Thursday, November 04, 2010

One of Those Days in England



Not a bad result, in the end, against the Villa and the ref. If Cameron Jerome was a footballer, rather than an athlete, we might have won it, but at least we stopped the rot. Steven Carr is more gracious than me, praising the ref for having a good game and handling things well; I thought he was mediocre, could have given us at least one pen and should have sent the hot headed and unstable Reo Coker off. The good news is that we are showing signs of finding some form, all we have to do now is find some goals and we will be laughing.

I read yesterday that Danny Alexander was horrified at what was left for him by Labour. Christ, Dan, knock it on the head willya? It is tiresome. I also heard Vince Cable defending some outrageous policy or other. In a coalition we have to compromise, in the national interest, he said, again. I'm fed up of it. At the risk of being a bit repetitive myself, how come all these compromises end up with the poor getting the shitty end of the stick? Mind you, they are being brave these liberals. A poll  has said that the public has turned against PR and it seems pretty clear that the public has turned against the libs. May I be the first to mention turkeys and Christmas?

Some photos of Liverpool in 1975 by Paul Trevor. I am very impressed with these and I envy the photographer his chutzpah. I can be a bit snap happy myself, but I don't have the courage to approach strangers, I don't even have the courage to snap people I don't know from the safety of a long lens. Can't remember who it was, but someone took a load of pictures of people in Merthyr Tydfil in the seventies and had them published a year or two ago. Brilliant stuff.

I missed a train in Cardiff yesterday and decided to just walk around taking random snaps, without framing or focussing. The results were predictably shit, but one or two were quite pleasing.  I might adopt it is an approach.

Hah. I remembered.  Some pics.

How times change, not so long ago, if I had missed a train, I would have headed straight for the nearest boozer, and I wouldn't have been in any hurry to leave it.

Our trade journal, which, truth be told, is only scanned for the jobs, used to have pages and pages and pages of vacancies. Hundreds of vacancies. Last week there were 4. Not pages, adverts. This week there are 10, but only 4 for actual social work. Bear in mind that there is a recruitment and retention crisis in social work. The bite is on.

Eligibility criteria has been tightened in our department. I had to compose a letter to someone I had assessed but who wouldn't be getting a service. There must be a standard letter, I thought, but there wasn't, so I e mailed colleagues in other authorities asking for a copy of their standard letters. None of 'em had one. They don't exist, but, everyone agreed that we need one, because eligibility criteria is becoming so tight that soon the only buggers with an IQ low enough to qualify for a service will be Villa fans. I invented one in the end, a nice personal one, much better. If anyone wants to buy a copy, I'm happy to negotiate a fair price!

I've been reading "The Rising" by Brian McGilloway. His stylistic resemblance to James Lee Burke is stark and it puts me off a bit. It's not just the familiarity of the characters, it's the sentence construction. It is incredibly readable but there are bits and pieces that grate with me. Like Lee Burke, his hero will piss his wife or someone (always female) that he admires off, and, rather than explaining, the hero will say something like: "I saw David O'Leary today".  The hapless partner will be expected to understand why this represents a terrible event. The wife / comrade will then go off in a huff and the hero will feel guilty. The good news is that unlike Lee Burke, he does not present the women as angels………..long suffering, but not angels. In fact the Devlin wife comes across a bit of a harridan.

As with Lee Burke, the hero is flawed but sensitive, more flawed than sensitive. We are expected to sympathise with  a hero with few redeeming characteristics, but, to give the author credit, we do sympathise. As with Lee Burke the major villain is a devil, as cunning as a fox, as amoral as a gold buyer in a shopping mall, and as duplicitous as Gideon. The hero and villain enjoy a strange relationship, reverse side of the same coin. Yin. Yang. In short all of McGilloways books get on my nerves, all of Lee Burkes books get on my nerves. But I can't put 'em down.

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