Albert Mills - Caneshum Man The World according to Albert Mills

Albert's Blog    Albert's Blog
Random rants and rarified ramblings





The Bells, The Bells
Sunday, 18 June 2017 → Mood: Tintinnablulous
The bells
Church bells (possibly
not Keynsham)
As I sit melting in the morning sunshine of the only week of summer that we're likely to see in 2017, I can't help noticing the sound of bells ringing in the not-too-distant tower at the Church of St John, downtown K-Town.

Now, I'm all for tradition. Some of the best things were invented in the past. But there are times when all a man wants to do is sit in the garden in his underpants, enjoying the sound of birds singing, bees buzzing and brooks babbling.

Instead, I am subjected to a 5-note, ever changing, slightly atonal din of seemingly random 'musical' notes. At times it all appears to fall into spectacular order, brief moments of rhythmic, harmonious bliss, with the emphasis on 'brief'.

At other times it sounds like a collapsing foundry.

If this was a local band practicing weekly in a garage at an equivalent volume, there would be an angry lynch mob brandishing pitchforks, firebrands and shitty sticks, roaming the town demanding their peace and quiet back.

However, because it's a church-y thing, people just accept it, no questions asked. So, I've written to St John requesting if his bell-ringers can possibly learn a few new tunes; maybe 'Living On A Prayer' or 'God Only Knows'. I've also asked if they can tune up their bells a bit.

I have yet to receive a reply, but I am reliably told that 'fuck off misery guts' is likely to be the answer I get. Bells end.



Get Off My Lawn
Thursday, 17 May 2017 → Mood: Perplexed and disorientated
Albert Mills - Caneshum Man
Albert Mills
Caneshum Man
It's no secret that I am an expert at making a short-lived comeback. I've been doing it since they scraped me clean of placenta and smacked my backside in order to get me breathing.

My latest re-emergence found me naked and hungry in a wheelie bin at the back of Rock Road chippy. How I got there is anyone's guess. The last thing I remember was the alien space craft carrying me off to some distant planetary system for questioning and probing.

The Keynsham I have returned to bears no resemblence to the town I left behind. Progress has been administered as if it was going out of fashion, and the landmarks of my home place are now just ballast in the foundations of the New World Town.

The older I get, the more attached I become to what once was. History is slowly overcoming my addled mind. Nostalgia has matured like a fine port wine. I long for former days and lost ways. My longing is in vain. Keynsham is being remodelled, bashed, twisted, bent and reshaped into an even-newer looking dormitory town. One with lots of stick-on 'gold' cladding and unfathomable road systems.

All we can do is sigh loudly, remember fondly and, from time to time, piss through the letterbox of the Town Planners and all who sail in them. The old shall rise again. Come the day, Brother.



Making Good Use Of Time
Monday, 6 February 2012 → Mood: Killing The Hours
Old Keynsham's Clock Tower
Old Keynsham's
Clock Tower
It dawned on me just recently that Keynsham's award-repelling Clock Tower will soon be no more. When the developers move in to spruce up the old Peacocks store, they will inadvertently be demolishing one of our town's most un-prized assets. But is there another way? Can we put our multi-faceted, pigeon-pooed, perma-incorrect timepiece to better use?

Maybe it could be submerged upright in a deep part of the River Avon, so that in times of drought, old folk will be able to mutter words like: "It's so dry, you can see the clock poking out from the river", just like the seniors do when Chew Valley Lake dries up and an old bridge becomes visible. It'll be the stuff of legend, passed down to future generations of Keynshamites, along with moist-eyed myths about Frank The Wank and Johnny Bodman.

Failing that, how about we donate it to Taylor Wimpey? They could use it as the centerpiece for 'New Keynsham' when they build it at Cadburys. They can take the old Town Hall too. In fact, why not just rebuild Keynsham at Somerdale? It'll be like when they moved the whole town in Blazing Saddles, only more expensive and pointless. Maybe they can build a chocolate factory where the shops are now. That'll confuse the outsiders when they move into their new homes-on-stilts by the river.

One thing is certain though. The redesigned Keynsham is bound to feature at its heart a modernist 'art installation' depicting St Keyna and a bunch of petrified serpents, one which will look utterly outdated and stupid in 30 years time. Because that's how Keynsham works. And don't we just love it? Don't we? Anyone...?



