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The 2017 WH prize mug I’m looking forward to reading your stories each day, and seeing which ones come to the fore early on, and if they...

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Good bits from The New Yorker:



This is interesting. The rhythm of a daily walk. Easy to read, unusual format, a little repetitive at first, but mirroring the awful emptiness that assails some of us: Recuperation - by Roddy Doyle. It's not without its highlights and even a shot of redemption. Well worth a read. Brilliant is probably the word I'm looking for.



Sunstroke - by Tessa Hadley begins...



The seafront really isn’t the sea but the Bristol Channel: Wales is a blue line of hills on the other side. The district council has brought sand from elsewhere and built a complicated ugly system of concrete breakwaters to keep it in and make the beach more beachlike, but the locals say it’ll be washed away at the first spring tide. Determined kids wade out a long way into soft brown silt to reach the tepid water, which barely has energy to gather itself into what you could call a wave. It’s hard to believe that the same boys and girls who have PlayStations and the Internet still care to go paddling with shrimping nets in the rock pools left behind when the tide recedes, but they do, absorbed in it for hours as children might have been decades and generations ago.



A new Haruki Murakami: The Hunting Knife. So much to read, so little time.



Screenwriter - by a great writer, Charles D'Ambrosio. I must read this before very long.



Tooth and Claw - by T. Coraghessan Boyle. I probably won't read this, though I have glanced it over a few times. He's not a bad writer, but he spins things a bit too thin for my liking.

Ossian

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

A Christmas box from writeThis.com.

Ossian

The A to Z of seasonal dejection

After being comprehensively duffed-up,
eventually facing gloomy happenstance,
I jack-in Kultur,
leaving masterpieces, none;
opining prizes, qualifications, recognition, sinecures, titles -
unattained.
Valedictory waves x10 - yours,
zephyr-borne...

All barroom characters
die everywhere
from grinning,hapless
intimates' jabbering,
killed like mutton.

Naturally,
old people,
quiescent,
regret
standing time up,
very wistfully.

xxx.
Yours,
zzzz.

Ganache
Season's greetings to all our disloyal readers

Howling Laud Hope's Christmas message to the nation. [For budgetary reasons it's the same as his election message earlier this year - Ed.]

Saturday, December 20, 2003

The sun is setting on Willesden, 2003



These pictures don't do justice to the scene this evening.

Ossian Lennon

Friday, December 19, 2003

Serial confessers confess to everything

Jeffrey Archer missed a trick. If you're on a charge for anything, give Colonel Gaddafi a bell. He'll confess to anything on behalf of Libya, if you tell him you'll buy some of his oil. Nobody believed they had anything to do with the Lockerbie bombing, but as Gaddafi said they were willing to pay compensation - without admitting guilt - and it would smooth their path to the markets, then he'd do it. Now they've cut a deal with him to "dismantle his weapons of mass destruction." How wonderful these WMD are, they're like the Emperor's New Clothes (ENC) - invisible, but all the courtiers are afraid to be admit that they can't actually see them. Listen to the voice of a small child in the crowd: "The Emperor has no clothes!" He's nude as a Mexican hairless dog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Interview with a literary agent
Feargal Mooney

"Semi-autobiographical fiction"

He was a man of prodigious obesity, with an ever-present burning cigarette to stop his mouth. Not surprisingly then, he drew an analogy between writers and cooks. In the U.K. he said there are about 4 or 5 million good cooks, whose friends will compliment them on their work when they serve it up. Then there are maybe 200,000 competent cooks, and just a handful of star chefs who achieve any kind of recognition.

"I've had hundreds of people sitting there, and not one of them ever said they were a crap writer."

He kept asking me to build his website. I have no time, and anyway I just don't want to, I told him.

"And you expect me to do something for you?"

As the conversation wore on, I told him I'd brought something for him to look at, and started to take a typescript out of my satchel. It was a few chapters of something very near to my heart.

He said, "I hope it's not semi-autobiographical fiction... Is it?"

Well do you want the truth or some bullshit? (I didn't really say that.)

"It's the easiest thing to write and the hardest to sell," he said, slowly rotating his outsized swivel chair to and fro, and kissing smoke from his cigarette. "Do you know why?"

"Is it because people don't buy it?"

"No, because it's lumpy. There's a lumpiness to it. Things appear, not because they are good for the story, but simply because they are true. Then you get whole sections in great detail about something irrelevant - the calibration of telescopes for example - whatever is the author's specialist subject... You turn over the page and then you're in a thinly written made-up section.

"But the worst problem is that the truth doesn't fit the needs of the story. When you write pure fiction, you can make anything happen next to serve the needs of the story. When it's the truth, you're stuck with it. You wish the hero would do something to help himself, and the reader thinks, why didn't something else happen - why didn't he do this or that."

There was some mention of research - something proper novelists do, apparently, to work up their stories. I recently attended talks by Roddy Doyle and David Means who, by coincidence, both said the same thing about research: they don't do any - not till after they've written their first draft.

My answer was that I was a world expert on myself, that I had cut myself open and delved deep into my own mind, or some earnest-sounding banter like that. But no, apparently that's just where I was wrong. Myself was exactly the sort of thing I needed to research. I thought I would stump him by mentioning Hanif Kureishi -

"Oh, you don't want to be like him, he's a very lonely boy," he said. "Who will sleep with you thinking in a year or two all the sordid details will appear in your next novel?"

And what agent would interview you, I thought. He was trying to light another cigarette in the chain, shaking an empty matchbox, finding another and coming back to his desk. The room was very spacious and high-ceilinged, so that the smoke vanished without a trace.

But what about John MacGahern, Roddy Doyle, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, Bernard MacLaverty, I countered. (I'm not even sure why I picked some of those.) The Raymond Carver reference seemed to have a hypnotic effect on him. He repeated the name, thinking something that he didn't say. Oh so this was what he was dealing with, perhaps. I said that great fiction is a flower grown on the midden of real life. (Not really, that was later when I was rehearsing what I should have said.)

"You're not a secret romantic, are you?"

"No," I said.

I think he gave up on me at that point.

"So you won't build my website, but you want me to do something for you."

"Well what are you going to do for me?" I asked.

He said, "I've already done something. I've given you something."

"Oh, what's that?"

"Lumpiness. I've given you lumpiness."

"Okay. No problem. I'll take this away with me." I moved to take the manuscript back. Now he decides to read some of it. You can see the huckster in him thinking, What if there really is something here - I might miss the main chance. I would have said it was peasant cunning, but the last time this guy saw peasants they were his serfs.

"Did they really have those at that time?" He's leaning back reading the page and smoking, asking about mahogany gramophones with Daventry, Hilversum etc. on the dial, and seventy-eights with Connie Francis singing "Who's Sorry Now." (I like the sound of that myself.) Yes, they really did.

Now he starts telling me about how much he has to pay his readers a day, and how it takes them a day or two to read a novel. Yeah, yeah. Do your job. Anyway, now he wants to keep it, and have somebody read it. He presses a catalogue on me and invites me to reconsider building a website for it, and then I'm out of there.

