Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Nike 'Run To The Beat' - Video ...

Biiiiig fun at the O2 last Sunday ... 

And other really good videos here, and here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The 'Battle' Of Cable Street - 75 Years On ...

Tourists in London thronging around the Tower Of London usually miss out on another London landmark just down the road - the site of the famous The Battle of Cable Street - an occassion that this weekend celebrates it's 75th Anniversary with a huge Festival of Events, details here, here, and here. Facebook Event Page is here.

Mosley's Blackshirts
In Cable Street, East London, back in 1936, as the Nazi Far-Right rose in Germany, the British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Mosley, went to march in the East End of London, protected by the Police. They were met by an anti-fascist alliance, including local Jewish, Socialist, Anarchist, Irish and Communist groups.

The defenders built barricades from paving stones, timber and overturned lorries. Women threw the contents of chamber pots on to the heads of policemen and children hurled marbles under their horses and burst bags of pepper in front of their noses.

Shouting the Spanish civil war slogan "No pasaran" - "They shall not pass" - more than 300,000 people turned back an army of the Blackshirts. Their victory over racism and anti-Semitism on Sunday, October 4, 1936 became known as the Battle of Cable Street and encapsulated the British fight against the Fascism that was stomping across Europe.

It was a victory for ordinary people against racism and anti-Semitism and it should be instilled in the minds of people today. The Battle of Cable Street is a history lesson for us all. People as people must get together and stop racism and anti-Semitism so that everybody - without exception - can lead an ordinary life, and develop their own ideas and religions.

The event is marked in Cable Street not just by a historic plaque but also by a huge, beautiful mural depicting the events of the day.

The Battle against Fascism goes on, of course. These days we fight the BNP and the EDL, (see previous reports) and we see the same angry, racist, anti-semitic and anti-islamic faces.

The Battle Mural in Cable Street
And yes, if you're wondering, Oswald Mosley, the British Nazi, is the father of Max Mosley, former president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), who was forced to step down from his role after a Nazi Holocaust-themed sex party. 

Mark Cavendish - And Britain - Win World Road Race Title ...

It was inevitable really.

Cavendish - brilliantly supported by the entire GB Team - won the World Road Race Title on Sunday and will wear the Rainbow Jersey for the next 12 months.

Putting aside the Tour De France (which Cavendish will never win, as he's a pure sprinter) - The World RR Title is the pinnacle for any rider. Last year the popular Thor Hushovd was a worthy winner, but this year the GB Team - the strongest ever - made their plan public. Still no-one was able to stop them delivering Cavendish to near the front with 200m to go. The rest was epic Cavendish.
"I never demand the impossible – but there's no excuse for failure."
- Mark Cavendish
But the task would have been impossible without the entire GB Team involvement. Every time a breakawaBritain finished top of the World Road Cycling medal table with two gold medals, two silver and two bronze.y occured, the GB Team chased it down, in the early stage led by Chris Froome.

The team was managed on the road by the experienced Robert Millar, in the absence of any team radio backup, and he called the tactics perfectly. Bradley Wiggins put in a massive long turn on the front of the peloton to drive the bunch - absolutely burying himself - effectively sacrificing his own chances, which were significant - to deliver the remaining three GB riders to the front.
"At the start of the season I said I had two goals: the green jersey and the rainbow stripes ... Now I get to wear the rainbow bands for the next year."
"The team all rode out of their skins today. It's a shame they can't wear the world champion's jersey as well. I've won the jersey, but I just put the finishing touches to the mission."
- Mark Cavendish
As Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Cavendish were delivered to the front, the usual barging and shoving meant that the GB team were blocked off - until Ian Stannard elbowed his way through. Geraint Thomas led out ; Cavendish finished off. As he does.

