27 May 2009

HMRC

1. Our friendly Revenue and Customs have their office in Bristol.

2. The office is owned by a company called Sigma 2004 Ltd.

3. Sigma 2004 Ltd is incorporated in Jersey, so they don't pay any UK tax.

4. Our tax people pay rent to tax-dodgers.

24 May 2009

Fuck UKIP

This poster annoyed me somewhat. What I thought might make a good addition would be a speech bubble from Churchill's mouth saying "Need a national symbol for your batty far-right political party? Then call 0800 654 546". Alas, a less witty critic had pre-empted me...

My Nursery

My little seedings have flourished somewhat. From left to right we have my tomato vines (which I plan on training up the window), tabasco chillies, rocket, parsley and (off camera) oregano. I just need a pasta plant now and I've almost got a meal. Meat is quite difficult as I reckon my neighbours wouldn't appreciate me slaughtering a pig on the driveway despite a promise of many chops.

23 May 2009

I'm on Beeb Website again

Talking about politics - imagine that.

Here's what they published:

"How about devolving most of the Common's power to local government? England (and other parts of the UK if they wanted) could then run a federal system that would bring decision-making closer to the subjects. (And if we ditch the monarchy, we can actually be citizens rather than subjects)."

22 May 2009

Hyperbole Of The Week

There's so much written and screached about MP's expenses that I don't think anything I write would be particularly insightful. I've quite enjoyed watching the system collapse - its fun from a spectator's point of view, and in the future we can say "Yeah I remember 2009 - that was when politics and economics collapsed". But then I heard this story on the radio and I thought it was fantastic.

At the start of this year, I never would have thought that MPs would behave like attention-seeking teenagers who have been told off by Daddy. "I HATE you! I've not done ANYTHING wrong! I'm going upstairs to cut myself with a butter knife".

Nadine Dorries does make a salient point that an effective way that MP's can win 'back' the trust of the public is through mass suicide. Might I suggest hari kiri.

21 May 2009

Sheffield Int' 80's


[The BBC wanted experiences of Sheffield from the 1980's, so despite being between the age of 0-8 I thought I would have a go]

Having been born in 1982, I'm a little limited in my contribution, but there's a few things that stick in my mind.

One was how few cars/traffic there was. Sheffield City Council (and South Yorkshire County Council as was) ensured that bus fares were really cheap. I remember my Mum taking my brother and I to 'town' and her asking for a "10 and two 2's" reflecting the price at the time. I think once transport was gradually scaled back, more residents bought vehicles and were unwilling to return to the public sphere.

There were also 'features' that I associate with that period, such as the fountain at the top of Fargate, and the dark and mysterious shops that inhabited the rather intimidating 'hole in the road'. Most of the underground pedestrian walkways were filled in during the 1990s.

My Dad was unemployed for around 2 years in the 1980s because his employer, the Sheffield Smelting Company (later taken over and then closed) was so closely connected with the steel industry. Thankfully, my Mum worked part-time as a teacher supporting those with disabilities, so there was one income for our young family. My Dad would take me to nursery on the back of his bicycle.

Whilst I was at school, there were still remnants of the 'municipal socialism' that Sheffield was known for. The Education Authority had its own printing works that made our exercise books. During the 1980's we had people like David Blunkett at the helm of the council, before he became an authoritarian right-wing bruiser of a politician.

Rather than emphasising the great differences that Sheffield has compared to other cities, Sheffield's overseers became known (and are still known to a greater extent) for the white elephant schemes, such as the World Student Games, and certain 'regeneration' ideas such as Meadowhall. Meadowhall effectively killed off regeneration in the city centre for a decade.

For all its faults, I love Sheffield and have never left. I went to nursery, school and university in the city, and now work in a vaguely promotional role, where this affords me the opportunity to enthuse to outsiders about what makes Sheffield a great place to live, study and work.

Ah gotcha.

Most of those terms yesterday were related to a BBC article that I commented on. Not as much fun.

20 May 2009

What Does The Internet Think of Me?

One particular information gathering website made a 'cloud' of me (albeit without me knowing). Its possibly the most bizarre thing I've seen in the last... afternoon. Here's the top 5 categories based on 'size':

1. Tom Doyle (he is popular after all)
2. Speed dating (O-K)
3. Sheffield (fair enough)
4. Pinki (no fucking clue)
5. On Valentines Day (ditto)

Amongst the other words in the cloud are 'Mainstream Society', 'BBC News', 'Agitators', 'Notorious Group', 'Freedom', 'Mathlete' and 'Class War'.

