Sunday, November 21, 2010

Erith Trade & Social Club - the end?

I was passing the Erith Trade & Social Club (photo above - click for a larger view) this morning when I noticed that the place is now closed and boarded up. It celebrated its' centenary about eighteen months ago, but has now suffered the fate of several other licenced premises in the local area. Although I only live less than five minutes' walk from the club, I had only ever been inside as an invited guest on one occasion, many years ago. The place was pretty shabby and run down even then, although it was clear that the club was held in high esteem by many of its' members. Bearing in mind that the other working men's club in Erith closed down last year, and the Royal Alfred, The Cross Keys, the Chequers in Lower Belvedere, and the Woolwich Infant are all other public licenced establishments that have closed in recent history, it is pretty sad to see these places disappear.

3D television seems to be a somewhat of a dead end, despite what the marketing people say. Personally I feel that 3D is a fad and it will die out in the near future. You can read the following opinion piece from the Register: Brits are steering clear of 3D TV, with only one per cent of the population owning such a set already and a further one per cent hoping to acquire one this coming Christmas. And consumers in the rest of Europe aren't much keener on the technology, either. So reveals a survey of European punters conducted online by price comparison site Twenga. Just over 3000 people were polled, in six countries, so if you're willing to accept that 500 Britons realistically show what all the rest of us think, read on. To be fair, 48 per cent of UK respondents said they would like a 3D TV, but only one per cent of the total said they're definitely getting one this festive season. Five per cent hope they will, but aren't sure. Even if you count those as folk who will buying into the technology, the total is as nothing comparing to those who won't, whether because it's too expensive (32 per cent), the technology isn't up to snuff (12 per cent), want some other kind of TV (12 per cent), or simply don't want one at all (35 per cent). Three per cent of respondents said they don't know whether they want a 3D TV or not. We'd put the ditherers into the 'no' camp, along with the one per cent of punters who admitted they don't know what 3D TV is. The equivalent figures for France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands are slightly different but generally confirm a big public thumbs down for 3D TV because it costs too much or doesn't appeal. Northern Europeans seems more sceptical: Germans, Brits and the Dutch have higher 'not interested, thanks' percentages than the French, Italians and Spanish populations. But while the latter are keener on owning a 3D TV, they're just as likely to pass by because it's expensive.

I was standing at the bus stops opposite Woolwich Arsenal Station during the week, when I noticed an atypically well dressed for the area chap of about thirty, looking somewhat lost and bewildered; before he got accosted by one of the numerous ne'er do wells of the area, I introduced myself, and made a small leap of thought. "Are you looking for the bus to Belmarsh?" He looked relieved and replied to the affirmative. My guess that the guy was a solicitor looking to travel to the prison had turned out to be correct. To be honest, it is not the first time that I had seen a lawyer on their way to the notorious jail. He then asked me "How will I know when I have reached the place - what does Belmarsh look like?" I told him that it was a large building, full of prisoners - I don't think he got the joke, but as the 380 bus terminates at the prison gates, I don't think he had too much to worry about - though I cannot say the same for his client. The prison is full of the very worst scum and villainy the country has to offer.

On my daily train journey to and from London, I pass through part of Abbey Wood and Thamesmead; one thing I notice is the relatively large number of CB radio antennas attached to houses and flats. As a radio enthusiast and advanced class licenced amateur, I am keen to see people using radio in its' myriad forms. CB was popular in the early 1980's, though a lot of mis - use and deliberate jamming by idiots tended to spoil the service for many people. You can read a concise and well written account of the whole CB radio story by clicking here.

I read in the News Shopper that the African churches that had applied to use a number of local industrial buildings for holding religious services have been turned down. I am in two minds over this; many buildings remain unused and empty, and it would seem a good idea to put them to some productive use; on the other hand, they may well not be suitable, or indeed safe for use by large numbers of the public. The old tyre warehouse adjacent to the notorious Erith Fish Sculpture shown in the photo above has been used by the Celestial Church of Christ for a number of years. They don't cause much in the way of bother, although the area can become a bit congested on a Sunday morning. I think this is a potential "big society" issue that probably needs some more thought from both sides. Comments and feedback below, as always.

You may recall that back in August, I commented on the unusual and perplexing murder case involving the MI6 and GCHQ analyst Gareth Wyn Williams  and that it was something worthy of a Sherlock Holmes investigation. Well, in the meantime, someone has written a Holmes mystery about the case. You can log on and read the story - Sherlock Holmes and the Alderney Street Mystery by clicking here.

