Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our Jez again

Here's an interesting fact about the 'Clarkson insults India' row...

There are many more internet articles about this 'row' than there were complaints about the TV programme that caused the 'row'.

The world is full of shit and blather and people with nothing better to do than pretend there is 'controversy' where there is none.

Mind how you go...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Christmas / Last Christmas

For those of you who have been asking what a top international acoustic artiste does at Christmas I shall tell you what I'll be doing this year - taking lard to Cleethorpes. Yup...I shall be travelling to Cleethopes - and taking lard.

It doesn't get much better than that eh readers?

Incidentally, how does 'last Christmas I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away' work? Presumably this means that I fell in love with you at Christmas but on Boxing Day you somehow transferred this affection free of charge to another person? So am I now in love with someone else due to your actions? Would that be so bad after all? Oh well, I'll ponder that for another 20 years...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

99p calendar? That'll be £10.87 sir!

Now here’s a nice Christmas pressie idea for yer old Mum...A Vistaprint photo calendar on special offer. Upload your photos – 99p. That sounds OK doesn’t it? I guess they’ll send me spam and try to sell me stuff in future but that’s OK, that’s the deal. I might even have a look at what else they do and they might well make me a regular customer for loads of stuff. They might not, of course, but I’m presuming they’re taking this risk hoping it’ll work out for them - or having done lots of number crunching and market research. I got the info on a leaflet. And that’s all fine. What used to be known as a loss leader I believe...

However, it might be worth mentioning that the cheapest you can actually get one of these 99p calendars is by paying £4.89. That'll be £3.08 postage for a start...If you want it within 21 days that is of course. Plus some tax that they don't seem to have previously mentioned. If you want it within 7 days that’ll be £10.87 altogether. If I've worked it out correctly...which I may well not have as they want over 8 quid postage for that...

Incidentally, they add VAT to the total - including the postage. Now I may be wrong here but I thought they weren’t allowed to add VAT to postage. That’ll be why it’s called ‘shipping and processing’. My guess this is what stops them being prosecuted for breaking the law.

So that’s another company I don’t like then!

Thing is Vistaprint, if you have something I want I’ll pay for it. I like special offers and I understand that what you really want is more of my money – but don't tell me something costs 99p when it costs nearly 5 times that at a minimum. I might end up telling people you're a lying bunch of twats...

Now then, where can I buy gig tickets for the amount marked on the ticket?...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The triumph of technology / pantomime season

I’ve mentioned before how it seems we’re all screwed when the power goes off or the containers of cheap batteries fail to arrive from China. All kinds of mechanical things are powered by electricity that shouldn’t be, presumably to feed our obsession for gadgety novelty and to save us a tiny bit of effort (leaving aside the effort of buying the new cheap gizmo when the old one fails to work after 2 minutes). Here’s a related example of the over use of technology and what happens when it goes wrong...

I went to the local Co-op today. I picked up the last of double packs of some bread roll things – 63p. I took then to the till and they scanned the packet. The till came up with an error message. They tried again. And again. They tried another till. Nope, the system wasn’t having it. Barcode not recognised. So they asked me if there was anything else I wanted instead. ‘Not really’, I said, ‘I kind of came in for bread rolls and you have these, so I’d like these please’. Stalemate (No pun intended). They didn’t know what to do. The till wouldn’t let them sell them to me. What were they to do?

At this point I started getting slightly annoyed (in a polite way) and decided to give them some encouragement. ‘Look’ I said, ‘you’ve got some bread there with the price on; I’ve got the money here and this is a shop. Surely between us we can work out a way of doing this?’

In the end there was an obvious solution. Did you spot it? Yes, that’s right, of course you did – to sell me some matches at a discounted price!

The way it works is this – they must have an item to put through the till. And of course they can’t open the till without scanning an item. So, what do you do? Well, you scour the shop looking for an item that costs around the same price as the item you’ve got in your hand that you want to buy. The closest we could find was matches at 70p. So they put the matches through at a discounted price of 63p - they are allowed to discount it would seem - it’s just the selling of bread with the wrong barcode that’s forbidden I guess.

They handed me the bread and I was on finally on my way having completed the complicated transaction of handing over 63p to the people behind the counter of a shop that sells bread costing 63p.

Thanks to the wonderful modern foolproof stock-checking software the Co-op now have an extra multi-pack of matches they shouldn’t have, they’ve apparently lost a 7p discount on the deal – and there’s some missing bread somewhere. That's progress...

Getting a man in...

Well, here’s a difficult one. Lots of potential to be misunderstood here...But this is about an email that arrived a while back…It’s says that the “25th November is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women”. Blimey! That’s the first thing that struck me – an ‘International day to eliminate violence against women’. Well, if that could be done then I’m all in favour. But it’d be a hell of a big day wouldn’t it? Like eliminating poverty or greed or hunger or something. In a day. But let’s assume that the grandiose title really means ‘saying some stuff about an issue and getting a bit more publicity by calling it an ‘international day’. Fair enough I suppose.

The message goes on to explain that “The White Ribbon Campaign involves men in opposing violence against women. Please help us and encourage as many men as possible to come along on Friday 25th to show their support for this initiative or come along yourself!”

So, OK, there’s a campaign to involve men. So far so not so bad. They want men to come along. OK, I’ll consider it, tell me more – for a start what’s this white ribbon stuff? The poster attached to the email explains...“Men, Take the Pledge and Wrap a Tree!” What? Women are being beaten up and much worse all over the world and you want men to pledge and wrap trees? Mm, well OK, it’s a good cause, I’m still listening, tell me more...

The poster carries on to explain: “Men involved in the campaign are asked to pledge that they will not commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. We were the first city in England to achieve White Ribbon City status in November 2010. To celebrate our first year, we want everyone in Leeds to know that we are a White Ribbon City and what that means”.

So let me get this straight...Presumably you don’t think that the average wife beater will read this poster and decide to take the pledge? Presumably the flier isn’t pinned behind the bar at the betting shop or the Dog and Racist either? (or the golf club come to that) – so I guess this campaign is aimed at the likes of me is it? You want me to pledge not to be violent against women? For what reason exactly? Should I take a pledge not to mug little old ladies or drown kittens? Or to not do any other thing that I wasn’t actually inclined to do anyway? I suppose there’s the condoning and staying silent I guess I should try to stop anyone else mugging old ladies and drowning kittens too. OK...but why exactly am I pledging this? And who benefits from this pledge?

So I’m afraid I started to get a bit worried at this point – is this about making nice liberal men feel good about themselves by signing a pledge that says ‘what a good boy am I’?

Moving on...the flier further explains – “Meet at the Reginald Centre, Chapeltown for refreshments and the start of a gentle walk to wrap a tree with white ribbon and encourage men to take the pledge. ALL MEN PARTICULARLY WELCOME!”

Oh blimey, where do you start? I’m fine with a meeting point and refreshments. But a ‘gentle’ walk. Presumably the sort of men who are against male violence walk gently do they? Maybe I’m reading too much into this (because of the ribbons coming up possibly...) but is this for pale weak men who can only walk gently after refreshments have been served?

But then we’re going to wrap a tree with white ribbon are we? Well, no actually, we are not, I’m not turning up! If my wrapping a tree with white ribbon would stop a single man from doing a single bad thing to a woman then I’d do it, but it won’t, it’ll just make me look like some sort of fey new age namby pamby weirdo who wants to draw right-on attention to himself. Then we’ll all take the pledge...We can burn some incense and pray to Gaia and the Wiccan Goddesses while we’re at it. We could issue an apology to all our sisters on behalf of the men of the world. Mm...

Then we move on to the line ‘All men particularly welcome’ - in block capitals. Presumably Barry from C wing who nearly killed his pregnant girlfriend because she ‘wound him up’ would not be quite as welcome as some others? Maybe a bunch of scaffolders willing to build a platform round said tree and measure out how much ribbon would be needed for a 2 inch deep wrap would be more welcome, but let’s let that pass. But if this thing is about men gently walking and pledging (that reminds me, just look at the dust in ‘ere) and wrapping trees, then why say that men would be particularly welcome? Almost as if men are unlikely to attend? I wonder why? Maybe because they’re just utter bastards who hit women. Or maybe they’re mostly just people who don’t want to wrap ribbons round trees to no useful purpose. Unfortunately there’s nothing in this event to actually attract men, at least not most men or even large numbers of men.

There’s never been a ‘men’s movement’ (leaving aside various slightly questionable types I guess) because blokes just can’t be arsed and don’t like doing that sort of stuff. That’s not so say they condone or excuse violence against women but men generally need a target, a challenge, something specific to do.

