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John the shady indie denier

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Improving Services - Creating Jobs [Jul. 6th, 2009|10:05 pm]
John the shady indie denier
[Current Location |EH9 1HL]
[music |Be Carefeul What You Wish For - Lord Cut-Glass]

Spotted on a lamppost (and yes, i took a camera out...)

When did this stop being the council's slogan?!

Edinburgh District Council - Improving Services - Creating Jobs
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Don't slouch, boy! [Mar. 31st, 2009|07:17 pm]
John the shady indie denier
[Current Location |EH9 1HL]
[music |The Pragmatist - Redcarsgofaster]

I'm alive. Things plod on as ever.

I'm presently temping in the civil service in a charming Edinburgh suburb. In August I'll be starting a PGDE at Edinburgh. Yes, against all odds, I'm going to be an RE teacher. My kids are going to be able to reason properly though, you understand. If they have a position on religion, they'll be able to support it reasonably and rationally. It also means I'll get to teach ethics and citizenship and (wait for it)... sex education. Rock, and indeed roll. Is it bloody mindedness that makes me love how people screw their noses up or give me sympathetic looks when they hear this news? Well, yes - perhaps it is, but what's new there, hey? The poor kids won't know what's hit them.

This has been a hard winter. I don't know how people have lived here in Scotland all their lives, going 6 months without any sunshine at all every single year. Unfortunately, I'm also nearer to the poverty line than I think I've ever been (how was it so cheap to live in mid Wales?...), so even a remedial trip down to England has been more or less off the agenda for the season. Nonetheless, I've survived. Cod liver oil and a good set of headphones has seen me fine.

The Masters, meanwhile, has been pushed further into the future. When they warned me that it had to be completed within 8 years, I thought it was a bit of a joke. Little did I know! If only university education wasn't so friggin expensive...

Oh, and I won my first £50 on the premium bonds.
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And so on and so forth. [Sep. 18th, 2008|01:05 pm]
John the shady indie denier
[Current Location |EH9 1HL]
[music |Bartok: Viola Concerto - I. Moderato (Hong-Mei Xiao)]

"We are calling for the forced demerger of large banking and finance groups. Retail banking should be split from both corporate finance (merchant banking) and from securities dealing. The demerged units should then be split into smaller banks. Mega banks make mega mistakes that affect us all. Instead of institutions that are ‘too big to fail’, we need institutions that are small enough to fail without creating problems for depositors and the wider public."

- The New Economics foundation, 'A Green New Deal'.

Lots of media types milling around the Bank of Scotland building. What a big fat mess. Still, there are early signs that the Co-operative movement might be able to turn the perceived 'crisis' to their advantage, which would benefit everyone in the long run, provided the latter manages to maintain its democratic structures.

I will write a proper update soon. Essentially very little is new. I'm still plodding on with the never-ending Masters. I'm contemplating applying for a PGDE. A Premium Bond win has still yet to materialise...
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Another new city and such... [Feb. 24th, 2008|03:50 pm]
John the shady indie denier
[Current Location |EH9 1HL]
[mood |calmcalm]
[music |Black Path - Aereogramme]

Right, so I now live in Edinburgh. Hopefully this will be the last move for a while, and it will last longer than those (less than) six months back in Leicester! I suppose, at least, the map is getting a bit more interesting.

Things are all looking good for the most part. I've found a nice enough flat, and am living with some nice enough people (praise indeed); my bill and carbon footprint from constantly travelling up here has obviously been cut right down; I've got a nice part-time job for a national charity, which will see me visiting sites throughout Scotland, eventually...

