Update: Lane Ashfeldt's take on judging this year's competition: The Willesden Prize, Stories and Tunnels _______ This is the...
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
"Trials conforming to international standards of fairness would have been more likely to ventilate and verify the historical facts, contribute to the public recognition of the experiences of victims, and set a more stable foundation for democratic accountability. Instead, unlike the Nuremberg trials, the proceedings have fallen far short of creating the reference point that could clarify for Iraqis what happened and why." (Richard Dicker)
Why not extradite Saddam Hussein to the Hague (some way can still be found), like Milosevic, and let's see what can be done to save this situation. Otherwise tomorrow those executing him will be reduced to his level.
If the above video is no longer available, you should still be able to view it here.
A montage of brilliant clips from legendary performers, an outrageous rip-off that makes it look like they are performing the new U2 track. It must have taken a massive bit of admin and considerable expense to get all the permissions. Weak point: using a picture of an atom bomb test to lend a bit of oomph at one point. Altogether very entertaining though.
Not sure about the pictures of African urchins near the end, another crime of sincerity. Wasn't it Bono at a concert in Ireland, who was telling the audience that every time he clicked his fingers another child died in Africa. Click, click, click. Then with a fine example of the Irish sense of humour, somebody in the audience shouted out "Well stop clicking your fingers then!"
* Official YouTube release
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
How still we see thee lie!
Above your empty ruined streets
The tracer fire goes by;
Your refugees in basements wait
Indefinitely in flight
From where they fled for many years
By curfew here tonight.
For Jibril born of Mariam,
And gathered up in love,
While people slept, the soldiers kept
Their watch from hills above.
A heavy shell projected sent
From far to mark the birth
Blasted all to bits and rent
A short life from this earth.
How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift inspired!
No kamikaze, neo-Nazi -
No ear may hear its coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive it, still
It blasts their shelters in.
Where children pure and happy
Both hate and are reviled,
Where misery cries out to thee,
Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching
And faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,
And Herod comes once more.
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A talk by George McGovern, who has served as the United Nations' Global Ambassador on World Hunger since 2001. After his advertised address, he goes on to speak with authority on the parallels between the Vietnam war and the present Iraq war, and argues with ineluctible logic for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
Download Audio only
Streaming Video (length 59:29)
(Mar 22, 2006 at the University of Virginia, Miller Center of Public Affairs)
Fighting hunger through school dinners for every school in the world: a brilliant idea, much more interesting and useful than fighting wars.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
This is the shadow on an interior wall, cast by the sun shining through a sign in a window. Gigi's cafe bar reopened recently, after renovations due to a health and safety order. I can see surviving customers gradually returning over the coming year.
Friday, December 15, 2006
I've always remembered the brilliant dramatisation "Insurrection" (written by Hugh Leonard) and wished I could see it again. There are several excerpts from it online now. (Why don't they put the whole thing up?) Although it looks different, naturally dated somewhat, I still think the clips are great.
From Episode 1
From Episode 2
From Episode 3
From Episode 4
From Episode 5
From Episode 6
From Episode 7
From Episode 8
The RTÉ archives also contain marvellous interviews with survivors such as James Connolly's daughter, recalling her and her mother's visit to him before he was shot. Every day of the week has a separate page with a list of the special schedule for TV and radio and clips, though it's a pity how many have been lost. (I know, one could say that about people as well.)
Here is a clip from an interview with Kathleen Clarke widow of Thomas Clarke, one of the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Republic (all shot). "You must make your goodbyes as casual as possible...I didn't really ever see that he'd come through, I must say."
Kathleen Clarke is also in this clip, talking about P. H. Pearse. One gathers that she remembers him not with any fondness, as an exceptionally silent type.
Former president Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh recalls the looting in O'Connell Street and his failed attempt to deal with it under orders from General (James) Connolly. Connolly subsequently talks about sending somebody to shoot some of the looters: "Shooting over their heads is useless. Unless some of them are shot, they won't stop." Ó Ceallaigh requests and is allowed to be excused from that duty. He doesn't know if it was actually done. Here he is again, talking about the release of Bulmer Hobson.
"Seán F. Kavanagh, a member of the Irish Brigade, recalls meeting [Roger] Casement at the Hotel Saxonia in Berlin on 10 April 1916." (About Roger Casement)
"In this [vivid] extract, Norah Connolly O'Brien recalls making her way back to Dublin and her concern to find out how her father was." She recalls a friend telling her, "They're all dead and slaughtered. She battered us with words..." In another extract, she describes her [and her mother's] final visit to her father before his execution." Very beautiful, the words, but heart-rending. Because of Connolly's injuries his execution was worse, if that is possible, than the others: they shot him sitting in a chair.
After the surrender, the hostility of other Dubliners to the rebels as they were marched away, is recalled by one of the prisoners. He thought that there was nothing left of Dublin, it was all fire, "still burning."
There are other recollections of the leaders, people and events as well as coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies, the march in Belfast, and speeches by that sanctimonious old prig De Valera, who was largely responsible for the miseries of Ireland after 1916.
I was 11 in Easter, 1966. For the fiftieth anniversary of the rising, we had three giant new flagpoles installed by the entrance to the De La Salle primary school in Finglas, and we'd been practicing for weeks to sing on the occasion of their inauguration: The Foggy Dew and Roddy McCorley. About the hemp rope on his neck, the golden ringlets clung.
We were then all bused into O'Connell Street on Easter Sunday and marched to Croke Park for an extraordinary pageant. There were parades and displays by hundreds of variously costumed people portraying Irish history. Here's an archive recording about the 'Aiséiri' [rising] pageant. The whole effect of the commemorations was an inoculation of nationalism that never needs any booster shots. The next time I marched from O'Connell Street was the Wednesday after Bloody Sunday in 1972, with 100,000 in protest to the British Embassy.