So to summarise this particular man’s reaction - If you put on an event to wrap trees in ribbon then you’re likely attract the sort of people that will tie ribbons round trees. So I didn’t go. Sorry.

But let’s not be negative...Let’s look for a positive...

I guess the ‘international day’ might persuade the odd lazy journalist to report it and so it might help raise the issue.

And to finish on a high - I noticed that the white ribbon campaign also organised a ‘High Heels Walk’ (for men) – Now that’s more like it! It was in Hebden Bridge – oh bollocks! Not Rotherham then? But leaving that aside, why is this loads better? – Well I think it’s because men do like to muck about. So maybe this is a way to show that men do care about the issue without turning them into New Age hippies. This kind of lark might actually get blokes involved. Let’s er, skirt over the issue of cross-dressing. So here’s part of the report from the local paper:

“THEY tottered and they towered over shoppers - the men of Hebden Bridge have once more pulled on their heels to strut their stuff around the town. Each year the White Ribbon campaign calls on men to titter and totter around the town’s cobbles to raise awareness of domestic violence. Some went further and donned dresses and wigs to add a splash of glamour to the day organised by the Mytholmroyd-based charity. Councillor James Baker from Hebden Royd Council cut the ribbon and then heels clattering against the cobbles with cheering from onlookers. The group of 12 brave men and boys tackled the streets of Hebden Bridge and the issue of domestic abuse by walking a mile in their heels. Onlookers gave their support to the men and helped raise £600 for the campaign”.

So there you go. Check out the website -

I’m on their side. But no gentle walks to tie ribbons to trees please...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Senior Integrated Communications...

Job adverts continue to be entertaining...I fondly imagine that the people who write some job specs are fully aware of what they’re doing and that they sling huge quantities of bullshit and nonsense management speak in just to see if they can get away with it, to see if anyone notices or dares an Emperor’s New Clothes moment. The idea that people actually take this stuff seriously is surely too frightening to contemplate...

Anyway, here are some recent examples from a job vacancy for a “Senior Integrated Communications Officer”. That doesn’t sound so bad surely? I’ll attempt some sort of possible translation as we go along...

Their role will be “to generate, analyse and disseminate stakeholder intelligence across the communications directorate and to other colleagues within the department” - Disseminate stakeholder intelligence eh? Perhaps that means ‘telling people stuff’?

They’ve helpfully included a list of “Key Accountabilities for the role”. That’ll mean being accountable for the keys then I expect...Or perhaps not.

Anyway, here are a few other things this bod will be doing if they get the job...

They’ll be using various means “to gather intelligence about the mood, activities, opinions of key stakeholder e.g. staff representative groups and professional bodies, the national media” – ‘Listening to what people are saying’? – Or maybe they’re spying on colleagues?

“Creating user-friendly mechanisms to share this insight with colleagues” – ‘Passing information on to people’? Funny how it's become 'insight' all of a sudden though eh?

“Building on existing stakeholder intelligence systems such as the Communications Temperature Checker to meet future needs within the communications directorate and wider Department” - Blimey! Maybe ‘tell people this stuff in the same way as we do now’? I wonder if they'd show me their 'Communications Temperature Checker’ if I show them mine?

“Championing the use of intelligence in communications planning and strategy” – Presumably this must be ‘Arguing that the stuff you’re collecting is worth collecting (or you’ll be out of a job)’?

“Supporting senior members of the team to deliver communications about pensions reform to staff. This will be vital as elements of the reform ratchet up over next 6 months and will also entail feeding into the Departments industry relations policy group” – Well this one is a corker eh?! Presumably that translates as ‘you’ll be helping management screw your colleagues by taking their money’ then?

Among the experience and skills required are “A sound understanding of the full range of communication disciplines including PR, marketing, internal and external communications, stakeholder management and e-communications” – That’s another easy one – ‘you must be absolutely full of shit’.

I didn’t apply for this one...

Friday, December 02, 2011

Jeremy Clarkson explained

Since most of this blog's readers are from outside the UK I thought I'd better explain...

There's this bloke in the UK called Jeremy Clarkson. He pretends to be an idiot blokey bloke (a kind of Homer Simpson parody of a 'typical guy' I guess) who's hopeless at most things but likes to drive very expensive cars too fast. He co-presents a television programme called 'Top Gear'. They fake footage (like pretending he's in a car while the army fires live bullets through it) and he pretends he has no social conscience for comic effect - and presumably to wind up people who do have a social conscience but have no sense of humour (or humor...)

Sometimes these jokes are quite funny and one likes to think that on occasion at least he's sending himself up. He makes a good living out of doing this. He's 'controversial'. I mean that he's generally controversial in that tired and predictable lazy comedian way.

So for example, not only does he still complain about caravans (trailers?) on the road (even though you hardly see them and there is so much traffic over there that they hardly slow the traffic at all anyway) but he's likely to say that all caravan owners are, oh, I dunno 'people who wet the bed' or something. And he's likely to say that all caravans should be burned or all their owners should have their portable gas bottles stuck up their arses (that'll be asses) and exploded. You get the picture. Sometimes funny, often not funny, caricature right wing views, extreme in that right over the top 'massive exaggeration is automatically funny' type way.

There was a one day strike of public sector workers over here. They object to the government's financial deficit being paid off by cutting their pensions. Billions of pounds of taxpayers money was given to banks who I'm pretty sure are now giving it away to their shareholders. People who move money from screen to screen seem to be valued very much more that people who do things like looking after elderly people and children and so on. Anyway...

Our Jeremy was on a television programme to plug his new DVD (I think it was called 'Crash Bang Wallop What a DVD' - sorry, that's a joke none Alan Partridge fans). The presenters asked him about the strike having warned the audience that he was 'controversial'. He said that the strike was great because it kept the traffic down but as it was the BBC he'd have to be balanced and say something negative about the strike. So he said that the stikers should be taken out and shot in front of their families.

So...a poor joke for a start 'they should be taken out and shot' is a very old line on a par with 'string 'em up, it's the only language they understand'. So one would think the obvious reaction to this would be a shrug and a 'mm, Jeremy's not on very good form'. No further comment you would think.

But unfortunately we're suffering from a number of social maladies. One is that people seem to be waiting to be offended. A second is that this is encouraged by the media, in particular the popular newspapers. Related to this is the fact that too many people have a very low tolerance of anything, and stupid people are encouraged to express their lack of understanding and their stupidity through all kinds of modern methods. People who have so little sense of humour that they don't even recognise a poor joke are also apparently extremely sensitive to any offence of any kind anywhere and feel it is their duty to complain. They also (ironically) demand retribution in the most outrageous and extreme ways. So for example they will call for a person to be sacked because they made a poor bad-taste joke.

So...trades unions actually looked into taking legal action against him. For saying that 2 million people should be shot in front of their families! Thousands of people piled in afterwards to 'complain' to the BBC. I even heard the suggestion that children would be frightened because this programme went out at 7pm and they 'could have been watching'- and might have taken this all seriously. Anyone familiar with the work of Chris Morris (Brass Eye for example) would have been hooting with laughter by this point.

So, it all kicked off. The national news headlines became an utter joke. The BBC, instead of saying nothing or 'please stop complaining you're making yourselves look like pompous babies' apologised. They do this a lot these days. It seems that if anyone on television says anything remotely offensive (or possibly offensive) they will be censored and / or sacked. The BBC is still well respected over here and seeing it kowtow to pettiness and damage free speech is well, disappointing to say the least.

I heard an interview with a representative of one of the trades unions who had decided not to proceed with any legal action not because they were sorry that they'd acted like babies or over reacted or believed they'd be humiliated in court or realised they were behaving like pompous humourless idiots - but because Jeremy Clarkson had publicly apologised.

This story took over huge swathes of the national media. Not since the royal wedding was our national broadcaster so trivialised and humiliated.

Right, well, I've run myself into the ground on this one. It seems the world is now ruled by morons or pranksters with Twitter accounts whipped up by the parts of the media who are mad as hell that a publicly funded organisation does it better than they do.

The most worrying thing is the lack of perspective and proportion. It looks ages for anyone to say 'look at this, this is madness, just stop it'. Television executives and editors and whatnot should make judgements about what is news and what is meaningless blather. They should be able to differentiate between the voice of the people and the twitter of idiots. They're getting it wrong far too often.

