Highest Of Horses, Littlest Of Ponies

*Not* "Good Job I Kept My Turntable" (or any other)

>Pub With No Beer (Tree With No Leaves)

>

When did pubs stop selling beer? When did ‘bitter’ start to mean cold fizzy shit that has to settle, like Guinness? Why don’t bar staff know what ‘light ale’ is – and even those that do, why don’t they know what a ‘light & bitter’ is? It’s a way to give John Smiths pisswater some body and taste, that’s what it is!
Every Tuesday, on my way to choir practice with Tottenham Community Choir (yay!) I walk from Seven Sisters to West Green. Some weeks I am early and fancy a pint, but of the four pubs that I could walk past on my way there not one of them sells beer. Well, not what I call beer, anyway. They have lagers galore – Czech, Danish, German, Polish, American – but no beer. And whereas I quite like a pint of lage at certain times, at other times there’s nothing quite like beer. The Palmerston tried selling beer for a while (they had Abbot and Old Speckled Hen on tap) but apparently not enough people bought it and the barrels went off. They also had bottles in thefridge (which is a debatable practice – beer should be chilled but not cold) but even that is no more.
So sometimes I go without, and sometimes – like last night – I have a pint of John Smiths. And it’s ok – but it isn’t beer.

>Sorry, didn’t catch that

>Anyone who has been following me for any length of time will no that before too long I’m going to get saddled up and gallop on over to cause trouble at the homeopathy homestead – but not just yet. Instead, another pate hate: announcers who cannot pronounce English. Now I understand that some people have regional or international accents, and that for many people English is not the mother tongue or first language, and there are antidiscrimination laws (as there bloody well should be), but even so -what is the point of hiring somebody to make announcements if they can’t speak bloody English properly???
I travel every day (well, Mon-Fri) from Bounds Green to Hampton Wick and back, and in the process of doing so I spend a fair bit of time on the platforms at Finsbury Park and Vauxhall stations. And so I hear quite a lot of announcements (mainly apologies for how crap the service is, and how trains going south to Brixton are being disrupted by a problem on an earlier northbound train at Tottenham Hale (WTF? I’m travelling *away* from there. Why the fuck is my southbound train affected by something behind me in the opposite direction???). Over time I’ve got used to them but even so, some of the pronounciation is abysmal and if I didn’t know what they were saying I wouldn’t have a fucking clue.
“Chan jeer fo veetorrlan and arnasharay sovvisiss*”. Plea stanclir off daclossindorce”. “Nobbidan”. “Plea stabby abby arlan”. “Welcome to Fibberypar station”. “Diztren is var Shabbadan, dinnex is var Jessindan Sart”. “Pliss allow dipasanchas off ditren befo boddin, and use ollavillible dorce”
This really isn’t supposed to be a racist rant and I hope it isn’t taken that way. But just as good vision is (presumably) a prerequisite for a train driver, surely good diction ought to be for an announcer?

I’ll add more to this thread. Believe me.

*Change here for the Victoria Line and all national rail services. Please stand clear of the closing doors. Norbiton. Please stand behind the yellow line. Welcome to Finsbury Park station. This train is for Shepperton, the next is for Chessington South. Please allow the passengers off the train before boarding, and use all available doors”.

>Keeping the twins happy

>I had a little rant over on the (ugly) sister blog so I thought I’d better balance it here – this won’t always be the case but it’s probably best to start off with an attempt to present myself as someone with a balanced set of views. Not true, of course, I’m as biased as the next misogynist (little Jake Thackray reference there for you – he was definitely one of the *good* things in life).
So, yeah – Jake, but what have I been listening to *recently*? This week it’s been the Throwing Muses anthology (got most of the tracks already but the remastering is fab), the Beach Boys SMiLE sessions, Dif Juz (on my headphones right now while I work), the first two Alice Cooper albums, Magna Carta, Donovan (the first six or seven albums up to & including the massively under-rated Barabajagal – but not Hurdy Gurdy Man), the remastered Piper At The Gates Of Dawn & complete Rainbow concert (that I was at) where they played DSOTM for the first time ever in the UK (over a year before the album came out), Van Der Graaf Generator, and then before that Sally Oldfield – but that was weeks ago.
This blog won’t be *only* about music but this will do for a start. Back to work.

>Unwanted bloody intrusions

>Whether it’s people making ‘courtesy calls’ to find out if their dimwitted customer support people answered my question satisfactorily, or my bank phoning me to let me know about a special offer that I might be interested in, or Amazon sending me ‘because you once looked at an album by an obscure 70s psych band we thought you might be interested in the 8 disk ‘immersion’ edition of Dark Side Of The Moon’ messages (and NO I WOULD BLOODY NOT – keep an eye out later on for Pink Floyd rantings and ravings), in general I wish such people would piss off and leave me alone.

Only today I got a real classic.

I sometimes say, with a reasonable amount of seriousness, that I hate jazz. I don’t hate *all* jazz, in fact some ‘jazz’ is great but *most* jazz is horrible. And any band that boasts they play ‘jazz standards’ (or, worse still, *sing* the buggers) can be guaranteed to be given a bloody wide berth my me. But my bottom line is that if I want jazz I will go to it – I certainly don’t want it approaching me.
So can you imagine (perhaps you can, perhaps you can’t, perhaps you think I’m overreacting) my rage when I get an email from someone I’ve never heard of (Keith Neill, FWIW) telling me that they have added me to their ‘jazz update’ Yahoo group and mailing list.
And just now I received the first of their newsletters. You can imagine I was thrilled to read about the dire, bottom-scraping crap that is happening in London over the next few weeks. So thrilled I emailed him right back. I doubt that he’ll be happy with my reply.

