The Cookie Monsters – The Cost Of Con-venience.

The Scramble For Your Information



The Scramble For Your Information

Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Benjamin Franklin. 


If I were a little more ignorant, this writing would have been entitled Big Brother or something as clichéd as that but, I find ‘Big’ is too large a word to attribute to a mind so small that it would entertain the petty ambition of extracting information from those who are unaware of the consequences of giving it, under the guise of convenience.  This sounds like the mischievous ‘Little Brother’, so called by the native Americans, who also duped them into giving up information for convenience in the 15th century. That didn’t end up going well at all.

I pick up MY phone to call a friend, I’m trying to tell him I’ll be late. Instinctively, I look for an envelope or some other icon on the phone menu showing a possible missed call, something or other. I see a caution sign, I’m thinking maybe the battery needs replacing or there’s a serious software issue. Naturally, I explore and the alert reads ‘Enable Google Play services.’ Really, I must? I thought I’d ignore it but it kept coming back. After spending precious time that I did not plan to spend, I still couldn’t disable it. Totally frustrated I eventually give in to the pressure as I realise, not that it won’t stop but it can’t stop, it’s an alert that’s not designed to be turned off. Does this sound like a typical event in your smart (er than you) phone life?

By Fiona Hawthorne.png
By Fiona Hawthorne

Nowadays this type of android-human master-slave interaction gets me more and more frustrated. When I think about the number of details I’m forced to provide just to open an online trading account: email verification, card details, text verification messages, addressed utility bill and passport scans, I often think about who’s collecting all this information. Behind the request, there is no face yet we have come to accept this. We send verified personal data to an unknown source.


Equally as precluding, yet much more intrusive is the fact that my phones message bar has a yellow symbol that stops me in my tracks giving me yet another piece of vital information – ‘Try another level on Pacman.’ What? I quit that game last Wednesday. It was full of ads which I also couldn’t figure out how to disable. All because Google Play allows this activity to (by default) come out of their game area and run free into my personal phone space for a fee.  I thought that those icons were for messages from friends, family and associates, silly me.

I started thinking about those Orwellian movies of the past and unfortunately, parallels began to form in my mind. Most of the early Sci-Fi movies portrayed the future as a plutocracy of amalgamated corporations that answered to nobody, placed its stamp on everything from food and clothing to cars and property, and existed mainly to squeeze the life force out of humans for what appeared to be economic profit.


Scene from the 1927 movie, ‘Metropolis’


Here’s my line of thought:

After reading yet another message on my phone ‘Would you like to sign in with Google?’ for the hundredth time, it dawned on me that incessant Google software will stop at nothing and is totally devoted to keeping and storing ALL of my passwords and will not tire of asking. It knows, better than I do, the combination of letters and digits that I’m afraid to forget and too lazy to write down on paper, let alone type in. For me, with my several writing pads, diaries, and pieces of uncategorised thoughts written on stickies around the house, noting down isn’t the best option. So they’re all safely stored in the browser. Did I say ‘safely’ and ‘browser’ in the same sentence?

Yes, the browser. I vaguely remember switching from the Safari browser to Google Chrome some years ago, Why? Well besides the fact that Safari only updates their browser once in a blue moon with Apple’s new operating system, Google suggested it (actually maybe more than suggested it). After consistently trying to persuade me with the efficiency of a machine, I finally gave in and, since I was on my back (injured) in a state of submission, I also agreed to its suggestions of making Google my homepage, search engine and father of my mac. Their software is dedicated to being a total pain until you submit to its will, with constant bullying and countless reasons to eventually make the first thing you see when you go online the G-word.  You can feel an attitude of authority, it’s not asking you it’s telling you.  Then again, it’s not dissimilar to the ‘Updates available’ messages from the App store abuse I suffer every other day on my MacBook, which, if you think about it, in both cases it’s a type of digital rape.



But I’m your friend.


I always found it odd that when a felon is caught, they are often supported by their peers, and even friends sometimes, who describe them as a quiet and fun-loving character and seem to want to stress that they could never have imagined them committing a crime. These innocent, fun looking brands are no different.

