Once, long ago, I wrote frequently on Livejournal. I then moved to Blogspot, where I discovered that blogging requires an audience. So I moved back to LJ. Then over to Dreamwidth, back to LJ, up the road of self hosting with Muckybadger before giving up entirely and moving over to Wordpress. It was at that moment I decided I would spread my compostual nonsense simultaneously across the blogosphere like some rancid margarine.
And so here I am. I am a badger. But then I'm not really a badger. I am a human. With badger like tendencies. I am a writer, a film producer and a social commentator. I am available for Breakfast TV shows, documentaries and chats in the pub with journalists.
Todays picture is another desk of hidden objects (not too disimilar to the one posted last month). This time the picture is of my desk in the new build house in Liverpool. I probably took this for a meme that was popular on Livejournal. It’s interesting to see many of the items on display and especially those just out of shot that I know what they are but it would be doubtful if you knew.
Can you spot:-
Spent concert ticket for Yes
Photograph of me pretending to be old
A badger on a hat
A dragon finger puppet
An original Windows OS mobile phone
The bottom of a gobstopper machine
The speakers and base unit of a really good stereo
When we were allowed outside, at this time of the year county shows and festivals would be popping up all over the UK ,indeed, some of these fairs have been going for many years others, like Hollowell, relatively less. Prior to my visit the the Honley show in 2007 I had only really been to the St Helens Show, the Liverpool Show and the Woolton Show all of which kind of died out in the eighties and nineties having become more trade and commercially orientated than their beginnings.
Back then, being a social media content maker and wandering round filming with your phone out wasn’t as common place as it is now and, of course, back then there were fewer platforms to publish your output. Mine was (and to some extent still is) Livejournal. However, these limitations didnt stop me and so, I walked around the show taking all manner of pictures including this one, which became the main header image for a project I worked on at University some time later.
I also noted how few of the stall owners seemed to have websites to promote their wares. Being a big local food enthusiast I was keen to try and help promote the businesses through my Muckybadger website and dreamed about publishing my own local food enthusiast magazine, tv and radio show and website. Then life and mortgages got in the way and other people got there before me…..
Thirteen years later, many of the businesses I saw at the Honely Show have gone, though some, including Crusy Pies are still going (indeed I saw them at Hollowell last year!). It also brings home how many small businesses rely on shows and festivals for their income and I am concerned about how many will survive this years’ blanket show ban. However, it is refreshing to see that, virus quarantine aside, county and country shows are still popular and hopefully, when we are allowed outside once more, many of the annual shows will return.
When I was a child in the UK, laburnums seemed to be everywhere. Trees in domestic and ornamental public gardens would bloom a vibrant yellow every year. The annual display looked lovely and would add further enjoyment of the garden to gardeners and visitors.
Then, sometime in the mid-nineties, around about the same time as the campaign to identify all lone males as potential child sex pests began, a paranoid parent announced to the world that laburnum was poisonous and could kill little children. So began the terrible genocide and eradication of the laburnum in the UK and the lovely trees were cut down to make way for hot tubs, decking and patios – because having weird back garden sex parties in full view of the neighbours, drowning your sacrificial victim and burying them under the patio or decking is a much better alternative than having to tell little Johnny not to put the poisonous seed pods in their gobs. You wouldn’t want to hinder a child’s self expression would you?
Years passed and with the thinning of the laburnum they became an almost unfamiliar sight in the UK to such an extent that when I saw one on my travels growing over a lovely pergola I forgot to enable my phone’s GPS and the location of the said laburnum has been lost to time and memory.
Before we begin, yesterdays picture of the day was from 2011 and not 2016. Doh!
Today we see the rare demin coated Gandalf-Stegzy in the wild. This was taken during a walk through Delamere Forest in 2005 back when walking through Delamere Forest was a thing. Now Delamere Forest is mostly a middle class family centric Center Parcs knock-off aimed at those with free thinking, liberated self-expressionist pedestal children with names such as Calendula and Spatula, like many places in Cheshire seem to be these days.
As a youth living in South Liverpool, I spent a fair bit of time in Bishop Eton Parish. Not only did I have a bar job there, but in my younger, informative years, I spent a good while singing in the church choir. The redemptorist priests had a house there within the grounds, the gate house and boundary wall you can see in this picture which was taken today in 2011.
Before lock down there was a nice American themed grill house restaurant at Foxton Locks called Texas Steakhouse. Seemed totally out of the way being in the middle of nowhere in particular but it looked popular. Well it appears that it is now closed and is called Hoggets which styles itself on serving wanky posh nosh like a teaspoon of baked beans on a ryebread cracker garnished with a nettle – for £20.
As seen on this day in 2007. The farm in the middle of the M62. A place so famous, award winning artist John Shuttleworth recorded a song about it.
However, contrary to popular belief, the farmer didn’t refuse to sell or give up the land to make way for the M62, that is a pile of bullocks. Instead it was the geography and contour of the land which saved the farm, Stott Hall Farm, from development.
As some long term readers will remember, in the early noughties, I was living in Liverpool while working at the Liverpool University in their Computer Department. Happy times.
Back then I was spending roughly about £5 a day in lunches then moan about not having any money at the end of the month, despite the fact that I was earning a lot more then comparitively than I have over the past fifteen years. Go figure.
Anyway, if the Student Union shop, the Spar or the nearby Tesco had run out of sandwiches and it was too late to go to the nearby pub or to Kimos, or you were unable to scavenge some disgarded crumbs or crusts from your work colleagues lunch, or perhaps the grey mould sandwich which had remained unclaimed in the staff room fridge for two weeks had finally been claimed, you would probably reluctantly play a kind of salmonella sandwich Russian roulette with the Oven Door Bakery.
Therein, extras from TVs Prisoner: Cell Block H and Mutant Wars would spend the day crafting rudementary breakfast, brunch and lunch feasts which they would sell for the bargain price of £1.50. Treats included cheap sausage (the type that is 99% fat and gristle) and bacon rolls, mystery meat mush in mayo subs and oh-my-god-whats-that-smell between bread like substance with suspicious sweetcorn.
Rumour has it that John Lennon, of Beatles fame, used to eat there regularly while he was working as a delivery driver and that the song I am the Walrus was actually an account of a time when he delivered eggs there. trufax.
I try not to take arty photographs because snobbery. Anyone can point a camera, hold it correctly, frame the view and press the button. They can even apply filters if they want. Its not exactly difficult like smooth shadework, mixing oil colours or sculpting from clay. But every so often I see something that shows Run Down Britain and out comes the David Bailey in me.
Here we are in Swaffam in Norfolk in 2017. I took this to convert into an amusing post-ironic-postcard to send to an arty friend of mine. It is clear that the vans have not moved in many years. I wonder what the drivers were thinking as they parked them up for the last time.
Can you see the little steam engine? Look how shiney its brasses are. Look at the red buffer bar and the green and black livery on the engine. Can you hear the hiss of the steam coming out of the engine?
“All aboard” cries the station master and the carriage doors are closed noisily. Can you hear the carriage doors closing?
Peeeeeep — the station master blows his whistle. Can you hear the whistle blowing? Chuff chuff chuff — that is the sound that little steam engines make. Toot Toot goes the engine’s whistle. De-clack de-clack — is the sound the wheels make as they go along on the track. Can you hear it?
Perhaps, when lock down is over, you might travel to Denby Dale just outside Huddersfield and visit the Kirklees Light Railway and see the little steam engine.