Its like the brain of the internet is expressing its nausea and confusion.

19 May 2009

What you up to next month?

G20 Meltdown are planning on overthrowing the government.

Who's in?

UKTI

The government department UK Trade and Investment underwrite arms sales to some of the worst regimes in the world, even ones that are classified as 'major countries of concern' by the UK. Although arms sales account for 1.5% of all exports, UKTI devote as many staff to it as it does to every other industry sector combined.

Don't like it? Then make a tiny impact and sign a petition on the CAAT website.

18 May 2009

Welcome to 2001

I wapped this blog today using my very old mobile telephone device. I can now finally say that I have 'wapped my blog'.

Wap - its the future in the palm of your hand. A future that is slow, annoying and mostly useless.

14 May 2009

Let's Bring 'em Down!

Just got an email from Mark Thomas:

"Lawyers acting on behalf of Mark Thomas served Speaker Martin with legal papers demanding am independent audit and investigation into the scandal of MP's expenses. The audit should examine all claims going back to 1997, not just the last four years, any mispayments or misclaimed expenses should be repaid rather than rely on voluntary repayment when MP's feels adequately embarrassed and if there is evidence of fraudulent claims then the police should be called in to investigate. MP's should be subject to the same standards and laws as the rest of us.

If Speaker Martin does not launch an independent investigation then Mark and the lawyers will seek a judicial review of his actions. "


You can find more details of exactly what he's planning from his website.

Ain't Got A Mot-ahhhhhh



Who is Bubba 2000? What you cannot see in this sign is that vehicles illegally parked in this area are threatened with clamping. Now clamping, or at least the threat of it, is usually a stern enough deterrent to prevent the illegal or unsafe stowage of vehicle in this particular spot.

Bubba 2000 has a longing. He (I could be wrong, but the handwriting looks more male) overtly expresses a desire to enjoy the freedom of leaving some property in a particular space. Not just that, Bubba 2000 is rebelling: He's seen the sign, he's seen the warning, but he is not intimidated. "Bring it on" he was probably thinking "your signs will not dampen my freedom of parking expression". Not just that, his self-belief goes beyond a simple expression in the first person, and he opts for the nominal third person, with a certain amount of grandeur.

He takes you one way, then, confusingly, brings you back, to a personal level with his heartfelt (and first person) confession that, alas, he does not have a vehicle in which to show his contempt for restrictions placed upon him. The use of the word "ain't" produces underdog, and bluesy self-pitying signals, and the non-standard spelling of 'Motor', short for motorised vehicle, brings humour and dialect back into the equation. We can characterise the rollercoaster of emotions thus:


ALMOST DELUSIONAL SELF-CONFIDENCE
\/
CONTEMPT FOR SOCIETY'S RESTRICTIONS
\/
ADMISSION OF INADEQUACY
\/
HUMOUR/DIALECT AS DEFENSE MECHANISM

As a final thought, look once again at the work of Bubba 2000, you can just make out the word 'respect' fading into the background. In one sense, Bubba has no respect for this sign, but perhaps it is also indicative of Bubba's confused self-worth?

11 May 2009

Probably The Greatest Band Ever



Why would anyone not want to be in a band like the Hanson Brothers?

8 May 2009

Cake Log v2.0 (beta)

Today has been marvellous.

From my initial ropiness following seeing Tubelord (somewhat disappointing) and Johnny Foreigner (meh, OK I guess) at Fuzz Club last night, it was gratifying to be in work and be asked whether I wanted a sandwich delivering from down the road. I went for large bacon and sausage with brown sauce - it certainly helped bring me round.

Despite this, I felt like my usual routine was somewhat disrupted (surge of effort until 10.30, then coffee and chocolate as the 'reward'), and then around 11am, a senior staff member bought in 2 trays of tiramisu. You may recall from my previous posts that, where I work, cake is taken very seriously.

