Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Just as a question – how long does chewing gum last? No I don’t mean how long can you chew it before it loses its flavour, but how long does it last after it’s been used.

They recently steam cleaned the pavements where I live, and the removal of all those little white splodges has made a noticeable difference. And it’s not like they’ve come back overnight, the streets are still clear. So take these facts into account – there is no immediate build up of chewing gum after cleaning, and you never actually ever see anyone flobbing a gum loogey onto the ground, and then add the fact that some pavements are absolutely wall to wall with the stuff. The only conclusion is that chewing gum has an absolutely terrifyingly long half life. A piece of Wrigley’s finest squashed flat by 10,000 feet a day must be able to survive for years, if not, and I’m not joking, decades!

Why don’t they build space shuttle tiles out of used chewing gum – that’d sort their problems out.

Actually I’ve just done a little bit of research – chewing gum is (basically) made from the same group of chemicals as rubber. No wonder it doesn’t go away. It’s not like dropping a Mr Softy on the floor.


Tonight I shall mostly be . . . pulling up carpets and slicing them into manageable pieces. Just bought a Stanley knife for that exact purpose, and jolly superior it is too. Stanley knife technology has moved on since I were a lad – rubber grips, thumb switch locking wheel , I dunno. Basically still the same though – a razor blade in a banana.

Japanese Canteen

Got my lunch from The Japanese Canteen today - Prawn Yakiudon, but frankly it was pretty uninspired – sorta gloopy. A bit balnd really, despite being too salty. Certainly didn’t feel particularly invigorating which is what noodles should really do – give you a feeling of inner peace and well being. Have none of them ever seen Tampopo? Well I shall give them another shot next week – maybe it was just a bad call today.

Life Problems

Regular readers will be aware that I haven’t been a particularly happy camper of late, and there are many reasons for this, which I don’t think I really want to go into now, suffice it to sat it’s nothing all that special : Physical decrepitude, fat, unstable (albeit well paid) peripatetic employment, ineffective divvies for colleagues, can’t afford to buy a flat anywhere worth living in, sleeping alone every night for the rest of my life, constant thoughts of aging, death and the wasted opportunities of youth; pretty much the usual, then.

So I’ve decided that the root of my pain lies in the fact that I work in an office. I fundamentally don’t think we were meant to be in offices. Actually that’s cobblers. When Ugg the caveman left the family hovel in the morning to hunt for woolly mammoths you know he joined his brother troglodytes for a bit of a journey and then spent the rest of the day bitching about the saucepan lids and gossiping with Thrag about what Splod said to Glop and why Umpag doesn’t have a chance of being promoted to Deputy Hunt Leader despite what his little fan club Skog and Bagpak have been going round saying. So simply substitute ‘A seven story fully air-conditioned prestige building in the Basingstoke – Dagenham triangle’ for ‘A patch of frozen ice-age tundra located approximately 2 miles north of what will one day become Munchen-Glaadbach’ and it’s basically been pretty much the same experience ever since the first idiot thought it’d be a fun idea to hang out with the rest of the proto-monkeys and see if they couldn’t form a committee and make that idiot Plikka-plok get the bananas today.

New Career

So just quitting my job wouldn’t cut it, I need to escape the whole historical imperative to form working parties and spend the day coming up with new reasons why nothing is our fault. No, I need to find some sort of employment that lets me choose to spend as much time as I like on my own. So far it’s a fairly short list :-

  1. Conceptual Artist

  2. Graphic designer

  3. Freelance journalist

  4. Poet

  5. Novelist

  6. Pornographer

  7. Full time doley vermin

  8. Cinematic auteur

Of course there’s a downside to all of them :-

  1. Conceptual Artist – singularly lacking in self promotional fervour.

  2. Graphic designer – not a great draughtsman

  3. Freelance journalist – people don’t read my blog all that much and it’s free. Seems unlikely anyone would want to pay for same.

  4. Poet – still harbouring thoughts of sleeping with a lady at some point.l I need to be careful, I’m not Philip bloody Larkin after all, am I.

  5. Novelist – most of them starve to death, intellectually if not physically

  6. Pornographer – probably end up spending more time with editors, web owners, ‘models’ and my fellow perves than I do with my bloody colleagues already.

  7. Full time doley vermin – associated feelings of self doubt might just push me over the edge + daytime TV is rubbish.

  8. Cinematic auteur – let’s walk before we can run OK?

Actually I wouldn’t mind being a conceptual artist – it really is money for old rope once you’ve made it, but unfortunately it seems you have to spend at least 10 years hanging around tedious installations smoking rollies and talking crap about the semiotics of post-industrialism first. Plus, like many fields where the difference between success and failure lies in the hands of a few old ponces rather than the democratic forces of the marketplace being a member of ‘the club’ is pretty much essential. You ain’t going to get very far as a conceptualist without having been to art school first, no matter how challenging, vibrant or ‘bleakly disturbing’ your stuff is. Besides, despite fancying Tracy Emin most of them sound like utter crashing bores, and you’d have to become one as well. Imagine the scene – there you are at a party and some bint comes over to talk to you because she’s vaguely perplexed by your donkey jacket / ripped chinos combo and is also vaguely thinking about bumming a fag off of you :-

“So, Hi, what do you do”

“I’m an artist” (+3 pts : score +3 (you might be famous))

“ Wow, what kind”

“Well I don’t like to put labels on myself but most of my recent works have been conceptual installations” (+1 pt : score +4 (sounds a bit grumpy, but you never know)

“Crikey – what sort of things do you do”

“Well the medium is irrelevant but I’ve recently been looking to externalise the dialectic of inter-being between the en-franchised but captive elements within society and the free elements which they seek to control” (-2 pts : score : 2 (don’t know what he’s on about but it’s obviously bollocks))

“Crikey, and how did that express itself”

“I re-created a dole office in an underground car-park using pulped copies of Hello and Private Eye” (-2 pts : score : 0 (bollocks and derivative))

“So, er, so you must know a lot of other artists in the same field, y’know, Damien, Rachel, Tracy . . . ”

“No, not really” (-3pts : score : -2 (Billy no mates as well))

“And does it pay the bills then, doing this?”

“No” (-1,000 pts : score -1,003 (need I say more))


So maybe I won’t become a conceptual artist after all. Weighing up the various options, balancing what I can actually do against what I’d like to do against what actually might keep me in shoe trees and wine gums there are really only 2 actual possibilities. Graphic designer poked it’s head above the parapet at one point, I used to wield a mean Photoshop mouse back in the day (like 10 years ago) but ultimately you’re still working in an office most of the time. No the only 2 real options are Novelist or Pornographer.

Novelist or Pornographer . . . tricky, tricky, tricky. Have to come back to that one I think.

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