2016: A Year of Nights Off with Beer and Live Music

I’ve spent a fair few nights watching live music in the last 12 months. Many have been outstanding. I’ve seen acts I had spent half my life waiting to see, I’ve seen some of my favourite acts in unexpectedly small venues, I’ve seen over a hundred acts for the first time, and found new favourites. I haven’t attended quite a gig a week, but it’s not been far off. It’s been fun, and it’s involved the consumption of a lot of beer, and a of time in particular in The Brudenell Social Club and The Fulford Arms. However bad things have been in 2016 socially and politically, there has, at least, always been great live music in abundance.

There is a heap of people – PR, bands, venue personages – I’d like to thank, and I’ve chatted to some ace folks while out and about. Mosly I’d like to thank all the acts I’ve seen for making it a fun year. Those acts are listed, alphabetically, below. I’ve had a blast, and suffice it to say I’m looking forward to more of the same in 2017.

 

…And the Hangnails x 3

99 Watts

999

Asylums

Avalanche Party

Bearfoot Beware

Baroness

Beige Palace

Big Love

The Black Lagoons

Brix & the Extricated

Broken Skull

Buen Chico x 2

Bull x 3

By Any Means

Cannibal Animal

Charlie Padfield

Chris Catalyst

Circuit Breaker

Climbing Alice

Colour of Spring

Consumer Electronics

The Contortionist

Corinth

Cowtown

Deathmace

Death Valley High

DVNE

Dragged Into Sunlight

The Duke Spirit

Eagulls

Elsa Hewitt

Eugene Gorgeous x 2

Face

The Fall

False Flags

Famine

Fat Spatula

Fawn Spots x 2

FEWS

Fighting Caravans x3

Fizzy Blood x2

Flora Greysteel x 2

The Franceens

Future of the Left x 2

Game Program

Gang of Four

Ghold

Gnaw Their Tongues

Gloomweaver

Groak

Hands Off Gretel

Heads.

Helen Money

Hinges

Holy Esque

Hoogerland

The Homesteads

Hora Douse

Horsebastard

The Howl & The Hum

Human Certainty

Irk x 2

Jaded Eyes

Jakoby

Joanne

Kagoule

Kid Canaveral

Killing Joke

Kleine Schweine

Knifedoutofexistence

Legion of Swine

Living Body

Low Key Catastrophe

The Lucid Dream

Mannequin Death Squad

Man of Moon x 2

Max Raptor

Maybeshewill

Mayshe-Mayshe x 2

Meabh McDonnell

The Membranes x 2

Milk Crimes

Mishkin Fitzgerald

Mouses

Mums

NARCS

Near Meth Experience

Nick Hall

Moloch

Mountains Crave

Naked Six

Neuschlaufen

Nordic Giants

No Spill Blood

Ona Snap

One Way Street

Oozing Wound

Orlando Ferguson

Palehorse

Party Hardly x 2

Percy x 2

Pijn

Post War Glamour Girls

Protomartyr

Push

Raging Speedhorn

RM Hubbert

RSJ

Sand Creature

Sarah Carey

Seep Away

Shellac

Shield Patterns x 2

Shrykull

Silver Apples

Simon Bolley

Soma Crew x 5

Stereoscope x 3

Stoneghost

Suburban Toys

Super Luxury

Sweet Deals on Surgery

TesseracT

Thank

Tooth x 2

They Might Be Giants

Three Trapped Tigers

Treeboy & Arc

Unwave

Vesper Walk

Washing Machine Repair Man

Wharf Street Galaxy Band

Wolf Solent

Worriedaboutsatan

Yard Wars

You Slut!

ZoZo

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Pill-Popping and Apoplexy

Prone as I am to venting my spleen to friends, family and via my blogs, I’m not generally the sort to make formal complaints to companies. Having spent a number of years dealing with customer complaints in a corporate / financial environment, I’m all too aware that complaining is pretty much futile, and moreover, if I’m enraged enough to complain about something, then the response I’m likely to get will only increase that anger tenfold. Yes, despite being a placid individual in person, and not the sort to become embroiled in heated discussion on-line either, I’m an angry fucker. As a rule, however, I focus that anger constructively, into my writing.

