Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This boy will go far!

Hot on the heels of my previous blog about dodgy emails from recruitment agencies, yesterday I received one that probably trumps the "Dear {first_name}" example.

This arrived (I've changed a few details to protect the guilty):

Dear Kenny,

Most of you will have had the pleasure in being in contact with me at some point for a HR role, but for those that have not, I head up the team for East London – Contracts at HR S**** S*****.

I would love to hear from you if you are looking for work now or even in the future.

Please email me with the best telephone number to contact you and email your most up to date CV urgently.

The majority of Clients in the London and South East of England will be in contact with me at some point, so if you have a particular company you want to work for; please tell me ASAP.

Please contact me on 0207-xxx-xxxx

With regards

Michael K______wski
Trainee Recruitment Consultant
HR S**** S***** London
Phone 01628 xxx xxx
Email m.k______wski@hrs****s****

Don't you just love it? He goes straight from addressing me personally to making it very obvious that it is a generic email sent to lots of people. Either that, or he is aware of some multiple personality disorder from which I suffer, and of which I am unaware. (At least, the personality typing this blog entry is unaware of it. Perhaps one of my other personalities is aware of it. IDV may be able to advise on this.)

He then tells me what an honour it is to be in contact with him. I should point out that I have no interest in working in HR, nor any experience in that realm. He heads up the team for East London? Not for long, I suspect.

And despite his poor grammar, bad wording, and inappropriate choice of recipient, almost every business in the south east is beating a path to his door. Apparently.
(It might be a bit harsh of me to pull him up on his language. I suspect he came to English later in life.)

I'm a tad suspicious that the contact number he gives in the email differs from the one he gives in his signature. The signature, however, does, reveal a telling piece of information. Young Michael might well head up the East London part of his company, but he makes no secret of the fact that he is a trainee.

I think they need to give him a lot more training before they let him near their email database again.

To cap it all, after sending this out yesterday afternoon, he then sent it again yesterday evening, word-for-word the same message, which probably does his cause a lot more harm than good.

Poor lad.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gold Standard

Am I alone in thinking that "Gold" by Spandau Ballet is suddenly very "in"?

About two years ago, my Lovely Husband™ and I went to a party in
downtown Auckland. I left a bit early on my own, and missed what
turned out to be a beautiful, amazing moment when life ceases to be
mere normal life and becomes the kind of life depicted in musical
theatre. For some reason, spontaneously, one of the guests started
singing "Gold", and suddenly everyone at the party joined in and the
place was awash with love, music and campness.

Fast forward almost two years. We were on holiday in Gran Canaria at
the tail end of last year. The Lovely Husband™ gets up and does
"Gold", only to be criticised afterwards by one of the drag queens who
works there, because that's one of her big numbers, and she had been
planning to do it later that evening. Later in the week we hear her
do it, and it turns up at a couple of other karaoke bars during our
week there. (Sometimes at our behest, it has to be said.)

Then yesterday, I send out an email to a host of people drawing
attention to a petition signed by a lot of phobes to try and delay the
introduction of the anti-discrimination legislation in Northern
Ireland (, and encouraging
them to sign a counter-petition (
on the same (UK government) web site. I promptly received an email
back from a friend of mine pointing out that the same site also has a
petition running on it - currently with over 1000 signatures - which

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to replace the national anthem with 'Gold' by Spandau Ballet.

If you want to join the push for this change, you can sign the petition here:

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dear Value Customer

By day, I run my own little one-man-band company offering my head to whomever wants it. Obviously, I'm talking about the contents of my skull rather than my skills as a fellator.

As is the way with those of us who earn a crust in this manner, my details are in the databases of a number of agencies who contact me from time to time in an effort to lure me to work for their clients. Their job is to try and get the client to agree to as large a daily rate as possible, whilst trying to get me to accept the contract for as low a rate as possible, and then they pocket the difference and reluctantly cough up when I submit my monthly invoice.

