Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dances with Smurfs.

Manor Road  breakdown.

The photo above shows a broken down 99 bus outside of my house last Wednesday night; it stayed there for the best part of two hours before a tow lorry came along to take it back to Plumstead Bus Garage for repair. The 99 route is still proving problematic - the buses are still bunching up, so that you can wait for over thirty minutes for one, then three turn up at once. Unpleasant at the best of times, and doubly so now we have cold weather and long, dark evenings. See a similar observation from Darryl of Charlton, and his excellent 853 blog here.

More developments in respect of Pooshun / Potion. See the photo, taken by Ian below:

Potion poster  851

I have been in contact with the local Police licencing department; it would seem that the bar has been experiencing trouble from certain customers - there have been several violent incidents. The bar now has had its' licence amended; it has to shut a 8pm on a Friday and Saturday night, until such times as the owners can employ management capable of maintaining order in the place. Personally I suspect that it is already close to bankruptcy, and that it is only a matter of time before it closes for good. They must be operating at a loss, and to lose the ability to open at the busiest times of the weekend must have crippled their business plan. Potion have a Facebook page here; it would seem that even some of their members are concerned as to if the place has a secure future.

The licence application document has disappeared from the door of Tease nightclub; I don't know what the latest is, but I somehow doubt that a 7pm - 7am drinks and music licence seven days per week would be granted, as they had apparently requested. The area is now heavily residential, and the new community police office is being developed right next door. I wonder if they have decided to cut their losses after seeing the problems Potion have experienced from the loutish elements that stalk through Erith and its' environs.

The rather surreal title to this weeks' entry refers to the much hyped launch of the latest mega budget blockbuster movie from Canadian film director, James Cameron. The film is of course Avatar. The movie is bound to be a big hit, thought the plot is a bit derivative (wheelchair bound former colonial space marine sent to an idyllic alien planet, undergoes mind transfer into a synthetic body of the dominant alien species in order to infiltrate and subvert the alien species before conquering the planet to plunder it for its' unique mineral wealth. Former marine falls in love with a nine foot tall blue skinned alien girl, realises his own people are the bad guys, "goes native" and helps the aliens defend their planet against the invading humans). Phew! Anyway, I think this movie can be accurately summarised as "Dances with Smurfs".

Google have now released a beta version of their Chrome web browser for both Linux and Apple OS X. It has been available on the Windows platform for nearly a year. To give it a try, you can download it for free from here.

I regularly get asked by people where they can get a cheap / free copy of Microsoft Office from. I don't condone or encourage software piracy in any form - and in any case, there is an excellent free and open source alternative, available for multiple operating systems. It is 100% compatible with MS Office file types (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access) and even has a very similar look and feel. The suite is the very well regarded OpenOffice. You can download it for free by clicking here.

I have now taken delivery of two original works of abstract art by London based painter David Zimmer. He kindly delivered them in person this morning; he's donating a portion of the sale proceeds to the Alzheimers' Society, so in the end everyone is a winner.

This piece is called Blue Haze - it is hanging on the landing wall, halfway up the stairs.

Blue Haze

The second piece is called Sunrise, and is hanging in the living room.


I was walking along Bexleyheath Broadway on Saturday morning,  prior to heading to the Robin Hood and Little John for my lunchtime repast, when I noticed signs of activity in the former location of Woolworths. The giant open plan shop had builder's tools and bags of cement lying around, and there was a large concrete core drilled out of the floor slab - maybe the structural engineers were looking to see what kind of weight loading the floor was capable of taking? Who knows? More news when I find out what is going on in the place. On another, rather surreal note, has anyone else noticed the two buskers in the Broadway? They play light jazz with a backing tape - they sound like they learned their trade playing lift music - very bland and innocuous. There's nothing to beat live music, especially coming from a great busker. It's unfortunate that these two are very far from great.

Wherever I look when in a newsagents, or general shop like W.H Smith, I get bombarded by Jamie Oliver themed goods. I have nothing whatsoever against the guy - but when I see "Jamie" magazine on the news stands, I start wondering just what is going on. His gurning mug seems plastered everywhere; I think the applicable phrase is "dangerously over - exposed". He is not the only guilty one - go into any high street branch of Robert Dyas and you will find all sorts of kitchen devices and implements that are being plugged by various television chefs, who no doubt look at the promotional road as an easy way to top up their pension pots. It is all rather money grabbing, tawdry and sad.

You may not be aware, but the UK Government has plans to switch off the analogue radio network and compel everyone into using DAB radios within a few years. Or maybe not after all. An article on the tech news website the Register said the following:

Two members of the House of Lords have tabled amendments to the Digital Britain bill, urging Ofcom to consider the effects of the proposed digital radio switchover on analogue listeners and community stations. Lords Howard and de Mauley would oblige Ofcom to consider "the needs of local and community radio stations" and "the needs of analogue listeners". It isn't just DAB, but digital radio in general that's proving to be a problem all over Europe. Germany has stopped funding DAB and postponed the move to DAB+, and although official policy of moving radio from analogue transmission remains, it isn't clear how this will be achieved. "DAB – although vital – is in intensive care and living a sad, hospitalised existence," admitted the director of Deutschlandradio (German national public radio) Willi Steul [translation here]. France has postponed its digital radio transmissions for a year, leading to widespread scepticism that it will ever launch. The French have adopted DMB, not DAB+, although the former is around 40 per cent less efficient, according to Steve Green. In the UK, notes radio analyst Grant Goddard, Ofcom found that 64 per cent of households say they are unlikely to buy a DAB radio in the next 12 months. Making inroads into the 100m+ installed base of analogue radios is going to be slow; the Digital Radio Development Bureau reckons the 10 millionth DAB radio was sold last month. DRDB chief Tony Moretta told us recently that boosting the power of DAB transmissions and building in-fill is the way to win back consumer confidence.

So the days of high quality FM stereo radio may not be over for a while after all. Talking of which, this weeks' video clip is one that is in danger of becoming viral. It was sent to me by Andy Walker of WNKR. it shows CCTV footage of council officials and Police removing a legitimate advertising sign belonging to South West London based Radio Jackie, along with a sound track from the station. See what you think and feel free to leave a comment below.


  1. Sorry it took a while to publish your comment - Blogger normally ends me an auto Email when a comment needs moderating, but for some reason this did not happen. I have checked and the video is now working OK. May have been a temporary problem at YouTube (it happens every so often).

  2. Embedding not working again - though a right click takes you to youtube to view it there.
    What really annoys me about Radio Jacqui is the way it regularly overrides/blocks out XFM in my car when I am driving around Plumstead Common. I never get the same problem in New cross or Blackheath. How can that happen when they are based in SW London?