Posts Tagged ‘culture’

This Is Fucking Vandalism, London’s History And Culture Are Being Destroyed In The Name Of Greed

April 20, 2015

the void

black-capsAround 150 people joined a protest outside The Black Cap public house in Camden yesterday after it closed suddenly and without warning last week.  The long running LGBT venue opened in the 1960s, surviving throughout the days when gay people faced prosecution.  Now it is falling victim to rampant gentrification that respects neither culture or history and seeks only to make as much money as possible for greedy property developers.

Speaking at the protest drag artist Titti La Camp, a former performer at the pub, said 10 gay venues had closed in central London since the current Tory government weren’t elected.  In an all too familiar story, those trying to save The Black Cap believe it is likely to be converted into yet more luxury flats that nobody local can afford.

camden-marketsA few hundred yards away a large part of Camden Market is currently a building site, awaiting being converted…

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Dreams from endangered cultures

December 28, 2013

We are seeing an unprecedented loss of species, a cataclysmic loss, the Sixth Extinction.

But this is nothing compared with the loss of our diverse cultures.

The Earth can only exist because it is breathed into existence by human conciousness.

If you believe a mountain houses a mountain spirit, whose displeasure you must not incur, or it is a pile of rocks to be mined and exploited, determines the respect you have for the mountain, how you treat the mountain.

Are you likely to log a forest, if the trees house the spirits of your ancestors?

What we have is different realities, different ways of looking at the world, one more in touch with the natural world.

Each and every culture is a unique answer to what it is to be human.

A rainbow world or a monochrome world dominated and controlled by global corporations and the corrupt politicians in their pocket?

In a thousand years time, assuming humankind survives that long which is highly unlikely, will cultural historians look back and see this as a time when Man destroyed cultural and ecological diversity, the very diversity that was necessary for survival?

Do we want diversity or zombies that sit in front of widescreen TVs, all thinking the same thoughts, assuming of course they are even capable of thinking?

In the West we have an ignorant, arrogant world view, where we see other cultures different to our own, that do not not lead meaningless lives, sat in front of a widescreen TV, engaged in consumerism, eating junk food, as somehow inferior, underdeveloped in need of development, or in other words, to turn them into inferior copies of our own meaningless existence.

The West sees itself as superior, further along a path called Progress.

If we are to survive Climate Chaos, we need diversity, diversity of culture, diversity of eco-systems.

A slightly longer version of this article posted on Medium.

Two Unsuspecting Guys Take The New Renault Clio For A Test Drive

March 31, 2013

A quite clever car commercial.

Last orders? How councils can protect local pubs from closure

January 26, 2013
The Lord Tennyson

The Lord Tennyson destroyed for student accomodation

The London Unity under threat of redevelopment thanks to greedy PubCo

The London Unity under threat of redevelopment thanks to greedy PubCo

The Tumbledown Dick  hand-tinted photo c 1911

The Tumbledown Dick under threat of demolition for Drive-Thru McDonald’s

Iris Murdoch once wrote of pubs as ‘universal places, like churches, hallowed meeting places of mankind’. This leads you to two inevitable conclusions: 1) she had a lovely turn of phrase and fully deserved that DBE, and 2) she had clearly never been to the Wetherspoons in Leeds city centre on a Friday night.

Like churches, however, pubs are facing a period of great challenge: the British pub is battling with diversifying consumer trends. The latest figures show that pub closures have slowed in 2012, but are still occurring at a rate of 18 a week, leading the Chief Executive of CAMRA to remark earlier this year that the future of Britain’s valued community pubs is ‘in jeopardy’.

Despite this, the emotion people have for community institutions like pubs sets them apart as a distinct political issue for local authorities. And recent planning policy suggests this is a concern shared by central government. The 2012 National Planning Policy Framework includes new responsibilities for local authorities to promote local pubs. According to the framework, planning policies and decisions should:

  • plan positively for the provision and use of shared space, community facilities (such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship) and other local services to enhance the sustainability of communities and residential environments; and
  • guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services, particularly where this would reduce the community’s ability to meet its day-to-day needs. (NPPF, March 2012)

The public house has never been specifically identified in a document like this before, so its inclusion is significant. The Localism Act too raises similar issues. The new Community Right to Buy makes it possible for communities to list local pubs as assets of community value, and to bid for them should they come up for sale.

There is certainly a strong argument to be made for the social and economic value of the community pub. IPPR’s recent report Pubs and Places: the social value of community pubs, placed the wider social value of a sample of community pubs at between £20,000 and £120,000 per pub. It noted that pubs inject an average of £80,000 into their local economy each year, besides their cultural and practical community value.

With this in mind, some local authorities have already gone out of their way to safeguard the future of their local pubs. Cambridge City Council and the London Borough of Islington, for example, have both established their own ‘pub protection policies’ to make it more difficult for planning loopholes to be exploited to turn pubs into housing, or betting agencies.

Of course this won’t be a priority for all councils. Pubs have the potential to exclude as well as include, and councils will need to weigh their decisions against the views of their community. Nevertheless, if councils want to protect the pub, they now have the powers to do so. We hope those authorities that plan to use them will get in touch to share their work with us.

