Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm currently listening to ...

Tristania – Sirene
Vision - Lucifers friend, Lovedance
Japan - Life in Tokyo
Fuzzbox – Wait and see, Self etc
Hawkwind – Needle gun
Sparks – Aeroflot
Crystal Pistol – Watch you bleed
Apocolyptica – Various tracks
Fluke – Absurd
The Specials – Man at C&A

Life in Tokyo

I’ve taken the title from a fave song of mine at the moment, a blast from the past from the most excellent 80’s band ‘Japan’. I guess it was the chorus ‘life can be cruel … life in Tokyo’. Ok so where am I going with this post? Well considering most people from the west think Tokyo is a pretty alien environment because of things like the language etc and they probably wouldn’t be sure what to do….

oO(Jay you’re babbling…)

Ok so what I mean is that my current situation being out of work is seemingly pretty odd and alien too, the jargon, words such as P45, JSA 200, jobseekers etc is all strange to me. Also the fact that I have no real routine at the moment is also quite unnerving to a degree, it’s also cool as well, I can do what I want!

So, I have indeed (between bouts of watching dvds and playing video games – ah the shame) searching for jobs and a new flat over at Newark. The jobs thing is very much show and tell, smoke and mirrors, a charade of sorts. Agencies are more concerned if you’re registered with the opposing ones in town than searching for jobs for you. Still I’ve registered with a couple and we’ll see how it goes. The next obstacle I face is my eye operation is on the 27th March, and who wants to employ me only to have me off work whilst I recover?

The next problem seems to be bagging another flat over at Newark to escape the drab place I live in, yep my town sucks big time and I want out. So, having registered with some housing associations and the local council over Newark way it’s a case of sit and wait but then I thought, be a hobbit of action and try private landlords.

Private landlords it would seem are a mercenary bunch of bastards, hiding behind estate agents and such whilst they profess to have ideal rented accommodation. Last week I view two private flats. I met the agent to view the first one and was shown inside a large Victorian style house as she unlocked the door the resident suddenly opened it and was shocked to see the agent, so an awkward situation arose and the occupant denied all knowledge of being informed of a viewing. Eventually I was shown in, it was like something from Alice through the looking glass, quite surreal, the room was tiny, now I’m not the biggest fella but you wouldn’t have kept a hamster in this place, the asking rent was shocking too! The agent reiterated that the advert stated the flat was small, what amused me even more was the occupant had 2 cats, their bed probably took up half the flat. In some respects I was shocked, this was indeed criminally small, there were embarrassed looks all around, you couldn’t even class this as a bed sit – most people’s bathrooms would have been bigger.

Anyway, I moved onto meet another agent and view flat number two across the other side of town. The agent never showed at the agreed time, which was just as well as the place looked shabby and the local residents none too friendly, as it was pissing down with rain I decided to move on, breathing a sigh of relief.

So, both a search for a job and a new place are still very much work in progress. Money isn’t much of a worry at the moment and the operation is pending, I’ll take things as I always do, a day at a time with a smile.

George, Bond and the bungalow

George Michael has been a bit of a lad again, found in possession of class C drugs and slumped at the wheel of his car near Hyde Park corner. Now class C drugs I don’t have a problem with but surely being spaced out at the wheel of a car is cause for concern?

Then back in April of 1998 he was arrested in Los Angeles for committing a ‘lewd’ act in public toilets, so I guess trouble just seems to follow Georgie boy or does he bring it on himself?

I’m not a huge fan of his music, in fact I’ve often thought he’s very over rated, though he has done a couple of tracks that I’ve liked, though now days I think he’s quite passé, Robbie Williams is going that way too.

The recent George Michael story made me recall my ex used to have a large framed photo of George on her bedroom wall, to think George was looking at my arse all the time we were romping – a scary thought indeed !

And also whilst I’m on about Celebs…

Another dislike of mine, the new James Bond – Daniel Craig. We could have had Clive Owen or Jude Law (though perhaps Jude’s a bit too pretty for the role in truth) and what do we get Mr Craig!

Come back Pierce Brosnan all is forgiven !!!

Mr Craig has recently broke a couple of teeth whilst filming his first fight scene in Prague, he also stated whilst training with the Royal marines ‘scared the shit out of him’ – real Bond material then!

