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Thursday, April 27, 2006



Skipped the country.
The name changes will clearly never end.
Holed out in Greece, I've been thru various name choices:

  • Gouvian
  • Botanophobe
  • Anything to hint at a violent apathy towards yardwork and the treadmill futility, the flauracatory positions and peony servitude involved in this whole business. Alas, nothing came to mind of sufficient violence and loathing. (Incidentally, what a lot of splendid sites there are out there on the subject of plant loathery)
  • I'll settle for something more Ionian Phaeakonian and see how things go from there. Mind you, come the revolution, what a crazy paving over there'll be, a flattening and battening and razing and blazing and scorching and torching.
    Verily, secateurs will be hammered back into scimitars, leaf-blowers back to friendly flame-throwers; peat will disappear 'neath concrete and every plant and weed that needed bending and tending will be blasted from the heath and friendly paving stones dumped atop with powerful chemicals flowing in the cracks and veins.

    Sunday, April 16, 2006



    I was bunching the post all in one but decided to give Dad his own.

    Mum and George tidying the grave, mum arranging the flowers we'd picked.

    George lighting the candle and reassuring us the grave stone was cleaned with soap and water and *no* abrasives.

    garden and viewWhen we got back, the garden and view and general temperature were just perfect.

    Felt a twinge that Dad - who'd worked so hard for that paradise house and Eden view - wasn't with us to share it.

    A brace of ouzos, and such unmanly melancholy soon passed.

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    In Memoriam

    We are not so tucked away that news hasn't reached me of author Muriel Spark's death at 88, last Thursday in a Florence hospital.

    I first read her at 17 to annoy my English master and show off to fellow aesthetes. Didn't understand a word and it was not 'til 4 years later at a country house-party that I was stuck with nothing but the Go-Away Bird, tried again and saw was she was all about.

    While memorialising, we have been to the British (ie Protestant) cemetery here in Corfu to place flowers on dad's grave and remember in silence.

    Twenty-five years this June 14.

    Doesn't seem it. I don't know what it *does* seem, but 25 years seems a mighty long time to still miss him so.

    George Psilas keeps *the* most beautiful garden and grave site: only him, a paltry stipend from the British government and absolutely nothing from the other countries whose Protestant faithful are also buried there.

    On top of which, the graveyard is listed in all the tourist brochures.

    People turn up - not just the religiosi or bereaved - and blithely lay out their picnic stuff, nosh away amid the headstones and then pack up and tootle off, leaving their rubbish behind for George to clear up. Not just empty Coke cans and junk food detritus: faeces in the grass.

    Mum and I picked some flowers from the garden and George walked us to dad's grave where the three of us lit a candle and, tidied the grave area and laid fresh flowers (see separating post above).

    R.I.P., and I always leave the cemetery with a bit of one in the heart.

    pool 2002


    I always love these before and after shots.

    I snapped the family pool a few years back in full July glory, just waiting for bronzed babes to dive in and cleave the chlorine with glistening lotion-ised bodies.
    pool awaiting cleaning

    Now I'm resident here and in charge of mundane affairs such as the emptying and cleaning and upgrade of filters (see below)

    Roll on summer proper when everything'll be done and ready to rock.

    UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: Come to think of it, I ought now to dump good old 'Busker' and switch over to something more summery and Aegean.

    I shall think up some sensible title as befits my new lotus-eating life - Basker, perchance - and have a grand opening announcement and ceremonial trashing of the minstrel blog.

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    Rogering Rogers

    Where on earth were the likes of Mamzsel Pamela when *I* was a measly 13?

    Of course, we're not shown the seducee, so we don't know what the full fuss is about.

    But honestly! It's not the state of today's yoof  we should be grizzling about so much as the carnivore calibre of their tutors.

    First the fragrant Mary K Le Tourneau with her lumpy polynesian; now the distinctly more pouting and angular Pamela R.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    "The Party for White People"

    What *is* this country coming to?

    Hoot of the month *has* to be the British National Party's selection of the colourful sounding Sharif Abdel Gawad to fight a seat in next month's local elections.

