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Thursday, August 31, 2006

 

Unattributable quotation

My sister in law (Herself a high level Manager) came out with this quotation the other day, and I’m damned if I can find an online source;
“You assume that people in positions of authority got there because they know what they are doing……… Wrong.”

This view would seem to account for a lot of stuff that goes awry. Especially in my line of country, and even more especially in todays political climate.

Anyone able to pin it down?

Update: Thanks anonymous, yes, the quote does seem to come from the school of thought derived from the 1968 publication ‘The Peter Principle’ by Dr Lawrence J Peter.

Regarding Tuesdays events, I picked up a link from the comments on the Coppers blog and watched Mr Gary Delagnes in interview. Take some time out to watch this video, then this one. The key word I’m looking for here is ‘Depoliticisation’ – Day to day running of the Police (As with any enforcement) should be outside political interference or it all goes to hell and the enforcement is pointless.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

 

Levity on wheels

After yesterdays irritation, I was spending a day off rootling around in my photo archives with Mrs S and found this;

Especially liked the 'Don't steal - the government hates competition.' sticker.

My heart is a little lighter.

Regards

Bill

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

 

Bite back

There are times when you just want to let rip. It can’t be human can it to expect someone to put up with personal insults without at some stage blowing their stack. Nearly did it myself today. I mean it’s just not possible to keep it behind my herkos odonton (Attic Greek for ‘Hedge of my teeth’, also a Greek idiom for ‘Top Secret’).

It helps that I’m normally a fairly calm and placid person (Sometimes too bloody placid) by nature, or by now I would have turned around and lamped someone into the middle of the last century (This is very possible, I’m a big guy and I know how to punch).

Today’s annoyance was a bunch of late teens playing ‘Razz the Parking Enforcer’. Normally I can run circles around the thick little gits, but today every stratagem I used fell flat. The old ‘rope a dope’ fell flat because they were too thick to take a hint, as did the polite ‘How can I help you’ and the patented Bill Sticker full on eye contact flat stare. In the end I was forced to stop what I was doing and go to a direct challenge; “Okay girls, what do you want?” Upon reflection, I think it was the “Okay girls” that let them know that this was the wire that they were forcing me down to. At this point I was backed into a corner and had my left hand on my emergency radio button and my right hand down by my side ready to block or counter, body ready to turn. I wasn’t scared, just annoyed. A bunch of flaming bored kids were trying to push me around and I just hadn’t got time to play their silly bloody game.

“Better man than you, cunt.” Responded the bravest.
“Yeah, right.” No way was I backing down, but I wasn’t going to escalate unless they did because that’s what the little bastards wanted. Tactically I’d already decided; use their strength of numbers against them. Use one as a human shield / weapon against a possible knife, or even worse, a gun. At least that way one of them would get kicked to shit / stabbed / shot first and not me. Not that these kids were that tough. This was just a game to them. No CCTV coverage around here, and I know the worlds worst CCTV operator is on duty this afternoon, so no help unless a passing squad car pops out for an impromptu run round the back streets. Besides, calling for help is an escalation – exactly what they were after. Like all pack predators, they only pick on the weak; so I went for the all out bluff.
“Come on, come on, I’m a busy man. Cars to book, people to piss off. You know how it is.” I tapped my steel toecapped boot impatiently, folding my arms with a stern schoolmasterish (Well, at least from my schooldays) look. That was it, the ice broke and they all laughed and turned away, game over. I know I’m not allowed to speak to people like that, and if my managers found out I’d be in shit so deep that I’d never dig my way out. Not that a bunch of kids are going to file a formal complaint. Lucky for me, eh?

There are some things I can do without; and close shaves like that are one of them. Incidentally; no I didn’t fill in a sodding incident form. That would be really asking for trouble.

Monday, August 28, 2006

 

Brief moment of amusement

Meandering along one of the side streets. Grey Toyota Corolla sitting on double yellows across the road. I stopped in my tracks parallel with the passenger side door less than twenty feet away. Driver (Mid thirties, male, greying.) pays me no attention whatsoever. Update notebook, log on to street. Walk across road behind car and have most of his details logged in to my hand held computer when the door flies open and the driver expostulates, “Where the fucking hell have you just come from!”

Did not say; “From the outermost eternal darkness never reached by the light of the furthermost stars, and from the innermost depths where even Satans minions dare not go.”
Actually said; “Just over there sir.”

