Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monocles, Pocketwatches and Mutton Chops

Posting on Christmas day eh? I can't decide if that's tragic or noble. Probably a combination of the two. I'm taking a break from the seasonably induced over-eating to try and digest a bit before the forth (or is it fifth) large meal of the day.

It's been a good Christmas so far, I've got lots of exciting gifts including my first monocle and various motorbike related garments which are delightful. What do you buy the chap who already has several sets of motorcycle gloves for a range of seasons? Why thermal inner gloves of course!

I've also received an electric razor, I've never used one before so it was a bit confusing a first, sort of like mowing your face. Still it does a pretty good job of trimming the ol' facial fluff and sideburns. I think to celebrate the new device I'm going to grow a meaty pair of mutton chops. Oh yes indeed.

In other present news my little brother requested a pocket watch as his main gift from our mother. I had no idea that the practice of out-dated time pieces had rubbed off on him but I was very impressed. So impressed that if I had been wearing my monocle at the time it would have probably dropped off while I said 'by jove' in surprise.

The only mild downer is that the Hitchcock Blonde isn't here, which isn't to say she is far away - she is at her parents place - which is only a drive away but as I've been hitting the champagne rather hard today I don't think I should be going near any sort of car, or motorbike no matter how thermally protected my hands are. Blast.

Still I'm sure a cup of the fancy tea the Hitchcock Blonde gave me will help me pass the time. It's supposed to be the 'Prince of Teas' I'm not sure what this means, perhaps it will be short, overtly sexual and purple?

Monday, December 22, 2008

You can't always get what you want.

This year has been one of transformations. It's weird how some years can pass and nothing will be changed apart from underpants and the occasional partner. Other years involve such massive alterations that by the end of it you hardly recognise yourself.

I'm not talking haircuts and shoes here. Some of these changes are deeper than that. It's like I've spent the last two years lost in the wilderness of the sports department trying to find a lift to somewhere else like Menswear or Household goods. Yes, in the department store of life I've been in the wrong section, or at least hidden behind a big stack of jumpers.

Which is an over complictaed way of saying I'm looking forward to 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Today was a day of ups and downs. I discovered I'd still not been paid for my previous work, yes still. Which as you can imagine started the day off badly. So badly in fact that I could feel the first twinges of a headache building and I felt like just giving up. I'm not sure what I was going to 'give up' on but definitely something.

It turns out that all the people I'd spoken to were desperately trying to rush through the payment but it had to go through an accounts deparment in Gateshead who had been slacking off all week and then decided to work a half day and get drunk at their Christmas lunch rather than pay poor chaps so they could get Christmas Presents.

Not a good day. Thankfully a chum offered to lend me some cash until I get paid and so I'll be able to get presents and visit the family. *phew*.

With this emergency dealt with the chap I've been working for put on a serious face and said he wanted to have a chat. Oh no!

This chat turned out to be a job offer. The money is good, but slightly less than I (rather cheekly) asked for and to make up for this they are going to include a company bike. HURRAH.

So I used my last 80p in the whole world to buy a gingerbread man as there are times when a chap has to splash out on baked goods to mark special occasions. Special occasions like landing a great job in an office that is fun to be in in a company with room to grow doing something you love. And also landing a job that you know would make your Dad's eyes go all twinkley with pride if he knew about it.

Yes that's the sort of day when you buy gingerbread.

Pay day..

I woke up this morning feeling rather good. I'd been promised by the
accounts department that i'd be paid by today so I could finally buy
Christmas presents and other fancy things like food.

Alas it's not arrived yet. So I'm going to be having a lunch of cups
of tea ( they are free ) and I'll be walking home tonight.

We are not amused.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bad plug

The plug on the train is broken so no messing around on the interspaz
on the way into work for me.

Did I miss anything?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Magic train

Well commuting on the fast train really is a different experience. One could, if pushed call it almost pleasurable. Well almost. It's still quite a long train journey. The trip home is amazing though, amazing compared to the slow train. It took 45 minutes, instead of at least 2 hours plus. This made the trip just like a long slog across the underground rather than an epic journey across the country.

I'm enjoying my return to office life, and I find it amusing that somethings never change, like that the people on reception are always slightly drunk with power because they can send out an email to the whole building. I also like the polite yet meaningless conversations you have while making a cup of tea in the kitchen.

It's a very blokey office, actually it's the most manly office imaginable. It's so testostorne filled that it even affects the women few women on our floor. They dress like chaps, talk like chaps and have short hair. This all makes a marked change because the last office I was in was mostly women.

In fact this office is so manly that some of the chaps have proper 'tashes, big bushy ones. Maybe I should grow one to fit in.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Being Hardcore

Yesterday was a troubling day. After talking to the Berk at the government organisation, who was messing me about just because she couldn't be bothered to do her job, I was a bit angry. Actually it's more than that. The work I did was in November, and immediate payment had been agreed and I had decided that this job would pay for Christmas.

Since The Berk is being so awful about paying I may not get to have a Christmas. And I mean that in a real sense, I won't be able to get presents for anyone and I won't be able to go home and visit my family. This is why I hate the Berk.

Anyway, after dealing with the Berk I was a bit irked and I ended up having a pretty bad migraine attack at work. Headache, messed up vision, feeling sick, the works. Since I'm on a contract and it takes more than a while to get home I just stuck it out even when my vision went making, me almost blind. I carried on working using the magic of touch typing to do my work which is pretty hard core I think. If Chuck Norris worked in an office he'd do that.

You may notice that this post isn't justified in a weird way. I've gone for a different train ticket this week, the luxurious fast train which means I'm travelling in style with free-wifi and on a far, far faster train but ticket costs more than a week's rent. So not a total win really.

At 9am I'll be phoning the Berk again to find out what is going on, I've instigated Operation Stalk where I'm going to phone them at least twice a day for updates now. It seems to be the only way I'll get paid and very in the keeping of the spirit of Christmas. Ho Ho ho


I am posting from my iPhone which means the text gets justified in a
strange way as if I was a would-be poet.

