Monday, March 30, 2009

That MP's Tax Payer Funded Expenditure List In Full

Dining Room Table £640

Sofa Bed £740

Twin Plasma Tv DVD Blu-Ray Entertainment Centre £1,250

One Year's Subscription to British Housewives Naked Channel £59.90

1 Large Tub KY Jelly £7.65

1 Pack Tickler's Condoms £8.50

MP's, dontcha love 'em ? Even when they're screwing each other, they're still screwing us.
5 Hot Tracks You Should Hear

1) The Wanting Comes In Waves / Repaid - The Decemberists (from The Hazards Of Love) I never thought I would be able to use phrases like "big, muscular riffs" when talking about the Portland alt-folk band, but the new album is fantastic, albeit a fanbase divider.

2) Travelling In Time - Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts (from Shadows & Half Light), beautiful folk tale.

3) Ida Called You Woody, Joe - The Gaslight Anthem (from Sink Or Swim), they're being compared, lyrically at least, to early political Clash.

4) Oblivion - Mastodon (from Crack The Skye), Mastodon have slowed down, fractionally, and sing rather than grunt on the new album, it's a winning combination from the new metal stars.

5) Demon Eyes - The Answer (From Everyday Demons), so Led Zeppelin won't ever play together again, and Deep Purple are over the hill and far away, but who cares if Irish classic rockers The Answer can produce music as good as this.
After My Death

"I would like to be scattered on the pitch at Elland Road. If the board of Leeds United object, my solicitor may consent to have me cremated first" - D A Barham.
"The Dales have never disappointed me. I still consider them the finest countryside in Britain, with their magnificent, clean and austere outlines of hill and moor, their charming villages and remote whitewashed farms, their astonishing variety of aspect and appeal, from the high gaunt rocks down to the twinkling rivers." - J B Priestley

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bad Joke ?

What do you call a Pakistani cloakroom attendant?

Mahatma coat.

Thanks to Sir David Jason for that joke, and along with every other kneejerk uber politically correct section of the national media Yorkshiresoul would to denounce Sir David as an evil racist who should be birched in public and made to pay back all the royalties he's earned from all those repeats of Open All Hours and Only Fools And Horses.

Or, thinking about it for a moment, perhaps it isn't racist at all, not even one tiny bit, it's just a little play on words, it's a pun, and the British media have managed to concoct a smear story out of absolutely nothing.
If It Could Go Wrong, It Did

What an awful day at work, the boiler has broken down so we have no heating, we had the electricians in putting up some new lighting in the kitchen and so had to work in dark all morning, then the grill stopped working and I had to rush into town to buy a toaster, and to top it all off I misread the bookings sheet for the day.

With half an hour to until service there was a volley of swearing from me as I realised the party were not wanting the home made soup and bread we had spent half the morning making, but in fact had booked dessert instead of a starter. Luckily it was apple crumble so not too hard to knock out quickly, if it had been some more complex dessert we'd have been in trouble.

I was quite glad when the working day was over.
July 12th, 1900

A great thunderstorm hit the Wharfe Valley, the streams running down from the moor swelled into raging torrents which swept through through Ilkley causing much damage, in the aftermath of the storm, Ilkley Gazette publisher and local photographer John Shuttleworth recorded the damage.

'22 Views of The Destructive Storm And Flood, July 12th 1900'

(Thanks to BertieWooster at Ilkley More)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz : Series 7

The rules....

Please don't put answers in the comments.

E-mail your answers to me,, on/by Thurs 2nd April.

Don't supply multiple possible answers, I will mark them all as wrong.

1) Who is this ? (1)

2) What is this building ? (1)

3) Who is this man ? (1)

4) Here is a picture of a huge building dwarfing the city around it, where in the world is this building going to be constructed ? (1)

5) Who is this ? (1)

6) "Mercy on us, what a violent attack". These words are spoken by the second person to speak in a famous novel, character name and the name of the novel please ? (2)

7) What would happen to you if someone gave you a Scarborough Warning ? (1)

8) What was the name of the economics and customs agreement which came into existence in 1948 between the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg ? (1)

9) Name the elite Roman military unit which acted as the Emperor's personal guard but murdered three Emperors, deserted two others and was eventually replaced by the Scholae ? (1)

10) Which act of law created a refugee migration crisis of 11 million people as two independent states created along religious beliefs were created ? (1)

11 points are on offer in the opening round, good luck, please don't answer in the comments.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sophie Joins The England Squad

This is young Sophie, one of my waitresses, Sophie is a rather good golfer and has recently been made part of the England Birdie Squad, a training team for young talented golfers, well done Sophie.
The Quiz

I've had two e-mail requests this week asking me to restart the quiz, is anyone else interested ?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lurker In 'Not Hammered' Shock

Friends of The Lurker are said to be shocked by the news that he spent an entire evening drinking without falling asleep or wandering off in drunken stupor.

The Lurker is widely regarded as being one of Yorkshire's most feeble lightweights when it comes to consuming alcohol, often being found slumped unconscious in the corner of a pub after two pints of lager shandy, yet sources close to The Lurker claim that last night he was still upright and making vague sense after four, or perhaps even four and a half pints of bitter.

Lurker's friends were said to be pleased by the news, one said "He's really improved in the last couple of years, we're hoping that by the time he reaches 30 years old he might even get to hear last orders being called in a pub."
Woman goes to a hair salon in Geordieland

"What can ah dee f' yee pet"? asks the hairdresser.

"I'd like a perm, please", comes the reply.

"Whey aye", the scissor monkey says. "Ah wandered lernley as a cloud..."
Not Really A Book Review : Rubicon Beach - Steve Erikson***

Okay, I am completely baffled by this novel, or is it three novels ? Section one is a strange sci-fi ish story about a man released from prison where he has accidentally grassed up one of his fellow conspirators to the guards. He is sent to a weird Los Angeles where the buildings sink into an underground river and houses sing. The middle section tells the story of the most beautiful girl in the world, born to a jungle tribe, and her journey across borders both physical and of the mind. In the final section we meet the man again, I think, and he meets an older version of himself living on the moors above Penzance and counting lighthouses and searching for a number he believes lies between nine and ten.

