Archive | July, 2014

Your vote and where it takes you…

29 Jul

Under capitalism, elections are used to divert us into political dead ends that won’t fundamentally change our conditions.

(with thanks to Stephanie McMillan for another wonderful cartoon)

 

Anarchy is the only system of development that makes sense

Anarchy is the only system of development that makes sense

Bedford Body Cams: The full facts (more lack of)

28 Jul

We are easily led round Bedford. An article in the local papers a few months back eventually spread to the local TV news. All our “Lollipop” people (School Crossing Patrols) were coming under daily threat and to protect them from total carnage on a daily basis the council that seems obsessed with CCTV and fining people had to equip all the patrol staff with body cams which the telly got wrong and called “hidden cameras”.

"Hidden Cameras" Keep the pole out of the way.

“Hidden Cameras” Keep the pole out of the way.

Now I’ve long sussed out that the local Lib Dem junta know how to manipulate the media and indeed the frightened voter to secure their election timed tick so I placed a Freedom of Information request to establish the actual facts.

Firstly I asked the costs and the Council have confirmed a total of £13,810 and £575 per unit which I work out covers 24 lollipop people. Does this cover the Borough I ask myself?

Secondly I asked the number of incidents involving abuse either threatened or implied between April 13 and June 14! Answer: Information not held as prior to April 14 a comprehensive record of incidents has not been maintained. To confuse this answer they have said that were three incidents in Sept and Oct 13? There have been two incidents since April where a driver failed to stop at a patrol and where the other driver verbally abused a lollipop lady!

Third I asked how many incidents had been deemed so serious as to have been passed onto Bedfordshire Police and again “Information Not Held” although the reply goes on at length to tell me how plod sent a PCSO (sometimes called  Happy Shopper Copper) to give them advice. So on the two key factors that should have been used to secure the funding there’s no supporting evidence yet this thing has been forced through as a vital necessity!

Lastly I asked them for a copy of any training instructions given to the Lollipop people and received a two page flimsy thing which I really do hope is a synopsis as its specifically lacks instructions on how to actually use the things or give clear advice on priorities i.e. getting kids safely across the road rather than becoming a film director and running off down the road. Apparently it costs 26pence per year to charge the body cams and said lollipop people will have to do this at home with recompense being arranged with the staff on an individual basis! What does stand out is that the staff won’t be able to download any images from the body cam and all they can do is wear it with faith that it actually works although quite oddly if it malfunctions they have to report it within 24 hours. How will they know? Figure that one out!

And a poster as well..coming soon to a Lib Dem leaflet near your letter box!

And a poster as well..coming soon to a Lib Dem leaflet near your letter box!

Now its an emotive subject and a clear vote winner. How could anyone possibly object? Well it was one of the actual crossing patrol staff that raised concerns to me about how exactly a camera with practical limitations could hope to capture the required information notwithstanding the fact that this particular patrol crossing guardian has been doing the job for over five years without incident and wasn’t (until earlier today) aware of the very limited number of incidents that have been used to spend £13,810 on stuff that may or may not work.

But from the Mayor’s perspective it got our brave concerned Lib Dem administration in the papers and on the telly at public expense on the flimsiest of figures and you can’t buy that sort of publicity can you. Well actually you can quite easily so long as twats like me don’t start asking questions!

Nash the Slash no more!

28 Jul

I’ve moved steadily from being a hip rock on reader of Q magazine to Mojo mostly because I find a lot of todays music quite bland and inane but also because Mojo do a monthly list of famous names in the music world who have swiftly moved from composing to decomposing!

One name in the current September issue (*?) is that of Jeff Plewman who few will be familiar with. Slightly more may know him by his alter ego of Nash the Slash and the key thing was that 30odd years back he was ploughing his own furrow of very dark slightly disturbing electro music whilst at the same time as never (ever) being seen without his trademark totally bandaged face and accompanying white tuxedo and top hot!Nash the Military Slash

He supported a post Tubeway Army Gary Numan in 1980 and 1981 which introduced him to the UK where Steve Hillage produced his first album to hit the European market! Detective work eventually outed Nash the Slash as Jeff Plewman mostly because Plewman was the legal tax paying entity behind the Nash company so to speak although for decades there was much guesswork, red herrings and false trails i.e. strong suggestions that Nash was in fact xyz only for the two of the them to appear on stage or at a do together. The only certainty was that he originated in a Laurel and Hardy film from the 30s in which the duo were pursued by a psychotic killer called…Nash the Slash!

