Thursday, 25 May 2017

RIP Roger Moore

Image result for roger moore
Roger Moore
Just a quick few words about Roger Moore. He was always my faveourite James Bond. Unlike the rest of them, he played the role for laughs and didn't take himself too seriously. He did it with a smile and you always knew that he would come through. Wheras the rest of them were riddled with angst, he was "on her Majesties Secret Service" and would come through. You knew that he'd get the girl, kill the baddie and still look impeccable. His tenure in the Bond role coincided with the time in my life when I liked such things. I believed that that was how secret agents were. Swashbuckling risk takers who were handsome and witty. My Dad would take me along, he was a lover of gadgets, an ex RAF airman and a bit of a maverick. In his post war work in the Middle East he knew what he called "a few funnies". He told me that their jobs were far more mundane than James Bond. He said that usually their biggest challenge was to fiddle their expenses to ensure enough brandy and cigarrettes could be bought to alleviate the extraordinary tedium of the job. For me though, Roger Moore was the reality. I especially liked the sketches with the dopey american cop.

There were several reasons I liked him. When he was The Saint, he used to live up our road (Millway in Mill Hill). It was handy for filming at Elstree. He moved when he got sick of fans appearing on his doorstep, to Denham I believe. He also had a very cool name. In my experience, anyone called Roger is by definition a good guy. Once his acting roles dried up, he became a UNICEF ambassador. He famously used to say we have two hands, one for taking and one for giving.A philosophy we could all benefit from.

Wherever Roger is now, I hope he's enjoying his Martini, shaken, not stirred.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Wednesday Poem #20 - Friends and Enemies

Friends and Enemies

I'm proud of my friends
but I'm prouder of my enemies
having friends is easy
enemies, you have to work at
friends pull you up when you are down
enemies grind you into the ground
friends make you comfy
but your enemies make you strong
it's easy to have friends
but you can measure a man by his enemies

Copyright 2017 Roger Tichborne

Guest poems are always welcome at the Barnet Eye, even from my enemies ;)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Manchester Attack - Straight to Hell

Sometimes it is hard to know what to say. An attack on a bunch of young girls and their parents attending a concert, of an artist who appeals to young children. What could be more vile and sick? I've got family in Manchester, 2 nephews and their families and I am worried sick for them, their family and friends. As a musician and concert organiser, it feels a very personal attack. As a father of two beautiful daughters, I can only cry at the thought of anyone wishing to harm any child. I find it impossible to comprehend how someone could do such an atrocity in persuit of a religious aim. Whatever perversion of faith leads to this in incomprehensible to me. It seems that the killer is now dead. One assumes he believes in heaven and hell. It is time for religious leaders of all persuasions to stand up and say, unequivably that anyone who harms an innocent child, who is no threat to anyone is simply on a one way ticket straight to hell. That's really all I can say about this appalling attack right now.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Barnet Eye exclusive - Jeremy Corbyn refuses to condemn earwigs

The Barnet Eye can this morning exclusively reveal that hard left, communist, vegetarian, beardy, allotment owning Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been exposed as an earwig sympathiser. Corbyn clearly has no compassion for the millions of people injured, damaged and killed by the nocturnal activities of earwigs. Speaking exclusively to his former science teacher, Mrs Jessica Beans, we were told 'yes, it's true, in his science project, Jeremy said that earwigs are much misunderstood and maligned, and are actually a fascinating member of the insect family'. We immediately called Mr Corbyn for confirmation, his disgusting reply was 'I equally condemn all acts of terror perpetrated by insects, whether woodlice or earwigs'.

A spokesman for Theresa May stated that this proved Mr Corbyn was soft on the Earwig issue and had no compassion for victims of nocturnal attacks on poor defenceless children. Furthermore they stated that the dementia tax would free up resources to tackle the earwig threat, although they couldn't say how this would actually be funded.

Of course, we've made all this rubbish up. Unlike the nonsensical tosh being fed to the Mail and the Telegraph by The Conservative election machine, we at least have the decency to tell you it's cobblers. It may be inconvenient for the Tories, but the troubles are over, the political wing of the IRA are in government, Martin McGuinness shook hands with the Queen and we've all grown up. Corbyn was right to engage with bad people, because it ended violence. Many world leaders started out as terrorists and many of these have been welcomed by Conservative Prime Ministers. I'd love it if all bad men were locked up, but in the real world we have to talk and grandstanding and condemning people achieves nothing except getting a nice editorial in the Daily Mail. Corbyn may not be a great Labour leader, but he is a decent man and he deserves better from the press. Kick him for his policies, but this vilification is disgusting and I hope it backfires. For the record, I'm a Lib Dem and won't be voting Labour, but honesty and fairness is far more important than tribal politics. The Tory campaign stinks.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Tweets of The week in The London Borough of Barnet - North Finchley Festival Special

Today is a Tweets of the Week with a difference! Our ten top tweets are all from day one of The North Finchley Festival, which has been a cracking success!