The whole office is lined floor to ceiling with shelves of books and manuscripts, stacked crossways. The wide hallway is fitted with bookshelves too, neater ones, where some of his own imprint books are arrayed. There are cardboard boxes on the floor, in transit. He is pleasant, smiling and takes down one of his publications, a book about some high-tone variation on Positive Thinking, for me to put in my satchel. I try to decline, but he says I can bring him a gift on my next visit.

Feargal Mooney is Senior Reporter and Acting Editor

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

So which is it?

Either there are WMD in Iraq and everybody there needs protective clothing, or there aren't and they don't. Which is it? Why are the forces there not wearing protective clothing? It's clear from their disposition that they do not believe there are WMD present. So why does Blair continue to repeat the lie? If it's true after all, then there was criminal negligence in sending the forces in unprotected.

There was 40% too few nerve agent detector units and the MoD's entire stock of 4,000 vapour detection kits, used by troops when they unmask after a suspected chemical attack, was found to be unserviceable.

"Difficulties" in providing enough NBC protection suits in some sizes were found and some gas masks did not fit as well had been thought.
- BBC News / National Audit Office Report.

Were they really in such a hurry to comply with His Master's Voice that they were prepared, just as in the 1914-18 war to sacrifice battalions of British youth for nothing - nothing but a craven face-saving exercise for Whitehall time-servers.

Feargal Mooney

Monday, December 15, 2003

When the tyrant went to ground

This is where he was holed up: Guardian Interactive.

Cardboard City

In the darkness, in the night
On the doorstep shivering
When the moon sails left to right
Simon's soup is on the wing.

That fat lady with the urns
Comes from Kilburn to the Strand
With rosary beads and currant buns
And rabbit fit to beat the band.

Coppers twitch their mobile mikes,
Suffer us to come to them.
Would you swap with Jesus Christ
On Calvary or Bethlehem?

Ganache
Sports

Rugby report of the year.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Go to work on an egg



Now that's what I call consideration. It was nice to come down to this today. I was the last to get up (as usual) after the others had left.

Ed.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Microsoft sponsors confidential helpline for suicidal users

Brent Samaritans Garden

He gave the little that he had
To build a house for fools and mad;
And shew’d by one satiric touch
No nation needed it so much.

-- Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)


"As Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Swift's desire to improve conditions for the oppressed, the poor and the alienated grew. These concerns became the blueprint for a dedicated psychiatric hospital free of the abuses of the institutions at the time with an independent board of governors which would protect patients and safeguard the hospital's ongoing development and improvement.

"On October the 19th 1745 the venerable and sick Dean died, leaving his entire estate, derived from royalties of his writings including his great satirical work, Gulliver's Travels, for the founding of a hospital for the psychiatrically ill, the first in Ireland ..... It is now the oldest, purpose built psychiatric hospital continuously functioning on its original site in these islands and one of the oldest in the world. "

Ref: St. Patrick's Hospital - Swift's Lasting Legacy.

Swift himself "lapsed into dementia" three years before his death. He was wrongly thought to suffer from mental illness in his lifetime, having suffered from the early age of 23 what is now known to be Meniere's Disease, "a disturbance of the inner ear that causes vertigo and nausea. There was no treatment for it in Swift's lifetime and his fortitude must have been extraordinary."

Ref: Jonathan Swift (Hertford College.)
________________________________________________

According the Herald's Simon Moribund, "Microsoft founder Bill Gates should follow Dean Swift's example and donate some of his billions to help those afflicted with chronic and acute melancholia caused to computer users by his products."

Simon is temporarily indisposed. We can reveal that Microsoft has already sponsored a garden for the suicidal (above).
________________________________________________

If you are feeling suicidal [maybe you could] contact The Samaritans. [Not a bad idea, Feargal. I'll make a note of that. Ed.] You can talk confidentially to them on the phone.

Feargal Mooney

Saturday, December 06, 2003

In praise of Chinese names

Ah brave China,
dusty, enterically febrile,
gentle, herpes-ridden, insouciant!

Jealous Kowloon looks,
moonfaced, nightly
on pretty Qing Ro-Ying.

She tumbles
under virile Wang Xiao's
youthful zeal.

Ganache

Friday, December 05, 2003

Simon's clinic number 6

This is what you should be seeing: screenshots. If not, your fonts are to cock. Trust me, I'm a programmer.

Simon Moribund

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Letters

Top-up fees - what a load of fuss over nothing!


All these scare stories about students leaving University with debts for life - what a load of bosh! Surely it is very clear that Daddy and Mummy will pay those amounts for all but the terribly wretched. As for those, they can always apply to the authorities under whatever Poor Law pertains, for state support. It's so simple, I'm surprised the vast majority of people in the country can't see it. That in itself is a testament to the dismal inadequacy of such places as the "Ball's Pond Road University," as referred to by the spokesman for the Higher Charges Campaign on Newsnight on BBC2 last night. Surely people who attend such temples of ignorance cannot be expected to pay the amounts (soon to be) demanded by good universities? The cheapo places will be there for them, and let's not forget they will be in a lot of debt either way - as they are at present. The government already gives larger amounts to the best universities and always will, which nobody minds, but what we are trying to establish is that people who are able to pay more should be able in some way to differentiate themselves from people who can pay less. We're fed up with all the hopelessly vulgar people flooding the best universities, to the extent that it is now a matter of chance whether a public school applicant is chosen over a bog-standard school supplicant. Surely all this is obvious to the vast majority of the people?

H. C. J. O. K. De B-F, OBE, Brondesbury

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

On a subject too small for poetry

O humble Full Stop
you are not the top
of the grammar elite,
neither effete like litotes, say,
nor sweet like hyperbole;
neither comical like oxymoron,
nor chemical like boron;
neither political like Trotsky,
nor artistic like Paolozzi;
not glamourous, smart or absurd,
but you usually have the last word.

Ganache

Monday, December 01, 2003

Plain English Campaign awards Rumsfeld the Golden Bull

The award is for this statement by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to journalists at a press conference:

Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me because, as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

There is nothing on earth the matter with that, is there not, or is there? It does not seem more or less unclear to me than any below average utterance or above.

Eddie 'Red' Woodward

Friday, November 28, 2003

We don't like what we're hearing

The Big Con

It's on - the search for anybody who agrees with the Prime Minister's dull ideas. They need these photo opportunities and soundbites for the snap election that can't be far off, when they cut and run.

Feargal Mooney
'We will not introduce "top-up" fees

and have legislated to prevent them.'


That is a direct quote from the manifesto of the Labour Party for the 2001 General Election. (Full text.)

In the Queen's Speech this week announcing their program of legislation for the next parliamentary year, they included a measure to bring in... top-up fees. But don't worry - it won't come into effect unless they're re-elected! That will be their excuse, but that is also our opportunity.

This is another ill-thought-out initiative by the 10 Downing Street team that proposed instant fines collected by frogmarching miscreants to a cashpoint. That idea was quietly binned. This time it's future generations of students they want to frogmarch to a cashpoint.

