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Saturday, February 28, 2009


i do spend a lot of time listening to the radio. i spend part of that time shouting at the radio, more often than not i am shouting at the stephen nolan show on radio 5. there is something about his delivery that brings out the worst in me, he plays the devil's advocate a little too well.
i have been known to send off a badly written ill-conceived email to the nolan show (and several other shows).
tonight they were going on about mickey mouse degrees which came about because of a comment by chris woodhead. universities are not servicing their students properly and that some degrees are just a waste of money surfing and media studies degrees were cited as proof of this.
i sent of a quick email, basically i asked why is it that a surfing degree is seen as being a waste of time and impractical but one in classical literature is not? email goes off. i get a reply requesting my mobile number. i give it. then i go back to listening to the boxing on the radio.
i get a call. they ask me why i sent the email. i say that the argument seems to come down to a case of intellectual snobbery on the part of mr. woodhead, i continued that you have more chance of getting a job and doing something practical with a surfing degree than with a classical language degree. the real difference is that cambridge and oxford offer classical language degrees and therefore they are seen as being valid. i also pointed out that chris woodhead also has an agenda as someone who is at the head of a group of independent schools he is interested in making sure that his students get into university and that the degrees they get are are seen as being worthwhile and an easy way to do that is to try to persuade others not to go to university.
the researcher who called me seemed interested in what i had to say.
could he call me back and put me on the show.
sure i said.
not sure when he tells me because of the boxing.
sadly the boxing went much longer than expected and i didn't called.
so the nation didn't get to hear my views, they were not able to be wowed by my cogent argument.
the nation was robbed and they were robbed by a poor performance by james degale.

i could have been a contender.

Friday, February 27, 2009


harriet harman, jack straw and the rest of you just stop. stop now and think about what you are doing.
now is not the time to be jockeying for position to lead the labour party. now is the time to stand full square with gordon brown to chart a course out of the financial crisis that the country is in.
now is not a time for infighting, now is the for unity.
all that this speculation is doing is playing into the hands of the conservatives. now they don't have to describe their policies they just have to point to the high profile labour dissenters and say "see."

so the time has come to shut up and get on with the work of helping the country get through this recession.

the final words go to hazel blears:
"My message to my colleagues is simple: get a grip. Our first loyalty is to the British people. If they think we are more interested in our own jobs than theirs, they will not forgive us."

too right (oh ok the last words went to me).

Thursday, February 26, 2009


you work hard. you do your best. at some point you hope your pension is going to let you kick back and relax (mine means i can afford tescos economy water). thanks to the financial crisis the value of our pensions are not as much as they used to be.
still it is nice to know in these hard times that not all of us are suffering when it comes to pensions. according to the bbc fred goodwin, ex royal bank of scotland chief executive and the man credited for the woeful state of the bank (an £8 billion loss in 2008), has started cashing in his pension.
not that fred goodwin is losing sleep as he sits back and counts his £650,000 a year pension. that is £650,000 a year for the rest of his life. nice work if you can get it.
the bbc’s robert peston is at pains to point out that mr. goodwin did not take any compensation when he left the royal bank of scotland. oh that if ok then. quite why when you have screwed a company into the ground you should get compensation is beyond me, but then that is probably why i am not a business bigwig.
as one of my more financial astute friends has pointed out that it is more than likely such pension schemes were signed up to as part of the contract mr. goodwin signed up for.
somehow when the boys at the adam smith institute and the champions of capitalism go on about how the market rewards success this is probably not what they meant.
now as am i in a period of post employment i think i should start throwing my hat in the ring for being a chief executive for any of the big companies. i reckon i can do as much damage to a company as people such as mr. goodwin, but i would do it quicker and i would be cheaper.
so confederation of british industry and institute of directors i am manning up, stepping up to the plate and ready for action. you want to fuck up you company? hire me i am your man.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


"Honestly, we should shoot one banker a week until the others improve."
if ever there was a campaign promise that everyone in the country could get behind then this surely has to be it. unfortunately for ken livingstone it is not an election year.
are bankers the new estate agents?

