“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968


Friday, 24 October 2014

How do you prefer your Eurosceptics?

As if things were not bad enough for Cameron, now comes the news that Britain must pay an extra £1.7 bn into EU coffers as a result of the Tory's much publicised economic recovery. Over at UKIP Towers they must be cracking open the champers, doing cartwheels down the corridors and generally creaming their knickers. No such jollifications across the the other side of town at NO2EU HQ I imagine. The left-wing faction of the Eurosceptic world may have sent a junior comrade round to the bakers for cream cakes but that will be as far as celebrations go. Lack of funds, and possibly a lack of joie de vevre, will see to that. So how do you prefer your Eurosceptics? Flag waving, foreigner bashing, swivel eyed loons, or worthy but dull with a nostalgia for the old workers paradises of the East? Tough call.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Duck keeping. But not for long.

                                                                     Live aboard boaters who squat the towpath or river bank are never that popular with local communities. I have always reckoned this antipathy and suspicion is partly due to jealousy and the "why should they" factor. Why should they, not have to pay mooring fees, sit about all day smoking roll-ups and drinking tea when I have to work to pay my mortgage on this dull little house etc. It's part of the human condition to want freedom but also to fear it, and fear those who we think may have more of it than we do. But another reason for a negative attitude toward the  towpath squatters of our inland waterways is the junk that tends to accumulate on the bank. The cramped conditions on a narrowboat or small cruiser mean that it's very tempting to keep stuff out on the bank and although this might start out as a pile of firewood and a couple of bikes, it's amazing how stuff builds up. I was certainly no better than anyone else in this respect when I lived on the canals, graduating eventually to the keeping of poultry on the towpath. There is a sad story attached to this that I was reminded of by a recent comment on the blog. The poultry keeping started with a few bantams but eventually I decided to diversify, as farmers say nowadays, and expand into duck rearing. At no small expense I ordered four Khaki Campbell ducks from an advert in the Exchange and Mart. The beautiful looking birds were dispatched by rail, collected from the nearest station and bedded down in the new home I had made for them. In the morning they were gone. Had made a successful bid for freedom and were happily swimming along the canal where all efforts to recapture them proved futile. I was heartbroken.
My efforts at guerrilla gardening were far more rewarding. I found a small clearing right next to the canal that was almost completely surrounded by brambles and by some adjustments to the hedge was able to create a secret garden safe from both the cattle in the adjacent field and the prying eyes of passers by. The watering of the plot during what was to prove to be a very hot, dry summer, was a masterstroke. As the hidden plot lay below the level of the canal I was able to rig up a syphon with a hosepipe and in this way was able to grow quite a bit of veg and a not inconsiderable quantity of dope. That's yer towpath squatters for you all over - give 'em an inch and they take the piss.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

It's grim up North London alright.

Fuck me! You really could not make it up.  Some wealthy Hampstead residents are seriously suggesting that Labour's timid proposal for a Mansion Tax will so devastate their cosseted lives that the whole thing is actually a humanitarian issue. Has anyone alerted Valerie Amos? Drop what you're doing in West Africa girl and get yourself up to Hampstead.
Top marks to Political Scrapbook for alerting the world to this imminent crisis.
And now this. I don't know how they cope.

Monday, 20 October 2014

The rich, the rich. We wanna be one of the rich.

Apparently the recently reincarnated Rock Against The Rich has not been the runaway success with the yoof that the organisers had hoped for. One suggestion for the lack of enthusiasm has been a generational misunderstanding of modern popular culture and that the project should be re-named Rap Against The Rich. Senior Class War members are rumoured to be trashing all their old Bill Haley records and are asking about beatboxes in their local electrical goods stores.
Another possibility is that most young people do not in fact want to get rid of the rich. They want to join 'em not smash 'em.  They want to be rich themselves and will aspire to achieve this state of grace by means of art, football, drug dealing, corporate law or commodities trading depending on background and talent. Just saying like.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Where City meets the fringe I believe.

It should never have come to this of course. Social housing should never have been sidelined as a planning gain concession from developers of luxury investment apartments for the international rich. The issue of one door for the rich and one for the poor should never have arisen in the first place. But we are were we are and that means an increasingly polarised and segregated capital city and truly, if we put up with poor doors we will put up with anything.
The weekly poor door picket of One Commercial Street has been running for the last three months and largely because of the efforts of a handful of activists some of whom are not in the first flush of youth or in the best of health. At last night's picket, with some 80, 000 at the earlier TUC march and a couple of thousand supposed anarchist just up the road at the bookfair, a large turnout had been expected. Well, perhaps a hundred and fifty of us did turn up. It could have been bigger but was lively, spontaneous affair with  a couple of bands, the Durham Miners Association and the irrepressible Women's Death Brigade keeping the coppers on their toes. Well done all.

Friday, 17 October 2014

A garden bridge too far.

Man cannot live by bread alone and deciding spending priorities between, for example, arts and music projects or schools and hospitals is never going to be easy. There are however some total no brainers and the proposed "garden bridge" spanning the Thames between Temple and the Southbank is one such. The estimated £175 million that the bridge would cost would be far better spent  alleviating some of London's chronic social housing shortage. The further greening of London, one of the greenest cities in the world incidentally, is best achieved by a number of small community based initiatives rather than mega vanity projects. The bridge has the backing of Joanna Lumley apparently. Well the old trooper was on the money when it came to the Gurkhas but seems to be talking out of her bottom this time. A case perhaps of the old maxim about never taking any notice of what actors say unless someone else has written it for them holding true.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bookfairs and Poor Doors.

Don't time fly? No sooner have you polished of the last of the Easter Eggs and the Anarchist Bookfair is upon us again. As usual there are plenty of interesting meetings and talks to go to and the usual plethora of literature on everything from veganism to Vaneigem by way of anarcho-syndicalism and radical anthropology. How many of the couple of thousand comrades who usually attend will find their way from Mile End to Aldgate for the Poor Doors Picket is open to question but the poster looks a tad optimistic. See you there.

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