Ain't you got no homes to go to?

Glad to see the local Polis out in force on Saturday night. Two of them carefully pouring away the drinks of a half-dozen fairly clean-cut goth-types outside All Saint's. Took them about twenty minutes, and ended with them taking names and photographs.

Two thoughts arise--a) do we really need CCTV if the only trouble the Polis can find is teenagers doing what teenagers have done since parks, licensing hours and canned lager were invented?

b) Did they really need to pour the beer on to the pavement rather than into the flower beds? I mean, I know it was the site of the Wheatsheaf Pub, but there's not much nostalgia for beer stains, is there?


So farewell then, Richard Whiteley.

'Today's crucial countdown conundrum is...' was your catchphrase.

Well, today's crucial countdown conundrum is...


Whiteley was a regular around town of course. Our most famous resident. Well known for a very red face, for getting very tipsy in our local bars, for having an eye for the ladies (and something of a reputation as a serial harasser, but this probably goes with the tipsyness). The Guardian did a very nice article, and YorkshireSoul (who is getting far too many plugs from me)  did a good tribute as well.

Though it might seem he's another example of Yorkshire crapness, I didn't look at him like that. While genuinely very intelligent (A Levels taken at 16, Oxford, etc.), he seemed to prefer to bimble his way through life. I've never heard of him insulting a fan, and the countless times I've seen him stopped and chatted at on the streets of town imply he must have budgetted four or five hours just to pop out for a loaf of bread. Just a pity that his death is taken over by that idiot Vorderman rather than his genuinely rather sweet partner Kathryn Apanowicz (sp?) (once Dirty Den's girlfriend, and one of the few actresses to have been in all of the top three soaps).

He's always reminded me of Elwood Dowd in Harvey. There's a quote in there where Stewart says, 

"Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you may quote me."

Whiteley to a tee.

Why are we so crap?

I love Yorkshire. I've lived here, by choice, for nigh on twenty years. And choice is better than birth (which is why Greg Rusedski beats Tiger Henman hands (and chins) down).

Yet. And yet. I still have to wonder. Why are we so crap?

It's not just Ian Mcmillan. Though that's part of it. It's the whole self-hating, 'we don't take any notice of the southern elite', nonsense. It's the Yorkshire Society featured in the Gusset recently. That prat at St Mags--wimpy, never hurt a fly Anglicanism (give me Lancelot Andrewes and Archbish Laud any time, there's a couple you could really chop the heads off and respect afterwards), with his insipid smile in the local paper all the fucking time.

It's Ashley fucking Jackson. Our patron painter. 'My mistress the moors'. Well just fuck off Jackson, you can't paint! You have no emotion, no desire in your art. For fuck's sake, Damien Hirst was Leeds-born, the most exciting artist in Britain since the Bacon/Freud lot and he's run off to Devon because we were all so 'chip on our shoulder', 'oh, do you call that art?', Sun-reading twats.

That's what it is. Yorkshire as tabloid-county. Plain-speaking? No, just obvious-shite-pissing-in-the-wind-ing. So proud of saying what we think? No, just not willing to think.

There is nothing in this county that's avant-garde. Nothing that's cutting-edge. Nothing that's leading anything (okay, excepting the home of UK electronic music in Sheffield, but everywhere else in the county Sheffield is thought of as Midlands, not Yorkshire at all. See what I mean?).

Well, I'm sick of it. Yorkshire was one of the major homes of literacy during the 'Dark Ages' (not that good medievalists can use that term) and I don't see why its understanding of xianity, art, music, poetry should be condemned by the middle-aged white cunts who currently take the name on board. If you hear someone say 'I'm Yorkshire, me, and proud of it', there's only one solution.

Glass them.

Unless they're bigger than you. In which case, do the Yorkshire thing and run away, before turning round and whinging from a safe distance.

Bloomin heck

Last year Ilkley won Britain in Bloom. A well-deserved prize (albeit with more than a little help from Bradford Council).

Any other small town winning such a prize would dedicate every entrance to the place to celebrating the fact. Yet, as of now, there's nothing in Ilkley that mentions it. Given the amount of money the PC have from our council tax, perhaps they could find just a few quid to celebrate Ilkley being the best in the country at something? Just a little sign perhaps?

Or even, God forbid, one of those stone planter troughs on the Skipton Road.

