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Wednesday, May 30, 2012


the olympics have a lot resting on them.

you have the expectation that is being heaped on the competitors, we are expecting a large haul of medals (in the parlance we want them to 'medal') and given we are funding them - we deserve to see some bang for our bucks.

you have the concern that the olympic park will function as promised. that it will provide a suitable and effective venue for sport and for viewing sports (it will also be a place to siphon money out of your pocket: how much for a cup? too much).
will all the tickets be sold? (pretty much - and we can bet that most of the empty seats will belong to the members of  the 'oympic family' or corporate bodies who just can't be asked to turn up or don't want to leave the confines of the hospitality tent. 

you have the worry about the london infrastructure being able to cope with the anticipated hoardes of tourists and sports fans. will heathrow be able to manage all these people? will the tube? will bob crow throw a hissy and blame 'bullying' bosses (answer: yes). will the, so called, zil lanes have a disastrous effect on london's businesses? will andrew lloyd-weber's nightmare of no one going to the theatre during the olympics come true?

the olympics will be a glorious event - they always are, there will be some problmes - there always are, there will be some dark sides to it again nothing new there.
the difference is this time it is happening in our backyard. that brings with it a whole new level of excitement and it will bring with it a whole new level of whinging.

ever since london won the bid there has been the worry of a terrorist attack. so much so that all branches of the armed forces are on stand-by (well those that are left after the con/dems have wielded their axe. we are expecting to have a missile battery on top of one of the local tower blocks - just in case.
so an attack has been thought likely and the various measures to avoid, prevent or repel it have been put into place.
sensible stuff you would think.

not to some - all of this just proves that the illuminati are out there and they are telling their friends that there is going to be an attack in london during the olympics in order to help bring about the new world order.
what proof have they? well the floodlights are in a triangular shape and the iluminati like triangles. the olympic mascots only have one eye - another trope of the elite, the 2012 logo is really 'zion'.
seriously what more proof do you need.
just to make sure you can't take this seriously there was a clue to what is going to happen in the movie '2012' when the hero of the film finds and opens a london tube map even though it isn't the map he wants, nor does it have much reason to be where it is.
evidence you can't refute.

the  conspiracy theorists have taken over the olympics.
i think i preferred it when it was just whingers who hate the games because they didn't get a ticket to see mr. bolt run.

enjoy the video - it is an eye opener (see what i did there).

in case you are wondering - it is all pretty much bollocks.
(though i have my fingers crossed when i say that.)



i have no problems with bureaucracy, most of the time that red tape serves a purpose and is needed (no matter what the conservative party or the confederation of british industry say). the main problem with bureaucracy is that often the right hand can pretend that the question is something to do with the left hand.

here is how it sometimes works.

my adviser gets me on a course. yay for him and yay for me. he then tells me that i have sign on every week. not so yay. i tell him that might be a problem because of having to get to the course – i tell him i will be walking because i can’t afford the bus fare. he nods. we compromise on the signing on. it stays at once a fortnight. he tells me he can’t move the time (he never explains why, i don’t bother to ask), but as it is first thing in the morning i can work with that.
during the first two weeks it is pissing down with rain in the morning – so i am forced to get a bus. i walk home in the afternoon whether it is raining or not. at some point it is mentioned that we can get a travel allowance from the job centre. in fact one or two people have been given one.
 ‘mmmm’ i think (i do a lot of ‘mmmming’ when i am thinking) ‘shame my adviser never told me that.’ i followed that thought with another: i’ll ask about it tomorrow on the way home.
now you may be wondering what all the fuss is about – it is just a bus fare. true, but when you are on jobseeker’s allowance every penny counts.

next day comes and i wander over to the job centre. at the reception i ask about the travel allowance. the bloke tells me he just works reception he can’t really help me. he does mention that i might be eligible for half price bus fare, but i would need to speak with my adviser. as i was seeing my adviser later on in the week i left it at that.

