night bus edinburghI WAVE THE day ticket at the uninterested driver. For all he knows, it’s a piece of plain paper. The automaticity of his job, the rote part of the brain doesn’t register on the night bus. A home to silent humans, allowing the bumps and noises of the machine to be the soundtrack.
Looking space is highly sought after. Eye contact is strongly discouraged – don’t even look yourself in the reflection of the window, because there will be a set of eyes looking back that aren’t your own.  Cursed are the ones who have to sit facing all other eyes, feeling the watchers read their minds cover to cover.

The top deck is off limits to those over 30, a land where the lewd and ropey rule, alongside cans that roll from one end to the next every five minutes. UV light adds a sinister touch as if to say, shoot up by all means but not on here.

On top of all this you are forced to look outward at people who avoid the ignominy of public transport in extra shiny metal cars, content, calm and lost in their own heads or music. Stall you bastards! But no, they roll on, and roll on past. Home soon. Sickos.

A dodgy looking drunkard fails to materialise ruining the authenticity – a stereotypical passenger, who wants always, of all the empty seats, the one next to me. Only saggy grey haired people riding for free look happy – all others feel peeved, resentful of the bone life has thrown them. I must travel amidst others?! What kind of twisted hell is this? With fogged up windows and a days stale air. Madness!

Each stop piques the interest. Who’s getting on? Who’s getting off? New faceless people come and go, tickets get issued, passes get scanned. Meanwhile, everyone sits as far away as possible from another person depending on the combination available. Sometimes, someone has to sit next to another person they don’t know, an edge of the seat journey for them, desperately trying to avoid knocking a knee against them. And as soon as another seat becomes vacant they jump and lurch for freedom, for their own personal space, dumping a bag on the outside to prevent any unwanted raids, wanting to keep the inner circle free of stranger. I find, an empty packet of crisps and the hood up works a charm.

 

john crawford shot*Amended – because I got Michael Brown and John Crawford names mixed up. That’s how messed up this situation is, that I can make that mistake so easily. Guns don’t kill people, policemen do. 

BRAND NEW,

Feeling – brand new

A new purchase freshly scanned through.

 

Next to the car,

Sudden pain,

All asphalt and white lines

Car tyres.

A S.W.A.T team stand

Guns silent

But ultra violent,

As if being young,

And black

With a pellet  gun

Is the cue to saturate the hue.

50 Psi

Shouldn’t be anyone’s last memory

In the car park

In daylight or dark.

This,

is not one,

But many too many.

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A WOMAN, HALF leather, half low slung jeans does the cigarette shuffle, slowing briefly to light up before a puff of smoke appears above her dyed hair.

Loud talking in a serious tone approaches, louder with each pavement devouring brogue, every call a matter of utmost importance, unless of course it’s a family member. Cologne so expensive it smells cheap drowns all, emanating from his now already distant clean cut suit.

A young guy sporting his first facial fuzz and a lopsided cap leans cockily on a bus shelter peering expectantly up the road, drawing heavy on a rollie. He hasn’t watched a James Dean film but subconsciously he’s trying. A scrap of paper falls from his pocket as he finishes the dig for change. Is he picking it up when the street’s covered in litter anyway?

Two teenage girls walk side by side talking intently about the situation in Gaza; dissapointingly, through unintentional earwigging it becomes apparent it’s actually ‘Prada’. Primark bags dangle from their slender arms I guess they’re keeping a sweatshop worker in a job. One set of arm is fake tanned despite the summer heatwave. The way the sun strikes the arse of one of them, you can see the misaligned thong through the nylon leggings. It’s a barely forgivable misjudgement of the elasticity of fabric.

Pic to follow!

MY FIRST PROTEST in Edinburgh was a great experience. It was sad that the need to protest had arisen. The Israeli bombardment on Palestine is entirely unjustified and breaks numerous international conventions. As usual the UN is entirely ineffective, America is joined at the hip with Israel and the UK just stays quiet, trying to hide in the back row, shooting knowing winks at the US when it turns around. When genuine atrocities involving innocent people occur, Western countries have no care unless there is a natural resource to exploit, dictators like Mugabe stay in power for 0ver thirty years.

