Archive | December, 2012

Well then?

22 Dec

How was the end of the world for you then?

Raise a glass!

21 Dec

I’m not big on anniversaries (a view supported by my significant other!) but tomorrow marks 10 years since Joe Strummer of the Clash and later The Mescalero’s died after returning from walking his dog on a pre-Christmas stroll round the fields. I’m doing this blog now as the worlds going to end tonight. Apparently! Joe Strummer was 50. I was never a mega Clash fan during my spikey hair punk days of the late 70s and early 80s partly because you had to have your own fave band, my mate Rob Cosgrove had baggsied the Clash so I ended up with The Jam. That’s how it worked then but London Calling always did and still does electrify me. On the softer side Joe’s later work included a stunningly gentle track called “Willesden to Cricklewood” which ranks in my mind as having the same quality as Waterloo Sunset by the Kinks as it’s his paean to his own version of London.

Joe!

Joe!

I never saw The Clash. What I did see was Joe and Paul Simonon in what’s best described as a 50% Clash “tribute” band in 1984. So I never saw full line up of The Clash but me and Heather did bump into Mick Jones in Notting Hill last year, enough of a chance to exchange pleasantries!
One of the cruel things about Joe’s early death (from an undiscovered heart condition) was that Cliff Richard just kept going. Totally awful mundane bollocks music with nothing to support it, no conviction. Nina Simone died the same year as Joe, and moving away from the anniversary aspect I was stunned in 2010 when Ari Up of The Slits died, she was the same age as me.

Poly and X Ray Specs

Poly and X Ray Specs

Poly Styrene left us last year and both were the essence of “just do it” approach to music. They could never eclipse or match the towering colossus of Siouxsie Sioux but then again I don’t think they were bothered. Both Ari and Poly burst into the nascent punk scene and then faded before easing themselves back in in later life but then departing one last time. While Cliff Bloody Richard just keeps going on and on and on.
One of the highlights of the last 12 months (for me) was a repeat of an Arena documentary from 30 years back which showed Poly Styrene and X Ray Specs around London and Liverpool and it was the nearest I think I’ll come to time travel. Trundling round the shops in Milton Keynes I spotted a calendar of ancient monuments and stopped to look. A cold shudder went down my spine when I realised that next to it was…12 irritating views of Cliff Richard!

Ari!

Ari!

Sarah-Jayne Holland

20 Dec

Another one on the expenses!
Sarah Jayne Holland is a Lib Dem councillor. Like a number of others she’s managed to immerse herself fully into the gravy train and according to the Borough website pulled in a fair whack of dosh last year, £18,855 which must be quite nice. This will no doubt have gone up when the current figures come out!

Sarah adores Dave

Sarah adores Dave

She’s a portfolio holder and by staying in Mayor Dave’s good books she’s done very well. Now Sarah Jayne has put a letter into the local paper praisng the Mayor and how scrumptious he is, when he breaks wind birds sing and flowers come out. Well you know what I mean! It really is a fingers down the throat special. Absolute dribble, I’ve seen better quality stuff on the floor beneath my bird table. It’s total bile, sheer fucking bullshit!
She’s going on about how Mayor Dave, sword in hand, is the sole protector of the villages and as she (Sarah Jayne) lives in a Shortstown (at one time the murder capital of Bedford)with its rows of old RAF and council houses separated from Bedford not by fields but by the bypass! she should know all about life in the rural idyll!
Now I won’t repeat her shite awful letter as it’s so shite as to be total shite shite shite creepy crawly shite so instead I’m just to going to include a picture of Cllr Sarah Jane Hollands (above) and a second picture (below) that tries to articulate the quality of her writing to perfection!

What the public want?

What the public want?

She’s not on her own, Cllr Michael Headley has written similar “Dave your scrumptious” letters. He’s a Lib Dem as well. He’s also pulling in the £20,000 for being a nodding dog! You might spot a trend emerging maybe?

Slapstick Comedy!

20 Dec

One of our starting points for Bedford Bypass is that on a weekly (at least) basis we would get snippets of news from within the Borough Council that deserved shouting from the rooftops but would quite often pass by the local media. I’ve also been bemoaning the fact that you never seem to see Laurel and Hardy on the telly any more!
So it seems that Dave Hodgson (aka Dave the Mayor) and Chief Executive Phil Simpkins must have read my mind and have opted to make this the best Christmas ever by combining a story of  total incompetence with pure comedy gold just for me!

Mayor Dave and Phil Slimkins!

Mayor Dave and Phil Slimkins!