later on in the week i am seeing my adviser. it is my new adviser (after a certain amount of time you are assigned two advisers one who does your regular signing on and one who will see you every now and then to ‘advise’ and question you and this is your senior adviser). i ask about being refunded my bus fare. they tell me they are not sure about that and i will have to ask my other advisor. oh ok then, so what about the half price bus card do you have the form for that? no comes the reply – you have to get it from the station or the post office. ok that’s good – i’ll get that sorted then.
i am booked in to see my senior adviser in two weeks time (i am sure that is in the hope i will forget about trying to reclaim the bus fares – no chance of that).

last week of the course – just concentrating on getting there and reading the textbook.
course finished.

go to the tube station. can’t see the form i am looking for. ask for it. oh we don’t do that. really? i was told you did. no. you might be able to download it, or maybe from the post office. ah that sounds like it: the post office.
i go to the post office. do you have the half price bus pass form? no we do not (with a barely disguised snort of disbelief). oh i was told you would have it by the job centre. no, but you might be able to download it.
mmmm (see i told you i do it a lot).

well seeing the senior adviser at the end of the week will ask then.

meeting with the senior adviser: so can i be reimbursed for the travel to the course? i am not sure i will have to ask someone. i’ll let you know next time i see you (which will be at least 3 weeks later – i won’t forget to ask). what about the half price bus pass thing? have you been signing on for 13 weeks? i think so. yes you have. here is the form.
the form the other adviser didn’t have, because they don’t have them. yes that form.
at least i have it – i shouldn’t complain.


he suggests i go to a work experience introductory meeting at another job centre. i say fine sounds like it could be interesting. he sets it up. i go. once the greetings and thanks for comings are out of the way the first thing the bloke says is that you can claim your travel expenses back.

yeah right.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


obesity is the current obsession (obesiession?), everywhere you look there are reports about people being fatter than fat, there are tales of new wonder diets, research into why people are getting fatter.
the media are fascinated by the shape and size of female celebrities and it soon becomes obvious that it isn’t what you do that counts it is the way you look and any deviation from the artificial norm is pounced upon as a sign of failure. 

i consider myself fat. i have pretty much always been fat. i can grab more than an inch (oo’er missus) compared with some of the more rotund in society i am really no more than cuddly, chunky, big-boned, heavy set or whatever other euphemism you might want to use. 

one of the curiosities of the weight debate is that some athletes would be considered to be obese by using the body mass index – a lot of top level rugby players fall foul of this.
last week an unnamed person at the british olympic association must have been having a quiet day and with little to do decided to mention that jessica ennis was carrying a little too much weight. the timing was a bit odd as ms ennis was about to compete in her only heptathlon before the olympics (she won and set a new british record). 

lots of people rushed to her defence. 

one of the things it has highlighted is that she is not the only female athlete to have been told that perhaps she is a little heavy, louise hazel has also told of the less than helpful, or subtle, comments she has received from her coaches. it has also brought to light the fact that there are a number of senior athletes who are struggling with food and weight issues. given that top athletes are funded by the state it seems a sad indictment that we are encouraging athletes to put themselves at risk in order to win a medal or two, especially when you consider all the medical and sport science help and advice these people can call on. somehow it seems wrong that it can become something that can lead to damage rather than proper health and fitness.
though on second thoughts in a sport that is prepared to allow known drug cheats to compete on the largest stage of all then what concern are they going to have about a few women puking their guts up in order to keep their weight down? 

anyway the real reason for this was to be able to put up some photos.  

 here is 'fat' jess - except she isn't, but she is quite foxy. (please note that ms ennis is displaying her rather fine forn in the old team gb kit, the one featuring red which according to stella would make it hard to recognise with all the red in the usa and french flags. yeah made sense to me.

 here is the 'heavy' louise hazel in action - looking trim and, frankly, very hot. i'd be happy to rub her down after her race.

and here is someone who might actually be called fat - it you were going to be cruel. 

what's worse is he is a tory to boot.

