Oxfam chuggers in Glossop……………menace to society

Moral blackmail.........

Moral blackmail………

Yesterday I was in the small town of Glossop in Derbyshire and had just walked out of Costa Coffee with my large cup of cappuccino in my hand. As I walked down the main street heading back to my car I was accosted by one of Oxfam’s street chuggers.

A young woman with that fixed smile on her face (that all chuggers have) approached me and in that over familiar way said something along the lines “oh, you have brought me a coffee”

As I didn’t reply she then asked me what my name was and I responded that I wasn’t in the habit of giving my name to anyone in the street, particularly if I didn’t know them.

She was then obviously going to launch into her “pitch” about the need for funding to support Oxfam projects when I said to her “does Oxfam support any aid projects abroad, particularly Africa and other eastern countries?”

She then said yes and mentioned a project providing water supplies in an African country. My response was to say that I would not contribute to any charity that was spending money abroad when we have such needs in the UK. I pointed out that people were dying of cancer because of lack of research funding, MacMillan Nurses depended on charity, old people were dying because of insufficient income and inability to heat their homes, research into heart disease was dependent on charity yet the UK public were being asked to support “foreign” aid. I stressed that before we start shipping money abroad we should put our own house in order and that the first responsibility was to UK subjects who were in need.

Her face suddenly changed when she realised that the “moral blackmail” approach would not work with me and she said “I don’t want to talk to you anymore about this” and walked of in a strop.

It was obvious that her political agenda was very different from mine and that she was not used to being assertively challenged about the work of Oxfam (Oxfam CEO salary approximately £120,000), hence the attitude and behaviour she displayed.

For anyone who thinks I was being difficult and / or hard hearted just Google “most corrupt countries in the world” and see which countries come up AND how many of them receive aid packages from western countries.

Posted in appalling behavior, Bullying, Charity, compassion, Health and Wellbeing, Society | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

David Byrne……………a unique talent

It was the 1980 album “Remain in Light” and the single “Once in a Lifetime” that first alerted me to the band Talking Heads and caused me to explore more about their music. The album has subsequently gone on to be acclaimed as one of the 20th centuries seminal recordings and David Byrne the lead singer has gone on to forge a solo career and to this day continues to develop new ideas and approaches to music.

My personal favourite of Byrnes work is the album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts issued in 1981 album and produced by Byrne and Brian Eno.

While it received mixed reviews upon its release, My Life is now widely regarded as a high point in the discographies of Eno and Byrne. Critic John Bush describes it as a “pioneering work for countless styles connected to electronic ambience and “third world music”. The extensive use of sampling on the album is widely considered groundbreaking—it was one of the first to do so.

Byrne continues to explore different avenues of music and curates this year’s edition of the Meltdown festival to take place in London from August 17 – August 30 2015.

So to celebrate David Byrne and the band Talking Heads I am posting a video of them live in concert doing a sensational (watch the dancing, outrageous!!!) version of “Life During Wartime” with some stunning bass playing from Tina Weymouth……………eat your hearts out One Direction!

Posted in Art, Classical Music, Culture, Dance, Film, Jazz, Music, Rock | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Age shall not wither them…………………

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For all of us out there of a certain vintage……………..

Posted in Art, Equality, Humour | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Brighouse Canal and Music Festival 2015

Expecting a wet and dull Sunday morning I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by blue skies and warm temperatures, so having found out the day before that the Brighouse Canal and Music festival was taking place this weekend I packed my trusty Nikon camera and set out on the short drive into Brighouse.

Watching the arrival of the "narrow boats"

Watching the arrival of the “narrow boats”

After parking up just outside the town I ambled into the centre of Brighouse, first crossing the bridge over the River Calder before passing the regular Sunday morning car boot sale in one of the council car parks (not as busy as I expected).

Entering the lock

Entering the lock

As I entered the town I could see many of the food stalls were already up and operating, music was coming from across the street (a young lady on a transit trailer singing to a backing track) and so I decided that the first priority was a cappuccino at a local café.

