Established 2003. Now incorporating The Sudbury Hill Harrow and Wherever End Times

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Willesden Herald presents the real Turner prize 2008

Submit your entries for the Willesden Herald real Turner prize in the form of a link to a YouTube video or other artifact of your own creation to the comments below this message. The winner will be posted here. The synonymous annual cash prize for a boring heap of junk is due to be announced tomorrow evening.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Je Thames*

Je Thames/Sur le pont de Waterloo, Londres. Sphagnum

Originally included in A nice walk around London, with about 200,000 friends

A Creaking Hips production in association with Double Pneumonia

* Moi non plus. Ed

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

All-time stupidest question in parliament*

The Hon. Brooks Newmark (Conservative, Braintree): "Only three countries in the developed world have a bigger budget deficit than the U.K. Can the Prime Minister name even one of them?"

The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown (Labour, PM): "America."

(Prime Minister's Questions, 26 November 2008, at 20 minutes 40 seconds into the BBC TV recording.)

Shortly after the laughter dies down, the next Conservative (Nicholas Soames, Mid Sussex) asks a question that begins, "Because of his mismanagement of the economy - and there are millions of them - will the Prime Minister..." Was it a heavy session in the bar for the Tories this morning, or what?


* A marvellous achievement in a crowded field. Ed

Friday, November 21, 2008

Live to tell the tale

The eternal adventure: The amazing tale of the Arabian Nights

"Robert Irwin has edited and introduced 'The Arabian Nights' (Penguin Classics), and wrote 'The Arabian Nights: a companion'. The three-volume boxed set is available (price £112.50) from 0870 079 8897"

Congratulations to the Independent on an excellent, informative article about The Arabian Nights. If you have £112.50 to spend on a Christmas present (no, didn't think so) you can buy Robert Irwin's boxed set commentary. I fancy the Penguin Classics one myself. (Hint to Mrs Ossian). There are also brief intros to related works by Salman Rushdie, Edgar Allan Poe and AS Byatt.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Red Woodward in bid for Woolies

Winter Sale: 820 Woolworths stores for just £1

"Woolworths is likely to get just £1 for its loss-making 800-store chain. The decision to seek a buyer for the shops in mid-November reveals that the chain is dangerously close to bankruptcy. It makes 90% of its profits in the six weeks before Christmas and should be raking in cash at this time of the year, selling Christmas goods and toys." (Guardian)

Willesden Herald proprietor and business typhoon Red Woodward is believed to be a serious bidder for Woolworths. The 820-chain store is up for sale for £1 and Woodward believes he can leverage the equity in his publishing empire to rescue this iconic high street brand. "The first thing I'll do will be to bring back the soft ice cream and Oxford Lunch fruitcake. I believe the store has lost its way since it stopped offering those items, and I am the man to put it back on track", said Woodward in an exclusive interview with the Willesden Herald. "And I'll be the first customer for those items as well," added well-built Woodward.

Feargal Mooney

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday, 3 hours ago

3:38-3:46 pm, 16 November 2008. Sphagnum

Brent Affordable Art Show 2008

Hier und Jetzt by Sandra Bussemas

The Gallery at Willesden Green
18th November - 19th December, 2008

"Featuring work from emerging talent as well as established local artists, the Affordable Art Show will give visitors the opportunity to enjoy and purchase an eclectic array of artwork, from painting, sculpture to photography, to prints…etc. Many pieces on show will carry a price tag of under £100, making this the perfect hunting ground for the “next big thing”, or a chance to purchase an original and unique piece from a talented artist."

Can You See Us?
Students from North West College
working with Brent Learning Disability Partnership

18th November - 19th December, 2008

"The College of North West London has been working with Brent Learning Disability Partnership with students who have learning disabilities and a wide range of learning difficulties enabling them to learn new skills, increase vocational competences and gain qualifications. The Creative Crafts Skills Group, based at Stonebridge Day Centre, has worked with College lecturers, Lula Couling-Barreneche, Mary Anne Vaughan and Alison Rose to produce work collectively for the ‘Can you see us?’ exhibition. All the work demonstrates the range of techniques and skills learned, such as: collage, papier-mâché, printing, felt and paper-making and decorative effects. The students have created work expressing their individuality and imaginative reflections on the theme of identity – Can you see us?"

The Venue
The Gallery at Willesden Green
Willesden Green Library Centre
95 High Road, London NW10 2SF

Times of opening
Dates: Tuesday 18th November – Friday 19th December
Times: Every day: 2pm-6pm.

Getting there
By Tube: Jubilee Line to Willesden Green (zone 2)
By bus: No.s - 52, 98, 260, 266, 302, 460

Supported by
The London Borough of Brent and Daniel & Harris Solicitors

Let's reunite Ireland as a British dominion*

It's never too late. Step back, rewind, start over. A united Ireland under the British crown as before, with its proud capital in Dublin and its own sovereignty the same as Canada's or Australia's. I am a republican in the generic sense not a monarchist, but the petty nationalists have divided Ireland. That's exactly what they've done, not united - divided. I expect to be reviled by all sides for this idea, but this is the way to a united Ireland. It does not entail any loss of real sovereignty, laws or anything else, and it incorporates Northern Ireland into the Republic. If you claim to be for a united Ireland, you've got to start loving your unionist countrymen and give them what they want. Within a family, one sacrifices for the benefit of another. We should sacrifice our separation from Britain in order to regain our own unity on the island of Ireland. Does anyone doubt that countries such as Canada and Australia are independent? We had unity before, which was worth more than the present botched independence, but we squandered it. That is my opinion and I might be wrong, but there it is.