Monday, May 28, 2012


i know i moan a lot about summer and i know there are a few things that are good about summer.
i can tell you what they are right now - longer period of light means i can be out longer with the camera. the sun and the heat means the ladies wear less and look fab.
there you go -summer distilled down to its essence.

right now i am baking. i am a sweat pig and all i am doing is typing (or as some arsehole called in 'keyboarding'), i can feel the first stirrings of hay fever. add to that the heat has sapped all my energy and i am dog tired.

given all of that i am in no fit state to be writing a blog, a little like mr. hunt overseeing the news international bskyb bid.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


i shouldn’t enjoy the moments schadenfreude that politics throws up but i can’t help myself. 

baroness warsi is a hottie, and easily gets into my top 5 top tory totty list. there have been a few times when she has talked sense (look even tories get it right: occasionally). 

the tories are very keen to demonise those they describe as benefit cheats – the bane of the country.  for the tories they are the scum of the earth, feckless wasters who are taking money from hard working tax payers.
hard working tax payers such as sayeeda warsi, who is not short of a bob or two (her salary is paid by the tory party, she also gets £300 a day when she attends the house of lords), yet somehow has managed to get herself embroiled in an expenses scandal. 

there are a couple of things about this, firstly the alleged incident took place in 2008 and so we have had the whole kerfuffle over mp’s expenses. you would have thought anyone who was going to be sitting at the top table of government would have gone through their expense claims with a fine tooth comb to make sure there was nothing that could catch them out. 

if you are going to be a government that is going to crack down on people who engage in benefit fraud then you really should make sure that you have checked everyone of your team to make sure that their expense claims are legitimate, above board and can be justified. 

that, surely, is just plain common sense. 

on some occasions you have to be spotless. 

baroness warsi managed to forget to declare that she had a source of income from the rental of a flat in london. yet that isn’t the source of her problems it is her claiming overnight living expenses. for those who attend the house of lords who live outside london there was a flat rate overnight expense of £165.50. before she bought her house in london, the baroness was claiming this in order to pay for hotel accommodation. so far, so what? occasionally she stayed with a friend and it seems she paid her friend the going rate for a hotel. in real terms the amount of money isn’t that much, maybe a couple of grand. 

yet it still calls into question baroness warsi’s judgement – firstly for having a friend who would charge her so much for spending a couple of nights; some friend. secondly for paying a friend (and coincidently a conservative party worker) with public money

just maybe it gives an insight into people who believe they are better than the rest of us, that they are above the petty rules we have to live our lives by. maybe that is why they are so keen on getting rid of red tape everywhere because of the times when it seems to trip them up and entangle them. it could just be another demonstration of just how greedy the rich are and how unwilling they are to spend their own money when they can spend someone else’s money. 

baroness warsi isn’t at all like those benefit cheats because she believes that she acted within ‘the spirit and letter’ of the rules, there is another way she isn’t like those benefit cheats so hated by the tories and the daily mail baroness warsi won’t suffer from being caught out.


odd day of stumbling over quotes that made me smile and because i am such a nice person (no really i am, well so my mum told me…once) i am going to share them with you. 

they all come from book reviews – what are the chances of that? 

in this week’s observer nick cohen was reviewing ‘the geek manifesto’ by mark henderson. as with many reviews mr. cohen spent a bit of the time talking about his work and about a time he was doing a bit of public speaking. describing the weary resignation of the audience as they listened to him mr. cohen commented that ‘other countries have revolutionaries we gave grumblers.’
sadly as much as i would like to be in the revolutionary camp i am a natural born grumbler.
by the way, based on the review of the book, it has gone on my wish list. though as i am not buying any books in 2012  it will be a while before i buy it.

the next quote is from ‘reading like a writer’ by francine prose (you couldn’t make it up). ms prose’s contention is that in order to be a good writer you have to be a good reader. reading books is your homework. she has a problem with writers who don’t read while they are working on their own book ‘for fear that tolstoy or shakespeare might influence them. i’ve always hoped they would.’
i agree with her totally, though maybe not about the sources of the influence – i keep hoping that stan lee, robert e. howard and kenneth robeson come to my rescue: they don’t.
again the review of the book has meant that i it will be going on my wish list.

