Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The future belongs to You and Me

New Year is...
a curious mix of past and present and future .
The past is done and dusted, Commander A of Space school (Reception class) (pictured left) has the future covered .Although she'll probably want to be a lumber jack (or jill)next week, which is fair enough. So let's live a bit in the present.

Have a great New Year look after yourselves and those you care for.
Oh and have a listen to this jolly tune from those slighty odd Swedish popster Lacrosse with an appropriate once a year titled tune.
Here's their website.

Lacrosse: This New Year will be for you and me

Burnt offering

Originally uploaded by bltphoto

Home Fires
Me, Dad said that the recycling bin was full or was it something about them not taking shiny paper but anyway we ended up having a fire. I think maybe we just like having them, Christmas and ativism going to together like cold turkey and helmans.

Anyway this all struck a chord and I fished out this cartoon by the majestic Giles. I think my only resolution for the coming year is to post the odd scan from my battered 1957 annual some of the pictures are horribly up to date, some are just wonderfully drawn.

I couldn't find this particular cartoon on the giles site but have a look there's loads to browse through.

Ps. In our case we did wait until the nieces and nephews were out before burning Christmas.

Giles Jan 5th 1958

Tuesday, 30 December 2008


Solipsism Update : Just seen the news and of course the fate of a few trees in south London aren't the worse things happening in the world today, it's just local things sometimes take on greater importance than they ought.

Yuletide logging

and I was in such a good mood.

I got home in the dark last night burdened with bags and closed the curtains retiring under my incredibly warm new duvet.

I could see the sun round the edge of the curtains this morning and opened the to hopefully 2008's last nasty surprise. Since I've been away they've mutilated the trees outside my flat. Thankfully not clear felled them but hacked them around lopped of bits of the crown and basically ruined my garden.

As a lowly renter I'm fully aware no one gives a stuff what I think so I'm not surpirsed not to be told in advance they were going to reduce my quality of life.

One of the pleasures of my little over priced under heated flat was this canopy of trees: in the summer in the bright sunshine being faced with a bobbing weaving sea of green was incredibly beautiful, the autumns leaves brought more colour and the stark winter network of branches more interest. One of the pictures at the top of my blog is of the view.

The limbs (now hacked away) also brought squirrels, pigeons, blue, great and longtail tits, bull and gold finches, crows, robins, sparrows,jays virtually into my living room.
The trees never blocked the light just framed the faux campanille of the school across the way. Like I say they brought beauty into my world.

Of course the trees aren't guilt free (unknown to me before I moved in) our estate had been a source of local dispute when it was built in the early 1990's. The rubbish Lewisham Labour Council had sold off part of the park (given to the people of Deptford as much needed green space) to build private flats. The trees are the last remnants of the park of which only a bit of grass and a kids play area remains. Now I am happy to have somewhere to live but even when I've been desperate for a flat I'd rather have parks and few less jerry built badly designed and finished flats.

So the poor trees have been surrounded by people and cars and some gimp Estate (mis)manager in an office in Bromley (who Ironically is probably very smugly proud of their nice semi in a leafy tree lined suburb) decided that this hard pressed tree might be a danger to cars (there is not a single one parked beneath them today) or maybe a few of my dimwitted fellow tennants complained about the branches being close to their flats, we'll never know because no one has told us.

It's no use complaining now as you can't stick branches back on (builders and land managers are well aware of this and chop first and ask later as a rule), it's private land so the Council don't give a stuff and like I say tenants views rarely get listened to.

It's all a micro example of how messed up and wrong housing is in Britain. The trees which add quality and joy to the local envrionment where percieved as potential insurance or legal threat by some 12 year old in a remote office who for a few quid (of someone elses money funnily enough in the end part of my rent!) just got rid of the problem, they don't have to look out on the ugly consiquences or watch the the ugly rings of suckers spring up round the wounded cuts. If I'd wanted to stare at an ugly grey pollarded tree I'd have bought a print of a dutch landscape painting.

I almost can't bear to look out of the window.

It's a vain hope that 2009 will see a reduction in this sort of thing; the only way forward is to have some true local democracy and involve local people in having a say in were they live that and sending to jail people who order trees chopped down .

Monday, 29 December 2008

Stuffing and nonsense

Life is Cheap....
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

So what have we learnt over Christmas?
Things some fancy dan London type heard on’t bus

Tha eats like a reet soup dragon thee!”

“Duz tha see that drive next t’shop, that’s were Our Carol had a slash after town on’t Christmas Eve she were that leathered stoopid cow almost fell ova in it, I almost piss me sen laughin’.”

Modern Education update:
That it’s possible to win “Reception citizen of the week” at Primary school nowadays, Good work R!
That Ben 10 exists and that he has a watch that turns him into a monster.

Christmas Hamper Update:
That’s the world’s a better place for their being a vast variety of Piccalilly
That Birkinshaw’s (from Map) still make the best pork pies in the world.
That everyone says they like Bounties but nobody picks them out of box of Celebrations willingly.

Arts & Culture:
That Harold Pinter plays wouldn’t have had such long silences in them if he’d ever been for dinner at our house.
You should always play Morrissey of St Stephens day

That life is cheaper than timber in Barnsley!

Friday, 26 December 2008

50,000 Christmas Presents

And this one is from Donna in Texas......
Well, hows things? It's foggy and dark here in Yorkshire, the rest of the house is pleasantly filled with sleeping reliatives. Mooching around as is my want, I've just had a very pleasant late present; logging on to fiddle with some pictures I took my daily peak at how my little film was doing on youface and it's passed the pleasing figure of 50,000 hits.

Now I was pleased when the people who know me said nice things about it (someo of them on here) but I would be lying as much as the indie star who gets to number five on Top of the Pops and still goes on about "just doing it to entertain themselves" if I didn't admit to being pleased that all these people have had a peek at my film.

It's has had the particular Tubebook specific accolade bestowed on it this week as someone has posted an answer video. It's a female singer doing an acoustic version of LDB, which again is pleasing if it has encouraged someone to do something creative. If we all made and did stuff we could dump rubbish like 'stenders and Holby city and we'd only need Nick Park and the news to entertain us on the BBC!

Anyway I'll let you get back to the bread sauce and Cadbury's celebrations. I need to have think about a new idea for a new film what about a robot version of Brief Encounter....... Hornby Spanish........Uncle Joe's Mintballs.......

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Christmas!

Dear all,
Have a wonderful, peaceful and happy Christmas!
Thanks for all you comments, thoughts, links, jokes, tunes,clips, ideas, inspirations, diversions, laughs, tears,beers.......cheers!
Anyway have good one
all the best C xxx.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

She's a very clever woman.... must have taken her long time.
I have no compunction singing the praises of my talented and marvelous friends .
My long time friend K is one of those ridiculously talented arty types who can turn her hand to most creative things and produce excellent results.
I have number of her prints and drawings as well as several of her ever inventive and classy Christmas cards.
I know if I tried this technique it would look like a four year had done it but not in a good way: a simple but striking design.
Thanx again K

Friday, 19 December 2008

Interview Inflation

Nice moment of Today this morning
: some senior union representative from Unity was on defending the government bailing out the private and non-Uk owners of Jaguar and Range Rover (but not Woollies). Asked how many jobs would be lost he said initially around 13,000 missed a beat realising this was not half the number lost at Woollies he immediate starts inflating and in series of jumps had got it up to at least 60,000.

Lots of people losing their jobs isn’t funny but let’s be honest about it eh?

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

I’m dreaming of a very white very posh Christmas

What we learned from tonight's telly:
a Christmas hamper of posh foodies

Nigella's Christmas kitchen: I decided to skip over the artifice of the whole affair and see if the food is any good; well she started off well with most of the programmes including hard liquor in various forms. Most cooking programmes are content to sniff the odd glass of wine (never beer mind) but Nigella made a martini with the merest hint of lychees liqueur in it which looked good.

Other cocktails just involved pouring booze into jugs excellent. The food was the usual over the top stuff all fairly doable. If you can bare a show with more theatrical winks than Frankie Howerd in summer season and parties full of Nigella's fake friends its harmless Christmassy fun. One thing did start to pall tonight they dubbed the hubbub of a party over the festive shots sadly it sounded more like a staff canteen than the noise the 6 or so people artfully snuggled round N's table would make.

Before Ms Lawson was a repeat of Rick Stein's Christmas food heroes which was the usual stuff Rick goes round the country enthusing about food not much to say really although I could have done without another lecture from Rick about people wanting cheap food, multi millionaire foodies like Rick and Hugh ex Etonian-complicated name going on how the rest of us should order our pheasants from the local wood is just tiresome.

Last up and most annoying is Willie's chocolate starfish Christmas Infomercial: this is one channel 4 annoying lifestyle programmes which is just an extended advert for which ever upper middle class twonk business is on the show. People complain about the poshness of Nigella's faux lifestyle when Willie's and his even posher wife's lifestyle is "real" and therefore even more tiresome filled with semi staged nonsense and shots of his ever so kath kidson aspirational posh people lifestyle (with every recipe with added chocolate of course).

One dodgy point earlier on Rick visited a stilton factory and had to wash and cleanse his hands etc before going in Willie blithely wanders onto his factory and starts doling out homemade mince pies to the his factory staff mmmmm lovely 80% coco butter chocolate with added spit, pastry crumbs and bacteria somebody call the environmental health. Or maybe these are faux eastern Europeans in his faux factory.

To finish off the tosh the film company shipped in a snow machine to gild that bit more the lives of Willie and his spoilt brood, gilded like his un-ironic gold flake encrusted (chocolate natch) cheese cake.

Sorry I'm forgetting myself this is the season of goodwill to all men but can't we make an exemption for poshboy ex ad men and there so called "cottage" industry foodie empires.

Oh and the hilarious killing the turkey story was lovely too.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Carrybag man

Watching the Detectives:

I've enjoyed the series of Wallander films starring Kenneth Branagh on BBC1 the last 3 Sundays; they seemed above the usual Sunday night fare of Heart beat and midsummer murders. I liked the bleakness and the slightly alien nature of the setting. Branagh has always been a good screen actor being most effective close up, whispering on camera is skill that many can't master. He's also suitably rough looking but with enough humour and humanity to show why people will work/care for him.

I do however worry that faced with possibly only three films the producers felt they had to get every hardboiled detective cliché in the book into one short series:

So Episode one we had the detective has difficult relationship with his father and also fellow cop gone bad.
Episode 2 saw the lead character falls for a hot but troubled women who turns out to be involved in the crime (see every episode of Morse ever). Also included title character gets help with computer problem from hotshot supernerd hacker who he once arrested. Virtually every detective novel from 1990's had something about computers in it; they were to that decade what telegrams and train timetables to Miss Marble and Holmes were to theirs: the Scarpetta novels sometimes read like Windows dos manuals!

Episode 3: serial killer puts member of lead characters family at peril I can't think of a single crime series that hasn't had this one.

If they gone onto Episode 4 I was half expecting Wallander struck down by diabetes solves the crime from his sick bed a la "Poirot is unwell" et al.

Don't get me wrong I don't mind these clichés, genera fiction relies on them and I do like Wallander, I was particularly taken in this last episode that he carried around one of those thin orange and white striped carrier bags from the offy. This was pleasing as I thought Greeny Swedes would have banned them but also because it looked right and wasn't cool. Proper detectives do survive on corner shop food, pasties and lion bars washed down with red bull and Fanta so old ken toting his flimsy bad looked right.

The whole show was 10 times better than the recent woeful Rebus adaptations.

Hopefully they'll make some more.

To celebrate Wallander and his offy bag he's another grumpy northern malcontent Mark e Smith singing about his!

Ripping good fun

Public service announcement:

Griffin Imic does work with Vista.

I while ago I wrote about how to rip music from vinyl particularly if you have laptop that doesn't have a dedicated soundcard.

Here's my other post on this.

One of the minor annoyances of everything breaking in the flat including my laptop was getting all my gizmos to work with Vista. One of which is the Griffin Imic external USB soundcard. This post is to help others in the same position.

Griffin in big letters on their website says that "The iMic hardware is not compatible with the Microsoft Vista operating system.". Which I think means they aren't writing any new drivers.

However when I plugged in my Imic into the usb port, things started to happen, drivers downloaded and all seemed fine. I downloaded audacity (and the separate lame mp3 file) and tried a test recording of vinyl using the ear phone socket on my hi-fi amp into the usb socket using the imic in line-in mode.

Playing a tune and pressing record the sound levels bar started moving but only in one channel. I also couldn't monitor the music recording via the laptop speakers. Checking with Griffin I supposed this was what they meant by doesn't support Vista and resigned myself to some grumpiness and having to buy a new usb soundcard.

However a few days later playing around with Audacity to edit an existing mp3 audacity still wasn't working (independent of the Imic) this was until I found the options tab on Audacity and set the playback to my "laptop speakers". I and also ticked the box for "stereo recording" (the default rather oddly is for "mono") and I could then edit the mp3.

Having solved this I tried again with using the Imic for ripping tunes.

1. First I plugged everything in.

2. On the vista control panel I made sure the sound settings where set so Imic was the input device and the playback was via my speakers.
3. In Audacity I did the same in options.

4. I clicked record on audacity and lowered the needle on my turntable and both sound level meters jumped into action and sound came out of my (tinny) laptop speakers and a stereo track recorded on my laptop.
5. I could then play around with it as usual.

So the answer is Griffin Imic usb Soundcard does work on vista as an input device I haven't used it as output device as I usually play mp3's through my stereo via my Nokia 95 phone.

I'm not sure if this just my dell laptop but if you've got an Imic and new vista machine it's worth ago. I can't guarantee it will work on every machine but the combination of Imic and audacity is useful and cheap way of ripping music onto soundcard less laptop so give it a go.

Search questions.

Ripping music to laptop using vista

Does griffin imic support vista?

How do I rip music without a soundcard?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Shoe, shoe, you horrible beast...

Bush whacked!
Top marks to the Iraqi journalist for throwing his shoes at Bush, pricking the bubble even as in this case it's a low wattage type like Bush is always worth a go.

Not sure if these where his actual shoes or he took a pair along special, even so nice move. I thought it was funny that the commentators kept telling us this is a terrible insult in the Islamic world, strange because throwing your shoes at someone is sign of friendship and respect in Britain!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Same old story.......

Why are all modern Christmas films the same?

I was sorting things out this afternoon and had my 5 channels on (still no freeview) and there were a number Christmassy films on, Elf on, channel 4 one about skating and reindeer on 5. There were more last weekend and stacks more to come. The depressing thing is that all recent xmas films only have one plot ie. materialistic person who hates this time of year falls in love with it all again usually via some over optimistic type.

Yesterday the Muppet Christmas Carol was on and here lies the problem as this is were they get their stories from and they all suffer from the problem Dickens had which is Scoorge is much more interesting when he's nasty. So they all trun out abit bland which may be the point I haven't seen bad Santa but I bet he doesn't end bad.

How about some new Christmas films how about someone who loves Christmas too much and has to learn to turn it down abit. Or a rebellion in santas toy factory or how about a film about real British christmas not the "love actually version "where people snog in their pants in the show at Borough Market but you know grim office parties, burnt veggie cutlets, queuing in Argos and having your debit card declined, getting cards from people who haven't written in ages, cheery eastend pubs that open up at minutes notice to give lunch to a random assortment of vaguely related shouty market traders (oh that's christmas Eastenders) any how about anew story.

Advent day 14: What I really want for Christmas......

More picture scans, this time of minature railway postcards Hurrah! I like the brooding angst in the face of the "driver" it all seems a bit DylanThomas some how. There's a few more over on flickr.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Advent Day9: Hair of the Dog.

Great hangover cures of out time:
No12: the Sting.
Forget raw eggs, or tomato juice, oysters or even Irn bru.
As seen on The Sting just now if your feeling rough this festive seasons can I suggest being dumped under the shower by Robert Redford after that take one large block of ice approx. 3 kg break into small pieces with an ice pick mix with water and immerse entire head in the bowl, I do feel it may be kill or cure.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Advent Day: Stealthy Christmas tunes:

Hear Emily Play

Some tracks take on the feel of this time year without ever mentioning a single bauble or featuring a hint of sleigh bells.

Take this slice of Folk pop melodrama from Paul Simon & Art Garfunkle. It's from their 1966 Lp "Parsley ,Sage, Rosemary & Thyme", which I got on vinyl a year or so ago, mainly because it's got their classic poignant carol "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night"on it .

However "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her" has a sense of winter about it ,mentioning frosty fields and cathedral bells and it is ever so dramatic.
Please excuse the odd pop and crackle, just think of them as a log fire glowing in the hearth! It's got some lovely guitar on it too.

Lastly being from the 60's its commendably short, lasting little longer than the time it takes a snowflake to melt on your palm.

"For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her" by Paul Simon & Art Garfunkle

One last run out

Oliver Postgate: 1921-2008
Where to start how about the astonishing poetry and Celtic sadness in Ivor the Engine, the scene where Ivor sits crying in a siding because he can't swim in sea with the rest of the choir, unheard of in children's animation the episode ends at this poignant point. Elsewhere the strangeness and fun of the clangers and bagpus all of which seem to have sprung seemingly nowhere. I met his goddaughter at party once and she was full of stories of what good and principled man he was.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

How does it feel......

To Brixton on Friday with T& W to "have it large" (or whatever the term is nowadays) we went to Hive first for some snap, it was one those bar/bistro/pub/club places which wasn't sure what it wants to be, so it sells burgers but also has a less than accomplished DJ playing tunes (too loud, dodgy mixes, stopping the record that's playing, obvious tunes).

After that we wandered in icy rain round the corner to the Canterbury Arms for "How does it feel to be loved?"club night. I do like the Canterbury it's a jolly place refreshing cheap booze friendly accepting staff with the add fun of HDIF.

For those benighted ones among you HDIF is the home of all things good in music, mainly old school Indie and soul but other things too. We had a really good time as always.

It's always good just to hear the music you like played nice and loud in the company of other people who loved it as much (in some cases more so) than you.

Where else would you hear this minimal classic?

Lee Remick by the Go-Betweens

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Men Behaving Ladly

When Noah was a lad....

Out into the cold clear afternoon to my local shop (slightly hungover), inside the Cypriot (?) staff are putting up decorations. It’s an eternal scene the youngest lad is the up the ladder while the slightly older one holds it, every now again he gives it a shake and teases his clambering mate. The lad up the ladder then appeals to the owner of the shop but to no avail as he just laughs and tells them to get on with it and stop messing around.

Sociologists have spent years trying to explain this scene with lots of talk of hierarchies and alpha males etc. it’s such an old thing you can imagine Noah and his sons acting the same way in their shipyard. In the end it’s just the way men through time have found of making boring jobs that bit more fun.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Life in spin (dryer)

Co-op not a bunch of Knobs
The EMP that's hit my flat causing most things electrical to give up the ghost may be coming to an end as my new washer just turned up on time when they said they would Hurrah for the co-op!

I thought my life was going to end up like the clip bellow in a "subtle blend of psychology and extreme violence!".... did I tell you how my smoke alarm made me think I'd finally contracted tinnitus no, well maybe another time..

We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing!
The symbols of civilisation are back in place I have Heat, Cold & Hygiene, now all I need is access to endless re-runs of Mock the Week and Top Gear and life will be complete!

Advent Day 4:

Signs of the seasons: the shops are full of Knock Off Bailey's

I'm never entirely sure that the wise men didn't turn up to Mary & Joseph's gaff with some pringles, some screen wash and a bottle weird "cream" based liqueur.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Advent day 3: Dolly and Kenny special

I do like this sleeve it's manic and festive and it's got a stuffed deer's head. The songs a bit 80's on the clip you have to put up with creaky acting for 2 mins before it kicks in. Anyway I think christmas at Dollywood last for 3 months so things could be worse.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

things fall apart.........

It was working when I left it

So let's get this right, first the fridge turned into a rampant glacier and had to be got rid of, then the stove went bang and the kicthen has to be re-wired then the washer stopped pumping out and tie dyed my new shirt and now the freeview box has lost it's memory......

One could get paranoid.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Advent Day 2: Postcard from Swedish girls

Hot Swedish girls!
Well that’s got your attention, as part of a sort out I’ve been scanning photos and postcards and came across these jolly scamps.

Intriguingly it’s from “ the Swedish girls” “Sissi & Kirstin” who were sadly missing from my childhood Christmases, It’s shame I think they may have brightened up things even more!

Speaking of Sweden we must talk about pop and one of my lps of the year.

More Modern Short Stories From...

It’s by Hello Saferide. Which is Annika Norlin and some friends , she writes in a poppy rocky sort of way with some mid 80’s big music production like you’d find on Waterboys songs or similar. I think some people might find her singing affected in a mid-atlantic way, but well I like it.

Her songs are mix of personal and broader issues with details of her life eg losing your virginity, waiting for a new boyfriend to turn up, but with added depth for example in the song about her first time she exposes the awkwardness of such occasions and contrasts it with the dullness of her Saturday job in a shoe shop. It could all fall into deepest excesses of singer song writer confidential therapy records but the music and wit save it. Also being Swedish there’s a hint of chill in the air making ideal for this time of year.

The best songs are "Anna" about those a parallels lives we might have lived. and "Arjeplog" (it’s a little town in Northern Sweden) a lovely love song perfect to listen to whilst you imagine that those flakes are floating down.

So maybe one for stocking fillers
Her’s her Xmas song Ipod christmas. Over at the excellent Swedesplease

and there's song over here

Little Drummer Boy

There's no getting away from it now Christmas will be here soon enough so I'm dusting off the advent calendar to celebrate this enjoyable if occasionally annoying season.

Little Drummer Boy Year 2

Advent Day1: I blame my parents they always encourage us as kids to make Christmas and birthday cards and the habit sort of stuck. So after a few years of making music compilations I was running out of good Xmas tunes and struck on the idea of making a Xmas film. I'd always liked Lows Yuletide EP and after seeing a drummer boy clockwork toy worked up the idea of him being chased by a killer robot initially across a number of famous London venues but eventually settled for things I could make in flat out of tinfoil and wrapping paper. It took a few nights to make mainly because I was using my cheap stills digital camera which could only record a few minutes of film before I had to transfer the shots to my borrowed laptop. Then using Microsoft movie maker I edited it. The whole thing if you excluded the cost of the borrowed laptop and the camera cost around £30 quid in clockwork toys, baubles and tangerines!

Broadcast yourself

When I made it in 2005 YouTube wasn't around (or if it was wasn't well know) so I spent some more evenings burning 20 or so cd's to send out to my family and friends as cards. They all seemed to enjoy it. That was that until last year by which time YouTube had grown to in effect the 6th TV channel in Britain and so I up loaded it.

I have to admit I was pleased after a day or so that 20 or 40 people had watched it, this quickly turned to 100's and by the end of January 20,000. It's many times more popular than any other of my films due mainly to the popularity of the tune.

I do find it thrilling that a film you make literally in your bedroom (mines a studio flat!) can be seen by a fair sized football crowd. Of course I doubt if many of the viewers have watched it all but even so they seen 30 seconds of my film. In fact this does raise an interesting idea if I was making it now would you change it? The opening scenes where meant to be a montage of
Christmassy things which would introduce the theme and it takes almost a minute it introduce the main characters of the drummer boy and the robot so maybe if I were re-cut it for YouTube I would literally cut to the chase a bit quicker, but you know what I'm not going to mainly because editing stuff is time consuming and fiddly but also the film fits the song and if some bored Danish teenagers tunes out before the main scenes more fool them!


Talk of the audience brings me to the comments underneath; it's not new to say that YouTube comment posts don't show humanity at our best. Even the gratefully received positive ones are less than flattering being the usual "lol" "cool film" variety, the others fall into the cultural differences column with discussion of why there's tangerine in film.

The is also usual boastful pride filled evangelical nonsense as the god botherers storm in as, as the song is religious we get lots of random blessing that and Jesus stuff plus over literal analysis of the song i.e. did Jesus play the drums?

Lastly up is the abuse usually saying how bad the film or that they hate Jesus or Christmas.

I'm not saying the negative stuff doesn't affect me I just don't know why anyone would bother that much, I've seen hundreds of poor film on YouTube but rarely feel need to abuse the maker (or more likely poster) one guy (ivcam1021) recently told me to "next time ask a pro" . Which I didn't understand "ask a pro" what? How to make films but YouTube is all about broadcasting yourself it's about amateur film making or maybe he's a pro and I should email him when I want to film a radar tower and stick some electronica over the top! One thing I will guarantee is that anyone on YouTube who leaves a negative comment if you follow their name tag back to their profile won't have made any films of their own and are effectively anonymous, this sort of thing happens a lot less on flickr where if you slag off someone's snaps there's a good chance they'll swing by you page and could have something pithy to say about your collection of pics.

On the whole I think it's all funny really why do people think anyone gives a toss what some misanthropic teenager in Denmark thinks about a song written by some slow speaking Mormon stuck on a film about clockwork toys by a slight obsessive bloke from Yorkshire.

anyway my films out there and it looks like because it's a Christmas film it will be watched for years to come all things being equal, already this Christmas 3 or 4 thousand views have clicked on it which brings us back to positive note on which to end.

If you have an idea and small amount of money you can make film and if it's any good people will watch, people however odd all over the world will see your film which is frankly very cool so happy advent I'm off to check my viewing counter one more time.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Minature Shaggy Dog story of the weekend

Originally uploaded by kymagirl
Billy Connolly was doing one of his "world tours" last night and had this good gag.

Bonnie Prince Charlie: the only king named after 3 sheepdogs

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Record of The Week

3rd Floor Electricals, records and single entendtres go up!

Just been down the market, this is the one that got a way! I got some good stuff mind but I promised myself to keep the tat count down to a minimum.

Record of The Week
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

Friday, 28 November 2008

Today's news

The things we have in common.
Listening to the news this morning there were some interviews with commuters in Mumbai ,the striking thing about them was their similarity to those we heard from Londoners in the wake of the 7th July bombings.

The interviews were filled with a mixture of defiance, resilience and humour but also we heard from people who were obviously scared and some who seemed very reluctant to be out and about but had to pay the bills.

I shouldn’t have been surprised as one of the things we all forget especially terrorists and other men of violence is that the things we all have in common far outweigh any of our perceived differences be they political, religious or ethnic divides.

The concerns, goals and beliefs of people everywhere are remarkably similar. It’s one of my hopes that these commonalities will eventually help us see off nihilistic and brutal acts like those in Mumbai,
but some days you do wonder.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Nice sleeve shame about the song.

I'm not sure if Thor Heyerdahl
who was one these names of my childhood along with Jacque Cousteau and Doug Scott knew what he was doing when he unleashed the name kontiki it's everywhere.So I'm happy to bring this choice example of what only I'm calling the "wild pop from the Costas" I'm strangely drawn to these records safe in knowledge that most of their tunes are rotten, it's just that the sleeves look so optimistic. I know that Spanish tourism sank into egg & chips and cheap lager clichés but there was a naive charm to the early developments which probably weren't that bad in that they had nice beaches, warm sea and friendly Spanish people staffing them. For people reared on wet weekends in Morecambe, potatoes omelettes and weird ham washed down with local cava must have a refreshing change even if the band in the bar were a bit pony. Sadly none of the tunes are worth sharing.

Scans from seven inch singles of Kontiki Hotel Majorca house band'

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Comet bunch of knobs update

We love electricals it's our customers we can't stand

So the stove just arrived: the Comet delivery guy rang at 8.30 saying he'd be 40 mins. So I've waited in for 6 hours.

When laughing boy from Comet finally wanders up he's on the phone and I have to stand holding the flat door open while he lies to his next customer he doesn't even acknowledge I'm there for a couple of minutes, he eventually hangs up, lies to me and then he and his mate swop the new for old cooker all of 3 minutes work. Comet then are crap.

So it's hardly worth bothering with my day off, it's now getting dark, the papers out of date, the markets packed up, and the bakers will be out of bread.

UPDATE: About half an hour ago Comet rang up to check on their service needless to say I didn't give them a glowing report, mainly the inability to say when they were turning when they knew from 9 this morning ther was no way they'd be with me in the morning.

With shops closing left right and centre keeping yopur customers happy must be the way forward.

Things to do while you wait for the man with your new stove to arrive

  1. Become a rubbish wildlife photographer, honestly the finches on the tree outside my flat we great but my pictures are rubbish the only one that's any good every single one of the birds is facing the other way!
  2. Have a little nap.
  3. Get excited about an Amazon parcel arriving it's some *whispers* Christmas tunes
  4. Make a complicated sandwich in this case Hot bacon , thinly sliced cabbage, dill pickle with a splash of mustard in flat bread, with some hula hoops (plain of course) an orange, and 3 coxes, washed down as I'm on my day off a glass of beer(sadly only Kroneburg)
  5. Clean the space where the cooker is going, don't know why as it will be filled with cooker again soon (well let's hope the guy is already 4 hours late)
  6. Put off reading the paper on line because you were going to go out to the market and get a real paper and some bits.
  7. Not start on your Christmas cards as the moment you do the stove will arrive see also have a bath , prune mint and rosemary bushes.
  8. Spend too long trying to get a £2.30 usb Bluetooth dongle to work with your stereo maybe you should have specced the built in one after all but it was £40.
  9. Try not to curse the cut in Vat which would have paid for the Bluetooth module on your new laptop!
  10. Try to not to get too Christmassy listening to your new cd.
  11. Wonder if today is the day the really good films are on in the afternoon unlike the days when you are at work and they show "Brief encounter", "the third man" and "the Colditz story" before Countdown but you're not putting the TV on otherwise you'll watch docs about Hitler, auction programmes and old episodes of ER's all day.

    4 and half hours the beggars have not still turned up.............

Sunday, 23 November 2008

May I reccommend

Gears & Louthing In the East of England
Can I point to the blogger formely know as "EX-CovBlogger" who's back in saddle in several ways and is trying to cycle round the North Sea amongst other things. KF takes excellent pictures and knows where the best cafes are so for a less urban take on things have look here at On Me Bike.

Give my Love to Erith

Here' s today's new film!

Having a computer that can edit video without crashing means I can whiz through my backlog like a dream plus its dark outside all the time...

So here's some film of Erith its a contemplative piece of some of the rough and ready sights around the marshes there. The music by the excellent "Epic 45" off shoot "July Skies". The film quality is better than my sloe one I think YouTube squeeze your films so the longer the film the more detail they lose.

Like the Sixties didn’t happen...

When did Britain stop being Grey (or if you will gray)?

I only ask as the first sentence of last night "kings of glam" doc on BBC2 last night was along the lines of "In the early 70's Britain was a gray dull country but that was all about to change".

Now did I miss another meeting as I thought the sixties had banished greyness from these shores at least that's what the same programme makers we telling us well last week! I'm afraid it did encourage me to watch more.

Looking out the window this morning you hard pressed to imagine that Britain was ever colourful but that's a different story.

ps. my fab new laptop has the new version of Ms Office Word on it and I blogged this straight to blogger and it's worked with no problem isn't technology sometimes marvellous...

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Modern Conundrums Vol 12

Modern Conundrums Vol 12
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

Why do you need to get into tin of beans faster than a tin of custard?

And yes I eat tinned custard, I had it with some plums cooking in sloe gin, I know, I know it shows some moral faliure in me not making it from scratch but it tastes nicerer out of a tin.It is Ambrosia after all....... the food of the gods.

Sloe daze

Here's my latest film from the warmer sunnier days of late Autumn. I may try a different video streaming channel the quality on Youtube is rubbish my pinsharp shots full of wood grain and grass stems just end up as blocky pixels, anyone have any suggestions it looks great on my lap top.

Just Like Christmas?

Koko Camden
19th Nov 2008

To Koko with PB to see Low . Now I am wary of this but it was labelled “Christmas Concert”, I’m only wary as I like to keep discussion of Yule to December but I imagine that they wanted to be home for Xmas and so toured the UK now.

We got there at the start of the support who were called Ida and who both agreed where strange support as they were very similar to Low almost like a cover band. They had guitarist, a fiddle player and a harmoniumist and singer. They played very pretty precise folky acoustic numbers very similar to a none electric low songs. They weren’t too bad and the crowd listened intently I just think some variety was needed. One of the reason they were supporting it turns out is that they formed part of Low later in evening.

After a short break Low came on much like Granddaddy without us noticing.
As an intro Alan Sparhawk started to dedicate the gig to john Peel and the Obamas but got interrupted by a loud mouth in crowd. That being said Sparhawk has the slowest discourse in the history rock whole seconds go by between words giving pointers to their slow contemplative style.

Big mouth Strikes again
The first 40 minutes of the gig was recent material played as a 3 piece guitar, bass and drum and cymbal. Which was excellent with good range of songs from across their lps. Then Ida and another drummer joined them for the trance like Shots and Ladders followed by the Christmas portion of gig to great effect. I’ll even allow them their reggae tinged up beat number (as it’s that time of year) they did a new song called Come Santa which was marvellously mad (and almost metal) in that they made Santa coming seem like threat. After this another loud mouth in the crowd shout out his complaint that Low weren’t the low he knew which was strange as the gig was much like every other I’ve seen and that it did say Christmas show on the ticket any way he was well put down by the band. Anyway they continued with the Christmas songs including Just like Christmas their stone cold classic.

As to why Low work is the way that Sparhawk's and Mimi Parker's voices harmonise and meld to form a continuum, it has a slight stark hymnal quality (which isn’t surprising) and which really like the sparse and the dynamics of the songs bring them alive thus saving them from falling into shoegazing introspection.

Highlight for me: was Canada, Shots and Ladders and One perfect Gift.

Anyway especially after Lambchop the other week Low where excellent it might not have been just like Christmas but it was certainly a good advert for advent.
I wrote a bit about miserable Camden pubs but PB beat me to it!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

an exciting new arrival!!!!

BLTP is happy to announce ......
My new laptop arrived yesterday Hurrah! It’s all slightly annoying because my old Pc was perfectly useable except because I’m a sloughful klutz and an idiot I managed to break the screen, twice. The second time it wasn’t worth paying to have it mended so I had to get a new one.

My new one is really good and nice and shiny and it turned up when they said it would and it works well and the screens hasn’t got any greasy thumb marks on it and the hard drives not full of pictures and tunes and so it runs really quickly and I made a little film on it last night while watching Newsnight and it didn’t crash half way through, so I’m really happy.

Of course because it’s a nice silver Dell and not Apple Mackintosh my film will be less creative than it could be, the pictures stored on it will automatically be slightly out of focus and badly framed my emails that bit less witty, my hair less shiny, and my teeth that bit less pearly white. Because I use a pc I will just be a worse person morally supine and basically very unattractive. But do you know what I can live with that I would rather be snuggled down with a Dell, HP with my printer, my tunes streaming a long in my Motorola, than deluding myself ...... Oh, I don’t want to Nokia Apple but what’s the big deal with the dirty Mac brigade its all iiiii with them; computers are in reality just elaborate electric pencils after all.

Anyway I’m off to edit some more film from the last sunny day of the year, when we picked apples and drank beer in the warm autumn light, if you see it you can try to spot which of my friends use Macs and which use pc’s and while your doing that I hope you notice that once again that advertisers have divided us all up into little beautifully designed boxes.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Things we learned this weekend although I’m not sure how much use they are or how deeply they will sink in.

To Hyde Park and Saatchi Gallery and that there Kings road with E.R.R.S in the gloom and icy winds.

Learning point: Hyde Park was full of Alsatians, a Ferris wheel and roller bladders. Also that the best suggestion for my costume for my works “1970’s fancy dress” lower circle of hell (sorry Christmas Party) was to go as Shirley Crabtree sorry Big Daddy. As you can imagine although this might be a wheeze I fear the horror of me in leotard matched with incomprehension on the faces of the 23 years dressed in flares and porn wigs might make it pointless. My earlier suggestions of true seventies characters to go as, didn’t go down well: so scratch a skinhead, a trade union convener, and a member of the Red Army Faction. I fear I main have some Un-anesthetised root canal work booked on the night in question.

Knightsbridge: was Knightsbridge, lots of people trudging along to buy some thing to get a bag at Harrods. Loads of shops whose names I only ever see on bottles of scent. I couldn’t tell if trade was good as these shops are fairly empty at the best of times. Anyway not having 1,657 quid for jacket we chugged down to Sloan square and into the Saatchi gallery.

Learning point: I don’t have the Armani Code but I think you have to dial 9 for outside line and M for murder.

I have to admit I didn’t know it was such a big affair, I never managed to go to either of his previous gaffs , so this huge old Georgian barracks off kings road is impressive if very brightly lit.

At the moment it’s full of Art from China which I have to admit was a bit patchy and uninvolving apart from the odd painting and a installation in basement. This installation had lifelike dummies of aged world leaders and religious types in electric wheelchairs randomly moving around stopping robotically when they crashed into each other. It was engaging, in a sort of "we are all the same under the skin death comes to us all how the mighty are brought low sort of way".

The rest of the gallery wasn't that vital but it was all free, seems to be well run, so good luck to him.
Learning points: You can take pictures in Saatchi gallery, the British Museum but not the VA.

After seeing some the best Xmas lights (more of which in 14 days time!) and a bit of bus spotting we retired to the bar of the Royal Court Theatre, which is nice apart from some shrieking student thesps who seemed to be having the first drink ever and also they were out of Dabs, cheese, sausage well most things, but we did have nice time : congrats to E & R by the way.

After that we retired (further) to The Antelope which for this horribly Yahry area of town wasn’t too bad with Tasty Fullers on tap.
Learning point: I have some very nice friends Hurrah!

Other things I’ve learnt.

I Heard Enya on the Radio and she seemed not at all away fairies, seemed quiets normal if a bit arty, she even did a song that didn’t seem too bad.

This is the oldest news going but I was sorting out my cd’s and collected up all the free DVD they give you with paper and because it was raining watched the film of Buena Vista social club. Now I haven’t knowingly heard the lp always the way through but the film was really good it’s by Wim Wenders and was nicely shot.

The main singers and players are really serene and accepting ......anyway you’ve all seen it probably but I was really enthralled.

Because they introduced themselves and gave there age before their interviews, my term of Spanish came in handy “mi nombre Ibrahim….
Oh Learning point: all the BVSC’s songs are pure filth! They all seemed to be about the effect Maria’s arse has on you when you are on the beach which is as it should be.... oh and they all seems to have lived to be 90 whilst smoking cigars like a babies legs and 2 of them didn’t know who President Kennedy was.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Can you judge people by the company they keep?

Freud and theory of your public self*:

In G2 today they have ridiculously long article about Elisabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud, not sure why, I think the media is more impressed by high flying media people than the rest of us.

It’s a bit of a long piece so I couldn’t be arsed reading it, I mean what with the cartoons, the ingredient list on a packet of viscounts and TFL’s refund policy to read my times full, but from the pictures it must be a stitch up as they show Freud hobnobbing with some the slimiest wretches going (his sister, Kevin Spacey and George Martin excepted) I mean once you’ve shaken hands with Mandleson, Piers “ Toad of Toad hall” Morgan** and Angus Deayton how many fingers would you have left and that’s before you share a Christmas morning breakfast table with Rupert Murdoch.

Obviously maybe Freud turns Pier Morgan’s stomach that being the case can you imagine how grim he must be, it would like being a piece of discarded day old kebab meat that even the gulls won’t fight over.

* I included the picture of the couch to piss the Freuds off, who I bet are hacked off with all their puns and jokes based around their forebear.

** I know toads are wonderful animals and not at all slimy we need something that doesn’t criticise blameless animals but is really horrible but is balanced I mean the only other things I could think of were tyrants and murders and that’s not really proportional any suggestions we need something more than just “rancid turd”

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Charity begins at home?

Middleaged tax exiles in need:
I left the radio tuned to Radio 2 after lsitening to Mark Radcliffe last night and caught a few minutes of Wogan just now. They were doing a celebrity auction for Children in Need.

