Sunday, 26 February 2012

top shop names

two of London's best shop names - and they're next door to each other. magic.

Friday, 24 February 2012

more tory cumfaces

If you enjoyed the Many Cum Faces of George Osborne, you may want to check out the gurning expressions of blissful/painful release on the mugs of his colleagues, heroes and predecessors.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Friday, 17 February 2012

want to queue at 2 a.m. for charity handouts?

still no sign of life at that boarded-up estate pub.
well, except more boarding up, some tag removal
and a restrained chalk merchant having a quiet swipe
at the reptiles who want you to have U.S.-style health "care"

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Where the hell are my pants?

blades in the bungalow

all new music is obviously shit and
all new music videos are obvious toss
(swill champagne, guide the lexus onto the drive
of the miami mansion while caramel-coloured porn-bodied female
shakes booty and zzzzzzzz;
or it's all so beige, vanilla coffee table/wallpaper
chattering crap made safe
for banana bread mums and
deputy assistant 
marketing directors)
this is OK
in every way:

sword twirlin'
lo-fi dancing'
bungalow livin'
sandwich munchin'
tail waggin'

(it's Major Lazer: Original Don ft. Party Squad)

heads or tails?

it's been a long time bare - 
camden's white rectangle,
where warhols were wanted,
where funny-looking fellers and
half a pretty girl's face stared across the street
at the seedy massage parlour,
where Lovecraft's punk rested on Fred's bench.
but now the master of the space
has thrown money at the wall

the QR works, but what does it say? answers in the comments box, please

starry droog

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

more pieces

FCC hate it when
some RSOLE
COFFS on the train

Monday, 13 February 2012

ticket hall

self-hating football twits go crazy

In Douglas Coupland's 2010 novel Player One, a disillusioned pastor considers the Internet:
"It came out of nowhere and now it's the cause of over half the problems his flock come to him with: online gambling debt, get-rich-quick schemes, porn addiction, parents freaked about the sites their kids visit, shopaholism. He can't even call the things people do on the Internet sins, because it's all so dull, really, just people sitting in front of screens, and what's that? He hasn't had a shop-lifter or an affair within his flock in years. Now that's interesting - oh so human - but Internet sinning? Nope. Goddam Internet. And his computer's spell-check always forces him to capitalize the word "Internet". Come on: World War Two earned its capitalization. The Internet just sucks human beings away from reality."
Coupland's pastor seems to have a point. All around the world, people sit at keyboards, their faces lit by screens, as they write the kind of hateful nonsense they would never dare to articulate out loud in the company of real human beings - and certainly not if ever actually confronted in person by the subjects of their most unpleasant ravings.

The heat generated by the ongoing sagas around this season's proven and alleged cases of racial abuse in English football have provided plenty of examples of this. Online slanging matches are conducted via Facebook and on messageboards. But of all the social media platforms, Twitter is the one whose reputation for this particular form of trouble is becoming cemented most firmly in the popular imagination.

Twitter - the playground of bloody fools
Back in November, this blog highlighted the unreasonable and unwise behaviour of a Twitter user with the account name @brennan6666. Using what appeared to be his real name and photo in his profile and appearing to be a Chelsea fan (his bio read "Captain, Legend, Leader. JT"), he decided to aim the following remark at QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, the victim of an alleged racially aggravated public order offence for which Chelsea's John Terry will stand trial in July: "RT this you fucking BLACK CUNT, 1 England captain." Of course, the writer of these spiteful and stupid words was not to know that his beloved "JT" would be stripped of the England captaincy within months, as part of the chain of events triggered by the contentious incident on the Loftus Road pitch. Nor could he have imagined that the Pensioners would have a part to play in the end of Fabio Capello's reign as England manager - it seems the club's CEO Ron Gourlay persuaded the judge in Terry's case to agree such a late trial date that the skipper's position became untenable in the eyes of the FA, thereby causing the overpriced and ineffective Italian boss to resign from his post when he disagreed with the Association's stance.

The racist tweeter, one Paul Brennan (assuming that was indeed his real name), apologised and then deleted his account when it dawned on him that, by paraphrasing the words allegedly used by the former England captain during Chelsea's league defeat to QPR, he had risked attracting the attention of the police. Nothing in the public domain suggests that Brennan did in fact get himself into that kind of difficulty, but the possibility exists that his employers could have seen his remarks and decided not to continue their association with someone capable of behaving so appallingly in front of a potentially huge online audience.

