Posted July 2, 2009 by Adam Smith
Categories: Uncategorized

I’ve been so busy the whole concept of a blog-post a day has been rather laughable. Still. I’ll give you a run down of what’s been going on.

– I’ve been all around town. I’ve done the Mission, the Haight, the Tenderloin, Civic Center, Ocean Beach, Ferry Building, Treasure Island, Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County, Berkley.
– I’ve fallen in love with San Francisco and hope to move out here as soon as I’m eligible for a visa (aka postgraduate).
– Ive met even more amazing people in even more amazing places.
– Basically Ive been having the time of my life and it’s been hard to find any time to write about it, sorry.

Today I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. A 5 and a half mile journey in all and then took the bus back to the Richmond where I’m staying. Quite the day.

If you want to know what I’m doing your best bet is to keep an eye on Flickr, I’m still behind in updating it but it’s a much easier way for me to document my holiday.

Day 3

Posted June 25, 2009 by Adam Smith
Categories: Uncategorized

Day 3 was awesome. In the morning I went downtown on the N Judah Muni line after getting the 44 bus and decided to visit in Westfield SF in order to buy a hat to keep my hair in place. Never has there been created a more shameful waste of a city block, not only was it practically empty but everything was so generic and boring, it flies in the face of everything that San Francisco stands for and promotes. The only exciting things were the spiral escalators. Whilst on one of these escalators I phoned Lowteck to organise having lunch with him and Lincoln. I got the 7 bus up to Haight and Masonic and waited, and waited and eventually got a call saying they’d gone the wrong way and to walk towards them. When we met up we went for lunch at an odd Mexican restaurant with hammered copper everywhere and I had my second burrito which was just as good as the first.

After this I bought some postcards I want to frame from Booksmiths on Haight and then we walked up to Beuna Vista Park and oh my word it really is a beuna vista once your expel the energy to get to the top. It was amazing. We sat down near there for a while and chatted and watched some bees finding novel ways to travel then back to Lowteck’s place to wait for Keller. When Keller arrived we went out for Chinese and I had another culinary adventure having Dim Sum for the first time and some crazy seafood nest thing with miniature octopi (which taste lovely) before returning back to Balboa and 7th full of squid and dumplings and ready to turn in after another great day.

Day 2

Posted June 24, 2009 by Adam Smith
Categories: Uncategorized

So this morning I got a call from Annaone, one of my favourite players here in San Francisco about going to have breakfast with her. Myself and Spidere got the 44 bus and the N Judah line to where she lives in the Haight and had breakfast at an amazing cafe called Zazie. I had eggs genevieve and coffee and it was .. amazing. The coffee was heavenly too. Tyler gave us a ring and came and met us for a while before we walked back to Anna’s and were given a guided tour of all the tasking memorabillia. Everyone’s flats here have been just how I would have my flat if I lived alone, they are so cool. Anyway. After this we walked up to Haight Street which is a bit like Camden Lock in London in an effort to find a playpark to do some stop motion photography in. We didn’t find that but we did meet Bryce, another great player.

Once we met Bryce we went to go get a bus downtown to Powell so that I could get my Muni pass for the month and also ride in the Westin Hotel’s glass lift which shoots up into the heights of the city before gut-wrenchingly plummeting back down. I would definetly recommend it to anyone a bit short of cash in the city. We then grabbed the BART to Mission where Spidere needed to present the certificate of compliance with the Department of Piratey Affairs to the Pirate Shop on Valencia Street. I’ve never seen a shop clerk more worried about failing an inspection whilst eating pizza. We walked down Valencia to an amazing Mexican restaurant where I had my first ever burrito with Bryce, Alanna, Tyler and Spidere. Burritos are amazing. So, so good. They fill you up for the whole day and taste amazing. Anyhoo it was after this that we went to Dolores Park, met up with the wonderful Danielle and Anna, had brilliant ice cream and then went back to Keller’s for British tea and chatting. I feel like Im going to end up signing off every blog post by saying I had a wonderful day so you can just assume that from now on.

Day 1

Posted June 23, 2009 by Adam Smith
Categories: Uncategorized

Just as I got off the flight from Gatwick to Philadelphia I was thinking I had at least 2 hours to catch my connection onwards and that I needn’t worry about rushing to buy some dinner. I sauntered through to baggage claim, grabbed my suitcase and went on to security. It was just here that a burly looking TSA guard came up to me and asked to see some identification, I gave him my passport and he asked me to follow him. almost 2 hours later Im still be asked questions about why I was coming to the US and such like, finally he finished and I sprinted across the airport to my gate in Terminal C only to find the flight just closing and myself slumped across the gate podium begging with the woman to let me on. In the end I got a $450 flight voucher and a ticket on the 8:10p plane which touched down at SFO at around midnight.

