Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

Extinction Rebellion Lincoln

April 18, 2019

Mail on Sunday saw a ludicrous feature on Extinction Rebellion, they were deluded, they wished to take us back to a fossil free dark age.

No, they recognise we face a Climate Emergency, that a fossil free future is our only future.

London, key points were taken. It was not until the third day BBC started to report.

Police have been deployed to arrest peaceful protesters. Would they not be better deployed to deal with knife crime?

Arresting people is pointless, and on dodgy legal grounds. For every person arrested, two more take their place.

Nothing learnt from Civil Rights protests in US. Arresting people, more take to the streets.

In Algeria and Sudan, the people have taken to the streets, faced down oppression, kicked two brutal dictators out of office.

In Lincoln, on Day 4, a small gathering under a tree in the High Street.

Were they there days before, I do not know.

One ignorant man shouted abuse, hit out at the disruption in London.

That disruption is as nothing when London floods due to rising sea levels.

Extinction Rebellion have taken direct action as a last resort, for far too long our corrupt politicians have been in the pocket of big business, giving the go ahead to fracking, to Heathrow expansion, subsidies to oil industry, go ahead for open cast mining.

Direct action is the only action that has ever changed anything.

It will cost far more not to address climate change to sit back and do nothing.

Protesters in Lincoln were calling on Lincoln City Council to declare a Climate Emergency, as many councils already have, to halt the Western Growth Corridor.

Activists need to seize control of the local Town Hall, to end the one-party state in the pocket of the local coop and big business, follow the example of Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña, open to public participation, network across Europe with other citizen-controlled Town Halls.

Lincoln and Lincolnshire have an appalling bus service. Try getting a bus to anywhere after 1900 in the evening.

The pedestrianised High Street is not. Lorries drive through any time of the day. No enforcement action, local council and police turn a blind eye.

There is a ban between 1000 and 1600, but no one takes a blind bit of notice.

There should be a ban 24/7, emergency vehicles only. Lorries park on the periphery, deliver by hand cart and trolley. The norm in Europe

Maybe they will, but the protesters should have sat down on High Bridge and blocked the High Street.

Ban wood burning stoves from the city.

It beggars belief we still build new build with no solar panels on the roof.

We need local area power distribution networks, owned and controlled by the local community, into which feed renewables paid a fair price, consumers pay a fair price. Surplus generation fed to other local networks via a publicly owned National Grid. Any ‘profit’ either fed back into the system or used to fund local community projects. Electric cars provide a nighttime base load.

Avoid any corporate chain coffee shops, enjoy specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic in an indie coffee shop. In Lincoln that would be Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle. Reusable coffee cups glass Keep Cup or bamboo ecoffeecup address symptoms.

The planning application for a drive-thru Costa must be opposed. No one who loves coffee would be seen dead in Costa. More traffic. At a time when we should be reducing our dependency on the car, an application for yet another drive-thru. Local Coop once again acting for corporate chains whilst at the same time destroying Sincil Street. Those who love coffee relax in Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic.

Brighton has Hisbe. Lincoln needs a zero waste store.

An animal diet, apart from being nutritionally dense thus better for our health, is environmental sound, grass fed animals are part of the natural cycle, improving the soil acts as a carbon sink.

We need to re-wild.

We have to drastically reduce our emissions of carbon. The longer we delay, the deeper the cuts.

Children are going on strike on Fridays. They question why their future is being destroyed.

We need a Green New Deal.

Read This Changes Everything.

Hacks at failing local rags The Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Echo failed to cover the protest.

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.

Om Nom issue 2

April 5, 2019

I first came across Om Nom during a recent trip to Brighton late last year in Magazine Brighton then again in Infinity Foods. I decided to pick up what was on sale In Infinity Foods, issue No 3.

Issue 2? I checked to find impossible to obtain, long sold out.

Then an idea, Ideas on Paper, always back issues.

Out of luck.

Then another idea, Outpost Coffee. I was in luck, not only a copy, they kindly gave me their copy.

Afternoon Christmas Day, after Christmas dinner, I settled down to read Om Nom issue 2.

Om Nom is a food magazine, ethical food and lifestyle.

What is ethical?

Veganism is not ethical. It is a lifestyle choice. A lifestyle choice bordering on quasi-religious fundamentalism.

