Thirty Thousand Streets

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Well, got jerked about royally this week on a booking out in Hertfordshire. After it was changed no less than three times, I turned up only to be told that they only had a days work for me – this after getting up at six and travelling for two hours to get there.

The work was fairly dull too, and got briefed in late, by someone hung over. Part of it was report and accounts, relentlessly copying and pasting figures from a word document into an Indesign template, then tabbing them, and after a few hours of that, my mind was well and truly fried.

Anyway, I'm using my newly non-working status tomorrow to flee back oop north, with the dual purpose of seeing some old faces and getting a few bits and pieces languishing round at my brothers. I'm getting a lift back with my new housemate Marvyn on Saturday.

I'm also getting my quarterly (or therabouts) haircut at the best barbers ever, in Manchester.. I shit you not, this guy is a dude.

But anyway, I'll blog about that later.

Just popped into Cash Converters on Walworth road and scooped a couple of CDs – a Shriekback best of compilation, and the Bring Da Ruckus compilation on Loud, which I've been looking out for a bit – mostly for the remix of Rainy Dayz by Raekwon, but really, it's crammed with what Tim Westwood would term 'hot joints', so a steal at £2.

Anyway, I'll probably write again post Manchester.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I don't beliieeeeve it

I appear to be turning into a Victor Meldrewish type figure, really. Thwarted by petty beauracracy and nursing a throbbing vein in my temple the size of a Nik-Nak (not nice and spicy flavour, either).

But I'm going to moan about one more thing, and then stop, alright? then return to writing haikus about, I dunno, snow blossom or something, and gazing at my poster of a wet kitten with the 'bad hair day' legend embazoned across it in comic sans.

Had today and Tuesday off, so endevoured to fulfill the second leg of my quest to become a limited company by opening a business bank account. Unfortunately I hadn't reckoned with the Camberwell branch of HSBC, where they've presumably had to reinforce the floors to cater for a typical days traffic, whilst simultaneously forgetting to employ anyone – anyone real at least.

I eventually spotted a weary looking HSBC employee at the head of a queue, to be told twenty minutes later that the soonest I could be seen was next Monday afternoon, if the world didn't end first. Man this guy was getting me depressed. Fair enough though, the only other sound above the paranoid aandroid's valium induced drawl was the sound of teeth getting sucked and middle englanders tutting behind me, which would've induced clinical melancholia in Ebeneezer Goode.

I agreed, but on leaving thought 'fuck it' I'll see if any other branches of my bank in the nations's capital would see me tomorrow for half an hour. Herein followed a debacle it probably takes an institution as monolithic and arrogant as the HSBC to unwhittingly engineer, as this simple exercise is now seemingly impossible.

Having gained the number of the Baker Street Branch off t'internet, I rang it at home, only to be greeted by that flat robotic woman's voice that makes me want to go out and smash phone boxes.


It intoned at me, irritatingly, before a tinny loop of Handel's Water Music kicked in, in a vain attempt to soothe me.

Then, predictably, after some Parappa-the-Rapper-esque tone dialling shenannigans I got connected to the inevitable call centre located in Delhi, or somewhere, where my 'customer service advisor' was scarcely more helpful than robot bird.

"Er, hi, I just want to speak to someone at the Baker Street branch to see if they'll see me tomorrow?"

I asked.

No fucking chance, it transpires. The girl offered to ring for me, again putting me on hold for yet another bout of torpid lift music, before informing me that no-one was answering the phone, though if I liked, she'd leave a message for me.
Ultimately it transpires, any number I get off the internet leads solely to one of these places, where my 'customer service' consists of someone telling me no one is picking up the phone somewhere else. Thanks.

Ultimately, I ended up going into central London and walking to the Baker Street branch, where within quarter of an hour I'd arranged a meeting for tomorrow, and the staff were very helpful and polite.

It did mean I missed Countdown though.

'The World's Local Bank'? yeah right.

OK enough!

