Wednesday, June 25, 2008

They don't cater for Bicycles built for Two

Lazy, lazy,
give me your answer true.
Am I crazy
to want to pedal for you?
It's not my belief in marriage
That makes me want such baggage.
But trains don't take my wedding cake,
And my bicycle built for two.

Copyright - Love and the Planet, June 2008.

We ride our bicycles alone. To ride tandem together is still difficult in post-liberal England. If you ride tandem, you cannot travel far. No train will take you. If we don't get very far on the tandem, or when the tandem breaks, we blame each other. When we ride our bikes alone, chances are, that only one bike would break at a time. When we ride our bikes alone, we get to ride our own way, our own trails, covering much more distance than we could on a tandem.

This is all metaphor. How do couples stay together even when it appears that the Whole has become lesser than the Sum of the Parts? Is coupledom so conditioned by Cultural Institutions and Peer Pressure that it persists despite failure? Does it persist through the Faith or the Hope that the Whole will improve, or does it persist through the perception of perpetual success. The Cultural Institutions responsible for sustaining these emotions collectively failed in the Sixties, and since then, have relied more on deaths than on births and marriages.

Or is it, once again, Evolutionary Nature, that some couples persist unthinkingly, obeying evolutionary instinct despite all the disincentives and obstacles placed before them by modern technological civilization?

These are the great questions of a post mid-summer day.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Political Shufflings of the Dominant British Economists

Can I be a bitch about this please? It is ridiculous that an insular and incestuous academic organisation such as the London School of Economics is now the most supreme modern exponent of the "Old Boys Network" that used to run Britain.

We can now comfort ourselves that the planet's tolerance of Human Economic Growth will be stabilized and moderated by a cerebral man born after World War 2, into the Liberal and Idealistic Baby-boomer generation, who can mull over grave thoughts affably in the ghetto-mentality confines of the Royal Opera House, the E.N.O, and Lords Cricket Ground.

Who said we want the Economists from the LSE to pilot our future? I didn't, and I haven't even heard anybody else asking the question! As individuals, we get to vote for one lousy MP, and that is the full extent of our democratic power. Why does everybody think democracy is so wonderful? The traditional institutions of the Church, the Press, and the Judiciary which were supposed to act as checks on the State do not seem to have any comprehension of what is going on here. This is a lovely example of how Democracy is just as prone to despotism, ignorance and negligence as other political systems. Or is the fact that we get to watch Big Brother on Television the ultimate proof that democracy is superior to blatant oligarchy?

I would like someone to expose and subject the London School of Economics to a ruthless analysis of its intellectual and political machinations. As a member of the public, I am not paid to do this, so where are the intelligent journalists that were all directed into Media Studies five years ago?

Charles Bean, the new deputy governor, is a respected economist with eight years experience at the Bank of England. Known as affable and cerebral, the fan of cricket and opera was a successful academic before being lured to Threadneedle Street. Born in 1953, he studied at Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before working at the Treasury, and then becoming professor of economics at the London School of Economics in 1990. - Graeme Wearden

Paul Tucker, the Bank of England's executive director for markets, is the frontrunner to be the first head of the central bank's new financial stability committee from next spring, when Sir John Gieve leaves. Tucker, 50, has long been considered a rising star. He has extensive financial markets experience, at the Bank and in the commercial banking world, and is well respected in the City and internationally. He has also been on the Bank's rate-setting committee since 2002 so has extensive experience of monetary policy. Some suggest he could replace Mervyn King as governor in five years' time. - Ashley Seager

Friday, June 20, 2008

Will Hutton - a typical over-informed globalist journalist?

Have started to read his book, The Writing on the Wall, China and the West in the 21st century. Don't buy it, because I disagree with people running out to buy books and then ingesting them without applying sufficient criticism.

Not having read much of it yet, I am about to hazard a guess that he is an economist by training, and hence belongs to the Simon Jenkins school of journalism. I will now check Will Hutton out on Wikipedia. Lo and behold, I am nearly 100% spot on: introduced to A level economics, worked in equity sales, and then went to do an MBA, he is a governor of the London School of Economics, amongst other things.

How predictable. The intellectual pedigree of economists should be subjected to more ruthless analysis than currently exists, because economists have for the last few decades been allowed to wield influence far in excess of their experience, intelligence, and vision.

