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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A nest with a view


"She never moves." "Are you sure?" "Never. It's shady." "Ok, build here."

Laugh till you cry

BBC iPlayer - Comedy Catch Up: Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show

"The showbiz legend gives a lecture to impress the Egyptology Society - but there's a strict dress code." (BBC Radio 7)

"Imagine if they mixed the syringes up and you ended up with Cliff Richards' buttocks in your face..." (Classic answer to sales phone call...) "Bob Monkhousen syndrome (by poxy)" Better than drugs.

Gladstone Park this afternoon

Approaching the walled garden

A very high kite


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Best of BBC poetry week

BBC iPlayer - Armando Iannucci in Milton's Heaven and Hell
(UK only, for a limited time)

Here is not somebody who can make exciting what is boring - which you may classify as evil, after listening to the first ten minutes of this - but rather a great advocate giving an undeniable argument to a jury. I got the tip-off from Newsnight Review, and sure enough this is an inspirational introduction to Paradise Lost, which I will now have to go and read, having ho-hummed through bits of it in school.


North on Friday evening


Air traffic control signature

"Wait a minute. Which way did I send you? Oh. And the other one? You don't know? Oh. Just a minute. Ok, here it is: Can you look out of your windows please?"

Maybe I'm paranoid but...Has the "Just For A Larf" team infiltrated Air Traffic Control or what? Why are the damn things always crossing paths - shouldn't they be travelling in parallel lanes?


Mother bird brain

Bird uses body as dam to stop drainpipe soaking chicks

"The Mistle Thrush had built her nest on top of a downpipe, blocking the water's passage and causing the gutter to flood. But desperate to protect her young, she puffed herself up to twice her size and sat in the drainpipe to stop the tide of rain water swamping the nest." (Telegraph)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fountain high

Trafalgar Square fountain spurts to new heights

"As Joel Schobs, the engineer in a chlorine-scented lair deep beneath the square's flagstones, cranked up the pressure and eased open valves that had been closed for a lifetime, the plume in the western fountain gradually and almost imperceptibly rose. Within a minute it was visibly taller than its twin. Within two it was high enough to splash the bronze cloak of General Charles Napier. Within five it was a spurting glory, 35 feet high..." (Guardian)

Britain's got bastards

I said before that child sang tonight on "Britain's Got Talent", I said to the wife, "This is totally unethical, they are destroying children's lives and making fools of people." It's like the Roman Coliseum of psychology. It is in keeping with the barking idea that it's okay to torture a small child psychologically but not to give a little slap when it's naughty. Instead of a brief natural and transient response we are expected to put kids into solitary confinement, starve them, make them stand or sit in corners, make them denounce themselves and apologise. Then we take kids and we throw them into a sort of bear pit in front of a thousand sadists and tell them to sing and dance. Now we are being sold children's nervous breakdowns like anti-LSD tabs to narrow our horizons and reduce us to whooping chimpanzees. Just say no.


WGwg book launch

The Space, Willesden Library Centre, May 28 2009

Samuel Taradash
Originally uploaded by Willesden Herald
Sam Taradash intro-duced some of the authors from the new collection as well as a very funny writer and poet Joe Dun-thorne, who read to much laughter and followed with an excellent question and answer session. Wine and juice flowed, food crunched and music enveloped the beginning, middle and end of a very enjoyable occasion. The book is a good read, so please buy a copy and send it into the top 20 on Amazon for a day ;-).

Steve Moran

Monday, May 25, 2009

Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 3:

Only 1 left in stock--order soon (more on the way) has been displaying that message for a couple or three months now, since they sold one copy. They order them in two's, so they "still have 1 left in stock". The US store has sold no more than seven in three months. The book is outside the top one million books, according the the Amazon sales position. On the face of it, that means they have more than a million other books that sell more copies than New Short Stories 3, which contains the best short stories of the year (from 650 submitted to our competition). Why do we bother? The whole book publishing business is a dead loss. The books that people buy from W. H. Smith are not written, they are extruded from machines to satisfy the public's demand for vacuous pap.


