Magicians

Here’s a trailer for the film I was an extra in!

It’s nearly out – mid May.  Can’t wait!  I should be fairly obvious – there’s a scene where Webb appears in the audience, and I’m sitting in the spotlight that lights him up.  Mind you, the camera was a long way away…

Surprising windmill view

The Lib Dems in Nottingham launched their manifesto for the City Council on Monday this week, and the room we had booked for the event was the Large Hall at the International Community Centre on Nottingham’s Mansfield Road.

It was a good meeting – just one member of the press there, despite a fairly wide invitation list – but a number of party members turned up to cheer us on.  I understand that actually, the Labour party, who got David Blunkett down to launch theirs, only had two presspeople there, so we shouldn’t feel snubbed.  And the resulting story in the newspaper (one of a series of different party’s manifestos) was good coverage.

However, the point of this particular blog posting isn’t about our manifesto at all.  It’s something I noticed from one of the windows of the Large Hall of the ICC.

It was a long view across the city skyscape to Green’s Mill, the working windmill museum in Sneinton.  As the crow flies, it’s not that far away, but it is directly across the city centre.  There are many tall buildings in the way, not least the Victoria Centre and its flats, a large office block on the far side of the road, and a much older three storey shop/office complex directly opposite.

Of all the windows in the room, only one gave the exact alignment of buildings necessary to have the clear space across the city.

A few years ago, I would have assumed this was just a coincidence but since I have spent two years serving as a planning councillor,  I now know that long-views across the city centre are things that are routinely considered by architects, and are frequently a point that is specifically discussed at development control committee meetings when deciding whether to grant planning permission.

Of course, elected members have to take on trust what they are told.  Only architects and surveyors can know with any certainty how high a building will be, and what specific views will be obstructed and what not.  This information is presented in a variety of ways – photomontages with real photos of the city with mock-up versions of new buildings digitally inserted, or traditional line drawings from the architect showing relative heights.  And you have to decide how credible those reports are.  Are they showing an unusual vantage point?  Does “unobstructed view from the castle” mean the parts of the castle most of us have access to, or from the roof of the castle? And so on and so on.  However important it seems in committee, it’s unlikely that a permission will be granted on the basis of an unimpeded view.  So if, years down the line when the building is finished, it turns out that it is in the way, and it does block a certain view from a certain direction, it’s very unlikely that the Council will be able to turn around and say, “Knock it down, it’s too high!”

Planning councillors are seen in the local government community at large with the same sort of suspicion given in the wider community to the sort of people who like trains. I joined the planning committee two years ago as a sort of penance.  At the time, I was persuaded that it was in the Lib Dem’s interest for me to become, for one year only, the opposition representative on the council’s ultimate decision making committee, the Executive Board.  This position had a healthy remuneration, but it also makes a councillor ineligible to serve on the scrutiny side of the council, which is where opposition councillors spend most of their time.  So becoming an Executive Member Without Portfolio took me off most the committees I had been on in the previous two years.  As a way of balancing the load more fairly, they put me on Development Control, which I thought I would hate.  As it turns out, it’s now the committee I look forward to most, and one I shall certainly be making an effort to serve on in the new council should I be fortunate enough to be re-elected in 15 days’ time.

This week…

Dr Wilson from HouseThis week, I have mostly been lusting after Dr Wilson, Greg House MD’s long suffering best friend, member of the board of House’s hospital and head of the Department of Oncology.

And in the episodes I’ve been watching recently in the middle of the night, we learn he blow dries his hair, AND he can cook.

Phwoar.

It’s good to have a something else to do as well as elections

Record low number of hits today

Whilst idly checking my server logs as yet another way of putting off going out leafleting, I see that today I appear to have a record low number of hits – just 10 page hits since 0:01 this morning.

I imagine everyone’s out enjoying the sunshine or delivering leaflets, or like me, accidentally sleeping through most of the opportunities to both.

I will crosspost this to LibDemBlogs – that usually bumps my hits by 50%.

And now I’m heading out to pick up my leaflets and go canvassing.

It’s going to take an awful lot of sleep in May to make up for all this metabolism-challenging activity in April.

Bad CD Choice

One of the things I bought with my Amazon One Click was a “best of” CD of the Who, that featured the three tracks from which the three theme tunes for CSI, CSI Miami and CSI New York are taken.  (Who Are You?, Don’t Get Fooled Again and Baba Riley)
I thought it would be good to listen to the whole songs, and a bit more by the Who.

Actually, having now heard the songs and most of the CD, I think I prefer the short versions in TV serial titles.  Bah.

Pulling another all-nighter

This time two years ago, I was doing almost exactly what I’m doing now.  My car got locked in again, I’m behind on printing target mail, so I’m still in the office at nearly 4am.

Most nights when I park in the bingo, I set the alarm on my phone to remind me at 10pm that I need to move my car to avoid getting locked in. This evening when my phone buzzed, there were so many people around me talking that I pressed ignore, and hey presto, a few hours later, I’m locked in.

There are plenty of people in Chesterfield who have offered a bed for the night  in such circs but for no real reason I can justify to myself, I am reluctant to take them up on the offer.

And anyway, the letters still need to be printed.

Lord Bonkers is Alive and Well

Liberal England reports his Lordship is restored to good health and writing his diary again.

As usual, some rather good snippets.

Quite the saddest event of the year so far has been the ending of the engagement between the delightful Sian Lloyd and our own Lembit Öpik. The Member for Montgomery, you will have read, has instead taken up with one of the Cheeky Girls, though I am not convinced that even he could say which one with any confidence. One must be wary of continually harking back to the ‘Good Old Days’, but I have to say that I cannot recall having trouble of this sort with Clement Davies and the Beverley Sisters.

Although you’d have thought that someone with such an attention to detail as to include the umlaut on Öpik would remember the circumflex in Siân.