Friday, 27 December 2013

Human rights groups condemn homophobic attack

Human rights groups condemn homophobic attack on landlords at Kings pub in Norwich

From EDP24 by David Bale:

Kings landlord Jesse Charlebois was assaulted
by a gang of men who came into his Norwich pub.

Human rights groups across the city have united in condemning a homophobic attack on the landlords of a Norwich pub.

Jesse Charlebois, 34, and David Hayes, 26, were punched and kicked by a gang of 15 men after they asked them to leave the Kings pub in King Street at about 5.30 pm last Saturday.

They said that since the assault they have received messages of support from as far away as France, Australia and Florida, and are planning an anti-homophobia party to raise awareness of the issue.

In a statement, Norwich Pride, which organises an annual gay parade in the city, urged people to unite in condemning the attack and to send a message of solidarity and support to the landlords.

The statement said: 
Norwich Pride is shocked and angered by the horrific level of violence perpetrated in the homophobic attack. We condemn outright such violence and call on the authorities to take every effort to catch the attackers.

One of the key aims of Norwich Pride is to ensure that Norwich is a safe city where everyone is able to be themselves. Every year at the end of July thousands of people join the Pride parade and participate in events across the city to celebrate our diverse cultures and people of all sexual orientations. We need to continue to work together to ensure this remains the case.
The landlords have also been backed by the anti-racist campaign group, We are Norwich.

The group’s Nick O’Brien said it supported Norwich Pride’s statement, and added: 
Although we focus on racism and fascism, we support the aims of Norwich Pride and wish to work with them in making Norwich a city where everyone feels safe and valued.

There is no place for intolerance. We hope the perpetrators are quickly brought to justice and wish Jesse and Davey all the best.
The landlords said they had been overwhelmed with support from around the world.

In a statement on their Facebook page, they said: 
.... we have been so touched and amazed at the messages, support, sympathy, love and good old-fashioned Christmas spirit we have received. Thank you. “Our phones have not stopped bleeping, ringing and vibrating all day and we feel stronger and better for it.

Anyone with information should call PC Paul Collins at Norwich CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Monday, 23 December 2013

From Norwich Pride

Norwich Pride Statement Condemning Homophobic Attack in our fine city:

Norwich Pride is shocked and angered by the horrific level of violence perpetrated in a homophobic attack on the landlords at Kings in Norwich on 21st December. We condemn outright such violence and call on the authorities to take every effort to catch the attackers. 

We are relieved that landlords Jesse and Davie have indicated they are in good health, despite the attack, and we support their determination not to allow a few individuals to intimidate them.

One of the key aims of Norwich Pride is to ensure that Norwich is a safe city where everyone is able to be themselves. Every year at the end of July 1000s of people join the Pride parade and participate in events across the city to celebrate our diverse cultures and people of all sexual orientations. We need to continue to work together to ensure this remains the case.

We therefore call on people to unite in condemning this violence and send a message of solidarity and support to Jesse and Davie via their Kings facebook page. 

Norwich Pride has offered our wholehearted support to assist them in any way we can. We hope that the perpetrators of these crimes are quickly brought to justice. 

Anyone with information can contact Norwich CID on 101 or call crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For Kings and all venues across Norwich and beyond, we hope you have a safe, LGBT-friendly, peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and New Year.

Hate Crime off Prince of Wales Road

Landlords’ shock after violent homophobic attack at Norwich pub

Kings landlord Jesse Charlebois was assaulted by a gang of men who came into his Norwich pub.

The landlords of a Norwich pub vowed to not let homophobic thugs drive them out of their business after they were victims of a frightening attack.

Kings' landlord Jesse Charlebois was assaulted by a gang of men who came into his Norwich pub. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Jesse Charlebois and David Hayes were punched and kicked by the gang of 15 men after they asked them to leave the Kings pub on Saturday evening.

The landlords were subjected to homophobic abuse and suffered scratches, bruises and concussion as a result of the attack that happened at the venue in King Street, off Prince of Wales Road, at about 5.30 am.

Detectives have launched an investigation and are appealing for the public’s help following the disturbance, which involved a group of men who were white and believed to be aged in their 20s and 30s. No arrests have yet been made, but their faces were captured on CCTV.

The couple, who have run the pub for the last four months, said they had never experienced such violence after years of running pubs in London.