Salt sellers

Salt Modern Fiction – "Stories from the edge of now"

These are the best new short story collections around. Buy some, treat yourself and support Salt Publishing. After investing in the short story genre they have had their annual funding withdrawn and have announced that they are about £50,000 in the red.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Riding for a fall

Boris Johnson's 'near-death experience' with lorry caught on CCTV

"One of Boris Johnson's missions as Mayor of London is to get more people out of their cars and on to their bikes. But anyone who watches CCTV footage of the mayor's last outing on his own bicycle is likely to be put off for life." (Guardian)

This evening - park, stadium

Willesden stadium 1

Willesden stadium 2

Another path and trees

Kids playing cricket

Cloud line

Shooting contrails

Tree machine?

Possibly the greatest musician of our lives

BBC iPlayer - BBC Four Sessions: James Brown
(UK only. No longer available)

Can I scream? "Go ahead and scream." Can I scream, Cynthia? "Go ahead and scream." Can I scream? "Go ahead and scream." Waaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrrr!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Gordon's twin

Harriet Harman (video interview by Polly Toynbee)

This is what Gordon Brown would have looked and sounded like if if he had been born a girl. If you believe any of Harriet Harman's waffle, you must be the most gullible person ever born.


Song of the MP's

My Life Is Good - Randy Newman

The right honorable member for Beverley Hills

Latest newsletter from the great pretenders

Advertisement by Gombeen™

pretend genius [press] newsletter #3

Including: Details of a new book, new video from Café Hopeless, next week's Willesden event, Write This next theme link (£30 paid per submission accepted), new partner (donor) list, reviews and links.

Saint Sarah of Willesden

MPs' expenses: The saints (Part ii) - Telegraph

Name: Sarah Teather
Job: Liberal Democrat MP for Brent East

Salary: £64,766
Total second homes claims:
2004/5: £0
2005/6: £0
2006/7: £0
2007/8: £0

What about Glenda? The Telegraph hasn't listed anything on her. "You're next Goody Jackson!" cry the children in the street.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Interview with The War Diaries by Sartre

"I get the real story, unlike some of those other sham interviewers." This is very interesting, especially the interjections by the translator and the bar lady. There is a suspicion that the translator is deliberately mistranslating the questions and answers, or that the book is not answering the same questions.

Café Hopeless

Monday, May 18, 2009

Aung San Suu Kyi

Nobel peace prize winner

Burma Democratic Concern

A world leader who is very used to living in just one house, though she is now in prison, for no good reason. She is to be jailed again because a nutter from the US swam across a lake to get into her house and she couldn't get rid of him. Burma! Myanmar! It's a sick world.


Gordon Brown wrote about Aung San Suu Kyi in his book about heroism. Compare the petty chisellers here who can't get enough houses, and can't make up their minds where they live, or where to have their expenses-paid furniture delivered to (ref. incidences where thousands of pounds worth of furniture allowed for second home are delivered to primary home - Telegraph). To MP's: "A plague on both your houses."


Topiary cat

Local topiary, possibly inspired by the recent Divine Cat visit to Brent Museum?

Picture by Craig


 I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

In the park today


Capital City Academy


You would have to double the width of this picture and then some to see the full extent of this long building, which runs along Uffington Road (the other side). It is (or was when opened not long ago) the only "city academy" specialising in sport, appropriately as it adjoins Willesden Sports centre and playing fields, from where the picture is taken.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

UK Eurovision performance

"It's My Time" (Warren/Lloyd-Webber) Jade Ewen

A little touch of class outvoted by the massed clodhoppers of Europe. (Ok, the song is dull but dull is still better than the cringeworthy tat from the rest of them.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Book launch and reading

Advert by Gombeen™

What We Were Thinking Just Before The End

The second anthology of fiction and poetry from the award-winning Willesden Green Writers Group.

Thursday 28th May, 8pm
Studio 2, Willesden Green Library Centre, 95 High Road, London NW10 2SF

After the interval, a treat: special guest Joe Dunthorne, author of "Submarine", for reading and Q&A. Dunthorne has been compared to a new J. D. Salinger, by no less than a reviewer in the New York Times. The same comparison has been drawn by other reviewers, so don't miss your chance to meet this interesting young author.

