Sunday 20th November, 2022

A subliminal message from Dotty was left on the attic window pane overnight. It simply read: If.

She had carved out her feline communication on the condensation that had appeared. It was all very frustrating. If what, dear?

If only we could forge a closer human / animal bond by developing a shared sense of communication? If you clean the litter try then I promise not to shit in the neighbour’s garden?

Or maybe she had just licked her arsehole and her fur randomly caught the condensation, leaving an imprint which most people would struggle to recognise as the word If.

Things were a little clearer with the iOS update to my Apple Watch overnight. I can now unlock my MacBooks using my watch, which is pretty cool. It means that I am one less muscular move away from logging in. Expect the next update to enable telepathic unlocking.

An email dropped from Brixton Rec. The centre is switching to what it calls a ‘winter timetable.’ It’s more like a Cost of Living Shit timetable, tbh. Heating a large indoor pool 24/7 is never going to be a cheap option. I’d be interested to see what the Service Level Agreement with Lambeth Council states for access.

I killed off the Vivaldi browser. It was running in the background, but was also a huge memory hog. There. BE GONE.

My mid-morning purchase of Weller’s Will of the People three CD set was a little north of my usual spending pattern. I won with an eBay bid of £14, with a couple of quid P&P.

At the other end of the musical spectrum I gave The Meffs a listen. There’s a new podcast from Colchester Arts Centre where the Sunny Colch punk duo are featured. They came across as being very likeable.

I optimistically put in the diary their New Year’s Eve Arts Centre gig. There was talk on the pod that they’re playing through until 2am. Let’s be honest – I’m going to be in bed by 10am, innit.

Out went the shout of: To the University! …shortly after luncheon. Three times in two days as well. Blimey.

There was another Super Sunday on the Wivenhoe Park agenda. Volleyball was first up. Different sport, same set up; the Rebels have stepped up a level with the Men and Women both playing at an elite level.

I was expecting to pay to enter the Essex Sports Arena. I’ve become a bit of a Rebels groupie of late. The Reception staff spotted me, and then waved me through. My timing was poor. I caught the final set in the Men’s match as they cruised past Leeds 3-0.

American Football was the filler in the Sunday Volleyball sandwich. Essex Blades had a home match against [not sure and can’t find out either]. They were trailing 12-0 when I arrived. No further touchdowns took place for the following hour in which I stayed.

I headed back down to the Sports Arena for the start of the Women’s volleyball. I wasn’t alone. Around a dozen or so other folk made the switch from American football to volleyball.

Leeds Women looked short benched compared to the Rebels. The introductions were lively, with the Rebels WHOOPING the arrival on court of the ‘Croatian Cannon.’

I know little of volleyball, but enjoyed it all the same. We play a little in the SW9 school. The students love it, picking up the various shots and techniques in what can be a very technical game. Essex Rebels won once again inside three sets.

Crap World Cup football followed back at base. ZERO interest. And then the darts. LOVE the darts. Yep.

Links for 20th November, 2022

Gary Lineker kisses Peter Tatchell to test Qatar’s so-called LGBT tolerance.

Saturday 19th November, 2022

More SAULT album listening for the Saturday morning run. On the AirPods was Earth, the second album in the batch of five dropped by the collective a couple of weeks ago. It’s the ideal running record, best described as rhythmic religious music. OK, I could have done without all the God is Love bollocks, but the beats kept me motivated as I pounded around the mean streets of CO7.

The fella with the flagpole at the top of the town had his Ipswich Town FC effort blowing in the wind this morning. He has a great sense of occasion, if not taste in football teams. Ipswich were away at Exeter later in the day. It’s impressive seeing how he changes his flag to suit any moment on the national or local agenda.

A new FUCK OFF sign has appeared around the eastern edges of the University. It declares: University Enterprise Zone. Oh. Which puts my poxy sociology degree back in its box. The whole campus appears to be transforming into a business hub over recent years. Follow the money, innit.

The run itself was decent – almost two minutes up on the exact same route from yesterday. I’m in need of some new running shoes – which is disappointing as the ASICS are less than a year old. The inner cushion is wearing away where I place most pressure on them. It’s also led to a nasty blood blister appearing on the side of my leading right foot.

I had a quick clean up back at base before we strode off purposely for some Saturday morning wiff action at the Table of Dreams. You ALWAYS stride off purposely towards the Table of Dreams when you are wearing a pair of wellies. It’s quite a look.

I beat A 4-2 in what was a wind assisted game. We were both guilty of playing weak shots to allow the growing gusts to add a little random spin to the ball. Light rain put an end to the game.