    "Totally assimilated Greek-Armenian", indeed ... no wonder there's a backlash among BNP hardliners who describe Mr Gawad as an "ethnic". Is that some kind of new insult?

    Formerly the National Front, the BNP always struck me as made up of hardliners by its very nature. I mean, what is one to make of a website that asks,

    "Can you just sit there and watch as our country is being ripped apart by the forces of multiculturalism?"

    Actually, that's not a particularly good quote because it includes the dreaded "M" word that sets even my teeth on edge and a vein throbbing in the temple.

    But you get my drift. It sounds like an ingenious April 1st Monty Python spoof:

    BNP "modernisers" after making the party more acceptable and more mainstream, when we all know that, for most BNP members, race is the bottom line.

    Surge in support: But watch out: a recent poll backs up the employment minister's warning that white working-class families feel so neglected by the Government and angered by immigration that they're deserting Labour and flocking to the BNP.

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006


    I got it wrong: this isn't the von Hagens show but a different one using Chinese prisoners of dubious deaths.

    It's already collecting fierce reviews - hence ace publicity - such as Norman Lebrecht's attack in the Evening Standard.

    Even The good old Times gets in on the debate.

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    knightsbridge corner

    London Jaunt

    Waiting to change dollars and pounds into Euros, I stepped out of the corner bourse and was struck by the beauty of the Burberry building, so typical of this part of London.
    pink cab in motcombPink Cab

    The route to the Waitrose supermarket is a civilised stroll across Cadogan Gardens, for which residents on all 4 sides have access keys.

    This diagonal view looks back and across Cadogan Place to Sloane Street.

    I'm still 20 years out of date when it comes to cabs, and expect them to be a sober black. I thought I'd kill 2 birds and see if I could include this splodgy pink cab as it whisked by.long view across cadogan place

    Cadogan Place

    A clearer view of Cadogan Gardens/Place and its setting. Look at how broad the road is.

    Oakley House where I'm staying is approximately between the Parking sign and the tree to its left.

    Gun shop

    Also en route to the shops, like something out of a John Buchan novel, Ray Ward's emporium ('Gunsmith to the gentry') absolutely fascinates me. I make sure to drag my heels as I go by so as to peer in at the posh types buying their fowling pieces.

    The staff are impeccably dressed and there's one sprightly young thing who is just *too* gorgeous for words.

    Each time I've watched her thru the glass, she seems in complete control of the customer's needs, deftly handling the weaponry and giving crisp replies.

    If only I had the right gear, I'd look up convincing questions on the web and saunter in posing as landowner back from the New World to claim my baronial hall inheritance.

    Natch, I am in need of a brace of Purdeys before the start of grouse season.

    She'd rumble me, of course, but what a wonderful route to humiliation.

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Blooker Prize

    Ugh - 'blooker'. What an unwieldy word.

    You can be sure it was never coined by a bona fide blogger.

    All the same, a good piece by The Times's Ben Macintryre on "the first competition for books that started life as weblogs, or blogs."

    Brain Train

    knew  my daily sudoku sessions were doing some good.

    All the papers over here carry various levels, and commuter buses and trains are silent as we bend to our tasks.

    Thanks to Anon for the cool link.

    Dis-donc! 24 hrs later, Elise writes in. What nice readers I have, and don't deserve, being such a sulky jerk m'self.

    Mwah mwah, Elise - super pointer to the Wash Post, and a damn'd useful paper to have in my Favourites anyway  ... keep me informed once I'm consigned to my garden shed in the wilds of Greece (off to where I'm jetting in precisely 10 hours).

    Saturday, April 08, 2006


    Clever little Atoms flick I hadn't seen before, starring a Magic Wand.

    From comments, the Wand isn't a unique idea, but I've not seen it before and both actors are perfectly cast and the Tech Support voice is spot on.

    Added bonus: Witty sponsors Gamekillers have good adverts, in particular British Accent Guy

    Article 17: If you've time, also check out Consent. It goes on a bit but has a few good lines. (I completely miss what the very end is about: who is *that* girl?)

    the office

    The execrable American version finally exposed to British derision, 10th April.

