Posts Tagged ‘London’

Benita Bakery

May 1, 2017

Opposite Union Chapel, alongside Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks.

The decor excellent, but the same cannot be said of either the coffee or the pastries.

Sadly not a clue. The coffee not ground fresh for each cup, I checked what they use, a freshly opened bag, it smelt disgusting, no roast date, basically rubbish for catering supplies.  Pastries and stuff to be hotted up. No flapjacks or cookies.

The best to be said of the coffee, drinkable.

But why bother?

There can be no excuse for sourcing cheap rubbish coffee when in  London have Monmouth Coffee, Union hand-roasted, Square Mile.

South Bank Street Food Market

May 1, 2017

South Bank Street Food Market is held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and a Monday if a Bank Holiday.

A wide variety of food and drink.

My only criticism,  becoming too crowded and needs to relocate to where more space.

I had a dosa off one of the stalls. Nowhere the standard of Guildford farmers market off the chutney stall.

Two coffee stalls, one a battered old Citroen van, the other .

When a coffee stall adulterates its coffee with syrups, cannot be bothered to grind coffee fresh for each cup because it is too much trouble, then it is best avoided.

Which is why I had a coffee off The Ethiopian Coffee Company. The other reason because I know they will serve me a good coffee.  I had actually been looking forward to this coffee since the day before.  Coffee off this stall is probably the best coffee in London.

I also bought cakes, Middle East Greek-style cakes, off one of the stalls.

Mayday in London

May 1, 2017

Mayday, a cold wintry day, more like winter than the beginning of May, though it warmed up a little in the afternoon.

South Bank Street Food Market is held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, today being a Bank Holiday, also Monday.

I was heading to Home Slice in Covent garden, but as I was hungry, I had a dosa off one of the stalls. It was not great. Far better off the chutney stall on Guildford farmers market.

But my real interest was coffee.

There are two stalls, one a battered old Citroen van the other Ethiopian Coffee Roasters.

When a stall adulterates its coffee with syrups, cannot be bothered to grind fresh for each coffee, then avoid, which is why I had a coffee off the Ethiopian coffee stall. The other reason, it is probably the best coffee in London.

I also picked up a bag of Ethiopian beans.

Across Hungerford Bridge. One of the best views of London. And absolutely great news, the Garden Bridge which would have blocked this view will not be built.

Cut through Jubilee Gardens, marvellous bed of white tulips.

Up through Covent Garden, to Home Slice in Neal’s Yard.

Home Slice serves excellent pizza, but word has spread, now something of a disaster,  as even mid-afternoon, an hour or more wait to be served.

I was offered a slice of pizza to take out.

Too messy to eat outside.

Excellent organic tea in Neal’s Yard Remedies. Freshly made. I think, lavender, mint and elderflower, but I may be wrong.

Monmouth Coffee closed.

A long chat with a lovely Japanese girl.

I suggested read Debt by David Graeber, Sacred Economics  by Charles Eisenstein also Global Minotaur, And The Weak Suffer What They Must?  by Yanis Varoufakis.

I also suggested A Japanese girl’s dream come true.

Then on to Union Chapel for a talk and book launch by Yanis Varoufakis.

Opposite, Benita Bakery, a bakery and coffee shop, alongside Costa and tax dodging Starbucks.

But sadly not a clue. The coffee not ground fresh for each cup, I checked what they use, a freshly opened bag, it smelt disgusting, no roast date, basically rubbish for catering supplies.  Pastries and stuff to be hotted up. No flapjacks or cookies.

The best to be said of the coffee, drinkable.

But why bother.

Yanis Varoufakis in discussion with Paul Mason excellent. Adults in the Room, to be published 4 May 2017, an expose of the European Deep State.

Appalling bad organisation by Union Chapel, or at least by those who prepare the food. By the time the doors opened, no time to eat. This was explained to those preparing the food, that food should be available later. It was at the last event.  After the event had finished, no food, so few people stayed, whereas at the last event, it was busy.

Questionable the bookseller was charging full price for books. It is the norm at such events to discount. And the point blank refusal to hand people bags, was appalling.

I am all for supporting indie bookshops, but not when they have this attitude.

March of fools and future of Europe

March 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Rome, protest against the EU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is for these reasons that DiEM25 are proposing change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The EU experiment has failed. The EU is disintegrating.

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

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

Soup at Wild Food Cafe

April 20, 2016
Wild Food Cafe

Wild Food Cafe

Turkish lentil soup

Turkish lentil soup

The only reason I was here, Home Slice was busy and I had an hour to kill.

On walking in, very noisy, oppressively so.

