Friday, 31 July 2009
The plan went to shit when I was made redundant, and since then the future has been too uncertain to make any plan, any aspirations, all put on hold. My self-esteem has gone through the floor. I spend days gazing blankly at job vacancies that require qualifications and experience that I don't have.
I think back to what went wrong, how and why. How did I end up being unemployable?
I could have sworn I was a productive and intelligent member of the human race, but compared to the hundred other applicants for every job, I am a non-person.
My Housing Benefit has been cut, which salves my soul slightly cos I was uncomfortable getting handouts from the state. My Job Seeker's Allowance is gone too, I've reached the end of my contributions based benefits, so now I have no income at all. My car needs a handful of fixes to pass its MOT and my rent is due next week.
I read blogs and blogs about how the UK's going down the pan, and there's nothing I can do about it, I can't even pay for my own existance.
I just wanted to slave away all day, building manufacturing databases, making production just a little bit easier, adding value to a pile of components, making stuff that people want and would pay honest money for. I just wanted to be able to come home from work, and put on Project Gotham Racing and race round cities I used to wander round five years ago.
This morning I harvested my potatos
- Mark Reckons has a final push for votes in the Total Politics thing
- Charles Crawford ponders what to do with failed states
- PJC on how Andre Power lost and what this means to us all
- Capitalists@Work covers unemployment around the Olympics
- Teh Adam Smith Institute on those who foresaw the recession
- Ambush Predator on the descent of wind power
- Obo the Clown on the un-British British ID card design
- SpyBlog suggests how to use ID cards to kill British citizens
- Rob rambles on about the end of Moores law or not
- Tim Worstall rips into Naomi Klein
- UK Housing Bubble is uncomfortable with rising house prices
- Pocketbooks are back from Indietracks
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Total vacancies in the UKHere's your regular graph showing how many job vacancies are listed on reed.co.uk, The Guardian's Jobs pages and the Job Centre Plus. I'm using a rolling seven day average to smooth out weekends where no new jobs are posted.410,050Up 2.18% from last week
Up 2.33% from last month
Up 7.02% from last quarter
Its a bit odd, both the Guardian and Reed have had declining numbers of job vacancies listed for the past six weeks, whilst Job Centre Plus have been increasing the numbers of jobs they have. What does it mean, what does it mean? Is it the type of job? The sectors of the employment sphere that each agency covers? The sort of jobs listed at the Job Centre are increasing and the sort of jobs advertised in The Guardian decreasing? Who'd have thought?
If only I could somehow scrap the number of jobs listed on GumTree, how eye-opening that would be, but alas they break it up regional.
Based on Gordon Brown saying there was 500,000 job vacancies in PMQs back in February, we can look at how the number of vacancies on the job sites have varied and we extrapolate it up to a total figure of monthly averages for vacancies in the UK.
If that graph is too prickly for you, here's one with just monthly averages.
Thats it for this week's UK job vacancies update.
Still no jobs for me, bah, etc.
- Devil's Kitchen doesn't want smaller Mars Bars
- Leg Iron explains that obesity isn't a disease
- Ambush Predator finds that obesity is just a tickbox
- Raedwald tears apart Mandelson's fantasy on social mobility
- BBC reports on the Baby P remake
- Tim Worstall is glad people are paid to recycle
- Anna Raccoon reports on Tory Polico getting dingied by the tory press office
- The Adam Smith Institute shares it's views on subsidised housing
- The Tax Payer's Alliance on how to kill entrepeneurship
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
I like videoing bands when I'm there, I pride myself on using a three year old cheap digital camera and free software to edit the video. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to have videos online quickly and adequately, before people with more professional kit, and get higher viewing figures too. I have no formal training in film-making, but I harbour a suspicion that the experience I have in doing this sort of thing, is worth far more than spending thousands learning it at a college or uni.
For this year's Indietracks I have made and uploaded several videos, depending on how much time you have on your hands for watching music festival video clips.
- 1.5 minute whizz through
- 3 minute whizz through
- 7.5 minute summary
- Full length part 1 (10 minutes)
- Full length part 2 (8 minutes)
- The Smittens performing What Do We Do Now
- Indietracks 2008 in 1.5 minutes - 497 views
- Indietracks 2008 in 3 minutes - 775 views
- Indietracks 2008 in 7 minutes - 1,021 views
I'm not sure how the copyright stands on recording bands playing live, if any bands have any issues with it, I'll remove all trace of their existance from my videos and any of my websites, no great loss.
The backstory is that Camden Council are currently trying to sell off some of its housing stock, whilst at the same time some groups are demanding that the council stop the selling off and build more council housing. A lot of the current housing stock is uninhabitable and needs repairs and upgrading.
An interesting thing that I scribbled was:-
Last year the council only just managed to repair and renovate 100 properties, whilst in the 1930s they were able to build 600 new properties from scratch in a year.How can this be so?
Are we not wealthier and more skilled now?
Here's a pie chart I've knocked up, I've made up all the proportions myself.
I think I could be in the minority of people at the meeting in how I think the various factors are significant. Everyone was right, but how you divvy up the various factors is different.
