Wednesday, January 30, 2002

I am just beginning to realise how close I am getting to going around the planet. A bit of a shock for someone who doesn't even like getting into cars unless it seems absolutely necessary.

Planes! Several planes - through a war zone!

Perhaps this is really the last fling, before settling down to going no further than I can a good peasant, and timeless human.
One last extravagant gesture. Of course, the average worker in the UK expects a couple of weeks every year in a sunny place I am actually the old stick-in -the mud. Yet I work with people who remember going to Greece in 1971 and not liking all that foreign language and changing of money. And I thought 1986 was a long time ago for travelling off the island.

But then again, when I went to The USA [between 1969 -71, and again, briefly, in 1986] I suddenly realised that being a big country, with travelling an essential part of the culture, and plenty of wealth, doesn't mean that people ever leave their own culture. So many Americans who don't even have a passport. Amazing.

Sunday, January 27, 2002

Apparently the Gig raised about £4000 for the Red Cross. That's got to be good.

It would have been the birthday of my much beloved friend Mick Swain [now in another dimension] on Friday, and it will be W.C.Fields' birthday on the 29th. I don't really DO birthdays myself [much to the annoyance of people who do], but I try to make an effort sometimes.

My own is coming up, and will [hopefully] be spent on the far side of the planet...just for the hell of it.

As Fields wrote to one of HIS friends, however, 'If you keep on having these birthdays, you're going to die.....'

Or, even better [if you can hear the voice in your head] 'It's a funny old world, a man's lucky to get out of it alive...'

Sunday, January 20, 2002

Last night a lot of artists donated their services free for a fund raiser for the Red Cross in Afghanistan....local bands like Doofer, Captain Paranoid and the Delusions and Talkshow where excellent; I enjoyed Flannel from Brighton. We also had a DJ set from two of Alabama Three, and a guy from the Super Furry Animals. The dance troupe Neutrino did a piece, and members of the circus could be found juggling and stilt-walking in the crowd.

I have no idea how much money might be raised, after paying for the hall, etc - but it was a great little mid-winter festival.

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Reading Simon Louvish on The Marx Brothers.....

His W.C.Fields book is winging its way to me too....
Monday arrived, and the system was not entirely back in place. This evening I decided that I could not put off the Inland Revenue any longer - if I don't pay by the end of January, I get fined...

I decided to use an online tax calculator, and register with the e-government version of the IR. Go the whole hog. Still, at least it's pay day tomorrow, although this month the money is gone before it arrives. Only that damned cheque from my online tutor job stands between me and oblivion....and I have been waiting a month.

Ho Hum - I do have a little bit of a credit rating, now [steady job], so it's not like 4 years ago, when penniless really was PENNILESS, and I finally gave up on the show biz dream after all those years. When it's November, you have no money or credit, no work coming up, and the welfare are not interested in helping [because they said I had a 'notional income' of £118 per week!] it gets rough, especially if you've turned 50. That's how I ended up in the library.

I thought, "if I am not going to perform, then I have to either work with books or fruit and vegetables." Not being a gardener, nor wanting to get up at the crack of dawn to go to the market - it had to be books. Then it was just commercial books [shops] or non-commercial [libraries].

It was an OK decision in the circumstances. Especially as they started getting modern, and introducing other services like CD-Roms, videos, Internet access, etc. It's just so badly paid for the number of hours we do - but then, Wales is a poor relation in the UK and in Europe....and the Library Service [being non-profit making] is the poor relation in political circles. So that side of my life has remained the same....

Saturday, January 12, 2002

And here I am at the library on a Saturday. The Council workers, integrating the systems, told us at 4.30 yesterday that they were taking the system down today, at lunchtime.

Of course, politicians have the weekend off, and Saturday [for a library] is our busiest day! We were told so late that my department boss is away, and I have just returned from an optician's appointment...

Now I sit here with my fingers crossed that they don't take longer than necessary to get the system working....otherwise, in half an hour, my phone is going to jump off the hook, as 16 branch libraries come back from lunch, and can't log back in!