Feargal Mooney

Thursday, November 27, 2003

The dog lists

Words that dogs can understand:
their own names
yumyum
anything that sounds like eating
fetch
chicken
sausages
seize him
rats
go
no
fox
whosit
whodatdere
sit
over
up
down
stay
walkies
wa
W

Words that dogs have difficulty with:
maybe
never
why

Things that dogs like to chase:
cats
pigeons
bicycles
tennis balls
sticks
just about everything

Things that dogs like to go down:
holes

Things that dogs like to sniff:
bottoms

Things that dogs hate the sound of:
fireworks
schoolchildren en masse

Things that dogs distrust:
postmen
shadows that move

Things that dogs really love:
sunbeams
nubile visitors

Things that dogs find fascinating:
farts
shopping bags
the other side of walls

There are more. Life is short. Shorter now.

Bob Harmless
Radio Ga-Ga-Galaxy FM

£5,000 was burned as part of a moronic publicity stunt by Galaxy FM Radio in Birmingham. Phone-in voters were asked to decide whether the money should be given to a contestant to have a boob job and hair extensions, or burned. They said burn it. Radio by the stupid, of the stupid, for the stupid.

More (BBC).
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Hear him talk! See him walk! Feed him formula with the toy bottle and watch him pee pee, and cry tiny tears! So lifelike!

Watch out for future collectors' editions, with flak jacket, nuclear briefcase, Sand Table and indestructible toy soldiers.

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What 'ave we got 'ere... I mean, me know dat a - copycat site [-It's disappeared. Ed.]

D. C. Constable
Britain's first Rastafarian convert policeman

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Denmark Road - Appeal

Dear Sirs

I write in the hope somebody who is with a knowledge of Denmark Road in Willesden [It's actually in Kilburn, here. Ed.] will kindly share their understanding of the street and the area with me, please.

My great grandparents, Francis and Fanny Simmonds lived at #77 Denmark Road for more than 37 years, between 1877 and 1914. Francis is shown, living there still on the 1914 Electoral Rolls, although neither were found at this address in 1901 at the time of the census. Fanny died at Willesden in February 1893 attended by her sister in law, Caroline Pearce, from Kilburn. Francis worked as he always had, in the capacity of a carpenter and in 1893 was a carpenter journeyman.

Their grandson, Herbert Guy Fawcett Simmonds, was my grandfather. In 1912 aged 27, Herbert, with wife and first born son voyaged to Australia aboard the SS Armadale which docked in Fremantle on the 4th January 1913, in the middle of summer.

I would very much like to learn a little of the history of Willesden if possible and also, hopefully learn if the original houses in Denmark Road are still standing.

My appreciation would be magnanimous should there be a reader who may assist.

Thank you for your time.

Sincere thanks and best wishes
Jeanne Helm
Western Australia
jeanniehelm@hotmail.com

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Letters

Message to the folks in Britainamerica


The folks in Britainamerica have volunteered to be our native guides in the war on Turr. They have grit. They have steel. Our enemies are illegal noncombatants. Either your folks are with our folks or they're with the enemies' folks. Make no mistake. We are under attack. By killers. We have to use violence against them, and you have to join in with us or else you're with them. To parrotphrase your great former leader, "We need a little less understanding, and a little more violence."

George (aged 57 and 1/2)

Thursday, November 20, 2003

A nice walk around London, with about 200,000 friends

We set out about 1:30 p.m. and made our way to Malet Street, by an unnecessarily tiresome route of Simon's devising. The march was supposed to start at 2 o'clock but it didn't move till about 3. When you're in the middle of the crowd you can't tell how many there are, I merely note that there were people on all sides for as far as I could see. By the time our part of the procession reached Waterloo Bridge it was 5 o'clock and the sun had set.



Oh, did you want some tedious pictures of placards? Here's one made out of pretzels. You ain't nothin' but a Hoondog.

It was nearly 6 p.m. when we reached Trafalgar Square. There were speeches and music. Here's part of what George Galloway had to say: listen (1.29 mb.) Here is a message from the wife of a US soldier set to stay in Iraq till next June: listen (648 kb.) And this is the Ballad of Joe Hill: listen (969 kb.)

Report: F. Mooney. Pictures: O. Lennon. Sound: S. Moribund.
A Creaking Hips production in association with Double Pneumonia.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Labour PM cheerleader for right wing US Republicans

(Heart)Breaking News


The leader of the Labour Party (a socialist party) is calling on people in Britain to come out and support the far right wing US regime leader (Ref: Guardian.) George W. Bush was elected on a technicality by a minority of people who voted in the American presidential election. His opponent Al Gore received a majority of the votes cast. The most unpopular US President in history is also the first to receive a full state visit to Britain, meaning he gets to stay in Buckingham Palace with the present monarch. He has the smug glow of a leader like Hitler, visiting Paris or Prague, and the British leader has the demeanour of a Quisling who knows that his capital city can be crushed on the say so of his master.

Feargal Mooney

Um

I have been shipwrecked on the shores of Um in the ocean of Uhm. The people here are unable to arrange words in such a conventional order as is understood most people by. After many of days here, I fear my own speech is tainted being the contagion by. Unable shortly may I be much as utter word one of sense. Such grammar have they wobbly, sense itself is lost, forgotten, pfffttt! Long so is it heard they sense more no monkey prattle sounds than in their have heads they. More anon, tabibble.

Zoz

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Herald photographer survives fall

Ossian was humming "On a Clear Day" and trying to take a picture from the roof garden of Willesden Herald House, when he lost his balance and fell over the parapet. Luckily he landed in a large holly bush and got away with just a few scratches and bruises. He discovered this picture in his camera when he landed. He says you can see Gladstone Park in it.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Letters

Exercise: Show that Bush & Blair know they are Terrorists


Given that Awe = a form of Fear, and Fear = a form of Terror,
and Shock = Fear + Suddenness ~ (approx. equal) Terror,
now:

   Shock
+   Awe
______
= Terror

Therefore the US and British "Shock and Awe" campaign in Iraq was a Terror campaign,
therefore they are Terrorists,
and given that they condemn Terrorists,
therefore they condemn themselves, from their own mouths.

Q.E.D.

Details supplied
First year high school Maths student
Letters

Those who live by the sword...


If one of the honour guards goes temporarily sane and bayonets George Bush during his forthcoming state visit to Britain, I doubt any jury in the country would convict him. It would be a case of self-defence.

Name withheld by request
St Raphael's, Wembley

Thursday, November 13, 2003

At the flicks

The Meatrix

It's great to see that good old cartoon films are still there for today's kids. This is a cute one I found* about flying pigs.

Ed.

*Thanks to Guardian Weblog

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Ticker tape latest

"Don't bet against George Soros..."

The man who practically broke the Bank of England when he called Norman Lamont's bluff, and who made another killing on the value of the US dollar this year, has decided to use his wealth to achieve what is now "the central aim of his life" - the riddance from the White House of George W. Bush. He says pronouncements of neo-conservatives in the administration now remind him of Nazi, and later Communist rhetoric from his youth in Hungary. He has donated $15 million so far to Liberal campaign groups for what he says is now "a matter of life and death," the November 2004 US presidential election.

