Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Saturday List #123 - 10 reasons why terrorists will always lose in London

I woke up this morning to the 8am news on the radio and there was a mention of Wednesdays outrage at The Houses of Parliament. My first reaction was one of sadness. Sadness for the people who are mourning for loved ones needlessly and senselessly killed. My second thought was for the poor people injured and still in hospital. Some will have had their life changed permanantly. What for? What possible good did the deluded fool who committed this outrage think this would achieve. The news story said that "all but two of the people arrested following the outrage have been released".What can we read into this? At this stage, it is hard to read too much into this, other than it looks as if this guy wasn't part of a particulary well armed, organised or trained network of terrorists. It looks more and more likely that he's just a nutcase who flipped. In the USA, nutcases flip on a regular basis and go on shooting sprees. Luckily for us, it seems that our gun control laws have ensured that this nutcase perhaps did less damage than he might have. I don't really suppose it will be much solace to those injured and loved ones of those killed, but for the rest of us, it seems that we have a degree of safety from such episodes of insanity. In certain other countries, where you can buy automatic weapons without any checks at all, can you imagine the mayhem that someone who cares none for their own wellbeing can cause.

I don't believe that nutcases such as this man will ever succeed. I don't believe more well organised groups will either. I thought I'd list the reasons why London is so resilient to such attacks.

1. It is a sad truth that everyone living in London is rather used to it. We've had the IRA, The Angry Brigade, The Nazi homophobe who bombed The Admiral Duncan. Hitler blitzed London. As a now famous Facebook meme said "we just drink tea and carry on.

2. We are surrounded by all creeds and colours. It is far easier to spread division against people we don't know or understand. In London, we rely on people from everywhere to make our city function. We have no "fear of other" because we are all part of the same body and we all contribute.

3. We trust our police. The Met is not perfect. It makes mistakes. But Londoners trust the Police. The Met tries to be as open and transparent as any modern Police force can. Most officers aren't armed. Therefore we know that a policeman is not some sort of paramilitary thug.

4. The Authorities have decades of experience of planning for such events. When bad things happen, the emegency services are well drilled in responding as quickly and professionally as possible

5. GCHQ. The UK leads the world in electronic survelliance. Contrary to the fantasies of Donald Trump, they have better things to do than listen to him discussing whether to have sheddies or coco
pops with Melania. Dozens of terrorist plots have been disrupted and stopped in their tracks. They do real, grown up work 24 x 7, 365 days a year.

6. Art and Culture. London is a great melting pot of art and culture. Londons music scene has been influenced by the heritage of our population from all over the world. We welcome artsist, many of whom have fled repression and persecution. Their art informs us of the struggles of people all over the world. No city on the planet has more exposure to other cultures, therefore no city is more robust in its regection of ignorance.

7. Our gun laws. It is virtually impossible to get hold of guns, especially hand guns and automatic weapons. Whilst cars and kitchen knives clearly can cause mayhem, we don't see the dozens of people killed that we see in certain other countries, when lunatics lose the plot.

8. We reject extremists of all creeds and colours. Sadly, when we get events such as what happened on Wednesday, there are always people of ill intent who seek to exploit such events to further all manner of unpleasant agendas. Happily, Londoners are exceptionally savvy and spot this for what it its.

9. Mustn't grumble! Londoners have a very stoical attitude to both triumph and adversity. A Londoner wins the lotter and you ask how they're doing "mustn't grumble". A Londoner gets delayed for three hours and has to walk home in the rain from central London due to a terrorist adversity "Had better days".  I was discussing the atrocity with a friend last night. The subject of the poor chap from Utah, killed on the bridge came up. My friend said "I just hope he'd had a really happy day up until then and that he didn't know too much about it". To me that was a very typically London response to a very sad event.

10. We pull together. When we are faced with adversity, we pile in and do what we can. Parliament puts the usual tribal differences aside and we look to our Prime Minister to show statesmanship. Theresa May did not disappoint. There was a small moment, as MP's trailed out, where hero Conservative MP Tobias Elwood, alone in his thoughts was approached by Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn. I've no idea what exactly Corbyn said, but it was clearly meant to offer some sort of solace. That is what we do.