I understand that at some level Erickson is exploring boundaries and dreams, but mostly the book just left me confused, the author's prose style is clever and his insights into emotion are well sculpted, but still, what is the book all about, I really don't know.

Here's what reviewer Lawrence Toms said about it...."Of all of Erickson's novels Rubicon Beach is the timeless classic. In the disobedience of narrative structure he sculpts language and character into the most evocative series of images possible; he dares the ramparts of existential literature, makes Sartre look too constructed, Nietzsche too cold and Kafka too pessimistic. What is perhaps truly remarkable (and you can see him attempt the same effect in his subsequent works) is how the gestalt of images manages to cohere around the central, yet entirely ephemeral character of Catherine, who appears, disguised (by her own 'presence') to all others as the "woman with the knife in the folds of her skirt".
I read Rubicon Beach and heard the music. I entered the cold river and began to swim, already knowing that a promise of further shores was another of the many conventions I had left behind me on the receding bank. This is a book for the brave -it cannot be un-read."

Did that make it any clearer to me, not without the benefit of a degree in literature it didn't, also, perhaps Lawrence should stay away from the funny coloured pills when he's doing book reviews.

Another reviewer, L V Wilson, may have been closer to the mark when she wrote...."For me this just didn't work. Whole pages go by when you've no idea what he's on about. There's a great story somewhere in there trying to get out, but it's suffocated by Erickson's use of language. A definite case of over egging the pudding."

Oh well, it's another book I can cross off this year's TBR Challenge list.
England World Champions

Well done to Charlotte Edwards who has led the England Women's cricket team to victory in the World Cup final against New Zealand. The English girls beat the Kiwis by 4 wickets with 4 overs remaining. Claire Taylor was awarded the Player Of The Tournament award for her batting prowess which included a 69 not out when England crushed India in a 9 wicket victory.
Stand Up If You Hate Man U

Football is about 51% loving your own team, and 49% hating the other blokes team, and the other bloke is usually a Man U fan. It was really good to be able to go into the bar as the Saturday afternoon games finished and announce that Man U had lost to Fulham, and even better that Scholes and Shrek had been sent off. If Ronaldo had been given his marching orders as well it might have been the perfect game.

Growing up in the Wharfe Valley, most of the children followed Leeds United, with a sprinkling of Bradford City fans. Wherever in the country you lived though, you would always know at least one Man U fan, the glory chasing, success following wannabe fans who would have chosen to support whichever team was doing well at the time.

Being a real football fan is all about struggle, crushing disappointment, defeats snatched from the jaws of victory and the gradual yet constant eroding of hope, or at least it is if you're a Leeds fan.

We all know how this season will end, LUFC will hammer MK Dons in the first play off which will give us a Wembley match against Millwall, in that game Beckford will stub his toe and go off injured early on, Becchio will be red carded for kicking the Millwall keeper but we will struggle on into extra time and penalties whereupon our first three penalty takers will all miss the net.

I'm getting my crushing disappointment in early this season, best to get it over with, then I can look forward to the start of the proper sport's season.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Miner's Strike

This month has seen the 25th anniversary of the start of the year long miner's strike. The Government announced a closure program for pits which would close around 20 pits with the loss of 20,000 jobs, some pits were placed on an accelerated closure program which meant they would close within 5 weeks. Without using a national ballot of the NUM's members, Arthur Scargill called the miners out on strike and to a large degree they followed his lead.

Flying pickets from the most threatened Yorkshire coalfields appeared at some of the least threatened pit areas in Nottingham, the Government under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher mobilised vast numbers of police and five months into the strike she denounced the striking miners as the enemy within saying "We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty."

At the time I thought this was a clear cut issue, the strike was illegal under recently changed laws, a previous strike in 1974 had brought about the demise of Edward Heath's Government, and no one group in society, however strong, should be allowed to so challenge the legal rule of democratic law.

Today though, I look back on my younger self and I am not at all sure that his right wing views were correct. The miners claimed that the government would implement a massive pit closure program if the strike failed, and they were right, in the ten years after the end of the year long strike the British coal industry was cut apart and the vast majority of working pits closed down, including those in the non striking areas like Nottinghamshire where the miners seemed to have been promised jobs for life.

The worst thing about the pit closure program was that like so many things that governments do, it had no forward planning. It was decided to close the pits, but at the time there were hardly any plans in place to provide training for the now unemployed miners or to try and bring new jobs into the communities most harshly hit by the closures. In many small towns and villages the pit was the major employer, and the customers of the shops, pubs, garages and other business' were the miners and their families, when the pits closed the other amenities followed. Without any hope of employment thousands were forced to leave their home towns, villages became almost ghost towns, ten years after the strike a third of the houses in Fitzwilliam stood empty.

Unemployment in some former mining towns reached 50%, Grimethorpe was classified by the EU poverty investigation as the poorest town in the UK, every single ward around Wakefield was noted as qualifying for EU Objective 1 Status, meaning that "the GDP per capita for the region must be below 75% of the EU average".

At the time, the government succeeded in demonising the miners, Scargill became a hate figure portrayed in large parts of the British media as a man hell bent on the overthrow of democratic law, and a Marxist (which he probably was) seeking the downfall of capitalism.

The men who formed the membership of the NUM though were just working blokes, they knew what the future held for them if the pits were closed and their livelihoods lost, they were not striking for more pay or for more generous working hours or extended holidays, they were just working men who wanted to be able to continue working.

It cannot be denied that the miners were amongst the best paid manual workers, but they were well paid for doing a difficult and dangerous job. Years later some of the unknown dangers of pit work made appeared amongst the miners as Vibration White Finger (a condition similar to advanced arthritis), early deafness and various strains of lung disease.

I feel very keenly now that we as a nation did a tremendous disservice to the miners, although there is no question that the mining industry as it was could have been saved in the face of changing power needs and vastly increased foreign competition, the economic destruction that was wreaked across the mining communities was shameful.

