A tale of two customer services, and a broken limb…

Whether this will continue or not, I am going to try and do a bit more general blogging, rather than waiting until I think I have some big and wondrous comments  to make on the world. So I am going to have a moan about certain things, and tell all about our little trip to Morley.

This all started last Thursday, when I picked up my beloved Herman (for some reason computers in our household, and for that matter guitars have taken on some level of anthropomorphic personification and have names) to find a large thumb shaped dent in the screen. This is something that overall was not surprising, and the screen casing on a Toshiba A300 does seem quite pliable, and I think that this was probably what caused the problem.

I contacted the place I bought it from about this. I was initially going to not mention where this was, as the University has a policy that you should not say bad things about it on any internet site and I am of course a good student. But that makes this story difficult to tell, so I will have to. I am not going to say anything libellous here, as everything is true….

So, start that paragraph again. I contacted the University IT shop, who helpfully said that they could fix it, but they had never heard of a screen being replaced under warranty. I pointed out that actually if the screen breaks on a laptop from the action of just picking it up, this probably indicates a problem with the unit and it would then not be a matter of warranty but of consumer rights.

I was told to take this to the helpdesk, but with the slightly concerning post-script: ‘
PS not a good thing to start threatening with consumer law and statutory rights stuff before you have been brought the laptop to us.’

Nice. Oddly enough this really does not make me want to use the service. But, I took Herman into the helpdesk as asked. Apparently the repair could take 10 days, would cost £100-125 plus £55 labour, and would unlikely to be done under warranty. Now, to be fair the helpdesk guy was lovely, apologised and did his best to help, but said that the shop would dig their heels in.

Various people (I recall Phill Hubbard in his work ‘City’ being one of them discuss the cyborg human – our homes, our computers, the internet as being extensions of our bodies. Aside from the fact that this would mean actually going into the office on Monday rather than working from home, AND potentially missing Doctor Who on iPlayer, certainly I am getting pretty tetchy having a broken baby (yes, I am sad). And to be fair, much as I am a great one for not being fucked over by companies the choice between 10 days and then a certain amount of wrangling with a workshop who is obviously upset that I have tried to enforce my rights and sent what I feel to be a veiled threat, or taking it down to Morley computers who quoted £149 for a 2 hour while you wait service I decided to go with the latter.

You would not believe how nervous I was on Saturday Morning. It is odd, this is something that I could probably do myself if I put my mind to it, it is not an uber-difficult repair, I have the system backed up and a seperate file back-up and all my photography, music files and writing is archived to DVD. So nothing can, really, go wrong. But it was like having someone in hospital. I like to think that (even though I adore) gadgets I am not one who has to have the latest everything, but what I do with technology is certainly a very large extension of my identity, if not my body. I managed to resist needing a stiff drink before we left, but only just.

Anyway, I cannot praise Morley Computers enough. I dropped Herman off, and the repair guy, checked him over and told me there are two screens that Toshiba use in the Satellite series, and he would need to check which one it was, and would ring me in half an hour. He did so, and said that it was the more obscure screen which he didn’t have in, but he’d called a supplier and they hopefully should be able to get him one mid-afternoon.

So we wandered around charity shops, Over the day I found some nice Eat Static and Dreadzone remixes, and a Rev Hammer album all on vinyl. I annoyingly didn’t have the copy of my list of books I need to complete various series and so have two copies of ‘The Machine Crusade’. We avoided a pub where even the tiles in the tap-room where the George Cross and settled for burgers and milkshake in an American 50s Diner. Funny place Morley.

The repair guy called me back about 2, and said the screen was on the way and would be ready to collect in an hour, and called again at just after three to say it was ready. Far cry from the service at that certain other place.

Anyway. Herman is better, I am happier, though could do without being £149 lighter, but oh well. Haven’t decided yet whether to complain to Uni.

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On the road.

We went to Opera in The Park, which was brilliant, and had me in tears when they opened with O Fortuna! from Carmina Burana. Much as I complain at times about Leeds Shitty Council wasting money, I think there are worse things they could spend some Culture Budget on than free concerts for 50 000 people.

But for us, this was anything but free. Not because of the somewhat excessive amount of money we spent on perry, sparkling wine cocktails and antipasti in Aldi, but because to get there cost us over £20.

We did, admittedly get a taxi there. Which cost us £9.40, plus a tip for waiting in traffic jams for ages. This was because we were running slightly late, and getting in at half past five, getting changes and into town for seven is not something that First Leeds seem to think is reasonable. In any case, the bus into town would have been £3.40 and the buss to the event £5 for us both (day riders not being valid on special services). So not much saving on a taxi.