Perhaps I should close with the special version of the national anthem that was used at closedown every night for the week, with drawings of the seven signatories ending up with Pearse, proving again that the writing of poetry is no guide to good character.
From County Kilburn via Puckaun, Tipperary to Manhattan and back, every dentist's warning to the world, Shane MacGowan and the Pogues. Here with the musically corrective and braver-than-most indulgence of feisty Kirsty MacColl. The song is credited to Shane MacGowan and Jem Finer.
Dirty Old Town (live)
Here they are again in a great performance of Dirty Old Town, slightly marred by an interruption near the end. The quality of these bootleg recordings is better than the usual. Kirsty is singing her father's song here. Ewan MacColl wrote a lot of fine songs, and could have lived well on the proceeds of "The first time ever I saw your face", possibly one of the best songs ever written.
Kirsty was killed by a speeding boat in Cuba and is much missed. She once said of her marriage to Billy Bragg that in ten years she had "never looked at a carving knife without thinking about sticking it in him." Had it been Shane, she probably would have.
Oh what the hell. More party pieces
The Long and Winding Road - The Beatles - exceptional quality, unusually slow live performance
Blowin' in the Wind (live) - Bob Dylan with Joan Baez - excellent performance (does he flinch from her at the end?)
Mystic Eyes / Gloria - Them featuring Van Morrison - (Live) 1965. Interesting audience reactions.
Jack Kerouac interviewed and reading from On the Road - despite inane and patronising comments from interviewer Steve Allen, who also plays horribly (too busily) on the piano over the reading
End of the Line - The Traveling Wilburys - supergroup with Harrison, Petty, Dylan, Lynn, and the disembodied voice of Roy Orbison (note the empty chair). This track was played memorably at the end of the classic comedy series "One Foot in the Grave".
Here's another one from the Wilburys, superb quality this time: "I won't back down" featuring Tom Petty. Some of the special effects are nice, even if we're used to more spectacular ones now. The Wilburys recordings are unobtainable now, but there are plenty more on YouTube. Handle with Care
China Girl - David Bowie - for closet heterosexuals everywhere.
When the Music's Over - The Doors - pristine 12 and a half minutes of melancholy brilliance.
Merry Christmas, "YouTubers"
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Blem Vide special, with interruptions by Josh Davis and J. Tyler Blue
1. back to back (1:30)
2. interlude (0:58)
3. belly dancing (8:20)
4. interlude (0:07)
5. uno (0:37)
Warning: Not for those of tender years or delicate disposition. Contains a source of swearing. May contain traces of noise. Always read the label.
- Subscribe to this podcast with iTunes
- Pretend Genius' page in the iTunes podcast directory
- Visit Pretend Genius Press podcast home
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- Babble on to Babylon by Blem Vide
Monday, December 11, 2006
"Residents in Willesden have formed their own group blog with hilarious results. Add the Willesden Herald's RSS feed to your MIX page if you want to get an insider's view on what life is like in this particular London suburb."
We're all over the place, like a cheap suit.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Just round the corner from Willesden Herald house, some houses have been partly destroyed, at least ten roofs visibly damaged*, rubble piled in the street, cars damaged. Several people have been treated for minor injuries. According to an eye-witness (on the BBC lunchtime news) it was about 25 metres wide and dark with whirling debris.
There was also a loud thunderstorm this morning accompanied by a heavy shower of hailstones. All about 11 a.m.
SkyNews is now reporting a hundred houses damaged. BBC says "up to 150". Here is the BBC report with a link to a video. There have been helicopters overhead all afternoon.
SkyNews watching by Nick Grimes, BBC watching by Feargal Mooney, pictures and videos monitored by Onion Mbeke. Syndication: Sphagnum WH Consortium (contact P. O'Toole)
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Somebody should get an award for the photo collection alone, and much more besides. Try searching photos for "Rising Sun", for example. "Michell and Phillips's Kilburn Ales" - whatever happened to them?
C'mon whoever you are, you have excellent taste but this book is three days overdue. Some poor author is starving, deprived of lending royalties because of your selfishness.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Creatures of the Earth - Part 2
(The link to part 2 given online in part 1 doesn't work.)
"One of the most respected postwar Irish writers, John McGahern returned repeatedly to this powerful story of love and loss. He finally finished it just before his death last year." (Guardian Online)
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Please enquire if you have not received an acknowledgement after 48 hours. If you cannot get a response from stories, there is an alternative email address, see above right "Letters / Submissions".
Monday, November 27, 2006
Each of the two federated states would be responsible for its own governance, just like the states of the European Union, but the addition of a federal parliament with limited powers (as in the EU) allows all the populace to feel that they are part of one unitary entity in keeping with their ultimate wishes and beliefs. This is a combination of unity and separation.
This proposal solves the problem of Jerusalem, the problem of "right of return" and the problem of the settlements. It would also greatly alleviate the difficulty of the geographical separation of Gaza from the West Bank when constituting the Palestinian state.
Tell me why this is not a good planam I missing something?
According to the website, their anthology won a national award last year sponsored by Arts Council England. Ossian has told me to say, "If you write and would like to receive useful feedback on work-in-progress, as well as to give your own response to others', you couldn't do better than to stop by this outstanding workshop. 8 to 10 p.m. £3."
You might even meet some of the Willesden Herald hacks, furthering their ambitions to escape from the drudgery of working for yours truly. Word has it that it will be Feargal's turn in the rotating chair this week. (Some sort of fairground device?) He's been given to sudden jumping, spilling cups of coffee and looking power-crazed ever since he found out.
