Archive for December, 2014

New Year’s Eve in Lincoln

December 31, 2014
Moonraker tea boat

Moonraker tea boat

Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral

Steep Hill

Steep Hill

A cold frosty morning, Lincoln cold and damp.

Cappuccino and cookie in Stokes on High Bridge, the place for coffee.

Central Library not open. No indication why not open, no holiday times posted.

Same The Collection, not open, no indication why not open, no holiday times posted.

No excuse for either Central Library or The Collection to be closed, and very bad no notice explaining why. It was exactly the same last week on Christmas Eve.

Danes Gate

Danes Gate

Cutting along a narrow lane running alongside the Usher Art Gallery, leads into Steep Hill half way up by Readers Rest. Or what was Readers Rest, now nothing, all trace of Readers Rest gone.

Danes Gate, derived from Scandinavian gaten for street.

Tourist Information not open. I dare say it was not open last week on Christmas Eve either. Crass stupidity, lots of tourists, but Tourists Information not open. I dare say, when no tourists, it will be open.

Lindum Books

Lindum Books

A new bookshop in Bailgate, Lindum Books, been there eight months. Will it survive, considering the attrition rate of indy books shops?

To survive have to be like P&G Wells, back streets of Winchester. Always a window display of tempting books (not celebrity rubbish of chains), staff know their books.

If only the same rubbish as the chains, no knowledge, may as well buy at a discount in the chains, supermarket or Amazon.

Revolution? Not worth reading, Russell Brand dismissed as naive and does not know what he is talking about.

Adultery? Paulo Coelho not a writer worth reading.

Hmmm.

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New Year’s Eve Cappuccino and Latte in Stokes

December 31, 2014
latte, cappuccino and cookie

latte, cappuccino and cookie

A cold morning in Lincoln.

Made it to Stokes on High Bridge, the place for coffee in Lincoln, if not England, a little after ten o’clock. Luckily not yet packed.

Stokes on High Bridge is the gold standard by which lesser coffees are judged.

staircase

staircase

A fourth generation family business, Stokes has been of the coffee and tea business since 1902, at their present location in a beautiful Tudor building on High Bridge, a Medieval Bridge with Norman foundations, since 1937.

At the moment the building is shrouded in scaffolding and netting.

Lincoln is unusual, in that it has a large number of indy coffee shops, many serving Stokes coffee and teas, but a few serving other quality coffees. Contrast that with other towns dominated by Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks, serving disgusting undrinkable coffee and factory cakes.

Shop and tiny coffee shop are on the ground floor. The two upper floors serve food, each with its own kitchen, serve meals from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Stokes even list their local suppliers.

Coffee roasted by Stokes, freshly ground and brewed within seconds of grinding.

Contrast with the chains, and most so-called coffee shops, inferior beans, over-roasted, long past sell-by-date, ground, then left, then coffee made by someone who may wear the sweatshirt, but it certainly does not make them a barista.

brew bar

brew bar

For the connoisseur, Stokes has a brew bar, half a dozen speciality coffees, hot water poured on the ground beans in a funnel, filtered, to give that perfect coffee. The process has more skill, than my simple description would suggest.

Stokes have changed their website. A pity as it is appalling. Their webmaster clearly not of the calibre of their master coffee roasters and baristas.

Washingborough: Cold winter’s morning

December 31, 2014
cold frosty morning

cold frosty morning

Another cold night, another cold frosty morning, everywhere white with frost.

The Winner Takes It All

December 30, 2014

The Winner Takes It All by Abba.

The Escherian Stairwell

December 30, 2014
Relativity (1953) - M C Escher

Relativity (1953) – M C Escher

Ascending and Descending (1960) - M C Escher

Ascending and Descending (1960) – M C Escher

Waterfall  (1961) -- M C Escher

Waterfall (1961) — M C Escher

One of my favourite artists is Dutch graphic artist M C Esher (1898-1972). Much to my annoyance, I was once in Lincoln, the Usher Art Gallery had an exhibition of his works. It opened the day after I left.

Several of his drawings make use of the illusion of perspective.

Relativity (1953), ascending stairs, arrive back at the starting point.

Ascending and Descending (1960), ascending stairs, arrive back at the starting point.

Waterfall (1961), a seemingly perpetual motion machine, water flows along a channel, cascades down a waterwheel, then flows back along the channel.

Can we in three dimensions recreate this illusion?

The man tells the girl to go up the stairs and meet him on the next floor, and to the girl’s surprise upon reaching the so-called “next floor” she finds herself ascending stairs to where she left the man. She is is so astounded, she runs back the way she has come, back along her original route and she cannot believe the man is still there.

Welcome to The Escherian Stairwell, designed by Filipino architect name Rafael Nelson Aboganda.

Located in Rochester Institute of technology in New York, it is named after M C Escher.

Washingborough: Cold winter’s morning

December 30, 2014
cold frosty morning

cold frosty morning

cold frosty morning

cold frosty morning

cold frosty morning

cold frosty morning

The night before last, coldest night of the year. Hard frost in the morning. Last night cold.

