Tit of the Week

This week has so far given us a proliferation of tits but special mention must be given to the man above, one "Mr Jake Ulrich". Recognise him? No? He does just look like one more terminally dull city trader or accountant doesn't he? Actually he is the managing director of Centrica, a company who are quite literally raking in the cash hand over fist. This morning, Centrica anonunced 6 monthly profits of £1billion and increased share prices, an impressive achievement in a market where the wholesale cost of gas is currently high. Or at least that's what I'd normally think but Centrica owns British Gas and on Monday British Gas announced a rise of 35% on gas bills. And no, for anyone reading this in the US I didn't miss out a decimal point, it is supposed to read thirty five percent. So, a company that has made a billion pounds PROFIT in 6 months (and for anyone who's interested that works out at £5million profit per day) has just hiked the cost of gas to hard pressed families who are already struggling to pay high mortgage costs, huge food bills, massive petrol costs and high taxes. Kind of like a reverse Robin hood, robbing the poor blind in order to give to the rich. How very public spirited of them. I suppose that those on the board of Centrica have enough in the bank to ensure that their grandparents don't freeze to death this winter because they can't afford to put the heating on. This is of course assuming that the money-hungry, consciousless sacks of shit haven't already sold their grandparents, an assumption that I'm not at all convinced we should make given their current behavioural trends.

So why am I singling out Mr Ulrich, a man whose salary last year was £1.1 million with a half a million pound bonus, for a verbal kicking? The reason is that when asked how he thought those who were already struggling were going to get through winter with such massive costs for heating his advice was this: WEAR TWO JUMPERS. What? Frail pensioners aren't going to be able to heat the house or use the cooker because you want to continue to make obscene profits and your advice is to put on another fucking jumper? Are you insane man? Are you utterly, completely and totally deranged? When Marie Antoinette reputedly said something similarly stupid and out of touch the French cut her head off, all I can say is that Jake the Jackass should be eternally grateful we aren't living in those times because if we were he'd be well advised to put his hat collection on Ebay.

So there we have it, Mr Jake Ulrich wins Tit of the Week for his complete inability to grasp any of the fundamentals of reality and for living in a ivory tower so fucking high that there are clouds round the top of it. If there is any such thing as karma his heating will pack in during a big freeze, causing his pipes to burst and flood his umpteen million pound mansion. Having said that it wouldn't make any difference to him because he's one of the few people in the country who can afford to call an out of hours plumber. The wanker.

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You can’t chose your family……

My mum's family is quite large and they are capable of some moments of oddity. One of them is going deaf so has a voice that cuts through a room like a foghorn and an uncanny ability to find the most tactless thing to say in any given situation, it's a rare and spectacular talent. When my grandmother's dementia developed she began to say the things that we all thought but no one had the spuds to voice "Well I'll tell you straight, we didn't think your boy knew the difference between boys and girls", "Angel? What sort of a silly name is that? With a name that she's going to grow up to be a prostitute" and other such memorable gems. I guess my brother and I have our moments too.

My dad's family, now they are something else entirely. When his mother was alive she was capable of starting an argument in an empty room on her own, the woman would start world war three over some perceived insult. Her sister is a 17 stone geriatric lesbian (or so family gossip has it) with the biggest mono-bosum in history, it arrives 20 minutes before she does. She's almost entirely deaf and so phones up, bellows some news at you then promptly hangs up without any notice whatsoever. There are two brothers, I believe they are my second cousins or something, who had they been born a century or so ago would have had a fantastic and lucrative career in a Victorian freak show. They are know as Little and Large and they are exactly as the description suggests, one is approx 4ft tall, the other 6 and half foot tall and they are exceedingly lopsided. To make matters worse 'the midget' as he's affectionately known, has grown a lump on his head and now looks odder than ever. These people all look a bit weird and have some bizarre characteristics but they pale into insignificance beside……..

My dad's sister.

She is a genuine, card carrying, lunatic. A fantasist who lives in a parallel world somewhere where reality can't touch her. This isn't a recent thing, according to my father she's been like this all her life (although heavy drug use from the early 70s to mid 80s won't have helped any).

