Archive for March, 2007
Bank Crisis: Your questions answered.
Q. How does the BACS system work?
A. Joan comes in on Tuesday and types all the stuff into the keypad.
Q. Why has my salary not been paid into my bank account?
A. Our computer got a bit tired during the week. It’s Easter and it’s been going for about thirty years, what do you expect? Plus Joan has got a cold – OK?
Q. What does ‘BACS’ stand for?
A. It is a playful anagram of SCAB which originally stood for ‘SCam At Bank’. Over the years the meaning has gradually changed and now SCAB is popularly understood to stand for, ‘Soaring Charges And Bollocks.
Q. When will I get my money?
A. On Monday.
Q. Why not Saturday or Sunday?
A. Saturday and Sunday are not banking days.
Q. What does that mean?
A. Joan has her hair done on Saturday and goes to see her grandchildren on Sunday.
Q. Can I get cash at the weekend?
A. Maybe. Maybe not, sucker.
Q. That’s unacceptable.
A. Actually that’s British Banking.
Siralan is back. I hear he’s been de-bagged. Looks like the Amstrad Electric Face Prod may not have been up to the job after all. I wonder if that’s why Tim got Fyerd. That Margaret is a game old bird, what with her MySpace page n all.
Sicker than the average bear am I. Started with a a little frog in the throat. Presently a sodding great growling lizard in the gizzard with a nice redeyed waterfall feature a’la mucous on the side. Bleedin climate. Bleedin germs.
Cough – send drugs – cough.
Toyin Agbetu tells it like it is to Her Maj and the PM.
Apparently, the Queen ‘looked interested’. It was probably the most interesting thing that’s happened around her for a while. I think Mr Agbetu’s protest is a healthy sign. It’s still possible to shout the odds in the presence of the great and good – despite the high security CCTV anal probes installed in every ‘public’ building. How refreshing for TB to be told – “you should apologise”. How refreshing to hear Her Maj be told, “you should be ashamed”. What was that I was saying about freedom?
It’s 11pm BST (ie 10pm GMT). I’ve been awake since 6am BST (ie 5am GMT) thanks to some considerate building contractors across the road who obviously couldn’t sleep. I’m feeling like a zombie but where am I going to find one at this time of night?
Seriously though, I think this is the worst case of clocks-go-back lag I’ve ever experienced. I’ve realised in recent years that I get really rather ratty when I’m like this. Inconsiderate drivers, attitudinally challenged shop assistants and unsolicited knockers on doors all get the full nuclear treatment when I’m like this. Grrrr. Talking of which Ian Paisley has to have one of the loudest, most annoying voices in the history of the world. Imagine living with that voice for 50 years. I wonder if his wife is hearing impaired? He’s also got quite scary teeth. Is an 80 year old First Minister a good thing for Northern Ireland? I think not. Still progress is progress…
It was a gloriously warm afternoon. Bright and sunny. I ended up stuck inside in front of a computer – as you do. Still, a few days off are approaching. Now shall I
a. Do The Garden?
b. Do The Decorating?
c. Do the Business?
So many choices.
On the subject of banking. I’ve had an account with Smile for a while and I’ve noticed a major deterioration in their standards of service of late. I found out earlier that they are short staffed in their call centre by about twenty bods. This is a big problem because Smile is basically a call centre. Now I wonder why they are short staffed? Low pay? Low morale? Crap coffee in the canteen? Shortage of well toned pole dancers in the atrium? OK I need to get out more.
I’ve been watching The Trap for the past three weeks. The three films have given a sweeping critical overview of social and political theory during my lifetime. I’ve really welcomed the mental scaffold that film maker, Adam Curtis, has given. So many hunches and half understood concepts have fallen into place during my watching. I’ve been glued. My question below, “are you free?” has it’s roots in this. My understanding of freedom is necessarily influenced by the environment in which I’ve grown. My own answer to the question, after watching this stuff is, ‘probably not’. ‘The Trap’ should be compulsory viewing for all electors in ‘democratic’ states. It’s not often something you see on telly changes your world view. This did and the ideas, I believe, will remain with me for a long time.
Overview and episode summaries here.
..is the shiny glass-like cladding which gave so many art-deco buildings their hollywood glamour. It’s no longer made and this site belongs to a man who repairs such buildings. I found it fascinating.
Dress like a 1940s manual worker – you know you want to.
7.55am on March 20, 2003.
Key members of the British Cabinet gather outside the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street.
Rather than being told by the Prime Minister that the country was at war, they discuss how they learned news of the first American strikes in Iraq. It’s clear to those listening that they had little prior knowledge of the stikes. Gordon Brown heard it from the BBC World Service, Jack Straw from a policeman banging on his door, David Blunkett from Radio Five Live.
Standing drinking tea and coffee they wait while in a locked room behind them the ‘War Cabinet’ meeting is in progress. Tony Blair is being briefed by military and intelligence chiefs about the attack launched by President Bush a few hours earlier. The Prime Ministerâ€™s outer circle, gathered here, await news their faces showing the strain and lack of sleep.
The extraordinary image was taken by Nick Danziger who was given unprecedented access to Blair’s inner circle during the opening stages of the war. The Times Magazine commissioned Danziger and Peter Stothard to document the story and it was first published in The Times Magazine on 3 May 2003. Now an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery displays 24 of the Danziger shots in public for the first time. The room is small, the photographs are tense, charged images. They crackle with import and, viewed now with eyes inured to the open wounds of a wrecked country they stand as a lesson and extraordinary document of those times. If you are in London I highly recommend you go see. Somehow, seeing that sad confused little group brings home the fragility of power. For a moment they are in the dark, at the mercy of forces far greater than they or their boss really understand.
I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western seaâ€”and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us”.
St Patrick – Confessio
Just how Irish are you?
I qualified to ‘Wolfhound’ level.
Downpatrick – resting place of the Great Man
John Murphy has some excellent shots of Downpatrick, including some of St Patrick’s grave.