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

Friday, July 31, 2009

Dreamlike video

Crying Lightning by The Arctic Monkeys. Dir: Richard Ayaode

If you can ignore the faux estuary accent - and it isn't easy - this is actually not bad.


Comet 'unlikely to wipe out Earth'

Oh great. But remember a few years ago we watched those unexpected impacts on Jupiter. Well there's been another thing that's hit Jupiter, you probably heard about it last week, but did you know how big a "thing" it was that hit? According to the marvellous last paragraph almost like an afterthought in this Telegraph report, "Last week an amateur astronomer spotted that a comet or asteroid the size of the Earth had crashed into Jupiter, leaving a large crater." (Large crater - no kidding?) There are "things" flying around randomly smashing into Jupiter every few years and last week's one was "the size of the Earth". Does this mean we can have free love starting now? However, they also say that Jupiter and Saturn are protecting Earth somewhat.

L'Osservatore Willesdensio

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sarah Palin does Lucille Ball impression

The Tonight Show finds poetry in farewell speech "Palin's final speech was a thing of poetic beauty...And who does poetry better than Shatner?"

A glorious reading by Shatner, who has blossomed into a masterful purveyor of satire, with a perfect beatnik jazzy accompaniment.

Monday, July 27, 2009



The images of vertical things in the foreground are distorted, making them appear to lean in the direction of travel when photographed from a moving car. However things in the distance appear unaffected or not noticeably affected. Compare the fenceposts and pylons in the picture above.

I think I can rest my case after this example.

Just in case you still didn't believe it. (Can I label this science, Kronk?)


Excellent experiment! I calculate that the car in question was travelling at approximately one tenth the speed of light, i.e. about 67 million mph. You need not worry however, as it would have been completely impossible for the speed cameras to read your license plate at that velocity. Kronk

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

A walk in the park with Dubliners

A Willesden Herald misproduction for Café Hopeless

From noted director Jacintha Pukka
A Willesden Herald production for Café Hopeless
Thrill to the spectacle!
Marvel at the raw adventure!

From the new edition of Write This (volume 4, issue iii, 7.21.2009)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ecos de Lorca - free recital

Ecos de Lorca – a Music and Poetry recital inspired by the Poems of Federico García Lorca by the Valencian Choir: Orfeó Veus Juntes

Friday, July 24th at 7pm
The Gallery at Willesden Green
Willesden Green Centre
95 High Road, London NW10 2SF

Brent Artists Resource in collaboration with the Valencian Choir Orfeó Veus Juntes is very pleased to present: Ecos de Lorca – a Music and Poetry recital inspired by the Poems of Federico García Lorca.

Getting there
By Tube: Jubilee Line to Willesden Green (zone 2)
By bus: No.s - 52, 98, 260, 266, 302, 460
Step free access
The centre has a free car park, which is locked after closing time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Incidents in a police state (#2)

Woman 'detained' for filming police search launches high court challenge

[...] an undercover officer wearing jeans and a black jacket enters the shot, and asks Atkinson: "Do you realise it is an offence under the Terrorism Act to film police officers?" He then adds: "Can you show me what you you just filmed?" Atkinson stopped filming and placed her phone in her pocket. According to her account of the incident, which was submitted to the Independent Police Complaints Commission that night, the officer tried several times to forcefully grab the phone from her pocket. (Guardian)

Listen to Gemma Atkinson's account of being manhandled (in more than one sense) for about 14 minutes, having her arm twisted and unidentified plain clothes police trying to take her mobile phone from her pocket. She asked them for their names and numbers and they just walked away.


Monday, July 20, 2009

China UK school quarantine - update

An excellent detailed report from Channel 4 News, dated July 18th

The Willesden Herald's contact with the school groups is now telling us that a total of 16 children have been diagnosed with the flu and taken to hospital and that about 160 people belonging to school parties from the UK and the US are in quarantine at the Yanxiang Hotel.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

You may be quarantined if you fly to China

Four more UK Pupils in China taken to hospital with suspected swine flu | World news | "It is not yet known where the four most recently affected pupils are from. Three of the year nine (aged 13-14) children taken ill earlier were from the Central Foundation Boys school in Clerkenwell, while one attended Parliament Hill school in Camden, organisers said."