There are one or two negatives - I think living on a part-time wage, whilst paying rent and council tax and tuition fees, will be difficult. In fact things are looking substantially tighter than my undergrad days (how on earth it is so cheap to live in Lampeter or Aberystwyth might remain a mystery...). I have more time to spend on work, of course, but I'm a couple of months behind so have a fair bit of catching up to do. I also have to go about that rather tiresome business of building up a social network from scratch once again. On both fronts I've been rather lethargic, oddly. I wonder whether perhaps after the 8-6 schedule I was living before, all this free time has come as rather a shock to the system. I need to organise and motivate myself a bit better. Four weeks in... I can't expect it all to land at my feet.
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(no subject) [Nov. 26th, 2007|03:05 pm]
John the shady indie denier
[Current Location |EH9 1AQ]
[mood |relaxedrelaxed]
[music |Fortune - Emma Pollock]

Right, I've had more than enough of the print industry. Another job to put behind me. Another embarrassingly short spell on my CV. No-one seems to notice though, frankly.

I'm using up my final week's holiday allowance this week, then I'll have two weeks left - finishing in time for Christmas. Then a move to Edinburgh. Just to keep things interesting.
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And everything it looks so good from here [Oct. 13th, 2007|02:37 pm]
John the shady indie denier
[Current Location |LE2 3FN]
[mood |contentcontent]
[music |Paper and Glue - Emma Pollock]

I almost tripped over a 'Leicester Heritage Trail' bronze plaque in the pavement this morning, so I stopped to take a look around. On one side of me was Pizza Express, on the other, the huge ugly 60s tower block that is Leicester City Council. Presumably you need the guide book.

At this point I was accosted by someone trying to flog me some Subway offer so I scurried off down New Walk, which looks rather lovely this time of year.

Oh hang on, maybe New Walk is the heritage trail...
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Through calloused work i will grow soft [Oct. 9th, 2007|10:58 pm]
John the shady indie denier
[Current Location |LE2 3FN]
[mood |tiredtired]
[music |I'll Not Contain You - The Microphones]

So, having this afternoon completed an exam in the rather grand Great Hall of the University of Birmingham I am now... wait for it... one third of the way through my Masters. The words 'Part Time' have never been truer. That said, I am now starting to think about what will happen afterwards - for the time will arrive, perhaps sooner than I expected. I have absolutely no idea how or where to start applying for a PhD. I have the bare bones of a proposal lying around on my computer somewhere, but the whole process is just too intimidating for me to contemplate right now. I have ordered a book to help me through it. Obviously I'm expecting that to answer all my questions and solve all my issues. I'm under the impression this is called 'optimism'.

Nothing too exciting has happened since I last wrote....

I moved back to Leicester, then on my first weekend back got beaten up in Oadby. Nothing too serious, like - but I got a raft of charming leaflets through the post, including 'Coping with Common Assault' and 'What is Assault?', which obviously made me feel much better. I'll admit to feeling a little isolated in Leicester. It seems I know fewer people my own age in this city than I anticipated and I'm too tired when I get home to go out nearly as much as I would like - or need to, if I'm going to meet new folk. That said, I am going out every evening this week so complaining might be a wee bit premature. Things are plodding along ok. I'm happy enough.

Since I last wrote, I started my new job. This is a slightly bitter point. I intended for the focus of these years to be my degree, with a nice mindless job to fund me along. Unfortunately, just four weeks after my arrival the Senior Estimator left the company - and then there were two. We have far too much work for two people to cope with and there is a huge amount of pressure and... gosh, even anger that we're struggling to keep up, despite it seemingly being an inevitable outcome. Two weeks later, the one other estimator hands in her notice, and I'm left with far too much mindless work for me to be able to cope with. I'm exhausted when I get home - really struggling to keep up with uni work and everything else - and on top of that, I have pressure and aggression from all sides, its not fun. Needless to say I am looking for other work, but I can't just hand my notice in straight away - as I have, on more than one occasion, been tempted to do - because I am in ever increasing levels of debt. This needs some lateral thinking!

I've had a few trips to Edinburgh. A fair few people who know me may be shocked to hear that I have been *cough* flying, but I've been keeping a very careful eye on my carbon emissions and I'm fairly good in all other spheres of life. Is that any excuse? Well of course not, there is huge guilt.... but I want to see Paul as much as I can, it makes me very happy... and err... my time is extremely limited with work... If and when I next stand for the Greens, someone can bring this up and put me to shame. Explicit permission granted.

