What to do when the police break the law! pt 2

I guess my first real run in with the GMP (Greater Manchester Police for those who haven’t had the pleasure of being harassed yet!) would have been at the venue I ran in Manchester city centre about 10 years ago. After seeing this Mancunian legend be run into the ground by a succession of self serving arrogant stupid men I was begged to take over. The owner thought it would be closed within a month but when I managed to make a profit in my first week (the first time it had made money in 10 years) we heralded in a new age of live music and dingy underground clubbing on Piccadilly.

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One Friday night I was working as a cashier as nobody else would and several police vans pulled up in the bus lane in front of the club. This obviously wasn’t unheard of on a Friday night and I suspected there was trouble at the pub next door or in the spar on the next block. After about 15mins I poked my head out the door to see what was going on and I saw a busy but peaceful stretch of Manchester. Two young folk walked up to the club and seeing the police vans turned around saying how there was obviously something kicking of down there (meaning inside, as the club was downstairs), let’s go somewhere else! 3 more groups of people did the same thing so when the vans had not moved for half an hour I approached one calmly and meekly like the tiny 5ft2 girl that I am.

There was an officer sat in the driver’s seat of one van so I got his attention and said something very similar to this “Excuse me, sorry to bother you but I was wondering why you were parked here and how long you were going to be. Obviously if it’s important police business and of a sensitive nature I understand but as there doesn’t appear to be any danger right here, could you move a bit so people aren’t put of coming in to my venue please?”
He replied “I’m sorry love, we won’t be long, we’re just getting some scran from the spar”
Here is where I made my first mistake… Instead of just leaving it and getting back to my rapidly dying night I saw red.
“Well could you park in front of the spar then please because you’re costing me money and customers?”
“We could do but we’re parked here. Do you have a problem with that?”
Second mistake coming up…
“Yes obviously! I’m trying to run a business and having 2 police vans parked outside isn’t exactly the best advert for a music venue!” I can’t 100% guarantee I used the word police and not pig.
“We need to eat”
“Yes I understand that but I’m just asking you to move a few metres up the road to help my struggling business that pays its business taxes and is operating well within the law”
“We can park wherever we want!”
“Yes again I understand which is why I started by saying if you have to be parked here then fine but you offered the information that your colleagues are at the spar getting food which I don’t believe is a good reason to be costing a business money.”
This is when he started to take my name and venue details. I, as I had been taught to do at the BNP march all those years before, took his collar number and this was like a red flag to a bull.

spar

I hurried back to the club and spread the word with frightening efficiency that we would be raided within the next half an hour. I checked everything… the cctv was working, the fire escapes were clear, the promoter was told (on 3 separate occasions) to not smoke in the kitchen… come to think about it whilst I was running round sorting all this out I passed our wonderful promoter 3 times who was in the exact same place and pose every time… I guess it was after 11pm so he was fucked, I think I actually resorted to taking his cigarettes away to make sure he didn’t drunkenly light up in front of a gas cylinder in the cellar or something… I even had the bands behaving in the back rooms; the mention of an impending police visit does crazy things to a venue green room!

After ensuring that everything was spot on (I even had the door staff check the capacity several times, good job we weren’t busy!) I sat back in my cashiers booth and counted down almost exactly to my first official illegal police raid.
Approximately 15 of our countries ‘finest’ came bursting through the (open) doors, fronted by the head of licensing and some lady from environmental services or whatever they call themselves this week. When a good few had run down the stairs in a blaze of no glory whatsoever (because I’m not stupid) one of the younger ones asked if I was “the bird who told us we couldn’t park outside”?! I replied, quite calmly, knowing downstairs was being filmed and my staff all knew what to do, “No I’m the business person who asked the police force that I help pay for to do me a small favour which would have actually saved them time and effort”. He didn’t seem to understand me so grunted and ran off after his buddies.

