Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I've been working on a covering letter for a job application today, which I'm sure will come as a shock to you, dear reader. Well it would if I had any readers. I was sitting around slaving over each sentence, writing and rewriting - trying to get the tone and style just right - trying to make myself seem like a better person than I actually am without deviating from the truth - and it occurred to me why my blog is generally crap.

It's not because I'm neccessarily a bad writer (although I dare say that might be a factor) it's just that writing isn't easy for me, good writing anyway. It tends to require much more torment and struggle than I like of an evening. I'm like a man who can shit gold bricks - it's a useful skill but the actual process is unpleasant enough to put you off the whole thing.

When it comes to my blog I just really can't bring myself to sit around agonising over every single sentence in the same way that I do when I'm writing under duress. I know that I should try harder, if nothing else because I think it'd probably make me feel good to know that I can write good work without being forced to do so, but I'm not really in the mood for it - it feels too much like work, which isn't something I ever intended this to be.

In addition to that I'm currently worried that prospective employers might be smart enough to google me and find this thing. Which would probably scupper any chance I have of getting a job when they see how much I whinge about nothing in particular.


EDIT: Looking at this post after I've written it the other thing I notice is that i'm not generally a very verbose writer - a verbose talker, yes, but not a verbose writer. I spent my time at school expanding my vocabulary to the point where I could usually express myself fairly neatly and efficiently... and then spent most of my time at university desparately fluffing out my prose in attempt to meet the ever increasing miminum word requirements on my essays.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Incoherent Rantings

I've not written anything on here in a while, which makes me feel bad, although I'm really not sure if now is the best time to try and write something new. I'm still unemployed, but I'm making a point of being more constructive and active about this that I was before – you know, actually doing things with myself rather than just sitting around eating and wondering why I'm getting fat again. I'm now going to do something really stupid, which is try and write a piece making a point – this never works for me because I end up arguing round in circles and generally deciding, after giving it too much thought, that I'm too confused to make a stand for either side.

A few days ago (or perhaps weeks, I'm no good at placing things like this) a man, a father and husband, was beaten to death by a bunch of pissed up teenagers for confronting them about vandalizing his property. The public were shocked, I think, the papers said they were anyway – I wasn't shocked but I was sickened by it, a new low in the world of random street violence and a good reminder of why I avoid confrontations as much as I do, people get killed for no reason all the time and I have no desire to join them. When I die it's going to be doing something really stupid, don't get me wrong it'll still be a senseless death but at least it'll be funny in a sick sort of way when I'm crushed by a giant rubber elk or something.

As always with incidents such as this questions are asked, collective souls are searched and fingers are pointed in all directions. As always with these things, and with depressing inevitability, a bunch of really stupid suggestions and conclusions started getting thrown around pretty shortly after. Mostly by vultures seeking to use someone's death as a justification for pushing their own pre-existing agenda as a response.

The response that pissed me off this time wasn't the usual call for public hangings, floggings etc, that always arise from these incidents as society tries to convince itself that destroying some public examples will solve some broader problem of which they are symptoms.(no I'm not going to even speculate as to what the broader problem is, nor am I going to suggest that the people who did this ever deserve anything that anyone could conceivably want)

The public outburst that irritated me following all of this was a senior policeman, some big cheese, who called for the government to legislate to raise the drinking age to 21, to prevent attacks like this from being repeated – to stop the nation's curse of underage drinking.

This proposal seems to stem from either some sort of fundamental misunderstanding of the situation or some kind of staggering naivety about the circumstances by which underage drinkers come by booze. I should know about this, I've done my fair share of underage drinking myself, the vast majority of the time i didn't manage to get served by hoodwinking the staff; I got booze either by appearing to be mature enough that the seller figured I wouldn't cause trouble or by going to places where the retailer really didn't care one way or the other as long as I paid in cash. If the drinking age were raised it would make no difference to either of these situations – if they don't care then they don't care, and if suitability is based on the barman's discretion then that is a set of personal criteria based on experience, which exists independent to whatever the legal age might be.

What raising the drinking age to 21 will do will be to create a culture of underage, illegal drinking that is far more widespread and culturally accepted than what we have now. Students will spend their entire time at university drinking cheap cider in parks and houses – which will, in Canterbury at least, probably put half the pubs in town out of business and create much more friction between the student community and the local populace. And in amongst this mass of people secretively bingeing their faces off it'll be much harder for the police to locate the psychotic 14 year old pissed off his tits and spoiling for a fight with whatever moves first.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fritz Joubert Duquesne

Wiki Page

The man lived an interesting life - even if half of this stuff is wild self promoting fabrication, the other half is definitely enough to qualify him for the status of 'international man of mystery'

Thursday, August 02, 2007

No respect

I went on a very long walk today, all over the place, I'll write about it properly at some point, probably tomorrow when I'm bored shitless. The thing that is currently springing up in my mind however, is a strangely frustrating encounter I had with someone as i was leaving Greenwich park today. As I was making my way towards an exit there was a small grouping of young people, I think it was a couple (or at least a girl and guy who were – consciously or subconsciously – giving the idea some thought) and two other guys. This sort of grouping is always bad; generally the two unattached blokes will be wheeling around and generally being twats, partly because they want to impress the girl but more (although they would never admit this, or even be particularly aware of it) because they are trying to get the attention of the distracted alpha male, like a bunch of five year olds whose mum is on the phone. I glanced at them when I was about 10 metres away but didn't consider them to be particularly worthy of notice. As I was walking past them however, one of them, the more strangely dressed of the two hangers on – who was shouting in a borderline incomprehensible patois I think is a mixture of south east London street and Turkish – started screaming insults at me and flung an empty drinks bottle at me whilst yelling all the insults he could think of, some directed at some feature of mine – fat, ginger hair, glasses, beard – and some just general cussing. He continued until I was some way off, gradually trailing off as he ran out of inspiration and motivation.

The thing that annoys me is how often this happens – just completely mindless attacks – he almost certainly wasn't looking for a fight like a proper nutter - he probably picked me precisely because he thought he could take me (he probably could – you have to get me very angry before I can be bothered to hurt anybody – if throwing stuff at me and cussing my momma had that effect I would have been expelled from secondary school in my first month) and because I don't look like much of a fighter. It happens a lot though, kids, usually in their teens, just randomly insult me, throw punches at me, heave stones at me. I have no idea why, it must just be something about my face. The worst incident I can remember is feeling a coke can bounce off the back of my head and hearing the unusual sound of a voice within arms reach – I spun round and came face to face with a boy who couldn't have been any older than 12, and I'm not going to hit a twelve year old, no matter how cocky the little fuck might be.

The most frustrating thing about it is that I'm used to these attacks and I've tried just about every way of reacting under the sun to them in the last decade or so. Reasoning doesn't work, neither do comebacks (witty or otherwise) - anything you say will be laughed at as if you'd just turned round and told them you'd peed yourself (plus my voice means that generally opening my mouth is an extremely bad idea). Violence doesn't work; there is always the suspicion of weapons backing up their otherwise unaccountable confidence and generally at any sign of a threat they scatter and hurl insults and projectiles from a safer distance. All in all the only method I've found that doesn't make things worse is just not reacting, if possible not reacting in the slightest – not even a twitch of a face muscle to reveal any awareness of the insults. This works, today the kid stopped pretty quickly, sounding a bit sheepish that his finely crafted insults had garnered no reaction whatsoever, but man is it frustrating, you end up spending the rest of your walk home pondering kicking some righteous arse, old testament stylee – meeting with the little shit and breaking some nose.

Which always leaves me feeling a bit worried by my own imagination.