Overnight, the events in north London have, simply, been horrifying to watch. As news unfolded on Twitter I began switching from BBC to Sky and back again trying to see if anyone, at all, knew what was going on. News reports are concentrating, naturally, on the riots themselves and the shooting that's supposedly sparked them.

Earlier in the week, a fairly well known resident in his late 20s was shot by police, reportedly responding to shots fired at them. However...

From what I can gather from Twitter and other sources, there was a planned, peaceful, protest outside the police station about the shooting. Then this happened:

These are, naturally, unconfirmed reports. ETA: both are based on seeing ‪this BBC News witness broadcast but appear to have been corroborated. ETA2: ‪16 YEAROLD OLD GIRL ATTACKED BY TOTTENHAM RIOT POLICE!‬‏ - YouTube You can make out the police beating someone on the ground, it's very grainy, but...

But if true? The initial spark for violence wasn't a man being shot. It was a 16 year old girl being beaten by the police in front of a crowd of demonstrators. Is it true? I have no idea.

I, broadly, agree with Steve:
In the UK,
a) having a gun and
b) firing it at CO19 (armed police)
are both very bad ideas. So is
c) sitting next to a person firing a gun at CO19, which is the other possibility.


We won't know the details for a while yet. There's an IPCC investigation... but the last few of those might have just as well had the word "whitewash" stamped on them in red ink.


I hope we find the truth about Tottenham's grievances and the police actions, but I'm not going to cheer on looters and bus-burners in the meantime. Not all action is heroic.
That's three choice extracts, I recommend reading the whole post.

If those tweets are for real? If the police genuinely did beat an unarmed, non-violent 16 year old girl who was shouting at them in front of a non-violent protest? That's horrifyingly wrong.

Reports of fires and looting in Wood Green as well as Tottenham are unconfirmed but sources are credible. A Home Office minister is the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, she also happens to be one of the Lib Dem MPs I respect immensely.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. The Metropolitan police is giving every indication of being completely out of control, not just for their close links to News of the World journalists.

Lynne? Not just for the sake of your constituents, but for the country, make sure the Met are sorted out and the investigation is full, thorough and open?

I hope those with friends, family, etc in the area are OK. I'm going to bed, insomnia can only keep me awake for so long.

ETA: Guardian NewsBlog has two different witness statements saying that a girl was attacked by police, one of which says she threw something at them first. But
the girl was then "pounded by 15 riot shields". He said that the police "launched into her with startling force using both batons and shields. She went down on the floor but once she managed to get up she was hit again before being half-dragged away by her friend."
One teenage girl throws something, she'sbeaten to the ground by 15 riot shields? FFS. Heavy handed tactics never work in a tinderbox, what are the Met on?

(I've applied some formatting to the two copied tweets to attempt to make them look good, that CSS only exists currently on the Dreamwidth version of this post so might look awful on friends pages, reading pages or in feedreaders, do let me know if it messes things up particularly badly.)
How cool is this vid?:

It's part of the campaign for a bid to hold the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in London in August 2014, which, y'know, would also be cool.
The Worldcon is the premier international science fiction event, and awards the prestigious Hugo Awards for achievement in the field of science fiction. 2014 will be the 75th anniversary of the first Worldcon, in New York in 1939, since when the event has been held every year apart from a break during the Second World War. It was last hosted by London in 1965, nearly fifty years ago.
Y'know the Hugo awards given out each year? To get a Hugo, you need to be shortlisted by attendees from the most recent and next WorldCon, then win the ballot of the attendees of just that WorldCon. So if you go to a WorldCon, you get to vote on who wins, etc.

Plus, also, a lot of major authors have a habit of turning up. Which is also nice. I'd love to go to a WorldCon (last UK one was before I'd heard of it), and this'd be great. They have an LJ Comm ([livejournal.com profile] londonin2014), a Twitter feed and a Facebook page, so you can go find more info &c. But, y'know, regardles, watch the vid, it's really well done, even if it is a bit over reliant on Doctor Who stuff.

