Sunday, 10 May 2015

How many votes to get elected

Its been a while since I blogged but there's a tweet going round at the moment that I think needs to be called out.
You see in this country we don't vote for parties, we vote for people, who may or may not belong to a party, and they, in turn, sort out the government and prime minister amongst themselves

A quick look at the appropriate results page clearly shows that on average approximately* how many votes each winning candidate received:
CON: 24,500
SNP: 23,500
GRN: 22,900
UKIP: 19,600
LAB: 17,700
LD: 17,000
PC: 12,900

Of course, this is just semantics, but its easy enough to faff about with numbers.

For example, the various candidates didn't actually need that many votes to win their constituency, all they needed were more votes than the next best candidate, which gives the following approximate numbers:
UKIP: 16,200
GRN: 14,900
SNP: 13,900
LD: 13,800
CON: 10,600
LAB: 9,600
PC: 8,000

* I didn't mong all the numbers for all the seats, so this is just a representative sample for CONS, LAB and SNP

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Thick Creamy Podcast 12-10-2013

Here's the twenty-third Thick Creamy Podcast, this time featuring nine tracks from four awesome bands recorded live at three great gigs.


The podcast features tracks from:-
Giant Burger
Council Tax Band
Left Leg
Care
Puffer
Victories at Sea
Vuvuvultures
The Chickenwing Allstars

So aye, it was weeks and weeks ago, at the start of September that I staggered to Dalston and that lovely venue, Power Lunches to catch the mighty might Giant Burger band. I follow them on twitter, not entirely sure why, but they nice people who make pleasant music.

Puffer at The Shacklewell Arms
There were a few other bands on the bill that night, the Council Tax Band, Left Leg and Care. Of those three, I think Council Tax Band were my favourite.

Two weeks later I was back in Dalston, this time at The Shacklewell Arms.

The Vuvuvultures at The Shacklewell Arms
It was my first time at the place, it was a little confusing, the chap working the door to the venue seemed to only start letting people in after the first band had started, so there were only five or so people in the audience for Puffer, a heavy thrashy sort of band.

After them were a mob down from Birmingham called Victories at Sea. They had lots of high tech equipment, keyboards and synths. I liked them, but sometimes I fear that I just get seduced by backing tracks and wibbly effects.

Headlining the night were the Vuvuvultures, who are the most awesome band I've seen in this decade. Last time I'd seen them play live was at The Lexington in May last year. They were lovely.

The Chickenwing Allstars at The Birkbeck Tavern
And were even kind enough to let me know the set list after the gig so I could markup my bootleg recordings properly.

Finishing off the podcast is two tracks from a gig I was at last night, the Chickenwing Allstars playing at The Birkbeck Tavern in Leytonstone.

I'd last seen them at a festival thing in Brixton. It was nice to see them in a more intimate venue. They play reggae dub jazz soul, and a pleasant cover of The Prodigy's Out of Space.

Its not often you get to hear trombone with dub reverb.

Its possible to subscribe to these Thick Creamy Podcasts on iTunes so they download automagically every time I put up a new one. Simply go into the 'Advanced' menu in iTunes, click 'Subscribe to Podcast' and then paste in this rss feed


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and that should give you all the podcasts, forever.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Thick Creamy Podcast 28-09-2013

Here's the twenty-second Thick Creamy Podcast, four awesome bands recorded live at the Skins party thing at Proud Camden in London.


Bloomer at Proud Galleries in Camden, August 2013
The podcast features tracks from Fulhast, Bloomer, The Understudies and Cosines

Sadly I missed most of the first band of the night, Fulhast, but I've seen him before countless times, he's awesome. It was one of those situations where you know you need to leave the house to get somewhere in time, but there's just one more thing you need to check online, then you can't find your tape recorder, and your camera isn't where you think it is, then when you actually get to the right part of time there's no where to park the car, and you think maybe you should have gotten the tube, but then you'd be even later, so you should have left earlier.

And that's why I missed most of his set.

The Understudies at Proud Galleries in Camden, August 2013
If you love lo-fi guitar and Gameboy backing tracks, you'll love Fulhast. I like his songs about getting on with life after breaking up with your girlfriend. There's a time in everyone's life...