If you do not want milk in a cappuccino, fine, but do not expect a quality cappuccino with fake milk. It will look and taste disgusting.

What of soya milk, is it ethical? Where has the soya come from? Plantations where once stood rain forests. Soy can be an allergen. The soy is possibly genetically modified. Soy is bitter and has to have additives to remove the bitterness.

What of almond milk? If California, what of the water used in a state suffering from drought and over extraction of water? Five litres of water for each almond.

If do not like milk, for whatever reason, have single origin V60 pour over.

But if insist on fake milk in a cappuccino, then ask for Oatley not an inferior cheap oat milk, and blend in the pouring jug. It looks and tastes marginally better but is not great.

Yes, we should eat more fruit and vegetables, grains and nuts, less processed food, maybe less meat, but we need to take a whole systems approach, not be the latest bigot in town jumping on the latest fashionable bandwagon, the latest fad.

In many parts of the world, grazing animals is more environmentally sound than growing crops.

https://twitter.com/EricaHauver/status/1109108123573387264

There is nothing intrinsically healthy about a vegan diet, especially when highly processed.

Organic food heavily processed is still heavily processed food.

Fake milks are highly processed, loaded with sugar. Fake meats heavily processed, laced with additives, just for starters, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavours, gum Arabic.

Was the demand for vegan sausage rolls from Greggs an indication of how bad their regular sausage rolls?

Then there is the need for supplements, on what is claimed to be a healthy diet.

And what of the environmental cost?

Nitrogen-based fertilisers, pesticides, palm oil, genetic modification, reliance on oil industry, just a few of the issues.

Africa, Europe, Asia, North America was covered in open woodland and grassland, savannah, prairie, across which roamed huge herds of herbivores. Man was a hunter gatherer, ate red meat, ate fat, grains did not form part of our diet.

EAT-Lancet diet for a small planet, almost vegan, good for our health, good for the planet, too good to be true, the wheels fell off within days when subject to proper scientific scrutiny. That promoted by agribusiness should send alarm bells ringing.

Too much fake science. For example a vegan burger compared with a meat burger, the former served with green tea, the latter served with a latte with half a dozens spoons of sugar.

There is no such thing as cheap food, we simply externalise the costs, social costs, human rights abuse, environmental degradation, climate chaos and animal welfare.

A handful of people eating plants does little to address ethics in food production.

It is not ethical when we praise quality but expensive food, nor when we praise cheap substandard food.

It is not ethical when rich folk enjoy food produced by poor folk who get poorer the harder they work. It is not ethical when the rich get richer peddling junk food to the masses.

It is not ethical when we live in a world where McDonald’s, Starbucks and Costa colonise our towns.

Is it ethical to put a brick through McDonald’s or Starbucks?  Or should we create and support alternatives, indie coffee shops, direct trade, serving specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic, local restaurants, the Italian osteria, supporting local producers, serving local and regional dishes?

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 kebab shop.

Use of instagram is not ethical. Owned by facebook, claim ownership rights to your pictures, act as bait to draw into the facebook walled garden, pictures posted via robot to twitter are not visible on twitter, the pictures could be used to promote something you are opposed to, you would not know as they do not ask permission to use your pictures, complicit in teen self-harm and suicide.

Business model of facebook is to steal and abuse personal data, to manipulate. Facebook are part of a lobbying group opposed to CO2 reductions.

Post pictures direct to twitter, post videos to youtube or vimeo, put a link to videos on facebook, drive traffic out of not into facebook.

Instagram is hosting material that is leading young teens to self harm and take their own lives. A shocking account of how one young teenager was led to take her own life by material on Instagram.

Latest evil of Instagram, complicit in eating disorders.

Anyone encouraging use of instagram, is complicit in teen self harm. People and companies must pull the plug on instagram. Or do they wish to be complicit in teen suicides?

Engaging in a partnership with Tesco is not ethical.

To engage in partnership with Big Business is not ethical. It will be business as usual, at best greenwash.

It is ethical to create and support alternatives, build from the ground up, local, cooperative networks, disrupt, build disruptive business models that topple the existing entrenched order, but not aid, to let their existence continue.

We need to look at the entire business cycle, not focus on one aspect.

The Mylkman delivers nut milk in bottles via bicycle and now electric milk float. That he is using and recycling glass jars from a nearby restaurant is good, also that he is finding uses for the nut waste products, but where do the nuts come from, how are they processed, what happens to the waste?

With every business featured, I would ask are they coops, open coops, do they network with other local businesses, do they accept local currencies, faircoin?

Cheese comes from the milk of ruminants, they process what we cannot eat, turn it into milk, rare breed cows out on pasture, unpasteurised milk, turned into cheese, is a wholesome natural product, without any additives, flavourings, not adulterated in any way. Slow food at its best. Anything else, is not cheese.

If not made from milk, it is not cheese. It is disingenuous to claim threatened when asked to desist on calling a product cheese when it is not cheese.

Chocolate is very strictly defined:

  • cocoa solids – sugar
  • cocoa solids – cocoa butter – sugar – vanilla

Anything less is not chocolate, at least in the US, in EU 5% vegetables oils. Which means cheap crap chocolate substitutes vegetable oils for cocoa butter, the really cheap crap palm oil.

If we have standards for what can be called chocolate, it is reasonable to expect standards for what may be called cheese.

The demand for cashew nuts to satisfy vegans, especially for fake cheese, is leading to appalling working conditions for those in the Third World who shell the nuts

Threatened is when vegan fundamentalists and terrorists send pig farmers death threats. Yes the pigs may be reared in inhumane conditions, and yes that should be addressed.

 

Zero waste is a journey we should all be on.

In nature the concept of waste does not exist either in time or space, the output of one process the input to another.

People walking down the street with coffee cup in hand is a fairly recent phenomena, a recent trend.

Taking a KeepCup to Pret a Manger is not an ethical choice.

Pret a Manger was once part owned by McDonald’s, now 100% owned by German Vulture Capitalists. Pret a Manger even before acquisition dodged tax.

Reusable cups address symptoms not the underlying problem of grab it and go, pointless consumerism.

We need to stop buying stuff we do not need. We buy stuff, own it for six months, a temporary pause from extraction, manufacture, then ownwards to incineration or landfill.

More coffee shops need to follow the example set by Napier Quarter, a coffee shop in Australia that has banned takeaway coffee.

Relax in an indie coffee shop with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic, single origin coffee, direct trade not the FairTrade scam, transparency, traced back to origin to the farm where the coffee was grown and the best ripest reddest coffee cherries picked, the farmers paid for quality, a higher price than the FairTrade price which is a tiny premium above the price for commodity coffee.

It is indie coffee shops that have led the way with direct trade, compostable coffee cups, keepcup and ecoffee bamboo clones on sale, discount if bring in own clean barista friendly cup. They are leading the way serving specialty coffee in glass or ceramic.

Ask what do they do with coffee grounds? Ask they put out in a strong paper carrier bag for gardeners to carry home.

Small Batch in Brighton have an arrangement where coffee grounds are collected by a mushroom grower Espresso Mushroom Company and used to grow oyster mushrooms. The cycle is closed when Small Batch sell the mushroom growing kits.

Shop in zero waste stores, Hisbe in Brighton which recently celebrated five years, Keep in Farnham, a small room above a vegan restaurant which only opened a few weeks ago.

If shop in Waitrose, harangue the staff and management, ask why fresh produce wrapped in plastic, bananas rotting on the shelves, ask are they still in the environmental dark ages? In M&S individual turnips shrink-wrapped in plastic, coconuts with shells hacked off shrink wrapped in plastic.

In Hisbe, all the fresh produce loose, not wrapped in plastic, pick what you want, pop in a paper bag, weigh, label then purchase.

Bad as Waitrose and M&S are for plastic and over packaging, as nothing compared with Hotel Chocolat with their excessive over packaging and obscene use of plastic.

It was not so long ago buying water in a bottle would have seemed a strange choice when it came free at the turn of a tap. Similarly it would have seemed strange to carry milk back from the shop when it was delivered to the door.

I remember being at my grandmother’s when the milk cart passed by early in the morning, I would hear the rattle of the milk bottles, one of the first sounds I would hear of a morning. It may have even been horse drawn.

I also remember how as children we would knock on doors, and ask for their empties, take to the corner shop and claim the deposit.

We recycle stuff, what of people and places?

There are many abandoned and derelict buildings, abandoned land, people thrown on the scrap heap.

ReSpace puts to use empty and abandoned buildings.

