Saturday, 22 December 2012

Pinky and Perky saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus

Courtesey of Lindy Loo McDonnell.

Portobello Christmas card: Christmas reunion

Chris Durkin, myself and Hugo Burnham meeting for the first time since 1967!  I'd found Chris living down the road from me a few years back but Hugo had moved to a place called America.

It was a splendid evening and one to be repeated I hope.

Happy Christmas.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Harp and organ at Albert hall.

Oliver Twisted: Portobello Panto 2012. Review.

An hilarious event on so many levels. Impossible to review seriously; it defies gravity.

The Portobello panto would seem to the outsider to be a chaotic Christmas family gathering, riddled with in-jokes and avoiding all the strictures of conventional theatre. A great deal of the humour stems from the fact that it somewhat under prepared (an essential part of it all) and the script seems to offer the cast a guide rather than something to stick to.

Naturally local issues are addressed: Jamie Oliver and All Saints are toyed with. Current affairs are addressed in the guise of Nancy, who bears a striking resemblance to a red haired ex newspaper editor marshalling her troupe of eavesdropping urchins.

Oliver is of course a girl (Queenie Ingrams), Ron Moody would have been delighted with the homage paid by Jaycee Pandy  as Fagin, Colin Salmon (ever the trooper and happy to be teased about  Strictly dancing) is a somewhat effete fairy and local scallywag Ray Jones is as usual himself appearing to think he is in another panto completely; dressed as a 'Clockwork Orange' Droog. Piers Thomson reprises his PC Gonemad persona. the rest of the cast and a good number of local kids had great fun! full cast and crew at the bottom of page.

The script is by new boy and co-producer Peter Jack and the direction, not that that direction features on any compass I have seen, is in the hands of Roger Pomphrey. The house band is remarkably tight (considering the preparation they have had) led by the remorselessly laid back Ned Scott.

To sum it up, it was a triumph and like a Triumph it leaked all over the stage.

It leaked joy!

The photographs are from Christopher Scholey.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Thai Rice Portobello road. Instant food poisoning!

For the third time in succession a meal out at Thai rice, Portobello Road has resulted in projectile vomiting, not just me but other people too. The place should be shut down immediately. More on this later when I have the time to clean my palate with a sorbet then photograph the shithole and it's shoddy fare. Thai Rice is to be avoided at all costs.

Since writing that another friend has come away from Thai Rice with a bout of sickness. They obviously are not doing it right at Thai rice.

When I complained to the management of the place that sickness occurred as a result of eating there I was told to produce a doctors letter to prove that it had happened and then told to claim on insurance. A  good restaurant would be horrified to learn that customers had become ill after eating there and would do everything to make things right and improve standards... Not so Thai Rice. They couldn't give a shit... They sell it though! I suspect that they reheat rice from previous meals and even serve left overs to new diners.

If you want Thai food on Portobello Road go to 'Market Thai' Just down the road from Thai rice... Better food, better surroundings and better management.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas cards from Portobello: Pink house, pink christmas trees but needs a bit of pink!

Portobello Panto 2012.

A massage from producer Peter Jack:

Hear ye. Hear ye. Deep down on the Portobello Road, it's that time of year again. Oh no it isn't? OH YES IT IS!

This year, the Company has turned it's attention to local hero Charles Dickens* and the terrible tale of OLIVER TWISTED. We have rounded up the usual suspects and a few unsuspecting newbies to bring to the Tabernacle stage the story of food, juvenile crime and doomed romance.

It's time to get your tickets because they are on sale now and moving briskly. The show runs from Tuesday 18th December till Saturday 22nd December. The fancy dress matinee is on Saturday afternoon. As usual, tickets are available from Rough Trade or online at

Thank you for support of The Portobello Panto over the last few years. We are delighted to be able to announce that last year, we raised £5361.10 for in addition to setting up the website. Go and have a look to see how your money is being used.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Paper Aeroplanes.

Paper Aeroplanes.

Mother breakfasting
lost in Mahler peach marmalade on toast
smile lighting this end of tunnel eyes.
Fathers bitter coffee
grounds for divorce his daily quip
making notes
embyronic verse (his joke)
on the paper tablecloth.