Next up were the mighty Bloomer, who were noisy and guitary, which is nice. The first time I saw them, a few days earlier at the Night of the Triffids All-Dayer, I wasn't too convinced, but they're starting to grow on me.

Also, their latest release 'Back to the shadows' is on purple and lilac cassette.

Its always good to see The Understudies, which was lucky as they were playing.

Cosines at Proud Galleries in Camden, August 2013
Headlining the night were Cosines, who I've seen play live pretty frequently over the last year or so. It always hard to chose which track of theirs to put on the podcast, the storming one which everyone dances to, the one with amusing lyrics and the video with sailors, the one with a sixties wig-out ending, the one I put on a previous podcast, the latest single?

This time I've chosen by throwing a dart at iTunes and picking whichever one it hits.

Its possible to subscribe to these Thick Creamy Podcasts on iTunes so they download automagically every time I put up a new one. Simply go into the 'Advanced' menu in iTunes, click 'Subscribe to Podcast' and then paste in this rss feed


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and that should give you all the podcasts, forever.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Thick Creamy Podcast 29-06-2013

Here's the twentieth Thick Creamy Podcast, two and a half bands recorded live from the Big Pink Cake night at The Betsey Trotwood in London.


The podcast features tracks from Fireworks, Flowers and Fever Dream.

Flowers at The Betsey Trotwood
in a more introspective moment
Sadly I missed most of the first band of the night, Young Romance, I was stuck in traffic around Tottenham Hale and Seven Sisters Road, where there is a Transport for London scheme to improve the road layout. Its quite a big civil engineering job and will take about eighteen months to finish.

So when we rolled up at The Betsey, The Fireworks were just finishing up, I only caught the last minute of their set. They sounded awesome.

The thirdish act were were Flowers, who were even more awesome than usual.

The final act of the night were Fever Dream, who I'd last seen at the Tipsy Bar eight months ago, and then before that at The Windmill.

Its possible to subscribe to these Thick Creamy Podcasts on iTunes so they download automagically every time I put up a new one. Simply go into the 'Advanced' menu in iTunes, click 'Subscribe to Podcast' and then paste in this rss feed


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and that should give you all the podcasts, forever.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Thick Creamy Podcast 27-06-2013

Here's the nineteenth Thick Creamy Podcast, three bands recorded live from the Guided Missile night at The Buffalo Bar in London.


Keith Top of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star
Backing Band in a more introspective moment
The podcast features tracks from Keith Top of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band, Abdoujaparov and The Indelicates.

Sadly I missed most of the first band of the night, Kit Richardson, a piano playing singing girl with big hair, she was very good.

The second band up were Keith Top of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band. There were about fourteen of them on stage, with around five guitarists, making a hell of a racket, but as long as Keith's vocals are on top of the mix, then its all good.

Next up were Abdoujaparov, who are arguably Les from Carter USM's new band, but in retrospect, Abdoujaparov have been going for longer than Carter USM, and so ought to take precedence. I thought some of the songs sounded a little like a rocked up MJ Hibbett

Tossing off the night were The Indelicates. Dramatic and theatrical with hand puppets and lyric books close to hand.

Its possible to subscribe to these Thick Creamy Podcasts on iTunes so they download automagically every time I put up a new one. Simply go into the 'Advanced' menu in iTunes, click 'Subscribe to Podcast' and then paste in this rss feed


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and that should give you all the podcasts, forever.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Londonland rents - a year later

One of the most popular posts on this site, as you can see from the sidebar, is my post from May 2012 about the average rents in each London borough. Admittedly a lot of traffic comes from google sending people here looking for a map of London boroughs, but anyhoo, its still an interesting topic.

Yesterday, on twitter Sarah retweeted comment from Emma Jackson about how rents in London were crazy and average rents in Newham had shot up 39% the last year. Alas this information came from a press release a year ago, but it got me wondering about what rents were like now that the Olympics is firmly in the past, and how rents have changed from last year.