The Hive in Dalston hosted conferences, workshops, small businesses, social enterprises, theatre, music.

A derelict shopping centre in Aldershot could have been reused, but no one came forward to take it on.

Nomadic Community Gardens, a spare bit of land, two people toiling away, bringing back into use. They did not ask for volunteers, the community joined in.

Land in London, ethnic communities, amazing variety of vegetables grown.

A large garden, too much work, people who desire a plot to work, join forces, share what is grown.

The system outlined by Dale Vince of Ecotricty for power distribution is neither green nor ethical. No we do not need large lithium-ion batteries, fields covered in solar panels, crops grown for biofuels.  Lithium is scarce, comes from conflict zones.

We should be creating community owned and controlled local area networks, fed by renewables paid a fair price, mandatory for every new build to have solar on the roof, consumers pay a fair price, any surplus generation fed to other local grids via a publicly owned National Grid, any monetary surplus either fed back into the local grid or used to fund local community projects.

Biodigesters on farms can power the farm, feed into their local grid, the residual waste put back on the fields.

The so-called smart meters being rolled out across the country are anything but smart, all they do is provide real time indication of the electricity we are using.

A real smart meter would enable remote switching on and off of low grade usage. For example an immersion heater for hot water could be turned off to help reduce peak demands, with an override switch.  Electric cars can be charged over night to deliver a base load for wind and wave turbines.

We need heat pumps. All new build should have heat pumps.

Imagine an estate powered by one power station. Build a second estate, conventional thinking is we now need a second power station. No, reduce power consumption of existing estate, build second estate to much higher standards, maybe even a net contributor to the local grid, now not only do we not need a second power station, we have surplus generation from the first, or can be replaced with a more efficient power source, which could be an off-shore wind farm.

We need a Green New Deal. We need a soft energy path, where generation is matched to supply.

Dale Vince owns Forest Green Rovers, a football club he has taken from a village side to the Football League with ambitions to go further.

Classed as the greenest football club in the world. The pitch is chemical free, mowed by a solar-powered, GPS-controlled, robot mower. Real Madrid visited to view the pitch.

A new stadium will be built using wood from sustainable sources, solar power on the roof.  Outside the stadium, charging points for electric cars.

Food served is vegan. Fans come from miles around for the food, not because they are vegan, the food is better than typical football club fare.

Jamie Oliver featured the club for veganuary on his Friday Night Feast on Channel 4.

Veganuary was much hyped, yes a big increase, but a big increase on a small number is still a very small number. The real measure, how many stuck to a vegan diet? A mere 16%, a tiny number on an already small number. Butchers reported no loss of business.

A vegan sausage at Greggs was much hyped. Did sales increase because their sausage rolls were so bad? Bad diet, highly processed junk food, a diet rich in highly processed carbohydrates.

Several of the people featured in Om Nom issue 2 have come from what David Graeber would describe as bullshit jobs. The classic bullshit job marketing. Was it these bullshit jobs that was the impetuous to do something different, to add meaning to their lives, to make a difference? What they fail to comprehend is that it can no longer be Businesses as Usual, we cannot draw from businesses, we have to implement radical changes, there is no Planet B.

Do you have to be a vegan to be an activist?

Do you have to be an activist to be a vegan?

What is an activist? What is activism?

Signing an online petition. Joining a protest. Occupying Starbucks. Refusing to cross the threshold of Starbucks or McDonald’s. Blocking access to a fracking site. Supporting local coops. Relaxing in an indie coffee shop serving direct trade specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic. Objecting to obscene use of plastic by supermarkets. Lobbying politicians. Buying fresh produce off local markets, dried goods from zero waste stores. Objecting to McDonald’s trashing a local pub.

Activism takes many forms. And no, do not have to be a vegan to be an activist.

If we look at meat consumption, be it per capita or per country, it has risen. It would appear the richer we are, the more meat we consume, no meat or little meat is seen as a poor person’s diet. This level of meat consumption is not sustainable.

In 1961, global meat consuption 22kg per capita, 2007 40kg per capita.

There is though a large disparity between countries. India 3.2kg per capita, for Brits and Americans, 85.8kg and 125.4kg per capita respectively.

One of the driving factors was in the USA, post WWII, increased production was going to lead to a glut, people were urged to eat more meat.

