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>Day 205: Fr-fr-fr-Frustration!

6 October, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  Leftfield – Leftism

As Marc Almond once stuttered, albeit in very different circumstances, I would imagine.

It’s frustrating enough being out of work and waiting for the phone to ring, or the emails to arrive, when things are quiet – but it’s doubly frustrating when you are actually waiting for something tangible – in this case, some feedback and updates from an interview that took place over a week ago.  It’s triply frustrating when the lack of that feedback is holding up another opportunity you are chasing!

So I spent the morning trying to get some arses into gear – and getting nowhere, quite frankly.  At least I’ve done all that I can do to push things on.

Taking a step backwards for a minute, I know – from being on the other side of the table – just how long these processes can take, and where they sit on the priority list when things are manic – but knowing that doesn’t actually ease the frustration that much!

In better news, I took a couple of calls from one of my more reliable consultants, about another contract opportunity in Liverpool that might give me 3-6 months’ work.  Just waiting to get some more details on that one – perhaps this is the one that will eventually come good?

Still, pointless fretting about it – you have to manage your impatience and continue to show a brave face.

So – how to fill the time?  Well, if in doubt – bake!  Two loaves today – a slightly off-the wall Spelt loaf for me, made interesting by the addition of milk powder, lemon juice and zest and poppy seeds, and a more mainstream rustic French loaf for Mrs W’s sandwiches.

Oh, and I finished cleaning off the old bathroom tiles at last – after days and days of hacking away with a chisel at the old cement, my dad gently broke it to me that the cement would be water soluble – and so would wash off easily.  And it did.  How foolish do I feel now?

Unfortunately no excuses left for not retiling the bathroom now…

Having sorted out the Glastonbury ticket sales, the fun now starts trying to guess who the headliners are going to be for this ‘special’ 40th anniversary festival.  Current speculation has the Stones, David Bowie and Coldplay as favourites, closely followed by Bob Dylan and the Foo Fighters.  My money is on Radiohead – but as Son No 2 pointed out, my money is on Radiohead every year.  Got to be right eventually though…

I suspect Coldplay will be there though – in which case I shall be elsewhere.

Filled the rest of this loooong day by managing my football team a touch further.  As my young team of promising starlets have aged, matured and gelled, and buoyed by their success last season in the Europa League, they are now a fixture in the upper reaches of the Premier League despite a hideous lack of sensible funding from the Board.  Currently top of the league (in Christmas 2013) although an upcoming away match against a frankly unbeatable Man City might soon drop us from those heady heights.

The Boy went to see Little Man Tate in Sheffield  the other night – one of their final gigs before sadly splitting up.  His review is here, and you will note he is pretty disparaging about the support band, Artery.  A shame they were poor – back in the day – when I was his age, actually – they were one of the leading bands on the Sheffield alternative circuit, along with Cabaret Voltaire, early Human League, Clock DVA etc.  Looks like they’ve recently re-formed and are doing the rounds again – although I would suggest a gig supporting LMT is not the right sort of slot for them.  Now if only the Cabs would re-form and get out there…

This is what Artery were like back in  the day – somewhere in Sheffield, 1978.  I might even be in the crowd, somewhere…




In contrast, today’s soundtrack features electronic noiseniks Leftfield, who are actually not all that leftfield, when you listen to them.

Leftism is their first album, and doesn’t include Phat Planet, used in the excellent soundtrack to the Guinness advert with the surfers and the horses, but is still a pretty good collection of beats and techno, with a nice dubby companion disc attached for good measure.  Oh, and a good selection of guest vocalists, including John Lydon, who brings something a bit special to ‘Open Up’…

>Day 139: Cholesterol? What Cholesterol?

2 August, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Suicide – Suicide

There are times when only a fry-up will do. Today was one of those times.

What did we have? We had thick-cut back bacon and pork sausages from the farm shop, double fried egg, mushrooms fried in olive oil, hash browns and fried bread. Lightly dressed with red (Mrs W) and brown (me) sauce. And washed down with big mugs of coffee and tea.

Absolutely delightful. Eaten early, so as not to reduce the impact of the curry planned for the evening – provided courtesy of Sainsbury’s, who have a very tasty line of ready meals. In particular, they have started doing side dishes in little square(ish) pots that really go down a treat – we had some Bombay Potato and some Tarka Daal that were very acceptable.

Other than eat (and drink), there was little to do today other than sit in ad watch the rain fall. It’s been a bit of a washout this summer, certainly up here in the grim North, and I’m just thankful that festival season was – by and large – a dry one this year.

So how to fill the day?

