Friday, December 21, 2012

Shocked to the core...

Well people, MSN suggest we vote on 'the most shocking celebrity story of 2012' - apparently it might be one of these...
  1. Tulisa 'sex tape' released
PS - There are 13 people mentioned in that list - To my shame I've heard of no fewer than 8 of them.  They can't be proper

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Wedding Present flog-off time

Right, that's it - I have put pretty much all my Wedding Present memorabilia on ebay - except the first two singles...Not that there's huge quantities of if.  Odd that I have all this stuff and was never a big fan. I'll be using the money to do some recording - with the Wedding Present's drummer! (not the er, present one...though he is married at present)

Just in case you were wondering - I used to roadie / drive and whatnot for the band the Wedding Present 'back in the day' so I got free t-shirts and records and stuff.  I've finally dragged most of it out and decided to flog it.  Except the first 2 singles - though if you're offering...

By the way, why I was never a big fan is an interesting question for amateur psycho-analysts (possibly).  I worked for them to finance my less successful own I could never quite listen to the music objectively (possibly).   

Greggs in Harehills

Well, crikey Moses as my Dad might have said.  The Greggs 'special shop' in Harehills has closed down.  This is terrible news!  Thing is that this is the shop where they sold stuff off cheap a day or so after it had been in the other shops (or their over baking or whatever).  You could get 5 vanilla slices for a quid and such-like - A massive carrier bag full of cake for a fiver.  Not that I did this very often mind.

Went on Saturday after visiting the tip (it's a pretty hectic life being an acoustic / rock and roll star) and not only was it closed (shutters down) but the signs had all been removed - maybe, just maybe it's a re-paint. Please?

Seriously though it's a shame - poor people could get all kinds of stuff there cheap.  And now they can't - surely it'd be booming in a recession!?

Friday, December 07, 2012

Vintage amp anyone? It's Canadian you know...

Here’s something of interest only to the muso few I think – But I’m interested so it goes on here...I’m selling my old Traynor valve amp.  It’s now on eBay.  And again of interest to virtually no-one, this is the amp that I played right the way through The Chorus, The Sinister Cleaners (except the new recordings in 2005!), Greenhouse and part of Fuzzbird (when I ill-advisedly bought a 50W Marshall combo which I never liked much). 
It’s from around 1977 and has stood me in good stead (etc). But I’ve not used it for years and I want the space.  So if you know anyone who might appreciate a Traynor YRM-1SC valve combo (4 x 10 inch speakers fact fans) have a look on eBay now! 
It's Canadian you know.  No mooses were harmed in the production of this advert...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I like getting played on the radio...

Looks like I'm getting played on Ridings FM on Saturday morning - Local Music Update 10.40 am this coming Saturday - hurray for me! - and Andy Philpott of course (who does the local music update...)  You can listen to it live - or later...

I do like getting played on the radio!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And the winner is...

And the (dubious?) honour of being the first person to play a track off the Don’t be Seventeen EP (so far as I know that is...) goes to...(opens gold envelope, looks at card inside and waits for several seconds)...

Gabor Kovacs and the electrical language podcast.  The £80,000 prize has been donated to charity (honest).  Hurray!

So, big love to Gabor – get listening kids – you need one of those new fangled computers with speakers and that...Find him here - I think you'll find it's pretty good...

French Spambots ruin stats

Annoyingly, nearly 1,100 people read this 'ere blog last month.  Annoyingly? Huh? - Yes, annoyingly because I don't believe a word.  For a start they're mostly from France apparently.  Usually (and oddly in my view) the USA is in first place stats wise with the UK in second - and everywhere else nowhere.  As stats go...

So I've concluded that a lot of these 'views' are actually spambots (did a great set at Glastonbury a few years ago the Spambots...)  So now I get lots of comments in my email which are just spammy links - they're not appearing on the blog though, presumably because the anti-spammers at Blogger get rid of 'em.  But it does mean that I now have no idea who's reading this.  Not that I could track people individually before but y'know, it's just a bit annoying really.

Right, I'm off to buy some handbags.  Here by the way is a typical spam comment...

"I say to you, I certainly get irked at the same time as folks consider concerns that they plainly do not know about.  You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thank you"

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It is not wrong to not wear a poppy

It is not wrong to not wear a poppy...
I’ve been wondering whether to buy a poppy.  Thing is that I’ve been put off, particularly over the last few years.

One is that the whole ‘remembrance’ thing seems to focus far too much on the church and state and the military.  No remembrance for the non-religious at the Cenotaph for example; no criticism of the whole concept of the nation state and how it’s got millions of people killed for very poor reasons.  And where are all the memorials to civilians?  It might seem odd that I should think that the military are too involved in remembrance – we’re remembering soldiers after all aren’t we?  Well, sort of. 

Thing is that most of the people who we should be remembering who were in the forces were conscripted or volunteered in times of national emergency for all kinds of reasons.  Very few of them ‘gave’ their lives; most of them were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Unlucky buggers for the most part, victims.  It pisses me off every time I see ‘to the Glorious Dead’ on war memorials because there’s nothing glorious about having pieces of your body blown off and bleeding to death in a hole in the ground having been sent there by the government – and even heroic sacrifice is too close to comfort to downright stupidity.   And can anyone clearly explain to me the cause that was worth dying for in World War 1?  Maybe if you were a direct victim of German expansionism you’d think differently I guess, but for most the cause that was being fought for is obscure at best.  And as for the cause(s) being fought for in Iraq or Afghanistan, well...pick the bones out of that for me if you can. 

On the face of it World War Two seems different – evil virulent racism, death camps, totalitarianism and the rest.  Freedom, survival - all that stuff worth fighting for.  I reckon the answer is ‘sort of’.

I recently read Winston Churchill’s history of WWII.  A pretty good read I have to say and pretty gripping around the Battle of Britain etc (though that card is rather overplayed as it’s a story about not getting beaten – though let’s admit that not getting beaten is a kind of victory...)  But there’s no reference to the Holocaust or extermination camps in any of it.  There’s a lot more stuff about holding on to the Empire – a lot more old fashioned power politics than any moral crusade against Nazism.  As it goes I think our Winston was one of those who really did recognise the Nazis for what they were and there was certainly a lot of principles flying around – the main one seems to be the attitude that ‘we’re not going to have these bloody idiots in uniform coming in here and ordering us about’ – and that’s good enough for me.  But even national survival is not ‘glorious’.  I buy into a lot of the Battle of Britain stuff, but in the end it was a bunch of blokes barely out of their teens (and sometime still in them) zipping about the sky firing lumps of hot metal and explosive into each other – horrible and painful and very dangerous indeed as well as not glamorous at all. 

So leaving aside the state sponsored flag stuff, what are we left with?  Thing is I’m really uncomfortable with the whole glorification of ‘service’ and the whole ‘our heroes’ thing.  Yes, there are heroic deeds and occasionally heroic people (the ones that you’ll have heard of will generally be the peaceful ones though – am I right?).  But surely most soldiers are just some lad from Barnsley who needed a job since British industry was closed down.  No-one wants him to come home in a box, least of all him, but he does it for pay and perhaps because of a sense of patriotism that is at least partly misplaced.  We should respect him for turning up and doing a dangerous job – but armies are bad things, a necessary evil, a drain on resources that should be feeding and educating people, not the highest calling in the land.   We don’t have special days to celebrate our gallant bin collectors or old folks bottom wipers - and perhaps we should, as without them a lot of people would be dying a lot earlier and in a lot more discomfort.

Another troubling thing is that there’s been a kind of moral enforcement of wearing poppies in the media (calls for newsreaders to be sacked for not wearing poppies in newspapers, that kind of thing) and I don’t want it to start spilling on to the street.  But apart from the public showing of something that I think is very close to nationalism and its cuddly cousin patriotism (there’s another question...) what is poppy wearing for? 

