Sunday, February 18, 2007

First Bus

I think I've worked out the fare increases (or 'changes' as they like to call them) that First Bus use. They put the fares up on ordinary tickets by about 10% every 18 months. They also put up the cost of passes and pay in advance fares about 10% every 18 months but not , of course, at the same time. So, in a couple of weeks the 'First Seven' ticket goes up to £14. It was £10 in 2003 if I remember rightly. That's 40% in 4 years. Remind me what inflation was over the same period? Oh 2 and a bit percent eh?

Either they're providing us with a service thats worth half as much again as it was less than 4 years ago or they're a bunch of rip-off bandits. Not only that, but the head of First Bus is an anti-gay campaigner and one of those business types that New Labour want to 'influence the curriculum' in 'city academies.

Sometimes I really hope there is a Hell.

The Green Man

No, not a pub. that traffic light thing....again.

I was in Leeds the other day with a small child who is just learning how to cross the road properly. We crossed the road at pedestrian crossings several times during the course of the afternoon. Not once, thats NOT FUCKING ONCE were there less than two cars driving through the crossing after the green man came on. So, how do you teach that to a small child?

Teach the child that people in cars are cretins I guess and you should put bricks through their windows as part of the 'Respect Agenda'. Why do pedestrians not retaliate. I decided not to use my best Doc Welly foot due to the presence of said small child.

On the way home I watched the cars making illegal left turns off Roundhay Road into Harehills Lane. I was on the bus or I would have tried to stop them. I'd have asked them in a quiet, determined and hopefully malevolent way whether it was the arrows painted on the road, the multiple 'no left turn' signs or the pedestrian crossing with the green man showing that they felt least comfortable ignoring. Then I'd have crushed their car by dropping a house on it.

They really believe in recycling you know

Leeds City Council really believe in waste recycling you know. Why, we've even got a green bin.

They left a leaflet the other day saying that among other items it was OK to use the bin for paper and plastics number 1,2 + 4.

Within a week they put a big sticker on the top of the green bin saying that as far as paper and plastic were concerned it was only OK to put 'newspapers and magazines' and 'plastic bottles' in.

Simple question really - can you put paper and plastics 1,2 + 4 in or not? - Stupid fuckers.

I presume that the Council is relatively free of sleaze and corruption (except for 'HR' of course) if only because they CAN'T GET THEIR STORIES STRAIGHT!

A Word on Net Nannies

I may have mentioned this before but did you know that people who work for Councils never swear. Nor have they ever heard swearing. Either that or they've heard too much.

Whatever, someone chooses a list of words they aren't allowed to read and sets up an email system to block them. Someone who is being paid at your expense chooses a list of rude words that must be blocked. I say someone, I assume its actually a series of meetings. The Profanity Working Group or somesuch. Do they have seperate agenda items for 'cunt' and fuck' - or maybe they need the discussion time for 'stupid arseholes wasting their lives and our money on shite wastes of time - and money'?

Still, Council employees can spend hours helping you work out which rude words will get through. Scunthorpe anyone? (Hint, there's a 'cunt' in it!)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

You were caught on camera leaving the car-park...

Hey, I admit it. I did a very bad thing the other day - I left a car park. I was seen by a man with a camera who is employed, presumably, to watch for people erm, leaving the car park – which is just not allowed!

The Aireside ‘shopping centre’ in Leeds is having a crackdown. The deal is that you get free parking for an hour if you use the shops in the centre. Well, strangely I don’t have a particular problem with that. However, should you wish to combine a visit to the shops with the act of ‘leaving the car park’ then you’re in trouble. £10 to pay if you 'leave the car park'. So….if you have a look in Sound Control and they don’t have what you want and you decide to nip off to the bank, or if you decide to buy a £2,000 suite from MFI and need to nip to the building society to sort out the money or if you decide just to have a quick walk round then no way!

The man with the camera takes your registration number. If he sees you 'leave the car park' he calls the man at the barrier and the man at the barrier won’t let you out of the car park until you pay £10. They’re giving final warnings at the moment, keeping registration numbers on file. They’ll certainly be watching me if I go back.

Here’s my plan – this is a serious one not involving flame throwers or undue violence of any kind. I’m going to walk out of the car park. Then I’m going to come back in and buy something from Sound Control. That way I’ll have fulfilled my side of the bargain in that I’ll have used the shops in exchange for free parking. So, if they want to charge me £10 it’ll be purely for ‘leaving the car park’. I shall wave my receipt at Corporal Snicklegruber in the booth. If he doesn’t let me out then I really do turn into Michael Douglas in ‘Falling Down’ and the flamethrower comes out.

Sad fact is that men with security cameras who watch you and then tell you where you can and can’t go isn’t a surprising thing ‘these days’. Too many people will not be outraged but just go ‘ho-hum, yeah, that’s what it’s like these days.’ So, human rights, freedom of movement or ‘revenue protection’. Do I need to tell you which way modern society has chosen?

I’m reading Winston Churchill’s History of the Second World War at the moment. The man is currently revolving in his grave. He was Prime Minister you know. Involved in a big war for a concept called 'freedom', a world where you wouldn't be pushed around by idiots for no good reason, where you wouldn't be watched 24 hours a day. No-one gives a toss about it now of course, all quaintly old fashioned when there's moisturiser to buy (though not in the Airside shopping centre, one of its few advantages). "Never in the car park of human bureaucratic pettiness were so many pissed off so much by so few" - if only they were pissed off! Maybe that's unduly pessimistic, maybe a riot is brewing and the camera will be torn up and shoved up the arse of the person whose great idea this is.

Thing is that I'm going to be abandoning the car at the barrier and people are going to get pissed off with ME! I'm incoherent with rage and it hasn't happened yet!

Shopping List

Shoe polish, a pant whirler and bird fat...

Very occasionally I enjoy a shopping list (so long as it only involves visiting a maximum of 2 shops)

I also bought a copy of the ‘Christmas Books’ by Charles Dickens for £1.99. So I guess there is another side of the Chinese tat story….hate to admit it though.