Once upon a time
he wrote on pristine A4
but we would filch fold launch his words
into the surrounding Bermuda triangles
now he writes on paper tablecloths
of the poem and the paper plane
a perfect marriage of art and science
capable of unpowered flight.

And how as a child
copying copperplate Keats nightingale
launch it from Hampstead Heath
watch it rising on its innate thermal...
And how
Thomas Stearns Eliot
would fold his own complicated words
send them skyward
to lodge behind radiators, sofas and atop high wardrobes
that furnished his horizon.
Unreadable from here.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Tabernacle W11. Portobello Panto.

Hey ho!

Afternoon drinks at the Tabernacle with the muse, Mr Pounce, the Concierge and various dogs and children, the excuse for all of this was youngest child learning Brazilian dance fighty thing in the studio upstairs leaving grown ups to drink hot toddies and beer with impunity downstairs!

I got to say hello to a diverse number of people who I wouldn't expect to meet in the same place at the same time.

The Tabernacle has changed. Not dramatically but it has changed. For a start the naff gift shop has gone.

Yay! the naff gift shop has gone and with it has gone the ghetto feeling that previously existed which made I and I very uncomfortable about being white in our 'multicultural arts venue' ting!

The gallery has a very good photograph exhibition on, including a wonderful image of Gil Scott Heron, in the long space beside the bar is an exhibition of painting that actually worth seeing  which creeps up the stairs to the main space and should set a precedent in my eyes.

Chris Scholey is still there generally managing and managing generally well to cope with the demons that infest the Tabernacle.

I bumped into the producer of this years panto who informed me that, for the first time in years, the panto is not looking back and resting on laurels but is going forward, going to be a twist on Oliver (if you will excuse the pun) and going to be new!  Old boring stuff... IT's BEHIND US!

There is some good stuff going on in the tabernacle. I don't think it has got itself  into the whole community the right way yet but is improving and quite frankly in the light of it's past as that place between a rock and a hard place is making the right kind of effort.

We left with the oldest boy asking if we could go back for dinner there some time.

I don't see why not!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Burning poppies.

In various parts of Asia British troops are burning fields of poppies. They have their reasons for doing this and no-one here seems to mind. During this process British troops are being killed by people who amongst other things do not like their poppies and their income being torched. We honour these dead soldiers each November by wearing poppies... A tradition started after the first War when poppies, Flanders was full of them, were considered to symbolise the wasted generation of men sent to their stupid death by a bunch of idiots who did not value their lives and considered them nothing more than targets.

In Kent yesterday an idiot 19 year old was arrested and held in custody for publishing a photograph of a burning poppy.

The wrong kind of poppy!

 How very very stupid has this country become!

Seems Steve Bell agrees!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

An open letter to Jonathan/David Dimbleby from Jan Nieupjur. 'Paedophiles within the BBC'.

The media cannot seem to make it's mind up as to which of the Dimbleby's they are talking about. Maybe it is both!

Jan Nieupjur writes:

Jonathan Dimbleby has accused the BBC's critics of showing "disturbing relish" in their attacks on the corporation over the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal, as new allegations were made against another former BBC star.

The Radio 4 presenter said there has been a witch-hunt since allegations emerged that the late TV star abused hundreds of young girls and women, some on BBC premises.

In an interview with the Times, Dimbleby said: "I think it's disgraceful and horribly out of proportion to hound everyone at the BBC in a way that is unwarranted and lacks perspective when the real focus should be on what Savile did wrong.

"Paedophilia is a huge national problem that no one thought about 50 years ago and is now something that concerns everyone, but this has become a witch-hunt against the BBC."

Oh come on Jonathan, this is not just about Savile!  Yes Peadophilia was thought a huge problem about 50 years ago. Quite a lot of the thinking was done by paedophiles having problems finding victims, until the BBC came along with it's cheesy 'pop' programmes aimed at children clamouring for a badge or a medal or their 15 minutes of TV fame and were therefore the perfect prey to the perverted sharks trawling those waters guided and protected by the production pilot fish who obviously did know what was going on!