When I got to SFO I was suprised to find I had slept most of the way from PHI. I walked from the gate to baggage claim as fast as I could and then I looked up a slope and saw Keller, Lincoln and Lowteck all waiting for me to arrive. This was one of the happiest moments of my life to date. We managed to find my bag eventually, got in Lowteck’s car and drove back to Keller’s where I met Spidere and Lunch (Bex’s cat). After that I was rather tired so managed to quickly go to sleep and wake up the next morning in amazing San Francisco.

Where is Left?

Posted May 4, 2009 by Adam Smith
Categories: Politics, Ramblings

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Left is right. Right is not.

Left is right. Right is not.

New Labour; well that failed pretty spectacularly. Shock horror the mixing of Thatcher’s economics with a smattering of centrist nonsense about community didn’t live up to be a long-standing ideology if it ever was an ideology at all. The Third Way has ended up at a dead end and it’s time for Labour to retrace it’s steps and look back to it’s roots. What this country needs is a good, clean fight between Old Labour’s Socialist values and DC’s increasingly right-wing cross between social liberalism and Thatcherism. It seems that Labour has gone from the staunch image of beards, pies and trade unions to a modern mess of pragmatic ideas, confused economics and a total lack of conviction which looks suspiciously like the soul-finding of the post-Thatcher Tories veering from left to right and back again. Brown isn’t the man to shake off Blair’s image as John Major didn’t shake off the Iron Lady. Labour needs a Cameron; someone fresh and new, a total step aside from what’s come before, someone from the left of the party to give it a kick up the backside. Labour MPs will soon be jumping ship left, right and centre following Charles Clarke and Harriet Harman into the icy waters to make sure they keep their marginal seats by denouncing the increasingly unpopular Brown and this does nothing to strengthen the party’s electoral standing. There needs to be a leader whom the entire party and, indeed, the nation can get behind to drag Labour out of the mud and into the sunshine. I wish I knew who this was, I really, really do. It sure as heck isn’t any minister in the cabinet and it certainly isn’t Johnson, Harman or Milliband who seem to be current favourites.

All of this leaves me with a bit of a dilemma. I am totally disillusioned with Labour, I would never vote Conservative in a million years, the Liberal Democrats have never struck me as a credible party and a vote for anyone else is almost definitely wasted in anywhere else but Bethnal Green & Bow, Norwich South or Barking & Dagenham for Respect, the Greens and BNP respectively. I will vote Labour when the election comes (if it comes after my 18th birthday in June, which it will) but only because my local MP is a really great guy and anything, anything is better than the Conservatives. The pure fact that the FPtP system we use to elect MPs in this country forces me to vote for a party with whom I largely disagree just shows how much we need a proportional system but that’s a whole other kettle of fish and indeed another blog post. Where can I find my glorious left-wing knight in shining armour. Tony Benn won’t be here for a great deal longer and I need someone to replace his space in my heart. Ken Livingstone as prime minister would make me the happiest man on this planet but I feel that may not happen given his rather disastrous dealings with the Labour party and in London (I mean disastrous electorally not in terms of policy as these are two different things).  George Galloway fell out of my affections a long, long time ago somewhere in between him taking a seat from a personal hero of mine; Oona King, inferring I was a Nazi at a politics conference and being a cat. There’s no real alternative to Labour for me, I want a party that is genuinely Socialist, one that reperesents a broad set of ideas from trade unionism, public service reform, public ownership, social change, enviromentalism and all of the other things Labour used to stand for. I need someone on the left.

G20 Police Problems

Posted April 7, 2009 by Adam Smith
Categories: Politics

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Police at the G20 Rally.

Police at the G20 Rally.

I’m pretty angry. I’m pretty angry about a lot of stuff. I’m angry about the total failings of Capitalism and the fact that only few people can see just how much of an exploitative and corrupt system it is. I’m angry about climate change and the fact it’s the biggest danger facing the world today yet everyone is being complacent about it. I’m angry about the way the government has abused our liberties since the terrorist attacks in 2001. For these reasons I went to the protests in London on April 1st. I had an absolutely brilliant time, I met some amazing people, I protested for something I believed in and I felt like I was doing something active about my political beliefs.