With my 6ft4 head doorman escort I slowly but deliberately went downstairs and found an uncoordinated group of pigs (lets face it, that’s what they looked like!) snuffling round the obviously dark venue, being rude to obviously confused customers. I politely tried to get past the throng of testosterone and assuming I was a customer one of them grabbed me and tried to force me out saying I wasn’t allowed in. When I told him quite sternly, with doorman looking very menacing, to take his hands of me and show me the person in charge of this raid on MY venue he very quickly let go and shouted to a man in plain clothes that I recognised as the head of licensing.
“I’ve been expecting you!” I said with a smile, “What took you so long?”
“You know why we’re here then?”
“Well I know this is my punishment for asking the police for a tiny favour so yes I suppose you’re here to try to get some dirt on me or my venue. Good luck!” I gestured towards the main part of the venue where a dj played the most offensive techno we could find (strangely not one of mine, although my mp3 player was the first to be searched for offensive music!), very loudly to our remaining handful of customers.

After traipsing round the whole venue the only thing they could find that was ‘wrong’ was whilst I was out the back watching them check the beer was in date (!) one of the bands had stood outside one of the fire escapes and put a half full case of beer (their payment for playing) on the floor. This was written up as blocking a fire escape but if it had ever gone to court my simple rebuttal would have been (as it was at the time) it was a band’s case of beer… if there’s a fire, nuclear explosion, zombie attack or anything the first thing those boys are doing is picking up that beer thus clearing one of many fire escapes and as we were left with a fraction of our capacity by this time the 2 perfectly clear fire escapes would have been more than sufficient had there been a fire which was desperately unlikely as the place was so damp!

Another lesson learnt, the GMP do not do reason!

What to do when the police break the law! pt 1

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It’s easily done considering most PCs don’t actually know the law they are supposed to enforce.  I currently live under the reign of the almighty GMP… I thought moving to Stockport would put me under Cheshire police but we are part of Greater Manchester, a city I used to worship.

I was once interviewed for a university radio show and asked why I think so much great music comes from Manchester (as the manager of one of the most popular venues in the city at the time my opinion mattered!)… Most people had said ‘the rain’ that keeps people in where they are more likely to conceive great music. Whilst that is a credible answer, I put it down to the GMP; with such a fascist police force to fight against, passions were always high (as were tensions I’d imagine) and great passion creates great music.

My issues with the police in general date back to when I was about 16 and the BNP started to gain some popularity in South East London which is where my mum’s side of the family is from; my mum grew up in Catford, although she wouldn’t admit it now!  A vague associate from one of the pubs my mates and I frequented was heavily into the Anti Nazi League and organised a coach from Maidstone, where I grew up, to London for a protest march.  My friend Jane and I went along with Jane’s boyfriend Grant, a nice bloke who never really spoke, and a lesbian who I think was called Theresa and we all had a great time getting drunk on the coach and singing songs like it was the 1960s.

We were given instructions about where to meet up, what to do if a policeman tried to arrest you, where the march was heading, that the police would try and force us up Lodge Hill but at the crossroads we must go right and we were told that the police would try and stop us.

“Stop us from what?” I asked.

“Burning down the BNP headquarters!”

“Oh… I don’t think I want to do that.”

“Stay at the back of the march and head left at the crossroads then.  We are going right, to the HQ which masquerades as a bookshop and we’re gonna burn the fuckers down!”

The path of the Demonstration

Cheers and shouts and jeers drowned my reservations and I was swept along by the march and the comaradary.

I had met probably 7 black people at this point in my life; they were all nice enough and I fancied one of them.  I’ve loved Prince since I knew music existed and Straight Outta Compton was the first album I ever bought.  I was loving being able to shout about my anti racism and wonderful morals.

Chanting protesters

The march was going well until after walking down a very long straight road everyone stopped and we bumped into the people in front.  The familiar shouts of “Police support the Nazis”, “Fascist scum of our streets” stopped as well and all of a sudden the atmosphere became razor sharp.  Someone started shouting “Push forward, Push FORWARD and link arms”.  His tone was panicked as were the other voices that all began shouting the same thing… push forward, push forward, keep your arms linked… we didn’t understand but pushed the people in front of us as those behind started pushing us.

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We stayed squashed together for what seemed like hours; it was a summer’s day but those who had water with them couldn’t move themselves to get it, let alone drink it.  We were towards the right hand side of the middle of the road which would normally be a dual carriageway (or at least a road wide enough for 2 cars in each direction).  To our right, past all the people was a grassy slope with some trees at the top and to our left I began to realise there were people on top of a grassy mound and screams coming from the crowd.  The people to the left, who were dressed in black, with balaclavas were throwing things into the crowd and people started pushing forward and to the right.