Well, it raises money.  Making a debit card payment would be more efficient of course but people do like something in return don’t they?  When I were a lad it seemed clear that the money was being raised to look after old soldiers (not civilians I note again – being blown up without a gun in your hand isn’t as worthy it seems...) - but the WWI generation are gone and the WWII generation won’t be here long.  So the money is for soldiers injured in more recent wars?  Let me make this clear – I think that anyone who is injured mentally or physically should be properly looked after, preferably paid for out of public taxation.  But do we need weeks of work and planning and selling and events and all the rest to do this?  The further we get away from the original reasons for poppy day the more fuss is being made and surely that can’t be right?  Do we need moral compass the Sun telling people to be quiet at 11am when most of the actual war generation think it’s a load of nonsense that they can’t be bothered with?  The war generation weren’t sentimental they just bloody put up wi’ it - and I really do think they deserve thanks for that.  I also think that we should respect their desire to not become a nation obsessed with its own second hand moral worth, grabbing a piece of their action, blubbing publicly about things we don’t understand.   

So I think that we should remember those that died in wars.  But not just the soldiers; and not through a morally enforced badge that too often places the buyer at the centre of the meaning, that makes the wearer feel warm inside.  Let’s cut the crap - Look after those injured in wars, remember the shame and squalor of it and less of the ‘glory’ - and it is not wrong to not wear a poppy!

There’s a coda to this. 

I was on a street corner in Middleton and there was an elderly man selling poppies from a tray outside Sainsbury’s.  I’m pretty sure he wasn’t old enough to be a WWII vet but may have been old enough for National Service.  It was cold and windy and wet and he was being really nice with everyone.  I thought ‘if he can stand there in the cold and wind and rain for hours selling poppies because it means that much to him I can spare a quid’ – so I bought a poppy and felt warm inside.  He seemed so grateful.  He asked if I wanted a pin and I said no, that was fine, thanks.  I knew I wasn’t going to wear it.  I put the poppy in the window in the car.  It probably fell to the floor and got trodden on.  I won’t be searching for it... 

I respect people who turn up and do stuff.  ‘Good on yer mate’ I thought, however much I might disagree with him – and even if he was never in the forces or sorted paperclips in Aldershot.

But it is not wrong to not wear a poppy - and the more moral pressure applied the more I will resist!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

And finally...Welcome!

Yup, finally I've managed to follow instructions and re-directed to here.  The website looked great when Mike Savage did it (pretty much for free) back in 2003 or 2005 or whenever it was.  And it still looked good when Mike updated it a couple of years later (for free again).  But recently it's started to look very old and I'm not clever enough with Dreamweaver to update it or re-invent it properly.  There was a picture of an iPod on it for a start - clearly an early model...The little girl in the picture with her fingers in her ears is now old enough to be embarrassed by it and asked for it to be taken down too.  But generally I couldn't update the layout and whatnot. 

Anyway...So now it's all here on t'blog.  More than you'd ever want to know about JP, self obsessed international recording artiste.  Clearly there's a risk of me putting off music fans with rants about whats in the news or whatever and droning on about things that people will disagree with.  But since the songs aren't really edited with popularity in mind I though bloaters to 'em (as my Dad actually used to say in lieu of more offensive words) and I've put my opinions and the music stuff together in one package - just like it is in my head.  The only odd thing will be if someone comes calling looking for music stuff and I'm going on about the local swimming pool or whatever and they get confused.  Well, let's assume it'll add to the local charm or something.

PS - note to Blogger spellcheck - offensive ain't spelled offencive.  And spelled is a word!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The culture of t'80s

Yeah I know I'm a bit behind the time (by a couple of days at least) here but...I just watched Julia Gillard’s (Australian PM) recent speech on sexism.  Powerful stuff and well worth a look -

There was a bit in the speech referring to a poster saying ‘Ditch the witch’.  The phrase 'ditch the bitch' also came up.  This reminded me of something from way back in the 80s.  These days it’s easy to assume that people on the left of politics are natural allies of feminism and anti-sexism.  But it ain’t necessarily so, certainly not back then.  Thing is that at the same time that young Tories were wearing their ‘Hang Nelson Mandela’ badges, the Socialist Workers (I'm fairly sure it was them) came up with the anti Margaret Thatcher ‘Ditch the Bitch’ badge.  And blimey, did they get into trouble for it!?  Er, yes!  I like to represent this as the public (i.e. private!) schoolboys of the Socialist Workers Student’s Society being put straight by the feminists, though I’m not sure if that’s exactly how it happened.  I guess the lads were shocked to find that not all forms of attack (even on Margaret Thatcher) were acceptable.  I’m pretty sure that those particular badges disappeared quite quickly.

But this also illustrates something about the ‘culture of the 70s and 80s’ as discussed in relation to Jimmy Savile.  That culture of acceptance / connivance that's been talked about in relation to bad behaviour toward women wasn't like that where I was (perhaps because I wasn’t a celebrity back then!)  There was more an atmosphere that to be a heterosexual man was generally to be a bit suspect, a threat to be contained, warned off, told the limits of acceptable behaviour. 

When I first came to Leeds one of the first things I remember was it seeming odd that there were no ‘magazines for men’ in the paper shop at the University (not that I was looking for them of course...)  I guess I was crossing from one culture to another.  In this case small town to university campus.  Nowadays I have no idea where the pendulum is on that subject by the way - with what I see as ‘old fashioned’ sex roles with regards to various things such as children’s toys once again rigidly enforced with very little objection for example. 

But where I was in the 80s there were campaigns for a curfew on men, calls for widespread castration, separate living space for men and women (ironic given the campaign against apartheid going on at the same time) and a general feeling that it was OK to castigate (that’s definitely castigate by the way) an individual man for all the ills of the world for which men (and solely men) were to blame.  Men, in the view of some women, still had one (biological) role but the stuff could be frozen until such time as men could be dispensed with completely.  Less radically, I followed the advice for men about walking home at night so as not to intimidate women and accepted the women’s only minibus which meant if you were a lad your girlfriend got a free lift home and you had to walk on your own – though I think men were sneaked in on occasion (there was also a row I think when men offered to actually drive the bus - I don't think they were allowed as their presence could be intimidating). 

My problem was with the advice being seen as instructions that must be adhered to if a man was to be considered safe enough to be allowed out.  I hated all that 'potential rapist' label and still do.  Feminists were right, of course, in most of the things they were trying to change - but they were a right pain in the arse at the same time - hectoring, judgemental and humourless too much of the time as I recall.

So not only is the past another country but there were different countries within it.  Anyway...I have to go now, I've just been distracted - will you look at the arse on that!

Jimmy Jimmy - oh...

Is there any space in the modern world I wonder to acknowledge that even people who do bad things have a good side?  People may remark jokingly for example that Hitler was kind to his dog.  They don’t therefore think that this somehow balances up everything else – though maybe it should help them remember that even the very worst people are human and in many ways quite ordinary.  And can we acknowledge that good people have a bad side?  Seems Martin Luther King was unfaithful to his wife; does that change the rightness of his civil rights speeches?  But there does seem to be a mood about whereby all nuance is lost.  So all members of the military are ‘heroes’ whatever they’ve done or not done and whatever the circumstances of their deployment.  You can get 10% off a cup of tea in Scarborough for being one of ‘our heroes’ even if you count paperclips in Catterick or wherever.  And if you’re in the police you can’t die on duty due to ugly random bad luck or because you happened to be too close to some nutter or because you made a mistake or whatever,  No, you have to be a hero.  This is partly because of what seems to me a civilized habit of trying to speak well of the dead. 

So now I’m going to move on to the poison territory of Jimmy Savile.  And I worry because we seem to be getting to a state where any opinion that isn’t a straight down the line conventional wisdom ‘evil paedophile’ type condemnation somehow makes the speaker (or writer) immediately suspect.  Anyway…it seems right that victims get to speak if they wish and feel able.  But it seems wrong to me that there’s such a frenzy for the salacious details.  It seems right that things are investigated properly, though to be honest I’d rather the police were investigating sex offenders who aren’t actually dead.  And it seems wrong that an organisation is castigated for being part of the culture of the 70s and 80s back in the er, 70s and 80s. 