Sometimes, though, I get grumpier and angrier than usual, and those times often occur when I’m not feeling well. And, not feeling well last week while under the cosh of a heavy cold, I decided to use my lunch break to pick up a few off-the-shelf pharmaceuticals to alleviate my suffering when purchasing some foodstuffs including a jar of organic strawberry jam, and a couple of beers for the evening (it would have been rude to pass on bottles of Shepherd Neame’s Spitfire and Marston’s Pedigree at £1 a bottle, after all).

Suffering from blocked sinuses, a headache and uncomfortable back, and aware that restrictions exist regarding the sale of paracetamol, I thought better of filling my basket with enough drugs to anaesthetize an elephant and only went for the essentials. Even that proved to be a problem, though, prompting me to fire off a stern email to the supermarket concerned….

In the York Monks Cross store today during my lunch hour I attempted to purchase 1 x 16 Ibuprofen, 1 x 16 Paracetamol and 1 x Max Strength Congestion relief but was told by the cashier, Tina, I could only purchase 2 units and had to nominate one of the products to leave. This is absurd.

I understand the law limits the sale of paracetamol to 32, but I should therefore still be able to purchase 32 Paracetamol and up to 32 Ibuprofen as these are not of the same ‘family’ of drugs.

Even assuming the limit of 32 tablets of ANY painkillers is justifiable, given that the decongestants I wanted to purchase contain neither ibuprofen nor paracatamol, but phenylephrine hydrochloride, this product should not have counted toward the 32 tablet / 2 unit limit. These 3 different products would clearly not constitute an overdose hazard.

The NHS website states: “GSL medicines can be sold by a wide range of shops, such as newsagents, supermarkets and petrol stations. Often, only a small pack size or low strength of the medicine may be sold. For example: the largest pack size of paracetamol that shops can sell is 16 tablets but pharmacies can sell packs of 32 tablets. the highest strength of ibuprofen tablets that shops can sell is 200mg but pharmacies can sell tablets at 400mg strength.”

Because the 3 products were required for different purposes, it was then necessary for me to extend my lunch break in order to purchase the third product – a box of 16 200mg ibuprofen – elsewhere. Not only was this extremely frustrating and inconvenient, but also wholly unnecessary, and all due to a complete misapplication of the law. I would strongly recommend you ensure all your staff are given clear training on the sale of certain products.

The reply I received a couple of days later proved to be kind of dismissive bollocks I should have expected, penned in a style that veered between the informal and the businesslike, but maintained a suitably patronising tone throughout:

Thanks for your email. I’m sorry you were unable to buy all the over the counter medication you recently wanted to while in our Monks Cross store. I can understand this would have been disappointing as you then had to extend your lunch break to ensure you could purchase all three.

As a reputable retailer, we take our responsibilities very seriously. There is a limit on the number of paracetamol based products our colleagues can sell through the checkouts. There is a limit in place of 32 tablets in total, this can consist of 16 paracetamol and 16 ibuprofen for example.

We train all our colleagues to take this responsible selling approach very seriously. I can appreciate this may have seemed slightly over zealous on this occasion, however my colleague was following their training.

There are pharmacies available in our stores were customers can purchase larger quantities of medications should the need arise. Please don’t ever hesitate to speak with the local pharmacist should you need to.

We’re grateful you’ve taken the time to contact us with this feedback and we look forward to seeing you in store again soon.

Kind regards

So, while acknowledging the limit for paracetamol tablets is 32, it would appear that Sainsbury’s have decided rather than risk breaking the law on medications, to dumb it down to the dumbest point imaginable and then take it a step further by reinterpreting the limit of 32 tablets of paracetamol at a non-pharmacy counter as 32 tablets of anything… unless – as this email could also be taken to mean – they believe ibuprofen is a paracetamol-based product. Which it clearly isn’t.

Assuming it’s simply the case that they’re enforcing a strict limit of 32 tablets of any type at regular checkouts (and while I could have got to the pharmacy counter, it seems needlessly obtuse to make customers queue at two separate counters to purchase items they can, by law, purchase at just the one), then I’ll concede that it wasn’t the cashier being (apparently) ‘overzealous’, but the store itself.

And this really the crux of my issue: the laws concerning the sale of paracetamol products are not being applied with any common sense. Am I to take it from the email that I couldn’t buy, say, ibuprofen for my headache, antihistamine for my hayfever and fibre tabs for my blocked-up bowel in one transaction if the 3 products in combination exceeded 32 tablets despite the fact that none of them contains paracetamol and there are no laws concerning the sale of either?

