Another year, another lovely lido membership. £166.22 (nope, me neither) buys me six months of South London poolside procrastination. I just need to find a way to pay for all of this lack of work ethic between now and the start of the summer season on 1 April.

It is always one of the most joyous occasions in knowing that your membership card is ALIVE with the same veracity of vigour that your meat and two veg are after a lovely lido swim.

Any sign of life down below, Sir?

At least the membership card gives off a cheeky buzz each time you swipe it.

And swiping it HARD and OFTEN is something that I plan to do over the following six months. I have calculated that I need to swim ten times a month to make the membership pay for itself.

Balls to that.

I'll be double-dipping (steady) with @OneEyeGrey and the other post-hibernating @brockwellicicle crowd whenever work doesn't get in the way of the true Transpontine activity of arseing around at the lido.

The Selfishness of the Cold Water Swimmer is soon to be surpassed with the Selfishness of Summer Season Ticket holder. A 55 yard pool (hellooo!) all to yourself mid-winter is wonderful. So is the queue-jumping during the balmy days of August when half of Brixton snakes it way around to the @LidoCafe, all hot and bothered.

But that's really not what lido life is all about. The renewal of my outdoor swimming vows was an exercise in itself of Lake Brockwell calmness. Poor old Christian on Reception was performing a delicate balancing act of signing up summer swimmers, servicing the casual crowd wanting a dip and then politely having to tell non-punters that the lido toilets are for folk who have put their faith in outdoor swimming only.

Job's a good un?

I remain convinced that it is impossible to get ANGRY anywhere within the four art deco walls of Lake Brockwell. The 1930's bricks conain a magical quality, passed down from each swimming generation that somehow place a topological sense of inner calmness.

Some may even call it... well-being [URGH.]

I found my own well-being in a King Sized Mars bar after I had put in the lengths on Saturday morning. I was pondering tucking into a second serving whilst Christian was processing my procrastination membership.

And then a young chap, probably just under-20, added to the many multi-tasking skills of yer man on Reception:

"Hello there. I would like to swim please. This is my first time. I'm not sure what to do or where to go..."

I was filled with a sense of envy, yet also wise to the wisdom of lido summer's past.

Oh the joy. Oh the innocence. Sir, your life is changing.

Come on in - the water's...

about 9.6 degrees to be honest.

Best to buy a lovely lido summer season ticket first.


03/29/14; 06:08:41 AM

You see I should have phoned up @RobertElms for the four-fer on Friday lunchtime to tell the good man how chuffing AMAZING The Style Council were.

I should have told him that although I absolutely love The Jam, and yer man has had his moments as a solo artist, The Style Council represents Weller at the peak of his powers.

I should have let Robert know that it was an incredibly radical thing to do at the time in breaking up Britain's Biggest Band, and then recording a jazz funk work out all about the evils of Monetarism.

I should have expressed how although the original idea of Weller and Merton Mick Talbot as the nucleus of The Style Council made sense, it was the gradual transition to become Probably the Best Pop Group in the World with Dee C Lee and Steve White that worked so wonderfully.

I should have put forward my view that it was the proposition of pop and politics and clothes that made The Style Council so perfect. I'm even prepared to forgive the sins of white denim.

I should have contacted BBC London to let Robert know that Weller boasted both his best and worst haircut during the Style Council period - and whaddya know: these were both the SAME haircut.

I should have found the time to tell Robert that it was quite beautiful to witness the very personal relationship between yer man and Dee on record. Post Cafe Bleu ( THIRTY CHUFFING YEARS!) and the couple just clicked, both in and out of the recording studio.

I should have confessed to Robert that I once had a 3 metre by 3 metre blow up of the inside sleeve for Our Favourite Shop hanging in my kitchen. I probably wouldn't have let it slip on air that this only came down four years ago.

I perhaps then should have returned to the music and suggested that every album from Introducing through until Confessions of a Pop Group contains at least half a dozen songs that would be worthy of the Robert Elms four-fer.

