Thursday, August 19, 2010

Most Stupid CiF Post Ever ?

Zoe Williams makes a stunning comeback with If sex with HIV is a crime, so is swimming with verrucas.

Or going into work with a cold, sitting in a doctors surgery with flu, etc. You have to wonder if the Guardian's doing what the old Daily Sport used to do - knowingly publishing ridiculous stuff to pull in the punters. Seems to work, too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Geoff was the epitome of the London man"

So sayeth Met Inspector Richard Beadle of the killing of 90 year old war veteran Geoffrey Bacon in Camberwell.

Geoffrey certainly epitomised one class of Londoner - the murdered elderly native.

The moment I saw the headline, I was reminded of a piece I blogged about six years back, which appeared in the now-defunct online magazine Right Now. It was about the killing of elderly white people by young black men in South London, and while I disagreed with the author's thesis that the Stephen Lawrence killing and the Brixton nail bomb were some kind of unconscious, inchoate 'resistance movement', he wrote it as he saw it - and it wasn't outside my old primary school that people were being killed.

The link and site has long gone - but the magic of the Wayback Machine has brought J F Cronin's 'The Forgotten Victims' back to life - the victims being Constance Brown, 72, of Streatham, Elizabeth Pinhom, 96, of Herne Hill, Thomas Kidd, 61, of Tulse Hill, Ted Howell, 75, of Lewisham, Leslie Watkinson, 66, of Peckham, and Frank Dempsey, 56, of Clapham.

"I wouldn’t like to be an old person living in Bethnal Green"
said musician Jah Wobble when he moved to leafy Cheshire. For Bethnal Green, read 'most of London outside the leafy south west postcodes'.

(UPDATE - at the opposite end of the age spectrum, while she's not a native, the treatment Michele Kirsch's kids received on a Stoke Newington estate is also relevant. The truism that racism isn't only restricted to white people is one that Guardianistas are happy to accept in theory. It's just giving chapter and verse they're uncomfortable with.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Land That Stein Forgot

St Columb Major - the most un-touristy town in North Cornwall. Susan and I spent a pleasant morning pottering round the rainy and slightly run-down streets. Lovely church, nice locals, interesting buildings and a couple of excellent butchers.

By contrast, Padstow was a disappointment - a nice but not terribly picturesque harbour, one Spar, a lot of expensive places to eat and a lot of expensive clothes shops. Rick Stein obviously loves the place - but he's killing the thing he loves. His empire is now expanding towards St Merryn and Constantine Bay - I confess to having given him my beer money at the Cornish Arms.

Memorial to the Cornish wrestler James Polkinghorne. The town was also the birthplace of John Nichols Thom, self-proclaimed Messiah who led a small detachment of Kentish farm labourers to defeat in the 1838 Battle of Bossenden Wood, having promised them invulnerability to bullets in the style of the late Pierre Mulele.

Above - not much rocket or sun-dried tomato to be seen on Broad Street, St Columb Major.

Maybe Padstow's just a bit more upmarket than last year's Perranporth, but Cornwall seems more hideously white than ever. The beaches at Constantine and Porthcothan rang with RP accents (Constantine has a beach stall which does six kinds of coffee but no tea) as little Barnaby and Saffron splashed about in their wetsuits. The English upper middles still seem to be sprogging, I'm pleased to say. And everywhere we went builders were busy catering for those seeking to escape the "frantic lifestyle". If 'Wales is the new Cornwall' then Cornwall is still the old Cornwall.