We got the event bus home, for a further £5  and then, because although the 56 bus is supposed to run up until 2am throughout the year, once the students have gone home it quite plainly does not, seeming because non-student residents of Hyde Park and Headingley are not considered to have a life, we got  a taxi from town. Another £3.

Unlike most events we were not hustled out of the arena before the last strains of the music had even faded, and were actually encouraged to stay for a period because of the congestion in the car parks. This being understandable when 50 000 people are trying to get out of the same place very fast.

I often comment about people who seem surgically welded to their cars, but certainly in this city (and much of the UK) the public transport system does not do a lot to discourage this. Though they always fire-hose us with adverts about how many cars taking the bus will take off the road.

Private cars are useful, fun and (for those who are unable to create any identity in any other way) are important for some peoples street cred. But they are also an incredibly wasteful and polluting form of transport. I am not going to go all greeny on you and rattle on about carbon and global warming, in part because although I think there is some validity in the science, there is also a certain amount of spin to detract from REAL environmental issues. But, for one thing, reserves of oil are NOT unlimited: this is basic common sense. And for another, if you have ever walked down Headingley Lane in the morning and found it hard to breathe you will know what I mean.

But we have a bus service which is, quite frankly shit.

The buses are irregular, costly (though First Buses makes a huge profit), the drivers are rude, and they are permanently filled with little scrotes acting like cunts, which the driver does nothing about.

I remember one occasion when after waiting 45 minutes for a service which is supposed to be ‘every ten minutes or less’ I asked the driver if there were problems with the service that would affect my onward journey. I was told to ‘shut the fuck up and get on the bus’. Charming, by any standards. I have mentioned the somewhat early hour that the services stop. And the price.

It is not uncommon in the morning to wait for a bus and have three drive past full. Leeds is apparently the largest city in Europe to have no mass transit system. OK, that is a fairly useless statistic, but it certainly makes the point. Millions was spent on planning the Supertram which was then scrapped (though why they decided to try and put the first one up to Headingley which would have meant ripping up a load of beautiful buildings and half the side of Meanwood Valley I don’t know).

Something needs to be done. I would personally advocate an underground – this seems in many peoples eyes to be something that is only done in large cities, though it seems there is a plan for an outer London underground circular. Why not here? Deep-level tunnelling will not fuck up the last remaining green spaces. Berlin manages a 24 hour service on the U-Bahn. OK, I am slightly obsessed with the Underground in London, but something does need doing. Or we will all just live even more in our cars.

Posted in General Annoyances, Life in Leeds 6 | Leave a comment

Evolution of sense

I am concerned.  Concerned about the basic life skills of some people in Hyde Park at the moment…

Spatial awareness is something that normally is acquired by the age of about 8. I don’t know if there is some new thalidomide like drug reaction that has damaged the parietal lobes of a whole generation, or perhaps some trend in baby bonnets that has created pressure on the brain.

It seems to me, to be a sensible thought that when one is trying to get into an enclosed space, it it quite helpful to let those already in there get out first. This has the effect of creating more space for you to get in. This is something that over 100 or so years of micro-evolution most Londoners have finally learned in relation to the Tube. I am thus hopeful that in time that talent will evolve in the users of Stop and Save.

Another issue would appear to be malappreciation of width, of pavements and stairways. Pavements in particular seems one that we would hope some natural selection will soon resolve, as walking four abreast, particularly if very slowly, tends to result in the dirtying of those lovely Ugg boots, when someone treads on your heels.

This is also a potential problem with door-ways. Whilst Leeds has some magnificent internal architecture on some of its buildings, stopping suddenly to marvel at this has quite a negative effect on the general flow of movement. If you really wan’t to stand and gawp at the ceiling, why not come and do it at a less busy time of day. This again makes things much easier for everyone concerned. The same goes for sitting on stairs gossiping, emptying the entire contents of your handbag out on the stairs, or standing around talking on your mobile.

We now move onto human machine interactions, this being a key strand in the evolution of the human race. Cars are one of the most common machines that we need to use, along with busses. Cars are quite bulky and need particularly developed spatial acuity to manage.  If you drive a car from up in Headingley to the vicinity of the University and dump your car in a stupid place it makes it harder to manage the matter of not blocking the pavement. The more astute will make the connection that if you then intend to get the bus the remaining 150 yards, this becomes a bigger problem as the bus cannot get up the street.

Of course, spatial awareness is only the beginning. I agree that it is normally about 16 when this skill develops – the effect of your actions of other people.

