Thursday, 30 April 2009

Crossings of the River Thames 22a: The Hungerford Railway Bridge/Golden Jubilee Bridges (Part 1)

The Hungerford Railway Bridge is one of three railway crossings in London that also combine pedestrian access alongside the glistening steel lines that glide across the river. While the rail bridges at Fulham and Barnes are quite low key affairs, the Hungerford Bridge or to give the pedestrian walkways their proper names, the Golden Jubilee Bridges were originally intended for the new Millennium. However delays in their construction meant that it opened two years later. Still, for once, these delays were understandable. Along with having to keep the existing pedestrian access open as well as not interfere with the rail operations, both the Northern and Bakerloo lines pass within lobbing distance of the pedestrian walkways. Add to that the uncertainty of unexploded ordinances in the riverbed and their construction is quite a testament to the plucky days of the boom years and lottery spending.



I really want to do this bridge justice. And that is why this is a 'part 1' to the bridge. April has been a busy month for me, and I managed to snatch only the briefest of visits to Hungerford in order to get snaps for this post. So I will be returning next month to complete the viewing of what has to be one of my favourite crossings in the capital.

The old footbridge was really dodgy. It has always been my favourite way to cross the river on foot, being handy to Waterloo and linking us South Londoners to the West End without the need to traverse the swine flu infested tube network. But the old bridge was unpleasant in so many ways. Narrow, poorly lit, an afterthought bolted onto the railway arches. Thankfully only the memories of that awful crossing remain, plus the approach to the bridge from Charring Cross station...



I suppose in terms of safety, not much has changed in London, but at least it is now far more pleasant to actually cross the river at this point. Wide and impressive, I no longer am rattled by the trains leaving for the Kent countryside. Lights bean down onto the walkway and unlike the poorly maintained Millennium Bridge (to be reported on later this year), you actually feel invited to cross the river at this point. To quote a critic, this is Classy Archetecture.



This bridge is really a representation everything that expresses the best of the London. From its design and construction, the fact that it utilises an existing crossing and made it so much better. It is far more than a crossing but a real landmark, something that is often overlooked when in the thick of the Central London. It links two artistic hubs, the glitzy West End and the ritzy South Bank. The Hungerford provides valuable wandering territory when taking out a date and it still provides a useful cut-through in the rat warren that is the centre of town. The bridge provides stunning views of the surrounding riverside as well as combining the genius of Victorian and Modern day technology. And surprisingly for London, the Golden Jubilee Bridges are a great piece of forward planning. It is big enough to accommodate today's crowds, while having plenty of space to cope with increased footfall. It serves both commuters of work and leisure as well as people arriving and departing on either side of the river. To put it simply, what is there not to like about the Hungerford Bridge? For once, I really can wholeheartedly say, well done and thank you the people, the planners, the movers and shakers behind the bridge, the people who designed it and the people who built it. Often in Britain we are very quick to knock our own achievements. In the grand scheme of things, the Golden Jubilee Bridges may not be as vital to the city as the Howrah is to Kolkata but it is a fine addition to this great city. So to all those who were involved in the making of this bridge, from me, a very humble Londoner, thank you for all your hard work. It was worth it...



Getting there and away:

The closest bus routes are the 77 and RV1 on the South Bank and the 388 and Nightbus N550 on the North Bank. On the South Bank the nearest station in Waterloo (Underground and Rail). On the north side of the river Embankment provides the nearest tube link right by the steps to the bridge, while Charring Cross (Rail and Underground station) is a few minutes walk away.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Holiday Preps

One of the reason I have been so busy recently has been the fact that I am off to India in less than a couple of weeks time!



Yesterday's blog from the CWP page explains a lot better what hoops I have been jumping through. Nonetheless do not worry, I am still blogging, albeit in reduced format for the moment...

