10 things I didn’t know about London

Well I realised it had been a while since I wrote anything on here but having been inspired to have a look at my last entry by the marvellous Con Carlyon’s discovery of the ex-Voxer’s page on Facebook, I was a little surprised to discover that the last time I wrote anything was last October. Even for me that is a pretty piss poor performance. So, here is a very short catch up on what has gone on since then:

Ex husband moved out…still with new boyfriend who isn’t really very new any more…mid divorce….working in London during the week and travelling back to Manchester every few weekends to keep up with friends…been in new job for nearly a year. And tragically, that is pretty much it. Still, since ‘news’ in my world was generally related to something going tits up, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

And semi-moving to London has proved to be a strange experience. Mainly because it’s a strange place. So here are five things I didn’t know about London until I came here:

  1. Everyone drives like a fucking arsehole. It’s true, they do. They either drive like they have eaten their own bodyweight in amphetamines then stolen the car or like they have never been in a vehicle before. It explains why they are incapable of driving down the M25 without hitting each other. The M25 is a pretty much straight bit of road yet every single day a psycho knob-head will hit a halfwit, resulting in you  getting home three hours later than planned. Nothing says ‘fun’ like spending another evening parked on the M25. In case that didn’t translate in writing, it was sarcasm.
  2. It has parrots. Green parrots to be precise. They flap round the trees making screeching noises. Thanks to the green parrots I am now able to identify four species of bird instead of just three. I am practically David Attenborough.
  3. Everyone in Putney is improbably attractive and creepily fit. While jogging along the banks of the Thames, puffing and blowing like a damaged steam train and wondering if I was going to have a coronary or whether the pain was just due to muscle damage, something occurred to me – I was the only one out of all the joggers heading along the towpath towards Hammersmith Bridge who looked like this. Everyone else was glossy, shiny and gorgeous, jogging swiftly along with head and legs high, like expensively coiffed, lycra-clad gazelles. The fuckers. there are times when the urge to trip them up becomes almost overwhelming, it’s only the fact that if I then discover that they even bounce off gravel with style and finesse it may be too much to bear that stops me. The only conclusion I can take from this is that the people of Putney have all been replaced Stepford-style with perfect size 10 robots who don’t have roots, split ends, wobbly middle bits or a respiratory system still a bit fucked from 13 years of Marlboro Lights. I like this explanation better than ‘everyone in Putney is just better looking and fitter than I am’. So I’m sticking with it.
  4. The impatience on public transport is catching. You arrive in London a normal person. When someone pauses in front of you at the ticket machine or the Tube barrier you wait patiently for them to move. If someone stands in the middle of the escalator at a station you politely ask them if they wouldn’t mind moving and if someone is walking slowly in front you, you either slow down or amble round them. This lasts less than a month. Within that month you will find that you too have started responding to anything that slows you down by a fraction of a second with a sigh that registers on the Richter scale and a dramatic roll of the eyes. You too will view any dawdling by people in your vicinity as a personal insult. London public transport turns the most normal and rational individual into a creature with all the personal charm of a badger with a wasp up its arse. Odd but true.
  5. No one on public transport ever acknowledged anyone else. I don’t know why, but on London public transport, the main aim of the game appears to be to studiously ignore everyone else completely. There will be no eye contact, no chit chat, no passing the time or making new Tube friends. Nope, you are to completely ignore the person whose armpit you are wedged in and make like they’re not there. Difficult when their armpit hair is tickling your nose. However this has given rise to the most fun new game I have found in ages – making conversation with strangers. The rules are simple; first you make eye contact with someone, them you smile, then you talk to them. I guarantee that they will assume you are a dangerous lunatic and start to sidle away as if you are going to bite them. The aim is to get them to shift all the way to the far end of the carriage before you have to get off. Childish but fun.

