Update: Lane Ashfeldt's take on judging this year's competition: The Willesden Prize, Stories and Tunnels _______ This is the...
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.