I shall reserve judgement until I read more of this book, but meanwhile, de-globalization is slowly becoming more topical. How do you explain to an economist that economies of a global scale cannot be coupled with the evolutionary history of Man and all other Life on the planet? They can't figure it out for themselves. Take away their jobs, and economize on economists. Hire common-sense instead.

There was a man today exercising five cages of his pigeons, by letting them fly home to Harlow. They were all this year's brood. He drove a taxi part-time, as he was semi-retired, and he was quite happy in himself, but appalled at what the world has become. "Nobody ever does anything, except sit at home watching telly, or in front of the computer, and driving to the supermarket." No, he was the last of his breed, an earthy pigeon fancier. He understood the problem with globalization, in that peer pressure from the younger generation and the demise of local focus has impoverished the pastimes, hobbies, and ability to be content that was so easy for the pre-television generation. And today, on the radio, it turns out that Peter Mandelson is becoming unpopular because of his liberal trade politics, whereas there is a growing understanding even in Europe (at last, and too belatedly to escape the damage) that globalization has a flawed and vapid vision.

Oh dear, maybe I shouldn't waste my time finishing Will Hutton's book. Just the usual idiotic scribings of the over-educated, over-informed, egocentric, self-publicizing journalist who claims to be intelligent, but cannot induce any new truths from all that he knows. As I said, he reminds me of Simon Jenkins.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

BBC Web Changes and BBC Globalism

The BBC has been changing its online presence, and has recently been reducing its attempts to build community, i.e., in this case, its Radio 4 Today Programme's message boards, which were once a public forum for expression.

We would expect this kind of thing in China or the old Soviet Union.

Well, this kind of thing has always happened in Britain. People who think otherwise were just lulled by the uncensored novelty that WAS the internet of the early days. Indeed, the amount of restraint and censorship and control of internet content has been building up, even if it has taken many years to catch up with this 15 years old technology.

The BBC is a funny animal on the planet.

A. It survives by flying the flag of Britain.

B. Most of its patriots and global advocates claim to be anti-nationalists.

This might seem to be one of my inane wonderings, but let's go ahead and subject it to ruthless logic.

If A = True AND B = True, then the falsehood must exist within A or B, because anti-nationalists would not be flying the flag of a nation.

If A = True and B = False, then the BBC's World Service cannot claim to be impartial to Britain's interests.

If A = False and B = True, then the BBC should not have any claim to public funding, either directly from the British Government, or the British TV Licence (an inefficient form of taxation which always trails technological development).

If A = False and B = False, then why does most of the BBC's funding come from the British public, and why isn't the whole world dumping Globalism openly?

The BBC, and the world, is very confused. When you have spent your entire life chasing a dream of building one world of peoples who live peacefully and equitably together, how long would it take you to question yourself openly and honestly about whether this is a desirable thing for the planet and all its living things, of which humanity is only one part?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

World Naked Bike Ride in London 2008

The annual naked bike ride in London took place yesterday, starting as usual from Hyde Park Corner, but this time at 3.30pm. It was one week later than events elsewhere in the World Naked Bike Ride.

The day was partly cloudy, and slightly nippy. Consequently, the turnout was probably a bit less than last year.

I wonder if countries like Saudi Arabia, Singapore, India, China, and Kenya will ever have naked bike rides? In London, spectators are still amazed by the spectacle, and those who are appalled are more appalled at the spectacle of body honesty than nakedness. Ask anybody about the Naked Bike Ride, and their response will be, oh yes, they like it when an attractive young person of their sexual preference sails past. Their cameras are clicking away either for this reason, or because they want to prove to their mates that they saw all these loopy nutters riding their bikes without any clothes on. Even in post-liberal, totally-internetted England, nudity is still a major engine of sexual stimulation. This probably makes sense, since in cold countries, clothes are for most of the year a physical necessity for keeping warm, so seeing a naked person outdoors will always be a seasonal novelty.

I would like to hand a cheer to all the non-porn-stars who participated in the London naked bike ride. For they once again injected a forgotten humanity into a society that gloats about its own humanitarianism. This is the humanity of the human animal body, the one which many people deny until they are humbled by a nurse or a doctor while lying in a hospital bed.

Back in 1983 when I was a new adult, I paid my first ever visit to a naturist beach. It was in the south of France. My companion was brave and determined to strip off. I followed suitless. As we lay there, in the glorious sunshine by the Mediterranean, watching crowds of nude naturist French families having their picnics and swimming, one particular group caught my eye.

