Monday, 30 November 2009

Bill Nicholson I am not...

Sunday was round 5 in our inter-departmental football series, during which my expert management has guided our team from a 14-1 spanking to drawing 4-4 (even though we should've won).

I didn't actually play this time because I wasn't feeling well, but I turned up to hurl good-natured abuse at our team and control all the substitutions. In addition I was given a whistle that seemed to have come from a christmas cracker, the job of time-keeping and the task of 'non-moving official under a brolly'.

A position that I feel I'm well on the way to making my own.

Anyway, after 89 minutes of continuous rain (and the score delicately poised at 4-4), our star forward burst though their midfield and bore down on goal - only to be unsubtly hacked down by the opposition.

'Refeeeeeeeerrrreeeeeeeeee!!!!' I howled, appealing for the foul and waving my arms around on the touchline.

Someone standing behind me coughed politely and added, ''re the referee."

"Oh yeah."


Old habits die hard...

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Moral pertubation...

Is it wrong to entirely reject a CV on the basis that they wrote 'companies intranet' five separate times on it?

Is it wrong to entirely reject a CV on the basis that they'll get bored and leave within a month?

Is it wrong to entirely reject a CV because they used the phrases 'excellent communication skills' and 'works well as part of a team' in the first three paragraphs?

Is it wrong to entirely reject a CV for a technical role because they cannot tell the difference between there/they're/their?

I think not.

I am Boss. Fear me.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Belle d'hier

I started blogging, um.....let's see.....blimey, over four years ago. I'd just started yet another contract in the frozen wastes of north-east England and was bored shitless living in a basic (if pretty) flat on the coast south of Middlesborough. As I was only going to be there for 6 months I had no internet, no phone, no satellite/cable telly, no central heating and a single 14" TV that the other occupant utilised for continual watching of Coronation Street.

So I did what any normal human would have done - I read an entire broadsheet newspaper every evening over a pint (or two) in the local pub, or I ate fish and chips in the local pub, or I did the pub quiz local pub, or I even branched out and watched the televised football game every Monday in the not-at-all-friendly-and-not-very-local pub.

Basically, I was bored shitless.

Then I remembered what I used to do in my previous contract in some other grim and grey northern city. I used to read blogs at work after everyone had gone home and I was stuck in the office with nothing to do but incapable of leaving until I'd completed my hours (due to a rare personal trait of not waking up before noon every day). I say 'I read blogs' but really the truth is I read just the one website to begin with - Things my girlfriend and I have argued about - and a very funny read it was too.

Through TMGAIHAA I heard of an increasingly famous blog about a London call-girl (you should be able to see where I'm going with this) and started adding it to my evening list. That was the first time I heard about Belle de jour. I perused her blog for about a year as it was exceptionally well written - no post too long and every post was interesting (or tried to be). Her writing style took a subject that could easily become lurid or titillating and made it seem so ordinary that you looked straight past the job and concentrated on the person and the strains of keeping such a double life going at full steam, yet the person herself was glimpsed only fleetingly.

In fact, it was her writing that inspired me to start blogging myself (at the no longer required Reluctant Contractor) and I guess, seeing as you're reading this by choice, that some of the things I learnt from those early days have made me into someone who writes something of passing interest. Occasionally.

More importantly, without my blog I'd not have found other readers, met other bloggers in person, and snared Mrs RS (for we met via the medium of Blog). A few times over the last couple of years I've thought that it would be nice to thank Belle for her inspiration. Who knows, without taking this up as a hobby in 2005 I may have ended up as someone who drinks far too much and spends a large chunk of his life on the internet.


Anyway, the reason for this post is that (as you've almost certainly heard) Belle outed herself last week to prevent an ex-boyfriend doing so via the gutter press. You can imagine my surprise when I first read the online article:-

She lives in Bristol. Hey wow! I live in Bristol!

She works at the University. Hey wow! I walk past that building every day on my way to work!

I scroll down and see a picture.

For two years - whilst meandering to work having my morning musings, and probably when thinking of how nice it would be to express my gratitude to an anonymous blogger - I've regularly walked past her.

It's a truly fucking small world.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Great news...

No, really - look:

"Drinking alcohol every day cuts the risk of heart disease in men by more than a third, a major study suggests."


"The Spanish research involving more than 15,500 men and 26,000 women found large quantities of alcohol could be even more beneficial for men."

Oh yeah baby!

"Female drinkers did not benefit to the same extent, the study in Heart found."

