Sunday 31 March 2019

The Tweets of The Week in The London Borough of Barnet - 31/3/2019

So what hs been going on in our little corner of paradise in the last week? This is the story through the eyes of our local tweeters. Don't forget to follow any who tickle your fancy.

1. A new informaion website has been launched in Mill Hill. Looks pretty useful to us

2. I rather like this tweet, used to walk past this every day on the way home from School when I was at St Vincents

3. This tweet from Finchley saddens us

4. Fancy playing in a festival?

5. One of our fave spots in Finchley

6. calling all small businesses. Networking event at Cafe Buzz tomorrow morning

7. It's that time of year for all you pond lovers!

8. Once again the Cricklewood community come up trumps

9. Probably my favourite tweet of the week

10. Good luck to everyone sitting music exams in Mill Hill today

That's all folks!

Friday 29 March 2019

The Friday Joke 29/03/2019 - A great joke courtesy of David Cameron

The 29th March 2019 will go down in history as the day nothing much happened. It was meant to be Brexit Day. In the event, it is just another day in the seemingly unending Groundhog day that is Parliament discussing Brexit. I thought I'd have a look at what has actually happened on the 29th March of note in years gone by on Wikipedia:

 It is quite ironic that the last in Wikipidia's list is the Same Sex marriage bill, which is perhaps David Cameron's finest hour.

Which leads me to our joke. What is the difference between Same Sex Marriages and Brexit? You can have a same sex marriage in England on 29th March 2019 thanks to David Cameron. (We'll I can't because I'm already married but you know what I mean).

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Culture Wednesday in The London Borough of Barnet

Every week we have a round up of all the gigs and other cultural events etc coming up in the London Borough of Barnet.


Todays video of the week.

Every week we include in this slot a track we are listening to that seems topical to us. This week we choose Mannequin by Wire. I rather like the lyrics to the second verse, chorus and middle eight

Well, you're an energy void
A black hole to avoid
No style, no heart
You don't even start
To interest me
Not even curiousity
It's not animosity
Just you don't interest me
Oh, come on!
You're a disgrace!

Sums up my opinion of certain individuals. Sadly there are rather too many wastes of space that don't interest me around at the moment.


Tuesday 26 March 2019

Social Media Commentary - Why does anybody do anything?

A couple of weeks ago, there was a very thought provoking panel in the sci fi mag 2000AD. In light of certain recent events, which I won't be going in to here, it set me thinking. Social Media can be a force for good or a very toxic medium indeed. I posted this tweet which summed up my thoughts on the matter, with the picture (from the story is called "Grey Area" and is well worth a read if sci fi floats your boat).

The central premise "Why does anyone do anything?" is an interesting one. We can guess, speculate and surmise. Lets start with this blog. Why do I write it? The reasons I write it now are completely different to the reasons for starting it. I started by writing a blog on the Barnet Times website. Initially this was meant to be mostly about local music and culture, but a blog  post about Barnet Council received a huge response. I realised that there were a huge number of people who wanted to be informed about what the council was actually doing, rather than what the council's PR people were telling us. The control freaks running the council at the time bullied the Times into stopping the blog.

Top Councillors even went out to celebrate the end of my blogging career (that went well). I set this blog up, purely to demonstrate that they could not silence the truth. If they'd ignored me at the Times, I'd probably have given up when I got bored, but it became a matter of principle. When I realised I had a huge readership, I felt a responsibility to my audience. Initially I deliberately refused to engage with Twitter. I simply wrote the blogs and that was that. Some local people persuaded me that it was vital to start tweeting my blogs, to spread the word. Against my better judgement, I joined twitter. Initially, I had a policy of simply tweeting the blog and that was that. However people started to engage me, and to my horror, I found I couldn't escape. As I believe in free speech, I adopted a policy of blocking no one. Eventually the trolls and malign souls that inhabit the Twittersphere got the better of me and I adopted a policy of blocking anyone who irritates me. I don't mind healthy political debate, but people who simply want to shout with their fingers in their ears are a pain in the arse, so I concluded that it isn't worth wasting the Oxygen. Why do people troll? Why does anyone do anything? Who knows, who cares? Somewhere, someone right now is performing some despicable act, beyond your or my comprehension. Why? Only they will ever know. The same is true of odd behaviour on social media. My point is that speculation is often simply a waste of time. Some people just do strange stuff.

