Monday, January 31, 2005

One down

It’s been a good month on reflection, one down, eleven more to look forward too. The weather has been good (watch it change now!) and life in general hasn’t been so bad at all (watch that change too!). My loan was paid off. I’ve discovered Camden Town, possibly the best place south of the river Trent, I’m involved in a revolution at work – at last a cause to fight for and also I had a lovely weekend in London that I won’t forget soon. Hurrah !!
oO(now where’s that tequila?)

Sad gadget freak

It’s scary, you know the feeling when you lose, forget or like me your mobile breaks down on you! Those palpitations you get! As a society we’ve become obsessed by these little box’s of tricks that have flashing lights and personalised ring tones. The thing is you know it’s not just a device of communication but one of style and fashion – a must have item. You just know our obsession with them will go on and on into future years. I’m not saying mobiles are bad things though plenty of people still frown at them, after all they have saved lives in many instances, its just I wish we weren’t so reliant on them, me included in that statement. I guess it makes you wonder where it will all lead and what sort of a companion future mobiles will be? As a kid I was happy making a telephone using plastic beakers and a taut piece of string! All this musing and all I really want to say is I want my mobile back soon because I’m missing you, sad gadget freak that I am!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

True lies

Yesterday the company I work for announced that 17 jobs had to go due to the loss of a major contract, this follows assurances that things were going to be ok. At a presentation we were further assured that this figure could actually fall to zero as they attempt to restructure the company to minimize the impact. At the presentation we were treated to the usual buzz words of ‘mitigation’ and ‘policy’ and of course a charade of smiles heaped with lashings of goodwill. Apparently the selection process for redundancy will be done according to strict criteria such as attendance and discipline records, customer focus and things like timekeeping etc etc. What they really mean is by the criteria is to get rid of anyone they want, all the protagonists, rebels and people that don’t bend over and take it up the arse from the management. Ironically they tried to come across as patronisingly caring about employee’s, this of course coming from a company that is trying to introduce misleading contracts and their every move seems to be orchestrated by Machiavelli himself. Oh well at least all this gives me a cause and a chance to stick up to Mr Corporate.

I’m not really sure if I’m in the firing line yet, I don’t care, life is a blank book and I write future pages. Hhhmm so that means my book will contain video games, porn, beer, mind bending psychology, pvc catsuits, travel and heaps of jaffa cakes and ice cream, oh and Tarantino movies. Now I’ve lost my thread, did I mention work???

“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.”
~ Dan Millman

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Camden Town

I’ve found my retail paradise and it’s called Camden Town.

This past weekend I was visiting friends in London and had long wanted to check out a shoe shop called ‘Swear Shoes’ that was in Camden town. So I arranged with my London guide, friend and sherpa (well more mountain goat!) Pat to accompany me there. I met Pat at Kings Cross (he was late again) and we jumped on the tube up to Camden. It never dawned on me what it would be like, Pat had hinted it was something of a hippy / punk hangout and that he’d not been there for some millennia.

As I walked out the tube station I realised I’d walked into Shoe shop and clothing heaven!

I was overwhelmed by the myriad of retail bounty before me, from punk to grunge, hippy to urban military the streets were simply festooned with all manner of street fashions and garb. It wasn’t all shops though, there were market stalls in abundance, music outlets, restaurants of all kinds and of course pubs! There was something about Camden which I really identified with, it was like the Hockley area of Nottingham but on a bigger scale and with infinite choice. It wasn’t long before I found ‘Swear shoes’ and made my purchase of an awesome pair of their shoes but they were not the only purchase of the fruitful day.

I swear by the holy toe nail clippings of J.R.R Tolkien I will return to Camden Town……….and soon.
Check out the link to Swear shoes below and use the shopping link

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Stand

I mentioned ‘Fuzzy Face’ in an earlier blog, he’s the new boss type person at the company where I work, he’s a Londoner based in our Leeds office that has seemingly risen from nowhere. After a period of so called consultation with the work force he is now in the process of implementing new changes, so called changes for the better.

I’ve known boss people in my time but none so as insidious and out of touch as this bloke. He’s about to try to strip us of our existing contracts and rights with a new contract that promises much and yet delivers very little. The new contract has extra money, holidays, pension scheme and other sundry items but when you actually read it carefully you see your rights being stripped away.