He left rather rapidly.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

 

My supervisors prayer

Oh Bill, won't you book me,
That Mercedes Benz
The rest all nick Porsches
You must make a-mends
Worked hard all my lifetime
No help from my friends
So Bill, won't you book me
That Mercedes Benz.

So I did.

With apologies to the late, great Janice Joplin

Saturday, August 26, 2006

 

Under cover Volume 2

There’s a well known property not far from where I live. It is well known as a haven for the local small time drug dealers and regularly gets raided. It’s one of those half way houses for the homeless which seems to attract all manner of people for whom the law is a minor inconvenience. Their only concern is their own self gratification, and God help the average law abiding citizen who gets under their feet.

This being the case; the local CID generally keep a fairly close eye on the place and the denizens of said property are regularly relieved of small amounts of class A drugs. However, because it falls under the remit of Social Services, the place cannot be closed down and the multitudinous nuisances (Including the Class A substance abuse and its fallout) it brings to local residents are never abated for long. All the undercover coppers have to do is park up and watch for an hour or so.

Unfortunately, CID tend to pick a section of road where the parking bays end and sit on the double yellows. Knowing this particular area as I do, I’d advise them to park fifty yards back so they can watch where the local drug lords employees park their cars for an easy getaway down the back streets. Up until the penny finally dropped, I’d occasionally find a car parked on the double yellows with a driver and passenger present. Now a car on the aforesaid markings has the same effect on me that a smear of jam on your arm has to a wasp. I observe, hover and then maybe sting if the source of the attraction is not quickly removed. So it was with a dark coloured Ford. I took a wander over the road and saw the driver mouthing something at me. Not having been notified by CCTV of any exemptions, I sidled up to the car and the Driver, a round faced bloke in his thirties said. “Police. On surveillance.”
“Okay mate, flash us your warrant card.” I replied, which he did and I moved on almost without breaking step.

Wish they’d let us know so we didn’t bother them.

Friday, August 25, 2006

 

Getting the wrong guys

Well it happens; you book a car for a contravention and move on. One of your oppo’s turns up and finds the irate driver nearby. Driver does the 100 metres conclusion jump and goes after the wrong guy. This is quite common as we all wear the same uniform, so we’re all complete bastards who need hammering, right? Wrong.

Now I’m going to post this as it happened over a year ago. August Bank Holiday working the municipal car parks surrounding the municipal park. Not too hot and sweaty a day. Just nice to work in shirtsleeves. Late afternoon I caught a Red Ford with an out of time Pay and Display ticket. Over an hour out of time. Logged in the details, checked the issuing machine; everything seemed kosher so after the prescribed period I booked and moved on, thinking no more of it.

Two hours later, two of my oppo’s were on evening shift closing up the aforesaid municipal park car parks. As the evening shift always has a fair bit of ground to cover, they were driving around in one of our vans. Unbeknownst to them, the owner of the vehicle that I had booked had returned, noted said parking ticket and basically gone ballistic. He had showed ticket to his co-pilot, and the two of them had decided that their best course of action, rather than getting involved with the complicated business of challenging the ticket, was to duff up the nearest Parking Officer. This was not good news for two of my workmates.

The following morning I was greeted with a cheery “Tommy and Chas got a kicking last night.” From Benny our then supervisor.
“Bloody hell. Can we put in for danger money then?” I responded.
“They’re okay, just a couple of bruises.” He grinned. What’s he up to?
“Glad to hear they’re okay.”
“It was over one of your tickets.”
“You’re kidding.”
“Down by the municipal boating lake.”
“Yeah, I caught a couple down there yesterday afternoon.”
“I think they were looking for you Bill.” There’s always been an element of schadenfreude in Benny’s psyche that I’ve never much cared for.
“Two blokes went after our van and tried to kick shit out of it because you’d nicked them.”
“That’s ruined their ticket appeal then. Glad it wasn’t me.”
“I’ll bet you are.” Benny wanders off, still treating it all as an enormous joke.

Well, it goes with the territory and I’d have done the same anyway.

Postscript is that the whole thing was caught on CCTV and a successful prosecution brought. Makes a change.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

 

Getting all commercial

Recently I wrote that all was not well financially at Chez Sticker, which has led indirectly to some domestic discord. A few days later an E-mail was received, ostensibly from the marketing department of an insurance company, offering money for a text link to their web site. In addition, certain kind souls indicated that by setting up a PayPal ‘Donate’ button on the blog they might help ease my fiscal embarrassment and help keep the blog going. I am truly flattered. Thank you to all concerned.

