Tuesday, October 31, 2006

17.12 On Time
How many times does a Manager have to single out one person in an office and publicly rebuke them in a wholly inappropriate manner while ignoring the same behaviour in others, before it becomes bullying?

LineManager had another one of his ... let's be generous and call it 'wild mood swings' this morning.
We are snubbing him. He is ignoring us.
We have sent him to Coventry. He is giving us the cold shoulder.

But should we just be shrugging our shoulders and rolling our eyes and whispering “Well, it’s only what we expect from him” and "Everything will be different soon" or should we actually be doing something more?

Roman Candle - Elliott Smith


Monday, October 30, 2006

7.31 On Time
I watch some more telly!!! (TM)

Not sure how much longer the dark charms of Richard Armitage will be sufficient to lure me to Sherwood Forest of a Saturday night. That Robin Hood is such an irritating smug bastard and is in dire need of a good slapping.

For heaven's sake Marian, wake up and smell the peasants! You could do so much better.

Being unfamiliar with the many buttons of the "remote" control device I was unable to turn over fast enough to prevent an Eastenders trailer infiltrating my consciousness.
Then I was stopped in my tracks by the background music: "I need you so much closer....I need you so much closer..."
So wrong, so very wrong! Death Cab For Cutie do not belong in Albert Square.

Meanwhile, on Sunday night I was reduced to genuine, shoulder shaking, pass-me-a-tissue-I'll-be-blubbing-any-second, sobs. In a good way.

I'n't Liz Smith brilliant?

Leaders Of The Free World - Elbow

Thursday, October 26, 2006

8.10 On Time
Because I watched the programme on Otters last night I was able to join in this morning’s Office chat. It was quite heart-warming; I began to understand the benefits associated with telly watching.

The consensus was: if he couldn’t be sure if it was ‘his’ otter lying dead by the side of the road, then how could he be sure it was ‘his’ otter that he later filmed chewing enthusiastically on eels?

Gavin Maxwell would never have been so slack.

I have a new motto: “Putting the ‘moan’ into ‘harmonious’.”

We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes – Death Cab For Cutie

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"A Replacement Bus Service Will Be Provided"

7.31 Cancelled : Mechanical Failure. (Damn you Tim Hall! You made this happen!!!)

As I walked down the street I was even thinking that sometimes I LOVE catching the train in the morning, especially the early one. Not missing the train or having it cancelled or being late because it’s delayed . Not when it’s full of shrieking teenagers and skrieking children. Not even catching it in the evenings, when it's full and I’m tired and crabby and sometimes nod off embarrassingly.

But how, in the morning, when the streets are quiet and dark, when the day is still full of promise and the air smells of potential and, if I really wanted to, I could just go anywhere... I love catching the train…

Now I’m cold. I’ve spent forty minutes walking round the platform in small circles, in my thin shoes, listening to other people going on and on.

Stop going on and on.
There’s no point.
Swear violently if you need to, but then shutthefuckup and get over it.

That replacement bus service? I don't care what the tannoy said: it ain't gonna happen.

8.10 On Time

Another Girl Another Planet – The Only Ones
(I Don’t Want To Go To ) Chelsea- Elvis Costello
Treason – Teardrop Explodes
White Riot – The Clash
Making Plans For Nigel – XTC
Roadrunner – Jonathan Richman
No More Heroes – The Stranglers
Whole Wide World – Wreckless Eric
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker – The Ramones
Girl From Mars - Ash


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

17.12 On Time
Tumbleweed blew through the Office.

"The Chuckle Brothers or The Krankies?" Charlie asked "If you had to."

Deceptively innocuous, but actually a far trickier question than:

"Would You Rather ... drown in water or concrete?" which we'd been debating, but had to cut short because Leanne came over funny just thinking about it.

I remembered the Chuckle Brothers, and started to feel a bit sick myself.

All Maps Welcome - Tom McRae

I Hope You're Happy Now

"Ha Ha Ha Clunk."

What's that? The sound of a man laughing his head off, that's what.

O.K. So. It is definitely definite now.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Another Slow Day At The Office

17.12 Five Minutes Late:Teenager without ticket foiled by Conductor. Boo!
Fuzzy Felt's not what it used to be.

The board looks like it's made of fibre glass and that modern felt is really thin. Like when you've squeezed out one jam tart more than you actually had enough pastry to make. It started going wrong when they brought out those character specific sets like 'Noddy Fuzzy Felt' when they printed pictures onto the shapes, because generic Farm/Hospital/Zoo or, my own personal favourite, 'Ballet' wasn't good enough anymore.

They did the same thing with lego. That went all out for themes and it lost it's soul. Whatever happened to having a bit of imagination but not enough 'eighters' ?

Oh God, I'm turning into one of those people. You know, they go on about how curly wurly's were bigger and pretend they liked Bagpuss. Then they ask "Were you Blue Peter or Magpie?"

I was Blue Peter, obviously. I've got the badge & everything.

Tomorrow:'Fish Men' and 'Raised by Dogs?' Unless something happens.