John Terry - never England captain material
Anton Ferdinand has had a lot to put up with since the incident at Loftus Road. Brennan, predictably, is not the only idiotic keyboard warrior to have directed bile towards the QPR player. Even worse, the Rangers man has received death threats via snail mail, including one apparently very sinister one which arrived at the West London club on the eve of an FA Cup match with Chelsea in late January. It is worth keeping in mind, of course, that Ferdinand did not make the complaint that has led to Terry facing trial. The police got involved at the behest of a member of the public who reported the matter. The CPS then clearly saw sufficiently compelling evidence to proceed with a case. It remains to be seen if this decision to spend public money on seeking to secure a conviction will be a wise one.

If Terry is found not guilty, some will doubtless argue that a huge injustice has occurred - an innocent man losing the captain's armband for his national side over an affair in which he proved blameless.

Even in that case, others will argue that the Chelsea centre-half was an unsuitable choice for the role of England captain in the first place.

QPR fans will be particularly well aware that the captain's armband is sometimes a purely symbolic object. Last season, their team won promotion with a young and temperamental skipper who was visibly not the real leader of the side on the pitch. The Moroccan play-maker Adel Taarabt, QPR's most creative player and most potent attacking force during the promotion campaign, was clearly given a purely notional leader's role by then-manager Neil Warnock in order to stroke the player's fragile ego, a ruse which was deemed necessary in order for him to realise his potential.

If the position of captain can be a purely symbolic one for a club side, surely that can also be true of a national team which only meets quite rarely and for which there are no year-round leadership duties as such. Journalist Adam Summerton, writing for Sabotage Times about the Terry affair, notes that England seems to be almost unique among major football countries in attaching much importance to the national side's captaincy. Indeed, as the BBC's David Bond has observedCapello himself "arrived in this country bemused with the symbolism attached to the captain's armband" and "was a late convert to the importance of the position." As the former Real Madrid, Milan and Roman manager began to ponder the repercussions of his decision to moan on Italian television about the FA going over his head to end John Terry's second stint as the England captain, Bond remarked that Capello surely wished "he had ignored those who told him he had to pick a permanent leader."

If, then, the captain's role is a purely symbolic one, perhaps it makes sense for any national team manager to prioritise qualities other than on-the-pitch leadership when deciding on whom to confer the honour. Much is often made of the notion of footballers preferably being suitable role models for their youngest fans. The opportunity exists, then, for any nation to inspire a generation of its young people with the good example of a wholesome and commendably well-behaved skipper leading its footballing representatives onto the field of play.

When young England fans follow their parents along Wembley Way to attend a match at the rebooted national stadium, they are met by a twice life size bronze statue of a footballer who gazes over their heads, his arms folded and his left boot resting on an old-fashioned ball. An inscription on the plinth reads: "Immaculate footballer. Imperial defender. Immortal hero of 1966. First Englishman to raise the World Cup aloft. Favourite son of London's East End. Finest legend of West Ham United. National Treasure. Master of Wembley. Lord of the game. Captain extraordinary. Gentleman of all time." The subject of the piece, of course, is Bobby Moore and its creator was seeking to capture the qualities associated with the World Cup-winning skipper, including integrity, loyalty and humility.

Had John Terry ever lifted a major trophy for England, and had a monument been erected in his honour, which of these qualities would have been in the sculptor's mind? None, of course. Because if Capello (and  his predecessor Steve McLaren, who first handed the armband to Terry) accepted the principle that it is desirable for our national team captain to be of good character, then John Terry would never have been appointed to the role. Forget, if you can, the youthful indiscretion of drunkenly taunting grieving American tourists in the immediate aftermath of the 9-11 attacks in 2001. Overlook, if you can, the alleged affair between Terry and the former girlfriend of one of his Chelsea team mates, Wayne Bridge. Put out of your mind that Terry may be seen by some as tainted by the indiscretions of members of his family - his mother cautioned for shoplifting; his father appearing to be caught on camera dealing drugs; his brother, also a footballer, having an affair with the fiancée of a team mate (a bit of a theme for the Terrys?) who went on to commit suicide after failing to come to terms with being cuckolded. But, if you cherish the values of a civilised society, you may find it harder to forgive a man in wonderful physical condition who is paid over £100,000 per week to kick a ball when, instead of walking a short distance to a restaurant from a proper parking space in 2008, he lazily and arrogantly preferred to pay a £60 fine for parking his Bentley in a bay reserved for disabled drivers. For this act of selfishness and contempt alone, Terry should have been permanently barred from the role of  England captain. The example set was a terrible one - be like me kids; earn enough money and you too can say "fuck you" to the disabled without a second thought. You know you've made it when you can sneer at the insignificance of a parking fine.

