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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Facebook foxes say vote tactically to stop Tories

Foxes say vote tactically to stop Tories (Facebook)

By voting tactically in all marginal constituencies, Labour and progressive Liberal supporters can ensure that the Tories do not get an overall majority. This is what you must do:

If your constituency is a Liberal/Tory marginal vote Liberal. This will help to stop the Tories getting an overall majority. Do not waste your vote where you know it can't count.

If you are in a Labour/Liberal marginal (e.g. Hampstead & Kilburn), do not under any circumstances vote Liberal as that will merely tend to make the Tories have more seats than Labour, which will end up with the disgrace of the Liberals selling out to their immemorial enemies, the Conservative party.

If you are in a 3-way marginal and your priority is Stop the Tories, vote Labour - even if you are a progressive Liberal.

To summarise:

1) To Labour voters: If your constituency is a Liberal/Tory marginal constituency, vote Liberal even though you are a Labour supporter.
This is the way to stop Labour having fewer seats than the Tories. Don't give the Tories one extra in your Liberal/Tory marginal.

2) To progressive Liberal voters: If you are in a Labour/Liberal marginal constituency, vote Labour even though you are a Liberal supporter.
This is the way to stop the Liberals from coalescing with the Conservatives. If Labour have fewer seats than the Tories you will end up seeing your party in coalition with the Tories, which is not good for either the Liberals or the country. It would destroy the Liberal party utterly.

3) If you are in a 3-way marginal constituency, vote Labour as best way to stop the Tories, even if you are a progressive Liberal. 

Don't forget Labour have promised a referendum on a more proportional voting system within a year. Therefore voting Labour in this election can correctly be viewed as better for the Liberals than voting Liberal.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vote Liberal in Con/Lib & Labour in Lab/Lib marginals

Guardian/ICM poll: Lib Dems set to gain at Labour's expense

To stop Cameron and the Tories pillaging the country

If your constituency is a Conservative v. Liberal Democrat marginal vote Liberal Democrat even and especially if you are a Labour supporter.

If your constituency is a Labour v. Liberal Democrat marginal (like Hampstead and Kilburn) vote Labour even if you are a Liberal Democrat supporter.

In Hampstead and Kilburn a vote for the LibDems Ed Fordham is a vote for a Conservative goverment. Therefore the thing to do here is to vote for Glenda Jackson.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Whose idea was that?

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde - The Damned

Prime Minister calls Labour supporter "a bigoted woman"

He thought he was off-mic. It's just the sort of thing that anybody would say when letting off steam, assuming it's in private. At least now we know he's against bigotry, though he has realised that that Mrs Duffy was not a bigot really. Yes, everyone is against bigotry on-mic, but the PM is also against bigotry off-mic.

Further thoughts:
Mrs Duffy is a nice woman but don't imagine she was simply ambling along when she met the PM. She started the whole thing by shouting "What are you going to do about the deficit?" in quite a heated manner, repeatedly. Then in the conversation they had, she was saying there was no punishment of offenders and nothing being done about crime "around here" when all around behind them were people in orange clothing doing community service work, which was what the PM had come to see. She did go on about all the eastern European people coming in, which is basically a sort of bigoted point of view when we are EU members and as Gordon pointed out there are a million Brits scattered throughout other countries in the EU. His remarks afterwards were a little bit bitter but c'est la vie. If you shout at the PM and conduct a long argumentative debate in front of national TV cameras with him, you shouldn't be too surprised when he's not really thrilled about it. Let's keep this in context.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The sky just now

Clegg - a political bimbo?

Video: Steve Bell's election: Trying to capture Clegg

Nick Clegg is just a nonentity who thinks he's God's gift to politics (no?). He seems to think Liberalism is a vapid middle-of-the-road position on everything. (What is it actually?) Vote for Elvis. Update: Just (28/4) heard Nick Clegg interviewed on Radio 4 PM and he was very fair to Elvis about today's gaffe ("Bigotgate").


Monday, April 26, 2010

School sculpture

Capital City Academy, Uffington Road


Tell me a story
busy as sleeping,
older than childhood,
stranger than home.

Oh tell me a story
never before known,
the one I remember,
the one you forget.

And I will laugh for you
and close these eyes for you
and kiss you goodnight


Stephen Moran

Willesden Herald podcast 7

Wena Poon reading from "The Architects"

Acclaimed US-based Singaporean writer Wena Poon reads from her prize-winnning story "The Architects". For more information and links please visit and

"The Knowles was one of those stupid prizes that compelled you to fly in without letting you know in advance if you had won. It created a lot of unnecessary stress. He had implored the organizers to tell him if he had won or not so that he could skip the trip if he didn’t win, but they refused. Theirs was not an ordinary award, and the New Yorkers wanted as much hype as they could muster. They promised him Business Class airfare for two. It made no difference to him; he didn’t have someone to bring. They refused to let him stay at his usual hotel. Instead, they put him up at a fussy dowager of a place on the Upper East Side, replete with jacquard bedspreads and potted palms."

