Archive for July, 2014

Autumn leaves

July 31, 2014

A haunting, beautiful and moving rendition of Autumn leaves by Patricia Barber.

Intro in English, then French, then return to English.

The much performed Autumn leaves, Les feuilles mortes (literally The Dead Leaves) (1945), was co-written by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma with lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert. Yves Montand (with Irène Joachim) introduced Les feuilles mortes in the French film Les Portes de la nuit (1946). American songwriter Johnny Mercer wrote English lyrics in 1947. French singer Edith Piaf sang both French and English versions. The film Autumn Leaves (1956) starring Joan Crawford featured the song, as sung by Nat King Cole. Frank Sinatra included Autumn leaves on his album Where Are You? (1956).

I had never heard of Patricia Barber, until I popped into Ben’s Record Fair and picked up a copy of The Cole Porter Mix.

Someone worth seeing live.

We demand that International Criminal Court charges Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel for War Crimes against Humanity

July 31, 2014

An open letter to Song Sang-Hyun, President of International Criminal Court.

Israel war crimes

Israel war crimes

We the citizens of the world demand that Benjamin Netanyahu as person and Israel as the apartheid state is put on trial along with all the evidences that prove it to be a country responsible for terrible war crimes against humanity and people of Palestine in general.

Why should Israel be put on trial?

1. At the time of writing this, Benjamin Netanyahu is responsible for killing over 1000 civilians. Many of those are children, women and people with absolutely no affiliation with any group of any sort. They have been wiped off the map as if they were totally insignificant people with no right to live.

2. Israel has been bombing public places, schools, family homes, religious places and has sunk to the lowest level and recently attacked children hospitals.

3. They used White Phosphorus in 2009 and have used it again in 2014. They air-burst white phosphorus in 155mm artillery shells in and near populated areas. Each air-burst shell spreads 116 burning white phosphorus wedges in a radius extending up to 125 meters from the blast point. White phosphorus ignites and burns on contact with oxygen, and continues burning at up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (816 degrees Celsius) until nothing is left or the oxygen supply is cut. When white phosphorus comes into contact with skin it creates intense and persistent burns.

4. The establishment of settlements by an occupying power in occupied territory violates international humanitarian law which is the body of law governing situations of armed conflict and military occupation. Yet Israel is expanding it’s settlements and will obviously take over the Gaza area as no Palestinian will come back since they have no place to call home.

5. Israel’s apartheid setup where they have check-posts, blockades, and have taken every right from the Palestinians so they can’t even breath without having an Israeli soldier on their back. This has to stop and it’s nothing less than being a perfect definition of an apartheid settler state.

We demand that Israel is put on trial for war-crimes and Benjamin Netanyahu is held responsible for the deaths of all innocent people of Palestine along with being the reason for thousands of families being destroyed mentally and physically to the extent that they will never recover again.

Mr. President, if you are unable to do this based on other evidence that you can get from Human Rights Watch, UN, journalists, and doctors in Gaza, I feel you are letting down billions of people worldwide by letting a criminal get away with it.

Those who have seen the suffering of the people of Gaza, the atrocities committed by Israel under the guise of self-defence, have been shocked and appalled. If you count yourself as one of this number, then please sign this open letter to the President of International Criminal Court.

The US has condemned Israel for its atrocities, but at the same time, is re-supplying Israel with munitions to enable the slaughter and devastation to continue.

Amnesty International has called for a halt to arms supplies to Israel. Please sign their petition.

The US is pouring $3 billion dollars of military aid into Israel every year.

There is much individuals can do. Support the international boycott of all Israeli goods.

BBC coverage, has to say the least, been disgraceful. Please sign the petition to the BBC Trust calling for a debate on the BBC biassed coverage.

Apologists for Israel sink to new lows with the demand for an apology from UNRWA.

But probably none sinks as low as Melanie Phillips or Fox TV (part of the Evil Murdoch Empire) or Israelis chanting “There’s no school in Gaza, there are no more kids left”. The video concludes with the crowd chanting “Gaza is a cemetery”

Nightly entertainment for Israelis, is to sit on the hills overlooking Gaza and cheer the slaughter.

Gangs of marauding Israelis have been setting upon Arabs and beating them.

In the West, there has been a small rise in anti-Semitism. The Jews have the solution in their own hands. Stop supporting Israel, speak out against the atrocities committed by the Israelis. Exactly the same advice given to Muslims, speak out against the Islamists.

When Jews have joined anti-Israel protests, they have been made welcome.

