October 29, 2004


I've been reading A Beautiful Revolution for a long time and have always admired Andre's honesty about his battle against his demons. As well as being incredibly well-written, this blog is both moving and insightful. As many of you know, I've had my own demons to fight but don't tend to go into it too much here. When Andre asked me to write one of his Friday guest posts I decided to open up a little. Go here and read, and then spend some time reading Andre's own story.

October 28, 2004

Go and read another blog 

Yes, dear readers. It's true. I'm urging you all to read elsewhere. But only until the weekend while I try and sort out the shit-stack that is my life right now.

In the next few days I must talk damp-proofing with a greasy biker, retrieve my tax disk from an obscure garage in the back streets of Peckham (must remember my pepper spray), write a list of everything that was lost when Air Crap "misplaced" my luggage and apply the finishing touches to a fancy dress outfit for Saturday night. This is all not cool. This is all making me a very stressed and tired Jonesy. And, to be honest, this raging hangover isn't helping.

On the up side, this raging hangover has resulted in the discovery of an excellent blog that you all have to read. Imagine my surprise when I found out last night that somewhere in my extended circle of friends lurked a fellow blogger. Imagine my disappointment when I found out he's better than me.

Readers, I bring you www.newsfelch.blogspot.com. Even the title is excellent!


October 25, 2004

The Old Girl. 01, March 1990 – 25, October 2004 

It is with much sadness that I officially announce the demise of The Old Girl who tomorrow makes her final journey to the great scrap yard in the sky.

The Old Girl began her life in the North East of England where she worked tirelessly as a run-around for an elderly woman and her little Scotty dog. She was well cared for and the trio enjoyed many a Sunday drive to visit old friends and family. It wasn’t a glamorous life but it was a happy one.

As the woman grew older, their outings became less frequent until one day a young geologist by the name of Dr Jones answered an advert in Autotrader magazine on behalf of his younger sister. A deal was struck, tears were shed and The Old Girl embarked on a five-hour drive to meet her new companion in London.

The long journey took its toll on the intrepid traveller as her petrol tank sprung a leak and her aerial fell off. Unperturbed Ms Jones embraced her with open arms and took her to see Pat the Mechanic. Her health restored, she soon discovered a new zest for life as she drove the length and breadth of London delivering Ms Jones and her teammates to football matches far and wide.

She twice made the journey to Glastonbury laden with tents, crates of beer and tired festival goers, gritting her teeth as she delivered them safely along the M3. She played a crucial part in the first phase of the restoration of Ms Jones's converted Victorian maisonette, travelling to B&Q, Topps Tiles and other DIY superstores. It is only tragic that she will never see the finished product for herself.

Sadly, on the evening of Thursday 21st October 2004, a gang of youths smashed The Old Girl’s passenger window, hot wired her and drove her into the ground around the council estates of South East London. She was found abandoned on the road side, smashed up and un-driveable.

Over that last two years The Old Girl has forged a special place in the hearts of many and she will be sorely missed by friends, footballers and family members alike.

So here's to The Old Girl. May she Rest In Peace.


October 22, 2004

I Liked Driving in my Car 

If truth be told, dear readers, I’m a bit upset. You see life hasn’t been playing very fair recently. I lost my job, lost my luggage and discovered a grand’s worth of rising damp in my flat, all in the space of seven days.

I was pretty philosophical about it all though. I figured my share of good luck was just around the corner and all I had to do was stiffen my upper lip a little and everything would be fine.

But today my bottom lip is wobbling and my upper lip is distinctly limp.

You see right now I’m waiting for the Recovery Van to come and take The Old Girl away. She’s in a bit of a state, battered up, smashed in and abandoned on the road side by joyriders. They stole her, crashed her and dumped her, the heartless little fuckers.

She’s a strong old bird, but I don’t think she’ll recover from this one. I think I’m losing her for good this time. She was a loyal car, a happy car and we did lots of nice things together.

