"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by Dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become."
- Steve Jobs

Monday, November 21, 2011

A letter and a plea to Tamara Ecclestone.

Dear Tamara

I feel compelled to write you this little note after watching all three episodes of your reality TV show.

Firstly, I'd like to make it clear that I understand that everyone is free to choose the way they want to live their life and how they want to spend their money, OK?  So all the haters, don't start with me..........This blog is just my opinion and I am only responsible for what I say, NOT what you understand.

You said that you want the public to understand who you are and that you feel you have been misrepresented in the media as a "vacuous, boring rich girl".  You seem to want validation, understanding, acceptance and approval/admiration for the life you lead.

My ultimate conclusion is that you could be one of the world's greatest philanthropic women if you chose to be.  If you truly have unlimited access to your father's fortune, you can make a difference to so many lives all over the world, and at the same time you would be educating yourself about the state of our world today and meeting a huge variety of interesting people who would be a big step up from some of the vacuous celebrity-loving fake people that share the same bubble as you.

Take 15 minutes to watch this talk given by Zainab Salbi, http://www.ted.com/talks/zainab_salbi.html - or this talk here http://www.ted.com/talks/charity_tilleman_dick_singing_after_a_double_lung_transplant.html THESE are truly inspirational woman that deserves to be admired, respected, and looked up to.  They also deserve to have cameras follow their lives SO MUCH MORE than you do. 

While I'm not suggesting you personally should start going into war zones and fighting for women's rights, your father's massive wealth in your hands can support and help people and organisations like this, and you would learn so much about the human spirit, the fight for survival, equality, and happiness alongside incredible inner strength and determination. 

You can choose one or many organisations to help out.  Marine conservation, kids charities, AIDS, female victimisation in the Congo, regeneration of inner city youth projects....the list is endless.  There are so many problems in the world crying out for the sort of money you have access to.  And you could be right in there with them learning so much as you helped finance their endeavours.  Lots of travel, seeing the world, but seeing it from a hugely different perspective than your gilded, insulated life currently gives you.  Please also note I would expect you to take an active part, and not just hire someone to dish out the money and do all the legwork while you simply turn up for the odd photoshoot.  If you want respect and admiration, you know you have to work for it, girl.

I can see you sticking your chin out now and reminding me of your GOSH fundraiser in episode 2 that raised £600,000.  Yes I remember that, but that achievement was somewhat swept away when you spent £300,000 hiring a super yacht for your next holiday, £10,000 on the private jet, £2,700 on bikinis, and then your brother in law spending an eye-watering 60,000 Euros on champagne while your boyfriend gambled huge amounts of money on backgammon.  I'd love to know the final bill for that holiday......And none of this expense seemed to even register on your radar as jaw-droppingly "O-M-G Holy shit did she just spend that???".  I mean, why didn't you just write a cheque for GOSH and not bother with all the hoo-hah of the fundraising evening?  Because in some ways, the exposure and the hoo-hah of that evening was your key to "validation and approval".

But I can sort of understand this lack of awareness if that's the only life you know and the only way of living you've been exposed to.  I know little about your youth and whether your mum took you out into "the real world" to see how the rest of us live, and whether she showed you how some people struggle.  If she never did this then you can't be blamed for having no understanding and perspective of your life compared to ours.  Seeing how "the other half live" on TV is no substitute for getting down and dirty amongst us and REALLY experiencing it.

To quote Grace Dent's TV review in the Guardian "Tamara, due to an accident of birth, has been starved of any meaningful skillset for class empathy."

I don't mention your dad in your upbringing as I get the impression he was rarely around, an explanation for the distant relationship you now share and which you desperately want to change.  I'd love to know what he thinks of your documentary and why he seems happy to give you unlimited access to his money yet restrict your access to him as a father. 

I can see that you have a big heart, as evident in the toy spending spree for GOSH.  I personally would love to spend like that and to see the smiles on people's faces in return, it's a reward that no amount of wealth and magazine spreads can ever match up to.

I would like to set you a challenge for 2012.  Meet with some new charities, set yourself a budget, ask to get your hands dirty, ask to be exposed to the harsh realities of their world, and ask to be a student - a blank slate to be filled with true life experiences that will change you inside forever.  Then open your mind, leave the false eyelashes and £60k bottles of champagne behind, step away from the cameras, and do some proper work.  In my view there is no other way for you to gain the respect you want.

