28 Dec 2008

Tonight Matthew, Dave and I will make a cloud...

This is what happens when you don't keep an eye on a kettle.


I went to town yesterday, mostly to meet people who I had been friends with in school. While we were sat drinking, the conversation turned to the imminent death of Woolworths, who were having their last day of trading.

We decided to set out and have a look, as I had heard rumours of fittings for sale, and thought I might be able to pick up a bargain on an industrial fridge perhaps. No, as it turns out. I was too late and the doors were locked, with the shop looking distinctly raped inside. This isn't it, this is a Stockport one.

I started to try and remember the last time that I thought I needed to go to Woolworths, and I honestly couldn't remember. On the cheap household goods front, the pound shops, Home Bargains and Wilkinsons all kicked their ass, and considering I'm not a major purchaser of loose sweets and chart CDs, and react badly to glaring strip lighting, its not so surprising that I didn't the frequent the place.

Ahh Zavvi....

Now if any business was on its way out then surely it was Zavvi. The 15 month old chain was created by a management buyout of Richard Branson's Virgin Megastores. A couple of points stay in my mind which must have crossed the minds of some Zavvi employees:

1. Virgin (the company) was originally a business selling recorded music
2. Now Virgin don't see a future in it
3. Probably a good time to get out

Its interesting to note that Zavvi was 'Britain's biggest independent retailer', but alas were helped down by the collapse of Entertainment UK (who provided the bulk of CDs etc) who themselves were part of the Kingfisher Group (the owners of Woolies).

My next prediction based on no financial sense at all, and purely on instinct is British Home Stores.

Again, its pretty much because I never need to go in there, as I'm fine for school shirts and lightbulbs at the moment.*

*I would probably go to the market for lightbulbs actually.

25 Dec 2008

19 Dec 2008

Edward Carpenter 1844-1929

I'd heard of this chap before but never really looked in any detail. Carpenter spent much of his life in search of a pure form of anarcho-socialism, but he's more interesting that just that. He was also openly gay, and his first boyfriend was a razor grinder from Sheffield. In fact, he had a little gay commune going just outside the city. I suppose it wasn't a 'gay commune' per se, but definitely a place where it was acceptable. The community emphasised a kind of simple life and enjoyed some moderate success to the extent that Carpenter received requests from Japanese fans of his books to move to Sheffield and allow them to make sandals.

Carpenter was an early exponent of the personal being political. Much of his writing focussed on sexual liberation, and influenced writers such as D H Lawrence. Following travels round Asia, his school of thought took on some elements of eastern mysticism, but it remained true to both libertarian and western progressive thought.

The great love of his life was George Merrill, who had no formal education and was brought up in the slums of Sheffield. This fitted in nicely with Carpenter's belief that same-sex love could both bring classes together, and be a force for social change.

Carpenter's life has so many interesting facets that its impossible to convey in this many words a full picture of the man, but its worth noting that he was also a pioneer of nude sunbathing.

16 Dec 2008


One can't really elicit sympathy by saying the phrase 'I've been so busy I haven't had time to blog' but this is actually true.

Following my injury last week, I didn't want to moan to much, so I went to the Warehouse Project in Manchester to see Squarepusher. It was originally going to be myself and 3 of my current and former colleagues, but due to illness and prior engagements, it ended up as one of my former colleagues, her friend and I. So in this instance, I was the 'gay friend'.

The Warehouse Project is not a warehouse, rather a car park underneath Manchester Picadilly station. Unlike raves and free parties, this is licensed, and blimey, the level of security and police outside unnerved me.

As I walked in (still with arm in sling) I was led aside, told to completely empty my pockets, unzip everything, and then get fondled good and proper by a security guard. It was indeed very thorough (we're talking sliding fingers round the bottom of all of my pockets). In my view, going through all of this doesn't really class as 'entertainment' for me, its more like a psychedelic prison visit, plus it costs £20 to get in. Outrageous.

