Friday, 22 May 2015


I'm working at home, primarily because they are scaffolding my building and I cannot bear listening to the inane bullshit that the scaffolders come out with anymore. We already had to suffer a long and detailed explanation of what a fallopian tube is, which led onto other, more manly subjects that I don't want to go into, but apparently 'John is a squirter'. Still no news as to the position of the external electric winch - almost certainly directly outside my window.

Watched Question Time last night. came from Derby. Stella Creasy was very good - I hope she gets to be deputy leader, it suits her. Nikki Morgan for the Government was just pathetic, complete robot. The audience were so hostile towards the government I had to keep checking myself... who actually won the election? All very heartening. I think Owen Jones needs to evolve a bit - he's starting to sound stuck in the past and looks younger and younger and less important - difficult, being trapped in your own image.

Some good luck. One of the traders in Courthouse Market pulled a large pine kitchen top out of a skip and let me have it for free. It's probably the best thing EVER to have come out of a skip - with a slight trim on one end - a clean and an oil - it's going to be te perfect fit for my kitchen - it has an aperture for my ceramic sink that's almost perfect.

Loads of work on - almost none of it has any really financial aspect. Depressing. I had a couple of very dark days this week when I started thinking about exit strategies and just walking away. Woman on the radio of my age was telling the interviewer what it's like to be in your 50's and renting. Really depressed me.

Had a call from the Halifax to apologise for selling me PPI on amy credit card in 2001. Went through some details (thank goodness my memory is good) and told me to expect a settlement offer in 8 weeks. No indication of what it could be.

Had a conversation with someone at work who told me that there were potentially low-interest loans available to have the essential work done on my house because of it's condition, and my terrible financial position... will have to look at that.

I've noticed more homeless people in Hastings - partly because the weather is better - it's easier to sleep on the beach when it's warmer. I've also noticed a couple of really young ones. That's depressing - there is a soup kitchen in Wellington Square and a mobile food waggon every night outside Debenhams to feed them.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Later on Tuesday

Today has been a write-off, mostly because I'm too uncomfortable to concentrate - and I'm now covered in prescription creams so that I can get some sleep later - they have made my eyes swell so I'm squinting. I don't like the smell either. Hopefully, I'll feel better tomorrow.

I just watched the 2nd half of a program called 'Secret History of our Street' - focusing on Portland Road in Notting Hill. It was depressing, but a revelation. I do wonder about people, I honestly don't really think they have any sense of self - I'm sure that many of the people interviewed on the show thought they came across really well - but actually... they came across as monsters.

I never really liked Notting Hill and hardly ever went there. I had friends who were obsessive about it and insisted on living there and paid what I always thought of as far too much money for tiny flats. One friend spent £70 on an 'apartment' in a large house that was essentially a medium sized room with a wooden platform over the door that concealed a mattress. This is about 1997. I knew someone else who owned a small house with a very nice garden - she's 'earned' it in a divorce. Like many people then, she would go on holiday during the Carnival and didn't really want to know her neighbours. she was keen on the place 'coming up'.

The basic premise of the program was that Portland Road was a metaphor for how London has become a playground for the rich and the arrogant. Conveniently there is a section of Portland Road that still has social housing, some of the poorest 5% of Londoners rubbing shoulders with the richest. Quite a lot of screen time was given over to a youngish couple of substantial means and limitless arrogance who lived is such a bubble of self love and delusion that there were times when I wanted to turn off, but morbid fascination kept me watching The husband seemed manageable - the wife was a monster. I've never understood why people feel the need to be 'better' than everyone else. I can understand achievement and aspiration - and building your own life, improving on your lot and doing better than your parents - perhaps it's a British thing. There was a curious section where they spoke to a middle-aged (actually - they were probably in their 40's ) Russian couple who spoke no English, clearly obscenely wealthy and looking to purchase a multi-million pound house. The wife was what my mother would have called 'gauche'. She was wearing clothes that were too dressy, to pink, too young and flirty for her age and figure and was made up to look almost like a doll - with Childish ringlets. She seemed like a perfectly nice woman, he seemed like a perfectly nice bloke in an expensive but fashionable suit. I can 100% guarantee the that their new neighbours would look down on them. In particular the 'monster' wife who probably thought of herself as young, hip, sophisticated, beautiful and 'better' She kept referring to herself as 'bohemian' - but seeing the inside of her very expensive but very dull house - she clearly didn't have an artistic bone in her body. Sadly for her - I expect the Russians could probably buy her with small change.