In fairness, the agency that I'm currently working with are superb, the best agents I've ever encountered. I'm less thrilled with my previous one because I've had an awful time trying to get reimbursed for some quite significant expenses from many months ago.

In addition to random phone calls at all times of the day, agents like to drop me emails about contracts in which I might be interested. More than half of the time, the job description bears little resemblance to the kind of thing I do, and so quite why they think I might be interested is often beyond my ken.

I received one a couple of days ago from one of the larger agencies. In this case, the role is excellent, and there is a very good match between my CV and what they are looking for. There are three problems.

The first problem is that it's in West Yorkshire, and everyone who has my details has an indication that I have a strong preference for working in London.

The second problem is that it is a permanent role, and anyone who has my details has a very clear indication that I only look for contract roles.

But it's the third problem that really amused me. How seriously should I take an email that begins like this:

Dear {first_name},

I feel right special!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Random Googlewhacking

Remember the days of GoogleWhacking?

It has been a long, long time since I tried putting two words at random into Google and coming out with a single page in the search results. For no particular reason, I spent a happy two minutes trying to get one a few days ago. And I did. Now I'm going to write it here, so it will cease to be one as soon as Google crawls this page. If it ever does. Which it probably will since it's a Blogger site and they own it.

The two words are:



The first is one of my favourite words, although I haven't been known to slip it into conversation very often, despite my best efforts. I've had more success with carminative (and I think carminate should be a legitimate verb), incarnadine and petrichor. I was introduced to the last of those three by my good friend DJ, who sometimes reads these pages. I don't think I thanked him enough at the time, so let me do it now, in this publically private forum: thank you!

(I'm keeping him sweet because he's just bought a castle, and I want to visit! :-)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Caught By His Piercing Gayz

For Christmas 2005, BB, my longest standing gay friend, the first gay friend I ever had, bought me vouchers for Metal Morphosis so that I could have a nipple pierced.

I should point out that I have used BB to denote this friend not because that is an indication of either his sexual or televisual procolivities, but because those are his initials. I would also like to pause at this juncture and brag that not only am I still friends with my first ever gay friend, I am also still friends with my second ever gay friend, too. All of our lives have changed dramatically since those long ago days when we met, but we still maintain contact, and that's nice.

But that's neither here nor there, as the actress said to the quantum physicist.

The reason for this somewhat unusual gift is that my Lovely Husband™ had decided that he quite fancied the idea, and kind of talked me into thinking that would be A Good Thing, too. BB was also interested, but didn't want to go first. We did actually troop into the shop one day, thinking we would go for it because we were in the right frame of mind. However, there were people ahead of us, and they mulled around for long enough that we lost our enthusiasm.

The vouchers have been hiding in a drawer for over a year now. I've taken them out once or twice and thought about popping in and having it done. However, Lovely Husband™ seemed to have gone off the idea, either for himself or for me. I decided a few days ago, though, that I was going to do it, and then decide whether or not to keep it. So, this afternoon, off I trotted.

I've had an ear pierced before (lobe), and that wasn't bad at all. I was much more apprehensive about the nipple.

When I went into the shop, the very friendly and relaxed guy behind the counter asked me a few questions, and when I said I hadn't eaten for a couple of hours, he promptly told me I needed to go and eat something first, and then come back when my blood sugar had been boosted. So, a quick burger and fries from Ed's Diner later (so much for the New Year's Resolution), back I trotted, filled in the form, and put myself through the process.

He marked my nipple with a pen to show where the thing would go in and come out (I opted for a bar rather than a ring, which meant I also had to choose horizontal or vertical). Then I lay down and spent most of my time looking as far away as I could from what was going on in my manly chestal area.

I was quite surprised that it didn't hurt at all. At most, it was a bit like having one's nipple played with or tweaked quite strongly. And then I was strolling off, very conscious of my new status as a piercee.