A quarter of a century later, there are still bitter divisions caused by the strike and its aftermath, there are still families where the father who stayed out on strike will not talk to his own son who crossed the picket lines because his family was going hungry and he could not afford to heat his own home in winter. Many of the old mining towns now have a new lease of life, the Glasshoughton colliery's transformation into the Xscape skiing and leisure centre with it's 800 jobs is often held up as a shining example of what can be achieved, but often these changes in financial fortune took years, even decades to take place.

Is our society today any wiser and any more compassionate ? I'm not sure. If suddenly changing economic conditions make a current industry unviable it is of course no longer likely to be in public hands, the governments of the past two decades have pushed most of the nationalised institutions into private ownership. The politicians have in a sense washed their hands of the danger of large scale industrial action, and of the consequences of ailing or failed industries.

We all get a bit nimbyish about these sort of things, as long as it is someone else's job or pension being threatened and not our own we seem to largely ignore what happens. We're not really going to march in the streets to save the Post Office workers pensions, we won't protest outside parliament about the disgusting way in which the government has treated the Gurkhas, and we didn't do enough when many of the miners were condemned to a generation of poverty.

I look at our elected politicians and see people doing the same old thing time after time, allowing sections of the community to fail whilst people's "I'm all right jack" attitudes stop them from protesting too much. I'd like to meet that younger man, my previous self with his righteous right wing beliefs and see if I could get him to see that although the miners jobs couldn't have been saved, there was no reason to villianise them and destroy them in the way the government did.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Top Ten (well, eleven actually) Tracks

This is my current 'all time most listened to' top ten tracks on

1) Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival

2) 1952 Vincent Black Lightning - Richard Thompson

3) I Want To Be Straight - Ian Dury and the Blockheads

4) Ghost Town - The Specials

5) Saturday Superhouse - Biffy Clyro

6) Piece Of Me - Britney Spears

7) Killing In The Name Of - Rage Against The Machine

8) G Minor Allegro - Antonio Vivaldi

9) On A Monday Morning - Rachel Unthank and the Winterset

10) Spirit Of The Age - Hawkwind

11) Triple Corpse Hammerblow - Children Of Bodom

Not as heavy as you might expect with the exception of CofB at number 11 (included because that track is on an equal number of plays with 8,9+10), I'm mildly surprised at Biffy Clyro, I think I prefer "Who's Got A Match" from the Puzzle album. All in all though, eleven stunning pieces of music from a variety of genres.
Very, Very Rude Joke Below

But bloody funny

(By Holly Would over at B3ta)
Music From Around The World

Benn Loxo Du Taccu

This is a really great, eclectic music blog with lots of links to band sites, some streamable music, pointers to downloads and a following of helpful and knowledgeable readers. I don't know if the blog is going to be updated again as the last post is from Dec '08, but there is lots of stuff in the 'archive' (actually it isn't archived like most blogs, but the page just keeps on loading more stuff), there is a clickable tag cloud though and many good links to other music sites.
Horse Watch, Stanbury

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stone Quay, Morecambe

Midland Hotel, Morecambe

The art deco Midland Hotel opened in 1933 on the site of the previous Midland Hotel, the new building was designed by Oliver Hill and cost £32,000 to construct. The glorious heyday of the hotel, when it played host to famous music hall stars and counted Royalty amongst its guests, lasted only until the outbreak of the 2nd World War, when it was requisitioned for use as an RAF base.

After the war the hotel passed through a succession of owners, being gradually more run down and delapidated, in 2003 the hotel was purchased by a venture group and following extensive refurbishment opened again for business in 2008.

Star Trek TNG

Would You Like To Win A New Blue Peter Badge ?

No, because it's shit. This was on the BBC front page this morning, what was wrong with the ship you idiots ?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Album Review : Shadows & Half Light - Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts****

I saw this folk act supporting the incredible Bellowhead in Barnsley and was rather taken with their gentle and beautiful music.

Katriona plays fiddle, viola, mandolin and guitar, writes music and sings, whilst Jamie adds guitar, vocals, songwriting, banjo, cajon (and I have no idea what this is), drums, percussion, programming and......taa da.....trombone, bloody hell, he's a veritable Roy Castle of a man, you'd half expect him to knock out a tune on a watering can and a length of green hosepipe.

Live, you get a stripped down version, fiddle or mandolin and vocals from Katriona, and a sort of slap / percussive guitar and vocals from Jamie, on the album you get a fuller sound on some of the songs, and either way it works really well.

The album title mirrors the changing nature of the songs on the album itself, you get fairly bouncy, what I'd think of as traditional folk tunes like Middle Of May where Jamie gets to display his trombone talents to good effect. Then there are Jamie's inward looking, contemplative numbers of which Stopped Clock displays another of the duo's traits, their love of complex song arrangements and frequent changes of cadence and flow within a song, there are echoes of the arrangements of Rachel Unthank and the Winterset.

Another high point on the album is the reworking of the Stephen Foster song Oh Susannah, Jamie's percussive guitar work keeps time whilst Katriona softens the lyrics of the original, leaving out some of the nonsense verse (and the racist elements) and creates a really beautiful song redolent of missed chances and wrong turns in the roads of life.

So Long and I Don't Want To Say Goodbye display Jamie's more open lyrical style into which you read as much or as little into them as you wish, his introverted and brooding themes are as a counterpoint to Katriona's more direct storytelling style.

This is fine folk album from a pair of very talented young musicians, it isn't so folky that lovers of other singer - songwriters shouldn't like it, if you appreciate the likes of Sheryl Crow or Alanis Morisette for exampke then you should find something to like here. I'm not comparing them to any of the current well selling crop of US new folk acts such as Fleet Foxes or Bon Iver because to be honest, they're much better than that, they write better songs with better structure.

From the looks of the album cover, this seems to be a self financed cd release with no record company involvement, you can buy this from their website for just £11 including P&P, do it, it's well worth it.

Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts

Update : Katriona & Jamie have produced this album without a record company being involved, good for them, but they do have a distribution deal so you might find the album in your local record shop, if it hasn't shut down already.

