Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Piper at the Gates

We were sitting in Egham, drinking coffee when I heard the faintest of sounds in the distance - I had to take a look.

There was a Scottish wedding at the church and the sound was the skirl of the bagpipes, rising and falling on the breeze, calling out;


There is clearly a lively Scottish community locally because last year the same thing happened, only that time the pipes were calling out laments for a funeral.

Today was a happier occasion; guests making their way in, past a couple of (slightly embarrassed) young lads at the door in full highland outfit.

Sometimes the unexpected pleasures are the best.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Time to break out the Mead.

This was Robyn at the beginning of July last year - pouring out the honey;


The brew was ready;


Years ago, when Robyn was living in the United States, she went to a medieval fayre and tried something that passed for 'Mead'. Ever since then she always wanted to try Mead made here. Last June as part of the Magna Carta celebrations, we were given free glasses of Mead at Wraysbury Fair by the local winemakers club.

We looked around the internet but, apart from Fortnum and Mason's (London's most expensive food shop) no one much was interested in selling mead.

So, as you can see, we made our own......with Tesco's budget honey.

We set it all up and then it all got really busy.

I wasn't too well, then we had to fight Robyn's deportation, then I got ill, then we got married.

 Back last summer it was all about 'whether it would be ready 'in time'. I wouldn't say that we forgot about it but it became a lot less urgent.

So last night we were both a bit down and we broke out the Mead;


I would say that was pretty much 'crystal clear'.

Looks nice in a glass too;


It was fine to drink - very sweet but that's mead for you - and maybe not as strong as I would have liked.

But OK.

And we spent a moment or too thinking about how things could have gone differently over the last year - for better or for worse.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Friday, 29 July 2016

Show us what you're made of at The Lightbox, Woking.

We took another trip to The Lightbox gallery at Woking - we've got £5 annual passes and we're gonna use 'em.

The new exhibition is another selection from The Ingram Collection; "Show us what you're made of!".

There's a mixture of pieces from the famous and the not so well known too - my selection are all a bit on the obscure side.

This is 'From the Places here No one Remembers' by John Carpanini;


Which I thought was rather good and I'm not a big fan of realism.

This powerful sculpture is Jonathan Clarke's 'Feudalism';



Which I thought looked even better from the side;



This is 'Scarface' by Seamus Cuddihy, the Cherry wood split really well here;


And there was me thinking how staid and respectable stained glass windows were;


But for me the first prize goes to this display of confectionary;


Each one carefully sown together out of felt pieces;


By Dena, it's called 'Sweet Sendsation', which is quite funny as Dena is (temporarily) spending a little time at Her Majesty's Prison at Send.

Every bite is brings a smile;


Dena, you are a star, I hope you get out soon.


The exhibition runs until October; you need a £5 pass to get in but it lasts for a whole year. Parking is a problem (unless you have a disabled pass) but there is a coffee shop too and some very friendly volunteers.

Meanwhile, they were setting up a new exhibition of comics while we were there. We may take a look at that too.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Resumé

Resumé.

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.




Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me; neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Derek Nash and John Etheridge at The Red LIon.

On Monday, I was pretty much exhausted - we did have a night out to see the Jazz at The Red Lion, Isleworth, because one of my favourite saxophonists was playing.

Derek Nash;


As you can see, he had his baritone sax with him as well as the usual Tenor and Alto.

And the little soprano;


Which, as I often say, he must have left in the washing machine just a bit too long.

He is a very expressive, lively and bright player - which is why he's on the TV and at the best venues so often.

I missed 'Comin' home', which he always used to play but there was blues, there was style (Jimmy Smith) and a whole lot more.

His friend John Etheridge was there too, playing some very fine guitar;


Along with Val Mannix on bass, Ted Beament on Keys and Trevor Tomkins on drums.


A very fine evening, even if I wasn't at my best.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Flowers breaking out at West Drayton.

We went to West Drayton, just by the cemetery, to take some pictures of the flowers;


You can't miss them as you drive by - three strips of outrageous flowers.


There are lots of ornamental poppies, there are bright blue cornflowers (or 'Corncrockles') but the rest I don't know.

It's obvious these were planted by the council; my memory is that there used to be ornamental flowerbeds there before. I suspect that the money has run out to look after them.

