I might even be a stand up comedian

The last ten years and more have been a steady slide to the bottom, or as close as it gets. My life as it was, has collapsed, my trade of many years is no longer possible, I’m as worn out as an old pair of running shoes. I’ve lost hundreds of friends, my wife and a dog, and an earner that I was quite happy doing, providing it didn’t rain. My Industry changed, my bosses changed, so much so, I no longer fit in that world. I have been robbed of earned monies by unscrupulous swine’s so many times lately, I can’t see how anyone would be expected to carry on. So it’s a good bye to a trade that’s nearly crippled me, bankrupted me financially, ruined my marriage and dumped me back at the beginning, circle 1- friends and family.

The friends section that’s left is mainly internet based, some forged over many years. In my previous life we all jumped into circle two, (meet up) well 52 of us did. We all met up over a week in Wellington, Somerset, 1987, 52 people with similar internet based interests from all over the world, a fantastic week. I am still friends with some, and do converse with a few of the rest. When your trying to invent yourself without any idea as to what as, a meet up with anyone can be the start of the next journey.

In my career the quality of my work and the quality of my workers efforts where enough to keep me in work for 30 years. Most of it was done by Spex, he was a right laugh, apparently. Very few people at work ever called me by my name, very few even knew my real name. A Labour MP only weeks ago, her reply to my email (pest or troll?) read “who are you” I laughed out loud initially and fired off a quick reply “Brian Lee” and at that moment the realisation dawned, she has no idea who I am but neither do I, like I said I’m back at the beginning.  I can be anything, I might even be a stand up comedian.


Grammar schools

What’s it like to take the 11-plus? ‘To be written off as a failure is a travesty’

So read the headline in the Guardian. It mentions the word traumatic and the sense of failure for some.

I moved area with my family from Oswaldtwistle to Bispham, just at the start of the exam period. I moved from Oswaldtwistle school from the Victorian era in build to Moor park infants, a prefab site, a half mile across fields from the back of our new house. I can remember nothing much of it apart from the day I walked over in the middle of the summer holidays to pick up my results.

I had been goaded by the woman masquerading as my mother in the morning about finding out how brainless I was in the morning, jocular in front of everyone else, but she meant it all, as her eyes had been directed at me. So I was a little surprised initially on her instruction to go and collect them, not so about the fact they where sealed, but to find her not interested on my flashing it at her, through the kitchen hatch, unopened,  so I deposited it on the Formica top. There it stayed as I washed up that evenings dishes, fed the dog and cleaned the shoes and received my nod to get to bed through the hatch.

I was in bed as my father came home from work, shortly after seven. I say bed but it was a sleeping bag on the floor, my step brother had the bed. On the floor I could hear everything that happened down stairs, I know the soundtracks and words of many a film I have yet to see, heard through the eighty-twenty mix Axminster carpet and underlay, the first time I had lived on it.  I’d heard the Conservatory door open followed by the kitchen door, the brief pause as he took his boots off, followed by the buckle on his lunchbox strap landing on the Formica top.  A short greeting followed by “your tea is in the oven, get a cloth it will be hot”. What’s this?, it’s our Brian’s exam results, unopened, there is surprise in his voice. The oven door closed, the cloth was tucked in a cupboard door handle, I waited, anxiously, a rustling in the cutlery drawer, the required landing on the plate as he exited the kitchen for the lounge. My dad was the only person allowed to eat in the lounge. What’s on he asks, this says Norma, Les Dawson is on in ten minutes. As he sinks into his seat, “Bloody hell, our Brian has the highest marks in the school”. My heart jumped a beat, my father rarely swore,  I wondered if it could be heard downstairs, my father was sat underneath me, Norma at the far end by the hatch, he was obviously reading, “he’s been invited to a local Grammar school”. I was in shock, my heart was going mad, thumping away, in a split moment of time, I thought about the next morning and Norma, Grammar school ? how?

The next sentence I heard has been tucked away for many years, only the current media frenzy about them on a daily basis has brought it to the fore. “He’s not going to a Grammar school, I don’t want him thinking he’s any different from any of the others”, and that was that, I never heard it mentioned again. I never actually saw my results that year, and I was never allowed to do Homework, ever, only help my siblings with theirs, something I can remember doing at Oswaldtwistle School and for the rest of my home life.