Soon breathing was becoming an issue and being so small I had ended up a few rows in front of my friends and 2 people away from a wall of approximately 2000 riot police and their horses!  I could still hear the cries of “Push forward, push forward” but they were becoming more and more drowned out by screams of panic and disorientation.  I was stuck, with giant armoured horses looming over me and then came the push from the other direction.  Two thousand police and countless horses charged into the crowd.  We scrambled to keep our arms linked and form a human barrier and as far as I could see we managed it and after a few minutes of crushing pain the police eased of and the residual force from behind nearly knocked me over as my face came within millimetres of a transparent, reinforced plastic riot shield.

This is when the police took offense to us pushing into them, and to an 82 year old Nazi death camp survivor sitting down according to Searchlight publication, and with the push of an estimated 60,000 people behind us (according to Socialist Worker); they started batoning people and a riot broke out.  There was more charging and when the crowd fractured under the pressure of the BNP hurling bricks indiscriminately and the police and horses now trampling and hitting anyone they could there was just sheer panic.

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Luckily I was small enough again to duck under the crashing crowd and escape up the hill to the right.  Jane, who had the opposite advantage of being tall spotted me waving from the grass and pulled the other 2 through the throng and to relative safety.  As we clambered up the hillside we hear and then saw tear gas being thrown into the crowd.  With the police’s defences attacking, people were running down Upper Wickham Lane towards the BNP headquarters, not to the left, the route imposed by the police.  We saw smoke coming from down the road to the right of us but never managed to confirm if the target had been reached as our main issue now was to get to the other side of a riot in order to not miss our coach and be stuck in the nastiest part of South East London as night time rapidly approached.

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I don’t honestly remember how we all got safely back to the coach.  I do remember hiding at the top of the right hand hill and seeing people stumble past bleeding and crying.  One girl was being carried by a man who was not much bigger than she seemed.  He was shouting “They wouldn’t stop hitting her, they just wouldn’t stop” and as they passed I saw a gaping hole in the girls chest with her limp, unconscious hand trailing along the floor.  I saw a man collapse against a tree literally holding half of his scalp on… we had been told not to help people, not to get involved as it could delay real medical help getting to them so we stayed as hidden as the trees allowed and thankfully he was soon carted off in a stretcher.

chief steward Julie Waterson after being beaten by police with batons

chief steward Julie Waterson after being beaten by police with batons

One woman reported at the time ‘I was sitting on a wall, just trying to avoid the police. A policeman pushed me off. The police charged from a side street. I tripped over a bush and four police just laid into me with truncheons.  I was on the floor and one of them was kneeling on me, just hitting me. Later I saw a man in a wheelchair. The police charged again and again and just knocked him over. He fell out of his chair. My friend – she’s 16 – tried to help him up and the police started hiting her’ (Socialist Worker, 23 October 1993)

I always thought I lived much further away from London when I was younger, I always thought the journey home took hours, not one hour… maybe it did with traffic but the coach ride home was quieter and more sombre than the one going.

When I finally made it home to the safety of my family my parents ushered me into the front room to tell me there was something on tele about the march.  We watched a biased half truth of an article and I tried to educate my parents about what really happened but my dad continued to be annoyed with the cause I had chosen but ultimately impressed I had the balls to stand up for myself and my mum continued to be disappointed and embarrassed but less so than she would have been if I’d appeared on TV looking the state I was in.

It’s safe to say my impression of the police wasn’t a good one but to be fair and take the higher ground again this was the Metropolitan police force in London.  How I long for a bit of honest police violence!

Films, films and more films…

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Most of us love a good film and I’m no exception.  However I’m quite sure not so many people get so stressed about certain aspects as I do.  So as I have well over 300 films on my hard drive(s) I am going to (re)watch each one in alphabetical order and write a review, post some screen shots etc… 

I would start a whole new blog but that’s too much hassle!

So here we go…

Online arguements & Peaches Geldof

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as my best friend said yesterday “What is it about us that means we cant go a day without an agruement?”  I will always answer that with the sweeping statement that people are stupid and she will laugh but the truth is it is because we are intelligent, passionate, strong women who have had to stand up for ourself so much we now do it naturally.

Nature is actually at the centre of my latest row coincidentally enough (do you see what I did there?!).  I am a self confessed cat lady, I prefer my cat (and everyone elses) to most humans… all humans and when I’m not talking to or playing with him I’m watching cat vids and reading forums.  One of the main forums I visit is an American one called Catster.

