Sunday 31 January 2010


One of the most odious things the New World Order is attempting to do is sneak identification cards through the back door.

I’ve been a long time opponent to ID cards. I dislike the current environment of “Everyone is a potential terrorist/master criminal/on the dodge/paedophile”. Having to carry a documents to present to some sinister secret police man makes me think of East Germany, Stalinist regimes and people getting whisked off the streets by unmarked vans and ferried to some sinister labs where they are injected with mind control drugs and reconditioned. That may sound far fetched, but it does happen.

Last night I was enjoying a pre-gig meal at the Wagamammas in Cambridge when a young gentleman who was seated at the next table tried to order a beer. Now, to my eye he could easily have passed as over 21. He was sporting stubble and had a deep voice so was no doubt at some stage of puberty. However the waitress refused to serve him a beer and asked for some ID. The young man foraged about in his wallet and produced a postgraduate international student union card.

Now, unless you are some sort of geeky 10 year old from a family where the dad looks like the bloke from the Joy of Sex books and the mother is something to do with the Floaty Vagina Collective, you’re going to be well over 21 if you’re a postgraduate. Of course, he could have been a master forger and have made the card in his dad’s shed using toilet roll and a laminating machine.

The young man was clearly upset by this and his mood sank further when asked to present something with his date of birth AND his picture on.

Of course this got me thinking. Even though I look a good deal to the wrong side of 50, do I carry any form of identification with my picture on?

Do I buggery!

I have bank cards, loyalty cards and a few business cards of my own, but nothing showing my date of birth or with a picture. In fact, I’ve never carried anything with my picture/DOB on. So I asked if she carried anything with her date of birth/picture on it and she said that she carried her Drivers licence.

Now that’s all well and good but as we know, not everyone drives so the carrying of drivers licenses is probably only done by those who actually drive. I drive yes, but I am not required by law (yet) to carry my driving licence with me at all times. So what, other than a driving licence, form of ID has your date of birth on.

Now, unless you’ve been living in a box in the Gobi Desert for the past ten years, the British Government has been nefariously pushing for the introduction of ID cards. This has had some fierce opposition from human rights activists and from the NO-2-ID lobby movement.

However, what is happening is more and more shops are requesting ID from shoppers buying items. Most of the major supermarkets and off licence chains now operate a Prove 25 scheme where people appearing to be under 25 must present, on request, a valid form of ID. Ok…so that sounds ok….but such requests are not limited to beer and fags. One supermarket wanted ID for quiche and another for the Sunday Times newspaper.

So the solution? Well its a tricky one. If you’re propositioned for ID. Get up…walk out and write a letter of complaint to your newspaper and MP and one to the company. Highlight that you have seen through their little trick and that you won’t be party to it.

That is unless, of course, you want to live in a society where secret police monitor your every move and whisk you off the street in unmarked black vans…..

Thursday 28 January 2010

Fault Queue

If you know me you’ll know, despite internal ragings, I have the patience of a saint. I haven’t given it back yet because he hasn’t asked for it, but none the less, I have their patience. So perhaps this is why what I am about to relate to you happens to me with alarming frequency.

I’ve noticed it happen a lot lately. It happens in a variety of places be it in shops, offices or on the street. It doesn’t appear to happen to anyone else but I’m sure it does. What is it? Well, it hasn’t got a name. It is more of an occurrence than a thing.

Let’s say I’m queuing for a cup of coffee. There are 4 people in front of me. Each of the 4 get served speedily and without issue. But then it's my turn.