Slaine: The Horned God Fan Film - English subtitles-

Star Trek : The Next Generation Episode 15

Compulsory Morecambe Photograph

You have to do this next to the statue of comedy legend Eric Morecambe.
Lifebelt, Stone Quay, Morecambe


I have not been to Morecambe for perhaps 25 years, I remember it being quite scruffy then, the town council has obviously done a lot of work and put in a lot of money to beautify the seafront walk.

There are bird sculptures and bird fences all along the seafront.

This is a sculpture on the refurbished Stone Quay.

Lapwings (I think) sculpture at the children's playground.

Fence detail close to the construction site for the new lifeboat station.

A boat in the bay.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tesco Town ? Not for Me

I have put in my objection to the proposed new Tesco superstore.

"I would like to express my objection to this application. I believe that the massive buying power and the ability to sell products at prices that no independent trader can hope to compete with will result in the loss of more of Ilkley's small traders and the skills and jobs that go with them.

Tesco have a well documented history of anti-competition strategy and we should do all we can to ensure that other business in Ilkley can be allowed to trade in a fair manner. By Tesco's own figures thy are seeking to take £5.7m from other business in Ilkley, this will result in the closure of many other shops and will leave Ilkley with less choice and amenities."

Register your objection here
Birthday Boy Leads Wheatley Celebration

Mighty Wheatley centre forward Nick Cockcroft dazzled in Sunday's comprehensive 4 - 0 drubbing of local rivals Ilkley Dynamo as he scored a birthday hat trick. Mighty Wheatley put in their best performance of the season supporting Nick as he slammed his three goals past the Dynamo 'keeper, Andy Hibbert scored the fourth goal to complete the rout.
Another Ilkley Restaurant Bites The Dust

It looks like Hide Bar (formerly Escape) has closed, Ilkley-More forum member Harriet, who I gather was only recently employed as manager at Hide, has posted that the bar and restaurant have closed and that is is now unemployed. Harriet had recently tried to reverse Hide's fortunes by starting live music nights and it is a shame that we won't now get to have the reggae or folk nights that she had set up.
Mr. and Mrs.

I do love weddings, and yesterday we were delighted to attend the nuptials of good friends Andy & Eva. It was a great day, full of love and friendship and, er, daftness......

I think alcohol may have been involved.

Congratulations to the happy couple (soon to be three !), well done to Dr. P on his best man's speech / character assassination, a lovely day and I'm slightly hungover now, cheers !
UK Shows Massive Generosity

Even in a recession it would appear that the avergae citizens of the UK are a pretty generous lot, donating a record £57million to this year's Comic Relief fundraiser. We ought to give ourselves a round of applause, although the media runs endless "this is the worst financial news since yesterday" stories, the average Brit is still willing to put his hand in his pocket and shell out a couple of quid for people who are worse off than themselves.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rugby News

Johnny Wilkinson is all set to join the exodus of English union players to France.

French surgeons and physiotherapists are already rubbing their hands in anticipation.
Where Heston Blumenthal Went Wrong

(By Three Dog Man at B3ta)
Faded Star Announces Comeback Tour To Clear Massive Debts

Almost nobody queued for hours in the rain yesterday outside the O2 Arena to hear former star Gordy Jackson announce his money spinning UK tour. Gordy has been beset by financial troubles since his heyday in the 90's, the vast fortunes he amassed with his best selling "Prudence, Prudence" album vanishing as he squandered it on a series of sub prime mortgages.

Gordy Jackson said he would be performing all his old hits including 'Human Nature (is being thrifty)', 'Wanna Be Starting A Financial Recovery' and the song that most encompasses the latter part of his career, 'Bad.'

Jackson said that he would not performing one of his old hits, "Black Or White" as it no longer made any sense, he than sneezed and his nose fell off.
Google Opinion

I thought that when you searched for something on Google, the small piece of text displayed under the link was taken from the web page itself, is this the case, or do Google programmers adjust these as they see fit ?

When I searched for Sinn Fein, the text displayed below the link was this...."Irish republican party seeking to end British rule in Northern Ireland. Led by Gerry Adams. Considered to be the political arm of the IRA."

That may well be correct, but that last sentence sounds like opinion as opposed to something that Sinn Fein would say about themselves. Some days I don't know if I'm a healthy sceptic or a nervous paranoid.
Dark Days Once Again

I am sure that we all hoped that the scene above, the funeral of PC Stephen Carroll, was a scene that had been condemned to the past, that we had managed to put aside enough of our differences to talk to each other, to live in peace, to walk into the future not perhaps as close friends, but at least not as enemies.

The hate filled terrorists are still out there though, and although up until the murders of PC Carroll and two soldiers from the Engineer Regiment, Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar there had been very little reporting of high level violence in Northern Ireland, that is not to say that the terrorists ever really went away.

I have got to be honest, and say that the sight of Garry Adams and Martin McGuinness is never going to fill me with glee, but when even these two men are prepared to condemn these cowardly murders, and members of Sinn Fein attend the funeral of a police officer then that is a symbol that the world can change, that we can be better people, that we can put aside hate.

The attacks by the two breakaway parts of the IRA have achieved nothing except to unite the decent people of the UK and Ireland in a shared sense of revulsion and a renewed determination never to allow the coward with a gun to rule our lives. There are people in Northern Ireland though who know who these murderers are and who are allowing them to operate under their silence and protection. Three men died this week, a husband, two sons, and if you offer shelter to, or turn a blind eye from the killers of these men, then your finger rests on the trigger, their blood is on your hands.
Ginger Solo Tour

Ginger has announced a solo tour in early May, supported by Tony Wright of Terrorvision.

1st - TJ's Newport
2nd - Fibbers, York
3rd - JB's, Dudley
4th - Ruby Lounge, Manchester
5th - Corporation, Sheffield
6th - Seven, Nottingham
7th - O2 Academy (Islington), London
8th - Talking Heads, Southampton
10th - Rios, Leeds
11th - Academy 2, Newcastle

"The tour features special guest Tony Wright of Terrorvision, playing in his solo band. This is the first time that Ginger and Tony have toured together so be sure not to miss it.

