Saturday, December 20, 2003

Since my last post Thameslink has sought its revenge. The following morning was a bitterly cold affair and my train was delayed for 45 minutes. In fact every train I have caught has been delayed this week bar one. That was a fast train which arrived on time and which I would have coincidentally caught in the nick of time had it not been for a ticket inspectors' sting which forced me to take an unnecessary detour through the ticket hall. I arrived on the platform just in time to witness the doors closing in my face. Had I not known better I would swear that the squeaky closing sound the doors were making was mocking, nay braying, laughter.

If we accept that this week's service has been even worse than usual, there can be only two conclusions...

1: Thameslink did a search in Google, found my site, and dispatched agents to scupper me and make my life more even miserable.

2: This site has karmic properties.


1: Unfuckinglikely. All money accrued by Thameslink goes directly into the pockets of its shareholders, so they probably wouldn't bother wasting it on me. In any case, detection of such a policy would bring with it awful publicity. Any action they might have taken would surely only be satisfactory for them if it should end with my silence, and since I am still here I must conclude it to be a false premise. Unless of course their attempts have been bungling Clouseau-esque efforts. This wouldn't be suprising considering the lack of ability they have shown in being able to run a simple linear train system.

Not now Kato...

2: Due to a long standing agreement I have with logic and a dearly held pact with reason (not to mention a gentlemens agreement with empiricism) I have to dismiss the possibility of naturally occurring karmic equalization (not a real phrase but it describes a concept which is not a real effect). However after my words against the activities of astrology, the people with the pens at my work signed a contract with Sky One and the not-inconsiderable Russell Grant to broadcast live a daytime astrology-related chat show. Not only that, but they have agreed to change the layout of our building in order to accommodate it! Have my boss' been reading my blog? I don't think so. This is not deliberate karma, but my boss said a strange thing the other day: "you don't believe in coincidence".

What did he mean?

Was he taunting me?

Perhaps he felt he deserved a bit of a taunt as he was handing me a freebie CD rewriter at the time, god bless his little cotton socks and all that.

But I can tell he knew something. And he knew something that was too close to home for me to see it at the time. Woods and trees etc. For I do actually believe in coincidence. Coincidence is the one truthful thing that can be relied upon. For much stuff happens. And when a bunch of stuff happens, we observe it. We observe it and we attach a concept to it according to our values.

And more stuff happens.

In fact stuff happens all the time.

And as all the stuff happens and we collect concepts, eventually stuff happens which has concepts like other concepts and concepts related to each other happen at similar times completely at random. And so we invent new concepts to explain the occurances of concepts. And belief systems and a whole bunch of other bollocks.

But all it is is a bunch of stuff happening.

Now I realise at this point that coincidence is a concept all on its own, but as I have stated: it is the only thing that I believe in. In effect it is the concept of the absence of concepts. And so my boss was trying to steer me towards the idea of coincidence. He wanted to put the seed of this line of thought into my mind.

And now I can see.

And copy CD's.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

My life at the moment is altered drastically by the fact that I no longer live in central London. Instead I have to commute in from the sticks – and such a requirement is a great pain to me. Worse still, I have to rely on the services provided by Thameslink and I am expected to give the utter bastards that they are enormous amounts of my funds simply for the privilege of going to work. I live inside the M25 and I still have to pay £10.60 per day – outrageous; and the fares are going up in January. And they are doing some extended engineering work on top of that, so the trains often turf the passengers out and expect us to get a connecting bus. Bastards – I have no recourse to a refund, as I only need to buy a ticket for a single day.

I would proffer the possibility that it is the single biggest cause of stress for all of those who have to manage such journeys. The worst thing is that if I treat the whole commuter thing with the contempt that is deserving of it, than I am punished. Respect the train is the law I am required yet loathed to privately invoke. Not as in, don’t scratch words into the windows or rip up the seating – only brainless morons with baseball caps, stringy hair and tracksuit bottoms do that. I mean don’t, ever, expect the train to arrive on time. As a general rule of thumb if you arrive early, the train will be late. Should you be on time, it will be pulling out of the station as you leave. Thameslink, being a total shower of cunts, run trains every half an hour, so be prepared to wait 40 minutes as you witness the annoyingly inconsistent information screen inform you of the next service’s imminent delay (if you’re lucky and it’s working). At least the service runs, albeit one train an hour, until 3am every day, that is EXCEPT ON SATURDAY NIGHTS. Bloody useful then.

A train, no doubt arriving late.

I do actually have genuine ethical problems with paying a company so much money to provide such a shoddy service. When British Rail were privatised by the Conservative’s (I prefer saying ‘Conservative’ to the supposedly derogatory term ‘Tory’ as the word, to my mind, strikes up a much more realistic feeling of fear; besides, Conservative cunts have reclaimed the word much like some minorities have done – who are not evil of course – examples being such words as ‘Nigger’ and ‘Gay’), the self-serving fucks claimed that creating many different companies would create competition which would keep prices competitive. I do not think so my middle to upper class friends – Thameslink holds a total monopoly over my journey to my work place. I cannot choose to take my business elsewhere and force prices to become more competitive. Instead I do what I can. I buy a single to an earlier station and catch the bus. It saves me £3 a day. Regardless the first hour of every day goes to paying for my journey.

Google Image Search for "competitive" produces:

If you regularly get the same train in the mornings, you will notice that many commuters often stand in exactly the same place on the platform every time. Then they head predictably for the very same seat they always sit in. This is the same method employed by people who walk on hot ashes. It is a form of self-hypnosis, a way of performing an action whilst turning off one’s mind to shield it from the torture. And if their face isn’t pressed up against the armpit of some fellow commuter, they might open up a book or peruse a newspaper. There are a number of commuters at my station that provide me with a simple game that helps me to alleviate Thameslink related-stress. I find the people who are reading either the Daily Mail or the Financial Times (obviously, the Daily Mail is produced by the spawn of Satan; the FT is the other choice because I enjoy tormenting people who earn a living making money out of the concept of money, which is basically a career which contributes absolutely nothing of any material significance to the world) and I observe them. Most have their spots on both the platform and on the train, so I occupy both these spaces. If they are a Daily Mail reader I stare at them whilst they read from an unfamiliar seat. It is greatly relaxing let me tell you.

The FT readers are partly the type of people at fault for the state we are in now. You see PLC’s – companies who are owned by the public who hold shares – are the cause of much unnecessary suffering in today’s society. Perhaps some would see this as a political point, but I see this as simple logic, regardless of the politics. You see shareholders, who usually know nothing of how their company operates, demand profit every year, which makes demands on the company to do the following: Firstly, to diminish the quality of the product or service. When it is a food producer, this is seriously bad, if it is a train operating company, this causes bastards like me to torment readers of overly moralistic right wing dailies. Secondly, to treat the staff like shit. Pay them less, lay them off, take away benefits, and slash the Christmas party budget, anything to produce a profit. Thirdly, ignore important regulations that might limit productivity. If it is cheaper to pump sewage into the sea then fuck it, the fiscal year ends next month. What did fish ever do for us?


Yet it is the shareholders who lose out in the end. Everyone gets poorer services and products, including the members of the public who hold shares. They have to give their babies mass produced baby food as well. The company they work for who may be owned by someone else (or themselves) may sack them, transfer their jobs overseas, or give them a lesser pay rise just to ensure some shareholders get their yearly profit. As a result the whole economy suffers. Everyone gets poorer – except the rich fuckers who live on nothing but the stock market. They just get richer. It is an oft-quoted statistic but 5 per cent of the population own 95 per cent of the wealth, but at least a good 50 per cent of those have to eat the same poor quality cheaply produced shite pumped out by some food conglomerate.

Is it just I or is it just a tad warped to have businesses that exist in order to make money rather than a product? The only beneficiaries of this are those at the top, and guess what? They invented the whole bastard idea!

Coincidence or cuntery?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I just know that you have all been visiting this site every hour in the hope of intercepting this entry as soon as possible. Hmm, well, in actual fact it would be more accurate to say that I hope you are all visiting this site every hour. Sadly statistical feedback shows this has not been the case, lies and damn lies included.

It does strike me that, although all this tarot/blog business is an interesting notion, it is hardly the edge of the pants prose that every blogger dreams of publishing. However it was carried out and I would be a fool not to report what was carried out in the name of Charging Through The Midfield. After all my friends, this is OUR site. I freely admit at this point that making such a claim is a tactic used by large and occasionally malevolent corporations hoping to instigate rock solid customer loyalty. But I thought I might have a go as well. You and me folks, you and me.

Now if you have no interest in such activities, this entry might get a bit boring for the next handful of paragraphs so I’m hoping my efforts to induce a bit of 1980’s Marks & Spencer style customer loyalty will bear fruit. Interestingly, my mother’s hometown has a Marks & Spenser opening this very day; in fact the store is but 50 yards from our door. I’m betting that the human race is predictably petty and proud and the existence of a shop that seems to represent middle class suburbia somehow pushes up the house prices in the town.