Admission is free. Refreshments will be provided, and plenty of opportunity to get a copy of WGwg's stunning new book, edited by Bilal Ghafoor. WGwg's previous collection won a major national award, but they're too modest to mention it (see links, everywhere!).

Contact: info [at] willesdengreenwriters . com

Israeli tourism ads wipe Palestine off the map

A Different Perspective: Wiping Palestine from the map!

"Posters have recently appeared in London Underground tube stations advertising Israel as a tourist destination. The map on the advert depicts Israel as incorporating the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights (see photo below).

Please write to London Underground, the Advertising Standards Agency and CBS Outdoors – the company which manages the poster sites – asking for the removal of these posters, which deliberately deny the existence of Palestine. Contact details are at the bottom of this email." (Via: Lenin's Tomb)

Travel Desk

It falls to the Willesden Herald to stand up for MP's

We expose the dreadful frauds committed by ordinary citizens - every day this week!!!!

a) Mrs Magdelena "Maggie" Turnery, of Childs Hill

1. Claimed for not 1, not 10, not 20, but 25 vouchers at the checkout at Tesco, Brent Park, causing a severe delay. Additionally we can reveal that these claims in several instances violated the "only one per customer" clause of the voucher! Tesco did nothing to stop this abuse and seemed more interested in getting Mrs Turnery (85) out of their shop successfully, without detection, actually helping at one stage to pack her items. (sic)

2. This same Mrs Turnery, so-called Maggie, is a known cider drinker who habitually gets two flagons of cider (TWO) from the local off-licence and stops periodically on her way back to her publically funded flat to rest the bag containing these bottles quite brazenly on the path for all to see. That is how cavalier the ordinary people of this country have become, while our government works its fingers and hands to their bones to help them.

We sent a reporter to her flat, eventually found after a maze of narrow, malodorous corridors, on the fourth floor, and found her husband inside lolling in what appeared to be a hospital bed inside their flat. Our reporter was able to see, though not invited in, through to where this welfare recipient reclined on multiple pillows, drinking none other than the very same cider reported above. (sic)

More revelations to follow every day this week. We have acquired a database containing the details of everybody in this country, what they've earned, what they've spent it on, where they shop, where they eat, who they know, what their posted messages say. "This is dynamite" (spokesperson).

Keep up the good work MP's - don't rest till every one of the public in this godforsaken country learns what's good for them.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pincher Martin sees red

MPs' expenses: Members clash with Speaker Michael Martin over police inquiry: "'He may be very good at being Mr Martin; he is just not very good at being House of Commons Speaker,' [Douglas Carswell, sponsoring vote of no confidence in the Speaker] said. 'People across the country are turning to despair and giving up on the Westminster process.'" (Telegraph)

He keeps wittering on about "the employees of this house" or "the employees in this house" as if they were working in a paper merchant's office (cf. video at above link). They're not "employees in this house" they are members of parliament, accountable to the public who elected them. He seems to think they are in some sort of private venture.

It can only be a matter of a tiny step now before this country develops a full-blown crisis such as those in Georgia, Thailand, Lebanon, Greece etc. when we can expect to see hundreds of thousands block the streets to force out this shower of useless timeservers. An election is overdue.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Spring winds


A very sunny day with cold wind blustering up and leading heavy trees in their sashaying dance, the scent of mayflower and lilacs everywhere, pastel and white confetti having begun to fall. Minnehaha wasn't feeling the Mae West, but today she came out to take the air and is now as good as new.

Gardening Desk

Et tu Toynbee

Gordon Brown must go. Deadline: June 5 | Polly Toynbee | Comment is free | The Guardian

He didn't deny being a brutal office bully, he didn't do a thing to prevent the war, he is in thrall to the business and finance spivs. He sees every current problem as something personal. Instead of responding rationally to crises, his answers are all about self-justification. He just can't hack it. I am very sorry to say I told you so, but Jeeves is Jeeves is Jeeves: a fine butler, a lousy boss.