‘The new boss man giveth but he taketh away’

Fuzzy face wants a malleable, eager and in his words ‘flexible’ work force, one that he can basically do whatever he wants with. Gone are the contracted hours we signed for and built our lives around, gone is the tried and trusted salary package, broken up into segments and bonus’s that can easily be took away as easily as they have been added. We don’t have to sign the new contract but if we don’t then we can forget pay rises, fair treatment and any prospects at all.

So what is happening, what are people doing?

Some are leaving, some that haven’t been here that long and have similar contracts are signing in the hope to make a career here and impress and a few such as myself are making a stand. Disenchantment is widespread across the office, supervisors are not happy too as they see a perfectly good system replaced by something that really isn’t needed. I could go on and on, about peoples, about the contract, about perspectives and lastly about my fears and hopes.

The New Year comes and with it new challenges, nobody said life was easy.

Ironically I watched Stephen Kings ‘The Stand’ this weekend, a five or six hour epic about good versus evil, a few good men making a stand for what is right and just, forget the religious content of the film, its about people standing for what’s right and just. It’s a movie that always makes me feel good, a movie that explores characters like only Stephen King can, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. The only difference is the bad guy in the movie ‘Randall Flagg’ is far more charismatic than our bad guy boss.

So now I have to make a stand with a few others, I’m not sure what the outcome will be but good or bad I know life goes on. Then looming up ahead is another trial, murky at the moment but its shadowy images become clearer by the day, I’m talking about when I have to make my stand in court next month and face the idiots that assaulted me. I have to come face to face with them, people I cannot recall or neither want to.

To quote the film and the bible;

‘Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I shall fear no evil’

I’m not overly religious, I’m not brainy or super humanly brave but I do know one thing,

It’s time to make a stand

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Pay Homage

Recently I was able to catch up on some unwatched dvd’s, one in particular I was dying to see was Kill Bill 2 by Quentin Tarantino (Film god and icon). I’d not seen it at the cinema for various reasons and the press I’d read had been negative. I did see a bit of it on a pirate copy at a party but the quality was dreadful, another good reason not to bother with pirate copies. So, come Christmas time I received the film as a gift and settled to watch it.

I was expecting a dire let down compared to the epic, giant, glorious and amazing Kill Bill volume one but what unfolded before my eyes was another Tarantino movie of pure genius.

For me it’s as good as the first movie but for different reasons. Sure it doesn’t have the pace of Kill Bill Vol 1 but it does have a character of its own. We get to see more of the mysterious Bill and the story is fleshed out more, that’s where the charm of this film is. Ok, so I’m biased, I love Tarantino films for so many different reasons, mainly script, characters and of course the periodic gory action. Tarantino films are just something special to me, a class of their own, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen Pulp Fiction. So over the last few days I’ve been watching my Tarantino dvd collection and paying homage to the great man!

Quentin – when is your next masterpiece of a movie due out?

Monday, January 10, 2005


Celebrity Big Brother is becoming predictable, I’m saying this because the first person to leave this Friday will be John McCririck, I say that with conviction, knowing how the British public tend to vote. None of the celeb’s (should that be minor celeb’s?) has sparkled really apart from the grouchy and outspoken McCririck. Bez who was the initial bookies favourite seems to be struggling to fit in and that’s why Jeremy is now the favourite to win – and because he’s classed as women’s totty ( a phrase unlikely to be used on me!).

Kenzie really didn’t himself any favours with his late night outburst at McCririck and his true colours were revealed – yes he really is an east end chav non descript! There’s only Germaine Greer that I’ve warmed too, despite her previous criticism of the show she seems to be enjoying the whole experience.

I really don’t know where it’s all heading – stay tuned.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Love it - Hate it

Celebrity Big Brother hits us again and the line up looks interesting even if the celeb’s are regarded as C-list one’s. The bookies have Bez down as 2/1 favourite but I think its early days yet. John McCririck the racing pundit from Channel 4 has the capability to wind everyone up but the predictable British public will probably vote him off first which is a shame as we need to keep the obnoxious ones in to cause contention. As I watched it into the night (on the works portable) John McCririck poured scorn on good looking girls and then upset others by saying he’d vote for Bush. Surprisingly fire starters Brigitte Nielson and Bez kept things toned down even in the small hours but I’m sure this will soon change – just add alcohol.

