Friday, 24 December 2021

On Christmas Eve with the Polar Express

Just a few hours to go as we all make the final preparations for Christmas and settle in front of the TV here's a something to entertain children of all ages. 

This is a wonderful Christmas layout built in "S" Gauge to feature the Polar Express. The author has put in lots of "Easter Eggs". See if you can spot them!

What will Santa be bringing you this year? What you didn't ask for a train set........

Friday, 17 December 2021

The Night She Disappeared - Lisa Jewell (Penguin)


I don't read a crime novel in a while and suddenly three come along at once. The Night She Disappeared is the second book I've picked up from the "Richard & Judy Book Club" in WHSmiths and once again is an author I am already familiar with having read her major seller The Family Upstairs which according to the blurb is to get a sequel in July next year. That'll be on my list.

This is a story about a young couple who go missing after a party in the "Dark Place and leave their baby behind in a mystery that gradually builds as the tale is woven through time by the author. Tualulah's mother Kim is distraught and despite a police search nothing is ever found.

Then a year or so later Sophie, a young author joins her boyfriend at the local private college.  It is here that the story really beins as an arrow that points to the ground reveals a clue which leads to the meeting of writer and grandmother who gradually co-operate to work out the mystery.

There's plenty to to keep the reader occupied with a jealous boyfriend, a strange set of snotty students and then a sign appears. Dig Here a note says. What does it reveal? Why now and why does the finder lie about how she saw the sign.

There's also a missing husband. They all seem to have disappeared in the woods. Why? And are they actually connected. Love, sex, betrayal and disappearances that need resolving as this mystery picks up pace to a crescendo of an ending. And more......

Rating: 5 Stars (Recommended)

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Religious censorship threatens right of expression

Since the protests against Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses the main focus on religious fundamentalism and extremism has been on Islam. Whilst it has been right to monitor and combat Islamism, the political movement that is violently dangerous both here and tin the Muslim world itself society has had a tendency to forget that extremism exists within all religions.

Probably the main one that comes to mind is the more militant sections of the Christian anti-abortion movement whose actions have been far from peaceful and especially intimidating towards women seeking to control their bodies.  In Africa American missionaries have been behind an upsurge of homophobia. In Britain a cartoon version of Old Harry's Game a comedy radio show about the Devil set in Hell was withdrawn after objections from the church.

The latter instance a direct result of one religions's extremism empowering anthers fundamentalism. Not that most of these types need an excuse but sensitivities become enhanced amongst publishers and broadcasters when religion causes controversy. Currently it is the gender politcs machine which leads the censor in this country but extreme followers of religion will always be ready to punce when they feel the need to be "offended".

France is one of those countries where religion plays a censorious role in what they try to proclaim is a "secular state". Islamism is on the rise and as a result we also see the rise of Catholic extremism from within the majority religion.

The National Secular Society reports that a Swedish musician had to hold a secret concert as she apparently promotes "satanism". Having listened to her music ( a sample of which is published below) I do not see this. Even fellow Swedish performers Ghost who do openly use satanic imagery clearly only do it for entertainment 

The NSS writes:

Swedish organist and singer Anna von Hausswolff performed in secret on Thursday night, after two of her French concerts were cancelled due to pressure from fundamentalist Catholics.

It's bizarre to say the least that in 21st century Europe, concerns about 'blasphemy' still have the power to shut down concerts.

Our vision for a secular democracy is underpinned by the fundamental human right to free speech. Without this, democracy cannot exist. Read more and join our campaign:

Anna's music may not be to everybody's taste (though I rather liked it after purchasing an album in Solidarity) but it's interesting and her use of the pipe organ does rather necessitate a church!  

Monday, 13 December 2021

Hawkwind - Dust Of Time (Cherry Red Records)


Just in time for Christmas comes a worthy compilation album from the ever productive Hawkwind, This two CD set covers their work over their entire history from when they formed in 1969 to today. Hawkwind have released 34 studio and seventeen compilation albums plus a dozen live performances over the years.

Like many people of my generation I first came across the band with their second album released in 1971 In Search Of Space. I still have a copy of this though the cover has seen better days! It went Gold. For the general public it was probably their single Silver Machine (included in this compilation) that brought them attention. The follow up Urban Guerilla was withdrawn after an assassination of an Italian politician but remains a classic. 

I first saw this band in Guildford back in the seventies and then again in the noughties where they seem to have two distinct groups of followers. Ageing rockers like me and a much younger crowd. Either way they continue to make good music.

Here's a selection of tracks to wet your appetite. I've avoided the obvious ones!

Paradox - Hall Of The Mountain Grill (1974)

Psi Power (Live Version 1984)

Angels Of Death - Sonic Attack (1981)

Available from:

(Also available is a luxury six CD set with 81 tracks) 


Sunday, 12 December 2021

The Burning Girls - C.J.Tudor (Penguin)


It's been a while since I read let alone reviewed a paperback thriller and this despite wanting to pick this particular book up for a while. I've become a fan of C.J.Tudor since she started writing novels. Having read her previous three masterpieces The Chalk Man (currently being made into a BBC TV series apparently), The Taking Of Annie Thorne and The Other People I expected an equally good story in this tome and I was not to be disappointed.