Of course, while you are globetrotting and doing all this good I'd be happy to look after that black Ferrari for you...... :o)

All the best.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Why do today's soppy men act like toddlers who need to be mollycoddled?

By Sophie Heath

Like the original Madonna and child, the young woman on the Tube has her beloved draped around her, his head nestling on her shoulder.  As he snoozes, she texts idly with one hand, while the other absent-mindedly strokes his arm, soothingly, maternally. But this is no serene scene of mother and son — this is a couple. A couple of adults.

If you are forced to use public transport, you see them all the time. Soppy young blokes in skinny jeans, hair artfully arranged to mimic a guinea pig in a hurricane, being mollycoddled by a domineering, post-Spice Girls vixen who, if figures released last week are correct, also earns more than him.

Or perhaps he’s stroking her, as though she were a cuddly toy or a security blanket. You half expect him to start sucking his thumb or the corner of her coat.  If he’s allowed to travel alone, he’ll be reading Harry Potter or playing with his phone, spreadeagled like a giant baby in its cot, scratching his crotch and yawning so brazenly you fear being sucked into the gaping chasm of his mouth.

It’s not just young bucks. Men who would once have been called middle-aged are behaving like teenagers, faces nourished by some male consumer-targeted unction (because he’s worth it), huddled over their Nintendo Wii or iPhone, desperate to ignore the spectre of maturity tapping on their shoulder.
Once the hair starts to recede, the only concession is to shave it all off — leaving a greying-templed baby-man with a risibly-outsized watch on his ickle wrist, lager bottle in hand, clad in a T-shirt that declares Get Your Coat, You’ve Pulled and drop-crotch, half-mast trousers that render him incapable of doing anything but stumble about like a toddler. Be still, my beating heart.

You’d think fatherhood would force these baby-men to grow up sharpish, but not a bit of it.Those who have acquiesced to their girlfriends’ demands and suddenly find themselves pushing a buggy fractionally smaller than a bus clearly struggle with their new role. I recently shared a train carriage with a man who spent the entire 25-minute journey jangling an iPhone in the face of his bemused-looking baby. It wasn’t hard to see who was having more fun. Who’s the daddy?  Quite.

Just look at the success of the U.S. television series Mad Men. Aside from the sharp scripts and the faultless production values, what made it such a phenomenon?  Dare I suggest it was largely because it recalled a time when we still acknowledged a gender divide? When women were women, and men were men.  Call me old-fashioned, but can you imagine Don Draper on his daily commute, earphones plugged in, knees akimbo, playing virtual football on a Smartphone, pointedly ignoring the old lady teetering on a stick in front of him?

Which brings us to the golden age of Hollywood and the men who had studios chomping at the bit to sign them.  Would Ava Gardner have been irresistibly drawn to Frank Sinatra if she’d clocked him shuffling past in shorts and flip-flops, shouting ‘Laters!’ into his mobile?  Would Richard Burton have proved so addictive for Elizabeth Taylor if he were a simpering, feminised mess, confused about his place in the world?

I grew up in the Seventies and Eighties, daydreaming of a future husband with an air of actor Robert Mitchum about him. But today’s baby-men need their women to provide a shoulder to lean on, not the other way around.  The likes of James Stewart and Gregory Peck, while not overtly macho, could never have been accused of being juvenile or girly.   And even those whom some might regard as verging on camp — Monty Clift, James Dean, Dirk Bogarde — were butcher than many of today’s heterosexual men, despite being comfortable with expressing their emotions.  Dean’s ‘You’re tearing me apart!’ was the howl of a wolf, not the bleat of a lamb.  These were real, red-blooded, grown-up men, whose turbo-charged testosterone made them the perfect foil to their glossy female co-stars.  Strong, dependable, loyal — at least until another more pneumatic dame caught their eye — they drove women wild with starry-eyed lust, making them weak at the knees and sparking some primal longing within the female breast, while giving male fans something, however unattainable, to aspire to. 

