Eye Witness Works

My dog’s Twitter followers continues to rise while mine has stuck doggedly at nineteen. Not that I’m counting. I’m having fun on Twitter. I’m amusing myself. What have I learnt this week of any significance ? Well Sir Patrick Stewart that wonderful actor  has adopted a Pit Bull Terrier called Ginger from the ASPCA, Grayson Perry is making two pots about Brexit, one for the Remain group and one for the Leave group and Ricky Gervais is going down an absolute storm on his stand up tour of the world. Apparently one of the characters Grayson Perry is basing\using for his Leave pot is a bloke from Chesterfield, where I’m writing from you now, stood in his back garden waving a hammer about. Why is it there’s always a twat from Chesterfield ?

Highlight of the week is I’m following ( on Twitter not stalking him physically )  a bloke in Sheffield whose posting diary entries from when he was a lot younger back in the 80’s  and a real hard line lefty. His account is @SRSYDiaries so you can follow him too. One entry has him going to the Independent Bookshop and buying a copy of ‘Lenin for Beginners’ has tickled me all week.

I went to Sheffield yesterday for a rare on my own trip out. It was a toss up between the steel city or Manchester and as Sheffield is closer and therefore cheaper to get to this fine city won. The sun was shining and spring was in the air. I had a lovely day. Young people in shops  actually spoke to me and I still can’t work out why. Was it my fashionable beard that I’ve been growing the past few weeks ? Was it that I’d made an effort to smarten myself up in my moleskin jeans, Rab down insulated jacket and Rohan beanie hat or was it that I had my little Panasonic camera slung around my neck ? Or was it all of these things. I like to think at my age I’ve still got a certain style, a little bit of hip and little bit of trend. Although entering the skateboarding shop on Division Street was maybe stretching it a bit far, the two young geezers looked at me like I was about to buy something for the grandchild. I had better response in the Vintage Clothing shop even though I could remember the clothes on the rack the first time they came around, the Sergio Tachini tracksuit tops, the Burberry jackets the Levi jeans. Nevertheless the young lady behind the counter was not only very attractive but friendly, chatty and interested. Don’t worry ! I know there’s nothing looks more pathetic than a fifty something man trying ( and even thinking ) that he can flirt with a good looking young lady. As the wife would say’ “you’re old enough to be her Grandad”.

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Wicked and Lazy

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With my new Microsoft Lumia 535 mobile phone I’ve been educating myself on using Twitter and Instagram. Have I already mentioned this ? I don’t remember. The irony is that my dog whose only been signed up to Twitter for only two days now has got 36 followers and counting while I on the other hand, whose had an account for the last two weeks has about nine. I guess my dog is more interesting than me. Well he is.

Television and the BBC drama SS-GB based on a book by a bloke called Len explores what the UK might have been like had we lost the War with the Nazis in the 1940’s. We have to differentiate these days between Nazis and Germans, two very separate groups of people you know. The first episode of this drama it might have been good had we been able to understand what the crap the actors were mumbling on about, and so it turns out did the rest of the fee paying public; “can ya turn it up love I can’t hear a feckin word”. Not for the first time has the BBC produced a drama in which its lead actors have mumbled their way through the whole thing. The only bit I could understand was the German subtitles. Set in London  its basically a group of Upper Class, wannabe Upper Class, Aristocrats and Establishment figures whose opposition and  subversion amounts to not much more than playing poker in a smoky room ruminating on who can and cannot be trusted against the Nazis who are trying to get their hands on some atomic secrets. At least that’s what I think it’s about and there’s some nudity and casual sex thrown in for good measure. Churchill has been shot while holding up the V sign in defiance, hoorah for old Winston we knew he wouldn’t let us down,  and there’s still fighting in the North by proper working folk who obviously didn’t know how to play poker and didn’t own dinner jackets. Week 2 and fifty resistance fighters are about to be hanged by the nasty Nazis but we don’t see any of that.

 

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We shall fight them in the North !

Frankly I’m looking forward to tonight and the return of a Scandinavian drama Follow the Money on BBC Four, basically because it’ll have English subtitles and I’ll have a decent chance of understanding it. Oh and it’ll almost certainly be good with great characterisation, wonderfully filmed and a plausible plot line that I can understand while I slot down my pizza and half glass of beer.

Wicked and Lazy ? I’ve only just heard this track from the talented and innovative David Byrne. It’s right at my front door.

