Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Things were now all coming to the boil… Literally.
The fun time was over apart from the following two Saturday nights when we’d been invited to friend’s parties, one a fortieth and one a fiftieth.
Plus we’d got Haddy’s visa to sort out and that was a serious pain in the arse and was going to cost a few quid and a few days off work which we were both going to have to take as holidays.
At least I’d get paid for mine but when she was off, being an agency worker, she wouldn’t.
Nobody wanted to take her on full time because her entry visa only lasted for three years and then had to be renewed.

Let’s talk about being an agency worker for a moment and clear up a few misconceptions.
One:  They were treated as the lowest of the low on a minimum wage of about six pounds an hour, no holiday pay and a maximum of about twenty days paid holiday a year but only if you’d worked constantly for them for a specific time.
This is absolutely true.
Ten years ago I’d done it and things hadn’t changed much in the meantime.
Two:  The government had brought in a law which stated that if an agency worker was seconded to a company for twelve weeks (or more) then they would have to be paid the same as the full time staff in that company and be subject to that company’s holiday rules, meaning that they would be treated in exactly the same way as the full time staff.
Now bearing in mind that the firms hiring these agency workers were paying the agencies about sixteen pounds an hour for their services, the agencies were paying out about six pound an hour and keeping ten, then the agencies were making some serious money if they had any good-ish workers on their books.
So nobody could have a problem with the new law, right ?
The agencies had a problem with it because they earned less money.
What they had done since the law came into place was make sure that all their workers only worked ten weeks at a maximum in the same place.
This enabled the greedy, grasping bastards to avoid paying out any extra money and also avoid giving the agency workers any extra holiday entitlements that they would otherwise have been entitled to by law.
So after working happily for ten weeks at one location, Haddy would be moved for a week into another workplace before going back to the original, despite the original employer threatening all manner of dire imprecations if they couldn’t keep her.
And what did our wonderful government say about this ?
They issued a statement saying that people preferred part-time work.
This HAD to be true because more people were doing it.
Not true.
More people were totally stuck in it.
It didn’t matter how good the agency staff were, no company would get them for more than ten weeks which makes an absolute mockery of firms wanting to keep anybody who was any good.
They couldn’t.
If any firm wanted to keep one of their agency workers then they would have to pay the agency a 'transfer fee'.
It's just like football except that the agency worker is being kicked around and not the ball.
The agencies were going to make money whether the government liked it or not and that system is still in place as I write and nobody gives a flying fuck about it.
It’s wrong and that’s that.
Unless of course you work for an agency in which case it’s a way around the law.
This of course makes you wonder why the government brought the law into being in the first place unless it was to make themselves look good ?
On paper of course, it does…
The reality is somewhat different.

Anyway, that’s the position that she was in.
Not perfect but then what is ?

Where were we?  Oh yeah, I know…
Marcus’s fortieth.
Sarah’s other half Marcus is a film maker and an all-round nice bloke.
For those who read this thing, he'd filmed the gig, half of which was posted in the previous post.
I’d known Sarah since she was a schoolgirl hanging about in the shop to cut lessons.
She was the same age as my eldest daughter and in the same form as my ex-guitarist Emma.
Now she was a co-member of Parnassus Performance and a writer, mother, housewife, supply teacher and God knows what else ?
After her marriage ended, she and the two kids, Charlotte and Jonathan, had moved back to Stevenage, hooked up with Marcus and they’d been together ever since.
Marcus does the filming for the Arcadeclectic Stage at Rhythms of the World and makes sod all money at it because he actually believes in helping out the bands.
Of course once he has them, then he has them hooked.
But then he’s pretty good at getting what they want from a live-action video, so after the event if they want him again, then the fee is negotiable.
Now he’s hitting the big four-O the week after he's given us a freebie down the museum.
Haddy says she’ll help out with some  African food instead of the usual sausage rolls and we make plans.

He has hired the Lytton Players hall

which includes a stage and has got Silent Smiles (a band we both quite liked to reform as they’d split) and Marching Donald
as cabaret, sent out the invitations and off we both went.

Both acts were well received and everybody there had a good time.

Nobody got completely wrecked, which tends to detract from some people’s general enjoyment of the event and so it must be counted a success.

Haddy’s African nosh was well received and although some food was left over because I think they’d catered for two hundred people eating double portions, Sarah and Marcus went home with enough food to stock the freezer for a couple of months.

For some reason we didn’t take that many photo’s of the event.
Dunno why ?
It just happens that way sometimes.

The following week we were at Rockin’ Jonny T’s fiftieth which was altogether a different kettle of fish because it was going to be fancy dress.
Ok dear, what are you going to dress up as ?
Now I’d known Jonny T since he’d just left his teens which means since the mid nineteen seventies at least.
On and off.
He had his thing and I had mine, so when the Sex-Pistols shook up the music industry he’d formed a band with a few like-minded souls and they’d only had a hit single.
They were called Chron Gen and anybody with a vague interest in the punk scene will have heard of them.
It didn’t last that long for Jon however, as the term ‘musical differences’ intervened and he was out.