* It's Willesden Green Writers' Workshop, not Willesden Green Writers' Workshop. You don't have to be green. Ed
Friday, November 24, 2006
"Once again, we have two first prizes: for the best play by a writer with English as their first language, and for the best play by a writer with English as their second language. These two winners will each receive £2500 sterling and a trip to London to see their play being recorded for broadcast on BBC World Service in the World Drama slot."
Not the Ossian who followed Niamh to the ends of the earth (literally), but your very own Ossian Lennon, former Willesden Herald photographer, the great. I've never been the same since he hit me with a Hasselblad, it's changed my life.
"As we progressed through the story, I had a vague notion as to where it was going, and what it was about, but the finer points of Delgado's work were lost on me amidst a brainful of semantics and teacher techniques. [...] But, as we neared the end, I read a paragraph that picked me up and lifted me out of my 'teacher hat' and stopped me dead..."
Let's hope that Amanda Saxonheart and Rocky Rollins can find more such fine examples for this year's competition.
The Willesden Herald is the first, ahead of Reuters and Sky News, on the web with this announcement. [That's all we care about. Ed]
The worrying thing is that the police are now looking for traces of radioactivity at various locations in London. That is according to Home Secretary, John Reid.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
This is the best damn thing on the internet, and the best London art project ever. If publishers and agents don't get over there and sign this guy up, in the future they will feel like the fool who rejected the Beatles.
Damien Bratwurst, Paddington
"I never expect bikers to be literary critics. Well, these were literary critics, and good ones - in fact, they'd bought their 'hogs' with royalties from a book they'd co-written, Feminine Desire In Jane Austen: Them Ho's Lived To Get Freaking Hitched."
"The Willesden Green 06-35 well was drilled to approximately 2530 m depth. The well encountered two commercial zones which have been tested individually. The total of the last recorded rates for both zones is approximately 645 mcfd and 130 bpd of liquids or approximately 237 boepd gross (178 boepd net to the Company)."
So they packed up their bags and they moved to Beverly.
Hills that is. Swimming pools, movie stars...
It's only a matter of time before Ganache comes in from the courtyard of Herald House covered in black gunge, after dibbling into a gusher.
- Willesden Eye Specialists private treatment
"Your strabismus is our business"
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Everything in the F.E. makes Feargal Mooney laugh like a drain. Personally I can't see it myself. For example, what is funny about:
Give my regards to Broad Bean. After 6pm. £12
Yes please £15. 01999 793604
As I type this, he's looked over my shoulder and started falling around again.
Monday, November 20, 2006
in the kiosk selling cigarettes
and I still buy ten Senior Service
and inhale without any regrets."
From "Ballad" by Stephen Moran (Last Night's Dream Corrected, Pretend Genius, 2006)
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
"[H]is wife Rita, 76, told The Sun that she was not impressed. She said: "He's an idiot. He has rung from the cells and is full of himself. He thinks it's going to be a laugh. I'm certainly not visiting him.'" (Skynews)
Richard Fitzmaurice got thirty-two inside days for protesting about council tax. If he'd come out of a Leeds night club and kicked somebody half-to-death instead he would have got off with community service. The policy now seems to be to let out paedophiles and killers but lock up war veterans who fight the unjust escalation of council tax.
Thank you for your interesting remarks on the Small Wonder Short Story Festival, which I read in the Willesden Herald.
Your recollections of the panel on which Di Speirs and I spoke differ markedly from mine, which is in the nature of recollections.
I do think that my recollection serves me faithfully, however, when I say that I did not "admit that [I] didn't really like the short story genre, and had been commissioned to write [my] book "Tokyo Cancelled".
Knowing something about the publishing world as you do, you would be aware that my being commissioned to write such a book would be extremely unlikely.
Much more significantly: as a writer of short stories, and as an enthusiastic reader thereof, I would never dismiss the genre in such a way.
This is how my recollections go...
I said that there was something unshakeable about the centrality of the novel to modern literature: that its scale was widely felt to be necessary to the complexity of the contemporary world and psyche. This, I said, was why the "great novel" was so tantalising an achievement for all aspiring national cultures - such as America's in the nineteenth century, and India's today.
But I also said that this desire for literary grandeur leaves behind an unsatisfied residue. This is the desire for smallness and intimacy in literature, the desire for tales that can be consumed in a small amount of time, and re-told like folktales. This is why the short story remains entirely unthreatened by the pre-eminence of the novel.
As you know yourself, the quest for form - the search for the voice and scale necessary to what one wishes to say - is the primary effort of writing. This may lead one into novel writing at one point, and into the writing of sonnets later on - rather as Beethoven confined himself almost exclusively to the string quartet after finishing the Op 125 symphony.
Genres are not in antagonism with each other, and there is no sense in any kind of fundamentalism of genre, nor in any a priori generic rejections. That is why I did not, and would not ever, issue the rejection of the short story that you recollect. But perhaps recollections are dynamic, and liable to amendment?
Feargal Mooney responds:
Dear Rana, thank you for that. I understand now that Radio 4 only commissioned you to write for Afternoon Reading after the publication of "Tokyo Cancelled". I apologise for getting that wrong and for misinterpreting your remarks about the place of the novel etc. I will post an update to the article below and wear barbed wire under my vest for a week in penance. Feargal
"Gunmen in military-style uniforms have kidnapped more than 100 men from a research institute belonging to Iraq's higher education ministry. A ministry spokeswoman said the gunmen arrived in new pick-up vehicles and stormed the ministry's Research Directorate in central Baghdad. They ordered women into one room and seized the men, including employees, guards and visitors to the building." (BBC)
Monday, November 13, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
"A moment trapped" by Amy Muldoon and "Uno" by Blem Vide, with links by J. Tyler Blue and Josh Davis.
