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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…

weight liftingI STARTED WHAT would be classified as bodybuilding about 3-4 months ago. I want to improve my physique and get fitter and stronger. But I’m not aiming to become some ‘roid ridden, sunbed using, oily muscle man posing in my trunks. I simply wanted to feel better and hopefully look better.

After nearly 4 months what have I learnt? What can I pass on to you?

Like anything in life lifting weights requires you to have some sort of aim or goal, otherwise you’ll dwindle and lose interest. Is it to get healthier? To look better for yourself/ partner/ potential partner? Any which way, you need to define and track your progress. That way you’ll have evidence of your exercise routine, there are numbers to show how you’ve improved, what your strengths and weaknesses are. I’m currently going through a review process – my motivation started to wane about a week ago, so I’m taking a 7-10 day break until I feel motivated again (already feeling the itch, metaphorical of course!). This is giving my body a break, my mind a break and allowing me to re-evaluate where I want to be in another 3 months. I initially I thought it was ‘cheating’ or being lazy or weak; even ill disciplined. Having read and listened to different sources on bodybuilding the consensus is that a break is a very positive thing. So do break.

What else? Choose a routine and stick to it for 4-6 weeks. Do not be afraid to change some elements of your routine. Routines become boring so if you don’t change aspects of it e.g. swapping out one exercise for a different one for the same bodypart then you will get bored and demotivated which is A) not necessary as you have alternatives and B) can really kill your enjoyment which will reduce your desire to lift.

Plan your workouts around your life. If you can’t exercise at night after work or studying, how about the morning? afternoon? This gives you the optimal chance to stick to a routine without making excuses.

Eat well, eat often. Keep your body fueled throughout the day with healthy foods and of course make sure you’re getting enough protein, without it muscle will not grow. A rough heuristic is per lb of bodyweight, eat 1g of protein. So 180lbs=180g of protein. This is difficult to through your food intake alone so pure protein powder like Pulsin is what you want – ideally there will be no additives. While on the subject of what you’re putting into your body, disregard all the bullshit supplements and steroids. Protein is THE main thing you need to get bigger alongside a healthy diet.

Make sure your workouts are at performed your maximum capacity. No on else will push you, the onus is on you alone, and only through exerting yourself and pushing the reps and weight during your set will you see improvements. However, don’t make the mistake of trying to lift too much – chances are you’ll only be able to do low reps. You’re better starting lighter and busting out 4 sets of 8 reps than 4 sets of 4-6 reps (unless you’re a powerlifter).

Don’t forget cardio! While gaining muscle doesn’t require cardio, being physically fit will boost your sessions and help keep your weight in check. Don’t overdo it though. If you’re busting out 1hour treadmill sessions on top of a 1hour weightlifting session then your body will need insanely good nutrition in order to simultaneously grow muscle.

A last word(s): get enough sleep! It helps your body recover and you’ll feel better in all aspects of your life. Remember the more you push your body the more your recovery matters.

Get fit, stay fit and enjoy it!

palestine israel death toll

WHILE WESTERN MEDIA has been broadcasting biased news coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict, they are neglecting (likely on purpose) to ever go into any detail as to why the conflict exists. Indeed this is isn’t a new trend, this has been going on for decades. Behind any war there is always history, whether recent or old, and although the full history would be too lengthy to discuss on a nightly news programme with limited broadcast time, there is another option – images! Such as the one below:

palestinian-loss-of-land-1946-2010

 

Regardless of your sympathies or allegiance, if any, toward Israel or Palestine, sadly the blueprint for today’s war is as a result of incredible short shortsightedness and almost incalculable stupidity. To even suggest a land be cut up and designated for another people from existing land owned by the inhabitants in the modern era is a recipe for fighting for generations. The fact that this has involved Israel and Palestine isn’t even of relevance. If you chopped Scotland up and divided it in order to provide a group of people with a ‘home’ because their spiritual home or whatever is within Scottish borders, I’ll guarantee this would upset many many people and would continue to do so for decades if not centuries.

The UN was in involved in creating the State of Israel in the 1940’s after World War II. You cannot whip up a new country where a country already exists and expect there to be peace and harmony, especially in a region like the Middle East that has always been volatile. A mad idea.

Palestine has every right to be angry at what happened. Their land was annexed and to this day continues to be the target of Israel who continuously bullies and bulldozes its way through Palestine settlements making Palestine even smaller day by day. Palestine is trapped in the equivalent of a trash compactor, the walls squeezing in on them bit by bit.

Religion obviously has a huge part to play in this bloody saga as Jewish Israel fights the values of Islam and radical Hamas. But this is beyond religion. Israel was handed land and continues to land grab sixty years after it was formed. Hamas fires rockets and Israel then bombards them back with heavy duty expensive military hardware, blitzing buildings and families. Death tolls are seldom accurately reported but it should be obvious to anyone with half a cerebellum that rockets don’t have anywhere near the destructive power of missiles or fighter jets.

The whole history of the conflict is another sad sad reminder of what human beings are capable of doing over and over and over again. History teaches us nothing, or so it seems. Jews obviously suffered hugely in WWII. Yet, you would think they would be the one people who would be the last to resort to war or fighting of any kind. But here we are seventy years later and Israel is showing all the signs of a brutal, remorseless and unsympathetic state. Thankfully people are beginning to realise that Israel is not the damsel in distress being hit by rockets, but that they themselves are behaving in a brutal fashion and have no regard for civilian lives of Palestinians. Add in all the harassment and feeling of entrapment for many Palestinians as well as fear of having their land taken away, and it’s really an amazing PR job by Israel and its associates to have generated Israeli sympathy for such a long time. Only recently does it seems there is any balance to the coverage of the war zone, at least on the internet.

