London, baby!

Facts and figures.

Sights seen: British Museum, Kew Gardens. St. Paul’s Cathedral (in time for Sunday Mass). Hyde Park. Royal Albert Hall. Tate Modern. Hammersmith Apollo. Southbank. Regents Park. Covent Garden. Holland Park. Tower of London. Trafalgar Square. Big Ben. Marble Arch. The Burroughs. Piccadilly Circus. Leicester Square. Spitalfields. The Golden Hinde. Stag Beetles.

Distance covered: approx 60 miles.

Bridges crossed: Hammersmith, Putney, Westminster, Millennium, London, Tower.

Food and Drink: The Coach and Horses, Kew. Fuel, Covent Gardens. The Crispy Duck, Chinatown. The Slug and Lettuce, Soho. Nando’s, Southwark. The Pastry Shop, Euston Station. Various hot dogs, delicious and otherwise.

Celebrities spotted: Graham Norton, Johnny Vegas.

Highlights.

Has to be the Stag Beetle display at Kew Gardens. A bunch of tree trunks. Nothing else.

The Fuel balcony in Covent Garden is one heck of a cool place to be. Especially with pitchers of Long Islands.

And the Best-Burger-Ever Award goes to the Coach and Horses Hotel for a succcccculent burger and secret recipe mayo that was very memorable.

The celebs were like bookends to our visit; Graham Norton with two dogs at a Hyde Park hot dog stand by The Serpentine as we set out on a fine Saturday morning, and Johnny Vegas coming the opposite way in Euston Station as we were dashing with our bikes to get the train home to Manc.

p.s. we may have been in the presence of more celebs over the course of the weekend, but it’s fitting that I only recognised comedians.

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The day Democracy took a step backwards.

For the first time in the UK an incumbent Prime Minister joined in live televised debate with the leaders of opposing parties.

Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg was always going to fare better than the other two as he was going in with nothing to lose and all to gain. With Labour’s Brown and Conservative Cameron pandering to him on the night (I suppose they were instructed not to publicly pick on the new kid) he grew a set of cojones and came out trumps. With the publicity he’s gained the Lib Dems have gone from long-standing laughing stock and also-rans to serious contenders. Betcha my Grannie to your old shoes they’ll try to shred him in the next two debates.

The performance of the other two? Brown looked stolid but tired and Cameron was patronisingly slimy as ever.

I guess what annoys me most about these so-called debates is that I, conceivably prematurely, foresee an inevitable decline of British politics towards the kind of show-boating and back-stabbing one-upmanship that will denigrate the almost faultless lives that our leading politicians lead.

Hah!

What really bothers me actually is the fact that we’ve now agreed, nay, demanded! as ‘The Public’, to be impressed by the person who’s most well-turned-out. Because that’s (pretty much) all that the televised debates will be able to highlight.

With record viewing figures (average 9.4 million, peak 9.9, which “beat even Coronation Street”) being quoted in the papers, it almost seemed as if they were competing against the other “talent” shows that abound nowadays.

Fair enough to say, the media is having its predictable field day with the ‘who-looked-at-whom, who-wore-what’ inane chatter.

I despair.

Masters of war

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansions
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.

-Dylan