Friday, 31 October 2014

I woke up at 5am, it was still dark. I had a bad feeling about today, so I made the decision to work at home. I spent all day doing something that my client probably thinks I spent 2 hours on, that’s all he would be happy to pay for. I took advantage of the quiet to do a proper job, but I won’t get paid any more. At least I’m happy with it.

A couple of new pieces of work have come in, both good projects, but have not yet agreed the fee on them yet and that usually kills them - as most people seem to think I work for free, or less than free.

I was supposed to have been paid on Wednesday - it’s the 2nd week that they promised I would be paid - I spent all the money in the bank on bills and getting the house and contents insurance - and of course, I’ve not been paid. I now cannot pay my mortgage - which means I’ll have to pay loads of bank charges. I’m really, really pissed off. I don’t think it’s because they are deliberately trying to hold back, and I don’t think it’s because they can’t afford to pay me - it’s either a genuine oversight, or something else. The woman in charge of accounts erroneously believes that I didn’t pay her husband for a project 15 years ago - I’ve been told that in confidence by a mutual friend, I’ve always suspected there was something in the background. The truth is very different - I generated a piece of fake work to help her husband out when he was desperate and paid off his credit card bill myself rather than give him the money - he was always rubbish with money and we used to be best friends so I was happy to help. I think that she just thought that something had happened at the time - and I didn’t pay the bill - and it’s just carried on from there - in fact, it’s much worse than that - a few years later when they were moving house he came to see my in a really bad state because he’d been a bit over optimistic about the money he had and I had to lend him his part of the deposit - literally the day before they moved. I never got it back, it was a lot of money - at the time I had some savings, a couple of years later he became very ill and nearly died, and I decided that I’d rather have him alive than worry abut the money - were were really good friends once. That was 10 at least years ago. There have been may times when I really needed that money back. Like today.

Hottest day in months - hotter weather due tomorrow - something disturbing about wearing a T shirt in November.

Fiona Woolf resigns. Of course she has. Anyone who has the ‘full confidence’ of our increasingly absurd and out of touch  Prime Minister is doomed. She was always a bad choice. This investigation is too important, there are things that will come out of this that are going to be so dreadful that it needs the most independent and honourable people at the helm. She was never going to have the confidence of the victims. You cannot expect someone like that to understand the damage done to people who have nothing, came from nothing and were treated so badly - she is from another planet. I’m sure she’s a decent and talented woman who would have done a good job, but she’s too ‘establishment’ - and it’s the ‘establishment’ that is implicated in the facilitation and cover up of the abuse of so many children.

Halloween (I forgot) - I only realised when I went out to get some food. There are more kids around here now - half the houses on my street seem to be expecting callers - God help anyone who knocks here. I’ve moved the computer into the dining room and have all the lights out.

This week has been shit. Really shit. Next week won’t be any better. I was at the studio yesterday and I thought to myself that people have called the Samaritans over less.  I remember when I was in my 20’s - I was afraid of nothing - I had no problems just generating money from nothing, buying a house without a deposit or a job, whatever came my way - I could just deal with it and find a way to make it work out. But now - seriously, I have no idea what I’m doing.

There isn’t anything I can do about anything that’s wrong at the moment, so I did the only thing I could do. I bought 4 cans of beer and a family trifle.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

I  went out last night, after a very long and frankly, difficult work day, I needed the release. I’ve never seen Belle and Sebastian in such a small venue before - it was a revelation. The sound was excellent, much better than the usual white nose I have to deal with after 20 years of gigging. It was small enough for the band to be able to interact well with the audience and the crowd were very happy, very keen and all totally in love with the experience. There were plenty of people who had come down from London or further (all of whom complained about the terrible transport ) and I met quite a few people I knew. I saw people there that I’d known in Brighton 20 years ago, they had hardly changed. I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t feel so tired and run down - but it was a great experience.

Today was probably the hottest day we have had in months - and being half term - town was packed with people enjoying the brilliant sunshine. I picked up another spare Apple display, big 24 inch model - they were £3000 new when they came out, and are still better than anything you can buy now - particularly for colour, which is a constant problem for me with newer models. The only drawback is that you need to use a specific kind of adaptor - and I only have one at the moment and it’s in use, I’ll be trawling ebay for another. I probably have enough decent equipment now for a studio of 5 people.