Willesden World Desk

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Letters

They're very good at saying Sorry

Is there some memo going around telling everyone to say sorry everytime their incompetence is noticed in the media? There must be another one circulated to Labour MPs telling them to parrot the concerns that focus groups are revealing. Hello? It's the service and the solutions we're paying you for, not for saying Sorry and repeating our own demands back to us. Just do your damn jobs, you shower, or resign. Sorry is no good.

Disgusted, Stonebridge Park

Monday, November 10, 2003

Stop Bush

I don't understand. What has Kate ever done but make sweet records?

Ed.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Autumn snaps

Fireworks

Lighthouse

Landfall at sunset

Ghost bus


Ossian Lennon

Thursday, November 06, 2003

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Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Last postcard from Costa del Blog from William Gibson - and why blogging is incompatible with writing a novel, in his opinion.

Ossian
For the love of Mike

If policemen and women make tea and use cartons with stupid caps that don't work properly, why don't they charge whoever designed the blasted things with wasting police time? While the designers are in court they can ask the judge to take into account piddly motorway services teapots that pour mostly on the table instead of into the cup, lousy vendor machines that mug people, and sundry other counts of obtaining money under false pretences. I never thought I'd come to appreciate the original wing-flap spout as a brilliant triumph of design by comparison with these untested piles of suppurating ordure masquerading as helpful devices.

Victor Meldrew

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Tonight in Willesden High Road

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
Singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on.

- Joni Mitchell, River (Blue, 1971)

Sunday, November 02, 2003

[gone away, to seek fortune]





Ossian

November

John Clare (1793-1864)

The landscape sleeps in mist from morn till noon;
And, if the sun looks through, 'tis with a face
Beamless and pale and round, as if the moon,
When done the journey of her nightly race,
Had found him sleeping, and supplied his place.
For days the shepherds in the fields may be,
Nor mark a patch of sky— blindfold they trace,
The plains, that seem without a bush or tree,
Whistling aloud by guess, to flocks they cannot see.

The timid hare seems half its fears to lose,
Crouching and sleeping 'neath its grassy lair,
And scarcely startles, tho' the shepherd goes
Close by its home, and dogs are barking there;
The wild colt only turns around to stare
At passer by, then knaps his hide again;
And moody crows beside the road forbear
To fly, tho' pelted by the passing swain;
Thus day seems turn'd to night, and tries to wake in vain.

The owlet leaves her hiding-place at noon,
And flaps her grey wings in the doubling light;
The hoarse jay screams to see her out so soon,
And small birds chirp and startle with affright;
Much doth it scare the superstitious wight,
Who dreams of sorry luck, and sore dismay;
While cow-boys think the day a dream of night,
And oft grow fearful on their lonely way,
Fancying that ghosts may wake, and leave their graves by day.

Yet but awhile the slumbering weather flings
Its murky prison round— then winds wake loud;
With sudden stir the startled forest sings
Winter's returning song— cloud races cloud,
And the horizon throws away its shroud,
Sweeping a stretching circle from the eye;
Storms upon storms in quick succession crowd,
And o'er the sameness of the purple sky
Heaven paints, with hurried hand, wild hues of every dye.

At length it comes along the forest oaks,
With sobbing ebbs, and uproar gathering high;
The scared, hoarse raven on its cradle croaks,
And stockdove-flocks in hurried terrors fly,
While the blue hawk hangs o'er them in the sky.—
The hedger hastens from the storm begun,
To seek a shelter that may keep him dry;
And foresters low bent, the wind to shun,
Scarce hear amid the strife the poacher's muttering gun.

The ploughman hears its humming rage begin,
And hies for shelter from his naked toil;
Buttoning his doublet closer to his chin,
He bends and scampers o'er the elting soil,
While clouds above him in wild fury boil,
And winds drive heavily the beating rain;
He turns his back to catch his breath awhile,
Then ekes his speed and faces it again,
To seek the shepherd's hut beside the rushy plain.

The boy, that scareth from the spiry wheat
The melancholy crow—in hurry weaves,
Beneath an ivied tree, his sheltering seat,
Of rushy flags and sedges tied in sheaves,
Or from the field a shock of stubble thieves.
There he doth dithering sit, and entertain
His eyes with marking the storm-driven leaves;
Oft spying nests where he spring eggs had ta'en,
And wishing in his heart 'twas summer-time again.

Thus wears the month along, in checker'd moods,
Sunshine and shadows, tempests loud, and calms;
One hour dies silent o'er the sleepy woods,
The next wakes loud with unexpected storms;
A dreary nakedness the field deforms—
Yet many a rural sound, and rural sight,
Lives in the village still about the farms,
Where toil's rude uproar hums from morn till night
Noises, in which the ears of Industry delight.

At length the stir of rural labour's still,
And Industry her care awhile forgoes;
When Winter comes in earnest to fulfil
His yearly task, at bleak November's close,
And stops the plough, and hides the field in snows;
When frost locks up the stream in chill delay,
And mellows on the hedge the jetty sloes,
For little birds—then Toil hath time for play,
And nought but threshers' flails awake the dreary day.
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Book early to avoid disappointment

It is unlikely that Sharon's Grave will be touring in Israel. It opens at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin next Sunday.

Halloween Friday Agreement

The C.R.A.P. has put its hacking weapons beyond use, and apologised. The acts took place in a secret location with nobody else present according to The Great Suspendo, an independent observer generously sponsored by the Magic Circle. So it's all settled then - back to work! Let bygones be bygones.

Ed.*

Thanks to all wellwishers who inundated me with card while I was indisposed. I'm now back to my old self. Ed.

Note: "Ed" above refers to Ed Woodward, or Red Woodward for short, not "Ed" as in Editor. Ed.

Bend forward, put your head between your legs, and...

click to view reverse

Everyone in Ireland is issued with a pack like this, containing potassium iodate for use in the event of "a nuclear accident." Why are people in Britain not issued with survival kits such as this - are we expendable? What about some gas masks, chemical suits and gaffer tape while we're on the subject? Free flights to Australia? Well, what do you suggest we do when we are attacked? Die? You just don't care do you, you lot. You so-called "government." Mass slavery steering committee for the plutocrats, more like.

Malachy Dunhill

Malachy Dunhill's views do not unnecessarily represent the views of this paper. Ed.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

All the news before it even happens

Note how the Willy was ahead of the news once again in On the Beat with D. C. Constable over two weeks ago. If it were not for this unjustified strike, we would commission D. C. Constable to give us his views on the police training racism scandal.

Management / Skeleton Staff

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I will be away for a while. I have to catch up on some work and then I'm going to Dublin for a week. Bye for now.

Ossian

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Bless them all

Fuck them all, fuck them all
The long and the short and the tall
Fuck Condoleezza and George Double-U
Fuck Saddam Hussein and Tony Blair too

Yes we're saying goodbye to them all
The long and the short and the tall
Goodbye Bin Laden and Mullah Omar
Goodbye to Rumsfeld and jolly Jack Straw

Fuck them all, fuck them all
The thick and the smart and the droll
Fuck Colin Powell and Wolfowitz too
Fuck the Ba'ath party and New Labour fools

Yes we're saying goodbye to them all
The long and the short and the tall
Yasser Arafat, Dick Cheney, Sharon and Khameini
Here's up the lot - fuck them all

Ganache
Strike

On a show of hands, the staff decided they were not happy with C.R.A.P's empty gestures today. We need them to apologise for their actions and pay significant compensation as well. So we're walking out. Apologies to our loyal readers, but we feel we have to make a stand. It's up to the management, i.e., Ed Woodward, now to ensure that our just demands are met.

