Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monopoly (For Real) And 'Look Mum, No Hands!' ...

Terrific day's cycling in hot, sunny London - first with a bunch of guys doing a London Monopoly Ride - Like the board game, only the board is the whole City of London.

One guy volunteered to stay at Trafalgar Square with a board, dice, and mobile phone as he called out the die rolls and destinations. I came 3rd of 5, which was okay. Mad, brilliant fun, though. Knackering, but far, far better than anything else on a Sunday in London.

Finished off later in the afternoon at the Look Mum, No Hands! cycle cafe in Old Street to watch the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race, with most people cheering and applauding the brilliant Phillipe Gilbert as he outsprinted the Schleck brothers for a very popular win. I also managed to somehow get a pair of 'Vella' cycling gloves on sale for £1. One Pound. A Quid. Wow.

If you're a Londoner who likes cycling, you just HAVE to get down to LMNH at some point - especially for the Giro or 'le' TdF, of course, when it is very busy, but terrifically atmospheric.

London was packed with tourists today! (Good. We.. er.. sorta need their money...!)

Phillipe Gilbert outsprints both the Schleck brothers to win his 3rd race in a week.

PC vs Mac - Are YOU a Mac Person ... ?

Infografic from 'Mashable' : [Select for full-size]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Passers-By at Royal Festival Hall ...

Just a couple of photos I took a few days ago at the RFH from the Green Room. Passers by in the street, rushing probably to catch their trains at Waterloo just around the corner.

Surbiton Reservoirs - Water Level VERY Low ...

If there's any doubt as to how little rain we've had in the South over the last few months, I always check the local reservoirs as I pass by. I can't recall when I've seen the levels so low. Of 8 basins, two were dry, including the one top-left in this photo taken today.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Road Tax Abolished ... In 1936 ...

Just to remind all car drivers, especially those who claim 'cyclists don't pay road tax so we should ignore them' - Road Tax was abolished in 1936, as this blog post from board girl states.

"I have to confess I’m a little late reporting this one, because, in truth, it already has [been abolished]. In 1936, by Winston Churchill. Why? Because he thought the name would lead car drivers to take moral ownership of the roads. Not just a pretty face, eh? That’s right, bike haters, there is no such thing as a road tax. What YOU pay is a VEHICLE tax, in other words, some motorized vehicle drivers pay an annual penalty for driving a petrol guzzling, air polluting, road destroying killing machine."

So just to clarify - Roads are funded by general taxation, whish means we all pay - drivers, cyclists, skateboarders, even pedestrians.

And that means that just because you have a smelly smoke-emitting engine in your vehicle, you have no more rights on the road as anyone else. It's the pollution and road-wear that you think you're paying for. And you're still wrong there.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Dear British Racists ...

Just a thought, but ...

  • Your car is Japanese.
  • Your beer is German.
  • Your wine is Italian.
  • Your democracy is Greek.
  • Your shirt is Indian.
  • Your coffee is Colombian.
  • Your tea is Chinese.
  • Your watch is Swiss.
  • Your fashion is French.
  • Your shoes are Thai.
  • Your radio is Korean.
  • Your vodka is Russian.
  • Your DNA is Celt, Saxon, Viking or Norman.
And then you complain that your neighbor is an immigrant?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

BP Deepwater Horizon ... One Year On ...

April 20, 2011 will be the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Legal wranglings may go on for another 19 years. Winners? Just the lawyers.

Images & Videos From The Tweed Run 2011 ...

Photos and videos from Saturday's Tweed Run in London. Even Ewan McGregor was riding today.

Excellent entire galleries here from Lady Velo, ibikelondon and Antonia.

Wonderful report from ibikelondon is here.

The BIG Group Photo:

Excellent video : 

Another good video is here.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Women Slather 515 Chemicals On Their Body Everyday ...

Full article is here.

[Select image to zoom]

A Parisienne In London ...

Only just discovered this article (from 2007!) but it's from a journalist that I follow with interest - I must have missed this one. Agnes Poirier explains why she didn't choose to leave Paris - she chose more to live in London, and she explains why.

Perhaps Londoners should listen more to emigres in our city to understand what London has that we seem to be blind to. We live in one of the greatest cities in the world.

"A born and bred Parisian, I didn't leave Paris so much as choose to go to London."

