Archive for the ‘Basics’ Category

Rip Van Phantom

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

And so at last I stagger, blinking into the sunshine, fumbling  for my tricorn and wondering what the hell happened to Greenwich in the last seven weeks. When I had to stop posting it was chilly, dark and wet. Suddenly it’s hot, sunny and drying out at an alarming rate. Stuff has happened. I mean – blimey, stuff has happened. What a time to be out of action, but hey – sometimes we don’t get to choose.

It’s going to take a little while to get back into the swing of a Greenwich I hardly recognise – more akin to a high security prison than a town, but curious, yes, curious. Park closed, stadium built, gantries straddling Romney Road, cable car straddling the Thames, Stonehenge decamped to the peninsula; Dutch people to decamp there too. I don’t think the two are related.

And everywhere I look there’s festive stuff happening. Flags, which when Rip Van Phantom fell asleep, were all of the union variety, and banners that were of the Royal Greenwich persuasion, are suddenly the pastel shades of 2012. Shows, comedy, dance, torch-running and, let’s face it, some just plain weird shit is going on. Spanish people doing giant illuminated puppetry

French people doing – well, I’m still not quite sure what they were doing but it appeared to translate as The Voyage of Wet Dreams and there was a large ejaculation of foam at the climax.

Thank you to everyone who’s been in touch over the last seven weeks – I’m not sure how long it’s going to take to deal with the literal hundreds of emails and, I apologise in advance, a whole load of stuff, especially the dozens and dozens of events that are going on just now, has already/ will have been and gone. Issues ditto. I will get round to it – but it may take some time.

In the meanwhile, I’m back. It’s been a very strange time for me – but looking at what Greenwich has become, it has been for everyone. And given the whole Olympic thing kicks off in less than a week, my strange time is nothing to what it will be…

Old Comments Turned Off For A While

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Folks – due to an enormous spam-storm this afternoon, I’ve temporarily closed comments on all posts older than 14 days. I’ll reinstate it when there’s something other than spam on the menu…

The Phantom’s Un-Birthday

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

There’s something very impermanent about the internet. Sites I used to refer to all the time have disappeared without trace, others take their place before they, too, die when their owner stops paying the fees.

I have been growing slowly more and more worried about the increasing digitalisation of – well, pretty much everything, really. I have lost all manner of material because it languishes on 3″ and sometimes even 5″ floppies that I forgot I had and which have now corrupted through sheer old age but although it’s a minor pain for me, it’s hardly going to rock the world. But, as video turns to DVD and DVD turns to god-knows-what, I wonder how many people’s memories – and, perhaps, information vital for History, will become as obsolete as celluloid, Betamax and even VHS, lost forever because of the way they have been preserved.

Thus is it with my own website. I know I began blogging in August 2006, but when I moved from Livejournal to Blogger, for some unfathomable reason I purged the account. I now have no idea exactly when the blog was born.

That one was stupidity, but sometimes it’s just not possible to move data. When I moved from Blogger to WordPress, I was able to take my previous posts (if not the formatting) with me, but thousands of your comments remain, floating through the ether untethered that I cannot, even with the Phantom Webmaster’s expertise, retrieve. This is a source of great annoyance, not least because a good few of them are of the ‘I think you’ll find…’ variety, putting me right when I’ve said something daft. When I have the time, I’m going to trawl cyberspace looking for them (I know they’re out there, and I occasionally find them) but until then, most of the first fifteen hundred-odd Phantom posts remain friendless.

The upshot of what I’m trying to say is that I have no idea when my own birthday is. I can’t even boast about the first 2,000 posts, as I passed that milestone back in June without even noticing. I know I am five, but that’s all, so I have picked the day right in the middle of the month to celebrate.

Like the Queen, I shall have an official birthday, in January when the blog in its current form turns five. Hopefully I shall be a bit less crap by then – but don’t hold your breath…

Twitter Time

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Folks. as you will know, I am not the most switched-on Phantom when it comes to technological advance. I don’t generally have the time (or, frankly, the interest) to pursue innovations even if it means that the blog can look a bit prehistoric at times.

