Archive | August, 2014

Situations Vacant…

30 Aug

Good Evening! As the “more regular” scribe of Bedford Bypass I usually require a script or at least a contribution, something of a direction before I turn the PC into Bypass mode and start typing. But not tonight! So with no particular idea of how this blog will end…or for matter take shape..here goes!

I have a sister. I met her when I was 28. Ms Manners is the only person to communicate directly. She’s a few years younger than me. Bedford Bypass needs Gill McClinton like a car needs needs insurance. She is my adviser and mentor. We have a pact that I will never press “publish” before she’s reviewed it. Tonight I’m taking a gamble as I’m in a naughty but safe mood!

Take the money while it's there!

Take the money while it’s there!

I have  OCD (undiagnosed) as far as music (CDs) books and related ephemera are concerned. I have plenty of other conditions (diagnosed) that allow me to safely say with certainty that I have OCD (undiagnosed) as far as music in shiny disc form are concerned. To help me deal with this stressful and at times expensive condition I can rely on Piccadilly Records, Recordstore, Rough Trade and others who send me weekly emails showing the wonderful bountiful offerings there for the purchasing thereof. Scummy oooh things without which in my life I would be the the equivalent of something that crawls away from an outside toilet seat when you shine a candle on it at 3am…

I got one this week…a book a by one Ian Curtis titled “This is Permanence” and its screwed me up. Ian Curtis died May 18th 1980 without any knowledge that his name would be ascribed to this book. But that endorphin rush kicked in. Like a junkie waiting for the next time that the needle would touch skin….Curtis was the vocalist in Joy Division. He was far braver than I in that he exited by his own engineering thirty four ago two days after my 18th day of cake and cards and I can remember the exact spot where I was when I heard. My city was monochrome. For many round the Manchester area he was a name in the papers. To a lesser extent he was the vanguard of the Manchester music scene as lead singer with Joy Division who after his death by self asphyxiation (hanging) became New Order, I’ve paced a trench as to whether I buy this weighty tome from Recordstore…….and after deciding some five days after the invite……that I needed book he help me breath…to maintain a heartbeat…….all 200 signed copies are gone….so the OCD gene that has haunted me for 30 odd years and delivered a complex collection of books, film posters, vinyl, and CDs has been thwarted.

He sometimes looks like he's just got out of bed. Come to Bedford!

He sometimes looks like he’s just got out of bed. Come to Bedford!

I have as of today…six nieces and nephews…with no offspring of our own and my own that I am aware of although I stand to be surprised (as my sister was in 1990) …..Back in a bit …The Cure are on the telly…..(this is a live blog….rubbish fretwork Robert,,,,call yourself a guitarist….)  where was I….I’ve written to them all, sent them books, notes, invites to read Bedford Bypass…free limited edition badge and not one of them has bothered to write back saying thanks so at the present moment in time 34 years since Ian Curtis sliced many people apart by what he did it looks my collection of books, CDs and rare vinyl in terms of monetary value are on their way to Greyhound Rescue…..with the exception of “So This is Permanence” as 200 others beat me to it although I bet the unsigned version will be announced soon!

Madonna stays in Bedford Hotel September 2014

Madonna stays in Bedford Hotel September 2014

So I have run out of steam….with so much to say but without the mental agility to deliver. Its usual a physical problem…but you have a picture of the Wipers Times from 1916 which this blog was intended to be about but well, you’ll just have to wait! Savea bit of time and google Wipers Times. Go on! ) Debs  I’ll see you Monday. Snooze time beckons…..

Bye for now….  Gill’s brother….X

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KLF: A Million Quid up in Smoke ..twenty years on!

27 Aug

An anniversary of sorts…20 years ago, 23rd of August 1994 Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty who were the KLF till they called it quits a few years earlier went up to the Isle of Jura and torched a £Million quid in the hearth of an old bothy. One million quid up the chimney and all filmed for prosperity by KLF collaborator Alan Goodrick and with a only a single journalist, Jum Reid to verify proceedings.

KLF 2

The low quality film was then toured with a Q and A session round various village halls and other odd places the year after to mixed results. Outright praise and total hostility. There’s still a view that it was a hoax using a small amount of real notes wrapped around false one, vehemiently denied by Drummond. Others suggest a direct assault on capitalism, counter views say it was an act of gross callousness given what a million quid could have done ten years after Live Aid achieved so very…little.

I’ve always been about 10% sceptical as to whether the full £million was torched. The picture below shows a gaunt Drummond and Cauty at Euston Station on their return and if you can then take a good stare at their faces. Both have said they will not talk again about the burning until after the 23rd anniversary (2017) but Drummond is on record from 2002 as saying he regretted the action…. more so because his own personal circumstances had changed!