After due consideration, here is my take on the matter; I am willing to set up a ‘Sponsored links’ column in this blogs sidebar. When I work out the best way to approach this, companies who do not wish to use traditional advertising will have the opportunity to rent a ‘text only’ link from this blog for a given period of time. Links will be arranged in order of precedence; i.e. the highest bidder gets the top spot. I’m also tempted to have a look at a differing blog template so that any commercial links would be on the right hand sidebar above the Google text ads, whilst the more ‘traditional’ links to other blogs might be on a new, left column sidebar.

Payment for such links is proposed to be via a PayPal account.

Any company / organisation interested in renting such a text link from this blog is invited to e-mail me at billsticker at (@) gmail dot (.) com. Times, dates and length of rental subject to specific agreement.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

 

Under cover Volume 1

Normally speaking we get notified if our local CID have a little party organised for any visiting bad guys. CCTV give us a ‘Leave well alone’ message, but sometimes the system breaks down for one of three reasons;

The CCTV operator on duty is far too important to let us mere Parking Enforcers know what’s going on.
CID haven’t bothered to / forgotten to let anybody else in on their big secret.
Everybody is just so busy and can’t be arsed.

On all of the above, we lowly Civil Enforcement functionaries slip below the radar. We’re just not worth bothering with.

We’re not telepathic and if that thar ve-hickle is on a no loading restriction with no one about, one of us, in blissful ignorance, will meander across and slap one on the windscreen. Sometimes we stop just in time because we spot the Police issue radio in the dash, but not very often. Sometimes we slap one on just to be bloody minded because no one can be bothered to let us know what’s going on. The Police don’t need to give us chapter and verse and break cover, just a simple ‘Vehicle exempt’ message via CCTV will do.

Notwithstanding; I have had the dubious pleasure of booking the odd undercover Police car – If no-one tells me because I’m only a snotty nosed jobsworth of a Parking Enforcer – then they can bloody well take the consequences. Even if the ticket does get cancelled later at the request of the local Police Inspector.

Like this one; I’m heading back to base along Cross Street for end of shift. One of the other guys is heading back along the other side of the road and gives me a wave. Directly ahead of me is a Maroon Ford perched saucily on double yellows. “Got him. I’ll do this one.” I called over the road. My oppo signals that he’s heard me and carries on checking out the Disabled bays on his side of the street. As usual I run a quick check of the lines and signs to make sure all is bookable before doing the evil deed. Now I pride myself on being observant, but there was nothing to indicate this was a Police vehicle. I did all the usual checks peering through the windows, no special radio, no Police type equipment sitting on the seats, nothing. Then I waited the mandatory five minutes in case someone dashed out in high dudgeon and move off the restriction. Okay fine, that’s what this will cost you, a fine, and on the windscreen it went.

Fifteen minutes later I’m changing out of uniform and Senior Supervisor wanders in to the changing room.
“Which one of you clever buggers nicked a copper then?” Is Benny’s opening remark. We all shake our heads. Nick a Copper? Don’t be daft.
“Maroon Ford on Cross Street?” Benny isn’t what you might call subtle.
“That was one of mine.” I spoke up.
“Well you’ve pissed off the local CID. They were doing a drugs bust.” He grins with that awful wide shit eating smirk of his to say that one of us is in for a shouting at and it’s not him.
“So? How was I to know?” I respond. “No one tells us anything.”
“Dear me William, didn’t you see their radio?” He always calls me ‘William’ when he’s enjoying winding me up. Bastard.
“Come on Benny, I looked and it was just a bog standard dash. No Police issue radio, no nothing. How the fuck am I supposed to know it was CID?” I protested.
“All right, I’m sure our beloved leader will see it your way.” Benny teases.
“Right.” Bollocks to you too.

As things turned out Senior Manager decided not to berate me as CID had left one of their vehicles on a restriction without letting anybody know it was them. For a change I was not up shit creek without a paddle. There’s a novelty.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

 

RTA's

Which is, as if most people don’t know, the acronym for Road Traffic Accident. Over the past year, I’ve found myself at the scene of three non fatal RTA’s, just helping out with blocked streets while the Police and PCSO’s get on with the important work of form filling. The first I’ve probably already mentioned, where I was the target of mockery where one of the attending Coppers said “Aren’t you going to nick him then?” Indicating one of the crashed vehicles.
Not to be outdone, I responded “Nah, you lot can do him for obstruction.” And went to the end of the street to persuade a woman driver that there was another way to her destination apart from trying to push past the scene of a collision in a too - narrow English street.

