Friday, 31 July 2009

Spuds

It was about a year ago I had a clear plan. After the thousandth drawing on my Naked Chicks On Post-It Notes website, I was going give it up, buy myself an X-Box 360, with games like Project Gatham Racing, where you get to race round Edinburgh and Stockholm, and Grand Theft Auto 4, where you drive round another city and shoot people too. I'd get the sort of games they play on Penny Arcade. I'd retire in the evenings, to play computer games, safe in the knowledge that I'd done a hard honets day's work.

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

Second potato crop

Second potato crop

In the supermarket they would cost about 20p.

This is what I have been reduced to.

Morning blogulation - Fri 31-Jul-09

I wake up, switch on the puter, go for a run, have a shower, make breakfast, send her off with a kiss, wait for the puter to finish booting, pick my nose, and then step manfully into the internet accellerator, and vanish...

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Job vacancies update - 30-Jul-2009

Your regular amateur analysis of the UK's job vacancies scene from ground-breaking attack blog illandancient.
Total vacancies in the UK
410,050
Up 2.18% from last week
Up 2.33% from last month
Up 7.02% from last quarter
Here'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.

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.

Morning blogulation - Thu 30-Jul-09

I wake up, drive home, switch on the 'puter, have a shower, ponder if anyone actually reads these morning blogulation posts, wait for the 'putr to boot up and once more set forth on the blogocube...

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

My videos from Indietracks

Aye, so the music festival highlight of my year is Indietracks, its like a load of DIY / indiepop bands playing a a Midlands railway museum. I may have few other dreams and ambitions, but going to Indietracks is pretty much my biggest concern.



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.
The viewing figures for my videos from last year's Indietracks are as follows:-
I kind of assumed that the shorter videos would be more popular, but nope, people who watch these videos like watching the longer ones.

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.

Why are we more crap now?

The other day I went along to a meeting at Camden Town Hall, I'm not entirely sure who organised it, or associated websites, I just scribbled notes of anything interesting I heard until I was told to stop.

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.

Morning blogulation - Wed 29-Jul-09

I get up, and nothing gets me down, I switch on the 'puter, have my breakfast, take the laundry out, finish editing down my footage of Indietracks to three minutes, and then set forth on the blogocube, searching for something interesting to share with you, my dear readers...

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

List of videos of Indietracks 2009

This is going to be a list of Indietracks 2009 videos on YouTube, in performance order:-

Friday
Main stage
Rose Elinor Dougall - part 1 - Recorded by eolrindebara
Rose Elinor Dougall - part 2 - Recorded by eolrindebara

Saturday
Main stage
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

Indoor stage
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

Church stage
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

Trains
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

Tents
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

Sunday
Main stage
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

Indoor stage
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

Church Stage
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

Closure

This weekend I'm out in the Midlands, mostly bumbling round a railway museum, but also scooting about the local towns and villages in my wee car so my chums can sample the local ales.

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

Indietracks Eyespy - Friday

Back in Glasgow we used to have an eyespy game where you get points for spotting indie celebs, people in bands or fanzine or websites or DJs. This railway-based music festival seems ideal for digging up that rotten corpse.

I'll figure out the scores later, but this is my tally so far.

*Me
*Robbie IoMoPS
*Lynsey from The Flying Duck
*Trev Odd Box
*TomB
*Techno Alice from Arthur and Martha
*Emma from Pocketbooks
*Ian Pocketbooks
*Orlando Bloom (well it looked like him)
*Stuart Indietracks
*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
*Ian HDIF
*Andrew photoy chap
*Aw man that video guy from last year
*Colin Smitten
*Dana Smitten
*Nat from Indietracks
*Andy Pocketbooks
*Liz from The School
*String Bean Jen off of bowlie
*Silke
*Silke's friend
*David Just Joan
*Doug Just Joan
*The Happy Island chap
*The other Smitten
*Anastacia
*Anders
*One of the Wake the President clones
*The tall one from the Smittens
*Camila
*Elizabeth Darling
*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 fall of The Foundry

Via Londonist, it appears Bill Drummond's Foundry is to be converted into a hotel and stuff
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.

