Sunday, November 14, 2010


Here it is - something I would never have contemplated when I began the Maggot Sandwich, back in July 2006. This is my three hundredth blog posting; the Maggot Sandwich has changed over the years, as have I. Nowadays I am unsure as to where the blog ends and I begin. It was all very different back then. The Maggot Sandwich was little more than a virtual wall, where I could scribble my rants and annoyances at (what was then) a mostly indifferent world. Above you can see my very first posting. Click on it for a larger view. To date, the Maggot Sandwich has had 11,907 unique visitors since monitoring began in mid July; there have been 2,609 visits in total this month, and 91 visits yesterday - which gives you some idea of how inexplicably popular the site has become in a relatively short space of time. Thanks to one and all for taking the time and trouble to visit this corner of cyber space in such large numbers.

Bexleyheath town centre is rapidly changing; walking through it on Saturday morning brought me some surprises. The Aldi store opposite the clock tower has unsurprisingly gone In its' place is a Mothercare. One of the multitude of mobile phone shops has been replaced by a second hand computer and phone unlocking shop – the kind of establishment beloved of the stickier fingered and pharmaceutically challenged members of our local society. These are the classic signs of a town in terminal decline – the big names move out, to be replaced with pound stores and cheap novelty shops. Bexleyheath just cannot compete with the lure of both the Bluewater and Lakeside shopping centres. The old RSVP bar is still a building site; it is still impossible to determine if Nandos are taking over the building, or if the Caribbean Kitchen venture still has some legs. Either way, the place is still closed and subject to further quite substantive construction and fitting out work before it is ready to re-open. I took a walk around the outside, and it would also appear that the three phase mains power input to the building has been broken into, and the copper cabling stolen – something that is increasingly common at present.

As the reV correctly mentions in his editorial piece further down the page, I do on occasion write the Maggot Sandwich whilst ensconced in the Robin Hood and Little John, usually at the small corner table overlooking the left hand side of the bar. Not as he says every week, but quite often - about one weekend in four, at a guess. I am currently on site, besieged by the eccentric family that sometimes visit for lunch on a Saturday – they are obviously wealthy and upper middle class, but the elderly couple are both sliding into unfortunate dottiness; the man is deaf as a post, and their two middle aged children are both as thick as an elephant sandwich. They bellow at each other to enable the father (who refuses to wear his sorely needed digital hearing aid) to hear at least some of their inane and banal “Tim nice but dim” style conversation, dominating the normally peaceful and quiet bar. The dotty mother just walked straight up to me and out of the blue asked “Do you drink?” It is pretty apparent that she is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimers, and it is good that she can still get out and about. The pint of (superbly presented and extremely tasty) Shepherd Neame Late Red seasonal ale on the table next to my netbook that I was tapping away on would seem to give the game away, so I chose to diplomatically ignore her, as I did not want to get involved in a conversation which might drag on interminably, and which would not be intervened by her dense offspring. Next time I will remember to bring my Sony ear buds so I can listen to some Round the Horne or Hut 33, or possibly an episode of Old Harry's Game on the netbook whilst I eat my lunch.

The fourth series of Dickensian parody comedy series Bleak Expectations has just started on BBC Radio 4. It is surreal, bonkers and exceedingly funny. I heartily recommend you give it a listen.

I witnessed a near miss incident earlier this week in Woolwich; I was waiting for a 244 or 380 bus towards Gallions View nursing home. It was raining torrentially and a hoodie wearing woman rushed across the road, only to cause a double decker bus to emergency brake, stopping milimetres from her. I think had she been less lucky it could well have been a fatal mistake, Woolwich features again this week, following my mention last week on the Maggot Sandwich of my ideas for the redevelopment of the Covered Market site, which currently is in a very poor state. Consequently, I wrote to Greenwich Council, the Mayor and his deputy, and anyone else connected whose Email address I could discover. I have had a very positive initial response to my Email – you can read what I wrote below:

Hi Greenwich Council,

I have some constructive suggestions as to ways to refurbish and breathe new life into Woolwich Covered Market, which should cost minimal amounts of money if implemented correctly.