The new PJ Harvey album is really rather good. I'll stop going on about it soon. Yes I will.
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We love the city because it lets us down [Aug. 1st, 2007|10:26 pm]
John the shady indie denier
[Current Location |CV5 7GU]
[mood |lethargiclethargic]
[music |Consequence - The Notwist]

Leicester. I now live there. If you do too, please get in touch. I need to re-establish a drinking, gigging, middle-class tea-partying network of some description.

I thought I ought to get that bit out of the way first - I can't imagine many people will make it to the end of this post, frankly!

So, gosh. Much has happened. When I last wrote, I was just about to finish my job, leave Aberystwyth, and embark on a trip around Europe. All of these things have, of course, now happened.

Leaving Aberystwyth was a little more emotional than I was expecting, but hugs and tears aside the whole process went fairly smoothly and painlessly. Fitting the amassed crap of 3 or 4 years of independent living into the back of my parents' Vauxhall Astra was not an easy task on any level. Practical considerations alone were enough to throw even the calmest of souls, and I couldn't see out the window or straighten my neck on the drive home. Nevertheless we made it, and another little chapter was closed. I haven't really stopped to reflect on my time in Wales, but when that finally happens, there is going to be a real fondness there. If ever you needed proof that the brain blocks out bad memories...!

Travelling around Europe on trains. A fantastic idea and I suggest you all give it a go at some point. Plenty of good memories for me. I won't say any more since I'm sure you don't want to hear me banging on about what a good time I had. It would be rather like having holiday snaps forced upon you.... Err, on which note (cough) if you do have a desire to trawl through photos, there are some at www.twrist.net. They are mostly of non-descript European cities, most of which I couldn't tell you a thing about even if I wanted to, so questions are not welcome. Oh, also some new photos of Aber and such. Probably worth a look if you are stalking me (erm... anyone?)

On my return to the UK, I went and spent a bit of time in Edinburgh, which was lovely as ever aaand then.... Whoomph - dropped back into the real world. Shit.

I limped my way through an overdue essay (bizarrely, and perhaps by some divine volition, passing the thing), trailed around a few houses in Leicester, re-visited some old temping agencies. The same old story frankly. I've settled on a house on Queen's Road, which should serve me well for the time being at least, and I sign for that on Thursday...

Job-wise, well... rather pathetically, I spotted an advert for a job which is almost identical to what I was doing at Cambrian (yes, the very job that I once described as boring and monotonous). Knowing that I would be offered it, and not being one to cope well with rejection, I applied, and - bluddy hell - I start on Monday. This has perhaps not been the best decision I have made in recent times. On the plus side, I am being paid a fair bit more than I was at Cambrian, so I shall, at least, be able to 'find my feet' in relative comfort (and pay off those pesky debts). On the down side - the hours are long, the location awkward, the holiday allowance meagre and so on and so forth. My biggest concern is that I won't be stretched, I'll get bored easily, and I'll be ticking off the hours like I was at Cambrian. The worst possible fate. Maybe I'll be proved wrong, but needless to say, I will carry on looking for something to which I am more suited, and hold out for my first performance review in December...

Being a 'man of leisure' for two months hasn't helped any of this and I may have to admit that I am, in fact, just a workshy fop. Who wouldn't like a lifestyle whereby one just floats around, visits friends around the country, reads books in the garden? I am still expecting to stumble upon a source of labour-less income. Any ideas would be welcome. Of course I'm still holding out for those Premium Bonds...
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What I am up to. What am I up to? [May. 18th, 2007|07:22 pm]
John the shady indie denier
[Current Location |SY23 1HE]
[mood |okayokay]
[music |Lullaby - The Cure]

I am addicted to the Guardian's Comment is Free website. I accept I may be a bit late jumping on the bandwagon here. I've spent most of this week reading the bluddy thing instead of doing work... Aah work! I've received my final paycheque (folded neatly in the envelope with a p45, slightly terrifyingly) and this time next week I will have finished, ready to embark on my travels. I think I might miss the place... Still, its all very exciting.

