‘A Domestic’ In The UK Household

England, Scotland and Wales were all chilling in the living room. England and Scotland we were watching the news whilst Wales was quietly reading in the corner. England makes a throwaway comment about house prices and Scotland disagrees. The two then exchange a heated debate that eventually spurs out of control…

England: I don’t understand where all this is coming from?!

Scotland: Well that’s your own fault. You’re just a self-absorbed, jumped-up pompous prick!

England: But there’s no basis to what you’re saying? You just keep shouting insults at me?

Scotland: Look at you on your high horse! You’re more than happy to lay into us! You barely even apologised when you threw up on my bed!

England: I did apologise though. You were fine with it at the time!

Scotland: Yeah well it still smells in there!

England: I’m still trying to sort it out!

Scotland: Well get on with it, what are you still doing faffing about over at Ukraine’s place?

England: Look man, their lot has a right fall out the other night. Ukraine had a bit of a breakdown and started smashing up his room and then Russia went in and stole his DVD’s claiming that they were his to start with, it’s a right mess.

Scotland: Sounds familiar…

England: What’s that supposed to mean?!

Scotland: Well lets face it, you’ve done a fair bit of light lifting yourself haven’t you!

England: Well that was ages ago.

Scotland: Look what you did to Ireland and Northern Ireland! They were so happy together!

England: That’s neither here nor there, and it’s ancient history now!

Scotland: It’s not, everyone thinks it’s a bit odd that you let Northern Ireland stay over all the time. You and Ireland used to be mates, its not cool man.

England: We’re just good friends, its nothing weird. – And, I’m still mates with Ireland, he’s cool with it.  Their break up wasn’t because of me and Ireland falling out .It had nothing to do with me.

Scotland: IT HAD EVERYTHING TO DO WITH YOU! You were a right dick to Ireland and then when you tried to calm things down, Northern Ireland just took your side!

England: She can make her own choices! My argument made sense!

Scotland: You played a similar trick to me as I remember…

England: Come on mate that really was ages ago, I thought we were well past all that. You know I’ve changed a lot since then. You said you were over it?

Scotland: Yeah well, you know what, maybe I’m not. Maybe I don’t even want to be. You just take me for granted all the time, I bail you out loads and now I’m even paying more rent than you!

England: Look man, it wasn’t always like this. If we’re going to dig up history, it wasn’t so long ago that the shoe was on the other foot!

Scotland: Yeah well, maybe its time for a change.

England: What do you mean?

Scotland: I mean, I dunno, maybe I might move out.

England: You can’t be serious, we’d never make up the rent?! I mean, I know we’ve had our differences but –

Scotland: I am serious! I’ve even been looking around for a new place.

England: Oh yeah, with who?

Scotland: Well… I’ve been hanging out with Norway and Sweden lately…

England: OH MATE – you’d never be able to afford that place! You’d have to start up on your own. Plus, you think I’m bad, they’ve definitely said some stuff behind your back before too.

Scotland: YEAH WELL! I’ve got a nice little earner with this whole North Sea job I’ve got over the weekend. I’d be alright, especially if I can get cheaper rent not living with you. As for Sweden and Norway, at least they’re not as bad as your best-buddy-pal America! That guy is such an ass.

England: He can be sometimes, but he’s alright really.

Scotland: No he’s not! Every time he comes here, he just wants something from us. You get on with him – that’s fine – but haven’t you noticed that he just comes over to ask for sugar, or tea bags?

England: Well you’re always so nice to his face, why don’t you say something?!

Scotland: Well I guess he’s not THAT bad, but that’s beside the point. Point is you’re always getting me involved with everyone else’s shit. Have you ever stopped to wonder that maybe I don’t want to, or maybe I need my things for my own reasons?

England: Come on mate, we live together? I mean, we’re mates right? I just don’t know where this has come from?! Completely blindsided mate. I mean, we go out together, get into fights, and I’m always there by your side.

Scotland: You mean I’M always there by YOUR side! You’re the one that goes marching in pretending to be Mr. Do Gooder and then you just expect me to sort it all out.

England: That’s not true, and every time we’ve gone in you’ve said to me before it all kicks off that we’re in it for the long haul. I remember you were even whispering in my ear when it all kicked off last time in Russia’s place.

Scotland: Yeah well, that Kosovo lad had it coming.

England: What do you think Wales?

Wales had been quietly reading about advanced economics and articles about international politics.

Wales: Huh? Me? Don’t get me involved!