The Silent Takeover

I'm pleased to say that, for once, we at Ilkley Rocks completely support a campaign of the local rag. They're quite right to call for support for local shops and businesses. One of the things that gives Ilkley its distinctive ambience is a number of shops you just don't get anywhere else. Which, really, is down to the number of tourists.

Yet, can't help feeling the Gusset is really too late in its campaign. It suggests that The Grove and Brook Street are 'full of independent shops'. Well, up to a point, Lord Vasey. The Grove, yes. But, Brook Street?

Off the top of my head, Brook Street is home to McKays, BHF Shop, Going Places, Woolies, Martin's, Greggs, Dotty P's, the Co-Op, Blockbusters, a chain opticians or two, Boots, Bookpages, Holland & Barrett, Thorntons, Clinton Cards, Lloyds, Barclays, and on and on.

I believe that leaves Spicy Pepper, Michaels, a jewellers, a camping shop, Leaves and Linens and Modus as independent shops. And the latter is closing, possibly as a result of Fat Face coming to town.

Rather than the usual exhortations to shop locally (not always possible given the prices charged--two lumps of cheese from Rock Valley at a tenner? No wonder people go to Tesco's), perhaps the Gusset should be looking at some real solutions? Reduced business rates for local shops (a LD policy I believe), stricter planning controls (second thoughts, scratch that, nothing would ever get built), making businesses pay proper road-miles on transportation.

Hell, given the coming of the peak oil situation, we're all going to have to be shopping locally (probably from market stalls) in a few years.

Grumpy face, sour puss!

Ilkley is, we are all agreed, one of the nicest places to live in the known universe.

Not that everyone seems to agree. There seem to be a number of people who delight in being, well, arses. Time to name and shame. Obviously, anyone who's tried to buy a sandwich in the town knows about the legendary 'girl from Gregg's', who may have now cheered up a bit. Oh and the guy in the train station who seems to have been told to smile (rather painfully like dropping e after having a wisdom tooth extracted) or get out.

Following them along, though, are two middle-aged women. There's the lady who works in Rocky Valley. Not the owner, Sarah, who's always been delightful, but her main assistant, 40-something brunette. Never seen a smile out of her. Barely get an acknowledgement. Given the prices they charge (see above), you'd think they could afford to grin a little. They used to say a smile set the world alight. Remember the fire at Rocky Valley? I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Then there's the very similar lady at WH Smiths. Staffed for years by bimbling schoolgirls, they now have a fierce and large matriarch on the main tills. Never a please or thank-you as she takes the money. Indeed, I stood there after buying my Gusset on Thursday, and she eventually said, 'anything else?'. 'Oh, just waiting for a thank you, some normal politesse,' I replied, before hacking her to pieces with an axe I had to hand. Which will teach her.

And some people concentrate on world politics in their blogs! This is the important stuff y'know.

And about bloody time

After about two months of waiting, they finally look like they're actually moving the zebra crossings at the end of Wells Rd. It's just a tad smaller than its predecessor though, so if you're an OAP crossing, a car doesn't stop quite fast enough, you get mown down whereas previously you'd just get nudged against.

Pity they have to keep cutting of the leccie to finish the work, though.

House-keeping 2

From an ad. in the Gusset for a flat on Regent Road--'near to the restaurant quarter'. The whatty what? That would be Steps, T'Grove and Tubby's I assume. Hardly a quarter is it? What do t'Box Tree and Farsyde feel about being left out?

What ever next? The pub quarter (opposite the station)? Little Pakistan (Church Street)? Chinatown (Wells Road outside Po Sang)?


Stuff from the local news---the RC Church has stolen the Verbeia stones, as we thought, and are now demanding money for their return. I guess it's how they pay for all the black smoke they'll be using next week.

And IPC have given some money to the Standing Together Committee, who combat domestic violence. Or, rather, like most groups working in the domestic violence industry, they purport to combat violence against women, whilst playing fast and loose with statistics and with the definition of 'violence'. Apparently, they're now including 'financial abuse' in their definition of 'domestic abuse'. So, if your partner asks to borrow a fiver, and you haven;t got it, you're committing abuse (if you're a man). Hmm. This is how the US domestic violence industry has got into such straits as suggesting over 100% of women are victims. See the work of Fekete, Farrell and many others.

Hobby-horse, I'll just get off you here. I hear the pub calling. Dahling--can you lend me a fiver? What d'you mean, no?