Monday, 29 September 2014

We are too busy.

We are too busy
fighting other peoples wars
solving others problems
carrying their weight
curing their ills
salving their bruises
taking their pain
filling their voids

We are too busy to notice

each other


Friday, 26 September 2014

The Golden Cross reappears on Portobello Road.

Like some primeval petrified forest exposed by an exceptionally low tide the Golden cross has re-emerged on Portobello Road.

Immortalised by Martin Amis in his novel 'London Fields' This will for the time being surely become a shrine for literary tourists.

It is good to see it again and be reminded of a very good book.

Is Keith Talent going to perform the opening dart throwing?

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Olive Ants of Umbria. How olive oil is really made.

A guest blog by our foodie/travel writer Rusty McGlint. He ain't got a camera so there ain't no pictures.

Foodie vegetarians or Vegetarian foodies (if that is not an oxymoron) look away.

I have just spent three weeks high in the sun burnt Umbrian hills following the most noble of oils from its source on the branch to the drizzle on an artichokes heart.

My hosts, Pietro and Enid (her father was a Blyton fan) manage 15,000 olive trees on a hillside which runs down to hillside lower down the hill but not as steep and eventually to a level bit where Top Gear presenters race each other in flash cars and then it goes up again to another hill. Pietro's family has owned the land for generations and milked its trees for oil for longer still. 'Oil is in our blood'. He says. 'And our blood is in the oil'.

I spent my days on the hillside witnessing the virgin birth of oil and my evenings getting ratarsed on the Bulgarian 'Chianti' that the family buy in bulk and then re-label for the British market.

The food, provided by Pizza Hut, down in the village, was classical Umbrian fare.

But the oil. The oil.

As I mentioned before, Pietro has 15,000 olive trees. Each tree is the 'factory' for the ants nest which lies below.  The Umbrian olive tree is the life giving umbrella to the Olive ants of Italy and indeed gives its name to the region.

Olive ants (not to be confused with the Eleph ants of ancient Israel which have slightly larger bodies, thicker skins and trunks) build vast nests containing up to one million insects, each nest grows an olive tree from which oil, the life blood of the ants, can be harvested.  They say there are a Million olive trees in Umbria which means there are a million million olive ants. An old Umbrian saying has it that there are more olive ants in Umbria than there are stars in the heavens.


The ants build a nest and plant an olive tree. The ants then nurture the tree until it reaches fruition whereupon they, during the olive season, collect the oil from the fruit and take it down into their nest to provide succour for the embryonic olive ants through to maturity. They do say that over the millennia enough oil was spilled during this process to create reservoirs big enough to embarrass Saudi Arabia.

What Pietro, his forebears and his countrymen do is to catch the ants on their way down the tree- belly full of oil- throw them into a press whereby the oil is squeezed out of them. Using modern day techniques most of the ants die in this process which is causing disquiet among conservationists. Pietro insists that the ants reproduce at such a rate that this is not an issue.

In days past the ants were gently squeezed by pre-pubescent girls to extract the oil, allowing the ants to return to the trees. This oil was traditionally known as Virgin olive oil. The later, gentle but resented squeeze by a raddled old hag forced into going back to work in old age was known as the second pressing.

I'm geting bored with this. Can I just say you might not have ants in your pants but you certainly have ants in your pantry.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Bonkers Bankers Bunker in Ladbroke Grove.

This hole is being dug out on Ladbroke Grove on the corner with Elgin Crescent.

It is on a tiny site which once contained a small single storey building. The developer could not get planning permission to build up, so has gone down, and down and down. 3 floors down to be precise.

The refusal of planning permission for anything taller is laudable, the spaces between and adjacent to the large victorian houses of the area are necessary for a number of reasons and must remain.

But to burrow into the ground like this is ridiculous. whoever buys this place (no doubt for Millions of pounds) will become the owner of nothing more than a dungeon, lit naturally only through light-wells and no doubt requiring sumps and pumps to keep it dry. If the new owner is not already depressed by the price of this thing, he and his family will need psychotherapy shortly after moving in.