Monday, 27 April 2009

El DJ ;)

One of the great things about being a radio presenter is just playing music that I like. It is very selfish, but I love it. I hear a song in the week, and usually by Sunday it is on the airwaves, alongside the Movies and Music of the show. In fact, if today is anything to go by, the actual look at the movies of the week is pretty thin on the ground (just five songs played in two hours) while the rest of the show was filled in with songs from 80's Hollywod hits, 90's Tamil cinema and a few hits of yesteryear from whatever took my fancy, including some Latin beats. Just like the great films I look at, my show takes on a masala feel to it, catering to some and all alike in the two hour slot that is granted to me every Sunday.

So go on, chill out and take a listen, every Sunday, 5-7pm. Oh and after next week I am actually off on holiday for three weeks - woo-hoo!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Very thin on the ground, these blog posts are...

This blog has been shockingly thin on the ground this week, even more so as I have not posted anything for the last two days. So, what has taken up my time this week? Well, let me get straight into sharing with you all, exactly what I have been doing. Firstly, editing Jay and Kay Save the World like a madman. That has been my life for the past month, but this week, it has been shockingly intense. Next, working, far too many nights, but something needs to be done about my dire finances. I also went out for dinner, as a friend has decided to make it in Dubai. Obviously, he must have taken note of my blog post on the city. I was also hosting an event in East London, which was a hell of a lot of fun as well as a cultural eye opener. Oh, and I had to go to the launderette as our washing machine is buggered.

Next week promises to be just as busy ;)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

A nice St George's Eve

So, in case anyone missed out on the obvious, today is the feast day of England's patron saint. But as yesterday, the sun was shining, essential as our esteemed Chancellor had a lot of bad news to deliver in his budget. So you can see, with these two factors firmly in people's minds, no one gave a toss about getting out a flag for George, or other jingoistic tat. There was far more important things to think about.

Really, I have no opinion on the budget. The government is shafted no matter what it does, although all that bailing out has screwed us for generations to come. As a nation we are heavily in debt, and that it is a millstone around our necks. Interestingly, something I thought I would never see in my lifetime, is the re-introduction of the Super Tax. With state intervention occurring everywhere, I think it is safe to say that Thatcherism is pretty much dead in the water at the moment...to be honest, although the headlines scream out 50%, that figure is not going to affect the bulk of us (although I disagree with punitive tax rises). What is a shocker is to see how much as a nation we are borrowing. Oh well, will the last person in Britain please turn out the lights?

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All right, the blogs have been pretty thin on the ground this week, and all for good reason. Jay and Kay Save the World. Yes, very busy editing that little number...

Monday, 20 April 2009

Ze Out Takes...

As I am editing like a madman, I will be brief this week with my blogging. Nonetheless, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is worth so much more...

Watch the Out Takes by clicking here!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

This Sunday...

Good things:

The sun is shining, lack of hayfever (coming to the end of the season?), off to the radio station.

Bad things:

Not enough sleep, need to pee, was late back from work.

Overall - a good day?

Saturday, 18 April 2009

The Rise of Google's Censorship

I do not like to comment on the internet or so called conspiracy theories too much, as after all, the companies on here are out to make money, like anyone else (also, the irony is that I use google to host one of the incarnations of this blog). But anyhow, take a moment to watch this video:



Now, before I discuss this vid, take a look at the stats for that video. Today, they look like this:



Despite the impressive stats, it is nowhere on youtube's 'most viewed' page and in fact, only makes it to most discussed, with a much deflated stat roll:



So, it is clear that google does not appreciate discussion or criticisms about its role. Fair enough, youtube is hosted by it, so why should it take criticisms on its server. But remember one thing, google cannot obviously be trusted as an impartial web service in terms of searching etc...just remember that the next time you use it to search for criticism of it or another of its corporate buddies.

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But onto the vid itself. If you have taken the time to watch it, you can see that google plans to turn youtube into what is essentially a commercial site with legitimate broadcasts of American TV shows being streamed online. Very good I think, it would be great to catch up or even see the shows online at my own convenience. The sad thing is that google seems to be marginalising what made youtube special; its social interaction, the complete randomness of the videos and the sheer depth of what is on offer. In other words, what made youtube unique compared to other video sharing websites is to be thrown to the wind. This is sad as it is going to scupper a lot of the 'partner' channels.

