Sunday, June 06, 2010

Stairlift to Heaven.

Erith River Festival 2010  969 (2)

The 2010 Erith Riverside Festival took place today. Although the weather was hazy and overcast, the threatened thunderstorms failed to make an appearance, and the event was very well attended indeed. The photo above shows members of the local Viking re-enactment group, and part of their encampment in the Riverside Gardens.

Erith River Festival 2010  972

The event had a distinctive 1940's theme, due to the event taking place on the anniversary of D-Day. There were a number of people dressed up in uniform, and plenty of period era music and dancing took place. A steam engine was on show in the car park of the Running Horses pub; the engine normally lives on the industrial estate up the road from Pewty Acres, and I occasionally see it when the owner and his mate take it out for a spin on Sunday mornings; he made a few quid during the icy conditions, as the vehicle was absolutely excellent at towing out cars in trouble.

Erith River Festival 2010  970

The aforementioned Running Horses was making a small fortune from the untypically large number of people in the area; the bar was packed, and quite unusually they were serving a real ale - Adnams' Best Bitter, which was nice, even though it had to be served in plastic beakers for safety reasons. They also had a giant barbecue and hog roast, which was selling well to the passing locals. You can see the rest of my photos of the event by clicking here.

Erith River Festival 2010  976

As many of you know, I am not a sports fan; personally I just don't see the point in running around a muddy field with a bunch of hairy blokes getting all hot, dirty and puffed out. I have been of this opinion since primary school. Because of this I find it curious how quite a large portion of the UK population are currently getting so worked up over the forthcoming World Cup. I have nothing against this - part of my libertarian philosophy of "If it works for you". But I just cannot empathise with the football fans. It seems like every other TV advert  at present has some World Cup related spin to it; I suppose it is another way of milking the public for yet more money. One thing that does strike me though - have you noticed how many people are flying two England flags from mini poles on each back window of their car? One thing I learned many years ago was that drag is one of the prime contributors to poor fuel economy. I know the amount of drag from two A4 sized nylon flags isn't going to amount to very much, but if you factor in the sheer number of cars involved, I reckon the cost in additional fuel across the country is going to be substantial. The Chancellor of the Exchequer must be rubbing his hands in glee at the prospect of all the extra fuel duty and VAT that will soon be rolling in. You heard it here first!

Pub bands - what's not to like about a band playing in a local hostelry? I have seen many excellent, and not so excellent bands playing in boozers of many types. Even if the band are not the most polished, the sheer guts and hard work they put into it usually make the evening a fun time. There are however exceptions, Ian, the Stewdog and I were out in Upper Belvedere last night, and popped into the Fox, my haunt of choice during my formative years. A duo of guitarists, accompanied by a sequencer and a drum machine were grinding through a number of classic rock tracks, making them sound like heavily amplified and very dull lift music in the process - I commented when they played the Led Zeppelin classic that it sounded more like Stairlift to Heaven! Talking of classic rock,  I received an Email from Planet Rock D.J and all round top bloke Nicky Horne on Friday night.

From: Hugh 
Sent: 04 June 2010 20:46
To: Nicky Horne
Subject: "Live and Dangerous" movie.

Hi Nicky,

I have been listening to you since your days on Capital Radio, and have always loved your thoughtful presentation style. Anyway, I was watching the Sky Arts channel the other night, when they showed the movie version of Thin Lizzy's "Live and Dangerous" tour.

Nine minutes into the film, after they had shown the usual stuff with the crew setting up stage etc. The film cut to the dressing room with the band lounging about - and who should I see but yourself talking to the legendary Phil Lynott (and you were wearing a "Your Mother Wouldn't Like It" sweat shirt too). Great stuff indeed.

All of the best, and thanks for both a great show, and a great station.

To which he replied:


I am so embarrassed by that jumper!  I actually went on stage wearing that!  Why didn’t someone tell me I looked like a plonker?


What a nice chap - he was actually on air at the time, and he took the trouble to Email me a response by return.

Why as soon as the sun comes out do some blokes suddenly lose all sartorial propriety and don all kinds of ridiculous and unsuitable attire? The main target of my ire is that red headed step child of the cobbler's shop, the flip - flop. They expose the feet to the gaze of the public; they are impractical, ugly and leave the user liable to tripping over his own feet. They are just wrong on so many levels I shudder to contemplate. I have even seen people wearing them during their commute to work on the train. Utterly indefensible and repulsive to the extreme.

If you are UK based and using a Windows based PC, you are in for a treat; the BBC have released a Doctor Who video game which is free to download and play. The game is divided into chapters, which will be released by the BBC on a regular basis. The first chapter is called "City of the Daleks" and is set in an alternate timeline of London in the 1960's after the city has been ravaged by a Dalek invasion. The Apple Mac version is due for release on the 15th June, and I will be giving it a go then. You can go to the download site by clicking here.

Talking of Windows, Google are dropping the use of Microsoft operating systems in their offices around the world. This is all part of their ongoing war over the desktop, with Google shortly to launch their Chrome operating system for netbooks and low powered PC's; although Google say that it is to increase online security. The two tech giants conflict is getting more vicious by the week. Microsoft are getting increasingly bitter that they have been unable to break into the search and advert sale business that Google is supremely good at.  Microsoft is now pulling the plug on its search bribery machine. The Bing Cashback programme — which actually paid people to use Microsoft's third-rate search engine — will vanish on July 30. In May 2008, as part of its desperate bid to catch the uncatchable Google, Microsoft began bribing people to use Live Search, Bing's precursor. If you used Live Search ads to find and buy certain items, Redmond would refund between 10 and 35 per cent of the purchase price. Then, when Microsoft overhauled its search platform a year later, the program morphed into Bing Cashback, operating in much the same way. Analysts doubt it will ever make it into the black.

Young's are now promoting the forthcoming opening of their flagship pub, restaurant and all day cafe at the Woolwich Arsenal development. The place is going to be called the Dial Arch, and is located in a large Georgian building that was part of the gate house complex of the Arsenal when it was used by the army as their largest base in the country. It is located adjacent to General Gordon Square in Woolwich town centre. You can see the entrance to the Woolwich Arsenal development on Google Street View above - the embedded player will allow you to navigate around just as its' bigger brother does; give it a try and see what you think. Blogger have updated their controls, mostly for the better this week - at last page preview actually does show you what your posting is going to look like, though it would appear that you can no longer upload images directly from your computer desktop. As with many things owned and run by Google, Blogger is back in Beta for these upgrades.

A somewhat different video this week; this shows an RAF Harrier ground attack jet making an emergency landing at Kandahar air base in Afghanistan. I get the feeling it is going to take more than a bottle of T-Cut to polish out the scratches on the plane. The pilot apparently escaped pretty much unscathed, and no - one on the ground was hurt. The insurance claim will be £30 million or so.

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