There’s also ‘Kenzie’ the wide eyed nineteen year old boy band teen icon (youngest ever in BB), you have to wonder if C4 have put him in just to see the vote reaction and audience base they reach, could be a clever research ploy! It’s certainly not for his interesting character and charm.
Though one of my close female friends in London probably likes Kenzie and his band ‘Blazing Squad’ because she likes obscure bands!

I had to laugh at Lisa L’Anson who stated before the show she took no nonsense and she’d least like president Bush to be in the house, when Mr McCririck vocalised his support of Bush she said … nothing.

I’m not sure who the Holby city actor is (Jeremy Edwards - who?) but he’ll be a firm favourite with the ladies because he struts about holding his bottom in and pushing his chest out! He also seems to swear a lot too, weakly trying to add to his cool streetwise persona. Germaine Greer seems diplomatic and interesting, and as tensions climbed as the group discussed politics and religion she was very diplomatic.

I’m not sure who I want to win or even if I care but at least the money raised goes to charity and that can’t be a bad thing can it?

And didn’t Davina look good in that suit? (swoon)

Big brother always exposes the worst and best in human traits and that’s why I like it.
I love it – I hate it … reality television !!!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Pathetic politics

It makes me angry, it really does and that’s politics. I sat watching BBC News 24 about the recent and very tragic tsunami disaster, as the images appeared on my screen I just felt like stepping into the picture and handing them food or clothes. As the images faded the reporter went on to look at the political angle of it all and detail who was blaming who, who wasn’t doing anything and who was providing the most aid! For crying out loud, any aid is aid! Any help is better than none at all. As the report unfolded it was mentioned how the American hierarchy don’t trust the UN, how some countries affected are home to Muslim terrorists or regimes that aren’t approved by Bush and his boys, mind you in a gallant gesture Mr Bush is sending is brother over to assess the situation.

Perhaps I’m seemingly being harsh here as I’m sure the Americans will send lots of aid and I’m sure the American people will contribute generously but it just grated on me how it suddenly became all political, forget the politics, these are humans that have had their lives devastated, everyone needs to contribute – and I mean everyone!

Our politicians were no better, Howard said if he was in Egypt like Blair was he’d have come home to deal with it, then later John Prescott was firing salvo’s back at Howard, it was all sick point scoring.

Having been Thailand I’ve seen some of the basic housing they have there, tin sheds basically that would not offer any protection against the encroaching horror of the tsunami.

Like a lot of lives they would have been washed away.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Full Marx

Sunday evening saw the Comedians ‘Comedian’ (Channel 4, 9pm) where comic’s voted for their funniest comedian of all time. Purposefully I didn’t watch all the show as I went out to the pub and planned to catch the last 45 minutes, I knew if I watched it all I’d be vocalising my disapproval at some of the choices and positions. I was relatively happy with the results in the top ten though my own personal choice would have been Groucho Marx at the top slot followed by Tommy Cooper. I was a bit miffed at Peter Cook being number one but I can see the reasons behind it. It’s a shame Dudley Moore didn’t come higher because for me he’s the funnier of the two.

Groucho Marx’s is still the funniest man that ever lived for me, sharp, witty and such a way with words and quotes. Tommy Cooper was just naturally funny, he had that presence about him, a presence that made people laugh before he even said a word. Bob Hope (25th) and Bob Monkhouse (33rd) should have been higher in the rankings too but it was good to see Woody Allen highly placed.

It did make me feel good that a lot of old comedians were honoured and not forgotten, I also felt good about Ricky Gervais coming in at 49th !

The only serious injustice was Billy Connolly coming 8th !!

Anyway, here’s the top 10;

1. Peter Cook 2. John Cleese 3. Woody Allen 4. Eric Morecambe 5. Groucho Marx 6. Tommy Cooper 7. Laurel and Hardy 8. Billy Connolly 9. Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer 10. Richard Pryor
Marx Brothers links;