England: Well where are you gonna go if Scotland moves out?

Wales: I don’t know, I hadn’t thought about it.

Scotland: Don’t you think I’m right though? I mean, England has been a massive dick to us all lately. Not just with leaving his crap all over the place, it’s the way he expects us to pick up the mess for him!

Wales: …

England: Well?

Wales: To be fair mate, you don’t half take the piss sometimes. I don’t half get a bit tired of the sheep jokes.

England: Come off it, you’re just as bad! Its just a bit of banter! We’re all mates, right?

Scotland and Wales look at each solemnly…

England: Fine. Do what you want. I’m going over to Ukraine’s place. At least someone might be happy to see me there.

England storms out. Silence holds for a moment…

Wales: You really moving out mate?

Scotland: I think so. You know, you could come with me?

Wales: I’ll think about it. Do you think we’ve been too harsh on him?

Scotland: I don’t know. Maybe a bit. Cocky little shit has had it coming for a while though.

Wales: Yeah well, he did bring us all together. I mean, I’d be the first in line for a chance to drop him a few pegs, but really I mean, he has sort of sorted us all out with universal language, administration, health services, education and all that.

Scotland: Yeah but we don’t need him for anything that, we could easily sort all that out ourselves, its just all the paper work.

Wales: Well I suppose but still… I’d feel bad leaving him. Wouldn’t you?

Scotland: I don’t know. I just don’t know.

England returns in a huff.

Wales: Oh, calmed it all down already have you? Is Ukraine staying over tonight too then?

England: Fuck off. Its raining, I just came back to get my umbrella.

Scotland: That’s mine.

England: Look mate, does it matter? I’ll get it back to you, we all live in the same place. You can help yourself to any of my stuff anytime you want it!

Scotland: Your stuff is shit.

England: Oh so now you’ve got loads of money and new mates you just want better things for yourself, is that it?!

Scotland: That’s not –

England: – You know what, we’ll talk about this when I get back. Right now, I’m pissed off. For what its worth, I don’t want you to move out, not just because we need to you to cover your part of the rent but because…

Scotland: Because what?

England: Because we’re mates, Scotland. I thought we were mates.

Silence ensues. England leaves and slams the door.

Wales: If you find a better deal, do you reckon we could all just come and live with you?

Scotland: Hadn’t thought of that, but that means sharing it with England.

Wales: Well yeah, but – Jeez man, I didn’t think you were selfish.

Scotland: I’m not! Why should I have to share anything with him! What’s he ever done for me?!

Scotland shoots a look at Wales for approval. Wales stares fixatedly into his journal of culture and modern literature.

Wales: I dunno mate, just think about it properly first alright? If you’re gonna leave then I don’t want us all falling out about it.

Scotland: Fine. I’m gonna go sort out my stuff my room. The place is a mess, since we all played 6 Nations in there last night.

Wales: Heard you got pasted.

Scotland: As if you could do better!

Wales: Right that’s it!

Wales tackles Scotland to the floor and they roll around gaily. They stop for a moment because they realise this would look weird if someone walked in.

Wales: We should probably make sure England doesn’t do something stupid.

Scotland: Yeah I suppose.

Scotland runs up to grab the hockey sticks from his room. Although they belong to England, the whole house knows how to use them properly in a fight…

Wales: Off to Russia’s place then?

Scotland: Looks like it.

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News Desk Numbers

A comprehensive list of phone numbers for the news desks of all the major newspaper publications in the UK.

Lets just say, for the sake of argument, that you – YOU discover extraterrestrial life in your garden. Perhaps you witness the very first octuple rainbow, or even luckier, you get to the be the one to finally murder Justin Beiber. You’re going to need, among other things like a camera or a lawyer, the numbers to all the major news desks in the UK. A good journalist will be able to see the blockbuster story in just about anything so it would be wise to have these numbers plugged into your phone, just on the off chance you wake up finding an MP collapsed in your wheely-bin.

The Daily Mirror – 020 7293 3000

The Daily Express – 020 8612 7000

The Guardian/ Observer – 020 3333 2000

The Independent – 020 7005 2000

The Times – 020 7782 5000

The Daily Mail (If you really must) – 020 7938 6000

The Telegraph – 020 7938 6000

Metro/ Evening Standard – 020 7938 6000

City A.M – 020 7015 1210

The Daily Record – 0144 309 3000

The Scotsman – 0131 620 8020

The Sun – 020 7782 4000

Press Association – 020 7963 7000

I Built A Website

One Man & His Dog Photography

I built a website the other day. I can’t even pretend that it was difficult. There are so many templates available and yet there are still hundreds of people who shun the idea of ‘internet stuff’ as too complicated, leaving it up to someone else. They pay too!