I was wearing a City Rockers cap, so I fired up Clash City Rockers on Alexa. And then by pure coincidence (or was it?) FB flagged my memories from a year ago today when I completed my Clash collection on cassette. Freaky.

Some fella briefly starting blasting the weeds outside the house mid-morning. It was a bit of an insult; I spend a little time each week pulling the fuckers up. I couldn’t tell what the Council high viz wearer was using to blast the weeds away. I’d rather not know.

Robert Elms had a World four-fer in celebration (yeah, right) of the World Cup. Songs with World in the title were requested. John Martyn’s One World was a tremendous opener. Not so hippie shit was Julian Cope’s World Shut Your Mouth, equally worthy of four minutes of your time on a Saturday morning. I was left with a lovely warm feeling as The Isley’s Harvest for the World ended the run.

We headed out for what was going to be a hyperlocal morning. Hyperlocal mornings always go wrong. I was wearing my new walking boots for the first time.

The Farmer’s Market was first on the list. I’m not exactly sure why we went. The cost of living shit has meant that we are Mr and Mrs Lidl right now. There was some crafty thing taking place inside the Congregational Church. The sight of a donation bucket led us both to doing a runner.

We walked all the way up to the University. There’s a Radical Essex exhibition documenting the ‘troubles’ at the University with The Angry Brigade etc. I was quite excited about this. I even made sure before setting off that it would be open on a Saturday lunchtime. The website said YES. Back in the real world and it wasn’t of course. Oh dear. It was a nice walk, anyway.

The eBay email today featured a Withnail soundtrack for £35. No ta.

I’ve slipped into a silly Smiths rut. The 1001 albums generator threw up Meat is Murder yesterday. Don’t get sucked in. DON’T GET SUCKED IN. I got sucked in to listening to the silly old racist. I’m trying to justify it by saying he wasn’t a silly old racist at the time, and Marr was cool as fuck. I confess to buying Louder than Bombs on CD for £3. At least the money isn’t going to the silly old racist.

I played Louder than Bombs on Alexa. Wait a minute – what’s this? I knew nothing of Golden Lights. It was bloody awful.

A brief trip to the Coop followed. The Gypo Aisle was disappointing. As were the Christmas decorations in November, plus Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmas Time playing over the PA.

I caught up with the excellent Streets Ahead podcast during an anarchic gardening session. It’s fast becoming my fave pod. There was a great discussion themed around the benefits of active travel against the backdrop of cuts to local authority funding. Niche, for sure. But still fab.

The garden lawn received the first FORK IT of the season. I spent almost an hour sweeping up endless leaves. The lawn will be covered in them again in a couple of days. I reckon we have one more final drop from the wisteria this autumn and that should be it. Meanwhile we’ve still got some strawberries that are growing and ripening.

Streets Ahead switched to Garibaldi Red. There was a brilliant, brilliant interview with Martin O’Neill. He’s got a book to promote, but it was an amazing listen. There’s the danger that these Miracle Men interviews trot out the same tired and tested stories. Not so with O’Neill. He’s always been the brains within the group. He controlled the interview, understanding that his role was to create some new headlines.

O’Neill spoke with great fondness about his lifelong friend in John Robertson. It was was really quite touching. He sounded bitter that after a decade of playing at the World Famous City Ground, his managerial period only last 19 games. We had him at the wrong end of his career, tbh. He did hint about another comeback however.

Out went the shout of To the University! Again. The early evening entertainment was the Essex Rebels Mens Div 3 team on home court against Kent Crusaders. You need a dedication to watch the Div 3 Mans team. I’ve found that in the Rebels. This club is really starting to appeal to me. I wasn’t alone with a decent turn out at the Sports Arena for what is essentially a student team rather than the elite level men.

It was a raw ball game with both teams scrapping for every ball. Rebels traded toe for toe against a more physical Kent team in the first two quarters. The away team had a geezer named Dwight London. It’s such a cool second name. I still get a little emotional listening to Julie London. Jason Nottingham is not the same.

Back on court and the Crusaders stepped it up in the third and fourth. They stretched away, leaving Rebels chasing the game as the clock counted down. The final score of Rebels 84 Crusaders 89 (I think) seemed about right.

I was back at base in time for the darts.

