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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Call for a general boycott

"In a 'difficult' meeting at the Foreign Office, the UK minister Ivan Lewis told the Chinese ambassador Fu Ying that her government had failed in its basic human rights responsibilities by ignoring representations about Shaikh's mental health. 'It's a deeply depressing day for anyone with a modicum of compassion or commitment to justice,' Lewis said." (Guardian)

Where possible let's boycott goods from countries like China and other tyrannical, oppressive and corrupt regimes, including the US, Russia and Israel for their stupid and disastrous foreign policies and penal systems. Maybe if enough people do this the idiots in power might start to get the message. While we can't boycott our own goods, others overseas should do so in order to convey the same message to the UK government. If world trade is shut down, well "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?"

Feargal Mooney

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tokyo Chocolate

Morowa Yejidé - 2010 update: "Tokyo Chocolate", published in the Willesden Herald 2009 short story anthology & 2009 Pushcart Prize Nominee, will also appear in the upcoming print edition of Yomimono, a Japanese literary magazine out of Hiroshima.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

This evening

Converging planes

Scenes like this can be seen continuously over King Edward Vii park in Willesden. This is not even a good example, often they seem to converge to the same point, which is puzzling - is it not? Trails can cross but for the leading points of two trails i.e. the planes to cross exactly at the point: this can be seen repeatedly, almost hourly from the park.*

Another thing you can see occasionally from this viewpoint is a plane flying surprisingly low though we're not near the airport. They made a mistake building Heathrow so that planes had to overfly built up London all the time, so let's back Boris Johnson's new estuary airport replacement all the way and close Heathrow. Otherwise it's only a matter of time before a disaster brings out all the hypocrites - if they survive - to wring their hands and puzzle over how it could possibly have happened. Yeah right! Just move the airport - get on with it.

Feargal Mooney

* I know this is probably daft but it makes me wonder if there aren't one or two rogue air traffic controllers practicing for or trying to create a collision - Al Qaeda? Ed.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hark the old comment restoration completed

All the comments that were originally on the Squawkbox system from 2003 through part of 2004 have been copied and pasted into Blogger comments. The format is not all one could wish for but at least the text is there, preserved in Google's amber for however long that lasts.

Although the counts are wrong, because it will say one comment when there might be five or two when there are about ten etc, the layout is not very different to how it looked on the original Squawkbox system. As some of our technical geegurus have pointed out, a lot of the IP addresses are traceable to the Inbox Café, a local internet caf' that seems to have been piggybacked onto servers forming a technical hub for London and world communications at the time.

Hopefully this will please Mrs and long-suffering Mr Berries, Gladys Abanjo, Dr Gerald Francis, Rainbow Spike, Louisiana Lil, Alura in the Land of Giant Food, the Baroness of Canada and all of our many correspondents from that era. The messages even include one from Lenin - that's how far back they go.

Simon Moribund

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wogan's last stand

BBC iPlayer - Wake Up to Wogan: 18/12/2009: "It's your last ever chance to Wake Up To Wogan, as the Togmeister entertains his loyal listeners over breakfast for the final time."

Terry plays his favourite tracks on this his swansong breakfast show. He has had me in stitches so many times he could be a master surgeon. Including the poleaxingly funny Janet & John stories. Terry, may you be in Heaven an hour before the divil knows you're dead!

Broadcast on: BBC Radio 2, 7:30am Friday 18th December 2009
Duration: 120 minutes
Available until: 9:32am Friday 25th December 2009

Today is the closing date for the short story competition

There is still time to enter online. I hope our publisher will be nominating some of the finalists for Pushcart prizes again next year. Six is the maximum nominations a publisher is allowed in one year. As well as the inestimable, one-off trophy mug inscribed "Willesden Short Story Prize 2010" there is £300 for the winning entry plus 2 x £150 for runners up. All ten shortlisted will be included in New Short Stories 4, which will be published on print on demand in both the US and the UK. If you don't win one of the main prizes you still get two copies of the anthology, and of course you keep all your copyright. So - last day! Approximately 300 entries as this is posted. Thanks to all who have entered and please send your best story if you haven't yet.

Willesden Herald short story competition link

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Who's asking and why?

Why is that an application form to join a the local sports centre has to ask people about their sexuality, religion and race? Is this the local council preparing the database for future BNP pogroms? In their stupidity they have turned what was supposed to be something about fairness and equity into something altogether sinister and oppressive. Why must people tolerate that sort of crap and pay for the privilege?