Here’s my first commission. Looks pretty good… for a template build…

Top 5 Ways To Avoid Paying Police Bribes On The Mongol Rally

Put yourself in these shoes; Instead of shoes, try uncomfortable boots that probably don’t fit. Add a ridiculously oversized hat, a 1930’s whistle with truncheon and an extremely repetitive job whereby you get much of the same thing everyday. Even waving around your gun that you’ll never actually use gets boring. This is the life of traffic police in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Russia, and even the Middle East. When a tiny battered up car rocks up, covered in stickers, crewed by drunk people in fancy dress, flashing a badge that says “I have more money than sense” in the form of a GB plate, one could be forgiven in assuming that your day might be made.

This sight even in the UK is intriguing and would spark even the dullest bobbie to ‘have a gander,’ so whilst being harassed by foreign police might be annoying, you should look at it as part of the fun.

Even so, some police in distant lands have not had the luxury of a well-rounded education and might not take too kindly to a bunch of 20 somethings dressed as pirates trying on official hats, being shot at with cap guns or being offered a swig of cheap rum and coke from a water bottle. The latter would be most unwise if other police, particularly ones with bigger hats are near by. By rule of thumb, the bigger the hat, the more important (they might think) they are. So to avoid paying through your nose, wallet or other appendages, try to stick to these guidelines.

1. Travel In Convoy.

The car at the front of the convoy will be spotted a mile off and then waved down. Police then generally expect just one car to follow this instruction. If all of a sudden over five GB plated cars pulling over with everyone hopping out to stretch their legs with all eyes on the authoritative figure, one might be hastily expected to move along. In fear of being completely out manned and out gunned with witnesses, an officer usually decrees that this particular unwashed, smelly Westerner isn’t worth the hassle.

2. Be Grateful

Immediately shake their hand, show them your map and indicate how hopelessly lost you may or may not be. Police do have a sense of duty and care. Make sure you indicate that you need their help, reinforce their sense of pride and authority. After all, it can’t hurt to confirm with someone that you are heading the right way. You might even scrounge some local knowledge like the distance to the next petrol station of if any roads are closed ahead.

3. Keep Calm And Do The Dance.

For a start, you might actually have missed a stop sign or gone over the speed limit. There’s likely to be a reason for them to have picked that particular spot to flag you down so be aware of what you are being accused of. You can politely request them to show you what you have done and if the lack of any evidence arises then you can afford to be a little more lighthearted. If you are asked for an on the spot fine, point out that you are in search for a cash machine after doing the ‘pocket dance’ (Otherwise known as the ‘Keys Please shuffle’) yielding nothing but a broken lighter, a Nokia 3310, some change from the last country you were in and a load of suspicious looking lint.

4. Say Hello And Offer A Souvenir.

Actually start the conversation. Smiling helps. Indicate that you are a tourist, not someone working for a high rolling oil firm. It is a brilliant idea to take trinkets such as novelty Union Jack sunglasses, Big Ben snow globes or a box full of flags sporting the red, white and blue. These will be much cheaper than having to disperse $20 bills left right and centre and can sometimes be used as currency with certain mechanics. Particularly for tyres.

5. Be Charming.

In Kazakhstan, if you are caught throwing a cigarette butt out of your car window you can face up to five days in prison (with questionable human rights issues). Now you know. If you didn’t, you need to make sure that you are ‘frightfully sorry,’ and ‘it certainly will not happen again sir,’ after deliberately misunderstanding the accusation, immediately offering a cigarette.* Laws are different everywhere and police do not expect foreigners to know all the local customs, but you are expected to be respectful of them. This also includes finishing the bottle of Vodka once it has been opened…

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*NB; If you didn’t smoke before the rally, you should. It is recommended that you stock up on cigarettes from Romania since they are the cheapest ones that you could pass off as being from ‘back home.’ This is because the further East you travel, the alphabets change and language becomes increasingly exotic but people are still keen to sample Western tobacco wares.

10 Steps To Gradually Get Fired! – College Humor Article

Article written for www.collegehumor.com. The definitive guide to exactly what you need to do to get laid off. If you’re following any of these 10 easy steps then congratulations – You’re nearly there! There is a fine art towards getting the proverbial boot, that’s why so few people manage it with such panache.

