Archive for the ‘Brighton’ Category

Twin Pines

August 21, 2019

On walking in from the street, difficult to see as dark and gloomy inside. Once eyes adjust, a pleasant ambience.

Pleasant to sit on the little bench seat outside. Not so pleasant when smokes blow smoke in your face.

An excellent cappuccino though I thought somewhat perverse when serving speciality coffee to ask if want sugar. I would not wish for sugar any more than I would wish for syrups or chocolate dumped on top.

The espresso blend is from a local roaster. I think Cast Iron Coffee Roasters but stand corrected if wrong.

Served in interesting cups.

I have tried coffee from Cast Iron before at Black Mocha. I was not impressed. Maybe time to revisit.

On the counter guest coffee from Calendar Coffee. Twin Pines regular rotate their guest coffee.

The label depicts the tasting notes, though not obvious.

I would have wished to buy a bag, but already closed the till.

Also on the counter a selection of chocolate. Whether quality chocolate I do not know as too dark and gloomy to read a list of ingredients or whether or not bean-to-bar chocolate. From the puzzled expression when I aksed I assume not.

Quality chocolate:

  • cocoa mass – sugar – vanilla
  • cocoa mass -cocoa butter – sugar – vanilla

Purists will not add vanilla. EU permits emulsifiers.

Several of the chocolates had a Great Taste Award sticker and at a guess the determining factor when stocking. A meaningless award absolutely no guarantee of quality.

I suggested they try Bullion.

Located in Kemptown. Easy to find, head inland from Brighton Pier.

Information in The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide incorrect. Close at six on a Sunday not seven as listed.

Brighton Coffee Festival

August 11, 2019

Brighton Coffee Festival was hosted in Brighton Open Market, along London Road., only a few minutes walk from Brighton Staiton, downa steep flight of steeps,and along …. A part of Brighton i was not aware of let alone visited before.

I lacked a ticket. Nightmare trying to book on-line using a phone, little better on a laptop.

Book on-line charged £7 a further £1 booking fee. On the gate £10.

A mix of coffee roasters, many of which were local coffee shops or Sussex coffee roasters plus London coffee roasters, a couple of food stalls, interspersed with talks and a latte art competition.

It was basically wander around try the coffee. Most were serving V60, a few espresso and V60.

A few talks. The sound systems so bad impossible to hear the lady from Pharmacie. A Colombian guy Eduardo Florez from a The Colombian Coffee Company in Borough Market was comprehensible, maybe I was stood in the right spot.

Awful moronic music blasting out. It was overloading the system and clipping. It made it nigh impossible to hold conversation.

Colombian guy Eduardo Florez interesting. Why do we buy coffee? We do not buy wine.

Well actually we doe, we buy red or whit or fizzy, sweet or dry, the cheapest we can find, but basically is is we buy wine.

Similarly we buy coffee, or at least drink coffee.

The discerning coffee drinker seeks out quality, wishes to know the origin, the provenance of the coffee, the variety, when it was roasted, by who was it roasted.

Coffee farmers who focus on quality, are able to command a higher price for their benas, everyone is happy, the grower gets more money. the coffee drinker better quality coffee. Constart with the fair trade scam whi pays a tiny margin above commodity price, mainaytsn gafmers in poverty as no incentive to improve quality.

The rubbish coffee relies on marketing.

WE as coffee drinkers by seeking out the best coffee, frequeting indie coffee shops, avoiding the corpaoarte chains and coffee shops serving bad coffee are helping the coffee farers improve their lilehood.

It wa s apity he did not have astall to enable visitos to try and buy his coffee.

Intetetsing converaation with .. a coffee farmer in Rwanda. Sge told me a little of the etstae, taht processings atkes packe on the farm, a schoo has bene built for the children.

Red Roaster roast her coffee beans.

On walking in, greeted by Small Batch, and unfortunately an unpleasant cacophony of noise.