It seems right that honours be taken away from people who turn out to be dishonourable, but what makes people think they have any business changing the past?  If someone was honoured in their lifetime (Sir Oswald Mosley anyone?) they were honoured in their lifetime and that’s that.  They shouldn’t have been honoured but they were.  Jimmy Savile was an OBE and a Sir.  And people seem to want to pretend that he wasn't.  And there seems to be a move to expunge anyone who did anything bad from any credit for anything ever.  Or even to erase them from history completely.  Gravestone ground to dust and dumped into landfill anyone?  Ground up so no-one could grab a souvenir maybe?  That would have been a brilliant headline for the tabloids though wouldn’t it?  ‘Sick pervert grabs part of Savile stone as souvenir’? There’s talk about digging him up now – presumably so the corpse can be dismembered and his rotten head put on a spike on a bridge over the river Aire as a warning to others?

Anyway…this is getting rambly, sorry...Thing is that there’s a care home just round the corner from our house.  They used to have summer fairs and whatnot.  Jimmy Savile used to turn up and chat to the old people.  I saw him there a couple of times.  He also used to turn up to events in Roundhay Park and just wander about being pleasant to people.  And as everyone knows he raised loads of money for good causes.  OK, that doesn’t weigh very heavily in the balance against all the other stuff being detailed at great length in the media.  But it did happen and I saw this with my own eyes. 

The thing that worries me is the current rigid enforcement of the conventional wisdom.  If a member of the police is killed and you say ‘one less pig’ on a t-shirt, or if you believe that if you serve in the armed forces in Afghanistan you are condemned to hell, or that an Olympic athlete has let down his recently deceased father you can be arrested and possibly put in jail.  The police currently seem to have a rambling brief to lock up anyone who’s insulted someone famous who’s been in the news recently.  Or to arrest anyone who is deemed by the press to have said something in bad taste.  Law enforcement seems to be about following the ‘outrage’ kicked up (rather than picked up I suspect) by the media - even when the perpetrator of the crime is dead and you have to be outraged at someone else instead.

Anyway, back to Jimmy Savile…So here I am saying that Jimmy Savile did some good things too.  This is clearly true.  To say this though risks all kinds of disapproval or worse.  There’s a climate of intolerance in the air towards a particular kind of what might be described as ‘inappropriateness’.  It’s impolite and not very nice to say bad things about a dead soldier or a police officer killed while on duty - but it shouldn’t be illegal.  Nor should it be a crime to say something positive about Jimmy Savile.  This is perhaps not the right time to say it.  That’s exactly why I’m saying it now.   I’m tempted to spout off a load of bad taste jokes and flippant comments – and why the hell not?  The fact that I’ve had to think about what I’m saying is the thing that worries me.  Self censorship is the first step on the road to the end of free speech.  So good luck to Frankie Boyle in his court action too…

Real Ingredients

I just caught a bit of a telly advert for some stock cube or something.  They seemed very pleased to tell the world that it was made with 'real ingredients'.  Presumably those ingredients include illiteracy, nonsense and utter industrial grade marketing bullshit.  Peersonally, I insist on products containing 100% fantasy or illusory ingredients. 

This advert will have presumably gone through some sort of approval process within the company - and I guess no-one shouted 'stop this, this is meaningless bollocks, please shoot me now as my life is worthless'.   

Ironically I have no idea what the product was actually called. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Well said that man! (Jon Gomm)

Lots of people now know who Jon Gomm is these days.  If you don’t know he’s the ace Leeds based guitar player who plays his guitar like it’s about 4 different instruments and does it superbly well.  Anyway…I just wanted to say a positive word about summat he said on Facebook.  In short he remarked that he found playing his songs like he does really difficult.  I think this is a really good thing to say.  As I suspect most people will agree, there are a lot of people around he seem to think that fame and celebrity come as a result of being just kind of, you know, cool.  The whole being famous for nothing very much thing.  Apologies to Cheryl Cole, but how many people will be playing her records in 20 years time?  There’ll be freely available from your local charity shop if they aren’t already.  And she was at least in a band of sorts.  But on the other side of this are those that hail the apparently innate and easy genius of people who are superbly good at what they do.  A lot of them (the top business people spring to mind) may just be lucky or determined or ruthless or whatever.  But you can’t fake brilliant guitar playing – so hailing is good?  Well, sort of… 

The point I’m groping towards here is that it’s a lot of work to be that good.  I see Jon Gomm and there are bits of his playing where part of me thinks ‘I could do that’ (and some bits where I think ‘I could never do that’ by the way!).  But what I mean is that if I put in a few hours a day I could improve my guitar playing and do some of the things that he does.  But that would be literally hours a day.  For years.  If you can do that sort of stuff it must be tempting to soak up the plaudits (can you soak up plaudits?) and pretend that you’re just some kind of genius and that it’s all pretty easy when you’re gifted.  So good on ‘im to tell people that he finds playing his own songs in the way he does difficult. 

Incidentally I think it’s a shame that the world of clever guitar playing and songwriting are quite separate.  I feel a bit uneasy about those gigs in music shops (or wherever) which are mini-festivals of brilliant guitar playing.  I don’t know whether people go to be inspired in their own guitar playing - to try harder and reach further - or whether it’s just ‘come and look at the clever people who you’ll never be able to complete with’.  I hope it’s the former. 

But that’s another subject… 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Out of poverty and into the black

According to our Dave Cameron, ‘the only way out of poverty is work’.  To be fair this was reported on MSN so it might just be what some bloke in the pub said.  But assuming he did say that…I have a few other ideas to fend off poverty:

  • Have rich parents and inherit a pile of cash
  • Go to a school surrounded by rich kids who can offer you a job through their parents' firm or contacts
  • Fraudulently manipulate inter-bank lending rates and help yourself to the money (though they're thinking of making that illegal at some point.  Possibly)
  • Become 'non-domiciled' and pay no tax
  • Join a gambling ring, gamble with other peoples money and help yourself to big wodges of cash - if the gambling goes wrong?  Help yourself to a big wodge of tax payers cash!
PS - remember not to get a low paid job because this will keep you in poverty

Ooh, Boris

In these over-sensitive times where people get banged up for being beastly on the internet (so long as the victim is famous in some way) how come Boris Johson gets to say 'Jeremy Hunt wanging the bell-end" at a Tory conference.  There seems to be a conspiracy of silence on behalf of the media who seem to be pretending that they don't know what a bell-end refers to.  A hand-bell they'd say.

What a bunch of Jeremys.

This is here (for a couple of days anyway at 2 minutes 10 seconds in by the way.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Hoping for Mediocrity

I passed the big meeting room at my work today.  It was rammed to the gills with people in badges faffing about with post-its (I think they were doing their ‘ice-breaker’) while a PowerPoint slide said ‘Striving for Excellence’.  I think they were something to do with the Council - in which case ‘Hoping for Mediocrity’ would have been more appropriate – but I just felt kind of ill really.  Hundreds of people on reasonable wages wasting all day waiting for the coffee breaks looking at slides about ‘Our Core Values’ and other generic anaemic management speak. 

Like all of these things, their ‘core values’ will be bland stuff about ‘opportunity’ or ‘customer service’ or whatever.  In fact I’ve just cheated.  I Googled the organisation that I think was in there to find that one of their ‘core values’ is ‘Embracing equality and diversity’.  I know it’s a trick people use but it’s a good one – flip it over...Obviously they’re not one of these outfits that rejects equality and diversity then?  I also picked up ‘excellent value for money’, ‘customer led’, ‘open honest and trusted’...It does seem that one’s ‘core values’ are often the opposite of what people really think of your organisation.  The triumph of HR.  The triumph of management speak.  The triumph of going to meetings rather than getting on with some work.  It’s just depressing.  Send them down the sludge works...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sham! Sham Sham! - A review of sorts

I wish I had more time because I could spend ages telling you about this but I'll (try to) keep it short...I saw Sham 69 play t'other night at the Brudenell Social Club (supported by Chelsea btw who I think I last saw supporting the Adverts in Lincoln in 1978 though I could be wrong).  And Sham 69 were really good!  They're one of the original punk bands that seem the most difficult to understand.  The most likely reaction to a mention of their name in the modern world will be 'weren't they awful?' or 'were they skinheads'? or 'didn't they have Fascists at their gigs'?   Well the answers are sort of, not really and yes, they did but they didn't like it.  And they did write Hersham Boys and Hurry Up Harry!  And no, I still don't know where Hersham is.