Anyway, the scene: a large oblong wooden dining table in the ground floor of the extended part of my mother’s living room. The people present: my mother and I. The lighting: One 60 watt double fused ‘Ospram’ bayonet light bulb housed within a wooden and plastic pyramid-shaped shade (upside-down, natch) and connected to a dimmer facility. The back door window may have provided minimal amounts of contributory photons, however many more would have been contributed by a small table lamp approximately 20 feet away. It was not powerful enough to produce any noticeable shadows where we were sat.

Looked up 'photon', found this.
What is Disc Golf?

My mother passed me the tarot cards and I was asked to shuffle the pack and concentrate on my website and what I wanted to know. This reading was to concern itself with the relationship between this site and me. Expertly, I mixed up the cards, thus supposedly putting my energy into them. There are seventy-two different cards in a deck of tarot (my ma says these are split into two groups, major arcana and minor arcana. Not only have I possibly spelt the noun ‘arcana’ incorrectly, but I do not have a clue what it might mean so I’ll quickly move past this point) and the only card I expected to pull out was the solitary Death card – as I was planning radical changes and such a card would strongly indicate this. I was asked to pick a number between four and ten. I decided upon eight. Eight out of seventy-two cards gives me odds of nine-to-one against pulling out Death. For the record, a normal reading involves the subject shuffling the deck and all the cards are used.

The deck was fanned out upon the table in front of me and I randomly pulled out the following eight cards in the order stated: Ace of Cups, Seven of Cups, Death, Page of Wands, Knight of Swords, The Chariot, Strength, and Page of Cups.

Allow me to clarify the meaning of said cards (I say to myself during the writing of this, “remember the near-failure of Marks & Spencer, loyalty only lasts so long”): Ace of Cups represents love; Seven of Cups represents a confusion of a wealth of ideas; Death means change; Page of Wands represents the germ of an idea; Knight of Swords, rushing in; The Chariot tells me that I know where I am going; strength, well, this cards speaks for itself; and Page of Cups often means romance, but in this case represents the growth of a fondness for the site.

I think these explanations give one a good idea of the reading already. But a brief account of what I was told is thus: Charging Through The Midfield is a labour of love, but I am not sure in which direction to take it. I have a wealth of ideas and I love my site, however there is change afoot. A single idea will come through and I will steer it successfully with love.

I have said it before and I will say it again; I am a cynical bastard. I don’t believe any of this stuff for a second. Obviously my Mum takes it seriously and I respect that, but it seems to me that – although the reading you have perused here is but a brief version of the words my mother would have spoken to me – it is all a bit vague. Much like a tabloid newspaper’s star sign reading, the meaning seems to apply itself with a broad brush. The change/death thing however is fairly on the money I must admit, but its appearance proves nothing of course. Is this site a labour of love? Love is perhaps a bit of a strong concept, though it is an overused word and in this case is associated with a certain selection of cards that need to be applied within a particular context; so I cannot hold that against tarot.

'Broad Brush': born 1983; 197th Chef-de-Race; possibly corn-fed.

Saying I have a wealth of ideas is both right and wrong. Often I write about nothing – I agree that this is often because I simply plot a course between separate jungles of thought, however it could be argued that I have a deficit of relevant ideas. I do get lots of ideas though. For instance I have just considered the unlikely notion that words could be translated into smell. This was because I had begun to write the words: “the phrase ‘I will steer it successfully with love’ would make me retch should it ever be converted into a smell.”

Yes there is change afoot, but I believe I do know which direction I will take Charging, which is contrary to the cards claim that I do not. Again, I am not willing to say what this change will be. There are several good reasons for this, which will undoubtedly become apparent later. In the meantime, I will push onwards with my continuing attempts to build that beautiful relationship between us, my dear, wonderful readers. This is our site my good friends. Ours, not mine. I won’t abandon it if you wont.

Actually, screw this. I don’t want the sort of reader who is going to fall for this crap. In many ways George Lucas made an important point when he invented the concept of Jedi Mind Trick. Think of the Jedi as large corporations trying to get you to think certain things. Only weak-minded fools would allow themselves to fall sucker to the Mind Trick and it is the same here. You should come here because you want to, not because I have coaxed you in with cheap words. Anyone who felt a nice warm sense of belonging after reading my words of welcome should fuck off. I don’t want your rudimentary minds here.

Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2001 -2002.

Very very big picture.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

If you go to the Blogger homepage – the site of the people who facilitate Charging Through The Midfield – you will notice that they are linking to an article in The Onion about the pitfalls of having one’s mother discover their weblog. Sadly, the link doesn't work. However I have few problems with this as my Mum is a regular visitor to the site anyway. Naturally she pretends either not to understand or ignores much of the stuff I post up here, but she is still happy to play along with my ridiculous games.

So, as promised in an earlier incarnation of this site, I got her to carry out a tarot card reading for Charging Through The Midfield (CTTM). As you will have no doubt previously read, I am planning to make changes that will utterly transform the nature of this site. So what would the cards say?

Let me just point out at this point that I am probably the most cynical person you could ever meet when it comes to this sort of thing. But CTTM readers aren’t necessarily so, so this is for all of you who hold these sort of things in high esteem. Take astrology for instance, now I know the visible universe has at least four dimensions, but common astrology only seems to take two into account. Fuck depth in astrology, if a collection of stars appear to be next to each other from Earth’s perspective in space, then it doesn’t seem to matter if they are on opposite sides of the universe in reality. What is so special about the Earth? Obviously astrologers are extraordinarily arrogant forms of life, and would clearly be considered even more xenophobic than Daily Mail journalists by any visiting alien cousins who we might encounter. How then can I possibly take it seriously? And I haven't even began to mentioned the other more obvious problems with astrology. Tarot at least doesn’t have such blatant and fundamental difficulties.

My mater, as she once signed herself off as on an email to me once, had recently acquired some new cards entitled ‘Messages From Your Angels’, so she first suggested we have a look at these.

I think this was a bit of an experiment for us both. This reading would tell me “what my angels want me to know”. The booklet informs us ‘You cannot make a mistake or choose the “wrong” cards during a reading, as the angels are supervising the process, and their power prevents an incorrect reading.’ I keep my mind open – although like an underground train’s door in transit, it struggles to remain shut. I can suspend disbelief for standard tarot cards (‘this is isn’t poker, this isn’t poker' is my mantra as I try not to think about randomised cards and odds), but this is a tricky one. Angels my testicles.

If my empirical mind is so out of kilter with the postulated reality of heaven, god, angels etc, and angels really do exist, then surely if they wanted to communicate they wouldn’t wait around for Hay House Incorporated in New South Wales, Australia, to come into existence and print a bunch of cards. (‘Must open mind, must open mind… repress lateral thought, repress lateral thought…’). Eventually I settled it: “This reading is for CTTM. The opinions of CTTM do not necessarily reflect those of the author. It doesn’t matter what I think.” I blanked my mind and let myself become CTTM. Its energy would flow through me. And it bloody did as well.

CTTM would have four cards drawn for it. The first card drawn signified the general theme of the day or situation. It drew “Oceana”: ‘Take action. You’re in touch with your truth in this situation, and you need to trust your gut and lovingly assert yourself.’ Further reading reveals that ‘there is no need for more research or time'. ‘You already know what to do about the situation, and you have made up your mind to take action. I am here to validate that your decision is on the path of light.’

The second card told CTTM about a possible block to its intentions. And the card “Astara” was drawn. ‘You deserve the best! Reach for the stars with your dreams and desires, and don’t compromise.’ This card tells CTTM that it has been reluctant in the past to ask for help, perhaps because it felt it didn’t deserve good, or that it would be taking away from someone else (another website’s counter statistics?). Its block was that it did not act selfishly enough. CTTM was told, ‘humans are the only ones who believe in scarcity.’ CTTM agrees with this statement and laughs at all these lowly humans. It thinks that this is a rather existentialist point, and a well made one at that. Not that the good people at Hay House, Oz, would agree with this last, and rather atheistic, point.

My third card informed CTTM how it would avoid said block, and sadly bought me out of my CTTM energy trance (not too much of a barrier as I had already drawn all of the cards). You see, I had pulled out “Patience” and I felt it contradicted what had gone before. I had visions of some Australians sitting in front of a computer saying, “it aull wurks niycely mayte, except if you pull arrt th’ caarrds in wone partickulaarr combinayshon.”

Flamin’ galaaaahh.”

The Galah:

Patience: ‘Now is the time to learn study and gather new information… Although you may be aching to begin a new project, now is not the time.’ This is pretty much what CTTM had been doing, so affirmation then. But the first card said ‘there was no need for more research and time.’ Confused? I’ll let you work it out. My mother told me that I should sit down and work it out (although to be fair she was fielding an incoming phone call at the time I questioned it; I’m writing a website entry, so I don’t have the time either). She specialises in the real tarot I think. And I am generally dubious about anything that tries to tell me what the angels are saying. (Although I have found that others seem to approve of them.)

Finally, my ‘probable outcome’ card was “Omega”. The paper work said: ‘Victory! Your desire is coming to fruition. Keep up the good work!’ At this point far from being excited by this card, as perhaps I should, I grew only more suspicious. I have very few deeply held convictions but one of them is: “If an organisation or person takes itself too seriously but still utilises exclamation marks then be very wary indeed. For they are in internal conflict and cannot be trusted.”

