Eighteen months ago, the government spent GBP40 on getting me a pair of spectacles.

According the my "jobseekers agreement", I need to be ready and able to work. I can't work well without good vision, which means I need the specs, which I can't afford on my own, so they bought them for me, so I can get a job. Logical, yes?

Last month, someone trod on them, and they're beyond repair. So I need replacement specs. But I can't get them because I'm only allowed a new pair once every two years. This is to ensure I don't make a fortune by selling them to the hordes who share exactly my pattern of astigmatism, getting them replaced for free each time.

My eyesight is sufficiently bad that close work with screen text and the fiddlier hardware becomes...problematic. Rebuilding two computers last week took a lot longer than it should. So, with one hand officialdom propels me towards the workplace, and with the other it makes sure I can't work properly there.

This would be more ironic if there were any jobs around.

I've got myself a cheap off-the-shelf pair for reading, for use until December when I can get a repeat prescription. Anything more than two foot away, they blur into oblivion.

Think of a German-Jewish chemist circa 1920. That's how they make me look. Oy Vey, Mein Herr.

A very pleasant day out with C, trawling bookshops for the travelguides he collects, and trawling cafes for tea to drink while skimming them.

After buying four books and two magazines on travel in Eastern Europe, we ended up sitting on the grass, looking at birds. What? No no no. In a park with a great big birdcage in the centre, containing colourful parrots and cockatiels. And proletarian pigeons on top.

We bumped into someone I went to university with, many moons ago. Ralph E - one of those people who's a lovable disaster in almost every respect, but amazingly able in one or two.

When I first met him he had a broken leg from snowboarding. When we were all being shown how to use the university's email, his first (and only) message was to a department head, jokingly asking if she wanted his babies. He got banned from using email.

During the two years he lasted on the course, I don't think I saw him arrive on time once. Not that he did much arriving. It's possible there were times when he wasn't stoned - or maybe he was never stoned. There was no way to tell the difference.

Once, when he'd asked me to come and see him in the halls of residence but neglected to tell me the building or room number, I asked a caretaker on the off-chance he'd be able to find out. All the caretakers knew exactly where Ralph lived, and spoke of him with strained faces.

After being thrown off the course, he moved to Brighton, where he signed with a record company...who turned out to be a scam. He got on another course at the University of Brighton - and thrown off two years later.

So what was his amazing ability? He was a bloody brilliant jazz pianist. We recorded a semi-improvised track, which I probably still have somewhere. The keyboard was, of course, broken and stained, but his hands could just fly across it striking a rapid succession of complex chords.

Now, he's got a studio and records techno and experimental stuff. He's on MySpace and SoundClick as...CatGotWasted.

With any luck I'll be visiting H soon in his new home. He wants to know if I'm any good at painting walls. Hah!


  1. With any luck I'll be visiting H soon in his new home. He wants to know if I'm any good at painting walls. Hah!
    Just say no! Really. Your friendship will last longer.

    As to 'Cat Got Wasted' you should, as his friend, point out he needs to think about font readabilty on his MySpace. Lordy lordy I'll say no more...

  2. This shithead Russian has been bothering everyone!
    He should be banned, and his shit blog deleted!
    Why doesn't he drop dead once and for all? In Siberia!

  3. Indeed. Blogger.Com have been informed many times by many people, but haven't deleted 'Alex's blog.

    There are 152 comments there, all abusive, including this one from me:

    Go Away! Stop! Cease! Begone! Remove Yourself! Leave! Fuck Off And Die!

  4. I've been there too, dear Captaain, I know! There were then 141, I guess, and the last one was a link to Blogger.Com, which I immediately used to complain!
    The guy comes around by dawn and leaves this obnoxious trash every single day... I believe I have deleted it more than five or six times... The first URL's were in cyrilic...
    Strange enough, my sitemeter doesn't track him, not even with the «unknown» label! What a fury!

    Thank you for the artcles (in my answer to your comment I forgot to mention it...) Indeed had I read either one of them, I would have had some good laughs. But that one about the Chicago scientific team just convinced me...
    I guess I have to admit my prejudice as far as «deep America» is concerned: the majority is made of morons... Being brought up as a catholic, I do have conscience troubles...
    Best wishes! :-)