Mostly Bollogs, I'm afraid

But occasionally, a glimmer of truth.
If you find one, please let me know.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


Failed your GCSEs?

Think about becoming a roofer, plumber, block paver, electrician, mechanic, landscape gardener, locksmith, tyre fitter, window cleaner ...

No, I'm not taking the piss.

I'm an engineer. I don't do much engineering now - I deal with plant (big noisy plant, not wisteria) and make the electronic things and computery things work.I invent stuff to make things work better, faster, cheaper. And I refuse to do things which take away jobs. So I'm not rich, nor posh. I like my job.

I'm in this job because I failed exams, mightily and with flying colours. I am crap at them. I taught myself English properly after I left school. Same with maths. I started in the seventies working shifts while all my mates went to Uni. I was well-off. I drank a lot, and still do. I ate Chinese and Indian takeaways. I still do.

I will have a go at anything. Most people won't. They need those tradesmen.

And here is where I think the problem is.

You're at a "do". Someone asks you what you do. You say "I'm an electrician." They say "Oh." You say "I'm a doctor." They say "Wow! Really? You must be dead clever."

I have respect for all those tradesmen up there. I bloody KNOW how hard it is to do these things, especially when there's a curve ball in the way. Most people SHOULD know how to wire up a light. Should. They don't. I do. But I also know when someone thinks they can bang a couple of lights under their kitchen cupboards, that some poor sod has to get a switch set into a wall, chase away at least the plaster and probably some brickwork, which will have a concrete lintel in it, plus some water pipes, then have to lift the upstairs carpet, floorboards, drill or chase out beams, route the cables behind the units, put in false bottoms, make good, replace plaster and redecorate ... it's a BASTARD. It's skilled. Most people won't even think about doing it. If they tried they'd fuck it up.

So. Failed some GCSEs? Not Uni material? Nor am I. Look at some proper stuff. Real work. See if you can get an apprenticeship. Work for what someone can afford to pay you, get into tech (that's college, not Uni, and you learn better stuff there, not a load of theoretical bollocks). And if they ask you to make the tea, make the tea. Until you can make tea properly. And watch the pro work. You'll learn. And yes, the guvnor WILL send you down to the wholesalers to ask for "a long weight". And a tin of elbow grease, and a pack of skyhooks.

And when you become a sparky, a plumber, a welder, you say "Actually, I'm an electrician/plumber/welder/whatever". With pride. because you can fucking DO something. Something useful. And the graduate suit will NEED you. And you just wait until you get your own apprentice.

You'll be doing the job in your sleep. And people will be amazed at your skill.

Remember this little gem ...

Chap goes for a job in Homebase. Undermanager says "here's a broom, sweep the warehouse floor." Chap answers "Actually, I'm a graduate." Undermanager says "Sorry, didn't realise. Here, give it to me, I'll show you how."

Monday, 23 August 2010


Seems like there's a lot of pisstaking going on of the Peacecamp-stylee #climatecamp

I quite liked the idea of peace camps. They were a demonstration against war.

War is gay. War sucks donkey balls. War has no place in civilised society.

Peace camps were cool, once. The general idea of them was to sit around with like-minded hippies, playing Bob Dylan songs, badly (as that's the way Dylan always played them), on guitars, in the key of G (because that's an easy one), and go "1, 2, 3 what are we fighting for?" and get your tits out (if you're a hippie chick and not a hippy guy).

That's fact. I've been to more than one. Great fun. Sadly, the same people who tend to go to these things are also the people who tend to want to save the cow, so you have to eat falafel (which is shite) in pitta bread (which is shite) and you are perpetually hungry and so desperate for meat you'd eat a McDonald's burger.

Anyway, I doubt whether they ever did any good. Iraq happened. Afghanistan happened, to name but two.

But if you're of that persuasion and you really think it'll do any good, then good luck to you. I have long since given up on public opinion having ANY effect at all on what governments decide to do or not do.

But if there is any possibility, however remote, that any of this action really can make a difference, however small, may I suggest something?

Carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, climate change. The evidence for any of these being interlinked in any way at all is scant at best. Any schoolboy can work out that burning millions of tons of coal isn't a great idea, for it pollutes the atmosphere with black muck. Look at any Victorian building in London that hasn't been cleaned for a while for a demonstration. Any schoolboy can work out that driving around cities in huge cars, vans and lorries isn't a great idea, for it pollutes the atmosphere with grey muck. Look at any building in London that hasn't been cleaned for a while for a demonstration.

So have a go at China. Any of the up-and-coming countries whose turn it is to rape the planet in the same way as the Noble Briton has done for the last few hundred years.

Nobody else is worth having a pop at. Nobody else is close. And China, sad to say, isn't listening.

But, rather than giving up, think about this. There may or may not be climate change. If there is, it may or may not be a natural cyclic effect. If it isn't, it may or may not be caused by emissions from cars, vans, trucks, factories. It may even be primarily caused by having too many CO2-emitting lifeforms (that's people) living in too small a space.

If you want to save the planet, folks, you need to cause a major attitude shift. In people. It's been tried before.

Here are some of the organisation who have tried it before. You may have heard of some of them. Many have been discredited as being monster raving loonies, or a festering barrel of bad stuff. Most of them did it for real, right reasons. Some indubitably did not.

  • The Church of England
  • The Roman Catholic Church
  • Christian Aid
  • Band Aid
  • The Labour Party
  • The Green Party
  • Amnesty International
  • Greenpeace
Heard of them? Why do you think you can make any difference at all?

Now, start again. Sod your falafel. Sod your pitta. Sod your paper plates, plastic knives and forks, your fifteen cubic metres of litter.

Address the real problem. Those who speak on your behalf (right), those who promised some sort of change (right), those who are supposed to be running the show. Those who perpetrate war. Those whose insidious mechanism infiltrates everything and harbours criminals, such as policemen who beat up and kill newspaper vendors (where did that story go?)

And, above all, take the time to tell me why I'm wrong. Comments below ...

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


T-Mobile, the mobile service provider, have got a hole in their procedure you could drive a bus through.

It's what we in the trade call a "Catch-22", whereby the left hand not only doesn't know what the right hand's doing, but also doesn't know what it's doing itself.

T-Mobile provide a dongle data service for people like me, who neither have nor want a telephone line. That means we can tweet and surf in the comfort of our own shed/boat/bubble.

It's reasonable at £15 a month. It's slow, but that's because I have a crap signal. I don't care. It works.

When you run out of credit, it handily redirects you to the page where you can top up. That's good. You can pull out your credit card or debit card and bung some money into their account, and you're back online again straight away.

"Right, Marvo," I hear you say "so what are you complaining about now?"

I'll tell you. I put in my card details, and my secret number, and my pin. I select the "Pay T-Mobile some of my hard-earned money" option. And then, because I bank with Messrs LloydsTSB, I get a box up asking me to confirm that I am me. I know that I am me, and it is a fairly stupid system they have, whereby a frame appears on my internets page, asking for my password.

And guess what? Because that frame is directed to LloydsTSB,, and not to T-Mobile, they block it.

Idiots. THINK.

BTW, I have credited my account. I sent it a text message with the last four digits of my card (which Lloyds haven't verified), the amount I want to pay (which nobody has confirmed) and the security number on the back of the card (which anyone could have seen).

Well done, T.

Now, please sort it out. Perhaps you'd like to comment in the box below?