Meadow watch

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meadow walk

A walk around by the side of the meadow area in King Edward VII park beside the sports centre. The phonecam resolution is very low. I should have brought a proper video camera but I hate carrying things like that. Maybe it's time to ditch the old Sony Ericsson phone and get one of their better ones.


Swine flu: Chinese confine UK school parties - update

There are now four UK school parties involved as well as one from the US. The first was Central Foundation Boys School and another is from London's Parliament Hill girls' school. A total of four children have been hospitalised.

This story, which first appeared in the Willesden Herald two days ago, has now been picked up by the nationals and is about to be covered by television news channels as as well.

Update 8:40 pm: From a teacher with one of the quarantined school groups: "Another day relaxing. Other groups from USA and UK arriving in hotel. Government has taken control of school campus*."


* This is where they were supposed to be staying. Ed

WH original report: Swine flu: UK school trip quarantined in China

Henry Allingham, veteran of WW1, r.i.p.

Henry Allingham, British first world war veteran, dies at 113: "Henry William Allingham, the world's oldest man and one of the last surviving first world war servicemen, has died at the age of 113. Born in 1896 to an ironmonger's wife in a corner of north-east London, the veteran, whose life spanned three centuries and six monarchs, was 67 when John F Kennedy was assassinated and 73 when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. He [...] was 14 when the war broke out. His mother begged him not to join the military, but a year after her death in 1915 he signed up. [...] At the time of his death, he was the last surviving founder member of the RAF, the last man to have witnessed the Battle of Jutland and the last surviving member of the Royal Naval Air Service"

Not only the world's oldest man but a fine example of somebody whose mind seemed to remain in working order whenever interviewed on the television.

The good, the bad, the ugly and the hilarious

Apart from a very amusing performance by "The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain", this contains a reminder from Ennio Morricone that the language of music has concepts for which words probably don't even exist in spoken language.


Lesson 1: How to rock

Paul McCartney live on Letterman

In a brilliant set on top of the entrance to the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York, where the Beatles first set the sleepy world of pop alight, Paul McCartney's band gives an object lesson in the elements of rock. The toy bands of today with their pathetic, foppish excuse for boys' brigade marching tunes and the pompadoured screeching prima donnas of ersatz emotion eking out the dead corpse of what used to be their version of rock, should tape this and listen to it 100 times till their eyes are opened and they give up their hopeless careers.

It gets better as it goes along. If you're short of time and just want the best bits, Helter Skelter starts about 14 minutes 50 seconds in. The full set list is Coming Up, Band On The Run, Let Me Roll It, Helter Skelter and a brilliant Back In The USSR. It really starts rocking from about Let Me Roll It and gets heavier and better all the way. The drummer is awesome and the keyboard player is pretty awesome too and the whole band but it's mainly because the arrangements with their heavy booming turns are just very, very exciting if you're in the mood.

Just listening to it again on speakers and can't get the same feeling as when I listened to it first on headphones last night, so maybe try it with headphones. The trouble is I can't really turn my speakers up enough to do it justice (have to consider the neighbours).


Friday, July 17, 2009

Swine flu: Chinese police confine London school trip

An update to our exclusive report yesterday

The school party from Central Foundation Boys' School, Islington, is being confined to a hotel in Beijing. Two of the children who appeared to have symptoms were tested by Chinese officials on arrival at the airport and allegedly diagnosed with swine flu. The latest is that they are now being guarded by police to enforce the quarantine. They are not confined to their rooms but cannot leave the hotel. They have some recreational facilities there, such as basketball. It is not known how long they are to be kept there or whether they will be allowed to continue their educational tour after a number of days. People within eight rows of seats from the same flight are also being quarantined.(Willesden Herald)


Saturday 18/7/2009: The Guardian has now picked up this story and is saying four out of a party of 52 have been diagnosed with swine flu but they do not mention the school. (Link)

Update 18/7/2009: Story picked up by nationals and TV. Four UK school parties now quarantined, including girls' school.