For one, although building new houses costs money, Camden has a surplus of £80 million, and have neatly demonstrated that they're capable of spending it on hiring assistant directors with overblown salaries. I don't think that campaigning for more money to be extracted from taxpayers will be very significant in helping bring about the end result of more newly built council houses.
I think the biggest stumbling block now, compared to the 1930s, is planning permissions and health and safety and accessability regulations. They take up a load of time and effort and lawyers and experts on paperwork, before anything actually happens.
Sure, if the 'Political will' issue is resolved, somehow a whole raft of pro-house building councillors are elected, then they could ride rough shod over any planning restrictions and legalities, and reassign money from other areas of the council, but it's a difficult one to tackle. You gotta convince people to change their minds, to vote for other candidates than whoever they usually do.
- Tim Worstall explains climate change models in simple terms
- Charles Crawford talks about the European Union
- Capitalists at work mentions a UK manufacturing success
- Defense of the Realm is still covering the lack of choppers in Afghanistan
- PJC reflects on the double figure vote for LPUK in NoriNor
- Craig Murray runs into a bailiff
- Open Europe on the government claiming it hasn't time to do a decent job
- Raedwald agrees with The Guardian
- Obo Teh Clown on Pensioner Poverty action now froth
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Rose Elinor Dougall - part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Rose Elinor Dougall - part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Sucrette - part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Sucrette - part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Fitness Forever - Vacanze a Settembre - Recorded by Seekatube
Fitness Forever - Monica - Recorded by Seekatube
Camera Obscura - Recorded by eolrindebara
La Casa Azul - Love is in the air - Recorded by Astrid Wiezell
La Casa Azul - Love is in the air - Recorded by BethW
La Casa Azul - part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
La Casa Azul - part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
La Casa Azul - Recorded by BethW
Downdime - part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Downdime - part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Friends - Recorded by eolrindebara
Mighty Mighty - Recorded by eolrindebara
Mighty Might - Built Like a Car - Recorded by MightyMightyC86
One Happy Island - Mothball - Recorded by Erkicman
Butcher Boy - Recorded by eolrindebara
Cats on Fire - part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Cats on Fire - part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Cats on Fire - part 3 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Cats on Fire - Recorded by Follanegraz
Cats on Fire - Fabric - Recorded by Pop Til you Drop
Cats on Fire - I am the White-Mantled King - Recorded by Pop Til You Drop
Cats on Fire - Your Woman (White Town cover) - Recorded by Seekatube
Cats on Fire - Mesmer and Reason - Recorded by Follanegraz
The Rocky Nest - Recorded by eolrindebara
Kevin McGrother - part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Kevin McGrother - part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Kevin McGrother - part 3 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Kevin McGrother - part 4 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Kevin McGrother - part 5 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Kevin McGrother - part 6 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Kevin McGrother - part 7 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Lets Whisper - When you were eating ice cream - Recorded by Nick Vestberg
Lets Whisper - One Hundred Roses - Recorded by Rob Sterowski
Roy Moller - Ticket to Ride - Recorded by Cunard Yank
Roy Moller - Pretty Flamingo - Recorded by Cunard Yank
Roy Moller - Why Not Your Baby - Recorded by Cunnard Yank
Roy Moller - Six Degrees - Recorded by Cunanrd Yank
Roy Moller - Brother Love - Recorded by Cunnard Yank
Roy Moller - Goodnight Everyone - Recorded by Cunnard Yank
Roy Moller - Great Wall of China - Recorded by Cunnard Yank
How Does It Feel - recorded by HDIF
David Pope and Colin Clary - What Do We Do Now? - Recorded by Nick Vestberg
Indietracks 2009 - Recorded by Damo1177
Cola Jet Set - Recorded by eolrindebara
The School - Recorded by SimonLove
The School - Recorded by eolrindebara
The School - Valentine - Recorded by TheAlexH
Nick Garrie - Twilight - Recorded by TheAlexH
Lucky Soul - White Russian Doll and Up in Flames - Recorded by TheAlexH
Lucky Soul - Recorded by Seekatube
BMX Bandits - Recorded by eolrindebara
BMX Bandits - I wanna fall in Love - Recorded by TheAlexH
Stereo Total - Wir tanzen im 4-Eck - Recorded by Lars Frodo
Stereo Total - Recorded by Jacki Scene
Stereo Total - Recorded by Starshaped 1
Cooper - Recorded by Follanegraz
Cooper - i - Recorded by NeonPike
Cooper - ii - Recorded by NeonPike
Teenage Fanclub - Baby Lee - Recorded by Follanegraz
Teenage Fanclub - Baby Lee - Recorded by TheAlexH
Teenage Fanclub - He'd be a Diamond and Neil Jung - Recorded by TheAlexH
Teenage Fanclub - Recorded by Follanegraz
Teenage Fanclub - Recorded by eolrindebara
Teenage Fanclub - Recorded by MillionsLikeUs
Zipper - Part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Zipper - Part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Zipper - Part 3 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Eux Autres - Part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Eux Autres - Part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Eux Autres - Part 3 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Northern Portrait - part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Northern Portrait - part 3 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Northern Portrait - part 4 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Northern Portrait - i - Recorded by NeonPike
