Thursday, 27 August 2009

god put a smile upon your face

Today, my cheerfulness was pushed to the very limits when I had to work on Menswear. Menswear is right next to the Audio & TV department, where in order to exhort the capabilities of their wares they decided to play Coldplay's "A Rush Of Blood To The Head".

Over and over again.

For four hours.

I am pleased to report that through a Herculean display of manliness, I managed not to blub like a little girl.

Not even slightly.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Working part time at The Big Gay Department Store is, on the whole, fine. I turn up, do the requisite amount of making-small-talk-with-co-workers and giving-a-shit-about-the-business, and then get to work like shopkeeping is all I was born to do.

And I'm good at it, too. I often have customers remark on how nice it is to be served by such a happy fellow, and how very cheerful I am. I generally smile back and reassure them that I'm crying on the inside madam, would you like the receipt in your bag? That's great, enjoy the rest of your day.

Working full time at The Big Gay Department Store is, on the whole, torturous. I can just about manage to pretend to like my co-workers one day every week, but five days on the trot is a bit more of a strain. Especially when they sit next to me and try to enter into conversation during breaks, or - dig this - force tuna curry onto me. Apparently I missed someone's birthday at the beginning of the month, this woman I hardly ever speak to other than to say hello and exchange meaningless pleasantries; and so to make up for the fact that I wasn't there when she brought in cake and what-not, she decided on Saturday to leave me a portion of tuna curry and a biscuit in one of the pigeon holes behind reception. Unfortunately - or fortunately, I haven't yet decided which - I forgot all about it up until yesterday, and so for all I know, it's still sat there... ew.

And then there's the customers. Empty fucking drones, bimbling about ticking life boxes and consuming to be happy and drown out the sheer pointlessness of all their endeavour.


But then I get the chance to work some extra hours, and I think to myself... What would Rollins do?

He'd take the work. Fuck it, it's not that bad really. I think I may just be indulging in our national pastime of grumbling. Besides, if I wasn't at The Big Gay Department Store focusing all my energy into repressing the urge to be thoroughly unpleasant to every other person I met, I'd just be sat around the flat, wondering what the fuck I should be doing.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

titles are good

And so on Friday last week, my work placement quietly came to an end. I bought doughnuts and tiny cakes for the office, handed in my badge and gun (clocking card and mobile), shook a few hands and that was it. I think I shall miss it; it's been an interesting way to waste a year on the slow trudge to expiry.

Mostly I shall miss the ludicrousness of the health and safety culture, which in my final week saw the installation of small flashing orange beacons on all furnaces. These are supposed to activate every time the furnace door is opened, to alert operators whenever hot metal was being handled. This is despite the fact that:
  • By "hot" metal, I mean molten metal - filled moulds come out of the furnace at temperatures exceeding 1000°C, and radiate an intense heat that can be felt from many metres away.
  • They also glow bright - and I mean BRIGHT - white/orange. Can't easily miss 'em.
  • The only people at risk of injury should molten metal be spilled are the guys that are handling it; and they know that molten metal is being handled, because they are handling it. So a little beacon to warn them that molten metal is being handled is a tad redundant in this respect.
But the internal health and safety audit still determined that sufficient precautions were not being taken, and that the presence of a big ol' fork truck with flashing lights, carrying a four foot tall brightly glowing mould that will burn off your eyebrows at ten paces, surrounded by a bunch of guys in funny silver heat protecting overalls, was not enough of an indication that there might be some hot metal kicking about. Better stick up a flashing light, that should get everyone's attention.

I shall also miss playing boardgames in a kitchen bigger than my living room with my amusingly Catholic housemate Ruth. Of course, we've promised to keep in touch and visit and stuff; but this probably won't happen, because I'm rubbish and she's still not allowed to be friends with other boys - despite being in the "off" part of her on-again/off-again relationship with the insanely paranoid and jealous Sam. Sigh.

On the plus side, I no longer have to spend hours driving to and from Exeter each week, I now have full living room privileges, and I get to spend more time in my own home with my not-even-remotely
Catholic flatmate Charlie Cat.

The new school year doesn't start until the last week in September; so I'm filling the time between now and then by working as many extra hours as possible at The Big Gay Department Store. It's helping to remind me why I wanted to get out of retail in the first place. To do the job well does require some skill, and frankly I'm bloody brilliant at it; but forty hours a week of pretending to give a freshly minted fuck about other people and their dreary existence is a bit much. So I'm attempting to break up the tedious monotony of constant consumption by subtly(ish) working rudeness into my flawless salesman's patter. Already this week I have managed "I've never seen so many knobs", "Would you like me to wrap your dangly what-nots in tissue?", and "Ah... Balls."

Good times.

Meanwhile, the Beastmans have been absent from this shitty blog for too long now; so here's a Giant.

By my reckoning, Giants are the worst thing you could possibly take in a Beastmans Team. On paper, they're full of destructive potential; my head fills with images of my foes fleeing in terror from this great striding behemoth, bellowing with rage and crushing the enemy underfoot as arrows bounce off his steely hide...

...whereas in practice, the Giant will usually swing his club ineffectually shortly before falling over in his attempt to run away from a bunch of peasants armed with sharp sticks and colourful language.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

i want to be a head wound when i grow up

Went to see Kylesa at The Croft a few weeks back. Thanks to me being a bimbly moron, we got there a bit late and only caught the last half of opening act Big Naturals, now performing as a bass 'n' drums thunderous psycha-sludge-doom duo. A very hungover Taint took to the stage next, they're always great. A colossal two-drummer barrage opened up Kylesa's set, which was nothing but noisey sludgey doom from start to finish. Nice.

Meanwhile, grown-up work continues to be tediously dull. I'm not sure if I ever had a job description, but my day now mostly consists of wasting time on the internets. Having now read through the whole of the spEak You're bRanes archive, I've taken to trawling through Wikipedia. On Friday I learned about common rail diesel engines, the Portuguese man o' war, the history of Black Flag and the 80's DC punk and hardcore scene, the American invasion of Panama in 1989, and various stealth aircraft and other American warplanes. I also found out about the Leonard vs. Pepsico case of 1999, which all started because of this advert for the "Pepsi Points" promotion.

Obviously it was meant as a joke, but that wasn't going to stop John Leonard. He'd already collected 15 points, and Pepsi allowed extra points to be purchased for ten cents apiece. So he sent away a cheque for $700,008.50 (which included a $10 shipping and handling fee). Naturally, when Pepsi refused to send an AV-8 Harrier II jump jet to Leonard, he sued.

Thankfully he lost, the court decreeing that "no reasonable person could have believed that the company seriously intended to convey a jet worth roughly $23 million for under a million dollars." According to Wiki, "Leonard claimed that a federal judge was incapable of deciding on the matter, and that instead the decision had to be made by a jury consisting of members of "the Pepsi generation," to whom the advertisement would allegedly constitute an offer."

What a dick.

And now for some toy soldiers. Until I painted Count Drakon Von Carstein, I spent months being a slave to my Chaos Marauders.

So I now have a total of fifty seven of these useless bastards, which as it turns out is about fifty seven more than I would ever consider including in an army. Sigh.

So I've been taking a bit of a break from the square bases, and gone back to my beloved Orkses.

I started my Bad Moonz a few years back, when Orks were shit. But now the rules have changed, and they've become as dead killy as they ought to be. Except for Grotz - they're still shit.