My take is that as “pop stars” if they’d have bought BMW’s, houses and swimming pools or snorted it off mirrors or the pert arse of a groupie then no one would have batted an eyelid as that’s what musicians do but torching it in a derelict cottage cum barn on the edge of a sea loch…well that’s not on!

KLF Burn a Million Quid

 

Free Parking for Council Vans?

26 Aug

Now I know a bit about this. For a few years I was in the pay of Bedford Borough Council on a reasonable whack (over £30k)  with nothing to do so I’d take a little Borough van and tootle into town often parking wherever I wanted but not in anyone’s way. Only once did I get a parking ticket for parking on the pavement behind Lurke Street car park and I was told by a council chap called Dave Lant (since made redundant) to send it to head honcho and bag carrier Stewart Briggs who would get it cancelled. So I did and…he did!

Now if your recall a blog from last year titled “Bedford’s Very Own Twat in the Hat”, I snapped one of the traffic blokes booking a lorry that was unloading a single pallet of paper to the Magistrates Court and having spoke to the driver who had said he’d be no more than five minutes I found the warden to be acting like a total TWAT of the highest order. TWAT squared. Ancient Order of The Twat!

Bedford's very own Twat wearing a silly hat!

Bedford’s very own Twat wearing a silly hat!

Hence the blog which started a real flow of information about the traffic wardens, what they get up to, who the decent ones are but plenty of gripes about the TWAT and his general appearance which is at times very “Clint Eastwood”.  Now I’ve seen this traffic warden numerous times one of which was in a very odd location which I won’t go into too much detail, another time he seemed to be hiding up waiting for his late shift to finish so he could go home. Fair do’s.

And here he is again, or it certainly looks like him. This time he’s booking motorbikes for parking up and transgressing. Those evil motorbike people.

He wears really stupid sun shades that make him look a TWAT!

He wears really stupid sun shades that make him look a TWAT!

One thing I don’t see is any attention to Bedford Borough Council fleet vehicles parked where the driver sees fit which I guess leads to accusations of double standards? Here’s one (below) parked in the loading / unloading bay at the side of the Corn Exchange so when dross tribute acts, Sally and Sweep and Psychic Sooty come to town they have somewhere to park. This van wasn’t unloading in fact for the twenty minutes or so that I was hovering (sad person I am) there was no sign of the driver. It was market day so maybe he was getting his fruit and veg?

The point here is that the Council in their wisdom have fenced off the large motorcycle parking spot near the town bridge and the goon-squad or at least one of them is now doing his trick of doling out tickets to easy targets.

Meanwhile you can spot Borough vans dotted around parked up for no obvious reason with care free abandon. As ever I have raised this with Phil Simpkins with the ultimate being if he says this van (shown below) has an exemption to park up I’ll be asking a few select questions as to why this status is not applied to non Council vehicles! Councillors humph and grump about parking but nothing happens. Lard Arse Eric Pickles comes to town and gets in the papers cos he’s going to sort parking out then waddles off and nothing happens! Bedford..where nothing happens…..

It'll be alright here...no one will notice!

It’ll be alright here…no one will notice!

 

Family Entertainment in Bedford

26 Aug

 

Hiya! …..Been sorta quiet hasn’t it! This is Bedford Bypass back after three weeks sitting watching the sea coming in, going out, sun coming up and going down. Back in Bedford now and its like Groundhog Year…sod all has changed…mobius strip..looped life, its all the same….we are stuck in Bloody Chicken Town…

 

Psychic Sally and the spirits of the DEAD! Good Family entertainment!

Psychic Sally and the spirits of the DEAD! Good Family entertainment!

Lets go for a night out…top quality family entertainment….oh look! ….It’s Psychic Sally coming to visit the lonely and bereft of Bedford for the umpteenth year on the trot…put you in touch with the dead… live on on stage at the Corn Exchange…for the umpteenth year running…but I’ve said that already… in front of our very eyes…is there a John in the audience?…the dead live on…and we in Bedford are so lucky that Sally…sorry Psychic Sally deigns to bring her skills in this interphase between two worlds right into the heart of town…a message for Margaret …maybe Marjorie..Mary…Maria…maybe..maybe…he says he’s happy in heaven…oooh….Janet, she she wants you to know that she wasn’t your real mother and she always despised you…

The blurb from the Corn Exchange says its for entertainment only…fun fun fun but don’t mention her recent night in Middlesborough when the picture of a supposedly dead woman turned out to be a very much alive woman sat in the audience.  Spinning heads and projectile puking…demons from the other side…that’s your problem matey…Claims Direct might not be able to help if you go home with something horrid sat on you shoulder cackling and feeding off your very soul…but…Sally doesn’t do this sort of demon stuff….just random messages from nice dead people wanting to speak to nice live people…Martin you bastard…why did you leave it all to her…Martin…is that you…Martin!.

