Monthly Archives: June 2003


Connex have lost their franchise! Yahoo!
I know it probably won’t make any difference to the traveling public; the next bunch of incompetent, money grabbing, hopeless, pin-striped wankers won’t be any better. But how nice to know that the directors and the shareholders will be really unhappy. With any luck many of them will end up without a job and living in penury. Hoorah!

Why not send your cheery comments to connex – let then know how happy you are that they’ve gone.

Upfront: I’m a twat

One of the problems with e-mail, blogs and even snail mail is that the longer you leave a response, the more daunting the prospect becomes….so you end up not doing anything ? So what does kick one into action exactly ? Well sadly in this case it’s not because I have something fascinating or incisive to say, but just because I know it will get even worse if I don’t write something.

Anyway, yesterday we were due to be going to a wedding..sort of thing…they’re already married but they got married in India so this was for all of the people who missed it. The celebration is in a place called “Chesham, Bucks”. The word Bucks scares me as it seems like a continent away, but once I noticed it was on the Tube map it didn’t seem so far.

Lesson 1: Just because it’s on the tube map doesn’t mean it isn’t a fucking long way away

We got the maps, directions, train-times and everything ready to go but, fortunately, I developed a major gut-rot and was in no fit state to go on saturday morning. Why would I say “fortunately” ? Surely I’m not that opposed to long journeys ? Read on…
Michele sent an apologetic e-mail to Simon and Laekha explaining the situation….

Later that day they called us to see how I was. “Hows the party going ?” Michele asked. “err…you know it’s tomorrow don’t you” Laekha responded.

Today we did go to Chesham, and it took 3 hours. If I hadn’t had the belly-ache yesterday, we would have done the same tedious journey only to discover bugger all…and then we’d have to do it again the next day. Michele would have, quite justifiably, castrated me under these circumstances because it was I that firmly corrected her when she suggested that the party was sunday not saturday. I truly am a total twat.

Lesson 2: Martin is frequently as wrong as King Wrong

Anyway…Chesham is in Zone D. Yes D. There is a D. It goes 1,2,3,4,5,6,A,B,C,D. The girl at lewisham station (new ticket office – still only one bastard window open) also didn’t know about it either. It turns out that you can’t buy a Zone D Travelcard from a NR(BR) station, only from an Underground station. “But how do I get there ?” I asked. “Well, buy a 6-zone card from here and LT will upgrade it for you [ for the cost of the difference ]” the ticket office helpfully advised.

Lesson 3: Nothing told to you by a connex employee can be considered to be a fact, no matter how confidently they tell you

We got to Charing Cross and I optimistically handed over our 6-zone cards and asked for an upgrade.
“I can’t do that sir, these aren’t LT cards, they’re from BR” the ticket office guy told me. I protested that it even had an LT logo on it but he wouldn’t shift . At that point I came close to breaking down, despairing at how shit and unfair our wonderful 21st century integrated transport system was…”Oh god…” I shouted”…”why…why is it so difficult ? All I wanted was to get from Lewisham to Chesham and I can’t fucking do it ? Jesus why…”
“OK OK I’ll do it for you” the guy interrupted and went ahead and did it…Nice of him, and I should have been grateful I suppose but all I could manage in the way of thanks was “but I really shouldn’t have to be brought this close to tears to get this sorted…”. The guy agreed. Props to the man with common sense..

The icing on the cake was to pick up a copy of a glossy rag called “Upfront: The connex lifestyle magazine” from the train. Lucky because I really need some advice on my lifestyle from connex. It is beyond parody.

Lesson 4: No matter how much of bunch of cunts you think connex are, they are always capable of surprising you by being even worse

So we went there, drank, ate and chatted and then came back. Despite the efforts of Connex and LT we enjoyed ourselves…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Back home now, Humphrey is eeking, I’m still mulling over Orwell’s MI5 list and tomorrow is monday.

