Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Cities Of The Dead

It took me a while to work out why I always find these new inner city developments in Norwich spooky; walking around them is like being in one of those scenes from end of the world films such as On The Beach, 28 Days/Weeks Later or Doomsday. Whether it is Quayside, or King Street or Paper Mill Yard during a weekday it is if one had walked into an emptied world.

The answer is simple; they are all marketed at Dinkys or the Pink Pound or the Grey pound and because of this there are no children and consequently no one at home during the day. Even in the evening the residents retreat behind uVPC double glazed windows having made sure that the shortest possible distance exists between the comfort of their cars and their front door.

These are silent unnerving places. It is an ironic truth that a development like Quayside is probably quieter than a country village. Please note I did not say better.

Paper Mill Yard - Georgian Frontage

Monday, October 13, 2008

Free For All

Free For All, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Anti Capitalist campaigners in the early Autumn sun. Current events have proved it to be a great career choice; these days they don't have to do much but sit back and watch it all crumble into dust.

Not everything they had was rubbish so maybe there is such a thing as a free lunch. I did not take any of them but some of the books were quite interesting. There was a 1932 edition of the Wellington Book of Photography (the first one not to have tipped in plates) which admittedly the binding was poor but still a good reading copy. There was a 1935 edition of The Camera Book in good to very good condition, tightly bound. As well as descriptions of pre war processes it has some nice line illustration of contemporary cameras. Neither of great value (in capitalist terms the first is worth about a quid, the second about three or four quid in the right place), both of great interest to camera collectors. There were some Collins cleartype hardbound reprints of great "Classics" (Lorna Doone and The Three Musketeers if I remember correctly) Some odd Edwardian editions of Dickens and some Airport paperbacks. There were also some how to do it books on crafts. As I say I did not take any.

One of the drawbacks of once having owned a second hand bookshop is that whenever these guys are out with their stall, people come up to me with books they have snaffled and want a free valuation: two such did on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Green Party And The Lib-Dems Stole Our Post Office

After over a hundred years, from tomorrow there will be no Post Office on Rosary Road. There was a local campaign to keep it open which looked as if might succeed: the grounds for closing it were not that it was running at a loss (it wasn't) or that it was not fulfilling a social need but that it was within two miles of the Central Post Office in the Castle Mall. A petition was started, various members of the great and the good were lobbied, it was publicised in the press.

What happened next beggar's belief. In the run up to the local elections the two main contenders, the Green Party and the Lib Dems decided they would take over the campaign. They each started their own petitions -hence diluting the original. They each ran rival campaigns to save Rosary Road Post Office. Quite simply they muscled in. Party officials and volunteers announced they would handle it and there was no room for the non alligned. In the two weeks before the election we would recieve seperate newsletters from both parties every day boasting about their individual efforts to save the Office. The last one arrived at midday through my letterbox on election day.

Promises were made. Both parties proposed to lobby Lord this, Lady that, etc. Both were going to travel up to London to see this committee, that quango.

And then nothing. The election was won by the Greens and the Lib Dems withdrew their campaign. There was a line in the paper two weeks later that if anyone wanted the Lib Dem petition they should contact them. No one is sure what happened to the Green one. After a fortnight of Green representitives banging on our doors and putting leaflets through our letterboxes none of us have heard a word from the victorious party about anything. No letters, no meetings and definitely nothing about the Post Office campaign.

In the meantime the totally sidelined Friends Of The Rosary Road Post Office campaign had lost all momentum and the branch was earmarked for closure.

Bevan famously described the Conservative Party as "Less Than Vermin", I think we are justified in adding the Greens and the Lib Dems to this.

It is not all bad news. Thursday has been designated "Kick a Green Party member in the bollocks day" and I live in hope that I will live to hear Fidel radio his secret orders to start the revolution in Thorpe Hamlet. I know who I will be stringing up from the lamp posts outside the Old Post Office on that glorious dawn.

These are my views and no one else's