Saturday, 29 December 2012


In all, 2012 was a good year for me.  I went from being a 27 year old, retaking his GCSE's; to a 28 year old Deck Officer cadet in the Merchant Navy. Joining the Merchant Navy to train as an Officer has been a goal of mine- for a number of years, and very proud of myself I am. In fact- I initially was happy to be a rating, so to be here now, training as an officer, I have transcended my ambitions.  Lookin' back is a bad habit, but, with one year ending, and another beginning; a little reflection wouldn't be the acme of foolishness.

  High points of the year for me, was firstly beginning my new life as a cadet. A big transition for me. Moving away again. . . . living in halls again . . . . in a really really small room with a single bed- I like to starfish when I sleep; this is not possible in Fleetwood Nautical College's campus beds; especially not for a fuller figured chap like myself. I suppose I should get accustomed to this? The course has been thoroughly enjoyable, and it's baffling to think that, there's only 3 weeks left of my first phase!  It's been a relief that the group of people I am training with are all good seeds; and I mean that. I usually hate everyone! Everything! What's happening here?  If I'd have done this cadetship at the age of 18, I would have probably been sacked by now. This is the right time. This is the right place.  It's all going great, and I'm getting ever closer to fulfilling my ambitions. Sure there's been times where I've been angry about things, and there's about 4 unpublished rants about incidents that have riled me. I decided not to share them with the world, in an attempt to let negativity wash over me. I had a pretty traumatic time in my second month of training. 12 weeks of, well, a living hell. Pure character building stuff- maybe I'll talk about it in years to come. Chapter closed.

I just finished reading a motivational book. Yes, I know, it makes me sound like a weak minded fool, who needs guidance from some greater mind. Reading it has just made me feel better about the way I've conducted myself over the past few years. It was looking bleak for me at 24; but I set long term goals, and I set short term ones, and I've slowly been getting over each hurdle accordingly. The book is by the great American athlete Michael Johnson. It's called "Slaying the dragon" - the ethos?  What do you want to do? How are you going to do that? - Methodical. I like it! That box was already ticked Michael my friend, but it's good to know that I'm on the right track. Some parts of it have given me a fresh approach to getting over these trials and tribulations. Why a motivational book by Michael Johnson though? Well- I was watching the Olympics this year, and he was on there as a pundit, as he usually is.  I have a massive amount of respect for him. He knows his sport. He is clear, concise, intelligent, humble, and there isn't an ounce of national self righteousness about him; a trait that can often be found in Americans. I remember him giving his summary about Usain Bolts qualifying run. He went into so much detail; and analysed it beyond repair. The presenter then asked Kelly Holmes what she thought, and she just muttered timidly "I agree with what Michael said" - I laughed to myself, and then looked up Michael on Google, noticed he had a motivational book, and thought to myself, "I'll have me some of that..this Sun Tzu puddle is drying out"

I've been watching a considerable amount of David Attenborough documentaries over the past few days; prompted by the "60 years in the wild" thing on the BBC. I think if I could live any one life lived by any Human, I'd live his. A truly remarkable man. I mean Hugh Heffner comes a close second! I hope he continues to make programmes despite his old age.  A highlight for me was this Cargo Cult documentary, made in the 60's! Being a long time follower of the John Frum movement (not an actual follower, just someone interested) I was aware this documentary existed, and for years longed to see it. A highlight of Christmas was watching it for the first time. I paid tribute to John Frum in my power pop band, writing a song on the subject- it can be heard here- John Frum - The HardSocks - ignore my scrappy vocals!! On the subject of music. I'm thinking of getting myself a decent UKELE to take to sea with me. I left my guitar in Fleetwood, when I came home for Christmas and I miss it. I'd miss not being able to play something when I join my first ship.

I guess I'll be back in a few days with some resolutions.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

RIP Sir Patrick Moore

The Sky at night for me, was a big part of my adolescent years. I'd stay up late, down in the back room and  watch the sky at night.  It would utterly fascinate me. Just thinking about how vast the universe was; and how meagre Earth was in comparison; and how inconsequential I was in the grand scheme of things.  After my fix of astronomy....feeling all knowledgeable and  inconsequential; I'd  access the German channels through our old analogue Sky box; which were laden with borderline hard-core porn dramas.  Say what you like about the Germans; their watershed level was much more palatable to a 12 year old me, than that of the UK watershed, which to be frank was a bit shit!  Blame Mary fucking Whitehouse! It didn't matter that I didn't understand. There was bush, and bush in abundance.  Occasionally, I'd get the two mixed up. . . .  You try banging one off, to the post impact analysis reports pertaining to the  Shoemaker-levy incident on Jupiter.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes....