Let's not shake on it
Ahead of the January cup tie between QPR and Chelsea, there was a buzz of media speculation about the pre-match ritual of the two teams shaking hands. Only introduced in the last few years, this has been a largely innocuous piece of stage management, marketed to fans as being part of a wider initiative to encourage respect between players and fair play on the pitch. For the fan watching on TV or from inside a football ground, it usually passes almost unnoticed.

There have been, however, famous occasions on which the handshaking ceremony took on particular prominence, becoming the focus of intense interest as former team mates with a little bad blood between them failed to shake hands. One of these, of course, involved John Terry and his former Chelsea colleague Wayne Bridge, who had moved on to Manchester City. In February 2010, Bridge had sound reasons for not shaking the hand of the Pensioners skipper. He had decided to retire from international football rather than come in sustained contact with Terry and, as a TV commentator remarked on the day, "if you're prepared to give up an England career over [the personal issue between the two men], I'm not sure how you can shake your tormentor's hand".

A second well-known handshake breakdown involved the same two players. By April 2011, Bridge was on loan at West Ham. Again, he and Terry failed to shake hands before a match.

So with Terry's history of being snubbed during the handshakes routine, and with Anton Ferdinand in the home side once again, the Loftus Road crowd waited to see what would happen on the day of the FA Cup tie in January. Would the alleged racial abuser and his alleged victim somehow rise about the doubtless excruciatingly awkward business of being face to face once again? Rumours were swirling around to the effect that not just Ferdinand but the entire QPR team would refuse to press the flesh with their opponents' captain.

In the end, both teams ran out straight out onto the pitch and the entire handshaking ceremony was scrapped. It turned out that the  FA had approved this measure, preferring it to anything with the potential to inflame both sets of supporters and both sets of players at was already an emotionally charged fixture.

QPR vs. Chelsea, 28th Jan 2012 - the teams run straight into their positions as the handshake ritual is dropped

Let's assume that this relatively recently introduced handshaking business really was ever seriously meant to improve the conduct of professional players. Let's assume that it genuinely is something more than just another way of presenting the Premier League's sponsors, currently Barclays, with additional on-screen branding opportunities - the bank's logo does feature prominently throughout. If that truly is the case, perhaps it's time to drop it as a well-intentioned but ultimately failed measure. It clearly gives undue prominence to simmering grievances between opposing players and it looks increasingly less like something that always sets a civilised tone and more like something that could spark off a confrontation.

This became even clearer this weekend, when Luis Suarez of Liverpool refused to shake the hand of Manchester United's Patrice Evra, following on from the former serving an eight-match ban for racially abusing the latter earlier in the season. Evra reacted angrily, if not violently, and quite the wrong tone was set before the ball had been kicked.

Twitter twits - getting weirder
The Suarez-Evra nonsense has brought out the worst in just as many bloody fools as has been the case with the Terry-Ferdinand affair. Once again, online posturing rather than real-world violence has been the most striking manifestation of the idiocy.

But of all the idiots disgracing themselves with a keyboard and mouse, perhaps one stands out as the silliest and most perplexing of the lot. Observe some of the remarks that Twitter user @sollyfeni directs variously at Patrice Evra, at Rio Ferdinand and at former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore:

What, then, makes this unsavoury character stand out among all the morons who feel that the depersonalising distance of the Internet empowers them to abuse men to whom they surely would not say a single disparaging word face-to-face in public?

Well, The case of @sollyfeni appears to have something in common with the plot of the critically well-received 2001 movie The Believer. Ryan Gosling plays a self-hating Jew, a troubled Yeshiva student who has become a fanatical and violent Neo-Nazi skinhead by the time he reaches his early twenties.

