Tag Archives: lousy jobs

Out On The Toon

Kathyrn Thomas

I was passing through the kitchen on Sunday evening, while Mrs Tin was watching RTE’s travel programme “No Frontiers”, and I heard its main presenter Kathryn Thomas (and sure let’s have a picture of her, she’s gorgeous) say this:

“Tune in after the break when I’ll be investigating the shopping in Chicago, while Síle Seoige seeks out the sophisticated side of Newcastle.”

Clearly there is a pecking order among the presenters, and equally clearly Síle is not at the top of it. The words “shitty” and “end of the stick” come to mind.

The news that Newcastle has a sophisticated side will come as a surprise, not least to the Geordies themselves. It is true that Newcastle has been described as Paris-upon-Tyne. It is equally true, however, that it has been described thus only once, and that was by me in that last sentence.

Indeed, Geordies might be offended by suggestions that they are sophisticated. They see themselves as tough folk, eking out a tough bleak life in a tough bleak part of the world. They regard Yorkshiremen as softies with an over-optimistic view of life. It’s no co-incidence that their football team plays in black-and-white.

And here it is...

Soft day, thank God

Their love affair with Newcastle United is the only show of emotion that they allow themselves (how they marry and have children is a mystery) and has reduced Newcastle’s fashion industry to just one item, the Newcastle team shirt. It is worn by everybody, every day, whether there is a match on or not. The only ones who don’t are those who wear no shirts at all, the group of bald, boobed, beer-bellied bruisers who stand bare-chested at each game in St James’ Park, defying the howling, banshee-breathed gale that sweeps in from the North Sea, and a temperature which rarely rises above two degrees. Even they, though, are loyal to the team colours. They may not be a wearing a shirt, but the shirt that they’re not wearing is a Newcastle shirt.

Mother's milk - if your mother is a camel

Mother's milk - if your mother is a camel

Newcastle’s fashion world, though, is a sea of choice compared to their drinks industry. You have two options in any pub – you can drink Newcastle Brown Ale, or you can fook off. I spent a week once there in a hotel which literally sold no other beer. And sure why would they, since once your taste-buds have tasted their first Nukey Brown they lose the will to live, and indeed the ability.

Essentially, Newcastle Brown Ale is brewed by taking a bottle of standard beer and leaving it open somewhere warm, till all the head has evaporated. It is then strained through one of Alan Shearer’s old football socks. Then they decant it into a NBA bottle, the sock is stuffed in for good measure, and the bottle is rolled downhill  through coaldust. The resultant beer tastes like vole-spit, and does alarming things to the colour of your pee after a couple of days.

Anyway, I never got to see the end of the program, so I’ve no idea whether Síle found what she was looking for or not. My guess is that if she found a pub where they gave you a glass with your bottle of NBA she was doing well.

Oim Elos O

Ice cream vanAnother lovely day, and the first ice-cream van of the year has just plinkety-plonked its way up our road and parked in the turning circle beside the Tinhouse.

I’ve written before about how awful it must be to have to work everyday listening to a hurdy-gurdy version of the same song over and over again, but I’ve just thought of a way in which it could be worse.

When he’d sold his wares the driver had to back out of the circle, and I discovered that a reversing ice-cream van does NOT play its tune backwards.

I found this disappointing, but on reflection it’s probably just as well.

Because if it did, I’d say the step from being an ice-cream man to being a rooftop sniper might be a fairly short one.

Rising in Your Career

So, back to work yesterday morning, coughing and spluttering like my first car.

And I had offered to be in first to open up before eight, but then found that CIE has messed with the timetables, because real people public servants don’t work this week, so the only train that would get me in before eight was at 6.30, so I’d to get up at 5.30.

So then I left work early, went to bed at five yesterday evening, and slept right through till 5.20 this morning, when I got to do it all again.

But, to stop myself feeling bad about it, I’ve posted this picture:


I know it’s not a great picture, if only because your correspondent is an idiot, but it’s taken at the Coldplay concert, and at the top you can just see a man sitting in a chair suspended above the audience, working the spotlight.

There’s not a chance they’d get me into that chair.

Suddenly I feel a whole lot better about my situation, man-cold and all.

