Inspired by my trip to Stratford upon Avon, I’ve decided that I should probably invigorate the quality of my writing by making up some brand new words. Canaffiti is high quality urban graffiti found along waterways in British cities. London’s canals have become very hip. Besides long standing locations like Camden Lock with its trendy market, new restaurants and bars are Continue reading
We enjoyed a cultural weeked away, did Mrs P and I. There was something very Mexican and something very English in it for both of us. First stop, Shepherds Bush Empire to watch one of Mrs P’s favourite Mexican bands, Cafe Tacuba. Shepherds Bush is a part of west London that has yet to be gentrified, although the flashy new Westfield shopping mall is perhaps a first step in that direction. I quite like Shepherds Bush. It’s like a lot of the London I remember from my childhood. Edgy, alive and full of character.
I couldn’t help myself. My head had been turned by the new entry level Fuji XT100, and my plotting started. I thought I could save a bit of money having a body only model brought back from the US at Christmas. But this plan had four key drawbacks. A body only model left me a lens short if Mrs P wanted to use my old Fuji X-M1. The savings from buying the camera in the US weren’t so grand. I’d have to wait till just past Christmas. And this wasn’t really the camera that I wanted.
If there is to be a second referendum on membership of the EU, as I hope there will be, then prepare for controversy galore. The original question on the ballot paper – This or Not This – may have been vague, but it was simple and the campaigning straightforward. I can think of a number of significant and unavoidable differences next time round that will rustle a few feathers. The most obvious complication being caused by a potential third choice on the menu – May’s eventual deal with the EU, when and if that ever comes. Remain, Leave Hard or Leave Deal.
In 2016, the UK held a referendum on our membership of the EU. Problem number one: the question was vague. It was a this or not this binary option. At no point was a choice offered on the wide spectrum of possibilities encompassed by the not this option. But that’s not to say that the various Leave campaigns failed to provide opinions on what they believed would happen. They were often contradictory, regularly disreputable and sometimes just downright untruthful. But a picture was painted, even if the result did rather resemble a Rorschach test. A test that elicited visions of joy and prosperity from 17 million participants, and doom and gloom from the other 16 million people who took part.
The year got off to a terrible start for UKIP, the country’s official party for racists and bigots, when their leader’s (inappropriately young) girlfriend got him the sack with some slightly KKKesque comments about the quality and colour that Meghan Markle would be bringing to the Royal Family. Then they elected a new leader who has himself gone full-on white supremicist batshit crazy. Could things get worse?
I recently popped back home. Define home? We can have several places we think of as home, can’t we? But I think that the place you grew up will always register as ‘home proper’. For me, that’s a small town in the far north western suburbs of London. It’s right on the border, with a small part of the town actually seeping into Hertfordshire. The rest of the town, that part sitting within the borders of Greater London, still has a county address though. Middlesex, which was abolished in 1965, lives on today only in Continue reading
A couple of years ago, when we were burgled, the police ran down the culprit. They found his fingerprints on an inside window pane. They obtained CCTV footage of him buying bottles of booze from a convenience store with my debit card. They found him with stolen goods in his possession. He was, to put it mildly, a notorious habituable offender. And he was caught red-handed. Bang to rights. An open and closed case. Beyond any reasonable doubt.
I enjoyed my first protest. It’s one more thing crossed off life’s bucket list. It was a worthy cause. It was a great opportunity for a photo walk. It was a successful protest, to my mind. Different folks might have different opinions on what counts as a success. You could possibly argue that a protest commonly called Stop Trump failed when Trump arrived. However, in the key areas that I would consider critical when judging whether the protest was a successful or a failure, the protest hit the mark. Continue reading
The concept of free speech is something of an oxymoron if taken too literally. The only guarantee when anything is taken to an absolute is that freedom will not be the result. The boundaries of what is, should be and can’t be free are contentious, and not my point today. My point today is explaining what the most vocal proponents of free speech in the UK and elsewhere are really after. Their goals are in fact hidden behind the cloak of free speech.
Everytime that I am unfortunate to have to see Jacob Rees-Mogg’s ugly mug, I am left with the feeling that I’ve seen the Right Hononourable Member for the 19th Century somewhere before. Somewhere different. And this week, it came to me. I saw it first in Mexico City, the crushed head of the Angel of Independence. The original head, that fell to earth in a quake in the 50s. The resemblance is uncanny. That they are both icons of independence is almost a little eerie. Now, if someone could just give Rees-Mogg a gentle shove and knock him off his pedestal, we’d have a full set of similarities.
We are being blessed with Mexican weather in the UK at the moment. Let me define Mexican weather for you. Or at least, my definition of Mexican weather. It’s nowt to do with where the mercury settles in a thermometer. It’s nowt to do with the hours of sunshine we receive. Mexican weather is the scourge of the meteorological office and weather presenters across the nation. Because we have all stopped checking the apps and listening to forecasts. Mexican weather is predictable. You know just what we’re going to get, and it’s going to be the same as yesterday, the day before yesterday, the day before that etc.
I recant. I take it all back. I bow my head in shame. Well, sort of. I did at least provide a few caveats in my pessimistic prediction of how England might fare in the World Cup. It has transpired that all things are indeed possible. We have definitely had more than our fare share of luck. And we are still dreaming. Maybe, just maybe, football is coming home after all. Maybe. Or has my new found optimism cursed us? We football fans can be a supersticious lot…
Today, even as I type this, a group of toffs are holed up at Chequers trying to decide which of the latest combination of fudged trade and customs plan they would like the EU to reject. Some might suggest that Theresa May’s Brexit plans are beginning to look like the Rocky saga – implausible, badly scripted, going on far too long. Others might suggest it’s more of a Rocky Horror Picture Show – fantasy from the 1970s. I’m hoping today might yet turn out to be more Agatha Christie. You just can’t have that many aristocrats in a country house at one time without someone being murdered. It’s just a matter of who will take the knife in the back. Ooooh, so many good candidates to choose from…
Today marks the 70th birthday of the National Health Service. It’s a birthday worth celebrating, and it conveniently falls on Throwback Thursday. The NHS isn’t perfect, but what is? It’s something one easily takes for granted. Up until the point when it is needed, when it suddenly becomes a life saver that it worth every penny. Where it is found to be lacking, one will normally find a Tory ‘reform’ or cut-back at play.