The venue only had a handful of customers when the group entered on Saturday and the landlords said the men were already drunk and loud. When they started throwing items around, they asked them to leave. However, they refused to move and started shouting abuse.

Mr Charlebois, 34, was punched in the head several times and had a scan at hospital for a suspected broken cheekbone. Mr Hayes, 26, suffered bruises and concussion and was grabbed by the hair by one of the attackers. Their chef, Andy Watt, was bitten on the hand and suffered concussion.

Mr Charlebois said he feared that he had been scarred for life after the right side of his face was badly scratched.  He said:

We really hope they catch them and if they catch them, I want them put away. This is a hate crime and this is our business and home.

We are not going to let morons think they have won. I have run pubs in Hackney in the murder mile and nothing like this has happened. If it has happened four hours later, there would have been 100 police men on the corner. Everyone was shocked by it.
Mr Hayes added that the men targeted them after realising they were gay. He added that the attack lasted about 15 minutes.  He said:
It could have been so much worse and he [Mr Charlebois] had many punches in the head. Non of them ran away and they were quite proud about what they achieved.
Police have made an appeal for information from anyone who witnessed the attack or anyone who may have seen the group of men either before or after the incident.

Norfolk Police had extra officers on the streets of Norwich at the weekend, which was a busy party period ahead of the Christmas holidays.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Norwich CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

Friday, 20 December 2013

Message from Muslim Council of Britain


Let's have such magnanimity from those of all faiths and not forgetting those of no faith to those of all other faiths and not forgetting to those of no faith.  

That would be a real Christmas blessing.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The counter-jihadists are often as bad as the jihadists

From HOPE not hate by Nick Lowles: 

Pam Geller and Robert Spencer for former EDL leaders Stephen Lennon and Kevin Carroll

Jacob Mchangama has written a great piece on the Daily Beast on how the so-called 'counter-jihad' movement are as bigoted as the people they claim to oppose.

He opens the piece by saying:

One of the supposed core values of the so-called “counter-jihad movement,” a loosely organized collection of vocal activists battling what they believe is the immediate threat of an Islamic takeover of the West, is an unflinching defense of free speech. Because dominant parts of the political elite in many Western states have been hesitant to oppose the real threat that certain Islamic states and Islamist groups pose to free speech, as seen by, for example, their handwringing during the Danish “cartoon crisis,” the counterjihadis have had some success in posing as the true defenders of free speech. The counterjihadis appear willing to defend this enlightenment principle, whereas feckless politicians and intellectuals fear appearing as bigoted or insensitive to minorities. 

Yet one need only scratch the surface to realize how dominant members of the counterjihad movement are more than happy to compromise on free speech as long as the ends justify the means and those denied their rights are Muslim.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Prince of Wales Road

Under the boastful sign

is a mute critique.

 Mindless graffiti

and under the Arnolds Office


These pictures taken Sunday 15th at about 10.30 am, AFTER an initial clean-up. 

Do the POW nightclubs and fast food outlets contribute enough towards the cleaning?  

Disgruntled residents claim they do not.

From edp24: 

A 70-strong group of people who live in streets neighbouring Prince of Wales Road filled the King’s Centre for the Norwich Stakeholders Forum to discuss with councillors, police and fire officials how to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

They demanded more action to stop their lives being disturbed by drunken revellers who spill out of clubs on Prince of Wales Road in the early hours and make noise, urinate in the street and vandalise property.

One resident of King Street described his road as “looking like a bomb hit it” on a Friday night with pizza and fast food packets lying among urine and vomit, while other attendees said roads were often strewn with smashed glass from bottles.

They proposed a number of measures to prevent the night time problems, including imposing a levy on fast food restaurants to pay for the mess to be cleaned up and introducing alley-gating, whereby gates are put on public paths leading from Prince of Wales Road to stop revellers getting down them and causing problems for residents.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Reality not perception

“British public wrong about nearly everything” or “Perceptions are not reality”

From Reason and Reality by Colin Lawson:

Democracy is dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed.

Unfortunately, UK government ministers and the right-wing press have made sure that we are misinformed about everything – here is the result. 

The chart is the result of an Ipsos.MORI poll examining the difference between peoples’ perceptions (mean estimates) and reality (actual) when asked questions about the UK population.