At some point, you really must learn about full time employment, and how that involves some people getting up at 7am, which can make them a little fractious if you have been making a ridiculous racket with your monkey noises until 4am. However you will learn that it also can make local residents a little annoyed if the night afterwards (whatever the situation with your hangover) you bang loudly on the wall when they are trying to have a shag.

Also important is that some people do have other things to do than wait in a gigantic queue behind you in Sainsburys and Stop and Save while you attempt to pay for a frozen pizza on a succession of cards all of which are declined. Giggling and trying to then find lots of change to cover your purchase is also likely to become quite irritating.

Advanced students and those with a particular interest in the Social Sciences will be able to discuss the meaning of the contested term “community” and how it is defined as something more than a geographical area. This will look at networks, and how their application can mean that local residents are allowed to stumble around the Kit-Kat shop with a can of Special Brew in their hand, because “exceptions can be made for certain customers”. This will also explain the reason why however much you would like to define Hyde Park as “a student area”, wearing a ridiculous “LS6” hoodie for the reason that you think it looks trendy does not make you a local so and only succeeds in making you look like a twat.

Posted in General Annoyances, Life in Leeds 6 | Leave a comment

Get 'em out by Friday…

Though I’ve not really been able to take part due to a profusion of essays and idiots jamming trolleys into my back, I have been watching with some interest the developments at the Royal Park School. For those who don’t know, this local landmark has been rotting for 5 years after the council closed it as a school. Various typically hollow promised have been made about returning it to the community which it seems ‘becuase of the recession’ (funny how that is an excuse for everything) have ‘failed’. Of course this failure is nothing to do with the political bullshit inherent in our city council.

Recently, a group of people moved into the building, where they repaired a significant amount of damage, made a number of things safe, and utilised the building in the way that the council itself has promised it would be used: as a resource for the community. The council has evicted them and is now seeking costs of over £3000, despite a request from Greg Mulholland that this not be the case.

I’m not going to go too far into my views on this event. I think they are obvious, or will become so. But one wonders two things: first, whether local politicians have any influence at all, and secondly, if one charitably accepts the first, where their loyaties lie.

I worte to Jaime Mathhews (and the other two useless fools that represent us in Headingley, neither of whom replied):

Dear Mr Mathews

I am writing to you regarding the current situation regarding the Royal Park School.

As you are aware many local residents feel very strongly that the council has continually prevaricated over the issue of this building, and that many of the responses given to local people’s concerns have been tantamount to lies, with a hidden underlying agenda that is not in line with local residents’ best interests.

I am writing to communicate my full support for the current action taking place within this building. It saddens me that as a councilor elected by the residents of Hyde Park you have chosen in the press not to support the wishes and actions of local people, but tow the council’s line of ‘health and safety’. For what is is worth, I can assure you that many of the people involved in this project are known to me and have experience and qualifications in the work they are undertaking. Sadly that level of expertise did not seem matched by the ‘security’ on whom the council has spent over £20 000 of our money to allow the building to fall into such disrepair (though I guess this is fortuitous in the end in allowing local people to access the building).

The people involved in this work have done something that the council, and (by your seeming inaction you as councillors) have failed to do; that is putting their time where their mouth is and doing something constructive for the benefit of the local community.

I understand from the council’s statement on today’s Look North that Leeds City Council is preparing legal action to evict the people doing this work.

I would like to know your views on this, as it seems that you cannot claim to support the local community, whilst agreeing with the councils actions (and previous inaction).

I am writing to you, as someone who helped vote you into your current position (something I am close to coming to regret) to ask that you take every action within your power to prevent the eviction of the residents of the building, and this this is with the aim of handing over the building to community control, in order to allow local people to show that in the same amount of time that this building has been left to rot they can reverse the damage done by Leeds City Council and create a useful and community owned space from this building.

If you are not willing to do this, I hope you will take time to think about your position, as it seems that you are more in line with the overall aims of the Council, rather than the aims of the people you have been elected to represent.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Christian Bodden

OK, I may have sounded a bit stroppy. But the reply was a fucking joke:

Dear Christian

I must say I think you have, from the outset, misrepresented my views.

Yes I am concerned about peoples’ safety in the building, it would be irresponsible for me not to be. However, I went in on Sunday afternoon myself and had a walk round with Sue Buckle, Ted Winter and Andy Beresford, who all know that I am supportive of their aims, which is what I said in the Evening Post.

I am adamant and I am doing everything I can to save that building. It’s worth noting that from the day the previous administration closed the school local Lib Dem Councillors have done everything to ensure the building stays standing. I understand there were plenty of bids to demolish the building and build something else originally but local Councillors insisted the building remained, and remained in community use. We had, in my view, a very good bid from Rushbond which would have included keeping the building, converting it into elderly flats, a community space and a brand new library – this of course fell through because of the recession.