Our scoop has resulted in absolutely no increase in visitors to the blog so we must continue to survive on earnings from Google Ads, currently standing at about £18 since introduced about four months (?) ago. When it hits £60 (anticipated within the next decade so) we will get a payout and probably put it straight on a nag in the 2:30 at Sandown. But there must be about a tenner due from Amazon as well - must check. Ed

Global warming to protect from solar cooling?

We've heard that the sun is at its lowest level for ages and that we might have another mini ice age, similar to the one about 300 years ago that lasted for what 20 years? (honestly I'm a blogger, I'm not paid to check all this - you can check for yourself). People went ice skating on the Thames and all that. At the same time we are told that greenhouse gases are going to cause the earth's temperature to rise. So what do we do faced with these marvellously counterbalanced changes? We say let's prevent the warming and have an ice age instead. This is purely from the point of view of "bloke in a pub". I don't really know anything about it but duh, no?

Kronk Pub Theories

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another opponent shot & Putin no comment

Russian rights activist Natalya Estemirova murdered: "Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, was said to have been 'indignant' over the killing but there was no response from Mr Putin, the prime minister, who appointed Mr Kadyrov to restore order in the troubled republic. Mr Putin was criticised in 2006 after he remained silent for three days following the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, the journalist who campaigned on injustices in Chechnya." (Telegraph)

It is said that Putin intends to run again for President. It's up to people in Russia to realise that their country is sleepwalking into disaster.


Extraordinary artist makes audience weep

"Sand animation" by Kseniya Simonova (from "Ukraine's Got Talent"). She tells a wartime story by rapidly drawing and morphing pictures in sand with her hands while background music and songs set the mood.

Swine flu: UK school trip quarantined in China

Willesden Herald exclusive

Members of a school party from a London school on an educational visit to China have been placed in quarantine after two of the group were "diagnosed with swine flu" on arrival. It is thought that people seated up to eight rows away on the same plane may be quarantined as well. This directly from the school party by SMS. We are not naming the school at this time.


Update Friday 17/7/2009: School trip party from Islington Central Foundation Boys School to Beijing is now being guarded by Chinese police to confine them to a hotel in Beijing. (Willesden Herald)

Update 18/7/2009: Story picked up by nationals and TV. Four UK school parties now quarantined, including girls' school.

Monday, July 13, 2009

All my trials

"Even though this was done in 1990, it's something we think is appropriate for today." (Paul McCartney's YouTube page)

Let Afghanistan sell opium etc.

It's poppycock to grow crops here but destroy them in Afghanistan: "So how would you feel, if you were sitting back on your terrace in Oxfordshire, and looking out at the poppies waving in the fields, and you heard the thugga-thugga-thugga of Apache helicopters? Suppose these helicopters were to disgorge hundreds of dark-glass-wearing US troops, who were to advance with flame-throwers and defoliants through the fields, destroying all the vegetation they could see. I put it to you that you would be exceedingly hacked off if you were a farmer." (Boris Johnson)

They (the government) are too busy being busy getting people killed and killing people to stop and think about what's best to do. That's when they're not playing silly beggars with capital gains tax.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dark cloud tonight

[Don't you love the crazy angle of the houses? The horizon is straight! Ed]

Just so you know...