They deceive us by appealing to the emotional, needy or the fun side of our personalities. Just look at the innocuously branded Google logo, totalitarianism innocently hides in plain sight of your life, no longer needing to ask of your trust as it has been burned into the sub-conscience from years of security suggestions and friendly warnings forming a neurological bond; it’s your buddy. Like the friendly neighbour, it tries to coax assist with creating a Gmail account at every chance, also in the name of convenience and it’s friendly cookie policy takes note of all the places you’ve looked just to suggest things that will appeal to your interests.

Oh! the price of convenience. As many would assume, all these different services are separate ones, but when you put it all together Google has many eyes and ears and is not your friend at all but the holder and keeper of your digital tattoo.

No matter how many times we are addressed with personalised greetings or how often they change and animate that logo, these are corporations with no feelings. But our senses take leave and are overtaken by emotions, especially when our heroes and the pioneers of our personal causes are constantly being honoured, pushing emotional buttons that turn us into little puppies rolling over to have our bellies tickled.

Whether it’s Marcus Garvey, Rosa Parks, Che Guevara or John Lennon, Google has all the intricate details of our lives, beliefs, and influences and will use them as needed. Meanwhile, we will be ignoring voluminous cookie policies and skimming through privacy updates to login to a page orquickly get the address of that shop, allowing these violations to continue.

Going further with this thought, I’m still shocked at the numerous amount of passwords Google browsers must hold worldwide, by any other subsidiary name, which leads me to think about the prompt on my their mobile phone, after opening almost any App, for me to get a Google account or log into one to access the full contents of the App that I sideloaded. Sometimes it wants to verify whether the download is considered ‘Safe’ before it resides on your phone. Thank you so much God-gle, you’re so considerate.



Sorry, did I say ‘Your Phone?


In reality, when you are forced to download, upload, allow or give up such personal details in order to get basic functionality on your device it is everything but your own, trust me. You are literally forced to comply. With this, we should really be aware that the intention never was about freedom on your device but simply to employ methods to extract, collect and then store your details somewhere (normally on a server overseas). Normally this is in order to further figure out who, why, and what you are doing, along with analysing your personal habits to further market to you. Do remember that the excuse for all this sensationalised security started with terrorism.



Random message. A gift for who, me?? I’m not playing Pacman I’m at work.


Let’s not be too overly concerned with being hijacked by foreign forces; our home security has already taken custody of our information, we just haven’t noticed. In 2017, Forbes named Google the # 2 most valuable brand in the world which means that it’s value: your data, is of great interest to those seeking you out for whatever reason, corporate or legal.  It’s also Google that asks for your location every time you want to find a shop, travel locally or abroad and sometimes even to download a simple App.  It asks you to trust it on judging an Apps worthiness to be on your/it’s phone. So let’s not get mesmerised by the bouncing letters and the cool Hip Hopness of the corporate data collecting machine, it has a very serious job and you’re it.


Trusted Sources


Speaking of Jobs, it’s not just Google. Apple has its own subtle intrusions too, especially since Steve Jobs’ departure in 2011 (RIP).

In 2017, Forbes called out Apple and named them the most profitable company in the world. With this kind of money, it seems obvious that their interests will be strongly geared towards collating data to secure more bespoke sales and increase their profits. If you happen to have a logo of an Apple on any of your hardware your updates, downloads and purchases will come with conditions, constantly prompting updates they may take a little more freedom away each time you do, again in the name of security. Aren’t you even slightly suspicious of going into a store and having to log in to be served?


Saying that, it also must be said that Apple are a little less intrusive than some others, mainly because the real estate on their computer is owned by and for them and not leased out, so the experience may be considered a little more of a personal one. On the other hand, most other PC’s (Windows) lease out space for Antiviruses, maps and a host of other software nuisances on their computers, straight out of the box. All these are provided by third-party’s to annoy you with warnings of being infected and spied on, once again, in the name of security.  Digital terrorism, no?

Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 00.02.13
Sounds like controlling the flow of information to me.


Facebook has it’s bullyboy methods too. Yes, you can log in to Facebook on a mobile phone but just try to reply or even view a message and you will be occluded and held on a screen that insists you download their App before you can continue. They even entice you with the names of your friends that have succumbed to their digital seduction.

