Wednesday, December 30, 2015

And That Was Christmas

I spoke to my French colleague today and she told me that it took her 3 hours door-to-door to get from her house in England to her house in France.

Well, on Christmas Eve, it took me 10 hours – 4 of those stuck between Grantham and Retford.

A joyous start to Christmas, but it was good to be back home, until my mother put on a church choir singing programme and I wished I was back on that train.  Things improved when we watched Caravan TV, which included the process for building a caravan.  Sky – 1,000 channels of shite.

Christmas Day was predictably pleasant.  I should start by thanking Mary and Moses for having sex 2,016 years ago, leading to this celebration of shopping.

I had some cracking gifts, including some new handkerchiefs and some pants.  I also got a bar of soap on a rope to keep under my bed until I move out.  Very soon hopefully.

One gift that was particularly impressive was this designer ring:

I’ve never had a ring before.  Do you think it suits me?  I’d be interested in your thoughts.

I should also mention that I am getting a tour of Westminster.  I have no idea why I have never been bought this gift before.  I do have quite some sister.

Speaking of which, I introduced her to cricket on Boxing Day.  I believe that she is now a big fan and that we are going to a 20/20 game in 2020.  Or maybe even in 2016.

We went to watch the football as a family.  I had planned on backing Hull City to win 3-0 but because the train was delayed by 4 hours, I decided that was a sign that we would win 4-0 so I backed 4-0.  We won 3-0 with a shot agonisingly close at the end of injury time to make it 4.  My heart hasn’t beat that fast since I was chased by fire-fighters as a teenager.

I was even allowed to cook the Boxing Day roast dinner.  My family were suitably impressed…the stuffing was particularly sensational.

Christmas was definitely good.

I successfully spent lots of money and ate far too much food.  Jesus would approve.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Situation: Pending

I’m a grumpy fucker when I started writing this yesterday, but that wass mainly down to not getting to sleep until 4am the night before.  I could understand if I had gone on a caffeine binge or spent my Christmas shopping money on hookers and cocaine but no, I had a couple of glasses of wine and did my ironing.  By the way did you realise that Youporn has a 3D section?

Why it took 6 hours to get to sleep I do not know.  Fucking ridiculous.  I’ll try to calm down on the swear words for the rest of the post but I do live in Bracknell.

Last weekend when I was in Leeds, I wondered how the fuck I had ended up in the black hole of Bracknell.  Oops that’s three times I’ve used the word fuck.

In case you wondered, it isn’t the first time I have considered this, but there are so many wonderful places in the country that I could be working and living and yet I have somehow ended up in a crapper town than that I started my life in.

It also isn’t exactly as if I am wallowing in self-pity waiting for someone to discover my genius and give me an amazing job in London, Leeds, Manchester or Bridgend.  I am studying.  I am trying to change my career.  But this is one of the sources of frustration in my life.

I am stuck in Bracknell for a minimum of two more months.  Most importantly, I am awaiting my annual bonus due at the end of January.  There is no point in changing job before then.  Plus I’m in a six-month minimum contract in my house which finishes in two months.  My annual bonus will hopefully pay for some Technics and perhaps still have a little left over to contribute towards a holiday.

But then I might get redundancy in March too, although that won’t come close to the amount of money I received and subsequently wasted from redundancy at Verizon - it probably wouldn’t even pay for a storm chasing trip around America.

I’m not quite there yet in terms of being able to apply for a junior web developer job.  However, I am also not that far away.  I have a couple of web sites.  I have various others either started or in my head.  I need a portfolio.  And I need a blog.  Yes, another blog.

I do spend too much time studying and not enough coding.  I am hoping that my February detox, and week off in March will give me the time to get my portfolio to a stage where I can actually start applying for jobs.  The moment is approaching.

I was chatting to my hair stylist last week, and it struck me how admirable it was that he had a career where he made people happy.  I might make my manager and the cash managers happy, I do make my colleagues laugh when I’m not being a miserable fucker like yesterday, but I do have a fairly miserable job.  Nobody cheers when they are chased for payment.

I keep imagining being able to go into work, do something I find interesting, something I find challenging and then actually make people happy.  Deliver something that somebody really wants.  Being part of a project which changes someone’s life or business.  Nobody wants a disconnection letter.  There is minimal satisfaction in my job.  I fell into credit control and now I am climbing out of it.

I actually spent 17 years in Reading until I finally found a good hair stylist.

Anyway, until I get my bonus I will keep on plodding on and gradually creating my new future.

A future without Bracknell.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bringing Back Boring James

It is time to bring back boring James.  BJ.  Boring James.

It has been a hectic 6 or so weeks.  I have been in the fullest party mode since my Mango days, I think it is fair to say.  I will try to remember it all.

A weekend away in Lisbon, a half-weekend in Hull, I DJ’d twice and both were pretty heavy nights.  I’ve actually been clubbing 4 times in the time period – fabric’s birthday, Art Of Dark, The Hydra and then, well, it wasn’t clubbing actually, the Jeff Mills and BBC Symphony Orchestra event last Saturday.

A hell of a lot of fun.  And a hell of a lot of money spent.  I may have gone a little bit overdrawn.  Mum/Dad, if you are reading, don’t even think of sending me money.  I will send it back.  It isn’t for you to fund me going to nightclubs!

More importantly, my study backlog has shot up to 74 hours.  I have a plan of 10 hours studying a week.  This should be feasible.  If I don’t do my 10 hours then whatever I didn’t do carries over until the next week.  Unfortunately, this is really clocking up now.

So for both money and studying reasons, I am bringing back Boring James.

The next three weekends I am going to do as little as possible, and spend as little money as possible.

Which isn’t easy.

Tonight I am really looking forward to cooking a belated birthday dinner for the delightful Miss Hamilton.  I really enjoy cooking for people and rarely get the chance to…it’s even more difficult now I live in Bracknell, especially with the lack of space to entertain.  Hence I’m going to Reading tonight.  Ahhh the culture.  I cannot wait to see attractive women in the street for the first time since I last wasn’t in Bracknell.

On Tuesday I am going to watch Brentford vs Hull City.  I really cannot afford it, but the opportunity to watch Championship level football in a proper football ground…on a terrace, was too poignant an opportunity to dismiss.  It must be 15 years since I last stood on a terrace watching football.  I’m a little disappointed that it’s not going to be absolutely freezing cold.  And I can actually get the train directly to Brentford from Bracknell after work.  I’ve finally found an advantage to living here!

And then I have nothing else planned for the next two weekends…except go for roast dinners on Sundays, of course.

I might watch the Spain vs England football game in a pub, which I think is two Friday’s time.

This is about as close to nothing as I can muster.  Maybe I will go for a pie with someone.

Until 20th November when I will be back in party mode, full-on party mode, and DJing too.

I’m boring, boring boring boring.  So boring, so boring, boring tonight.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My 'Best' Ever Funeral

It does sound a bit wrong to say that, plus I’ve only been to two funerals but please allow me to elaborate.

My uncle recently passed away after a battle with cancer.

I knew him as a warm-hearted and loving man, though I particularly knew him for his sense of humour and very much larger-than-life personality.

But I never understood the extent to which he was appreciated and loved by so many.  He needed the largest church in Hull to be able to hold the crowd of people that came to pay their respects.  I guess there were around 400 people in the church, possibly 500.  There were queues to get in, and passers-by were apparently overheard assuming that a celebrity had passed away.

And in his own Winfield kind of way, he was a celebrity.  Two caravan factories that he worked for shut down for the day so employees could attend.  He hadn’t worked at either of them for many years – 5, maybe closer to 10 years.