1. The N12 Community Choir kicked off the day at The Bohemia. A hugely populare start!

2.Down the road, The Elephant Inn was having fun with Kid Wondr was the first act!

3. Julia Hines rather liked The Rocking Bones at The Bohemia! All the excitement was too much, so she then needed to chill with some lovely piano from Lola Parrin!

4.Angie A was Awesome at Cafe Buzz!

5. Alan Evans enjoyed Rolling Exile and Rangoon at The Elephant Inn!

6. John Keogh rather enjoyed The False Dots at The Bohemia!

7.We had a Blast with San Blas at the Bohemia!

8. Alan Schneiderman was enjoying the food and the music in North Finchley!

9. Mr Reasonable was enjoying Tim Leffman at Cafe Buzz!

10.And Yours Truly got around a bit as well!

Thats all folks, but see you later today for day two!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Saturday List #130 - Ten Songs for Ten different years

The False Dots
I thought I'd do a list with a difference. Tonight, my band, The False Dots play at The North Finchley Festival. The venue will be the Bohemia, it's free entry and we're on at 10pm. Please come down and say hi!

I've written and co-written many songs, over the years. Here are ten written in different years, which I think sum up the year in my life.

1981 - Mr Natural - I wrote this about a gig promoter, who put us on at gig for CND and then nicked all the money and went to Greece with his girlfriend. The oldest song in the set. I played it to Allen oin 1985 and he thought it was about him! He rewrote the verses and added two extra verses (abandoning my third verse, which he thought was libellous and not very nice). Like many songs I write, it sat in my note book for a long, long time.  Allen describes it as "Our Laughing Gnome".

1982 - Action Shock - our set closer, a real theatrical epic, based on the experiences of a friend of mine who was a Royal Marine in the  Falklands. It is not an anti war song, it is a song affirming how we all want to survive in adversity.

1983 - Heal Me - I started writing this as a song about hangovers, which were a big part of my life in 1983.  Allen took it in 1985 and made it into a love song (the soppy old sausage). (Note: he's just told me it's about unemployment, so it shows how much I listen when I play guitar - I'm not actually sure which bit of the lyrics he wrote and which bits are the original, so I guess now it's about being unemployed with a hangover).

1984 - Maybe Once More  - A soppy romantic pop song, mourning the breakup of a long term relationship,  Perhaps one of the better Pop songs I wrote

1985 - Winter in Your Heart - An Allen Ashley Special, a great pop song. I wrote the music, which I think is one of my finest musical compositions! It summed up my miserable mood in 1985, before I met the missus!

2010 - In a Silent Place - I started writing this song as a wry observation on people who hook up with ex's on Facebook and it all goes wrong. Allen took it and made it far darker in 2013

2012 - Saturday - I always wanted to write a song about being a football fan and the trials and tribulaitions. Allen finished it off masterfully, with a great middle rant (or is that middle 8). 

2014 - Please Myself. Allen wrote the lyrics, which are great and a rant about society today. I wrote the music, which is a cross between a Bo Diddley groove and a T Rex Pop song. I love this track, it moves

2015 - They've cleared out your desk. Allen wrote the lyrics, it is my homage to the Specials musically. A bit of Ska feel with a chorus reminicent of the Specials at their raucous best

2016 - St Pauls - My rant about how St Pauls is not what it should be. Allen finshed it off lyrically. The feel is very much 1960's Pop in the key of D7 with a bit of D7 Sus 4 in there. I love it.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Six ways to solve the housing crisis without destroying the Green Belt

Housing is an issue very close to my heart. I volunteer at The Passage, a homeless day centre in central London, and have got to know many homeless people. The reasons are many and varied for homelessness. What has particularly upset me over the years are the number of ex-services people who find themselves sleeping on the streets of London. There are a spate of rather nasty posts on Facebook suggesting that service personell be given priority over refugees in housing decisions. Whilst I understand why many people repost these and sympathise with them, they totally miss the point that the reason for much of this homelessness with service personell is nothing to do with available housing stock. It is because a very high percentage of these fine people are suffering mental disorders such as PSTD. Many find themselves unable to cope with civilian life and as a result find it more comfortable to live on the streets. The key to this is to address the root cause, which is the PSTD and other issues and ensure that anyone at risk of such issues is given the help they require. Sadly, this isn't given and they turn to drink, drugs and a chaotic lifestyle. Many of the refugees that are so vilified, have children and I for one, believe that whatever the story, children must never be allowed to sleep rough. In London, one of the biggest groups suffering homelessness is migrant workers, who suddenly find that when the work dries up, they have nowhere to live.