It's finally begun. My stint as an Officer Cadet in the Merchant Navy. I'm a Monday into my second week; and I think I can honestly say; I'm in the right place. The first week was spent predominately filling in loads of paperwork, and meeting various members of the college staff. I have to say, that what I have seen so far has impressed me; staff, facilities, and the food in the canteen isn't bad either!  The first day we arrived, we were informed by a third year cadet that they were taking us all out, into Fleetwood. I tagged along, and had about 3 pints; but the place that we went to sort of put me off going out EVER AGAIN. Let's just say; if Jeremy Kyle was doing referral fees, one could profit by befriending some of the locals in there- and bare in mind, I'm from Birkenhead- possibly one of the biggest dumps out there! The girl who's gig it was  apparently woke up the next morning on a bench. Awesome.   

   I was sent on a 'cadet development course' which sounded more annoying than it actually was. In all honesty, I wasn't looking forward to it; but I'd say that say some barriers were knocked down during the whole experience- and much needed!  Lots of climbing and assault course type shit; think 'the krypton factor' only you don't get a go of the flight simulator at the end; you just get beans, and more beans. I was lucky to be with a cracking gang of chaps. I was worried about being the oldest; but despite certain aspects of my personality being rather mature; in the sense that I think I'm well older than my years; this 3 days showed me that I can still clown around and enjoy it, if I want to- so it's nice to have that option.

I mentioned earlier that I felt I was in 'the right place' - pretty much every academic or professional endeavour of mine has resulted in me talking enthusiastically about something that I'm interested in; and usually....some complete fuckwit thinks that I'm weird because I 'don't watch telly' or that I  'like weird things' - here, I can talk about the Antipodes, The HM Thetis/Thunderbolt, Sailing, weather patterns in the Atlantic  etc without being ostracised.    We were told Ofsted were coming in, and also that we were going on a Birkenhead (my home town-ish) of all places; to act as passengers on a ship they are going to set on drills. Anyway; in my school days; when Ofsted came in, I was put in a room, out of the way and I certainly wasn't allowed on school trips; especially towards the last three years of secondary school. That was 11 years things have changed, and where does the time go? I was made the class representative by a vote; 

Bit of a 'prison' vibe going on; but it's got everything one needs

 In the past week, I've had a viral infection, and last night I had an acute attack of food poisoning; which everyone in the cricket club heard; thankfully it subsided; and as I write this now, I am in pain, because I went out on my bike earlier in the pissing down rain, and rather stupidly got my wheel caught in a first ever intimate experience with the road. I am not happy. Woe is officially me. They say it comes in the threes; so-  1)viral infection 2) shits 3)bike crash. Can you please leave me alone now? 

On that note; I bid you good day.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The City of Ragusa

A few years ago, I got my hands on "A Speck on the sea" by William H Longyard; a book of sea crossing accounts that have occurred over the past 400 years; particularly voyages made in tiny crafts.  Anyway.... I was captivated by a particular story; the story of a vessel called 'The City of Ragusa' - which sailed from Liverpool to New York in 1871 and back in 1872 (Primoraz & Hayter); piloted by Captain John Buckley, and his mate Nicholas Primoraz (who possibly financed the voyage) who was also known as Nicholas Di Costa; the reason for the name change is not really known, but Longyard assumed that it was to do with the political turmoil in Primoraz's homeland of Croatia, at least that's what the area is known as now. Being a resident of Birkenhead; and interested in Maritime history; I decided to get on the case.  

Edward T.W Hayter (left) and Primoraz(right) The dog that travelled on the outbound trip, was a Labrador; which died en route. This is obviously bull terrier type breed; possibly an Irish staff' 

The " Ragusa " had been a life-boat, and was refitted by an active seaman, whose days had been passed fighting in the Indian wars, and to whom quiet retirement was punishment. The boat measured only twenty-one feet in length, and three feet six inches in width; her build was "lap-streak," and the only alteration made in her for the ocean passage was the addition of a yawl-rig, and a deck running from stem to stern. She had been on the water eighty days, having left Liverpool June 1st, and safely ridden through a terrific storm in which many large ships were sunk. Her quarter-inch planks withstood seas which crushed in the thick iron-plates of a mail steamer, and her miniature compass unerringly guided her to the desired port. Extremes of heat and cold caused a leakage once, but this was ingeniously mended with soap. Heavy seas deluged her and almost swamped her, but by skill and courage Captain Buckley and his mate, Nicholas Primoraz, (and their dog) won the laurels of a most wonderful undertaking. Primoraz, crossed the Atlantic again the following year, with a New Zealander, by the name of Edward T.W Hayter,making the passage from New York to Liverpool in thirty days. 

 I wanted to know what became of the vessel- in 'A speck on the sea' - Longyard  reported that it was put on display at the Royal Rock hotel in Rock Ferry, but another report stated that it was used on Birkenhead park's lake as an attraction, where it eventually rotted, and sank;  so I wrote into my local newspaper (my letter to the globe) - but that fell on deaf ears. This line of enquiry essentially came to an end. I was not surprised, as the Wirral Globe, and the Wallasey News; are shocking publications on all levels in my opinion. 