"For many young French people, London stands for dynamism, excitement, audacity, the idea that everything is possible."
Full article is here.

Hmmm. Which makes it all the more confusing when she also writes this piece in The Independant calling us 'miserable'. Make up your mind.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Laura Marling - Rambling Man ...

I don't often post music videos, but saw this, and ... wow. Laura Marling is an English Folk/Pop singer with huge talent.

Rally Against Debt - Expected Attendance - Well, A Few. Maybe.

What if you held a rally and nobody came ? Seems that those actually in favour of cuts have decided to hold a Rally in London, after the TUC's epic 500,000 event weekend before last.
"An exciting event, the Rally Against Debt, has been organised for 14 May.  It will be a major demonstration highlighting the importance of tackling the huge public sector deficit, and the need for substantial spending cuts.  So far over 1,300 people have signed up to a rally that aims to be a well mannered alternative to the unrealistic trade union march and the vandalism of the UK Uncut protest on March 26."
"Organisers said they wanted to give a voice to the “quiet majority
[My emphases, by the way]

Fine, 'Rally Against Debt' as a title sounds good, doesn't it? We're all against debt. But what the title hides is that this is in fact, a rally in favour of the proposed cuts to Public Services.

However, I would hardly call this upcoming event "exciting" or "major". In among the London tourists, I would probably call it "unnoticable" and perhaps even "Oh, is something happening over there? Oh, no, just a very small group of people."

I love how they're so proud that "So far over 1,300 people have signed up" - this amounts to 0.26% - a quarter of 1% - of the turnout at the TUC "March For The Alternative". And I'm amazed how they claim they are “quiet majority” - The latest YouGov poll showed that the Anti-Cuts movement represents the majority. Sadly, not the rich majority.

I might even go myself, just for the laughs and giggles. Anyone want to join me?

Let's be honest here - it's very unlikely that anyone who shows up will be users of the NHS, our Public Education system, our Benefits system and in fact are more likely to be rather selfish, self-centred, individuals who just cannot see the pain that these too deep, too fast cuts will cause. These individuals will be among the first to complain about dirty streets, sub-standard policing, and littered parks.

There IS an alternative, approved and backed by many economists - Slower cuts, over a longer period, via natural wastage, higher taxes, borrow at a better rate and close the tax loopholes.

We are NOT Spain, or Greece, or Ireland - our economic situation is entirely different, and comparisons are misleading.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Best. Flashmob. Ever. From Canada, How To Promote Recycling ...

Quebec Pro-Recycling FlashMob lauds and celebrates the ONE PERSON who stopped to place an empty bottle in it's proper place.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Jobcentres "Tricking People" Out Of Benefits ...

Rising numbers of vulnerable jobseekers are being tricked into losing benefits amid growing pressure to meet welfare targets, a Jobcentre Plus advisor has said.

A whistleblower said staff at his jobcentre were given targets of three people a week to refer for sanctions, where benefits are removed for up to six months. He said it was part of a "culture change" since last summer that had led to competition between advisers, teams and regional offices.

Full article here.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Biffy Clyro Gear Up For Sonisphere ...

Biffy Clyro ROCKED the Albert Hall - "No spinning drumkits, stage monsters or X-Factor floozies here. Just raw, stripped, shirtless blokes playing sweaty dirty rock n roll. Biffy Clyro just tore the Albert Hall a new emergency exit." [quote from here.]

No doubt at all they are going to make loads of new fans at Sonisphere in July. I will SO be there.

Some quotes from reviews (in case you haven't heard of them !)

“Britains best band blow the roof off her most beautiful venue,“

“While the recorded versions of their songs can be subtle and affecting, the live renditions are strictly and gruntingly physical,”

“Gargantuan, inspirational and all for charity – welcome to the really big time, boys…. Biffy as a huge band still feels strange, but they remain our most vital rock outfit”

“Slinking shirtless onto the stage they began with The Captain, a rock song as grand and theatrical as the Albert Hall itself”

“Is there any other UK band which unites the rock, metal, indie, punk and mainstream communities quite as firmly as Biffy Clyro? I don’t think so and they do it while remaining as inspiring and as original as ever.”

"On stage – no shirts, covered in tattoos, beards and two parts ginger – Biffy Clyro look like wild Scottish highlanders. They kick into “The Captain” like wild horses are tearing them apart."

Full review here.