Like many he fell out of favour to that awful Kylie bland pop period but carried on working at low level before he eventually started to garner a core respective audience outside his native Canada playing regularly in the UK up to 2012. The music still chilling with a touch of the sinister, the on and off stage garb a bit more surreal and theatrical rather than thrown together i.e. a telephone engineer with a facial sarcophagus like appearance!

If you’ve never heard of or for that matter heard Nash the Slash you have now and here he is with “Swing Shift”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_R3OyMu7a8A

Fun and Games over the border!

24 Jul

The best way of describing last night’s Commonwealth Games opening ceremony?…. it was a “Happy Shopper” version of the Olympics one from two years back. The impression I got was “Welcome to wee bonny Scotland, come on in, the fire’s toasty warm”. Policemen, council gardeners, office workers, students and crack dealers all coming together for an impromptu “open mic” session in the city centre, like one of those Disney films where half of London break out into a song and dance routine. Brilliant stuff! To tempt us none sports lover’s in we had a mixed bunch of comedians, singers, ex sports personalities from the 80s and that tedious John Barrrowman who proves you don’t need talent to be famous.

Barrowman did a routine bigging up Scotland, mentioning all the things the Scots had invented.  He conveniently didn’t mention the disproportionately large part Scotland played in the slave trade and the spread of the British Empire, an irony that won’t have been lost on the poorer Commonwealth countries. Rod Stewart crooned the crowd with a voice that would have had him booted off Britain’s Got Talent within seconds and by the time Susan Boyle turned up I’d wandered off to the Bedford Bypass creative writing zone tucked away down the garden!

Oor Wullie's message to the English. My bother has all the annuals by the way!

Oor Wullie’s message to the English. My bother has all the annuals by the way!

Then an hour or so later after Wiz had come a visiting to see what I was up to I wandered back and the whole spectacle was still droning on with hordes of competitors from small unheard of dots on the map doing the walk around wavy take selfies thing before being corralled into their own bit of the floor for two hours and surrounded by multi coloured dancers who must have been on Speed or Ecstasy to keep grooving freestyle like that for so long!

At regular intervals we got asked to text donations through to UNICEF for the children whilst at the same time we supply Israel with arms and I wasn’t certain whether I’d swapped channels and was on Children in Need as James McAvoy messed about with his phone to kick start the donations. The Queen was hanging around somewhere and having just had her £80,000 cash prize taken away for having a doped up horse she must have been well pissed off! Lets hope Borrowman had a fiver to lend her!

What was “nice” was that there was no choreographed finesse about the thing. In fact no expense appeared to have been spared. Either that or something had gone wrong but by far the best bit was two (that I saw) pre-taped appearances from Billy Connolly who gamely told us that he’d not been well but despite looking a tad frail delivered two corking eulogies to Glasgow as his home city, its lost industry, hopes for the future and its being a pioneer of simple little stunts that helped turn South Africa’s apartheid system to dust! Love you Billy, don’t go quietly..rage rage rage!

Where much of Bedford Bypass is written down!

Where much of Bedford Bypass is written down!

The leader of Glasgow City Council spoke…and for all the world sounded like some sort of Dr Who villain ready to press the “destroy ” button and then more comedy gold. There’d been some sort of disjointed scrum down on the stadium floor with people grabbing a single baton off each other. At least in the Olympics they’d had mass produced torches but for Glasgow just one wooden thing, if you touched it your ailments vanished. Maybe! The baton had a note inside. That the Queen put in last year. And its been round the world since then. And they couldn’t open it. Marm stood there watching attempts to get the top off, I was waiting for her to grab it off Chris Hoy and show them how but then it struck me that if she was waiting to read the note, as she wrote it she could have just had a rough guess. In the end she declared the games open!

You'll not beat the Scots team when it comes to mooning!

You’ll not beat the Scots team when it comes to mooning!

One big happy family of competitors but Messrs Usain Bolt and Mo Farah from Richard Branson’s Virgin Islands weren’t there, maybe there’s an elite in sports, almost like its own royalty!

And now, for the next ten days we have a small army of people running hither and thither, some jumping over things and other’s throwing javelins and balls, maybe the odd caber! Then there will be talk of the legacy and we’ve both heard it all and seen it all before!

It’s What You Know AND Who You Know! My MPs second job!

