About Me

"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Angela Carter makes it four Blue Plaques in one Clapham street ....but are they all what they seem?

Breaking months of silence to report a nugget of old news from this blighted corner of the blighted city. English Heritage has at last slapped one of their Blue Plaques on the house where the writer Angela Carter lived for the final 16 years of her life, at 107 The Chase, Clapham.
Those plastic-looking venetian blinds were certainly not there
when Angela Carter owned this house in Clapham. So
far as I remember most of the house of was painted deep
blood red.

This was reported in the Guardian on 11 September, but not in many other papers. I wonder who turned up to do the honours - and whether the plaque was covered with those rather camp little curtains on a drawstring, as happened at the unveiling of Natsume Soseki's plaque a decade ago, a few houses up in the same street.

I'm not sure where Angela Carter's work now stands in the literary world, but I do know that she meant a great deal to me. To anyone who had been turned on to the subversive delights of 'alternative' fiction and poetry in the late '60s, largely thanks to Penguin Books, Carter's fiery works were irresistible.

I read one of her early novels, The Magic Toyshop, on the top deck of the 68 bus, all the way from South Croydon Bus Garage to exotic Chalk Farm and what seemed the impossibly sophisticated world of NW3 hippie-dom.

En route the bus rumbled up and down the roller-coaster hills of south London - Beaulieu Hill, West Norwood, Tulse Hill,  Herne Hill and Camberwell. There was a specific corner on Norwood Road, SE24, opposite Brockwell park, which in the early November dusk seemed to me the perfect location of this story.

That area grew in imagination: I would dream about cycling to this Magic Toyshop. In my dream,  there was always a magic second-hand bookshop next door which also sold the best flapjack. And Brocks fireworks.

When, 25 years later I moved into a rickety 3rd floor flat in Clapham, I had no idea the author of that book lived in the same postal district.

Now I turn to her journalism more than her fiction. There's a great collection of her non-fiction writing called Shaking A Leg, which includes an article "D'you mean South?," written for New Society magazine in 1977. It's about South London in general and Clapham in particular, and says more about gentrification than anything else I have read. Although the process we see now is so much more aggressive,  more arrogant and selfish, it is essentially the same. And yet she clearly still loved living where she did live.

All this was the subject of an earlier post on this blog, written when the house where Natsume Soseki lodged for the last few months of his unhappy but productive stay in London got its plaque. Carter must have known Soseki lived a few houses up the street, but I don't think she ever references him.

For along time there was a tiny but fascinating Soseki Museum in a flat directly opposite this house. Sadly it closed, and the flat it occupied was sold, two years ago. I wrote about it here.

Nor (so far as I know) does Angela Carter ever mention Dorothy Dene, the artist's model and actress who lived for a while at 103 The Chase. Two doors and a hundred years apart: Dorothy Dene was for some years muse-in-chief to the Victorian painter, Frederic Lord Leighton (whose fancifully Arabesque house in Kensington is much as he left it, there for the visiting).

Notice the same brickwork and the same property-developer-approved grey
blinds two houses along from Angela Carter. I think Dorothy and her
employer/admired Lord Leighton would have favoured velvet curtains.
She stayed in Clapham for part of the 1880s, before Leighton helped her move to an altogether more respectable address in Kensington, from which she could more readily launch herself into the West End theatrical world.

There's a Blue Plaque on Dorothy Dene's  house as well - that's three in a row for this side of The Chase. It's only a Clapham Heritage platter, and not the full English Heritage monty. But, it looks the same. And there's an interesting essay on her life on the Clapham Society website.

There's a fourth, rather less convincing blue plaque in this now quite repulsively wealthy street, with its electric gates and Fort Knox front doors; of brickwork sand-blasted to a smooth blandness; plus paved-over front gardens to provide squatting space for an obese Range Rover or two.

This rather dubious memorial is at the southern end of The Chase, where it meets Clapham Common. On the side wall of a house there's one Blue roundel and two brown oblong plaques. They all commemorate street parties held to mark recent royal events - weddings etc. None of them is official: they do not even have the authority of a local history society.

All well and good, if you must show off your adoration of the family Windsor. Almost everyone who visits here comments on these plaques. The basic thing they ask is, how come you are you living in a street of monarchists? Who put those plaques there, and why?