Stegzy- Hello please may I ha....
Barista #1 - Oh sorry love hang on
Barista #2 - 'ere Barista #1, was it beans on the jacket potato or was it tuna?
Barista #1 - Oh you daft bugger, it was tuna and gravy with meaty chunks, did you get the gravel out of the fridge?
Barista #2 - No but I left the intricate lace work doillies in the sink
Barista #1 -moving away from the counter to go behind the scenes won't be a minute love
An age passes
Barista #1 - Sorry love what was it?
Stegzy - Please may I have a coffee?
Barista #1 - yes hang on
Barista #1 goes through motions of making coffee
Barista #2 comes out from back room
Barista #2 - I can't find the Rabbit and beef in jelly
Barista #1 - They're under the sink
Barista #2 - Can you show me?
Exunt Barista #1 & Barista #2
Two minutes pass
Barista #1 returning from back room Sorry love, what was it?
Stegzy - I've forgotten

The same happens in shops, petrol stations and bars. Different staff. Totally unrelated incidents. Similar events. What's worse is, while all this is going on there is a queue of people growing behind me tutting and sighing at me. As if it is MY fault. Of course, long term Livejournal Flisters will know that it is, of course, my fault. Everything is my fault. Germany invading Poland? That was me. Twin towers? Me too. Krakatoa? fault.

Anyway, as if this wasn't some sort of global shop keeping conspiracy, the same happens when I'm driving. I'll queue at a give way sign. The cars in front have no problem getting out of the junction. Some go straight out. But when it gets to me, it's like all the travellers in the world have to use that road. Worse, some don't use their indicators. Or when one direction clears, everyone coming from the other direction decides they want to come past or turn right into the road I'm turning right out of.

Then, there's the drivers that go reeeeeeeeeeeeeally slow. They pull out in front of you from some give way junction because they are clearly in a hurry, but then proceed to stick to 20 mph when you can't over take them, and when it's over take time, the fuckers speed up....I mean what's going on there?!

It's hard not to think it is just me. It's harder not to think that this is all some sort of conspiracy against me. So because of this difficulty....that is what it must be. It is a global conspiracy. Against me. A global penance for everything being MY fault.

Monday 25 January 2010

Annoy annoy annoy

My alarm clock is furry. It is black and white and furry. It doesn’t tell the time very well, but it knows to wake me up in the morning.

Would you like to see my alarm clock? No? Well tough….Here is my alarm clock.


Wednesday 20 January 2010

Questions questions

Are you one of those people that attach yourself to a member of staff and can not possibly go a day without asking some inane question?

Do think REALLY hard about a suitable question to ask?

If you asked two questions does that mean you have reached some sort of nirvana? If you don’t ask a question will your head explode?

Through out my customer service career I have been able to identify at least twenty individuals who cannot go a day without contacting either myself, the helpdesk, the inquiry desk or a shop counter to ask some needless question.

Some of these people do it like clockwork. They come in at the same time every day and ask a question. Others do it completely at random often catching you off guard.

Let me give you some examples:-

HALFORDS – when I worked in Halfords we used to have this guy who would come in to the shop every Saturday and look at the bicycles. He would accost one of the members of staff and enter a dialogue with them about why Raleigh were not as good as Peugeot and how Carrera were poor compared to Dawes. He was clearly a lonely person, I believe he eventually got a job there in the end.

THE SOLICITORS – At the solicitors there was a family which everyone that worked there knew. Nothing was ever their fault and the council had some how singled them out for persecution. They made a living out of compensation claims and kept the firm comfy in legal aid commissions well into the mid nineties. If a day went by when one of them didn’t come in to enquire about an on going case of theirs they would probably be being visited by the duty solicitor at the local police station in regard to some packets of bacon that somehow got planted on them by vindictive shop staff. Theory was that they did this to save on fuel costs at home.

THE OFF LICENCE – Every night. Rain, wind or snow, Mikey would come in. Yes Mikey. He would introduce himself to new members of staff and would frequently stay behind the protective shop screens (some offlicences in the UK have protective screens to protect the stock and staff from violent piss heads and druggies) and talk about cabbages or how the foreigners were taking over or how Thatcher was the slag bitch from hell or some such. Mikey was very lonely. I suspect he is even lonelier now as the Offy on Allerton Road (not far from where the long lamented Livejournaller celticblissy lives) closed long ago.

