bbc television in several years).

radio 5 used to wake me up with the terrible tones of digby jones on their breakfast business show - he was never challenged by the guy who used to present the show. and digby never failed to annoy. sadly digby has left the cbi, with luck we will never hear from him again.
then there is the morning show with nicky campbell, who i have finally warmed to, and the lovely voiced shelagh fogarty. there is a chemistry between the two presenters, but you feel that shelagh wants to get at the more meaty stories which normally fall to nicky.
i also like victoria debyshire and anita anand (althogh anita has a tendancy to dote of old tory grandees). i don't get to listen to it as much as i would like but the drive show with peter allen and jane garvey also benefits from a nice interplay between the presenters.

for all of that though radio 5 also uses too of the most annoying presenters of all time in alan green and stephen nolan. both men can make my blood boil.

(there are also a bunch of sports presenters such as arlo white, mark pougatch, vassos alexander and others who sound remarkably similiar, so much so you can't always tell who is presenting the show until someone mentions their names..)

recently i posted on the obscene amount that the beeb were going to be paying jonathon ross. as private eye (i believe) has pointed out what a great wheeze that was as it has helped to sweeten the pill of the fact that there have been several large pay increases to senior managers of something like 8% this was while cutting jobs and telling others they would have a small pay rise.

it has always intriqued me that bosses think that somehow their over the top rewards while the rank and file staff are getting no or low pay rises or are being made redundant are not going to cause resentment. perhaps they think it will motivate people. even worse is that they think that they deserve it, and will justify it to all around them. it always seems odd that they do this when their company seems to be losing money. mmm we have to make people redundant, lets do that but lets give ourselves a big payrise.
mr. thompson - let me tell you it is a wrong thing to do. but hey ho i am sure the nearly £700,000 you earn makes it easy for you to sleep at night.
the real shame is that the beeb is paid for by public money and it really shouldn't be a case of having to pay someone the mythical "going" rate. frankly if you can't find someone to do the job well and properly and willingly at £500,000 then it just shows what a lot of greedy bastards there are out there in media land (hey what am i saying.... ) but my point stands when you move into the commercial world it seems so easy for the top management to (over)reward themselves while letting people go, when a big company needs to shed staff there never seems to be compulsory redundancies at the board level. no they can keep trousering their dosh, while going on about how workers can't compete with the third world blah blah.
my feelings on that is if you can outsource a call centre to india then you can outsource the senior mangament team as well. think what the savings would be (and the improved productivity...) (ah but i am guessing that would be the case in this instance - that is a step too far in out-sourcing...)

we had a visit from one of our american vps a few years back and they commented on how the staff in the hotel were the same people as the year before. we were told this wouldn't happen in america as people are always moving on looking for better jobs and the need to improve themselves... what was left unsaid was that pretty much all the senior management in our company has been in place for over 10 years.

i have moved into rant mode so am going to call it quits.

now i wonder will the bbc read this ?

Friday, July 21, 2006


ok the joke has stopped being funny. alright i know it is summer but this is just taking the piss it is far too hot. it is not funny any more. i am stuck in my flat, hatching the fan and i can tell you it is not make a bit of a difference. i am baking, i am stewing, i am boiling, i am broiled. i am fucking hot....
bring the winter on and bring it on now.

some other bits:
tescos is still not doing cheese and pickle sarnies. why? i don't know why the king of sandwiches can't be found in supermarkets up and down the country. but i know it shows a deriliction of their duty.

it seems that everyone's favourite tory mp, boris, has been stirring it up by reporting an exchange he had with ali c about when tony is going to leave office (a year and a bit). gordon brown must be in a tizzy about it. up until recently i would have been sympathetic but since he called his latest kid james, i have to wonder about him. (why do parents go out their way to lumber children with inappropriate names?)

meanwhile another scot is having some issues with the newspapers, tommy sheridan of the scottish socialist party is fighting a civil case because the news of the world claims he slept with other women behind his wife's back. i hope he takes them for every penny he can.
he says one of the reasons that this has occurred is that there is a battle for the heart and soul of the scottish socialist party. oddly one of the reasons why i believe socialist parties will never do very well in the uk is that they can never really unite because sooner or later someone is going to refer back to a text by marx, lenin or trotsky and that just causes them to argue and spilit up.
(i was once told a story about sheridan where he was explaining to my pal 3g that part of their (scottish socialist) pay went to the poor. apparently the gorgeous one was keen on that so never joined them. it is one of those stories that even if it isn't true you still want to believe it.

did i tell you it is hot.

i saw something the other day and thought i could collect those. but i am not telling you what it was, i will reveal all in a blog on collecting.

apparently tiger woods is awesome, because he leads the golf open by 1 shot. obviously it is a new definition of awesome.

