Sunday, December 27, 2015

Floody Hell!

I happened to catch the Mail on Sunday today (and no, I didn’t buy it…) The front page was about the floods that are happening hereabouts (North of England anyway). “Cities submerged” it said. That didn’t sound quite right to me. So here are the first definitions of the word ‘submerged’ I could find on-line:

"Cause (something) to be under water".

"Descend below the surface of an area of water".

"Completely cover or obscure".

So presumably at least 2 British cities were submerged. Under water. Completely! But when I turned over the page somehow the floods were a little less serious. In fact the Mail on Sunday considered a picture of Barbara Windsor dressed as a nurse in a Carry On film more important than the floods. Turn over again and there was more flood news – apparently there were “towns like Venice”. Hang on the Mail on Sunday - between page 1 and page 4 (with only a brief stop-over for Barbara Windsor) the sunken cities you were reporting have become partially flooded towns? Bad enough, but not quite the same eh?

Later on I’m sure I heard Radio 4 say that Leeds was flooded too. I drove to Leeds today (with no hold-ups on the road since you ask and no floods visible) and it turns out that it's not flooded - parts of Kirkstall Road and other bits near the river are flooded. Bad enough, but there are people out there who might think that there were submerged cities in the North of England and that Leeds was flooded. Some places are flooded. But not 98% of Leeds. And no cities are submerged.

Mind you, there are parts of Birmingham that are no-go areas to non-Muslims - Ha!

Friday, December 18, 2015

You're an eeediot Senor actor in a phone advert...

I just saw an advert on the telly for one of those things where they tell you how clever their phone or software is because you can ask Cortina or whatever 'her' name is about stuff.  Or maybe you just ask the phone?  Maybe it was Google or Android or a phone company...who cares because no-one actually notices what adverts are for anymore, which is why the whole industry is wasting its time so far as I can see.

Anyway...There's a man pretending to be at a railway station in Spain and he asks his phone "Can you tell me what the Spanish is for 'how much is a train ticket home' please".

The translation comes up on his phone and he shows it to the young, attractive, smiley (and no doubt typical) Spanish ticket seller and well, everything seems to work out just fine and dandy.  Good jaaarb!

One thing occurs to me though.  Isn't it likely that the ticket seller would reply with 'it depends where your home actually is you halfwit; funnily enough I don't actually know where everyone in the world lives, even those who wave their phone in my face..."

Perhaps I just spend too much time in the real world to 'get' the alternate universe of adland.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

My self-reported wellbeing status by a validated wellbeing measure conducted at baseline...

Here's a small sample of the kind of thing that I see in one of my temporary / part-time jobs - bureaucratic nonsense-speak - from the NHS in this case.  I've 'anonymised' it - good for me!

..."The evaluation plans to measure the experience of residents in a quantitative way focusing on their experiences of integration and their self- reported wellbeing status.  XX have a tried and tested way of gathering this data through their current patient involvement work delivered via XX, which utilises trained volunteers to carry out one–to-one interviews.  This good practice will be built on to carry out the care homes evaluation. It is proposed that interviews are conducted using a resident survey comprised of a validated wellbeing measure and a small selection of the National Voices “I” statements. These will be conducted at baseline and at appropriate intervals throughout the programme. Ideally we would have a control group to strengthen methodological quality and would again welcome being a national site for this work. We are working across all care home sites to encourage consistency of measurement by all opting to use the same wellbeing tool".

...'Carries on for hundreds of pages' as they might say in Private Eye.

I'd like to say here that even 'professionals' in this field generally speak English and why they should have to wade through this sludge is a mystery.  As is why anyone would want to write like this.  I imagine it's an attempt to be specific and professional and the jargon is justified in those terms. But why dos no-one shout ''this is fcukign bullshit'! STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!

So my self-reported well-being status is 'pissed off'!  - By a validated wellbeing measure conducted at baseline...

This may smart a little

Had a ‘smart meter’ fitted recently.  2 in fact.  I’m not sure how smart they are, I rather imagine their squat little metal selves squeezed into foamy dinner jackets in their cobwebby cupboards quietly frustrated at the lack of public approbation of their appearance - but I wasn’t in when they were fitted so I haven’t actually seen either of them.  And they weren’t actually smart enough to keep the central heating working after the fitters left, having checked, apparently, that the heating did actually still work.  Fixing that involved a call to the central heating boiler people who were actually quite helpful. 