Remember to follow the basics, but do it in style.

Step 1: Fail at basic tasks.

Ensuring that the simplest things go wrong is paramount and it ties in neatly with trying to be disorganised and unreliable. Try to leave tasks unfinished if you can, or leave them to the last minute and make a ‘hash’ job of things.

HINT: Offer the boss a cup of tea. They’ll probably ask for a fruit tea so leave the tea bag in for about half a second, then remove it and add lots of milk. Better yet, serve coffee.

Step 2: Turn up late.

Time keeping is essential for senior officials and managers to know that they can depend on you. They need to know you can start and finish delegated tasks on time. Turning up late once or twice will show them a thing or two about who to lean on when the pressure is on!

HINT: When using excuses, steer clear of cliché traffic or family related dramas. Instead try and recount the last five minutes of Holby City as if it unfurled in front of you at the bus stop.

Step 3:  Spanner in the works.

If someone important calls for your boss about something urgent – DO NOT WRITE IT DOWN! Instead, go for the more relaxed, nonchalant approach and inform your boss in vague details, just off topic, leaving no sign of a second name or an email. Maybe provide a fax number at a push.

Step 4: Be disorganised.

This is slightly more complicated but vital to achieve unemployment. Make sure your avoid making comprehensive, goal orientated lists of tasks, and allow yourself to be distracted with menial, subordinate and if at all possible never-ending assignments.

HINT: Check your emails as far as you can towards the end of the day.

Step 5: Be unreliable.

One of the best ways to do this is to suggest to a colleague that you can help out with one of their tasks. Then, making sure the delay is time to its optimum potential, inform them that you have not finished your own tasks so that they’re left to fumble without you.

Note: This will ensure maximum unpopularity and really enhance your chances of being unsupported when managers ask around for anything positive about your performance.

Step 6: Be closed.

Do not ask any personal questions to any of your colleagues. Ensure your own responses are equally limited. You must appear to be arrogant as much as mysterious.

Step 7: Do not work hard.

Remember anyone can simply be fired on the spot! You can’t just ‘not turn up!’ It takes true dedication to persevere through all the stages. The legendary ‘verbal warning’ that can often come around and around and around… onto the mythical ‘written warning,’ which has not been seen for over a decade. You need to apply the absolute minimal amount of effort into everything, leaving dead on time or early if you can, to really hammer home the belligerence and contempt.

Step 8: Be opinionated.

Michelle from HR has a heinous neckline? Andy in accounting looks like a shoe? Make sure the people around you are aware what you think of the people around you. Align yourself with a political party whilst you’re at it and denounce any ideas anyone else has about anything as being robustly against your political ideologies. Maybe start a heated debate, pro Lib Dem.

Step 9: Tell unsubtle, offensive jokes.

“What’s the best thing about twenty three year olds…

Step 10: Unconstructive attitude. 

This is perhaps the most difficult of them all. Everything you do has to be forced. You have to be exasperated, tired and generally irritated that anyone has asked you to do anything. It should be enough that you even turned up in the first place!

Bonus habitual traits you can adobe include:

  • Bringing smelly food into the office.
  • Leaving your MP3 playing on but not actually listening to it.
  • Texting.
  • Farting.
  • Selling office supplies on eBay and Gumtree.
  • Humming/ whistling/ singing out of tune

Results

Follow these simple steps to surely find yourself without a job or any hope of another job through lack of any good reference. Well done! You earned it!

With any luck you’ll have been brooding about your departure to the point where it could be scripted and acted out like a scene from Othello. Go all out, be articulate and be thespian. Do not spare on the stationary loot and ensure to break at least one irreplaceable, yet inexpensive item as you step over the threshold to free time.

WARNING

None of these steps are recommended if you wish to stay in your current job and remain employed.

(Side affects can include colleagues being wildly attracted to you or a lifetime on benefits.)

ENDS

Word Count: 838

For the attention of human reasourcing at Conde Nast and GQ

If you’re reading this then you’ve fallen for my ploy. I can imagine that you must have literally thousands of applicants for your online editorial internship and I understand that after a while, every application begins to look the same. I am sure that this little stunt shows lateral creativity, originality, flair and confidence. At the very least it might show that I can use intergrated social media.

My CV can be found on this blog, along with examples of previous work and journalistic material. Should you require any references, some can be found on my linkedin. You should already have a copy of my covering letter but, lets face it, I doubt you’ll have read past the first paragraph.