They are mentioned by film-maker and author Adam Scovell in an excellent article on his blog Celluloid Wickerman,  "Wanders: Angel Carter's House". This was written a couple of years before the plaque arrived. His disappointment builds as he approaches his destination via the South Circular and a Clapham Common infested with people keeping fit in lycra. Seeing these bogus plaques at the end of Carter's street is another blow to his mental image of Carter's mythical south London habitat:

"It was a realisation that the road had changed, that it was now the antithesis of any of Carter’s visions in its gaudy celebration of monarchy. Walking on, the cars became expensive and the houses either empty or rammed with envy-inducing rooms of books."

I am afraid he would find even more expensive cars but fewer rooms crammed with books, in this street in October 2019.

It's embarrassing. I just wish someone had had a street party for Castro or Che or Karl Marx (or even  Groucho). Then maybe we could have a Red Plaque. Surely Lambeth council - once famously Red itself - would allow the balance?

Maybe Angela Carter, who looked forward to seeing a "Red Dawn over Clapham" - but sadly never did – might have agreed on this one.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Obese cars and tube carriages used as toilets...yes, this city really is the Great Wen

It was only a small story on page 19 of last Tuesday's Evening Standard - but it broke all records for provoking anger, disbelief and dismay in this easily-wound-up reader.

Results from a survey by AA Financial Services, "released exclusively to the Evening Standard", revealed  that 31 per cent of Londoners want their next car to be a a 4 x 4 or SUV. 

This compares to 24 per cent of the rest of the population.

Can this possibly be true? Are Londoners that stupid?

Yes, it seems they - we - are.

Londoners were found to be the least likely to intend to buy a smaller, cheaper, environmentally cleaner car, anywhere in the UK.

Another question in the survey asked whether people believed that having a flash car made them "look good". A horrifying 13 per cent said "yes".

Presumably these are the ruddy-faced chumps driving their open-top Range Rover Evoques down my 20mph max street at around three times that speed, designer shades dangling from the placket of their  Ralph Lauren polo shirts (collars up, of course). 

So we actually want our congested streets to be even more crowded, even more difficult to negotiate thanks to the arrival of even more of these obscenely inflated four-wheel fatties, do we? Yes we do.
Of course the latest and most expensive of these vehicles have more efficient engines, and are actually cleaner than cheap old bangers. Maybe they even meet the emission targets of Ulez, and thus escape the charge - what a terrible irony that would be.

But it's not just the air pollution that bothers me. It's the moving, aggressive, self-satisfied blot on the landscape that these vehicles represent: almost all of them are repulsive to look at. They are so huge you cannot ignore them. They have the stupid grinning fat faces of boozed up louts. Still, at least the bull-bars have gone.

We are Londoners. We are intent on self-destruction. It's not just Claphamites who live in Wankerville. It's the whole stinking lot of us living within the suitably vile perimeter of the M25.

Another recent piece of news reveals that it's not only London's car owners who are fouling up the city. Tfl has reported a massive increase in the numbers of people soiling tube carriages and buses. Guess which tube line is the filthiest.

SO, nothing new really. Who was it who called London the "Great Wen"?

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Welcome to Wankerville: at last, we know where (and what) we are...

You know how you often pass a big welcoming sign when you drive into a village in the countryside? Like, "welcome to Upper Dicker, twinned with....etc..etc".  Well some kind soul of a signwriter has done the same for the area of south west London defined by the postcode, SW4.

In a none-too-subtle follow up to the helpful directions painted last year on one of Brixton High Street's rail bridges, a generous human has helped the often confused (or drunk) residents of Clapham know exactly where it is that they reside.

This bridge - which carries the Overground line trains from Clapham Junction to Highbury and beyond, as well as a lot of the Kent  commuter traffic (and formerly Eurostar trains) - is well chosen as a portal to the decidedly faded pleasure zone of Clapham High Street.

How long will this last one wonders? Will the burghers of Clapham take offence and whitewash it over asap? Maybe not. The inscription has gone down well on social media, with Clapham residents among its most fervent fans. See, for example, this post on Instagram.

As I live close to the borders of  C*****m and a neighbouring zone, I quite often lie about my own location - what a dastardly betrayal that is! But if it were to be officially re-branded, maybe I would have a bit more civic pride....OK, no, perhaps not. In fact I think there are very strong grounds for re-naming the entire city, all of Greater London, with this inelegant moniker. Grounds which I will explain in another post very soon.