Links for 19th November, 2022

At root this crisis is a war between capital and labour

Friday 18th November, 2022

Album of the Day: The Smiths – Meat is Murder

I wanted nothing to do with this. More to the point, I wanted nothing to do with Mozza. It’s a decent album though from a time when Mozza wasn’t being a complete twat. Rusholme has an ACE rhythm going off. I almost danced. Nine songs at 39 minutes is the perfect length for an album. It wasn’t quite as strong as I remembered. I’m pleased that I have managed to move on from believing that The Smiths would have a legacy that would last 50 years plus.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Early morning work for Friday involved some back and forth action involving Swedish translations. The planned workflow held up well. The fictional character Maximilian featured. I had to wear my specs to focus on the screen at such an early hour. My eyesight is shocking.

I had Late Junction on in the background as my smoothing soundtrack. I’ve not listened for a few weeks. It’s always a rewarding experience. Some gems, but some absolute shit to plough through first.

The lunchtime run saw the appearance of my running gloves and ridiculously looking beanie. The hat isn’t for the cold, but it holds my AirPods in place. I listened to SAULT’s Aiir release. Like the Air predecessor, it sounds more like a film soundtrack than a standalone album.

The Flag boozer at the top of the town looks almost ready to re-open as a restaurant. The owners have done a handsome and sympathetic job with the restoration. Down at the other end of the Quay and I had to dodge endless giant puddles down by the Quay.

I caught myself in the mirror whilst cleaning up. Looking good, looking GINGER. wtf? There’s a slight ginger strand starting to appear in my beard. I’ve no idea whereabouts down the genetic timeline this has appeared from. It’s quite a worry.

Robert Elms played the latest single by Squeeze. It has cutting edge commentary that I’m surprised passed the over sensitive BBC censors. Fifty years on and Squeeze are still relevant. All profits are being donated to Food Banks.

I had to fill in an online health questionnaire ahead of some medical bits and bobs in the new year. The form automatically added my age as 52. Am I REALLY 52? Yes, I am. That was quite a shock.

A run of Half Man Half Biscuit CD’s appeared in the daily eBay emails. It looks like someone is selling on their collection. They’re currently at a decent price of around a fiver. That won’t last long.

I listened to some more of the Drum ‘n’ Bass Show to pick up the pace for the afternoon work shifts. It’s very lame compared to the old Fabio and Grooverider days. Pop music with a D ‘n’ B rhythm would be more appropriate.

I caught a little of the BBC Nottingham weekend sport preview show. Notts have sold out the 16,000 Meadow Lane capacity for the home match against Yeovil tomorrow. Not bad for the National League. Meanwhile Young Nigel was asked his thoughts ahead of the World Cup. It could have been his Old Man talking.

DARTS ended Friday.

Album of the Day Extra: The Beatles – Rubber Soul

I was fearful of being sucked into another Beatles cycle when Rubber Soul was served up on the 1001 Albums website for me. Once I start, I can’t stop. It’s a very healthy musical addiction. Rubber Soul is the perfect pop for me. The songs would work for any artist at any time. The Beatles were getting a little druggy, druggy, druggy around this time. It’s makes for a hazy listening experience. Time stands still. Rubber Soul was recorded in a four week period – which is quite remarkable. I managed to spill a four pint carton of milk whilst listening this afternoon. It made a right bloody mess of the kitchen floor. I still came out smiling. No point in crying over… etc. Only The Beatles can have that affect over me. Them Beatles were alright.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Links for 18th November, 2022

Are Chainless Digital Drive Bicycles The Future of Cycling?

Mapped: The Cheapest Pint Near Every Tube Stop

Thursday 17th November, 2022

Thursday was a school day in SW9. Any hopes of an early morning run were abandoned due to the bloody rain. Ditto for a bicycle ride to make the short journey along Stockwell Road. I stomped around in my rain DM’s instead.

It was another whirlwind of a school day. I found myself in an Enterprise lesson where the school website was pulled up on the whiteboard at the front of the class. ‘ELLO – here we go… I always panic that something might not be working. But there it was, all fine and dandy. Phew.

There is excitement around the school as the students are planning for the Winter Fair. This is the first major school community gathering post-Covid. We looked at my snaps on the whiteboard from the December 2019 Winter Fair.

I remember this well. I was blagging the event on a few hours sleep. It was the morning after the 2019 General Election. Looking at those happy, smiling innocent faces and it’s impossible to imagine how Covid shit would change everything a few months later.

The school is back on track and thriving – and hopefully so was I. Highlights included a photosynthesis experiment with Year 11 [IT WORKED!], tenderising chicken in food tech [WHACK IT!] and a decent volleyball game with the Year 13 students.