It also gave me a chance to experience something first-hand that I’d only ever read about on Indymedia and in blogs. Police brutality. I was a peaceful protestor and so were the vast, vast majority of people who attended the protests at both Bank and Bishopsgate. When we left London Bridge the atmosphere was great, there was a brass band, people were dancing and applauding. Office workers came out to have a gander but as soon as we arrived at Bank things changed. The police closed off the street behind us, we were crushed into a small area and as another march from Moorgate arrived this became even worse. There were kids falling over and getting hurt and people were becoming irritated. I had wanted to leave for a bit to go to Foyles to pick up a book so I made my way up Poultry and managed to escape the police blockade by walking through a shopping area and to Mansion House tube station.

Yet more police.

Yet more police.

I got back to Bank at about 3pm and found every street totally cordoned off, riot police were actually shoving back members of the press on Poultry and a van was used to barge one man out of the way. I was told that to get into the central area you had to walk through Poultry. I did so and what I found was a nice surprise. Instead of the chaos I was led to believe awaited me by BBC News 24 it was peaceful, people were sat down enjoying the sun, reading the paper, chatting, having lunch. There was a reggae guy singing at one end and at the other there was a sound system. I think I’d probably missed the majority of the ‘violence’ around RBS and there were some people stirring up trouble with the police at the far end of Cheapside. I stayed around until I had to catch my coach back at about 5pm. I made my way to the police cordon and asked them to let me through, showed them my coach ticket and they wouldn’t, tried the same thing at 3 other places and was told no. Finally I decided to go up to Cheapside where the anarchist bloc were confronting the police. I asked here and they said no. I saw several police officers batter a group of peaceful protesters sat on the ground with truncheons and I also saw a man shoved to the ground simply for trying to talk to an officer.

In the end a really nice guy who turned out to be from the SWP said he’d show me how to get out so he led me down a side alley, across a small patch of grass and out by Cannon Street tube station. If it wasn’t for him I’d never have got home. I don’t know who the police were protecting but it wasn’t me, it wasn’t the protesters and it sure as hell wasn’t the public who were treated as badly as the protesters. It seemed they were protecting property over human life which is unacceptable and now that footage has surfaced of them possibly killing a man I really, really hope that the IPCC pulls its finger out of its arse and severely chastises the Met for its disgusting tactics. The summer of rage that’s been predicted had better happen. I would be so happy to be involved in this century’s 1968.

For more of my photos of the G20 protests have a look here.

The Jade Bandwaggon

Posted March 22, 2009 by Adam Smith
Categories: Uncategorized

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I don’t care about Jade Goody if I’m honest, I didn’t really know who she was until the whole thing with Shilpa Shetty and even though it’s sad that she’s dead there must be thousands of other people who died today. The reason Im making this post is because I came across a wonderful article from The Sun in 2002, presumably when she was coming to be famous.

I’m just going to post a few quotes from this article up to amuse myself and hopefuly bring it to people’s attention (which people I have no idea but still …)

“Jade has few redeeming qualities”
“The pig with the biggest mouth on TV”
“Her ignorance is a damning indictment of the British school system”
“Jade is one of the most hated women on British TV and life will be hard for her when she leaves the house”
“But don’t feel sorry for her”
“Jade has a fatal combination; ignorance and arrogance”

All of this in contrast to the way she has been treated since diagnosed with cancer. I’m not saying that the coverage should have been nasty or rude but why the whole world must become her sycophantic fan due to a terrible turn of fate is beyond me. If she didn’t have cancer The Sun would be ripping the shit out of her still, her poor childeren would have to deal with the terrible prospect of childhood in the spotlight. In tomorrow’s Sun she is referred to as “the Big Brother favourite” which is utter, utter bollocks. The article talks about “her unique brand of courage and self-mockery won her through to the final”. Oh, right. The cancer transferred her ignorance and arrogance into courage and self-mockery.

Sartre and Me.

Posted March 3, 2009 by Adam Smith
Categories: Philosophy, Politics, Ramblings

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Anguish, despair, abandonment. Cheers Sartre.

Anguish, despair, abandonment. Cheers Sartre.