too hot have to go and sit in a bath of cold water.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


some might say this is isambard kingdom brunel, me i think it is noddy holder.

this new statue of brunel has kicked up a bit of a fuss as it comes without the trademarked brunel cigar (he was a 40 cigars a day man). some say it is political corectness gone mad (apparently a children's history book has airbrushed a picture of brunel to remove the cigar).
i have to say i am with the sculptor here. in real life a cigar may be the epitome of sexy, but on a brass statue i have the feeling it'll look a little like he is smoking a turd. though the sculptor, mr stones (you couldn't make it up..) puts it slighty better than i do:
"it was a purely asthetic decision, as it looked fine on the small scale models but strange on the full size statue."

like i say it would have looked like a turd.

Monday, July 17, 2006


one for the ladies, i think.

judging from the confessions of cliff it must be referring to him!

Sunday, July 16, 2006


so the world cup is finished. wimbledon is over. cricket and rugby league are still going on. the football season is just around the corner.
this weekend saw nearly a half million people run a mile in the sports relief charity.
this weekend also saw a major uk athletics championship take place.
radio 5 live were covering it and were talking about the future of athletics in the uk. of course most of the chat was not so much about the next couple of years leading up to bejing and 2008 olympics but the 2012 london olympics (which i now believe was given to london so that it could mark the official opening of the new wembley stadium). as the event wore on the talk was about central contracts and the control that this gave the athletic authority over the athletes. in short the contract means that the athletes get paid and in doing so they have to compete where they are told to compete and when they are told to compete (i am sure that within that there is a certain amount of latitude). on the one side you have athletes who don't want to sign it because they want to compete where and when they want, on the other there are the athletes who realise that it is guaranteed money.
if it is one thing that athletics is it is awash with cash for those who are considred elite.
one of the things that the central contracts bring home is that this is money provided by the state and that in fact these athletes are in fact public servants. albeit ones who can go to train in sunny resorts when it suits them, who can earn a tidy sum on the grand prix circuit and still expect someone else to pay for their training.
meanwhile andrew muray, the future of british - no i mean scotish - tennis is looking to employ a coach at the tune of £500,000 a year, i'll repeat that a half million pound a year for the coach (who i suspect will not be paying for his accomodation when he travels with the player..) now muray is not expecting to pay that out of his own pocket he is expect the lawn tennis association to stump up some cash for him. true the lta can afford it, but what is the betting that some of that money will be state funded?

the question is why are we so quick to want to give money to a few elite sportsmen and women so that they can live the life of larry and if they are lucky and talented earn a small fortune? why is it normally the individual performers we care so much about?
is it because we think that footballers can make a fortune if they are good enough and get into a major team? is it the same for those who want to play rugby or basketball.
do we have some sort of romantic notion that the individual athletes are some how amatuer and so need the help?
frankly it galls me that so much money can be thrown at a few athletes and seemingly there is no need for them to deliver.

my life is not enriched by the performances of these sportsmen and women, it is true that i might get excited during an event and be rooting for the boys and girls in the red white and blue, but win lose or draw i will still be having to pay my mortgage, go into work the next morning and deal with the fact i am a bit of a bloater.

the annoying irony of it is that someone who will actually make a difference to the world i live in will have to take a loan out and will have to be crippled with debt for a few years. so you have to feel for the student nurses, doctors and teachers.

art students are probably the "academic" equivalent of sports, they are pursuing an individual goal that they hope will bring them fame and fortune. but art students have to take out the loan, they have to find work and they have to pay it back. if you are half way decent at sport you get a pass on the loan, and you have a chance to earn good money.

this is a debate that will continue up until 2012 (at least), me i say let athletes take out a loan, give them so many years to prove themselves if at the end of it they haven't no more loans, and then like regular students they have to start paying it back, (or a percentage of it). if they are successful athletes their funding can be cut back and they can pay for their own training and they can begin to pay back the loans they have had to get them to that point.

i see no reason why they should be treated any differently from other students.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


i remember several years ago going to a conference held by the radical communist party (ah those were heady days i could spend a long weekend with the rcp and then spend a week in the company of the socialist workers party...)
the rcp were more of a libertarian party than they were a party of the radical left. this stance was because many of it's members wanted to be rich and famous. in fact last time i looked one of their key thinkers and writers, mick hulme, writes for the times - which we all know as being a bastion for workers rights and the overthrow of capitalism...)

at one particular meeting hulme was chairing a discussion about how to overcome racism in the uk. when he was talking about the bnp he provided the following nugget. he was against banning a party and an organisation because of their views. the reason for this was the old saw of "i may not agree with what you say, but i defend your right to say it..." he also went on to explain that if you ban one party and organisation then it becomes just a short step before you start banning other paries and organisations.
in theory i think most of us agree with this.