Quite a few articles in the press today abut people paving over their gardens for parking. One of my biggest irritations - eventually, there will be no green left on our street.


I just found out today that The Guardian will be using one of my photographs next week. This cheered me up. I've been getting constant Linkedin updates from people doing really, really well - apparently. That's nice for them.

I went to a recording of 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue' last night. Relly enjoyed it - the theatre was sold out but by good fortune - the seats directly in front of us were no-shows. Very slick, professional and funny - will need almost no editing and I laughed a lot. I needed it. Barry Cryer may be 80 but looks better than me - and he's sharper. Jack Dee was very good indeed - Graham Garden and Tim Brook Taylor are probably sick of the sight of each other by now but it didn't show - and the guest was Miles Jupp, who was much funnier than I expected. They recorded two episodes - the first will be broadcast in mid July. Looking forward to that.

For various reasons I'm working at home today, and I think it's going to rain - so good choice. Listened to Yvette Cooper on the radio earlier trying to make her case for leader of the Labour Party - she did a terrible job, spoke too fast, didn't answer the questions, came across as slippery and political - quite evasive. I was very disappointed. Jane Garvey, who was interviewing her - was very hostile.

I have psoriasis again - it's really uncomfortable and I could do without it - my face is red and starting to flake around the eyes. Another reason to stay at home. The skin under my eyebrows is really sore. I should just enter a monastery and be done with it.

I had a panic attack about work and money yesterday afternoon - I'm trying to be practical - it isn't working. I've also put on weight. I have no idea why.

Sunday, 17 May 2015


Well, it's been hot and sunny. That's something.

Classic 'stupid me' moment of the day - getting stuck under a wardrobe I was trying to get up the stairs on my own - only slightly less stupid than getting stuck 'in' a wardrobe - although I did once get stuck in the cupboard under the stairs... with a live cable hanging above my head.

My usual 4 or 5 hours of every weekend cleaning up dog hair, followed by going through all my clothes - getting out my summer stuff and putting away my winter clothes. I winkled out about 20 shirts that were clearly never going to fit me, as of they ever did. Half will go to charity, half distributed amongst friends. As an aside - I found a brand new Hugo Boss suit that I'd forgotten I bought in Oxfam for a fiver, months ago - it fits perfectly. I'll never wear it.

One of my oldest friends (from school) encouraged me to join a closed facebook group for people who lived in Liverpool late '70s and early 80's and were part of the 'scene'. It's been a revelation. I really regret not keeping photographs, there were very few and I hated the way I looked (I till do) but it was great seeing so many familiar faces and places. In particular - people I never knew - but saw around and idolised or fancied.

These in particular. This is Probe records in the early 80's when I used to be a customer - I'd buy singles and fanzines in there, it was a chaotic place - full of clothes, records, posters and assorted tatt. The staff included Pete Burns and his then wife, Lynne. It was a paradise for me - I was pretty desperate to leave home but not old enough, and it gave me a sense of anticipation - where I could be as soon as I had the chance. That area is very posh now, it was the main Ted Baker shop for a while - it may be a posh restaurant now, but back then - like most of Liverpool, it was barely a ghetto. My memories are unnervingly clear about everything, 30 years later.

A 7" single cost 79p - most concert tickets were £2 or £3, and at the time - everyone played Liverpool. Even more bizzare... a very young pre-Kurt Courtney Love lived in a flat that was on the way to my house. The past is a foreign country.

Saturday, 16 May 2015


Unexpectedly warm day, so I did a lot of washing - and hopefully a lot of drying. With the exception of dog walking, haven't left the house. Being Saturday - about half the day was spent looking for and removing dog hair for every corner of the house.