The logging of cakey delights is taken so seriously by my team that I present to you some highlights from various reviews:

"If this is the product of being another year older (Ms Mottershaw had turned 22) then age - yea, perhaps death - has lost its sting. A truly extravagant confection yet gift-wrapped in the sweetest simplicity; a cake that was apparently downloaded then simply downed, in my case to the pleasing accompaniment of a cafetiere brew; stylish and stunning - a new gold standard that is most welcome in the current climate. TC"



"Imagine a traditional chocolate marble cake but in the shape of a cartoon magnet; presumably the Tenerifians make a whole circular cake and then cut it in two. Stacey, a souvenir of whose recent holiday this was, could shed no light on the matter. Somewhat disconcertingly, due to the unusual shape and marbling effect, the cutting of the cake resembled a surgical operation, or the dissection of an organ during post-mortem examination. However, such worrying thoughts were soon set aside by a satisfying - if unspectacular - offering, the rather dry consistency of which provided a good compliment to late-morning coffee. TC"



"On first bite, I was hit by two contrasting sensations - the cake texture was beautifully fluffy - a wonderful piece of baking. By contrast, the icing was, frankly, damp.
Nevertheless, it sat well upon the aforementioned cake base. Flavour-wise, there was an immediate hit of smoky, dark chocolate. The sensation was temporarily dizzying, but all too brief. The chocolate flavour was not sustained, and was overtaken by a rush of sickly sweet icing. In short, that icing had no right to be there - it belonged on another, cheaper cake, not on this beautifully crafted piece of baking.


In conclusion, then, the cake sent me to heaven; the icing sent me to hell. However, considering the occasion, benevolence must win the day: a sterling effort by Monsieur B. (R deR)"



So there we go. What started as a simple scoring system has outgrown itself, and become somewhat literary. I may publish more highlights in the future, or, I may not.

6 May 2009

I refer you to my earlier posts on TV.

I watched broadcast TV at someone's house last night. The show in question was My Life As An Animal - it was fucking dire.

Rebecca Wilcox (presentin') smiles and explains the complex formula of the show (which helpfully, is in the title, so she doesn't have to do an awful lot). Terry Nutkins of The Really Wild Show fame is on hand as the 'expert'. In fact, I watched the credits at the end to see what his official title was:

EXPERT
Terry Nutkins

Not 'animal behaviour expert' or 'wildlife consultant' but just 'EXPERT'. He possibly gained this title because everything else about the show was so fucking dumb.

The premise of the show is that some morons decide to live with animals for 4 days, eating what they eat, sleeping amongst them etc. Last nights episode saw extreme sportsman Ed Leigh hang out with a pack of foxhounds, while model Lucy Clarkson decides she wants to be a sheepdog.

My first impression of Lucy was one of pleasant surprise. Here, I thought, was an open minded individual going against the stereotype of the prissy diva, someone willing to get their hands dirty. I was completely wrong. She proudly announced that she was unable to sleep ONE FUCKING NIGHT with the dogs, and wussed off to sleep in a bed at the farmhouse. The next day she was back on camera, with pristine hair and make-up, saying something along the lines off "It was really cold and I'm sure anyone would have done the same as me". Not me cupcake - at this point I was wanting a refund, as she hadn't fulfilled her part of the bargain. Surely she knew the deal when she signed up, and it became clear that far from the open-minded person I thought she might be, she's actually just a media whore trying to get exposure through a shit BBC3 programme (sorry, I mean just BBC3 - you don't need to precede it with an adjective - its already obvious).

Further wussiness came later when she had the option of eating what the dogs were eating (leftover takeaway - not bad by any stretch) but instead she just sat on some hay eating a sandwich, looking mopey. I've never seen a sheepdog sit upright and eat a tuna sandwich, although that would be more appealing to me than this tosh.

Part of Lucy's mission was to work like a sheepdog, so we were presented with the image of a sheep herder shouting things like 'Come by, come by!' while Lucy daintily ran around a field. Following a tough couple of days where Lucy had to:

1. Play with some sheepdogs
2. Eat a sandwich in a barn; and
3. Run around a bit in a field

She decided it was enough and left the show, her shallowness and desire for exposure at any price left intact.

Ed faired much better. He chowed down dogfood, slept with a howling pack AND completed all of Lucy's meagre tasks. Consequently, he only gets 2 lines of this review.

The pointlessness of the show is twofold. Firstly, its in no way scientific. The reason we don't find it easy living with a pack of dogs is that we're human beings and there's no point. You don't need to live with an animal in order to understand that they're quite smelly and uncivilised, and filming it is essentially pathetic voyeurism, which neatly leads onto the 'reality TV' element. Secondly, LUCY CLARKSON IS A FAILURE in terms of what she did on the show, and Terry Nutkins looks increasingly uncomfortable because of the undefined nature of his role ("'Dogs are pack animals' says TV's Terry Nutkins") combined with sweeping shots of Terry stood on some grass. I didn't really see his expert nature showing through, and the presenters seemed stuck in the hinterland between reality TV and a shit nature show.

Really really really fucking poor.*


*Quite good by BBC3 standards.

4 May 2009

Mmm Lovely


Now I have food for the whole week.

2 May 2009