I also managed to hang around a little to witness some superb play in the after school table tennis club. I then did a runner and headed back to the flat to pick up the Brompton. The rain had disappeared and I had less than half an hour to get over to LS.

I made it with five minutes to spare. Which was a good job as the downward escalator was out of action. It’s a complete BALL ACHE trying to lift a Brompton with a front and rear carrier up or down any stairs.

I listened to the Drum ‘n’ Bass Show on the commute back to the bloody Estuary Wilds. Blimey. That woke me up.

Back at base and The Postman Had Delivered: an Electric Ladyland CD. It’s my fave Jimi album, and has been a noticeable absence on the CD shelves.

I wasn’t so successful on bidding for a pair of Vivo Barefoots for A. We lost out by £1. Bastard.

Thursday evening was spent catching up with the ODI cricket. J-Roy: oh dear.

Confession: the heating went on for the first time this evening. And so it begins.

Links for 17th September, 2022

Crown and Sceptre in Streatham to reopen ‘just in time for the World Cup’

When Eddy Merckx met Beryl Burton

Wednesday 16th November, 2022

Not one, but TWO MacBook Airs updated to the Ventura OS overnight. Steady the buffers, etc. I know that one of them restarted at around 3am. Chrome kicked in and resumed playing a Novara YT video. Don’t have nightmares, etc.

The updates appear to be smooth. I always forget that I need a little extra time to get my machines ready for work shifts after an update. There’s an awful lot of password updates and syncing to do, even before you hit the I AM HERE work button.

Oblivious to this was the Lockdown Runner at the back of the flat. MORNING, Madam. She probably isn’t a Lockdown Runner anymore. But she’s been keeping this up ever since the dark days of the first lockdown. Up and down, up and down along what to be generous is a bit of a bleak landscape. She’s my Lockdown HERO, for no other reason than she runs with an umbrella.

Album of the Day: Ash – 1977

This was a big deal back in 1996. Steve Lamacq was all over them. Ash were the young kids that could unite indie and pop. They pretty much pulled it off with 1977. What’s great about this album is the pure pop: Goldfinger, Girl From Mars, Oh Yeah, Angel Interceptor – all timeless songs that would work just as well if they recorded by a boy band. Ash add an extra snark and snarl to the tunes. It’s a pretty cool package when put together.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I don’t know how, but my mind then strayed over to Utility Records. Ah – I remember now. I had a conversation with A last week asking if I’ve still got my late 80’s Utility Ration of Passion T-shirt. I wasn’t sure. I may have cashed it in on eBay a couple of years ago.

Anyway – I wondered whatever happened to the label where Billy Bragg first appeared? And what of the back catalogue of non-Bragg releases? Pre-modern interweb and I would have still been left wondering. Not anymore. Within seconds I had pulled up the full Utility discography. Gosh. I had no idea. I had plans to be a completist and buy up the lot. A brief eBay check soon put me off the scent.

Some cheeky fucker put in a £3 offer for another Bob Dylan cassette. Look: if I’ve gone to the trouble of listing the damn thing for £4 – INCLUDING P&P – then I expect £4, pal. Rejected. I did manage to shift a *shhh* George Michael cassette for £4. I would have accepted £3 tbh.

I listened to the Trevor Horn interview with The Word In Your Ear podcast. I’ve always loved his production output. It’s an honest interview where he explains how he went from jobbing bass player to producer supreme.

I waited for the midweek sun to appear before heading out for my run. There was blue skies all along Clapham Common. I passed some fella who had a tattoo haircut. It wasn’t a design inked on to his balding head, but instead a tattoo of a haircut to cover up the bald patch. I have the need for this unique approach to hair replacement, but most certainly not the desire.

I bolted on the extra lap of lovely Larkhall Park to end the route. The parched grass of the summer months has now been restored to a lush green. It remains one of my fave London parks. My final time was almost a minute under for the exact same route yesterday. I’ll take these small wins at my age.

AT MY AGE…

I managed to pick up a cheapo copy of the Isley’s 3+3 on CD later in the afternoon. It sells for around £12. Somehow I snaffled the CD for £3. I wasn’t so lucky with More Specials. This is another CD that is priced north of my usual £3 cut off point. £10 isn’t unknown. I lost out by 20p as some bastard blagged it for £2.70.

A brief Buzz piece was bashed out for the morning. I’m making it work for me – and hopefully M as well. I can’t dedicate more than twenty minutes a day on this. A skim read, grab the headline points and get the story out there. Move on.

Wednesday ended with a little more Mastodon exploration. I’m slowly building up the network. I like the reciprocal nature of the platform. A complete random follows you; it’s only polite to follow them back. I’m being exposed to some new views and insight. This can only be healthy.

