Sunday 28 February 2021

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 28th February 2021 - The last day of winter!

 Lets start with a little reminder. Today is the 28th February. It is the official last day of Winter. It has been a grim old year. Better times are on the horizon. I genuinely believe that the second half of this year will be a very good one. There will be problems, many of us will still be mourning loved ones, recovering from long covid, but it appears that the pandemic is receding and is genuinely on the decline this time. 

Which brings us to the tweeters of Barnet and how they've been amusing themselves. Here is our pick. We hope it brings a little joy in these times. 

1. Well lets start by hoping everyone had a Happy Purim celebration.

2. Thanks to @Time_NW for some rather amazing pictures of Edgware taking shape in 1905 and 1930. THis is a great twitter feed for those who love local history

3. And whilst on the subject of Purim and Edgware, a nice tweet from the Mill Hill historical society, showing that in 1939, just before the outbreak of WW2, we had excellent community relations locally. It is nice to be able to say that this is still true



4. Some good news and some bad news for our local non league football fans. Non League Tier 3-6 has been cancelled for the season, however the FA Vase continues

5. A shout out to the Day of the Raj and everyone else doing stirling work in our community during these difficult times.

6. I was delighted to see a picture of one of my neighbours in this tweet. A big shout out to the good neighbour scheme for their work in our community


7. I'm sure you'll agree that these are awesome wildlife pictures from Don AKA @Barnet_rebel


8. If you have a minute, this may make you smile


9.Excuse the language in the pictures, but a local has launched a rather interesting sticker campaign to inform 'Taggers' what we think of them. I'd be interested to know the geenral view on this campaign. Good or bad thing?


10. Live music in your front room tomorrow!


That's all folks.



Saturday 27 February 2021

The Saturday List #297 - My top ten soul music songs

I've really been looking forward to putting this list together. I always enjoy putting music lists together and this one contains some absolutely brilliant and joyous music.  Putting this together is a three stage process. I choose a list of songs by different artists, then I check that the era is right. There were a couple of numbers I picked that were actually released in the early 1970's when I checked. I then try and organise the list into a decent playlist. I wanted to ensure that Motown, Stax and Atlantic were all represented and that there was a good range of different styles of the music from the Soul family. I'm pretty sure that there will be no songs on the list that you haven't heard before. I must say that if I was starting this series again, I would do 20 tracks. Ten is far too few! 

Lets start with a few words about my relationship with Soul music. Soul music is a genre I really liked as a kid. My sisters loved the Motown hits and these were always being played Then  I went right off  the genre in 1977 in my hardcore punk years By about 1979, I saw the error of my ways and have spent the last 42 years rediscovering and developing my love of the music. 

We start the list with where my adult love of Soul music started. Imagine me sitting in the Railway pub in West Hampstead, on a Friday night in 1980, reading the Evening Standard and drinking a pint of bitter, waiting for my friends to arrive, for a night of live music in the Moonlight Club. I'd be about 18 at the time. It was probably September and it was a warm night. I had some coins and I was going to put a few numbers on the Jukebox. An older guy, who I knew to nod to, who always played 60's music, Hendrix, Dylan, Cream et all, had lined up a good few tunes. I didn't want to put my money in until his selection had played. I didn't mind his picks, they weren't really to my taste, but they were OK. Then this song came on that I'd not heard. My ears pricked up. It was amazing. I shouted over to him "Hey mate, what's that you're playing?". His reply "Otis Redding, Dock of the Bay". I'd never heard of Otis Redding, but the song warranted a second listen. The following day I bought an Otis Redding compilation. You couldn't Google artists then, so I didn't know too much about him, other than his music, but I realised that he was a brilliant singer. It was the first Soul album I bought purely from hearing a song I liked. It was not the last. Otis exemplifies the Stax label. It is to me an absolutely killer sound. 

As I started to explore the genre, my next port of call was Marvin Gaye.  I knew a fair bit about Marvin Gaye as my sisters liked him. The Slits covered 'Grapevine' so I thought it was an OK song. The more I listened to it, the more I realised it may be the perfect pop song. The arrangement is awesome and Mr Gaye's vocal performance is second to none. I'm not quite sure whether I prefer Otis or Marvin, I think it depends on my mood. I'm sure you know that Marvin was a Motown Artist.

Next up, Aretha Franklin. She was the first soul artist who I purchased an album by. In her case, it was because I loved the cover of Save Me by The Saints, and thought it worth checking out the original. I love them both. I agonised long and hard over which Aretha Franklin track to include. Much as I love Save Me, I think You make me feel like a Natural Woman is the most complete vocal performance that Aretha did. I love the production of this song. It is of it's time, but absolutely brilliant. From the golden period of the Atlantic Records soul era.

