Monthly Archives: February 2004

Saturday idleness

The ideas of moving house, earning money and not being totally unhappy have been keeping me awake recently, so it was extra nice to spend the day in totally self indulgent vegetation. Played with my smart card reader, had some quality Humph time ( he’s currently making a collection of bizarre happy noises in his cage, despite the door being open), watched an episode of the prisoner and got hold of some juicy bittorrents…do a google.
My ibook is now back with me after a stupid length of time at the menders, thanks to a known mother board problem, so I’ve been taking advantage of the DVD player. The only DVD I actually own is SPACED, and whilst I love it it really reminds me of why we should all boycott DVDs. You pay your hard-earned cash for one of these fucking things and it starts dictating how you use it.
No – you can’t play this because it’s designed for a different country. Alright…just this once.
Fast forward through the crap at the beginning ?
Don’t talk to me like that!
Ooh, I missed a bit lets just go back five seconds. What ? No! You’ve gone back to the beginnng of the bloody episode! Arrrgh.
I can’t read the credits because they’re scrolling too fast. Pause. Arses they’re even more illegible now.

Now, if instead of buying the DVD I’d downloaded a rip then my faithful friend mplayer would let me play it without the attitude. I can go back and forward as much as I like and there’s none of this “NOT PERMITTED” cobblers. A video would have been even better and (contentious point here) the picture quality would have been better…DVDs suck. They’re not there for us, they’re there for the MAN.

Strike 2: nice day

Bright, cold and sunny weather always makes me feel optimistic about the rest of the day. Especially when I discover a new Viz has been released as well. It was even colder today, but thankfully dry, so I managed to do 4 hours on the picket line before bailing out and going over to the caf. What was most irritating, apart from the armies of News Line salespeople who always turn up on these sorts of thing, was the number of students who just don’t get what it’s all about. When it comes to attitudes towards striking, some people confuse laziness, apathy and weakness as cynicism, wisdom and toughness. I know this because for most of my 20s I did too. Sneering at the public-school boys selling Socialist Worker. Giving a world-weary shake of the head to the left organisations perpetually going to meetings and trying to engage people in conversation about revolution. Hmm, well I still think the idea of a socialist revolution in the UK is ridiculous, and stil think Socialist Worker pushers are a pain in the arse…but that’s not the point. Jeremy Hardy taks about this a lot, about snerring middle class people who say things like “yes well you’re not going to change anything by just carping on about it”. Yes, far better to just lie back, think of England and let it happen.
You may remember me talking about an offhand comment by a fellow member of staff during the last strike about us “middle class people playing working class trade unionists” and how it was pointless and unreal….supporting his argument by talking about how his dad had to strike for 9 months. An odd argument. It irritates me more than I can say and the person who said it would probably be really chuffed if he knew how I’m still talking about it 6 months later, nice bloke though he is.
Yes – it’s a middle class protest. But we’re not playing. Losing 2 days pay, and spending the days in the freezing bastard cold trying to persaude people to stay away from work and support the action is not much fun really. We are angry about how the government, and the employers regard eduction with such cynical contempt. All of these people in the upper levels of HE who award themselves massive pay rises while refusing insulting rises to the lowest paid make me a tad angry, and I want to go out and remind people that it’s going on, and that it won’t change if there is no resitance. OK it may not change if there is resistance, but it’s like the lottery. You’ve got infinitely more chance of winning the lottery if you do it, than if you don’t.

So many students crossed the ine, because they said they wanted to be eductaed. “I want an education mate” one particulary odious posh bloke said as he quickly ran off. Do you ? Well what the fuck do you think we’re out here campaigning for ? “I don’t want to talk about politics” said another, just before I started to talk politics to him. This is the cancer that needs a good dose of chemo. It’s quite simple:

EVERYTHING is political

In debt ? Find food really expensive ? Fed up with how big your bills are ? Irritated by traffic in London ? Annoyed the bus is late ? Angry about how crap the resources are at your university ? But you still don’t want to talk politics because you’re busy and have more important things to do ?
Well, guess what ?


Met up with Dave and Ian and went down to Dorking. Despite intending to set off at about 12:30 we didn’t get there until half four. Great evening tho’ and realy good to see Brodie again. Got into a debate with some bloke about the meaning of the word Gourmet. A common theme in definitions seem to be “a connoisseur of food and drink”, and this guy’s contention was that you could therefore be considered a gourmet if you only ate mcdonalds and really liked it. Hmm.

