Wednesday, 31 August 2011

From the Evening Standard yesterday. Carnival summary.

Carnival postcards from the Tabernacle. Notting Hill.

Photographs courtesy of
Cristopher Scholey.

Hat put to shame.

And most importantly the Tabernacle crew.

ENERGY LINES. Joanna & Caroline Lazzarini.

 Joanna Lazzarini
Caroline Lazzarini

An exhibition of  Painting and sculpture by Joanna & Caroline Lazzarini (Often to be seen moving ethereally through this cityscape) opens on the 1st of September at the Tabernacle Gallery. W11 2AY. 10.00am - 9.00 pm.


As a response to the Rock n Roll poem the following arrived from my French corespondent...

Twenty Seven

Make twenty seven iconic in heaven
and rock reputations get made:
all the old songs get replayed
winning a Grammy displayed
the hip lip service repaid
dream of a lifetime portrayed
summative meaning conveyed.

Make twenty seven laconic in heaven
on rock reputations pre-paid:
friends and family dismayed
fans make a final crusade
pray by the house where you stayed
sad silent funeral parade
plaque on the wall where you played.

Make twenty seven mnemonic in heaven
and rock reputations don’t fade:
stardom afresh, unafraid
cutting edge voice like a blade
sold as somebody self-made
height of the talent parade
an internet site for the trade.

Make twenty seven sardonic in heaven
and rock reputations get flayed:
trust in the tabloids betrayed
celebrity savaged, surveyed
hype of the night of the raid
stoned and drunken tirade
the dealers of death all got paid.

Make twenty seven ironic in heaven
and rock reputations upbraid:
talent abruptly decayed
illness was like a grenade
exploding the soul’s serenade
unable to sing without aid
no audience left to persuade.

Make twenty seven Byronic in heaven
for rock reputations re-weighed:
sign with an airbrush resprayed
the end of it all masquerade
your careless cool disarrayed
god awful end in the shade
postmortem details degrade.

Make sixty seven bucolic in Devon
and rock reputations are staid:
Gibson exchanged for a spade
organic low cal lemonade
worry the livestock have strayed
past where the neighbour got laid
“Hope to die young”, got delayed.

Make believe heaven for children aged seven
rots reputations homemade.

Copyright Bob West. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Notting Hill Carnival 2011 post mortem.


There is a god or at least there is a god of Carnival. A secular god though; keen on a bit of spliff, a drink or two and steel pan.

Having been forbidden to practice in All Saints Road Mangrove Steelband played in the Tabernacle courtyard. Wow. The rain stopped, the sky turned blue and we were treated to carnival of our own. A brilliant event.


The god of Carnival turned out to be a Mangrove fan. Our resident (at the Tabernacle) Steelband won 'Panorama'; a battle of the bands held annually. For 12 months they are now ' The best steel band in the UK. Well done Matthew Phillip (manager and drummer) Arranger Andre White and everyone involved. It is a 12 month labour of love for the whole team.

Photographs: Christopher Scholey

Saturday night found me at 'LOCO' Carnival special at the Grand Union on Great Western Road... A marathon 6 hour session with some great performances from some of our favourites. I managed to get in 20 or so poems with backing from James Simmins and Jono willis. Delphi Newman was great as always as were Mario Nardi, Chrystina Tomlin and Rob Alder. Roger Pomphrey delivered on of his pyrotechnic performances. Fishslice Pbrowse defies description; you would not believe me. It was a happy night.


I was wakend at Midday (I had gone back to bed for a little nap) by the loudest fucking noise on the planet. I was house sitting in the middle of Carnival, about 30 metres from the sound system in All Saint's Road. The house was vibrating. The only thing to do was to get out into the thing.

There was a big police presence, far greater than last year. High viz vests in abundance, every street corner held a group of them. It turned out that they were not needed after all. As the day progressed it became more and more clear that this was going to be a very peaceful and happy Carnival. I spent a lot of the day either at Gaz Mayalls stage or at the nearby Tabernacle. It all ended on the dot of 7.00 and I spent the evening walking through the detritus with a friend checking it all out. A lot of police lined the roads as the army of street cleaners went to work. It is extraordinary how they get the place ready for the Monday; they do an amazing job.