All along 'Auntie Beeb' was supposedly chaperoning those children. Hmmm, Fagin running an orphanage!

Dimbleby goes on to say:

"Blaming the media and politicians for getting their priorities wrong, Dimbleby said: "Organisations that have come under flak recently such as newspapers and MPs want to get their revenge. They think the BBC is too smug and holier-than-thou. But there is a disturbing relish in the way the critics have laid into the BBC, holding today's office-holders to account for what happened 30 years ago."

You are part of the media, you hang out with politicians and the BBC is smug and holier than thou and as sure as eggs is eggs todays office holders within the corporation most likely knew what went on and turned a blind eye.

One wonders how you, Jonathan would feel about it had one of your children been sexually abused within the hallowed halls of the BBC.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Corn in Portobello: Pop goes your money! Pop on Blenheim Crescent.

I've written about 'Pop' the popcorn shop on Blenheim Crescent previously; slightly puzzled at how such a niche venture could survive in an area of escalating rents. I now know how!

I arranged for a 5 year old and his mother try the place out (I am obviously too old for things such as popcorn) today. The following is entirely their opinion.

They liked the packaging - this is important because it was half the weight.

The sweet stuff was too sweet and tasted a little burnt.

The savoury stuff was ok, nothing special and perhaps a little soggy. Nothing to write home about.

They bought a box of cheese popcorn and brought it home. The box and it's contents weighed 80 Grams, the popcorn weighed 40 Grams. the cost was £3.45. I'll do the maths for you; this works out at £86.25 per Kilo... More expensive than foie gras; the most expensive foodstuff I could source (outside Beluga caviare and silly Japanese things). This is why the shop works: yummy mummy is spending a fortune on a handful of highly inflated starch.

The girl in the shop was nice and let them taste different flavours and she said she popped it herself but at these prices it should have been popped by Johnny Depp dressed as Willy Wonka with a kiss thrown in for mummy!

Also there was no information regarding additives, flavourings, MSG or nuts on the pack.

As a comparison a 70 gram pack of popcorn from Tesco cost £1.00. the same thing is on sale in The Grocer on Elgin Crescent (the most expensive food shop in the area) for £1.20!

I have received the following from Matt at Pop:


If I do have right of reply, I’d appreciate you representing all my views?

Thanks for coming in. all views welcome, and we’ll look at the shortcomings you pointed out; though I have to say the vast majority of people, whom I’m sure you wouldn’t think are any less smart than you, taste the product, make a choice, and buy some. And many, in particular locals, come back again and again. We’re very happy about this, and because we want to encourage their business, we offer regular customers a discount and are in the process of having loyalty cards printed; it is a sneaky marketing ploy, yes, but it is also meant to make people understand that if they come back they’ll get treated well and regular customers appreciate it. 

So on to price. A full box of flavoured corn is £3.45. If you’re a local and you have a card, it’s £2.75. If you buy two it’s £2.50 each. If you buy a large bag of olive oil and seasalt corn, or sugar-coated corn, it’s £2.20. If you have a party and want single-size servings for kids, it’s a quid. We’re also trying to find some inexpensive snack box type things and get them branded up; buy one and when you bring it in, we’ll fill it for 50p. And I have to hand the government 20% in VAT. 

But let’s start with the headline-grabber – a box of popcorn for £3.45. First, we want to get bigger boxes for the ‘flavoured’ corn – for the coated ones, like English toffee and sea salt, the portion is big enough. So fair point. But let’s look at the costs. The corn itself is not, no surprise, the biggest cost. The price of raw corn has risen 45% in the past few months with US crop failures, but it’s only when you add the flavourings – natural English cheddar cheese made into powder, with no additives, or the butter, three types of sugar, and vanilla that goes into the caramel, or the organic apple juice, natural cinnamon, etc that we put in the Apple Cinnamon – that you get the full picture.

The nice packaging is expensive, about 24p each. Even the labels cost about 9p. Add in labour costs, depreciation, rates, utilities, rent, waste disposal (businesses pay for every bag they throw away or recycle), and all the other costs then you’re left with a relatively slim margin. 

