The Blind Man

November 26, 2015

Set in 1961, narrated by Alfred Hitchcock, The Blind Man, a Hitchcock movie Alfred Hitchcock never made.

World première, using the original script, dramatised for radio and broadcast BBC Radio 4 on Halloween.

A blind jazz pianist is giving a set off eyes.

What if, a dramatic event, as the man dies, is seared into his retina? What if, the last sight was of the man who killed him?

BBC only retains for 30 days.

The Blind Man was intended to be the follow-up to North by Northwest.

The Blind Man is part of Unmade Movies, a season of radio adaptations of unproduced screenplays by the major authors of the 20th century – including Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman.

Another unmade movie, was Orson Welles’ Heart of Darkness. Excellent. I got half way through, now it has gone.

BBC must re-broadcast, but why, oh why, do they not retain on-line?

Afternoon in Winchester

November 25, 2015
River Itchen

River Itchen

Four weeks ago, last Wednesday in October,  afternoon in Winchester.

I headed for Jimmy Bean, not only good for coffee, but also good for something to eat, which is a rarity in Winchester.  Where was he, not in his usual pitch that had been taken by another coffee stall?

I asked the ever helpful cheese stall, and heading back whence I had come.

Jimmy Bean is no more, now have Savage & Bean. Jimmy Bean still does his excellent coffee, but no longer food, Savage does food with a wood fired oven. I tried halloumi cheese in a burger-style bun, albeit a superior bun, but still a burger-style bun. It came with coleslaw, relish and mayonnaise. I rejected the mayonnaise. It was not good.

This is a retrograde step for Jimmy Bean. Originally I only had coffee, then I tried his food, which was also excellent. A rare example of somewhere worth eating in Winchester. I was looking forward to his mozzarella cheese with slices of tomato, in excellent bread, which he hotted up in an oven.

Now I am back to square one, nowhere decent to eat in Winchester.

Not to say no quality stalls on the food market. The cheese stall is well worth a visit.

Why are the standards on the Winchester street food market so low?

Where are the seats?

Why are the food stalls now all jammed next to each other?

The previous week I was at the South Bank street food market in London on the bank of The Thames. It puts to shame what masquerades as a street food market in Winchester. And they enforce high environmental standards. I was spoilt for choice. I had an excellent Indian a meal for what the Savage offering cost (or maybe one pound more). The coffee stalls were not good, and in that Jimmy Bean wins hands down. Or at least what I had on that trip was not good. Last weekend I had a coffee off the Ethiopian coffee stall. Excellent, in the same league as Jimmy Bean.

They need higher environmental standards. Why are stalls still serving coffee and food in polystyrene, using plastic spoons and forks? To be fair to Jimmy Bean, he does not use. But he is the exception. If he can, why not the others? At London South Bank, if you do not comply with high environmental standards, you do not get a pitch.

Edict from the local council, all the seats have been removed.

By evening, I was feeling ill from food poisoning. I hasten to add, the cause unknown. I had had chicken and sweetcorn soup off a nearby Thai stall which was disgusting. And a coffee and cake off the coffee stall in Jimmy Bean’s old pitch which was excellent.

I popped into P&G Wells, hoping for a copy of Change Everything. No luck. They had, but had lent for an exhibition.

On my way back, something to eat at the Station Cafe in Alton, Bikers Night, last Wednesday of the month. I was tempted to eat at O’Connor’s Secret Garden, but closed for the week.

On my way down, a steam train at Alton Station.

Turkey downs a Russian jet

November 25, 2015
Russian SU-24

Russian SU-24

Turkey supports Isis

Turkey supports Isis

Turkey supports Isis

Turkey supports Isis

Neither our pilots nor our jet threatened the territory of Turkey. — Vladimir Putin

We do not intend to go to war with Turkey. — Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister

If Greece had downed every turkish aircraft for THAT level of airspace violation, today Turkey would only fly kites. — Maria Topalidou

Yesterday the world awoke to the alarming news, Turkey had shot down a Russian military jet. An act of crass stupidity and naked aggression by Turkey.

There was no response from the Russian plane, no missiles fired,  no evasive action, which would appear to indicate the pilots assumed they were safe in Syrian territory.

The bombing of Syria by Russia, an act of crass stupidity and naked aggression. Large numbers of civilians killed, and not an iota difference made to ISIS.

Russia is bombing any opponent of Assad. Assad a brutal dictator who is quite happy to bomb his own people. It is the repression of Assad, marginalisation of Sunnis, that and drought, that has given rise to Isis in Syria.

It was obvious in September, Russia bombing Syria, possible excursions in Turkey, would increase tensions in the region.

The world moves closer to WWIII.

Vladimir Putin has promised strong action against Turkey, but has ruled out military action. It looks like, no Russian tourists to Turkey, which will cause the Turkish tourist economy to collapse.