Your football teams gone too

UAE detains member of ruling family over torture video: "Issa is the brother of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy head of the UAE armed forces. He is also the half-brother of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who last year spent £210m buying a 90% stake in Manchester City. Mansour is a key political figure, a member of the UAE federal cabinet and minister of presidential affairs. ... For decades the UAE has been portraying itself as a western-friendly country, ripe for trade and investment."

These are the people your swinish government runs around with, pulling fake smiles and greasing palms with slush money. They own your football clubs, they own your energy, they own your politics. Oh free trade! Oh oil! Oh f. off. "Fly Emirates" my arse.


Talking about a revolution

Conservative party faces spotlight as expenses crisis engulfs MPs (Guardian)

Children are banned from snow-covered parks, town hall non-entities have carte blanche to spy on the public, the traitorous elite have sold your hard won rights and laws to overseas robber barons by proxy, and about 650 perfumed and bewigged parasites and their myriad courtiers and entourage are bloating on the blood of the ordinary people. What a world!

Newsmusic Desk

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A dog with three tails

Ridley's Believe It Or Not

Sample: Yellowman

Herbert Ridley presents: A dog with three tails was Spotted in Roundwood Park, London

Friday, May 08, 2009

It's not all bad news*

"Cat found" posters today

* The cat has since been claimed, it seems, as the posters were removed after a short while.

Hijab tailoring

Willesden High Road

Champions League Final MBM report

One of the specialities of the Willesden Herald (established 1884, Medaille d'Or Antwerp 1911, Pontification) is in the area of Predictive News. Our motto is "Tomorrow's News Yesterday". It is from this great tradition that we bring you the following world exclusive Minute by Minute report of the Champions League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona before it even happens.

Man U: Van Der Sar, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, O'Shea, Scholes, Carrick, Anderson, Rooney, Ronaldo, Berbatov

Barca: Valdes, Pique, Puyol, Toure, Sylvinio, Busquets , Iniesta, Xavi, Henry, Eto'o, Messi

1 Min: Rooney starts the ball rolling back to Carrick who flips it out Scholes who tries an audacious cross field Hollywood pass to a surging Ronaldo. Toure and Puyol deal comfortably. Throw in United. Comes to nothing.

3 Min: Manchester are really playing high up the pitch trying hard to pin Barca back by attacking Sylvinio and Toure on the wings. First over to Anderson then to Ronaldo, then Scholes, then to Berbatov in the middle, lazy work there…loses the ball to Iniesta.

6 Min: Some shaky play here by Barca and again Man U press forward. Ronaldo lets loose the first shot of the match stinging the fingers of Valdes from about 25 yards out – turned around the post. Corner to United. Dealt with, but I’m sure we’ll see more of that tonight being that Barca’s defense is short and suspect of quality.

7 Min: Is Messi on the pitch?

8 Min: Oh yes, there he is. Nice one two with Xavi. Messi with a nice diagonal pass to Eto’o. Vidic clears hastily. Perhaps Eto’o will try to emulate Torres tonight and give Vidic nightmares. Certainly looks like he was trying to twist and turn Vidic all ways to Sunday there.

10 Min: Throw in to Barca as Scholes lost control of the ball. Sylvinio to Xavi to Iniesta. Carrick harries and wins the ball and quickly to Anderson. Anderson lays off to Rooney plucks out Berbatov. Berbatov chest controls and back heels through the defense! OH PICK THAT OUT! Ronaldo steams past former teammate Pique sends the ball crashing into the far corner. No stopping that one! 1 – 0 United!

13 Min: Yellow card on Puyol for a reckless challenge on Rooney. Rooney gets up with his face 3 shades away from nuclear. Get that boy under control Sir Alex.

17 Min: Nothing much happening now. United seem to have cooled and Barca are stroking the ball around with out much intent.

19 Min: Anderson fires wide. Does Barca know where the goal is?

23 Min: First sign of Henry. I heard he was playing tonight. Streaks down the left, taken down clumsily by Evra. Iniesta takes the free kick. Puyol with a header, turned around the bar by Van Der Sar. First real sign of life by Barca.