We have just

We have just “moored up” and are off to the pub……..

Suitably replenished I made my way to the canal and followed it to the canal basin where a number of canal boats were moored and several were waiting to pass through the lock. People were lined up waiting for short cruises along the canal often with excited young children, many of whom, had probably never been on a narrow boat before.

Doubling up in the lock

Doubling up in the lock

The canal basin was a hive of activity with a couple of hundred people just wandering about looking admiringly at some of the beautifully maintained narrow boats as well as watching the boats go through the lock. Although I have seen this many times I never lose that excitement as I watch the lock empty and the boat disappear from view and then emerge through the lock gates at the other end.

I will have a slice of every cake please..........

I will have a slice of every cake please……….

As I wandered the streets of the town I came across a plethora of fast food stands and others selling local produce (very impressive cheese and venison stalls). But the one that really caught my eye* was one selling a variety of “hand crafted wood products” and in particular the most upmarket bird feed contraption I have ever seen. I have to say it was just stunning (see photo). Other products included a piece of wood you placed over the neck of a wine bottle and then hung glasses from it (see photo), very classy and very cool.

Very cool bird feeder

Very cool bird feeder

As I walked down one of the back streets I came across a miniature railway with a real steam engine, which presumably was designed for the kids to have rides on. However, from what I saw it seemed to be middle aged men who were enjoying the ride!

I want one of these!

I want one of these!

So after a couple of hours I left the festival with people still pouring in to enjoy the weather, the wonderful narrow boats and the excellent food on offer. But there was one last joy to behold, a line up of old cars, beautifully polished and in pristine condition, they ranged from old MGs, a huge American Cadillac to the most magnificent 1974 VW Beetle which is one of my all time favourite cars.

The magnificent 1974 VW Beetle

The magnificent 1974 VW Beetle

I left a happy man and congratulations to the organisers for putting on such an excellent festival.

Brings out the

Brings out the “child” in all of us……………

*Born Crafty, 37 Kennedy Avenue, Huddersfield HD2 2HH (gordicarr200@gmail.com)

Please note I have no association or commercial interest in this company, I was just very impressed by the products.

Posted in Culture, Food Festivals, History, Music, Pennine hills, Pennines, Photography, toursit destination, UK Regions, West Yorkshire, Yorkshire | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate change…………you can fool some of the people some of the time!

Hundreds of doom-laden studies about the effects of climate change on the Earth’s oceans may be flawed and unreliable, a major review has found.

For years, scientists have warned that rising levels of carbon dioxide are marking our seas more acidic – and that this spells disaster for marine life. But a review of hundreds of studies into the effects of acidity on sea creatures suggest the vast majority may be unreliable or not fit for purpose.

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The review – by two experts in Australia – said only 27 of more than 400 studies into the issue were appropriately carried out.

It is the latest research to highlight difficulties with many of the doom-mongering predictions about climate change. Last month, experts from University College London highlighted how the ice-cap in the Arctic actually regrew by 40 per cent in 2013 – surprising scientists.  It showed how much care needs to be taken when assessing claims about the Earth’s climate.

When it comes to the oceans, the UN has warned that the effects of increasing acidity could cost the world economy $1trillion (£644billion) by the end of the century. Again, rising levels of carbon dioxide are said to be to blame. Carbon dioxide causes global warming when it ends up in the air – trapping heat. But when it is absorbed by the sea it makes the water more acidic.

Forecasters warn this so-called ‘acidification’ will have numerous effects, including wiping out valuable fisheries and killing off coral reefs. The Earth’s seas are not yet acidic – but the opposite – slightly alkaline. But forecasters believe they are edging towards an acidic level and could rise above the neutral midpoint of ph7 by 2100.

However, a review of 465 studies into the effects of acidification on sealife said only 27 used an ‘appropriate experimental design’. And 278 studies were ‘clearly inappropriate’ which means a huge amount of research is not fit for purpose. Some of the research, if ‘reanalysed’, might yield useful data, but not in its current form, say the authors.