Now in the words of Voltaire, “common sense is not so common.” This can be demonstrated at the scene of any collision. Note that I don’t call them ‘accidents’. In my book there ain’t no such animal as an ‘Accident’ between two vehicles. This implies it was nobody’s fault which is patently rarely the case. What it boils down to is that someone wasn’t watching what they were doing. For example; the clumsy guy who knocks over your table, spilling your food and drink onto the floor, then bleats that it was an ‘Accident’ firstly gets short shrift, and secondly my bar / restaurant bill – including any cleaning due to his clumsiness. Refusal is not an option.

Around the scene of a collision it gets very tricky very quickly and with good reason. Drivers will try and jump the queue, sound their horns aggressively, even try to push past close to where a casualty is lying. Nothing seems to matter apart from their speed of their journey. Others will pull up, and with monkey like curiosity, peer at the damage whilst all around them other drivers blood pressure rockets. It just doesn’t seem to register that they are in everybody’s way. Impatience leads to a lack of attention and observation which leads to – yup, you got it – more accidents. ‘Common sense’? Risibility personified.

Here’s where our lot often find ourselves stepping ‘outside our remit’ of parking enforcement, and from whence many bollockings flow. Fortunately we have a defence. Now if you recall from my other posts, our remit is ‘To keep the Streets clear’. Yes I know we don’t have any more ‘powers’ to direct traffic than an ordinary member of the public, but where there’s a breach to be stepped into, you’ll often find a Parking Enforcer around, seeing as (I have so often posted) we’re often the only Uniformed patrol presence within a two mile radius.

Second incident was on a busy one way system in the town centre. Two drivers had been involved in a ‘shunt’ type collision on a ‘no stopping’ restriction, where one vehicle had rear ended the other. Both drivers are busy shouting the odds at one another and traffic is backing up. I roll up, having logged the incident with CCTV and stand on the other side of the road to see if the two aggrieved parties are going to do the sensible thing. Both vehicles appear driveable, and it should be a case of exchange details and get going, but no, both are suffering from complete frontal lobe shutdown and have reverted to pre hominid status as demonstrated by screaming abuse at each other.
“You hit me!”
“It was your fault, you braked too sharply.”
“Fuck off!”
“No, you fuck off!”
“Excuse me.” I interject, crossing the road to the scene of the hold up.
“Shit, now look what you’ve done!” One registers my Uniforms presence.
“Me? You smashed into me!”
“Gentlemen.” I raised my voice. “Would you mind moving your vehicles please? Just over there and I’ll let you exchange details in peace.”
“He hit my car!”
“Just clear the road and you’ll have no trouble with me.” Say I in my best schoolteacher tones.
“It was his fault!”
“Move over there please sir, and you can discuss it at length.” I again indicate the open driveway of a ‘to let’ industrial unit fifty metres away. It’s a private road and nothing to do with me. They can stay there all day and rant if they want.
“You won’t book us?”
“No sir.”

There are a couple of muttered comments about my parentage, but the uniform works its magic and both of them move smartly enough. I pick up a couple of the larger pieces of debris out of the road and put them aside for collection / disposal / whatever. “CCTV, Ringway clear.” I call over the radio.
“Roger that 515, cheers mate.” It’s one of our better CCTV operators today. Drama over. My part in it took less than two minutes. Traffic resumes its flow and I’m off to my next port of call.
Third example was where I just turned up and the warring parties ran like rabbits. Road cleared, job done. No more need be said. One last thing; at no time did I ‘order’ anyone to move (I can ask, suggest, threaten a ticket, but not give people ‘orders’), I just turned up and they went.

Like I keep saying, it isn’t all about giving out parking tickets to ‘innocent’ motorists.
 

Emotional Carpentry

Things in the Sticker household have settled down now. I and my (Much) better half have kissed and made up. We accepted that I had to step away from the keyboard for a few days while we spent some quality time together mending our respective fences. Hence the lack of posts as I’ve used the emotional energy for more important purposes (The last two sentences were meant to form an extended pun. Fences? Posts? - Oh please yourselves.).

This is not to say that lots of stuff hasn’t been going on, just that I’ve been too busy with more important matters of the heart to write about them. A choice had to be made; which was more important, my relationship or my work? I think I chose correctly.

This is not to say that the blog will suffer as the general dyslexic with whom I deal on a daily basis provide me with more than enough material in half a shift to keep the blog running at full tilt.