The only way I would believe any of this is if you could convince me that angels only spoke in the language of utter bollocks. The only evidence I have so far found that might contribute to this theory is that people who have claimed to have been spoken to by pixies, angels, and other fantastical creatures usually end up performing the most absurd and laughable acts. However this is all pretty threadbare stuff. Luckily I have at least a modicum of respect for proper tarot, and it was this that, if anything, I regarded as the real deal. I had it read to me and it was self-consistent, interesting, and even believable. And that reading will be detailed for you in the next riveting instalment of Charging Through The Midfield.


Tuesday, December 02, 2003

It is sad to note that winter brings with it many discontents. Firstly there is Christmas – which only serves to benefit commercialist enterprise (and arguably children, although my side of the argument is that a happy child at Christmas is an overweight and spoilt little shit before the fruition of February); secondly there is the annual cull of the elderly (again, there is a strong argument here that points to a possible declination of the type who sit alone in their homes reading the Daily Mail and grumbling constantly about foreigners but rarely venturing out to gain subjective experiences; excepting for one morning approximately every five years on the route to a polling booth and a small black box placed next to the printed word “Conservative” – I don’t accept these arguments however as I see them as both sinisterly unfair and poorly written examples which fail to satisfactorily explain the relationship between the cull and discontent).

I need to slow down a bit here. Making a series of points to justify a statement is all very well, but it is somewhat counterproductive to detail all my opinions and doubts in parenthesis after each one.

Which is exactly my point.

This marvellously shows why I cannot write a normal weblog like everybody else.

Basically, I write far too much crap. My thoughts and sentiments usually begin to travel in one definite direction, but soon enough other pieces of acuity splinter their way into the main trunk of my plan. And, like some curious fetish, I just have to satisfy my temptation to expose it all.

Er, postmodernism

You will probably realise at this point that such a habit will doubtless expose itself within a section of writing about said habit. Some might attach the label of postmodernism to this phenomenon, but I wouldn’t agree. For that to be the case, I would have to be executing my writing style deliberately. Although execution is perhaps the best thing for it.

Needless to say, I am considering ways to change all this. The problem, as I’ve intimated a gerdillion times before, is that I have too much scope to work with and too much time on my hands in which to do it. I have come to the conclusion that the weblog is far too broad a tool for me. I have to now admit publicly that I have trouble limiting myself to one simple thread. As a result I continually address only the one subject: everything. It is a rare day indeed when I sit to address a subject and end up addressing only it. For instance, today I sat down to write my entry and I ended up writing about writing. Despair reigns slightly.

To begin yet another analogy on these pages: my brain has become a sweet shop and I am sweeping great armfuls of goodies into my trolley. I just cannot help it: it’s free publishing. I can write all I want and the good people at Blogger still refuse to charge me. What would you do if you were given the keys to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and told you could help yourself? In the end you would eat and eat and eat, and you’d end up becoming obsessed with yourself and the activity of eating.

Greedy bloody kids.

So when my friend said my writing style seemed a little bit arrogant (see previous entry for terse details), she was probably on the button. Self-obsessed nonsense is what this is. Should I really expect all of you to be interested in the internal mumblings of my self-obsessive brain?

So, soon enough, this weblog will become more like a diary. Obviously I first have to get an interesting life. But plans for that are in the pipeline (although who doesn’t plan to have an interesting life?). Between now and the realisation of my plans however you will have to put up with this. Well, strictly speaking you can do what the hell you like. As long as all the other billions of pages remain up and running, your choices remain vast. As do my personal cerebral options of course.

Anyway, winter. I used to think of a year as a living thing. In January it started off weak and unable to proffer a decent bit of weather. March would signify its teens when it would grow stronger and show the strength required to generate a decent bit of warmth. Spring would turn to summer and the year was reaching the peak of its power. Autumn and winter showed its old age. Hence winter was in two parts: pre-January 1st and post-January 1st.

I’ve always liked this method of watching the weather. On that October day, when the southeast of England experienced that infamous hurricane, 1986 was having a bit of a funny turn. One must resist the temptation to imagine that it was experiencing wind, for that would be taking anthropomorphism too far, and there is far too much anthropomorphism in the world today. It also meant I could eventually delete winter altogether.

At first I had two winters, with each half as long. It makes winter II part of one long build up of power to summer and winter I as part of a dying autumn. Then I had the debate: should it be that winter II be called winter I? For the winter that signifies the start of a year is following on from the autumnal winter. So which comes first? The existence of winter became a paradox. So I found it easier to think of winter II/I as simply the beginning of spring and winter I/II as the end of autumn. Hence only three seasons! With Christmas and New Year becoming a celebration of the old year’s death and a new year’s birth. Basically I had stolen Christmas from Jesus. Which I think is fair game considering the Christians stole it from the pagans.

None of this eases the discontent that the cold period brings. But it makes me feel better about the whole thing. I think the time to reclaim Christmas back from the Christians and the moneymen is long overdue. If Christmas is the peak of the winter than winter truly is a dismal period indeed and I am happy that it is behind me.

My long-term plan is to take Christmas back and then destroy it. Good riddance I say.

Bloody Christmas: bunch of arse.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Apologies for the little wait you had there between this post and the last. A few technical problems have been encountered, negotiated with, appeased, than treated with the relevant amount of contempt. A later problem forced me to plunder the depths of an Internet Café’s machine in order to provide something for entry. And, much to the denigration of my own writing skills, have produced some of the more enthusiastic responses recently. Having said all that, it was a good idea wasn’t it? Had I the time, inclination, or indeed the popularity, I might have considered pursuing the idea and encouraging others to scan saved documents on public hard drives. I might even have attempted to pen a snazzy name for aforesaid mentioned activity. Such as, oh I don’t know, “Drive Bombing”.

You can tell I’ve thought about this can’t you?

During the time between my most recent post and this I have also been facing some criticisms about this here site. Not that I have sought them; the holders of these opinions have sought me out and, to be fair, I have been interested to hear them.

The first came from a close female friend of mine who maintained that my writings here make me sound arrogant. Apparently I am much better on the telephone. Which is arguably a criticism that is not too constructive as the dynamic of a telephone conversation is far removed from the activity that is writing a piece such as this. Still, I do not think she was aiming for constructiveness but rather an excuse not to be expected to read the site. Perhaps I need to read between the lines a bit. Besides, I prefer to think of myself as condescending rather than arrogant.

One can always trust on one’s own mother to launch it down the middle of the alley though. “You need to find something to write about, it’s getting boring.” Such cheek after I linked to her site and everything!

I would counter that neither of these two dear associates have appreciated that there is a subtle philosophy behind this site. That philosophy is a bit like an Internet version of Existentialism. That is to say: I realise the pointless nature of this site in the grand scheme of things, but the grand scheme is in fact everything but a grand scheme. The Internet is a network of individuals and their opinions, basically undergoing the process of putting time in between themselves and the start of their existence. And what you see on the Internet is nothing more than the embodiment of this process. So, yes, there is pointlessness to it. But this pointlessness runs through life. We can turn our noses up at it and get all stressed trying to make profit off tech stocks, or we can revel in the futility and finally be free.

Clearly, I have selected the freedom option. Which is why you can still find me here. What my two lovely and beautiful acquaintances exhibited with their criticisms was what my fellow Existentialist and ex-Frenchman Jean Paul Sartre would have called a good old healthy bout of “Angst”: anxiety when faced with the truth of a reality void of any purpose.

Jean Paul Sartre:

But should you agree with the females do not fear (is the assertion that you are in fear hyperbolic or penetratingly accurate considering the topic at hand?), plans are afoot that will revolutionise this tiny corner of the Internet. As yet I cannot tell you what this is, but be notified that such is the enormity of this transformation it will occur only after months of planning. The first tentative steps have already been taken; the first of those months is underway.

This is not a denial of my Existentialist credentials, oh no. As you will eventually see, it will be an exercise in freedom. And when I say “freedom”, I separate it’s meaning from that banded about by annoyingly over-patriotic Americans who don’t really seem to know what it actually means. I simply claim that if you find this site boring, empty or meaningless, you might, as a result of the changes, find it more interesting, informative and, yes, even exciting. One might think that my Ma would doubtless overturn at least one death card in relation to this site. Death means change in the Tarot world: the death of one way and the birth of another. And yes, I do have plans to ask my Mum to give Charging Through The Midfield a Tarot reading. Here’s to death.

If you want to understand Existentialism, don’t look to me for an explanation you indolent sods.

You are currently on the Internet, try looking it up.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Grrrrr! Had a post all lined up on a floppy and the fucker has gone all faulty on me.

And rest assured it was the greatest piece of prose ever written by a man. I cry at this misfortune, but I at least possess a memory of the great work, whilst you, poor creatures, will never experience its influence.

However, in my determination to provide you with some sort of matter to stick your well kept - but yellowing - teeth into, I thought I'd take a look in the 'My Documents' folder on the machine I am currently on in an Internet Cafe inside the obscenity that is Elephant & Castle shopping centre and post up a bit of writing that I have found within.