I've got the first 2 Sham albums, I bought the second one when it first came out (!) and well...there are some truly awful lyrics going on and some comic Cockney fake 'family dramas' between tracks.  BUT...they were a tight band with a great guitar sound and a kind of no-nonsense integrity that was a necessary counter (in my opinion) to the artsy dress designery Roxy / Bowie wing of punk rock (great though that was too).  And there's some humour going on too (Sunday Morning Nightmare as a riposte to Saturday Night Fever being one of my favourites that they didn't play).

Moving quote a couple of lines from 'Angels with Dirty Faces'..."We're the people you don't wanna know, we come from places you don't wanna go".  My question is how many bands have there been with some genuine working class anger and an exciting way of expressing it that made them massively popular?  'Borstal Breakout' may be a bit dumb and romanticizes the rebel / unjustly accused and all that - but it's still a great punk rock song.  Considering their age they still look good and Jimmy Pursey is still a great front man too.  By the way, along with the few early 80s type punks in the audience there were loads of aging thick necks and bald (previously shaven) heads I'd have been rightly scared of back in the day.  They did have some scary followers way back when.  A lot of lads with no 'o' levels who generally no-one sings about or stands up for.  Fights, flirting with the far right and lads from Grimsby putting on fake Cockney accents (this really did happen!) - and a frontman telling them how wrong they were (the far right thing and the fighting, not the accents)from the stage.

I'd also like to mention 'If the Kids are United'.  Thing is that at the time you could walk down the street as a little punk rocker (as I was) and be faced with aggressive (aging) teddy boys, mods (the revival ones), skinheads, greasers, bikers, mofos (almost the same thing) casuals and massive hostility from casually racist, sexist small town idiots with air horns on their Ford Cortinas (or Capris for the flash ones).  There were loads of youth groups who really did not like each other and it was a bit dangerous out on the street. So when someone said 'this is stupid why are we fighting each other, if we could get together we could really achieve something' it really meant something.  To me at least.  I stood next to skinheads at Sham gigs and didn't get beaten up!   The song and its sentiment fitted with Rock Against Racism and gay rights and feminism and all that stuff that was in the air - whatever the exact intention.  It meant something to me at the time and it still does.

So...there are lots of legitimte criticisms of Sham 69.  Shouty, not clever, some horrible simplistic naive and whiney lyrics - BUT...a great tight live band with lots of energy, more sing along tunes than you'd think was possible and a definite major place in the story of punk rock which too often gets reduced to the Clash and the Pistols....

Sham 69 turned up to Cleethorpes Winter Gardens on more than one occasion and I still have my half ticket from the last time I saw them there.  They're a part of my life and despite reservations about re-formed bands and nostalgia I'd like to tip the hat and say 'thanks, lads'...

All together - Sham! Sham! Sham!

More Twitsticks

Yeah, I know I keep going on about this but has the media been reduced to one man and his dog checking tweets?  He reports ‘controversial’ tweets and what’s ‘trending’ on Twitter – all other media report this and then report on how each other have been treating the story and getting reactions to the same story.  It goes round and round until it becomes a ‘phenomenon’ which makes it a bigger story and even more controversial.  It goes round again and again in a meaningless whirl of toss.  I’m fed up of this...

...Channel 4 news were looking at the BBC website earlier and playing bits of Radio 4 that I’d heard earlier and the BBC were reporting an apology from themselves concerning what one of their reporters had said about one person’s possible opinion on one of their programmes earlier because that person doesn’t like what they’ve said being repeated – Meanwhile the police are checking out Twitter because someone said something beastly on the internet.

SHUT UP! SHUT UP!  SHUT UP! – if you have news tell me it – if all you have is reporting on other channels and who said what about who on who’s website reporting Twitter - DON’T BOTHER  

Missing teacher

I was just wondering if there was any news on the missing 30 year old maths teacher?

In related 'news' Channel 4 News tonight reported that there had been 3 'child protection issues' recently at the same school - aren't there lots of these every day?  Or is it just innuendo, designed to make us think 'ah ha...something has been going on, they just can't say it'.  Is that news? 

An apology

I had a conversation with someone and I may have mentioned some of the content of that conversation to another person. I'd like to humbly apologise to the first person and to the world in general for any offence caused. I deeply regret saying anything to anyone as everyone should expect everything they say to be kept secret at all times.

PS - I met that 'Queen' once - she asked me what I did and if I'd come far - oops!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I recommend this!

Nah then...In general I hate diddly diddly rock music.  In general I don't like show off guitar playing.  In general I disapprove of 12-bars.  In general I don't like that whole white boys doing the blues thing.  In general...

To use a cliche this ROCKS!  At Woodstock too!  If you don't like this there's no hope for you.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Lazy Twitwits and Frankie

Is it just me who thinks that Frankie Boyle is funny and the lazy Twitter trawling journalists looking for 'controversy' are the ones who want sacking?  MSN are currently saying that 'this time the network [Channel 4] appears to have little choice' (other than to sack him) because he make the following comments on Twitter ...

..."Apparently the Saudi Arabian Paralympic team is mainly thieves,"

and - "Wow, Austrian Paralympians seem a lot more able-bodied than most regular Scottish people."

and "Sadly our Paralympian in the high jump isn’t expected to match his personal best. But I hear it doesn’t count as it was ‘Taliban assisted’."

and "Got to be weird being a British Paralympian under this government, knowing that a medal means you'll lose your Disability Living Allowance."

Funny and sharp I'd say.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beautiful Days 2012

Just to say that I could get into this festival lark...Just played at Beautiful Days in Devon and despite the 600 miles of driving and some mud and whatnot I did the following:

- Played twice and did some good versions of me songs - forget to tell anyone it was the live debut for a couple though.

- Learned to put up a retro 80s tent on my own (with not enough tent pegs).

- Continued to discover that people who go to this sort of thing are generally well, nice people.

- Enjoyed the food (no, really - not too expensive either - including a cafe on a Routemaster bus!)

- Particularly liked Midlake and Billy Bragg and New Model Army and the lads from Barnsley who's name I didn't catch...

- Got well treated by the man John Bownas (who booked me) and all the backstage sound people etc.

- Got helped out with a flat battery by a very organised and helpful man called Andy, along with the Leveller's drummer's brother and nephew.

So...thanks to all - including Gogs who put John B on to my stuff in the first place.

Blimey, no moaning from me today! - Quick get me on a Firstbus...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Could I point something out please? - That what people actually think about stuff is probably not accurately reflected on Twitter. And Twitter is not the only source of 'news' stories in the world.

Every part of the media seems intent only on reporting what other parts of the media are saying. What the hell do journalists do these days? Well it seems they have a quick gander at Wikipedia and Twitter and write it up from there.

Twitter is blather - and surely that's what it's supposed to be and what everyone knows it to be. And it's all being taken far too seriously - and you end up with people being arrested (or mortally offended) for making stupid off the cuff comments.

I know hundreds of idiots. I come across them every day. I ignore them mostly, I don't engage them in moronic snippets of blather and then get huffy. Why bother?

Stupid is stupid, ignorance is ignorance, lazy journalism is rubbish journalism. Can we just agree, put the kettle on and shut the Twitter up for a bit?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Top tip from Deer Shed

Oh dear...I don't have enough time. So here's a brief one. One of the top people I discovered (i.e. I'd never heard of them before) at Deer Shed was Rachel Sermanni. Who, like yours truly, is irritatingly young and pretty and talented. And charming! Can I say that and get away with it?