Swine flu vaccine to be given to entire population: "The UK government has ordered enough vaccine to cover the entire population. GPs are being told to prepare for a nationwide vaccination campaign." (Telegraph)

[Find an amusing angle on this, Newsdesk. Ed]

The fourth plinth

Live videostream

Continuous live video from Anthony Gormley's "One & Other" series of people on top of the empty fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square

I think it should be left empty because that is the hardest and most meaningful thing to do.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Across the clearing*

More bees beeing around this year, certainly hundreds I think in the luxuriant clover and lavender etc in King Edward VII park in Willesden. In case you're wondering, it's the playing fields behind the sports centre, which few people knew the name of before but all will know as they've stuck nameplates and maps at every entrance. I have heard the footballers call it "King Edwards" before, so it wasn't completely unknown. Strange that many small parks are called King Edwards, I think (you can check if you like - I'm pretty sure there's another not far away in Wembley).


* Update 08 July 2009: Added soundtrack "Across The Clearing" by The Ray Kelley Band (selected from YouTube "audio swap" resources) to Willesden Bee Movie. It's now like something by Visconti (I fondly imagine). Os

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

More corruption

Murdoch papers paid out £1m to gag phone-hacking victims | Media | "News International chairman Les Hinton told MPs reporter jailed for phone-hacking was one-off case"

The report claims that thousands of mobile phones were hacked into by people working for News International and that payoffs were made in return for silence about the matter, a.k.a. "out of court settlements".

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Straw proposes new powers to prosecute himself

Straw proposes new powers to prosecute war criminals in Britain | UK news | "New powers to prosecute war criminals living in Britain who have committed atrocities dating back to 1991 were unveiled today by the justice secretary, Jack Straw."

Monday, July 06, 2009


Strange pink clouds drifting towards a peachy horizon, with doorlights and spires

Sunday, July 05, 2009

WGwg at Respect Festival 2009

More pictures (better ones) courtesy of Off_ Magazine

This evening

Shoal of clouds/A mackerel sky

Today/this evening in Roundwood Park

Respect maypole dancer"Brent Respect Festival is a fun, friendly, family festival that celebrates Brent's talent, diversity and creativity in the setting of one of Brent's finest parks. Brent has been organising a Respect Festival since 2003 to coincide with the Mayor of London's Rise Week and it in continues to be a vibrant event and is an integral part of national campaigns such as Big Dance and 2012."

Respect jerk chicken stall
"At this year's festival you can learn to play the steel drums, practice your Bollywood dance moves, create a costume for carnival, join the football tournament or make your own compost. If you just want to relax, Brent's talented dancers and musicians, including well-known artists and rising stars, will be up on stage to entertain you."

Respect festival main stageTaking up where Rise left (was dropped!) off, the Respect Festival keeps on keeping on. Again we rise! Dance, music, food, all in a gorgeous London park. Brochure (pdf)

Respect gospel choirThere are literary workshops and events in the Sshhh! tent, including the WGwg tour with "What we were thinking just before the end" from 6 pm to 8 pm. Catch good friend of the Willesden Herald, Steve Moran reading "Piano Smashing Blues", which appropriately enough is set in a local park on fair day.

Note: The Jubilee Line is closed today but there is a free shuttle bus from Willesden Junction station to the festival. (More transport details)


Criticism of the fire brigade

Fire victim pleaded to be rescued - Telegraph: "A mother who died in a tower block fire that claimed the lives of six people had a final, desperate conversation with her husband as smoke poured into their 11th floor flat where she and her two children were trapped."

Why do politicians always instantly say how marvellous the emergency services are? Because they are ultimately responsible for the incompetence that is all-pervasive in this bureaucracy. The testimony of the father who lost his wife and children is very moving.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

10,000 for me, 127 for you

Troops' lives 'at risk through vehicle delays' - Telegraph: "The new second-generation Mastiffs should have arrived in service with the Army by the middle of last month, but commanders have now been told not to expect the full consignment until later in the year. [...] By contrast, the US Department of Defence has managed to procure more than 10,000 of the American version of the Mastiff, known as the Mine Resistant Armoured Protected Vehicle (MRAP), in just 18 months."

The members of parliament have been too busy "flipping their second homes" in order to avoid capital gains tax.


