Saturday, 21 July 2012
The Black Cab is as iconic as London Bridge and an intrinsic part of London life, safe, reliable and value for money, yes value for money. Moving people around London day and night 365 days a year is not the easiest of jobs.
Most people accept the verbal contract, that's what it is by the way, made when they ask to be taken to their destination, this means that by accepting that verbal contract the driver will take you to where you want to go and you agree to pay him/her at the end of the journey. What this should also mean is that as the paying customer you should have the means to pay...not wait til you're nearly home and then say 'Oh I need a cashpoint' or simply run off when your journey ends...cowards.
For those who care London is, as discussed in a previous post, in a bit of a mess at the moment, Olympic lanes and road closures mean that Black Cab drivers are having to take alternative routes, not their fault. Should you use a Black Cab over the next month or so here's some advice, try not give advice as to where the best way to go is, your driver will know, try not to joke about Olympic lanes, traffic chaos or even say 'Been busy?', that may not go down well and, as you make a contract with the driver, make sure you fucking pay them. Rant over......
Livid of Leybourne.......
I knew a couple who were unable to have kids. Lovely couple, both in their early 30's. She was a successful hairdresser he was a butcher....sounds almost vaguely amusing! Anyway, they went through the initial form filling process, this took 2 years. They were happy to adopt young children, not just babies and were given the impression they would be suitable....until they handed over their accounts. They owed some money, not a surprise in todays world , not even to credit cards, it was for a loan from her mum to decorate the house. It was £2,500 which they were paying back on a monthly basis. The local authority demanded that potential adopters had savings, which this couple did but their debt negated this. The powers that be had a problem with this....it's debt. They were allowed to go further into the process, health checks. She is a size 14, gym twice a week, he is a rugby player....the powers that be decided they were both obese, according to BMI Index. They were both told they needed to lose weight.
So let's just digest that information....a successful couple have a debt of £2,500 are told they are both obese are refused the opportunity to adopt children in need. So keen are they to adopt the put themselves on a new fitness regime in order to lose weight....until it then hits them. The pain of trying to have children, the 2 years of trying to get onto the adoption register proved too much. They withdrew their application...a huge loss to the children waiting to be adopted.
I have experience of adoption, as I was adopted at 9 months old. Bit different back then. My blood mother had me when she was 18 years old and unmarried. She was put in a unmarried mothers home and she agreed to have me adopted. I say agreed, she signed the paperwork, how much she wanted to do that I will never know. Huge pressure from her family and the authorities may have swayed her. It would have been very difficult to bring me up on her own in the late 60's....shame and lack of support would have made the decision a lot easier. My sister's blood mother was 16, even worse. My future parents had to go through rigorous checks of course but behind all of this was their yearning to have children. This was not, as many adoptions were back then, a bohemian, Angelina Jolie style yearning, my future Mum was physically not able to have kids
I was put in a home. I was lucky, my Mum and Dad picked me. They paid a £1 and after a lot of paperwork and time, took me home. Imagine this though, written into the adoption was the 'change of mind' clause, not sure if this still exists, my blood mother could change her mind up to year after the adoption, how uneasy my new parents must have felt in that first year....my sister came along a couple of years later, I was not best pleased, so used to all the attention I had a face on for the first week of my sister being with us. Our parents were fantastic, I never remember being told I was adopted, I have always known, in fact even now at 43 years old I will still ask my Mum to tell me the story of when they first saw me, how they felt. Me and my sister are sisters. Deeply connected, a real sense of family. She now lives in Essex, while I'm in Kent, we see each other when we can, our connection never waivers.
I am unsure of my blood family history, whether I have brothers or sisters, to be honest I have no real yearning to know. I am very comfortable with who I am, where I'm from, my family connection. This is, of course, down to my wonderful Mum and Dad. The question being asked at the moment is should siblings be adopted together, I'm not sure how to answer that. If there are couples who are prepared to take on more than one child I don't see the problem but if it means that, for example, 5 kids from the same family can't be adopted unless they go together I worry about their future.
My line of work brings me in contact with families that are struggling. Many are 'broken' homes, many mothers/fathers having suffered abuse, many young people having witnessed or experienced things I will never experience. One young person was taken away from his blood family as a toddler, his adoption broke down and 2 years later he was returned to his 'family' home. His brothers and sisters did not accept him, mother had had another child and he has suffered emotionally ever since. Social services look to keep the family together as much as possible, lessons learned from the past, however sometimes that family is not the right family for the young person involved, even if they are blood relatives. I think back to the couple I knew, desperate to adopt, full of love, hope and the yearning to have a family......