We used to think she was thrilling when we were young. She was stinking rich and would arrive at our house with her super-tall husband and bags full of presents. She smoked too much, drank too much, swore like a navvy and wore designer clothes. We knew that when she was younger she'd slept with loads of men and never had a proper job. She'd been sectioned twice. When you're under ten years old this sort of thing is hopelessly glamorous and I was endlessly impressed by the fact that she always wore makeup (and plenty of it), owned more than one house, had a yacht and 2 pedigree dogs. We looked after the dogs one christmas, they arrived at the house in cashmere scarves, one was wearing pearls and she delievered them in a brand new estate car that had been bought specially for transporting them. We were skint at the time and it was a damn sight posher car that the crapwagon we were currently getting by with while my folks raised money to start their business. Visits from my aunt were wildly exciting and unpredictable.

However as you get older things change, circumstances change and you begin to see things differently. When I was about ten there was a huge argument within my family, centred around an accusation made by our branch against one of my grandparents. My aunt took their side, as did her husband, and from then my immediate family didn't exist. Or at least they didn't until 13 years later when a cousin backed up the allegation and suddenly we were back in the fold but by then things had changed. Not only circumstances (the husband had left her and she'd blown the settlement, she was now broke and living in a run down farmhouse) but people. At 20 odd you can see things in people that you didn't notice before, you see the games they play that you didn't notice when you were ten and I noticed things about my glamorous, exciting aunt that I hadn't seen before.

She's feckless. She pissed her very generous divorce settlement up the wall and blew it on pointless crap that she didn't need and couldn't afford. She continued to play Lady Bountiful to the parasitic hangers on who had always flocked towards her generosity because she wanted them to still believe she was rich, hell maybe she was trying to fool herself into believing she was still rich, who knows, the upshot is that the money poured out of the account like water from a drain and nothing went back in. Now she's properly skint and having pissed a divorce settlement, her inheritence form my grandmother's death and her father's portion of the inheritence from my grandmother's death up the wall while steadfastly refusing to contemplate employment my dad and his brother have decided they don't the responsibility of funding her.

She plays games. If you tell her something it gets twisted and turned into something else and is passed on to another person in order to cause trouble. The hours of fun I had trying to convince my mother that my brother and I DID NOT tell the damn woman that she was a shit mother and had brought us up badly don't even warrant description. And I did NOT tell her that my cousin lied to the police (something which I had to explain to the cousin I supposedly maligned). She's bored and out of things where she is, living in a rented shithole with the mentally deficient trainwreck that was once my grandfather so she makes life more exciting by stirring things up. My father has always said she did this but I always stuck up for her and said she was ok and he was overeacting until recently when she started dragging me into her lies. I'd always been left out of it before and frankly I now feel like a bit of a twat for defending her. More fool me eh?

There's a truckload more I could write about her but frankly, I can no longer be arsed. She pissed me off and I've had my rant but she needs to be careful. When my dad and his brother are gone there is only my generation left. As far as I know at least one of us won't have anything to do with her at all and she's seriously ground my gears too. She's become a sad, lonely, aging woman with a drink problem, a smoker's cough, no money and a borderline personality disorder. If she continues to alienate people at the current rate in a few years time the police are going to go round to investigate complaints about the smell from the house and find her dead on the floor, half devoured by cats and undisturbed by humankind for months because no one noticed or bothered that she was incommunicado. Still, she's never given a moment's thought to future consequences before, why break the habit of a lifetime? 

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Brats

Yesterday I did the shopping at the supermarket and happened to notice a woman trailing two kids round the supermarket with her. Dressed in head to toe Nike they whined their round the supermarket putting whatever they felt like in the trolley and screeching like banshees every time the mother dared to question anything they added. I think I spotted some apples in the trolley but the rest of it was pizza, crisps, chocolate, fizzy drinks and various other crap. They'd have got more nutrition chewing on their own shoes than eating the weekly shop. Then they arrived at the electronics department and found the computer games. The eldest, who must have been about 8, decided he wanted a computer game but it was an 18. Mum objected on both price and age limit. This didn't go down well, the resulting tantrum drew shoppers from around the building to witness the splendid and awe inspiring wobbly that this child was chucking. He was on the floor, arms and legs going like pistons, screaming and throwing anything he could get his hands on. Eventually the mother gave in, the game was in the trolley and in an instant the child was back next to the trolley adding a bag of mini Kit-Kats like nothing had ever happened.

