Monthly Archives: September 2015
Everyone loves drinking. I know I do. Ever since I was 13 years old and I blithely helped myself to can after can of continental lager at my Aunty Von’s New Year’s Eve party then vommed off the side of my bed onto the bedroom floor, showering the cat with sick. I remember it vividly because my dad came up to check on me after being informed of harrowing heaving noises floating across the landing, quietly crept into the bedroom to see how I was then slipped over in it. Such was the state of his own inebriation he simply lay immobile on the floor in a pile of sick asking if I was okay with me groaning at him that the cat looked funny. I don’t recall but I’d like to think he lay there all night. It’s stuff like that that really bonds a father and son.
When I worked for the Inland Revenue a few years after leaving school, I discovered that working for the Inland Revenue was the sole reason that loads of work colleagues had serious drinking problems. One fellow I worked with used to wear slippers for work and surreptitiously guzzle from open cans of cider in his desk drawer. He did this every day for ages until one day he got overly giddy and answered the phone with the handset the wrong way up and began shouting that he couldn’t hear the person on the other end. He was dismissed not long after that and was replaced by a robot. That’s a true story. Apart from the robot bit.
Anyway, apparently I look under 25. I have this regularly brought home to me by bored checkout operators in large supermarkets because of that stupid Challenge 25 rule thing. Rarely do I find myself attempting to purchase alcohol in supermarkets without being asked for identification from a perplexed looking cashier as I pat up and down my body pretending to look for the ID I clearly don’t have. I never get asked my age in bars or off-licences mainly because I clearly don’t look 17 despite not being able to grow a beard. I can usually tell when a cashier is unsure about my age as they eyeball me so fiercely as they’re swiping through all the toilet roll and crisps that it makes the top of my backside sweat. By the time they get to swiping through the Buckfast I can already feel the impending doom. For some reason I get really uncomfortable when I get asked for ID. Probably because of my fear of being publicly outed as someone with a drinking problem and I really don’t have a problem. I just hide my drinking from my family and friends and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The last time I was asked for ID was when I was buying a couple of miniatures of Jack Daniels to help with nerves prior to my first driving lesson, and the inevitable ‘how old are you?’ question was asked by a jovial 103 year old at the till:
CONFUSED CHECK OUT LADY: ‘Hmmm, I can’t tell if you’re over 25. How old are you?‘
ME: ‘Yes, I’m over 25. I’m actually 35.’
APOPLECTIC CHECK OUT LADY: ‘You’re 35? Really? 35?!’
ME: ‘Yeah, I get asked for ID all the time in here because I’m so fresh-faced.’
COMPLIMENTARY CHECK OUT LADY: ‘Ha! You don’t look 35 at all. How do you keep yourself looking so young!?’
ME: ‘Loads of cocaine.’
At which point the bonhomie ended and she looked at me blankly before glancing over at her supervisor who fixed me with a glare and suggested he was slowly reaching under the counter for a club to smite me with like in those old Western movies when a dirty cowboy shows up and the barman reaches under the bar for a club to smite him with. I smiled but got nothing back in return.
The above scenario happens all too often which is why – for one month only – I’ve decided to completely forego alcohol altogether by taking part in the Go Sober For October challenge in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support. When I mentioned this to friends and family and on social media I got nothing but abuse and ridicule so I feel compelled to complete it in spite of my mind and body crying out that this is the stupidest idea I’ve ever had. Mind, it wasn’t even my idea. I was gently cajoled into doing it by my wonderful better half, Laura, who herself is also attempting to sober up for 31 days. Thirty one days. A month without a drink. Jesus.
But it’s all for a good cause so if you fancy donating something to MacMillan Cancer Support on behalf of our struggle then by all means do. It’ll mean so much to a lot of people, and most importantly, the more donations we get, the less likely I’ll turn to Class A narcotics in order to ease the pain. My dealer is just a text message away so please, donate what you can and save me from ending up on Jeremy Kyle with a tattoo on my face and a string vest on.
I love you too.
So this morning when I was on the toilet I read a few pages of Barry Potter & The New World Order that I’d stolen off a child from the playgroup at work, and immediately became fascinated by J.R.R. Rowing’s weird little world of elves, goblins, drugs and chaos. So much so that I stopped reading and decided to write a brief review of it, as well as my private, personal thoughts so far. I should warn you before I begin that it’s an incredibly dangerous book that should be vetted by all relevant authorities then sent to America so normal people can read it and assess its suitability for the wider world.
Those of you who know me will know that for some time I’ve cultivated a somewhat unnerving fixation with a real Potter, namely Beatrix and her wonderfully friendly anthropomorphic creatures that steal, hunt, swear and have generally weak moral compasses. Unfortunately, her surname has been somewhat tarnished having been appropriated by that ubiquitous little squirt called Barry.