The Willesden Herald Team
Letters

Yes, we have gone away actually


We note Barry Barton's statement issued this morning that he has decided it's time to move on, and call off his campaign against the so-called Willesden Herald. On behalf of the Campaign to Restore Abused Privacy we confirm that his statement accurately reflects our position. We will take steps to put our instruments of graffiti and hacking beyond use, verifiably.

P O'Toole

Why did the fictional chicken cross the road?

Realism:
Because it would do the same thing, day in and day out, until it was hit by a car and exploded in a puff of feathers and blood.

Surrealism:
To lead the sheep to a cocktail party in the abattoir.

Magic Realism:
It's not a chicken, it's a peacock.

Fantasy:
To fulfill the prophecy of Clucknomush.

Science Fiction:
To renew the road surface with its GM asphalt chicken shit.

Romance:
To run at last into the outstretched wings of her darkly handsome capon.

Western:
That don't make no never mind.

Horror:
"That's strange - let's go over and investigate..."

Historical Fiction:
Because it was scared when King Richard's horse bolted throwing the king to the ground outside the inn kept by Nell Golightly's father.

Mystery:
That was the nagging question at the back of Jack Waterford's mind, as his car pulled up at the scene of the incident.

Family Saga:
Uncle Pat said he knew, and cousin Eleanor was sure she knew better, but Aunt Kate had the best explanation.

Adventure:
There was an island in the middle of the road and the chicken was a red one, setting out to find the fabled home of the Road Island Reds.

Anthropomorphism:
The chicken was feeling peckish and thought she would stroll over to the other side and see if there were any tasty morsels to be had, as she knew it was still two hours before lunchtime.

Fictionalised Biography:
To escape the crowd that had gathered outside the gates waiting for their first sight of Mandela for over twenty years.

Noël Knowall

Monday, October 20, 2003

Immigrant Blues Burger

1/2lb ground beef, aka "mince" in the UK [or Quorn™. Ed.]
1/3 granny smith apple, chopped finely
blue cheese, crumbled, same volume as apple
onions, sliced
egg white
frozen garlic bread
piquante peppers, chips & salsa, rum & coke

Start cooking at 1am, after you have spent 10 hrs on a plane and 4 hrs in Immigration rotting and answering ridiculous questions about the nature of your romantic relationship and your finances. While onions are caramelizing, unprofessionally squash together beef, apple and blue cheese in a fit of unsophisticated culinary inspiration. Attempt to hold patty together with egg white, as instructed by your British companion (officially known in the "recorded landing" documents at Immigration as "boyfriend") but fail miserably. Eat/drink last items on list to compensate and kill time. Unfortunately microwave frozen garlic bread, as you cannot use more than one thing on the warehouse toaster oven/stove thingie at a time. Pile resulting mess of meat/cheese/apple onto garlic bread with ketchup, and top with burnt onions. Inhale happily, and swear it's the best burger you've ever had. which, frankly, it is.

Alura Allumeuse

(Courtesy of Revolting Hoosier Productions)

Letters

Jolly good show at puncturing the inflated snootery of these snotty epistleists. All writers should be flogged until they bloody well bleed. Every damned one of them. And the ones that write the most should be flogged the hardest. Why all those words of theirs and this snooterical attitude that the longer it is and the more often one refers to a dictionary the better it is?

Don't they realise this mortal coil is finite? Do they think we have time for all that reading instead of living. The snooteriness of them is what gets my goat. It really does. Why use thousands upon thousands upon thousands of words when one will do to sum up everything very nicely? Gosh!!

Why should shops be full with their loneliness? To walk into a bookshop is the most depressing experience available to man...worse by far than walking into a mortuary. The places stink with self-indulgence and this rotten notion that they think they have anything to say that is the slightest interest to anyone other than he or she with so much time on their hands that they haven't yet twigged that they are headed for the alimentary canals of worms and pretty bloody quickly in the overall scheme of things. What turgid tract of masturbatory ink-spilling ever told the poor demented reader anything that he or she couldn't see quite clearly for themselves by going to the window and gazing upon the street at the antics of their fellows?

When I think of them sitting at their typewriters banging out these vile and despair-inducing exhibitions of loneliness I see the darkest darkness of a man's insides seconds before it is exposed to the glare of daylight by the bus they haven't noticed approaching them. Dammit! What I want them all to understand is this, that what vacuous inanities have occurred to them could interest only those even more vacuous than themselves (yes! yes! I know! An hypothetical fantasy). This means other writers. So keep up the good work and bear with me as I explain in brief what should be done to these brown bags of soup-filled puffery. My God, if I had a pound for every.....*

Name and address supplied

Pressures on valuable space preclude me from printing the remaining 700 pages of Mr P***o's very interesting letter. Rest assured that it was interesting in a way that most things that aren't interesting are not interesting.

Zoz

Fish live in pond



Here at the Willy we like to empasize the positive, as opposed to our competitors such as the mighty Brent Leader, whose recent front page headline was "Fish die in pond."

The Night Shift

Friday, October 17, 2003

Telegram from the Dominions

Your correspondent on the western edge of the pond is pleased to offer a few Friday thoughts. Friday thoughts are to be consumed in a much different way to those of the rest of the week's days...that is, with braggadocio and a couple of snorts on the side.

On a BBC3 jazz programme ("Jez") I heard that G. Bush officially endorsed jazz as an art form recently. this led to the memory of a news photo, viewed this week in a local rag, of G. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thoughts drifting, as they will, I suddenly had an image of the terminator as president of those United States. Ah, the criticism.

According to the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, a candidate must be "a natural-born citizen." In an age of in-vitro fertilization, however, it can only be a matter of time till that article has to be reframed, so why not take the opportunity to clear the way for the Governator?*

I thought more. What is Arnold anyway? Arnold is an immigrant from an iron lung country without a Harvard or Yale ( =Oxford or Cambridge) education. He taught himself to speak English, to use his assets (his body, in the beginning) and his thirst for survival-plus to make some money. Well, why not? If more people had his energy and drive we'd all be living on Jupiter.

He created a public persona for 'the Arnold,' amassed a fortune and married a woman connected with old money (in U.S. terms) and long political traditions.

Some call Arnold, disparagingly, an actor. But Shakespeare knew these sorts of people for what they were, for their gifts and their limitations. There are two sorts of actors: the ones capable of transcending their own character and becoming, however ephemerally, someone else; and those who stamp their own personality onto every role they play. Here's our Arnold then, with a will and a character so huge that he makes every role an exploration in becoming.

His artistry, his genius, comes into play in several ways: the first is in knowing which roles to choose; the second is in convincing audiences, producers and his barber that he can carry the day; the third is about always being hungry, always remembering that you were once a stranger without food or language or means and that you are as invincible as God made us to be.

