2 Nov 2014

"In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
Hey, hey, hey. What's in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo..."
Something I noticed the other day whilst feeling a bit down due to working with the 'ex' shoplifter bloke in the charity shop.
All the accumulation of detritus we amass over the years, although it may be precious to us, is just so much junk donated in a black bin liner.
I came upon this thought whilst I was sorting out the masses of photo and picture frames in the warehouse upstairs.  One had a plaque on it for a former RAF Wing Commander and some others had various precious moment family photos in.  Now, I don't want to get all "We are all just dust in the wind" here but ....
I mean this is why I never spend money on fashions and, as my summer of selling my most treasured possessions can attest, I no longer quest for the latest gadgets and things.  You'll never find me stuck in a 6am queue to join the rest of the sheeple to get the latest iPhone or do the same six months later for the latest iPhone s with a slightly different colour.
The acquisition of stuff is just so much wasted effort and time.  I suppose I'm lucky in a way with no wife or children to push me in the direction of new house/car/toy/holiday in Tuscany etc. I can pick and choose what I wish to buy and if it's from ebay or a charity shop then so be it.
The one thing I would like is maybe one of those houses I see on George Clarks Amazing spaces or maybe even Grand Designs but at the way my life seems to roller coaster from having a little cash to having no cash then I doubt you'll see me on Channel 4 arguing the toss with Kevin McCloud about whether I should have hired a project manager or not.
Although having said all this about the collecting of material possessions, if in the unlikely case of my winning the competition for Richard Ayoade's Gadget Man I would of course be complaining about the lack of room in my house for all the lovely and soon to be sold on ebay gadgets.  I would keep the PS4...the gaming PC ...and the telescope, and Canon camera ...possibly some other stuff, oh I could do with a new kettle.  But, I would feel guilty about it... honestly.

1 Nov 2014

"The boy who wouldn't grow up
Chasing his own tail
The boy who couldn't grow up
An outing on bail"

Spoiler alert: Contains ranting.

Well, it's been a while hasn't  it? Here I am with one of the worst years I've ever had. Don't get me wrong I know others have had it worse but by my standards it's been a bit of a bugger.
Firstly, I had enough of being treated like crap by my former manager so I handed in my 6 weeks notice after 6.5 years with the company.  Then the DWP(Nazi division) decided that my stating that being depressed enough to go to bed at night hoping that you'd not wake up in the morning and therefore miss work was not reason enough to warrant leaving paid employment... everyone else I've spoken to since, like me, feels that it was.  So three and a half months of no money and me having to sell two digital cameras, several lenses, tripods etc, various pieces of my best telescope equipment, a load of collectable stuff I had and many of my favourite items on ebay to make ends meet later, not to mention a very understanding zombie landlord. I manage to survive the summer, mainly by finishing 4 Assassin's creed games on the PS3, although I used to have savings and no overdraft.  No more can I say that, I had hoped to maybe get into business for myself, then my boss wouldn't be an asshole.  But those plans took a dive when I needed to pay the rent.
In all this time I was diligently applying for jobs left right and centre, although the same old thing comes up again and again.  I need a passport to get just about every job that I get replies from.  Well here we go again I think everytime.  I don't have the cash to get a new passport as I have to pay a large chunk out of the money to my zombie landlord so that my debt to him doesn't get any bigger, even if all the others do.  I mean had I known I would have used some of my savings in the summer to get a passport.... and possibly a one way ticket.  I would like to state that I feel it's stupid that I can't prove I'm British by providing them with references and a work history going back to 1984/5 but there you go.  Also my birth certificate for some unknown reason is no longer acceptable because it doesn't show my parents' names on it.  I did think about writing the words " a couple of cunts" on there in biro, I doubt that would help in my job searching.
One thing that did strike me as completely stupid in the summer is that I have to have two pieces of paper in order to be the frowning guy at road works who spins the stop/go board, go figure.
The final straw was when the guy I think of a like a father to me, one Ken Richards, who was a gentle man that taught me a lot about being tolerant of others, classical music and the appreciation of many cheeses and many mustards died.  Along with his wife Di they both rescued me from being a carbon copy of many fostered kids and heading towards self destruction.  They taught me that it was ok to ask someone about a subject if you didn't understand, and unlike my parents didn't tell me to shut up and stop asking questions.  I was introduced into reading and culture that I would never have been party to otherwise.
When this happened I was still in the middle of the having no money incoming thing thanks to the DWP (Nazi division) and I'd run out of things to sell.  I asked for help to go up to the funeral and the DWP (Nazi division) said, "like a father isn't your actual father."  So basically it was a no. I have no respect for these people.
I have a new philosophy in life though, never help anyone else.  It turns out that being a benevolent member of family when you see someone in need counts for nothing.  I helped with dvd players, blu ray players, printer, laptop, computer chair, countless toys, books, comics and games and when I ask for a room for a couple of weeks I get a no and not even a courtesy call to see if I'm alright or not in months.  So I'm going solo and going to be selfish from now on.
Still, on a more positive note I have begun to volunteer at a local charity shop and have enjoyed it so much.  It was a 'Mandatory work placement' thing the DWP (Nazi division) kept threatening me with so I just said "Go on then" and they did.
It's varied and fun with good people there.... well almost.  Turns out one of the people on the scheme with me was one of my ex shoplifters... and one guy kept moaning at every chance he got about having to do this that or the other and every other word was "fucking".  But they'd all been unemployed for a year or so and the shoplifter guy I imagine even longer as he'd been a nemesis of mine and other members of staff for the entirity of the 6.5 years I'd been at maplin.  Speaking of whom, I've just remembered, the marketing department tried to have me fired over this blog.  Specifically the posts I'd mentioned them in between 5 and 6 years ago.  They lost enthusiasm for persuing that particular line once I informed my manager that I'd spoken to my union and they agreed with me that it all happened pre the agreement I'd signed.  Also that I hadn't posted in the blog for a while since the signing.
Anyhoo, I decided to go and volunteer at the place I am now just for something to do and I enjoy it and they seem to like my work and me.  I'm now the unofficial Electrical testing department, where I make everything ready to be PAT tested.  Also I got a brilliant computer and Marantz hifi out of it cheap so ...swings and roundabouts.
For fans of this blog, or at the very least people who still swing by from time to time, I will try to post more so long as I can keep the 'black dog' at bay but it ain't easy.
See you on the other side. :-)


