Friday, 15 July 2011

A disgusting incident where i let a burglar into my house.

This blog is being brought to you by personal experience. I know these kinds of blogs have tasted bad in the past but bear with me.

I've written previously that what I write is just a regurgitation of other more credible sources. This is no different, David Mitchell, all round funny guy and socio-politi-commentator, has written a column in The Observer about this before, but i can't find it any where on the Web so rather than link you to the real deal you're going to have to chow down on very primma donna ramblings that will be this blog.

Now, the theme, tone and imagery of this blog all meet at the nexus that is "hate". I am a hateful character, and while i have been trying to cut down on all the hate recently i am about to boil over like the raging furnace of hell where frankly the scourge of our story can rot.

In essence this began about 3:30 this afternoon (now being 4:45). A man knocked at the door. He looked very casually dressed and so i opened believing at first he was lost or a neighbour. In fact this is how he introduced himself. He was so-and-so, and suggested that i might have seen him dashing about the neighbourhood earlier today, in the naive belief that like most 19 year old's i spend all my day at the window people watching. He spoke about he was working in our community, which for a moment sounded like the charity work was going to benefit Drakes Drive. Anyway, after a confusing opening few lines it became clear he came here with rather criminal intentions, that was to steal some of my very limited money.

"Can i come in?", in the kindest possible way i said no, i have things to do and for some stupid reason i thought my killer line of rejection as that "my house is a mess", expecting "ooh no! i shant come in, wouldnt wont to tread and fall on an untidy'd shoe!"

"I understand, but do you have a flat surface i could just show you...[no]...i understand but surely you must have a table or something?". Perhaps out of pity i let the man in. I won't be making this mistake again. I was rather confident of my approach here, thinking like a Dragon from the Den i'll slay the poor fucker if his deal isnt quite up to par. Wrong again.

Well it all looks..well like a sham really. Poorly produced leaflets which i wasn't allowed to keep, because they dont produce leaflets to keep costs down. It wasnt until our final exchange did i actually see (when i asked) for their charity number.

After one leaflet i said very clearly that i don't what to sound rude or disinterested but im not going to be signing up to anything today, i don't have the money and that he should leave a leaflet or something i can show mother, although she is just as a tight as me. No dice. I sat through 4 more leaflets.

These poor people looked very happy with all the work being done by this charity. Now however i was become rather irate and uncomfortable with the conversation. It was about this point where the horrible reality set in that i had let a man i didn't know into my home and rub his dirty crotch all over my sofa. I wont talk to strangers mum no, but i'm gonna let them and take a pew!

"Right, now, again i don't want to sound rude because i like what you've shown me, but lets get down to business, what is it you want from me?" Out he produces a Direct Debit form. Just as i thought. Three times i said "no contracts" "no more signing up" "no". Three times he 'understood' and suggested that "£9 a month isn't much money, as a student you know this!" (I put the latter line in there so maybe a reader might be able to offer some kind of explanation as to why exactly, as a student, i should know it wasn't much money).

I then dished out what i believed to be the royal flush hand, our living conditions "Look, i'm not and as a family we aren't made of money, we live in an ex-council house as you can see, not very big and really, i can't afford it". His response "Don't tell me this, you've got to Xbox's i can see right there!". I was now fuming to pass judgement like that, how we got two of them is not his business, in fact i could have stole them! Looking back though it was a stupid hand to play, having said it i looked around the room to see as he said, two Xbox, 2 pairs of RayBans, a load of fancy books that arrived just today and our tickets from the British Grand Prix displayed gloriously like a medal of honour on our shelving unit!

Anyway, i reiterated the fact i wasn't going to be signing up by...standing up. This was my final hand. If it didn't work i felt i would just buckle and pay the man to leave. However, understanding now that i am a biggish man with a giant foot about ready kick him out the door, he stood and thanked me for my time and that maybe he'd pop back. "No thank you".

Now i understand the need for charity, but this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. Unfortunately i made the infantile mistake of letting him in. This kind of thing should not be allowed. I need to suggest who might succumb to giving money away they dont want to. It's charity but on a certain level it's almost criminal.

I'll leave you with the offering of pearls, my pearls of wisdom which i also said to the man. "If i could offer advice it would be this. I understand [somehow?] Direct Debit payments decrease administration costs, but what i want like many others is to just give some money. You said £8 would make that garden thing and why not just let people donate that money. Also you mentioned administration costs but you offer a monthly magazine that must surely carry a weighty price. Just get a coin collector and be done with it. You might make more money"

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Rob Lowe called it right

In a rather desperate attempt to improve my blogs ratings, I'm going to write a blog about a current news story, after it seems my last blogged bombed a bit for presumably not making much sense and also being a bit racist...

In the news this week was the News of the World and the various tapping shenanigans (I'm talking about phone tapping not "i'd tap that"). A host of celebrities over the last month have reportedly been hacked, then last week a rather more sickly affair in the tapping of Milly Dowler, a then kidnapped or missing or deceased 12 year old girl. Yesterday it emerged that Gordon Brown, ex. UK Prime Minister had been hacked.

For those who know me, i have been throwing around a quote around for a few weeks, never quite retelling it with the same Va-Va-Voom as Rob Lowe did in the West Wing where it is plucked from. Thanks to the Internet and Google here it is in all it's glory:

In the '20s and '30s it was the role of government. '50s and '60s it was civil rights. The next two decades are going to be privacy. I'm talking about the Internet. I'm talking about cell phones. I'm talking about health records and who's gay and who's not. And moreover, in a country born on the will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?
Interesting indeed. Even more so considering it will have been recorded into film in roughly 1998 perhaps even sooner, it's age however doesn't make it any less true.