22 Jul

Bedford Bypass recently advised the world or at least those that chanced upon the blog about Alistair Burt MP for Bedfordshire North East and how he’d obtained a lucrative consultancy paying circa £833 an hour for his services (£6666.64 for eight hours). Since then we presume through embarrassment maybe he’s dropped his rates and done another ten hours for paymasters PLLG Investors Advisors of Leeds for the paltry sum of £1,666.66 which we work out brings his hourly rate down to a mere £462 per hour although all the payments are £1666.66 or multiples thereof!

Worth every penny! I really hope he gets elected next year!

Worth every penny! I really hope he gets elected next year!

He’s done very well and achieved the same status as local MPs Richard Fuller and that totally awful Nadine Dorries in putting their fingers up to all of their constituents who count the days to payday in order to balance the books! I asked Mr Burt how his fortunes allowed him to nab this nice side-line and it seems the following applies!

Alistair by his own admission uses his knowledge and relevant experience of international politics and economics gained over many years (whilst being paid as an MP). Unfortunately whilst Mr Burt was a Government Minister and officially visiting numerous oil producing companies he wasn’t allowed to have outside interests, he could only harvest the knowledge and now that he’s been cast aside he’s free to trade himself on the open market like any other MP and has been snapped up by PLLG of Leeds. I asked how this offer came about…

The Chairman of PLLG is one Peter Levine and luckily for Mr Burt he’s known him since University with both qualifying as Solicitors from Oxford. Levine is the sole owner of PLLG Investments Ltd which is his family investment fund and PLLG is stated on the President Energy website as owning 25.6% shares in this South American Oil and Gas company. PLLG are based in Leeds, using the postcode LS15 8ZA and share this bit of land with 77 other companies. I must visit this hub of productivity when I’m next up there. I’m a bit thick when it comes to this sort of thing but after looking into PLLG’s financial statements they only appear to have £736 in the bank and net assets of £117,000 so for the life of me I can’t work out what they do although Mr Levine did do a marvellous introduction to the book “Doing Business with Kazakhstan”, he’s honorary British Consul to the Republic of Kazakhstan in England (!) and he’s chuffed with something called the British Kazakh Society who list Prince Andrew Duke of York as honorary patron. That’s the same Prince Andrew who made such an embarrassing total baboon shaped red dangly arse of himself as a trade envoy!

A valuable commodity

A valuable commodity

Back to Burt I asked him about his paid for jaunts to various parts of the Middle East and I am enlightened to know that these paid for trips ensure stronger relationships and better understanding between respective politicians. I am also advised in Burt’s reply that he has a good track record of raising human rights [issues] in the less tolerant countries however despite several days worth of work on this blog while there’s no end of peripheral stuff about PLLG I can’t for the life of me find out exactly what they do, nor can I find out exactly what Alistair Burt does for them, nor can I find out any evidence to support his assertion that he has a good track record for raising human rights but like I said earlier when it comes to complicated stuff like this, well I’m a bit thick and much prefer watching the telly! In fact I only write stuff like this coz I get paid £800 an hour, £400 if I’m feeling flushed!

The information in your head is priceless. I don’t think you realise what valuable property you have become. A man like you is in great demand on the open market. (Number 2 speaking to Number 6, Arrival the opening episode of The Prisoner).

dancedead03

The A-Z of Phyllis Pearsall

21 Jul

It’s not an extensive collection by any means but over the years I’ve picked up about ten or so elderly A-Z map books of London and Manchester. Some date from the 50s and 60s and are up in the loft. Those shown in the picture are the more intact A-Zs and close competitors, the small Manchester one with the traditional “Bobby” on the front is the oddest as its just lists of streets with no map so to speak but hey, it’s older than me, its Manchester and it was 10p.

A-Zeds and more!

A-Zeds and more!

Stciking to the series copyrighted as A-Z and not the A1 versions, back in the 1930s a lady called Phyllis Pearsall was trying to find her way to a party in Belgravia and became totally lost…revelation…Phyllis finds the party (presumably) but could have done with a handy little map book…goes onto create the first A-Z of London through her own company. Goes onto publish similar for most major towns and cities, becomes mega rich but quite craftily turns the Geographers A-Z Map Company into a trust to ensure that following her death it could never be bought out. So it’s still there today based down in Kent rather than down Grays Inn Road, Holborn. She lived to a ripe old age of 89 and died in 1996 one month short of what would have been her 90th birthday.