But the figures are highly misleading. Meat consumption has risen, but only because of the increase in poultry consumption. This is for the last century. If we go back two centuries, meat consumption, red meat consumption, has declined. If we look at the the historical record, red meat consumption was much higher.

We should also note that if we go back to 1900, consumption of vegetable oil was near zero, if we compare with today. The exception being olive oil in Greece.

But even in Greece, use of olive oil does not stretch back into antiquity. The use of olive oil was cosmetic not culinary.

The Mediterranean Diet is recent, conferences in Mediterranean locations, good food, favourable reports, get an invite for next year, all floated on an olive oil industry slush fund.

No food magazine is complete without recipes. Om Nom is no exception and has a handful of recipes scattered throughout its pages.

They say print is dead. Who they are I do not know. Print is not dead.

What is dead is the rubbish we find in the newsagent, the glossy freebies no one wants, vehicles to peddle crap we do not want, an appalling waste of trees.

Quality print, Om Nom, Ambrosia, Standart, Drift, no advertising, is not dead. Nor the outlets, indie coffee shops, Ideas on Paper, Magazine Brighton.

Om Nom is available as a digital copy, the price is too high. It should be set at one pound, maximum two pounds, made available on LeanPub, set own download format.

Also make Om Nom available on Issuu to browse on-line.

Independent Life is an example of a quality print magazine available on Issuu to browse on-line.

The name Om Nom, I have absolutely no idea. I have asked wherever found, and everyone admits they do not know either. It has been suggested it may mimic the sound of eating.

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery

November 22, 2018

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery, a trek out to south east London, a nightmare to find.

Before setting off, I ask of the Baldwin Gallery, a fee, need to book, how to find?

Sadly clueless on the use of social media. No reply, by the time I do eventually receive a reply, too late, but they did have the courtesy to apologise.

  • broadcast —> one to many
  • social —> interaction
  • network – many to many

Social media is not broadcast, the clue is in the name, social network.

Train from Charing Cross to Dartford, alight at Lee.

Can I find Baldwin Gallery, no.

When in the vicinity and unable to find, I ask a passing local. No he has never heard of.

I pass by and find myself in Greenwich. I retrace my steps.

I find the venue, Baldwin Gallery, eventually.

I expect to find no one there, I am surprised to find quite a few have turned up, maybe twenty or more.

The original concept of Dark Mountain, thought provoking essays and short stories, art and poetry, was excellent. I was happy to support. But the reality, incomprehensible writing badly written, very little worth reading, the art badly reproduced. And then to be insulted with a poor quality paperback when had subscribed to what Dark Mountain describe as ‘Each issue takes the form of a beautifully-produced hardback.’

The evening was reading from Terra.

Nothing more boring than reading what has been written, I can do that myself. Public reading of poetry a different matter, it is meant to be read out loud. Far more interesting is for the contributors to talk about the subject they have written about.

Reading of a short story, a postman posted to back of beyond, I must have missed something, as the end was back at the beginning.

Reading of two essays, a native Indian massacre, the struggle of Palestinians, deserved deeper exploration, which would have been been possible had the contributors discussed their contribution not read from it. Worse still, it was a waste of there being present.

One of the criticisms of Dark Mountain, apart from too much pretentious badly written incomprehensible drivel, is the typeface, too small, not easy to read.

What was Terra?

I thought next volume, but when I saw a tiny slim volume, I thought no, must be a supplementary book, especially when I learnt this was the second book launch.

The topic was travel, a sense of place, how we interact with the landscape, how the landscape interacts with us.

Terra is the next volume, the typeface microscopic, needing a magnifying glass to read.

Copies of Terra were on sale. I did not see any sold. Nor did I see early volumes of Dark Mountain on sale.

At £20 for a slim volume, too pricey, especially when paid for by subscription, unlike most publications which go from publication to remainder to pulp.

It was only later when I checked the Dark Mountain website I learnt why no other volumes on sale, all sold out. Only available as a pdf file. I would recommend upload to leanpub and have in an e-format that flows as is more suited to reading on a tablet or e-reader or smartphone than pdf, though pdf would still be a format to select from.

Interesting exhibits at the Baldwin Gallery, strong Mexican influence, or at least Cenrtral America.

Changing a light bulb

November 15, 2018

What did you do today?

Changed a light bulb.

Somebody has to change out that lightbulb at the top of those tall TV towers!