I personally do not support them being evicted from the building as they are doing a good job, and I told them this on Sunday. However, as I have said, I am concerned about their safety but I am supporting their efforts to work with council officers to legitimately and safely be in the building.

It’s a bit insulting to suggest we have a record of inaction on this one, this is not true. I have consistently demanded that the building be a) refurbished and kept in community use and b) in the interim the roof be repaired and the building be made safe. I have been ignored and overridden by Council officers – this is something I will be continuing to demand. I have not been told about any legal action to evict them but I will endeavour to find out what is going on.

I hope this clearly sets out my views for you.



Councillor Jamie Matthews
Headingley Ward

I like the phrase ‘insulting’. It is one you tend to hear when you have made a point that someone dislikes. One that perhaps touches a nerve, makes them think about their errors and ways.

Oddly, the eviction happened two days later. Either Matthews is as naive as his colleague Monaghan, a liar, or just thinks he can fob off someone who doesn’t appeciate his politics. Maybe all three.

What this event has highlighted is the real lack of interest in this area from the council. I note that some (mostly Labour) councillors from nearby have shown quite an interest and considerably more proactive support. But of course it is electioneering, as the flyer through my door proved the other day. So I would, personally, counsel against too much trust in them.

I’ve commented on these before – but to review: I’ve mentioned Monaghan before, standing up and displaying he cannot even be bothered to learn a bit of history about the area he ‘represents’, but has made it quite clear he will never live in. He was assigned to discuss my issue with the way the bin-yard fines was handled and the ludicrous response from environmental services about the problems in my area. He plainly did not actually read my comments and request for help/advice, just kept forwarding it to the person concerned. OK, he was a bit busy at the time valiantly trying to beat the BNP to the Yorkshire and Humberside Seat, but lets face it he’d probably move to Kent with his MEP’s salary, saying the North was a bit scummy, like he did about Hyde Park, in Leeds student.

Matthews: Well, this incident is clear. He also claimed he would help with various noise issues, the general lack of local nous indicated by the Police, being threatened by builders wrecking local houses. A veriatble Yes-Man, he was. But nothing really came of it, like everything it faded away when he’d made some lame and false promises.

As for Hamilton: Well, I contacted him about the same issues. It took a complaint to the council to get a response (not from him, he was on an extended holiday apparently). I wonder if he exists.

This leave our worthy MP, Mulholland. I also wonder if he exists. I have never heard from him at all, in reply to any letter I have sent. Probably for the best – a friend of mind contacted him about the embryology bill, and got the reply that her request was counter to his religious beleifs, so he could not address her concerns.

Meanwhile, Hyde Park falls into disrepair, the mess from the bin strike, half of it made by the scabs they employed, still fills our streets. My plants grow legs and wander down the street to be found dead in student houses, the same ones that try and blame people who complain about their continual noise for that same noise, and worse. Raw sewerage pumps from broken pipes when one bedroom houses are converted to house six.

I don’t know what it is like for those whose ward reflects where they live? I apparently live in Headingley, quite how that works I don’t know. I hope I don’t get asked to pay a parish precept for Headingley to have the Town Council it wants. They will care about us in the Harolds and Thornvilles about as much as the Lib Dems care for anyone except the student vote they want. But I doubt anyone else will truely be any better.

Posted in Life in Leeds 6, Politics | Leave a comment

The World Freak Show…

After banging my head on the cupboard on Thursday night, and going to bed with a sore head and a sulk, I managed to miss the most hyped-up offering that ‘Auntie-Beeb’ has had for a while. Well, other than Eastenders, which seems to beat it in the ‘Most Popular List’. Don’t we live in such an informed and politically interested country…?

Having now indulged in the delights of IPlayer, here you are folks, as I’m sure you were waiting for it, the long awaited (and maybe predictable) Christian Bodden response to Question Time. Bring it on… Crash Roll and so on.

A lot has been discussed about whether offering this platform to Nick Griffin would show his true colours, and simply allow him to make a fool of himself. Many people seem to rest on their happy laurels that this was the case. Sadly I disagree.

Don’t get me wrong, I think he showed himself for the vile and ignorant animal that he is. Sadly, against the backdrop of most of the rest of the show, this was not as striking as perhaps one could have hoped.

Griffin showed himself to be the perfect politician. Misinformed, relying on self-constructed spin, offensive, and resorting to cheap jibes about his opponents. But then we had Jack Straw blustering and skirting around the issue of immigration because he plainly had no answer to perhaps the government’s hottest potato. We then had Sayeeda Warsi displaying the Tory tendency to reduce everything to the the most blunt means with her parties ‘cap’ policies on immigration. Then we have the general debate from Bonnie Greer, and various members of the audience about the meaning of ‘indigenous’ handled in such a blunt manner: yes, we all (according to current archeological theory) came from Africa, but what does that actually add to the debate…?

