So, tell me someone, why is it that Ickley has green bins for normal waste and, uhhr, black bins for re-cycling? I think they've missed the point of going green

Journalism 101 (pt. 2)

Glad to see the Gazette up to their old tricks. Banner headline across the front page Postal Switch brings late deliveries--and anger. A story of how the Post Office's swap to mid-morning deliveries has wrecked the lives of citizens across Ickley. Only, when you read it, you find that the 'anger' in question has been expressed by just one person a 'David Bowtell' of King's Road, who claims 'any sane person has got to admit a postal delivery at 12-20pm is quite absurd.' Yup, that's one source justifying a banner header, a quarter page story and a 'strong' leader. I wonder if that source freely gave their opinion, or if they were asked for a comment (or, godz forbid, they were entirely made up)?? Who knows? What I do know, however, is that every Journalism course and Media Studies O Level in the country will tell you that two sources are the minimum required to make a story. Strangely, the story itself doesn't feature on pravda's website. I wonder why? And for the record Dave (and Ms Greaves), like many people I set off for work by 7-30 so I never see the post until the evening.

Calling 'O' for Oracle

Everything I've said is coming true...I AM the oracle, after all. In the last few weeks, we've had the continued refusal of the Civic Society to recognise the needs of local shop-owners to protect their property (Cllr Wolfie Smith even talking about not wanting to ruin the pleasant aspect of the streets of Ilkley, which so many people enjoy walking around in the evening--this would be the completely deserted streets of Ickley after six pm on weeknights, and the streets full of yout' or drunken scutters of a summer weekend presumably?), the construction of that egregious misuse of concrete in the car park, and now we have the NEW lamp-posts and seemingly some new bricks added to the pavement on The Grove. And it's obvious why. The new lamp-posts will illuminate greater swathes of territory, and carry the new all-purpose surveillance machinery, while the coloured bricks used will reflect light, allowing slavering Machine-Gun Gibbons to sit on his moth eaten sofa drooling while he inspects the undergarments of the young ladeez from Betty's. I have a problem (just one? well, one for now...) with all this. First, and most obviously, is who the fuck asked us?. That would be, uhhr, nobody. I live in a town renowned for its architecture, for reflecting a certain Victorian style. I don't expect to see that charm destroyed by the installation of pieces of electrical equipment that are totally out of scale with everything around them. The moors on either side of the town work because everything is (relatively) small. It's in scale. Constructing lamp-posts that would better be fitted with floodlighting (perhaps they're left over from the Colditz lighting at Ben Rhydding Sports Club?) is a) stupid and b) demonstration of complete contempt for the people of the town. Now, we have a lamp-post dominating the Victorian vista of The Station and Midland pub, we have posts breaking up every view up The Grove and down Brook Street. And where's the fecking Civic Society? Yup, preventing shop-owners protecting their property once again. So, yes, we have yet more street-furniture, the bane of modern day existence. Furniture that doesn't attempt to be even modernistic, just pseudo-classic but totally out of sympathy with its surroundings. And then we have new bricks on The Grove, which look like they're going to widen the pavements even further. Oh joy...driving up the street will be sooo much easier. And both of these wonderful new additions to our lives have Civic Society approval apparently. And Council approval. But who the fuck asked us? I pay my Council Tax (which is more than some of the Councillors who don't even live in the Parish do), and if they're going to alter my town, I should be consulted. Instead of ignored... Time to get the chainsaws out. Forget my previous condemnations of vandalism and do us all a favour...

Temporary Silence

See, I wander away for a few days to move residence and lots of people start commenting. Maybe if I wandered away permanently, this place would over-take on that damned google thang. Or not...

Maybe I'm getting old

And hypocrisy is somehow just too easy to spot. But could someone possibly explain how companies are being forced out of town because they're not allowed to use the most elementary of security measures, while there's not even a bleat from our civil guardians about this monstrosity that now dominates the car park. I mean, I know the shops in Ickley are struggling at the moment, but it hardly adds to the image, now does it?

Wonder how much of a back-hander to the planners this one took?

