Showing posts from May, 2019

The Canning Manoeuvre

What can one make of the EU elections this week? Brexiters will rejoice that the Brexit Party won most seats. Remainers are quick to point out that Remain parties combined received more votes than the Brexit Party and UKIP combined. Nigel Farage insists that the Tory votes should be added to his column, because they are a Leave party, and this gives Brexit a win. But as someone who believes that the only democratic means of overturning the 2016 referendum is through a further referendum, I'd argue that these results should be viewed  through a Brexit v Referendum prism, and that Labour votes should be added to the latter group, giving Peoples Vote supporters the win.
Politically, the UK is a mess. Whoever takes the job on from Theresa May will inherit a can of Brexit, well beyond its best before date, and bruised from repeated kicking down the road. There are, as I see it, six potential options open to the new PM. It's essentially a Brexit edition revolver and the game - approp…

Queen Mother

Given that it seemed like the Queen Mother lived for all eternity, it somewhat surprised me to find she's been dead for more than fifteen years. I only remember the last couple of decades of her life, when she closely resembled a breathing corpse. She would be trundled out on her walking frame to be waved at by an adoring crowd, before being trundled away again. Quite often to hospital to have a fish bone removed from her throat.
This statue is a recent creation, on display in Poundbury, Dorset. The Queen herself came on her Royal Train for the grand ceremony. Made from a fairly solid chunk of stone or metal, this Queen Mother may well survive for all eternity. Or at least, until the revolution...

EU Elections 2019

I'll vote in a few hours, probably Lib Dem, but possibly Green. And not simply because I believe that the UK should remain in the EU. Even if I were convinced that the UK would be better off outside the EU, I wouldn't vote for the Brexit Party. Or UKIP. Or the Tory party, while it's infected with a hardcore cadre of right wing infants. I wouldn’t vote for them because I’m not a bigot. I wouldn’t vote for them because I fundamentally oppose fascism. I wouldn’t vote for them because I refuse to put my name to or in anyway support a group of people or an ideology that promotes hatred, violence and casual discrimination. Politics might well be broken. But the likes of Farage, Rees-Mogg and company have more to do with the cause than with the solution. Their campaign of populist nationalism, entwined as it is with the creep of fascism throughout Europe, should be abhorred and opposed. Not given a thumbs up at the ballot box. No matter what anyone should think of the EU. At every t…

Lost and Found

I have recovered another batch of photos from a recently rediscovered set of CDs that I'd long assumed were lost. This set featured three photos from our flat in Mexico City, which brought back memories. The remaining hundred or so photos were from a trip Mrs P and I made to see her family in Milwaukee. With a day trip to Chicago thrown in. The year? Twas 2005, a few months after I moved to Mexico.
The photo I've chosen was for more than a decade my most viewed image on Flickr. For a while it was used by Wikipedia, and can still be found on dozens of other websites. And it was published in a book about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It's hardly the greatest photo I've ever taken, but it is the most successful. For much of the last decade, I've had only a 640 pixel copy of it. Now I have the full size original again. Which is nice.

Egypt 2001

I visited Cairo in 2001. It seems a long time ago. It was a long time ago. The world has changed hugely since then. Shortly after a visit to the pyramids of Giza where this photo was taken, I learned that Timothy McVeigh had been put to death whilst I relaxed beside the hotel pool. One associated terrorism with white christian males back then. Either of the US far-right variety, or the Irish unionist/republican kind. 
That said, there has been an horrific Islamic terror attack on tourists at Luxor four years earlier which left over sixty people dead. But this was before 9/11, which changed everything. Anything before 9/11 was a 'one off' tragedy. The Arab Spring that rose up a decade later did the tourism industry of the Middle East additional harm. I visited Cairo at a good time. A simpler time. 
I took this photo with a 3.3mp Nikon  Coolpix 880. It was a great little camera that cost me a small fortune. I was impressed with the photos I came back from Egypt with. Sure, low …

Lordification of Kings Cross

London has changed aplenty during my lifetime. Parts of the capital have been utterly transformed. Mostly for the better? That depends on who you ask and which part of the city you are referring to. It's a big place. Great swathes of the centre have undergone a process known as gentrification. Balham in the south, for example, where I lived in the late 1980s. And its neighbour Brixton. When I was in residence, if being kind, one would have described Balham as having character. 
If pushed, but remaining diplomatic, one would have described it as gritty. Between friends, one would have labelled it with more vulgar Trumpian language. As for Brixton, for most of the last two decades of the 20th century, the area was still best known for some of the the worst rioting London had ever seen. But times change. They have become smart, trendy places with a vibrant cultural  scene and skyrocketing property prices. Then there's Kings Cross, the raison d'etre of this post, and a '…

London in Colour

If I have a complaint about London, it is that it sometimes lacks colour. Especially in winter. The skies are grey. The buildings are, more often than not, white or a pollutant inspired shade of grey. There are exceptions. The red bricked buildings of Kensington spring to mind. And now there is this marvellous creation near Kings Cross station. It's wonderful. I love it. We need more of this in our lives.


This week I have ticked off an item on my bucket list. It’s not a terribly long bucket list. And truth be told, my bucket list is much like the British constitution - unwritten and largely made up as one goes along. Items are added and removed at the whim of the part of my brain responsible for remembering such trivialities. Anyway, I’ve always thought of bucket lists as the sort of thing for people who’ve just had a spot of bad news from their doctor and have an unexpectedly sudden and urgent need to get on with the fun things in life. I’m in good health, as far as I’m aware, so there’s no need to jot down a definitive list with pen and paper just yet.
But there are a few items worthy of inclusion on this notional list of mine. It contains the sort of things that I’d really quite like to do but are a bit of an aggravation to get done. Which is largely why they tend not to get done. But this week I’ve shown a little bit more determination. I went to see a session of snooker at the Wo…