The problem is made worse by the hundreds of thousands of properties that are lying empty. Many are simply held as investments and others are owned by offshore investors, who have no interest at all in London and who add nothing to our economy. Finally, there are many properties where there are far more bedrooms than needed. I don't agree that a bedroom tax is the way to go. This simply forces people out of their homes. So here is my five point plan.

1. Service personel should receive proper back up services and none should ever "have no one to turn to". As a society, we have a debt to anyone who has seen active service. The MOD needs a strategy to ensure no one falls through the net. Help should be given to find employment opportunities for all servicemen. Help should be given for substance issues and every ex serviceman should get proper help with mental health issues. Most servicemen are resourceful individuals, who given proper help, have a huge contribution to society to give.

2. Refugees with children should also be prioritised. As most have no links with specific areas, they should be helped to settle in areas where there is less pressure on housing. This requires a proper strategy for addressing the issues, such as appropriate employment opportunities and extra cash for schools in these areas to address language issues etc.

3. Migrant workers, who find themselves homeless, should be given help to return to their country of origin. Although some will resent giving "free tickets home" to such people, it is far cheaper than any other solution. I would, however, prevent them from returning to the UK unless this debt is paid.

4. Many elderly people and those who's children have left home, have spare rooms. Local Councils should be encouraged to set up schemes to help these people rent spare rooms. This would bring in cash and for many would easy issues of loneliness. I would raise the tax threshold that people can earn through such lets to £15,000 per year. Councils should be forced to set up register, where people with such space can be matched with people who need a room. Students and key workers should be prioritised.

5. Many are simply sitting on "banked" properties and land. The government could free up much of this by giving the owners a "Capital Gains Tax Holiday" for a limited period. As owners would have a one off chance to make a 40% killing, many would be encouraged to sell. I would make it a stipulation that the sale must be to someone who will actually live there. This would be a huge carrot.

6. A stick is also needed to encourage those who are sitting on "banked land". I would introduce a quadruple rate of council tax on properties empty for more than nine months (with an exemption for major works, where receipts can be verified). I would also ring fence the cash raised to specifically address housing issues.

Of course, the Conservative government are unlikely to adopt any of these measures as none help the super wealthy, who enefit most from escalating property values. It is quite scandalous really, given that nearly all of them will cost the government little. Whilst there is a theoretical loss from a capital gains holiday, most of these properties will not get sold. A friend who knows about such things suggested that if the rate was cut from 40% to 10% for a year, it may actually bring money in. It would also generate economic activity as people decorated and renovated properties.

The Friday Joke - 19/05/2017

A jumbo jet is making its final approach to Tampa Airport ..

The pilot comes on the intercom, 'This is your Captain...
We're on our final descent into Tampa . I want to thank you for flying with us today and hope you enjoy your stay in the Tampa Bay area'.

He forgets to switch off the intercom. Now the whole plane can hear his conversation from the cockpit.

The co-pilot can be heard saying to the pilot, 'So, Skip, whatcha got planned while we're in Tampa ?'

'Well,' says the skipper, 'first I'm gonna check into the hotel, take a dump then I'm gonna take that new stewardess with the big boobs out for dinner.... I'm gonna wine and dine her, take her back to my room and give her a ride on the baloney pony all night long.'

Aghast and amused, everyone on the plane hears this and immediately begins looking up and down the aisle, trying to figure out who this new stewardess is that the pilot's talking about.

Meanwhile, the new stewardess is seated at the very back of the plane. She is so embarrassed that she starts running toward the cockpit to turn the intercom off. Halfway down the aisle, she trips over an old lady's bag and down she goes.

The old lady leans over and says: 'No need to hurry, dear. He's gotta land the plane and take a dump first.'