So...go to this website...and I suggest you watch the 'Tenement TV' thang - brilliant!

Not much of a review this is it...But check it out anyway. The TV clip thingie is 12 minutes long. You'd only be watching telly...


To be fair...I did notice a news story a couple of weeks back where the police had managed to shoot someone without killing them. So perhaps my paranoia was unjustified. We'll see...

Festival Beauties...

I've been meaning to pontificate on 'artistes what I saw' at the Deershed Festival. I will get round to it...But I've interrupted my rehearsing to show you this...

You'd find my name...some way down but my name. That's ME that is!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Surely not!...

Hang on...surely I've got this wrong? Please tell me I've got this wrong. Twitter user Arrested (!!!)? after saying 'you let your Dad down'?! about Tom Daley. Not even 'I'm going to kill you' or 'I'm going to blow you and your mates up' or 'I know where you live' any other kind of threatening language. Not even threatening language. Just an opinion, however ill-informed or half baked or whatever. Actually 'inconsequential' would be the word I'd choose. Not a bill board or an TV campaign - a Tweet!

Well, the people who made this arrest decision (if this story is true which surely it can't be) have certainly let their dads down. Blimey, it's a fair cop officer... In fact I'm coming round to disembowel them with a blunt copy of 'Civil Liberties for Dummies'.

If this story is true (though it can't be, surely even Constable Stupid of the Stupidshire police force's Special Acting Stupidly Squad isn't that stupid?) I'd be be rather afraid if I were you.

Surely this is some wag spreading a false story to illustrate how far from reality law enforcement has come?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chilly indeed...

Here’s an email I received recently to the AAZ Records email address, from “”. The full text follows but basically they’re looking for original songs for a film. You upload your song and you never know, it might be picked to feature in the film. Well, that sounds OK, some songwriter may have just what they’re looking for (if they have a song about "a dog that is left home alone with his best friend Bobby, an eleven year old boy, on Christmas Eve. Together they foil the attempts of a bunch of bumbling thieves"...) But at the bottom of the message it says “If your original work is chosen, there will be no reimbursement”. Now correct me if I’m wrong but I think that means they don’t pay you.

I assume therefore that the actors auditioned for the privilege of being in this film and aren’t being paid? I assume the director, crew and whatnot aren’t getting paid then? I guess the caterers will be there simply for the prestige of working on this film? Or is it just the music that they want for free?

I don’t generally get too arsey in replies to these kind of things (though you wouldn’t believe how many battle of the bands and song writing competitions there are, complete with ‘registration fee' and list of ‘celebrity judges’) but I do write the odd 'I'm afraid Whole Sky Monitor do not enter competitions' and suchlike. So for this one I just said

"You want to use someone's song in a film and "there will be no re-imbursement? I assume the director and actors and everyone else are working for free on this film"?

John AAZ Records

Not particularly clever but you never know, my email might be picked to be read by the director!

Here's the whole email for anyone interested...

Challenge your Skills! Enter the Chilly Christmas Contest!
Have your music featured in the upcoming Hollywood film Chilly Christmas.

This is the chance to make your national debut! Create and upload original
song(s) for a chance to have them featured in the soundtrack for the
upcoming family comedy, Chilly Christmas, staring C. Thomas Howell, Tom
Arnold and Brooke Langton.

Movie description and trailer can be found here:

Upload your submissions from July 6, 2012 at 6:00am(PST) ~ July 16, 2012
at 4:00am (PST) and for the possibility to have your song chosen by the
director of Chilly Christmas. This is the opportunity to get your music heard
alongside other major artists, on a scale like never before!
* Submissions must be original work, no covers, re-mixes, etc. **There is no
guarantee that your music will be chosen by the director. ***If your original
work is chosen, there will be no reimbursement.

Get started now and upload your submissions at the Chilly Christmas Contest
page now!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Let's try to wound a few eh lads?

While I'm having a pop at the police, have you noticed how they always seem to shoot the 'gunman' dead (whether or not he turns out to be an actual gunman) during those armed sieges you get once in a while? They never seem to wound them these days. I'm not saying the police have a shoot to kill policy but I would like to see a few armed sieges resolved with someone being hauled off to court (via hospital would be acceptable) rather than dead. It may be that death is what notches the stories up the news agenda so I don’t see the non fatalities so much - but they’d surely make the local news? Just saying…let’s try to wound a few eh lads?

A proportionate reaction a bag...

If I was a terrorist I guess I’d have a list of possible targets. Clearly there are ‘prestige’ buildings that if I successfully attacked would attract a lot of attention (assuming that’s what I wanted). There are also high profile individuals and facilities and so on. But bang at the top of my list would obviously be setting off a home-made slow burning bomb in a carrier bag on the cheap bus service from Preston.

I heard a spokesman say that the reaction of the emergency services to an electronic cigarette on the bus from Preston was ‘proportionate’. Yeah right. Decontamination areas, military personnel, police dog handlers, firefighters, armed police and other specialist units apparently. Not to mention searching everyone and closing the motorway for four hours (imagine what would happen to me if I closed a motorway by dicking about to no effect for 4 hours!) And more police and fire vehicles than you thought existed in the world. Give a load of blokes the chance to dress up and order people about and generally go into publicly funded drama queen mode and they'll just love it. And afterwards they can be really pompous and self righteous and refuse to admit that they cocked up big-time. They look like bloody seven year olds…Unless this was cooked up as a rehearsal of course.

Thing is that the whole anti-terror shenanigans is gigantically rubbish on the value for money front anyway. I’m not saying that you should always work every cost out according to how many people are actually saved from death or injury or whatever but there are so many things that could be done with the money that would save more lives –Road safety? Safety at work? The starving millions?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Firstbus driver training

While I'm on about Firstbus, I have one of my usual suggested additions to their driver training course...

...If you see someone running diagonally across the road towards your bus in the rain looking like they're going to run right at you, they're probably just a mad person. Who knows what they might be thinking.

Sure it's raining and they're on foot and there isn't another bus even due for half an hour (if it's running at all) but what other explanation could there possibly be for someone running towards your bus like that? They'll be as mad as those people who stand in rows at those metal posts at the side of the road who wave at you after you drive past. There are so many mad people out there.

To be fair, not all Firstbus drivers are like this, just too bleedin' many...

It's them again...

Further to my complaint to Firstbus about their inability to run a bus service resulting in me having to walk home more than 3 miles from town recently...Well, I did get an apology. It kind of read 'driver sick, blah blah, vandalism blah, late running blah blah, roadworks blah blah'.

Here are a couple of things they didn't say but are certainly true - well, they certainly don't seem to be offering me any money back for a start. They blithely say that they 'could not provide any immediate replacement drivers' without saying why. I think I know why, it's because it costs money to provide relief drivers and this might rather thin out their cash cow if they did. They mentioned the Woodpecker junction roadworks which have apparently been 'having a serious affect on our services'. This'll be the junction that the traffic was flowing through easily as I walked it. The same junction that slows the buses going the other way by a couple of minutes in the rush hour and the way I was going not at all so far as I've noticed.

Anyway, if you know anything about Firstbus or use the buses at all you'll know that they're well, a bit rubbish at running a 'service'. This is because they're not really trying to. Running a service (which, incidentally is good for the local economy and all that) costs money but they're profit driven and not service driven. And they charge a lot.

So long as we get the trams at the end of our raod by the end of 2007 as promised I'll be happy...Doh!

Cuddly Cuddly Cuddly

Gogs the Whole Sky Monitor drummer is “the drummer from Cud”! I’d forgotten this reference. It was used in the NME years back to slag off indie-ness and to denote thirdrate-ness of the 'bloke in a band' variety. And now Gogs our drummer (i.e. Whole Sky Monitor's drummer) is that man! He’s been on tour being, er the drummer from Cud!

I should mention that Gogs is not third rate...(insert your own joke here anyone who knows him)

Brest of Bittish

Telling you a bit late now really but I missed the old Jubilee thing (by being out of the country on holiday - best thing to do of course). When I got back in 'the aftermath' everyone in the big supermarket (Tescos since you ask, home of the indestructable cheese) was racing around like idiots buying improbable amounts of ‘stuff’.