So, he is an artist of life, an actor of long experience, and I say to you that there is no reason in the world why this man cannot aspire to and win a presidential election in the future. The majority of voters in the United States believe in success stories like they believe in mother's milk and McDonalds. My only qestion is: how well does he take direction?

Baroness C.

*Your super soaraway Willy will take up this campaign, and propose Tony Blair as running mate for Arnie on a dream ticket of non-natural born candidates. A write-in campaign for next year? (Ed.)

Cursery rhymes

*

Maruha had a little llama
high up in the Andes.
Once it caused a local drama
ripping off her panties.

They hunted it by day and night
over peaks and plateaus,
tracking its distinctive shite
and living on tomatoes.

*

Twinkle, twinkle little star;
how I wonder what you are.
Oh,
you're a bomblet.


*

Mary had a brief affair;
she dumped me for a jerk
and now I stalk her everywhere;
I've given up my work.

Fal da ree
fal da rah
with a shotgun in my pack.

I followed her to school one day;
it was against the rule.
With armalites and hand grenades
I massacred the school.

Fal da ree
fal da rah
with a shotgun in my pack.

*

Ganache

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Letters

Star imagines she's eating ostriches in L.A.


I was so happy to be eating ostrich enchiladas and [drinking] banana margaritas that I bounced in my seat all night at El Coyote...

Alura Allumeuse

Your letter has been forwarded to Mona Bone-Jakon. Her expert counselling can help in breakdowns like this. (Ed.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

We're doomed

I was saying to the "trouble and strife" last night, one day our bed will be crushed by heavy machinery in a landfill. All of our furniture will be smashed and dumped or burned. Everyone we ever knew and all of their children will be dead. Every trace that we ever existed will have disappeared. Someday too, Paris will be vaporised together with all Parisians. The Louvre and Mona Lisa will be dust. Where the Palace of Westminster stood will be a rocky desert. There will be no such thing as houses or homes. No art, no love, no religion, no people. No Sun and no Earth. The only way for humanity to survive is to become nomads in space, sailing convoys of spaceships to the ends of the Universe, in search of places to settle and materials to build more ships.

And do you know what she said? She said, "I hope you put out the recycling."

Simon Moribund

Saturday, October 11, 2003

The other night just before I fell asleep something terrifying happened. I was awake and had just turned over onto my left side. It was like an epileptic fit or something, but I saw tiger pattern stripes and heard noise like a jet engine. In the throes of it I thought I was a goner, then it turned from all stripes to just two bands in the dark. There was a sensation as fearful as being swept away by a torrent, and trying to haul oneself out, then it stopped. An instant nightmare? Now that I describe it I'm thinking maybe it was like being attacked by a tiger and rolled over before something made it run away. I didn't think that at the time.



Another time while lying on my right side, I felt my mind filled with an image of just snakeskin with marvellous scales writhing and glinting muted indescribable colours. It was only the body of a snake, or the sides of one. There might have been more than one snake, or it could have been something like a lizard or a what you might call a dragon. It was a vision I suppose, though really a dream while on the boundary of sleep. It was wasn't frightening, just fascinating.



I mean I saw them with my eyes closed - they filled my field of vision. Just before I sleep most nights, I am jolted awake for another moment by the sound of someone calling my name, usually a close relative - my mother, father or one of my sisters. The sound is very real in my ears. On other occasions it will be a violent thought, that disturbs the impending slumber - an amputation or something like that. I wonder if anybody else has similar experiences? I'm almost sure they do.

Ossian

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Letters

To whom it may concern


I am writing to you in the hope that you will publish this letter, as I am trying to get in contact with long lost relatives. As far as I know, my Uncle emigrated from Ireland to UK in the early 1950's. His name was William Ennis and he was married to Maureen (Hunt.) They had 5 children, Maureen, Sheila, Brenda, John and Pauline, and last known address was Willesden, London. If any of your readers have any information I would be truly grateful. I can be contacted at pas@iolfree.ie. Thank you so much.

Pamela Ridgeway

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Legal team on standby

Our solicitors, Crapstone Bumwilley Scrotum Scrotum and Haversack, are on standby* to issue a writ if Mr Jeremy Vine persists in introducing his radio program with a phrase very similar to our motto "All the news that's unfit to print" as he did today. [Exhibit A.] We will be listening carefully to ensure that the prefix "un" is not added.

*Either young Mr Scrotum or old Mr Scrotum himself will be handling the case (an indication of the importance we attach to this matter.)

Monday, October 06, 2003

On the beat

with D. C. Constable

I want to take issue with the police spokesman on the Jeremy Vine show* on Radio 2 the other day who said that the police have not been able to do their jobs properly since the McPherson report, because of the way they have to talk to ethnic minorities. I'm here to tell you I have no problem whatsoever talking to the ethnic minority here in Brent, they are always as pleased to see me as if Concorde just flew by. A typical conversation might be:

'Wotcha Delbert, they ain't fitted you up for anything yet then?'

'No man.'

'Watch your back mate.'

'Jah know.'

They often invite me in for one of their traditional cups of tea. The aboriginal English people are not all lager louts, as depicted on TV.

D. C. Constable

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Frigg: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry



Should this be a Dazzling Light I wonder? It's certainly one of the most beautifully illustrated.

Ossian

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Send your home videos to "You've Been Maimed"

(I will just ignore the graffiti.)

If you have any hilarious videos showing domestic and industrial accidents please send them to You've Been Maimed at ITV. Also free tickets for the studio recordings of the shows with Belinda Whaleblubber, are available on application.

Friday, October 03, 2003

...



Usually, I like to drive down to edge of the river (on the left here), swim across with waterproof box tied round my waist and walk the 2 mile long beach on the other side collecting shells and wood (to the right of picture). Then, swim back in time to catch the sunset up at the Fort and watch the fireflies flit through this incredibly magical place.



...



From The Eejit, September 15th.

Ossian

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe:

The enemy increaseth every day;

We, at the height, are ready to decline.

There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat;

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.



Brutus - Act IV, Scene III, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Ossian

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Letters

How the by-election was won & lost


Take a look for yourself at how the Brent East by-election was won and lost.

You will find the result in full and by clicking on a candidate's name you will be able to view the leaflets issued by them during the contest. (Click a thumbnail for the full size picture.)

Many thanks to our source* in the Willesden Herald for providing most of the original material.

If anyone has any additional leaflets (i.e. we don’t have anything for Barschak or Weiss), please leave a message on the comments page below.

British Parliamentary By-Elections Since 1945

*Codename "Deep Throat" (FM)

Ode to a Nightingale

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
    My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
    One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
    But being too happy in thine happiness,--
        That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
            In some melodious plot
    Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
        Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
    Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
    Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
    Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
        With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
            And purple-stained mouth;
    That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
        And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
    What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
    Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
    Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
        Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
            And leaden-eyed despairs,
    Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
        Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
    Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
    Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
    And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
        Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
            But here there is no light,
    Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
        Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
    Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
    Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
    White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
        Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
            And mid-May's eldest child,
    The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
        The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
    I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
    To take into the air my quiet breath;
        Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
    To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
        While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
            In such an ecstasy!
    Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain--
        To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
    No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
    In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
    Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
        She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
            The same that oft-times hath
    Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
        Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
    To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
    As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
    Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
        Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
            In the next valley-glades:
    Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
        Fled is that music:--Do I wake or sleep?