Have a geat weekend!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The Tory manfesto spells the end of a secure old age and the bank of Mum and Dad

If, like me, you are in your 50's, you've got teenage kids and you are not a billionaire, then this Tory manifesto is perhaps the scariest thing you will ever see. With all of us living longer, we are all likely to need some degree of care at the end of our lives. Under the existing arrangements, care at home is largely provided by local authorities. This means that when people pass away, their estate often goes to pay for home deposits etc for their children and grandchildren. The Tory manifesto will spell the end of this. It seems that all but the last £100,000 will be grabbed to pay for this care. I've got three children, so they'd get £33,000 each, which would not even pay for the deposit on the house I live in. Over the course of myworking life, I estimate I've paid nearly £2 million in taxes one way or another. All of this counts for nothing in the eyes of the Tory party, who's sole purpose of existance is to keep the taxes of billionaires low. I've tried to be careful, invest wisely and hope to leave some dosh for my kids. Now I find out that despite all of the tax I've paid, my estate will be asset stripped by the Tories, should I need some care. We are not talking about people who have been profligate, spent every penny as they go. They will be unaffected. We are talking about people who have tried to do the right thing. The right wing press will scream "why should the rest of us pay for old codgers care". Well hang on. Tell me where the £2 million I've paid on tax already has been spent? It certainly hasn't been spent on me. I've already paid ten the price and now I have to pay again. I'm not unique, every middle class person who has been sensible and hard working is faced with the same threat.

It is also clear from their manifesto that they will abandon the "triple lock", so not only will they asset strip our estates, our pensions will fall in real terms.

However much you fear and hate Labour or the Lib Dems, the truth is that if you don't want your familys future security robbed to pay for tax cuts for mega rich, you'd damn well better hold your nose and vote for them. The Tories have seen the current political situation as a massive opportunity to do a huge grab on the wealth of the "Just about coping". If you don't believe me, read the Tory manifesto.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Wednesday Poem #19 - Back to the 1970's

A pint of beer for thirty pee,
University all for free,
Glam Rock Stars on Top of the Pops,
New Faces and Opportunity Knocks,

The Sweeney, Porridge and Morecombe and Wise,
Patrick Moore scans the night skies,
Match of The Day and World of Sport,
Johnny Craddock with a glass of Port!

Bill Shankley and Brian Clough, 
The players were fair but tough,
Francis Lee and Colin Bell,
City in heaven, United in Hell,

Reggy boozed up for News at Ten,
Interviewing Tony Benn,
Diesel Trains in BR Blue,
Cheap as chips and regular too,

Balmy summers at Mill Hill Pool,
Endless summers and looking cool,
Strawberry Mivvy and Flake 99,
Watneys Red and Bulls Blood wine,

Back to the 70's? 
That's fine by me,
The greatest decade,
In history!
 Copyright 2017 Roger Tichborne

So come on, do you agree? Was the 1970's the greatest decade. We had the pill, but we didn't have AIDS, we had Ska, Reggae, Glam and Punk. Our rock stars were Bowie, Bolan, Lydon, Strummer, Marley, The Faces and Slade. Our football heroes were mercurial players such as Stan Bowles, Rodney Marsh, Colin Bell and Tony Currie. Our politicians had personalities and charisma, Ted Heath sailed boats, conducted orchestras and appeared on the Parkinson show. Wilson smoked his pipe and spoke of how the White Heat of Technology would transform the world. British TV was about high production values and taking chances. Programs like the Naked Civil Servant broke down barriers, whilst World in Action and Panorama set the agenda. Niche programs such as The Sky at Night and Gone Fishing educated us and built cult followings. Motorways were clear and not full of speed cameras. Trains were relatively cheap and through ticketing available. They were not plagued with penalty fares and arcane ticketing rules. Pubs were pubs, smokey bastions of working class culture and political incorrectness, not pseudo restaurants and beer was cheap. Juke boxes had vinyl singles and Radio 1 had John Peel [playing The Buzzcocks, The Fall and Steel Pulse. We had our tribes, Teds, Punks, Skinheads, Rude Boys, Glam Rockers and Rastas. Comedy was funny instead of edgy. The likes of Morecombe and Wise made high quality hilarious Xmas specials, whilst Ronnie Barker and Leonard Rossiter made the seemingly drab a deep well of laughter. The Sweeney were showing us how Cops should treat robbers and Alex Hayley wrote Roots, which was perhaps the greatest ever TV series for educating a generation as to the evil of slavery.

Perhaps the best thing was, we all thought we had a chance. Punk rock made us realise we could all form bands. Free University education offered a chance to better ourselves. Property was affordable and council housing was plentiful. The NHS was not a political football and unemployment was viewed as an evil and a short term issue.

There were a few downsides. We were four minutes from nuclear incineration. The shops shut at 5pm. If your mate told you that John Peel had a great show, you'd missed it, no chance to listen again. Cars broke down incessantly and were rust buckets. School meant sitting in desks and peeing yourself if you couldn't hold on till playtime. Exotic foreign travel was difficult and expensive. But that aside it was a brilliant time