Anyway, a couple of days later I found myself back in the same store (working in an office on the edge of an out of town shopping park doesn’t give much scope for a diverse range of activities and if I don’t get out of the office I’m likely to crack up). I had no pharmaceuticals in my basket this time, but was once again short on time and short on patience.

There’s a reason I dislike supermarkets – and shops in general, and most public places for that matter, and that’s because Sartre was right: hell is other people. I was reminded of this as I waited for what felt like an eternity to buy my booze and bananas and cheese, thanks to the two overweight, mutton-dressed as lamb middle-aged hags in front of me who were too busy gassing and cackling to pack their shopping into bags as it came through the checkout. Although they were together, they were shopping separately, and the one who had been served was busy clucking and tearing open a bag of mints she’d bought. Offering one to her lard-arsed mate, she proclaimed enthusiastically, “Ooh, they’re really minty!”. Of course they are : they’re fucking mints.

On the final item being rung through, the minty binty dropped her card and flapped a coupon around before realising her shop was 23p short of qualifying for the extra Nectar points offered on the coupon, prompting a call of “Sweets! Do you have any sweets on the end? No, wait, I need new potatoes!” and proceeded to wobble off to pick up some spuds to take her shop over £50 so she’d get her 200 extra Nectar points. The cashier then failed to scan said spuds, and the drippy tart bunged them in her bag. On realising the error, the cashier asked for the potatoes back. “Oooh, you’d better scan ‘em, I don’t want to be settin’ off the beepers!” the chubby dumbass clucked – as if they put alarm tags on £1 bags of fucking new potatoes!

As I seethed in silence, I had ample time to read and reread a new notice which had been tacked beside the checkout regarding the sale of 12 certificate games and films, notifying customers that. to purchase these products, they’ll need to provide proof of age. Acceptable forms of ID are a current passport or driving licence. Ok. But if the age limit is 12, then a 13-year old could legally purchase said items… but what 13 year old carries their passport or has a driving licence?

A lot of people just tell me to chill out and let it all go, but I can’t. It’s years of people doing precisely that which have brought us to this ridiculous situation. The trouble is, I don’t know what’s worse: retailers, local governments, etc., and the countless others who consider themselves to have a ‘social responsibility’ taking it upon themselves to dictate what we can buy, do, say, etc., etc., by effectively rewriting the law under the guise of ‘responsibility’ and ‘protection’, or a population stupid enough to believe potatoes might be security tagged and actually need those decisions making for them…

 

busy-supermarket

Stock photo of sheep in a supermarket, happy to provide ID in order to purchase a bar of soap (limited to 1 per customer in case someone eats it).

The Worker pt 7: Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Sunday morning. Hangover. Took him a moment to realise where he was. Home. His own bed. A good sign. Fully dressed. He glanced around, the movement of his eyeballs in their sockets making him wince in pain. The pungent aroma of the previous night’s smoke which clung to his clothes, mingled with the sickly-sweet tartness of stale sweat made his stomach lurch, but he observed with relieve that his bed was free of puke and he’d not pissed or shat himself either. Ok, so it was rare for either of those things to happen, but they weren’t unheard of. How had he got home? And when? Where had he been, even? After arriving at the club, already hammered, some time after ten or thereabouts, everything was a blank. He felt like shit, felt like he was gonna die.

He moaned and gingerly winched himself out of bed. Went to the bathroom, pissed like a horse for a good couple of minutes. Bliss! Chugged half a pint of full-fat milk straight from the carton, threw down some painkillers and tossed some bread in the toaster. Checked the clock. Ok, so it wasn’t Sunday morning any more, it was closer to 1pm. A seriously heavy night. He buttered the hot toast on ejection from the machine and took a couple of bites before a wave of nausea broke from the pit of his stomach. He made haste back to the bathroom and spewed it all back up. mouth, nose, some serious velocity. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and crawled back to bed.

The next time he woke it was just after 3pm. He still felt rough, but nothing like the way he had felt before. What a waste of a day. Still in the clothes from the night before, he went back to the kitchen and prepared a mammoth fried breakfast and sat in front of the television while he troughed down the greasy collation. There was a match on. He didn’t really give a shit about Liverpool or Chelsea, being a Man U supporter but football’s football.