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Friday Joke - 24/03/2017

A man and his wife were having some problems and were giving each other the silent treatment. The next week, the man realized that he'd need his wife to wake him at 5 a.m. for an early flight.
Not wanting to be the first to break the silence, he finally wrote on a piece of paper: "Please wake me at 5 a.m."
The next morning the man woke up, only to discover it was 9 a.m. and he'd missed his flight.
Furious, he was about to go and scream at his wife when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed that said: "It's 5 a.m. Wake up.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

London life goes on after the failure of the worlds most inept terrorist

My daytime office is less than 3/4 of a mile from Parliament. I actually heard the shots faintly ring out. In central London you hear all manner of noises,so I wasn't initially too disturbed. Then I heard the sirens and the skies filled up with helicopters. It became clear that all was not well.

Then as the story unfolded the horror of what happened became apparent.  A very sick minded individual had mown down a bunch of innocent people on a bridge, stabbed an unarmed police officer and been shot by armed police. What did this sick man hope to achieve? That we can only speculate. This morning, London got up and went to work as usual, maybe in a more sombre mood, but the city does what it always does when such atrocities happen.

I have no idea what the stupid fool of a terrorist hoped would happen, but he has achieved a few things. Let me spell these out.

1. He has reaffirmed that the London Police are the finest police force on the planet. I could not be prouder of them. I for one am thankful that we have brave policement who do not carry guns routinely.  It also shows that those who are armed are very well trained. The terrorist was despatched with three bullets. There was not a hail of bullets and dozens of innocent bystanders shot. The terrorist has reaffirmed my belief that London and the British Police are the best. He has made me very proud of the men and women who serve and protect us.

2. Our ambulance and medical services are exceptional people. Who knows what they were walking into? But walk into it they did. They deserve our praise and gratitude. The terrorist has simply demonstrated that in London, our society has delivered us a fantastic team of emergency services who are brave and heroic. That gives me great reassurance.

Image result for conservative MP cpr policeman3. Every time there is such an atrocity, London always seems to throw up an unlikely hero. There is always someone who emerges from the picture with bravery and courage. There is always an unsung hero (often more than one) who is an example to us all. Yesterday, that hero was Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood. I hadn't heard of Mr Ellwood before yesterdays atrocity. He is just one of the hundreds of MP's who go about there business and try and ensure the country is well run and democratically accountable. What I didn't know before yesterday is that Mr Ellwood is also a very brave and heroic man. The pictures of him trying to save a stabbed policeman touched my heart. No one would have questioned him if he'd run and hid. But he didn't He ended up soaked in blood, vainly using his military and medical training to try and save a fellow man. This is clearly the sort of man I'd want for my MP, even if I don't agree with his politics. If there was an election tomorrow, I would vote for him. The terrorist has simply remphasised that there is more that joins us as decent people than divides us.

4. Last night, I went for a curry, in the very fine Mill Hill Tandoori restaurant. The owner is a very good friend of mine and a Muslim. We are still friends. We share a horror of what such people do. The sick terrorist simply gave us another opportunity to reaffirm that we are both hard working, peaceful citizens. There is no division. There will never be.

In short, whatever the sick idiotic fool was trying to do, what ever division he was trying to spread, not only did he fail, but he had completely the opposite effect. He has gone to meet his maker, with the blood of innocent people on his hands. There is no holy book anywhere, in any creed that says "though shalt butcher the innocent with no regard for the sanctity of life".  I believe that people who perpetrate such acts have been lied to and mislead. The God I believe in does not give them a reward for such henious acts of barbarity. I don't know whether God has the compassion to forgive such people, given that someone has corrupted and perverted their notion of what faith is. What I do know is that, tragic though it is, through the actions of such despicable and evil people, we actually often get to see the very best in our fellow citizens and we get to be reminded of just how lucky we are to live in London, the capital city of the world. I hope and pray that this is the last terrorist atrocity that befalls our city. I hope and pray that men of hatred see the futility of their actions. I hope and pray that the leaders of all faiths and creeds spread the message that hatred and violence are not the way of God and people of faith. I hope and pray that we don't harden our hearts and we continue to treat all the citizens of our city with love and respect. But most of all, today, I hope and pray that all Londoners have as quiet and peaceful a day as is possible in the circumstances. I believe that if ever there was a chosen people, it is the citizens of our fine city. We are lucky as we have everything we need to have a rich and fulfilled life. We should cherish that every single day. The men of hate will not prevail. Ever.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Wednesday Poem #15 - Chuck Berry