All the tables were taken. I was invited to take a bar stool, sit at a shelf overlooking the kitchen.

When taking the order, neither I nor the person standing in the kitchen, could hear each other, such was the level of oppressive noise.

Turkish lentil soup, tasty, generous portion size, but like everything else on the menu, expensive and overpriced.

When paying over a fiver for a bowl of soup, expect at least the bread to be free.  But no.

Did I want bread. No.

I then changed my mind, and ordered what I thought was seeded bread. No, what appeared was a minuscule portion of seeds, somehow glued together, not much bigger than a 50p piece.

staff fare

staff fare

One of the staff came and sat with me. I asked what she was eating. She explained, adding, it was not on the menu. Staff apparently get a far better deal. It looked marginally better than what I saw being served from the kitchen.

Pretentious, noisy and overpriced, Wild Food Cafe very poor compared with Food for Thought, which is sadly no more, closed down last year, much loved and much missed, driven out of business by a greedy grasping landlord driving up the rent to unaffordable levels.

I then departed for Home Slice where I knew I would get an excellent pizza.

Wild Food Cafe is located in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden.

Trip to London

April 6, 2016

 

Thames looking down river from Hungerford Bridge

Thames looking down river from Hungerford Bridge

I had intended to set off lunchtime, arrive early afternoon, but various calamities, I did not set off until a couple of hours later and arrived late afternoon.

Walking out of Waterloo Station the Shell building. A shock, it was no longer there, it had gone, demolished.

Very windy crossing Hungerford Bridge.

Through Embankment Gardens, up through Covent Garden, into Neal’s Yard, very late lunch at Home Slice.

Home Slice packed, but not too long a wait. Excellent pizza, I had two slices, and a half of their excellent local lager. But why oh why do they have to have awful music thudding out?

Coffee in Monmouth coffee shop. No room, had to make do with a takeaway cappuccino.

Then off to Union Chapel, somewhere in Islington.

Journey there quite easy, Piccadilly Line to King’s Cross, then Victoria Line to Highbury & Islington.

It was then I got lost.

I knew head south, came out of the station, and headed what I thought was south. I head down a side street, baffled why the sun is now facing me, opposite direction to when I left the station.   I had been heading north. I can only assume, I had seen the sun reflected off a building.

I retrace my steps, go long way around, eventually find Union Chapel.

An evening with Yanis Varoufakis. A long queue to get in. Time passes quickly, chatting to people in the queue.

Once inside, amazing building.

Yanis Varoufakis as always brilliant.

Eat at Union Chapel in the bar. Not quite what I expect in a chapel.

I have chicken. It does not look good. It is surprisingly tasty. I have with salad. It needed rice too.  I have a chat with the chef.

Leave gone 10-30. No idea where I am.

Head chef has said take Victoria Line to Oxford Circus, then Bakerloo Line to Waterloo.

Proves to be good advice as only short walk to change lines.

— to be continued —-

Trip to London

November 22, 2015
London Eye

London Eye

A bitterly cold November day in London.

Disgraceful train service by SouthWestTrains to Waterloo. Only one man manning the ticket office, long queue, train five minutes late, only five coaches, passengers packed in like sardines, standing room only, by the time train leaves running ten minutes late, arrival at Waterloo over ten minutes late.

Lunch at South Bank street food market. I have a burger that at £6 expensive compared with food off other stalls. I tried a sample, and I enjoyed, but did not enjoy the burger.

Coffee from Ethiopia coffee stall. Excellent cappuccino, one of the best, but at £2-90 for a tiny cup, expensive.

Walking along The Embankment to Westminster Bridge freezing cold. So cold I thought my fingers would drop off.

As I neared Westminster Bridge I could barely move, such were the crowds, and over Westminster Bridge and around Westminster. Not helped by idiots standing in the middle of the street taking pictures of themselves.

A man asked me the way to Methodist Central Hall. Strictly speaking, he showed me his ticket to an event and asked where it was. I told him  to follow me as that was where I was heading.

Beyond Austerity in Methodist Central Hall. Luckily only starting to fill up and got a good seat in the balcony.

Set piece speeches from Trade Union leaders and anti-war, all seven of them, addressing the fraternal Comrades and Brothers. Followed by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and shadow chancellor John McDonnell. I was quite impressed by John McDonnell, he knows what he is talking about. More of the same followed, which I did not attend. Managed to corner Yanis Varoufakis, books signed.

From Westminster, walked through through Whitehall to Piccadilly Circus.

Popped in Waterstone’s in Piccadilly. Apart from Waterstone’s Oxford and P&G Wells in Winchester, the only bookshop in the country to stock Change Everything. I could not find, had to ask member of staff who found for me.