After the week, Britain finished top of the World Road Cycling medal table with two gold medals, two silver and two bronze.
Dave Brailsford
"It's unbelievable to win the road race but it's the entire performance of the team that gives me great pleasure. It's brilliant for Mark, but it's also brilliant for the team."
- British Cycling Chief Dave Brailsford.
Cavendish's victory capped a week in which Bradley Wiggins earned time trial silver, while 17-year-old duo Lucy Garner and Elinor Barker raced to gold and silver in the junior women's road race and time trial respectively.

Bronze medals were picked up by Emma Pooley in the elite women's time trial and Andy Fenn in the men's U23 road race.

There is now no doubt at all that GB are the dominant force in World Cycling - male or female, track or road, our tiny island is the best on two wheels.
"I had to finish it off when the guys rode like that all day ... They buried themselves into the ground and then they came back again, every single last drop. The whole last lap we had Bradley Wiggins on the front when guys were attacking."

"We were left outnumbered at the end - we were left with just a couple and I went a little bit earlier than I had to go. I had to take that opportunity."

"I said on the bus this morning: if we do everything 100% right, we'll win this world title. And the guys did 110% of what they had to do."
- Mark Cavendish

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wordle Graphic Of What I'm Going On About ... !

I like this tool 'Wordle' - Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide, like the content of a blog, or a speech, etc. So here's mine, from my recent posts - remember, size of words represents frequency of repetition ... here we go:

'Reverse Graffiti' In Rotherhithe Tunnel ...

As much as I'm a fan of 'Street Art' (ok, graffiti - some of it is beautiful) the problem is how do you make a real point about vehicle emission pollution without, er, breaking the law... ?

Well, how about this - a pro-cycling, anti-pollution 'graffiti' - created not by spraying or painting, but by cleaning ... !

The Rotherhithe Tunnel in London - opened in 1908 - is the dirtiest, smelliest tunnel you can imagine. Even car drivers hate it - and it's brutal cycling through it. A 2003 survey rated it the tenth most dangerous tunnel in the whole of Europe due to its poor safety features. But the worst thing is the choking fumes.

Cycling = Pollution Solution

So pressure group Climate Rush tried this new trick by actually scrubbing away at the dirty bricks to remove the layers of grime caused by years of traffic.

Absolute genius.

Full article and more images are here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tour Of Britain - Cavendish 'Bookends' The Tour, But Boom Wins GC ...

The Tour Of Britain in London
The Tour Of Britain 2011 came back to Westminster on Sunday - after a year out in Docklands, and the two stages 8a and 8b drew massive crowds - and I was pleased to be right on the 50m line to see Mark Cavendish absolutely fly from 5th to 1st in the last straight, winning the last Stage as he won the First in Scotland.

Alex Dowsett
Before that, the Time Trial Stage (8a) had Sky's Alex Dowsett winning with a stunning ride around Whitehall. His time of 10:14.73s put him a comfortable 5 seconds clear of runner up, Lars Boom of Rabobank (the eventual GC winner)
"Yeeee! Blumin love time trialling and london!" - Alex Dowsett on Twitter
Cavendish wins again
But the main event of the day - what most people came to see - was the 10-lap Criterion of the City of Westminster. Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw gave HTC yet another one-two as the sprinter and his lead-out man dominated the final sprint. A brave 9-lap break by Ronan McLaughlin and Kristian House was finally snuffed out in the final lap, and for city-centre finishes, would anyone bet against Cavendish?

Lars Boom (Rabobank) finished comfortably in the main pack to claim the overall win and Gold Jersey in impressive fashion. But in London, he was overshadowed by the Manx Missile.

Cavendish wins again
It was a terrific Tour, with top performances by the Brits in a Multi-National field - more non-British riders this year than ever before. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Rapha Condor-Sharp) won the KOM Jersey and finishing a noteworthy 6th overall. Welshman and Sky leader Geraint Thomas's strong final day ensured he was able to take home the blue Points Jersey. British Team Sky took the Team Competition. Sky's Steven Cummings rode really well to finish 2nd overall - an excellent result for him.