But there are some things we can fairly easily deduce. People who are highly politically motivated, especially at the right and left extremes are really not up for a  rational, evidence based argument. Like religious zealots, they inhabit worlds of ever decreasing circles of fellow travellers, which usually diminish down to just themselves. By all means argue with them, if that is something you enjoy, but don't expect anything remotely resembling sense or reason in return. There is however a clarity of purpose for such individuals. You may dislike their views, but they are easy enough to understand.

Then there are the truly odd characters. Those who seemingly have no rational agenda. My father was a wise man. He imparted a lot of advice to me (some completely unwanted). He always said "People are actually pretty basic in their motivations, we survive, we have sex and we acquire wealth and power, if someone is doing something odd, they are doing it for one of those reasons".

The internet is not a safe place. It gives access wealth, power and sex. When you interact with strangers, the chances are they are either trying to change your mind, take your money or have sex with you. Political bloggers are generally trying to change your mind, or reinforce your commitment to a viewpoint. If people want your money then there are two ways that they might try. They they are plugging products etc in return for cash. There is nothing wrong with this. We all have to turn a buck. If a Tweeter or a Blogger is writing about food, travel, etc, then they will continually be bombarded with offers to plug products. The text below is typical, I chose it purely because it was the most recent one I received. If I was in Bristol, I'd probably go there because it sounds fantastic.

Turtle Bay brings a taste of Caribbean traditions to the UK this Easte

This Easter there’s something for everyone at Turtle Bay. The Caribbean restaurant and bar has launched an exclusive new cocktail that will tickle your taste buds and blow any diet out of the water and there will be free kite making kits available for the kids too.
‘Rum Rabbit Rum’ is the latest alcoholic concoction that will be hopping its way onto the cocktail menu for the Easter period, from Monday 8th to Monday 22nd April. The scintillating selection of ingredients deliver a delicious combination of Caribbean flavours including Pussers (rum), white cacao and coconut milk.
If that’s not mouth-watering enough, the signature drink will also include a scoop of chocolate ice cream and will be topped off with a piece of brownie and a Caribbean dumpling dipped in rum caramel sauce. Even the rim of the glass is dipped in rum caramel making it the ultimate Easter treat, with a Caribbean twist.
A popular tradition in the Caribbean over the Easter period is to gather as a family and fly kites together. To celebrate this and so everyone can get involved in this fun pastime, children* will receive a free kite making kit so they can put their creative skills to the test. A great surprise for the little turtles when they order from the kid’s menu and it’ll be a bonus for the mums and dads out there if it keeps them occupied too, even if it’s just for a little bit. But you’ll need to hurry – once the kite making kits have gone, they’re gone!
Of course, the incredible Turtle Bay menu will be available over the Easter period so you can sample the delicious delights it has to offer to round off your visit. From Caribbean curries such as the curry goat, to meats that are marinated for 24 hours in Turtle Bay’s signature jerk mix and finished over open flames, this is Caribbean food at its best.
With so much to enjoy at your local Turtle Bay this Easter, book your table now:
*The Easter kite making kit is suitable for children aged four and over and only provided when a meal is purchased from the Little Turtles menu.
I daresay that if I wanted, I could blag a free lunch on the basis that they got in touch. Maybe, I'll get my brother who live down there to review it. If someone is plugging stuff for large companies, they are probably getting a kickback of some sort, it's not a problem, if you want to subscribe to a fairly random advertising feed.

Then there are the people who are scamming you. These people want to make contact, get your personal details and steal your cash. This could be through fake websites offering too good to be true offers, that nick your credit card. It could be by befriending you or offering non existent services. It could be by supplying Internet services that will cost money and deliver nothing. There is a train of thought that if people are too lazy to check out people and companies before they part with money, it is their own stupidity, but scammers are crafty. They build false or dodgy profiles and tweet stuff for companies they have no association with to give an aura of legitimacy. For my business, I've seen numerous claims that people are "internationally famous artists", represent "major labels" or have "amazing track records of success". Generally a little bit of internet digging (search their name and where they claim to be from as a start) will often be most revealing. Ask for references, verification , etc. If people are bona fide, they will have no problem providing these. There are all manner of other scams, all of which end in a call for cash.