Not The Tremblin' Kind - Laura Cantrell

Saturday, October 21, 2006

October 21st 1966

"We are all very sorry for the boys and girls of Aberfan"

Copying that sentence from the blackboard is one of my earliest memories.

Grey exercise book. Unlined pages. We drew flowers beneath the words. Red and yellow crayons. Were they meant to be tulips?

I wasn't in comfortable, greying, Mrs Bell's class anymore. I was in the middle classroom, and my new teacher was Miss Foster who my Dad would describe as "a dolly bird", with her Mary Quant hair and yellow mini dress.

I don't know if I understood at the time why we were so very sorry, if I'd heard the news stories, or seen the iconic black and whites. At five years old how could I have had the ability to comprehend the enormity of what happened on that day? I don't know, even, how long after the event it was that we were transcribing our inadequate sympathy into our 'Day by Day' books.

I did know that it was the most terrible thing to have happened in my life so far.


Friday, October 20, 2006

8.10 On Time
Lovely has been told that he has been accepted onto the University course which will ultimately lead to his 'dream job'. The 'dream job' has, oddly enough, turned out not to be the one which involves him using the phrase "You'll need to put it in writing" ten times a day.

It will be four years work, on a part-time basis, but he is so enthused and has put so much effort into getting to this stage that I can't imagine it not working out for him.

To see him so positive and forward looking makes me wish, not for the first time, that I could find something to get so excited about.

Feast Of Wire - Calexico

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bring It On

17.12 On Time
Three successes in one day.

First: I'd been ever so slightly putting this off, thinking it was destined to drag on for weeks of increasingly bad tempered, nit-picking correspondence, while never really getting anywhere.
However: "This account is now cleared". After only one letter.

Second: An unbearably dull complaint that I couldn't be bothered to read in any detail. Tried a speculative email in the hope that they couldn't be bothered either: "This account is now cleared." Now I never have to understand what it was about.

Third: "Please will you speak to this man? He wants a manager and I think he's about to kick off." So I did. So he didn't.

Small victories.

Bring It On - Gomez
Born Slippy - Underworld
Little People - White Stripes
Music Is Math - Boards Of Canada
Station Approach - Elbow
Bread & Circuses - Billy Bragg/Natalie Merchant
Little Mysteries - Rickie Lee Jones
God Bless America - James McMurtry


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

7.31 On TIme
Where did we go wrong?

TheYoungerBoy has become obsessed with Guns 'n' Roses.
TheOlderBoy is coming to see The Decemberists with us in February.

Which is wrongest?

Picaresque - The Decemberists

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

7.31 On Time
Yeah, wounded pride aside - the job thing worked out as well as could've been hoped.

Additionally (having had ample practice) I've always been a pretty good loser, and have excelled myself so far with my sportsmanlike behaviour.
No, really - this is true!
Diplomatic, supportive, mature, adult even.
Who would have thought I could ever be accused of adultery?

No, wait a minute, that's something else isn't it?

Entertainingly, not all of the thwarted have been able to take a moment and a few deep breaths - there have been rumours of frowning and flouncing, allegations of ear-melting phone calls. There may yet be threats and attempts at blackmail. I can't say for sure, but is going 'ballistic' and berating the second in command really going to set you up brilliantly for the next round?

Ah, the next round....where I interview to keep the job I currently have. Now that will be 'interesting'.

Elsewhere: finding it harder & harder to keep on rooting.

Imperial Bedroom

Monday, October 16, 2006

So, where are the strong? And who are the trusted? Where is the harmony...

Both 'sweet harmony' and myself are absent from the Office today, but the emails are in.

The votes have been counted.
The cat's out of the bag and the gloves are off.

I couldn't be more chuffed myself. Especially having spent 48 dark hours convinced that my new superviser was going to be some prissy, mealy-mouthed kiss-ass with no sense of humour.

Congratulations to Leanne and ... erm, I'll really need to come up with a different name but...'GirlieBoss' will have to do for now.

Not everyone is so happy.

What's So Funny 'bout Peace Love & Understanding?

Friday, October 13, 2006

I'm Not Sure If I Am Laughing Or Crying

17.12 Three Minutes Late

How desperate for email are you when you're checking the 'junk' folder, just in case something got slipped in there that shouldn't have........?

Brilliant Mistake

7.31 On Time
The train clatters through a tissue paper collage landscape.
Funny how a few wisps of mist and a blood orange sunrise can transform the most mundane journey into something a bit special.

There’s a rumour that we’ll get to know today.

I’m not superstitious.

UPDATE: I did a "Good" interview. Apparently not "Good" enough though.
More disappointed than I'd expected to be, under the circumstances (what with genuinely not wanting it and all).
Knowing in yourself that you're not really suitable, and someone else telling you that they agree that you're not really suitable are two very different things aren't they?

Sneaky Feelings
No Action
Party Girl
Motel Matches
Hoover Factory
White Knuckles
Crimes Of Paris
Beyond Belief
London’s Brilliant Parade
Spooky Girlfriend


Thursday, October 12, 2006

17.12 Five Minutes Late
"You don't want to know this but, I really love my wife"

He blushed. He looked sheepish. He smiled, apologetically.