Normal service will resume shortly.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

 

In too bloody deep

I have angered my wife. She has cast me down to sleep with the dog for my sins. The immediate reason why (She says) that I ‘froze her out’ at the dinner table this evening. Perhaps I did. I must confess to being rather preoccupied, ironically wrestling mentally with a knotty financial problem that she had set me and was so deep in thought so missed some vital cue. The result is that I am in severe odour with her, and look likely to be this way for some time. I did try to protest my innocence, but to no avail.

To be brutally honest, the root cause is probably financial. My job is barely servicing my debts and has led to considerable friction between my wife and I. Every other means of making a living appears to be closed to me and I find myself wondering in my darker moments whether or not I will end up out on my ear, homeless as well as broke. Walking the Streets all night as well as all day. At the moment of writing this seems a distinct possibility.

There has to be a way out and I just can’t see it right now. I have made promises to her which I must keep or I am not the man I thought I was. ‘Though hell itself should bar the way’ I said and meant it. My word is not given lightly and has never been broken once given. There has to be something to be said for that small boast.

Perhaps this is my most serious character flaw. Those I love know I will do what they ask of me or die in the attempt. My attempts to keep the specific promise have so far failed, yet I cannot give up. Another character flaw, my bred in the bone stubbornness drives me never to accept defeat in these matters. Trouble is, it tends to make me neglect my own needs, or at least consider them less important than not breaking a promise to a loved one, because without that integrity – what am I?

On second thoughts – don’t answer that.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

 

Not setting the world on fire

I’m not a well bunny at the moment. Too much burning the candle at both ends putting a first draft manuscript of the blog together and keeping up with the day job, living, in the words of my dear lady wife ‘on your nerves Bill, you daft bugger’. Ergo I am suffering acute gastric discomfort and am taking my latest four day break down in the West Country with my out laws. The purpose of this visit is to let me climb down off the mountain of anxiety I’ve recently climbed.

Notwithstanding I’ve lost a lot of sleep recently and am not as a result exactly scintillating company so posts will be a bit thin on the ground over the next week or two until my fairy Godmother waves her magic wand and I am all better again. It’s amazing the way your anxieties can tie your body up in knots without really trying. Last night I didn’t get to sleep until around 3am.

Glad I wasn’t one of the poor sods stuck at Heathrow on Thursday. Score one for MI5 on the security front though. A time to rapidly count blessings I think and hope the nutters stay unlucky.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

 

Sex

Well it’s not a subject you associate much with Parking Enforcement is it? What we do (Next to garbage disposal) has to be one of the least sexy jobs on the planet. Out in all (Well most) weathers, dressed in less than sexually alluring attire (But aren’t there some fetishists out there who…. Let’s not go there). Let’s be candid. Some people would fuck a frog if it stopped hopping for long enough. This is the subject of which I wish to write.

You can call me a liar if you like, but the plain truth is – Women ‘hit’ on me. Not just me, on several of our other Officers out there. Of course it may be just the old flim-flam to avoid getting a ticket, but there are occasions where you get the definite impression that someone is interested in more than the contents of your hand held computers download. One of the girls even (To much male mess room guffawing, or was it prurient jealousy?) reported an attempt by a less-than-hetero female to entice her away from the line of duty so to speak. If even an old fart like me gets the ‘glad eye’, then I see no reason to disbelieve Julie’s story.

Face it; some people have a kink for uniforms and the people who wear them. Take last Sunday. Warm, cloudy and a bit too muggy for my liking. I’m in shirtsleeves out on the town centre beat. I’m busy clearing a ticket jam on one of the on street pay and display machines, not much doing at this time of the morning because the shops with a permanent sale in their prices aren’t due to open for half an hour and I’ve got another three reported machine faults to clear before the Sunday shoppers materialise.
“Er, hello?” Comes a feminine voice at my elbow.
“Just a moment, I’ll be with you as soon as I can.” I say, my voice a bit muffled by the metallic bowels of the machine I’m fixing. I twitch a glance to note a young woman, brunette, late twenties, maybe early thirties, not unattractive, and clad in a floaty summer frock. She’s actually standing less than half a metre from my right shoulder, a little too close for comfort, although none of my internal alarm bells are ringing. Her perfume is backed up by a more primordial scent. Warm and fleshy.

I clear the ticket jam and stand up straight. As I do so her eyes become a little more luminous as I rise to my natural six foot plus, a slight smile fixed on her lips and her eyes have a similar look to the one my wife gets when she wants an “Early night – Now please Bill.” Rather intent, single minded and, dare I say it horny. A slight flutter of nervousness gave me an involuntary shiver. I’m a very married man and realise that I should be extremely wary.

