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Wednesday, July 31, 2013


things i nearly wrote about but didn't - so you are probably pleased.

the question of pay for members of parliament. they aren't getting enough. i suspect most of us who earn less than mps were probably in agreement that they get paid enough or too much (not only do they get a pretty hefty salary, but they get expenses and do very well for their second home allowance).
this coincided with the bedroom tax and the changes to benefits which were going to prevent people on benefits from receiving more than the average worker got.
of course this wasn't going to be the yardstick used for mps.

then there was drugs in sport. several high end sprinters got caught with junk in their systems.
ooops. smack on the wrist and you will probably be back in time for the rio olympics.
this story must of irked the british olympic association who were taking a tough stance on this - get caught for using drugs and you ain't in our olympic team. mr. chambers took them to court and won. quite why a team can't choose it's players based on its own criteria wasn't really explained, but hey as long as the dopers get to run that is ok.
also irked must have been chris froome winner of the tour de france - who at all times was being asked if he was clean or not, just because he was winning. you would have thought that a sport of doped to the gills as cycling has been it wouldn't really have mattered.
strangely i think athletes should be able to pump themselves full of any old gunk they want to. those that want to compete clean just say they are clean and get tested. those that say they are on drugs just go on their merry way. let the sponsors and fans decide. based on the speed that some sponsors pulled away from tiger woods because of his marital breakdown you would like to think that sponsors wouldn't touch drugged up athletes with a barge pole  - but i am betting that if they were winning and the fans were cheering then they would keep paying.

there was going to be a moan about the hoohah over celebrity deaths.
as with many things now death has become a social media thing. you've appeared in a tv drama; you die and the news carries the tweets of your cast mates.
you could almost understand it if they were long standing rolls or actors who had spanned generations but mostly they are people who have appeared in one well known american series.
i don't care.
there is too much news out there to worry about someone who appeared in a tv show.
(i reckon their saving grace is that they are not kiddie fiddlers).

which brings us to porn and the internet.
david cameron gets lots of good publicity by saying something that no one is going to argue with - child porn is bad and people shouldn't have access to it.
no shit.
this was mixed up with protecting kids from accessing porn online.
by having kids and porn in the same sentence - all commonsense went out the window and the chance of a sensible debate went out the window.
to cameron's credit he does seem to have got the main computer companies doing something (which he didn't get them to do on their tax avoidance), the only problem is they say they have always taken a hard line of child abuse images (and i believe them) and what cameron is proposing isn't much different from what they were doing.
all of this has lead to lots of debates about freedom of choice and privacy.
my opting into porn/adult content will no doubt have my name on some sort of list.
meanwhile all the talk about child abuse material has given pointers as to where the darker side of the web is and how you get there.
amanda platell is probably telling everyone who will listen that it was all down to her - that her claim of child abuse images being readily and easily findable via a websearch via bing or google being patently wrong is neither here nor there.

twitter and trolls. can i say i just don't get it - but then i don't understand the longevity of the low slung jeans as a fashion.
it's not that i don't understand that for some it is a horrible experience to be threatened and insulted on social media but there is a part of me that just says ignore them, block them or just leave social media for a few days (the only problem with that - it seems - is that so many people claim that social media is so important that they can't 'turn it off').
look i am in the fortunate position that no one reads my stuff so no one is likely to get offended by it and so no one is likely to have a violent reaction to it. (although once i did upset a michael jackson fan so much they set up a campaign against me. no one cared.
to me there seems to be two fundamental points that come from this.
firstly that for all the talk of progress and equality that there does still seem to be an underlying hate of women who are strong and have strong values and beliefs. as much as i hate to admit it appears that the no more page 3 and no more lads mags brigades may have a point. that the casual sexualisation and objectification of women doesn't just leave them open to casual sexism but makes it acceptable for people declare they are going to rape a woman just because she got the image of a woman on a £10 note - imagine the fury if the change was something really important. (and no i am not demeaning the achievement of getting ms austen's mug on the tenner).
the other part of it is just how coarse public discourse has become in the era of social media. that this great tool of communication has appeared at a point when most people do not have the manners and civility to use it for anything other than calling each other cunts is baffling. i did have to laugh when once again teachers were called upon to teach kids how to be safe and how to interact online. in short could teachers also explain to kids how to be polite.
kids do need to learn how to be polite: it costs nothing and you can reap great rewards from it.
surely that is one of the things parents should be doing.
oh answered my own question there.

disillusionment with sport.
i am not an avid sport fan. yet i am finding more and more that sporting heroes are nothing more than jumped up johnnies who may as well give lessons to mariah carey in how to be divas.
this is especially true of footballers - the new collective term for them being: cunts.