I am not a fan of takeaway coffee, the only way to enjoy coffee is to sit and relax with a coffee glass or ceramic but one of those rare exception where I will stop time permitting and have a coffee is the Small Batch kiosk outside Brighton Station. The coffee served always consistently good.

Small Batch had receptacles for coffee cups, liquid, and lids. The only stall, though others may have had hidden, as took cup if handed over.

Everyone was using compostable cups.

I then wandered around clockwise.

First coffee off Horsham Coffee Roasters.

A Kenyan V60, it was excellent. The first and best coffee of the day.

I later returned and tried a Rwandan. It too was good.

It will be interesting to see how compares in Krema.

By contrast, a coffee off Roasted was disappointing.

A table with The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide. Now in its second edition, a useful guide to have, but a case of feel the width never mind the quality. Too many coffee shops which if the idea is to highlight the best in Brighton I would not include.

How is it financed?

Redemption roast coffee at Aylesbury Prison, where also teach coffee skills to young offenders. They also have four coffee shops in London.

Excellent cappuccino off Caravan with their espresso blend. Very interesting flavour profile.

Pelicano had an impressive stand. There coffee shop in North Laine is one of my favourite coffee shops. Not only for coffee, always an impressive display of cakes. One of the few places places can obtain Drift and Standart.

Passing by the Pelicao coffee shop later they told me they had had a very good day at the coffee festival.

I have never been to the London Coffee Festival, and frlom what I learn, each yaer it gets worse.

The ogaisners of the Brighton Coffee Festiva were helpful, responded very promtly to my queries.

The ticetin on-line a nightmare. I would suggets fir future use Event Brite, as never had problems.

Please please ditch the music. It made convesraion nigh impossibe.

I was pleased toge chains and corpaorate coffee suplliers ddid not get a look in. The ficus was onspecialty coffee and local.

I would have liked to have seen Square Mile, Alchemy, Kiss the Hippo, Coffee Gems, Columbia Coffee Roasters, DT Coffee Roasters.

How to fit them all in, if space cannot be extended? Omit the food stalls, food was avalibes o no need for food stalsl. And that included The Flour Pot, who are a cake shop.

Consider a fringe or alternative coffee festival, events sprad overf a week or longer, hosted in different coffee shops across Brighton.

Brighton Coffee Festival was hosted in Brighton Open Market, along London Road., only a few minutes walk from Brighton Staiton, downa steep flight of steeps,and along …. A part of Brighton i was not aware of let alone visited before.

The central are lined with shops. Unfortunate less tahn half were open, and most of yhsoe taht weee open closed before four. I would have liked to ahve looked in the zero waste shop.

I found a Turksih lady wih a stall making food I have never come across before. She made it look simple, bust she told me not as simple as seh made it look.

A ball of doughm which she dropped into a machine resmabeleling a minute version of an od fashioned mangle,s he then rolled witha tiny rolling pin. Droppped nto whatever you wished for, vegan vegeatian meat. I chose lamb. Fold in half,, thne poppped ona hot palte for five minutes. Delicious. I nacan olny decsribe as almsot like a thin pizza base, bust then folded to resemble a Cornish pasyty.

On leaving via the London Road entance I aspoke witha man packing up a bookstall. He said wjen evenst were onm it was varied but today he did quite well.

— to be continued —

Free Coffee

August 11, 2019

On my way to Brighton Coffee Festival at The Open Market I encountered outside Costa on London Road a small van giving away free coffee.

No idea why.

I think it was to promote the hemp milk they were using, though it could have been a protest against Costa.

The coffee was undrinkable, though probably still better than Costa.

If drinking undrinkable coffee may at least drink free undrinkable coffee, though I would prefer to have neither and pay for good coffee, or failing that a beer or water or fruit juice or tea.

I did not try until I reached The Open Market, a little further up the road. It was scaling hot. I have never had coffee this hot.

I poured it down the drain and the cup I dropped in a bin.

— to be continued —

Sunday in Brighton

July 28, 2019

Train to Gatwick running late.

Luckily it made up time and I caught train for Brighton.