For those not in the know, partners are ordinary guys who have a sufficient number of followers and viewers and are partners with google in ad sharing schemes next to their videos. I think it is a great idea and here are some partners to click on and view. I think it was one of the best things about youtube, because it monetised people's talent.

The partner channels are going to get sidelined in favour of the big boys, the Disneys, the MTV's etc. In other words, the ordinary guy and gal making videos are going to get scuppered and the big boys and gals are finally getting onto youtube and cream off the top. In the past youtube worked on a ratings system. The higher rated your video, the more it shot up in the viewer rankings, onto the front page. Very democratic. Now, these ratings are being ignored, mainly due to the fact that corporate vids are usually rated very low by the viewers. It's mentioned in the video embedded in the blog, take a look at it, it is far more eloquent than this post.

While it is up to google to take its service where it wants to go (and that is a commercial decision it has to make), what I find particularly insidious is the apparent 'wool covering' that google tries to pull over the viewers eyes. Such as the burying of this video, or the the promotion of so-called amateur channels, such as 'Fred' which was mentioned in this video. In a little over six months it has leap frogged over other 'partner' channels, due to consistent promotion by google on youtube's front page. And yes, Fred does have corporate sponsorship and product placement. It is a nice earner for google, but its disguise as an amateur channel, as one of those 'youtube phenomena' is quite glaringly misleading. Again, if you use google because of its impartiality, than think again.

I set up a youtube channel as a method of hosting videos on an external site, so I don't have to use up my bandwidth. So, whatever they do with youtube is not really my business, nor do I really care. However, during my useage of youtube, I have met some really great people (in real life, shockingly for the internet) and I have discovered many great talents online. However, that uniqueness of 'the toob' is about to go AWOL. As is clear by google's censorship if this video.

Youtube seems to have been a big mouthful for google to swallow. In the past, google has been shockingly innovative with its inventions and that is one of the reasons why it has come to dominate internet useage. However, its apparent lack of innovation in the video sharing arena will be a serious blow to its stature and eventually, people will jump to other internet services. After all, who uses yahoo anymore?

Friday, 17 April 2009

My law breaking photographic skills

Fellow readers, let me share with you a guilty secret I have been hiding al this time. I am apparently a law breaker. You see, a couple of months ago, I took some photos of Vauxhall bus station, as part of the series of Crossings along the Thames. Here is the offending photograph again, in all its glory.



But I was lucky, the pigs were on their doughnut and tea break. Not so lucky for Klaus and Lorris" who were also in Vauxhall and also Walthamstow. Go on, read the article, it is bloody hilarious, it is almost an April Fool's joke, only 17 days too late. Yep, that's right, a pair of Austrian tourists were bullied by a couple of piggies at Walthamstow (obviously it must have been a quiet day in terms of crime in E17) and were told to delete the contents of their camera. Not surprising, they do not want to return to the UK and I say to them, don't bother.

I think the comments from the article were some of the best I have seen in a long while and here are a few of them, just because they were priceless:

This was a comment from the same article, and I want to quote it in full as I pretty much agree with what has been said here (the reader logged in as 'arturopimiento'):

'Unbelievable. Five years of total war with Germany, London being showered with high-explosives night after night, 25 years of IRA bombs exploding in London-these didn't break London's spirit or turn the police into terror-crazed martinets, soiling themselves with fear and suspicion at anyone with a camera or holding a sign.

When did the police become chronically deranged by fear? When they're not shooting innocent Brazilian electricians in the head or beating innocent men to the ground (leading to said man's subsequent death) or slapping and clubbing women in the street, they're terrorising tourists and dragging this country's reputation down into a totalitarian gutter.

The police are out of control and of course, as with virtually everything else that has gone catastrophically wrong with this country, the scum that are New Labour are to blame.

The incessant fear-mongering- tanks at the airport, reports of threats that never materialise, the most spyed-upon nation on earth, more oppressive powers demanded-and all these things cynically used in an attempt to distract the populace from the fact that we are governed by the seediest, most corrupt, most inept, most mendacious regime in living memory...