Warning: Not for those of tender years or delicate disposition. Contains a source of swearing. May contain traces of noise. Always read the label. However, this episode is not quite as raucous as the first.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
BBC Radio 4 commissions1 about 150 short stories per year, half of the approximately 300 they broadcast. Presumably you or your parents have to be in the right Masonic Lodge, or wear the right old school tie to get the call. A blessed scapular from Mrs Haverty Clerical Outfitters and Nylon Factors (UK) Ltd to anyone who can find out how to get aboard this particular gravy train.
Di Speirs, Radio 4's commissioning editor for short stories and other literary readings, admitted under aggressive questioning from the audience in her interview at the Small Wonder short story festival earlier this year, that there is no way for anyone in London to send in anything for the Afternoon Story. The regions contribute half of the daily, year-round stories and she commissions the rest.
Joint-interviewee Rana Dasgupta read "The Flyover", from his book "Tokyo Cancelled". The story was chosen as one of five finalists for the £15,000 National Short Story prize. Di Speirs was also on the jury for that. She said it was the only one out of the over 1,400 entries, which had a sense of folk-tale about itsomething for which she had been looking. She subsequently commissioned a story ("The Horse") from Dasgupta for the Afternoon Story.
The reading bombed in the hall and the panel discussion afterwards turned to why it didn't work as a live reading, whereas it did "off the page." Four people got up and walked out at the same time, whether out of boredom or to convey a message, I don't know.
Di Speirs also said that, out of all the stories entered for the £15,000 National Short Story prize, there wasn't a single humorous one or one with a political edge, something for which the judges were longing. But the rules of the competition were such that only established authors could enter, so what does that tell you?
I like to think that I'm a sceptic and not a cynic but maybe I'm just bloody-minded, maybe it is too easy to throw rotten tomatoes. This article is a revised version2 without the exhortation to "rush the stage". I had my arse deservedly kicked over the earlier one.
1 Commissioning is the process of paying the idle offspring of a friend of the family to write, in a genre that he or she doesn't like, stories that are utterly inauthentic. Ed
2 Updated 14/11/2006, thanks to corrections in letter from Rana Dasgupta. Ed
- The International Willesden Herald
"Never knowingly scooped"
- If you don't see it here, it didn't happen
They zizz like mosquitoes, darting this way and that, completely lost: the searchers. Oh the frustration they suffer till they land here and find out at last all about:
"Is it legal to own a wolf dog in Maryland?"
"Massage parlours in Cricklewood"
"Munchkin proxy syndrome"
"Blow-up Hitler dolls for Allo Allo"
"Women for sale on eBay"
Check back for updates. See also Greatest Hits (about image searches*).
* Please note, this is not a free photo agency. £300 per online use (renewable annually), discount for bulk. Print editions by negotiation. Enquiries: Julia Bumwilley, Intellectual Property, Crapstone Scrotum Bumwilley Haversack. Ed
Friday, November 10, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
7.30pm, 8 November, upstairs at The North London Tavern, 375 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7QB (3 minutes walk from Kilburn tube, Jubilee line)
Tickets £5 (All proceeds will go to children's charities in Lebanon)
Monday, November 06, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
"My Valentine's" by J. Tyler Blue and "Dig big baggy grotto mob mottoes" by Blem Vide, with dramatised links by J. Tyler Blue and Josh Davis.
Warning: Not for those of tender years or delicate disposition. Contains a source of swearing. May contain traces of noise. Always read the label.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Beyond the mountains on the other side, high cliffs are waiting. Below the cliffs a bay with a hundred islands. At the cusp of the bay a larger island is separated by a sound with a small road bridge. Across the bridge stands a garage with old, red petrol pumps. From here the road turns one-track through miles of brackish bog. At the far end of the island is a mountain, its peak in one white cloud.
Beyond the Atlantic Hotel, on the far shore there’s a shop that sells plastic buckets and spades. On the beach is a fire, boiling crawfish, straight from the sea. Beside the fire is a girl, a young woman, with sandy hair. Kneeling, she leans back and says something with a smile.
After that you fall off the edge of the world.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Gay Bar - Electric 6 feat. (Cow)Boy George and Slushy-T
System of a Down - "Boom"
Better quality: Real Video / QuickTime / Windows media player 56 k or broadband
Interview with System Of A Down about the video: Real Video / QuickTime / Windows media player 56 k or broadband
* Now with added YouTube
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Willesden Herald and Pretend Genius Press today shook on a deal to publish an anthology called "New Short Stories" featuring short-listed stories from our competition, next spring. Inclusion is optional. If you don't want it we'll just die (laughing).
Monday, October 30, 2006
Some stalwart subscribers to the WH might have heard these snippets before, of speeches at Stop the War demos in 2003, from Tariq Ali (unannounced first speaker), Azzam Tamimi, Jeremy Corbin (Hyde Park, March 2003, shortly after the invasion) and George Galloway (Trafalgar Square, November 2003, during George Bush's sojourn at Buckingham Palace).
- Subscribe to Radio Free Willesden in iTunes
- Radio Free Willesden's page in the iTunes podcast directory
- Feed for other podcast software
- Noise-induced hearing loss?
I say, NOISE-INDUCED HEARING LOSS?*
<< Previous | Next >>
Sunday, October 29, 2006
"Tony Blair's most trusted military commander [former Chief-of-Staff, General the Lord Guthrie] yesterday branded as 'cuckoo' the way Britain's overstretched army was sent into Afghanistan. [...] In a unprecedented show of scepticism towards Blair, he said the Prime Minister's promise to give the army 'anything it wants' was unrealistic."
in as serious a manner as for Lord or Lady?