And much as I think that Griffin deserves to be derided at any opportunity, it seems David Dimbleby had plenty of cheap jibes of his own.

So, the great debate. Should the BNP have been given this platform? The discussion of ‘free speech’ seems to be the main issue here. Aside from Griffin’s comment that the BBC is a thoroughly unpleasant and ultra-leftist organisation having some truth if you remove ‘ultra-leftist’ and replace it with which-ever political ideology is currently trendy and most likely to gain viewers, it is supposed to be an impartial tool of the ‘democracy’ we live under.

Let us, for the moment, assume that to be true. On that basis, it is right that the BNP be given this platform, as that is their Right.

Some people may find that distasteful, but bear with me for a while. What is a Right? Can yoou tell me that an animal has the right not to be eaten by a predator? No. (Sorry Vegans).  Much as I would like to adhere to Animal Rights, Women’s Rights, Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’ and so on, and don’t get me wrong I live my live according to those kind of moral assumptions day by day, Rights have little real value, or even existence unless ratified by a political system that upholds those rights.

This is the inherent paradox in the likes of the UAF and Hope Not Hate, they would like to deny fascist parties or individuals the right to free speech that the political system the former support allows to the latter.

The BNP are a legitimate political party. Some people have tried to argue about the BNPs legality, or legitimacy, based on their policies, particularly on membership. Sadly it is a bit late for that when a party is on the ballot papers, and gaining seats. So the BNP have as much right the platform, representation, and so on as any other party.

Those of you who have now stopped reading and will wonder if I have suddenly become a signed up member of  The Fash, have fun and I’ll see you later. The more intelligent remainder can hopefully see where this is going.

Surely something is wrong with giving someone quite so abhorrent the right to speak?

‘Hang on’, I hear the reply from the proportion of those who have stayed because they hope that this has suddenly become something they can all comment their racist tripe at the end. ‘You are the real fascist trying to deny us our right of free speech’. Sadly this is the standard, and slightly peurile, reply to this. I will return to this later.

To sum up the previous discussion into a more succinct term, what I am saying is that ‘liberal democracy’ is perhaps an oxymoron, if not a pile of poo, (though see my caveat below about whether a Liberal Democracy is what we actually are).

The most base form of Modern Liberalism, often referred to as Social Darwinsim, generally proposes the absence of Government, and survival of the fittest. Sounds good to me, as Little Boots will never die under this ideology. By the way that’s the only joke you are going to get. On the other hand, you have Social Liberalism where the interdependence of man is stressed, and one requires a benevolent government to help out occasionally. One end of this spectrum pretty much allows free reign to behave like a twat, while the other still has the problem of being subject to someone else’s rule if you do not wish to do so. Liberal democracy is supposed to offer individual freedom and protection from too much government control, and so in part this could be seen to strike a balance. Various forms of this are often touted as allowing this ‘freedom of speech’, and preventing governments from denying political expression. Notwithstanding the fact that really we a Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy, for the purposes of this argument I shall assume that there is little difference. In reality, as I will explain below, it matters little.

I do not intend to go much further into the subject of liberalism itself, but it shows itself here to be a slightly flawed and woolly system. And Democracy more so, shown by the fact that I am ‘represented’ in Europe by a fascist prick.

One of the absolute triumphs of this Question Time was that it demonstrates this fact perfectly. As well as showing the all of the elected representatives on the show for the fools they are, it has brought this free speech debate to the fore again.

My hope, is that some people may now begin to question the overall political structure that puts the BNP where they are. I am not talking here about Immigration, or Social Cohesion, or anything else on this micro level. I am referring to the whole system of so called democracy that allows the BNP their platform.

But is the only alternative the totalitarianism that we are all against..? No.

Liberalism is not the opposite end of the spectrum to totalitarianism, whatever one may suppose from its genesis.

Imagine if you will, the following:

You live in a community/society/group/whatever plural term you wish to employ, where you are not subject to the power of the state that you are born into. You may be taught the morals and values of that group, but you have access to learn and explore what you feel is right. You are free to leave the group at any time; if you find a group with whom you agree, they will naturally accept you. Or you can engage with those around you about why your view may change theirs for the better. They may agree and develop, or they may not, in which case you can compromise, or you can move on. The main thing is that no one person has the final say.