Back To Cane Shum
Sunday, 29 January 2012 → Mood: Very much alive
I know what you're thinking... Mr Mills, you've been absent without leave. Missing in action. Keeping your head down. Yes - had it not been for my oft-neglected Twitter account, most of my friends and family would've assumed that my maggot-eaten corpse was probably floating in a mangrove swamp in some Godforsaken South American hell hole. Not quite...

The truth? I joined a semi-religious cult and lost myself on a paradisical island, located in a warm sea somewhere south of Sri Lanka. My only contact with the real world was a few sporadic, inane tweets. And I would've remained there had it not been for the delightful Anna Cacia-Court, who rescued me from certain uncertainty in a modified Pedalo. We promptly got married, such was the utter relief.

To celebrate my newly-found and quickly-lost freedom, I decided to reinstate onto the interweb that pile of steaming manure otherwise known as Could 'Dis Be Cane Shum. It's woefully out of date, so now serves as a time capsule, bringing a bygone age of Keynsham back to life. Well, semi-comatose at least. Enjoy it. Because I can't. And that's another story - a long one at that.



Bored Of Mass-Debating
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 → Mood: Elected Out
Having recently taken delivery of my booster injections against Election Fever, I considered it safe to start reading the various printed pieces of ex-tree that have been falling through my letter box like volcanic dust recently.

My first impressions of these propaganda pamphlets is one of uber-indifference. It would seem everyone is blaming everyone else for everything. A veritable raft of politicians making lots of empty promises to keep empty promises. Televised mass-debating is not a spectator sport. Roll on May 7th, when we can all go back to slagging off the Government that a proportionally-representive majority of us voted in.

On a more Keynsham-related theme, the shock news this week is that rock giants Queen played an impromptu gig at the British Legion last Saturday in support of Fox's Glacier Mints. Rumours that the band were in town to weigh up an offer for Kraft could not be confirmed as this was being typed. Next week, expect an appearance by Elvis Presley at the Rock Road chippy.



Giants, Barons, Moguls, Tits & Agents
Tuesday, 8 September 2009 → Mood: Businesslike
The Kraftworks
The Kraftworks
So it seems as if the economy has recovered from the woes of recession at last. One example of the financial upturn is T-Mobile and Orange, who are to merge their UK interests, creating a mobile 'giant' with over 28 million customers, many of whom won't be able to talk to each other due to a lack of mobile signal. There's only one thing worse than shit... more shit. Vodafone must be rubbing their clammy hands together at the news of Dumb and Dumber's impending frottage.

In other business news, food 'barons' Kraft have recently made a cheeky offer for chocolate 'moguls' Cadbury, with the intention of keeping the Somerdale factory open, albeit renamed The Kraftworks. The Cadbury accountant did a few sums in his lunch hour and realised that the 10.2 billion offer didn't even cover the resale value of The Hams, let alone the mining equipment. The Krafty ones are expected to haggle with the banks and return with an irresistable improved offer very soon. That will teach the general public not to demonstrate for change - there'll be a few worried townsfolk who've already spent the 'cocoa-go-go' redundancy wad on a house extension and a new pair of tits for the wife.

On top of all that, house prices are back on the rise, estate 'agents' are getting smarmier by the day and the banks are still helping themselves to our souls and paying us ever-decreasing interest. Pretty soon it'll be a boom time once again. There will be construction sites all over town, MPV's sitting 5-deep at road junctions and a rise in the sale of patio heaters at B&Q. Welcome to the future Britain. It looks just like the past only there are more health centres and 'affordable' housing. This country, it seems, can't even have a recession properly.



Vocal Local Yokel
Thursday, 27 August 2009 → Mood: Laughing Like A Hyaena From Lima
May I be the first to offer my sincere apologies for the lack of notable activity recently. I have spent the last five weeks of my life in deepest Peru, filming a three-part series on Peruvian folk dancing for a Danish cable TV channel. Exhausting work I can tell you, not for the faint-hearted. I'll not be welcomed back to Peru for quite some time.