She should have been allowed to retire with dignity and pride. Instead she was abused, beaten and abandoned.

It’s just not right.


October 21, 2004

A Saint for our Times 

And she will appear amongst us, as if sent from above, to sacrifice herself for the greater good of The Corporation. She will work tirelessly, forgoing all of life’s pleasures, setting herself against the evils of humour and camaraderie, to spread The Board’s word to the ignorant and apathetic. She will come unto us and bestow upon us the benefits of her infinite expertise and wisdom. Walking amongst us, she will urge us to set aside our cynical ways and to dedicate our hearts, minds and souls to the production of events, conferences and seminars.

She will work side-by-side with her disciples, printing until she can print no more, typing until she can type no more. She will ignore pleas that she must rest, that she must laugh, that she must have a cup of tea, because her duty will be to set herself above these corporeal sufferings.

And she will lay down her life for The Corporation and martyr herself so that we may be saved. She will become known as Saint B.I.T.C.H, The Martyr of Hell Events, and her name shall be immortalised and worshipped until the end of time.



October 19, 2004

B.I.T.C.H: Bilious, Irritating, Tiresome, Corporate, Hussy 

B.I.T.C.H: “OH. MY. GOD!!! I don’t BELIEVE it. There’s a paper jam!!! I mean CHRRRR-IST, why does this ALWAYS happen to ME? TYPICAL. Nothing EVER works in this place. And I've got all these REALLY IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS to print.”

Me: “You could always use that printer over there."

If looks could kill, dear readers. If looks could kill...


October 17, 2004

Sweet Sixteen 

I went round to my flat the other day (the flat that I can’t live in because it has no roof, lots of rising and penetrating damp, and no toilet or kitchen… but that’s another story) to pick up some of my stuff. Searching through the cupboard under the stairs I found a box full of random odds and ends. Most of it turned out to be junk but an old cassette labelled “60s Mix” caught my eye. The hand writing was mine when I was a teenager and so I figured this must have been one of my late eighties efforts. On a whim I popped it into my coat and headed back to the car.

I thought nothing more of it until this morning when I noticed it on my way out to drive to the match. I picked it up, went to the car and dropped it into the bag with my other tapes.

On my way home just now I decided to play it, intrigued to find out what music a sixteen year old Jonesy would deem worthy to mix into a tape. I sit here in shock, horrified by the truth and thankful that I had driven home alone.

To be fair it didn’t start too badly, my speakers barely able to cope with one of Hendrix’s lesser-known gems, so lesser known in fact, that I had no idea which one it was. I nodded with smug satisfaction; I must have been one hell of a cool teenager.

But Jimi's was the last track on the side and I waited for the click of the auto reverse and the intro to the next track.

“Hmmm,” I thought. This doesn’t sound particularly 60s. But I recognise it. What is it?”

And then the song started proper and my heart sank into my stomach. There I was driving along the embankment listening to the Chavmeisters of pop, East 17, crooning the toe-curlingly bad Deep Deep Down. I wound my window up and hoped no one heard.

“Let’s hope the next one’s a little better.”

And it was a little better, but only if you like MC Hammer’s You Can’t Touch This, which I’m betting you don’t.

“Jesus Christ Jonesy. What were you listening to? Why didn’t Mum and Dad intervene? What were they doing?”

Tracks that followed included “Kingston Town” by Lord Creator (come on, that’s got to be better than UB40) and “It’s In His Kiss” (thankfully NOT the Cher version, though I’m not sure that really redeems me in anyway). I pulled up outside the house just as The Drifters got stuck into “Under the Boardwalk”.

I’m not sure what to make of it all really. I’ll let you know when I’ve listened to Side B. It’s not looking good though!


October 14, 2004

Instant Karma’s Gonna Get You 

It’s not very professional to pull a sickie is it? Especially when it’s because of a hangover. But hey, life’s too short to play it by the book all the time.