This made me think back to my childhood in the early 80s. When we were young my mum and dad were broke, really broke. My dad was doing his nurse training and my mum was supporting us on one wage. My little brother and me used to go shopping with mum, she'd have a list of things in her head that she needed for the week and that is what we'd be going home with, no more and no less. My brother and I would run round the aisles collecting things that she wanted and putting them in the trolley. We didn't have sugary things, in fact we didn't have anything with E numbers in it either because my brother was allergic to one of the common ones, it sent him up the wall. If we'd have thrown a strop like that in a supermarket not only would we not be getting what we wanted, we not be getting anything at all, probably for the next ten years. I remember having a throw myself on the floor tantrum once at home, my mum stepped over me and carried on doing what she was doing, ignoring me entirely. I never bothered doing it again, it seemed pointless.

We didn't have expensive toys when I was small. I remember playing with a farm set that my parents had bought me a bit at a time and I loved it to bits. We also had hours of fun making plasticine out of flour, water and food colouring and then creating things and baking them solid. My mum made me a toy cooker out of a biscuit tin and some coloured circles of card and got me a little set of pans so then I could make 'dinner parties'. And of course there was always mud. My best friend in all the world at that time (I'm actually still good friends with her) was Louise and she lived on my street, her mum and mine had become friends when they were pregnant and we kind of lived in interchangable houses, we were always together at one house or another and we LOVED mud. There's some lovely photos of the pair of us coated in it. I used to have a t-shirt with a lion on it that squeaked when you pressed the logo, Lou used to try and make the lion squeak by making mud balls and throwing them at it. Mud in pans, mud in bowls, mud in buckets, mud in hair, eyes and fingernails. We loved mud.

The thing that all our inexpensive toys and games had in common was that although you could play them on your own they were miles better when played with someone else and so that's what we did. We were always out and about in street, playing with friends, making our own fun and making a mess. I've watched my friends children and something has changed since the time I was small. They do play out but not nearly so much as I did and the big change is computer games. All they seem to want to do is play on the X Box or the Playstation and these games aren't often designed for more than one person. So they sit in their bedrooms for hours and hours on end, absorbing brightly coloured moving images and loud, dramatic noises. Soon they've become so saturated in action that nothing else really interests them because nothing else is fast paced enough to equal the excitement, the games that we used to play together as children would bore them rigid in about ten minutes. Some of the kids you see, like the brats in the supermarket, have such appalling social skills and you can't help wondering if it isn't because they aren't going out and socialising. They can't write a story in school because they aren't reading at home, they are playing on computers and they have no idea how to utilise their imagination because all their scenes are set out clearly for them on a screen. I'm not saying all kids are like this because they aren't and I'm not saying computer games should be banned because I'm sure they have a place but brats like the supermarket kids seem to be cropping up more and more and I know that if I had kids I'd be trying to steer them towards the more sociable pastimes. I also know that if I'd done what that child did in a supermarket I'd have got the hiding of my life when I got home! And what's more, I'd hve earned it.  

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Money saving solutions.

Britain is getting more and more expensive. In fact it's getting downright stupid. Today's marvellous announcement in the news comes from Centrica, some group that represent power companies, and their glad tidings report that gas bills could rise by up to 60% in the next couple of years. Happy days. Now taking into account the fact that they'll have announced a figure of 60% so that they can bring a lower rise without everyone going ballistic we can realistically expect a hike of at least 40%. Apparently it's all linked to the fact that oil is $140 dollars a barrel. Everything on earth seems to be linked to that. So, since everything is now so ridiculously pricey I'm going to have to come up with some money saving solutions. Here are my ideas:

1) Our house is new so the floor is concrete underneath the carpet. This means if I remove the carpet I can put an oil drum in there and make my own, 'urban log fire'. I prefer to think of it as an 'urban log fire' rather than 'tramp gathering point more usually found under derelict railway bridges'. The money saving potential has to be offset against the fact that I'll have to repaint the ceiling once a week and I also have to consider the fact that I may in fact asphyxiate us all since we don't have a chinmey. Perhaps we should just buy some new jumpers.