So it’s been a while since my last post and I’ve been busy. I’ve had alot of college work to do with my exams coming up in June and I also had some at the end of January. For Philosophy I have to write an extended essay of sorts and I’ve been looking at the work of Sartre and I am really enjoying it. Existentialism is my new favourite philisophical theory. I like to reduce things to their simplest possible form, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t, this is the most logical thing to do as you aren’t messing with anything you are simply analysing it. As such I like at life from a scientific point of view that we are born, we live, then we die and when we die our body rots into the ground. Sartre’s theories cohere with this, he doesn’t believe in God or in any innate morals which seems simple enough to me, there is nothing that suggests God exists other than religion so why complicate matters and there is no proof that we hold any kind of innate knowlege so reduce it out of the question. Sartre suggests that we are free to do whatever we wish and that we only confine ourselves with society, he’s right. If we lived on a desert island with little or no human contact then there is nothing stopping us from doing anything, anything, we want only ourselves. This leads to a few depressing problems called nothingness, anguish, abandonment and despair all of which are terribly pessimistic in the short-term but once you’ve overcome them existentialism becomes a hugely optimistic theory.

It’s no coincidence that since reading Sartre I’ve become alot more interested in Marx, Hegel and Socialism. It’s a natural progression that humans are positive, social creatures and that a Socialist society is the best one. We are only held back by our need to conform and we are limited by the oppressive state in what we can do with our lives. Of course all this seems very black and white to me now, I kind of feel like it’s so obvious but it’s clearly not and I know when I’m old I’m going to look at this post and think I was talking balls but I like Marx and I like Socialism and I especially like Sartre so just for now I’m going to be a little bit radical and I’m not going to shy away from what I agree with just because it’s impractical or non-conformist, I want to read more about it and be able to make my point standup better in argument. I suppose this post was more about me getting clear what I believe in than any kind of argumentitive point but I feel alot better for it.

High Street 2009 – My Predictions

Posted January 4, 2009 by Adam Smith
Categories: Uncategorized

Sale. Sale. Sale. Sale.

Sale. Sale. Sale. Sale.

How different will the High Street look in December 2009? No-one is debating that some stores will go into administration and that some will vanish from our high street all together. Diamond Geezer is compiling the High Street deathlist and it got me thinking about what is going to be left once all this recession is over and done with. It may look alot sparser than it does now. Here are my predictions for shops to go under in 2009:

  • Homebase
  • WHSmith
  • Clinton Cards
  • Paul Simon Curtains
  • Furniture Village
  • Sofa Workshop
  • Sock Shop
  • The Pier
  • Spudulike
  • Monsoon
  • Jessops
  • M&Co.
  • JJB Sports
  • Mr Shoe
  • The Works
  • Carpet Right
  • Allied Carpets
  • Topps Tiles
  • Brantano
  • Currys (not
  • BBs Coffee and Muffins
  • British Home Stores
  • Poundstretcher
  • Blacks
  • Millets

I realise I’m hedging my bets here by predicting an awful lot of stores but I put the ones in bold that I feel strongest about. These predictions are based on nothing more than the amount of customers they seem to have, their sales, their levels of stock and not on their financial position which I don’t know about. I probably should have put Debenhams but predicting the death of your employer is never a good omen.

I won’t miss you.

Posted December 16, 2008 by Adam Smith
Categories: Ramblings

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Good riddance

Good riddance

I really will not miss Woolworths. I’m sorry to say it but it’s true. I’ve never liked Woolworths and I’m slightly fed up with everyone making out like Britain will collapse without it. I mean it doesn’t actually sell anything you can’t find either cheaper of for better quality elsewhere and it certainly doesn’t have a strong selling point. The adverts on TV with Wooly were really irritating and the store was always set out in a very confusing way. The closing down sale was, of course, poor. Nothing had 50% off, very little had anything but 10% off. Well I say very little, I mean very little that I’d want to buy. I wish it would just go quietly and be replaced by something half-decent.

Unfortunutly this leads me to my next point which is the Primark Effect. Everytime a shop of a reasonable size closes or a when new shopping units are opening everyone in Great Yarmouth says “I heard it’s going to be a Primark”. It never is a Primark (thank God) but everyone had “heard” that it’s going to be one. My mum and I were discussing what might actually fit into the store and there is no real competitor on the British high street to take over Woolworths. Waitrose, Sainsburys, Poundland and Tesco are all buying out some of the stores. Great Yarmouth doesn’t really need any of those except maybe a Tesco Metro. I think this opens up the window for a new high street name to emerge from the embers of Woolworths and let us hope that it’s much better.