That's far too much on this. Sorry...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Johnery Plarkestone says

Johnery Plarkestone says sack (and shoot) everyone who says anything silly while promoting their new product - then shoot the infantalised nappy whingers childish enough to take offence! Mummy, mummy, that man wants to kill you in front of me - I'm frightened - SACK HIM!!! HOUND THE BBC! CALL THE POLICE! NEVER GROW UP!!!

My God this is horrible! Childish whingers get het up over bloke in the pub type comment, lose all perspective and burst their over tight nappies all over the BBC and the media, presumably in an effort to shift Jeremy Clarkson product in time for Christmas.

Is the word 'perspective' or 'proportion' in the English dictionary any more? Just look at yourselves people!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Raise your glasses to Raise Your Banners

Yup, raise your glasses to Raise Your Banners! What am I on about? Well, I sent off a song to people who champion political songwriting - it still exists? Answer, yes! Certainly among the Raise Your Banners people anyway...

I haven't done my research properly but it looks like I'm playing a song on this coming Saturday (26th) at a thing called ‘Our Songs, Our Voices, Our Lives’ concert

Google 'Raise Your Banners Bradford' and check it out folks...

I'm playing just one song I think - but it's a good one and it's a brand new one - and there's loads of other good stuff on too...

Lianne is lovely!

You may have noticed that I don’t really do fan stuff on this ‘ere blog. But I want to let you know that I met Lianne La Havas the other day – and she was lovely. I didn't have to make an appointment or get hassled by security - just wandered up for a chat.

She was on Jools Holland’s show recently and is one of them singers that is so good that they transcend the genre barrier. Great songs too...Went to see her at the Nation of Shopkeepers in Leeds - £4 a ticket. So there – check her out before you can’t afford the tickets. Won't be long.

Ed has good song!

It’s weird when you don’t have any context for music that you hear. That’s the place I live people! I hear stuff but I pay no attention to the look or lifestyle package or biog nonsense.

So here I am to tell you that despite being on the ‘Now’ series of grindingly awful and soul destroying music compilations and getting played on Capital on the radio (OK, that’s context) Ed Sheeran’s ‘The A Team’ is a great song. There, I’ve said it! There’ll be all kinds of ‘reasons’ for his success but you have to remember that you can’t beat a great song as a starting point.

It's been around for ages hasn't it? I don't claim to be up to date...

A bloody good job!

Hey, here’s a good job that came up recently – “Recruitment Sales executives needed to start ASAP across the UK - Apply today to secure interview next week”.

You get 18 to 25 thousand pounds a year apparently - but here are the 'benefits'-

“Monthly lunch clubs at top restaurants, Aston martins, Rolex watches, days out and international holidays plus bonuses”.

Did I miss the line where it said 'utter wankers needed'? You can just imagine the poor deluded souls learning to be conmen persuaded by the lure of the tiny, tiny chance that they might get a posh watch...

Dyson Hoover Service Lunatic Calling!

Another weird modern phenomenon is revealed by our mistake in buying a Dyson Hoover a couple of years back (yeah, I did say Hoover, it's a matter of principle really to mis-represent brands...)

In my crazy old fashioned world you buy a Hoover and use it. If it breaks you either get it fixed or buy a new one. You hope it'll last 30 years like they used to, but expect it to last only 5 due to improvements in design and manufacture introduced over the last couple of decades.

So we bought a Dyson and now we get these lunatics ringing up asking how it is and if it's 'been good for you' and stuff. They then offer to 'service' it for us at £40a pop (or £40 a pop reduced to something tempting like £15) They're going to come round, look at the Hoover and take money off us. They don't threaten disaster like Yorkshire Water and their 'hey, leedle old laydee, your pipes gunna burst and we won't feeex it' but they do apparently expect to be taken seriously. They don't appear to be Dyson themesleves (or I'd tell them not to be so smug about 'design' as the clip that's supposed to hold the sucky pipe thing doesn't work)but firms touting for business.

Well, if they can come and check the coffee mugs and settee are OK I might have 'em round. Floor's looking a bit worn...

Branded on my own...

I keep being told (via spam) that if I don’t use the proper printer ink things could go horribly wrong – in addition to the hurt, bemused and indignant messages from the Epson printer itself I mean. Well now it’s the paper too – 'original Epson Paper'. It’s the perfect combination apparently – how could I have been so stupid to think that paper was paper and printer ink was printer ink eh? They must think I'm a special person who uses special paper...Imagine by the way Esso trying to convince you to only buy their petrol because any other brand will probably wreck your car. Actually they probably do if I paid attention.

I also had one of those talks from a sales person about anti-virus software recently – only the one they were selling is any good of course – I can’t remember which one it was but it was one of those that hijack your computer and send you hundreds of unwanted messages and threaten you with stuff. Yeah, Norton, that was them…

You have to be a halfwit to be a fan of ‘brands’ of course but it really is a special kind of ‘brand’ that makes you actively hate them – so congratulations, Epson, Firstbus and Norton. Mind you, I do quite like the singing passengers waltzing on the bus without paying – very much like getting the number 49 through Harehills, I’m sure you’d agree.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Follow the instructions on the card!

Another in my series of sour reflections on being unemployed...I turned up to Southern House on York Road in Leeds to sign on as unemployed. They gave me an appointment card which told we where and when to go to sign on. If you miss appointments they automatically finish your claim of course so it's important you get this right. The appointment card had an address in Stourton on it - sort of in Leeds but in the kind of motorway junction industrial nowheresville a few miles out of town.

Reasoning that they were idiots I ignored the address on the appointment card and turned up to Southern House again at the next designated appointment time - this was of course the right place. But what if I hadn't known that there was no way that people were going to Stourton to sign on? What if I hadn't known that the Post Office (or Royal Mail or whatever they are) have a big office there and that if I turned up I'd find myself at the post office depot? But this is the card they give to everyone - people who don't necessarily know all this stuff.

So, we have a large, bureacratic and systems based organisation which insists on its clients getting times and dates and places right or they won't get any money - they're handing out appointment cards to first time users giving them a list of times and dates and an address which is specifically not the place where they want people to go.

In a related matter they give you appointment times. They consistently run 25 minutes behind these times. Another good example to the great unwashed eh?

I've heard of them and they're a charity!

I used to work in 'the third sector' i.e. in a charity. They employ 600,000 people in the UK or something. When I became unemployed I had to sign a piece of paper to say that I'd check the Department of Work and Pensions job website everyday or something like that. It doesn't even have a section for 'charities' 'voluntary organisations' or 'the third sector'. I think the nearest they had was the civil service. They put this down on my official card thing.

You used to be able to browse job cards in the job centre so you could look in 'other sections' and you'd never know what would come up. But now you go to a website or computer terminal which throws up either zero or about 3,000 jobs depending on how you search. It's apparetnly better that way. When you sign on it also takes about 15 people to do what one or two did a few years back. This is because they have to interview you. I mentioned 'charities' and one 'advisor' mentioned I could try Oxfam. I think this is because he'd heard of them and that they were a charity.

Generous benefits

Hey people, have you heard about the 'generous benefits' that apparently attract hundreds of thousands of immigrants to Britain. I'm signing on as unemployed and get 60 something quid a week - for 6 months. After that I'll get a fat nowt. I've been paying the government for this for years now and that's all I get. Just thought I'd let you know. I say they should crack down on me and give the 60 quid to the banks.

Remember the ALMO

Here's another rubbish recruitment practice...A number of adverts have come up for jobs that appear to be in Leeds City Council - or the 'ALMOs' that were set up to decrease tenants rights and generally to pretend that they're a nasty private landlord and not the democratically elected Council. So the first question is why are they paying an outside firm to advertise jobs? I advertised a small number of jobs in my last job and it cost precisely nothing - and we got loads of applicants.

The second question is around who is eligible to apply. One of their essential criteria is 'enhanced CRB check in place'. So that's anyone who doesn't know what this is or doesn't have one ruled out. I do have one as it happens and as far as I'm aware they're not transferable, so they'll need to get one for the successful applicant anyway. I noticed one job dealing with adaptations for disabled people. I thought of all the people (myself included) who could apply. Perhaps someone with a disability themselves or someone from an advocacy group - or just someone with a brain who can listen to people and find out what they need, cross reference it with what's realistically available and take it from there. So what's the next essential criteria? It's "Minimum of 12 months experience of working in an environment that deals with adaptations for disabled people, preferably within a large (ideally public sector) organisation" So that'll be someone who's either already doing this job or has done this job then.

A cynic might think that this looks like theis advert is for people applying for their own job in 'not the Council' but it certainly means that a load of people who might be great at the job can't apply.