THE CHURCH CLUB – Now here I met lots of people like that, but as the place was a drinking establishment I suppose it goes without saying you’d get regular people coming in at the same time every night (usually about 10:45pm) having the same drinks (usually Guinness) and then going home drunk at the same time (usually 3 in the morning). Usually in their cars.

THE CIVIL SERVICE – When I was a civil servant there was an inspector who would ring at the same time every day to ask if he had any post or if there was some staples he could have or if I could order him something from stores. The same time. Every day. Without fail. Even when he was off on holiday or at a conference. He was lonely too come to think of it.

THE UNIVERSITY #01 – Simon Blackman. Business School. Every day. Without fail. Something would go wrong. Or he would have to check if there was anything wrong. Or if we could do something on his behalf. One time he tricked us by pretending he’d called the wrong department by accident. There was no fooling me. I knew. I knew he was a sad lonely sod. I had the opportunity to visit his office one day when I was doing my virus disabling service. He conveniently wasn’t in his office when I called. Almost as if he was just simply a disembodied voice trapped in the archaic telephonic network.

THE UNIVERSITY #01 – Joy Ball. Anaesthesia. Possibly the most annoying person in the world. Every day. No matter what job I was doing in the office (for those that don’t know/remember/care the job rotated between dealing with telephone queries, dealing with email queries and dealing with desk queries) she would somehow get through to me. Her voice was so recognisable. I remember being ULTRA rude to her in an effort to get her to cease calling with her stupid stupid questions like “Oh my monitor doesn’t work” (have you tried turning on the power?), “Oh noes my mouse is on the wrong side of the desk” (No I won’t send out an engineer) and “Aieee, there’s something wrong all my emails have gone from my deleted items folder” (Well that’s what happens when you delete things duck). But she would call every day. Even when I wasn’t in. With stupid questions. Stupid stupid questions. It got to a point where she would just say “Department of Anaesthesia here” and I’d just say “Oh hello Joy”. When I left the job I thought I’d seen the last of her, but she came back…as a different person….as you will read later.

THE UNIVERSITY #01 – Student X. Student X would come to the helpdesk at the library every day to enquire about books. I think he thrived on the confirmation that it was a Computer helpdesk he was enquiring at and not a library support desk. Four years this went on for. He was a medic. He’s probably some sort of Surgeon now.

6th FORM COLLEGE – It must have been written into their job description to pester me with something inane every day. Even if it was just to enquire about what I’d got up to over the weekend. The difference was she fancied me. **sigh**

6th FORM COLLEGE – I must be disabled because my in built people tracking device does not work. You have a functioning one don’t you? It is just me that doesn’t isn’t it? Well had mine been working I would have been able to furnish Martin with the location of my boss while I was having lunch. The answer phone message, the sign on the door and the signatures of the emails stated clearly that the helpdesk was closed every day between 12 and 12.30. Every day. But that didn’t stop him from calling, emailing or knocking at the door when nobody answered the telephone/replied to enquire if my boss was in. I suspect that Martin and my boss were having illicit bum sex in the media building.

6th FORM COLLEGE – Joy Ball. Joy Fucking Ball. No…not Joy Ball from University #01. A different Joy Ball. A Joy Ball by marriage so probably completely unrelated. She was my bosses bosses boss. Because of this status she would ring. Every day. With a thankless task/job/non-urgent-but-urgent thing to do for me. My boss wished she would FOAD. I wished she would FOAD while my boss was FingOADing too. One day I just told her straight. She was a clueless over paid fucktard. In a nice way though. So I kept my job. She persisted less.

THE UNIVERSITY #02 – I thought I’d escaped it. But no. Here there are at least ten different people that all cannot allow an opportunity to ask a question pass by. I know them by name. They have me on their facebook. They are probably reading this. Are they lonely? I don’t know. Are they having illicit bumsex with my boss? I doubt it. Are they just weird? I couldn’t possibly comment. Are they you? Maybe.