Having successfully avoided catching Ignorant Swine Flu, I returned to Keynsham via a hot air balloon which fortunately crash landed near the river, saving me a long walk home from Wotton-under-Edge. In my absence, Keynsham Park has taken delivery of a shiny new, whiter-than-white band shelter, which features a graffiti wall for the local taggers to decorate - nice touch there from the powers that be. Amusingly, The Councils had a bit of bother with an outbreak of Red Tape which threatened the very existence of the building. Even local authorities can't build on the flood plain it seems - a lesson that might come in rather handy when the Fat Cats are discussing how to maximise profits whilst redeveloping the Somerdale Chocolate mines at The Hams.

Our splendid town is literally buzzing, bleeping and grinding with new developments - Temple Street is about to be rebuilt, the Health Centre car park is earmarked for a 2011 completion, Tesco are coming to town not once but twice, and there are even rumours that the High Street is going to be finished soon. Proof, in any were needed, that the campaign to Keep Keynsham Local is in full effect. Do not be afraid.



I Scream - Stop Me And I've Won
Friday, 12 June 2009 → State: Deafened
Keynsham, it would appear, has a problem. Not of Houston proportions, but an irritating, insistent niggle in the neck that takes the form of a pink-and-cream vehicle with the words 'Mr' and 'Whippy' painted on the side. Can a man not sit in the summer sunshine listening to the skylarks serenading without a sound similar to a school sports day cessating his soliloquising? Is it too much too ask for this ice cream pusher to stop menacing us into buying his wares whilst sounding like a hospital fete on wheels?

A little blast of a moderately-volumed tune is perfectly fine. It's all we need to let us know he's outside, selling Cornettos. What we don't need is a permanent rendition of 'O Sole Mio' at a volume approaching that of an Iron Maiden concert. Where's an outbreak of Red Tape when you need it? The Health and Safety goons? Nowhere to be seen. We're all deaf now you noisy little man. Feck off to Norton and annoy them for a bit. We want our Sunday silence back. We've earned it. And your 99's are bloody expensive too, though tasty.



Un-Poplar Decisions
Saturday, 6 June 2009 → Mood: Unhappy feller
Keynsham's skyline before it lost its front teeth
The 'lost' poplars -
sad victims of
Red Tape
How sad to see the three remaining Lombardy Poplar trees at the junction of Charlton Park and Charlton Road cut down without ceremony. The trees were the last survivors of an impressive avenue that ran parallel with St Ladoc Road - an avenue chopped down when 'private road' Park Close was constructed.

The Poplar trees were many decades old and formed a distinctive part of Keynsham's skyline. Presumably, they were getting in the way of progress, or, maybe the leaves were a danger to traffic in the area. Either way, it's a shame that the authoritarians responsible for granting felling permission didn't actually go and observe the trio prior to signing away their substantial lives. A reprieve would surely have been granted upon sight of the trees' stately majesty.

Keynsham's older specimen trees are rapidly being eroded by the chainsaw as the need for open spaces increases with gusto. With the perma-present threat of Red Tape, it makes one wonder how long the Poplar avenue by the Abbey in Keynsham Park will last. Not much longer if current arborilogical policies continue. Heads should roll as punishment for the curtailed crowns and truncated trunks.



If You Can't Stand The Band
Sunday, 17 May 2009 → Mood: Observational
The mystery band shelter (image copyright www.keynsham.co.uk)
The mystery
band shelter
I couldn't help but notice, whilst perusing the newly-revamped Keynsham website, that we appear to have a mystery bandstand in our midst. Any idea what this is all about? Has the former tricorner stage been reincarnated as a bus stop?

Worryingly, it would appear that a lady in a miniskirt and an upright bassist have stormed the stage, probably to perform renditions of a few Madness cover versions. Unfortunately, their musical noodlings appear to be falling on deaf ears - the 'crowd' consists of a random bloke with his 'partner' - a person half-standing in a bush. Is that what goes on in the park nowadays? Shocking...

Presumably, the new Keep Keynsham Local website graphic was designed well before it was decided that the new bandstand looks like one of the trolley shelters in Asda's car park. Either that, or the new 'band shelter' has already been installed in the park, it's just that we can't see it due to the recent coat of invisibility paint. Oh, and why is the church wearing a chef's hat on a jaunty angle? Answers on a postcard to the usual address please.



Barbara Starzec
Wednesday, 6 May 2009 → Mood: Sad
It is with great sadness that I receive the news of Barbara Starzec's sudden passing. Mrs Starzec campaigned tirelessly on behalf of the people and businesses of Keynsham in order to make the town a better place for everyone. In an age where it's all too easy to pass idle comment and do nothing, Barbara was a pro-active member of the community whose legacy will remain for many years to come.