Image result for "chuck berry"
Chuck Berry RIP
Mr Chuck Berry has left the stage.
 We won't see his like again,
Those words often said in recent years,
But never so true.

Mr Chuck Berry has left the stage.
From every player of the electric guitar,
We Salute You.

Copyright 2017 - Roger Tichborne

For me, Chuck Berry is perhaps the most important musician of the the last century. There were technically better players, there were better song writers, there were better songwriters, there were better looking dude's, there were cleverer dudes. But there was no one else ho was Mr Chuck Berry! He invented being a Rock and Roll guitarist. Others may have refined the art, but I love my rock and roll dirty and raw. When yous aw Chuck Berry, you saw a show. I doubt there are any decent electric guitarists anywhere, who haven't at some point played Johnny B. Goode. When you were putting a rock and roll band together, it was almost a right of passage that you had a bash at Johnny B. Goode.  I had a quick search of Youtube vids of the song. Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Elvis Presley, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Coldplay, Peter Tosh, Tom Jones, Jimmy Hendrix, Prince, Suzi Quatro, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones to name a few.

But my favourite Chuck Berry song was always Roll Over Beethhoven and this is my favourite video of it. Chuck looks great in this clip. And yes, I've knocked out a rather dodgy version of Johnny B.Goode in my day! This is how I want to remember the great man!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Barnet Council Overdevelopment update - Housing planned for Whalebones Park

 Whalebones Park

Many people in and around the Barnet area have grown up with a fond attachment to Whalebones Park in Barnet. As a child, it was always a big Sunday treat to go out for a drive in my dad's Humber Hawk car. Perhaps the favourite destination was Whalebones and I listed it as one of the top ten things to see in Barnet back in July 2012, when we were only on our eigth Saturday list (we've now done over 120!). 

Gwyneth Cowing left the 14 acre site  Whalebones Park to the people of Barnet but now the trustees want to sell off 11 acres to builders.  Their aim at this stage is to include the land in the council’s new local plan for housing development, even though Whalebones falls within the Wood Street Conservation area.

The trustees of Whalebones have approached builders about development of the site. If this is ratified it gives development a green light despite being opposed by several councillors and Theresa Villiers local MP.

The development excludes the three acres belonging to Whalebones house which has recently been sold but may now also be under threat. Initially prep work will include site investigation including heritage, archeological and environmental, but given the fact that the recent one in the land next door was whitewashed with no wildlife findings being taken into account any done so now will need to be thorough.

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Whalebones development
We are asking that every person who is a friend of Whalebones lets local MP Theresa Villiers know of their opposition to this scheme. Go on the link to The Barnet Society and leave objections in the comments box. Write or email the council to let them know your feelings.  If anyone is or knows of ANY experts in any areas that might be of use please bring them on board. If anyone can help with ideas please do, We have a facebook page to help pull the campaign together, please join. 

Please share this post to anyone and everyone, let's show the trustees and the council just what it means to Barnet.

Barnet Tories gear up for an election, Barnet Labour gear up for a civil war

Yesterday I got a paid advery on my Facebook feed from the Barnet Conservatives. The Tories are not mugs, they don't waste money. This can only mean one thing. An election is in the air. As for Barnet Labour? They have more important things to worry about, such as the civil war in the Labour Party. It beggars belief that as the Tories are planning what may be the most important election in our lifetime, Labour is only able to kick lumps out of their fellow comrades. I will resist the urge to point fingers at the Blairites, the Brownites or Momentum. They resemble a football team where the left winger would rather the opposition score than pass to a team mate on the right. Labour are now a basket case, they are no longer a serious party. They have no unified position on any important issue. As such, they are allowing the hard right of the Tory party to destroy the country. The hard right are not stupid. They know that with Labour in disarray, it represents a unique opportunity to grab power.