But this is a nice compromise - limited work but they make a really bright impression as you drive past.

And at the end of the 20th century, it became fashionable to move from formal planting to 'prairie planting', which is growing plants in natural drifts.



It looks good;


Although, these are not wild flowers, so the look is definitely not natural.

I'm not complaining, although it would have looked nicer in a bit of sunshine.


Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home; helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Monday, 25 July 2016

76000 Thanx!



Many thanks for taking the Blog to 76000!

As you can see - I've had a busy spell. I used to get excited about things like that but now I know how fickle the net is, I know it will soon be back to normal again.

The blog survives on a few loyal readers!

I've had a fairly bad spell and hopefully things will get better for a while and we can do a few things again.

I still feel that the Blog can do some good and I'm planning to carry on for a while.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Sunday, 24 July 2016

How unpopular is Jeremy Corbyn?


I've been working myself up reading press stories about how unpopular Jeremy Corbyn is - mixed up with journalists recycling a lot of lies about him too.

So I've done a bit of unscientific research of my own; at least it's not much more unscientific than surveying 800 people and pretending that that's a good sample of opinion.

I took a look at 'Facebook'.

It isn't scientific because Facebook 'Likes' aren't really a guide to popularity; you might 'like' someone you don't really like but you want to know what they are doing.

But these days it's a kind of guide.

Theresa May, the new Prime Minister, has 220, 511 likes. I would have said that was quite a lot for such an unpleasant, person.

Then I looked at Boris Johnson, the right wing clown. He has 552,786 'likes' on his page. No wonder she made him Foreign secretary - it's more than twice as many.

Then again, Sadiq Khan the new mayor of London is very popular - he is being promoted as a possible alternative Labour leader to Jeremy Corbyn. The press loves him and as a result he has 558,489 'likes' on his page.

Then I took a look at some other Labour politicians.

I've been having a go at Angela Eagle recently - she's the M.P. who spent two weeks threatening to stand for leader "Tomorrow, unless Jeremy stands down".

When she eventually stood her campaign survived for a few days before she gave up.

She has 18, 772 likes.

Hmmmmmmh!

I wasted a lot of time trying to find Owen Smith's likes; he has a Facebook presence but I couldn't for the life of me find a page with likes on it. I don't actually think he's using Facebook but Robyn found a page of his for me with 6437 'likes'.

I'm dubious about that, I would expect him to have more and don't want to put too much emphasis on that. Lots of people don't want the bother of having a real, interactive, internet identity.

So then I took a look at the 'Jeremy Corbyn for PM' page. That's not his page, it's unofficial, but it still has 216,979 'likes'.

The official Jeremy Corbyn page has 771, 903 'likes'.

Now, as I said at the beginning, 'likes' do not really mean that people actually like you but it's a guide to interest in people.

I also have to warn you that the numbers change from minute to minute as people 'like' or 'dislike' pages. If you do a check now, the figures will be different from last night when I checked these out.

But Corbyn is way out there.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Saturday, 23 July 2016

No Lip at the UXB10 Festival.


We made it out for the night!



I've been looking forward to this for months; Pete Corse of 'No Lip' and his friends organised a two day festival in Uxbridge to raise money for the Macmillan Nurses and to give local bands a new venue.

We got a big stage, speakers and monitors....everything;



And all the proceeds went to a very good cause;


We got there late (I'm still a bit crotchety at the moment) but we were there in time to see 'Holy Faction' who played alternative punk and we liked them a lot;



This is 'Dog Rotten', young and full of action;


But I have to admit the highlight for me was 'No Lip', which shouldn't be any surprise if you've read this Blog for any time;


Straight forward punk sung at the top of it's voice in 3 minute bursts;


The band were a blast, even if the mikes were playing up by this time.


This is Pete Corse, who deserves a big thank you for putting on such a great night; 


And it really was a blast, as you can see;


Last band on were 'Rage DC';


We ended up staggering home at 12-30, at which time I could have done with my own personal Macmillan Nurse.


The second night is tonight; £3-00 on the door and 7 (yes 7!) bands including 'Girl in the Garden', who I've reviewed here before
.
I may not make that but if you're free it will be good.....it's at The Battle of Britain Club, Hillingdon Road, Uxbridge.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home:helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Friday, 22 July 2016

Another breach of security at The Abraham Cowley Unit.