So off I went to Montgomery high school, one alpha, I spent many a day gazing out of the window over the next few years dreading home time, meanwhile at home carrying on with regularly running away from home, which I’d started in Rochdale. I dropped to the bottom sets in Maths and English, my mind still full of fear. My first years English essay had raised my teachers eyebrows, I had extra school dinners all through my school life, I put this down to my essays, but I still dropped.

As I gazed out of the window (it would have been no different in a Grammar school) a constant question arose, how did I pass my eleven plus? my life in Oswaldtwistle and Rochdale preceding, had been bad enough for me to be running away from home. The woman masquerading as my mother was a monster of the highest order and had been as long as i could remember, I still find it very puzzling, how did I pass my eleven plus, just with the teachings at Oakenrod in Rochdale and Oswaldtwistle school, it must have been top notch, the fear I was under at that time still upsets me today, just thinking about it. Very rarely do I wonder on what I might have been, but wonder on who I should have been.



Since that fateful day that Heath signed the Document we have sold shed loads of our assets and are in more debt than we can pay off, meanwhile a lot of the workforce are on reduced wages as bosses have taken advantage of the cheap labour, I’m still waiting for a boat load of  cheap bosses to arrive. Meanwhile the spread sheet mentality that seemed to follow the floatation boom of the Thatcher Neo Liberalism era lives on.

A new business model has surfaced in Construction and it’s off shoot of External wall insulation and it requires lots of cheap labour. Let the none English speaking semi skilled/ unskilled workers continue, even though they are doing it wrong, missing bits out or struggling to achieve the necessary quality/ ignoring any quality. Then they refuse to pay, ending up with a cheap job or a job they haven’t paid a bean for. Then they get a trained bod to attempt to put it right for the smallest cost, ending up with a really cheap job, albeit bodged. How many projects get ripped of, and started again? none that I’ve been on. This situation will only get worse if we stay in.

I’ve been to Turkey where some of the residents lived in the wilds, to say their kids looked like Urchins from Victorian times is and was an understatement, some in Turkey are treated worse than dogs. I’ve lived in Germany when the Turks where less than happy in their ghetto’s and where driving through the city of Kassel, firing their guns out of the window, as a nation are they well known for Construction, Farming, Hairdressing, Cleaning, no, and Turkey is 98% none Christian, what about the Albanians with 0.14% Christians , they should fit right in , it’s rich in Minerals so there’s quite a few miners, hmm, Thatcher got rid of ours, Textiles are another big Industry, we don’t have one to use them in anymore, Farming is another, but it’s nothing like our farming, comprising of small rural farms. Youth unemployment is around 30%, poverty around 14%, you can bet on which group is most likely to travel abroad. I bet bosses will think of something they can do on the cheap.

Locally this week a business meeting in Exeter took place to discuss Brexit, a Cheese manufacturer was in the remain camp due to some of her Cheese being held up at Norway’s border for so long the customer went off the sale. She also said most people don’t want to work outside most of the time, so welcomed the cheap foreign labour. Another from the farming world complained about the none existence of a level playing field across Europe, he was undecided. An Oil and Gas parts supplier was remain even though their market was not in Europe, but he relied on the European quality marks to save money. Another in Construction said there was a need for skilled labour in Exeter and there was a shortage, I see no evidence walking around Exeter at the new builds that the skill level has gone up, rather its gone down alarmingly. The drilling team could load their van up, drive down the Channel tunnel and drill a hole without any paperwork, so said the Engineering body, so they where in. I took from all those in the meeting, that it’s all about themselves, I have had the same from locals, cheap holidays, cheap mobile contracts when abroad, Education, free movement of students. No one mentioned Multi culturist, no one mentioned the debt, no one mentioned Turkey, or the really cheap Macedonians, when asked it wasn’t their problem. I mentioned the current EU UK fishing fleet problem. They will pay boat owners to scrap their boat, not sell it, scrap it, and leave the industry, so it makes it easier, less agro for the Portuguese fishermen and Spanish who are raiding our shores daily. I look on that as the ruination of our Industry that has been with us for Centuries, a criminal act against us as a country, wait till you find out they are subsiding the Portuguese to get them to increase their fleet, it stinks all the way to Brussels. I’m out on that. Brexit