The story is more or less correct but a few inaccuracies have crept in, or to be more precise accuracies have crept out as its much better to have a story of Phyllis pounding the streets of London eighteen hours a day for a year rather than looking at existing maps. Firstly she didn’t create the concept of the street map of London that we all know and love, versions dating back to the 17th century exist, others were widely available over tobacconist counters like the 1908 Bartholomews Reference Atlas which went covered city to suburb. Whilst the story suggests she set up the enterprise single handed from scratch the fact that her father owned a map publishing company producing similar versions gets dropped as does the access she had to cartographers working for him but anyway it’s a corking “cor blimey, wave a Union Jack” story that ticks the box. 

Phyllis Pearsall and the familiar logo!

Phyllis Pearsall and the familiar logo!

She created and marketed the blueprint for a type of map that no urban walker can be without, pocket size and if you recall a recent episode of Sherlock in terms of ownership its up there on the household shelves with the dictionary and the bible. I bought my first one in 1974 just so I could have a map with my road on it and even those street maps produced by other companies get referred to as A-Zeds as it’s become a colloquialism! Now there’s a big word which I had to look up in the Thesaurus! And if you look up Thesaurus in a Thesaurus another word you can use is dictionary. I digress…

The blue covered book in the above picture is “Mrs P’s Journey” by Sarah Hartley which gives you the myth about Mrs P in huge quantity and it’s a nice summer read!

Wobble is coming to town…London that is!

15 Jul

JAH WOBBLE’S INVADERS OF THE HEART feat. Aziz Ibrahim

First show in 20 years for Jah Wobble’s Invaders of the Heart

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Over the past three decades or so, Jah Wobble has ploughed his own furrow as a prolific solo artist, as well as becoming a well-respected session musician, with a genuine passion for Eastern and Global music. He has worked with a diverse range of musicians, including Baaba Maal, Bjork, Primal Scream, Brian Eno, Sinead O’Connor, Julianne Regan, Dolores O’Riordan, Holgat Czukay, The Edge and Chaka Demus & Pliers.

The man born John Wardle began his musical journey when he met John Lydon and Sid Vicious at Kingsway College, London, in 1973. It was Vicious who not only nicknamed John ‘Jah Wobble’ after a drunken binge but also loaned him his first bass guitar. Lydon asked JW to join Public Image Limited (aka PiL) in spring 1978. Wardle’s distinctive ‘low end’ bass became the backbone of PiL’s pioneering sound. After its follow-up, the exploratory yet sinister soundscapes of ‘Metal Box’, Wardle became disillusioned by politics within the band and their reluctance to play live. He eventually split from PiL in mid-1980 and embarked on a prolific solo career.

Jah Wobble’s Invaders of the Heart released their debut album in 1990 and received a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 1991 for the ‘Rising above bedlam‘ album. After the acclaimed ‘Take me to God‘ album in 1994 the band split and Jah Wobble launched his own 30 Hertz record label which has subsequently released around 30 albums.

This October, Jah Wobble celebrates his illustrious, 36-year career in music with an ambitious 6-CD box set entitled ‘ReDux‘. It’s a multi-faceted project. Alongside the 6-CD itself, Disc 1 will be released separately as a ‘Greatest Hits’ while Disc 6 comprises a brand new album of exclusive cover versions. Each of the other discs is themed, concentrating on Wobble’s explorations into Dub/World music, Ambient/Spoken word and Jazz, with another disc given over to his pioneering and eclectic post-punk work, during and after his tenure with Public Image Limited. Plus there’s a brand new single in there, too, ‘Let’s Go Psycho’. To launch this release Jah Wobble will be reforming the Invaders of the Heart for a special one off concert at London’s award winning Under the Bridge for the first time in 20 years.

Where your money goes!

15 Jul

Here are the real winners through local authority democracy as Bedford Bypass lets you know which Bedford Borough Councillors have been rewarded for their efforts with impressive sums of public money. Top of the list again is Charles Royden who in addition to his salary as a Vicar has received £108,209 since he was elected with £22,220 heading his way this last year! Have a look at the jobs section of the councils website and see what care assistants earn! 

Bedford's very own Charles Royden. IO nicked this pic from some church website! I'm damned.

Bedford’s very own Charles Royden. IO nicked this pic from some church website! I’m damned.

Second and the same place as last year is life and soul of the party Michael Headley (see picture) with a total of £105,373 since the last election followed by Labour’s Sue Oliver at 3 with £102,576. 

Headley. Makes the dentists waiting room a pure joy!

Headley. Makes the dentists waiting room a pure joy!