This is an article from 'Get Surrey' about an incident at The Abraham Cowley Unit at St. Peter's on 17/7/16.


Stuart Richards
 
Get Surrey.

Police, fire and ambulance teams were dealing with the incident at the St Peter's Hospital site in Chertsey for several hours on Sunday morning.


Police negotiators were called to speak to a man who got onto a roof at the St Peter's Hospital site in Chertsey on Sunday morning.

The 35-year-old, who was understood to be a patient at the Abraham Cowley Unit, ultimately came down from the roof on his own after three hours, a Surrey Police spokeswoman said.

"We had a police negotiator there and other officers engaged with him," she added.
Ambulance and fire crews were also called to the incident shortly after 8am.

A spokesman from Guildford fire station said they sent their turntable ladder appliance, alongside a crew from Chertsey station.

"They assisted police in dealing with a patient in the roof area," he added.

The man was said to have come down voluntarily at around 11.15am.

                                   ----------//----------

Now this is serious for a couple of reasons;

Firstly, any hospital ward needs to be secure. That's partly to keep patients in; the very nature of being a patient in hospital makes you vulnerable.

It's also important because if someone can get out unnoticed then other people can get in without being spotted and that's dangerous too.

Secondly, a series of patients of The Abraham Cowley Unit have died because the security was too lax - the coroners have made it plain that lack of security was a cause of death and needed to be improved.

As long ago as 2012, the unit released a press statement to say that it had increased it's spending on security for that reason.

And it's happened again!

They were very lucky this time.

I should add, as I always do, that The Abraham Cowley Unit may share St. Peter's site but is run by a separate NHS Trust.

Neil Harris
(a don[t stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Robyn's still trying to cheer me up - she actually managed to get me out of the house again. Mind you, it was the hottest day of the year and I think she thought there would be air conditioning in the cinema.

There wasn't.....it was half price Tuesday in Slough and it was steamin'.

We went to see the remake of 'Ghostbusters', one of the big films of the '80's.
And I'm glad we did - it's a lot of fun.

As far as the story is concerned it's more or less the same; a disparate group of academics and oddballs set themselves up removing paranormal phenomena (Ghosts) and as their reputation grows they end up saving the city, despite the fact that the politicians and 'security' try to stop them.

The 1984 original came out of 'Saturday Night Live' and featured regulars like Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd. I've read a long and complicated review which claims that the original film is a statement of neoconservatism and Reaganism - actually it was just meant to be fun.

Maybe that's why the 2016 has had so much controversy - to the extent that the black comic Leslie Jones has been subjected to the most unpleasant trolling on twitter and the wider internet.

I've got news for you - this is an all female cast and they are very, very funny.



Live with it.

Actually, it's even funnier than the original; it's quite subtle at times.

One running gag is that the four employ a male, bimbo receptionist.......

All the surviving cast of the 1984 original make brief cameo performances......as do some of the ghosts.

It really is a remake.

We didn't spend on the 3D version and I'm fairly sure I could spot most of the '3D moments' during the 2D movie.

Special effects have really moved on since 'Industrial light and magic' but this is mainly a comedy film - the effects aren't as important as the filmmakers think they are.

Strongly recommended, just as long as you can cope with a bunch of funny, sassy, get it done women in the lead roles.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Roger Beaujolais at The Red Lion, Isleworth.

On Monday, Robyn made me go out, as part of her campaign to cheer me up.

I probably would have made it anyway - it was Roger Beaujolais, on Vibes, at The Red Lion, Isleworth.


Roger Beaujolais is a favourite of mine - Modern Jazz through window of the Vibraphone. A very special sound indeed.

Trevor Tomkins was on drums, Robin Aspland on keyboards and Simon Thorpe on bass.

Meanwhile, outside and in, it was in the 90's.

Hot and sultry, smoky and seductive; we got an evening of the greats of modern jazz.

Neil Harris
(a don't top till you drop production)

Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Swan Upping on The Thames.

I'd always meant to catch a look at the ancient ceremony of 'swan-upping', which takes place on the River Thames every year in July but I never bothered until now.