On the subject of cool videos, and completely unrelated, have this pixel invasion added bonus:
Cut to save your sanity and because of that silly double-embed bug they've not fixed yet )Both from [livejournal.com profile] andrewducker
Today, I are mostly been sleeping. Then I did a lot of digging and wrote a post at Liberal Conspiracy about a certain Brian Coleman, London Assembly member and sexist git.

I first heard about the tedious cock in that post of [livejournal.com profile] liadnan's, a long time before I moved up to London, and he's done nothing to impress me since. For quite awhile, my old post about him was top Google result for his name, it's fallen now to seventh. But I think he's more than a cock now, he's an expensive ignorant sexist git who deserves as much opprobrium as possible. So, given I no longer live in London, I don't have AMs or MPs to complain to. So I figure I'd hurt his rep on Google a bit instead.

If you fancy joining in, and have a publicly accessible website that's indexed by search engines, especially Google,
copying and pasting the below might assist in adding to the amusement—LC already has a good placing in search engines, but so do other sites that mention him. If lots of people link to that post with his name as the anchor, it should float to the top quite nicely...
My daily digest of texts, tweets and status updates.
  • 13:23 wants to kill the Calderdale results webmaster, it's awful tinyurl.com/3n9s5c we lost Brighouse by 80 votes. Gah! #
  • 15:10 prediction: Johnson to get most first prefs, Ken to get re-elected after transfers, Tories to whinge it was "stolen" for the next 2 years. #
ETA: Hmmm, was wrong on the latter, but only just. Interesting Times.
Microblogging using LoudTwitter and Twitter. [livejournal.com profile] matgb_twitter is there if you're mad enough.
Heh. Want to hear me singing?
Tim recorded our attempt at an anti-Carol concert last night ([livejournal.com profile] bloggerheads):
Bah, Humbug!
(to the tune of 'Jingle Bells')

Ebenezer Scrooge
Wasn't all that dumb
Until he met the Ghost
Of Christmas Yet to Come
Then he lost the plot, and woke up with a scream
Then foolishly made life decisions based upon a dream!

Oh, bah-humbug, bah-humbug, bah-humbug, I say
We are demonstrating here
Protesting Christmas Day... hey!
Also present included Justin ([livejournal.com profile] chickenyoghurt ),Gareth ([livejournal.com profile] d_notice_fd), Davide ([livejournal.com profile] nether_world_fd), a bloke called John with a saxophone from the Strawberry Theives and most impressively Garry ([livejournal.com profile] bssc_world), who'd travelled down from Aberdeen for the occasion—his first time in London as well.

We have succesfully established that SOCPA is an arse, the police think that demonstrating in favour of something doesn't require permission, but to demonstrate against something does. This is interesting to know, and Tim is working on ways to test this in the future, because, well, we're in favour of keeping the detention-without-charge limit to 28 days or lower, right? We're in favour of getting the Govt to change its policies on a large number of issues.

After the event, naturally, we went to the Westminster Arms which, scarily, doesn't have a menu—it has a Food Agenda. Much beer was consumed. Much much beer. I think I should've eaten more food earlier.
Weird, I haven't posted for the best part of a week, and even then it's been link/discuss. Um, yeah, alive. Can't claim busy (although I can proclaim exhaustion I think).

Have loads of stuff I kinda-sorta want to post about, including a few damn fine books I've read or am reading (Vallance's The Glorious Revolution being top of the list, a book about events in 1688 still has many many modern echoes that nearly inspired a post or three). But, well, actual inclination to do so lacking. A bit of a meh mood really—when I'm in Yorkshire, I'm either working or wanting to spend time with SB, when I'm down here I'm recovering.

OTOH, very busy week this week—just got back in from the London leadership hustings for the Lib Dems, and, um, yeah—two damn fine candidates that I'd be happy to see as leaders, both very very good. Consensus in the pub from those who've been members longer than me is that both were better than any of the three from last year. Given that one of them was a candidate last year, well, competition + experience = bonus in this case.