To be continued...

Monday, 29 August 2011

Poetry is the new rock n roll. (Revisited)

An old poem rewritten for Amy Winehouse.

They say poetry is the new rock n roll
Write another poem buddy. Go buddy go

Write about a rock star
write about her vices
write about her falls from grace
her personal crises
but write about a rock star
and dress her up in sequins
for rock n roll ain't a world
in which Jo meek wins.

Yeah poetry is the new rock n roll
Write another poem buddy go buddy go

Write about a rock star
write about he cocaine
talk about her cocaine
talk about her cocaine
talk about her...
Oh buddy push the needle on
and write about a rock star
sing it when you're done
sing it to a techno beat
badum badum badum

Yeah poetry is the new rock n roll
Write another poem buddy go buddy go

Write about a rock star
but not about her rehab
no don't write about her rehab
write about her drinking
and write about her gear
because happy stories of the cure
are not what we want to hear
Yeah poetry is the new rock n roll.

(Guitar solo)

Yeah poetry is the new rock n roll
Write another poem buddy go buddy go
Write about a rock star
then kill her when you're done
kill her with a fatal dose
her vomit or a gun
but kill that fucking rock star
don't let her get too old
that way you'll get to number one
before the body's cold

Yeah poetry is the new rock n roll.

My poetry can be found Here

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Mangrove Steelband rehearsing at the Tabernacle prior to carnival.

This is what goes on round here at this time of year. What a magical thing to find.


A poem by yesterday's muse.

you appealed for help
I offered.

Please do not ask me for that which I offered.

That would be embarrassing
I don't have what I offered
I only have the offer.

Surely the offer is enough.

Enough to make me feel good.

About offering.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Borrowers or squatters.

A friend phoned this morning. Concerned that squatters were breaking into the flat next door to hers. Initially they had said that they were from the council then owned up.

I went round and spoke to them. they seemed to think that stealing someone's home was acceptable. "It is not theft". They said. "We are just borrowing it".

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The blue dress.

He gave her red things. Trinkets. He had no money but she would not accept the one thing of value he could give her.

she gave him blue things. Trinkets. She had money but she could not give him the one thing that he valued.


She called him. 'Where are you?' 'At home'. 'I am at the shop down the road, you know the one we talked about this morning. Come down here'.

He walked. Across the road from the shop he saw her, she came out of the door, beckoned, smiled, danced. In a blue silk dress.

He knew.

he crossed the road. The Red bus was doing 30 when it hit him. He died happy.

Which is more than could be said about her.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The ghost of carnival past and the detritus of the Muse.

Bottle tops pressed into the tarmac by crouds at past Carnivals, Powis Square, Notting Hill.
The Muse left in a hurry leaving me with nothing to do but write poems about ballet shoes.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Sirens but no mermaids.

Dreaming of sirens I awoke to find next door on fire. Fire engines do not resemble mermaids.

Not a poem but the surreal start to my day; dozing and dreaming I was brought round by the sound of many sirens and they did not pass the house. I thought 'Strange, A bit early for the looters. Surely they are still asleep or playing grand theft auto on their stolen consoles'. I went up to the roof and saw that I was surrounded by fire engines and smoke coming out of the school next door.

downstairs I opened the front door to the fire brigade who asked me to leave immediately.

What to take, what to take?

I took my false tooth and stetson. I should have put some socks on, That was a mistake, not putting socks on.

now, later, the fire is out, my flat is smoky and greyish like someone has been burning car tyres in there. I have to keep out for a day or two until the smell has cleared but it could have been far worse.

It was caused by builders working on the roof earlier this week, had been smoldering for a while. I had been very lucky that it did not go off at 1.00 am when no-one would have seen the smoke.

Fire brigade were great. They had to take some of the school roof off to get water into the fire. "Most of it came out through the school" said a fireman. Some of it didn't!