A frequent argument is the need for skills to be able to move easily, (it’s a bosses dream, not the workers) I went to Germany during Mrs Thatcher’s reign, me and van loads of others spent years over there. We didn’t look much different than the vans that turned up in Plymouth or Bristol in 2000 or 2016, the vehicle was on it’s last legs, their clothes, my clothes, my car had a hole in the floor under the accelerator, it had just failed it’s Mot due to rust, for a £100 the engine sounded sweat enough for the trip. It cost me £100 to scrap it in Germany in the second year. I had been asked to go and work on what must have been an early German version of the Green Deal, by ex workers that I’d met in Bristol some years earlier, who where missing one part of a team and suffering, I was asked as a future integral part of the team. for over two years we cladded tower blocks from Dortmund to Kassel, Berlin to Belgium, to the same quality we had achieved at home. I would hear story’s of £1000 a week, £2000 a week, I let them go in one ear and out the other. The Poll Tax was just about to arrive, Capitalism was swinging towards the bosses, wages where being cut, monthly, there where Shareholders to pay, management bonuses to pay, more office workers to pay. As a member of staff, salaried, working on the Windsor Castle Legoland version 1 project, my newly floated bosses where beginning to show their metal. Working by the metre, payees by the metre, if all is going well, you don’t stop for breakfast, you don’t stop for lunch, it may get to early afternoon, before someone says, we will miss the canteen soon. So we stop, we are late, there is no food but a welcome mug of tea will do, meat and two veg later in the digs, with loads of gravy, we had the same every night. Mario the owner, Maltese, walked between the isles of tables armed with a hug jug of Gravy, “more gravy, more gravy” day three no thank you. But this afternoon we are sat drinking tea, a senior boss wanders in, clocks us, probably didn’t clock the soaked hair as we had only just stopped, no his next gaze was the clock, 2:20pm, he checked his watch and glared at us. The next day a sign on the door read no Connaught workers after 10:15 am and after 1:15pm, how crass, it got worse when they said they where not making enough money and we would need to provided our own place to stay, the fact the blocklayers had a different way of interpreting the scale on a plan was not our fault. But as we were the first affected, our only way out of the mess was an onsite redesign of manufactured details, which took time. They where lucky we had the skills to achieve the final outcome, but wouldn’t get the feeling anyone was pleased. I felt put upon, greatly. I pondered how much Mario’s cost, with his Gravy. That afternoon I phoned Germany and told them Monday, I’ll be there.

At the time in Germany they didn’t want to do the job, “will I  have to get up early”, “is it a dirty job” questions asked at interviews, they couldn’t get the project going without labour, us and the Italians are well thought of in the Rendering/ Plastering world. Plus we where already getting on the road at 4:0am and used to getting dirty. I and the team have been announced at gatherings, “these are my English Plasterers, who plastered the Church”, and very drunk we all got. I hadn’t had that recognition at home after the start of Mrs Thatcher’s reign and have never again to this day. My first day at work, arrived early, slept in the car for two hours with a coat still wrapped around my feet, freezing cold. Went to work at 7:0am, ate lunch from the local supermarket, and got home at 6:00pm, sat at the table calculator and pen, adding up our metres, I was surprised I’d lasted after my 24hr drive, “about £298, considering it was your first day, I know it will get better” I considered £50 for my efforts, when another said “ that’s each, yeh”, “yes of course that’s each” I worked out on the Church job mentioned earlier that we had been on £48 an hour. And thanked, and we always got paid.

