Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all Reeking Lums. 

Happy Christmas Sis, look it even has a straw
Its 9:01 on Christmas Day and the kids are not even awake yet.  

I should be sleeping too, I had a terrible nights sleep, vivid dreams about Professor Cox, quantum physics and how I had the gift to manipulate with my mind the atomic structure, this allowed me to pick outcomes of events, follow alternative universes and pass through solid things, pretty cool, my X-MAN name would be Neutrino. 

In reality, I've forgotten its my Sisters birthday today and there is nothing I can do about that, unless I find a petrol station that is open on Christmas Day and buy her a can of WD40 or something, looks like I'll have a little bit of guilt to unwrap later,   

Have a great day everyone, whatever you believe


Lang May Yer Lum Reek

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When cranes collide

Hello Lums,

Help! can someone apply a tourniquet
I walk past it every day, as I join the snaking multitudes trudging to the front line to do some paid work at the commercial coal face.   I've watched it sprout and grow, bit by bit over the past few months, dominating the skyline and local residents TV receptions as it goes.  
Its the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, springing up in the Olympic Park.  

Its been accused of fascist gigantism, and of being a monument to ego.  The Times described it as "looking like a giant wire mesh fence has gotten hopelessly snagged around a french horn".  I'm guessing that's not a compliment, though you never know with the arty crowd. "An undesired intrusion on the consciousness of the many" is certainly not a compliment, though, we have so many of those every day, especially this time of year with peoples growing need to drape their homes in garish, blinking Christmas lights and glowing Santa's. 
My favourite, maybe because its easily imagined, is " a catastrophic collision between two cranes".  Twisted spaghetti, Meccano on crack,  horrific squiggles and a giant ( if slightly undone) Mr Messy have all been used to allow people who don't have the dubious fortune to look at for real an idea of what its like. Without the pretentious comments about what it means, how it represents art and engineering and its seemingly chaotic form actually means.  
WTF?, I don't know what it means,  its a big corporate bill board really, that cost £19m to build but will be visible in nearly every Olympic Park outside broadcast shot next year, that exposure is worth billions.

After months, its the Lums turns to Reek his observations.  It looks to me like a fountain of de-oxygenated blood, spurting out of an opened pulmonary artery of Stratford.  It reminds me a little of that scene in  Braveheart where Mel Gibsons guts get yanked out during his execution scene.  Its the colour for me, that's whats most striking, in the city your used to looking at big structures, as a rule though, they are greyish, not crimson red. People will tire of it I think, unlike the Angel of the North that you can feel some affection for, this is just too hard to get on with. 

100 years apparently since Captain Scott's ill fated Antarctic adventure, he's painted as both a hero and a blundering idiot, but you cant argue with the courage of those pioneers, especially when even 100 years ago, there were huge swathes of the globe still more or less a blank.   But I wonder how he would view some of the latest conquerors of the South Pole.  A 16 year old girl did it a little while ago, taking nothing away from her, she must be fit and brave but I just heard that a TV presenter is cycling there in a few months.  Cycling? To the South Pole!  What will be next, the first to reach the South Pole in fancy dress, the first man to walk backwards to the South Pole, perhaps Olly Murs could rollerskate there for Children in Need.  And another thing, this day and age they get airlifted in and walk the last 100 miles or so, Scott and Amundsen walked over 800 miles and back. 

Lang may yer Lum Reek.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pic'n'mix anybody? Yes please, can I pay with this kidney?

Greekings Lums,

Who is gummi Keyser Soze? 
It began as an evening much like many others.  
The best of intentions tested by the careless irresponsible suggestion of a pint in The Slug.  I cant even remember who made it,  it might even have been me, still, that's not important.  I was only going for one of course, but as the village elders (+ one village idiot) gathered and once I had bought a round, I was never leaving until I had got them all back.  So after 5 Peronis, my continuing contribution to the rehabilitation of the Italian economy  I buttoned up and headed out into the cold.  The wind funnelling down the corridors of concrete and glass in Canary Wharf making it feel like Ice Station Zebra, without the ice and Ernest Borgnine.  

Its only 30 paces between The Slug and the shelter of the tube station, but some of those 30 paces take you right past a pic,n,mix sweety stall set up to snare the drunken reckless and sugar craving kids that head out east to try and spear a big fat fish from one of the banks on a Friday night. 
I fancied a little something myself, so grabbed a bag, and a scoop and went about selecting a few of my favourite things, fizzy cola bottles, coconut mushrooms, gummi bears and jelly strawberries, they were all in the bag, topped off with a raspberry cable, about the same girth as a standard CATV but much more densely packed with chewy gratification.  By the time I had completed my circuit, I was aware of having quite a weighty sack, I forced a little joke with the NES (No-English Speaking) till jockey about it maybe being a £10er.  He didn't laugh, and neither did I when he hoisted my selections on the scales and announced that it was in fact £17.  The best part of twenty quid for re imagined sugar.  I gave a little cough, followed by a " your f-in kiddin", he wasn't of course, they inexplicably leave British sense of humour out of the patriotism test.  I had no option, I had to get out of this situation with dignity and my one remaining £10 note intact.  To do that I had to lie, I employed the old, "Oh, I don't have that much on me, I'll have to nip to the ATM, just hold this for me and I'll be back in two minutes", and made off in the direction of HSBC, only for about 5 yards though, then veered as discretely as I could back towards the anonymity of the tube, well, you cant be too careful, I don't know if you get Bangladeshi triad gangs, but if you do, they probably control the supply of fizzy worms in East London. 
A great escape in any ones language, though tainted by the inner known fact that had I had £17 I probably would have stumped up with little more than a blow of the cheeks.