So if you are one of those types of people that have to ask the same people the same or similar questions on a regular basis. Do you ask because if you don’t you will explode? Are you just lonely? Are you weird? Or do you think that people that do my type of job are put on this earth to make sure you’ve washed behind your ears and that you’re wearing the right undergarments for the day?

On the radio

This evening broadcasting history was made. I suspect only about 4 people witnessed this event and 3 of those were in the radio suite at the Huddersfield Student union. And I was one of those 3. The other 2 were my co-presenters.

None the less it was good stuff. Radio gold as they say. Another notch on my ever growing CV.

I worked out I need to pen about 400 words a day to have finished my case study by March 1st. This means I need to pull my finger out and get those interviews done that I’ve been pestering people about.

Incidentally, if you know anyone that works in media, be it magazines, newspapers, radio or TV, online or offline (though preferably online) and they could spare 30 minutes of their busy schedule before March to take part in an interview about the work they do then shove them in my direction.

On another note, despite my loathing of the service I appear to be using Twatter a bit more recently. This may be because I have the new sparkly phone and it has Twitter integrated into it but it may also be because even after 3 years of being on there, I still only have 43 followings, none of whom are vacuous celebrities.

Follow stegzy on Twitter

Also on another note, I appear to not have shaved since new year and I am sporting some fine facial hair. I hope it doesn't put local news reader Nina Hossain off when I meet her tomorrow.

Sunday 17 January 2010

BBC News & Look North

The cringeworthy Charlie Stayt and Susanna Reid were being particularly awful on Friday morning on BBC Breakfast. Everytime I switch on my telly on a Friday morning I just see them being vacuous, poorly researched and generally crap at their jobs. Now it would be big headed of me to say that as a media & television graduate I would be a million miles better than them so I won’t. Instead I’ll say it as it is. A skip full of decomposing monkeys would be a million times better than them.  Their interview technique and loud brashness just make BBC News look and sound like it’s presented by morons. Which, conversely, it is.

What’s worse is the local news. In case you’ve been hiding in a box in Sumatra for the past two weeks, Yorkshire has been under a blanket of snow and ice recently. For the past week everyone’s favourite Tango lass, Christa Ackroyd (who had the pleasure of meeting me face to face last year), has been presenting the evening show from the comfort of outside her house. Every bloody story has been about the snow. How it’s effecting the region and how schools have closed and how some postman used a surf board to get from one side of his village to the other and so on and so borkingly forth.

That is…until Wednesday of this week, the snow almost melted…but then Harry Gration, who had also been presenting the evening programme from outside his house, announced “The snow causing CHAOS to the region has started to go but new problems affect the region with…”

Can you guess what it was?

Can you?


“….Black ice!”

Black ice. Not terrorists. Not earthquakes. Not mutant radioactive snails. Black ice. Chuffing black ice.

The terror meant that people crossed a road on their hands and knees. These same people were featured on the programme and Harry Gration presented the article as though the Queen had died.

It seems like those that produce the news have been going through a really dry patch. I imagine that we will hear more and more about Haiti for the next 2 weeks unless something worse happens. Of course…they could switch to this story.

Monday 11 January 2010

Dance pants

I’ve had an idea for a new TV show. Looking at current and past trends in British TV shows I think any programme commissioning bod reading this would be foolish not to create the following television programme. It would be a definite success.

The Dancing DIY Property Developing Fashion Disasters On Ice Factor

I think that covers all the things that seem to be popular at the moment.

It could be presented by Brian Cox (since his return from the US he seems to be on everything these days), Ant and Dec (modern day Cannon and Ball), Cat Deeley (modern day Cilla Black) and Graham Norton (a Terry Wogan/Larry Grayson fusion). With extra bits by Davina McCall and some entertainment (in the form of song and shouting) by John Barrowman.

It’s a sure fire rating success. 

Saturday 9 January 2010

Buying stuff

In March my contract with my mobile phone provider, O2, is up for renewal.