UPDATE: Mangrove Steelband will now be having their final rehearsals in the Tabernacle Courtyard Tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow night. It will finish at 9.00 pm due to noise restrictions. The Tabernacle is on Powis Square W11.

The following is from Matthew at Mangrove. Please read this and give your support. It is important.



We are contacting businesses and residents of All Saints Road to seek their support for our
local steel band to be able to continue a tradition that has been taking place since 1980.

RBK&C have advised us that a Temporary Entertainment Licence will now be required for
these ‘performances’ to continue with much restricted hours. Mangrove would like to point
out that the band’s appearance on All Saints Road is not intended to be a performance, and
no action has ever been taken to advertise or attract an audience.

We would propose that the band sets up both evenings by 8pm and rehearse until 10pm on
Thursday 25th and midnight on Friday 26th. It has been our custom and practice to set up
in the street order to give our young members the experience of playing on the float and
in the open prior to taking part in the Panorama steel band competition in Kensal Road on
Saturday 27th August.

Our young people have been working hard practising every night in Tabernacle so they may
give their peak performance at Panorama and this is the goal they work towards throughout
the year.

Over the years we have gathered informal feedback from businesses and residents and the
general view expressed has been:

• These informal rehearsals attract large numbers of people to All Saints Road giving a
very positive and happy ‘vibe’ to the street. Restaurants and the off-licence have
reported a welcome increase in business on the evenings the band is on the road.
• There has never been any unpleasant incidents or criminal activity during these
rehearsal sessions
• Local families look forward to coming to the street to support their local band and to
meet their friends and neighbours in a safe and informal setting
• The people of Notting Hill show extreme patience each year as up to 2 million people
come onto our streets, and many local families enjoy this annual pre-carnival get
together prior to being invaded by the outside world




26TH AUGUST 2011

We the undersigned would like to declare our support for Mangrove Steel Band to continue
their 30-year tradition of bringing the young band members to All Saints Road to practice on
their carnival float from 8-10pm on 25th and 8pm-midnight on 26th August. We welcome the
positive activity offered by Mangrove to local young people throughout the year.

This annual tradition brings a festive atmosphere to the street and will be a welcome
counterpoint to recent disturbances in the area which impacted on at least one business.







Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Notting Hill Carnival will Go ahead but All Saint's Road on the Friday is stopped.

I have learned today from a Police source that the Carnival will be proceeding but with much tighter Security and Policing.

The Popular (among locals) Friday night final rehearsal by Mangrove Steelband in All Saint's Road is in danger of being banned. A petition is being drawn up now and will be published here soon.

more later.

Looting and thuggery in Portobello, Westbourne Park Road. #2

This is local Restaurant Bumpkin in Westbourne Park Road W11. Boarded up and closed after Sunday night's looting spree. The whole area was boarded up and closed last night. Police everywhere and fortunately no sign of the gangs of looters that we saw the previous night.

The Cow was thankfully open for a while where I met up with Gaz Mayall, Ray Roughler Jones and others to drink a beer or two and try to get on with life. The Cow closed early, I went for a walk about with a friend, found the Cock and Bottle open; another pleasant surprise.

The atmosphere here had been tense all day. Surreal.

I'm not going to say much more on the matter other than it occurs to me that parents have lost control of their children and need to clamp down and where are the community elders right now? Who is talking to the kids.

We are going to be battened down again this evening with a massive police presence.

UPDATE: Wednesday night was quiet but spooky, a big police presence on the streets and gangs of youths hanging out. A couple of strange faces appeared to be moving from group to group. Nothing kicked off. Curious to find that I am being treated as the enemy by some because I talk to the police about the situation. A raddled over the hill 'rock chick wannabe' had a go at me for talking to the "filth". What is wrong with some people. It is our home that is being threatened by these thugs. We need a Police presence.

good to see that the Castle and Portobello Lounge were open last night with some live music.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Parliament is being recalled on Thursday.

This is the Message sent to MP's by the chief whip.

Notting Hill riot,Portobello Road, westbourne Park Road,The Bumpkin, Ledbury and Walmer Castle.

