Rotten Borough of Rushmoor commissions nuisance phone calls

September 16, 2014
Rotten Borough of Rushmoor masonic handshake

Rotten Borough of Rushmoor masonic handshake

One thing guaranteed to piss people off is nuisance phone calls.

The latest wheeze from the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor is to commission a marketing company to make nuisance phone calls to local residents to ask them what they think of efforts by the council to trash Aldershot and Farnborough.

We have commissioned the market research company NEMS to carry out some telephone surveys. They will be asking questions about people’s shopping habits and their views on how local town centres are used. If you have any queries, please contact the planning policy team on 01252 398733.

You could not make it up if you tried.

What your shopping habits are, is no business of the council.

From where are they getting the telephone numbers?

Is the council passing over confidential personal data? If yes, a criminal offence under data protection legislation.

Local resident Richard Young very ably sums up the view of local people:

So you’ve used public money to get people to ring us up and piss us off, nice one!

Why not set up an online survey? You’d get better feed back, more of it and you wouldn’t have to pay anyone. Seriously dudes, come on!

Is this not the role of local councillors, are they not supposed to know?

Having trashed Farnborough, having laid waste to Aldershot with Wastegate, the council is now proposing to pour £4.5 million down the drain in Aldershot, the only ‘consultation‘ being an unmanned display panel.

Local people said they did not wish to see The Tumbledown Dick destroyed for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s, did not wish to see Firgrove Green destroyed for an unwanted Premier Inn hotel, or the four local businesses at Firgrove Parade destroyed.

Now, having ignored local people, the council is to waste taxpayers money on nuisance phone calls.

Other than election time, when the pigs are fighting to get their snouts stuck firmly in the trough, when was the last time you saw a local councillor, let alone a local councillor listening to and acting on what you say?

Yet another massive fail by the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor.

A Tiny Ring (I remember once again)

September 15, 2014

Another beautiful haunting song from Jewelia, moving words too.

If I remember correctly, A Tiny Ring (I remember once again) was part of Jewelia’s acoustic set at Staycation Live. She gave the background to the song.

Last month, Jewelia released her début EP Monsters.

Jewelia has been asked why not on iTunes?

A reasonable question, but not a reasonable suggestion.

A reasonable suggestion to anyone on iTunes or Amazon, is why not on bandcamp?

iTunes and Amazon, bad for artists, bad for music lovers.

On iTunes and Amazon, artists get a raw deal. But so do music lovers, a few seconds lofi sample.

On bandcamp, reasonable quality mp3 128, listen as often as you like, and if you choose to download, higher quality mp3 320 or studio quality FLAC and the artist gets a better cut. And bandcamp encourages sharing.

Downloads on bandcamp are often free or low price, but you can support the artist and pay more, many choose to pay more.

In response to the suggestion of iTunes, Jewelia wisely directed to bandcamp.

The more people support bandcamp, the better known it will become, and everyone will benefit.

Phones4u goes into administration

September 15, 2014
Phones4u closed

Phones4u closed

If the mobile network operators decline to supply us, we do not have a business. — Phones4u chief executive David Kassler

Yet another shop closes in Aldershot.

For once, Aldershot not to blame, this is a case of yet another High Street chain closes.

Few will miss Phones4u, it is another mobile phone shop gone from our High Streets, another ghastly chain that drains money out of our town centres gone.

Phones4u will be no more missed than was HMV or Jessops.

Will WHSmith be next? A prime example of a failing High Street chain.

I have never used Phones4u, but from comments posted, it would seem few will miss, a bad employer with zero-hours contracts, poor service, shady practices like forcing insurance onto customers when covered by warranty.

Phones4u blame ee and Vodafone pulling the plug.

Dodgy insurance scam, investigation by FCA and massive payouts may also be an issue.

And that owned by Vulture Capitalists.

Phones4u was never going to be viable, when all it did was sell contracts for the networks, networks that have their own shops.

The only location a Phone4u store would be viable, would be where there would not be a customer base to support an exclusive network shop, but sufficient for all networks in one shop. But when we see mobile phone shops dominating the High Street, Phones4u must be surplus to requirements, as it is costly duplication.

This now raises a big question mark against Carphone Warehouse, as their businesses model is the same as Phones4u, selling phone contracts for the mobile phone networks.

