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

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Forward England!

The country is up to the gunwales with unwanted England flags, mugs, Mars Bars,T shirts and toilet roll holders. Never mind. Lets look to the future. Morrisons are the "official supermarket" for the England 2018 and 2022 World cup bids. That should be worth a bob or two to them. England United - The World Invited.

Monday, 28 June 2010

IDS. Cometh the hour .....

Anyone who has spent time arguing in the workplace about this and that will be painfully aware of what I call the "why should they?" syndrome. As in, why should they? - get away with it, be allowed to live on benefits, get housing, come over here, the list is endless. This unfortunate piece in the jigsaw of human nature is one that governments frequently like to take advantage of; especially during an economic downturn. It's the oldest trick in the book and sadly one that the Mail reading middle class and the more anal retentive elements of the working class never fail to fall for. So it is not really that surprising that the same tired old scam is being dusted off and presented once again as a brave new social policy. This time arch god botherer and all round cretin Ian Duncan Smith is the purveyor of this nonsense. The new plan is for the relocation of thousands of people from parts of the country with high unemployment but plentiful housing to the South East, where there are more jobs but a real housing need. At the same time there will be a big crack down on immigration from outside the EU: even extending to skilled professionals. And finally incapacity benefit is going to be much harder to get with thousands of claimants being given a new medical evaluation. This last will presumably be carried out by the sons and daughters of unemployed/sick ex-miners who will be given a crash course in medicine as part of their relocation package. Or will doctors from outside the EU have to be recruited for this task after all?
IDS-You couldn't make him up.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

England. It really is all over.

Well that's that and we can now concentrate on our real national sports of hand wringing and blame apportioning. I watched the game, more to keep her indoors company than anything else. Yes, that's right. I must be the only bloke in the country who's missus has to explain the offside rule to him. The truth is that I never really got football. Like much else, I blame the parents. My dad had no interest in football but was a very knowledgeable boxing fan. The result was that by the time I was twelve I could speak with authority on the Dempsey - Tunney long count but unlike my mates had not a clue about Leyton Orient. Does this go anyway to explain my feelings of alienation from society? If so I fear that like England's performance this afternoon, it's too late to do anything about it.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Hats off to the WAG. No not the WAGS.

It's not that difficult to start a local anarchist group, or any other sort of group for that matter. The trick is in keeping going beyond the first couple of meetings and the fading of the initial euphoria. It is so easy for everything to just fizzle out and end up as just a few mates having a pint together. One honourable exception to this has been the Whitechapel Anarchist Group. Since forming a couple of years back WAG seems to have gone from strength to strength producing a really fine free newspaper and looking very much as though they are here to stay, Alright they had the advantage of being based in a lively part of town that is steeped in anarchist tradition and the group had amongst it's founding members some very experienced and talented comrades but still and all, you have to take your hat off to 'em. WAG - more power to their elbow.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A statement of the bleeding obvious.

There is no doubt about it, and I don't care how much spin the ConDems put on it or how many times we are told that "we are all in this together", the effects of the budget will impact far more on the day to day lives of the less well off and leave the rich, well, still rich. This is of course stating the bleeding obvious. The question is what are we going to do about it? Moan on the internet? Shuffle along to Trafalgar Square for the umpteenth time to listen to the same stock speeches? Or will we give the establishment something to think about for a change? Come on for fucks sake. Lets give it a go.

The Unofficial Countryside

By the early 70s and fresh out of the Oxford Anarchist Group, Richard Mabey had decided to try and make a living as a natural history writer. In '72 Food For Free was published and I don't think that it has ever been out of print since. The following year saw the publication of Mabey's second book The Unofficial Countryside, a wonderful narrative of wildlife in the margins. No picture postcard rural idylls here but the authors recollections of mooching about abandoned gravel working, bomb sites, semi-derelict canals and the hidden world under the motorway flyover. Like a lot of other books, my copy did not survive the transient lifestyle I was living at the time and I never found another copy to replace it. I had more or less given up hope of reading it again when Little Toller Books republished it last month. It's just as good as I remember it and with an introduction by that other wanderer around the margins of life, Iain Sinclair, is well worth the tenner cover price.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Women boxers set for 2012

I'm pretty used to making a bit of a prat of myself but I surpassed myself the other day. I was doing some work on the allotment site and one of the people involved was a tough looking Aussie girl. I heard rugby mentioned at one stage but didn't take a lot of notice. Later on I asked her if she was a rugby coach only to be told that she was director of English Women's Rugby and was preparing our squad for the World Cup to be held here in a couple of months time. Ooops! She took it in good part but such is the attitude toward so much of women's sport that she probably has to deal with blokes like me every day. Things are improving though and nowhere more so than in the world of women's boxing. We have some really sharp skillful and dedicated fighters in this country and with the likes of Nicola Adams, Natasha Jonas, Lucy O' Connor and Nina Smith we could end up with a very powerful team for 2012. When it comes to dedication and hard work most women athletes could show our male footballers a thing or two.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

A Bloggers Return.

I'm back. Seeing as how it was her indoors' 60th I thought that I would push the boat out big time and organised a surprise party followed by a few days travelling around Europe by train. We visited Paris(twice), Zurich, Venice, Milan (briefly) and Turin. Back to the reality of The Cuts, Chris Huhne legover situation and England's consolidation of our international record. And a very sad looking allotment.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Blogger on hols.

Well that's it for now. I'm of on me hols for a few days. Tell you all about it when I get back. Try to stay out of trouble, enjoy the footie and don't forget to put the cat out.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Camo big hit in the Stan.