I have had a twitter account for about a year now, though. If you really want to find it, it’s at:


but I can’t promise it will set the world on fire. I’m a dreadful procrastinator and if I spend more than a very short time on Twitter, that’s Real Work down the drain for the day. Besides I rarely have anything pertinent enough to wow the world with.

@johnboyy told me last week I really should at least tweet when I have a new post  though, and I did start (not very successfully) but I have to thank @sstar for coming to my rescue by creating a new twitter feed which does it for me. I don’t know how it works and I don’t want to (nuffink to do with me, guv) but I am intensely grateful for it.

So, if you would like to know if I’ve added some new, probably inane post on here, you could do worse than adding


to your followers…

Thank you Simon.

Playing Catch Up

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Folks – once again I have to apologise – I’m getting bogged down with mail and it’s taking me forever to deal with it all.

I love getting your questions, comments and hot gossip – so please – don’t stop sending it. Just don’t hold your breath for me answering it quickly.


Why the Phantom’s Identity Must Never Be Revealed…

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

I tried to contact Lady, that’s My Skull, who created this, to see if I could reproduce it here, but no joy. I can’t even seem to imbed it into a proper link. But it made me smile so do take a peek. While you’re there, have a look around – it’s one weird site…

The Phantom’s 1000th Postday

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Heavens! Where did that come from? One minute I’m thinking about starting a little blog about Greenwich, the next thing I know I’m been blathering on for just over two years and a rather alarming 1000 posts…

I’ve been trying to work out what would be a good thing to do to celebrate being 1000 (or commiserate with myself for no longer having a life…) and, alongside vowing to get out more, I’ve decided to add a page to the blog. The pair of which may turn out to be mutually exclusive…

I often get asked where I find information about Greenwich – where to find resources, out-of-print books/maps etc. The bottom line is that it’s legwork – but I thought I’d try to cut out some of that legwork for you by giving you a lowdown on what’s on the Phantom Bookshelf – what’s out there and where to find it. (Hint for tomorrow – take a trip to the Amnesty International Booksale that Ros has just reminded me about…)

You’ll currently find the page here, but when a moment appears in The Phantom Webmaster’s stupidly busy schedule (which includes celebratory dinner for me tonight, tee, hee…) there will be a direct link from the front page.

This project is going to take me months, I’m afraid. I’ve been working on it for some time now, and I’m only about a third of the way through the stuff I own, let alone the stuff I know about. So if you’re interested in that sort of thing, keep checking it regularly – I will add to it as I go along. There are several sections, but each one is in alphabetical order by author.

But I’m not doing any more cataloguing for today. Today, I’m scoffing my 1000th Postday-Cake courtesy of Daisy Bakes, getting ready to celebrate chez Phantom Webmaster tonight – and raising a glass of Theatre of Wine champagne to all of you lovely folk who join me every day on my murky trips through this fantastic town.


Scam, Scam, Scam

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Guys – I’m feeling very guilty this morning.

I, too, received one of those purple leaflets through my door on Friday evening, advertising a ‘clearance sale’ yesterday evening. I even considered writing a piece warning against even thinking about going – but assumed that it’s such a regular scam everyone must know about it by now. Sadly, a reader did get got. I’m going to keep them anonymous as they must be feeling a bit silly today, but it doesn’t stop this being a part of ‘old’ Greenwich that I could happily lose.

I can’t put it any better than our friend themselves, so here’s their experience:

“Last night I received a leaflet through the door for a special sale at the King William Pub on Trafalgar Road, the flyer went on to say the goods were ex-catalogue and you could pick up things like the IPOD Nano for £20 a Nintendo Wii for £30 Laptops for £50 etc.