27 Jun 2014

Life grates but life's great.

"Take a jumbo across the water
Like to see America
See the girls in California
I'm hoping it's going to come true
But there's not a lot I can do"

Well it's on a hiatus for the moment. But this world cup is turning out to be fantastic.... unless you are Spain or England.  Yards better than the last dull affair in South Africa and with less annoying Vuvuzela too.  I am glad to say that my (Adopted) team, Brazil, are still in as I write.  Here's to the next couple of weeks of footy being as good if not better.  I'm predicting either Brazil, Germany or Holland to be in the last few deciding games although it's been quite hard to predict this time.  Just the way I like it.

I posted the above heading ass I heard it on an old edition of Top of the  Pops that my Tivo recorded from 1979, which are currently being shown on BBC 4HD.  It reminded me of the strange dream I had about, of all people, Hannah Hart.  The only bit I remember is the tastefully naked 'American Beauty' bit, which is odd as she is a lesbian ....and I'm a male Lesbian... so I suppose it evens out.   I like her videos for the terrible puns and the fact that she is always positive but, not in an annoying way that you get sometimes with media personalities.  My main bug about that at the moment is Zooey Deschanel who constantly posts things about feeling positive and 'accept body your image' even if you are all lumpy like (I paraphrase).  I have no bones about being positive and all but try being all fluffy kittens and puppies when you have to deal with the DWP who berate you for not using their website to find work.  Even though you do and the website redirects you to umpteen other agencies anyway.  Now, I apply for several jobs a week and go on the site daily but the woman said they'd stop my money if they considered that I wasn't looking for work.  To which my reply was "What, they'll fucking stop it twice in one go?  they'll double stop my money?"  To which she tapped on her windows 95 computer, humphed and said nothing.

I'd like to remain positive but then I'm not a gorgeous actress/singer/songwriter with a bank account that has commas in the total column.  Whereas I am a somewhat lumpy middle aged grumpy bastard slowly realising that life hasn't finished kicking me in the face until I sell all my belongings on ebay.  It will probably continue to do so for a while too.