Monday, February 23, 2009


my neck hurts. i think i have strained it. i have no idea how. it is not nice. i can feel the start of a headache coming on. more not nice. i need to feel better before i fall asleep i think i will have myself an apple filled doughnut, or maybe two.
i am sure it will do the trick.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


there are times when you see a story and the immediate reaction is perhaps not the correct one, but seems to fit the bill. so at first i thought twat and then i thought misjudged. you decide.

i know nothing of the company permira or it’s chairman damon buffini, but it is a private equity firm that has done very well partly by buying companies and asset stripping them. not to mention a handy way with tax that makes sure some of the leading players in the private equity field pay less tax than the cleaners they employ.
they are not on the christmas card list of the gmb.

damon buffini is supposed to be a decent chap. his background is that of a single mother, council estate and state schooling. he is a regular churchgoer and is heavily involved in charitable works. the bbc’s financial guru, robert peston, describes buffini as a role model for can-do britain.
he is not only nice but he is good at his job, he appears on the uk rich list, his company goes head to head with the powerhouses of private equity and was invited to sit on gordon brown’s business council.

mr. buffini and the partners of permira were at the firm’s week away at a five-star hotel. one of the partners was overheard complaining about the food that the hotel served.
this upset mr. buffini; in order to teach his partners a lesson he instructed the kitchen to serve them burgers the following evening. while tucking into the fare before them they also had to listen to mr. buffini as he upbraided them for not appreciating how lucky they were.

at first view this seems to be a sensible reminder of how fortunate the very wealthy are and how far they are from the problems and worries of the average person. and what better way to bring the rich down than by making them eat the humble burger (though why a five-star hotel would have humble burgers in their larders is another matter).
but really does eating a helping of burgers remind the wealthy how fortunate they are? i doubt it very much. it wouldn’t surprise me if as mr. buffini huffed and puffed about how lucky they all were, a few of those at the table were trying very hard not to laugh.
remember this is a company that has no issues with making thousands unemployed, so it seems a bit rich to get all high and mighty because someone complains about the food that they have been served.
i am guessing that insisting that they all take substantial pay cuts or they all start paying a reasonable amount of tax was out of the question, besides that might have been a permanent reminder that they are fortunate, rather than a kid’s meal taste of humility.

to be honest it wasn’t the slight hypocrisy of the outburst that tickled me. it was that mr. buffini took umbrage at the fact someone had complained about the food. true the nature of the complaint is not recorded but if i was staying in a hotel that was charging £1000 a night for a suite and had a five-star rating then i would be expecting food of the highest quality. if it didn’t match that sort of standard then i would feel entitled to complain and not feel guilty about it.

perhaps mr. buffini was upset because the hotel was one that permira was considering taking over?

i admire mr. buffini for wanting to make his partners aware that they are truly fortunate, but can’t help feeling he could have done it in a way that was much more substantial and meaningful.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


the f-word has been in the news a lot recently.
first off there was ‘fuck - a documentary’ a film that examines the use of fuck in the media. sure it is an interesting an idea, though not one that can sustain the running time of a movie.
still with a bit of luck that only the likes of max clifford can dream of, other notable personalities have jumped into the fuckmobile and driven it to the headlines.

step forward that blonde haired titan of london boris johnson (bo-jo to his friends, bozo to the rest) and his tirade of fucks to keith vaz. there is some dispute at how many times that boris uttered fuck to mr. vaz, but i feel sure he felt a sense of satisfaction each time the fuck left his lips.
why do i say that?
i am sure keith vaz is a nice man and very diligent at his job, yet it strikes me that mr. vaz is someone who is used to being sworn at. every time i see him on the tv or hear him on the radio i can’t help but shout, “fuck off”. so i have every sympathy with boris.
that said it is quite possible that the fucks uttered by boris were caused more by the fact that mr. vaz was in the right.

not to be outdone peter mandelson also did his bit to keep fuck top of the pops. it all came about when howard schultz (head of starbucks) had the temerity to say that the uk was in an economic spiral. one wonders if it is the same spiral that starbucks is currently in; a thousand stores closed and staff laid off.
according to the telegraph mandelson said, "why should i have that guy running down the country? who the fuck is he?" (for the sake of the sensitive i have restored the fuck to the telegraph’s edited version).
hooray for mandelson. is what i say.
but peter doesn’t leave it there, oh no. he also said ‘…i have noticed that starbucks is in a great deal of trouble. but that may be because of their overexposure given the state of the market.’
double espressos all round i think.

peter mandelson’s outburst resulted in a climb down and apology from starbucks. thus proving that judicious use of fuck can get results.

i am sure that both boris and peter’s outbursts will be on the director’s cut version of ‘fuck - a documentary’ the dvd.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


what have i learnt today?
that if you have confidence problems or body image problems what you need to do is go on tv get forced to do things you don't want to do (to use the jargon: being taken out of your comfort zone) and then appearing on tv naked.
voyeuristic tv based on embarrassment seems to be the road to empowerment.
very counter intuitive.

like david cameron’s recent attack on gordon brown. cameron’s thrust that brown could not be trusted he did not get his facts or figures right. look even his recent use of titian was suspect.
brown and titian? what? why?
at a recent world economic forum meeting gordon brown compared the situation of economic leaders to titian’s comment "i'm finally beginning to learn how to paint".
cameron jumped at the fact that brown said titian was 90. there is some uncertainty about titian’s actual age. that wasn’t enough for cameron. thanks to a conservative party worker the relevant dates for titian were altered on wikipedia to make it appear that cameron had the right age and brown was factually wrong. they even cited the entry as proof of brown’s inability to get facts right.
such a shame they were caught out in this little plot. cameron had to apologise and claim the staff member had been disciplined.
like i said it is all counter intuitive to me – you want to prove that someone is not deserving of trust then the way to do it is by telling a big fat fib of your own. yeah i can see how that works.
actually i can’t.
i can see how it shows cameron to be someone who is not interested in right and wrong but just in score very cheap points. it does go someway to remind us just what we can expect if there is a conservative government led by cameron.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


dogs have been a bit of a news item recently. on the one hand there are a couple of feel good dog movies coming out and on the other hand a couple of dogs have been chowing down on a baby. ying and yang there.

when i was a kid i always had a dog. my parents used to joke that their two black labradors looked after me as if i was their own pup (so i was an ugly baby). i had no fear of dogs and most of the time dogs just seemed to like me, or perhaps it was the chocolate i always carried with me (so i was a fat kid).
at some point in my teenage years i stopped owning a dog, and aside from a few years of owing cats, i have been petless since.
the dogless years has seen me become more cautious of dogs. there are times when dogs can be dangerous and so you have to treat them with a little respect.

the recent case of the baby being killed by two dogs is a case in point.
baby left alone with the dogs, the family is left grieving.

the dogs are humanely killed and there is the usual public outcry for dog licensing and more education about dogs.
hold on a minute here. why are the dogs getting the blame? they are animals after all. sure the adults involved have to live with the knowledge of what has happened, but it seems responsibility falls on the heads of the two dogs.
the quick call is for all dogs to be licensed – the argument being that if you have to pay to get a license you are more likely you are to be to take responsibility for the dog (and of course be linked to the dog if it causes damage or harm).

having children is seen as a right.
as i get older and further away from the possibility of ever becoming a father more and more i think that having a child is too easy, after all it is not like you have to take lessons, it is not like it requires much skill: a bit of bump and grind a few moans and the chances are you are going to be a parent in nine months time.
fortunately most of these bundles of joy are wanted and are loved. sadly too many are just facts of life to be tolerated or coped with.
walk down most high streets and you will see young mothers who have trouble dealing with their kid(s) much preferring to be on their mobiles or you can see the parents whose only method of talking to their children involves shouting.
if there is a problem with “feral” children it has little to do with lack of facilities or a lack of education but with a lack of parenting.

so here is a radical thought for all those shouting that there should be dog licenses and that there should be pet classes why not have parent licenses and parent classes? perhaps the license idea smacks too much of a totalitarian state to be tenable, but the classes could easily be made compulsorily, and while the ultimate sanction of taking a baby away from parents who failed the classes is probably not going to work at least through the attending of classes there is a good chance that the parents to be would learn something that would be useful to them in the bringing up of their child.
to those that say but i won’t have time because of work i say well if you don’t have the time for the classes you are probably not going to have time for the child.

this is not about being anti-children this is about making sure parents are responsible for their children, that they bring their children up to the best of their abilities. true the state has to provide a certain level of support for parents and children, but it can only do so much and the rest has to fall on parents.

like puppies children are not just for christmas.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


i now have a new belt. my jeans stay up.
i no longer look like an old man trying to capture his youth by strutting around town in very low slung jeans.
no more can i be called a wigger.
i feel so much better.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


"In the heat of the moment I made a remark about bankers which, upon reflection, i think does not go far enough, i just can't find the words to express my disgust."

Friday, February 06, 2009


amazingly several banks are giving their senior people bonuses. as it stands several of the banks have state funding to keep them afloat, so in effect our tax pounds are being used to reward, already wealthy, employees. many of these senior people are part of the cause of the current financial crisis. in most other lines of work if you are responsible for putting the company at risk you get the sack, with bankers (and seemingly all financial industries) it seems you get double bubble rewards.

bankers are the cocksucking whores of the civilised world, they are the sweat running down the wrinkly ballbag of the universe. bankers are the stink that hangs around abattoirs. in short bankers are fucking money grabbing cunts.