So I started this blog entry thinking about whether siblings should be adopted together and end it not really knowing the answer. The adoption process needs looking at, more and more people adopt from abroad because of the negative way they are treated by the respective authorities. This can't continue.
Me and my sister were lucky....we are a family.
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
I have to be in a particularly good place to listen to Nick Drake, it's a sound a feeling that has such a strong affect on me I have to limit it!! It's been quite a while since I last heard it, each time I hear it I hear something new. Few complete albums do this to me....Dark Side of The Moon takes me somewhere else, Meat is Murder would turn me into a vegetarian if I ever listened to that particular track but Five Leaves Left touches me somehow. In all these tracks my senses are challenged, I've banged on about this in previous ramblings....Nick Drake a folky, spliff smokin, flare wearing dude...talented and troubled can really hit me hard. Why? How? I'm really not sure I can explain it, it's a whole body and mind experience, no I'm neither pissed nor stoned it just is!!
Lyrically Nick Drake's genius is pure poetry, I favour a bit of poetry....
With your eyes
So pale and sincere
Underneath you know well
You have nothing to fear
For the dreams that came
To you when so young
Told of a life
Where spring is sprung
You would seem so frail
In the cold of the night
When the armies of emotion
Go out to fight
But while the earth
Sinks to it’s grave
You sail to the sky
On the crest of a wave
So forget this cruel world
Where I belong
I’ll just sit and wait
And sing my song
And if one day you should see me in the crowd
Lend a hand and lift me
To your place in the cloud
Isn't it amazing that music can have such a power over us?
Anyway enough rambling...while I can I'm going to listen to Pink Moon, another marvellous group of Laura affecting songs.....Oh before I go, try Gloomy Sunday by Billie Holiday a song famous for it's melancholy and subject matter....suicide. 'It is not that the song is sad, there is a sort of terrible compelling despair about it. I don't think it would do anyone any good to hear a song like that' Enjoy!
Sunday is gloomy,
My hours are slumberless
Dearest the shadows
I live with are numberless
Little white flowers
Will never awaken you
Not where the black coach of
Sorrow has taken you
Angels have no thought
Of ever returning you
Would they be angry
If I thought of joining you?
Gloomy is Sunday,
With shadows I spend it all
My heart and I
Have decided to end it all
Soon there'll be candles
And prayers that are said I know
Let them not weep
Let them know that I'm glad to go
Death is no dream
For in death I'm caressin' you
With the last breath of my soul
I'll be blessin' you
Dreaming, I was only dreaming
I wake and I find you asleep
In the deep of my heart, dear
Darling I hope
That my dream never haunted you
My heart is tellin' you
How much I wanted you
Another Man Done Gone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYDsJO3QNK4
Cello Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1YsFgDaEeo
Gloomy Sunday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUCyjDOlnPU
Monday, 16 July 2012
From the moment tickets went on sale I felt strangely removed from the ocassion, I could not afford to bagsy tickets without knowing how much or what I may get. I was signed up to the Olympic alerts thingy but it failed to let me know how the tickets would be allocated or how the system actually worked. It was all too vague to get involved.
As time has gone by, the more I hear about behind the scenes shenanigans the more disconnected I become. Only this morning I heard that if , in your packed lunch, you don't have the sponsors drinks you will be asked to leave or your lunch will be taken away. All manner of sponsorship deals agreed to avoid having any advertising in the actual stadium...who's going to police this? Touchy subject eh, I'm sure members of the armed forces will be delighted to be told their specific job will be to check kids lunches to make sure they have got Maccy D's and C**a C**a in their boxes...cue Healthy Schools initiative...ahem. All things related to 2012 Olympics including the words Gold, Silver and Gold are currently protected, Olympic Kebabs an existing business of many years had to change its name so it was not in breach of Olympic copyright madness...they are now called Lympic Kebabs....
Although I am not able to properly bemoan the ORN about to start in London I know the direct affect. For those who are not aware Olympic cars (sponsored by B*W) being driven by volunteers, who incidently have no 'knowledge' of London streets have been allocated exclusive lanes to get dignitaries and athletes to and from the Olympic village easily...remember it takes 3 years to do the proper Knowledge...it appears that already an Olympic car was seen trundling happily the wrong way down a one way street. I am biased, my better half is a London cabby. I will not even try and express how his living is going to be affected or how black cabs are not afforded the luxury of being able to use these lanes, or should you take a cab to the Olympic stadium how cabs are not allowed anywhere near the stadium, they can drop you off but you then have to walk 20 minutes to get to the stadium, or that the changes in roads and routes within London have only just been realeased without apparent consultation on how it may affect this iconic trade, or how bus drivers are demanding an extra £500 for just rocking up to work. Hmm, bit biased of course, many within the trade may disagree, I talk only for me. So to almost prove the point... as I type there are some Olympic athletes stuck on a coach, they have been for 4 hours...very lost.....I won't dwell.