Do they have to have died in Bedford for Sally to bring them forth?…do the dead of Bedford eagerly wait for Sally to make her annual visit on the off chance that there earthbound kin are able to get tickets, or believe in fairies….What happens if you died in Coventry but your corpse is below ground in Bedford…or went up the chimney…No pushing in now you spirit people…oy! you…you with the medals…piss off …Sally’s in Watford next month. Sally is a busy person, she seems to be everywhere!

Sally herself looks radiant as you can see…in some recent photo’s she’s sort of lardy and aged but for Bedford she’s slim and radiant…looking years younger…you sceptics might think its reliance on old publicity pics but I believe…I believe….I believe that following death from heart based trauma..lung cancer…road traffic accident…maybe simple decay or just hypothermia from being unable to afford decent heating…I believe that Sally can summon you forth…to say “Hiya” before quickly moving onto Arthur, Alice, Janet who all wait patiently in spectral line for their fleeting moment of fame….

No Demons allowed at Bedford Corn Exchange! It says so...

No Demons allowed at Bedford Corn Exchange! It says so…

Some people think that it’s a masterful con trick…Psychic Sally touring the UK constantly, no end of people wanting proof that that final challenged breath..vague pulse..juddering heartbeat…is just a temporary blip…keen to pass on their £££££ to Sally…Some websites would have us believe that  Sally is raking it in…X amounts of venues per annum… X amounts of arses on seats X whatever it costs, £20 plus to get in..very negative….but there’s much more to it than that…I believe….I want to believe….

 

Generous to a fault

22 Aug

An email makes it through to our temporary location from Mr G! Apparently Bedford is officially the most generous town in the UK for charity giving or at least according to the Independent yesterday. They say charity begins at home and I’d like to raise the plight of some refugees from Manchester, Liverpool and Brum who need dosh in order to stay near this Norfolk beach for another week. Or two..dig deep good people. Email for bank account details but we prefer cash left in the disused phone box outside the The Nelson’s Head Tavern down the road!

New Technology

21 Aug

Don’t ask me how but I’m interupting our Bedford Bypass two weeks holiday to let you know that we are on holiday for two weeks. The “don’t ask me how” bit refers to the fact that I am typing this on someone elses PC in the car park of a pub called the Nelson Head at Horsey which I guess you could say is just up from Gt Yarmouth.

No I didn’t believe that this sort of technology existed and no I can’t explain it…the PC isn’t plugged to anything either. Good pub by the way if you ever get down this way, seals on the beach nearby.

Despite Charlie the vet being uncautiously pessimistic* as to Wiz’s long term future she’s been charging about on the sand. Pity the poor sod who’s supposed to be appearing at the local club with his Cliff Richard lookalike act…similar to when people asked me what my job was and I’d tell them I was a Gary Glitter tribute before the bottles started flying….silence…!

Normal poor quality comments and gutter humour will resume this weekend. Maybe Monday by the time we get the van unloaded!

*doesn’t look right?

World War One and 100 Years of Counter-Revolution

5 Aug

 

Otto Dix, Stormtroopers Advance Under Cover of Gas, 1924

Otto Dix, Stormtroopers Advance Under Cover of Gas, 1924

In 1871, Karl Marx wrote that governments use war as a fraud, a ‘humbug, intended to defer the struggle of the classes’. In 1914, that fraud was so effective that not only most workers but also most Marxists supported their respective nation’s rush to war. Ever since then, governments have used war to defer class struggle and prevent revolution, but this strategy cannot last forever.The Great Unrest and the Great War
In all the commemorations for the start of World War One it is unlikely that there will be many references to the huge strike wave that preceded the war. But this strike wave, known as the Great Unrest, created considerable insecurity among Britain’s elites. This was especially the case as these strikes coincided with other disturbing social movements such as the nationalist upsurge in Ireland and the increasingly violent campaign for women’s suffrage. By the summer of 1914, workers were mobilising for what the left reformist commentators, Sydney and Beatrice Webb, called ‘an almost revolutionary outburst of gigantic industrial disputes.’ The future Prime Minister, Lloyd George, warned that if these industrial disputes coincided with the looming civil war in Ireland then Britain would face ‘the gravest [situation] with which any government has had to deal for centuries.’ Another reformist author, H.G.Wells, claimed that Britain’s wage-earners had ‘definitely decided not to remain wage-earners for very much longer’ and he warned of ‘a series of increasingly destructive outbreaks … culminating in revolution.’ Wells may have overstated what he called the ‘drift towards revolution’. But even Basil Thomson, the head of Britain’s political police, the Special Branch, seems to have shared Wells’ fears when he predicted that ‘unless there was a European war to divert the current [of unrest] we were heading for something very like revolution.’

