Musings From The Padded Cell

Waiting For An Alibi.

“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down”
Charlie Chaplin

I kept closing my eyes thinking that I would wake up and it would all have been a fanciful dream. Yet each time my eyes opened again this place did exist and I really was in Bradford!

On a grey Saturday afternoon I ventured out for a rare drink in my much maligned city centre. The destination was the unique Sunbridge Wells complex and a bar I had popped my head into inquisitively only a few weeks earlier.

Alibi Bar

My apologies to the numerous other attractions in this imaginative and unique concept but once settled in the Alibi Bar there was no reason to move. In an instant it felt like those heady days of Ely’s, JB’s and Katz – to name but a few – way back in the 1980s before we lost our strut.

This is one classy bar but a very good bottle of Rioja was well-priced at £15. The music was great, the staff on the ball and the place had an infectious vibe I swear I never thought I would witness again downtown.

As a city we still have lots to contend with but, if you were looking for a reason to dare to believe in comebacks, get down to the tunnels. You will not be disappointed.

I Want You To Play With My Ding-A-Ling

White Bear

Our local wine bar.

Despite the attractions of up-market bars downtown, we remain as loyal as ever to The Scruffy – who else would tolerate us? However, things have got to change to keep Big Al on Saltaire Blonde rather than chancing a Mai Tai or Pina Colada.

Flexing our Corbynite tendencies we have issued a set of demands to The Management as follows:

Patch and his ding-a-ling

* waitress service shall be mandatory
* one ring of the bell shall bring forth a smiling, obliging and preferably younger barmaid
* barmaids will be forbidden from tipping pints over customers’ heads from now on
* requests to change the tv channel shall be met by “Of course, Sir!” not “Do it yourself or piss off!”

No more fetching and carrying for old men.

Changing times indeed.

One Hundred Years Ago

More tales from a bygone age here. The language reflects the times but how quaint the following excerpt.

“On Saturday night, about 11.40, an outbreak of fire occurred at the Queen Hotel, Windhill, resulting in considerable damage to the kitchen and furniture.

The outbreak was discovered by a married woman named Lily Child, of 158 Leeds Road, who knocked at the door and aroused the landlord, Mr George Moore.”

Lucky old George!

Sport For All?

A bit more here on our cash-strapped council’s investment into Bradford Park Avenue cricket ground, a subject on which I have had a bit to say in recent years.

Its taken two weeks from a simple request re the amount of money the council is blowing but at last a reply with numbers in it. To date the total sum is £330k; just imagine that spread across the city to help well-run clubs instead of one big hand-out? And guess what?

“The English Cricket Board (ECB) have funded five free to play artificial cricket wickets at Myra Shay (Barkerend), Woodhall Recreation Ground, Haworth Road Recreation Ground, Hudson Avenue Recreation Ground and Park Avenue with the aim of increasing recreational participation in cricket. The total investment in these facilities was provided by the ECB.”

It beggars belief; do kids not play cricket this side of town?

I’m also interested to find out just who is on the hook for the future running costs at Park Avenue so watch this space. Muse on this too if you will.

On the back of my piece in December – Beneath The Waters – about the Council’s so-called strategy re swimming pools, involving closure of two old pools in the outer areas of Bingley and Queensbury, just how many Labour councillors would you guess make up the nine covering these two wards? That would be none.

Maintaining the theme here, just how many represent Labour in the Toller ward, recipient of one new pool? You’ve guessed it – all three – including that workaholic Cllr Imran Hussain who also doubles up as Bradford East’s MP.

Don’t you just love politics?

Concreting North Bradford

Idle Moor…now you see it…soon you won’t

Predictably the latest episode in an orgy of house-building this side of Bradford is about to get the nod by our inept Council. Another chunk of Idle Moor will vanish waived through by the utterly useless nodding dogs down at City Hall, none of whom are local so clearly don’t give a shit.

There are several inescapable truths here that, were it needed to be confirmed, show our Council as utterly incompetent.

Firstly, their claim that the city needs 42,100 new homes over the next fifteen years or so is utter bollocks.

Secondly, based on historic new house building this aspiration is simply not achievable. Never has been, never will be.

Thirdly, the developers control where houses will be built not Cllr Hapless and her merry band of devotees clinging to their expenses and free Hob-Nobs. Take a trip around inner Bradford and you will see large areas of brownfield land barren for years.

Why? Simply because developers don’t get anywhere near the returns they require to satisfy shareholders and executive bonus schemes building in less desirable parts of our city. They choose where houses get built and, crucially, what type and mix.

The Council are wholly complicit too in that their council tax yield is infinitely higher. So, whilst they claim that its all the Government’s fault for overturning decisions like Idle Moor, it suits the Council to play this card to cover up their ineptitude whilst they collect the cash.

So one side of town gets a new cricket ground and swimming pool whilst others are carpet bombed by four-bedroomed detacheds.

Predictably with Idle Moor the developer is also “asking to reduce the number of affordable homes included in the plan, from nine to five” You would surely have thought a Labour council would seek to fight this but not a whimper.

Principled folk those councillors?

Dear God

Forgive me for I have sinned; this week I killed a pigeon. And, whilst I would like to think that it was the high winds that caused several of my roof tiles to fly off in the direction of my car the very same night, perhaps the local pigeon gang enacted a revenge of sorts?

En route to sit with a friend at a hospital in Manchester, I was negotiating the motorway with my preferred version of SatNav – a scrunched up bit of paper to my nose.

I came off a slip road and there it was sat defiantly in the middle of the lane with me boxed in on both sides. Instead of flying off it just looked me square in the eye, stood its ground and next there was a bump, a crunch and feathers everywhere.

This has to be the first ever suicide pigeon; I swear I did not do it on purpose. Perhaps its time to wear a wide brimmed hat for a while or maybe get the cricket helmet out early?

Have a great weekend and go find the tunnels of love.

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  1. Heard about the tunnels from my brother, they sound great. Did you really go out for a quiet drink in the afternoon and order a bottle of Rioja – what’s happened to you?

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