We desperately need root and branch reform-of the entire system. It's broken beyond repair. The state and its apparatus have become enemies of the people. If we don't act soon, it may well be too late.'

That pretty much sums up what the MET like to get upto on town.

Oh, and this comment was also a classic (posted by wheelsofire):

'I fear that the leadership of the Met have simply got the wring end of the stick. (Oh,sorry, I mean the peace-loving gentle-men of the police have simply misunderstood. Or misheard.
It was meant to be a War on Terrorism, not a War on Tourism. Maybe someone should explain it to them. Ideally before 2012.'

If nothing, then wit still abounds.

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And remember, if one of those guys come up to you, then here are a couple of choice quotes for you to throw back at them (again from the comment section of the article):

'The Association of Chief Police Officers has released statements several times to the effect that police officers have no authority to delete or confiscate photographs without a court order. If the police are unwiling or unable to listen to their own bosses, we are all completely f**ked'.

and there is this one:

'Remember, no police officer or PCSO has the right to make you delete an image from a digital camera. If they think you have committed an offence then the image is evidence.'

but most importantly, here is some legal backing for all the photo happy Londoners out there:

The Terrorism Act 2000 does not prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place. Officers should not prevent people taking photographs unless they are in an area where photography is prevented by other legislation.

If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance, a search under section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or an arrest should be considered. Film and memory cards may be seized as part of the search, but officers do not have a legal power to delete images or destroy film. Although images may be viewed as part of a search, to preserve evidence when cameras or other devices are seized, officers should not normally attempt to examine them.

Cameras and other devices should be left in the state they were found and forwarded to appropriately trained staff for forensic examination. The person being searched should never be asked or allowed to turn the device on or off because of the danger of evidence being lost or damaged.

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Osama must be laughing in his cave right now...

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The World's most important Elections?

Before we get started, let me just say that I despise government in all forms, shapes and sizes, especially my own government, 'Her Majesty's Incompetent Servants of the UK'. I do not vote and even in the next general election, it is unlikely that I will bother to exercise my right to vote. In fact, in the general elections I have been eligible to vote in, I have never bothered to exercise my right to choose, such is my lack of faith in the political system. Imbeciles. As a UK tax payer, I have every damn right to despise the boys in power.

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And so today marks the begining of the world's most important election. No, not Obama, but India. Now, this is not a commentary on India's politicians. I am not educated enough in that field, nor have I experienced it in order to give my opinions on the matter. More importantly, I do not pay Indian taxes, so it is none of my business.

But, in an election that has over ten percent of the world's population eligible to vote (over 700 million people), the size of this election cannot be underestimated. Plus, unlike the other elections since India's independence, India is now an economic force that will affect us all in this generation. The decisions that Indians will make over this month will reverberate long into the future, beyond the lives of many of the voters of this vast nation. Already it is a vote that has been marred by violence. Now, again, I do not know enough of the backgrounds of the people behind the attacks to say anything beyond that it is a tragedy to see so many people hurt and killed by these attacks. Interesting to note, they did not happen in the classic trouble areas of Kashmir, but in the poor states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. These are places far removed from the metropolitan miracles of Delhi and Mumbai or from the industrialisation, education and diversification of the South of India.

And it is in the trouble spots, where the vast bulk of India reside, where this election will be decided. This is not an India of glossy Bollywood films, but an India entrenched in poverty, that has barely advanced since colonial times. Where illiteracy is still high, where disease flourishes and where malnutrition is still a problem. It is an area where India's economic miracle has failed to touch and it is an India whose decisions could shape the world for a generation to come.

As I have mentioned previously, I am off to India next month. I will be in the hill states of the north east, an area that has seen its fair share of violence and unsurprisingly, a part of India that has failed to see any economic miracle. The great challenge facing India's government will be to galvanise its rural area, beyond the metropolitan belts. The south has been relatively lucky with broadly good governments while the Punjab dominated north west has built on its strong economic base inherited since independence to thrust itself forward. But much of India has suffered from corruption and a general lack of pride and identity within themselves in order to move themselves forward. One thing though that the people of India must realise; governments can only do so much. Ultimately, it is down to the individual to make their own lives better...