Monday, March 20, 2006

See how the money goes

I went into the bank on my lunchbreak today, to cancel a standing order to my housemate who's moving out. (It was for broadband and NTL)

I also canclled the insurance on my old flat, that while negligable was unnecessary, and also discovered that yet more money was being pilfered off me.

When I moved down in November 2004, whilst roaming central London with a sheath of CVs in search of work, I ran into one of those charity workers in bright jackets who try to catch your eye, then clothes-line your conscience into submission. Instead of mumbling excuses and swerving round him I actually stopped listened to what he had to say, and despite being strapped eventually agreed to make a donation in the new year.

The agreement was it would come out in March, and I'd get a phone call to confirm it. I didn't actually get any such call, and the money came out in February but hey ho.

Anyway I since learned today that the donation was not just a one off – which is something the guy completely omitted to mention to me. Indeed I'd go as far as to say the implication was very much the opposite. It's not such a big deal, and OK the money is hopefully going to do some good, but I find the fact that it was obtained by means tantamount to deception somewhat.. disappointing really. They relied on my good nature to stop and agree to making a donation in the first place so not being completely transparent upfront is pretty sneaky if you ask me.

The woman at the bank said it was a pretty widely used tactic, you should always check the fine print, but then, HSBC hasn't exactly got room to gloat (she kept dabbing at the blood of her last 'customer' on her HSBC tunic ).

Oh well. good karma for me I suppose (though I might have mitigated it somewhat by bleating about it in a blog).

I also got offered nine and a half weeks (oo-er) contract work in Watford.

I turned it down because:

a) It was an in-house role

b) Brochure/Catalogue work (snore)

c) Watford

d) GOTO a)


A girl called Alli I went to uni with back in the primordial mists of time once told me how she and her housemate, high on student life and hell-bent on hi jinks, had developed a novel way of disposing of tea bags with the little bits of string attached, wherein having removed them, they’d whirl them round, sling like, before catapulting them into the wall above the bin, allowing them to slide down leaving a brown sluggy tea stain on the wall.

That’s how my head feels now.

I’m sat in an agency on Baker Street, waiting for copy, staring out at scaffolding across the road. I’m drinking strong tea, and have just polished off a cinnamon whirl and a croissant.

Things I saw on the way to work this morning:

Two traders setting up at the Elephant & Castle market trading fisticuffs completely silently, while a third bloke tried to break them up, with very little success. Hard to work out exactly what was going on, but it looked like they were on the same stall. They were really swedging though, with some serious head pounding action

An old guy on the escalator on the tube at Baker street, bent at a nearly ninety degree angle, due to what? old person spine shrinkage or summat. Yoga please.

Found out just Wednesday while doing some sporadic letter opening that I’d gone over my overdraft, and my bank was cheerfully crucifying me for it (figuratively speaking of course – sorry Jews, Christians etc) which pretty much wiped out any money I earned in oh, the last two weeks. Basically they were charging me £30 every time I used my card, on top of some other charges which were probably set out in six point type (80% tint) on page six of something I signed in 1997.

Fair play to them though, I hear HSBC are a bit strapped these days, and they did offer me a loan to sort it out.


And in saying that I apologise to female genitalia everywhere - no offense intended for indirect association with these vampires.

What annoys me is the utterly superfluous nature of these charges - which effectively amount to a poor tax for chumps like yours truly. As Simon said last night, evil geniuses. I hate the way banks have the gall to actually crow when they’re not charging you for something too.

“We will not charge you for withdrawing money from this ATM”

Beamed an earnest HSBC cashpoint at me this morning. And? So you fucking shouldn’ cheeky, cheeky money hungry bitches. Honestly. Come the revolution...

Anyway Jules’s birfday at the Funky Munky (hate that name) tonight, so no doubt japes await me there.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Well, I wrote a blog post yesterday, but it is currently languishing in simple text format on the desktop of a Mac in central London, so I'll have to get it up later.

I currently don't have internet access at my yard, so have returned to one of my haunts of old, the Banjonet internet place on the Walworth road. It's not even an internet cafe as it doesn't serve food, and it's the very definition of no frills. The keyboard I'm typing this on feels like a car has reversed over it, and beneath each of the mice is a patch where the paint has worn through to the wood beneath. I actually find it faintly dismal here, but at least there's not some dude next to me blasting out Usher while watching porn, as has happened in the past.