Then there are sexual predators. For me, grown up people who have profile pictures that look like kids and tweet about stuff that most of us grow out of when we are 12 is a massive worry, especially when there is a calculated attempt to obscure the age profile and identity of the account owner. When you interact with a stranger you never really know if they are 15 or 55. What we can say is that most 15 year olds don't tweet about real ale, pies at football and prostate cancer and as for what most 15 year olds tweet about, I have no idea. It is a judgement call, but look out for red flags. The reason so many priests, scout leaders and Radio 1 DJ's got away with stuff is because they were embedded in the community as fine upstanding people. That is why we have DBS checks etc these days. All I can really suggest is that you caution your kids and suggest to them that anyone that they meet on the Internet who wants to share "secrets" is most likely a very dangerous person. Remind you children that when you share a secret, that person has power over you.

We really have to be careful. My sister recently had an extremely unfortunate experience where a very disturbed person used a picture of her 14 year old son that they found on her Facebook profile to cause her a significant amount of upset, I can't say more, but make sure that your Facebook profile is secure and make sure only people you trust can see anything that you wouldn't want a stranger posting maliciously on Twitter.

Of course all of this is a judgement call for you. My advice is to be very careful.

And why do I still write a blog? Because I enjoy it most of the time.


Monday 25 March 2019

Environment Monday - How would a no deal Brexit affect Barnets Environment?
I have long been a supporter of Friends of The Earth. The organisation has been campaigning for decades for environmental protection. I was disturbed to read a report on their website detailing the possible effects of a Hard Brexit to the environment. You can read the full report here.

Here are a few extracts that I believe are of particular relevance in the Borough of Barnet. Putting aside the rights and wrongs of Brexit for one second, even the most hard line Brexiteer must concede that the May Govt has completely botched the negotiations process. Long before they decided to invoke a 2 year period for Article 50, they should have started serious planning to address all of the issues raised by a Hard Brexit. If we had a robust plan for this in place, then we would have had a better negotiating position for a good deal and a safe option for crashing out. As no proper planning has been done, the UK is over a barrel.

My view was that when the country voted for Brexit, the govt should have set up a Royal commission, to sit for 1 year, to fully analyse the impact of Brexit and develop a coherent strategy to proceed. When this had reported on the issues to be addressed, then we would have been in a position to submit the Article 50 letter. We should have done it in a September, when our energy requirements are lowest and our locally produced fruit and veg are at their highest, so that shortages of imports would be easier to manage. If May had called her election after the Royal Commission reported, she'd have had five years to execute a coherent plan. I support Remain, but I believe that the 17.4 million Brexit voters have been completely failed by a lack of leadership. 

What the FoI report says that is relevent to Barnet.

No deal pushes us to burn and dump mountains of waste instead of recycling

The UK is one of the EU’s biggest waste exporters 

For years, we’ve been offloading our waste mainly on to Europe. And for that reason, we don’t have a well-developed setup in place to encourage recycling and reuse.

No deal could mean all that waste getting stuck in the UK – at least in the short term – where it would end up buried in sprawling rubbish dumps or burnt in polluting incinerators.

Faced with a build-up of rubbish, we wouldn’t have time to adapt and create a more eco-friendly way of managing waste in the UK.

Barnet Eye Comment - Waste processing in Barnet is already in chaos. This will make the situation far worse.

No deal is bad news for wildlife and protected habitats

Back in 2005 the UK was allowing the trade of protected species collected elsewhere in Europe. It contravened the law, so the EU put a stop to it 

If we leave without a deal, we won’t be able to challenge the government for breaking environmental laws, including ones that protect nature. That is, until a watchdog is set up. Who sets that up? The government. And as explained above, we don’t know when that will happen or how effective it will be.

Barnet Eye Comment - Barnet has an appalling record of protecting wildlife habitats. Without the EU protection, this will only get worse.

No deal allows for lower food and animal-welfare standards

Under a no-deal Brexit, any present or future UK government will be able to regress our environmental standards. There will be no international agreement in place to prevent that.

At the same time, chaotically falling out of the EU would leave us scrambling for trade deals.

Potential trading partners would heap huge pressure on us to accept products that don’t make the grade. This could include meat from animals raised in more-environmentally-damaging ways.

The government is already facing calls from US trade negotiators to lower our food standards by accepting chlorinated chicken 

Worse still, poorer-quality imports would undercut British producers – leading to pressure for us to adopt the same lower-quality practices here in the UK.

Barnet Eye Comment - Barnet has farms and food producers based locally. Intensive farming techniques will trash the local green space used for farming, but this will become essential for farmers to compete. This can only be bad for them. I don't want my kids to eat chlorinated chicken thank you very much.

No deal increases the risk of unsafe chemicals getting into the environment

As a member of the EU, we’re protected by REACH. This is the most advanced system in the world for ensuring chemicals are safe for human health and the environment.