amazement that i have started to like some middle of the road radio friendly stuff.
that i have sung along to jamie callum and michael buble. that i quite like emeli sandi.
however may i point out right now that gotye and the passenger both need a punch in the larynx

paperbacks. whatever happened to paperbacks. you know those proper sized paperbacks.
not the oversized things that called themselves paperbacks.
i miss them. bring them back.
funny how in a world where most things get smaller - paperbacks have gone the other way and have gotten bigger.

there you go: some of the things i was going to write about but didn't.



imagine the scene dear reader.
it is late at night - or early in the morning (all depending on your point of view).
there is a kebab shop open for those denizens of the night who need food, or stuff that passes for food.
the staff have been there for a few hours and they have several more hours to go.
the clients are either out from a club and worse for wear. doing night shift work and worse for wear.

it sells kebabs.
that should tell you all you need to know.

a chap has bought his kebab.
they have cut it from the slab of slowly rotating and crisping meat (or what passes for meat in a place like this). he refuses the chilli sauce, a wise move many would say.
he is offered salad.
what have you got he asks in a rather too posh a voice for the the area and for a kebab shop.
tomato, onion, cucumber, lettuce, red cabbage they tell him,
that's not very good, he says, not much of a choice is it.

being objective he is probably right.

but it is a kebab shop in the middle of the east end and in the middle of the night - it isn't some marco pierre white establishment where they have brought in fresh veg from the foothills of the andes and mixed them with the newly dug roots from central china, while mixing a spice and herb from remotest pakistan.
no it is a fucking kebab shop.
what were you expecting.

a part of me hoped he choked on a bit of onion.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


spare rooms?

just wondering how many of the tory members of parliament have second homes that have spare rooms?
after all they are being paid by the taxpayer - but i guess they are not scroungers.

as part of the bedroom tax i am pretty sure i heard a tory mp try to defend the policy by saying there is a lack of social housing (i wonder who put a stop to social housing?) so what needs to happen is those who have spare rooms move into smaller places.
of course this seems to take no account of the fact that there seems to be a lack of social housing.

so a little like making work pay - it is an idea that falls down based on the fact that there are not enough jobs or socaial housing to make the policy work.

who would have thought that a tory policy would be more about 'punishment' than cure.


how it works

so my work programme providers have shunted me off to another company to do the providing.
this is the private sector making work for the private sector.
capitalism in full flow.
yeah baby.

keynes would call it the multiplier effect.
oddly this idea of sinking public money into large scale state style projects is not something that this current crop of tories are really known for. this lot are very keen on completing the thatcher mission of  a much smaller state. (though it needs to be said a smaller state for can and co means making sure some of their rich chums get richer off the misery of the poor).

perhaps the point of the big society was to take tasks and duties of the state and 'sell' them on to private companies to do (at a cheaper price than the existing public organisations could do it, but while making a profit (can you see the circle to be squared?)

so company a have outsourced me to company b.
there are some nice people at company b.
when i started there were a fair few of them working there.
recently (say 10 weeks after starting) there are far fewer working there.
job cuts in a company whose sole purpose is to get the unemployed back into work.

so ask me how many jobs have they offered me.
"pat; how many jobs have you been offered?"
not a one. not even a sniff. or a do you think that this might be suitable for you type conversation.

meanwhile my jobcentre plus advisor has even given up the pretense of looking at my work search record.

staff being let go.
no jobs being offered.

i am so filled with confidence and enthusiasm right now.

the future isn't bright and sad to say i think it might just be tory blue. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


mad dogs and englishmen go out

well let me tell you as proud as i am to be english - there is little about me that thinks going out in the midday sun is much fun.
especially as it is hot.
hot. very hot.
scorching, steaming. burning.

not only is it too hot for me to move. but it is too bright. the sun is shining all over the place. so to add to my misery there are loads of people on the radio talking about how hot it is (yeah thanks - i  had noticed). talking about how they are getting sunburn (then cover up and don't sit out in it).

it is bad enough i have to suffer the heat - i don't want to have to listen to other people moaning about it as well.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


tooth fairy isn't visiting

i may have mentioned that i have a hate hate relationship with dentists.
they scare me.
no i mean they really scare me.
knee knocking buttock clenching shit dribbling pants brown fear.

this may all stem from my dad.
i have this vivid memory of going with him to the dentist when i was still in short trousers and had a chubby smiley angelic face when the biggest worry of my life was whether to read the beano before the dandy. dad was going in for some work on his teeth. i can't remember him with good teeth, but then if you drank and smoked as much as he did you couldn't expect to have a great set of gnashers.
the surgery was in someone's downstairs. the waiting room had crimson flock wall paper (it might have been brown - i'm colour blind so what do i know). it was gloomy.
now i have to admit that as a little kid i thought of my dad as a bit of superman. he was the local publican and that meant a lot of people wanted to be his mate and a lot of people looked up to him. (of course the reality was that they just wanted to be able to drink during closing hours - but i was a little kid who was yet to develop a cynical streak so how was i supposed to know that).