Pieter Ghyllebert had already sewn up the Sprints Jersey, reward for an impressive showing by the Irish An PGold Jerseyost-Sean Kelly team.

Well, perhaps we all thought British Cycling had reached a peak, with Wiggins and Cavendish, but frankly, with performances this week from Tiernan-Locke, Thomas, Dowsett and Cummings, with Chris Froome coming 2nd in La Vuelta just in front of Wiggins, I feel that this indicates that the next phase of Brits are already in place, just waiting in the wings.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Great River Race in London - Epic Madness ... !

Chaos is always so much more fun when it's organised - the Great River Race ("less po-faced than Exbridge and much more colourful" according to Time Out) took place on Saturday, from London Docklands to Ham, Surrey. Chaotic, very slightly mad, and very English, despite the number of foreign crews competing. It's the Thames' equivalent to the London Marathon.

With 2,400 competitors in 300 boats racing for 35 trophies, it has become the biggest and most prestigious event of its kind in Europe - it's a Pageant and Mini-Carnival as much as a race.

In London we really used to overlook the possibilities of the Thames. We're waking up to it now, and this event celebrates the fact that the river is becoming busier each year with leisure traffic of all kinds.

Various craft take part in this now-becoming-classic event, including Gigs, Skiffs, Celtic Longboats, Cutters, Currachs, Dragon Boats, Whaleboats and from various countries (but a huge number of brilliant Dutch rowers) with an assortment of novelty craft. All the boats are handicapped by class to provide an overall competition as well as 35 different competitions by class.

Finish Festival at Ham
As handicapping is on a slowest-away first basis, this makes for a lively race - on Saturday, almost the last two boats to start (both Chinese Dragon Boats) finished 1st and 2nd, overtaking almost all the other craft on the way...

The Tartouffe Band
Festivities at the Finish - with the boats progress tracked via GPS and shown on a Big Screen - were only barely dampened by the slight misty rain, but spirits were superbly raised by a hilarious and very tuneful Dutch Comedy Brass band.

The Row2Recovery Ream
Two of the highlights for me were meeting up with two crews who are rowing the Atlantic for charity starting in December 2011 and finishing in January 2012 in Barbados ...

Firstly, Row2Recovery, which features 6 military personnel who have lost limbs during active service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The RowForFreedom Team
The other crew facing the same epic challenge is RowForFreedom, a female crew raising both funds and awareness of Child Trafficking, Prostitution and Slavery.

[Postnote: Both crews completed their challenges in epic style]

The hard part?

Supervising the recovering of several hundred boats (who seemed to arrive almost at the same time) from the water at Ham, dangerously gnarly & muddy slipways, missing or wet and exhausted crews, tide coming in then flying out, the light fading fast - and lots and lots of shouting from me. Yes, I lost my voice. Again. I was exhausted, wet, cold, and annoyed.

But then I though of what Row2Recovery and RowForFreedom will face in the Atlantic and I shut up. Besides, we were fortunate enough to finish under floodlights at about 10.00pm ... just in time to hit the bar for beer, oysters, and mad Dutch partiers.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Millions Planning Strike On 30 November Deserve Support ...

PCS Leader Mark Serwotka
As you will have heard, major Public Service Unions are to ballot for Co-ordinated Industrial Action, to take place on November 30th.

This will be a battle for public opinion.

The Coalition Government are already stating their case that 'ordinary people' will suffer. (Without acknowledging the suffering already inflicted by, er, the Coalition Government)

So it is vital that the Public understand the reasoning behind the strike ballot decision. And it's best explained by Britain's best young(-ish) major Union leader, the dynamic PCS Union Leader, Mark Serwotka, ...

"The decision made by virtually every public sector union at the TUC yesterday was nothing short of historic. In my 10 years as leader of the PCS union, I have never known so many unions to be united and resolute."

