Sunday, 30 September 2007

October is Black History Month

LGBT Black History Month logo
To mark the month, LGBT History Month UK have put together resource pages on their website. These include some information about prominent black LGBT people and black LGBT organisations. Their blog will also feature specific posts throughout the month.

You can view these pages by clicking here or on the image above.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Yellow Beetle

I don't normally remember my dreams. It's probably just as well. The other day however, I remembered the appearance in my slumbering psyche of a yellow beetle flying towards me in my room. Nothing else.

A day or two before that Slightly, who into all these things, told me about two dreams that two members of his family had had about him. Both were apparently good omens predicting financial success.

When I first remembered the nightly insect the morning after, I mistakenly remembered it as a scarab. My friend Google quickly confirmed the hunch I had that scarabs meant good luck in ancient Egypt. Slightly confirmed to me that dreams of any yellow (golden) insect (apart from spiders, who are not insects anyway) announce a windfall.

Perhaps the insect was simply announcing the arrival of the cheque I mentioned in my previous post but I want to believe (and why not), that, coupled with Slightly's own dreams, this has to do with the new venture we are starting together.

On 14th October, I will be at the London Cycle Show. As an exhibitor. This will be the first official outing of the new life of an old south London brand: Witcomb Cycles.

The Witcombs father and son (Ernie and Barrie) have been hand-building bicycle frames since the late 1920's. The company's fortunes have fluctuated over the years but the quality of the bikes has always remained and although the general public has now more or less forgotten about them, those in the know consider Witcomb bikes some of the best bikes to be found.

My mission (and I have accepted it, together with Slightly and our other business partner) is to give the brand the prominence it deserve without diluting the quality and craftsmanship of the products. Initial feedback is very positive already and everyone is very hopeful indeed. In addition to cleaning up the image, we are going to tidy up the workshop based since the beginning in Deptford and create a new range of exclusive products. Details of those will soon appear on the website.

Notices of financial success (even ones as unreliable as dreams) as therefore most welcomed.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Easiest 200 Quid Ever

Tube 3

A couple of weeks ago, I received a message through my Flickr account. It was about the picture above.
I'm from a design company in Covent Garden and would like to use the shot for a brochure for LU. We would of course pay you, but would need a higher resolution image if you have one.
I took the picture around 5.30 one morning in April this year. I am not sure why I was up so early and looking out of the window that day, but the fact is that I did, saw this lovely sight and snapped it.

The brochure is internal to London Underground but I should get a copy anyway. Today I received a cheque for £200 in payment for the use of the picture. That's my now aging digital camera having almost paid for itself (It cost me £300 in 2002).

Funnily enough, a few days later, I received another message by the same channel and about the same picture, although from an American fondery, this time.
I recently just finished developing a series of typefaces based on the London Underground typeface and was wondering if you would mind if i used one of your photos ([link]) for a small informational/promotional PDF file that I would post online. In return for usage of your photo, i am willing to offer licensing to the regular medium weight of the typeface.
I responded that I had little use for license of a typeface. I haven't heard anything more but in any case, I am well chuffed. The unexpected money is nice, of course, but more importantly, and probably wrongly, all this interest tells me that I am perhaps not too bad with a camera.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Discriminatory Planned Legislation - Please Help.

The DfES is in the process of consulting the public for the introduction of a bill on barring people from working with children and vulnerable adults.

They are considering a series of offences which would automatically disqualify an individual without a chance of appeal. Among these offences it is surprising to find references to the Sexual Offences Act 1956, notably with the offences of buggery and indecency between men. Both these offences, which were aimed directly at gay men, have now been repealed from the statute books and should therefore not be considered any more.

This would means that some people (older gay men) who might have been convicted of these offences several decades ago would be disqualified while other people who would not have been convicted for the same acts (because no longer an offence) would not be rejected.

There is also an implicit suggestion that gay men are not suitable to work with children and vulnerable adults.

These elements of the consultation seems to have been kept very quiet by the DfES as major gay rights campaigning organisations (Stonewall, Schools Out and others) have not been unaware of them until now. The consultation process closes this Friday. Please try and make a submission to the consultation before then if you can.

Consultation documents:

Schools Out's submission to the consultation:

Tuesday, 11 September 2007


I had a rather busy day today; something I am certainly not used to any more.

I rolled out of bed at 8, had a quick shower and put a suit on, then walked round the block to the Imperial War Museum. I was there as chair of the LGBT Network to attend the Peace Breakfast organised by the Southwark Multi-faith Forum and the Volunteers Centres Southwark to mark the anniversary of 9/11. There were of gay and lesbian people with me and we spread ourselves as much as we could. We didn't really know how we would be received as we had to more or less beg for an open invite to the event. It all went very well and we hope that this is the start of something important.

The Deputy Borough Commander, the Mayor and the rabbi from the South London Liberal Synagogue spoke, awards were given, we ate and had facilitated "discussions". All very civilised and friendly. What was perhaps the most surprising was the the rabbi, during his speech mentioned his involvement with Jews Against the Clause, when he and other prominent (and straight) members of the Jewish community got together to protest against what was to become the infamous Section 28.

He also used a quote from a poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller, which I had just been googling on Sunday after seeing a version of it on placards in footages of some 1970's San Fransisco Pride in the documentary Word is Out.

The event finished just after 11. I had then planned to go and do my food shopping but we had been given free tickets to the Camouflage exhibition at the Museum so I had a kick turn of it. Thankfully it is not very big. I then went home to quickly write a post for the LGBT History Month blog which I had promised for today.

I was supposed to meet Slightly at 1pm to take to bus to North London for a business meeting. Thankfully he was running late and give me 30 min respite which allowed me to do what I had to.

The meeting lasting till about 5 by which time I took the tube (something I haven't done for quite a long time, I tend to either take the bus or walk, these days) to Waterloo in tow of Slightly and boyfriend's. The pair is apparently addicted to Krispy Kreme dough-nuts (the regularity of their visits to such establishments certainly support this affirmation) and today was my day for a first taste of the things, so they had decided.

As we were queuing, a woman suddenly taped on my shoulder asking is this was mine. This was a fiver. I didn't have the presence of mine to say that it was (it wasn't) and she happily went to catch her train home.

I had a Vanilla Cake. The pastry was very light and fluffy but I am still wondering about the name of the damn thing as it had the blandness of taste my (limited) experience tells doughnuts always have. I couldn't really taste any vanilla.

We then walked to the South Bank and along the river to London Bridge Station. From there I walked home by the back streets and so my day ended.

Tomorrow should be much quieter.