Here is another example from the Ipsos.MORI poll (referenced below):

Teenage pregnancy: on average, we think teenage pregnancy is 25 times higher than official estimates: we think that 15% of girls under 16 get pregnant each year, when official figures suggest it is around 0.6%[i].

Here is the reality

“With the lowest numbers recorded since 1969, the teenage pregnancy rate is proof of all the hard work of sexual health and education professionals, and the lasting legacy of the decade-long Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.

Was this news on the front page of the Daily Mail. Of course not – it did not fit their alternative reality. It would only be on their front page if they could somehow twist the data into a moral outrage about increasing teenage pregnancy. Even the Mail has failed to manage this – so far.

More from the IpsosMORI poll:

Foreign aid: 26% of people think foreign aid is one of the top 2-3 items government spends most money on, when it actually made up 1.1% of expenditure (£7.9bn) in the 2011/12 financial year. More people select this as a top item of expenditure than pensions (which cost nearly ten times as much, £74bn) and education in the UK (£51.5bn)[vi].

Benefit fraud: people estimate that 34 times more benefit money is claimed fraudulently than official estimates: the public think that £24 out of every £100 spent on benefits is claimed fraudulently, compared with official estimates of £0.70 per £100[v].

These two pieces of research indicate the gap between perception and reality in the British public:

The IpsosMORI Poll – Perceptions are not reality:

British public wrong about nearly everything, survey shows:

These are just a few examples of government ministers misinforming the public:

David Cameron Rebuked For Making Misleading Economy Claim, Again:

Ministers who misuse statistics to mislead voters must pay the price.

Minister rebuked over immigration statistics:

Incapacity benefit test claims ‘conflated figures’ – watchdog:

Iain Duncan Smith criticised over benefit cap figures:

Duncan Smith ‘clarifies’ Commons slip over benefit data:

This gives just a few recent examples of tabloid misinformation:

The Daily Mail & The Sun continue to undermine their own case for press freedom:


The Lies of Right Wing Tories, Blairites, Free Marketeers and Neolibertarians:

Some Questions for our local MP John Glen:

Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP John Glen:

Sunday, 15 December 2013

English Defence League Announce 2014 demos

From EDL News by Gary Hasting

Some members of the East Anglian EDL

The English Defence League has announced the first three EDL demonstrations for 2014. 

The ailing far right organisation plans to go to Slough on either the 1st or 8th of February according to an announcement on various division Facebook walls.

The EDL then plans to demonstrate in Kidderminster on 22nd March and then in Sheffield, some time in May.

EDL News has no idea why Kidderminster or Slough was chosen or even if the organisation will still be going by then.

The last EDL national demonstration in Exeter could only pull less than two hundred people which resulted in four arrests ranging from drunkenness to drugs possession and carrying an offensive weapon.

The organisation has been on its knees since the defection of leaders Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll to Muslim think tank Quilliam.


The EDL has had its chance to make its points, but those points were blunted by the self-destructive EDL acts of public drunkenness, violence and crime.

EDL demonstrations have caused a nuisance to shoppers and high street businesses alike, and taxpayers have forked out for extra local policing, repair of the damage and court cases.

Whilst the EDL has the right to rally in political protest, that right does not include the right to commit criminal acts and damage.  

One group's rights must not be at the expense of the rights of others.    

How many of the East Anglian EDL have got the message?  

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Racist - Sold Out!

From Norwich Playhouse:

Tickets for this event are unavailable because, according to the box office, there was an early demand. 

Although Norwich Playhouse seats only about 200, this was still an unusually rapid sell-out.  

Here is what we are missing:

The Racist: Trevor Noah

Fresh from a record-breaking season of shows at London’s Soho Theatre and a critically acclaimed total sell-out season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, South African comedian, Trevor Noah is proud to present his critically acclaimed show, The Racist, on a ground-breaking tour of the UK.

Trevor has been performing for a little over five years but his explosion onto the South African entertainment scene has been nothing short of meteoric, taking on TV, radio and his first love, stand up comedy, which he has performed on both local and international stages including the UK and US. His sharp wit, intelligent commentary, unmistakable charm and clinical delivery have established him as an extremely popular performer with undoubted world-class potential.

Trevor is a South African comedian. He has hosted numerous television shows in South Africa, including the country's music, television and film awards, the South African Comedy Festival, and two seasons of his own late night talk show. He is also the subject of the award-winning film Township To The Stage which tells the story of his remarkable career in post-apartheid South Africa. Trevor has also enjoyed sell-out success at Edinburgh.