Next up, I went for the other end of the female vocal spectrum with Jimmy Mack by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. This is 60's bubblegum, wall of sound soul at its best. I love this sound. It takes me back to 70's church discos, flashing lights, cheesy DJ's and embarrassed boys flirting badly with embarrassed girls.

The Four Tops were perhaps the best known of the Motown male vocal groups and Reach Out (I'll be there) was most probably their best known song in the UK. If you'd have asked me when I was 18, I'd have said I hated it. Over the years, I've warmed to this end of the Motown catalogue.

Baby Love by the Supremes is a monster of a song. I sort of felt Diana Ross and the Supremes must be desperately uncool because they were Prince Charles's favourite band. When Vanessa Sagoe joined The False Dots in 1983 as the singer, I thought I'd better get a better understanding of female soul singers, so I started listening to quite a lot of female soul singers. I came to appreciate just how good the Supremes were. I also learned a lot about music production and arrangement from their music. This song is 2.38 which is no time at all, but it has a lot of great production and arrangement crammed in, to ensure that not a second is wasted.

Next up, we have Smokey Robinson, with Tracks of my Tears. As with Aretha, I got to know Smokey via another band. UK Ska band did a Ska cover of Tears of a Clown. I thought it was a good, rather quirky song. I love Ska music. Once more, in the Railway in West Hampstead, I noticed the original was on the jukebox. I wish I'd never played it, as I realised it was infinitely superior to The Beat's version, which put me off them a bit. I bought a couple of Smokey Robinson albums and I think this is perhaps his best number. I saw him at The Roundhouse a few years back. He was rather good, so a big Thanks to Rankin Roger and the lads for the intro. 

Next up, we have the Temptations and My girl. This is a very good song, by a very good group, with an excellent arrangement and production. I was told by a friend who is a DJ that this is one of the best numbers to play for the end of the night smooch when you are doing a disco gig. He is right. 

Our penultimate tune is a Stax classic, What a Man by Lynda Lyndell. This is perhaps more widely known for being used as a sample in the 2003 Salt n' Pepa hit. When I was researching this blog, I found out that there is a tragic story. I knew the song through a Stax compilation I own. I always liked the song, but didn't know anything about Lynda Lyndell. What I learned shocked me. After the release of the song, which was a monster hit, the KKK made threats against Lynda Lyndell and she retired from performing. After the success of the Salt N Pepa hit, she started performing again. In 2003 she sang What a Man for the first time live. It just brought home to me what a sorry bunch the KKK really are. What sort of a person would wish to deprive the world of such wonderful music. 

And finally. Sly and The Family Stone. Some time back in 1980, I had a Hippy girlfriend. She learned that the film of Woodstock was playing on an all night screening. I can't recall if this was at The Scala, The Phoenix in Finchley or somewhere else. As she was keen and I wanted to keep her happy, we went. The film is very long and at times very boring. There are some great performances, some dire ones and a lot of waffle that a decent editor would have cut out. But in amongst a lot of turgid dirge, there is Sly and The Family Stone performing Higher. It seems out of place amongst all of the Stoner Hippies. It is awesome. A couple of years ago, we saw The Family Stone at The Jazz Cafe. They were awesome. It was probably the best gig I've seen since Joey Ramone died. Sadly Sly has gone, but they really are amazing. I wanted to end the list on a high. You can't get any Higher than this!


Have a great weekend.

Friday 26 February 2021

The Friday Joke - As said in the American Courts

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were taking place.
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning? 
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?' 
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you? 
WITNESS: My name is Susan! 
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact? 
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks. 
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active? 
WITNESS: No, I just lie there. 
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth? 
WITNESS: July 18th. 
ATTORNEY: What year? 
WITNESS: Every year. 
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you? 
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which. 
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you? 
WITNESS: Forty-five years. 
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all? 
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory? 
WITNESS: I forget.. 
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot? 
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning? 
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam? 
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he? 
WITNESS: He's 20, much like your IQ. 
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken? 
WITNESS: Are you shitting me? 
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th? 
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time? 
WITNESS: Getting laid
ATTORNEY: She had three children , right? 
ATTORNEY: How many were boys? 
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls? 
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney? 
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated? 
WITNESS: By death.. 
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated? 
WITNESS: Take a guess. 
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual? 
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard. 
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female? 
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male. 
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney? 
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work. 
ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people? 
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight. 
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to? 
WITNESS: Oral... 
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body? 
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time? 
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished. 
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample? 
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question? 
And last:
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse? 
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure? 
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing? 
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy? 
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor? 
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar. 
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient
have still been alive, nevertheless? 
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.
 Have a great weekend. Thanks to Frank the Scouser for sending these to me. Jokes are always more than welcome.