2) Baths – we are on metered water which is pricey and our water is heated by gas meaning a bath is soon going to be roughly the same price as a nigth in the royal box at the opera. The solution here is clear: Wait till I know my parents are going to be out then sneak round to theirs for a bath. They are on water rates so the extra water won't make a difference to their bill and it's heated by electricity. My mum may wonder why there's never any hot water when she gets in from work but she'll probably put it down to their crap water system which has been a bit shoddy for years. Further money can be saved by sticking my dinner in their oven while I'm in the bath and then taking it home with me when I leave. Lovely.

3) Holiday are going to be a thing of the past, what with the rising cost of living but you can make your own holiday right here at home. No need to shell out for an expensive ski trip – simply weld some little wheels to the bottom of a large tea tray and you have you own no-snow-needed snowboard. Take it along to your local golf club for all the thrills and spills of a ski holiday but for free. You might have to do it at night as the golfers are going to get pissed off after a while but tea-tray boarding by torchlight is even more exciting because you can't see the trees till you hit them. For a bit of apres-ski action, go down the pub. A marvellous sporting holiday for the price of a tea tray and some taxis to cart you around while your legs are in plaster.

4) Fake an illness or an accident. This will result in a lengthy stay in hospital which will save a small fortune in household bills. If I decide to implement the 'urban log fire' idea there is every chance that it won't even need to be faked.

5) Hire the dog out to the police. He's quite badly trained so he wouldn't be much use as a guard dog or attak dog but he's very good at barking at running people then attempting to get a mouthful of their tracksuit bottoms so he could be a very effective 'trip up criminals' dog.

6) Rent the shed out to an illegal immigrant.

That's all I can think of for now but the pile of work I have to do is REALLY dull so I'm going to spend this afternoon thinking of some more marvellous money saving plans. Any ideas gratefully received. 

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The public servants are revolting…….

And once again the new is full of the news that local council workers are going out on strike. It's getting like France in this country, every time someone decides they aren't happy then they go on bloody strike. Unison, one of the biggest unions is currently advising pretty much all of it's members to strike, regardless of what they actually do and it's getting boring now. The local council lot are going on strike because they aren't happy with the 2.5% pay rise that they were offered, they want 6%. Don't we all. Their complaint is that fuel and food costs have gone up so much that they are feeling the pinch. Really? Who'd have thought? Because the rest of us are still filling our swimming pools with champagne and sleeping on mattresses made from bundles of fifty pound notes. It's the first time reality has impinged on local council workers in about a century and they aren't taking it well. Despite their good salaries, their ridiculously generous terms and conditions, extra bank holiday, gold plated, non-contributory pension and decent maternity arrangements they still believe that they should be cushioned from the realities of a world wide food crisis with tax payer's funds. And since food prices and fuel are so expensive this should apparently be done by pushing up everyone else's council tax so that they can be better off. Let's just say I am not supporting the strike.

 

Another problem with this strike is that the binmen have walked out. This normally wouldn't be a problem but I accidentally left some chicken breasts in the boot of my car. I only remembered they were there when they started to smell so, since I was at my mum and dad's house, I slung them in their bin, which was empty. It's still empty, apart from my chicken breasts (which since I slung them on Sunday will have matured nicely by now) and will continue to be empty until they return from Perpignon next Tuesday. Long enough for the chicken breasts to have develeloped the kind of odour that could knock out a horse at 20 paces but not long enough for the next week's bin collection to have happened. They're going to kill me. Sodding binmen.

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Worth a look…..

If anyone has a spare few minutes can I recommend that you visit Baldy's Blog ? This is the blog of Adrian Sudbury, a top bloke who is on a mission to save lives through publicising the truth about bone marrow donation. He's a funny guy who even manages to see the entertaining side of terminal leukemia which is a most impressive achievement. Even more than that, he's managed to make top politicians listen to him which in this country is not so much impressive as bloody miraculous. His mission and his musings are definately worth a look!

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More of life’s little irritations…..