A few years went by, and I was at college in Liverpool; and with an abundance of 'time to burn' - I decided to contact William Longyard to let him know that I was on the case again (after previously notifying him I was digging for information). I had found a snippet of information on google (shame) about what actually became of Primoraz. So I headed over to the  Liverpool library archives, on a grey miserable Thursday, in January 2012, and spent a few hours trawling through news reels from well over a hundred years ago.  Here's what I unearthed.


A strange scene was witnessed yesterday in Duke-street shortly after noon yesterday. Nicholas Primorz, a tobacconist and stationer residing at 56 in that thoroughfare, was seen walking about there with gun in his hand, shooting recklessly at the persons who passed along. He fired three times, but fortunately, only shot a dog, which fell down wounded. He then went into his shop, brought a dagger out, and knelt down as if to prey, after which he went to his house again, returning with an axe. Two police officers were attracted to the spot, and as he was in the act of flourishing the the axe, they seized him from behind and took him to the Main Bridewell, where it was found that his mind was affected. It appears from another account, that he shot at a man on the corner of York Street, and Duke Street, who narrowly escaped being hit.  It is said that unfortunate person who caused all this consternation is the individual who came from New York some time ago in an open boat- the Ragusa- with a dog as his only companion. Attention was first directed to the extraordinary  conduct of Primoraz by two little children ran up Duke street crying, and exclaiming "There's a man going to shoot everybody." The man was removed during the course of the day to the Liverpool workhouse asylum.   

Newspaper:   Liverpool Daily Courier
Date: 27th December 1878

The second one I found was a carbon copy of the first but with the following added to the end of it....


...He shot at the man  on the corner of York street and Duke-street, and the man says he does not know how he escaped. this same man is now in possession of the shop, whilst the prisoner is being conveyed to  Bridewell. The dog was shot in the mouth, but does not appear to be dead yet. Great consternation was caused amongst the pedestrians going up Duke-street, and the people were highly satisfied when the man was cleverly secured by the two policemen. The prisoner came from New York some time ago in an open boat- the Ragusa- with the dog as the only "passenger"

Newspaper: Liverpool Albion
Date: Friday 27th December 1878

They failed to mention that he actually went to New York from Liverpool in the first place, and the boat was actually called "The City of Ragusa", not "Ragusa" - so how plausible the actual account is remains questionable. Shoddy journalism is plentiful in today's Liverpool Echo reports; so it wouldn't be the acme of foolishness to presume that reporting back could have been similarly poor. 

The third and final article I found was a little upsetting; for me personally as a bit of an animal lover. 


Yesterday forenoon, the inhabitants in the neighbourhood immediately adjoining the sailor's home, were rather startled by seeing a man rushing  about the streets with a loaded firearm, evidently intent upon shooting someone. His name was found to be Nicholas Primoraz, tobacconist and stationer, carrying on business at 56 Duke-street, and with considerable difficulty he was secured and locked up.  As he is evidently out of his mind, he will be taken  to a lunatic asylum. Primoraz is the man who a few years ago sailed across the Atlantic in a tiny boat named the City of Ragusa, his only companion being the dog. This dog yesterday attempted to bite a police constable who snatched a pistol from its master and was afterwards shot with the same weapon .The faithful animal was not killed by the shot, but was afterwards drowned at the Jordan street pinfold. 

Newspaper: Liverpool Mercury
Date 27th December 1878

I was saddened when I read the last article; knowing the eventual fate of Primoraz; a work asylum. One can only imagine how his life ended, and in what barbaric circumstances(There is a registered death of a Nicola Primoraz, age 43, in 1886)  His loyal companion, the dog, pictured above, obviously defending his owner from the police officers' advances, loyal to the end; getting shot, and then brutally drowned!  I had thought of investigating where Primoraz ended up, but this is where my amateur interest had got me, and I wasn't going any further. I remember at the time being overcome with emotions at what I'd found. I felt a little guilty as well...kind of like I was one of them pathetic anorak sporting trainspotters, buzzing off something so trivial.  It was special though, because I was probably the only person alive at that point in time, who knew the fate of Nicholas Primoraz, and his dog- anyone else with that knowledge was probably long dead. I thought it would have been amazing if I was an out and out narcissist. I guess now that I've put this on the internet, more people are going to know; and I'm glad that I've been able to unearth a small piece of the puzzle; of an event that happened over 130 years ago.  I can definitely see how a career in history, and research could be rewarding; but- at the same time, how much of the time is spent reading through none relevant stuff? I was sitting there for hours reading tonnes of brutal stories- multitudes of suicides, acid baths, strangled babies, to name a few stories.   I found my stint as a Maritime Research assistant thoroughly rewarding, and I feel lucky to have been involved with it. As with many stories from the past, questions will always remain. What happened to City of Ragusa? Did it end up sinking at Birkenhead park? What became of Nicholas Primoraz? What became of Captain John Charles Buckley? Why didn't he come back Liverpool on the return journey?  Why did the man that Primoraz was shooting at take over his shop when he was incarcerated ? Why did they drown the dog?    I'm guessing that we'll never know.  