Over the next couple of weeks, I dare say I'll be exploring this new phenomenon as it develops. First there's the settling down stage. Then there's the cleaning but not playing with stage. After that might come a little experimental tweaking. Because it's a bar, I have to wait three months before I replace the jewellery with anything more ambitious, such as a 500Kg tassle. I'll let y'all know how it goes. And if it goes. Or stays.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Big Boys Toys 4 Sassy Lassies

Yesterday, I ended up spending a lot more in the supermarket than I had intended. I had gone in largely to stock up on detergents and the like. In hindsight, I should probably have gone to Aldi or Lidl given what I was buying. However, Sainbury's are getting rid of a lot of stock that they had bought in for Christmas, amongst them some quite good gadgets and such like. And a device that I have always admired, but never owned. And there it was, reduced by a whacking great £70 to a mere £150: a beautiful, upright DC07 Dyson vacuum cleaner. I had owned a DC02 in the past, before my 5-year sojourn on the other side of the world. However, I had given it up prior to the move, and missed it terribly when I got there.

Since returning in 2005, we have made do with a knock-off little Morphy Richards bagless model which is almost as pointless as those old carpet cleaners so beautifully mocked by Eddie Izzard (and I'm delighted to note that the Wikipedia entry had "Hod-d-d-d-d!" in there already).

As my Lovely Husband™ is quick to point out to new acquaintances when first they experience the marvel of my magic performances, I'm disappointingly not so magical when it comes to doing the hoovering. (Except, of course, we're going to have to stop calling it "hoovering" now, innit.) Or the washing up. That may change. I got the new toy out to give it a whirl and see how much better it was than the old machine, and didn't really stop until ever room in the house had been sucked to pristine perfection. For some reason, the exquisite design of the Dyson, coupled with it's gadget-head appeal, makes it a really good Big Boys Toy. Clearly, since normally I avoid going anywhere near that particular household chore. (Actually, that's true of most household chores. It's one of those aspects of my personality where I'm a bit more traditional male than I should be.)

So, I will offer this advice to any straight women who are tired of their menfolk not pulling their weight in the chore department (or indeed to other couplings where one of the two has a disinclination to clean coupled with a love of technogadgets): buy a Dyson!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Reading Frenzy

I've been away for a bit. We went up to Scotland for Christmas. We were going to stay for New Year, but for a host of reasons decided to cut our trip short. And just as well. It seems that Hogmanay this year was a bit of a wash-out, with gale-force winds and torrential rain putting the kibosh on most if not all of the planned outdoor events. Fireworks that will never see the light of day. I'm sure the environment is heaving a sigh of relief.

Amongst my surprisingly impressive haul of presents this year, my Lovely Husband™ bought me Derren Brown's book Tricks Of The Mind, and Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion. I'm currently about halfway through the latter, having devoured the former within a couple of days of receiving it. They're both terrific, and there is a bit of common ground between them.

Derren Brown's writing always delights me. I have his two previous books, both of which were written for the magic fraternity rather than the general public. That said, he would have known that some of what he wrote would have incensed the magic community, because many of them have a very low tolerance of "blue language", thinking that it demeans our art to be caught using such stuff. I wondered whether, given the target audience of his latest work, he would tone it down. Delightfully, he doesn't. And he indulges in some word play that had me writhing in delight. At one point he referred to old-fashioned behaviour as Victorian principles, and then threw in a parenthetical question: You remember her from Dallas, don't you?

This is a bit of a boring post. I just wanted to get something written because it's been too long. I have a couple of rants brewing, and I'll let them off in due course, but for now, I'm just glad to have put virtual pen to non-existent paper for the first time in a fortnight or thereabouts.

Thank you particularly to those of you who commented favourably on the comparison between myself and Eric Cantona in my last post, and I'm very glad that none of you pointed out that I used quite an old photo of that spectator head-kicking soccer star turned actor and aesthete. I'm also thrilled - as I'm sure many of you are, too - to see Fuckkit back amongst us, illuminating with her characteristic insight the precise source of the similarity between myself and the aforementioned man who likes to play with balls.