Every now and again you get an accumulation of things that are annoying you and you have a choice, you can either write them down or you can keep them bottled up inside until you either knock out a colleague with a plastic potted palm tree or spontaneously combust. I have chosen the first option so here is the list of things that are grinding my gears this morning:

 

Doom and Gloom Media.

Every time you switch on the news or read a paper you are confronted with misery, gloom and depair. Add all their miserable doom-mongering crap together and this is the scenario you get:  The climate is changing and the polar ice caps are melting so eventually every thing South of Dudley is going to end up underwater. This is going to be a huge problem because thanks to the mass immigration of Eastern Europeans and psychotic, murderous Somalis who all live solely off benefits there is no housing for the poor refugees from the South. Not that it would matter anyway because we are heading for a recession so they wouldn’t be able to get a mortgage on a tramp’s blanket, never mind an actual property. Still, the numbers of wandering, soggy Southerners will be kept down by the feral gangs of knife and gun toting teenagers that roam the streets of Britain killing everyone who crosses their path and setting fire to cars. And make no mistake, the relocated Londoners will be wandering the streets all day because there won’t be any jobs at all for then, no, jobs are all taken by Polish people nowadays. It’s all such bullshit.  Then there are the stupid little sound bites they make up such as calling Manchester “Gunchester”. Gunchester? Fuck off.  I’m 28 and apart from 4 years I spent living in Lancaster I have been here all my life. I have yet to see anyone in Manchester with a gun. Certainly the gangs in Moss Side used to entertain themselves by taking pot shots at each other but that was some years ago now and it’s cleaned up a lot. East Sussex however is bristling with guns. I remember staying with my ex at his parents house there. They had a small holding. I went out for a cigarette and found his father in a tree with a 12 bore. Apparently he was waiting for the fox that had killed his chickens. They have a bigger gun problem in the capital than they do in Manchester and you don’t find the Daily Mail banging on about “Gundon” do you? Tosspots.

 

Hypocritical Politicians

Politicians in this country are the most appalling hypocrites. Just this month we’ve had the chancellor informing us that companies must keep pay rises low to avoid disrupting inflation while MPs happily vote themselves a bigger payrise than teachers and firemen followed by Gordon Brown at the G8 Summit finding time between one of the 18 courses in the banquet to tell us all that we shouldn’t be wasting food. To be honest I’m impressed he could still speak, what with all the free (and by free I do of course mean paid for by taxpayers of the world) champagne that had been flown in from Europe. Good to see that while we are meant to be watching our carbon footprint and trying to eat local food to cut food miles this does not apply to the trough-raiding freeloaders making world policy. And don’t even get me started on MPs expenses because frankly, I’ll be here all day.

 

The Credit Crunch

If I hear this phrase one more time I’m going to have to tie the chancellor’s nuts to 2 carthorses and send them off in opposite directions.  I’m sick of it. I don’t even know what it really means and I suspect that many others don’t either. I have gathered that it means things are going to get more expensive and it’s going to be harder to borrow, both on credit cards and mortgages but is that all it means? No one ever explains it, they just bandy it about like it’s some all encompassing explainatory phrase. “Oh, it’s cheaper to fill your car with bottles of 1874 Claret or molton gold? That’ll be the credit crunch”, “The bank have put your mortgage up so high that they must have assumed you’ve bought the Chatsworth Estate? It’s the credit crunch y’know”. Well it isn’t an explanation, it’s a sodding excuse disguised as a sound bite put about by politicians and the media to cover everything that’s currently going financially tits up thanks to the staggering mismanagement of those who have drained the treasury. Either say what you bloody well mean or fucking shut up. We are all well aware that the world economy is suffering Mr Darling but don’t think that we are too stupid to have realised that if your government hadn’t frittered everything that was in in the treasury and built the entire economy on the basis of borrowing we would be faring rather better than we are today. Yes Darling, you, you badger-faced wanker, we know you are lying when you say that the price of petrol is so high because of world oil prices rising. It’s so high because you can’t afford to lower the tax on it thanks to Gordon-the-one-eyed’s financial mismanagement and no stupid sound bite can change that.

 

Ah, that's better…….blood pressure down now……steam no longer issuing from ears……

 

 

 

 

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