Sunday, November 29, 2009

BBC iPlayer - Desert Island Discs: Morrissey

BBC iPlayer - Desert Island Discs: Morrissey

Broadcast on: BBC Radio 4, 11:15am Sunday 29th November 2009
Duration: 45 minutes
Available until: 12:02pm Sunday 6th December 2009

"As the lead singer of The Smiths he captivated a generation of angst-ridden teenagers and, a quarter of a century later, he remains the outsider's outsider. As a child, he was enthralled by the emotion and beauty in pop music. He discovered the joy of public performance when, as a six-year-old boy, he stood on a table and started singing. But from an early age he felt he had to avoid everything conventional life had to offer. 'I just didn't want the norm in any way, he says, 'and I didn't get it. And I'm very glad.'"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The art of short story writing

Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story (edited by Vanessa Gebbie) is "a collection of 24 specially commissioned essays from well-published short story writers, many of them prize winners in some of the toughest short story competitions in the English language". The contributors between them have won "The Bridport Prize ... The National Short Story Award ... the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award ... The Asham Award for New Women Writers, The Fish Histories Prize, The Fish Short Story Prize, The BBC Short Story Prize, The Commonwealth Award, Writers Inc. Writer of the Year, The Willesden Herald Prize*, NAWG Millennium Award for Radio Short Story and the Per Contra Prize."

* I have highlighted the most important one. Ed

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quote of the Week. Yes, you guessed -

The tests say I have leukaemia... hang on a mo, that can’t be right: "But how these things are distributed is a mystery. Why does the angel of death fly over some houses but not others? There is no rhyme or reason."

It's Boris again. It's always Boris and always will be, unless Van Rompuy comes up with a new haiku.

War crimes trial for Blair?

Leaked documents reveal No 10 cover-up over Iraq invasion: "Military commanders are expected to tell the inquiry into the Iraq war, which opens on Tuesday, that the invasion was ill-conceived and that preparations were sabotaged by Tony Blair's government's attempts to mislead the public." (Guardian)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A vote for the Liberals is a vote for Cameron

Nick Clegg dents Labour hopes of Lib-Lab alliance | Politics | The Guardian: "Whichever party have the strongest mandate from the British people … have the first right to seek to try and govern, either on their own or with others.'"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Willesden Library Centre: Filth and dereliction in Brent

Gigi's closed months ago and is still empty. Now the Bellevue Cinema has closed and the fitments have been ripped out. Last night the centre's mens' toilet was in the most nauseatingly filthy condition. Dirty paper was strewn around the floor, there was fluid underfoot. In one cubicle somebody had closed the lid and defecated on top of it. In the other the bowl was clogged and foul. The word disgusting is inadequate to describe the state of the place. The people responsible for the filth are horrible lowlifes but what about the people who run the place, i.e. Brent Council? The council tax this year for a house near the library centre, in Band E, is £1672.93. It's not rocket science - compare the Tricycle Theatre in neighbouring Camden council control also in Brent [correction], or the Southbank Centre or even a typical motorway services, or the loos at Victoria Station. Then ask yourself why Brent gives us nothing like that and instead something more like the opening scenes from Slumdog Millionaire.


Grand unification theory questions

Einstein's formulae predict correctly how things will seem from different viewpoints (frames of reference). You can state what is measured from one point of view then feed in variables and calculate how the same event would seem from a different point of view. The idea that reality depended on point of view was and remains shocking but it is true, i.e. it works and accords with observable reality and has been proven by experiment. Although it describes a sort of mutability it is in its own way absolute in that it predicts exactly how events will be perceived.

Einstein's thoughts mainly had to do with things on a grand scale - light, time, planets, people and everyday objects but when it comes to the very tiny world of atoms and electrons, it seems that there is no such predictability. There is a finding called Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle that says you cannot properly know about an atomic particle because by observing it you change it. There was a famous conference of the top physicists and theorists at which Einstein presented a thought experiment (an imagined experiment) that appeared to prove you could find out the mass of a particle at the same time as finding out its position, using a specially designed machine. However, on the next day of the conference another great scientist - Bohr? - pointed out a loophole that invalidated Einstein's thought experiment.

This troubled Einstein - he didn't accept it - and he spent most of his life trying to work out a way to reconcile his theory of Relativity and the apparently anomalous experimental evidence and conclusions of quantum (smallest possible scale) science. He said "God does not play dice." At other times he confirmed that he was an atheist, but he believed in a universe that follows set laws, rules that could be discovered and documented. He was trying to produce a new theory that would hold true at both the large scale and the quantum scale. Such a theory, one that would comprise a consistent set of rules that hold for all realms of science, is known as a Grand Unification Theory and is still being sought.