'Noah is an immensely likeable performer – warm, upbeat, with and inquiring, irreverent approach to other people's prejudices... we can expect to see a lot more of him over here (The Observer)

A handsome, effortlessly engaging polyglot... fascinating and frequently hilarious... for someone so persecuted by language's prejudices and limitations, Noah demonstrates a mastery of it, standing out chiefly for his considerable talent' (The Scotsman)

'You can see what prompted Eddie Izzard to want to produce him here... he performs with remarkable poise, scoring plenty of hits... a great entertainer' (The Times).

'Slick, intelligent, blissfully funny... this is insightful, warm, classy comedy' (Time Out)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Spelling - does it really matter?

Well, yes, if you are trying to make a political point and if you want to be taken seriously.

What's so difficult about having a google, a spell-check or using a dictionary, especially when making a political banner?

Some clowns lose the argument before it even begins:

Monday, 9 December 2013

EDL a "headless chicken"

From twitpic:

#EDL Dagenham Division come up with a foolproof way to prevent Islamisation. 

*Warning contains utter stupidity and pigs

From Facebook:

Norwich EDL Division come up with their own foolproof anti-Islamisation device.

Expect more such lunacy and self-parody as the EDL flaps about like a headless chicken since their leader left them to face charges of mortgage fraud.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Activism and art

It's slightly disconcerting to find anti-racist art in a Norwich Castle exhibition called "Curiosity".

As if anti-racist activism belongs in some collector's cabinet of the strange and wonderful rather than out there in the real world.

Yet anti-racist points are being raised through art at the Norwich Castle Museum alongside such curios as a sheep-headed dog, Peeping Tom photography, and a fine array of kidney stones.

To be fair, this anti-racist art also keeps company with works of local luminary Sir Thomas Browne, and some intricate sketches by Leonardo da Vinci, along with some other fabulous art.

Curiosity is defined as "a form of resistance to received ideas" in the exhibition brochure. 

In a sense, so is anti-racism.  Racism does seem to be characterised by a marked lack of curiosity.

So maybe curiosity itself is an anti-racist act? 

From Phaidon:

In 1970, Caroline Hunter, a young black chemist working at the (Polaroid) film company's lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, chanced upon some South African identity documents, which appeared to suggest her employer was helping to assist in the administration of racial segregation.

Hunter went on to found the Polaroid Workers Revolutionary Movement, and campaigned against the firm's involvement in the production of South African pass books, or racially specific identity documents, which black citizens were required to carry when traveling outside of designated areas.

Polaroid withdrew from South Africa in 1977. Nevertheless, the photographic innovations they developed live on, at least in the work of the brilliant photographic artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin.

I.D. 2 (2012) by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin
(For their exhibitions), they employ the little-known Polaroid ID-2 camera, once used by SA's authorities to produce pass-book portraits.

According to South African born Broomberg, the ID-2 has a flash-boost facility, enabling photographers to take detailed, reliable photographs of black faces - something that proved notoriously difficult with Western film stock, which was developed largely for a white audience.

"Black skin absorbs 42% more light. The button boosts the flash exactly 42%," Broomberg explained to The Guardian newspaper. "It makes me believe it was designed for this purpose."

Yet, rather than use the camera for portraiture, the pair have photographed South Africa's beautiful flora, using the land camera, in both its white and black skin settings, to celebrate the country's bounty and diversity, while keeping in mind its choppy past.

I.D. 17 (2012) by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin
In all, this appears to (make) a sensitive, politically nuanced show, free from the didacticism common to less agile political commentary.

To find our more, visit Norwich Castle Museum, or read The Guardian piece

I.D. 10 (2012) by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

More examples of this subtle activism 
at Norwich Castle Museum's Curiosity exhibition 
ongoing until January 5, 2014.

Friday, 6 December 2013

"Harmony and equal opportunities"

NELSON MANDELA 1918 - 2013

I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. 

I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. 

It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

—Rivonia trial, 1964

Monday, 2 December 2013


More fun from the East Anglian Patriots

Exclamation marks!
Rude list of imperatives!
Crude labelling!
Fanciful knight about to stab his own knee!

Excruciatingly shameful spelling mistake!