That is a big difference from the last ten years here at home. The Latvians where educated and also the Polish but to a lesser degree, but they learnt early on that they where being used and some went home, but lots moved in to their trade from home, and for most it wasn’t Plastering, their influx has affected many trades. They where followed by the Romanians, firstly by those persecuted at home, then the masses that still arrive today to work under Polish gangers, just in my Industry. My ganger in Germany was Dutch and carried a revolver at all times, we found him straight as a die. Today the vans can be rotten, their clothes also, they work very hard, in all weathers, but not by choice. lucky if they make £4 an our, they don’t hear no cheers at the end. Speaking to a Nasty piece of work Polish ganger weeks ago in Bristol, sneering down his nose, “why nobody pay, all the time lately, oh, can’t pay, no no pay, I lose my Polish workers, have to use Fucking Romanians, it’s fucking shit man”, “why it like this”? I reminded him of a conversation we had previously had some four years ago, “it will only get worse” had been the gist of it, he sneered some more, gesturing towards me, “you”  Did you get paid on that job, I asked, stalling him, “ Fuck no, they robbing bastards, they all robbing bastards” I laughed and quickly walked away, my head is full of pictures of their work, it’s the business model mentioned earlier, get the job done, get the Scaffold down, “oh my god, look at that, stop the cheque”. I look at all the tower blocks in Poole and Bristol, London, Reading, Wiltshire, Dorset, we would have been stopped way before the Scaffold comes down, way before it was plastered. The job is now so shit, even the trod on Romanian reckons in his travels, Germany treated them like slaves, Italy and Ireland enjoyed humiliating them, but England had been the worse so far. “We are talked too like scum” he says. The exploitation of the unfortunate economic migrant has to stop, will Europe come to their aid or Turkeys and Albanian future Migrants, I think not.  In hi-vis and helmet with your back turned, perhaps a big fluorescent jacket on, where are you from? “hey you, you, you over there, at some volume, I turned slowly, as I wasn’t the only person around, some of the locals and a delivery man where feet away. I was aware of a bright pink Hi-VI’s, a very red face, “get your fucking gloves on now”, “you over there, yes you, he marched off towards a chap pushing a wheel barrow, don’t push it empty, pick up this fucking rubbish on your way, and started plucking Centuries old rubbish out of the long grass. The car park was frozen, like time had stopped, I looked down at my hand, my phone, yes I was on the phone, having just got out of vehicle after a long drive, of course I didn’t have my glove on. Coming out won’t change these idiot managers or the plight of workers in general, neither will staying in. I’m still out.

Debt is currently at £1.6 Trillion, cut the drain, stop the fraud, definitely Brexit.

The Magna Carter and the Justice system is not worth the price, Tony Blair was responsible for incorporating the European Convention of Human Rights into British law, which effectively made the European Court of Human Rights our supreme court. While it is not connected with the EU, the human rights court has undermined Westminster by allowing remote judges – many of whom represent countries which themselves have an appalling record of human rights abuses – to make up our own domestic law on a whim. And your thinking of remaining? definitely Brexit

British Home stores and yachts in the Med, cut the drain, stop the fraud, definitely Brexit

Because Edward Heath didn’t have the balls to run his pen across the page and put it in a bin, I’m doing it because of him, it’s been a total dead loss, and that’s putting it mildly, try telling me different. For the Country, Brexit

Tony Blair, Thatcher’s Nephew, wanting an un Elected European president as a future job for himself,  the Social Chapter, along with Jack Straw and the rest of the team. Definitely Brexit

Malcolm Rifkind, the Foreign Secretary, told top industrialists. In an attempt to counter Labour’s charm offensive with big business, he said that accepting the social chapter would damage industry and threaten Britain’s prosperity. It did, By signing up to the Social Chapter, Britain could subsequently be overruled by other European countries, under the system of qualified majority voting, in a number of key social policies such as health and safety and working conditions. These are not all in the interests of workers, but a lot will be related to risk, worthless lives in little boxes, Definitely Brexit

Cashless is next, all monies in the system to be accounted for Electronically, your level of attainment embedded or maybe visible in flashing micro L.E.D’s. Look at me I’m level 67, what are you, a 15? oh the sneering for the masses to come. It will happen either way. Brexit 

The EU is totally un Democratic, smoke and mirrors, at best does your vote count or has Spain got the Veto? I haven’t felt like mine has for years, and you can guess Edward Heath is to blame. Brexit

Staying in would see the rapid take over by Europe and a rapid dismantling of anything English, minority’s will have a say about the laws that govern them that they disagree with, the vast majority of the next wave will be Muslim, I can see where it’s heading. Like the Ten Tribes, we will be written about, what happened to the English. Brexit will delay the inevitable.