So yes, little Eon came round, fitted new meters and gave us a fancy computer display thing with 2 fat instruction books – I found the display plugged in next to the kettle when I came home.  It’s covered in buttons and options and whatnot.  Apparently it saves energy by telling you how much you’re using – at least it does for those of you who stop doing something when you realise we’re paying for it.  All via a gizmo that ironically one has to plug in to make work.  

It seems that our energy use increases when we turn stuff on, and decreases when we turn stuff off.  So now we live in the dark, don’t use the shower and drink off-milk.  Either that or we slung the horrid, awkwardly shaped, nasty little over technologised thing in the drawer with the 35 unlabelled power supply transformers for stuff we don’t know if we still have or not.  So well done little EON.  We have another piece of computer clevery-pokery that we don’t use and no doubt cost us consumers what I would guess was a pretty penny.  I wonder how much would have been saved if they’d spent the same amount of money on insulating little old lady’s lofts?  And you can fit that without breaking the central heating…

For those of you who like technology but haven't yet worked out that using electric powered devices uses electricity this may be useful.  I reckon it's a pointless damned thing...

How big Mister T?!

The Travelodge people have been in touch flogging their new “delicious new unlimited breakfast”.  This they say is “now bigger and better than ever”.

I have one question – how can an unlimited breakfast now be bigger?  10% bigger than ‘unlimited’?  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Johnny Johnny!

I just caught a bit of a telly advert - seems Johnny Depp is advertising a new perfume called “Sauvage” 

I have a question.  Is that pronounced a bit like “sausage” Or is it as I so very much hope “so-vadge”? 

Once again I have to ask how that one got signed off by the marketing department?  Maybe it was just 'Savage' and I mis-read it?  Or maybe marketing really is a much a nonsense as it seems to be...

It's 40 quid for 60ml too.  For those desperate to know, I buy underarm stuff from Tesco’s at 30p a go (when they have it in).

Good Evening Duran Ballet!

I’m reliably informed by an audience member that when Duran Duran came on stage last night at Leeds (name of the bank it’s associated with deliberately removed) Arena one of the band said ‘Goodnight Newcastle’ - and had to apologise.  Blimey!

This is of course something of a cliché, but one usually associated with wasted rock bands doing massive tours and out of their minds on whatever.  But a veteran pop band doing a tour of UK enormodomes?

How difficult must it be to actually not know what city you’re in? There aren’t that many dates on the tour, presumably you get information from the tour manager, you get fans contacting you and old mates who want in on the guest-list mail and tweets and whatnot – and surely you can’t help seeing the odd sign out of the window of the tour bus?  So how do you actually prevent any of the information you’re being bathed in actually sinking in?  I'm beginning to think someone's not that bright...      

Saturday, October 10, 2015

For those not in favour of grinding the faces of the poor...

Gigs on the front page again...

Shipley Kirkgate Centre Friday 13th November 2015 

This is a benefit for the er, benefit of the People's Assembly - Bradford area - opposing grinding the faces of the poor...Round Window are also on - and others, and talking and stuff...and a disco!  

The address is 39A Kirkgate, Shipley, Yorkshire BD18 3EH - and addresses don't come very much more Yorkshire than that...

7.30 until 11pm...

Friday, October 02, 2015

More gigs on the blog front page?

I should really keep gigs to the gigs page but this one came up this evening and it's tomorrow - Playing on Woodhouse Moor in Leeds at just after noon.  In a small tent I think - a student event (I think - Beckett University, formerly Leeds Met, formerly Leeds Poly) - acoustic acts sorted by Cloth Cat.  So I thought I'd mention it...  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Gig dates...

I’m playing at:
 the Plug in Sheffield Friday 18th September 
14-16 Matilda St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 4QD – 

the Wardrobe in Leeds on Saturday 26th September 
 6 St. Peters Square, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS9 8AH

On at about 8pm at both gigs I think.  I'm supporting the mighty CUD...

CUD are doing 2 sets – the whole of the Asquarius album and another set of CUD goodies.  The JP bit of the Leeds gig is being videoed by top professionals btw so you can come along and get your fizzog on youtube (yippy-do!)  

