Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Books, Books and Books

Yes that’s right I’m going to talk about books.  For those of you who are already struggling, books are those things that look a bit like DVDs that you’ve probably seen old people have on their shelves, next to the Madonna CDs and packets of Haribo.  They look a bit like DVDs but are worse because they’re bigger and have less interesting artwork on the front cover.  Old people tend to collect them and unlike video games you don’t trade them in when you’ve finished with them.  I think this is essentially because people who have books want to show other people that they can read in much the same way that I put the heads of wild animals on my shelves to show other people that I could snap at any second.

A book is different to a DVD.  As ridiculous as it sounds when you open a book the first thing you’ll notice is that there is no disc.  It will also take several hours, probably days, to finish and if it is bad it will actually take you even longer to finish than if it was good which is sort of the wrong way round.  Books are usually quite long because they were invented in a time before Playstations when people were very bored and willing to give anything a go.

If you can overlook its many deficiencies then a book can still sometimes be nearly as good as a film.  Obviously not a good film like Top Gun or The Wrath of Khan but a bad film like The Lord Of The Rings or anything by Joss Whedon.

What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t write books off completely.  You might one day find yourself travelling on a bus or a train and unable to stream anything.  Or if you believe in reincarnation you might be unfortunate enough to be born into the sort of family that doesn’t enjoy Mario games.

My bitterness against books is perhaps at least partly fuelled by my own experience of trying to write one which essentially represented a frustrating two year period of my life (alright five) which ended with 400 pages of waffle of which only 40 or 50 pages were any good before the hard drive on my computer broke and I lost everything anyway and thus began a vendetta against books and technology for their conspiracy to waste my time, the only notable result of which has been my continuing failure to get round to buying a Kindle.

My main problem is I find a lot of books waffle needlessly.  This is not necessarily the fault of books per se.  I find a lack of succinctness in anything rather irritating.  If I had my way everyone would use the least amount of words possible to express themselves.  Preferably they wouldn’t feel the need to emote at all.

Job interviews would be condensed to multiple choice questionnaires, saying GOOD DOG would constitute successful small talk and the question “Maybe we could go for a drink sometime?” would be replaced with either the words “I love you” or the words “I want to fuck you” as it seems rather illogical that not being thirsty at certain moments of my life could jeopardise my chances of enjoying a fulfilling relationship or having meaningless sex.

This attitude is probably a contributing factor as to why I don’t do very well at job interviews and have very few friends.  And why I’m single.

What was I talking about?

Ah yes books.  Obviously they’re much more inspiring, substantial and more likely to tell you something meaningful about the human condition yadda yadda yadda but who really cares or wants any of that anyway?  Look outside at that man shouting at a bin.  And over there is a woman laughing at a cat.  Do you really care or want to understand why?

Mario on the other hand is a plumber whose only joy lies in collecting gold coins and jumping on the heads of other people.  Call me simplistic but at least that’s something I can relate to.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

NOT ALRIGHT Blogs, Being Yourself and Tits

So last week I wrote a BLOG which I at first thought was ALRIGHT then removed a few hours later because I thought it was NOT ALRIGHT.  However other people have since told me they thought it was ALRIGHT and this leads me to believe that with a bit of effort I could perhaps haul it from being NOT ALRIGHT to being ALRIGHT.  After all the first series of Blackadder was NOT ALRIGHT but then the second series was ALRIGHT.  Although it’s worth remembering that Star Wars started off being ALRIGHT but then ended up being NOT ALRIGHT.  So it’s Blackadder not Star Wars I’m aiming for which is a sentence I never thought I would write.

Anyway the point of this blog was meant to be to contribute some sort of meaningful insight into the on-going UK unemployment festival of 2013 that I was given complimentary tickets for at immigration and while I reserve the right to deviate, and in all probability later completely ignore that aim, I’m going to try to stick it out for a little while longer before I inevitably start talking about sex, biscuits and video games instead.

Part of my problem in finding employment is perhaps down to the fact that getting pro-actively involved with any aspect of this world increasingly feels to me like turning up to a party I don’t really want to go to because I’m not invited and it's full of twats.  I convince myself that maybe the party will be okay because there’s beer, those crisp things I quite like and I saw some sort of attractive soft faced thing with long hair while I was outside staring through the window.

But once I’m there I discover that I’m only allowed one glass of beer, the crisps aren’t actually the ones I like and I only catch 22 (YES!) minutes of sleep before the soft faced person with long hair falls over the tear stained patch of carpet I’m lying on and does a big sick over me.  I make my excuses and leave but I know I’ve got to come to the party again tomorrow night and the next day and the day after that because there are no other parties in the world and my house is on fire.

To bury this meandering and slightly pointless analogy and bring it back into some semblance of sense and reality:  The only jobs available are really completely unsuitable for me and yet they’re the jobs I’m desperately applying for.  I go into agencies asking them for sales jobs because I’m well aware that’s all they have and if I don’t ask for sales roles I’ll be told they don’t have anything for someone who isn’t committed to doing sales and good natured honest desperation isn’t one of the qualities they’re currently looking for.

