Saturday, May 31, 2008

Faceless fags

I smoke. Tried to give up but when I found myself rooting through the bin for a half finished pack I’d crumpled there 3 days before, I realised that it wasn’t happening. Not yet at least, although I’ll maybe have another go in a couple of years time. What I won’t do though is stop buying cigarettes because the manufacturers are forced to remove all the branding from them. How is this supposed to work anyway? Mind you, it will make the whole transaction a little weird.

‘Can I help you sir?’
Yes please, I‘d like to buy some cigarettes.’
‘Certainly sir, any particular kind?’
‘Erm, have you got any of those smoking is bad for your health one’s?’
‘’Fraid not sir, just sold the last packet to that very short man with the false beard and sunglasses. Have you tried the smoking whilst pregnant will damage your baby one’s sir? Very popular with the ladies.’
‘Not sure there’ll be to my taste, bit on the strong side. Just give us twenty smoking not only harms you but others around you. They sound a bit more sociable don’t you think?’

On a semi serious note, I’m a strong believer that your health and your mind are firmly linked. If there is even the slightest truth in this then surely plastering cigarette boxes with explicit descriptions of the illnesses you may contract is not very fair and I’d go as far as to say bordering on negligent.

On a very serious note, next time you’re in the shop kids, don’t buy fags, buy a book instead.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Honesty: a step too far for the church

I’m all for looking after the little man and the UK’s latest attempt at regulation will go some way toward this. Apparently, there’s going to be stricter guidelines and penalties to try and stop all that rip off sales pitch that we all fall for from time to time. You know the kind of stuff; closing down sales, tradesmen with qualifications bought off the internet, basic misrepresentation by twisting facts and making us believe that we’re getting a good deal. Trouble is, once again the powers that be have taken it one step too far because in this group they have lumped the fortune tellers and psychics. I’m not disputing that there may be charlatans out there (as there are in any business, let’s face it) but to begin a tarot reading with the words ‘there is no scientific basis for what I am about to do and this reading is for entertainment purposes only’ is simply wrong. Not only for the people who provide the service but for those who truly believe and often take comfort from being told that everything’s going to be fine and Uncle Joe is thinking about you from the other side. Miserable sods if you ask me. Why do they think they have the right to screw around with someone’s belief system just because they don’t buy it? Can’t wait to hear the Bishop of Durham’s next sermon;

‘Now before I pass the collection tray round I have to tell you that God is made up and what I’ve just said about that bloke coming back from the dead is probably total bollox too, although there was a beardy guy called Jesus and he was very nice apparently, so that’s good isn’t it. I’d like to add, that even if you do put money in the tray then the chances are that you won’t actually go to heaven. Not because you’re bad mind, but because there’s no such place. We made that up too. Can I have some money anyway? Amen’

Recycling Jimmy

Thursday, May 22, 2008

And I thought girls were good at this stuff....

Thought I’d share this comment with you from a one of Kunati’s soon to be released (and very excellent) authors, Beth:

'Yeah, I see your point, but besides your observations about pervs & all...? That lightswitch is just plain GAWD-AWFUL GAWDY, don'tcha think??!'

Well Beth sure, on its own the light switch looks naff, but you're not thinking of the bigger picture! You’ve got to imagine it installed as part of the range, coordinated through your house. You know, the Turin Shroud shower curtain, the crucifix washing line pole and the fishing net bed spread.....I bet your house looks a bloody mess!

Sing for Jesus..

Wasn’t going to bother writing a blog today. To be honest, nothing in the news was leaping out at me and then a pal sent me this pic. I’m not usually amused by stuff like this, bit too slapstick for my taste, but what it did do was make me wonder about the bloke who designed it. Now it looks like it’s an old design (let’s say mid 1900’s for sake of argument). The designer obviously put a lot of work into this and was trying to say something about his Christ (bringing light to the world, protecting children from the dark side etc etc) and to be honest, he did a reasonable job. Trouble is, things change. Today, in an age where the popular press is regularly filled with peado priest stories, the message is lost, invisible to a society that is so desensitised to perversion and sicko’s who pray on kids that this becomes our standard model for interpreting images like this. Just an observation.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Now I am not a political animal and indeed, if you’ve read Recycling Jimmy you could almost say that I’m politically incorrect (is that the opposite?) but that home secretary woman, Jacqui Smith, is enough to make the most apathetic of us get up and vote. Apart from the fact that she looks like that dancing lesbian, Ellen Degenerate, she talks crap. Today she stood up in front of the police federation and with complete contempt, told its members that the UK couldn’t afford a poxy 30 million quid to honour the pay deal that was, as far as I understand, a done deal. The joke is that on a day when Man Utd and Chelsea will field over 200 million pounds worth of ‘talent’, we tell the men and women who have vowed to protect us that they aren’t worth it. Shame on you Smith, although there was at least one moment of joy when during the q and a session she allowed herself to get backed in to a corner and actually said ‘yes’ when asked if she would change her decision subject to the outcome of a judicial review. I’m always banging on about politicians not giving direct answers but I never thought I’d hear one. It’s funny you know, now that I have, I can understand why good politicians never do it; yes’s and no’s sound rushed and ill considered from people who are meant to be clever enough to govern us. It’s up to you now judge, you could save me a walk to the polling station.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Robbin' bastards