Sincerest thanks go out to William Longyard and Mr Nenad Goll

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Ten 'nautical' Songs

Here's my list, in no particular order; of my favourite  maritime or nautical; if you like, related that, I mean there's some sort of literal link within the songs gist.   Don't worry; I've omitted Crosby, Stills, and Nash from the selection as well as Rod fucking Stewart AND Enya in the spirit of not being an obvious tool.

 Styx. I love this song; and if I'm ever in the vicinity of  alcohol, and a guitar, I usually play it. It sounds abysmal when I do it, obviously, as you need a piano really.....

The Doors, Ship of fools....I could have maybe put 'land ho' but, I like this song a little more...

 Sloop John B, While I've posted the Beach Boys version, I do prefer the Kingston Trio's version, but they'll be appearing later in this list, and quite frankly, I think that Brian Wilson is a genius! I went to see him in Liverpool a few years ago, and he was laden with session musicians. I'm not sure if it was awesome, but I am sure that Pet Sounds is one of the greatest records- ever. 

 Ship to Shore- Chris De Burgh. I know what you're thinking. Just click play, and try and block out the abysmal 80's synth sound; it's a decent song, promise. 

Reuben James by The Kingston Trio- I love a good story song. This song pays tribute to the men who lost their lives aboard the USS Reuben James(U-boat casualty). I did want to post "Oh, sail away" by the Kingston Trio, but there's not a suitable version, that I can find, and the lyrics are a little bit questionable, by today's ultra PC standards.

  Luka Bloom - My sunny sailor boy.  Some of Luka's music is amazing, he's also got a fair chunk of abysmal shit released. If you can sift through the shit stuff, he's a worthwhile artist to follow.  

Split Enz - Six months in a leaky boat, by default, any music project with Neil Finn involved is amazing, or at least, that's what I think. 

Surely no Nautical 'mix tape',  would be complete with out a Jimmy Buffet song? Changes in Latitude

Shadows Fall - The Coral = This is the EP version.

God Knows - The Coral - "We go out, we come in, but god knows where we've been" Taken from their second EP 'The oldest path'  

That's it. My top ten nautical or maritime themed songs, in no particular order. I hope it has bored you as much as compiling it bored me. 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

My little trip to Kos

Above us only sky 

Why do airports seem to bring out the worst in people? I made a school boy error, by putting my aftershave in the hand luggage. My bag was put to one side on the machine to be checked. I had no idea that I'd made the mistake, but I was about to find out. I was waiting patiently for my bag to be checked, when a very large bearded, overly zealous security official made me move about 3 centre meters, over some sort of line;  think Metallica fan/biker...vroooooooooom!  After he'd got me to move the minuscule amount that appeased him; I began to think about what a sterling job he'd done; and I was wondering if he was going to finish work that evening, safe in the knowledge that he'd done his job to best of his abilities, not counting good old fashioned customer service...obviously; maybe sitting off in wetherspoons telling his mates about his ace day? I'm sure he had lots of friends, I'm sure of it.   Just as I was winding myself up about people of this stamp; I was immediately confronted by an Asian couple; who had failed to realise that their bag was being thwarted because it needed to be searched; and that it was in a que, and ques in their very essence, have fundamentals...such as an order; usually chronological. They were sure that waving their boarding passes frantically in the security ladies face was going to get them seen quicker. There were sure of it.  Just as I was awaiting a light house in the proverbial fog, to redeem humanity for me, I struck a concealed iceberg of cunt-ness. There was a vile, freckled, narcissistic, ginger Irish woman, with an exhausted look on her face sighing very deliberately...about as deliberate as one could sigh; even more deliberate than the sighs that I was throwing out, in my head, at the beardo loon, '"I've got a plane to catch!" she said.......

Then I boarded the plane, and as usual, I was a little nervous, as I am scared of flying.  You know when you arrive at the airport, and you see a gang of tit heads at the bar? You think 'I hope they're not getting on my plane'  - well, they did, and they sat right in front of me. The "G-star raw" T shirts are an instant indicator of moronary.   If you wear one of these, chances are, you're a moron; or possibly a middle aged man trying hopelessly to to appear which case, you're also a moron. They were chatting up a few young damsels, one of which was wearing a shockingly terrible wig; which was so bang on, it was funny. The lads were also aware of her tragic hair-cumstance; and were silently communicating via a series of raised eyebrows and smirks. I knew what they were thinking. They were total dick heads. Loud, football chanting, obnoxious little shits, with little spatial awareness- they were ignoring the seatbelt light, sitting four on a three row. At this point, we were well into the flight, and I was hardly even aware that I was in air- the fear was replaced by G-star raw rage; thanks to a gaggle of yorkshire nitwits (one had a Leeds United tattoo). I've always wanted to go abroad, on a 'lads' holiday, but the company I have kept over the years has been a little skeletal to say the least, and has dictated that such embarkings' have been restricted. If, I ever did though, I'm sure I'd be liable to slap someone in my party for  any of that sort of behaviour. I had exhausted all avenues of thought, pertaining to my moronic fellow travellers. I drifted off into a day dream, only to be snapped out of it by a blue bottle, buzzing energetically around the cabin; 'how lucky is he?' I said to myself. 'Was he a Greek fly? Was he Liverpudlian? Perhaps he was from elsewhere? Was he missing his brothers back home, to busy to even send a post card back?' Personifying and flying. That's how it's done.

