Monthly Archives: March 2006

Striking – a French thing

rioting frenchmenThe news may have just about filtered into the uk by now, although I’m not sure. The British associate the French with striking in the same way they assocoate us with bad food and glassings. You don’t need to report on national character traits…

Apparently, students used to be able to have a 10 minute break to eat cheese and moan for every hour of teaching. Plans to cut this essential break to 5 minutes have met with staunch resistance. 1.5 million French took to the streets on Saturday, with nearly 200 arrests and cheese sauce sprayed on the streets and the hoods of Renault Clios throughout the country. Sunday was a day to take stock, to mourn the loss of cheese past.

Actually, they are protesting against a new employment contract for the under 26s, which lacks the “job for life, can’t be sacked even if caught cracking one off under the desk” security of the current contracts. They do have a point, in so far as the French are massively conservative and cautious in virtually every aspect of life, but I can’t help but feel embarassed when I see the “manifestations”. All the shouting and stopming and singing and self-congratulatory noise making and cheese eating bravado makes my skin crawl. Part of the English condition I suppose. Power to the people? “I’m too embarassed mate, let’s just go and have a cup of tea” (or 10 pints and a messy kebab house mauling?). Contradictory as a whole ? Perhaps.


Animal night last night

ApeRemember sound of breaking and screeching voices downstairs as the boloists climb the walls to late night tunes and maroots. Upstairs, busy causing trouble of my own, raised voices and recriminations and this morning, feel pretty shameful and the need to say sorry to someone special… ouch. Happy birthday Lurcho….. and big up for getting searched by the police on the way home. Don’t let the weasels grind you down. Crimp hope your head’s not too sore for Chicago middle class musical action this evening. Paps, wrap another maroot… throw some prawns on the barbie!

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Mists of time

Thoughts were running through my mind for a moment there and I suddenly thought: “anyone else remember Duck-Face?”


Rules for life 33

Standing man#33 Never, NEVER eat Krispy Kreme (r) doughnuts. Each one must take an hour off your life and that’s too much.

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Psalm mothers do ave ’em (immaculately)

The question what is God’s finest work is usually thought to be unanswerable: The Earth? The Universe? Man? Woman? Obviously without being Him we cannot know (and no, Dubya, they told you wrong), but I have a strong suspicion that what He is most satisfied with is getting that impressionable berk to put the line “God moves in mysterious ways” into the Bible. Cue licence to behave as erratically as you like (or more likely not to do anything at all) and have an instant answer to all questions engendered thereof. And the warm glow that comes from giving solace to every glazed-eyed born-again who has just seen their beloved mother brutally hacked to death with a sharpened chair leg, thus transferring the burden of thinking about such trauma and evil onto them scummy atheists and Non-Americans. Selah.

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These could go in ‘rules for life’, but they’re more guidelines really…

#1. Never have faith that ‘nobody could be stupid enough to do that

#2. Never, NEVER eat Krispy Kreme (r) doughnuts. I have sunk oceans-worth of alcoholic beverages in my time, and eaten more abbatoirs’ worth of questionable animal-derived by-products than days I have lived, but I have never felt my liver fur up, my teeth scream and my bowels lurch and writhe quite like when I first sampled their morbid sweetness. Each one must take half an hour off of your life. That’s like, two pints. And that’s too much.

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No words, but an itch in my brain

Yes, as the title indicates I have nothing to say today. Nothing that is except that I need to draw a line in the sand, retreat from it or perhaps run screaming from the beach spilling children into self-dug pits and adults into their picnic  hampers, people shaking their fists after me.

Just rambling as you can see, but what I’m talking about is sleep. Something I’ve mentioned before on this site, but it really is hitting crisis point. I must sleep. I crave sleep – my eyelids beg to fall and hypothetical dribble lies ready to collect in the spaces on my. keyboard. What is the reason for this predicament? Insomnia? Deadlines? Incessant use of caffeine based stimulants. Nope – I’m afraid the reason is me…..

You see, ever since I started on this web/design quest about a year ago it has been all I have wanted to do. I love it and when I’m doing it I feel better. I feel like I’m getting somewhere… As a result, I am in danger of breaking the weakened connections in my mind because I seem to figure that sitting up, looking for obscure resources, planning for the future and coding stuff is the route to salvation. It’s not, but at three in the morning it certainly seems more attractive and fun than getting up for a day in the office.

Ultimately, the good work must continue – that part is certain, but for it to continue the lesson must be learned that this cannot continue without death and insanity. My firiends then are hereby entitled to comment upon my progress in this matter, particularly if they receive an email from me at any point after half one (which is surely a sensible compromise).

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The Mop Debate

coy hairWhy do I not get my hair cut? It is a question often asked of myself, by myself and others, and as it is an issue whose already-limited thinking time allocation is constantly interrupted by matters of love, life, death and Manchester United, it surely must be put into 12pt Arial (or the present font, whatever that is) to be even touched upon. Is it a statement? Could it be apathy turned opportunistically into a statement on the homogenisation of society, or, subconsciously, apathy acting as a protest in itself: against the instigation (by Government or otherwise) of a culture that encourages the vastly disproportionate efforts and expenditure lavished by ordinary folk on creation of a ‘hairstyle’, undoubtedly to divert attention from all manner of corruption and inequality that we should be worrying about. Is it me trying to show a dismissive and shallow world that I have hidden depths by rejecting follicular ostentation, and if so am I missing the point because the people I am aiming to impress this upon have turned into vain, insular dolts by virtue of their high-maintenance hairdo? Or am I simply trying to provide shelter for the fast-declining House Sparrow? I often joke that I “should make the best of it while it’s still there”, a reference in part to a double crown which has made me look balding since infant times, but what if my reluctance to part with my parting is aprt of a deeper-seated fear of ageing, possibly linked to moments when I find myself at Twenty-Six in a dead-end school-leaver’s job job writing verbose prose about inane shit when I should be photocopying…..



There is an interesting (no really) phenomenon with public sector budgets whereby if you are a department or organisation that works hard all year, provides a good service and manages due to efficiency to finish the year under your budget, you are penalised. The excess is likely to be reclaimed to pay for another department/organisation’s inefficiencies and you are likely to meet the new financial year with a reduced budget – after all, if you can do it one year, surely you can save even more the next.

Somewhere along the line you can see the logic in the above. You can see the young scamp that had the idea and you can imagine the backpatting around the office. “Brilliant James, that’ll give us the chance to pay off our deficit”.

Unfortunately, it’s not actually a good idea: the result is that budget managers do not attempt to save money through efficiency to come in under their budget (efficiency savings are only made in the event of crippling cuts), this will just make their lives harder. Instead, they will ensure that in the final months of the financial year, they spend every penny – if need be, on pure rubbish. This is why you may see at the moment the end of your ‘perfectly good condition’ road getting dug up, or a sudden burst of speed humps appearing. You may witness the parks full of yellow jacketed malcontents digging holes and putting in fragile trees that are smashed down by the kids next month.

And obviously if you are a contractor for the public-sector, this time of year feels like the gravy train has come home.

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Bitterness (or: I’ve not paid for C*****mas yet)

A waste of time – this Valentines!
A mess of pink-faced corporate swine
Arise from silent post-Yule wallow
And force the populace to swallow
A date plucked from an obscure myth
A Saint, we’re told with solemn breath.
This myth then linked to love and lust –
Ergo, you miss: your love life’s bust.
So at yet another time of year
The wallet must ‘religion’ fear:
A woman’s brain of reason sound
Becomes a fertile planting ground
For seed of gift-box expectation;
And woe betide her indignation
If for some reason you select
To abstain, question or object.
Thus runs smooth the corporate plan
To exploit and browbeat modern man.
I could go on, but something nags:
Despite my ire at corporate slags
I know that all I have I’d drop
For cause to be mugged at the florist’s shop.

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Today while working late in the office I broke one of my cardinal rules. I worked late.

Strange when the pressures of responsibility come crashing down. Still, got home in time to watch Syriana. Hmm intriguing. Couple of drinkies and then you can come up for air. Work a distant memory now and back hunched over the keys again when I should be sleeping. Ah soon, but not soon enough.

Incidentally, had an idea for a new category today: rules for good living. I know, I know it sounds cliched, but the thing is I reckon we only put really useful stuff in. No punch-line stuff either. Actually good bona fide rules for living. I’ve started the ball rolling above.

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Lean days

horse faceThis has been a lean weekend. You think you are doing ok and then you find yourself up at 4 in the morning, poking round the kitchen looking for cheese and crackers. Huge pile of productive things to be done, but no capacity for that now. Just sit back and read, some tunes on in the background. Figroy snoring on the floor behind me and to the right. Landlord coming in the morning and the room reeks of smoke. But at least that’s tomorrow…..

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Walk the dog shit plank, ye cunts ye

That’s what a friend of mine, let’s call him Dan, thinks should happen to the caring citizens of Bordeaux who line the pavements with chod baguettes.  His idea is in the realms of public humiliation. Whenever a log is dropped pavement side and the act is spied by a member of the numerous law ‘enforcers’, the offending owner would be summoned before whatever crowd could be gathered for a people’s punishment. They would be made to remove their shoes and socks, then walk through the doggo, hot coal style. The stinky-footed offender would then have to put their socks and shoes back on without having cleaned their feet, to the chorus of the jeering mob. And yes, this would also apply to the ‘sweet old dears’ with poodles who always look at potential complainees with a ‘awwww, but he’s such a cute little dog, it’s almost an honour he’s left his mess there’ look. In fact, maybe they’d have to eat the stuff instead. The police could carry a special cutlery set just for the purpose.

Anyway, if you’ve stood in dog shit recently, you may well agree with Dan. Otherwise, it may seem a little extreme…

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Saved by the bolo

IdolToday I finally got off my arse and, after five years of talk and grim pretentiousness, began writing something that resembled fiction. True, it was a thousand words of tat and needs heavy editing before I can show to anybody (even a priest) – but for an hour I actually sat and did something. I feel very proud of myself – but would like to give some credit to the existence of the Bolo, which I think spurred me into action after all this time…

Fucking ace. It’s about time I got out of the middle of the road and back in to the ditch where I belong.

Thank you Bolo. You succeeded where Trisha failed.

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