He was a proper northerner – very down to earth.  He lived pretty much on the same road all of his life – for north Hull was the area, and more importantly, the people that he loved.  And they loved him in return.

I was consistently surprised about some of the stories I heard.  Apparently when he owned a newspaper shop, by time it opened, there would often be 20 people in his front room drinking coffee and eating bacon sandwiches prepared for them.  They would always be welcomed into his house – something replicated by his (and my dad’s) parents who always had an open door for those around.

I like to think that I am quite pragmatic – being down south and away from events, it is easier to carry on with life.  But the service was emotional.  It surprised me.  What really got to me is seeing other family members upset.  Yeah, I half-cried.

But the service wasn’t all tears and sadness.  There were many moments of laughter too.  For that is what my uncle would have wanted – he couldn’t stand morbid funerals.

You may know that religion has no place in my life.  However, I have always defended its ability to bring comfort and peace to many, and this was hugely emphasised on Friday.  I was particularly taken by the vicar, who clearly had become a good friend with my uncle and the service was personal to him – he attended the wake afterwards and was still there when we left early evening.

Not only did the vicar get his guitar out (sorry uncle for not doing the happy clappy thing) but then he de-robed to reveal a Hull City AFC shirt, which he did the rest of the service in.  I deemed it inappropriate to photograph but the moment will stay with me forever.

See, my uncle was a massive Hull City fan.  It kind of runs in the family.  I am truly delighted that he got to see them in an FA Cup Final, despite his health struggles.

And I’ll always have an even greater appreciation for our manager, Steve Bruce, who often took the time out to speak to him, as my uncle would go down to watch training.  My uncle had explained his scenario to him, and they had become quite friendly.  Not that you would expect anything else from someone my uncle had spoken to!  To be leading a major football club and yet still have time for the ordinary man is heart-warming, and I know how much my uncle appreciated it.

There was one particularly funny story told at the funeral, and I remember being at the game and wondering what the heck my uncle was doing on the pitch at half-time.

He was entering a competition to win a car.  There was a large wooden frame of a tiger on the pitch, and you had three attempts to firstly kick the ball through the large hole – which was relatively easy, then after that you had to kick the ball through the small hole – the eye of the tiger.

Instead, he hit the first ball straight through the small hole, and then ran round the pitch with his shirt off, belly fully exposed (quite some belly…he did once get stuck in a water slide on holiday) thinking he had won the car, with the crowd chanting “Who ate all the pies”.

I expect that the story meant far more to him than the car that he didn’t win.

The wake afterwards saw a lifting of spirits, and a fair amount of beer drunk.  There were bacon and sausage sandwiches for all.  No room for salad-queens.

It was heart-warming to see so many people vaguely connected to the family – like the couple who used to babysit my uncle and father, whom I was particularly taken with.  There were many stories told, particularly by my dad, who was in good form and even towards the end started a sing-song with “There’s Only One Ozzy Winfield”.  True Winfield.

Which brings me onto my point.  I’m not even sure if I should really be writing about family funerals on a public blog, but if you know me well enough then you’ll have been expecting me to write about it.

The overwhelming feeling I had by the end of the day was a real pride to be a Winfield.  It was a day where I fully understood what being a Winfield was all about – being warm, generous, funny, loyal, honest - an entertainer, a listener, a story-teller.  Occasionally an idiot.  Some of those I do well…others not so well.

I was also proud to be from Hull, albeit very secondary to being a Winfield.  I am not sure you would replicate that kind of community and kindred spirit in Reading/Bracknell.

It was an emotional day but yet looking back and reflecting nearly a week on, I can reflect on my memories, not just of that day, with considerable warmth and appreciation.

So, lost for words now, I will just say RIP Uncle Ozzy.  My favourite ever trade unionist.

And the last thing he ever said to me?  “Get your bloody hair cut”.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

James Went To Lisbon

Me and my sister decided that we wanted to replicate the success of previous weekend breaks to Bologna, Stuttgart and Brussels but this time go somewhere that would still hopefully be warm and sunny – Lisbon.

I’d actually done some research before we went this time, so we had an itinerary (what an oddly spelt word) and a plan of action.

When we arrived, it appeared that we had got onto the wrong plane and had ended up in East Midlands airport.

The first thing that we learnt about Lisbon was that it had lots of hills.  Lisbon likes a good hill – tall, steep hills.  7 of them, in fact.

We arrived at our Airbnb accommodation…halfway up the tallest hill in Lisbon.  At £55.00 each for 3 nights it was quite the bargain, though we soon realised why it was nicknamed the Doll’s House.  It was small – I only had a sofa bed and not the most comfortable one either, and with no sheet.  There was only one window so no way for air to pass through…I wouldn’t have wanted to stay there in the heart of the summer.  And I got a few bites.

That said, it was charming, it was a bargain and most importantly, it was in an excellent location – slightly away from the tourism hot-spots, yet just a 5-10 minute walk up/down hill to where we wanted to be.

We set off late Saturday afternoon for a random walk, to see what we could find.  We ended up walking through a rather shady district before finding a little café – Lisbon is fully of tiny cafes seating between 6 and 20 people.  We ordered two beers, paying €2.40 in total.  Yes…I paid 90p for a beer.  I cannot even get one in a shop in Bracknell for 90p nowadays.

I expected Lisbon to be reasonably cheap but we were regularly surprised.  Of course, there were the usual tourist trap areas with €5.50 beers, but as long as we stayed away from main squares then we rarely paid more than €3.00 for a pint, often less.

Another reason to stay away from the main squares were the regular offer of drugs.  Yes I know they are legal in Portugal.  No I don’t want a free sample (though I do wonder how many people took up the free sample of coke from every person that offered to them).  Time and again I was offered drugs.  It must be the hair.

In the evening we went for tapas.  Portuguese tapas.  It isn’t like Spanish tapas – they seem only to do a selection of cold meat/cheese, and chorizo cooked on a boat.  We ordered chorizo for two as they didn’t have anything else that was on the menu.  I would suggest that it was flambéed on our table.  But I might have made that word up, and instead it was flame-cooked in the oil or whatever was on the bottom of our porcelain boat.

It was good, but not a patch on Spanish chorizo.  In fact, Portuguese tapas isn’t a patch on Spanish tapas.  I didn’t regret declining the option of Ryanair’s patatas bravas though.

Then we were treated to a performance of Fado.  You were not allowed to talk through it.  We had to sit there in silence, for quite a lot of Fado songs.  A mournful, occasionally joyful music, with the woman singing and a guy on guitar.  Not my kind of thing, believe it or not, but it was impressively beautiful.

(Not my video and I haven't watched it).

We finished our Portuguese sangria (yeah not as good as Spanish) and headed off for a drunken night around Barrio Alto.  More cheap beer, some drunken pizza and apparently a taxi back instead of the hill.  The hill definitely was not happening.  My sister was probably the only person in heels – although we never found the gay quarter to check thoroughly.

Sunday we woke up with sore heads.  My first action was to go to toilet and whack my head straight into the overhead pillar.  Not for the first time but with quite some force.

Once we had gained some composure, we took the walk, uphill – steeply uphill, to the magnificent castle which overlooks the whole of Lisbon.

Without doubt the highlight of my trip.  This magnificent, historic structure towered above the whole of Lisbon, with amazing views over the whole of the city, in the intermittent drizzle.  Ahhh Hurricane Joaquim thank you ever so much.

I still wore shorts though.

There were many sections to the castle, and some very tricky steps to climb up to the high heights – and not especially difficult to fall from various areas at a significant height.  I now have an appreciation of how people could be scared of heights!

The castle also came with peacocks.  Now I’ve always wanted to be re-incarnated as a duck, but I’d definitely settle to be re-incarnated as a peacock.  Quite magnificent birds.