 

 

Hugga Hugga Yum Yum

horse-kiss

Go on, give us a kiss

Feng Shui seems to have given away to Hygge (pronounced Hugge) here in the UK. It is apparently the Danish way of life, the Danes we are informed are the happiest in the world. I was browsing The Little Book of Hygge last week, a little book about how to live the Danish good life. It’s a nice little book with some nice photos and explanatory text and if someone gave it me I wouldn’t chuck it out. Aimed at middle class people with a few bob to spend and a bookcase that requires constant Feng Shui-ness  A few years ago we had Feng Shui which I think was about how to live the good  Japanese way of life. There were in fact Feng Shui Consultants who had been on Feng Shui Courses and were trained to Feng Shui your home, your garden,  your wardrobe and thus by default your inner soul. I think crystals were involved somewhere in the process with this one. I seem to remember being in a café and witnessing some middle aged lady dangling a crystal over her frothy latte to see if it was Feng Shui enough while other customers looked on somewhat bemused. Hygge seems to involve lots of candles preferably scented, woollen socks and log fires and attractive people all enjoying each others company. Oh and chocolate. There’s always chocolate. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. We can even take a bit of Hygge to work believe it or not. It’s all very utopian and chocolatey.

I’m thinking here in England we don’t have an equivalent term for Hygge which might explain why we’re not at the top of the Happiest People in the World League Table. Piracy maybe but happiness not. The nearest term we possibly have and could write nice little books ( on recycled paper ) about is ‘Cozy’. The English we could say, like to be cozy ! For me that means erm……. chocolate, a warm log fire, some beer, sausages, bacon, other foods that aren’t particularly good for you and a comfortable warm bed and no back ache.

PROSECCO AND THE MAGNOLIA GENERATION

Just in from  Leeds correspondent Nigel  and it’s back to doing what we do best here at FWIS Towers. Yeah ranting ! You see there’s things that we see now we’re in our fifties that just, well simply get on our tits ! Nothing more nothing less. Take it away chap.

how many more times do I have to tell you I'm a feckin vegetarian !

how many more times do I have to tell you I’m a feckin vegetarian !

Ok people, it’s grumpy old northern Git time. I’m typing this in a thick Yorkshire dialect whilst wearing a flat cap and muttering phrases such as “put wood int’ oil ar lass” and “sithee owd cock”.

Perhaps a tad over the top but today’s subject matter makes me want to bring out the inner Tyke. You see 70% of my town’s populace are from somewhere other than my town. By and large they are lovely folk and some are good friends of mine, so the following words are based on close observation.

You see they all have certain traits, habits or whatever that bemuse me . Let me state here and now though that what I am going to say may sound insulting but it is not intended that way.These folk are generally degree holders, married with two kids, two cars and a nice house. They also can’t think for themselves ! Over the years I have watched countless times how one couple will do ‘X’ only to be followed shortly after by numerous other couples. We have had the ‘knock through kitchen/dining room phase, the Camping phase, Euro Disney phase, you get the drift. It’s almost as if they can’t think for themselves or good old fashioned keeping up with the Smiths ( thought I’d give the Joneses a rest). They say things like have you been to/done/got so & so yet. Or we ‘need’ to do x! They are the ultimate conformists, complete slaves to the marketing and advertising world. They seem to be happiest when being told how to live their lives and what’s more look down on those who don’t conform. Or maybe that’s a bit harsh ? Perhaps it’s more accurate to say you are excluded by default if you don’t conform, ie they talk about the same stuff as each other, so if your not doing as them you’re not talking !

Facebook. Is it just me or is it mostly nothing more than a platform for narcissists, sycophants, and all things bland. With exceptions most posts consist of pictures of kids, food and people eating and drinking. I can put my hand on my heart, or indeed anyone  else’s, and with some confidence say “I really don’t give a shit whether you’re having Calamari at Alfonso’s, what your kid did with a felt tip pen or what fun it was bowling !”

Which leads me to Prosecco, symbol of the ‘tell us what to do’ generation or as I like to refer to them as ‘the Magnolia Generation’. “we thought we’d decorate in neutral shades” of course you did. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pleasant enough drink, but sweet Jesus it’s everywhere !! The bloody Magnolias are obsessed with the stuff. It’s as if they’ve just found the secret of eternal youth or at very least something very new and special that you must like. The chuffing stuff is similar to many other Italian wines and has been around for hundreds of years ! Now they talk like they’re Connoisseurs ! If you come across these fizzy plonk drinking, marketing man’s wet dream types ask them this……..”So do you prefer frizzante or spumante ?”.