I got to work this morning with a stinking headache having arrived at the conclusion that our weekly football training sessions have become a waste of time ever since the pub that sponsors us started having lock-ins: all that good work lost as you order a “last” round at 1am.

Anyway, there I was sat at my desk feeling like a piece of crap. I looked around at all the chirpy, happy, snide, conniving, open, shallow, sweet, vicious faces I share an office with and felt sick to the stomach. Dizzy Daisy, the pregnant team secretary whose hormones are playing havoc with her common sense, came over to my desk and showed me my work for the day.

Mail Merging! Two words that send fear into the heart of every PA, secretary and temp in the world.

I looked at the database she emailed over and I saw chaos and mess, corrupted data and blank fields.

And that was when I had one of those “Ah, Fuck It” moments and decided to go home.

Dizzy Daisy told me there was a bad flu going round and insisted I left immediately. The rest of the team, somewhat insincerely, told me to wrap myself up warm and get lots of sleep.

“Hopefully see you all tomorrow” I said feebly, fingers firmly crossed behind my back.

As I got in the lift I felt a pang of guilt that passed as soon as I realised that they don’t pay me when I don’t work. Ah, Fuck It! There’s got to be an upside to this temping malarky. But then I remembered that they’d only brought me in because they were over worked and understaffed. Don’t worry I told myself. One day won’t hurt.

I turned the corner onto the high street and the heavens opened. I reached into my bag for my umbrella only to realise that I’d left it at home.

Oh well, I’ll be home soon enough and I can snuggle up in bed.

By the time I got to the bus stop I was drenched. I sought shelter and waited for the 47. A 48 came by, then another. Then a 147 followed by another 48. Then an 8, a 35 and two more 147s arrived together. The wind blew the rain into the bus shelter. My feet were soaked, my suede leather boots probably ruined. Unbelievably three more 48s came past. Where the fuck is the 47, I thought. Forty five minutes later I gave up and headed for the tube.

As I walked down the street to the flat, the morality of pulling a sickie still playing on my mind, a 47 (oh the irony) drove passed, straight through a puddle, and drenced me from the waist down.

Nearly home!

Exhausted, I put the key in the door and let myself in. Bed was mere seconds away.

“You’re home early,” called my sister.

“Yep, pulled a sickie. Feel like shit and I’m off to bed.”

“Oh no you’re not,” she replied. “Mum and Dad will be here in an hour and you’re cleaning the kitchen.!

Karma, it seems, has a way of turning round and biting you in the arse.


October 11, 2004

Play the game, everybody play the game... 

Office politics is the curse of every employee in the world. It strikes at all levels, from the lower echelons of a corporation right into the very heart of its boardroom. You’ll find it in school staff rooms, in hospitals, even in charitable organisations as everyone plays to their own agenda. No one is immune. Even the good guys who try hard to stay out of the game become targets for the acid-tongued office serpents, jealous of their colleagues’ restraint and self-confidence. Yes, office politics is the bane of the working life.

Unless, that is, you’re an outsider like me. In that case you can look on in amusement as the play unfolds before you, wondering if you were ever that ensnared yourself. Unfortunately, you probably were!

They’re playing a new game at Hell Events Incorporated. It’s called Grab the Temp. The game is simple in its nature. All you have to do is keep your beady eye on the office temp, waiting for the moment he/she (well, actually me) finishes the current task, then you pounce, beating your colleagues to the punch, and offload as much work as you possibly can without coming across as a slacker.

Useful phrases include:

“So, how are you getting on?” This translates as “Do I have time to go the loo before the next round begins?”

“Have you ever used PowerPoint because I may have something more interesting for you when you’re done?” an underhand way of staking a territorial claim, you warn your colleagues of your intent to strike while planting a seed of bias in the temp who is probably hankering after something more stimulating.

“What are you doing for lunch? Shall I show you where the nearest sandwich bar is?” A blatant attempt at ingratiation creating a sense of obligation in the temp, always useful in a fifty fifty situation.