The complete story is included in "Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 4" (ISBN: 0977852652), which is available direct from the publisher, from online booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, etc. Or ask your local bookshop to order it for you if you prefer, it is listed in the standard catalogue they all use, and they will be delighted to get it for you and probably phone you when it's ready - thereby giving you a good reason to go to the high street and buy yourself a cup of coffee - while you open the book - possibly in the same shop.

"New Short Stories 4: Fourteen of the best short stories of the year 2010 from brilliant new and award-winning authors, seven by men and seven by women. The stories are set in Australia, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, UK, US and more. Contributors: Wena Poon, Toby Litt, Julia Goubert, Willie Davis, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Kevin Spaide, Carys Davies, Jonathan Attrill, Peggy Riley, Tom Vowler, Paul McGuire, Jo Cannon, Jarred McGinnis, Henrietta Rose-Innes."

My advice to Labour

Gordon, I have been beastly to you in my blog posts, but I sort of like you really. I can't forgive you though for supporting the degenerate militaristic crap that passes for international politics. Why don't you get real yourself? Yes to defence, no to aggression. 

1. Give us a target date for withdrawal from Afghanistan
2. Appoint David Miliband as your deputy leader designate.
3. More Yvette Cooper, less Harriet Harmon (zero would be good). 

Yvette Cooper and David Milliband are your two best people. We need to work with the Liberals (forget the stupid "Liberal Democrat" tautologous gang of four baloney, what else would they be - Liberal Tyrants?). Give clear guidance to us voters as to which way we need to vote, constituency by constituency in the context of the possible outcomes, to keep out the Tories, which outranks all else in importance for the good of the country.

Feargal Mooney

Saturday, April 24, 2010

John Lewis 'Always a woman' advert

John Lewis 'never knowingly undersold' by Adam & Eve - view ad creative on Campaign

Superb. One of the best adverts ever, possibly. Not everyone agrees, as I have found out privately. (Os)

Carys Davies' page on Amazon

Carys Davies: Books, Biogs, Audiobooks, Discussions

"From the moment I arrived, they loved me. They loved my funny accent, the way I had ketchup with everything. They loved my black socks and my brown sandals; they loved my flesh-coloured money-belt, my grey wheeled suitcase with its retractable handle. Most of all though, they loved the way I sweated in the heat, the way the hot sun made the pale dome of my head glow like a light-bulb. They loved the sight of it, and when they touched it, it brought a smile to all their faces.

"Within a week the mayor had installed me in an apartment on the top floor of his mansion and employed an extra cook and a housekeeper to look after me; queues formed every morning at first light outside the mansion’s tall iron gates, and throughout the day the townspeople came to touch my head."

From "Precious" by Carys Davies in New Short Stories 4. Amazon says there are "five copies in stock and more on the way". Link

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gordon Brown's theme song with incidental beauty

I'm your man - Leonard Cohen. With clips from Batman Forever, Raging Bull and The Fifth Element (missed any?)

Beautiful film clips here, particularly Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element" with costume just about by Jean Paul Gaultier...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Vote whichever way will stop the Tory


All I want to know is which one to vote for in the new Hampstead and Kilburn constituency to stop the Tories. Should I vote for Glenda Jackson or Ed Fordham?

I don't want to split the progressive vote but that is the danger, for the following reason. The Tories claim it's a Labour/Conservative marginal, which would mean I should vote for Glenda Jackson but the Liberals claim that it's a Labour/Liberal marginal, which would mean I could vote for Ed Fordham. As the Liberals are riding high it could mean that Ed Fordham will suck a lot of votes away from Glenda Jackson, but if the Tory bumf is right that would mean a win for them.

The Liberals claim that Glenda Jackson is lazy and lives in Lewisham. Their man according to the billboard at Queens Park, lives here and loves the area, comes from four generations of his family living here. How do we know that doesn't just mean "gives his parents' address?" Is there any independent information available to enable us to evaluate all these conflicting claims?

Help! How can we avoid splitting the progressive vote?

Joe Public, Hampstead & Kilburn

P.S. How can it be right for the Boundary Commission to deprive us of our beloved Sarah Teather, without a by your leave?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No ash Wednesday

Contrails are back this evening.

Competiton accounts interim report

I promised to publish the accounts for the short story competition and will do so in more detail later. A rough calculation shows that we are between £200 and £300 in the red.

There is no spare money to promote the book (the term "anthology" is a pejorative, apparently) and there are no sales occurring. The only marketing we have is a sign-up monthly mailshot, which goes to over one thousand people, mostly writers. The money required to run the websites and the mailing list is put in by the Pretend Genius co-op. There is no real sponsorship or subsidy. PG (U.S.) has received a few small donations from generous supporters - thanks. The only money on this side where the competition and New Short Stories are run came from the entry fees. We're still hopeful sales may yet pick up.

Even with some of the top writers and best stories of the year, almost nobody unconnected with the competition wants to order the book. It seems that hundreds, thousands sometimes like to enter writing competitions but the same hundreds are not prepared to buy competition anthologies that they wish to be in.

About ten were sold at the launch on April 10th. Since then still spare capacity on one hand for the counting. [Update April 25th 2010: About twelve now - signs of life!]

New Short Stories 4 is available for $10 plus delivery from pretend genius store, which is a highly competitive price, compared to cover price of £10 or $15 from Amazon (with free delivery) or other booksellers. You can also order it from any bookshop, as it is listed in Ingrams' catalogue used by them (another cost, by the way, without any corresponding income.)

Books ordered in UK, Ireland and Europe are printed and mailed from the UK, even though the PG shop is in the US. Books for delivery to the US and other parts of the world are printed and mailed from the US. The PG shop uses an approximate costing of the postage and printing costs and offers a generous standard rate to buyers.

The book series has its own website:


Monday, April 19, 2010

PayPal to give your data to Yesmail, Responsys & Cadenza

View the announcement on a web page: Policy Updates - PayPal or download the PDF.

In an email titled "Changes to the PayPal user agreement", PayPal has announced that it will divulge the following details from your account "For marketing and public relations":

To Yesmail Inc. (USA) and Responsys (USA)
To fulfil e-mail marketing programs of PayPal services and promotions.
- Name, e-mail, address, business name, domain name, account status, account preferences, type and nature of PayPal services offered or used and relevant transaction and account information.

Carrenza Limited
To store user data for marketing campaigns
- Name, e-mail, address, business name, domain name, account status, account preferences, type and nature of PayPal services offered or used and relevant transaction information.


A protest using their "Contact Us" system produced an anonymous and irrelevant standard letter referring to their earlier privacy agreements. How shabby for a supposed internet "bank", a supposedly secure "financial institution" to be hawking your private details to parasitic marketing vultures. Could it be illegal? Why is it necessary for PayPal to allow other companies access to its data - is it not capable of processing its own data?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Post a comment to win a book

How to Write a Novel: WIN A BOOK (closed)

Simply follow the link and post a comment for a chance to win a free copy of "New Short Stories 4". Contributors include Wena Poon, Toby Litt, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Willie Davis, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Carys Davies and more.

Dusty sunset

"The eruptions from the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano continue to pump out ash clouds sporadically, which means the disruption is set to continue. Although the cloud is too high to pose a health risk, people with breathing problems have been advised to take extra care if it falls to ground level." (Icelandic volcanic ash alert grounds UK flights. BBC)

Roundwood Park, Saturday

"A man has given all other bliss
And all his worldly worth for this,
To waste his whole heart in one kiss
Upon her perfect lips."

(Alfred, Lord Tennyson. 1809-1892)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rana Dasgupta wins Commonwealth Writers' prize

Books |

"...speaking on the phone from the ceremony at the International India Centre this afternoon, Dasgupta pronounced himself delighted to have won the £10,000 award. 'This news is about five minutes old,' he said, 'so I'm a little stunned.' According to Dasgupta there has been much discussion of the pressure English exerts on languages around the world during the week of workshops, readings and discussions in Delhi attended by the shortlisted authors, 'but there are still huge benefits to the global reach of English'."

Rana Dasgupta was the judge for last year's Willesden Herald short story competition.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Willesden Herald short story prize results 2010

The results were announced at a special event this evening in Charles Dickens' house, 48 Doughty Street, London.

Wena Poon with Steve Moran (from Vanessa Gebbie's news)The 2010 prize mug goes to:

"The Architects" by Wena Poon

Equal runners-up:

"Emily Strabnow's Freckles" by Willie Davis

"Falling" by Henrietta Rose-Innes

Richard Peabody says:
"In my next life I'm coming back as the brainy talented author of "The Architects." Talk about brazen, submitting a story about a contest to a writing contest. Does it work? Check. The focus might well be on writers—the same dynamics of love, jealousy, sex, and mentors, applies. New York City is captured in amber. Check. Foreign-born exiles get their due. Check. Authentic dialogue squeezes out sparks. Check. Jokes? Check. Do the juggled balls remain in the air? Check. Yes, I want to be this author, who like a sly child with an Erector Set creates miraculous buildings out of thin air."

The fourteen top short stories for 2010 are included in New Short Stories 4, which is now available.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Do wop do wah

In The Still Of The Night - Fred Paris and the Satins

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

St Paul's Pianos


The Willesden Herald: Faded signs on gable walls

"My great grandfather Sydney Chidley set up and ran St Paul's Pianos back in the 1920's - this was their head office. (There was another one further up the road, and also in Birmingham).

It was called St Paul's Pianos - because they lived in St Paul's Avenue (just off Willesden Green tube station)."


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Monday, April 05, 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Comely soony

And Other Stupies
by Ellis Close

fables with an inning, a begiddle and a mend

Tories can run but they can't hide

Labour's strategy: bring on no-nonsense hard man Gordon Brown

"Labour strategists are considering a billboard campaign portraying Brown as 'a sort of Dirty Harry figure', in the words of one senior aide." (Guardian)