The Doctors Strike

Another strike has begun today. The Government could stop the strike by financing the seven day NHS that they want to provide. As Thatcherism/ Capitalism and the spread sheet march on, they can’t win.  Eventually every hour of the day has to be treated the same, the fact its the night or minus 50 or what ever else you may think is worth a few more pence on the standard rate. Heaven forbid you thought a Religious Sunday was worth an extra day with full pay and an extra days holiday, how can you write all that in such a small box. Hunts face shows the reality of the situation, Religion has no place in spread sheets, bring in a bus load with a different religion, Muslims want Friday off, Jews want Saturday off, Christians, Sunday. What about that South American tribe, who want everyday it rains to be a special day. We are heading for a more automated Robotic world, the bit a lot of people haven’t realised yet about that situation is, they are on about us.


Pin hole camera work

IMG_3199  NIK_4321

A small piece of an Irn Bru can, carefully dimple the metal with a small needle, being careful not to go right through. Then rub the end off the nipple with the finest abrasive you have, that’s 240 grit in the above shot. I went for the bottom nipple in the end. Tape this on the inside of a body cap with the centre drilled out. Colour it all in on the inside with a dark pen to cut any reflections, if all you have is red tape..

IMG_3201 NIK_4322 

I started with a full set of extension tubes on in the dark shot through the window, I gradually reduced that to maybe ten millimetres in total.  The red tape holds my lens cap. The field of view is getting wider as the focus gets sharper and I get nearer to the body. Tan-1( (d/2)/(t/2) ) x 2, is the formula for working out the field of view through a gap in material.  My drinks can is 0.11938 mm thick before sanding, but what width is my hole? I can hardly see it.

With the diameter of the hole I could work out the Fstop, and the optimum distance from the sensor for my hole. In the meantime I shall remove extension rings until there is none left and it’s just the body cap left.   This is my second shot, it was overrun with a red tinge? some of which is still visible. My D600 has in the past let light in through the viewfinder on long exposures, but I don’t think that’s the case here. The 30 second exposure was a challenge during the gusty strong winds from Henry, blowing in from the West, even with my tripod firmly seated.

The best thing about Pinholes for me is the depth of focus, this runs from the front to the back of the shot, finding the optimum sharpness is the challenge and finding out why I have a red tinge.



SAY HELLO TO your new robot


I first became aware of the Spread sheet and it’s use in Construction projects in the Thatcher glory years, when Company’s where floating on the Stock Market, daily.  Everyone was becoming a shareholder, bar myself and I still haven’t joined in, today.

I was on a Refurbishment job, in Wincanton, Somerset. My company had recently floated, a vast proportion of staff, had bought in. New Business managers had been taken on. The job had been priced and everything had been assigned a little coloured box within an Excel document. It was going to be done for that price in that amount of time. One price i remember well, was the price payable to fit a door.

A deal had been struck with Travis Perkins, i presume so prices could be fixed,, and volume buying could be worth a discount. Our discount at the time was better than a senior member of Travis Perkins was. All materials for the refit of the door could be obtained there.

My Carpenter and his team came from Yeovil, not too far away. The price for a door fitment, complete with frame, lock, hinges, door handle  and Architraves was £15. I had phoned the person responsible for the price, who had rustled some paper around, “ah yes, the door, i presume he has power tools, he continued,  the door, three hinges, routed, three screws, three minutes, door lock, routed”. He went on and on. “it comes out just over 45 minutes, i have been generous and paid for the hour”. I was enlightened, and dismayed. I informed him the house was old and the door didn’t fit. The frame was easy to alter, the door not so. The price didn’t alter.

The document above is part of another Refurbishment project.  It involves External Wall Insulation and render and as such it should involve the weather. Seeing as the weather is an unknown element there is no space for it on the sheet. The price payable for the system install was the lowest i had expected.

Houses where expected to start and finish on a set day. Partly running through the winter months, i’d mentioned the weather, holding a printed out Excel sheet for the first time in my life. Next Wednesday we would be starting Number 34, but they give a storm coming in. I voiced my opinion, not possible, and was duly stitched up and sacked. My first warning regarding the lengths managers will go too, to protect the spread sheet, even if it’s wildly wrong.