At the same position as last year at 4 in the list is Colleen Atkins with a grand total of £101,306 and then we dip under the £100K mark with that odd looking Sawyer chap (Lib Dem) who stepped down so the fresh face ex parliamentary hopeful Henry Vann could have a go at sorting our schools out so David Sawyer dips from last years 3 to 5 but we all know he did a marvellous job!  Will Hunt at 6 in the chart takes home a rather tasty £90,596 to add to his good lady Cllr Shan Hunts £69,658 and in the middle of the Hunts in the list is  Doug McMurdo at 7 with a total of £86,514 for his sterling efforts in looking after the culture remit of the council before being charged for some sort of fracas with some teenagers!

It’s tough being a councillor these days especially if you are in the Mayors inner sanctum. One minute you may be having to see long standing staff being made redundant knowing that it’s for the greater good and the next tearfully agreeing a rise in your expenses knowing that it’s for the greater good!

Do I sound like I’m being sarcastic? Probably so and it’s the Labour group that really irritate me as in return for a places on the Lib Dem Mayors Cabinet (and an extra circa £10,000 on top of their basic £10,000) they have in no uncertain terms taken the Kings shilling and a monastic vow of silence! 

Local elections next year, new faces perhaps but mostly the same old dinosaurs, some as having been there for decades who seem to see their positions as theirs for life. Maybe a new Mayor but I’ve come to realise that its not the faces that need changing, it’s the entire system. When someone gets £16,000 for wiping the arses of dementia patients whilst various croneys and hangers on get over £21,000 for agreeing with the Mayor  that’s when we need to start shouting and throwing things.

Driving Home: News Round Up!

14 Jul

All quite on the Eastern front so just a few bits and bobs to occupy our growing army of readers who stretch from Bedford to my kind of town Chicago! Via North Wales where Bethan makes cakes!

There’s shock and dismay on the streets of Bedford according to the local paper as Carol Vordermann has…quit Loose Women to concentrate on other opportunities. It all happens in Bedford and the reason this is doing the news round is simply because Carol was born here and that’s about it! Here she is…

Bedford's very own Carol Vordermann

Bedford’s very own Carol Vordermann

The Police have issued a blurred picture of some bloke that’s been filling his car up with fuel and driving off without paying. They have asked for our help. This contrasts somewhat with those late night Channel 70 shows where numerous police forces are shown testing out all sorts of gizmo’s that can tell you the life history of each passing car and what the driver had for tea last night and how come when they show us some miscreant they are almost totally unrecognizable? Here he his… 

Take a good look, win a prize!

Take a good look, win a prize!

I’ve written to my MP Alistair Burt about his good fortune to land a part time job paying £800+ an hour. Still waiting for a reply almost two weeks on. He may be abroad on one of his paid for trips to the Middle East. Here he is…

I’ve placed a Freedom of Information request asking Bedford Borough for more info justifying their decision to turn the lollipop crossing staff into mobile CCTV systems by getting them bodycams. The claim was that they are daily on the receiving end of knobhead drivers and all I’ve asked the council to do is give me the cost of the bodycam systems and the number of incidents that have involved Bedfordshire Plod!

Worth every penny! I really hope he gets elected next year!

Worth every penny! I really hope he gets elected next year!

There seems to be a third CCTV camera van trundling around to keep the other two happy. Given that they are losing us thousands per annum they seem to have kept that quiet but again I notice that the council prefer to park the hated CCTV happy snappy van in the car park at the front of Borough Hall at night and I’m frightfully worried that some agrieved driver might seek revenge by whacking the camera with some wood! Hope not. Its parked right near the main door, under the trees, if passing have a look to check its alright and not been damaged as this would give our daft mayor something to moan about!  Here they are…

Don't hurt the vans!

Don’t hurt the vans!

 

Over and out!

Batman Bypass

11 Jul

Here’s a nice pic to be filed under “random” and our thanks go to Gary from Kempston for sending it on to the Bypass Newsdesk! Gary has become something of our top (if noty only) Batman Correspondent over the years and quite how someone can accumulate so many interesting facts and pics about Gotham’s favourite superhero is beyond me but have a look and wry smile!

Batman having a Batnap in the sunshine!

Batman having a Batnap in the sunshine!

Apparently when the 1960s Batman series was cancelled after three series and a single film, MGM had agreed to continue it with a fourth year provided the set of the Batcave came as part of the deal. Fox unfortunatly had bulldozed it two days before the offer came in thus making the deal unaffordable as they would have had to build a new set!