Turkey, until a bomb attack in Turkey, was supporting Isis. They allow the flow of people, weapons, money and oil across the border. Action by Turkey is to attack the Kurds, the only effective force fighting ISIS.

But the Kurds are only interested in establishing and safeguarding Kurdistan, they are not interested in the rest of Syria.

What happened yesterday?

Turkey says they warned the pilots, that there was an excursion into their airspace. The surviving Russian pilot says there was no warning, and that they were not in Turkish airspace. Americans say Russian plane was in Turkish airspace for a matter of seconds.

The second pilot was shot by Syrian forces on the ground. This was a war crime.

A tiny sliver of Turkish land projects into Syria. This may explain the discrepancy, if it was crossed.

Russian bombers regularly probe UK airspace. They are intercepted and escorted away.  They are not shot down.

Russian submarines enter Swedish waters. Swedish warships drop depth charges.

Had Russia retaliated against Turkey, it would have been an attack on Nato.

Russia has ruled out a military response, instead it will use economic sanctions. A boycott by Russian tourists. Not that will be difficult, as they lack money. Turkish tourist industry will collapse.

There is little support in Nato for Turkey’s action. David Cameron has been stupid enough to offer his support.

If we are to defeat Isis, we need the support of Russia.

violations of Greek airspace by Turkey

violations of Greek airspace by Turkey

Turkey regularly enters Greek airspace. Turkish warships appear off the coast of Cyprus.

Turkey says it is not an aggressor. Support of Isis, atrocities against the Kurds, occupation of northern Cyprus, exposes that lie.

In 2012, Turkey accused Syria of shooting down one of their F-4 Phantoms. At that time,  then prime minister and now president Erdoğan jumped up and down and condemned the Syrian military for their rash action. Hmm.

“A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack” were the words he chose at the time, words that will no doubt come back to haunt him.

Turkey is a country where abuse of human rights is the norm.

ISIS survives largely because Turkey allows it to: the evidence

November 25, 2015

Originally posted on UndercoverInfo:

10505328_10154729840000012_6173827095010968907_n Kurdish (YPJ) frontline troops

The real frontline confronting ISIS is not US or French bombers (the latter currently targeting Raqqa, a city with 140,000 civilians, who are virtual prisoners of ISIS) but the Kurds of Iraq and northern Syria. Just over a week ago the combined Kurd forces, under the command of the Yezidis, liberated Sinjar from ISIS. For the Kurds, their war is not just about defeating ISIS, but about creating their own autonomous region – a region that would link all the Kurd cantons. This will not be easy, especially as the Iraq-based Kurds (Peshmerga) are allied with Iran and benefit from US support (nor are the Iraqi Kurds in any hurry to secede from Iraq). But the largest hurdle to an autonomous Kurdistan is Turkey, which not only has rekindled its war with the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), but has done everything it can over the…

View original 3,240 more words

Tuesday afternoon in Godalming

November 24, 2015
swan and Cygnets on River Wey

swan and cygnets on River Wey

riverside walk

riverside walk

River Wey

River Wey

soup at Cafe Mila

soup at Cafe Mila

lunch at Cafe Mila

lunch at Cafe Mila

Four weeks ago, last Tuesday in October, pleasant sunny afternoon in Godalming.

A walk along the river.

Lunch at Cafe Mila.

Wander in the street.

Afternoon tea at Cafe Mila.

Long journey home on the bus.

Tiny Human

November 24, 2015

Haunting music, interesting video, more like a modern dance routine or a minimalist drama.

Tiny Human, is the first release from Imogen Heap since her album Sparks, aka HeapSongs, released early 2014.  Scamp, her daughter, happened along the way, and was her inspiration for Tiny Human.

Imogen Heap, Immie to her friends, has released Tiny Human as an experiment, to test out her idea of Mycelium.

The music industry is in crisis, or so we are repeatedly told by the record industry and its apologists.

When was the last time you bought a CD or a record? Chances are, you’re listening to more music than ever, but buying less of it.

As has been repeatedly shown by bass player Steve Lawson and music professor Andrew Dubber, this is not the case.

The music industry is not in crisis, it is in a healthy state, it costs a fraction of what it once did to record and release music, artists can communicate directly with their fans.

What is in crisis, is the major record labels, for years they ripped off fans and artists, now they are no longer needed.

In terms of sales of shiny circular bits of plastic, sales have not collapsed as we are led to believe, if we add in DVDs and games.

If I look at the last four weeks, I have bought as many CDs as the number of weeks. Actually more, and a DVD, and several books. But maybe I am atypical.

What Imogen Heap is trying to do, and using Tiny Human as an experimental release,  is to elimnate the middle (unless they add value) and use the blockchain (the on-line database that tracks and logs) to keep track of where the music goes and to facilitate payments to the artist.