If you need someone who is diligent, hardworking, reliable and equally enthusiastic, passionate and creative then you should seriously consider me as a viable candidate for the internship.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch, although I do work during the week days so idealy contact via email would be preferable. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

George Richardson

Magazine Production, take 5

At this point is must be noted that I am literally dragging my fingers over the keys. Four cups of coffee no longer keeps my eyes open. What would normally give a healthy person heart palpitations has now become my basic fuel. This is unhealthy.

It’s safe to say that my learning management could definitely improve, it would be safer to say that I could do with a concept of it in the first place.

Studying in the second year of this course, I should have realised that there is actually work to be doing at University. This blog entry in itself is compulsory. I know that on my course, I do marginal amounts of work compared to most people on most other courses. I hear that the photography students have to produce a blog entry about their recent lectures every week or suffer a 2000 word essay.

Why is it so challenging to motivate myself? I love my course. I have real passion for what I’m doing. I desperately want to be a journalist. So what else dose it take to inspire motivation?

Today, in the print newsroom, I saw the whole group rushing and panicking. Our group was the first to finish our magazine project. This initially allowed my mind to rest at ease. When everyone else is suffering around you, it makes your own dilemma much easier to deal with. I wonder if that is transferable to other strenuous circumstances?

I could definitely have worked harder on the content of the writing that I produced. The photography was the element that I was particularly proud of. The other members of my group either produced photographs that had been taken by someone else, a photography student in each case, or that the photos (not mentioning names) had been taken with their phones, and had little thought into the composition.

I also found satisfaction in actually having mastered InDesign. On the Sunday night, I was up until 3am working on the InDesign package that we had to produce. The only training we had were a few lectures, ages ago. I didn’t really get my head around it. I just figured that we’d have loads of time… What a prat. It was at first intensely frustrating. The program just wouldn’t do what I wanted. Even simply moving an image around the screen was a challenge. However, after 8 hours I had mastered it. So much so, that I had even learnt a few little tricks. I could edit the images, include little effects, even edit things in and out of photographs using photoshop and the Adobe bridge software… I felt pretty chuffed with the final product.

In the morning, we all had a meeting to put together what we had made. This was interesting because it turns out that most of the people hadn’t got to the stage I was at and that they had given up on InDesign. What added insult to injury was that I was able to help them instantly. My toiling for hours and hours, trying to get my head around the program was condensed to making other people’s pages in a fraction of the time. No-one would believe the labour that I had endured. What a muppet.

Despite this being hugely irritating, it was also profoundly rewarding. I could measure how much I had improved in a direct ratio. 8 hours on my old project condensed to 20mins on a new project. That’s a ratio of 24:1. I had improved 240% on Indesign. I was 240% better than those who had no idea how to use the program. I have no idea what that combination of emotion fuses as, however, I’d like to suggest it as a feeling of amusement. I was laughing at myself. What a prat.

We took the time on Wednesday to add the final touches. Sarah Stevenson had elected herself the production editor. With her fancy new, and monstrously expensive, Macbook Pro, it seemed prudent. Besides, we hardly had time to argue over power. Despite a few scuffles and Sarah confidently embracing the high horse on a few occasions, she was brilliant. We don’t always see eye to eye, but I don’t think we could have managed without her.

The main problem we faced was that everyone had used different margin sizes and different amounts of columns on the page set ups. This actually proved disastrous! When compiling all the pages together onto one document, the document still has to be set up like any other publication… all with the same settings. With all our pages having different settings, it wasn’t an easy fix. However, we got over that pretty soon. The margins weren’t that different anyway, and the only person who had to seriously reconfigure her page was Sarah herself as she had set her page up with 5 columns instead of 6.

The next problem arose when we realised that all the photographs on InDesign are simply links to the original file, so the original photographs all had to be sent to Sarah’s computer. Easy fix.

All in all not such a bad show! I produced a media pack myself whilst the girls were faffing with the front page. I thought I’d make it on Indesign, one last show of my new found talent!

If anything, I know I could have used this module to further my comprehension and understanding on how to write, to perhaps define my writing style, but to be honest, I think I got the best out of the module.

InDesign is an amazing program. Adobe have got it down to a Tee. What we produced, what I produced, is easily professional quality. I definitely feel more than ready to embark on more ambitious magazine projects, more specifically, I’d love to learn how to make iPad apps.

I quite literally cannot write anymore. My eyes are sore and heavy, I still have a huge essay to write and two radio documentaries to make. Dammit. My thoughts and feelings about how the iPad will change the world will have to wait, although… it won’t!