The plane landed, and we went our separate ways from the fly, and the fuckwits. We made our way to the resort of Kefalos. I won't bore you with the details of it. It's a holiday resort at the end of the day. They're a pretty much a standard formula where ever you go. Junk for sale, half full with tourists, nice beaches, and loads of cars and quads to rent, pretty standard really. Ants galore!  The room we checked into was every bit of a prison cell that I imagined it to be- two tiny windows and a door. Maritsa studios, ran by a lady called Maritsa. We had about 10 feral cats outside who were very tame- although the black ones were much more sheepish than the brown or white ones- I'm not sure if this is just by chance, or maybe a scientific reason. There was one kitten in the clan, and she was very very cute.
View from our room

Breakfast time..

This is actually the flight home, as I never got a window seat on the outbound flight

My visit to Kos was one with ulterior motives, i.e, not just to holiday; but was somewhat of a recon' mission to weigh up any potential marinas to put my yacht, when I eventually get around to buying it. Unfortunately for me, when the Greeks misunderstand you, they do it on a colossal scale, and after asking a few different people, I downed tools on that plan. I basically got the impression there was a lot of forms to fill in, and taxes to pay.  I took a boat trip out to Nisyros, and fell for the place in a big way. I'm pretty sure that when I get my self a yacht, I will be mooring it in the vicinity of the Aegean. There was no sign of cap in hand begging, or anything like that; which our media, with it's own little sinister agenda would like us all to believe! I'd had "why are you going there?" "Greece? Isn't that place in the shit?" from various outlets, in the weeks prior to leaving. My advice to these people, so eager to lap up anything from the mainstream media mammary gland; would be to unplug your television, open your back door, and throw the thing to fuck. Stop reading tabloids as well. While we're there, stop reading magazines. Why do you need to be told what to think? I realize listening to me would make my initial request a paradox; but; I'll let you off, as long as from this point on you DO AS I SAY. 

A few shots from Nisyros
Me inside a crater, looking like a typical British Tourist. 

Christine, snooping for bargains.

I had a wonderful time, and the island of Kos won me over, granted, not as much as Nisyros did.  With friendly people, and fantastic food, if I ever do go on a holiday again, I'll be heading out to Greece..but in all honesty, it'll probably be in the boat rather than on a holiday! It was everything I imagined it would be, and more. 

Spot the cyclist.

The road up to the the highest point, I biked up, then rented a quad to get some photos. Was getting some strange looks off locals in cars and on bikes, as I hauled my fat ass to the top rep by rep. 

Photos do not do the gradient any justice. 

No, they still don't...

The view from the top

Quad biking!


My faith in humanity was restored on the way home, and the 'G-star raw' pricks were not to be seen. I met an old guy, at the airport; I let him get in line before me, just after check-in opened, as we were waiting at the front. I got talking to him, and he told me that he'd flown out to Crete, and was simply going around all the different islands finding his own way, rather than booking anything. He instantly became my new hero!  I suspected that he was a widower, until he mentioned that his wife had booked him the flight home- he then told me that his wife was severely disabled, and that for 4 weeks of the year, his kids look after her and he goes on his travels. I said "I'm sure you're glad to be going back..." he jokingly looked in disapproval, as if to suggest he wanted to carry on island hopping forever;   "don't worry, I haven't got a camera, I'm not wearing a wire" I said- he laughed, and made a comment about 'Merseyside humour' - I spoke with him again twice; as he was offering to get us drinks- as the cafe wouldn't take card payments, we refused his kind offer obviously,  and again at the baggage collection place; where he told me of all the places he'd been over the years. He was a well travelled man, but I did wonder about what his life might have been like for the other 48 weeks of the year. I bid him farewell, and good luck and he did the same. It was one of those encounters which will hopefully stay with me for the rest of my life.  

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

In my mersey paradise...

I went to see the Stone Roses on Sunday at Heaton Park. I remember the first time I ever heard brother was playing them, over and over, in his room, that I wasn't welcome in, and his spotty mates used to regularly visit, listen to the roses and other shit, like the prodigy, and drink 'special red' a budget cider that was around at the time.  I did not like the stone roses one bit; I was nine though, and thankfully, not long after deciding that I didn't like them because, what the fuck is a garage flower? (critical of lyrics even then) I realised that 'this is the one' was a great song and that I did like them, slowly I began to appreciate the rest of the catalogue; propelling The Stone Roses to be one of my favourite bands. So, I'd been waiting 19 years or so. I don't really do "music" any more. I don't like to talk about it with anyone, because it infuriates me, on so many levels, and I most certainly don't do gigs. In the weeks prior, I was making very sweeping assumptions in my head about the calibre of ball bags that I would be submersed amongst, and categorised them, as follows

Middle aged acid casualties 
The mother load of the audience, at least from where I was standing. Terrible oral hygiene as well- Colgate representatives, if you're reading this, your marketing over the past 20 years has failed to reach Stone Roses fans.  Get along to the next stone roses gig with some free samples.