For the uninitiated, Barry Potter is a severely abused child wizard who likes to fly about on a broomstick fighting his arch-enemy Lord Vadermort who’s perpetually angry because of a life-long cocaine addiction which caused him to have most of the septum removed from his nose. Now he just harbours a severe LSD condition which causes intense hallucinations in which he visualises Danny Boy Radcliffe and Michael Gamble repeatedly attacking him with sticks, and himself gets his rocks off by attacking children. Both Barry and Vadermort have a mutual Facebook friend in Albus Tweedledum (played in the Holyrood motion pictures by the aforementioned Mickey Gamble) who is a grand wizard of the KKK and likes to wear his dressing gown, night-cap and slippers in public which, being something of a wise old sage, isn’t very wise at all given the amount of violent abuse dished out to students who wear their pyjama bottoms and Ugg boots to buy a pint of milk from the local Tesco Extra.
Lord Vadermort is played by him out of Schindler’s Lists with a funny name, Ralph Fine. It looks like Ralph but is apparently pronounced ‘Raaaafe’ as in ‘rafe’ which is all well and good but this isn’t GCSE English and I’m not a teacher.
Throughout the course of the books, movies, Broadway show, pantomime, cartoons, sitcom, soap opera and one man band, Lord Vadermort comes across as a whingeing old pisspot who moans about not having enough gak and hates everyone including those from a different background, social strata, anyone on a lower income; benefit claimants, asylum seekers, the working class, and anyone who comes into this country taking everyone’s jobs.
He does, however, have a handful of confidantes and besties with whom he likes to talk about dismantling the planet including insane News Corp emperor Rupert Murder, the overly ostentatious walking hairpiece Donald The Trump and all members of the Tory Party of Middle Earth, Middle England, England. Fun fact: J.R.R Rowing has said that she based Vadermort’s entire personality on those from the political spectrum. Here’s an extract from Wikileaks: ‘he is a “raging psychopath, devoid of the normal human responses to other people’s suffering”, and whose only ambition in life is to become all-powerful and immortal. He is also a sadist who hurts and murders people just for pleasure. He has no conscience, feels no remorse, and does not recognise the worth and humanity of anybody except himself. He feels no need for human companionship or friendship, and cannot comprehend love or affection for another. He believes he is superior to everyone around him, to the point that he frequently refers to himself in the third-person.’ At the time, J.R.R. Rowing caused a nationwide sensation when it was confirmed that she was reading aloud from the Tory Party manifesto, and current Tory stormtroopers the Primed Minister, Guy of Gisborne and Iain Dunked-In Shit are said to each have a copy of Lord Vadermort’s autobiography entitled ‘My Muggle’, and use it to inform home and foreign policy.
Our bespectacled little spelk Barry, however, has his own problems. Over the course of this inexplicably popular franchise, Barry repeatedly ropes in his two best mates, Ron Queasy and Hermione The Ranger, to do all his dirty work for him. Barry is a fame hungry tosser who got his place in the Hogroast School Of Witchery because of nepotism. He likes nothing better than to humiliate Ron and his low birth by commenting on how stupid he looks and that he has a magic wand but doesn’t know how to use it properly. As he grows up, he repeatedly leers at Hermione The Ranger and throws suggestive remarks at her at every opportunity. He knows deep down, however, that this is just a front for the confusing feelings he has about Ron Queasy and his flame-coloured mane. He won’t admit his true self though and continues to be a bastard to everyone he meets, including the audience watching. Barry is on the Premier League footballer scale of everything that’s wrong with Middle Earth. It’s no wonder the books sold 4500 copies. That’s nearly as old as the earth.
Ron Queasy is so-called because he looks generally uncomfortable with existing as a human being and fully aware that he is basically a figure of fun for the entire western world to take the piss out of simply because he looks he’d be more at home as the character Piggy in J.K. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Flies when all the other flies gang up on him, steal his glasses then squish him with a big rock. Needless to say, he has the last laugh as he ends up marrying Lady Emma What’s On? and having loads of babies together. (Not in real life, of course. In real life no one knows what happened to the lad who played Ron Queasy. I suspect he’s a paper boy somewhere.)
