Thursday, September 27, 2007

dirty thieving asylum seekers

Wow, people really have a problem with the whole immigration thing in this country don't they? It seems like every week somebody's informing me of how this country is now being over-run by foreigners, stealing either our benefits, our jobs, or our wives. Or all three. At once. Whilst grooming our children. With Gangsta rap and Turkey Twizzlers.

Just the other night one of our bouncers at work was sounding off about how this country's lost the plot regarding the whole thing, and I could only reply with "well I disagree, but I don't want to get into it". Mainly because I try not to get involved in big arguments with people who's job role could encompass saving my life one day.

But yeah, why is this opinion so overwhelmingly widespread, mmm? Have people simply been paying too much attention to what the Daily Mail tells them? (Along with the rest of the newspapers, come to think of it)

I thought I'd attempt to douse the situation with some cold hard facts I came across, instead of - you know - scaremongering and distortion and that...

The number of people applying for asylum in the UK is at its lowest level since 1989.
The UK hosts 3% of the world's refugees. Germany hosts 8%, Pakistan 13%.
Asylum seekers supported by the Government receive less financial support than British citizens are entitled to.
Albert Einstein entered Britain as a refugee.
The value that immigrants - including refugees - bring to the economy is that they pay £2.5 billion more in taxes than they take from the country in welfare benefits.

Some of those surprised me. I mean it's not as if you ever hear them from the non-BBC areas of the media is it? They'd rather stoke the fires and sell more copies, turning us into a country of paranoid racists, of course. They know full well that immigration is the one issue that will really get their readership riled up while they're necking their Carling's watching the football on a sunday afternoon.

Even without all those perspective-setting facts, why are the public so paranoid about people seeking asylum in this country anyway? Where's the compassion to say that just because you're not fortunate enough to be born in this country, it means you're less deserving of our help? We're happy to help you out with a few quid to save our conscience when the TV appeals to us to do so, as long as you don't actually come anywhere near where we live, thankyouverymuch.

Am I just being a silly idealist here? Thoughts please.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

tales of an ex-barman

Given that this blog is supposed to be vaguely themed around the struggle to get a career started post-graduation, I suppose I have to make this post: I've kind of had a promotion at work. I'm now apparently a Cellar Supervisor, which is exciting news. (it isn't)

So instead of doing everything customers and managers tell me, I'm now doing everything bar staff and managers tell me. Changing barrels, stock takes, deliveries, that kind of thing. Joy.

Anyway, this is pretty much the dullest subject for a blog post in ages, I think I'll liven it up with the exact, full transcript from the interview for the new job:

"Mark, are you interested in that Cellar Supervisor position going?"
"What are you doing next week?"
"Well, taking some Class A drugs, mainly crack cocaine and heroine"
"Excellent, well that's the interview for Cellar Supervisor. You start Monday"

Saturday, September 08, 2007

job interviews are rubbish

Is it a good idea to mention the fact that you write a blog when you're at job interviews?

I've never been sure. On the one hand, it's a vague example of the creative writing that I list as one of my interests on my CV. But the problem is, recruiters can then go off, find your blog through Google, and know far more about you than any interviewer really should. But then again, if I don't mention it, there seems to be this big gap in my life that they'll no doubt assume I fill with sitting on my arse watching TV, or throwing eggs at pensioners whilst riding a chopper around my estate, or something.

So yeah, I've been struggling with it recently. I'd generally preferred a cautious approach, not mentioning anything up to now, but after something like 9000 failed interviews recently, I was willing to have my mind changed. So last week in an interview for the head office of a famous British high-street retailer I brought it up.

And the next day, I remembered that I'd actually been quite anti-capitalist on this blog in the past. Even, on occasion, quite anti-British retailers. Which might be a problem.

And the next day, I heard I hadn't got the job.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

news international is watching you

This is a bit of a weird one, but because I'm sad, I have often find myself commenting on BBC News articles online. Often the site gives you the chance to have your say, alongside boxes where you enter your name, your email address, and your websites' address - should you have one.