The blockchain will hold all the information, artwork, recording studio, players, composer, lyricist, all that would be expected in sleeve notes, plus lots more.  It could, for example, link to this article.

You can download Tiny Human for free, choose if you wish to make a payment using bitcoin.

bitcoin immie

bitcoin immie

Immie bitcoin address

  • 16diWTDN8DUxsX994WzyNAotVp36qBqXku

Using bitcoin a mistake, it would have been better to have used faircoin.

Faircoin addresses many of the problems of bitcoin, but more importantly, it was established to support projects like Mycelia. Closer cooperation between both, would be to the advantage of both.

Faicoin uses open source software, is reliant upon the blockchain. Collaboration would be in the interests of both.

In many ways Mycelia is an extension of bandcamp, which enables on-line listening, payment to artist, album notes, artist notes, and the artist gets the data.

Mycilia extends this further and is far more ambitious. To include every artist, could be extended to e-books, indeed anything of a digital nature.

No reason why bandcamp could not be a participating partner.

What bandcamp has shown, fans are willing to pay for music, support the artist they like.

Blockchain: Each block contains a record of transactions. It is linked to the previous block, and contain a crypto-hash of the previous block. It is transparent, and available to everyone. It is these factors that make it secure.

John McDonnell: The People’s Chancellor

November 24, 2015

John McDonnell, The People’s Chancellor, a breath of fresh air compared with Ed Balls or Alistair Darling. Unlike economic illiterate chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne, John McDonnell has some understanding of economics.

Once upon a time students had free university education (now £9,000 per annum with Tories wishing to hike the fees), and students got a grant, ie they were paid to study and go to university.

Students not wishing to be at university full-time, could do a part-time course or a sandwich course and study over a longer period, and be in employment.

Now students on a full-time course, are having to put in the hours at work as though on a part-time or sandwich course, not only that, it will be dreary, precarious McJobs, on low wages, often on zero hours.

Apple is relocating its factories to the US. These new factories will not employ American workers, they will employ robots.

Robots will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they do not need to be watered and fed, they do not need to be paid.

The price of stuff is tending to zero.

There is a growing mismatch between GDP and percentage going on wages.

Where we once had well-paid skilled workers with money jingling in their pockets to spend on the High Street we now have precarious workers on low wages, often below the minimum wage, robots on no wages.

This creates a downward spiral. Decimated town centres, slum housing estates.

With tax dodging, low corporation tax, corporations are amassing huge cash mountains, money that is not being invested in the economy.

The polices pursued by George Osborne in cutting money to the poor, are not only morally indefensible, they are also economic illiteracy. The poor spend money in the local economy.

Does society benefit by closing libraries, cutting to a bare minimum social services, the NHS, by privatising these public services?

We need investment, in education, in infrastructure, in green technologies.

We need alternative forms of ownership, democratisation of he workplace, open co-ops, collaborative commons.

Apple is not a good model to follow. A high-tech death star, like Uber, like Airbnb, that is creating a monopoly, control of intellectual property rights (to benefit the few not the many), serfs working for apps, where once unions negotiated for better working conditions and pay, we have atomised workers bidding against each other in a negative auction to force wages and working conditions ever downwards on a race to the bottom.

John McDonnell two years ago.

John McDonnell: the Media are trying to destroy us

November 22, 2015

I for one, was very impressed by John McDonnell yesterday afternoon at Beyond Austerity at Methodist Central Hall Westminster. It is unfortunate the entire meeting was not dedicated to a discussion between former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and John McDonnell, as it would have been a far more informative and productive meeting.

We had excellent analysis, and intelligent proposals.

A breath of fresh air compared with Ed Balls or Alistair Darling.

Maybe that is why both he and Yanis Varoufakis are  being attacked in the mainstream media, to drown out what they are  saying.

Mass media has become rabid propaganda channels for the 1%, spewing a daily drip, drip, drip feed of misinformation, lies, smears and hate.

We must form our own communication channels. The media must be broken up. We cannot have people like Murdoch, Lord Rothermere, Barclay Brothers owning large chunks of the media.

Media channels that give an alternative view and help nail many of the lies.

Pizza at Home Slice

November 22, 2015
Home Slice in Neal's Yard

Home Slice in Neal’s Yard

Home Slice in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden very busy.

Full, though a few girls looked as though they were leaving. Are you on the list? What list? We put you on the list, then we call you when a table is free. We will call you in about one and a half hours.

A cappuccino in M&S opposite Covent Garden Tube Station. It was ok. Better than disgusting coffee in Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks.

A call, a table free.

Pizza is cooked in a wood-fired clay oven, choice of 20 inch or a slice (the choice of slice restricted to three options).  To put 20″ in context, that is four inches short of two feet.

A slice of mushroom pizza as on Monday. Hungry a second slice. Delicious.

Half of lager, another half. The lager locally sourced.

