There’s this bloke…

I have to offload a little about my work colleague.

But first some context. I am an engineer, a maintenance engineer to be specific. I deal with electrical equipment, refrigeration systems, some computer equipment and some fabrication work too. It’s very ‘general’ engineering, a bit of everything and that’s why I love it. I work for a large company that ranks about 1 on the moral scale from 0-10, 10 being the most moral and pious. I won’t divulge the name because I’m not mega-proud of their work.

But morals don’t pay the bills these days, and I spent years of worthy objection to the industry that now pays my mortgage. The irony is sort of ‘cute’ to me now.

Anyway, in my job I work with another guy, Bill we’ll call him for these purposes. Bill has worked in this place for 37 years, and it shows. He’s the fix-it guy for the whole factory and his knowledge is ‘next level’. As a hint at how geeky he is, he told me used to do a lot of home programming on computers. Coding we call it now, I used to know a few guys who got into it early on, most of them starting off with Spectrums or Commodores in the early 80’s. Bill was doing it in the mid 70’s. I literally have no idea how he did this because home computers were the stuff of a mad mans dreams in the mid 70’s.

So, he’s 61 now and he’ll be retiring soon and they’ve taken me on to learn from him and to take over the mantle. Huge responsibility and loads to learn. Good job I have Bill then, coz he knows everything. Except he’s Dyslexic, probably on the spectrum and possibly Bi-polar too. They’re all challenges to deal with but interestingly it’s the Dyslexia that frustrates me the most. You see, engineering is about problem solving and one of the key tools to aid you in that is terminology. If a bolt is loose, you need to be clear about what size it is, what tool you need etc. If a pipe needs replacing you need to know what size, what kind of pipe and so on, you need to identify things precisely. A flange is a flange and a knurling is a knurling. They are not the same and knowing the difference saves a lot of time and energy for everyone. But Bill, he’s not too hot on terminology. In fact he almost never uses it.

We’ll be working in an area with approx 30 pipes of varying sizes and about 200 joins of several types and he’ll say “Check that bit of pipe is tight” pointing vaguely at the birds-nest of copper tubing and connectors. That’s very frustrating but he’s not discriminatory, he does it all the time.

The other week, he said to me: “You have to be careful that that is done up tight otherwise… thing.” And promptly walks away, never to reveal what ‘thing’ means. You see, he’s getting a bit foggy minded too. On top of everything else.

He has several immersive hobbies outside of his complex work including Archaeology, Amateur Radio, Chess and Dowsing too. He has an immensely deep knowledge of all of these disciplines  and he loves to chat about them. But he’ll spring from a detailed description of a crucial part of our job that I actually do need to know, into a lengthy speech about how he prefers to dig his trenches with a Mattock rather than a trowel as most archaeologists do, without a spare breath. Sometimes it’s a few minutes before I realise that I don’t need to be trying to remember what he’s saying because he’s veered off into another subject. He talks a lot. A whole lot. Did I mention that he repeats himself?


Also, he has a little problem that he has to talk about quite a lot. It’s his wife.

You see, she appears to be utterly mental. Medical diagnosis is Thyroid Depression. My guess is a bit of this has rubbed off on him. It’s no surprise that the other people who work around him have had enough of his blethering on, and have almost no tolerance for it. But I’ve only been there for 6 months and they’ve basically said to me “Off you go, follow him around and learn everything. Byeee!”

I’m hanging in there, even though we sit face to face on our downtime, there are no windows in the area we work in and I am nowhere near completing my learning just yet.

Some days it feels like all I’ve learned is how not to stab somebody who is annoying on several levels, but I suppose that’s a skill that is almost as useful as Engineering.




Top 10 Most over-rated bands.

I’m very passionate about music, and I have very broad tastes in most genres. I’m most passionate about what I don’t like. I think this is basically OK. I don’t see it as a necessarily negative thing to not like stuff, I think that’s all part of the normal discourse for appreciating art.

With that in mind here’s my list of bands that LOTS of people love but I can’t stand, in no particular order. I welcome the ensuing debate…

  1. The Velvet Underground. I find everything I’ve ever heard of theirs really terribly produced and I’m a fan of interesting production. The songs are very basic at their core but with a literary pretentiousness to the lyric that has somehow managed to fool a lot of smart people. And closet fetishists. Also the singing is so fey and lazy. Ugh!
  2. Joy Division/New Order. I mean, it’s just horribly executed (no pun intended). Awful playing which I could forgive if it was just JD, but just go and watch Bernard Whateverhisnameis play guitar. After 30 plus years as a ‘professional’ musician one should at least be comfortable with ones instrument, not to say actually have got quite good at it. But no, he looks like he’s fresh out of his 3rd lesson and relying heavily on session musos and production to make it listenable.
  3. The Strokes. Just. Fuck. Off.
  4. Teenage Fanclub. Teenage strop more like. What is it with that wispy singing, barely there and propped up with harmonies. And if you see them live, they can only just manage to recreate them. Singing softly and making a trademark of a harmony vocal style over extremely basic chord sequences, you’d think they can perform them with confidence, but oh no.
  5. Blur. I mean, I could be here all day with this one. I’m already picking up a theme here. Essentially, don’t put something down in the studio that you can’t perform live with style. Damon Albarn is the prime chancer, with very little musical ability he’s been trying to con everyone for years that he’s a real musical genius. And he fucking isn’t.
  6. Patti Smith. Utter, utter pretentious art-school dog-shit. And really that whole NY art-rock scene can do one. Similarly wrong as The Velvets. Just because you call it art, doesn’t mean it is. Horses, horses, horses. So fucking what??
  7. Pete Docherty. Well, this is obvious, isn’t it? How dare you put out a record and expect people to pay good money for it when it sounds like you can barely be bothered to stand up in front of the microphone. Skaggy twat.
  8. The White Stripes/Royal Blood. Oh, look. We’re so unique we didn’t bother to get a bass player because you don’t need one. Except we’ll have an effects pedal putting in the bottom end or we’ll record bass in the studio and effect it on stage. Don’t be a prick, just hire a bass player. Anyone can play bass.
  9. The XX. This is a record you need to have, somebody once told me. No. Not if you’ve already heard the first couple of Cure albums you don’t. Away with your shite, and try finishing a song before you release it.
  10. Nirvana. Yes, that’s right. I said it. Nirvana are hideously over-rated. When they came out it was good, pretty damn good. But all the fake misery and vague imagery, nonsense lyrics and so on led me to opine at the time that the only truly great thing about that band was the drummer. And what do you know? I wish I’d had a score on Cobain topping himself because I saw it coming a mile off, only it turned out it was his wife after all.

So there you go. I feel so much better getting all that out there.

It’s like a release, spiritually.

Come take me on if you disagree, or tell me your additions.


A lot going on…

There’s much to talk about.

I’ll be writing about many subjects including politics, engineering, music, art and maybe even family life. Maybe not.

It’s been years since I blogged but I’m missing an outlet for my brain farts and I am so very sick of social media. Oh, so very sick of it.

Typically for me, I can feel a very contentious blog coming on. I also have a fair bit of down time at work currently, so hopefully I can be more prolific than previously.

Thingers crossed.