Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A classic podium shagger

Cartoonist Steve Bell has fun at work at the Labour Conference. See the video here and make sure you catch the comments underneath as well.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Monday, 20 September 2010


As I face west, and when the sun is at the right angle, it bounces light off the surface of the canal. These are the reflections in my flat.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Home insurance: shop around

Patrick Collinson's parents saved £900 on their home insurance.
A burst pipe in the loft, left running at full flow for days on end while my parents were on holiday two years ago, resulted in catastrophic damage to our family home. Virtually all the ceilings collapsed, both upstairs and downstairs, and the final repair bill was more than £100,000. Just drying it out using a bank of dehumidifiers took three months.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Bridge graffiti

Back in February I wondered when our new railway bridge would get its first graffiti. Here it is.

It says “all of the things I cannot put into words” – Chora Maywell

No, Ms Maywell, I don’t think it’s special, or good. I'm sorry you felt you had to put it in words.

Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced?

At 23/25 Brook Street in the heart of Mayfair, is the house George Frideric Handel lived in for thirty-six years, when he was at the height of his success composing Messiah, Zadok the Priest, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. The upper floors are now the Handel House Museum, a combination of historic house, art gallery, museum and small performance venue, all built around Handel’s world and music.

He died there in 1759, aged seventy four, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Two hundred and nine years later a young American musician, Jimi Hendrix, largely unknown in his own country but hoping to establish his name in England, moved in with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham. This was his home for the rest of his short life; he died on 18th September 1970 aged twenty-seven.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Hendrix’s death, Handel House is presenting a new exhibition: Hendrix in Britain. With some rarely seen memorabilia, images and music, the exhibition covers his rapid rise to fame in London and his lasting impact on rock music. In the exhibition's visitor comment book yesterday I saw this: I hate all these loud young people making a noise. Signed G F Handel. That’s nice

Some things that stand out for me:

Hendrix was left handed, but played right handed instruments.

The flamboyance of his clothes, hair, furnishings.

The man could play guitar with his teeth, would set fire to the guitar, could sometimes appear aggressive on stage, and yet was so calm, gentle, and lucid in his interviews.

Rock musicians renting property in Mayfair: unheard of nowadays. In the last couple of decades they would be in Camden, Hackney, or further east;

How quickly Hendrix became recognised and idolized by other artists such as Eric Clapton and Pete Townsend;

His guitar version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock became famous as a statement of those times and attitudes.

The typical UK tour venues, how different from today. Hendrix’s 1967 tour included: Ricky Tick Club, Hounslow; Dorothy's Ballroom, Cambridge; Skyline Hotel, Hull; Club A Go Go, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; International Club, Leeds;At the Gyro Club, Ilkley, the show was stopped due to overcrowding.

I saw the Jimi Hendrix Experience play at the Odeon, Manchester on April 22nd 1967.

There is a mass of good material on the internet: videos on YouTube, audio tracks, excellent photographs, and some good writing by Richard Williams, then a young music journalist and now chief sportswriter for the Guardian.
There is an interview with Kathy Etchingham in the Standard.

Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived. I would bare my head and kneel at his grave - Ludwig van Beethoven

I didn't have an affair with him - it's my only lasting regret in life - Marianne Faithfull

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Arachnid engineering

I don't really understand the engineering involved, nor even how spiders produce their webs. What I do realise now is how fast they can work and how strong the webs can be.

This specimen appeared on my outside terrace on Sunday afternoon. I had walked through this space just 70 minutes earlier since when this skilled and talented arachnid created this remarkable structure. It is half-a-metre wide, and is secured to adjacent plants which stand at about 1 metre either side of it. So that is an overall span of over two and a half metres, on a day with some breeze. How do they do that?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

An Unlikely Hero

The Marine who found two WTC survivors.

The story of Dave Karnes, a former Marine who sped from his home in Connecticut to Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001 to aid in the rescue of survivors. is republishing Karnes' story to mark the ninth anniversary of the terror attacks. Link here.

September 11th

Sunset over East London, 18:33hrs Sept 11th 2010

Friday, 10 September 2010

Being a Dickhead's Cool

There's a great video here (try to catch the words too).

I like the comments underneath

i liked this video before it was cool

I was a dickhead before it was cool

Guys, I totally dropped this at my organic Angolan Hip Hop night on the weekend. It tore the tapestry roof off! Tune is so hot that I made some 8-track bootlegs and sold them on my Broadway Market stall the next day!

credit: The link came from Paul Lewis, journalist for the Guardian. He was named Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards 2010. His coverage of the G20 protests in London also won him the 2009 Bevins Prize for outstanding investigative journalism.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Lazy day in September sun

With the forecast of a sunny day I headed out to southwest London, specifically three places which sit on the Thames. As always, double-click on the photographs to see them larger-size.

I came upon this chap fast asleep over his rods on the river at Shepperton.

The scene at the Cambridge Park Bowling Club, Twickenham, founded in 1921. Perhaps now I'm retired I should be taking up bowls.

Richmond Bridge, the oldest bridge over the river in Greater London. The right hand side is in Richmond (Surrey), the left being in Twickenham (Middlesex).

Lazing in the afternoon sun on Richmond Green, twelve acres of open parkland owned by the Crown Estate.