Saturday, 20 June 2015

Saturday Morning

Last night I did a shift of bar work. 8am - 3am. It was a private party for the 18 year old son of nice middle-class parents. So, basically - 200 middle-class kids, and some of their parents early on.

The building where I have my studio has a bar in the basement and a dance floor and further bar on the first floor. It's a really nice place and the work has been done really well. Last night was kind of a test night - there will be more regular opening hours later in the year.

Observations. The music was terrible, really terrible. Girls insist on wearing shoes that they cannot walk in, presumably in the belief that they will get used to them later on. They never do. Nothing sadder than a girl with a fixed middle distance stare, trying to walk in baby steps, so overcome with pain she cannot even talk. Just take them off!

Kids are actually quite dull, the clothes are dumbed down versions of what their parents would wear. Kids are drunk. I cannot believe how much they drink. They were given coloured straps when they came in so we knew who was over 18, and they were not allowed to buy drinks for other people. many had already been drinking before they arrived. We had no card readers so they couldn't go wild (most were totally incredulous they couldn't buy a single drink on a card) and we didn't serve doubles -which probably prevented some being hospitalised. I didn't serve anyone who was drunk, we gave everyone free water and at the end of the night we gave them all platters of hummus and pitta bread - 8 hours of solid drinking needed soaking up. Still, they drank, mostly spirits (staggeringly bad value for money - literally pissing it away) or Jaeger bombs. A foul, over-priced and filthy concoction that they neither enjoyed nor appreciated. Most will wake up this morning very ill.

The  boys were all really nice, friendly - quite happy to be told they had drunk enough,. the girls were different, either a bit dim after a few drinks, or really quite unpleasant. It's an an odd phenomena, being sober in a room full of total drunks. There is a big debate about how vulnerable women are when they are drunk. No clearly means no - but there were girls last night who went to a lot of trouble to let several boys at the same time think they had said yes, mostly for drinks. Some - generally the ones who were better looking and better dressed, were quite arrogant and had a lot of attitude - but generally, most were sweet, well behaved, and on the way to liver failure. There wasn't a single one who had a soft drink, all wanted to work their way through a bottle of vodka. many complained at first that they couldn't taste the drinks - realising later that everywhere sells doubles really cheaply and that's what they were used to.The only problems we had were the nice middle class parents. They really were something else.

I'm still genuinely shocked at how much they all drank, and clearly how used to it all they were.

When I came out - all the bars and clubs were still open. The police were about, as well as many street pastors. That part of town is full of clubs and night spots.

Quite a lot of work to do next week. I'm actually doing something for £25 - generally with jobs like that I'd say I'll do it for free - but that's not the way the world is anymore.

I had a bit of a red mist moment earlier in the week. I came home after just an hour outside the house and found this. Took me quite a while to calm down.

Here is a nice one of me at The Havelock in Hastings, an old town centre pub with spectacular tiled friezes. They are listed which makes the building difficult to uses - it has changed hands constantly over the years and is in the wrong place. The guys running it now are just 'wrong' - but the tiles are nice. It's the one pub that reminds me of Liverpool. I look staggeringly old and bald.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


Really hot day - too hot for me. Worked at home, the dogs spend all day going out into the garden, lying down for a while, and then coming back in - hot and upset - as if it was something I'd done to them.

Work seems to be OK at the moment - quite a bit of stuff coming up. Just getting my head into te right 'place'. I have two meals to attend tomorrow - lunch and evening - so it's basically a whole day written off.

Later today someone from the RSPCA is coming to collect a carrier bag of small change - I do it every year, all my copper and small silver goes into a big tub and I just hand it over. I've not actually used the stuff in years - I try to pay for everything with  a card if possible so I can pore over my bank statements and fret.

Being at home on a hot day has advantages - washed the dog duvets. Rock and roll.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Sunday PM

Well, that was exciting. paid my electricity bill, my water rates, my council tax up until the end of the year, a (tiny) bit off my mortgage, (about 1%), the rent on my studio for 6 months, some of my tax bill and I paid off my mobile phone contract so I can go PAYG. Roughly reducing my outgoings by about £300pcm. That will make the most phenomenal difference to my life. I feel a bit more in control now. I've taken a few things off eBay that I honestly didn't want to sell and to my surprise - someone paid an invoice early.

I'm in a very difference place to a week ago. I'm quite a practical person, I'd rather jump before I'm pushed and I had already started looking at how much a flat would cost to rent if I sold the house - where to live, how to change the business, stuff like that. I'm still going to be living under the poverty line but I've always been very good with money - it's no big deal for me. I don't miss anything I had to sell and the house is a lot easier to navigate with less junk. I have plenty of work on, but I still need to find ways to turn the work situation around - at least I'm no longer paralysed by fear - because that's exactly what the last 6 months have been like.

