Saturday, 27 October 2007

News Watch!

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has unanimously backed calls for the voting age to be lowered to sixteen, reports the BBC.

Which strikes me as a very cynical, and very voter-savvy ploy. It's ill-informed, immature, hot-head teenage voters who will vote for some perceived glorious notion of Scottish independence without taking into account all the reasons why Scottish independence is a very bad idea.

There are many reasons, but I think it is most telling that earlier this year when the 300th anniversary of the Union came around and the debate reared its head, the Scottish business community was generally dead set against the idea.

The base of the SNP's appeal has always been to people who don't understand how the economic world works and don't understand how everything they do effects and is effected by it. I don't understand how the economic world works myself, but having now become a taxpayer and begun that slow move away from the foolish university communist phase, I certainly get a bit more of the gist of it.

This said, I'm actually all for Scottish independence. I'm frustrated by the West Lothian Question and, as one of the early intakes of university students to have been made to pay fees, am exercised to the point of irrational madness by the fact that Scottish students get free tuition yet English students are made to pay...

Ah, so it's about the money is it?

If so many Scots want independence, then let them have it. It would make a few people happy, and would mean that we wouldn't get all upset when we supported Scotland at the World Cup out of fairness and didn't get the same courtesy in return. Also it would mean six million fewer people and more money for us English.

But when that North Sea oil runs out, don't think that selling a few bottles of whisky is going to hold up the economy.

I like whisky too.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Cannibalism in the workplace

Tomorrow's canteen menu includes the delights of the minced lamb donna kebab.

Poor Donna.

Still, it's what she would have wanted.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

News watch!

A devout Baptist couple who picked up what they thought was a Doris Day film for £2.99 in a supermarket bargain bin were shocked to find themselves watching sapphic Italian schlockfest Tettone, che passione! (Breasts, what a passion!).

Full story on the BBC.

What I love best is that the god-fearing couple continued watching until the end of the DVD, presumably so that they could see just how shocking and pornographic it actually was.

And not that I'm particularly overjoyed or not to see that the Sarkozys are to split, but today's Guardian has an excellent piece about the break-up in all its soap operatic glory. With tales of multiple, twisted affairs and a high-speed car chase through Paris it really is quite cinematic. It's almost like Madame Bovary.

Monday, 15 October 2007

So here are some thoughts...

I obtained a new umbrella today. Half stole it in fact.... At Blackfriars Station on the way home from work the guy sitting on the bank of seats across from me jumped up, and as he got to the doors I spotted his umbrella on the seat. I jumped up too as he pushed the button and with a loud "excuse me!" tapped him on the shoulder, at which he looked back at me, gave me a glance that I can only describe as terrified, and left the train.

Well, I wrote about giving people the benefit of the doubt before, and if he's not prepared to believe that I wouldn't willfully attack a man with a good eight inches on me in a crowded London station, then fuck him sideways with a spoon, and I kept the umbrella, which is rather nice and I think may be designer.

I also consider it some recompense for what happened this morning, when the ticket office at Suburban Station was closed when I arrived with a good fifteen minutes on the 9:01 to find a queue of idiots by the automatic machine. I can be done with the automatic machine in a minute, because I have mad skills and am a fully paid-up member of the Web 2.0 society. But many people can't figure them out, and end up inserting their card the wrong way round and then accidentally buy a monthly saver to Luton Airport.

I missed my train and was an hour late to the office. We're putting out a big souvenir issue this week, and as a result we're kind of up against it, and this was not appreciated. It is for reasons like this that I worry a flat move may be on the cards next year, much as I like this place.

The shop by our tube station has reopened in the past week after a refit, and they seem to have got rid of Scowling Indian Man and replaced him with some absolutely ravishingly beautiful young Polish girls, who were I that way inclined I would make more of in this post. They have also got rid of the grotty lino and the cramped aisles and turned it into a mini home-from-home for Poles, Turks, Russians, Romanians, in fact, any passing shopper who wants nothing to do with the execrable Sainsbury's Local by the tube. There is even a deli counter and a small bakery that does baklava. Needless to say I have been having baklava for dessert all week. I also bought some sausage-meat and a brand of Polish yoghurt called Extra Krzemosy or something, which is actually really nice.

There is one thing about all the Poles and such round here which is quite sad, however, and that is that they seem to have driven out the Aussies. It used to be that you'd go into a bar and be served by some high-octane Antipodean who, despite possessing an accent that is almost as unattractive as Estuary English, could at least conduct a conversation. Now it's a glum eastern European emigre who, despite having six more degrees than I do, hasn't bothered learning English and can't tell the difference between Kronenbourg and a small glass of the house red.

That is not apocryphal either, that did actually happen to me in a pub in Uxbridge a few months ago.

My message to the Aussies; we've kept the bars just as you like them, we've made our climate warmer, and you can get Victoria Bitter in the offy, so where the bloody hell are you?

Thursday, 4 October 2007

The benefit of the doubt

Every morning at about 8:55 as the platform at my station starts to get busy, a pre-recorded announcement is played over the tannoy to the effect that anybody physically or verbally abusing the train company's staff will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, or words to that effect.

And I wonder, what happened to the assumption that passengers wouldn't gratuitously start assaulting people in uniform?

That's not to say that most First Crapital Connect staff don't richly deserve to be smacked about a bit.

A similar bug seems to have taken hold of the local police down in the Deepest South London Suburb where I work. This lunchtime as I was pounding the pavements in search of my usual six-inch sub of the day on Italian herb I spied a notice tacked to the station entrance, warning me that I was in a Designated Public Place so I had Better Not Think of doing Anything Naughty.

Which I thought had been the case the minute I closed my front door this morning.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

My gym is a scary gym

So I was in the gym on the Broadway doing a little chest work before my swim late on Monday, and there was this very intimidating, thickset guy in a silver tracksuit. He clearly shaved his head, but hadn't done it for a little while and so his bonce was covered in rather unappealing fuzz. Then he turned around and he'd had some kind of swirly faux-Maori meets Celtic knot down a dark alley design tattooed on the side of his head.

This was scary because I was swamped in a very baggy Intel t-shirt that I got as a freebie at some press conference or other, and also because I have the scrawniest legs in the multiverse. Seriously, aliens fly in from the Beta Reticuli Quadrant to take photos and maybe buy a souvenir queegle timer.

But I digress, also working on the weights was a smaller black dude, and as the Gym People tend to do they got talking. These people have their own social circle, I've worked out, that seems to revolve mainly around Arsenal and whey powder. So, all well and good, until Ugly Tattoo Man starting talking about some upcoming court case he was involved with, possibly as a juror, but no, it turned out he had thrown his girlfriend down the stairs and she had taken off with their kid...

I hotfooted it back to the changing room, put on my trunks and minutes later was in the pool with the friendly middle-aged Punjabi ladies.

Basically I need to make a ton of money very quickly so that I can afford somewhere a little more upmarket and a bit gayer.

That's not to say there aren't a few tasty looking chaps in these uncharted wilds of the People's Republic of Brent. There are a couple of very fit Polish boys who come in from time to time who I enjoy to look at surreptitiously, so life is clearly not without its compensations.