The only difference to the ‘normal’ universe I’m used to was that all the stuff they were buying had a Union Jack printed on it (pedants may tell me that it’s the Union flag not the Union Jack or something but who cares really…) How British can all that stuff actually be?

I think the answer is ‘this is the sort of stuff that the British buy, so let’s put a flag on it’. If you thought I was cynical, may I present Capitalism!

Hypno gastric band

I saw an advert for the 'hypno-gastric band' in a free mag today. I'd have been so pleased if it had been a bunch of spooky fat men. But it's clearly not. Thing is that I thought that fitting a gastric band was a major operation involving y'know, hospital and surgeons and whatnot. So how on earth can you fit one by hypnosis!?

I think the answer is that 2 of the 3 words they use to describe their thang are nonsense. You don't. It's not a gastric band at all.

I want a hypno electric drill...

Like, 2 whole hours man!

Hey! I just played for over 2 hours at Kirstall Abbey without repeating myself! Blimey, that looks like a Tweet doesn't it?

I was doing the 'busking' thang (which isn't busking really as I pretty much only do me own stuff and don't do requests of any kind - just so as you know...) I think I played everything off my 'A' list and most things on the 'B' and 'C' lists. The idea is to kind of stay 'match fit' (ish) for future gigs. I did have the crutch of a music stand with some lyrics on though, so I suppose that's a bit of a cheat. I didn't use it for any of the A list though.

Got there a bit late due to a broken door lock and a missing music stand. Anyway...I played songs (2 covers to be fair, actually 3...) for over 2 hours and didn't run out. This isn't much of a big deal for a 'hardworking band' but it's a lot for me. So there! I would have carried on but it rained at the end (heavily) and my gazebo was invaded.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

OK, so I might have found that para button - which I may have to re-set for every post...we'll see...


I'm getting really annoyed with Blogger as it won't show spaces between paragraphs. I've searched 'help topics' and whatnot but can't find anything - this is rubbish!

It's them again...

This isn't much fun I know but here's my (very measured I felt) complaint to Firstbus from today...My personal theory is that the drivers get behind schedule so they let them turn off the lights and bugger off back to the depot to avoid paying them overtime. There's often a 40 minute gap in the period between the daytime and evening timetable. So you wait 45 minutes for a bus that's supposed to be 'every 10 minutes or less' just as everyone is trying to get home and when one does finally arrive it sits there waiting for time, it being, presumably, the first bus of the evening timetable.

They can blame the traffic all they want but I think someone should make them act like they had some responsibility to run a service and to get people to the places they've usually already paid to get to. I hate Firstbus and their contempt for anything but making money out of their monopoly service...Anyway,like I say, I thought this very polite - think of what I could have said!

Dear Firstbus. I bought a Dayrider today - and have just walked all the way home from the Headrow in Leeds City Centre! I wanted to get a 49, 50 or 50A bus but you weren't running any.

I got into town at about 6.30pm (changing from a number 2 from Middleton) and walked along the route (which I know well) until getting home (about 5 minutes from the nearest stop on Easterly Road) at just before 8 o'clock. In all that time not a single bus passed me. I waited for short periods at the Playhouse, Quarry House, St James's, the end of Harehills Road and the bottom of Easterly Road. There were even buses showing as being due (eventually) on the 'TV' screens but none arrived and none passed me.

Even following the evening timetable there should have been at least 4 buses in this time! Too often there's a gap of around 40 minutes between buses at this time of day (and sometimes buses that had clearly been on the route are suddenly 'out of service' despite the fact there hasn't been one for ages) but this was an exception even by your low standards.

I know there will be traffic problems etc that you can't predict but there were certainly no road delays along this route between town and Dib Lane. I think you should run a regular service and I think you should run all the buses on the timetable. It surely must be possible to get relief buses running or relief drivers called in or whatever.

I don't think having a gap in the timetable for an hour and more when people are trying to get home is acceptable. I bought a Dayrover with the reasonable expectation that there would be buses running along this route at a busy time of day to get me home. This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happenend and I'm fed up of it. I don't want to be offensive but I think this is taking the Mickey.

I think you should at least give me part of my Dayrider money back. That cost me £4.60 on bus 37116 (service 13) at 8.39am - tkt no 34077.

Yours sincerly

John Parkes

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bloody Blogger!

Shit! They've been messing about with Blogger and I can't find anything. And gaps between paragraphs don't seem to be possible anymore. Why can't people stop changing stuff and pretending it's 'improvement'

Cheese, Doctor Tesconstein?

I thought we had a rogue batch of Tesco’s ‘Value’ cheddar cheese recently but it turns out that Tesco’s ordinary ‘Mild Cheddar’ is also weird and unnatural.

Thing is that Tesco’s cheese appears to be indestructible and could perhaps be used as a building material in sub-Saharan Africa. IT WILL NOT MELT! On toast it sits there and goes brown but stays stubbornly in the shape in which it was cut. Cut it into small chunks and boil it up with milk in a saucepan and you get white sauce with rubbery chunks in. Try making cheese sauce in the microwave and the milk boils away while the cheese sits there like rubber coated single Lego bricks. I guess this means that the emulsifier is cheaper than the cheese (as well as being indestructible). Or that Tesco’s customers have been complaining that their cheese keeps kind of like, melting on their ass and this is kind of like, bad? But I’ve lived for decades with the belief that cheese is something that melts when heat is applied. And now the rules have changed and I'm left angry and confused.

Another plank of what I had fondly believed was 'reality' is torn apart by capitalism. Mind you, I’ve also believed that politics was about changing things and that unopenable packaging would give way to practical, ergonomic designs. And I still know people who think that ‘juice drink’ is juice and that what appear to be slices of ham (or whatever) are actual slices of ham (or whatever). To finish on an optimistic note, I did have the little red stripey bit successfully open a KitKat once...

Hold the bus!

Yikes! Freaky! If you’re a bus user you’ll know that feeling when a bus engine stops. There’s a shudder, an unnatural silence and a slight feeling of dread. It generally means the driver will soon appear on the stairs to tell you why the bus isn’t going any further and you’ve got to get off and wait for the next one or whatever. On occasion the bus driver stalls the bus. When it happens more than once you sit there and wait for the driver to make a call and give up because there’s summat wrong with the bus. You feel like the steerage passengers on the Titanic who have realised that the engines have stopped (see, I told you the engine had stopped!) and that they can’t necessarily believe the reassurances anymore.

Anyway, yesterday I got on a bus and it kept stalling. All the time. After a while I realised it was one of those clever engines that stops at traffic lights to save fuel. So that’s good really. However, like a 2 year old who keeps jumping at every bang on bonfire night I couldn’t shake the feeling of ‘oh bugger, I’m going to have to get off the bus’ every time it happened. It was just weird and unnatural. This was of course a posh bus. I should have known that the posh bus would be on the X98 route from Wetherby and not the scum buses they run from where I live. But perhaps it’s to do with the fact that it’ll stop less on route so it makes more sense to use clever engine stop bus on this route. Nothing to do with a poorer service for the poor areas. Maybe.

But don’t go running away with the idea that I’m being easy on Firstbus. They still just stop all the buses that are running late during the rush hour so there’s a 40 minute wait until the evening timetable kicks in and they can run the usual 50% of the buses that are scheduled. Then of course that bus waits for time everywhere because it’s the first one to be running to timetable. So it sits there with 500 people on it while the other buses put up the ‘out of service’ sign and bugger off back to the depot. This clearly saves Firstbus money. Still, we’ll have trams down the end of our road by the end of 2007. And if that goes tits up we’ll at least have the cut-price trolleybus. Or maybe we’ll just have toss all…

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Baby, you're moving way too fast!

There’s been a lot of talk about petrol prices recently. People want the government to cut the duty, delay increased duty, release stocks and whatever else. It's damaging the recovery / economy blah blah blah. Well I have a way you can cut 15% off your fuel costs, particularly on long journeys – JUST SLOW DOWN!