Because people who produce a product or service do it to make a living, not pay their shareholders, transnationals do not appear by buying up smaller organisations, and smaller organisations do not feel they need to be bought to stay alive.

Because resources are shared, everyone has more. No-one really is in want. No group needs to deny entry to others because it is under resourced. Because differences either meld, or separate of their own accord, no one needs to fear difference, or fear being over-run, which is one of the major precursors of racism in modern society. You can be afforded free speech, even if this is abhorrent, because it will not lead to your controlling, or harming anyone else who does not agree with it. So the BNP can sit in a field in Derbyshire, goose-step and tell racist jokes, but really they are not a big harm to anyone, because they can sit and do it to their greasy selves.

Who really would not agree that this sounds better than what we have now.

Of course this is not an infallible system. Of course there is the problem of greed, and power. But it seems likely that once everyone has more, many people will want less. There is the problem of individual pathologies; crime – This model relies strongly on the idea that crime is a result of structural inequality, which is not unilaterally accepted within the social sciences. Of course what happens to the poor sods born into the BNP’s Derbyshire Reich indoctrinated with the more unpleasant ideologies. And what happens when this group does decide to try and use their muscle to take over? These are, of course, very real concerns about this model. I have some ideas, but as this is already getting quite a long post I will leave it to those more versed in Anarchist Theory to debate and discuss them, for now. Or of course to challenge me, as this is my own, perhaps rough description.

But I will make one point. The ‘objection’ I hear most often to this idea, is that it ‘just won’t work’. When asked why, it is normally not that people do not believe it won’t work, but that they cannot comprehend the paradigm shift that would be needed to bring it in to place.

I agree. It is pretty incomprehensible. But, if we deny that fear of change, perhaps, one day we will move closer.

Let us use these troubled times to try and think outside the box a little. And maybe we will learn something new.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Copper's Knock

I’m sat the other day, minding my own business trying to digest a paper on positivism without going to sleep, when there is someone decide to come and try my door handle. So I go and open the door to shout something along the lines of ‘whaddatheFUCKyouplayingatyoulittleSCROTE’ to see a pair of (fairly little, it must be said) members of Her Majesty’s Finest, wandering around the street trying doors.

I gather that this is a new side of the community policing in Hyde Park, as it does seem that ‘robbing students is sometimes childsplay’ to quote the pretty good new video that LUU has made.


But, as someone with a bit of an interest in privacy I am not 100% sure I approve. There is an interesting legal question here: if they had caught me up to know good, would that evidence be admissible, gained via entry without a warrant. Probably, and that is really not on.

Though it seems that things are a bit hot in LS6 at the moment, we are hearing about a fair number of burglaries and so on.

There also seems to be some mad genetic engineering going on as several of my plants have recently evolved into triffids, and wandered off down the street of their own accord, seemingly to attend student parties (the ones that could be found).

I also note that Leeds Landlord Supplies on Brudenell Road has strated to stock what every landlord needs at this time of year: fireworks. Huge big 200 shot airbombs being the preference. Welcome to Basra, LS6.

On a worse note it seems that there have been some muggings going on locally, one at only 8:00pm on the park, and also one at knifepoint, (well four points actually), in Woodhouse, this being in the time taken to walk from a taxi to the door. So be careful kids…

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Making a Pigs Ear of it all…

I have swine ‘flu. So I am told, from the very thorough medical examination I underwent from some idiot on the end of the phone.  I have to say this is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Not because I get to spend a week in bed, alternately sleeping and complaining on facebook. But because if this is how the country manages in the ‘early stages’ of this supposed pandemic, I am really glad that I will hopefully be immune when the real thing kicks off…

This all started on Friday, when Aimee was sent home from work, having collapsed and become very poorly. Though, to be fair, I have felt worse from various other respiritory illnesses this is quite a bummer of a disease, not least because it seems to go in waves and one point you are sat there thinking ‘am I imagining all of this, have I succumbed to the media hype?’ and the next minute it hits you like a jack-hammer and you feel shite.

Anyway, Aimee phoned the helpline.  First they ascertained that she was not unconscious – ‘hold on, I’ll check… “Can you hear me? What is your name?” Slap, Slap… Oh my god I’m unconscious I’m in a tunnel and there’s a beautiful light at the end… Wham! Oh, no hold on I’m not unconscious…’

After a few questions she was duly  diagnosed. It turns out the nearest place to pick up Tamiflu is Seacroft. An hour each way on the bus. And only open office hours in the week, and 11-4 on Saturdays. I always said that I was not going to take the latest wonderdrug, as I am normally quite anti this sledge-hammer medicating of the masses. But I did ask the helpline what would be the procedure if I subsequently became ill, and we had problems finding someone who would take the morning off work to trek to the arse-end of chav-town to pick me up some drugs.