Meanwhile, people leaving the OK-yaah Babylon of Clapham High Street and heading  for the relative paradise of Stockwell are also reminded of just what a lucky escape they are making.
Three cheers for another good use for spray paint!

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Glittering Queen's head on Park Lane - trashy kitsch or a sparkling tribute?

There's a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on Park Lane. You can hardly miss it - at least at night.

Matt Marga's tribute to the monarch, One Million Queen.
To be fair, it looks a lot better on a sunny day.
As darkness falls, this literally flashy piece of public art catches the harsh LED headlights of the expensive cars which throng Park Lane. It shimmers all silvery like a Christmas tree decoration picked up in Poundland.

The piece in question turns out to be a tribute to the serving monarch on her 92nd birthday last year. The title is "One Million Queen" ("1MQ")  and it was made by Italian artist Matt Marga.  It's a massive object,  a portrait head made out 999,999 crystals sandwiched between sheets of glass, 3 metres wide and over 5 metres tall.

It must've cost a bomb to make this. Apparently it includes 53 real diamonds, to represent the Commonwealth states. And yet it looks a bit cheap. It's  a massive blow-up of that familiar profile of the queen seen on every UK postage stamp or coin of the realm. Then rendered in glittery stuff. That's it.

On a dull morning it looked as though the glitter had been mixed with a couple of pints of Thames mud before being squeezed between the four thick sheets of glass. No doubt it looks much more impressive when the sun's shining.

Rather like Damien Hirst's "For the Love of God" - a diamond-studded skull - you wonder whether there's some irony in the project.  Is it meant to be a comment on wealth and inequality? Or is it really just a straightforward tribute? If so you wonder how it was received by the object of this expensive adoration.

We're expected to believe that the reigning monarch is very careful with her cash, the Queen of Thrift and Austerity in person. Could this piece possibly be just a wee bit too tacky? Then again, is it perhaps showing us the reality - a display of absurd wealth, just like the actual crown jewels?

The location is perfect: it's very close to some of the most expensive hotels in the world, whch any day of the year will be filled with millionaires and billionaires and their families. It's also less than a mile from the Queen's London residence (another big display of dull excess, Buckingham Palace).

This famous avenue of glitzy hotels and luxury car showrooms has been the location for quite a lot of extravagant public art over the past few years, under a Westminster Council scheme to cheer up the sad central reservation. This new one replaces a more striking piece, sculptor Bushra Fakhoury's Dunamis, a 9 metre-tall sculpture of a man with a conical hat holding an elephant above his head by its trunk.

Much of the other stuff on this road seemed a bit too flashy, a bit over the top (see the entry on London's outdoor sculpture here) - but perhaps fittingly so for a road where people gawp at sports cars costing as much as a small house in Battersea.

And, as always, few yards away, in the subways to the underground car-parks, and even more up around the fountains at Marble Arch, hundreds of homeless people congregate, huddled against the icy spring winds.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Radio show evokes ghosts of Nine Elms' colourful past (and drear visions of its shiny future)

Nine Elms now - a hell of speeding construction trucks and harsh architecture. A recent radio show cast
a lot of light on the district's distinctly more human past.
The re-development of Thames riverside from Vauxhall all the way to Battersea Park has been sending me into apoplexies for about eight years. You can read the spluttering evidence of this in many entries on this blog, often with the words "Nine Elms Disease" in the headline.

I stumbled on that silly phrase even before it was used in the Daily Telegraph. Now I think of it as shorthand for all those cynical building schemes, the massive zones of identikit "luxury apartment" towers on brownfields sites around the country. Yes, just like the original disease, this one spreads fast and is unstoppable - even by the Brexit-triggered property slump.

Fascinating, then, that Nine Elms was the chosen neighbourhood focus of BBC Radio London's nearly eponymous morning strand, the Robert Elms Show, on March 5. Once they'd got over the coincidence of the presenter's name and the fact the new elm tress have been planted to restore the "nine" in the name, this was an interesting programme.