On Staverton Road each noontime he was sittin'
on the grass in front where it was nice and shady.
In the evenings he took his master walking,
a genial man who shouted greetings freely
across the street when he and I were talking,
but Dandy wasn't trusting strangers really.
Black and white and stocky, Dandy had a dour way.
I always said, "He'll bark at mine in a minute!"
And after he'd bark me and my dog on our way,
But truly, I don't think Dandy's heart was in it.
Tonight, I saw his master with a sleek new guide.
I asked what happened. He said, "Dandy? He died."
<< Previous | Next >>
" 'You take your poems seriously,' he instructs, 'but you don't take yourself seriously. What the muse hates more than anything is self-importance. Shakespeare wasn't self-important, was he?'
The Ice-Cream Man, is a lovely elegy for a murdered shopkeeper: 'I got a letter from his mother thanking me for the poem. I treasure that letter. It's worth all the good reviews put together.' " (Guardian)
Collected Poems (Cape, 2006)
Saturday, October 28, 2006
"I saw two dead babies who, when taken from a mortuary drawer in West Beirut during the Israeli siege of the city, suddenly burst back into flames."
Think about that. Here is a country with a history of invading neighbours and using WMD's against them. So when are the U.S. and Britain going to invade Israel?
Friday, October 27, 2006
"Mr Cheney's comments set him at odds with the Military Commissions Act, which bars, under all circumstances, treatment of prisoners that inflicts serious physical or mental pain or suffering."
Britain: Do you want to fight alongside this low-life Cheney, to go down together with him in the annals of tyranny?
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
"British ministers landing in Aden in the 1960s were told always to make a reassuring speech. In view of the Arab insurrection, they should give a ringing pledge, 'Britain will never, ever leave Aden'. Britain promptly left Aden, in 1967 and a year earlier than planned. The last governor walked backwards up the steps to his plane, his pistol drawn against any last-minute assassin. Locals who had trusted him and worked with the British were massacred in their hundreds by the fedayeen." (Simon Jenkins)
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
On seeing a picture, not necessarily from Gaza, of an armed soldier hiding in a doorway, with two children in the street nearby, "unicef193-0634 / betty press"
Crazy paving, crazy wall,
Concrete floors. When curfews fall
F-sixteens will come to call.
Rocket bye baby, the cradle will fall;
Down will come gunmen, mothers and all.
Iron shutters, iron gates.
Out of sight, a soldier waits
On girl and toddler, under eights.
The elder with her friend debates
Oblivious to their future fates.
Not the chosen, not the just,
They are children of the dust,
When hovels with no papers must
Be razed in order to adjust
Collateral in a stateside trust.
Hush little baby, take your rest;
Papa's gonna buy you a suicide vest.
And if that suicide vest don't blow,
Papa's gonna make you a bomb to throw.
And if that bomb won't kill someone,
Papa's gonna get you a tommy gun.
And if that tommy gun goes wrong,
Papa's gonna build you an atom bomb.
And if that atom bomb won't blast,
Papa's gonna make you a plague to cast.
And if that plague turns back on us,
Papa's gonna buy you a house of dust.
And then before the sun goes down,
You'll look sweet on every wall in town.
<< Previous | Next >>
Author's note: When I was writing the second one I forgot that I already had one called "Lullaby of Gaza". So it became a series (of two). O.G.
"Romanians and the European Commission expressed disappointment with the decision, saying countries should make a bigger effort to allow workers to flow freely within the union."
You didn't think Zoz would be afraid to say what the rest are thinking, did you? The eastern Europeans won't even allow the Roma to move freely in their own countries. They have virtual apartheid. Let's bring them all here and they can fight it out with the Irish travellers. No?
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Michael J. Fox talks to Katie Couric about research and that smartass Limbaugh
U2 and Green Day / The saints are coming
Music from the concert to reopen the Superdome in New Orleans, and a video ironically linking war with flood relief.
YouTube is not all fun and games, there are some serious videos too, but you probably didn't come here for those.
Bear with it. After about 2 minutes this becomes one of the most amazing, scariest and frankly worrisome things ever. Do not try this at home.
Ben takes a picture of himself every day
Don't mind the title, this is really a send-up. Funny, and so fast and complete it raises the question "Why bother to watch 100-minute films?"
Yes, Japan. It's either mind-numbingly boring and pointless or absolute genius.
A message from Chad and Steve
You'd be laughing too, if you'd just been handed the equivalent of a billion pounds for your website. So young too. They crack-up on "Two kings have joined together".
Check back for updates.
"None of the British media is carrying this story." (Lenin's Tomb)
They are now:
Israel admits it used phosphorus weapons (Guardian)
Israel admits phosphorous bombs used in Lebanon (Independent)
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Why is it that other newspapers never give you the link you want, are they afraid that you will click it and never return to their boring websites? Above is the link to the marvellous new complete works of Charles Darwin online in both text and image form.
The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud (no sign of the rest of his 23 volumes?)
Relativity by Albert Einstein
Nearly everything else by everybody else ever, including that chap "Shakspere" and God.
Classic short stories in a beautifully readable format. Aladdin's cave was a car boot sale by comparison.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The Willesden Short Story Prize 2007
Prize: Ed's Big Ugly Mug1 special edition inscribed "The Willesden Short Story Prize 2007" and the option, if you choose, to read or have your story read as part of the Radio Free Willesden podcast series. Not forgetting immortality.
The Herald is honoured to announce that local author Zadie Smith has graciously agreed to adjudicate again this year.