Northern Portrait - ii - Recorded by NeonPike
Northern Portrait - iii - Recorded by NeonPike
Northern Portrait - An Empty Hotel - Recorded by Seekatube
The Smittens - What Do We Do Now - Recorded by Chris Gilmour
The Smittens - Part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
The Smittens - part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Pocketbooks - part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Pocketbooks - part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Pocketbooks - part 3 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Pocketbooks - Cross the Line - Recorded by Seekatube
Disasteradio - i - Recorded by NeonPike
Disasteradio - ii - Recorded by NeonPike
Help Stamp Out Loneliness - Part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Help Stamp Out Loneliness - Part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Art Brut - DC Comics make me want to rock out - Recorded by Nick Vestberg
Art Brut - Formed a Band - Recorded by Psycho Dave 0
The Understudies - Chip Pan Glam - Recorded by MellowDoubt2009
Helene - i - Recorded by NeonPike
Helene - ii - Recorded by NeonPike
Le man avec les lunettes - Lunch Boy - Recorded by MattB83
Le man avec les lunettes - Lunch Boy - Recorded by Seekatube
Le man avec les lunettes - The Dogsitter - Recorded by Seekatube
Le man avec les lunettes - Apple - Recorded by Seekatube
Countryside - i - Recorded by NeonPike
Countryside - ii - Recorded by NeonPike
Hong Kong in the 60s - Footsteps - Recorded by AnorakHighStreet
The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut - Hey Dr Beeching - Recorded by Crystalball
Gordon McIntyre - I gave up my eyes - Recorded by TheAlexH
Gordon McIntyre - Part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Gordon McIntyre - Part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Gordon McIntyre - Part 3 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Dunno what day
Talulah Gosh - Beatnik Boy - recorded by HDIF
The Medusa Snare - Recorded by mganothernumber
Recorded over many days
Last Night From Glasgow Indie Eyespy - Part 1 - Recorded by Chris Gilmour
Last Night From Glasgow Indie Eyespy - Part 2 - Recorded by Chris Gilmour
Indietracks 2009 - Recorded by Sigmund Fridge
If there's any videos I've missed or song titles I dunno, feel free to leave a comment.
Sunday, 26 July 2009
Its kind of terrifying the number of pubs that have closed since last year. Between Ripley and Swanick I could five out of eight pubs are boarded up or for sale.
How did we come to this?
Pubs are going the same way as petrol stations. So many abandoned and derelict sites at the side of the road. The overhead canopy slowly rotting, company branding removed, leaving just shadows. Aye, petrol=bad, its an evil fossil fuel poisoning our environment. But each of these derelict petrol stations used to employ half a dozen people, their livelihoods, a pint of milk in the middle of the night, and now they're no more.
Pubs are going the same way. Buildings to be explained away to children as something that there used to be more of.
Like the way kids don't quite understand how there used to be a butchers on every high street (replaced centralised distribution in supermarkets) or record shops in every town (replaced by transient digital media). But with pubs it hasn't been techology or distribution that closed them, just legislation and taxes.
Friday, 24 July 2009
I'll figure out the scores later, but this is my tally so far.
*Lynsey from The Flying Duck
*Trev Odd Box
*Techno Alice from Arthur and Martha
*Emma from Pocketbooks
*Orlando Bloom (well it looked like him)
*The tall one from the Corporate Juggernaut
*The drummer from Pocketbooks et al
*Colin the other Colin
*Pete Green from The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut
*Ray off of the internet
*Crystal Ball from Spiral Scratch
*Swedish Chris from Smile and a Ribbon
*The girl from Cherryade and University Challenge
*Andrew photoy chap
*Aw man that video guy from last year
*Nat from Indietracks
*Liz from The School
*String Bean Jen off of bowlie
*David Just Joan
*Doug Just Joan
*The Happy Island chap
*The other Smitten
*One of the Wake the President clones
*The tall one from the Smittens
*The other one from Moustache of Insanity
*Magic Tea off of Bowlie
*Alan Carr (well it looked like him)
*Duncan from Autumn Store
*JamieC off of bowlie
*Jens Lars Frodo
*Jens Lars Frodo's attractive female companion
*Thingi from White Town
*The guys from possibly Horowitz
*The bass chap from Language of Flowers
*The other one from Language of Flowers
*The main guy from the Roadside Poppies
Triple bonus points for photies of all these people.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
The Foundry in Shoreditch is under threat from developers who want to turn it into a '4-star Art'otel'. The hotel development, we are told, would include shops, an art gallery, an art cinema, a spa and a restaurant, all accessible to the public. There would also be a 'sky garden' and restaurant on the top floor.Can't say I've ever been there, maybe I never will now.
Attractive as this may sound, it would involve bulldozing the current bar and artspace, set up some time ago by Bill Drummond from the KLF, which is a second home to many of the dirty art school skanks who frequent the area.
It would only be the most stone-hearted almost-East Londoner who wouldn't feel a pang of anxiety at the news that the latest move in the area's gentrification is afoot, so the announcement has already spawned the inevitable Facebook group, and is bound to bring out the usual collection of Middle Aged British Artists and local campaigners in force to defend it.
