When life craps on you, get a job driving a van.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

James Who: The Evidence Grows

I know in news terms this is pretty stale, but mystery man Daniel Craig has some serious work to do.

Listening to the radio at work today, no fewer than three people either mistook him for somebody else or couldn't think of a single thing he'd starred in. For some time two presenters on a national radio station debated how good a Bond Clive Owen would make. This, while undoubtedly a worthy topic for heated debate, had nothing to do with the actual new James Bond.

"Clive Owen will make a great Bond" spumed one presenter
"I agree, he's had a rough reception but I thought he was great in Sin City" said the other

The sentiment was there I suppose.

Not only is Daniel still annonymous even months after the he made headlines for that very reason, but people are now crediting his annonymity to somebody else. To rub salt in the already gaping wound, a full ten minutes elapsed without any of the radio production team actually recognising (or worse still bothering to correct) the error. A caller eventually set the record straight, to which our previously enthusiastic presenters suddenly lost interest.

"Yes, you're absolutely right, the new Bond isn't Clive Owen at all, it's that other chap isn't it? Thank you." said the presenter who had forgotten Daniel's name yet again.

And the conversation moved on. I laughed out loud.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Half-Arsed Farce

Joey Barton has escaped Police action over exposing half of his backside to Everton fans last week. MY GOD.

Just when I thought things in the world of football couldn't get any more inane. Here we have a situation where Police time and money is absorbed by ascertaining whether anybody sustained injury as a result of witnessing Barton's hairy crevice from about 75 yards. Can you imagine the conversation with the cops?

"Hello, Merseyside Police"
"Hi there, I would like to report a crime"
"OK Sir, what is the nature of the incident?"
"Well, I'm at Goodison Park and some bloke has just shown me the upper three inches of his arse"
"Arse! Some bloke has just shown me-"
"No I heard you Sir, but I don't think I understand the nature of the crime"
"I didn't come here to see that filth. I'm a local mate - we've got enough crack outside the ground"
"With the greatest respect I'm not sure we can really help with this matter Sir"
"I've got kids here y'know. What do I tell them?"
"Tell them not to watch Match of the Day tonight. Sir, just go home"
"What if I told you it was Joey Barton?"
"Barton?! That ****ing red? We'll be there in ten!"

And to think just twenty-odd years ago the same fans in the same seats (well, stands) would have been too busy pissing up eachothers' backs and pulling darts out of their foreheads to notice what was happening on the pitch.

Lifting the Veil on the Sinister Side of Islam

So Jack Straw has requested that Muslim women in his Blackburn constituency unmask their faces when visiting him, and widened the issue by implying that such attire hinders integration and promotes marginalisation in Britain. Naturally, all manner of accusations are now being generated from the Muslim community along with calls for Straw's resignation.

I generally have a fairly liberal standpoint, but I think Jack has got a point here. Nowhere in the Koran does it say that this dress code is compulsory, and whilst it may be commonplace in certain Islamic nations, I have to say it doesn't really aid in breaking down the barriers that exist between the 1.8m Mulsims in Britain and the rest of us. In fact, if we're all honest, I would imagine that a large proportion of British people (moderate Mulsims included) find this practice quite unsettling and, dare I say, a little draconian?

Let's not get this issue confused with freedom to practice religion or freedom of expression; for many the full veil is seen as a motif for the repression of so many areas of society under strict Islamic law. It also seems that many of the people clamouring for Straw's resignation are members of the more strict Muslim community, and most of them are male. That they rely upon our open democratic environment to promote their views and rights (in this case their right to repress their women in peace) is a delicious slice of irony.

I for one am sick of it. A recent poll suggested that a staggering quarter of British Muslims sympathised with the motives of 7/7 bombers. The same poll also unearthed that 1/3 of Muslims in Britain think our culture is immoral and that it should be brought to an end. It seems that this proportion wish to create a micro-society that neither seeks to integrate with nor add value to British culture, yet still come out of the woodwork to thump their tubs and exploit our values when it suits.

