Tag Archives: Patrick Hall is a a tedious twat

We’d like to hear from you…

9 Dec

Any snippets of gossip can be emailed to us at mcclintongill167@gmail.com . No dirt dishing mind! ….we are aware of the Borough Council officer and his indiscretions but if he wants to behave like that it’s up to him! No…if you have any good tittle tattle like senior Borough employees taking three days off between Christmas and New Year without booking them, managers employing their partners and kids without bothering to interview them, strange deliveries of bricks to private properties in Council vehicles…well that’s what we want although we may not be able to publish things as you’d like we promise to have a good look into things!

Them were the good old days!

Them were the good old days!

In the meantime here’s a blast from the past! It was about fifteen years back and for about a year you couldn’t drive into Bedford without driving past a piece of modern art designed to look like an abandoned car. This one was on London Road and was there for about four weeks. The artist responsible (presumably) kept removing bits of the installation like lights and interior bits and then inverting it or turning it upside down to precise. When the two elderly ladies that lived in the house next to it complained about the nightly tribal gatherings those cheeky monkeys at Bedford Borough Council told them they could only move it if they paid over £100 quid. Someone painted the Council motto “Pride in Bedford” on the side of it and it soon vanished but not before the Council press office issued a statement saying that painting on abandoned cars could lead to a prosecution! I admit it, guilt has been gnawing at my soul…it was me that painted it!

It all got quite funny after this with the Council proving itself to be totally arsing useless at providing even a basic service. Things are marginally better now. See how generous I am!

And quickly with elections due next May Councillors are bleating on about the state of the town’s traffic gridlock and council bin waggons seem to be a net contributor but no one’s made the connection as yet!

Yawning all the way to the office!

Yawning all the way to the office!

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The Bedford Diary..In Which Debs Traverses the Length of Tavistock St!

20 Oct

Tavistock Street doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations. During Tudor times, the butchers did their slaughtering in Butcher Row or the Shambles (roughly where St Pauls Square is now). They were told to clear away the “inwards and entrails” daily, but it was only taken as far as Offal Lane – the old name for Tavistock Street. Cynics would say that it’s been downhill ever since.   You sometimes hear people say that it is “letting the side down” – like a child caught picking its nose at a wedding – but Bedford isn’t exactly top drawer in the first place. Still our local leaders crave respectability – a sign of insecurity?

Robbery in action! Even the robbers are scared to come out when its dark!

Robbery in action! Even the robbers are scared to come out when its dark!

Leading north from the town centre, Tavistock Street is on the A6, therefore the first part of Bedford that a lot of visitors get to see. Maybe that’s why the local dignitaries are worried about the impression it gives – never mind that locals like me are happy with it just as it is, thank you very much. A conservation area, Tavistock Street has many interesting early Victorian buildings, mixed with infill of varying degrees of sympathy with the older stock.

Enjoy a hearty breakfast! A very popular place at the far end!

Enjoy a hearty breakfast! A very popular place at the far end!

Starting at the town end, on the left we see the high wall of the northern boundary of Bedford Prison. Outsiders are often shocked to hear that Bedford has a fully-functioning category B prison in its centre, but the locals hardly give it a thought. When the site was chosen for the first prison building over 200 years ago, this was on the edge of the town – and like everywhere else, the population grew, the town expanded and the prison was swallowed up.  Famous inmates include James Hanratty, and for all you fans of Big Brother (I know you’re out there) Jade Goody’s father. On the other side, tucked behind much older buildings, a 1970’s multi-storey car park widely derided as a white elephant since it was built. Situated just that little bit too far from the shops, in the days when all on-road parking was free; it has never been well used so is regarded as a money loser. The area immediately to the north was demolished in the early 1970’s. Comprising streets of two up two downs thrown up in the mid-19th century without foundations, these houses were not missed. Older readers might remember the scene in Some Mothers do ‘ave em, when Frank moves house, shuts the door for the last time and the house collapses in on itself. That was reportedly filmed there.  

Further up, a YMCA built a few years ago to replace a defunct petrol station. Another reason to view Tavistock Street with suspicion – it’s full of young people, and as we all know young people are always up to no good. Does any other country fear and dislike its young people as much as the British? Just a thought.

The Private Shop for good hard core porn. Nice building as well!

The Private Shop for good hard core porn. Nice building as well!

The main reason for the less than salubrious reputation is because it houses the towns one sex, I mean “Private” shop. On the ground floor of a fine three story terrace, on the corner of a square whose houses would fetch millions in London; it strikes an incongruous note. Time was, you could always rely on seeing a man scurrying out, head down and with a parcel under his arm. The internet has put paid to all that – I can’t remember the last time I saw someone entering or leaving the building, but still it limps on. For a short time there was another sex shop across the road, much larger and with a bold fascia that left the onlooker with no doubt as to what lay inside. A sign boasted that the premises had a discrete rear entrance for the faint-hearted, but it wasn’t enough to save it. Finally, the sauna and massage parlour above a fried chicken take away. From the decrepit state of the window frames, it looks like it’s not exactly making money hand over fist either.

KFC and something spicy upstairs! Rear entry...

KFC and something spicy upstairs! Rear entry…

This ex-sex shop is now an Indian restaurant, the other industry Tavistock Street is well known for.   Rusholme in Manchester is well known for its curry mile, and Tavistock Street in Bedford could be said to have its very own curry quarter mile. Doesn’t quite trip off the tongue, but a marketing opportunity has been missed there.

One of the local councillors is quite sniffy about the area, recently stating that the signs above the convenience stores and Indian restaurants are “garish”, implying that they needed toning down. Of course they are, they’re supposed to be – they’re trying to attract customers. What did she want, a tasteful makeover with National Trust colours? Another example of the tendency these days to want everything gentrified, tidied up, dare I say looking middle class.

Near the top is a forgotten about side street I sometimes wander along when I feel like trying to recreate the past – Tavistock place. Now mainly used to access a health centre car park and old peoples’ flats, it has a handful of modest recent low-rise housing, Victorian lock-ups and an interesting old terrace of five houses, which have back doors but no front doors. I once tried to have a good look through the window of the one without net curtains as discretely as possible and got yelled at, which serves me right I suppose. Tavistock Place was also the site of Bedford’s last doss house, closed in the mid 1950’s.

We've become so lazy we are re-using old photo's from two years back!

We’ve become so lazy we are re-using old photo’s from two years back!

Tavistock Street has many thriving businesses, some of which have been there for decades, not bad going for an area supposed to be poor and dangerous, full of the young and ethnic minorities and crime and people who keep irregular hours. I’ve walked down it at least twice a day for the last eighteen years, and see a completely different place to the one referred to by the scaremongers in trembling tones. Where else would you see the last workman’s café in Bedford (first picture) next door to a large Georgian house containing a solicitor, then two elderly cottages? Hands off, I say!

 

Editors chance to add something so I feel as if I’ve contributed something!

 

And another piece of Bedford’s past revealed thanks to Debs who is very often Out and About! By the way Jade Goody’s dad walked out of Bedford Prison unlike James Hanratty who was carried out having been dead close on four years. After being hanged (April 1962) he was interred near the wall, dug up a few years later as they wanted to start an allotment then taken to his Aunt’s grave near Watford.  Despite sufficient evidence that a Peter Alphon was the real dastardly A6 villain shoddily stored DNA evidence that wouldn’t be admissible today has to date prevented Hanratty from being pardoned. For further light entertaining reading, nice with a cuppa and Hob Nobs* try “Who Killed Hanratty” by Paul Foot!

 

*other biscuits may available.

 

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