A conversation with a lady who had This Changes Everything. I recommended PostCapitalism,  and took her to where it was on the shelf. Had I thought, I would also have recommended Sacred Economics.

To Covent Garden via Oxford Street and through Soho. A slightly long way round. Could barely walk down Oxford Street, too many people.

To Home Slice in Neal’s Yard. Full, though a few girls looked as though they were leaving. Are you on the list? What list? We put you on the list, then we call you when a table is free. We will call you in about one and a half hours.

A cappuccino in M&S opposite Covent Garden Tube Station. It was ok. Better than disgusting coffee in Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks.

A call, a table free.

A slice of mushroom pizza as on Monday. Hungry a second slice. Delicious. Half of lager, another half. The lager locally sourced.

Then walked to Waterloo Station.

Beneath Hungerford Bridge, music. Skating, though not ice skating.

Late at night, yet another overcrowded train, again only five coaches. Leaves on time, then runs slower and slower, now ten minutes late.

I had ten minutes to catch a bus. Luckily I caught it, as running late.

Very cold night.

The Black Penny

November 20, 2015
The Black Penny October 2015

cappuccino

The Black penny is a little coffee shop not far from Covent Garden.

Nice atmosphere, the coffee ok, not great.

Excellent apple juice in little jars.

Afternoon and evening in London

November 4, 2015

I travelled to London later than I wished.

Where to eat?

Food for Thought sadly no more, not a Friday, no street food market on the South Bank.

I had a couple of king prawns, chicken in dumplings, from Wasiba at Waterloo Station. Excellent.

But I was still hungry.

I headed to The Black Penny, a coffee shop. Rare beef in bread was excellent, though I did not like the mustard. Their coffee is not good, though not disgusting like Costa or Starbucks. Their apple juice in little jars is excellent.

Walk down to High Holborn, a couple of stops on the Central Line to St Paul’s.

Rush hour insanity.

St Paul’s for Paul Mason discussing his book PostCapitalism.

Bus outside St Paul’s, direct to Waterloo Station.

Trip to London

June 16, 2015
view down river from Hungerford Bridge

view down river from Hungerford Bridge

I set off later than I would have wished, maybe a couple of hours later. I missed a bus, next bus failed to turn up, as a result I missed the fast train. Long queue at ticket office, missed the next train. When the queue goes down, they open a second window. Typical piss-poor service from South West Trains. Two trains missed, was it worth going?

On the street outside Waterloo Station, a hydrogen powered bus.

Around the South Bank, the streets appear pedestrianised, but actually they are not. Why not?

A helical slide, two helical slides, running from the top of the Heywood gallery. I have never noticed before.

Pleasant walk across Hungerford Bridge, view down the Thames.

Joanna Lumley wishes to spoil this view by building a bridge. No one knows why, and the stupid idea has zero support. This is the same Joanna Lumley who flooded Aldershot with filthy Nepalese.

In Embankment Gardens, banana trees have been planted in the middle of flower beds.

Walk up through Covent Garden and into Neal Street. It is depressing how Neal Street has been destroyed. Sweatshop fashion chains, down a side street Pret a Manger and Costa.

One last meal at Food for Thought. It closes on Sunday. Driven out of business after forty years by a greedy, grasping landlord.

There are now several empty premises in Neal Street, including one next to Food for Thought. Will the vacated Food for Thought join the list? The greedy property company will not care, one more business destroyed. If it sits empty they will offset the losses against tax.

I wanted a 243 bus, but could only find a 242. It went in the right direction.

Waiting at the bus stop, I was reminded of Neuromancer by William Gibson, a damaged dysfunctional society.

Girl at bus stop, one view normal, other side a quarter shaven head.

The bus passed through the City of London.

Joseph Campbell said we judge who is important in society by the size of the buildings. In mediaeval society it was cathedrals and palaces. Passing through the City of London, banks and other parasites on society.

I alighted at Kingland Road.

I guessed correct, only a little way down the road a sign pointed to Hoxton Market. I followed where it pointed, but then no more signs. I guessed which way, and I was correct.

Wonderful fruit and vegetable shop in Hoxton Market.

Filming outside a halal butcher. They objected to me walking by and asked that I moved on. I pointed out I was on public highway. I should have asked to see permission from Hackney Council to film. And raised animal cruelty halal butchers.

I popped in Hoxton News with the Trews canopy. The man serving knew nothing. But he did say he was new that day. I should have suggested they had an A-board outside listing latest Trews, with a code to scan.

What I was looking for was the Trew Era Cafe.