Tomorrow I go, hopefully, to see/hear Iain M. Banks get interviewed at Imperial, although timing on that one is difficult, it starts at 6pm and I technically finish work at 6p. Ah well, finish early I guess.

Then Thursday I have tickets for the [livejournal.com profile] now_show. Friday, probably, going out somewhere, then Saturday back oop north. Memo to self: book tickets for journey. Am reading entries, just not commenting much, spending a lot of time haging out on various Lib Dem places trying to see if anyone can persuade me &c. Also, my attept to port my twitterings to Facebook has worked fine, but they're not showing up here, which is annoying.
Journey was a pain, bus was delayed getting to Leeds then they had multiple driver changes, so got home at about half eleven and not the more civilised tenish I was due.

Knackered, caught up with essentials and am now crashing badly, werk and an important meeting with clients tomorrow--anyone got plans for the weekend I can shoehorn myself into, or any events that I could go to?
How great am I? You don't know? Things to cheer you up on the train home, a notification in your inbox from [livejournal.com profile] coffeechica entitled DRUM ROLL:
This suggestion has been planned for implementation. Please watch the [livejournal.com profile] lj_releases community for updates.
I knew what post it was before I opened it, but it was nice to be sure. So that's two fixes from one suggestion.

I'm still of the opinion that the concerns about trolls editing comments are missplaced, but those that run LJ abuse disagreed--we've come up with a way to get around the problem. I reserve the right to bitch about them messing up MY idea with poor implementation, but, y'know. I rock!

ETA: Changelog entry detailing how it works:
Bullet point summary of implementation--paid users only apparently )

Oh, had a great night out, met [livejournal.com profile] nhw in the Melton Mowbray and talked SF geekery and politics with a bunch of people, was rather nice. Time to sleep now methinks.
Right then, one of the most popular suggestions in my previous post is walking, specifically along the river. Also suggested is the boat trip and the Barbican. Given that I'd alrteady hoped to catch the Seduced exhibition anyway, I figure could combine elements of the ideas. So, anyone else interested in joining me on Saturday:
Seduced explores the representation of sex in art through the ages. Featuring over 300 works spanning 2000 years, it brings together Roman sculptures, Indian manuscripts, Japanese prints, Chinese watercolours, Renaissance and Baroque paintings and 19th century photography with modern and contemporary art.
Open till 8pm, tickets are £8, plan is to try to be there at about 5pm, so people can either meet up for that specifically, or join me earlier for a trip along the Thames in some capacity or other (the cheaper the better but boats might be an option.

Anyone care to join us?
Life is good, money is tight, work's going OK, I'm probably moving to Yorkshire sooner rather than later and would like to make the best of London while I'm about )

What are your three favourite things to do in London?

What would you most recommend to people, what do you like to do most, etc. Including events, clubs, museums, attractions, cafes, etc.

When's the best time to go there, is it best to go with a group, and would you like to take/show me (and others?) around, etc?

Specifically, thie Friday I plan to go to Inferno again, haven't been for ages, anyone else want to come along? Other than that, I have no plans at all any evening or Saturday--suggestions very welcome. No guarantee I'll be able to do stuff, but odds are I'd like to rather than not like to.
Advantage of doing so with a gorgeous lesbian is great company. Problem is all the pretty people think we're a couple...
Been meaning to put up a big plug for [livejournal.com profile] tubewhore for ages--the project of visiting every single tube station and take pictures, etc would be interesting enough anyway. That the person doing it ([livejournal.com profile] pvcdiva) is a cute goth with pink hair and a taste for pvc dresses is an added bonus. So go have a look around her archives, definitely worth the time.

Today, however, she's in Hong Kong on holiday. And she's gone nuts:
there's obviously something deeply wrong in my brain in that on arrival here I was most excited to discover the subway system was small enough to get collected in the limited time I have here. This is patently bonkers given all the other possibilities available to me in HK. Like a jet lag massage in an excruciatingly fancy hotel.