It's a shame that something which is so obviously not about the money could be replaced by something so transparently commercial. Maybe if Drummond hadn't burned that million quid it wouldn't have to be this way.
- Spectator's Coffeehouse talks about Open Left
- Tim Worstall rummages through their archives
- Rantin Rab on the levels stooped to to score political points
- Raedwald covers the recent rioting in France that the MSM missed
- Liberal Conspiracy tears apart a Norwich North BNP flyer
- Some chap from The Guardian blogs about a day wandering about NoriNoth
- Craig Murray find out who's been taking down LibDem posters in NoriNoth
- Old Holborn discovers the police being overgenerous with their powers in Norwich
- Ambush Predator reports on new police powers for the Olympics
- Obo the Clown doesn't like people going through his rubbish
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
- The Guardian reports on a woman arrested for filming her boyf being searched
- Burning Our Money covers the latest social mobility paper
- Tim Worstall puts changes in social mobility down to changes in marriage age
- Paul Waugh reports on the unelected chap in charge of the country
- Ambush Predator on how the state tries to kill kids in schools
- Junkfood Science covers healthcare spending priorities
- Old Holborn has a brief summary of the Norwich North byelection
- Charlotte Gore ruminates on LPUK in Norwich and the nature of winning elections
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Now, although the word 'Bank' appears in the title, there's no actual money involved. Oh no. That's all gone. Instead, this is:There are great clouds of doubt in my head about my theory here, I can almost here Tastyzine berating me, but theory goes like this..."part of the Government’s comprehensive approach to tackling the recession and is designed to ‘share the talent' between the private, public and third sector"Developed by the Prime Minister's Council on Social Action (who?), The National Talent Bank will:"act as an intermediary between companies, who are reducing their working hours, frontline volunteering opportunities, and third sector organisations who are best placed to deploy this newly-available talent into effective use in the community."Unless CF is missing the point, this is just a fucking devious way of saying that the unfortunately newly unemployed (as opposed to the vast numbers of long term, career unemployed) will be able to - instead of squandering their time looking for another fucking job - be of value to the economy and end the recession for ever by doing - what? - voluntary work.
At the same time, the companies who've tried to lay off people to reduce costs will be able to carry on paying those costs while receiving less or even no fucking work from the people they wanted to fire.
The minimum wage makes it not worth employing anyone who's labour isn't worth £5.73 per hour. Say your business is strawberry picking, anyone who picks less than £5.73 of strawberries per hour is causing the business to make a loss, and so can't be employed unless the company somehow has great reserves of money.
But now with Gordon Brown pushing volunteer work, it drives down the cost of labour. Instead of having a target of £5.73 worth of strawberries to pick an hour to keep your job, a strawberry picking company could let go their entire workforce and just use volunteers. No matter how hard the paid employee works, and how much his labour is worth, there is a government supplied pool of free labour available. So if the company is strapped for cash, even the hardest workers are disposable.
Me, being unemployed, I spend a lot of time fruitlessly searching for work, and get talked into signing up to volunteery things. I see the volunteering opportunities listed and it scares me a little.
Designing a website is a bit of a skilled job, its possible to earn a hundred or so quid designing websites for shops and companies who don't have the skills to do it themselves. But on these volunteering websites there are organisations seeking a volunteer to design their website.
So, its devaluing the task.
Admittedly there are some weird conflicts in my head. I like doing things for free, I like the whole google/youtube/facebook/twitter/open office thing of it being free, you get the service for no money. But is that the same thing as volunteering, doing a job that would be worth £200 for a professional, for free?
Look, its here in Gordon Brown's spiel:-
“The Government will do all it can to support this very British tradition, and National Talent Bank will make it easier for people with valuable skills to volunteer and put their abilities to good use.”If the skills are valuable, then why is the government reducing the value to nil, to voluntary?
Its releasing the pressure from the wrong side. One of the reasons companies are making people redundant is cos they don't have enough money to pay the people doing the work. What this National Talent Bank thing does is reduce the amount of money the companies need to pay the people doing the work, less money flows out of the company to the employees. The government should be doing things to reduce the amount of money flowing out of the company in other directions, material costs, taxes, time wasted on red tape.
I could be wrong.
- Burning Our Money on how we're ruled by incompetants
- Future Radio has an interview with the LPUK candidate for Norwich North
- EU Referendum reports on global cooling which might annoy Al Gore
- Londonist reports on a school with over a hundred CCTV cameras
- Also from the Londonist, London Underground's wasting of energy
- The Burlesque Women's Institute plans to march on Camden at the end of July
- Ambush Predator on how schools defend bullies
- Bishop Hill queries some DCSF expenditure
- Englishman's Castle reports on the Treasury's accounts being crap
- This Observer covers Government spending on advertising
- Disobeying the Whip reports on the EU blocking a nomination to Budgetary Committee
- This week's BritBlog Roundup at Redemption Blues
Monday, 20 July 2009
Its nice that they let me know these things, and I think its nice that they get to chose the rate of interest they charge, HSBC are great.
I file away the letter, and stumble upon the equivalent letter from last year which has the same overdraft limit, but a year ago the interest rates charged were 17.35% and 18.8%
So its gone up by just over 1%.