But then they do make it clear in their user agreement that they own ‘EVERYTHING’ that you place on their platform. I have no idea on earth why they would benefit from owning pictures of your children, friends, holidays and gossip conversations, but even more baffling is why we allow it.

I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that it’s because in the very likely event of their server being hacked and pictures of your loved ones turn up on some disfavourable platform they can cede liability and avoid class action lawsuits of an unbearably large geographical scale. FYI, at the time of this writing, Apple phones allow you to use the full functionality of Facebook, including messaging, without having to download the Facebook Messenger App.





Ok, who’s idea was it…I mean who decided that because I have Adblocker on my browser, every time I try to log into my email a big intrusive  **** off pop up will ask me to switch it off, EVERY SINGLE TIME!  There’s no thought that we may not want to have a relentless bully reminding us that they can make it inconvenient for us if we decide to resist their ads with an Ad blocker because we don’t want their programming in our heads.

Own your ass.

Why not login with your thumbprint, it’s safer?


From 2010 to 2011, Google acquired one company per week. That’s 52 companies in that year. It’s now seven years on and they have not gotten any smaller, go figure. Google has now been re-organized into a subsidiary of a larger holding company under the name Alphabet. Their stated acquisitions total over 400 companies including Motorola mobile technology as well as Pitt Patt and Viewdle, facial recognition systems. Why?

When I think about Motorola I think about the traditional US police communication systems since the 70’s (maybe earlier). It’s as American as the Statue Of Liberty (no, maybe French fries…Apple pie?) and seems a very totalitarian move. That along with two other face recognition companies has to at least form a question mark over the mind.


Google own that too.


Every splinter company of Google, from phone to browser to translation software, is another eye peeping into our private lives and sending it to its central brain somewhere forever. Now I know some will say ‘So what, I have nothing to hide.’ But just think, if the Google empire happened to disagree with something you wrote, bought or even thought. Forty billion dollars would easily make it possible for you, your family, friends acquaintances and the entire block you live on to disappear if need be, with added legal muscle just so it doesn’t surface in the News.

A representative from the relevant branch of its hundreds of subsidiary companies would find it quite easy to locate your front door,  knowing your ETA with accuracy beyond belief. What they’d want to do – I have no idea, but you’ve logged your address, friends, family, habits, interests, frequent travel locations, purchases, favourite websites, attractions, medical/psychological conditions, your diet, politics, concerns, wish lists and so on, on their huge database. Put it this way, if Hitler had this type of machine way back then, we would all be German subjects. It’s just too much power for anything besides God to hold. But I’m sure it wouldn’t happen, would it?

In reality, very few of us make a business of crime or choose to engage in pointless threats towards our own humankind, it seems that today those who do, tend to do this by pushing free social media platforms online to eventually steal personal information to sell on the black market. Our only crime is that some of us don’t always want to be made a study of and we like to choose who and when we want to share our sensitive and personal data and maybe want to be able to physically face those that require it without having to lose functionality on our devices. By being bullied into giving up our information to an anonymous corporation brings us back to the harsh reality of how close we are to a totalitarian system, especially when you realise that you will probably never ever see those that are utilising it.


Mundus Vult Decipi, Ergo Decipiatur

The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived (Maxim at Law).


regina devil dugan
Regina Dugan, looking much like a gynoid. Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Fast Company


In 2012 Regina Dugan, inventor and technology developer left her government role for an executive role at Google. She had previously served as the 19th Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She joined Facebook in 2016 as head of their secretive hardware lab called Building 8 in 2015 (secretive).

Before she made a decision to leave Facebook after only 18 months she made a very worrying pitch at the Facebook F8 developer conference in 2017. One particular statement served as a peep into the strange mind of the Google and government android.  “What if you could type just using your brain”. She said with not a hint of satire. She was being literal. The shocking thing for me wasn’t the nonsense that was being said but who was saying it.

Many abstract questions are asked in asylums and institutions where people are nursed back to health with intentions of getting back in touch with reality, but when a woman (Mother Nature) with strong working ties to Google, Facebook and NASA with the money and ability to literally place this chip in your head makes such statements, we’re f*****.

