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Saturday, December 31, 2011


to my fearless readers - hope you are all getting ready to party the old year out and the new year in.

enjoy. have fun.


i thought i might do a review of my year.
then it struck me it has been a pretty shit year so why depress myself any more with it.
will be pleased to see the back of it.
looking forward to seeing what 2012 has to offer, fingers crossed it will be better.


i am not much for celebrity. they never seem to deserve the adulaion, fame and fortune that they.
however i am not a heartless person and even i can see that as the year comes to an end there is a crisis in celebland. they are all becoming single. partnerships are breaking down. it is terrible to behold. first sinead, now russell and katy, then catherine and gethin.
tears have been shed.
so i have come up with celebcatch - a new agenecy that will make sure that celebs who have become single can find solace in with willing members of the public.
each pairing would be for a short period of time.
the celebs buying each time slot to fit in with their publicity needs. got a movie coming out? well here is a new romance for people to read about. need to promote the new cd? well why not a kiss and tell story in the papers from your last relationship (this would be agreed by the celeb and would be part of the contract).
it is perfect - they can have fun. they get to meet their fans. they get lots of publicity. there is no heartbreak.

i plan on floating celebcatch as an internet brand early next year.
no doubt max clifford will want to get involved.

don't think it will be as big a hit as oldblokewatch - but i am still waiting on channel 5 to get back to me on that one.

Friday, December 30, 2011


there i was in my local coffee shop (street coffee in brick lane - just to give it a plug) reading 'the sun', i know i shouldn't do it but every now and then doesn't hurt. one of the small 'news' pieces was of shoppers who were moaning that the shelves in shops were empty - that sales items had been sold before they had gotten to them.
oh my heart bleeds.
we all like a bargain.
but a little like bonuses there is no gaurantee that you are going to get what you want (unless you happen to work in the financial services for a company that has had to be bailed out by the government - then you can pretty much be certain you are getting lots of wonga). surely that is part of the fun of the sales going somewhere and hoping that they have something you want at a price that you are prepared to pay for it.
and if they don't: oh well.

the piece reminded me of one of the retailers i used to deal with.
for the sake of modesty we'll call him 'h': he dealt mainly in sports cards. this was a time when we did an ok trade in sports cards, but the vagaries of business meant that we would sometimes be left with too much stock. periodically we would take this extra stock and put it on sale.
a list of sale items would go out.
retailers would get back to us and place their orders.
if we were lucky we got rid of everything, without losing too much money on it all.
we didn't like doing it, but we liked having dead stock stinking up the place even less.

naturally a few retailers would not get what they wanted because someone had beaten them to it.
a day came when h decided that enough was enough - he wasn't getting enough of the cards he wanted at the price he was prepared to pay for them.
brrrriiing brrrriiing went the phone.
i picked it up and there was h on the other end of the phone. we did a few pleasantries (probably fewer from me)and then he got on with the nub of his complaints. sinmply put we were not putting enough sports cards on sale.
but h, i said to him, we are putting on sale what we have left that hasn't sold, that is all we have to put on sale.
he thought about this for a little bit, not long to be fair, and replied: then you should order more.

i couldn't fault his logic.
i could fault his business sense.
in order for him to have what he wanted - we had to lose money.

he was never very successful.


i can't deny i like apple products. i want their computers - desktops and laptops. i want their ipad. if i were to get a smart phone it would be an iphone.
i want apple.
i may have mentioned this several times before on my blog.
it hasn't gotten me an endorsement or a freebie from apple. i guess that is because i am not as famous as some of their high profile users. nor am i as photogenic or cute worthy as their current celebrity users.

yup it seems that even apes need to be involved in social networks. orangutans may soon be having video chats with each between zoos. apparently orangutans like looking at each other - i can already see scope for internet sites such as 'red hot chimp' 'm(onkey)ilf' and 'apestation'.

expect apple to roll out an ipad advertising campaign with pandas holding their ipads and using their 'pandas on heat' apps.


i know i am not the most cultured of people.
i know that my taste bar is quite low (hell i think i am the only person i know who doesn't get enraged at george lucas for not only making 'the phantom menace' but daring to go and 'improve' star wars).
but even i have to wonder why on earth 'fast five' is the most downloaded film of 2012.
it isn't that good. it is not like it was packed with great stars doing new work - vin and paul walk (oh i kill me sometimes) through their roles (pretty much like they did in 'fast and furious'. even the rock, sorry dwayne johnson fails to add much to it.
in fact the only good things about it come at the easter egg ending.

there are a lot of people who say that downloading is killing music and movies.
obviously it hasn't worked here as there is going to be a fast and furious 6 - just what the world wanted, and needed.

oh who am i kidding i'll be seeing it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


i like david beckham.
he's a working class kid who as made the most of his talents, and has worked hard at improving himself. he doesn't seem to moan about adversity he just gets on with it.
he seems to be a nice chap.
i like that he is patriotic and would do anything to play for his country.

now i can add another string to my beckman man-love: he has pissed off the french. the french socialists are pretty upset at what david might get paid a week if he join paris st. germain.
so raise a glass and host a toast to david beckham.
ah we few, we happy few...


i suppose it was only a matter of time before someone presented me a serious reason why i wouldn't really want an ipad.
today is the closest i have come to giving up on my desire to own an ipad and be like all the other cool kiddies.
because david cameron is a devotee of the ipad.
yes mr. cameron is a fan of apple.
at this moment in time a programmer in whitehall is working on mr. cameron's very own app so that by using his ipad he can see real time details of government figures while having real time news being aggregated on his screen.
lucky man.
it now means that while he is watching 'desperate housewives' (he is apparently a fan) he can see at a glance just how are waiting to go into hospital because of financial stress related disorders but can't get a bed because the hospital is making ends meet by 'selling' half its beds to fee paying patients.

david cameron is the killer app.


here are some numbers for you.
unemployment is set to rech 2.85 million in 2012.
on average 23 people apply for each job that is advertised. john salt, director of totaljobs, see the signs as being pretty grim.

remember when this deficit malarky kicked in and the key aspect of the public sector cuts was that the private sector would step up and employ people. well it seems that between july and september of this year 67,000 public sector jobs have gone.
in the same time 5,000 new private sector jobs have been created.
well i can see a bit of a problem there.

so we have people being made redundant.
we don't have new jobs being created and we have too many people applying for the same jobs.

while we are at it let's throw in another set of figures. according to recent government research 1 in 3 of those claiming benefits have some sort of criminal conviction. this, as we know, means they are even more employable (just a hint of sarcasm there).
chris graying, employment minister (and what a job he is doing - talk about fiddles and fire)says it 'paints an alarming picture' - yes it does - he goes on to say this is why britain needs a 'rehabilitation revolution' (no i hadn't heard this one before, but it is part of the con/dem strategy, perhaps an offshoot of the compassionate conservatism they keep talking about). mr grayling goes on to mention that an element of this is getting the old lags back into work and a new programme for this will be announced in the new year.

and to quote nick clegg, it will make all the difference.

so that is problem families having to have one member of them in work in order to get an intervention.
that is youth unemployment getting a kick up the arse to get those 18-25 year olds into work.
add in the ex-offenders who need help and encouragement to find work.
that is three programmes that are, in theory, all trying to do the best for the people they are designed for and all with the express purpose of getting people back in to work. all of them very noble projects.
except for one thing.
and here the, to misquote led zep, question remains the same.
so mr. graying.
so mr. osborne.
so mr. clegg.
so mr. cameron.
so mr. duncan-smith.
the question is this: where are the jobs?
you see for me knowing where all the jobs are and where they are coming from makes all the difference.

it makes all the difference to me, to the youth who are unemployed, to the problem family you are saying can only have help if one of them is working, it makes all the difference to ex-offender who wants to work but his record prevents him from finding a job.
the answer will make a difference to all those on disability that you are now saying are fit to work. a difference to all those you say are not entitled to benefits.

that is the question we want to know the answer to: where are all the jobs.

so what is the answer?


i want to give thanks to nick clegg - he has sent out a video message to his liberal democrat troops.
he bangs on about making all the difference (while making it sound like some dodgy catch phrase that will be used throughout the next year).
he tells us how the next year "..will be one that poses many great challenges for everyone in britain, but i know we must continue to do what's right for our country."

i want to thank nick for reminding me that 2012 will pose a great many challenges to many of us - such as finding work or making sure we are able to pay the bills. neither of which are going to be much of a problem for nick clegg and those ministers in the con/dem government.
nick is very wealthy - so he isn't going to be worrying about having to make a choice about heating or food.
nick is very connected - so when he stops being the deputy prime minister he isn't going to be losing sleep wondering where his next job is.

nick's biggest challenge is make sure he keeps his feet under the table of power and it doesn't look like the rest of the liberals in government are rushing to give up their places at the table - i reckon it is beause being there makes all the difference (to them).

these days i am not even sure that people like nick clegg actually understand what the challenges are for the rest of us.
even worse i am not even sure he cares.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


just as the year comes to an end some of the key reforms of the con/dems get a bit of bad press.

the raising of the personal tax allowance was seen as one of the more positive moves of the chancellor's budget. oh dear it seems that any gains from that are going to be wiped out by cuts in thing such as tax credits (those thing that help the poor go to work).
all in all the reforms turn out to be very regrssive - something that the tories like: the poor paying more, the rich getting more.