So there you have it, pretty much line by line. I hope it explains our business. It’s not as sexy a story as £100 a kilo popcorn. But then the reality never is as interesting as the speculative guess, is it?

A slightly patronising but sturdy response.

And my point does not come from a speculative guess... It is still ridiculously expensive!

By the way, Matt is a marketing guy and marketing guys do stuff like this... In order to disguise the fact that they just want our money!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Police tazer blind man for possession of white stick!

True story. The police tazered a blind man having mistaken his white stick for a samurai sword...

I spoke to my man at Scotland Yard who stated: " The particular  constables seeing crime dog was on heat at the time and got the hots for a blind man's collie and instructed the officer to 'taze' away in order to free up the collie for a shagging".

He went on to admit that since the dumbing down of the police force and the introduction of canine team leaders there has been a more dogged determination within the 'Tazer a blind man to shag a dog squad'


A police team leader looking for something to shag. Tazer at will!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Assange claims he was only looking for UFO's.

In an extraordinary change of tactics, after taking advice from Gary McKinnon and in order to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges Julian Assange is now claiming that he was going into Swedish women's knickers solely in search of evidence of UFO's.

                         Assange indicating the position of UFO's on the female form.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Frieze London 2012 & why the muse will not be going.

A guest blog from JAN NIEUPJUR.  Nieupjur is both an artist and philosopher. founder of Nieupjurism and Abstract depressionism. Described by Nat Tate as the most important 20th century artist and by Duchamp as the most plagiarised.

The entrance to Frieze New York. They all look the same don't they?

In the 'Creative Marriage' the muse is the 'artist'. She is imaginative and forward looking while the artist has become the 'mechanic'. Nothing more than a conduit for her creativity and the tool by which it is rendered tangible. In the case of 'BIG NAME' artists it is sadder than that; the artist has simply become the 'administrator' liaising between the creative and the mechanics producing the work within the factory like studio. The 'Name' artist is no closer to art than the hospital administrator is to surgery.

Art (or what claims to be art (blame Serota)) is now purely interested in chasing the buck and the places to chase the buck are 'Art Fairs' such as frieze!

Frieze is also the place to be seen for suits, trophy wives, trophy wives in suits, middle aged rom com actors with their Asian babes (plenty of soft porn titillation guaranteed) and 'Artists' in suits. It is nothing but a corporate seminar like any NHS seminar and the be all and end all is the embodiment of victory of profit over integrity or creativity.

For the duration of Frieze the muse will be in the studio conjuring up angel tears from her harp whilst in the tent in the Regents Park they will be plucking the feathers, one painfully by one, from the same angel's wings!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Grant Shapps, snake oil salesman runs for the hills.

In the light of Grant Shapps taking down his dodgy 'fast buck' websites we can surmise that he is dodgy, a chancer, oleogenous, a bullshitter and squeakily unclean... all in all a Tory! Cameron has lost the plot!

This could easily be a BNP or similar rally. I'd rather trust Jimmy Saville than this guy!

This country is now being run by a bunch of corrupt, elitist kids, coked out of their brains 'allegedly' and without a single thought for anyone other than their nasty little clique. GOD HELP US.

On a serious note, read this in the Guardian:

Jimmy Savile, George Entwistle and the BBC.

Jimmy Savile: Darling of Auntie Beeb!

                               Entwistle: Seedy 'uncle'?

In the guardian this morning I read the following:

"The BBC director general, George Entwistle, has promised to investigate the mounting allegations of sexual abuse by Sir Jimmy Savile, but only when the police investigation has been completed.
Entwistle told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday that he deeply regretted what had happened and apologised to the women involved for what they have had to endure, but he said he did not want to compromise the police inquiry."
Further on into the article I read:
"Entwistle, who rose through the ranks of the BBC as a journalist (and described elsewhere as: a "loyal BBC soldier"), said he had not about heard the rumours of sex abuse until late last year but conceded: "Jimmy Savile was regarded as by a great many people as odd, a bit peculiar and that was something I was aware some people believed."