But even more worrying is the fact that most are so conditioned to accept convenience at any cost because they too have lost their grip on reality and what organic life was meant to be that they will entertain this absurdity. Or maybe they have seen Minority Report and know it’s a step closer to predictive policing. Can’t we just pretend there’s a God, maybe just as a template, then throw it out when we remember the point of life again?  Maybe Mother Nature has a jealous rival that wants to be known as father nature at any cost who many women represent.


So to recap, the science fiction plutocratic dictators that you were hoping never existed were sitting there on your browser all along.  And the only reason you didn’t identify them was because of the shiny stuff and their fun, bright and friendly looking, goofy name. And the motive? = Information.


I hope you feel a lack of agenda here and just a small desire to share and possibly encourage us to be a little less trusting of these major corporations online and possibly get you to leave the phone at home sometimes. And for God’s sake stop walking while you’re texting on the phone.




Final Thoughts

We hate to end on a down so we’ll leave it to you to decide on the authenticity of the story from the longest/best selling book of all time.

In the final hours of the character they called Jesus’s life, Pontius Pilate – the Roman governor – cunningly asked an ignorant people to choose between Barabbus the thief and Jesus the saviour to decide who was more worthy of freedom. The decision that followed was made by the mass misinformed. Thier disillusioned state appeared obvious to the informed (government and the few awake). Pontius Pilate got his way and the people went down in history as the authors of the most colossal Fup in the history of time. And by that, we don’t mean Fair usage policy.

We are at the dawn of another ignorance that keeps our focus on technology as a thing of wonder and turns us away from this wonderful revival of spirit and the waking of our inner tuition. Today, more than ever ethereal messages are being sent out and picked up by connected individuals through the same ether that has always existed but on a higher crest. The irony is that the non-tangible realm that science has convinced us doesn’t exist is being exploited by science. It’s used as a model to replicate natures communication channels with waves and frequencies that you cannot touch, see or even perceive for the most part, yet you accept it as is. I guess the point is that if we are true to ourselves everyone believes in a God, they just haven’t been brave enough to call it by its name: Technology.


Angel Lewis

For Ted Gunderson






S: – Wikipedia Regina Dugan – Pht: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Fast Company





Lloyd Williamson Open Day

With the ever increasing take over of North Kensington real estate by the socially detached, we’ve seen learning facilities invade our community that are not even close to home-grown.

Not so with The Lloyd Williamson Schools. It’s probably the most local private school in the area with most students living within a mile or two of the school. On observation, it seems to express more of an interest in the teaching of ethics, cultural diversity and also, equipping the students to tackle the changing world, with an entrepreneurial spirit of open-mindedness.

I find their strict mobile phone rule fascinating. As insignificant as it may sound, I can say with confidence that you will never see anybody neglecting one and other distracted by a mobile phone, neither staff, parent or student. I don’t think the reason needs an explanation. For those who realise the distraction that devices have been on children and adults, you will be thankful for this little policy in your child’s surroundings, rest assured. The unique way that kids of all ages gender and race interact is very Montessori-ish, though it is not a Montessorri school.


Lloyd Williamson open days Wednesday the 14th March (10am to 7pm) and Friday the 16th March (10am -3pm).



Grow Something

Good News.


If you’re part of the North Kensington community and would like to participate in growing stuff (lawful) there is a program just waiting for you.

If you can get yourself down to:

The Argan Tree Cafe under the Westway, Maxilla walk, on Tuesdays at 2:00pm

Your skills will be welcomed to give back to Mother Earth. By tending to her skin and watching the fruit of your labour blossom you will surely feel at one with yourself.

All zen, calm people with green fingers welcome. Contact details below


Kill Bill


 New Kid On The Block


Who would have guessed that the most attractive currency in the world could be something that you cannot touch, taste, smell or hear? In fact, you cannot physically experience it outside of seeing it represented on a digital screen.


Cryptocurrencies are not yet the most powerful currency but as people become familiar with the circulation of bespoke non-physical coins, it seems to be heading that way, ultimately killing the dollar and decentralising the money system. 