The pain of buying a car

You’d think buying a car either brand spanking new or nearly new from a Dealership would be relatively straightforward wouldn’t you ? Oh no ! not a bit of it. As long as I can drive one, in fact longer than that because I used to go with my Dad, there’s been this car buying sales ritual that I’ve never quite understood. I’ve never witnessed it in any other buying environment so I don’t understand why it still persists in the world of cars and car showrooms.

When I got home I commented about my experience on Twitter. I’m new to Twitter so I didn’t quite expect Bristol Street Motors to respond apologising and requesting I give them details for them to investigate. Here’s a copy of my email for your delight:

 

hyundai-i10

Can ya slow down a bit love !

Dear Vertu  

Following my comments on Twitter about Bristol Street Motors and your request to provide further details I think it best to elaborate further: 

My wife is currently in the market for a new car. We are interested in the Hyundai i10 so over the past few weeks she has been looking at models and availability on the Internet. She found your website in which there is listed several Hyundai i10 models of various ages and prices but information like location is sadly lacking. How does this work then she wonders ? We could have gone on Live chat but frankly we both prefer a face to face so we get in the car and go down to your local Branch to talk to someone who we hope will give us straight answers. We arrive at your Branch and are met by a friendly welcoming young lady who politely passes us on to a Sales Rep. We are then subjected to what I can only describe as a carefully orchestrated ( and psychological) pantomime. The male Sales Rep welcomes us, shakes us by the hand and then sits us down in the middle of the showroom amongst all the shiny new Peugeot cars. My wife explains to him several times she’s seen these Hyundai’s on the Website and wonders how it works ? Despite my wife asking the questions he turns to address me and as I suspected he would subtly tries to start steering us onto Peugeot cars which this is a dealership for, “have you thought about the Peugeot 106 by any chance?”  She’s prepared a list of about six cars on your site that she’s seen and has it to hand. Surely if we are interested in a particular car on the Website it can be arranged for us to consider it. We are informed however that despite each car having a reference number it’s “like looking for a needle in a haystack” but the Rep takes the list from her and tells us he is going to see his Manager to discuss further. This is when I start to get irritated because I’ve been subjected to this “ I need to  speak to my manager “ before and I’m not falling for it. It pisses me off big time. He nips off for five minutes around the corner leaving us sat there like puddings. I saw his Manager at the same time and they weren’t talking.  Furthermore one of the cars on the list is a little more pricey at £8495 than the others. Lo and behold he comes back five minutes later and tells us they can’t get the others but they can get the one at £8495. Despite my wife explaining yet again that it was only an enquiry he then insisted on taking our details on the computer, name, address, contact no etc and then left us again to go see his manager to see if his manager had finished his enquiries. Again his manager and he when I looked were not together and not talking to each other. In fact when he came back my wife reckoned she could smell fags on him but …..well ? After an irritating time sat down I asked my wife to stand up and look like we were about to leave. My Sales Rep returned to us with his manager and explained they couldn’t / wouldn’t be interested in getting us any of the cheaper Hyundai models because they wouldn’t make any money on them. “ Don’t you want us to order this one at £8495 the Manager asked us ? “ No” my wife replied we only came in to make an enquiry. 

It begs the question,  if these cars are listed on the Internet with unknown locations then what’s the point if Customers at the other side of the country can’t access them ? You either want to sell us a car or you don’t.  We left your Dealership and went down the road to one of your competitors who I have to say treated us much more respectfully than you did.  

My visit to your dealership left me completely bemused. My wife and I were made to feel like we’d just dropped off a Christmas Tree. I’m surprised that you still carry out these sales practices that I first witnessed about thirty years ago. Do you send your Reps on training courses to do this ?  I won’t be returning to you in the near future and I won’t be recommending BSM to my friends or on my Blog.

Yours sincerely

Andy Greaves

Footnote: At time of going to press Vertu have not responded and we’ve been and purchased a car from one of their competitors. We pretty much went through the same ritual but somehow we felt a bit more in control.

 

 

 

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I’d like to quote you from Banksy but why should I, he never quoted any of my stuff but on this occasion I’ll make an exception.  I picked this up on Facebook from a mate of mine so whether it’s actually from Banksy or not I’m not sure and I can’t be arsed to verify because whether it is or not I pretty much agree.

The artist “Banksy,” on advertisers:

 

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

 

You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

 

Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

 

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.
Here’s an advert for the NHS I found in a London phone box
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