Well – inevitably – a bit of football management took place this afternoon. I’m still hanging in there as the season draws to a close, with a top ten position reasonably secure. Not sure that will be enough for the Board, despite my ‘Manager of the Month’ award for March, to secure my place for next season, but who knows?

Other than that, I spent some time chucking out a load of covermount discs from computer magazines stretching back years, and sorting out the various discs relating to computer programs that I’ve acquired over the years. I started doing this while I was looking for the software that came with my printer/scanner combo – I needed to install the scanner software on the new computer. Failed miserably in my search for said disc – why is it that the disc you want is always the one you can’t find? – but in any event was able to download what I needed from the internet, in new, improved Vista-compatible flavour, so all was well eventually.

As you can tell, it was rather quiet chez Waring today – which is no bad thing on occasion!

Today ended with a better than average DVD watched while we ate our curry – called ‘Passengers’, it followed the recuperation of a number of airline passengers in the aftermath of a plane crash. Needless to say, not all was what it seemed at first, although the twist, when it came, wasn’t too much of a surprise. A couple of second division actors, no big stars, but a nice way to waste an hour or two.

Today’s soundtrack is hardly ‘easy’ listening – Suicide were one of the original NY Punk bands that came out of the CBGB’s explosion of the mid-’70s. They stood apart from the pack by being a duo and by being synthesiser-led. An incredibly confrontational band live, it was not unknown for their performances to end in mayhem either caused by, or visited upon, the band.

Still, a hugely influential band in their own way, on the likes of Cabaret Voltaire, early Human League and Soft Cell for instance. You wouldn’t play them to your mother, though. This, their first album, was re-released last year with a second disk including ’23 Minutes over Brussels’, a concert (in Brussels) that, indeed, lasted 23 minutes before degenerating into a full-scale riot.

I was a bit loath to search for ‘Suicide’ on YouTube – who knows what you will find? Anyway, I did find this – Suicide performing ‘Ghost Rider’, the album’s lead-off track, some time in 1977-78. Will you make it all the way to the end?

>Day 137: This football management lark…

31 July, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Fleetwood Mac – Live in Boston (Volume 1)

This football management lark is in severe danger of taking over my life. I knew it would – it’s happened before (and no doubt it will happen again). The problem is that you need a good deal of time to get into a routine – something I’ve plenty of at the moment. It just doesn’t work in fifteen minute spells, you need to be able to devote hours, nay days, of your time to the damn thing.

Which is what I did today, primarily. Still hanging in there, as we move into December, but half the team are now attracting the attention of bigger teams. Not sure why, as by and large they are playing like dogs, but somehow I’m in the quarter finals of the League Cup, where I’m about to be knocked out by Chelsea, it looks like I’ll get through the group stages of the UEFA Cup (or whatever its called now) – following an excellent away draw at AC Milan (battered them for most of the game, took the lead, then conceded a raggy equaliser at the death). In fact, if it wasn’t for some very ropey league form (languishing in 13th place at the moment) all would be fine. Perhaps I’ll just let all these overpaid primadonnas go, and spend the money on a bunch of keen kids who actually want to play for me. Or not.

So that was my day, how was yours?

Actually, that’s not quite true, I did do a couple of other things in and around my footballing activities. I finally caught up with my ex-boss regarding this job opportunity – as is often the case, we seem to have a number of agencies each claiming some degree of ‘exclusivity’ with the company offering the job, which kind of makes it difficult to know who you should really be dealing with. Probably best to have some contact with them all, making it clear who you have spoken to, and letting them deal with the conflicts. Anyway, details are going to be passed on – let’s see where this one gets to!

Baked myself a seeded spelt loaf this week for lunchtime sandwiches, so headed off to the local farm shop for something nice to stick on top. Picked up some tasty pastrami, posh coleslaw, posh cheeses – and bacon and sausage for the weekend fry-up.

I also picked up some Eccles Cakes. And now I’m going to let you into a little secret. A secret recipe that will initially appal you, but which will delight and amaze you if you have the courage to try it out.

It is this.

Take your Eccles Cakes (I would assume more than one would be necessary) and warm up using your favoured approach to warming said cakes. Probably the oven, but maybe under the grill or even in the microwave.

Nice.

Then do this.

Cut yourself a big slice of Stilton Cheese and stick it on top of the Eccles Cake. Stick under a grill so the cheese melts.

Eat with gusto.

Trust me – it’s a taste sensation. How do I know this? Well there used to be (and for all I know, still is) a pub in Liverpool City Centre that served this on its lunchtime menu. I was in there with some fellow accountants, oh, probably twenty years ago now, and was persuaded to try the Eccles Cake/Cheese combo against, it has to be said, my better judgement. But I did, and it was lovely.

Try it and tell me I’m wrong.