The young woman was a stunning beauty, with a body that all women would crave to have, and all men crave to touch. She was with her infant daughter and her mother. Her daughter would be a beautiful woman one day. Her mother was no longer the subject of any man's attentions, and in fact appeared to have made no attempt to fight the gravity and wear of ageing, but she was unashamed and "bien dans sa peau", she was with her family, and they were all together, having their day out on the beach.

I looked at them and thought how the young woman must be so much wiser than many in Anglo-Saxon lands. Here she could have no delusions that one day she will sport her mother's body, but she learns not to fear the day. She learns to live today, to love today, and already has accomplished her birthright of passing her genetic blessings to her daughter. No neurotic reluctant motherhood here.

Three generations of the family females, naked together on the beach, living on a sunny warm day. How natural, how lovely. With no commentary by David Attenborough, either. It is sad that only in such places may we learn what we are, and why we exist. It is sadder yet that even in 2008, a naked bike ride in London can never approach the beauty and education of such a scene. A naked bike ride in London makes less of a dent on the population's behaviour than does the rising price of that substance abuse - oil.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Financial Services Authority : Fair Market versus Free Market

In current market conditions, there is increased potential for market abuse through short selling during rights issues. As a result, there has been severe volatility in the shares of companies conducting rights issues. ...

A review will be conducted into how capital raising by listed companies can be made more orderly and efficient. But the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has also been considering what immediate measures can be taken to ... prevent potential abuse during rights issues.

The FSA views short selling as a legitimate technique ... But it also the case that the rights issue process provides greater scope for what might amount to market abuse, particularly in current conditions. We consider that, in the first instance, improving transparency of significant short selling in such shares would be a good means of preventing the potential for abuse. ...

We are therefore introducing provisions in our Code of Market Conduct, to come into effect from Friday 20 June 2008, which will require the disclosure of significant short positions in stocks admitted to trading on prescribed markets which are undertaking rights issues. For this purpose we are defining a significant short position as 0.25% of the issued shares achieved via short selling or by any instruments giving rise to an equivalent economic interest. The obligation will be to disclose positions exceeding this threshold to the market by means of a Regulatory Information Service by 3.30pm the following business day. ...

In addition to the new disclosure regime, we are also giving consideration to whether it might be necessary to take further measures in this area. We are currently examining a number of options including the following: restricting the lending of stock of securities in rights issues for the purposes of enabling short selling; and restricting short sellers from covering their positions by acquiring the rights to the newly issued shares.

This is the most substantial knee-jerk intrusion by the Financial Services Authority, into the Fantasy World of Free Market Trading advocates, since the wake-up call of Northern Rock. The FSA isn't in its Canary Wharf hammock taking two Rip van Winks.

What has happened? This week, the HBOS share price was driven below 275 pence by short-selling speculators. That was below the price of rights that were announced over a month ago, not even yet approved by shareholders, scheduled for issue in July. Danger, Danger! Even anti-Capitalists would not want capitalism to crash this suddenly, for in our globalized economy, more people would die from a sudden collapse in global capitalism than are dying from Climate Change Induced Starvation.

Extremist Free Marketeers, posturing under the banner of Adam Smith, at last are being monitored by the only institution empowered to do so. Indeed, in the planet of Finance and Economics, the Free Market Extremists are probably more dangerous than the fundamentalist terrorists in the planet of Religion.

For the supermarket shoppers who were introduced to global economic reality by the Fair Trade versus Free Trade movement, this is the equivalent in the world of Big Global Money: the Fair Market versus Free Market quarrel between economists. The truth is, there has never been such a thing as a Free Market. Like the simple circle, it cannot exist in nature; it can only exist as a simple mathematical concept. There are things that approach a perfect circle, but this does not necessarily make them more useful or desirable to either Mankind or Planetkind.

The Europeans are probably snickering at the British. They have always been rather horrified at the radicalism of super-free markets, and have maintained a dignified but studious distance. How nice to see the British finally have to regulate their markets!

This is another climactic moment in history, for the British as a nation were the Extremist Free Marketeers of Western Europe in the last few decades. Commonly attributed to Thatcherism, she was in fact just the figurehead at a time when Britain needed shaking up. The shaking up probably should have stopped completely during John Major, but strangely enough, the Labour government started it up again.

