Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Yer Rock & Roll 9

Time for some more rock and roll and today an English edition and a triple header. The first offering is a grainy black and white clip from the beginning of time - the Kinks performing Waterloo Sunset. I often pass through Waterloo station and the line about Terry and Julie regularly comes to mind. The still not completed crime novel has a major character called Terry.What should his wife be called? I asked myself - it was obviously really - Julie. Oh and have a look at Dave Davies's glasses! :-O

The second clip is UB40s Red Red Wine video. I'm not a huge fan of UB40. They came out of the West Midlands centred two tone thing and recorded original material initially. Then they took the safe route and just began covering reggae/ska standards to considerable commercial success. A bit of a cop out really but Red Red Wine is a good song and the video is a class act. I once saw them live many moons ago backed by Bo Diddley, complete with star guitar, who completely upstaged them. Oh and someone I used to know claimed he could have been the bass player with UB40 except he fell out with Ali Campbell over a girl. Ah well...

Okay so Warren Zevon wasn't English but Werewolves of London is, at the risk of labouring the obvious, a very English song. I've a bootleg tape - recorded straight from the soundboard of the Dead doing it as encore at a Halloween concert - in London.

He's the hairy handed gent who ran amuck in Kent

Lately he's been overheard in Mayfair

You better stay away from him, he'll rip your lungs out Jim

I'd like to meet his tailor

All together now...


Friday, 25 April 2008

Okay enough pinching stuff for now...

This is today's Steve Bell Guardian cartoon - Blair given the Damien Hirst treatment. Cracking, or what?

More pinching stuff...

This time from Charon QC's blog. I report without further comment that this is the new Office for Government Commerce (OGC) logo, rotated round to the vertical.
Ooh Matron!

doing the rounds...

pinched from Jailhouse lawyer who pinched it from someone else who probably pinched it from someone else again - etc etc...

click to enlarge even...

Thursday, 24 April 2008

return of the rabbit...

The rabbit has just returned from a sojourn in Stafford to the greater glory of criminal defence, hence recent blogsilence. When I set up the blog I tartily invited readers to buy my novel twentytwelve in support of my desperate attempt to get its amazon.co.uk rating below half a million. The tarty invitation fell on deaf ears and the rating crept up to over 800,000. Imagine my surprise when peeking at my amazon rating a little while ago. It was - um - 77,937! Okay - no great shakes but a huge improvement on something over 800,000. There is an interesting point about amazon sales ratings. You might think they are based on - er - sales, but apparently not. the editor at my publishers tells me that there are two things that amazon will never explain: how many copies they sell and what their sales ratings are actually based on. In the higher ratings area they can career up and down wildly but when the ratings plunge to high six figures they seem to stick and move very little. Perhaps someone out there in blogworld knows more than me.

A free advert: commuting to Stafford is prohibitively expensive as well as time consuming so I stayed up there for the case. I went up on Sunday night. I have worked out that there are very good hotel deals to be had on a Sunday night. The reason is that on Sunday night the weekend breakers have gone and the business travellers have yet to arrive and so the hotels have rooms on their hands which they let out at bargain prices. So on Sunday night I stayed at The Swan, a seriously flash hotel in the centre of Stafford and just round the corner to the court at a knock-down price. The Swan was too expensive for weekdays so I booked into a B&B for Monday and Tuesday. It was - um - a B&B. They didn't do food so directed me down to the nearest pub which did 'good food and good ale'.

The nearest pub was called the Spittal Brook Inn. Let me praise it.

Outside is a sign...


Inside the signage - to use the stupid word - was no less bizarre. My personal favourite was in one corner...


The food was really standard pub fare but the array of beers was a wonder to behold - including an organic real ale. The Spittal Brook Inn is just a lovely old fashioned pub with friendly locals. Folk night Tuesday night (compete with bizarre but amiable collection of folk musicians), Quiz night Wednesday night. They have rooms too. I gave up on the B&B and stayed there and the rooms were clean, bright and modern. The landlord is completely eccentric but has made his own stamp on the place. In an age of standardised pub chains, to find a guy who is running a pub in his own way and running it well is a breath of fresh air. Kudos to the guy. Oh and we came third in the pub quiz...