"In the heat of the moment i made a remark about the jeremy clarkson's personal appearance for which, upon reflection, i apologise."


jeremy clarkson is a big fat ugly cunt.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


london has had a snow event. the most snow it has had in 18 years (even though that statistic was just for central london as the newsday progressed it became the statistic for the whole country).
on monday central london was covered in snow. it was a special day. there is a rare beauty in seeing the city covered in snow. walking into the west end was an adventure, a skid here, a bit of a slide there. one step forward one slip back. the air bracing and chill, sounds deadened, happy voices raised.
a few things were quickly noticeable as i walked. there were no buses to be seen on the roads, it was the first time that the buses had been suspended across the city (although many routes were working by the end of the day). a large number of shops and offices were closed, across the country it was reported that 6 million people didn’t make it into work that day. there were few people in the streets, and even fewer cars. a large number of people who were out were playing in the snow, tossing snowballs making snowmen, just having fun.
it was a beautiful day.

well it was for me.

crikey the number of moaners that crawled out of the woodwork was immense.
parents complaining that their children’s schools were closed, moaning about there being too much concern of health and safety (of course they would have been the first to whine if their child had gotten hurt). parents whinging that they had to take a day off work to look after their children. shucks, they are your kids it means that sometimes you just have to look after them.
drivers complaining that the roads have not been gritted to the standards that they need. oh how they ranted and raved. where are the snowploughs, where are the industrial gritters, why are the local authorities not prepared for such extreme weather. of course none of the drivers had snow tyres to fit to their cars, because well they weren’t prepared for such extreme weather.
boris having a pop at skivers.
travellers wondering where their train was. one commentator on the radio claimed that all terrorists needed to do was put snow on the lines and they had crippled the country. hyperbole? maybe a tad.

the number of people who phoned into radio shows to point out that when they were on holiday in finland the people there just got on with life when there was a lot of snow, a royal marine said that when he went training every year to northern norway they had no trouble with dealing with the snow.
of course the fact these countries get snow on a regular basis seemed to pass these moaning minnies by. as did the fact that for many parts of the country that was very unusual weather.
what was not unusual were the number of people who wondered where all the special equipment was to deal with the snow and ice, naturally these people were not interested in paying any extra taxes to pay for said equipment, they just wanted it, no doubt they would be among the first to claim that such items were a waste of money in the snowless years.

one thing is sure you can’t do is please all of the people all of the time.

i was at a talk a while back where the veracity of the ‘blitz spirit’ was called into question. if the aftermath of the snowfall is anything to go by if we ever had the ‘blitz spirit’ we have surely lost it, struck down by a hastily thrown snowball.

Monday, February 02, 2009


i seem to be having a run of bad luck when it comes to belts. a few weeks ago i broke a nice worn in belt. one day it had the prong that did the business, the next day the prong was gone and the belt was no more than a strip of fake leather with some holes in it. i buy a new belt. not as good as the previous one, it is stiff and, unusually, a size too big. still it did a job: kept my jeans up and stopped me looking like one of those sad middle-aged men who shuffle around in baggy saggy jeans pretending that they are still young, hip and trendy when really they look like charlie chaplin impersonators who have shat themselves.
new belt, not so good, but does the job.
this morning i go to put the belt on and there is no prong.
stop the presses it is a bloody conspiracy. questions need to be asked. what? how? why? answers need to be given.
perhaps i should just start getting jeans with an elasticated waist, true that is an admission that i am a fat bastard but it will save on belts.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


it would be safe to say that my view of people in general is not a sunny one; it is made worse by the few genuinely wonderful individuals i know. most days this means i walk around muttering under my breath. it is possible that i am going to end my days walking the streets with a bottle of cheap cider shouting at people as they walk by.

today it snowed. white snow. cold snow. crunchy snow. nice snow. the snow brings out the kid in me. i smile like a loon. as i walked home from the cinema, my hands slowly going blue and turning into ice, i have to resist the urge to fall into the snow and make snow angels or to see how far i can slide. why resist? i can hear you cry. firstly i am now at an age where such activities can cause bits to break or fall off and secondly i am not the most elegant person in the world so such activity leads to observers falling over hurting themselves in gales of laughter.
still the crisp cold night and the coating of snow was enough to make me a happy camper. for a brief moment all was right in my world.
not often i can say that.