As it happens I've dealt with hundreds of Council tenants but I can't apply for any of these jobs because I've never done it in a housing department.

Am I bitter? Yeah! I don't make enough money from music to give up work completely and these people seem to be wasting everyone's time. I smell a rat! Call the man from the ALMO!

Feedback Sir?

Another example of shitty behaviour in the ‘job market’. I had an interview last Tuesday for an admin job. They turned me down later that afternoon – by email. A brief one at that. Presumably someone is too busy, cowardly or impolite to bother to talk to people who’ve applied and done an interview and read up about their organisation and spent bus fare getting there and whatnot. I guess it’s possible I missed the call.

The email did say they’d be happy to provide feedback so I telephoned on Wednesday morning. The person I needed to speak to was ‘in a meeting’ so I left my number (which they have on the application form anyway) and asked them to call back. No call on Wednesday. Or Thursday. Or Friday. They must have forgotten clearly. Or they’re too busy. Or they just don’t like the idea and don’t feel they have to. It might even be the modern way. I’m sooo tempted to say that I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway that I’m going to say it…ahem…I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. There, I said it. Sloppy or cowardly – just rubbish! Not getting a job is one thing, but they should at least act like decent people, particulary when they're running a 'community' organisation.

Tired out after 15 hours...

I maintain that job adverts, recruitment, HR and the like are full of shite. They fuck up all the time but are never to blame for anything. Small things you might say - but annoying nonetheless. I’ve been meaning to copy up some of my ‘looking for a job experience’ for a while. Here’s a couple of small examples.

For example…I got an email today for a jobsite I signed up to. It had an admin job on it. First time it had come up. I decided to have a look. It’s ‘expired and cannot be applied for’. That’s at 7pm. They sent the email this morning – at 4am it seems. But that means that the time between the beginning of the advert and the job ‘expiring’ is less than 15 hours. Perhaps it got tired being on the internet all day and pegged out. Or someone fucked up. People looking for a job think there’s one they could apply for but there’s not. But because recruitment people and organisations are incompetent it ‘cannot be applied for’. It’s no big deal. It’s just another small 2 fingers up from ‘professionals’.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Keep safe children!

I just bought a new Walkman. No, it’s not a cassette based Walkman if you’re asking. And, yes I do know I could probably just have a phone that does everything with downloaded ‘apps’ and all that. But I have a new Walkman and that’s that.

I installed all the software on the computer and whatnot and thought I’d read ‘important information’ from the user guide. So, just so you know, one piece of important advice / information says ‘do not place player in fire’. Also...’Do not pour water or put any foreign object in the player’. Oh, and ‘Do not put any heavy object on top of the player or apply a strong shock to the player’.

So there you go – don’t burn it, throw it in a bucket of water or hit it with a hammer - damn! It's 'elf and safety gorn mad and no mistake...

In another part of the guide it says 'Be careful not to drop the player into a sink or other container filled with water'. Thanks Sony, just in time there!

I also quite like 'When using a strap (not supplied), be careful to avoid catching it on objects you pass by. Furthermore be careful not to swing the player by the strap to avoid bumping people'.

So there you go - it's a dangerous world people...

Equal Opportunities

I've been applying for jobs. Most have an equal opportunities form to fill in and submit with the application. They ask questions that may or may not be relevant or helpful. However, leaving that aside this one 'ere asks about sexuality. Am I Heterosexual, Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay or 'other'? Much discussion ensues about what 'other' might mean...I suppose if one were only interested in sex with animals that would be 'other'...Or perhaps I've missed something...

Authentically Italian

Got an advert through the door for a local takeaway - the Taj Mahal. How do they promote themselves? – “The best pizza in Leeds”. Say no more

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tinchy fails to rescue Man U...

I was channel hopping earlier today and caught the last few minutes of Celtic Vs Manchester United on ITV 4. Couldn't quite work out what sort of match it was - but Man U lost 5-2 - despite bringing Tinchy Stryder on for the last 5 minutes!

Turned out to be a cherriddy type match - Cost me a five quid text for East Africa. Good for me. Good for them (despite Man U being, you know, Man U). But only a 5 out of 10 for the Stryder lad...

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Signing on

I've just been signing on as unemployed. If you can stand it I'm going to tell you a bit about it when I get time. Look out it won't be pretty!

Damn your arrogance, juice face!

It was Alexei Sayle who said a good few years ago that there were too many adjectives in food. And so there are in marketing (of food especially). But these days it seems products are pretty much alive / human - and they're coming to get you! I do YouGov surveys and they occasionally include questions in their surveys that certainly hint at marketing people wanting to know what the old YouGov on-line panel (if that’s what it is) think of products.

So...a couple of examples.

Google Chrome is a search engine apparently. I’ve seen the logo. I think some Microsoft product or other will have tried to get it installed through some underhand method while I’ve not been watching. I’ve resisted it so far. Ordinary Google seems to work. But having an opinion on it is like getting on a train and having an opinion on the locomotive – for geeks only, unless it breaks down constantly I suppose in which case the name of the bad ‘un might eventually seep into some wider consciousness.

I was asked in a survey ‘which of the following words would you use to describe Chrome’. The list included a few that might make sense to someone who had an opinion – perhaps even someone who actually uses the thing. But for every ‘easy to use’ or ‘fast’ there was an ‘empowering’ or a ‘cool’. There was also ‘modern’, ‘elegant’ and ‘beautiful’. Blimey. Presumably there’ll be some wannabe marketing wonk somewhere who thinks a search engine can be ‘empowering’ but you would want to talk to them would you?

But even better than Tropicana fruit juice. What do I think of Tropicana fruit juice? Well, I’m sure it’s OK, I’ve seen it in shops but it’s not with the cheap stuff so I’d be really surprised if it didn’t cost a lot. It’s fruit juice.

I drink fruit juice. Fruit juice by any other name would be just, you know, fruit juice. I don’t really have an opinion. Ask me if I have an opinion on the relative merits of fruit juice and I might tell you that one costs more and tastes a bit nicer maybe but I’d also say that the cheapest is usually fine so just buy that and get on with your life.

But someone wants to know how much I agree or disagree with no less than 19 adjectives relating to er, fruit juice. There are one or two where you can see that there might be some point in asking – so I’ll let them off ‘ethical’ and ‘natural’. I can see that you might see their juice as being produced in a nice cuddly ethically aware way (at least compared to some other juice perhaps) and perhaps one might form the opinion that it's less processed and in some way and therefore more ‘natural’ than other juices. All fairly reasonable so far. I might even let them off ‘responsible’, ‘simple’ or ‘boring’. But here are some more attributes of this particular juice on which to agree or disagree – how about ’arrogant’, ‘childish’, ‘creative’ or ‘straight talking’?!

I mean how many times does someone smash their fist into the wall and say ‘I’m sick of that damned arrogant juice and its childish attitude’ to be answered with ‘oh leave it alone Barry, it’s just creative and straight talking that’s all. If you get to know it you’ll find it’s genuine, friendly, innovative, intelligent and interesting’

At the risk of stating the obvious it's none of those thigns. It's orange juice. Anyone who thinks it's got a personality belongs in the deepest depth of despair and degradation where language and life itself has no meaning - Advertising...Or did it become 'marketing' at about the same time Personnel bloated out to strangle the company and became 'HR'? It'll have a swish new name by now won't it...

Not bullshit, no way!

Now I’m not going to slag off the people I reported to in my most recent job. Course not. However, I will pass on the following information and let you make up your own minds...

They joined Twitter. They recently tweeted that they were, and I quote, “interested in learning more using collective leadership to make transformational change”

So there you go! That'll sop the kids smoking. This came from Steph too...

Nose job condolences

Here’s a link to follow if you’d like to laugh at the inadequacy of your fellow human beings (and we all love to do that don’t we!?)-

I suggest putting the music on and taking a look through some of the pages. You’ll never feel sorry for your own sorry empty life ever again! Yeah, I know, 2 sorrys, not very eloquent...

In case you’re too lazy, busy or worried to check it out it’s on on-line book of condolence for the Princess of chucking yourself down the stairs and making everyone turn into morons (not that that was her fault of course).

The weird thing is that people are still adding messages...

Oh blimey...this isn’t the only Diana tribute site either. Best not to look at the internet...I blame Steph - she's my Manager you know.

Here's a brief related thought...Why do people still not mention her obvious nose job? That's Princess Diana, not Steph, most of you won't know her. No nose job so far as I know...that's Steph, not Princess Diana...who obviously did have a nosejob...