Anyway, Hermione The Ranger is played by the aforementioned Lady Emma What’s On? and she’s smarter than the average bear. When she was a little brat in the earlier movies, she was a right little brat. Bossy and vindictive almost to the point of being Machiavellian, I convinced myself that she was in cahoots with Lord Vadermort and was undercover in Barry’s wizard team of wizards like what Jason Bourne was in Martin Scorcheese’s brilliant masterpiece, They’ve Departed, in which Jason Bourne goes undercover as a policeman, disguised as Matt Damon, and Sir Leonardo Da Vinci goes undercover as a gangster in Jackie Nicholson’s motley crew of gangsters. That was an epic film. In the end they all died though which means there’ll be no sequel unless Michael Bay can bring them all back to life and add CGI and Transformers. Anyway, I digress. It turns out that Hermione The Ranger is bae with Queasy and Barry, flirts with them a lot as they get older, ultimately causing them to fall out, fight with sticks and eventually kiss and make up causing all kinds of media instrusion about Danny Boy Radcliffe’s sexuality in much the same way that Barry is gay in the books. Like Sammy and Fro-does in the Lords Of The Ring.
In real life, Lady Emma What’s On? has become an inspiring voice for the feminism movement, a vocal proponent of women’s rights as well as a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador. She’s highlighted gender inequalities in the arts and politics and become an advocate for the HeForShe campaign. She’s a God-damn heroine that one, isn’t she? Her next starring role is in the live-action adaptation of Beauty and The Beast in which she plays Belle, a Disney character who is judged entirely on her looks, sticks with a violent and abusive partner and is bullied into abandoning her hobby of reading in order to be a submissive housewife. Feminism ftw.
There are other characters in the book as well but it’s mainly about Barry and his massive ego. In the end, they all do loads of speed, have a party and Lord Vadermort is written out by J.R.R Rowing who wanted to stop writing children’s horror stories in order to be a grown up writer like Dan Brown.
Overall, I thought it was good. Good but not great. It would be much better with Terminators in it. Preferably T-1000 but I’d be happy with Cyberdyne Systems Model 101.
For those of you who didn’t like it, including me, here’s a better wizard than Barry Potter:
Leaking taps = bastards.
In total I have four taps in the sordid little grief-hole that I call my home, and every one of the gushing little sods leaks when they’re not in use. Apart from repeatedly biting your lip, being asked to help and the Tory Party, there are few things more terminally irritating than a leaking tap. My flat is open plan so when the tap in the kitchen drips it thumps through the whole place like when you get punched in the back of the head, or like that bit in Jurassic Park when the squeaky, dino-obsessed little shit hears the Tyrannosaurus Rex thundering towards him via a distant thud and his tumbler of gin on the car dashboard. I usually have to place things directly under the tap to lessen the impact of water to sink. More often than not I use a sieve and because it’s been repeatedly collecting water it’s turned a bit pink but this gives it a fancy psychedelic tint which is nice for when I have drug addicts visit.
One evening before I went to bed I put the plug in the sink in the bathroom to see how much water was being wasted. When I awoke the next day I discovered the sink overflowing on to the bathroom floor and had completely wiped out the family of spiders that lived by the toilet, all of whom I had previously named. Davey, Gemma and their family would not have stood a chance against the mini-tsunami that must have overwhelmed them. I often wonder where their sodden, lifeless little bodies ended up. Probably on the soles of my socks then trodden into the carpet which, to be honest, is rarely vacuumed. On the plus side all this unused dripping water is only adding an extra £400 a month to my water bill so you win some, you lose some.
The Tap In The Bathroom
One couldn’t wonder or imagine thus;
That vexatious wave of irascible fuss
Could present itself like a sobering slap;
Conjured by the drip of a tap.
An innocent splash from nozzle to sink
Disrupts my ability to think.
Or accomplish work, or my afternoon nap;
This doleful, soulless drip of a tap.
I neglect or dismiss what’s on my plate –
The burdens, the resolute quandaries of late –
To quietly simmer or mentally flap
At the relentless, obstinate drip of a tap.
Inevitably now, this attrition is done
For it’s clear to me that the tap has won.
Prevailing in its task to intrude and to goad,
But it’s something at least that it gave me this ode.
I don’t like applying for jobs. Over the past 5 years I think I’ve applied for roughly 4,000,000 jobs of varying pay scales and responsibilities. Usually I cut and paste the same spiel into each application, often forgetting to change the company name at the top of the covering letter. I tend not to last too long in jobs simply because I am too lazy. Getting up early in the morning in order to spend your day pretending to like the people you work with is exhausting.
About 15 years ago when I worked for the Inland Revenue, I was moved to a different section roughly once a week with each team leader a clone of the overall ubergruppenfuhrer of the department which meant I was constantly having to meet and make small talk with other zombies in the building. I’d get so fed up with it all that I used to wander off to the toilet for whole hours at a time playing snake on my Nokia 3210 and counting how many times the handle door would move from employees wanting to use the facilities. I continued this for a while until my supervisor figured out what I was up to and began timing my trips to the lavatory. If I was longer than 5 minutes in the toilet, she would deduct it all from my flexi-time. The morning after I’d been out for beers and a curry ensured that I was forced to work until 3am the next day in order to make up my time but these things happen.