Whatever the situation in Britain’s Empire, the ‘drift towards revolution’ was certainly real in the Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Europe’s politicians and media could divert some popular discontent into nationalism, imperialism and masculinist militarism. But this only encouraged a situation in which, when confronted with inter-imperialist war in 1914, politicians on all sides felt unable to back down, fearing what Lloyd George called ‘national dishonour’ and ‘shame’.

A War for Honour
Britain faced no serious threat of invasion in 1914. Nevertheless, having seen the male youth of France and Germany rush to war, Lloyd George was very concerned that the British male should also act like a ‘real man’ so that Britain would not end up as ‘the only land whose children are not prepared to sacrifice themselves for [their nation’s] honour.’ In a similar vein, the Prime Minister, Asquith, argued that ‘no self-respecting man could possibly have repudiated’ Britain’s obligation to defend Belgium. Meanwhile, in Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm was even more anxious not to be seen as unmanly, insisting that ‘this time I shall not chicken out,’ while his Chancellor, Bethmann-Hollweg, said that for Germany to have backed down in 1914 would have meant ‘self-emasculation’. For these politicians, this defence of male honour, combined with the defence of their countries’ Great Power status, was crucial for maintaining respect and authority at home as well as abroad. No British politicians were as explicit as the Prussian conservative leader who said that ‘a war would strengthen patriarchal order’ or the German military leader who said that a war was ‘desirable in order to escape from difficulties at home and abroad.’ But, when war in Europe seemed inevitable both Asquith and Churchill immediately saw it as a relief from domestic conflict – a way to ‘escape from Irish troubles’.

Unfortunately, working class men also saw war as a way to both assert male honour and to give them a sense of purpose and community without having to make a revolution. Consequently, politicians like Lloyd George soon began enthusing wildly about the ‘new patriotism’ that was so effectively motivating millions to fight and die for their governments rather than fighting to overthrow them. Of course, this counter-revolutionary strategy could only work as long as governments had a hope of winning the war. Failure to provide this hope, or to provide people with sufficient food, could easily create the conditions for revolution, and, as the war dragged on, many working class women started protests and food riots right across Europe. Such protests were particularly effective in Petrograd where female workers spread the idea of a general strike on International Women’s Day, 1917. On that day, 8 March, hundreds of women dragged their fellow male workers on to the streets and in a few days the Russian Tsar had abdicated and his regime had collapsed.

From the Freedom News website. To see the full article click below…

http://freedomnews.org.uk/world-war-one-and-100-years-of-counter-revolution/

 

A Spiffing Night Out in Glasgow

4 Aug

And after Saturday’s viewing of Night of the Demon I thought I’d never find TV as riveting again. How wrong I was. The Commonwealth Games totally eclipsed it. Topped and tailed by Lulu (Scottish) and Kylie (Australia via Wales) The two biggest stars were botoxed midgets but the real thing…Little Jimmy Krankie was nowhere to be seen. Awww!. Coincidence?

Casually observing while making casual observations I’m sure pint sized poppet Lulu was chomping on chewing gum whilst pint sized poppet Kylie’s headdress defied all health and safety rules and could easily have taken someones eye out. Royalty was initially represented by the fact that the keyboard  bloke from single hit single band Deacon Blue was a dead ringer for King George V although the real McCoy in the form of the Earl of Wessex although he’s getting to resemble Jeremy Hardy.  In fact, are they the same person?  After all, you never see them in the same room together.

A spiffing night out in Glasgow

A spiffing night out in Glasgow

I’d failed to make the Kylie connection..it’s because the next lot of games (not the Olympics) in 2018 will be down under. The Gold Coast to be exact. That said geographers will know that the Gold Coast used to be the name of the country now known as Ghana.  Therefore, to avoid confusion, The Gold Coast should change it’s name to the Surfing Coast or something. But back to jiggling Kylie she was rather flat..ooh er missus..no it was the Locomotion and then her most recent memorable hit from ten years ago. Good stuff for nostalgics. Or insomniacs..I was waiting for the news and the latest condemnation from the UN.  Can’t get it out of my head! To add a bit of edge, there should have been a live link up to Rolf Harris in his prison cell.  After all, he’s Australian and was a swimming champ before he came to Britain.  He could have given us a quick blast of “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport”, after all his incarceration is costing the British tax payer a packet- he should pay his way a bit.  Actually, is he still an Australian citizen? if he is, couldn’t we send him over there to do his time? Bring back transportation! Never did Australia any harm and they get much better weather!