And here it is in unedited format:

What is wrong in ‘ staying home to mind baby’
All social groups have developed a division of labour by sex. Thus on the basis of sex we allocate certain roles to men and women. However there is no natural or fixed order to that division whereas the allocation of tasks varies cross culturally. Therefore when is comes to the conception of ‘Femininity’ different societies have different conceptions about what constitute ‘Femininity’ and thus allocate certain specific tasks for women.

When it comes to the women’s role of being a mother, again it’s the society which has imposed a stereotypical that a woman should be perfect mother and thus the primary responsibility of rearing a child rests on her shoulders.

Despite this motherhood mystique, today mothers are highly likely to combine mothering with paid work. Women work for different reasons varying from financial gain to personal fulfillment. Although there are both costs and benefits of being a full-time homemaker and the multiple-role potions, the cost to homemaker seems greater.

To point out the disadvantage of being a fulltime homemaker, in an interesting study of alumnae from a prestigious college, fifteen to 25 years after graduation , Judith Birnbaum (1975) compared groups of homemakers , married professionals with children and single professionals. Of the three groups homemakers had the lowest self esteem and sense of personal competence, even in the areas of child care and social skills. These women felt least attractive, expressed more concern over issues of their own identity and often indicated feeling of loneliness and isolation. They missed challenge and involvement in their lives, while insisting that mother must always put others needs ahead of their own.

Thus it is clear that there are many disadvantages of being a full-time homemaker. Here it is important to point out the advantages of being a working women.

Interesting I think you'll agree.

But not as interesting as this document brilliantly entitled To whom concern.doc. I have blanked out the phone number to protect the innocents. That is to say, I want to stop any repercusions of idiots phoning them coming back to me, a nice innocent boy.

To whom concern

Alexandra and I have now been happily married for over a year
“We got married 10-10-02”. Alexandra permits to stay for her first year
Runs out on 7 of January and now, she will apply for her permanent residence.

We both are visiting Colombia over the Christmas period to have our religious wedding Alexandra is going to Colombia on November to make the preparations for our wedding.

We are returning on early January. In those circumstances please could you ground Alexandra residence permit now, so we can deal whit this chive in good time if you need speak to me could call me in day time to my office 0207xxxxx00

Yours sincerely

Yet none can beat car.doc:


stret car

Friday, October 24, 2003

And so here we go again with more fleetingly conceived yet mindfully chosen words mainly published in order to gently nudge the outside world towards my way of thinking and thus make my life that tiniest bit more bearable should I ever encounter one who has been converted (even if it is by the most vanishingly minute fraction of a transformation).

After all, isn’t that what all writers are about? Changing the world? It is a conceited outlook I know but if only everyone thought like me, the world would be a better place. And I defy any self-confident reader of this particular entry to take a good look inward at him (yes, and her) self and conclude any differently. It’s just that writers are people who firmly believe they can achieve this change on a fundamental but admittedly superficial level (no, I don’t believe these are two contradictory descriptions). The same goes for editors of publications, directors of films and plays, and, at a more dramatic intensity, religious leaders. Only they have been changed first and commissioned to pass on the changes (the gullible idiots - if you find this last bit controversial then look away – I’m only here to write my opinion and do my own share of people changing. At least these are original sentiments...).

And so via a short but well-observed process of deductive logic, we can come to the remarkable conclusion that the politicians among us are the only humans who are honest enough about what they are attempting to achieve. Although of course such a feat would not necessarily stop the self-important ones from acting cynically or corruptly should they so choose.

Excuse me, just ate lunch there. Wow. Time travelling. You just jumped forward seventeen minutes in the few seconds it takes your eyes to traverse the distance between that last sentence and the next.

Anyway… Oh damnation, I’ve lost my train of thought. Hmm, I think the point I have been attempting to communicate has something to do with the way humans try to leave their mark on the world. And although we don’t like to openly admit it to ourselves, we all know the most meaningful way in which the world exists is within the minds of us people. Yes, yes, this sounds like a shower of pretentious sputum, but we do get a bit of meaning in our lives by invoking some sort of spirit in others. An engineer, a biologist, a musician, a poet and all these other abstract human things; these are people who work to produce a thing that they find has beauty and meaning and they hope their work will conjure up something similar within others. A writer might as well just say it straight: “Here is the world as I see it, listen to my admittedly bias argument; drink thirstily from my swollen teat of opinion; and understand the world through someone else for a change; i.e. me.”

Which is why I cycle back to another vaguely interesting variation of the same old opinion: The advent of the weblog is like a behemoth female pig, lying on its side, effectively inviting us to suckle on a teat. Pick on any teat you want: the selection goes on for miles and miles. I could take this metaphor as far as you could want – way beyond any reasonable standard of boredom. For instance, some teats vend almost entirely bile, some direct you towards other teats, others require payment, and some teats can squirt into many different heads at once as their hit counter spirals ever upwards, etc, etc. And as you can now see I actually created a pretty shitty metaphor, but I have never laid claim to competence.

Now that the selection of teats is many and varied, us humans can be evoked (I’ve just decided to use the word ‘evoked’ in an entirely novel fashion. If Dickens can do it I’ll be damned if I cannot.) in many more ways than ever before. Here’s to evocation. And by evoking and being evoked we can learn many new things about ourselves.

For instance, I’ve learned that I can sit down and just start writing and writing and in the end I’ll produce an oddly original and thought provoking piece which has no meaning whatsoever. Which I’m quite pleased about really.

The premise upon which I first based this entry is faulty of course. Although there may be a grain of truth in my claims, the overriding motivation for us humans is of course simply the reproduction of our genetic material. What we haven’t yet realised is that we are simply vessels for our genes, who are the true owners of this Earth. If and when aliens do visit, they will recognise our genes as the inhabitants of this planet and not us. And so the variation of species’ will be of little importance to them (except in that some are better at maintaining their genetic inheritance than others). They will see (as our scientists do now) that some genes have survived for billions of years, way, way, way beyond the memories of our ancestors. They will see (as geneticists do now) that we rank our families depending on the amount of genetic material we share with them. If asked to choose who they would save from a burning building – apart from the partner who they intend to combine their genes with – the overwhelming majority of people would prioritise their siblings over their cousins; their parents over their grandparents. It sounds obvious because we have always lived with it – but think.

Basically what I am saying is that we do it all for the sex. All our motivations come down to one thing: will it help us pull? Which is of course why pretty girls never amount to anything. Unless they were made to believe they were ugly of course. Which leads one to conclude that a good parent of a pretty girl should either a) slash her face; or b) tell her she is ugly. Either should do the job. But no parent with a sound mind will ever do the former because that would reduce the chances of half their genetic material being reproduced later on down the line.

And so my ability to write on any subject without any prior research or thought continues apace. And what is more I have no allergies and my family has no history of heart disease. Also, my Dad reckons we are the direct male descendents of Ben Hur. I’m dubious about this last one, but apparently my family used to have the surname Hur and considered itself a clan. This is all true (it is true that my Dad claims it). Hence my well-founded opinion that my genetic material is truly worthy of all female worship directed towards it and in particular my Dioxi-ribose Nucleic Acid dispenser.

And kneel...

Thursday, October 16, 2003

In the ongoing attempt to provide reading matter for you, the casual visitor to my site (that’s only according to my casual publishing rate of course), I again signal my prior intention to pass you off with not-quite-meaningful-enough Internet fodder. What follows is the online equivalent of an unexpected Women’s Page in a daily newspaper, or a five minute television feature on old men and their domestic steam-driven machines. Happily at this site, we do not throw the equivalent of manipulative and bastard loan commercials at you. Nor shall we patronise you to the hilt in the style of Good Morning, who would spend fifteen minutes of valuable airtime explaining how to send text messages from one mobile phone to another. At which point I would weep.

But please do not imagine for a moment that I am to embark on such an undertaking wielding only the most bluntest of pens, oh no. I shall be as sharp as a diamond coated porcupine, dressed in Armani’s most fashionable of clothes, delivering previously unheard witticisms written especially for the occasion by Noel Coward in an especially spiky mood.

Actually I still haven’t figured out a topic for today. Which is admittedly a problem, and a persistent one at that. The basic reason for a weblog, one might feel, is that it can be used as a chronicle of one’s life. Unluckily however, I’m a fairly private bloke and don’t want to publish my life story for all and sundry to read. My most regular topic it seems is the difficulty in writing this weblog of nothingness. Mainly these pages serve as a template for writing experimentations and the odd rant. So you could say that this site provides merely a diary for my mood and creativity. Which is a bit shoddy really from your point of view.

Nevertheless newspaper columnists write comparable and original pieces at least as regularly as I do here. So why should I struggle to find topics? Well, basically, newspaper columnists are cunts (with a very few exceptions – Bernard Levin in The Times always wrote an enjoyable half-page) and I don’t intend to be (much of one). I genuinely use the following example as the nearest columnist I have to hand as I write, so it is therefore a randomly chosen cross-section: “ShelleyVision” in Tuesday’s Mirror; Jim Shelley’s column on television.