On 5 May 2015, at 10:22, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Further to your application for the above post. This email is to inform you that the vacancy is for a 40% FTE post only. If you are no longer interested in this vacancy would you please let me know and I will withdraw your application.
Many thanks for your email. I am pleased my application got past the initial ‘what on earth is this drivel?’ stage and has progressed to the ‘he’ll withdraw if it’s part time saving us lots of extra administrative work’ stage.
While I was aware that the position was only part time, I wasn’t fully sure as to how part time it would be. I did the maths on the calculator on the watch I got for Christmas and worked out that the yearly salary would be approximately £6,500 which, according to buck-faced poverty enforcer Iain Duncan Smith, is more than enough to live on.
With that in mind I am still very much interested in this vacancy as I plan on supplementing this potential income with several small monthly lottery wins.
I hope to hear from you in the nearest of futures.
Sent from my iPhone
On 5 May 2015, at 13.14, email@example.com wrote:
Thanks for your continued interest in this role. Your application will remain on file and we will be in touch regarding your suitability.
There has been a high amount of interest for this vacancy and while we cannot respond to each application we receive, we will be contacting successful applicants individually via email during this application process.
Many thanks for responding to my application individually.
Including me on a list of successful applicants is glorious news and I have shared my current application status on Facebook to my friends and family. So far I’ve had 4 likes and one comment from a UKIP-voting Facebooker who I thought I’d blocked. He always posts elongated rants about wanting to leave the EU which doesn’t make any sense to me at all given how often he holidays in Southern France. I hope to reach 11 likes by teatime today at which point I’ll send you an email with a link to my profile. Don’t be alarmed by my profile picture. Despite the uncanny resemblance I’m not a Japanese snow monkey relaxing in a hot tub playing on an iPhone.
I look forward to hearing from you regarding interview dates, times and dress code. I plan on purchasing a brand new suit for the interview like the one Jim Carrey wore so well in The Dumb and Dumbers
On 5 May 2015, at 16.01, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Please be aware we are still currently reviewing all applications and a list of interviewees has yet to be drawn up. Should you be invited to interview then we will contact you in due course.
Thank you for keeping me up to date with application process, and I appreciate you informing me of my impending interview before you’ve compiled the interviewee list.
This reassures me that you believe me to be a good fit in the Newcastle University Sports Department team and in the past I have been known to be rather erratic when dealing with other members of the team who rub me up the wrong way. Once, an ex-work colleague took over 10 minutes to make me a cup of tea and when she handed it to me it had lipstick on the rim. I told this to a good friend of mine who I worked with and he agreed it was appalling behaviour so we spent the majority of the day quietly cutting small chunks of her hair off behind her back as she surfed eBay buying second hand clothes. By the end of the day she had quite a sizeable chunk of her hair missing. I’d also destroyed part of the printer by viciously booting it after it said it had printed out a PDF of Lord Of The Rings which I was stealing off the internet because I didn’t want to be seen buying a hard copy in public. We both agreed that it had been a brilliant day.
Thanks again for inviting me to interview. I can’t wait to get started.
Several years ago when I was addicted to unemployment, my general existence consisted of signing on every week for the chirpy folk in the DWP Illuminati in order to get my weekly ration of spit and bile then be talked at by someone who would slowly and methodically outline my failings as a human being simply because they happened to be paying income tax and I wasn’t.
I subconsciously improved my vocabulary in elaborate swearing based on the amount of general expletives in the air, and the collective atmosphere in the job centre was something that brought to mind being part of a cult whereby every one of us knew a suicide pact would soon be coming to fruition. It was a jovial little community to be a part of and included a smorgasbord of the great and the good from a small section of England’s underclass.
One week, having turned up on time at the correct job centre, I got a dressing down off one of the DWP fuhrers for being too punctual. Moments after I was castigated and hauled off to sit in the holding pen with the other non-conformists, a bloke dressed in a Newcastle United football kit sat next to me drinking from a can of McEwan’s Best Scotch with another bag full nestled comfortably at his feet. He offered me one in what I could only describe as a desperate show of unemployable solidarity. Attempting to maintain my rigid exterior of confident underclass chic, I declined citing flamboyant bowel movements, and he simply shrugged and continued chugging.