The Fleetwood Mac on the soundtrack today is not the stega-rich, cocaine-hoovering supergroup of the late ’70s and early ’80s – rather, it is the original band, fronted at the time by Peter Green, wonderful guitarist but eventual drug casualty. This is volume one of three CDs, recorded live in Boston in 1970. I think they are bootlegs, but may actually have had a semi-official release at some stage. Whatever, the sound quality is fantastic, as is the music and the guitar playing. This version of Fleetwood Mac is the one that released such wonderful tracks as Man of the World, Albatross and Black Magic Woman, and shows up the more contemporary version of the band for the easy listening borefest that they are. Extremely rich and self-satisfied borefest, but there you go.

Happily Peter Green, although still somewhat fragile, is a lot healthier than he has been, and does now perform on stage on an intermittent basis. Worth catching if you can.

This is Peter and the Mac in happier days – Man of the World, recorded live (vocals anyway, backing sounds like the original) for the BBC. Quite possibly the most beautiful, saddest song ever recorded.

>Day 136: Football’s a cruel mistress…

30 July, 2009 1 comment

>Today’s soundtrack: LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem

I could resist the siren call no longer. Was it the impending start of the new football season that dragged me back, or the potential for a new computer to handle the 3D graphics without st-st-stuttering? Or the box, sat enticingly next to the computer, Mourinho-alike on the cover giving me the come-on?

Or, most likely, the long day stretching ahead of me, jobbing and blogging out of the way by early morning?

Whatever. I slid the silver disc into the drive, waited for the game to load, and once more I was no longer Paul Waring, unemployed mild-mannered accountant, but Paul Waring, unknown football manager blithely promising my chairman that qualification for European competition through my eventual league placing was not only possible, but practically guaranteed.

And it all started so well. An unbeaten pre-season performance, including wins over Benfica, Anderlecht and Ajax suggested we would hit the ground running come the real thing. Sadly it was not to be. A tight (and undeserved) 3-4 reverse at Middlesborough was followed by a succession of 0-0 draws home and away as Jo and Saha flattered to deceive upfront and my team of expensive mercenaries decided they couldn’t motivate themselves sufficiently under my management. Luckily, wins in Europe and in the League Cup (against, admittedly, far inferior opposition) is keeping the team together and goals from, of all people, Victor Anichibe, mean we enter October improving steadily from a poor start. Although 14th position needs to be improved upon rapidly if I am to make it to the next transfer window still in a job!

In other news, the real Everton continued this season’s preparations with a win (on penalties) against an MLS select eleven – not a bad achievement, as the first team from England to beat the MLS in pre-season in the last seven years. And at the time of writing, Joleon Lescott is still an Everton player, despite continuing overtures from Man City. Which can only be a good thing.

Dragged myself away from the computer screen to have a long chat with Simon in Southampton, who seems to be getting some positive noises from the local job market – here’s hoping! I also managed – by virtue of leaving my mobile on ‘mute’ after my trip to the job centre on Tuesday – to miss a succession of calls from my old boss about one of the opportunities I mentioned earlier this week. So maybe – just maybe – there are some hints of movement in the job market for us poor souls!

Oh, and I should point out – in relation to yesterday’s comments – that it would appear that my recollection of the Pretty Woman affair is (probably) correct – I did buy the disc for my lovely wife, purely to obtain one song she wanted on her iPod. This must have been before the advent of the iTunes Music Store though – my usual source for the odd (in both senses of the word!) songs Mrs W asks me to track down from time to time…

I would also add (Mr Day) that I proudly own the greatest hits of Wham! – on both vinyl and CD, and also confess to more than a couple of Girls Aloud tracks lurking in the collection somewhere. Nowt wrong with a a bit of pure pop from time to time – especially when sung by hot young totty (ahem). Which also gives me the excuse to post one of my favourite t-shirt slogans of the summer, spotted at Glastonbury once or twice this year…

Harsh indeed, but fair, I feel!

Mrs W came to her senses this evening, realising that a bowl of soup and a chunk of Italian bread, no matter how lovingly prepared and tasty it might be, does not a decent evening meal make. So tonight it is haddock fillets, baked in a citrus sauce, accompanied by potato croquettes and stir-fried vegetables. And a cheeky bottle of white. So normal order is restored once again, happily!

Despite owning a couple of their albums, LCD Soundsystem mean very little to me. Loosely dumped in my ‘Electronica/Dance’ genre in iTunes, they actually transcend this classification by covering a range of styles, aided by a series of collaborations with other artists. More than a touch of Talking Heads in this one, the snappily-entitled “Daft Punk is Playing at My House”

Right, off now to get the team ready for the next game, home to ManYoo (gulp…)