When on one protest a Zionist attacked a Jew for protesting against Israel, he informed her he had survived a concentration camp. Her response was to tell him he should have died there.

Back-bench Tory MPs have called for a change in policy in the way the UK deals with Israel.

The State of Israel was founded by terrorists, on land belonging to Palestinians. They would attack villages, massacre everyone, to spread fear and cause people to flee their homes. Their intention was to divide the British Mandate between themselves and Jordan, to eliminate the Palestinians. The slaughter, the terrorism, the ethnic cleansing, the genocide, continues.

It was, as always the case, Israel that started the current conflict. When three Israelis were killed, Israel targeted Hamas, Hamas responded with rocket fire.



Gaza is an open air prison, access controlled by Israel, the people kept at starvation level.

A 72-hour ceasefire, starting 8am local time, has been announced by the UN.

Israeli Defence Force should receive the Nobel Peace Prize

July 30, 2014

‘Israeli Defence Force should receive the Nobel Peace Prize … for fighting with unmanageable restraint’, these were the words uttered by Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador to the US, when addressing a Christians-for-Israel summit in Washington.

The same Ron Dermer, attacked the New York Times, not exactly known for its pro-Palestine stance, for failing ‘to mention that a million Israelis were in bomb shelters yesterday as 100 rockets were fired at our civilian population’.

Ron Dermer calls the New York Times, an ’embarrassment to journalism’.

At least the Israelis have somewhere to hide. Palestinians have nowhere to hide as they are bombed by the most highly militarised nation on earth.

This morning, Israel targeted a UN school, not the first UN school they have targeted. They have also targeted hospitals.

Later in the day, Israel targeted a market.

Yesterday, Israel targeted and destroyed the only electrical power station in Gaza. Maybe Israel thinks Hamas has electrical powered rockets.

Israel is destroying Gaza, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

Gaza has no means of self defence, no anti-tank missiles, no surface-to-air missiles, and yet Israel calls for Gaza to be demilitarised, a call echoed by Zionist apologists.

In US, a Gallop Poll of Americans aged between 18 to 29, 51% said action by Israel was not justified, 23% said action was justified. One wonders what the figures would be if US lacked such a pro-Israel biased media.

In the UK, almost two thirds of the British public (62%) believe that the Israeli government is committing war crimes, according to a YouGov poll. One must assume the remaining third rely on BBC for their news.

The YouGov survey, conducted 27-28 July 2104, comes days after a separate poll carried out on behalf of The Sunday Times showed that 52% of the British public sees Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip as “unjustified”. Questioned about their attitude to the conflict more generally, 27% said their sympathies lie more with the Palestinians, while 14% said their sympathies lay more with the Israelis.

When I hear the Judeo-Fascists speak, it is like I am hearing something straight out of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Israel was founded by terrorists, on land that was not theirs.

Appalling hypocrisy by the US. One the one hand condemn Israeli atrocities and call for a ceasefire on the other hand re-supply Israel with munitions in order that mass slaughter and destruction can continue. Americans should hang their heads in shame.

Late lunch at Caffe Macchiato

July 30, 2014


I thought I would try something different. I occasionally have a cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato, and this time of year it is pleasant to sit outside, though of late, too hot.

It is questionable why anyone goes to Costa, when it is possible to get a decent cappuccino in a pleasant environment at Caffe Macchiato.

Today I thought I would have lunch.

But first, a beer.

I was aware of the name, but have never had a Peroni before. A delight I had missed out on. Very pleasant on a hot afternoon.

Then, I am not sure, and not quite what I had expected.

I thought, strips of beef mixed with a mushroom sauce. What I got, a large, but thin piece of beef, covered with a mushroom sauce.

Plus a big bowl of salad.

The chips were an anomaly, and did not go with the dish. Better would have been nice new potatoes, or as I had in a restaurant in Cascais, sliced fried potatoes.

Portion size generous. In fact for me, too much.

Late afternoon outside Caffe Macchiato is pleasant as you catch the sun down the street until it disappears behind the trees.

Caffe Macchiato used to stay open until 7pm, now, more is the pity, they close at 6pm. Six is ok for winter, but for summer, when it is pleasant, it needs to be open until at least seven. Though they do appear to have reached a compromise, if there are customers and they do not have to be elsewhere, they remain open.

Sitting outside, it shows what potential the street has, if the local council had councillors with more than two brain cells to share between them. If everyone looked after their building like Caffe Macchiato, if we got rid of the disgusting fast food outlets, if cars were barred from what is allegedly a pedestrian street.