meanwhile over in the health reforms (remember that call to stop centralised top down change? well it hasn't happened yet) they are now talking about hospitals being able to earn up to 49% of their income from fee paying private patients.
now that is what i call choice for some.
i guess for the poor that just means either facing a much longer waiting list or travelling a distance to a less popular hospital in order to find a bed.

the true meaning of choice for the tories is that the rich get to choose the rest of us get the scraps.

if i were a cynical person i would say they had planned it to be like this.


another celebrity marriage crashes and burns.
sinead stayed married for 16 days.

so to all those lovely female celebs out there - my schedule looks to be pretty free for the next couple of weeks. i am available, and i won't be upset when you decide that the time is right to ditch me.

open for offers.


now i have to admit that hunting isn't that important to me. it isn't something that you do in the inner city (unless you count hunting the elusive job opportunity). it also seems an odd thing for politicians to get worked up about at the moment, there are other more pressing issues to deal with.

however it is curious that as the boxing day hunts take place - even though there is a legal ban in place - several conservatives are keen to announce that the ban should be over turned because it is unworkable.

is it unworkable because they haven't actually gone out of their way to prosecute the participants?

during august we heard a lot about the primacy of the rule of law. rioters had the book, and its supplement, thrown at them. those who were caught and prosecuted got sentences much stiffer than their offences would normally be given.
an example was being made.

so here is my suggestion. next time there is a hunt. have the police go down there in force (maybe even with water cannons) arrest each and every one of the toffs on horseback, bung them in the clink, throw the book at them and have them do time with the rioters.

let's see those posh law breakers be treated just as harshly. they can be made examples of too.


it has been a mild winter.
i have man-flu.
i don't like it.

Monday, December 26, 2011


now is about the time when all the quality papers start talking about all the good things that are going to be happening in 2012. it is also the time when you start hoping that you can start making the changes that will improve prospects in 2012.

so imagine my despair when i see that 2012 is going to start off with a celebrity big brother.
what have we done to deserve this?
really haven't we suffered enough?


so prince phillip is in for another night.
his stent operation has been reported as being successful, yet he is still there.
i tell you what one man will do to avoid spending christmas iwth the middletons.
can't say as i blame him.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


you may have noticed that the country is in a bit of a pickle at the moment.
well pretty much the whole of europe is in a jam.
oh may as well admit that it is the whole of western capitalism that is up shit creek.

you may have noticed that there are many great minds who think up solutions to this crisis.
most of the ones we get to hear about from, say, the confederation of british industry and other like them, or the conservative party's big brains can be summed up thus:
cut taxes and cut red tape.

the usa has low tax - it isn't do all that hot at the moment.

as for red tape instead of cutting it you can see the con/dems are about to add to it for some industries as they try to combat the commercialisation and sexualisation of children.
because there are times when you just have to have rules (and explanations and examples of those rules) in place.
because there are times when the public have to be protect from the worst excesses of business.

really when it comes down to it perhaps the constant drone of lower taxes and less red tape should be confronted by questions of what bureaucracy they would like to see cut (mostly it would be to do with workers rights and protections) and what should be cut when taxes are reduced (and it won't be the charitable status of private schools).
sadly people like the cbi and taxpayer's alliance are rarely challenged in that way.

maybe next time?


some of you might be aware that i am a fan of babestation (ah the lovely jada - who doesn't seem to be gracing the screens of babestation these days). so i have been thinking of a new channel that would provide a similiar sort of service.

picture it, if you will, a set that features an big old well used armchair - the sort that you just sink into for the night and never move from until that moment when you drag yourself to bed.
next to the armchair is a light and a side table with a plate for some food and a cup or glass, depending on taste.
in the armchair sits a bloke in vest, pants and socks. they can be clean or stained. he sits looking at the camera, a come hither look on his face, a phone to hand. he might pick his nose enticingly or fetchingly scratch his bollocks.
he is waiting for that call.
a call that could be about football, about how much booze you had the night before, fishing, the state of the economy, how badly your car is running or how hard it is to get a plumber or even how hot the local barmaid is.
anything and everything is up for a chinwag.

he is every man and he can talk to you.
nothing will shock him - you say you think nick clegg is doing a good job and he will agree, that michael winner was a good director and he will nod knowingly, that you think richard littlejohn just edges clarkson in the quality of the writer and he will smile appreciatively.

he will not judge. he will not condemn.
he will be your best pal.

any tv producers out there? you know that this makes sense. in today's increasingly niche market that has tv gold all over it.

c'mon it is a winner.


merry christmas to you all.
i hope santa has brought you all that you wanted and all that you deserved.
have a peaceful and relaxing day.
may your god go with you.

Friday, December 23, 2011


would it be churlish of me to say that enough is enough and that we all need a break from steve jobs?
i know he was a guru of design and technology; that he knew what we wanted before we did and blah de fucking blah.
but c'mon let's give it a rest.
let's see if we can go a couple of days without having to see his face or hear about him.

(while on the subject of not having to hear about people just because they are who they are i am tempted to start a campaign fo a stephen fry free day. one day of the year where stephen fry can't be mentioned or featured anywhere in the media or the internet. i know i am fighting a losing cause, but it is a windmill worth tilting at).


there i am sitting in my favourite coffee shop (where else). i was enjoying the coffee and reading the papers. it was a quiet evening, very few people about (all off doing last minute shopping no doubt).
a mix of old classic pop rock songs playing.
then the, rather gorgeous, barista (coffee maker to you and me) declared to one of her customers: "i have honey on my ass".

now i am not fond of honey, but i was tempted to ask for a taste.


santa has dropped by to give me an early christmas present.
i now have a dirty throat burning head thumping nose running wet cough cold.
just what i always wanted.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


this was sent to me by a pal.
it is cheesey tacky fun involving two of my favourite pop culture items.
sit back and enjoy.

Monday, December 19, 2011


peter hitchen is a bit on the unhinged side, which probably explains why his coloumn appears in the daily mail.
every now and then though there is a golden nugget.

"the french, who have never forgiven us either for trafalgar or for not surrendering in 1940.."
is from a piece about cameron's recent refusal to say yes at an eu summit.

the summit threw up another good quote from terry smith, chief executive of tullett prebon and fundsmith.
"but if we are isolated, we might be as isolated as somebody who refused to join the titanic just before it sailed."

both made me smile. not sure what that says about me or the eu crisis.


in these days where anything seems to be in the national, or public, interests it seems impossible to keep secrets. what with citizen journalists joining the paps and hacks, while friends kiss and tell at the sight of a chequebook.
even so some things should just be kept secret.
not just to protect the people involved.
not just to protect the innocent.
but to prevent people thinking about the secret.

i was never a fan of the krankies. in fact i am still amazed that they are still going and still getting work (and good on them for that). they are not in my list of people to think about. ever.
however now that they have revealed that back in the 70s & 80s they were swingers and happy to have a 'ding dong' with other people. my mind is now agog.

they are appearing in panto in glasgow. is john barrowman thanking his lucky stars or is he quaking with fear?

well at least we know the answer to this question:

Sunday, December 18, 2011


i am not the most fashionable person in the world.
the only time i have been in fashion was back when i was wearing nappies, they were all the rage for all babies my age.

today i was reminded of two fashions that have persisted when really they should have been allowed to die.
like most blokes i have committed bad taste hair decisions. yes for a short period of time i sported a neo mullet. i am not proud of that fact but there you go.
while waiting in a queue i noticed that a young lad had a rat tail hair cut. why? it looks awful. it looks tacky. why are his parents letting him out like that?

then there is my perennial pet peeve: the low slung jeans. you either get a dollop of arse crack or you have to try not to laugh as the unfortunate fashion victim waddles down the road looking for the life of him that he is doing an impression of charlie chaplin having to walk home after he has shat his pants. not a pretty sight.

how have these two fashions survived.
why have they survived.

could we see the end of them in 2012?
i hope so.


i know times are tough.
i know we all like a bargain.
but why oh why do people have to crowd around the cheap food shelves in sainsbury's in order to discuss the choices on offer.
firstly it is not like there is ever a wide range of choice.
secondly it is not like they have drastically reduced the prices.
thirdly it is not as if dropping price of an item suddenly makes it taste better, or different. if you didn't like cottage pie when you went into sainsbury's it is unlikely that 50p off the price suddenly make it taste like cauliflower cheese.

but no - all you get is disccussion, conversation, debate about if i get this i can add it to that and it will be a nice meal. or maybe if i get that cheap stuff that i don't like i might just discover i like it.

it doesn't work like that.
go to the shelf. look. see what they have that you like. buy it and move away. if there is nothing there that you like then just move on.


thatcher famously said that there was no such thing as society. seems today's politicans can't get enough of it.
david cameron has his 'big society'. unfortunately not many people are sure what exactly the 'big society' is.
if david has one, then it seems that nick clegg has to have one. nick is about to give a chat about his 'open society'. it will, no doubt, be as spurious as the 'big society' yet it will be described in a way as to make it seem more radical than the 'big society' just to show there is a difference between the liberals and the conservatives.

well i have another society concept for them.
like all good concepts it is simple to explain.
'theirs' refers to the world that nick and david live in - one of comfortable privilege while 'ours' is the grim reality of life that they have consigned the rest of us to.

see simple. easy to understand. more importantly accurate.