The real name of @sollyfeni appears to be Solethu Feni. All the evidence suggests that Mr. Feni is himself a black South African.

What evidence? Well, while the given name Solethu does not seem to be very common, it does appear once among a long list of victims of gross violations of human rights which forms part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission  of South Africa Report. A Solethu Ngxumza is listed as one of the victims. Another Solethu can be found on a 2011 list of South African local government election candidates.

Also consider some of the images recently shared by Solethu Feni via Twitter. In one picture we see a black woman whom Feni describes as "inspirational". Perhaps a member of his family or a cherished friend? In another picture, captioned  "these are the good times with the gents", we see a black person sitting at a table loaded with beers, a bottle of whisky and a bottle of flavoured water produced by South African firm aQuelle. Looks like a fun party. What would the guests make of Mr. Feni's racist abuse of present and former Premier League footballers? What a strange fellow he seems to be.

Twitter has the potential to close the distance between fabulously well-paid footballers and their fans at home and abroad. It has the potential to give the paying punter a sense of closeness to the game. But, as has been noted here before, and as Solethu Feni has ably demonstrated, there is a lot of downside.

Neil Warnock is not a fan of the microblogging site. During his time at QPR he opined that Anton Ferdinand was a "twit" for using it and thereby opening himself up to the kinds of abuse he has suffered. But the former Rangers manager was never going to be able to insist on a Twitter ban at the club - Chairman Tony Fernandes and captain Joey Barton are notably enthusiastic tweeters. The latter, of course, serves as a good example of how Twitter brings with it a wealth of potential PR and legal problems. Barton's tweets are rarely out of the news, giving tabloid hacks a rich source of material about which they can express faux outrage. Worse, Barton now receives what almost amounts to a deluge of often crudely worded criticism from fans of his own club in the wake of any QPR defeat - and there have been plenty of those, as the west London outfit continues to struggle in the Premier League. Worst of all, perhaps, was Barton's inability to remain wisely silent about the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand affair on Twitter. It does now appear that the QPR skipper will not be charged with being in contempt of court, but it is worth considering whether Terry's lawyers will argue that the tweeted comments of Barton and others have made it difficult for their client to get a fair trial.

But it's not all bad
So on we go, taking the very rough with the pretty smooth as we adapt to life in the always-on, always-connected age. The laws and the etiquette cannot keep pace with the rate of technological change so bad things will happen and for a while no one will really know how best to deal with them.

Douglas Coupland's jaded former man of God updates a list of contemporary sins. It includes: the willingness to tolerate information overload; the equating of shopping with creativity; the rejection of reflective thinking; the belief that spectacle is reality; vicarious living through celebrities.

Along with tabloid newspapers, brightly coloured and vacuous magazines and garish television shows, the Internet, and social media such as Twitter in particular, are among the breeding grounds for all of these vices.

But these media also shorten the time it can take us to learn valuable new things, connect with good new people and create exciting new ways of working and living. In the meantime, though, expect to have to put up with the intrusion of extraordinarily unwise berks like Paul Brennan and Solethu Feni as you use the Internet to get closer to the things that interest you.

Saturday, 11 February 2012



it falls, it melts, it freezes

A night out in Hull

this CCTV footage shows a Mr. Dean Dinnen storming into Hull's Endyke pub with a working petrol-driven chainsaw on August 5th last year. he managed to slice through someone's arm. he'd been manhandled out the pub earlier on, having refused to put out his cigarette. a bit of an overreaction then.

Friday, 10 February 2012

tony baloney

Meet Tony Arbour. Tony is a Tory London Assembly Member and a Councillor in the London Borough of Richmond on Thames. This week, in the London Assembly, Tony spoke out against the principle of tube and bus fares being subsidised by taxation. Tony told the Mayor that it is "a principle of conservatism" that "those who receive a service are those who should pay for it". Tony believes that "it is a fact... that relatively few Londoners use London transport in any way". Tony says "most people don't use London transport with any sense of regularity". 