And what is a fifty fifty situation? Simple. That’s when two people pounce on the temp simultaneously. An intricate pas de deux will follow, a complex battle of wits as the two players attempt to demonstrate a greater need than the other all the while maintaining a pleasant veneer of cooperation. But it is only a veneer, dear readers. Scratch the surface and all you’ll find resentment, bitterness and bile!


October 09, 2004

If Carlsberg made best friends... 

10.30 am

“Thank you Ms Jones. Those envelopes looked expertly stuffed and labelled. A very efficient job, well done!”

“Thanks.” patronising cow

“Ready for something new?”

“Yes, definitely.” go on, thrill me

“Great. I’d like you to place all these badges into badge holders, check them off against this spreadsheet and then sort them into alphabetical order. There’s about a hundred or so there so something to really get your teeth into, hmmm? By the end of the day? That okay. And don’t forget to take an hour for lunch. Don’t want to wear you out on your first day with us.”

“Oh don’t worry about me. I’m fine.” sweet jesus get me the fuck out of here

1.30 pm

“Hello, Bob speaking.”

“Bob, it’s Jonesy”

“Hey you.”

“Bob, I need your help.


"I need you to remind me why I exist as a person.”

“Oh schnooks, what’s up?”

“I’ve spent the morning stuffing brochures into envelopes and conference badges into holders. I’ve used my brain once today, and that was to look up this place on the A to Z.”

“Where are you now? In the office?”

“No, outside a petrol station near Old Street. Sitting on a wall.”

“Sounds like a shit job.”

“It is. Why am I putting myself through this? Why don’t I just get myself another full time job somewhere?”

“Because you don’t want to. Because you hate it. Because you want to be your own boss. Because it would sap you of your energy.”

“But this job will only just about cover my mortgage this month. And then there’s all the work I need to do on the house. At least with a nine-to-five I know how much money will be coming in.”

“That’s true, but will you know how much of your soul is being destroyed? I don’t mind the nine-to-five. I like it. But you, you hate it. The other day when you told me your plans to go freelance, you sounded alive.”


“And when you get your first proper contract you’ll feel so great, you’ll see. It will all be worth it.”

“I know. It’s just this temping stuff in between. The way people look through you. You know, there’s this woman who sits on the same bank of desks as I do and she came in late this morning, said hello to her team and didn’t even register my existence. It’s like I’m invisible or something.”

“What do you care? She sounds like a bitch.”


“I just knew it was beginning to get you down.”

“Yeah, this is the first time I’ve felt a bit crap about it all. I guess the reality is setting in.”

“But we’re all here for you to help in anyway you need. Just don’t give up because this is the best decision you have ever made.”

“Deep down I know, but today, the way that woman looked through me, I wanted to shout at her that just because I’m a temp it doesn’t mean I’m a robot with no story of my own.”

“What are the other people like?”

“Nice enough, but they just give me the jobs that are so mind-numbingly tedious that they don’t want to do them themselves. I don’t blame them. I’d do the same .”

“Remember, it’s not who you are, Jonesy. It’s just money. You’re doing something else too, something for yourself.”

“I know. You’re right. Just having a little wobble.”

“I’m surprised you haven’t had one before now. Most people would still be sat at home feeling sorry for themselves.”


“But you’re not. You’re out there working already. Pretty impressive you know.”

“I guess.”

“Hey, how about you come round on Monday night? Bottle of wine, a video and we’ll put the world to rights.”

“That’d be great. I can’t wait.”

“Hang in there schnooks. It’ll all be worth it.”

“Thanks Bob. See you Monday.”

“No worries. Always here if you need me.”

And that, dear reader, is what friendship is all about. Mind you, if Bob hadn't persuaded me to go to Portugal with her, I might still have had a job and the airline wouldn't have lost my suitcase full of my favorite clothes. I guess she kind of owed me...

Only kidding.