After much deliberation, illness and snow bound cabin fever I pondered my options. I could end my contract early (costing £60), start a new contract early or just wait until March.

March seems like forever off. It isn’t. But it feels like it is. Besides, I haven’t had a gadget fix since I inherited the wife’s laptop. So I did a little spreadsheet and worked out my current spend through my current contract.

My contract allows 400 minutes and 500 texts per month but no data discounts. Which, in hindsight, is daft as I use data services a hell of a lot these days. My previous contract also lacked data service and looking back at my bills I was paying ridiculous amounts of money to faceless executives allowing them to play golf in Surrey on Wednesday afternoons.

I currently have a Nokia N95 8GB which is a good phone. It does it’s job, it allows me to make and receive calls, send texts, take photographs and video, find my way to places using the GPS and play Snakes when I’m bored daft.

Sadly it doesn’t really allow me to write notes without mucking about and the proprietary software that allows the phone to communicate with my PC sucks hairy monkey balls.

Coupled with the fact that lots of the kids I see these days have iPhones which, to me at least, just seem like fashion accessories and expensive ones at that, getting a new phone this time was going to have to be thoroughly investigated.

Initially I was going to opt for the Acer F1 to go with my Acer desktop and Acer Laptop. I was all set to click “BUY NOW” but I thought I’d better check the GPS first as GPS is something I do rely on at the moment for Geocaching. As it turned out some reviews claimed that the GPS functionality of the Acer F1 was a bit pants so my itching mouse finger held off clicking “BUY NOW” until I compared other phones for their reliability.

And there it was. The HTC HD2. The phone that I just had to have. I watched videos of people reviewing it, I read articles, sought out software and even tidied up my Outlook in preparation.

By this time it was Wednesday afternoon, I’d found the best tariff for my needs on, compared the competition and benefits via my spreadsheet, filled in the application form and clicked send. It was 3.30pm, the site hinted that it very well may be possible that I could have my phone within 24 hours, which I thought, would be Friday…or Saturday at the very least. sent me a confirmation email an hour later. Excitement swelled inside me causing me to cough more from this wretched cold I’ve been suffering from. More mooching and reading and trying to find anything I could about my new toy.  The confirmation email said that they would send another email when my phone had been processed.

I waited

And waited.

Waited a bit more.

Still nothing. A whole day passed. Snow storms had cut off most of the UK and yes…I thought maybe a bit of snow would hamper my hopes of getting my phone for the Friday. Indeed by 6.30pm that Thursday evening, a further email was sent by to say they were coping with a 24 hour back log due to “seasonal demand”.

Fair enough, I thought, the weather and excess demand would hamper anything. By Friday evening I was getting restless. I still hadn’t received any further emails. Three days had passed. Where was my order up to?

Saturday. Same thing. No email…nothing….

See…this is what happens to me. I buy things online with the expectation that they’ll come a day or two later. When they don’t I get really miffed. I miss the high street store option of walking into a shop. Mooching round for the item I want, going to the checkout. Paying for it. Going home. At least then, the excitement was contained by my journey home. This waiting for to get their act into gear is killing me. Now I’ve got the little voices in my head saying “They’ve lost your order” and “There’s a problem with your new mobile subscription set up”. 

Had it not been for my horrid cold, the snow and the ice and the lack of high street shops selling sim free mobiles, I’d have risked the drive into town to buy one today. This is symptomatic of the culture of now (CON). I have given into the CON. CONsumerism has bitten me and I must have a new toy…I must I must I must.

I looked at the prices of my old mobile phone, my old Acer Laptop, my old Playstation 1. All of these items cost shit loads when they were new. Now…you can get all three for just under £200. I need to remind myself….electronics and keeping up with the Joneses….bad game to play. I never win.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

It’s Snow or Snever

Thought I’d share some pictures of the lovely snow. Fortunately I don’t have to go to Huddersfield this week. Snow and blurgh don’t mix.