"It is now clear that unless the government enters into serious negotiations there will be up to three million public sector workers on strike on 30 November - and the unions involved have made it clear if necessary this will mean, as Brian Strutton of the GMB said, "days of action running through the winter, into next year and right into the summer".

"Why has this happened? It is because of the contempt shown by this government for public services, public sector workers and for the truth."

"Facing a programme of over £80 billion of cuts no community in Britain is exempt from this onslaught - school buildings cancelled, libraries closing, bus services removed, and jobcentres closing as unemployment rises."

"But there is also an ideological aspect to this as well. Alongside the cuts is the same old Tory obsession with privatisation: first it was the forests, then prisons, and now the whole NHS is set to be picked apart by multinational corporations."

"The unemployment figures released yesterday show 110,000 fewer public sector workers - and many are living in fear of their jobs and their futures. For those still in work they are living through the second year of a pay freeze, while living costs are rising over 5% per year."

"On top of this, the government is attacking their pension - telling people they must work longer and pay more to receive a smaller pension. It is nothing short of a disgrace."

"What adds insult to injury though is this government's dubious approach to the truth. In advance of our strike alongside three teaching unions on 30 June, the prime minister said, public sector pensions were 'in danger of going broke'."

"Nothing could be further from the truth: the Hutton report shows the cost of public sector pensions going down while the National Audit Office, which assessed the pensions compromises we made with the last government, shows 'long-term costs are projected to stabilise around their current levels'."

"So if three million public sector workers take action on 30 November, they'll be striking for their services, their jobs, their pensions and for honest negotiations. Please support them."

Why You Should Choose Ubuntu Over Windows ...

I've long been a Linux fan. It. Just. Works.

Up to recently, just in case I needed to 'fallback' on a secondary system, I've kept my Windows installs on my PC and Laptops, using a 'dual-boot' system. A few weeks ago, however, having not used Windows for at least a year, I wiped them both and now keep my machines pure.

Linux is certainly good enough for most of the world's biggest Net Sites.

Who uses Linux anyway? To quote Jim Zemlin, the executive director of The Linux Foundation ...
"Every single person in the modern world every day. Everyone who searches Google, picks up a phone and uses telecommunication infrastructure, watches a new televisions, use a new camera, makes a call on many modern cell phones, trades a stock on a major exchange, watches a weather forecast generated on a supercomputer, logs into Facebook, navigates via air traffic control systems, buys a netbook computer, checks out at a cash register, withdraws cash at an ATM machine, fires up a quick-boot desktop (even those with Windows), or uses one of many medical devices; the list goes on and on."

"It is hard to think of someone in the developed world who doesn't touch Linux every single day. The better question here is who isn't a Linux user."
He's got a point there. If you buy something from Craigslist or keep up with friends on Facebook, you're using Linux. You watch videos on YouTube? Linux again. Google? Yes, they run Linux too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Fellow American.. An Anti-Islamaphobic Film Project ...

With the anniversary of 911 still very much on our minds, it seemed suitable to repost this item I previously wrote on 11th of August. This is a cause very much on my mind, with thankfully the recent Islamophobic 'EDL' demonstration in London's Tower Hamlets being successfully repulsed!

With Islamophobia rising in many countries, not just Norway, the UK, and mainland Europe, but also in the US, an American film project has started to adress the issue in the US.

I recall after 9/11 American news reports of people of many faiths - not just Muslims but Sikhs, Hindus and others - all getting the blame for the attacks.

Islam is so misunderstood - and feared - by those of others faiths, or no faith at all.
'My Fellow American' is a film project in the United States devoted to recognizing that Muslims are our neighbors. They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us.
This is an excellent idea and I think we could do with this in the UK. Any film-makers want to think about a project like this?

To know our Muslim communities, know this: Tariq Jahan, who lost his son along with two others, in a racially motivated attack in Birmingham amid the riots, In the depths of grief, showed supreme dignity and spoke eloquently of the need for peace and calm. In London, Muslim residents came out in force to protect their communities in the midst of rioting and to ensure that locals were taken care of. That is the Islam that I have come to know.  

