The Curse

October 24, 2016

The Curse, Berlin Live Session, Agnes Obel on piano, with Anne Müller on cello and Mika Posen on viola.

Taken from her album Aventine.

Excellent example of looping in this live session.


October 24, 2016
Stop CETA support Wallonia

Stop CETA support Wallonia

We will never decide anything under an ultimatum or under pressure. — Paul Magnette, Wallonia

CETA, like TTIP, is a trade deal. Though trade is something of a misnomer.

Both are about handing control to global corporations to decide our future in secret trade courts. Both are being pushed in secret by the EU.

CETA is with Canada, TTIP with the US.

CETA appears to have been derailed by Wallonia, a region of Belgium. Now joined by the Brussels region in opposing CETA.

The supreme irony, the people have revolted at the heart of the evil empire.

Enormous pressure is being put on Wallonia by the EU corporate thugs.

It is important Wallonia and Brussels stand firm as they are all that stands between CETA being ratified. By standing firm, they are acting for all of us.

Last week, the Wallonian prime minister, Paul Magnette, did what no other European leader had the courage to do, and declared his government won’t support CETA. He stood up for democracy and became the champion of the millions of Europeans opposing the deal.

The European Commission and the EU’s big member states aren’t willing to give up, and they are putting huge pressure on Paul Magnette to back down in time for a signing ceremony planned for later this week. Now only one thing stands in their way — Paul Magnette and the brave Belgian regions.

Paul Magnette stood up for democracy over corporate power – but he might buckle under the pressure from all sides, unless we can send him a huge show of support from people across Europe. But we don’t have long to act: the EU and Canada are hoping to force Wallonia to retreat in the next 48 hours. So we must stand with Wallonia now!

CETA is a huge trade deal bewteen EU and Canada that would hand corporations the power to overturn our laws in their favour. If all EU member states agreed it could mean that everything from environmental protection to consumer safety laws are under threat from greedy corporations.

Wallonia is being intimidated by the Commission and some big member states. Paul Magnette said he was receiving “thinly veiled threats” because he is trying to make sure CETA doesn’t override basic democratic values.

We need to show the unelected undemocratic EU that Paul Magnette has our support from all over Europe, and we won’t stand for the EU abusing its power.

Please sign the petition opposing CETA and supporting the stance taken by Wallonia.


October 24, 2016

Haunting piano and vocals, Riverside from Philharmonics by  Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel.

Sunday in Brighton, I picked up Citizen of Glass from resident.

A speculative purchase but I trust the good taste of the owner of this excellent indie record shop in North Laine.

Nightmare of weekend train travel

October 23, 2016
bus Three Bridges to Brighton

a bus is not a train

Train to Gatwick, no rail works.  Relief short lived. Rail works from Gatwick to Brighton. Journey that would take 20 mins fast train, 30 minutes slow train, now over an hour if train and bus, or hour and a half by train.

Train from Gatwick to Three Bridges, then bus.

Chaos at Gatwick. Screens not working properly. Kept flashing on and off, no time to read the information. Three pages of information scrolled through one screen. Can they not afford three screens?

No announcements. I knew had to change at Three Bridges, I saw a train was leaving for Portsmouth, stopping at Three Bridges, so hopped on.

Chaos at Three Bridges. Platform heaving with people. An accident waiting to happen. But at least they announced find your way to the buses in the car park.

Five minutes walk, out of station, through car park, to find buses.

No coaches, the double-decker buses that serve Brighton.

Buses left promptly, so promptly that passengers were left behind.

Return journey as bad. Had no idea what bus to catch. Turn up at station and hope for the best.

At Brighton, one screen scrolling five or maybe six pages.

Again a double-decker bus. Total inadequate luggage space for people with roll-on hand luggage. Would have been even worse if normal luggage.

Chaos at Three Bridges. At least people kept to one side through subway, but at the top, massive jam of people, people trying to climb out of subway over the rails because of the jam.

At Gatwick, further chaos.

I arrived at Gatwick to see the train I wished to catch running ten minutes late just leaving. Hour wait for next train.

Gatwick is a major international airport, is seeking a second runway, and yet the rail connections are a nightmare and unable to cope now.

We pay for a train, but get a bus. Journey takes much longer, but not classed as delayed, due to amended timetable in force.  No compensation is offered let alone paid.

Rail works on this route has been ongoing for a decade.

Cold day in Brighton

October 23, 2016
North Laine

North Laine

Relief at no rail works to Gatwick, short lived as rail works Gatwick to Brighton. Bus replacement from Three Bridges to Brighton. Journey from Gatwick to Brighton that would take 20 minutes, 30 minutes if slow train, now over an hour, hour and a half if by train.