I am not a poet, I am just struggling with the formating that the
Iphone does. So calm down.

Anyway I have a furious rage today. Last month I did some work for a
government organisation. I had to do it very fast and that was fine.
The problem is with The stupid person in accounts, they have sat on my
invoice for three weeks. For no reason, or at least none they can give.

This person in accounts is going to ruin Christmas because they
couldn't stop eating mince pies to actually do their job.

I hate them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Man work

Well my first week of man work is over. I like it. The office is fun,
the work is engaging and interesting and I get on with who I work
with. Also I'm doing work involving my favourite subject.

The only downside is the commute, especially the journey home. Heading
in takes about two hours but it's not too bad. I have a book and I'm
an early riser so it suits me well.

It is the journey home that causes woes. It takes at least three hours
and has taken four hours before when I was very unlucky with timings.
This means I get home and have time to eat and wash before I go to bed.

One way to make the travel easier would be to get a better ticket for
a slightly different train route which is much faster but they will
make my travel costs over 150 pounds a week which is on the edge of
making going to work counter productive.

It seems wrong that public transport is so expensive, especially since
I travel against the flow of people and I am often the only person on
the train.

Still it is smashing fun working there.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

First day at school

I had to get a tube then a train and a bus. It took a while. Actually
the journey in isn't so bad but it took me three hours to get home.
Which is a bit draining. I'm going to burn through a lot of books
working there.

The offices are entertaining, it's basically like a crèche for men. I
met someone known as Nutsack and a people were wearing football shirts
and having paperball fights. There was a fake snake on my desk and
people were having fun as well as working.

The work I was doing as fairly simple but engaging - I think they are
trying to gauge what I can do at the moment. An interview can only
show so much. In the end I was sent home early because they had run
out of things for me to work on. Which I'm going to take as a good sign.

I like it there.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Career advice with Thomas Hardy

I currently feel like I'm in a Thomas Hardy novel, and I hate Thomas Hardy. For example did you know that the character Tess of the d'Urbervilles was based on actually had a lovely life? So ol' Tom just saw someone having a lovely time and decided that wasn't on and wrote about her having an awful time instead. What a berk.

Anyway, earlier in the month I did some work for a government organisation. Actually, thinking about it, it was last month. It was really engaging and I enjoyed doing it. I worked my socks off, especially since they would be paying me by direct bank transfer and so payment would be prompt.

'The government eh?' I thought to myself 'they shouldn't have a problem paying me' and I sent off the invoice.

A week later I phoned up the accounts department and the lady said she hadn't looked at it yet but when she did she'd have to send it off and it would take a couple of weeks to sort out.

Now I understand their are various steps to paying new people on a system and things like that but seriously, two weeks? This is a rather sensitive time of year as a chap will have to go crimble shopping and so being paid before the twenty forth is important.

This late payment has taken a darkly comic turn now because well I've just landed a short-term contract at a place I'd love to work. This place is outside of London and it's going to cost me quite a bit to get there every day. Quite a bit indeed.

The combination of increased transport costs and late payment means that I may be unable to physically get to the job I have tomorrow. Yes, like some Thomas Hardy novel I've got the promise of something wonderful, and yet it's actually going a bit wonky.

Normally in a situation like this I'd either cycle to work (stolen earlier in the year) or walk but even if my bike was available this wouldn't be an option because this job is really far away. I'm not sure what my options are, I could try and sneak on the train but I have a special super human ability to always get caught when breaking the law so that is unlikely to work.

Oh and for a bit of extra Christmas cheer the accounts deparment at this new job have already hinted that they might not be able to pay me before Christmas. Ho Ho Ho.

Fuck you Thomas Hardy.

The case of the bad egg

Human beings are rather predictable, or at least they appear to be. In a place I used to work I'd occasionally have to deal with people trying to cheat the company out of things, sort of. Anyway, the people who pulled these stunts would always use the same tricks.

We'd get a wide sample of the population calling us but there were only about three or four things they would try. I don't think this was because of some online guide to cheating but it was just the way humans worked.

The other way humans are predictable is in relationships. Although strangely you can never see it in your own relations. Perhaps the fug of lust means you are unable to be rational about them? Who knows.

Either way on someone else's relationship it it easy to spot a bad egg, especially once you know the signs. I'd say it's ten times easier to spot male bad egg, but perhaps that's just because I'm a chap so I know how we work and the sort of rubbish we try to get away with. I mention this because I have a very good chum who met a chap. He seemed like an okay sort, in my limited contact and then the situation changed and he started to give off a slight whiff before descending into a stink.

I won't go into the facts, but let's just say that he turned out to be a very bad egg indeed. The thing about bad eggs is they don't get good again and this is a very important lesson indeed. I had to learn this with an egg called A but now I have the knowledge it seems worth while.

So what I'm saying is that if a chap or a chapette acts like an utter berk, treats you like crap or does thoughtless things (that's usually the best way of spotting them when they do something awful but seemingly don't realise it) then just throw them away. Even if you really fancy them and just the thought of them being near makes your knees go all wobbly, bin them.

They won't change, they aren't going to 'see the light' and become a better person, not without something major happening to them like losing a limb. You shouldn't put up with this sort of behaviour and they just aren't worth wasting time over. Once a bad egg always a bad egg.

Oh and this is MOST definitely not about The Hitchcock Blonde because she is lovely and everything is going terribly well there. The closest she gets to being a bad egg is her scrambling skills and they have come on brilliantly in the last few weeks.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Well macho company have got back to me and said that they would love to have me onboard but the parent company is letting some people go and so while this is happening they can't employ new people. Or at least until it's been proved that the current people they have don't have the skills they need.

While they didn't think that they would find anyone, the internal searching would take a while and he said it probably wasn't worth waiting but that he'd love to stay in touch. He also said that he had some contract work coming up if I was up for it for a few weeks.