I kind of admired his balls-out brazenness in a mindless sort of way until he let out a discreet burp in which a calm gust of hot alcohol breath violently plundered my nostrils causing me to quietly dry heave under my breath for several minutes. To this day I can’t look at a can of McEwan’s Best Scotch without developing symptoms similar to that of a stroke.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what’s happened to him though.
Job Centre Waiting Area
(Observations from the dole queue)
The Bitter Benefits Adviser
The adviser sits behind her desk
And deals with all the unemployed.
She finds this part of work grotesque;
She hopes she won’t get too annoyed.
A different face on different days,
All with troubles much the same.
She must advise that working pays
And offer guidance with their claim.
But she cannot summon strength
To interact with the inane.
She keeps this rabble at arm’s length,
And holds her nose high with disdain,
For they all want to sit and waste
Their lives just living off the state.
It leaves a bitter aftertaste;
Why can’t they just pull their weight?
Get employment; earn their keep.
Stop scrounging off hard working folk.
Her taxes pay for scum this cheap,
This welfare state is such a joke.
The Unlucky Jobseeker
Bless his heart, he tries his best;
His rejection letters will attest.
Punctual, smart and very keen;
Always heard but never seen,
For he can’t get one interview
And on the dole for now he’ll stew.
He’ll sign each week and won’t forget
His mantra: ‘I’ll be a worker yet!’
The Riff Raff
He’ll saunter in an hour late
Dressed in tracksuit, cap and shoes.
Unkempt and loud and quite the state,
Reeking of three-day-old booze.
He doesn’t care to find employment,
In fact, to him, this is a job.
Full time work brings no enjoyment;
He stays at home: a benefit slob.
The Carefree One
Unemployed but none’s the worry,
Just a victim of misfortune.
It’s early days. There’s no hurry;
Unemployed but none’s the worry.
Jobs tend to come all in a flurry,
Something good will crop up soon.
Unemployed but none’s the worry,
Just a victim of misfortune.
The Over 50
The over fifty is calm and meek;
He knows he’s worth a rightful role.
He’s worked for years, six days a week,
Never having seen the dole.
Retirement is just in sight,
Even minimum wage would do.
Redundancy was such a fright,
For now he hopes he’ll muddle through.
He takes his place at the back of the queue.
The First Time Unemployed
Dismissive and above it all
With no time for this rigmarole.
‘I’ll be back in work inside a week’ –
The only words he cares to speak.
Twelve months on and still no joy;
He’s anxious, broke and paranoid,
And cursed as long-term unemployed.
The Conflicted Part Time Worker
Nervously he’ll sit and wait…
He must create a good smokescreen.
Declared five hours but worked sixteen;
He needs to get his story straight.
Terrified they’ll burst his bubble;
He sweats, he lies then signs his name.
Next week he’ll stop this stressful game
Is it really worth the trouble?
His poverty requires it so;
His morals simply tell him: ‘no’
The Sympathetic Benefits Adviser
The adviser sits behind her desk
And deals with all the unemployed
She finds this part of work a test –
But work that she will not avoid.
So many different faces here;
With each she talks their problems through.
She reassures, and with little fear
Exclaims: ‘There’s work out there for you!’
For she once sat on that other side,
Hopeless and with meagre aid,
Many nights she lay and cried:
The cuts were called, and cuts were made.
These days it’s true some want to spend
Their time resisting daily grind.
It’s hard for her, she can’t defend
The attitudes of the disinclined.
But most just want to earn a keep
The desperate and the poorest folk
Are hurt the most; their lives are cheap:
This welfare state is such a joke
Written in late 2011 on the back of cereal box with a burnt out match because I couldn’t afford a notepad. Or a quill.
At the turn of the year I applied for a position as a copywriter at a student placement company based on the Gateshead side of the quayside in Newcastle. I’d never heard of them but applied because the walk from the bus to the job would only have taken me an hour which I could probably have claimed back as a business expense. I absent-mindedly applied and received the offer of an interview followed by a request to complete several written exercises. At the time I was heavily into watching Breaking Bad so there’s definitely a chance that several references to methamphetamine use, murder and hair loss caused by treatment for an aggressive form of lung cancer could have made their way into the copy. I suspect this was the reason that my offer of an interview was subsequently withdrawn. That and the fact I sent a friend request on Facebook to all the employees of the company, including Rachel with whom I corresponded, and an accompanying email for us all to meet up for drinks prior to my interview. A lot of them were appalled. I was just being pro-active. Some people need to lighten up.
I’m still waiting for Rachel to confirm my friend request.
On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 11:58 AM, Rachel P<rachel@*********.com> wrote:
Hi Chris,We’ve had a chance to read through your written exercises.We’ve had a huge amount of applications for this role, and unfortunately we have had a number of other applications that are more appropriate to our brand images and promises. I will therefore have to withdraw the offer of the interview.