Today, I had a wasps nest in the house to sort out and so we had to go into Staines to get some 'stuff'....

Then we drove down to the river with a couple of chairs and just sat in the sun, basking.


The ceremony started in the 12th century - when the then king gave himself a monopoly over eating swans. Every year the monarchs 'Swan-Marker' (really, I couldn't have made this up if I'd wanted to) goes on a procession up the river Thames, marking the queens swans.

Sometime around 1500, the ownership of the swans was shared with The Worshipful Company of Vintners and The Worshipful company of Dyers. These are two of The City of London's ancient Guilds, which once were trade bodies but are now dining clubs for bankers.

The 'Swan-uppers' are supposed to move upstream, dividing all the young swans they find between the queen, The Vintners and The Dyers.

So, we set up opposite a place where people feed swans, in between Staines and Penton Hook Lock.

There were plenty of swans around;


It was gloriously sunny - the first really sunny day of the summer.

We sweltered. 

And then we caught site of the first boat, you can't see it but the red flag is from 'The Vintners':


This is one of 'The Dyers' boats in blue - the captain is wearing a swans feather in his cap;


Here's one of the royal boats;


While this is 'The Royal Swan Marker', David Barber, in his full, gold braided finery;


Now I support the Thames Lightermen and Watermen, who represent a tradition going back a thousand years - they provided the ferries that got people from one riverbank to the other, the boats that took people up and down river and they moved all the goods that passed through The Pool of London.

But the 'swan uppers'?

I didn't see them count any swans or weigh and mark any cygnets either and where we were there were upwards of 50 or 100 birds wandering around.

So while it may be a quaint old ceremony, it really seems to be just an opportunity for a lot of silly old bankers to spend a week being rowed up river.

Hmmmmmh!

But it was nice stealing an hour or so to sit in the sun on the riverbank.

And no swans appeared to be hurt in the making of this Blog!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Monday, 18 July 2016

Another Inquest.

I recently came across this article from 'Get Surrey' about a preliminary Inquest hearing. it raise more than a few serious questions, which I hope will be answered in September.

Put very simply, Mr Phelan was admitted to Accident and Emergency as quite a vulnerable patient. He then went missing. It was w week later when his body was found on St. Peter's Way, which is the dual carriageway which leads from the hospital to the M25 Motorway;


Missing man found dead outside hospital was suffering from 'acute alcohol withdrawal'


Charlotte Talbot
Get Surrey
 
A man who went missing from St Peter’s Hospital seven days before he was found dead nearby had been suffering with "acute alcohol withdrawal", a court has heard.

Police launched an appeal after 42-year-old James Phelan went missing from the Chertsey A&E department at around 7pm on Friday August 8 2014.

A missing person appeal was launched after Mr Phelan left the hospital, and his body was discovered off St Peter’s Way on August 15 .

A pre inquest review was held at Woking Coroner's Court on Wednesday (May 25), where coroner Darren Stewart said further information was needed about the search, in particular the initial 24 hours.

The court heard that questions had arisen over a reported sighting of Mr Phelan not long after he left the hospital "near the location where his body was discovered", and how that information was treated by the search team.

Referring to Mr Phelan’s initial ‘medium risk’ status, Rachel Marcus, barrister for Mr Phelan’s family, said information was needed about how that status would affect the search efforts, compared to being ‘high risk’.

Miss Marcus also appealed to Mr Stewart for the process to be treated as an "article two inquest", which is given in circumstances where the state or "its agents" have "failed to protect the deceased against a human threat or other risk".

She raised questions about what advice Mr Phelan, from Walton , would have been given by doctors and what "reasonable steps were taken to safeguard" him.

Mr Stewart said he would consider her application.

The coroner added further statements were needed from police officers involved in the search, as well as GP Sarah Styles who had a telephone consultation with Mr Phelan in the days before his disappearance, and the agency triage nurse who saw Mr Phelan when he went to A&E.

A full inquest into Mr Phelan’s death is due to be heard from September 19 to 22.

My own list of questions begins with "why has it taken 2 years for the inquest to happen?"

And secondly why have crucial witnesses not yet been interviewed when it is always essential to speak to witnesses as close to the events they are remembering as possible.