Incident in a police state

Is the state guilty of child kidnap? - Telegraph: '[...] on May 18, when Mr and Mrs Jones, accompanied by their younger son, arrived at school to pick up their daughter, they were met by a group of strangers, one as it turned out a female social worker. She asked, without explaining why or who she was, whether he was Mr Jones. When she three times refused to show him any ID, he was seized from behind by two policemen, handcuffed and put under arrest. ... He was driven by a policeman to a nearby mental hospital where he was told that, because of "a number of concerns", he was being detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and "sectioned" under S.2 as of "unsound mind". His wife, it turned out, had been similarly arrested, for loudly protesting at the handcuffing of her husband and the forcible seizing from her arms of her young son. The three children had been taken into care by social services. ... Mrs Jones was allowed to return to an empty home that evening. Mr Jones was permitted to attend court two days later, to hear the magistrates grant an interim order for the children to remain in the care of social services. Because he was "sectioned", he was not allowed to speak. The chief magistrate, it later emerged, was chairman of the trustees of the mental hospital in which he was being detained.'

And what was his "mental illness" - perceived delusions of grandeur and paranoia about the safety of his children?


Stevie Wonder: Live at Last

BBC iPlayer

Broadcast on:BBC HD, 11:40pm Friday 3rd July 2009 Duration: 60 minutes Available until: 12:34am Saturday 11th July 2009

"Recorded during a two-night residency at the O2 Arena in London, Live at Last represents a rare occasion to experience all the funky energy of a Stevie Wonder concert. A pioneer in modern R&B, the American pianist, songwriter and tremendous performer comes back in top form after having spent ten years away from the spotlight. ... An electrifying journey into Wonder's long and successful career, Live at Last includes all his classic hits such as My Cherie Amour, Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, Superstition, Higher Ground, Living for the City, You are the Sunshine of My Life, I Wish and Isn't She Lovely, performed with his daughter Aisha Morris. All in all an unforgettable spectacle."

You won't want to miss this, particularly if you're into funky jazz fusions (or whatever this is called). Pure virtuosity and joie de vivre.

Watching and posting

The opening harmonica instrumental is lovely and subtle in the way it builds and blossoms and ends with a feat of virtuosity (needless to say).

The third track is a very soulful reworking of "Lately" - obviously heartfelt, especially when he uses his own name in a variation to the lyrics.

He's starting some communal singing for the next song, My Cherie Amour. Maybe I might update this post again later.

The audience are having a ball. Dancing, kissing...loving the music.

Excellent: Signed, Sealed, Delivered - hot from the Obama campaign revival. I like his singing in this concert - seems better than ever. How can one person write this stuff, be such a virtuoso and entertainer. Michael Jackson was something special but nobody can rival Mr Wonder himself.

At about 35 minutes in: Gorgeous "You are the sunshine of my life". The singers are perfect and full of joy. Now it's on to "I just called to say I love you", with a few ad-libs.

The whole time I'm watching this, I get the feeling that this is our present day Mozart, and just so wish we could bring Mozart back to life and hear what he would make of Motown and all that. Same thing with Shakespeare and present day writers. Pity - but maybe it will come to pass through time travel if ever that is enabled. (I know you may say that these people have lived their lives and "it didn't happen" but I'm telling you: they will live again! Hallelujah. ;-)

"Superstition" - just noticing the band is more like a small orchestra, with a rhythm section consisting of two separate drummers with drum kits as well as a percussionist on congas and other things. "Superstition" morphs into a medley with "What the fuss?" Brilliant.

45 minutes, band call out. Two percussionists and a drummer. 5 singers. Etc. I can't give you the names. (One I can, Aisha - his daughter, as mentioned in "Isn't she lovely".) He's going to end on "As" and he has an interesting speech near the end, all about love and his late mother. Sounds odd when I write it like that, but he's all heart, has a natural way about him and makes a great exit.