So if you live in one part of London and work in another part of London, Tony imagines you probably don't use public transport to travel between your home and your workplace. Say you get on the tube out in the suburbs somewhere. Maybe you get on a Central Line train train in Romford or Perivale. Perhaps your trip to the office begins when you join the Northern Line at High Barnet or Morden. Is it safe to assume that the tube is busiest during the morning rush hour and again in the evening when you're returning home? Is it safe to assume that as you get nearer to the centre of town more and more people get on the train? Is it safe to assume that most of the people who board appear to be going to work and that, judging by where they join the train, most of them appear to live in London? Or would you say the majority of people on your tube or bus journey in the rush hours are tourists or commuters who live out in the Home Counties? Perhaps not. So perhaps you find Tony Arbour's claim a little hard to believe.

You'll be pleased to know that while Tony is an advocate of the principle of services being paid for only by those who use them, he himself receives a free travel pass to enable him to get to meetings at the London Assembly which, as you may know, is funded through a mix of a Central Government grant (i.e. your taxes) and Council Tax (i.e. your local taxes if you live in London). 

You may also be interested to know that Tony does not always live by his stated principle for services being paid for by service users. For example, he makes the rather socialist-seeming exception for the elderly, having welcomed, in 2009, the retention of the Freedom Pass, which provides pensioners with free travel.

You may also be surprised to hear that Tony's definition of a "service" is not as broad as it might be. While public transport comes under his definition, the use of public roads in a private vehicle does not. This is presumably why, in January 2010, he urged the Royal Parks Agency to focus on repairing the roads around Richmond Park (in his constituency) rather than attempting to raise funds (for such repairs, perhaps?) by imposing parking charges on park visitors. To clarify - for Tony Arbour, the provision of a smooth road surface for people wanting to visit Richmond Park in a car is not a "service" for which they should be charged directly. Unlike a London bus ticket, which he feels should only be paid for by the actual travellers on a given bus, Tony thinks that London's Royal Parks, which are paid for by (taxpayer funded) Central Government funds, should not charge directly for their services but spread the cost across all taxpayers. Surely that couldn't be because it's his constituents who get to enjoy Richmond Park? Surely he's not putting the interests of the people who vote for him above his conservative "principles"?

Think about that when Tony next opines that you're not paying enough for your journey to work.

If you'd like to discuss Tony's views with him, here is his contact info:

Tony Arbour
City Hall
The Queen's Walk
London SE1 2AA

Telephone: 020 7983 4116

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Emma West 2.0 and the funny peculiar

Perhaps it's safe to assume that 42-year old Jacqueline Woodhouse of Romford is unfamiliar with the case of Emma West, the Croydon woman facing trial for a racially aggravated public order offence she allegedly committed late last year. West gained instant notoriety when her angry outburst, directed variously at immigrants and non-white Londoners, went vital on YouTube. Surely if Ms. Woodhouse had been aware of the West case she would have taken care not to be captured on video acting in a very similar manner, this time on a Central Line train between Mile End and St. Paul's at around 11pm on January 23rd.

Woodhouse now stands accused of the same offence as Ms. West and faces trial in May. In the meantime, she has been ordered to keep a daily curfew between 10pm and 6am and has been banned from the entire Tube network. It remains to be seen if the BNP and their ilk will offer their particular brand of support to Ms. Woodhouse as readily as they did to Emma West.

It will also be interesting to see if today's short piece here attracts the attention of the various visitors who  responded to this blog's several articles on the West case by warning this is my england readers of "white genocide" and the forces they imagine to be behind such a thing. These visitors, the two most argumentative being from Canada and Portland, Oregon, saw Ms. West not as a foul-mouthed pain in the backside committing a routine public order offence but as some kind of consciously determined warrior-heroine waging an ideological war. 

The wider ideas of our two friends from across the pond were discussed at some length back on 6th January. One further commenter is also worth a mention.

Last month, a certain Robert Argiz dropped in here to opine that "what truly remains and will always stay is the fact that [Emma West] acted like a true warrior, by telling the immigrants on the train and the world what most coward men of England are afraid of doing." Argiz reckons that  "Emma is now a symbol of struggle and a role model for every Briton to copy" and that "Britain needs men and women like Emma to survive."

So who is this dude? Well, he's certainly a prolific blogger. His TheTruthIsFreedom blog covers topics such as how child abduction is masterminded by a shadowy elite bent on scaring the general population into accepting the necessity of having their children implanted with microchips.