Without a deal and a handover period to spend time replacing REACH, we'd be in the dark.

The day after a no-deal Brexit, a company could launch a new chemical and we wouldn’t know what to do with it or be able to properly regulate it.

We wouldn’t have access to the vast amount of research in the REACH database. Without that knowledge it will be much easier for businesses to win legal challenges against bans on chemicals – such as pesticides linked to harming bees.

The REACH database covers 21,000 chemicals. It’s highly unlikely the UK will be able to replicate it on its own.
A less-effective UK system would be more open to abuse with companies able to sell substances in the UK that are banned by the EU.

Barnet Eye Comment - We believe there should be tighter control on chemicals, not a complete free for all. The risks of this are immense.

Sunday 24 March 2019

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 24/3/2019

There has been a lot going on in the world. There has been a lot going on in London. But what has been going on in The London Borough of Barnet this week? We have a look through the eyes of our local tweeters.

Don't forget to follow any who tickle you fancy!

1. Let's start with a fantastic view of spring in Mill Hill

2. We've been supporting Mark Amies in his campaign to do right by The Railway Hotel in Edgware. This is the latest installment.

3. A Cricklewood Landmark disappeared this week

4. We like to support local charities

5. A little bit of Burnt Oak history

6. One for the diary from the Arts Depot

7. Want to find out about the new Brent Cross West station?

8. We have some great volunteers in the Borough of Barnet

9. Can you help the Mill Hill Historical Society solve this puzzle?

10. The Mill Hill Music Festival is coming to town, tickets and programme at Mill Hill wines!

That's all folks!

Saturday 23 March 2019

The Saturday List #211 - Eleven great gigs at this years Mill Hill Music Festival

The big day is here. We can proudly announce the full line up for this years Mill Hill Music Festival, which will run between 14th and 22nd June. We think we've put together a brilliant line up, to cater for all tastes. The festival is run by volunteers on a not for profit basis. Full details on the Music Festival Website.

Click the link below for details of the individual event. Tickets are now on sale at Mill Hill Wines.

JUNE 14 - Fri 19:30
Hartley Hall,
3 Flower Lane,
Mill Hill, Lonodon,


Fri 20:00
Rocking Rhythm and blues with

The Ridgeway,

Free Entry

JUNE 15- Sat 19:30

Hartley Hall,
3 Flower Lane, 
Mill Hill, Lonodon, 


JUNE 16 - Sun 12:00
The Ridgeway,

Free Entry

JUNE 17 - Mon 19:30
Klezmer, Latin and Jazz Grooves 

Mill Hill United Synagogue,
Station Road, 
Mill Hill, London,         


JUNE 18 - Tue 19:30

Hartley Hall,
3 Flower Lane, 
Mill Hill, Lonodon, 


JUNE 19 - Wed 19:30

St Paul’s Church, 
The Ridgeway, 
Mill Hill, London, 


Wed 20:30
Quality Jazz at Mill Hill Jazz Club

Mill Hill Golf Club, 
100 Barnet Way, 
Mill Hill, 

£14 (Jazz club members £12)

JUNE 20 - Thu 19:30

Hartley Hall, 
3 Flower Lane, 
Mill Hill, Lonodon, 


JUNE 21- Fri 20:00

Mill Hill Golf Club, 
100 Barnet Way, 
Mill Hill, 

£13 in Advance £15 on door

JUNE 22 - Sat 20:30

The Ridgeway,

Free Entry

We would like to thank Mill Hill Music Complex for their sponsorship, Mill Hill Wines for their help with ticket sales and our many friends for all their support. 

We hope you will take time this summer to enjoy some wonderful music with us. 

Friday 22 March 2019

The Friday Joke - 22/03/2019 - Theresa May at The Pearly Gates

Theresa May dies and makes her way up to the pearly gates. St Peter gives her a curt once over and says, with a world weary demeanour "Ok, come on then, give me one good reason why I should let you in". Theresa May waffles on for about 20 minutes, mumbling and incoherently rambling about all manner of non achievements in her long, esteemed career. St Peter summons the Archangel Gabriel and says "Find her somewhere out of the way where she won't bother anyone".

St Peter's assistant, completely gobsmacked that she's been let in asks "Why on earth did you let her in?". St Peter replied "Don't you know who she is? If we hadn't let her in, we'd have had her back every day listening to that same olf crap for ever in the forlorn hope we'd change our mind!".

Have a great weekend.