Oddly this book caught my attention in WHSmith's as I waled past their "Richard & Judy Book Club section and just picked it up like a shot. And at half price I might add! This is a special edition with extras from the former TV hosts who both write short introductions and provide questions for Book Club members to discuss at the end plus a short interview with the author. 

For once I was grateful for an introduction as Judy made it clear that "Jack" our main character was in fact a woman. Having just watched an old episode of Emmerdale where their Jack is in prison I'm sure I would have assumed Jack was a bloke at least for the first few pages.

Of course our maverick vicar isn't a bloke and is in fact a woman and single parent as well. Her daughter Flo will turn out to be very central to the mystery as it develops. Like all her novels there's a supernatural element element, the burning girls, little dolls made by some villagers to commemorate religious persecution some five hundred years past.

There's a mysterious death of her predecessor, apparitions for both our Jack and her daughter, some bullies, a weirdo, a fugitive and more in this continually twisting tale of lies, deceit, murder and lots of disappearances in the recent past. All this keeps the reader thinking right to the end as the tale weaved by it's author reaches a climax no one will have seen coming.

This novel is also due to made into a TV series. 

Rating: 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Urgent: the US Announces Boycott, the UK Must Follow!


Last night, the Biden administration announced that the United States will not be sending any officials or diplomats to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. This is a direct response to the Chinese Communist Party’s ongoing human rights atrocities.

We have campaigned hard for this moment. Joe Biden has made a stand. Now we need to push others to follow.

Thousands of you contacted the Prime Minister a couple of weeks ago but it appears that he did not get our message. Now is the time to up the pressure. Will you help by contacting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson again, demanding he announces a boycott of Beijing’s bloody Winter Games?

For over a year, Free Tibet and its friends around the world have been campaigning with a strong message: a government that carries out torture and genocide should never have been granted the Winter Games. We must boycott Beijing 2022.

Thanks to your continued support we are now seeing results. Biden’s announcement is a significant victory and there have been exciting developments in the UK too. In July, parliament voted in favour of a boycott of Beijing 2022, and several members of the government have said they will not be attending. But that is not enough.

The UK government must officially announce a boycott and they must announce it now. That’s where you come in. Will you demand that Boris Johnson acts now for human rights, and boycotts Beijing 2022?

Friday, 3 December 2021

Galloway & Williamson to unite the dark side?


Hot on the heels of the latest splits, resignations and squabbles inside the around the various groupies of LAW, LIE and the LPM (see articles below) it seems that Chris Williamson is entering yet another electoral arrangement with his tiny band of followers with that George Galloway character.

In his latest tweet Chris "Nosferatu" Williamson announces he will be sharing a platform with the gorgeous one at the Workers Party HQ building which is the rather unfortunately named Moseley Street. A wee bit too close to the truth methinks...

It seems the mash-up between Gerorge Galloway and the pro-North Korean Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) known as the Workers Party is planning to run candidates in the 2022 local elections. Williamson is going to send his familiars to lend a hand or two with their campaign.

How his other alliance with the Trade Union & Socialist Coalition will react is not yet known, The remnants of the Socialist Party (Militant) backed Williamson's Resist candidates during the last election. No doubt the TUSC will be running what candidates it can and maybe Williamson hopes that getting the backing of both Trotskyists and Stalinists will double his chances of losing any contest.

Meanwhile the Greenstein faction reels from yet another court ruling that poor old Tony has lost. Greenstein was found guilty of harassing Labour Party employees and has been banned from contacting them or the Labour Party for two years (1). That comes on top the other court decision that he can be described as an antisemite because of his writings  rantings on line and elsewhere (2).

Greenstein seemingly aims to link up with Williamson and form a new party, possibly with Galloway  who gave Greenstein a platform on his RT TV propaganda chat show.(3). No doubt the major political parties will not be taking much notice of this ramshackle outfit of failed politico's though these extremists will target seats with high Muslim populations to push their grandiloquent anti-imperialist campaign riddled with so-called anti-Zionism.



(1) www.brightonandhovenews

(2) Notorious antisemite loses libel case


Wednesday, 1 December 2021

A Resignation letter from Jackie Walker & Friends from Labour Against the Witch Hunt


Following yesterdays report on the antics of the overlapping memberships of Labour Against the Witch Hunt (LAW) and Labour in Exile (LIE) Jackie Walker and her Communist Party of Great Britain (Weekly Worker) supporters have issued a letter which I have reproduced in it's original entirety for your entertainment..

Further updates will no doubt be sent out for the benefit of their cheering masses (some 27 supporters judging by the vote) in the edition of Weekly Worker due out on Friday. This blog along with the working class awaits with baited breath....... well maybe not but this story of sectarian folly will no doubt continue showing how inherently useless these people really are.