Child abduction is a topic close to Robert's heart. For quite a while he was particularly focused on the case of Madeleine McCann, the British child who famously disappeared in Portugal almost five years ago. Argiz contends that Madeleine's kidnap was ordered by Jose Manuel Barroso, the Portuguese President of the European Commission, that her parents are "controlled by the Illuminati" and that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was present at the Satanic rite during which Argiz imagines that the child was killed.

Writing about these sweary public transport ladies seems to draw and funny old crowd, then. Funny peculiar, that is. Not funny ha-ha.

Let's see which flies buzz around today's piece of shit, then.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


What's not to like? Woefully jangly indie-lite shite; ill-fitting and cheap-looking suit, complemented by shoes from the sales bin at Clarks; the queasily familiar mug of failed politician-cum-inanely giggling jester. Utter, utter cuntishness, devoid of humour, purpose or dignity. Tempted to vote for the Conliberal Demotories ever again? Remember: this is what those fuckers are like; this is the man who would have liked to be Mayor of London:

Surely you'd sooner rather vote for the bumbling blonde fop (because "he's a legend") than soil your ballot paper by giving support to this tragic bell-end? For any elected position, however lowly?


stay classy

Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the station is now owned and operated by the Channel Four Television Corporation, a public body established in 1990, coming into operation in 1993.
Channel 4 was established with, and continues to hold, a remit of public service obligations which it must fulfil. The remit changes periodically, as dictated by various broadcasting and communications acts, and is regulated by the various authorities Channel 4 has been answerable to; originally the IBA, then the ITC and now Ofcom. The preamble of the remit as per the Communications Act 2003 states that:
"The public service remit for Channel 4 is the provision of a broad range of high quality and diverse programming which, in particular:
  • demonstrates innovation, experiment and creativity in the form and content of programmes;
  • appeals to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society;
  • makes a significant contribution to meeting the need for the licensed public service channels to include programmes of an educational nature and other programmes of educative value; and
  • exhibits a distinctive character.

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Seems to be Bukowski day. Having dug up what seems to be Hank's last ever poem, have now stumbled on an ode to the faces and places of California, with images thereof mixed over the words (not read by Bukowski) of his little piece called 'Bluebird':

if this causes tears to prick at the corners of your eyes, you won't be alone in that. it was made by Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari, the curators of a project designed to showcase the best of their beloved California. props to them for using the words of California's greatest writer.

fax from the dead

rare Bukowski stuff always floats the boat here. I love the DIRTY OLD MAN to distraction and his books fill great stretches of my shelves. it's a little sad each time another posthumous collection is dredged up and published. the quality declines as the digging uncovers bits probably not meant to see the light of day. but there are always a few of the old flashes of madness, gamble and simplicity among the relatively less wonderful words. 

today, out of nowhere, the pleasure of stumbling upon something rare, blogged almost a year ago by Los Angeles bookseller Stephen J. Gertz at Booktryst

Gertz presents what seems to be Bukowski's last ever poem, sent by fax to his publisher John Martin just eighteen days before Hank died:

oh, forgive me For Whom the Bell Tolls,
oh, forgive me Man who walked on water,

oh, forgive me little old woman who lived in a shoe,
oh, forgive me the mountain that roared at midnight,
oh, forgive me the dumb sounds of night and day and death,
oh, forgive me the death of the last beautiful panther,
oh, forgive me all the sunken ships and defeated armies,
this is my first FAX POEM.
It's too late:
I have been

Gertz asked Martin for some background. The Black Sparrow founder explained: 
"On February 18, 1994 Hank had a fax machine installed at his home. He sent me his first fax message in the form of that poem. I'm sure he visualized sending me his future letters and poems via fax, but sadly 18 days later he was gone. I ran off nine photocopies of the fax, for a total of ten, and numbered and initialed them. Over the next few months and years I gave copies to individuals who were Bukowski collectors and regular customers of Black Sparrow. I think I gave away the last one more than 10 years ago."
so the heart strings tug here at the thought of the Old Man of San Pedro, asking for forgiveness, hitting the send button, close to breathing his last.

darkness falls on unlimited gallery

seen a few diverting sights at the Camden Town Unlimited gallery space which is tucked up a back alley in NW1. there were the London-based Chinese artists of ArtGap. there was the temporary and unstable stuff gathered by Caroline Soyez-Petithomme and Tom Trevatt. then last month it was all about pylons.