However, almost all the interest related to the district's complex industrial past and its now rapidly dwindling working class population. The New Covent Garden  wholesale fruit and flower market was the exception - and their spokesperson Theresa was getting excited a big rebuild which would provide a new Flower Market, football pitches and something called a food exchange. Vague visions of Nine Elms becoming another Borough Market sort of evaporated when she admitted this area would never become a tourist attraction on the scale of the original Covent Garden.

Apart from that, the  new development and the area's glorious future was somewhat shrugged off as disappointing but inevitable - even by a self-confessed property developer who wound down the window of his Bentley and spoke briefly to the show's resident architect and polymath, the Reverend Professor Maxwell Hutchinson.

The Rev. Prof - surely the best known and most loved architect-broadcaster in BBC history - had little good to say about the new developments along the river. The poor man had been deposited on Nine Elms Lane, just across the busy four-lane road from the new and generally disliked US Embassy. It is his job, every two weeks, to be "found" by listeners to this show: they exchange a few words on their neighbourhood with Mr Elms, and get a badge for their efforts.

It says a lot about the current state of Nine Elms that the first of only two people to find Max was a property bod in a luxury car.

Prof Hutchinson tends to improvise at length about the architectural merits of the given location. On this occasion it was chiefly past merits - for example, the old Nine Elms railway terminal, used by anyone
Nine Elms, the London terminus for the London and Southampton Railway:
the newly built station in an engraving from Mechanics Magazine, 1838. Only
ten years later, the line was extended to  Waterloo and this station closed to
passengers. But it remained as a goods depot right up to 1968, and was then
demolished. Pic: Wikimedia Commons
(including Garibaldi!) on their  way to or from the ocean liners of Southampton in the 19th century. This handsome building survived bomb damage in 1941, and served as a BR goods depot right up to 1968, when it was demolished.

Looking at old maps, it seems the station was between the site of the big Nine Elms Sainsburys and the market: I've not been able to find any trace of it, however.

We heard about the  windmills, the Battersea New Town, the Ind Coope brewery....and Battersea Power Station, which is of course in Nine Elms, just as Clapham Junction is in Battersea.

Maxwell was more puzzled than delighted by the cuboid, shiny plastic-clad US Embassy (although Mr Elms quite liked it, mainly because of its moat) and shared my dismay at how the big residential blocks screen off most of the riverside views. It was compared, very unfavourably, with the previous US Embassy building - a modernist masterpiece - in Grosvenor Square. Just for once, aesthetes seem to be agree with Donald Trump.

But Maxwell was also depressed by the dullness of most of the new architecture, despite the "awe-inspiring" investment. He complained of the anonymity of the design - "universal contemporary modernist blocks" set in "acres of tarmac".

As so often is the case in this feature, the best bits came later when listeners began calling in with memories. One of the last industries that flourished in this area was recorded music. Oncer came in with vivid memories of her times at The Who's own Ramport Studio in Thessaly Road, on the Patmore Estate - where bands such as Thin Lizzie, Sparks and the Sex Pistols also cut some of their seminal works. There's a good feature on the studio on the Battersea Power Station Community Group site. The studio building is said to be still there, although there's a new NHS Health Centre on part of the site.

Perhaps less well known outside punk and new wave circles was the Mayhem Studio set up by singer/actor Toyah Wilcox above her flat in an ancient railways warehouse in Patcham Terrace - now the site of the peculiarly ugly (even by Nine elms standards) "Exchange" blocks. One of the Robert Elms callers remembers going there with his band to record a single, and bumping into members of well-known bands on the stairs.

There's an excellent if very sad YouTube video about this place posted by a Toyah fan, bluemeaning, which makes great use of some of her music. You wonder if future residents will be haunted by the eerie yelping of the splendid flame-haired one - who I remember best as a naughty Miranda in Derek Jarman's film of The Tempest.

Not far from this site at the Queenstown Road end of the development are 14 very valuable acres of land formerly owned by us - the public - in the shape of the Royal Mail. It was flogged off to developers for hundreds of millions not long after Royal Mail was itself privatised in 2013.
Part of the old Royal Mail SOuth London sorting office site - flogged off to
the developers to become more flats and a public park.

Part of the site is to be turned into a stretch of the much-vaunted "linear park" which will run through the development. Other bits have been snapped up by developers such as Greystar whose proposals reveal yet another group of those bland New London Vernacular style apartment blocks.