Back to the protest. It was about boycotting Israel as much as being pro-Palestine (NOT anti-Israel as the media will say). Was it peaceful? Entirely. Was there a diverse group of people? Yes. Did it get the message across? – sadly, no. Because none of the protests or rallies mean a dam thing to people in power; it’s a minor distraction, it’s not even a fly landing on their walnut desk, right next to the contract for heavy duty weaponry.

The reality is that protesting shows the discontent of citizens. Nothing else. Once upon a time in the West, protests led to revolutions at the extreme and change of some sort at the least. People had power, and we still do, but governments are now lapdogs to corporations who certainly don’t care about anyone other than a boardroom of grey haired men.

This post isn’t meant to come across as ‘anti-protest’. Joining hundreds of people for a common cause was great. Raising awareness of the injustice of Israel’s attacks on Palestine can only be a good thing. It is easy to be naïve in this era and think that politicians will jerk up out of their seats and do something good for people. There’s a genuine dire need for a top down change. Protesting can show public fury, but it doesn’t get rid of corrupt politics or war mongers and their friends.

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Thoughts and things from my analogue writing, a notepad and pen that is. Enjoy!

Short cuts, a long way,
To a slow death,
Drip, drip.

If you looked at the dog you saw fear. If you looked at the owner, cruelty. That’s respect enough for some people.

Forget a garden – they didn’t have the care for life to keep a cactus alive, as if living in their presence was a horrific prospect best answered in the most drastic manner possible; voluntary death.

Whoosh! Another spider was sucked up by the hoover nozzle.
‘This sure is a novel party Frank. And what an entrance!’

…In more local news,
A tightrope walker died today,
When they went offline due to a broadband disconnection.
In a nutshell, there was no net.

 

LEGEND’S – WHAT DO they conjure up in your mind? Who are they? What do they do? Everyone has hero’s, and legends are forged in every aspect of life. There are obvious, inescapable legends like Michael Jordan or David Attenborough, masters of their craft. There are poker legends like David Sklansky barely heard of outside of the game. There are legends of all kinds and I was fortunate enough to see the Sugar Hill Gang perform live about 10 feet away from me with Melle Mel (White Lines anyone?) supporting two of the original members.

Rappers delight albumWhy are the Sugar Hill Gang special? In 1979 their seminal hit Rapper’s Delight smashed open the door for future rap acts and was a huge international hit, the best selling 12″ rap vinyl to this very day. Nowadays they’d maybe be labelled as one hit wonders, but they dropped the biggest selling rap record!! EVER! So irrespective of anything that happened at the gig, it was going to be a privilege to see two of the original members (not sure what happened to the other guy) and Melle Mel, a legend in his own right.

After nearly going headlong into other cars down a one way street system in Glasgow during torential rain, as if the car I was driving was weeping ceaselessly, so hard was it to see outside the windscreen , Glasgow the city of fiendish road planning nearly delivered me and my girlfriend into A&E.

What about the gig? It was sold out and when the warm up act failed to materialise the main act appeared earlier than expected. They rocked through some 80’s hits, not their own, which gave it a slightly strange hip hop karaoke vibe until they did Apache and Rapper’s Delight.

It was a pleasure to be there and get the tickets signed. But the guys are in their 50’s, at the end of the show they looked tired. TheySugar hill Gang King Tuts
looked like they wanted to be somewhere else. It’s hard to keep the energy going. Luckily Melle Mel keep the place rocking with plenty of crowd interaction and on stage extroversion. In fact sadly, he stole the show with his energetic presence that never rested.

In the end it was well worth it. It just looked a little sad as the Sugar Hill Gang members looked low on confidence as if somehow they shouldn’t be there. That’s what time can do sometimes.

 

 

 

 

Are these guys even the original Sugar Hill Gang members? I can’t even be sure, this is the promo pic for the UK gigs.

sugar hill gang

advertising sharks

I WAS BRAND new. If you were observant you’d notice I still had a wrapper on.

The CEO took the entire board with him, they were away on some swanky golfing retreat complete with whiskies so old they had developed dementia and of course a selection-box of prostitutes. I can only assume at the last part. Those guys practically severed their fingers taking their wedding bands off at work.