Ginger also had a few words on what to expect: "My band will feature Jase Edwards on guitar and vocals, Denzel on drums, Eddie Eyeball (2 Skinny Js) bass and vocals, Dick Decent on piano/keyboards and vocals. I'll be playing a selection of solo material from SG5 onwards."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Previously Unpublished Excerpt From Harry Potter

"Ah, Harry," Remus Lupin folded his hands to rest down on his desk, brown eyes weary with the burden of what he had to tell him,

"I'm afraid that young Miss Granger is correct. I am a werewolf."

Harry recoiled in both fear and disgust, anger flaring as his trust for his professor crumbled away underneath his clenched fists.

"What?! Are you fucking serious?!"

Lupin's eyes closed just briefly in thought as he nodded slightly. "Yes, that too."
"The people of Dubai do not find The Flintstones funny, but the people of Abu Dhabi do."
Gig Review : Bellowhead, Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts*****, @ Barnsley Civic 13/03/09

I have never been to this venue before, it's a nice looking place. The bar though is a bit ill thought out, 4 varieties of bottled foreign lager, as I try to explain to the barman that certain things just go well together, old men - folk music - beards - real ale, and no, I do not want a slice of lime in my £3 a small bottle lager.

Actually, the old men and beards thing is bit of a misnomer tonight, the audience is one of the most mixed age groups I have ever seen at a gig, there are a goodly amount of older people, which is the audience I was expecting, but there are lots of teenagers here and even a few families with younger children have stumped up the £18 ticket price (£19 with booking fee, grrrr).

The folk duo of Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts are the support act, Jamie fiercely concentrating on plucking and slapping his guitar, Katriona is very laid back and chatty. They play a selection of songs from their debut album 'Shadows & Half Light' and get a very positive reception from the crowd.

The 11 strong folk orchestra Bellowhead are really what everyone has come to see tonight, Jon Boden and John Spiers lead their musicians to the stage and the group launch into a series of up tempo folk tunes. On stage it's all smiles and tomfoolery, madcap dancing and strange posing, it looks a lot of fun to be a member of Bellowhead. All this daftness is fine because Bellowhead are a really tight and well drilled unit, I know I've seen enough bands who mess about to cover their lack of ability.

I can't list all the songs because the band don't just do a run through of album tracks, although they do play Rigs Of The Time, Kafoozalum, Sloe Gin, Frog's Legs & Dragon's Teeth, Fakenham Fair ("this is one of only two Norfolk love songs to feature members of two different families") and Fire Marengo. Bellowhead also introduce a couple of new songs and play a number of bouncy, danceable jigs.

A good number of the audience are stood up and dancing at the front, a conga line whips past, John Spiers goes bounding through the front of the crowd accordion in hands, it's all tremendous fun.

As an added bonus at a Bellowhead gig, you can try playing the Generation Game closer as you try to remember all the various parts of Pete Flood's drum kit, let's have a go.....drums, cymbals, a large cast iron frying pan, xylophone, a tiny wind up toy xylophone, a cymbal with a cutlery holder welded to it - the cutlery holder is full of spoons (getting close to the Monty Python translation sketch here), a bit of metal tied to a drum with string, two bicycle horns, a plank of wood with dozens of metal scraps hanging from it on bits of string, a miniature megaphone, cuddly toy ?

I'm really glad I made the effort to come down Barnsley for this gig, it was well worth the 90 mile round trip, Bellowhead put on a tremendous show and I grinned and clapped all the way though, who knew that a folk gig could be so much fun.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is Your Pet Quite Boring ?

Can also be fitted to Top Gear presenters.
I Have Never Eaten At Subway

And now I think I never will.
Voice Of Criminal Heard At Film Launch

Prison Officers want an inquiry after the voice of a well known criminal was heard at the red carpet launch of the biographical film about the violent prisoner Charles Bronson.

The voice was clearly heard to say "Stand back there, stand back, form an orderly queue" and seemed to emanating from the mouth of a Police Officer who was on marshaling duty.

A number of people in the crowd then called out "Oi rozzer, sell us half an ounce."

The Policeman then took these individuals around the back of the cinema from where they emerged a few minutes later giggling and made strait for the pick and mix counter.

Surrey Chief Constable Tom Blaggit said "We have have decided on an open employment policy which discriminates against nobody, criminals have as much right to a job as you and me, now if you'll excuse me, I have to see a man behind the Smash And Grab Arms about some flat screen tv's."
Book Review : John Peel - Mick Wall***

Mick Wall is a very well respected rock journalist, hell, anyone who can get Guns N'Roses so pissed off that they slag him off in one of their songs must be doing something right.

His biography of beloved John Peel on the other hand probably isn't his best work. There are two main reasons for this, one is that the biography was a rushed work pushed out by Orion books as quickly as possible after Peel's death, the other is that by his own admittance, Wall did not know Peel and had no contact with Peel's family during the construction of the biography.

The book obviously suffers from this, most of the information within was drawn from other people's interviews and this gives the biography a rather distant, standoffish feel, and yet......Wall obviously has a great affection for John Peel. This warmth shines through, and although the book is rather light on details and background of Peel's life away from the microphone, his professional life is detailed quite well. The book isn't overly long, just 210 pages of well spaced large print, and is then filled out with Peel's Festive Fifty lists.

John Peel, more than any other other person, has shaped and nurtured my musical tastes. If you read through the Festive Fifty lists from when Peel began them in 1976 (was this the year in which I was first given a radio by my parents ? I can't remember, but it would explain my preference for the kind of music Peel played), I own almost every single track from '76-'82. In '82 Peel fell in love with The Fall and The Cocteau Twins and I moved onto the emerging Bay Area Thrash Metal scene of Metallica and Slayer.

I came back to Peel when he began presenting the Home Truths programme on Radio 4, when his laconic and slightly downbeat style proved perfect for getting ordinary people to reveal fascinating details of their own lives.

