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Bath sucks

I'll say it again: Bath sucks. Perhaps it's because this is primarily a tourist town - "lookit! Those buildings have been around for at least a hundred years!" - but also because our local council sucks so hard that Bristolians can feel the breeze.

The current problem is that someone, somewhere is doing a great job of running all our small businesses out of town. If you go to a random town/city in the UK, say Northampton or Preston, you'll see Top Shop, River Island, Goldsmiths, WHSmiths and various other chain shops that every town seems to have. But you'll also see many smaller shops that exist in only a few towns if at all - "Mom and Pop" shops as Merkans call them. Bath used to have quite a few of these.

For example, we would buy stuff for our two cats from the local pet shop, "Paws for Thought" (note: there are probably a thousand of these around the UK, but they aren't chain shops - just a sign of the need for some originality!). This was closed six months ago because the council upped their tax again to the point where they couldn't afford to stay there. Since the start of this year, at least six other stores have closed their doors around here, and, annoyingly, it's never the shops that tourists care about - it's always the really useful shops that actually sell things at a reasonably price (a rarity here).

Just yesterday, walking home after a hard day of playing UT, I noticed that the "What!" shop is closing. This is a large furniture store that sold affordable mirrors, chairs, etc. Useless for tourists, but great for locals. Gone. I just hope it's not the council and their tax again, because it's becoming quite apparent now that the higher they raise the tax, the more shops need to close because they can't afford it, so they raise the tax for everyone else and the cycle repeats. The only people who have no choice about all this are the locals: we end up footing the bill in council taxes when there are no more shops around to stiff with huge bills.

The What! shop is closing.

So, we need to treasure the few places we have left. For Linux Format, that's The Porter public house. The food, while vegetarian, is good and not so expensive. Plus they have table football and pool, so it's our idea of paradise - we're easy to please, you know.

Pool at the Porter: many happy memories

In other news, Andrew Gregory - our highly paid production chimp - has shown the first signs of stigmata. This is a turn up for the books, as he's never shown any skill at carpentry, only speaks in parables when he's trying to annoy you and has shaved off his beard for TacheBack. On the other hand, Doncaster sounds rather like Bethlehem. And like Red Hat, for that matter...

Pie Andrew Gregory Domine, dona eis requiem

Andrew has also improved greatly at Unreal Tournament since the stigmata first started to appear. As you can see in this screenshot, AG's player (called "Jim"; presumably because "Eva Black" is cliched) managed to come a long way ahead of Nick. Unsurprisingly, Nick burst into tears at this defeat and has refused to play since.

Andrew Gregory doesn\'t come bottom at Unreal Tournament

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