So there you are, five things I didn’t know about London until I arrived. I don’t doubt there’s more to come…

10 ‘awesome feminist halloween costumes’…

Hello folks, as a few people have pointed out, it’s been a while. I have been AWOL and a lot has gone on, new job, end of marriage, painted the hallway, been to London quite a lot, it’s all been going on in the couple of months since I last wrote anything. But all these are subjects for another day because today I have been distracted. By what? By ’10 awesome feminist halloween costumes’, brought to my attention by a feminist friend, naturally. Anyone wanting to read the full article in Bust magazine can find it here: http://www.bust.com/blog/10-awesome-feminist-halloween-costume-ideas.html but anyone who can’t be arsed, and I’m guessing that might be most people, can just look at the pictures below.

So what are the 10 awesome feminist halloween costumes according to Bust?

They look like they’re going to nick your car

1 – Pussy Riot.

What they say: Get a couple of girlfriends together, put on some colorful ski masks, and run around causing trouble! This costume is cheap and easy to put together, would be easy to recognize, and is totally topical.

What I say: I come from Manchester. If I saw a group of women dressed like this heading down the street I would not think ‘hey, there’s some feminists dressed as Pussy Riot, how imaginative!’. Feminists should perhaps be aware that while in Russia a colourful balaclava may just scream political activist making a stand against the oppressive state regime, in your average UK city it says psycho bitch high on crack who wants to steal your shit. And it’s going to lead to unpleasant incidents involving pepper spray and the emergency golf club from behind the front door. For the love of god don’t go trick or treating in Manchester dressed like this, you’ll get killed.

2 – Having it all.

What they say: The Atlantic cover about women having it all: Just dress up in professional office clothes and carry a baby doll around in a briefcase. When someone asks what you are, reply, “I’m ‘having it all.’”

What I say: No one is going to ask what you because they’ll assume that you’ve come straight from work and one of your kids left a doll in your briefcase. Either that or you’re a corporate version of the childcatcher. Neither of which are particularly impressive. If for some reason someone does ask what you are and you explain, unless you’re at a feminist party they are going to think you’re a twat and avoid you for the rest of the evening. They will also tell other people you’re a twat and so you’ll be left alone, downing gin and tonic after gin and tonic on your tod until finally cracking around midnight, standing on a table to howl out your version of ‘I will survive’ and then being found under a sink in the ladies at 2am crying because no one loves you and you can’t find your lipgloss. Don’t chance it. Avoid.

3 – A minge.

What they say: If you really want to scare some conservatives, bring the fear back into Halloween; conjure the specter of their worst nightmares: BE A VAGINA.

What I say: Are conservatives more scared of vaginas than other groups? I didn’t know that. Conservatives scared of vaginas, labour ambivalent about the the lady-garden, lib dems positively minge-happy. Is this how it works? Every day is a school day round here. I have to say I quite like this one, I mean pretty much everyone looks like a twat at a fancy dress party, actually turning up dressed as one is a fabulous idea. Next time I have to go to a fancy dress party I might just see if I too can fashion myself a vagina-suit. Along with the label of course because otherwise you just look like a big pink hotdog.

4 – A piece of meat.

What they say: This one’s a good commentary on all of the sexy banana/sexy can of soup/sexy barf bag costumes out there that have women parading around like a piece of meat. Be a piece of meat, literally. (This one is for the feminist that likes bringing up sexism and politics even when she knows people will roll their eyes and say they’re ‘just trying to have a good time.’).

What I say: There’s a reason people roll their eyes and say they’re just trying to have a good time when some lass pissed up on chardonnay starts hammering on about sexism and politics. It’s because no one wants to get into a row with an aggressive piss-head about the number of women in the Department for Transport when they only came out for a cheeky drink and a dance round the living room. Besides, it looks like you tried to copy Lady GaGa’s meat dress but didn’t quite pull it off. People won’t find out their error until they actually speak to you and then you’ll have to endure that horrified look in their eyes if you start banging on about the oppressive regime when they only came over to demonstrate their rendition of ‘Pokerface’. Avoid.

5 – Catwoman.

What they say: Yes, technically she’s a sexy kitty, and yes, the costume is skintight, but let’s not forget that Catwoman is a total badass. She does what she wants, she kicks Batman’s butt, and she lives alone with a bunch of cats. (Disclosure: this blogger loves Catwoman and has been her for Halloween about five times.)