To be fair to Mr Shelley, he is writing in a popular tabloid about a medium that has the potential to be unbelievably superficial. Would he keep his job if he took a realistically scathing view of many of the programmes on, say, television’s Lowest Common Denominator Channel (that’s ITV for all of you who don’t know the industry slang)? Well, probably, but then perhaps a real newspaper might employ him. Sad really that the only decent newspapers are broadsheets. Perhaps the advent of the Independent in tabloid format will change this forever. More sadly still however, the Independent is about as exciting as dry toast.

Before I continue here is my view of the three national dailies that I hate the most:

The Daily Mail: Bastion of middle class suburbia, the Mail prides itself on always being anti-government and ridiculously moralistic. If the Daily Mail were a person, it would be Mary Whitehouse. The Daily Mail knows its main audience: White Anglo-Saxon, usually female, upper or middle class, over thirty, suburban or rural. It always loves to have a go at the asylum seeker: “The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port in the country is becoming an outrage.” - The Daily Mail, 1938. This newspaper is evil. You couldn’t pay me to read this divisive vat of toss.

The Sun: With the editorial seemingly always in line with the views of a certain Rupert Murdoch, only an utter fuckwit would take the news stories and opinions contained within seriously. Sensationalist, celebrity obsessed pap, the Sun has a penchant for chasing sales, which means it’ll fuck over anyone it can to achieve them. Add to this the inconsistent views from one day to the next (depending on public mood – i.e. England team are scum on Friday; heroes on Monday) and a disgusting level of nationalism that occasionally breaks into xenophobia and you will realise why I never buy this rag. Besides, Murdoch doesn’t need my money and he’d much rather manipulate my opinions anyway so fuck buying that.

The Daily Express: Much like the examples above, the Editor of this rag knows fully well that a good old asylum seeker story on the front page will add up to forty thousand sales (sad indictment of our society that. A Beckham headline has exactly the same effect in terms of sales increase. This may or may not be even more distressing). So on goes another irresponsible and morally bankrupt line of thinking written especially to stir up the pot even more. Luckily however not too many people read the Express: it is laughably shit. Really it is an absolutely awful read, covered from front to back in tepid worthless trivia (rather than news). Whilst I hate the Sun and the Mail, I regard the Express like a domestic cat might regard a scratching post bought for it by its owner to stop it ripping up the sofa. I ignore it, I think it takes up valuable space, I would consider wiping my arse on it.

Jim Shelley then, and our Jim, who stares pleadingly over his sunglasses at us from the top of the page, has a piece on the acting faculties of Ray Winstone in ITV’s made-for-celebrity ratings chaser “Henry VIII”. His headline is “King Ray Axe His Socks Off” which sits atop an argument stating why Ray Winstone’s performance as the portly Henry VIII ranked high in the TV echelons. Luckily, or perhaps I should say unluckily, I saw said performance and I sadly cannot agree with the statement that the casting of Winstone “worked so brilliantly.” What in fact was provided to us by the soon to be defunct Granada was Ray Winstone playing, well, Ray Winstone whilst all around him (including ITV drama stalwart David Suchet, or Poirot as he his better known – has he ever appeared on any other channel?) attempted to act as if they actually were in the 17th century. Perhaps it’s just my warped opinion here, but the father to Queen Elizabeth, the pointy nose Monarch who saw off the Spanish Armada, probably did not have an East End London accent and is unlikely to have ever clinched his fist and gruffly whispered “Yeessssss!” when things went his way. Still, one must admire Ray’s photo-realistic belly.

Like me you may have spent the last 201 words of this piece asking yourself why the published picture of a television critic should depict him wearing sunglasses. Good question that. Perhaps they serve to disguise a face weathered by the prospect of having to watch, nay, closely follow and understand, our culture’s many utterly shit soaps, dramas and feeble attempts at situational comedy. I think I might prefer to read the Daily Mail than sit through that torment. Poor fucker. I have seen young to middle-aged women from Hampstead sitting around trying to work on sitcoms for the BBC. These women have a similar but still worse sense of humour than my mum and her friends. Sorry Ma, I give with one hand, I take with the other. If you are wondering why we are failing to produce even half-passable sitcoms, come to my work. See how BBC staff culture influences the comedy that everyone else thinks is substandard filler material. It is really amazing how television created to induce mirth can actually bring on depression. People will write theses about that one. And I will weep.

Of course one of the reasons we were so frequently able to hear our Mr Winstone raucously explaining, “I’m the King of Engerland!” was because the production was partly funded by American broadcasters and who may well change the title from “Henry VIII” to “Henry VIII: The eighth English King named Henry not the eighth part of a drama called Henry” in an attempt to further patronise their audience. Presumably the American’s got the drama at a cheap price seeing as the staff at ITV will soon be under their employment now the government has practically made it inevitable by merging Granada and Carlton.

If ITV does become American owned, don’t expect an end to sickeningly superficial pop programming in addition to the shoddily produced “public service” programmes as legally required in the ITV license. Also, expect continued shameless self-promotion within aforesaid mentioned “public service” programming such as news stories telling you about a ‘great weekend of sport’ on the Friday before a weekend of live events on the channel. And don’t give to hope the prospect of finally seeing an end to the insultingly appalling policy of producing programming based on (talentless) “stars” rather than, say, a good script or a fine idea. Try praying for an end to Ant and Dec – it cannot do any harm – but expect the pair, who are as inseparable as testicles in a ball sack, to continue sucking the black worm jism direct from Satan’s cock on live network television. Also continue to expect dramas to be shamelessly written only as vehicles for well-known faces in the hope that as many people as possible will tune in. And then you can weep.

These viewers are of course the very same people who give the Sun and the Express their circulation figures. You can here the chatter of their television sets at night along with the flickering glow in council estate windows up and down the country. As their baseball-hatted stepchildren hang around in groups on street corners, the ITV watchers continue to build up their massive reserves of fat by shoving Big Macs and TV dinners down their throats and dream of an appearance in the studio audience of Stars In Their Eyes. These are the silent majority. The people who think that the Beckham’s wedding reception wasn’t incredibly tacky, who plan their social life based on the TV schedule, who think that wearing any clothing with a well known label emblazoned on the front is the height of style. These are the overly fertile buffoons who bring their young and impressionable children to protests outside of a court of law and hand them placards advocating death to a person yet to be tried.

And I weep.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Finding a subject to address is an unending and highly challenging task for publishers of weblogs everywhere.

And it is this very struggle that brings these words to you.

For no subject today has been brought forth, except that which unfolds before you now.

Please find forgiveness if it appears the details are being dragged out a bit more than usual.

The Weblog is the ultimate publishing tool for the people.

As remarked upon here previously, it could be responsible for the Universe’s first examples of organised assemblies of intelligent evolutionary matter expressing themselves on their own terms.

The Universe is the term used to describe everything we know exists and beyond.

The word “Universe” is a noun.

Nouns are names for things.

It might be better if organised assemblies of intelligent evolutionary matter considered the word “Universe” to be a verb.

Verbs are words that indicate an action, state or occurrence.

It would mean that the “The” from the term “The Universe” would disappear.

Then organised assemblies of intelligent evolutionary matter might regard themselves as part of Universe rather than Universe being a separate and distinct “thing”.

Part of Universe

Because of the efficient organisation of society, many organised assemblies of evolutionary matter have lots of time to themselves.

Bored bits of organised intelligent grey matter and free web space equals self-exploratory thinking.

Large media companies inform assemblies of intelligent evolutionary matter about the state of their slightly less chaotic section of Universe.

Companies are teams of intelligent organised evolutionary assemblies of matter who work towards set goals in exchange for money.

Many assemblies of evolved intelligent matter say that the personal accumulation of money can make their existence more happy and meaningful.

Money is a means of bartering.

Some assemblies of organised evolutionary intelligent matter say that they only want to use money that has a particular illustration of an individual wealthy and influential assembly of organised evolutionary matter.

They say they do not want to barter with organised assemblies of matter who collectively consider having a different history from them: unless those organised assemblies also use different money from them.

History is the study of things that organised assemblies of intelligent evolutionary matter judge to have once happened and which seem important in the present.

Study is the way that organised assemblies of intelligent evolutionary matter become more intelligent.

The best way to study is to read published material.

Those assemblies of organised intelligent matter whose ancestors had a successful history generally have better access to publishing than those assemblies that don’t

Whether a region has had a successful history is a difficult thing to define.

However a flourishing publishing industry is usually a sign that historical successes were common on that part of the Earth.

To define success, one can look in the Oxford English Dictionary. Published in the famous University town of Oxford, England.

Look up Universe

Publishing on the Internet gives assemblies of organised intelligent evolutionary matter random insights into the states of other bits of organised intelligent evolutionary matter.

Some assemblies of matter hope that by doing this they will really be able to fully understand each other at last.

Never before have the humble electrical signals of, for instance, teenage bits of evolved assemblies of matter that in themselves collect small eruptionary masses of puss and grease been available in a self-interpreted electronic form to so many so easily.

Nor in fact the digitised images of external membranes and reproductive organs of evolved assemblies of human (and occasionally animal) matter for that matter.

This is known as pornography.

Pornography is the public performance or recording of sexual intercourse.

Sexual intercourse is the method by which organised assemblies of evolutionary matter evolves.

Evolution is the natural process of organising matter into appropriate forms in a struggle to ensure the continuation of particular sets of organised matter.