We are lucky here, at the Central Library, because we are still on our reliable old private, exclusive network....but that will not be true for much longer. We are just going to have to train them to remember us / and our opening hours / before they tackly changes to the system in the future.

Gotta go - try it all again...of course, I can't contact them, BECAUSE THE SYSTEM IS DOWN. Don't you love it. :-(

Thursday, January 10, 2002

It's a hard time for computers. Blogger has got a very slow server at the moment, so you can't always publish on the spur of the moment; one of my webmails at has got spam/viurs/hacker problems [I am not sure which] which means email is not getting through; now my ISP has trouble with it's email, so I can sometimes Send, and sometimes not.

I won't even mention my job - moving an old but functional network [for just the library service] into a highspeed connection, integrated with the rest of the Council network, all during working days - and trying to keep the level of service up....all for peanuts [no I won't say what kind of low pay library people get in Wales, suffice to say it is well below what is considered a minimum wage in the rest of Europe. Hey Ho. It's OK so long as I am learning something new.........

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Howling Wolf

spoken: Man, you know I've enjoyin' things that kings and queens will never have
In fact, things kings and queens can't never get
And they don't even know about it
And good times? mmmmmmmmm-mmmh)

I have had my fun, if I never get well no more
I have had my fun, if I never get well no more
Whoa, my health is fadin'
Oh yes, I'm goin' down slow

(spoken: Now looky here
I did not say I was a millionaire
But I said I have spent more money than a millionaire
'Cause if I had kept all of the money I had already spent,
I'd would have been a millionaire a long time ago
And women? Well, Googly Moogly)

Please write my mama
Tell her the shape I'm in
Please write my mama
Tell her the shape I'm in
Tell her pray for me
Forgive me for my sins

Blues Lyrics Site

Sunday, January 06, 2002

I have been neglecting this blog slightly. I have been busy as an online tutor for the library staff, and my health hasn't been great [and it's mid-winter over here, let's face it!]

I was trying to find the best way to use the [very limited] holiday allocation which the library gives me [as a relatively new member of staff], and messed up. A series of events, choices, hesitations and misunderstandings led to my booking a place at the Juggling Festival in Hawaii, when my partner would not be able to free up enough time to join me. Doh!

I have tried to go to this event for 15 years or so. My son and his mother have been, many years back; most of my circus friends from here in Cardiff have gone at one time or another. I never have much money [especially in February] and the few times I COULD have afforded the trip I was working! I shuffled, and juggled, and figured that I could just about make it this year...and was pretty selfish to make the final impulsive decision without properly warning or consulting my partner that she would have to organise her own end of it if she wanted to come too.

I have no excuse. I was tentatively putting it all into place, trying to make it possible, still suspecting it would be another year when I would miss the boat [plane], but it was the day George Harrison died [and you might have to be my generation to care] and I knew I couldn't put it off another year..... Seize the Day!
I have been using blogs [web logs] for a while now. I have a private diary blog [which I can use for notes to myself, rants, grumbles, or whatever]; I tried a family forum blog but that didn't keep going, and now drifts in cyberspace like a ghost ship]; and this one, which is written knowing you [whoever you are] MIGHT be reading over my shoulder. It's really a notebook, however. It's not carefully written, so I might sometimes be rude, inaccurate, or indiscrete, but it's NOT AIMED AT YOU [you read it at your own risk].

I recommend signing up at You can always keep your own blog private - but it gives you access to other published blogs, so you can see what people are doing with them. You'll find exhibitionists; self-publishing artist/writers; forums; journalism [for instance during the terrible days in September last year the New York blogs gave a much more vivid account of what it was like to be there than the media did - and the online media was so swamped with demand that you couldn't get in, anyway]. The blogs got me straight there -

I think I upset a couple of people with one of my postings [so I've deleted it] but it really is supposed to be a quick update page for me to use for sketching, jotting, etc. My website is the only bit which I would consider to be 'published' - and there I try not to upset people, or mislead them.
Happy New Year [if you are using the Gregorian Calendar].
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