Despite the fact that anyone with even GCSE science could probably work out that even with the utmost hygiene the chances of my becoming ill and then not really wanting to have to trek across Leeds again were quite high, one cannot get any drugs in case. One suggestion was that I should ‘quarantine my girlfreind’. Bet you’re single love, ain’t you. The next was that whoever was feeling the least ill should go…

Now I thought, that becuase the illness is actually quite mild, the general dosing of the population (conspiracies about drug companies notwithstanding) was to keep people indoors and try and prevent the spread as this variant was one that most people have no resistance to. I was tempted to do this: ‘Oh yes, this batch is for me, Atischoo, oh, do excuse me, sorry did I splatter you…” But I persisted. After the helpline, NHS Direct, and my GP’s Out of Hours Service had all given contradictory information I gave up.

I went to Seacroft. Honestly, the place was like fucking Fort-Knox. Security at each end of the corridor. I was told to go to the end and speak to the nurse. Putting one foot too far over the yellow line resulted in a barked ‘Wait there!’.

You will recall that you can get this drug just by phoning and telling them you have a list of symptoms which you could, if you so chose, just recite of the website. Yet they seem to think that I am likely to be about to storm the doors and steal mine. Maybe it’s the leather jacket, that makes me dodgy it seems.

OK, I know there is quite a black market trade in Tamiflu, but it all seems a bit daft to me.

I did ask why one has to trek out to Seacroft, and they can’t set something up at LGI. It seems one of the main problems is parking. So (despite the fuck-off multi-story attached to the hospital) those of us who don’t drive have to trek miles on the bus because those who are surgically melded to their cars can’t be trusted to park nicely. Typical.

Anyway… Sure enough at some point on Sunday my temperature shot up to god knows what and I started feeling like I’d filled my system with scopolamine or some other vile poison. I called the helpline on Monday and then the hospital and informed them that they would be deliveing me some drugs. They did so.

After all this I decided that I probably would give it a go, also on the advice of the one medical professional I actually trust, who reminded me how ill pneumonia makes me. I think it’s helped, but at some points I actually wish I was feeling worse, so I could just sleep and not go through this I feel OK, no I feel like death would be a release, oh I feel OK again business…

One thing I will say from this. Don’t take shite from them. Challenge them, and don’t let them assume that you can expect your mates to disrupt their lives ‘cos the PCT has decided that the only place they will hold drugs is miles away. Everyone’s joining groups about I love the NHS… Hmmm. It’s better than most, but cut the fucking bureaucracy and it would be 20 times better…

Posted in General Annoyances, Politics, Science | Leave a comment

Party: Off.

Last night we tried to go for a party in Clayton Quarry. We managed this for about 10 minutes, the Police already swarming around the top of the road when we arrived. This was fairly unsurprising, as you could hear the bloody thing from the Ring Road.

Let this be a lesson – it was too LOUD. Ok, psytrance sounds much better loud, but if you are trying to have a party bang in the centre of Leeds, a bit of common sense is needed…

I spoke to a fairly friendly (as they go) WPC, who made the perfectly accurate comment: ‘if we’d have had only one or two complaints we’d just have let it lie. How would we have known you were here?’ It seems they’d been coming pretty thick and fast for over an hour…

I’m glad the lads who were chanting ‘Piggy Piggy Pig Pig’ shut sup before they caused a scene. Though I would have found it quite amusing if they’d been arrested. Silly fools. Much as I have little respect for the Police 90% of the time, they have a job to do and they are going to do it. If, by being silly, you give them a chance.

I was hoping the the remnants of Leeds’ party scene was getting an injection of new talent and energy. But it seems they have a lot to learn…

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Last night, for the first time ever, I actually felt physically ill on reading the news. Not some bombing, some mass murder, the gang rape of a child or something. But the news that I am ‘represented’ in Europe by the BNP.

Well, this goose-stepping psychopath does not represent me. I care little enough about Euro-politics, not because I don’t think that they are important, but because in the grand scheme of things I think it has little overall effect on my life. Some might say that is naive; rather, I live my life in a way that so far as possible I let many things wash over me with a quiet acceptance that the alternatives are probably not that much different.

He also does not represent me because I simply reject his representation for who he is. For what good that will do me. Sadly, he does represent a large portion of my country, and certainly the 120 000 and odd bigotted and ultimately ignorant fools who voted him in.

Weltschmerz is a German word, translating literally as ‘World-Sorrow’. It can mean a simple dismay at the state of the world, or a feeling that one’s own weaknesses are a result of this. It is also associated with the Romantic Poets, and a feeling that the state of the world is counter to ones own freedom of thought and mind.

