Sunday, 27 April 2008

Recycling, Seed bombs, media training and Voting tactics.

Some updates:

We've finally got recycling in our street! Well, for our block at least. Oh, and it's co-mingled. But hey, better than nothing! And what's more - people are actually using it! I am overjoyed, though not so happy that it's currently overflowing. Come on Haringey, you're usually so good at picking up recycling and rubbish. Oh, wait a minute...

Our complaint about Homes for Haringey has now gone to Stage 2 level, which means we might actually get to see some improvements soon. I am also in the process of organising the estate's 'Gardening Day', which is going to be on May 11th. I attended 'Haringey Independence Day' yesterday, where I learnt how to make 'seed bombs' using soil, compost and wild flower seeds. I then came home and lobbed it into some wild, inaccessible ground between two blocks on the estate. I think it's be great to get the children making them on Gardening Day.

I had some media training the other day, so know I know how to evade questions and ram home a key message again and again...and again. The problem is, I, like a lot of people, hate it when politicians do that. I prefer to answer the question honestly and openly. More fool me.

It seems our mayoral candidate, Sian Berry, has the same policy, and this slightly backfired on her this week. When we went on our dinosaur hunt in Mayfair a couple of weeks ago, we had the audacity to take a taxi to transport four of us - myself and Sian included - along with all our placards, pith helmets and safari jackets. Sian admitted to this scandalous car journey and has been lambasted as a climate criminal in that bastion of quality journalism, The London Paper. I've written a letter defending her heinous crime - we'll have to see if it's published.

On a serious note, I am really hoping that Sian does well on Thursday, and also that the Green Party succeeds in getting more London Assembly members elected. Furthermore, I have actually been losing sleep about the possibility of Boris Johnson tasting victory in the mayoral race. It would be a disaster for London and all Londoners, plain and simple. Goodbye congestion charge, hello pollution and traffic chaos. Farewell to an Olympics that is any way sustainable, hello big business and multi-nationals. And let's wave goodbye to a London that celebrates multiculturalism and instead witness a man who tried to block the Stephen Lawrence enquiry attempting - and failing miserably - to try to run the most complicated, sprawling and diverse city in the UK.

In short - vote Sian 1, Ken 2! I have a feeling it will be close and those second preference votes will make a difference.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Hunting for dinosaurs in Mayfair

Here I am with my binoculars and pith helmet, searching for dinosaurs in Berkeley Square. Oh, there's one - the sadly not very rare Porsche Cayenne Turbo! Look at it it lumbers along at 5 miles per hour in a traffic jam. Wow! Look at it beltching out just short of 400g of CO2 per km - I'm awestruck.

13 of us turned up bright and early this morning for our Urban Dinosaur Hunt at the Porsche showrooms, hoping to shame them regarding their battle with Transport for London over the increased Congestion Charge for Band G cars. As well as spotting some highly polluting sports cars and 4x4s in the showroom, we saw some in the 'wild' too. A couple of press photographers came along which is always good - now we're looking out to see where the pics they took crop up...

Saturday, 5 April 2008

"Vote Green Party on May 1st! Don't forget to vote!" I spent a couple of hours hollering this today on Stroud Green Road, in an attempt to get the electorate to the polls - and to get them to put crosses in the right boxes when they get there. We were handing out 'Green money' which looks like a bank note but our mayoral candidate, Sian Berry, is pictured in place of the Queen - much more preferable, in my opinion. It also contains lots of information about how a Green London would be a cheaper, more affordable London.

Of course, giving out rather convincing looking money made us rather popular. I was especially popular with a huge dog which leapt on my back, paws on my shoulders, and decided it loved me. Unfortunately, I can't abide dogs, especially the big, slobbering, be-fanged type, so the feeling was decidedly not mutual. Uuuggghh...

Comedy moment of the day was provided not by the doggy-style moment, but by the ever-incredible Homes for Haringey. They've partially upheld my complaint, but deny that a member of staff was 'intentionally rude'...despite the fact that he was, and in front of the residents' association AND a local councillor. The letter from Homes for Haringey contained a classic non sequitur:

'Since working with Zuned, I have found him to be professional and he has successfully worked with Cllrs and residents groups successfully, and I have reason to believe that he would not work with yourself and your group in the same manner.'

Ha ha ha! Thanks, Homes for Haringey. And thanks also for the £20 'compensation' you've awarded me. Read my blog. Does The Mitchell usually accept being paid off thus? Nope. Stage 2 complaint, here we come!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Encounters with the Pink Dame

Radio 4 loses it's right to tag itself as the broadcaster of, and I quote, "intelligent speech" tomorrow morning at 11am, when my documentary, 'Encounters With the Pink Dame' gets another airing...much like a pair of well-worn bloomers.

I made the programme last year, and it was selected 'pick of the week' - always a thrill! I had a lot of fun making it, especially when I went a'visiting the Dame's Pink Pad in Hertfordshire. I was accompanied by the plain speaking Lancashire lass, Liz Kershaw, who presented the show, and David Prest, head of Whistledown Productions.

The Dame's son has kept the mansion EXACTLY the same since Babs's death a few years ago. Pink and turquoise furnishings, gold statues of Pan, fake dusty flowers and dozens of framed pictures, cartoons, portraits of the Dame herself. Then there's the stuffed toys, thousands of trinkets, four poster get the jist. Frankly incredible.

I was obviously on my best behaviour, and being, at the time, 6 months pregnant and unmarried, I was keen that Ian, Barbara's son, didn't discover my disgraceful circumstances, fearing that he would view me as scum - his mother certainly would have turfed me out!

However, despite my best efforts in the arena of etiquette, my presenter and Mr Prest both managed to make huge boo-boos. David asked Ian whether Barbara had ever met Raine Spencer...Ian gently reminded us that Raine was Barbara's daughter!

Later, another Raine-themed clanger was dropped by Liz when she said "Of course, Barbara outlived Raine didn't she?" (Silence). "Oh, have I said something wrong there?" Ian said that his half-sister was still very much alive.

Goodness me. I will be tuning in to hear my efforts at 11am, and anyone who misses it can of course 'listen again' on the web player:

P.S. It isn't essential to don huge fake eyelashes and a pink feathered hat when tuning into the programme, but you may find it augments your listening experience...