Hopefully there will be a solution sooner rather than later. Knowing people’s capacity for violence rather than peace I can’t see an end in sight. In light of recent news it is also America’s war, as they are providing vast sums to help support Israel’s defence systems. Seems about right don’t you think? The UK was involved in creating Israel, with disastrous consequences, and the US is helping out in a war on foreign lands. Little changes.

It’s Feeding Time

Posted: July 12, 2014 in Rash Fiction

all work and no play makes jack a very dull boy

I HAVEN’T FED it in awhile
But it never starves
Like a rat scratching behind a wall
It’s presence is heard not seen.

Obsessions can be your fortune
Or a dangerous acquaintance
But either way,
You’ll sacrifice others, going upwards or down.

Yes, it’s feeding time, again
And I know what to do
For optimal growth
Feed an obsession an obsession.

fly

From a fly on the wall.
Overheard in a meeting at West n’ Yessum:

‘But their fingers aren’t long enough. That’s the problem. You need to make it smaller but not so small that adults can’t use them. That way we create a divergent market: for kids and adults.’The presentation stayed on the screen with a 3-D graph of projected market and profits in third world areas: the ‘Emerging Markets’.

There were ten people at the long table, naturally the CEO was at the head. All suited in the exact same designer as the CEO, because you know, it’s sure to lead to success. Mr. G. M. Brindle was his name. Nobody knew what the ‘G’ or ‘M’ stood for. He sat playing with a doll and replica gun as everyone else watched.’Well this doll hand isn’t realistic enough. I need real children. But then, are their fingers bigger than ours or smaller over there?’

A Mexican wave of raised eyebrows followed along with exchanges of the facial expression, ‘Do you know? I don’t know.’

‘I really don’t see any issues with the projected revenues,’ said Mr. Brindle putting the lifesize doll down and focusing on his executive notebook. ‘They look good – really good. My only concern – is the logistics – how are getting the guns to Africa? Are there risks we need to be aware of? Lloyd, look into it.’

Lloyd sat upright in his seat, nodding vigorously, clicking his silver Parker pen rapidly.

Mr. CEO sat back for a minute and stared out of the huge glass panel window. At least five minutes passed. His wide face didn’t change expression, he blinked liked a reptile – seldom. Then he raised his hands up in the position someone with an invisible gun would.

All the suits leaned in expectantly, intrigued and respectful. Their boss always surprised them.

‘Butts. Our normal rifles have big butts. Let’s make them adjustable.’

Without instruction Richard began sketching roughly on his notepad.

‘Let’s think pressure. What pressure are triggers normally set at in order to fire a shot? It should be easy, but safe!’

‘Adjustable pressure?’ chimed in Dennis.

‘Yes!’ exclaimed the boss becoming animated. ‘Exactly! I want a baby to be able to use one…well you know what I mean. I believe with the figures presented today and with a reasonable test phase we can have these guns on the market within a year.’ His face radiated pride. ‘So, who has children?’

Six people motioned that they did.

‘Great! Bring them in for a ‘work day’ and we’ll use them for testing.’

‘Boss, my kids are teenagers,’ said Dennis. ‘Nearly finished high school.’

‘My twins are six months..,’ added someone else.

‘Ok scrap that. Let’s offer some sort of Sunday Fun Day to a local school. There’ll be food, bouncy castles, all that kid stuff. And we’ll get them all to test out the prototypes and see how they fair. We could use ergonomics tables, 95th percentiles and all that but I want raw data – real feedback.’ His blue eyes shifted side to side, looking for feelers.

‘Err, there might be an issue with ethics and getting permission,’ fired Ivan curtly, the company’s lawyer.

‘Nonsense!’ Brindle looked incredulous. ‘We’ll wrap it all up like it’s a game. We test trigger pressure by adjusting guns for some fair game. We wrap it all up with a big family friendly bow, totally clandestine. No one needs to know. It’s beautiful.’ He picked up a full tumbler and drained the water before standing up. ‘Meeting adjourned, you know what to do. Plans by email on Monday.’

The rest of the suits remained seated as their CEO left the office buttoning up his jacket.

‘Well I have a question,’ said Dennis. ‘How do we get these to African warlords? Or to conflict zones in general? It’s not exactly well researched. And what percentage of their army are teenagers or younger?’

‘Yeah, exactly. I think my main concern is that children are potentially using these guns…’ piped up Vanessa, the sole female of the pack.

‘Potentially,’ murmured Richard.

‘..The safety of the new guns, if they are being used by kids, they need to be child-friendly. Instructions need to be really clear and simple. We need pictures; diagrams that break through any language barriers.’

Nodding and murmurs.

‘And let’s not forget, they should be comfortable to use without performance reductions. I’m thinking the brief should be that they ‘handle like a dream’ ,’ added Richard.

‘What do kids dream of?’ mumbled someone thinking aloud.

Suddenly, Dennis got out of his seat with a Financial Times rolled up, and walked up to the wall opposite me. Only then did I see one of my relatives on the wall, cleaning himself. 

Whack!

Just like that he was dead. These people were ruthless…All I could do was wait patiently on the ceiling for the door to open.