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A little update in life...

Yesterday was one of those days. Don't ask, but it really was one of those days. Running about like a headless chicken, but I managed to get my passport back from the Indian embassy and so begins my journey into the unknown of India and more unnervingly straight into the heart of bureaucracy. I am looking forward to my holiday, but as I am going off to N.E. India, it will be tempered by the amount of times I will have to register in each town. Still, it is a part of the world where hills and forests reach up to catch the monsoon. A magical, moist land that will tantalise the senses in all ways! To say I am looking forward to this holiday is an understatement!

I was also editing like a madman in order to get a copy to Nick in order for him to start the music for the new CWP short film. At seven and a half minutes, so far, I have edited up to the dance sequence which means, including credits, this film could well stretch to nine whole minutes. Wow. Considering a feature film goes in the range of 90-100 minutes and this was shot in three days, that is some pretty impressive stuff...


However, I rushed the edit for the final section in order to give El Maestro a copy to look at. I will be recutting that section, maybe even shortening it. And of course, next comes the soound clean up, ugh, a job I am not looking forward to! I need this holiday soon...

Monday, 13 April 2009

New York's Parkland Walk

A couple of weeks ago, I was wandering along the Parkland Walk, a stretch of abandoned railway track in North London that is currently a peaceful walk through some of the funkier parts of Town. Well, inspired by the people os Haringey and Islington, the denizens of the world's self styled Capital have taken it upon themselves to copy and improve upon the original with their own Parkland Walk. Of course being New York, they jazzed up the name, and actually pout some funding into the project and invited journalists from around the world to make a big noise about it.

But, it is essentially the same as London's rail bed walk.

So I ask this. If the American's can market an abandoned railway in a forgotten part of their city, why can't we in London do the same? And considering ours is four times longer (and twice the length of Paris' Promenade Plantée). And remember, the Parkland Walk has been open for significantly longer than either of these two structures.

Oh well, a case of London leading the way, but the others taking over...

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Back on the Air

After a month off (and most of it filming), I am back on the air baby!

5-7pm Tonight!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Food at Easter!

If I was not this sick, normally I would be delighting my taste buds in a fiesta of food, being Easter. However, I am weakly sipping tea and cut lime in an effort to hold down food. So without much ado, here are my taste bud tickles for the Easter period, what I like, what I am not to big a fan of, what is big fat con and what typically delights me:

1) Currant Buns, or more to the point, Hot Cross Buns. Back in the Day, these delightful treats were only available in the last couple of weeks of Lent leading up to Easter. Now available virtually all year round, they have lost some of their appeal in terms of seasonality. Still, when you compare them with those awful sugary muffins, they are far nicer to the palette. Unlike mince pies which can be quickly tiresome, Hot Cross Buns are delightful no matter when they are consumed! Also, their very nature means it is very hard to gorge on these buns and so, you do not feel bloated unlike some other seasonal treats...

2) Easter Eggs, or more to the point, the 'Cream' filled eggs. Yuck. Just simply disgusting. Factory by-grade chocolate, over sugary filling thatdrips everywhere. Plus the countless bunny shaped pieces of brown confectionary dripping everywhere. An excuse to get rid of last year's cocoa harvest. Revolting!

3) Spring Lamb. I like lamb, mutton, goat, in fact anything that is cute, furry and has four legs. Spring Lamb is a bit of a misnomer as if it is sold at Easter, than the Lamb was probably born in winter...hmm...still, it is all good!

4) Fish! Good Friday is traditionally a fast day in the Christian calenders and what better way to celebrate than with fish. Usually in my household this means going crazy on some funky tasting fish, from some tropical backwater that many people beyond the temperate zones have never heard of. And it is all good!!! All of you guys must know how much I love fish and so in and around Easter is a perfect time to spoil myself!

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So there you have it. Tasty (and not so tasty) morsels from Easter. From a European point of view it is an optimistic time, but it really is also utilising the last of the winter stores. New produce do not kick in until June and so traditionally, May is a bit of a scarce month in terms of food as all the stores have vanished for the year. Just as well we are big importers of food in Britain, for now...

Friday, 10 April 2009

Last of the Politics this week - Seychelles

For those in the know, I love Seychelles partly, as that is where the other half of my existence originated. Unlike Sri Lanka, it is a peaceful place, with only one coup d'etat since independence - not bad for an African state.

But anyway, it is still very 'mickey mouse' in many senses of the phrase. The Seychelles has the dubious distinction of being the most highly indebted country in the world. Yep, forget about the UK's debt level or even Iceland, if you want to see debt, then head to Seychelles.

Now, as long as the debts can be repaid back, it is not a problem. However, there has to be something that the island can produce in order to repay the debts. However, us Kreols do not really have much to give to the world, except a lot of Sun, Sand and Sea. Great when there is money floating about, but now there is a recession...



This picture is not so much postcard but a nightmare. The Seychelles by land size is absolutely tiny, the biggest is only 13x8 miles. That is it. There are over a hundred islands, but spread over a vast distance, it is impossible to utilise except for pirates. In other words, the sea is our desert, it is both alluring but at the same time isolating. No problems if we were part of a larger entity, but our small sizemakes it difficult as an independent nation.

Right now, the government's biggest problem is food. As we have not paid our loans back, it makes it difficult for the country's suppliers to buy food, as our local currency is worthless. Prices for importing are high, plus the added fact that Zimbabwe has effectively stopped producing food has meant that food prices in and around East Africa have shot up.

What is happening in Seychelles right now is also in a microcosm what could happen to the UK in a year or so if we do not pay back our debts. While the Seychelles currently has no starvation, life is difficult and somehow, someday, it has to pay back the debts that it owes. In 2007, the Seychelles had over a billion dollars in debt. Not much by western standards, but for an African nation with only 85,000 people, that is a hell of a lot of cash, or roughly, every man, woman and child on the Seychelles owes US$12,000.

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It has been a political week on this blog. I promise something more lightweight next week.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Dark Side of Dubai

I normally try to blog rather than copy and paste news articles, but this is one killer article and was something I wanted to share with all my readers. As it can be clearly seen that I am currently on a political slant, in Yesterday's 'Independent', there was an article that took the sheen off the miracle known as Dubai:

Read the article by clicking here.

The article cam be pretty much summed up in this one paragraph from the piece, which I will quote in full:

'Later, in a hotel bar, I start chatting to a dyspeptic expat American who works in the cosmetics industry and is desperate to get away from these people. She says: "All the people who couldn't succeed in their own countries end up here, and suddenly they're rich and promoted way above their abilities and bragging about how great they are. I've never met so many incompetent people in such senior positions anywhere in the world." She adds: "It's absolutely racist. I had Filipino girls working for me doing the same job as a European girl, and she's paid a quarter of the wages. The people who do the real work are paid next to nothing, while these incompetent managers pay themselves £40,000 a month."'

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I do not know how much of the article was made up, or how true it was. But one thing I do know, from talking to people who have been to the Middle East, the slavery that takes place is everywhere. Dubai is a beautiful city to the eye, dazzling and spectacular. But scratch beneath the surface and it becomes a very unpleasant place. Some of the nicest people you will meet are the Indians, Africans and Yemenis that dot around in the cafes in the back streets of Dubai. The worst people are the British Expats, it looks like one great booze fest.

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Maybe I spout on too much about social justice, but I also believe in Karma. So should the Emiratis. Once the oil runs out, you guys do not even have a wek of water left, let alone the food to last you out a year. And no one will feed you for free, despite the number of ski slopes you have...

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The Metropolitan Police are Bastards! Again!

We had yesterday on Westminster Bridge with the police dragging peaceful protestors by their hair and flinging them onto Trafalgar Square.

Last week at the G20 meeting, they battered a man walking away from them who later died.

Welcome to Iran, I'm sorry, London.

They have not learnt from Jean Charles De Menezes that covering up is no good in this surveillance state.

How long do we have to pay for and out up with these c**ts?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Sri Lanka - Where's that?