But this will not be immediate, the Queen B on the block is Bitcoin and she means different things to different people. As she flirts with investors and anarcho-capitalists alike they all want a bit.






I have often pondered on how today’s world of escalating dishonour, in every facet of trade, could be reverted back to good old trust. And suddenly, from the least likely place, my questions are answered. A catalyst for change in the form of a coin. What have we done to deserve this? Nothing really, I guess the heavens showed mercy on those of us who actually want a fairer world. Or maybe it is a curse for those who are paid out of its imbalance. All we really need is a little gratitude, to say thank you and to make sure that the security of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain is upheld as a standard for mankind. Hopefully, before extremists succeed in resetting this crooked world.



 What’s All The Fuss About?

It’s a very, very big thing, even if you don’t know it yet, you soon will.In 2010 I was baffled by the concept of E-gold so I became curious. Virtual gold backed by real gold? How can you trust it, who, what, where, why?

I was lead to discover that people were beginning to use an alternative currency called Bitcoin. Immediately I thought that this may be the beginning of my ideal – A world of unregulated, free trade. Being a traditionalist at heart, a currency that you cannot touch seemed well abstract and wasn’t easy for me to accept, but on the other hand, a currency owned by the people: understandable.All this caused me to delve deeper into a more abstract concept called Cryptocurrency Mining which basically involves virtual miners (manned computer hardware) solving a digital request in the form of an algorithm and a complex equation verifying transactions on a blockchain. With this done successfully, the miner is remunerated in Bitcoin. The request normally aims to verify a ledger.


Even after reading numerous articles, and watching videos, it all still made no sense to me. My interest suddenly disappeared after realising the amount of processing power needed to generate a substantial amount of Bitcoin (more here). It was an investment that I felt was too expensive, time-consuming and risky; it didn’t quite weigh up.

Fast forward five years, I only recently returned as what I call, a late-early adopter as this was just before the period of mass awareness – 2016 to the present. My interest soared. I now see that I was clueless (and still am) as to how many fresh possibilities cryptocurrencies offered. It’s almost a sin not to know.

Waking Up

Although much about this new type of money has become common talk, I still couldn’t grasp a full understanding of it. I put this down to the complexity, the huge scope of this money of account thing, the volatility and the many huge unanswered questions surrounding it. But now, I think it’s safe to say that four years on, many of the initial issues, such as the convenience and transfer times, have been addressed with its natural evolution. By the growing amount of startups and the thousands of crypto exchanges emerging online right off of its back, you can see that the world is shifting.



Continue reading

Group – Whoop!



Art by Angel Lewis for Urban Dandy Meditation


We’re in an atomised society, but you’re not an atom, you’re a social, interdependent human. So, with the demise of the extended family system, the weakness of the nuclear family system and the rise of the lone individual consumer system, finding community is necessary.

Where’s your group? What’s your group? Who’s got your back when you’re down, out or lonesome? We whittled matters down to one question and asked it to a load of Londoners. One respondent told me that the breakdown of the family system is “actually against natural law as it leaves most people desperate and stressed with feelings of redundancy, unworthiness, detachment at the cost of a feeling of separation rather than attachment” – well put.



The Question

The question was the same to each person: “What do you get from your group that you wouldn’t otherwise have in your life?”

Agathe told me about her meditation group:

“Whenever I walk in to ‘our’ room I am enveloped with a feeling of welcoming and acceptance. A feeling that I have a place there, so it’s a sense of belonging…a feeling of support from others. It doesn’t matter how I’m feeling, how I’m meditating, those in the group do not judge me and often they can also relate to me. I know this because we talk openly about things that matter to us and that we wouldn’t talk about so easily to others. What a treasure and comfort it is to be able to talk about who we are, to be able to connect – in an unstable and constantly changing world – to our unmoving and unmovable self in a safe and supported environment. What we have in our group is friendship based on truth and compassion”.


Antonio talked about group psychotherapy:

“We are very interested in each other’s pain, we become kind, loving and compassionate…Without the group I would be less accepting, less tolerant. I’ve learned acceptance and tolerance in my group”.