Strike 1

5:40 today – not quite as bad as before. I’m putting the crap sleep down to the crap bed. There’s one good reason to be pleased about moving out I suppose. We’ve both been having intense and ever so slightly disturbing dreams again. I don’t remember what mine was about, apart from having a long argument with someone about why HTML e-mail was ruining the world….oh god…
The AUT are on strike for two days this week and I’m iming to do the early shift on the picket line again. Despite being colder than a witches tit yesterday, we did a few hours of leafleting in the rain and snow. For the first time ever I went up to the rally and it was surprisingly inspiring. There were a couple of tough questions from one of the various “socialist” groups but the speakers handled it well. I’m of the opinion that dissent is essential in this sort of thing just to keep people questioning their beliefs. Even if it is always from the SWP or WRP.

Monday night Michele and I went out for a meal with Alex in a Lewisham restaurant that used to be quite good. It was a really good night, despite the meal costing 80 boody quid! How did that happen ? Anyway he has offered to let us rent his flat while he’s in Mexico which would be very cool. I hadn’t realised that he was going away so soon – scary stuff.

Bangers and mash

An interesting option has materialised as a result of collaring someone from the college on friday night and explaining our housing predicament. It seems there might be an option of renting a college owned flat! Fingers crossed.

Got up early on saturday to go to Eltham again. This time it was to bung 256M of RAM into Tina’s dad’s PC. You really can’t run windows for 2 years with only 64M. Seemed to do the trick, which is incredible considering I’ve been dragging that DIMM around in my bag for the last week in the rain, hail and beer.

Last night Michele and I broke with tradition and went out. Mod had invited us over for some food. On the rare occasions that we get an event in our social diary, 3 come at once. Within the space of 5 minutes, I spoke to her, Toby (who was back in London for 1 night) and Tony (likewise). We ended up goin with Tony over to Mods and it was great, but only seemed to last 10 minutes. In planning our journey we discovered that far from being a right bollocks to get to, Streatham is actually a simple, painless 20 minute train journey from New Cross Gate. Of course we discover this just as Mod is about to move out. Arses. Michele, Ian, Tony, Theresa and I were served some luxury, poshs bangers and mash. This wasn’t Walls and Smash in Bisto either (although I like that too). A selection of posh sausages, two types of mash including cheesy, and superb caramelised onions in gravy. This was followed up with home made double ginger cake and cream. DAMN!

A pox on all landlords

4:36 and I’m more awake than I have ever been in my entire life. Like an advert for pro-plus.

This is partly due to the news that the landlady does want to sell the flat so we have to move out. This is a real, gold-plated, hand numbered, certified authentic, 100%, bugger and does not aid restful sleep. We don’t want to rent. We don’t want to buy (in London). Even if we did want to buy we couldn’t get it sorted in 2 months.

So, the usual course of action to encourage the sandman to visit (these days they’re all casual contractors and just don’t care about quality) is to listen to a tape. But when you flip a cassette 3 times you have to concede defeat. Determined to get back to sleep (something doomed to failure) I switched on the World Service. The programme was some sort of surreal international equivalent of Nation Wide (showing my age there I know). First item – a New Zealand woman whose farm flooded and was rescued by a cow. Next, Rio and someone who is really into science and salsa. She spends her time preforming dances that convey scientific facts. This was followed by the Indian man whose car got stuck in reverse and so he now drives backwards everywhere and plans to drive to Pakistan in order to promote peace. Hang on – this must be a dream…surely I’ve fallen asleep and the cheese has got to work on my consciousness. Nope
Interviewer: “but driving backwards must give you neck ache doesn’t it ?”
Nutjob: “I do have pains in the neck – frequent pains in the neck – and I have had severe vomiting in past,”

WTF ? As you can surely see, there is now no question of sleep for the rest of the night…or maybe ever again…

Bad day

And it truly was a bad day. Sadly, due to the open nature of this blog, I can’t tel you anything about it. In a nutshell, a good friend of mine, who has had severe mental health problems recently, lost his job and was the subject of a bunch of messages to our departmental mailing list by someone who is equally, if not more, mad. Very stressful.

How nice, after a day like today, to come home and be with my bat and my parrot.


This link will take you to one of the most nausiating websites in existence, and I’m not talking about the Moonfruit Flash aspect of it – although that doesn’t help. It’s “The Official Website of the world’s first mini it girl”. Her name is Jade, and her mother is odious, leather-look, never-was, and one time shag of Jeffrey Archer: Sally Farmiloe (does a lodda good work for charidee, doesn’t like to talk about it). Her website is even more nausiating. Be sure to check the messageboard, sponsors page and “how did you hear about this site” quiz. As for “Loo time” it’s way beyond parody.