Which sums up how I feel today.

The familiar argument has of course arose, about freedom of speech, and how comments of violence makes one as bad as the object of one’s violent expression.

This state of affairs shows that we are not mature enough for freedom of speech. Of course this is a paradox, as to disallow freedom of speech places one in a situation where someone tells someone else what they can express. But does the state of the world mean this must be so? There is probably no answer to this, save the anarchist-influenced informal regulation that might only be a pipe-dream.

What this also shows, is that once again ‘democracy’ has failed. I have joked that the thing that has pissed me off most about this whole fiasco is that I have been forced to break the habit of a lifetime and vote. I have never voted in a general election. My main reason for this is that I will not vote for someone who does not represent my views. Which no political party ever has. I nearly voted in 1997, after growing up under Tory rule. I would be ashamed to have voted in such a disfunctional government. I considered voting for Greg Mulholland in the last general election, based on his good record as a councillor in Headingley. Again, I would have been ashamed, after his vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, reputedly because of his own Catholic beliefs.

But this failure of ‘democracy’ is the worst. Pop Will Eat Itself sang: ‘but if the answer isn’t violence, neither is your silence’. I have not been violent, and I have not kept silent. And I am now saddened.

I am sometimes an idealist. I have largely held reservations about violent responses to fascism. Partly because I think dangerous egos can take hold, and even people who will stand up and fight are often not mature enough to justify their means. Also, because although ideologically I am not anti violence, I refuse to succumb to allowing violence to be the answer, as I am, by nature, a gentle person. But where are we now? 120 000 people in Yorkshire and The Humber is too many to ignore. And this poison will grow and grow.

This is not some call to arms, or statement of intent to join Antifa. But the time is coming when many of us will need to make the choice whether we sit back and allow this to continue, by our posturing and faith in good nature and The System. Or whether we will be forced back to a time when human evil cannot be controlled in any other way: the ultimate recidivism. World Sorrow, indeed.

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

A small lesson in Pragmatism.

The Moor, once again, is the latest issue for Hyde Park Busybodies to throw a wobbler about.

As you will all know, when the weather gets hot, people flock to the park, many of them using those pathetic tin-foil barbecues and burning huge holes in the grass. Which is pretty fucking selfish and irritating, I agree.

So the Council, in one their rare bursts of sense have come up with the idea of sinking barbecue slabs into the ground to provide a means to do this with less damage. Which seems to me a sensible idea.

But of course, for some, this is not good enough.  People feel that this will spoil The Moor. That Money should be spent on enforcing the present By-Laws. That Barbcue smoke is Toxic.

Lets look at these, one by one. I’ll start with the last. Barbecue smoke may be greasy and nasty. But you can’t stop people having a barbecue in their garden (at least not in Hyde Park, at the moment). I’m also guessing a fair number of people opposing this on the park will be lucky enough to have a garden.

Spoiling The Moor:  I’m inclined to say that stone slabs set over a small area will spoil The Moor considerably less than the current mess caused by people who don’t use them. The Moor is not some ancient burial ground that is defiled by building facilities on it. Or maybe it is, and that’s why after ten years we still don’t have any lighting.

So lets look at the last one: Park wardens technically have the power to remove people from parks. It’s in the By-Laws. But they don’t. And those who will ignore the By-Laws clearly ignore the wardens as this letter suggests. So personally I resent paying for someone who doesn’t actually do their job. I fail to see how more wardens will help.

So the Police then? Well, the only time I’ve seen the Police do very much on the park is hassling people sat there in the mornings (because staying up all night and sitting on the park at 8 o’clock on Saturday Morning is oh so much more of a social evil than burning holes in things). The Police say it is the councils repsponsibility, the Council say it is the Police’s. Like Noise, that old chestnut. I’d be very suprised if the Police would ringefence the money that would have been spent on barbecue facilities, if it were to be given to them.

So, what will happen, is as usual nothing. And the park will continue to be burned.

The local resident bigmouths say ‘why should Hyde Park be any different?’ Because Hyde Park is different. Like it or lump it, we have a large population of students and young people. That’s life.

I have lived in Hyde Park 15 Years.  I am not an incomer student. But I agree with a pragmatic response to a problem. God I’m such a misfit. This shows, once again, two characteristics of ‘community’ in Hyde Park.

One: it is self-serving, parochial, and serves a small group. Two: these small groups of people who claim to be the ‘community’ quite clearly have their heads up their own ar, sorry, firmly in the clouds.

Posted in Life in Leeds 6 | 1 Comment