With the exception of Colin Firth, who fills the Peck/Stewart gap, and Cary Grant’s successor, that old-school playboy George Clooney, today’s big-screen role models are all eternal ‘frat boys’.  Think of American actors Owen Wilson and Ashton Kuchter. Ashton’s currently making headlines for allegedly cheating on his wife Demi Moore, a woman 15 years his senior. But the whole affair is being treated as if he’s a naughty schoolboy who’s disappointed his proud mum — not a man who’s betrayed his woman.  Maybe Ashton has decided he is finally ready to cut the apron strings and flee the maternal embrace? He should count himself lucky — not many thirtysomethings can afford to leave home these days. This, perhaps, explains a lot.

Women have a lot to thank feminist Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch for, but some lines have become catastrophically blurred since the Nineties rise of the Jack Daniel’s-swigging ladette.  Remember the boyband East 17? I think the rot might have set in there.They looked like they had borrowed their big brothers’ clothes and crooned: ‘If you’ve got to go away, don’t think I can stand the pain.’ Just like a child to his mother on his first day at school.

What a weird century. We fret endlessly about little girls growing up too quickly, while men regress back to the womb.  Is it because in a society that’s all about boosting female confidence (‘Here come the girls!’), men are unsure of their role, ashamed of their testosterone?  No one’s saying everyone should conform to a gender stereotype, or that men should be ‘dissing’ their women like some caricature of male aggression.
But neither should masculinity be regarded as a dirty word. Isn’t it time to man up, boys?

Friday, October 07, 2011

The best CF rant ever about becoming a parent

This was taken from Craigslist and is especially for all you Childfree out there:


Yeah, we get it - You're pregnant. BIG FUCKING DEAL. It's not like you went to school for three years and had to take some excruciating multi-day certification. It's not like you saved a Golden Retriever puppy from getting run over by a bus load of Norwegian tourists. It's not like you cured macular degeneration. YOU SPREAD YOUR LEGS AND TOOK A MAN-MUSTARD INJECTION... Wow. Way to go. I am amazed you made it through such a mentally and physically demanding challenge that probably lasted all of 45 seconds (either natural or lab-grown.)

And now we are suppose to fawn all over you. We are suppose to act like it's so incredibly difficult to get pregnant, and that you are now this pristine chalice of life -Something that deserves to be worshiped and adored.

Feel sick in the mornings? Do your feet hurt cause they are swelling? Gotta buy new clothes because you are 12 weeks along and have already put on 19 pounds? NOT MY PROBLEM. Do your job like you are suppose to and shut the hell up already.

Oh btw - Quit using your pregnancy as an excuse to stuff your gullet each and every chance you get. When you proudly stand up at the staff party and announce that "The baby wants" an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's Super Fudge Chunk, a liter of Dr. Pepper, some curly fries THEN TELL THE BABY TO SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Now what exactly do I have to look forward to for the next two or three years..? A constant stream of verbal diarrhea such as "little Bobby went to the toilet and pooped all by himself - But he forgot to wipe and then sat on the floor to pull his pants up! It was so precious, but there was poop everywhere!" or "I'm sorry I'm 40 minutes late, you see I have a four-year-old in potty training and we had an accident." or "I don't feel comfortable doing the speed limit, my baby is only two months old - You can go around." FUCK YOU.

Two years after that and now I'm stuck behind you at the concession stand - And guess what? You feel it's important to empower your child. It doesn't matter that there are nine people behind you, you want little Bobby to make his own choice when it comes to artificially flavored processed movie snacks. By God, Bobby is special. He must be because that's what all the Nike commercials say. There is only one Bobby and he is different from every other person on this earth. He is special by God, and he will be raised knowing he is special. And now, little Bobby has been standing there with his little index finger in his little mouth, staring at all the choices for the last FULL minute. But you aren't the type of parent to acknowledge the fact that many people are waiting for little Bobby to make up his little mind. You don't say something like "Hurry and choose something or I will choose for you" or even better "Other people are waiting, make up your mind" - Not you. Instead, you turn to the sea of humanity that has formed a marginally cohesive line behind you and look at them with an 'I'm sure you all understand' look. FUCK YOU. You are the same people that just can't put their cell phone conversation on hold for 20 seconds while you order your venti no-whip-half-caff almond latte and spinach croissant - Instead you make eye contact with the waiter and raise that index finger. The index finger which happens to be the international signal for 'I am a socially retarded fuckhead.'