Just another day

The sun is setting. Michele is playing with Humphrey, who has been eating sunflower seeds out of our hands for a couple of days now. This probably doesn’t sound like much but it’s actually a major breakthrough. He wouldn’t let us get near his cage when we first got him, and now we can stick our fingers through the cage and he’ll eat nuts from them. Such a pretty little bird.

During the last week I’ve spent the majority of my time on the lower half of the emotional cycle. Right near the dingy, oily, gear mechanism. This is probably related to thinking too hard about life directions, my overdraft and that sort of thing. But whatever caused it, I’ve been thinking. Not sure what about. The dreams don’t make it any clearer either; last night was another one about being shot, only my wound wasn’t serious…but someone close to me (I think it was Frances, my sister) had a very serious bullet hole and I didn’t manage to get her to hospital or anything. She ended up going on her own, which made me feel very sad. Dream experts can fuck right off with their Freudian bullshit.

[ michele taps me on the should to show me Humphrey keenly picking a seed off her finger ]

This afternoon was booked off work so that I could go down to Brick Lane and help fix a Linux box at easynet’s base. They had such bullshit security. We both needed to bring photo ID (Pete brought his passport) in return for which we were given some dodgy RFID cards with code numbers printed on them. These would allow us to pass beyond the glass wall that separated us from the lifts. We had to move over to a couple of glass cylinders, move the card near the keypad so that the green light came on, and then had to type the number displayed on the card into the keypad. The glass cylinder responded by sliding one side across inviting one of us to step in. Once inside the cylinder, the door closed leaving you trapped in a glass tube. For some reason the name “Augustus Gloop” came to mind but there was no chocolate anywhere near as far as I could tell. After wating a few seconds (while the bat-laser-scan-o-tron scanned us for weapons, drugs, and copies of NMAP I expect) the other side of the cylinder openned allowing the prisoner out on to the SECURE side of the glass wall. All very impressive as long as you didn’t notice the very ordinary looking door to the left of the glass podules that the security guards used when they wanted to get through the glass wall.
The lift was SECURE too. You had to do the card/PIN routine in there before you could select a floor. Of course a cynical person would ask what the point of the code number was if it’s printed on the fucking card, but Pete and I were too impressed to question it….although Pete did suggest that the lift PIN pad was there just to give the security guards a laugh as they watched us obediently go through the ritual.
As Dave H says, it impresses the easily impressed.

Well, we fixed the server, installed some Anti-Virus software and fucked off to the nearby pub. A good afternoon’s work. Being Brick Lane meant I also managed to buy a couple of very agreeable samosas on the way down to Shoreditch station too. Lovely.

Landlord Scum

Michele managed to pluck up enough courage to tell me about an upcoming event concerning our accomodation. She didn’t want to tell me about it because any news related to Landlords and Estate agents makes the veins on my head start throbbing with anger. Room 101 is waiting for me and it contains a massive van der graff generator (what is the name of the phobia of static electricity ?), two estate agents, a clothes shop and an imminent visit from room 101’s landlord.
Michele was told that our landlady was coming over from Germany in July to look into the possibility of having a loft conversion. “Oh no, are we going to have to move out ?” Michele asked the Estate Agent slug.
“Oh no – nothing like that” the liar replied.
Oh well that’s alright then. Obviously what it must be is that our landlady is concerned we don’t have enough space and is going to give us a few extra rooms for no extra rent. And while the work is going on she’ll probably put us up in a 5-star hotel so it doesn’t interfere with our lifestyles too much.

So what do we do ? Buy a place in London ? Hmm well I could buy a shoebox in peckham on my wages…but then I could drive nails into my eyes instead and it wouldn’t cost a penny.
We could rent another place….but I’d rather eat my own shit.
So that only leaves buying a place in Philadelphia…but that’s scary and involves me leaving my job and my “hood”. Oh dear.

Oh well. The sun’s out and the outrageous humidity is now fading leaving beautiful weather. Humphrey has been getting more friendly and even came out of his cage for a wander….and then let himself back in using the ladder we bought him. Red wine in the sunset – it’s not all bad is it ?