The merger of Carphone Warehouse with Dixons never made sense, on the other hand, if they were no longer going to have anything to sell, then yes, it made sense, leaving Dixons with a worthless retail chain.

If and it is a big if, Phones4u would be viable were they to sell unlocked phones (deal direct with phone companies and bring in cheap smartphones from China) and supply sim cards.

Unlocked phones worth considering

  • Moto G
  • Fair Phone
  • Google Nexus 5

Recommended tablet

  • Google Nexus 7

Contracts were always a massive rip-off, that is why the companies were so keen to push them, as a lot of money to be made. Users are nearly always better off buying an unlocked phone and a pay as you go sim from Lebara or Lycamobile.

Note: LycaMobile a tax-dodger and major Tory Part donor.

Starbucks hosts … charity fun day

September 14, 2014
Starbucks hosts ... charity fun day

Starbucks hosts … charity fun day

Tax-dodging, poor working conditions, rubbish coffee, and now Starbucks hosts a charity fun day.

It was not so long ago when UK Uncut occupied Starbucks across the country, turned each Starbucks into a crèche to highlight their tax-dodging activities.

Another massive fail by the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor.

This is where the imbecile leader of the council welcomed Starbucks for making Farnborough their home.

Er no, Starbucks opened a tacky coffee shop where people with no self-respect, who are clueless as to what constitutes good coffee are not too embarrassed to congregate and be seen.

Er no, Starbucks did not make Farnborough their home. Their home, their corporate headquarters, is Seattle. Their corporate headquarters for the UK is not located in the UK. For tax dodging Starbucks corporate headquarters for the UK is located in Holland.

How much did Starbucks pay for this cheap greenwash stunt?

Were Starbucks to pay their fair share of tax, they would be no need for Rushmoor First Responders to go to Starbucks with their begging bowl, as such services would be properly funded by the public purse.

Note: A decade or more ago, Rushmoor had an Aldershot Green Day sponsored by McDonald’s!

Young Syrian Lenses

September 14, 2014

Documentary Film shot in Aleppo in Syria, between the 30 April and the 9 May 2014.

Activists holed up in Aleppo as seen through a lens.

The life of the media-activists is narrated through daily tragic episodes taking place in free Aleppo, which is under the siege of the brutal Assad regime for the last four years.

The group of young Media-activists from the Halab News Network emerges to be a real brigade of the Syrian Resistance against the Assad regime, they don’t use AK-47, they use cameras and passion.

When we focus on the brutality of ISIS and Assad, we must not forget there are ordinary people trapped between the two.

In fighting ISIS, we do not ally ourselves with Assad, as to do so is to betray the Syrian people.

Vinegar Bible

September 13, 2014
Vinegar Bible

Vinegar Bible

The Parable of the Vinegar

The Parable of the Vinegar

Vinegar Bible

Vinegar Bible

On show in Farnham Parish Church during their church fête their Vinegar Bible, the first time, I was told, in twenty years.

So called because of the misprint of Vinegar for Vineyard though it could equally have been a mistranslation.

This is a King James Bible printed by John Baskett in Oxford in 1717.

The copy held by Farnham Parish Church has been spilt and rebound as two volumes.

This is one of only twelve known copies.

The Vinegar Bible was presented to Farnham in 1739 by Arthur Onslow, speaker of the House of Commons from 1727 to 1761.

John Baskett was printer to King George II and to the University of Oxford between 1711 until his death in 1742. He was responsible for printing many fine books. However his name is remembered above all for his 1717 printing of the King James’ Bible. His edition, which contains many neo-classical engravings by James Thornhill and Michael van der Gucht, should have been one of the highlights of his career, but so many printing mistakes were made that people referred to his Bible as a “Baskett-ful of errors”.

Farnham Parish Church Fete

September 13, 2014
Farnham Parish Church Fête

Farnham Parish Church Fête

A surreal atmosphere, stalls scattered amidst the graves and tombstones and teddy bears parachuting off the church tower.

The stalls were as I expected, junk.

I had a couple of sausages off the barbecue, though why call them hot dogs, these were quality sausages off the local butcher in Downing Street.

A pint of real ale off the beer stall, though half would have been ok.

I then wandered into the church where cream teas were on offer.