So I dug out my old spreadsheet, went through the rightmove.com property website, and counted up how many two bedroom flats there were in each London borough at each price point, weaved some Excel magic and well here's a list of average rents last year and this year, and their percentage change.

London Borough 10 May 2012 08 May 2013 Change
Redbridge  £      1,080.05  £      1,193.77 110.53%
Hillington  £      1,112.92  £      1,201.08 107.92%
Merton  £      1,581.29  £      1,702.12 107.64%
Bexley  £         858.70  £         914.26 106.47%
Enfield  £      1,135.41  £      1,201.74 105.84%
Croydon  £      1,014.19  £      1,063.27 104.84%
Greenwich  £      1,332.97  £      1,387.40 104.08%
Waltham Forest  £      1,092.00  £      1,134.49 103.89%
Barnet  £      1,419.80  £      1,465.49 103.22%
Barking and Dagenham  £         967.14  £         994.93 102.87%
Ealing  £      1,578.19  £      1,606.16 101.77%
Sutton  £      1,029.41  £      1,046.86 101.70%
Southwark  £      1,840.94  £      1,869.72 101.56%
Hounslow  £      1,785.18  £      1,808.97 101.33%
Lewisham  £      1,224.56  £      1,236.24 100.95%
Kingston Upon Thames  £      1,402.73  £      1,412.13 100.67%
Brent  £      1,483.54  £      1,491.47 100.53%
Hackney  £      1,876.80  £      1,885.32 100.45%
Harrow  £      1,248.56  £      1,253.38 100.39%
Bromley  £      1,127.81  £      1,131.87 100.36%
Havering  £         967.49  £         963.83 99.62%
Kensington and Chelsea  £      2,856.73  £      2,820.08 98.72%
Lambeth  £      1,745.46  £      1,708.09 97.86%
Haringey  £      1,432.51  £      1,401.14 97.81%
Camden  £      2,359.67  £      2,307.76 97.80%
Newham  £      1,410.63  £      1,373.49 97.37%
Islington  £      2,217.82  £      2,139.80 96.48%
Westminster  £      2,796.06  £      2,696.96 96.46%
Wandsworth  £      1,844.08  £      1,756.62 95.26%
Richmond  £      1,927.33  £      1,834.90 95.20%
Hammersmith and Fulham  £      2,102.78  £      1,978.86 94.11%
Tower Hamlets  £      2,066.11  £      1,942.07 94.00%
City of London  £      2,817.34  £      2,474.32 87.82%

So, nothing too exciting there. From the raw data, it seems the increases and decreases Redbridge, Hillington, Tower Hamlets and City of London are caused mainly by either loads more properties coming onto the market since last year, or fewer properties being available.

On the whole, property in desirable boroughs is still more expensive than property in less desirable boroughs. Desirability here is mostly proximity to the centre of the capital city of the UK, which isn't really surprising. Kensington, Westminster, and City of London are still most expensive. Havering, Barking and Bexley are still the cheapest boroughs to rent in.

The average change in average rents for two bedroom flats since this time last year for the whole of London, by my calculations is about half a percent, so within the margin of error for the data.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Thick Creamy Podcast 30-04-2013

Here's the eighteenth Thick Creamy Podcast, three bands recorded live from the Fortuna Pop night at The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town.


The podcast features tracks from The Fireworks, Cosines and The Understudies.

Sadly I missed most of the first band of the night, The Listening Party, they played loud and with great gusto, they certainly sounded like they were having fun.

The Fireworks in a introspective moment
The second band up were The Fireworks, who were wonderful. Its been about a year since I last saw them, a richer tapestry of sounds, fuzz and feedback with more introspective moments.

Then there were Cosines who were lovely. At this point I find myself asking is an individual member of the band called a Cosine? Who's your favourite Cosine? etc.

As I become more familiar with their songs favourites bubble to the top, I loved the crazy wigout end to the first song in the set, and third song along 'Commuter Love' is a classic.

I've just finished reading this book about post-punk music and the music DIY culture of the early 1980's and I wonder, why aren't bands like The Fireworks and Cosines a lot bigger and more successful, I mean, how long should it take?