Friday, December 16, 2011


bit of a hoo-hah going on over a panto.
the panto is 'snow white' and the panto's producers, qdos (a name i hate just because it may as well be one of those nonsense names so loved by car manufacturers), have decided to cast children in the roles of the dwarves.
they say it is because they didn't want to be thought of as exploiting dwarves.
this has kicked off a kerfuffle. warwick davis has said he can't see how 'short actors' could be exploited if they have choosen to play the roles. it would be just like any other job he says. (mmm short actors? not dwarves, maybe qdos are onto something here).
one of warwick davis' colleagues describes it as 'political correctness gone mad'.

there is a serious issue here of under-represented people being allowed to pay themselves in various forms of the media. even to the extent of just having them as extras in the background. in many cases seeing these 'hidden' people on the tv, stage and movies might go some way to removing them from being objects of fun.

however now that i have made my half-arsed serious point i can't avoid mentioning the comments of two members of the restricted growth association (rga - its short name, one says "i have dwarfism and i don't necessarily agree with dwarves going into show business thinking that is all they can do."
isn't it more likely that short people go into show business for the same reasons that the rest of us do? they either have a talent they want to share or show off; or they want the fame and fortune that they think show business is a short cut to? i could be wrong. i probably am.

the second comment is:
"providing they are not being ridiculed as people, i do not mind members of the short community playing comedy roles."
they don't mind them doing comedy.
they don't mind.
well that is mighty big of them.

and on that frankie boyle note i am going to get my coat.


i have not been a big fan of youtube. recently i have been sent some links that have made me change my mind.
this young lady is one of the reasons i have decided that perhaps there is a purpose to youtube.

on a more serious note - i think this is the way to engage with the english reticence of learning a new language. who cares about how many corners your hat has (as i was once taught in german) we need more about sister fisting....

Thursday, December 15, 2011


been a week for saying good-bye.

the bendy bus went on its last london journey, its route taking it to the great garage in the sky.
so boris can mark that as an election promise he carried out.
just means that londoners now have less capacity on the routes that used to be served by the bendy buses.
which is a little ironic when you consider that even with the forthcoming (annual) price increase for many the bus is the only form of transport thay they can afford to use in order to get to work.
still not to worry boris has made sure that the well off who come into west end in order to spend money in shops and to go to the theatre and restruants will not have to pay a evening parking charge.
it's all swings and roundabouts.

also have to say bye to jonny wilkinson, he has decided that it is time to hang up his international boots so he can enjoy a few years of fun rugby.
i have always liked wilkinson as a player. he is one of those sportsmen that epitomises all that is good about sport.
it also helps that he scored the winning points against australia in australia to win the rugby world cup.
his career has been blighted by injuries yet he still soldiered on and gave his all.
jonny i salute you.

he will be missed by more people than miss the bendy bus, but the loss of the bendy bus will have a bigger impact on the way they live thier lives.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011


unemployment is up to 2.64 million.
it is a number that is an underestimate of the total number who are out of work.

a recent report from manpower has said prospects for work in the coming year are dire as most employers are waiting to see what happens with the euro and the ongoing financial crisis.

add in the regular attack on the unemployed by the tories. and it is not a good time to be unemployed.

perhaps iain duncan smith et al will look to those figures and that report as they condemn the unemployed for being feckless wasters and use this as an excuse to punish them.

to be honest i am not expecting them to change their tune, only increase the number of times that they sing the same old song.


those lucky few who have worked with me can testify to the fact that i am not a tidy person. i am the chaos master.
stuff, piles, heaps, mounds, spread, scattered.
i am a hoarder (that is when a collector goes wild, no longer constrained by the wanting of certain things, but when he can no longer get rid of anything - because it might be useful sometime; honest).

i decided i was going to alter the placing of various things in the flat: a change is as good as a rest, as they say.
move the tv over there, swing the desk around, change the bookcases.
something between a minor and major undertaking.
i measure stuff up: will it fit?
i plan.
i cogitate.
i go for it.
ah such schemes - wren and hawksmoor would have been proud.
shame that it hasn't worked out quite the way it should.

not helped by the fact that any such move seems to expand the amount of stuff i have. it all used to fit (just) now it doesn't.
i don't know.

so i still have a little bit more to do.
who knows i may even be recycling; donating to the charity shop and just plain throwing out.

who knows maybe like the forth bridge the clearing of my flat approaches completion. it will happen - just not for a while yet.


tis the season to be merry, good will to all men and all that.
it is also the season of avarice. no doubt we will shortly be having all the banker bonus stories, after all there are a lot of journalists out there who want to remind us that they are not the worst people in the world.

before get to that we have to play out what is now becoming part of the annual london panto season: the boxing day tube strike.
it is hard to criticise workers or unions working to protect and benefit their workers. it is even harder to feel any sympathy for any worker on london transport who says they need to come out on strike.

aslef (associated society of locomotive engineers and firemen)are calling their members out on a boxing day strike (with three more walkouts in the new year).
why are they striking? because they want work to be voluntary on boxing day and they want anyone who chooses to work on that day to be 'incentivised' - basically trple pay and a day off in lieu.
the temptation is to say good on them for sticking up for the rights of the worker and for getting better conditions of work for them. the union is on about 'adequate compensation' for working on such an 'unsocialble day'.
except, it appears, they have already made an arrangement for bank holidays (and let's be honest here boxing day, for most, is just another bank holiday)which sees tube drivers earning over £44k, well above the national average, (it is due to rise to £50k over the coming years), work a 35-hour week and get 43 days holiday a year. all in all a pretty sweet deal.
the timing of the strike announcement is little more than cynical blackmail. (though i am sure there has been a lot of negotiations going on in the background, this is still rank oppurtunism).

bob crowe's rmt (rail, maritime and transport workers)will more than likely support the action by not crossing the picket line. (as an aside there is a poll on the rmt's website asking if george osborne's austerity measures will help the uk economy - currently is showing 63% of respondents say yes they will).

so it is looking like there will be no tubes in london on boxing day. unless of course transport for london (tfL) capitulates.

it also throws into doubt the rather nice deal that tfl has done with the transport workers for the olympics. if i were a betting man i would lay good money down that around april or may we will see mark whelan or bob crowe ask for a better deal for their members.

the funny thing about it is that there will be little to no sympathy for them if they strike and it plays straight into the hands of boris johnson who can claim he will be tough on the transport unions in order to keep london running. expect to see more stories about driverless tube trains in the coming months.

naturally if i get back into the workforce i want a union like aslef or rmt looking after me.

on the plus side there are a range of bankers out there who are thanking santa claus for the gift of a group of londoners who will be even more hated than they are.
take a bow you tube drivers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


must be great to be a liberal democrat right about now.
principles checked at the door, cozy inside and feet under the table.
what is there to complain about?

just saying.

Monday, December 12, 2011


the hunt for alien life goes on.
recent discovery of kepler-22b, an earth like planet has given rise to hopes of discovering life out there.

london has recently been 'attacked' by space invaders courtsey of the french graffiti artist, invader. he is famous for doing mosaics based on the old computer game 'space invaders'.
graffiti (or street art, urban art) has become big business over the last few years with works going for silly money considering that the pieces are not unique and can (and will) be reproduced in a slightly different form somewhere else.
hey if you have the money to buy something that someone else will be something very similiar too then go ahead. (oh ok i would if i had the dosh as well).

it seems that lots of people are aware of this as several of the new pieces that invader has put up on the walls of london have er disappeared. or more accurately have been stolen.

perhaps it is the sign of the times - art crimes go street.

maybe the chaps at seti can help find the missing space invaders?


it has been put on the market and i want it.
yes admiralty arch is up for sale. just need a cool £75 million pounds and it is mine.
not saying i want to be there so that i can moon the royal family as they drive home for the evening. not saying that i want to be there so that i can flash whenever the bbc are covering a state event. nope none of those things.
it is just an impressive building and it would be fantastic to live there.
(actually what would be more impressive would be having the money spare in order to be able to buy it. ah such small dreams i have).

photo is copyright me and can be seen on my flickr stream to the right of the screen or here

Friday, December 09, 2011


i am sure there was supposed to be something interesting here - but i managed to forget what it was i was going to write. ooops.


there i was having a coffee. nothing unusual there - i like having a coffee.
not many people in the coffee shop.
a loud voiced woman was telling her equally arty friend about a movie she was going to be working on next year.
two girls who just wanted to use the toilet - one of them with very sexy glasses and a cat in the hat t-shirt.
two blokes talking about sport.
a middle-aged bloke doing the crossword.
and me.

the arty people were joined by a couple of other women.
thus ensued much hugging and kissing of each cheek.

i hate that.
i am just not wired that way.
i don't want to hug. i don't want to air kiss.
i might shake hands. in some cases i might even go for a manly bear hug (a quantum leap from the fey hug of metrosexual crowd).
i may even, though not often, engage in a chest bump (sad to say it always looks lame, but at least raises a smile).

