Sunday, March 21, 2010

Google Street View reaches Erith.

Manor Road

Those clever people at Google have been very busy. The whole of Erith now appears on Google Street View, not just the main roads, as has been the case for the last year or so. I have been trawling through the various views of Erith and have added a few of the better shots to my Flickr site here. The photo above shows Manor Road, heading East towards Slade Green and the industrial estate on the Thames marshes.

As you can see from the photo below, the Street View camera car has caught some of the remarkably "fresh faced" regulars at the Cross Keys; it is a very strange pub. You either have to be under 15, or over 70 to be welcomed in the place. Possession of webbed hands and a girlfriend/sister combo also helps. It certainly has a reputation as Erith's main supermarket for recreational pharmaceuticals, though as I have never dared set foot over the doorway, I can only speculate.

Cross Keys, Theatre and Potion

Below is a popular sight for local residents - the road out of Erith; you can see the council offices to the right, and to the left is the hideous and locally notorious Erith Fish Statue. To my mind, the statue is reminiscent of a gargantuan psychedelic steaming "Mister Whippy" style alien turd, crapped from the heavens onto the unsuspecting town - as if we did not have enough trouble to deal with as it is.

The Fish Statue and roundabout

I don't know if you ever surf around the more obscure satellite channels; occasionally when I have nothing better to do (not a very regular occurrence nowadays) I tend to click around to see what new delights are on televisual offer. I recently found a programme called "Man V Food" on the Good Food Channel. It basically shows a guy taking on utterly gargantuan meals served as challenges in various American restaurants. The show is just revolting. Charlie Brooker of the Guardian summarises the show far more eloquently than I could ever aspire to. You can read his review here - warning, you may well laugh out loud!

Erith Police Office, which was unveiled a couple of weeks ago, is once more covered with wooden hoardings. The word is that originally the office would purely be used by the Northumberland Heath Safer Neighbourhoods Team (strange, since the office is smack bang in the middle of Erith Town Centre). Sense seems to have prevailed, and the office space is being reorganised to house the four local Safer Neighbourhoods Teams. This will eventually mean the office will be pretty much continuously staffed and open for nabbing local villains, which can only be a good thing. Incidentally, there has been extensive activity focussed on Erith's very own Cyber Khazi (tm) - which still is not in operation, despite having been originally installed back in mid December last year.

I came across the video below quite by chance; it shows the Ross Revenge at sea in August 1990, when I was on board. I think it was taken by one of the crew of a French fishing trawler, which often came quite close, and would on occasion drop a few fish off for us. The short lived rainbow stripes and white dove of peace painted on the funnel by myself and Nick Jackson's girlfriend caused a bit of a rumpus amongst the anoraks at the time - they thought it signalled a change in station image and direction, when in fact the actual reason was that we only had a tiny amount of paint left, which meant some nifty multi coloured stripes instead of the traditional red flash. If you look carefully, at 0.58 secs into the video, you can see a figure in a white T - shirt waving from the stern of the ship. That's me!

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the launch of the ill fated Sinclair C5 electric tricycle. Much derided upon its' debut, the vehicles are now regarded by many as being far ahead of their time.I had a small part to play in the history of the vehicle; I used to know Adam Harper, who in addition to at one time owning Harper Cycles in Nuxley Road, Belvedere, and being one of the three original judges on BBC television's "Robot Wars", was the owner of the whole C5 brand, having bought the rights from Sinclair Research at a knock down price. when the vehicles failed to sell as expected. You can read all about it here. Adam then decided to convert a C5 into a 150 mph record setting speed machine, which I helped him with. I appeared with him on GMTV back in 1994. He also carried out the very first stunt in an electric vehicle, when he drove his souped up C5 through a seventy foot tunnel of fire on the back lot at Pinewood film studios. This was arranged and sponsored by Eon Productions - the people who make the James Bond movies. I got to go back stage, and meet the stunt director as they were in pre - production for GoldenEye. As a Bond fan it was a real treat. All because of a small plastic tricycle.

What is it with cyclists in London? Twice in the past week I have almost been mown down by people on bikes ignoring red stop lights. The bunch of banana helmeted eco nazis seem to think that the roads and pavements, where they often cycle illegally, are for their exclusive use and anyone else be damned. They don't have insurance or pay any form of road fund licence; I don't see what special entitlement they think they should have.

The view below, again courtesy of Google Street View, is of the part of Erith that is known locally as the "Pom Pom". The origins of this unusual name date back to some time before the First World War, where the area was home to the Maxim gun factory. There was a test range for their main product - the Maxim machine gun - the constant noise to local residents entered local terminology as the "Pom Pom". Incidentally, you can read more about the remarkable Hiram Maxim here.

Erith - the Pom Pom

I see that the government are once again trying to sneak in I.D cards by the back door. I am implacably opposed to this - the primary motive is not to allow you to identify yourself, but to allow the state to identify you and furthermore track your life in the records accumulated by the National Identity Register. The government are suggesting that pensioners will be able to use an I.D card instead of a bus pass at some point in the future. It is just another means for them to monitor us. Their record on data security and integrity is utterly appalling, as has been amply illustrated by a number of recent foul ups. You can read more about the situation by clicking here.

The final video this week is the trailer for the forthcoming new series of Doctor Who, which begins at Easter. Comments below if you wish.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, the photo's brought back memories - I grew up in Belvedere and I knew Erith very well. I wondered about that fish statue - just what was it supposed to represent? It always seemed to me that once the new shopping precinct was built in Erith with its multi story car park that the heart went out of Erith and it never recovered.