Yesterday I noticed an article about whether you should let your pet cat outside or not and when I clicked I saw it was written by a cat behaviourist (I know right… it is america though!).  She even has letters after her name!  So I obviously expected the article to say yes of course let your cat out unless it has cat aids or some other health issue… I was literally horrified to read the most dogmatic blog (if my English teacher could have read it she would have to apologise about that censorship project I did when I was 15!) preaching that if you let your cat out for 30 secs he will be eaten by dogs, run over, poisoned by anything you could think of, beaten to death by hooligans etc etc… letting a cat outside is a death sentense and anyone who would allow it is a terrible ‘parent’.

Im seeing red just thinking about it!

i replied to the OP pointing out that it is unbelievably cruel and continued reading.  Everyone who had believed her bullshit had a little well done comment next to it and comments from the OP like “hopefully with more education and training it will (England) will change its ways and keep their cats safe”.  to which I responded something along the lines of “hopefully america will listen to a country older and wiser than itself and stop torturing cats by trapping them inside”.

If she can use emotive language than so shall I (and I shall be much better at it!).

A few people tried to make lame excuses and the OP refused (so far) to tell me exactly what qualifications she holds and where she got them from (“because if they are from anywhere other than the internet id like to complain!”) I pointed out that cars, dogs, other cats and people are not reasons to keep an animal inside and tbf England has all those things and we let our pets be pets…

In fact in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is stated that 1 of the 5 things an owner must give their pet by law is the ability to behave naturally.  Cats are naturally outside animals, predetors etc… so anyone who keeps a cat inside in my interpretation of the law of this land (that i strangely know more about than a German living on a Spanish island!) is illegal.

I know how important pets are, my cat is one of my only friends, but I am not a selfish person.  I went for years without a cat when I desperately wanted one but living in flats and constantly moving was not a good environment for a cat so I unselfishly didnt get one.

But I guess if you called a bunch of crazy people selfish morons there’s going to be a bit of a backlash…

Talking about crazy people I had never heard of Katie Hopkins till Peaches Geldof tore her a new one on this morning.  I had never paid Ms Geldof much attention, agreeing with the majority that she was a talent less child of celebrities, albiet a pretty tragic one but when I saw the video I had to give her some respect.  Hopkins is obviously coked off her tits and/or phished up and just keeps making personal, patronising digs at Peaches who looks like the model young mum.  Schofield does his best to referee and Holly Whatsherface says nothing (as personal issues might get in the way!)  After a shaky start Peaches come out of her shell a bit and stands up for herself succinctly, intelligently and given her ‘opponant’ bravely.  She was obviously not taking part in a fad and cared about what she was talking about (her kids so I guess obviously).  At points she just throws her hands up in frustration at Hopkins rudeness and general bullshit.  i could of done better (and still hope one day i get the chance to try) but ive got 12 years Ms Geldof…

*had 😦

im not ashamed to admit Ive shed more than 1 tear over her sudden death yesterday evening.  i never met her, im usually emotionally retarded but the sheer tragedy that someone so young and still finding herself can just be gone.  Bob Geldof’s statement is what really got the waterworks flowing especially this bit

“Writing ‘was’ destroys me afresh. What a beautiful child. How is this possible that we will not see her again? How is that bearable?”

and

“Tom and her sons Astala and Phaedra will always belong in our family, fractured so often, but never broken.”

at the time of writing this the cause of her sudden demise is still unknown although no drugs or suicide notes were found.  if i had to bet i would go for suicide, the last thing she tweeted was an ominous picture of her and her mum, the last video of her shows her looking lackluster and maybe even sad… 2 kids under 2, she might well of had post natal depression; that added to a life in the public eye and never getting over your mum’s death (who could at 11?) might well outway all the good things she had in her life.

However it happened I hope it was quick and that she was at peace.