it might be that i am not friendly - can't argue there.
it might be that i am not tactile - very true.
it is quite possible that i am an english stereotype of stand offishness - and long will it remain so.

it could be that i am reserved, cold and shallow.
so sue me.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


up front i am admitting that this is a very petty moan.
but petty is my middle name.

i saw this report on the bbc website about the british library putting online its newspaper archive. wow! i thought (no really just like that: wow).
i go over to the site. i am all excited. almost aquiver.

the first thing i notice is the bold headline telling me "search the archive for free" (the free being in a different typeface and capitals).
ooops i should have realised.
this is free in the sense that amazon is free to search.
this is free in the sense that some photography magazines will boast about the free catalogue you are getting with that issue.

yes it is free to search. so you can see that there was an illustrated police news during february 1867 - but you can't see what was in it.
you can even search by key words to see what the manchester evening news had to say about karl marx back in 1873 or you might note that the bath chronicle had an interview with mr. marx in august 1871.

what you can't do is view the search that you have found.
to do that you have to subscribe.
so it is not free in the actual sense of the word that most people use.
the site's welcoming headline is true and accurate but still just a tad misleading.

it is all further compounded when on investigation to the subscriptions (£80 12-month unlimited subscription) you discover the other mangled word of the internet vocabulary: unlimited.
unlimited is such a simple word. it means without limit. see simple.
not in the world of the internet. in the world of the internet unlimited always comes with its twin 'fair use policy' - which bascially means it isn't really unlimited. so why call it unlimited, oh for the same reason they call it free.
because they can.

as i say it is a very petty moan on my part.
one day i will have a subscription to the site as i am sure that interview with karl marx rocks.


big dave c (david cameron to the rest of you) is quick to tell us all that we need to balance the books, that deficit reduction should start at home.
his sidekick, george osborne, is always ready to tell us that we are in it together.

nice then to see that david and samantha have reportedly spent £64,000 doing up their downing street pad. £30,000 from the taxpayer, the rest from the camerons.
what they spend of their own money isn't an issue - they have it they may as well use it. it does seem a bit rich though that someone who is preaching that everyone else should tighten their belts has managed to dip into the public coffer in order to do a bit of diy around the house.

it is all about priorities - if david has a nice place to come and relax in then it is better for the rest of us. it is money well spent.
unlike the money that used to be spent by the government in order to help its people. that was just wasted.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


there i was sitting at the computer listening to the radio (the really rather good tony livesey on 5live)there a short piece based on a survey that seems to be showing that people are less willing to support state backed benefits.
in that usual bbc way they had a balanced debate by having someone who was from the left and someone from the right. so the same old arguments were run out.

the leftie said that there should be more state backed house building - that would mean cheaper rent and more houses available. building new houses means employing new people in oder to build them.
the rightie was less keen on this idea as he couldn't see the point of the state creating 'mcjobs'.

so a right wing commentator who gets invited to give his opinion on national radio sees house building as being a 'mcjob'.
have to hope he gets filed under 'nutter' and he isn't called on again.


it is going to be very windy tomorrow (thursday), it is going to be what they call a 'red day' (which is the highest weather threat warning).

i just want to remind people that any wind felt in the south will be natural and nothing to do with what i have eaten tonight.
however the brand of coffee i am currently drinking in the morning has led to me producing some small gusts to gales of my own.

so i will be contributing to the winds - but the majority of them will be natural.


'tis the season to be greedy.
icann (internet corporation for assigned names and mumbers)has released the .xxx domain name.
i want one.

there has been a lot of debate (oh you know you want me to do it and in this context it would be criminal of me not to)about whether or not a designated porn domain was necessary or desirable.

as part of this mass debate (see i didn't let you down)there has been some complaints and questions about the pricing policy for the .xxx domain name.
manwin, who run the playboy sites, say that the prices for the .xxx are ten times the price of .com and .org sites. a spokesman for the domain registry names said the prices are fine and that it is all about economies of scale as there are millions of .com and .org sites.
i would love him to explain how economies of scale work in this digital world.
he could have been countered by the fact that the .com .org market is a mature one, while the .xxx one is a growth industry that is about to have a large spurt of activity.

(in the trade that is called the money shot.
i thank you).

Monday, December 05, 2011


the previous conservative government sold off the nationalised industries - that we are now all paying through the noses to use. the promise of better services, more competition and cheaper costs seeming to be like dust on the wind.

the current conservative government has moved into the digital social media era and is going to be flogging off our data to the highest bidder (or perhaps just giving it away to any old big pharma company).
the arguments used for it are laudable - more information means better research means better drugs.
but it is my information - i want more than cameron's word that my information is safe, i want more than cameron's word that if i opt out my information isn't going to be used.
i also want to know that if the state and the national health service is providing this kind of information to the pharma companies then they see something back in return for it - not just in the speed that drugs and treatments are created but in terms of the costs of those drugs and treatments.
we are told that the cost of these things are high because of the research that goes in to them - so with the data being provided research costs come down therefore drug and treatment costs should come down.

however as we have seen with energy and transport costs - the market only works when the companies want it to.


poorly. but getting better.
thanks for asking.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


for various reasons i feel shit.
sickly rumbly tummy.
a low nagging headache.

pity me.


the big change over is coming.
soon all tv will be digital. if you are not ready you will miss out on your favourite programmes.

do i care?
not really.
well for a start i don't really watch that much tv.
also i have a set top box which means i am ready for digital. oh yes baby.

so it is a sunday and one of the few programmes i want to watch is on. impact wrestling from tna. it is on challenge. i turn the tv on, i head over to challenge and i get nothing. the signal is weak.
why? have they used the substitute transmitter? have challenge not put enough money in the meter?
so i do the sensible thing. i retune.
hold on i have gone from 88 stations down to 57 (ah mr. springsteen how right you were), no bbc but there is challenge that is all i care about right now.
still nothing. just a text box at the bottom of the screen telling me that the signal is weak. yet itv and their lame x-factor show was coming in loud and proud.
how does that happen.
it's digital - surely it is all coming from the same place and at the same strength.
i retune.
still nothing.
i fiddle with the signal booster. i move it here, i move it there. high. low. at an angle. more to the left. over to the right.

fucking digital - waste of time.

Saturday, December 03, 2011


in norwich the people are stirring. there is anger in the streets.
because there is talk of a topless barbers. yes partial nudity with your short back and sides. the horror. one of the local bars has hit upon the idea of when it is closed during the day to have some barber chairs and topless barbers. product and brand diversification and in these hard austere times businesses have to look for ever opportunity they can.

as yet they have not said if it is going to be just female hairdressers, male barbers or a mix (personally i would go for the mix - as you want to cater to all possible client bases - over a certain age).

naturally a whole bunch of people have gotten up in arms about it. there is even a facebook page against the barbers (there is also one for it), and we all know that a facebook page means it is serious.

on face of it i can only say it is a wonderful idea. however then i started to think of all the health and safety risks - firstly the damage to your neck as you crane it to get the best view possible. the very real chance that an erect nipple might have your eye out (oo'er missus)not to mention a quick turn of the head to catch a glimpse might end up with not only a wonky hair cut but also a piercing or two from sharp scissors. additionally all those men who go in for a trim and come out bald because they have extended their stay in the chair.
people are worried that their might be some hanky panky going on, seriously is anyone going to try it on with someone holding a pair of scissors?

one anonymous complainant claimed that such an establishment would cater to society's 'lowest common denominator' - this is said in a bad way, when really all it means is the lowest level at which we all share commonality and i am pretty sure that while jay and i would say this is a rocking idea my pal emma has already struck me off her christmas card list for even thinking about it.
i suspect they really meant it would appeal to some people's baser instincts. they are probably right.

the thing is: if the hair cut is shite is it going to be worth the cheap thril. we can all remember at least one bad hair cut experience and how friends and colleagues wouldn't let us live it down.
in norwich not only would you get the ribbing for looking stupid you would also get it for going there to have an oogle.

however the comment that took the biscuit was from another local barber.
"i think it's a gimmick - i can't see the connection between barbering and nudity."
it being a gimmick - can't argue there, in marketing terms that would be called a usp - unique selling property.
but how can you be a barber and not see the connection bewteen barbering and nudity. my parent led trips to the barber were my first introduction to 'durex' (other brands are available). my local barber effectively sold a sex aid to all the virile (and not so) men who came to have a bit of the top, and he did it with the immortal words 'and would sir like something for the weekend'.

i confess that might be a generational thing - as over the years my experience of barbers and hairdressers has been minimal.

still in norwich you might be able to have a bit on the side with your bit off the top.


when it comes to creative genius those that truly deserve the label are few and far between.
how odd then that there are two gormley's who could be said to be at the top of the creative game.
antony gormley is a british born sculptor, famous for using his own body as a template for many of his pieces, who has given us wonders such as the 'angel in the north'and 'the field'. there can be little doubt that antony is one of the greats of modern sculpture.

here is the angel of the north

and here are two versions of the field (this work changes depending on the location that it is erected in)

across the atlantic there is mark gormley who is making waves in a different creative field: music.
mark gormley is a singer songwriter who, sadly, hasn't had the recognition that he should have had. a friend of mine who knows how much i love good art and good music (hello yabs) alerted me to this superstar in the making.
check mark out.
give him a listen.
then tell me you don't love it.

mark rocks and so should you!