This is tower climber Kevin Schmidt making the climb to the very top of the now inactive KDLT TV analog broadcast antenna near Salem, SD.

It was a beautiful fall day for a climb and the views are stunning!

Watch at 1080 HD in full screen to get a small taste of the experience.

Iceland’s palm oil Christmas commercial banned

November 9, 2018

Palm oil plantations are among the biggest driver of deforestation, threatening the orangutan with extinction. — Iceland Foods

Palm oil is bad for people and planet.

There is no such thing as sustainable palm oil plantations, it is an oxymoron.

Palm oil plantations are monocultures devoid of life apart from the plantation trees.

Palm oil plantations are destroying rain forests.

Palm oil is high in saturated fat, higher in saturated fat than pig fat. At room temperature palm oil is solid. It used to be known as axle grease as that was what it was used for. The only reason it is liquid at room temperature is because it has been chemically processed.

Palm oil is used to bulk out products from foods to cosmetics. It is used because it is cheap.

It is ok to advertise and sell products containing palm oil, even though bad for people and planet. Even to mislead people that it is healthy.

Whole Earth peanut butter is padded out with palm oil.

M&S are selling so-called healthy spreads where the main ingredient was palm oil, and yet called olive spread.

Oxfam shops a couple of years ago were selling peanut butter in a plastic jar padded out with sugar, palm oil, and salt.

OK to advertise palm oil products, but try to air an advert that highlights why palm oil is bad, and your advert will be banned for being political, as Iceland learnt when their Christmas advert was banned.

We have an obesity epidemic. We have a type-two diabetes epidemic. But it is ok for McDonald’s to promote their junk food, Coca-Cola their sugary drinks, but not to suggest we eliminate palm oil.

M&S have a stupid Christmas advert claiming they went around the country asking people what they wanted for Christmas.

Would it have not been better to have toured their shops, sorted out their piss-poor service, tills not manned, lights turned out ten minute before store closes, fresh produce wrapped in plastic?

But then M&S is a failing retailer, and with this level of contempt for customer service, it is easy to see why.

Georgia Eleftheria Tsiolakki

October 1, 2018

Congratulations to Georgia Eleftheria Tsiolakki, the youngest person to receive this award, the only Cypriot to receive this award.

I am proud to be the only CYPRIOT and youngest that I have been awarded as a women leader.

I would like to say a big thank you to the who is who magazine as well.

Thank you to the international institutions for their recognition. The recognition came with a lot of smart and hard work in international and European level. Most of the obstacles and unfairness situations, I had to deal with, was from my OWN country sadly.

For those people who underestimate my skills underestimate my age and what I am capable of ,this is the beginning because whatever I DO , I do because I love it. When you love something obstacles are expected only to make you better !!!

Independent Life

September 16, 2018

Every town has one if not more freebie magazines. These are nearly always rubbish, an appalling waste of trees. Viva Brighton is a rare exception. And far too often these freebie magazines are shoved through the letterbox as unsolicited junk mail to be thrown away unread.

On a recent trip to York, I picked up a copy of Independent Life from Brew & Brownie then leafed through whilst waiting for my lunch at Burr. Like Viva Brighton, another rare exception, worth picking up.

I was though baffled, why Leeds and York, nowhere near each other.

I learnt later at Kiosk it used to cover Leeds, only recently Leeds and York. Still odd though.

Maybe follow the example of Viva Brighton (which has a sister magazine Viva Lewes), Independent Leeds and Independent York.

Kiosk would be an excellent location from which to distribute.

Not on glossy paper. Another plus.

I thought the title Independent came from the fact it was an independent publication, maybe, but actually comes from the focus on indie businesses, which is yet another plus.

It is the indie businesses, quirky, of character, that make the old part of York, Hull Old Town or North Laine in Brighton worth a visit.

Why visit a town for the same crap corporate chains to be found in any town?

A huge mistake Guildford tourist information has made. A short video clip to promote Guildford, featuring er coffee chains, two grotty shopping centres. Reasons not to visit methinks.

Independent Life also publishes The Little Black Book Leeds, now vol 3, a guide to the independent businesses in Leeds. If one does not exist, I assume in the pipeline a similar guide for indie businesses in York.

Independent Life local indie businesses, local culture, art, poetry, well worth grabbing a copy.

