Daventry Local Elections 2014

Well, the day is at hand. Tomorrow is election day and I am still to receive any form of communication (other than the tweets from Emma Collins) from any of the candidates running tomorrow.

 

I was unable to write profiles on the Liberal Democrat candidate or the Trade Unionist. Purely because I couldn’t find anything out about them. They too, like the Labour candidate, appear to not want to be elected and are happy to fritter away their deposit on a whim.

download

I suppose it’s like betting on horses or entering the National Lottery. Only with a higher stake.

 

It’s a sorry state of affairs when the candidates in the local area just aren’t bothered about promoting their cause. It’s a sorry state of affairs when potentially good candidates give up before they’ve even started the race.

 

Tomorrow I will vote in two elections. The local and the European. I know nothing about any of the candidates other than bold brags about how they are going to stand up. Well I’ve got news. I’m going to stand up.

 

None of you candidates are worth the lives of the thousands of soldiers who died in the Great War 100 years ago. Not one of you. You should be ashamed and you are an affront to democracy. No wonder that the youth are disconnected from politics. No wonder fascist groups are on the rise in the UK and EU. It is even no wonder great minds and thinkers are leaving this country for other more enlightened parts of the world. When people like you are all the people have to select as their voice once every few years. Prove me wrong. Come canvassing in Norton tomorrow. I’m in all day. Come and tell me why I should vote for you. Contact me via this blog, twitter or where ever. I’ll meet you. Convince me you are doing this for your own beliefs and not some misguided attempt at getting your name on a park bench when you die.

 

And so, to you dear reader, all I can urge you to do tomorrow is vote. Vote for the candidate you feel is worthy of the job of representing you in the European parliament. Vote for the candidate who you feel will do the best for your local area. Remember their promises and, if they default on them, use your greatest weapon against them to bring shame upon them. Your democratic vote and your freedom of speech.

 

While, of course, you still have them.

STOP PRESS–DAVENTRY LOCAL ELECTIONS 2014

Following on from yesterday’s twitter conversation with the Labour Candidate for Weedon Ward, Daventry, Northamptonshire in the Daventry Local Elections 2014. I received this tweet:

 

 

tweet3

 

 

What does that mean? “We are not leafleting Weedon ward”? Well how are you going to get the electorate to know who you are and what you are going to stand for? How can the electorate be informed?

 

Imagine. “Yes, well we’re not going to tell people what our key products are we’re just going to open and hope for the best”

 

Only someone with totally misguided confidence would run in a local election and not tell the voters who they are and what they stand for. Good for you Mrs! Good for you! You’d have been better off spending the electoral deposit on something like a trip to Cromer. Or some cakes.

 

“Dav Labour Doing good work” – How? Where? What sort of work??

 

“Standing up for local services…” – On the bus because they need a seat? In a field? Doing the hokey cokey? – “…and a living wage for DDC staff”

 

Well as a member of the public who isn’t a member of Daventry District Council, what good is that for me?

 

Honestly! What on earth?! It’s as if she doesn’t want to win.

 

Ah well…The offer still stands…Come and tell me why I should vote for you…

Sunny Days

As the sun gets stronger through the year and the days get warmer and brighter, our thoughts turn to outdoor pursuits. Walking, picnicing, nose picking, porn foraging and, most popular of all, barbecues.

Now, I’ve got a thing about barbecues. I used to love ’em. Nuked meat Russian roulette. You either get a charcoal cinder or a black and crusty raw and bloody surprise. Love em.

However these days I realise the horror of having barbecues. The hours of slaving over red hot coals ensuring your guests have ample mountains of food (most of which you’ll either under or over accommodate for) knocking back beer after beer in an attempt to keep up with the guests who are getting merrier by the minute because they are sat down in comfort while you serve their every whim.

Then you get to sit down. You get the cold soggy left over bits that nobody wanted. The suspicious looking burger. The dodgy looking kebab. The insidious looking chicken wings or quarters that will no doubt still be raw in the middle even after being on the heat for what seems like 30 years. The limp lettuce. The flaccid overcooked sausages. All the good, tasty looking bits have gone. Your feet ache. You’re not as pissed as everyone else there. It’s clouding over. People are starting to make “Lets go home now” motions.