Links for 16th November, 2022

What’s the most popular tube journey?

Spoiler: #Brixton to Oxford Circus

Tuesday 15th November, 2022

A wet start to Tuesday morning with a rain drenched run around Clapham Common. Some of the kerbside puddles were more like water jumps in a steeplechase. Respect to the Clapham DUDE who thought that today was a good day to ponce around in his sandals along the mean streets of SW4. I had to wring out my running top when I returned to the flat.

Album of the Day: James Taylor – Sweet Baby James

It’s stating the bloody obvious but I love the simplicity of singer songwriters. No clutter, no fuss. Just the songs and a stripped down approach to music. It’s a very honest way of working and shows a great belief in your own talents. James Taylor carries this off effortlessly. There’s a real mix of styles here, but the singer songwriter thing holds it all together. Some of the gospel reminded me of Alabama 3 – without the drugs; there was also nursery rhyme style chants that were oddly appealing. Steamroller Blues shows that JT has a sense of humour. I had no idea this was the original. I only previously knew the Elvis cover. Four stars on the first listen, probably five once I become more familiar with the songs.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Spotify ads are odd, btw. I appreciate the aim is to get you to sign up, rather than sell you shit. The current heavy rotation for the Moorfields Eye Hospital is a little creepy. Embrace your speccy four eyes. Heavy rim frame wearers of the world unite, etc.

ONS emailed over the results of my latest Covid shit test: Failure. Oh dear. A £20 voucher soon followed. It was with no great surprise really, given that the swab stick snapped before I could tickle my tonsils. It was like a teenage fumble in the dark, with added oral messiness.

An uneventful brief Lidl run followed. Even in the pissing rain, South London is characterised by the sound of parakeets. I’d love to see data showing their population growth in the past 18 months. The cockney sparrow appears dead. Long live the South London parakeets.

My soundtrack for the working morning was Gilles Peterson. He dropped some tracks from each of the five [FIVE] SAULT albums that were available for five days last week. GP hinted that this may the swan song for SAULT. Shame. They’ve made the most exciting and relevant music over the past few years.

I caught up with some Novara Media over luncheon. The video from TWT on the future of political journalism is a great watch. I particularly liked the observation of how legacy media political journalism is now an offshoot of showbiz reporting. It should be all about the ideas. Tell It Like It Is, etc.

Some craft DIY took place early afternoon. I pushed the limits of my skills by using some fabric glue to stick the Lido patches to my swimming bag. @OneEyeGrey has done an ACE job in designing and making the patches. I was surprised to see the glue drying and also sticking to the surface.

An eBay message dropped asking how much to ship a Beatles cassette to Slovakia. The description states: UK SHIPPING ONLY. Oh.

I then made a start on the BBC Brewdog podcast series. It’s a great story and is told in a compelling way – albeit around over half the time needed. It also had the Pavlovian affect of making we want to drink BOOZE. It was only 4pm. Whoops.

I watched D***y and shouted at the telly for the rest of the evening.

Links for 15th November, 2022

House music – David Bowie’s Haddon Hall

“We’re asking for urgent action right now”: London Cycling Campaign names capital’s most dangerous junctions

#Stockwell, #Camberwell Green and Elephant all feature

Monday 14th November, 2022

Album of the Day: Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique

Another album that passed me by. I think I was put off by all those knock off Parka coats with Paul’s Boutique plastered along the tail. No album should be a fashion accessory. I understand the great production and decent use of samples. But I still feel that the Beasties are shouting at me. It’s not the best music to listen to alone in isolation on a Monday morning. I bet it makes much more sense in a club with a bunch of mates. But I think I’m past those days now.

⭐ ⭐

Dotty brought in another mouse mid-morning. You don’t say. She rather conveniently let Mr Mouse out of the grip of her jaw right next to my football boots that were drying off on the indoor mat. Mr Mouse was sharp. He headed straight for the left hand boot and buried himself away. Dotty was oblivious. Back of the net, etc.

The Postman Delivers: a couple of Grace Jones CD’s. Much of last week was spent listening to Nightclubbing and the Island Life compilation. I decided to dig a little further into the back catalogue with some recent releases. She’s a stunning artist, for sure. Not always in a musical sense, but stunning all the same.

Some very odd work online searches were needed. Try ‘Swedish random name generator.’ We’re prepping for an important sim on Friday. Sadly my knowledge of everyday Swedish names is centred around 90’s footballers. The modern interweb is a wonderful thing.