The 'everything is cool man' indie crowd
You are not Liam Gallagher. You look abysmal putting that walk on. Stop it. Cut your shitty hair, take yourself down to the job centre, and get it sorted. Quite a few of these spotted.

Festival Slags
Massive sunglasses that makes them look like flies...usually packing timber, big hair, loads of makeup.  You little knobheads enter the arena thinking that you're on the front of Chat magazine or something. It's boss seeing you at the end, covered in jizz, piss and blood, crying your eyes out. Die.

People who read the NME
....and use it as some sort of melodic mammary gland. Perhaps the worst people on the list...possibly the planet.  Fleeting interest in bands. No real sincerity. More about the image, and getting laid than the music.

General Dickheads
Like, people who just listen to the radio all day in work. You can see them, when bands play their singles, and they go mad.

They were all spotted, and noted.

When we entered the arena, the first thing I seen was a little knob head in a north face tracksuit, sporting birkenhead-esque pencil moustache throw a glass vodka bottle, as he waited in line, at someone just going through the security, right in front of the 'security' who actually let him in after witnessing him throw it! Actually, rewind; the first thing that infuriated me was seeing loads of 'literally blantantlies' (generic middle class students) - I forgot to add them to my list, sorry. Anyway, I seen loads of them drinking, and throwing their cans into a rather picturesque lake, which was full of Canada Geese, Moorhens, and Coots. Is it that hard to have a little bit of respect for your surrounding, and bag your shit? Then I seen droves more doing the same. What is wrong with people? I feel like I am alone sometimes.

We arrived in the Arena as The Wailers were playing; there didn't seem to be that many people interested in them. They were very tight- it was essentially them playing the best of Bob Marley, and audience appreciation depended on the song, and if had been played on an advert recently.... I told my brother and his mate, that the flight case to the left of the bass player, actually had a ouija board on it, and that Bob was there, logged on via the supernatural highway.  Plan B, I knew would infuriate me to new heights, and they didn't fail to deliver. Well done dick heads.  I heard 30 seconds of their 'music' a few weeks prior to the gig. It was a bit surreal really. Like a mixture of everything that is bad about music, all combined into one performance. It was like a wedding cover band had been hired by someone who had a soft spot for modern day 'RnB' - Lots of references to 'da street' and 'my crew' mid set outfit changes (why?) and shite rapping. "Why are they even playing here?" My brother asked. "Well Carl, it's because they are signed to Mercury records, which is one of the  subsidiaries of UNIVERSAL, who the stone roses are signed by. I highly doubt the Stone Roses wanted them, or Professor Green, who played yesterday. They're on the bill because the record company says so. It's all about sales, and brand awareness." Fuck the music industry.

I think, for me to enjoy gigs in future, I'm going to have to get myself some horse tranquillizers. Or just stay at home. I felt, for the money I paid for the ticket, like I was bent over, and fucked with a very long scaffolding pipe. Ian Brown can't sing good. Musically, the Roses were awesome. I particularly loved 'where angels play'. I'm amazed that they managed to get him to sing in key in the 80's when they recorded. I know they didn't have auto tune then. I hope they record  a new record; I really do. 

I started my new job last Monday ....well...I'm not really sure what my official title is, as I've not been officially told. I never had an interview, I just got given a number from a friend- a mobile number at that; "Sound, fuckin' sound, we'll get you on the phones, and if you're onto it then fuckin' sound". So far, it's been "fuckin' sound"- I work on an outbound dialler; and I ring people, regarding motoring accidents from nearly three years ago. The bad news, is that most people think you're scamming them, tell you to fuck off or just hang up, the good news is that there's a small percentage of people out there; who didn't claim at the time of their accidents, didn't know that they could, and are willing for me to take their details, and pass over to our "legal team" and I get ten round pounds for each of these that go through. I've been doing pretty well, I've managed to get 10 in my first week; meaning a cool £100 for me...although I am highly dubious about ever actually getting this money....I love getting these smart arsed pricks accusing me personally of being responsible for everyone's car insurance being so high. I had one guy asking me if I drove (after telling me he'd been left immobilised as a result of his accident) - I knew right away he was lying and about to blame me for his premiums being high, so I politely told him "No, I don't have a car, I personally think they are too expensive to run, harm the environment, are dangerous, and I can sleep at night knowing that I have got to where I've needed to be using sustainable transport!" The line went dead.   I don't really care about motorists and their fucking premiums. The more you cycle (I am someone who regularly exceeds 100 miles per week), the more you despise people in cars. They're all just part of the monster; the big sweating monster that makes the green grass, grey concrete, and clear blue seas murky and polluted. 

