Poland's Tri-cities

Instead of inviting bored relatives round to see all the charming photos on a projector whilst giving a Pythonesque commentary - 'our room marked with an X' - it's easier to put them on a slideshow here.


Off to Poland tomorrow so will be left in a quandary as to why the Trial Judge in the Karen Matthews case used the word, ' Unconceivable' rather than 'inconceivable' (according to the BBC)

I also need to find a pub showing the Liverpool v Everton game on Sunday.
I will also miss - for a few days - the best advert on TV at the moment.

See here.


Littlejohn's Big Idea

Florida's greatest columnist has hit on a brilliant idea:

  • Your X-rated Daily Mail

    More examples of proof-of-identity madness keep dropping into my inbox.

    It's not just fireworks, tobacco and booze, either. A number of you have told me you've been asked to prove your age before being allowed to buy the Daily Mail.

    One reader even sent me his till receipt, which read: 'Cashier confirmed purchaser was over 16.' The justification is, apparently, that you have to be over 16 to buy a paper containing a free DVD. But the last time I looked, we were giving away classic movies such as Wuthering Heights and Bleak House - not Driller Killer or Debbie Does Dallas.

    Do you think there's something more sinister going on here? How long before the Government insists you can only buy the Tuesday and Friday editions of the Mail in a plain brown envelope?

Brown would be the appropriate colour given the particular brand of shite given out when his column comes out on those days. Not sure if brown envelopes figure in the payment of Littlejohn's exhorbitant salary.

Repent For Our Pleasure

Abbeville in Louisiana is notable for cajun food, being the setting for The Blob and being the home town of a member of swamp pop band The Boogie Kings.

It is, perhaps, more notable today for being part of the wave of support for President Obama that has swept the country since the election. From a position of having the support of 52.9% (November election) he appears to have a support level of around 70-80%.

So many people are queuing up to distance themselves from their previous stance. Whilst the following is not the most eloquent or logical explanation for the change of heart - ignoring such minor matters as Iraq, Guantanamo, Kyoto and New Orleans (where different waves led to different sweeping with no help from George), it may be indicative of a future mindset.

From the Abbeville Meridional newspaper's online version:

  • George W. Bush

    When Bush first ran for president, he was governor of our sister state, Texas. We examined his track record as governor and decided to support him for the presidency on the grounds that he was a good man, honest, truthful, and compassionate and a good leader.

    We knew he never won any prizes for being smart, but we thought he had good common sense and we supported him throughout his two terms. When he invaded Iraq, we immediately knew it was ill advised and a terrible mistake. Still, we supported him in the belief we didn’t know all the facts and he did.
    We continued to support him through his two terms hoping against hope that he would correct his many misjudgments and mistakes. Sadly, we were wrong on every count.

    Without Louisiana, Bush would have never been president of the United States. We believed he would continue the legacy of President Ronald Reagan who single handedly restored America and the Republican Party to new heights. Instead, Bush single handedly disgraced America and destroyed the Republican Party.
    We supported Bush editorially for president not once but twice. We now believe he will go down in history as the worst president ever and deservedly so due to his ineptness, incredible incompetence, and his lack of truthfulness, intelligence and compassion. Throw in arrogance and you run the gambit of what it takes to be the worst president in history.
    As to his compassion, out of the last 40 who petitioned for a pardon or commute of sentence, he miserly commuted only two and they were the border guards that carried the approval of over 90 percent of the people polled. Presidents Reagan, Clinton, Carter and Truman all pardoned up to five times more petitioners than Bush, no doubt confirming that with Bush it was always politics before compassion.

    We are not the Bush haters you see or read about. We wish him well as he rides into the sunset and into oblivion. On the other side of the horn, we are happy that his presidency has ended.
    We deeply regret having recommended Bush to our readers and profusely apologize for our mistake in character and judgment.


    Editorials represent the opinions of this newspaper, and not of any one individual.

Ark Royal in Liverpool 2009

The Ark Royal came into a very grey Mersey yesterday. I was in town so tried to get a few shots but I'm still coming to terms with the new kit. Given that there weren't many others braving the Wirral side at Birkenhead, it seems the best views were further out towards the mouth.

The Navy will allow visitors today and saturday. I went on board last year and wasn't arrested immediately but I'll not be going again this year. The ship is quite awesome but there was something a bit wrong about young children getting to handle powerful weaponry and given the recent Rhys Jones killing, leaves a sour taste. That said, the officers on board were very professional and helpful. It was free too. Well, we paid for it!

Details at the Echo.

