11 May 2008

10 Jun 2007

The Shag King

Celebs in Potters Fields today for a Shrek3 line-up in front of Tower Bridge. Present were Puss in Boots, Shrek,Princess Fiona and Prince Charming, but not Donkey Haughty.The Shag King is in black flanked by Antonio Banderas, Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett. I sat on Jeffrey Katzenberg's slippery head to get these snaps. I say 'sat' tho he's a Democrat, but note the trim of my tail feathers.UPDATE: This Daily Mail story gives Rupert Everett his head. He's making a film of Ronald Searle's St Trinian's where "cartoons often showed dead bodies of girls who had been murdered with pitchforks or succumbed to violent team sports..; girls often drank, gambled, and smoked." Prince Charming plays the headmistress. I play a vulture.

It's been a weird week

5 Jun 2007

The horror, the horror

There's something about logos that brings out all that's most spastic in ponytail aesthetics. Once a CEO has bought into a logo, it's blasphemy to state the obvious - same with IT projects or the Emperor's New Clothes.

The crazed emperor of the London Olympics is Sebastian Coe, one of the greatest of all athletes. I once walked behind him at Athens airport. It was like walking behind a man with wings on his ankles...he just glided down the corridor with no effort. Here he is announcing the new logo..

See also Fake Steve.

22 May 2007

What I learnt in Iceland

Rhubarb's a stem and not a fruit,
Prunes and muesli make you toot,
But snorchestras will drown out wind.
Allegedly (I'm not convinced)
Box jellyfish aren't jellyfish and
Greenland is further east than Iceland.
A Minister of Elvish Matters
Defines the routes of roads and detours.
Dottirs and ssons of Irish slaves
Kill foxes, whales, whatever moves,
And there's a certain charm in grimness,
Tax evasion, drunken primness,
Strapping horses, strapping women.
Real men who smell of fish and semen.
Volcanic science,
Car-mangling giants,
Fire and ice,
I think it's nice.

21 May 2007

A Giant Step for Shagkind

I missed the Grand Opening of Potters Fields. I was in Iceland to discuss NATO business with our allies, the Killer Whales. You will enjoy a courtesy visit by a Killer flotilla in the Thames later this summer. I invited them over to intimidate the Mayor of LondON and to snack on the swans, gulls, grebes, coots and other oily-feathered riffraff.

I also had an exchange of views with the Icelandic Minister for Elvish Matters whose portfolio includes Giants, Trolls and the routing of roads not to disturb the Huldufolk, the Hidden People. In Reykjavik a Giant with a grudge against cars was on the rampage as you can see from the snap. Makes the Congestion Charge look effete, nest-ce pas?

The Leader of Southwark Council

in full dress uniform:

2 May 2007

Cakes and Ale

Last night 2 beautiful ladies from Southwark's Licensing Unit brought me an invite to meet Nick Stanton, the leader of Southwark Council, tomorrow evening at Potters Fields Trust's office 2 minutes' waddle from Tower Bridge. I don't normally agree to meet people who call themselves Nick or Tony or Dave to strangers. The ingratiating informality of our would-be masters makes me want to expectorate on their jeans, but on Friday Nick's licensing committee meets to determine Potters Fields' application for booze-fuelled, all night, amplified, fairtrade yodelling. I don't mind the Special Olympics head-trampolining - I might join in - but yodelling frizzles my feathers. Anyway I suspect that the eloquent objections from the blood-sucking nimbies in Shad Thames, not to mention the avenging angels of Shag Thames, have made Nick nervous that the Committee might nix Nick's license notwithstanding he's their boss.

So let's recap: Nick is on the board of Potters Fields and he's leader of the Council whose committee grants licenses. Conflict Of Interest, n'est-ce pas. But Old Nick is an honourable man, so are they all, all honourable men...yeah right, as the Bard would say. Ok so he wants to meet and make me a proposition. He'd just better not be wearing £100 jeans.