He was a great bloke, respected by bands and presenters and adored by his fans for his uncompromising stance and his endless support for new music. Wall's biography is a little thin though so I have ordered Peel's autobiography, Margrave Of The Marshes, which was only half complete at Peel's sudden death and was completed by his wife.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

TBR Challenge 2009

"Read, this year, 12 books that have been sat on your shelves for 6 months or longer"

1) Shipwrecked On Top Of The World - David Roberts***
2) Shakespeare - Bill Bryson*****
3) The Geographer's Library - Jon Fasman*
4) Atonement - Ian McEwan
5) Omega - Jack McDevitt
6) Kim - Rudyard Kipling
7) A Piece Of Cake - Cupcake Brown*****
8) The Bible : The Biography - Karen Armstrong
9) Life During Wartime - Lucius Shepherd
10) Rubicon Beach - Steve Erikson
11) Taking On The World - Ellen MacArthur***
12) John Peel - Mick Wall****

Half way though already, and only one real stinker so far.
6 Things For 6 People

I did the first one today, but I'm not telling what it was or who it went to until the recipient has had a chance to respond.

Two people from this list need to provide me with their home address though, you can probably work out for yourself if I know where you live or not, otherwise it's going to turn in to 4 things for 4 people.

Olly Aitch
Terry G
Home Office Figures Reveal Scale Of Police Corruption

"More than 1,000 serving police officers in Britain have criminal convictions, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act."

"More than half of the 1,063 convictions relate to speeding or other motoring offences, 77 officers have convictions for violence and 96 for dishonesty."

Now, whilst it is quite annoying to be pulled over for speeding by a bloke who does exactly the same when he is out of uniform, it is quite another thing to be arrested for drugs offences when the arresting officer is a dope/smack user himself, as apparently 4 serving Surrey officers are.

"There are 96 serving police officers with convictions for offences of dishonesty, including theft, perverting the course of justice, fraud and forgery."

This seems to just plain wrong, what are the police forces involved thinking ? Set a thief to catch a thief.

The Lib Dems said that the actual figures could be far higher, as 10 police forces did not respond to the legal request for information, perhaps someone had stolen their files.
PIN Bar, Dock Street, Leeds****

Last night's Leeds Bookcrossers meeting was held at Pin Bar in Leeds, just a hundred yards away from our previous venue the Adelphi. Whilst everyone quite liked the Adelphi, it has become far too crowded on a Tuesday night for our group's needs, and to be honest the quality of the food and the choice of ales seems to have diminished a bit over the last two years.

PIN would have been rather empty on a Tuesday night, except that twenty odd Bookcrossers had descended on the place, with quite a few of us dining as well as drinking it seemed to be good for both our group and the venue.

The menu isn't huge, it features some sharing platters, home made burgers, 'proper' fish and chips etc. I went for slow roasted lamb rump in minted gravy, served with caramelised onion mash and veg, cost £8.50, the meal was good, the lamb tender, the gravy richly flavoured, the mash fluffy and the vegetables nicely stir fried.

Being a greedy bugger I went for dessert as well, home made fresh rhubarb crumble with ginger ice cream for £3.95, and a hearty portion that left me absolutely stuffed.

PIN offers four hand pull beers from the Leeds Brewery and sits almost in the shadow of the historic Tetley's brewery which is due to be shut down by parent company Carlsberg in 2011.

It is a very modern looking place, clean and attractive, and has some nice comfy leather seating to lounge around in, plus some higher tables for easier dining. My only gripe would be to point out that if they put a sign over the toilet door that said 'toilets', they would have less people stumbling half cut into the kitchen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Film Review : Watchmen*****

There will be spoilers ahead.

Zack Snyder, all is forgiven. Having seen two of Snyder's previous films, the awful Dawn Of The Dead re-make and 300, which whilst rather good as a comic based film, didn't exactly fill Watchmen fans with glee as to what the film version of Alan Moore's comic would be like. Rejoice though comic geeks, Snyder has obviously read the book, and liked it so much that he didn't muck it around too much.

There are changes of course, Moore writes with a singular density, the book containing the three distinct threads of the main plot, the comic within a comic Tales Of The Black Freighter, and Moore's reams of additional material presented as chapters from the first Nite Owl's autobiography and other book and magazine excerpts. To trim this down and make the book filmable, Snyder has ditched the background material and the pirate comic, and the film still has a run time of over two and a half hours.

To a long term fan of the comic, the film is stunning, hardly a line of dialogue is missing or changed, the film unfolds beautifully and at not too forced a pace. The actors playing the various costumed heroes are brilliantly suited to their roles, The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is as nihilistic and amoral as you could hope for, Jackie Earle Haley plays Rorschach perfectly, for me this was the crunch character of the film, get Rorschach wrong and the film would be spoiled, but he is the book character made flesh.

Billy Crudup puts in a good performance as Dr.Manhattan, and he can't have been at all displeased at the size of his animated genitalia, Patrick Wilson's portrayal of Nite Owl as equally as good as Rorschach, the listless ex-superhero living an aimless life of retirement was superbly realised.

Where Snyder has made some changes are probably just where you would expect him to, the fight sequences are a bit like 300 all over again and are slightly too long. Snyder has also made some changes to the plot at the end of the film, but, they do work, perhaps in order to bring the film to a more manageable length the build up to the 'alien' plot has been dropped, but the alternate holocaust fits nicely.

How the film works to someone who is not familiar with the book I can't say, to me it seemed to contain enough of the background information to make sense, but I do know the book inside out so it is hard to make a judgement on this. Watchmen certainly is a fan's film though, a very hard to film comic brought lovingly to film life. It has an 18 rating, and deservedly so, the violence is graphic, the rape scene and the murder of the pregnant Vietnamese girl are very scene uncomfortable viewing. The only thing that Snyder didn't manage to pull off really well was Moore's depiction of the fracturing of society in the face of imminent nuclear holocaust, but I suppose there is only so long you can expect someone to sit in a cinema seat for.