But I don't want you to think that I'm a negative person, I'm not.... not really, despite what some dumb ass former manager may think.  I am a realist, but I live for the small islands and archipelagos of happiness in the vast Pacific ocean of life.  Like, for example, when I was knee deep in swamp water whilst in the Army.   We had spent all day digging this fire trench through thick orange clay only to have the roof canopy collapse thanks to the mouthy Mancunian in our detachment.  There we were with thick clay clinging to my, by the morning, orange combat uniform with the freezing November rain pouring down my neck and even at three in the morning trying to clean my L1A1 FN Fal  firearm in the dark I knew that nothing bad lasts for ever.

So this is what keeps me going.  It's not negative, it's not exactly positive I'll grant you but to go through life with an attitude that 'nothing bad lasts for ever' is better than having the unrealistic attitude that life is all candy, fireworks and puppies if you just think positively.   Always expect the worst to happen that way you'll be happier when it doesn't and prepared when it does.

Is anyone there BTW?

13 Jun 2014

World cup fever

All the booze is free, airline going broke,
Here come the lady with another jack and coke,
Wanna watch the movie, can't sit still,
Flying down to Rio, going to Brazil,


It's here again the world cup or, if you are a gangsta, Da world cup yo.  But I am not so let's speak properly shall we?  For the first time ever I own a Brazil shirt, this will be an indication of their demise.  They will now do a Scotland and go out in the first round.  Although unlike Scotland they wouldn't have bought return tickets. How do I know this?  Simple I bought one Norwich shirt in my life and almost immediately they got relegated after a three year stretch in the premiership.

I heard Pele described by a journo the other day as immortal and after seeing him in an interview recently I can well imagine that he is, he looks exactly the same as he did in the 1970's.  Maybe I should go and live in Brazil?  Although having seen the size of the white knee tarantula in that Kate Humble documentary the other night, thank you HDTV, I'm not so sure.  I mean the angry monkeys, the people stealing your wallet and the unbearable heat I could cope with but a spider the size of a dinner plate? Nope.  I mean it's not like I'm going to crap myself at the sight of a house spider or anything but somethings should be small.  Still Kate Humble in swimwear soon took my mind off the gigantinormous arachnid.

I would like to bugger off to another country though, maybe even stay there.  I'm too old an lazy to learn a language now so I'm limited to Canada, Antipodes or the U.S of A.  I can't say that I'm enamoured with Britain at the moment after they stopped my rock and roll recently.  Although I do keep getting emails from Reed.co.uk who seemingly want me to apply for a job with M.I.6.  So disgruntled man with money troubles works for M.I.6.  Who am I Alec Leamas?  Now I don't wish my country or any of it's inhabitants ill.... with the exception of maybe oooh I dunno, Russel Brand, Robbie Williams, Andy Parsons or Wayne Rooney.  Incidentally Wayne Rooney in our house is known affectionately as The Rootard. But I digress, which as previous readers will no doubt remember is a female digre, if I were offered a way out of the U.K. I would take it.

But as I'm not likely to be whisked off to foreign shores by some brunette super model, sadly, I'll await the morning post for another email rejection letter.


9 Jun 2014

Rik's dead, the utter bastard.

Sad, sad news that Rik Mayall has died today.  Comedic genius I will miss his shouty characters.

Enjoy these clips of the man's work.


7 Jun 2014

"Guess who's back, back again?"

"I was dreaming when I wrote this,
Forgive me if it goes astray.
But when I woke up there this mornin',
Could've sworn it was judgement day.
The sky was all purple,
There were people running everywhere,
Tryin' to run from the destruction,
You know I didn't even care."