Squarepusher was very good, especially with the live drums and bass-playing, although one girl said to me 'Its a bit too metal innit?' to which I said ' Not really'.

Luke Vibert was OK in the same way that most drum 'n' bass is OK. And the other people 'playing' that night had output that could be considered 'fuel for fuckheads'. We left around 5am, and went to Spar in time for the first train to Sheffield at ten to 6 (pretty much filled with the same partygoers).

I am still most definitely a rock dude.

Yesterday was the staff party, and amongst the better things, I got first prize in the beard competition. In front of my department, I was told to give a speech, so in the spirit of Marlon Brando, I kept it concise and meaningful: "I cannot accept this award until my people are free". I was panicking that this would be met with silence, but thankfully it got a laugh. Phew.

10 Dec 2008

Ow ow ow ow ow ow.

Fell off the garage roof last night. It really hurt. Time for a visit to the walk-in centre methinks.

Happy birthday Tom...

8 Dec 2008

Empty building, empty mind

I was on guard in my new building today. Its looking pretty smart. Trouble is, there's no computer or phone yet, so it was 4 hours sitting. I had a newspaper, but I quickly got through that.

Hendo's is across the road. I look forward to smelling the scent of Monster Munch Pickled Onion every day.

After almost cracking up with boredom, I found some scraps of paper and a pen, so I drew some crappy cartoons.

The Noose of The Man

I've gotten away with not wearing a tie for work for about 7 years now, over 2 jobs. Today, this record is now broken, as I'm not only wearing a tie, but wearing proper shoes as well.

I still have a beard though - they can't take that away from me. Can they?

5 Dec 2008

Death of a Symbol

"Hi, I've lost a scarf. Have you had any handed in?"

"I'm afraid not. All I have is this Shemagh"

"Yeah that's the one" Person is passed Shemagh.

"So you're a supporter of the intifada?" Gestures at scarf.


"That 'scarf' is a symbol of a struggle against occupation... Or is it just for fashion"

Looks confused


"Ah OK" Glares at her... She backs off and leaves.

4 Dec 2008


A young politician proposed a socialist vision for Scotland. It should be 'a new commitment to socialist ideals, policies and action' which is 'sensitive to cultural needs, and is humane, democratic and revolutionary'. Despite this being the 1970s, this upstart was 'too fast... too clever, too popular, too good with the press'.

The Red Paper proposed the nationalisation of the UK financial sector - how 1970s! It was written by this dude with a PhD in Economics:

3 Dec 2008

Now is the time to panic.

Crap. Luckily I have lots of tinned food, batteries and bottled water in...

2 Dec 2008

Shitting Crikey - Why Have I Not Known About This Before?

In 2001, VH1 Canada produced a TV Movie called Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story.

Now I must admit, I'm not a massive fan of Def Leppard, but Nether Edge rumour has it that they played their first gig at the Broadfield, Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, and considering that was the pub geographically closest to where I lived for the majority of my life, that means something (I'm not counting the Byron - which may be actually the closest pub).

Classic rock makes me smile, although had I been old enough in the 1980's during its salad days, I probably would have spat on you and gone home to sulk and listen to Dinosaur Jnr/Black Flag/Descendents etc.

No, its purely due to my propensity to look down my nose at things that made me purchase Hysteria, but more specifically due to these things:

1. None of the band feature in the film
2. Sheffield (UK city) is played the unlikely double, Montreal (Canadian city)
3. Canadian actors play native Sheffield people

So yeah, mostly generation X-ish post-irony, with bit of a dash of Sheffield pride, topped off with a great soundtrack. Here's the intro, but before watching take note:

-Steering wheel on wrong side of vehicle
-Roadsign at 37 seconds in with the information that the scene is taking place 2 miles from the M25, 11 miles from Sheffield, and 46 miles from Manchester - all going in the same direction
-I've never seen a combination of such good weather/telegraph-pole-mounted electricity cables and prolific fruit stalls in my fair city.