Currently the Covered Market is extremely run down, and suffers from a lack of use. It is a prime retail location if managed sensitively, and could add much to the local area. My suggestion would be to clear out the unoccupied pitches, consolidate the remaining units into one side of the market building, and then use people serving on community service orders to give the place a deep clean and a couple of coats of paint. The electrics and plumbing would need professional attention. Once this was completed, the market could be re - branded with local publicity as a Saturday farmers' market and artisan craft sales centre. Collectible record stalls and designer clothes outlets and similar could be encouraged. 

Directly opposite the Woolwich Covered Market you have a large and currently untapped consumer base of wealthy middle class professionals living in the Woolwich Royal Arsenal Development - the ideal customers for artisan foods and goods from a farmers' market. Currently few of the Royal Arsenal Development residents ever venture into Woolwich town centre, as it is widely perceived to be rife with crime, anti social behaviour and hard drug use. Something that would appeal to the well - heeled residents might act as a bit of positive public relations for the whole town, and maybe encourage them to spend time in the town centre - and spend their money there. Currently all they do is order goods online from the likes of Ocado (Waitrose online) and avoid the town centre altogether - it might also encourage local companies to invest in the area.

Blackheath farmers' market does well, and a lively version in Woolwich could encourage customers to travel from around South East London - and Woolwich is a close enough proximity to London Bridge that visitors to Borough Market might take the short rail journey to Woolwich to sample it too.

I think that the whole project could be trialled for between £5 and £10K, if offenders on community service were used for the cleaning and repainting works. The pitch fees would need to initially be minimal in order to encourage traders to try the venue, but I think within a few months the venture could easily become self sustaining. The biggest cost would be advertising and publicity, although many local publications would almost certainly cover this for free.

Apologies if I have contacted the incorrect department - if so, could you please redirect my Email to the correct recipient?

Your thoughts and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Christies are holding an auction for highly collectible vintage technology later this month; one of the key items for sale will be a pristine Apple 1 computer with all its' peripherals, documentation and provenance, including a period letter from Apple co – creator, Steve Jobs. It is expected to sell for somewhere between £100,000 and £150,000 – not bad when the 1976 retail price was $666.66. Quite a mark up. I have to say that if I was lucky enough to have a spare £150,000 kicking around, I would rather spend it on a bespoke luxury motor car from Bristol Motors, who have just launched their revamped website today. You can click here for a look. They have a waiting list of eighteen months to two years, depending on the model, and if you pass the interview as the sort of chap or lady that they would like to sell one of their cars to.

Below is a recent photo of the StewDog posing with celebrity physicist and TV presenter Professor Brian Cox - a man I once briefly knew; he was a nice guy but an absolutely terrible cook! We met through a mutual friend, Doctor Barry Singleton - a physicist friend, and demon Dungeons & Dragons playing individualist. The StewDog met Professor Cox at a book signing in London, and was kind enough to send me the photograph for publication.

The newly released Microsoft Kinect motion sensor controller for the X-Box has been successfully hacked within hours of its' release. A very clever and enterprising person has already open sourced a working Linux driver for the hardware. Another hacker has released drivers for OS X which you can read about and download by clicking here.

Local chap Canon Andrew White has been in the news recently; he's popularly known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” and has served as the senior Church of England cleric in Iraq for many years. He's deeply involved in inter faith dialogue and reconciliation, and has been instrumental in the release of several people kidnapped by various terrorist groups. Here is an article from the Sunday Times about him. The recent targetting of Christians in Iraq has let to Andrew appearing in several TV and radio news articles over the last week. I have no interest in the religious side of his work, but I can say for certain that he's a thoroughly decent and sincere bloke with genuine compassion for all humans. My belief is that organised religion has been responsible for much bad in the world; Andrew is a shining example of where it has done stunning good. I went to school with him, and knew him well for many years, though we lost contact in the 1990's when he got ordained. He's a real eccentric, but a lovely guy who would cheerfully give you his last tenner if he thought it would help you. I worry that he's a prime target for the insurgents; I really do not want to see him in the news for the wrong reasons – but he has chosen his vocation and is well aware of the risks.