Brew & Blend surprisingly busy. I stop and have a chat with the staff.

Cappuccino at Coffee at 33. Then decide to eat.

Coffee at 33 a rare example of a coffee shop that serves good food. Cakes are good too.

But I should have tried a different day to use my card for a free coffee.

I looked in Magazine Brighton. I thought wished to launch a magazine. But no, support a student magazine.

As I pass Pelicano they tell me they have Drift. I notice it is on display. And get a free coffee if buy.

I waste time looking for Silo only to find it has closed. It was claimed to be cutting edge zero waste restaurant. But in a street with zero footfall.

I again notice the number of empty shops, those closing down.

But Resident as always busy. Which illustrates odd Vinyl Revolution closed. Poor stock, wrong location?

All businesses who know me, tell me times are tough.

I raise in Infinity Foods return of 5 litre Faith in Nature containers. No one wants to know. Indeed one member of staff stacking shelves is rude.

Something going very very wrong at Infinity Foods. Staff have in the past always been helpful, not any more. Fresh produce never been very fresh. Now a whole lot worse. Also I notice a lot of the fresh produce wrapped in plastic.

One area of improvement muesli loose, fill a brown parer bag not ideal, then decant when arrive home, saves their packaging.

No tables and chairs outside Infinity Foods Kitchen. They tell me they are closing early. Same last week, only last week guy was bloody rude.

I get something to eat and sit by the door.

I learn as I suspected, something going very wrong at Infinity Foods, the staff being mistreated, those at the top issuing orders, giving themselves hefty bonuses which should be shared out equally. But is this not a workers coop, all are equal, or is it like Animal Farm, some are more equal than others, the animals looked from pig to man then man to pig and could not tell the difference, and the workers told it is for their own good to work harder for a pittance. The workers need to call a meeting and kick out those at the top. Infinity Foods giving worker coos a bad name.

Zero waste shops are having problems with Infinity Foods. If I order a 5 litre container from Faith in Nature I can not only return when empty, Faith in Nature will give me 20% off my next order. If zero waste shops order through Infinity Foods as a distributor, Infinity Foods refuse to take back the 5 litre containers and return to Faith in Nature. Internal meetings within Infinity Foods are aware of the problem, but doing nothing to resolve it. Resolve it will, the zero waste shops will go elsewhere.

Infinity Foods is structured as three companies, wholesale, shop and kitchen.

On my way to Blackbird look in Bond Street and Plant Room, no time for coffee in either, maybe one day.

En route I note more closed shops.

Too late for Blackbird, closed early, one half of the team in Istanbul. I walk in anyway. I have brought Ethiopian coffee from DT Roaster roasted last week. OK, we will try. We are disappointed. It is not that there is anything wrong with it. It is a disappointment compared with the excellent Colombian coffee from Coffee Gems we tried last week.

The beautiful coffee cups are from Turkey. Guest coffee from Kiss the Hippo. Nest week will have coffee from Turkey.

Indirect route through The Lanes to the seafront. More closed retail.

I pass Marwood, three people sat outside coffee shop next door. I am asked where for coffee. Too late for today and only in Brighton for the Day, Blackbird, Coffee at 33, Pelicano and Dough Lover.

Asked of fish n chips. I say do not bother. Disgusting fish n chips on the sea front.

A walk along the seafront. Very windy, rough sea, red flag flying.

I decide to try The Flour Pot Kitchen. I looked in last week but did not have a coffee.

I do not like the way it is barricaded off, or that you have to be shown to a table.

Service poor. Do I want a menu? No, I know what I want. No one takes my order. Eventually bored with waiting, I get up and order a cappuccino.

Last week I had noticed they had sea bass, though had gone. I asked do they ever have sea bream? No. On the board sea bream. But it too had gone. Whole fish? No. Fillets. Sea bream should be cooked as the whole fish, freshly caught, either on a charcoal grill or in an oven.

I am served a cappuccino blended with chocolate with chocolate dumped on top. I send it back. I am told I should have said I did not want chocolate. No, you should ask, and a good coffee shop would not ask as they would not dream of serving a cappuccino with chocolate.