Shame. They should man up a bit :-P

"For those drinking little - less than a shot of vodka a day for instance - the risk was reduced by 35%. And for those who drank anything from three shots to more than 11 shots each day, the risk worked out an average of 50% less."

Oh stop it already...

"The type of alcohol drunk did not seem to make a difference, but protection was greater for those drinking moderate to high amounts of varied drinks."

Get. The. Fuck. In.

My heart >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Your heart

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

So good they named it twice...

I'm a bit behind here, but obviously I went to New York a few weeks back to see Mrs RS. We wanted to get out of the part of the city she lives in, and preferably out of the place all together. Unfortunately Mrs RS had business to attend to on the Monday, so for the first two days we just stayed in a very nice hotel near the airport, ordered room service or got take-out, had a few drinks and just generally tried to relax in a place that wasn't Brooklyn.

Being the sort of person who prefers to read maps (I refuse to use Satnav) rather than check online, I'd bought a streetmap of Long Island when I landed and had spotted a nice National Park about 30 miles east of the airport that seemed perfect for a day trip. Consequently, here's a first-time driver's guide to New York:

1) Shit yourself. Constantly.

Um, that's it really. Oh, okay, apart from:

2) Stop trying to get into the proper side of the car.
3) Stop your left foot depressing the imaginary clutch when slowing down as this will accidentally stamp on the foot-wide brake pedal instead and squeal you to a stop. The security guard at the car rental office put me in my place with an expertly delivered "Nice emergency stop man." Git.
4) Just guess the speed limit. It's rarely posted and everyone else seems to just make it up as they go along.
5) The roads are absolutely atrocious. I've seen better on a Bolivian mountain track. Don't bother speeding as you're likely to rip your front suspension off within a hundred yards.

Having said that, within a few hours I was a natural. I stopped letting people out at junctions, I randomly swapped lanes for no reason, I never indicated and I even perfected the local game of trying to judge the exact moment the light goes green so that you can lean on your horn pointlessly. Great fun.

Anyway, we set off in the driving rain the next morning. We arrived in the driving rain. We refused to get out of the car in the driving rain. We drove back to the hotel in the driving rain.

The weather forecast was better for the next day so we decamped to another hotel in the picturesque town (for east coast America) of Patchogue - which sadly isn't pronounced like the start of Kajagoogoo (it's pronounced Patchog). This did not stop me calling it Patchagoogoo for the rest of the week though :)

The sun came out the day afterwards so we headed down to the Atlantic coast and played on the beach as it's one of Mrs RS' favourite things to do. It wasn't cold but was practically deserted and quite beautiful, as I hope you agree.

Plus as a 'bonus', here's Mrs RS and myself. She's tiiiiiiiiiiiiiny :)

For the next day or so we sampled the local restaurants (once), the local brewery's Oktoberfest ale (copiously) and the awfulness of driving in a New York rush-hour (never again if it can be avoided).

I really felt that being out of the city for a few days doing nothing important had helped, and whilst we've both had our ups and downs since, the feeling of being safe so soon after the event was vital. It's easy to fall into the trap of assuming that 'everything is going to be alright' but for a while we really believed that - and that's priceless.

On the way back we stopped in at my kind of place - an Arboretum (Mrs RS likes beaches, I like beeches :) ) - and as autumn was starting in earnest it was lovely.

In the end all we had time to do was get back to Brooklyn, drop Mrs RS off, get to the airport, check the car in at the car rental office, go to the airline check in desk, discover I don't fly until the Saturday, go back to Brooklyn, have a bonus night together and then fly back the next evening.

Could've happened to anyone, alright? We've all done it...

As a total aside (and I know it's fake) but here's football training Uzbek-stylee. Cracking! :)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Whilst we're on the subject...

If we're going back to The Wonderstuff, how can we avoid this classic?

Takes me right back to pre-university days.

And frankly if you've never heard 'Sit Down' by James then you should be ashamed, but then if I hadn't heard such riches then I could live with being poor....

Monday, 16 November 2009

Morbid thoughts...

Well, technically that is correct, in that I'm most certainly thinking of death. My death in fact.

I'm actually planning my death as you read this. No - really - in minutiae.

To be honest, writing a will shouldn't be this hard.

I've never done one before (which is a bit naughty for someone who's owned property for 11 years as apparently if you don't have one then if you die 'intestate' - something that basically means that you're up shit creek I think - then the state takes most of it), and seeing as I now have someone to leave things to then it seemed a wise thing to do.