It can only be the poster work of far right morons so sure of their own superiority that they kick the ball into their own goal, again and again.

So far shared by 12 other idiots who fail to see the irony.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Curiosity at the Castle Museum

From The London Review of Books:

The objects collected in Curiosity are – to put it mildly – varied. They range from blown-glass models of sea creatures, made by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka between the 1850s and 1890s, to a collection of agates, alabaster, quartz and jasper put together by Roger Caillois, a collaborator of Georges Bataille and Michel Leiris, to a vitrine displaying tiny artworks made from split lengths of human hair, collected by the artist Susan Hiller, to Richard Wentworth’s snapshots of traffic cones or abandoned gloves or old boots.

Curiosity: Art & the Pleasures of Knowing

Part of the pleasure of the cabinet of curiosities is, of course, that ‘curiosity’ has two meanings: the ideal Wunderkammer is an assembly of curious things collected by curious people. And some of the freakiest things in the show represent both kinds of curiosity at once. There’s an impossible-looking series of photographs of popes and bishops looking through telescopes: it’s hard to imagine a more recherchĂ© subject for a collector. They were all found by Laurent Grasso, who trawled through the Vatican archives for any pictures of pontiffs handling astronomical instruments. There’s no clue as to what the clerics are actually doing. Studying? Posing? Disapproving? Looking for God? And then there’s Nina Katchadourian, who spent a few years photographing fellow passengers in the aeroplanes she was travelling in: intrusive, nosy, curious, she was a collector of sleeping strangers. Also on display is her series of self-portraits taken inside aeroplane lavatories, done ‘in the Flemish style’. From a distance, she indeed looks like a figure in a Flemish painting wearing headdress and ruff; up close, the headdress reveals itself to be a white vest draped over a curved cushion balanced on the artist’s head, and the ruff a series of paper tissues tucked into the neck of her top.

Have you ever wondered why other passengers take so long in the aircraft loo?

CURIOSITY: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing
28 September 2013 – 5 January 2014

Curator Brian Dillon says:
Like the cabinet of curiosities of the 17th century, which mixed science and art, ancient and modern, reality and fiction, this exhibition refuses to choose between knowledge and pleasure. It juxtaposes historical periods and categories of objects to produce an eccentric map of curiosity in its many senses.
This is an exhibition devoted to wonder, awe and mystery in contemporary art and beyond. It draws on the rich tradition of the Wunderkammer or cabinet of curiosities, reveals surprising meetings between art and science, and explores the ways that artists today mine themes of fascination, inquiry, obsession, monstrosity and invention. Its content ranges from seventeenth-century collections of manmade and natural wonders to key works by contemporary artists such as Aura Satz and Pablo Bronstein.

Curiosity is among our most ambiguous impulses. It is at the heart of scientific discovery, artistic exploration and technological innovation. And yet it is also a sin or scandal: for centuries curiosity was condemned for its impious interest in secrets that belonged to God, and we live today in a world of surveillance and public confession. This exhibition gives free reign to curiosity in its many senses, contriving a kind of modern Wunderkammer in which awe, the desire for objective knowledge and a sense of the sheer strangeness of the world of things can cohabit. The show will not shy away from the more prurient or scandalized sense of curiosity.

The exhibition brings together artworks and artefacts from five centuries of rigorous inquiry and delightful strangeness. Drawing on the collections of major museums in the UK and abroad, it includes examples from cabinets of curiosities of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, paintings and drawings that reflect not only the curious mind of the artist but the collector’s immersion among oddities and wonders, and specimens from medical and natural history.

The focus of the exhibition will be on the ways that recent art has engaged this earlier history of curiosity and its contemporary forms. It will include works by such artists as Nina Katchadourian, who conceives of her work as a form of heightened ‘attention’ (a key term in the show) and Katie Paterson, whose explorations of astronomy and related sciences maintain a strong sense of wonder. Among others whose work responds to the questing and wondrous spirit of the exhibition are Gunda Förster and Laurent Grasso.

Curated by writer and critic Brian Dillon, the exhibition has been originated by Hayward Touring, organized in collaboration with Turner Contemporary. It is produced in association with Cabinet: a quarterly magazine that playfully crosses the boundaries between art, science, literature, history, philosophy and popular culture.

Please visit What's On pages for a range of events associated with Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing. The Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library is also hosting several events during the exhibition, please visit their website for details.