Note how the architect's impressions are so often full of stylish young people and neat small trees covered in blossom....

Well, to get back to Robert Elms and the eponymous trees - this planting ceremony was indeed a high point in the developer's admittedly very well orchestrated PR programme over the past couple of years.

Last summer I met my very first new Nine Elms resident whilst checking out the Art Night festivities - which included a marching band and procession of dancers with LED coloured hoola-hoops. The young French lady I spoke  to had seen the procession from her riverside apartment. "My son wasn't sleeping, so I brought him down to here to see what's going on.

"Do you have any idea who these people are? she added.

I told her and she was happy, evidently pleased at having such entertainments at her doorstep.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Getting high on South East London's crowning glories

When the city's too hot - head for the hilltops of south-east London. Head for Dawson Heights!

So I said I was going to change, and write lots of positive, morale-lifting stuff in 2019. Of course that was a New Year's resolution and those things have to be broken.  But this one starts off on a very positive note: it is about South East London, which – as a resident of a dreary SW postcode for far too long, has always seemed to me to be the infinitely more exciting, romantic, creative and simply all-round decent half of south London as whole.

I'm not going top justify that statement - but this piece and many that have gone before, and more that will follow - tell you that story.

It was about 20 years ago, strolling through Brockwell Park late on a rare brilliant January day, sun low in the western sky, dramatically floodlighting the hills above Dulwich and beyond.

There, right at the highest point, were twin, golden, towers rising out of a pair of stepped buildings, dominating the landscape beneath them like the fortifications of some Italian hill-town built by 20th century modernists rather than medieval masons.

I'd been vaguely aware of these buildings for a long time, and became increasingly fascinated. What was this place: the headquarters of some sinister intelligence organistion, looking down on us all, monitoring us from its multiple elevations?

Of course it took only one search to find out that this was social housing from the golden age: an example of truly progressive policy of the 1960s, on the part of Southwark Council. Even the name of this council estate - Dawson's Heights - has a romantic ring. It could be the title of a thriller or some boy's own adventure yarn.

The story gets better, the deeper you dig. The design of this big, extremely conspicuous project was entrusted to one of the borough's youngest architects - the 26-year-old Kate Macintosh. In 2019 we have so-called "starchitects" working for multi-billionaire clients and the richest governments worldwide.  Half a century ago we had incredibly talented, socially-committed, idealistic architects working full-time for local authorities on public sector schemes.

More recently, working all around this area, I was getting almost daily doses of the place. Stopping for a rest in Horniman Museum gardens - at the top of Forest Hill, just to the south - you get an excellent view of the ziggurat-like quality of these flats, as they hang off the side of the steep slope.

Seen closer up, and from below, the buildings lose a bit of that dramatic quality, and after a while they become just another part of the south London landscape, affected like everything else by one's own gloomy moods.

But hearing of a photo exhibition about this development as part of the RIBA's "Six Experiments in Social Housing" season, revived my interest. This was a small, free show of 20 photos of the then recently completed estate taken in 1973 by the photographer Sam Lambert, commissioned by The Architect's Journal for its archive. They have never been shown in public before, and they give a real sense of how thrilling it must have been to be one of the original tenants living in what was a truly modern, even futuristic, housing scheme.

The modest exhibition includes some lovely interior shots, and also some interviews with current residents. One describes how, every New Year's Eve, residents congregate on the "streets in the sky" aerial walkways to enjoy one of the best views of the firework displays in London. A nicely-timed slap in the face for prevailing orthodoxies on social housing design.

What's also great is that this estate is still social housing: it has not gone the way of other modernist icons such as Trellick Tower in North Kensington, where flats are now selling on the private market for millions. Despite efforts by the 20th Century Society and others, the estate has not yet received  the protection of Grade 2 listing - which seems odd. But, by all accounts, it is not in imminent danger of destruction or redevelopment - itself a rarity in these shoddy times.

Back in Brockwell Park, look west, and you see another example of well-designed 1970s social housing - the Cressingham Gardens estate on Tulse Hill Road. This one also tried and failed to get grade 2 listing - but unlike Dawson's Heights, this estate is still having to campaign for its existence. It has been under threat of demolition and redevelopment by the landlords, Lambeth Council, since 2015.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Enough of this blogger's impotent rage! It's time to celebrate surviving another year in south London with cheap cake and our favourite local podcaster!