Here's a precis of the new licensing conditions proposed by the Trust:

Corporate Events till 1am - max 25 per year of which max 12 per month.
Translation: charity mud-wrestling in a marquee near City Hall with drunken, sex-crazed brokers and traders (I know, I was one) staggering down Tooley Street at 2am to the lap-dancing club and urinating on City Hall en route. All fine by me.

Cultural Events till 10.30pm - max 55 per year of which minimum 45 would be free to the public.
Translation: Tosca al fresco and Free-Palestine-Or-We'll-Blow-Up-Tower-Bridge rallies (speaker, the Mayor of London) and so on.

Tell me, Nick, if this is all for the sake of revenue to run Potters Fields, why is it free ?


29 Apr 2007

The Big Issue

The big issue is........................unauthorised parking

27 Apr 2007

Flightless cormorants

Not everyone knows that otters are flightless cormorants, but I can't condone this:

26 Apr 2007

Hello, sailor!

Looking for a shag?

Thought for the day

Here I am calling the Mayor to come out and fight.
Is he man or newt?
There's some debate whether a shag is a cormorant. Wikipedia states :

Some modern classifications of the family have divided it into two genera and have tried to attach the name "Cormorant" to one and "Shag" to the other, but this flies in the face of common usage

but a renowned shaggonomer from Itching Abbotts, Hants, writes me that shags are the ones with a Mohican. We, the spiffy species of Phalacrocorax Urbanus, address each other as cormorant or shag depending on mood.

When we're Satanic, it's cormorant as in Paradise Lost:
...up he flew, and on the tree of life,
The middle tree and highest there that grew,
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regained, but sat devising death
To them who lived
When we're suave, it's shag.

24 Apr 2007

Shag Thames

Here I am inspecting the fragments of Tower Bridge's reflection one enchanted evening. Soon I'll have Scarpia and Tosca bellowing at me at sunset. Spare me the shag jokes, I've heard them all.

The field of blood

[1] When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
[2] And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
[3] Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
[4] Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
[5] And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
[6] And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
[7] And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.
[8] Wherefore that field was called, the field of blood, unto this day.


A memo from Southwark Noise Czar

Cormorants need their beauty sleep. It's hard work sunning our wings all afternoon. Potters Fields Trust wants a license for all-night amplified fair-trade yodelling. This memo from Southwark's Noise Czar (pbuh) is reassuring. But, and it's a big but, I suspect the applicants and the GLA want to water it down. Anyway for your edification I present...

To Southwark
MEMO: Noise & Air Quality Team
Telephone 020 7525 5701
Fax 020 7525 5768
Email Noise@southwark.gov.uk

Potters Field Park , Tooley Street SE1
The Noise Team have received many complaints from past events. There are residential properties in the area including the Tower of London. I would ask that the following conditions be considered :-

1. The licensee shall appoint a suitable qualified and experienced noise control consultant, to the approval of the Licensing Authority, as soon as is practical prior to each musical event, or any event that is likely to cause excessive noise. The noise control consultant shall liase between all parties including the Licensee, Promoter, sound system suppliers, sound engineers, and officers of The Council.

2. The noise control consultant shall carry out a survey to determine the background noise levels (as defined by the Code of Practice on Environmental Noise Control at Concerts) at appropriate locations. This shall include the highest available residential fa├žade to account for free field conditions. The information from this survey to be made available to the licensing authority at least one week prior to any event that is likely to cause excessive noise.

3. A noise propagation test shall be undertaken prior to the performance in order to set appropriate control limits at the sound mixer positions. The sound system(s) shall be configured and operated in a similar manner as intended for the event. The sound source shall be to be similar in character to the music produced during the event.
4. The control limits set at the mixer positions shall be adequate to ensure the Music noise Level shall not at any noise sensitive premises exceed 65 dB(A) at the nearest external facade over a fifteen minute period throughout any rehearsal, sound check or performance. The level will drop to 55dB(A) after 22:30 hours. The Sound Engineer / Consultant shall remain on location throughout the duration of performance, and be in overall control over any artistes’ dedicated Sound Engineers.

5. The Licensee shall ensure that the promoter, and all sound engineers are informed of the sound control limits and that instructions from the noise control consultant regarding noise levels are implemented.