24 Min: Nothing happens with the corner.

28 Min: Ronaldo breaks clear and Scholes picks him out with a brilliant lobbed pass. One on one with the keeper and he pulls up a Drogba and kicks the ball right into Valdes’s legs! Anywhere else and it is 2 – 0.

30 Min: Busquets given a yellow for a poor challenge on Rooney. Rooney gets a yellow for losing his rag! Fortunately for everyone Terry is at home in London and not here to start a riot. Calmer heads prevail and the match resumes.

33 Min: Eto’o and Henry play a little one two and Eto’o zips past a decidedly flat footed Vidic. Ferdinand is there to clear! Wow, that was close.

37 Min: Xavi passes the ball. It goes back to Xavi. He passes it again. And back again. Oh look, Xavi…passes the ball…did you say these guys scored goals?

40 Min: Berbatov wakes from his slumber to actually take the ball off of Busquets and quickly plays it to Carrick. Over to Anderson and then to Ronaldo. Step over and shimmy oh how pretty…but he lost the ball…

43 Min: Rooney and Puyol in a tangle. Oh, not good for either one as they are both sitting on Yellow cards….Ref breaks it up…just a stern talking to each. Free Kick to United. Ronaldo takes it…and it beats the keeper and the post. Still 1 – 0.

45 Min: Barca need to do get some life in them. Do something.

45 Min + 3: And that is the first half. Man U looking sharp and pushing the game to Barca. A few moments of brightness for the Catalan side but where is Messi?

46 Min: Eto’o starts the ball rolling

48 Min: Penalty! Messi using what looked a string tied to the ball dribbles around a helpless and hapless O’Shea and nutmegs! Yes nutmegs Vidic in the box who retaliates by shoving the miniature Argentine to the ground!

49 Min: 1 – 1. Eto’o fires the ball right, VDS went left. Nothing to it and we are all level.

51 Min: That goal seem to take the wind out of Man U and put it all in for Barca. Ping ping the ball is just all over the place. Everybody getting a touch.

53 Min: GOAL! Messi whips the ball in and could you believe it, Thierry Henry with a HEADER! What is this world coming to? 2 – 1 Barca!

56 Min: SAF is going ballistic on the sideline! It looked like Puyol stomped on Berbatov’s foot just before the striker let loose a shot and nothing to it says the Ref.

58 Min: Rooney is running around like a mad animal.

59 Min: Tevez comes on for Berbatov who is limping. SAF is still raging at the 4th Official.

61 Min: Rooney chases the ball around, picks it off of Henry, who in turns clips Rooney. Yellow for Henry who suggests Rooney is a diver! Rooney is outraged and has gone apocalyptic in color!

65 Min: Tevez, Carrick, Scholes, back to Tevez, over to Rooney, whose shot cannons off the cross bar and his cleared by Pique. Great stuff here. Real hectic.

68 Min: Messi gets the ball in midfield and embarrasses Scholes. Rooney oh my WHAT ARE YOU DOING! Chases Messi down and tackles from behind. Oh my Yellow Card and that is 2 Yellow and you are off! RED CARD FOR ROONEY! SAF has gone absolutely apesh*t on the sideline. Ferdinand is up in the Ref’s face. Maybe it was a little weak but Rooney has been a lose cannon all game. This can’t be good for United

70 Min: Giggs on for Scholes. Hleb on for Busquets.

72 Min: Barca are not sitting back they are pushing forward. Man U are trying to move forward as well. Back to back stuff here but no clear chances.

75 Min: SAF goes with his last substitution and brings on Macheada for Anderson. He can’t be serious can he? The old man is wily and a bit crazy. We will see if Macheada is a modern day Solskjaer.

78 Min: Henry comes off to some cheers from the Barca fans. Krkic comes on for him. Well well well, you put on your youngster and I’ll put on mine says Pep.

81 Min: United are starting to get desperate now. Giggs showing he still has some legs runs the ball down the middle and flicks it out to Ronaldo who delivers a good cross to the center but Valdes punches it out…barely…and back in it goes…oh scary stuff here…Toure clears! Why hasn’t United been doing this the whole game?