CouchPotato

A generic image of a bloke slobbing out on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon

 

Afternoon rolled into evening as he sat, vegetating, on the sofa. Fuck it, he couldn’t be arsed to wash up or so any washing, not today. It would keep. Around 8, he decided to take a shower, after which, still wrapped in his towel, he fired up the PC and checked his emails. Nothing much doing. He logged into his Facebook account. A few tagged pics from last night were up already, and a number of people had left him comments, too. But as far as he could ascertain, he’d only danced like a twat and tried cracking onto a couple of birds, both absolute munters, by all accounts. But he’d not screwed either of them – because they’d turned him down flat – and he’d not flashed his cock or arse, so on balance, no cause for concern. He idly flipped up some porn pages. Before long, his horn was throbbing as hard as his head had been earlier in the day, and he knocked out a mix over a couple of chicks lezzing it up. Job done, he wiped himself down, put the telly on and watched some second-rate eighties action movie till just gone midnight. Waste of a day, alright, but it sure as hell beat having to go to work.

 

 

The Kindle – and paperback – edition of Postmodern Fragments is available via Amazon in the UK …and in the US.

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

The Worker pt 6: Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting), or, Living for the Weekend

He woke around 10. Didn’t feel too bad. Probably still drunk. But he was home and in his own bed. Beat the sofa, or, worse, the gutter or a police cell. Would’ve been nice to have been someone else’s bed, he thought, but waking up next to some eight-pint hound wouldn’t’ve been good. The pungent aroma of the previous night’s smoke which clung to his clothes, hair and skin, mingled with the sickly-sweet tartness of stale sweat made his stomach lurch, but he observed with relieve that his bed was free of puke and he’d not pissed or shat himself either.

He moaned and gingerly winched himself out of bed. Went to the bathroom, pissed like a horse for a good couple of minutes. Bliss! He ambled into the kitchen and tossed some stale bread in the toaster. Checked the clock: force of habit. He buttered the hot toast on ejection from the machine and took a couple of bites. The hangover was starting to kick in. His head’s pounding and his guts are churning. He takes a heavy beershit, then gets dressed.

A trip to the supermarket takes a decent chunk out of his day. He hates going to the supermarket, but needs must, and sometimes there are some fine fillies out and about. He once pulled a bird in the supermarket. Just sidled on up to her in the cereal aisle, like in the Cornflakes ad, only smoother of course. Went out for a couple of weeks. She’d been alright to look at, but a major pain in the arse, wanted a relationship and all that shit. He wasn’t up for all that, he was the free and single, wild oats type. As he’s just been paid, he treats himself to a couple of frozen pizzas, stocks up on the microwave meals, a crate of Carling on special, bread, milk, bacon for a fry-up tomorrow. Throws in a pack of puddings – sundae type things – and some Smirnoff Ice, too. He might have a couple of those while warming up for tonight.

Decisions, decisions! The shorter checkout queue, or the checkout with the tasty piece serving? No contest! He threw in some smooth lines while the cute bit of fluff scanned his goods. Never mind his goods, he was checking out hers!

Once home, he flicks on the television, watches the football. Necks a couple of the cans of Carling. Throws a pizza in the oven for an early tea before it’s time to start getting ready. Going out tonight, going out tonight… While the pizza was heating through, he fired up the PC and surfed for porn. A quick flog of the hog, and then, while munching on the pizza, he flitted around on Facebook and downed a couple more tins.

Turning off the computer, he docked his i-Pod and scanned for the Hard-Fi album. Cranked it up while he took a shower. Squirted a large dollop of shampoo onto his head, worked to a lather. Rinse and repeat. As seen on TV. Stepped out of the shower, towelled dry, starting with a jaunty flossing. Pumped the volume up even higher when ‘Living for the Weekend’ came on as he doused himself in deodorant and doused himself in aftershave. So rarely did a song sum up his life so completely. Yes, this song was his life. He fucking loved it.

Started off in Wetherspoon’s, then on to Yates’s. After that, a quick stop in Varsity. Ok, Varsity’s not everyone’s first choice, but it’s a place to go to meet people. And, as Andy points out, there are some tidy birds in there, especially on a Saturday night.