I said yes. So I'll probably (I'm just waiting for the official confirmation) be starting at the macho job next week. Just before crimbo. My plan, and I did say this to the chap I'd be working for is to show them what I can do and hopefully they will take me on anyway. He agreed with this.

Even if the contact work doesn't extend beyond a couple of weeks it will be some handy cash, give me more time to find something else and give me some excellent contacts. And it has the possibility of leading on to something more permanent which would also be good.

The only downside is Piqued will probaby never speak to me again.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Secret Cinema

The Hitchcock Blonde took me to a Secret Cinema event on Friday and it was spiffing. I would have posted about this earlier but in a rare turn of events I left my laptop at home instead of carting it up to London.

If you've not heard of Secret Cinema they are an organisation who show films in secret locations (You don't know about the location until the day of the showing) and who put a bit of work into making the experience a bit more that just sitting down and eating popcorn.

We still didn't know what the film was going to be as we queued up but when a Rick Moranis look a-like ran past shouting 'there is a bear chasing me' we worked out it was Ghostbusters.

The Royal Horticultural Hall had been taken over as a location and turned into the hotel from Ghostbusters. Parts of it had been transformed into a library, the GhostBuster offices and they even had the funny dog things and a fridge with a temple in it. There seemed to be a cast of hundreds of people running around playing various parts from the film and the fact that the set dressing was slightly low-fi really added to the fun. The chap playing Egon was a spitting image of the one from the film but the rest of the Ghostbusters were a bit, well I wasn't sure which one was Dan Akroyd and which was Bill Murray.

Ghostbusters is a classic film so I was happy to see it again and all the people dressed up was really good fun but I think if I was going to go to Secret Cinema again I'd want to know what they were showing first.

I don't think I'd quite so easily watch Dirty Dancing or even the Princess Bride. I should point that the only reason I mention the latter is because I've seen it a bit too many times.

If the shoe fits

Well I had another interview last night. I was prepared with some fairly exhaustive research on the company and their website, plus their competitors. I made sure I was tanked up to the gills with coffee so that I was a whizzing cog of knowledge full of useful views and anecdotes.

It went okay. The person interviewing talked about themselves for 95% of the time and then asked a load of stupid questions. While they were whiffling on I had another look at the job specification that prepared and it dawned on me that it was mostly nonsense. In short, this person was a bit of a berk.

It wasn't that I didn't like them, more that after a 30 minute phone interview I didn't want to work for them. This feeling wasn't just based on the fact they used synergy two dozen times or that they kept using technical terms in the wrong way. This was something else. It was more that I could already tell that they are the sort of person who doesn't really 'get' what they are doing. This isn't such a huge problem, I suppose a reason to get me in is to deal with that sort of thing it's more that she was gauging the success of their company on something that had nothing to do with success.

So for example, instead of measuring a shoe shop on how many shoes it sells she would measure it on if one random person said they liked their shoes. Which measuring system is most likely to get a true indication of the success of the shop?

That wasn't a perfect analogy but I think it gets across the point. It's not a shoe company by the way, or anything to do with fashion.

I am looking for a job very hard, and it seems morally wrong to say no to something but I don't know if I want to be working for that sort of person. I have had experience of this before and it was a nightmare. It's a bit of a shame though, as the money was excellent.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Devil's Interview

No news again. The exciting job emailed me to say they would be disappointed if I took a job somewhere else but didn't actually make a formal offer so it was just a frippery. I think they are waiting for someone who looks after the money to say 'yes you can employ this person' rather than being coquettish through choice.

I've accidentally grown a beard again, honestly you leave your face alone for a few days while working on some things and BANG you look like the sort of chap who would fight for the round heads in the English Civil War.

Speaking of the English Civil War 'The Devil's Whore' is excellent. It's worth watching just for the clothes but it has a story as well if you like that sort of thing, although it seems that the Civil war was a very windy place as the actors are constantly having their hair blown about. Maybe that was the cause of the problems, messy hair.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Smug couples

Yikes, I get distracted by work interview related things and suddenly I've not posted for days. Still no real news from the interview, I had another interview for another job and so I'm waiting to hear back from that too. Also on Friday while doing some bikey stuff I met a features editor from a motorbike magazine and he wants to meet for coffee and talk about ideas which is marvellous.

So now the ideal plan would be to get this less exciting job, although it's still fairly exciting, and then write for the features editor at the weekends. Yes that could be lovely, it would suit me very well thank-you-very-much.

Aside from that not much to report. I've been practically joined at the hip with the Hitchcock Blonde. She has been taking me to exciting gigs in amazing buildings and lots of other lovely things but I've not really been reporting it because well it's a bit dull isn't it? 'We did this and it was nice, we did that and it was nice.'

I really hope I'm not becoming part of a smug couple.

Not much else to report really, I'm working a head hard on things in fact I should be working on something right now but instead I've cut my nails, had a coffee and admired my rapidly expanding collection of 18th century prints. Which isn't that impressive, a month ago I had none and now I have two, still it's a start.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tell me about your interests

Well I think it went okay. I was in there for hours, and I think I impressed them with the amount of research I'd done before walking in there. One of the chaps was taking pages and pages of notes of things I said they could do better so at the very least they will nick a load of my ideas and impliment them badly.

They sent me an email a few hours later asking for my salary requirements and saying I was in 2/3 candidates they've seen but who knows what that means, it might just be the work equivilent of 'no, no of course I'll respect you in the morning'.

Either way I managed to get some writing stuff while I was there, so that's a good it will probably cover the travel costs. So now I wait, well not really wait I've just had another interview for a job today which also went well so that's good.

I've been put forward for two other jobs but they are a little less exciting than this other job but they are for more money and wouldn't involve relocating. Choices, choices eh?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The big day

Well I've got an interview today. It's the big day, I've prepped and primped so I think I'm fairly ready.