And finally were The Understudies who were great, this was the first time I'd seen them since the lineup change, and you know, I think its a bit of an improvement. Although I've seen them play live countless times (well, six times according to Songkick) this was the first time I've really listened to them and they're better than I previously thought. Now the tunes stick in your mind, and the snapshots of contemporary life, are filled with humour, sadness, pathos, and dreams.

I think my favourite Understudies track is 'A Girl I Used To Muck About With'. It sounds like snowfall in Worsley Woods in 1996.

Sometimes I want to chomp a cigar and march up to band and demand the let me out their record out. Then I remember what happened last time, and think perhaps not.

Its possible to subscribe to these Thick Creamy Podcasts on iTunes so they download automagically every time I put up a new one. Simply go into the 'Advanced' menu in iTunes, click 'Subscribe to Podcast' and then paste in this rss feed


http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThickCreamyPodcast

and that should give you all the podcasts, forever.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Thick Creamy Podcast 30-03-2013

Here's the seventeenth Thick Creamy Podcast, featuring bands playing live at Stereo in Glasgow at The Plimptons All Day Farewell Party

The cream of Glasgow's music scene had gathered for the end of an era, and the beginning of a new Post-Plimptopolypse epoch of humanity.

The podcast features tracks from Eddy and the T-Bolts, Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 and of course, The Plimptons.

Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 and their mighty horn section

Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 and their feisty backing singers

Martin Plimpton - crowd surfer extrordinaire

Adam Plimpton riding the crowd away from the stage

Its possible to subscribe to these Thick Creamy Podcasts on iTunes so they download automagically every time I put up a new one. Simply go into the 'Advanced' menu in iTunes, click 'Subscribe to Podcast' and then paste in this rss feed


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and that should give you all the podcasts, forever.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Thick Creamy Podcast 29-03-2013

Here's the sixteenth Thick Creamy Podcast, bands playing live at the Sounds XP Easter alldayer and me talking.


The bands were recorded live at the Windmill in Brixton, there were loads of bands playing, but I only taped four of them; Simon Love, No Cars, Viv Albertine and Big Wave.

Please enjoy.


Its possible to subscribe to these Thick Creamy Podcasts on iTunes so they download automagically every time I put up a new one. Simply go into the 'Advanced' menu in iTunes, click 'Subscribe to Podcast' and then paste in this rss feed

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and that should give you all the podcasts, forever.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

No More Page 3 and the Tabloid Monstering of Lucy Meadows

Oh, I used to have a passion for blogging. I used to churn out writings all hours of the day on all topics that bubbled up, from the state of my jobbies, to the vagaries of the UK jobs market. I used to think it all meant something, that it was gently prodding my readers and society in some positive direction.

But as I've grown older, and faced the trauma of unemployment and just plain getting on with life, its all faded away. I no longer have the passion to write.

Other people do.

I still read blogs, I still click on links on twitter, but its all like a sheet of tracing paper has been placed over it all, its all opaque. Its less meaningful. Its just plain wrong.

Moments ago the member of parliament for West Bromwich East, Tom Watson re-tweeted a link to the No More Page 3 campaign's blog.

At this point I should point out that I don't buy The Sun newspaper, and when it is the only newspaper lying around in the canteen at work, I skip past page 3. Although, I fully appreciate that it is the most popular newspaper in the UK and that it arguably represents a centrist political viewpoint.

Anyhoo, the thrust of the No More Page 3 campaign blogpost seems to be that if only The Sun newspaper stopped publishing photos of topless women on page three then 13 to 16 year old girls wouldn't have their skirts lifted by teenage boys in the queue at the school canteen.

I think this is foolish. There's plenty of nudity and objectifying women in every other newspaper and magazine. The are plenty of websites that offer nudity for free.

Stopping page three will do nothing to stop teenage boys lifting girl's skirts.

Why are schools tolerating sexual abuse in their canteens? Why aren't teachers and headmasters disciplining teenage boys and educating them in the acceptable ways to behave in polite society.

What makes a 16 year old girl think that banning a page in a newspaper will change the behaviour of teenage boys? Its just so tenuous that it astounds me.