On a completely different subject, I am delighted to note that the An Yue Jiang, the Chinese ship with a cargo of murder weapons - sorry arms - for Mugabe has slunk off back to China after being refused permission to dock by a series of African countries. Some troll from the Chinese foreign ministry was quoted as saying 'it is pointless to politicise this issue'. Oh yeah? Let's politicise it bigtime!

Now let's just hope the bastard thing sinks.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Zimbabwe 2

The tragedy goes on. The picture is of the An Yue Jang - for those of you who have really not been paying attention - a Chinese ship believed to be carrying 77 tonnes of small arms, including more than 3m rounds of ammunition, AK47 assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades destined for - where else? - Zimbabwe. Now why would Mugabe want such a consignment at this present time one can only ask? And why would the Chinese oblige? The answer to the latter question is that China is run by about as low a bunch of low life as can be imagined. A clue to the answer to the first question (okay - the answer is in the realm of the bleeding obvious but bear with me) can be found in recent history. Some years ago a large consignment of machetes was delivered from China to Rwanda. What then followed was the Rwandan genocide - the murder weapon of choice in the genocide being (surprise, surprise) the machete.

Out of this horrendous scenario there beams two beacons of light. The South African dockers who refused to unload the ship and the South African High Court, which ruled that the cargo could not be transported to Zimbabwe.

Huge respect to the dockers, the judges and lawyers involved and the Congress of South African Trades Unionists. They answer some of the questions raised in comments on my previous blog on the subject and contrast wonderfully with the snivelling attitude of the 'see no evil' South African government. Let's hope the ship doesn't get to unload anywhere and sinks or something...

Sunday, 13 April 2008


The picture shows a Zimbabwean mother and child voting with their feet, or in the immediate instance stomach, by crawling into South Africa through the barbed wire barrier.
Mugabe's antics put me in mind of a poem by Bertold Brecht ('The Solution')...
After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts.
Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
There ya go, Bob, Dissolve the people and elect another. Problem solved!

Friday, 11 April 2008

off up north...

Off up north for the weekend so silence for a little while. An invitation to an eighteenth birthday party at my age! Plus a ticket for Elland Road at 1215 (what kind of time is that for a football match?). Hoping for plenty as per videoclip - caution: rude word - over and over again :-O

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

From the BBC via Jailhouse Lawyer...

The vulgarian in me confesses to having been amused by this story to the effect that the village of Lunt on Merseyside is thinking of changing its name due to repeated alteration by unruly fellows of the 'L' to 'C'
One can only tut at such immature behaviour.

Not Yer Rock and Roll 3

I have a love/hate relationship with folk music. On one level, it conjures up Orwell's 'vegetarians with wispy beards' in cableknit sweaters slurping on pints of real ale as some muppet on stage cups his ear with this right hand (why do they do that?) but some folk music can touch the soul.

The first offering is Fairport Convention's rendition of traditional English ballad Matty Groves. Fairport Convention effectively invented folk rock and their Leige and Leif regularly features in lists of most influential albums of all times. Enjoy Sandy Denny's amazing voice. The moral of the song is 'don't mess with Lord Donald'. Consequences follow...

The second is Steeleye Span's version of traditional North East folk song Blackleg Miner. Very political stuff - I promised myself to keep politics and law to a minimum when I started this blog but the former seems to be creeping in rather a lot. Nice dancing gorillas on video clip too. The song ends...

So join the union while you may,

Don't wait 'til your dying day

For that may not be far away,

You dirty blackleg miner.

Quite so.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


I'm reluctant to blog on the Israel/Palestine thing as the topic brings every spittle flecked loon on the planet out to play, but today is the 60th anniversary of the massacre of the Palestinian villagers of Deir Yassin, which ought not to pass unremarked. There is a fair amount of harrowing stuff on YouTube about the massacre but I decided on balance not to put up any of it here.

Instead here is a clip from a Matrix type film - I don't even know what the film is or who made it but it's an entertaining piece of defiance.

Monday, 7 April 2008

By what authority?