I've got the shoes, a brown brogue because it's a casual office but I want them to know I'm serious. These brogues aren't that comfortable though so if I have to walk long distances they cut my feet into ribbons. They are the man equivalent of fancy shoes that you can't walk in but you wear them anyway because they are so lovely. I hope the chaps I'm meeting today appreciate them.

I've got some other things going on tomorrow, for slightly less exciting companies but they want me to start right away which would be good as this month hasn't been a exactly a top one for commissions. My favourite editor has been away doing travel features and so my main source of income has been away sunning herself on beaches instead of answering my calls.

I've got last minute interview nerves, mostly brought about for two reasons.
1)I've not had a serious interview in at least six years so I'm a little rusty.
2)Last night I noticed a couple of glaring errors on my C.V. so I hope that they don't notice them.

Aside from that I'm fairly chipper, or at least full of coffee.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Street art in Notting Hill

I'm not sure this is exactly what the traffic cones were supposed to be doing on the street but they look rather good like this. There are lights mounted in the pavement which are giving the cones this magical glow.

I'm sure Dan Flavin would approve.

Cartwheels and Dodos

At the weekend the Hitchcock Blonde revealed that she used to be a bit of a whizz at gymnastics as we walked through the park. So the subject of cartwheels came up and she of course said that there was no-way that I could back up my slightly unlikely claim of being able to do one.

In her defence I do tend to crash through life with the grace of a slightly drunk elephant but I couldn't let a challenge like that go unanswered and so one cartwheel later there were some mildly surprised people in Hyde Park and I had some very muddy gloves, and badly disguised limp.

After the impromptu gymnastics display we ambled over to the Natural History museum to look at giant eggs and dinosaurs. I've not been to the museum for ages but I still knew most of the dinosaur section of by heart and so could give a relatively informative guided tour, The Hitchcock Blonde was not as impressed by this as she should have been.

As an aside please can a scientist use the DNA from the bit of Dodos that are around and bring them back? I'd also like the return of the Elephant bird and the Giant Sloth. Thanks in advance.

One I'd had my dinosaur fix we bimbled over to the V&A to look at the glass exhibition, it was the Hitchcock Blondes choice. It didn't do a lot for me but at least compared to the dinosaurs it was very peaceful.

It wasn't that bits of class aren't jolly exciting, it's just that there was a lot of modern glass-wear there so large parts of the exhibition looked like a section of John Lewis. Actually, lets be honest here. Dinosaurs are far better than glass, even etched lead-crystal glass from the 18th century.

As a reward for not smashing up any glass we went to a nearby Dim Sum place and ordered so much food that I felt really rather unwell. I think my Dim Sum addiction has finally been cured.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A plethora of suits

I'm not sure what to wear for the interview. Normally the wardrobe area would be the one part of it all that I'd be absolutely sure of but this job is a bit different. It's for a deeply macho company and so I think any sort of flamboyant style should be toned down.

In fact one could even go in wearing some of the items associated with the macho activity which is something I'd considered but since I won't actually be doing the activity on the day it might be a bit off - After all wearing jodpers when not actually riding a horse is a bit silly. It's not something to do with horses, that was an example.

So yes, I'll have to dress smart but I suspect it will be a casual office, if not super causal so perhaps not a tie? Or perhaps a waistcoat but with some less formal shoes? This is compounded slightly as I'm off to London to visit the Hitchcock Blonde today (hurrah, I can't wait) and I have to pack in advance and any options I choose will have to be lugged across London.

Oh and I'll have to take a complete change of very large clothes with me because I'm doing something else next week that requires specialist equipment and so I'm edging into suitcase territory. I'll have to pack an overnight bag, some normal clothes, one set of interview clothes and the bulky clothes for this other activity.

I bet Ironman never had this problem.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Chair

I've got an interview, yup my first interview. I have to arrange the date and all that but it's jolly exciting. It's with exactly the sort of company I want to work for, which means a bit of relocation will be in order but nothing too bad.

So yes, jolly exciting. This job was slightly more interesting because well it wasn't really advertised or anything like that. I just phoned the company up and had a chat with someone. I'm not sure if there is a lesson in that or not.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Stalker Index

A chum of mine is having a bit of an issue with her ex-boyfriend. He was, a little controlling and they have split up but remain 'friends' because they met through business and they still work together on some bits and bobs.

His actions have got a bit intense since she joined Facebook. Every time a chap comments on her page or she talks to a man, or even become friends with a man he instantly phones her up to ask who they were and what was going on. Not terribly healthy as I'm sure you can imagine.

Anyway yesterday she decided to restrict what he could see on Facebook. Tucked away in the settings is a way of limiting what someone sees of you online so that to them your profile is static and unchanging. This means that while you still remain 'a friend' on Facebook nothings really going on there.

I talked her through how to do this and joked at the time that we would get an idea of her ex-boyfriend's Stalker Index by how long it took him to notice. If it was a month or so, well it doesn't even register, a week is okay too. A day or so and it's starting to get a bit concerning and if he texted her angrily about what she did before the day is out well that started to get a bit worrying. If of course he raged at her in hours then he was obsessively checking her profile and it was a bit scary really.

In the end the text arrived after 15 minutes, yup he was checking her profile that regularly. Oh dear indeed.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm off hunting

Not Grouse, nor bear, not even rabbit. Currently I'm hunting for jobs. I've decided that the life of the freelancer, although it has it's charms is not for me and so I'm casting about for regular work for 'the man'.

I've even got a C.V. now, which is a bit of a result, I've managed eight years without one - it's amazing how many jobs I've 'found' in pubs.

I was half-hoping that I could continue in such a way but alas I think some goals, how ever stupid and noble sometimes must be cast aside. And so with heavy heart I started arranging a list of things I have done. it was a slightly different experience to when I last wrote my C.V. at the time I was fresh out of university and didn't really have any job experience so my C.V. was a loose collection of half-truths and willful misunderstandings to make me look more like the sort of chap who should have a job. It worked, eventually, after I wrote a covering letter that was, well The Brothers Grimm could have included it in one of their story books as it was so fanciful.