My European Health Card Arrived, which is something that I need to finalize all my paper work for starting my merchant navy training in September. My Dad passed comment: "Wow, look at that, another card for your wallet...for you to lose! Welcome to the real world, you tosser" Some of this shit my Dad comes out with is solid gold.  I have 62 days until Fleetwood. 7 of those will be spent on the Island of Kos, the rest will be spent chasing ambulances over the phone, and cycling and sighing at idiocy.

Over and out until September.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Now we're getting somewhere...

I'm currently amidst the chaos of pre-cadetship paper work; and I'm a little charged up. I can't complain though, right?  I want to try and get it all sorted as soon as I can. Mr efficient...that's my philosophy.  Application for my discharge book (which for some reason needs 12 identical pictures), my U.S visa application, which asks some rather outlandish questions- the crescendo being  "Have you ever engaged in the recruitment of child soldiers?"  - "Let me think about that?" I thought and the almost immediate afterthought was "I wonder how many before me thought the exact same thing, thinking they were so very funny" - I wasn't thinking I was funny, I was just on auto-pilot, and my default setting is cynic.  I've had to contact my doctors for a list of all the inoculations that I've had, and refreshingly, the receptionist just told me to come down right away, and pick up the print out- my doctors is abysmal usually; you have to wait weeks, and weeks for an appointment, at which time, you'll probably be better/dead, OR, ring them in the morning for an appointment, which always results in an infuriating engaged tone, from the time of opening, until about half an hour after, when I'm politely informed 'there are no appointments left.'  

As soon as all the stuff arrived, I rang their recommended GP, and got an appointment for my ENG1- which I attended today. A million and one thoughts were clambering around my head, worrying about passing the medical, but, it went very well indeed. I had been worried about my weight, but, I was quite surprised that I was lighter than my scales tell me; actually much lighter- unless his scales were wrong! He told me to lose another stone for "homework" - it was quite a painless procedure, and I flew through all the tests. He was impressed with how much weight I'd managed to lose; and told me to keep on doing what I'm doing. His assistant was sound as well; a proper "old school" kind of chap; quite odd to see such a character operating in such an environment.  It was quite apt, that the offices for the medical were in the port of Liverpool building.  I'm happy that I now have an unrestricted ENG1, which will enable me to work at sea. 

"THEY THAT GO DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven". -Psalm 107 23,30

I'm on the home run now; asides from dotting the i's and crossing the t's- just one more hurdle to jump- passing my GCSE's at grade C or above. I have my reservations about physics, because I perhaps didn't revise as much as I should have (not at all) but the other subjects, I'm looking at A's, or B's at the very least. In all honesty, I've done hardly any revising.  My midway results were all A's and B's - so unless I've seriously spazzed out on the end of year ones, I can't really see me getting anything less than C's, I am quietly confident though. College was good. I began with a bit of a chip on my shoulder, because I'd already been to university; but that chip gradually eroded as the year went on; and apart from one of my teachers, who was a bit of a lazy ball bag- I got the impression that he didn't like me because of all the questions that I asked; and after speaking to one of the girls on my course, a few other people in my courses didn't like me, because of "all the questions that I asked". . . .  Anyway,  the other 4 teachers were excellent in their roles; professional, passionate, and always there for any support that I needed. Not to mention the facilities of the college- probably better than than Leeds Met!  Going 'back to school' was nothing like that film Billy Madison, there was no penguins, and like my time in secondary school; I never really got too involved with people socially, and I was more than happy to be a bit of an outcast- I wouldn't have it any other way. Although, I'm hoping at nautical college, I'll perhaps meet some people that are reading from the same page as me.

Every day, getting that bus to and from college I was willing the last day upon me- the last time I have to get that fucking bus. It arrives in the morning, and there is no concept AT ALL of a que- it's every man for himself. At first, I tried to do good, trying to let people who had been waiting longer than me, on before me, that didn't last long; with little shits cutting in on oblique lines.  Morals? Not in this day and age. When the bus arrives, there's tonnes of sixthformers who get off, and I mean tonnes- not only that, but you wait patiently for them all to get off- giving them plenty of space, yet, on the return journey, when it's your turn to get off the bus, they're all there, pushing to get on; without trying to let you get off. Occasionally, a competent bus driver will shout at them to get back, and let people off, but now, and for a long time, I just plough my way through the little cunts; I've knocked a few of them over.  The campus in question, was 'tweeting' about how well it's students perform. I 'tweeted' to them "Shame that bus stop etiquette omitted from the syllabus." Then there's the bus ride- we all know how buses are these days; plagued with retards feeling the need to call people, and be as loud as they possibly can; and we all know about the spotty teenagers with their atrociously shit music- at least, the high frequency remnants spilling out of their shit 70's headphones for all of us to hear; and there's the old, bearded, whiskey nosed tramp; who gets my bus, most days; this poor man is mentally infirm. He smells of death, and looks like he's not had a bath since Mark Morrison was in the charts with 'Return of the mack' - give him his dues, he clears out the back end of the bus, much like a Mark Morrison track would, funnily enough. 