You can also check out the project on FaceBook here, and follow their Twitter Feed for updates. They also have a very good YouTube channel.

Tour Of Britain - Stage 3 ... Boom ... !

Lars Boom leads Michael Matthews
to a Rabobank one-two
Former World Cyclo Cross Champion Lars Boom took victory on the uphill finish into Stoke-on-Trent city centre to pull on the IG Markets Gold Jersey, with a three second advantage over Mark Cavendish.

The Dutchman led home teammate and Under-23 World Champion Michael Matthews in an impressive one-two, on a day which helped shape the overall complexion of The Tour of Britain, as winds once again contributed to the action.

Behind the Rabobank duo came a quintet of Brits, led by Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish, the latter of whom relinquished his grip on the race lead, but kept hold of The Prostate Cancer Charity Points Jersey.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

'The Killing' Ends Soon on BBC4 - More Scandinavian Crime, Please ...

The Killing - Brilliant Drama
As a lover of both a) European culture and, b) detective novels, it's not hard for you to understand that the coming end of the BBC4 re-run of the original "Forbrydelsen" - The Killing - is going to be painful for me. Just 3 episodes left of 20.

I know I've seen it before. I know how it ends. Doesn't matter. Good drama, like good music, bears repeating.

Some of the best TV in Britain this year, in my book, has been Zen, Spiral, Wallander and The Killing - and the common link? Wonderful European locations, great plotting, excellent performances, and the inner warmth that tells you you're watching something rare and wonderful.

Fortunately 'The Killing's series, II and III, have been bought by the BBC, and they still have some Wallander's to show.

The US Version
In the meantime, don't even THINK about suggesting I watch the American 'remake' of The Killing - it's dreadful. Really dreadful.

Why? Because the 20 episodes of the Danish original gave the series and the characters time to grow. The US version squeezes this into 12 ad-breaked episodes and constantly loses the flow.

But the real difference, frankly, is the acting. Sorry, but the Europeans just beat the pants off the Yanks when it comes to drama and the actors in the Danish version - all theatrically trained - show up their American cousins.

Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if the US version actually tried to do their own thing - but the script and plot are straight lifted from the Danish original, the names are barely changed and the whole cast are almost look-a-likes of the original characters.

Mireille Enos as 'Linden' (US)

Sofie Gråbøl as 'Lund' (Denmark)

Joel Kinnaman as 'Holder' (US)

Søren Malling as 'Meyer' (Denmark)
Brent Sexton as 'Larsen' (US)

Bjarne Henriksen as 'Larsen' (Denmark)

Quote Of The Day ...

"There are more fools in the world than there are people."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Riding In An Assertive Position ...

Taking The Lane
Very good article in the Guardian today on cylists' positioning in the road. The article states that ...
"Riding in an assertive position in the middle of the lane is recommended as safe practice in certain situations – but it can provoke hostile reactions from other road users. Ask any urban cyclist about "taking the lane", and even if they haven't heard of the term, they have probably done it. Although widely regarded as safe practice, this often gets negative responses from other road users."
The full article is here, but my view is this - Bearing in mind that 'taking the lane' is recommended by Bikeability, (because cyclists are safest where they can see the road and be seen) I tend to do this a lot, but I pull over when I feel that it is safe (in my judgment) for a vehicle to pass.

Also, remember that a bicycle is a vehicle on the road and a person riding it has the right to act like any other person on the road.

I'd be a little more loath to give more room to vehicles if they gave me more room - I demand 1.2 metres of space by the side of the road (roughly the width of a cycle lane) and if I don't get it - I'll take the whole damn road.

A Little Bit Of Decent Customer Service ...

Talking to a friend a few days ago about the appalling service he'd received from a Mobile Phone operator recently, I remarked that good service should always be publicised, then realised I'd had top service from a very good world-renowned company (and failed to mention it to you, my loyal followers...)