I was round at the bottle bank behind Morrison's the other evening, dropping off some glass bottles for recycling; Several long distance lorry drivers park in Wheatley Terrace Road and James Watt Way, though for some unexplained reason one had chosen to park right next to the bottle bank. He opened his cab window and shouted at me for disturbing his sleep, after I finished returning the glass to the relevant skip. What did he expect, when parked slap bang next to a bottle bank? Maybe he would prefer to kip next to a kettle drum and plastic explosives test site in future?

Microsoft Windows is 25 years old this week; it is highly probable that you are reading the Maggot Sandwich whilst using a computer running this pervasive and dominant computer operating system; personally I only use 'doze when I am being paid to. I find Apple OS X and Linux far more to my personal liking. You can read more about the birth and development of mad uncle Bill's stepchild by clicking here.

I have just subscribed to the Chap Magazine - something that I should really have done some years ago. You can read an interesting article on Chappism here. The video this week is a great piece on the Bristol Car Company - the most unique and individual bespoke car manufacturer in the UK, and quite probably the world. See what you think, and please let me know. Personally if I had the money, I would definitely own a Bristol myself.


  1. Erith trades closing down?
    It's always looked like it was…
    Shame, okay only been there a couple of times ever and it's not my sort of place but it is sad when any pub or club shuts.
    In It's A Wonderful Life with J..J..J…Jimmy Stewart they say "Everytime a bell rings an Angel gets its wings", well in the Pewtyverse everytime a pub shuts the Devil pharts in Baby Jesus's face…or something like that.
    It maybe simplistic but when you can stay at home and buy 5 Stella Wifebeaters for a fiver and smoke indoors going to a slightly grim club or pub and pay £2.80 a pint and possibly have to stand outside most of the night means the draw of a local pales. The only thing it has left is companionship.
    I do put part of the reason for collapse of community down to this. I often drunk in um…how can I put it, "Salt of the earth" pubs and on the whole they helped police the more wayward drinkers and youths and instilled a bit of sense in them. Now people don’t form friendships with people they probably wouldn’t have normally met and stay at home and drink more and never mix.
    Welcome to (Super) Market Forces.
    Call me paranoid but I do feel the "the Forces That Be" want everyone to stay at home, watch TV, play games and not interact with each other just consume, CONSUUUUME!
    ~Cough, cough~
    Rant over.

    3D TV?
    As I've been saying for YEARS I don’t have any interest in HD TV, I mean Eastenders in HD! Simpson's in HD! Strictly Come Dancing in HD! X Factor in HD…you kinda see my point. For me the driving force in any media is the story, the programme and sometimes the event. 3D is just the next thing we're having forced upon us by Sky, Sony etc to keep them buoyant in the financial market. Yeah 3D does have the cool factor but having played about with a 3D TV and video camera I just though about how the fact I had to wear glasses all the time. They were groovy Matrix style things but as I couldn’t wear my normal glasses I couldn’t see properly anyway. Now what, 40% of the population wear glasses? That's a complete guess but are the TV makers expecting them all to go out and buy a prescription pair of 3D glasses as well as normal ones?
    Yeah dream on!
    Mind you I can see it working in pubs and clubs for sports events.
    Not been that impressed to be honest. Avatar, Toy Story 3 and a couple of others have been more like "Ooooh that’s nice" rather than some sort of stunning game changing thing (i.e.: Black and white to colour, silent to talkies).

    A load of CB antennas in Abbey Wood and Thamesmead?
    I wonder why? Most people text or messageboard nowadays.

    So Windoze is 25?
    I can remember when they used Start Me Up by the Stones and gave away free copies of that days Times in 1995.
    To be honest my first experience of point and click was on at the time a brand new Apple Macintosh in 1988. It was STREETS ahead of anything else at the time.

    Ah the Chap Magazine, I only wish I had the time and money to dress in attire like that! Something between Edwardian and 1920's would be my proffered style. Classic.
    I almost dropped my coffee when I say that the Maggot Sandwich had a video of Bristol's…then I realised what you meant.

  2. Erith social club closed due to 30 grands worth of electricity debt so the brewery closed it the place is now closed and boarded up. Altough there is a broken door that you can access