“What can I do for you Miss?” I hazard, working on the premise that not many radical arch feminists wear that kind of lightweight frock. She glances slyly at me and giggles. “Now that’s a good question.”
“Not in public Miss, you’ll get me arrested.” I counter with a slightly nervous smile. My dear lady wife tells me that I am not an unattractive male and has intimated to me (In no uncertain terms) that if I stray she will have me drawn and quartered, then bloody well hung (As if – some people have no trust).
“Well.” She says moving closer. Stay where you are Bill, she means you no harm. “I’m a bit lost.” Oh no you’re not.
“I’ll help if I can Miss. What do you want to know?” Close machine door, check print; all okay. Don’t panic, it’s only a girl.
“I’m looking for….” and asks me the name of a well known lingerie shop.
“Didn’t think they opened today..” I responded and reeled off the directions. All the time she’s very attentive, batting baby brown eyes at me with that slightly hungry predatory look. I’m just trying to keep my composure. She’s right underneath my nose and those pheromones are getting quite intense. This is ridiculous, I never used to get this before I got married, so why now?
“You got that Miss?”
“Oh thank you officer, did you say..” I am trying not to blush under my farmers tan and it’s all threatening to get a bit Benny Hill when suddenly my Radio crackles into life. “This is CCTV. Message for all Attendants.” Saved by CCTV! Hooray!
“Excuse me Miss, duty calls.” I pick up my Radio handset. CCTV reels off a vehicle registration for us to look out for as the Coppers are keen to ask the occupants about something. Don’t ask me what, we just get the basics. I note down the vehicle description and take my place in the queue of confirmations “515, received and understood.” I click off the handset. “Anything else Miss?” She’s still here. Where’s the camera? I glance around.
“What was the name of the Street again?” She’s well within my comfort zone and she knows it. Cheeky minx. Is she doing this for a bet? I reel off the Street name again and give her my best professional smile.
“Thank you officer.” She turns and sashays off with one of those tinkly little finger waves. “Catch you later.” I take a deep breath before a familiar voice behind me says “Nice.”

I damn near jump out of my skin. “Bloody hell mate! Do you want to give me a heart attack.”
“Well she probably could. I think you’ve pulled.” Wavey Davey grins at me, an unfamiliar figure out of uniform.
“Yeah mate, just don’t tell my wife or I’m a dead man walking.”
“How much?”
“Get knotted.”

With friends like these, who needs – well, make up your own minds.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

 

‘Outing’, power and ego trips

Recent developments with more ‘traditional’ media have left me with a rather sour taste in my mouth. Take for example the ‘Outing’ of ‘Abby Lee’, anonymous author of ‘Girl with a one track mind’. As you can see from the sidebar I have a link to her blog which I personally find enlightening, funny, sharply observed and often profound. She writes with honesty and freshness that allow new insights into her subject matter. She’s good, very good. Buy her book.

Recently a ‘journalist’ published the ‘real’ name of Girl. (Please note the inverted commas - I personally do not consider real Journalism to be associated with this kind of prurience, publishing her name is not journalism, it is merely pandering).

May I ask what purpose publishing her real name serves? To whose benefit? What ‘moral code’ allows them to do this? Does the publication have any real morals at all? (Probably not) After all, 'Girls' behaviour (No book signings, no public appearances) does not, on the surface at least, appear to indicate that she is a seeker of ‘Celebrity’. Quite the opposite.

My answer is that this can only be a power trip on the part of the ‘reporter’ and publication concerned. I’m not even going to dignify them with the benefit of a name check. As far as I can see, the only reason to ‘out’ Girl is ‘Look how powerful we are – we know where you live’ on the part of the offending organ. Perhaps I am over simplifying the arguments, but as far as intellectual shorthand will do, it will suffice.

The offending publication will of course defend their action with the old ‘public interest’ excuse, but come on lads; we know what you’re really up to. You want to show how big and clever you are with a ‘lets fuck someone’s life over’ power trip and ad hominem attack. Right. Very funny. Very clever. Now piss off back to kindergarten, because this is where you must live; down with the lowest common denominator.

Am I also missing something here? Doesn’t the much maligned ‘Human rights act’ have a clause about the right to a private life? Is there scope for a class action against the publication concerned? If so, I’m willing to contribute a few quid for the legal fees. Anyone else?