(admittedly mick did somewhat undercut his argument when he went on to say that if you saw a fascist in the street and you could do you should kick the shit out of him. so in the world of mick it is bad to use political means to prevent a "political" movement but you were ok to physically assault them. so for mick might made right - which seemed to be saying actually the state can do what it likes as it has the most might. mind given where he earns his crust these days perhaps he was telling us exactly what he believed.)

any way fast forward to now and here is a story on the bbc which is about a teaching union wanting to ban a member of the bnp from being in the teaching profession.
on the face of it perhaps they are right that some one who is part of a fascist and rascist party should not be involved in the education of our children. but he is in the open everyone knows what he is and what he stands for and so he can be monitored, and there has been no indication that he has done anything wrong.

of course the unions say that these people should be banned because they are safe in the knowledge that they are protected, even though we know there are people in unions who have some pretty far out ideas. do we ban people of strong religious convictions?
once you start on people because of what you think it is a slippery slope to be on.

Friday, July 14, 2006


taken on the fateful saturday, when dreams turned to ashes and hopes to despair.
i am pretty sure that the do it tag was not supposed to be taken quite so far.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


you have to admire our members of parliament. they have realised that the extradition treaty between the auk and the use is a little bit lopsided, and strangely favours the use more than it does the auk. well who would have thought that such a thing could have happened?
additionally a treaty that was supposed to be aimed full square at the terrorists in our midst has now been used to extradite three bankers who may have been involved in the enron scandal.

now i hold my hands up here and have to say: “do i care?” in case you don’t know the answer it is no i don’t. i don’t care because the chaps involved are alleged to have made £1.5 million each from their shady dealings, in which they conspired with an enron employee in an act of fraud.
from what i can make out the house of lords and the european court of human rights have both upheld the decision for them to face a trial in texas. the alleged enron three (which we apparently shouldn’t call them as it prejudices their case) say that it is unfair to prosecute them in the states as all the things they need to defend themselves are in the auk, which of course means that all that is needed to convict them is probably in the use….
it is more than likely that they will be given bail.

now one of the criticisms of this extradition treaty is that it was only supposed to be targeting terrorists. the government says that this is not true and was also aimed at drug runners, child pornographers, and human traffickers and hey ho why not use it against those people who perpetrated one of the greatest frauds in business history.
people who have probably caused more misery in the use than the 9/11 attack did.

frankly it is time that white collar crime (and especially a crime this large) was prosecuted as vigorously as other crimes that can destroy lives.
oddly on the radio a number of people pointed out that if the 3 had been muslim terrorists, or kiddie fiddlers, drug dealers there would be no debate. but because they are white and part of the business class there is a huge outcry.

of course the tory party and the liberal democrats are painting this as being yet more infringements of our civil liberties, how it is another example of blair being america’s poodle. me i see it as a few very greedy people getting their comeuppance (if they are guilty), and i am not sure there is anything wrong with that. my only wish was that digby jones was somehow implicated, but you can’t have everything.

more importantly what are the members of our fine parliament to do? how can they sway the government and show them the error of their ways? well i will tell you. after a three hour debate the members of parliament for this fair and wondourous isle decided that they would quit work early. this was a symbolic gesture of support. as my dear departed father would have said it was a bollock gesture.
it is a gesture that must have stuck fear into the hearts of blair and bush (and no doubt bush being forewarned of this decided he had better get the geneva convention on board for the various detainees he had kicking around the place in case our mps took a symbolic gesture full day off…..

so i ask you all to doff your caps and raise your glasses high to salute the bravery of the members of parliament and their symbolic gesture of support. you have made me feel proud to be english.


more bits and pieces from around the glorious streets of east london.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


i have not been a supporter of the introduction of id cards.
strangely my reluctrance has nothing to do with it being an infringement of my civil liberties. i know that there is a huge amount of information about me already out there in cyberspace that anyone who wanted to could dig up.
in fact i am probably one of the people who would benefit from having an id card: as it would prove who i am. (though this assumes i don't lose it like i have lost passports in the past...)
the main reasons i was against the id card scheme were all practical reasons. firstly the scheme would not have been done "in-house", as it were, but contracted out to the private sector. the winner of the bid would no doubt have placed a bid that was far too low and once they had started down the road to implementing the scheme they would say "sorry we have miscalculated here, if you do not pay us we will have to stop..." and of course the government of the day would end up paying out. (it is one of the joys of the public private initiatives that new labour seem to be so keen on is that the private sector make a lot of profite with very little to lose, while the public sector seem to have to chuck money at these things like there is no tomorrow but not actually get value for money...)
so we have a situation where the government says it will only cost £6 billion while the london school of economics claim it could cost £19 billion, in reality both are wrong and it will end up cost much more.
the other problem is that so far there have not been that many successful major computer system commissioned and implemented in the public sector by the private sector. i beleive the magistrates service computer system is not working, nor is the one for armed forces pay. both over budget and off schedule. it is doubtful that an id card scheme computer system would be any different.
then there is the question of security. i have no qualms about the state having a knowledge about me, i do have issues with the people in charge of that data being linked to private companies. no matter what the checks and balances put in place i would never be confident that the information was not being used for commericial benefit.