What I say: Unless you are a size 8 with great boobs and an ass like an Olypic athelete, a skintight PVC costume is always going to be an error. Plus it’s not exactly a breathable fabric so by the end of the evening you’re going to be as sweaty as hell. Living alone with a bunch of cats doesn’t make you a feminist, it makes you a hermit with a house that is registered with the local council as a place of interest due to the complaints from the neighbours about the heavy duty quantity of catshit in the area. Lots of people kicked Batman’s butt, you don’t see people calling The Penguin a feminist because he only hangs out with birds do you? This one is illogical and unless you are as described above will make you look like bloody awful. Avoid.

6 – A Strong woman.

What they say: All of these costumes, and any other feminist-friendly costume you can think of, have something to do with being a strong woman – so why not get literal, simplify, and just go as “A Strong Woman?” You can find some fake muscles at just about any costume shop.

What I say: This one is just shit. It’s not even funny and shit. Avoid.

7 – Rosie the Riveter

What they say: An oldie but a goodie, one of the most universal symbols of feminism (and a cheap and easy costume: just a blue collared shirt and a red polka dot bandana). You can amp this one up with some fake muscles, and then change it up halfway through the night to go as #6.

What I say: Unless all the other people at the party are aware of the Rosie the Riveter poster, and if you’re not a feminist party I’d say that’s unlikely, everyone is going to assume you’ve come dressed as an Eastern European farmhand. And while I’m sure farming in Poland is no picnic, it doesn’t really say ‘halloween’ does it? Avoid.

8 – A budding feminist.

What they say: One great thing about costumes is that you get to bring into the world things you’d like to see more of. So dress up like a little girl that’s not confined by stereotypical gender roles. Do the pigtails and the lacy socks and whatever else denotes little girlhood, but rub some mud on your legs, carry around a toy truck, and maybe a book about engineering. (More girls in STEM!)

What I say: How does wearing lacy socks mean you’re not confined by stereotypical gender roles? Have you ever seen a pre-pubescent boy in them? And neither little boys nor little girls read books about engineering, not because of any gender bias but because they’re full of tiny writing, long words and complicated scientific shit that most adults can’t understand let alone someone who still watches kids tv. Also, I’m not really getting what this has to do with halloween. I mean if you were dressed as a muddy girl with a chainsaw or fangs it would make sense but engineering textbooks are more dull than scary. And even with a chainsaw it’d probably still be a shit costume. Avoid.

9 – A pair of brides or grooms.

What they say: A good costume for a pair (whether you’re really a couple or just friends), go as two brides or two grooms.

What I say: Now the thing about dressing up for halloween is that you’re supposed to be going as something that is scary or horrible. You go dressed as someone getting married and this means you’re stating marriage belongs in a horror film. This leaves you running the very real risk of getting cornered by the bitter divorcee, and there’s one at virtually every party, who will be hammered on cheap pinot noir and who will spend the entire evening bending your ear about ‘that bitch’, how she won’t let him have partial custody of the dog and how he has been replaced by a chartered accountant with an Audi. No one needs that. Avoid.

10 – Elizabeth I

What they say: A classic embodiment of self-confidence, this historical badass just went around telling people she was the queen until it became the truth. Dress up as her on Halloween, and then carry that attitude with you through your everyday life.

What I say: It’s a fairly cool costume, if not entirely in the spirit of halloween. however there are a couple of problems with it, the first being it’ll cost you an absolute fortune to hire, leaving you with very little money to spend on drink and a taxi home, the second being that unless your party is being held in a mansion, that costume is going to be an absolute nightmare to go for a piss in. I once got married and had to accomplish this feat in a wedding dress, believe me anything involving multiple underskirts and any variety of hoop arrangement requires a decent sized area for you to go for a slash unaided. You have nay chance in a cubicle in your local club. So unless your party is at Chatsworth, avoid.

So what we have learned today is this: extreme feminists are shit at fancy dress.

