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Saturday, May 31, 2008


i have been known to throw guitar poses; i have been known to shake my locks manically (sometimes even in time to the music). i like metal – it can be speed, death, thrash, black, industrial, prog, and big hair – as long as it is metal that is all that matters. from the basic 3-piece outfit through the twin guitar attack bands, they can have double bass drum set-ups, keyboards, flutes and violins. they just have to be metal. the vocalist can scream, they can growl, they can screech there can even be two vocalists. just so long as they are metal.
so i am a metal fan. so sue me.
on the train back thursday night (the feeling of relief of being on the last train from the north still flowing through my system like a summer’s rain cleaning the humidity from the air…. oooh get me) i was slightly shocked to watch a metal band jump on the train.
they were in traditional look – all black clothes with various bands decorating the various t-shirts. all of them with tattoos, several of them with piercings. the girls had the big platform boots on.
it was quite obvious they had come from a gig.
they were all happy, all talking about the highlights of the night.

now the first thing wrong with this was that they were travelling by train: whatever happened to touring in the transit van?

but that wasn’t the thing that got to me.
to judge from their t-shirts and piercings this was a band from the goth, industrial part of the metal family. probably with a big “type o negative” influence.
nothing wrong there.

yet there was a moment when all i could think was “oh no”. it started with a simple comment when the drummer mentioned that he had pulled out a chunk of his hair when he caught it in his drumstick. this lead into a bit about how good the guitarist looked when he shook his head in the solo. quickly followed by a comparison about hair lengths (remember this is the blokes talking) and how long it took to grow. this led into a discussion between some of them about whether one should straighten his hair or leave it wavy.

spinal tap eat your heart out.

Friday, May 30, 2008


so the last day came and went. in grand pat style it didn’t go to plan. i had this sneaky scheme to get in early, pass my keys on to someone and slink out of the place without any fanfare. with a quick exit from work i would have been back in london by late afternoon.
i was still thinking of this plan at 9am, 10am, and 11am. around midday i had revised the time i would get back to london.
in the back of my mind i knew there would be no escaping early.
who would have thought clearing out an office would have taken so long?
after much pack, stacking, boxing and throwing out i got it all done.
and would you adam and eve it even on my last day there were only 2 of us left in the building. so i got to do some of the locking process.
the only problem was that by the time i got out there was no chance i would catch the 20.05 train.
noooooooooooooooooooooo not another night in the north!

luckily saint chuff (patron saint of trains) was looking down and there is one at 20.58. phew. back in london at the wee small hours of the morning.

friday starts in a bit of sleepy daze. i have a plan for the for first month – i am going to clean my flat. long time coming i can tell you.
have even worked out the method i am going to use. split rooms into areas and then move stuff from one area to another area, cleaning the empty area. simple really.

except i ended up in brick lane drinking coffee.
much better outcome for the day.

besides i can do the packing, racking and stacking in my flat tomorrow.

well that is a good start to my new life.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


last day in the office.
lots to do.
mixed feelings. kinda sad, kinda excited, kinda scared.

best get back to work, while i still have a job to do.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


my last few days in the north and all it is doing is raining a bit, raining a lot and raining some more.
it would be perfect other than fact i have left my waterproofs at home.
call me soggy.

Monday, May 26, 2008


for some odd reason when i am writing about london's new mayor boris johnson i have an urge to call him either "boorish" or "borish" johnson.
i know it is not particularly funny but it does make me smile.
i wonder if jeremy paxman ever thinks like that?

Sunday, May 25, 2008


we live in volatile times. the price of everything is soaring, except house prices, which are plummeting (oooh get me i have come over all daily mail on you). the credit crunch has many of us by the short and curlies.
we cry out for a leader to carry us through this economic minefield. a man (or woman, as i can do pc as well as the next man (or woman) – see i told you i could) with strong convictions, a firm grasp of the situation and bravery to chart the course needed.
step forward our broad shoudered touselled headed blonde leader boris.
yes in a time when oil prices keep going up boris, the mayor of london, has decided not to renew the deal with venezuela which allowed london’s buses to get cheap fuel, which in turn allowed them to be offering travel concessions to those on social security.
back when it was signed ken livingstone, the then mayor, claimed it would benefit up to a quarter of a million londoners, the current take up is far short of that at close to 60,000 people. still that is a lot of people who are much better off. payment for this oil was to be in the form of consultancy work carried out by london experts in the fields of: recycling, waste management, traffic and on reducing carbon emissions.
at the time the deal was struck it was attacked by the green party, who complained that livingstone should be finding ways to reduce london’s reliance on fossil fuels. which is fair enough as that is what the green’s mostly stand for. while the conservatives complained that livingstone and hugo chavez, the venezuelan president, should be ashamed of this deal as it exploited the poor of venezuela. which is fair enough as the conservative party have always stood for compassion for the poor (sorry for a moment there i was cameron’s press secretary).

step forward boris johnson. he sees the inequity of the deal. we get cheap oil, buses can pass on the savings to be poorest, and venezuela gets advice it needs. to boris and the tories there is a terrible smell about this. so they have to stop it.
boris says: "many londoners felt uncomfortable about the bus operation of one of the world's financial powerhouses being funded by the people of a country where many people live in extreme poverty" most of those people who were disgruntled would be tory members of the greater london assembly, the rest of us not so bothered.
"there are better ways of benefiting londoners and better ways of benefiting venezuelans". but “ways” were outlined and i suspect none will be forthcoming any time soon. (to be fair to boris he is maintaining the subsidies for those on benefit until the original deal runs out – august of this year.)
back when the deal was signed richard barnes, the then leader of london assembly conservatives slammed the deal because "london should not be doing business with third-rate south american dictators with an appalling human rights and democratic record."
too right richard we just want our deals to be with first-rate dictators with appalling human rights and democratic records.
with all this talk from david cameron, boris johnson and, now, richard barnes i am expecting the conservative party to unveil several ethical programmes that will ban the sale of weapons to dictatorships, ensure that countries we invest in and do business with are transparent with their human rights records, while back home i expect both david and boris to address the thorny issue of workers rights to ensure that they are protected against the unscrupulous employers. in addition to that the conservatives will lead the charge to ensure that big business pays fairer taxes because they should not exploit the worker.
then again i think that in this instance both boris and richard were just talking for effect and frankly they don’t care about the poverty in venezuela, nor do they care about the state of venezuelan workers they were just miffed that ken livingstone got a sweet deal worked out that benefited the poor in london.

still we can all rest easy as the mayor’s press release states that with the closing of the office in caracas £67,000 a year will be saved on the lonodn budget (even though that £67,000 was actually buying cheap oil).
so although london buses will now have to pay the market rate for oil boris can at least claim to make good on a campaign claim as he has stopped a scheme that he referred to as “crackers”. good for you boris.

one of the reasons that the deal had to go was that the new first deputy mayor (the unelected) tim parker saw the deal as not being part of the “core strategy” for the greater london assembly. mr. parker is interested that londoners get value for money for any deals struck. getting cheap oil seems not to be value for money.
but look boris has struck a deal with mayor bloomberg of new york. the two mayors have agreed to swap personnel and ideas so that both cities could learn from each other’s best practices.
well that is value for money. hold on my 25 bus runs so much better on “best practice” than it does on petrol.
could it be that new york is a better place to go than caracas?
could it be that boris and mr. parker just don’t like left-wingers?

but here is irony for you. do you want to know which other city has a deal with venezuela for cheap fuel?
can you guess?
score one for the home team if you said new york.