This time things are a bit better, I've got some actual experiences which is a good start so my resumé is made of hard facts, which makes the interview process less fraught - if I get to that stage. Currently from my applications I've had zero response but these things take time and the economic climate isn't quite a glowing as it once was.

Also as a sign of the new times I've dug out an old coat. It's a beautiful three quarter-length black number, with an absolutely stunning silhouette. I brought it years ago on the King's Road when I left an awful job and it seem some-how right that it should come out again. The coat was retired a few years ago so it's going to be taken to the dry cleaners and then it will be my interview coat.

Now that I've got the right sort of garment for serious work I'd imagine that I'm bound to find something soon.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Well well well

I'm only 5 posts away from 800 posts. That's quite a lot of gibberish to leave around on the internet. I'd imagine I'm going to be told to tidy it away soon.

It's been a fairly eventful time. I lost my job, three friends and a father. It's not been all bad, I've brought some excellent suits gone on crazy adventures and drunk rather a lot of cocktails.

I wonder what the next 800 posts will be about? Although I'm not sure if our future alien/robot/time traveller overlords will allow us to keep blogs.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

India Knight's new book

I have had the radio on over the last few days, and India Knight has been all over it. She has been in the newspapers too because she has a new book out, one about to save money and it's terrible.

Why may you ask? Because she is rich, not Russian Oil Baron rich but she does very well thank you very much, and so the tips she provides are absolute nonsense. This sort or rot annoys me immensely. Since I don't have children if I wrote a book on how to raise them it would seem a bit off, no? So why should we listen to her about being poor? When was the last time she had to live off potatoes and milk for a week? Eh? Or what about having to set off for an interview a few hours ahead because you had to walk there instead of get the bus?

Oh and another thing, can people stop going on about their working class roots, if you've never done any manual labour in your life you can't really claim to be working class, you spaz. Honestly, some of these politicians couldn't swing an axe if their life depended on it.

Right, I'm so enraged by this all I'm going to go and chop some wood. Yeah, you heard me, then I'll go and pick some apples to turn them into cider. Represent.

Everything must go

Flush from the heady success of selling some old tat on Ebay and making £37 whole pounds I am now going to flog extra things. It's going to be a collection of abandoned hobbies, sartorial disasters and books I never even read in the first place. I'm hoping that this will be exactly the sort of gumphf that the people of the Internet are just gagging to get their hands on and thus I can make perhaps even more than 37 whole pounds. Of course, I won't make that really, because I've got to post the damn things and I suspect that at least one of the items is going to cost a fortune to post, pesky books.

This clean out is in part inspired by the excellent Halloween party I went to, it was absolutely amazing. The entire house was set-dressed to amazing levels, there was even frightening wallpaper and the evening meal included carrots in the shape of skulls.

It was a small event, but very enjoyable and it's definitely set the standard for future Halloweens for me. After that I've been filled with a resolve to get stuff done and so I'm cleaning out even more tat and flogging it for reasons I can't really explain but mostly due to a desire to reduce the amount of tat I own.

Of course I have a sneaking suspicion that these funds may be diverted so I can by some slightly different tat, perhaps of the mechanical nature but that's not important. This is progress, yup it's time for a change.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Che Guevara Pumpkin

Check out the Mark Two pumpkin carved with my own hands.

I'm not saying anything, but...

But the people of small town are horrible to me, and say I'm not local enough. A few days later, it gets hit by a biblical style storm.

So you haters better watch out.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Here is the mark 1, not bad for a first attempt I feel. The costume is
sorted as well, I have gone for a minimal approach, but I think it
will work.

And now it's time for some afternoon cake.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dungeons of the rich and famous

I've had a very strange evening. I met up with the Art Dealer as the plan was to stay in her spare room while the Hitchcock Blonde off going to some painfully cool event in Cambridge.

The art dealer has been flirting outrageously with my chum H online so they decided to combine their first meeting (I'm not allowed to call it a date) with me staying over so the three of us went to the pub. It was slightly awkward, and it was pretty obvious that neither one fancied the other but once that was out of the way we had an excellent time.

While we were in the pub it snowed, so after a few more drinks we went and got some food at the nearest restaurant we could stumble too. We ate snails, mussels and other silly French things while drinking cheap red wine. Afterwards we went back to the art dealers house and drank more wine, so I have clown mouth thanks to the red.

I retired to the spare room and H ended up sharing a bed with the Art Dealer, although it was in an innocent sleep over sort of way. The Art Dealer's new place is lovely, and bizarrely Angelina Jolie used to live here before she was ultra famous. Some of her influence is still visible, like the fact downstairs there is a huge dungeon with red walls.

The photograph is of one corner, because I had to take it on the sly. Right, I'm off to eat some toast, I bet Angelina ate toast there too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nonsense he wrote

Today has been sort of productive, meetings have been arranged and plans have been put in motion but in terms of writing the day peaked at about 8am and then went rapidly down hill.

I had to wake up early to do some writing homework, which was fine but and after a rather ill-advised lunch I've spent the rest of the afternoon desperately trying to fight off sleep instead of tearing through my tasks to the theme of Murder She Wrote.

The ill-advised lunch was a chance thing, my old chum the Art Dealer happened to be nearby trying to pick out a costume for a party on Thursday so we met up for a coffee which turned out to be lunch and then I dragged her across Soho to meet the Hitchcock Blonde. This slightly surprised meeting went well, especially after the art dealer chum revealed she shared a mutual interest with the Hitchcock Blonde. So that is lovely. I suspected they would get on as they both have a rather silly streak and work in vaguely the same area.

Speaking of work, I'm on the prowl for a job. Some sort of regular, reliable work would be just the ticket. Now, where does one find such a thing?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Birthday Haul

Birthdays are marvellous, especially when you have got a lovely girlfriend. The picture is of the present diorama that awaited me on my arrival in London. Yes, there were enough gifts to be turned into a display. I thought the stars and balloons were an especially nice touch.