I should have taken the opportunity to clarify however that Modernism: a New Decade is a little rubbish.

But then I should have ended on a positive beat, picking Headstart for Happiness as my all time favourite Style Council song - at a push.

I should have made the connection that it is the perfect spring song, and one that contains lyrics that are still relevant to us all as we go about our lives and try and seek improvement and pleasure:

You'll find it can happen

You'll find you've got the strength

You can move a mountain

You just need the confidence

In yourself and all you've got to take this world

And shake it up

Let no one say they're better than you

You must believe you've got the power

But I didn't phone up @RobertElms for the four-fer on Friday lunchtime to tell the good man how chuffing AMAZING The Style Council were.

I was doing something equally as lovely in an ACE Sunny Stockwell school.

I needn't have worried. The four-fer on Friday was FANTASTIC. I don't think that I was alone in shedding some Comradely pop 'n' politics tears when the chords for Shout to the Top struck up.

I'm not ashamed to say that Boy Y even caught me crying ever so slightly when Headstart to Happiness was squeezed in at the end as a rare fifth track for the four-fer.

Thank you @RobertElms.

Thank you to the listeners who expressed how and why The Style Council means as much to them as it does to me.

Oh, and thank you to yer man I guess.

Keep the Faith.

03/28/14; 05:12:46 PM

This looks half-decent - Troublemakers? the ACE Bishops Gate Institute over in the City.

Don't be fooled by the location, location, location, Comrades. @BishopsGateInst may be in the heart of the City of Corruption, but contained within is over two Centuries of protest, struggle and surrealism.

Or Bread and Roses, as we use to say back in the day.

A morning spent within the walls of the Institute was the highlight of my own personal Open House explorations back in 2013. Where else can you find the minutes of the GLC available for you to read at your leisure?

Probably online...

Which brings us back to Troublemakers? It's not all about absorbing every last paragraph out of some turn of the Century anarchic theoretical text. There's nothing wrong in correlating anarchist theory with contemporary unrest, but don't forget to do the digital thing.

Troublemakers? ...certainly hasn't forgotten. One of the highlights of the schedule is Protest in the Digital Age (or (tweet the fuck out of #localgov, as was my contribution during #ukgc14...)

The London Radical Bookfair takes over the Institute on 10 May; there's a walk around the Commie hotspot (ha!) of Clerkenwell the following morning.

If you aren't the revolting type then it's worth a visit to the brilliant Bishopsgate Institute for the building and sense of history itself.

If you are a London toplological twonk then you can stand in one of the main corridors and imagine revolutions past and present being played out in front of your eyes.

Failing that then the newly opened high class coffee shop is rather nice.

Our Troublemakers? series takes a look at what it means to take a stand. Is radicalism always extreme, revolutionary or even violent when it seeks to challenge perceived norms or advocate for change? Is it always anti-establishment or left-wing?

LOVE the disclaimer of: *actual trouble not included.

Plus: here's the Hated by the Daily Mail deceased Whitechapel Anarchist Group Telling It Like It Is, via the always engaging Circled A Resonance broadcast.

03/28/14; 12:53:04 PM

This is a great find - a new #hyperlocal site covering a particular geo-patch of around the edges of the Oval. Or is it within the vicinity of Vauxhall? some may even call it Kennington.


Either way, it shows just how hyperlocal is homing in on micro patches, and then providing something positive within a specific community.

Hat-tip to Martin Stanley's wonderful Fentiman / Richbourne / ahem Dorset Road email list for the find. I would link to Martin's details, but the information comes via an irregular email of all that is hyperlocal.

Maybe that is the future of location-based publishing?

But anyway - back to Interest in Meadow Road, Palfrey Place Ashmole Street, Claylands Road / Place and Trigon Road.

Or IMPACT as the site likes to be known.


What IMPACT captures perfectly is the changing nature of a locality. It also shows the power of images in documenting these changes. It's as simple as snapping a daily change, and then hitting publishing with a few words.

