Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Where are we all going to fit?

For many years now I've been concerned by overpopulation. To me it seems the most attributable factor to the other hugely damaging processes occurring to this planet we call home. Namely, deforestation, desertification, air pollution and thus by implication global warming.

Add to this malaise the lack of clean water in many areas and the subsequent competition for it, and it's clear we're reaching a tipping point. Just a few years ago CNN reported 'in 1999 the world population reached 6 billion, and in the relatively short time between 2007 and 2050, there could be roughly 2.4 billion more people on Earth needing clean water, space and other natural resources from their environment in order to survive'. Clearly unsustainable and alarming, especially when we stop to consider the waste and rubbish generated by a world population of 9 billion.

That's the global picture but yesterdays news headline brought another factor to the equation. A miracle pill that dramatically decreases the chances of a heart attack and strokes in the over 50's. Since these are two of the most likely causes of death in that age group it means in the future more and more of us by the advances of medicine will be able to live longer. Great stuff but it does lead to the question of where are we all going to fit?

For many years now I've watched in the UK as huge tracts of land have been swallowed up by contractors and reborn as identikit housing estates that haven't a shred of individuality between them. What's more, the build quality would seem so uniformly shoddy it can only be a matter of time before the whole process will need to start again. Hills and woods that I used to play in as a child no longer exist for the generations that follow. In my parents home town I watched incredulously as a river had it's flow channel altered so houses could be built on the land scavenged. These sames houses are now at the mercy of the historical flood plain that they were built on. This relentless march of urbanisation seems to have no end.

I live in Croydon which has a reputation of a town that has seen better days, and even those days tottered on the wrong side of average. Its a mish mash of concrete, jagged misshapen skyline, architecture from different eras crammed together and a huge flyover built around, over and below it. And if you take a journey on the tram (as I often do) you'll see it has an element to its population that are *ahem* undesirable to say the least. But it does have it's redeeming features. Some of the recent rebuilding in the area has shown imagine and verve, the plans for the next 20 years or so feature architecture to be rightly proud of; building on derelict areas it'll revitalise the city, introduce green areas, attract investment and business and will have a real chance of giving croydon the city status it so wantonly craves.

So surely a good thing? After all, most of the rebuilding is on derelict land; Croydon, rather than taking land and urbanfying it, is regenerating that which has gone before. Well, yes and no, because the other day I saw something that highlighted to me the problem of overpopulation. A new prestigious block of apartments are being built that look cool, shiny and desirable. Except; except, for the fact they are being built on the middle of a roundabout. Yes, a roundabout. With a subsequent view of a convergence of three main roads. How very 2009.

People have got to be housed somewhere as our species continues to explode across the planet and if it means building on land in the middle of a roundabout, then so be it. But for me, its just a small worrying sign that perhaps we really are running out of room - a local example of a very real global problem.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A career break ...

What a lovely term that is .... career break. Its two words that have been falling from my mouth with increased regularity ever since, oh, about Christmas time. This was about the time it really hit home that resigning a job without another position lined up was the height of arrogance with more than a little whimsy thrown in. Yes, I was desperately unhappy both with the limited potential of the role and the line manager but as a friend of mine is more than fond of uttering, I should have just 'manned the f*ck up' and got on with lining another role up. Instead my thinking went like this:

How easy was it to get this job? (well actually it was quite a tough interview, so extra kudos to me, other interviews will be a breeze).
How many interviews have I failed? (Mmm, not very many at all. I've been lucky that for most I've interviewed for something has been offered)
My mate reckons she might be able to get me a role elsewhere (well, win win win.......)
Oh and I've got a pot of redundancy £'s behind me if it all goes wrong.

Resign man, oh resign! And leave I did. And then the economy failed, and then interviews went well (excepting one, but I was angry and petulant and easily provoked) but nothing was offered and Icesave seemed a great place to put all my money................

And so, some months later I still find myself unemployed and contemplative of where to go next and what to do. My sector has died a death and other recruitment consultants seem bereft of ideas of what to do with me. I'm a man in limbo. A somebody who doesn't know what to do next. What has amazed me is the disparity of what some people require of candidates and the money they are willing to pay for these skills. The one that most took the breath away was a firm that wanted a person holding 5 years relevant experience, a contact book and fluency in 3 European languages. For £19K a year............. Madness......

Its a sobering thought that a working career of 14 years since graduation has left me -if I'm honest- with a core skills base of nothing really. A mish mash of this and that. Diversity of skills used to be a strength but in todays climate people want skills that are horribly exacting. Stray out of the 'perfect' candidate description and you'll get nowhere. I write that as a man who made it to the last 2 for a job I wanted and got beaten by the chap who had direct relevant experience. Needless to say I'll be waiting for him on his first day. With a crowbar.......

So, perhaps a new sector awaits - travel. The more I think on it, the more I believe its an area I've wanted to work in for some time but its the paucity of the starting wage that has put me off. But, perhaps for the first time I've got to be sensible and realise that short term wallet thiness can lead to long term career satisfaction. I hope so. Anything is better than visiting the local job centre.

The art of blogging

Is obviously something I haven't got right. Three months since I last scribbled down some nonsense and that's unacceptable. So, lets have a new beginning (if we leave aside the question of how many new beginnings you can have......).

Monday, 22 September 2008

Boo to meekness

Sunday saw United play Chelsea and come within 10 minutes of ending their 84 game home unbeaten run. It would have been a deserved victory as the brave team selection (Park and Fletcher played from the start with Tevez and Ronnie benched) played well in a system that for long periods frustrated Chelsea.

However, for the second week in a row my jaw dropped when it came to the crucial substitution. Park had run his legs off, putting in a strong performance going forward while tracking back with dogged determination; there's only one choice right? Tevez non? Big Uh AH noise as O'Shea lumbered onto the pitch almost immediately demonstrating with a windmill kick of his leg (slicing the clearance) just why he has united fans holding their heads in their hands upon his introduction. Chelsea equalised within 4 minutes....

Such frustration I took out on the lawn, cutting it by hand with shears........very zen like. I recommend it, I ached so much after I finished I'd forgotten the frustration the football had caused me.......

A tourist in my own City

The girlfriend and I on Saturday got the train to London Bridge and decided to walk into central London along the Southbank. It's the best thing we've done in months. The weather was balmy, the pace lazy and in the air hung a general sense of contentment. Walking through the renovated wharfs, seeing the overflowing cafes and breathing in the river air made me feel like a tourist, just discovering the city for the first time. It's not often I feel like that about London, it's congestion, its cost of living, it's dirtiness to name a few issues rile me but when an area has had life breathed back into it the results are staggering. We popped into a bar and drunk Argentinian beer, had Churros by the river (with a devils cup of melted chocolate) & lunched  at the Gourmet Pizza company. Even as our walk took us through the mad crowds of Covent Garden the mood sustained. We even managed to catch the train with seconds to spare. A superb day in a superb city.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Will Ferrell and the art of fellatio

I'm not Will Ferrell's greatest fan although Old School & Anchor man are great. But I love this piece to camera....

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.1581938&w=425&h=350&fv=key%3D36d31abcf2]

Words of wisdom - wow....

To one who knows no better, a small garden is a forest.  --Ethiopian Proverb

Little man Opie

I had a terrible nights sleep last night. The kind were a random series of past failures and awkward events replay themselves through your head again and again and again. Horrible. Still, I did come to one conclusion during this episode of insomnia; I control my emotions - not the other way round. IN my head all those bad memories were put in the basement and the trap door shut. It was a good moment - I hope to bear this in mind always......... oh, and another thing, here is Opie rabbit just enjoying the moment something I hope to begin doing...