Busy Bar

A typical busy bar on a Saturday night

 

The round is pulled and they get stuck in, it’s onto the next in under 10 minutes. The dollybirds from the local offices, and the shop-workers too – there were some particularly tasty checkout girls in some of the supermarkets, not to mention the chicks in the clothing stores, even River Island and Top Man – would be tottering in wearing their high heels, short skirts and low cut tops before long. He felt like trying his hand for some action tonight. He’d not had his end away in months now, and he was getting tired of the hand-shandies. He was feeling lucky, but needed to build his courage first. The totty began rolling up, right on cue and before long it was wall-to-wall flange, there for the taking. Andy got the next round in, and as the beers really start to flow, he’s on his way….

 

The Kindle – and paperback – edition of Postmodern Fragments is available via Amazon in the UK …and in the US.

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

The Worker pt 5: Friday I’m in Love

Bollocks! He awoke with a start. He had been deep in sleep, in the middle of some long and winding epic dream. There had been some crazy alarms and sirens, fires everywhere and bombs dropping…. but in a jolting instant he realised that the alarm of his dream had been the alarm clock by the bed. How long ha it been going? He checks the time: 8:02. Fuck, shit, bollocks, bugger fuck cunt, he’s going to have to get a move on. He hauls his arse out of bed and throws on yesterday’s clothes that are strewn at the foot of the bed. No time for breakfast – he’s still out of milk, and bread, too – he brushes his hair, cleans his teeth. He’s running late, so no time for a shave today. 8:27 and he’s having to run to make the 8:30 bus: the bus-stop is an eight and a half minute walk but he can make it in half that at a run. He hates running, because he’s not fit – too much beer, too many cigarettes – and he hates arriving at work an exhausted ball of sweat. But he can’t be late. He’s in luck: the bus is running a couple of minutes late, and he arrives, panting and thoroughly fagged out just as it pulls up.

It doesn’t take long before the tedium sets in. He usually enjoys Fridays – the vibe tended to be more upbeat, and everyone felt the tension lift as they coasted toward the weekend. But the morning dragged, and he could feel his boss’ eyes on him, boring into the back of his head. He was keeping his nose clean and his head down. Same as ever, really. He couldn’t fathom why this authoritarian jumpstart little prick had it in for him. Probably for no other reason than because he seemed like an easy target for the power-tripping jobsworth cunt. He tried to convince himself of this, but was certain that the fat bitch at the next desk was shooting him suspicious glances. She was a conniving manipulative cow at the best of times, and while he thought their run-in from a few weeks ago had blown over, perhaps she’d been biding her time before deciding to make him pay by using underhanded tactics. So the truth hurt, and if she couldn’t take being told that she was a lazy, ass-climbing selfish lump of lard who couldn’t get a shag because she was such a miserable, self-seeking boot, it was her tough shit.

 

Image1

An office, predictably enough

The calls keep on coming, but, less frequent, he finds his concentration drifting and his time between calls clock-watching. It’s payday: there are beers with his name on, and he can’t wait to get stuck in!

Midday and he was close to the turtle’s head so decided rushed the closing of the call he was on and go and bab one out. The humid fug of body-temperature merde hung heavy in the air, and he was dismayed to find the seat still warm. But he wasn’t in a position to be picky. He laid his cable swiftly and was back at his desk within 4 minutes.

The afternoon drags, but 5:30 eventually rolls round and he’s down the pub inside 5 minutes. Steve arrives, then Andy, then Simon, with Joe and Garry in tow. They’re all buoyed up because it’s Friday and they’re raring to go. The first round is pulled and they get stuck in, it’s onto round two in under 10 minutes. Ok, Varsity’s not everyone’s first choice, but it’s close to work and it’s a place to go to meet people. And, as Andy points out, there are some tidy birds in there, especially on a Friday night. The dollybirds from the offices nearby would be tottering in wearing their high heels, short skirts and low cut tops before long. He felt like trying his hand for some action tonight. He’d not had his end away in months now, and he was getting tired of the hand-shandies. He was feeling lucky, but needed to build his courage first. The totty began rolling up, right on cue and before long it was wall-to-wall minge, there for the taking. Andy got the next round in, and as the beers really start to flow, he’s on his way….

 

 

The Kindle – and paperback – edition of Postmodern Fragments is available via Amazon in the UK …and in the US.

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk