Thursday, 30 October 2008
At the risk of causing a media feed backloop, my little blog is in the paper today. Without me even trying, my review of the cold war show at the V&A linked to a Victor Keegan piece about taking photos in galleries and the paper found it via technocrati and published it (in extract) in the paper.
Here's the link the to page on the guardian website ,if you want the real artifact it's in the techy section page 4.
here's my piece in full before those terrible Guardian subs cut it to pieces......
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
It's snowing in October and the clocks have gone back.....luckily I found a cd of old pictures so here's the sun going down over Venice.
There's also a little mp3 of various church bells I seemed to have recorded on my camera, so crack open the campari and imagine the tides changed and there's good olives at hand...
Bells of Venice
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
All shall have Prizes
I’m blessed by having intelligent funny and charming friends and family occasionally this fact is recognised by wider community my friend Emma last year got an award for her NHS journalism, Britain’s leading beer writer had some cream added to already jammy job by wining a beer travel writer award and going on jolly to drink more beer in Czech oh and our S got award for Architecture from Jonathon Ross once oh well, anyway.
The latest in the line is most deserving, a giant in his field Mr Warwick Mansell who has been nominated for a Paul Foot campaigning journalism award in private Eye. Warwick (as only his mum calls him!) Has written a proper book about testing and the sats tests and has been following this story for several years so it’s good that he’s been recognized. He’s genuinely nice bloke too, let’s hope he doesn’t win as he only spend the prize on potatoes and Baaaacccon.
Although I’d pay to hear his acceptance speech!
So let's see the Daily Mail et al having got some tweezers out and found a few grains of dirt to pile on top of each other have built enough moral high ground to start going on about Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand. They are as usual just following where others have led sadly in this case me !
I've thought Ross was past his sell by date for a while, his excessive wages have immunised him against complaint and allowed him to gather round him a coterie acolytes to buy off disapproval allowing him to say and do almost anything.
It's funny as I'm for free speech it's just with free speech comes with responsibility, if you say something that's genuinely offensive you have to face the consequences.
The sight however of the fake moral outrage of the rest of the media is almost as offensive.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
aka BLTP's Excellent A-Z adventures:
Volume 12 (probably).
Beigels, bacon and bhajis
So this morning in the increasingly heavy rain I “bussed" it round to Brick lane.
There’s no place in London like Brick lane, where the ineffably cool and the ineffably down at heel rub shoulder. In the space of a few yards you’ll see highly excited modishly attired Japanese art students (madly tall fake fur cossacks hats) fighting over off cuts of leather in a skip, just down from an elderly Asian man hawking his wares in the rain. The man’s cheap anorak was sodden and he had a light orange hat fashioned from a Sainsbury bag on his head. He was morosely stood in front of a meagre square of things for sale; the most saleable being a chipped Whitbread pub ash tray. He may have other sources of income but none of them looked good.
Why don’t you just foccacia somewhere else then….
The area around there has been gentrified since my time or should that be re-gentrified as in Victorian times it was quite “well to do”, the recent influx of money is just the cycle coming round again.
Complaining about gentrification in London is rather futile; after a while it’s really a case of choosing which sort of middle class person you like. The type in Brunswick centre with its Waitrose, Giraffe, and branch of Office do seem to leave a bland trail behind them though. The busy shopping parade that replaced the threadbare charity shops and retro cafes in the Brunswick centre is just so dull. The fact that the shops are packed doesn’t excuse their dullness.
The whole place was quite strange almost like a parallel world, the Renoir cinema was still there but the good cheap Chinese café was missing and the book shops have been shuffled round the corner. The planners and councillors will point to the 3 wheel prams and expensive overcoats as proof that they’ve done their job, it’s just, it’s just well you know, you sometimes just want a chemist that sells night nurse and plasters not face cream at £40 a pot, Waitrose is nice but it’s not cheap.
I was glad to see the Valencia café was still going round the corner. Its’ staff were always pleasingly gruff, the coffee was good and the food was fine if not quite what the American students from the halls of residence round the corner were was use to. I was never sure if it was trick or not but they use to put the salt in a sugar shaker which wasn’t good when you had a hangover.
Saturday, 25 October 2008
We were at the museum for the Cold War design show. It’s a varied and interesting event. Looking at how design developed in the east and west in the post war years, using lots of drawings and models and in the case of bubble cars and hifis examples of the real thing.
There are examples of commercial design but also avant garde cutting edge stuff from students and design teams with numbers instead of names (cool!).
We enjoyed the show but it was a little bitty at times and some of the themed rooms seemed a bit strained. One of the rooms that worked best for me was the space room which had a 1/3 model of a Vostock space capsule, original space suits, wacky chairs and several wonderful telecom towers (hurrah!). I would like to have seen more UK examples of cold war design to put local ideas in a global context.
I got caught taking a snap of the model of the Moscow Telecom tower at the top, I don’t really see why you can’t take pictures in galleries particularly of sculptures etc. I know the arguments about the flash effecting old paper and pigments, so no flash but aside from the odd copyright issue which is frankly nonsense in public galleries. Anyway I got one snap. Victor Keegan in the paper talks about this more.
So the show is worth a visit, the evening opening was pleasingly uncrowned, so give it a go.
The V&A gift shop did have this wonderful item of neckwear: I fear our campaign group may have to adopt them as our uniform.
The only downside of the V&A is that it’s in west London and so there’s nowhere to get a drink or something to eat without a trek how does anyone live round here?
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Here at last top secret plans of the GPO tower! Firstly can I explain the secret part, the plans come from a rather wonderful book the “Eagle annual of cutaways”.
Anyway I found this reprint book (the Eagle Annual of Cutaways)in a comic shop a while ago and bought it for my Dad’s Birthday. On getting it how you can imagine my delight on opening it last week to find on the first page was this marvellous plan of the GPO Tower but I couldn’t post it in case me Dad wandered past here and the surprise was spoilt, hence the secret.
So anyway enjoy the pic sorry for the blurry edge but I couldn’t break the spine of a present to scan it better.
I know most of the world isn’t turned on by cutaway diagrams of 1950’s cargo planes etc but I would heartily recommend you at least open the book in Foyle’s as its a marvel for anyone interested in drawing, design, history, culture, graphics etc.
It's a 100 pages of incredibly detailed technical drawing mostly in colour. It’s dripping with the sensibility of 1950-60’s Britain and even though everywhere is smoky chimneys and meat and 2 veg there’s refreshing optimism of the choice subject. The enthusiasm for science and for a better world is pleasing. It’s also refreshingly un-patronising towards children as the artists assumed that they’ll be interested in more things than football and trainers. They perhaps naively assume that not only racing cars and jet fighters might spark interest but also dustbin Lorries and spectacularly oddly a potato harvester might pique some interest in young minds.
In a similar vein whilst searching for Tower relate stuff I came upon this site which seems to about old telephone exchanges etc it’s even named after the colour (light straw) the metal shelves were painted in the post office. It’s worth a trawl for the old pics of holiday camps etc alone.
I’ll be back soon with new stuff honest.
Ps. there’ll be rocket cutaway on my out of this world site as a Brucie bonus
Yours space cadet Bltp second class
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Another corking Obit today, not my usual fare of VC winners or political activist this time the (wise)guy in question seems a particularly bad lot so bad they should make a film about him......
Monday, 20 October 2008
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to trek down and take some pics of this marvellous addition to south London’s armoury, (yeah watch out you cocky north bankers with your houmous bars and glamorous west end if you get too umpity we’ve got our own armoured division namely this T-34, that pink elephant with a castle on it’s back from just down the road and if you really get above your station we’ll swing round the big guns on HMS Belfast and get all 1944 on your a…… sorry were was I ,oh yes Tanks.
Just off the old Kent road just after the fly over on the northside of the road is this T-34 tank it’s a bit of local curiosity. I think some bloke bought it and put on this patch of land (as some blokes do) the council complained and tried to move it but it turns out to be his land. Anyway it get’s tagged from time to time and numpties like me take pictures of it etc.
Up close it’s really quite impressive and if it didn’t represent some thing terrible you could go on about its sculptural form etc.
This T-34 really shows the power of the tank on our imagination, from the very start they were almost mythical creatures, early cartoons show them like monsters or landships. One of tanks early proponents JFC Fuller was an acolyte of magician Aleister Crowley. Their mere appearance has cleared riot filled streets and stricken with fear protesters world wide. It’s no surprise this is one of the most recognised photos ever.
Indeed of all tanks the T-34 is one of the most mythical and most paradoxical. Because basically it gave the world freedom from fascist terror (well the men and women who drove it did with some helps form lots of other Russians and some American and English and Polish, and French and Indians and……..)
But then t-34 and its' descendents then spent 50 years being used to suppress Eastern Europe. Like I say a paradox.
Even with a rather timid cat living underneath it in the drizzle and the gloom of a Southwark autumn afternoon this tank did seem t be brooding as if the engines would cough back into life and the turret would slowly traverse as the tracks clanked forward.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
Bu**er the ice caps, bo***cks to sea level rising I've had it with public transport I'm buying a car.
Why? because it's too expensive, just now I checked my tickets and realised I hadn't a seat reservation for the east coast line but they can't print me another so I have to pay the full fare or pay more on the train it's my fault I thought 4 tickets for one journey was enough!
But one was receipt! so to get home I had to fork at 80 quid! I'm writing this on my new phone fold out keyboard on the train!
so we'll see if it works.
Sunday Night update
(It did) I have tidied up the spelling just a bit.
as to public transport it's a pile of crap. The punch line of today's journey is of course having shelled out £80 for a "seat reservation" not a "ticket" but "seat reservation" they never once checked any of them in fact no member of train crew came near the trolley service was cancelled and the bar was out of most things. When i got back to KX the Northern line wasn't stopping there and it took me 35-40 mins to get a bus to London Bridge where half the platforms where closed, a got a train the seat cushion next to my seat was missing and my 10 mins (max) journey to New X nearer 20 as the train just dawdled along.
My journey to work tomorrow will in-humanly cramped slow and deeply unpleasant, followed by a bus journey on bus whose seats aren't suitable for tall people like me. All of which we have to pay for.
So what sort of car should I get?
Thursday, 16 October 2008
It started off as a mild interest and then became a mini obsession and now it’s time to take action.
I posted about the so called BT tower the other day. I promised some top secret plans see later post. But having done some light research into it I find that the Tower isn’t totally closed to the public no it is available for BT corporate functions and junkets.
Now I’ve nothing against the people in these pictures but hang on shouldn’t this be something more people have access to. Too much of this country is paid for by one lot of people and enjoyed by a smaller luckier bunch. I say all this as someone with chronic vertigo who would be clinging to the inner walls of the viewing deck if my journey up and round the Eye and the World Trade Centre is any thing to go by.
But do you know what I think we should take back the tower preferably at 1981 prices and open it up to everyone.
I looked into one of those Downing street petition but firstly I didn’t fancy giving Gordon Brown my personal details he’d only accidentally send them to some sky writing firm and have them fly over the opening ceremony of London Olympics showing them to the entire world or such like..
And secondly they warn you that fanciful petitions “however witty“ will be taken down so whether any of the below is the least bit funny I thought I wouldn’t waste my time. So we’ll start here and see what happens.
If you support the campaign add your agreement below you don’t have to give any names other than what you’d use round here already. I really don’t need to know where you live.
Anyway here’s the petition
The Take Back the Tower Petition
WE the undersigned earnestly request that the so-called BT tower be taken back into the bosom of public ownership and it’s doors flung open to the people* who paid for it and their off spring in perpetuity or until they bring back TOTP which is ever is first.
We petition that:
What with this sort of thing being in fashion again it’s time we spent some of our money buying back the BT tower. Once back in public ownership we would rename it the “Post Office Tower” or even better the “GPO Tower” and open up the viewing decks and get the restaurant going again.
It would probably turn a shilling or two and there should be a gift shop that must sell snow storms and GPO Tower sticks of rock; the money generated could be used to rebuild the Skylon on the South Bank and to get the British space programme out of moth balls.
The tower would once again become a hub of culture in this often overlooked area of London. There could be anniversary concerts for Joe Meek and Delia Derbyshire, Earl Brutus and whoever designed the stylophone. There could be poetry readings and tea dances and other events that local people fancy (it may be too small for majorettes or speedway). There is no reason why the public shouldn’t once again throng it’s viewing decks and nibble orange flavoured Club biscuits in it’s café.
So let’s take action now and Take Back the Tower.
*There are only 2 caveats for public funding firstly Noel Edmonds isn’t allowed anywhere near the place and neither are any rampaging giant kittens
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
That Peter Kay needs to write with other people to be truly funny and also TV comedy is best done in half hour slots.
That surely "Landes Banki" is the silliest named investment for grownups since “my Booky Wook” came out...
That Chinatown is the most overpriced place to eat in the centre of town, really £7.50 for some Pak choi choy!
That there’s no helping some people…. I saw on one of those internal envelopes the otherday someone had drawn smiley faces next to people’s names.
That it's worth going into "al'barone" just to try their new draught Duvel it’s probably the best lager (sorry blonde ale thanks PB) in the world. !!
That "al'barone" is a lesson in almost medieval theology; that the ecstatic highs of the beer are balanced by being ignored by the bar staff, 2 of whom stood and looked at me wiping glasses while I tried to get served, then in rolled the London’s most pissed vertical Scotsman (a particularly hotly contested field) followed by the (literally) bouncy cast of “we will rock you”. I think I need another sip of that Duvel.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Sunday, 12 October 2008
The book I was reading is by Neil Gaiman & P Craig Russell it’s called "Coraline" and it’s really rather good about a young girl who goes into that cupboard in the corridor and ends up with another mum who has buttons for eyes. It’s creepy but wonderfully told and the drawings good too.
Here are a couple versions of possibly the most wistful song ever written. Nat King Cole is a great singer sadly with the weight of easy listening on his shoulders, but any fool can hear great singing when it come along, the other tune is the Coldcut mid ‘90’s “trance” version which is rather good too.
On the subject of leaves you do know why they change colour in autumn don’t you?
Well that’s because leaves aren’t really green, they really a sort of translucent brown. It’s like this; imagine them as being made out of beige glass. The green colour comes from Chlorophyll (the most important compound in the world?) and every spring the new leaves are flooded with chlorophyll hence the greenness. In autumn the thrifty trees save the chlorophyll sucking it out of the leaves and into their trunks and roots storing it over the winter.
Why do leaves go yellow and red then?
Well light comes in lots of forms (wavelengths) some of its green some it red and yellow so the trees produce a range of "Phylls" to capture different forms of light. Chlorophyll’s greenness tends to mask the other compounds colours, being the most “important” light absorber Chlorophyll gets saved first leaving behind the yellow and red looking compounds which in turn get reabsorbed leaving the brown shell of leaves to rot and decay.
One last “science bit” remember that trees are just tubes of water and sugar held up by air (well the CO2 part of the air) mixed with some nitrogen and water. They are truly magical the closest we have to proper alchemy, they are literally solid air.
Autumn Leaves Coldcut (Irresitable force mix) mp3
Friday, 10 October 2008
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Small things to go nuts about:
Where did Granola come from?
It’s everywhere seemingly; in granola bars (flapjack?) , granola and yoghurt pudding things in sarnie shops (whatever), crumbles topped with the stuff(stop it now) etc.
What happened to good old fashioned British Muesli ?
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
here's a gaggle of great sleeves...... not a great tune among. sadly.
"Schlager" apparently means hit, shame the producers put more effort into the sleeves than the songs.
Anyway here's a brace of eager beach babes on a rather chilly looking Baltic beach.
I think she needs to watch out "Hi Ho silver lining" about to finish and she hasn't cued up a slowy yet.....
This one I was hoping was a saxtastic sleezeathon burlesque lp, it's in fact lift music with a slightly care worn glamour model on the cover....
Monday, 6 October 2008
Credit crunch cooking
I only chose the title as it was alliterative as most good cooks are careful and thrifty with food whatever the state or the “markets” (wasn’t life simpler when the phrase “the market was bad to day” meant they’d sold out of the caulis on your usual stall and had to got to the pricey but not as good one near the bakers...).
Here’s an idea for a cheap, sophisticated and delish afters, pudding, sweet, dessert....
I made a bit too much coffee yesterday, I could have blasted it in the microwave later but had a mind to make a granita. I made Campari one earlier in the year which was excellent.
I searched around for a recipe; Delia suggested one that used a pint of espresso, but having had loads of Campari granita last time I decided to drastically reduce the amounts involved.
Tip of the Day: when I’m making soup, ices (you know fluid based food) I often measure the initial water/liquid in the bowls I’ll be serving the finished dish in so as to make the right amount (I add a couple of spares for good measure)
Fresh espresso half a pint 300 ml approx.
50 g of sugar to taste.
A 500 ml plus lidded plastic box for mixing and freezing
I think my cafetiere had about half a pint of java in it.
I was out of loose sugar and only had cubes left so I put a handful of cubes say 10-12 Delia suggests 110 g of sugar for a pint.
Sorry for being slap dash but what I did was taste the mixture to see how sweet it was when it was little too sweet I stopped with the sugar. (Remember cold food tastes blander)
I did add the odd spoon of instant coffee to pep up the flavour because I was using filter rather than espresso.
Next it was into the freezer. After an hour or so you need to check how it is setting and mash up the solid ice at the edge with a fork.
I think it took about 3-4 four hours to set and forked in the frozen ice crystals about 3 times during this time. It’s very simple much less bother than washing up an ice cream mixer actually.
I served it in espresso cups. Even a half pint made a large amount (ice is 9% bigger in volume than water thanks A) plenty in fact for at least 6 people as it’s delish but a strong flavour.
If I was doing it for larger group I would have perhaps served it with spoon full of good vanilla ice cream or may be a small amount clotted or sweeten whipped cream.
You could swap some of the sugar for a few glugs of Tia Maria in the liquid. The alcohol in the Tia Maria will stop the ice from freezing like the sugar does, so don’t put too much in a couple of measures tops.
Like I say it’s an adult dessert that is easy to make; you could probably make it the day or night before and bring it out of the freezer 10 minutes before you need it and just loosed it up with a fork making it ready to serve.
Spanish food name of week:
Tia Maria is Spanish for “Aunty Mary”
Sunday, 5 October 2008
As you can see Deptford was thrilling just now, when I went up the high street to buy some bleach.
What with the rain and the exciting night life....... I stared into this for bit, went home with my bleach........
The Sandpipers : Louie Louie.