October 06, 2004

Jez, Jonesy, and the Gates of Hell 

I knew it was going to be a long day when I saw three penguins dancing the conga across the main reception hall. Precilla, our camp Australian temping agent, had sent Jez and I off to work for a big IT show in Olympia, London’s leading conference and exhibition centre, and along with five or six other out of work actors, writers and freelancers, we were waiting to meet our supervisor for the day. He was late and we were greeted instead by one of the show’s security guards, a fifty-year-old-ex-squaddie-type, probably called Frank.

“Typical,” tut-tutted Frank. “There you all are, bright and early, but where are the organisers? Nowhere, that’s where! Ah, look, here he comes,” he said gesturing to a smug, self-satisfied little man in his late twenties, a junior David Brent eager to make his mark on the world of confereces and exhibitions. “You’re late. So, what’s the plan? I think we ought to,” Frank gave us a quick once-over, “break these girls in.”

Jez leaned towards me. “Did he just say break us in?” she whispered, horrified.

“Yes, I believe he did. What an absolute cock”, I growled as we followed our newfound righteous leader to a reception desk by the main doors.

“Now.” David clasped his hands together and smiled piously. “Let me show you what you need to do. You need to search for their names like so and when you’re satisfied that they’re actually on the database, because believe it or not some people try to sneak in without paying", he shook his head, clearly disappointed in the devious nature of the average exhibition delegate, "hit F12 and then Enter. The badge should print off here, like so. Then you simply tear here and here, place it in the holder like that and hand it to the delegate. Now, any questions before I let you try it on your own?”

He was greeted by the silent stares of four intelligent women who were wondering what on earth they had done to deserve to work for this man for a day.

“Okay, off you go, girls. And if you have any questions or queries just come and ask. Though you shouldn’t have any problems.” He chuckled humbly. “I designed this system from scratch and, if I say so myself, I think you’ll find it’s the first system in England to actually allow delegates to print their own badges off before they get here.” He waited expectantly for us to gush praise. We didn’t and so he pootled off to go and deal with a scanning crisis that only he could possibly fix.

We sat down and began welcoming the delegates. I took in the scene around us as we worked. At the far end of the hall a young kid, barely out of school, was desperately trying to give away branded plastic bags to the delegates as they went in.

“Plastic bag sir? How about you madam? A plastic bag? Handy for carrying all the conference information in? No?”

Twelve male models dressed in funky red tracksuits with black body-warmers posed nonchalantly around reception looking “trendy” – well as trendy as they could look given they each wore a back-pack out of which LCD screens on poles wobbled precariously over their heads while tinny speakers attached to their hips spewed out shite German techno.

At about ten thirty a delegate came up to me and asked where the toilets were. I had no idea. I looked around for a sign but couldn’t see one and so I ducked reluctantly back into the office to ask David Brent.

“David. I’ve a delegate who wants to know where the toilets are.”

“Hmmm”, he clasped his hand together again and cocked his head to one side. “Tricky. I tell you what.” He sat up eagerly. “Why don’t I come out and deal with the query and you can listen in? Bit of on the job training, so to speak. How does that sound?”

“Well, to be honest, if you could just tell me where they are I’m sure I’ll be able to let him know myself.”

He ignored me and strode out into reception to point the delegate in the right direction.

“There. Next time you'll be able to do it on your own. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

Unable to utter a single word I returned to my workstation for some more badge printing.

As the day passed, Jez and I slowly lost the will to live, each running out of ideas to keep the other from sobbing into the keyboard. Some light entertainment later in the day rescued me from my homicidal thoughts. A young man approached the desk:

“Hi, erm, apparently I need a badge to get back in.”

“Certainly sir. Can I take your first name?”



“And your surname?”


Tap-tappety-tap tap

“And your job title, please?”

“I get a job title?” he asked with obvious delight.

I looked up. “Er, yes.”

“Wow. Can I have, erm, Head of Microsoft?”

“Is that your real title sir?” I asked, raising my eyebrows.