Some contact was made with an old SE17 friend. The situation is still rather raw tbh. One of the requests was to trawl my archive spanning almost two decades for photos of someone who is now a Premier League star. Blimey. Unfortunately it returned a research result of zero.

The rowing club received some great news late afternoon about future funding. I think it’s all a little secret squirrel for the moment. But it does mean that we can continue to grow and press ahead with our five year plan. Yep – we actually have a five year plan.

I wasn’t running late for once to catch the train outta Weird Wiv and back down to LS. I listened to the BBC Nottingham Forest catch up from the weekend. As well as looking back on the Palace win, there was also reflections so far as we head into the World Cup break. I agreed largely with the glass half full summary.

Not a lot of my stuff is shifting on eBay right now. As the train crawled into LS I got a little slap happy and pushed out a dozen or so offers. I knocked a fiver off the Sidebottom cassette (now £70) and a very generous £50 off my WHOPPER cactus that has outgrown the house (now £200.) Not a bite.

Light rain greeted me at LS. Arse. I wasn’t expecting that. It subsided a little as I crossed London Bridge, and then was relatively dry back down in Sunny Stockwell.

I left my MacBook updating to Ventura overnight. Wish me luck for the morning…

Sunday 13th November, 2022

To Brightlingsea! …on Sunday morning. The walking football team was entered in a Cup competition. I decided to roll out on the Raleigh electric. I needed to make up time and I didn’t fancy climbing Tenpenny Hill unassisted.

I was riding in Tour mode for most of the journey. This is one up on the Eco that I have settled on. It can take around 35 minutes on so to get to Brightlingsea on my MTB. Boosted with Tour mode and I cut this down to 22 minutes today.

Early morning mist soon disappeared as I hit Thorrington. I reached the landscape defining Brightlingsea Church, which is now covered from top to toe in scaffolding. Blot on the Brightlingsea landscape, etc.

The Cup competition had an odd set up. No one wants to travel to Brightlingsea on a Sunday morning, only to be knocked out in the first round of a 15 minute match. Each team played in a mini-league of four. The top two teams progressed to two semis.

Our team had something of an admin team talk first. We’re about to rebrand. We’ve had little support from our parent club over the past twelve months. We were told to keep off the pitch during the summer months as the first team wanted to use it for pre-season. The cost of living shit has led to us not being able to train in winter as the club can’t afford the floodlights.

It’s a real shame as a dedicated raggle taggle of a dozen or so local players are all committed to playing. We have a healthy budget and were prepared to to pay our own way with the floodlights. Not training each week has led to poor standards on the pitch, plus a breaking of the tight team bond that been built up.

The team talk this morning had better news. Another local club is very happy to welcome us aboard as their walking football team. There isn’t much in distance, plus they have two 4G pitches and floodlights. It’s nice to feel wanted.

And so Sunday morning was our final outing wearing the blue of Wivenhoe Town. Time to go out in style. After four games we didn’t trouble the semi-final fixtures. Oh dear. We had a record of P4, W1, D2, L1. It reminded me of Forest’s recent form.

“WELL PLAYED FELLA!”

…said one of my team mates at the end as he slapped his manly hand right on my still recovering and raw tattoo. Erm, same to you, mate.

The bicycle ride back to base was made in bright sunshine. I hit 50kmh descending Tenpenny Hill unassisted. Not bad for a bike that clocks in at a WHOPPING 28kg with a motorbike lock also on board in the pannier.

There was a quick turnaround before heading back up to the University for the second leg of the Big Basketball Weekend. Essex Rebels Men’s Div 1 team had a home court Cup clash against London Lions II. They needed a better performance after the poor showing on Saturday evening.

There’s something about this club that is proving to be quite special. Both the men and women’s team have a defiant spirit with some real characters. It’s a rarity to feel this passion for a team these days.

It’s there with me for Forest, obvs; It’s always been there with me for Forest. But elsewhere and Dulwich Hamlet, Wivenhoe Town, Streatham Hockey – they’re all a little hit and miss. My weekends aren’t ruined if they lose.

The Rebels remind me a little of London Knights during their all too brief dalliance in the old Ice Hockey Super League. Plus Dulwich Hamlet when the Garland family ran the roost. All outsiders, all punching above their weight.

The Rebels put in an impressive performance this evening – almost as impressive as our Kiss Cam snog when we found ourselves beaming down from the big screen. With the result looking sealed in the final quarter, it was good to see some squad players getting court time. Rebels left the Area with a 100-81 home court win.