Though I think it’s nearly sold out.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


It seems to me that these days a massive number of TV programmes (and surely therefore a big proportion) are just freak shows.  Some of you will just take that as read but when you haven’t paid much attention for a while like I have, er, / haven’t you start noticing these things.  OK, there’s still the Blue Peter style kid’s programme (take a bow the One Show!) - but here’s my almost off the top of my head list of Freak Show TV – Programmes where we’re basically invited to point and laugh at the freaks.  This looks like a lot of telly to me...

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (and all variants)
Britain’s Got Talent
Eurovision (I trust they’ve dropped the ‘song competition’ pretence by now)
Storage Hunters
Benefits Street (and variants)
Big Brother
Celebrity Big Brother
I’m a Celebrity
The Jeremy Kyle Show (if you weren’t really with me up to now you’ll surely have caught up and on by now!)
The Apprentice
Dragon’s Den
Benefits Britain
Don’t Tell the Bride
Embarrassing Bodies
Endless cheap documentaries about strange Americans
Come Dine With Me
Take Me Out
Blinging Up Baby
Junkfood Kids
Millionaire Matchmakers
Sex Party Secrets

Are these all real?  Well, most of them I can vouch for, some of them I’ve just been told about – I do understand the attraction – the fake concern and moral indignation of the Jeremy Kyle show is actually glorious in its massive lying hypocrisy but well, best not watch…

In a world where an actual circus freak show would be let’s say heavily frowned upon, that seems like a lot of freak shows to me.  I came up with this list pretty quickly – and I don’t really watch telly much.   

Mind you, it is a few years now I guess since the pinnacle of this stuff was reached with celebrity pig wanking.  That sounds like a joke but it was definitely on – called ‘The Farm’ I think…

Now entering Harehills Chapeltown (again)

As I often do I walked home through Harehills (Leeds) recently.  Cars pull out without indicating, yellow hatched areas, bus lanes, no right or left turn signs are routinely ignored and people wander across the road within a few feet of pedestrian crossings.  Outside the takeaway shops cars just pull onto the footpath – so you can be walking up a footpath 8 feet wide to find a car 7 feet wide just sat there in the middle of it.  It might then zoom off towards you before spinning out into the stream of traffic just missing various pedestrians who were outrageously attempting to walk on the footpath. 

I nearly had a go at one driver today but last time I did that some nut job (I guess that's an American term but I like it so I'm using it!) was outraged and threatening violence.  He explained that he had had to drive down the path because the kerb was too big for him to mount in the place where he’d wanted to drive onto the footpath - he wanted me to be grateful for the fact that he was driving along the footpath quite slowly!  Yes he was a nutter, but this victory of driver rights over everyone else’s rights is so ingrained that it never even seems to occur to people that driving on the path is a bad thing to do.  If I began to stroll down the middle of the road I’d soon be told I was doing something wrong.  And you still get the Clarksons of this world whining that there are people in power out to get them.  If only!   

Hey, here's a song!

I'd like a ladder that's 100 litres in volume please...

Come on now, all you car owners and users…how many litres of boot space do you have?  No idea?  Of course you don’t, why would you? – unless you’ve sealed all the doors and windows with waterproof tape and filled it up with cooking oil or milk (that you’ve measured in advance) or something.  I guess you might have read some manufacturers guff at some point that told you.  Thing is that if you’re thinking about buying a car and want to know whether you can get that ladder / case / wheelchair / whatever in it you can forget it.  The various manufacturers’ and other websites don’t tell you.  Even the review videos on YouTube will talk about the number of litres of space in the back of a car like it might mean something to anyone.  You can of course compare one car with another – so you might find out that one amount of space measured in an utterly pointless way is bigger or smaller than the equivalent amount of space measured in the same utterly pointless way in another car – but it won’t tell you if you can get that actual physical thing in the damned car!

Actually, if you search for disability websites they can be some help in telling you if you might get a wheelchair in for example and they will give you some actual measurements in feet and inches or centimetres – but they seem to work by you putting in how big your wheelchair is and searching to find a car that will fit it.  But they tend not to let you search for the car you want and then see if a particular thing will go in it.  