I smiled too, hearing the slightest hint of a catch in my voice as I asked: "What brought that on?"

"Oh nothing. Sometimes it just overwhelms me, for no particular reason"

Sometimes Lovely is just so Lovely.

Come Up And See Me (Make Me Smile) - Cockney Rebel
Last Train To Clarksville - The Monkees
Can't Get Used To Losing You - Andy Williams
Getting Mighty Crowded - Betty Everett
Stand By Me - Ben E King
Up On Cripple Creek - The Band
Mr Tambourine Man - The Byrds
California Deaming - The Mamas & The Papas

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

8.10 On Time
An extreme thunder & lightning deluge is something that happens either;

a) early on a winter's evening, with the fire flickering and everyone gathered around a shepherds pie feeling smug and snug, while watching the rain lashing down and the sky turning yellow;


b) in the middle of a hot summer night, waking you from a particularly steamy dream, so you can get up, pull back the curtain, throw open the window and enjoy the downpour.

When it doesn’t happen is at half past seven on an October morning when I’m trying to get to work.

Unless it does. Which is why I’m sitting at my desk with wet knees.

Later …

We had a heated debate about Sea Monkeys, comparison shopped umbrellas (revealing surprisingly strong emotions), commiserated with a colleague who has been told she is too “high risk” to get a job with Our Friends in Barrow, and got terrified by a dinosaur.

Almost like the old days.

The First Picture Of You – The Lotus Eaters
Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime – The Korgis
How You Remind Me – Nickleback
Kayleigh - Marillion
Somewhere – West Side Story Soundtrack
Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa – Gene Pitney
Downtown – Petula Clark
Girl Don’t Come – Sandie Shaw

It's Going To Take Some Time This Time - Carole King


Monday, October 09, 2006

17.12 Ten Minutes Late (receiving engineers attention)
I don't really watch much telly (except football, obviously, and all the other stuff I see accidentally while not really watching much telly) but I did see Robin Hood on Saturday.

I liked the fighting, and the bit where Marion unleashed her ninja hair pin, and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more of that Guy of Guisborne. Actually, just hearing would do, he's very Sean Bean.

Despite the man-totty, it's hard not to compare it unfavourably with the Tony Robinson version.

Oh, Inverted World - The Shins


Thursday, October 05, 2006

17.12 Five Minutes Late
So, what really happened yesterday...

The panel was on Day Four of Six in terms of interviewing days, and looked as though they had had quite enough of each others company already, thank you. I got the impression that there were boxes to be ticked and, by this stage, they weren't too fussed who they were ticking them for. All I needed to do was trot out the right trite phrases, pepper my answers with corporate speak, say 'strategic' at least three times and (almost literally) Bingo! Job won.

Easy eh?

I don't think I committed a faux pas on the scale of the shoeshop interview but when the question is "Tell us why you are the ideal candidate" your answer probably isn't supposed to start "I don't think I am" but I have a compulsion to be honest about the things I am not very good at.

The way I see it, if I tell them where my weaknesses are they will know not only that I am incredibly self-aware, but, that they can trust me when I say I am dead ace and brilliant at plenty of other stuff...only that's not how it works in real life is it?

Also, wtf is "Tell us what steps you would take to ensure that you are a proficient practitioner?" supposed to mean? All that came into my head was, oh, I bet you you think you're really smart don't you, 'listen to this, I wrote a question that ends with some alliteration, how clever am I?' pah! What's next? 'Describe how you would motivate your team...in the style of a limerick please'.

Actually, I could probably have done alright on that one.

LineManager told me he thought the jobs would probably go to 'management clones' who 'talk the talk but don't get their hands dirty'.

I think it might have been his way of telling me I haven't a hope in hell.

Lose Yourself - Eminem
The Hardest Button Too Slow - Kylie/White Stripes
Frontier Psychiatrist - The Avalanches
11.30pm (Dirtiest Trick In Town) - Mattafix
Teardrop - Massive Attack
Airbag - Easy Star All-Stars
Scumbody Told Me - Killers v Arctic Monkeys

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

7.31 On Time
My mouth was dry.
There was a cup of water on the table in front of me, but I didn’t know if it was fresh or had been left over from a previous candidate, so I didn’t touch it.

On the plus side I gave a comprehensive critique of the impact Our Friends In Barrow have had on the service, but on the minus I couldn’t think of a single example of my having handled Elected Members.

And every time I tried to say ‘specific’ (which, inexplicably, was dozens of times) I failed.

I don’t want to get it. But there are other people I don’t want to get it even more.

Karma Police - Radiohead
Butterflies &Hurricanes – Muse
Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
Sulk – Radiohead
More Than A Feeling – Boston
Plug In Baby – Muse
Let Down - Radiohead

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

...let me just check my diary

17.12 On Time

That interview I thought was on Thursday?
Turns out to be tomorrow morning.

Off to get the ironing board out.

No Self-Control - Peter Gabriel
No Action - Elvis Costello
I Didn't Understand - Elliott Smith
Mastermind - Divine Comedy
Some Might Say - Oasis
And When She Was Bad - Cinerama
The Door - Turin Brakes
Carolina - Josh Rouse

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