This might just be the best film realisation of a comic yet filmed, Snyder could have made all sorts of mistakes with the lengthy and complex plot of Watchmen, but he has deftly avoided nearly all the pitfalls and created a visually stunning movie.

Now that my faith in film director's has been renewed, is there anyone out there who can step up and have a go at that other famously unfilmable comic, Sandman ?

Monday, March 09, 2009


It's almost perfect.

Tedious, geeky, fanboy, spoiler filled review to follow.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Golfists, Stags, Lightweights

DSP Andy gets married next week to the lovely Eva (thanks Eva, it's an act of great charity ;-) ), yesterday we had the stag do as organised by Dr.P.

Organised ? Breweries and piss ups ? And yes we will be barracking you in Dutch next week. Vuilnes, vuilnes !

Anyway, the golf was poor, from mine and P's perspective anyway, DSP, Wosser and Dr. P played well, the meal was average, the service awful but at least the company was impeccable.

Sad old buggers that we are though, and partly due to the restaurant throwing us out midway through the evening, we ended up at DSP's house watching cricket at rather early o'clock. I did try to add an air of debauchery by single handedly draining DSP's stock of whiskey, but the other lightweights were all on mugs of Ovaltine. Oh dear lads, what happened to the hard drinking days of our youth, oh, they were back in our youth I suppose.

I love weddings, so I'm really looking forward to next week's bash, we'd better see if we can raise a few more glasses at the wedding than we did at the stag, cheers and congrats.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Watchmen, it's a book by Alan Moore, with artwork by Dave Gibbons, it really is rather good.

If you are going to see the film and you have not read the book, THEN YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.

I'm only saying this because sometimes people go and see films and then they get the wrong idea about the book because the film's director changed something, for example, did you know that Tolkien NEVER WROTE A SINGLE DWARF JOKE AND I'M STILL QUITE ANNOYED THAT PETER JACKSON DID THE WHOLE DWARF THROWING GAG.

And there were no Elves at Helm's Deep.

I havn't seen it yet, but if you come out from seeing Watchmen and you liked the happy ending, then you know that Zack Snyder has done it all wrong.
Watchmen - The Kids Cartoon Version

Watchmen cartoons

Whilst this is a spot on bit of satire about the desires of big multi media companies versus artists, it does make you shudder that some berk might actually see this and think "Hey, that's a really good idea."

Spoilers - if you havn't see the movie or read the book, actually if you havn't read the book and you are planning to go and see the movie then YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. Go out and buy the book, read it, read it a second time because you don't know what the blody hell the thing with the pirates is all about, then read it a third time ignoring the pirates but laughing as Rorschach drops rapists down lift shafts, then feel a bit guilty that you're laughing at people dying, then stand in front of a mirror trying a Rorschach sneer and saying "I'm not locked up in here with you, you're locked up in here with me", then......

Oh hang on, I seem to have drifted off the point, there might be spoilers, but above all, READ THE BOOK.

Penny Lane: Literal Version

"Ever wish songs just sang what was happening in the music video? Well now they do, in my second continuation of Dusto McNeato's "literal video" concept!"

Album Review : White Whale Records Sampler Vol 1***

White Whale Records are a Toronto based company, their niche judging by this free LP is light indy / modern folk (rock), this album showcases 7 of the 10 artists on their roster.

Inside The Cinema - Culture Reject**
Multi-instrumentalist Michael O'Connell's track here is sort of nice, but then rather forgettable, light and folky with a hint of Fleet Foxes and a slightly downbeat vocal style.

Culture Reject MySpace

Run From Safety - Octobermen****
Octoberman sound like an even more mournful version of The Decemberists, that said, this track, the title track from their is probably the best on this sampler LP, probably because musically at least it is the most upbeat track. I could be tempted into buying their album.

Octobermen MySpace

Wear 'Em Out - The Mohawk Lodge***
This song should have been better than it is, it's quite catchy, has a nice woah-oh-oh sort of sing-a-long chorus, but it is just a little bit too restrained and dispirited, if the band had just let themselves go a little this would have been good.

The Mohawk Lodge MySpace

Prairie Train - Precious Feathers**
A rather dull and uninspired piece of music from the Vancouver based instrumental quartet, sorry lads but you're really not setting the world on fire with this.

Precious Feathers MySpace

The Airways - Castle Project***
Hints at the Verve or Radiohead perhaps, as with The Mohawk Lodge, I thought this track wasn't bad, but just didn't seem to really get going, maybe these Canuck indy types just don't like sounding happy.

Castle Project MySpace

About Every 12 Hours - Kids These Days**
And just for a change, some lightweight indy with folky tinge and more than a passing hint of emo. I do like Marc Morisette's high pitched lovely clear vocals though.

Kids These Days MySpace

Cave Smoking - Poorfolk***
Not too dissimilar to Thrice in their quiter moments, the guitar playing more than than the vocals perhaps, again, and this is the recurrent theme on this album, it is quite good without being really catchy.

You can buy download albums from the White Whale catalogue on a 'pay what you can afford' basis.....White Whale Store.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Beach Boys walk into a bar

"Get a round"
"I get a round?"
"Get a round."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Crescent in Ilkley Closes ?

Messages posted on the Ilkley forum claim that the bailiffs came to The Crescent this morning and evicted members of staff who lived there, then changed the locks and shut the place down.

I will try to pop uptown when I finish work and see for myself if the rumours are true.
With the world teetering on economic & financial meltdown, let's review 21 basic economic models....

You have two cows.
You give one to your neighbor.

You have two cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have two cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have two cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have two cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet is provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market it worldwide.

You have two cows.
You engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have forty-two cows.
You count them again and learn you have two cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have five thousand cows.
None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have three-hundred people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reports the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the shit out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy.

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go to a bar to celebrate.

(Apologies if I've pearoasted this one)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


I'm going to see Bellowhead at Barnsley Civic next Thursday night, if anyone wants to get a ticket and come with me I'll be driving.
Cricket In Happier Times

Nobody hits a KFC bucket for 6 when Dwane Leverock's in the field !