My internet set up

I’ve had no internet for most of the day so I’ve clocked up an alarming amount of phone time to Sky who supply my broadband. I’ve had the service, phone and internet, for just over a year and apart from a slight blip with the bill and speed at the start I’ve had absolutely no problems. More surprisingly for anyone who has ever signed a contract with the likes of Virgin, Orange, Vodafone etc… their customer service reps are usually quite polite, intelligent people. And as I found out today very multi cultural!
The first lad I spoke to had a thick Belfast accent. As anyone who knows me will attest I love nothing more in a man than an Irish accent, except those from Belfast! I almost get flashbacks to the time I was wandering the streets of Belfast city centre, alone, at 2am Saturday morning after a gig, looking for a giant whale which would get me to a late night club according to a doorman. Anyone who knows Belfast will tell you there is no giant whale in the landlocked city. There was however a big wheel, slap bang in the centre of the city square, which I walked past 2 or 3 times before realising that in a Belfast accent (and after a loud gig and a few beers) wheel sounds a lot like whale!
I could of named this blog “I can mention my cat in any conversation” if I wanted it to turn into a crazy cat lady blog but I did manage to drop my cat into all 3 conversations I had with Sky reps today. The Irish lad didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humour so when he asked me to talk him through my internet set up this is what I said…
“Well starting at the wall socket there’s the wall socket and then there’s the microfilter that’s plugged into the wall socket and plugged into the microfilter there’s a grey wire and a black wire… and then there’s my cat! Then the grey wire goes…”
“Wait! Your cap?”

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“No my cat” as if on cue he made a very cat like noise, something between a meow and purr; “my cat is between the microfilter and the modem and phone.”
He laughed! Success!
The second man I spoke to was Scottish, I don’t know Scotland well enough to pinpoint it but he was very nice and ended up telling me it was probably the micro filter and he was sending me one out in the post. When I got off the phone I realised the Sky box was in the cupboard, not the garage and in it I found 2 micro filters. After making my intermittent connection even worse I phoned again… not to be a pest as I do with other companies but to let them know the micro filter is not the problem (unless all 3 are broken… I’m unlucky but that’s just taking the piss!).
I got through to a lady who started of sounding like my old house mate from Essex but as soon as she mentioned South Africa it clicked and I realised she had a very soft SA accent. It was made funnier when she told me she was in Belfast! I have a pretty sordid past with the few South Africans I’ve known so I’ll just say it was a unique pleasure to talk to a nice South African (her parents were Irish and Scottish so maybe that’s why she’s not an arrogant c**t!). I love how much we found out about each other in under an hour!
I mentioned that my cat might have chewed the micro filter but she had already ruled that out and was planning some amazing line tracking thing that automatically sends out an engineer if it finds a problem. Whilst she was doing that she told me about her dog; a Jack Russell that had been found starving and abandoned. Her friend took him in but almost immediately he attacked and sadly killed her cat (her indoor cat – in your face!)(sorry, completely different subject, I’ll explain later). The lady I was talking to heard about this and decided to give the dog a try as she didn’t have children to worry about or any other animals. She actually said she had “just got rid of” her children… I didn’t ask if she meant in the mortal sense or just in a flown the nest way. If she’s not a child murderer than much respect to her.
So I’ve no internet to upload this and I found out earlier Made in Chelsea starts again tonight (I managed to see like 8 minutes earlier) but I guess this is where the lack of TV (and license) becomes a problem.
It’s also raining so my cat can’t go out so he is sat, huffing in protest, exactly where I want to put my legs.

How did the cat get so wet?

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I’ve just been woken by an adorable squeaking meow and as I can see through the gap in my curtains (that has to be there as cat jumps up on the window regardless of whether he can see it and my curtains are almost new) that it’s not raining I slowly meandered my way to the back door to let my little adventurer in after a night of strutting and doing whatever cats get up to for hours at night (sitting in a bush?).

Before the door was fully open the cat had squeezed his ample body in and started shouting at me.  If he was speaking English it would be a tirade of swearing and insults but luckily I don’t speak angry cat. 

“What’s your problem?”  I asked.  (Yes I talk to my cat, and anyone else’s given a chance, not because I think he understands the actual words (although I still wish he did) I say but because I know he likes the sound of my voice, it’s calming to him and reassures him he’s home and safe.)

He looked (and felt, thanks for the naked leg rub!) absolutely drenched, quite literally as though he had fallen into a deep body of water and he was giving out so much attitude that I felt like I’d thrown him into that water!  As there are no rivers or seas near here the only thing he could of fallen into would be a pond in someone’s garden but he was just wet, not smelly or slimey or even particulaily dirty. 