For the second day, Tamils from across London are blocking one of London's bridges in order to get our message across. Stop the annihilation of our people. Now whatever the rights or wrongs of the Sri Lankan Civil War on both sides of the divide, the fact remains that thousands of civilians are trapped in by the Tigers and are getting shelled by the Sri Lankan Government. This rally, ultimately, will not have much effect. The Tamil people that are stuck in the war zone are going to get butchered. The Government of Sri Lanka, on the ascendent, do not have any political pressure to rein in their brutality. The Tamil Tigers are quite happy to use civilians as human shields. Thankfully, none of my relatives are directly in the lune of fire. However, those that are getting shelled were some of the poorest people on the island, and today are amongst the most destitute in the world. They make the plight of the people of Dafur look like a tea party.

Ultimately, the culture and the ethos of the Tamil people will survive the genocide. After all, this slaughter has made us more aware of our nationhood and more expressive in our culture. For a people of only 70 million worldwide, our film and music industries punches far above its weight (India's second biggest and most profitable), in the nations that we have settled in, we are more educated than other newly migrated, in all subjects, not just the usual Maths and Science. We are also more involved in politics, both in the 'homelands' and abroad where we have settled. While we may, in the near future no longer exist in Sri Lanka, around the world we will be a strong nation aware of its long history. The plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils is one of futility. The Sri Lankan Government will get a homogenous island just for the Sinhalese. They have the firepower and the majority, and in a country that does not respect people of different origins, this is the result. But no one will know of the Sinhalese outside their little island. Soon it will become a place, not famed for its war, but for its ethnic cleansing. It will be famed for the foreign pedophiles that are currently awarded the status of Demigods. And it will be famed as a country, once the richest in Asia that turned itself into New Zimbabwe.

Flash Publication of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
BBC Article on the Protests.
An iReporter's photo stream from the Sri Lankan warzone.

Monday, 6 April 2009

'Travel London'

People who know me well, know how much I love travelling. So far, in my insignificant life, I have visited the following countries:

France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Slovenia, Egypt, Mauritius, Seychelles, Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Sri Lanka, P.R.C. China, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Kazakhstan. In addition to that I have also jumped in and out of a few colonies/special areas. Yes, in all of these countries, I have stepped out of the airport (or crossed the border/river), spent my hard earned cash, slept their for a bit and ate the food from the local eateries. Some destinations have been fantastic (Malaysia). Some have been bad for the gut (Bahrain). Some destinations have disappointed (Egypt) while some have surpassed all my expectations (Pakistan). There have been foods to delight the tongue and tickle the gut (Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Singapore), while some cuisines have provided me with respite from the rigours of the road (the UAE, New Zealand).

This summer I plan to jet off to the other billionaire country, India. While I am not going to hike across the Sub-Continent, my first time to such an intriguing country is something that excites me to no end! I do have worries, dysentery being the main one (I do not want that again), but at the same time the sense of adventure calls me across the wind, it is in the air and it is something I feel every time I board a jet plane.

Admittedly, travel is not just good for the mind but food for the soul. I take full advantage of my passports and utilise them to see as much of the world as possible. Some areas are very under represented such as South America and Africa. Europe is surprisingly sparse on my travelogue, despite the fact that I hold an EU passport. The Far East is well represented on the other hand, and there have been some unusual destinations sprinkled in amongst the stamps that have adorned my passports.

I am not a great domestic traveller, in so far that most of my journeys beyond the M25 have been to either Gatwick or Stanstead. But what I lack in my journeys across the UK, I make up for by my journeys within London.

How many of the boroughs has each and every Londoner visited? How many of the 7.5 million residents of this city can claim to have been to every part of London. The wastelands of Orpington, the wide open spaces of Romford, the confusion of Rotherhithe or the industrial parks of Brent? Shockingly, I have visited every borough of London, although many I have just waltzed past, I have taken time in them for some reason or another, whether it is to see family, or conduct other bits and bobs. My least visited borough is surprisingly the borough of Harrow, and that is something I will have to remedy in the near future.