Second cappuccino arrives. Not good. It did not look good and was not good. Below the froth and foam, scalding hot coffee.

Guy who serves me ask me how it was. I say they need to learn how to make coffee.

He apologises. He is at least aware this is not how coffee should be served, but that is what they are told.

Contrary to The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide The Flour Pot do not roast their own coffee. It is roasted by Small Batch then bagged as their own. Why the deception?

I then wait a very long time for bill. Again, had to go and ask.

The only good thing I can say is the location, pleasant location to sit late afternoon or early evening to catch the sun. It would be too hot during the day.

The Flour Pot Bakery is not somewhere I would frequent in North Laine, they are far better places for coffee and cakes, but my criticism to one side, The Flour Pot Kitchen is an improvement for the seafront, far better than the bars and disgusting fish and chop shops that line the seafront.

I remain longer than intended at The Flour Pot Kitchen, though pleasant to sit and relax.

I head from the seafront at eight. Time to catch 2027 train to London Victoria. I have to walk length of twelve coach train, passengers packed in like sardines.

A twelve coach train. A twelve coach train coming down. There needs to be a more frequent train service on a Sunday.

Train is running slow. I miss my train at Gatwick.

Disgusting banger and mash at Wetherspoon, the only place open. Not late at night, a busy airport, only Wetherspoon open.

Display tells me 2218 Reading train delayed. No indication of when train will arrive. I ask station staff. I am told train is probably at the platform. I find it is about to depart and catch with seconds to spare.

I arrive home not long before midnight. I left the seafront for Brighton Station at eight.

Train network is in chaos. Go anywhere and no guarantee will arrive home.

Every time I have caught a train last few weeks, train either delayed or cancelled.

— to be continued —

Lu

Catastrophic collapse of retail in Brighton

July 22, 2019

North Laine in Brighton is always busy, no closed shops. Yes businesses close, but a steady turnover, not empty retail units.

Three weeks ago I was shocked at the number of empty retail premises. Two weeks later, ie a week ago, I was further shocked to find not only closed, but many more closing.

A week ago Vinyl Revolution celebrated two years in business by closing.

I paid a visit last week, unfortunately they were already closed.

I was shocked to find The Lanes far far worse than the North Laine in terms of retailers closed.

Duke Street where Vinyl Revolution was located nearly half the shops closed and boarded up, graffiti covered shutters, a sea of To Let Boards as look down the street.

I passed by a new retail development, a row of empty shops, not a single one let, and it is difficult to see they ever will be let when so much retail space sitting empty.

It is difficult to understand why Vinyl Revolution has closed, as their video describes a thriving business, which is why I wished to talk to them.

To blame Brexit is nonsense, equally to blame rail works.

Duke Street was the wrong location. Comments on Brighton Argus echo this.

I never visited therefore cannot comment on their stock, but comments on Brighton Argus describe the stock as crap.

Resident in North Laine an excellent music shop always busy and has in recent years expanded.

If I wanted second-hand vinyl I would visit Ben’s Records in Tunsgate in Guildford. Then pop next door to Krema for a coffee.

Not that I would wish to buy second-hand vinyl as rarely in pristine condition, no guarantee of the condition and highly unlikely to have been played on top end equipment, and equally unlikely anyone with top end equipment would part with their vinyl.

In Resident, new releases always displayed with a limited pressing high quality vinyl.

But even Ben’s Records is struggling.

It is not helped when Market Street and surrounding pedestrianised streets in The Lanes, that pedestrianised is ignored, vehicles parked, vehicles drive through using as short cut, Deliveroo and Uber Eats serfs ride motor scooters through at speed weaving in and out of pedestrians.

Sat outside a coffee shop in The Lanes last week a Ford truck parked outside, engine running, whilst driver having a chat with a passer by.

I have more than once narrowly missed being run down by Uber Eats and Deliveroo serfs, usually learners displaying L plates. Are they insured to carry out business?