For more information go to:

Posted by Lauren Lucas on Local Government Information Newtwork.

Pub closures, although they have slowed, are still running at the rate of 18 a week.

They are being sold by zombie pub owning companies that are unable to pay their loans for redevelopment as Tesco supermarkets, housing, drive-thru McDoanald’s.

The Lord Tennyson, a fine example of a Victorian pub was sold last year against strong local opposition for redevelopment as student housing.

The London Unity is under threat of redevelopment for housing.

The Tumbledown Dick, an old coaching inn c 1720, is under threat of demolition for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

The greedy Pub Companies will falsely claim the pub not viable. What is not viable for them, is not the same as the pub not being viable. CAMRA has shown that pubs sold freehold without economic burden of extortionate rent to a PubCo can flourish thereafter.

What if money was no object?

December 28, 2012

The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does. — Priya Sher

A wonderful lecture from the late Alan Watts.

Ask yourself. What would you do with your life if money was no object?

It is absolutely stupid to spend the rest of your life doing what you hate, to earn money to spend on things you neither need nor want.

Follow the advice of Paulo Coelho and follow your dreams.

For my lovely friend Iva who asked.

Toronto & Western Break Ranks to Sign Access Copyright Deal

February 19, 2012
New Access Copyright agreements have been signed at Western Ontario & Toronto

New Access Copyright agreements have been signed at Western Ontario & Toronto

The universities of Western Ontario and Toronto have signed a deal with Access. Copyright that allows for surveillance of faculty correspondence, unjustified restriction to copyrighted works and two million dollars in fees that will be passed along to students.

The agreement reached last month with the licensing agency includes provisions defining e-mailing hyperlinks as equivalent to photocopying a document, an annual $27.50 fee for every full-time equivalent student and surveillance of academic staff email.

CAUT executive director James Turk des­cribed the news as incredulous.

“Western’s and U of T’s actions are inex­pli­cable,” he said. “They have buckled under outrageous and unjustified demands by Access Copyright at a time when not only have the courts extended rights to use copyrighted material, but also better alternatives are becoming available to the services Access Copyright offers and just before passage of new federal copyright legislation that provides additional protections for the educational sector.”

He also noted the deals undermine efforts underway at universities and colleges nationwide to develop fair new models of scholarly communication and to reach principled copyright arrangements with authors and publishers.

The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to clarify the educational use of copyrighted works in the coming months, a move that could undercut Access Copyright’s bargaining position. In sharp contrast to Western and U of T, many universities have opted out of agreements with the licensing agency or are fighting its demands at the Copyright Board of Canada.

“These two universities threw in the towel prematurely on the copyright battle,” said Turk. “We call on other post-secondary institutions not to follow their example of capitulating to Access Copyright. It’s time to stand up for the right to fair and reasonable access to copyrighted works for educational purposes.”

Turk said CAUT is working with the library community, copyright officers and member academic staff associations “to protect academic rights to the fair use of copyrighted material. We also intend to do everything possible to protect the academic freedom rights of our members threatened by provisions in these two agreements.”

CAUT intervened in 2011 against Access Copyright’s application to the Copyright Board for a new post-secondary education tariff. CAUT also intervened in the two copyright cases currently before the Supreme Court.

Reproduced from CAUT Bulletin.

This is obscene behaviour by Canadian universities, giving in to bullying by Copyright Mafia!

University of Western Ontario and University of Toronto Agreements with Access Copyright

Once again, action shows why we must oppose Acta!

Say NO to ACTA

The Copyright Mafia are out of control.

Copyright Mafia boss rails against democracy

Last week police shut down a music site.

Police shut down music website

Were the students consulted (who after all are the ones effected)?. The students should occupy both universities.

No1 Top Story in The #OccupyLSX Daily (Monday 20 February).

Royal Wedding 2011

May 2, 2011

In the days leading up to the Royal Wedding, dissidents were arrested, this was done in the best Orwellian tradition of protecting democracy!

Just in case the message had not got through that dissent would not be tolerated, facebook political groups opposing cuts were deleted!

Preemptive arrests
Political policing of dissent

Five monkeys

April 2, 2011

Start with a cage containing 5 monkeys…. this story illustrates how human society keeps doing the same things over and over again because – “that’s the way things have always been done around here”.

Artwork and Music Produced by Peter Zaza.


February 6, 2011

Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse. — Sophocles

Yelp, a parody of Howl by Allen Ginsberg.

Shabbat is a very old idea — 5000 years old. Just take a break one day a week.

Disruption Talk
Face to Facebook

Disruption Talk

January 25, 2011

Discussion between co-founder of Napster Sean Parker and Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho.

We tell stories, we write stories, we have the book.

We can tell stories in a book, through short stories, through a few paragraphs on a blog, or in the minimalist form of 140 characters in a tweet.

Haiku masters were able to tell a story in the minimalist form of haiku poetry.

Paulo Coelho is wrong when he says we will not have books in the future. Unless there is a complete collapse of civilisation there will always be books. Nothing beats curling up with a good book.