But first, I had a look at a very old Bible I had never seen before.

Known as the Vinegar Bible, due to a misprint. The Parable of the Vineyard in the Gospel of Luke has become The Parable of the Vinegar.

An extremely rude woman wanted to know why I was taking photos.

I could have told her to mind her own business, but instead told her I was not using flash (thus not damaging the extremely rare Bible).

The point seemed to be lost on her.

I then asked why she was asking and who was she?

She said she did not like being interrogated and stormed off. In truth I think, when it became apparent I knew how to handle old documents.

I asked the lady who was guardian of the Bible, who was the rude woman? She said she did not know, and had been rude to this lady too. She said she was nothing to do with the church.

At first I assumed, maybe the Bible was on loan from the local museum, possibly a curator, but apparently not.

The Bible had at some point in the past, been split into two volumes.

One volume was in quite poor condition.

Sadly, it is stored in a damp old box. By no means ideal.

I wandered back to the cream teas, to find it was four o’clock, and everything packed away.

It is crazy, a lovely warm sunny afternoon, plenty of folk around, and yet on the dot of four o’clock, everything gets packed away. Many were packing up not long gone three o’clock.

I had a chat with the Music Director. He liked the idea of Jewelia giving an informal concert.

I then realised, I had to go to Downing Street to the local butcher. I feared I would find closed, but luckily not.

As it was a lovely afternoon, I then went for a long walk around the 23-acre Bishop’s Meadow.

Cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

September 12, 2014
cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

A pleasant afternoon, luckily Caffe Macchiato was still open and it was possible to sit outside and enjoy a cappuccino.

Caffe Macchiato has occasional live music in the evening and tonight was one of those nights.

The musician was setting up, and I was able to hear the music drifting out of the open door.

A set menu on music nights, each table was laid out, a wine glass or beer glass, a candle, a specially printed menu.

Many of the starters were already prepared, a bread basket with bread and olives.

The food looked good, and was very nicely presented.

Indeed, hard to believe this was Aldershot (where both service and food is dreadful) rather than somewhere in a continental side street, or at the very least nearby Godalming or Guildford or Farnham, but no, it was Aldershot.

Sat outside, a pedestrian street, and yet vehicles are allowed through. Earlier, cars were racing through.

The street should be vehicle free, 24 hours a day seven days a week, deliveries by hand cart, a pedestrian crossing at the top of the street, but no, instead the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor has decided to waste £4.5 million repaving the streets, with the associated damaging impact it will have on local businesses.

As the West End Centre is a cultural oasis in the Philistine wasteland of Aldershot, so Caffe Macchiato is a culinary oasis in the wasteland of junk food outlets for which Aldershot is infamous.

Malala Yousafzai: By the Book

September 12, 2014

The activist and co-author of “I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World” relished “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” the first book she read in the hospital when recovering from an attack by the Taliban. New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor will continue the conversation with Malala Yousafzai at a Times Talk this evening; click here to watch it live or afterwards.

Malala Yousafzai Credit Illustration by Jillian Tamaki

Malala Yousafzai Credit Illustration by Jillian Tamaki

What book are you reading right now?

I’ve been reading “Of Mice and Men,” by John Steinbeck, which is on the school curriculum. It’s a short book, but it is filled with so much. It really reflects the situation of 1930s America. I was fascinated to learn how women were treated at the time, and what life was like for poor itinerant workers. Books can capture injustices in a way that stays with you and makes you want to do something about them. That’s why they are so powerful.

What’s the last truly great book you read?

“The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coelho. I like it because it is hopeful and inspiring. It tells the story of a boy who embarks on a journey to find a treasure, but as he goes along, he learns from every part of his journey and every person he meets. In the end, he finds his treasure in a very interesting place. His story tells you that you should believe in yourself and continue your journey.

Who are your favorite contemporary writers?

Who are your favorite contemporary writers?

Deborah Ellis (author of “Parvana’s Journey”) and Khaled Hosseini (“The Kite Runner”). Both tell stories about young characters in difficult circumstances, having to make hard choices and having to find strength. They accurately depict war-torn regions. I like writers who can show me worlds I know nothing about, but my favorites are those who create characters or worlds which feel realistic and familiar to me, or who can make me feel inspired. I discovered Deborah Ellis’s books in the school library after my head teacher encouraged me to go beyond the school curriculum and look for books I might enjoy. This wasn’t long after I arrived in Britain, and I was missing my friends terribly. Reading about Afghanistan made me feel like being back at home. This is the power of books. They can take you to places which are beyond reach.