Everyone they asked said the same thing and I never want to hear the phrases “everyone’s been so friendly” and “Glasgow’s made us feel very welcome” again. And again. And again.  I can’t get it out of my head.  Chances are I won’t – need to now the games are over, they’ll all be back to their surly selves. The Commonwealth wall to keep the locals out of the way will come down and all the promised jobs will vanish but by that time we’ve twigged it’ll be the build up to Brazil, grinding poverty once again swept out of the way.   Chucking out time at the Glasgow stadium was a speedy affair and by the time the news came on the cleaners were in there looking for dropped money. I bet it was funny outside but they didn’t show this.

Traditional good quality Scottish music was represented at one point by the golden voice of Karen Mathieson from Capercaillie who I will admit to having liked since 1988 when as youngsters (as was I) they provided the music for a TV series called The Blood is Strong. I’ve traced my McClinton surname back to a loyal arm of the McDonald Clan crofting near the Kyle of Lochalsh (Speed Bonny Boat) but I consider myself as Scottish as the Isle of Wight. As the fireworks went off the crowd all seemed deliriously happy. I don’t think they could have coped with “Donald where’s your troosers”.  It would have blown their minds. I so missed the swinging Krankies though!

And so another day dawned and the descendents of all those responsible for first World War, those warmongers that stayed well out of the way  gathered to commemorate the fallen, those that didn’t start it, didn’t understand it and couldn’t get out of the way! It’ll be all over the TV for the near future in documentary’s starring Claire Balding!

Gill McC

Street Parking Blues..and an interesting solution!

4 Aug

Now I’m going to go round the houses a bite here. Here’s something from an email received last week after one of our Bedford Bypass “Good Egg” recipients bumped into a friend on one of Bedford’s terraced street. They are marginally outside the Controlled Parking Zone by a matter of meters and very often find when they return home from work they can’t park outside their own house. As they don’t live in the CPZ they haven’t a permit and can’t get books of tickets as these are for residents of the Zone only. As its Residents Parking only in the Zone they can’t pop money in the meter as there aren’t any. So they have to park in the next street and annoy someone else.

Come to Bedford. The traffic is crap.

Come to Bedford. The traffic is crap.

They approached their Borough Councillor thinking that their elected representative might be able to advise, they were absolutely spot on and what rather astounding advice it was. They were told to pretend they were disabled so that they become eligible for disabled parking. Problem solved!

Now as a person who is seldom surprised by much I will admit to being very very surprised by this and to be honest I didn’t believe it at first so ever the sleuth I set out to speak direct to those involved and they confirmed that a current and long standing Borough Councillor specifically suggested that they pretend to be disabled so they can park outside their house. All rather fantastic given that other councillors spend their time barking on and on about people that fiddle disabled parking.

Now in journalistic terms you would need far more than a verbal comment to make this story stand up if you named names, you would at least need hard copy names of contacts, signed statements possibly, dates, circumstances etc. Sadly I don’t have enough but what I do have is enough to support this partial blog and I’m going to carry on with this to see if those concerned are prepared to go that little bit extra! I could clean up with one!

Don't hurt the vans!

 

Saturday Night of the Demon

3 Aug

The third Annual General Meeting of 2014 took place last night (Saturday) where we all gathered, nay…huddled more like ..around the telly to savor a classic British horror film “Night of The Demon” which was provided by one of our long term “good egg” readers Mr McG.

It's in the trees...it's coming!

It’s in the trees…it’s coming!

Now when I say classic British horror this is one of the standout offerings which is sadly mostly forgotten except by devotees, I don’t think it’s been shown on telly for over 20 years and my taped copy complete with adverts never survived the last house move. It’s black and white, made in 1957 and notwithstanding some hard to realise special effects notably the demon forming from the night sky it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Like the later equally watchable colour “The Devil Rides Out” it features an evil black warlock based on Alistair Crowley* who’s got himself in a bit too deep and to keep his opponents quiet summons a demonic monstrous rubber thingy from the dark realms. Although matters don’t work out quite as the baddy expected. But I didn’t tell you that!

All top notch for a Saturday night in and our next shared scary film may well be another Brit classic “The Haunting”

Seriously horrific!

Seriously horrific!