Now I've got nothing against Pudsey and his mates (In fact groups I've worked with have benefitted from the money given) but this auction was deeply annoying.

It's called "Things that money can't buy" (or something similar) and people can bid to have dinner with people of the telly etc. Firstly the titles wrong because clearly if you've got 20 grand you can have dinner with the bloke of that cardiff Dr Who knock off. Also isn't this another example of communisn for the rich capitlism for the poor? When you or I chip in for charity all we expect back in retrun is a paper poppy or perhaps a smile. Rich people when they give want a "night of their lives" (is it technically gving if you get something of equal value in return.)

S0 the whole thing seems to have very little to do with giving and is more about a ego massage for thoe invovled. I aslo think it's different from going to charity gig becuse when i'm at benefit I'm not on national radio crowing about my generosity (well done to anon bidders by the way) nor am trying to claim some superiority and seperate myself from the herd........ look at me I'm having a creme caramel with Joanna Lumley , look she's smiling sweetly as I go on about my house in portugal .... look I think she's about to ring up the Gurkhas and have me whacked...

So it's simple if you want to give to chairity go ahead and give, prefrably by Gift Aid so the charity can get the tax back . Don't flatter youself that munching chicken salad in the Ivy with the cast of Holby City makes you St Francis of Assisi.
Lastly if you want a charity to support can I suggest Oxfam there are very good with kids everywhere.

The Espistles of St Paul's

The Writings on the Dome.

I saw this on the way home last night and so I thought I'd make film, it's a installation by Mark Firrell made up of post from a blog (*added later*and it turns out the dean of the Cathedral and philospher AC Grayling).
It was a nicely engaging piece the banal ,sometimes gnomic posts reflecting the diverse and sometimes pompous, sometimes profound thoughts of the Cathedral's visitors. Anyway here's my film shot on my phone apologises for the rough cut I wanted to get it out instead of fretting over every last second. It's better viewed full screen so you can read the words clearly.
Here's the Artist Mark Firrell's website

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Acts of remembrance

Sgt Fred Lindley

I found this the other day it’s from the Barnsley Pals website the soldier described Fred Lindley came from the village I grew up in, he lived at the bottom of the village, the opposite end to us up on the “common”. He seems to have lived down Spark lane so named after the nail works that were once beside the road. He probably worked in the pit next to my primary school, its’ dark seams extending under our hillside village and causing bits of it to sag and subside. The pits gone and there’s Italian restaurant and a tanning shop at Four lanes ends but he’d probably recognize bits of it.

His family name sounds familiar and as kid I probably unknowingly stood in front it every November during our Church’s service of remembrance. Fred’s name should be on our village memorial in the little walled off garden opposites the Foster’s baker shop.

Fred more than likely had a hard life and seemingly was old for a soldier being 32 when he enlisted and went onto survive only a couple of years of the Great War. The surprising figure of George Orwell gives us a glimpse of the harsh world Fred came from in a description of miners cottage in our village some 15-20 years later here it is.
(from “the road to Wigan Pier”)
“House in Mapplewell (small mining village near Barnsley). Two up, one down. Living-room 14 ft by 13 ft. Sink in living-room. Plaster cracking and coming off walls. No shelves in oven. Gas leaking slightly. The upstairs rooms each 10 ft by 8 ft. Four beds (for six persons, all adult), but ‘one bed does nowt’, presumably for lack of bedclothes. Room nearest stairs has no door and stairs have no banister, so that when you step out of bed your foot hangs in vacancy and you may fall ten feet on to stones. Dry rot so bad that one can see through the floor into the room below. Bugs, but ‘I keeps ‘em down with sheep dip’. Earth road past these cottages is like a muck-heap and said to be almost impassable in winter. Stone lavatories at ends of gardens in semi-ruinous condition. Tenants have been twenty-two years in this house. Are L11 in arrears with rent, and have been paying an extra 1s. a week to pay this off.”

All this (or similar) and 15 odd years down the pit and then off to the front. I not going to speculate about what he thought about all this I think the one thing he’s earned is the right to his own opinions. Far too many people are quick to put words in the mouths of the dead.
Anyway Fred rest peacefully.

Talk about pppppop music!

We all Love Donny!
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

I’ve just caught up with Charlotte Higgins' piece in the paper. In her own words she was “raised by wolves at the Paris Conservatoire” and listens almost exclusively to classical music. The idea of the piece was for her to give a pop a chance.

One curious things is her definition of pop seems a bit radio 3 circa 1961 (yes I know it wasn't called that then) i.e. music that is "Popular". For instance perversely her first gig is moody log cabin guitar botherer Bon Iver hardly the first artist who springs to mind when you say “POP!” She then moves on to Metallica who seem to be the metal band it’s ok to like. Her ears ringing she moves onto the Streets and an Indie band and finally ends up in a pub listening to some folky singer song writers. She seems to have enjoyed most of it but you feel she may in reality head back to the world of squeaky strings, muffled coughs and weak gin and tonic that is the classical concert hall.

Several thing are puzzling about the piece firstly none of the bands to my mind are Pop bands with the possible exception of the Streets (who doubly perversely aren't that great live). I think most people would recognize pop as the music that runs form warbling X factor wannabies through Girls Aloud et al on to the girl groups of the 60’s , to surf groups, Noddy Holder, the Beatles and the Stones lapping round soul and r & b snuffling through the synths of human League and New Order, marching along with the Housemartins and the Jam sipping some Dylan, tipping a trilby to ska and reggae waving at all sorts of colourful types from anywhere from Sweden to Senegal and ending up on Waterloo Bridge watching the sun go down.

One thing I do think she missed was that a lot of what we think of as great pop only ever existed as peaks and troughs on magnetic tape or nowadays in the memory banks of studio computers. Pop is a product of the recording studio; some of the greatest music ever has been made by people who were only in the same building on one occasion for few hours, meaning that some of the greatest pop bands ever never really existed. So to write about pop your really need to listen to it in the places it was designed to be heard, in the knicker section of Top Shop, leaking out of van windows, barely audible above the scream of the Victoria line, in a thread bare teenage bedroom on the outskirts of Norwich, at a party round your best mates house where you end up dancing with some one you fancy for the first time, in the car coming back from the hospital that time. Pop music is everyday music and therefore far more important than the other sorts.

Of course you can turn down the lights and turn up your 3 grand studio monitors, give the cat a saucer of milk, move your chair to the sweet spot in the room, get you original pressing of “God only knows” out of it’s acid free Mylar bag and sit listening intently with your eyes closed and fingers forming a little church but some how the Beachboys sound just as good when you’ve just put down your shopping on a rainy Thursday night and turned on the radio and come into the song half way through and it makes you stop and smile while you are putting away the ready meals and tatsiki.