It is hard to put into words or pictures just quite how impressive and magnificent the whole structure was, and we spent probably not far from 2 hours there.  The below photograph is just a fairly small section of the castle.

Then, having not eaten and also craving a beer to shift my hangover, we set off for a highly recommended café near the castle – well aware that many places are 3 times the normal price in the area, only to eventually find it, and find that all 4 tables were occupied.

We went for a random walk, with no back-up plan and ended up in a random restaurant as hunger was getting the better of us.

We were treated to probably the worst meal I’ve had since I had a roast dinner at the Back Of Beyond (a Wetherspoons to the uninitiated).  For €43 in total, we had two beers, two grilled chicken dinners.  The chicken came with rice, which you probably know my thoughts on that, anaemic chips and even crapper chicken than Nando’s – small, dry, overcooked – one piece didn’t even have any actual chicken on it.  Why give me a chunk of fried bone?

Not to mention they charged us for the bread and butter – having not realised that the entre that is unfairly forced in front of ravenous stomachs wasn’t actually free.  Rude and forgetful service and an all-round unpleasant experience which really put a dampener on our moods.

The moral of the story – always have a back-up plan.

Then to top off my misery, we went to the cathedral.  I was overjoyed with religious fervour.  Thankfully it was only for a few minutes.

Then we sat outside in the main square, without any cannabis, and enjoyed occasional glimpses of sunshine…and the breeze from the river.  To continue our ultra-touristic day, we then paid €5.00 each to queue nearly an hour to go up a really old elevator, to the site of an old church which was knocked down in the 1755 earthquake.  I hadn’t realised that I was in an earthquake zone.  It was pretty pointless.

Much more research was completed for the evening meal – it had to be as according to Trip Advisor, many places we wanted to go to were closed on Sunday.  We ended up with the last table at another Portuguese tapas place, this time with no Fado, and again paying €43.00.

But this time it was worth every cent.  With glasses of gorgeous red wine for just €2.00 each, possibly the best wine I have ever tasted.  Even better than White Zinfandel.

As the rain started to pour, we got chatting to our table neighbours, who were from America.  One was a DJ living in Berlin – he was with his parents lived next door to someone who drives the dominator (the tornado chasing tank thing in America).  My two favourite passions covered at once!

And then we walked all the way back up the hill.

Monday wasn’t quite so successful on the tourist side.  It was threatening to pour down at various points, though never quite did properly.  We went to the Parque Do Naquos, or something similar, which was built for the Lisbon Expo, many years ago.

It wasn’t that exciting.  Were we not running out of funds, then we could have gone to the science museum, or aquarium.  Instead we settled for a cable car jaunt in the wind and drizzle, and a €2 pint of beer.

We then had an excellent chicken dinner, recommended to me by the one and only, Edible Reading, and followed that with a trip to Belem – at the other side of Lisbon.  We took the tram – Lisbon seems to be very proud of it’s trams, especially the rickety 1930’s trams.  This one was sadly just a modern, boring tram.

Belem wasn’t that exciting either.  We saw the tower jutting out into the estuary, and some other impressive buildings.  And then settled for a ride back to the centre, so we could go watch the football.

Ironically, the most upmarket place we went all holiday, was the English pub, which was showing the football.  With suitably over-priced beer like you would get in an English pub.

Football over, we hot-footed it to a steak restaurant recommended to us by our Airbnb host, and arrived to a fairly full restaurant in a slightly shady district - with the doors closed.  Last entry was 10pm.  It was 10:03pm.

Thankfully a waitress saw that we were lost souls without a back-up plan and let us in for a very good lump of sirloin.  I had 500g for just €13.00 – yet another bargain.  We made our way back, resisted the temptation of some Fado and set our alarm to wake up to get the number 28 tram.

Now the number 28 tram I was told was the way to explore Lisbon.  Lisbon has lots of steep hills, as I may have mentioned – and an very historic layout, with sharp bends and narrow roads that modern trams cannot fit down.  But the old-school 1930’s trams do the jobs perfectly, though are absolutely chocka-full all day.  So we got up early.

Again, it wasn’t that exciting.  But it was emblematic of Lisbon and I bought myself a little miniature tram to sit next to my Eiffel Tower, waffle shop and hippopotamus.

And then we went to the airport, via a strange codcake thing filled with very strong cheese.

Of course, the sun then came out.

I liked Lisbon.  I wouldn’t put it up there with must-visit cities such as Barcelona and Berlin.  But I do recommend it – unless you don’t like hills.

Also worth mentioning is that Lisbon Tinder wasn’t that exciting.  More productive than Bracknell Tinder – there are some cute Portuguese women, but they are not a patch on the Spanish.

Portugal is another country ticked off the list.  Maybe I’d go back in the future to another city, maybe Porto, but for now there are so many other countries to tick off the list that it will have to wait until I’m old.

Anyone know where I can buy some hashish?

Friday, October 09, 2015

Positively Grumpy

So I’m a grumpy fucker on a Friday again.

There are probably deep-seated reasons that the psychologists amongst you, or whose who watched the first three seasons of Big Brother, have long worked out.

I’m partly putting it down to a comedown.  But mostly Bracknell.

Yes.  Bracknell.  It is the source of much that fucks me off.  It is the source of my unsatisfyingly dull job and home of the house of annoyances.

I was never totally convinced about the house I’m living in, but it was the one that ticked the most boxes.  I came home last night to a snotty notice on the white-board about my washing being in the way.

Well how about the fucking shoes in my way?  Or motorcyclist gear?  Jumpers?  People shouting at their computers until 1am?  Yes fucking shouting at a computer.  Slamming doors.  Loud televisions.  Squeaky beds.  And not one but two couples having sex.

Who is putting the bin out the most?  Who is emptying the dishwasher most often?  Who is the only person to have done any actual cleaning during the 4 weeks that the cleaner apparently couldn’t work out how to use a front door key?

And then it got me thinking that I’m a failure because I’m 35 and there is absolutely zero chance of me ever owning my place and being able to walk around naked (bar Brazilian nipple tassels and a coal miner’s helmet).  But how much of that is my fault and how much of that the lack of supply over the past 30-40 years, caused by government policy (Labour AND Tory)?

Maybe I should join the Liberal Democrats.  At least if Jeremy Corbyn got in, the economy would go down the pan and house prices would collapse.  In theory.

Besides, there will be some kind of recession in the next 5 years, not a patch on the last one but it might also cause at least a slight correction in house prices.

Back to my miserable bastard self (see I’m fucking swearing like a proper Bracknellite now) and I’m not exactly happy in my job.  It is totally unchallenging and really doesn’t give me any kind of mental stimulation, apart from the odd argument.  Every day.  I do feel that it causes me to be more angry and miserable.

Why didn’t I go down the sales route?

Anyway, I’ve had a plan for a while and part of it was moving to Bracknell so I could study more.

Am I studying more?  No.

But that is because I’ve been going out lots.  Whenever I had a heavy weekend when living in Reading, I wouldn’t get any studying done the next week.  At least now I’m managing around 5 hours.  My weekly target is 10.  I currently have a 57 hour backlog.

I am less tired and do feel healthier for moving to Bracknell.  But I am not getting any closer to living in London or more importantly, being a web developer.  On a positive note, the discontentment should push me towards London next year, early next year, even if it means taking a bog-standard credit control job temporarily, even if it means having even less spare money than I do now.  I didn’t have to get out of Reading.  I really do have to get out of Bracknell.

Then again, there isn’t much point in doing anything until I get my annual bonus in January.  Which last year paid for my holiday to Ibiza.