Yesterday's events in London were notable for protestors managing to deliciously spoil the relay of the Olympic torch for the gruesome gargoyles who run China and the British Government who were determined to suck up to the gargoyles to the maximum possible extent. The gruesome gargoyles' tame media pronounced the protests 'vile' which would suggest that the protestors are on the right track.

All pretence of normality went out of the window when, bizarrely, a Chinese goon squad of 'security officers' appeared in admittedly rather fetching powder blue tracksuits surrounding the Olympic torch, they themselves being encircled by a ring of police. Who arranged and authorised the goon squad remains obscure but ought not to.

Apparently, the tradition of Olympic torch bearing dates back to the 1936 Berlin Olympics (why am I not surprised?) but things have not been going well from the outset of the torch bearing exercise in Greece (trouble), via London (plenty more trouble) and Paris today (even more trouble). The gargoyles are plainly desperate for an appearance of normality and a public relations triumph. They are getting abnormality and huge amounts of grief. Good!

One little detail struck me particularly. It relates to the policing (by over 2,000 police officers) of the protests. Since when did assisting in presenting the delusion of normality to keep the gargoyles happy become a legitimate policing objective? The little detail? Well police were evidently doing the rounds of protestors confiscating Tibetan flags and demanding the removal of T-shirts.


By what lawful authority was this done? One protestor was ordered to take off a T-shirt with 'stop the killings', 'no torch in Tibet' and 'Talk to the Dalai Lama'. Not unreasonably, he asked why. The police were unable to provide a reason for this order. There is no reason and no authority for such a demand. Putting on my lawyer hat and having considered and rejected all the possibilities that could given even a spurious reason for this order I can only conclude that there is no lawful authority for this order and it constitutes an abuse of office. What is more the abuse of office is motivated by a wish to collude with an odious dictatorship in maintaining a pretence that there is no dissent when there is plenty of dissent.

Police follow orders. They are a heirarchical command organisation. Who gave them these orders? And why? As the cliche goes, I think we should be told.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Not Yer Rock & Roll 2

Now this is the Kinks (I promise to return to the subject of the Kinks at some future date - the most English of rock bands and among the most underrated) but in no way could it be called rock and roll. It is their rendition of The Village Green Preservation Society, heard recently on the soundtrack of Hot Fuzz. I defy you to say it doesn't make you smile. And for singalong purposes, here are the lyrics...

We are the village green preservation society

God save donald duck, vaudeville and variety

We are the desperate dan appreciation society

God save strawberry jam and all the different varieties

Preserving the old ways from being abused

Protecting the new ways for me and for you

What more can we do

We are the draught beer preservation society

God save mrs. mopp and good old mother riley

We are the custard pie appreciation consortium

God save the george cross and all those who were awarded them

We are the sherlock holmes english speaking vernacular

Help save fu manchu, moriarty and dracula

We are the office block persecution affinity

God save little shops, china cups and virginity

We are the skyscraper condemnation affiliate

God save tudor houses, antique tables and billiards

Preserving the old ways from being abused

Protecting the new ways for me and for you

What more can we do

God save the village green.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Hattie goes to Peckham

Explanations for overseas readers required straight away! The ridiculous Harriet (Hattie) Harman is the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, having been elected as such in an appalling lapse of taste by the three remaining members of the Labour Party. She is also something or the other in the Government but I forget what.

Hattie is also the Member of Parliament for Peckham - a part of south-east London not known for its - um - peaceful nature and has incurred much derision for going walkies in her constituency wearing a stab jacket. Our heroine was in the company of a large number of burly police officers at the time, thus presumably reducing the risk of being stabbed to the minimal - even in Peckham. Quite what Hattie thought she was up to remains obscure. A Peckham resident was quoted as saying 'we only ever see her when there's an election on or she's doing a PR stunt'. One can only tut at such cynicism. Apparently Hattie has explained her fashion mistake by saying - among other things - that it was like wearing a hairnet, which put me in mind of Ena Sharples, the hairnetted harridan of the early years of Coronation Street. Feast your eyes at the Warholisation of Ena. It's better than thinking about Hattie..