then of course there are the political justifications for the id cards that do not seem to make sense (well at least to me..)
that id cards would help stamp out terrorism - how? as most of the current wave of terrorists are likely to be homegrown they will legitimately have id cards. and if they are going to be suicide bombers i am pretty sure they are not going to be dissuaded from walking on to a bus/train or crowded shopping centre because oops they have an id card. assuming the card is not blown to smithereens with then it will make identifying them a bit easier. but it is pretty much after the fact.
id cards will stop illegal immigration. how? by the very nature of them being illegal the majority of illegal immigrants are not going to be working in the regular economy, but are going to be in the black economy. so no social services for them, so no need for id cards. so not really going to help. unless of course the police will be given powers to stop and search anyone they suspect of being illegal. and which group do you suppose will be targeted... oh well there is always the chance they will find a terrorist, but more likely will add to the creation of terrorists.
id cards will stop criminals. yeah criminals have been around since the year dot, they are part of human nature, and they will be here when we have id cards. true id cards may cut down on the number of identity thefts, if might cut down on fradulent claims on the social. id cards are not going to stop robberies, muggings etc. (unless of course the master criminal happens to drop his card at the scene of the crime...)

so you can see i am not for the id card.

if the sunday times (july 9th editiion) is anything to go by then we won't have to worry about the cards coming in, various civil servants emails reveal that they think it is a doomed scheme, that even the much scaled down voluntary version due in 2008 is unlikely. even then if the introduction of the "variant" version card is botched then the whole scheme for birnging in the cards could be set back a generation.

says david foord (the id cardproject director):
"“Just because ministers say do something does not mean we ignore reality — which is what seems to have happened on ID cards until [the contracts were due] to be issued and then reality could not be ignored any longer.”

He adds: “Even if everything went perfectly (which it will not) it is very debatable (given performance of government IT projects) whether whatever [the register] turns out to be (and that is a worry in itself) can be procured, delivered, tested and rolled out in just over two years ....."

mmm seems to be the end of that then.
we wish.

oddly enough there i am reading ann coulter's "how to talk to a liberal..(if you must)" book (mmm anne versus emma - i reckon we could sell out madison square gardens for that bout..) agrees that id cards for stopping terrorism is a stupid idea, she has her own one and that is racial profiling. another dumb idea, but that will be for another night.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


regular readers (and i knew there are a few of you) know i have a love hate relationship with the 25 bus. it is my main mode of transport. it takes me to and from work and it takes me to and from london (with a convenient stop for the tate modern).

in the summer it is a terrible thing to be on – so luckily my most often journeys have coincided with my newfound desire to get into work early. so i am missing most of humanity on the 25 as i am on at just the right time….

i still get to hear the urban music fans with their horrid mobile phones blaring out some tinny hip hop bangla dancehall shit that just sounds like mariah carey with a silly accent saying “motherfucker” and “bitch” too often. the other day two young asian lads got on and they both had phones playing different tunes (and i use the word lightly..) no wonder the art of conversation has disappeared. innit.

while sitting down enjoying a read of the indie i see a middle aged slumped chap shuffling towards the empty seat next to me. now unlike emma i am not keen on the chitchat with strangers, especially ones that scream out mong (sorry very unpc there..) phew a sigh of relief he had a carer with him and they sit in the other double seat. they start chatting and then i realise that the carer is not in fact a carer, but is his drunken mate, and then the penny drops. one is drunk and one is just educationally slow and probably has had too many drugs in his time.
they start to have an argument.
now i have to say i was trying not to listen as it started out as one of those that might have ended up in a fight. so i only dropped into it towards the end.
drunk: not my fault they moved the dog food
educational slow: but i don’t like dog food
d: moved it, different aisle. how i am supposed to find it
es: i don’t like dog food.
d: don’t matter it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. didn’t get the tuna either.
es: i like tuna.
d: not for you it’s for fishing.
es: i like tuna
d: what you want me to go back and get you tuna, that what you want me to do.
es: i like tuna better than dog food.
d: no good for fishing.
es: why don’t you go fishing for tuna?
d: you can’t use a rod for tins of tuna.
es: you could always put a magnet on your hook!

i had trouble not laughing. it set me up for the rest of the day.