    Half-page advert in today's Times's cultural supplement, TheKnowledge, announcing

    "The US version of the UK classic on DVD

    "It's brilliant" - Ricky Gervais

    Then, on the next line, as if Gervais did NOT go on to say it, but we're meant to think he did:

    "Different ... but brilliant. Fact."

    Across the page, slightly hinting at the truth: "If you thought Brent was bad (sic) wait until you meet Stott".

    I suppose the mendacious Gervais comment was because they had him by the short and contractuals and he had to go along with whatever punctuation-lite tripe the marketing boys came up with.

    Jenny Holzer

    London landmarks illuminated all this week as part of the Beckett Festival.

    Ra-a-ther breathtaking ...

    Click on Images for examples of Ms Holzer's talent.

    Friday, April 07, 2006


    victoria st burger kingThe English just don't *do* burgers all that well.

  • They don't get the decor right


  • Including their own part in the scenery
  • They look so unhappy about it.
    The nosh itself isn't exactly appealing, albeit terribly British in its way ... 

  • News of the World reporter and fake sheikh, Mazher Mahmood

    Ma'zhur Mu'ckmood

    Tabloid ferret

    Bainbridge readers won't have a clue about whom I write but, now I'm back in the UK, I can indulge in a little vermin goading.

    I have no brief for the flashy George Galloway and his ludicrous "Respect" movement, but I despise even more the gutter ghetto school of reptile reporting, of which News of the Screws' 'Sheikh' Mah'moud is poster child.

    A duty *and* a pleasure, therefore, to lean a puny shoulder to the wheel and do what one can to spoil the rodent poseur's pitch.

    Alas, no danger of his downfall or sudden unemployment, thanks to the greed and vanity of MM's "victims". But it must help a *bit* to post even hazy shots of the swarthy George Best-lookalike.

    ^5 to Galloway for lining him in his sights.

  • More the Merrier: Jon Choo has his heart in the right place, running helpful pics of the shadowy Muckmood
  • Daily Torygraph runs useful background for fair play feigners, as opposed to rats like me who just want to dish MM some of his own medicine.
  • Galloway's line is that he decided to expose Mu'kh-mood after the scribbler's "covert attempt to trick him into discreditable conduct during a dinner at the Dorchester Hotel ... " Whatever, to use a ghastly Americanism. Who even cares?
  • Where there's Muck~m'oud, there's Brass Knuckles: Cheery note from Mahmood about the release of photos possibly posing "a risk to his well-being".

    Naturally, one wishes safety for his family, but the reptile fakir's own hide is, surely, fair game after the years of slimed exposés?

  • Paul Linford good in his way, albeit sans pictures which rather misses the point of outing our tea-toweled tattle-tale.
  • Reliable Beeb mucks in.
  • Guido Fawkes alert as ever.
  • Blogs that link: Further reading to maintain momentum and keep the faith.

    Addendum: a Brit reader suggests that if I'm read in foreign parts, I might include samples of the putrid nature of Mu'q'moud's employers.

    Good point. I'm just sorry that the current issue catches it on a slow news day and hence in reserved and tasteful mode.

    Prince Harry and the Boobs: At least you get an idea of the imaginations at work in bringing the rag to press - all those soi-disant insider quotes about what Harry and his bird are meant to have come up with verbatim.

    All manufactured, of course, as even lowliest readers know full well: not even a cockroach in Buckingham Palace's deepest pantry would give such bog bumpf the time of day, let alone pass on any "quote".

  • Thursday, April 06, 2006


    Squeamish (like me) do not click.

    *That* grisly exhibition has reached London.


    Wednesday, April 05, 2006


    No use trying to enjoy late movie TV here because - pain in the derriere - they have whacking great "signers" gesticulating in that deff and dub stuff and getting in the way of the picture.

    Used to find them slightly funny but after having a few decent flicks ruined, they are intensely irritating.I'm deaf in my left ear and have wondered what it'd be like to have the world translated by one of those skilled manual types 
    No matter how close I watch, I still can't spot any relation between the gestures and the on-screen rubbish

    Hong Kong Hemlock

    Who cares if half my readership (Sid and Doris Bonkers) have no idea about Honkers?

