Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chap Hop.

The photo above (click on it for a larger version) shows the back garden here at Pewty Acres, taken yesterday afternoon. Things look pretty much the same today. More snow is apparently due in the near future. You can see my H.F random wire antenna in the photograph - it is the thing that looks like a very high and unusually long washing line running down the garden. It connects to my JRC NRD 345 H.F communications receiver in my office at the back of the property. I have had to postpone the installation of a new, seven dead bolt high security front and back door, a full set of windows and a complete replacement for the mini conservatory that connects my lounge and kitchen until the weather improves; the project was scheduled to begin tomorrow - obviously that is not going to happen now.

Since Christmas 2010 is almost upon us, I thought that I would share a couple of photos taken almost exactly 22 years ago to the day. The shot above (taken by Andy Arden) shows me, in the original incarnation of my alter - ego Arthur Pewty, sitting in the presenters' seat in the Bexleyheath based studio of Radio Lumberjack - the local area's premier pirate radio station at the time, which broadcast to South East London and North Kent every weekend from the mid 1980's until 1990. I was presenting my Christmas '88 radio show live on 92.4 FM, to an audience of literally tens of people in the region. It was quite a step up from doing local pirate radio, the odd bit of weekend cover work at BBC Radio London and a regular stint at WHBS (now Meridian) hospital radio, to then presenting a live daily radio show to an audience of around seven million people in numerous countries in Western Europe, when I shortly thereafter got employed as a presenter by Radio Caroline. It was the footballing equivalent of a part time player from Welling United getting hired by Chelsea. Pity that the pay and conditions were not similar.

Talking of Radio Caroline, they are currently engaged in a campaign to get a Medium Wave licence to broadcast - you can read all about the project by clicking here.  The photograph below shows the Radio Lumberjack studio in all its' home brewed analogue glory below. It might look a chaotic mess, but it was very well thought out and ergonomic to control; in many ways it was one of the best studios to actually operate that I have used, even if it did not look that impressive to the uninitiated.

The latest edition of the long established magazine "The Chap" arrived through my letter box this week. A jolly fine read, and a publication that I would heartily recommend to one and all.  Below you will see a couple of videos from YouTube; the first one is by Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer, and the second is a direct response from his arch rival in the art of Chap Hop (a mixture of anarcho-dandyist surrealism, modernised Gilbert & Sullivan, Noel Coward and a touch of East coast rap, but with eloquently received pronunciation), the inestimable Professor Elemental. The two are apparently at daggers drawn over some unexplained slight; you can read all about it by clicking here.

Erith's own tattoo parlour "Point 2 Point" offers tattoo gift vouchers for its' customers - which I suppose are an ideal Christmas gift for those so inclined. They are a local business that appears to be thriving, which I suppose is not that surprising; I would say that over 50% of Erith residents have one or more tattoos. Personally I cannot abide any form of bodily disfigurement - including ear piercing. I just cannot see the point in mutilating the body to make a fashion statement. Still, it does come down to my personal philosophy of "if it works for you".

Barnehurst is shortly to be getting a Sainsbury's supermarket; the former Bristol Street Motors car showroom on Erith Road, opposite Burstead Woods is apparently earmarked for redevelopment as a Sainsbury's Metro supermarket early next year; the information was first posted online by You can see the proposed site of the new supermarket in the photo below.

This week the Maggot Sandwich exceeded a total of just over 15,200 unique visitors. My blog is attracting far more people than I ever anticipated. I get a solid 90 - 100 individual hits every single day; something must be going right. Several readers (and Shirley, who is currently sunning herself in Accra, Ghana while she visits her Dad for Christmas) have urged me to monetise the site, and accept advertising; I am not going to do this - I would be "selling out" and losing my impartiality if I were to do this.

For long time / early adopter web users, their first experience of web browsing was most likely with the Netscape Navigator browser. This web browser was the first commercially successful tool with which to surf the world wide web; Okay the NCSA Mosaic web browser predated it, but it was never widely used outside of academia. It was eventually superceded by Internet Explorer by Microsoft, who used some pretty wide business practices to ensure that IE overtook Netscape as the browser of choice for a vast majority of users. Netscape Communications eventually ceased trading back in 2008, after many years of limping along as the under dog in the browser world; Firefox, Opera, Safari and Google Chrome have since filled the void. Now a revamped version of the Netscape application suite is available - it has been opened sourced and updated by the Mozilla Organisation - the same team that bring us Firefox. You can download the now renamed SeaMonkey application suite for free here. incidentally, version 11 of the reputable and well established Opera web browser is also available for free download from here.

Here is something for you; something I recorded a while back - A Christmas Special radio show from not too long ago - have a listen and let me know what you think of it - comments below, as always.

I really feel that Erith is currently missing out on the whole eating out experience; okay, we now have the new, but very well considered Mambocino's coffee shop / restaurant, and the long serving and highly recommended T - Bone Cafe, but we still don't have a proper "sit down" venue style eaterie in the area.  I would very much like to see an Indian or Italian restaurant set up in Erith. It need not be that upmarket, but currently if you want to eat out in anything other than generic fast food, then one has to travel to Northumberland Heath, Dartford or Upper Belvedere. I would love to be able to sit down in a restaurant to eat a tasty and well prepared curry or bowl of pasta - and it be local enough for me to take a leisurely stroll home afterwards; surely I cannot be alone in this desire? Is this a gap in the market? You decide.

The main video this week is something a bit special; it is a full length, multiple Emmy award winning made for TV movie called "Special Bulletin" which was first shown back in 1983. It is a grittily realistic story, following a small U.S television station mobile news crew that are covering a dock workers' strike in Charleston, South Carolina when a group of terrorists hijack a large tug and engage in a gun fight with armed members of the local Coast Guard. After the terrorists overpower the Coast Guard, they take the news crew hostage on board the ship, and then transmit their demands via the crews' camera to the TV station, and thus the world. The whole two hour long drama unfolds like a rolling news piece. When it was first shown in America, they had to keep on displaying graphics saying that the piece was fiction, as the authorities were concerned the reaction might mimic that of Orson Welle's radio version of "The War of the Worlds". To be honest, it is very convincingly done, and still stands up well today. I recall seeing "Special Bulletin" when it was shown on Channel 4 when I was a kid; I was impressed then, and my feelings have not changed upon re-watching it now. Do give it a go - you can watch it in full screen by clicking the button on the embedded Google Video below. Let me know what you think.

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