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.

Can't say I've ever been there, maybe I never will now.

Morning blogulation - Thu 23-Jul-09

I wake up, turn the puter on, discover that moths have eaten most of my kilt, passed down through generations of Gilmour's, moan about it on twitter, wait for the puter to finish booting, and only then set forth on my path through the blogocube...

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Morning blogulation - Wed 22-Jul-09

Crikey, I'm hungry, and somewhat depressed too, I'm having great crisises of confidence, I have no job, and my friends are all far away. Still at least the blogosphere is there for me...

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Devaluing labour

Uncle Constantly has a rather marvellous blogpost about The National Talent Bank which I gather is a government backed volunteer broking service, to give those poor unemployed people something to do whilst looking for work.
Now, although the word 'Bank' appears in the title, there's no actual money involved. Oh no. That's all gone. Instead, this is:
"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.
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...

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.

Morning blogulation - Tue 21-Jul-09

I installed Ubuntu on my netbook last night so booting up has been a bit quicker than usual, and so I can set forth on the blogosphere with less dicking around.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Interesting

I've just received a letter from my bank confirming that my overdraft limit is £1,500 with a current annuak interest rate of 18.29% and a current Effective Annual Rate of 19.9%.

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.

wardro.be

I had this great idea for a website, and it'll make millions if it ever works or gets off the ground or anything. But being the sort of person who shoots himself int he foot as a matter of principle, rather than keeping quiet about it, doing a few years of development and beta testing, I'll just write about it here so someone else can do all the work.

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.
  • Hat
  • Shirt
  • T-shirt
    • Plain
      • Black
        • Marks&Sparks
          • 2008
          • other
        • H&M
        • C&A
        • other
      • White
      • Yellow
      • other
    • Pattern
    • Print
    • other
  • Jeans
  • Shoes
  • other
And on the right it has this stylised fashiony picture that gets populated with your choices, and at the bottom of the page it updates with recommendation, like what shoes most people wear with the other clothes you've chosen, or what celebrities wear when they wear the same combinations, or what you already have in your wardrobe or other clothes tagged the same.

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
Its all going to need a funky user interface to keep it fun, and neat pictures or approximations of every item of clothing, and then some kind of provacy options so you can chose whether or not to let your flatmates, sister or ma rummage through your stuff.

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.

Morning blogulation - Mon 20-Jul-09

I wake up, switch on the puter, go for a run, went to the train station, went to the train station, wait for the puter to boot up and set forth on my regular trek round teh blogs.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

A parochial weekend

It's been a knackering weekend. On Friday I was running about sorting the latest iteration of my CV and my Housing Benefit and lots of other stuff.

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

Job vacancies update - 17-Jul-2009

Your regular amateur analysis of the UK's job vacancies scene from ground-breaking attack blog illandancient.
Total vacancies in the UK 404,941
Up 0.78% from last week
Down 0.33% from last month
Up 1.00% from last quarter
Here'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.

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.

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.
And my graphs here show that his final point is correct
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?

The Government should stop people from doing X

So here we have Devil's Kitchen flirting with Charlotte Gore...
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.
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.

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.
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.
And moments later I stumble over to Open Europe to read this...
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.

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.
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..."

Morning blogulation - Fri 17-Jul-09

Wake up, puter on, go out to Casta for coffee and muffins, come home, have a shower, pick nose, wait for puter to finish booting, and venture forth onto internet:-

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Morning blogulation - Thu 16-Jul-09

I get up, switch the puter on, have breakfast, send the kids to school, wonder if my debts are still outstanding, think about trying to get a job and read a few blogs:-

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

What have I gotten myself into now

I love it when companies phone up offering me a job. I love the thought of there being someone out there who has read my CV, liked what they saw and wants me to join them. So when such a phonecall comes through offering me an interview, I jump at the chance, put on my bestest suit, tell everyone on twitter that I finally have an interview and head to the underground station.

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
Then I emerged an hour later, sweating in my suit, clutching a piece of paper that appears to have signed me up to £12,000 worth of debt, an enrollment folder and a book about the A+ certification

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.