Update: Let me put it this way, if I were a classical cartoonist or painter of allegories, I'd depict Ireland as beautiful, innocent Unity being sacrificed on the altar of Independence by malodorous, vicious Pride.

* I'm currently reading "On Another Man's Wound" by Ernie O'Malley, and I guess this blog post makes me a "shoneen". But please remember, I am not suggesting that Ireland be ruled from London, I'm suggesting a way to reunite Ireland with rule from Dublin. We should never have given up on the "Home Rule" path, which would have led to complete independence with unity. Instead what we have done is divided Ireland and "gone off half-cocked" with the present botched independence.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Post Office brand and advertising

James Purnell gives £1bn contract to Post Office Decision predicted to save 3,000 branches from closure (Guardian)

There's a billion pounds flying around, so why don't they build the Post Office brand on classier theme? Maybe something bronze and black, something stately. The tatty red plastic and poundstretcher store image is totally self-defeating. This is one of the best, possibly the greatest brand of all time and whoever is supposed to be looking after it has run it into the ground and made it instead a paragon of tat. They should make it look like the most secure and prestigious financial and official concern imaginable. Instead, even given the incomparable prestige of historic and continuing postage stamps series with the royal imprimatur, they have made it look like the worst 1950's faded red plastic and flyblown, grey-walled hell.


Night at 5 pm

11 November 2008, 5 pm. Sphagnum

"Every year we're plunged abruptly into this wintry gloom by having to turn back clocks. They rob us of an hour from our evenings every day for six months of every year, to serve their wrong-headed tyranny." (Max Bunting, Nibblesthwaite Argosy)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A reading from the Book of Oblomov

On that day Hewhoami went into Jehoozah where a multitude grate him. "Be still," he cried, "for the verse is short but the message is long."

"Tell us, Master, why is it that one person is given short-sightedness and a life of toil, while another, more unworthy, is given perfect eyesight and great riches?"

The Master spake thus. "A daughter of Mishugana was washing linen by the stream of Blurgulgrosh, in the kingdom of Nicknocknickynackynocky when Martin, son of Peter, son of John, son of Nicorette, son of Nagila, son of Edward, son of Lucian, son of Fritz, son of Gangooly, son of Agar, daughter of Michael - "

"Lord, we hath lost track of what thou sayest," spake one of the Jehoozamites.

"Verily," saith Hewhoami, "thou art the truest of all the multitude gathered here. For I betteth many of thou, thousands of thou, didst think the very same thing as this one. To this one I give the name Pontilfactor the True."

A great shout rose from the multitude. "Pontilfactor! Pontilfactor!" Many murmured that it were a bad name to choose. The Master, seeing they didst whisper against his choice of name, sayeth unto them. "Ye accursed! I have given ye a name most unusual in the nations, and ye have spat it from your mouths."

"For ye have answered your own question. Ye have been given short-sightedness and penury in return for your wickedness. Unto the Egregemites will I give 20-20 vision and riches beyond the dreams of Creosote."

Thus is it said, never marry a daughter of Jehoozah, or a son thereof.


Originally posted in Sloe Wine

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cringing dogs snarl at shackled leader

Cathy Scott-Clark: Not such a hero after all | World news | The Guardian

"Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy activist and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma, is the world's most famous political prisoner. She has spent the best part of the past 20 years under house arrest, detained by the military dictatorship she opposes. Her current imprisonment began in May 2003, when her convoy was attacked and 70 of her supporters killed by a militia of government-sponsored thugs known darkly as the Masters of Force. She has been confined to her Rangoon home ever since."

She has been a prisoner for 20 years. Blame the military tyrants who keep their boots on the necks of the people! What an absolute disgrace of an article. Or am I going mad?


Monday, November 10, 2008

From one of the Dublin Fusiliers

To My Daughter Betty, The Gift of God

In wiser days, my darling rosebud, blown
To beauty proud as was your mother's prime,
In that desired, delayed, incredible time,
You'll ask why I abandoned you, my own,
And the dear heart that was your baby throne,
To dice with death. And oh! they'll give you rhyme
And reason: some will call the thing sublime,
And some decry it in a knowing tone.
So here, while the mad guns curse overhead,
And tired men sigh with mud for couch and floor,
Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead,
Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor,—
But for a dream, born in a herdsman's shed,
And for the secret Scripture of the poor.