The presents were excellent too because they were all incredibly thoughtful. Almost every one related to some private joke or secret and as such they were perfect gifts. The giant fake diamond is especially good and I shall be treasuring it in the way that one should with perspex gems the size of your fist. I should probably rig up some sort of lasers to protect it. I'm also currently wearing my WW2 style biker goggles because they are just too cool to not wear.

The birthday event, involved an marvellous candle-lit meal at a lovely restaurant and then on to a house party in East London. The trip to East London was a bit fraught, buses kept changing their route after we had got on them and then locating the party was a bit tricky. Luckily a naked man leaning out of a window directed us to the right door and we found the bash. The party was in full swing and everyone was in fine fettle, but at about 3am we were starting to fade so we made our way home. The trip back was remarkably easy in comparison and thus the birthday celebrations ended.

It was a brilliant birthday and now I'm lounging in a bed trying to do some work while eating Chunky Monkey ice cream. Yes being 28 is marvellous.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Birthday Hats

It looks like I've managed to get another piece in a magazine I really like. it's a good magazine to have stuff in as it's very well respected, impishly British and great it's fun sticking it to the man.

It's also fun because this involved proper journalism, in that I while wafting through life with a slightly pained expression on my face something caught my eye. I then started poking about in that area and finally did some quite serious investigation. I had sources and everything.

This investigation revealed some facts that made me almost incredulous with shock, so I pitched it out. An editor was mildly interested but said it might be a bit complicated so I had to boil the facts down to a pithy feature that anyone could read and share my rage. I did it, the editor made it even more pithy and it will be appearing next week.

This has been an excellent thing to do on my birthday as I love this sort of thing and it hopefully it is a portent of what the rest of the year will be like. Full of commissions and pith.

It's very been a very different birthday compared to my last one which was a damp squib. Either way I think it might be time to invest in a hat with a bit of card in it saying press and possibly a long coat.

London Ho

Right, I'm moving back to London. I don't have anywhere to live, or the means to support that lifestyle but for me the countryside is over. I've come to realise why I left in the first place.

Why you may ask? Because of a phone conversation I had yesterday. I was talking to the president of an event that I was thinking of writing about. Now my old classmates are still involved in this event, and I think about a dozen of the people I went to school with have tried it at one time or another.

I grew up in the countryside, in a small village outside this town, but if anything I spent more time in this town than at home. I had my first pint in a pub there (Worthington for £1!), my first snog with a girl (called Melody, came from South Africa, tasted of cigarettes), my first driving lesson (in an ancient Ford escort with my dad in the car park), my first proper job (teaching disadvantaged kids how to use the interspaz) I even did my first bad thing there (it involved bangers that I'd brought back from France and a dog poo).

In this tiny town almost every street has a memory for me, of being in the Scouts, walking over to girls houses to play spin the bottle or eating hot chips on a cold night.

Yet with all of this, I discovered while talking to the president of the event that I'm not local enough to get involved. Yup, I'm not quite local enough, and with that all the reasons why I was so desperate to get out of the countrside in the first place came rushing back.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It was the best of times it was the worst of times

I got paid today, HURRAH. It's only 39 days late, which I think is a record but I got paid and that's what counts. So full of vim and vigor I drove off to the bank to pay in the cheque and get the wheels of Louche Inc turning again.

But on the way tragedy struck, while driving along I caught one of the wheels on a rock and felt it go flat. This was a bit bad so I engaged in some light swearing, especially when I realised I couldn't call for aid due to not paying my phone bill (see above statement relating to late pay). Then I had a bit of an a-ha moment and checked for a spare wheel. There was one!

The original wheel was slightly tricky to get off because a plastic cover had been attached using cable ties and I had no knife but through a bit of cunning that would have impressed Ray Mears I used a pen and the mighty power of torque to break the ties. With them out of the way it was a simple matter of using the jack and other bits and bobs to swap the wheels over.

'No problem' I thought, while feeling pretty manly 'I'll just drive slowly and then pick up a wheel on the way home.'

That didn't happen as about a mile out of town the car suddenly felt funny and I realised the rear wheel was broken too. I walked into town to find a rescue and to pay the cheque in. The bank was having issues and so they couldn't actually pay the bank in and the branch was full of furious old people who couldn't take any money out. This bank provides a free AA rescue service to it's members which is an excellent idea but after calling the AA I realised that the definition of 'free' and 'rescue service' were not quite what I thought they were.

Thankfully a local garage could sort it out so I went and got the car and then drove it very slowly, and noisily to the garage and dropped it off. I was then left in town with no transport options so I had to walk home.

My feet hurt now, but at least I am home, I think it's about seven miles which would be fine but for some entirely mad reason I decided to wear some snazzy brogues today rather then sensible ones and so well I think I'll be limping around on my birthday.

So to summise, I didn't manage to actually pay the money in and now I'll be shelling out to fix the car. Blast.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The ages of man (so far)

The ol' birthday is fast looming and so here are the ages of man as I see them. I'd do more but you'll have to wait a few more years for those.

1 to 5 : The age of noses
This is when you should spend most of your time trying to push things up your nose, ideally wearing dungarees. This is the only time it is acceptable for a chap to wear them. People are fleshy blobs and so you can't really notice the difference between the sexes although you do notice that some of the chaps with longer hair are rubbish at making gun noises.

6 to 12 : The age of conkers
This time should be spent with a small dog, ideally a super intelligent mongrel that smells funny. Summers go on for ever and finding the perfect conker is all that fills your mind. Fashion involves wearing a T-shirt with a robot on it and girls are disgusting creatures with an unhealthy interest in ponies.

13 - 16 : The age of Lynx (or Axe if you are in America)
People start to smell, you think that deodorant can cover all sins and for the next few years your bedroom becomes a toxic wasteland. Girls replace conkers as your key area of interest, although rather annoyingly the ones your age spend the whole time dating men who are older. You later come to realise that the chaps they date are sad types, the ones who can't get women of their own age but by then it's too late. You are probably in a band and no-one understands you.