John Keats (1795-1821)
Scumsheets

Isn't it despicable for a so-called newspaper, the Daily Star, to run a banner headline about an alleged rape alongside a picture up the arse of a naked tart in today's front pages?

It's time the Trade Descriptions Act was updated to prevent these rags calling themselves newspapers. They should be forced to label their product prominently with some humiliating term, "scumsheets" for example. They make me sick. Where is the Women's Liberation Movement now?

The media have been invaded by the failed yuppies of the late twentieth century, who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. TV has replaced programs about arts and music with programs about how much money artists and musicians "are worth," for example.

Malachy Dunhill

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

After the by-election



A traditional circus, with animals. They never lie.

Alura in the land of giant food

World Exclusive

Most of you must spend your time wondering whatever happened to Alura Allumeuse. Well you can put your mind at rest. As this still shows, she is currently on location shooting her latest adventure, "Alura Goes Large." Here she is again on the set in a reflective moment. Ballet's loss is Hollywood's gain.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Get well soon, Frank

Former WBC heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno is suffering from a mental illness. Ref: Sky News. In his early days Frank trained at the All Stars gym on the corner of First Avenue and Harrow Road, Queens Park. As usual some of the tabloids are disgracing themselves and their readers this morning, in their treatment of this story.

Monday, September 22, 2003

After the rain



The heavens broke today, and a long drought was lifted. Poison soaked deep into the stump of the euthanised pear tree. It will not waken from another winter.

Ossian Lennon
The Surrogate by Tessa Hadley offers an insight into the hall of mirrors that is desire. Tres amusant, as they say.



Ossian
This creeps up on you and if you forget it's loading makes you jump when it comes on. It's the promo by Aphex Twin for "Salam Pax - The Baghdad Blog."



Adam Ant has recorded this reworking of Stand and Deliver as Save the Gorilla for the Dianne Fossey Gorilla Fund. It's comically flaky but touching, knowing that he battles with demons.

Ossian

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Thoughts of a loose Canon

There can be no forgiveness without repentance. To simulate the sacrament of Penance in bad faith only adds the sin of sacrilege to the rest. Equally, the facile declarations of forgiveness for their malefactors, which we sometimes hear from victims of crime, only add to the original offence. Unless offenders declare their remorse and promise not to repeat their offence, in good faith, any absolution offered is null and void until the Last Judgment.

Rev. I. Draper
Always wanted to have a number 1 hit?

The Willy is number one in the world (out of 73,80054,000) to people searching for Willesden. Source: Google.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

A little learning

Today "Old Europe" and "New Europe"


Old Europe means powerful countries such as France and Germany. New Europe consists of powerful countries such as Britain and Spain. It is not a chronological distinction because as we all know none of these countries is really any older than the others. There must be some other difference, but what is it? A prize of two weeks Plenary Indulgences (in association with Mrs Haverty Enterprises™ - all rights reserved) to any reader who can explain why one set of countries is "old," while the other is "new."

Friday, September 19, 2003

I promised I'd post a link to this. Unfortunately Granta have not put the article online, but if you get a chance it's well worth reading "Do Fish Feel Pain?" by James Hamilton-Paterson. It's an intense evocation of his experience spear-fishing in the Philippines, combined with an analysis of the philosophical problems surrounding animal rights.

Ossian
Full results of the by-election in Brent East

Here in the Guardian.

Note: They omit Feargal Mooney's write-in vote, 109 "spoiled" votes, which placed him twelfth out of the seventeen.
Letters

Winifred Kennedy


I am trying to contact a lady formerly known as Winifred Kennedy born in Carlinville County Cork 1932/33 and may have married in Willesden a gentleman surname of Callaghan in 1955.

She was last seen in 1952 by her brother John Joe Kennedy we believe in the Willesden area. I would love anyone with any information to contact me on [details supplied*]. Here's hoping the Willesden Herald can live up to its reputation as a caring and informative paper.

Suzanne Veail née Kennedy

*If you contact the Herald email, or leave a comment, we will forward your reply to Suzanne.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Willesden Herald World Exclusive

Interview with Howling Lord Hope by Feargal Mooney

Loony landslide predicted - The Willy calls the result:

It's the Monster Raving Loony Party - by a whisker



In this world exclusive interview with The Willy's Feargal Mooney, Howling Laud Hope (left, with supporters) calls on voters for just one last push to expel the Labour party from Brent East. (Listen)



Howling Lord Hope's supporters queued early to vote.

Pictures: Ossian Lennon. Sound: Simon Moribund
Feargal Mooney - I have changed my mind!

Like Uma - I now think I can WIN today


If elected as your MP I promise to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. We have ENOUGH LAWS already. Parliament will only meet once every 10 years and only be allowed to pass one law each time. Also I am announcing my new AMNESTY on ALL DEBT - not just personal debt. It will be Willesden Year Zero.

Remember write-in FEARGAL MOONEY [X]
(Amnesty for Debt / Suspend Parliament)

All spoiled votes in this election will be counted for Feargal Mooney. This is not not unofficial.
By-Election today!

Handy summary of candidates' messages


BARDWAJ, Jiten (No description)
The Yoga candidate. Main parties are paedophiles. Iblbblbbldbl.

BARSCHACK, Aaron (Comedy Terrorist)
They let me in here too.

BUTTERWORTH, Brian (Socialist Alliance)
Either me or the other one represents Arthur Scargill.

CREMER, Iris (Socialist Labour Party)
Ditto.

EVANS, Robert (Labour)
It wasn't me, I wasn't there, I was in Brussels. Honest.

FERNANDES, Uma (Conservative)
I'll just grab these and you cough. Say Ahhh!

HALL, Brian (UK Independence Party)
This is not an independent country yet.

HOPE, Alan Howling Lord (Monster Raving Loony Party)
I am a dopey fuck great supporter of the Willy.

IBRAHIM, Khidori Fawzi (Public Services Not War)
"Sshh, don't mention the war."

IMMANUEL, Harold (Independent Labour)
Trust me, I'm a lawyer.

LYNCH, Noel (Green)
Stop whatever you're doing.

MCBRIDE, Kelly (Independent)
Convicted murderers should not be allowed in the army.

MCKENZIE, Winston (Independent)
Brent says "Stop all immigration now."

TEATHER, Sarah (Liberal Democrats)
Don't worry, it's just for one term.

WALSH, Neil (Independent)
Oh yeah, I forgot I entered.

WEISS, Rainbow George (WWW.XAT.ORG)
Visit my website. That's all.


You can still write in Feargal Mooney, if you want a decent candidate. We will assume tomorrow that all spoiled votes were for Feargal Mooney. See who we beat.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Letters

I'm too feeble to write, so I'm dictating this to Nurse Jones. May I remind our columnists of the terms of their contracts. Our mission is "only to post stories that are not not untrue." Some of you seem to be getting ideas above your station.

Eddie 'Red' Woodward, Prop.
Letters

Park Avenue Lighting Situation

If you have ever walked down the section of Park Avenue between the High Road and St Pauls Avenue, and you are a woman, you will know just how badly lit and scary it is to walk alone.

