Cappuccino in Madame Waffle

March 23, 2017

I have passed Madame Waffle many times, and pass is what I do, not somewhere I would set foot in, gives every impression of being a chain fast food joint.

It therefore takes a lot of persuading for me to cross the threshold and enter.

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop: They serve good coffee, excellent baristas, Square Mile Coffee, Standart.

The last two were the clincher. If they serve Square Mile Coffee, then they must know something about about coffee. Similarly if  Standart in the coffee shop.

I was after Standart issue 5 and 6.

Even so, it was with great reluctance, it was a pleasant day, I wished to walk up The Strait and Steep Hill to Makushi. If nothing else, I may get a decent coffee.

Thus my expectations were low.

Walking through the door, I was pleasantly surprised, an excellent job has been done on the decor, exposed brick walls, wooden tables, a pleasant atmosphere. It looked every bit a quality coffee shop.

Maybe it was  a coffee shop that served waffles.

As I walked in, Square Mile Coffee on sale.

No room, ok, we have a first floor.

I ordered a cappuccino.

I had not seen Standart. I asked.

They said it was on sale. I expected, like Makushi,  to browse.

I did find  Caffeine free to take away. I never knew it was free. But easy to see why. Patronising drivel, hacks paid to fill column inches.

The girl brought me Standart issue 7.

Do you have issue 5 and 6?

Off she went and came back with Standart issue 6. Sorry we do not have issue 5.

My cappuccino arrived. It was excellent. But then I expected no less with Square Mile.

On my way down, I bought Standart issue 6, £9.

This I queried, I can subscribe for four issues for 11 euros.

They were surprised, they order for resale and  pay £9-17 each when they order ten for resale, to sell at a loss.

Something going very wrong. I then looked again, as something did not add up. Oops. To subscribe a single issue, which is then automatically renewed, 11 euros per issue, to subscribe four issues, which is automatically renewed, 40 euros. I thought it did not make sense 11 euros a single issue or four issues.

On leaving, I was asked had I seen the floor below?

No, I did not know there was a floor below.

Below, I found there was an undercroft, indicating the building much older than external looks would suggest, or built on the foundation of a much older building.

I was told there are tunnels connecting all these lower levels.

Whether true or not I do not know. Maybe an urban myth, as not something I have ever heard of.

Occasional live music and other events in the evening.

Ruddock’s is closing after 136 years in business, but leaving Henry’s tea room open. This  I could not understand how this could work.

Today, I noticed a side door, leading direct to the tea rooms without having to pass through Ruddock’s. Something I have never noticed before.

I inquired in Ruddock’s. They said Henry’s too will be closing.

They blamed high car parking charges. This is not the problem The problem is they are selling rubbish.

Flag over The Stonebow flying half mast, a mark of respect for those killed yesterday afternoon during a terrorist attack in London.

Cappuccino in Makushi

March 21, 2017

Last week, a lovely sunny warm spring day. Today, first day of spring, bitter cold wind blowing.

Today a different barista, moonlighting from Coffee Aroma.

Makes the point, little independent coffee shops cooperate.

Makushi is one of the coffee shops that has Standart, an excellent  quarterly journal devoted to coffee culture.

I would have liked to have been able to borrow a copy to read, bring back, but no can do.

Back down in the town, I popped in Coffee Aroma and picked up a copy of Northern Independent Coffee Guide.  Served by the same barista who had served me in Makushi.

FairPay cards in action in Heraklion

March 20, 2017

When Greece was being screwed by the ECB I suggested creating a parallel crypto-currency, an alternative currency for Greece. Why, because it was not possible to leave the euro, a major logistics problem.

In Prague, last year, I saw parallel currencies in action, they use both Czech crown and the euro, therefore my idea for a parallel currency for Greece, part of Plan C, a transition to a commons based economy, was both practical and feasible.

Medium is looking to charge for reading articles. Medium, though not intended as, functions as a collaborative commons. To charge, would be a retrograde step, a classic case of enclosure of the commons. I have suggested to founder Ev Williams, that convert to an open coop, open source platform, do not charge for articles, all articles remain free to read, but have an option, where if readers wish they may pay for an article, and use faircoin.