Yeah. Thats fun.

Isn’t it?

No. The thing I like about barbecues is going. Sitting there while my host slaves over hot coals. Getting merrier and merrier because I’m sat down chatting old toot with the other guests. Getting plied with food, nibbles and drink by my host and his/her partner. Relaxing. Enjoying the time. Getting the nice juicy steak. The right looking sausages, the burgers that don’t look too over or under done. The chicken pieces that aren’t still squarking. Getting them all for myself. Leaving the other less attractive bits to the chef or what other poor sod turns up just before I get to go home.

Then once my gizzard is full and I am fully sated with beer and meat. I can then yawn. Make some shit excuse about having an early morning, and go home. Leaving the host to clear up.

Yeah. I like barbecues.

Holidays

While going through and updating old posts, I came across this one. I thought it apt seeing as I am off on my jollies soon.

Please enjoy this entry from 2008

—-

So there I am lapping up Council-by-Sea thinking to myself just how did the British seaside get into such an appalling state of grotesqueness. When it struck me. In the 70’s/80’s when package holidays to Magaluf and Torremolinos cost about ten shillings, those that previously lapped it up in the likes of Butlins and Pontins legged it to these sunnier climes.

Thus the rot started. Less people spending money at the seaside means less money for the attractions. Old people retire to these once bustling resorts, too old and poor to maintain the once grand 4 storey Victorian and Edwardian terraces, the area looks shabby. Because the place looks shabby nobody wants to go and eventually you end up with the likes of Llandudno or Rhos-On-Sea or New Brighton. A sad state of affairs.

So like I said, I’m musing on this and it struck me like a bag of wasps. How come, during this lull, nobody ever thought of rebranding the seaside? I mean like strolling down the promenade being assaulted with the sickly stench of fish and chips, doughnuts and last nights vomit is not everybody’s cup of tea really now is it? I mean yeah I wax lyrical about the joy one can experience by rolling up ones trousers to the knees, donning a knotted hankerchief on ones head while sitting in a red and white striped deckchair on Blackpool seafront in the piss cold rain. I know poncing about on the dodgems makes some people think they’re James Dean or some other teen icon. But really, those days have passed. What is needed is a careful bit of rebranding. Instead of Council-on-Sea, maybe there should be Gated-Community-Le-Mer. Instead of the Sun readers flocking in their hordes to resorts like Skegness and Scarborough, try and attract those nice Guardian readers instead. Something which should have been done during the lull in trade in the 80’s. The reinvention of the British Seaside.

Of course the wife said I was being daft because the concept of rebranding is only a recent thing. I disagreed though, saying that the reason resorts didn’t rebrand was purely because of those in control of the local council. Nobody, especially a British person, likes change. As local councils are full of old fuddyduddies the likelihood of change in such circumstances is virtually nil. Indeed some councils went through the good old “whoops what a shame the lido caught fire so now we have to pull it down and build luxury apartments on it” strategy but this too is self defeating, like who would want to live in a seaside town where there isn’t anything to do? Not me!

So in my new rebranded seaside gone are the old and in with the new.

The pier – totally refurbished, instead of tack and rock shops – designer boutiques

Tatty victorian terraces and guest houses – replaced by luxurious, totally serviced apartments with self contained gyms, spas and creches

Icecream – Icecream, as you know is fattening and not everybody can eat it. Instead, healthy frozen fruit juices, sorbets and fruit on a stick.

Amusement arcades – These tend to attract the wrong sort of people so they’ll be bulldozed. Of course the penny cascade things can stay as they’re harmless enough but the noisy modern arcade games can go. Instead of arcades, however, a change to small, members only casinos.

Fish and Chips – Everybody knows, fish and chips are really bad for you. They make you fat and can cause heart disease. Instead stylish culinary delights in the form of swanky but affordable seafood restuarants. A whole new dining experience. Similar to those you might see in resorts on the continent. Where passers-by have to wrestle with the waiters attempting to lure them in with promises of a good meal.