This morning hard frost, everywhere white with frost, even the roads.

Signed albums by Carrie Tree

December 29, 2014
Carrie Tree signed albums

Carrie Tree signed albums

Signed albums by Brighton-based Carrie Tree, The Kitchen Table and Home to the Invisible, tied together with golden thread.

Washingborough: Cold winter’s morning

December 29, 2014
cold winter's morning

cold winter’s morning

cold winter's morning

cold winter’s morning

Last night, coldest night of the winter.

This morning hard frost, everywhere white.

Remove money from politics!

December 29, 2014

Since my book came out … I’ve subjected to incredible media attack, which makes me think perhaps the establishment is not as stable as it would have us believe. — Russell Brand

The revolution is in the block chain. — Max Keiser

An interesting discussion between Max Keiser, Stacy Herbert and Russell Brand.

There are many things we can do to improve our present democratic system, which most would agree, apart from those who have their snouts in the trough, that it is broke beyond repair:

  • involve the people
  • keep dirty money out

We have to move to real democracy, participatory democracy, where it is the people who decide, not corrupt politicians.

We have to get money out of politics.

Only a few days ago, we had Big Business summon David Cameron to Brussels to demand why he was not doing enough to push TTIP, the mass transfer of power to Big Business.

Seizing of money in Cyprus banks about 18 months ago, was seen as a dry run, could they get away with it.

At G20, the media attention was on Vladimir Putin scuttling away with his tail between his legs. Which enabled them to slip through, our money in the banks is now their money, to be used when they are too big to fail.

Vladimir Putin has bailed out a big Russian bank, others expect to be bailed out. Has Putin learned no lessons? You do not bail out banks, you let them go to the wall. Follow the example of Iceland.

Do not talk about inequality, because if enough people do, maybe they will be galvanised into action.

The boss of Lloyds bank in 1980 was on £80,000 per annum. If average wages had kept pace, the average worker would be earning today £435,00 per annum, not £25,000 per annum.

If the elite in Saudi Arabia want more money, they simply turn the taps and let more oil flow. In England they print more money, and hand it to the banks, it bypasses the real economy.

The value of the workers share of the economy is going down. It has gone down from over 50% of GDP to around 40% today.

Compared with Christmas 2012, the numbers using food banks has tripled.

That is the price the poor has paid for evil ConDem government policies. And useless Ed Miliband is promising more of the same under ToryLite.

Austerity has failed, it was an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts for the poor, the elderly and the infirm.

Greece has seen its economy shrink by 25% under austerity.

And as we are seeing, even affluent Farnham is suffering.

We are screwed by privatised rail and energy companies.

How do we fight back?

We organise. We follow the excellent example of the New Era Estate tenants who fought US venture capitalists Westbrook and won. We link with other groups fighting the same battles. We share expertise,

In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein has a chapter on Blockadia, it is not a place, it is a frontier, the frontier where local communities are doing battle with Big Business, not only doing battle, but winning.

Smear and distraction.

The Sun smeared Russell Brand when he highlighted the plight of New Era tenants, Channel 4 were more interested where Russell Brand lived, pathetic Jo the Banker was concerned his hot launch was getting cold when overzealous security locked down RBS when Russell Brand to ask a few questions.

Mayor of New York has banned Westbrook, why no mention in mainstream media, why not banned in London? Westbrook kicked out of New York for predatory practices. In US a pariah.

We do not play their game. Once you play the game, you are in the game, and they set the rules.

Boycott the banks. You do not have to use the banks. Deal in cash. Credit card and debit card is a tracking device. Use crowd funding to finance projects. Use crypto-currencies. BitCoin, FairCoin, StartCoin.

Crowd funding in politics. Mark Reckless and Caroline Lucas are both using crowd funding.

Mark Reckless defected from the Tories to UKIP, stood for re-election, and won. In what can only be described as petty childishness and PR disaster of the year, Tories sued Mark Reckless for the cost of a now useless leaflet. He is using crowd funding to finance his legal defence.

Caroline Lucas is using crowd funding to finance a re-election campaign.

Crowd funding Trews. Replace canopy outside a newsagent promoting The Sun with one promoting the Trews.

Crowd funded film, Sell-Off – The Abolition of Your NHS, exposes scandal of NHS privatisation that is happening right now.

Creative direct action, use social media.

UK Uncut could have had a demo to expose tax dodging. Instead, they used social media to coordinate occupation of Starbucks and Vodafone.

The Alchemist: three hundred and thirty-five weeks in New York Times best-seller list

December 28, 2014
The Alchemist three hundred and thirty-five weeks New York Times best-seller list

The Alchemist three hundred and thirty-five weeks New York Times best-seller list

Congratulations Paulo Coelho, today The Alchemist three hundred and thirty-five continuous weeks in New York Times best-seller list. That is an amazing six years and five months. And it is at No 3.

Not bad for a book that was first published twenty six years ago.

Good books spread by word of mouth. Only rubbish needs marketing hype.