A politician is a profession that some assemblies of organised evolutionary matter choose to be.

Politicians say that seeing recordings of assemblies of evolutionary matter practising the evolutionary and organising process is harmful.

Daily Mail journalists are organised collections of evolutionary matter who speak like politicians but who hate everybody including all politicians with the exception of Margaret Thatcher.

Politicians pretend to like everybody except criminals. Although they still pretend to like politicians who are criminals.

Margaret Thatcher is an organised assembly of evolutionary matter who was once Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Margaret Thatcher was especially renowned because her sexual organs were different to those of all of the previous Prime Ministers before her.

However they are also identical to those of half of all the organised assemblies of evolutionary matter on the Earth.

Many organised assemblies of intelligent evolutionary matter say that Margaret Thatcher was an evil bitch.

This seems to be regardless of the state of their sexual organs.

Most organised assemblies of intelligent evolutionary matter who publish weblogs run out of things to say after about 821 words. They cannot…

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Despite not actually having an entry to post today, I cannot help but write something to point you towards these fine sites:

How to shave a cat's nose.

Pictures of stoned people. Very funny despite its predictable nature. However I have a picture of my mate Dave which puts even these examples to shame. When I acquire a scanner there will be some very interesting scenes between my friends and I....

Thanks to b3ta for these.

Monday, September 15, 2003

I need to somehow express my frustration with the current musical situation. It was Saturday morning television and I watch aghast as a young and ordinary teenager has her moment of fame. This was television karaoke: yet another achievement in the field of piteous turd for the modern broadcasting industry. And this girl was truly truly shocking. I say with genuine truth that I struggled to find a single point during her performance when her voice was synced in tune with the song. And then my eyes widened as my tortured ears communicated to me the news that she was the defending champion returned back to defend her crown! Gadzooks!

But all this wasn’t the reason I was struck with sorrow and pain due to the state of the musical status quo (although at least we’re pretty much shot of that shower of pony-tailed tossers). The real reason for my despair is due to the style of singing adopted by our young wannabe vocalist. Whiney, undulating, over-expressive, pretentious cuntery. Otherwise known as the tremolo or falsetto effect.

It is not just this one unfortunate girl I refer to. Last week my own father forced me to sit through many damnable minutes of BBC’s copycat show Fame Academy. We appear to have been subjected to a wave of vocalists who all sound like they are all attempting to find the exact vibrating frequencies of various bits of equipment around the studio. Although Britain’s own Mr Craaaaaiiig Daaaayvid, who’s voice vibrates like a lady’s favourite toy, is at least trying something interesting by striving for the exact frequency of the female clitoris.

Good music, for me, has originality as one of its very core values. So when all the “talent” is all trying to sound like everybody else I must come to the judgement that this is not good at all. If the youth of today (I cannot believe I’ve just written that – at 26) want to sound like a good soul singers, perhaps they should listen to the superb talent that was Stevie Wonder at his height in the seventies rather than Mystiq from now; or better still go for something more leftfield and genius like Mike Patton. Not much hope of that last one sadly.

It is little wonder then that the British music industry can now be seen choking on its own faeces. And one does not need a good grounding in logic to realise that poor imitations of pseudo-American culture are not going to be enough to take the world’s music scene by storm. I speak from at least a tiny bit of knowledge here: I spent some time, albeit four years ago, as an A&R scout for a record company and music publishers. Today’s major record companies look only for artists that will virtually guarantee them top 20 singles. Which means superficial, commercialist jism. There are several problems with this. Had bands like Radiohead, Blur, Black Sabbath and even The Beatles been starting out today, they would genuinely struggle to get signed. Not every band reaches their potential with their first album. Those quality young bands that do get signed invariably get stuck with a smaller record company and long-term success is far from guaranteed. Secondly, sensationalist bollocks will not still be selling records in even a few months time, let alone years. Bang goes the profitable back catalogue sales. Thirdly, nobody outside of British primary school playgrounds gives a fuck about S Club. How do they expect to break foreign markets with this twaddle?

I shouldn’t complain too much as a music fan. Only the mainstream has been afflicted with this clearly finance-induced disease. If you look hard enough (that is of course the whole problem – you have to look. And look hard.) some really fantastic stuff is there to be found. And there are labels, such as Warp, who do a sterling job. But while interesting music gets pigeon-holed into ever decreasing niches of the public consciousness, shitty commercialist toss is all our young charges will ever aspire to.

Cuntery is the word I believe I have been searching for...

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I went through Birmingham the other week. Not, I’m extraordinarily speedy to add, because I was visiting the middling city of our fair but occasionally xenophobic nation, but rather whilst undesirably passing (much like I might pass water whilst suffering with a bladder condition). And whilst I whistled hurriedly through the Brummie streets, I noticed two remarkable things. Firstly, there was no precipitation whatsoever falling from the skies. And secondly, the new Bull Ring Shopping Centre. And a huge construction it is too; a curving swathe of metal wholly adorned with thousands of silver-grey discs. A far cry from the old Bull Ring building: a typically sickening 1960’s design. Squares and rectangles of concrete and glass, fashioned together in a horrendous way that one would never imagine possible with such a collection of straightforward shapes.

A news item on the subject later that week replayed footage of the opening of the original sixties carbuncle complete with fanfare and enthusiastic midlanders. Surely, I thought to myself, these sixties disgraces seemed like attractive modern architecture to those at the time. Which makes me wonder how the new Bull Ring will be regarded in forty years from now. Like a big lumbering shit no doubt. The new Bull Ring is a classic example of knee jerkism – everything about it is an attempt to scream, “I’m not born out of the sixties, I am original and new godammit!”

Which is why it is poor fare indeed. The architects have taken the old building and deliberately made the qualities of the new one exactly the opposite. And so the new Bull Ring in fact is born right slap bang in the middle of the ricochet of all the dodgy sixties architecture you’ve ever cringed at. I suppose it will do the job required however; thousands will flock to the shops within, bringing with them their big fat wallets, no doubt encouraged by their curiosity of the dazzling façade.

In case I give the impression that I am just a Londoner jealous of a city outside of the Capital getting an apparently fetching bit of eye candy, I feel the need to add that I was on route from the beautiful northwestern city of Chester. And believe me when I say that our Roman occupiers did a much better job of designing attractive buildings then we often seem to be able to muster now. And so the trend of ignoring Roman ingenuity continues apace. After the Romans scampered back to Italy many centuries back, their sophisticated technology, farming, irrigation, transport systems, etc. (I refer you to the “What did the Romans ever do for us?” speech from Monty Python’s Life of Brian) was thrown out the window by us Brits and we embarked upon the grim life of the dark ages for the next few tens of generations. It is almost enough to make you believe that the Daily Mail was up and running and pushing out its own brand of backwards conservatism all the way back then.

Have you ever sat on the train and caught the eye of a fanciful lady or gentleman across the carriage only to then notice she/he is reading a copy of the Daily Mail? It’s a nasty moment I can tell you that for nothing.

I arrived back in London and on my route I did not fail to notice the collections of satellite dishes our country’s homeowners are amassing upon our exterior walls. And so the triple forces of technology, economics, and communications create a situation in which we actually pay money to adorn our buildings with odd silver-grey discs. To avoid such an unpleasant architectural scenario we must thus look to invisible ways of piping mass communication media into our living rooms such as cable. And so back comes bastard NTL into the conversation.

I genuinely despair.

But worse is to come and ironic too. For here I present you with news that my very abode is located within one of those 1960’s-style office buildings. So interesting it is indeed that the only reason I should be so reliant on the analogue cable service of the aforementioned NTL is because my landlords, in their infinite wisdom, feel that no silver-grey discs (or dishes as they are more commonly known) should be allowed to ruin the display of blue-coloured rectangles that my solidly rectangular building proudly displays upon my locale.

Is this a wise move designed to fend off the architectural rebounding of the Brummie town planners?

Will I ever get reliable television coverage of the football season?

Will the Bull Ring turn out to be as monstrous a building as its predecessor in forty years from now?

Why do you never get turkey soup?

Find out the answers to these questions and more in the next fabulous incarnation of Charging Through The Midfield.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Not much time online recenty, but luckily for me my good friend The Phantom Mencap has provided me with a reminder of this classic letter that has been doing the rounds for many a month. As you might have guessed I'm still having muchness of grief with the whole NTL situation. More grief comes from the knowledge that I had no hand in the writing of this letter....

Dear Cretins,

I have been an NTL customer since 9th July 2001, when I signed up for your 3-in-one deal for cable TV, cable modem, and telephone. During this three-month period I have encountered inadequacy of service which I had not previously considered possible, as well as ignorance and stupidity of monolithic proportions.

Please allow me to provide specific details, so that you can either pursue your professional prerogative, and seek to rectify these difficulties - or more likely (I suspect) so that you can have some entertaining reading material as you while away the working day smoking B&H and drinking vendor-coffee on the bog in your office.

My initial installation was canceled without warning or notice, resulting in my spending an entire Saturday sitting on my fat arse waiting for your technician to arrive. When he did not arrive at all, spent a further 57 minutes listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even more annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look at your helpful website.... how? I alleviated the boredom to some small degree by playing with my testicles for a few minutes - an activity at which you are no-doubt both familiar and highly adept.

