Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A stumble on the stairs

Although I asked him not to laugh, the chap at the till in M&S at Leeds Station apparently couldn't stop himself when I answered his question about my finger. 'I tripped on the stairs', the first part of the answer went OK. But when I followed it up with 'all my weight landed on my right hand and I ended up with a chipped bone in my little finger (not, NHS 111 operator please note, my 'pinky'), the chuckle barrier broke. And when I finished by saying that just about everything in the known universe that I'd encountered since seemed magnetically attracted to the spot, well I don't know if he'll manage to finish his shift.
The break was diagnosed and dealt with by the staff at Calderdale Royal Hospital A&E, a department under threat of closure from shortsighted penny-pinching NHS beancounters. They must be resisted at all costs. Preferably given forced enemas by Linda the capable and friendly nurse practitioner who strapped up my finger hopefully administered in a public place, while an effigy of the excreable Hunt burns slowly in the background.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spooky, pop-pickers, spooky

Earlier this week, apopro nothing at all, Joe Dolce's 1981 novelty one-hit-wonder Shaddap You Face popped up in my mind. Such things happen at my age so I probably parked it somewhere in my cerebral cortex and carried on wondering what I'd gone upstairs for.
Now forward to this afternoon and I'm waiting to pay for petrol when the cashier, a man of my own age - who also happened to be listening to Tony Blackburn on the chart show, doing a rundown of the chart of this week in 1978, as I had before pulling into the petrol station, looks up and says that  TB had just said Midge Ure was on record as saying that Brian and Michael's Matchstick Men had kept Ultravox's Vienna off the number one slot.
'er no it didn't' I replied: 'it was Joe Dolce with...', and that's as far as I got-because the cashier finished the line for me by adding 'Shaddup You Face', or maybe he was addressing me directly for daring to contradict that colossus of pop, Tony Blackburn.
I checked when I got home, though. Ultravox didn't release Vienna until 1981 and it was Joe who deprived them of the number one slot,  not the cuddly Manchester folkies.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Neanderthal P E Teacher

Just heard my son's PE teacher call him by his surname, 'he always does that' my son replied when I asked if that was usual. The boy doesn't mind, but I do. Brought back unpleasant memories of my own school days, when teachers seemed to regard their pupils as lower life forms. Contrary to all expectations when I left school, I am a teacher myself, but I find respect and cooperation get far better results, and make for more harmonious learning environment then the one I was educated in.
Of course, it would have to be a PE teacher that brought this on; the sweaty trainer brigade never were at the forefront of academic life.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The joy of tumble dryer ownership

A friend complained that there tumble dryer was packing up after only a coup!e of years' use. When asked if she'd checked the filter she replied 'what filter?'. Can you imagine the sheer joy at peeling away all that compacted lint? Simple pleasures, but probably wasted on the filter ignorant....

Work experience?

15 year-old son's high school has declared that next week is work experience week for Year 10 (14-15 year-olds). In his case, this is to consist of visits to three universities. Parents were asked if they could arrange work placements, but only given a week to do so, and subject to the proviso that they were to take place within the LEA area, to cut down on traveling costs for teachers who needed to conduct risk assessments and supervise activities.
Would have thought uni visits were more appropriate to Years 12 and 13. On present showing, by time we reach that stage they'll tell them to stay home and watch day time TV in mornings in preparation for the real student experience.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Co-operative Group - time to show we really care.

In his satirical observation of 70s Northern life and social mores, Peter Tinniswood's Brandon family reflected the decline of traditional working class culture and the aspiration - as voiced by the upwardly-mobile but socially inept wife, Pat, to middle-class values. Most frequently expressed in her urging her hapless, and largely disinterested spouse, Brandon, to be a 'young executive'. Pat embodied much of that generation that would later embrace Thatcherite values of self-interest and later materialistic excess. The demands of the executive class have now 'evolved' into a demand for ever higher pay, without the justification of hard work or measurable success criteria that are accepted or understood by few outside the immediate 'charmed circle' at the top of an organisation. If Carter Brandon ever did climb the greasy pole to become an 'executive', he would now be one of those - like Euan Sutherland - who argue that high salaries and bonuses are justified merely on the basis of job title, without a corresponding increase in corporate value or profitability. News that the Co-operative Group now wants to award Sutherland with a pay and bonus and pension 'package' worth £3.66 million, with similar increases for the rest of the board, means that the final bastion of non-shareholder led endeavour on many of our high streets has now fallen victim to the prevailing, though ultimately illogical, business ideaology that management should be rewarded at levels that are out of all proportion to pay levels endured lower down in the organisation, but justified by remuneration committees on the basis that 'talent' has to be retained - even though there is no evidence of a demand for it elsewhere in the general employment market. Tinniswood's Brandon family books - A Touch of Daniel, Mog, Except You're a Bird and I Didn't Know You Cared were turned into a TV series by the BBC under the title of the final book - I Didn't Know You Cared: when it comes to the Co-op that title could prove to be highly prophetic - Co-op members should care, and show they do, by refusing to countenance the inexplicable rise of the 'executive' in an organisation that has hitherto prided itself on being led by them, not some mystical charmed circle remote from the shopfloor and answerable to the Stock Market, not the membership.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

London property rental prices - good for a laugh

Checked rents charged for residential property in Bloomsbury yesterday on way back from British Museum. Saw a 'studio' flat (one, not very big, room) for £750.00 per week. Laughed all the way to king's Cross. Who has that sort of cash to play with? Certainly not hotel and shop workers or museum staff which seemed to be only employment on offer. Time for a social housing revolution, methinks.