It's refreshing to see a prominent member of parliament speak out. Straw must have known this would attract all sorts of crticism. Downing Street, however, have left him out on a limb on this one by making it clear it was not a viewpoint endorsed by the government - not a surprising development. Straw's done us a service though; the debate has already moved on to the real thorny issue - why we continue to tiptoe around people who have nothing but contempt for us and are more than happy to admit this in official polls.

For the majority of Muslims who seek to integrate and accept our values, then the door is firmly open - just as it is to any other race or religion - however, for those who refuse to adapt or moderate their views and continue to live within these shores, well, I'm afraid there's no place for you here, full veil or not.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Second Post

As you may have guessed, I drive a van for a living. This is a relatively new life development and a pretty dramatic departure from my background. I originally took this job as a temporary measure after leaving a fairly pressurised office post, and to be honest it sucks on so many levels it's untrue. I make specific reference to the pay, which would struggle to support a single man with modest tastes in Mali.

All that said, however monotonous loading and unloading foodstuffs onto an LGV is, I have found more than a few advantages to making the white/blue collar switch. Primarily, the 10.30 a.m. finish gives me all day to myself and some welcome 'alone' time to organise my thoughts, pursue previously unpursued hobbies, and chill. I've also found the blue collar environment to be more genuine and open. No more management issues, no cliques, and no 'career people' queueing up to place a well-buffed size 9 on your head on the way up the ladder to an inevtiable ceiling of middle management. Oh, and no more venetian blinds or EU regulation tube lighting.

I should point out that I'm 25. It's not like I've made my fortune and decided to recede into some sleepy corner of British industry to keep myself busy until I have to retire. I've turned my back on years of work in finance and later management before it's actually paid off. I'm selling my sports car, I'm scaling down my social life, and I'm curbing my luxuries. But y'know what - thefeeling of liberation is unbelieveable. Most people need to endure a mid-life crisis to arrive at this juncture. Think of all these years headstart I have in finding what's really important in life.

This has been a bit of a ramble - but while I am the sole reader (this blogging lark is just like looking in a f'ing mirror) I can indulge myself.

One thing I have noticed is the shift in people's attitudes towards me. I've never really taken much notice of how I've been perceived by strangers, but the re-alignment of where I now sit on the social scale (i.e. back to the working classes) has been pretty obvious.

Here are a selection of my observations so far: -
  • Fellow workmen in similar menial jobs give me sympathetic and knowing 'yes, I also have a shit job and am skint' looks, rather than completely failing to acknowledge my existence
  • Women check me out because I'm now the man she dreams of having meaningless sex with while her increasingly podgy husband is away selling sanitary-ware in Norwich
  • Even commis chefs treat me like they have finally found someone lower paid, more pissed off and less respected than they are (which they have I suppose - I'll dedicate a post to this later)
  • People talk to me a lot slower and make sure they don't include the dreaded third syllable in any words so as not to confuse me
  • HGV drivers are arseholes to everyone and would rather plaster you over the central reservation than let you join a motorway
OK, I've fleshed out the bones now, so I think the next post will be an attempt at something observational. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

First Post Frivolity

Well, I'm a bit nonplussed about starting another blog. My first one sunk into the verbiage -sediment that you find deep beneath the surface of blog ocean; a comment-less graveyard shift affair with a couple of totally unrelated and lazy posts which, frankly, suggested I had nothing interesting to say at all. Still, you've gotta love a trier, and this time I've solemnly pledged to achieve at least two things: -
  1. This blog will be read and appreciated by you and tended to like a young sapling by me
  2. I will, on several occasions at least, find something interesting to say to you
I hate the first post. As I haven't created this to promote any specific cause or interest, it's now the customary opportunity for me to theorise about why I started and what I'm going to talk about. Blogs have been a constant source of frustration for me. It feels like my mind ferments all day long with thoughts that I simply have to share with the world, then when I sit at a keyboard all these profoundly clear moments of insight seep out of my mind. Perhaps it's getting up at 3.15 a.m. six days per week that does that to you. More on this later.

Well that's a relief - I guess this counts as an introduction of sorts. I will be back to write something that isn't all to do with me shortly. Hello, goodbye and enjoy the wait guys.