One time I saw an interview with Hootie (of the Blowfish), with his wife. It was a lovely 'What does Hootie and his wife do when he's at home and not packing fans into concerts at 20 or 30% of capacity' piece on some lame ass afternoon news biopic show. Anyway Hootie's wife starts talking about kids and how they are such a miracle and (now she is actually tearing up) and she just can't understand how anyone wouldn't want to have children and HOW SHE JUST FEELS SORRY FOR THOSE PEOPLE. Oh yes honey, feel sorry for us. Obviously we are emotionally fractured because we don't share the same fervent desire to add our particular goo to this world's collective semen cesspool...

I don't hate children. I hate the parents that think they are entitled because they have children...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Take That with concerts full of drunken Fishwives

Posted on the Take That official forum in response to other posts about Drunk people at Manchester:


I have to agree here. Your enjoyment of the concert is purely down to the luck of who you are standing or sitting near. I was at Manchester last night and I got there at 9am to queue and was near the front of the C gate. Queueing was fine with all in good humour, though towards 4pm the women behind us were getting a bit gobby as they were drinking Bacardi. They brought chairs with them to sit on in the queue and just discarded them when the gates opened, along with brollies and half-empty bottles of booze too - jute shopping bags and unused food were also thrown away. Very wasteful and it happened a lot, with people buying cheap chairs to sit on then just throwing them away.

The rules about "no food and only sealed water bottles" is insane and purely just to boost profits from the vendors in the arena. Take That should demand that a) no booze is served inside, and b) we are allowed to bring our own food. I smuggled in two pasta pots and had a sealed water bottle as I wasn't going to pay £4.50 for a glass or wine of God knows how much for a poor quality burger.

I wanted a seat so I could look over everyone's heads, and also because previous gig experience with other bands has made me sick of having to defend my standing territory and ward off leaners and shovers, not to mention drunk idiots with entitlement issues. I chose a row 13 up from the bottom opposite the B stage, bril view :D Soon, the row filled up and just my luck- a group of cackling fishwives in personalised tshirts sat down next to me, booze in hand. I should have moved then and there but everything was filling up so fast I stayed put. From the minute they sat down they were up and down shuffling past me to either buy more booze or go to the loos. Their cackling got worse and worse, the screeching started, the swearing, and then they made friends with more fishwives and their husbands behind them. One loudly declared she was 48 to which I was dying to reply "you should know how to control your drinking then, you dishevelled Harpie". When one of the husbands of this new found friendship offered to get her some food she squawked "ohhh I'll suck your c*ck if you do that" to him, before finding out that his wife was seated 3 seats away. Behind me, a teenage daughter of Cackler no. 2 just sat in silence, probably mortified.

We sat for 2 hours waiting for the PSB to come on and I got sick of moving to let them out to pee - buy drink - pee - buy drink. By the time TT came on, Fishwife behind me was crying and streaked with mascara, reaching over to paw her daughter who was desperately trying to ignore her - so she pawed her husband instead, and the Fishwives in my row were screaming and cackling and one had what looked like yellow puke on her tshirt. Classy. The two ladies in the row in front of us were directing sideways glances at them and you could tell they were fed up of being screeched at in their ears every few minutes. Even people in the aisle opposite me were sideways glancing and looking annoyed. "Look at thaaaa....just lookarit, innit F***ING BRILLIANT" screamed one of them as she took in the full stadium. When the countdown began for the boys to come on stage she screamed "OH MAH GODDD I'M SO EXCIIIITED I'M LITERALLEH PISSIN MASELF".

I had an aisle seat and all thru the gig there was a stream of people going and up and down the stairs with booze. The stadium must have made a killing but at what price to the sacrifice of enjoyment of so many? Drunk people started standing in the stairway and a nervous young steward moved them out the way, then they tried to shove in and stand on my row, and when I refused to move they swore and complained loud enough for me to hear. There was an air of tension wherever there were drunk people because you don't know how they will react if you turn round and tell them to shut the hell up. A drunk lady shoved into the row behind me while the teen girls were away in the loo, and they were "wooooooooo" screaming about 6" from my earhole. I turned to glare and wince at them and they saw me but didn't care and keept WOOOOing. They were moved on when the teens came back from the loo.