He’d messed around throughout the early eighties and then he’d found another bunch of like-minded souls and they’d formed a ska-punk band named Scum of Toytown, released a few singles and cassettes, recorded an album ‘Strike’  for Words of Warning records and split up in the late nineties
In that time he seemed to have played with almost everybody of any note, including me, Emz and Andy when we recorded our album (cassette actually) as Kocaine and Jon asked if he could supply the sandwiches when we recorded it ?
It was either Emz or me who said ‘Fuck that.  If you’re coming then bring your guitar and you’ll be on it…’
Needless to say he did, and stuck a great guitar line on our cover of Bruce Cockburn’s ‘And They Call It Democracy’.
At one point he was going to sell all his musical stuff and quit but I collared him at a gig in Hitchin and implored him not to.
There may have been others who did also, but I definitely did and thankfully so because he didn’t, he met Jo and formed Ike who mutated into Lika Sharps when they met G-Man.
Then of course Scum reformed and he was in both bands…
A stint with Eastside Jimmy made it three and that is where it stands today.
So yeah we were definitely going, the question was, as what ?

We made it easy on ourselves by going in African dress.

Jo had asked me and Grant

to provide a poem for the occasion which sort of summed up Jon.
I thought about it for a bit then decided it was going to be one that was already written.
It was definitely ‘Jon’ and would probably apply to more than a few of the other guests also.
Ran a copy off, signed it with love and bought a frame.
Present sorted.

Jon and Jo
I’m not sure Stevenage’s Cricket and Hockey club had seen anything like what turned up ? 

Four old queens...
It was a classic.

Druid and Grim Reaper
Everybody had made an effort and dressed up.

Mickey... Nice blouse mate.
Jon’s Mum had even ‘punked up’ for the occasion.

Ok, it had been done for a photo' session for the cake, but what a trouper...

Shakey was doing the disco.

It certainly wasn’t like playing a four stringed guitar for the Drug Prowling Wolves that’s for sure…
Thing is, if he wasn’t such a nice bloke and held in such high esteem by everyone then it couldn’t have occurred.
But he is, we love him because he’s Jon and he’s a special sort of guy.

Anyway, enjoy the photo’s and see if you can recognise anybody else ?

Little & Large or the original Bass Relief. Mark and me

Cap'n Hook

Jill and Ian are in there somewhere

Here’s the poem.
Please don’t think of stealing it and passing it off as your own ‘cause I’ve been doing it for years on and off, and have the recordings to prove it.
Plus, it still gets in the set as you will have noted if you’d watched the video from Stevenage Museum in the last post.

Typically in the first draft I spelt Jon's name wrong... Doh !

And a good and drunken time was had by all.
Reality was about to hit home the following week...

Let’s talk about visas.
I realise it’s an emotive subject and some of my views are going to get right up the noses of the trendy left wing Guardian and Independent reading muesli knitters, but quite honestly I really don’t give a fuck.
If they and/or some of our new European economic migrants feel offended by anything written here then I have to say I really don’t give a flying fuck what they think, either.
The reason is because none of them are in the position I am, where my wife and inclusively me because I’m married to her, are deliberately being treated as second-class citizens in the country I was born in and lived in all my life just because she happens to be African and/or Black.
Got that ?

When we got married my wife was given (Joke:  it cost six hundred and eighty quid) a visa to come here and live with me just as she should have been.
Ok, it took six months and there was absolutely no reason for the delay except for the reason that she was Black and/or African and we’d got a new Conservative political regime in place to replace the corrupt shenanigans of B’liar and Brown’s hard labour party who had opened the floodgates in the U.K. to any and all including all the jihadists who flocked here from…  Let’s see... Pakistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia etc,  all of whom claimed their inalienable right to ponce off the state and stir up trouble outside any mosque or on any streetcorner.
If you criticised them then you were immediately called a racist or worse.
We couldn’t get rid of them because he’d also signed up to the European Human Rights Act and it would breach the Act and their human rights if we did.
Of course it doesn’t take into consideration that the murderous bombing bastards had breached everybody’s human rights in the past by killing and maiming innocent people somewhere else, but what the fuck ?
But even worse than that, B’liar had sold out everybody in the country by signing a European Union document giving the right of abode and benefits to any freeloading ponce (economic migrant) from Europe who wanted to cross the water.
Of course they had to cross France first where they SHOULD have been stopped, but the cheese eating surrender monkeys were actually helping them onto the boats at Calais !!!