“Well, no, actually. Not really.”

“So, what is your real job title?” My patience, you’ll understand was wearing a little thin.

“Erm,” he looked down, dejected. “It’s Penguin.”

“Pardon me sir, but did you just say your job title is Penguin?”

“Yes,” he sighed. “I’m one of the dancing penguins and I’ve just been on my lunch break. Can’t you put Head of Microsoft, anyway?”

“I'd love to but I’m afraid I can’t”, I laughed, typing Penguin into David Brent’s ground-breaking database, imagining his face as he read his data capture report at the end of the day.

I handed James his conference pass:

James Sedgwick

“There you go,” I said as David gave us an encouraging thumbs-up from across the hall. “Have a nice day!”


October 04, 2004

Me, My Self and I 

So, there I was putting data into the spreadsheet, one horrific line after another, trying to coax my consciousness into a better frame of mind so as to stop it from trying to jump under a bus.

“It’s okay, Consciousness. It’s just a temp job. One, maybe two days at the most. We need the money.”

“But, but… it’s just *sniff* sooooo boring. Name, address, telephone number, name address, telephone number. Again, and again, and again. Ad infinitum. HAS IT COME TO THIS???"

“Stop being so fucking hysterical. She’s a nice woman and a good potential contact. She said she was going to need some marketing work doing soon. A good opportunity for us to get our first client.”

“But, she’s CRAZY! A complete fruitcake. Just look at that fur bolero she’s wearing. What the hell is that all about?”

“As long as she’s paying me ten pounds an hour to do this, I don’t give TWO FUCKS what she’s wearing. It’s money. We need it.”

“Yeah, but you can do this with your eyes closed. What am I going to do? You don’t need me for this. I’m going to lose my edge, I’m going to stagnate. Oh, God!!! I can feel it starting. I’m going stale.”

“Jesus Christ would you get a grip, please? You were going stale sat at that desk day in, day out. This is our chance to be our own masters, to choose our own schedule.”

“Well, maybe you’re right.”

“That's better! Listen, why don’t you go and have a little lie down. You’re right; I don’t need you for this. Go and chill and maybe you can think about what we need to do, you know, like register ourself as self-employed, ask Ram to design our business cards and speak to Jack about using his office as a base. Those are your jobs. Just focus on them and let me get on with this.”

“And you’re sure it will all be fine? You’re sure it will work?”

“Come on, you know it will.”

“Well, if you’re sure.”

“I’m sure. Hey, Ms Jones, Freelance Marketing Consultant. It’s got a nice ring to it, no?”

“Yeah, it sounds good.”

“It won’t happen if we fall to pieces, though.”

“No, so I’ll go off and start planning while you get on with the spreadsheet.”

“You know it makes sense.”

“Just one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“When we get our first marketing client, will you buy me a present?”

“Mate, when we get our first client I’ll throw us a big, big party, you can count on it. Oh, quick! Here she comes. You’d better let me get on with this work or I’ll be here forever. We’ll catch up later.”

“Okay, good luck. I’ll have some good ideas by then.”

“Excellent. See you later.”

“Bye. Christ! What is it with that fur bolero? She looks like Basil Brush in drag.”


October 01, 2004

Shhh. Don't tell anyone I'm here... 


I'm temping today to keep the cash coming in so I can save my redundancy money for growing my freelance client base (which so far boasts a grand total of zero).

I'm not supposed to be here but I thought I'd let you know that normal Jonesy business shall resume tomorrow, in that I'll wake up on a Saturday with a hangover and I won't feel guilty about sleeping in. I've been up, showered and ready to go by 8.30 every morning since the "Big R". Think I deserve to let my hair down tonight and a lie-ing tomorrow.

Off to Bingo (?*!$?) tonight with the footie club. Maybe Lady Luck will pay me a visit.

In the meantime I just wanted you all to know that I really appreciate your support and well wishes. Thanks! See you later.

*Hurries back to her spreadsheet*


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