Kiss-Me-Quick hats – In this day and age of paedophiles, rapists and shifty men with greasy hair and sweat stained tshirts such things should not be encouraged. Instead Kiss me and you’ll receive an assault charge hats. Designed, of course, by Gucci or maybe even Gok Wan.

Donkey rides – Riding donkeys, as every decent person knows, is exploitative and cruel so such a recreation would not be available in Gated-Community-le-Mer. Besides which it is much healthier to walk places.

Y List Celebrities from yesteryear in end of pier shows – Sadly it comes to every performer that they will spend their remaining working life on an end of pier show before disappearing into obscurity. Ant and Dec are heading that way as is Simon Cowell. So why prolong their agony (and indeed the risk of being rediscovered) and banish such crap. Besides, the type of show that goes on at the end of the pier normally involves some blue humour, weak family jokes and some bloke pulling knotted hankies out of a hat. Bollocks. Nobody wants to see that anymore. So instead, Broadway shows; Profound political or philosophical plays; lively debates and maybe some nice music from whichever artist is trendy to have in ones collection these days.

Screaming kids – the seaside, as every parent knows, is not a safe place for children. What with sand allergies, the risk of jellyfish stings, sea monsters and even people taking pictures of their own family which might capture your kids image too trapping their soul forever in some 2 dimensional vortex like in Superman II or that episode of Sapphire and Steel. Indeed while freedom of expression is healthy for a child, the seaside is not the place for them. Far too many dangers. Instead the rotting chalets and beach huts can be converted into soundproof, paedophile safe, allergy free, hermetic containers for children. Simply place the child in and leave until such time as you need to return. Of course you could just not bring the little shit in the first place.

Old People – Old people don’t belong at the seaside. In Gated-Community-la-Mer, old people will be restricted to certain “oodyarememberwen” zones. Safe. Warm. Miles away.

Fairgrounds – Fairgrounds attract the unwashed. Bulldozing them (or accidentally on purpose setting them on fire (the fairgrounds that is, not the unwashed)) would solve this problem. In their place, delightful formal gardens to promenade around. Of course the gardens would have to cater for those with allergies so any flower within would, of course, be artificial.

See even with just a few paragraphs I have turned an atypical British Seaside resort into a place where YOU would want to go. Yes YOU because that is what market research has shown and as we all know nobody can argue with market research.

If I go….I’ll send you a postcard email.


Abridged version

Seasides -> Bulldoze them.

Bah Humbug: Day 1

Despite having shit loads of Uni work, I thought I would try and do a series of posts each day about the bahhumbuggness of christmas to go with my new seasonal background.

Day 1 – Christmas Lights

Last month, the council cherry picker came round and put up the usual festive illuminations around the main street through Brierley. This signalled the impending annual tradition of the Barnsley Christmas Lights Switch On. A tradition that dates back to the early days when locals would gather, set fire to a virgin and honour the ancient God of Coal. These days it is a more sedate affair. Local celebrities (of which there are two maybe three) arrive, say some inspiring words (“It’s Christmas” “You’re all going to die” “What the fuck am I doing in Barnsley?”) and flick a switch. A nice job if you can get it. Bit seasonal though.

This year’s switch on was about 2 weeks ago.

Now I had expected the gay baubles to be illuminated outside the Church of the Blue Bag already. But no. Possibly because Councillor/Mayor Vodden hasn’t got round to plugging in the extension cord or maybe because, as tradition holds with fairy lights, a bulb has blown somewhere down the street and the council are too busy to come and test each bulb. So there it hangs. On the street light. Dull. Dim and extra.

Of course this would probably be a problem if, over the next 3 weeks, the plethora of social housing and swaythes of other residences didn’t bedeck their houses with gaudy strings of coloured electric lighting. Already, the streets of Brierley are starting to resemble a poor man’s Blackpool and yet this is only the beginning. Residents clinging on to some vague recollection of happy Christmases past. Re-enacting, modernising and reattempting to capture that one heady happy jolly merry christmas where gran would sit in the corner farting and the deformed elderly Aunt that nobody cared for slowly got pissed on rum in front of a flue brush christmas tree dressed in Woolworth’s best bargain death trap fairy lights.