And your favorite writers of all time?

Paulo Coelho.

What books would you recommend for young people hoping to understand the plight of girls and women in Pakistan today?

“Mud City,” part of the “Parvana’s Journey” series by Deborah Ellis. I was gripped by this series and couldn’t drag myself away from it. Ellis beautifully captures childhood in war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan. The stories are very moving.

Is there one book you wish all girls would read? One all students would read?

All girls: “The Breadwinner,” by Deborah Ellis. The book tells the story of a young girl who takes on the challenge of saving her family. I think it’s important for girls everywhere to learn how women are treated in some societies. But even though Parvana is treated as lesser than boys and men, she never feels that way. She believes in herself and is stronger to fight against hunger, fear and war. Girls like her are an inspiration. “The Breadwinner” reminds us how courageous and strong women are around the world.

All students should read “The Kite Runner.” It shows you should not judge other people by external things. And it shows loyalty and friendship.

Were there particular books that helped you get through the recovery process after the attack on you by the Taliban?

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was the first book I read in the hospital. I had been having headaches and couldn’t read or focus properly for a while. It is a lovely book, and it was given to me by Gordon Brown — he sent me 25 books, and this was my favorite.

Which books might we be surprised to find on your bookshelves?

“A Brief History of Time,” by Stephen Hawking. I read it during a period when life in Swat was very hard. I distracted myself from the fear and terrorism by thinking about things like how the universe began and whether time travel is possible. I enjoy science, and I’m a very curious person. I always want to know the reason behind everything, big or small.

What was the last book to make you laugh?

“The Little Prince.” It is a very clever book, and in the beginning it’s extremely funny.

The last book that made you cry?

I never cry reading a book.

The last book that made you furious?

Mine! The editing was really hard. Especially because we wanted to get everything right in a very short period of time. The workdays were very long, but it was worth it in the end.

What are your childhood memories of books and reading?

One of the first books I read is called “Meena,” about a girl who stood up for women’s rights and education in Afghanistan. I also read a biography about Martin Luther King Jr., written for children.

But I didn’t read a lot of books when I was young. In our country, many children don’t attend school or learn how to read. Those who do usually read only textbooks. In our classes, we focused more on history, science and mathematics than literature. Many people couldn’t afford books. Most books were secondhand, used by many children before. In Pakistan even schools own very few books. I was lucky to have a father who valued education and thought it was important that I knew how to read. I read eight or nine books in Swat, and I was considered to be a bookish girl! Here [in Birmingham, England] girls have read hundreds of books.

One of the most memorable moments in my life was when I was asked to open the Library of Birmingham, Europe’s largest new library. I had never seen so many books and all of them freely available to members of the public. If only children in Pakistan had such easy access to books! People of Birmingham are very lucky to have such a wonderful library.

If you could require the American president to read one book, what would it be?

If you could require the American president to read one book, what would it be?

I would like to suggest him to read many books. He should read “The Kite Runner,” too. And “The Little Prince.” Or maybe “The Alchemist,” if he would like to get away from his real world into the imaginary world of “The Alchemist.”

If you could require the prime minister of Pakistan to read one book, what would it be?

I would suggest him to read “Meena, Heroine of Afghanistan: The Martyr Who Founded RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns.”

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

The Alchemist.”

And the worst?

I think it would be disrespectful to say that, but I did read a book recently which I thought was the worst.

What was the last book you put down without finishing?

Someone gave me a book to help me in improving my English. I read a few pages, and I didn’t really like that book and decided not to read it, as it had no suspense. A book should have suspense and grab you right from the beginning.

What are you planning to read next?

“An Inspector Calls.” It’s actually a play that I saw and enjoyed. It is part of the English syllabus, and I want to read it as well.

Originally published New York Times.

Dust And Dirt

September 12, 2014
Dust and Dirt

Dust and Dirt

Dust And Dirt by The Black Seeds.

Wonderful title track Dust And Dirt.

The Black Seeds are a New Zealand based reggae band.


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