Thursday, December 01, 2011


being irked seems to be an permanent ongoing state for me.
the actual irks come and go, the state of irk stays.

as i was out this evening and there was a fine drizzle coming down i was wondering to myself where is winter hiding. it seems very shy this year. not sure why i am complaining as i have no heating, so a mild winter is the best for me.
but as i am a contrarian i can't help but like the winter - full on cold, ice, snow and rain.
call me odd if you must.

well tongiht it was just a fine drizzle.
that didn't stop the people with super large umbrellas from coming out in force and opening up their marquees on sticks and then deciding that they are just going to walk happily down the pavement and ignoring everyone else.
they are not going to move that fucking brolly - you have to get out of their way.

i tell you where i would like to stick that bumbershoot.

the second thing to irk me today (there were others but it is late and i want to keep this short) was to do with choice.
i love books. i have more books than most people. i have more books than i could read in a lifetime, i probably have enough unread books that i never need to buy a new one and still not finish them before my dotage kicks in.
i had finished a rather disappointing crime novel last night.
so i needed something new to read tonight.
i had a hankering for some horror.
do i have some horror novels. yes. could i find one. no.
so now what?
as i looked at piles, shelves and boxes of books nothing shouted out at me 'read me you fat fuck. read me'. no all i got was 'you might like me' or 'i'm an ok read' or 'you've been meaning to read me for a long time.'
aaaargh too much choice.

in the end i found a horror, of a sorts. so now i am going to curl and see if nancy a. collins is as much fun as she was back when i first read her in the 90s and before sexy and hip vampires became the default mode for pretty much every horror writer (oh ok i am exaggerating that point, just a little bit).
now i am just irked by the ugly typeface that futura, the publishers, have chosen.

shit: sometimes there is no pleasing me.


rushing to catch sainsbury's before it closed (ooh that makes it sound like i have a busy and hectic life and schedule as opposed to being a lazy so and so who leaves everythign to the very last minute)i find myself on a relatively empty street. nice and easy no who has the right of way as everyone chooses the same line, no being stuck behind dawdling pedestrians who shamble zombie like or are more interested in the screens of their smart phones (would it be possible to have iq tests for users of such phones - if you are not clever enough then all you can have is a stupid phone) than where they are going.

anyway there i am pootling along at a fair old pace.
bloke with his golden haired dog (no idea what the breed is - i just know it goes woof woof)out for a late night constitutional and a fag.
bloke seems a little surprised that the dog is stopping at pretty much every tree and lamp-post it goes by.
leg cock.
how's your father.
leg down.
move on.
repeat process.

now i am not much of a dog person or an animal person (and many would say i am not that much for people either) but even i know a dog likes to cock its leg on things like trees, bollards, ticket machines etc.
why the owner was shocked will remain a mystery.

on about the fifth stop and leg cock the owner said to the dog 'they are just trees, they are all alike you know.'

the dog's reply will also remain a mystery.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


and what have we learnt from the mr. osborne's autumn statement?
we learnt that they have no idea what they are talking about.
by 'they' i mean all the experts, and not just mr. osborne. they all pretend like economics is somehow scientific, yet pretty much each week they change their views on what is going to be happening in the next year or month.

even the welcome news that mr. osborne and his chums are going to pump £5bn into the economy for 'shovel-ready' projects is tempered by the idea that he wants to get a further £20bn from british institutions.
this would be a little like he was expecting the private sector to step up and employ all the people he was going to make unemployed. we knew then it wouldn't happen and we can pretty much guess that the £20bn isn't going to be forthcoming.

look at the OECD or the ratings agencys and tell me that they are not making it up as they go along. it is a bloke on the roof licking his finger and hoping to get a message from the wind.

they just don't know what they are talking about.

Monday, November 28, 2011


those who have been regular readers of my outpourings will have realised that i am not a big fan of christmas.
i am not a fan.
i am pretty much the grinch, but without the change of heart.
i hate the forced jolity of it all.
i hate the sappy music that invades everything.
most of all i hate the rampant commercialism of it.

so imagine how much i like watching tv ads that just bascially tell you to 'buy, buy, buy and buy some more.'

that is until i saw the lttlewoods christmas 2011 ad. i love the fact it just tells you straight - buy lots and put it on credit, while at the same time puncturing the dreams of little kids.


40 seconds of capitalism - the new true spirit of the christmas season.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


it was recently announced that addidas are going to launch a £1 pair of trainers in india.
this begs the question why do their trainers cost so much in the rest of the world.

one can only imagine that the plan is to use the £1 trainer as a loss leader to break into the vast indian market with the hope that as large working class population start to earn more money they will stick with addidas as the brand to have so that as the price of the trainers steadily rises until they start making a profit.
a long term stategy, with the potential to lose a lot of money at the start and a long time to get back into profit.

so i come back to my original question why can't they provide cheaper trainers in the uk?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


i love art.
there are few things in this world that i like better than wandering around a gallery stroking my chin and pontificating (to myself) about the meaning of life and art. i'll gaze upon the art and allow myself to wonder at the majesty of artistic creation.
true there are times when as i look at a piece of art it is all i can do to hold back the guffaws of laughter at something that looks as if it has been thrown together during the advert break in x-factor.
and there lies the beauty of art, because it is in the eye of the beholder. one man's work of genius is another man's scratching on tracing paper.

the national gallery is one of the finest places to go and see art. so much to love, so much to enjoy.

right now they have 'leonardo: painter at the court of milan' on. it is what is called a 'blockbuster' show, which means a lot of people want to go. it also means that if you go you get to see the works on display in pretty crushed conditions as people huddle around the art, shuffle slowly along from one piece to another piece. there is no time to cogitate on the artist's work because someone is impatient to get to where you are standing.

the standard ticket price is £16. if you can get it. the bbc reports that tickets are selling for up to £400 on ebay and other such sites.

the national gallery has responded by saying that such 'resold' tickets would be cancelled and no money refunded (i guess if you have splurged £400 for a ticket - getting £16 is an additional kick in the teeth).
according to the national gallery such practice is against their terms and conditions.
i have never understood this.
look i am no fan of touts - but if people are prepared to pay very much over the odds for the ticket then that is their choice.
it is not like the national couldn't do something about the demand. the show runs until february 2012 and it looks as if it is going to be a big seller throughout that period. so rather than bemoan that tickets are being sold at a profit why not take a leaf out of the bank of england's book and print more tickets.
hold on pat you have just said the place is crowded.
i know i did. i know.
so how do i square that circle. easy peasey lemon squeezy.
open the gallery earlier and keep it open longer. those extra hour slots you charge more for the ticket prices to pay for the overtime. if people are prepared to pay £400 then they will pay £20 or £25.
not only that but think of the additional merchandise moved - books, posters, magnets, postcards and the all important gifts - because as we all know christmas is here and christmas is a time of rampant comsumerism.

so trustees and managers of the national gallery i give you a solution to your ticket problem and a way to make even more money.

no need to thank me - just send me a couple of free tickets.

Monday, November 21, 2011


there are times when i wonder why people bother writing reports, why they spend so much time investigating something in order to come to their conclusions.

now it could just be the way these things are covered in the media that gives the impression that it was a lot of work for no real purpose.
you can see it in all the obesity reports - none of them seem to say that the reason so many of us are fat is that we eat too much and do too little. pretty simple. i should get a grant for that.
or a recent church of england study found out that for most of the people who worked in the financial sector money was their main motivation.
no. fucking. shit.

so it comes as no surprise that the high pay commission has 'revealed'that pay and bonuses for top bosses are seen to 'out of control' by most peope.
no. fucking. shit.

in the last 30 years average pay has gone from approximately £6,500 to £26,000 per year. an increase of 300%.
in the same time the increase of top executives has risen by 4,000%. nice work if you can get it.
(which begs the question why not outsource the executives - i am pretty sure that for every well paid suit in a london office i can find you someone in india who could do the job at a quarter of the price and just as well and can do it from their bedroom on the internet. it is a global world after all. except it will never happen).

there are some recommendations such as a pay ratio between those at the top and those at the bottom, that employees should be on the remuneration committees, simplifying executive pay, publishing details of executive pay.

none of them will happen.

this christmas and new year we will have the usual hand-wringing over bonuses to various people. we will gasp at the numbers some people will get. we will complain about some of the figures they get. it will be raised in the media, debated in the media.
the usual arguments of 'if you want the best you have to pay the best' will be trotted out, when patently we don't seem to have the best - because if they were that good then we wouldn't be in the shitty position we are in now.

still i am sure someone somewhere has a report that explains just why so many of these people are worth so much for doing so badly.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


i have started running again.
boy does it hurt.
i go out in the early morning. it is dark and it is cold. so why do i go out then?
no one to see me suffering.
oh how i wish that were the case. my run takes me between a couple of mosques - so the faithful get to see me as i plod along. it must be a joy to them to see someone huffing and puffing down the street.
then there is the guy who is already in the park doing his stretches for his run. i have yet to see him run, i am sure that is because he doesn't want to show me up. it wouldn't be hard.
then there are there are the park wardens - don't get to see them too often - just often enough to remind me that there is someone out there watching.
let's not forget those hardy souls who are making their way to work at 7am - all looking bright and bushy tailed while i am doubled over gasping for more air while sweat pools on the ground below me.
i also get to say hello to the one or two early drunks who are getting a start on their daily intake of booze.

why have i started running again?
need to lose some of that weight i have put on from eating too many doughnuts.
not sure it is working, though i do remember that lovely sign that appeared in gyms 'no pain, no gain'.
well i have the pain.
waiting to see the gain (or the gut loss in my case).