Been a nice few days after a messy Friday night. The Union had a valentines day do thing with a Britney Spears “tribute”. Her and her two dancers obviously take it all very seriously, and at 800 quid a night they probably should. We didn’t stay late and so missed the extravaganza but we did see them reherse. Strange, but that sort of turn could well be the real Britney or a computer generated hologram for all the difference it makes. I must have been pissed because I ended up dancing(no not to Brit), with Michele this time.
The next night Michele cooked up a special valentines day meal – STEAK, with oven baked tomatoes, asparagus and some posh salad. Perfect. Sunday was the usual routing – spent the day coding:

  • vejotp got enhanced.
  • is now available in gloryless WAP. Haven’t got round to putting these bologs up yet in WAP but I doubt there’ll be many tears shed
  • Designed a nice PHP class to provide my workplace (no longer will I mention its name) with a web based news service. I do like OOP. Although C++ can fuck right off…

Utterly pointless I’m sure you’ll agree, but if I could spend my life engaged in such pointless work, you would never hear me complain. Donations welcome.

In the evening we went over to my mum and dad’s. My dad had done a CD copy of a superb blues compilation and I returned the favour by lending him my slapp happy CD 🙂 My sister was there and was in better spirits which is good. She had some really, really crap photos of her trip to Prague but it looked every bit as beautiful as I remembered. A good night tho’.

Good times, bad times

Isn’t it odd that despite being surrounded by banks that, according to their advertising, are friendly, different, listening banks that put the customer first,
they all seem to treat us like pubes in custard. Isn’t it a shame that the same marketing company that were responsible for “Death” fags don’t get hired by the
banks ? The first time I see an advert for a bank that says “We’re into making money and you can help us, at your own cost. Possibly even your own life.” I’ll sign up for their special low interest account immediately, confident that they’ll never betray my ill-founded trust.

Unlike SMILE. Yes, smiley smile, the different bank. The friendly, human bank with whimsical quizzes on their web site. The spin off from the co-op that don’t have to bother living up to all the ethical stuff.
With a chuckle still in my heart after reading the hilarious, cynical quiz on the front page of smile’s website today I phoned them asking to transfer
some money from the credit card to my current account so that I can pay the lovely tax bill. The, very helpful, sympathetic and underpaid lady I spoke to told me that smile, couldn’t do it because they’d decided to cancel my credit card without telling me.

Well anyway, she was nice enough to re-enable it and sort me out. She was human and therefore the enemy of the bank.

So I went to the Wxxxxxx arms with Peter B. It’s still one of the only proper pubs left and despite the newly aquired slightly threatening atmosphere, aided by
the landlords incredible resemblence to “dodgy” dave courtney, it’s still refreshingly comfy and pubby. Only in a real pub could you overhear a conversation lik
e this:

“Feta. That Greek cheese, you can get it in great big blocks”
“yeah it’s about fucking 3 or 4 quid for a little block”
“You wouldn’t catch me eating that shit. Fuck that! Nah, I picked up a
lump a cheese. Massive, like that. Fucking massive, proper cheese. Cheddar.
Massive lump of cheese, that big right….3 quid.”
“3 quid?”
“3 quid.”
“Massive. I cut the cunt in ‘alf and give it to me sister.”

A good week really, despite Saturday. Most of Saturday was spent in Lewisham hospital with a friend who was in a bad way. On sunday things improved; Abby brough
t Jake round and we went for a walk on Hilly fields. Michele and I went over to my mum and dads’ afterwards and had a superb lump of lamb. Tina also came over and we all drank too much and chatted. Good stuff, although I needed to take monday off because the weekend was just too short. Weekends should be 5 days long.


In case you haven’t seen that diabolical filth that Apple and Pepsi (as bad as it sounds) crapped out during the superbowl, you can see it on their website. Dead kennedys did a version of that tune where the lyrics were “I fought the law and I won”. Twatty college limp-wristed rock lamers Green Day are now destined to burn alongside Lars Ulrich, Dr Dre, Britney Spears, MC Hammer and westlife in Satans post-vindaloo arse of fire.

Anyway, last night I went to the launch of the London news review at the Limelight, with Mod, Zap and Mod’s friend Theresa. A great night. It must have been good because I danced..a lot and didn’t get back until about 3am. We were expecting a few celebs there but the most famous person any of us saw was Dave Gorman…