I recently acquired a superb watch, just as my last one was dying. It's a Accurist MB737, about £150 pounds worth of virtually indestructable precision - and I got if for free, as it had been stored in a drawer for several years, the old battery had leaked a bit, and it needed a service.

A few weeks later, stripped and cleaned and powered, it was running as good as new. But I had no manual for it.

So I tentively sent an email to Accurist UK, hoping for a response. Within 1 hour, I'd received a PDF of the manual. That's good. That's very good, actually.

So a 'tip-o-the-hat' to Accurist for rare good service.

Tour Of Britain - Stage 2 ... Cancelled ...

Shame, but I guess we could see it coming. A joint decision has been taken by Tour of Britain organisers, in conjunction with teams and riders, officials and police that Stage Two of The Tour of Britain, from Kendal to Blackpool will not take place in light of the extremely high winds in the Northwest of England.

However, it was very good to see that for the disappointed fans at the start and end points of the stage, they organised a processional 'parade' at Kendal and a flotilla of cars in Blackpool, with many riders spending time talking to fans and signing autographs.

Explaining the decision, Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said;
"In my thirty years of organising cycling events I have never once had to cancel a stage before it even started, so this is not a decision that has been taken lightly.

However today has presented as with a set of extreme circumstances.  The safety of competitors, officials, staff and of course spectators is of more importance than the spectacle of the event.  We cannot, and will not take the slightest risk when it comes to safety, hence today’s decision.

Pockets of the route, including the start at Kendal were more sheltered but still experienced extremely blustery conditions.  In the main though there were large sections of the stage on exposed hillsides, including the three Skoda King of the Mountains locations, plus the final five kilometres of the stage along Blackpool Promenade, where conditions were deemed unsafe by ourselves as organisers, hence the regrettable decision to cancel the stage.

I would like to thank the teams and riders for their assistance today, and apologise to the many spectators out on the route who have missed out on the opportunity to see The Tour of Britain, but we hope that they will understand the reasons behind our decision."

Tour Of Britain - Stage 1 ... Cavendish, Of Course ...

Hell, yeah! Good start to the TOB as 'Cav' takes the win. This time next week I'll be on The Mall cheering him to another...

And A Bonus... My Favourite 'FailBook ...

Current Favourite Demotivator - Matching ...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Why Wearing A Helmet Could Affect Your Legal Status ...

The guy at the back not only has
no helmet, but no shirt either !
An article in The Guardian Online states that "The decision not to wear a helmet can have legal consequences for cyclists who suffer head injuries and sue for compensation."

A recent court case decision concerning a rider who suffered brain damage in an accident concluded that "liability was reduced by two-thirds because of Reynolds' "contributory negligence" in two respects: firstly he had cycled in a dangerous manner which brought about the collision, and secondly he wasn't wearing a helmet."

Just to remind you all - Helmet Wearing is not compulsory in the UK - but it is a damn good idea, for lots of reasons.

Full article here.

UK Homelessness Increases 17% - In Just 12 Months ...

The Department for Communities and Local Government compared the number of homeless between April and June this year with the same period last year.

This showed local authorities had accepted 11,820 applicants this year - up 17% - as being homeless and eligible for the council housing waiting list. Housing Minister Grant Shapps said that despite the rise, homelessness was at a "historic" low level. He said the figures underlined how the effects of "the worst recession for a generation continue to deliver difficult times for households up and down the country".

"But anyone facing financial difficulty or the prospect of losing their own home is not alone. There is help available and everything will be done to help people avoid homelessness," he added.

But homeless charity Crisis cited new research, saying cuts in local government funding would only exacerbate the problem. Its chief executive, Leslie Morphy, said: "Today's official figures prove once again we now face a sustained increase in homelessness but, worryingly, this research predicts the worst is yet to come."