Alice participates in a variety of groups – addiction recovery, yoga, employment:

“Connection – identification and closeness to people with who I share a common bond and/or interest (the purpose of the group). Group participation takes away a layer of separation between people, and brings those who might not otherwise socialise together under a common purpose or interest. Groups remove the superficial reason for separation – gender, age, race etc. between people.

From this connection stem opportunities for intimacy, the sharing of thoughts, ideas and where appropriate feelings, which, in my experience, reinforce the sense of connection between people… From intimacy stem a whole load of emotions – hope, excitement, sadness, fear, love – all of which ultimately result in a sense of fulfilment – the acknowledgement that I am alive and living”.


Martin talked about his family:

“I feel that being part of my sibling group gives me a support and a feeling of value. Inside the family, because we are totally familiar, there is an awareness of the full capacity of my commitment the group. So, when help is required I am asked only what I am capable of. I feel happy to be of service and have a sense of value because I am useful to great people that matter to me. To me, the family group is a symbiotic relationship that feeds everyone involved and expands the spirit. Groups outside of this can feel contractual and draining, without the end feelings of voluntary service. I imagine the difference between receiving a letter from a friend in need and a letter from the tax office. One group leaves you feeling useful”.


So the key to success could be getting as close to a healthy family dynamic as possible…


Jason: “I’ve been going to men’s groups for the last three years”:

“The feelings I get within them are a mixture of frustration, challenge and at times a sense of deep connection. On the whole, they are something that nurtures my soul, rather than just banter or goal-orientated back slapping.  

One is a Ritual Group. Men who come here are looking for deeper or spiritual exploration to see their life anew. Men are part of the group, but somehow go beyond it, going into a deep personal space, which may or may not be shared.

Usually a key function of all these groups is a talking circle. Or more accurately a listening circle. Men take turns to speak without interruptions. The intentions are to be lean of speech, talking from the heart and only saying what is most essential. There is no direct feedback. This would shut down and close off what the speaker is going through.

This is the most important thing we can give to each other, to be heard. Only I am in a position to help myself, and I know more about my problem than any of you. Advice is useless. Empathy is useful.

Sometimes it’s powerful and enough to hear someone talking about their own story instead of talking about mine directly and seeing the parallels to find solutions. Hearing their struggles can sometimes help me find strength in managing my own tribulations.

With women in the group, unconscious power structures come into the dynamic, which is not useful for heart speaking.

In support groups, I am usually challenged on my intentions and thoughts. Men will actually say to my face that they think I am wasting my time, or avoiding important decisions based on what they know of me. Very useful; who in the world actually tells us what we need, due to fear of offence or because they can’t be bothered?

In the support group I currently go to, we initiate each other and de-initiate each other, challenging ourselves on why we are entering or leaving the group, what we offer to it. We have a charge circle, putting out into the open things we feel are uncomfortable about each other, and what they in turn say about us. We take turns to lead and give each other feedback on our leadership. We spend time in nature as a group.

Above all, men’s groups give me a chance to be brotherly towards other men, in a deep and caring way. A form of love which is not idealised or sexualised. Something plain and solid like a shaker chair”.


The Dalai Lama

(no quotation marks, this is me writing, not him) When DL first visited the United States in 1979, he was shocked to hear how much self-loathing was implied in the questions he was asked by his audiences. He attributed the self-hatred to the alienation brought about by the dominance of the nuclear family system, in contrast to the traditional extended family in India and Tibet.



A retreat into a world of one is a safety blanket but the atomization of our culture is shaping our ideas and attitudes about ourselves. How do we habitually see ourselves? Dignified and noble? Or very negatively? From nagging pessimism about our value to the depths of darkness and loathing, my thoughts are often turned against myself.

A disconnection between the internal and external is exposed and hope lies in recognizing and nurturing the internal. This cannot be done alone. Where is your group in 2018?


Urban Dandy Meditation will take place for the first time on Thursday 15th February, 7:30pm in the Library, downstairs at Essex Unitarian Church, 112 Palace Gardens Terrace, Notting Hill Gate, W8 4RT.