Does the member of parliament for West Bromwich East actually agree and believe that if The Sun newspaper stopped printing titties in their newspaper then it would affect the behaviour of teenage boys? Does he actually think this?
Does he really think that cause and effect work like this?
Is this really the sort of belief that the residents of West Bromwich East want in their representative in parliament?

I spent most of this morning investigating the tabloid monstering of Lucy Meadows. There's a variety of petitions out at the moment lobbying for the Daily Mail to sack their columnist Richard LittleJohn.

At this point I should point out that I don't buy the Daily Mail newspaper, and on the rare occasions where I have the opportunity and inclination to read it, I usually skip past the columnist pages. Although I do appreciate that its the second most popular newspaper in the UK.

I'm still unclear as to what degree Richard Littlejohn monstered Lucy Meadows. He wrote a column about her, but the press intrusion that she complained about wasn't about opinion pieces, it was closer to home. She wrote a series of emails to a friend as follows (source):
I was lucky to have a supportive head, but I think I’d have done it here regardless as I couldn’t put it off any longer and I have family and financial commitments as well. The guidance I’ve had from the trans community has been generally sound and very much appreciated, and I’d like to be able to say I’ve given something back. I suppose the best way for me to do this would be to educate the people around me and children at school – I am a teacher after all!
[...]
I know the press offered parents money if they could get a picture of me.
[...]
I became pretty good at avoiding the press before Christmas. I live about a three-minute walk from school so they were parked outside my house as well as school. I’m just glad they didn’t realise I also have a back door. I was usually in school before the press arrived and stayed until late so I could avoid them going home.
[...]
[M]any parents have been quite annoyed with the press, too, especially those that were trying to give positive comments but were turned away.
Richard Littlejohn isn't a reporter, the sort of intrusion that Lucy was talking about seems to be the work of people like:-


I see no petitions calling for these people to be sacked.

Even if Littlejohn's career did meet an untimely demise, then Lisa Woodhouse, Stuart Pike, James Tozer and Nazia Parveen would still camp on people's doorsteps, and wait outside their places of work, and hassle parents for photos and juicy details. At no point in their line of work would they think, "I better not do this, remember what happened to Littlejohn". That isn't going to cross their mind, ever.

Here's a picture of Stuart Pike, and presumably his wife Alia Pike, that I grabbed from his Facebook page. How much guilt does his feel for the death of Lucy Meadows? Is he wondering if he'd done something different, Lucy would still be alive, the pupils of St Mary Magdalen's School in Accrington wouldn't be mourning the loss of a popular teacher.

This is Lisa Woodhouse from the Lancashire Telegraph, I ripped her photo from her twitter account, although for a journalist, she doesn't tweet much. I can't find her on Facebook, so I'm guessing she's got something to hide.

This is 30 year old Nazia Parveen from The Daily Mail, I ripped her photo from twitter. She was named Young Journalist of the year in 2011, when she worked at the Lancashire Telegraph. Her prize for being a young journalist was £500 and a week's work experience at The Daily Mail, presumably they liked her work.

Anyhoo, my point is, that rather than tenuously going for trophy heads on spikes to change behaviour and society, people should be going for the people who commit the offences.

If 16 year old boys are abusing 16 year old girls, then discipline the specific 16 year old boys rather than signing a petition about a page in a newspaper.

If tabloid reporters are hassling someone to the point of suicide, then have a go at the tabloid reporters who are doing the hassling, rather than signing a petition about a page in a newspaper.

*** UPDATE1 *** 24/03/2013 13:44
Just to be sure, I used twitter:-


Eagerly awaiting a response.

*** UPDATE2 *** 24/03/2013 15:17
Looking through other tabloids for reporters who may have monstered Lucy Meadows, I find that in The Mirror, reporter Steve White reports Lucy Meadows's death with the headline "Nathan Upton: Sex-change teacher found dead at 32".

Its a little unclear why Steve White is referring to Lucy as Nathan, when the main thrust of the story, of both the sex change and the suicide, is that Lucy wished to be referred to as Lucy, not Nathan.