Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Barry on Briggate

It seems that 'Barry on Brigate' has been taken over. Barry's was a newsagent next to the bus stops on Briggate (funnily enough) in Leeds that sold chocolate etc. at shamelessly massive comedy mark-ups.

I refused to pay, walked out and never went back out but a lot of people didn't - embarrassment I guess - I mean does it really matter if it's 60p for a 45p bar of choccy? Not to everyone I guess. You could peer through the doors and watch Barry leer as customers went white and stumped up the cash You'd chuckle to yourself or sigh and shake your head.

The new owners have put up a sign saying that they're no longer Barry's and that all prices have been reduced! Less comedy though...

Meeting Mr Bean

I went on a train to Manchester to buy a guitar recently. Met a woman who plays the harp (not a harmonica but a big stringy harp thing, you know!)

On the way back a man on the train stuck up a conversation. A glass-house designer just in from Atlanta (though he was English). His closing statement (which he semed to have been saving) was that his name was Chris Bean and he'd been at school with Rowan Atkinson and wondered if his name had been stolen

A brush with show business there ladies and gentlemen!

Warmongers dissolved in water?

There was a job advert in the Metro paper last week from BAE Systems. They offer ‘a more stimulating career’ in engineering, project management etc. Funnily enough they don’t seem to use either the phrase ‘dealers in death’ or ‘bribing dodgy foreign regimes’ – nor even their ‘Ethics Committee’. (They do have one! – Presumably to decide how many pieces their products should blow people into and remain fashionably PC).

However, they do call themselves ‘A world leader in Military Air Solutions’. They’re creating the ‘air solutions of tomorrow’ too and apparently ‘Helping to develop our products can be almost as exciting as flying them’.

I reckon that any smack-head junkie lying in a Leeds gutter is worth 10 of the sort of people who fool themselves into thinking its OK to work for the arms trade. The sad thing is that many of the people who do these jobs will be ‘bright’ and ‘skilled’ and the rest.

They should be made to get a proper job. Our taxes (and all the wealth that those dodgy regimes fleece from their populations) go to subsidise these much worse than useless jobs. These people can build stuff - and they choose to build weapons of mass destruction (that we have and Saddam didn’t by the way…)

Go figure as they say...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Belated Pinocchio

If the hip-hop guys on the Harehills streets see the posters advertising something about ‘the original bad boy’ they might be intrigued I guess. Which cool historical hip-hop icon could it be? Well, ‘the original bad boy’ is of course…Pinocchio. Yes, that’s right. Pinocchio - the puppet.

Not only is it Pinocchio the puppet, but it’s a production by Opera North about Pinocchio the puppet! That’ll teach them.

Also on the posters of the streets of Harehills is an advert for Sudafed – something about being able to breath. Catarrh pills I think…With top taste, they illustrate this ‘being able to breath’ idea with a bloke opening the doors of a container! – You know, like the ones that go on ships and on lorries – where you freeze to death or suffocate while being smuggled across borders in pools of your own vomit and dysentery? I assume they’re going for the illegal immigrant sinus market. Casts aspersions on the legal residents though eh?

More Transport

If there aren’t trams at the end of my street by the end of 2007 as promised I’ve been conned. Hey, guess what – I’ve been conned!

On another related subject, the buses were privatised to ‘ensure competition’ weren’t they? Ha Ha! How come no-one seems to realise that private companies are nothing to do with the ‘free market’. They exist to make money by strangling the free market first opportunity they get. People do know this of course which is why people who genuinely believe in the ‘free market’ are deluded idealists. This is ironic in that it was supposed to be us lefty types who were na├»ve. The rest of them know the truth but find it a useful myth they can hide behind.

By the way, First Bus’s tagline is ‘Transforming Travel’. Could I just add…’to a luxury that no-one can afford’? Sadly it’s not luxurious in any way and people often have no alternative – so they get ripped off. I’ll have to re-think.

Still 10% a Year Folks!

This in turn reminds me that First Bus have put up fares again by their usual 4 times the rate of inflation. The improved attitude of their drivers is well worth the extra money though.

Actually bus users will realise the black humour there. Congratulations proffered to drivers that they must be really pleased getting wage increases of nearly 10% a year don’t go down well at all. You’ll be telling me next the money doesn’t go to the drivers!

However, there is some if not good, what might be called decisive news. It is now so much cheaper to use the car that there really is no contest. Here’s a simple example. Cost of going across town to the cinema on a bus for one adult and one child is £2.70 + £1.50 or something (their website has prices from nearly a year ago so I can’t check the kid’s ticket price!). So, that’s £4.20 (off peak). The cost of petrol to do the same distance is what, a pound? I don’t know about you but I work out the cost of doing the journey I’m about to do and don’t factor in insurance and all that stuff. But if you did maybe you’d get to the 40p a mile that businesses use to cover car costs – hey presto still loads cheaper!

I think I've summarised the governments transport policy before but 6 words I think pretty much sums it up. You can quote me if you like: 'Buy a car, sit in traffic'. You can use the acronym BACSIT if you like (pronounced back seat...)