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "This dramatic rise in homelessness indicates that the impact of unemployment, increasing living costs and stagnant wages is taking its toll, as more and more people struggle to hang on to their homes."

Full story from the BBC is here.

Fake Tan: How Did It Become The New Normal ... ?

Perma-tanned orange celebrities
I've considered a fake tan. Once, a few years ago. It didn't work that great, and I gave up. I decided that I spend enough time outdoors on my bike to get at least some colour.

However from this BBC report, it seems that Fake Tan is now 'normal' while a natural skin colour is, by extension, ... not.

Fake tan is mockingly associated with the Tango shade of orange, and permatanned celebrities - like Katie Price, Christine Bleakley, Cheryl Cole, and the entire cast of ITV's 'The Only Way Is Essex' - are often quite rightly lampooned.

The true fact is that tanning is a fashion - albeit a long-running one. Before the 1920's a tan said you were a manual labourer who spent all day outdoors, and so the elite strived for paleness.

Then in the 1920s, with the early jet-setters travelling to Nice or Monte Carlo for their summers, and as more people actually worked in an office environment, the 'tan' became the 'thing'. Now with so many sun-chasers abroad once a year it seems that the all-year 'orange' is here to stay.

'But I look healthier!' my friend tells me.

No. I know you, and I know you had 10 rainy days in Cornwall this year. Which means you just sprayed or rubbed 54 different chemicals on your skin for your vanity.

This is what an orange spray tan looks like at it's worst ...

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Kate Rusby ... Where Have You Been ... ?

I discovered Kate Rusby at Greenbelt 2011 (my blog post here).

Never heard her before, and yes, I'm sure many of you will say 'Oh, we've been following her for years...' but she's new to me, and truly wonderful.

And on the subject of female singer-songwriters who deserve way more recognition, one of my favourites, Norways finest, Maria Mena...

Monday, September 05, 2011

The London Sky Ride ...

Sir Chris Hoy (that's multiple world and Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy), Kelly Brooks, me, and ... oh, about 55,000 other Londoners on cycles, the streets to ourselves, no cars ... not a bad Sunday at all.

“Seeing the capital by bike with so many people enjoying a day out cycling is a great experience. This is my fourth year at the London Sky Ride and having the opportunity to cycle past some of the world’s most iconic landmarks on traffic-free streets is something I always enjoy. I hope today will have reminded people how much fun can be had from cycling and has encouraged people to get back on their bikes.” - Sir Chris Hoy

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Tower Hamlets Demo Ends In EDL Failure And Community Victory ...

An EDL 'Warrior'
The Fascist, Nazi thugs of the EDL tried to invade the London Borough of Tower Hamlets today, and failed miserably.

Local community groups, along with a whole host of various Anti-Fascist organisations, set up a cordon and protected the area, which includes the famous Brick Lane and Cable Street (scene of another famous anti-fascist event), and when it was clear the EDL would come nowhere near, proceeded to hold a carnival-like celebration party for the day.

A robust policing operation corralled the EDL and the offshoot NWI (North West Infidels) from Liverpool Street, Kings Cross Stations and their Coach Park at Tooley Street to a single point at Aldgate for a 'static' demonstration - then back again to their dispersal points.

EDL trapped at Aldgate
A few small groups of EDL/NWI 'warriors' got split out from the main body, but were seen to remove and hide their colours, and melt into the crowds.

Already (at 6.20pm) there are recriminations appearing on EDL Facebook pages, with the EDL now saying that they "never intended to go to Tower Hamlets anyway".

For a National Event, with only about 1000 EDL members showing up, this has been a very dissappointing day for the 'warriors'. Is this really the best they can do? Even better news is that EDL self-appointed 'leader' Stephen Yaxley AKA Stephen Lennon AKA 'Tommy Robinson' was arrested today for breaching his bail. (Post Script - this info came from the EDL itself but was found to be incorrect. But Stephen Yaxley did breach his bail conditions and 'will hand himself in' according to EDL)