There are not going to be any little treats or splurges - I bought a packet of gel pens in WHSmiths yesterday and the price made me choke on angry, hot tears. I did a good shop of basics in Aldi this morning and I'll be stocking up on bargain talc, toothpaste, insoles, socks and underwear at some point this week. I still need to find money for the house, still owe the revenue, still need to make work pay better and still need to cheer up a bit - but I'm not feeling like it's all over anymore.

Lots of work to do tomorrow, might go in very early and finish early - I have to go to a lunch thing (it's free) and will possibly finish early. I did think about going to the cinema this week - but it's about £14, and there is no way I'm pissing that much money away on a film I can't take home with me.


I had to meet a client yesterday so we arranged to catch up at the restaurant at the De La Warr pavilion so that I could see the Brigid Riley exhibition. It was a nice day, cold wind off the sea and occasional boiling sun - but the exhibition itself was actually a bit dull. There were really only 2 paintings with multiple versions of each - and it all got very repetitive - there was nothing to break it all up. Even a single coloured wall somewhere woul have helped. I'd been looking forward to it - but was a little underwhelmed. Don't let that put anyone off.

On the way there I attempted to buy a new annual travel card so that I can get discounts, there was a large queue behind me (including a group of about 10 men on their way to a stag party in Brighton dressed as great White Hunters and one man - presumably the groom - dressed as a lion) - when I got to the window - I asked to buy a ticket to Bexhill and if I could renew my travel card, the man behind the counter refused, gave me a form to fill in, and made me stand aside  - I didn't have time to join the back of the queue and the long queue at the machine meant I nearly missed my train. I managed to calm down eventually.

On the train, a couple got on at St Leonards. She looked about 45 - but could have been much younger. It was about 10am but she was already clearly very drunk, totally wasted and looked as if she had spent the last 20 years ravaged by life and alcohol. He was about 30, well built and good looking - but clearly just as wasted. They were obviously a couple and despite the fact that they were totally fucked and barely coherent - there was a lot of tenderness between them. It was pathetic and heartbreaking at the same time.

I need to clean the house today. I've just read the papers (so you don't to have to - I'd give them a miss if I were you). There are a lot of pointless and silly articles about the return of David Miliband. His churlish petulance over the last few years has convinced me that he is absolutely the last person to lead labour. Wanting to run the country out of spite is hardly the motivation we need. He's the past and should stay there - he wouldn't have won anyway. It's just early silly-season.

I'm fascinated by the story of Rachel Dolezi. The young woman who has become a civil rights activist by apparently presenting herself as black, rather than white - which she has revealed to be. I've always been fascinated by people like this. The woman who became a very well know public figure after 9/11 who pretended to escape from the Twin Towers (she was nowhere near) and the numerous fantasists who have presented themselves as Holocaust survivors. Even on a more domestic scale - the old men revealed to have bought their war medals on Ebay and boasts in the pub covering up for undistinguished, or quite simply non existent military careers. None of the news reports have mentioned this directly - but she does appear to have been very good at her job. The thing is, she could have been anyway - the fascination is why and how she pretended. A lot of the commentary has been bollocks - no, she's not the same as a transsexual, that's ignorant and crass. She clearly chose to adopt a new persona and built a new reality of who she wanted to be. Most of us spend their lives pretending to be something we are not - that's human nature and just the way society works. If you ask anyone to describe us as they actually see us - we may be surprised and probably disappointed at what they say. People adopt and adapt themselves to suit their surroundings and who they want to be, it's just what we do. There is a crime here - of sorts, whiles she is willingly and gleefully able to consciously and with some skill and effort change her history and physical presentation to segue from black to white and hide her heritage to 'pass' - it ignores the suffering and frustration of the many, many innocents who have been reluctantly forced to attempt to pass as white rather than black to simply have a better chance at life. That's the real crime.

Talking crimes, Tim Hunt - the rather bumbling and elderly septuagenarian academic who made a bad joke has been torn to pieces by the internet 'community' and apparently had his life and career ruined, mostly by people who have achieved absolutely nothing in their lives - and have failed to actually address or scrutinise what he said. Every office I have ever worked in - people get into relationships and it causes problems. Generally - men get frustrated and angry, women get frustrated and emotional. I say generally - I've also seen men cry and some very, very aggressive women.

I read today that the fashion chain 'New Look' are planning on separate store entrances in their larger properties - one to be geared towards menswear - this has caused yet another storm of protest on the internet - and that babbling fool Mary Portas - who is NOWHERE NEAR AS GOOD AT HER JOB AS SHE TELLS YOU - is indignant - saying that couples will have to split up to go shopping. What's wrong with people??? New Look has a very small menswear offer - only about 2%, so even a tiny increase will be classed as significant and could make the difference in them retaining the offer. More men shop alone than ever before - and I can tell you, walking into a department store and having to fight through a maze of dresses, bras knickers and bikini's to find a pair of socks really puts you off. It's not segregation, it's simple sensible retail strategy. Focus your menswear offer around one door and you will increase sale, men will be able to find what they need faster and be far more likely to spend more - couples shopping will just continue exactly the way they already were.