If Labour does not wake up and smell the coffee, they will be guilty of letting a very dangerous genie out of the bottle.

Monday, 20 March 2017

George Osborne - Just the latest Russian patsy politician?

It has been reported that George Osborne has become the new editor of the Evening Standard. There are many questions, not least how can someone do a full time job and represent their consttuents. But there is a deeper and more disturbig question. Why did the Russian billionare owner of the Standard appoint a man with no experience at all of editing or journalism to run his paper. What on earth could justify a £220,000 a year salary?  Last week, we saw Donald Trump, another Politician with a questionable relationship with Russia attack GCHQ. Anyone who knows anything about Russia, knows that GCHQ is seen by the Russians as threat no 1 to their global ambitions. Whatever you may think of Osborne, it is unquestionably true that having an MP on the payroll is a very useful thing for Russia and its ambitions.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 19/03/2017

Morning campers! Have you awoken from your slumbers wondering what's been going on in our local community this week? Well if you have, here's our pick of the weeks top tweets from our little corner of Planet Earth.

1. We had an Italian Market in the Broadway, where we were serenaded royally by our very own accordian player!

2. BBC London radio show host spoke fondly of how librarians at Burnt Oak Library inspired him!

3. Not strictly a Barnet tweet, but I am sure anyone from round these parts will snigger when they see this!

4. This is a rather lovely tweet

5. A rather sad little piece of graffiti in East Finchley :(

6. It will come as no surprise to some (Mrs Angry? Buzzing Helen), that Finchley has long been a hot bed of trouble makers

7.We also had a fire at a scrapyard in Cricklewood

8.Live in Colindale? Fancy a fictional writing workshop?

9.Some lovely pics from a rather soggy Barnet Rebel!

10.And on the subject of gloomy vistas!

Thats all folks!!!!!!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Saturday List #122 - My top ten cover versions

So todays list is my top ten cover versions. My criteria for this list is quite simple. This is that I like the version, prefer it to the original and that I consider the cover to be more well known. Of course this is purely subjective.

1. Tainted Love by Soft Cell. This is a truly awesome track and established Marc Almonds career. I do like Gloria Jones original, but Almond takes the song to a new level and injects a whole new meaning to the song

2. Blue Suede Shoes - Elvis Presley. Elvis takes Carl Perkins song and takes it to a new level. There are probably very few songs that Elvis wouldn't improve, but this song is sublime when performed by Presley. Again Carl Perkins original is a great track but when it comes down to it, Presley's is the definitive version


4. All along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix takes Bob Dylans classic track and makes it into a rock standard. Hendrix was such a special talent. He was a true genius and this song exemplifies everything that was great about Hendrix. It is often argued that Dylan is a better song writer than artist, I don't necessarily agree, because the covers of his songs that we love, such as this are reqorked by people of awesome talent.
5.Black Magic Woman - Santana

Now here's an argument. Is Carlos Santana a better guitarist than Jimi Hendrix? I can't think of anyone elese I'd even begin to make that suggestion about? Santana makes a guitar sing in a way that no one else does. Any song he plays, he injects such soul and passion into. He takes a fairly pedestrian Fleetwood Mac song and transforms it into a song that is erotic, sensuous and at the same time quite disturbing.
6. Valerie - Amy Winehouse

When I first heard this song by The Zutons, I thought "That's a pretty decent pop song". When I heard Amy Winehouse cover it, I realsied that it was an awesome song. Winehouse is yet another artist who was without peers. As far as I am concerned, everything she did was sprinkled with Stardust. This song is perhaps the finest example of how she could take a song and build it into something unique and quite amazing.
7. Ever Fallen in Love - The fine Young Cannibals