I am going to throw that fucking whiteboard out of the window if there are any more snotty, bitchy notes (it isn’t the first one).

Blogging always calms me down a tad.  Which is the main reason I wrote this in the first place.

More importantly I’m going on holiday tomorrow.  Lisbon to be exact.  3 nights in what is supposed to be a very exciting city – it looks absolutely fantastic, not to mention that there is a small chance of a thunderstorm with the remnants of Hurricane Joaquim heading there too.  Of course, it being me, the remnants are fading away and there won’t be much in the way of weather excitement, if any.

It could be argued that I need the break.  I certainly need to get away from Royal Berkshire.  I cannot wait for the pre-aeroplane beer tomorrow morning.

And that is not the only reason to be jolly.  Next Friday I’m DJing, next Sunday I’m going to fabric’s birthday shenanigans, and the Saturday after I am going to the Barbican to see Jeff Mills and the BBC Orchestra do their techno classical thing.  October seems to be my party season.

So for now, I’m fucked off, fed up of Bracknell, and maybe just a tiny bit lonely too.  But don’t tell my psychologist.

I still have 3 tubs of gravy left...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ibiza 2015 - My Very Belated Review Of My 12th Visit

I’m writing this review of my 12th trip to Ibiza two weeks after getting back.  Is it really two weeks already?

There were 12 of us going to the villa, all couples, except for me and JP.  Yes JP was sharing a room with me.  He must have been crazy to agree that.  And various others on the island that we met up with.  I knew about half of the gang prior to going.

OK I’m now writing it four weeks after getting back.  I should forget about writing but it seems traditional to write about my trips abroad, particularly to Ibiza.

I guess I’m going to have to write in more general tones than details – though not all details of an Ibiza trip should or could ever be shared publicly.  I am certainly not putting the messy journey there in writing.

I had every intention of getting messy then sobering up before the end, unlike previous Ibiza trips where it was full-on messiness from dawn to dusk every day, with many a night’s sleep missed.  This time I surprised myself by sleeping every night, and eating every single day.  Gosh I am so grown up.

Or old.

I actually came back relaxed – though I had also lost 2kg.  I didn’t need to spend several days recovering, though the extra days off afterwards were handy.

So what did I actually do there?

I should add, it is now 2.5 months since I got back.  Well…I’ve been busy moving house and stuff.

It being a villa holiday for 12 of us, plus the extras, there had to be some compromise on nights out, etc – I was never going to get a 10-hour session of minimal techno anywhere, but we did both Zoo Project and Circo Loco at DC10.

I wasn’t fussed either way before going to Zoo Project.  It isn’t something I’d ever been especially interested in, nor was there any DJ on the line-up that I wanted to see and I was very comfortable at the villa.  But I went, and forked out the €60 door charge for not being organised enough to buy a ticket in advance.

It was an excellent decision for it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and evening, albeit in the baking hot sun.  Drinks were affordably priced, and there were 4 arenas of music that I found – I spent most of my time at the Treehouse section (definitely not the shit-hole bar full of tossers in Reading of the same name) which played a generative mix of minimal/tech-house.  And ended up with a slightly sunburnt face.

I highly recommend it.  I was gutted two weeks later when I found out Villalobos did a secret set there on another weekend.  Aaaaarrrrrgh!

I wanted to do Cocoon but upon seeing the line-up – and in particular that Solomun was playing with Sven, I just wasn’t interested.  Plus before I went to DC10, I realised that I was struggling for remaining funds – there was enough for a big day at DC10, but I couldn’t afford Cocoon.  It is 5 years since I have been to Cocoon in Ibiza.  And to think I used to live to go that particular night.  What am I doing?!

DC10 was predictably excellent, and very slightly messy.  We got there when it was almost empty which I love doing, to see how the club builds up and almost to feel like I am curating it – especially when first on the dancefloor.  I tried out my new short denim shorts and may have got a little attention, though not as much as my aforementioned hero in a dress.

Musically nobody massively stood out though Shonky played a really good set.  Cassy too I enjoyed, though her shoddy early mixing put the others in our group off where we went into the main room – I much, much preferred to be in the terrace so I was caught between wanting to dance in the terrace by myself or being with my friends.

I flitted between the two rooms – I didn’t think the soundsystem was that good in the main room but perhaps because we were stood at the back – some of the group were literally climbing the walls.  Sadly I had sobered up, relatively, and me and JP left before the end.

On the way back, we decided instead to endanger our lives, albeit unwittingly.  In a slightly fragile state in the back of a taxi, this car overtakes our taxi in the country roads – the taxi driver must have flashed his lights or something, as when we went round the roundabout, we saw the car stopped in the middle of the road further ahead and these angry steroid-fuelled beefcakes come running towards us – one appeared to be reaching into his pockets for something… a gun?

The taxi driver quickly reversed away, and waited.  And then went along the same road – the car was coming the other way and the taxi had to swerve to avoid them opening the door as they drove along.

Not what you need on the way back from DC10.  I needfully got messy upon arrival at the villa – not as fucked up as I desired, although I did find myself putting sun-cream on around 4/5am when it was still pitch black.

The villa itself was really nice and well-located in Sant Josep.  We had a bar 2 minutes’ walk from us, and apparently a brothel very close too.  You could probably walk into Playa D’en Bossa but with daily maximum temperatures between 37’C and 39’C, this was not something I ever contemplated.

6 bedrooms, a pool, air conditioning – yes air conditioning, do you read Easynet?  I had air conditioning in Ibiza.  It was more modern than Casa Cox with better facilities and location (Casa Cox being the infamous villa I have stayed in a few times), but didn’t have the romanticism or beauty of it.

One thing I did refuse to go to was Avicii.  Everyone but me went to the toe-curdling horror show and I went back to the villa to catch the last of the sun and drink some very strong vodkas, despite having drunk many “strong” vodkas during the day in Playa D’en Bossa at €14.00 a pop.  Yeah fuck off Bora Bora.  I was quite content and drunk by time some of the crowd got back – some of whom got back before Avicii even started.

For me, it would have been an evisceration of my soul and not something I could forgive myself for.  I’d rather have gone to a gym.  I don’t recall any good words being said by anyone who went, certainly not for the music anyway.  Though apparently I did miss a Ushuaia balcony sex show, and the light show was apparently impressive.

Much of the rest of the holiday was spent drinking in the sun, or in the air conditioning when the heat was too much for me.  We attempted a BBQ and cooked some food, likewise ate out a couple of times, including a couple of nice steaks.

Overall impressions of the island were generally positive.

I thought that the service was much improved.  I remember say 10 years ago, you would often get a rather grumpy service from the Spanish on the island in particular, though nowadays the service really is quite excellent, very helpful, friendly and smiling – maybe that is partly due to my ability to actually speak a bit of Spanish now (I even asked for the key to the bathroom once), which is something I’d always promised myself every year I was on the island.

But I do think that the island in general was more welcoming – and it isn’t exactly as if it was ever unwelcoming.

I think it is less crazy nowadays.  The craziness seems to have been contained which has long been a policy of the island government – yet it is good to see that dancing in the sunshine is possible.

The music I found a little predictable.  Good but I always knew what I was getting.  Lots of house, lots of tech-house.  It felt good but I didn’t feel that there was much variety or invention.  I do worry Ibiza has got itself into a little hole musically – everyone trying to do the same, acceptable, kind of thing.

Maybe it was just the parties I went to.  I cannot exactly judge a whole island’s music taste on just a couple of nights out.

It was still very expensive but it didn’t feel as expensive.  That isn’t because I am richer, I most certainly am not.  But we did go to venues that offered more value – the only place where I really felt ripped off was Bora Bora, and the bars nearby.