Drinking becomes a past-time and going into nightclubs is thrillingly exciting as you may not make it in. When you can go into clubs legally half the charm is gone and you realise they are a bit crap. Some people decided to take angry music very seriously and you may find yourself drawing pictures of cannabis leaves all over your geography books even though the closest you have ever come to one is listening to Bob Marley at a friend's house.

17 - 21 : The age of shots
For some reason the moment you have mastered drinking a manly pint you are filled with a strange urge to drink disgusting and strong liquors in the form of shots. This only lasts for a while as soon you will automatically vomit if people even mention Tequila. This is the period at which a chap gets all those great stories that start 'I was smashed and woke up in Berlin with an Ewok'.

Girls are still a bit weird but for some reason if you act like an arse and ignore them they find you terribly attractive. This causes issues as everyone you fancy 'thinks of you as more of a friend' and all the girls you have no interest in spend all their free time writing your name of their pencil cases. You sleep with some people you shouldn't and at least once you will turn down someone you really wish you hadn't.

You'll probably do some very silly things in cars at this point, but if you survive them without dying you'll never do them again.

21 - 27 : The age of seriousness
People stop having fun at this age, or some people do. Jobs become careers and apparently normal types will suddenly only want to talk about mortgages and what happened to their kitchen. You will be invited to dinner parties, once will be enough, and then never vow to go again. A dinner party is an event where a whole load of people sit around a table and only the most boring is allowed to talk.

Fortunately by this age most women have realised that berks aren't worth dating and so now will like you if you are nice to them which makes attracting the ones you really like a bit more logical. Girls will start decide that hanging around and having a lovely time isn't enough and will want to know 'where things are going' and make vague comments relating to children. Some of your best male friends will all but cease to exist due to having kids, you probably won't seem them for at least ten years. On the plus side weddings are excellent fun (provided it's not your one), it costs less to insure cars and tailors start to take you seriously.

To be continued (in about ten years time I reckon)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pushing people into trees

I've spent a whole weekend in London. The trip that wasn't supposed to happen, turned into a day which turned into a weekend which has turned into 'a few days'. It's Monday and I'm still here.

It seems that the lure of London is too strong for me, I really should be attending more social engagements but instead I have to slope off back to Devon because I'm rapidly running out of clothes. It's been a funny jolly back to London with the Hitchcock Blonde, we went to a gig (the band were awful, but the venue was amazing) ate dim-sum, looked at art and went for walks in the park and kicked leaves while trying to push each other into trees.

Well that last bit makes a bit more sense if you were there.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I'm in London today, I didn't plan to be but well I'm here. I'm only supposed to be here for a single day but I've brought clothes for a few days, and some semi-formal shoes. You know, a chap should be prepared for any sort of emergency especially one that requires brogues.

I'm trying to finish off one of the projects I've been working on, if I can do that it would be spiffing. So with that in mind I'm going to go back to working on it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A dedicated follower of fashion

I'm a big fan of vintage stuff. Modern fashion leaves me rather cold, or at least I feel it's got a bit tired. The thing is clothes get interesting when something non-fashion related gets chucked into the mix like new material that lets you do things you couldn't do before or if something that requires specialist clothes catches a designers eye.

If you think about it most clothes, especially for chaps, have a route somewhere in a sport or failing that war, jackets tend to have echos of something else. The humble leather jacket comes from motorbikes which in turn was born out of pilots in world war 2. It's all like a clothing evolution.

When there isn't this injection of something new to freshen up the mix we are battered with a tired combination of 'tartan is back' and 'bright colours in the summer' and so on. Which is what we are in now. Boring boring boring.

Where am I going with this? I'm not sure really. I think I had a point, but it was lost in the second cup of coffee when I got distracted by a goose.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oh we do love to be beside the seaside

Isn't the seaside lovely eh? Bracing fresh air, all the rocks you can throw and lots of lovely salty water. We went for a Sunday trip to the beach for a walk, it was delightful and actually rather warm. I didn't go swimming as that would be silly, but the amble along the shore was jolly pleasant.

We played the now almost traditional game of silly questions. I asked my little brother if a talking fish dragged itself out of the water and said 'kill me' would he do it?

Debate raged for ages, to only be usurped by a even fiercer battle over which was the best flavour of ice-cream which in turn was replaced by a slightly more bizarre debate over which colour of ice cream was the best indicator of a pleasant taste. Yellow seemed to do well, but brown gave a strong showing and so did purple. By the end of the walk the matter still wasn't settled.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Outbursts and insects

I was going to apologise about the slightly ranty outburst yesterday but after finding out more about what this evil woman has done I feel it was entirely justified. Let me just say that yet again, I was shocked by how unpleasant that woman is. Anyway, I shall never have to deal with her again so that is the end of the matter.

In other news I'm waiting on cheques, very over due cheques. Massively overdue cheques. It's a good deal I'm home at the moment because otherwise I'd be surviving on a diet of crickets and my own body hair.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ha, in your FACE

I've finally got my inheritance from the second wife, I also managed to get my little brothers inheritance collected at the same time. Which now means the evil witch of a women who had such a negative affect on my life can now completely and utterly bugger off.

I hope she dies in a horrible way, I really do.

Stepping out

The Hitchcock Blonde and I have been stepping out together quite a lot. My chums has suspected as much for a while but it was officially confirmed a week or so go.

I expected my chums to be pleased but what caught me slightly off guard was the rave reviews the Hitchcock Blonde got. I've never been out with someone so approved of, perhaps I should try and get the Hitchcock Blonde to run for office? Or maybe my friends are just taken back by me seeing someone who is just lovely.

Either way I'm going to have to change my stand-up routine, hmm.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wonking, continued.