Arrrr mateys. It's been a while since I at posted to you.  But, to be honest I thought that everyone had abandoned blogging.  But here I am tapping away on a wireless keyboard whilst sat on my secondhand sofa and the pc connected to my 42" tv... ooh posh. 
The world cup is almost upon us again and at which point any older readers will know I switch my allegiances to  Brazil.  I say switch my allegiances but I never really follow England, never have really.  When I used to do the commentary to my own football playing we all did as kids, it was never " Emlyn Hughes, Paul Mariner, McDermot, Coppell, Keegan or Brooking. Showing my age there. It was always Socrates, Pele or Zico.  I've always been attracted to the far away and exotic.  Hence the reason I wore a New York Cosmos shirt for most of my P.E. Lessons, again a club with Pele in it not to mention Beckenbauer, Chinaglia etc. would be invoked as I strode past people like Podge, Gavin or Paul Howard on the school football pitch.  I suspect that most of my contemporaries were unaware, or at the very least, uncaring that there was even a league in the U.S.A.  Happy as they were in their Norwich, Ipswich, Liverpool or even Manchester United shirts.  Me?  I always tended to scour the World of Sport for the less well known sports like I did with my music.
I've been interested in watching England but my heart has always been with Brazil, the better football, the brightly coloured kit... the really attractive women in the crowd.  Coming as I did when the football crowd was predominantly males stood in the terraces you could see the attraction. Another reason would possibly be that I was growing up at the time of the casuals beating the shit out of each other on the terraces or often the pitch for no good reason other than they were mindless morons.
Maybe it all stems from the fact I've always wanted to escape to other parts of the world but somehow have never managed?  I don't know maybe a trick cyclist would be able to tell me? 
In other news the world is pissing me off lately, (when doesn't it?)  In particular the job I hated is thankfully a thing of the past.  They tried to sack me over things I said about the company in previous blogs, so much for freedom of speech in one of the world's oldest democracies. The company backtracked when I pointed out the posts all dated prior to the date at which my agreement was signed and therefore actions taken would be illegal and result in my winning an unfair dismissal tribunal.  So basically the manager kept pushing my buttons for 6 to 8 months until I finally gave my notice of six weeks.  Now after two months of giving me job seeker's allowance the DWP have decided that my reasons for leaving weren't good enough and have stopped the pittance.  Luckily I have a good, not great, zombie landlord who knows that he'll get his money back once I'm gainfully employed again.  Still, I really do want to escape now.  In my dreams I would win the lottery, pay my zombie landlord a lot of money, take a giant shit on the desk at the local job centre and fuck off to sunnier climes with my camera and telescope and settle down with Grace Helbig (I wish).
Failing that I would settle for a few great Brazil moments this world cup. 

7 May 2013

More dreaming on my behalf.

"It does one's heart good
I'm in a happy mood
There's something that I can't deny
I like to have you by my side
It might well be that we will see more of each other
We will see more of each other NOW" 

I'm in a fantastic mood just lately, no I don't have either Cameron Diaz or an Aston Martin in my life, but hey I'm on a week's holiday from work the sun is out and it's just gone pay day.  What's not to be happy about?  Later in the month I'm off to the smoke to see my favourite people and treat them in all of my favourite places in London or as many as I can fit into the one day.
Of course Hamley's will have to be frequented again despite the fact that the place gives me a headache and I nearly punched a store assistant there the last time for snatching something from my Nephew's hands.  The guy shouldn't have left it sitting on the shelf if it wasn't to be played with and I told him so mixed with some choice Anglo Saxon words which my Nephew didn't hear but probably knows anyway as he attends my old school.  I have to go to Camden Town, my Mecca thanks to Madness, and hopefully the kids will love all the stuff on the markets although the place isn't as good as it used to be.

I really need to get on with my creative stuff I've been meaning to do.  Instead I find myself sat on my sofa eating biscuits and playing several PS3 and Xbox games.  Been on a bit of a 007 James Bond kick at the moment.  I decided that watching all the movies in order from start to finish was a good idea.  All that has done is make me decide that I don't like the Roger Moore stuff  after  Live & Let Die, too slapstick.  Still I persevered and made it through to Bond #14 A View to a Kill, the last Bond I saw at the cinema. Thankfully I'm onto the Timothy Dalton films now then I get to reappraise Goldeneye. Speaking of which that's a game I've been addicted to along with Bloodstone and Quantum of Solace.  All three have entertained me and I was looking forwards to playing 007 Legends until I actually did.  For some reason and I can't be the only one to notice this when you pick up a new weapon you go all Zoolander and have the unfortunate affliction of not being able to turn left albeit for a few seconds.  In the meantime Goldfinger's minions take it upon themselves to give you high velocity lead poisoning.
Instead of all this I really should be working on my second or third story wot I ritted, depending on which story I am in the mood to write further.  I also have a great idea for a console game knocking around my head and have spent a small fortune on ebay getting period research material.  A couple of guys at work whom I get on with greatly and are doing a computer games course at Uni are going to collaborate on the project.  We can only try.  We think it's a quite interesting story and would hold a place in gaming that is overlooked.  As usual though it does have a large part of my humour and cynicism so if it ever does get published then expect it to be dark with a capital 'dar'.
I may even forget the game and make it a novel if I like it once I fill out the story a bit.  We shall see what we shall see, it may just transpire that I finish the self inflicted Bond season and eat more biscuits.  I need motivation I need a muse.... Cameron Diaz where are you when I need you?