Merry Christmas!

I noticed a telly advert for Christmas on a week or two ago but it was for a thing where you save to buy from a catalogue or something so I let it off. Can't really complain about people saving up for Christmas from July. However, Matalan is today (that's TODAY - 7th August) stocking massive cuddly reindeer, snowmen and wrapping paper (or 'giftwrap' as it's now universally referred to by the people who flog it) so that's 'proper'.

No-one likes this. Christmas is absolutely mental and we shouldn't have it. So there.

Not being Mister Fashion (and I'll give you an arguement about that whenever you like...) I do buy pants in Matalan. But not trousers (sorry US citizens). They only have short legged trousers with massive waists! Perhaps I'd have better luck with George as ASDA...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Come on toilet users!

Is it just me? I think that toilets in cafes should have a sign up saying ‘weeing only please’. I mean, what kind of person goes for a dump in a cafe toilet? Go at home before coming out! Not only is it smelly (and I’d like my cafe to smell of nice coffee, cakes and other yummy food thank you) but have they paid any attention at all to the fact that when I come out of the toilet the person waiting to go in will think it’s me that‘s made it all smelly?! I can’t come out saying ‘the smell wasn’t me you know’! It just won’t wash. But do wash...after having a wee only, OK?

Free stuff for money!

People really are buying into this ‘I paid for free stuff’ thing. I’ve lost count of the number of people who say how much they pay for how many ‘free texts’. What’s the matter with them? I paid 60p and got a free Mars bar – yippy do!

On the train last weekend they said you would get ‘complimentary food and drink’ if you paid £25 to upgrade to first class. That’s £25 for ‘free’ coffee and biscuits. Brilliant. Mind you, they also described first class as ‘sumptuous’– twice!

Whether this is part of one of those witheringly stupid marketing things that they make their staff say to humiliate themselves (I mean they’re actually there – they can see how ‘sumptuous’ it is as well as the rest of us!) or whether the ‘catering manager’(or whatever they call them) had gone off on one and decided to take the piss I don’t know...


All the roads are too busy all the bleedin' time. Has no-one noticed that it takes much longer to get anywhere than it did 20 years ago? - tell people the National Express Coach from Leeds to London was scheduled for 3 1/2 hours but often got in early and they won't bloody believe you!

I still remember how brilliant the tanker driver's strike was...The streets came alive with people and you could hear yourself think - and you could get across the road in just a few seconds.

Now which politician will suggest myabe a 70% reduction in traffic over the next 20 years?

Public Transport Again

In London last weekend I notice that they take their public transport a bit more seriously than in Leeds where we’ve been abandoned to gridlocked traffic and the tender mercies of Firstbus. Not only did it all seem to work but I went on a tube ride, followed by another tube ride followed by a good few stops on the Docklands Light Railway and it cost £1.90 – the same as a three mile Firstbus from my house into Leeds.

Get the government to come and live here for a bit...Mind you, as long as we get that tram they promised at the bottom of our road by the end of 2007...Anyone want to bet when they drop the trolleybus scheme? Maybe they’ve done that already and sneaked out the news when no-one as looking?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Just when I thought (yet again) that nothing of note could happen at the swimming pool anymore, not only was there an incident today - but this time it was me who was the miscreant!

Not in this case any of that tackle waving / aggressive scrotal towelling sort of behaviour that I do like to go on about...but what did I do – well, I threw my wet trunks at a teacher! And hit him! By that I mean I hit him with the wet trunks, I didn’t smack him with wet trunks and go in swinging in with my naked fists afterwards. But I did smack him with wet trunks!

Unfortunately I do have to admit that it was an accident – I was throwing my trunks from the shower area to where I was about to get dried / changed – and he walked into the line of fire. I was trying to get a bottle of shampoo and some soap away from the shower as well as said trunks. I wasn't going to start throwing bottles of shampoo about...Sorry sir!

And how do I know he was a teacher you might ask? Well, he was with a class of kids you see...

Oh My Space!

I’ve got 14 new friends on myspace today – and I knew nothing about it. I know none of them and care about them hardly at all. This’ll be why no-one uses myspace anymore I suppose.

Hey, this looks like a Tweet! I'm not starting that one unless I get really bored - which ironically would make any tweets rather boring I'd guess...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More top job ads

Next up is an advert for a ‘Project Implementation Executive / Project Manager’. That sounds exciting doesn’t it...let’s find out more...

”Our client was established in 1989 as a specialist provider of bespoke fleet solutions, concentrating on the provision of innovative management services for mid to large corporate entities".

I think this might mean ‘we’re a car hire company’...But in an attempt to find meaning in gaseous emmission let's have a look at what the job involves...

Well, “the main purpose of this role is to be responsible for leading and managing customer implementations and developing relationships with new and existing customers to form the foundation of a successful ongoing contract. Within this role your main responsibilities will include leading and managing customer implementations, project managing all aspects of the implementation process including leading meetings, ensuring project deadlines are met, documenting tasks and allocating roles / responsibilities and creating, managing and delivering the entire project scope and the seamless transfer into our account management teams. You will also be expected to manage internal resources and build effective relationships with team members, proactively manage customer expectations and timescales and communicate with key internal and external stakeholders whilst continually enhancing / developing the company's reputation as a quality service provider”.

So now you know! They could have put 'being good at hiring cars to people' but that would have been too quick and easy to understand I guess...I wish I could manage customer implementations – and deliver the entire project scope of course. They don’t say how big a delivery truck would be needed though.

One final thing – they want to employ someone who can ‘hit the ground running’! Hurray!

I’d definitely give them a name check but I didn’t copy that bit.

Top Jobs from Top Companies

I came across a couple of jobs today. First up is a ‘Multimedia Creative Assistant’. The company advertising this job (‘Nunwood’) has so they say "been uniquely designed to help clients lead their businesses using astute, visionary insight firmly linked to action and return”.

Golly, that’s good isn’t it?!

Not only that but they’re “based out of hubs in North America, Europe and APAC, we work alongside the research, marketing and strategy functions at many of the world's most inspirational brands. To do this, we employ a mixture of smart-technology, ROI-focused services and some of the best business thinkers in the industry”.

There's more...“by redefining the role of a customer insight agency, Nunwood's unique structure and approach has earned 'top agency' status and numerous awards”.

And you thought advertising people were a bunch of tossers didn’t you!?

Finally, if anyone should ever ask you to define the word 'oxymoron', try the phrase 'the world's most inspirational brands'...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Britain's got stupidity - and a limited vocabulary

Another great thing that happened on holiday (in Majorca by the way) was watching Britain's Got Talent on a big telly with a load of other Brits (I told you it was an ironic holiday) to hear Amanda Holden say that someone's song was "kind of anthem...'ic'...if that's such a word"

Hey Amanda, yup, there's a word called 'anthemic'. That is such a word! This reminded me of that singer / songwriter bloke who went on BGT and played one of his own songs. Amanda screwed up her little ageing badly face and asked him if he could 'play something we know' - and he did. That his talent might be writing his own songs never seemed to occur. The trouble is that had he pointed out to her that she's a bit thick and doesn't even grasp what is supposed to be the raison d'etre for the show she's a judge on it wouldn't have been broadcast.

At least none of the contestants I've seen have less talent than her though.

In the end of course one should get off the telly, get off the internet, get off the sofa and get a life...

Lady Gogo!

I’ve been on holiday. An ironic holiday obviously...Highlight of the week (apart from the Dutch Beatles tribute act) has to be watching a Lady GaGa tribute act from Essex! – partially obscured by owls!

She'd been on 'Snog, Marry, Avoid' too apparently. Dare I suggest 'avoid'?

It may ruin it a bit to explain but she was on after the kids owl show - so I couldn't see her properly for owls...

Zippy or no zippy?

It’s been a while since I had any update on etiquette from ‘the locker room’ but I have a brief note from today. I was getting changed after swimming. I needed to use the urinal. I had my trousers on but hadn’t done the zip up. It was a walk of maybe 20ft to the urinal. Should I do the zip up for the 20foot walk only to undo it a few seconds later? Or should I leave it, there being no point in awkwardly doing up the zip only to undo it a moment later (to do it up again a short while after that). Which way did I go? Well, I thought ‘it would be stupid to do the whole zippy / unzippy thing' - so I strode the few paces across the changing room with zip noticeable open.

Well, sad to say it felt really wrong. The whole ‘don’t walk around with your trousers undone’ training I’ve been undertaking since childhood kicked in and it just felt plain wrong. I’ll try it the other way round next time and let you know...