6. The noise control consultant shall, at 45 minute intervals, monitor the noise levels at the designated positions and advise the sound engineer accordingly to ensure that the noise limits and Trading Standards Division shall have access to the results of the noise monitoring .

7. The Licensee shall ensure that all requests from the noise consultant and Noise Team officers and complied with.

8. There shall be no movement of equipment by vehicles over 7.5 tonnes between the hours of 24:00hours and 08:00 hours.

9.Announcements to be made at the end of each evenings entertainment asking patrons to leave quietly.

10. Details of a telephone number permanently manned during performances to be made available to the Noise Team prior to the event.

11. At least two weeks prior to the event a leaflet drop is to be made to households in surrounding premises nearby. The addresses notified must be supplied to the Licensing and Noise Team, and the leaflet to include the date and times of performances, a description of each performance, and a contact telephone number.

12. The performers likely to be noisiest such as pop groups, singers, bands and choirs etc. shall be scheduled to perform so as to avoid the most sensitive times of late evenings and all day Sunday.

13. Music must cease at the specified time on the licence.

14. No separate sound / music system shall be operated within the application site except those specified in the applicant Licence.

15. The hours in which an event shall take place, will be negotiated between the applicant, the Licensing Unit & the Noise Team.



Potters Fields Trust has applied to Southwark for a public entertainment and alcohol license. It's for up to 5,000 people, for any sort of concert, boxing, wrestling, bearbaiting, adult entertainment, infantile entertainment, political demonstrations (I kid you not), Special Olympics Head-Trampolining. You name it, they can do it. They didn't waste their money with Stephen Cornford, PFT's Panjandrum. So mild, so respectable, so English, so honourable. I trust him. So what's to squawk about?
Well, as ChairAvian of the Residents' Association I attended a Southwark Licensing Committee informal conciliation meeting. Naturally the meeting was held in a small room in council offices in Walworth, 3 hours waddle from Potters Fields. Naturally it was at 10am when I should be fishing whereas the applicants and their experts were all being paid (by me in the case of the GLA. You think cormorants don't pay tax?). Naturally the only late arrivals were the private events company travelling from Bermondsey Street. Anyhoot alongside the avuncular, Trustworthy Mr Cornford of Potters Fields Trust was a handsome nu-Labourish young man in £100 jeans and a smart jacket who is I think some kind of aide to Ken Livingstone. There was a political air about him, but 2 things made my feathers sparkle with static. First he said the GLA views Potters Fields like Trafalgar Square. Second he sought to erase the decibel limits wanted by Southwark's Noise Czar (pbuh) by appointing a firm of consultants to report back after a year. Ye gods! Make a noise, ask someone to stand in Shad Thames, did you hear it? No, fine. Yes, turn it down. Call me a suspicious old bird, but I think the Mayor wants to use Potters Fields for his own propaganda and his favoured causes, which used to be the IRA and now embrace Islamism. Mayor of LondON, we are LondONErs, who dreams this stuff up ? Probably someone in £100 jeans.

Potters Fields Park Management Trust

This grumpy old cormorant (me, not him) trusts the estimable Stephen Cornford, Panjandrum of Potters Fields Park Management Trust (that's him, not me). But I'd trust him more if he owned up what he's done with the missing apostrophe.

What a crummy photo.

Bin the Bomb!

London Bridge Business Improvement District shares an office with Potters Fields Trust. Their website has these moving sentiments :

we want to ensure that the standards of cleanliness experienced by employees, visitors and residents will be comparable to the very best London business districts (such as the City of London), with zero tolerance given to street rubbish..

I emailed these photos to More London (we have agents disguised as PolicePersons; you can tell them by ripping off their shoes to reveal their webbed feet; try it, you'll win a prize). Less is More, so no reply, but a few days later More's bins had gone and a little bird told me that terrorism was one of More's motives to bin the bins. Well I know I can be cawstic, but... Anyhoot (geddit) I expect the terrorists are deterrred by the long climb from Queen's Walk to the vast herds of bins in Potters Fields. And even if they survived the climb, there's no space left to bin the bomb.