So this notion bounces around in my head and occasionally bumps into the idea that I should ‘be myself’ and when that happens it says ‘That’s interesting because actually you’re expected to be someone else in order to survive or achieve anything,’ which then pulls me in two different directions at the same time which I’m pretty sure isn’t the key to being ALRIGHT.

So I compromise and try to be myself while making sure I stay within certain socially acceptable boundaries.  This way if someone asks me to do something I don’t instantly reply that I’m far too busy plotting a movie in my head in which Buffy the Vampire Slayer can only be saved from certain death by licking a never ending stream of marzipan off Rihanna’s face.  And while I am able to put on a suit for an interview I can draw the line at saying the words “Yes it has always been my dream to work in an administrative position” partly because I’m terrified it might be the truth but mainly because I’ve always suspected that particular path will end with me forcing my penis into a printer because that’s now the only way I can achieve orgasm.

The notion of ‘being yourself’ has always rather baffled me anyway.  I mean I can happily be all seven dwarfs in an afternoon.  Or grumpily.  Or bashfully (Yes it’s a funny joke shut up).  And what about ‘bettering yourself’?  When I was 15 ‘being myself’ meant trying to see a pair of tits and wanking at any given opportunity.  Actually not that much has changed BUT the point is I like to think I ‘bettered myself’ by discovering other things I can do with my time, just in case the police find me or the internet stops working.

And what do you do if two fundamental parts of ‘yourself’ clash?  What if Falco invites me over to his house to play guitar but on the same night I’m meant to be going over to a friend’s house to spy on his neighbour getting undressed or look at some tits in a magazine?

Of course I'm joking and either option would be fine.  Because I bettered myself.  Tits now only control 95% of my life leaving me with an extra 5% free to dedicate towards other things like biscuits and video games instead.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Unemployment, seeing RED and 'Managing To Perform Basic Functions'

So what do you do when you can’t get a job and you have 16 hours a day to kill?  You have a degree in writing so write a BLOG my mother suggested.  I immediately drafted an email back saying that this was difficult when you’ve completely lost all enthusiasm for everything.  Then I considered that maybe I could get enthusiastic about my nihilistic lack of enthusiasm for anything.  Let's find out.

So today is day, no week, no actually easier to make that MONTH FOUR of not being able to get a job.  I moved away to live in Mauritius in October 2010 having packed in my civil service job to work doing call monitoring and staff training in a call centre.  When I was made redundant two years later in October 2012  I was told by family, friends, recruitment consultants and members of 'the general public' I bumped into that I’d find something in Bristol where I was moving to.  Easy.  No problems.  I paid £70 to get my CV professionally written to give me the best chance possible of getting something decent.  4 months on and it’s not exactly going to plan.

Last week I went to an interview with an agency, RED Recruitment – presumably named because of the colour their recruitment consultants see every time they close their eyes.  Every consultant I've met from RED looks like they've just finished group feeding raw meat from a trough they half suspect is actually filled with dead babies.  They constantly look like they've just about convinced themselves they've not done anything wrong but deep down they know they've just done something terrible - they're just not quite able to place their finger on what it was...

The job was a £14k a year Telesales advisor.  I was told my professionally written CV was “not up to the standard they would expect” and told to rewrite it (taking out pretty much everything the professional CV writer had put in it).  So I did what they suggested but was then told I still did not ‘meet the requirements for the job’.  Considering I spent a year training Telesales agents in Mauritius, have done Telesales for about a year before and, most depressingly of all, got offered an identical job when I was 15 and had no experience whatsoever doing TELESALES this was something of a kidney punch that left me feeling rather deflated and seeing RED.

Then there were those two basic Admin filing jobs at £15k a year which I wasn’t even shortlisted for.  I’m going into agencies every week trying to sound enthusiastic and like I’m the best thing in the world but it gets tricky and mildly ridiculous after the fifth or sixth time...

Tomorrow is my ‘Managing Your Emotions’ course which seems to be aimed at, among other things, putting things in perspective and remembering things could always be worse.  Kind of like an episode of EastEnders but presented as a lecture and with helpful handouts at the end. 

'Managing Your Emotions' is rather an unfortunate name for the course.  Given my inability to manage anything in my life at the moment the idea of managing something as vast and sweeping as my own emotions seems rather daunting.  I'd much rather start with 'Managing To Eat An Omelette' move on to 'Managing To Reach The Toilet In Time' and then perhaps eventually a final course of 'Managing To Keep A Small Hamster Alive For A Period of 24 Hours' before bringing anything as erratic as my emotions into the equation.

That way at least if I attend the final session covered in egg, piss and carrying a small lifeless corpse in my hapless hands we can safely agree the course probably won't work for me...