The rescheduled installation then took place some two weeks later, although the technician did forget to bring a number of vital tools - such as a drill-bit, and his cerebrum. Two weeks later, my cable modem had still not arrived. After several further telephone calls (actually 15 telephone calls over 4 weeks) my modem arrived ... a total of six weeks after I had requested it, and begun to pay for it. I estimate that the downtime of your internet servers is roughly 35%... these are usually the hours between about 6pm and midnight, Monday to Friday, and most of the useful periods ove the weekend.

I am still waiting for my telephone connection. I have made 9 telephone calls on my mobile to your no-help line this week, and have been unhelpfully transferred to a variety of disinterested individuals, who are it seems also highly skilled bollock jugglers. I have been informed that a telephone line is available (and someone will call me back), that no telephone line is available (and someone will call me back), that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been cut off), that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been redirected to an answer machine informing me that your office is closed), that I will be ransferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been redirected to the irritating Scottish robot woman.... and several other variations on this theme.

Doubtless you are no-longer reading this letter, as you have at least a thousand other dissatisfied customers to ignore, and also another one of those crucially important testicle-moments to attend to. Frankly I don't care, it's far more satisfying as a customer to voice my frustrations in print than to shout them at your unending hold music.

Forgive me, therefore, if I continue. I thought BT were shit, that they had attained the holy piss-pot of god-awful customer relations, that no-one, anywhere, ever, could be more disinterested, less helpful or more obstructive to delivering service to their customers. That's why I chose NTL, and because, well, there isn't anyone else is there? How surprised I therefore was, when I discovered to my considerable dissatisfaction and disappointment what a useless shower of bastards you truly are. You are sputum-filled pieces of distended rectum - incompetents of the highest order. British Telecom - wankers though they are - shine like brilliant beacons of success, in the filthy puss-filled mire of your seemingly limitless inadequacy.

Suffice to say that I have now given up on my futile and foolhardy quest to receive any kind of service from you. I suggest that you do likewise, and cease any potential future attempts to extort payment from me for the services which you have so pointedly and catastrophically failed to deliver - any such activity will be greeted initially with hilarity and disbelief - although these feelings will quickly be replaced by derision, and even perhaps a small measure of bemused rage.

I enclose two small deposits, selected with great care from my cats litter tray, as an expression of my utter and complete contempt for both you, and your pointless company. I sincerely hope that they have not become desiccated during transit - they were satisfyingly moist at the time of posting, and I would feel considerable disappointment if you did not experience both their rich aroma and delicate texture. Consider them the very embodiment of my feelings towards NTL, and its worthless employees.

Have a nice day - may it be the last in you miserable short life, you irritatingly incompetent and infuriatingly unhelpful bunch of twats.

Thanx Marcus

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Ah-ha! Have you noticed?

Have you noticed the little link on the left column?

Had you been reading the last entry you will know.

You will know and you will look.

But you must keep it as our secret; because if everyone knows it's fiction, it will be diminished. There has got to be at least the faint possibility that it is the truth, else all wonder fails.

And without wonder there is despair.

Remember: truth is despair. Angst if you will.

Read Jean Paul Satre if you're not sure what I mean (but not before you read The Outside Man obviously).

Thursday, August 21, 2003

It is with little surprise that since this weblog began to publish stories of NTL incompetence, stories of further out[r]ages (get it? Good use of pun there I like to believe) have come snowballing in. Well, to be frank it is more of the kind of slow trickle one might experience on a windowsill after the thaw. But hey, Charging is a young beast and cannot be expected to command a Pop Idol level of public response. And for the record (and again) folks, Pop Idol is considered here to be a superficial, unsophisticated, and puerile container of other people’s toss; but yet again I digress.

For instance there is the incident of the customer who complained about the lack of signal and had to wait a total of eighteen weeks for an engineer to visit. Luckily the long-suffering NTL viewer had recognised the problem fairly quickly after reporting it, realising that it was a problem with a cable inside his house. But the NTL engineer came un-announced had a look and said “ooh, this’ll be a job for the Outside Man”. The Outside Man presumably being a strong-armed gangster contracted by NTL to look after problems such as customers who fix their own problems and then fail to cancel their request for overworked engineers (and who then reveal the engineer’s incompetence).

None of this bodes well for my particular predicament. Our free and illegal NTL signal has been suffering a bit from the extreme heat of this year’s global-warming affected summer. And on the day of the Charity, sorry, Community Shield – the first day of the new and eagerly anticipated footy season – it all collapsed fulfilling pretty much every nightmare worth sweating over. Yes, Sky Sports fell apart before our very eyes. We figured it might be the heat: our chipped cable-box went promptly into the fridge. But alas it was an external problem affecting our entire neighbourhood. I know because I asked people if they had a signal. I’m thinking that somebody will complain; but I’m also thinking that only paying customers can complain. And after having spoken to my neighbours, I’m thinking that everybody has NTL cable but no one is paying for it.

I even know what the problem is. I asked a proper non-NTL employed television engineer. Meanwhile I keep my home address secret for fear of a visit from the Outside Man in eighteen to twenty-five weeks.

But there is at least some good to come out of this experience. I now know that the most likely title of any autobiography I ever pen will surely be ‘The Outside Man’. It seems to fit somehow. Obviously I’ve got to do stuff to put in it; else I’ll make it all up Fargo style and call it the truth. I’ll never know why none of the thousands who claim to have been abducted by aliens have ever written an autobiography - possible gap in the market there me thinks. Failing that I could just reprint the archives of this blog in a decade’s time (although I’ll probably delete all the crappy little comments I’ve made within brackets that are strewn across this site).

Mm, that last paragraph gives me an excellent idea. To set up a new blog and write it as if I am in space in an alien’s craft and detail my story in a believable (to the extent that it could be) and realistic fashion. I think I might do that you know. Remember you saw it here first. And if anyone nicks this idea I’ll kill ‘em, regardless of the me stealing cable irony hypocrisy thingy.

Monday, August 11, 2003

My housemate and I are sitting out a half-year contract in our current abode. So after we realised that NTL only offered 12-month contracts, we decided not to pursue their (probably incompetent) services after all. That was despite one of their representative’s assurances that “it should be alright. We probably won’t sue you when you move out.” Yup that’s great. Thanks.

I’ve had this yearlong contract problem rise up before. On the previous occasion it was my attempt to undertake a monthly payment for unlimited Internet access with another debt-ridden and slightly less incompetent media company called Telewest. I had about seven months or so till my moving out date yet the agent seemed determined to somehow convince me to commit to 12 monthly payments. It seems that when a company finally realises that not every householder is able to undertake an entire year’s contract for a simple service, a sizable amount of money will be theirs for the taking.

It’s all due to superficial boardroom thinking of course. The fat suited ones obviously believe that such yearlong restrictions can only possibly benefit them. That same sort of thinking occurs around the probably malevolent boardroom tables of supermarket companies. They don’t like providing those smaller more useful trolleys because of their naïve belief that if you are wheeling around a big fuck-off unwieldy mother of a trolley you will want to fill it up and spend more money. What they don’t count on are the grumpy cynical bastards like me who notice their tactic and react accordingly with a steely determination to spend as little time in their money-grabbing, plasticy and hellish stores as possible. The greedy manipulative cunts that they are. But my opening gambit here is a mere digression from the main and urgently relevant topic I wish to discuss today.


It’s not that I believe they are out there or anything (belief is a strong word banded about far too regularly by people who could barely explain the first thing about the thing they claim to believe in; let alone the concept of belief itself) but I’ve been thinking that if there was a civilisation of sophisticated aliens who were aware of the existence of life on Earth, than they would almost definitely be lurking near us watching over our technological development. Because our world, presumably having developed independently from any outside influence, would represent an unbelievably large treasure trove for any alien species – even though they would be way in advance of ours. Just think: a detailed study of just our biology alone would produce original ideas worth huge amounts to any alien species. Our technology has been developed and invented completely autonomously - and in an alien way from their point of view - and would surely provide countless interesting and new concepts, ideas and spin off inventions.

So the aliens would wait nearby and watch, knowing we would make their alien version of a fortune (or newly conquered oil-producing middle eastern country). And if they wanted to they could make subtle corruptions to the flow of information around the globe to affect the results they desired. It would be in their interest to prolong our development and keep us from self-destruction because the further we came along the more we might have to offer. So for instance the Allied success in decoding the German’s communications during WWII may not have been as remarkable as we first thought. A subtle injection of a single but vitally significant key in some radio link somewhere could do the job of preventing the destructive evil of Nazism from prospering. However if and when we do make the final steps towards destruction, they would be forced to show themselves to save us and then to finally take their prize.

Hopefully they will not seek to conquer but to learn. One can only hope, but I wouldn’t put money on it. I wouldn’t even accept a sportsman’s bet on that one I’m afraid. And afraid could be the right word; if they are anything like fat boardroom types, they might consider our destruction to be a faster and simpler way to a quick buck. Shit the bed then. I try to comfort myself with the knowledge that fat boardroom types could never achieve the necessary intelligent required to evolve into a space faring species.

The aliens could happily monitor all our privately and publicly broadcasted material and would wait until we had a reliable communications network that they would then be able to participate in easily. This of course is our Internet. So they will probably be reading this very page using their version of an immense processing machine or group of analysts along with every other page published. No doubt they will have noticed that the rapid blossoming of pornography sites reflects us human’s blatant sexual repression across the board. With the aliens superior technology they would have no problems disguising their presence effectively. It’s not that they wouldn’t leave signs of their existence it’s just that they’d make us think we were seeing something else. An entry into our orbit for instance could be made to look like an asteroid impact or a nuclear test. Craters can be faked, information manipulated. They could pluck one of our space probes out of the sky to examine and easily make it look like a reasonably explained mechanical failure.

And if one looks at the record of probes sent to Mars, just a few too many have failed. So I’m thinking that they may be hiding with Mars being used as a blind between them and us. There are a few more probes heading towards the red planet as I write this. Watch them potentially tumble into disaster this winter.

But as we develop they won’t be able to reliably keep themselves secret for too much longer. So reveal themselves they soon must. And as the Internet grows in importance and size so their power to affect themselves upon our world balloons. It is the tool they need to facilitate an increasingly greater amount of control over our information ebbs and flows, and so they can then do things that they previously could not. This should already be happening. The final pieces are surely being moved into place. Perhaps soon they will covertly approach an open minded human and they will whisk him or her off in their vehicle to converse with for a few years and learn yet more. It would be an historic and risky moment but a precursor to the huge revelation of their existence. (You read it here first folks.)

And since there is even the vanishingly tiny possibility that I’ve hit the nail on the head concerning all of this, I’m hoping they’ll see what I’ve written here and choose me. Just imagine all the women who will want to sleep with me after I return. The chat shows would be all over me – naturally I’d turn them all down. Neil Armstrong would be like a children’s television presenter when compared to my fame and world importance… HA HA HA HA HA HA… I’d have to watch my comments for fear of upsetting religious types of course. That would be hard, but I’d take the duty seriously. The Daily Mail will inevitably invent some horrible and morally reprehensible story about me, and link me with the Trotskyite movement somehow but I’d be so popular the hoarding masses would tear down their offices and lynch the meaty right-wing lunatics within (well, one can but dream). Presuming we were not the victims of an interstellar pogrom, there will be kids reading about me in a Millennia’s time and stuff. Marvellous.

Come on aliens, I must be impressing with all this. Beam me up and project me into world stardom and threesomes with beautiful women - alas I cannot afford the plastic surgery to achieve that on my own (today’s society is oh so superficial).


Friday, August 01, 2003

I continue to wait for NTL’s response to my request to become a member of their obviously exclusive club of paying customers. So I come before you now with the intention of enlarging this current period of alternative Charging Through The Midfield entertainment. That is, with no time to surf and thus unable to proffer the usual linkage fantastico, please find this text-only entry as my gift to you. And a fine gift it very much is.

And with gifts very much at the top of my mind, I will now strive to meander my way through some sort of gift-related piece of writing.

Um… Well, here is me believing I can choose a subject matter at random and then write entertaining prose for public consumption without any prior planning or ideas. And naturally I’m failing miserably. Of course there is much I can write on the subject of gifts, but it is mightily dull fare. For instance this weekend is my housemate’s girlfriend’s birthday and the dilemma that looms (well, “looms” is a bit hyperbolic really but it makes for a more interesting read don’t you think?) before me is at what level of gift (or even mere acknowledgement) I should be striving for (too many bracketed comments in this sentence by far). By level I mean - and I ask you to at this point to correspond with me here regarding the actual boredom you experience here - this:

There is the top level of course, which is always reserved for one’s partner. This is a breaking of the bank arrangement and the gift equivalent of the US military’s DEFCOM 1. Any given person will always be prepared to strive higher and higher in order to show a loved one (who can realistically leave you at the drop of a hat should you fail to butter on enough attention) what they mean. Not preparing a gift for such an event is the personal equivalent of a state accidentally dropping its entire nuclear arms cache on another bigger and richer country containing lots of religious zealots who have just slightly different religious beliefs (massively different and it wouldn’t be so bad; it’s the ones that differ only fractionally that hate you the most). So quite bad then.

Next in the hierarchy is the parent’s gift. Instead of the sole emotional necessity to keep one’s lover close to you, here the motivation is also a moral one. It would be simply wrong not to present a gift for a parent’s birthday (unless they’re estranged of course – if so, fuck ‘em in the ear). However failure to do so would probably not result in a catastrophic abandonment by your parent of you. Although be warned that repeat offences will result in many minutes of upset pleas and questioning. Basically though, this is another must-buy gift situation. Not buying a parent’s gift is the state equivalent of an all-out trade war and diplomatic fall-out. Highly damaging, concerning, and liable to take up lots of emotional energy. But usually alright in the end with only the tiny danger of things going completely tits up should foolish action continue unabated.

Below this comes a sibling’s birthday. Some would put this close to the level of parent’s. Not me however. My brother and I have a long-standing agreement that we needn’t bother buying each other presents. We can realistically put the money to better use by purchasing for ourselves (this point drives a stake square into the philosophical heart of the matter of gift purchasing, but we’ll smoothly glide past this with only this tangent as a healthy nod toward the real cornerstone of the issue at hand). The illusion or reality of fairness is of paramount importance when it comes to relationships between siblings. So bit of an odd one this. But my brother’s existence is important to me and thus the position of this category remains high. Although I buy no gift, it is still vitally important that the situation is squared one way or another. Not buying your sibling a gift without some sort of arrangement of equality is the state equivalent of a particular Government falling out with its religious leadership. Ties usually get repaired in the end else you end up casting the whole relationship into the dustbin; but if you let it get to that stage you obviously never gave a fuck anyway so why worry?

Now come your friends. The question here is what import do you give the gifts that you receive yourself. If you buy generous gifts, you will be very likely to get equally generous presents in return. And this arrangement can be applied across almost every adjective. You go for imagination and you increase the likelihood of receiving a gift borne out of your friend’s imagination somewhere later down the line. So if you hate receiving books, don’t bloody buy them for all your friends first. Of course you want your gifts to your friends to be an embodiment of your friendship, so they are important. But failure to buy coupled with a reasonable excuse will lever you out of the situation nicely enough; not like in bastard category 1 (despite what your partner may publicly claim). Failure to buy a friend’s gift is the state equivalent of arresting and trying a foreigner from a country with an active media in dodgy circumstances and for murky reasons. You can probably get away with it then, but you will not be a popular bunny. And you’ll never hear the cunting end of it.

Another consideration must be bloody kids. The self-centred little fuckers always expect a whole array of presents when their birthday comes rolling around. And how is it possible that their day of the year appears to occur more frequently than your own? You don’t have to be a close relative or friend to feel the pressure of the present buying situation here. If somehow you’ve been dragged out to be with them at any point during their birthday week you’d better be carrying a gift, else be prepared for silent and unspoken grumbling from child and parent. Luckily however the little cunt will probably be satisfied with some cheap shit you picked up from Woolworth’s (unless you’re the child’s parent or grandparent of course. Bwahahahahaha!!!). Not bringing a gift is the state equivalent of closing the pits and putting everyone out of work. Not popular, not pleasant, but you get the feeling that you’ve done the spoilt brat a favour in the long run and everyone will forget your foul deeds soon enough.

Finally comes “accomplices”. That is the term I have decided to use and stick with it I will. Now “accomplices” represents a whole rainbow of those people in your life who are not represented in the categories above. Neighbours, work colleagues, teachers, distant relations etc. And just because this is the final and lowliest category does not mean the people within it are unworthy or not liked. This is a list of people to buy gifts for remember. Small tokens of your acknowledgement of their birthday should be enough - often expressed in the form of the classical birthday drink. Marvelous. Of course the danger is that the person you regard as nothing more than an accomplice regards you as a fully blown paid-up member of the friends category. So they’ll be pretty peeved to discover you’ve only given them an accomplice offering. Sadly where to place people in these categories is wholly down to you. Charging does not accept any responsibility for any crap you may experience should you blunder. Failure to offer up gifts to your accomplices is the state equivalent of the Government not providing a spokesperson on the BBC’s political discussion show “Question Time”. No one will care but even those lonely and sad enough to notice will forget within the hour.

There is another category. Hatred gifts. Filling a brown paper bag with dog shit, putting it on your enemy’s front step and setting it on fire before ringing the doorbell is such a hatred gift. Failure to occasionally serve up a hatred gift is the state equivalent of not declaring a pointless war in order to satisfy your arms dealer and oil baron sponsors. Everyone will like you, but you may not get very far. Think about it: arms have a shelf life of about 9 years anyway so if you dump them on a country once every decade that war is practically free. Likewise, dog shit is also free, so why not put it to good use?

For the record, my housemate’s girlfriend falls between accomplice and friend. So I shall be providing a gift this year, or at the very least a nicely written card. Not doing so would be the state equivalent of not providing a fireworks display on New Years Eve. I wouldn’t attain popularity or gratitude, but everybody will be far too intoxicated to spare even a second’s thought on the matter anyway.