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.

Sadly Premier Network Group went into liquidation in May, so its not that promising.

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.

Morning blogulation - Tue 15-Jul-09

I drive home, switch on the puter, do some laundry, wait for the puter to finish booting up and then read through some blogs.

Here's the best of what I trudged throught his morning:-

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Morning blogulation - Tue 14-Jun-09

I wake up, I switch on the puter, I shower and breakfast, I wait for the puter to finish booting, I read various blogs.

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

Videos of Indietracks bands

I've recently discovered that I haven't seen or heard many of the bands playing at this year's Indietracks music festival. So to help me chose which bands to check out, I'm putting together a list of all the bands and their videos from YouTube, trying to find three videos for each band.

Its going to take me ages, but could be quite rewarding.

Bands with videos on YouTube

Au Revoir Simone

BMX Bandits

Butcher Boy

Camera Obscura

Cats On Fire

Cola Jet Set

Disasteradio

Emmy The Great

Gordon McIntyre

Le Man Avec Les Lunettes

Let's Whisper

Little My

The Lovely Eggs

Loyal Trooper

Lucky Soul

The Manhattan Love Suicides

MJ Hibbett

Pocketbooks

The Rocky Nest

Rose Elinor Dougall

Roy Moller

The School

The Smittens

Speedmarket Avenue

Stereo Total

Teenage Fanclub

Wake The President

Bands I haven't found videos for

Alaska
Art Brut
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvA0UBesfbY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBTjkPzaUyc
Bonne Idée
http://blogg.svt.se/psl/2009/02/06/musik-med-bonne-idee/
Cooper
Countryside
Downdime
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcyJAKP9u_4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFTia8F1AHw
Eux Autres
Fitness Forever
Bacharach
The Frank And Walters
Friends
Helene
Help Stamp Out Loneliness
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAopjt7pkqo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W8kzcRqCm8
Hong Kong In The 60s
Kevin McGrother
King Of Cats
Labrador
La Casa Azul
The Marshmallow Kisses
Mighty Mighty
Modular
Moustache Of Insanity
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2tYpT3mf9Q
Nick Garrie
Northern Portrait
One Happy Island
The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut
Inbetweener
Poppy And Friends
Ray Rumours and the No-Eyed Dears
Mr Bear
The Specific Heats
Ste McCabe
Sucrette
Tender Trap
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK7XzRXa-8k
The Understudies
Zipper

Any better offers of videos cheerfully accepted, its going to take me ages to get all the bands.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Telegraph's top ten job sectors

I was out yesterday at the Twee As F*ck alldayer gig so I missed this piece in The Telegraph about the Top Ten job sectors to be in, and any other blogs that covered it.

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 care

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.
I 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.

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. Education

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.
I'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.

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 housing

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.
I'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

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. Purchasing

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.
The 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.


10. IT

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.
Sure 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.


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

Job vacancies update - 10-Jul-2009

Your regular amateur analysis of the UK's job vacancies scene from ground-breaking attack blog illandancient.
Total vacancies in the UK 401,819
Up 1.89% from last week
Down 0.16% from last month
Down -1.48% from last quarter
Here'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.

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%
FMCG 14%
Banking 12%
Transport and logistics 11%
Motoring and Automotive 10%
Human Resources 8%
Hospitality 6%
IT Contractor 5%
Legal 5%
Public Sector 4%
Construction and Property 4%
Health 3%
Management 2%
Admin 1%
Financial Services 1%
Sales 1%
Actuarial 0%
Customer Service 0%
Marketing and PR 0%
Retail 0%
General Insurance -1%
Social Care -1%
Accountancy Qualified -2%
Media, Digital and Creative -3%
Scientific -4%
Purchasing -5%
Recruitment Consultancy -5%
Temporary Work -6%
Education -6%
IT and Telecoms -7%
Graduate -8%
Engineering -8%
Multilingual -10%
Strategy and consultancy -15%
Charity and Voluntary -17%
Accountancy -19%
Leisure and tourism -21%
Training -23%
That's it for this week. Good luck with the job hunting.