I drove darn sarf this last weekend and got well over 50 mpg both ways (in a 7 year old Ford Focus C-Max fact fans - not very rock and roll I know...) I’ve experimented with this. Driving at a steady 65ish I get about 43 mpg on a jourey over about 50 miles. At 50-55 I can get about 51-52 mpg. That’s more than 15% less fuel. So if you’re paying £1.40 a litre, take the equivalent of about 22p a litre off. On me. For free. JUST SLOW DOWN! It takes a bit longer but what’s so important about what you’re up to anyway, bloody Jeremy Clarkson? Just cruise along between 50 and 55 mph, take it easy, reduce the stress.

Here’s the disappointing thing though. Everyone is, so they say, suffering from high fuel prices, no-one has enough money for petrol, everyone is hurting apparently - yet everyone has got money to burn up and down the motorway at 70 mph.

Guess how many other people joined me saving a pile of money in the slow lane? About 2 other people. over 2 days driving maybe half a dozen. Weirdos. Like me. No-one else gives a toss about the environment or their own pocket. They're too busy racing to the next gridlock. Or they're stupid and / or ignorant. I find this really depressing.

So next time you hear about people not having any money or being forced by PC governments to be ‘green’ and how the nanny state is taking over and all that stuff just remember – people in cars have money to burn and they don’t give a toss. You're one of them probably - and you're an idiot!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Tickled pink

Down Leeds Market today there was a stallholder shouting out “Maungy Twats, 3 for a quid!”

This amused me no end.

If you were wondering – I think it was packets of mange tout he was flogging.

The right sort of chaps!

Talking of Nelson Mandela...If you ever start thinking that Mister Cameron and his ilk seem OK sorts of chaps I'd like to remind you of something.

Back in the 80s you'd see Conservative students (and other Tories no doubt) walking about in 'Hang Nelson Mandela' badges. I wonder if they'll be wearing them at his funeral? I wonder if anyone has any pictures of members of the current government wearing said badge? - I bet some of 'em did! Point this out and I bet they'd be mortally offended.

I think this is illustrative of the modern Conservative Party. They were students then, they're in goverment now.

Chavs - Read it!

Here's a simple one...Read 'Chavs, the Demonization of the Working Class' by Owen Jones. In my opinion it's around 97% spot on. It rings with the sound of nails being hit on the head. It really is about bloody time somebody said this stuff.

I have a couple of tiny criticisms. But then I bet Nelson Mandela picks his nose or something so let's stay with the big picture - read it! Forget the 3%, get fired up by the 97%.

Autobot Unmoved...

I replied briefly to the email advert from Vistaprint. In response to their invitation to "Make your own home stationary" I replied "My home is already stationary thanks" and signed it.

I was rather hoping for a confused reply - but of course they only send out emails and don't reply to them as is the modern way. Actually, I did get a reply from their 'autoresponder' suggesting I call customer services. I am tempted, but I have fluff to pick out of my navel - I nearly put 'naval' for a joke. I found a Youtube clip on 'Naval piercing'. Gawd preserve us.

I'm paranoid now that I sound like Mister Cleverclogs the spelling nerd. I return to my original point though that a stationery company should be able to spell the word stationery...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You gotta love 'em

Remember Vistaprint? The stationery company. They make stationery. And sell stationery. To people who want stationery...

Their latest email advert suggests in very large letters that I, and I quote...

"Make your Own Home Stationary"

I'm not moved by this latest advert - geddit!? And I hope my home is already stationary thank you! - Geddit again?!

Seriously though, if I sold cars I'd learn how to spell 'car'. If I made furniture I'd learn how to spell 'furniture'. If I made stationery...I could carry on but you get the point...

Unless they're selling house glue to glue houses to the ground? In which case I apologise.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You mean I can't shoot them now?!

Could I just check something here?...Ofcom had a meeting at which they decided that Jeremy Clarkson's comments that 3 million people should be executed in front of their families "were not made seriously"? and "were not at all likely to encourage members of the act on them in any way".

Well, thanks Ofcom. I trust it was a long and difficult meeting with strong arguments on both sides - or was it a big fat waste of time? And paid for by the public?

Right...I think Ofcom should be strung up as this is the only language they understand? Call the police immediately! Or at least have a meeting to decide whether I've broken the law or any rules of any kind.

How can we have come to this point? - shoot the 31,000 people who (apparently) complained too! Blather. blather. blather!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yes Yes Yes! With a Cherry on top!

I suppose this is a bit like a tweet (though longer) - and a bit like my idea of what a 'typical' blog would be...

Anyway...point is I saw Cherry Ghost acoustic in Leeds last night and it were fab! Just yer singer man plus a guitar player. Had a word with the guitar player afterwards and he seemed to be a very friendly chap too! Slow versions of 'the hits' and album tracks. A few songs at the beginning which I assumed were new ones being tested out. Apparently these were actually old ones. You could tell they were great though even on first hearing.

Anyway, atmospheric and brilliant and whatnot. I'd really like to do some sort of discussion group or seminar on the lyrics - they go from completely bonkers to pretty much cliches via the odd line of 6th form poetry (sorry yer man...) but more than a sprinkling of some of the best lines ever written! All in one song it seems to me. Just to be clear, overall the lyrics are ace and I wonder if the slightly 'familiar' phrases are there fully on purpose as a kind of counterpoint to the odder stuff.

This is what Bon Iver lyrics are like too by the way in my 'umble opinion (the only crow dangling keys ever to break your heart - listen to 'Re Stacks'). Incidentally I don't think I'm confusing the odd dodgy line with pop lyrics. Lines like "if you're homesick, give me your hand and I'll hold it" are great pop lyrics.

Whatever, go and buy the 2 Cherry Ghost albums. If you have to download one song to take to the desert island it's Barbarini Square (not played last night by the way - though they did play My God Betrays whihc is nearly as good). If you don't get that one then you have no heart, soul, sense of humour or knowledge of great music and what it can do - go and listen to Capital or something and leave me alone!

They're on at the Deershed Festival. Last year I went to Deershed as I'd just discovered the sublime I am Kloot (who were sublime!). Cherry Ghost are on this year. This is enough to persuade me to go - and I'm not a festival goer you know

Bands like Cherry Ghost and I am Kloot and Bon Iver are just ace so I'm feeling good about the music world at the moment - and don't forget Bill Callahan!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day - Free!

Since it's 14th February I've made me song 'Valentine's Day' free to download from bandcamp. Follow this link or paste it into your browserbot or whatever and you can have it - for free! Because it's Valentine's Day. And you're worth it!...

PS by 'Free' I mean actually free i.e. you don't pay anything. Not like 'Free' from Vistaprint...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wanna Olympic size that? / Killer drones

There seem to be three main official firms associated with the Olympics - Cadburys (chocolate and fizzy drinks), McDonalds ('burgers') and whatever the other one is - Pepsi or Coke I dunno, no-one cares in real life. That's fizzy drinks again. I imagine that actual competitors wouldn't be even allowed to touch any of this lot and certainly wouldn't be advised to.

I wonder if the authorities will be sending the killer drones in to get people in the 'wrong' food firm's t-shirts? (Metropolitan Police - 'Official killer drone suppliers to London 2012'?)

Finally I saw a statement from McDonalds that included the phrase "Nothing is more important to us than serving great tasting food made from high quality ingredients"

Parody, ladies and gentlemen, is dead.

Dracula Plums

This was scary. Frozen plums. Frozen without being cooked. Taken out of the freezer months later. Turned not to dust but to dark brown mush. In front of our eyes. Scary!

Let me take you down...

Here's a current pricelist / advert I received from Vistaprint...