Christopher Cornwall, who studies ocean acidification at the University of Western Australia, and ecologist Catriona Hurd of the University of Tasmania, wrote in their paper in the ICES Journal of Marine Science: ‘This analysis identified that most laboratory manipulation experiments in ocean acidification research used either an inappropriate experimental design and/or data analysis, or did not report these details effectively.’ To test the effect on ocean creatures – whether lobsters, plankton, mussels, or fish – is a complex business. It requires using big tanks of seawater containing sealife to slosh around on moving tables that simulate the effect of the tides for days on end. Seawater is made more acidic by adding chemicals.

Errors made in the studies include increasing acidity without increasing temperature, not looking at other effects such as an increase of chemicals called carbonates and failing to eliminate the risk of observer bias.

The authors, commenting in Nature, say the ‘overwhelming evidence’ of ocean acidifiation still stands. But they say it is hard to assess the impact of ocean life from most of the experiments that have been carried out.

Posted in 21st century, Flora and fauna, Nature / Flowers, Politics, Weather | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Kirklees Council Refuse Collection Department………..a pat on the back!

The back road the refuse van had to negotiate

The back road the refuse van had to negotiate

Here is Huddersfield we have out food waste bins collected every two weeks by the local authority refuse collection department (or bin men as we called them in the old days).

For the last several days the small cobbled street which on which my house resides has been blocked because of repairs being done to the drains (all Victorian in age and not in good condition), so there is access from both ends of the street but no “through road” which has caused considerable inconvenience to residents of the street.

As I put the bin out yesterday it suddenly dawned on me that the large refuse wagon would not be able to get along the street to collect the rubbish. This caused me a little concern as we have been having hot weather and food left in bins for any length of time is not a good recipe.

As I was leaving in the car a little later I saw the refuse collection van entering the street I live on and thought to myself, I doubt if they will be able to collect the bins.

Imagine my surprise when I returned home later in the day to find the refuse bin empty!

So all credit to the refuse collection team who somehow managed to get along the street and collect all the refuse. A good bit of problem solving and personal initiative resulted in us residents not having to contend with overfull bins of food in very hot weather.

I phoned the refuse department to thank them for an excellent job.

Posted in Criticism, local council, Management, traffic, Uncategorized, West Yorkshire, Yorkshire | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Vangelis……..and the Greek “Bolero”

Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (born 29 March 1943), professionally known as Vangelis is a Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, rock and orchestral music He is best known for his Academy Award winning score for the film Chariots of Fire Chariots of Fire as well as the score for Ridley Scott’s iconic film Blade Runner (a dispute with the studio caused Vangelis to withhold permission to use his music for some time).

Vangelis began his professional musical career working with several popular bands of the 1960s such as The Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child, with the latter’s album 666 going on to be recognized as a psychedelic classic

Throughout the 1970s, Vangelis composed music scores for several animal documentaries and the success of these scores brought him into the film-scoring mainstream. In the early 1980s, Vangelis formed a musical partnership with Jon Anderson, the lead singer of progressive rock band Yes, and the duo went on to release several albums together as Jon & Vangelis.

It was the link up with Jon Anderson (I have always been a massive Yes fan, even the self-indulgent Tales from Topographic Oceans) that I first came across Vangelis and the song, State of Independence although I have to confess that the definitive performance of this song is by Donna Summer.

However, the piece of music that I consider to be one of Vangelis’s greatest compositions is the relatively less played “To the Unknown Man”………it is 9 minutes of sheer unadulterated musicality, a theme repeated over and over again building to a wonderful climax. The nearest comparison I can think of is Ravel’s “Bolero”

The video I have chosen is the one where the music accompanies photographs of the galaxy taken by the Hubble Telescope……….sit back and enjoy!

Posted in Art and Sculpture, Classical Music, Culture, Film, Jazz, Music, Rock | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment