Wednesday, 3 November 2010

... but it didn't get me anywhere.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

angry email

I have just sent the angriest email of my life.

Friday, 29 October 2010

new job

It was pretty close to midday yesterday that I was entertaining the idea of writing something on here. I'd had an interview for a job on Wednesday, and it felt like it went really well. I felt quite comfortable and relaxed and I left with the impression that the three people on the panel had warmed to me and may even have been mildly impressed. I felt that I was definitely in the running for the job. Anyway, I was told that they were hoping to come to a decision sooner rather than later, and that the successful applicant would likely receive a call later that day with the news. The others would have to wait to receive the bad news in the post a few days later. When it got to about 2:30 in the afternoon I was convinced that it was over. I'd blown it. I was readying myself for the inevitable blow that would come when the letter dropped through my door. It's a feeling I've felt before... and, even when you know that you've got no chance, it still hurts when you see it on the page in front of you.

So, yeah, it's 2:30 and I'm texting Min... They're not going to call, they've given it to someone else! Argh!!! etc. Then it's 3 in the afternoon. Then 4, then 4:30, and then 5 o' clock comes and goes. As does 6. I felt pretty disappointed by it all... it felt like I'd answered pretty much everything well, had been reasonably articulate and thoughtful in my replies, and that I'd generally came across very well. It had seemed like a conversation right from the start, as opposed to an interview. Of course, I didn't leave the room feeling that I had it in the bag or anything, but I felt good about the whole experience, and that's the first time I've ever felt like that immediately after an interview. So I'd wandered around London all day holding my phone in my hand but nothing happened. I sent a message to a colleague saying that I didn't get the job. It felt terrible. Then I'm sitting on the tube with Min in the evening and I see that there's a voicemail on my phone. I'd been pretty feeling dejected at this point... and suddenly I'm alive again... so I dial the number and wait... and I can't hear it properly... so I try to concentrate a bit harder, try to block out the noise around me. My heart is beating like crazy. They've called me!

And then I hear it...

My dad. It was my bloody dad on the message. Heh. His timing is impeccable. Hearing my dad's voice at this moment in time was pretty much the last thing I wanted. I felt a hundred times worse. Not only was the job gone but now I had to start thinking about how to go about telling people that I didn't get it. Always the worst part. I always plan on keeping applications secret to avoid this particular unpleasant pitfall. I'd managed to keep this one under wraps until the last day at work before we broke up for half-term and then I couldn't keep it secret any longer and I had to let a few people know. I don't know why that is... if anything it just piles on the pressure and makes you look like a complete lemon when you fail miserably.

I thought there was still an outside chance that they'd yet to make a decision and might call the successful person on Thursday. I wanted to believe it anyway, but when it got to lunchtime I kind of gave up on this theory. And that's when I started thinking about writing a blog. It's something I tend to want to do at what feel like important little milestones in my life. Not necessarily blogs, but some form of documentation. When I failed my first driving test I recorded an 11-minute discordant take of me working out my frustrations on my guitar with the amp turned incredibly loud. Don't get me wrong though, I wasn't trying to capture how I was feeling using the medium of fretboard wankery like some kind of Eric Clapton numpty... I despise that kind of heinous crap. Nope, I just wanted to hit it and scrape it until the strings snapped and the room shook. It felt great. I mean, it sounds shit... but it definitely felt great.

But anyway, the point of this entry is that, within the space of 10 minutes, I'd gone from wanting to document this absolute all-consuming frustration that I was feeling to suddenly wanting to write one saying how absolutely surprised and elated I am to have received the phonecall offering me the job. Because that's what happened. Oh, and I accepted it. Heh.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Another (far more) satisfying moral victory over the preposterously named head of IT, Albert Hall, today. The whole staffroom will be invited to share in this success tomorrow, through the medium of biscuits.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A very satisfying moral victory over the preposterously named head of IT, Albert Hall, today.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Lance sent me the mix of a new song of ours called A Pinch of Salt last night. I think it's one of the best things we've done, if not the best. I get all excited sometimes when I think we've produced something really good... anyway, I uploaded it to our facebook page thing along with a really old song of ours called Birdwatching. I'd been in two minds about uploading Birdwatching for a while. On the one hand I think it's really good fun, very catchy and immediate and a pretty great recording too for its time, as well as a bit of a milestone for us... but on the other hand I worry that it's too twee or something. Having listened to it again last night my feelings are more of the former. Anyway, listen to me going on like we're the fucking Beatles or something... or like you give a shit. Heh. My point though, is I thought that by uploading them both together I could put up this new & brilliant recording that we're really proud of, and sneakily put up the other one at the same time. Through the back door, so to speak. New and old. A nice contrast... this cheeky romp of a pop song about watching the birds fly and this big bloated fucker that's aiming for something altogether very different. Low and behold, Terry Cooper (yes folks... the Terry Cooper) 'Likes' and comments on Birdwatching. The ultimate snub!

You absolute bastard, Terry.

Friday, 27 August 2010

A few days ago I mentioned that we'd been doing a lot of baking. Well, recently we've also become hooked on eBay too, as sellers. Ha, it's so addictive... now I can see why my dad gets so worked up over it. So, yeah, everything revolves around eBay now. It really does.

Right now I'm really excited as I think we stumbled on a potential goldmine, albeit a very modest little one. After a little bit of researching and the sale of a test item I decided to take a bit of a gamble this afternoon, buying a rather large quantity of a particular item at a discounted price. I spent quite a large sum of money, enough for me to be seriously fucked off if this bombs, but so far it's looking very good. I'm not too worried - two of the items from an initial batch of six have sold in under 5 hours... I think it's going to be a win. Heh, I hope it is anyway... after all, I spent more on this than I put in my ISA this month... and I thought that I put a lot in my ISA this month.

I'd love it if one more goes tonight.
I can't believe I'm about to write this; but I just read this interview with Paul Weller on the Guardian website and when I got to the end I didn't find myself thinking about what a complete munce he is. Actually I quite admired his outlook on things - especially on his 'right' to be an artist. Hmm... interesting. His music is still shite though.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Driving to Lance's earlier I had the pleasure of having a disgusting little silver Citroen Saxo loaded with three teenage dicks behind me. There's this massive hill that you have to drive down as you approach Benfleet, and to be honest I'm not sure of the speed limit there but 50 seems more than enough. Especially in my rickety old car... any faster and I'm sure something would fall off. Anyway, so I'm kinda poodling down the hill between 40 and 50 and this Saxo comes round the corner behind me and speeds up until he's right on my arse. I could see them in there through my mirror laughing like the idiots they were. One of them had a hood. Naturally I slowed down to 20 and sauntered down the remainder of the hill and into the 30 zone. Fortunately there were no other cars behind so I had the luxury of dragging it out for what felt like another couple of minutes. I'd like to think it wiped the smiles off of their faces but I'd probably be wrong. When I finally got to the mini-roundabout where I had to turn off, I watched through the mirror as they sped off in the direction they were going. It felt like a victory to me. I chalked it up.

So this little episode got me thinking about a couple of things...

That I wish I had a friend or family member who worked for the DVLA, so that I could jot down the number plates of these bastards and, ultimately, get their addresses so that I could then send them a small letter explaining what absolute shits they are. It would be a very concise letter, maybe just three words. I was thinking 'you absolute shit'.

That I had actually gone ahead and at least produced a prototype Twat Flap by now. Hmmm... I suppose that before going on I really should explain exactly what the Twat Flap is. And, don't worry, it's not what it sounds like. Okay, well, here goes... the Twat Flap is a device that I invented for cars. It is essentially a piece of wood (or cardboard, or plastic, or whatever) that fits perfectly within the parcel shelf behind the back seat of your car. It would be hinged to the shelf itself and attached to a drawstring. This drawstring would then be fed along the ceiling if the car - possibly inside the lining if it's an option - all the way to the front of the car. The string would have a handle on the end, much like a light-switch in a bathroom. This would hang down next to the little mirror in the middle of the windscreen. Emblazoned on the board would be the word TWAT - although any word of your choice could conceivably be used. So, whenever you find some gurning idiot practically touching your bumper in his laughable little Ford Fiesta, all you have to do is pull on the cord and word TWAT will rise up and fill the whole of your rear window. There would be very little subtlety with the Twat Flap. The board would be weighted so that when you released the handle it would fall back into place on the parcel shelf and, of course, the longer you hold the string, the longer your idiot in his Fiesta finds himself on the receiving end of a good twatflapping.

God, that would be so good. Just imagine all the small victories you could have with a Twat Flap...

Whilst I'm on about these people I might as well mention something else that irked me today. This was when I was driving home in the afternoon. I'd just left a roundabout and saw these two teenage boys fiddling with massive speakers (woofers? something like that...) in the back of a car on the side of the road. I presume they were wiring them up so that they could amaze their meatheaded friends with "bass." Heh, I can see them now, down on the seafront on a Saturday night, orange girls and walking penises together as one, talking about the "bassline" of whatever generic drum and bass bullshit they happen to be listening to. Or listening to a minute of before getting bored and skipping to the next track. These people wouldn't know a bassline if it hit them in the face.

Whatever the fuck is going on in The Old Man's Back Again by Scott Walker - that's a bassline. Whatever is emanating from Paul McCartney's fingers on practically any Beatles song you like - that is a bassline.


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Holiday snaps

Just got back from picking up two packs of holiday photos. The lady at the desk picked up both packs and removed a photo from each so that I could look at it, nod at it approvingly and then say something along the lines of "yes, they're mine." Anyway, as I expected, she pulled out the two most embarrassing pictures of me there.

I nodded approvingly...

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Wow... it's nearly three months since I last posted something. I told you I was gravely ill.

I never know what to write when I leave it this long. Suppose I could start with what I've been doing recently. I've been doing a lot of baking. Or maybe I should say that my lovely girlfriend Min has been doing a lot of baking and I have been standing nearby observing what goes down. Actually that's not true; I've been pulling my weight. Earning my stripes. Those carrots don't peel themselves, motherfucker!

Let me get this right... we've made spinach & cheese muffins, ham & mushroom muffins, carrot & courgette muffins, made a fairly disastrous attempt at green tea cupcakes, soda bread, banana loaf, banana & cinnamon muffins & lemon bars. Oh man, the lemon bars! These lemon bar things are amazing; they've got this lemony shortbread base to them and this really tangy, gooey sumptuous lemon topping. Too many of them though and they'll fuck you up. These things are lethal. Like all guys I am also an expert at removing things from ovens. That said, I did manage to burn the fuck out of my fingers a couple of days ago when I made the schoolboy mistake of removing a hot baking tray from the oven before taking off the gloves and then absent mindedly attempting to pick up the tray seconds later. I was whistling my new free-form interpretation of Jingle Bells at the time. I blamed it on this. It was an intense performance. It's amazing what I've done with the tune, I like to think I've made it my own. Appropriation, baby, that's what it's all about.

We have loads of hornets in the garden at the moment. They keep coming into the house as well. I killed one of them in an amusing fashion by dropping a lemon on it from a great height. I tried to kill a second soon after with the same lemon but failed.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

I renewed my car tax today. Like an idiot I'd let it expire on the 30th April. I had the notification thing through the post a good two weeks ago, so I'd had plenty of time to draw on all my sources and focus every last drop of energy onto the dreadfully daunting task of turning on the computer and clicking a few buttons. Anyway, I realised this morning that no tax = no car. Not good. Luckily I was able to borrow one for the day though. A nice newfangled modern car. That's a great thing about being 25 years old... possibly the only great thing about being 25 years old... that I can now drive anybody else's car, providing that their insurance allows it. So, yeah, that was that. It took me a while to get used to the controls but I got there in the end.

As I was saying, I renewed my car tax. Tried to do it in the post office in Southend town centre but it seems they now operate using some kind of ticket system, like they use on the meat counters in supermarkets. Hmm, I couldn't really work out what was going on so I decided to go to my little local branch instead. I love it in there... it's like a time warp. It's exactly as I remember it always being. It's never changed... the smell, the sweets, the signs on the walls, even the staff... nothing.

So I'm in the queue, three people ahead of me, when I start to crave a Caramac. Only I can't buy one, I know it. I learnt long ago with the Caramac that you can look but you can't touch. Ever. There was a good supply of Mr Peanut bars as well. Heh... probably the very same supply of Mr Peanut bars that were there in 1993. I mean, who is buying Mr Peanut bars in this day and age?

In the end I bought a fairly large bag of Liquorice Allsorts. As a result I am now gravely ill.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Wow, that was a bit of a blast from the past. Just did the drying up as my dad washed the dishes. God I used to hate doing it as a kid... everything about it. Heh, it all came flooding back... how funny. The most amusing part was that I think I was getting just as worked up inside as I used to. I think it's the system he works by... there's just no logic to it. I mean, when I wash up, I use quite a methodical approach. There aren't any written laws or anything like that, but I just follow a set of codes & they seem to make sense. I guess that the only downside is that I take fucking ages & some people might confuse what I'm doing with 'faffing'. Hmm... even so... maybe the world would be a better place if everybody adopted my way of doing things. Or, if not mine, then something very similar. Preferably something that I would get the credit for.

I can't stand an abundance of bubbles on the dish, cup or whatever as it leaves the sink and is placed on the draining board. In fact I can't stand any bubbles. They make me feel ill. I think it's because soapy bubbles take up a lot of physical space, yet because they're made of, like, 99.7126% air, they have virtually no physical presence to them. They're pointless. They have no substance. I detest it. They promise so much but deliver so little in terms of a sensory experience. Suckers! Heh, and when I think back to all those years spent drying up after dinner, that's pretty much all I remember; the vague promise of a draining board lurking somewhere underneath a useless, heaving & popping sea of white foam. Urgh. And that horrible crackling noise they make as they slowly burst to death. Bubbles. They were always going to be the first against the wall when I had my way.

So, when I'm washing stuff I'll give it a good old going over with the sponge - a hearty rub, checking and checking again for any sign of remaining dirt - then I'll lift the item above the water before bringing the sponge up above it so that the excess water in the sponge leaks out and washes all the bubbles back into the murky depths below. The trick here is to not find yourself getting carried away in the moment and squeezing the sponge, as this will inevitably lead to problems. Notably a catastrophic explosion of smaller (& generally far more more repugnant) bubbles which you will then have to deal with.

Hmm... the short of the matter is that, when you wash up, the cutlery should be washed first and placed together in a designated part of the drying rack. Then you move on to mugs, cups, glasses and small plates. Then after that you're on to your bigger plates & saucepans... maybe a cutting board. Everything washed well and free of excess bubbles. Obviously if you've got greasy stuff, stuff with melted cheese stuck all over it, or some pretty fucked up saucepans, they've got to go last. I tend to do the same with things that have come into contact with raw egg too.

No idea why I've written all this.

Monday, 26 April 2010

That was a good weekend
Actually it was a fucking great one
Amongst other things I rediscovered pâté
From now on I will only eat pâté
& I will only bathe in pâté
I will sleep on a bed of pâté
No longer will I fill my car with petrol
I will fill it with pâté
You get me, bruv?


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Best Sunday ever?

Hmmm... I think so.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Haven't done this in ages. I'm sitting at the dining table, pouring out my soul on the laptop. Dad's on eBay again. He's not listening... he's making all the right noises but I can see he's not taking it in. It's traumatic. There's going to be an argument... hmm, it's probably not the best time and place to be trying to write. In fact I can feel myself drifting into a silent rage already. This could get interesting... I mean, I think I had a rough idea of what I was going to talk about, but anything can happen now. Heh. He's talking about a 40 litre camping fridge. He likes to give a running commentary. If there's one thing I wish he'd never found, it's bloody eBay. You wouldn't believe the amount of stress it has caused round these here parts. He's recently discovered youtube too. Fun times. (Ha!)

Actually I've forgotten what I was going to write about. Maybe there was never any rough idea to begin with anyway... I don't know anymore. No, that's it, I remember now. The doorstop. The bloody doorstop saga... there's been a development in the doorstop saga! Yep, I took the replacement one that appeared in Reprographics shortly after I stole the first. Heh. Wallop. Those bastards won't know what's hit 'em. I now have two stashed in the bottom drawer of my desk, along with the hand of a mannequin, my favourite staple gun (Rapesco Z-13 P, if you're asking...) and The Tyrant.

The Tyrant is a massive bastard of a hammer - a sculptor's hammer - that I found in the storeroom. It's made by a company called Tiranti and, by anybody's reckoning, it is a scary lump of metal. It's the kind of hammer that has one mode and one mode only: Bludgeon. Sure, you can use varying degrees of force, but the end result is always gonna be the same; a big old bludgeoning... just like momma used to make. Heh, always wanted to say that.

Back to eBay... This is horrible. He's almost in tears now. Head has been in hands. Still choosing a category. I can't take it.

Two weeks off now!

Oh yeah, and how could I forget... I've also recently turned 25. How bloody depressing. I'm running out of time now.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Starting to think my lax approach to selling materials to students might be having an adverse impact on the sales budget.

"erm... yeah... err... an A4 sketchbook... erm... good choice... so, erm, yeah... right, erm, how much does it say on the list?? Hmmm, two pounds... okay... erm... so... err... shall we say a pound?"

"You haven't got any money today... hmmm, right... is that a lie? No? Err, well... oh, okay then. I believe you. But please, you've got to bring it in tomorrow otherwise I'm likely to forget. No, really, I will forget."

Thursday, 18 March 2010


Another doorstop has appeared in Reprographics.

Do I take it?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Thought I was hallucinating earlier. Turns out I was only in Pret.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Still waiting on a reply to an email I sent last week regarding some studio space thingy. The TAP project in Southend... don't imagine we'll stand a chance but it was worth a go. Anyway, I've noticed that, whenever you're hoping for an email, the only ones you'll ever get are from eBay or fucking PayPal. Heh. Nothing worse... you log into your account and see there's something in the inbox. The hopes go up. Maybe you smile. You click it... and there it is...

"Adam Gardner, wave goodbye to cheques and send money online for free"

Thoroughly depressing. Especially regarding this particular email. I thought she'd reply straight away... I'm sure it's the right email address as I've had dealings with her before over a similar thing. I just find it odd that a young creative woman doesn't check her emails on a regular basis. Seems highly unusual to me - especially when you're a practising artist and the email address is the admin one from your website. But, anyway, probably a logical answer to it all. I'm definitely reading too much into the delay, I know that. I mean, maybe some people are just busy, as much of an alien concept as it is to me. Heh, I forget that other people have lives of their own to lead.

Ha. I must've gone about 3 years without receiving a single email... not one... but I'd still check my account everyday. So, in essence... pull yer socks up, lady!

Out on another trip tomorrow - the Saatchi and then Tate Britain for the Chris Ofili show. Should be a good day. Looking forward to it.

Not looking forward to the ticket-buying malarkey at the station though. It's, like, one of the easiest things in the world to buy a train ticket... yet, ask for groupsaver travelcards at Benfleet and you're well and truly fucked. I mean, there can't be many things c2c staff enjoy more than that. I hate it. They make it so difficult for you. Always the same. It's blindingly obvious that you're four people in a group; therefore you will probably wish to pay only your share of the fare. Everybody pays their share... no problem. However, they will insist on taking the full amount. They'll begrudgingly break the sum down for you on a conveniently placed calculator, but I'll never understand why - when the change is clearly visible next to the cashier - they won't allow each person to pay their share separately. Because, yeah, it's not difficult to work out - I understand that - but, when you've got students who aren't really familiar with what's going on, it quickly becomes a nightmare. You end up standing there for far longer than you would if the cashier just used some common sense and helped you. Of course, they never will. It's enjoyment. I see it in their eyes.



Sunday, 14 March 2010

Come on Jenson!

Realistically I know that the title will probably go to Vettel, Alonso or Massa... but I'm backing Button. Obviously it's going to be tough just getting the better of Hamilton, but he can only surprise people given that everybody seems to think Lewis will wipe the floor with him. The fact that he had the bollocks to put himself on the line at McLaren says it all for me. As for Schumacher, the backlash has already begun... but I think he's gonna be up there. I mean, who seriously expected him to jump straight back into the cockpit of arguably the third fastest car and dominate? If he hadn't made it through to Q3 yesterday I'd probably feel a little differently now, but 7th doesn't worry me at all. All this shite about Rosberg having the edge over him too... hardly an issue, Rosberg could quite easily be challenging for the championship himself. I mean, If Schumacher's still struggling four or five races into the season then, yeah, there may be reason to worry, but I feel quite confident about him and not surprised by his grid position at all. Much as I want to see Jenson defend his title, I'd love it if Michael won it. Or Alonso. Or Vettel. Or Massa. Or Webber. Or Hamilton...

Just the sight of Fernando Alonso getting into that Ferrari yesterday damn near killed me.


A good race. Not sure I like the no-refueling format much, but time will tell. First reaction seems to be that it takes a major element of excitement away, even though the tyre changes still preserve a degree of pit strategy and luck. Quite pleased with the results though. Although, as expected, my brother couldn't pass up the opportunity to remind me Hamilton got one over on Button, like I didn't see it coming. Heh. He loves the chance to indulge in a little Button-bashing every now and then. Who am I to deny him such pleasure? But, another race or two and he'll come good... I know it.

Anyway, shame about Vettel (again) but massive kudos to Fernando & Felipe for mopping that shit up. Nice to see Schumacher put in a solid, if a little unremarkable drive, to gain a position and a pick up a few points too. On the whole I think it's been a good opening weekend for him. Certainly could've been a lot worse. No doubt the papers will treat it as a major disaster.

But that's enough F1 for now. I seem to have come over all Martin Brundle on yo ass. Not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe there's a time and a place for coming over all Martin Brundle on ass, and that time and place might not be here. So, in celebration of his return to the podium and to finish this entry on a big fuck-off high, I'll leave you with a picture of Felipe Massa. But it could be Danny DeVito, I'm not sure. Over!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

What with all the complaining I was doing yesterday, I forgot to mention something that was actually the highlight of my day. Now, keep in mind that I was having an awful morning, phoning supplier after supplier and trying to find out what was going on with various deliveries that we're waiting on. We've got exams starting in a couple of weeks, see, and it's a little touch and go as to whether I've gone and made a monumental fuck up or two. It's still too early to be sure one way or the other.

Sketchbooks were proving to be a major issue yesterday. We ran out of our little supply of A3 in the staffroom so I went to grab more from my cupboard in the darkroom. Turns out that there weren't any there either... a bit of a problem. I was sure that I'd anticipated this a few weeks ago so I crawled through the shite on my desk in order to trawl through my paperwork. My paperwork is surprisingly robust... but there was no sign of an order there, not good. So I had to start making my calls. Anyway, to cut a long and rather pointless story short, I was told that we had made an order and that it had been received, but they couldn't give me a clearer idea than "sometime next week" as to when we'd have them. The books were delivered in the afternoon. It's either a sign of my laid-back genius or a sign of my extremely good fortune... I don't know which. Although I suspect it's the latter. This is the second time it's happened like that.

So there I was, having a bit of a stress, trying to find out when the sketchbooks would arrive - assuming that I'd ordered them in the first place - and trying to track down the ten boxes of A4 glossy photo paper Jessops hadn't sent us and why, when I'd placed the order nearly two months ago, we were still yet to receive any canvases from another supplier. I knew that I needed to do something that would swing the balance a little. It wasn't even 9:30 yet and I was already struggling. The 12:00pm countdown had yet to begin & I was already in serious danger. I needed to raise morale, but how?

And that's when it happened. It was instinctive; a fleeting moment of brilliance. An opportunists' crime. The perfect crime...

I was down in Reprographics picking up a box of A4 printer paper. One of those mundane little tasks that you just get on with. Our Repro room is quite small; you open the door to a small counter where there's usually a lady standing there, or a chap who'll disconcertingly refer to you as 'Sir'. All the way around the room, at waist height, is some white plastic cladding which covers electrical wires. There are mains sockets set into this, and a couple of photocopiers running from them. It's lovely. Anyway, sitting atop the cladding to the left of the door is a little doorstop. Nothing special, just a small wedge of wood. These things are quite sought after in our college... there never seem to be enough to go around. So, I'd known of this particular doorstop for quite some time - months maybe - and I'd thought about stealing it for nearly as long. Yet something had always held me back in the past. Not anymore though. I took it.

I'd handed the lady my little slip of paper (which I've taken to signing myself in protest of the whole bullshit process of requiring heads of department to sign. It's paper, for fuck sake!) and turned towards the door to leave. She'd never suspect me, I knew that. With one smooth swooping action I flicked open the door and snatched the doorstop, pocketing it within seconds. As I said earlier, it was instinctive & I hadn't planned on doing it at all - I mean, we certainly didn't need one... I'd fashioned a crude yet very effective doorstop out of a 50cm wooden rule and a tin of old ASDA Smart Price sardines only a week before.

Got back to the office and paraded it around the room. But there was to be no standing ovation, no cries of Bravo! and no back-slapping. If anything, Barry seemed nonplussed by my doorstop... a bit of a disappointment... but, hey, you've got to take your victories when & wherever you can in this life. Remember that.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Today Mick Gawthorp gave me a deck of playing cards complete with the faces of Iraqi military generals. An unusual gift.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Saw somebody from work in Superdrug today. I must've been standing next to her for about a minute before I recognised her. I knew that I had to say hello - and I wanted to - but, for yet another reason that I'll never fully understand, I felt too embarrassed to do it. Not too embarrassed because I was in Superdrug or anything like that, but more like because me saying hello would be an unwelcome or an awkward thing or something similar.

It's a weird one... as you can be standing next to somebody you know but haven't noticed yet and feel perfectly fine... but then the moment you realise that they're there you have to do something. You need to make a decision... and you need to make it fast. Either you say hello or you pretend that you haven't noticed. Only you can't pretend you haven't noticed. Because that tiny little fucking moment of realisation means that you can never go back. Things have changed. It's over. You have to say hello straight away. But I couldn't do it... I tried twice but physically couldn't go through with it. I then decided to lean towards her in a subtle & probably quite peculiar way in an attempt to catch her eye. It didn't work. It was an awful couple of minutes. That horrible situation where you've left it too long... and you know you've left it too long... and yet the longer you leave it the more excruciating it becomes. I don't know whether or not she noticed me in the end. But I think that if she had - and considering that unlike me she seems like a normal person - she would have said hello. At least I hope so.

Anyway, as uncomfortable as this whole episode was, it only lasted about 5 minutes from start to finish. Plus, while all the inner turmoil was going on, I was simultaneously chomping on an apple (a Royal Gala) & talking to my mum - whom was also standing next to me & whom I had realised was there. So, yeah, if I was noticed & it gets mentioned on Monday, I can point to the apple as a valid excuse for my ignorance. Heh. On the subject of the apple... when she (my mum) had suddenly veered off the high street and into the shop, I was left standing outside with my apple. I quickly found myself cursing the decision I'd made to start eating it. It was cold and I hadn't thought it through. A few chilly chomps later I came to my senses and thought what the fuck am I doing? I mean, I was standing out there in the cold like I was puffing away on a bloody cigarette or something. It was an apple! I took it inside and continued to eat it. I kept a close eye on the staff, looking for any sign it was causing bother, but it seemed to be ok. It worries me that I was worried I'd be kicked out of Superdrug for eating an apple.

So, if nothing else, at least I can sleep a little easier tonight knowing that eating an apple in Superdrug is an acceptable thing.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Great Southend Rulebook...


You don't have to be on the payroll at South Essex College to get into Level 4 magazine... but it certainly helps.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Dad changed the blinds in the bathroom this morning. It was yet another in a long list of fine examples of how to make a really straightforward task seem very hard. There was a lot of huffing and puffing, some exasperated cries, sweat, and it turned into an argument pretty quickly. I was getting frustrated as he kept on insisting that it wasn't right. It's a roll-up blind in the bathroom fer fuck sake! How could it possibly be wrong?? Practically everything is done for you, you just cut it to size and whack that shit up. It killed me. I think the problem was that he was mixing and matching parts from the new blinds and the old (& completely different) blinds; a pole here, a bracket there.

The crazy thing that gets me everytime is that he'll insist, without fail and with no trace of irony, that "if you're going to do it, you've got to do it properly" and then proceed to do virtually nothing properly. But to be fair on him, he does get things done... even if that means it's a nightmare for anyone unfortunate enough to be in the general area when he's doing them. Heh, and you'll always get roped in at the most inconvenient times. I mean, this tea doesn't drink itself. Anyhow, he was finding fault in everything. It lasted an age. I couldn't understand it. It was like he was convinced that somebody would refuse to use the toilet one day on account of the blind hanging a whopping 1mm too low on the left. In protest they'd do their business in the bathtub and be done with it.

Nice blinds, mind.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Went for the intriguingly titled BLT TWIST sandwich at lunch. There wasn't much by way of choice today but, of the sandwiches on offer, this one caught my fancy. That said, it was actually a toss-up between the BLT TWIST and another one that featured beef. It was named something like BEEF BONANZA, but definitely not BEEF BONANZA. I might've gone for this beef-based sandwich but for the disappointing presence of beetroot. After a few minutes of thought I decided that the mystery surrounding the 'twist' was too hard to ignore. What could this twist possibly be? It was so exciting. I could barely contain myself. The head of marketing happened to be standing next to me at the time. He could barely contain himself either. We had a brief exchange. Oddly, he thought that the twist might be an absence of turkey.

Anyway, having eaten the sandwich a good nine hours ago now, I can only assume that the twist was that it was shit.

Going to Paris on Tuesday.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

There can be little doubt that, with Live from Studio Five, FIVE (Channel 5 to you and me) have created what is truly one of the most awful programmes ever to grace our screens. To use one of the worst cliches in the book, it's a no-brainer... and soon to be a received wisdom I'm sure. I mean, I imagine that the next generation won't need to be told just how hideous the concept was, they'll just know. It will be ingrained within them.

However, instead of me going on about how dreadful it is like I normally would, I'm actually gonna sit here and eschew my insatiable thirst for negativity in favour of something a little more positive. I'd advise you brace yourself for this one... you see, this one is to be a blog of hope. There may not be many more. Okay, here goes...

Bearing in mind just how abysmal a programme Live from Studio Five is, I put it to you that, in The Gadget Show, FIVE (Channel 5, remember? No, not Five... FIVE) have also somehow created one of the most endearing shows of our time. A show that has quietly and confidently stuck to its guns and, in doing so, has become a real underrated gem. Now, I write this not as a religious viewer of the show by any means, but if I do happen to stumble across it I'll quite happily stick with it until the end. I guess that, much like Fifth Gear, the majority of people just assume it's a cheap knock-off of the BBC's Top Gear. (Heh, which itself is a trifle ironic... what with Top Gear itself becoming a cheap knock-off of Top Gear a long, long time ago.) Anyway, I've got a little sidetracked there, my point is that The Gadget Show isn't, and never has been, as complacent as that. Clearly it owes a great deal to the style, format and success of Top Gear, but the BBC could learn a thing or two about how to make an entertaining and informative show without treating the viewer like an idiot.

I think it's the restless enthusiasm of the presenters that I really admire about The Gadget Show. I'm not good with names... and if I was a good blogger I'd google them... but I don't feel the need to. They've got a great team, I think that kinda covers it. Particular praise goes out to the main three: Suzi (I think that's right), the bald guy with the glasses (something's telling me Jason??) and finally, a guy whose name eludes me but who comes on like a slightly younger, yet even more crazy Giles Brandreth.* Heh. So there we are... The Gadget Show, I salute you. Long may you continue to be one of the best shows on TV.

* Thanks to wikipedia I've sinced found out he's called Jon. And I forgot Ortis! How could I forget Ortis?? Ortis, I salute you too.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Another haircut today. Two within a three month period now... I'm on a roll... a real hot streak. The girl in the shop was a little crazy though. Hmmm, or maybe she was just German. Heh. That's not an attack on German people there, just an excuse for yet another bad joke. She was lovely. It was just a very weird & slightly intense experience all round.

As always, the subject of work quickly came up and I said what I did. Anyway, she then took the ball and ran with it. For ages... she ran with it for ages. After a while I started to wonder whether I'd ever see that sweet little metaphorical ball again. She talked at length about how great artists were misunderstood in their lifetime and how tragic the whole affair was. Now, of course, there's nothing new or particularly weird about that, and I was more than happy to just listen to her talking, but she then likened it to having a child and having people say "no, no, no... you're not doing it right" and taking it away from you. It was quite a macabre twist, and one I didn't see coming. I was just so surprised by it. I mean, I think it was likely the result of some kind of translation glitch, and that whatever it was that she was trying to get across just came out wrong... but it sounded very odd and I got this strange sense that she'd kinda revealed too much. I don't know what it is that she 'revealed' but I can't find another way to describe it. Not suggesting it was even a personal thing in any way either, just that there was a distinct feel to it. Anyway, I think she picked up that I was a little alarmed and so it kind of trailed off into nothingness.

I left it a few seconds and then said "Yeah." *

Normal service then resumed. The haircut was finished with minimum fuss - no 'product' - & I even got a double stamp on my loyalty card to boot. Ha... loyalty card. In a hairdressers. What a strange concept.

* Much like Pritt, you can always depend on "Yeah." It's very versatile.

Friday, 19 February 2010

"Joyce, I think we're gonna need more swabs!"

Nipped into town this morning and bought a couple of jumpers, a roll of brown parcel paper, a Pritt stick, Cormac McCarthy's The Road and a pack of 50 paper cd wallets. Can't tell you why I've felt the need to document my purchases in such detail - maybe just the jumpers would have been enough - but I've gone and done it anyway. Flashing the cash. I'm pleased with the jumpers in particular. One is purple and the other is green. I'm broadening my palette. I've yet to try out the Pritt stick but I'll let you know how that turns out in good time. Actually I probably won't... I've used Pritt many times before and, in my opinion - having dabbled in my fair share of rival glue, you can always depend on Pritt. Nothing else comes close. Anyway, seeing as I was there, I paid a cheque into my bank account too. It had been in my wallet since the first strains of the industrial revolution. I really need to stop being so casual with my cheques. I'd hate for somebody to cheque up on me.

Ha, that didn't even make sense.

So I was a little surprised to see such a strong turn out at the mobile chlamydia testing truck on the high street. There were hundreds of people there, all seeming very chatty and excitable. It was joyous. It took me a good minute or so of gawping before I realised that they were all office workers taking part in a fire drill. What a funny sight it was though... I bet the staff in that little truck couldn't believe their eyes when they saw the collective shadow of 300-odd HSBC workers rapidly bearing down on them. Now that must have been terrifying.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

In a last-gasp and desperate attempt to save my flagging blog I've relocated to the conservatory. I'm hoping that such a serious geographical change will pay dividends. Every blog-related egg (Blegg) that I have in my possession has been placed into the basket, so to speak. Ka-pow! In all seriousness I've been meaning to write something for ages, all too aware that the longer I leave it the harder it will be to slip back into the flow of things. It's weird how writing a few words & stringing a handful of sentences together can sometimes just become so difficult. Anyway, fuck all that, I feel that I'm making good progress now. The conservatory may well have paid off.

So I went to see Spoon on Tuesday night. It was a truly great show. I find it pretty hard to rank things like this because it's just a one-time experience... something that you live only for a short while and then it leaves you, but it certainly felt like the best show I've seen, although I have a sneaky feeling I've said something very similar after every show I've seen. Heh. No, it was just a great, great set with no nonsense. Pretty much what I'd expected really. You know... they came, they saw, they played a shitload of tunes and then fucked off into the night. So simple & concise. Amazing band.

On a slightly different note, I always feel a little sorry for those people who pay to see a show and then spend 95% of it looking at the back of their phone. Why did you come here? Heh... and these are often the people you'll find on forums complaining that "when I looked around I only saw a few people who knew what the words were." I hate all that bollocks. It's complete crap. You know, I think that, when you find yourself more concerned with the performance of the audience than the band, then maybe you should be questioning why you're there in the first place. The reason I'm mentioning this is that the same thing happened on their forum the day after. Some guy criticising the audience for the above reason, and also because "90% of the audience clapped the fake ending" to one song. People like that really get my goat. I posted a reply to his message saying that I'm sure he meant that he only saw a few people who were mouthing along to the words and that I thought there was a difference. I mean, I know that, for me personally, when I pay to go and see a band I love, I want to hear the band and not some utter chump next to me forcing his indie credibility down my throat. As for the fake ending thing, who gives a fuck?... and if it's really that much of a problem for you, just be a closet snob like me and bottle it all up inside.

Earlier on in the evening I'd fallen victim to an absolute drenching at the hands (& wheels) of a boy racer. I'd let my guard down as I was walking to the train station. At the time I was a little concerned that I might've left it a bit late in leaving the house, so I was strolling along the footpath briskly and not really thinking about my surroundings. Usually I'd have clocked that a significant part of the road beside me had turned into something closer resembling a lake, but I failed to notice it until it was far too late this time. However, in the distance I had noticed a white Subaru Impreza - you know the one... yeah, that's it, driven exclusively by twats - speeding up but didn't think anything of it. After all, it's the kind of thing that they do. I think it's something to do with the size of an appendage of some sort, or something like that. So, yeah, the car sped past me, leaving quite a considerable wall of water in its wake. It was pretty unpleasant, and it felt surprisingly heavy too, but I just carried on walking. Ploughed through it. Didn't even break stride. It pains me to write this, but the bastard played it well. Heh, it was so obvious to anybody else what had happened though... I caught sight of what I thought was a smirk from a lady walking in the opposite direction. She'd seen the tell-tale splatter on what was a dry afternoon. She understood it all.

It was a damp train journey.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

I've decided to start working on a book. The book will be titled MONUMENTAL KNOBHEADS.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Mark Kermode's face...

Can you handle it?

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Starting a workshop thingy in the art department Tuesday evening. Not exactly sure what's expected of me but, as I understand it, I've just got to be be around. Heh, so I can drift around talking to students about what they're doing & trying to offer some kind of advice and all that. It's all very informal, so I guess it's just a case of winging it. I think I'll be ok. But then I would say that, wouldn't I... I mean, if I really thought about it, I'd probably go to pieces. Sometimes I feel I can see the line between ok and definitely not ok and how easy it would be to just fall over it. But anyway, that's something else entirely, and 'ok' and 'definitely not ok' really aren't what I mean at all. But enough of that. I said yes to it as I figured it can only help me in the long run if I do have any plans on teaching. Nice little bit of experience for the CV. Plus I was quite flattered to be asked too, not that I should read too much into that. I mean, there was nobody else... but, anyway, the real clincher was that, by saying yes, I would be ensuring myself what every technician before me has longed for; a legitimate excuse for missing the notoriously long (and notoriously dull) faculty meetings that come round but once a month yet seem to last an entire month. Heh.

We were on a trip to the British Museum last Monday to see a show they've currently got going down in the print room, stuff from the Mexican revolution. Some amazing woodcuts. Anyway, on the way out we took the group into the Egyptian room. Now I don't know much about ancient Egypt at all, but even I could feel the extraordinary presence that radiates from that shit. I had me a little wander around, looking at old bits of wood, old bits of metal and some old bones. I couldn't help but feel amused by the juxtaposition of these extremely delicate and surprisingly small mummified corpses, with all their intoxicating power and silent grace, and the groups of teenage girls giggling and taking photos of each other in front of them for their facebook page. You wonder just what the Egyptians would make of it. Heh. Not that I care in the slightest. I don't think that's a bad thing at all, just funny. That idea of taking photos of each other with what is essentially a dead body in the background. It's probably one of the only scenarios where it is socially acceptable to do that... much in the same way that it's only socially acceptable to say 'hello' to people you don't know now when you're on holiday.

Friday, 22 January 2010

So I was thinking to myself...

The zany comedian Russell Howard, or an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer?

Hmm, yeah, interesting... but I think I'll take the aggressive form of pancreatic cancer please.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Had to catch the college bus to work and back yesterday. It was a bit of a nightmare, firstly I had to run out into the road like a lunatic just to flag it down. The driver asked me what I thought I was doing. Heh... I thought it was kinda obvious. He wasn't best pleased. I couldn't help it though, I had no idea what I was looking for or anything. They're unmarked coaches, no signage whatsoever, you see, so you just have to gamble. I don't have a clue what I would have done if I'd stopped the wrong coach. Heh... that would've made a pretty interesting blog. When it comes to buses and all things remotely bus-like I'm pretty inexperienced... (incidentally it's with great pride I write that today, at the age of 24, I made my first ever unaccompanied bus journey on a proper bus. Mum will be pleased, I must tell her.) Anyway, there were already two proper Arriva buses filling the whole of the stop when the coach appeared on the horizon. I knew it was going to be difficult, so I started waving frantically at an early stage. Maybe the driver was a little confused by it. He didn't seem to be slowing down much. So I had to combine the frantic waving with a little jump into the road. Luckily he stopped and I clawed at the door like an idiot for about 10 seconds like I was getting into a Ford Fiesta or something. I don't know what I was thinking. When I did finally manage to get on board I made another error in choosing to sit within speaking distance of the driver. I won't be doing that again in a hurry. There must be an unmarked zone or something, no wonder I missed it. Now I've got a theory on this... and I think it only really applies to coaches, and it's that there's this variable zone near the driver, and anybody who dares to sit within this zone has to engage in conversation with the driver. Thankfully it was a typical conversation from my perspective and I dealt with it in the usual way... he asked a couple of questions, I gave a couple of very poor monosyllabic answers and then it died out.

I decided not to catch the bus home. I came out of the main entrance of the college to find a massive crowd of students throwing snowballs around. Only they weren't snowballs. They were big fuck off lumps of ice. There must've been well over a hundred of them and everywhere you looked there were huge balls of congealed snow raining down. It wasn't that funny... maybe it's just a sign of my ageing but I couldn't help feeling how dangerous it was and all that. One girl took a hit right on the face. This ball came down from a great height and smacked her in the side of the head. She hit the ground but immediately got back up and laughed nervously with her friends. It clearly hurt her, maybe I shouldn't have thrown it.

Ha. I didn't throw it, that was a joke.

After ten minutes of wandering around and trying to dodge the ice missiles whilst simultaneously projecting the image that I was absolutely not shit-scared of being floored by a snowball in front of the students, I decided that I couldn't be bothered with this shit and went back inside the building. Before I did I noticed a member of staff from the sports department had appeared with the absurd idea that he could calm the students down and stop all the madness simply by catching or punching as many of the snowballs out of the sky as he possibly could. I watched him stroll through the crowd thrusting his arm into the air and turning each ball into a slushy shadow of its former self. It was a pretty magnificent display. Heroic.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Ordered Spoon tickets today.





Now I just gotta try and convince somebody (anybody) to go along with me.


Saturday, 9 January 2010

Was supposed to go to a barn dance this evening but wimped out of it using the weather as an excuse. I feel quite bad in the sense that I, and a few others, were invited to this thing and said we'd go... and now some of us aren't... but, really, the weather is quite a problem. I know roads are generally okay but, even a tiny risk that we might get stuck on any icy back road in Wickford at midnight is enough of a risk for me. Stranded in Wickford for a night... I mean, you'd need to be made of sterner stuff than I to survive that.

I got some new shoes today. They're utterly shite. Cheapo brown suede things. Not really shoes actually, more like trainers. I think they may even be sneakers. Pretty certain they're not loafers. I'm no good at identifying type of shoe. It's hard to tell where the lines are drawn. It's like breeds of dog... they all fundamentally look like dog. You know, I'm taking in the differences but I'm just getting dog. So, yeah, I'd seen these shoes ages ago in the Stead & Simpson and felt myself being drawn towards them. They seemed pleasant & understated - two of the qualities I've always looked for in footwear. I knew that they were essentially a crap example of the medium but I couldn't get them out of my head. Everywhere I went afterwards in my search for a solid shoe I'd find myself comparing these new, decent-looking shoes I was browsing with those awful, awful, awful things I'd seen in the Stead & Simpson that day but couldn't get because they only had a 6 or an 8. That was frustrating. Anyway, today I strolled back in there on the off-chance - after being dealt a similar blow in the Clarks - and asked again if they had them in a 9. I fully expected to be confronted with bad news again but, to genuine surprise, the lady came back clutching the most beautifully crafted white cardboard box. I snatched them up there and then. Didn't even need to try them on. Intuition. Gonna go back soon, maybe tomorrow, and buy another 2 or 3 pairs. I'd like to have a supply of them to last me the decade. Amusingly, they're called the Beckett Federer.