Ilkley's darkside

We don't like to talk about it much, but just a smattering of comments from the streets (and in one case the spas) of our 'fair' town over the past few weeks... "If you ask me, most crime's caused by immigrants." "The only people afraid of ID cards are the immigrants" "There's too many over here already..." and, I kid you not... "There were a lot of things wrong with Mussolini, but he knew how to deal the immigrants" It's not the depressing lack of education involved. I mean, we accept this is a town dominated by Middle England values, where the Daily Mail is a top seller. And the result of having such a publication as our house journal is that the sort of views expressed therein (did the recent 'Millions of Gypsies to flood the UK' headline send anyone else into a reverie on the pseudo-Niemoller poem and the likelihood of the einsatzgruppen being unleashed in the Dales?) inform the way our local citizens think. And we accept there's a level of intolerance and pent-up anger in the town that's seen the local public toilets destroyed because pravda suggested they 'might' be used as a cottaging venue, and had fellow campaigners for a better life hassled at their home addresses. What really depresses me is that many (if not most) of the people expressing these views (if not filling the loos with concrete) are elderly. OAPS in fact. Now, they're too young to have fought in the war, but I have to presume that their parents did. And, yet, they don't seem to have the slightest idea what the war was fought FOR. Indeed, they tend to say things like 'we didn't fight the war to hand the country over to a load of foreigners...' Now, both my Grandads fought in the War. And my beloved's Grandad likewise. They might have held 'old-fashioned' views and not been quite correct in the words they used to describe people from different continents. But what really made them angry was racism. My Grandad fought in the desert and spent the rest of his life proclaiming the Palestinians to be the bravest of the brave. Now, I'm proud to be British, but what I'm most proud about is our reputation for hosting refugees, protecting the weak, ending slavery and all those other good things we did over centuries. What I'm least proud about is that we didn't do enough of it (and bear more than some culpability for the extended life of the holocaust). The current politically correct view (that immigration is evil, and immigrants are too) stands unhappily with Britain's past history, and besmirches the memory of all those who fought against racism in the last war. That some people hold to these views in our happy little 'burg is a less than happy thought. I just wish they wouldn't litter the place up with their opinions.

Young chaps in leather

So, we get used to the moody teenagers around town. There's a fashion at the moment for the males to wear ankle-length leather coats, half part Matrix, half part Columbine killer. Some of the older residents seem to be disturbed by this trend. Course, anywhere else, the coats would probably be plastic. Here in Ilkley, they're almost certainly the real thing. So here's one swinging around the conversed-heels of a surly post adolescent, slouching down The Grove, sneer wiped across his less-than-smiley face. He's got something behind his back. Maybe a gun, maybe a club, maybe a whole trailer full of death and destruction. But, no, he's pulling a trolley with copies of the local free rag in it, encased in flourescent yellow. Altogether now, 'Aww, bless...' If only Eric and Dylan had had a paper round, who knows how many lives could have been saved?


Time to find out how useful those camera phone thingies really are...imaging and shaming the murderous bad people that try and run down our skateboarding population at zebra crossings. That's if I can get the bloody cover off the camera quickly enough before they thunder into the distance.


The death of Brian Lynch, former editor of the Gazette (see, I can do no jokes). His column on Ilkley in years gone by was a delight (if only to note how long issues like the bypass and the skate park have been around). He also helped Tim Binding with research when the latter was writing the definitive Ilkley Novel, 'On Ilkley Moor'. I hope the column will continue.

Martial Law

Don't say that I didn't warn you... After setting up the 'problem' over the past few months by encouraging lawless behaviour, our junta have 'found' the solution. CCTV. Just in time for the erection of the immigration gates on Leeds Rd as well! But quis custodet custodes? And what's the next step? Will they be calling for TVs inside the homes of potential trouble-makers (anyone who might go to The Trav (and why is it called that when it's Il Trovatore, NOT La Traviata??))?? And will that mean we get to see the inside of Machine-Gun's Otley home, or is it simply to be a matter of Ann 'Whitehouse' Hawkesworth slobbering in front of a series of TV monitors, dissolving into her own bile at the (dangerously exciting) thought of such awful goings-on? What is it Jello Biafra used to say? "Martial law is now in operation moor-wide..."