Free meditation class for the North Kensington community, learn/practise transcendental meditation, there will be readings of literature and poetry, information, discussion…All faiths/no faith, come as you are, everybody welcome,

For more info please call zero7884182408   

Night Whispers

I have seen lovers come and go

ghosts that pass through your life

leaving memories that dissipate

like the twilight mist

alone, but never lonely

your self-love precious

strongly manifesting itself

in those quiet moments

of reflection, pondering thoughts

glimpses of truth that enlighten your journey

filling your soul like a summer breeze

blowing into your most secret chamber

where you dance naked with butterflies

upon flower petals of tulips and roses

moonlight casting long shadows

amongst those that dare peek

turning men into stone

freedom your mantra

never caged, nobody’s slave

Your destiny to leap

amongst the heavenly bodies

that adorn the throne of God…


© M.C. Bolton



Thrown Into The Wilderness



Come Out The Wilderness – Bruce Kenrick, Fontana Publishers


It may or may not be something that caught your attention but if you live in Notting Hill, there is a conflict going on in your neighbourhood that’s similar to a tug of war and it’s been going on ever since the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June. Although technically the issue was alive way before the fire, the events surrounding the tragedy seem to have exacerbated the situation. It appears at first glance to be the community’s reclamation of property from the corporate real estate community killers, but it’s more accurate to describe it as the community trying to hold on to their right of abode and seeking some kind of guarantee that their landlords give a …(explicit)… and actually want them there.

While you sleep, groups of regular people like you that do not own property in London are awake at ungodly hours printing flyers, writing letters, emails, creating banners and appealing to any government official that will listen to them to secure YOUR homes. That is of course if you are a tenant of Notting Hill or Genesis Housing.

Out in the grind


Two of the largest housing associations in the country, Notting Hill, and Genesis, both members of the G15 (an amalgamated group of UK housing associations), have decided to join forces merging their tenancy obligations into one big soup. On tacitly agreeing to this with no disclosure of the pros and cons underlying the merger, tenants are pretty disgruntled. Why? Well, to start with they have not consented to it and feel marginalised in such a major move. Also, there’s a resounding feeling that their acquiescence plays a large part in them moving this forward in a swift need-to-know only basis. The suspicious manner in which this is being executed raises questions as to the legality of it all especially in the way it was sprung on the community right after the fire.

What will this mean to the tenants’ security?  With all this considered who stands to gain from this corporate deal? Is the interested party Genesis Housing, Notting Hill Housing or the confused tenant?

As obvious questions as these may seem to those making the deal, those who are only just becoming aware of the shifts in name, business practice, policy, and structure feel the need to start connecting the dots. In my hunt to bring this information forth, I searched Notting Hill Housing Group on the mother of search engines: Google. My reason being that I wanted to know if the business structure had changed from a ‘Trust’ to ‘Group’, at what point, if it made any difference and what that difference would mean to the beneficiaries of the trust and also who might the beneficiaries be? Trust, Beneficiary, ya know?

Google shows no ‘Trust’  in NHH.


The screen grab above shows that there is no mention of a ‘Group’ and there is no ‘Trust’. What is this Group thing and where’d it come from? Other sources (online) show neither Group nor Trust, just Notting Hill Housing. In my confusion, I looked for a good old trusty Wikipedia page. After Wikipedia’s brazen digital panhandling I find only a few sentences of very flattering information about Bruce Kenrick:  Notting Hill Housing (whatever’s) founder, who’s wonderful sentiment should have been immortalised but instead was abandoned and, has now decayed beyond recognition.

Seeing that there are few ways available to extract this standard but necessary information or even find whether they are simply registered as a Trust or another corporate body, I decided to call the principle. My call to the main office number was diverted to what must have been assumed to be a housing officer of mine. How rude! I find it quite insulting because it’s these same presumptions that take away the freedom of choice. Anyway, I hang up and try once again in case it’s a mistake. Same thing. I hang on and finally speak with a man who explains that my number is listed as being the housing officer attached to my number’s  property tenant, and since it was diverted to her and she’s on leave it then got diverted to him and he merely answered to assist with tenancy issues. On discovering that it was not one of the thousands of housing issues, his advice was to go to the website and find the email of the relevant department to answer my query. As far as he knew Notting Hill has various departments, including property sales. Basically ‘NOTHING’.