The local council is proposing to spend £4.5 million on the centre of Aldershot. It is money down the drain, there has been no consultation with either the local community or local businesses. It will do nothing to enhance the centre of Aldershot.

Shifting seasons

July 30, 2014


We are used to seeing spring arrive earlier and earlier, but autumn?

From mid-July, changes I would not have expected to see until late August or early September, are happening now.

Mid-July leaves turning brown on horse chestnuts.

Mid-July hazelnuts ready. In the last few days hazelnuts falling off the bushes, and the last day or so, the squirrels stripping the bushes. I would not usually expect until September, unfortunately then the squirrels get in first and strip the bushes. Last couple of years I have managed to get a few, as they start falling off the bushes early, catching the squirrels unaware.

Last week or so blackberries ripe and ready to eat. As a child, blackberries would be ripening and ready to eat last two weeks of August.

Plums have been available for over a week. Plums usually in August.

Norwegian Wood

July 29, 2014

Barely recognisable but amazing jazz version of Beatles classic Norwegian Wood.

I had never heard of Patricia Barber, until I popped into Ben’s Record Fair and picked up a copy of The Cole Porter Mix.

Someone worth seeing live.

£4.5 million to be poured into the black hole of Aldershot

July 29, 2014

Aldershot is to receive £4.5 million investment. Three million external funding, one and a half million from the local council. ‘Investment’ is to stretch the meaning to breaking point, in reality, squandering of public money.

An example of the nonsense from imbecile leader of Rushmoor:

Successful initiatives such as Westgate and changes in the way people shop are providing new opportunities for the town and contributed greatly to the success of the bid. We are very pleased that this money has been secured for investment in Aldershot town centre.

When you make statements like this, you lose all credibility.

Westgate has been described as many things, but successful initiative is not one of them. It has had dire consequences on the town centre, retailers are suffering, look at the number of boarded-up and closed shops, retailers call it Wastegate.

Even in its own right, Wastegate is not a success. Walk through daytime and note the empty chain eateries. Every ten pound spent in one of these eateries, is ten pound not spent in the town centre, it is ten pound not recycled within the local economy, were it spent with local retailers.

The cinema, when a long awaited cinema opens in Farnborough, so far over a decade late, will see the bums on seats halve.

cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

Any one who wants somewhere half decent to eat goes to Guildford of Godalming or Alton. And these towns offer a pleasant environment to wander around. The best Aldershot can offer is the recently refurbished Queen Hotel (and that is not good). And you can get a decent cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato.

Look at Aldershot and Farnborough, both are disaster, then look to the nonsense spouted by the imbecile leader of the council, and it is easy to see why.

In Farnborough one million pounds was wasted repaving Queensmead, shoddy workmanship, poor quality paving slabs, and when there is a heavy downpour it floods. Kingsmead is one of the ugliest shopping centres in the country, empty and boarded-up units, the look and feel of a film set for a post-apocalyptic movie.

Aldershot boarded-up and empty shops, fast food outlets, gambling joints, drunks on the streets.

Austerity, what austerity? When it comes to wasting public money, there is no limit. Austerity is an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services.

An exciting new project to improve Aldershot town centre has received the go ahead from members of Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet.

Everything is always described as ‘exciting’. They must lead incredibly dull lives.

The first phase of improvements is expected to start next year and will see the shop fronts of key town centre buildings restored.

Restoration of shop fronts to their original shop fronts should have happened decades ago.

Caffe Macchiato

Caffe Macchiato

Caffe Macchiato look after their building, why not other landlords?

How will be enforced?

Grants are to be paid to bad landlords. Why should bad landlords who unlike Caffe Macchiato have looked after their building be rewarded? And if grants are to be paid, then the town should receive something in return, for example rent reduction to local indie businesses.

Phase two will focus on Union Street and Wellington Street. Paving will be repaired and Yorkstone will be replaced with block paving to match the current materials. Existing street furniture and landscaping will be scaled back to give clearer views and lighting will be redesigned to enhance the night-time environment.

The streets are trip hazards, patches of tarmac everywhere, uneven blocks and paving slabs.

 lorry in 'pedestriansied'  Union Street

lorry in ‘pedestriansied’ Union Street

Why are these streets not pedestrianised 24 hours a day seven days a week? Allowing vehicles through at four o’clock in the afternoon is a nightmare for pedestrians. Delivery lorries are smashing the paving slabs.

Both streets should be pedestrianised. Lorry and van deliveries can be made by parking on the edge of the town centre and delivering by hand cart. This is the norm in the old part of Istanbul, in Cascais, Athens, Puerto de la Cruz, Bassano del Grappa and many other European cities.