I gave him a few guilt biscuits and snuck back to bed hoping he would start drying himself (by washing himself like cats do!) downstairs and fall asleep on the sofa as I’m obviously the evil monster responsible for his current situation but upstairs is warmer and why lick your self dry when your human changed the bedsheets yesterday to an off white cotton dovet cover just right for paw prints?! 

He is currently fast asleep on an old dovet I put in the hall to stop him scratching and he looks so peaceful… good enough to eat. 

Good for him, I can’t get back to sleep now 😦

My half hour in court

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Not that I want to mislead anyone but here is a reasonable happy story that happened on Wed last week…

This time last year I was working for a ‘company’ that had a chain of bars and a couple of nightclubs.  They were everything you’d expect from a family of nightclub owning Mancunian wanna be gangsters but I still redirected everything to my parents address so they didn’t know where I live!

Anyway it wasnt exactly my dream job and when I was being ignored on a daily basis, driving round the North West at 6am and expected to do everyone else’s jobs I ended up in hospital (having worked for 13 days straight).  I was still running the websites from my hospital bed but other than a few comically threatening emails (one of which proposed that Tim Westwood was going to make them £1000s!!!) I received nothing… most notably my £2000+ in unpaid wages for my 2 months employment.

So I took them to a tribunal as is the law in this country.  They ignored the whole thing, maybe because they thought I wouldn’t win and send bailiffs after them or maybe because they really are just that stupid that they think they are immune, I don’t know or care.

The case continued and without having to step foot in court I was granted a favourable decision, I just needed to tell the court how much I was owed.

That was the hard part… I had originally quoted £2100 plus £100 petrol and interest at 18.23% as that was what my overdraft was costing me.  Now I’m confused about interest at the best of times but when I found out that the grand they had paid me (after tax and NI) was actually net and the tax office had no record of my employment with them (I’d imagine that’s the case with everyone who works for them to be honest but that’s not my problem) my head was ready to blow up.

Everything led to getting legal help.  Unfortunately I am obviously not well off and couldn’t afford the ridiculous costs of a lawyer or accountant to do some sums for me.  Then I remembered my aunt is a very successful (already retired) accountant/bank manager type so I asked my dad to arrange contact between us (she has a second home in Thailand where she was getting over the loss of her parents, my grandparents, whose wills she had been executor of).

My dad reacted to the suggestion the same way I’d imagine he’d react if I ripped my mum’s head of in front of him!  How dare I ask a family member for help instead of paying £200 I don’t have?!  How dare I suggest disturbing a grieving millionaire when she is on holiday?  (I didn’t think it counted as holiday when you lived there for half the year but what do I know?)

This is how I’ve been bought up, I’m nothing, everyone and everything else is more important than me and I shouldnt expect any special treatment even from my family and friends.

So risking the fines and/or imprisonment if anyone thought I was being deceitful, I put together a schedule of loss.  With more thoughtful calculations and some handy online calculators I got the total owed to £5500!  I sent it of with a polite, innocent note apologising for any indiscrepancies.

I then received a letter from the tribunal people telling me to attend court which I did and the nice judge talked me down to £4400.  Yes, it’s less money than I thought I’d get for a brief period but the fact that the judge said my schedule of loss was excellent considering I had no professional help almost makes up for it.

I requested they sent a note along with the official judgement, simply reading “I bet you wish you’d just paid me the 2 grand now!” but apparently they wouldn’t do that sort of thing (“Although I can’t stop you emailing them” the judge said with a wink).

Now the really hard part… actually getting the money!

Hello world…

Insert awkward first blog here…

As mentioned in the tagline this is my life, 100% as it happens.  My exaggeration is obvious and hopefully not too distracting.  I’m stressing this because the theme of the blog is that if I wasn’t living this life, I really wouldn’t believe how it goes down.

There is a lot of back story but that’s usually boring and even I’ll probably lose interest after a few minutes so I’ll promise to add a sticky post or page about the past as soon as I can manage it but hopefully each story will get the gist across by itself.

Please don’t worry… this is not some self pitying, ignorant high tech diary for me to show to numerous shrinks and councellors when I finally give into insanity and commit myself.  I’m always being told I have good amounts of wit about the shit that happens in my life and those around me and as the book industry now consists of 3 old men reguritating bollocks to the 5 people who don’t read online or tablets, I’m writing a blog.