Okay, there’s no way to get an official answer to my question.



A point in paint







I’m still confused as to who the beneficiary of this major action is and should rightfully be. Is it Genesis Housing with Notting Hill Housing Association or the tenant? Assuming it’s the tenant, will they enjoy a more personalised interaction? You know, repairs done within 48 hours, Anti-social behavior handled within a few weeks rather than a few years, honourable servicemen that take pride in their work and don’t run off before you’ve noticed that they’ve accidentally chipped your bathtub or leave your bathroom wall tileless with a promise to return to finish on Monday morning, to never EVER return. Maybe no more contracts terminated in the middle of major jobs. Will they now handle rodents with modern methods instead of the old Karma-ignorant, Tom and Jerry cheese traps and poison or maybe they might be honest about the state of their kitchen and bathrooms they supply and update them befooooore the appliances become dangerous, rather than patching up patches.

An edited depiction of cheapsKate Davis and associates.

Please consider, these issues are just the cover on the menu before you even look at the main. These complaints are a book in itself. As extensive as they might be this is still only the account of a single household amongst many. Tenants have been known to wait six weeks to have a leaking boiler repaired, and that’s after being told that an emergency plumber had been dispatched. Admittedly we are talking about an NHH subcontractor (BSW heating) but you have to also wonder what kind of furtive deals they offer these contractors that tend to give no **** about the job they do, whether it’s done well or what time they turn up if they even appear at all.

Congruous. Gemini Verney-Dyde (LNHH), Jeremy Corbyn, and Emma Dent Coad 


Expansion & Original Mission

You don’t need too much of an imagination to know that by expanding into an even larger dysfunctional system it can only get worse. Tenants will be lost in a machine that’s getting further and further away from personally knowing who they are beyond a flat number and surname, instead placing them in an imaginary box to tick and satisfy their software. It appears that is their primary goal on the other side of the phone at the end of the conversation:  To select one out of three options agreed under duress by a mute inert soulless product, meeting the absolute minimum requirement. They’re happy :-).


I feel no threat of slander or libel to state that the repair and maintenance services retched from Notting Hill Housing Group and Genesis are nothing less than an insult to the dweller. You could actually pick a tenant’s name out of a hat for their own personal account (anyone) and you would probably call us prophets. It’s pretty clear that their ideal customer would be one from war-torn parts of the globe who (sadly) would feel quite grateful for the subpar shelter provided.

Bruce Kenrick’s mission abolished

Since the NHH wish to steer our minds towards Bruce Kenrick’s original mission let’s see the legacy he intended to leave. It seems clear that, as a priest, he attempted in his book ‘Come Out Of The Wilderness’ to reach those that he felt the church had failed. His opening quote, and the book title, clearly reflects the words of the small voice that he wished to amplify by taking the church as a system of relief to the environment of the forgotten ones who could not reach their temple and receive salvation.

So much for Kenrick’s noble intentions. Let’s look briefly at the G15’s mission which, according to their website, states that: “We work closely with central, regional, and local government; with private and voluntary partners; and with our residents to improve the quality of life for Londoners”.

Doesn’t it look like it’s written in order of importance? and of course residents, as usual, are the hindmost priority.  In light of this, the two housing groups couldn’t find a better time to reconsider their priorities and intentions as it becomes increasingly clear that their informed tenants do not want this. So much for the small voice and the tortured soul of Bruce Kenrick through his greedy inheritors.  Maybe the concerns of the smaller voices will be brought out of the wilderness into the hearts of the shareholders. How beautiful it would be if Kate Davis, who surprisingly came from humble beginnings, found that feminine sense of nurture beyond her gynoid role and did a 360˚ turn showing that NHH really gave a …. about their original mission. Without the incredibly selfless efforts of Gem and the gang at LNHH to make your home in your community secure, it’s very DOUBTFUL. 

Real Heroes.Gemini Verney-Dyde, Leona Lewis, and the gang. NHH Listen.