Proper Followers

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Self Service

Don't you just hate shopping?
Or have I lamented this theme before?
To death! I hear the cries from the threepennies.
Anyhow, supermarketology is one of those things that won't go away in a hurry. I was in one of our local supermarkets today, not to be confused with the street mini-markets or the giant hyper-markets that abound these days, when I suddenly realised that there were about a dozen self service tills, now I have seen these tills at a few places recently but it was only today that I realised that not only were they (the supermarket bosses) making the customer do all the work but they were at the very same time depriving a dozen or so of their own employees a job. Now if you add up the wage savings of twelve staff times a minimum of two shifts per day i.e. 24 staff working eight hours each times seven days per week then divide that up into how many actual staff they save if each one only works a forty hour week then multiply that by the minimum wage then multiply that by 350 stores then multiply that by four big national players and it all adds up to about £1m per week. That of course is small beer for the multiples but this is only the start. Now that they've got all of these people tilling up their own purchases they'll be out to expand it until they don't need to employ any check out staff any more, just more and more uniformed security guards to check out the customers. Mad? of course it is but that's supermarketology for you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Left Turn..


Once upon a time there used to be a railway station in Manchester called Central Station. Then one day just like many other railway stations in the same city it closed down. Eventually, men came along and dug up the tracks and demolished a bridge that took some of the tracks across Deansgate (over a major road). There was now no way of turning Central Station back into a railway terminus. For another decade or so the beautiful building stood empty and decaying. Until some bright spark had the idea to restore the huge building and to turn it into a conference centre. Which he/they did and then renamed the premises GMEX which stood for Greater Manchester Exhibition Centre, I think. Anyway, after many years of exhibitions, conferences and concerts (I went to see Manchester Band James there in the early 1990's) another bright spark came along and re-branded the building yet again. It is now called Manchester Central. Yes, the very place where the Labour Party Conference is taking place right now, this week!
Five hundred miles south of Manchester another disused and empty railway station of similar age and proportions to Central Station was eventually turned into a beautiful art gallery and museum of sorts. The place I'm blogging on about of course is the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. I have had the good fortune to go there on a number of occasions. We, Nic and I, love going to Paris and Nic has written about it much in some of her novels. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have a print of a picture by Gustave Caillebotte Les Raboteurs de parquets in our house. The original of course being in the Musee d'Orsay. I had it on a chimney breast in a position where you needed to look up to it and it just didn't feel right to me there. So, I swapped it today to another wall in a lower position where you have to look slightly down on it. And BINGO! it works for me again. Not only that, the pic I swapped it with, Portrait of Mario by Modiglianni (who spent the latter half of his life in spitting distance of the old railway station) which I now have to slightly look up to, also works better for me. So there!


Don't forget to clink-my-links and talking of Modigliani and the Portrait of Mario HERE is a link to a poem I wrote about them. Many thanks for visiting Proper Joe's and please leave a comment. Finally you can read my latest poems on the home page of my pub-poetry blog SweetTalkingGuy..

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Plot Thickens..

Every day something new happens to change the plans I have previously plotted. No matter how hard I try, sometimes I just fail to get things right. Take the plastering of Nicola's new sitting room for starters. There's about two days worth of work left to complete this little project, but try as I might something always comes up to prevent me from finishing this job.
I really can't remember whether I mentioned the Jakarta style bi-cycle rickshaw on these pages recently but anyhow, I would really like to make something along these lines. I know that I have talked many times in the past about The Ziggy Bike and how Nic would like me to build one and then we located one and found it was a niche market toy costing over three thousand pounds (GBP). Well I've had another butchers and I think we could build one with a little help, perhaps.
I don't know why it's called a tacsy but it is a bit like a taxi I suppose. It is a long-bike like the Xtracycle with a side-car arrangement that takes two passengers in a sofa style seat. The rider (tacsy driver) sits in front of the passengers on the right-hand side much like a London cab. I feel that a similar design could answer a lot of questions for us.
I have a few new ideas that include photography for this blog. I always wanted to take pictures when I was a kid and it wasn't till after I left school and started work in Piccadilly that I actually got around to doing it. Sadly, most of the pics I took all those years ago are now lost (by me) but I do still have a complete set of photo's I took in the 1970's and titled My Secret Railway. The railway in question was one of the many dismantled routes in south Manchester, which was walkable in those days but is so overgrown and swampy in places now that it is impossible to follow for the most part today.
Okay, I got one of those crazy party political leaflets shoved through my letterbox the other day and although no one in the right mind is going to ever vote for these sad and naive people they did have, I thought, one good point concerning the proposed road charging scheme in Manchester. They said that they oppose the introduction of the con-gestion charge because it would make Manchester dependent on future car traffic to raise revenue to pay for the scheme - rather than reduce car use across the whole city.
Now I think that's a valid point. What say YOU?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Blooming 'eck...

Okay folks, sorry about the delay in getting back to you all but yes it's me and I'm finally back from the back of beyond. I didn't realise it was so long since I last posted to Proper Joe's. Anyway, I'm here now and bar one more little trip, I should be able to post as usual every Tuesday. Or perhaps I should say nearly every Tuesday just in case!
I have managed to update a couple of the other blogs in our stable, in this little part of Bohemia. Yesterday for example, Nicola's Newsletter, Raw Meat managed to make an appearance for the ninety-sixth time. Yes, Issue 96 is now Online at .
You can of course check out all of Nicola's novels and find out a little bit about her on her website
The other blogs I have managed to update recently are my pub-poetry page SweetTalkingGuy.. and my Doktir Nairobi blog, Gobsplot. Which is of course an anagram of blogspot.
The blog that I really want to write for, Space Invaders! might have to wait a little longer owing to technical difficulties, i.e. me not being able to access our old computer at the moment where all my SI (fi) is located. Anyhow..