Winter

Winter is coming. Am I ready? I’m a lot better placed than I was last year, but even so.

Demoralising as Hell is this Brexit clusterfuck that’s only months away. The extent of our government’s incompetence, its vile intransigence towards the Brits in Europe who are making their own groups of expertise to work out what the fuck to do, the criminal paucity of the direction to the hundreds of thousands of businesses and jobs already under threat here just for sheer want of knowing what they’re supposed to do, and the investments, and contracts lost because of that. The stress. All of it is just disgusting, by a government that fucked off on holiday, leaving the country teetering off a cliff like the ending of The Italian Job, and now May’s gone to Africa to cobble together interest among a few Commonwealth states with a combined GDP less than that of Scotland.

The woman responsible for Windrush is in South Africa patronising the locals with her adoration of Mandela for his dreams of living in a country devoid of any colour bar. She promises £4bn for jobs for the young there. She says a no-deal won’t be a big deal.

All at the behest of a criminal cabal of far-right asset strippers, JRM, Farage, Boston Consulting. They know what’s going to happen, they’re preparing to short the market and steam in with their vastl, untaxed gains from crashing the Pound to buy up and asset strip what’s left of industry. They simply do not care, they never did. Rees-Mogg is actually prepared to have inspections of people crossing the hard border into Ireland. Are the locals prepared to put up with that? No. The GFA will die and people will die with it. He’ll have a punt on that outcome riding somewhere.

I’ve not written about this in great length, spending too much time on Twitter arguing the toss with bots. But I know the view from abroad is bafflement, incomprehension, humour, the Berliners simply don’t get it at all. More anon …

They’ve abandoned a million Brits in Europe, they’ve left 3 million fine friends and family here in complete limbo with the outcome possibly being ‘you have no right to stay’, and being drummed out, some leaving children, by total thugs. How is this conscionable to be so derelict, so negligent, so vile, on any level?

So what do I do?

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Sunday

Had our relatively regular Sunday coffee at Costa in Blaydon, although every time we go I remember it takes weeks to get served.

Loads of fat people in Blaydon, and loads of people sitting in their cars in the Morrisons’ car park. Not sure what the appeal is of the latter, while I’m not making much of a link between the two phenomena. We had a scan through the Heil on Sunday where following on from the Genoa bridge collapse they thought it in the public interest / good to wind the readers by reporting on the UK being home to thousands of bridges all about to collapse. I thought this the other day, adding to my fear every time we go under a motorway bridge some bastard kid is going to drop a brick through the windscreen that levels my forehead at 70 mph. Then talked about how many people died in the Japanese tsunami of 2011, Dawn said 200, I said 10,000, in fact it was 15,000 but mostly in the earthquake, not the flood, still though the waves hitting Chile and Alaska, thanks to Japan’s inability to keep its earthquakes under control! (sorry I went Heil on Sunday there), plus an obscenely stupid piece by Toby Young that I must now daub with excrement in the most intellectual of ways.

A bridge expert said on the radio how a great deal of the major infrastructure in Italy built in the 60s and 70s could be compromised by the influence of the mafia, who demanding cuts here there and everywhere hack at the quality of the materials used, sub-spec stuff gets used, the quality stuff is diverted elsewhere (over and over and over). Everyone takes their cut. We see similar stuff in China and North Korea (the latter suffering sanctions as well, which is interesting because for such a police state you’d think graft was unthinkable, whereas it’s the black economy reality of the place, it wouldn’t survive without it).

I did an evening’s extra work the other night, Friday night, me and this other nice chap put on balaclavas and burst out the back of a van to abduct this very nice young actor, who was game considering he couldn’t see and we could have smashed his head and shins bundling him into the van. It was a proper shoot as well, a lot of kit quickly deployed for this back-alley scene where you’d more likely find Hartlepoolists fucking and vomming on a Friday night (hopefully not at the same time). Proper stunt coordinator doing high kicks (aged 57, he was chuffed to say), while giving us contrary instructions about our scene (I think to wreck the first take for the sake of an out-takes vid, seeing how funny everyone found it). The director was this seriously obese American who seemed nice enough, but there’s a definite heirarchy, as if only certain people get to speak at a certain volume. The big jokes and joshing is all their preserve, basically, everyone else is on full-scurry mode.

Sitting with the extras for a couple of hours, the chat was slow at first, and a lot of resorting to staring at our phones, but it turned the chap I abducted with was a driving instructor, the older chap who had his own kidnapping scene spent 30 years on oil rigs (and had his own consultancy in Aberdeen for years), this burly dude from London was a former fireman. Really interesting people. The guy playing our mafia boss was very nice, came over and introduced himself, a few anecdotes, he seemed canny.

My opposite then saw going to queue for food this young blonde who he was sure was a hit off Children’s BBC, as his kids watched the prog (and no doubt so did he too many times for his own liking) and so she was! Later as we got into the minibus to take us all to town for various scenes, she came and sat next to us on the bus, and he got out his phone and showed her a pic of his kids, saying they were fans of hers. ‘Oh right, great’, she said, then turned to her friend and they had the most scintillating conversation about planning a Doritos’ party some time.