Deliveries to the area, and what I observed were not deliveries, should park outside the pedestrianised areas, deliver using hand cart or trolley. The norm in Europe. The Deliveroo and Uber Eats serfs should be required to park in designated zones and walk through, walk through with crash helmets removed.

Deliveroo and Uber Eats serfs should not only be fined for riding through a pedestrianised aream they should be charged with dangerous driving. Sooner or later a child or elderly person will be knocked down and seriously injured. Deliveroo and Uber Eats should terminate their contracts.

Reputable businesses should not be employing Deliveroo and Uber Eats. And it is not only the exploitation and less than minimum wage. If food is ordered to be delivered, it is killing footfall.

There needs to be enforcement by the City Council.

When retail collapse occurs it can happen very fast, as we are now seeing in North Laine and The Lanes. One retailer closes, one less reason to visit the area. At least 10% will always be on the edge, the small loss in footfall sufficient to push them over the edge. Now even less reason to visit. More retailers pushed over the edge.

Businesses I have talked to are worried. They say as businesses around them close, they become isolated, fewer people in the street. Others tell me it is now tough.

What can local government and national government do to support small business? These are the businesses that bring people in, who circulate money within the local economy, who provide local character, who provide a reason to visit Brighton.

Please sign and share the petition launched by Vinyl Revolution calling for government to act to support small retailers.

Why is Independent retail being left to die?

July 9, 2019

Our town centres are not dying, they are being destroyed. Destroyed by greedy landlords and profiteering developers, Big Businesses offshoring its money in tax havens, local Town Halls where corrupt planners are in the pocket of greedy developers and Big Business, where planners and councillors are clueless on what constitutes good town centre planning and how local economies function.

I love to visit Brighton.

Train to Gatwick, then to Brighton, but what a bloody pain when rail works, I have learnt do not even try.

When I arrive, I head straight down to the sea and walk along along the seafront, or head into North Laine and the seafront later. In the evening maybe take a walk along the Pier.

In North Laine, spoilt for choice. Excellent coffee shops, Coffee at 33, Pelicano, Dough Lover. Magazine Brighton where can pick up excellent magazines like Drift, Ambrosia, Standart. Infinity Foods or Hisbe for food supplies. Lunch at Iydea or Infinity Foods Kitchen. I always pop in Resident to see what is new.

What is great about North Laine, three long streets, little side streets, is that it is a Mecca of little shops, independent businesses. And not a corporate chain in sight

What though shocked me on a recent visit at the end of June, was the number of empty shops. I had not been in Brighton since last year, more than six months ago. Yes there has always been turnover, shops change, but not empty shops.

Earlier this year I was on a train from Lincoln to Nottingham in the company of three Dutch guys. They were heading to Nottingham for the football. Me, I was heading to some excellent coffee shops.

They asked me why all our towns were the same. The same crap corporate chains selling the same identical crap.

They told me that in Holland they had learnt. The corporate chains had gone, you can buy that crap on-line, to be replaced by individual local shops, coffee shops, little restaurants, in other words what makes North Laine so popular with visitors..

That is what I like in Europe, all the little shops, not corporate chains. Another big plus is that these areas are pedestrianised.

Why would anyone visit a town for the same crap chains that are in every other town?

Once I found myself in the Churchill Shopping Centre in Brighton. It was as though I had entered Dante’s Inferno, a retail version of hell, there should have been a big sign, Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.

In Nottingham, I find excellent little coffee shops, Cobden Chambers, a little courtyard through a gate, where is located a zero wast store, indie record shop, Ideas on Paper (Nottingham’s answer to Magazine Brighton).

It is down the little sideways and allies that we find the independent businesses.

In York the quaint side streets.

It is quirky indie businesses that give the sense of place, character, that recycle money within the local economy.

Corporate chains destroy our towns, they make everywhere look ugly, no character, drain money out of the local economy to offshore in a tax haven. Boots, Starbucks, avoid tax.