Made by Wormulus over at B3TA.
Watchmen Merchandise Fail

Watchmen merchandise, what were they thinking ?, how to make even bigger stacks of cash probably.

I love the critiques of the items, the writer is obviously a big fan of the comic.

"So, how many people are going to wear this without realizing that they’re dressed as a serial rapist who shot a pregnant woman in the face?"

(Seen over on GromBlog.)
Album Review : Tres Tres Fort - Staff Benda Bilili****

You know, sometimes I get accused of being inversely elitist about music, that I might even deliberately search out weird and obscure musical acts so that I can brag about being a fan of something new, or small, or almost totally unheard of.

Nothing could be further from the truth I assure you, my Scrobbler charts shows that I listen to a lot of music by well known bands (The Clash, The Beatles, Bob Marley), but as a bloke who grew up listening to John Peel, my musical catchment area has always been rather wide.

Staff Benda Bilili then are a group of paraplegic, customised wheelchair riding, homeless musicians who live close to the city zoo in Kinshasa, Congo they recorded their debut album outdoors on a laptop computer using "borrowed" electricity and their lute player has an instrument that he invented and built himself from scrap metal and old electrical wiring. There you go you see, nothing obscure about that.

The name of the band means "look beyond appearances". Most of singing on the album is in Lingala I believe, with perhaps a smattering of French, I might well be mistaken on both counts there so correct me rather than flaming if you know better. Obviously then I don't understand a word of what is being said but I gather from interviews that the band tackle social issues that affect themselves and their friends living in poverty on the streets of Kinshasa. Ricky Lickabu, singer-guitarist and band leader, says that although their songs touch on the state of education, medicine and poverty, he wants the band's music to be about teaching and healing, bringing the Congolese peoples together in unity and making people in their situation feel that they have something to live.

Ok, so that's all terribly worthy of support by the sort of Guardian reading, middle income left wingers that you'd expect to be interested in that sort of thing, yet, the music of Staff Benda Bilili is really good.

In style, it bears a similarity to Fela Kuti (and I am aware that my knowledge of the music of modern Africa is sadly lacking), it is upbeat, light and bouncy, driven along by hand beaten drums, plucked guitars, wonderful voices and bursts of 17 year old Roger Landu's satonge solos, that would be the scrapyard challenge lute which is charming in some places but slightly too highly pitched and prominent in others.

Tres Tres Fort does not of course suffer from over production, if you listen to the album and compare the music to the band playing live, and there are some videos to see on YouTube, the style is very similar. The whole album has a wonderfully live feel to it, with it's layered but un-chorused voices, it hasn't been remastered and polished to death, there are rough edges but everything adds to the feel rather than detracting from it.

It becomes increasingly rare today to find music which really transports you to somewhere else, a lot of popular music can only transport you to the interior of a digital mixing desk where a tiny amount of talent can be made to stretch an awfully long way, but Staff Benda Bilili are the very reverse of this, a wealth of natural talent being expressed under difficult circumstances, and expressed in a beautiful and lifting manner.
This Month's Emusic Downloads

Oysterband - I got the rest of The Shouting End Of Life and got Meet You There as well

The Gaslight Anthem - I've seen them raved about in the younger rock press so I grabbed their Sink Or Swim album

Prodigy - Invaders Must Die, excellent, a brand new release album

Jean Michel Jarre - Magnetic Fields

Cancer Bats - Hail Destroyer, I loved their super heavy debut album and thought they were very good at last year's Hard Rock Hell

Napalm Death - Scum, just four brutal ultra fast grindcore tracks from their debut album, I think I'll use up my 'leftover' tracks to very gradually collect some of their work.

Skatalies - probably best known for their ska version of Guns Of Navarone, I grabbed the first album from a triple album collection of their best work.

I wanted the new album by Mastodon, but they have switched to a major record label and thus are not available on Emusic so I will have to buy it full price. I bought the debut album by Staff Benda Bilili from I-Tunes last week as it was not up on Emusic, then when I had a look around the African section yesterday there it was, it's a great album, I'd recommend it if you like Afro-beat.
Chernobyl Art 2

Terrorism Hits Sport

Cricket fans, and sports fans and decent people worldwide, will be shocked by the terrorist attack in Pakistan on the Sri Lankan team which resulted in the deaths of at least 5 policemen and injuries to six of the Sri Lankan squad.

Cricket to me has always been a sport that more than any other brought people of different races, politics and religions together. No matter that you were black or white, left wing or right wing, Christian or Muslim or anything else, it was the game that mattered.

The 2009 Champions Trophy was removed from Pakistan due to security worries, India and Australia have cancelled recent tours there and the Sri Lankan President has ordered his team to come home leaving cricket in Pakistan, one of the great nations of the game, in turmoil.

It obviously is the intention of the terrorists to drive us all into a new dark age age of extremism and we all, as good world citizens, will have to do whatever we can to resist this gradually rising tide of xenophobia, intolerance, ignorance and hatred.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Rollercoaster Tycoon Massacre

Oh dear, oh deary me, it's horrible but so funny at the same time.

Kitten Way

Kitten War by Joel Veitch.

The man's a genius, albeit rather twisted.
Just Don't Say Batting Collpase

"Morning all and welcome to the fifth and final day's coverage from Barbados. Will Luke here, and we're all set for what ought to be a straightforward day for England. There. I've said it. The weather is fine (an early shower passed some time ago) and, if you need reminding of the match situation, England are trailing by 143. The pitch is flatter than my mother's ironing board but, well, this is England and a calamitous collapse cannot be ruled out."

Oh, too late, Cricinfo just said it.
Chernobyl Art

I came across these photographs of street art at Fishki I think, but I have misplaced the details. All this street art was created in the towns around Chernobyl after the nuclear accident, there is some very haunting imagery.

"The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything" Joseph Stalin
The Land Of The Wolves

Here is a fascinating photo blog I came across, the author takes a bike journey through the deserted regions around Chernobyl and photographs abandoned towns and villages.

Kidd Of Speed
Amazing Super Powers

Amazingsuperpowers comic