When did sweeties get so expensive that they have a greater street value than some class A drugs?
Billionaire Bertie Bassett, worth his weight, sweets
Do the white mice come with doctorates, do the jelly watches contain Swiss mechanisms,  are the cherry lips a physiological copy of an Amazonian beauty's pout?

Keyser Haribo Soze, the fizzy jelly king pin

Perhaps there collected at great risk from the pic'n'mix mines deep underground in a super secret and hard to get to location, with Bertie Basset controlling the world supply like blood diamonds.  Are there commodity traders specialising solely in liquorice and bonbons, speculating on the demand for allsorts.  Where are all the sweety barons, why dont they have 800 foot yachts and premiership football clubs and swan about Kensington in their Gummi coloured Lambos.   
If fibre optic cable cost the same as Stawberry cables, we'd still be sending telegrams and keeping pigeons.  Mark my words, at the centre will be Haribo, pulling the strings, the sweet elite. 

So, apart from learning to never entertain the thought of pic'n'mix ever again, what else have I learned this week?  Well, what about the fact that if I drank 165 cans of Red Bull, I would quite probably get a pair of heavenly wings of my own, dont worry lums, I didnt drink 160 cans and begin to feel a bit off, I just read it somewhere while aimlessly web bound.  Or how about Britains funniest joke?  I'll retell it here, it actually made me chuckle when I read it, but maybe its the way you type it, here goes.

"A woman gets on a bus with her baby, the bus driver says,  
Ugh, thats the ugliest baby I've ever seen.   
The woman, very upset, takes a seat up the back of the bus and says to the gentleman next to her,  
I,m so upset, that driver just insulted me, to which the man replies, 
you should go down and have a word with him, on you go, I'll hold your monkey"  BOOM BOOM. 

One more thing, I scored a free ticket for Stephen Merchants stand up show, Hello Ladies at Hammersmith Apollo, and he was brilliant.  

Lang may yer lum reek


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Money, Money, Money and a banana

See, its just not right!!! 
Lums of the bankrupt World

I crashed head long into the credit crunch this week.  My expensive twin city existence means I'm burning through cash faster than 
Of course , I had a growing ache that I was running on fumes but that's all, just a suspicion. You see, I've always found that the best way to steer clear of financial troubles is not to look for them. Its a strategy that earned all those CEOs in the big banks millions of bonus pounds after all, so diligently going over the outs and ins of my bank balance has always been avoided during times of fiscal stress.  But, again, a lesson from history, you cant hide from it forever, and one week to go before pay day the ATM stubbornly refused to pass over the requested £50, or the £40, or the £30, or the £20, or even the     measly £10 that I asked for in increasingly desperate button jabbing.  

Quantitative easing was not really an option, not seeing as I had apparently spent my last £10 buying a one way ticket to Slough.  The prospect of spending a penniless 5 days in Slough you don't need me to tell you, isn't an attractive, though it felt a very real, one.  A penniless 5 days anywhere would be pretty grim, but Miami or Las Vegas I'm guessing would be less bad than Slough, hell, from what I saw from the train window, penniless in Pyongyang would be a  funnier experience.  I had no option but to turn to a major stakeholder and ask for a credit extension, yes, the lovely Girlfriend Monetary Fund offered an emergency loan with no strings attached other than a promise to look after my finances a little more carefully.  

I thought I'd give it a go, I've never tried it before, it might even be fun, I do love a spreadsheet, especially when you get to colour them in.   I got all the scheduled bills out the way, there isn't much you can do about them, then started on some fiscal prudence.  "Eating out" is a usefully vague category to put boozy pub visits in so I hazarded a guess at what I eat at work, added in a projected monthly pub spend and then promptly got busy getting through 90% of it in less than 10 days. I can cut back in other areas to compensate, like groceries and other frivolous luxuries, I could  also make every bodies Christmas presents for a change, I'm sure they will appreciate the personal touch and thinking of the long term, all the friends I'll lose will mean a less expensive Yule tide next year.   I'll need to do something, the Christmas party season is almost upon us and have conservatively estimated that "dining out" is going to overspend by about 50%. At least "personal supplies", an equally discrete euphemism for cigarettes is in line with expectations.   

As we approach the turn of the year, the Janus man within me cant help but look forward to the summer and the global sports day scheduled for the end of my road.  Its a sobering thought that in 8 or 9 months I'll be back looking for a job, and a job in Scotland more specifically where I can at least be closer to family and those that mean most to me,  I miss home. Its not going to be easy though and realistically have to consider applying for jobs anywhere until the right thing comes up.  I got asked last week if I'd be interested in working for a tobacco company.  As a smoker, albeit, a casual and slight one, I didn't think I would, but the more I think of it, the more I have ethical reservations, which is a bit rich when I worked in the drinks industry for 20 years, but the tobacco manufacturers have such a dodgy reputation from the cancer denying days.  It just feels wrong, like making prolonged eye contact with someone while eating a banana, still, this time next year I'll probably be willing to work for anyone, human organ harvesters, toxic dumpers, cluster bomb sales, you name it, I'll be up for it, morals are just another thing I cant afford.   

Lang may yer lum reek