Looked in Grocer and Grain. Hakan not there, not well. I asked wish him well.

Straight to North Laine, too late to walk down to the sea front and hungry.

Excellent lunch in Iydea. Sweetcorn fritters, peas and roast potatoes.

Looked in Magazine Brighton. Thanked them for directing me to Coffee at 33 on a previous visit. Also looked in and was lucky to pick up copies of Viva Brighton. Man suggested also take Viva Lewes. I said no, as only one copy left.

Looked in Coffee at 33. I would have liked to have had a coffee and a cake, but it was packed. Visit sea front first, then have a coffee at Small Batch on way to station.

A couple of albums from Resident. Speculative purchase, could be rubbish, hopefully not. Citizen of Glass by  Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel and ….

Given a smart back. Gift with one  of the albums.

Apples, bread, muesli, scones from Infinity Foods. Apples delicious. As too the scones.

Chatting to a homeless man outside. I said council has a statutory duty to house him. He said yes, but waiting list. He was at 25 from from the top, was at a 100, has taken him nine months to move up the list.

In Finland, Homes  First. People are housed.

I asked did he go to the food at lunchtime? He said no, he had a church to go to in the evening.

Infinity Food Cafe, chat with Greek guy. I suggested they opened another shop, served fruit juices in jam jars like nova gea in Plaka in Athens. Open as an open coop. Already have the fruit and vegetables in Infinity Foods.

Too cold to walk down to the sea front, but cannot visit Brighton and not visit the sea front.

Crab sandwich to eat on way home.

All summer, Guildford has had cows dotted around the town. Brighton has snow dogs.

Looked in Small Batch. Packed and no  cakes. Not a pleasant ambience, horrible corporate feel.. But I wished to try there coffee.
On my way to Coffee at 33,  Brighton sausage Shop. Did I want a sausage roll? No.

Interesting conversation on democracy.

Coffee at 33 closed.

Coffee at Pelicano. Then to the station.

Burger from what is claimed Gourmet Burgers, a stall outside the station. Vile and disgusting, anything but gourmet.

Bus to Three Bridges. Chaos at Three Bridges. Platform jam packed with people.

Chaos at Gatwick. Arrive to see the train I want running ten minutes late just leaving. Hour wait for next train

Soup and cappuccino at Krema

October 22, 2016


I was pleased to find, now the weather has turned cold, that soup is back on the menu at Krema.

Excellent tomato and pepper soup, with a I think they said Wenslydale cheese. Big chunk of bread. Generous portion size.

A trip to the butcher, then back for a cappuccino and flapjack.

I noticed cascara on the board. I asked. Yes, it was a new addition.

Krema serve as tea, in a tea pot. Contrast with Coffee Lab who prepare and serve cold.

Afternoon in Farnham

October 22, 2016
River Wey riverside walk

River Wey riverside walk

Pleased to find soup in Krema. Popped to the butcher, then back again for a coffee.

The greengrocer opposite, which closed some months ago, a sad loss to Farnham, now a shops selling home furnishing tat.

A cold day.

Phileas Fogg travel app for Ayia Napa and Protaras

October 22, 2016
Phileas Fogg travel apps

Phileas Fogg travel apps

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded and had a play. I was not impressed.

Who wants an app that is advertising?

If being generous, a directory of generated content for which the contributor pays.

50,000 downloads has been claimed. Not true. 1000 downloads for Android. If we assume same for Apple, then a couple of thousand downloads.

But even if 50k, how many would see as worthless and delete?

The glowing reviews appear to be fake. No way is this a 5* app. And the names are all Greek, reinforcing impression of fake reviews

If assume a thousand downloads, five months May to September, that is omly 200 per month.

If nothing else, explains why no one has seen or heard of.

And of the thousand, myself and a couple of friends account for three.

Design is bad. Like something from the digital Dark Ages. And why lump together Ayia Napa and Protaras? These are two distinct areas and municipalities.

No mechanism that I can see for businesses to add content.

Very strange and suspicious someone going round selling content. Even more so a presentation, well actually hype, to which local businesses were invited.

Not the norm for apps. Spread by word of mouth or articles and reviews.

How would anyone learn of existence? From other businesses? Why would they direct to rivals?

To find places?

Let us assume at Windmills Car Hire. Do you say download app to find a coffee shop? Or do you say go to end of road, turn down opposite Nicolas Tavern to Fig Tree Bay, find on the left excellent Miyu Coffee, and next door excellent Nia Boutique?

Similarly, why would Windmills tell clients to find on app, when any information they require they can obtain direct by asking whilst in the office?

On the other hand to suggest follow us on twitter makes a whole lot of sense, as can then keep clients informed.