Incidentally, I would have gone to the loo earlier since you ask, but that would have involved that whole 'standing at the urinal in bare feel and dripping' thing which really doesn’t feel right either.

I’m not sure I mentioned the bloke urinating in the shower through his swimming shorts? This was I should say on a previous occasion, not on one action packed Sunday morning...In theory I shouldn’t object to this as it all goes down the same drain after all. However given the choice one must urinate in the urinal, wash one’s hands and then get in the shower, even if each activity is spaced within a few feet of the others.

Bus drivers are ace!

Just a quick congratulations from a few days ago to the Firstbus driver in Leeds (on either a 49 or 50 since you ask) who refused to open the door of his bus for a total of three people waiting at the stop ('the Light' since you ask) to get on his bus and one waiting to get off it! (I was one of the people waiting to get on) – He’d shut the doors after stopping you see, ready to pull away - and though he wasn't physically able to do this (so was still at the bus stop) he had shut the doors. So he would have had to press the door button once to open the doors and again to close them afterwards. Much easier to let 3 people wait ages for another bus and to let an elderly woman off at the wrong stop!

Old fashioned bloody minded miserable shit mean bastard attitude! I bet he felt much better afterwards!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Crikey Moses!

Bloomin' 'eck etc. Is t'internet finally imploding under its own weight? I'm talking about promoting bands and whatever using it.

I've just logged into myspace for the first time in months - and I can't work it and it's full of shite - not a single 'proper' message and I've been 'friended' by all kinds of people I don't know. Most of the messages are from a fat hip-hop guy who lives thousands of miles away - and apparently has nothing to do but add stuff to myspace. What an utter waste of time!

I'm really really sick of Faceboook and people talking about Twitter and whatnot. I'm thinking of bailing out completely. Who has time to spend hours on the bloody internet? (yes, I am aware of some irony here...)I'd be better off phoning round and giving out paper leaflets.

Sorry, this isn't very amusing but I reckon that there are certain things that as an artiste are considered 'essential'. It used to be a myspace page and or a website and then it was Twittering and Facebook. Well I'm sick of the lot of them and I'm sick of reading trivia. It really is a way to get sick of people you know.

And not a way to promote your band. Back to square one unsuccessful artistes looking for 'the answer'

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Job Spec

As some of you will know I'm currently looking for a job. I saw an advert for one job that helpfully tells you about different aspects of said vacancy - job 'Purpose' for example and 'Typical Tasks and Problems'. All very sensible. All very helpful. Ad performance dips a little with 'Key Result Areas', 'key' being a word that kind of implies unlocking but is rarely used in that way. However, one of the aspects described is 'Illustrative Dimensions'!

I'm not applying for a job that has 'Illustrative Dimensions' thank you very much. Nor am I working for a company that talks like that. This bit tells you where the job is and a bit more about what the job involves. Nowt to do with how big you can crayon...I think they should be made to speak English...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

There's a riot going on!

Last time I remember there being riots over shops it was the un-edifying spectacle of people fighting each other to buy stuff at a new IKEA. So it's a whole new experience to hear about people rioting against a supermarket. Perhaps there's hope yet...

Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit!

Yeah, sorry to go on about the Royal Wedding...I mostly avoided it but I did see a couple of minutes here and there, so definitely enough to be horrified by the BBC and their coverage. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the BBC have some sort of comittment to neutrality somewhere? I mean if they started telling you that you should be a Socialist or a Muslim or go bleedin' fly fishing you'd tell them to take a jump wouldn't you?

Well, I saw Huw Edwards and other newsreading bods spewing out propaganda promoting deference and irrationality in huge grinning soft-headed bucketfulls. Half-wits and buffoons were given hours to go on about wedding dresses and fairytales and generally take up time that could have had telly programmes on instead. Even the continuity announcer introduced the one and half hour long 'highlights' programme as the event that 'brought the whole country together'. Well, I didn't watch it and nor did my next door neighbour; the tat on sale at Wilkinson's was reduced to half price before it happened; the Council weren't giving permission for people who wanted to hold anti royal wedding street parties and even a survey I noticed in the Grimsby Evening Telegraph had 72% of people saying they weren't going to watch it.

So, my experience tells me that the news was a lie, the BBC mis-represented what was going on in the country and just broadcast hours and hours of propaganda and nonsense. Why should I believe a word these people say?

Incidentally, the 'news' did report 45 arrests - but did they say what the offences were? Did they fuck. Was anybody charged? Dunno. That's what happens in China and places isn't it - they talk darkly of 'trouble makers' but fear that if they tell you what they were actually doing / saying there's a danger you might have some sympathy.

One final thing. Did anybody notice that the crowd for the royal wedding (that 'united the whole country' remember) was a lot smaller than the crowds who demonstrated against spending cuts or the Iraq war or for CND in the 80's? Those demonstrations that 'divided opinion'.

It just makes me feel a bit ill and that no-one can be trusted.

They should be forced to speak English!

More NHS cocktalk for you. I recently received an email inviting me to "Smaller Provider Engagement Workshops: Developing the Provider Landscape and the role of choice and competition"

If you need me to explain how awful this is please leave now, you've come to the wrong place. But for those who play 'Bullshit Bingo' or just despair at idiots wasting time here's another wodge of 'stuff' from the same email - I've highlighted a few choice phrases for those worried about lapsing into a coma or dying of a rage induced thrombosis if they try and read it all - or for your enjoyment possibly...

"We want to engage with as wide a range of providers of health care as possible on how to create the best environment that allows improved services for patients, enabling increased patient and carer choice and control, better outcomes, and increased value for taxpayers. We see small to medium providers (whether from the voluntary or social enterprise sector or for profit) as being key to driving innovation and personalisation, but are aware that there can be barriers to entry to the marketplace and expansion. We are therefore currently planning a series of four workshops in early to mid May, specifically aimed at smaller providers.

The Department of Health’s command paper ‘Liberating the NHS: legislative framework and next steps’ available at, set out a clear vision of a diverse provider landscape, with organisations from all sectors both working together and competing to deliver innovative services that are responsive to patients. The government has also now made clear its intention to take advantage of a natural break in the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill to pause, listen to patients, clinicians and the public, reflect and improve its plans for modernisation of the National Health Service. These engagement workshops will also feed into this wider listening exercise".

I think secretly they can speak English you know...

Friday, April 29, 2011

News suspended

I turned on Radio 4 this morning - 4 times I think. I expected the Today Programme. Each time they were talking about wedding cars and dresses and all sorts of shite. I sent them this brief message....

Dear 'Today'

I kept trying to tune in to the Today Programme this morning and all I got was a lot of tabloid type twaddle about some kind of celebrity wedding. I assume the Today Programme was suspended due to there being no news?

I wish you wouldn't kow-tow to tabloid prejudices

Yours sincerely

John Parkes

Not a good day in the UK...

It’s not a good sign in any country when there’s a news blackout and the state media start broadcasting patriotic music 24/7. So today is not a good day in the UK.

By the way, we all know that the royal wedding stories have already been written - but I'll give a tenner of my own money to anyone who forwards me a piece from any newspaper that reports 'royal wedding flop - royal tat fails to sell' or anything similar.

Today I feel like a prisoner washed up on an island ruled by some strange cult. Most of the country seems moronic, irrational and decades if not hundreds of years behind reality. I just don't get it

Thursday, April 28, 2011


News from my job search - there was a job vacancy for a 'Pipeline Administrator'. Where was the pipeline? I wondered - oil or gas? - or water? Would the job be tracking leaks or charging for its use or what? To be honest I can't even be bothered checking what the job actually was - well, it was actually 12 grand a year. And there was no pipeline. Except some sort of metaphorical one I suppose. Shit job, shit language, shit pay. Shit!

Surely not the 'royal wedding'?!

Damn! Here I am talking about the 'royal wedding'. Really the best thing to do in my opinion is to ignore it rather than apposing it like it was something worth engaging with in the first place. However, I did want to mention that Wilkinson's in Armley were flogging off their royal wedding tat at half price - some time before the wedding! This (strongly) implies that people are less interested than at least one chain of shops thought they would be. A small cheer for that.