Well the toe is dewonking on it's own so that is good. I've been going for gentle walks with it protesting mildly but it is starting to relent. I think that the wonkeons disperse as I walk along through a process known as Wonkmosis*.

It's still a bit wonky but far more manageable which is excellent as a wonky toe would reduce the amount of fun I can have. I'm always amazed how little I wonk myself up while doing dangerous things for work and yet manage to build up dangerous levels of wonk to the point of injury during normal life. By the way the process of increasing your wonk levels is now known as Wonkosynthesis.

*Discovered by Swineshead

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I'm working on a piece about cars today, classic cars. Hurrah for writing about subjects you don't know really quite enough about. Luckily I used to be quite into aged cars, so I've had to dig out some old books and re-read them, it's amazing the things you forget, isn't it?

Aside from that I've not got much else to report, my wonky toe is still wonky but perhaps slightly less wonky than yesterday. I'm not sure how one scientifically measures wonk? With a Wonkometer I assume, or perhaps a wonkoscope? What are the units of wonk? Does one talk about wonkograms? Wonkatude Or Kilowonks?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Learning through injuries

It is amazing how often I pick up injuries. For example, just yesterday I managed to do something awful to my toe (it might be broken, how does one tell?) and mildly injure my knee. I also have a mark on my head, although that seems mostly cosmic. The cause of these injuries, well lets just say that I lost consciousness for a while and leave it at that.

As side from the injuries it was an excellent weekend, The Hitchcock Blonde was down in the West Country for a few days and so we went for walks, ate far too much and sat in front of log fires with books. We also played billiards, a sport which I am terrible at. Actually it's beyond that I'm absolutely awful but during an evening of furious drinking I seem to have got pretty good suddenly. I'm not sure if it was the slightly out of date banana beer or the blow to my head but now I'm not bad.

Perhaps I should inform the Olympic committee so they can introduce head injuries and out of date novelty drinks into their training regimes?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Birthday Kebab

Well my birthday is rattling around again. I'm not quite sure what to do for it. It's a vaguely significant birthday because, well to put it bluntly the last year has been a pretty rubbish one. Oh there were some good bits, don't get me wrong but in balance I think it was one to skip - I think all the fun bits can be condensed into a week that would mostly involve motorbikes, spiderman costumes and Hitchcock Blondes.

So yes, hopefully this age will be over. I think I should have known that it was going to be slighty iffy when my birthday came around.

I'd not had a birthday with a girlfriend, well for a terribly long time so I had no idea what to expect. Actually, thinking about it before then I'd always been single for birthdays. If you are a regular reader you will know that I was in quite a serious relationship at the time, we were living together and everything.

For my birthday I got a kebab. Yes a kebab, a chicken kebab to be exact. Now I wasn't expecting anything huge but something a bit more significant that a meat-based snack would have been, well nice. It wasn't even a sit down meal, we went to a kebab shop.

Days or so later that my girlfriend returned from shopping absolutely laden with presents. I mean she could barely hold them all, and I got a little bit excited. No mention was made of the gifts, and after what seemed like hours I politely enquired who they were for and she said she had decided to get some presents for her Aunts just because.

I didn't even get a card until a few days after that and the reason given was 'Well you seemed all grumpy so you didn't deserve it.'

It's not that I wanted a diamond waistcoat or golden pants, I just wanted something with a bit of thought in it that didn't come with a risk of food poisoning.

Still I suppose that at least I won't have to try hard to improve on it. I mean the bar has been set very low.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Winter Hats

It is jolly cold here. In the interests of reducing the Carbon Brogue-print we are trying to avoid turning the heating on as much as possible so other methods have to be employed to keep a chap warm.

So I don't die of extreme (well mild) cold I am working on a plan to stay warm, here is it so far.
1) Grow some smashing facial hair to keep the face warm, ideally whiskers that you can wax while thinking on problems.
2) Burn everything you can in a 'fire'. These 'fires' are jolly hot an excellent for heating up rooms.
3) Take up pipe smoking, this means you can have a 'fire' near your face to work with the whiskers to keep it warm. Of course the wax on your whiskers might catch a bad case of being on fire from your pipe. Which while providing short term warming of the ol' noggin and a very dapper look may cause a bit of light scarring, actually why not go for it anyway.
4) Stuff cats inside you waistcoat. These little purring chaps throw out a lot of heat and come in a range of excellent colours and patterns.
5) Drink a bottle of brandy every 4 to 6 hours, this will make you have a healthy glow and also allow you to enjoy even the most drab of conversations.
6) Ensure that you share your bed with company, girls are not ideal for this as the tend to always have cold feet. Maybe a girl whose feet are ablaze would work...

Monday, September 29, 2008

How to miss your train, part 2

Well I am still in London, I was suppose to leave yesterday but I was having far too much fun, and lobster to want to go away. This puts me in a troubling position I was hoping to not enjoy London quite this much so leaving it wouldn't be too much of a trial. This didn't happen, I've had a spiffing time, absolutely spiffing and now I don't want to go but as I came up with a terribly limited wardrobe I have to.

There are other reasons why I have to return, like work things - I made the rather brave move of leaving my laptop behind which I don't regret but it means I can't really work up here. Silly chap eh?

I've been thinking a bit about the places you end up in, what I mean is how removed where I am now is from where I was say, five years ago or ten. Actually even a year ago feels like an entirely different world.

So perhaps it's time to go shopping for a new suit to usher in this new period? Yes, I think it's time but time for what? I've got more than enough tweed and velvet and that wouldn't be quite right, maybe a safari suit? Or something equally strange like that.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How to miss your train, part 1

Ah, Soho. It's a special part of town, you can have evenings in Soho
that you just can't have anywhere else.

You can have whole days of nonsense there too. Yesterday was one such
bash, twelve hours of the sort of antics that would have Oliver Reed
saying 'steady on old bean'.

People were ruined before The French House was suggested as a post
party venue and when we started on the iconic half pints things got a
bit more messy.