This morning, as I pulled the bath plug upstairs - I heard a strange, crashing noise - the pipe that leads from the bath out through the wall to the drain had come loose and water was pouring everywhere - including through the open dining room doors onto the floor. I couldn’t deal with it - I just walked out of the house and left it.

I’ve been making some tentative steps to finding out how much it’s going to cost if my bay window collapses. I’m not going to tell you how depressed that made me.

I have a lot of work to do at the moment, all difficult, all mired in conflict and one job where I’ve been asked to put together some print without having images, a deadline (which might be Monday ) and have been told to write my own copy by harvesting material from their website - don’t even know if I’m supposed to be getting this printed myself? 

I need to check my bank later - I should have been paid yesterday by a client - if I haven’t - I’ll not be able to pay my mortgage - very heavy month for bills, including getting the house and contents insurance.

Had to cancel a meeting this afternoon, I was too tired and too wound up - apparently I looked like I was going to ‘burst into tears’.

Friday tomorrow, can’t wait for the weekend - need a couple of days at home alone to catch up on everything and get some peace. Tomorrow night is Halloween - so I’ll be hiding at the back of the house with the lights out to avoid any kids that come knocking and freaking out the dogs. There is ANOTHER big event in Hastings over the weekend - the Herring fair on the sea front, more  marquees, wine, beer and…. herrings.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


I needed to be in Brighton by 8.30 at the latest this morning. Sadly - my 'fast direct' train turned into a 'slow, change at Lewes' train as soon as I boarded. Fortunately - my client was also trapped on a train outside Croydon, so despite being an hour late - I was still 'early'.

Last night I watched the 'baby P' documentary. I always felt that the entire episode was a grubby, manipulated, dishonest mess - and I seem to have been right. Nobody came out of it well, but the scapegoats deserved far more pity and sympathy than they will ever be given. It was gruelling to watch politicians and journalists lying, brazenly exploiting a dead child and creating chaos and hatred. The single most upsetting point was when Sharon Shoesmith admitted (very bravely) that she had considered (just for an instant) ending her own life and taking her daughters with her - which was kind of skirted over in the program and not referred to later - but I thought was very brave and revealing. That child was murdered by his mother and the people close to her - not by the state, not by doctors, policemen or overworked social workers - buy his family - that is where the responsibility lies.

I have loads to do this week, I may work at home tomorrow - I'm staggeringly tired this evening, my stress levels have been raided to max by the absolute certainty that the bay window at the front of the house is starting to move. I'm going to try and get some independent advice about insurance - but I hold no hope.

Off out tomorrow night to see Belle and sebastian. Something to look forward to - here is my favourite track with a video made from one of my favourite films.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Add on from last night.

This article in the Daily Mail (similar articles appeared elsewhere )  pretty much sums up my feelings about certain parents and children. I'm fine with kids in public places, seriously - of course I am, I've told all my friends with children to take them to the Chapman's exhibition - they all love it, kids will usually know their limits unless the parents give them too much latitude.

I have a friend who I have known many years who, when their children were young, would take them to restaurants and let them run riot while the grown-ups were eating, her reaction to any comment was indignation and fury - 'let children be children' is fine as long as you are prepared to pay for all the meals of the other diners who have had their evening ruined. My sister explained to me years ago that once you have kids you learn how to tune-out of the noise they make - I've seen this for myself, a group of mothers can sit in a coffee shop chatting away quite happily while their children terrorise the rest of the customers at 200 decibels, I seem to remember another article where a coffee shop had come under fire for asking a small group of well heeled women to control their children, the owner explained that every day - 4 stay at home mothers with giant baby buggies would arrive late morning, order one drink each and spend several hours letting their children take over, it had driven all the other punters away and the business was at the point of collapse, the owners explained this and suggested they come in later after lunch when the shop was quiet and after they had actually made some money - but the mothers reaction was to complain in the local press, boycott the coffee shop and start a campaign to get it closed down. I seem to remember that this was in Altringham.

When I taught I would come into contact with adolescents who had the most phenomenal sense of entitlement, they refused to accept criticism, would react with indignation or horror (and occasionally tears) when asked to do something and seemed to be immune to any obligations, standards of behaviour or moral code. It took me a while to realise that it really was the parents that had bred these monsters. Mum and dad would regularly interfere with the students education (even though they were not actually allowed to ) constant call up and spend hours on the phone over trivia, refuse to accept that their darlings were anything other than geniuses, threaten to sue over bizarre things, expect us to spy on them and consider the staff 'the enemy' - all the time refusing to accept their children were growing up, trying to treat them like 'mates' (I wish I had a pound for every time anyone said 'my daughter is my best friend' - when I already knew they most certainly were not) and meeting parents dressed exactly as their adolescents, which is just plain wrong.