Eon productions that fired Pierce Brosnan and hired Daniel Craig have angered Bond fans around the world, there’s even a website of protest to be found at www.craignotbond.com


The much vaunted Dick and Dom in da Bungalow (BBC1 Saturday mornings) is finally ending, the Beeb considering their material unsuitable for kids. My honest opinion is that its unsuitable for everyone, it’s dire, dire and dire again. The Beeb have said they are looking at more adult material for the boys to do, there’s also speculation that ITV are interested, my bet is they are headed for panto land, or should that be pants land. Their other recent show ‘Ask the family’ on the beeb failed to go anywhere in the ratings and didn’t really catch on with an adult audience. I truly hope these zero talented bores go nowhere fast, unless of course they do a new show ‘Dick and Dom on da Dole queue.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mr Simmons, thank you

Sunday saw the last episode of ‘Rock School’ which involved Gene Simmons from rock giants Kiss turning a class of unruly kids from a school in Lowestoft into a band that supported Judas Priest and Anthrax in front of 20,000 people. The last episode really was an emotional roller coaster as the kids faced the final selection to be in the band. This wasn’t reality t.v, it was more like a documentary or shall I say ‘Rock-u-mentary’! It was a tour de force of television as the kids jostled and vied for a privileged position in the band, arguments and tussles were common place and tears of pain and disappointment were often shed. The series wasn’t about just being in the band though, it was the journey of each individual that hooked me, how they all changed for the better and benefited from a unique life experience that most working class kids dream about. Gene Simmons drew upon all of his years of experience in the rock industry to nurture the kids in the right direction, sometimes a therapist and sometimes an arse kicker his unique brand of verbal motivation always working in the end. When all seemed lost Gene never gave up, the kids rebelled in typical adolescent fashion but Gene held in there knowing that the end result would benefit the kids, it really wasn’t about him, after all what does a guy that has everything need or want? The end result was indeed worth it, the kids came good and had a night they’ll never forget, Gene just seemed calmly happy with it all. Several weeks later we got to catch up with the kids and see the positive effects of what they’d been through, amazing.

And lastly to my good friend Thulsa doom who allegedly thought of the idea of Gene doing a series for the not so privileged kids, don’t forget mate both series were done and dusted before we even knew about it!
For more on Kiss click here - http://www.kissonline.com/
You can even read about the new fragrances they've done for men and women - cool !!!

The only goth in the village

As people we are all individual, I guess our individuality when you think about it has to be marvelled at. Personally I respect people that do their own thing, that are different from the crowd. Individuality combined with personality truly projects the people we are. As people we mostly change and adapt our individuality over our lifetime in the way we dress or the traits we pick up or indeed or choose to lose. Life events also affect and shape us. Underneath being individual we are all people and all the same albeit in different shape, sizes and colours.

This brings me to something I wasn’t going to blog about, partly because I was unsure of how I was going to word it or if it would make me sound bitter.

For a good while now I’ve been happily single and having the odd date when it suited, dates have arisen from friends, work or the internet. Dating is as we all know a process of determining if you like someone, either you click straight away, you both decide their may be something there and meet again or the other person is just not for you. Sometimes if you are both not suited you either become friends or level with each other and say ‘sorry but you’re nice but not for me’. Nobody likes rejection especially if they are keen on the other person but the more rational of us generally accept it and move on.

Recently I had a date with a person that is heavily into the Goth scene, a scene I am interested in but as I like being an individual I’d never label myself as a Goth. As a teenager I labelled myself many things, I liked bands like Madness at the age of 13, soon after I was listening to heavy rock, next I was into bands like Visage and the new romantic scene and so the circle turned, every year or so I changed into something new as influences came along. I was young and impressionable. It was those ‘wonder’ years into all different kinds of music that made me the individual I am today, I can reflect back and smile at all my different phases and liked all of them to some degree, even if I do cringe on how I looked back then. These days I’m not against identities and labels, its great to still see the odd punk rocker stomping down the high street. It’s good to see imagery and fashion, identity and individuality and respect peoples diversity but more importantly underneath that - respect them as people.

So, getting back to my main thread, when I meet people I try and look at them as people rather than a label, though their fashion may give me a some idea of what music they may like I guess I still could be wrong, because I have to talk to the person and not the label to find out.