Deliveroo, is an exploitative platform, serfs working for an app at often less than the minimum wage, replace with Deliver2U, an open source open coop platform, payment using faircoin and fairpay card.

Unicorns are mythical companies valued at over a billion dollars. Mythical because in reality worthless. Such has been the excesses of Uber, it has been proposed zebras, but these are business as usual, simply a little cosmetic tweaking to make it look good. When I had the audacity to suggest this, exposing the Emperor has no Clothes, a lot of stick over the weekend. What did not go down, was my suggestion, we are postcapitalism, the future open coops, open source platforms, local currencies, faircoin and fairpay card.

In Protaras, a little coffee shop Miyu Coffee and fashion boutique Nia Boutique overlooking Fig Tree Bay. Protaras is dying, Fig Tree Bay end dead, killed by all-inclusive hotels, no money flowing into the local economy. We explored the possibility, or at least tossed around the idea, why not establish a weekly mid-week market, a mix of flea market, farmers market and craft market to revitalise the area and retain and circulate money within the local economy.

Therefore to see in Heraklion this very idea up and running, and not only that but to see faircoin and fairpay card being used is excellent news.

On Saturday, 18th of March 2017, we hopefully reached to the 6th Autonomous Street Market, which are regularly organized by the Integral Cooperative of Heraklion (I.C.Her) at Georgiadi’s park. A project that is constantly strengthened and has come to serve some basic needs of those who actively show that they want and intend to disengage from the competitive and alienating market. Step by step, we cover more and more categories of products and services that are offered through our alternative currencies, Kouki and FairCoin.

The only problem I see with faircoin, is how to transfer from say euros to faircoin. To have to buy bitcoin from an exchange then use the bitcoin to buy faircoin is too cumbersome.

If fairpay cards are easily available, local nodes where they can be ‘charged’ with euros or faircoin, it will be a lot more viable.

More details are needed on how the market in Heraklion are managing these issues.

Re-posted from Light on a Dark Mountain.

Viva St Joseph’s Day

March 19, 2017

Today, 19 March 2017, is St Joseph’s Day, patron saint of workers.

In the evening, guest of my good friends Paulo Coelho and Christina Oiticica, and many other friends, we would be celebrating St Joseph’s Day at some wonderful venue, in a historic town, chosen by Paulo.

It seems only yesterday, we were in Prague.

Sadly not this year.

I wish Paulo, Christina, and our friends who come together from all over the world, Viva St Joseph’s Day.

I endorse thoughts of my dear artist friend Dasha Bell:

Our hearts are enlightened with numerous fabulous memories of all the fantastic moments shared at Paulo Coelho and Christina Oiticica St. Joseph Party ! What a magical time, how many dear friends and sensations of love and happiness shared ! Thank you !!!

And some memories shared by others:

St Joseph’s Day celebrations last few years:

Bomber Command Memorial

March 19, 2017

Bomber Command Memorial, at the top of Canwick Hill, overlooks South Common, with stunning views across the Witham Valley, over Lincoln, and on a  clear day, as today, over the Trent Valley.

The site is quite eerie, consisting of a central spire, which represents two wings of a Lancaster Bomber, and concentric walls.

The spire and the walls are made of rusting iron, or maybe steel, I assume to represent Lincoln once the city of heavy industry, with foundries, sadly long gone, skilled jobs replaced by low paid temporary McShit jobs.

The spire, not apparent until close up, is hollow.

The walls, are covered in names, cut into the walls both sides, the names of airman who died during World War Two. I was told 56,000, though I did not count.

Not yet open to the public. Today was an Open Day. I was an invited guest.

Also on site and as yet unfinished International Bomber Command Centre and a wooden shed.

Inside the shed, a long table half way down one side, with half a dozen veterans signing books and limited edition prints and answering questions.

One end serving tea and coffee, the other end a few books for sale.

Signed limited edition prints of paintings by one of the veterans.

I was surprised by the number of people there.

Everything run by volunteers, all pleasant and helpful, with two exceptions.

A man thrust a bucket in my face and more or less demanded I put in some money. I had no money, I expected an empty site.

Whilst looking at one of the books, I was told they are for sale not for looking at. He then bragged to an associate that he worked in a charity shop where he tells customers that books are for sale not for looking at.