There is no theme and no word limit other than our editorial team's variable attention span. If you can hold their attention you deserve a prize. They have read a lot of great short stories and want to read as many more as possible. If your entry is not a short story they will know, so don't send a novel. If it's a chapter from a novel, don't tell us - it should stand alone. If it stands alone, we don't care whether it's part of a bigger work, but we don't want to know beforehand.
Closing date: December 24th, 2006. The winner and those who were short-listed will be notified by email early in the new year. Winner and shortlist will be announced simultaneously.
Please send your entry by email to firstname.lastname@example.org as attachments in either Microsoft Word or RTF format.
It is important not to include your name with the text of your story, but please do include it in your accompanying email. Pen names are acceptable but we would like to have a real name as well.2 Anonymity will be maintained, if required, with the help of St. Jude and the good judgement of the bartenders of Willesden. Your details will not be used or shared with anybody for any other purpose.
Entries must be in English, your own original work and previously unpublished. We're not worried about previous workshop versions lying around somewhere, but blogged and ezined stories are considered published. Suggestion: cunningly delete them from online before sending them in.
This year it's only one entry per person, please.
Copyright remains with the author at all times, of course.
We reserve the right to withold the prize if entries of a sufficient standard are not received.
This is a genuine competition. No purchase required, as they say. Entry is free and open to all.
The results will be announced here in The Willesden Herald and on several other websites, and the title winner of the Willesden short story prize 2007 will be yours.
There is no official anthology linked to the competition but short-listed entries may be considered for inclusion in "New Short Stories", an occasional anthology planned for inauguration next spring. It will be entirely optional, thus enabling you to preserve the unpublished status of your story, if that is your choice.
Where are they now?
Joint winner for 2006, "Secure" by Mikey Delgado was subsequently published by Guardian Online (here).
The other joint winner, "Dodie's Gift" by Vanessa Gebbie also won another prize (under a different title) and has been published by Cadenza magazine. The same author has won or been second in numerous short story competitions, as well as inconsiderately beating the Herald's own spy at the Small Wonder short story slam on the clapometer. [Sounds painful. Ed]
One of our short-listed authors, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, was long-listed along with Alan Bennett and others for the 35,000 euro Frank O'Connor prize for her short story collection "To the World of Men, Welcome" along with the eventual winner, Haruki Murakami.
January 2007: "Sasquatch" will be included in Tao Lin's collection "Bed" to be published by Melville House in April 2007. (More)
The Cone of Silence
Every entry received is acknowledged by return email. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, your entry might have been blocked wrongly by email-filtering software. Alternatively the acknowledgement might have fallen into your bulk email folder.
Please enquire if you have not received an acknowledgement after 48 hours. If you cannot get a response from stories, there is an alternative email address, see above right "Letters / Submissions".
Eddie 'Red' Woodward (here seen drinking Irish Tea).
2 It would be a good idea to include in your email your name, address [optional], the name of the story you are submitting and pen name, if applicable. For short-listed entries full details may be requested, at the editorial team's discretion, to verify. Ed
Updated: 2006: November 1st, 13th, 21st, 29th. 2007: January 19th
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
"When she was made Education Secretary there was great excitement in my house. I didn't know she was a religious fundamentalist then, I'd only seen her picture in the paper and it had sent my gaydar pinging off the scale. I burst through the front door. 'They've done it,' I cheered. 'They put a big old out-lesbian in the Cabinet.' " (Froosh Bamboo)
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Whatever can it signify?
I've injured my assonance also,
Which used to dance the salso.
Everything comes out free verse;
Is this a step forward or a setback?
All alliteration also left me of late
And metaphor has met a similar end.
I fell in love the other day;
Naturally she ran a mile.
I couldn't think just what to utter.
She must have thought I was a looney.
Don't even talk about rime riche!
That's another son-of-a-gun.
If metre goes as well,
I will truly be in a place of eternal torment.
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Monday, October 16, 2006
A mysterious message on an answering machine turned out not to be from Stephen Hawking after all, but from the Tailgate Vigilante, Hedley Dandridge, who shares his thoughts with us tonight here on Radio Free Willesden.
Unfortunately, not all of us can understand Mr Dandridge's speech as well as the staff at Broadmoor, so to help you follow his words here is a transcript.
* From "Phantom Hands at Seattle General"
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Radio Free Willesden's page in the iTunes podcast directory
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Saturday, October 14, 2006
Chapter 1 - Out of my Pram
O Boyle, beauteous Boyle, where thy hills all gang green
And thy braes 'ere were beauteous as well,
In thought I amend to the cross there and bend
My two knees and my head down to pray.
("O Boyle, Beauteous Boyle" Herb Shapiro)
I wish I could start my story with a song like that but alas! I wasn't born in Boyle. I was born in Dublin, dirty and dear (especially now that the euro's here). My first memory is of biting the fat finger of some nosy oulwan poking me in my pram. Little did I know then that I would spend the happiest years of my life poking nosy oulwans myself.
To say we were dirt-poor would be an insult to dirt. My mother scrubbed the skid-marked and soggy underpants of priests for the whole arsediocese of Dublin, so our one room home on the third floor of a tenement in Gardiner Street always smelled of shit and religion.
[Red, put something in here about the following: gaslight, fanlights, pyramids of horse dung-balls [ooh Ambassador, you do spoil us! Red], clipclop, cobblestones, ten for a penny the plums, good afternoon, your humble servant, mangles, privies, paraffin lamps, complete absence of television, more fun with a cardboard box than with a gameboy, widows, twenty-child families, velvet tablecloths, vote for De Valera, Larry Gogan etc. Feargal]
* With Feargal Mooney
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Intruders beware, Zoltan guards the grounds of Herald House.
The fearsome creature even drinks viciously.
Here he is seen training to bust illegal water sprinklers. (Note: this was before the sprinkler ban.) If his handler hadn't called him off for his own safety, he would never have stopped.
