Thursday, 6 March 2008

With another short week for me I was hoping to get out on Saturday to do a longer day shift before having to get back for a night out (I was driving, of course), and then of course being at home for Mothers' Day on Sunday meant that I had to try to squeeze in as much work as I could before then.

Having an extra day in a leap year did mean that we self employed people will of course earn 1/365th (or is it 1/366th) more money than we normally would. No cries of "Give us an extra day's holiday from us lot, oh no! Why is it that this year seems to be the first time we've suddenly heard cries of this. Perhaps the leap day hasn't fallen on a Friday for a long time. Or perhaps we've all just turned into an "in-it-for-what-we-can-get" society.

Similarly cries from parents whose children don't get their first choice schools. One headmaster complained that he had actually experienced disappointed parents turning up with lawyers to complain about the fact that their little 11 year is going to have to go to a school just round the corner and that they won't be able to drive their 4x4 to the better school 3 miles away.

Sorry, turning even more into one of the grumpy old men off the telly.

Had a couple of good days towards the end of last week. Friday saw me have my first bilker. Not too much to worry about though. I was on the rank at the London Eye ("If you think the wheel's big, you should see the size of the hamster") when the linkman from the Marriott asked if I could take one of his guests to Earls Court. No problem, basic stuff, so we pull up outside the hotel and the linkman pops into reception to find the waiting passenger. Within a minute he pops out again asking me if I'd seen the passenger who had disappeared, but his luggage hadn't. Nope, but i'll wait. No sign of the passenger after a few minutes so I've got £5.40 on the clock, no job and I've lost my place on the rank.

Luckily another passenger came out of the hotel wanting to go to Paddington, which enabled me to meet up with Blue Lion at the Paddington Knowledge School to help him celebrate getting his badge. Well done mate, glad you're enjoying the job. It did mean I had to lose the £5 waiting time so the linkman owes me a decent job in the future. Rochester at about midnight would be nice.

Another interesting job was from Waterloo to the Home Office. Chatting to the passenger about the Congestion Charge zone led to some interesting information. The number of cars in town has actually decreased, as TfL's figures have shown. What they don't show is how much the amount of capacity for cars has decreased due to the increase of the number and operation times of bus lanes. So, there are (say) 10% fewer cars but (say) 15% less space for them to use, hence the appearance that things are actually worse. Who was it said about "Lies, damned lies and statistics".

The amount of time spent in traffic jams this week led me to operating only out of the O2 Dome today, running all local jobs. Even that resulted in me giving up after a couple of people wanted to go into Greenwich. A set of temporary traffic lights at Park Row and the closure of Greenwich High Road from the One Way system to Royal Hill caused complete chaos all around SE10. Congratulations to whoever was responsible for planning this particular beauty.

I probably won't work tomorrow if the traffic so far this week has been anything to go by. Spent most of the time in a jam caused by any one of many sets of roadworks. i've got a gig tomorrow night, all the way down in Ashford and it's looking increasingly like it will be my last one with Headlong. We played at O'Neil's in blackheath last Sunday, and as usual, volume levels went up and up until they became unbearable, despite there being a noise limiter in the pub. By the end of the night i'd had enough and by Monday morning I'd told the guitarist and keyboard player that this Friday would be my last gig with them. It would be nice to do one last local bash so that a few people might come along, but if the support is anything like we've had over the past 5 years it'll just turn out to be another noisy gig.

So time to call it a day and move on. I wouldn't want to give up the music altogether but too many pubs are paying too little. Their custom is down, live music is giving way to karaoke and disco and people will spend more time buying cheaper booze and drinking it at home where they can have a smoke without having to go and stand in the garden. Watch this space for any news of other "projects" as they happen.

While on music, sad news in the week as Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey lost his battle against cancer. You might know him from the Roadhouse film with Patrick Swayze. If you don't know who he is, check out the video below from YouTube.

Look forward to seeing some of you out there on Saturday when I'll try to earn some money to cover the rent for this week. That'll teach me not to work during the week.

Real world job for the Knowledge Boys and Girls

Junction of Lexham Gardens and Cromwell Road to Portland Hospital
(you gotta love Mr T for his lines)

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