One thing is needed, and hopefully there will be, when the site is officially open, a way up from South Common, otherwise a long trek round.

There needs to be path and steps leading up from South Common to the Memorial. Then if on the Common, can walk up, or, if at the Memorial and a pleasant day can combine with a walk on the Common.

Lincoln Street Food Market

March 17, 2017

Wednesday was a lovely warm spring day, some parts of the country almost reached 19C.

Today 9C, strong cold wind, with windchill factor much lower, then it started to rain.

Begs the question, why hold a street food market this time of year?

Would not late spring, summer or early autumn be a better time?

No publicity the days before.

Large generators beside the stalls, very noisy.

Why not an arrangement where plug into power sources from lampposts, as they do in other towns?

Awful music blasting out from many of the stalls, which was very unpleasant.

It was only later, I learnt there were stalls the other side of the level crossing, by then too late. Nothing anywhere to say more stalls.

I did not try any of the stalls, and none seemed busy, too cold. I did though have a cappuccino off The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop.

Organised by a travelling circus, which explains why not very good.

Godalming has an annual street food festival, that puts this to shame.

And if true what I was told by a local coffee shop, Lincoln BIG are paying to bring this travelling circus into town, then not good.

Lincoln should  organise its own street food festival, invite stalls.

Though on the other hand, looking at their competence or lack thereof on running markets in the town, then maybe not.

The street food market will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Through the busy pedestrianised High Street, an idiot driving through in a van, even though not permitted, with one hand on steering wheel, the other holding a mobile phone. Several pedestrians nearly run down.

Coffee Aroma is harassed for leaving tables and chairs outside after four o’clock, on the other hand blind eye turned to traffic driving through a busy pedestrianised street putting pedestrians at risk middle of the afternoon.

Cappuccino in Makushi

March 15, 2017

A lovely warm sunny spring day.

A walk up Steep Hill, then on the way back down, coffee at Makushi.

Different to last week, different barista, different beans.

Makushi change their beans roughly every month.

Interesting conversation with fellow coffee drinkers and the barista.

Makushi roast their own single origin beans and unlike undrinkable coffee from Costa, the beans are not over-roasted and burnt.

Barista recommended I try The Plant Room in Brighton. Not a coffee shop I am familiar with.

Other places to try coffee in Lincoln:

  • Stokes on High Bridge
  • Coffee Aroma
  • The Little Bicle Coffee Shop

One to avoid, Angel Coffee House.

Henry’s tea room, marginal.

Had I had time, I would have popped in The Cheese Society and picked up some cheese.

Plenty of people wandering around, High Street was packed.

Greek crisis is the canary in the mine

March 11, 2017

Last year the Greek economy suffered a further blow, contracting by 1.2% at the end of 2016, according to revised figures released earlier this week. The figures, published by the Greek statistics agency Elstat show it was the worst quarter since the summer of 2015, when the European Central Bank closed the Greek banks.

The medicine imposed by the EU is killing the patient, not that there was ever any intention of helping the patient to recover.

Capitalism is an adaptive system, or was, 50 year long Kondratieff cycles, each new cycle driven by technological innovation. This came to an abrupt end in 2008. We are now post-capitalism.

2008 a banking crisis, morphed into an economic crisis, into a social and political crisis, and now a geo-political crisis.

2009 the German banks were bankrupt, their ‘assets’ worthless dodgy US financial instrument. They were bailed out by the German taxpayer.

2010 the German banks were in trouble again, back with their begging bowls, the Greek state was bankrupt, could not service their debt, technically the German banks were insolvent. The German taxpayer would not stomach a second bail out of the German banks. A clever ploy, biggest ever loan to a bankrupt state, the money flows to Greece straight back out to French and German banks. Classic extend and pretend. And a bonus, control the Greek state, plunder the Greek state, force sell off of state assets at knockdown prices. The result, Greek economy shrank by 25%. To put that in context, Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash economies shrank by 20%.

2015 Syriza won a landslide victory, with a mandate to challenge the EU.

What we saw in Greece, was not ‘conventional Left politics’, this was a radical, progressive moment with popular support. Greeks were saying, enough is enough.