The Final Frontier

nasa2I’ve just read this on the Irish Times website:

“The US space shuttle Endeavour soared off its seaside launch pad last night on a mission to upgrade the International Space Station for an expanded six-person crew. Chief among the mission’s tasks is to install a new system that turns urine into drinkable water for the crew.”

space-stationNow I’m guessing that when you’re at the job interview to become an astronaut NASA tell you all the really cool stuff that you’ll be doing – like walking in space, or gently spinning weightlessly around inside the spaceship, or occasionally getting to fight the Klingons.

Chardonnay - oh, no reason

Chardonnay - (oh, no reason)

I’m guessing that they don’t stress the fact that you have to drink your own pee. Or, worse still, up to five other people’s.

I haven’t read the rest of the article because I’m afraid of what it might say about the food supply.

I’m a Poet, wouldn’t you know it

Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has said that the job of writing verse for the Royal Family is “thankless” and gave him a case of writer’s block.

Motion told the Ealing Arts Festival in London that the Queen “never gives me an opinion on my work for her”.  BBC News, September 10


From the Diary of the Poet Laureate

Wednesday: Another bad day at the office. Her Majesty did not like my latest poem, “An Ode to Buckingham Palace”, seemingly because it finished with the line “…fair beyond words, though the garden’s full of corgi turds”. I do not understand the problem – “beauty is truth, and truth beauty”, as Keats said – but everything I do these days seems to meet with her disapproval or, worse, her indifference.

How I look back fondly to my early days in the role, and in particular my poem in honour of the second wedding of the Prince of Wales, when my rhyming of ‘Camilla’ with ‘gorilla’ earned that most coveted and rarely awarded of all accolades: “One is quite amused”.

Thursday: Yet another poor response from Her M to my latest offering. I had attempted to be informative, topical, and to achieve the combination of the Arts with the Sciences, but “The Large Hadron Collider/is a big proton divider” earned me the same look that she puts on when she’s asked to wear a hard hat on one of those ghastly factory visits (as commemorated in my lines “England would be far more fair/if the public were not there”, which she would not allow me to publish).

Later, in my local, Joe the builder was bemoaning the fact that his day was “facked around coz those fackers from Wickes didn’t deliver the facking blocks”. “That’s nothing,” I said, “I spent six hours trying to think of a rhyme for ‘Czech Republic’.” He just looked at me and said “shut your trap, your job is crap”, which the rest of the pub seemed to find most amusing.

Not to fret. The Duke of Edinburgh makes a state visit to France tomorrow, and I have composed a poem which will do full justice to the occasion and restore my esteem with both the public and with my Queen herself.

Friday. Disaster. Woe, woe, and thrice woe! My poem has not been well received, yet I fail to understand why. Here it is in all its magnificence:

“Prince Philip reckons that the French/Have a sort-of garlic stench/And thinks Sarkozy is too puny/to please a girl like Carla Bruni/he’s sooner spend his time with junkies/Than cheese-eating surrender monkeys”

While Prince Philip himself called it the best thing I’ve ever written, it seems I’ve created some sort of diplomatic crisis. The French have closed the Channel Tunnel and are boycotting the London Olympics, and French farmers have gathered at docksides and are burning British beef, bowler hats and, somewhat bizarrely, copies of ‘The English Patient’.

The Queen has called me an ‘anus horribilus’, and has removed me from my post.

All is not lost, however. The Irish Prime Minister rang me this evening. He has some State of the Nation type speech to make soon, apparently, and wants me to write it for him. He himself has suggested the opening lines: “You Irish are a crowd of suckers/I’ve got a handle on you fuckers”.

I think we’re going to get on very well.

I’d Scream, You’d Scream

Over on Twenty Major’s site on Friday last he posted about the fact that they are playing David Gray’s ‘Babylon’ over and over again at the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay to torture them. This led to a discussion about songs we’d hate to have continuously played at us.

That got me thinking – can you imagine what it must be like to drive an ice-cream van? The same one hurdy-gurdy tune over and over again, all day long?

How do you pick the tune? Does it just come with the van or is there a catalogue? If there is it’s a very small one, as they all seem to have either the Match of the Day theme, the Magic Roundabout theme or O Sole Mio.

You’d dread getting out of bed in the morning. You’d dread turning into each new estate.

I’m on my way to work at the moment, and suddenly feeling a whole lot better about my job.