Why Guy Fawkes night is dreaded by many in inner-city areas of Britain

In Britain, 5th November is Bonfire Night. When it’s traditional to let off fireworks and burn a dummy of Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up Parliament in 1605.

It’s supposed to be fun. A colourful spectacle. But for many people in inner-city areas this has become a time of year that they dread.

The other night, on some spare ground close to where I live, youths and children lit a large bonfire. It was close to houses. They used fireworks like guns, pointing them at head height and shooting them across the neighbourhood. Some of the kids were very young indeed and, though fascinated, were obviously afraid that they would be targeted and ‘shot’ by others.

The fire brigade arrived to put out the blaze but they seemed to be intimidated by the abusive youths. The fire crew didn’t leave the fire engine. In other areas there have been incidents where fire fighters were attacked.

They left and, soon after, returned accompanied by the Police.

The BritishPathe website has some vintage newsreel footage of children celebrating Bonfire Night in 1957 and 1959 at a cinema that is just a few hundred yards from this location. How things have changed.

 

Corned beef casserole (video)

I’ve been making a few simple recipes that my mum used to do. Comfort food you could call it I suppose.

This one is really quick but tasty. Into a casserole dish put: a tin of corned-beef cut into cubes, two onions sliced (I used red ones here), some stock, black pepper and herbs (dried parsley here) and add sliced potatoes on top. Sprinkle with some grated cheese.

Cover and put into the oven at 180c/350f for about 20 minutes.

Now watch the video to see how it turned out:

Download: Windows media (wmv) | Quicktime (mov/iPod).

Do you like my old-fashioned cooker? I love them. This is a ‘Creda Carefree’ which I always think sounds like a drag-queen.

Cookers were very camp in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Tricity had a range that included the Contessa, Marquis and Tiara.

 

A true story for Halloween

A couple of weeks ago I made a final visit to the house where I grew up. My dad had decided to sell and I had to pick up a few remaining bits and pieces.

Though I was actually born in hospital, I spent my years from zero to 20 living in that 1950’s semi-detached. In a small cul-de-sac alongside the former A1 — the main London to Edinburgh road — and just a couple of miles from Newcastle city centre.

(more…)

 
 

Noah’s Arc

My American friend Bill told me about Noah’s Arc, a series that is on the Logo network over there. It’s about four black gay friends.

We’d watched a couple of episodes and clips on the Logo website, but Bill doesn’t have the channel and I doubted the series would ever get a showing over here. However I had a gift voucher for Amazon so I bought Bill the three-disc DVD of series one and after watching them himself he sent the discs over to me. They were waiting here me when I got back to Manchester last Saturday.

So I’ve had a great week viewing it all: episodes, pilot and extras. I love this series.

You can watch the whole of the first four episodes of series one for free here.

And the first episode of series 2 here.

There are quite a few clips on YouTube including the pilot scenes they did to try and get a network interested.

I think Logo is missing a trick by not making this available to European viewers as pay-per-view. I wouldn’t have minded paying a dollar a show to watch it. Whereas, I doubt many people here are going to import it on DVD like I did. It’s a shame.

 

The Gulf Stream came to a halt for ten days in 2004

The Gulf Stream is an ocean current that keeps Britain warm by dragging water northwards from the tropics

Now scientists have revealed that a part of the Stream came to a temporary halt for ten days during November 2004.

No one is quite sure what this means. Will it happen again? Is it a sign of the current stuttering to a permanent halt?

‘A complete shutdown would lead to a 4C-6C cooling over 20 years.’ A new ice age…

Sea change: why global warming could leave Britain feeling the cold.