I now have in my possession a map of the Hong Kong tube network. I've been here since about seven AM local time and have knocked out two tube stops already.
So, yeah, that's going to be worth watching, right?
Site update, I said I'd install WP-MU but my webhost doesn't support the software, it'll run WP but MU needs more resources--I'd need to open a support request with them and even then it's not guaranteed they'll make the necessary changes, it involves more than a few redirects :-( So back to plan A, indivdual installs per person, bloody annoying, was hoping for a universal login, but, well, it'll do.

Instead, tomorrow I might, if I can get the impetus together, go to the CARNAVAL DEL PUEBLO in Southwark. Or drag myself up north for the Innocent fete. Anyone else made a firm decision either way, and/or interested in either?

Today, apart from playing with webhosting stuff, updating all the old Blogger stuff I was using and moving it, I've also been shopping. I mentioned I was looking at mice, well, on a whim I went into Maplin, and ended up with a wireless mouse & keyboard combo, so I can type from anywhere in the room now, which is nice. I also, just might, have bought 6 books in Waterstones (and no, 'm not going to look at how cheap they would've been on Amazon)-I went in for the Fforde, and bought a whole lot more, bloody 3-for-2 offers. Oh, I might have bought about 6 months supply of Lush stuff, and encountered my first example of a bad shop assistant in there.

And I ate a whole Lyle's Golden Syrup cake. For breakfast. Healthy eating plan? Yeah, right...
I've mentioned the TFL and their sucky journeyplanner before, but now they've gone and done something really daft. I have journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk bookmarked, as I like the advanced options like 'I only want bus routes' and similar. What do you get if you try to got here now? Under Construction. Um, that's not right, surely?

So I go to tfl.gov.uk and click the link there instead. I suddenly find myself with a new windo open (because I've not set all the options on this laptop properly it seems) and I'm going to a new site, journeyplanner.org. Mixed reactions, because if they've got a new site, they'r eimproving things, right? Except having used it a bit, it appears not. But also? Why will designers insist on opening new windows all the damn time? It remains one of the Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design:
New windows bad, mm'kay? )
It's such a bad idea, especially now with all the different browser platforms out there.

So, not only do approximately 1,780 incoming links to the old site no longer work, but they've broken basic usability rules, messed around with user expectations, yet still not actually improved the site in any way. What are they doing?

For the record, a small wishlist of things they could do to make the site usable: I could go on, and I've not even mentioned the Oyster log in problem--forgotten your password? After three attempts, it takes you to a lock out screen, that tells you to go to the front page and click the 'lost password' link. Sound plan, except... If you go to the frontpage, it redirects you to the error message you're trying to leave. Lovely.

Massive organisation, big investment budget, huge website with lots of data, and they appear to have not done a basic level usability study. Ah well. [livejournal.com profile] mooism? Are you still thinking about that project you mentioned?
Appeal for help from noted (and respected) blogger Rachel North ([livejournal.com profile] rachelnolondon). Rachel from north London: Cyber-stalking: Your help is needed:
After Lowde was found guilty in absentia, a bench warrant was issued by the District Judge for her immediate arrest and sentencing. I came home after the trial, and wrote up the sorry story here. Then I went back to my usual policy of ignoring her. I hoped that was it. Please let this be over, and let this wierd stranger be out of my life at last.

However, instead of accepting or appealing her conviction and serving/appealing a sentence, Lowde chose to abscond and go on the run. She has continued to post lies on her many bizarre blogs, and send me threatening and obscene abuse almost daily. She is now believed to be living rough in London, and using internet cafes to continue the frenetic harassment campaign.
Wanted: Felicity Jane LowdeI'm adding it to my sidebar for awhile, and urge everyone else to repost this as a post or go into their journal options and adding it to whatever their style supports (text area, sidebar text or blurb box depending on layout). For your convenience, have a textarea to copy/paste from:

In more cheerful news, I'm off to a beer festival.
OK, last Friday night I went to the "Late at the Tate" monthly event, a laptop orchestra. Now, the basic idea has potential, a bunch of art students and grads with networked iBooks and a mixing desk, improvising a bit of sound/music for half an hour. Unfortunately, that's all it was, and although if oyu shut your eyes and just listened some of the effects were interesting, there was no real indication that it was being improvised, and, unfortunately, was overall a little dull. It's possible that the later two shows got better, but we decamped to the pub after the first.