At the time, police released CCTV on YouTube of Mr Phelan walking through the hospital, which has now been deleted - why?

Of course, the problem with all this is that if a vulnerable patient can walk out of hospital without anyone noticing, anyone can walk in as well.

I await the full inquest!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The lies about Jeremy Corbyn

I'm reprinting this article from yesterday's 'Independent', which reports on a recent study by London School of Economics academics into the media coverage of Jeremy Corbyn's  Labour leadership;


"Three-quarters of newspaper stories about Jeremy Corbyn in the first months of his leadership either distorted or failed to represent his actual views on subjects, a study has found.

Academics at the London School of Economics analysed the content of eight national newspapers between 1 September and 1 November 2015, when Mr Corbyn was first elected
The media researchers found that in 52 per cent of articles about the Labour leader, his own views were not included – while in a further 22 per cent they were “present but taken out of context” or otherwise distorted.

In just 15 per cent of 812 articles analysed, Mr Corbyn’s views were present but challenged, and in only 11 per cent were they present without alteration.

Our analysis shows that Corbyn was thoroughly delegitimised as a political actor from the moment he became a prominent candidate and even more so after he was elected as party leader,” Dr Bart Cammaerts, the project director concluded.

These results relating to sources and ‘voice’ are evidently troublesome from a democratic perspective.

Allowing an important and legitimate political actor, ie the leader of the main opposition party, to develop their own narrative and have a voice in the public space is paramount in a democracy.

Denying such an important political actor a voice or distorting his views and ideas through the exercise of mediated power is highly problematic.” 

Examples given by the researchers of distortions include one incident in which Mr Corbyn was presented as having criticised commemorations of the First World War in a 2013 speech. 

The newspaper included in the study were The Sun, The Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, the Independent, the Daily Mirror and the Guardian.

In terms of tone, fewer than 10 per cent of articles were judged by the researchers to be positive, while more than half were antagonistic or critical. Around a third had a neutral tone.

28 per cent of articles analysed were based on anti-Corbyn Labour party sources, while 23 per cent were based on pro-Corbyn sources.

Mr Corbyn’s supporters have been highly critical of media coverage around the Labour leader, judging it to be overwhelmingly hostile.
The Labour leader has himself also hit out at the media, banning journalists from asking him questions at the front door of his home.

We have a party under attack from much of the media in this country like it has never been under attack before,” he said in May.

Or, in other words, the papers have just been lying about Corbyn for the last year.


Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home:helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Cotton-headed Ninny Muggins.


Well, that was a day and a half!

I started my day not feeling so good and trying to phone the garage because I'm having problems with my elderly car. They are on permanent answerphone, so I guess they are on holiday.

Then, before we went off to hospital I had to sort out 'The Humane Mousetrap; we have a mouse problem.

There are plenty of people in my life who have made things worse for me who I would happily kill; some bosses, some people I worked with, the 'family' GP who didn't bother to tell me that, as a carer (with cancer), I was eligible for four weeks respite care every year I was looking after my mother. I could go on and on.

But I don't really want to kill poor and generally innocent little furry animals, unless I have to.

So I use a 'humane mousetrap' that catches them in a trap and then you release them.....far away.

Anyway we caught another one and we both decided that it had died of shock overnight. So, before we set off, I took it to a patch of wasteland and opened it up.....to release a rather confused and bedraggled mouse who staggered off no doubt Muttering to himself;  "Oh I am a Cotton-Headed ninny- Muggins, I got caught again".

So my kind heartedness means the darned thing only had a short walk back 'home', where he can pester us again.

We got up to hospital - the car made it to the tube and I struggled in, where, despite all the premeds........I got anaphylactic shock again.

I was once again the centre of unwanted attention, getting hydrocortisone injections, seeing the Doctor, on oxygen, wasting time.

I got over it eventually and they started all over on a slower dose and, although it almost started off again, it was fine. I begin to understand how serious a peanut allergy is.

I'm fine, in fact I'm worse than fine. If you've ever had a dog and taken him to the vet and it wasn't clear why he was ill but the vet gives him an injection just to be on the safe side?

The dog comes out of the vets like a new born puppy; happy and running about and full of life.

And you wondered what was in the injections?

That's what I had.