It was not a riot. It was an organised crew of thieves using recent events to go on the rampage. The atmosphere here is very unpleasant this morning. I have been screamed at by a middle aged guy trying to justify last night's scum activity. When will people stop blaming everything and everyone else and start taking responsibility for themselves.

I would like to ask the apologists for last night if they really think that robbing people in restaurants is an acceptable act.

The following account is from the Naked Sushi blog.

Will and I were going to celebrate with a night out at 2 Michelin star restaurant The Ledbury. I had come to terms with the fact that it would be an expensive dinner, but boy, I had no idea how expensive.

Around the fourth dish of the tasting course, there were loud bangs outside. The restaurant staff was yelling at us to get away from the windows. Before I knew it, the front door, a solid piece of glass shattered and people came crashing in with hoodies, masks, and random weapons.

The looters were yelling at us to get down and throwing stuff all over the place. I got down and started taking off my wedding and engagement ring to hide somewhere, but unfortunately wasn’t fast enough. One looter came up and demanded my phone. I didn’t have it with me since it was in my purse and it was out of arm reach. I also didn’t want to lead him to my passport, so I said I didn’t have one.

He told me to take off my rings and grabbed my hand, trying to yank them off. His friend tried to help too, but the rings wouldn’t come off and I just yelled at him that I’d take them off myself. In hindsight, now that I know that gun control is so fierce in England and he only had bat, I should have held on to my rings better and maybe slugged him in the face.

The kitchen staff at the Ledbury went beyond their call of duty by rushing up from the kitchen with rolling pins, fry baskets, and other dangerous kitchen tools and scared off the looters. Then they provided well-needed glasses of alcohol including champagne and whisky. When word came that the looters were coming back a second time, they ushered us into the bathrooms and told us to lock the doors. A few minutes later, they led us into the wine cellar and told us to lock ourselves in there.

Well, that was certainly a memorable dining experience. I was kind of hoping to finish the rest of my tasting menu, but all the broken glass, turned over tables, probably wasn’t conducive to a nice dining environment. I was sad for the wonderful smelling cheese cart that had glass littered all over it. So much cheese gone to waste!

Guy who took my ring, I hope you put it to good use and don’t just dump it in the street. Also, I hope you get a case of flaming diarrhea for the rest of your life. Ledbury staff, thanks for keeping things under control and giving me some petit fours to munch on.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Lisamarie, jogging and wine.

I met Lisamarie a couple of months ago at a gallery opening. Naturally I invited her to come and have a coffee at the Tabernacle some time.

She arrived yesterday afternoon, she was out jogging and stopping traffic. I introduced her to the concept of mid-jog white wine.

Lisamarie is absolutely delightful and ought to be on TV presenting something. Producers take note.

My Bohemian life.

I went off with my hands in my torn coat pockets;
My overcoat too was becoming ideal;
I travelled beneath the sky, Muse! and I was your vassal;
Oh dear me! what marvellous loves I dreamed of!

My only pair of breeches had a big whole in them.
– Stargazing Tom Thumb, I sowed rhymes along my way.
My tavern was at the Sign of the Great Bear.
– My stars in the sky rustled softly.

And I listened to them, sitting on the road-sides
On those pleasant September evenings while I felt drops
Of dew on my forehead like vigorous wine;

And while, rhyming among the fantastical shadows,
I plucked like the strings of a lyre the elastics
Of my tattered boots, one foot close to my heart!

A. Rimbaud.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Retro, arrogance, Earl of Portobello and Friday nights.

A last minute decision to go to 'Retro' 50 Bosworth Road,W10 last night. 'Freak Elite', "The best band in Portobello" were a late addition to the line up there. It is a good little venue tucked away north of Golborne Road and worth checking out. As are the Freak brothers.

Marlene Dietrich did a turn which was a pleasure to watch. Turned out to be the 'Door Bitch' from the Cobden who barred me last year. We talked, all is forgiven, she tipped her hat at me, I tipped all my change into it. She was wonderfully entertaining. Her name is anka. Check her out too.