Which I find is a little odd. The Bank of England's base rate is currently 0.5% and a year ago it was 5.0%
So how come the base rate has gone down 4.5%, but what I'm paying has gone up?
Does not compute.
My idea is last.fm for clothes!!!
Is that not a work of genius?
Last.fm is this website that tracks what music you listen to, it lists all your favourite artists and tracks, and recommends similar artists and you can look up what other people are listening to and join groups of fans and now you can stream music for free from last.fm and buy tickets and get regular email updates and all the usual social media sorts of things.
My idea for last.fm for clothes (or wardro.be as I'd call it if someone else hadn't alread parked the url) would be the same sort of thing. The first page for newbies would say "What are you wearing today?" and and on the left you click through different options.
And for each full outfit you do, you can tag it, like 'work', 'goth', 'wedding', 'twee', 'incorrectly labelled twee'.
And its all so much fun that once you've done what you're wearing today, you had scurry away to your wardrobe and drawers and the go through and add all the clothes you own. And they it 'll do its database magic and say which celebrities your fashion tastes most closely match, or who you fashion buddies would be in the world.
And the the next day when you visit the site, and enter what you're wearing you can click from your own wardrobe, and it'll suggest what other people wear, or what matches based on some 'pants stealing gnome' algorithm, and if you click through, it'll have a wee stylised picture of what you could be looking like.
See last.fm is only for people who listen to music, but everyone in the office wears clothes. Heck, you don't even have to do yourself, you can map the girl sitting next to you, and then use wardro.be to say "I think some red shoes would really match that outfit you're wearing".
The gimps who run the website will spend hours and hours adding the clothes of whoever's in the gossip mags each week, building up profiles of celebs. Fashionists can check to see what the latest fashions are. My ma can check if I need any socks, and if I do, which ones will most likely fit my tastes. Gok Wan sponsorship to recommend you try different combinations you've never thought of before.
Advertisers can buy ads for specific types of clothes wearing people. Affiliate linky people let users of wardro.be click through to buy the clothes they most need.
Stats enthusiasts could see who owns the most shoes or the most band t-shirts or the complete range of levi jeans. Marks and Sparks could upload their barcode database, so you can just scan instead of click
So on the back end of things, you've got
- one table many columned for items of clothing
- one table for who owns which clothes
- one table for who wore what combinations when and what tags they have
But it could work, it could be bigger than last.fm.
So if any computery folk read this and think its great and make it happen and end up being millionaires based on my idea, can you buy me an X-Box 360, cheers.
- Capitalists@work on how the army in Afghanistan needs spare parts more than new helicopters
- EUReferendum has another subcontracted helicopter downed in Afghanistan
- Ambush Predator on the police helping to make children cry
- Booker reports on the state destroying a family
- This This wants the Conservatives to shrink the size of the state rather than increase taxes
- Raedwald hates the Lake District National Park Authority
- Captain Ranty writes about filthy lucre, that is dishonest money
- I feel I ought to point him in the direction of GoldMoney for something more honest
- Rob's Blog spends more time jousting with Richard Murphy
- Craig Murray is getting more optimistic about Norwich North
- Old Holborn has a first hand account of the Benefits Trap
- Bishop Hill takes a look at companies funded by the government
- Their Contempt for you Is Total on this critic of the film AntiChrist
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Earlier in the week my brother had mentioned that there was a cake making cotest at a flower show near where he stays and as there was a cagetory for cakes made by man, we ought to enter.
I made a victoria sponge, but in the absense of two cake tins the same size, and areading the recipe properly, I made a very thin stepped victoria sandwich.
I tried to build up the height with loads of jam in the filling layer and a thick blanket of icing sugar dusted over the top.
There are still run-up to Indietracks gigs going on that I just have to go to, so, still on Friday night, I headed into town to the Betsey Trotwood to see Lets Whisper, 'Allo Darlin' and Sweet Baboo.
I arrived just a wee bit too late, missed Lets Whisper, but with a nice place to stand to see 'Allo Darlin'.
They do make jolly nice music, beautiful and innocent and stuff.
Just before I wrote this blogpost, I was on iTunes, buying their latest EP, Henry Rollins Don't Dance.
I didn't really know what to expect with Sweet Baboo, but was pleasant surprised, I think they could be a tightly rehearsed comedy act rather than an indiepop group.
As with Allo Darlin, I was on iTunes buying up a couple of their tracks too, but I gotta say, I preferred them live to them recorded. The MP3s seem to have lost much of the character they had on stage.
So, aye, I race back home, look at train times to get to the Essex coastal village where my brother lives by 9am on Saturday morning, figure I'm going to have to get up at 6am to do it, and then I go to bed.
My neighbours were having a bit of a row at 3am. I think the chap hates his job and thinks the girl, who wasn't shouting so loud, has ruined his life. Its possible I guess. Maybe he was just stressed. Aw man, there've been times in my life when I've felt as exasperated as he sounded, but I've survived, and most of my baggage was lost on the way. It was difficult at times, but now I'm unemployed and have a beautiful young ladyfriend who I bicker with constantly, but I don't blame her for any of my problems.