Thursday, November 17, 2011


say what you will about silvio berlusconi (and there are a lot of people who will have a lot to say about him now he is no longer in power and exempt from the courts)but you have to admire a man who has been thrown out of office, faces a number of charges who uses his first week of not being the prime minister to release his latest album of love songs.
while silvio has had a career as a cruise ship crooner he will not be singing the songs. he has just penned them. inbetween matters of state, bedroom antics and a financial crisis that has rocked the free world he had written 11 love songs for the album. good for him.

british politicians must look at their european counterparts and wish that attitudes at home were so relaxed.
think of poor old boris accused of not being able to run london because in his spare time (note the word spare) he wrote a book. various labour politicians accusing him of not spending enough time on london - i guess when ken is in power he will not sleep. at all.
or the various chaps who have been undone by a bit of hanky panky.
they must all look to the continent and sigh 'why couldn't it be like that here.'

i wonder what that says about us?
nosy busybodies i think it says.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


i may have mentioned this before.
i may have confessed this before.
even so i think it can stand to be said again. i love liz jones.
there i have said it. it is out in the open.
i love liz jones. see i said it again. (i won't say it five times as who knows what i might conjure up).

liz (aaaah) writes a column in the daily mail.

the daily mail is an odious read that plays on the petty hates and fears of much of the population. it is a paper that isn't afraid to ignore the facts in order to have a sensational headline.
while liz faces competition from the likes of mad mel, pious peter and wanker littlejohn she stands head and shoulders over them.
liz is a colossus of the written word.

with all of that said i have to admit that i am not even sure that liz is a real person.
i would like to think that every word she writes comes from the heart. her love of animals, her love of fashion, her anorexia, her self-absorbtion, her adventures in retailland. all of it is enthralling and entertaining.

however there is just a hint, just a suggestion that liz is made up. that liz jones is sitting back laughing at her readership for believing anything she writes.

regardless of that i love liz. and i don't mind admitting it.

Monday, November 14, 2011


so here i am back on the post work scrapheap.

i am not keen on being here. there are few upsides to being out of work (regardless of what the 'daily mail' or 'the sun' have to say on the matter). it does mean i have more time to read the books i have and i have time to see art shows. it also means i don't have money to spend on tat (that said i don't have money to spend on good suff either).

one of the reasons that there are various 'occupy' protests around the world is that for all the talk about people should get jobs the simple truth of the matter is that there are not that many jobs out there.

it is all rather depressing.

the gloom isn't lifted by a recent report that says that private businesses are not employing staff in the numbers that david cameron and george osborne had claimed they would (look we all knew they were chatting shit - but hey they weren't teh ones who were going to suffer).
what makes it even worse is that ever initiative about employment is aimed at the 16-25s, as if they are the only ones who can't find a job.
as if that wasn't enough in an economic landscape where the retirement age gets older and older there have been moves by the coalition to get down on the red tape that business has to deal with and part of that is making it easier for them to sack people without cause - a move that is aimed at the overs 50s.

so the picture is bleak.
it is time that the government started looking to see what they are going to do to help employment, for all, in this country.

what they will do is talk nice about it, sound like they are really upset for those of us who can't find work but really the likes of cameron and osborne couldn't give two monkey's ball sacks about the unemployed - as far as they are concerned it is not their problem it is our fault.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


they are conducting an experiment to study the conditions at the earth’s core. the id24 beam will use x-ray beams to subject iron and other materials to extraordinary temperatures and pressures. this will give and insight to the mysterious processes going on at the earth’s core.
laboratory experiments are needed because the earth’s core some 1900 miles below sea level will never be reached by scientists – even though there are still attempts to drill through the earth’s outermost layer, the crust.
yet for many the answer is a simple one – the hollow earth.
there is david innes’ pellucidar where dinosaurs still roam and where the primitive human’s are controlled by the mahars, flying reptiles with dangerous psychic powers. don’t worry though david innes and his pal abner perry soon sort that out.
david icke’s vision of the hollow earth, well if not hollow that there are vast regions inside it where highly developed civilisations live and these are, of course, ancient societies. icke cites jules verne as someone who knew a thing or two about the hollow earth and that reptiles are the main enemies that the explorers of verne’s ‘journey to the centre of the earth’ have to face.
mmm those pesky reptiles again.
nor will the x-ray experiment find admiral byrd’s ‘land of everlasting mystery’ (he discovered in 1947, don’t worry all evidence of his find has been suppressed which is why you don’t know it), nor the inner earth ufo’s that ray palmer believes are there.
it is a shame this x-ray experiment isn’t going to find a hollow earth with lost societies, because if it did then it would mean we could send the contestants and judges of the x-factor there and i would never have to hear from them or about them again.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


why is it suddenly the fashion for bands to tour 'their album'?
don't get me wrong i like metallica's 'black album' it has some very fine songs on it - but do i want them to tour it and play it in it's entirity? nope.
did i prefer dio when he did his greatest hits gig or when he did the 'holy diver' album from start to finish? you bet it was the greatest hits.
sure there are some bands i would want to hear the whole album played from start to finish - but they are prog bands and concept albums. or they are live albums - when i went to see thin lizzy on the live and dangerous tour; that was what i wanted to hear. the same with the tubes on the 'what do you want from live', but when i saw them do 'remote control' i wanted the best bits from that - plus the stuff from the other albums.

other bands - tour your new album, play the best songs from that and the best songs from your back catalogue. keep the fans happy. don't just come here and go i can't be arsed to think of a set listing so we are going to do our album in well fell swoop.


yesterday we commemorated armistice day, a start to a weekend where we honour those who have given their lives for their country.
one of the reasons we commemorate this is because we see the battles of the world wars as being about our freedoms.
so it is ironic that theresa may has banned ‘muslims against crusades’. i can’t say i have any love for this organisation or its leader anjem choudary, who uses the very freedoms of the country to campaign to remove those freedoms (you have to love irony). they have been banned because they glorify terrorism. mr. choudary has form in this area as mrs. may says they are ‘simply another name for an organisation already proscribed under a number of names.’ so really what is the point of proscribing them again?
it is believed they will lie low for a few months and come back under another name with the same idea. in the ten years of the law against glorification of terrorism only 15 have been convicted of related offences.
if they really are a threat then bang them up inside, the only people who will shed a tear are their lawyers and it will be tears of joy at the fees they will be getting.
if you are not prepared to imprison them – don’t ban them. let them have they day in the sun, let them burn poppies, let them make their claims. for a democracy to work, for it to be vibrant it has to be able to cope with views it doesn’t like, arguments have to be made and won. you can’t ban an idea or an emotion.
in the same way that the english defence league and the british national party should be allowed to campaign and have their say so should muslims against crusades – because if their claims and their arguments cannot be refuted then what does that say.
if their voices are not allowed to be heard what does that say about democracy?
and what does that say about the sacrifices we are honouring this weekend?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


want want want pat that’s all you ever do (to misquote a bad line from a bad movie), and it is true i do seem to be an inexhaustible well of want.

sometime the want is based on need.
so at the moment i want a new laptop (apple of course) because my old one has given up the ghost and gone to the great ram in the sky. now i could settle for a cheap and cheerful windows based laptop or i could go on as i am without one as it is sometimes nice to go out and not be connected to the web or playing on a computer.

more often want is just based on want.
sure i want that hasselblad digital medium format camera that will be well over the £10000 mark. it is also true that i would happily settle for the nikon d3x that is a snip at just over £5k. i am pretty sure that neither of them will improve my photography – that isn’t how want works. want just means wanting it – not needing it.

i am stone broke at the moment. i am not sure when i will have spare cash to squander on fripperies, it doesn’t stop me looking and it doesn’t stop me going ‘oooh’ and ‘aaaah’ when i see things i want (want not need). i will still look at books – even though i have a very large pile of unread books. nor does that explain why i would quite like an ipad or a kindle – i have books to read i don’t need more, but i do want more. there is always another book to add to the pile.
want. want. want.

oddly i need new clothes – but i don’t want to have to go buy them.
i need an iron – but i don’t want to get one.

even odder i have discovered that as i have even less money to play with now i seem to want more and more. it is as if i know
i can’t have things so i must want even more things. it is perverse. (part of this i think is driven by the fact that having something is most of it – sure i intend to read that book i bought or watch that dvd i have bought or.. well you get the picture, but the moment i have it i am thinking about the next thing to want and the just got thing isn’t as shiny anymore).

what has brought on this wave of self revelation?
well because i have seen this from lego – and i do want it. i have no skill when it comes to building these things, i have little patience for things that involve fiddly bits and i am pretty sure that no matter how hard i tried i would lose a bit in the mess that is my flat. that said: i want.

serioulsy just how fantastic is that?

on the other hand despite the fact that i am not really a football fan. nor does it matter that the last time i bought a replica football jersey it was david seaman’s horrid multi-coloured dash affair, and then it was for someone else (and he still hasn’t had it). in fact the only replica’s i have are basketball jersery’s and one baseball top (a sport that to this day i don’t understand the attraction of). that all said i would have been tempted by a team gb football top. a one off olympic team. oh yes please. until i saw it. and then it became a want not.

not only is it over priced – but it has a design on it that even rugby league would laugh out loud at and throw back in the faces of those who offered it to them. (i am not sure if it is one of stella's creations or not - but no one comes out of it looking good).
a better view of how truly awful it is can be found here and you can also browse the amazing amount of olympic tat there is - if they sell most of this stuff then they will be heading for a profit.

so just want is beaten - probably just like team gb.

