Brum. What about it?

Am in Birmingham with the People’s Vote crew to protest at the Tory Party conference. The latter clusterfuckers have already shat themselves with their conference app that has given out the phone numbers and emails and more of all the MPs and journalists et al to do with the conference. Motherload data breach by the motherfuckers.

I’m here with 10 others from Newcastle and Darlington, a nice crew they seem, half male, female, from 19 years old to 50s. The young ‘un is doing a BTEC or the like in tourism – but Brexit hasn’t figured in the course, and she says she’s the only one in the room with any apparent awareness of its potential implications – everything from visa buggering about to a shot Pound (if not the ability to withdraw cash abroad) that’ll stop Brits going to Europe anyway – if they have a job, if there are planes flying – and so on. Even the tutors are like, ‘nah, let’s talk about something else.’

Holy clusterfucks, folks.

Our happy group, from Jesmond by minibus to here, are esconced in a bizarre, sprawling motel, my room is a double but it’s a maisonette, although there’s no window (it’s a large mirror in what was likely the window alcove) but there’s a window to the corridor. A TV with no remote. Creaky floorboards. A working fireplace … and yeah, the bathroom’s downstairs. I thought there was another room down there and some one would be sharing the room. The very chatty man in the Indian next door says it’s haunted, on top of being the shittest hotel in the UK. The camp chap at reception I suspect hears nothing else, all day, every day. I think it’s going to be one of those places that would normally get only 1 star on Tripadvisor but will be suspiciously bulked by 5 stars from stags and hens who don’t give a toss and just want a place to get shitfaced with impunity.

It was a very nice meal, though, bar the chap with no table manners – coughing without covering his mouth, eating with his mouth open, elbows high … the other thing is interesting, I’m obviously not drinking, but forget what it’s like being with folk who do, and it does become, you’re in the groove of the conversation, or not. They are lovely inclusive people! – but two or three beers in and I feel I’m somewhat in orbit.

Hey ho.


I have a slew of Brexit-related days out coming up, one done already down in Middlesbrough, which was nearly two-thirds in favour of Leave. Our half-dozen campaigners, a jolly mix of people from Newcastle and north Yorkshire, stood outside Debenhams for two hours this Saturday gone and vox-popped folk on how they thought Brexit was going. Four to one think it is, in short, a clusterfuck. And time and again we had those who came up, said they’d voted Leave, but now regretted it in light of new information. Not, they’d done it out of spite against the Tories when they knew better, or were so bored of it, no. They’d been misled and they were angry about that, or they knew people who’d been misled and who couldn’t talk about it out of shame. It is a travesty.

I got into a well-spirited debate with a trades unionist who wasn’t going to be persuaded, although he agreed it was a load of lies sold by Tories who’d only ever been in it for themselves, but his main beef was immigration overwhelming local resources, principally housing. In fact I was talking to a friend today who said the same thing, and that’s what it was for many, housing, that’s what it’s always been.

And now I think of it, of course, when did this really come about? In the mid-noughties, when house prices were heading into the strastosphere and I was doing my nut for not being on the housing ladder, the endless articles and TV shows and propaganda about home-owning, the money being thrown at it. I got my own place, an ex-council flat no less …. but what of the millions of others increasingly struggling to find anywhere even to rent? Certainly not the councils who’d sold so much stock over the years to enable to working class to become home-owners (and thereby middle-class, prosperous, no longer dependent on the community, maybe even come to vote Tory?) but hadn’t built anything like enough to replace them. And at the same time immigration began to increase dramatically, and those nominal working-class Labour-voters began to support the BNP.

I said at the time we had a real debt timebomb of over a trillion pounds, stacked against old bricks, and indeed it went bust in 2008, for which we got years of austerity which provoked enough voters to vote Leave just to stick it to Cameron – and not least because the EU hadn’t done them any good either way, so they think.

Throughout austerity those without homes still never got their bricks, while wages are augmented by foodbanks, festering an anger that has had to be directed at someone, somewhere.

Them over there in that house.

Was that the real timebomb?

Was the writing on the wall all the way back then?

Painting and decorating

I hate it, I hate it so. The paint dries, the sheen is uneven, there’s this ‘flashing’, while other parts are thin and need another coat and then there are lap lines, then you take off the tape and some paint’s seeped under, some of the tape is caught under the edge of the paint, some of the paint taped over has come off with the tape.

I hate it. I fucking hate it. I would hate to be a decorator almost as much as I’d hate to work in removals. Oh my Lord that would be torture, a life of backache and crushed toes and nipped fingers, hauling two-hundred-weight wardrobes up and down stairs.

Fuck that, man.

The none-too distant future

My studies as a paramedic are rolling around again. Holy Balls, what have I done? Not enough work … but I’ve picked up a few books, things are making sense. It’s interesting. I like it. Shit. I might just have to do this, Goddamn.

A few days ago in town I saw a crew treating a man for Spice, they’d got the pads on and an IGel down his throat, but he was breathing fairly normally, they weren’t bagging him, they were working swiftly but he flailed a couple of times, they got him on the stretcher and loaded up but didn’t move off, so even then it’s unlikely they suspected a major head injury from falling over.

Then earlier today I was coming back from a good 5-mile run and found a dog on the pavement, an old, fat dog that doesn’t get much exercise and is spoiled but not for being old, it’s cos its master/mistress is old too, and I took it back to its house, the back gate and back door open, no reply to knocking, me ‘hello?’, I thought ‘right this a nan-down, better investigate.’ Then this old dear appeared from the shed and was shocked to see me, but I explained I was worried the dog wasn’t supposed to be out and she was good with that. But I thought … yeah, what if she was down, and the DRCABCDE came back and so on.