Anyhoo, so I slept through my 6am alarm, woke at 7am and decided the only way to make it on time was to drive.
We managed to get our entries to the various contests entered in time. My brother's victoria sandwich looked far more victoria sandwichish than mine, but I tried not to worry about it.
Whilst the neice was at her Saturday morning dance class, my frere and I were at a driving range. He's perfected the technique of making the ball go vertical, I'm still struggling with hitting the ball at all.
A few hours later we reassembled at the Southminster Flower Show to check out how we did in the competition.
I'm proud of my attempt, but it didn't look much like the other entries in the viccy sandwich by man category.
The neice didn't do much better in her colouring in competition but to be fair, she was up against 4 1/2 year olds and she's only 3 1/2. That extra twelve months is probably when kids develope their colouring in skills. Next year the trophy will be her's.
However, the sister-in-law, she came second in the brownie contest, her's were marvellously gooey. I think that's the secret to great brownies, the ones you get in supermarkets are always too dry, they have no soul.
The rest of the flower show was nice, the flowers a little boring to me, but the horticultural tent was packed with wonders.
and the hog roast stall looked lovely, but we gave it a miss.
Glorious sunshine all round, old people and young people all enjoying themselves. Ooh, it was great, I felt so English.
Fell asleep as soon as I got home.
More photies from the Southminster Flower Show 2009
More photies from the Sweet Baboo and Allo Darlin gig at the Betsey Trotwood
Friday, 17 July 2009
Total vacancies in the UK 404,941Here's your regular graph showing how many job vacancies are listed on reed.co.uk, The Guardian's Jobs pages and the Job Centre Plus. I'm using a rolling seven day average to smooth out weekends where no new jobs are posted.
Up 0.78% from last week
Down 0.33% from last month
Up 1.00% from last quarter
Except for a drop at the start of each month Job CentrePlus is increasing the number of jobs listed consistently since Budget day in April, whilst Reed is just steady and Guardian has been slowly declining since I started tracking their figures a month ago.
Based on Gordon Brown saying there was 500,000 job vacancies in PMQs back in February, we can look at how the number of vacancies on the job sites have varied and we extrapolate it up to a total figure of monthly averages for vacancies in the UK.
Elsewhere on the bloggysphere Stumbling and Mumbling has it that as well as the number of unemployed people increasing, there are 5.4 million frustrated workers out there.
If we add these together, there are 5.4 million frustrated workers - those who’d like to work more than they are actually doing. This is equivalent to 17.3% - more than one-in-six - of the labour force.And my graphs here show that his final point is correct
What’s striking here is that this measure has always been high. Even at the height of the boom, there were almost 4 million frustrated workers - equivalent to 13.5% of the workforce.
Our biggest economic problem is a lack of jobs for those who want them, not the fact that some people don’t want to work.I was wandering the other day what is the most effective way of creating jobs. Like the government do lots of different things that 'create jobs', but which methods are the most effective? Does spending £1billion on new aircraft carriers create as many jobs as reducing employers National Insurance contribution by the same amount, or raising the income tax threshold, so people have some fraction more disposable income.
Where's there a cost-benefit analysis where job creation is the crucial benefit rather than a cost? And would such a thing innately be inverse to wealth creation?
Quote of the day comes from Charlotte "remind me why on earth is she in the LibDems?" Gore, and is just a couple of paragraphs from an article stuffed with quotable bits.And moments later I stumble over to Open Europe to read this...I do actually remember the days when I’d say, “The Government should stop people from doing X” and think, you know, the people who want to do X? They’re scum, aren’t they? Who cares what they think? Sure a lot of people won’t like it, but the greater good will be served.Quite so. One of the themes that I have been advocating over the last year or so—both here and in my occasional public speaking—is that what those in power really do is to apply their own personal morals onto those who may not share said prejudices.
I used to think like that. Over time, however, as I found myself more and more in the ‘X’ category at the hands of this Government, I began to become more and more uneasy about this sort of thing. Who am I to impose anything on anyone? What if I’m wrong? The reasoning that you had to be a bit fascist if you wanted to be properly liberal stopped making sense. The best way to fight fascism is to promote liberalism, and that means using liberalism as your weapon of choice.
Birgitta Ohlsson of the Swedish Liberal party, a member of her country’s coalition government, has launched a campaign for the right to have an abortion to be considered a human right in all EU member states.Its pretty much the same deal, someone else trying to enforcing their morals on in this case a whole nation. The more you pass sovereignty up the chain, the more likely your own morals and preferences will be trampled on. And the more often your find yourself facing conflicting laws and statutes and saying "I didn't vote for this..."
Called www.makenoiseforfreechoice.eu it plans to obtain the 1 million signatures required for its demands to be considered by the European Commission under the terms of the “citizens’ initiative” proposed under the Lisbon Treaty.
The website says that countries like Ireland, Malta and Poland are denying women their human rights by banning abortion and that the women of Europe can “no longer be ignored”.
It says: "It is time for the EU to secure the right to free, safe and legal abortions and render it a human right."
Clearly, the organisers of the campaign don't feel at all put off by the so-called 'guarantees' offered to Ireland at last month's summit - which stressed that the Lisbon Treaty will in no way threaten Ireland's laws on abortion.