When the lovely ballerina had finished her dancing to one of the songs, Jason asked the audience to thank her and a bored and drunk husband's voice boomed from behind me "oh you can shove f***ing [dancer's name] right up my a*se". Later he started singing Queen "Bicycle song", so bored was he to be at the gig. Ladies. if your husband doesn't want to see TT, LEAVE THEM AT HOME.

While I was filming one of the songs on my digicam I was tapped on the shoulder and drunkenly asked "are you filming for professional reasons?????" to which I responded "Does this look like a f*cking professional camera?" and turned away, waiting for the blows to start being rained down on me.

When I left the gig I was lucky to be sleeping at a friend's house right near the Velodrome, so I walked that way, passing pink limos, Land Rover limos, and Hummer limos. I remembered in the queue some passing ladies squawked how they'd "had champagne on the bus". It seems that going to a gig now involves flashy cars, "getting off your trolley", and behaving like 20-somethings on a hen night. WHY?

My main observation is that the 18 year olds who loved TT the first time around, are now 40+ year old (supposedly) responsible mothers but at this gig, they regressed to their boozing inconsiderate, loutish days of youth once more. In front of their children. One mum said to her daughter "whatever mummy does after 7pm you have to forget about". What a shining example. The majority of the audience were 40+ mothers and I can't help thinking teens may have been better behaved, they'd probably have just screamed very loudly a la Beatles style, and would have been too young to buy booze.

While making my way out of the venue I passed the fishwives from my row, with their stained tshirts and still squawking, they were hugging and slobbering on eahother and declaring it to be a "f***ing brilliant night". Maybe for them but it killed a lot of the evening for me.

Take That, PLEASE ban booze from future gigs. Then at least if people drink in the queues, they will have a couple of hours to sober up before the main gig starts.

Regarding the actual gig, well.....I'm not a fan of the PROGRESS album, I don't like any of the songs from it. I wish I'd gone to see the Circus tour, and I love the stuff from their other albums. However I wanted to see the Five reunited with a promise of hearing some of their old hits as well as the new.

Discounting the Fishwives, the stadium was packed with a great atmosphere and I had a smashing view - side seats are the way to go for a clear view of everything. The lads came out (just the foursome) and opened with Rule the World, and Greatest Day - which I LOVE. To hear the crowd singing along and see the arms aloft was a sight to behold :D THe finale of "Never forget" was a tour de force.

However, I disagree with Robbie having near 20 minutes to sing his own hits. The foursome disappeared and the visuals on the screen started, with the opening bars of "let me entertain you" - an awesome song which made the stadium pretty much explode, but it also knocked right out the ballpark the 'tame by comparison' screams of the foursome's entrance at the very start.

Love him or hate him, Robbie is an excellent showman and is the only one IMO who can whip a crowd up in the way that Freddie Mercury used to do. He had 55,000 people bouncing with their arms aloft, it was fantastic. He belted out his biggest hits including the self-serving "Come undone" and as he stood and surveyed the crowd you could see "SMUG" written across his face. He knew damn well he'd got the biggest reaction of the night so far (and prob every night of the tour), and he knew that the other four TT lads knew it. I think that if this gig was all about celebrating "Robbie's return to the fold" then they would have been better singing 20 minutes of their old hits, with Robbie back where he should be doing the vocals. Instead, his solo spot served to remind us all that while TT faded into obscurity, Robster ruled the world for a short while. This just seemed to highlight the whole separation that the band had been through.

When the lads came back on and were a fivesome they did some more songs from "Progress". Word to Gary - stop giving Mark lead vocals, he CANNOT SING. He sounds like someone singing while being strangled. On one of the songs he was drowned out by the music, so weak is his voice.

They did a quick compendium of their old hits while sitting at the piano, and Jason gave a little speech about how it was nice there were 5 of them again, he started saying "when Robbie left 15 years ago" and was loudly interrupted by Robbie yelling "NO - WHEN I WAS SACKED". Jason tried to continue saying again "When Robbie left" but was interrupted again by "no - you said that it was all my fault", and it just seemed an uncomfortable moment. When I'd watched the behind the scenes documentary about them recording the new album, I detected some tensions between Robbie and Jason, and I think they are still there.

Robbie also declined to sing "Everything changes" on the grounds that it "did his head in". You see, it's all about Robbie...he didn't want to sing it regardless of whether the other lads did or if the crowd wanted to hear it. Later on he announced the band and put his name first, and during "The flood" the boys were lowered in cages from the top of the stage but Robbie had to do a head first dive while secured by a wire.