So for me it was old school - as it often is.  Get the measurement of the thing and turn up to the car showroom with a tape measure to see if it'll fit.  I forgot the tape measure.  So in the modern super-duper everything on-line interconnected information age I’m measuring a boot in terms of how many lengths of A4 paper it is (I happened to have some on me) – so, I know I have 2 lengths of A4 and about a couple of inches in that particular car.  I then  measure the paper and compare that to the measurement I’ve been given of the actual thing when I get home…

You’d think that in this ‘competitive’ market some manufacturer might break ranks and try to provide this information in a way that was helpful to potential customers, but this is one small example of where the convenience of the manufacturer trumps the needs of the consumer.  And they all do it – no-one seems to have provided useful information even by accident.  This is the kind of thing that leads me to never understand how people can apparently take pleasure in buying stuff.  Mind you, this is a small example.  More to come!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

LIDL by LIDL I'm losing my love for you...

Just did a bit of shopping in LIDL.  As I left the woman on the till said 'hey, have a great day'.  I should have said 'my day was going ok thanks, until some mad woman in a supermarket threw all my shopping at me'.

I have heard of branches of LIDL where they don't throw your shopping at you but at the one in Gipton in Leeds it's clearly what they're told to do - throw it at the customer no matter what the item is ignoring the logistics of actually getting it out of the till area - and the size of the till area.  And the mood of the customer faced with a mad person throwing jars at them.

I may be becoming paranoid but it seems to me that there's a tendency for firms to think that they're doing you a big fat favour by allowing you to be their customers.  More on this at some point...  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Salad daze

Dear Bloggeteers

I've just joined the Green Party - Hurray for me. I'm feeling rather pleased with myself. Now I'll have to start going to meetings and badgering people and stuff though (not badgering in the sense of culling mind). Hopefully / probably. First up, I'd like everyone's human rights respected please - whadda hippy! But I'm a no nonesense punk hippy...

It's all very idealistic and nothing will change and all that - but it's a tiny move in the right (or rather libertarian left) direction.  I'm not embarrassed about it.  We can start (he says like he started the Green party hisself this morning...) by trying to get a couple more Green Councillors elected to Leeds City Council.  An MP would be good.  If we all whatever it is together we can do whatever it is we want to do - a bit.  See, an election winning slogan and I only joined a few minutes ago.  Inspired by the election...


Sunday, April 26, 2015

News from the future...

Got cross with the Blathersphere and its madness again on Friday to the extent that I bothered to complain to the BBC's 'Feeedback' programme yesterday...

Dear BBC Feedback,

Re reporting of Ed Miliband and the deaths in the Mediterranean...

Yesterday the Today programme spent some time reporting on something that a politician was apparently going to say later in the day.  It then went on to report on the reaction from the other parties to the thing that the politician was apparently going to say later in the day.  Later in the day other BBC news programmes reported what the politician had said and the various reactions to it.  Apparently the politician didn’t say exactly what he was expected to say (and that we’d been told he would say) and there were therefore further reports about the fact that the politician had said something slightly different later in the day to what it was said he was going to say when reported earlier in the day.

Might I suggest that news should perhaps be about things that have actually been said or have actually happened?   Or would that be a bit stuffy and old fashioned?

Yours sincerely

John Parkes

Sunday, January 25, 2015

It's been a while...

It's been a while since the last post (cue bugle).  That isn't to say that nothing has annoyed me or that I haven't noticed anything happening in the world but more that I've been doing other stuff - writing new songs for recording soonish for one thing...and recently sending emails to festival organisers saying 'put me on at your festival mate, oh go on!'   Must put some more songs on here for their delectation...

Mind you the internet hasn't half been full of blather recently.  Can it really be even worse than it was or have I just been paying more attention?  Perhaps not writing posts has been my contribution to my private campaign to stop idiots writing nonsense about stuff - Je suis Charlie Muslim, blah blah I don't have a clue, I've got an opinion on everything which I've formed from one email about a petition, how dare Live Aid raise money as people would (apparently) rather die than be patronised or be called 'African' by 'the West', I know everything about Ched Evans, the Daily Mail reports that his fiance paid their taxi fare recently, the Metro still can't spell and...oh, SHUT UP SHUT UP!  SHUT UP!!!  And that was all in another time far far away weeks ago... 

But I've been busy, or my opinion would be here just as useless as everyone else's self righteous, self important self regarding ignorant blather. 

But on the plus side I do have tickets to see Father John Misty!  And 999!