Don't get me wrong I want these games to be a success, I want our athletes to be cheered on by the home crowd, there is something special about the Olympics, that I will not deny. I will watch and cry when we win a gold, curse when we miss out. I am fully aware that the Olympics has changed, Atlanta saw to that, commercialism hit as did the need to provide the greatest show on earth every 4 years. London 2012, the public transport games, sponsored by companies that aren't allowed to sell their goods in our schools, I'm sure it will all be fine.
I've used a lot of Olympic buzzwords here...I await my fate.
Ok so neither of us was in the mood, a delicious late lunch, rib eye steak for the record, MotoGP and the opportunity to sleep off said meal against a trip to Dartford to see a gig we feared could be a bit rubbish. We soldiered on, gig gear donned we headed to Dartford, unsure to what we were going to experience.
Outside the theatre we were greeted by an eclectic mix of people. The obligatory fan dressed head to toe in military Ant-esque regalia, he looked , well a bit silly, but he was pleased to be there. Lots of 40 something women, some older guys hoping Appollo 9 wasn't on the set list.
Still unsure we faffed around at the t shirt stand, deciding not to buy in case the gig was rubbish....
And so it began.....Adam, dressed to please has changed, like us all pounds have been added in places we wished they hadn't but there he was, specs and all. To be honest I don't favour a rimless spectatcle, too Sven Goran Ericsson for me anyway.....
It was a sitting down gig, something I hadn't experienced before, we were in the circle with, as it turned out, people who wanted Appollo 9, Puss in Boots etc.
Two drum kits, bass, guitar and Adam oh every now and then Georgie someone, Andrew Sachs grandaughter.
The band were great, tight, grungy and the sound mix was spot on. Loud and angry the band and Adam charmed us immediately. Much to the displeasure of our 'friends' in the circle they played all the old stuff, grinding and scuzzy, marvellous...Car Trouble, Xerox, Deutscher Girls, Lady, Plastic Surgery, Physical and more. Our 'friends' in the circle stood up to Goody Two Shoes, Prince Charming, Vive Le Rock, Ant Music and Kings of the Wild Frontier, which incidently Mr Ant said that each time he performs that song it's like the first time, he nailed it.
We decided that probably 90% of the audience wanted pop Ant.....our 'friends' in the circle left before the encore, where the stand out track was Red Scab, wow now that was hot!! They also banged out Get it on...which also worked.
Ok so maybe Adam should break free from the image of the 80's...his older stuff is far superior but the housewives crave that I guess. To our surprise this was a fantastic gig, Georgie whatsherface wasn't really necessary, not the best singer in the world and slightly unsure of her role and whether she should be on or leave, a subtle exit stage left was not on her agenda, but hey it wasn't about her.
We went back to the t shirt stand buoyed with good gig feelings.....sold out!!! Serves us right for doubting!
An apology Adam, I wasn't sure what to expect but boy oh boy this was a good gig, our 'friends' in the circle left early, their loss. A good 2 hours of music, fantastically put together, great arrangements, excellent musicians...win!
I salute you Mr Ant...you still got it!
Friday, 13 July 2012
Monday, 9 July 2012
Made me think, consider, forgiveness. Me and the better half discussed forgiveness and the ability to forgive after watching a doco on the 7/7 bombings, we concluded that we wouldn't know what or how to feel unless it happened to us...god/goddess forbid.
I remember watching a TV programme years ago about forgiveness. It was mainly people of faith who were able to forgive however their description of how the pain of anger took over from their initial hurt of loss was overwhelming and in order to release themseleves they had to forgive.
The crux of 7 Days is a father seeking revenge, without giving too much away he holds the accused and carries out all manner of tortuous actions. What is more interesting for me is the psychological break down of this poor father, who carries guilt probably more than hurt.
Anyway if you fancy a bit of French anarchic action watch La Haine....if you fancy a revenge film watch 7 Days.
Sunday, 8 July 2012
So I'm back on twitter more as a viewer as opposed to a contributor ..... @icuntos...not really sure why. Was v bored on Friday. Haven't looked at it since.
We went to the local RSPCA yesterday....we fell in love with the most beautiful cat.....maybe I could tweet as him? Hmmm maybe not eh...what kind of fuckery would that be?! Oh yeah....Facebook!!!
Anyway must get on.....