London is a great city! Some parts of town are more alluring than others and some parts of London are just plain horrible. But there are hidden gems within the urban fabric, wating to be discovered and as intoxicating as any foreign locale. Take a leaf through this blog. There are plenty of examples of me, visiting the lesser known parts of the Capital. One thing I am addicted to is travel whether great or near. And it is something that will continue for a long time to come, I hopes!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Quatro! (2)

A quarter of the way through and so how do you feel? Kinky, happy, sad, lonely. Well, 2009 is hurtling though a second and a heartbeat at a time. No matter how much you try to avoid it, time is slipping at a million miles an hour and there is nothing you can do about it except strap in and hold on for the ride of your life. New Year's resolutions are out of the window, winter has finished and even all those Lent promises are starting to fade away.

It is too early to say whether the year is going to be successful or not. The other day Nick, my musician, asked me what my measure of success would be and in no uncertain terms I laid that out for him, what I wanted from my filming. Whether that would be possible is not for me to speculate, but it is something that I am striving towards.

We live in an uncertain world. Anyone with a pension is now looking folish, mortgages and attachment to bricks and mortar still an impossible dream for many, and a millstone for a lot of our generation. Jobs are fragile and in the real world we have found out that we have no real skills to match. In other words, striving for the sake of just material gains is futile. Money is essential and money is good, but money for its sake, without nothing else to back it up is soul less. I admire someone who is rich because he or she built up a company with his or heart in it rather than a city broker who f**ked people to line his nest. Both will have the same amount of cash, but they will be very different people on the outside. There is a love in the entrepreneur's creation that is not matched by the financial 'adviser'.

But I ramble, a quarter of the way in, and how do you feel?

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Work

It sucks.

I'm knackered.

Thankfully, for the next six months, I will actually get to see some daylight.

The holidays were nice while they lasted...

Back to nights baby!

Friday, 3 April 2009

G20 - The Afterthoughts

So, was it worth it. The guy killed at Bank, the lousy branch of RBS (I swear the journalists outnumbered the protesters) and one of the few times I have seen our beloved sovereign smile (she does not even do that for a £50 note!). The world is going to get better, $1 Trillion times better.

I have not read the details, I am far too tired to do so, so I am not going to talk about it directly. But I will ask two questions. Will it work? Was it worth the hassle to get that $1,000,000,000,000?

For those readers in their twenties, we are probably going to loose this decade to a Depression. Just like the 1930's hosted a lost generation, and the 1940's were lost to war, it is now the same for us. We've had a good time earlier this century, but they are fond memories...

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One thing good to come out of all of this. Unlike the last time there was a 'G' meeting in the UK, at least nothing was blown up. Thank goodness for that. You see, I am not entirely ungrateful to the police...

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

What is the April Fool?

The British have a dry sense of humour and sometimes the slight sense of sarcasm is difficult to detect to those that are not on this fair isle. So today being April Fools, it is a time that you take the news articles with a very big pinch of salt or at least take a long look at the date they are published. So here are my top 3 'Should be April Fools' but are in fact published before the big day:

1) Teacher in Trouble over Thong - This made it to the BBC's front page in the most viewed, but was published yesterday. Not and April Fools.

2) Men can laugh women into bed - Yeah right, but as this was also published yesteray, I better get back to editing 'Caution Wet Paint'.

3) Alan Shearer the new manager for Newcastle - Well, I would not have believed it, but it is in every news outlet, so unless the Magpies are having a joke on us...

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And here are the three definite April Fool articles that I have spotted. Well, I reckon they are the April Fools for the day.

1) The Guardian switches to Twitter. Very amusing one, especially the reference to Stephen Fry's tweets taking up all that precious bandwidth.

2)
'Beauty of Nile' unmasked – wrinkles and all
. All right, this one is a toughie. In fact, it could very well be real, but I cannot be bothered to google all the archaeologist's names. If this is an April Fools, then bravo to the Indy for a very good one.

3) Thousands of senior civil servants, doctors and judges have pay rises capped at 1.5pc . What, Gordon and the rest of the pigs at Westminster showing restraint? Surely not...