 I just need to tick off the days until September. I am excited about the new chapter in my life; and the fruits that it will bring.  I'm nervous that something is waiting around the corner to piss all over my chips. I'm sad because I'm going to be away from my loved ones. Is it pathetic that I am  more worried about being away from my Dog? I know that my people will be okay, they all have their lives to live, and things to do, but my beloved Guinness is going to miss me. Me and her walk, and talk a lot; at least, I do the talking, and I try to do it when I'm not in earshot of other people. She's a good listener.  Every time I take her to park, that sobering thought that I'll be leaving her becomes more apparent; it's gut wrenching, it really is.  

The plan for the summer is to try and find a job, any job, to get me through to September, so I'll have a few quid in the bank. I have been applying relentlessly, but not even hearing back; apart from the unsuccessful traffic warden job interview- although from the test I did, I probably dodged a bullet- when being asked to re-write a mock statement... "The man in question poked me in the chest, and shouted several obscenities" 

In the old weight loss department, I managed to lose 10lb in the month of may; which was down to some cycling, cycling, and more cycling. Going on the doctors scales today, I've lost a further 6lb already this month. Riding off the lard. 

It's time to celebrate. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Now his wagon is loaded, he's pullin' away....

I'm on my way to my last Physics GCSE exam earlier today; and I 'tweet' "
This merchant navy contract I am waiting on; I don't think I have wanted anything more in my life."  - Just 5 minutes after this; my Dad rings me, and tells me the good news. There's an envelope with lots of papers that need signing to be picked up.  My contract for my Merchant Navy training.  The feeling eclipsed that time I got a Sega Saturn for Christmas, and there was me, thinking that feeling would never be surpassed.

So, it all seems a little closer to fruition now- That dream of navigating boats around the world, and to be paid for it, is one step closer for me...never mind the working dream, but there's the dream of living on my own little yacht, somewhere in the Mediterranean which now seems a little step closer too.  I guess now, I can draw a line in the sand, and move forward- God...I sound like one of those god awful managers that exist, in call centres, just below operational management level! 

Over the past few years, I've spent hours and hours....days, daydreaming about where my life is going to take me; will I find what I am looking for? Will I ever be satisfied? I guess the way I see things now, are much more philosophical; and I am not afraid in the slightest of following a dream; or pursuing something that I want. I guess I owe that to my idols; William Willis, Fred Rebell- I need to add Moitessier to that list now; after recently finishing the fantastic "The long way"

I think back to my life in 2007; working in a plankton level job, in a banks' call centre; on 12k. 27 +stone, depressed to fuck, revelling in crapulence.  The wake up call that put my arse into gear about my health and weight, was going to the doctors; and being told; "You are morbidly obese, your blood pressure is high, and you are diabetic" I decided then, I was going to sort out the mess I was in. Everything was a mess; I was, my life was,  I was going  Ultimately, I was not enjoying living.  

Since that point of realising change was essential, and a long term career was needed, I have been plugging away, bit by bit, getting to where I am now.  A few credit control jobs, here or there, and a bit (Lot)of time on the dole, which in it's self has been challenging- My friends in my home town doubted me, and had their two cents about me not working, and to a certain extent, there was times where I doubted myself.  Sure, I could have maybe got a full time job, a long term job, but I would have regretted not following my dream for the rest of my life. I've hated being skint all the time, and I thank God for the people who are close to me, for putting up with my apparent lack!   Living on buttons can be rewarding, especially when you can eat for a week, pretty comfortably; off £20.00 (thanks to ALDI), and you see people in Tescos spending £££'s on their weekly shops!  But, on the other side of the coin, it's shit, because there's not much else spare; if you want to buy anything, or go anywhere.  I set myself a goal, and I've kept plugging away until it has been reached;  there was a point in 2010, when I had my 2nd rejection letter from the Royal Fleet Auxilary; where I was just thinking of throwing in the towel- I'm glad that I didn't, and that I am here now; seemingly in a better position than I would have been had I have joined the RFA- I would have been a Coms' rating. Being a deck officer suits me better anyway! I feel like the Dad, in Little Miss Sunshine.  

I'm buzzing right now. 

There's still a long way to go, before I'm relaxing on the deck of my own Contessa 32; happy with my life, and career, with an ice cold glass of Sangria, watching the sun set over a cloudless Mediterranean sky. You might be thinking "he's got his head in the clouds this one" - Well, it all began back in 2007; static, in a seemingly prospect-less job, shockingly unhealthy. I'm the turd that won't flush. I'm about 9 stone lighter; I am the fittest I have ever been; and most importantly, I'm happy, and I have my training to look forward to. There's work to be done; but I'll be damned if all this has been for nothing! I want to enjoy the shit out of my life. 

Thanks for reading x