Wine is served in what looked like a 2l bottle, tall straight sides. A shock to the table next to me, a lot of wine to drink.

Not quite, they measure the bottle with a ruler, than charge for what you have drunk. At least that appeared to be what was happening.

It would be more relaxing without the loud music.

Walking in, hit by the noise.

Monday late afternoon, it was busy, but I was told it get much busier later, and so it proved to be, and it was Saturday night. I thought before seven o’clock it would not be too busy (I had hoped to arrive earlier) but not so.

Monday it was very hot (mild outside). Saturday night not too hot, but then freezing cold outside.

Monday I was given a card giving me 10% off. But did not have it with me. They accepted I had the card, and was given 10% off.

It was a relief to get back outside, away from the noise.

Beyond Austerity

November 22, 2015
Yanis Varoufakis and John McDonnell

Yanis Varoufakis and John McDonnell

Meeting at Methodist Central Hall. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, professor of economics and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, various trade union leaders, antiwar, looking at how we move beyond austerity.  Overshadowed by the atrocities in Paris and looming war with Isis.

The meeting started with a minute silence for all the victims of terrorist violence.

With the election of Jeremy Corby and with John McDonnell as finance, Labour for the first time has an anti-austerity team. For the first time there is hope.

Austerity is an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, mass sell-off, cuts  to social services.

The worst affected are the disabled.

The probation service is being privatised, with all that means with criminals being put back into the community and if they re-offend where are the police to respond when police numbers are being cut and police stations closed?

Councils are facing serious financial cuts. They will provide what they have a statutory obligation to provide and nothing more. Social services are in crisis.

Collapse in social services, means people do not receive the care they need. They end up in hospital, which puts further strain on an already overstretched NHS, and costs more.

Lincolnshire is closing thirty out of forty-five libraries, with the remaining fifteen on reduced hours. But this has less to do with funding, than the leader of the council Martin Hill a moron and a Philistine.

Councils will offer the bare minimum they are under a statutory obligation to provide, nothing more, services will be outsourced and privatised, dependency upon charities.

In the constituency of John McDonnell, there are families living in sheds.

Go to Aldershot, there are families living in a multi-story car park, or there was.

George Osborne will announce more cuts in his Autumn Statement, be lauded in the press as a wizard, a genius. But is he?

He has increased both the deficit and the debt.  Balance of payment is at a record high. There is no investment. He wants to cut corporation tax to only 18%. As a country we earn very little, as everything has been sold off.

Companies are paying out record dividends, sitting on a cash mountain, but not investing, they see no future.

John McDonnell gives a conservative  estimate of a £400 to £500 billion cash surplus, Yanis Varoufakis put it at £750 million.

This is idle cash. We must invest it, put it to productive use.

UK is a leader in scientific research, but lags on investment.

We should invest in green infrastructure, invest in education.

People have no future. It used to be each generation had better prospects, now it is the opposite.

People need to have creative work, where they contribute to the greater good of society.

We have to end the tax avoidance and tax evasion by global corporations.

Banks have to be split, casino banking from retail banking, they must be broken up, subject to better regulation. If they wish to gamble, do with their own money. They do not contribute to society. We reduce their stranglehold by investment in other sectors of the economy, in  skills.

Mass media has become rabid propaganda channels for the 1%, spewing a daily drip, drip, drip feed of misinformation, lies, smears and hate.  We must form our own communication channels. The media must be broken up. We cannot have people like Murdoch, Lord Rothermere, Barclay Brothers owning large chunks of the media.

Media channels that give an alternative view and help nail many of the lies.

The Tories do not have a mandate. They got 11 million out of 46 million votes.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn and the immediate aftermath has shown Labour has a problem. Members of Parliament who do not represent their constituents.

What is a good society? Think of a good family. They help to develop, look after the weakest and the sick, those who have strayed they try to bring back.

We are facing a return to the 1930s. That is where the Tories are taking us.

We must opposes austerity. This includes taking direct action. All progressive forces, anti-austerity campaigners, disability rights activists, climate activists, must all join forces to oppose austerity and map out an alternative.

On leaving the meeting, walking through Whitehall, to Piccadilly Circus, along Oxford Street, through Soho, to Covent Garden, then at night after eating at Home Slice in Covent Garden, I was shocked at the number of homeless bedding down and sleeping on the street. I have never seen this number before. It was worse than what I saw of homeless on the streets of Athens.

As with the homeless bedding down for a night on the street, my journey by train was also indicative of all that is wrong. A train of only five coaches, overcrowded, standing room only, for which we pay some of the highest fares in Europe.

Meeting was organised by Trade Union Co-ordinating Group with the support of The People’s Assembly. The meeting was filmed by Let Me Look TV.

Special thanks to Yanis Varoufakis for book signing.

Yanis Varoufakis book signing

Yanis Varoufakis book signing


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