Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Maggot Sandwich reaches FaceBook.


I am blogging from my favourite, and somewhat neglected in the recent past location, the incomparable Robin Hood & Little John pub in Lion Road, Bexleyheath. I am sat at my favourite corner table with a refreshing, hoppy pint of Shepherd Neame Early Bird golden ale, and will shortly be enjoying one of their excellent lunches from an extensive menu of home cooked food - nothing is microwaved. The landlord, Ray has just informed me that next Friday is Saint George's Day, and that the RH&LJ will be hosting a group of traditional Morris Dancers in the evening; on top of this they will be serving British Bulldog Ale from the Westerham Brewery (an ale originally brewed especially for Sir Winston Churchill) and Dragon Fire seasonal ale from Shepherd Neame. The RH&LJ has won Bexley CAMRA pub of the year every single year for the last ten years; it has got to the point where CAMRA have changed the competition rules, so that a pub that wins one year cannot compete in the next year; a tacit confirmation that the competition is really about who comes number two to the Robin Hood & Little John. The photo above shows the framed award certificates and press cuttings about the truly outstanding free house. Apologies for the slightly less than premium image quality, I took the photo using the rather weedy 1.3 megapixel webcam on my Asus netbook, and it falls a little short of the results I would expect with my Nikon D300.

Asus EeePC 901  554

My journey to this restful paragon of English civility was preceded by a rather annoying walk along Bexleyheath Broadway. Aside from the expected buskers and assorted street entertainers (which rather reminded me of a Mediaeval market scene, as interpreted by Channel 5 on a tight budget). My ire was provoked by an army of evangelical Christians who were accosting passer by with leaflets; they were led by an old fashioned “fire and brimstone” preacher, who certainly had a strong vocal resemblance to Brother Stair – a well known American evangelist who regularly broadcasts on short wave radio to Europe and the UK. In accordance with my strongly held personal libertarian philosophy of “if it works for you”, I ignored them and made my way past Bexleyheath Library, only to have a teenaged girl pursue me, waving a religious tract in my face. I suddenly twigged; not for the first time, someone thought the book sized, leather bound article in my hand was a Bible. As regular readers will recall, it was actually something infinitely more dangerous – it was my Asus EeePC Netbook computer (photo above). I politely told her that her time would be better employed elsewhere, and she eventually gave up the pursuit. Since this is far from the first time such a mistaken identification has happened, maybe I should exploit it and follow L. Ron Hubbard and start my own religion – it certainly made him a fortune.

Erith bar Potion is apparently in trouble yet again; after the public order issues that caused their licence to be changed, forcing them to close at 8pm on Friday and Saturday evenings due to trouble and violence from a number of their customers; they have now fallen foul of Bexley Council planning department. As I covered at the time, the owners of Potion blatantly disregarded the rules regarding changes permitted to the listed building, and ripped out the Victorian salt glazed tiles on the exterior, to put in a generic plate glass frontage, as well as destroying the historic ironwork on the exterior of the building. Apparently the council have given the owners a number of chances to rectify this, but have been ignored, I understand that legal action has now been started. More news as it happens.

The Maggot Sandwich appreciation page on FaceBook

Wonders will never cease. Someone has started a Facebook site for fans of the humble Maggot Sandwich. Apparently it has around twelve members already. It is certainly nothing to do with me, as I detest any website that forces you to register before you are able to view any content – on top of that, Facebook is notorious for scavenging and reselling users personal details, This is another reason I don't have anything to do with the site. Still, It is flattering – you can see it here. Click on the image above for a larger version.

The Cyber Khazi in Erith town centre is now fully up and running, though I have my doubts as to if it is actually getting any use, as there are free municipal loos close by, and the local winos have in any case been known to poo in waste bins. It seems a very expensive billboard for the Council to post anti drugs information on the exterior.

Erith Riverside Centre is now home to betting shops galore – it would appear to be one area of local growth; I am totally unqualified to comment as to their relative merits, as I have only crossed the threshold of a betting shop once in my entire life, and that was back in 1988. Looking at most of the clientele, I am glad that betting is not something that interests me.