You might recall an earlier blog about Bedford Borough Council awarding a contract, more like a business arrangement for a crucial piece of software for case reporting for Childrens Welfare. The company providing this bit of kit who are based in the far east and don’t have a solid presence in the UK it would seem weren’t obliged to submit a tender as such just an offer that if it works and Azeuscare can flog similar packages to other councils then Bedford gets a rake off of a few %. Now at the time this was described by an insider that we know as akin to nipping down to the casino in Luton with a bag of money and having a flutter! This is a serious bit of support software being required by a council that have been ridiculed by external review for the quality of its service! Much of the internal report seems to suggest a head on rush to satisfy Ofsted by showing evidence of safe practice as they very strongly advised.
At the same time Mr Mayor gave his full support to the deal however it now seems that the Council has fessed up to the fact that they..er..totally bypassed the legal procurement system for purchasing such commodities. They’ve not gone public as yet as no one inside seems prepared to open their mouths, or at least none of the Liberal Democrats or Labour as… well, their lips are sealed in exchange for seat on the Mayors Cabinet and £20,000 expenses each year. There’s no viable opposition either as everyone seems to have nodded off. Groundhog day! Round and around we go! Same fucking tale every time!
This is a total screw up and the council seems to be hoping that if they keep quiet that’ll be the end of it. Luckily one of the local newspapers has got onto this and so far has refused to let the issue drop to the point where the whole deal seems to been done on the whim of a local councillor getting a reference from Camden Council!

More to follow as I’m meeting up with someone later today!

T’was the week (or two) Before Christmas!

11 Dec

We don’t do things by halves in Bedford. The town erupted into a bustle of Christmas activity over the weekend as Midland Road and Pigeon Square hosted the annual Victorian Fair. Top hats and frock coats were about in dribs and drabs selling everything from genuine Victorian pretend beaver hats, Sesame Street counterfeit clothing, and reproduction 1850s plastic spaceships made in sweatshops in the far east. Yes the magic was all around us!

Another empty shop!

Another empty shop!

The window display of Blacks Outdoor Shop was, as you can see above, resilient in splendour, tempting us in with its delightful goods, welcoming the faithful to our little town, bedecked with twinkling lights, the other shops showed just how well we are doing as together, with Dave the Mayor at the helm, we are riding the recession and giving a V sign to the austerity that has gripped other towns without the same belief that we are so fortunate to share. Further down towards the fast food shops, the Bedford Eye, dwarfing the original stature of the London original took amazed smiling children over and above the town centre to get a bird’s eye view of all we hold true and dear about our abode.

Beetle October 12 123

The entrance to the Sports shop below WH Smiths was gaily decked in typical Bedford greeting signs, welcoming one and all, Happy Christmas , each and everyone! As we made our way up through the Christmas spectacular, did I detect the first flurry of snow, or was it some kids throwing chips in the air outside the library. No we certainly don’t do things by halves in Bedford. It would cost too much!

Bye bye!

Bye bye!

Lurke St Loos!

7 Dec

I don’t know about you but if I’m in town I occasionally need to er…spend a penny. Especially when it’s cold. On Lurke St yesterday after a bit of impromptu Christmas shopping and a rather nice coffee at Pensieri on Ram Yard nature came a knocking so I went into the loos at the Lurke St car park and guess what. Closed! Now I knew that the Mayor was modernising Bedford by closing things down and I’d forgotten that he’s closed most (not all) of the public wee stops!

Quick thought on the next alternative…I head to The Bear on The High St, buy a hot chocolate (yes) nip down the end and breathe a sigh of relief albeit temporary.

The Bear, Bedford's best pub! (we think so!)

The Bear, Bedford’s best pub! (we think so!)

Now I wonder given the Mayors professed support for the town and his overwhelming love for listening to people why he seems to be taking no notice of what we, the paying public want. Over 2000 people signed a petition calling for a rethink on closing the WCs down and he’s…well he’s sort of told them to sod off. Actually as he’s accused my previous comments as being actionable I’d better clarify this. He’s actually told them that the Lurke St loos are unlikely to be reopened so basically the Mayor has sort of told them all to sod off. As it’s a hot topic and in recognition of the Christmas period when Bedford becomes a hub of activity the issue was passed to one of those interminable talking shops called the Environment Scrutiny Committee and in turn the council are going to talk about it again in January. Sorry, I just drifted off then into the plot of a 1970s BBC sitcom!

Two things stand to mind one of which is the council repeatedly bleating on about the cost of running a public WC, put at £38,000 which seems ridiculously high but then again the council provides this as a direct service so it pays itself and in the past has then used this as proof of how good they are because of the money they earn. Complex eh!

Another thought (and I need to thank a friend for this which proves that it’s not just me that is cynical) is that one of the few accessible wee stops in town is over in the Howard Centre which is a council owned shopping plaza. Makes you wonder if, as they receive rents for the retail units they aren’t trying to boost the takings by making certain that if you are in Bedford having chosen not to go to Milton Keynes and you are dragging three kids behind you then at least you are spending your dosh in a shop ultimately owned by the council rather than putting it in the till of an independent retailer over on Lurke St!

Some good news. Luddington Passage has been repainted and not wanting to miss an opportunity Dave the Mayor has been down there with some flowers. This passage usually stinks of piss and puke on Saturdays and Sundays so I guess that evens things out!

p.s. the WordPress system for importing images isn’t working so I’ll put them in soon.