- Boing Boing has a picture of what high mpg cars actually look like
- Coffeehouse on Human Rights Watch jumping the shark
- Ambush Predator covers dumbing down of GCSEs
- Englishman's Castle on pissing money on 2012
- Capitalists@Work have a neat piece on the government's hopeful Energy Policy
- Mark Wadsworth points out an intersting bit on the BBC Housing Benefit scroungers story
- The way Towards Mutual Benefit and Libertarian Alliance are arguing reminds me of socialists
- Letters from Limbo pisses on Ecotricity
- Old Holborne rather lovingly causes trouble for those who reckon they have nothing to fear if they have nothing to hide
Thursday, 16 July 2009
- Samizdata on why we don't go to the moon no more
- Open Europe on to whom the EU parliament is handing out medal
- Ambush Predator covers the extortionate rent of benches from councils
- Devil's Kitchen is back and fisks a LabourList piece
- The Adam Smith Institute with a story of debt repayment
- Old Holborn covers the report of a tall chap arrested for photography
- Guido updates on the Sunlight Centre's fundraising exploits
- Everyone knows that Martin Dockrell of ASH is a liar
- The Daily Telegraph reports on some science fiction novel by John Wyndham
- The Times exposes some lies about the number of 'green job's to be created
- LPUK draws parallels between Afghanistan helicopter crashed and Mel Gibson
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
So, Friday I get the phonecall and email from TFTA, god knows where they got my CV from, I've been spunking it out all over the internet for months, but hey, they want me.
It was only a few minutes before the interview today that I bothered checking them up on t'internet, google lead me to this helpful blogpost:-
Yesterday I received a call from The Financial Training Academy asking me whether I was looking for a job. They claimed that I needed no experience and that they would train me up to be a mortgage consultant. Sounding more than a little fishy, but being the hopeful graduate that I am, I organised a meeting for the next day at their supposed office at 4 Frederick’s Place, Old Jewery, Bank. On the phone, they offer you training and what seems to be the offer of a job lined up at the end. However, after a cursory google of their company and glimpse of their site, I discovered that it was a scam. They set up fake interviews and promise you false job posts.I shrugged and walked in anyway.
I smiled, filled in the forms, signing whatever's put in front of me, notice the herds of attractive young ladies who worked there at the TFTA office at 4 Frederick's Place, off Old Jewry, near Bank Station in The City of London. I scribbled in my pocketbook that this seems to be the office for several similarly named companies:-
- The Financial Recruitment Academy
- The Financial Training Academy
- The Business Development Academy
- The Technology Recruitment Academy
- The Technology Training Academy
- Academies International
- The Vocational Training Academy
I can't help but feel that £12,000 is an awful lot of money that I don't have right now and would rather not be saddled with such a debt, I'm going to have to phone up and cancel all this.
Scam.com has a bit of a write up about the organisation, saying its the same mob who were covered in this Guardian article.
I'm not saying that any of Academies International's activities are a scam, it could be a very effective way to skill yourself up to a high level that's worth paying £9,000 for, and the guarantee of a job at the end of it well, under the current ecomonic climate, it might be worth it.
Although I wonder what that guarantee entails, do you get your money back if there's no job? Or do they just default and give you a job themselves? Going by the testimonials on the website, written by the people who actually work there, the answer is probably
I tried looking into what jobs were on offer, the woman in the interview, just said they were with "some very big companies," which sounds great, that's the sort of company I want to work for, very big ones. But without any actual company names to go on, I took to the internet.
This piece from the Mortgage Introducer looked promising.
Sadly Premier Network Group went into liquidation in May, so its not that promising.
Premier Network Group (PNG) has entered into a partnership with The Financial Training Academy (TFTA) to help bolster the mortgage sector.
PNG will be working with the Academy to help mould its training systems so that students are equipped with the most relevant skills to deal with today's evolving market place.
Homph, I understand there's a website out there for reviewing educational establishments and training facilities, there was some news story about how it was just used by schoolkids for abusing their teachers, but I think in this instance, it would be a little useful for validating whether £12,000 is good value for the service provided.
Here's the best of what I trudged throught his morning:-
- Burning our Money is annoyed with spending increasing amounts of money on the M25
- Craig Murray is still moaning about being ignored by the BBC in Norwich North
- Although Iain Dale reckons Craig has some of his facts wrong
- The BBC reports unemployment is up (I reported job vacancies are level here)
- UK Bubble covers counter-intuitive inflation changes
- Rob's Blog has a bit about the rash of Libertarian blog posts in response to the fascist Richard Murphy
- Tim Worstall on the markup for assisted suicide
- The Times reports on new biofuel development from ExxonMobil
- LPUK wonders if anyone cares that the European Parliament has a new head
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
These are posts that have caught my interest this morning
Charlotte Gore on Fascism in Teh Guardian
Old Holborn has the video of a chap arrested after two minutes of Free Speech
Englishman's Castle on more windfarms, could be cheap
Ambush Predator is annoyed with Gravesend Council
Capitalists@Work covers military helicopter procurement
Burning Our Money covers UK dimishing defense spending
The MOD are bringing kit back from Iraq
UK Bubble snipes at the Labour government's effect on Personal Indebtedness
Tim Worstall gets shirty with the Charity Commission
Mark Wadworth on lowing income tax to raise rents to bring back McDonalds
Obsidian's World covers the new mafia wars in the North West
Monday, 13 July 2009
Its going to take me ages, but could be quite rewarding.
