Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fist fight at the KFC.

On Thursday afternoon I was strolling home from Erith Station, As I passed the KFC drive through in Manor Road, I noticed the place was surrounded by blue and white Police tape, and Police officers were everywhere. Even the car park was blocked off, with a couple of area patrol cars dominating the space. I crossed the road and spoke to a PCSO who was on guard outside. It turned out that there had been a serious fight a little earlier that lunch time, and looking through the windows of the place, I could see what appeared to be smears of blood on the tiled floor. It all looked rather nasty. I made my way home, wondering exactly what had happened. Over the next 24 hours I discovered that the local rumour mill had gone into overdrive - there had been a stabbing, someone was dead, it was a bitter inter - gang rivalry, it was a racist attack - and so on. Well, through my local contacts, I discovered the real story. Two teenage chavs had got into an argument which led to fisticuffs inside the restaurant. One managed to land a telling blow on the head of the other, and had gouged the skin with his obligatory sovereign ring; as with many head wounds, minor injuries can generate disproportionate amounts of blood. The recipient of the blow, seeing what appeared to be gallons of claret pouring from his head, screamed "I've been stabbed!" At which point the KFC Management dialled 999. The Police, hearing of a reported stabbing, sent everyone they could think of, racing to the scene. In the end it was all rather a let down for them - no hostage situation with an armed desperado - just two feckless chavs, one with a sore fist, the other with a sore head.

On a similarly grubby note, Abbey Wood has been the darling of the tabloids this week, after the trial of a 21 year old snaggle toothed slapper by the name of Samantha Armstrong. She had been caught in flagrante with five teenaged boys, behind a building by the railway line at Abbey Wood, in clear sight of passing rail travellers. As the judge delicately put it "she went at it like an express train, going through one after the other". Seeing a photo of her, it does make one wonder - she's got teeth that would make Austin Powers weep, and a face that looks like it had recently caught fire, then been put out with a shovel. You can read more of the sordid details by clicking here.

On Saturday afternoon I was travelling home on the bus. It got to the 99 stop close to Plumstead station when I saw something that simultaneously made my blood run cold, and also intensely annoyed me. The advertising hoarding on the bus stop had been showing a woman in swimwear, for the current H&M summer collection. The advert was obscured by black paint, and a sign was glued to it, with wording in Arabic and English to the effect that under Sharia Law such displays would be banned. I cannot say that I am a great fan of the advertisement in question; I would question the motivation of the individuals responsible though. The old adage "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" springs immediately to mind. Freedom of thought and speech is something that thus far is still enshrined in British law and custom. If you don't like the way we do things, nothing is preventing you from buggering off elsewhere. I am guessing that the persons responsible are fans of the erstwhile Mister Bin Laden, who is now currently employed as a high calorie food supplement to the fish of the Indian Ocean.

I have heard that the grotty and disreputable pub - the Abbey Arms, near Abbey Wood Station, which has recently had licensing problems is now allowing "street drinkers" (a euphemism for alcoholics, druggies, scrotes and assorted socially inadequate ne-er do-wells) to consume their cans of Stella, Special Brew and other forms of Trampagne on the premises. Apart from any law and order issues, I am not sure what kind of business model this represents - surely nothing that is financially sustainable. I would not be that surprised if the place closes in the near future.

Most free and open sourced games are really not up to all that much; one exception to this is the excellent The Battle For Wesnoth - a long established and well supported turn based strategy war game. It is available for free download for Windows, OS X and Linux - you can get it by clicking here.

You may have heard, or even be familiar with the term "cloud computing". It is something that is almost certainly the future. The whole concept of your application and data being stored on the web is not new, but it is only fairly recent that people are having confidence in the availability of their data, thanks to the likes of the (personally hated) Facebook, Hotmail and (quite liked) Google Documents. The commercial subscription based, Google Docs for Enterprise has a local poster boy in the guise of Erith Construction. The company, which is based in the old Erith Job Centre is a very keen user of the web based Google office software suite - as you can judge from the short video clip below.

The News Shopper reported earlier this week that London Mayor Boris Johnson had visited Lower Belvedere - you can read an extract of their report here:
IT was a meeting of flowing locks as famously messy-haired London Mayor Boris Johnson came face to face with Bexley’s latest piece of public art. Mr Johnson was introduced to The Cob statue with its flying mane, and its creator sculptor Andy Scott, while on a visit to Belvedere to open the new Belvedere link road. The road is part of the £10.6m Belvedere Green Links regeneration project in Lower Belvedere which included nearly £2m from the Mayor’s London Development Agency. This paid for the construction of the new link road which will open up connections in the industrial estates and the surrounding residential areas and unlock access to open space on Erith marshes. The rest of the project, funded by the Homes and Communities Agency and European Regional Development Fund, will also provide improved links to Belvedere and Abbey Wood railway stations and between local parks; sustainable drainage systems; flood prevention improvements to the dyke network; improved footpaths and cycle paths and new signage, lighting and street furniture. It is anticipated the regeneration could bring more than 8,000 new jobs to the area. Opening the new road, Mr Johnson said: “Enjoying these beautiful marshes and the Thames riverbank is now so much easier. “It gives local people a great place to spend time, provides welcome relief to the workers from the hustle and bustle of a busy industrial park and makes the whole area more attractive for investors, with a great working environment for staff and fast access to the road network.”
What they don't report is the real reason for the construction of the road; it is there purely to provide access to the universally loathed and unwanted Lower Belvedere waste burner - rubbish from as far away as Richmond will be transported at vast cost by hundreds of trucks by road to the Belvedere site, where it will be burned - adding to the already heavy local air pollution. Of course, we don't matter, as we are in the arse end of South East London, and no - one else give a tinker's cuss about the area. They would rather us deal with their waste, rather than have to handle it themselves.

The photo below shows me late one evening in the summer of 1990. I was in the record library of the Ross Revenge, the Radio Caroline ship. I had been hard at work all day, supervising the painting and redecoration of the vessel. The evening had set in, and I had come in for a well deserved evening meal; after this I had decided to go up to the record library to select the tracks for my over night radio show, prior to having a somewhat overdue shower. Nick Jackson took the shot of me in a slightly over ripe mode. When it was out at sea, the showers on the Ross Revenge were a bit of a hit and miss affair - they could be really warm and pleasant - the ship had a dedicated shower room, which was adjacent to the radio studios. If, however the weather had been rough, the shower water would come out the colour of cold tea, smelling of a mixture of diesel and rust. It was still better than washing in sea water - an experience I would heartily not recommend.

Have you ever wanted a program to replace Microsoft Paint? Well there is a new, free and open source alternative that is available for multiple operating systems - it is known as Pinta, and you can download it from here.

The Cross Street Law Centre, Erith is looking for new funding; the voluntary organisation is running perilously short on money, and several staff will be taking part in the seventh Legal Sponsored Walk on the 16th - you can read more about it on the News Shopper website here. You can visit their website by clicking here.

This weeks' video clip is a bit of a conundrum; it is the trailer for a documentary made by actor and serial trouble maker Keith Allen. It concerns the death of Princess Diana. I am fairly sure that it paints a rather biased and unrealistic picture of events, but nevertheless, it deserves air play. Do feel free to leave a comment below, as always.

1 comment:

  1. I need to read your blog to keep up with local news! We get no free newspapers delivered here! - Oh dear, poor Abbey Wood... It isn't all bad here - although certainly not the place we moved to 40 years ago. Still plenty of decent people though.