It is not in Notting Hill, Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts will not be strolling past hand in hand, snow will rarely shroud the road in pristine white and Junkies and drunks WILL most certainly piss through the letterbox.

Mad. Mad. Mad.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Saucepan Bark.

A guest blog form Rusty McGlint in Lizard Bend. Idaho.

I don't hold with this gender-steroetypical dressing of children so we are letting young Morgan go his own way.

I kinda like this cross dressing/Dolly Parton look he has chosen and a pink ukelele sure beats a gun.

He wrote his first song today. It goes like this:

Gonna get me a doggie
gonna walk him in the park
Gonna call my doggie Saucepan
just to hear that saucepan bark.

saucepan bark
walking in the park
a pissing on the trees
soaking all the bark

saucepan Bark
laying down his mark
and chasing off the muggers
that are hiding in the dark

Saucepan bark
Saucepan bark
gonna call my doggie Saucepan
just hear that saucepan bark.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Carnivorous Marrow found in Notting Hill.

A Serious Pest Control team was called in to a garden in West London today to deal with a rare carnivorous marrow.

The owner of the beast, Jan Nieupjur, told me:

"When the plant first started growing by the compost heap I thought it was a self seeded courgette but over the weeks the bugger just kept growing but never producing any fruit. A couple of weeks ago, having taken over the garden it suddenly produced something. In the space of 10 days it became rather larger than a courgette. I thought: OK it has aspirations of marrowhood, but it didn't stop there, it started to resemble a green pumpkin.

A few days ago the garden became empty of birds, even the wood pigeons disappeared, and then the neighbours started to lose their cats (no bad thing to my mind) and small dogs so I knew something was up.

I sat up last night with a torch and a bottle of schnapps to keep an eye on things and was amazed to see the vegetable pounce upon a nocturnal squirrel and eat it. Bugger me I thought: This thing could eat one of the kids so I called in the pest control people who confirmed (by inspecting its mouth parts) that it was in fact carnivorous".

                                Mouth of the carnivorous Marrow

A spokesperson informed me this evening that the Marrow has been taken to a secret location in Kensington where it will be propagated in order to grow more of the monsters in the local parks in order to eradicate the rough drinkers congregating therein.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Why Rimbaud gave up poetry.

From our Arts correspondent Jan Nieupjur.

A lot of people ask me why Arthur Rimbaud gave up poetry.

Actually thats a lie. No one has asked me, it is just a lazy, cheap bit of journalism.

But now I know. I recently came across a bundle of documents handed down over the years from a Kipper seller in Camden. Among the papers was a poem written by Rimbaud apparently in payment for some kippers he purchased. At the time he was living in Kentish Town with Verlaine and on the run from his mum and Verlaine liked a kipper.

Anyway, the document I have reads as follows:

At the price of just one florin je
suis désolée
down the market place to
see the value of an orange
The sun of fruits
at its apogee
yet cheaper than a door hinge.

(I feel I can do no more).   A.R.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Previously unseen Rothko found in West London.

Arts Correspondent Jan Nieupjur writes:

Walk through Notting Hills streets these days and the chances are you will stumble upon a Banksy screaming to be noticed and then scraped from its wall in order to be sold to save a youth club or some such worthy institution.  However if you open your mind to the unexpected far more worthy works of art are to be found.

The image above is one of a series of panels commissioned from Mark Rothko by the Four Seasons burger bar in the 60's. Prior to delivering the works Rothko visited the restaurant and was horrified by the quality of the images of plastic looking food on the walls and promptly withdrew from the contract, selling the panels to a firm of hoarding contractors in Shepherds Bush. The panels have remained hidden in their warehouse until recently when they were used at the Sarm West Studios site in Basing Street W11.

The works are important in that they show clearly how Rothko was moving away from Abstract depressionism towards the light of 'Nieupjurism' to which I had introduced him in the late 50's.

These paintings should be preserved for the nation but sadly one must assume that they will be overpainted by some Banksy wannabe in the near future.

The works in situ along with 'Bags of Rubbish' by Sala Murat and 'Postbox' by Tracey Emin.

Jan Nieupjur is Emeritus Professor of daubing at the University of Life. He is the founder of both the Abstract Depressionist movement and the Nieupjurist school of painting. His Autobiography, 'A figment of my imagination' is unlikely to ever see the light of day.