Most intelligent observers recognise, the EU is close to collapse. It is a rigid hierarchical system.  Such systems lack the ability to adapt, they are brittle and cannot survive shocks.

The banking crash of 2008 was one such shock. The election of Syriza was another shock. The example being set by Syriza could not be allowed to spread, the contagion had to be contained.

The mechanism used to destroy  the Greek banks and destroy the Greek government was the ECB.  The role of a Central Bank when banks are in trouble is to help support the banks, ECB did the exact opposite.

But was the closure process legal and within the ECB’s charter and mandate?

ECB President Mario Draghi wasn’t sure; Draghi commissioned an independent legal opinion on this issue.

Fabio De Masi, a German Die Linke MEP, asked for a copy of this legal opinion. He was denied a copy.

When money flowed into Greece, then back out to bail out German and French banks, why were EU citizens not told what was happening?  Instead they were led to believe that hard working Germans were subsidising lazy Greeks.

Greece was bankrupt. The existing debts should have been written off, or at the very least restructured. Instead, more money was loaned to enable the Greeks to continue to service their debts.

ECB is a Central Bank without a government. Countries within the eurozone are countries without a central bank. The eurogroup lacks any legitimacy, legally and a constitutionally it does not exist.

ECB used its powers to interfere directly in the democratic process of a country.

Yanis Varoufakis  and Fabio De Masi MEP have launched a public campaign demanding the immediate release of what they are calling The Greek Papers.

Greece is the canary in the mine, symptomatic of a wider problem within the EU and the eurozone.

As it celebrates the signing of the Rome treaty, EU has proposed changes but it is merely a watered down version of business as usual

EU is not Europe.

We should be planning now for the collapse of the EU to be replaced by a network of cooperating democratic countries.

At local level, as we have seen in Spain, Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña, ordinary citizens seizing control of their local Town Halls, opening to public participation, then networking with other citizen controlled Town Halls.

We need across Europe a Green New Deal.

At local level, establishment of open coops, support for small businesses, collaborative commons.

We need faircoin and fairpay card as cooperative digital alternatives to the euro, at local level, local currencies.

In Foundation, first book of the Foundation trilogy,  the Galactic Empire is collapsing. A group of citizens establish at opposite ends of the galaxy, two foundations. They do so in the knowledge that the Empire will collapse, but by preserving what is known, they will greatly reduce the period of instability.

That is the situation we now find ourselves in Europe. 2008 could be our 1929, when Europe descended into Fascism and chaos.

We are already seeing the end, the rise in Fascism, the chaos.

We must work now to plan for the future, otherwise our 2008 will be 1929.

Please support Yanis VaroufakisFabio De Masi and DiEM25 in their call for the release of The Greek Papers. Please support their request to release these critical documents by signing the petition calling for the release of #The GreekFiles.

Cappuccino in Coffee Aroma

March 9, 2017

Lovely sunny spring day.

A few minutes stroll by South Common.

Today was the first day I have ever found St Swithin’s open. Only because a group was holding a meeting. When I passed by later, it was not open.

Deressing to see how the inside of the church has been ruined, and that they allow the malignancy of Alpha to enter the church.

Quick chat at The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop.

Followed by an excellent cappuccino at Coffee Aroma.

Coffee Aroma has been ordered to remove its tables and chairs by four in the afternoon. A pedestrianised street through which motorised traffic is allowed after that time.

So concerned are useless jobsworth at Lincolnshire County Council, who lack the common courtesy to put a name to e-mails, with public safety, they have ordered Coffee Aroma to remove their tables and chairs by four in the afternoon, but not so concerned to actually stop motorised vehicles, cars,  vans, huge lorries, to drive through the pedestrianised city centre.

As I was drinking my coffee, sometime between 1215 and 1220, white van man drove through, with Chub Community written down the side of the van, but ok, he had his hazard lights flashing.

The Great Correction

March 7, 2017

The Great Correction, wonderful song and imagery from Eliza Gilkyson.

From her album Beautiful World.

She needs to release on bandcamp, not all the wrong sites that are owned and controlled by Big Business

Special thanks to 

Blockadia are the flash points, where paramilitary forces are used against protesters defending the commons.