The women were beautiful – especially the Spanish.  None of them were impressed enough with my Spanish despite being able to say los elefantes son azules.  I did get one sexual offer though…

I did feel that I missed out on adventuring to new places – new restaurants, new parts of the resort.  It is shameful that after 12 visits, I still haven’t been to Dalt Villa.  But in a large group you have to pick your adventures carefully – persuading one person to try something different is difficult enough and group holidays are all about give and take.  There is plenty of time to explore when I move to Ibiza.

Yes.  I still fully intend on moving to Ibiza.

Out of my 12 Ibiza holidays, I would suggest that it ranks around the middle – 6th or 7th best – although not a patch on the Casa Cox craziness – it was a truly excellent holiday and easily the highlight of my year so far.

Maybe next year I'll take some decent photographs.  Yes, there will be a next year.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

James Went To Church

Yes I went into a church.  I cannot decide if I am not agnostic or atheist, however I can clarify that going to a church is total anathema to me, it goes against my beliefs.  I agreed to go for a family member who is seriously ill, as I thought it was the right thing to do.

Said family member is seeking and receiving comfort through the church.  And I am pleased about this.  I am not someone who thinks religion is the source of all evil and war, as some atheists will tell you.  I am more of a pragmatist and understand that religion and faith can be a source of healing, warmth, comfort, belief – whatever.  It does help some people.  It probably helps many people.

You can have your church, as long as I can have my nightclub.

I hoped that we would just be there for 20 minutes, watch the thing we were there for and then go to the pub.  I feared we would be there for the whole service, possibly an hour.  I expected it to be intensely boring and possibly patronising.

It beat all expectations.

2.5 hours we were in there.  Most of which was a service, followed by a renewal of wedding vows (this bit was ok, I don’t mind weddings).  It was easily the most boring thing I have done all year.  Christ, it was dull.  Recently I’ve been getting bored at work.  This week I am just thankful for small mercies.

It was annoying when you had to get up and down.  Then people sang dull hymns.  Not to mention the praying.  I, of course, joined in with none of it.  Except the standing up and sitting down bit, as the benches were uncomfortable so it often suited to rest my bum from the hard wooden bench.  Why do they not provide leather sofas?

It even went all happy clappy at the end.

But I found a way to amuse myself.  Thank God for mobile phones and the internet.

I spent most of the time on Facebook, Twitter and reading the news.  I read a lot of news.  And a lot of commentary of the news.  And opinion of the news.  And then tweets about the opinions of the news.

My mother wasn’t impressed.  I really should have brought my Surface.  At least I resisted putting my earphones in.

Then we went to the pub.  See, in Hull, on a bank holiday Sunday, most pubs are standing room only by 4pm, with loud music blaring out.  We found a quieter pub with a pair of ladies’ shoes discarded outside.  My abiding memory is of a very overweight woman grabbing a man’s backside.  At 630pm.

Thankfully there was a family after-party at a house with the world’s longest garden, or Hull’s longest garden anyway.  Please don’t ever tell me public sector workers are hard done by!

I actually got talking to the vicar, and he was nice nice with a good sense of humour.  He told us all to be careful as he had excellent powers of converstion (meant as a joke), my dad told him that he'd have no chance with me.  The vicar insisted that he could, to which I told him I was a muslim.

Cue dropped jaw and a short silence.

Booze and food was supplied at the party, and I went to look at the food.  There was a large tray of mushy peas, and a very large bowl of gravy.

All for me.  The gravy, that is.

Later on, pies turned up, a lot of pies turned up and then more pies turned up and there was still some gravy left so I had pie and gravy.  One cannot argue with that.  Was it worth my earlier sacrifice?  I had two pies just in case.  Ahhhh.  Hull.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

And Goodbye Reading

Tonight is (written on Friday) my last night in Reading, and yes I am feeling rather sad about it.

Those born in Reading don't seem to appreciate what the town offers to them and I guess if you are comparing the history of Windsor, the tranquil beauty of villages such as Sonning, or the international excitement of London, then maybe Reading is a little underwhelming.

But if you've been brought up somewhere rough, like I have, then Reading is a place of beauty.  And I am leaving it reluctantly.

My home town is Hull and I do have a lot of affection for it, but I had to escape it.  There was no future for me there.  I might have ended up working in a fucking pea factory.  Without a degree then factory work would have been a likely outcome.  Or dole, living on a rough council estate.

And quite a lot of Hull is rough.  It really was a rough and often violent place for me to grow in.  I hated life as a teenager, and not just the usual angst - there was day to day fear from what I would experience at school, topped with occasional beatings on the street, on a bus, whatever.  It was a fucking shithole in the 90's, devoid of hope and pretty much the only thing that kept me mentally wanting to live was that there must be something better out there when I grew up.  And nightclubs to go dance in with the hope that house music gave me - but that is a another story.

So anyway, I wanted to study meteorology at university, and the only two places were Reading and Edinburgh.

I didn't get a good enough physics A-level to get accepted by either - but Reading offered for me to do Maths Studies based on my Maths A-level grade.  I didn't want to do maths but I wanted to leave Hull.

And I was amazed when I arrived in Reading.  It was so middle class, the people I met were just from another planet - rich people for a start.  I'd never met anyone rich before.  Some of them wouldn't talk to me at first because I was too common.  By the end, I had their respect for being one of the few people that would say what they believed in.

I met black people.  I had never met a black person in Hull and I was racist.  Not particularly through choice but because that was the culture I had been brought up in.  And I was suddenly presented with people from all other the world that were cool, funny, intelligent and interesting.  A real challenge to my prejudiced thinking and one I am so glad I had.

I met gay people too.  Being any kind of minority in Hull back in the 90's was an absolute no-no so to meet people that were openly gay was again confusing, initially to my disgust but again I soon realised that they were just human beings.

Moving to Reading changed me in many ways - and not just my accent.  I had to physically retrain myself how to talk because people really couldn't understand me.  I was shocked about how people couldn't understand a Hull accent.

Reading allowed me to slowly develop into who I really am.  From a short-haired drunken lout to a long-haired drunken lout.

The other thing Reading had was jobs.  And a hell of a lot of them back in the late 90's when I moved here.  It was almost impossible not to have a job, which served me well when I voluntarily got thrown out of university.

Sadly the Reading nightlife has never really met my desires.  I've always been a huge fan of underground house music, and when we had the Matrix, that was superb.  And 2006-08 when Mango was in it's prime, was probably the most special time in my life - in many ways.

It came just as I was thinking of leaving Reading and all of a sudden I met these amazing people.  Seriously fabulous group of friends, most of whom I am still close friends with today and will be forever.  That time of my life was so much fun - so so special to my heart.

And then my data tethering allowance was gone...ahhh the pain of moving.

So four days later I have moved house (and sobered up), I am going to miss Reading.

It never fully satisfied me, there have always been gaps in my life here that Reading couldn't solve or provide, at least a fair amount of the time.

But I do truly love Reading.  It is a relatively exciting town, at least for the size of it, and it is only going to grow in stature and importance to the country as time goes on.

I am going to miss Sweeney Todds, I will miss the excellent rail connections, the shiny offices, the near-empty Blade.  I'll miss the Green Park windmill, the excellent parks such as Caversham Court gardens.  I'll miss the Oakford but then again it ain't what it used to be.  And I'll miss the rivers.

I won't miss any of the bars in the town centre.  What a joke they are.  Or the busy traffic and noise when trying to sleep.  Fucking motorcyclists revving up to 100mph at 11pm just because they have passed a speed camera.  Or all the damn pavement cyclists everywhere.