    I enjoy Master Hemlock's take and it's fodder for my chats with spooks and senior government types from my days as spoiled colonial son.

    Hem' blogs as *I*'d've liked to, had i the wit, talent, contacts, etc.

    To boot, his list of other bloggeria is first-rate.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Pig Pen

    fitting it inAs I always say, i can transform a natty pad into a hitchhiker's layby in a trice

    squeezeMy enormous Ovation guitar had to go somewhere: atop the classics

    Darn, my mum has an eye for the natty; hangs her easel right there, neatly outta the way Posted by Picasa


    2020hrs, supper in t'oven ~ Jason Whitton's "Thriftstore Cowboy" album *yet* again on the stereo ~ nibbles: biscuits and mascarpone cheese and (shame!) macadamia nuts.

    Parents: As i organise to fly to mum's side, selfish thoughts busy themselves with my idle mind. I brush them aside but not without shame that they even intruded.

    Mums 'n' Dads! Specially Mum. Wot's it all abaht, Alfie?

    As I pack and phone and scrub the apartment and generally do in 2 days what i'd leisurely thought of maybe getting round to contemplating a month from now, the sniveling me-me organism is whispering bore groan sulk hassle.

    Wasn't there a corny song years back about a child whining to his mum about what he'd done and her presenting him with a no-charge invoice for all the thing *she* had done for the brat?

    There was, and we can all write our own, mine being:

  • Driving miles to take me out on the three Exeat Sundays we had at those dreadful schools i whinge about a feared

    Don't even *mention* the cost and sacrifice it must have taken to have me imprisoned in those places for privileged beatings and terrifying hearty bruisings on the rugger/hockey/cricket field.

  • Instant generosity despite the funds being short in those days
  • Kitting me out for Oxford with everything the posh undergrad might need
  • Kitting me out with everything the first-time job-seeker might need, like an apartment and major help with the rent
  • Arriving back from Hong Kong, eager to see her baby again and understanding sans demur when selfish aforesaid says down the phone that he has a date with a friend, so maybe another night, yeh?
  • I lose count, or am i just in shameful denial?

    I pack and i focus on what i'm going to do when i get out there to make things easy for her.

    She's 85, active gardener, brill artiste, life-embracing enthusiast. If i'm to have the time to repay even a scintilla of what she's delivered uncomplainingly for me, she'd better sort out the menu for her 125th birthday.

    Waitrose trolleys: they like this in the States? You try to take a trolley over the exit mat and the wheels just freeze. There's a notice to that effect but you see jokers trying it. The burly security chaps are right there.

    PigPen: that charlie brown character who can just stand there and acquire a patina of dirt. I'm that way with abodes: my mum has a most elegant Knightsbridge apartment. i've been here since march 8, trying to be tidy but it looks like a terrorist hideaway. Untidiness everywhere, even where it should be hard to be untidy, i've introduced a genius new element of sloppiness.

    Impromptu prezzies: clever mum. One whole drawer is devoted to cute knicknacks she's picked up round the world - greek olive soap; cool gizmos like torches that you wear like glasses; cards from everywhere; just the most ingenious stuff.

    Hopes: natch, masses of framed fotos of family etc, christenings, fotos i'd sent casually of the girls and which were given pride of place; me young; me and Mrs Busker young, that happy triumphant look you don't even realise you wear when you've totally written the Book of Love will age together and triumph over all.

    Not easy ....

  • Monday, April 03, 2006

    waitrose supermarket

    Baby Can I drive your Car?

    Shuffled down to Palazza Waitroza (see foto) for refill of gruel and slightly-used Thames water.

    Gaze caught by low-slung Ferraghini 'Testosteronza'-type penis-on-wheels carriages that make DeLoreans look like a wind-buffeting model Ts.

    wrosePause to admire:

  • Stubby gear, 100mph to Mach 2, 15 secs
  • pine fascia with walnut workings and rosewood inlay
  • Dials + LED, make a F1 look like a Morris Minor
  • Tailored womb-enfolding leather bucket seats, hand-tooled by flashing-eyed virgins of Palermo; cost, more than my maman's flate
  • B&O stereo (see above)

    I'm gazing and admiring and hating when up strolls meter maid (next hated trade to Bainbridge developer).

