Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Thank you, Job Centre Plus

Today was my final trip over to the local Job Centre to sign on, and they didn't disappoint. Anyone who is looking for something to blog about could do worse than visit a Job Centre, sit in the waiting area and listen to some of the conversations. As with Ronald MacDonald and the Nazi timekeeper, I swear the people in there knew that I was writing a blog and today they really put on a show for my final visit.

In the waiting area were two of the chavviest looking blokes you've ever seen, and what follows is a rough version of the conversation they had (apologies to Irvine Welsh):

Chav 1: Man, it's really changed in here since ma day. Thur wiz nane ay this waitin aboot or security guards. Ye jist came in an queued up until some cunt could see ye.

Chav 2: Ah ken, aye. This is fuckin mental. An ah'm no used to places like this, ken? Ah'm a grafter an ah aiways huv been.

Chav 1: Ah, me an aw. How much dae the cunts gie ye nowadays anyway?

Chav 2: Fuckin forty quid a week. It's fuckin brutal.

Chav 1: (visibly shaken) Forty quid a week? Fuckin hell. That's fuck all.

Chav 2: Fuckin right. Ah used to make mair about a hunner quid a day. Forty quid wiz a bad day's choryin.

(For those of you who don't speak fluent Scottish chav, 'to chore something' has nothing to do with tasks and errands. It means to steal something)

I'll skip the part where one of them went into great detail about how is ex-girlfriend hit him in the face with a driver because she had walked in on him and one of his friends 'spit-roasting' another woman. I was quite disappointed when my name was called and I had to leave the waiting area. I'd never thought of thieving as 'graft' before, and I severely doubt they were using the American variation of the word. I suppose I'll miss the Job Centre.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Another Blog

Great title and well worth a visit - The Sturdy Soapbox

Apologies and Explanation

So, no posts for nearly a fortnight, but thanks to the precarious state of my love-life I find myself with more than enough time on Valentine's Day to write this. The hunt is over, I got the job in Canterbury and it starts next month. I have relinquished my status as dole monkey: I'm now merely 'between jobs.' I'm looking forward to the new job - the company seems like a good one and the people I've met that I'll be working with all appeared to be human and pleasant.

That leaves the question of what happens to the blog. I suppose the logical thing to do would be just to wind it up, but I've never been a particularly big fan of logic. Instead I thought I might follow the example set by so many media outlets over the last couple of years and just make it up. So, ignore everything that I wrote above and enjoy the continuing tales of Yosser Hughes.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Told you so.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the train going down to London. I also noted that by praising the service I had undoubtedly jinxed all future travel. I was right. There were no seat reservations due to a printer fault, the wi-fi didn't work and we eventually arrived about half an hour late. I'm on the train again today and the printer fault obviously hasn't been rectified so it's another free-for-all with the seats. When will I learn to keep my big gob shut?

As for the job hunt, I passed the entrance exam and have been offered a place on the NCTJ course so I'm treating that as my insurance policy if nothing else comes up. I'm off on another jaunt, stopping in Canterbury and Oxford. I'll soon be able to get the travelogue/mileage report that was a part of the original Yosser Hughes blog.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Hang on a minute

I may have been too quick to damn the British rail system. The train I'm on left on time, is fairly comfortable (at least at the table seats - the airline seats are a bit cramped), has electrical sockets at each pair of seats and, best of all, has free wi-fi. Hell, even Japanese trains never had that. Had I known this I would have brought the papers with me and applied for some more of the jobs I'd circled. Ah well. At least using the East Coast line four times in the next week seems far less of a trial than it was (although I'm sure this outburst of positivity has damned all my subsequent journeys).

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Big City, Bright Lights

It's almost the end of my birthday and it's been the quietest and soberest one I've had in a long time. Going to London tomorrow for entrance exam/open day and I really didn't want to face the infamous British railway system with a hangover and a headful of fuzzy memories. Despite living in Tokyo for the best part of five years I find myself heading to London with small-town trepidation: will I navigate my way around the transport system successfully; will I find a pub/restaurant that is reasonably priced and serves decent food and drink; if I get a taxi will I get fiddled? These are all questions that I know are ridiculous (especially the one about food and drink - it's all a fucking rip-off) but they remain stubbornly stuck in my head. If this is the effect my shitty little hometown has had on me in six weeks it's no surprise the long-term residents are as narrow-minded and dull as they are. "I'm a city boy, get me out of here."

On the job front, a few more applications and a couple of rejections. Got first dole payment today but stayed out of the pub. Didn't I do well? Not sure if B&B I'm staying in has Wi-Fi or any other internet access, but there'll be an update when I get back from the centre of the Universe, if not before.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Meeting People is Getting Easier

I may not be working but the good people at my local council must be getting close to budget renewal time as there have four big yellow vans and lorries sitting outside my house all day. Much like the average Scottish Premier League football team there seems to have been an awful lot of effort expended for minimal results. Pneumatic drills, a mini-steamroller and numerous traffic cones all made appearances at various points throughout the day but when they finally packed up about an hour ago there was little evidence that they'd ever been there. I think I saw them relay tar around a drain (about one square metre), and there was a lot of arse-scratching and tea-drinking, but that was about it.

More applications have been fired off and more newspapers and websites have been trawled with little success. However, I did get a telephone call from one of the companies I'd applied for and the upshot is that I'm heading to Canterbury in a week or so to attend a recruitment day/interview. I thought the whole gig was fucked from the very outset when I misheard the name of the company, had to ask for it to be repeated and then had to cast wide and deep in my memory to try and actually remember the job I'd applied for. This is one of the dangers of applying for so many jobs: I always think that it'll create a negative impression, or at least reek of desperation. It mustn't have sounded too bad as I got through the initial chat and was invited down to their office. Should I even dare to hope?

On a very tenuously related note, one of the advantages of being "between jobs" at the moment is The African Cup of Nations. Over the last few years this has started to become my favourite football tournament: it's fast, exciting, skillful and far more entertaining than its European equivalent. It's also on from 4.30 in the afternoon which is just ideal for little doley's like me. At the moment it's just coming up to half-time in the game between Guinea and Morocco and Guinea are winning 1-0 thanks to yet another outrageous goal. Time to crack open the first of the day I reckon.