Late at the Tate is, however, a monthly event, and next month?
Friday 1 June 2007, 18.00–21.45

Mark Wallinger questions the right to protest and the limits of art. What are the principles of free expression? What might constitute the moral imperative to transgress the law and exercise the right to speak out? Joining Wallinger are Adrian Searle, Jerry Sadowitz, Shami Chakrabarti, Lisa Appignanesi, Brian Haw, Gillian Slovo, John Hegley, protest choir Raised Voices and invited guest Mark Thomas.

Tickets will only be available at 18.00 on the night from the Clore Gallery Entrance
I'd make an effort to go see that even if it wasn't 5 minutes walk from the office. Shami and Mark in the same panel discussion? Anyone care to join me?

On a completely unrelated subject, I'm assuming everyone (well, NiN/Star Trek fans) has seen the Kirk/Spock Closer vid already, but there's the link if not (um, yeah, Kirk/Spock slashy scenes with NiN's most famous dodgy lyrics song, NSFW, etc). But here's an even cooler mashup: Closer combined (well) with the Beatles Come Together. Some people have too much time on their hands. These people make amusements for me. This is a good thing.
Rah! OK, after [livejournal.com profile] matryx sent me an invite on Facebook, I decided to go along to Trafalgar Square after work to take part ina world record attempt. Because, dude, it's St George's Day, and, well, it's a daft thing to do. Asked [livejournal.com profile] pinkshifter at work if she was going, and we met up with [livejournal.com profile] mooism and [livejournal.com profile] geekaboo and rushed over there. Of course, finishing work at 6pm in Westminster and having to rush to the other end of Whitehall meant we got there after a huge crowd had formed, and they were nearly out of coconuts. [livejournal.com profile] pinkshifter used her secret ninja fu to push through the crowd to the last desk with with coconuts, and grabbed two sets. For four of us. So [livejournal.com profile] geekaboo had one, and I decided to try to record as much as possible with my phone.

Did find out that if my phone is in my pocket and I'm in a crowd, I won't hear it ring, but finding [livejournal.com profile] matryx was easy. He rand, I looked across the square, I saw a nut stood up on the edge of the fountain with bright red hair down to his arse. Lots of people around his general vicinity were using him as a landmark. Meh, enough explanation, you want the video, don't you. I've got clips from the run up, I'll probably upload the 3gp files in a bit to my server, but the main bit is here:
It opens with the guy from Guinness explaining the rules, then we get Gilliam being cool, then we all start singing. The sound quality and picture quality isn't great, but, well, it's Monty Python being sung in Trafalgar Square by 4382 people, who cares. It is a bit lud though. Also? The guys dressed up in tabards stood next to Greg on the fountain edge had no idea about teh thing, they were just dressed up for a pub crawl, and were rather impressed, if amusingly drunk.

New York: 1785. London: 4382

London rocks, and this is exactly the sort of thing I moved up here to do.

(feel free to repost or link around, because, y'know, it's my first ever YouTube upload, don't I feel special)
It's a bright sunny day and I haven't sneezed once. I spent the night with a beautiful girl who I've fallen for big time. I've spent the afternoon walking Hyde Park taking pictures and listening to music. I've had a nice coffee on a park bench with a bag of spicy Nik Naks. I start my new job on Monday. Life is GOOD.

Sure, my feet are killing me and I won't see Jennie again for over a week, but those are down sides I can live with. Time to head back home, might be able to catch Dr Who if I'm lucky.
ETA: tidied up and tagged from home
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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