Last week Peter Hansford the Government Minister for Construction issued his recommendations, we/ I await any response. Part of the document mentions training and pay. I have asked for the price to be set by the supplier of the system, like buying a VW car. Sto Track and Rail system costs £? per metre to install to this standard, Alsecco Adhesive free system costs,  £… per metre, to install to a standard. Make them responsible for the training also. You can still add in the price for labour on your sheet, the figure can be obtained from them over the phone or by mail, easy peasy, it will come in an un-editable box.


list2All the ECO, Warmer Homes, Green Deal projects have all been guilty of this practice, hence the lowest price ever paid, and the lowest quality, and deviation from the specification, displayed on every street in the country. Hence my arrival on the list, partly shown here. Looking at the list a lot have had correspondence from myself regarding the spread sheet  and it’s operation. Real life excerpts off the shop floor, some in the list like BRE.co.uk went out and had a look, so alarmed where they and others, is why this report is out.

The suppliers need to step up their game, it’s their product on show, after all. Training needs to be in depth, where ever it’s practiced, none of this half a day and home, or NVQ’s on the doorstep. A proper visible achievement, visible by eye. Noted STO.co.uk didn’t have anything to do with any of the subsidised EWI, SWI installs over the last ten years.  They where protecting their quality standards.

Where are we at the moment?, every boss i have had since Wincanton has been looking in the boxes, shaving a bit here and there, none stop.  I’ve been fuming about it since that day. To achieve the required quality, we need to be Robotic in our attempts, the weather needs to be ignored, illness and public holidays. More often than not, it’s un-achievable, set by someone with no  idea of the job involved or just plain greedy/ tight. As we are not going to be saying hello to a Robot just yet, I’m hoping Peter’s report has some effect. I’m rubbing my chin trying to imagine, what..

On the shop floor, speaking to an ex boss (ex Green Deal and Eco warrior), only last week. “You can’t do it for £24.50 a metre” he says. He knows that, as I and others have been telling himself and others, since Wincanton. Along the way I’ve had a boss who reckoned he could get EWI/SWI done for nothing, his rendition of the Art of Plastering would have flummoxed any game of Charades. He wasn’t responsible for the Initial figure during Green Deal and ECO etc, the Government department DECC or Suite’s as I call them, where. Now we are left with that price. It was odd how his tone suggested it was a recent event, on the trowel it’s been a ten year slog at least. He had been alarmed at my suggestion of him loosing control of wages. I tried comforting him, “it’s just a box”. I can only try and imagine what the other boss would have thought about my ideas. It didn’t go down well. But it would be a box DECC and others couldn’t alter. He also dumbed down the skills needed. He actually said “it’s not Plastering” I begged  to differ. All in all, not a good chat, estimations of people dented.

Now they are having trouble getting people to do it for the amount they have left in the box. Most fully trained operatives have left the Industry, long ago. I thought this would be the outcome in Wincanton all those years ago after the phone call, luckily an influx of cheap labour has helped bosses shave the box ever tighter, but now they are training up, they want more money. For those who are already trained, this isn’t enough money and hasn’t been for sometime, I Brian (note the Capital) “The Individual” say so.

One other suggestion i have put forwards is bringing back the Clerk of Works on Retrofit projects. Put an end to the in house assessments. The cost of this can go in a box. I will let you know if any of these measures come in too play.



I’ve had my nickname Spex since i was around ten years old. It was an improvement at the time on some of my previous ones, so i didn’t complain. I’d moved house and school and my past had been left behind, a new life, new friends and glasses. I get called it by people who don’t know me, which still surprises me. I jest, i wear glasses, it’s fitting, but my real name isn’t a long one, why not use that. It has become easier for me to look at it as a derogatory label, like fat is.

Ha, Ha! his hand grasped my shoulder over the top of my friends shoulder. So your the enigma Spex. My local Policeman had heard my friends greeting, who Spex was, was out of the bag. That was my first time i recognised the power of a nickname.

