Down and Out in Manchester
Job search: Position? Any. Prefered Salary? AnyPrefered hours? AnyTemporary or Permanent? EitherPrepared to travel? 10 milesSearching...Jobs Matched in your area (1) 'Toilet Janitor: Wages Meet National Minimum'Now, guys, I'm not being picky but I'd rather not. I'm sure I would meet the criteria (although admittedly my degree is in International History, not business or IT which seems to be a cause for grave concern with recruitment agencies) but I just don't think I'm up to scratch for the demands of the role. And I'm not being snobby but, and lets be honest here, if Job Centre Plus, the jobs website for your average person, can turn it's nose up when I ask a representative for 'Graduate Opportunities' then surely actual, graduate employment websites can turn their noses up when employers come knocking and ask to list 'Toilet Janitor: All backgrounds considered' in their directory. Sure 'Toilet Janitor: All backgrounds considered' is a perfect candidate for Job Centre Plus, who look with distain if you aim any higher.Being the keen little trooper that I am I applied for Job Seekers Allowance on Wednesday, the day after I left my job and by the time I had finished speaking to the woman on the phone I came away feeling so low I almost reprimanded myself for ever having existed in the first place. I don't know what was going on but it seemed I gave the wrong answer to every question asked.'What other benefits do you currently claim?''I don't claim any other benefits''OK, what other benefits would you like to claim?''I wouldn't like to claim any other benefits''Do you have any qualifications or experience?''I have a degree''Do you have any manual qualifications?''No''Ah, ok then, not to worry, we can always see if there are any courses to make you more employable''More employable in a graduate position?''Now, Mr Burgess, you can't afford to be this choosy when you're out of work''So, what sort of courses do you offer?''I.T. skills''I have an A Level in Computing and have been self employed for the last 2 years as a web designer, I think I put that on the form I filled in''Plastering, Brick Laying, plumbing...'What? I wanted to put the phone down at this point. It really does seem pointless that I went to university at all. Prospects.ac.uk is even better. It has this great little feature where you put in your qualifications, interests and employment priorities and it then uses them to search for 5 jobs ideally suited to you. Mine came back with 'Writer,' 'Video Editor,' 'Radio Producer,' 'Researcher' and 'Marketing Analyst.' I then pressed the 'Show Me These Jobs in My Area' button only to be told that these were merely suggestions and none of these jobs were actually available in my area.All told? This week I have spent more hours searching for jobs then I would have done working had I still been with the bank. When push comes to shove, I am very, very, low on cash.
Where did music go so, so wrong?
Really? When did music stop, look at itself and think 'really, if we ain't popin caps in niggaz asses then we ain't sellin records!' It's ridiculous.
My brother, for example, won't tolerate music if it doesn't mention drugs, women and cars at least twice. And we know 'it ain't easy growin up on the street G' but, whilst we know this, quite frankly my dear, we just couldn't give a damn.
I just think it's really, truly sad when I have to sit down, hook up my Goodmans turn table and listen to original 1950's cuts of Dean Martin to find some music that really, truly, speaks to me on a personal level and shows how I feel.
Let's take 'The Door Is Still Open (To My Heart)' as an example. We have no guns, no violence but, more than that, we have Dean Martin, self professed purveyor of 'cool' admitting that he 'must confess to crying from loneliness.' This is music!
'I'm not ashamed to cry,
it's better than to hold it inside'
I have to say, if you gave me a choice between this and 'blue and yellow, purple pills' then my loyalty lies with Dean all day, every day.
My heart waits there, in San Fransisco, beyond the blue and windy sea. When I come home to you, San Francisco, your golden sun, will shine for me.
Thank you and goodnight.
Let's Get Lost
Chet Baker is, for me at least, a keystone in my musical learning. He works universally because he caters for all moods. It's easy to dismiss Baker because he's not of this, or many previous, era's. He's before the rat pack, but perhaps more swing than they ever were. He's after Louie Armstrong but can play a trumpet with striking similarity. And the whole thing just conjures up scenes of relaxed, soulful evenings with plenty of drinks and plenty of friends. But, similarly, I can wander around the office listening to 'Happy Little Sunbeam' and feel great in my own little pocket of warmth.Did I mention I love work at the minute? I love it. I'm working over time, all the time, whenever I get the time. But I'm sure that's all going to change, very, very shortly. Nothing I can do about it though. Ever heard the song 'We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful' by Morrissey? It's one of my favourite songs.