Harp in the Royal Albert Hall. no:2

Getting ready for Prom No: 72.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Gourmet baked beans… The planet is doomed.

We've gone mad, completely mad. fortnum and Mason are selling baked beans for nearly £5 a pot.

Half the world is starving whilst trying to live on less than that a week.

Anyone considering buying a pot of these fuckers should buy a tin of Heinz beans and give the balance to charity.

And listen up Mr and Mrs posh. The fuckers will make your farts no sweeter nor more melodious.

If Nero were around today he would be, without doubt, fiddling with a can opener and some of these as Rome burnt.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The twins.

When my parents were alive they lived outside a village in suffolk. Across the field in front of the house was an oak tree, it looked like a single tree from a distance but a closer inspection revealed that it was in fact two trees growing side by side. so close were they to each other that one had to surmise that they had grown from a squirrels buried stash of acorns.

Over the years these two trees individually grew apart as they grew up; each in search of its own light and space but such was the proximity of their origin neither of them had a say in which way it could grow, but grow apart they must.

One of the trees has light green foliage. The other dark. Other than that, as I have written, they could be one tree with a double trunk.

In the late 50's my twin sisters were born on Christmas day. It is one of my earliest memories; A christmas day (or perhaps a day later) spent in the hospital, unwrapping our presents and from what I can glean from said memory, the presents were more important that the arrival of sisters. I got a yellow bulldozer. I cannot tell you anything about the twins except that they were suddenly there.

The younger of the twins was sickly and fighting for life, she spent weeks in an oxygen tent and probably developing a completely different approach to life than her healthy sister.

From that day onwards the twins were simply 'The Twins', they were dressed alike, had the same haircuts and were referred to as a single entity even though they were not identical, came from separate eggs and had separate life support systems in the womb; two little acorns planted very close together.

From then onwards they started to grow apart, each craving her own light and space.

Thinking about it now, 55 years later I wonder if perhaps they had entered in to some unspoken pact that would allow each a degree of individuality in  their shared existence. 

One became more thoughtful and quiet while the other extrovert and capricious. Now it is as if one suffers life's hardships while the other revels in its possibilities; one tree watered from a glass half empty, the other from a glass half full. It is of course the sister who struggled for life in the beginning who makes the most of it later on. I could identify each of them simply from statements about their behaviour, If one was expelled from school, of course it was 'X', if one excelled in exams, of course it was 'Y'. One had dark emotional foliage the other light. Was this in some way considered (albeit subconsciously) and intentional or was it purely instinctive?

I used to, rather cruelly, think of them as two halves of the whole person but that of course is not the case. They are two individuals who have struggled to find their own light and air from very stifling beginnings.

I have come to the conclusion that treating twins as one entity, especially dressing them identically and never referring to them individually, considering them as accessories, is nothing short of child cruelty. 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Under Milk Wood. Promo video. Roeddwn wrth fy modd! Anhygoel!

Kevin Allen aided and abetted by Murray Lachlan Young, Rhys Ifans and others appears to have pulled off the impossible, making visual sense (or appropriate nonsense) of Dylan Thomas's audio play Under Milk Wood. The link to the promo video is:

Under Milk wood is one of those things, you know, everyone nods knowingly (even the Welsh) when it is mentioned but not many people have heard it and even fewer have read it. Most peoples contact with the poem will have been the execrable Burton/Taylor thing. This forthcoming film will, I think, change all of that.

I watched the promo with the muse (she is of course very Welsh). She was both ecstatic and gobsmacked. Roeddwn wrth fy modd! Anhygoel!

There is an oscar in the pipeline here.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Alexia Coley. Drive me wild.

Alexia is a neighbour (I live in a cool neighbourhood) over the years I have seen her sing in various places locally and with the Rotten Hill Gang amongst others. Alexia has had her share of ups and downs, especially the past year, but she always has a smile, always has time, always makes you feel better than you did before.

This is her first single. It is far better than most of what I hear these days, I love it!

When my daughter wants to dance we put this on…. And we dance.