I had been assured I would be briefed thoroughly before one of our regular clients arrived, one of the big fish who paid exorbitant fees for their ads, the type that made zero sense, all art-house, style and zero sales.
What I found was an email and a 32 second clip from CEO Mr. Malcolm Putner on a usb stick.
*direct to camera* distracted at various points, like he’s playing a game..
Hi…*long pause* I forget your name. You have one mission today while I’m trapped in a bunker. *smirk* I’m kidding, I never hit sand. You have to keep McLaren4 in suspense about the latest ad for them. Tease, but don’t show. Well that’s it. Fuck it up and you’re fired. *serious face*

The detail of my brief was refreshing. With all the information I’d been given I knew I’d be absolutely fine in my first week in an office environment like a baboons playground. Even the people you’d expect to be nice, who on first impression seemed like they had no right to be so assertive based on job role or ability, were horrible. They’d maybe been here a couple weeks longer and already they’d turned sour, as if lightning was striking twice – a day- and they were all made of milk.

At least I had my own office, in that a space was set aside for me. For some reason there was a ‘no blinds’ policy, rumour was there’d been some sexual harassment issues. I got to feel like a goldfish, except these pricks wouldn’t feed me anything unless it was poison. My phone rang. McLaren4 was here. I turned and looked into a small mirror on the back of the faux oak door. Tie straight, corners of the mouth free of food. ‘Would I lie to you?’ I mouthed looking straight into my bloodshot eyes.

After the usual handshakes and schmoozing I corralled Mr. Timson in our second best meeting room. Arnold was one of the main PR guys and was meant to be there too. After delaying as much as possible I had to start. All I knew about McLaren4 was what I could glean from an internet search. Did I know what the product was they were looking to sell? Did I hell.

‘So, Mr. Timson I understand you are growing anxious to see the latest shoot for your product. I can assure you that you will be delighted with what we have developed but we are adding the finishing touches as I speak. With the investment you have made in us, I can assure you your… ‘ Had an outside observer been listening in they’d have needed at least one sick bag.

Timson sat nodding, facing the window with views of another tower block, then turned. ‘I’m hearing all the right things, give me something else. How about…an actual preview of the finished ad? And why isn’t Putner here? He’s always here and I get champagne treatment.’ He swirled a tumbler of Perrier in disgust, yet continued to drink it.

‘I understand Mr. Timson. We hired one of the best directors and photographers for the shoot, so you know the finished product will be of a top quality standard and aesthetic in line with your brief. I can only apologise for the lack of champagne, and might I add cigars. Sadly there was a misunderstanding and the champagne that was ordered was not put on ice – I didn’t want to offer you an impostor instead of the real thing – secretaries…’

Somehow I managed to yak sugary nothings and multisyllabic words long enough to tire Mr.Timson out. He wanted a copy of the finished shoot yesterday, I promised him it within the week. For all I knew it wasn’t even being shot.

Later on I had a team meeting. There’s no ‘I’ in team but there is an ‘A’. We had to sit through reels of the months latest creations – it was like watching TV except your program never came on after the break. Naturally I drifted off. I seemed to enter some sort of parallel universe day dream. For every advert that vaguely registered on my conscious I created honest ones. Next thing I knew I was the head of the HAA: The Honest Ad Agency with the freshest copy…

The brand new Mercedes only available at your local dealer. Hurry! A one off special payment of £35,999 means you can drive a beautiful car away today.

After the glazed look from your neighbours? Do you need double glazing? Repeat after me, ‘I need double glazing.’ ‘I need double glazing’. Whether its your porch, basement, or soul we have the right glass for you!

ParcelSlug – delivering your items safely and securely. It’ll get there eventually.

1 out of 10 would not recommend our product.

Controversial but ethical pianos. Ivory. A renewable resource – fact!

13 percent of customers thought our product was pointless – can 87% be wrong?

New improved recipe! Admittedly, the previous recipe wasn’t very good.

Another pointless movie tie in, but look, shiny new packaging! With holograms! Kids fucking love them!

Pineapple: the beer of fruit juice. And the mistress will love it!

Why have plastic when you can have leather? It’s what the animals would want.

Self loathing snapped me back to reality. I realise I’d scribbled these thoughts down somewhat illegibly. Leaving this in the boardroom was either the worst or greatest thing I ever did.