84 Min: Yellow card on Carrick for a late tackle on Xavi. Free Kick. Pulled out wide…Messi…Xavi…Iniesta…Messi…Eto’o…Iniesta with a shot but he doesn’t take it…back to Xavi…Carrick gets the ball and pushes it up to Tevez who flies down field and over to Macheada who loses the ball ungracefully. Poor sap. Looks like he fell over his own boots there.

88 Min: Not much in it now.

89 Min: Could it really be that Henry scored the winner? In a big match? In a final? Against Manchester United? What will those Arsenal fans think of it?

90 Min: Man U reduced to flinging the ball forward and hoping for something to happen. Rooney must be sick to his stomach.

90 + 2 Min: Ronaldo blasts a shot just wide!

90 +4 Min: Messi on the other end tries to chip VDS and nearly pulls it off but the old man just gets a finger to it. That would have been insult to injury.

90+5 Min: Tweet tweet tweet! That is it. Barca run out the winners!

Good final and decent result. Truth be told Manchester seemed to be the better but Barca proved to have the goods and took their chances with great aplomb. Congrats to Pep and the boys!

Reporter: J. Tyler Blue (Write This)

MPs expenses: Once again, we're missing the point

Gordon Brown forced to defend allowances system

"The files also show how Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, over-claimed for both his council tax and mortgage bills." (Telegraph)

As usual, the Willesden Herald's rival newspapers have totally the wrong approach to this story. Instead of griping about how MP's claim for council tax, mortgage payments, cleaners etc, they should be insisting that this ingenious system be extended to everyone. You will need no reminding about the endless and annoying outgoings that beset us all, even in the best of times. Far from being a disgrace, the Westminster expenses system is brilliant and far ahead of its time.

It falls to the Willesden Herald to demand that we all be allowed to claim for homes near to where we work, council tax bills, transport, food, pot plants, plumbing and cleaning and (why not?) everything! This is one of the best news stories ever, if only people would look on the bright side, instead of always knocking the mother of parliaments and her canny and brilliant ways of providing the money that we all need.

Feargal Mooney

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Woodsmoke grey clouds

2009 short story competition: Judge's report

The winning story, as chosen by Rana Dasgupta, was "Work" by Jo Lloyd. (Full details)

Judge's Report

"Work" is a characteristically understated title for a story that concerns itself with the very ordinary, and manages to find there philosophy, politics, and great vistas of melancholy feeling. I admire it intensely: Jo Lloyd is somehow able to write everyday paragraphs that lift off into flourishes of quiet wisdom - a wisdom whose warmth and sensitivity is in poignant contrast to the cold world she describes.

Like all the best short stories, this is a capacious work of literature, and it confronts the reader with big questions. High-flown captions come to mind: it is about the degradations of capitalism, the nature of contemporary friendship, the meaning of work, of risk and of loyalty - but the story itself prohibits such ungainly representation. Jo has found for it a voice of memorable clarity and simplicity, and it speaks perfectly, beautifully, for itself.

Rana Dasgupta



If you would like to read all the shortlisted stories, the best short stories for 2009, they are available now in New Short Stories 3.


Acclaimed author Rana Dasgupta kindly agreed to choose the winning entries.

About Solo (Fourth Estate, 2009): 'A novel of exceptional, astonishing strangeness, Solo confirms Rana Dasgupta as the most unexpected and original Indian writer of his generation.' (Salman Rushdie)

Tokyo Cancelled (Harper Collins, 2005) has been translated into nine languages. "Thirteen stories ... marvels of fabulation, visions and voices, rich in startling insights" (TLS). "The stories ... ah, they outdo The Arabian Nights for inventiveness" (Guardian).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sphagnum slush pile


These are just a few of my favourite images from a typical day. Every week thousands of photos are brought in by our crack teams. What we're looking for is pictures with no people in them. If there's one thing I hate, it's pictures of people.

Onion Mbeke (Editor, Sphagnum photo agency s.r.l.)