I knew my date was into the Goth scene way before the date but after the date I knew it purely because she told me many times how different she was and how she felt she was the ‘the only Goth in the village’. Being into the Goth scene and music a bit myself I thought her individuality was evident and found it quite tiresome when she kept remarking on how different she considered herself to be. Apart from that the date went fine, I knew there was no immediate spark there but then I considered the fact I’d had relationships with people in the past that had grew into something without an initial spark being there, so was happy to go with the flow and give things the benefit of the doubt.

What really made me giggle though as I relaxed and decided to enjoy the day come what may was the when I announced I liked some lounge type music, this met with an expression of disdain and then later when I bought a book about John Lennon I got a large frown. Whilst in the cd shop she kept to buying things from her scene and I bought cd’s ranging from Sparks, Apocolypica, Joe Satriani, Japan and Marylin Manson. I commented on several Goth type bands and got a vexed expression of uncertainty from her – surely a Goth as dedicated as her would have heard of them? Later when she mentioned the fact she was pagan and bits about it she didn’t really tell me anything about it I didn’t already know, I’m not pagan but I like to read up on stuff like that because it interests me. So, the date revolved around her self imagery or statements of ‘do you think I’m different or mad?’.

On catching up with her on Monday via email she said that I wasn’t really her cup of tea, I wasn’t into the pagan or Goth scene as much as her and there was no spark, well fair comment I guess but what really pissed me about it (and I could do a whole other blog on honesty) was during the date she invited me to her city and to an alternative club with her. If I wasn’t Goth enough then why ask me! The fact is, I probably would have gone, firstly to give her the benefit of the doubt, try and find more about her as a person and secondly for a night out somewhere different. I guess I would have respected her more if she’d have levelled with me more. She could have said ‘Jay, Hobbit’s aren’t really my thing, I’m more into Gothic Orcs’, then that would have been fine. I did stress to her I was a Hobbit before the date, I didn’t go stating I am some 6ft tall Gothic prince, as with the beginning of this blog I stated I was an individual and I guess stressing you aren’t that tall does make me individual.

I’m sure she’ll go back to being single in her Gothic club and telling everyone how utterly different she is, I’ll go back to wanting to meet people that are individual and not too foolish enough to box themselves into being a one dimensional label, too scared to confessing to liking other things because it just wouldn’t be cool for the image. Rant over.


I was actually going to blog about the Rolling Stones being censored at the Superbowl but Pat beat me to it so I won’t copy him (like he does me) but I will add to it with another little story I read the other day.

‘An Ohio company has embedded silicon chips in two of its employees - the first known case in which US workers have been “tagged” electronically as a way of identifying them. CityWatcher.com, a private video surveillance company, said it was testing the technology as a way of controlling access to a room where it holds security video footage for government agencies and the police.Embedding slivers of silicon in workers is likely to add to the controversy over RFID technology, widely seen as one of the next big growth industries. RFID chips – inexpensive radio transmitters that give off a unique identifying signal – have been implanted in pets or attached to goods so they can be tracked in transit.The technology’s defenders say it is acceptable as long as it is not compulsory. But critics say any implanted device could be used to track the “wearer” without their knowledge.VeriChip – the US company that made the devices and claims to have the only chips that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration – said the implants were designed primarily for medical purposes. So far around 70 people in the US have had the implants, the company said.’

I guess the above linked with the Stones story and the recent story about Google being tailor made for the heavily censored Chinese internet makes you think what is around the next corner? I’m not going to get all political here, America is still a country of freedom and opportunity and although China is communist I’ve been there, I like the place and the reforms are evident, people didn’t look miserable and everywhere seemed to be quite modern, though I accept this was southern China and not the more remote places so don’t quote me as being an expert.

Then I guess we can turn to the i.d card in this country, I’m not sure if I’m for or against it, I know a lot of other countries have had i.d cards for some years now. I do know in this country we tend to make a big deal of things, like the new licensing laws which seem to have settled down a scant few months after the laws came into effect, it will be the same with the smoking ones, trust me!