Government is at fault but indirectly in failing to deal with tax dodging and pushing austerity which has left people with no spending money.

Greedy rogue landlords are a major problem. They fail to honour their repair obligations, hike rents which do not reflect the prevailing retail environment. They would rather see an empty shop and offset against tax than lower the rent.

In Winchester an excellent coffee shop Flat Whites has recently closed, landlord issues.

Where the fault lies is local Town Halls. Corrupt planners get into bed with greedy developers and Big Business, the planners are clueless on what constitutes good town centre planning or how local economies function.

Also to blame are local tourism bodies and business enterprise zones.

In Lincoln, Sincil Street, similar street scene to North Laine, ruins parallel to the High Street. Once a thriving street of indie businesses. Between the hours of ten in the morning and four in the afternoon the street was busy. Local Coop bought up the street, drove out the local businesses, brought in crap chains, the same crap chains can be found in every ghastly shopping centre across the country.

Visit Lincoln and Lincoln BIG then hyped these chains. Visit Lincoln even took them on board as partners. The head of Visit Lincoln bragged how she took a visitor to Lincoln to Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln Castle and Cosy Club.  Cosy Club a chain of fake 1930s bars, so fake a Monty Python parody of fake.

Visit Guildford promotes corporate chains, as does Enterprise Guildford.

Visit Lincoln goes overboard to hype chains. When asked why were they promoting 200 Degrees a small coffee chain when Lincoln has two excellent independent coffee shops, the answer was if they pay us we will.

It is not only Vinyl Revolution who are suffering, small businesses across the land are struggling. Unlike corporate chains they care about the local community where they live and work, often they are the backbone, and yet, look at any so-called town centre regeneration, it will brag about the corporate chains that are being brought in, often with low rents and nearly always to the detriment of indie businesses who are driven to the margins, assuming not actually driven out of business, rarely if every get a  mention of the small businesses and where new retail development takes place it is ugly, it is filled with the same crap corporate chains as every other ugly retail development.

An example of this is the recently opened Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre in Guildford, a handful of chains, boarded-up retail units, the only time people are seen is when it is raining and it provides a convention shortcut between the High Street and Castle Street and that is despite being hyped by Visit Guildford and Experience Guildford.

Do not drink the disgusting coffee in  a corporate chain, find an indie coffee shop serving speciality coffee in glass or ceramic. Ask, and they will tell you other coffee shops to try. In Brighton it is even easier,  pick up a copy of The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide.

I would never dream of buying in HMV, and it was no great loss when it went into administration.

But if I find myself in Guildford, I pop into Ben’s Records. He knows his customers, what they like. But even a shop like Ben’s is suffering.

Several years ago I found Brighton Books open. I heard interesting music playing. I queried what it was. Try Resident, it is the only place you will find it. I looked and could not find. I asked, they went straight to where it was and handed me a copy.

Sadly Brighton Books is one of indie businesses that has recently closed in North Laine.

Please sign the petition launched by Vinyl Revolution calling for government to act to support small retailers.

Cappuccino at Blend & Brew

June 30, 2019

Blend and Brew used to have a tiny little coffee shop on a corner, more a counter than a coffee shop. Only once ever found open as not open on a Sunday, at I guess their clientele is commuters.

When I did find open, they were opening a coffee shop on the opposite corner. Corner coffee shop now open.

I was not going to have a coffee as their coffee crap, but thought ok I would try, maybe it has improved.

It is still crap, over-roasted cheap crap Italian coffee. Worse still, I was first served a cappuccino with chocolate, which I sent back.

Why does no one know how to serve a cappuccino?

I do not know which is worse, being served with chocolate or being asked if I want chocolate? At least the latter I do not have to send the coffee back. But I should not even be asked, cappuccino is not served with chocolate. It ruins a good coffee. Though for bad coffee it does at least take away the taste of the bad coffee.

I did not have to ask, I could tell from the taste, black over-roasted coffee beans.

A pity as they have done an excellent job on the coffee shop and the food and cakes looked good.

Staff pleasant and friendly.