I will miss walking past the big-boobed mannequins near the wine-tasting shop that I have been meaning to take someone on a date to for years but I never have a date to take.  Plus she'd dump me for perving at the mannequins.

That I will miss Reading is clearly very true, as my heart is in the town..

But I'll be back.  At least once a month.

And one day I may well live there again.  One day...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Goodbye Baydon Drive

So it’s goodbye Baydon Drive on Saturday.

It is without doubt the house I have enjoyed living in most and the nicest house I have lived in.  It may well be the nicest house that I ever live in.

I had to move out of the grotty flat that was consuming far too much of my money.  I didn’t want to go back into a house-share but it was a great decision, helped by living with a champagne socialist.

The house had its imperfections, but there was lots of space to store all my stuff and the neighbours never complained about the noise.  I didn’t utilize the garden for BBQs like I planned to – we had one and invited 2 people.  So much for £80 worth of BBQ.  That’s what you get when your Labour-voting housemate talks you into spending money.

Within a few days of moving in, I broke the washing machine.  I put it on, walked away, wondered what the smell was to find the washing machine starting to smoke.  Things did used to break quite regularly, especially the heating, but luckily we had attentive landlords who always fixed things quicker.

Shame we had to put up with the incompetence of Atlantis, Reading’s worst estate agents.  Every year they would make out the contract to the wrong people, try to charge us late payment fees for not signing an incorrect contract, etc, etc.  Somehow they seem to have forgot to charge us for last year’s rip-off charges for doing nothing.  Well…they charged us but we didn’t pay.

What always makes a house though is the people, and I have made at least one life-long friend.  We don’t agree on anything, we are diametrically opposed in all facets of life but we’ll never lose touch.  The other three housemates, one I won’t keep in touch with – nice guy but no kind of connection, the other two maybe – we’ll see.  I have had generally decent housemates throughout, at least as tolerable as I am.

In a way I’m kind of feeling that I am getting to the point of life where I would not begrudge owning a house rather than the ballache of renting, and dealing with landlords and agencies – especially the extortionate fees – one agency tried to suggest £360 for credit checks, etc.  Fuck right off.  And moving costs a lot of money.

Then again, I highly doubt buying a house is any easier, and besides, they are vastly over-priced compared to their intrinsic worth.  I wouldn’t spend twice as much on a roast dinner because the restaurant hadn’t made enough.

I am going to miss the house and I cannot stand the process of moving.  I am still waiting to find out what will go wrong.

Margaret was also very happy in her window.

Thanks for the good times, Baydon Drive.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Room For Frustration

No this is not about my sex life, I got over that type of frustration roughly after the birth of Jesus Christ, or Jeremy Corbyn, as some people seem to believe.

I found three rooms that I liked.  None of them perfect but I liked them enough.

I spent a few days thinking about them and then put an offer in to the one that made most sense.


Then I asked about the other one I liked.


Then the 3rd favourite.

Not letting it out now.

Brilliant.  So I am back to square one.

I didn't really enjoy yesterday.  I woke up with a semi-hangover, found out all the rooms I liked had gone and had a really frustrating day's studying.  I couldn't really get into anything and felt tired all day.

Last week was really tiring with all of the room-hunting - getting up at 6am, getting home at 8pm, some lunch times involving walks to see rooms.  All I did except work, commute and look for rooms was cook and eat.

So I had a massive backlog of admin, cleaning, ironing, etc yesterday - and now I have to repeat the process this week.  FFS.

On the bright side, I did make myself a rather excellent gravy.

Using the cider that the pork belly and onions were slowishly cooked in (slow for my standards), I added wholegrain mustard (albeit too much) and of course, some Goldenfry granules and it was a taste sensation.

If anything, a little too tasty.

And I am going to have a little adventure in the sunshine this afternoon.  And a third roast dinner in three days.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


So Ibiza is over for another year and I'm heading back to work tomorrow.

I have no money and I just worked out that I have drunk alcohol on 20 consecutive days - my body feels like it too, albeit I have actually lost weight...there may be one or two reasons for that too.

Further to that I have 33 days to find somewhere new to live.

Therefore it is minisemidetoxtime.

The rule is as follows:

Only one pint allowed per week, until both the end of July AND when I have found somewhere to live.  So if I haven't found anywhere to live until 8th August, I cannot drink any more than one pint per week until that date.  Also it should go without saying that no caffeine or other stimulants are allowed.

It's a mini-detox - hopefully just under two weeks.  And a semi-detox as I am allowing myself one beer per week.  My body and bank balance both require it.

The most important task over the next month or so is finding somewhere to live.

I have almost definitely settled on moving to Bracknell.  I don't want to - my heart is in Reading - but I'll save £130 on travel to work (slightly mitigated by occasional trips to Reading), plus it's around £50 a month cheaper to rent there, and the housing stock is generally newer.  I did get lucky on my current place.

Crucially though, I'll save up to 2 hours travelling every day.  That is 10 extra hours every week that I can spend studying, practice my DJing.  Or sleep.  I won't have to wake up at 6am (or sometimes earlier).  I'll be able to sleep in until 730am if I'm really tired.

Bracknell won't be a bed of roses but it will help me in my life in general, and achieve my number one goal which is to be a web developer - living in Ibiza.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Can I Live Without Facebook?

Facebook blocked me from posting for 24 hours for the below offensive picture.

I am not lying.

I demanded an instant revocation and full apology for this ridiculous action but of course, Facebook being the soulless creation that it is, proffered absolutely no response.

So it got me thinking.  Can I live without Facebook?

Honestly, I do like the attention that my attempted humour gets on Facebook.  But people don’t check it so much nowadays so there is not as much reaction as there used to be.  And there are other social networks if I want a bit of attention.  I don’t even post anywhere near as often as I used to.

I could easily use a photo-sharing service if I wanted people to see my photos.  “Who Needs A Wife” could easily be replicated on Instagram.  Yeah I know it’s owned by Facebook – I am sure that there are other similar services.

The main problem comes from my weather page.  If I deactivate my personal profile, my pages disappear.  I am not too bothered about most of them – but the near 1,700 followers that I have built up on the weather page would be lost instantly.  This is my little baby, and I need to protect it.

I do have a secret profile (it isn’t the James Mullet one, before you ask) that I could use solely for the purpose of posting to this page.

But it doesn’t get me away from using Facebook.  I am now considering setting up a Wordpress page for it but I really doubt that it will be able to get the same reach.  I have many loyal followers that will stick with me – but if they rely on Facebook notifications now, how can I replicate such reminders?

Plus, I often post when there are downpours nearby – the instant notifications on Facebook do help people.  Countless times I have helped people make sure they avoid the rain, bring their washing in on time, etc.

Hosting it on Wordpress would be beneficial as I could have my own domain, have separate galleries, pages for seasonal forecasts, glossary of terms, etc.  Plus my own design.

It’s a tricky one.

There are some external websites that I use Facebook’s login portal for which I assume I would no longer be able to log into – I guess Tinder won’t work.  It isn’t exactly as if I am overburdened with sexual desires from Tinder.

By not being on Facebook, I will save myself plenty of time.  I do not check it anywhere near as much as I used it, but it still takes up 30 minutes of my day – often it is dead time already but not always.

And then there is communicating with people.  Facebook isn’t the best way to communicate with people.  I like phone calls.  I like meeting people, going out for dinner, drinks, dogging, etc.

I guess some people would forget to invite me to things.  If they really want me there then they know where to find me.


I decided in the end that it would be too much of a ballache to move lock, stock and bollocks from Facebook.

Someone clearly has a vendetta against me, I can only assume that they are jealous of my having all of an amazing personality, a fabulous sense of humour, and true beauty.  I doubt they have any of those characteristics.