Just a country mile behind
In following my plan to 'just not think about it' I made it as far as Sunday afternoon, three weeks after the seperation, when Paolo Nutini upset me on the bus and my eyes started leaking.In hindsight the whole thing seems to have had a Hollywood romanticism about it. We split with genuine emotion but amicably and with no hate for eachother. We hugged in the realization that it was for the best and cried at the tragedy of an unrealized future planned over three years together. I saw her off at the train station where the late train furnished us with a busy platform and a crowd inside of which we stood holding eachother in silent contemplation before finally watching tearfully from either side of the glass as the train pulled away, maneuvering to keep eachothers gaze until the last possible moment. And then, yesterday, I walked home in the pouring rain, shoulders hunched against the cold, dripping wet and glassy eyed to an acoustic soundtrack informing me that I had finally crossed the border into the big bad world. I was crying, I guess, because I know it's hurting her and it hurts me to think of her this upset. And it's hurting me as well, but I can forget about that because I can do something about it. I can work overtime and stay at work for as long as they will let me, I can go out after work and roll in late, hazy and smelling of booze or I can stay at a friends and not roll in at all. But short of drawing a line through it all and saying 'hey, I can guarantee that we can both change enough so lets forget about it and get back together' I can do nothing at all to make her feel any better. And I can't do this because I know as deep down as I am able to that it wouldn't work and six months down the line we'd be here again, I'd be repeating the working and drinking cycle and nothing would have changed. So what can I do?What made my last break-up so much easier was that I hated the bitch on the day we broke up almost as much as I do now, so I only ever had to invest time to sorting myself out. I don't care about myself now, I'm even starting to suspect that I should have the upset for my part in the whole debacle. I can cope with upset, and so can she, but she doesn't deserve it.I'll still be here when the smoke clears though. 'And yet you start to recoil, Heavy words are so lightly thrown,But still I'd leap in front of a flying bullet for you,So what difference does it make?'The Smiths
"If you're so funny, then why are you on your own tonight?"
I had it in mind to spill the proverbial beans tonight. To sit down and write something honest and heartfelt. Something that told you something about me you never knew. Perhaps that will still happen...but I can't see it. Too many people read this blog for me to be honest. I gave the address to too many friends and I never quite know who's reading. My partner and I split up two weeks ago after a relationship which lasted for two and a half years. I wish now it had been harder, more upsetting. I want us to have fought and become embittered and argued a bit more. That would have made things easier. As it is we're still on great terms, phone eachother every night and it's as if nothings changed. But it has changed. And that for me is the problem. The last time I broke up with anyone important to me we did it on a grand scale. It was nothing dissimilar to the million and one break-ups which must occur every day (we promised to remain friends forever and a day, retired to our respective houses, were upset for a while and then went about hating eachother) and that made things easy.After that break-up I moved in with my dad on a farm in Berkshire for a few months, went for long walks in the country, wrote a few songs, cried a bit, spent some time hating my ex and then I pulled myself together and met up with my, well, girlfriend can't be the right word, but neither can 'new ex,' so we'll say, for arguments sake, 'recent partner.' I can't do that this time because, for all intents and purposes, it doesn't feel as if it's over. And I know it is, of course, because we both feel the same way. There is something fundamentally different about us that makes us 100% perfect for eachother in 99.9% of situations, we just wouldn't work 'forever.' And I really mean that. The confusing thing is that we are so much more than friends, we just lack some essential ingredient that would make us last as partners. And that's the hard part I guess. Last time I spent six months wondering why my ex had ended the relationship without so much as a reason. This time I'll wonder what it was that brought us so close to perfection but ultimately made us so irrevocably mis-matched. Such is life. I've changed as well since my last break up. Last time all I wanted to do was talk and write and search for reason. This time I'm content with thinking and trying to get on with things. Maybe it's age. Maybe since my first serious relationship I've grown up a little. I put that down to my partner, without whom I would never have realized just how intolerant of other people I actually was. More than anything, this time I don't want to have regrets.And I won't, I don't think. Because this time I've broken up with someone I was, and am, genuinely attracted to and compatatble with. It's just a shame these things end. At least, when all is said and done, we both know it was for the right reason..."Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my headAnd as I climb into an empty bedOh well. Enough said."The Smiths: I Know It's Over