Naturally I enter the address for this here blog.

Now, whenever I have done this, there is an unnerving habit to get a hit on my blog from somebody within a BskyB building (that being the mega-company that owns The Times, The Sun, Sky, Myspace and a fair few other things). They have clicked on the link in that BBC News article to go to my blog. And it happens with quite disturbing regularity. Am I under surveillance here, Mr Rupert Murdoch man? Have you got your binoculars out, peering through my window whilst chomping on a Cornetto? Hmm?

hurrah for klaxons

In a vaguely related note, many congratulations to Klaxons for scooping last night's Mercury Music Prize award. As I detailed elsewhere yesterday afternoon, it more than deserved to win. It was an innovative, trend-setting, and all round accomplished work. Which is really exactly what the Mercury prize should stand for.

Monday, September 03, 2007

the 7 songs i currently can't stop listening to

Elbow - Forget Myself

I always quite liked this song, but over the last month or so I've become really quite obsessed by it. It's a soaring anthem of a track that's sheer epic feel exhausts you by it's end, yet still leaves you wanting to play it again immediately afterwards.

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip - The Beat That My Heart Skipped

Underground hit Thou Shalt Always Kill was a clever track that got this duo noticed, but which also got annoying after five listens. This offering though is a far more addictive prospect, with a subtler subject matter that still remains as smart as before, over a killer tune that will be knocking around your head days later.

Candie Payne - I Wish I Could Have Loved You More

I wasn't sure when I first heard this classy soul effort, through headphones whilst on the bus into town. but a few days later I was picking some songs to play out on a Saturday night in Main Bar at Rescue Rooms, and I gave this one a go, and man, did it sound glorious thorough our deep, powerful sound system. Could be a bond theme with it's rich, dramatic sound.

Chemical Brothers - Saturate

The understated highlight of their We Are The Night album, here's a track that starts based around an addictive little hook, then keeps building the same idea over 5 minutes until you're forced to dance regardless of whether you're in a club, or walking down a crowded highstreet. Mixes that killer hook with a dizzying euphoria to dynamite effect.

Sonny Jim - Can't Stop Moving

The song I can't stop going on about at the moment, and the sole track that's keeping me going during the horrid wait for The Avalanches to follow up their 2001 album Since I Left You. Seriously, you need this song in your life.

Athlete - Hurricane

Always good for at least one triumphant, rousing pop tune per album (remember Half Light and El Salvador?), here's this album's example. Completely unchallenging, yet simply lovely. The audio equivalent of a particularly gripping game of cricket.

The Courteeners - Cavorting

Widely predicted to be the best thing ever, this song lives up to the considerable hype that already surrounds the Mancunian band. A simple tale of rubbish nightclubs and the overly-indulgent folk that inhabit them.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

thank god it's autumn

If there's one thing I try to avoid blogging about, it's the British clique of writing about the weather. Regardless, though: thank God it's September. Not because I hate hot weather, or like the sight of leaves falling off trees or something, but because of this simple fact: stuff gets good again.

And there's lots of stuff to look forward to now that autumn is finally hear: new album's from The Go! Team and Pendulum are on the way. TV also becomes good again: Spooks will be back in a couple of weeks, along with Never Mind The Buzzcocks around mid-October.

Bands start touring again as well, and I'm somewhat overly excited about upcoming tours from Editors, Bloc Party, Stephen Fretwell, Feist, Foals, Damien Rice and Arcade Fire over the next few months. Along with that it'll be great to have Manchester's Warehouse Project back - I'm already booked in to the opening night Essential Selection Party and the Pendulum gig.

And then there's videogames, where there's Super Mario Galaxy and SingStar PS3 to look forward to. Not that I actually have a Playstation 3, or could remotely afford one, but this is the first game to make me actually want one.

So yeah: hurrah for autumn and that.