It was previously thought that electrons were particles that orbited around the nuclei of atoms but it is now known that they behave as if they are simultaneously all around the atom - smeared. Yet if "observed" or put into use, they will behave as particles. An electron is at the same time a wave and a particle, they say.

It seems to me that there is something in common between these two scientific theories, the conclusion that "different snapshots of the same thing" seem to comprise different realities. On the one hand it seems that X is the case but on the other hand it seems that Y is the case. For example in relativity on the one hand it seems that 20,000 years have gone by; on the other hand (for a space traveller travelling near the speed of light) it seems that only a few years have gone by. In quantum mechanics on the one hand it appears that a photon has gone through one slit in the apparatus, on the other it appears that it has gone through the other slit in the apparatus (in a device that tries to see which route a photon takes, which produces an inconclusive result).

In relativity an event in effect is more than one thing. To viewer A it is something but to viewer B it is something else. Yet there is only one event. In quantum mechanics a photon "is more than one thing". From a pattern seen on the surface of a detector it appears that the photon has gone through both slit A and slit B.

An electron is not in one location in orbit around a nucleus. But what does being in one location consist of for something that is moving - is it ever in one location? No, because it is moving - never in one location. So let us not be surprised that we cannot discover its location, especially as it is travelling at the speed of light - a speed at which time stands still. It is making its way from place to place but in no time. Therefore there is no time interval between it being in one place and the other, which in our terms comprises being in two places (N places) at the same time.

These particles participate in the very weft and warp of what reality is. It should not surprise us, therefore, that they appear miraculous since this whole dream of life is some sort of miracle. That there are elements that are in more than one place at the same time is no more amazing than any everyday event in life - all are equally miraculous. I doubt that anything people discover or describe will ever make life any less miraculous or mysterious.

The point I want to make is that this uncertainty of position is like relativity, it is a form of certainty, in that we know that these particles will be in more than one place at once. The whole question of where the electron is is an analogy of relativity's multiple viewpoints for the same event, where the electron is the event and the multiple locations are the multiple viewpoints.

Since this electron moves at the speed of light time stands still for it. "To the electron" no time passes, yet it moves from one location around the atom to another and therefore is in both places at once, since there is no time interval, there cannot be at the speed of light - when time "stands still". To the electron it is in more than one place at the same time. We cannot participate in this, so by trying to observe and detect this we disrupt it, effectively crash the electron. All we can see is a blur, which is the blur of a particle that is in the process of simultaneously being in more than one place at the same time.

Turning back to the idea that the multiple locations might be thought of as multiple observers of the electron, imagining that at several locations around the nucleus tiny observers could be placed who would have their impressions of where the electron was, they would all receive the same impression, that it was at their location all the time. What I want to ask is this: for these tiny imaginary observers observing the electron moving at the speed of light, and setting the speed of the observed object equal to the speed of light, will we not find that the laws and formulae of relativity do indeed apply and produce the same result for every tiny observer?

Whether or not the existing formulae apply, is it not the case that a set of formulae could be worked out that would correlate the multiple location impression, i.e. quantum uncertainty, with the "definite uncertainty" of relativity where what different observers will perceive can be calculated exactly? In effect is this not just a change to the variables whereby the event is moving at the speed of light and the observers are located in an orbital path of the event such that they all receive the same impression, despite their different locations. Can this quantum scenario not be derived by some transformation of Einstein's equations? (Where T=0?)


FM104 - The Thierry Henry Song

A bit of Dublin humour/parody of Take On Me by Aha

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Presidents 'r Us

"He uses the same toothpaste"/Man holds drip for child bomb victim

Tony Blair still stands an outside chance of assuming the new post of president of the European council, amid signs that EU leaders will take the selection process down to the wire at an emergency summit on Thursday. British government officials believe that the former prime minister could emerge victorious at the last minute ... and the decision could go down to "coffee and mints" at the dinner on Thursday night, as one observer put it. (Guardian)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another win for one of our authors

Juked - 2009 Fiction and Poetry Prizes

Fiction Winner: Jill Widner, 'Bisu and the Missionary's Daughter'

Congratulations Jill! You can read Jill's story "Mina and Fina and Lotte Wattimena" in New Short Stories 3. It conjures a sultry far eastern scenario of youthful adventure and discovery in rich and evocative detail.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

John McGahern: The Stoat

BBC iPlayer - Short Stories by John McGahern: The Stoat

Broadcast on: BBC Radio 7, 10: 15am Sunday 15th November 2009
Duration: 15 minutes
Available until: 10:32am Sunday 22nd November 2009

A man compares a stoat's steadfast quest for a rabbit to a shy woman's pursuit of his hopeless father

