Archive for March, 2017

Cappuccino in Makushi

March 30, 2017

A lovely warm spring day.

A walk half way up Steep Hill for an excellent cappuccino in Makushi.

A new coffee grinder. What struck me was whereas most are vertical, this grinder horizontal, as I have seen in Istanbul and in Cyprus, old coffee grinding machines.

Makushi is one of the few places to stock Standart. Strictly speaking not stock, but there to browse.  I had a quick browse of Standart issue 5.

On my way back down Steep Hill, I popped in Madame Waffle top of the High Street. Do not be put off by the exterior which gives the impression of a junk food chain, it is an excellent indie coffee shop.

I picked up a copy of Standart issue 7. Luckily I did. Last copy. Only copy left, display copy.

For anyone who has not seen Standart, it is worth finding or subscribing to.

Advertisements

Daffodils

March 26, 2017

Unusual daffodils, very pale, growing at the roadside.

March of fools and future of Europe

March 26, 2017

#What are the leaders celebrating in Rome? These leaders are responsible for the disintegration of the EU. — Yanis Varoufakis

Europe is an idea, doesn’t know borders and we don’t accept borders in this continent. — Yanis Varoufakis

You can force the people into chains, but not very efficient. Or Manufacture Consent, they willingly forge their own shackles.

In London yesterday, we saw the march of the deluded, Green Party that has lost its way, LibDems who will jump on any passing bandwagon, an assorted rag tag, all united in their support of the EU.

The usual false claims made, prosperity, peace, democracy, betrayal of young people. They could not even differentiate between EU and Europe, the two are not the same.

War criminal Tony Blair spin doctor Alastair Campbell ‏claimed 16–17 year olds supported EU. Maybe he failed to tell them the number of children died in his illegal Iraq War, that it is young people in southern Europe who are bearing the brunt of EU austerity, in Athens young unemployed wander the streets looking lost, in Cyprus the young are a lost generation, no future thanks the the EU.

Yes, there was prosperity, that was across Europe, post WWII, whether in EU or not. UK saw creation of welfare state, expansion of universities, a growing economy, environmental legislation, before Edward Heath took UK into the EU.

Post-2008, post-capitalism, the EU has stagnated, if not gone backwards.

In Greece, the people dared challenge the EU, for that Greece had to be destroyed.
Peace in Europe, for that we have Nato to thank, not EU.

And are we forgetting the bloody break up of Yugoslavia, the criminal networks now based in the former Yugoslavia spreading their tentacles across Europe, the people traffickers?

Are we forgetting the civil war in Ukraine, the seizure of Crimea, the West almost brought to the brink of WWIII, a direct result of meddling by EU in Ukraine?

In Poland and Hungary, Fascist governments, crackdown on civil society.

In Turkey, a Fascist Islamist president, crackdown on civil society.

In Russia, gangster capitalism. Over the weekend, mass protest against corruption, brutal crackdown against any protest.

In Belarus, a brutal crackdown against the people by a Fascist regime. The street protests are against what has been called a ‘parasite tax’, if you are unemployed you are to be taxed for being a burden on society.

Across Europe, we are seeing a rise in Fascism, as a direct response to the EU.

In London over 20,000 a year die due to air pollution. The main cause, diesel fumes. The EU pushed diesel. Why? Because they were lobbied by VW. The same VW that fiddled its pollution tests. Small diesel cars are more polluting than lorries. Small diesel cars are 12–13 times more polluting than top of the range diesel cars.

In Rome, protest against the EU.

In Rome the EU meet to celebrate. It is businesses as usual.

In parallel in Rome, DiEM25 are meeting to offer an alternative, radical vision for Europe. Note Europe not EU.

Skip the first hour and a half and go straight to Yanis Varoufakis. The first hour is an empty venue filling up, next half hour waffle, though interesting points are made.

Many criticised Yanis Varoufakis for touring the UK with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to support UK remaining in the EU. Is he not one of its strongest critics, does he not bear the scars on his back?

Almost as an aside, Yanis Varoufakis explained why. It was not because he supports the EU, it was because he wanted the British on the inside to help with the fight against the EU. But, unlike those who took to the streets in London on Saturday, he recognises why people voted to Leave, it was not because they were racist (though some were), it was because they were saying enough is enough.

Anti-EU is not anti-Europe. Those who voted Leave, are saying the three million EU citizens living in UK should be granted the right to remain, they should not be treated as a bargaining chip.

But unlike those on the streets of London, Yanis Varoufakis recognises what could happen, 2008 could be our 1929, a rise of Fascism across Europe, which is why we need a progressive alternative to the EU, a progressive alternative for all of Europe.

It is for these reasons that DiEM25 are proposing change.

A Green New Deal, money to be pushed to the maintainers of society, to the innovators.

The maintainers are the nurses, the doctors, the teachers, the carers, the road sweeper, people who without society could not function.

The innovators are those who will take us to a greener, fairer society. They will create open source, open coop platforms, to enable participation, to put out of business Uber and Deliveroo.

Is it fair, as a speaker before Yanis Varoufakis asked, that the head of Fiat in Italy earns more in one day, than the lowest paid worker at Fiat would earn in 20 years?

We have to, as an earlier speaker said, redefine what we mean by work. That someone is not paid, does not mean they are not doing useful work.

This leads directly to the need for a Universal Dividend. Not as we have at present, forced to work to earn a living, precarious low paid soul destroying McShit jobs, serfs working for apps as we see with Uber and Deliveroo, bullshit jobs.

Leads also, as the speaker who followed Yanis Varoufakis, to DiEM Voice, art to drive a new agenda.

EU can try to punish UK in which case all will suffer, the German car worker, the French wine producer. Or we can all agree the existing trade arrangements remain in place.

We need democratic reform, power passed back to countries, that they recover their sovereignty, create a network of cooperating democratic sovereign countries, power passed down to cities and regions, as we see in Barcelona and Catalonia. Power passed down to ordinary citizens, participatory democracy, not the failed representative democracy. New political parties, as Podemos in Spain, or a reformed Labour Party as desired by the leadership and the new members, but blocked by the reactionary Labour Party Establishment.

EU is a cartel for Big Business, a democracy-free zone, a haven for tax dodgers and corporate lobbyists.

The EU experiment has failed. The EU is disintegrating.

What we have to ensure, is that it is replaced by something better, where all citizens are represented, where wealth is fairly distributed, where the environment is protected. We cannot for example deal with climate change at national level, or even European level, it has to be at global level, with countries cooperating.

If people across Europe, do not fight for this New Europe, you will be delivered into the hands of Nationalists and Fascists, delivered by the gullible fools we saw gather in London on Saturday, who should be fighting for change, not supporting the existing rotten system.

Heighington

March 25, 2017

Pleasant spring day in Heighington.

Frost at six in the morning, a lovely warm sunny spring day.

Garden flowers

March 25, 2017

For about a week, spring flowers have been out in the garden.

Frost at six in the morning, a lovely warm sunny spring day, sat in the garden reading Standart issue 6.

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.