I was going to do some admin today - but I couldn't face it. I'll have to deal with that tomorrow.

As a letter from the local authority - they want my opinion about some proposed changes to the layout of a parking space area above the nearby local COOP. This seems to be basically - a bit of cross hatching painted on the tarmac. Not sure I can stimulate myself to engage with that one, but I suppose it puts paid to the silly rumour that the COOP will close. It won't.

In a similar vein, but on a very different scale - the old Observer building, situated next to my studio - has been bought by a Russian development company with lots of money who build shopping malls and office blocks. They want to turn it into a rather posh student accommodation block, restaurant and cinema. In the meantime - for the 12 months it will take to develop their plans, there looks like being a pop-up food hall and cafe on the ground floor. I'm perfectly comfortable with this. What I'm not keen on is the 'other' building next door - which backs onto my studio - and is about to be scaffolded for 18+ weeks and have a hoist lift installed outside my window whilst they convert the empty floors to flats. It's going to be a nightmare and we are looking at ways to make them pay our rents for the duration, as we will not be able to work much with all the noise.

Tomorrow, I'll be moving some furniture around - back to the original positions it was in a few weeks ago - I can't work around it all being in the wrong places. It's annoying.

The eBay auction finishes on my dentist's cabinet tomorrow - it's sold, apparently to someone with no eBay history whatsoever - really expecting that one to go wrong.

At this point, I've decided to put 'my money' on Andy Burnham as Labour Leader - I'm most comfortable with him. I may change my mind later on.

So - we are having an 'emergency budget' in the next few weeks... didn't we just have one??? What was wrong with it - and what's the emergency?? Is it something to do with trying to cram as many unpopular policies through as quickly as possible in the afterglow of the election, at a time when most people are distracted?? It's going to be brutal.

I've apparently picked up some more work from a client in Brighton but it sounds tentative and I need more information - they have become very mean payers recently so I'm not holding out much hope. I completed some work yesterday for a client and my presentation is a million times better than a similar document supplied by a 'top' agency who charged many thousands - but clients are happy to pay silly money for 'names'. It's not very good work, in my opinion - in fact it's really crap and looks like it was put together by an intern.

I think I've probably spent about £15 tis week - mostly milk and emergency dog food, unfortunately - at just the point when I'm running out of ready cash - I seem to be running out of everything. Toothpaste, toilet roll, deodorant, soap, bin bags, food basics, dog food, shoe polish, tea bags, washing powder... pretty much everything that keeps us ticking over day to day is running very low. No matter how hard I try to manage things and buy carefully in bulk - I always run out of everythingg at the same time. Except for chick peas... I have a lot of chick peas.

I'm re-reading this. It seemed like a good idea.

Friday, 15 May 2015


It rained all day yesterday, the garden needed it. It's supposed to be much better today, but it's actually cold and very overcast.

Sayed up last night and watched Question Time - or rather 'The Nigel Farage Show'. The man isn't an idiot - that would be too easy. He's a dangerous sociopath. He just doesn't get it - he reminds me of Boris Johnson in that he's totally incapable of debate or reasoning - it's all about him, what he says, what he thinks and what he's going to do. It's no wonder that people are already taking bets on Douglas Carswell - the only credible person in the party and their sole MP (more to do with being a well like constituency MP pre defection than anything else) leaving to become an independent as his obvious frustration grows.

Farage and UKIP are a single issue party - many people within the party want to expand to something more general with a raft of policies but Farage can't get past immigration and Europe - it's all he talks about, it's all he preaches about - and his way is the only way, if anyone tries to get a word in edgeways, they get shouted down. He'll never get past his 'pretend' resignation which clearly makes him dishonest and self-serving, and his crushing of any internal dissenting voices who try to talk sense shows what an odious little shit he is. I really hope the whole thing just blows up now and they all fall apart.

Saw my friend who has been signed off work with depression - apparently the 'meds are kicking in already'. That's good.

Worked really hard yesterday - achieved a great deal, however - because of the vagaries of being self employed, I didn't actually earn any money.

I have to deal with a lot of accounting issues over the weekend - seriously not looking forward to it - an overwhelming sense of dread.