This miserable person clearly wants me off Facebook so I shall do a little cull.  I have around 10 suspects.

I am not going to let the bastard/bitch defeat me.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Operation Don'tbeaf******miserable****

Yesterday I was a miserable bastard.

I don't being a miserable bastard.

So I initiated Operation Don'tbeafuckingmiserablecunt.

First up was a shopping spree:

Then a quiet beer:

Then I treat my tastebuds to some absolute beauty:

Then I wrote to Happy Socks to tell them that I wasn't happy:

Am I any less miserable?  A bit.  But then I realised...whoa!

Finally, I promised you some tits.  As I am still not totally un-miserable, I enclose just one nipple:

Oh, you were expecting a sexy lady, weren't you?

ps It isn't me.  I'm not that fat.

But tonight I have beers with old colleagues, tomorrow my dearest Italian friend is making me a meat feast pizza, Saturday I have leaving drinks for a good friend, followed by a roast on Sunday and meeting a Twitter buddy in the process.

And next weekend, each day is with one of my very favourite immigrants, plus I have booked two days holiday for next week (only because it will be too hot in the office - 35'C is possible outside) and it is just two weeks until I switch my fucking computer off and go snort loads of crack off the backside of the fattest gay Guardia Civil bloke I can find.

Yes.  Ibiza.

It was worth reading all of my utter drivel, wasn't it?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

James vs Happiness Nazis

Happiness Nazis.  I am sure that you know one or two.  As soon as you dare consider dribbling out a tiny bit of dissatisfaction about your life, they are onto you telling you what percentage of the world’s population do not have clean drinking water.

Wonderful.  So now I have a guilt trip on top of being miserable.

The thing is though.  I want to be a Happiness Nazi.  Or at least share the Happiness Nazi’s constant joy of life.  The guarantee that every day will be a happy, sunshine-filled day of smiles and joy.

How do they do it?

There isn’t a clear pattern.  Some seem to have found spiritual salvation in religion.  Others love every day of their job.  Some are married or in strong relationships.  Others are just good at hiding their bad moods.  I clearly don’t qualify for any of these.

Or they have babies.  Fuck that.  Practice would be nice though.

I don’t want to get rid of such emotions as anger and frustration, as they are fairly easy to channel into positive reactions.  But I wish I could have an instant miserable off-switch.

Thankfully it doesn’t happen very often, maybe once every 2-3 months, lasts a couple of days and then it is all life is sunshine again.  Or at least sunshine with fair weather cloud.  Though I am hating the sunshine being in this hot office.  That really doesn’t help my mood.

There isn’t a single reason why I have woken up unhappy.  Nothing has changed.  There is no rational reason why I was happy last week, but not this week.  I know, totally irrational.  Stick your swastika smiley up your arse.

I do need a rest.  I spend all week working, with 2.5 hours travelling every day, then the weekend arrives and I spend most of it studying.  Not quite sure if going to Ibiza in 2 weeks qualifies as rest.  And as soon as I get back I will be house-hunting and then in August moving house.  Oh joy.  At least last time I moved house I didn't fuck up so maybe I have worked out how to do it now.

But like there isn’t a particular reason for being miserable, there isn’t a particular fix.  Does Michael Gove mind sentences that start with the word "but"?

Tomorrow I will write a this-is-why-i-am-happy-again blog post.  Probably.

It will be filled with pictures of gravy and beer.  And maybe some tits.

I do have a plan for tonight.  It doesn't involve studying.  Or cleaning my room, or ironing or any other inane bullshit.  Actually most of the plan is bullshit but it's my kind of bullshit.

For now dear Happiness Nazis - Fuck off and let me be a miserable bastard.

And if that fails, I get paid on Friday so I will go buy some ecstacy and a hooker.

Or maybe some holiday clothes.

By the way, if I ever shave off my mullet, I am considering growing a Hitler tash to replace it.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

My First Ever Funeral

I went to my first funeral on Monday.

I feel lucky in very many ways with my life, I’ve not really had to suffer grief or hardship – although my school years were miserable, violent and hellish, they do pale into insignificance I feel compared to many throughout the world.  And nowadays my life is pretty much full of glitter and gravy.

It was a semi-close relative that passed away.  Not a blood relative and he had been ill for a while so it wasn’t unexpected.

I don’t like going into details about other’s lives on my blog, given that it is so public so I am not going to extrapolate about whom it was.

Having never been to a funeral before, I really didn’t know what to expect.  It was quite upbeat, and hopefully the last time I have to listen to country and western music.  I was a pallbearer, which was a real honour.  I was rather nervous about it – if I put a foot wrong anywhere else in my life, interview, date, job, nightclub toilet, whatever, it doesn’t matter.  This did.  Hence my nerves.

It all went swimmingly fine and then we went to a local pub and had a plate of sausage rolls.  There may have been some other items on the buffet too but I am unable to clarify.

The one over-bearing thought at the end of the day was just how lucky I am to have such a great family.  It is really touching to see how everyone came together.  I do wish that they were a little closer to hand, but one cannot have everything in life.  Yet.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Who I Am Voting For And Why

It probably won’t take a rub of your mystic ball to work out who I am going to vote for today.

It certainly is not the party of deficit, the party of reckless spending, the anti-business party, the party of the Iraq war.  It isn’t the one who promised Education, Education, Education and failed the young, with exceptionally high numbers of NEETs, and now wants to reduce tuition fees to subsidise the rich.

It isn’t the party that positively encouraged the reckless boom which led to the greatest recession for 80 years, and the subsequent crunch in living standards for all.  It isn’t the party that taxed the rich at a lower amount for the whole of their time in charge (except for one month), than every single month under this government.

It isn’t the party that poured money into the NHS, gave us record numbers of hospital infections, and the absolutely horrific disgrace of what happened at Mid Staffs.  Look it up if you don’t know.  Nor is it the party that runs the very poorly-performing NHS in Wales.

It isn’t the party that predicted 13,000 eastern European immigrants, or who sold our gold at market lows.  Or the party that left unemployment higher at the end of their reign than at the beginning – by the way that has happened in every single Labour government – EVERY.

Nor is it the party that built less council housing in 13 years than Thatcher did in just her last year.

I read a comment on Facebook from someone yesterday saying that they’d love to give David Cameron a punch in the face.  Well, I don’t have such animosity towards Ed Miliband.  He worries me.  I am exceptionally concerned about the future of the country under him and the likely bed-sharing with the SNP, and my future somewhat.  I really don’t want to be unemployed again.

I don’t have any animosity towards him.  I don’t believe that he or any politician is inherently evil.  But his policies will damage business.  They will damage the economy.  They will unsettle markets – whom we need to borrow vast sums from to fund the NHS, public sector wages, pensions, etc.

Don’t forget, it isn’t just the deficit we need to borrow for.  We also have to refinance our current debt stock when the bonds come due.  The more unsettled the markets are, the higher interest rates we have to pay, and the less we have to spend on what you want a government to be spending on.

I didn’t really want to get into negatives but my imaginary pen has got carried away like Labour’s imaginary money tree.

Briefly on the other parties.

UKIP have two policies.  Both I think are wrong.  I love immigration – we do need immigrants for our economy.  They are good for our economy.  If there are not enough houses, schools, etc in a certain area, this is not the fault of immigration.  Also withdrawing from the European Union would be very short-sighted and very likely cause problems to our economy.  The EU needs reform – and we need to be in it, and leading it.  Because as our biggest export market, we are bound by its rules whether we like it or not, so we might as well be able to shape them.

The Greens are actually more economically incompetent than Labour.  Which is really saying something.