I watched a documentary last night about the case of a strange, working class family from the north of England who manufactured fake art and antiquities in their garden shed. It was fascinating - can't wait for someone to make a film out of it.

I didn't win the £92,000,000 Euro millions. Just so you know.

All the vegetables I bought at the supermarket on Friday had gone off by Saturday.

Ebay is full of time wasters. I already knew that - but it's getting worse. I have one bloke constantly emailing trying to 'do a deal' on something. Someone else wants me to deliver something to SW2 that is clearly marked as 'collection only' . Strangely - despite the numerous excellent items I have offered at knock down prices - there is a bidding war over an old door handle.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Yesterday and Today


Picked up some new work - however, I’m being paid in food. Yes, I know…. A whole week of restaurant meals - with drinks, for free. I told you there was no actual cash about. Worked hard yesterday. Spent no money whatsoever again. Spent quite a lot of time thinking about the future and even looked at the possibility and costs of renting a flat if I have to sell this place. I was being practical.

In the afternoon someone I know REALLY let me down over something - totally wasted my time, serves me right for continually being nice to people and letting them walk all over me - a terrible habit I must get out of. After that, I was in a pretty grim mood - then one of my friends managed to drag me out for a drink at an art event. Pleasant enough evening, saw a few people I knew - had a conversation with the man who wrote the saxophone solo for the Hazel O’Conner track ‘Breaking Glass’ - his son has Downs but is an acclaimed artist and a really lovely chap - he has a show in a couple of weeks I’m going to. Had another conversation with a bloke who is always drunk but has just sold the jingle to a Whiskey commercial for more money than my house is worth, he was very drunk and suddenly he has a new girlfriend - I’ve met her before. Girls like that used to have a very particular name.

Came home and had a sulk and slept really badly. 


I’d already arranged to work at home today - the weather is beautiful. Started early -  the post came. A cable I’d bought for the computer speakers arrived, it didn’t fit. I’m OK with that - it was only 99p. I had 2 other letters. One from my bank berating me for bouncing a direct debit last week - the other was from the same bank - offering me a settlement on the PPI I paid on an old credit card.

I wasn’t really expecting anything - but it’s basically enough money to sort me out for 6 months. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I shouldn’t get too excited - it was my money, after all - and they technically stole it from me - and I really, really needed it. Once it arrives and I’ve paid the fees I can do some practical things like pay the Council tax and studio for a year - get out of my phone contract and do some emergency repairs to the house - I’ll be able to manage over the summer when it’s usually really quiet and get out and drum up some more work - and I’ll probably be able to have a decent nights sleep for the first time in… well… about a year.

I’ve just read that both Ron Moody and Christopher Lee have died. That’s intensely sad.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015


Started well, now it's like October. 9.30am and I wish I'd work a jacket.

In the studio until 3.30pm and then I have to deliver something. First thing this morning I have to go through YET ANOTHER round of amends on some work that has already surpassed it's fixed timescale and is losing me money - because both the people I'm working with and the people they are working with are so badly organised. Let's just change one thing at a time rather than sitting down and doing it properly. The longer it takes - the longer it takes me to get paid, the less money I earn.

Still reeling after the farce yesterday. Getting a client is hard enough, having them mugged on the doorstep is just absurd. Apparently a group of street drinkers decided to get involved and after a tussle he escaped with her bag - but it just descended into a nasty farce after that once the police arrived. I have to speak to her later - I'll probably get the whole story then.

I may have sold my 'posh' bike. I don't really need two bikes - I wish I did, it's a lovely bike but must go - I keep falling over it. I actually have to take it home, clean and service it, adjust the seat and then deliver it to someone who may change their mind and still has not agreed a price - it's another thing that's doomed to fail.

Watched the Apple Expo last night - actually found it really dull, the self-curated news service sounds great - but it's what twitter already does without the attractive interface. The danger is that by self-curating, you are actually self-editing. News and content providers already create dumbed down content for phones - it will just get worse. There was some study after the election that one of the reasons people were so incredulous that the tories won, was because by self-curating their news feed - i.e. only seeing things we want to see - we don't notice half of what's happening around us. Our facebook pages are engineered to only tell us and show us what we want, we're oblivious to everything else. Combined with the rather pitiful writing and lack of integrity most content providers present their work on the web - It's not looking good. If 9/11 were to happen now - the Independent would send out a tweet 'WTC!WTF? and their front page would be a large photograph of the flames and the headline "So, this just happened...."

The music thing they announced is for another consumer entirely. I barely use my iPhone in the way it's designed. In fact - I checked yesterday and my contract ends in November - I may try and get out of it earlier and just go back to pay As You Go - it will be a lot cheaper. It's just another monthly bill and I could easily live without it - I am never away from a computer anyway.