One of the main reason I find joy in pop music is that it’s never portrayed as being good for you like the worthier music like classical, jazz and folk music all these are often portrayed as super foods for the soul how some how just by listening to them makes you a better person nobody says this about Softcell or Abba. The reason being is that pop doesn’t care that much about tomorrow it’s to busy living today it’s about rapping your arms around my engine, it’s about meeting him at the candy store, it’s about the day before you came, it’s words of love, it’s about getting off of my cloud, it’s being back for good it’s seconding that emotion and ultimately being lifted higher and higher…..

Of course what the devil do you post from 60 years of POP? I was at a loss I thought they had to be popular rather than obscure but what to hoose so here goes :

Good Times By Chic

Mmbop by Hanson

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Sad news

This is a Local Brewery for Local People:

or Bitter Tetley men (and lasses)

I don’t write that much about drinking mainly because if your best and oldest friend and is a Britain’s Leading Beer Writer you get enough of that at home, as it were and also he’s really good at it. See his piece on why Stella’s gone down hill to see what I mean.

So I’m only writing this because another bit of our culture is being wrecked and because it comes from the none “Norman”* side of the tracks it’s going virtually unreported in the media. The Tetley brewery is going to be closed and in the way of these things moved to Northampton.

Pint of Pride please mate.
Now I could be called traitor in this as I live in London and I have deep fondness for Fuller’s London Pride (don’t worry I will get to Tetley’s) which to my minds is one the top five beers in world. At the end of the day when I walk into a London pub the thing I want most is a pint of Pride. Thanks to BBLW I’ve drunk beers literally from around the world I’ve sipped the most expensive and strongest ale, gingerly sipped bottles of IPA from 1860’s, I’ve supped beers fresh from the Brewery with the guy who made it and they were all interesting, tasty and enjoyable but when the skies flat grey and the taxi lights are playing in the cut glass windows and bouncing of the nicotine stained plaster cherubs somewhere near Soho and your is hair damp from” that fine rain” and you’ve sat through 2 meetings what is the most perfect way to mark the change from work to the rest of your life than a pint of bitter, in my case Pride.

But if I’d just walked down the Headrow into the centre of Leeds and the buses where a different colour but the pubs still wood and etched glass palaces I’d order a pint of Tetley. It would be slightly different from Pride still hoppy but fuller bodied with distinct full almost half inch Yorkshire head. As you take the first sip the beer will spread out and quench your tongue, the foam pleasingly adding to the experience. You might have to wipe the odd fleck of spume from your lips with your hand and then slowly things start to improve. It’s not the alcohol that takes longer to work, it’s some sort herbal chemical physical thing. I do think the functional quality of beer that quenches thirst is part of it’s appeal**.

Being an English session beer you can take a gulp of the first inch or so and wait for distinctive flavour to kick in and so goes the rest of the pint, by the time your halfway down you friends will have arrived and you can put down the paper, you can swop stories and the old jokes can start, fairly soon another round will be in order. Maybe you can then get a table now things “are quieting down”....... well I won’t go on you’ve all been to the pub and hopefully you know where I’m coming from an remember pubs aren’t just for after work there’s Saturday lunch & Monday afternoon and and .... .

Bastions of everyday cheer
Suffice to say pubs are precious institutions quite different from bars, cafés, restaurant, bistros, noodle stands all of which have their place. In recent years pubs have got less blokey and some sell more food which is a good thing but the best still offer a mix of a warm welcome with good things to drink which to my mind should include British local beer.

The fact that my beer of choice is made 5 miles down the road is important to me, I’ll happily argue with people from Leeds or Oregon that my local brew is best and they will do the same and we will all be right. I’ve said it before and will sadly say it again but can you imagine the Kentucky authorities allowing Jack Daniels to close or in France a champagne house to fold. But the government in Britain is under the sway of the wine drinking olive eating Tuscan Bland People and doesn’t care about beer or pubs so stands by and lets Young’s move out of London and now is letting Tetley’s go from Yorkshire.

The shame and terror of on the piss Britain?
They can get rid of Tetley’s partly because we’ve swallowed all the guff about booze Britain “oh why can’t we drink like Mediterraneans” what sit in a strip light lit narrow bar watching petang on a flickering portable tv, drinking indifferent coffee while wearing a vest just outside some pimply 12 year old is loudly revving his Vespa while in the corner some old gaffer finally dies unnoticed save by his flatulent dewy eyed dog yeah provincial French bars are great aren’t they!

Have you tried to find a good place to drink to anywhere outside a big city in Italy on mid week night ohh and last time I was in Madrid there were plenty of teenagers getting wellied on cheap red wine and coke. Here’s a thing I’ve been drinking for over 20 years and do you know I‘ve never had a fight in a pub. Most of the places I go to rarely have any trouble. Sure you see people worse for wear on the tube and there was unfortunate confused street drinker in Camden last night. But the solution to people who takes things to excess isn’t to diminish the lives of the majority and in fact normal everyday pubs aren’t the place people abuse alcohol they do it at home were they can’t be seen they do it after buying cheap strong cider or cheap white wine. Ridding Britain of local beer and the Pubs that go with them will make Britain a worse place to live, it will remove a unique and worthwhile part of our society and leave us watching property programmes on our laptops pecking at bland ready meals with strange names washed down with mediocre half pints of rose brewed in cold bleak sheds in some of distant New Zealand trading estate and here’s the killer there’ll the same amount of drunks in Britain as there ever was.

God’s County
All this I haven’t even got onto Yorkshire’s essential unique character, what other county in Britain has it name sung by football fans? At the match on Saturday after singing our allegiances to the mighty reds and our hatred of W*dn*sd*y chants of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire” sprung up, I’ve never heard this from any other county. It’s a cliché to say that Yorkshire people will say they are from Yorkshire before the name of their town but it’s true, it may sound arrogant I suppose but I think it’s endearing, it points to people who see themselves in a wider context. It helps produce different forms of art, culture and beer it helps move the centre of gravity away from the capital. You can’t buy Taylor’s Northamptonshire Tea can you?
This sort of local character is important and its things like Tetley bitter, local sport, local nature, local industry, obscure names for alleys and bread rolls that form it. If we loose local distinctive cultures we are all diminished even fancy Dan Londoners.

So can I start another campaign, Pride drinkers “say keep Tetley local in Leeds?”
God I need a pint now

*Normans: jumped up Vikings who moved to Northern France and took to drinking wine and stealing other people’s land and who have spent the last 1000 years lording over the rest of us from Parliament, from the pulpits of the Anglican church and from the food and wine pages and columns of the broad sheets. This weekend try to find any mention of Britain’s 400 breweries in the editorial of your weekend rag, see how many beers they recommend on Saturday kitchen to go with their locally grown food!

** I have always wondered about hot countries like Spain or France, do peasants slake their thirst with wine? It’s not a drink to drink like that to my mind.