Technology is a good thing but I guess when you read what I would call semi sinister stories it really does make you think where it’s all going, are yesterdays films like Logans Run going to be the future?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

No smoking ... unless you're a dragon

Congratulations to parliament on the free vote to abolish smoking in bars, public places and private clubs, though banning it from private paying members clubs is perhaps going a tad too far. In their snap reaction people will blame the government but as I gather it went to a free vote in parliament and was passed with an overwhelming majority, it wasn’t purely a government thing, though I’m sure Labour will be remembered for it. Smokers whilst arguing it curbs their own freedom don’t consider how selfish they are to other people. A while back I went for a meal only to be seated next to a couple that both smoked, there was really nothing I could do apart from ask to be moved but why should I move because of someone’s selfish and pointless bad habit? Maybe in a few years people will look back and look what all the fuss was about, hopefully there will be ex-smokers living longer lives. May I remind smokers who are reading and cursing this blog that passive smoking leads to around 30 people a day losing their lives.

At least when it comes into effect my clothes won't stink of cigarette smoke when get home!

Bad press

I’m sick of the continual bad press over gun incidents in Nottingham. Government statistics show that per 100,000 of population last year the following gun related incidents in cities were - Nottingham 19, Birmingham area 37 and London with 50. It seems that when there’s a gun incident in Nottingham the press leap on it or embellish it to greater magnitudes. There are cities in this country that have no go areas and whilst Nottingham like any other city has its undesirable places its hardly Sin City (I wish !).

Ok Ok - it wasn't all culture

Ok Ok, so my holiday blog was a bit cultural and didn’t reflect all aspects of Thailand so here’s another photo of erm….the nightlife !!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Holiday report

Better late than never, so here is a concise blog about my recent holiday to Thailand, I wouldn’t want to bore you with minor details. Needless to say I was a good boy and went for the culture and the people in the 'land of smiles'. (and if there was no blog soon my friend Mel would never live it down)

First off was a 3 day stay in Bangkok, though I’ve been to Thailand several times now Bangkok was something I just skirted on the way to and from the airport, I would marvel at how big it seemed and this time I got chance to see it up close. Bangkok is truly massive, a sheer metropolis and the easily the most congested place I’ve ever been, it even beats Hong Kong. It’s a fascinating place though, brimming with life and colour, thousands of places to shop and excellent night life (wink wink). Whilst there I visited Chatachak weekend market and checked out the multi storey shopping centre heaven that is MBK. I also made the schoolboy error of visiting the grand palace when it was Chinese new year and ended up stuck in a taxi for over an hour, the cost being about £1.20 ! The Hotel where I stayed was called the Zenith and was located right in the city centre on Soi 3 (that’s street 3) and had a lovely swimming pool on the roof which was great for escapism in the centre of the hustle and bustle. The rooms were spacious and clean and the cost very little for such a nice hotel. To conclude, Bangkok was amazing, so busy it made London look like a village, plus the Thai locals are more agreeable than cockneys.

After the short stay in Bangkok we moved down to the coast and the city of Pattaya, known as the sex capital of Asia, which is probably right. I was mildly surprised in Bangkok at the nightlife, especially when I was drinking at a bar and a guy with an elephant marches up but Pattaya is in a league of its own. Initially when I first went to Pattaya I thought it to be quite undiscovered to some degree but now alas the lunatic fringe of bald headed yobs has found it, and in due course spoilt it. I was quite shocked this time to see people selling stun guns and tazers on the street and yobs actually buying them! Saying that, every city and town has its downsides. Pattaya is still a great place, the shopping is good and cheaper than Bangkok most of the time and the atmosphere is still a party one, there’s more bars there than you can imagine. Maybe I like the place just through sheer familiarity but it’s a place I find myself returning to again and again, yes its sleazy at night, yes there’s lots of bars and yes its very lively but I like it, Pattaya for me is a great place to people watch (and I don’t mean the lady boys), it’s a place where people reveal their more base urges – human kind to some respects at it’s most primal.

The holiday was a welcome break, towards the end I wanted longer, there’s lots more to tell really, the travel bag that got stole and returned, the tale of the crooked tailors and the story of Exotica Go-Go bar in Bangkok, where presented with a moral dilemma I actually avoided temptation!

Photo's from top to bottom; Banglok Soi 3 from the roof of my hotel, Nong Nooch park, Buddha on the mountain - Chonburi province, Walking street-Pattaya, Pattaya beach