Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This morning I received a CCJ. That's a County Court Judgement, if you've always had enough to get by on and been lucky enough to have never been made redundant or been landed with any other uninvited crap, like illness, to deal with. I've been in negotiation with a creditor about how I can repay a debt, you see. However, instead of actually deigning to answer any of my letters (or actually providing an address to which letters could be sent - I had to research it) or employ a fluent English speaker with the necessary authority to make decisions, they just passed the account on to solicitors who then issued the CCJ. The solicitors didn't even bother to answer the letter I sent them either. Oh, they cashed the small cheque I included but didn't answer the bloody letter. How incredibly rude. No wonder this country is ruined when common courtesies such as acknowledgements go straight by the board. I will stop this bit before I get dangerously Daily Mail. This was the letter in which I told them how much I could currently afford a month, which wasn't a lot, but was better than nothing.* So instead of trying to work something out to the benefit of everybody I'm now expected to pay £125 per month for 4 months. Pardon me for being cynical but if I could afford £125 per month to pay off a creditor, I wouldn't be in debt. My income as unemployed is £60 per week, paid fortnightly. The words to describe the sheer blind incompetence of these knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers haven't yet been coined. Maybe some of you could do me the honour.

*This was also the letter in which I, perhaps rather disingenuously, compared solicitors to bankers. Damn.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How much?

I must admit, I didn't take much notice of the budget. I'm unemployed, it will affect me whether I like it or not and the government's statement that they really want to help the unemployed are weasel words, just empty promises and a decent sound-bite. They haven't got a clue. Not to put too fine a point on it, they shit on the unemployed and the civil servants paid to do their dirty work are the fundaments through which that shit passes. Got that out of the way.

Now, one thing I do remember from yesterday is that the government will now find 2 grand for you for your ten-year-old car if you can afford a new one. No. I do not want to buy a new one. It means energy and resources will be used to create something I don't need yet. It's more economically and environmentally sound to keep my old one in good order. However, today is the day my car insurance is renewed (I knew 23rd April was relevant). Will my premium go up now that my ten year old Rover 600 is now valued at £2000 instead of £500? I have a feeling that for the next couple of years this stunning piece of forward thinking will stimulate the market in 10 year-old cars and nothing else. What talent we have in government.

It was also reported yesterday that prices fell overall and are expected to do so again next months. No more inflation, it's deflation. Apparently this is a bad thing. Again, I can't understand this. I thought levelling inflation was the holy bloody grail of economic policy but strike me down if I haven't got that one wrong as well. I'm not allowed to understand this because I'm just a numpty who left school at 18 and has been struggling for the past 30 years without letters after my name. Surely if things are coming down in price, we will be able to afford them. Not crap that we don't need like Sky boxes, new cars and Wiis but essential items such as nourishing food, decent and well made furniture so we can sit on and around it eating the nourishing food and be families again, public transport, that sort of stuff. If we can afford this stuff it will stimulate the economy and give us some dignity back. Maybe it will even make our remaining manufactured goods competitive again and produce proper jobs as a result. But no, I haven't thought it through deeply enough. I've not produced any earth-shatteringly trite jargon. I'm not an economist or a politician. I'm just broke and wondering how to spend the little money I have wisely. Come on Gordon, gissa job.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I'm not often given to puffing other blogs over here and international blogging superstars don't usually need the publicity but if you don't already read JonnyB's Private Secret Diary, his latest post is a pretty good reason to start. Quite possibly the funniest thing I've read in ages.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A bemused prophet of the obvious

Re: this

There is something not quite right about this so I've tried to work it out. Now, I've not been to school for a very long time so I may have got a few things wrong so bear with me.

Oil -> petrol/diesel ->car moves a long way. Stops for 5 minutes then goes a long way again.

3 stages using an existing infrastructure and technology that is being improved year on year to be more efficient and economical. By no means perfect but best we've managed so far and getting better.

Oil/coal -> electricity -> car moves not quite so far and then has to stop near a socket for several hours. Bummer.

3 stages using a virtually non-existent infrastructure outside the home and technology that is, compared to the existing one, crap, and which will involve a huge amount of effort and additional energy resources to create and to be anywhere near as versatile and useful as the existing one. Environmentally it's probably actually worse than the top one. I can't prove it of course but I wonder how much energy will be expended creating the vehicles and the network of recharging points that will be required. The electricity has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is the same place as the oil and coal. Going to put a solar panel on top of each car? Solar panels currently work at around 14% efficiency if you're lucky and then only in the daylight. There is a panel that works at near 100% efficiency using all the available spectrum but it's way off being developed economically. And it still only works during the day. "Electricity" is no greener at all so don't be fooled by that. OK, less fumes coming out of the car granted but I can just about remember enough physics to state without much fear of contradiction that the fumes will have to be generated somewhere and when the environmental lobby protest whenever more efficient fossil fuel power stations are built it would seem that there is an inbuilt environmental impasse just waiting to happen. We could of course cover the landscape in windmills but hey, all that steel has to be made and then maintained (more fumes from somewhere) and besides, no bugger's going to want to go anywhere in a car anyway if all they're going to be able to look at is another sodding great white turbine tower or 600.

So to sweeten the pud, this shortsighted, talentless and frankly useless government will do the one thing it's got good at recently and throw a load of money at the wrong people so they go out and buy another new piece of kit they don't really want or need.

The governments of the world, including that new one run by that basket of new ideas, nice Mr Obama, are missing pretty damned obvious trick after trick and it makes my blood boil because we're now just heading straight back towards the mess. The global economy has just collapsed rather dramatically. What are they doing? Trying to re-create it! Why FFS? It's just gone wrong because of this: GREED. So why are you trying to recreate a system that will still promote greed? This is the best opportunity the world will ever have to do something radical and beneficial to everyone yet all they want to do is get back to the safe old "buy useless crap and make rich people even richer even though they're probably criminals who'd sell your children if they thought they could make a quick cent" type economy because even though we know it doesn't really work, better the devil you know. And that's regardless of their supposed political colour.

If the exchequer can afford to bail out everyone to the tune of 5 grand so they can go out and buy a bleedin' Toyota Pious or whatever they're called that's going to sit in the garage for much of the time anyway, and that's after it's been imported on a big ship which are just about the least environmentally friendly transport system going, why not invest that same money in creating an efficient and economic public transport system so that anyone contemplating a journey of under 5 miles will actually think of using it? When a transport infrastructure is widely available and efficient, it gets used. Anyone over 60 will tell you that. Don't expect it to generate money, it's an asset. Let it be owned by THE people, not A person. If people can get to places with confidence and ease, they will spend their money at their destination and that's the beginning of your trickle-down. Sorted. Job done, put your feet up.

Either I'm simple or I'm the greatest thinker of our generation.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gabble gabble.

I have nothing of any particular import to say. Just as well, I can hear you chorus. I'll find something anyway.

Many thanks to the reader from the Stockport area searching for "Citalopram Notoriety" who became my 25,000th visitor at 1.25am this morning. Citalopram is an anti-depressant. From experience, it can also give you a very dry mouth during the night so I suspect my visitor was just as pissed off taking it as I was. My most recent visitor came here searching for information on "arse-ropes". I am 6th out of 34,000 and as it is a term from olde Englysshe literature, that marks me out as something of an authority. Elsewhere, google returns 16,000 references for the rather bizzare "the funnest game without blood or goat on the internet that i can play with out paying money" of which I am the second most important. Listen pal, you want goats AND blood and it's going to cost, especially if it's fun you want insteady of funny. Maybe you should meet my Australian visitor who came here after "russiangrannyporn". Although perhaps you are the real reason why "mary nightingale interviews met police".

This morning I walked back from the heaving metropolis of Crewe town centre (the only thing heaving in Crewe are the pavements. With dogshit. I've never seen so much. Why?) following a youthful couple. They were, I don't know, about 18 I suspect. But for the 5 minutes I followed them, I had to continually suppress a desire to do a LOL. She was quite divine. Slim and shapely, black tight encased legs up to her armpits and the shortest of fashionable dark blue puff-ball type skirts, topped off with a black denim jacket and simple but neat black hair. Elegant without being a ridiculous slave to fashion and alluring without looking like a slapper or a pasty goth. The kind of girl you would have been dead proud to have pulled at 18 and equally proud to have taken back to your parents with a "look what I've got" grin all over your face. He wore baggy jeans and a black T-shirt (clean though, I'll give him that) and had unkempt shaggy hair and tatty trainers. But it was the slogan on the back of his T-shirt that made me laugh. It was in 6" high yellow letters, four words over four lines, the first line to "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones: Hey ho, let's go.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mr Ford, isn't it?

This morning I received a letter. Nothing unusual in that normally, except that this time I knew the contents almost by heart on account of having sent it myself some six weeks ago. Somebody at the Royal Mail decided to return it to me. To do this they had to open it and find out who sent it, put the letter and the envelope into another envelope, address it to me and deliver it. This is no mean feat, considering.

Several weeks ago Sharon's mum wrote to me enclosing a gift and I wrote back by return. I wished her and Sharon's dad well, as one does. I sent the letter the same day using the second class post. The letter never arrived. A few days later, Sharon's dad died. Goodness, I thought to myself, it will look rather insensitive for it to turn up now. Well, I they weren't my exact words as I'm sure you can imagine. By this time, I had of course, already mentioned that I'd written, just in case it did turn up.

This morning I looked at the envelope to see why it wasn't delivered. "No such address" was scrawled on it. I looked again; ah yes, I see what I did, I wrote "Stratford, London, E17 ***" instead of "Stratford, London, E15 ***". OK, silly error but the house number also ends in 17 so it was an honest mistake. Unusually, it was the house number I used to get wrong, the postcode I've always known. If I'd got the house number wrong in the same manner it would only have gone to Norma next door anyway and she would have put it next door, not sent it back marked "Not Known". Besides, I had written "Stratford" on it. You don't have to apparently, the postcode is enough but I'm not a complete moron, there are people involved who don't care anymore. Had I not written the postcode on it at all, it would have probably arrived within three days. This is the modern world. Of course, when that was written by The Jam 30 years ago, there would have been no problem, the letter would have arrived. On the second post. No, in a display of ineptitude that is quite disturbing as well startling, it took them 6 weeks not to get out an A to Z Z. How they managed to work out how to send it back to me in Crewe, fully 175 miles north of Stratford is quite beyond me.

Stratford, unless you have been living under a stone since 5/7/05, is where the 2012Olympic village is being built and is an important transport hub for London. It's the biggest building site in Europe. It's a happening place. You would think that pretty much everyone in London knows where Stratford is, especially those charged with delivering the nation's mail. Wrong.

You see, the Royal Mail (and the Post Office) is run by one of my favourite people, Mr Adam Crozier. He used to run the Football Association and was responsible for moving it from Lancaster Gate to the centre of the entertainment industry, Soho. This ought to give an indication of Mr Crozier's business acumen and priorities. He also employed Sven, and while that wasn't a complete disaster, he allowed the nonsense that surrounded his appointment to occur. He does appear to be a complete moron though, with no thought for a company's core business, in this case selling stamps, delivering letters and parcels and being the village shop - not supplying overpriced internet and car insurance and employing wanky boybands or our Joanie to flog it. Under his tenure the Royal Mail has turned into a laughing stock. He is also in league with that other talentless twat Mandelson in trying to flog off the Royal Mail. Crozier's administration has resulted in morale and efficiency dropping to desperate levels; the second class post is now a complete lottery and as I've experienced, they are employing illiterates to try and deliver it. It's like asset stripping in reverse; surely, if you are trying to sell a state run industry, or any business, you want to make it an attractive concern. No, of course, not. No point in selling an efficient state-controlled business, would there. We have a socialist government, don't we? So we'll make it inefficient and offload it to someone who'll take the hit. Pardon me for being cynical. FFS, we've just seen our economy collapse because of business being run by wide-boy market traders after a fast buck, don't these cretins ever learn?

Monday, April 06, 2009

She's back!

And no longer anonymous. Go and say hello if you haven't already.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

About a yard.

I was going to write something today that had loads of swearing in because that's the kind of week I've had, and it's only Wednesday. I've got it all written and everything. But other people can do that stuff better than me and I've just had my blood pressure taken and it's gone up again, which is annoying because the blood donor people won't let me onto the platelets panel until it's stabilised.

Levity is required. This is, I don't know, 38 years or so old yet it just doesn't date and is still one of the funniest sketches ever. Ever. If you've never seen it, you must be very young. If you've not seen it for a while, you will still do some LOLs, probably even a ROFL. It's 10 minutes and 50 seconds of the most immaculate comedy timing ever filmed, even from the straight man who, because he'd just flown in from his mother's funeral, only learnt the script on the way to the studio.

Andre Previn said later that Eric had told him the secret was to believe you weren't being funny. He must have been a fast learner as he deadpanned brilliantly, almost outdoing Eric himself, who was a master. In his superb biography, Eric Morecambe Unseen (one of the best biographies I've ever read - he was granted complete freedom to trawl the files in Eric's office), William Cook gives a fascinating insight into Eric Morecambe's mind. He didn't just do Eddie Braben's lines, he was a a proper funny man, always looking for inspiration, sometimes in the most unlikely of places: Cook even unearthed a Frank Zappa album from among his effects. Next month it will be 25 years since Eric Morecambe died; expect to see this quite a bit.