I picked up latest copy of The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide which was useful as I could not find my copy. The number of coffee shops has doubled since the guide was published last year, though I would question the inclusion of some of the entries.

The coffee shop was empty. Maybe because Sunday they used to be closed or maybe because their coffee is crap and far better coffee at Coffee at 33 further down the street.

Designing cities for people not developers

April 10, 2019

What I have seen and spent what seems to be a lifetime fighting, is corrupt town halls pandering to greedy developers, fast bucks, palms greased, with result every town looks the same, the same corporate chains dominate the town centre, the same corporate chains find in every ghastly shopping centre.

This neither brings in visitors nor is popular with locals who see familiar landmarks destroyed, lose their sense of place, money is drained out of the local economy, then large chains close, go bust, expanded on debt, leaving behind desolation, as we have seen with BHS, House of Fraser, Debenhams and many other zombie companies kept afloat by their banks.

Corrupt town planners who have not a clue what constitutes good town centre planning or how local economies function love big development. Big development lots of money sloshing around, some of which finds its way into the wrong pockets.

A few examples illustrates failure of good town centre design and planning.

Sincil Street runs parallel to the High Street in Lincoln. A street of Victorian buildings, local indie businesses, or was. Up until a few years ago, Sincil Street between the hours of ten in the morning and four in the afternoon was busier than the High Street, the High Street the same corporate chains find anywhere and everywhere. Now Sincil Street is being destroyed, the local council acting in cahoots with the local coop, local businesses driven out, chains brought in, Victorian building destroyed.

Enter the picture Lincoln BIG and Visit Lincoln. Both are hyping the chains, it gets worse Visit Lincoln being paid to do so.

Many towns now have businesses development groups, accountable to no one, act for and controlled by big businesses, not one vote per business, based upon the size of local business tax.

Experience Guildford employs Town Rangers, no one knows what purpose they serve other than to deliver a glossy A4 newssheet to local businesses which goes straight in the bin. They also subsidise the town centre car parks at Christmas, the one time of the year when the car parks are full to overflowing.

Latest examples of Lincoln BIG, take selfies and post on instagram, install an app that has access to data on phone and if use default facebook log in access to facebook data and that of friends

Ask any local businesses what is killing them. High rents, high local business taxes. The local coop owns the properties hikes the rents, Lincoln BIG exacts a levy on top of the local business taxes. Local businesses see no benefits.

Visit Lincoln masquerades as a tourism body, acts as a quasi-PR agency, is paid to hype the corporate chains moving into and destroying the character of Sincil Street.

Fake-Left Guardian had an article describing the dire state of Sheffield. The local council responded with eight tweets, big development taking place, corporate chains listed, same chains find anywhere. The same Sheffield City Council that destroyed thousands if not tens of thousands of street trees, harassed and criminalised protesters.

Empty two-coach Northern Fail train Lincoln to Sheffield, hour and twenty minutes only starts to fill as nears Sheffield passing through small towns like Worksop, making the point, not worth visiting for corporate chains find anywhere.

One of the chains mentioned, 200 Degrees, a small coffee chain serving mediocre coffee, the same chain hyped by Visit Lincoln and Lincoln BIG.

Oh the irony, when Sheffield has a thriving coffee scene and 200 Degrees empty.

In Sheffield Union St, coffee shop, co-working space, pop up kitchen, community hub located in an occupied building, Now Then, an interesting magazine, supported by local community and local businesses, published by a not-for-profit.

Farnborough destroyed half its town centre for a superstore, an estate of social houses surrounded a grassy green destroyed for the car park. A 17th century inn destroyed for a drive-thru McDonald’s.

Wastegate, chain eateries and a superstore on the edge of Aldershot town centre, destroyed the town centre now boarded-up retail units and the chain eateries pulling out from Wastegate.

In the centre of Guildford Tunsgate Quarter, a sterile shopping centre, boarded-up units, same crap cooperate chains find in every ghastly shopping centre across the country, devoid of people. The only use, provides a handy short cut. One of the crap corporate chains Cosy Club, a fake 1930s bar, so fake a Monty Python parody of fake, Visit Guildford promoted on twitter over a dozen times.