Oxo cubes are no more, as I only discovered this week. Not that the crumbly seasoning parcels have been actually discontinued – they have instead been remodelled into a cruciform shape – they are now Oxo “X's”. Quite why this has been done escapes me – from an engineering viewpoint they have to be harder to mould into this complex shape, compared to the basic cube format that they have held for well over a hundred years; it has to be the influence of the marketing people. I do concede that they now crumble more uniformly into whatever savoury repast you are cooking, but whether this was worth the undoubted effort and associated expense really escapes me.

Next week marks what would have been Bruce Lee's 70th birthday. Various celebrations and commemorations are taking place in both the USA and Hong Kong to mark the event.

Here is an article from my guest editor - a man known to many as Erith's own singer, artist and all round good egg. I give you  The reV...

Allow me as the first and only so far only Guest Blogger on The Maggot Sandwich to paint you a picture. 
Close your eyes… 
Now I said that you can't read actually what I want you to imagine…er… 
OPEN your eyes… 
Imagine your eyes are closed… 
Imagine a tall, slightly distinguished looking bloke, early 40's, greying at the temples, steely of eye… 

A Frankenstein mix of Victor Meldrew and James May's personality, Peter Crouch's and the T-1000 build (this is the first and only ever mention of a soccerball players name EVER on the Blog!), size 12 Industrial strength steel toed boots and now imagine it draped in Tweed.

Your not even halfway to describing "Arthur Pewty" or the weekly musings concerning the Pewtyverse of "Eriff"!
Now I've been asked to guest here as I've know 'Pewty for 20+ years, call it nepotism but wer'e best mates. I'm the Kirk to his Spock, the Passepartout To his Philias Fogg, the Smith to his Wesson, the Odie to his Garfield… nope, too far.

Anyway Peter Sellers once did a famous sketch about how "Bal-Ham" in a cod American accent, was the gateway to the North. Well In a not dissimilar vein the inimitable Mr.Pewty has over the past 300 Blog postings (Starting waaay back in July 2006) has been drawing viewers of his Blog into the world of "Eriff" and it's surrounds in his own slightly tongue in cheek, stiff upper lip kind of way.
Less of a Gateway to the North more of a "Gateway To Chav-town" or Dante's 5th circle of Hell it seems. 

A lot of blood, sweat, tears and real ale go into each and every single hand crafted Blog. He sits tirelessly in the corner of the Robin Hood and Little John in Bexleyheath (umpteen million time CAMRA South London Pub of The Year) the sweat of his labours pouring off him as he types white heat at his netbook, pausing only to down pints of Sludgetons Old Peculiar and munch on hand made pub lunches commenting on what's rises his ire. It's a tough job but he does it so you don't have to...

I have to say that the line between the online on real versions of "Arthur Pewty" have over time merged and warped. I have on occasions, when out for a drink with him wondered if I called him Captain Tweed he'd answer. Mind you I also wondered if he'd answer to "Tweedy" or Cheryl but that's another story #Ahem#.

The name of the Blog is The Maggot Sandwich as back in the day this was the name of Arthur Pewty's radio show on the pirate radio station Radio Lumberjack. Actually the name Arthur Pewty comes from a Monty Python sketch, Google it.

And I managed to get all the way through this without making any "We are Spartans!" or "300" bare chested jokes, but to paraphrase that and Devo "Are we men? No we are Pewty!

Many thanks to the reV for his contribution - possibly the only time a guest editor will write for the Maggot Sandwich - at least until the 500th edition; and then, who knows?

To finish, here is an unintentionally blackly humorous TV news item from the early 1970's North West USA. A dead whale has been found on a beach. The local authorities decide the best way to deal with it is to use twenty cases of Dynamite to disintegrate the corpse. If only it was so easy. There's nothing quite so interesting as the combination of incompetence and high explosives!

Please feel free as always to leave comments and feedback below - all responses will be moderated within 24 hours of submission.  Thanks again for being part of this online experiment that has proved far more successful than I ever envisaged.


  1. I guess you will want to get a facebook button to your site. I just bookmarked this site, but I had to do this manually. Simply my $.02 :)

  2. Hi - thanks for posting. I don't use Facebook as it is a security and identity theft nightmare. If it works for you, fine, but I steer very clear of it altogether.