Many moons later in the 80’s, i am heading for the German border, it’s November, the weather is foul, blizzards and snow ploughs, wipers on full speed. Germany is on alert, the wall is still up. Baader Meinhof have launched an attack and the border is on alert. Frankfurt Airport has tanks on the runway on the news. I pull into the border post, crossing from East into West and i’m detained immediately somebody looks at my passport, overnight. I get interviewed, good cop bad cop, Bacon sandwiches and loads of strong coffee. I was as high as a kite. What are you doing here? nothing, what brings you here, i’m heading home, who are you? of course i answered Brian Lee. I wasn’t surprised to see my photo inside my Passport as the interrogator opened it, studied it closely then thrust it under a Ultraviolet light. One of the Eastern chaps in the big peaked caps, pulled out a magnifying glass and  proceeded to study the passport closely. I must have been asked over twenty times, who are you. They really weren’t happy with my answer. I was dumped in the cells on a wooden plank.

It was maybe 01:00am when the English speaking one came into my cell. They are having trouble finding me, he tells me. What are they doing to find little old me i ask. I asked if they had the Internet, they did but they had only just had it installed. I remarked i had been connected at home for three years. He suggested i get to sleep, and left.

In the morning after Coffee and Bacon sandwiches, i am in the Interrogation room, who are you. Depression creeps over me all of a sudden, i glance at the clock, it’s 08:10am. I felt really small, little old me, no body knew i was here, brilliant. How can you prove it, he throws my Passport on the table and waffles on in German. In amongst all the sounds i hear the word Internet. The wind is battering the windows with hail, it’s a foreboding place to be.

Internet i blurt out, what about it, i’m on the Internet, you can prove it, oh yes. More German ranting. I am ushered into the front office, a computer sits there with the monitor lit up. My passport is thrown over the counter, men in big peaks and unshaven gangster looking chaps, all start chattering at the same time, as the chap at the desk picks up the mouse, and opens a browser. He studies my Passport closely. I look over and catch his attention. You won’t find me on there with that Passport. The English speaking one steps forward and translates, shadowed by the chap i took to be from Holland. Interpol cannot find you, how will this, he waves his hand towards the computer, his top lip curled, snarling Spex, i exclaim, definitely Dutch i surmise, as the shadow steps forward. SSSSpex, he blurts, it carried such a derogatory tone. His gob landed on my glasses causing little magnifying  spots to appear. Everyone looked rather fat, i smeared them across the lens, peaked hats and all. It got my back up, yes Spex, put it in Google, ignore the Swedish comedy links and hopefully you will find little old me. I got a mention on the eleventh link. Spex asks …. in blah, blah forum. He clicks on it and there is my picture. Within the hour i am across the border and on on my way, high as a kite still.

A month later, i was standing in the middle of a car park holding a workers meeting, back at home, i think we where under industrial dispute with management at the time. Two suits, one with a bulging well worn briefcase, all in dark grey, strolled through the gates and headed in our direction. Brian lee! we stop, militant painter Ian, Who? Brian lee he repeats. Everyone starts to repeat it, even myself. Nah mate, not here. I let the Painter take charge. Oh we where told we could find him here, nah mate, the painter adamant, shakes his head. They turned and left.

Spex, what’s your name, the gathering turn to hear my reply, Brian Lee. Those two where looking for you….. I never did find out who they where. I’d worked with that crew for nigh on two years, the fact they hadn’t known my name bothered them, more than it bothered me. Most i’m sure, from that day on thought i was a proper twat. I don’t remember there being any intention to deceive. Somebody had known of me, and asked where i lived on my first day, oh close to Spex, i am Spex, and that was that.

list2Last week a report was issued to the Government on Regenerating the Solidwall Insulation Industry after the Green Deal farce. Odd how i’ve ended up near the bottom in the list of acknowledgements, when i’m sure i’m the first one who told the Government we had a problem. Odd how i thought the Police should be involved and we (the population) got the Governments Chief Construction adviser, Peter Hansford instead. In the naming algorithm used, i’ve ended up being a mix of Interpol and Google. It’s to be expected really considering all that’s gone before. And for some reason, that little old me feeling crept in, again. It’s the first time in my life that i’ve been on a list with the Scottish Government, will it be the last?




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