Today, we have the first evidence of the UK economic pendulum swinging back to Fair Markets. It was necessary, or there would be no markets at all, and we would all end up starving like Mugabe's Zimbabweans.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Silent Disco - Spite the DJs and the Dance Music Fashionistas

Am I getting old or what? 3 years after this started, I finally hear (in the silent lifescape) about it.


- It saves lots of electricity.
- It doesn't blast the neighbours.


- You can't feel the lower frequencies, either through your feet, your chest, and other parts of your body
- You can't hear the music through the audio transmission through the skull, since everything goes through the ears.

The derision I have for this now, will probably mean that I will be trying it out and enjoying it very soon. Such is the planet of What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Mind you, these young people have no imagination in dance exhibitionism. A truly unique and rebellious form of dancing is one that I have never seen or heard mentioned before, but which I have practiced occasionally:

You dance to whatever music your body and mind feels like, even if it clashes horribly with the rhythm or melody of the music being played. Spite the DJ, and the Dance Music Fashionista!

These young people know nothing about being individual human beings. They are lambs in sheep's clothing with headphones on. That way, they can't hear the wolves when they are about to attack.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

London Open Garden Weekend Prize

The prize for best garden I have ever seen in London based on the combination of : use of space, leaf and colour in plants, sympathy with surroundings, wildlife habitat, community involvement and participation, and overall beauty and enjoyment, goes to the Culpeper Community Garden in Cloudesley Road, Islington.

To say the least, this garden blew everybody's minds. It is superb, and definitely a sunny June garden, which lived easily in the hot sun we had on Sunday. Plants are abundant, diverse, some surprising, all used seamlessly in the garden scape, flowing into each other, yet each one given its space and chance. The only bare soil to be seen are in the micro-allotments that are given over to people to learn and practice growing vegetables. There is a fair sized pond, and a bit of lawn, plenty of paths, angles, different flowering times, and it is simply amazing how they have achieved so much in their small space. This is a 2008 English garden , and in the light of the glut of humanitarian philosophy that smothers this planet, this is what the English humanitarian dreams of doing with people. See the garden, and see what they wish they could do with civilization.

Only one other garden in London comes close to this quality of gardening, and that is the Phoenix Garden north of Covent Garden near Charing Cross Road. To put one against the other is neither possible nor profitable. The Phoenix Garden is the miraculous struggle of a very few people, and the one gardener, amidst the poison of Central London urban commercial development. It is the last vestige of the Covent Garden community before it became obliterated by packaged commercial tourism. The Culpeper, however, is simply joyous, a gem, a total surprise, founded on the very best of traditional Islington community values which is inevitably supported by one of the most expensively run Labour councils in the country.

Second prize for the Open Garden weekend goes to the Lillington Estate Grounds and Gardens in Pimlico. Here is what can be achieved in any council estate consisting of tower blocks. All over the country, estates like this usually only have grass, dog shit, and maybe one or two trees that are half dead because the contractors at some point have strimmed the roots and bark. But at Lillington, ten years ago, when it was run by a Tenant Management Organisation, some of the residents decided to take control of the gardening of their own estate. This is the result. This is what everybody else in the country needs to do.

These miraculous gardens have been happening in Westminster and Islington for many years, yet up and down the country, they are not even aware of anything other than that Charlie Dimmock is now over the hill, and Gavin Diarmuid is a bore.

Also mind-boggling, for its history, its botanical knowledge, and its on-going value is the Chelsea Physic garden, which I have wanted for decades to be visiting, and at last have done so. I am the ultimate procrastinator.

And now for the bitch and the blooper. The weekend's worst garden is also the least deserving garden I have ever seen in my entire life in London, in Britain, and maybe the world. This is the SOAS roof garden. I shudder to think how forgiving the Japanese must be, if they can hide their derision for this token and blatant prostitution for patronage. I shudder to think what sort of fantasy life the SOAS elite must live in , if they have the audacity to list this garden at all. Raked gravel? We know. Granite? Yes, so what. Kanji character? Where was it, and if it was for giving, why was there so little for taking? This was a garden with not even the minimalist requirement of living plants, in a roof micro-climate that becomes baking hot in the Globally Warming London Summer Sun. There was no water, no life, and not even any art. The SOAS roof garden is rubbish.