The founders of YouTube in good form after receiving about a billion pounds* from Google for their business, which makes no money, only employs about 70 people, and which they started less than two years ago using their credit cards for finance. Got to hand it to them.
* See that Poorboy?! That's the sort of money you'll have to produce! Ed
Class of 2006
Nice to see Nuala Ní Chonchúir long-listed for the 35,000 euros Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for her short story series "To the World of Men, Welcome". It was in good company in the competition, which was eventually won by Haruki Murakami.
Another one of the Willesden Herald short-listed authors has almost (not quite yet) got a bidding war going for his forthcoming book. Not much more I can say about it, but great things are expected.
Noël Knowall, Arts
* What do they mean, "It's not a newspaper!" Feargal can you check with Crapstone Bumwilley Scrotum Scrotum and Haversack, I think that might be actionable. Red
Monday, October 09, 2006
Google today continued its manoevres aimed at a takeover of the Willesden Herald, by buying YouTube the day after we started using it. Previously they bought Blogger for the same reason.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Saturday, October 07, 2006
From the rooftop terrace of Trellick Tower, we bring you another test transmission from the 2WR transmitter, our second United Nations defying heavy water experimental podcast, tonight starring Dublin's musical pride, Celtic Symphony. Don't miss the end of the track, where there is a short "interview" with the band. Radio Free Willesden podcast second episode: Margaritaville.
The story so far: somewhere between London, Dublin and Acapulco there is a missing salt shaker. Nobody can find it because they think it's a religious fanatic, not realising that it's simply a salt cellar.
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Visit the Celtic Symphony website
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* Cruets extra
Friday, October 06, 2006
"'Communities are bound together partly by informal chance relations between strangers - people being able to acknowledge each other in the street or being able pass the time of day,' he said."
People can wear anything they like, but they should show their faces, except when there is a medical reason for covering up. A conversation between one person whose face can be seen and one whose face is hidden is unequal and unfair. It's horrible to see a man in Edgware Road leading a group of black shapes with their faces completely masked.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
"A brochure acquired by Sky News reveals details of China's new execution buses now operating across the country. Fitted with lethal injection equipment they can deliver on the spot executions." (Sky News)
Our poor capitalist people have to make do with mobile libraries.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Regarding your recent test broadcast* "from the 2WR transmitter on the top of Trellick Tower", if that* is the best you can do you might as well jump off there instead of broadcasting any more episodes. I remember the real Lord Hawhaw and he was much funnier than your impressionist.
Mr A. D. O'Gram, Daventry
* In association with the Enamel Information Council of Britain and Mrs Haverty International, Clerical Outfitters and Nylon Factors (UK) Ltd.
Monday, October 02, 2006
From a secret location. They'd like to shut us up. They'd like to shut us down. But in the words of the immortal Al Jolson, "You ain't heard nothing yet!" Unlicensed, uncensored, unshutuppable, Radio Free Willesden.
Sponsored by Mrs Haverty International
Clerical Outfitters and Nylon Factors (UK) Ltd.
- Subscribe to Willesden Herald podcasts in iTunes
- Willesden Herald's page in the iTunes podcast directory
- Feed for other podcast software
* Featuring Harry "Twitcher" Lemon on swanee whistle
Friday, September 29, 2006
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
From: Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I was intrigued to find your June 2003 webpage* concerning the restoration of the ironwork on the Queens Park Estate. Though I now live in South Wales I was born on the Estate ( at 25 Barfett Street ) and am old enough to remember the railings being removed in the early days of the Second World War.
The 'Streets' were named alphabetically, as you said, starting with Alperton then Barfett, Caird, Droop, Enbrook, Farrant, Galton, Huxley, Ilbert, (there was no street beginning with the letter J), Kilravock, Lothdrop, Marne, Nutbourne, Oliphant and Peach.
Peach Street was at the Kilburn Lane end of Ilbert Street and disappeared when a 'Land Mine' landed there. The blast was so strong that windows in our house in Barfett Street, at the other end of the Estate, were blown out. Later on a large hole was dug on the north side of the bomb site, in Ilbert Street, which was filled with water and used as a reserve supply in case of fire. Although the site was walled it was a great attraction to local boys and it was claimed that a few were drowned there.
There was some mention in the article of debris landing on local cinemas when the mine exploded. Perhaps they were the ABC cinema, The Palace, and the Odeon, both of which were at the southern end of Chamberlayne Road and only a short distance from Peach Street. I believe that they were at that time in the County of Middlesex and so may have been in Willesden.
London stopped at Kilburn Lane then and the pubs on the west side of the street were in Middlesex and closed earlier than the pubs on the London side. So at 10.30 pm there was a rush to cross into London for another half hour of drinking time.
Again thank you for the article which with the photos reminded me very much of my childhood in the area.
If I can be of any help to you, or other people, with information concerning the area in the war I will be very glad to do so.
Mr S W Lane
* Thanks to Mr Lane for several corrections, which have now been applied to the original article. Ed
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
"Haruki Murakami has won the second Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, his third collection of short stories to be published in English." (Guardian)
Friday, September 22, 2006
When Gyorgy Petch arrived by coach in London with just one suitcase, a notebook, and no discernible skills, and certainly no tool kit for plumbing jobs, the immigration authorities must have been tempted to advise him to get back on the bus, forget about us, and head back to the Hungarian/Slovakian border.
How amazed they would have been to have followed him into the streets outside Victoria Coach Station and witness the tumultuous scenes there. Word had already got out that Gyorgy was arriving and the streets were packed with families desperate to secure his services. His services? Some mistake surely? What services could Gyorgy Petch possibly offer anyone, least off all the families of north west London who were out in great numbers vying to outbid each other to get Gyorgy to ride home with them. After all, Gyorgy has no degree, no plumbing skills, has never picked a strawberry for financial gain in his life, has never even seen a cockle.
