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

Thursday, 28 June 2012

A not so secret history of our streets.

We are pretty easy to spot. Usually male and rarely young we favour good quality if shabby apparel. Sensible footwear and a small rucksack slung over one shoulder complete the outfit. We are London's small army of urban explorers and psychogeographers and I imagine that we will be out in force today, wandering down the subject of last night's episode of BBC 2's A Secret History Of Our Streets, Notting Hill's Portland Road.  The series itself has been fantastic but if you don't know an area it's easy to forget that documentary films are just that and should never be confused with actual real life. I enjoyed last nights offering in spite of the array of horrendously arrogant rich who appeared. I bet they just love the carni, and that's another thing; this was a totally white Notting Hill. Not only did we not see a single black face but there was not even a mention of the Windrush generation, the biggest change to post-war Notting Hill and the reason why all those middle class bohemians wanted to live there in the first place. In many ways I found this to be quite surreal film not least because of the interview with the seriously strange Henry Mayhew, a man of such self importance that I was unsure if he might be just winding us all up. Very odd - and very, very rich.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Cameron? Sense of entitlement? Nah!

Descended from a long line of bankers, stockbrokers, wealthy landowners and suchlike parasites. Educated at the same prep school as Prince Edward and Prince Andrew before going on to Eton and Oxford. Gap year job working as a researcher for his godfather and wealthy Tory MP Tim Rathbone. This is the man who has the gall to pontificate about "a culture of entitlement." amongst the poorest sections of society - and at breakfast tables across the land the sound of boiled eggs being hit with the backs of spoons and copies of the Daily Mail being rustled will be drowned out by a chorus of "quite right, quite right." I just wish that I could feel more angry and less depressed about all of this.

Friday, 22 June 2012

I Love Lucy

The birthday card that I chose for Her Indoors featured this stunning 1942 picture of Lucile Ball. The lady loved the card, as I knew that she would, but was surprised to learn that the star of TVs I Love Lucy had previously had a film career in the 30's and 40's.  Lucile Ball made any number of B movies and long before I Love Lucy was known as the "Queen Of The B's".  Perhaps less well known is the fact that she was suspected by the FBI of being a covert member of the Communist Party and appeared before the notorious House Committee On Unamerican Activities. If the hardnosed boss of Desilu really was a closet tankie she certainly maintained her cover. As her husband and co-star Desi Arnaz said at the time, "the only thing red about Lucy is her hair - and that's fake."

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bone blog will be missed.

As I have said many times before, blogging is far from being the most important political activity; it's not even the most important on the not very important list. This blog certainly has no pretensions beyond being a bit of a hobby for me and an opportunity to amuse or irritate the two old blokes and a Jack Russell who bother to read it. But some blogs are more relevant and influential than others. Over the last few years Ian Bone's blog has provided sharp analysis and frequently on the spot reporting on everything from the G20 to the student rebellion to last summer's riots as well as being an online home for the libertarian left. Most importantly the blog was a huge source of FUN. Now after five years of pounding the keyboard Ian has decided to call it a day. The blogersphere will be that much the poorer.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Raining Pies In Rio.

According to a report from the Rio + 20 Summit, obesity is not just a health issue but is also a serious environmental problem and a contributor to climate change. At first I thought that this must be due to the huge number of fat bastards in the USA causing a wobble in the earths rotation but apparently it's all about the energy required to sustain these individuals. Mind you, my own theory seems plausible enough when you consider that America, with only 5% of the worlds population, contributes a hefty 30% of human weight. In truth obesity is no laughing matter, but what  never seems to be explored is the real economic foundation of the problem. Why is obesity a major issue amongst the poorest people in the most developed and richest countries? That seems to me to lie somewhere near the root of the problem and we need to air any conclusions about this - no matter how unpalatable those conclusions might be to the food industry or for that matter to liberal lefties such as myself.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A nice stroll around Cambridge.

Measured in terms of numbers attending, or for that matter impact, the Class War defend Mr Asbo anti Oxbridge elitism outing to Cambridge was hardly earth shattering. It was however what we of the Freedom Pass Column like to describe as "a nice day out". Having never been to Cambridge before I did my best to find out a bit about the town in the short time that I had available. I learnt a lot about both Colleges and Town chatting with a local nurse and a student journalist who both joined us on the march and in the pub afterwards. Wandering around The Backs I discovered that punting on the Cam is not just students hiring punts and making arses of themselves but that professional boatmen pole large punts full of tourists around for a whacking £12 per head for a 45 minute trip. It's a nice little earner but one that is not without it's darker side as I learnt from The Tab.  Had I been a Cambridge lad I might well have ended up as a professional punter.   As in all provincial towns the interesting stuff is lurking just beneath the surface. There is obviously more to Cambridge than dreaming Dons, bowler hatted jobsworths and a network of high camp soviet spies. I shall return.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Danny Boyle's Ambridge fantasy.

A bucolic scene. The English, or I should say the Southern Lowland English countryside in all it's timeless warmth and splendour. A flock of sheep are grazing a distant hill and a dairy herd make their way in for milking. Farmers in other places may work the modern three crop rotation of barley, oil seed rape and pop festival but here Dan Archer steadily ploughs his fields in the time honoured fashion turning his pair of shires at the headland with a skill passed down through the generations. The quiet is broken only by birdsong and the sound of willow striking leather as the village cricket team, led by The Squire, romp home to victory. There will be cucumber sandwiches for tea. Look, is that John Major cycling off to Holy Communion? And that gaunt figure over there by the moshpit. Is that George Orwell doing a posthumous reading of The Lion And The Unicorn? This of course is Danny Boyle's vision of the Olympic Opening.  This fantasy of small scale agriculture, all higgledy-piggledy, allotments, ponies grazing, low impact sports pitches, The Grundys dealing in a bit of scrap and people ducking and diving to make a bob or two - wasn't that a bit like the Lee Valley before all this bollocks?
I'm not anti Olympics, honestly I'm not. I want the athletes, especially the ones who have little chance of a medal, to have an experience that will last them for the rest of their lives. I hope that kids will be inspired to take up sport and I also hope that when the cobwebs are cleared from our eyes and the truth of the "legacy" is revealed for all to see, I really hope that local communities end up with some improved sports facilities, But you'll forgive me if I say that I'll believe it when I see it.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Floods. The airport connection.