For the past few months I have been asking Brent Council to either improve the street lighting or cut the trees back so that the existing lights can shine through. They assured me that there was nothing wrong with them and that maintenance would be carried out.

The reason I was so concerned about this, besides myself and my friends safety, is because my sister works nights until about 12-1am and she has no other choice but to walk down this street at night. She chooses to walk down the middle of the street, where at least you can vaguely see, rather than amongst the shadows on the walkway where anyone could be lurking.

Well, last night the inevitable happened. She was followed by a man in a car, who was quite persistent in his attention. She was lucky that she had enough guts to run, but what about other women who aren’t so lucky? Every time someone walks down that street at night by themselves, they are taking their life in their hands… and what do Brent Council have to say knowing this? “The lights in Park Avenue are of the required standard in terms of light output” I totally disagree!

Does this sort of thing have to happen to some other poor girl who may not be as lucky as my sister before the council listen to us? I’m tempted to get up on a ladder and prune the damn trees myself!

L. Steward

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

By-election update

According to this article, the Home Secretary has "admitted to Sky News" that Labour and the Liberal Democrats are neck and neck going into Thursday's election in this once safe Labour seat.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Selected waffle

      Uma Fernandes

    Winston McKenzie

Liberal pseudo newspaper

  Never have so many
    trees died in vain.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

"Education, Education, Education"

Two million people in London begged them not to do it. Now thousands of people are dead, thousands more injured, and the whole Middle East is in chaos.

Every Cruise missile launched cost 1 million dollars, sent on its way by your own armed forces. Hundreds of them. And the Bush / Blair government just thinks of all that as an investment. You have to destroy in order to get reconstruction contracts. PFI. Pretty Fucking Imbecilic.

Never mind the people underneath. Forget about London and the V2s, the doodlebugs, that's all ancient history. Now it's your own armed forces that are cruise-bombing cities. Not to mention cluster bombs, currently on special offer at the Disneyesque Arms Fair, here in good old London.

This Thursday remember whatever you vote, don't vote Labour. They should be on trial, not up for election.

Feargal Mooney & Ossian Lennon

Friday, September 12, 2003

Spectacular lighting display



We have some fancy houses round here. Somebody's having a party tonight.

Pear tree drama

Not a very good picture, but those were the twin peaks of the old pear tree which had to be felled after being weakened by honey fungus. Its loss has had a dramatic effect on the views from Willesden Herald House.

Mick, a friend of Eddie 'Red' Woodward (proprietor of the Willy) recommended a tree surgeon to come and provide an estimate for the job. Ed phoned some other contractors for estimates too, but they were very expensive. Next day, a contractor turns up in Reception asking to look at the tree, and the Receptionist buzzes through to Mr Woodward.

"Ask him if he was sent by Mick," says Ed.

"Yes, he was sent by Mick."

"Okay, let him through."

The guy goes through and returns with an estimate. It's about the same as the others, and so he gets the go ahead. Great alarums and excursions as the tree is being felled. Then a call comes through for Ed.

"It's a tree surgeon."

"Put him through."

"Hello, Mick asked me to contact you about a problem you're having with a tree?"

"Didn't you send someone already?"

"No."

"Well who the hell is outside cutting down the pear tree?"

It turns out that "Were you sent by Mick?" is not enough verification for people in the tree-felling game. Most of them can answer "Yes" to that question.

Feargal Mooney

In search of syphilis

Our overseas readers don't know what they're missing. See, we're used to the wonderful Open University and other learning programs that go on through the night on BBC2. Where else would you get programs like In Search of Syphilis*, 3:30 am BBC2, "...new insights into the origins of the Great Pox, which swept through Europe at the end of the 15th century." The Herald deplores the decision to cease these Open University broadcasts and to distribute them to students on DVD instead. We're going to miss those hirsute fellows in bell bottoms, and their bespectacled sisters in A-line dresses, repeating forever the same lectures they gave in 1975. Insomniacs by now must know by heart the behaviour of sine waves, statistical analysis functions, architecture of the renaissance and many other marvels.

*I've memorised this program already. (Feargal)

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Comedy terrorist stands in Brent East

The nutter who gatecrashed Prince William's birthday party, dressed up as Osama Bin Laden, is standing as a candidate for the vacant parliamentary seat here in Brent East. Here is the full list of candidates:

Robert Evans (Labour)
Uma Fernandes (Conservative)
Sarah Teather (Liberal Democrats)
Harold Immanuel (Independent Labour)
Kelly McBride (Independent)
Winston McKenzie (Independent)
Noel Lynch (Green)
Neil Walsh (Independent)
Alan Howling Lord Hope (Monster Raving Loony Party)
Jiten Bardwaj (No description)
Khidori Fawzi Ibrahim (Public Services Not War)
Brian Butterworth (Socialist Alliance)
Iris Cremer (Socialist Labour Party)
Brian Hall (UK Independence Party)
Rainbow George Weiss (WWW.XAT.ORG)
Aaron Barschack (Comedy Terrorist)

At the 2001 general election, the late Paul Daisley won with 63.21% of the vote, with the Tories second with 18.21% of votes cast and the Liberal Democrats picking up 10.57%. Mr Daisley, a former leader of Brent Council in north London, took over the seat from Ken Livingstone, now Mayor of London. (ref: BBC Online article.) The election will take place next Thursday, September 18th.

Notice: Feargal Mooney is dropping out of the campaign and advising his thousands of supporters to switch their vote to Howling Lord Hope, whose party also supports an amnesty on all personal debt.
Who the hell is Fawzi Ibrahim?

It's hard to keep up with all the leaflets. This guy's slogan is "Give Tony a slap." He has a very snazzy, gimmick leaflet that when you open it says, ".sshhh...don't mention the war."

Here's another leaflet that came today from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, describing the Labour candidate as "a danger to Islam."
A letter from our North American correspondent

"Truth is stranger than fiction," has been proved once again. From the Associated Press comes the story this week that 25 year-old shipping clerk, Charles McKinley, had a co-worker nail him into a shipping crate in New York so that he could be flown to Dallas to visit his family. The cost to his company was almost $600. He needed a free ride. Fifteen hours later (two stops en route) he crawled out of the crate to the astonishment of his parents and the delivery man. Said delivery man phoned the police and poor Charles was charged as a stowaway. In an interview on a national news programme, Charles admitted that it was all a very bad idea. For security officials it raises a number of questions about surveillance of freight on cargo flights.

Charles's employer will probably fire him. He will have to pay the shipping costs as well as face the legal charges and penalties. Good material for a one-act morality play. The actor playing Charles would have to wear nappies of course.

The Willy replies

This mode of travel was pioneered by Mossad who used it to send kidnapped and drugged victims such as Mordechai Vanunu, who told the world about their atom bombs, to Israel. Mr Vanunu has been held mostly in solitary confinement in Ashkelon prison for 17 years, according to this article, which includes a very good picture. It is thought that Israel has up to 200 nuclear warheads threatening the whole Middle East. In the absence of complete worldwide disarmament, it will probably be a good thing if Iran goes ahead and develops nuclear weapons. It might make some people think twice before continuing to colonize the region. (Feargal)