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precious, i'm hungry

May. 20th, 2010 | 08:20 pm

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killed by a kettle

Nov. 24th, 2009 | 06:13 pm

cycling back from work my eye was caught by a fetching poster advertisement for a pair of Tescos value hair-straighteners. As a consequence of this I almost collided with a van. It occurred to me that this may be an amusing way to go. Killed because of a fetching pair of £3.95 hair-straighteners..

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truthwords

Aug. 13th, 2009 | 01:06 pm

I have more baggage than Heathrow.

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store music

Aug. 3rd, 2009 | 12:37 am

Playing around with a computer at work I have stumbled across the program that controls the music that is played over the speakers in the retailer in which I currently work.

I may surreptitiously add offensive or abrasive ‘extreme noise terror’ to be played in between the Tracy Chapman and Depeche Mode tracks that usually offends my ears. Any suggestions of appropriate music to play along these lines would be most welcomed.

Yours,

rough_trader

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FLATHELL

Jul. 23rd, 2009 | 11:23 pm

12:30
I arrive at Oval tube promptly, an hour too promptly it seems and make my way to the designated meeting point for the owner of flat number one at one pm. He texts me twenty minutes before we are due to meet to apologise and ask that we instead meet at 6.15. Begrudgingly, I agree.

6:15. Flat number one.
I arrive and find a stocky man who would not look entirely out of place in an identity parade of sex offenders. He ushers me up to a dark and squalid looking flat with a female housemate staring, open jawed at a television set. He stops me in the bedroom and asks how much the flat is. I fumble unsuccessfully with my phone in an attempt to find out before informing him that I, as a potential tenant, do not have this information. He replies "oh ok, let's say £600". I wince visibly but agree to the sum straight away. He may well react badly to my rejection, lock the bedroom door and keep me there forever, with me whittling away the next two month staring at the cigarette stained wood-chip wallpaper. Surely I am worth more to him alive. I make my way down the stairs and on the landing he proposes a transaction, before the formal due diligence that precedes what he assures me will be our mutual agreement to an unwritten contact. He asks me if I will take the flat, I demurely attempt to tango my way around the topic but agree that I will most certainly take the appartment. The same appartment that would not look out of place on the set of a television documentary entitled "Poorly Designed Crack Houses". Having agreed to pay £600 a month, and of course a discretionary deposit of unspecified size he then asks me for £50 as "an initial deposit". Having parted with this money I will then receive, he informs me, the keys. I tell Oval's resident sex-pest that I am not paid until tomorrow, but will gladly meet him in a public place with lots of witnesses to finish our "verbal agreement". He seems pleased with this compromise and shakes my hand before I peg it to the tube station.

7.00 Flat Number Two.
I arrive at a flat situated near Vauxhall. Three turns left, four turns right, and another three left and I find myself on an council estate. A quick withering glance around me suggests the area has yet to receive its weekly air-dropped care package. I take a deep breath and make my way inside the flat. I am greeted by six tenants, five of them polish while the sixth (whose room I am seeing) is a Japanese male. He goes through the formalities of showing me the kitchen before taking me to his bedroom. Bedroom is perhaps apt given that the only thing in the airing-cupboard sized room was his bed. I am not exaggerating when I suggest that his room would have been looked on unenviably (in terms both of size and facilities) by those current residing at Her Majesty's Pleasure. I toy with the idea of suggesting he mug an old lady if he ever wants an upgrade, but decide instead to just thank him for his time.

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sounds of the descriminations

Jul. 20th, 2009 | 12:23 pm

I wonder if I can consider my flatmate asking me to turn down 'Girls Aloud' as a homophobic hate crime.

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flats

Jul. 13th, 2009 | 12:10 pm

I am looking for a flat now, sharing with 5 heterosexual males. Needless to say, i've seen some dives. But I do wonder why would you include this photo in your listing?



If you thought that was bad, I present to you the pisste de résistance...

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MONARCHY

Jun. 23rd, 2009 | 12:20 am

If Michael Jackson is the "King of Pop" might now be the time to suggest a republic?

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DAILY MAIL

Jun. 19th, 2009 | 09:31 pm

I voted yes to the question “Should we give up more power to the EU?” and was greeted with the message "forbidden".

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BIRTHDAY

Jun. 18th, 2009 | 10:55 pm

Today is the birthday of a Trot regional organiser where I used to live. I considered buying her a birthday card and writing in a little poem in it, but I couldn't think of anything that rhymes with 'hateful bitch'.

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FUNNY

Jun. 18th, 2009 | 05:18 pm

My spanish boss complains that his English co-workers are stupid and slow, in a thick incomprehensible accent.

I stare into his eyes for three seconds before suggesting it's because no-one can understand what he's saying.