I love the Buzzcocks and I think Pete Shelley is a genius. However, I think that the FYC's version of this song is awesome because it demonstrates a depth and meaning in the song that I'd completely missed in the Buzzcocks punk thrash. It is transformed from a song you jump aroudn to, into a song which moves your heart. I hated it when I first heard the cover, thinking "How could they do that to a Buzzcocks song". After a few listens, I changed my mind and realised what a great cover it is.
8. After the Goldrush - Prelude

I've no idea what this song is about, but it is perhaps the most beautiful piece of music that has ever been recorded. This is perhaps the first single I bought after hearing the song on the radio. For years, I considered it a guilty pleasure, as friends would always say "Prelude ruined a Neil Young classic". I disagree and think this version is a million times better.
Respect - Aretha Franklyn
If Aretha Franklyn had not done this cover, I would have argued till my dying breath that no one could better a song by Otis Redding, but this veersion wins hands down. Franklyn puts soul and passion into this song, which is simply not there in the original. I am genuinely not sure who I think is a better singer, Aretha or Amy? What I do know is that no one else is really in the same league.
10. Who Do You Love - Quicksilver Messenger Service

I just love this version. As a guitarist, this has it all. A great groove, great blues licks and a reinvention of a rock and roll classic. It always amazes me that this song isn't considered as one of the great rock and roll classics. The Bo Diddley version is great, but this wins hands down. The album version is 25 mins long. I used to play it to the kids as a treat when they were little. We'd have a picnic in the front room and when the track finhsed, they'd go to bed. So it has all manner of sweet memories for me!

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Friday Joke - 17/3/2017 - St Patrick's day special

A very happy St Patrick's day to one and all.

We celebrate the life and work of St Patrick, a Christian missionary, credited with converting Ireland to Christianity. He was actually British. As well as Ireland, he is also the patron saint of Nigeria. This may well be why Nigeria loves a Guinness!

So today, we'll have a couple of my favourite Irish and Nigerian jokes. In many ways Nigerians and Irish are similar. Both nations people have a love for life, a generous nature, a disrespect for authority and a love of shenanigans. Both nations have suffered civil was and famines as a result of colonial histories and artificial borders. And both peoples have been the butt of unfair jokes that stereotype the people in a dim light, usually driven by ignorance.

A Texan walks into a pub in Tipperary and announces "I've heard the Irish can drink. I'll give £500 US dollars to anyone who can drink 10 pints of Guinness back to back". The room falls quiet and on guy slips out of the back door. Ten minutes later he returns, taps the Yank on the shoulder and says 'line them up, I'll take your bet'. The Texan tips a nod to the barman. The Guinnesses are lined up, and drunk in short order. The Texan gives him a $500 role and then says "why did you wait ten minutes before taking the bett?' The Irish chap replied 'oh I had to nip down to Mulligans bar to see if I could do it before I took your money'

An American millionaire is on a flight in first class. As he settles a scruffy Nigerian is ushered into the seat next to him. The American asks 'Do you always fly first class' as he  thinks the guy looks a a tad poor. The Nigerian replies ' no my friend, I was booked on the previous flight, but it was full. They said they would put me up in the best hotel and fly me first class if I got the next plane. I am a poor man, I thought it would be nice to have a little luxury, so I accepted '. The American decided that the Nigerian was clearly uneducated and stupid and decided to humiliate him. He said 'can we play a little game?' The Nigerian replied 'what game is that '. The millionaire said ' I ask you a general knowledge question and if you can't answer, you give me $5, then you ask me a question, if I can't answer, I give you $500' The Nigerian says Ok. The millionaire then says 'what is the distance from the Earth to the Sun?'. The Nigerian looks glum, opens a weather beaten wallet and gives the American a crumpled $5 bill. The Millionaire smugly says 'your turn'. The Nigerian says 'What is the name of the fish that is blue at night, yellow in the morning and red when cooked'. The American realises he is stumped. He rather irritated you gives the Nigerian $500. The Nigerian smiles and puts the money in his wallet. The millionaire then says 'well what is it then?". The Nigerian smiles, gives him $5 and says 'you will have to ask my wife, she does the cooking'.

Have a great Paddys day, I'm off to Nambucca to see The Pogue traders later!