Monday, November 07, 2011


funny thing about the coalition they are all for involvement. they are all for people power.
over there you have eric pickles bleating on about localism.
there is david cameron chuntering on over the big society, you remember that?
nick clegg might be saying something but no one cares and no one trusts him.

so when people do decide that they want to get involved it seems odd that the coalition then spend a lot of time trying to find ways to stop them.

the st. paul's protest is met with - let's find ways to stop you from having your permanent sit-in - after all it just dirties the place. it would have nothing to do with the fact that it keeps the protest active and in the media spotlight.

now the police are letting marchers on the school fees protest know that they might face baton rounds (rubber bullets), not that there hasn't been widespread condemnation of their use by american police when they have been used in some of their 'occupy' protests.
the 'threat' that they might use such tactics is guaranteed to ensure that some chancer will have a go at the police in order to spark a confrontation.

the cynic in me just thinks that this is all just getting ready for when the shit really does hit the fan.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


november has barely begun and already i have been assailed by christmas ads.
fuck off marks and spencer with your 'when you wish upon a star' ad.
fuck off tesco with your double points on several items around the store ad.

soon there will be piped christmas music in all the shops - isn't shopping hell enough without that?

oh well it just means i have longer to be a grinch.

Friday, November 04, 2011


trust is a funny thing.
it is a hard thing to earn and it is very easy to lose.
nick clegg says that the government will "not balance the books on the backs of the poor".
problem is i don't believe him?
do you?
didn't think so.

he is saying this beause there is talk that state benefits will not rise in line with inflation (well september's inflation rate - with this the government are moved to find new ways of measuring inflation, but when it comes to putting up the fares well hey we will stick with the high numbers).
the government is worried how people might react to the rise in this age of austerity and current low wage rises.
to be honest they are more worried how the daily mail and the sun will react.

as for clegg i hate to tell him but the vat rise has hit the poorest hardest. increases in energy costs have hit the poorest hardest. increases in transport costs have hit the poorest hardest.

nick the poor are already suffering.

we just don't believe a word you have to say.


the chief executive of lloyds,antonio horta-osorio, has been given a leave of abscence from work due to ill-health. maybe it is stress.
oh dear. poor him.
oddly if he had been a public sector employess he would be accused of being a shirker.
the bbc talk about how in the financial sector that working 60 plus hours is not unusual (i feel so sorry for them) and maybe that is why the financial services screwed up so badly because everyone was too tired to think straight.

i have another theory as to why mr horta-osorio has gone home to rest. he is not suffering from stress.
he is suffering from a guilty conscience.

(well we can hope).

Sunday, October 30, 2011


i know i shoulnd't take adverts seriously but every now and then i find myself despising them.
luckily i don't watch much tv so i don't get to see that many of them.

any street cred iggy pop ever had went out the window with his adverts selling insurance. he has gone beyond irritating. i just want to hear that he has crashed and his insurance company isn't paying out.

what has really gotten my goat recently is all the american ads that appear with a british voice over telling us how we need to buy this or that because it is essential to our daily lives and that if we buy the this or that we will be just like the people in the ads.
no we won't they are american and we aren't.
i don't want to be american.
never have done, never will do.
sure i would like to go back to new york again - but that is it.
if you have to sell me something aspirational then at least make it so it is aspirational and in the uk.

while i agree that my life does need sprucing up, that i do need a little excitement injected into it i do not for one minute think that by having a smart phone of any make it will happen. i don't think that beause i can look at a colour screen and use my finger to move that screen out of the way so another screen shows is going to turn me from billy-no-mates in the the life and soul of the party.
perhaps that is why there are so many wankers who walk down the street staring into their phones and not paying a blind bit of attention to where they are going - they all waiting for the next event to happen to them rather than concentrating on what is before them.

i kinda hope they get run over in some aspiratinonal style car.

now that would make an advertising campaign.

Friday, October 28, 2011


on my day of days i just want to wish everyone well.
to friends past and present.
right now i am off to have a celebratory cup of coffee.

normal snidey snarky service will be resumed shortly.


i remember the first date.
i have been in lust pretty much every day of my adult life.
love? been in love once.
i met annemarie in college we were both doing the same degree. she hung around with a different group and we only really chatted because a mutual pal was into comics. i concentrated on my studies (i was good that way) and didn’t notice that she had dropped out of college.
the next time i saw her she was working in forbidden planet as a till jockey. we chatted. i got my comics that day at a greatly reduced price. from that point i saw her quite regularly. i spent more time chatting to her while she was at the till, it seemed only polite as i was getting my comics cheap.
we went out for a christmas drink. she was wearing a red jumper and red tartan trousers.
i did some babysitting for her, while she started back doing her degree on an evening course.
i finished my degree. got a place at the london school of economics.
annemarie turned up at my parents place one evening just as i was recovering from a run. i was a less than pretty sight. in fact a total sweat monster. fortunately i had stopped the huffing and puffing. as ever mum did the tea and sandwiches thing. annemarie was wearing a paddington bear style duffel coat, jeans, dunlop green flash, brown combat socks (true they could have been green) a brown jumper, and blue glasses.
i walked her to the station and took the tube from south harrow to holloway to make sure she got home. i came back.
christmas was coming on fast.
she invited me over one night, she had some canadians staying: two loud women who just ‘loved england’. when it was time for me to go one of them told me not to go and stay. i did. the canadians went to sleep in annemarie’s room. annemarie and i stayed up chatting, for quite a lot of the night. for some odd reason we also wrestled. i was a gentleman and i let her win. i spent the night on a camp bed that felt like it was going to break at any moment. this wasn’t helped by the cat who wanted to attack my sheets.
i didn’t get much sleep.
a few nights later i slept over again. we chatted and chatted.
i spent christmas at home with mum and dad.
i decided to ask annemarie if she wanted to go see a movie. i was asking her out on a date. she said yes.
we were going to see ‘back to the future’ at screen on the green. it would be a brisk walk to the cinema and back.
i got there in a timely fashion, unusual for me. it was a chilly night. i was wearing a nice cashmere overcoat that my dad had liberated from the club he was working in.
i knocked. no answer.
i knocked again. no answer.
i laughed to myself i was being stood up.
i knocked one more time.
eventually annemarie’s flatmate came and let me.
i sat in the front room with the flatmate (who had only just moved in because annemarie needed money), she was from africa and was busy laughing at a carry on movie (up the khyber), it was the first time she had seen them. i have to say i laughed too.
annemarie appeared and we made our way to the cinema. we both enjoyed the movie. we both enjoyed the chocolate brownies that they served there. it was a good night.
i stayed over that night. we chatted and ate cheese on toast.
that was our first date.
shortly after that night annemarie decided that i was too dense to know what was going on, she was right. she made the first move. i was no longer free and single – now i was involved and a stepdad.
funny how love goes.
because i never got to take annemarie to see back to the future 2, i have never watched the sequels. i have never watched the whole of the first one since then,
i have been in love the once.
once was enough.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


i remember buying a pvc shirt
back in the day i liked to go to fetish clubs (who are you calling a pervert… oh me, probably right). ah the simple pleasure of the fetish clubs lovely ladies in rubber, pvc and leather – what is there not to like? well there are a few things wrong with them – generally the music played by the djs is shit, they are always far too hot and the dress code applies to all – which meant that i had to dress in something suitable.
i may not have told you this but i am a sweat monster – even the mildest summer has me dripping. so you can imagine what i was like.
my chosen outfit was a simple ensemble of rubber shorts and rubber t-shirt, i looked like a kinky version of the staypuff marshmallow man (who ya gonna call?) and i sweated as if i were in a sauna. not nice.
i hit upon a clever idea of getting myself a pvc shirt. i was pretty sure i could get one in extra large and with pockets. that would solve all my problems. i was a genius.
such a simple idea.
how could it go wrong?

first port of call was a shop called honour – they had exactly what i wanted. i made my way there. i was giddy with excitement. i found the top i wanted. i found the size i wanted: extra large. i am not a particularly big man, though i am carrying a few more pounds than i should. so i carry the shirt into a changing room. i strip off to the waist and i put the shirt on.
i should say: i try to put the shirt on.