I was scanning through my credit card today (checking up on the missus and what she’d been frittering) and amongst the lipsticks, bras and shampoos (how much could I have saved if I’d have swallowed my pride and chosen one of the many flat chested bald women that have been attracted to me during my life) when I came across a payment that I didn’t recognise. £20 going to somebody called ‘Redsave’. Anyway, as I dug deeper I realised that I’d been paying them £20 on the same day for the past 6 months. As I didn’t remember signing up to one of Putin’s social programs, I rang the number. Now the girl was very pleasant and as I explained my query she listened and grunted in all the right places and waited for me to finish asking what I had bought.
‘Well Mr Tilley, you haven’t actually bought anything, other than that indoor remote control helicopter back in December.’
‘Oh, so it’s a mistake then?’
‘Oh no, no mistake. The twenty quid is you membership fee.’
‘Excuse me?’
‘Yes, when you buy something from us, we sign you up as a member and unless you cancel it then we take the fee every month.’
‘Oh really, but as I haven’t bought anything and it’s obviously been an oversight, you can give me at least some of it back then?’
‘’Fraid not. That would be illegal because it’s part of ….’
I stopped listening. I hate it when people say that something is illegal, especially when it isn’t but I’ve also had enough of these conversations to understand that the helicopter was going to cost £140. Bottom line, and giving Redsave the benefit of the doubt on this one, there are traps out there that innocent online shoppers can fall into. The missus will just have to stop washing her hair for a bit ‘til we get back on our feet.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why the rush to destroy the planet?

Anyone know when that big particle accelerator in Geneva is striking up? I think its due any time now and normally I’d look forward to it (just love all that mind blowing stuff that the geeks come up with from time to time) but on this occasion, hmmmm. See, normally I trust the scientists implicitly, almost blindly. If they say that embryo research is a good thing, then that’s fine. If a bloke in a white coat assures me that genetically modified crops are safe, I’ll be the first to munch his plums. My problem with the CERN project is simply this; there’s a chance that it will destroy the planet. Okay, I know it’s a very small chance (like winning the lottery three times on the bounce) and I accept that the potential to expand man’s understanding of his existence is mouth watering but seriously, do these statements make the potential risk acceptable? Once the button’s pressed there is no going back. If the strangelet appears, then its game over and the scientists, the smug bastard collecting his winnings for the third Saturday in a row, me, you, everything; all gone when the experiment "spits out something that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called 'strange matter." But surely, with even the smallest chance of bringing on armageddon the boffins will be taking precautions won’t they? Apparently not; schedule issues caused them to delete the low energy ‘test’ run from the program. “We’ll be starting up in May 2008, as always foreseen, and will commission the machine to full energy in one go,” said LHC Project Leader Lyn Evans. Well Mr Project leader, just ‘cos you’ve got a girls name doesn’t mean the rest of us are in a hurry to see if you’ll find the God particle or just God.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Laughing Policeman; with him or at him?

When you’re writing contemporary fiction it’s important to keep things…well, contemporary. Now at first glance this statement doesn’t seem like rocket science (or should that be shuttle science?) but keeping your book fresh ain’t as straight forward as you might think. Things change fast these days; slang, attitudes, society in general I guess and if you’re not careful it’s easy to work up a piece that you think is current and relevant only for it to become passé and clichéd before it hits the editors desk. Take one aspect of UK culture as an example: the good ol’ British bobby. Don’t get me wrong, I think the coppers do a cracking job but I was under the impression (I guess from the days when I was hanging on street corners) that their attitude, towards youth in particular, was still authoritative and one which demands respect. Apparently it isn’t. I was watching the box last night (camera crew following a various policemen going about their business in London) and was amazed at how naff community policing had become. Policemen chatting casually with gangs of under age drinkers on the very same streets they should be keeping safe. Policemen using words like ‘dude’ and ‘chill’ instead of ‘you’re nicked’. Policemen swearing and lighting cigarettes for 15 year old girls. And as the kids realised that these friendly, laughable policemen were more concerned with looking cool than doing their job, you could see the respect drain away. I’m just glad that I didn’t involve the coppers in the story line of Recycling Jimmy….I would have been so wide of the mark.