Monday 4 January 2010


I don’t know the meaning of cold.

I do. It’s just that when people say to me “It’s bloody cold” that’s my stock answer.

It’s bloody cold.

Therefore I don’t know the meaning of cold.

I then usually go onto talk about my first flat and how I managed to try and keep warm during my days as an unemployed workless youth.

My first flat was above a fishing tackle shop on Smithdown Road in Liverpool. You can see the flat from the main road if you’re ever down that way.


My old flat is the top three windows.


In summer the flat was so hot you had to have all the doors and windows open so that you didn’t melt into a pool of flesh. Furthermore, the wearing of clothes during this time was seen as foolish as the heat would cause you to sweat buckets full of perspiration.

EskimoThe flipside though was the winter. During the winter that flat was so cold, you would come home from work (or in my case, from somewhere warmer)  to find polar bears sat round holes cut in the floor trying to catch fish, while Inuit tribesmen would try and barter cigarettes for blubber and animal furs. 

The windows were those awful sash window jobbies. The sort that when the wind blew, it would come up between the top and bottom sashes and be like sheets of sharp cold steel piercing the air and stealing what little warmth you could generate. The window gaps soon got sealed with newspaper and the frames were shrinkwrapped with that double glazing plastic bobbins, you know the type that you heat with a hairdryer?

The mains electricity was delivered through an old 50 pence meter….and I mean old 50 pences. I had to buy the old coins off the landlord. With coin metered electricity you really don’t get a good deal. 50p would last you about an hour in cold weather.


To heat the flat, the landlord provided a calor gas heater and a two bar electric fire. The two bar electric fire only increased the temperature after I managed to procure 2 red bulbs to fit to the “Real flame effect” thingie that the fireplace had. So I think that was psychological heat anyway.

The single calor gas heater was as much use as a cigarette lighter and just made everything taste funny. Further fortune befell me however, when I managed to procure a second calor gas heater. That made it feel a bit cosier.

So with 2 calor gas fires and a two bar electric fire with real flame effect lighting you’d probably think you were nice and warm enough to hibernate for the winter. Well bollocks to that pal. It was still cold. More heat was generated by an electric fan heater (donated by the parents) and by switching the hot water boiler on. Yet it was still too cold.

So to further combat the chilly knives of doom the only line of defence was the clothing. Pyjamas were worn under everyday clothes and over underwear and a fleece coat was also employed in the “lets keep warm” fashion parade. The pyjama legs were tucked into socks and the sleeves were tucked into fingerless mittens. Gok Wan would have been so proud of my fashion statement.

So you’d think that you’d be nice and snug with all that going on….well you’d be wrong. On the couch I had a sleeping bag AND a spare duvet and in the bed I had an electric blanket and two more duvets. Honestly! It was so cold in that flat….Sleepwear consisted of two layers of pyjamas and the fleecy coat under a fluffy dressing gown.

Morning routine involved getting out of bed half an hour before you had to get up and switching on the shower so that it had time to heat up. With the shower switched on, the smaller calor gas heater would be moved to the sitting room (the bathroom adjoined the sitting room too) and switched on to heat both the sitting room and the bathroom.

The larger calor gas heater would then be switched on with the kettle, the electric blanket and the TV and a further half hour in bed was claimed while the shower heated up.

AlpKit-PipeDream-200-Sleeping-Bag The dash to the bathroom helped generate some body heat and a long shower was often had because leaving the warmth of the hot water would often be too much. On finishing the shower, the body would be wrapped in two towels and the fluffy dressing gown, a further cup of tea was had and, money permitting, a bowl of microwaved porridge consumed in front of the small calor gas fire and the electric fire on one bar (to conserve electricity).

After dressing quickly (well as quick as you can when you wear 4 layers of clothing) the flat would be left to cool down and the day’s activities, whatever they were, were conducted, usually in the free warmth of someone else's flat, the pub or in the city centre shops, cinema or library…..

And to think I moan about the cold now…..ha!