i get my left arm in. i try to put my right arm in and i get it about half way into the sleeve and then i am stuck. i am trapped half in and half out of this pvc shirt. i feel a sense of dread beginning. i can’t get my right arm any further into the sleeve, but i can’t seem to extract it either. i feel nervous sweat break out. now i have the worry of ripping a shirt that i don’t want to buy because it is too small.
extra fucking large my fucking sweaty arsehole.
do i cry out for help? what do i do? i am stuck like a kinky houdini. i wriggle. i shake. i squirm. i am trying to escape from the pvc trap and i am having no luck.
don’t panic mr. pat.
somehow i begin to feel my right arm come out from the sleeve; inch by inch i free myself from it.
at last i get it off.
i couldn’t even get it over my shoulders, let alone try to button it up.
extra fucking large my fucking musky ball sack.

i am not one to give up. there are other places to try.

i next try a shop called rob. they didn’t have the type of shirt i wanted. the sales assistant decided that he would show me some alternatives. hey i’m game. first problem is that they have little that is extra large. he finds a leather waistcoat type thing. i give it ago. no problems with the arms and shoulders. so this time we are ahead of the game. ah the rotund belly is an issue. the assistant is giving up. he huffs and puffs and somehow manages to squeeze me into it and zip it up. i wasn’t too keen on the idea of spending an evening in something that was a cross between a corset and straightjacket. i declined the garment.
he suggested that i get something made to measure.
i wanted to suggest that they learn the definition of extra large.

i thought i would have more luck in expectations. it is a basement store that caters for a very active hardcore gay customer base. there is the heady smell of rubber and leather hanging over the place.
i find a heavy rubber hoodie. it might have fitted and it might have been nice – but it would have been my own personal sauna. they have a number of shirts in leather and rubber, but nothing in my size. i find a rubber vest. perhaps i will just go with the vest. yeah i know it isn’t what i wanted but it would be cooler than the t-shirt.
i’ll try it on. i’ll leave my t-shirt on. i get my head through the top; i get both arms in and then start pulling it down over my chest. it gets stuck. what the fuck. it hasn’t even gotten below my shoulders. c’mon. this is just taking the piss. hold on a moment i can’t get it back up either. so here i am in a basement surrounded by leather and rubber clothes and i am tangled up in a rubber vest. i am struggling to get the darned thing off. it seems to be getting tighter – i have an anaconda of a rubber vest on me. this is wrong.
oh fuck someone is coming. a couple of blokes are looking around. phew they don’t want clothes they want the toys.
need to get this off me. now.
i wrestle myself to the floor doing an impression of the taz the tasmanian devil trying to get this thing off of me. with some jiggery pokery i managed to get it off along with my t-shirt. success. it takes me another minute or so to free my t-shirt from the rubber vest.
as i returned the vest to its hanger i decided that i wouldn’t bother getting a new pvc shirt.

what did i learn from this?
that the fashion world has a misguided conception of what extra large is – for the fashionistas it seems to be little more than a bit bigger than medium.
i also learnt that in certain shops there were a number of very large sized toys, all with names like henry, albert and charles which just to look at made my eyes water quite what they would be like if you inserted them i have no idea. i am not going to try.

i never did get that pvc shirt. doesn’t matter now – my clubbing days are long behind me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


i remember the day i should have quit.
it was a monday, a day like any other day (hold on that is a bad start as i am quoting foreigner lyrics), but it was a monday and it was like any other monday. i was running a little late (nothing new there), i knew i had a lot of time sensitive stuff to do: the weekly mail out, stock lists and look at what needed to be ordered. a fair chunk of work, nothing unusual. nothing a few cups of coffee wouldn’t get me through.
i clocked in. checked i had no post. walked to my office.
i had to pass my manager’s very neat and very precise desk. he stopped me and told me not to start anything as there was a meeting in the conference room (a grand term for just another office with a lot of tables in it). he gave me the look that said ‘no arguments’. he didn’t use the look very often. i had no idea what it was about.
i made a coffee. strong and black.
then went to the conference room.
there to be greeted by cindy, our american vp of operations; john h, our general manager (both of whom had come down from warrington); john n, my manager and ros, our books consultant.
and little old me.
they were all seated around the table; i sat at the head of the table.

a little bit of background: diamond had decided that it couldn’t just rely on being a comic distributor to comic shops, a wise move, and so had embarked on a plan of diversification. on the one hand they established diamond select toys in order to manufacture and source toys that would appeal both to comic fan and to the high street buyer.
they also set up diamond book distributors (dbd) the plan was to sell graphic novels into the high street and to the online retailers. it was a bold move. though to be honest it was nothing new, back in the days when we were titan mike lake (the owner) had hit upon the idea to sell this stuff to bookshops. it was a simple idea that hit a large number of complications.
move forward a few years and we are now diamond. we are still discussing how we get graphic novels in the high street. a few of us do some investigating and get some answers. it doesn’t really move on from there. we do the london book fair. i go a little ott on the books we take along. steep learning curve.
dbd has established itself in the states. time to roll it out over here.
they decide that they don’t want to go in house looking for people to run it. they are going to hire experts. fair enough.
interviews are held. two people are chosen. one is going to be the lead off person, going to set up base camp and break new ground. the other is going to join later and is going to be the second in command who once the whole thing is up and running will take over and forge ahead with it.
simple plan.

ros is chosen to be the instigator. she is on a 6 month, very lucrative contract, to establish dbd in the uk. you can see why she has been given the job: cut glass posh, very confident and very much in with the book crowd. she is to be followed by simon; again you can see why he has been chosen very much the young go-getter brimming with cocky confidence and a love of comics.

ros was quick to tell us how the book market is much more sophisticated than the comic market as it has process in place for the forward ordering of books. she set about learning a little bit about how diamond worked, she had her ‘day book’ in which she wrote down things that she learnt, or seemed important to her.

about a month later simon joined a gung-ho bundle of energy. all smiles and enthusiasm and rearing to go.
now dbd in the states had set up a rather nifty database that collated all the information for the books they could sell and also provided you with detailed breakdowns of sales made. compared with what we had i was frankly very jealous.
this is when the problems started to become apparent. it seemed that no one in the interview stage had bothered to discover if either of them was computer literate. they weren’t. ooops. ironic really when you consider how much more sophisticated the books market was. simon, to his credit, made the effort to learn how to use excel and the dbd database. ros was very happy to rely on others for all the pertinent information.
as the months rolled by not much was happening, to quote ros there was a lot of sizzle but not a lot of sausage. what little we did find out both nick w and i had already told senior managers many months ago.
after awhile even simon was complaining about her.
i am not sure what it was that triggered it. i was probably rude to her or it may have been that i didn’t give her the answer she wanted. i don’t remember. either way it resulted with me being in a room with four people.

so there i was confronted with the two johns, cindy and ros.
i was the villain of the piece.

it was couched in terms of how i was trying to undermine the dbd effort. now i am the first to admit i wasn’t overly keen on how dbd customers were getting a much better deal than our core customers, who were in effect subsidising the dbd project. our customers bought firm sale and most of them on 35% discount. dbd customers bought sale or return and at 50%. i was annoyed that any returns ended up counting toward diamond’s figures. i was told we were all one company – but it never seemed to be one company when it was dbd’s success – then it was just the wonderful work of ros and simon.
this went back and forth. i told them it didn’t matter to me as this was all stevie g’s money (steve being the owner of the company) and he choose to use it how he liked, i was just here to do my job, and i pointed out that at no time had i not done the work required or asked of me by dbd.
in the end i said it wasn’t a case of not liking dbd or not wanting it to succeed it was down to the fact that i didn’t like ros and i didn’t like the fact that everyone else was doing the work for her.
that pretty much ended the meeting.
i went back to my office and tried to get on with my work.

what i should have done was tell them i am going home because i have a migraine and i will be back next week when it is better, you have till then to work out a redundancy package for me and then left the building.

because i expected more from people i had worked with for years.
cindy i had known for quite a while – she was a vp who came over to england every so often to see how things were getting on. she was doing her job to make sure everything was worked out.
john h was the general manager – i had worked with him for a number of years. i had a lot of respect for him because of the way he had handled a bunch of redundancies from the company – he had gone into bat for the staff against the americans and got a better deal for them. on a personal note when my mum died he was gracious in the time he let me take off and no trying to rush me back to work.
john n i had known for over 15 years. i wouldn’t say we were buddies but we shared a number of likes and over the years had lent each other music and film, had gone to a few gigs. most importantly he was my manager.

both the johns knew the meeting was going to happen because they had to arrange for cindy and john h to be in london for it. both of them had listened to ros, both of them had chosen to believe ros. neither one of them had bothered to speak to me first, to hear my side of the story. i was pretty much guilty before proven innocent. ros had her say without being on trial – me i just got to respond to accusations.

as i sat in my office trying to find the desire to do the day’s work i realised i no longer respected my managers: they hadn’t even done me the courtesy of speaking to me first. i realised that i no longer trusted the company.

i have to doff my cap to cindy – she alone came into the office after the meeting to see me and to ask how i felt about it all. she had no need to, but she did. credit to her.

from the two johns? nothing.nada. zip.
it was as if it hadn’t happened.

that was the day i should have quit. it was also the event that was in the back of my mind when i did eventually quit when i perhaps made the worst decision of my adult life.
but hey – you live and learn.

(oh and if you want my opinion the book market could learn a hell of a lot from the way the comic market works, because from what i saw sophisticated it ain’t).