The year is nearly out. I know this because  Panettone is on sale in Lidl, and one of the most loyal readers of this blog is once again offering the best audible - as opposed to edible - Advent Calendar your ears will ever be lucky enough to be plugged into.

So before I embark on the standard moan about what an even lousier year it has been - let's just hear it for cheap Panettone and Daniel Ruiz Tizon's fantastic podcasts. These two seemingly unrelated phenomena must surely force me to think again before consigning the whole of the Modern World to fire and damnation.

I enjoyed the Advent Calendar so much that I wrote a post on this blog in praise of it, and, listening just now to the fabulous 16th December episode (The Kindness of Strangers), I would say, without hesitation, that you'd be crazy not to listen to all of it! It's also good to see that Daniel's also working on new material for his Café Chronicles on Resonance FM - a Christmas Eve special goes out at 8pm on the 24th.

This excellent south London podcaster is also one - possibly the only - regular reader of this blog. He often gives us a favourable mention on his twitter feed, and often enjoys pointing out how few and far between are the posts. He has even, on a couple of occasions,  referred to me as the Greta Garbo-like recluse of this hellish world of online writers.

He's right, of course - there's no way a blog can flourish on one post every four or five months.

The thing is, I write dozens of pieces for every one I publish. The abandoned majority are nearly always ill-considered rants. The impotent rage of an elderly remnant of a pampered generation: one who never moved on from the trauma of the 1979 General Election.

It happens like this. I go somewhere, I see something outrageous, something that really gets my blood boiling, and on the way home I compose a searing diatribe that will surely draw full attention to the menace in question (it is usually some form of motorised road-user).

Trouble is, when I'm finally staring at the laptop screen, those wonderful armour-piercing chains of words have all blown away, and become just a harmless puff of hot gas....and there's nothing worse than a half-baked rant. But I try, and the evidence is there in blogger archive: hundreds of unpublished outbursts.

The headlines of a few recent spiked stories give a flavour of my bile-fuelled year of rage:

– Nine Elms' Sainsbury tower block fails to win 2018 Carbuncle Cup:  we wuz robbed!
– F.a.o truck owners: if you really can't see what's between you and the pavement, how come your vehicle's allowed on the road?
– Nine reasons to regret US decision to build Embassy in Nine Elms
– The dismal decline of London's listings magazines
– Blinded by the light: why are modern car headlamps so dangerously dazzling?
– Anyone able to squeeze out a tear for the stalled developers of Chelsea Barracks?
– Out on the streets I'm calling it murder: souped-up cars are the new lethal weapons of choice
– SUV drivers! Since when did it stop being a crime to honk your horn merely to express your arrogance?
– Confusion every which way: the bonkers new cycle-superhighway systems at Stockwell, Vauxhall Cross and Elephant and Castle...
– and so on, blah, blah, bloody blah.......

It was while writing the last one - provisional headline, "To the bloke in a tight white shirt and red-and-grey tie, driving a metallic grey Audi A8, at Clapham Common at 5.05 yesterday afternoon, who honked at the Nissan Micra in front because it was waiting for an elderly disabled person cross the High Street: learn some bleedin' patience, fatso! " - that I realised that the headline itself said it all, and I should stop writing these things until I could control my rage a bit better.

So, I have spared you from even having the chance to glimpse these bitter words. Anger, I now realise, is not enough: it is not a useful basis for a blog or for any other form of expression. I never really much liked hard-core punk music for the same reason. The Angry Young Men of 1950s Britain? Just a bit too pleased with their own righteous manly bristling for my liking. As for The Who smashing their instruments - that was just plain stupid.

So even though it has truly been a terrible year for so many people,  and although I really have witnessed many, many more incidents of extreme and unprovoked anger and selfishness and even violence on the streets of south London this year than in any previous one, I think it is a good idea to swallow my bile for once.

Instead, please join me in enjoying a slice or two of Lidl's £3.29 De Luxe Panettone, a few glasses of cheap white wine (Prosecco, if you insist) and get listening to that Advent Calendar! No better way to get through these strange bleak days.

And one 2019 resolution: I will start writing more regular, less negative items for Microgroove. Oh yes I will.....