Thursday 25 February 2021

We we must support our local Cubs, Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Rainbows and other youth groups

Can you imagine just how awful the last year has been for our children and young people? Unable to mix with friends, cooped up at home, occasionally being dragged out for exercise with grumpy adults for the odd hours exercise. A Christmas without uncles, aunties, grandparents. How many Bah/Bat Mitzvah's have been ruined? Birthdays? Forget it. 

There is now light on the horizon. Schools will reopen in early April. Many young people will be seeing friends for the first time for months. For me as someone who absolutely hated school, it seems strange to think that for many this will be like finding the promised land! What young people are most looking forward to is re-aquainting themselves with their friends. There will be a lot of catching up to do. Make no mistake though, just getting young people back to school is only a small part of the picture. Most of them will have spent the best part of a year on line, playing games, watching TV, doing things that involve staring at a very small screen in a small room. This is not healthy for anyone and I have worries about the long term effects for many reasoms. We desperately need our young people to get out and about and to start mixing socially when it is safe to do so.

I was mulling on this earlier, thinking back to when my children were school age. My two daughters went to Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, as well as swimming clubs, drama groups etc. My son went to cubs and the 5th Edgware Scout group, as well as playing football for Watling Boys club. The role that these groups will play in getting our young people out, about and away from their bedroom computers and rebuilding their social life and physical fitness is massive and it is something we all need to make a commitment to support. 

This blog has done what it can to support these groups over the years. We always try and feature tweets from local Scout and Guide groups in our tweets of the week as well as highlighting issues affecting them and promoting events. One of my best friends is one of the Leaders of 5th Edgware Scouts, and as with all such groups there are challenges ahead. Some of the leaders have lost the appetite to continue and some have sadly been lost completely. Parents have gotten out of the habit of taking their children, have new working arrangements. The natural progression between Rainbows/Brownies/Guides etc has been disrupted. Families have many things on their plate and the dates for youth group related activities have simply not been added to the 2021 calendars and planners. Once you are out of the routine of taking the children to such groups, it is easy to stay out of the routine. In short, at the time when such groups are most needed, such groups face all manner of logistical and managerial challenges. Many of the normal calendar of events have not been booked, events missed etc. Groups are doing the best, but for all it is a challenge.

This tweet from 16th Edgware is a good example of what is happening to the normal calendar of events

This tweet from 3rd Edgware Brownies illustrates how some groups are using technology to keep things going, but this is not the same as actually doing things in real, face to face groups.

 The 7th Edgware Guides and Rangers have also been organising online, which is vital to keep the friendship bonds alive.

 As we open up, everyone hopes that next year's Troop photo from the 2nd Edgware Scouts is a bit less socially distanced.

There is a district wide update on Scouting activities on the @BarnetScouts Twitter.

Now is the time that we need to start looking forward and making plans. These local groups all do amazing work. Getting young people out, about and socialising is going to be a vital part of our local recovery. The health and mental wellbeing of our young people is perhaps the most important asset we have as a nation going forward. None of these groups run themselves. There are never enough people helping out, working as leaders and deputies, or even helping put out the chairs. The work always falls on a hard pressed small group top do a lions share of the work. As a community we need to pull together and do our bit. Please consider helping. Contact your local group, ask how you can help. If you have a bti of time on your hands, even if it is only an evening a month or to help out on camping trips etc, get in touch. In this world we live in, there are all manner of DBS checks and other safeguarding matters, so even getting to a position to help takes time and effort, but nothing could be more important. 

There is one final thing I want to mention. It isn't just your children who benefit. When my son joined the cubs, one of the boys in the group tragically lost his mother in an accident. The group was able to rally around and help. Having a ready made support network of people in a similar situation is a massive benefit and one that is often not considered by parents, please consider putting something back. Who knows when you might need that network. 

I am committed to supporting all of the local groups as best I can through the works of this blog and my contact network. Are you?


If you are involved in a local group and you have something important to say, this blog is read by thousands of Barnet residents every month. Please get in touch and let us know, either via Twitter or the email address in the sidebar of the non mobile view. 

Roger Tichborne 2021