Contrast with North Laine in Brighton, three long streets, similar Victorian street scene as Sincil Street in Lincoln, local indie businesses, butcher, baker cheesemonger, bookshops, music shops, coffee shops, restaurants, worker coops, not a chain in sight, always busy.

When all places look the same they become soul destroying, we lose our sense of place, alienation sets in.

We need to green our cities, protect our existing green spaces.

In Farnborough they are destroying the remaining green space for development, in Sheffield tens of thousands of street trees have been cut down.

City centres should be pedestrianised, delivery vehicles park on the periphery, deliver by hand cart and trolley.

Cities generate data, the data should be used as a common good. Citizens may consent to access to their data receiving benefits in return, the data randomised and made available to local businesses.

The city should support and encourage local businesses and local coops, encourage to network with each other

Citizens need to seize control of their local Town Halls, open to public participation, network with other citizen-controlled Town Halls. No more one party states.

There is not a conflict with locals and tourists. There is only conflict when lose businesses serving locals and replace with businesses selling overpriced tourist tat, when AirBnB moves in, rents are hiked, but that is a problem of over-tourism lack of regulation, rather than tourism per se.

At the time of the English Civil War, the Diggers asked the question: who owns the space? The space they were asking of was land, who owns the land?

They saw God created Man and Woman as equal, the land was owned by everyone and no one, it was a common wealth. 

The question is as pertinent today. Who owns the space, who owns the public parks, public space, the empty buildings, the data we generate?

Space is not static, something to be owned. It is dynamic, only has meaning if used, lived on, shared, enjoyed. Derelict buildings we must occupy, put to use on behalf of the community, fight the loss of community space.

Vegan fundamentalists spread twisted lies targeting Hisbe yet again

January 23, 2019

It is a tragedy that vegan fundamentalists have once again targeted ethical food store Hisbe.

Several days ago vegan fundamentalists occupied Hisbe, harassing staff and customers. They were subsequently banned from the store.

Now, in what appears to be an act of desperation, they have resorted to spreading lies on social media to tarnish the reputation of Hisbe.

What they claim about a bloodied pig is very easily verified or shown to be untrue. All animals have to be tracked, as any reputable butcher will be able to confirm.

Hisbe

Your information is incorrect – our pork products come from pigs raised on a farm in Mayfield, and our pig farmer has not transported pigs to Tottingworth or anywhere else today.

No idea what farm this pig is from or what retailer buys their products.

We also don’t use the phrase “Ethical Meat”, never have.

Please stop twisting our messaging and spreading misinformation.

From where is the bloodied pig from, where is it headed, whence the final destination?

Easily checked as all animals have to be tracked.

But hey, who cares about facts when vegan fundamentalists waging a vendetta against Hisbe?

I would not disagree that RSPCA Red Tractor a marketing brand, nothing more and welfare standards should be much higher.

A bit like the FairTrade scam to make Middle Class feel good, a marketing exercise nothing more.

And yes we should be concerned about a bloodied pig, question the how and why. It may have simply caught its ear.

But none of this justifies criminal harassment of Hisbe.

Hisbe is setting the standards for ethical retailing, zero waste, partnerships with quality producers.

Once again is begs the question, why are these vegan fundamentalists not targeting McDonald’s, KFC, halal kebab outlets, anywhere that is using fast growth animals, reared in inhumane conditions?

Vegan quasi-religious fundamentalists target Hisbe

January 14, 2019

An act of unbelievable crass stupidity when vegan quasi-religious fundamentalists target Hisbe, an ethical food store.

Where next, Infinity Foods, a workers cooperative? Maybe not, Infinity Foods bake vegan cakes and where would we be without vegan cakes?

Maybe do something useful, target and shut down McDonald’s or a halal kebab shop.

Or try targeting M&S or Waitrose for wrapping fresh produce in plastic.