I finally found it, the shutters were down, it was closed. I walked in. Sorry we are closed.

The second time, I arrive to find it closed.

The first time it took me two hours to find. This time one and a half hours, therefore an improvement.

It now closing at six, not seven. Makes sense in the winter, but not in the summer.

I was promised a free coffee if I visit again.

On display Trews t-shirts. The ethical ones, I was told. Strange different sizes from different factories.

Big scandal, expose in Daily Mail, sweatshirts from sweatshops. Russell Brand had placed orders in good faith, part of smear campaign by Daily Mail, if they cared about sweatshops and exploited workers in Bangladesh, they would be exposing the global fashion brands, factory gate price a dollar, retail $70.

I felt one of the t-shirts, very soft, probably organic cotton.

In the coffee bar £30. Where therefore had Daily Mail got the figure of £60 from?

No one was able to answer my questions on the clothing. Fair enough, they are there to make the coffee. But, Russell Brand needs to be more transparent, on sale in the coffee bar, make sure the staff are briefed, can give an account, where made, working conditions, why the huge mark up between factory gate price and retail.

No copies of Revolution on sale, or at least not on display. Trew Era Cafe has been financed from sale of Revolution.

On a shelf, a beautiful carved chessboard with invalid squares. Integral to the board and beneath a cabinet with a drawer contain the chess pieces.

I walked down the road with one of the staff, had an interesting conversation, and parted company at the Regent’s Canal.

I suggested for The Trews, Michel Bawens to talk about open coops, open commons, sharing.

As Trew Era Cafe is a social enterprise, I am surprise it is not an open coop. It is not even a coop.

As it was a pleasant evening, I decided to take a walk along the canal. I was going to walk to Regent’s Park, or at least head in that direction, but decided first to walk the opposite way, which I learnt from a boat, led to Victoria Park.

The boat offered me a lift, said hop on board, but I thought best to walk, as I would know when to turn around.

The boat was big. I am used to narrow boats. This was twice as wide.

The girl piloting the boat very skilled. It passed through a bridge, with only a couple of inches to spare. That was close, I said. She replied it was as close the other side.

She demonstrated the same skill when she brought the boat in to moor.

She managed all this whilst at the same time carry a small child in a sling.

I carried on.

I went past Acton Lock, and a little further.

I saw a sign, which said Victoria Park was as far again as I had already walked. I decided to go no further, or only a little way.

I climbed out at Cambridge Heath Road. I saw if I hopped on a bus, I could go to Mare Street, where I know an excellent restaurant serving burgers. But was not sure where, and I did not wish to walk back along the canal in the dark. Though I did see I could catch a bus which would take me direct to Waterloo Station.

I walked back and climbed out at the next road.

On the way I had passed a boat with music. People hanging around the boat. I was asked did I wish my photo taken with the guy whose picture was on display. I said no. Did I wish my picture taken? No. A stunning blonde leapt off the boat, introduced herself as Emily, invited me on board, told me how well equipped the boat was, would I care to look. I declined her offer.

The cyclists and joggers on the canal are a bloody nuisance. When I turned around to walk back, it was even worse, hordes of joggers in large groups.

Next road I climbed out again.

Not a lot here. A fish n chip shop, Broadway fish bar,  with seating outside.

I asked for haddock skinned, Was told it came with the skin on. I settled for a small portion of chips. They were ok, but not great. Maybe fortunate I did not have the fish.

I joined two French girls sitting outside and had an interesting conversation.

They were of the view as the guy I talked with from Trew Era Cafe, iTunes and Amazon very bad for music, as can only listen to a few seconds of very lofi music. I recommended bandcamp, can listen to entire album, hifi not lofi,  the artist gets a good deal too. I could have added can share, the artist gets the data.

This came about partly due to a discussion on intellectual property rights. It also restricts innovation, hits creativity. I cited Sita Sings the Blues as an example, also 3D printing.

We innovate, copyright stops any further innovation, then when out of copyright, further innovation.

The music in Sita Sings the Blues, once very popular, now not known, because Big Record Labels own the rights, and no money to be made.

The way forward, as pioneered by Michel Bauwens, open coops, open commons, sharing.

It was then walk along the Regent’s Canal, now around ten o’clock and nearly dark. Not many people around, indeed very few,

I walked past Kingsland Road. Luckily I saw a sign.

I was just in time for a bus to Waterloo. I think 243.

I alighted Waterloo Bridge, to enjoy the view then walked to Waterloo Station.

When a book has to be hyped, it is not worth a read. When the advertising covers a huge building, then it must be crap, such is with 50 Shades of Crap.

I arrived home, not long before 1am.