2008 Visit

2009 Visit

Lies and Lychgate

I mentioned visiting the Union Tavern in Salford on our way to Manchester Airport where our thirsts were not quenched due to Coronation Street filming an episode there. Last week the episode in question was aired - Tyrone Dobbs was there on his stag night. The pub was renamed due perhaps in part to the nature of the plot (black market goods and scary looking youths).

Little did I know that the real drama would be at the filming of the wedding itself. As anyone familiar with how the gutter press operates will realise, the headlines often are twisted to give an impression to suit an agenda:

  • Coronation Street bosses spark outrage after hiding cross for church wedding scene - to avoid offending non-Christians

  • Stephen Green from protest group Christian Voice said: 'It's absolutely ridiculous.
Of course, nowhere in the article does it actually give any evidence or facts to justify the headline. Just include a rant from rentaquote Green. Calm down, dear! The chuch itself hardly covers itself in gloriana with the Rev Milnes mockingly telling the media he was investing the £4,000+ fee on..............a processional cross. Remember that parishoners when he comes around with the collection plate appeal for the leaky roof.

The Mail was not alone in running head first into publishing the story about Coronation Street not using a cross in the church for fear of 'offence'. Christian Institute, the BBC et al plunged brain first into the unholy waters. not forgetting the masturbatory factory known as the BNP who claim that Granada axed the cross because it was 'offensive'.

Immediately the bullshit detector van is revved up.

Like the instances of crosses being covered up in prison chapels, such stories are usually far removed from the truth.

The problem is that the original, tainted version becomes fact and gets repeated ad nauseam. A recent example of this was Richard Littlejohn repeating his own paper's false version of events in his column of crap. The same story also became part of BNP folklore and across the net. To be fair to the Christian Institute (not to be confused with Christian Voice) they removed the story when prompted.

So, back to Corrie. As detailed on ITV's site (via Abernathy's vigilance on Mailwatch forums) the story is a misconception if not an immaculate one.
  • "Contrary to claims that the programme’s producers wanted the cross moving as they were worried its inclusion would offend people, what actually happened was that they wanted to move the cross so that it was not hidden.

    "A member of crew knew that they were dressing the set with candles and flowers and knew this would obstruct the view of the cross. A member of church staff was asked if the cross could be moved.

    "When she asked why they wanted it moving, she was told that Coronation Street didn’t want to cause offence to anyone when the scenes were shown.

    "It now transpires that she took this to mean that production felt people would be offended by seeing the cross – when in fact they were concerned that the props were blocking the view of the cross.

    "In fact during the Wednesday episode of Coronation Street a shot of the cross was seen."

    The spokesperson continued: “We have now made this clear to the Reverend Milnes who is going to explain this to his parishioners and we apologise for this misunderstanding.”
The real disgrace is that the programme's producers saw fit to apologise before conducting their investigation. I hate people that make idiotic - supposedly PC decisions - as much as the next zealot because they are such succour for bigotry, but we need to tackle misinformation and the dirty tricks brigade lest they win.

If the Rev. Milnes is to explain this to parishioners, I look forward to him doing so on TV.

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

If ever it needed emphasising what illogical twisters the BNP are, then let's see its reaction to today's story that BNP members have allegedly been discovered working for the Asylum Service. In many ways this is like those Euro sceptics who lambast the EU as a waste of space and then soak up as much as they can from the trough when becoming MEPs. Kilroy, Farage et al take a bow.

Cue Richard Barnbrook's wet nurse, Simon Darby to lead the troops. He refers to an interview with the dastardly BBC about an article in The Independent.

  • I had tried to tell her that this was a non-story and that a large proportion of the staff and the newspaper were probably Labour members. Explaining that a national media organ trying to pass itself off as some bastion of mainstream ideology and opinion whilst in effect being nothing more than a nest of liberal, multicultural fanatics was a far more serious matter......
Next he'll be claiming some of the Daily Mail staff have leanings towards the Tories or that Der Sturmer had the odd Nazi sympathiser in its offices.

The fact that Darby and ilk seek to deflect the potential problems of having people employed to deal with Asylum Seekers who have allegiance to a party that has as its policy,
  • We will also clamp down on the flood of ‘asylum seekers’, all of whom are either bogus or can find refuge much nearer their home countries.
Note the ALL. Note that no mention is made of the 'Geneva Convention' on refugees and our responsibilities under it.

As The Indy article makes plain, there has been concern for years over the treatment of people detained. Coupled with worries about institutional racism and a culture of silence, it is natural that a full investigation should be held . Whilst it is not possible to prove there is a link between membership of extreme parties such as Darby's mob and racial discrimination and abuse, it does not take much thought to want to ask the inevitable question - who guards the guards?