And back to moderation: on my way home, exhausted, I decided to stop at the Royal Victoria, and treat myself to a pint of Fruli (a Belgian fruit beer), which I infinitely prefer to champagne. Well, it now costs £4.60 a pint, and I nearly died at the shock of my extravagance, and will have to say goodbye to the frosty trendy staff at this Victoria Park pub, as they struggle to establish their ghetto of North London sophistication in East London. Indeed, at £4.60 a pint, Fruli IS more expensive than some supermarket champagnes. I shall just have to join a Belgian monastery and learn to make my own. There's an idea....

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Open Garden Squares Weekend

Adventures! What a beautiful morning to see the Thames by Richmond. The people maintaining their rental wooden boats with days-gone-by dedication.

Thus the trip to Ham House was a pleasure in itself. The garden there was formal, but nonetheless a delight. In particular, the so-called Cherry garden, which has two tiny potted cherry trees, is a square surrounded by some perfect green cloisters. Imagine a corridor between square-cut yew hedges about 4 feet high. Out of these, hornbeams reach upward, and then at about 6 feet high, their leafy branches fan out, arch over, and interlock to form a completely covered arching roof. These are actually called berceaux (arched trellises). Put this around a square, and you have green cloisters, which I have never seen before. Yew hedges for the low wall, open air for windows, and hornbeam for the vaulted roof. Perfect.

The effect of growing trees out of square cut hedges is used again in the wilderness garden, where medium sized, untrained oak trees grow out of the a low hornbeam hedge. Very unusual. Here and there are some unusual plants, and wildflower meadows sections.

The pleasure of walking through such gardens, 350 years after their design, is unchanged. They provide a space that escapes from the outside. In that time the formal garden was an escape from the rampant and difficult to tame nature abundant in England. Today it is an escape from the rampant and difficult to tame human development; the huge roads, combustion engines, heavy traffic, metal clad warehouses, suburban and urban housing developments, shopping halls and malls, office buildings and parking lots.

Next was a stop at the St Michael's Convent on Ham Common. The heat of the day was set, and it isn't designed for hot weather, but had plenty of lovely surprises.

Then a ride through Richmond Park, and after all these years, I saw deer in droves. Red deer, fallow deer, their antlers still young and furry at this point in the season. Grazing everywhere, leaving only the deadly and inhospitable bracken. Although I saw an enormous pheasant quite happy for the cover of the bracken.

To the Roehampton allotments on Dover House road and the pleasance. Quite productive, fairly well-drained soil, backing onto houses. Blessed with piped water and without any restrictions on using hoses. Peas were nearly ripened, but their raspberries were behind.

On the way to Wildcroft Manor, two people were trying to save a Stag Beetle by getting it off the road. It was a full-size stag beetle, alive and apparently complete, but not very energetic, so presumably it was in the death stages of its life-cycle?

At Wildcroft Manor, their weekend event was graced by the arrival of a swarm of bees which had settled that very day on a hawthorn. The cluster of bees was about 1 foot long and probably 9 inches across.

Richmond this evening had such a high tide, that I can't imagine how much higher they could allow it to be. In conditions that were fairly still, on a day when it hadn't rained, but of course, all that water had fallen as heavy rain these last few days.

Richmond, for all its natural blessings, has a shopping street that is entirely composed of chain stores, even boasting a Tesco Metro. Of course this transformation from its previous English village feel was already completed about 6 years ago. Nonetheless it is sad, and it doesn't feel right. But what do the young people know? So long as food keeps arriving on supermarket shelves in plastic packages, they feel safe.

Dancers to the Dance

1. Sex and the City
2. Love and the City
3. Love and the Planet
4. Sex and the Planet

One, Two, Three, Four
To and From,
And once again...

There may be trouble ahead,
But while there's music,
and sunlight, and love,
and the planet...
Let's face the music,
and damn it.

Dancer from the Dance
Take these Dancers to the Dance.

Faint flicker
of rhythm
The lost pulse of
Deeply quaking hormones
that shook to
Donna Summer's whore moans.

Rising. Risen.
Soaring. Searing
The heavens above
Spread those wings
Fold them, and rocket away
Unidentified Dancing Missile
Dancers from the Dance,
Who live to see another dance.
What the World needs now,
Is Dance, Sweet Dance.

Dance and the Planet.
Keep it spinning,
Let it tilt,
Flow with its oceans.
Move with its storms.
Be the moon in the Eternal Dance
Through the Stars.
For the Planet is the Dance, the Dancer, and the Music.