Actually, there's the 'pay huge amounts of tax payers money to the shareholders of private monopolies' bit too. I forgot that. Funnily enough the fab private sector costs a lot more than the rubbish public sector used to.

Funny old world eh? - Designed to look like they're a bunch of crooks

Them were t'days

The above reminds me of a story that my Dad used to tell about the post office years ago. He worked with a bloke who didn’t know until he got to work whether he could get home for lunch. So, said man would nip out from work first thing and send a postcard home when he knew. This would arrive in good time to tell his wife whether he’d be home for lunch or not

– we’re talking the same day! Mind you, they had public transport back then too, and we had industry and taxed the rich a bit (no, really!)

Lost in t'post

Have you noticed that everyone blames the post these days when things don’t arrive? As I’ve said before the post office clearly got bored with all those deliveries and collections and such like and replaced a good service with ‘a reasonable service at £6 a pop’. That and 40 minute queues in post offices I guess. Anyway, the point is that because people find it easy to believe that ‘Royal Mail’ are rubbish it’s actually got too easy to say ‘it’s lost in the post’.

I bought some printer ink on-line (and don’t get me started on printer ink…) and it didn’t arrive. A similar thing happened with a CD from a big firm on ebay. Without so much as a blink both firms immediately sent a replacement or refunded my money when I told them the order hadn’t arrived.

Now it’s possible that firms just re-send loads of expensive stuff to you because it’s all 'lost in the post' at the slightest suggestion from you that its a bit late. However, if you were out of stock or had forgotten to post it or had sold a CD to more than one person or were just slack you could just say ‘We sent it, it must have gone missing in the post, tell you what though we’re so great we’ll send the whole package again'.

Just a thought.

Ebay der der der der der! Ebay!

Ebay have been in touch again. As I’ve said before, I quite like ebay. Unfortunately they’ve made a rather fundamental error. Under a big headline saying ‘Give your wallet a break this January’ they say ‘If your wallet's feeling a bit battered after Christmas, find a bargain on eBay!’

I have an alternative if apparently obvious suggestion (obvious to me at least) which I feel rather contradicts them. This is, ‘If you’re short of money, try not to buy stuff’. This includes stuff from ebay.

So, if your wallet had taken a battering STAY OFF EBAY FOR A BIT YOU IDIOT! OK?

Our Private Friends

Yorkshire Water are back with their threatening letters. Actually, they’re selling insurance which is what we pay a water company for, obviously. This time it’s superficially less scary (the last similar letters were clearly aimed at scaring old ladies half to death unless they paid up) – it’s a ‘Water supply pipe: Information for Homeowners’ letter i.e. an advert with threats.

They’re selling insurance and repairs (by other companies, they probably got bored with repairing pipes in a similar way to the post office getting bored with collecting and delivering post) but in short here’s my translation:

‘We used to be responsible for the water pipes from your house but since this public asset was stolen from you goons without compensation (in fact some of you even bought shares!) the rules have changed - In order that we can make loads more money on the back of your essential needs we’ve been let off repairing the pipes that you once owned and we had to fix. Since we no longer care about these pipes they’re liable to rot away at any minute. If they do we’re going to send you a large bill to get someone to repair them - so fuck you! But if you pay us 20 quid a year we’ll get them fixed a bit quicker and you'll have already paid. Fair enough?

The strange thing is that their new tactic may have worked - I just couldn't summon up the energy to even send them an insulting and gratuitously offensive letter pointing out their cheek. My weakness entirely, I need to buck my ideas up.

Typical work story

At work yesterday I was asked to provide some information. I was asked to email names of staff members along with their start dates, whether they were on temporary or ‘fixed term’ contracts, what holidays they were entitled to etc. General HR information (or personnel in my world). The request came from an admin. person who needed the information for a Regional Director - so he could pass it on to the person who really needed it – the head of HR!

Those of you who work in companies with ‘HR’ departments will be familiar with this kind of thing. Is there anyone out there who knows what these people do?

Bloody Lefties on demos again...almost a joke

It just said on the news that 22,000 police officers demonstrated in London yesterday in support of higher pay ( I wish I got ½ what they do by the way…)

I sincerely hope that 50,000 members of the Stop the War Coalition or similar organisation were bussed in on overtime to hide in Transits in the back streets, take photos of everyone and estimate the numbers at 3,000.

They all wore little white caps or something - strange.

Dontcha just love 'em?

The Home Secretary has just explained on the radio that plans to extend the holding without trail of ‘terror suspects’ are not designed to cover hypothetical future cases because ‘they won’t be hypothetical if they happen’ – Hurray for the English language! Hurray for the Hom Sec! No-one agrees with it apparently but it appears right-wing and macho so it'll do for New Labour.

Get Back!

Hey, I'm back!

Bin off doing Whole Sky Monitor stuff and acoustic stuff, being a record label as well as top artiste etc. etc. Too much music for these pages...