The financial side of it is the easy part, it's the other stuff that's hard. Y'see I don't see the point of growing old gracefully so I plan to keep a will such that all beneficiaries are summoned to a dusty lawyer's office and be read a list of hoops they have to jump through to get their hands on any of my cash.

"And now we turn to Aunt Paula, as a UKIP councillor you must parade up and down Cambridge Main Street wearing a sandwich board. On one side must be emblazoned 'I believe Immigration to be a good thing' and on the other side must be written 'Free kisses to all Frenchmen'. If you do this for 7 hours, every day, for a month then you will receive the princely sum of £10,000."

Sort of like Brewster's Bastard Thousands.

Maybe it could be televised for an extra cash incentive? (Makes note to trademark this idea.)

Apart from all the fun things you can do, there is a sad side to dying. Mainly that you won't be able to see everyone's faces when it is announced that the first person to down a bottle of Jagermeister will win a Porsche.

There are also small details to be agreed. As a non-religious person the idea of some well meaning man of the cloth - who's never met me - eulogising about how great I was, leaves me cold. Nah, better to leave it to one family member and one friend (but who shall I choose? Decisions, decisions...) to recount hilarious stories about that time I was hijacked up a mountain, or that time I flew to Australia late on Christmas Eve purely so that I would miss Christmas Day entirely before flying back again, or that time I turned my living room into a lighthouse just so that I could keep an Australian tree alive, or.....well.....lots of stupid tales.

Then there's the music. Hymns? I think not. I can just about stand 'Abide with me' but that's only because of the FA Cup Final. No - we need two tracks, one a tear-jerker and one a quirky tune to sum me up. So we'll have to split up the speeches with
'Wish You Were Here' by Pink Floyd because it's my favourite song ever and most people that know me associate me with it - and then we'll walk out to Size of a Cow by The Wonderstuff (the line 'You know that I've been drunk a thousand times' is me, to a T :) ).

Then we've burial or cremation. Cremation is the way for me. Burnt to a crisp and then my ashes dumped into a hole and an Oak seedling planted in it. Reborn as a knarly, old thing that lives for centuries. Awesome.

Tickets are available for pre-sale, btw. Reasonably priced.

Anyway, let's talk food. How good is the next restaurant you eat at?

Is it good?

Is it yummy?

Is it excellent?

Is it Tong?

Or is it....

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Satisfaction guaranteed...

There are many people in the world (far, far too many) who expect a little bit too much out of life. The man who wants the ideal partner - beautiful, stunning body, intelligent, rich, can suck a golf ball through a hosepipe and is a beer empire heiress (to borrow the Perfect Australian Woman joke).The man who has the vision of what would be perfect and will settle for nothing less, despite being an overweight sweatbag who's main hobbies - of watching porn whilst eating wotsits - has turned his cock orange.

Ain't going to happen mate. Probably best to stick to the lottery from now on, and then if you're incredibly lucky you can rent a close approximation.

Equally there are women out there who see the charming, rugged salesperson with the cheeky wink in his eye and want *that* so long as he also earns a fortune, never works late, is spontaneously romantic whilst never becoming predictable, can sense your moods and produce chocolate in response, is utterly faithful, leaves the toilet seat down and does the washing up himself right after having cooked an amazing meal.

And whilst the number one pleasurable past-time for the majority of men is 'idly scratching their bollocks', that ain't going to happen either.

On the flip side, there are a surprising number of people in the world who want one, single thing and they don't care about anything else. The people who happily live in utter squalor so long as they have a 42" flatscreen TV, the people who think a 1.2 Vauxhall Corsa is a cool car so long as the exhaust is wider than their head, the men who will only date a blonde regardless of any other characteristic, anyone who votes for UKIP or the BNP, the women who will happily bankrupt themselves for another pair of shoes (hello Sis) and those people who sacrifice any scrap of self-respect just to be popular - a few examples amongst millions...

You may wonder why I've started on this topic, and the reason is simple.

I stupidly (in a bid to settle a point of order between Mrs RS and myself about whether putting naked pictures of yourself on t'interweb qualifies you for the title 'Porn Star') googled the stage name for Ms Porn Site of yesterday.

Jesus christ.

I learnt three things:

  1. Google safesearch is your friend.
  2. Alcohol isn't target-specific enough to wipe your short-term memory.
  3. There are some people who will pay ANYTHING to see pictures of two footballs attached to a swamp-donkey.