>Say hello to my little pony

>Those of you who have been following me on facebook or twitter (@W1tchseason) will have noticed a tendency to rant and rave, from time to time, about my pet hates and the things that make me cross. Once upon a time I could rather glibly say that the three worst things in the world, in no particular order (and that will give you a clue as to one of my hates), were wasps, beetroot and Annie Lennox – but I’m afraid it’s not that simple.
As I get older (and I’m now nearer 60 than 50) I’m finding that I have less and less tolerance for people who are ignorant, stupid, or both. And whereas in general I would agree that ignorance is no sin, in the age of the Internet where Google is everybody’s home page and Wikipedia top of their bookmarks list it’s getting harder to support that view. If you don’t know, FFS, look it up (or ‘use the Web, Luke’ as we used to say at Psion).
So, rather than fill my FaceBook timeline and twitter feed with the same old crap, I’ve started a pair of blogs – one for my rants and pet hates (http://highestofhorses.blogspot.com) and one for my loves (http://littlestofponies.blogspot.com). There’s nothing on either of them yet (apart from this intro text) but you can see from the tags on each what they’re going to be about :-)

>Say hello to my high horse

>Those of you who have been following me on facebook or twitter (@W1tchseason) will have noticed a tendency to rant and rave, from time to time, about my pet hates and the things that make me cross. Once upon a time I could rather glibly say that the three worst things in the world, in no particular order (and that will give you a clue as to one of my hates), were wasps, beetroot and Annie Lennox – but I’m afraid it’s not that simple.
As I get older (and I’m now nearer 60 than 50) I’m finding that I have less and less tolerance for people who are ignorant, stupid, or both. And whereas in general I would agree that ignorance is no sin, in the age of the Internet where Google is everybody’s home page and Wikipedia top of their bookmarks list it’s getting harder to support that view. If you don’t know, FFS, look it up (or ‘use the Web, Luke’ as we used to say at Psion).
So, rather than fill my FaceBook timeline and twitter feed with the same old crap, I’ve started a pair of blogs – one for my rants and pet hates (http://highestofhorses.blogspot.com) and one for my loves (http://littlestofponies.blogspot.com). There’s nothing on either of them yet (apart from this intro text) but you can see from the tags on each what they’re going to be about :-)

>Oh, the things I could tell you…

>It’s been a funny old year for the choir – and when I say funny I mean “not at all funny in many ways”. Just over a year ago we (and when I say ‘we’ I mean ‘the Tottenham Community Choir committee’ - even though at the time I was not on said committee, having resigned a few weeks earlier due to my unhappiness with the way things were going) dismissed our MD because we could no longer work with him despite months and months of trying our damnedest. And he was not happy about that, oh no. And he made life bloody difficult for the choir and the committee (and one committee member in particular, who has been the victim of an unbelievably nasty, vitriolic and sustained attack over the past few months).
But we kept going. We lost almost half our members as a result of our (not mine but I stand by it 100%) decision, and for a few months the membership was decidedly unpredictable. I personally wondered whether we would ever be able to regain the numbers we’d had last summer when we did our ill-fated and ill-advised concert at the Bernie Grant Centre.
We had a number of well-meaning and talented stand-in MDs over the next few months, but they all had other committments and we struggled to maintain our repertoire and continuity (and consequently our membership). There are a half dozen or so songs that we started learning under one MD, only to drop them in favour of others as a different MD took over. Understandable – of course each MD wants to make their mark and choose their own material. But unfortunately quite a few people (new and old) left us, quite possibly due to the lack of clear direction and constant changes of MD.
During this time the committee (which I was invited to rejoin as a non-voting associate) tried to recruit a permanent replacement and, happily, in February of this year Nick Williamson was appointed to fill the post. At around the same time the entire committee was voted back in (phew!), and from then it’s been a slow but steady uphill climb.
A few weeks ago we did a couple of fairly high profile gigs – one was a local food festival and the other was a benefit for the victims of the Tottenham riots (concieved and organised – almost as a sort of therapy – by the ‘victim’ mentioned above). And, possibly because of these, we’ve seen our numbers increase quite dramatically over the past few weeks to the point where we’re as big as we ever were. Morale is great and we’re riding high and singing fantastically (it don’t ‘arf ‘elp yer voice when yer ‘avin fun!).
As for the ‘other’ choir, they’ve moved East a mile or so and so we are now the only choir on West Green Road, and the only ‘local’ choir for N17. One or two people who have joined us after trying them say that we’re much more enjoyable and easy going – which is nice to know. I don’t think they’re any competition any more, and perhaps the ‘war’ is over.

…to be continued…?

>Come and hear us sing for Tottenham

>One of our members was so moved by the recent events in Tottenham that she got off her b*m and did something. One of our members decided to organise a benefit gig featuring ourselves and many local performers (amateur and professional) and it’s happening this Friday at the Millfield in Edmonton – see http://tottenhamgig.wordpress.com for full details or follow http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tottenham-Benefit-Gig/243929708973247 on Facebook.

It was originally planned to be at the Bernie Grant Centre – an initial meeting went very well with enthusiasm all round but for some reason they pulled out. We have some suspicions why that might have been (someone bears us – and particularly the aforementioned oraniser – a *huge* grudge… who could it be? Who could possibly be so sour and bitter as to cancel a benefit gig for the homeless and dispossessed/??) but I couldn’t possibly say more.

Anyway that’s all I wanted to say. Please come along and help us support those in need.