Stupid as I am and seeing a bargain (I’ve previously purchased ex-cat and know the sort of discounts available – google “gem discounts” if you don’t believe me!) I turned up paid a £2 entry along with around 80 others. The guys claimed it was the third and final sale of the day (despite only one time being advertised) they claimed that it was a promotional gig in preparation for next Saturday where a far larger sale will occur (at the Holiday Inn Express in Greenwich).

Just to warn you that not one sale occurred; the con-men kept promising people a bag of electrical goods however they kept taking cash from everyone to prove you were a serious bidder. Any goods received turned out to be empty boxes boxes of cheap gifts like perfume you could buy for £5 off the Internet (despite being told about laptops etc). Would you please warn people not to be fooled by this con, and not to go to any similar sale if a flyer comes through their door.”

Yes, Dear Anon, I’m shutting the stable door after this particular ringer-horse has bolted, but with a caveat for next time.

This kind of ‘sale’ happens about once every six months or so. Everyone in East Greenwich gets a glossy leaflet through their door – usually in a colour that just screams ‘dodgy,’ (purple this time) just after the doors of the local Trading Standards Office are shut for the weekend, advertising goods at prices that are – well, unbelievable, actually. That’s because they are.

Let me tell you now. You will NEVER get a legitimate ipod for twenty quid. You just won’t. Nor will a Nintendo Wii fly into your shopping basket for thirty notes or a Corby trouser press ever flatten your trews for £12.99.

Phrases to look out for:

1) “No admittance 10 minutes after doors open ‘for security reasons.’ What will they be, then? That these creeps might get nicked, of course. We spent some time around the breakfast table yesterday morning, trying to work out exactly what real security reasons might be for not allowing punters in after 10 mins. Anyone who can supply one of those is a brighter spark than me.

2) “Cash payments only due to fast turnover.” HONNNNNNNK! That’s my alarm horn going into overdrive. Cash payments are due to their intention to do a runner about twenty minutes into the operation, nothing to do with turnover.

3)”All goods perfect unless stated.” “All goods guaranteed.” Yeah, right. And to prove it, they will be there in person, at the King William IV Hotel, next week, to reimburse any faulty goods. Folks – this is a purple leaflet shoved through your door. They are lying.

4) “Please note this is not an official Argos, Index or Freemans sale.” Ok – so they’re not lying on that one.

5) Sale to be held at the King William IV Hotel (shrugs helplessly.) What I don’t get is why the police don’t just insist the Guv’nor tells them who hires this place on a regular basis – or force him to tip them off next time. It’s the sort of thing they do on the telly. But then maybe I believe the telly too much…

I am sincerely sorry that you got ripped off, Anon (and feeling suitably guilty of not warning the world. Trust me, I will next time.) It’s a well-known scam – but clearly not well known enough. Please. Don’t believe everything that comes through your door. No – not even Sister Angelina, the medium with 98% accuracy or Professor Manjou whose accuracy is an amazing 100%.

A Blogger SOS

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Guys – if any of you are Blogger users, can you tell me why when I put in HTML links to other sites, Blogger automatically adds its own site to the address, rendering it useless?

It’s driving me (and the people who try to use the links) mad…

Sorry, RSS Guys!

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

I’ve just had a couple of people thinking that my RSS has gone mad, but I have to confess that it’s totally my fault here, this time, not Blogger (for once.) It goes like this:

I started writing the Greenwich CTT piece (below) a couple of weeks ago, but halfway through, Blogger stopped letting me upload pictures. So I stuck it into my drafts section and didn’t get around to coming back to it untill just now. I finished writing and uploading the pics and hit “post” about 15 mins ago – trouble was, I hadn’t changed the date on it, and it appeared in the middle of two-weeks-ago’s posts, promting a rather odd RSS feed. So I reposted, having changed the date. Cue another RSS feed. And a few moans from RSS users…

Sorry folks. I always forget that you have to see my mistakes. For heaven’s sake don’t plough through that lot twice!