Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
With apologies, this is not going to be a very exciting post, I'm afraid - I just wanted to find out how to do a posting!
For what it's worth, this is a picture of the next house we are hoping to develop - a 1936 semi that at the moment has scarcely been modified at all since 1936 - a real period piece inside - and note the driveway down the side, too narrow for a modern car!
It's in a cul-de-sac named "Meadow Prospect" - and you can see the meadow from the side of the upstairs front bay window in this picture... just about.
We're intending to convert it into two flats - access to the upstairs being via an extension at the side. Interestingly, we are obliged to provide wheel-chair access for the lower flat and must use the front garden for off-street parking. Further, we must provide bicycle stands and dedicated spaces for wheelie bins and blue and green recycling boxes - so the front will look like a low-grade college of FE (as our architect put it!)
Whilst we are all for recycling in principle, it does seem one needs an eighth day of the week to sort it out according to the detailed council rules - and if one doesn't wish to decorate the front of the house all week with ones rubbish containers, you need a fork lift truck....
Ah well! Lets see if I can post this....
Monday, January 22, 2007
However, recently it seems to have spun itself onto a new, quite preposterous, level. Just up the road they have erected a series of signs pointing towards new housing developments. Granted, Belgrave Court is in the Dorchester Road mould. Chequers might be if it referred to the Prime Minister's country residence, but you can't be sure today. But Intrigue : what is all that about? The intrigue is why anyone would want to live in such a place. There is another sign in Huddersfield pointing towards a big mill conversion which is called "Equilibrium". In Mirfield there is a similar development called "Fusion".
I am starting a new campaign for a return to good, old-fashioned street names. Names like Brick and Tile Terrace (just down the road in Brighouse), Bog Lane (that's in Leeds), Bonegate Road (Huddersfield) and Slippery Ford Lane (Bradford). And as our house backs onto the local crematorium, in future people can contact me by writing to 3, Crematorium Gardens, Huddersfield.
Friday, January 19, 2007
The document which caught my eye was an election leaflet from the local elections held in the London Borough of Merton in May 1974. As you can see, the candidate - to be more exact one of the four candidates on the Labour Party slate, as the election returned four councillors - was none other than me. Two things must stand out to anyone who views this historical document. First, how much I looked like a convicted criminal. The look in the photograph has that element of bemused nonchalance mixed with primal fear so common in police mugshots. And second, how on earth could I describe myself as being particularly interested in local government finance? Clearly there could be no hope for such a young man. Clearly there wasn't.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Thank you to the kind gentleman from roneo.co.uk who offered to help me acquire a second-hand roneo duplicator in response to my posting "Roneo, Roneo ..." I am currently in negotiations with my dear wife to see whether space can be allocated.
Thank you to the staff at Channel 4 News for their kind words in response to their award of News Podcast of the Year. I am searching for a suitable trophy and will let you know when one has been found.
Thank you to Paul Bentley for the suggestion that we co-write the movie about old post-cards. If we don't manage the movie script perhaps you should turn the idea into a song for your next CD. The title will be easy : "My Dearest May".
And thank you to the kind people who have e-mailed me to say that they are enjoying these postings. A special word of thanks must go to my good friend Edwin who not only sent me such an e-mail but also an attached image which he thought I could add to my collection of "zany photos" (I must point out Edwin, that these so-called zany photos are mostly members of my near family). Nevertheless, back to the image. Edwin suggests that "it is up to the beholder to imagine" what on earth it might be. I know what it is (Edwin provided the solution) but I am prepared to offer a case of Grolsch to anyone who gets close. I have slightly changed the base image to make it more interesting. The usual rules apply about the competition not being open to Edwin Osborne, his relatives or employees.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Many years ago I had a phase of collecting picture postcards. The ones I was most interested in were early ones - around the turn of the (last) century. For me, the joy of a good antique postcard was not just the picture which was on the front, but also the message which was attached to it. There was a little second-hand shop in Rotherham where I used to be able to pick up the occasional bargain. The owner would look out for postcards which might interest me and put them to one side until I next called in.