Bands with videos on YouTube
Au Revoir Simone
Cats On Fire
Cola Jet Set
Emmy The Great
- I am an Indie Pirate and will Scuttle Ye
- I lost you but I found country music
- Donald in the Bushes with a Bag of Glue
Le Man Avec Les Lunettes
The Lovely Eggs
The Manhattan Love Suicides
The Rocky Nest
Rose Elinor Dougall
Wake The President
Bands I haven't found videos for
The Frank And Walters
Help Stamp Out Loneliness
Hong Kong In The 60s
King Of Cats
La Casa Azul
The Marshmallow Kisses
Moustache Of Insanity
One Happy Island
The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut
Poppy And Friends
Ray Rumours and the No-Eyed Dears
The Specific Heats
Any better offers of videos cheerfully accepted, its going to take me ages to get all the bands.
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Interesting enough, they get their information from Hays. Regular readers of this blog will know that I get most of my job vacancy data from reed.co.uk who are a little bit more open about the number of vacancies in each sector.
So, lets take a look at how each of The Telegraph's sectors have performed.
1. Health and social careI don't really see any signs that the sector is continuously growing from the numbers on Reed, it could be that Hays have been getting a higher and higher proportion of new jobs created, but I doubt it.
Doctors, healthcare workers and social workers all have good job security because of "continued high demand and pressure on social services and healthcare," recruitment company Hays says. The sector grew for the twelfth month running in June, according to Labour Market Report.
Heath looks like its just bumbling along as a sector. Aye, Social care is closely tied, but then so is the public sector as a whole.
2. EducationI'm in the middle of trying to apply to be a maths/science teacher right now, but that UCAS form is a nightmare, and I'm not that confident of getting a job once I'm through it. It looks very much like the education sector is contracting, it was doing quite rapidly until the budget was announced in April.
A "severe" shortage of maths, science and head teachers makes the sector a secure employer. Construction companies involved in the Building Schools for the Future programme are also getting a boost.
Training too, that looks like an educationy sector that collapsing, the number of vacancies listed on Reed had halved since I started checking, as firms, strapped for cash, put off training up their staff.
3. Social housingI'm not sure how to get social housing stats from Reed, so here are the stats for construction and accountancy as mentioned in The Telegraph, they both look like they're doing poorly. Construction less so than Accounts, but they hardly looks like
A range of skills are in demand in the sector, from accountants to builders, as well as housing officers, as the Government's improvements to social housing continue.
So for the next swadge of sectors covered in The Telegraph piece I don't know and can't comment, but moving on to the next area where I do have graphs and stuff...
8. PurchasingThe Telegraph doesn't really tell us anything, other than firms are having to work harder to maintain profit margins. The graph of vacancies numbers on Reed doesn't show any growth, once again, bumbling along I'd say.
Purchasing and procurement staff are in demand in the private and public sector, as the recession forces companies to try to improve their supply chain to protect margins.
10. ITSure there's probably fine detail underneath the headline numbers, but on the whole IT is a sector where employers are tightening their belts trying to get more out of their existing staff, rather than employing more people and growing their IT departments.
There is demand for IT architecture experts, developers, business analysts and project managers. Companies are trying to save money by speeding up access to data, sharing information and finding cheaper systems.
On the whole, by looking at a different employment service, the pictures a lot different from that portrayed by The Telegraph based on information from Hays.
Friday, 10 July 2009
Total vacancies in the UK 401,819Here's your regular graph showing how many job vacancies are listed on reed.co.uk, The Guardian's Jobs pages and the Job Centre Plus. A wee caveat about the JCP and The Guardian is that the total jobs listed on their sites are updated in real time, so it varies depending on the time of day, contrast this with Reed who update their total daily.
Up 1.89% from last week
Down 0.16% from last month
Down -1.48% from last quarter
Based on Gordon Brown saying there was 500,000 job vacancies in PMQs back in February, we can look at how the number of vacancies on the job sites have varied and we extrapolate it up to a total figure for vacancies in the UK.
Graph a little too messy for you? Try this one of monthly averages.
Its about the same as last month, again.
Here's a look at the breakdown of sectors on reed.co.uk, which ones have grown and shrunk compared to a month ago:-
Manufacturing 18%That's it for this week. Good luck with the job hunting.
Transport and logistics 11%
Motoring and Automotive 10%
Human Resources 8%
IT Contractor 5%
Public Sector 4%
Construction and Property 4%
Financial Services 1%
Customer Service 0%
Marketing and PR 0%
General Insurance -1%
Social Care -1%
Accountancy Qualified -2%
Media, Digital and Creative -3%
Recruitment Consultancy -5%
Temporary Work -6%
IT and Telecoms -7%
Strategy and consultancy -15%
Charity and Voluntary -17%
Leisure and tourism -21%