mayor bloomberg share some of that best practice with boris and mr. parker now.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


i have a zit on my bum.
it is not nice. i can't get a good enough grip on it to give it a good squeeze.
now it is just annoying....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


the last few days of work are stretched out in front of me. the day after i leave is going to be odder than i thought.
but before i get maudlin i have to confess that of the many things i am going to miss it is going to be my air con unit i am going to miss the most. the last few hot days have reminded me why i hate summer and looking at the 2008 year planner (nothing much going on from june 1st…) the days of summer seem to go on and on and on.

geez i am a bundle of fun.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


"annoying, bewildering and prickly" is john prescott’s description of gordon brown.
how do we know this? well prescott is selling his memoirs, so he needs to have something that makes us all go out there and put down our hard earned cash.
it is also the reason why we had to listen to his bulimia stories.

prescott mentions his hundreds of reconciliation meetings between blair and brown.

prescott isn’t actually attacking brown, as he professes admiration of both blair and brown. it is just that his timing really sucks.

whatever good prescott has done in the past for the labour party he has undone it all with his memoirs. for a grubby few pounds he has added to the current of criticism of gordon brown.

don’t worry john i am sure that david cameron and co will reward you well; just don’t choke on the cakes when you scoff them.

still prezza isn’t alone cherie blair is also entering the memoir business. it is well known she has little time for gordon brown, so her attacks are not unexpected.
even so she manages to shock with her revelation that tony blair is “secretly” is helping gordon brown plan the next general election campaign.
well it is nice to know that such a high-powered lawyer is such a tattletale.

gordon brown has become a shit magnet.

i am waiting for him to get the blame of the burmese cyclone.

Friday, May 09, 2008


a few weeks ago it was the tail end of winter.
now we seem to be in summer, what happened to spring? what happened to the lead in period of warm weather that prepares us for hot weather?
where has it gone?

as if i didn’t have enough to be miserable about, i now have the hate of summer to deal with.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


boris is in charge of london. cripes.
i like boris, but i am not sure that i like him being in charge of london. we shall see how he copes and what it means to those of us living here. does it mean the end of the bendy bus? i hope not i like the 25. will it mean the end of the growing building of big glass boxes? i hope so.
i doubt very much if it will end the proliferation of american descriptions such as midtown (holborn to most of us) south central (southwark) and recently the arrival of noho (marylebone), but if boris can do that then he might get my vote next time around.

the scary thing is that this result probably heralds the end of the current labour administration and the rise of david cameron and his tory party.

Friday, May 02, 2008


no matter how you look at it last night at the polls was a disaster for gordon brown and the labour government.
cameron is right to talk about it being a "big night" for the conservative party.
the electorate have given the clunking fist of brown a bloody nose and it is likely that the london mayoral election is about to land him with a black eye.

yet brown is also right to say that the results are due to the fact that there are some unusual circumstances out there at the moment.
labour is paying the price for not just these events but also for the fact that they have been in powere for a long time and that they have forgotten that they have to pay attention to the electorate.

cameron took the chance to once again point out that this was a vote against labour's top down approach to government. in this he echoes the mantra of thatcher. so under cameron we can expect less government and more local action.
but the point is what people really want is a government who will protect them from the wider world's mistakes. we want them to make the big hard decisions that will stave off the problems brought on by stupidity of greedy banks.
that is what we want we just don't want to admit it.

brown has been punished for the credit crunch, he has been punished for the rise in petrol prices (but not to worry the two companies involved with petrol just released record profits), he has been punished becuase of the rise of food, yet we know tescos will release figures of record profits and the farmers will complain that they are not paid enough for what they grow.
bad transport? it is the government - even if the rail and airlines are privately owned.
it is a long list of what is going wrong and blamed on the government. (even eard a banker blame the recent problems in the banking industry on the bank of england for not spotting the banks own recklessnes...)

but brown has problems of his own. he heeds to drop policies that are pointless and just there to make headlines - forget about id cards, forget about the 42 day limit. concentrate on what it is that labour should stand for. the people, the working people. work towards protecting them and rewarding them.

do that sort of thing and watch the votes come flooding back.

meanwhile i am going to go off and sulk as boris becomes the mayor of london.