anyway: dad as superman.

so sitting in the waiting room i was all buzzing around ants in my pants kiddy impatient.
dad sparked up. yes, fair reader, this was the days when you could smoke anywhere and everywhere.
he sat puffing on his fag, probably a senior service.

dental nurse came in to see us.
"the dentist will see you when you have finished your cigarette".
dad's response to this was to pull out the pack and light several more ciggies.

this was my first clue that dentists were not nice people.

my next clue came years later when i visited the dentist proper. i suspect that she was a very good dentist and i was just a very bad patient.
for someone already petrified the stern grey haired mrs. gutzman wasn't the ideal dentist.
to her credit she put up with me and my squealing ways. i can't say it wasn't painless because it hurt like buggery. i was scared of the needle, i was scared that the needle wouldn't work (on several occasions it failed to numb the gum - so all the injections of pain killer meant was more pain and no gain).
pretty much every trip to the dentist resulted in my having ouchies.
often i gave up on taking the needle to numb my gums and she drilled straight into the tooth and got the job done that way.

i never liked going.

when i moved away from there i stopped going altogether.

now i have teeth that are gross and ready to drop out.
unlike my dad it has nothing to do with booze and fags - but chocolate and cola have done for them.

last night a tooth fell out, well quite a lot of it did.

not sure that the tooth fairy is going to pay me a visit to drop off a six pence.

i guess it is time to start thinking about being an adult and pay a visit to the dentist.
once i convince myself there is nothing to fear.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


glowing all over

chap comes up to me and asks how he gets to a specific location. i tell him what station he needs to get off and which direction he needs to go.
i ask him why.
he tells me he has a job interview.
being a kind bloke i find a map for him and print up a page showing him where to go.

a day later he catches up with me and thanks me.
he got the job.
if only i could work that magic for me!

but right now full of a warm fuzzy feeling.


how it works

my work programme is administered by a third party.
this is an odd situation. in order that iain duncan smith and his cabinet pals can claim that the private sector is so much better (at everything) than the public sector they have ensured that the staff at the jobcentre just tick boxes and have no real interest in me (not that they ever did).

so kicked out from the jobcentre (i only go see them in order to sign on), i am supposed to be dealt with by company a. company a appear to have taken on a great number of jobseekers which is why they have passed me on to company b.
company a sends me out a letter telling me when i am supposed to attend compnay b.
company b are supposed to help me find work.
company b have used two other companies in order to give me some additional tools to find work - mostly these have been pointers over cv and interview techniques. these could have been done in a couple of days rather than the two weeks that it took.

anyway i have to report to company b twice a week to conduct a job search.
not a problem. gets me out of the flat.
only it is a problem because there are a whole bunch of other people who have to come in an conduct a job search which wouldn't be an issue if company b had enough computers to go around, or even if all their computers worked and connected to the internet. (today i discovered that one of them didn't connect to the internet because they hadn't plugged in the modem cable). so more people than they have computers.
don't worry they have a fix for that.

i am supposed to be there from 9am to 3.30pm.
i get there a bit after 9am, sign the register and find the computer that woks and sit down and do a job search. a few hours later i sign the register another three times and leave. as have most of the other people who were supposed to be there all day.
lots of computers are now free.

i am assigned an advisor to help me.
i recently discover she has left. no word to me. no clue who my new advisor is.

this is the private sector rocking my fucking socks off.

Monday, July 08, 2013


it just has to stop

another month rolls by and my local sainsbury's book chart and book display has yet another james patterson co-authored book in it's top sellers.

it isn't that i have anything against genre fiction. i love it.
it isn't even if i can claim to have some sort of touchstone of quality; i don't.

yet somehow the success of the patterson and friends juggernaut offends me. sure some of that is tinged with jealousy: how come it isn't me making money from badly written books (and boy can i write badly).
at least two books a month will drop out of the patterson stable - lots of short sharp chapters, chapters that are only chapters because they have been titled that and by no sense of imagination are they.

but there has to be something there or else people wouldn't keep reading him and in the large numbers that they do.

my two attempts to read his books have ended with me having a headache and promising myself never again - yet each time another one appears in sainsbury's there is a spilt second when i think 'maybe this one is good,'

i have the good sense not to try.