And yet, though the whole idea is frightful to some, there is something carnal and comforting about the bright glow of coloured lights against the dark December evenings. We banish the darkness with light, harking back to those long ago days when electricity was witchcraft and we would be huddled in the corner of a roundhouse with the cows and sheeps for warmth while praying that the sun would come up the next morning. So as you drive or walk down your local streets during these cold cold December nights and you observe the brightly coloured lights of festive celebrations, think. Think how those who cover their homes with more lights than a Las Vegas casino are actually trying, in some sort of primal tribal memory way, to banish the darkness. Laugh to yourself. Think how foolish they are for being afraid of the dark. Then. Walk into a lamppost.

Look where you are going.

Music Project – Album #48 –Abraxas –Santana

 

imageAbraxas by Santana

 

Sometimes I wonder if anyone is still actually reading these entries as I persevere to listen to my album collection in alphabetical order. But do you know? Part of me like to think that long forgotten LJ flisters might still be reading or random people might be coming across these posts many years into the future on WordPress. I also like to think that this is kind of a historical record and in a far off distant future scores of academics and philosophers are debating not only what I meant by vampiresses with comedy inflatable breasts but also why did I have such a massive cock collection of music and were people actually interested in this and if so why?

 

Ritual purposes.

Simple.

 

Anyway, as I plunge on through the “A”s missing out only a couple of two track EPs as they don’t really count as full albums (If you’re really interested they are “Abandoner” by some bloke out of Porcupine Tree and “Absence and Plenum” by Lux Interna who none of you will have heard of anyway. I was also wearing my khaki short sleeved shirt and there are 7 cards in the card holder on the mantelpiece) we arrive at an unusual choice.

I’d never heard of Santana until they appeared on a soundtrack for a film I liked. So as I liked one of their tracks I did my usual thing of downloading their entire back catalogue. Yes. It was getting a bit silly doing that. Anyway, Abraxas contains Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Va  which always makes me feel like I should be in some seedy Spanish restaurant in the 1980s. Surrounded by bullet ridden corpses having just survived a Spanish Mafia attack by hiding behind the fake plastic plant in the corner.

I know some of you guys like Santana.

Good for you.

Letter to the BBC

Dear BBC,

I notice that you are increasing the regularity of the appearance of people who seem to be experts on everything and have opinions on everything which, for some reason, you think reflects society at large.

I would like to offer my services as a gobshite. I too have strong opinions on everything from David Cameron’s underwear to the cost of prawns in the Middle East during the Byzantium Empire. I am an expert on everything and nothing. I have several years experience of spouting utter crap to backup people’s clandestine agendas and I am happy to cast aspersions and morals to the wind without forethought for the wider consequences.

Hope this will cover everything. 

Lots of Love

Gnomepants

From the Archives:- Saying Goodbye

Goodbye, I’m told, is the hardest word to say. Certainly, in recent times at least, I’ve had difficulty saying goodbye. Not because of some hideous speech impediment or because I’ve had a mouth full of pizza, but because emotionally it has proven difficult. That said, I’ve also said goodbye with as much ease as taking my socks off.

bye

 

Every morning, with the last slurp of tea still fresh on my lips, I bid the girlfriend farewell with a peck and a dash for the door. Sometimes it’s a “See you later”, others a “bye” or a “ta-rah”. Maybe I will see her later, maybe I won’t. I might fall down a forgotten mine shaft (Now what ever happened to that mine shaft I used to have?) and never be seen again or maybe it’ll be her. I can never be sure so I suppose, out of habit, manners and education, I bid adieu in case I’m never seen again. A kind of closing statement. A full stop (or period if you’re over the other side of the planet (Do you know? When Merricans say period I immediately think of women menstruating….yeah it isn’t nice).

An end.