6 Dec

I got all excited earlier! Not that I lead such a sad life that I don’t get excited that often. I tell you why I got excited:

I’ve been writing letters to the local papers for well over 20 years now and this was long before I realised that my way of thinking, acting and working with people was anarchistic. I’ve moaned on about all manner of subjects and apart from a period when I was working for Bedfordshire County Council and having a pop at local government and had to use an alias I’ve always never been afraid of using my real name, my views, from me, my name..Steve Watson.

I opened up the free newspaper tonight and in te letters page was one from a P Filsell and it starts “Perhaps I can enlighten Steve Watson [following his letter] about what our councillors activities. I’d put a letter in last weeks edition going over well trodden turf about fuckwit councillors on the make and pulling in the expenses.

So I thought “someone’s taking me on” and I got all excited. I love a verbal exchange, polite mind..no nasty language as it serves no particular purpose. Sad to say P Filsell was agreeing with me which I must say doesn’t excite me…just please me enormously so thanks to P Filsell for this! Much appreciated!

It’s hard being a perpetual gob sometimes. My sister who loosely operates under the moniker of Gill McClinton helps me out, my good pal Debs chips in, various others throw ideas in and Mon Pierre keeps us laughing with his weekly visits…but by and large its a bit of a job coming up with ideas for Bedford Bypass as at the end of the day Bedford is a fairly tedious backwater where the population have fallen asleep leaving a bunch of (mostly) numbskulls at the helm. There are signs of life and there are people out there in Bedford land saying “Oy” and doing their thing and I’m feeling sort of chilled and bouyant by things.

I still want to do a hard copy print of Bedford Bypass so if anyone has any spare dosh and wants to chip in please get in touch. Now look, if you don’t ask you don’t get!

OK if you are skint like me then just your enthusiasm will be highly applauded!

Signing off now for vegetarian hotdogs. I forgot to mention Whizz the Bedford Bypass dog who was found roaming round a hosuing estate three years back and has been living the dream ever since…mostly on a comfy bed near a well stocked bookcase! She says hello!

I made that up. She’s fast asleep.

Kate leaves hospital: A nation rejoices!

6 Dec

JINNY BOBBIN
(Mike Harding)

I was born on a Friday in a cotton shed
A pile of rags was my birth bed
Work was short and she’d little pay
She was back at her loom the very next day
So she called me Jinny Bobbin

 

The Beth Orton Interview!

4 Dec

imagesCA6RH7PKBedford Bypass score a first by meeting up with Norwich’s very own Beth Orton after a sell out gig at The Stables on December 5th. With a new CD out Beth very kindly took time out to speak to Steve and Debs from Bedford Bypass in which she discussed her own range of tee shirts and the new CD!
As this interview is in depth and extensive you can read the full transcript over on the Out and About with Debs page. Click on the link above. The one that says Out and About with Debs. Third one down!

Bypass kept quiet about Royal Rumpy!

4 Dec

Bedford Bypass almost revealed an exclusive a few weeks ago, we knew Kate Middleton Windsor Wales was tubbed up two weeks back however having got a draft copy of the Leveson Report and getting away with showing that picture of Kate’s tits in those golden summer days of July however we opted to stay quiet! We got wind that both Wills and Kate had signed up for the latest I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and were actually in the jungle with Nadine Dorries ex Doctor Who Colin Baker and some soap star wishing to take a shower quite regularly!

imagesCAL1HPXR
Under a cloak of secrecy designed to boost the piss poor shows ratings Wills and Kate were smuggled into camp in a wicker basket with some stinky sheets on top to put the paparazzi off the scent!
For the first few days, to give the royal couple chance to get the gist of sleeping on the floor camera’s didn’t film them but then one day it all went wrong!
Former 80s pop star Limahl from Jackanory told Bedford Bypass “ It was awful, Kate had just eaten some fried kangaroo arsehole and instantly grabbed Colin Baker’ floppy hat, we thought she was trying to impersonate his Dr Who character but then she wretched into it, serious volumes, three big heaves, sounded like a cow in pain” Fellow contestant Nadine Dorries said “ We all crowded round, after all its not every day you get to see one of the royal family puking up kanagaroo bits into Patrick Troughton’s hat do you!

Ex Dr WHo Colin Baker

Ex Dr WHo Colin Baker

Things just went from bad to worse according to camp insiders and it was after Kate had spent the night bringing up yellow bile with insect bit’s and a foul stench around the fire that we realised that this wasn’t just a reaction to Emu gizzards and that she had all the symptoms of morning sickness even though it was late! Nadine who’s has brought three daughters into the world and seemingly got most of them on the payroll was able to confirm the diagnosis. Arrangements were made for the royal twosome to sneak out!

imagesCADCV0MX

It was sad to see them both leave said that top heavy girl from Coronation St as I was hoping to compare our attributes, I think mine are much bigger!
Now at Bedford Bypass we respect the royal family’s right to privacy so we agreed to sit on this until Kate Wales or whatever she’s called and her bun in the oven became common knowledge.
We wish Kate well as she sits in the ante natal unit in St Guys looking at old copies of Hello magazine while she waits to be seen!