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The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (with Yoko Ono) 17th June

Jun. 17th, 2009 | 10:56 pm

I arrive for a Sean Lennon gig at Cafe Oto, Hackney. A venue that seats 100 people maximum. Sean Lennon arrives and mingles with the crowd. Then, Yoko Ono turns up. The club promoter pushes me and my friend to one side and Yoko with a burly looking security man in a polo top ushers Yoko Ono, wearing black clothing and Marc Jacobs shades with a white scarf, right past me and my friend. She sits, glasses on in the corner of what is a fairly tiny venue on a special table reserved for her and her friends. Lennon plays a fairly decent set with his new outfit "The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger". The fourth time this band has performed and the first in London. He tells the crowd that it's important it goes well because "I love London". Jack Black arrives and is ushered to a seat right in front of me, where he sits for the remainder of the show. The second act, "If By Yes", play next and it also goes down fairly well. Sean Lennon cries "We Love You Petra!" from the crowd during the set, refering to the lead vocalist Petra Haden.The highlight comes when the set finishes and the crowd chant for an encore. The promoter waves his finger but Sean Lennon goes out back to fetch the band. They return and Yoko Ono takes to the stage with them to perform a track from her new album with Sean to the 100 lucky audience members. They finish and I ask Sean to have his photo taken for a friend, promising to be quick, he grabs me by the shoulders and I have to quickly manevour my way out of his grasp so my friend can have his picture taken. Having had Sean lay his gifted hands upon me and heard Yoko Ono play spontaenous unreheasred new material I depart for the train home, quite content.

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This heat ...

Jun. 14th, 2009 | 06:04 pm

I'm sweating like a twelve year old girl on a Roman polanski film set

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We Need Gay Pride in Doncaster!

Jun. 12th, 2009 | 07:16 pm

The title of this post is taken from a headline in this week's copy of Workers Power, the publication of the British section of the League for the Fifth International.

Jan Willem Stutje recounts an amusing story within the pages of 'Ernest Mandel: A Rebel's Dream Deferred'.Ernest Mandel, as some of you may know was a Trotskyist Marxist theorist involved in the Belgian section of the international Trotskyist movement at the time of the 'Fourth International'. Established in France in 1938 it sought to provide an alternative to the politically bankrupt project of the Third International dominated by the Stalinist leadership of the Soviet Union Communist Party, this Stalinist dominated organisation would eventually hold its final congress in 1935.

In 1947 Mandel, then on the leadership body of the Fourth International, met with Italian Trotskyist Livio Maitain in Milan, Stuje notes:

Maitan never forgot how Mandel, seeing chalked on walls everywhere the slogan 'Viva Internazionale!', delighedly exclaimed, 'Absolutely incredible! So many internationalists in Italy in spite of the Stalinists and the reformists.' Mandel hadn't realised that 'Internazionale' was simply the name of a big Milan football team.
 

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"Heroic Abortion Provider"

Jun. 11th, 2009 | 12:16 am

This is the headline of an article noting news of the assassination of abortion-doctor Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas in the "Marxist Working-Class Biweekly of the Spartacist League of the U.S., Workers Vanguard".

L'Espoir (1945) the name of a film I went to see today. Described by the British Film Institute as a "romantic look at how Republicans fought the fascist army."
 
It documents the valiant efforts of Republican fighters during the Spanish civil war, noting the lack of weapons with which many fighters fought and the frequent appeals to the provincial Popular Front committees.

This has inspired me to re-read the history of the Spanish Civil War in a little more depth.. Two very interesting quotes on this question. The first, from an orthodox Trotskyist perspective outlines the suggested attitude towards Trotsky to 'popular front' formations and the heavily Trotskyist influence POUM.

 
Trotskyists adamantly refused to lend any political support to those who participated in multi-class formations and broke with the Spanish POUM in the 1930s over just this question....

“The POUM is merely slavishly conducting the same policy that the 7th Congress of the Comintern foisted on all its sections, absolutely independently of their ‘national peculiarities’. The real difference in the Spanish policy this time lies only in the fact that a section of the London international has also adhered officially to the bloc with the bourgeoisie. So much the worse for it. As far as we are concerned, we prefer clarity. In Spain, genuine revolutionists will no doubt be found who will mercilessly expose the betrayal of Maurin, Nin, Andrade, and their associates, and lay the foundation for the Spanish section of the Fourth International!” (L Trotsky, ‘The treachery of the POUM’, January 23 1936) [1]

The second quote is a response from the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) to the distorted view of "a trotskyite version of history in the 1930s" as typified by the film 'Land and Freedom'.

The last thing the "Stalinists" wanted, according to the POUMist fantasy, was for a "real socialist alternative" to rear its head - espicially in Spain, where a victory for the anarcho-POUMist alliance against the combined might of fascism, capitalism and international "Stalinism" was supposed to provide the much needed spark necessary to reignite the world revolution .....

To stand by such a perspective today, one would have to believe that the Cold War had never taken place, that the US didn't consider the USSR as the "evil empire". [2]

That the later still cling to an idealised conception of 1930s 'Popular Frontism' as representing "British Communism's Finest Hour" is typified somewhat by their treatment of the Communist Party's history during this period [3]. If the lessons of this period prove anything it is that the political independence of the working class must still be stressed in opposition to sections of the 'progressive' bourgeoisie and labour bureaucracy.