The paving of the streets should be York slabs, not blocks.

Re-paving of Queensmead took six months. Businesses saw footfall and takings fall during the work, they saw no recovery on completion of the work.

Clearer views of what? Bench seats do not obscure any views.

Costa should be barred from tables and chairs outside. The tables and chairs and the A-board are an obstruction on the street corner, the area covered in fag ends.

Night-time economy is drunken thugs roaming the streets. One reason why Aldershot now has Street Angels.

Aldershot lacks decent pubs. Somewhere to go and have a quiet drink of decent beer from a small brewery, eat a decent meal at a reasonable price, at night occasional quality live music.

The next stage will see signage improved to encourage people to visit different parts of town. Existing finger posts will be kept and seven monoliths will be installed at key town centre locations to provide visitors with information.

Why no finger posts directing people from Wastegate into the town centre?

Also need finger posts directing from town centre and bus and train station to West End Centre, a cultural oasis in the Philistine desert of Aldershot.

Monoliths appalling waste of public money.

Phase four will focus on Court Road and Wellington Street. A new footway link will be added between the upper decks of the High Street car park and Court Road. A new amphitheatre stairway will lead pedestrians from the High Street car park to the town. The car park will receive an external facelift and secure cycle stores will be introduced.

Footway link not necessary. Nor new stairway.

Tarting up the car park, will not disguise the fact an ugly multi-story car park.

Cycle storage out of sight, ideal for cycle thieves.

An appalling waste of public money.

Grosvenor Road will become a single lane making it easier for pedestrians to move from one side of the street to the other. There will be a focus on improving the look of the area, with wider pavements, contrasting paving materials, public art and street tree planting.

Grosvenor Road was only resurfaced a few weeks ago with new tarmac laid. Appalling waste of public money, if to be dug up to narrow the road and widen the pavements.

What should have been done at the time was a pedestrian crossing linking Union Street with Upper Union Street.

Grosvenor Road already is single lane, the pavements are not narrow.

The Queen Hotel has two A-Boards outside blocking the footpath, one across a dropped curb. The council has been aware since the pub re-opened in April following refurbishment. No action has been taken to affect their removal.

Delivery lorries for The Queen Hotel illegally park on the pavement. Council aware, no action taken

There is very low footfall in the street, nothing for passers by to visit. Thus an appalling waste of public money to widen the pavements and narrow the road.

There is a need to clean up the disgusting, dilapidated state of the buildings in Grosvenor Road. Some appear to be tenement slums. This means enforcement action against the landlords.

Barrack Road to be closed. Where do the buses to Farnham go, or has this not been thought of? Buses go up the High Street, turn left into Barrack Road en-route to Farnham. All around the houses, would not be acceptable to passengers or the bus company and would add unnecessary delay and fuel consumption. There has been no consultation with passengers or bus drivers. There are no legitimate grounds to close Barrack Road, nothing to be gained by doing so, but inconvenience would be caused to bus passengers.

Victoria Street

What of Victoria Street? A couple of years ago, the pavements were widened, the road narrowed. Traffic is not permitted to pass through during the day. Absolutely no notice is taken, buses can barely pass through due to cars parked either side. And if no traffic is permitted, how did the parked cars get there?

A lost opportunity. Victoria Street should have been pedestrianised.

Residents and businesses can find out more about the project at exhibitions being staged at key Aldershot sites in August. Starting on Monday 4 August, there will be displays at the Princes Hall and Wellington Centre. These will then move to Morrisons at Westgate and the Aldershot pools complex from Friday 15 August to the end of the month.

The usual fake consultation, plans already drawn up, go through the motions.

There has been no consultation with local indie retailers or people on the street in drawing up these plans.

Princess Hall is out of the way. Morrisons, people do a trolley shop and drive home, do not go into the town centre.

There is no publicity in the town centre.

It has already been decided when the work will start!

Telling people what the council has already decided, is not consultation.

Courts take a dim view of the failure to carry out fair and open minded consultation.

The decision by Philistines at Lincolnshire County Council to close two-thirds of libraries in the county, reduce hours at those remaining, fire 170 library staff, has been quashed by the High Court, due to the failure of the council to carry out proper consultation.

There should be stalls in Aldershot town centre, out in the open in Union Street, manned seven days a week, 10am until 6pm, for at least a fortnight, ideally a month, to take on board what locals think.