Then I read the following in another article: "The former head of Radio 1 was aware in the early 1970s of allegations of sexual abuse involving Sir Jimmy Savile, an ex-press officer for the station has claimed.
Rodney Collins said on Wednesday that an ex-Radio 1 controller, the late Douglas Muggeridge, asked him to find out whether newspapers were looking into sex abuse claims about Savile in 1973.
Collins, who was head of press for Radio 1 when Savile was a DJ at the station, urged the BBC to launch a full internal inquiry and to examine who knew what and when.
"The BBC should now – having first of all said they knew nothing about this – hold a full inquiry, they should co-operate with the police. If anyone working there at the time had some knowledge of this they should put their hands up," Collins told MediaGuardian!.
So Entwistle rose through the ranks of the BBC as a journalist! A pretty good indication then that the quality of journalism there is pretty poor or that the BBC has a long tradition of brushing its own shit under the carpet or both.
Of course Savile was odd! Alarm bells should have been screaming years ago, especially after savile's defence of Gary Glitter. And of course BBC management would have known about Savile's 'parties'.
Rather than wait (no doubt hoping that all this will go away) the director General should instigate an internal inquiry immediately.
The BBC is often referred to as 'auntie', it transpires that 'Seedy uncle' might be a better epithet!
Oh! And how many seedy men at the Beeb had Jimmy fix it for them to live out their own seedy fantasies I wonder? 

Friday, 5 October 2012

The Collective at the West Bank Gallery.

bloody hell! Something worth going to see in a Notting hill gallery.

A group show running for a very short time (until the 7th) featuring some surprisingly good stuff. go and catch it.

I loved the organic forms of Kate Linforth:

Serene, understated ceramics by Maria Dehaan are both Beautiful and functional.

kim Francis makes almost indescribable fragile objects of great beauty. Faberge made accessible.

WEST BANK GALLERY is at133 Westbourne Grove W11.  look it is pissing with rain, there could be no better way of escaping it! Prices are realistic too and for once it is not 'faddish' ephemeral tosh.

Arty Self portrait.

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Pelican, Tavistock Road W11 is reopening on saturday 6th of October.

After some considerable time closed following a rather checkered history the Pelican is finally reopening its doors! It will be interesting to see how it goes; the new owners appear to have spent a considerable amount of money on the buildings interior which indicates that they may want to keep the usual suspects out.

In the light of what is happening generally to our local pubs lets hope the Pelican maintains some standards!

The new owner showed me around the other day and was keen to assure me that it was not attempting to be some kind of gastro pub but something that might resemble a PUB!

Opening on the 6th at 6,00 pm... worth a look anyway.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Tate Modern Christmas gift ideas 2012.

I have had a sneaky peep at the following... Nothing new then!

Tate Modern Christmas gifts 2012

Banksy grafitti kit complete with stencls, spraycans, balaclava and false balls.

Gilbert and George Rococo shit embellisher. Containing resin and gold leaf for the perfect ormolu stool. (Shit not provided but may be bought separately from the Tate gift shop in handy 30g tins. Price: £97,250.00 courtesey of  Piero Manzoni)

Tracy Emin camping condoms. Signed by the artist for authentic artistic fucking intent.

The 'LOOK AT ME' Nicholas Serota mirror... Just repeat after me; If I say it is art it is ART! (This gift works well with Last years 'Emperors new clothing' Curators costume.)

Chapman brother faced false penis noses (set of two). Now you and your brother can look like a pair of dickheads.

The 'Munch Scream' cot and buggy mobile. Ideal for disturbing the very young artist.

Andy Warhol bald patch. Impress your friends with your impersonation of Andy without a wig!
Warhol without wig:

The 'Jackson Pollock' Muse beater. An authentic paint spattered singlet ideal for the 'Abstract Depressionist*' during alcoholic rages. Works equally well on long suffering wives/boyfriends.

The Damian Hirst animal mutilation starter set has been withdrawn due to legal issues... It was rubbish and overpriced anyway! 

*Abstract Depressionism: Copyright. Jan Nieupjur 2009.