Sunday evening was spent catching up with the cricket Down Under.

Super Sporting Sunday, innit.

Saturday 12th November, 2022

I deleted some over zealous cache plugins first thing on Saturday morning. They were still telling me it was Wednesday across my various sites. I’m trying to find a decent workaround that will clear the cache without locking everything down. At the moment the modern interweb thinks that time has stood still. In the meantime I’ll leave the sites raw, there to be accessed at the pace of whatever connection users have access to. No one will notice the download speeds tbh. The modern interweb can be a right BALL ACHE.

Dotty was far too late in coming in overnight. She adjusts her in / out body clock rhythms with the changes to sunrise. 5:30am and a paw poke to the face is the current norm. But this morning it wasn’t until 7:45am when she appeared. She looked a little worse for wear with another scratch to her nose. Gawd knows what she’s betting up to. Dotty is a worry.

I booked some tickets for Titus Andronicus at the Wanamaker Theatre for January. It’s something to look forward to for the new year. I last saw a production of this at The Globe. It was the most exhilarating and gruesome theatre that I have ever seen. It will be interesting to see how The Globe Company push the boundaries indoors this winter.

A final morning admin task was to report a knackered street light. That’s my good deed for the day done. I wasn’t a fan at first when Essex County Council put in an LED bulb right opposite our house. But it acts as a half decent security measure. fixmystreet.com did the job.

I cycled off along the Trail for the first time in over a month en route to ParkRun. It’s been temporarily closed in patches whilst a resurfacing job has taken place. The final outcome is impressive. Cornering was a little hairy as the gravel hasn’t bedded in yet. There is more space with the hedgerows also being trimmed down.

This was my first ParkRun post-tattoo. I found myself caught up in a bunch with a buggy. We were both the same pace, which was a little frustrating. I tried to push on, but the runner and his young passenger were clipping my heels. I let them pass through. But then I had a little extra kick and had to pass again.

“You’ve made a good start!”

…said an enthusiastic Marshall. Cheers, fella. I thought we were over half way around. What do you mean, start? My official race time was a plodding 22’45”. Meh.

I hade a few errands in town / the city. I couldn’t resist having a shifty in a charity shop that was en route. The sign saying 10 CD’s for £1 was too good to miss. But I couldn’t find a single CD to raise my Saturday morning interest. Hey hoe.

It was a similar story on the market record stall. His prices are reasonable, but the stock wasn’t screaming out BUY ME! Prince’s Graffiti Bridge was £4. It’s all that’s missing from my collection. It’s probably worth £1 in terms of musical output. I passed.

A brief Lidl run followed. Blimey, that’s a steep bill I thought as I swiped my card. Back at base I realised why: FOUR pairs of washing up gloves stuck together. I thought I had only picked up one pair.

The Postman Delivers: a box fresh Chicago Bulls basketball jersey. It’s BNWT. I still can’t clock why I managed to blag it for £6.50 all in. I later missed out on a Surrey baseball cap with a cheeky eBay snipe. That annoyed me.

Saturday lunchtime was a treat. I was invited into the home of a rowing club member to walk away with as many CD’s as I could carry. THANK YOU, Madam. It wasn’t the most obvious meeting of the musical minds, but we were able to find some common ground. My CD collection now has an ambitious jazz angle to explore.

Out went the shout of To Wivenhoe Town FC! Forest Vs Palace at The World Famous City Ground was my main interest in the AirPods though. Forest kicked off in bright sunshine whilst Wivenhoe were struggling in the North Essex fog. I don’t think it was weather related but Wivenhoe were playing in red rather than the usual blue.

The first half was BONKERS. Blink and you’ll miss it, and the Dragons were 4-2 down before the half time whistle was blown. What the second half lacked in goals it made up for in red cards. Newbury Forest picked up two red cards, but departed with three points as the final score remained 4-2.

We cycled straight on from Broad Lane to the University. There was another basketball double header for the Rebels. The women’s team tipped off at 4pm, meaning that we missed the first two quarters. This was the biggest crowd we’ve seen at the Essex Sports Arena. The organisation is making a real effort. There was even a mic facing the crowd to pick up on the atmosphere.

The women put in an impressive performance, beating Durham 69-56 to reach the semi-finals of the Cup. The men struggled against a quite brilliant Hemel Storm, losing 76-111 on their home court. The only weakness for the Storm was their bloody awful bright yellow kit. Plus it remains a mystery to why the current trend is for men to play indoor basketball wearing a pair of tights underneath their baggy shorts.