Wise Furnishings - now closed.

I also note that the old Wise Furnishings shop in Erith Town Centre (shown above, shortly before it went bust last year) appears to have a new occupant – a place selling discount beds and mattresses; the cynic in me would tend to think that it might well be Wise Furnishings re opening the place in order to start selling off old stock to try and realise some capital, as I think the company as a whole is struggling to survive. The whole endeavour is definitely low rent and smacking of desperation.

BBC 2 have been re – showing a reality TV show with a difference. The programme is called “Electric Dreams” and it follows the ups and downs of a family from Reading who for thirty days forgo their comfortable high tech existence to travel back in time. They spend ten days living as people would in the 1970's, with the year incrementing a year a day, then the same in the 1980's and 1990's. Each day (year) a team of technicians and historians provide them with the latest gadgets and technology appropriate for that year, and a “fly on the wall” camera crew record how the family cope with things. The show was created and produced by the Open University, so it was far more educational than sensational. Of the three decades, my personal favourite was the 1980's – it was when technology first really made itself known in the average household, most notably with the advent of the fledgeling home computer, and a telling scene from the year 1983 really made me hoot – one of the children is explaining to another that the incompatibilities between the VHS and Betamax video formats could be likened to today's DVD and BluRay systems. You can see the shows' website here.

I understand that history is repeating itself, the newly launched Apple iPad has the same kind of WiFi connectivity problems as the early G4 processor MacBook Pro had about six years ago. Those turned out to be caused by looks over function; the slick brushed aluminium case effectively blocked the 802.11 WiFi signal, unless it was at full strength – with the laptop sitting next to the wireless router. I suspect that this will prove to be the same with the first version of the iPad. A word from an expert – never, ever purchase version one of any kind of technology. It is a mug's game – you are merely acting as a late Beta tester for the manufacturer.

Ian has been surfing the Planet Rock website, where he came across details of the forthcoming cinema documentary about the Canadian virtuoso super-group Rush. A clip of the movie is shown below. Please let me know what you think.

Talking of cinema, am I alone in regarding the current trend for releasing films in 3D as being the “Emperor's New Clothes”? I actively avoid the headache inducing 3D format, and will never watch or buy anything that employs this wasteful and pointless fad.

The current air travel ban over much of Northern Europe, due to the eruption of an Icelandic Volcano does make me think. Back in the days of Classic Doctor Who, whenever there was the threat of alien invasion or some other happenstance, UNIT would conjure up a cover story, not unlike the current volcano eruption. Bearing in mind I know of no - one who has seen the slightest scrap of volcanic dust (though having said that, the air in Erith is already amongst the most polluted in the United Kingdom, so there is a fair chance we might not even notice!) Who knows what is really going on?

Erith Museum used to be housed in the imposing and architecturally important building donated by the millionaire philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It is now relegated to a small corner of the new, cheerless and characterless box that is the Erith “Library Plus” building opposite the health centre. The old, listed building now lies semi unused, with only a small staff forming Bexley racial equality unit occupying the space. What a waste of a lovely building; I just hope the council find a new use for this impressive, yet under used public space.

Bongo has now quit his freelance sound recordist exploits, and has taken a staff job with the BBC in Glasgow; he phoned this morning to tell me he and Claire have found a nice place in Paisley, which I gather is close to Glasgow town centre. An update from him in due course.

I had quite a bit of head scratching to do when thinking of something for the traditional closing video. I feel it is far too long since we had some quality 80's cheese, so here it is in spades, from the master of macho hair metal, David Coverdale and Whitesnake. Enough back combing and hair spray to create his own personal hole in the ozone layer; and you wonder where Steel Panther get it from...

1 comment:

  1. The Facebook thing maybe a auto generated thing. Blogger, Google and facebook are one and the same thing now!I keep finding st5uff connected to my sites that I never instigated.