Other people don’t tend to be so lucky, the bus driver, the shop keeper, that weird bloke with the funny smell that lives down the street, they all tend to get smiles and grunts. Maybe peppered with a “ta” or a “nice one”. Is this because I feel these guys don’t deserve a farewell? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve been on the receiving end of a broad spectrum of endings. Especially through the variety of jobs I’ve done.

 

 

In the helpdesk for example from:-

goodbye

stegzy – and that’s how you fix it
Person on other end of phone – Thank you. Bye.
stegzy – Bye

to

stegzy – and that’s how you fix it
Person on the other end of the phone**Click** brrrrrrrrrrrr

stegzy – Twat.

or

stegzy – and that’s how you fix it
Person on the other end of the phone – well that’s bally well not good enough!
stegzy**Click** brrrrrrrrrrrr

I suppose it would be not only discomforting but unusual if, when saying goodbye, everybody took the same amount of time as is taken in the last hour of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I mean can you imagine?

stegzy – Goodbye
Bus Driver – **hugging stegzy** Goodbye old chum, what happy adventures we have had
stegzy – But we only went 5 stops
Bus Driver – Indeed, but what an adventure. I’ll miss you
stegzy – I’m only going to the off licence to get some cigarettes I’ll be getting this bus home.
Passenger A – **hugging Bus Driver and stegzy** Ha! What a wag. Goodbye old friend. May you meet fortune face on
stegzy – Jeez you’re a bunch of weirdos
Passenger C – Ha! Farewell fellow travellers!
Passenger D – Get a bloody move on, I’ve got to be places!

Be seeing you!

 

Sometimes it needs to be quick, more like

stegzy – See ya **gone**
Person A – See y…oh you’ve gone.

 

 

Personally, when I’m going somewhere I’d rather it be a small goodbye than some re-enactment of the Waltons. I mean, I’m going, I need to be somewhere, hurry up! Let me go! Mrs Gnomepants, on the other hand will spend ages saying goodbye, sometimes saying goodbye, only to start another 1 hour conversation and then have to say goodbye once again. It’s not unusual, as Tom Jones said, for Mrs Gnomepants to take 5 minutes saying goodbye on a telephone conversation to her sister. Surely all that is needed is “Bye” followed by a reciprocated acknowledgement of the end of the conversation.

 

Goodbyes though eh?….we’re a peculiar bunch aren’t we?


This entry first appeared on Livejournal in September 2008 and has been edited to reflect changes in circumstance

People are People – Classic from the archives

I’ve noticed there are several types of people that use help desks.

1. The Finger Post Gazers – Thems the type that come to the desk wanting something that’s right under their noses. Often unable to see beyond their personal space. They see assistants purely as a finger post

User – Can you tell me where the wall is please?
stegzy – **points**

2. The Rule Bender – They know the rules. They’ve been explained on countless occasions. But regardless they constantly try to get the rules bent. They have an aura of self importance.

Stegzy – I’m sorry you can’t borrow this book as it is reference only.
User – Oh pleeeeeeeeeeeease

3. The Fake Dozer – They are generally quite bright and eloquent. But they know that if they act like dozy duffers they’ll generally get their way. Kind of related to the Rule Bender.

4. The Best Friend – These are the people that see every helpful person as their bestest bestest friend. They use friendly names, banter and generally seem pleasant. But secretly they are shallow manipulative people. They use their friendliness to make the assistant feel bad about being rude to them or for pointing out the rules.

5. The Dependant – They will not take advice from any Tom Dick or Harry. They want their favourite. If their favourite is not available then they either huff or question your every drop of advice. The look on their face when you point out that their favourite’s advice is flawed is often priceless.

6. The Daily Questioner – These people can not go 24 hours without asking a question. Even if there is no genuine need to ask a question they will. They can often be seen straining to think of a question they can ask and the questions they do ask are often banal. Like “Is there air in this room?” or “Which way is down?”

7. The Stupid – These people genuinely are as daft as a brush. They are generally ignorant of the huge 82pt bold signs on walls or doors stating purpose. Unfortunately they are pandemic.

User – **ignoring the sign on the door that says HELPDESK** Excuse me, Is this the helpdesk?
Stegzy – No it’s the fucking butchers.