Exercise in hypocrisy

More nonsense from the imbecile leader of the council:

We want the town centre to be a busy and thriving place and the planned programme of improvements will help us to improve the appearance of Aldershot town centre and pedestrian links between key locations. We understand the issues facing Aldershot and see this phased approach as the next part of Aldershot’s regeneration.

What regeneration?

This is simply an exercise in barefaced hypocrisy. It is the council that has to date destroyed the town centre.

It’s the local economy stupid!

The proposals being put forward by the council are yet another example of squandering public money. They will do nothing to enhance Aldershot or remove its stigma as the place to avoid.

There should be zero tolerance of the drunken yobs at night, and that includes zero tolerance of the binge drinking bars that are fuelling their behaviour.

Clean up all the buildings, restore them to their former Victorian splendour.

Pedestrianise all the town centre streets, and that means a 24 hour seven days a week ban on all but emergency vehicles. Cyclists would be permitted.

Whilst the local council is in the main to blame for the parlous state of Aldershot town centre, greedy, grasping landlords charging unreasonable rents for a slum town centre are also to blame.

Just Shop has recently closed. It was the type of quality independent retailer that Aldershot needs and can ill afford to lose. They were forced to close by a greedy landlord charging too high a rent and not willing to enter into negotiations to lower the rent.

A policy that is working in other towns is to list all the rents being charged. Name and shame the bad landlords. When tenants go for a rent review, they have hard data to force their rents down.

Aldershot is a slum. The rents do not reflect this.

Aldershot is a deprived area. Everything possible should be done to retain money within the local economy, to recycle that money within the local economy.

Council policy to date has been to drain money out of the local economy, thus enforcing a downward spiral.

Support and promote local businesses.

Council policy to date, has been to destroy local businesses.

Following the excellent example of Guildford with Guildford Independent’s Day, and launch on 15 July 2015 Aldershot Independent’s Day. The only problem, as one indie business has identified, the lack of indie businesses. The actual problem is the lack of quality indie businesses.

Consider the introduction of a local currency, an Aldershot Pound. Problem same as for Aldershot Independent’s Day, the lack of quality indie businesses.

The Arcade lies boarded-up, sitting derelict. The council should serve a Compulsory Purchase Order and reopen, with the units let at realistic rents to local businesses.

Encourage community businesses like TechStart (a rare success story in Aldershot) and Transition Community Cafe.

Look to nearby towns, Guildford, Godalming, Farnham. Unlike Aldershot, they must be doing something right.

Look at the Portas Pilot towns, now two years on, and learn the lessons to be learnt. Only £100,000 was given to each Portas Pilot town. A drop in the ocean, less than a High Street chain would spend on outfitting a single store. No studies have been carried out. More shops have closed than have opened in the Portas Pilot towns. There is much criticism of the lack of analysis of and lack of support for the Portas Pilot towns.

Look to Transition Towns and the work being done by local communities to revive their towns. One of the failings by the local council has been not to involve local communities. The policy has always been to give developers what they want and show arrogant contempt for the wishes of local people and local businesses.

It is going to take years to recover from the damage inflicted on the town centre by the local council. That proposed by the council is simply an exercise in hypocrisy and squandering public money. Apart from repaving the two semi-pedestrianised streets, it will do nothing to help Aldershot.

Bad service in Lidl

July 28, 2014
Lidl Aldershot

Lidl Aldershot

Even by their abysmally bad, piss-poor service, the service in Lidl this evening was bad.

Only one till open, a queue stretching half way down the store.

The man operating the one and only till, doing his best, was asked to open another till. He apologised, dinged his bell. Nothing happened.

A lazy Nepalese security guard who had nothing better to do than hang around chatting to his friends, was asked to get someone. He just stood there, no response. He was asked again, he still stood there, no response.

Eventually a second till was manned. The person manning the till was asked, does the security guard understand English? The answer was yes.

There needs to be an investigation into this branch of Lidl, the service is always bad, this evening exceptionally bad. The pig-ignorant Nepalese security guard should be fired.

A secondary question that needs to be asked, does Lidl only employ cheap immigrant labour, why are no local people employed?

The poor service, and especially attitude of Nepalese security guard, is not acceptable, and shows the contempt Lidl has for its customers.

Or is it thought, this is Aldershot, bad service is acceptable?

Light my fire

July 28, 2014

Jazz rendition of Doors classic Light my fire.

I had never heard of Patricia Barber, until I popped into Ben’s Record Fair and picked up a copy of The Cole Porter Mix.

Someone worth seeing live.

Dog calls camera man for help to rescue another dog

July 28, 2014

Dog takes cameraman to another dog that needs to be rescued.

Aftermath of Japanese tsunami.

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