the final quote is by dominic lawson from his review of ‘the winner effect’ by ian robertson. professor robertson argues that winning has a chemical affect on the brain which boosts confidence. nothing really new there – you hear the same sort of thing being said by football mangers every week when they talk of momentum and the winning habit. one of the people used as an example in the book is tony blair, for the professor blair demonstrates a hunger for power. mr. lawson disagrees with this; he mentions a conversation he had with one of blair’s advisers who described his boss as: ‘he’s the girl who wants to be at all the best dances.’
if i were tony blair i think i would rather be thought as being mad for power than just being an attention seeking hanger-on.
the review didn’t encourage me to by the book – it won’t be added to my reading list. 

(of course i use reading list advisedly as more often than not the books are bought with the full intention of being read and then they sit in a pile waiting for me to read them.)


too hot.
summer has been here too long.
can we have the rain again? please.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


there was a time when graffiti was simply seen as vandalism. pure and simple.
mostly it consisted of tags, slogans (pleasant and horrid) and variations on kilroy was 'ere.
then can street art, or urban art, and graffiti is all the rage.

many graf artists have moved from the street into the gallery. some of them getting astounding sums of money for work that is easily reproduced and replicated (me being under the impression that the value of a piece is partly dependent on its rarity/ uniqueness - if you can reproduce it multiple times it moves from being a genuine one of piece of work into the realms of prints and portfolios.
yet i have seen painting by street artists that vary just in the colour used - fetch silly money.

my feelings about graf are mixed. i love it but i can also see that it can be easily seen as vandalism as some youngster tags that name on a door or a wall in an illegible script that makes sense to him and his three mates and them alone.
i have spent a lot of time take photos of the works of graffiti that have gone up around the city. some of works of art, some are thought provoking, some are clever, some of are funny and some are just plain shit (and some used to be stenciled over with 'your tag is shit').

a few years back at a gallery called 'stolen space' was a short film about the tension between the 'freedom' of graffiti and the responsibility of local councils to keep their locality as clean and safe as possible. a spokesperson for tower hamlets said it didn't make judgements about artistic merits - it just cleared up the graffiti because it was seen as a public nuisance.
the artists argued that they were not defacing property they were making art.
which leaves the council in a bit of a bind - which pieces of graf is art and which is just spoiling the area? who chooses? hence the councils blanket approach.

my own personal gripe against the graffiti artists point of view is that if i were to go to one of their pieces in a gallery and draw glasses and a tache on a piece of work they would get upset - but i could just as easily use their argument against them - except they wouldn't sit still for it as i would have destroyed (well in may cases enhanced and improved) their work and brought the value down.

when graffiti is done well i happen to think it falls into that nice category of public art and a good piece can brighten up an area and bring a smile to your face.

roa is one such artist.
he has a unique style and various pieces of his work adorn walls around the east end, as you can see from this video.

in the film you can see an image of a squirrel on a wall at club row. that has recently been partially painted over by a tagger. it could be seen as artistic vandalism. the evening standard didn't mention it.

they are, however, accusing the local mayor's office of vandalism because they have covered another of roa's pieces with a very very large sign proclaiming brick lane as 'curry capital'. this sign covers the graffiti it does not destroy it.

the evening standard run a piece about this criticising the council for their action.if i am honest i suspect much of the reason behind their piece has little to do with the wonders of the piece, but more to do with the fact that they do not like tower hamlet's mayor, lutfer rahman.

the good news is (at least for now) the banner is done. it may go up again later. a triumph for the locals who gathered a ton of signatures protesting against the banner. also a victory for the council for showing that it can respond quickly to local concerns.

here is the wall with just graffiti and with the banner. 

note that the gates to the yard area display another fact about graffiti - it is supposed to be transient, it is supposed to get covered over with new ideas appearing (on the left you can see a figure by stik, i am not sure who has done the gates on the left).