Paulo Coelho has sold upwards of 130 million books.

Platforms are not neutral. Facebook is not neutral. Google is not neutral.

Facebook is a social networking company, right? Google is a search company, right?

Wrong on both counts!

Both companies are information and surveillance companies. They acquire information on you and they sell it. Google even trawls through the content of your e-mails to obtain information on you.

Try posting this to your facebook account

Let the hacking begin: If facebook needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a ‘social business’ the way Nobel Price winner Muhammad Yunus described it? What do you think? #hackercup2011

you will find it is blocked.

So much for platform neutrality.

But: Assume 500 million users, each pays $1 each to turn it into a social business and become the owners of a not-for-profit business. This would raise $500 million, more than sufficient. There would then be no need to sell users personal details to third parties. Indeed it would be a condition of ownership. Facebook would be run as a social networking site for the benefit of its members. Sadly what many mistakenly believe it to be now.

Many smart phones use Android as the operating system. Android is from google. Can we trust them not to do what they normally do which is to access our information? The truth is we do not know, it is not Open Source Software and so it is not open to public scrutiny. What we do know is that google can install and delete applications without our knowledge or consent.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Google and facebook are not charities. They are global corporations out to make money by using information on you. And never forget, the boss of facebook called his users ‘dumb fucks’ for so obligingly handing over personal data.

To change people’s minds you have to say something. In media jargon, you have to create content.

Production of content, editing of content, distribution of content, were and probably are, the three centres of power of the mainstream media.

This is no longer true, at least not true if we assume net neutrality.

I can control all three. My blog is just as likely to be read as any mainstream media, and I can get the content out quicker and usually with greater accuracy.

The mainstream media edits what we see. And for that read global corporations edit what we see. And they do so in a way to maintain their world view.

As the invention of the printing press shared information, and so the world view, so does the new media that we make use of today. Look at what Wikileaks has done.

There is also a paradigm shift between what the mainstream media does and I do. The mainstream is essentially broadcast, ie one to many. I am network and interactive. What I write others can comment upon, a dialogue takes place. Those who like what I write in turn pass it on to others, by posting on their facebook walls, by tweeting and re-tweeting on twitter.

What I write, although original creative thought (unless reposting what others have written that I think is worth passing on), is often based upon interaction with others, the germ of an idea is expanded upon.

Paulo Coelho makes extensive use of twitter and social networking. There is not only interaction between himself and his readers and followers, thus not one way, there is also interactions between his followers and readers, especially on his blog.

Summer 2009, twitter and social networking almost brought down the evil regime in Iran. Earlier this month it forced Ben Ali the president of Tunisia to flee the country like a rat up a drainpipe. Evil regimes across the Middle East are likely to fall like dominoes as we saw across Eastern Europe with the fall of the Berlin Wall. [Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia]

Social networking had come of age. It was no longer a medium for mindless celebrities to post drivel and trivia about their meaningless lives. It was being used to make a difference in the world.

Paulo Coelho spreads ideas, be it through his blog or his books. He encourages people to break out of their straitjackets, to follow their dreams. No surprise then that earlier this month the regime in Iran decided to ban all his books (or at least ban his publisher). The only surprise was that they were not banned sooner or that publication was permitted at all. Iran is now being flooded with books in Farsi that can be freely downloaded off the net.

Iran bans Paulo Coelho
Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books

People can get hung up on technology. What is important is not the technology, it is what you do with it. Who would have thought of social networks as tools of the revolution? A car can take you from A to B. It can also be used as a lethal weapon.

Content matters. Writers want to be read, artists to be heard. We hear a lot of hype about net piracy, go back a couple of decades and it was about sale of cassette tapes. Each sale of a cassette tape was wrongly associated with the loss of an album sale. Those who are bleating are the global record companies and the manufactured pop bands who between them have destroyed music. Look at the top perfomers of today who have been around for what seems like ever. They performed because they liked performing. It is the manufactured rubbish on programmes like X Factor who seek instant fame.

Paulo Coelho has over a million followers on twitter, over four million on facebook. Interviews, book launches are boring, the same dumb questions, what is this book about? Why not try reading it?

O Aleph was published in Brazil last year with with no promotion, no book tours, no publicity. It shot to Number One in Brazil. Worldwide publication this year is eagerly awaited.

The writings of Paulo Coelho, the new media, are disruptive, they force change, force paradigm shifts.

A paradigm shift would be for business to shift to creating shared value not share value.

Paulo Coelho at World Economic Forum in Davos
Moglen: Why Facebook is Evil
Corporate Social Networking
Their business and ours
Google’s surveillance is taking us further down the road to hell
Facebook founder called trusting users dumb f*cks
“Let The Hacking Begin” Declares Person Who Hacked Zuckerberg’s Facebook Fan Page
Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US
The sad shrinking of Myspace into the digital void
Zuckerberg says it’s time for Facebook to become a “Social Business”
“Dating” site imports 250,000 Facebook profiles, without permission
The wrong kind of sharing: Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page hacked
Egypt, The Age Of Disruption And The ‘Me’ In Media