Went to Julia's party at the Funky Munky last night, which was good fun, though mitigated somewhat by the fact that the Funky Munky sucks ass, through a flesh coloured straw.

In the past, we've put on nights there, and have been allowed to hire the top room for free, and get 10% at the bar. Now it costs £250 to hire a not especially large cold room, with knackered old decks on pillows, and a mixer whose power lead kept popping out. It looks like it was knocked up by McGuyver on a bad day.

They were even charging people going to the party at the door which takes the piss a bit, and the drinks aren't exactly cheap.

I was deejaying for the first hour and a half or so, and the second thing that really pissed me off was when of my friend Julia's mates mistook me for a gatecrasher, and said:

"Come on mate, don't be a knob, go downstairs"

Which pretty much left me speechless. I thought she was taking the piss at first (which, actually, she was, in a matter of speaking) but it dawned on me that she was being completely serious, and before I could concoct a cutting riposte, she turned 180 degrees in disgust.

Fair enough, there happened to be some townie who'd wandered in next to me, and I've only met her once before, but on that ocassion I did spend most of the night talking to her, and some of it getting off with her. So obviously I mustn't have been very memorable.

Anyway. Woke up today and went for a bite at the Jungle Grill for a veggie breakfast. After things I've read recently, I might steer clear of Rocksteady Eddies.

Off to Camden tonight, to the Lock Tavern. Going early to hopefully get a table. With any luck, they'll have dismantled the Krypton Factor-esque assault course of tables and chairs that make cat swinging impossible too.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pigeon Blog

I stumbled across this blog the other day, and was so taken I had to contribute an old pic (just under the merch).

Sunday, March 12, 2006


This week I was working out in Sawbridgeworth, in deepest darkest Hertfordshire, which was neither very deep or dark. It actually became a royal pain in the ass, as I had to get a bus, tube, then train to get there; a total of two hours travelling time.

It was sort of strange working in a little village, as living amongst the litter and pigeons in London tends to make you forget such places still exist.

I mentioned on someone elses blog how despite being assailed by a blanket of media hype surounding the Arctic Monkeys, I had as yet managed to avoid hearing them, with the prediction that the next time I worked in a studio where they played the radio I would be inevitably hearing it on heavy rotation.

This prophecy proved true, as the studio I was in had Radio One on constantly. I'd forgotten just how much the inane twittering of daytime radio jocks annoyed me, and this week was an unwelcome reminder. Flashbacks keep coming back to me: Jo Whiley talking to the Sugababes and complimenting them on how 'raw' their new tune is. Really Jo? which bit were you listening to? More needling yet is Roy Walker's guest spot on lardarse Chris Moyles show, but the most irritating of the lot have got to be JK and Joel, who used to terrorise Manchester with their spot on Key 103, have now been given the keys to the gun cabinet with their vastly annoying stint in the afternoon. They're basically the Chuckle Brothers of daytime radio, except less funny - a fact amply demonstrated by their tedious 'remix' sketch where they take an old tune and create a hi-energy dance version of it. It's infinitely worse than it sounds too, and serves as evidence of how music can actually function as a torture device.

Anyway. Other than that work was OK. There was too much of it on Friday for my liking however, and being the type of guy who's only recently graduated to chewing gum and walking, was less well managed than I'd ideally hope for. I prefer to know where I'm up to with everything, and have a manageable workload, or else nothing gets done very well - which I hate.

Saturday went for a curry at Clapham Tandoori, and then a 'polite' party afterwards in Clapham South. This meant music - (but not too loud) drinks (but no drunks) and a general absence of hotel trashing antics. Fun enough though I suppose.

Sunday was Round 2 of our interviews for a new flatmate, with two guys who were both really nice. I got outvoted over the one I prefered, but It doesn't really matter. In the end it was getting slightly irritating the amount people were vascillating about it. Just make a decision for fucks sake..