Arthur Rimbaud: A Season in Hell

BBC iPlayer - Between the Ears: A Season in Hell

Broadcast on: BBC Radio 3, 9:45pm Saturday 14th November 2009
Duration: 30 minutes
Available until: 10:17pm Saturday 21st November 2009

An abridged radio reworking of Rimbaud's intense masterpiece of spiritual disillusionment, narrated by Carl Prekopp with a soundscape by Bristol composer Elizabeth Purnell and poems sung by Robert Wyatt

"A Season in Hell was written between April and August 1873 in London and France, when Rimbaud was 18, and in the throes of an intense, transgressive and destructive relationship with Verlaine. It is regarded as one of the most remarkable pieces of prose poetry ever written - a mixture of autobiography and enigmatic dream sequence in which Rimbaud looks back in despair over his life as a poet. Combining lucid self-appraisal with demented vision, it moves between hyper-realism and hallucinatory surrealism, blending sounds, colours, odours and intensely visual images. The 25 pages of A Season in Hell, here cut to a third of its length, are seen as both a testimony to and a tortured recantation of Rimbaud's poetic credo, the 'disordering of all the senses'.

"Elizabeth Purnell's soundtrack for the work includes composed music, field recordings and processed sound in a raw response to the words; she set the poems specifically for Wyatt, whose voice in its high, delicate register suggests a beyond-the-grave alter-ego to the young Rimbaud."

Belle de Jour blogger unmasks herself as 'big mouth ex-boyfriend' looms

Technology* |

Research scientist Dr Brooke Magnanti announces she is author of mysterious call girl blog and says she has no regrets about working as prostitute

"I did have another job at one point, as a computer programmer, but I kept up with my other work because it was so much more enjoyable."

Yes, yes - er -yes!

Simon Moribund

* Huh? Ed.

Joey Ramone- In A Little While

and here's the U2 studio recording posted as "A tribute to Joey, set to the song, 'In A Little While' by U2- the last song Joey listened to."

U2 (In A Little While)

possibly their best

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Willesden competition trivia

Out of about 2,000 short stories submitted since we started the Willesden competition in 2005, there have (as of November 2009) been 30 shortlisted, 22 published in New Short Stories, 6 nominated for Pushcart prizes, 2 published by the Guardian online & 9 of the authors have subsequently had books published by Canongate, Salt, Sphere, Solidus, Future Fiction, Little Brown, Melville House and Luath Press, inter alia.

When postal entries were allowed the following postmarks were noted: Finland, Japan, Pakistan, India, France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Ireland, UK, Singapore, Spain, Malta, Germany, Indonesia, Canada, Belgium, China, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Poland, Philippines, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Romania & Jamaica, again inter alia.

A story that was shortlisted in our competition went on to be second in the gargantuan Fish Publishing competition and became the title story of a collection published by Salt (Words from a Glass Bubble by Vanessa Gebbie).

Jo Lloyd, who had her first success in a competition with her win here earlier this year, has gone on to win this year's lucrative (£1,000) Asham Award.

Local author and old friend of the competition, Zadie Smith, has among many grander honours just had her first novel listed in the top ten of the Telegraph's 100 books that defined the noughties: "Zadie, Nigella, Steig and, of course, the boy wizard. The decade has seen publishing phenomenons like no other, but which books, for better or worse, have summed up the noughties?"


Friday, November 13, 2009

The proverbial

Calm before the storm, not a breath of wind, but there is a weather warning for 75 mph gusts predicted later today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

All foreign wars I do proclaim -

Mrs McGrath - Bruce Springsteen

- live on blood and a mother's pain / I'd rather have my son as he used to be / than the king of Amurikey and his whole navy

Monday, November 09, 2009

Try this

Enter zoom world

Press F11 to select full screen view in Internet Explorer.

Competition health bulletin - as well as can be expected

The number of entries to date: 85
Possibles for shortlist: 3 is stretching it

There is still all to play for. Closing date is December 18th, but it helps to have the entries more evenly distributed rather than all at the last minute.

Hundreds, getting on for thousands enter but only tens of copies of the anthologies are bought. Please consider buying some of these books to read the winning short stories from previous years:

New Short Stories 3 - featuring "Work" by Jo Lloyd
New Short Stories 1 - featuring "Kid in a Well" by Willie Davis
Fish Drink Like Us - featuring "Secure" by Mikey Delgado

Steve Moran

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Café Hopeless, across the street from Trees Lounge

"Infamous author Aden Bell attempts to seduce a Dover edition of Gertrude Stein's famous book, Tender Buttons"

Isn't that the young Gene Wilder?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Of late

Advert by Gombeen™

Pushcart Prize, Pretend Genius, Write This

Newsletter #7 announcing Pushcart prize nominees, Halloween issue and new book by Dean Strom

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pushcart prize nominations 2009

Pushcart nominations for Willesden finalists

Small presses based in the US can nominate up to six items for the Pushcart and that is what our publishers have done, nominating six out of New Short Stories 3. The nominated stories in order of appearance in the book are by Jo Lloyd, Carys Davies, Morowa Yejidé, Nick Holdstock, Jill Widner and Ben Cheetham. Congratulations and good luck to all - any could win!