Update;

If this blog ever appears in dead tree version (Which may or may not happen in the next few months – watch this space), any intrusive ‘journalists’ will have their work cut out. Theirs is no longer the only public forum. Perhaps this is what they are afraid of?

Abby Lee. You are not alone. You have more friends than you know.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

 

Sight of the day

Our towns resident transvestite / transsexual has been spotted wandering around looking for new blood recently. Tell you the truth every time I see him I don’t know whether to find a quiet corner to collapse in hysterics in or stop the poor chump and tell him that if he really does want to be a woman then he’s going to have to work a bit harder because there are several things working against him.
  • He walks like a bloke, wrong type of hips
  • He’s built like a powerlifter
  • He’s definitely got no dress sense (Strappy turquoise top and floral print bottoms – oh my)
  • Curly Blonde wigs don’t suit him
  • His paint on tan was going streaky in the heat
This looks like a case for ‘What not to wear’.

I know one should not mock the afflicted, but there needs to be a hell of a lot more work done before his putative ambition is achieved. I hope it isn’t taxpayers money.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

 

Yap yap yap

There’s a pub near the town centre on a stretch of road with a pay and display restriction. There are signs every ten metres (At least) and four pay and display machines within thirty metres in any direction. All of which we have to check every time we go past. Lots of shade, so during the hot weather this is a very popular beat with most of us footsloggers. Not too stressful but plenty to keep you occupied.

The pub however, is a bit of a hot spot as far as we are concerned, as the landlord’s regulars like to park their cars opposite for free, despite the fact that the restriction is well signed. The landlord of the pub does not like us, which is fine by me, as I don’t think much of his prices, and in my humble opinion he can’t keep a decent cellar, no matter what anyone else thinks. In my misspent youth I lived within staggering distance of two very fine hostelries, and can tell the difference between whether a beer has been kept properly, just by the taste and body. I may not have been to university, but I do know some things.

All the above notwithstanding, I don’t drink there, so his opinion of me and what I do matters not one iota. Another thing about this character is his affected upper middle class accent. It’s about as genuine as Camembert cheese made in China, and even less convincing.

A few months ago it was a slow day and I was walking past this particular pub on my way back to end shift. Almost dead opposite was a line of three vehicles, and no amount of peering into footwells etc showed a valid pay and display ticket. Checked the lines and signs which told me there was a good hour to run on the restriction, so being a conscientious sort, I punched in the vehicle details and set the clock ticking. Next on the list was to check the nearest pay and display machines to see if there was a fault. (If all the machines in a street are out of order, legally speaking we can’t book). Nope, everything was tickety-boo (If you’ll excuse the pun).

“Excuse me!” Breathless motorist turns up at my elbow. “Not got any change have you?”
“Not allowed to carry it sir. It’s to do with bribery and such.” I responded.
“Shit. Er, my cars over there and I haven’t got any change for the machine. “ He indicates the middle of the three cars. “Know where I can get any?”
“Try the shop round the corner.”
“You won’t book me will you?” He gives me a look like a kicked puppy.
“So long as people are honest with me sir, I don’t have a problem.”
“I’ll only be five minutes.”
“Okay.” I’ve got the rest of the street to check anyway.

Sure enough, when I return to the spaces opposite the pub almost ten minutes later, the vehicle in question has a fully paid up ticket on the dashboard. Good man. I like honest people. The other two unfortunately, couldn’t be arsed, and are about to receive the Bill Sticker award for dishonest parking.

Photographs, check vehicle details and I’ve printed and signed both tickets just prior to slapping them on the windscreen. At this point I become aware of a rattling, thumping noise from across the way. I ignore the window knocker and stick the first ticket on the windscreen. A pub window squeaks open.
“I say! You!” Comes this awful yapping voice. It reminds me of one of those stupid little dogs that just can’t stop yapping, you know, the ones with the Ap-ap-ap bark that make you long for them to catch terminal canine laryngitis. I know who it is, and I’m not playing. “You! Do you know what time it is?” How does he get off talking to people like that? “You! Parking Warden!” Now I put my head up and turn to look at his suffused features peering out of the window. “Is that really necessary?” He yaps at me.
“Is what necessary, sir?” I leave an extra long beat before the ‘sir’ so he knows I don’t mean it.
“It’s almost five o’clock!” It’s actually four twenty six, and the restriction still has over half an hour to run. Besides, the guy is a known troublemaker and hates us, so I feel no urge to be merciful at his particular behest.
“These vehicles are in contravention, sir.” Is all the explanation I’m giving him; then I turn and finish booking the second car. Photograph ticket in place on windscreen. Job done.