Then the European Union made the Eastern European countries members and we were inundated…
First it was the Czech’s, then it was the Poles and in the near future we’ll have the Romanians and the Bulgarians.
Not only are they allowed to come here and claim housing if they say they are homeless but they can claim all the benefits from the DHS also.
Unlike my wife who isn’t allowed to claim for anything.
She’s entitled to use the NHS but then so is everybody else in the country so big fucking deal.
Unfortunately the visa only lasts for three years and then has to be renewed at nearly double the price of the first one and now her time was up.
Right, first things first, look up the procedure for renewal on the internet on the government’s website.
First we have to apply.
We also have to supply thirty odd pages of information about ourselves, most of which has previously been submitted on her original application.
Then there are the ‘Original’ copies that we have to supply of information that they have already been given.
Things like marriage certificates, house deeds, consecutive bank statements, utility bills with her name on…
So we get it together and now we have a choice.
Do we pay to get the documentation checked over by yet another government department before we send it off ?
My view is yes we do.
It means that we both have to take more days off, and spending a day in Hatfield is never my idea of a fun time but if it helps then let’s do it.
In the meantime Haddy has to take an ‘Englishness’ test.
This is to prove that
(A)   She can speak it and read it, and
(B)   She knows a little bit about the history of the country that we call home.
This is done at the local college and she is one of five in her group (about 20) who pass the test.
Now I don’t have a problem with that.
What I do have a problem with is the fact that if you receive benefits then you don’t have to pay for it. It’s free.
If you can’t speak or read English then please tell me why the fuck you are here ?
My wife isn’t allowed to claim benefits so she has to pay.
There is something intrinsically wrong with the way that system works.
It doesn’t make any kind of sense.
One of the questions she was asked was ‘What year was the Magna Carta signed ?’
She knew the answer which is more than can be said for that thick cunt we have as Prime Minister who didn’t have a fucking clue when he was asked the same question on a radio show.
Maybe my wife should be running the country instead ?
As a previous headmistress of an infants school she couldn’t do a worse job, I know that.
Still, now the ‘Englishness’ test is done she can answer yes to another question on the form.

Hatfield in the morning…
It’s a bit like waiting at a border crossing in a colour film and crossing the border into a black and white one.
Nothing to do with the colours of fleshtone, but everything to do with the fact that Hatfield is a dilapidated grey dump which really ought to be bulldozed flat and rebuilt, or better still, left off the map altogether.
Anyway, we’re here, that’s the main thing.
An hour’s wait in the lobby before we are called through and she has already had to warn me twice about my attitude which can legitimately be described as ‘cynical as shit’.
It won’t do me any good but this whole affair is so fucking distasteful that I can’t pull myself out of it.
We’re paying another seventy six pound for this service and when we send off the form we have to send another nine hundred and ninety one with it.
Another thousand quid less nine, but what’s nine quid when you haven’t had a raise in salary for three years because the government have pegged your pay ?
According to the form it’s going to take a government department another three months to process it, but according to the lady who saw us it’s more likely to take four…  (at least)
And in the meantime my wife can’t leave the country as she’ll have to pay it all over again if she does.
What happens if one of the kids gets sick ?
What happens if there’s a death in the family ?
Cross that bridge when and if we have to.
To be fair to the lady who went through the form, she did help us by pointing out the badly written bits where we’d answered wrongly.
I swear the bit about dependents and children is worded so badly that more people are going to get it wrong (as we did) just so that the government can call you liars, but she pointed out the anomaly and we re-answered it correctly.
That bit alone was probably worth the seventy six quid.
The biggest laugh came when she got to the question about ‘Have you ever made threats about anybody in the government ?’
No more than ninety nine per cent of the other residents of this country.
I’d like to finish the job that Guy Fawkes started, preferably with all the venal, self-serving cunts within it when it goes up…
Obviously I’d written NO, but the thought was there.
Apparently all the extra stuff I’d brought along was quite helpful.
My wife doesn’t pay any utility bills.
I do.
I see no reason to screw up my accounts with the gas, electric and TV people just to put her name on them.
If you’ve ever tried to alter anything previously and it’s all gone tits up for you then you will certainly understand my reticence, so they got a letter explaining why I refuse to change them.
None of their staff seem to speak English and when they’ve taken YOUR money and stuck it in the wrong account and won’t sort out the problem until you have paid AGAIN, then why would anybody want to go through that ?
Dealing with people in their Indian sub-continent call centres who can’t speak English can be exasperating in the extreme…
So I don’t.
Anyway, we finally got it finished, paid nearly a grand and left it there to be put into the diplomatic bag or whatever it is they do ?
All the children are listed which is good, but now we also know how much it’s going to cost to get them in if she gets her visa…
THOUSANDS of pounds.
And that's just for a six month holiday visa...
I don't care to know right now how much it'll cost to reunite them with their mother.
Maybe we should get them to become Polish ponces- sorry, citizens so they can come in for nothing ?
Not that it matters right now because we don’t have any money left.
All we can do right now is wait.
I swear if David Cameron comes out with that expression ‘family values’ ever again, then he’d better have eyes in the back of his fuckin’ head !!!


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