The example above, was bought from that shop. It dates from 1898 and - like several others in my collection - it was sent to Miss May Chambers of 99, Burngreave Road, Sheffield. I am not sure who it is from - the signature looks like Adele Fleming - but I am not sure. Who were these two? What was Adele doing in Budapest "staying with Mrs Brall"? And what of this other card which is mentioned? It is not part of my collection I am afraid. "Do you think your husband will look like these two?" Is May to marry a Hungarian Count? Has Adele gone on a tour of Europe to find a possible husband for her friend? It is all so intriguing.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
It is a lovely album which blends the familiar pleasures of a timeless voice with an ambition that allows it to occasionally stray from what might be safe and clichéd. But don't take my word for it. You can download samples from Paul's website or the whole thing if you are a subscriber to itunes or Napster.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Uncle Harry was around for another twenty-five years and I strongly suspect that he outlived the film by a couple of decades. But if he had lived long enough to see the internet he would have been quite keen on the idea of appearing on it. "That means I will be immortal", I hear him saying, "that blog page will live forever". So here is Uncle Harry. He's the one on the right wearing the plumed helmet. The picture dates from the early thirties, I suspect, and at that time Harry was making a living as a travelling playing in a pierrot show called "The Silhouettes Concert Party"
I have a copy of the programme for the show dated Monday 14th September 1931, when the Silhouettes were playing the Pier Hall, Bognor. The cast includes : Harry Christian (Comedian : late of "Catlin's" and own show); Elsie Prince (Soprano : late of "Farce" and other leading concert parties); Audrey Hawke (Soubrette and Dancer : The well-known young Pantomime Principal Boy); and Harry Moore (Pianist and Tenor Vocalist). According to the programme : "their humour can be thoroughly recommended to all who love to laugh, while patrons to whom Art and Music appeal strongly will find that their tastes have been well catered for". The show is billed as "The Acme of Perfection in Pierrotic Entertainment"
Other than a few fading playbills and a long-lost bit of TV film little of Uncle Harry lives on. Which is a shame. Well now he has his own place on the World Wide Web. Good for you Uncle Harry. Now, play us out ...
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
The winner of the best daily news podcast has to be the Channel 4 Morning Report podcast. Whilst it concentrates on UK news it still is worthy of an international audience as it has developed a style and content of its own rather than just mimicking the existing styles of radio or newsprint. It has a freshness and a vibrancy which make it a pleasure to listen to.
The winner of the best newspaper-based podcast category is the New York Times with its Front Page Summary. No frills, no attempt to be anything other than what it is. But within the space of five short minutes you can get a good impression of what America might be thinking.
There are joint winners in the local news podcast category - Chicago's NBC5 News Podcast and the Denver Post All News podcast. It must be said that these were the only two entries in this category but they both deserve an honourable mention for nothing else other than their obsession with the weather. There is a perverse pleasure in listening to someone elses' weather forecasts.
This year the prize for making the most news out of the least activity goes to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's AM Daily Podcast. Getting 30 minutes out of the days developments in Australia is an achievement worthy of both note and award.
The prize for the most esoteric subject matter must go to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations' Editors' Choice podcast. Who on earth the editor in question is I have no idea but over recent weeks they have served up a truly esoteric menu including "the end of faith", "brain candy", and research into potential cures for hangovers!
That just leaves the prize for the most ridiculous news podcast, and that has to go to the CBS iCast which seem to be always in search of an even lower level to drag news reporting down to. At times one is tempted to believe that it is nothing more than a rather clever satire on American news coverage. But the chances are that it is for real. One recent lead story stays in my mind : "America's longest living ex-President is no longer Gerald Ford. He's dead"
So that's the 2007 awards. Any nominations for the 2008 awards - send them in now. Amy and I have a lot of walking to do.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
So I made this New Years' resolution to download something new each day and to experiment where possible. Two days in, the results are mixed. Yesterday was a disaster (rap is and surely will always be nothing more than an embarrassment). Today was a much better experience. The CD in question was "Confluences" by Jean-Louis Matinier which brings together the accordion of Matinier, the flute of Bobby Rangell, the guitar of Nelson Veras and the bass of Renaud Garcia-Fons. As the title suggests, it is a coming together of styles - ethnic, classical and very definitely jazz - producing a rich and memorable experience. Catch it if you can.