If it were only a choice between Labour and the Lib Dems, then the Lib Dems would get my vote as a sensible middle-ground party that actually gets the economy.  I fear that if Nick Clegg loses his seat, they will lurch to the left under Tim Farron.

I can also vote for the Roman party, led by a relative nutcase who cannot spell but can drive a bus.  I feel a bit sorry for him so I might offer to make him a website for next time he runs, out of the goodness of my heart.  He does want double-decker trains.

Likewise I could vote for some guy called Neil, who is an anti-austerity trade union candidate and looks like a thug.  He possibly used to manage Norwich City, but I am not sure.

But of course, you worked it out 5 years before I wrote this post, I am voting for the Conservative Party.

Because pretty much everything about government comes down to having a strong economy.  And a “long-term-economic-plan”.  I had to get that in there just in case I ever get chance to work for the Conservative Party.

On some social matters I am closer to the Liberal Democrats than the Conservatives.

I did give a full critique of the coalition government yesterday so I am not going to repeat myself.

The Conservative Party have an excellent record on education, a good record on health and a very good record on the economy.

For the next 5 years, I want a government that will take the necessary decisions to keep employment at record levels, to increase productivity in the workforce, to continue the very promising education reforms and to give the NHS the extra money it requires but not be afraid to make reforms necessary to control costs or improve the service we receive.

I want the government to trust businesses to get on with what they does best, and trust individuals to make the best decisions for themselves.  Labour want to control and tax you and your business.  The Conservatives give you freedom to choose.

I value living in a country that can look after those most in need, the sick, the disabled, those that have temporarily fallen on hard times.  I desire a country that gives generous benefits to those really in need - and none to those who simply want, want, want.  A country that values responsibility.  Only the Conservative party will provide the strong economy to be able to pay to look after those in need.

I want a government that thinks ahead for the future of the people of this country, and doesn’t rack up debt that we cannot afford.  I want a government that saves when the sun is shining so we have recourse for when recession hits.  Labour always increase the deficit.  The Conservatives always reduce the deficit.

House-building must be a priority in my view, which I have to admit I have no faith in any party prioritising.  But Miliband’s proposed rent controls are the surest way of guaranteeing a failed housing market.  I would also like to see drug policy reform, which will not happen under the Conservatives.  But it could happen under a Conservative-Liberal coalition.

The European question needs putting to bed.  Only the Conservative party offer a referendum.  Let’s get it done and won, so we can continue in Europe without this question ever-after.

We need a government that makes important investment decisions on infrastructure.  We need to get building a new runway or two near London.  We need more road and rail capacity.  We urgently need more power plants.  Labour didn’t like taking these decisions.  The Conservatives have, and will do much more over the next 5 years.

Finally, I want a government that does the right thing for the future of our country, and not just what makes it popular.

I don’t vote for my personal interests.  I vote what I believe will be the best for the whole of the United Kingdom.

This is why I want a Conservative majority government.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Reading vs Bracknell vs London

During March’s monthly no computer night, and I actually ended up laying down and allowing myself time to do nothing but think, which is quite unusual for me.

The two important items on my thought-agenda recently have been what next step to take in my career, and where to live next.

Firstly I would like to progress my career.  At some point I want to be doing web development, but I would have to start way down the pecking order on a lower wage.  I am not yet developed enough to be doing this.  I am happy in my current job, but it doesn’t challenge me.  I really like the people I work with and for, and enjoy my days.  And can listen to my music – massive bonus.  But as I said, it doesn’t even vaguely stretch my capabilities, and I am just floating along.  And the lack of air conditioning really fucks me off.

Secondly, our house contract ends in August and we are not renewing it.  So I need somewhere to live.

Slightly less importantly, I need to find a way to spend more time studying than I do at the moment, so I can bring about my career change and get closer to the goal of being able to work from Ibiza/Hull or wherever I fancied.

One possibility is moving to Bracknell.  I could walk to work, saving myself over 10 hours a week that I could invest in studying.  But then I would be trapped in Bracknell on a weekend – only able to visit Reading within the confines of the South West Trains train timetable.

The easiest option would be a find a room in Reading town centre.  That would not be too difficult.

Actually, the easiest option, were it on offer would have been to stay in my house.  And knowing me, I would have taken that option by default.

But if I am going to have to move house, then why not move to London?

These are the reasons why not:

Bloody expensive
My friends
My DJ residency
Weather Forecasting page
Roast Dinners Around Reading

These are the reasons why I should:

I am bored of Reading
London is exciting
I can earn more money
I can go to all kinds of exciting events
Fun is endless
More free things to do
More culture
Wider range of restaurants
Expanded career options
New interesting people to meet
Slightly easier, and also cheaper to get to Hull
Not having to get an 8am train back to Reading after a night’s clubbing
I have friends in London too
My sister is moving to London
I can get to airports slightly easier.

The list of potential reasons is not quite infinite but I could go on.  Why haven’t I already moved there?

I can still visit my friends in Reading.  Until I get barred from the Purple Turtle, or have burnt the place down, I intend to carry on with my DJ residency even if it means a trip back to Reading.  I have a couple of kind offers of places to stay and it would be an excellent excuse for a weekend in Reading to see those of my friends that still live there, of course including my best friend but I have numerous close friends in Reading.

Also I can just do Roast Dinners in London instead.  And I could even start my Tapas Or Crapas blog (there are not enough tapas places in Reading to make it interesting!).  Plus there is no reason I would have to stop doing my weather forecasting page – maybe I would change it to Reading & London, or maybe I would keep it unique.

So there it is.  My decision is made.  I am moving to Bracknell.

Only joking.  I am moving to London.

But wait a minute, I hear you say.  Haven’t I said on several occasions over the last 10 years that I was moving to London?

Indeed I have.  But it has been 5 weeks since I made my decision and I have only become more convinced that it is the right path for me.  The simplest of things – a 6 hour Wolf & Lamb DJ set the other Sunday at a pub in Angel.  I cannot get that in Reading.  Plus all the hotties.

The first job is to find a job.  I don’t mind how long it takes.  It has to be the right job.  Apart from the lack of air conditioning, there is nothing pushing me out of Easynet.

Then I will work out where to live.  Ideally I will find somewhere within 40 minutes travel to work.  Even better if it was within walking distance (walking distance for me is less than an hour).

And if I don’t find a job by time my house contract runs out then I will just find a short-term let in Reading somewhere.  No point in moving to say, Peckham, and then getting a job in north London.

I have a plan and it is in motion.  The only thing that bothers me is the cost – I’ll need a new suit, plus interview shirts, plus the money for train tickets for interviews – it is going to be costly and there is no money in my budget for it.  I shall have to look at it as investment.

Bring on the leaving party/leaving roast.  Fuck it, leaving pie, leaving party, leaving after-party and leaving Sunday roast all in one session.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What I Discovered In Hull Recently

You can get crab in Hull.

I do not like crab.

Trip Advisor has very limited suggestions for Hull.  And for East Yorkshire.  Which leads me to conclude that there either isn’t much to do, or nobody uses the internet there.

I often got a 2G network.  And very occasionally, 3G.

Footgolf is a thing.  Not only did I beat my sister, which is fairly imperative to manly pride, but also I got a hole in one.  I am the man.

There are no beards in Hull.

However there are plenty of cool bars in Hull now, especially in some of the more previous run-down shopping areas.  Dare I say it – a little East London ish.

My mother was hugely appreciated at the job she retired from.

My father cooks small portions of food.

Allotments are peaceful.

Hull has craft lager pubs too.  Very nice ones.

Leffe is apparently served with a glass of ice.  WTF?

Chip spice isn’t as good nowadays.

Neither is my local fish and chip shop.  But it is still miles better than anything in Reading.

More of my friends should visit Hull.