What is less exciting is being alone in Aberystwyth... I thought I would be able to entertain myself for a couple of weeks with OU work, a few teach yourself Spanish CDs and plenty of mugs of tea, but I've resorted to desperate measures... I made this, which surely has to qualify as one of the most boring Google Maps ever constructed. My apologies. And no, I have no desire to see yours in return thankyouverymuch - I feel dull enough as it is.

Its rather a nice evening.
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Come on, let's leave our misery, and crawl toward where we want to be [Mar. 29th, 2007|11:55 pm]
John the shady indie denier
[Current Location |SY23 1HE]
[mood |hopefulhopeful]
[music |Night Falls On Hoboken - Yo La Tengo]

Well kids, gosh.

Back in July 2004 (surely the halcyon days of livejournaling), I wrote "The ability to make firm decisions and stick to them seems to be something that I quite severely lack though, and let's be honest about this - It's making my life a whole lot more interesting". Its a quote which means a lot to me, because that summer of 2004 is repeating itself in many ways - positive ways.

Aberystwyth is a lovely little town. Beautiful and safe it may be, but it is isolated. Too isolated. A year or two ago, there were plenty of reasons for staying here, and they have slowly but surely floated away. Lampeter is just a little too far away to be a realistic 'pop and visit' location, and people are filtering away from the place in any case. A little while ago I found myself drift back into single-dom, and Aberystwyth is not the place to be alone. Actually, ironically, I almost drifted immediately back out of single-dom again, and therein lies a tale (ho hum) for another day. We shall see what happens in that regard. I think - and I may be fooling myself here - that I'm pretty laid back; less manic about the whole idea these days. Boredom and monotony have an awful way of amplifying nascent emotions, however, and I'm not holding my breath.

Boredom and monotony, you say? Well hrm... The job at Cambrian Printers has become rather 'comfortable'. After six months, it became fairly well paid (all things considered), and things seem to be plodding along fine and well in that regard. Plodding is the operative word, however. The job won't change, and subsequently nor will I. That is never a situation in which I would have been comfortable to find myself, despite occasional aspirations towards 'being settled' in the past, and it is not a situation I am comfortable with now. As such, the prospect of 'change' has not been far from my thoughts.

Earlier this month I had an interview in Manchester for the Co-operative Group graduate scheme (which, I was assured, put me in the top 4% of applicants - incredulity welcomed on that score). Unfortunately, "while the interviewers were impressed with your performance at interview, it was felt that other candidates matched our requirements more closely". Shit. Still, I got to see Uday again; get out of Aber for the day. Who can complain (bastards...)

So, what to do... Well, the lease on this charming flat expires at the end of May. My love affair with Wales has already long expired. So its time for another move.

The plan at the moment is to move all my stuff back to my parents' and drift around for a bit, perhaps see some of Europe. Spend all my money and start again from zero. Then, who knows. There are a few ideas rattling around inside my head. I might just temp for a while whilst I re-insert myself into social and city life. I'm too young to be in a retirement town, and I've had too many interests in the past to let them die quite as spectacularly as I have done in recent times.

The Open University course continues to progress. I am merely one 3 hour exam away from being 1/6th of the way through the degree (ho hum), but time management continues to be the bane of my existence. As long as I don't mess up too severely with the assessments, it is a welcome distraction in any case. Being a 'real student' is still something I wish I had taken better advantage of at the time, although I'm not unhappy at any decisions I made.

Aaand... that brings us up to date.

Incidentally, despite the somewhat melodramatic subject to this journal entry, I think Night Falls on Hoboken is a song about hope. Anyone with me?
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