However the most depressing thing about the whole thing is the conspiracy in the media. All the papers etc will be reporting that the 'whole country' celebrated and the 'whole country' ground to a halt and whatnot - and it will be a lie. The 'story' will be written in advance and it'll be all shit. A bare-faced big lie - told to us by the BBC and others who should know better. I've lost count of the amount of times I've turned off the telly and radio this week because 'The Today Programme' for one are discussing royal wedding dress design over the centuries or whatever. In the case of the BBC they are of course shit scared of being accused of being leftie and unpatriotic and whatnot (as if patriotism somehow implied support of the royal family...)so they'll follow the tabloids and report on what a great success it all was and how we all bought into it. If there are protests for once they won't be reported for fear of spoiling the special day.

The main depressing thing about it all is that so many people are interested - what do these people actually believe? Hopefully they believe in celebrity rather than royalty but you never know.

Even the free 'day off' is costing loads of struggling organisations a load of money. Enough...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You're just cynical, you!

In case anyone out there thinks that any numbers relating to bands on t’tinternet are real, here’s part of the price list from ‘’

And you thought I was cynical...

Bronze Package:
facebook – 1,000+ likes
twitter – 1,000+ followers
youtube – 2,500+ views to a video, 10+ ratings
myspace promos for 2 weeks

TOTAL – $250 flat

Silver Package:
facebook – 2,000+ likes
twitter – 5,000+ followers
youtube – 10,000+ views to a video, 100 subscribers, 100+ ratings
myspace promos for 2 weeks

TOTAL – $700 flat

Gold Package:
facebook - 5000+ likes
twitter – 10,000+ followers
youtube – 20,000+ views to a video, 300 subscribers, 300+ ratings
myspace promos for 2 weeks

TOTAL – $1250 flat

Platinum Package:
facebook – 10,000+ likes
twitter – 20,000+ followers
youtube – 100,000+ views to a video, 1,000 subscribers, 500+ ratings
myspace promos for 4 weeks

TOTAL – $2400 flat

We can also do 500+ real plays on reverbnation for $75.

We can also do 1000+ real plays on reverbnation for $125.

News from my job search

‘jobsgopublic’ think that Knowsley is in West Yorkshire.

I guess they think that anything ‘oop North’ must be Yorkshire. They've probably seen it in an old Hovis advert or something.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Firstbus Info Triumph number 2!

I'm gratified to find that Firstbus have a new instructional poster on display on some of their buses - this one tells you how to get off a bus! More useful than the one that tells you (when you're on the bus) how to er, get on a bus but still a bit daft.

It tells you to ring the bell when you want to get off the bus - that bit's fine! I agree with that bit. For idiots with no observational skills determined not to copy anyone else that's fine. Helpful even. Then they tell you to stay in your seat until the bus has stopped! Ha Ha! Yeah right firstbus!

I wonder if any of them have ever been on a bus?

They are my favourite company, like ever! - toadally!

The Social Network

It's a bit late for this one but all this talk of how rubbish Facebook is reminded me that we had a band outing while waiting to go on stage in Aberdeen and went to see 'The Social Network'.

I don't know if anyone spotted this and why I get nostalgic for the days of feminism but if you believe the film all the women at Harvard (or wherever the fuck it was) seemed to do all day was to a) drape themselves nearly naked over the cool guys b) get nearly naked and dance on tables for the cool guys and c) wait for the guys to talk to them. Oh and they substituted for table lamps.

And of course the cool guys are all utter tossers. A very depressing film all round really.

Bloody Myspace!


How come when I go into myspace for Whole Sky Monitor there are millions of messages saying 'you and spamming wanker are now friends' Who fucking says? - don't you have to be asked? I suppose I could set stuff up to filter messages but there’s so much noise who cares any more. There are pictures of teddy bears by the hundred saying ‘I love everything that you do’ and bands inviting you to gigs in Ontario and oh, it’s just too boring to bother with. There aren't even Russian gangsta bride cons any more - And every page takes ages to load.

Bloody on line shite - I'm off to flog a cassette off the back of a van.

And I'm getting really impatient with people I actually do know popping up like wankers on facebook saying fuck all about fuck all to fuck knows who. I don't even know who they think they're talking to but they appear to be talking to me in some sort of endless list of garbage that comes up and jumps about as you scroll down.

I blocked some of those fuckers on our myspace and removed them as friends. I blame the Arctic Monkeys.

I used to use it to actually send messages about stuff - but now you've got no chance. I'm sick of being chained to a computer (he says rather ironically)

Making your job search easier!

I’m currently looking for a job. The world is full of really shite ones at 12 grand a year – and people advertising jobs who won’t tell you who they are or how much they pay! Well, I’m not going to tell them who I am either. So there.

I was looking at one job earlier today but couldn’t find out what they needed without actually applying - which seemed to involve uploading a CV (which I don't have). My suspicion is that they sell on lists of hopeless jobseekers to other sharky on-line HR people who like to have inflated numbers so they can sell them loans and whtever...

I just want to know what the job is, where it is, how much it pays and what they need – if I’m interested I’ll fill in the application form – is that too much to ask? Apparently so.

People advertising jobs don’t seem to have any concept of the meaning of words like ‘senior’ or ‘manager’ or ‘assistant’ or ‘executive’ either.

Hell in a handcart etc - and they were all made of wood...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NHS furniture

An NHS facility near where I work has been chucking perfectly good furniture into a skip. A lot of the furniture we currently use at work was from there too. I hear that they have to spend their budget before the end of the new financial year. Good to know some organisations have got money to piss away eh?

Armley baths

Just thought I'd mention that Armley baths doesn't have changing rooms - it has a 'changing village'. I wonder if the village is big enough to have a swimming pool?

Do you know how to catch a bus?

On the inside of buses in Leeds you may well see a sign that says “Hands up if you know how to catch a bus – Just hold out your hand to let the driver know you want the bus to stop”. Please note that this is on the inside of the bus - upstairs in fact. So if you don't know how to catch a bus how did you manage to er, catch the bus you're currently on? And do you have zero observational skills? Have you not noticed what people do at bus stops the world over? Or are you a moron thirsty for validation of your recent bus catching behaviour?

What it doesn't say of course is that unless you hold out your hand the bus driver will have no clue as to what on earth that line of 25 people are doing waiting at that pole on the pavement with 'bus stop' written on it - and he'll cruise past.

Can I have a human sized one please?

I saw some video cameras in Comet or somewhere. It struck me that they were all about 2 inches in size – clearly designed for small children or midgets. Meanwhile mobile phone type devices have keyboards too small for fingers so they give you a cocktail stick to poke them with. I have a screen on my home computer about 15 inches wide. It’s just about big enough. Why would I want to look at the internet on a half inch screen? Why don’t they design people sized stuff?

Still, another few quid saved eh?

It's mainly fat and sugar you know...

Cadburys are the “official treat provider of London 2012”. I promise you I am not making this up. And the advertising industry is the official wanker provider for the UK...

All the really shit food that's really bad for you will be the official gut bucket filler of the Olympic movement.


Appliances and gadgets and hardware are out of control this week – and it seems nobody can do anything about it.

Pay for someone to come and fit a new oven and hob? Nah, can’t do it, the electricity supply is all wrong, you’re gunna need an electrician mate (we just fit ‘em)...Oh and we don’t have a piece of paper that says there’s enough clearance for the hob so we can’t fit that either - what do you think we are, cooker fitters? Get the electrician in, sort out the leccy and we’ll come back – but we still can’t fit the new hob (with the piece of paper that says there’s enough room) – yer gas pipes are all wrong mate...

The toilet flush went and the plumber didn’t know how to fix it; Yorkshire Water sent another of those ‘we don’t own dem water pipes any more and dey dem sure gunna burst’ letters flogging insurance; and finally a card came through the door saying someone had turned up to service the Dyson – I mean what kind of person gets someone in to service the tossing vacuum cleaner once a year? Not me before you ask. Most of us don’t even get to service the wife once a year (boom boom – the 70’s dontcha love ‘em!)

So our experiment with buying new stuff and getting things sorted falls flat on its consumery fool face – no one can actually do anything you want doing - while the rest of the world is trying to do things that don’t need doing via dodgy insurance schemes.

We’re keeping the bleedin’ hob – too much effort to buy new...

The car clock still insists that it knows better than us and the other toilet flush doesn't work after the plumber had fixed it...and we got a puncture - and you don't even get a proper spare tyre these days so it'll need changing again. Let's hope the tyre man knows how to change a tyre eh? - Unless the regulations have changed and he's not allowed...oh, and have you got the special nut for the clever car?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Swimming lengths

I can't believe it. I owe Leeds City council an apology. Not nearly as big as the one they owe me - but that's another story. But so far as swimming pool size goes I was wrong. The pool at Armley Leisure Centre is as big as the other one I go to - took me the same number of strokes to get to the end...Must be an optical illusion (to do with Armley being a really high roof maybe?) I was wrong anyway...