I wonder who advised Cameron to tell the squaddies that they were going to be "front and centre" of national life? I suppose if he had been talking to the Navy it would have been "splice the mainbrace" and the RAF would have had to suffer lots of " roger wilkos". According to the Sun (no I'm not doing a link) the PM escaped an assassination plot by the Taliban but remained unruffled as he enjoyed a burger with the troops. Expect lots more of this.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Gyms ain't wot they used to be.

These days it seems that there are chromed and mirrored gyms everywhere and people talk of "going to the gym" in much the same matter of fact way that they would previously have said that they were going down the pub. It was not always so. Attitudes toward physical training have changed hugely over the years, and so sadly have gyms themselves. Weight training was very much the preserve of a particular type of athlete; weightlifters, bodybuilders and some wrestlers. Boxers never used weights as it was considered a sure fire way of losing speed and sports coaches in general felt that weight training would make you slow and "muscle-bound". I think that Arsenal were the first football club to put players under a weights coach and in the 50s this was considered pretty radical. As for physical culture as it was known, training for it's own sake or because it might be healthy to do so, well this really was considered to be pretty cranky.
Dedicated gyms were few and far between and most were housed in youth clubs or church halls. Some, like Billy Riley's notorious Snake Pit in Wigan, were little more than tin shacks. Boxing gyms were frequently on the top floor of a pub; the Thomas a Becket in the Old Kent Road and Canning Town's Royal Oak being famous examples. The Dukes Head in Putney must have been unique housing as it did a famous bodybuilding gym upstairs where wrestler Spencer Churchill could frequently be found, and the basement being home to Putney Town Rowing Club. Don't even think of visiting any of these once famous hostelries. The first two are no more and the Dukes Head is now an overpriced gastropub.
What the old time proponents of the benefits of physical fitness would make of the modern fitness industry I don't know. All that chrome. Mirrors everywhere. So many pot plants the place looks like Kew Gardens. Machines that would appear to have more to do with space travel than the old fashioned business of building muscle. Legions of grim faced yuppies driving to the gym in order to go on a walking machine. Do some of them walk to go on a driving machine I wonder?
It's all a far cry from one particular wrestling club that I used to train at. Amenities were what you might call modest but there was a refreshment facility. Half way through the evening a halt was called to proceeding and a primus stove was fired up and a kettle boiled. After a mug of tea and a roll up (breakfast of the champions at one time) we got back to the job in hand of bouncing each other off the walls. And not a potted palm to be seen.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The extent of the gulf spill.

For a sobering look at the extent of BP's Gulf oil spill click here and type your home town in the box.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Not so cuddly after all.

It is hardly surprising that foxes have gravitated towards our cities. The fox is an opportunist happy to hunt or scavenge and the huge amount of food that we discard makes for an easy existence. I very much doubt that urban foxes can be controlled without depriving them of their food supply but the attack on two babies in North London might at least dissuade people from deliberately encouraging them. The feeding of urban foxes is part of the "furry bunny" view of nature that has come to dominate the world of conservation and natural history. The shallow anthropomorphic wildlife programmes churned out by the BBC probably don't help.
Foxes are wild animals to be respected, admired from a distance and controlled where necessary. Like any wild animal a fox that has lost it's fear of man is a potential threat.

The more things change................

"One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England."
"If only the sandals and the pistachio-coloured shirts could be put in a pile and burnt, and every vegetarian, teetotaler, and creeping Jesus sent home to Welwyn Garden City to do his yoga exercises quietly!"
George Orwell. The Road To Wigan Pier.

With only a few minor alteration the above quote stands up today as well as ever. Unfortunately.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Cameron right about gun law.

Only a few weeks into Cameron's leadership and already I am experiencing the uncomfortable feeling of agreeing with him. The dreadful shootings in Cumbria will no doubt result in calls for yet more draconian gun laws but Tory Boy is right when he says that you cannot legislate for a switch suddenly clicking in someones head. Guns and the male psyche are a rich area for all kinds of horrors ( is there anything weirder than replica gun ownership?) but the overwhelming majority of people, both male and female, who shoot as a hobby are sensible,safe individuals that non of us need worry about.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Charles calls for sustainable lifestyle.

It was one of my Old Man's favourite assertions that the English upper class were stupid rather than bad. They could be both of course. I'm not sure how bad Prince Charles is but someone with his wealth and power is hardly likely to be the most sympathetic of characters. As for stupid, well we need look no further than his latest call for us to all lead a "more sustainable lifestyle". This from someone who's own lifestyle is sustained by the taxpayer and the accumulated wealth created by other people labour. Fuck off Charlie.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

What do they know of cricket..............?

Yesterday I decided to catch the final days play at Lords. Well, with Bangladesh putting up such a spirited defence and free entry for the under 16s and over 65s it seemed foolish not to. Mind you, I thought that four quid for a pint was a bit strong but you can't have everything. Anyway, I had a mooch about (or perambulation as we call it at Lords) during the lunch interval and found that bat makers Gray-Nicolls had a stand with one of their staff sculpting a bat out of half a willow tree. Watching real craftsmen at work is always a pleasure so I hung around for a bit before picking up a leaflet and wondering off to watch the final session. The response from others has been surprise that we still make bats. "Aren't they all made in China these days?" I think it's what the pointy heads call a "self fulfilling prophesy". We assume that nothing is manufactured here and lo it comes to pass. The truth is that we still have a skill base in UK and we still have youngsters who would like to make living doing something more satisfying than staring into a computer screen all day and gambling with other peoples lives and money. It seems all the rage these days for politicians to lecture us about how important is our industrial base. Pity their predecessors didn't think about that thirty years ago. It might be a step in the right direction if politicians, teachers and parents stopped looking down their noses at people who use their hands (and get 'em dirty) to make a living and recognised once more the real value of practical skills.