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3 questions

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"One can rape the Law without making her scream." Charles M. de Talleyrand
The image above is pretty much self-explanatory. Politicians have been saying this week that questions must be asked and questions must be answered. I have just 3 questions: How much did  Kensington and Chelsea Council pay for each "Fire Action" sign shown above? This will have to include charges for design, feasibility, plan, expert assessments and any other related expenditure.Who approved and signed off the above sign? (if anyone)What are the relationships (personal and / or commercial) between the signataries of 2) and the leadership of Kensington and Chelsea Council?Any answers to the above will define not only if there was a crime, but also if we are now confronting a new ugly term, waiting to be coined... Institutional Corruption.

Hell on Earth

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"Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do" Voltaire
I am writing this because it is the only thing I can do. It is too awful to go through it without crying, too raw to put any sense or reason, too avoidable. So, I am only left with words, I am not speechless... yet. I wrote about a similar catastrophe that befell on Lac Mégantic in Québec, Canada, almost four years ago. That time, 47 people died in a blaze of fire of shale gas, when a 50 plus car runaway train, loaded with combustible, descended a mountain, crashed and exploded into the town, without warning. To date, the victims' families are still wrangling through courts, seeking redress, when both the American and Canadian Governments are closing ranks with the rail companies to impede any settlement. Be prepared, because the culprit is once again... Greed.
Three nights ago normal standard folk went to sleep in Notting Hill, just like in Lac Mégantic and similarly, quite a few did not survive the night, I…

Amateurs

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"I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep." Charles M. de Talleyrand

I debated the title of this post between losers and amateurs... amateurs had to win.
Yesterday I went to Event City to attend the launch of the Labour campaign. As a Labour member, I received a few emails inviting me for this celebration and curiosity won. I had to have a look. 
I did not know what to expect. I've seen a lot of politics and good launches and good and bad parties and good and bad professionals. I was not expecting this. I arrived at 10.45am for a 11am launch. The venue was half full. I tried to find the hashtag on twitter for this... none to be seen, at all. It transpired later, that the hashtag for The Big Launch was #ForTheMany. By the end of it it was crawling miserably below 30th and behind... Nick Clegg, of all people. I had a look at the banners, the words, the speeches, everything falling utterly short. 
The original caller, intro…

Dum, dum, dum, dum... dum, dum, dum, dum!

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There are two wonderful comments in this YouTube clip that sum up this extraordinary moment: 1. "They can't say you can't miss what you didn't have. Well, I can!" 2. "14:58 minutes of my life that have been put to good use."
I really missed this trio big time. Never saw them live in concert and that makes me sad. Sad that I can only perceive this beauty through media, not with a direct contact.
Since I heard the double bass riff on "Seven Days of Falling" that "dum, dum, dum, dum..." these are four (very simple) notes that will never leave my head. Even my daughters, with all the biebers and mendes and beyoncés, know these very well, and that makes me proud, gives me the certainty that music is Universal with a capital U and also Human, with an even greater capital H.
The entire repertoire of the Esbjörn Svensson Trio is of an unique intellectual level, an emotional harmony without rival, with a fabulous balanced sonority and narrative, w…

Surrender

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Who remembers playing cowboys and indians in their childhood? I thought this was a long time ago but yesterday I saw this kid with a homemade bow and arrow, this bent branch, with a tightened rope throwing a stick as far as 5 metres... there is still hope... not everyone is looking at a 5.5" screen. 
We used to spend hours on end on the street, in our estate, 2 dozens of kids making war and peace. The game had these fuzzy rules, two bands, one of cowboys and another of indians, all heavily "armed" with bows and arrows, spears, toy revolvers and rifles for the ones that had wealthier parents, some with "real" hats and frilly trousers, and even boots, others with just chequered shirts and shorts. Most of the indians' fighting hardware was made of giant reeds (arundo donax) a very abundant material. Some were cut to rifle size and, with a few cloth pegs, could imitate a G3 machine gun we used to hear about as standard issue for the Portuguese Army in the colon…

Let it go...

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"One death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic" — Stalin
I spent this weekend on a "marathon" at the Durham Book Festival. I saw quite a few shows, presentations and presentations that were more like lectures. Some were very very interesting, challenging, others made me angry, being as a consequence also interesting and challenging... and still, as a consequence, I will have to write about it.
One of the events was about "Love and Loss" with Cathy Rentzenbrink and Decca Aitkenhead talking about their experiences and their books "The Last Act of Love" and "All at Sea".  

As soon as the discussion started I felt uncomfortable, not because  the talk was about death, but because there was no death. Not that I am morbid, at all, and was expecting gory details and external expressions of grief, live. I did not know the circumstances of both writers, but I slowly started seething with the display of luxury of this exercise and its pr…