God’s Teeth. All she had to say was ‘great! What are their names? Would you like a selfie with me to show them?’ Would have cost nothing to her, and meant everything to them, instead she’s bloody rude and up herself. The bus driver attested to this later, drivers always have the inside track on this kind of shit, said she was a diva who’d spend two hours in make-up. (I was in make-up and was done in five minutes!)

Interesting contrast, the people who are the extras, the nobodies in the background, have others lives they lead, real lives, and that’s what makes them interesting, whereas the star of the show is a know-nothing self-obsessed child.

SHUN THE NON BELIEVERS

UKIP is an EVIL CULT, based on BLIND FAITH in its appeal to the old and senile for a return to PARADISE LOST, CASTING OUT the non-believers, a cult fomented by HATE PREACHERS Farage and Robinson, directed by the EVIL AYATOLLAH BANNON from his cave in Washington.

Goddamn

Beeped hello at the local racist as I drove past him walking his dog, or hobbling with his dog as he has a walking stick that he brandished aloft in response to my beep, only then I thought he could fall over, which I might remember for next time I beep him.

Our neighbours’ van for their co-owned business is still in the back lane. They must be at home, on a working day. They must be AT IT.

Then I see Crawcrook’s angriest tiler doing a paint job on Doreen’s iron fence. Maybe I should remind him to keep his temper, but conclude this might set him off. He is unstable after all. I choose to leave him be, and for that, I am grateful to my own better judgement.

Queue out the fucking door at the pie-shop, where I’d gone to get my ration plus some black pudding  for the hounds, cos some old bat won’t stop nattering with the Womble-butcher, even then she forgets half her order so has to biddy back in ‘owwo wow wowo wow, biddy biddy biddy’ bollockery. What was the name of that helmet-headed robot off Buck Rogers, who is so alike Theresa May?

Point being, you’d think people circling the drain like this might spend their last days doing something better than pottering, not even pottering, faffing as if it’s a fine art. The end of the line is well and truly in sight, those buffers you see just ahead, you’re piling straight into them and it’s a one-sided collision, trust me, so all those incredible things you’ve put off, better get on it.

That said, maybe they’re all artists at heart and this semi-professional biddying/pottering/faffing is a prolonged piece of performance art.

Not that prolonged, mind. *ROFLCOPTER.

Just realised something else. I’ve got a load of work come in, editing, a bit of writing, an evening as an extra in Hartlepool, adds up to £1,200. Great. But this is averaged over weeks, months. It’s shit. I’m sick of being poor. I fucking hate being poor. Twelve years ago I was on, all things considered, over £40k – at the time. What the Hell did I spend it on? Where’s all my money gone? How the fuck do I get by now? Well shove it, frankly.

MISSION: I’m going to fuck off out of here and earn a stack doing great things. No biddy in a pie-shop will dare hold me up.

 

Painting

Everyone’s painting at the mo. Bill opposite is painting his back gate, what colour he doesn’t know as he’s colour blind, ‘mint green’ I told him, for what it’s worth, while that also galvanised me to put the undercoat on our back gate, a repaint that I’d put off for a while knowing the bastard at No. 7 would very likely dawb it with shit or something (they did as well, the infamous Shitgate, which got me waving down a police car to have them stop me go over and smash his face in). He and his poisonous alchie wife have since moved out, even taking their door number off their backgate when they moved. Did they take the light bulbs and floorboards as well?

Anyway, back to neighbourhood gate painting, and most spectacularly, the Finnish woman over the road and her bloke have spent days creosoting their 50-yard-long fence. Well, creosote colour, real creosote is hard to come by. Hughie has a secret supplier but it comes at a cost of several pounds a gallon, he’s told me. Creosote must rank with petrol and Swarfega for top shed smells. Ben the mechanic told me everyone who comes to the garage, they get a niff of Swarfega and get all excited as it throws them back to childhood Saturdays, with dad doing something DIY-ey.

Painting the Finn’s fence near black (she’s called Rikka, does she talk like Raikonnen, who talks like Key-op off Battle of the Planets?) reminded me of the episode of Huckleberry Finn when Aunt Polly demanded Tom whitewash their back fence, which he finds a deadly bore of a chore, but somehow enough passers-by thought it fun enough to want to have a go, which he allowed on commission of nickels, apples, a comic and wotnot, and they get it done in double-time for which Aunt Polly rewarded him all the more. Still funny 40 years later. I told Bill about this, then lo, an hour later, I saw him standing there as Helen Stupid from two doors down helped paint that gate – not sure what he got her to bribe him with though. Swarfega, painting fences, such things that do it for people.