I'm sure that he will also be fully aware that this tour will remind all his fans of his cracking days of "Escapology" and "I've been expecting you", and boost his cred a bit after his previous albums that flopped (when I mentioned "Rudebox" to some girls in the queue they snorted with laughter and rolled their eyes).

So I have a bet with myself that Rob won't be "back for good" with Take That - he's just too much a "force of nature" so to speak, and his ego is just TOO BIG to become a backing singer once more.

To sum up, I enjoyed the gig, wish I'd been away from the boozers, but my "Best gig ever" are still the Kylie Showgirl gigs, sorry! They were utter class from start to finish with NO drunkenness at all.  So be warned girls, if you go to a TT gig and end up standing or sitting near anyone dressed in cowboy hats and personalised tshirts, move elsewhere - ESPECIALLY if they are boozing!

My compilation footage and stills of the gig is here:

Footage with the actual gig audio is here, be warned you will cry during "Angels"!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wonders of the Universe drinking game


Do not attempt this drinking game if you do not have access to multiple compatible livers, a team of trained medical professionals and a death wish. This drinking game should not be attempted by those under the age of 18, over the age of 18 or anyone exactly the age of 18 - side effects may include vomiting, temporary blindness and permanent death.

To play this game you will require:

1 episode of Wonders of the Universe
1 hand
1 glass
1 huge quantity of booze (to taste)

The rules:

If any of the following occur, imbibe alcohol:

1. A panning shot of landscape.
2. A time lapsed landscape.
3. Brian Cox close up.
4. Brian Cox walking through a picturesque area.
5. Brian Cox standing atop something picturesque.
6. Brian Cox makes a clumsy segue from something totally unrelated.
7. Brian Cox looks wistfully into the distance.
8. Brian Cox says something that sounds deep and profound - but isn't.
9. Brian Cox says something that sounds deep and profound and is.
10. Brian Cox changes country.
11. Brian Cox makes a gross oversimplification of science.
12. Brian Cox talks about something only tangentially related to the topic.
13. A CGI shot is reused.
14. Brian Cox looks thoughtful.
15. Brian Cox illustrates a point with a picture on a card.
16. Brian Cox illustrates a point by drawing in the dirt or similar.
17. Brian Cox says "million" or "billion" or "trillion".

Friday, February 04, 2011

SMILE DAMN YOU, at least you have a job!!!!

So I spent this morning invoicing, packing, franking and processing 3 sacks full of orders, all the while watching "Mary Portas: Secret Shopper" on 4oD (http://www.channel4.com/programmes/mary-portas-secret-shopper/4od#3155506).  it was spectacular viewing because customer service in shops is one of my pet peeves, and to see this lousy service exposed on national TV was most Epic.

I headed off to the local Post Office with my heavy sacks, and - in my efforts to be a more positive and upbeat person (yeah yeah come on, get the laughs over with) - I always try to be smiley and nice to counter staff cos let's face it they don't always have awesome, interesting jobs.  And for the third time in a row at this particular Post Office, the two women behind the glass did NOT crack their faces.  The bespiked hair girl who served me peered at me past her nose pin, and was unresponsive as I said hello and explained about my 3 sacks of pre-franked post, while giving her the recorded delivery ones to scan.  Just to make chitchat I mentioned how I'd nearly tripped over one of the sacks as I got them out the car and they all fell over.  No response.  The other woman came to the parcels door to take the other sacks, all the while looking at me as if I was the most hideous inconvenience.  Through smiling gritted teeth I was most polite, asked for some empty sacks, and said thank you.  No "thank you goodbye" in response.  Had I got thicker skin I'd have said "and thank you for the friendly service, next time I'll try a pack of rabid pitbulls as they'll probably be friendlier".

I'm sure that as I get older and even MORE crotchety, I'll think nothing of bringing these po-faced twats down a few pegs.  In this economic climate they should be damn thankful they have a place to live, a job, and an income.  That they don't live in Haiti amongst rubble with not a stitch to call their own, or Darfur, or the Congo where rape is a daily occurrence.  So they should be fucking thankful and appreciate when other people are using their establishment, giving them money, and being NICE to them to boot.