Don’t say I never teach you about the important things in life.

First Day Nerves..

So, I’m sitting in the car park waiting for my first day at the new job to commence. I’ve already managed to forget my notepad, which is a marvellous start. Things to remember: don’t swear, try not to let it show if you think someone is a twat, don’t spill coffee on the boss, don’t use the gents by mistake, think before speaking and hope the guy who saw me fall over my wheelie suitcase in the hotel carpark last night isn’t one of my new colleagues. That should just about cover it.

Oh fuck. The guy whI saw me fall over the suitcase IS working here. He’s just pulled up and parked next to me. So parked on one side is someone who has already seen me make a twat of myself and on the other is the guy who conducted my interview. Better get out of the car then I suppose.Wish me luck!

Bad Manners and the Cesspit of Lunacy.

Well, a fortnight to go until I leave this hallowed place of bullshit and pointlessness for pastures new and it still feels like I’m wading kneedeep through a sea of lunacy and idiots. Emails for stuff I’m quite blatantly not going to bother doing are still coming in thick and fast and are being filed in the ‘can’t be arsed with this nonsense’ box. What is really annoying me though is that no one further up the food chain than the Framework Manager has bothered to acknowledge that I’m leaving. Managing Director, who I have worked a lot with recently fixing some cock ups that happened on site, didn’t bother to speak to me all last week about anything at all. I assumed he was on holiday. He wasn’t, he’s just an ill mannered twat who doesn’t even have the common to acknowledge receipt of the resignation letter from someone who has worked for the company for nearly ten years and who recently has put in countless hours of unpaid overtime to pull his organisation out of the shit. He’s on holiday now mind you, for a fortnight so won’t be back before I leave, meaning he at no point had any intention of saying anything to me about the fact I’m leaving. Wanker.I have heard nothing from the massed hordes of eejits at Enterprise’s ‘Shared Services’ about whether my resignation has been accepted and filed (not that I give a tiny flying rat’s ass if it has, I’m off anyway, eventually someone will stop paying me I’m sure) and what I do with the company car when I finished. Am thinking of emailing employee assets on my leaving day to inform them that their car is parked outside my house and the key is taped to the inside of the wheel arch, along with my company mobile phone. Whether they then choose to collect it or not is entirely up to them.

Tomorrow I have to drive all the way to Durham to attend a meeting about how the integration of the two companies is progressing and what the plans for the future are. I asked if I could be excused from this as there seems little point in me doing a 5 hour round trip to find out information that will have sod all bearing on my life or working practices but the answer was no, because Boss Woman, who it has to be said is utterly batshit crazy and who never does any work beyond sending emails demanding stuff off the rest of us, wants an ‘update’ from me. Why I can’t just email this update is completely beyond me but hey, I don’t pay for the fuel and it’s a day out so what the hell.

I can’t imagine why I didn’t resign earlier. It’s not until none of it matters any more that you realise just what a tidal wave of shite had been washing over you. Really, adding your boss to your spam list is something that everyone should try, it’s very liberating and frees up enormous amounts of your time.

I’ve been AWOL

In more recent times I have been AWOL from my little blog, life working for Enterprise (time to name and shame) has been so unbelievably depressing and stressful that I haven’t even had the energy or inclination to bitch. A sad state of affairs indeed. I have lost touch with the day to day musings of charming folks such as Brennig, GOM, GOF and Flamingo Dancer. I have not ripped anyone a new one since the lovely Samantha Brick crossed my path. But this may all be about to change because….

I have handed in my notice.

I have a new job. No longer will I be Corporate Wankery’s Bitch, the person who is desperately trying to keep up with the vast array of bullshit, nonsense and time wasting crap that is flung my way, now I am leaving and I no longer give a fuck. I don’t even bother reading half the shite that lands in the inbox and if Ms Bigshot, who I think may be my boss (chain of command got a little bit hazy since my previous boss left), thinks that I am going to bother my arse to fill in all her tracker sheets; locate,deliver an Enterprise induction to and send all the training records of every agency staff member I have to training services and bother my arse to to arrange audit management system training for all my site supervisors, she can get fucked. Notice is in, I leave here on the 14th and until that date I shall be doing a) stuff that needs doing so I don’t land my successor in too much shit and b) stuff that looks interesting like sitting in site cabins drinking tea and gossiping, the way I used to before the Corporate Wankery descended. I have been transformed from the grumpiest person at work to a cheerful soul who will soon be earning a salary it’s actually possible to live on without having to go foraging for food in bins by halfway through the month.