Saturday ended with another cheeky fucker putting in a £15 offer for the Sidebottom cassette. It’s on sale for £75 with good reason, mate.

Links for 12th November 2022

Our warmongering politicians disgrace the memory of the war dead

Friday 11th November, 2022

Album of the Day: Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold As Love

I thought I was familiar with Axis, but nope, this was all new to me. I definitely rinsed Are You Experienced and Electric Landlady as an unbearable A Level student who thought he would change the world by wearing a tie-dye T-shirt. Axis must have been AWOL from the local CD library. I don’t think I missed much. This sounds more self-indulgent than the other two albums. But then isn’t Jimi all about being the showman? He was hardly a shrinking violet. It sounds very fractured in places. Not a complete album, but a collection of songs. I like the British Mod backbeat, but not so much all the hippy shit.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I’m continuing to get new people following me on Mastodon. Back on the toxic Twitter and these days I just ignore followers and don’t return the favour. Who the fuck are you? But on Mastodon it seems like a return to Twitter circa ’08. What – you man there are other people on this network that want to share and collaborate? There’s an innocence and trust in connecting with others, for now at least. I’m still trying to work out how I balance my online activity between Twitter and Mastodon. The former has the traction, the latter the curiosity. But the way Twitter is going, it looks like it might all go up in flames by the end of the month. Time to build new networks?

https://metalhead.club/web/@JACobb btw

Robert Elms had another short segment with Jess Izzat and the BBC Introducing team. They dropped this latest track by Ezra Collective featuring Kojey Radical. The voice at the start is Uncle Tony, aka Tony Allen. There’s a brilliant old school Afrobeat running through this. Music for 2022, and beyond. Love it.

Meanwhile, back in the fuzzy Old Bloke’s world of buying up every last CD before they hit landfill, The Postman Delivers: Some Marvin, some Pink Floyd. Marvin is just Marvin; Floyd, well I’m becoming something of a completist.

I managed a lunchtime bicycle ride escape. This was the first real chance I have had to road test the Raleigh electric after taking it back to Ipswich for some slight mechanical tinkerings. The guys in the shop thought the tension in the chain was too tight, hence the crunching sound from the crank. There’s still a very minor irritant of a noise coming from the chain when I’m in top gear. Hopefully it will sort itself out when the chain has taken on board some slack.

The ride itself was decent. You could see the estuary appear for the first time this season with the trees and bushes now lying bare. I cruised up Tenpenny Hill in turbo mode. That felt good. I’ve come to rely upon sixth gear. This is the seven iron of the bicycle world. A seven iron golf club is multi-purpose and gets most jobs done. Ditto for sixth gear on my Raleigh electric. It has a nice kick when you move either up or down on the shifter.

The Ardeligh pond was still alarmingly low on water. Yeah, there are bigger world problems right now. But then again the low water in the Ardleigh pond is related to all the bigger shit taking place around the planet. The first Christmas tree with lights was on show outside Bobby George’s mansion. Lovely Jubbly, etc.

In Mundane News: Back at base I managed the final lawn mow of the season. Usually our lawn doesn’t make it until the end of September before turning into a slush of a mud bath. It’s still going strong with plenty of green growth as we approach Armistice Sunday.

I gave Jackson Browne’s The Pretender CD a spin early evening. I picked this up on a whim after being blown away by the title track when I heard it on the radio a few months ago. The full on album didn’t disappoint. Yes, it’s classic, adult rock. But occasionally that’s no bad thing. You need a little maturity to balance out all the silliness. It sounds stunning on CD. There’s something special about those old analogue albums that were then pressed up on CD. Digital recordings released on a digital format often sound like film soundtracks.

The Forest preview on BBC Nottingham was positive for once. It’s tempting fate, but a six week Premier League break probably isn’t what we want right now. The team battled well against Brentford, and then were bloody brilliant Vs #lolspurs at The World Famous City Ground midweek. I’m still taking in all the PL hype. It’s the small things such as being name checked each week in The Graun’s 10 Things to Look Out For and Predicted Team News. Welcome to The Show. #twostarsonthebadge

Links for 11th November, 2022

Stockwell Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony & Community Activities – 28th November

Dave’s cap confirms him to be a ‘Safety Officer’ so he’s the sanctimonious fingerwagging creep.

DG on the new mascot for the tram network.

Newsquest CEO slams BBC’s plan to ramp up local news online

Let’s cry crocodile tears for the Clickbait Kings #journalism

Rimbaud talks Crass Records to Record Collector magazine

Put a shelf on your Brompton with the Velosolo Platform B

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