In the West Wing he was referring to the scoop that White House officials were or are substance abuses. Compare this to a similar private information scoop in the real world and i'm thinking of the expenses scandal. Supposedly private information blown into public view as a result of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 coming into effect in '05. It is in the best interests, it is our right to know as a general public group, to know this information. Fine.

However i don't need to tell you this is different.

In an interview i watched this morning with Gordon Brown, he said that imagine that this personal information of his has been gained whilst in an office of Government, with the relatively tight security that comes with the job, and thus imagine what kind of information could be obtained about the regular citizen. He makes a good point. Just who might have been targeted?

Mother and my Great-Uncle were discussing yesterday that perhaps the various naughties played by the now defunct News of the World is just the start. Playing the role of scape-goat. Mother suggest it goes deeper. Newspapers have hacked more people. MPs and Celebs, Civilians and Civil Servants are not safe. How then do the Papers get their scoops and have an idea of who to "tap"?

A bent police force and crooked intelligence service might be the answer. I wont say much more in fear of being found on here and being tapped myself. It is an interesting point though. Hopefully an enquiry within Government will reveal some kind of underground or shady group of public officials supplying the media with this kind of scoop. A dodgy copper accepting a few hundred quid in return for personal information of a crook, public or public service-person. Intelligence officers giving tapes of private conversations in return for access to media and business barons? To be honest, things have seemed less far-fetched than this...especially so now. As suggested, it does go deeper than the NOTW.

Coming back to Rob Low again. The age of privacy. I have also called this the age of "green" but in the socio-economic-politics world we'll call this the age of privacy. Anything you say, do and think isnt secret nor safe. What you do is often broadcast on Facebook or what you do on you computer recorded into the vast wilderness that is the world wide web. I'll leave you with a final thought: be careful with the kind of Porn you watch, i can think of a few genres that are a bit taboo and might just come back to haunt you when you're the emperor or the king...because you know the News of the World Mk II will publish what kind of smut Prime Minister Organ/Graham watched when a horny young buck back in 2011....

Monday, 4 July 2011

"If a Russian man plays tennis, you know he is reasonably wealthy"

Yes, indeed interesting quote that in my title. Perhaps a little bit stereotypical or even prejudice on the Russians. I'll be honest i'm not sure which activity or characteristics would best sum up a Russian? Short back and sides for hair? Cold and menacing look? Oil drilling? Well Maria Sharapova is none of those things so maybe i need a new stereotype.

Anyway, it's been a while bloggers. I would now consider myself a global celebrity, so really i should keep my fans updated with my quite interesting and profound points of view. (Yes, i do appreciate the irony of the last sentence). It is hard to write about something other than myself. I have such an urge to blog something about me, my own life and what i do. But i'm not that interesting and frankly, I air most of my dirty laundry in public anyway so who needs a blog about it.

Right then, the quote. It's from a fictional book, 'Our Kind of Traitor' by John le Carré. While written as fiction i sense there is perhaps some truth in it. Not for the Russian people but for Tennis as a whole. Having played today, on to be honest some really awful sand-based astro-turf, i can kind of see why families and individuals would want to pay to play tennis, rather than used the courts i used today, as paid for by the fair residents of St Albans' Council Tax.

In fact last week a family friend spoke about how £250 to join Leverstock Green Tennis Club was actually a great deal for a family of four. Obviously it struck me as ridiculous amount of money. For starters there is a limited scope to its use, being the Summer and when it isn't raining. Second it is the kind of membership that is easy neglected, something you use once or twice and never really get full use of. Unless you are fully committed, it is similar to Gym membership, and might suffer a similar fate of membership cards tucked away under bank statements on the hall table or in Michael Mcintyre's man draw. Further, i know this family: the boys are keen footballers (I play with this man at the legendary Monday Night Football) and the girls keen dancers. Yes, they are the stereotype of stereotype happy families. So in all, where do you get the time.

Tennis then would appear to be reserved as a sport for the upper echelons of society: The rich, the famous and the stupid.

This gets me thinking. An ethos thrown around by sportsmen and woman is something along the line of sports "bring us together". In fact, i may be wrong, but this possibly could have been a slogan for the Olympic Games. Thinking about it, this is remarkably wrong.

Sport separates us in terms of interest and background. A common outlook is that Rugby players are posh while Football players are hoodlums. Tennis is for the rich, while baseball is played by kids from America with a bat, ball and 4 jumpers. Formula One for the Elite of engineering, business and management, while MotorCross and Speedway is there for "Mechanics or Distributors" (A quote from father in response to me asking "who actually watches speedway?).

Further, you have differences in ability. You're only allowed to join the club if you're fit enough. You can't join, you're too slow. Go away, you need a Tennis Racket to play Tennis!

Given some thought. Something that can bring people together can actually pull us further apart. No man would be punished for thinking a man pompous or rich for enjoying Polo. Whereas it is a gross prejudice to assume a Darts player a Larger lout.
The Olympics in 2012 was a chance for Britain to bring down the barriers to entry when it comes to professional sports of all varieties. People around the UK, with a once in a lifetime opportunity to see athletes. But, Seb Coe and Co. appeared to have balls'd it all up. Countless are left without tickets, while those with the purchasing power who could afford to apply for Hundreds have ended up with at,least a few. Well i hope those going enjoy the spectacle, amongst the aristocrats, businessmen, lawyers and doctors. Sip on Pims and chow down Prawn sandwiches for all i care.

I'll be watching from a distance on my 32" Plasma Tv....ooh how very "Rah".