Friday, 28 November 2008

Hostile environment course

I promised pictures .. here they are. I hope to god never to have to use what I learnt on my travels but it is good to know just in case.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

roll back or throwback?

 [polldaddy poll=1143981]

Having sat in the car park that is shepherds bush green too many times to ever bother again I’m in two minds over today’s announcement that the Western Extension of the C-Charge is going.

On the one hand Ken imposed it against the manifest majority wishes of west Londoners, revealed by even his biased consultation, which has been a hallmark of TfL. (A strange decision from a man that used to rail against rigged elections when Labour didn’t select him as candidate – against the wishes of most Labour Party members)

But on the other, when do we depart from majority rule in favour of breaking some egg shells in favour of the environment? And when is that justified?

I was in Kathmandu, Nepal, seven weeks ago. The air pollution there has to be experienced to be believed. The air is basically corrupt – so full of grit, smoke and chemicals that you choke. Even if you’re Nepali. And cut the smug feelings guys because at the present rate that’s where we’re headed.

Ken gambled that he could stick two fingers up at West Londoners and paid for it with his job. He now cuts a very sad figure still turning up at City Hall for meetings, as if he can somehow guarantee his election that way next time round. Boris has been politically very clever in doing this early in his term. No-one will remember it come election time. But does that make it right?


Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Hostile environment emergency first aid update

I am now nearing the end of my course here in darkest Hampshire, in preparation for going to some volatile parts of the world that suffer from armed conflict. I have just done a day's splinting, evacuating, bandaging, hostage taking and negotiating checkpoint training all complete with Royal Marine instructors toting Kalashnikovs and using fake blood. Out of my comfort zone? Just a bit...and PHOTOS TO FOLLOW!!!

Burger King: have it our way

burgerkingcupholder1I am rarely lost for words as those who know me will testify (usually in annoyance) but this little exchange left me speechless. Other than to observe that BK and Westfield clearly think that residents matter very very little indeed.

This is from

We asked Burger King when they would be opening, why they had chosen to open up in Westfield and whether they would be doing anything to ensure litter from takeaway packaging did not become an issue.

A Burger King spokesperson said: “Burger King is the home of the quality burger where customers can choose to ‘Have it 100% Your Way’. We offer customers a wide range of menu options and passionately care about what goes into those menu choices.

Monday, 24 November 2008

"Fun" in the snow

I'm just off to get a train from Waterloo to a remote outback part of Hampshire, where I will be on a "hostile environment and emergency first aid" training course, mostly outside. Its a course that aid workers and humanitarian/relief/development NGOs send their staff on before they go to dicey parts of the world.

Apparently there's liberal use of "pyrotechnics" and "real life scenes" (fake blood) to make it all, well, real.

And when have I been lucky enough to go on it? Yes, thats right, the coldest spell of the year thus far!

Sunday, 23 November 2008



Season's Greetings! In less than two weeks I will be in West Africa enduring 35 degree heat so I probably enjoyed this more than most of you..

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Catch up Labour!

Let's be straight about this - I am a Labour Party member. Or at least I was until the incompetent membership department said I had missed a payment. The only problem with that was that I paid direct debit. And my bank confirmed they had taken my money. Less said about that the better.

Anyway this is the website of Hammersmith and Fulham Labour Party and it is pretty poor - months out of date in fact. As you will see from the post about Shepherds Bush tube being out of action.

This is a knife edge borough and they need to scrap for every vote - shouldn't they at least update their own site?! Scrutiny of the Tories follows...


Shepherd's Bush is one of the most diverse areas of London, and therefore the UK. And by 'diversity' we usually mean a range of ethnic backgrounds, my own family's for example is mixed.

But the publication this week of the BNP's membership list showed us two things. Firstly that their membership is tiny, which most people would see as reassuring. Secondly however, quite a few of them seem to have a W12 postcode, which is perhaps less so.

But should we be worried? The Bush has never to my knowledge experienced race related conflict, of the kind I was hearing about ona  recent peacebuilding event I took part in 2 weeks ago in Bradford West Yorkshire. And the only time you ever see big blokes in boots stomping down the road its either 11th November remembrance or Millwall fans on derby day (I still thank the day they were relegated having seen them attempt to tear up Loftus Road and then marched in columns to the tube by riot police down Uxbridge Road)

But what do you think? And have sales of bomber jackets in Shepherd's Bush Market been kept going by these people?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Ginglik: what's the real story?

You might have read about Ginglik's campaign to save itself from being inundated with concrete as H&F council fill the subterrenean cavern up for good. Ginglik, which I didnt realise until recently, is a comedy and music club that is not so much on the Green as under it.

They apparently have a cult following but dont make a great deal of money. The Council want to close it down by not renewing the lease and then fill it up permanently. They say that its effectively being subsisdised and is a waste.

Ginglik's owners say that's rubbish and that in the long term their rent outstrips any money H&F might need to spend on the upkeep of the property as a landlord.

With Westfield radically altering the face of Shepherds Bush already I'm inclined to say keep Ginglik. But what about you?

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Appreciate our luck

I work for a Non Governmental Organisation, NGO, that tries to build peace in war torn areas. In 2 weeks I am going to a part of Africa that has suffered more than most other areas in the world. The media reports soldiers, tanks and guns but there are other forms of victimhood - particularly if you are a woman.

Thats part of the reason why I love Shepherd's Bush so much. For all its problems, and it has many, it is a world away from what most human beings call life. That's my perspective, and in an area as rich in diversity as W12 there must be so many others.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Rats in retreat

In the last few months I have witnessed an explosion of the rat population on the Green, I walk through it every morning at 0630 and usually see at least two or even three,  They're easy to spot because they're so fat from eating all the fast food thats strewn across it.

This week however the rat catchers have obviously been in - I havent seen a single one!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Recession? What, here?

You would think that a gym membership would be pretty near the top of most people’s lists of things to cut back on as we go into recession. And therefore you might think that gyms themselves would make a little bit more effort to keep their customers.


Not so Fitness First in Shepherd’s Bush. This morning we all trudged in and did our thing only to find that their showers didn’t work. Nobody had thought to tell us this when we arrived.


We all therefore left, to find showers elsewhere, happily sweating into our work clothes and thanking our good fortune to members of this establishment. Just as I left I asked why no-one had told us. The reply – “we’re fixing it now. Have a nice day.”




Sunday, 9 November 2008

Remembrance Sunday, 9th November 2008

A sombre walk back from the gym this morning, past remembrance sunday taking place at the cenotaph on the Bush. What I have to confess about feeling most sad about was the sight of legions of early teenaged children from the army cadets parading about as toy soldiers. Ready for the next conflict. [gallery]

Saturday, 8 November 2008


This is a blog about Shepherd's Bush London W12. I've lived here for 5 years, and will use this place to record it. You can see more info on the blog using the "whats this blog about?" tab at the top. Enjoy!