those days are over. the current offering, a film by Australian artist Peter Sant, will be the last before the Camden Town Unlimited space is handed over to make way for a new private gallery.

not sure what to make of Sant's film because on stumbling into the gallery, it was not clear what point had been reached in the narrative about the lives of a young middle-class Chinese family whose routines play out in the unlikely setting of a department store. the few minutes glimpsed were easy on the eye but more time is needed to explore the scenes and lives on the screen. Sant's film continues unwinding there until 12th Feb so you have a week to check it out and to take one last look at Camden Town Unlimited space in its current guise, albeit this time with the big windows blacked out to enable the showing of the film.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

carry on at your convenience

EMPLOYERS: Has one of your most valued employees been accused of a criminal offence? Will some of your other key employees be required to come forward as witnesses during the trial? Could this inconvenience your business? Perhaps the trial looks likely to be scheduled for a busy time for your firm. The disruption could be quite severe.

Nothing you can do about it, right? The requirements of the criminal justice system must take precedence over the needs of individuals and businesses, right? So contingency planning for such circumstances is very challenging.

Not so! If one of your people is facing a trial and you'd like to delay the involvement of other team members, simply write a letter to inform the judge that your employees "would not be able to appear as witnesses" until a time more convenient for your business. It really is as simple as that!

Not convinced? Just ask Ron Gourlay, CEO of Chelsea Football Club. A delighted Gourlay explains: "We were facing a nightmare scenario. We had gambled by hiring an unproven coach whose only real achievement was winning the Portuguese league with a team that had won the title six out of the previous seven seasons anyway. The little Portugueezer just doesn't have the respect of the senior players. 'Lamps', 'Drogs' and 'JT' (Captain, Leader, LegendTM) just don't take the mouthy little bog brush seriously. Our league form was shaky and our squad was ageing fast. Then our club Captain (Leader, Legend) manages to get himself accused of racially abusing an opposing player in a heated derby match. So just imagine if our training schedule had been mildly disrupted by a couple of the team having to appear in court for an hour or so! Well, we weren't fucking having any of that. Training comes first. You can stick that appearing in court bollocks right up your arse. Luckily, District Judge Howard Riddle understood my point when I wrote to inform him that the trial would have to wait until the football season is over. We didn't even have to suggest that some of Roman's ex-KGB mates might have to come round to have a little word! Sweet as a nut!"

"So there you have it," smiled Gourlay. "JT can carry on putting in his professional performances for us. I reckon we're a shoo-in for fourth place and a Champions League qualifier next season. Result! Not only that, he even gets to captain England in the European Championships this summer. Nice one, Judge Riddle. You're on my Christmas card list, mate!"

You too can delay justice the Gourlay way. Perhaps you run a catering firm and your busiest time of year is in the spring and early summer wedding season. If one of your chefs is accused of committing a criminal offence in sight of his colleagues in the workplace, simply let the judge know that you need the trial put back to the autumn. Or perhaps you're a headteacher running a busy school. The autumn term is hectic, isn't it? Settling in the new intake. Dealing with the latest confusingly worded and contradictory requirements from the DfE. What a time for one of your teachers to be accused of racially abusing a pupil or a colleague in the playground! Don't worry, just write to the judge and you can have the trial put back until the summer. 

Private or public sector - whatever line of work you're in, do what Ron Gourlay did when the pesky inconvenience of a criminal trial threatened to affect his firm's business. Just write to the judge and say your people "would not be able to appear as witnesses." 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

sad stuff

see this here... this...
this small mauveish glove discarded among twigs and bark
at the entrance to the park,
it's a sad thing and
a heart string
twinges, twangs and
some little girl's fingers
are frosty nipped
this crisp morning:
"that's it,
i'm not buying you another pair, you
keep losing them, it's
a waste of money,
i'm not made of money, am i? 
i don't care
if your hands are cold, you
have to learn."

not the first time that unhappy discarded objects have shown up hereabouts. we've had:

... and many more... these gloomy things are at the heart of the aesthetic here.

a kindred spirit, then, is the excellently lachrymose Sad Stuff on the Street - go there and submit yours

faces on a train