But is it that simple?

Time and tide, as ever get in the way. The demands of the real world all too often restrict the development of #hyperlocals. Short and punchy often leads to the greatest impact.

IMPACT should give a go.

But is it that simple?

It is no surprise that the best local knowledge comes from local people. IMPACT (and there are many others...) is a bottom up model of Telling It Like It Is. There is an intrinsic trust of those that live around you. BIG MEDIA (and even local media to an extent) often get it so wrong when trying to cover a specific locality with any authority, let alone integrity.

It also raises some interesting questions about how hyper is #hyperlocal? Down the road and the wonderful Brixton Blog covers a HUGE footprint. That's gotta be a challenge to sustain? [URGH.]

Hang on - isn't this happening next week?

Oh Lordy.

03/27/14; 01:21:17 PM

I've been thinking a lot about the economy of the bicycle. Paying bills for the repairs and servicing of my bikes tends to focus on the fiscal aspect of cycling.

In short, I've had a complete spring clean - but in terms of space and mechanics. Bye-bye to the Moulton fleet: the Deluxe, the Mini and yep, the BONKERS. They were taking up too much storage space and simply weren't being used.

The corresponding mechanical clean has seen a complete service of the MTB, the road bike and the Brompton. The ebay fighting fund from the Moultons has covered this, plus a little left over to start thinking about buying a track bike once again for Herne Hill.

So yeah - I've been thinking about the economy of the bicycle of late...

It seems quite an outlay each spring. £40 for the Brompton to be fine-tuned, £120 to keep the road bike road worthy. You could of course buy a half-decent second hand frame for those figures combined.

But then I think about what I use my bicycles for.

In short - EVERYTHING.

I've never owned a car and so don't know much about the cost. I'd wager though that the overheads are significantly higher than keeping a fleet of what is now four bicycles on the road (the Sunny Stockwell rust bucket doesn't get too much bike love to be honest...)

My bicycles are pretty much my life. They enable to do and go wherever I want. I work and play via two wheels. It's a small price worth paying for that personal freedom.

03/27/14; 01:10:12 PM

They call him Billy Two Blogs. Yeah, yeah - 'cos that's just greedy.

But I felt that I was in need of a different approach to blogging.

There's always been m'blog (apart from when I threw a wobbly after the first year...) and there probably always will be. It becomes something that you just do; it's part of the natural rhythm of life. You wake up, drink tea and then blog.

I've not been doing much of this of late though for various reasons. onionbagblog has always been the online dumping ground for what I get up to offline. I play, I observe, I blog.

Work has got in the way of much of the playing in recent months. That's no bad thing. Pay to play, and all that twaddle.

What to blog about though? Work?


Nope - what I needed was an online dumping ground Part II that wasn't event or location specific. That nice Samuels Pepys might have even called it a diary back in the day.

It's a return (of sorts) to the Golden Years of Blogging (ARF!)

Sometime around 2007 and BIG MEDIA took over and killed off the glory of weblogs as we knew it.

I'm here to change that.

Ha, bloody ha.

Probably not, but I do need a personal online space that can also become social, and one that doesn't include endless Crap Match Reports.

Plus I'm keen to develop my own tech skills and learn a little more about outliners. This blog is built entirely using the ACE fargo. Which sounds quite fancy, but actually it didn't take too much tinkering.

I've fallen in love once again with the simple process of having an online outline in front of me, bashing out the words and then allowing the magic of the modern interweb to be put to work.

Wordpress has become a beast. It can sometimes take an entire evening just to embed, publish and do all the responsive twaddle that blogs have grown to become.

Hopefully I can just whack out some words in an outliner and once again find some blogging rhythm.

I give it until the end of the week until I'm reduced to 140 characters or less...

03/27/14; 12:57:36 PM

Last built: Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 3:13 AM

By Jason A.Cobb, Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 12:57 PM.