The Mersey BNP have joined the fight.
  • Does it not occur to people out there that the BNP are a legal political party with respectable British citizens who have to work for a living (sic)
That'll be white British citizens then?

Come in Number Six

Sad to see the announcement of the death of Patrick McGoohan, star of The Prisoner. The Guardian has an obituary here.

I used to watch this series many years ago and caught some of the recent repeats. I still have no idea what all of it was about. Maybe even McGoohan himself did not know.

I visited Portmeiron - where the series was largely set - a few years back so here are a few photos.

Be seeing you!

Photos from my Flickr account

Liverpool Night

Handing Over

Last night we handed the crown of Curopean Capital of culture over to Vilnius and Linz. I hope they enjoy it as much as we did and don't have unelected, self-serving bodies like the Taxpayers' Alliance to criticise spending money on culture.

I tried out the new camera but it was so cold that most shots were poor. I noticed that people who know what they're doing tended to use tripods to avoid shake. I may have to invest in one as well as a remote control.

Anyhoo, here are a few of the better ones.

Here Comes The Moon

Perhaps one of the reasons - aside from the House of Commons List - that John Lewis has been doing well in spite of the recession/depression/crunch is that its customer care ethos is superb.

Whereas I've had the misfortune of seeing poor service in the now defunct but nostalgically missed Woolworths (" If it's not on the shelf we don't have it") the JLP seem to go the extra mile. Largely, this may be down to its bonus scheme and it benefits the company itself, but they always impress.

After Christmas I decided to plunge into buying a cheap Digi SLR camera and noted that a number of stores had the model I required at similar prices and deals. However, all quickly sold out. John Lewis managed to track down some stick via another branch and the item was delivered free next working day.

So, I've got the weekend to play around with my Nikon D40, which although aimed at the beginner is a bit baffling to me! I'm hoping to master it by tomorrow for the Capital of Culture Transition ceremony tomorrow night. Some hope.

First picture taken shows work to be done. Difficult to keep still in cold weather so maybe I need to invest in a tripod and remote control.

On Your Knees Now

From today's wonderful Mail (hidden carefully):

Amanda Hudson

Last updated at 8:37 PM on 07th January 2009

An article on 30 May 2008 'Trail of destruction at £4.4m villa after 400 crash Facebook Party' and some readers' comments posted online suggested that Amanda Hudson failed to exercise parental control over her daughter's 16th birthday party and that her property was badly damaged by drunken teenagers. We accept that these allegations were untrue and that the readers' comments that were critical of Amanda Hudson were unfair and we apologise to Amanda Hudson for any embarrassment caused.

Original here.

Cultural Attachment

So 2008: Liverpool's Capital of Culture year is over - although we don't hand over officially to Linz until January 10th - and the general view is that it was a positive thing. True, there were cock-ups in the years leading up to it - choosing an Australian co-ordinator who couldn't start straight away and then resigned, Ringo didn't make any new fans and the deprived areas of the city will not be transformed into idylls overnight - but it did provide a feelgood factor.

Highlights for me were the Macca concert and the giant spider of La Machine. It also provided dozens of photo opportunities. Whilst my efforts are amateurish, I did manage to get a few on the BBC site (see, I do my best for licence fee payers if not for professional photographers' careeers).

By far the most spectacular photos can be found on the photoblog of Pete Carr, Vanilla Days. The site has won an award for European Photoblog of the year. He may have great equipment (I'm jealous) but there is more to great photography than the kit. He manages to get to unique spots to give a different perspective on the city, and his use of HDR is outstanding. I'm not always a big fan of over-editing processes but these examples are stunning.

The Ignored or Ignorant?

Both the Guardian and The Daily Mail have covered the study carried out for the Department for Communities and Local Government which claims to show that the white working class feel disenfranchised or 'betrayed' as The Mail leads on.

One of the problems with the report is that it only focussed on 43 people in 4 areas. Hardly a suitable cross-section of society. I heard a snatch of an interview on local radio with one of the people responsible for the survey so hopefully this will be available later. It was overseen by the National Communities Forum.

I do concede that such views are widespread but this is not the most scientific way of establishing debate. And debate should be had. One of the greatest failings of the New Labour experiment is that large sections of traditional supporters do feel let down. The extremists will seek to use this perception of anecdotal, favourable treatment for their own ends. The challenge is for the left to face up those myths and lies, address the real issues and tackle the racists full on.

The gap between rich and poor has increased since 1997 (according to most studies) and child poverty has not been eradicated despite being a major Labour Party tenet.

Expect to see this on a BNP recruitmant poster near you.


This is a British short which is traditionally shown in Germany - in English - on New Year's Eve.