May 14th, 2004


Unimaginatively Friday

Let's turn out attention away from the international stage (Theatre of Cruelty, anyone?) and toward the world of Hackney. Mr Handy may be visiting shortly from NYC and I'd like to provide him with some local news to give him a fair grounding on current events.

One problem is that Stamford Hill lies on the Hackney/Haringay border, so your local paper of choice (the Hackney Gazette) doesn't cover anything from over Seven Sisters/Tottenham way, aside from the boys from White Hart Lane. And the Tottenham paper doesn't cover Stamford Hill. So, the Gazette it is...

Craven Park school saved from closure - "Former soccer star and Craven Park kid, Ron "Chopper" Harris said he was "really chuffed" to hear how the school had been saved by our campaign". Decomposed body found in Stoke Newington flat - "post-mortem gave the cause of death as respiratory failure caused by stab wounds." That traffic jam last week was caused by a man walking in front of a 349. Interestingly (but not that much), the new 149 bendy buses couldn't be rerouted past the obstruction. A survey has also "revealed an overwhelming dislike of London's new-style bendy buses...94 percent of taxi drivers [own italics] would prefer to see a new fleet of modern Routemasters." Four men brutally beat a cabbie in Hoxton - "All four suspects are described as dark Europeans, aged 18". Bloody metallers. "Father raped twin girls." Whilst Wilton Estate resident Zephaniah Jones, 68, died from smoke inhalation following a fire. Mr Jones was known for "his dislike of electric lights". Dalton arts centre on its way - "Daltson could become the next Covent Garden". Do me a favour! Executive Director Adam Hart commented: "Our priority is to make sure that it is managed properly, maybe in the same way that Covent Garden is managed. It's not going to be abandoned to dossers and homeless people with drink problems." Set phasers at stun, then. Tube driver Chris Barrett wants his job back. Having been sacked for absenteeism and then winning his claim against unfair dismissal (playing "gentle" squash was apparently to aid recovery from stress and insomnia). There's going to be a Beating of the Bounds on Sunday - meet at the Lea Valley ice rink car park at 2.15pm. Activities include "willow-dressing and bumping children's heads on stones." A new sign was erected at the Hackney Empire, whose endless ongoing rebuild is only marginally more dull than the Vortex 3,000 year campaign against closure in Stoke Newington. The Vortex is moving to this new Dalston Arts centre. I can't say I'll miss it much, mostly because of its tiresome exclusivist jazz policy and also because it's crap, but I'd rather it stayed. The Empire never-ending building site includes a Tracey Emin installation in pink neon that reads "Just Love Me". Post box goes missing from Windus Road. "Heartless thieves have stolen a beloved memorial bench that was chained to the ground." Wheelchair bound Brian Pomeroy commented "They had the audacity to cut the chains and take it away. I'm so angry. Even things at the bottom of the canal wouldn't do that. People have got no respect." Man with £5,000 in cash and 71 wraps of cocaine acquitted of drug dealing charge. The evidence was "essentially circumstantial."

Ah, the Letter page. Lisa Bourke, 31, Dalston, thinks that the ID card proposals are "fantastic. The people who don't think it's a good idea clearly have something to hide." Whereas Colin Boulter, 68, Upper Clapton, believes it "another example of the form being more important that the substance. If the intention is to help our safety, those who are ill-disposed toward the UK will find little difficulty getting as forged card. It's yet another restriction on our liberty." C. Harris warns "Beware of Stamford Hill sob stories". If anyone fancies entering the Eye Spy competition, apparently set by Yoda, here's the clue: " His character is back to his "dirty" deeds in Albert Square, but long can he last this time around? Who is this TV soap character?" Handy might not get this, but it's not such a challenge. You can go on a 7 day Norwegian Fjords Apple Blossom Cruise for just £349 and that's full board (Hotline: 0871 222 0212). That seems a bargain compared to Madonna in Paris by Eurostar - "Madonna is an icon with "star quality". No other female singer in the pop arena has been as prominent or succesful over such a long period." From £269 (Tel: 0845 226 7766). 2 nights in the Novotel Charenton and Continental Breakfasts! Hands up who else is bored stiff with Madge? Maybe not the French, but their taste in music has always been a little suspect. You'd be better advised to head down to Billy Chong's blues jam on Monday nights at the Globe, 20 Morning Lane or the White Diamond Karaoke on Sunday 16th at The Tiger, Wick Road. As long as they're not serving Diamond White...

How do I get rid of lesbian tattoo, asks GH..."I know I don't want another relationship with a woman, but what man would want me if he knows I have been with a woman." The answer is probably rather a lot of them, I fear. "Can I get something to burn it off?" Fortunately Trisha Thomas advises professional removal. If you fancy Tropical Melons in a "discreet, clean environment" then I'd call 020 7837 0466 or try the website. Whatever happened to be the second hand section? Nudged out by two pages of escort/massage services. Hang on.."A Cuddly Green Hoob (groove) for sale 3ft tall. £10. 020 7702 8579."

I'm not sure how well this compared to the NY local news, obviously there's a fair number of muggings and attacks I've not included should it all sound too pacific over here.

That's taken uncreative writing to new heights.

In case anyone is wondering what has happened to the album Moscow or Tennessee, it is on its way. Suffice to say, I have not made life easy for myself by insisting upon packaging it in a somewhat rare type of jewel box. Confidence is high that the CD will be appearing in two weeks time, but anything could happen in the meantime, as the whole process seems jinxed. If it takes any longer, I'm tempted to not to release it at all, so it can gain cult status as a lost album.