  • MM: "You move your car in the next 20 secs, I don't need write this ticket
  • Busker: "Uncommon decent of you. (no movement)
  • MM: "But make it fast

    Out of office comes smart young chap, nods thanks to me and leaps in voiture and vrooms off.

    *Mean* look from meter maid.

  • Mug's Game

    tea mug Now I unpack, i see all the cool stuff the Spitfire packed that i *d* need but told her not to bother with.

    Dumped all my kitchen stuff but, no, La S tucked away the mug she gave and sure enuff it's a God-send, along with all the other stuff:

  • Bomber jacket
  • track suit
  • spare guitar strings n capo
  • PJs
  • Etc
  • Piece in paper about how teapot sales down and we Brits just dump a bag in a mug for 20 secs and have totally lost the art.



    Maman Busker not feeling too bright so it's the Greek isle for moi, to cosset and cheer and generally be useful.

    Essential I find decent employment before I find myself hitting absoLUTE rock bottom and ending up with some implement in my hand turning the loam.

    Must also get back down to some physical regime before any jardin work is labeled 'good exercise', or whatever the current weasel comparison is. Depressing and alarming.

     Think of all the luverly pics I can send of verdant jardin.

    Mentioned UK hose-pipe ban to gardening bro who growled that the Brits always over-water anyway, so so much for *that* well-meaning comment

    Me Me Me

    Eye cartoon

    Rather astute cartoon in recent issue of satirical Brit mag, "Private Eye


    I finally  get netted up in the london apartment next friday, so i ought to send belkin54g-user an invite to come round for nosh and champagne by way of thanks for all the free rides i've enjoyed off his/her unsecured wireless.

    in fact, i'll be wired even sooner since i've just heard my poor mum has gone into hospital for some heart murmur thing, which means i'll need to advance plans and scrap others and head straight out to Greece to bd with her.

    so that's it, the final reductio ad absurdam.

    in no time at all i'll be bending over some drat plot of land, spade or hoe or some other grisly implement in hand ... the ultimate resting ground of all plans and ambitions.

    ah well ... it's been a good run in parts.

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    Planet Earth

    Coming to a planet near you.

    Stunning. Watch out for it.

    Olympics Tax

    Have signed up to fight this idiot tariff.


    1:56am and TV has a chart topper prog.

    Paunchy van morrison-wannabe - Morrissy or sumpn - waddling around the stage ...

    Grotty sight. Need slug of Lagavulin.

    Customised Bentley

    bentleyRather a fine specimen of a custom-built Bentley station wagon owned by some disgracefully young and handsome - and well-spoken - chappie in the block.

    pav road

    Cosy back streets

    The narrow road/lane behind my mom's place is sexier than the front bit of busy Sloane St.

    Totally private and cosy.

    flash pads


    cale st

    Cale Street Launderette

    Asked the porter where the nearest launderette was n he told it was in down-market Cale Street. 
    When i found it, it was the charmingest square i'd seen n is now my fave secret london hideaway.

    Launderette run by 2 totally hot dutch girls.

    Self service (which i go for): 4 quid for wash, 2 quid for dry ($1.80 to the pound) or 8 quid if you ask them to do it (which most folks seems to).

    I enjoy chatting them up too much to assign away the task.

    Next door is the Hussein bros with cheapest booze in town and 2 x ply loo paper that i've not found in Peter Jones

    Strutton Market

    My London *bagels* guitar club is via a splendid market that i love walking thru; just the london faces make me feel i'm home.

    The only place in London where, when i raised my camera to get my touristy shots, burly coves would turn away or look v hard at me to check i'm not some undercover filth snapping suspects.


    Il pleut dans mon coeur

    Demn'd sunshine - totally blowing my pretense at slaving away under London rain 

    Saturday, April 01, 2006

     Working or blogging late - and being amazingly nosy - i get to spy on some distinctly dubious goings-on. Posted by Picasa

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