There is a good possibility that some of next year's short list could also be nominated, so get your hats on and saddle up or mosey down or whatever it is writers do to get into town.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Congratulations to Jo Lloyd on another win

Asham Award winner announced

Jo Lloyd is the winner of the 2009 Asham Award. "...her gentle evocative story Because it is Running By won the £1,000 top prize announced on September 26 by chair of judges Di Speirs, executive producer for BBC Radio 4. The prize giving was held at Charleston, East Sussex, during the annual short story festival Small Wonder. The judges, who included David Constantine and Erica Wagner, were unanimous in their praise for Jo Lloyd's story. Among the tributes paid was one from novelist and short story writer Alison MacLeod. “This was one of the best stories I have read this year,” Alison commented. “Subtle, understated and poignant……a balance of eagle-eyed realism and really fresh lyricism …… with perfectly pitched rhythm of prose.” ... Jo Lloyd was brought up in Wales and now lives in Oxford. Her stories have been long listed for the Bridport Prize and she has won this year’s Willesden Herald Short Story Prize for her story Work."

Naturally everyone at your very own Willesden Herald is pleased for Jo Lloyd and not a little proud of recognising her talent earlier this year.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Can you bear to wait see what the park looks like tonight?



This recycling bin migrates up and down the street. I have returned it to St Mary Magdelene's once or twice and it's back again. Heh.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

National Express jobsworth makes pensioners leave food

I hope National Express are very happy that the driver of their coach from Newquay to Victoria, which departed at 3 p.m. on Sunday October 5th, forced three lady pensioners to leave seven Cornish pasties behind at the coach station in Newquay because of a rule about not allowing hot food on the coach. One lady lost £12 worth and with another two as well, about £15 worth of good food was wasted - or did somebody else get it?


Saturday, October 03, 2009

South East Asia crisis appeal

Save the Children UK : Donate: "Children are in desperate need after three deadly disasters in four days hit South-East Asia. We're saving children’s lives by providing food, water and other vital aid in all locations. Please help us reach more."

Osaka by night


Friday, October 02, 2009

Story for childers

The Pidey Pipeload of Hamling - Professor Stanley Unwin

Childers, see if you can list without smiley, who can stay seriose longmost. Deep joy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dwayne Foster & WGwg @ BHM

Friday 2 October 8 - 10pm

The Willesden Green Writers’ Group and Dwayne Foster present:

Short stories, performance poetry and good conversation

The Gallery, Willesden Green Library Centre

An evening of the spoken word with authors from The Willesden Green Writers’ Group reading from their second anthology, What We Were Thinking Just Before the End.

Exciting performance poetry from young Brent poet Dwayne Foster.

Part of Black History Month, October '09

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The South Oxhey community choir

Nearing the end of his project in the Hertfordshire housing estate of South Oxhey, choirmaster Gareth Malone sets out on a grand venture to get the whole community behind his choral project. He decides he wants to stage a free choral festival at South Oxhey playing fields, a large green space normally used for football and dog-walking, and embarks on putting together the largest event this area has seen for half a century.

With the help of local residents, the new South Oxhey Festival gradually begins to take shape. Gareth draws together every strand of his singing project to form a grand choir of unprecedented size, which will sing together at the festival for the first time. But will South Oxhey's residents take their community choir to their hearts?

Broadcast on: BBC Two, 9:00pm Tuesday 22nd September 2009
Duration: 60 minutes
Available until: 9:59pm Tuesday 6th October 2009

This is the only television program I've watched for a week. I really only watch tv and listen to radio via iPlayer now. (Don't miss the informative caption at 56:50!)


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We'd be in jail

OFT fines building industry £130m for bid rigging "Companies including Kier Group, Galliford Try, Balfour Beatty and Carillion artificially inflated the bill for more than £200m worth of public sector construction work"

If you or I stole millions of pounds or defrauded local government we'd be going down for long stretches in jail. If these crooks were in the U.S. they too would be going to jail. But this is Blighty, they get a slap on the wrist and local authorities are told not to exclude them from tendering again because this practice is widespread. Something is rotten in the state of Britain.