The flooding of the River Mole on the Surrey-Sussex border will no doubt cause a lot of inconvenience to a few people and give insurance companies something to think about but the media is assuring us that although the river runs in close proximity to Gatwick, the airport is not threatened at the moment. No mention however of the fact that the airport itself is a major contributing factor to the floods. Nothing aggravates flood conditions like urban runoff and airports with their acres of tarmac act as  huge rain catchments that run off into the nearest watercourses. If the streams and rivers can't handle the volume of water they burst their banks; sometimes with devastating results. The Mole runs through an area of comparatively low population density unlike West London's River Crane that is influenced by the runoff from Heathrow. Something that we don't hear much about when a third runway is being discussed.

Gove tipped for Poet Laureate.

Education Sec. Mick "The Alien" Gove wants kids as young as five to learn and recite poetry in a major new schools shake up. Is Gove for real? I mean does he seriously think that young children have stopped reciting poetry as a result of some left wing conspiracy? One more question. Why is it that the people who bang on about education the most are so thick and unimaginative? I live in the suburbs and the suburbs are infested with people who insist that the local comp is a hot bed of gang related crime and that the pupils are made to swear allegiance to Trotsky at morning assembly. These people have very strong view on education yet would clearly struggle to tell if a book was the right way up.

I think that Gove should be taken round the back of the bike shed and slapped around for a lark,
and also for failing to memorise all of John Cooper Clarke,
With his knowledge of Benjamin Zephaniah ascertained,
his head should be pushed down the girl's bogs - again.

                                            Micheal Gove - A man for our times.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Bunting? I thought that was a girls comic.

Come on folks, try and keep up. The jubilee is over. Get that Union Jack bunting down ASAP. It's sooo last week. It's all Olympics now. Different bunting. Totally different bunting. £50,000 allocated to every London borough for bunting. Double dip? Bring it on.

We can be proud for once.

For all it's potential for dignity and ennoblement, sport very rarely lives up to that potential and nowhere is this more apparent than in the sometimes tacky world of professional football. When the sporting ideal is made real we just bask in it's warm glow and wonder why it can't always be like this. The anti-semitic and racist nationalism that is an ever present current in East European cultures was bound to surface during Euro 2012 and the reception given to black Dutch players at a training session in Krakow is probably a grim taste of what's in store. Against this background the decision of some members of the English team to visit Auschwitz stands out as an example of the kind of thoughtful, dignified players that are a credit to their game.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

You don't know what you've lost 'till it's gone.

You never know what you've lost until it's too late and so it has been with London's wholesale destruction of communities from the sixties to the present day. BBC 2's The Secret History Of Our Streets got off to a brilliant start with an investigation into the sad decline of Deptford High Street at the hands of well meaning but autocratic planners and environmental health officials. As I say, you don't know what you've lost 'till it's too late and I fear that this may be true of a lot more things before long. Nick Clegg and  IDS, ably supported by the Sun I should add, have launched a campaign to means test pensioners benefits such as the winter fuel allowance and Freedom Passes. Why not just go for it and means test the NHS, state education and every other last vestige of a distributive society?  I fear that our grandchildren will curse us for ever.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Prescott works behind the jab to open up Close Protection UK.

Truth be told, back in the Dark Ages, John Prescott was a bit of a hero of mine. Long before New Labour  Prescott was outed by Harold Wilson as one of a "tightly knit group of politically motivated men" who were hell bent on fomenting the 1966 seaman's strike. As a rank and file member of the National Union of Seamen I was only too happy to be the subject of such fomentation. Look, I'm not totally naive and am well aware of Lord Prescott's failings, but I laughed out loud when he delivered a pretty respectable left jab to that egg thrower years ago and it's good to see him speaking up for the unemployed and "apprentice" victims of Close Protection UK during the Jubilee. We all have our weak spots. I have many - and a sneaking admiration for Big John is probably one of 'em.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

All over bar the shouting. Now for the Olympics.

My involvement with the Jubilee was peripheral to say the least. I did turn out for the Republic protest at City Hall but by the time I had made my way there the river had been sealed off so I joined in with the couple of hundred good folk who had congregated at the lower end of Tooley Street. The atmosphere was pretty mellow with no hassle from cops or royalists during the time that I was there. I obviously just got a snapshot of the day based on the crowds at Waterloo, London Bridge and the length of Tooley Street but I got the impression that most people had turned up for a family day out without that much royalist or patriotic vibe about it all. One thing I did notice was that this was a very middle class party and there was hardly a black face to be seen.
Meanwhile I am obliged to Gitane for pointing out the Guardian poll on what makes you most proud to be British - The Queen or the Sex Pistols?  The Pistols have it by a country mile!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Ian Bone set to snatch Easliegh from Lib Dems.

If the court choose to believe the Greek economist and Chris Huhne ex Valiki Courmiuzis (AKA Vicky Price) the former Coalition Energy Secretary could well be looking at a custodial sentence. If that happens   Huhne's Easliegh seat will be up for grabs and the ensuing by-election could turn out to be very interesting. Why, even Ian Bone has threatened to stand on a Class War ticket. Quite right to. (Removes pipe from mouth and pours large gin.) Good luck Ian.