I was on a train recently with about 8 or 9 teenage girls, they were all groomed, self absorbed, jabbering away about nothing and they reminded me of the Eloi in H.G.Welles 'Time Machine'. Placid, thoughtless, innocent child-adults with no care or interest in anything but pleasure and vacant existence. We weren't like that when I was their age, we were very different. We were practical, resourceful, driven, inventive, motivated - we didn't have any choice - the world was a harsh place and if you didn't fight, you sank into nothing. I don't know anyone from that time who had help from their parents, even the kids with money - 'mum and dad' were quite happy to let go at the first possible moment - not come along for the ride. My peer group did really well, much better than I could have anticipated - there was a real problem with heroin in my part of the North West - it was sink or swim - if you didn't get away there was nothing for you, some got left behind and are still there but others have taken their chances and become many great things - from my small group of friends there are teachers, university lecturers, a magazine editor, one of the countries most respected occupational therapists, engineers, a guy who designs jet engines and writers - and we all came from a shitty little town with no shops, nowhere to 'grab a cappuchino', a terrible library that required you to be accompanied by an adult to see a reference book ( at the age of 13 I would have to ask a library assistant if I could sit at a table with a copy of 'Janes All The World's Aircraft' looking up references for my Airfix kits and she would sit next to me in case I tore the pages out and presumably tried to eat them), even the kids that went into the army did well - although they have probably all 'retired' by now and live in Jersey or something.

I'm really glad I'm not young now, it's too easy, which sounds perverse, and I'm envious - but it wouldn't suit me. I'm not glad I'm old ( and in this youth obsessed society - 48 is fucking ancient) but I'd never be able to compete in the way I did then. It's just too unfair.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The dark.

I really hate the dark, 5pm  and the day is over. I'll have to cycle home in the dark every night now for the next 6 months. It's depressing. I've strung some red Christmas lights over the mantle in the dining room - I do it every year at this time - so that I have a little bit of light in the back of the house when I get in, and the red glow makes it seem warmer.

Despite a number of things planned for today - after a few early practical jobs - I did nothing - went back to bed for a couple of hours, couldn't even be bothered to read. It was grey and overcast and I decided against cycling to Bexhill top see an exhibition. I had no appetite but managed to force myself to make a couple of cheese sandwiches. It's not cold enough to get the slow cooker out - I'll wait a bit before I'm back on the bland vegetable casseroles. I may by a pumpkin and roast it - they are stupidly cheap at the moment, probably because people will only carver them, not eat them, and throw them away afterwards.

War and Peace was on the iplayer - 3 hours 30 mins, I almost managed to work up the enthusiasm to watch it, but I clearly didn't have the attention span. Most amusing thing I've read in the paper today was that Rolf Harris has made his own digeriedoo in the Prison art class. You couldn't make it up - the world has become a parody of itself.

I had a look at the stat details on this blog earlier - reading between the lines, 99% of all hits are from robot websites, sometimes I can get 1000 hits for a 5 year old post about me making a cup of tea in the space of 20 mins. I expect there are probably only about 10 people who casually drop in and read this stuff, everyone else is trying to sell fake Louis Vuitton and pornography.

Had a brief online conversation with someone who has given up on Tate Modern because it's just a giant children's playground for nice, middle class parents who think it's OK for their kids to run wild. Afraid I agree - what will they be like when they grow up?

I spent quite a bit of time trying to find anything worth reading in the newspapers - the article that caught my eye - for all the wrong reasons, was that mark Gatiss is to play Peter Mandelson in a film about the last election. I can't abide Gatiss. The mind boggles.

They have started working on the fascia of the Pizza Hut in the village - now, when I look out of my bedroom window - in a break between the houses - I'll be able to See the illuminations of the Pizza Hut, a posh Chip Shop and  KFC. I think it's probably a good selling point.

Next week is looking really confused and ropey - have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing, nothing confirmed by anyone. 'Probably' going out on Tuesday night and out on Friday night, other than that - it's looking messy.