Not only that but the bloke at the pool today didn't give the VAT line to explain the inflation busting price increase. Instead he gave me that vaguely sympathetic 'yeah, it is a bit rubbish' kind of look that you would expect.

It was busy today - that's because they won't let you in without kids in tow until 12 so everyone has to go at once. That's another complaint and another story.

Consumer affairs 4 – The Race to Easter

I’ve noted before that shops allow you to buy stuff in the run up to a festival so long as you stop a few days before so you don't interfer with them setting up for the next consumerfest – so ask for an Easter egg on Good Friday and they’ll look at you like you’re some sort of tardy retard who must have just got out of prison or something. However, Christmas seemed to be an exception this year with loads of people being allowed to buy Christmas stuff even on Christmas Eve. Terrible. However, normal service ran in some sort of parallel with this.

Wilkinson’s for example started Easter before Christmas – though it’s taken the other supermarkets several days into the New Year to start palleting in the eggs and all the rest. I wonder how close to Easter they’ll let it run?

And hang on...they’re a bit late with Valentine’s Day aren’t they? We’re nearly a third of the way through January. I've probably just not noticed it.

Consumer Affairs 3 –

I ordered an album from last March (Broadcast and the Focus Group since you ask). I waited and waited but no CD. By the summer I contacted them asking where it was – I think I got ‘standard bollocks email number 54’ where they say they’re having trouble getting copies from the supplier. A few months later I sent them a rather cross email asking what was going on and pointing out that the CD was still being advertised on their website. No reply. Finally, 9 months in I contacted them again explaining what had happened and asking them to note that I’d ordered 72 items from them over the last couple of years. I also asked them to note that I’d completely stopped ordering from them since their failure to send me the CD. I also provided them with a link to the album on their own website in case they couldn’t find it.

This time I got a reply saying “Unfortunately this item was only available in limited quantities and all stock has now been sold. As it is unlikely that we will be able to offer the item again in the near future we have cancelled the order. rest assure you were not yet charge for this order. Please be advised that the item you are seeing now on the website is not from anymroe. Instead, thisi tem is being sold by a Playtrade seller or third party seller. You may order the item if you still want it”.

Leaving aside the grammar and spelling, what they’re saying is ‘yeah, it’s for sale on our website but it’s nuffing to do with us chief’. So there you go. It looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, it appears on the ‘Ducks R us’ website and you pay We Supply Ducks Ltd to supply you a duck – but actually it's not a duck and they don't know what you're so upset about. It must be from another firm and somehow got on the Buy a Duck from Us website by accident.

So if you want a CD from they probably have fuck all to do with it, it’s just there for sale on their website but nowt to do with them.

In case everything else on their website isn’t really from them and they can't supply it I’ve decided to try to find someone who does have some responsibility for what’s in their shop.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Consumer Affairs 2 – WH Smug comedy prices

More on prices – You have no idea how annoying I find this (or maybe you do...) – I really hate WH Smiths for this (though never as much as I hate Firstbus and printer ink dealers obviously - oh, and anti-virus software pedlars).

Anyway, a chunky Kitkat in WH Smiths in town yesterday was 82p! Yup – 82 tossing pee – that’s nearly a quid! For a Kit-kat! - some for a Twix by the way. Tesco’s price today was 48p. So a bar of yer standard sort of chocky bar is about 50p in sensible places (hey, I’m calling Tescos sensible!) and over 80p in WH Smug. Why is there no boycott? Why is no-one distributing leaflets in the shop? Why is no-one squeezing poo under the roller shutters? Anyway, I’m not buying owt from them. 82p for a Kit-kat – they’re ‘avin’ a laarf

By the way, when you get to the counter they’ll probably offer you cut price chocolate. I guess the staff are all too aware of the irony. Maybe a KitKat Chunky inserted up them by irate customers would learn ‘em?

Consumer Affairs 1 – Leeds City Council

Re my suspicions re the pool length at Armley Leisure Centre, you’ll have to wait for that...

Anyway, I went there yesterday (though the snow by the way). It cost £3.20 for a swim with a ‘Leedscard’ not long ago. Then it went up to £3.50. I wish I could remember when that happened – I’ve come to the conclusion that if you want to track price increases the only way to do it is to write them down at the time, as organisations (even the ones you pay for like Councils) won’t be keen on telling you. First Bus for example told me that there was no graph of their prices against inflation – yeah right!

Anyway, thing is that today the cost of swimming had gone up from £3.50 to £3.80 – that’s with a Leedscard – it’s more without. The person on reception said it had gone up ‘due to the VAT increase’. I accepted this for a minute until I worked out that an extra 2 ½ % on £3.50 was less than 9p – so an increase to £3.60 would be reasonable. They’ve added an additional inflation busting 5 ½ % increase. Mind you, people in Armley are loaded... (erm, no...that’s a joke).

So are Leeds City Council sneaking through increases hiding behind the excuse of VAT? It would seem so. If they were planning an increase anyway (I wonder if they’d try that one on?) they could have postponed it (or even brought it forward!) so it didn’t coincide with the VAT increase.

By the way, I checked the prices on a list on their website. They call the price list “Sports centre charges - Key Benchmark Prices”. Yow! ‘Key benchmark prices’. Priceless...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The full 25 yards

The Council website says that the swimming pool in the new Armley Leisure Centre is 25 meters long. It also says that the pool where I usually go is 25 metres long. I think the Armley one is much shorter. It takes me about 30 strokes to swim a length of the Armley pool. Next time I get in the one I usually go to I'm going to count strokes. I'll let you know. The alternative by the way would be to turn up with a big tape measure.

Incidentally the place where I normally go doesn't seem to want me there. They were closed this Sunday for instance. Sunday 2nd Jan - a special day in some way? Nope. A day they're usually open? Yup. A Bank Holiday? Nope. In the school holidays when people are looking for things to do with their leisure time? Yup (quick reminder - this is a 'leisure centre we're talking about). Just the Council having a few days off for no reason I guess.

I usually go as part of a group of three of us. I went on my own a couple of Sundays back and though I go every week (sort of) they wouldn't let me in - as it was time for 'family swimming'. I didn't have a family with me so they didn't let me in. There are usually about 8 people in the pool on a Sunday morning. I think they've come up with this to deal with demand that isn't there. It would have been big enough to fit me in. It's 25 meters long you know...

Hit the Ground

I saw a job advert today which said that “you will be required to hit the ground running”. 'Back of the net!' as Alan would say. Shit lives!

Lady Boys of Bangkok

Good to see that the Lady Boys of Bangkok have their own yellow AA sign. I was in a shoe shop with some of them once...

Congrats from the Engine Room

Just for information - The project I work on (we're talking about 'work work' now...) is part of "a regional collaborative programme" which (wait for it...) "reports to a multi-agency Engine Room". It seems that "all projects are achieving milestones and targets and demonstrating delivery of high quality work".

I've never been congratulated by an engine room before, least of all a multi-agency one. Amusingly the 'engine room' is also the steering group! The Tiller Girls or the boiler room? I dunno. Add this to 'Community Anchors' as an illiterate would be nautical metaphor.

Robin Hood Robin Hood

Went to a primary school Christmas show just before Christmas – Robin Hood. It was top notch of course though there were a few missed cues and the prompt at the back of the hall had to help out on a few occasions.

My favourite was when one of the cast yelled ‘three cheers for Robin Hood!’ The kids then proceeded to look at each other for a few seconds clearly not knowing what came next. The prompt came in with what might have been a rather disappointed sounding ‘hip hip...’

Half price at Wilkinson's

Wilkinson's have a sale on. A half price sale. They have large cards up on the displays telling people what half of each price is - mmm. Almost like they think their customers can't divide 3 quid into 2. Or work out what half a tenner is...Oh well...

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Goes minty

Post-Christmas dispute about the Chocolate Orange (a product incidentally which I have had to explain to people used to be posh).

Anyway, I said that the produce labelled as ‘Chocolate Orange goes minty’ would be er, minty. However, it was put to me that as it was a chocolate orange it must therefore be orangey - Though it was allowed that as it had gone minty it would be minty and orangey. I thought that this would involve a triumph of logic over a brand name – so no contest, it was going to be minty and not orangey – the idea that a chocolate orange had to have some connection with orangeyness – nonsense. And so I was proved right – It was minty. Not orangey at all.