I also watched 'Transformers' (2007) today however I find the anthropomorphistic treatment of non-human machines that traditionally do mechanical, routine tasks on command slightly troubling. Attempts to locate a Maoist review of this film have failed. As have attempts to find stills of Shia LaBeouf shirtless.

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fuckunny

Jun. 2nd, 2009 | 12:04 am

I just tiredly clicked on the online internet profile of a friend of mine, without thinking I glanced at the black and white image of the side of a face, and given his love of monotone self-portraits, I fire away a message: "free this saturday? Would love to see you at 10. Hyde Park. Everyone will be there". I followed this message with the web link to a public event, advertised on a well known 'social networking' site. It is only when I am returned to his profile having sent said message that I realize that the monotone portrait photo in question is actually that of my best friend's ex boyfriend, who I still have on my friends list because of a dangerous combination of lazyness and politeness.

I have long since stopped talking to this person, as an act of solidarity with best friend, who has gone through all sorts of tribulations with this guy that will no doubt one day result in his being tried in a war crimes tribunal in the Hague any day now. Despite this, the guy I accidentally invited out insists on trying to mantain regular communication with me, perhaps to keep tabs on my friend. The question is, what do I do now? Uninvite him? When the friend of mine finds out I invited him he will no doubt be furioius, while if he does come I will be forced to spend all day making nice with an individual for which I have little time.

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(no subject)

May. 27th, 2009 | 01:36 pm

I wonder if it's wrong that while I hate my job I derive some small comfort from the fact that whenever someone calls for the manager and the announcement is made over the shop floor that it is a call for him, I smile at the thought that it could be devastatingly bad news.

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The Interview

May. 21st, 2009 | 01:10 pm

Today was the day of my job interview.

Making my way to the interview in the middle of absolutely no-where in the outer Suburbia of Norbiton I notice a single black shoe left abandoned on the steps of London Bridge Station. I take this as a bad sign, my metaphorical  'big black dog'.  Size eleven.

I arrive an early hour and proceed to consume an entire plantation of the Congolese coffea plant, from which drink is derived. Gulping down hector after hector I eventually head on over to the job interview site, to loiter nervously outside with my hands in my pockets like a sex offender in a school car park on the last day of term.

It starts. My hands, now secreting an epic amount of sweat, dart out in all directions as I try and emphasize an obscure point about 'team work'. My left hand shoots out, as if of its own initiative, to the left and lingers uncomfortably in the air. I am given a look. I suddenly realize that I resemble an epileptic Woody Allen in the midst of an 'episode'.

I realize i've lost them when my shocking lack of knowledge about what the role i'm applying for actually entails becomes readily apparent (I stupidly ask "what do you expect from me?"). I have by this time, reached the point of no return. I clench my fists and lock my jaw. I consider actually fleeing mid-interview to the nicotine stained comfort of the local Esso petrol station. My interviewer takes pity on me and brings proceedings to an end.

Leaving, I gush about how lovely it had been to meet them with all the mock enthusiasm of a customer in a hair-dressers being asked "what do you think?" before leaving looking like Kenny Dalglish. The clear descrepency between the apparent reality and the intended meaning of the words that I find myself uttering becomes too much for the interviewer and she starts to laugh when I trill that I we will "speak soon!". Her final parting shot, simple but effective: "I really hope it doesn't take you long to get home after this".

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can-do not car-accident

May. 11th, 2009 | 12:20 am

a friend of mine works in telemarketing flogging life insurance by cold calling potential customers. Yesterday, on a particularly unremarkable day, he called a particularly unremarkable number and started his scripted speech introducing himself and asking if the person on the other line had life insurance. She replied that she did not, and that her husband had just died early that morning in a car accident. My friend apologised and quickly left the woman to grieve in peace. Shortly after his manager approached him and asked what he thought was wrong with that call. When my friend appeared perplexed the manager replied that he had lost what was clearly a sale, suggesting that she was a prime target for life insurance having just lost a love one who may well have not had life insurance.

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my gumtree advert

May. 11th, 2009 | 12:02 am

Dear Gumtree

 I am looking for a job

 I will not accept applications from companies that litter job seeker websites with the following words and phrases:
 
"we choose the person not the paper"

"can do attitude"

"the philosophy of our business is codified by the following seventy three phrases....."

"work hard...play hard"

"Attractive staff....experience unnecessary".

Please keep in mind that given my limited social calendar and the social skills of a particularly shy two year old, work could very well fill that gaping void that separates me from an inevitably slow and pointless death.

On a more personal level it should be noted that while I am gay this in no way qualifies me to be gawked at by over-paid city workers in a bar in Soho while wearing a t-shirt that would look too small on my twelve year old niece.

I await your response,

rough_trader

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Question & Answer session

May. 7th, 2009 | 10:13 pm

Question: What do you call a zouave  in a suit?

Answer: The defendant


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(no subject)

May. 5th, 2009 | 04:28 pm
location: United Kingdom, England

Glaring at a customer a co-worker says "shop lifter?". I reply "shirt lifter".

I stare at customer. he asks "you offering me out, m8?". I reply that I'd love to and suggest Italian at nine.

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