Here is a story: A cocky, arrogant, would be rock star who bitches about everyone while singing his own praises (he is old enough now to realise that he blew it years ago and is now a joke) asked me for a roll up. I said yes, offered the makings. He said: ' will you roll it for me. I said 'NO' . He then offered me his dope and asked again if I would roll him a joint. I said NO. He walked off. Arrogant little shit! HEY rock stars, heads up... I don't smoke dope. Why the fuck would I roll your spliffs in a public place to make your cock feel bigger. Roll your own a put a sock down your pants.

I moved on to the Earl of Portobello on Golborne for DJ Nyika's 'Soul Food'. The Earl is the last remaining pub on Golborne, recently re-opened and well worth visiting. It was Nyika's first night of an ongoing residency. Certainly on the Friday night circuit. Many, many familiar faces were there which is always a delight. Read about it HERE on the porto bello blog.

FEEN, Bumpkin Jam, Christina Tomlin and How to lay back in West London.

Every thursday for the next six weeks Wade Bayliss and his crew are operating BUMPKIN JAM at the Bumkin on Westbourne Park road. W11.  I popped in this week. got snagged to do the rock n roll poem with Wade, Patrick on immaculate bass and Wills on dustbins, great fun.

I jumped out to catch the Mangrove steelband rehearsal at the Tabernacle (well worth catching if you can. Mon - Thurs weekly until Carnival) then went back. Good thing too.

The attic at Bumpkin is a lovely little space, very laid back, boho, friendly and the perfect spot for this kind of curated open mic thing.

A very high point was 'FEEN' a band I've not seen before but will look out for in future. I hope they come back. also on the bill were Charlotte Campbell and the amazing Christina Tomlin; god knows where she finds that voice and power.

the jam at the end was the perfect way to end an evening.

Very good indeed. See you there on Thursday.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The portobello Travel Bookshop is closed.

The film 'Notting Hill' made it famous, made it a tourist hot spot, filled it with camera happy sightseers with no interest in the books or the shop other than some sort of shrine to that tosser Grant and what's her name the american luvvie.

It wasn't even the shop used in the film. It isn't on Portobello Road, it is on Blenheim Crescent.

The tourists have killed the place. It is now closed until a buyer can be found to put some enthusiasm back into a very special local amenity.

The tourists should be asked to pay for photography or fuck off and photograph Hugh Grant's house. I can supply the address.

The Elgin, Sophie Barker and Aisling Mallon.

I haven't been to the Elgin on Ladbroke Grove for years. It used to be an awful shithole of a pub seemingly full of drug dealers and amateur villains. It isn't any more.
I went to see and listen to Sophie who was performing there last night. She was as good as ever. Her voice never ceases to enrapt me. I shall refrain from going on at length to avoid being considered a purveyor of cheesecake. Do try to get to one of her gigs though and check out her new album 'Seagull'.

Sophie Barker

the Elgin has been tarted up and smartened up. It was buzzing last night and good to see a lot of familiar faces. It was especially delightful to chat with actress Aisling Mallon. she had taken part in the 'Actor in Session' Cherry Orchard experiment (blog passim) last week and had caught my attention as one of the more interesting actors. We shared thoughts on the experiment.
                                                  Aisling Mallon

One negative was the lousy sound in the Elgin, something that could be easily rectified by investing in a new P.A. system.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Summer passion and scented things.

The Muses garden in full bloom.

A chance photo op on leaving the Cow last night. I've forgotten what the scent was.

Update: Thanks to an anonymous tip off I now know that it is vanilla.

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Cow, Amy Winehouse, parquet flooring and Amie Martin.

Amie Martin & reclaimed parquet.

I shouldn't have done but I did. At the end of a hot day I went to the Cow for a beer and scotch quails egg. All good so far. the beer was wet and the egg perfect

I picked up a copy of ok magazine. I wish I hadn't. Poor Amy Winehouse.

I overheard the following: "Nothing says I've arrived like reclaimed parquet flooring".

Amie Martin said that... And she is spot on.

Nothing says I've arrived better than a photo of reclaimed parquet flooring arriving in your mailbox.

I know which one frightens me.