I for one hope that we, the people of Keynsham, pay special tribute to Barbara at this years Victorian Evening, an event which she was instrumental in creating. Good night Mrs Starzec.



No To NO2
Monday, 4 May 2009 → State: Wheezing
The trusty BANES Environment Monitoring team have recently discovered that Nitrogen Dioxide levels in Keynsham near the roundabout at the junction of Bath Hill and the High Street regularly exceed the safe limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre. Excessive NO2 levels can cause adverse health effects, especially in asthma sufferers.

Thankfully, most of us spend very little time hanging around in that particular area of town. But please spare a thought and an inhaler for the poor Big Issue sellers who practically live on the roundabout. It won't be long before they start asking us for Big Tissues to counter the effects of their deteriorating respiratory systems.



Looking For A Sign
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 → Mood: Detecting
Missing, presumed nicked
Missing, presumed nicked
Has anyone else noticed the disappearance of the old Somerset County Council sign post that used to live opposite the junction of Charlton Road and the High Street (by the non-roundabout)? This wonderful reminder of our glorious pre-BANES past stood in its hallowed spot pointing the way to Queen Charlton and Whitchurch for donkey's years.

A local businessman once had his collar felt for painting the name of his company on the post, such was its importance. Even the addition of a 'no right turn' sign in the 1990's couldn't lessen its charm.

I'm sure, as ever, there is an official excuse as to its whereabouts. However, as we all know, official excuses usually mask the cold truth. In this case, I'd bet my bottom dollar that the beloved sign is now residing in someone's back garden, where it's doing its best to detract from the hastily-hidden expenses receipts stashed in the attic. Please give it back. It belongs to the people.



Check Your Head
Monday, 13 April 2009 → Mood: Angry at a phrase
I can't help but notice those people who have recently dyed their hair blonde when they start using phrases like: "Oh, silly me, I'm being a bit blonde". What are you talking about?!? Did you use Polonium to bleach it? Did you drill holes in your skull and pour it in? Of course you didn't. You simply changed your hair colour. Chances are you were thick before you decided to repaint your folicles.



Paint Yer 'Bragging Wagons'
Saturday, 4 April 2009 → State: White Van Mania
It's always a sure sign that things are not going according to plan when some person or organisation starts boasting about their alleged past successes. And so we come to the BANES 'Bragging Wagons' - those little white vans emblazoned with the cheap blue and green council logo and a series of banners exclaiming everything from 'Safest roads in Britain' to 'We put a man on the moon'.

When someone tells you how good they are, what it really means is that they've made a pigs ear of things and they're hoping to divert your attention away from the Great Balls-Up. When someone really is successful they don't ever need to tell you because you already know. A good reputation speaks for itself. Let's consider, for example, Manchester United F.C. They don't drive around in cute little vehicles with slogans on the side telling you what they've achieved. Love them or loathe them, they're pretty damn good at winning football matches, and with it, shiny trophies and riches. 'Nuff said.

How about we propose a Year Of Honesty for 2010, where our much-maligned council put some home truths on the side of their vehicles. If nothing else, it'll give us all a good laugh to know we're in the unsafest hands in the business, and that they know we know they're crap.



I Have Awokened In The Future
Wednesday, 1 April 2009 → State: Wide awake
Well, today seems like a good day to re-emerge into society. It's been five whole years since we scuttled the good ship Cane Shum just off the coast of Mozambique. We'd made so much cash that it seemed only natural to go somewhere warm to spend it. We spent a year in the sun, high-fiving and generally bigging-up our scrawny achievements, before silently returning home in the dead of day, hiding in the hold of a Taiwanese container ship.

After all that effort and partying to the 'max', I decided to take an afternoon nap. I woke up just over three years later with an almighy hangover and several injunctions sitting on the doormat. The world as I knew it was gone forever. Cadburys, the Hospital, Temple School - a shockingly long list. Once I'd shaved off the beard and used the loo, I decided that I must immediately un-fake my own birth and climb back onto my soapbox.

And the soapbox is where I'm standing now, surveying this fine manor and sizing up my next meal. I hope you don't mind that I didn't call, write or pop in for coffee during the last half-decade. I promise I'll never leave you again. Until next time. Albert. x


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