Monday, April 22, 2013

don't get me started ...

not long ago, i walked in to malmesbury's athelstan museum and "discovered" a new acquisition bequeathed by richard hatchwell

not the house where i was born, but my earliest memories were formed whilst living in the little cottage, second door on the right

it wasn't even a two-up-two-down, more like one-and-a-half-up-one-and-a-half-down, with an outside loo and the tin bath hanging on a nail in the yard

when i "chanced" on this drawing, my heart almost stopped

it was made seven years before my parents moved in, and the view is just as i first recalled it, though mine was from a lower viewpoint

in the days when most people didn't own a car and traffic was unusual, infant ears delighted in the double echoes of footsteps crossing the square, horses' hooves on their way to the vet's. the rattle of milk bottles in steel crates, the chatter of sparrows, the laughter of children, quiet adult voices in the still air outside the bath arms, etc

we moved out in 1954

my father borrowed a handcart from the nearby undertaker and moved our possessions in half a day

Sunday, April 14, 2013

tibetan mining incident revision .... i hadn't realized that there are other pictures "behind" the ones that you see on google earth

you find them by clicking VIEW and then clicking HISTORICAL IMAGERY

curiously there are newer views in this archive

possibly they were not used because there was some cloud, or maybe the editors hadn't time for an update

what the pictures reveal is a massive extension of the mining and quarrying operation

there are numerous new buildings in the valley bottom

and there is a whole new quarry right up high on the ridge with a new scree of waste spilling down the back of the mountain

so where was the landslide ?

which side of the mountain ?

i don't know yet but this website suggests the disaster was on the back slope

my new back-scratcher ... i just have to summon the courage to break the glass and scamper off down the euston road

Friday, April 12, 2013

if you've only just painted your nails ...

Boring stuff again, and after this we will resume normal service ... but for now I'm drawing your attention to one of Steve Bell’s cartoons in The Guardian, and to what I think might have been Margaret’s Two Big Contributions to British Culture.

Back in the bad old days, following the Thatcherites’ sell-off of so many council houses, and their decision to let market forces and the private sector re-house the poor, it was only a matter of time before young people without jobs became refugees in their own country, and many of the enterprising and adventurous went off to live on the margins of society in old vans and buses.  perhaps they thought they were buying into a culture of freedom of choice.  They became what were commonly known as the New-Age Travellers.

But freedom of choice probably didn’t have a lot to do with it.  For most it was a rational decision taken in the face of a new certainty … that in practical terms, they were no longer welcome in their own communities.  In time, faced with enduring poverty and squalor, many who were trapped in that lifestyle found themselves in cultural isolation, and in a perpetually relocating mobile ghetto.  Their children, and their children's children still suffer.  Thanks for that, Margaret.

I’ve often wondered why Mrs Thatcher allowed the Argentines to invade the Falklands in the first place.  Was it a failure of military and diplomatic intelligence gathering ?  To me this seems unlikely because anyone who was reading a serious daily newspaper at that time knew all about the Argentines’ belligerent rhetoric ... so why on Earth didn’t Mrs Thatcher just pick up the phone and tell them not to even think about it ?  To me it seemed then like a massive dereliction of the Churchillian precept of protecting freedom with eternal vigilance, and her inaction amounted to a truly criminal neglect of her duty of care for distant friends.

So, having got herself into such very hot water she was then forced to re-invent herself as the glorious leader of a military nation, and in doing so she committed us all to paying for an unnecessary war that should never have happened, and then to reinforcing a newly self-important and self-serving military-industrial complex that still holds the UK’s bankrupt economy in a less than fully creative form of abeyance.  Later, the scoundrel Blair was to follow her example.  Thanks for that, Margaret.

'Nuff said.

Friday, April 5, 2013

trouble at mill ...

Stravinsky's unconventional major-minor seventh chord in his arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner" led to an incident with the Boston police on 15 January 1944, and he was warned that the authorities could impose a $100 fine upon any "rearrangement of the national anthem in whole or in part".[45][46] The incident soon established itself as a myth, in which Stravinsky was supposedly arrested for playing the music.[47]

another unsavoury migrant ...


of course, it hasn't all been one-way traffic and here's another naughty boy ... through whom the river of music rushed all too briefly ...