Shortly after someone had read it and thought it was hilarious. Next thing you know it’s a staff email getting swapped about. Hard stares softened. People replied when I spoke – sometimes. The ivory idea was actually looked into: elephant farms, breeding and logistics. They were to a man and woman, too stupid to realise the humour pointed at them, poking with a sharp stick made from their horrific dead but money rich souls.

youtube cycleIT STARTS LIKE this: You think of a funny comedian or clip. You search and find it with ease. It is 12:35pm.

You do not stop watching clips of comedians for the next two to three hours. Before you know it, you think you too could be a comedian. And for the next week you think of hilarious jokes for your imaginary act at the Edinburgh Fringe – then it hits you – half of the funny ideas and one liners are actually versions of someones else’s joke that you heard earlier that week, but you can’t be sure! Either you have thought of something truly brilliant or rehashed someone else’s funny business. Cognitive dissonance like a bitch.

futuristic skyscraperONCE FAMILIAR CORRIDORS seemed different, as if the clanging of the fire alarm itself had changed the colour of walls and linoleum. Everything seemed claustrophobic, compounded by the loneliness I now felt as I ran down emergency lit stairwells. Strangely the elevator was still operational, but I wasn’t stupid enough to risk everything. Only when I rejected the gaping doors of the lift, did the prospect of death even enter my mind.

I was on floor 136 now and burst through a tough door into a hallway. Water. Where is the water cooler? I found one a short distance away and filled my body with as much as I could from shitty plastic cups. Then I heard a voice.

‘Hello! Hey! I thought I was the only one up here!’ said a voice belonging to a cleaner judging by clothing. The name badge read ‘Mike’. He was short and middle aged with a poorly trimmed goatee. ‘I’m Mike,’ he said as he approached.

‘Asha,’ I said shaking hands. After his initial animosity his face turned grave.

‘Why are you here?! You need to go. There’s no time for water. Don’t you know what happened?’

‘No..’ As I said this he scooted me away and ushered me back to the stairwell.

‘Run faster than you can my friend.’ Those were the last words I heard him speak as I stood in the stairway several steps down. Tears could be seen forming and abruptly he closed the door turning a key as well.

Confused and worried I bounded down fifteen more flights. Halfway through those the smell of smoke had begun to get stronger until now I stood panting, gasping for air through a makeshift mask made out of my t-shirt. Opening the door to the hallway engulfed me in a putrid smog. It was difficult to see anything, my eyes now stinging, forcing me to blink rapidly. Slamming the door shut I peered downwards and saw only smoke where steps should be.

To go down was suicide – death by smoke inhalation. To go upwards was to run from the inescapable problem. In that moment it hit me. I climbed jelly legged to the next floor above and crumpled to the concrete, away from the black air. Fire engines don’t reach this high up. Ladders aren’t long enough. I almost laughed.

Where next? asked my survival instincts. I was determined to make it back down one way or another.

 

wonga loans obsceneTHIS IS WHERE democracy and a free economy really fail. Well actually, more simply when regulation fails, a gaping blindspot for governments. In the shade of the recession caused by lack of regulation either by internal organisations or government, companies like Wonga and QuickQuid have sprung up (I’m sure you’ve noticed) and they advertise nationally predominantly on daytime TV – the unemployed audience. If nothing else they are infamous for their exorbitant interest rates. ‘1999%’ sounds like it should be the punchline to some bankers joke while enjoying an After Eight, but no, it is somehow legal for Wonga and their criminal counterparts to charge these kinds of interest rates despite there having been a government review into loans companies. And they used to be higher!!!

Apparently there is some sort of cap now in that if you borrow £1000 you will never have to pay back more than £2000, or double the initial loan amount. Previously even nominal amounts like £100 loans could grow almost unchecked into several thousands if repayments were not made. But the companies seem to have gotten around this pesky profits pitfall by offering extended credit loans with 1300%+ APR. Obscene.

The legality of all this is still debatable in that it shouldn’t be possible, especially for the targeted people with little income to easily take out a loan that they will frequently struggle to repay. And certainly these legal loan sharks are giving money to people who cannot afford repayments, just like banks were doing while inadvertently ruining RBS etc. with insanely inappropriate mortgages among other things.

These loans companies are profiteering parasites which have largely sprung up like plants after a desert recession-rain, targeting the very people who are least capable of managing their finances with guaranteed monster profits on the back of incredulously high interest rates. That’ll be just another option for debt slavery then…