Archive for March, 2016

Future of Steel – Ken Clarke & Paul Mason

March 31, 2016
steel - Jeremy Corbyn

steel – Jeremy Corbyn

This week’s crisis in Port Talbot and elsewhere has not come out of the blue – Britain’s steel industry has been in trouble for a long time now. Yet the government appears to have been asleep on the job. — Caroline Lucas MP

The ministry that should have an industrial policy is run by a man who, when the space between his ears registers a thought at all, believes there should not be an industrial policy. — Paul Mason

Ken Clarke and Paul Mason on BBC Newsnight discussing the future of steel in the UK.

Ken Clarke knows all about the steel industry, he once drove past the steel works at Port Talbot.

Why does the BBC insist on wheeling out has been politicians who have not got a clue what they are talking about?

Sajid Javid another useless Tory idiot.

We have an old plant in Wales.  It cannot compete on the world market with modern steel plants.

If this was a short term problem, then yes, nationalise.

But the problem is we do not know.

A rescue plan was drawn up then rejected.

This should be published.

Steel is an old industry.

It is energy consuming.

It is resource intensive.

We should be moving forward to new industries.

What this illustrates is tha we have to move away from large plants, that if they close, they have a devastating impact on local communities.

If this was several companies, with the same total job losses, no one would act.

We bailed out the banks. That is not an argument for bailing out steel, it is an argument for not bailing out the banks.

Steel generates wealth, it adds value. Banks are parasites that bleed money from businesses. Banks do not create wealth. Making things creates wealth.

Is steel a strategic industry?

US makes steel. US does not have problem with steel from China. Why does UK, why does EU? US introduced tariffs. UK government blocked EU tariffs.

Bridge Band

March 30, 2016
Bridge Band

Bridge Band

Bridge Band

Bridge Band

I found this jazz band playing on Charles Bridge.

They are good.

No surprise then their CD selling like hot cakes.

We had a chat.

I suggested they put their music on bandcamp.

Bandcamp would also be a better way to sell their CD, than as they are doing at present through a poorly designed website.

Jan Křtitel Novák, the singer, author of lyrics, is the founder of the band, which came into existence soon after the Velvet Revolution (1989) with the intent to play at Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge

March 30, 2016
Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

Construction of Charles Bridge (Karlův most) started in 1357, so named because built in the reign of Charles IV, connects Prague Old Town to Prague Castle. It was completed in 1402.

Either side of the bridge is lined by saints.

Either end of the bridge are Bridge Towers.

On the bridge people touting their wares, musicians.

Bridge Band and Electroshock are very good.  Their CDs a must to buy. Or so I thought. Buying CDs off the street always a risk. On later listening, I sadly found something of a disappointment.

Bridge Band were selling CDs like hot cakes. But then they were good.

Electroshock need to improve their repertoire.

Charles Bridge early hours of the morning

Charles Bridge early hours of the morning

During the day, the bridge is very crowded.  Early hours of the morning the bridge is deserted.

The bridge is pedestrianised.

Old photos of Charles Bridge show trams running across the bridge.

One of the best views of the bridge is at night from the downstream bridge, with stunning views of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.

German occupation in Prague

March 29, 2016
vintage cars

vintage cars

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague 21

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

Saturday, a little over a week ago, St Joseph’s Day, I wandered down to the river, to then walk along to Charles Bridge.

I cut down a side street which I thought would take me in the right direction.

I found a van spraying the street. A murder scene, cleaning off the blood?

Then I  thought I had encountered a vintage car rally, then a man in a German uniform, Nazi insignia.

What was going on?

Had I entered a time warp?

It appears I had walked onto a film set.

Bluebells in flower

March 29, 2016
bluebells

bluebells

Bluebells in the garden started to come into flower last week.

Daffodils still in flower.

Blind Man

March 28, 2016

Thom Artway and band performing Blind Man.

I came across Thom Artway last week playing in front of the John Lennon Wall in Prague.

He had attracted quite a large crowd. He kindly gave me a copy of Still Standing in the Unknown. I suggested he uploaded to bandcamp.

The Alchemist: three hundred and ninety seven weeks in New York Times best-seller list

March 28, 2016
The Alchemist three hundred and ninety seven weeks New York Times best-seller list

The Alchemist three hundred and ninety seven weeks New York Times best-seller list

Congratulations Paulo Coelho, Sunday The Alchemist three hundred and ninety seven continuous weeks in New York Times best-seller list.

That is an amazing seven years, eight  months and one week.

And it is at No 8.

What a way to end March 2016.

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

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

And many thanks Paulo and Christina for the St Joseph’s Day Party in The Lobkowicz Palace in Prague Castle the weekend before.

And many thanks Paulo for taking the trouble to sign books as you were leaving.

Paulo Coelho books signed in Prague

Paulo Coelho books signed in Prague

St Nicholas Church

March 28, 2016
St Nicholas Church

St Nicholas Church

A fine example of a Baroque church that dominates one corner of the Old Town Square in Old Prague.

St Nicholas Church was completed in 1735, and replaced a parish church mentioned in records dating back to 1273. Its construction was by the Jesuits, designed by Giovanni Domenico Orsi.

A Gothic parish church consecrated by Prague Bishop Tobiáš in 1283 stood at the site until 1743.  Construction lasted approximately one hundred years, and three generations of Baroque architects – father, son and son-in-law – worked on the church: Kryštof Dientzenhofer, Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer and Anselmo Lurago.

The Baroque organ has over 4,000 pipes up to six metres in length and was played by Mozart in 1787. His Mass in C was first performed in the Church of Saint Nicholas shortly after his visit. Jesuit Thomas Schwarz built the small and main organs as well as many others in Bohemia. Built in 1745-47, the main organ has over 4,000 pipes up to six metres in length.

St Nicholas Church hosts many excellent concerts.  I regrettably attended not one.

This would be an excellent venue for The Sixteen, performing music of the period, especially if using the original manuscripts held in The Lobkowicz Collection in The Lobkowicz Palace.

Jazz No Problem

March 27, 2016
Jazz No Problem

Jazz No Problem

Jazz No Problem were one of several excellent musicians I found playing in the street.

Jazz No Problem can be found in Old Prague in various locations.

The shops and the sheds may be selling tourist crap, but one can find good music on the street.

Instead of buying tourist tat, support live music.

I bought both their CDs.

We had a chat.

I suggested they post their music on bandcamp, have a sign saying they are on bandcamp. Then when people find them on the street, they can spread the word to their friends, and on bandcamp, apart from making their music available, they can list where they can be found on the street and at what time.

Always a risk, buying off the street, what will the quality be like?

No worries, The Moonglow an excellent recording.

Different to on the street, piano, percussion.

Let us hope these guys get their music up onto bandcamp.

In the meantime, if you see them in Prague, pick up a few CDs.

Easter in Prague

March 27, 2016
Easter in Prague

Easter in Prague

An Easter Market, sheds selling tourist tat everywhere.

Outside St Nicholas Church, a wonderful Easter Egg.