I’m sure there are more but I can’t think of them at the moment, I’m being pestered by a Best Friend and a Stupid.

Holiday 2012: Part 2–Day3 Touring Torquay

After the rather soggy Tuesday I was three quarter expecting the Wednesday to be a wash out as well. It started off overcast so I wasn’t entirely optimistic about the weather.

We had decided to have a trip over the Dart Moor and visit Widecome in the Moor where there is a haunted inn. I had this romantic image of Dartmoor. Rolling plains with Tors and rocks and ponies and goblins and ruined crofts and weirdness and Kate Bush and floaty types and a scary gothic foreboding Victorian prison and a sign saying “Abandon ye hope” and a solitary pub called “The Slaughtered Lamb”, Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all.

I guess I spent too much time in Yorkshire.

Sure we saw some ponies and some stones and some tors, but the lack of crofts, pubs and prisons almost outweighed the lack of Kate Bush prancing about in a floaty dress.

Anyway, we made our way across the moor and into the sleepy Yorkshiresque village of Widecome in the Moor. You might know Widecome from the folk song Widecome Fayre or you might not. Or you might know Widecome from the Great Storm of some time long ago where the Devil blew up the church. Or you might know Widecome in the Moor from page 7 of your 1976 AA Road Atlas. Either way it is a lovely place. It was there we had breakfast. Our second and last, Full English breakfast of the week. All that meat blocks your insides you know.

Widecome has loads of interesting things like the old church and ancient wells. The Old Inn in Widecome is a haunted inn from Marc Alexander’s Haunted Inns (1973).  The story goes that you can hear the cries of a child and possibly even see the spectre of a man. Bollocks or not? Who knows.

 

From Widecome we headed back into civilization and into Torquay.

I’m sorry but my next statement might upset some people.

Torquay is a dump.

There I’ve said it.

My mental image of Torquay is sandy beaches and long sweeping promenades lined with palm trees, cafés and a harbour full of luxury yachts.  Instead it was streets full of chavs, tattooed Tommys and indiscreet Escorts. Sure there were some palm trees and yes there were some yachts but the streets had handy information notices warning the residents that their excessive drinking threatens the safety of their children and their development. Not “It’s so Bracing” or “Buy our Rock” more like “Drinking makes your children into awful people like you” and “Chavviness is born through nurture not nature”.

IMAG0723We walked to the breakwater and bawked at the cost of entrance fee to the Sea Life centre – £11.75. So £23.50 better off in pocket, we decided to try and find some geocaches. Our searching took us to a little stony beach behind the Sea Life Centre which, incidentally, we could see inside from the outside. It was on the beach we were shortly joined by a dark haired woman in her late 40s walking her dogs. She was talking on her telephone giving the caller assurances that she was good looking and that he wouldn’t be disappointed and that she lived in a discrete house and discretion was her watchword for the price he would be paying.

We left.

Made our way back to the car via an amusement arcade where Zoe won me a gold £ on the tuppenny pushnshoves followed by a direct run to the car and a continuation of our journey southward.

The roads took us towards the misnamed Slapton Sands. Misnamed because Slapton Gravels doesn’t have the same ring to it. The weather had brightened and there were lots of people there enjoying the sun and sea. In such situations I crave ice cream so joy lightened my life when I was able to buy a 99 from the ice cream van there.

Now I was always of the opinion that the top five of miserable people doing jobs went something like this:

81 bus driver
Post office counter clerk
Surveyor
Surly Pot man in a dodgy pub
Mortician

But I now have to move Ice Cream Van Man at Slapton Bits of Stone Sands to the top. I actually felt like apologising for wanting to give him my money for his overpriced wares.

From there we went via Start Point (another overpriced place; £4 parking and another £5 for a look round the lighthouse) to Salcombe.

 

IMAG0731Salcombe is a bit like Torquay should have been only without all the posh wazzaks poncing about at the Regatta that was taking place there. It was a complete polar opposite to Torquay only with awful children instead of awful parents.

Hunger got the better of us so we made our way back to Plymouth searching for a Chinese restaurant that wasn’t full.