The people opposite the front of the house, also recently painted their front gate, and so carefully rebuilt the fence, painting that plank by plank before assembly to ensure there was paint even where no-one could see. For such fastidiousness, the shame is the fence they’ve built looks OK only cos the paint’s fresh, but will shortly look very cack indeed. It is very DIY. They also had an interesting dilemma as horizontal planks from the neighbour’s fence crossed onto their side, with an ever so slightly different shade of green (see pics below). Would they leave the planks, paint them half-way, or paint full across? Someone suggested they paint half the planks but horizontally, which would be great. In the end they painted the next door gate and all the fence the same colour. Which is kind of cool of them, but in another way they must have gone to their neighbours’ and made some case for how it’d look better, i.e. currently it looks shit and most options to remedy it would look shit, too, except the option of the neighbour allowing them to paint his/her gate and fence their colour, which is both rude and expansionist.

Don’t know if I’d want to live next to people like that.

Glad I live opposite. Much easier for them to see me twitch my curtains at them.

It is curious how one person painting a gate could provoke so many others to do so, as I said to Bill, I’d been meaning to finish the back gate but was only spurred on to do so by him doing it, too.

Curiously, too, observed Her Indoors, we all live in the line, the fence annexers, us, Bill, then Rikka Raikkonen. A lay line? Curiously enough, I remember from a few years ago the story of a motorway in Germany where there was one particular black spot, accident after accident, and it didn’t matter what they did, speed restrictions, warning signs, alterations to the road, they kept happening, until a druid approached the authorities and said the road cut straight through some confluence of lay lines and too much energy was confounded on either side, but he had a solution, place quartz pillars either side and allow the energy to cross. What the Hell, thought the Big Guns, we’ve smashed up the kitchen enough times, might as well throw the sink. And … it worked.

Was zum Teufel.

Ha! Found it, from the days when The Telegraph was a proper paper and didn’t illustrate commemorations of the Battle of Britain with Luftwaffe propaganda photos (see earlier blog).

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/austria/1438473/Druids-cut-death-toll-with-divine-intervention.html

*Austria, not Germany. Ach.

Those aggressive Montenegrens

I was in Montenegro earlier this year, end of April, stopped off in Podgorica for one night then on to Kotor for one night. It was sunny and warm, while the flight to the capital we passed over many mountains still heavily cloaked in snow, and it looked like an amazing landscape for hiking and skiing.

There was a handful of small to medium sized jet at the capital airport, with proper farm tractors on hand to shunt them about. To get into town, with no Metro, train nor even a regular bus, you have to get a taxi, and I was picked up by the very nice young man I’d booked online before coming, who offered to take me to scenic spots around the city.

To be blunt, in Podgorica itself, there really isn’t a lot a to do. At my perfectly serviceable hotel, at which I was the only guest, one site I was pointed to was a clock tower up the road, so going via a very cheap cake shop I went and had a look, I found out the time, then strolled a few hundred yards to the bus station to buy my ticket to Kotor (again, cheap), the station itself was an interesting brutalist building, with an overhanging roof of curled up concrete, then I investigated a derelict hacienda-style building – a prison? – next to the station.

I stopped off back at the hotel, and learned some dialect off the staff as we watched local TV, which was all folk songs, then trundled into town, crossing the cable bridge over the shallow, lazy Moraca river, people hanging out on the stepped ravine and slopes of grass going down to the water, then on to the town centre, a non-descript square where folks milled back and forth or relaxed by its fountain.

That was it. The whole city had the ambience and charm of a sprawling, crusty cafe, a mosque here, a pretty church there, a large grey concrete government buildings and flats from the Yugoslavia days . Nice enough as a base to explore landscape sites around the area, a lake, waterfall, beautiful valley and a monastery, all most easily done on private tours, then move on. For a capital city, it makes Bratislava look like Hamburg. And the people were all chilled, and friendly, and most notably, not aggressive at all.

It’s a conspiracy

My trainers seem to have an bottomless stash of small stones to release under my feet, doesn’t matter how many times I take them off, bash them on a fence and see something fall out, another interloper appears seconds after putting them back on, like there’s some malevolent hamster’s cheek pouch within, deftly releasing these tiny mines to hinder my journey, a constant foray of Maquis attacks on my Panzer division as it proceeds home.

I’m sure there’s a Greek myth of someone being punished by the Gods with stones in their shoes. There’s one about a guy having to roll dice for ever with a small pot that has no bottom. And the bloke pushing the rock up the hill that rolls down again. Pretty unpleasant as deities go, for all the hanging around they do on chaise longue, eating grapes in Doric-columned gazebos surrounded by cloud, playing chess, watching the Mortals through the water of a bird bath. Why don’t they do nice shit?

Fucking Hotmail shit. I’ve been locked out of my Hotmail account for hours now, and they’ve blocked me again, seeking to filch email addresses and subject headings out of me by way of verification – which I don’t know because I’m not in the fucking email and I don’t carry this shit in my head, while the Microsoft site for shit like this says ‘send an email.’ You wankers. I used Hotmail more these days since Yahoo! went wank, and they did that in the teeth of so many complaints, people saying the meddling had bust up a working system.

Fucking dickheads. It’s a conspiracy, as my father might say.