Well, the secret resides in that notebook which Gyorgy takes everywhere. And what is in that thar notebook. Is it gold? Oil? Not quite, but not so far off the mark either. Why, you cry, what then is in this magical notebook? Poems of course. Hundreds of them. Sonnets, sestinas, rhyming couplets, comic quatrains about the accession of Eastern European countries to the European Union. Page after page of black ink gold.
Poets, for all those who have been on Mars for the last five years, are BIG, and they are in demand, and though the world is full of them and even fuller of their verses it is undeniable that demand is outstripping supply. In a recent survey over seventy three per cent of households on Hampstead Garden Suburb were found to employ at least one poet. At least?! Yes, at least. You read it right. A staggering seventeen per cent of households on the Suburb now employ two or more poets.
Said Father Thomas McGuinness, waiting at Victoria and hoping to snaffle Gyorgy as poet-in-residence for St Edmund's in Finchley Central..."We hope that Gyorgy will look upon our offer favourably. He will have a five year contract, five weeks holiday, a non-contributory pension scheme and...
Cont'd page 9
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Hungarian couple, hard working poets, long visas
* Sent in by Mr M. D., London who receives a blessed scapular courtesy of Mrs Haverty Clerical Outfitters Ltd. [Ed]
Best photo blog: The Eejit
Best creative writing: Open All Night
Best literary blog: Moorish Girl
Best commentary: Lenin's Tomb
Best daybook: Whiskey River
Best local blog: Diamond Geezer
The Anna Coluthon award (voted for by poets): Riley Dog
And finally, the Red Woodward award, and fellowship of the WRMC goes to:
Best blog: The Eejit
- Sponsored by:
Muzzy "Poorboy" Pirbhai, Lord Donor,
- Last year's awards and statement from patron, Lord Donor
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
But it's not all good news. "The West African black rhinoceros has likely gone extinct, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) announced last week. "[...]and Africa's northern white rhino could soon follow." (Link)
You want cute? We have cute: Albino Pygmy Monkey Twins Born. (Unfortunately one of them didn't survive.)
" 'Then he turned his head in my direction. I said, 'Louis, can you hear me?' And he said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Say hello, Louis', and he said, 'Hello, mummy.' I couldn't believe it. I just cried and cried.' " (Guardian)
Don't say we never bring you any good news. Hundreds of brain damaged patients in vegetative states are being re-awoken with this simple sleeping pill, ironically, the treatment having been discovered by accident.
Monday, September 11, 2006
"But all men are not my brothers. Why? Because all women are my sisters. And the brother who denies the rights of his sister: that brother is not my brother. At the very best, he is my half-brother - by definition." (The Observer)
A long essay. It's taken me half an hour to read part 1 of 3 online. Interesting about Sayyed Qutb.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
"Maybe they have special dummy editions of the papers, produced by Alastair Campbell's gnomes in the dungeons and then brought up on silver salvers to where Tony and Cherie recline on their couches and dangle grapes into their crazy mouths." (Boris Johnson)
Funniest article in a long while.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
"We now have enough respect for lions to be embarrassed if we see someone trying to crack whips at them and wave chairs at them. Jumping all over crocodiles is the same kind of thing." (Germaine Greer)
"Romania's Nicolae Ceaucescu did not see the end, even when the gun was pointed at him. His tipping point had come a few days earlier, when he stood on a balcony haranguing a crowd, to be met with a murmur of mockery that steadily built to a jeer. The look of irritable bewilderment on his face..." (Times Online)
Should've known when he started measuring the curtains for number 10 before he was elected that he was a mistake. Now they're measuring curtains for him.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
"[S]ince 2002 or so, the US has been accumulating and using [...e]very email. Every link, recorded. Every jot and tittle [on the internet]" (Helmintholog)
I always think that interactive television is the precursor of Orwell's spy screens, and the "spy chips in wheely bins" discovery recently only adds to the sense of intrusion and incipient coercion.
In the future if (when?) they succeed in foisting computerised identity cards on people, they will come to control all access to money, supplies and services as well as transmitting your whereabouts and behaviour to control centres. A person will be subject to immediate control by stopping his or her credit and rights through the identity card database. A tiny guided munition will be sent to seek you out and deliver a punitive, paralysing or fatal sting. All in the interest of ensuring that the Haves continue to have and the Have-nots continue not to have.
Red Woodward "A Fool to Myself" the Autobiography*
For the first time, Eddie "Red" Woodward gives the lowdown about his extraordinary life, from humble beginnings as stableboy to the Shergar kidnappers, through his tempestuous affair with Carmencita Haverty, the ex-Marxist / Opus Dei hoyden, to his death-struggle with arch business rival Muzzy "Poorboy" Pirbhai, to notoriety as secret author of the publishing sensation "Diary of a Rent Boy" (about the life of Seamus MacGowan and the Pogosticks). After the biggest ever gambling coup, which took years to clear through the courts, he went on to found the International Willesden Herald. Now for the first time he reveals the secret betting system that allowed him to predict Frankie Dettori would win all seven races in one day, and how he was driven to bankruptcy again by "semi-house-trained monkeys".
Watch out for the first instalment, "Adolf Hitler, his part in my conception", here in your super soaraway 'sden.
* In collaboration with Feargal Mooney
Monday, September 04, 2006
Creative Writers writing workshops' Halloween short story contest is now open. Entry is free and the prize for the winner is a year's subscription to The Paris Review plus publication for one year in the Willesden Herald.