“You fucking bastard!” He shouts at me from the open window as I leave the scene. “You utter fucking bastard!” A couple of passers by look over at the pub window, wondering what all the fuss is about. I wander off to a quieter location to finish doing my notes and leave him to his apoplexy. Just to be on the safe side I call it in as an ‘abusive incident’. Not that anything happened about it. Nor that it was really worth reporting. It was just covering my back in case he made some spurious complaint. He’s not worth the aggravation.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

 

Being a cautious soul….

An independent production company recently contacted me on behalf of Channel 4 radio. Ostensibly it seemed like they wanted me to do a series of podcasts for them derived from the blog. Promises were been made to safeguard my anonymity and so on, but none of any money. They (The Production Company) at first said that they would send me some recording equipment to tape the podcasts for them.

Notwithstanding, just to be on the safe side, I asked a friend of mine to act as a delivery go between in case this turned out to be an ‘out the blogger’ exercise. He’s done this sort of thing for me in the past so I gave the Producer his address to deliver some recording kit to and waited for his phone call so I could drive over one evening and pick it up. Nothing happened for over a week. I sat and wondered. My friend got nervous and communicated his misgivings in no uncertain terms last night when I phoned him.

You can call me paranoid if you like, but I wouldn’t be so cagey if people weren’t often out to get me. In the line of duty I’ve had cars driven at me and had too many telling offs from Management not to be ultra cautious. Dave Copperfield almost got ‘outed’ by not being circumspect enough, so I’m trying to profit by his example. Locally my neighbours know what I do and are pretty much okay with it, but I don’t want to import any trouble if you know what I mean.

I got another phone call Tuesday afternoon (1st August) from a person claiming to be a freelancer for the same production company. I gave said person my E-mail address whereupon they told me they would have a look at my blog before e-mailing me with times and dates that evening. Up until tonights posting, no e-mail. This makes me very nervous, and I am not doing this on the fly like some ransom payee flitting from phone box to phone box. I’m not going to traipse fifty or seventy miles out of my way for free at the proverbial five minutes notice.

Now I’ve no reason to disbelieve anyone you understand, but right now I simply cannot afford the risk of being ‘outed’. As I have previously posted, the Sticker family are struggling to keep their financial heads above water and any sudden loss of income because someone blew the gaff re my real identity might prove catastrophic, so you can understand my caution. I did tentatively agree to turn up at a yet to be specified place and time to record the podcasts, but it’s become all a bit too last minute for my tastes. I like to know who and what I am dealing with and no one has as yet convinced me of their bona fides. Voices on the phone and one e-mail notwithstanding.

If the members of the production company in question are on the level and reading this; my apologies. I’m backing out. There is no percentage for me in this deal. I feel there is very little (if anything) to be gained and a hell of a lot for me to lose right now.

There will be no podcasts of this blog. I should not have agreed in the first place.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

 

More stupid threats

A colleague of mine got threatened the other day, a very nasty threat too. He’d just booked a car in the High Street and was filling out his pocket note book when the ticket he’d just issued was thrust aggressively under his nose.
“This yours?” Demanded Mr Irate Motorist.
Colleague took a good look at the ticket before looking coolly straight back at the driver whose screwed up features were reddened with anger (Or sunburn, so he said). “I issued it, yes.”
“Don’t get sick you c**t.” Snarled the driver. “I work at ******** hospital, and if you ever need treatment there you’re fucking dead!”

You will note that the person making the threat did not enlighten my colleague as to what their job actually is at the hospital in question. Probably the junior cleaning supervisor or something like that. Maybe one of the catering contractors, in which case that threat might be more real. Couldn’t be a Doctor, nurse or paramedic could it? A member of the medical staff would never be so dumb as to make a silly half assed threat like that would they?

This incident of course has been reported along with the Drivers VRM and a request for a formal complaint made to;
a) The Police (Like they’ll have time to deal with it)
b) Our Management (Like they’ll pass it on to the hospital in question)

Now this is a pretty serious allegation, and I was wondering if any of you guys out in Emergency Service land would care to comment. Just to say a witness actually has recorded an accompanying statement confirming the above. What might be the consequence for the person making the threat? For my own part, some time ago I too was on the receiving end of similar remarks; in that particular instance it was a cleaner pretending that they would have some power over life threatening clinical decisions. I have since had to go to the hospital in question for treatment and nothing untoward happened.

Seems like some people should just grow up.
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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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