Friday, July 05, 2013


just a certain amount of irony

i dip my toe in the daily mail only occasionally and with a large dollop of trepidation. 
blow me down when i saw the headline for a tom utley piece in there "my tube ride with braying lawyers and the fracturing of britain into self-serving tribes", it all sounded very interesting. 
back in the day when i had a job and could afford to use the tube regularly i would often go via temple to get to the hayward gallery. so i thought i might recognise mr. utley's description of loud out of touch lawyers and barristers. 
i can't say i did. 
(though i take his implicit point that the advent of mobile phones has broken down some conventions about personal private space, speech and conversation - in many cases even if you didn't want to be aware of the problems of the bloke at the other end of the carriage you no longer have that as options thanks to his bellowing down his phone). 

not that it really matters because mr. utley isn't really interested in having a pop at lawyers and barristers. they are the taster for the main course. 
nor are the politicians he mentions in passing. 
no the real self-serving tribe in britain is the bbc and all who work in her. 

mr. utley is making a valuable point in that some groups become so self selecting and self policing that they lose sight of the wider world around them. in short people can become institutionalised to the prevailing 'world view' of their organisation, peer group, set, tribe - call them what you will. 
we can see it in the current tory parties mantra of 'making work pay' as if all the benefits are being paid out to fund a feckless unemployed class - when the reality is a great deal of benefits are being paid in order to subsidise poor paying employers. 

even if you are sensible enough not to read the daily mail you can probably guess that it is not the biggest fan of the bbc. it hates the bbc with a passion. 
mr. utley, of course, is impartial and not swayed by the view of the paper that prints his column. 
no mr. utley deals in fact. cold hard solid fact. from that he can make a judgement about the state of the bbc.

why here he is describing bbc bias: 
"take bbc south-east, which I’m told chose to mark margaret thatcher’s death with an assessment of her impact on the region’s economy, focusing on the devastation she had caused by closing a colliery in kent. 
there was no mention, apparently, of her  transformation of the south-east into one of the most prosperous regions on the planet."
a crushing condemnation some would say. 
mr. utley might be right and this was how the bbc south-east choose to cover maggie's death - but i don't know. 
nor does mr. utley "which i'm told" and "apparently" are not the words of a man who has done his research. even if he had been alerted to this heinous bias on the part of the bbc by his bestest friend, the least he could have done was track it down to confirm. 

at least he had the good grace to indicate that this story was hearsay. 

but credit to him mr. utley isn't giving up: "and when everyone in the entire newsroom turns first to the guardian — as my younger sister tells me her colleagues did at bush house, in her many years at the bbc world service — the idea becomes entrenched that this is the paper whose news agenda is to be trusted."
again it is hearsay and anecdotal - but what shame mr. utley must feel to have a younger sister tainted with the bbc, no doubt she turned to the daily mail or the telegraph first. 
it is hard to tell from his sister's comment whether or not they (the beeb journos) looked at other papers as well, i suspect they did - but that would have ruined mr. utley's piece and one can't help feel that his younger sister was just making her big brother feel better by feeding into his anti-bbc bias, which has nothing whatsoever to do with his working at the daily mail, mr. utley has arrived at his position on the bbc independently and through much thought and research (as evidenced by his current piece). 

maybe someone who is the son of journalist and has a younger sister working in the media is perhaps not best suited to speak of the potential detrimental effects of people coming together because of a common interest or belief. 
or at the very least should be brave enough to declare his own situation (as i am sure his period working on the daily telegraph didn't help forge his views). 

i believe we are all guilty of the mote in our own eye syndrome. 
the difference is quite a lot of us don't get to write vaguely influential columns in national newspapers.


what do you call a block of flats full of cunts? cunts.

every now and then you read something in the paper that leaves you agog.
mouth open in fly catching stunned mode.
part of you is shocked and part of you is angry and another part is laughing at the sheer hunour of the story (and wondering why it is being aired now and not back in april).

the short piece in the london evening standard about nick house (geddit) and his plan to create little hubs of cool and interesting people around london. is one such story.
the basic plan is this: no suits and no one over 40 allowed and this will create a micro-society that is dynamic, social and fun. i kid you not. the first development will contain 12 flats in a mix of one and two bedrooms, starting price is likely to be £800,000.
if the price tag wasn't going to be enough to whittle down the number of applicants mr. house is only interested in those in their 20s and 30s who are successful: maybe a partner in a top ad agency or a successful tech start-up. already the will to live has left.
to get the project off to the right start the first few buyers will be hand picked to set the right 'cool tone'.

you would like to think that if someone was genuinely cool they would regard such an invite in the same way that groucho marx would have done.
the problem is they aren't so they won't.

to add to it all there will be a 'patron' figure who will organise the daily activities for those who live there.
what a job to have mollycoddling a bunch of wannabe alphas: where do i apply.

i suppose there is an advantage or two to be had by them all being clustered in one place. firstly it makes them easier to avoid. Secondly we know where to go come the revolution.

the only question now is what will the call it?
cuntopia? knobville? knobtown? arseholeville?
so many choices.