Categories are bizarre.

Coffee includes anywhere and everywhere serving coffee. Not restricted to coffee shops.

Fusion is Lemongrass, pan-Asian, all of everything, all of nothing, bearing little if any resemblance to the dishes the countries are claimed to come from. Fusion is not Olympus on the corner opposite Nicholas Tavern, they are Greek-Cypriot and international.

For Windmillls, maybe worth throwing away 75 euros, recovered with one car hire. For a coffee shop, a lot of coffees to sell.

Who is going to use an app to find somewhere to eat rather than simply walk down the street and see for themselves? Who is going to trawl through advertising? Who is going to trawl through advertising for Ayia Napa when they are in Protaras or vice a versa?

Businesses are already on the edge. Extra cash outflow is not going to help.

This will do nothing to halt let alone reverse the collapse of the tourist industry.

Far better is to establish a network of quality business. Find one get directed to others.

This travel app is something a kid could have knocked out over a weekend.

TripAdvisor does a far better job, with the caveat be very wary of fake reviews.

UPSat: The first open source satellite

October 21, 2016

At Libre Space Foundation all our projects (currently Sat NOGS & UPsat) are open source hardware and libre software. We consider it our mission to develop, advance and promote open source technologies in space applications. All our work was, is and will be open source. — Eleftherios Kosmas

As I often explain to people, capitalism ended in 2008.  We are now in a postcapitalism phase.

As Paul Mason explains in PostCapitalism, we have waves 50 years long. Mercantile Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism, Financial Capitalism.

cAs David Graeber explains in Debt, we have mush longer waves, pre-classical period, classical period, Middle Ages, Capitalism.

We are now in a period of transition.

The market self-corrects or so we are told.

The market did not self-correct for the banks and they had to be bailed out.

Iceland did not bail out the banks, criminal bankers and politicians received prison sentences.

Price gives a signal in the market.

Cost according to classic Marxism, has has three components, labour, land (raw materials) and money.

We can now add a fourth factor, information.

Information flows freely, the cost tends to zero.

We see this with e-books, digital music.

If there is zero price, there is no signal in the market, the market cannot function.

It is only the application of Draconian copyright and intellectual property rights that blocks the free flow of information.

We think of markets and capitalism as the same, we use interchangeably. As David Graeber shows in Debt, they are not the same.

During this period of transition we could have many different outcomes.

Serfs working for apps, is one possibility. Uber, task rabbit, Deliveroo, atomised workers  bearing all the risks and capital costs, working for a  pittance, bidding against each other in a negative auction,  often working for less than the minimum wage.

Or bullshit jobs,  McJobs, mindless, deskilled jobs, workers cheaper than robots.

Or we  could have open source, sharing, open coops, collaborative commons.

We have open source software, designers contribute for free, the software is available for free. The Hive in Dalston. There are are open source cars, tractors.

We now have an open source satellite,  UPSat, Greek QB50 cubesat, which the Greeks have just delivered. Open source software and hardware. A Cygnus automated cargo spacecraft will deliver UPSat to the International Space Station.

Launched earlier this week, the Cygnus supply spacecraft en-route to the International Space Station after a successful launch of Orbital ATK‘s Antares rocket. It’s next launch, scheduled for the 30th of December, will carry UPsat, the first open hardware and first made in Greece satellite to the International Space Station.

Do we want the future of UPSat, collaboration, sharing, free flow of information or one of atomised workers working as serfs for apps?

The choice is ours.

Afternoon in Guildford

October 21, 2016
Angel Inn

Angel Inn

Over half an hour late getting to Guildford, as the sick bastard guard on the fast train thought it a great joke to leave passengers stranded. Then further delay waiting to buy a ticket at Guildford as the guard on the slow train could not be bothered to walk through the train to collect fares.

But at least an excellent cappuccino by Chase at FCB coffee kiosk on Guildford Station.

Too late to eat. Ended up at Thai takeaway at top of High Street, but did not mind as their food is great.

On my way I popped in Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage and had a chat with the owner. She owns both.

She now closes Friday afternoon. Too costly to remain open, employing five staff. They also closed a month in the summer. Sadly a sign of the times, everyone struggling.

I mentioned to her the pop up shops opening in shipping containers in Guildford. A good idea but entirely wrong location. Opposite where the disastrous farmers market was held when the High Street was closed.

Pomegranates very expensive on the market. Two for £2.  Even more expensive in Waitrose, £2-75 for two. Yesterday 75p each in Lidl.

pomegranates on market stall in Monastiraki

pomegranates on market stall in Monastiraki

To think a little over a week ago picking fresh from the trees.

I regret I dd not buy from a market stall in Athens a couple of days ago.