-- Thomas Kettle

(Born 1880. Died 1916, battle of the Somme. Ref:

I used to have a book of poetry by Thomas Kettle, which I was given as a gift, and it had its pages uncut. I wish I knew where I left it. I must have given it as a present to somebody. I think I know who. It can't be found now for love nor money, just the exact one. It's possible it was never properly published. Of course I did cut the pages, and it had this poem and one of the others I remember I used to like was called "Ennui" - it wasn't mainly war poems.

Thomas Kettle was an interesting character, a leading nationalist who followed John Redmond's decision for his Irish Volunteers, a nationalist movement, to enlist in British regiments to fight "for the rights of small nations" after Belgium had been invaded. It was on the promise of Home Rule for Ireland, which had been passed by Westminster in 1914, at Gladstone's third attempt, but then suspended because of the outbreak of war.

Whether it would have followed had not Pearse et al struck in 1916, who knows? Even in the treaty negotiations later an offer of dominion status similar to Canada's, was spurned. Wouldn't that have been far better though, even from a nationalist point of view, because afterwards they might have voted away the link anyway, like Australia keeps threatening to do? Oh well. Let's invite the Queen to Dublin, it's past time. Let the dead bury the dead. I'm not very sure what it means, but it's something a little short of letting bygones be bygones, perhaps.

The following, if it's still there (they come and go on YouTube) is a lament for a son going off to war, "Oh Danny boy, the pipes - the pipes are calling..."

(Diana Krall with the Chieftains)


New short stories 1

go ahead, make my day

Book promo a la Miranda July

Advert by Gombeen™

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes

The Observer

"Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground."

How amazing. This does sound like something that could take off.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Oasis by L. S. Lowry

The Masterplan (Oasis)

Beautiful animation and brimming with Oasis je ne say woh. We bring you nothing but the best music videos. If you don't recognise the title, it's the one that should be called "Dance if you wanna dance".


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Phew, no rapture yet

It must have been so "frightening" for all those people who were "really scared" of this boogeyman, fretting all the time during Barack Obama's acceptance speech about what horror was about to be unleashed. But - oh the relief! - he didn't close with "and finally, I'd like to thank Sheikh Osama." Don't breathe too soon though, there's still the inauguration address to be scared witless about and the good Lord knows what else. Didn't he say 666 words, no? Somebody please check, because the fearful are getting really jumpy again. Joe the Plumber is a nervous wreck.


Unquiet flows the Tolka

Bridge of Tolka, Drumcondra Park, spelter baluster, pewter spate. Spectre of Swan's liturgy, philtre of Stac's refrain, and peroxide Ida, acid exchange student, your college green a prairie to our Botanics. You sexed me with a buttercup, highly, and yogi-sat akimbo. Oh Ida, we shoulda. I'da.

Where are you now, unbanked in Ohio, divorced in Union City? Do men put their words into your mouth in Idaho? Are you a mother of succour or did you die purple hearted by the tracks in Maine?

I'll seek you high and low in Isle au Haut, I'll trade Manhattan for rosary beads and pray for an apparition, I'll drop into every dive from Atlantic City to shining Z, and go over Niagara in a glass-bottomed boat, looking for my Tolka naiad.

But should all peroxide Ida's look the same, I'll find out what martinis are and drink them dry, I'll down firewater without reservation in the Indian nations, I'll find a night door and wait for you there as longing, unquiet as the Tolka flows.

Stephen Moran
Dublin pictures by Harry Lemon

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Spin this

Obama won (Guardian)

A change is gonna come (Seal)

Barack Obama's acceptance speech in full (Guardian video & transcript)

John McCain's gracious concession speech in full (Guardian video & transcript)

Newsmusic Desk

See also: Yes


Obama elected (BBC)

Yes, we can. (Will-i-am, Scarlett Johansson, Herbie Hancock et al)

Maybe at last we can hear the end of the BBC's interminable yammering about Race, and wishful concoction of winning strategies for Dixieland. The locations covered by the BBC results program seemed to be mostly where Republicans where hoping to gain unexpected wins. It seems it was all in the minds of some gobdaws employed in BBC news.

Plus we had that twit John Bolton with his preposterous hair and moustache, looking and sounding as convincing as a menswear dummy. He said the BBC should sack Rajesh Mirchandani, for the "disgrace" of asking a Republican an awkward question. John Bolton is a walking illustration of the arrogance and wrong-headedness of the neo-con losers, and an excellent unwitting hindrance to any return by them.

FM / Newsmusic Desk

See also: Spin this

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

UFO over Dublin?


Hotel window view 11:27 a.m, 2 November 2008

A picture looking south from the Regency Hotel in Dublin. I didn't notice at first, but I think there's a UFO near the top left. Here is the same window view 17 seconds later with no UFO, and a blow-up of the object.

Harry Lemon

Come on Great Randi - pay up! We claim your $1m. Ed

Night window, Dublin


Hotel window view 7:08 p.m, 2 November 2008

Harry Lemon

Monday, November 03, 2008

"Monster Raving Loony party backs McCain" - claim

(Come on up for) The Rising - Bruce Springsteen (live, Wembley)

Feargal Mooney

Save as draft - post if Obama loses (Ed.)

Stop crying your heart out (Oasis)


Newsmusic Desk