Hull Freedom Festival

August 31, 2018

Freedom Festival, a three day festival in Hull.

Freedom Festival was started in 2007 to commemorate the anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce.

Train to Hull, stunning views over the Humber Estuary and of the Humber Bridge.

On arrival at Hull Station, greeted by Philip Larkin.

Then head to Hull Old Town, cobbled streets (strictly speaking setts) but first a detour to Two Gingers in Paragon Arcade.

Excellent cappuccino in Two Gingers.

They have recently introduced their own house blend from The Blending Room, plus single origin coffee from The Blending Room.

Zeberdee’s Yard locked off, rehearsals for a concert tonight.

Lunch in Trinity Market.

I went round the stalls, twice. None looked appetising, appalling environmental standards, food served in polystyrene boxes, plastic utensils.

Burger off Shoot the Bull. Rare breed beef, burger excellent, service not so good. No, do not put ketchup on without asking, and no, do not blame the customer for not telling you.

No mention of the offer of a meal deal with a beer. Skip the fries, offer a decent craft beer. Brew Dog Punk IPA would go down a treat with a quality burger.

Asked of Caffeinated where to locate Thieving Harry’s. They kindly marked on a map of Hull Old Town.

Passing by Hull Minster, a guide said I must enter and look at the moon. No time, maybe on my return. She was insistent. Amazing, a suspended moon occupying the nave, quite surreal. Yes, she was correct Museum of the Moon in Hull Minster an absolute must visit.

To get to the part of Hull Old Town where Thieving Harry’s is located, have to cross a busy main road with no convenient crossings, one crossing closed and long wait at the lights when crossing.

Pedestrians should have priority. The traffic is at a virtual standstill. The crossings should be more frequent for pedestrians, it will make not a jot of difference to the traffic flow.

Thieving Harry’s overlooks the old docks now a marina and the sea. Located in what was once the offices of a fruit merchant, the old Fruit Market was located in this part of Hull Old Town.

Picked up a couple of bags of coffee.

We have a problem with plastic, plastic-lined paper takeaway cups, plastic cups, plastic utensils, plastic straws.

As always it is the indie coffee shops leading the way. Compostable cups, refillable cups, though best to relax with coffee in glass or ceramic, paper straws.

Thieving Harry’s showed me something I had not seen before, drinking straws made from shells.

A diversion to Trinity Market to collect two bags of coffee off Caffeinated.

As I cut across Trinity Square a giant puppet had been erected. This was one of the giant puppets to parade through the Hull Old Town later that evening as part of Hull Freedom Festival.

I pop in Two Gingers and pick up two bags of their house blend. I would have wished for a V60 pour over, but no time.

All three coffee shops use The Blending Room, a Hull coffee roastery. Today they had a pop up coffee stall. Where, no one knew, and they lacked the courtesy to respond to a query. What is the point of tweeting have a pop up stall for the Freedom Festival and do not say where? Yet another example of poor use of social media.

Made the station in time for my train, just, only to find no train, running late.

Stunning views across the Humber Estuary out of the train window and of wind turbines.

AsylumX – Day 3

August 26, 2018

Welcome to the Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln, the largest known SteamPunk Festival in the solar system.

I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clock maker. — Voltaire

Day 3: The third day of AsylumX, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln.

Sadly a complete washout. A cold wet day, few people on the streets, street food gave up by lunchtime as no one about, the stalls on Castle Hill were forced by Council jobsworths to cease trading by mid-afternoon (previous day forced to cease trading at six when easily could have continued until seven).

This year, local shops take SteamPunk now in its tenth year seriously.

In Sincil Street, check out a charity shop, amazing SteamPunk creations.

A craft beer shop in the Strait, a special SteamPunk craft beer.

Near the top of The Strait, a wine shop with specially distilled SteamPunk gin.

Coffee connoisseurs are spoilt for choice with the Lincoln coffee culture, do not even think of going in any of the chains. Three coffee shops as walk from the town centre to Lincoln Castle.

Walking up the High Street, just after passing over the River Witham, turn left before passing through The Stonebow and find Coffee Aroma.

Pass through The Stonebow, up the High Street and find Madame Waffle.

Continue up the High Street, up The Strait, up Steep Hill, and as pass the cobbled section find Base Camp.

AsylumX a four day SteamPunk Festival over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 24 August to Monday 27 August 2018.