Photo Mug Now FREE Invitations Now FREE
Business Cards Now FREE Postcards Now FREE
T-Shirt Now FREE Return Address Labels Now FREE
Premium Banner Now FREE Stickers Now FREE
Photo Notebook Now FREE Letterhead Now FREE
Spiral Photo Book Now FREE FREE Cotton Bag Order NOW
Note Cards Now FREE Personal Website FREE Trial
Thank You Cards Now FREE Small Rubber Stamp Now FREE
FREE Keyring Order NOW FREE Mouse Pad Order NOW

So everything is free then! What can I actually have for nothing? - why nothing of course! When do you find out how much 'free' costs? - Why, when you're at the end of your order of course!

Modern business methods eh? Where nothing is real!

Free is expensive! - And annoying

Jabba the Hut / Stuffed Crusts...

Pizza Hut merit another mention. They're still advertising their pizza delivery service in areas (i.e. my house) to which they don't deliver, but that's just super efficient private enterprise for you...

The advert reminds me that a while back I was in Scarborough searching for something to eat. Pizza Hut was about the only place open. I hadn't been in one for years. All the food was fatty, salty and /or sugary and there was virtually no topping on the pizza. What there was tasted of a kind of pizza topping flavoured gloop from a tube. I imagine that monosodium glutomate with added salt must taste like this. Add yellow colouring and call it cheese, add a bit of flour and water and call it pizza base, add brown colouring and sugar and call it chocolate fudge cake.

I expect they take on clever graduates who calculate that if they take 2mg of cheese off each pizza worldwide the CEO can take home another million dollars a year or something. Follow that policy for 20 years and here's where you end up.

The worry is that a lot of people never get to taste proper food and we'll all be there within 20 years, fresh food having been banned as not sufficiently supportive of monopoly capitalism or something.

I have a sudden urge to watch the film Silent Running...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Positive if not that interesting

Here's something that would have been described in The Young Ones as 'a bit crawly bum lick'...

But, so far I really like my new employers. They seemed to like me and said nice things about me and seem to appreciate what I've done in the past. This is what's supposed to happen. If disillusion sets in it should take some time, it shouldn't happen before they've even offered you a job.

If I were an employer I'd be a bit nervous about employees blogging, so once more I'm not going to tell the world their name. This is actually more to do with what I will refer to as 'the dance school incident' than anything else...

Lubricants is the word

This 'ere job opportunity is entirely legitimate. I present it here merely because it amuses me...

"My client is seeking an experienced Area Business Manager within the lubricants field...Ideally experience within the Lubricants market but failing that candidates would be considered from Chemical, Grease or Industrial fluids background".

I think I just wish I was from 'the lubricants field' - or from a grease or industrial fluids background!

That organisation...

That organisation that I was slagging off for not telling me the result of my job application - they offered me the job! Ha Ha! I turned them down. I should of course have sent them away with a customer service flea in their ear. Unfortunately I'm far too weasly. And they seem quite nice really. I have another job now - that allows me time to be discovered by Stephen Fry or something...

Nothing to do with Mums...

I know someone rather well who is a member of the 'Institute for Learning'. They're forced to join this club but that's another issue. Point is that the membership card arrived today - if you join you can put the letters 'MIFL' after your name. I guess this stands for 'Member of the Institute For Learning'.

For some reason I can't fathom this really amuses my tiny brain!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

We'll let you know by, ooh, I dunno...

This is a serious point - employers are shocking! HR are useless! I guess this won't be surprising to some of you - it won't be amusing but it's a simple piece of information...

I did a job interview last Friday. They said they'd let me know if I'd got the job on Tuesday. It's now Thursday night. Not a peep out of them. My mobile's on, I've been in, the phone works, I've been checking my email - and nowt!

I needed some kind of job and it was kind of you know, important. I put a lot of time and effort into applying and researching and doing the interview and thought they were probably a good firm to work for. They can certainly talk the talk. Ironically the job was about providing excellent customer service! No wonder they need people who can deal with difficult and angry customers. On their housing association counter. Looks like I'll never be eligible for their "Blue Sky personal and team allowances". Here's what they say about themselves...

"We believe in and live our Values. These are what make us different. Whether this is respecting people, creating solutions, including the whole community or loving to make a difference, they are at the core of everything we do - and more importantly how we do it"

Here's what I say...
"That's a load of old pony" I like the way their 'Values' have a capital V by the way...

And you know what...this isn't the first time this has happened. This is partly because no-one it seems has the bottle these days to actually phone you to say 'you haven't got the job'. They'd rather send you a letter or avoid you in some other way. I'd say that to tell someone direct is the polite thing to do. No matter how many bullshit 'Values' you might have.

And please note - I could have named these people directly - what an old careful and diplomatic old fool I'm becoming.

Look out! - Flying Transformational Agendas!

This is getting tiresome. But here's more job stuff from an advert for er, a job... Adult Social Care is actually part of the Council I believe. They might even tell you that they believe in plain English. I've marked a few phrases I think are nonsense / bullshit or jargon. To be fair, at least one of them is from the government not the local council - but can you imagine meeting either the person who wrote this or the person who gets the job at a party? Or in a meeting? Or anywhere?

To assist the project manager in delivering major transformational projects, in response to the national, and local transformation agendas for Health and Adult Social Care services. The national drivers for change are set out in the NHS reforms ‘Liberating the NHS’ and the new vision for Adult Social Care ‘Capable Communities, Active Citizens’, and other Government policies such as ‘Putting People First’, ‘Think Local, Act Personal’ the Independent Living Strategy, Carer’s Strategy and ‘Valuing People Now’; these describe the transformational challenge ahead. These strategic documents also help set the local parameters for how this post will contribute to helping Adult Social Care deliver major service improvements with our partners in Health and other Council Directorates.

It is true about Vistaprint

I have been naive. I previously blogged about Vistaprint. I was surprised that something advertised as 'free' wasn't actually free at all.

I should have known - Everything Vistaprint seem to sell is actually free. It's not that you don't hand over money to them, it's just that it's not for their products. The products are free.

I think I might open a shop and run it like this - in the window I'll put up a sign that says 'free Mars bars'. I'll then add a shop administration charge of 60p for each Mars bar I sell. I think it's called an 'innovative business model'. Either that or 'a con'.

Watch out for the natives...

More exciting jobs..."An exciting vacancy for an ambitious trainee headhunter to join a specialist headhunting firm based in Leeds City Centre"

Would it be racist to ask if I'd need to bring my own blowpipe and a cooking pot? Perhaps that's all in the training. Do I need to be on my guard in Leeds city centre?

Another ad is from "A boutique headhunting firm covering a range of sectors but mainly concentrating on the finance, procurement and energy areas".

Are they after the heads of those running small specialist shops?

Let's not ask what good headhunting does for the economy. You can't display them on spikes as a lesson to the masses anymore, so why bother?

Here's a job for you!

Just in case you thought banking firms didn't talk nonsense and have their feet on the ground in the 'real economy' or something...Here's a job advert...OK, it's my emphasis

"We currently have an exciting opportunity for a Business Change Manager to work within Customer Architecture on a large divestment project for a major UK retail bank. This is a very large high profile programme looking for delivery focused business change professionals. This role is based working in a banking operations area and experience within this area is also highly desirable".

Customer architecture eh!?

BUPA - they can't add up you know...

Now it is just possible that I've got this wrong..but I've just seen a telly advert for BUPA featuring an 'older man'. They tell you a few things about him and then explain that BUPA like to find out about their customers / residents. Funnily enough they don't mention the important question i.e. do you have loads of money we can have please? But I digress...

I'm sure this bloke says he won a medal 'in the war' - which would normally refer to World War 2 would it not? The he says that he's 83 years old. This would mean he was born in 1929 and was therefore 10 years old when the war kicked off - and 16 when it finished. So what was his medal for then eh? Best shit private money grabbing company who can't even do basic maths and know nothing at all about history? Or is this something to do with Suez or the Korean war or something?

This advert made the telly stage with no-one bothering to tell the company - though it's more likely that they just didn't care. Or maybe 90 would be a bit old for one of their homes, either because they might croak before paying them enough money or they might be ill and therefore expensive to look after.

I believe that marketing people get paid for this stuff too. Private health companies - they suck!