This, ladies and gents, is what freedom feels like. And it is good.

Getting cross on email.

Finally I have discovered the secret to getting people to leave you the fuck alone and stop pestering you with their incessant demands. Get cross on email.

From: Subcontractor bint                  Sent: 20 June 2012 14:15
To: Some People                                      Subject: HSEQ Issues

Afternoon All,

Further to our meeting last Tuesday (apologies for the delay), please find attached the list of subcontractors I am going to make non payable on the system due to not receiving a HSEQ.

The first Tab details the “outstanding issues” and I have added a notes column of my own, providing feedback on what action I am going to take.

The rows highlighted in grey are new subcontractors that weren’t on the gap analysis originally.

The second tab is the overall summery for H&S and I have also included my actions on this page.

If you do have copies of HSEQ’s for the subcontractors in the first tab, please can you forward over to Vicky or myself ASAP so we can update the system and make them payable again?

I have included the “contract” column so you can see which contracts these subbies are assigned to, if you feel they are no longer working on your contract, can you advise so we can remove them from the list?

Hope the table is pretty self explanatory, however if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards

Jo

 Subcontractor bint.

From: Commercial Manager                 Sent: 20 June 2012 14:19
To: Framework Manager; Vicola
Subject: FW: HSEQ Issues

Framework Manager / Vicola

Not checked yet, but from those I saw at the meeting there are some that we need

Commercial Manager

From: Vicola               Sent: 20 June 2012 14:18
To: Commercial Manager; Framework manager
Subject: RE: HSEQ Issues

Hi,

I am well aware that we are getting behind in terms of HSEQ assessments on subcontractors but I will be honest here. I have not got the time to do everything that is currently being asked of me. I cannot deal with subcontractors, Enterprise incident investigations, all the extra stuff that Enterprise have piled on to the department, asbestos management plan for the yard, outstanding audit actions, a raft of upcoming HSEQ audits on every NW site from New Company and getting everything out to site and done for the client’s Olympic torch initiative as well as getting out on site to try and make sure we don’t have any more major catastrophes. There aren’t enough hours in the day to currently do everything that I am being expected to do. Either I am going to have to be given more assistance to do everything that is required or everyone is going to have to lower their expectations of what I can achieve as my hours and my expected output aren’t currently compatible. Sorry to go off on one but I’m getting grief from all directions here and I can’t make everyone happy at the moment.

Cheers

Vicola

Now they are staying the hell out of my way and not even making eye contact, let alone sending me emails about stupid subcontractor evaluations. Thank fuck for that. Now perhaps I can get some bloody work done.

Running

Well , Saturday is the day of ‘The Run’. Best Friend, C and I are doing the Race for Life in Tatton Park and we’re trying to RUN all of it. Anyone who has not seen me run will be unaware of the amazing spectacle it presents, not only because previously I only ran when the last orders bell went but also because anatomically I’m just not designed for it. I am all legs and arms and me running looks like what would happen if you filled Bambi with gin and sent him off trying to move quickly in a straight line. I am a disaster running, I look like I have some sort of problem and I’m hopelessly unfit. But we’re going to give it a go in memory of my dad and of C’s lovely mum who died of leukemia 5 years ago. Wish us luck, I don’t know about the other two but I’m sure as shit going to need it. Anyone who makes a joke about ambulances or CPR is in trouble…

If anyone would like to sponsor us, you can do so at  http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/beardy-mans-coven  . If you sponsor us I make a solemn promise not to give you any abuse for at least 1 calendar month and to never call you a tight arse. Go on, you know you want to….

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