I rarely go clothes shopping now, eBay is my shop du jour.  Where else can I get a brand new £95 Karen Millen waistcoat for £15?  But also, there are no sullen teenage shop girls to deal with on eBay.  Girls who aren't paid enough to give a shit, girls who - through no fault of their own - are not given any customer service training.  Or if they ARE trained, their attitudes scream of "whatevaaaa, I'm not bovvered about customers I just want to earn some money".  It's as if the employers take them on knowing they are stop-gap cheap labour who aren't worth training because they'll all be going to Uni or getting pregnant within the year.  But Mary Portas' programme shows in cold hard light, just what an AWFUL experience this makes for us, the shopper, the ones with the MONEY that keep these fuckers' businesses alive and pay their wages.

I bought a £70 duffle coat in Top Shop once, and the girl who served me was looking at and talking to her friend on the next till, through the whole transaction.  I wish I could have just stopped her and said "give me my card back, cancel the sale - if you can't even be bothered to interact with me as you take £70 from me then I'm not giving me your money".  Same thing happened in a petrol station.  And when I was shopping for new bathrooms, I was ignored for 20 minutes in a posh bathroom showroom, while sales people sat around and chatted.  Maybe they thought they were being non-invasive and letting me browse, but I just felt as if I wasn't posh enough looking for them to make any effort.  made me never ever want to spend a THING with them, even if I was a squillionaire.  Oh how I long for a "Pretty Woman" scenario when she goes into the posh clothes shop that had previously snubbed her, only to rub it in how much she was spending elsewhere.

Primark is the pinnacle of horrendouc customer service.  Another shop that i rarely go to now.  Clothes on the floor, clothes strewn on shelves, no order to sizing, horrific changing room experience, and not a single member of staff over 30 or with any decent customker facing experience.  They are machines, and we are the cattle.  Process process, pack em in, rack em up, bag em then they can fuck off when you have their money.

Why is it that whenever you try to make chit chat to shop people, you mostly see fear in their eyes and you get a polite smile and a stiff response, and you can almost hear them screaming to themselves "WEIRDO!  ON DRUGS!!  GET ON WITH IT SO YOU CAN GET RID OF HER!!!!"  Or is it simply because the younger people today don't have a clue how to communicate and do small talk with strangers.  Or they just can't be arsed because we're "just another customer".  What they don't understand is that if a few minutes chit-chat makes that customer feel special and valued, then they will be a customer for LIFE, which is a priceless thing.

For those people who DO have the balls to complain, and on occasion I have spoken up when I'm sick of queueing and I ask for a second till to be opened, you are met with a look of such disdain and disgust you'd think I'd have just started to drink blood from the baby in the stroller behind me.  How DARE I criticise this 17 year old's shit attitude!  How DARE I communicate that I'm having a crap time in this shop and can they make things better or they'll lose my custom!  How dare I break through their narcissistic sense of inflated entitlement and self opinion, and tell them how fucking rude and disrespectful they are!  Daft old ginger bat, she can fuck off she doesn't know what she's talking about.  Or they will be semi polite to you and apologise but you just KNOW that when you walk off they turn to eachother and pull faces.

How I wish we Brits would quit this age-old politeness when faced with crap shop service.  We need to speak up more, me included, and shame these gits into fixing the problem and winning back our custom and our money, which is THEIR lifeblood.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A marvellous article about the numbed-down violent society we have become

This is a fantastic read:

Some extracts -

We blithely exist in a culture of violence at almost every level, from our food and entertainment to the economy and what passes for politics. The better part of our creative and pecuniary energies alike are expended on the ceaseless operations of a military machine that we service as human cogs rendered before an insatiable Moloch.
We will, in short, place blame on everyone but ourselves — even as we watch the programs and punch the ballots, buy the products and consume the cuisine, tell the jokes and repeat the slurs, drive the cars and close the gates. Moderates will call for peace and civility, and we will nod in thankful agreement. Moments of silence and memorial remembrances will bring a lump to our throats and a tear to our eyes, even as the flag of national expediency slowly subsumes the genuine emotions of compassion and fear. Most of us will say and do all the right things, except the one thing that most needs doing: healing the wounds, not merely by dressing them, but also by undoing the capacity and desire to inflict them again.