It's not like I'd ever claim to not like breasts, but it's what they're attached to that's slightly more important. I feel both unclean and vindicated at the same time....

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Like two helium ballons escaping from a sack

That's right bitches - I'm back! Well, sort of. In spirit anyway.

Basically I think you're all great (stop it, I'll shed a tear) and my desire to make balloon animals out of certain people's intestines has diminished (not entirely - we're up to rape 4 in the current spree, including a 14-year old. Total scum.) to the level that I'd almost certainly not do it to someone I know.


I have a brief blog announcement to make, so bear with me:


I would like to make it entirely clear that I have the utmost respect for the people that I work with, even the senior management - despite their cavalier attitude to facts, reality or the health of the business.

I want to make it equally clear that I have never personally slagged off anyone at my company, nor posted classified information, nor posted pictures of anyone at work.

Is that clear, Mr Senior Manager from work using his company blackberry to search my blog? I may not be Einstein, but at least I'm not a fucking retard (your ip address has been logged. Close, but no cigar. Fatto.)

Moving on, let's have a pop-quiz:

If you had to choose between 15 CVs for a job and a brief google search on each name showed that one of the candidates had their own personal porn site, would you

a) discard them from your thinking as they're unsuitable
b) get them in for an interview to check that they're both real
c) devise a new technical test involving a chicken, gaffer tape and rohypnol?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


I've had a bit of a think about what to jot down here today (because I don't want this blog to turn into a whinge-fest - sure, things haven't been great recently but I'd like to get back to my normal service of not-very-subtly mocking the world and slowly drowning in an ocean of cynicism).

I came up with nothing. Sorry.

So instead, here are five things that vaguely wandered through my head - hands in pockets - and idly kicked their heels for a few minutes today.

  • If your company facebook page had 70 fans, and your company youtube channel had less than a hundred subscribers - how confident would you feel for the future when you know the company brand, development budget, marketing resource and roughly 50% of the board time was being invested in building an iPhone app that will be downloaded by about ten people?
  • If everyone did their job to the same level that you do yours, would the world be a better place or a worse place? In my case I think the world would be awesome on the few occasions that anyone got out of bed. Oh, and I'd invest in shares in the Coca Cola company.
  • People who don't eat spicy food should not cook curries for those that do like spicy food. And on that note - a Chicken Madras should not contain cubed potato.
  • I walked behind two young chaps this evening, possibly students - they looked idle and smug - and listened to the following 'conversation'

Idle Bugger 1: "Nydoyuallabootateyo?" (Well that's what it sounded like and it was definitely English to start with)

Idle Bugger 2: "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"

Idle Bugger 1: "Nydoyuallabootateyo???"

Idle Bugger 2: "Whaaaat?"

Idle Bugger 1: "Nydoyuallabootateyo?????"

Idle Bugger 2: "Whaaaaaaaaat?"

Idle Bugger 1: "Nydoyuallabootateyo?!?!?!?!?"

Idle Bugger 2: "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"

I turned for home before I discovered the outcome to this riveting exchange....

  • Oh, and forget Chopper Harris - who would have thought that the best/worst football violence would come from a 'lady'?

Monday, 9 November 2009

Just when you think that things can't get worse...

How much bad luck am I having right now? After a welcome fun night out at a gig in Birmingham on Friday (sordid details to follow) I dragged myself back to Bristol to discover that:

a) I live in Manchester
b) I have 19 kids and am claiming Working Tax Credit on them, and
c) the government would like that money back, please, if it's not too much trouble, now, right now, did I mention how you won't like having any knees? Now. Titty Mau!!!!

It seems all someone has to do is write to HMRC (Her Majesty's Royal C*ntflaps) and claim that you've moved to the otherside of the country and they just CHANGE YOUR ENTIRE RECORD WITHOUT CHECKING. This someone then claims a fraudulent tax rebate and they just PAY THE MONEY TO A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BANK ACCOUNT WITHOUT CHECKING. Then they get puzzled as to why you're still paying tax in the original town that you've lived in unchanged for 12 years and send a menacing letter for back-taxes to your original address.

And the kicker? You can dispute the demand for repayment (on the not unreasonable grounds that it's bollocks) and you will be assigned a case 'handler' who will demand that you prove that YOU DIDN'T RECEIVE ANY MONEY.

I'm not sure you could make it up. Or rather, I'm not sure anyone would believe it if you did :-S

Thursday, 5 November 2009


What type of cheese can hide a horse?

Answer in white text below:


Yeah, that's pretty much how I'm feeling right now....