Please accept my sincere apologies and my best wishes for your future job hunt.
Rachel.PA to Director________________________________________
Chris James Peet
This is truly upsetting news. Luckily I wasn’t up a tall tree or crossing a busy road when I read your email as that could have been quite disastrous.
I do indeed accept your sincere apologies. It’s unfortunate that I don’t fit with your brand image and promises; though I must confess that’s something of a relief as judging by the homepage of your website your brand image seems to suggest a cataclysmic apocalypse of some sort.
I will, however, thank you for the opportunity of emailing you a couple of times, and allowing me to sharpen my getting-prepared-for-an-interview-that-isn’t-actually-going-to-happen skills.
The only thing I will say is that I’d already purchased a rail ticket, a new boiler suit and bowler hat specifically for this interview which has left me substantially out of pocket. I’m presuming you still have a copy of my CV so if you could just send a cheque payable to me to the address on it then that would be very much appreciated. The grand total for these items is £9.30.
Once again I thank you for your ambiguous correspondence. It’s been a slice.
Chris James Peet
On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 3:01 PM, Rachel P <rachel@*********.com> wrote:
We do not reimburse travel costs associated with initial interviews, which is pretty standard practise.
Chris James Peet
to RachelDear Rachel,
What about the cost of the boiler suit and bowler hat? I bought these specifically so I could comfortably adhere myself to the general branding of your company.
I expected to wear these for both work and my extracurricular activities such as interpretive dance and woo-ing so a refund would be appreciated.
On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 4:36PM, Rachel P <rachel@*********.com>wrote:
As I have already explained, we will not be refunding any expenses, travel or otherwise. I apologise once again and wish you luck in your job hunt.
Chris James Peet
to RachelDear Rachel,
Will you be my friend on Facebook?Kind regards,Chris
Before I took up employment at my current position where my job generally consists of wandering from room to room with a pen in my hand, shooting annoying customers in the back with two gun-shaped hands, and sighing, I was actively looking for work (as opposed to inactively) and I sent approximately 4000 job applications over the course of 8 weeks. The majority of them were ignored or rejected flat out but occasionally I’d get a wonderfully convoluted rejection such as this. I reckon Facebook had been blocked at Durham Uni and Kirsten was just bored.
Re: University Retail Assistant, Reference number: 4705
The closing date for this position has now passed and we note on our recruitment system that you have not submitted your application. Your details have therefore been removed from our system for this post.
We would like to thank you for your interest and hope that you would consider future vacancies at Durham University.
Durham University Recruitment Team
NB – This email and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. The above information is confidential to the addressee and may be privileged. Unauthorised access and use is prohibited.
If you are not the intended recipient please delete.
Dear Durham University Recruitment Team,
Many thanks for your confusing email.
I see that the closing date for this position has now passed and note on my recruitment page that I did actually submit my application on or around 3rd June, as you can see from the attached screen grab of my account. If you could therefore restore my details to your system and consider my application for this post then that would be most dandy.
Kindest of regards,
Unfortunately you did not complete and submit the application matrix as requested in the advert, therefore your application was incomplete and not considered for the position.
HR Business Support Administrator (Social Sciences & Health)
Dear Shale. K,
Many thanks for your swift response.
However, I must take umbrage with your suggestion that I didn’t complete the matrix. I’ve seen the trilogy three times and the original film twice; once in a heightened state of confusion when I wandered into the wrong cinema screening thinking I was going to see Star Wars Episode 1: Planet Menace, and instead sat for two hours wondering why there was no Jedi Master Yogi in it, and wondering how Keanu Reeves had landed a starring role in Star Wars without anyone knowing. I did enjoy it though. My favourite bit was when they were in the matrix.
As requested, I’ve attached an image of Keanu in action in the Matrix. I’ve also attached proof of my submitted evidence matrix. It took me three days to complete which is very efficient but it doesn’t have Keanu in it unfortunately. I’ve entitled it ‘Cats’ so there’s no confusion.
I expect my application will now be reconsidered.
Many thanks for confirming you attached the application matrix to your online application, however it is not completed with the detail the department require.
Many thanks for your delayed response.
I understand that it may not have been completed to the standard you require. When I realised that I had to fill in a separate sheet of information about my skills and duties for a position that my alcoholic, 90 year old, wheelchair bound next door neighbour could do with minimal supervision, I opted to get my alcoholic, 90 year old, wheelchair bound next door neighbour to complete it instead. I didn’t bother to check it before I sent it as this would require more effort than working as a retail assistant.
