Wednesday, February 22, 2012

...where's your positive spirit?

Yesterday, finally, after months of talks, a deal was struck between Greece and its European Union partners to avoid the potential catastrophe of a Greek default. Now, you would think this was a good thing and I for one think it is. However, after weeks of buoyancy in the markets on the prospect of this very deal, the trading boards turned red and City 'commentators' were queuing up to rubbish the deal on whatever news channel would let them.

For years we believed that Goldfish only had three second memories, a fact now disputed quite convincingly by research on the topic. But it seems the truth is that the Journos and 'commentators' rubbishing the Greek deal, are actually the ones with three second memories. Until the deal was struck, we were looking at the prospect of a Greek default. A default that could potentially have caused another collapse of the banking system, a collapse in the value of the Euro and a messy exit for Greece. This could have plunged Europe into a deep depression and poor ole Greece would be facing not a decade of austerity, but decades of third world poverty and isolation.

Today we should be counting ourselves lucky. We now have a window of opportunity to talk-up the economies of Europe and focus on policies for growth.

I say again, I think Monday was a good day for Europe.

...wash and scrub for centre city.

Good news yesterday that Bruntwood have completed their purchase of the Centre City office tower for £19.7m.

It's reported that they now intend to spend over £4.5m on refurb works, including a new entrance and reception. It'll be nice to see this beast on Smallbrook Queensway being given a little TLC.

Friday, January 27, 2012 to lose friends and alienate people. tell the truth about bankers and politicians.

If you're a top dog in banking you can go and run any bank in the world, why should you go and run RBS? Why should you go and run a bank that discredited British politicians think they have a God given right to interfere in? Why should you go and run a Bank where these people think they can dictate how it's run and how much you should earn? People who themselves are not worth the money they're paid. People who themselves abuse tax payer's money to build bird houses and watch pay-per-view porn? Yes indeed, why should anyone want to go and run RBS?

The only way RBS will ever repay the British taxpayer is by it being run by respected bankers who know how to turn the bank around and return it to strength and profit. Come out of the clouds and accept that the only way you will attract and retain these people is by offering them a competitive salary - and if that means big end of year bonus' then so be it. If not the bank will probably end up being run by someone from TOWIE, be bust within a year and in need of another multi billion pound bailout.

RBS is likely to post a profit this year. Not bad eh? Not bad given this bank turned in the biggest corporate loss in history just a few years ago. Someone is clearly doing something right - don't they deserve to be rewarded for it? And shouldn't that reward reflect the industry they work in?

Seriously Britain, it's time to wake up and smell the coffee. Stop bashing the bankers and start pointing the finger at those who are really responsible for the shit we're standing in - Politicians.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

...forever friends?

So, Lord Jones has had yet another swipe at the city he supposedly loves so much. This is the man that was happy to hammer the final nail in the coffin of MG Rover, putting thousands on the dole and serving a huge blow to UK manufacturing. He is also the man who branded us 'lazy' and told us all we should take a leaf out of the book of the Polish and now he's branding us all as 'stupid' by bemoaning our supposed lack of skills. I have to say, all this reminds me of an old adage - 'with a friend like him, who needs enemies?'

Saturday, September 26, 2009

...seriously, where does the time go?

Yet again another year goes by - almost to the day - without an update. Maybe this is how its meant to be? Maybe its an annual diary? Heaven knows, when i've kept diaries in the past they rarely get updated after February 12th...

The credit crunch has come and gone, but its affects are well and truly still with us. Dearest Gordon has just come back from the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, straight into the Labour party conference. He's fighting to keep his job within the party and to keep leading the country - ironic that overseas he's seen as a great statesman and was this week given and award in relation to such. I've no great affection for the man, but I think the Labour governments since 1997 have been good for the UK and don't have much confidence that a Conservative government would improve on what the current administration are doing. The public generally have no interest in politics and he'll be judged on what he does in the few weeks leading up to the general election. Again though, maybe that's how it should be - the past is already past. Should a party be given another 5 years in power on the basis of what they have done? or should it be purely on what they 'say' they're going to do in the next?

Anyway, what about me? Well I think as of the date of my last update i'd just returned from Ibiza after a strange summer considering buying a bar. I'd lain on the beach during September trying to decide what my next move should be. The decision was to come back to the UK for the winter, move to Manchester and work in a bar .This would give me the option and the experience to return to Ibiza this summer and work the season. I moved to Manchester and got a job in the Rembrandt Hotel - the top 'men's bar' on Canal Street. It was a good move and I settled into a life in Manchester really quickly. Unfortunately, this created a problem. When April came and it was time to decide whether to return to Ibiza for the summer, the decision was a difficult one. In the end, as the offer of work in Ibiza did not seem secure and I had a heap of my own insecurities about the move, I decided not to go. I continued to work at the Pub during the summer, but by mid August decided it was time to move on...but to what?

I sit here now, after six weeks of travels to Ibiza, Mallorca and Barcelona, still without any sense of direction. There is no great ambition, just a very long list of things I don't want to do. I've been served with a possession notice for my apartment and I have until the end of November to get out. This is naturally focusing my mind and may turn out to be a blessing in disguise - who knows! Current fave option is to throw more money at the situation and take an apt in Barcelona in January. The focus would be language studies, to give me some confidence in my use of the Spanish language, which may in turn provide me with the confidence to tackle finally working in the country. The last two years have spelt out to me that from a work perspective, i want to integrate, at least partially. I don't want to work only serving the ex-pat crowd.

Come back again next year and we'll see what another year in my life has served up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

..gone but not forgotten...

I really thought that after a year this blog would have been deleted, but no, it still lives. There's a little bit of silicone somewhere in the world keeping it safe and snug - bless!

I always knew it would be a fad with me. Shame really as I quite like being bizzare and topical and getting things off my chest. Trouble is, i don't feel like i can be honest as its public, so get bored. Trouble is, if i just wrote a diary that no one saw, i'd consider that a waste of time too. There's something perverse in that, isn't there?

Anyhoo, credit crunch, boy its getting serious...

Monday, September 03, 2007

...the sand slips through the hour-glass...

Its like holding a shell to your ear. The sound of the breeze gently moving over the ground...

Thursday, May 17, 2007 we go again, new year, same story.

Eurovision. There have been many words written on the subject in recent days and many of them are simply last years words regurgitated. I am older than I care to admit and have taken more than a passing interest in the subject since Bucks Fizz became my childhood heroes (after Adam Ant, Abba and Tina Charles – God aren’t kids fickle…) when they won the competition in 1981. And, I have to say, I struggle to remember a time when people didn’t complain about a) The Voting and b) Terry Wogan’s commentary.

For many years the voting argument was aimed at the Nordic countries for patting each other on the back with the obligatory ‘douze’ points – Not forgetting Cyprus and their 12 point love of Greece. However, in this new millennium that all seems to be forgotten (even though it continues as before) as we have a new enemy, ‘the east’.

Apparently ‘the east’ are now rigging the voting and making a mockery of the competition. Plus, viewers no longer vote for their favourite song, they vote according to a country’s political pursuits – maybe we should rename it the Eurovision Political Popularity Contest?? At the end of the day we all believe what we want to believe, but I think it’s all nonsense.

Its already been pointed out on various blogs that if you only count the votes cast this year by the ‘western’ countries, the result is exactly the same – a win for Serbia and a second place for the Ukraine. In fact, there is little change in the top ten highest scoring countries and the UK and Ireland’s place at the bottom. Proof, if you want to believe it, that a handful of the now massive 42 voting countries, awarding 12 points to their neighbours, does not distort or corrupt the result. Let’s not forget that apart from the odd exception (e.g. Ireland) Eurovision is won by a different country every year. Its also been pointed out that this year’s competition was held in Helsinki – because ‘western’ Finland won the competition last year of course with just as many Balkan, former soviet and Yugoslav countries voting for one another. Critics in this country seem to forget that ‘most’ countries do not award their neighbours 12 points and all countries award many other points besides the magic 12. This guarantees the spontaneity of the result each year.

As for the political element, well come on, how many people in this country can name more than one other political leader in Europe? Sure we all know Bush and Putin, but who can rattle off the name of the current Slovenian leader or even that of our close neighbours France and Italy for example? To suggest that people voting in Eurovision are being that articulate en-masse is ridiculous. Respected BBC ‘DJ’s’ are suggesting it’s the Iraq war that has consigned us to the bottom of the heap – with respect, does anyone remember the French position on the Iraq war? And what good has it done them? I believe they were at the bottom of the heap along with us and Spain – who pulled their troops out of Iraq - and Germany and Ireland – the former I’m not aware even has an army or that the second has any troops there either… Let’s also not forget, if you think the UK is suffering for being perceived as a war mongering country, how on earth did Serbia end up winning the competition? No only did it win, it won with massive support from its own neighbours, many of whom it was at war with until a few years ago!

So why has the UK done so badly in recent years? It’s worth remembering that as the UK, Germany, France and Spain (the big 4) pay the biggest contribution to the staging of Eurovision, we automatically qualify for the final. Many people forget that there are actually two Eurovision song contests, so if you are not one of the big 4, or one of the highest scorers on the night, you have to take part in the qualifier and face the possibility that you may not make it to the final. This could be where some of the ‘partisan’ voting comes from. I am reliably informed that much is made in the commentaries in many countries of the fact that the big 4 automatically qualify and therefore do not need the support of the viewers as much as the other countries. This means that your vote is more valuable to a non auto-qualifying country, as not only will you help that country potentially win, you will help them qualify automatically for next years final too. You can then understand why viewers may vote for a neighbouring country where there may be a shared language, culture and a few aunts and uncles.

There can also be momentum behind many of the highest scorers. For example, this year’s Ukrainian entry courted much controversy to the stage where effigies of the singer were being burned in the streets. This ensured a lot of publicity for the song so it was already familiar to many people before the final itself. It will also have attracted a lot of support from those who wanted the song to do well to make a point to the critics – this may have hurt Scooch who turned in their own, excellent, camp performance.

Many of the singers too are well known in their native territories – the winning Serbian singer included. This will also guarantee a certain amount of support. By contrast, our performers are usually unknown or fairly minor celebrities as, given our attitude towards the competition, no big western acts will entertain the idea of entering.

Then there is the European mood and the quality of the performance. There is no such thing as a sure fire formula for winning Eurovision. Just contrast last years incredible performance-led winners Lordi with this years minimal, lyric-centric winner. There is just no way of knowing what Europe is going to warm to. A few years ago Javine gave an excellent performance for the UK of what was essentially a carbon copy of a previous winner. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t win. This has never been the way to win Eurovision. You need, a little originality, a little momentum and a whole lot of luck!

And the less said about Gemini, the better…

On the whole I think Eurovision is a great event and it does not deserve to receive the sour-graped criticism we have seen since Saturday. While the funding and qualification criteria remain as now, its true that things will remain stacked against us, but at the same time I do not feel that we stand no chance of winning – or at least ‘doing well’. With over 40 countries taking part, the show is a lottery. You cannot guarantee you will do well or win on a regular basis. My enthusiasm for the show was ignited when Bucks Fizz claimed the crown back in 1981 and it was 16 years before we won again. Its only been 10 years since our last win, so come on Britain, get over it!