Sadly, the feeling doesn't last very long.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Friday, 15 July 2016

75000 Thanx!





I can't say that yesterday was a great day but it was made a lot better by the messages of support I got and then the blog! staggered through 75,000 views.

Thank you.

It's not exactly made the big time in internet terms but it's a fair achievement for me.

Obviously, I'm going to have to rethink things - we aren't going to be able to do the things I'd like to have done - I ran out of time.

But, as Robyn keeps trying to tell me, I'll just have to find new things to do.

Meanwhile, I'm soon off to Chemo. You never know, something might work.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Escaping.

This was Wednesday morning;


It's been the wettest of summer's; dark, wet and miserable.

Yesterday morning was sunny and we went out to part of Windsor Great Park we hadn't been to before. We got an hour or so without rain and just basked in the sun.

It's like a corridor of green - as long as you look in the right direction so that you can't see the roads or the planes above.

I must admit I would like to have gone somewhere more exciting but there you go.

This morning I went in to Hospital to find that my chemo has failed (after only 6 weeks!) and fairly drastically too.

Tomorrow I switch to another variety of chemo which is a lot worse and, if I am honest, doesn't really stand much chance of working.

We'll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, now I'm really glad we went out yesterday morning, before it started raining again.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Word from The Dark Side; Jeremy Corbyn is on the ballot.

The drama at 'The Dark Side', or The Labour Party headquarters as it is known by Jeremy Corbyn's supporters, carried on long into the evening last night.

The meeting of The National Executive ended up being called at 24 hours notice; which is fine if you are an M.P. or if you work for the Labour Party. Not so good if you are a Trades Union member or a lay member who works for a living - it's not so easy to get time off at short notice.

Of course, that was the intention of the Labour bureaucracy appointed by Blair and Mandelson; to prevent Corbyn getting on the ballot for leadership by fixing the vote.

Two trades union reps were on holiday - at least one made it back to London in time.

What fine democrats these people are.

After a six and a half hour meeting the result was a draw.

It started with Corbyn being prevented from voting even though he is a member of the NEC himself.

That didn't work - he's got on the ballot paper.

On the other hand, the Labour right then tried to fix the vote; only those who registered before January get to vote although there is a complicated 2 day window where people can pay an extra £25 to get their supporter membership bumped up to voting status.

There will be a lot of pencil chewing and head scratching over who that helps but, broadly, as Corbyn won 60% of the vote last time and most of those voters are likely to stick with him the odds are in his favour.

Meanwhile, Owen Smith is likely to announce that he is standing for the leadership today.

No, I haven't heard of him either and he should neatly split the anti Corbyn vote.

Thanks Owen.

Meanwhile Angela Eagle who spent the last fortnight demanding that Jeremy Corbyn get the 51 M.P.'s nominations has had to welcome the NEC vote, through tightly gritted teeth.

There's going to be a furious debate over the next three months with a very stark choice between the old politics of the undemocratic, unpopular Labour right against the possibility of a genuinely popular anti austerity party of the left.

Interesting times - I'll have to try and stick around a bit longer.

Neil Harris
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Worth the extra effort;Art Themen at The Red Lion, Isleworth.

Well, after being ill for about 5 days, I'm over it now. Still got problems and I'm back at hospital this week and I don't expect that to go so well.

But we went out; to my jazz Club at The Red Lion, Isleworth and I got to see my favourite saxophonist.......Art Themen.

I may have been feeling a bit better but I still managed to forget my camera on the night when I most wanted it.

This picture is from Robyn's phone;


I like the kind of music he plays - classic Bebop and I like the way he plays it too - lots of invention and surprises.

There was plenty of Horace Sliver, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. There were noisy, outrageous bits and quiet reflective moments.

Andrew Cleyndert was given plenty of scope on bass and John Donaldson excelled on keyboards.

It had been due to be a 5-piece but Don Weller was ill; secretly I prefer a quartet. And with Art Themen that means a bigger chunk when it's only cut four ways.

Once again, Trevor Tomkins was great on drums.

It's always a special night seeing Art Themen.

Maybe that's because there have been times when I have had to really fight to get the time, to find the energy.... just to make it back to Isleworth and that often seems to have coincided with a visit from Art Themen.

Probably because he's worth the extra effort.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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