I am glad that we eventually got to the real reason of why my application wasn’t considered despite your previous emails and their tendency to be a bit flagrant with the truth.
I wish you well in your chosen career.
It’s 3pm, a couple of days after the glorious End Of The Road Festival 2015 and I’m online buying early bird tickets for EOTR 2016. I’m diligently clicking and refreshing waiting for the link to explode into life so I can hurriedly tap in my girlfriend’s credit card details and bag some discounted tickets for next years’ event. (She’s very generous that one. I’ll surprise her with them later). That my first adjective about EOTR is the word ‘glorious’ should comfortably outline exactly where this review is headed. Suffice to say, buying tickets for a festival I’ve just returned from is a clear indicator of its impact.
Personally, there are no two ways about it: End Of The Road is the most spellbinding music festival I’ve ever been a part of; a unique wee village that for three marvellous days became home to the extraordinary and the enchanting; the magical and the mysterious; the creative and the colourful. The site itself is immaculately well presented and adorned in fairy lights and fantastical artwork; families of peacocks stroll languidly around the grounds; parrots fly overhead as you wander from stage to stage; pop-up food shacks, medieval-looking tent bars and ad-hoc performance stages help cultivate a uniquely rural sub-culture of gastronomy and the arts. It’s a stunning little world to get lost in, and I, along with 11,000 other misty-eyed revellers, duly did.
A mid-afternoon arrival at the festival on Friday saw the weather chilly and overcast with most of the musical focus apparently on Tame Impala supplying their dance-psychedelia histrionics to the Woods Stage in a blaze of technicolor and formidable flourishes. I found myself wandering around the enchanting Garden Stage with my better half and a pint of hot cider permanently attached to my mitt, engrossed by slowcore stalwarts Low and their brooding soundscapes. Their set is largely reliant on new tracks from their upcoming ‘Ones and Sixes’ LP and we stood as eerily hypnotised as the rest of the crowd who were showing impeccable respect by keeping their gobs firmly shut throughout a subdued but superlative display.
Saturday saw bright clouds swirl expansively overhead as we dashed between stages and acts, catching Beth Jeans Houghton shed her anti-folk past and embrace a charging and powerful pop-punk sensibility as Du Blonde in a howlingly wonderful performance that all but rams the final nail in the coffin of her previous incarnation. Meanwhile, on the Woods Stage, the impossibly talented sisters from The Unthanks, resplendent in clogs and dapper dresses, completely bewitch an audience drooling with appreciation of their traditional folk and crystalline harmonies, most notably on ‘Magpie’, as well as tugging at many heartstrings with lush and sprawling string arrangements throughout the set.
The evening brought a bitterly autumnal feel, and a general murmur of quiet anticipation to the festival as the long overdue UK festival debut of Sufjan Stevens promised something Godlike from a man who, funnily enough, halfway through his set, goes off on a lengthy monologue about how God instructed him to finally acquiesce and agree to play EOTR. Fair enough; whatever flicks your switch. What was flicking mine was the spectacular performance from a man apparently so reticent to play on a festival stage yet so comfortably at home here. The early part of his show draws heavily from his recent album about his mother’s death ‘Carrie & Lowell’ and with howling exclamations of ‘we’re all gonna die!’, it’s a bristling performance, and unnerving test of the crowd’s ability to acknowledge the rawness of it. It’s a striking start, dark and atmospheric, that you know is only going to crescendo as he slowly introduces an exceptional array of musical tomfoolery to his most recognisable tracks: ‘Sister’ is reworked into a deafening epic while his most endearing composition, ‘Chicago’, is transformed into a Krautrock-esque bluster of squalls and brass.
Stevens is chatty and warm throughout, engaging with a crowd so obviously as thrilled to be there as the man himself. He ends ‘Blue Bucket Of Gold’ as an ambient bliss-out, droning off gently into a freezing night, which, by the bye, didn’t end there as we quickly high-tailed it to the delightful Disco Ship in the quite magical woodlands for a drink and a dance well into the early hours.
The Sunday awoke to a majestic morning of brilliant blue sky and searing sunshine. The foreboding bite of the coming autumn and winter beat a hasty retreat on our final day at End Of The Road Festival as the day itself promised much. It began with a couple of doubles of the finest gin and tonic known to man, and a bit of horseplay at the circus in the woods under glorious sunbeams before heading to a sweltering Tipi Tent to catch delightful folksters This Is The Kit waltz their way through some sparkling, melodic gems. As it was, the tent was so thoroughly rammed we could barely make our way in and had to settle for an out-of-view reclining listen in the adjoining bar area. Still, their lucid, shimmering and intelligent folk hit enough of a nerve to soothe our frazzled heads and help us on our way towards the Garden Stage.