It was also St Patricks Day, so me and Ade's evening consisted of finding an Irish theme pub in the West End, drinking stout til we couldn't see, then passing out in the fountains at Trafalgar Square while wearing those krazy Guiness hats people wear on such ocassions.

Actually no, we just went to the Sun and Doves, where some girl group calleed Inside 65 were performing. They were pretty good too.

Monday, March 06, 2006


As Gridrunner carves up virgin snow like the new media playboy that he is, and DJ Phaze repopulates forest in Honduras, the Eye has somewhat more tedious things to get to grips with, such as repopulating his own flat; d-don't worry though, it's not because I've carved up virgins here.. or anything.

The beginning of the day was thus spent emailing people and placing ads online about the room, which is actually a bargain, and a very decent size. Being at the front of the house however, it also acts as something of a sounding board for rudebuoy's bass-bins as they thunder up Camberwell Church Street, or the quaking of buses at the stop outside, so I think I'm going to stick in my little broom cupboard in the attic.

It's elicited some response, but so far four of the five people who've expressed an interest have decided against it, two of them before even stepping inside. One let me know by text in the following shorthand: "Hey tom sorry2mess u around bvt i will have2postpone our meeting until i have a dEf moving dte.Sorry2have messed ubowt" *FINE* I don't think I'd want to live with such a sloppy texter anyway.
The girl we did meet tonight was really nice though.. and despite it being early days yet looking for people is starting to do my head in, so if she's interested, she can have it as far as I'm concerned.

Today was another example of just how brass-necked recruitment people can be. Someone from one of the agencies I signed up with late 2004 rang me up, a full seven or eight months after I last spoke to him, offering me some freelance out in - wait for it - Hertfordshire. It's a hike, but I might as well take it with nothing else on. Still, mission.

Anyway, I'm meeting up with a friend from Manchester who's down in London for training tomorrow, so that should be a larf if nothing else.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

And thou shalt know them by their iTunes playlist

Thursday and Friday I was in for my week overdue booking at an ad agency at the top of Dean street in Soho. It was with some good old boys who'd broken away from their old agency to form their own. Consequently it was quite a small operation, though very friendly, and quite old school. No huge framed glasses a la Morris Saatchi though.

They had music playing too, but it was almost 100% uncut 'dad rock' - think Fleetwood Mac, Eurythmics etc. Actually no bad thing, and I did feel a bit like I was in my dad's car on holiday in France circa the late eighties. There was also a bit of Frank Sinatra later on.. Three Coins in a Fountain anyone?

One of my jobs was to go trawling stock image libraries on t'internet for a picture to go on the front of a mailer, and the brief was to find a young 'fun' looking mum and kids on a beach. I found many pictures, mostly slightly rubbish, including various cheesed out american shots that looked dated to say the least, to lesbian couples and families that were, I suspect, too 'ethnic' for the middle-england-courting client. Ones featuring nude kids were also quite clearly off the agenda, unless I fancied jackbooted Sun sponsored stormtroopers kicking in my door in the dead of night and stringing me up from the nearest flagpole.

Which reminds me.. did anyone see this headline from my favourite tabloid. Very much in the vein of 'Brass Eye' I thought, only without the satire. I think personally the 'art direction' should have featured an artists impression of a paedo, in a spring heeled jack vein, photoshopped into a classroom (possibly with cross hairs over him).

Anyway. Caught up with some mates in Clapham for a couple o' beers in the evening, then totally failed to get a 35 home -instead walking all the way through Brixton to Camberwell in the freezing cold after I gave up hope of one ever coming.

Checked out the charity shops on the Walworth Road today, where I bought a book and a the SWV single 'right here' from 1993, which features Pharrel Williams rapping on the UK mix for about thirty seconds, and a remix by Lord Finesse, complete with trademark horns.

For some insanely annoying reason, my Last fm chart refuses to update on my mac at home, even when I refresh the page.. it doesn't do it on other computers though. Wierd.

Well, off to It's Bigger Than tonight. By myself though as my half my mates are on holiday at the minute.