Here we caught Marika Hackman exquisitely enthral a huge crowd with just a silky larynx, sombre guitar and nerves of remarkable steel. We take seats in the warm air along with a thousand others and watch the crowd marvel at a marvellous performance. Her album ‘We Slept At Last’ is a near-perfect expression of macabre folk and ethereal flurries thoroughly befitting her rendezvous with the Garden Stage and all its bucolic atmospherics.
Highlights include the lightly dancing ‘Ophelia’, the darkly melodic ‘Bath In Black’ and lamenting set closer ‘Skin’ from which her velvet whispers seemed to float and hang gracefully in the EOTR ether. It’s haunting and sparse; rich but raw, and delivered with an assurance that belies her softly spoken onstage demeanour. Before she departs she drops the crowd an all-too-obvious hint about playing the secret Piano Stage in the woods with a very special guest. No prizes for guessing who. We had planned on catching quirky Canadian indie-pop wonders Alvvays pop out the Woods Stage but only managed half an hour before we were wrested away to discover what was awaiting us in the woodlands.
Quite a bit as it turns out. Despite Marika Hackman struggling to be heard over the glaring background fusion of Alvvays and Giantᶾ Sand, she pluckily persevered, ignoring management’s urging to just give up, and requested the small crowd huddle towards her, delightfully creating a far more intimate and enjoyable performance for the audience. I’d already spied a certain Laura Marling in the crowd, seemingly proud as punch, watching her mate rattle off a couple of gorgeous numbers under the trees. Then all at once she was up on stage, giggling with Hackman about a false start before they duetted on a delectable cover of the Foo Fighters’ ‘Tired Of You’.
After the mini show I grabbed a brief couple of words with Hackman about the secret show, (‘Could you hear me? Are you sure? Really though? Oh, that’s good, then.’), and her thoughts on EOTR:
‘Oh, End Of The Road is such a beautiful festival, and I absolutely love it here. It’s the last festival of the summer so it’s good to go out with a bit of a bang.
The last time I played here was on a much smaller stage so to be asked to get up and play the Garden is amazing. It’s a festival no-one should say no to.’
Heartily agreed. Alas, I cannot say I grabbed an interview with Laura Marling. I was thoroughly ambushed by a family of over-eager photographers who kept her all to themselves before she floated off into the trees to prepare for her headlining set on the Garden Stage.
Nowadays, Marling is a bona fide star; a well-travelled wanderer of the world with a body of work so masterful it simply boggles the mind how quickly she’s developed since her debut in 2008. Artistically, there’s no guessing where she’s headed next, and this is quickly apparent as she strolls onstage to excitable applause and launches into a guttural ‘False Hope’ from her latest masterpiece, ‘Short Movie’. It’s abrasive and direct, and straight to the point: this is Marling at her most visceral and intense. Quite how being handed a simple electric guitar can almost completely revamp her sound is beyond me (see the director’s cut of ‘Short Movie’), and the same goes with the astonishing reworking of her back catalogue: ‘Devil’s Spoke’ is transformed into rasping, thorny punk-folk, while ‘The Muse’ becomes a thumping rocker as opposed to the freewheeling folk-jazz it once was. It’s only midway through the set that she restores a sense of melodic familiarity with Marling reaching as back to her debut to offer up crowd favourites such as ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Alas, I Cannot Swim’ without forgetting to remind us that her voice is as exquisite as ever with crystal clear renditions of ‘Once’ and ‘What He Wrote’.
It’s also worth noting that Marling’s technical ability with a guitar can be somewhat overlooked when compared to the development of her lyricism and song craft, if not criminally underrated. She can literally turn her hand from the lightest of fingerpicking flourishes to the most thunderous of howls. She’s a truly accomplished artist of the instrument, and continued to dazzle as the set drew to a fascinating close. And when she finally ended with a simple, nourishing performance of ‘Sophia’, it was simply left to the EOTR crowd to adorn and acknowledge a comprehensive and sparkling performance; an artist currently reaching new peaks with nothing else in her sights but more pinnacles. And as comparisons to greats like Joni Mitchell and PJ Harvey are constantly adhered to Laura Marling, soon it may simply be a question of how long before she leaves them in her wake?
The festival would end with another brilliant morning of sunshine, a long drive home and an emphatic declaration all round to come back next year. With bells on. As a first End Of The Road Festival experience – a 10 year anniversary one at that – it was pretty spectacular.
Physically, I might be back but my mind’s still down there, entranced and captivated by an unfathomable magic. EOTR apparently does this to people. Seems true in my case.
I got those early bird tickets by the way. Here’s to next year…